Game On (Texas Playmakers #2) by Joanne Rock

Game On by Joanne Rock

I love, love, love the second chance romance trope. And Game On hit a stand-up triple with me.

Nate Ramsey and Keely Harper were high school sweethearts with a plan for the future – finish college, and then Keely would follow Nate wherever his career as a pro baseball player would take him. When Nate didn’t stick to the plan, Keely let him go, breaking both of their hearts.

Now five years later, Nate is back home recovering from an injury that occurred just a few short weeks after his major league debut. With maturity and a different perspective, Nate sees things about Keely and the love she has for her family – as dysfunctional as it may be – that kept her tied to their hometown. But he still loves her, and still wants the future they planned. Keely wants the same, but just isn’t sure if she can have it.

Overall, I enjoyed the writing in Game On. The storyline kept things moving at a quick pace, with excellent dialogue and an endearing hero and heroine. There was an issue with the same things being explained multiple times – who people were, what they were doing, etc. – throughout the book. What there wasn’t an issue with was typical unnecessary young adult angst caused by miscommunication and general immature behavior. I loved how even though both were hurt, neither was rude or mean to the other, nor did they hang on to lingering animosity. They were cautious about getting involved again, but didn’t overthink things. It was refreshing to see them be open with their feelings and talk things through. It was so freakin refreshing!

This was my first Joanne Rock book, and probably won’t be my last. She stayed away from the things I dislike about young adult stories, and didn’t fill her pages with musings about how hawt the hero or heroine is or continual internal ramblings about how they couldn’t be together again. I loved the characters in this story, and really think I’ll be interested in reading more in this series!

* thank you to NetGalley and Tule Publishing for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

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One Summer Weekend (Cedar Street #1) by Shannon Stacey

One Summer Weekend by Shannon Stacey

This novella was EXACTLY what I needed to read.

After forcing myself to trudge through a book that made me ragey, I needed one that was fun, lighthearted, and uncomplicated. The thing I’ve come to appreciate about Shannon Stacey is that she writes stories about normal people, who behave like adults. She even took tropes I generally dislike – the fake relationship and friends-to-lover – and mostly stayed away from the things that make me dislike them.

Carly and Noah have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Now that they’re adults (although I don’t believe we’re ever given a hint as to what age they are), it’s caused some issues for their romantic relationships. Well, mostly for Carly – who’s ready to settle down and start a family – since Noah keeps things casual and fun with his lady friends.

When Noah tells his boss that he has a girlfriend, he thinks he’s dodged a matchmaking bullet, until he’s expected to bring the girlfriend to his boss’s wedding. After tense negotiations, Carly agrees to play the part. And when things evolve from best friends to a lot MORE than friends, they agree to play the part for the weekend.

Of course once they get home, neither really wants to go back to being just friends. The way things go down between them once they get home is endearing and sweet, and stayed completely away from how every other book in this trope goes. Thank goodness!!!

This story is fun, loaded with Ms. Stacey’s usual witty banter. It was plagued with repeated phrases and repetitious thoughts – the reader is constantly reminded the hero and heroine are best friends, and have been their whole lives, and that they don’t want to ruin their friendship (which is the thing that bugs me about this fake relationship/friends-to-lovers trope). However, this is probably one time when a story being a novella works in favor of the plot, since the author didn’t have to fill in pages and pages of trumped up drama and artificial angst. No, these characters were smart, and sweet, and there was no being stupid for the sake of “saving the friendship.”

Bravo Ms. Stacey! I always like the refreshing take she puts on her stories, and I’m looking forward to the next novella in this series.

*thank you to NetGalley and HARLEQUIN-Carina Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Nothing But This (Broken Pieces #2) by Natasha Anders

Nothing But This (Broken Pieces, #2)
I’m not sure why, but it always amazes me how subjective reading is. How some readers can think a book was great – that the angst was good, the groveling was amazing, the hero redeemed himself, etc – yet I can’t remember when I loathed a book so much. Nothing But This made me nothing but cranky, and it’s gonna come out it this review.

Also, consider this your warning: I need to purge all this frustration that accumulated reading this book, so there’s gonna be spoilers galore. Don’t wanna know why I’m ticked off? Don’t keep reading. I’m not usually one to have such a negative opinion about a book, and I usually temper my negative opinions if I do. Not gonna happen this time.

#sorrynotsorry

Greyson and Libby knew each other growing up. He was four years older and her parents worked for his family, so instead of trying to just keep things friendly when he started becoming attracted to her, he was rude. Ten (or so) years later, Greyson runs into Libby at a party, talks her into going back to his hotel room, and after spending the night together, proposes marriage. She puts him off for two months, then finally gives in. Shortly after the wedding Libby excitedly announces that she’s pregnant. But because Greyson believes he’s sterile he automatically thinks she cheated on him. He spends the whole pregnancy treating her like crap, and then accuses her to her face while she’s still in the hospital with the newborn baby in her arms. Also, he purposely went on a business trip so he would miss the birth.

This is not angst. This is an adult behaving like a 12 year old.

Because Libby has at least a modicum of self-respect (but apparently not a whole lot because if someone is treating you like crap for seven months, why the hell are you putting up with it???), she leaves town and builds a life for herself and her daughter.

Four months later – that’s right, FOUR MONTHS it takes him – Greyson finally shows up on Libby’s doorstep wanting her back.

This book brought out the GRRRR in me. I was really looking forward to it, too, because I love second chance love stories and it’s unusual for this genre to deal with couples who are already married. Also, so many reviewers I follow liked it. But for me, I couldn’t get past my enmity for the hero and the odd things the heroine does.

From the get go, I couldn’t understand why Greyson and Libby got married, and the “reason” didn’t seem plausible when it was given. I think I needed more time with them at the beginning of their marriage to feel torn up about the demise of their relationship.

Then I couldn’t fathom what would be a reasonable excuse for the way Greyson treated Libby after the birth of their child. Because he’s an “introvert” and not as outgoing as his brother isn’t an excuse or a reason. You are not a good person if you immediately think the worst of the people you supposedly love. If you can’t give me a plausible reason why the hero would make such baseless accusations, you won’t ever be able to win me over. Never. No matter how much the hero “grovels” or apologizes. Repairing faucets, installing door locks, and fixing things around the house is good and all, but that’s a pittance compared to accusing your wife of cheating and not contacting her for months. I was actually wishing there had been an evil ex-girlfriend responsible for the “miscommunication” instead of what actually went down.

After that, Libby does things like tell Greyson she doesn’t want him in her daughter’s life but then in the next breath asks if he wants to hold the baby he hasn’t seen since he walked out of the hospital room after Libby gave birth. She asks him to sign divorce papers, then never follows through.

I liked how Libby let the full force of her anger flow freely in Greyson‘s direction. But that was the ONLY good thing about this book.

Yes, Greyson was remorseful. Yes, Greyson tried to make amends. But there was no redeeming his asshole behavior. You can be an introvert and not be an asshole. You can be reserved and not be an asshole. You can be jealous of your twin brother and the relationship he has with your wife and not be such a colossal asshole.

So yeah. I shoulda quit this book instead of wasting my whole week trying to get through it. But I was lured by the false promise of redemption (it’s that damn romantic in me wanting everything to work out). Lessons learned: do a more thorough job vetting the books I request ARCs of (because I’m fairly certain just the reviews from the first book in this series would have put me off it), and QUIT A BOOK IF IT’S MAKING ME ANGRY!!!

* thank you to NetGalley and Montlake Romance for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Rescuing Rayne (Delta Force Heroes #1) by Susan Stoker

I have an obscene number of books on my Kindle – 161, in fact, with 15 of them being ARCS. So I’m not sure why, when deciding to read Rescuing Rayne, I was surprised to discover I had purchased it already. TWO YEARS AGO.

There was actually a lot riding on this reading of a three year old Susan Stoker book, because the last couple I’ve read ( Rescuing Emily and Defending Allye ) did not rate well with me – at all – and it made me wonder if I had run my course with this author.  Having read many of her books, I had to face that fact that my reading tastes have changed and perhaps Ms. Stoker no longer writes what is appealing or engaging to me. But Rescuing Rayne was actually pretty good.

Rayne and “Ghost” meet when they got stuck in London overnight because of a cancelled flight. She’s a flight attendant, and he’s on his way home after a grueling top-secret mission. It’s chemistry at first sight for both of them, with Rayne being uncharacteristically friendly and trusting with a complete stranger, and Ghost being willing to spend a day and a night with a woman (he’s a “no relationships ever” kind of guy – and makes sure Rayne knows that). They have a delightful time touring London, and their night together comes to mean far more to them both than they ever expected. When it’s time for Ghost to sneak out before dawn, it’s the first time in his life he’s ever had second thoughts and finds himself torn about leaving Rayne behind. But he does it anyway.

Six months go by and Ghost keeps trying to shove his continual pervasive thoughts of Rayne away. For her part, Rayne isn’t faring much better, but with no way to contact Ghost (since he gave her a fake name) she’s beginning to think it’s time to move on. While on a layover in Egypt, Rayne ends up becoming a pawn – along with many other tourists – during civil unrest, and becomes captured by terrorists. Ghost is shocked when his team is called in to assist with the rescue of the tourists and Rayne is among them.

Up until this part of the book, the writing, the characters, the story was great. It was fun watching Rayne and Ghost flirt and spend time together, heartwarming to see them falling in love. Then it was suspenseful when Rayne is captured and held by the terrorists, and then rescued by the Delta Force men.

All the good vibes came to a screeching halt once they get back to the US and they do this whole “I love you but I can’t be with you” malarkey. BOTH of them do it! First she pushes him away, then he pushes her away… Add in conversations with the Delta brothers that were stilted and awkward, and a four-star read turned into three.

I may consider reading Susan Stoker again in the future, but gone are the days when I download a new release and plow through it. I seriously think that past few books she’s put out have been sub-par for her, but I also believe my reading tastes have evolved and I just need something different.

The Wonder of Now (Sanctuary Sound #3) by Jamie Beck

The Wonder of Now by Jamie Beck

It takes a skilled author to redeem a vilified character, and this book is classic Jamie Beck…THANK GOODNESS. Book one in this series (The Memory of You) fell completely flat for me so I was concerned for the rest of the series. Thank goodness books two and three were exactly what I expect from Ms. Beck – which is a multi-book series with complex characters whose relationships are messy. These are not books meant to be read as standalones – as with all relationships, there is a story to tell and you need to read book to watch the story unfold of life-long friends Steffi, Claire, and Peyton.

For Peyton Prescot, the ire of her friends was well earned, having stolen the boyfriend of best friend Claire. Nevermind the asshat pursued Peyton…once she found out the “Todd” she was falling in love with was the same “Todd” Claire was in a serious relationship with, she should have walked away. When Todd then walked away from Peyton after she was diagnosed with breast cancer it seemed, at the time, karma was exacting her revenge.

Now Peyton is one year out from her last cancer treatment. She’s healed, she’s feeling healthy, and she has apologized to Claire (repeatedly) for her actions. (FYI, that took place in book 2 – The Promise of Us – of the Sanctuary Sound series). Now it’s time for her to embark on a publicity tour to promote the book she wrote with her brother Logan – a well known photo-journalist – documenting her cancer treatment. It’s a project Peyton was cajoled into and still has very mixed feelings about. All she can hope is for the book to help those affected by cancer and that the proceeds will fund research to find a cure.

Travelling with Peyton on this trip through Europe is PR guru, Mitchell Mathis. Having recently started his own PR firm, there’s a lot riding on the success of Peyton and Logan’s book, and unfortunately Peyton doesn’t always make things easy for him. He’s basically the opposite of Peyton: serious, reserved, and all business all the time. But as they go from city to city, Mitch learns to lighten up and Peyton finds the strength to tell her story.

With characters whose layers need to be peeled back and complicated relationships all around, this heartbreaking story pulls the reader in and doesn’t let go until the very last page. This series began with Peyton being persona non grata, and ended with her forgiveness. I loved how she never made excuses for herself, never tried to rationalize her choice. She knew she what she did was wrong, asked for forgiveness, and let Claire set the rules for their new relationship. My favorite thing about this series (well, in books two and three) is that everyone was allowed to have their feelings – people were angry, people were sad, and nothing was swept under the rug. It’s only when feeling the full force of the negative feelings that you can experience the joy of everyone being healed. And it was wonderful to watch the relationships between Steffi, Claire, and Peyton come full circle.

At its core, The Wonder of Now is about moving on after you’ve made a colossal mistake. It’s about doing the hard work to get over your issues (which, surprise surprise, was my big issue with book one – Steffi had major issues and the reader never got to see her doing the hard work). Ms. Beck is one of the most adept authors at exploring relationships – the good, the bad, the ugly. And not just ones between a hero and heroine. There’s plenty of mess to wade through with other relationships. Basically, I love all of it!

I’m excited to see what Jamie Beck writes next. It’s clear book one in this series was a fluke. I’m always up for complicated and messy relationships, and Ms. Beck delivers that time and time again.

* thank you to NetGalley and Montlake Romance for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Redesigning Happiness by Nita Brooks

Redesigning Happiness

The lesson I learned from reading this book is to not let a preponderance of low reviews prematurely skew my very own opinion.

Because, Whoa Nelly, this book has soap-opera level drama of epic proportions. And I LOVED IT!

Yvonne and Richard had a brief, intense affair several years ago that ended when Richard felt duty-bound to go back to his fiancée (who he had just broken up with the night he met Yvonne). When Yvonne later discovered she was pregnant and Richard wouldn’t even talk to her, she took her heartbroken self and went on with her life, becoming a successful, well-known interior designer.

Now, recently engaged and on the cusp of having a television show with her new fiancé, Richard reappears in her life and wants to know his child. Not only does this mean upending the life of her son, it opens the door to all the feelings she had for Richard that she had to abandon when he abandoned her.

The thing I really liked about this story is that there was no glossing over anyone’s hurt feelings. No sweeping them under the rug because “chemistry” or lust. The author didn’t choose to drag out the truth of what happened between the hero and heroine – to the reader OR the characters – and instead laid it all out in the open. There were discussions and debates and doing their best figuring out how to deal with the meddling hand they were dealt. The characters manage the repercussions of their situation as the adults they are. It was great to see adults behaving like adults!

Also, there was very little strong language, and no overt sexual content…and it was still a very compelling, intriguing story. Proof that you don’t need all that for a story to be good. (Not that I’m against those things! But the absence of those is rare in today’s contemporary romances and was something I noticed, so I thought I’d mention it.)

I’ve recently instituted a “grab me by 30% or else” rule for all books because I’m so behind in my ARC reading – I keep hanging with books that aren’t interesting to me – and I needed to give myself permission to move on. But not only did Redesigning Happiness suck me in after a few chapters, I stayed up until 2AM to finish it even knowing I’d hate myself in the morning for doing so. The characters, their situations, and all their feelings wouldn’t let me go until I found out how everything ended. And the writing stayed completely clear of the two things that bug the crap out of me the most:
1. Constantly referring to how hawt the hero is and going on and on about how turned on the heroine is by all the hero’s hawt body parts, and
2. Holding big secrets over the readers heads and referring to them frequently in an attempt to create suspense/drama.
To be clear – there were plenty of plot twists (a couple of which I didn’t even see coming!), but they just showed up BAM made the story even more twisted. It was great!

There was nothing I disliked about the writing, the plot, the characters. And it’s an impressive accomplishment for a debut author. Time will tell if Ms. Brooks keeps writing the words on the pages of her own story (my author equivalent of marching to the beat of your own drum). I sincerely hope she does, because if so she’ll have a bright, successful career ahead!

* thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books/Dafina for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Cold Heart, Warm Cowboy (Cold River Ranch #2) by Caitlin Crews

Cold Heart, Warm Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

Someone send a therapist to Cold River, STAT! Those poor, tortured Everett men are in desperate need of someone to help straighten them out because good grief they are hard on their women…

When rodeo star Ty Everett first saw Miss Rodeo Forever queen Hannah Monroe, he was smitten for the first time in his 30 years of life. But rodeo queens aren’t allowed romantic entanglements, so she rebuffed his attentions. That didn’t matter to Ty, and he chased and chased until Hannah finally let him catch her. And not wanting to let down the people who helped her get to her position as queen, Hannah insisted their relationship stay secret (which included a wedding!) for the next several months – until the end of her reign.

But before they could go public, Ty is seriously injured by a bull and he no longer remembers the last two years of his life…the whole time he was with Hannah. When Hannah doesn’t hear from Ty for 18 months after his accident, she decides it’s time to cut her losses and hunt Ty down to ask for a divorce. And as much in life, things don’t go as easily as she thought they would.

When Ty feels himself inexplicably drawn to Hannah, he asks her to spend some time with him on his family ranch. With each passing day, Hannah is falling even more in love with her husband and his family, while Ty grapples with the after-effects of his injuries, his family dysfunction, and where he goes in life now that his rodeo career has ended. Throw in the emotional issues Hannah has from her childhood, and the child she wants to protect from a potentially-absent father, and there was a whole lot of drama going on. The GOOD kind of drama!

Once again, Caitlin Crews gives us a compelling, heartrending story that steers clear of the tired, cliched storylines. She steers clear of the tired, cliched writing. (Tired and cliched = SO MUCH writing about how hawt the hero is and how much the heroine’s body parts are affected…) The characters have big feelings, and they feel them all. They work through them all, without letting their hormones take over. And it’s SO FREAKING refreshing.

I did have a little bit of an issue with how things ended. Minor spoiler alert here…I think I would have liked it better if Ty’s memory hadn’t all-the-sudden come back. Yes, I know this is fiction. Yes, I know this is a romance and all the wrongs are supposed to be righted and everything upside down should be turned back to right-side-up. Of course Ty is going to get his memory back. But to me, what would have been more romantic would have been Hannah not giving up on Ty AND Ty falling in love with her again, despite not remembering their past. I like when a couple has to fight hard for their love, and I feel like the way things ended was the easy way out. But that is the ONLY thing I didn’t care for. Everything else was really, really good.

I am a huge fan of second-chance romances, I’m a huge fan of secret babies, and I am becoming a huge fan of Caitlin Crews. Cold Heart, Warm Cowboy satisfied in so many ways. I can’t wait for the final book in this Cold River Ranch series!

* thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

The Kissing Contract by Amy Andrews

The Kissing Contract by Amy Andrews

This book is laugh-out-loud funny. And despite an over-abundance of ridiculousness (the ABL – American Bunny League and the Bunnyguard, anyone?), this book was delightful.

Marshall Dyson inherited an island in a lake in Colorado, which he plans to turn into a camp for families. But the ABL has taken him to court to stop construction on account of all the bunnies that have taken up residence. So now, under judges orders, Marshall must spend one month helping veterinarian Augusta North capture and rehome all the bunnies.

Gus is excited about this project. What she’s not so excited about is spending time with the cranky contractor who just wants to get the bunnies off his island as quickly and easily as possible. Of course, the more time she spends with Marshall she realizes he’s not as cranky as he seemed in court. In fact, he’s actually a really nice guy. And all that time spent together makes it really hard not to give into their building attraction.

But Marshall has a bad history with relationships, and Gus is still feeling the sting of her past relationship that went bad. A month was all it took to fall in love, but building something that will last and stand the test of time takes a little longer.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that was so effortlessly funny. Not just funny, hilarious. Facebook posts that read like a dating site for the bunnies and witty banter between the hero and heroine kept this read light and fun. But struggles dealing with the past added just the right amount of angst to make the story heartfelt and compelling. The only thing I didn’t care for was the constant and ridiculous amount of internal monologue about how hawt the other person was. Less Pecs, More Plot is my motto! But since the rest of the writing was so good, I was easily able to overlook this (in my opinion) shortcoming.

Also, bonus points for the author’s notes at the end where she basically says “everything about the bunny rescue is fiction”, she made the whole thing up, “because fiction!” It was the most amusing author’s note I’ve ever read, and I just loved her honesty. I usually prefer a book to be as factual as possible, but I can totally respect an author who makes things up and owns it!

This was my first Amy Andrews story, and I’d definitely be interested in reading more from her. You can never read too many books that make you laugh out loud!

* thank you to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing LLC – Entangled: Amara for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

All of Me (Compass Cove #3) by Jeannie Moon

All of Me by Jeannie Moon

Le sigh. Another new Jeannie Moon book, another new disappointment.

I don’t know what’s happened – a new editor? different beta readers? she’s been reading all the “popular” new adult/young adult authors? I don’t know what – but these last two books are NOT the Jeannie Moon I fell in love with while reading Then Came You (Compass Cove #1).

Lilly Vasquez returned to Compass Cove a year ago and opened her own hair salon. Everyone in town was shocked since she seemed to be living the high life in Hollywood as a stylist to the stars, with an A-List movie star boyfriend. But no one has asked, and she isn’t sharing why she moved home.

Jack Miller has spent little time in Compass Cove the past 13 years, first for college, then because of deployments for the Army, and now his job with the FBI. But with his older brother’s wedding in three weeks, a case involving Lilly has him returning home a little sooner than planned and putting him in direct contact with the woman who told him she loved him when she was just 18.

Because of last minute wedding preparations, Maid of Honor Lilly and Best Man Jack are forced to spend extra time together. Which works out well for Jack, who needs to find out exactly what happened when Lilly was in Hollywood and also keep her safe. By the time the wedding rolls around, Lilly’s secrets are out in the open, the crisis has been averted, and all’s right with the world again.

What started out as a compelling backstory before Jack was deployed, quickly got dragged down in too much internal thought about how the other looked, regrets about the past, and I had a hard time believing the hero and heroine had truly been pining for each other after all this time.

When all was said and done, not much really happened. Maybe that expectation was on me, since Ms. Moon has previously written several stories where more was going on than involved just the hero and heroine. But there was scant here to keep me intrigued, and even the dialogue – which is usually a strength of this author – was just meh.

And here I go, with some uncharacteristically harsh words. Prepare for ranting…

Ms. Moon is a grown-ass woman, and previously wrote like one. But these last two books seem to have been written by a twenty-something indie author without an editor to tell her to stop using over-used, trite, and cliched phrases like “panty dropper” and “ovary popping” (neither of which seems to be a good thing to me…but I’m a late-40ish-pushing-50-something married woman with three kids, so what do I know?). These last two books feel like she’s pandering to the new adult/young adult crowd – even though her characters are NOT new adult/young adult. And I couldn’t be more disappointed because the first book in this series was SO SO GOOD and lead me to read 12 of her 18 books. I used to have confidence that she could give us a compelling storyline and not take the stereotypical routes to a happily ever after, but books two and three in the Compass Cove series have completely shaken my confidence.

I truly hope for better in the future from Ms. Moon. Will I still keep watching anxiously for her new releases? Yes. Will I still read the six books I haven’t read yet? Absolutely. But I hope she goes back to writing stories that are fresh, and original, and touch my heart – instead of making me all ranty.

* thank you to NetGalley and Tule Publishing for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay
This book started out slow. And because I’m WAY behind in my ARC reading, I have decided I’ll give books until the 30% point to pique – and hold – my interest. It was right at 30% when things in The Printed Letter Bookshop picked up.

This is a cute story about finding your way when your original path can’t be followed. About finding friends in the most unlikely places, and that people who are in different phases of life can be your closest confidants and help you find your way – no matter your age.

After the death of her Aunt Maddie, Madeline learns she’s the sole beneficiary of all Maddie’s earthly belongings. She gets a car, a house, and a bookshop – which comes with two employees. When Madeline’s career as a lawyer gets derailed, she decides to give “bookshop owner” a shot to see if she can turn the struggling store back to profitable before selling it.

Janet and Claire are the two full-time employees at the bookshop. In addition to losing their boss and good friend Maddie, they are dealing with their own personal struggles: Janet lost her marriage and children after a poor decision, and Claire is contemplating who she is now that her children are almost grown and won’t need her at all much longer.

In short, all women are facing an identity crisis. But together, they rebuild their lives, forming an unbreakable bond in the process. This story was sweet and uplifting, despite the struggles and heartache these women faced.

But like I said, things started SO slow and I almost quit. I’m glad I didn’t! However, there were still a couple things that put me off. I didn’t care for the way the author kept the reason for the demise of Janet’s marriage, and the estrangement of her children, a secret. Instead, referring to it frequently and dragging out the “mystery.” I also thought it was odd Madeline and Janet’s chapters were written in first person, but Claire’s was written in third. Turns out there was a reason for it, but that didn’t make it seem any less odd to me. This was also listed as a romance/woman’s fiction – but there was very little romance. Which isn’t bad…but if I am told a book is a romance, I want more time spent developing – and more focus on – a heroine and her hero. The main focus of this book was the three women and their journeys, and not on their relationships with the men in their lives.

Ultimately, I did enjoy this book. Once I got invested in the three women and each of their stories, the book easily held my interest. I’ve actually read several of these kinds of books this year – where women helping women and building each other up has been the focus – and I’ve been rather entertained by them! If you look online it seems all women are capable of doing is tearing each other down and pointing out perceived flaws. It’s been kinda nice to stick my head in a feel-good world where women walk alongside other women and encourage them, even if only for a little while.

* thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review