Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Smitten in Summer by Jennifer Bernard

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Smitten in Summer; Lost Harbor #12
(A standalone within a series)

Publication Date: June 28, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Small Town/Single Dad/Grumpy-Sunshine/Contemporary Romance

Author: Jennifer Bernard

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars


I tore through this book, couldn’t put it down, and then was extremely sad when it was over. Why must I suffer the sadness of loving and reading a really good book too fast!?!?!

Trixie Tran is by far the most fun, bright, shiny and just made me smile character Jennifer has ever written. I have adored her as a secondary character and she is A-MA-ZING as a main character!!! She’s a that bright ray of sunshine that you want to see if you lived in Lost Harbor and the perfect partner to her more stoic single dad main lead, Mac Brindisi.

He’s new in town, there just for the summer and with him is his seven year old daughter, Piper and while she’s super cute, Mac as a single father is absolutely precious. Mac is former military, hence his formal and sort of uptight ways, but Trixie is just the medicine for him to break out the rare smiles that he normally saves just for his little girl.

While Mac is there on a job contract, he also turns out to be the perfect man to help Trixie out of a jam when her unfortunate past glides into port. Whoever would have thought the perfect flavor would show up in her ice cream shop and it wouldn’t be cold and kept in her freezer.

This entire book is so fun, I seriously never wanted to leave. Like all of the Lost Harbor books, there is adventure and intrigue thrown in, with some sensitive topics this time around. I don’t want to gloss it all over with the bubbly fun, but at the end of the day, Trixie and Mac are coming out on top as my favorite Lost Harbor couple.

I can hardly wait to see what’s next because this mix of Alaska and Minnesota friendships has been a great blend.

From USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Jennifer Bernard comes a steamy, single dad, small town romance set in fan-favorite Lost Harbor, Alaska with a free-spirited heroine and a grumpy hero who can’t stay away.

Ice cream goddess and perennial life of the party, Trixie Tran lives life large, from her eclectic wardrobe to her offbeat perspective on, well…everything. No one knows her carefully crafted persona evolved after one life-changing summer during her teens, when a need to belong led to falling for Chase Owens, who betrayed her trust. Now, years later, Mr. Wrong has come back to her tiny town of Lost Harbor…and he’s not leaving until Trixie gives him what he wants.

With his young daughter in tow, rescue trainer Mac Brindisi is in Alaska to fulfill a short-term contract. Romance isn’t part of the plan. He’s also built a career—literally—out of shutting people out of his life. Despite that fact, he’d have to be dead inside not to notice the sexy siren who owns the local ice cream shop. When some rich jerk from her past sails into town, all his protective instincts are activated…and then some.

Turns out Chase is no ordinary rich jerk. Dealing with him will take all of Mac’s skills…as well as courage Trixie didn’t know she had. Can she afford to put her trust in a man again? Or is Mac just another smitten-in-summer mistake waiting to happen?

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Moments in Time by K.K. Allen

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Moments in Time
(An interconnected standalone)

Publication Date: June 24, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Friends-to-Lovers/Second Chance/Contemporary Romance

Author: K.K. Allen

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars


I adore how Allen weaves a story through the past and present, especially when it’s a story about a couple rekindling a past relationship. Moments in Time is blended together with precision and care that melted me to a complete gooey mess.

I love this kind of story where I have the burning questions of what went wrong in a couples relationship in the first place, because to go wrong something was essentially going right at one point in time. I love discovering each piece of the puzzle and how it all unfolds as the couple slowly reconnects. It may seem painful, but it’s really like eating the best dessert really slow.

For Jamison and Violet up until seven years ago, their entire lives were very connected. They were best friends who eventually became more, so their sizzle was off the charts right from the get go and their story was ripe with tension. As we get to know both of them we are privy to moments of friendship, family, hardship and so much more. Their past, present, and eventually what could be their future all connect in a beautiful story that is wonderfully written.

Interconnected to other Bexley stories there are Bexley siblings galore and this book and your reading enjoyment will be enhanced knowing who they are. However, if you are unfamiliar with any of the other books this is still a great second chance romance to read as a complete standalone.

Jamison Bexley was the one who got away.⁣
If only I hadn’t pushed him.⁣

Seven years ago, he was my everything.⁣
My confidant. ⁣
My safe haven.⁣
My best friend.⁣
However, dating was never an option.⁣
Not when his eyes gravitated toward every girl in town but me.⁣

That is, until the curse of bad timing found us both… and struck.⁣

All it took was one night.⁣
One big mistake.⁣
Altering everything we could ever be.⁣

I’m still paying for my sins all these years later.⁣
Life has been downright cruel.⁣
I’m working countless hours trying to hold onto the pieces of my shattered dreams.⁣
Determined that nothing will keep me from my end-goal.⁣

Until Jamison struts back into our small town and gets a first-hand glimpse of my life.⁣
Suddenly, he wants to be my knight in shining armor.⁣
But I don’t need a savior.⁣
Those moments in time are long gone.⁣
And he’s about to realize why

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Book Reviews, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – A Kingdom of Stars and Shadows by Holly Renee

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A Kingdom of Stars and Shadows; Stars and Shadows #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: July 15, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Enemies to Lovers/Forbidden Romance/Fantasy Romance

Author: Holly Renee

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars


The Kingdom of Stars and Shadows is the reason why I love Fantasy Romance. I can’t stop thinking about it, I already want to reread it, it is just that good!!

I love a good fantasy book, but even better I love a great twist on an old myth. Holly Renee has done both and she has done it extremely well. The Kingdom of Stars and Shadows has heat, plot, action and a cliffy that left me craving the next book right now.

Adara, known as Starblessed due to her markings, is betrothed to the crown prince of Citlali. While most people in her position, those with this honor would jump at her chance, Adara has always despised the knowledge that her life would never her own. I loved her spirit and her fierce determination and she never once wavered in her core morals. She is a wonderfully written heroine that is both feminine and strong. She fit very well within this storyline.

While Adara is betrothed to the crown prince, Gavril, Adara finds herself drawn to another during her time at the palace. A dark prince who stirs her desires and draws all of her attention. As much as she wishes, Evren can not be her savior, he is loyal to the crown and not a full blood prince, but she is torn in two between what her heart wants and saving a kingdom.

There were so many aspects of this fantasy world that completely blew my mind, but had the desired effect of drawing me farther in to the overall fantasy of the story. I needed ALL the details of every how, why, or what which I gobbled right up.

Once I picked up this book I did not set it down once. I was hooked and completely pulled into this amazing world that Holly created. I can hardly wait to return to find out what’s in store after the ending, but until then, I know a reread will be in my future because I need to revisit these characters again.

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Destiny or desire?

Where does your allegiance lie?

I am told my union to the crowned prince will determine the fate of the kingdom, but it isn’t my betrothed who haunts my dreams. It’s the half-breed prince who stands at his side.

He is darkness and sin, and when he whispers promises of wickedness in my ear, I crave a man who I can’t have.

Every thought I have is treasonous. The way my hands ache to touch him deceitful.

Even my dreams make me a traitor to the kingdom I am sworn to protect.

But when the kingdom is attacked, I am forced to make choices I’m not prepared for. Our lies and deception are entangled in the shadows and stars, and as they unravel so shall my fate. Betray a kingdom or betray my heart.

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