Monday, July 25, 2016

California Dreamin' Collection

California Dreamin' Collection

Too Good to Be True--Heather B. Moore
Gwen's work as a photographer is satisfying and helps her forget about her ex. Jack's business keeps him too busy to have much of a relationship with anyone, but when he runs into Gwen on the beach after a photo shoot, he realizes that maybe it's time to make time for romance. Although Gwen and Jack hit it off, the closer they get, the more Gwen can't help but think something's going to come along to ruin this relationship.
The actual conflict came kinda late in the novella, and the resolution came pretty easily, but this was a fun story and you can't help but cheer for the girl who has been down on her luck to find her happily ever after.

Gone Fishing--Kaylee Baldwin
Claire runs away from a marriage proposal from a business associate (who has been convinced by Claire's mother, who is also their boss, that he wants to marry Claire); she goes to California to find her father, whom she hasn't seen in four years since he decided to head west and start a tourist fishing business. Claire's plan is to convince her father to come home and help her fend off her mother, but her dad--and the business partner she didn't know her father had--might not be so easy to convince. And when that business partner, Miguel, starts showing Claire around a little, she's not so sure her plan is actually what she needs.
I don't think I've read anything of Kaylee Baldwin's before, but I liked this introduction to her work. I liked the banter between Claire and Miguel, as well as seeing Claire learn to stand up for herself.

The Pier Changes Everything--Annette Lyon
Alex is in California to scatter her husband's ashes on what would have been their fifth wedding anniversary; while there, she runs into Michael, who is on the beach seeing catharsis while his ex-fiancee marries someone else. Alex and Michael connect immediately--and when they realize that they'd met years ago at fat camp, their old attraction comes back full swing.
I would've liked to see a little more back story on this one (like why didn't Michael email Alex after camp, not just Alex try to email Michael? and there were a couple places where it called her husband James but the rest of the time he was Jason), so it wasn't quite as polished as it could have been, but I liked seeing both characters find some needed healing.

A Hero's Song--Jennifer Moore
AnneMarie, a romance writer, runs into her ex--the only guy she's actually loved--on the set of a TV show of all places. While she thinks it's just a bad coincidence, Lance, a rock star,actually set it up, because now that he's completed rehab and started to get his life back on track, he wants to reconnect with the one person who really knew him--but AnneMarie's not so sure she's willing to take a chance on him. I'm kind of a sucker for the whole reformed bad boy plot line, especially when said bad boy has a thing for a sweet, shy sort of girl, so this novella was right up my alley. I thought it was tons of fun.

Stay with Me--Shannon Guymon
Jolie has taken a job as a nanny, and while she loves the kids she cares for, there are complications with their parents; the dad is fun and easygoing, but the mother--and her younger brother, who lives with them and doesn't like Jolie--isn't so easy to please. Jolie finds some solace with Fitz, the family's driver, but she isn't sure how long her job will actually last. I wish we'd actually seen more of the developing romance between Jo and Fitz; there was a lot of time spent with other characters so the focus wasn't on their relationship as much as I wished. The story still came together well, and I actually liked it more than I've liked any of Shannon Guymon's full length books.

A Place to Call Home--Sarah M. Eden
When Craig hires Ada to be his realtor, he's not looking for a relationship. He just wants to find a nice place for him and his son. However, they instantly hit it off--conversation flows, they get each others' jokes, etc. Even though he's interested, Craig isn't sure about getting involved with someone when he's got his son to take care of, which leaves Ada unsure of what he actually feels for her.
I love Sarah Eden's writing. It just makes me happy. I always appreciate great dialogue, sweet romance, and laughter, and she didn't disappoint.

I love the fact that these are clean romances, just sweet and fun. With these collections, it's so fun to see how each author approaches their common theme and they wind up with such different stories--there's a good variety in each collection; it never feels like it's the same story told multiple times.4.5 stars.

Monday, July 4, 2016

For Elise

For Elise
By Sarah M. Eden

Miles Linwood and Elise Furlong were the best of friends during their childhood. However, shortly after the both of their fathers were murdered, when Elise was fifteen, Elise disappeared. For four years, Miles wondered and worried and searched for his friend but found no trace of her. When a chance encounter leads him to find her, Miles can scarcely believe the changes in his friend. Once light-hearted and carefree, Elise now guards her emotions tightly and doesn't trust easily. A widow and young mother at age nineteen, Elise has obviously suffered, but Miles soon finds that there is much more to Elise's story--including a very good reason not to trust him. But having found his old friend and becoming more enchanted with her and her baby each day, Miles must find a way to regain Elise's trust...and her heart.

No surprise, Sarah Eden has written another awesome book. I pretty much love every character she's ever written (okay, except for the villains who we aren't supposed to love anyway). I liked the element of mystery in this novel (and was pleased that I figured out who-dunn-it early on into the novel). I also liked the fact that there was a good reason for the disconnect between Miles and Elise; I feel like a lot of romance novels just have the whole "I don't know if he/she likes me" misunderstanding as the central conflict, and this one had more than that.

 The only bad thing about finishing one of Sarah Eden's books is that then I have to wait for her to publish another one. :(

I read the book once and did the audio book once, and I enjoyed both.

5 stars.