This story is largely about grief, which isn't an easy sell in the romance genre--at least I would imagine since romance is all about the happily ever after. And I have to say, this novel wasn't what I expected. I was expecting something light and sweet but this novel isn't exactly light and sweet. There's a lot of heartbreak and loss, which made this sort of a puzzling read for me.

Series: Templeton Cove, #6 
My Rating: 3.5 ❀'s
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Izzy has suffered the loss of a beloved sibling, and along with that she's lost the ability to trust. She feels as though trusting someone, loving someone, somehow puts her at risk for more sorrow and loss. I can understand her loss, but it was still hard to watch her push away Trent when she had such strong feelings about him. Especially since he wanted nothing more than to be there for her, to be with her to offer her love and support. And even though Izzy starts to come around, there's always that hesitancy in her that frustrated me.

Not to say that Trent wasn't equally frustrating. He loved Izzy, yet somehow he thought or felt that he wasn't enough for her, that she had suffered too much to be with a man who would constantly be at risk, given the dangers of his job. Even when they both wanted to put that aside, these odd hesistations and doubts still existed inside of them, and between them. It confused me I must say, and I couldn't understand why the romance was so hot and cold at times. Who was more insecure I wondered, Izzy or Trent?

By the end, I think that was the wrong question. It took a while for me to sort of get to the ah-ha of this novel, but I finally did and it made me smile. Izzy comes to realize along with Trent that love and joy and life are worth the risk of loss and hurt. It's simple and yet, beautiful because the things in life that matter most are simple and beautiful.

So yes, I was confused for a while. But I figured it out with Izzy and Trent. It's a lesson we all need reminding of now and again.

I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Happy Reading,
Jewels

I like titles by Maisey Yates from Harlequin Presents, and I was intrigued into reading this novel by a tweet from the author and from reactions I saw online. The premise sounded interesting and the reactions caught my attention because they were varied, and strong. Many disliked the novel. I was not one of them.

My Rating: 5 ❀'s
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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First of all, I have to praise the author's style in her HP novels. It always blows me away by how vivid and raw her writing is and how drawn into the romance and invested I become in the characaters considering the shorter length of these novels. Hats off for fabulous writing. I was impressed by this story because it tackled really tough issues--trust, betrayal, loss, and the circumstances were certainly very serious ones.

From the beginning, it's clear the hero is not the stand up hero readers of romance are more comfortable with and his sins are not easy ones to forgive. He marries the heroine for entirely selfish reasons, likely knowing full well how deeply in love with him she is, and yet, due to his memory loss, right from the beginning Leon seeks to redeem himself, to build a life with a wife he cannot remember. I admired that about him, that he saw he had hardly been a good husband, and sought to start over again when he might have viewed his memory loss with far more anger and frustration. For a while, it is all going swimmingly and then the shoe drops, and from there the emotional drama picks up.

Leon is a man who has been an ass, and there's no denying that. But the novel reveals the why as his actions and lifestyle and I have to say, he has suffered tremendously. I'm not surprised considering what he went through, that he turned into such a cold and selfish sort of man. But I was have to say, that isn't who he really is, and I'm glad that his memory loss and everything that happened afterwards demonstrates that and gives him a chance to start to live again, even though he is very afraid to love. The fact that Rose lets him see her hurt but also heals them both with her ability to love is huge in this story. She's a very complex character and I think she has the strength to set aside Leon's awful and past treatment of her, and build a life with a man who is changed from everything that has happened.

It's not often an author tackles a plot like this one, or does it so well and I have to say, setting my teeth into the meat of the issues in this relationship was a nice change of pace for this romance reader.

Happy Reading,
Jewels
I love Christine Feehan's Leopard series, but I have to say I was disappointed with her eighth novel of the series, Wild Cat. And after being disappointed with book seven, I am now uncertain as to what the most current release, Leopard's Fury is going to be like. I don't like being disappointed, but it does happen from time to time.

Series: Leopard People, #8
My Rating: 2.5 ❀'s
Genre: Paranormal Romance
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What I found most problematic in this novel was the hero. Elijah was not at all what I am used to from Christine Feehan's alpha males. They are always protective of the heroine, even to the point of being unreasonable but it's always because of the intense passion and love they feel for the hero. Now, Elijah does love Siena very deeply, but he felt far too possessive to me, and I felt as though Siena had to submit a lot, even though she was happy to do that, I just didn't like the feel of it. It was too much, too ultra possessive, and although Siena stood up to Elijah I still felt like he never gave back what she was willing to give to him. The relationship felt unbalanced and it didn't sizzle the way it should have in my opinion.

Now, others have taken issue with this novel as well, though mostly for being unable to forgive Elijah for the way he treats Siena at the beginning of the novel. And although we never see that type of behaviour again, I feel as though that nasty part of Elijah is still evident in his controlling possession of Siena. But, I also felt that the novel started strong, with an awful misunderstanding--and I don't entirely blame Elijah for the conclusions he jumped to, or how he reacted--but after the first few chapters, the novel began to drag for me. Siena and Elijah were constantly having the same argument over and over again, there was no action or plot building and the relationship was heavily focused on, but didn't ever feel hot or romantic to me. We get a quick wrap up of the baddies at the end, and viola, the end.

It just all fell flat, and for a novel of a series I adore, it felt nothing like this series. So, two misses back to back in this series for me when never before has this series missed for me. I'm hoping the next novel returns more to the romance and deeply developed relationships of the previous books.

Happy Reading,
Jewels

Debbie Macomber is an author that always provides a meaningful story and I absolutely loved the premise of her novel, The Twelve Days of Christmas. But I loved the novel itself even more. It's a fun, sweet read that evolves into a love story that will any reader with a heart all le sigh. Le sigh is important in romance, and this novel does it just right. 

My Rating: 5 ❀'s
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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I loved Julia's idea of wirting about a blog about her grouchy neighbour, Cain. Even though Julia was clearly a sweet, kind person it was obvious that she disliked Cain because she thought him rude and surly. We all make the mistake of judging people without knowing them, and Julia makes this error when it comes to Cain.

I loved seeing the romance between these two grow. It was sweet, it was funny and most important, it was so artfully written by the author. The entire novel and story was easy reading and well developed. I loved Julia's character, bubbly, kind but also strong and smart. And although Cain was perhaps not the most endearing of characters at first, he certainly grew into the dreamiest of heroes. I loved the things he says to Julia at the end of the novel. They just made me melt.

Dear readers, I have a have a small confession to make. As I write this review, all I think about doing is going out and buying this novel so I can read it all over again. Maybe closer to Christmas. And I have to say, it's not every holiday romance novel that makes you carve a re-read. Heck, it's not every romance novel that makes you carve a re-read, so I think that says a lot about this book. I was swept away by the characters and story and this novel has definitely become a favourite of mine.

I have a another small confession to make. I listened to this on audio. It was great! But, I think reading the words will be another kind of reading experience altogether, and one that I am looking forward to. Happy reading, dear readers. Happy reading to all!

Jewels
My friends and I recently decided that we really needed to buddy read this novel, and having never read Marie Force before, I had no idea what to expect. To say we all devoured this book would not be an exaggeration. We all read it in nearly one sitting and each of us loved it.

Series: The McCarthys of Gansett Island, #1
My Rating: 5 ❀'s
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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This novel was so well written it was not only easy to read, it became a real pager! I was just that drawn into the story. Of course, the premise might seem one you've seen before, what with Maddie getting hurt and Mac taking care of her and from there sparks fly. But it feels anything but cliche. This novel works so well that you don't notice the familiar premise. And the issues these two face are interesting to say the least.

Maddie is disliked on the island, and for reasons that seem to me entirely judgmental and small minded. They judge her based on her life choices when she was a girl in high school, and rumor, and yet, she isn't at all the person everyone thinks her to be. Nor were the life choices they think she made ones she made! Even if she had been that girl in high school, to be judged and disliked for those reasons now instead of getting to know the real Maddie made the islanders unjust and mean in by books. Especially Mac's mom who so actively sought to get Mac involved with other women when it was clear he was in love with Maddie. It made me seethe.

It also made me adore Mac all the more because he saw the real Maddie and didn't buy into the gossip and narrow minded ideas of others around him. He sees how sweet and vulnerable and strong Maddie is, and falls instantly in love with her and fights for Maddie, to earn her trust and love. He doesn't care about the opinions of others around him and I liked that he stood up for Maddie. He was high handed about it, and I hated to think they might come to an end because of that, but it was easy for me to forgive him too because he was so desperately in love with Maddie.

This is easy reading, a sweet romance with strongly drawn characters and you'll find yourself turning the pages right to the end as the story unfolds so naturally and is such a pleasure to read.

Happy Reading,
Jewels