Review: Marry Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

Marry Me at Willoughby Close
Willoughby Close series # 5
by Kate Hewitt

Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…

Alice James has been a drifter her whole life, working her way through several foster homes before ending up in Wychwood-on-Lea, feeling anchorless and invisible. When a chance encounter leads to Alice accepting a position as a caretaker and companion to Lady Stokeley, she starts to feel as if she might finally be able to put down some roots and live the way other people do.

Then, Lady Stokeley’s nephew, city banker Henry Trent, storms into Willoughby Manor, seeming to find fault with everything, including Alice. As the next in line to the manor and title, he threatens to upturn everything she’s started to build. But Henry is hiding his own secret fears and weaknesses, ones he’s desperate for no one to discover. A surprising and inconvenient attraction that simmers between them leaves Alice feeling more confused than ever, and Henry torn between duty and desire, fear and love.

When circumstances become even more difficult, both Alice and Henry must decide who they really are, and what they are willing to fight for. Could Alice possibly the next Lady of Willoughby Manor?

 

It took me a while to finally accept Lady Stokeley’s fate and Henry Trent’s turn over a new leaf, but nothing prepared me with the tears that run down my eyes after reading this book. Yes, I think this is the final book in the Willoughby Close series. And it was really good.

I met Alice on the Ava’s story in Kiss Me at Willoughby Close and had grown to like her and her simplicity. I was quite angered at Henry Trent though for coming off annoying and brusque and obnoxious. But in this last book, I finally understood his aloofness, his stiff personality and his awkwardness with other people. My heart was also heavy because of the cancer that was eating up Lady Stokeleys. Brings me back to my memories of my father who also suffered cancer and I enveloped in sadness and pain when he died.

Among the five books in this series, I think I loved this last story best. Alice was such an affectionate and warm-hearted individual who was also forgiving even after everything that she’d been through. Fostered from one family to another during her childhood, Alice grew up without a real family to hold on to, except for a grandmother who died in her care. She’s been devoted, caring and tough even at the most trying times. Henry was her exact opposite. He couldn’t show his affections, he tend to overanalyze things and talk in complicated tones, making look boring, conventional and snobbish person. Born in wealth but lacked in familial comfort, he became rigid, angsty, always in control. Then he could also be so strong yet so fragile.

Their story was quite slow and a tad stagnant because these two opposing characters couldn’t get along just fine. But along the way, the other characters like Lady Stokeley and Ava and the other residents of Willoughby Close also made everything transition smoothly. The book was everything I hoped for and provided so much more. It has been quite an emotional and heartwarming read. I fell in love with this series and wish I could read more of Kate Hewitt’s writing. Definitely a must read!

Review Tour: Leave the Night On by Laura Trentham

Leave the night on

Leave the Night On
A Cottonbloom Novel
by Laura Trentham

coffeesynopsisdLove, betrayal, and sweet revenge—life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiancé’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage—and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?

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Sutton Mize brought her fiance’s Camaro to the Abbot’s Garage to have it checked, but found an incriminating evidence inside the car – a laced thong that didn’t belong to her, but to her best friend.

To save face, she told her ex-lover that she’d been dating the hunky mechanic Wyatt Abbott and stirred gossip around Cottonbloom. It wasn’t until they realized they were using each other to get what they needed.

This is just the kind of sweet and exciting story I need to read after a stressful day. Wyatt Abbott could be my newest book boyfriend and stress-reliever. Gotta love a man who knows cars and cherish ’em. Although, despite the fact that I’ve read multitudes of stories about pretend lovers ultimately falling in love in the end, it was their journey on how they realized their feelings for each other that really get me everytime.

Sutton and Wyatt are from opposite sides of Mississippi but this didn’t hinder them from taking chances on their feelings. Thanks to Sutton’s cheating fiance and conniving best friend, she found herself crying in the arms of Wyatt, her childhood friend and apparently a longtime secret admirer.

Wyatt Abbott really got me, hook, line and sinker. I thought he was quite naive in love, despite his reputation as a ladies man. Sutton is a little snob, due to her lavish upbringing. I wasn’t quite smitten with her in the beginning but she earned my trust at the end of the book.

Cheers to another great story from the Cottonbloom series by Laura Trentham! Can’t wait to read Jackson’s story next!

I received this ARC copy of Leave the Night from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley.

 

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An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

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Review: [Duology] Going Down and Man Candy by Elise Sax

Going Down and Man Candy

(Wish Upon A Stud #1-2)

by Elise Sax

Book 1: Going Down:
Marion MacAlister wants to nail her audition, not get nailed. Truly. Honestly. All right…maybe she does want to get nailed, but that’s just because her hottie landlord and local diner owner Mack Ryan is confusing her. Can friends become lovers? Especially friends who might not even be friends in the first place?

Book 2: Man Candy:
Raine Harper is in love with Wade Gates. But Wade likes women who are model thin, and Raine is model thin plus a whole lot of pounds. Desperate to make him love her, she trains just a little too hard and passes out in the arms of superstar movie star Dirk Adams. Dirk thinks Raine’s junk in the trunk is perfect and proposes to make Wade jealous by becoming her pretend boyfriend. Pretend soon seems very real. Is Dirk a great actor, or is something really developing between Raine and the movie star?

I think I finally found my new favorite author who could make me cackle out loud, cry hard and roll on the floor dying with laughing spasms. I had the impression that the author Elise Sax is actually a comedienne, and she had me laughing like there’s no tomorrow with this book.

The first story, Going Down was downright hilarious, Marion McAlister was a walking disaster. She wished upon Esperanza’s wishing well to nail her acting audition but ended up getting stuck inside the elevator, with Mack Ryan, her landlord, food provider, best friend all rolled into one.

Mack, oh Mack.. I don’t get Marion’s issues with him.. She’s been using blinders for the past two years, ignoring Mack’s discreet advances and sultry looks. If I were Marion, I’d get his number immediately and stop throwing furtive glances at him. But Marion’s hilarity was what made her real and hysterically funny. I can’t get over her mishaps around Mack, from the elevator to the convenience store, up to the fishing boat. This girl is mad and I love her!

Book 2, Man Candy was fun fun fun!! Can’t imagine getting naked in front of a man actually, what more in front of a movie star? But Raine Harper wasn’t interested with Dirk Adams. Her mind and heart was all out for Wade Gates, and she had been training nonstop to become the model thin woman Wade usually went after. Dirk Adams would just have to back down… Or not.

These two short stories are simply fantastic! I enjoyed every moment of it. I read them both in one sitting and I believe In have never laughed as hard before. Marion was a hoot while Mack Ryan was a darling! Raine Harper was amusing while Dirk Adams was a sweetheart. Two perfect matches in wishing well haven!

I loved that these were short endearing stories, Elise Sax easily relieved my stress and added laugh lines to my face, but I’m not complaining. I can’t wait to read the other knee-slapping stories soon!

Review: A Stardance Summer by Emily March

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Return to the beloved small town of Eternity Springs in the newest installment of Emily March’s New York Times bestselling series with A Stardance Summer.

Sometimes the end of one road
Brick Callahan enjoys every minute of chaos at his campground, Stardance Ranch, especially after the Tornado Alleycats arrive for an extended summer stay. The members of the all-female glamorous camping club are primarily seniors—active and adventurous, friendly and fun. But when he discovers Liliana Howe frolicking with the glamping grannies in a late night skinny-dipping session, he fears he’s in for a summer of trouble. Because his best friend’s kid sister has grown up to be drop-dead gorgeous.
. . .is the start of another

Betrayed by those she trusted, Lili decides she’s put her career first for too long. She sells her practical sedan, buys a travel trailer, and heads to Eternity Springs for a summer of rest, relaxation, and reassessment as the newest member of the Alleycats. The last person she expects to find running an RV resort is her high school crush. Their undeniable mutual attraction is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when the past comes calling, will their summer romance stand the test of time?

 

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After a miserable encounter with her unsupportive parents, all Lili Howe did was to take a chance, jump onto the lake with the Tornado Alleycats, and soon she found the man she’d been hopelessly in love with since she was a child.

After assuring the honeymooners that they’re in a safe ranch, all Brick Callahan needed was peace and quiet, and soon he was looking at a pair of shimmery long legs and a beautiful woman who was once tall and gangly when she was a child.

All they needed was to reconnect and rebuild a friendship that had gone lost, but their excess baggages seemed to hold up their chance of getting together.

This has been a charming read. I loved the characters in the story, most especially Liliana “Lili” Howe and her attitude towards achieving her goal in life – to newfound freedom and new beginnings. I loved that she got herself out of her cocoon and took her chances after getting stuck at being the good daughter who always adhered to rules. I loved how she became a different person when she decided to let go and let loose.

Brick Callahan aka Mark Christopher, aka the boy in the treehouse was a revelation, too. I thought I wouldn’t like him for Lili because he was a flirt when they were kids. Well, he soon had me grinning the moment he called Freckled Legs and admonish the skinny-dipping grannies. That scene had me really cracking up. From that moment on, I knew A Stardance Summer was going to be a great read.

And Emily March did not disappoint. I loved how I couldn’t forget Brick and Lili even after reading this book. I loved how Miss March made her characters flawed and realistic and sensible. I really liked that this storyline is had me smiling and sighing with love when I got to the last page.

 


 

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Emily MarchEmily March is the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

 

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ARC Review: Prom Queen by Katee Robert

Prom Queen
(Bad Boy Homecoming #3)
by Katee Robert

A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty and a whole lot more complicated in this new erotic romance from NYT Bestselling Author Katee Robert.

Jake Davis had it all in high school—a scholarship to his college of choice, a promising football career, and the gorgeous prom queen for a girlfriend. And then he lost it all when he was injured right after graduation. Ten years later, he’s mostly made his peace with that, and now runs a company that provides women with dates for special events. Imagine his surprise when he discovers that the ex who left him in the dust needs a fake boyfriend for their high school reunion…

Jessica Jackson used to be the mean girl to end all mean girls. But life didn’t turn out like she’d thought it would, and now she’s twenty-eight, single, and works as an insurance agent to A-listers instead of being the A-lister like she’d always dreamed. She can’t go back to her home town and admit just how thoroughly she’s failed, so she lets her friends set her up with a fake date for the reunion.

The second Jessica realizes that her fake date is Jake, she tries to call the whole thing off. The problem is the chemistry between them is even hotter now than it was when they were teenagers. Against her better judgment she lets herself get drawn into Jake’s arms again—and into his bed. But time doesn’t heal all wounds—sometimes, it actually makes them worse—and if Jessica and Jake can’t learn to forgive each other, their second chance might not last the weekend.

Karma is a bitch, that’s what this is all about. Jessica realized too late that everything she’d done in the past had come haunting her back. The mean girl slash cheerleader was finally going to face her victims in the upcoming high school reunion and Jessica was sure they’d throw eggs at her because of her attitude then. Just thinking about the reunion was sending shivers down her spine, not because of her ex-boyfriend hottie Jake Davis coming too, but because she didn’t have anyone to bring as a date to the dreaded get-together. Until her friends signed her up to an escort-type service for people who needed fake dates.

I didn’t expect to like this story, for one, I really don’t like bullies in high school and second, I am not much of a second-chance romance believer. Yeah, I’ve had such horrifying experiences about these instances in high school (I was bullied a little by a teacher’s daughter when I was in junior high, so that kind of sucked. And then I had a boyfriend before who cheated on me but I gave him second chance and just blew it all away because he went back to his cheating ways. So yes, those tropes really get under my skin, so forgive me if I was hesitant to read this.

But surprise, surprise! I had a great time with Prom Queen by Katee Robert. I loved that Jessica Andrews redeemed herself and saw the fault of her ways; that was really important to me. I loved that she also took a chance with love the second time around. At least she wasn’t cheated by her ex so their renewed relationship became sweet and lovely. The drama was okay, it was essential to the story; the characters were real and relatable. One could easily find herself in this characters and I myself couldn’t help but fall for them, especially with Jake.

Overall, this had been such a delightful read! I can’t wait to read more of Katee Robert’s books and the rest of the Bad Boy Homecoming series!

 

P.S. I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Meet Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

Meet Me at Willoughby Close
(Willoughby Close #2)
by Kate Hewitt

Ellie Matthews has come to Wychwood-on-Lea to find a new start for her and her daughter Abby. But, life there doesn’t start out as idyllic as she had hoped. While Ellie loves her cute cottage in Willoughby Close, the Yummy Mummies at the primary school seem intent on giving her the cold shoulder, Abby has trouble fitting in, and her boss, Oliver Venables, is both surprisingly sexy and irritatingly inscrutable.

But miracles can happen in the most unexpected places, and in small, yet wonderful ways. Slowly, Ellie and Abby find themselves making friends and experiencing the everyday magic of Willoughby Close. When Oliver’s nephew, Tobias, befriends Abby, the four of them start to feel like family… and Ellie begins to see the kindness and warmth beneath Oliver’s chilly exterior, which awakens both her longing and fear.

Ellie knows all about disappointment, and the pain of trying too hard for nothing, while Oliver has his own hurts and secrets to deal with. When the past comes rollicking back to remind both of them of their weaknesses and failings, will they be able to overcome their fears and find their own happy ending?

I found the characters really endearing and sweet. Oliver Venables was kind of old fashioned, almost fortyish gentleman who’d come undone when he met his personal assistant, Ellie Matthews. Theirs was a slow-burn romance, so slow that you might get annoyed at Oliver for not being too upfront for his feelings and at Ellie for always over-analyzing things between them.

Abby, Ellie’s daughter, and Tobias, Oliver’s nephew, served as a glue to their bond. I liked how the kids were involved in a relationship between two consenting old-school adults. Oliver was a dear, a darling, always prompt and proper, yet can be quite tenacious when he wanted to. And Ellie, a little too formal for my liking, eventually turned into the fierce and brave girl I wanted her to be.

Their different social upbringing and educational status brought some hindrance to their relationship, but nothing was impossible when the heart is involved.

I love a good read in the afternoon when heavy rains beat down my roof and my kids cuddle up to me in our bedroom. Felt like I was at Willoughby Close myself with Marmite and the Matthews and Venables. This had been quite a feel-good romance that I’d read again soon!

P.S.

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review: Sweet Home Cowboy by Marin Thomas

Sweet Home Cowboy

(Love at the Chocolate Shop #9)
by Marin Thomas

When Marietta newcomer Elena Puente is coerced into attending a speed dating event at the popular Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop, she’s blindsided by a serious attraction to local cowboy, Wesley Banks.

Still recovering from a broken engagement, the first-grade teacher from Las Vegas isn’t looking for romance. She’s in Montana to get to know the great-grandfather she never knew existed until she found some hidden family letters. Judge Kingsley is a grouchy recluse and he’s far from welcoming, but Elena is determined to stay in town long enough to give his neglected estate on Bramble Lane a facelift.

Elena’s resolve to avoid romance is tested when she discovers Wesley is the caretaker of her grandfather’s rural property. Soon, she and the cowboy are attending more speed dating events at the chocolate shop and she’s seeking his advice on how to deal with his ornery boss. Local gossips wager the old Judge will run Elena out of town before anything serious develops between her and Wesley. But Wesley’s a determined man, too, and he’s betting Elena belongs in Marietta forever…with him.

I loved this sweet story between a woman searching for her long-lost grandfather and the man who had spent half his life caring for a crabby, short-tempered judge in the town of Marietta. A speed-dating event brought them together, a box of chocolates sweetened the connection and a grumpy old man sealed the deal. If this didn’t sound romantically exciting, I don’t know how I would call it.

Elena Puente is a first grade school teacher and had had lots of experiences with kids. She’s the kind of girl who would give it to you straight, no sugar coating, no holds barred. She says what’s on her mind, she doesn’t show weakness nor fear, even to the cranky old judge. She isn’t easily swayed by her grandfather’s cantankerous behavior and she makes sure her voice is heard and taken into consideration.

Wesley Banks joins a speed dating event at Copper Mountain Chocolate shop, hoping to find The One. What he gets is a lady who doesn’t want kids and isn’t set to start a family in Marietta. Talk about love in opposite ends.

I’ve grown to love Marietta more and more, even though I know this is just a fictional location in the beautiful state of Montana. But every story I read featuring this place makes me want to reside there and be with the town people. Judge Kingsley is such an interesting character, he could be hot one minute and then so cold the next. His elusiveness made him an engrossing personality. Elena was someone you’d love to be bestfriends with, she is so freaking amazing! And Wesley – he’s the one for keeps.

Once again, the Love at the Chocolate Shop series delivered a sweet delicious story and I can’t wait to get served again.