Genre: Fiction

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Live – Mary Ann Rivers – 5 stars

January 16, 2014 NetGalley, Random House, Read in 2014 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Live – Mary Ann Rivers – 5 starsLive (The Burnside Series) by Mary Ann Rivers
Published by Random House LLC on 2014-01-21
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Mary Ann Rivers kicks off a new contemporary romance series—sure to please readers of Ruthie Knox, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis—where love can be found unexpectedly.   If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.   Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.Praise for Live  “Sizzling, sweet, and superbly written, Live is a marvelous love story.”—New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes“A beautiful, aching exploration of love, family, and loss—highly recommended!”—USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox  “Such an elegantly layered story.”—Dear Author“The romance in this book is super hot. . . . Such care is taken to craft the characters’ lives. . . . Just when things get really heavy there is naughtiness in a batting cage and sex in a limo. And Hefin, with his stubble and curls about his ears make things very steamy and put a smile on my face. He is such a good guy, and just what Des needed.”—Smexy Books   “Live blooms with the freshness of thoughtful storytelling carefully tended by beautiful prose. . . . Rivers is actively staking new, lyrical ground in a genre often sidelined as a guilty pleasure. There’s no need to choose between heat and good writing. From this author, readers get a two-for-one deal.”—New York Journal of Books   “Mary Ann Rivers’s debut full-length, Live, will make you curl up with your box of tissues and cry until you’re not even sure whether they count as happy or sad tears. Rivers’s world and characters feel so real, their emotions so raw, that I need the almost poetic beauty of the words to bear so much truth.”—Heroes and Heartbreakers  “This is a rich, tender story, not at all the usual contemporary family series fare. I’m looking forward to seeing where life takes the Burnside siblings next.”—Karen Knows Best   “Rivers has written a remarkable romance novel: beautifully . . . written; tormented as only youth can be; serious as only the un-ironic are.”—Miss Bates Reads Romance“Emotionally enthralling . . . intense, complicated, lyrical, passionate.”—Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews   “A stellar start to a new series that is so compelling and emotional, the characters won’t soon be forgotten.”—The Window Seat on a Rainy DayIncludes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Words cannot express the gem that this story ends up being.  I cannot wait to see the siblings find their loves but this story will tug at your heartstrings.  You will tear up, sniffle, mope and find great joy as two damaged souls finally find themselves while finding each other.

Do not go into this book expecting a happy, everything is roses love story, please go into the story expecting to see two people who are at a major crossroads in their lives and find that by letting someone else in they might just get their true selves back.

Destiny has been floundering since her dad  passed away and she lost her job.  What she’s had is fantasies of The Woodcarver, a man who she has been covertly watching while she does her best to find employment by using the library’s computer system.  When she gets one too many lumps thrown at her and breaks down she is surprised by the fact that the person that comes to pull her out of it is none other than this man she has been wanting to know more about.  Hefin is also surprised by his need to be there for her and cannot stop the impulse to finally talk to the woman who has kept his attention all of this time.  As they start to open up to one another we get glimpses of their pasts, presents and potential futures which lead us on a journey to discovering what it really means to be happy and to just LIVE.  They both put such pressure on themselves to not name what is happening between them and to ignore the brutal fact that he will be leaving for Wales (home) soon but just to live in the moment as if that day will never come.

There was something poignant about watching Destiny finally come in to her own and understand that she needed to do what truly made her happy.  She is stuck so hard in her life and while it isn’t a bad thing I was cheering when her friend, Lacey, finally took the gloves off to make her see what she was doing.  She’s such a strong person but there was also an almost painful amount of need that emanated from her to be seen as a real person that you couldn’t help but struggle with her as she tried to just be something she thought everyone needed.  The only person other than Lacey that I think really saw this was Hefin.  Others in her family were too caught up in their own hells that they didn’t fully understand what was happening under their noses.  Her neighbor also recognized it in many respects but floundered on what to do to help her.

Hefin was another case entirely.  He’s such a contradiction between a strong man and an extremely sensitive soul that reading about his own torments just made me tear up.  I loved how he loved with every fiber of his being even as he was trying hard to deny it.  There is no question in your mind as a reader that both of them really are meant for one another as they begin their courtship and I loved how that made you secure as Ms. Rivers pulls you thru their mutual torments to get to such a wonderfully healthy place.  I really don’t want to completely flesh out the torments that Hefin has or more about him as I enjoyed getting to know him by reading the words that Ms. Rivers puts in place for him and their journey.

Mary Ann has such an amazing way with words and I am glad that I was able to read my first full-length novel from her.  She took my breath away with how masterfully she pulled off The Story Guy and I had high hopes for her in a longer format.  She pulled it off and I think readers will be amazed at how much emotion and heart that this book conveys.  I cannot wait for more of this series and more from her in general.  Special thanks to NetGalley.com and the wonderful people at Random House who were nice enough to let me get my hands on this with no expectations of any particular type of review.

BTW – Mary Ann…. if you happen to read this…  you can stop past any time or send me anything you wish…  Your mastery of how to weave words together to tell these amazingly beautiful, poignant stories has the ability to make me cry and laugh often within the same paragraph.  Thanks for sharing this talent with us!!

five-stars

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Ruined – Jus Accardo – 4 stars

January 8, 2014 Entangled Publishing, Read in 2014, Sent 0

I received this book for free from the publisher . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ruined – Jus Accardo – 4 starsRuined by Jus Accardo
Published by Embrace, Entangled Publishing, Macmillan on 2013-12-30
Genres: Coming of Age, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 340
Format: eBook
Source: the publisher
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four-stars

Hell is looking for a way to break loose...Jax lost the genetic lottery. Descended from Cain, the world's first murderer, he's plagued by a curse that demands violence in exchange for his happiness. He left everything behind, including the girl he loved, but thriving on the pain of others is lonely… And it's killing him.After a series of heartbreaking losses, Samantha put rubber to pavement and headed for college as fast as her clunker could carry her. But she can't outrun her problems. When an attack at school drives her back home, she's thrown into the path of a past—and a guy—she's been trying to forget.Sam strains Jax's control over his darkness, but running isn't an option this time. Someone—or, something—followed her home from school: a ruthless monster with a twisted plan centuries in the making. Forced together to survive, and fighting an attraction that could destroy them both, Jax and Sam must stop a killer bent on revenge.

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this from Entangled Embrace and I have to say I was rather impressed by the world that Jus has created.  I cannot wait to see more of how this all plays out and hope that our pair gets the happiness they deserve.

Sam is not having a good day, week, month, year…  She’s unhappy with the way her life is playing out and when a man she thought gone forever suddenly appears in town she just wants to tell the world to stop and let her off.  She’s forced to confront him on a lot of levels but also finally gets to understand what his issues have been for years and, in some respects, gets a bit of closure on the hurt that has been her entire life to this point.  I liked that she was strong and independent but was willing to listen to others even if she didn’t want to lean on anyone.  She loves our hero deeply and I liked that she pushed him to really tell her the truth even if it was unbelievable.  What she does at a pivotal moment is really testament to how much she really knows about him and the level of trust it showed was phenomenal.

Jax is such a tortured soul.  As you find out more about the hell he has lived with his entire life you cannot help but want to soothe him in any way possible.  He loves Sam but knows that all he would bring to her is pain and destruction but he can’t help but be drawn back to her time and time again.  He keeps his distance but he’s been guarding her in his own way for years.  When he gets pulled back into her life he is tormented by being so close to the one thing he knows he can’t have.  His life has been nothing but misery and torture unless he’s around her but around her leads to pain and a different kind of torture.  I loved his willingness to sacrifice everything to keep his brother safe but hope that he will get a chance to be truly happy at one point in his life.  He’s such a great soul stuck in a terrible situation.

I hope you give this one a try as it was very well done and I can’t wait for more stories about Jax and Sam.  Thanks again to Entangled for giving me the chance to read this and while you gave this to me for review you did not color the review in any way.

four-stars

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Back To You – Jessica Scott – 5 Stars

January 7, 2014 Forever Yours, NetGalley, Read in 2014 0

I received this book for free from . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Back To You – Jessica Scott – 5 StarsBack To You by Jessica Scott
Published by Forever Yours on 2014-01-07
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotica, Family Life, Fiction, Romance, War & Military
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
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five-stars

He's in for the fight of his life . . .

Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn't explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family—so he deployed again. And again. And again . . . until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs . . . if she'll have him

. . . to win back his only love.

Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she's just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried—and a love that won't be denied. But can she trust that this time he's back to stay?

Like most fans of this series I have been waiting for this story since we first met Trent and Laura.  While I would like to be greedy and say I wanted it much faster than we got it… I have to be honest and say that the wait, while torturous, was definitely worth it!  You will laugh and cry big ugly tears but in the end everything is sooooooo worth it!

Laura and Trent love each other but due to some major mistakes on Trent’s part they are at a point where everything seems to be lost.  Laura has filed for divorce and Trent is having to deal with major issues surrounding his last command.  We start this story by seeing how bleak everything is for both of them as Trent prepares for a deployment then get thrust in to the thick of things in present day.

I loved how Jessica wove their past in to the book as it gives the reader a sense of what they had and what seems to be lost forever until someone finally understands that while they have changed they need to work hard and accept that even they need help from those around them.  Trent was at a major crossroads in his life and watching this strong man break down his walls to let someone help him cope with what happened while he was deployed was heartbreaking and uplifting.  He tries so hard to not show how badly war has impacted him in order to protect his family but in the process ruined the trust that they had in him and when he finally owns up to how badly it hurt them you will just cry.  The realistic way that Jessica portrays his struggles will cause you to hurt deeply but war is not pretty and the havoc it plays with people’s lives should not be sugarcoated even for a romance.

Laura has had her own struggles.  She wanted to believe in Trent but finding out that he was volunteering to be deployed just broke her. She did not file for divorce on a whim and is still reeling from having to make this decision even though in her heart of hearts she still loves him more than life itself.  I appreciated that it wasn’t ever about the lack of love but it was more about protecting herself from more hurt.  She volunteers to play the part of a reconciled couple just to get him cleared of something that she knows is false but the question becomes can she really keep him away from hurting her again.  She’s just tired of being hurt and kept out of everything so does all she can to protect herself but as we all know sometimes love will find a way.

This couple has been through so much and I loved how Jessica made it clear that while you may love one another more than anything else open lines of communication and letting the other one in even if it hurts is the only way to make a relationship work.  With glimpses of the other couples we know and love this made a wonderful story that while filled with angst is also filled with immense amounts of hope and love.

Go grab this one and join me in waiting for Reza’s story…

As always I have to thank Forever Yours and NetGalley for giving me access to this title.  While I appreciate the access this in no way impacted my review of this work.

 

BTW – Jessica….  ummmmm when can I get my greedy little hands on Reza????  😉

 

five-stars

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