If Not for You (New Beginnings #3) by Debbie Macomber

Series:
Narrator: Khristine Hvam.
Source: Netgalley

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

Title: If Not for You by Debbie Macomber
Series: New Beginnings #3
Release Date: March 21st 2017
Format: e-ARC (432 pages) • Audiobook: 10 hrs and 46 mins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Ballantine Books
Purchase Links:  Amazon US Audible

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she’s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not—and her parents’ worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who’s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn’t exactly Sam’s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.

But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam—who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived—Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital—even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both.

Before long, Beth’s strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam’s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she’s come to love.

three-half-stars

This book was in the usual Debbie Macomber style. A nice contemporary romance with ordinary and relatable characters. While you may not love the characters, they typically remind me of people I know. It’s like watching a Saturday afternoon show on Lifetime. In fact, this one would make a good movie.

Beth Prudhomme and Sam Carney were set up on a blind date by mutual friends (Nichole and Rocco from Book 2: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On) and that first dinner was a disaster. Both of them came to the date with preconceived notions, so nothing really clicked for them. One the way home, Beth got into a car accident and Sam was one of the first people on the scene. Beth’s misfortune paved a way for Sam to connect with her in a new way. As Beth recovered, Sam came to visit and keep her company in the hospital. They began looking
forward to spending time together.

I thought it was sweet that Sam kept coming to check on Beth, but I had issues with both of them. How could a grown twenty-five year old teacher be so completely under the mother’s thumb? Beth seemed to be a sixteen-year old girl at times where Sam had the jaded attitude made him seem really old. Sam had a painful experience with a woman, so he swore off love and relationships. Yet, he went to visit Beth every chance he got because he just wanted…what exactly did he expect?
Each character seemed to be the opposite of their counterpart. Beth as sweet and flexible, Sam was gruff and inflexible. Beth’s mom Ellie was pushy and judgmental while Beth’s dad seemed like he took things lighter and respected the autonomy of others.

I liked Sam but didn’t feel like his past gave him a pass to be so mean and unforgiving. I had a harder time liking Beth because she was pretty weak as a heroine, yet nosy as hell with other people’s issues. Her mother was annoying and rude. I am glad Beth’s dad was in the story to balance out the mother’s prickly personality. It’s obvious that Beth wouldn’t even live on her own if not for her dad.
I liked the side story of the Aunt Sunshine, which ended well after 30 years. I also had issues with their communication or lack thereof, but it did end well, so I had to be content with that.

Overall, the story was a pleasant read and I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Ezi

I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillanon 2016-06-07
Pages: 368
AmazonB&NNarrator: Terry McMillan
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting To Exhale is back with the inspiring story of a woman who shakes things up in her life to find greater meaningIn I Almost Forgot About You, Dr. Georgia Young's wonderful life--great friends, family, and successful career--aren't enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes in her life, including quitting her job as an optometrist and moving house, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love. Georgia’s bravery reminds us that it’s never too late to become the person you want to be, and that taking chances, with your life and your heart, are always worthwhile.   Big-hearted, genuine, and universal, I Almost Forgot About You shows what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to life, love, and the possibility of a new direction. It’s everything you’ve always loved about Terry McMillan.From the Hardcover edition.
three-half-stars

I must admit, I was bored with this one. I was expecting entertaining drama but this quest to dig in the past didn’t hold my attention after awhile.

Dr. Georgia Young has reached 50 years of age and is now reflecting on her life thus far. She is doing well in her career, but her love life didn’t pan out the way she envisioned. She has been divorced twice and now she doesn’t have someone special in her life. Georgia decided to contact all her former flames to let them know what they meant to her and find out what about her (Georgia) they found attractive. Her quest was to learn more about herself.

In the beginning, I felt like this was the machinations of a lonely lady, testing old relationships to see if there was a spark still left. I quickly realized she was truly reflecting on her own weaknesses and strengths. Georgia was also trying to see herself from the eyes of those cared for her once upon a time. I actually found that strength impressive but I just never connected with her journey.
Georgia was open and honest about her past, and this one of the things that I love about Terry McMillan’s work. Strong heroines who just keep it real. The reader was shown the good, the bad and the ugly. In the end, Georgia was set up on a new path. I can’t say that I liked this new path either but I applaud her for taking that step.

*Special Thanks to Crown Publishing via Netgalley for the e-arc received in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blitz – The Olive Conspiracy by Shira Glassman

Olive Conspiracy 1000x400

Title: The Olive Conspiracy

Author: Shira Glassman

Series Title and Number: Mangoverse 4

Publisher: Prizm Books

Cover Artist: BS Clay

Release Date: 7/20/16

Heat Level: 2

Pairing : Female/Female, with significant Female/Male supporting characters

Length: 61K

Genre: Fantasy, Lesbian Romance, Multi-Cultural, Espionage, Political, Chick Lit

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The Olive Conspiracy Cover

Synopsis

When Ezra tries to blackmail Chef Yael about her being trans, she throws him out of her restaurant and immediately reports him to the queen. When police find Ezra stabbed to death, Queen Shulamit realizes he may have also tried to extort someone more dangerous than a feisty old lady.

The royal investigation leads straight to an international terrorist plot to destroy her country’s economy—and worse, her first love, Crown Princess Carolina of Imbrio, may be involved. Since she’s got a dragon-shifting wizard at her disposal, contacts with friendly foreign witches, and the support of her partner Aviva, Shulamit has hope. What she doesn’t have is time.

A love story between women, between queen and country, and between farmers and their crops.

Due out July 2016 electronically and fall 2016 in paperback. eBook purchases directly from the publisher, and paperbacks from anywhere, will include a free copy of Tales from Perach, five bonus short stories.

Excerpt

“What’s that one? It looks like a map.”

Shulamit shifted papers around. “Mmm,” she agreed, turning the paper slightly and studying it more closely. “It’s a map of Perach. But I don’t know what all this mess is.” She squinted and shook her head. “I don’t know; it looks familiar, somehow.”

“Well, you do run the country.”

“This line… these patterns…”

With one arm folded across her midsection and the other arm upright so that her fist rested against her nose, Shulamit raked her memories. Those swirly bits. That pair of streaks. Why did they look so familiar? Why did she feel like she’d seen it before, what seemed like ages ago before the emotional upheaval of visiting Imbrio again and seeing Carolina?

“Oh, my God!” Heat flared in Shulamit’s cheeks. “Rivka, this makes no sense, but—Guard! Who’s out there?”

One of the guards appeared at the doorway. “Majesty?”

Shulamit held out one pointing finger. “Can you please bring me my latest notes on our agricultural pests?”

“Absolutely, Majesty.” He disappeared into the sunlight.

Rivka squinted at her. “I don’t get it.”

“You think I do?” Shulamit skin tingled as she waited for the papers to show up and either prove her wrong or show that she was absolutely right, thus opening up nothing but a cartload of further questions. Both hands fidgeted with the ends of her filmy yellow scarf.

Shulamit felt like every second was bloated and lazy until the guard reappeared. Where was he? Finally, the requested papers arrived, and she tore into them with such ferocity that several fell onto the floor and had to be retrieved.

“There!” she finally exclaimed triumphantly.

“What?” Rivka leaned over her shoulder eagerly, and Shulamit heard a soft thud as Isaac leapt off Riv’s shoulder onto the back of her throne to get a better view.

“The olive blight,” said Shulamit, her lips barely moving as she tried to make sense of the completely unexpected connection. “Ezra drew a map of the olive blight, and put it in the middle of his blackmail notes.”

“Is there anything else on the paper?” said Isaac in his normal voice.

Shulamit turned it over. “Oh, I’m so nervous, I’m not thinking straight. This is the map I already had.”

She flipped over the correct parchment. In Ezra’s lazy scrawl, it said,

Imbrian man (Name: Rui?) *possibly leader

Imbrian man with missing tooth. Drinks like a fish.

Perachi woman (from Lovely Valley?) Money-minded.

Unknown man (Light skinned. Imbrian?)

Unknown woman (Perachi?)

Who is “André?”

“There is no way this means anything good.” Thoughts whirled through Shulamit’s mind, thoughts that she was afraid to put to words. What did Imbrio have to do with agricultural pests? What about—what about Carolina?

Malkeleh,” said Isaac, interrupting her mental maelstrom. “Let me see Ezra’s map again.”

Shulamit flipped the paper back over.

“Look,” said Isaac. “His map—the infestation goes down the river straight into the Lovely Valley.”

Shulamit shook her head slowly and groped around for Rivka’s hand. She clung to her friend’s arm with both hands like it was a bellpull, then hugged it tightly to her chest. “Whatever this is, we have to stop it. We have to stop them.

Purchase

Torquere Press

Olive Conspiracy SquareMeet the Author

Shira Glassman is a bisexual Jewish violinist living in North Central Florida. She is best known for her Mangoverse books, four fluffy queer fantasy novels (and accompanying short stories) set in a tropical Jewish fairytale kingdom ruled over by a young lesbian and her “family of choice”, including a dragon. These books have reached the finals list of multiple years of the Bi Book Awards and Golden Crown Literary Society Awards. She writes other short contemporary and fantasy fiction as well, including two contemporary romance novelettes about professional musicians. Shira’s greatest inspirations are French and German opera and Agatha Christie novels, as well as her own family life and closest friends.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7234426.Shira_Glassman
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShiraGlassman
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/shiraglassman
Blog: http://shiraglassman.wordpress.com

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Rafflecopter Prize: One winner will be selected to win an eBook copy of The Olive Conspiracy.

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Review: It Had to Be You (Lucky Harbor, Book 7) by Jill Shalvis

Review: It Had to Be You (Lucky Harbor, Book 7) by Jill ShalvisSeries: Lucky Harbor #7
on May 28th 2013
Pages: 368 pages
AmazonNarrator: Annie Greene
Ali Winters is not having a good day. Her boyfriend left her, everyone in town thinks she's a thief, and now she's about to be kicked out of her home. Her only shot at keeping a roof over her head and clearing her name is to beg for help from a police detective who's as sexy as he is stern....

After a high-profile case goes wrong, Luke Hanover returns to his hometown for some peace and quiet. Instead he finds a bombshell brunette in a heap of trouble. As he helps Ali put her world back together, the pieces of Luke's own life finally seem to fall into place. Is this the start of a sizzling fling? Or are Luke and Ali on the brink of something big in a little town called Lucky Harbor?
four-stars

3.75 stars.
Something about the series is starting to feel repetitive, so it’s not as enjoyable as when I first started.
In this installment, Ali Winters, is smarting from her breakup with her cheating boyfriend Teddy when the Landlord of her townhouse arrives and wants the place back. See cheating Teddy neglected to tell Ali that he didn’t renew their lease, now Ali has to find a new place to live.
Luke Hanover is taking a break from his job as a detective the the SFPD due to a bad ending with an investigation. He needed a vacation to regroup because his guilt over the case was eating him alive. Finding Ali still in his place was not part of the alone time he had in mind.
With no place to go, Luke kind of lets Ali stay as she tries to find her own place, but her ex boyfriend Teddy accuses her of theft, saying she must have taken the fundraiser money to get back at him.
Soon Ali is trying to clear her name.
Luke didn’t want to get involved but his attraction to Ali won’t let him just stand by and watch her struggle, so begins the all-too familiar dance the recent Lucky Harbor books took to get to the HEA.

I liked Ali and Luke but I didn’t love it. Luke and his moody thing got old for me. I wish my town had a facebook page where people posted the latest gossip, because that’s my favorite parts of these books. They are so nosy with their matchmaking old ladies. Ali and Luke had a great banter, so I guess I did like the book just fine