Blitz | Accidentally Perfect by Marissa Clarke

Accidentally Perfect
Marissa Clarke
(Hideaway Harbor, #1)
Published by: Entangled: Amara
Publication date: March 1st 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Workaholic Lillian Mahoney has given everything to her job. The hugely popular lifestyle show she helped create monopolizes her time, energy, creativity, and anything remotely resembling a life. But all it takes is the show’s womanizing, egomaniac star throwing a massive hissy on live TV to utterly implode Lillian’s career in a New York minute.

Now Lillian’s hiding out in the gorgeous and completely unknown seaside village of Blink, Maine. Out of gas. A stolen wallet. A broken heel. And worse, she’s somehow managed to completely piss off the town’s resident hunk, Caleb Wright. She’ll show that hot, grumpy single father exactly what she’s made of.

But Blink isn’t quite what Lillian expects—and neither is Caleb…or his feisty teen daughter she can’t help but love. And while her entire life and career are in shreds, Lillian might just discover what happens when she gives her bad first impression a second chance.

Each book in the Hideaway Harbor series is STANDALONE:
* Accidentally Perfect
* Accidentally Famous

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EXCERPT:

“Good morning,” Caleb said, taking a step closer to her.

Lillian smiled and brushed some hair back off her forehead. “Good morning. This place is really nice. You built it?”

It was pretty basic. Nothing fancy, but it was well-built and clean. “I had a lot of help, and the residents of Blink raised the funds, but yes. I did a good part of the work,” he said.

She looked him up and down. “And here I thought you were just eye candy.”

“Only if you have a sweet tooth.” He hadn’t known what to expect after the kiss on her porch, but he and his rapidly heating body loved her teasing.

She put her hands on her hips. “Why, Grumpy Caleb. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you had a sense of humor.”

“I have a lot of things. Wanna see?”

Blush flushed from her neck all the way to where her hairline began. He loved this side of her. All-business Lillian liked a good flirt. He was happy to oblige. “Grumpy Caleb?”

“That shoe seems to fit,” she said as she strode toward the kitchen with a grin. He followed.

Author Bio:

Marissa Clarke is a multi-award-winning, RITA nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with her ever-patient husband, two cantankerous Cairn Terriers, and an abundance of bossy chickens.
She loves to hear from readers, so please reach out through social media or on the contact form on her website, http://www.marissaclarke.com

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Review | The Darkening by Sunya Mara

In this thrilling and epic YA fantasy debut the only hope for a city trapped in the eye of a cursed storm lies with the daughter of failed revolutionaries and a prince terrified of his throne.

Vesper Vale is the daughter of revolutionaries. Failed revolutionaries. When her mother was caught by the queen’s soldiers, they gave her a choice: death by the hangman’s axe, or death by the Storm that surrounds the city and curses anyone it touches. She chose the Storm. And when the queen’s soldiers—led by a paranoid prince—catch up to Vesper’s father after twelve years on the run, Vesper will do whatever it takes to save him from sharing that fate.

Even arm herself with her father’s book of dangerous experimental magic.

Even infiltrate the prince’s elite squad of soldier-sorcerers.

Even cheat her way into his cold heart.

But when Vesper learns that there’s more to the story of her mother’s death, she’ll have to make a choice if she wants to save her city: trust the devious prince with her family’s secrets, or follow her mother’s footsteps into the Storm.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First and foremost, I cannot get over how beautiful the cover of this book is. That was definitely one of the first things that intrigued me about this book and I’m really glad I decided to give it a read.

I really liked the world itself and thought the idea of the storm around the city but I did wish there was a little more world building since I’m assuming this is going to be a series. I did find what world building there was to be really intriguing.

I found all of the characters to be developed well and fully fledged, a lot of them were pretty gray morally, but really well developed.

Overall I flew through this one pretty quickly, the writing style was easy to read and for the most part. There were some places where the pacing stumbled a bit, but they weren’t major hindrances to the overall read.

Happy reading!

Review | A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.

Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.  

Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.

And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Just from the description I knew this was going to be a cute read, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised at how deep it went into subjects such as family relationships. Leo is the youngest of five and is struggling with the fact that all of her older sisters seem to be included in family activities that she’s excluded from. She immediately picks up that there are secrets not being shared with her and thanks to the little voice of insecurity and anxiety inside of her, she’s worried that the reason she’s being excluded is that there’s something wrong with her or that she’s not good enough. The book is full of life lessons for someone her age, about following the rules, friendships and more. It was an adorable read and I definitely look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Happy reading!

Blitz | Jester by Brielle D. Porter

Jester
Brielle D. Porter
Publication date: August 9th 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

What happens in Oasis, stays in Oasis.

Lisette’s father killed the King. His execution leaves Lisette alone, disgraced, and without the magic he intended to pass on to her. In Oasis, that’s a problem. Glutted with enchanted performers, Oasis is a sin city where courtiers pay in gold to drink, gamble, and above all, be entertained. To survive on its competitive streets, Lisette peddles paltry illusions in place of magic.

Desperate to prove herself, Lisette enters into a deadly competition to be chosen as the highest-ranked magician in the world, the Queen’s Jester. But her rival, the irritatingly handsome Luc, possesses the one thing Lisette does not—real magic. Lisette will do anything to win, but when evidence implicating the Queen in her husband’s murder surfaces, Lisette must choose between redeeming her family name, or seizing the fame she’s hungered for her entire life.

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EXCERPT:

A group of tourists has gathered to watch me throw knives at a shopboy. They’ve come here for magic; I’ve kept them here with misdirection and lies. Maybe it’s not magic exactly, but it is undeniably entertaining watching my unwilling assistant flinch every time the knife point gets too close to his groin.

I hold the knife steady, aiming, watching his limp hair flop as the wooden wheel he’s strapped to slowly rotates.

Stefan lets out a whimper, and I toss him a smile. He was a lot braver in the shop where I’d found him, flirting as he bagged my books. It hadn’t been hard to trick him into volunteering.

The crowd jeers.

“Aim lower!”

“Aim higher! Maim his ugly face!”

“Throw three at once!”

“Mirage, don’t you dare!” Stefan shouts.

The nighttime crowd is always hungrier for violence. I hold up my hands placatingly.

“Obviously, I can’t throw three knives at once. That would be dangerous and highly irresponsible…”

There are a couple of groans, but my reputation must precede me, because there are a few whoops and chuckles thrown in as well. With a sweep, I pull my deadliest knife from my belt, the one with the wicked serrated edge, brandishing it for the crowd.

“But I think we can spice things up a bit!”

I stab the knife into a vat of oil, the shimmering liquid sliding down the tang of the blade. Then, with a flourish, I sweep it through a nearby torch. Flame devours the knife. The crowd roars its approval. Stefan pales.

The hilt burns in my hand, throwing off sparks, as I wonder if perhaps I’ve gone too far. I’ve only tried this a few times. And the jackrabbit I had caught to practice with wasn’t even good to eat after, blackened to an inedible crisp.

Either way, I’ll give them a show.

Author Bio:

Brielle D. Porter decided to become a writer after a well-meaning elementary school teacher told her she had a gift for it. Stolen moments under the covers reading anything from Harry Potter to William Goldman solidified the desire to tell stories herself one day. Jester is her debut novel.

Brielle lives with her husband and three sons on a lavender farm in Northern Idaho. When she’s not writing, she can be found running and beekeeping. Only ask her about her hobbies if you have plenty of time to spare.

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Blitz | The Acadian Secret by Tammy Lowe

The Acadian Secret
Tammy Lowe
(The Acadian Secret, #1)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: August 10th 2022
Genres: Action, Adventure, Time-Travel, Young Adult

Nova Scotia has kept an incredible secret for centuries. In 1795, sixteen-year-old John Smith, convinced he’s found buried treasure, digs down into a mysterious pit on a small island.

​In present day Nova Scotia, twelve-year-old Elisabeth London knows there’s no such thing as magic, but when she finds herself in 17th century Scotland, she no longer knows what to think. While under the guardianship of a kind-hearted Highlander, Elisabeth discovers his ancestral home holds a mystery of its own.

​As John continues to dig the strange pit, he inadvertently begins the longest running, most expensive, and deadliest treasure hunt in history. Now, Elisabeth London and John Smith each try to unravel the secrets consuming them, unaware that a tormented young man holds the string weaving all of their lives together.

​For Elisabeth, the adventure is just beginning. Unless her parents discover she’s time-travelling. Then…she is so grounded.

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EXCERPT:

As the evening sun wandered behind the mountains, it cast an emerald glow across a glen. The valley was dotted with boulders, rocks, and drifts of bright yellow flowering bushes that blanketed the rolling hills, perfuming the air with a coconut scent. A small river twisted its way toward a distant forest. Overhead, a hawk screeched while soaring across an endless blue sky, declaring its vast territory to other hawks.

A dog yelped, over and over and over again.

Awakened by the barking, Elisabeth’s eyes narrowed in confusion. Her chest tightened as she sat up. “What the—?”

A huge, hairy boar, with razor-sharp tusks, lunged into the nearby brambles.

With a gasp, Elisabeth scrambled behind a large rock. Her breath hitched as her mind raced to make sense of the surrounding scenery.

That’s when a hunter, with a short beard and wild black hair that gave him a crazed look, came galloping over the crest of a hill on horseback. “Good boy, Talbot,” he yelled when the dog lunged into the brambles after the wild pig. The angry grunts of the boar filtered through the thick shrub.

Elisabeth leaped back, ducking low to hide behind the boulder. One hand pressed tight across her mouth.

The clip-clop stomping of the horse’s hooves sounded closer. Then, the hunter’s voice rose in pitch as his piercing blue-green eyes stared down at her, crouched in the heather. “What the devil…?”

A cold chill ran up her spine when he dismounted. His head cocked slightly to the side, and she realized his hearing focused on the dog and the boar as he drew closer.

Bending to peer at her, the hunter scratched his cheek. “You all right, lass?”

Elisabeth’s muscles tightened and she drew her head back sharply. “Yep. Fine.”

“Then…what are ye doing out here?” he asked in an uncertain tone while helping her to her feet. “Dressed in naught but…that?”

Elisabeth’s mouth opened, but nothing came out.

“Well, you’re lucky I found you before—” The silence in the valley now broken, Talbot howled, the boar squealed, and Elisabeth backed away with quick, jerky steps.

“Dinnae move, lass,” he ordered in a steady, low-pitched voice while reaching for his dagger.

Elisabeth gasped for air, watching the enraged boar desert its hiding spot in the brambles and charge toward the dog, its lethal tusks ready to kill.

Talbot seemed well-trained so, instead of turning tail and running, he danced backward, facing the pig, luring it away from his master. With the boar now in pursuit of the dog, the hunter ran at the beast as if he were a wild animal himself. Jumping on the boar from behind, he grabbed its ear, yanked its head up, and slashed its throat.

Elisabeth’s heart pounded, and she gripped the sides of her head.

The hunter jumped off the boar as it fell limp at his feet and cleaned the blade on the carcass before putting it away. He then walked toward Elisabeth, his bloody hands held in front of him.

“You’ve got a knife.” Elisabeth whimpered as her gaze darted from the enormous man dressed in a skirt to the ragtag group of hunters who came cantering over the crest of the hill.

“Aye, and a sword.” He smirked while pointing at it. “I’m not going to harm you, though. I’m hunting.”

“Hunting what? Little girls?” Not waiting for an answer, she bolted, heading for the distant forest.

The hunter took a step back and chuckled as Elisabeth made her great escape in slow motion, hindered terribly by bare feet.

“You’re completely mad!” he shouted while mounting his horse, motioning to the arriving men to deal with the boar carcass.

The black warhorse was as large and intimidating as the hunter and the animal’s powerful legs kicked up tall grass and thistles as it galloped along. The sound of its hooves seemed amplified as it neared Elisabeth.

Without needing to slow his horse, he reached down, scooped Elisabeth into his arms, and placed her in the saddle in front of him. She let out a sharp scream.

“There. Now be a good lass. I promise I’m not going to hurt you. You’re on my land so I know you’re not from these parts. I cannot leave you alone out here. It’s not safe and will soon be dark.”

A wave of coldness caused Elisabeth to tremble. She had no idea where she was and no recollection of arriving. When the hunter wrapped her in his plaid and nudged his horse on, Elisabeth’s shoulders tightened. She remained silent, bringing a shaky hand to her forehead while trying to figure out what the heck was going on. This definitely wasn’t Mahone Bay anymore.

Author Bio:

An adventurer at heart, Tammy has explored ruins in Rome, Pompeii, and Istanbul (Constantinople) with historians and archaeologists.

She’s slept in the tower of a 15th century castle in Scotland, climbed down the cramped tunnels of Egyptian pyramids, scaled the Sydney Harbour Bridge, sailed on a tiny raft down the Yulong River in rural China, dined at a Bedouin camp in the Arabian Desert, and escaped from head-hunters in the South Pacific.

I suppose one could say her own childhood wish of time traveling adventures came true…in a roundabout way.

Website / Goodreads / Instagram / Pinterest


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Review | Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Inspiring Young Changemakers

The fifth volume of the best-selling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series, 100 Inspiring Young Changemakers, includes 100 stories of extraordinary young women who have made their mark on the world.

Readers will celebrate well-known activists Greta Thunberg and Mari Copeny and meet new names like inventors Riya Karumanchi, who developed a smart cane for the visually impaired, and Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, who used recycled materials to build solar-powered water heaters for families who lacked hot water. Each story is told in a whimsical fairy tale style and is paired with a bold, full-page portrait drawn by a female or nonbinary artist. In addition to showcasing the stories of incredible young people, the book features the work of young authors, artists, and editors.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Another great entry to the Rebel Girls library! This installment follows the usual format, sharing stories about a number of inspiring figures. Previous installments have had a wide range of people from different times, so this volume it was refreshing to see that it was concentrating on figures who are contemporary figures. I think taking this route with this installment was smart, as these are figures closer in age to the intended audience and will help them possibly see themselves in the girls represented. As with the other books in this series the art was vibrant and brought each person to life on the page.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Second First Chance by Mona Shroff | Excerpt

For fans of Katherine Center’s THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE and Jill Santopolo’s THE LIGHT WE LOST, THE SECOND FIRST CHANCE is a deeply emotional romance about two neighboring families, the Voras and the Desais, who experience a devastating fire and the fallout it creates in their lives–particularly for Dhillon Vora and Riya Desai, who struggle to admit their feelings for one another.

On one terrible night, everything changed.

Riya Desai has struggled to move beyond the devastating fire that claimed the life of her brother, Samir, and set her on a path she never anticipated. Determined to keep other families from experiencing the loss that hers did, she’s become a firefighter herself, but it hasn’t been an easy road. The other firefighters are her fire hall are overwhelmingly white–and entirely male. As a rookie and as the only woman at the station, she has to keep proving herself, over and over, in a way her male colleagues never have to. Oh, and her other problem? Her family thinks she’s a paramedic–they have no idea she’s a firefighter, and she knows they won’t be happy about her running into fires instead of away from them.

Dhillon Vora is a healer. After the fire that killed his father, he becomes a vet, his faithful dog Lucky–who survived the fire at the Voras’ and Desais’ townhouses–behind his side. On a visit to the fire hall across from his clinic, he is dumbfounded to find the girl next door, Riya Desai. Riya has become a firefighter? Dhillon is livid. And–though he can’t really admit it–kind of impressed. Even though he knows, deep down, that he’s never stopped loving Riya, he isn’t sure he’s ready to have her in his life again. Especially if he has to worry constantly about her safety.

THE SECOND FIRST CHANCE is not only a deeply moving tale of two people learning to love each other again, but an uplifting story of two families overcoming tragedy with hope, love, and the unbreakable bonds that keep us shining together even through our darkest hours.

Buy Links | BookShop | Harlequin | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Powell’s

DHILLON

A dark brown Lab-pit mix puppy raised its head to look at Dhillon as he entered the exam room. Dhillon’s joy was instant, which was why he loved his job. His nurse, Shelly, was right behind him with the brief introduction.

“Dr. Vora, this is Scout. She is being brought in by today Firefighter Ian Walsh. Scout was found abandoned at one of their scenes and is currently under the care of the Howard County Fire Department.”

It was at the word firefighter that Dhillon tensed. He made eye contact with the man and extended his hand, anxiety flooding through his system, increasing his heart rate and beading sweat on his upper lip.

Shelly threw him a worried look. He ignored her.

“Good morning. I’m Dr. Vora.” Dhillon found his voice but focused on the leashed puppy as the man’s walkie-talkie emitted an irritating squeal. “Everything okay?” Dhillon nodded at the walkie-talkie. “We can reschedule if you have to go.” 

The Lab-pit puppy twitched her ears and raised her head at the squawk. Shelly made a cooing sound and went over to pet their patient. Any remaining anxiety Dhillon might have had melted away as he took in the befuddled pup. The firefighter didn’t even look at the puppy.

“Nah. It’s all good. I’m supposed to get the pup tended to, so let’s just do it.” The firefighter shook his hand.

Dhillon nodded to Shelly as she moved from the dog’s side to the computer so she could enter the information they had so far. He got down on the ground where the puppy had lain down. fallen asleep. “She looks like my Lucky.”

“You mean that older dog out front? With the scarring?”

“Mmm-hmm.” Dhillon picked up Scout and let her climb into his lap. He played with her a moment. He held a small treat out and watched her track it as he moved it from side to side. She lifted her mouth to grab it, but Dhillon made her wait another second before letting her have the treat and a scratch cuddle under her chin. Best part of being a veterinarian. He glanced at Walsh, who watched him with a scowl. “Lucky was caught in a house fire.” Dhillon tried to keep his voice neutral. It wasn’t this man’s fault that Lucky was burned. He stood, bringing Scout with him.

Her coat looked almost pure black, and her big brown eyes reminded Dhillon of Lucky’s when he’d been a puppy. For a moment, Dhillon was dragged back to the day he brought Lucky home from the SPCA. Best day of his life. Well, maybe second best.

“The vet at the time was the previous owner of this practice. He did excellent work. Shelly here used to work with him. That scarring barely reflects how bad his injuries were.”

Dhillon laid Scout on the rickety old exam table which stood in the middle of the room. Nice shiny coat, alert and playful. “How old is she?” 

“Uh…maybe ten weeks. I’m not entirely sure. We just got her. Our station’s new recruit found her on scene, no collar, nothing. She hasn’t even been chipped yet, as far as we know. We’re keeping her at the firehouse for now until we find her a home.” Ian shook his head and pursed his lips.

“Why not take her to the SPCA? They can help find her a home.”

Ian shook his head. “Our new recruit insists that’s not necessary. She thinks someone’s going to claim the little thing.” He shrugged. “My experience says not likely.”

Dhillon turned to Scout, the sight of the puppy putting a grin on his face again. “I know someone who’d say the same thing.” Or used to know, anyway. Sadness flitted through him for an instant before it was replaced with resignation. He’d given up his chance to keep knowing her long ago.

Dhillon scratched the puppy’s belly. “I can chip her today.” He held out a small treat and softly said, “Sit.” Scout flipped over and sat on the table. He rewarded her with the treat.

He looked in Scout’s ears and checked her teeth and paws, dictating his assessment to Shelly as he went along. The puppy looked cared for, healthy. Maybe three months old. Obviously, the guys at the firehouse had cared for her. “Does she eat well?”

Ian shrugged. “We have her dog food, but a lot of the guys spoil her, slipping her a bit of meatball, steak, hot dog. Not me, though. You can believe that.”

“Can any of you take her home?”

Ian shook his head. “But there’s always someone at the station because we do twenty-four- and forty-eight-hour shifts. She works out with us. The new recruit is teaching her to sit, stay, come. Even to go fetch gear. Like that’s practical.” Ian shrugged, as if taking care of a dog was really not his idea of firefighter work. “You know anyone who would want her?” 

Dhillon had a thought flash through his mind. Nah. She was likely too busy, and honestly, she might even have a dog already for all he knew. Running into her occasionally outside the house didn’t really give him much information about her life. “No. But I can keep an eye out.” He continued with his examination, prepping Scout’s shots as Shelly held her.

“Are you Indian?” Ian asked.

Dhillon sighed, knowing the reason for this question. Ian knew someone who was Indian. “Yes. Well, my parents are from India, but I was born here.” Dhillon barely afforded Ian a glance. He approached Scout and administered the shot. Scout gave a small yelp.

“It’s okay, sweetie,” Dhillon cooed softly. “Just one more.”

“Just asking because the new recruit—who’s all about this dog—she’s Indian.”

She? Dhillon snapped his attention back to Ian and could not refrain from raising an eyebrow. Interesting. An Indian woman firefighter? Didn’t see that every day.

“Maybe you know her?”

Dhillon did his best to not roll his eyes as he focused on administering the second shot, but a sigh escaped all the same, as did a small hmph from Shelly. Just because he and this firefighter were both Indian didn’t mean they knew each other. “I doubt it.” He ran a gentle hand over Scout’s head and body as if to soothe away her discomfort.

If someone he knew was a firefighter—male or female—he’d already know.

Scout turned a full circle, sniffing, then promptly peed on the table.

Ian scowled at the puppy and stepped back. Shelly made a move to grab the paper towels, but Dhillon was closer. He shared a look with Shelly as he cleaned up the mess. “Potty training can take some time. Helps if she has a crate, where she feels safe.”

Ian shook his head and put out his hands. “I saw a crate in the bunk area. Desai would know.”

Dhillon’s heart skipped a beat. “Desai?” It couldn’t be. Desai was a common-enough Indian last name. Could be anybody.

Right?

He stared at Ian, who continued, completely unaware of Dhillon’s rising panic, as blood pounded through his body, his heart rate increased. “The new recruit. Who wanted this dog. The Indian girl. Riya Desai.”

Of all the names Ian could have said, that was the absolute last one he wanted to hear.

It couldn’t be her. The Riya he knew would never run into a fire. As far as he knew, she had the same reaction to anything fire-related that he did: panic and anxiety.

But then again, he didn’t really know anything about her, did he? They never really talked anymore, outside of uncomfortable pleasantries when they were forced together. Riya avoided him, and he avoided Riya.

Dhillon’s heart hammered in his chest, and the blood drained from his head. He fought to maintain professional composure as he continued his examination of Scout. “It’s a common name.” Dhillon tried to sound casual, as if he really believed his own words. He needed to believe them.

“Brown skin, dark brown eyes.”

Really? That was his description? Dhillon took a breath so he wouldn’t lay into this guy. He fought fires, after all. Saved people.

Some people.

“She’s a paramedic, too. Which helps because we have to do EMT training.”

Dhillon’s stomach plummeted, and his head spun. It was his Riya. Dhillon clenched his jaw. Well, it was the Riya Desai that he knew.

She’d never been his.

He should have picked up on it when Ian said she was teaching Scout to get gear. It was exactly what she had taught Lucky to do when they were young teenagers. Go get their backpacks or books or whatever they had forgotten. Lucky would do it, too. For her. Even though Lucky was really his dog.

What the fuck was she doing going into fires? She’d never bring back what they’d lost.

Ian was still talking. “Between you and me? She’s hot. She has the sexiest mole just below her ear, and she is stacked.” Ian put his hands in front of his chest to indicate large breasts, and Dhillon saw red.

“You know, I actually do know her.” He stared Ian down. “She grew up next door to me. So you’ll want to shut up now.” He didn’t usually talk to patients this way, but this guy was asking for it, and technically Scout was his patient. And she seemed fine with it.

“Oh, dude, sorry. I didn’t know she’d be like a sister to you.”

“She’s not a sister to me. Just a neighbor.” Dhillon had spent too much time imagining kissing that mole to look at Riya like a sister. “Either way, isn’t she your colleague? Maybe show a little respect?”

Ian waved him off. “Whatever, she won’t last long. Doubt if she can do the job.”

Oh, she could do the job. Riya and Dhillon may not be best friends anymore, but one thing he did know was that Riya Desai was fantastic at whatever she put her mind to. If she was the rookie in the department, that meant she’d made it through the academy. Since she made it through the academy, Dhillon knew she had put her mind to becoming a firefighter a long time ago.

Dhillon finished up with little Scout and—reluctantly—handed her back to Ian. “Scout will need another set of shots in one month.” His mouth moved as if by rote as he doled out instructions, but his mind was spinning.

What the fuck had Riya gotten herself into now?

Mona is obsessed with everything romantic, so she writes romantic stories by night, even though she’s an optometrist by day. If she’s not writing, she’s making chocolate truffles, riding her bike, or reading, and is just as likely to be drinking wine or gin & tonic with friends and family. She’s blessed with an amazing daughter and loving son who have both gone to college. Mona lives in Maryland with her romance-loving husband.

Social Links | Author Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Review | Hello, Goodbye by Kate Stollenwreck

Fifteen-year-old Hailey Rogers is sure her summer is ruined when her parents force her to spend a few days a week helping her grandmother, Gigi. Although she only lives across town, she never sees her grandmother and knows little about her. But Gigi is full of surprises–and family secrets. Throw in the gorgeous boy down the street, and Hailey’s ruined summer might just be the best of her life.

Then tragedy strikes, lies are uncovered, and Hailey’s life suddenly falls apart. After unearthing clues in an old letter written by her great-grandfather, she takes off on a road trip to solve the family mystery with the only person she can trust. In a forgotten Texas town, the past and the present collide–and Hailey is forced to choose what she truly values in life.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As someone who had good relationships with my grandparents I was very drawn to this story about Hailey who has to spend the summer with her grandmother.

I really enjoyed the relationship between the two as they got to really know each other and bond. I really enjoyed the shift as they ventured to unravel the mystery and learn about what happened in the past. The adventure elements were fun and the journey truly showed how Hailey was growing and coming into her own as she was tested by the secrets she discovered.

I don’t want to say too much more since this story is worth finding things out as you read, but definitely keep in mind that there are some heavier topics discussed as tragedy does strike within the book. Though it’s expected, it still was upsetting and sudden. It emotionally pivots the story and really impacts Hailey throughout the rest of the book.

All in all I really enjoyed this coming of age story and would definitely recommend it.

Happy reading!

Review | Where We Come From by John Coy, Shannon Gibney, Sun Yung Shin and Diane Wilson

In this unique collaboration, four authors lyrically explore where they each come from–literally and metaphorically–as well as what unites all of us as humans.

Richly layered illustrations connect past and present, making for an accessible and visually striking look at history, family, and identity.

We come from stardust / our bodies made of ancient elements. / We come from single cells / evolving over billions of years. / We come from place, language, and spirit. / And each of us comes from story.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved the idea of this book, seeming like a long form poem, and am so glad that I picked it up. It really is an exploration of how we are impacted by not only our present lives, but the lives of who came before us and who we came from. Everything that our ancestors struggled through to get us where we are was represented in this book. The art that accompanies the words makes it even more poignant and truly brings the words to life.

Happy reading!