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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon

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Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Bend Toward the Sun releases August 9, 2022.

Cover of "Bend Toward the Sun" by Jen Devon
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Jen Devon’s Bend Toward the Sun is a gorgeous, emotional love story about taking unexpected paths, accepting loss, and finding strength in the transformative power of love.

Rowan McKinnon believes love isn’t real. Armed with a PhD in botany, two friends who accept her social quirkiness, and some occasional no-strings sex, she has everything she needs. What she doesn’t share is that she hides deep wounds from the past—by an emotionally negligent mother, and by a fiancé who treated her like a pawn in a game. The only love she’s ever known came from her grandmother Edie, who taught her to care for all things that grow. After a chance encounter at a future winery, Rowan is captivated—by the beauty of the land, the challenge of the vineyards’ restoration, and by the warm and inviting family that plans to run it. They’ll offer her a job. She’ll eventually accept it.

And try not to think about Harrison Brady.

Harry Brady is a doctor. Was a doctor. An obstetrician profoundly struggling after the unexpected loss of a patient, Harry no longer believes he is capable of keeping people safe. Reeling from the loss and his crumbled four-year relationship, Harry leaves Los Angeles to spend time emotionally recuperating at his parents’ new vineyard in Pennsylvania. He’ll work to get the place ready to open, and try to pick up the pieces of his heart. Because if there’s one thing Harry Brady knows how to do, it is love deeply, fiercely, with his whole heart.

As soon as he meets Rowan McKinnon, sunlight begins to crack through the dark cloud smothering Harry’s soul. He wants to explore the compelling pull between them. Rowan just wants to keep things casual—she’s spent a lifetime protecting herself against feeling anything, for anyone.

But even Rowan can feel their extraordinary connection tilting the axis of the world they both thought they understood.

A moving, powerful novel about the ways love can irrevocably change your life, Bend Toward the Sun is a cinematic, unforgettable romance.

 

REVIEW: Bend Toward the Sun was an emotionally charged story with an electrifying romance that was painful, exhilarating, and deeply personal.

This story wears its heart on its sleeve as Rowan and Harry struggle to reconcile with their pasts in the wake of the instant attraction and affection they feel for one another.

The main characters had polar opposite upbringings. Rowan is socially awkward and understands plants far better than people. She had her beloved grandmother Edie who fostered Rowan’s love for nature – which led to Rowan becoming a botanist – until age 12 when she was then left in the uncare of her estranged mother. Meanwhile, Harry is one of six in a very close and loving family. This major difference is one of many roadblocks in Rowan and Harry’s relationship.

But I love how these two lost souls find their way again through love. It’s a painful journey and several times you’ll question in chest-tightening worry if their chance at true love and happiness will burn away.

Past intimate relationships have not gone well for either (an understatement). So to have such strong feelings feels right, wrong, and terrifying all at once. Plus, they both can be very, very, very stubborn.

I felt those months and months worth of time skips, which made their back and forth will-they won’t-they arguments seem redundant and a tad frustrating. Post-read, Rowan and Harry’s romance is really well fleshed out with all the necessary growth, drama and angst you’d want in an enthralling love story. Time just dragged some.

In the end (oh my goodness!), Rowan and Harry filled my heart with such joy and fondness. The chemistry between them was sizzling, the banter endearing and funny, and a satisfying conclusion worthy of a standing ovation.

I had a good feeling I would end up truly enjoying Bend Toward the Sun, and I did! I loved the story and all of the characters. Rowan was my favorite because I could relate with her and she’s unexpectedly hilarious. Jen Devon wrote a wonderful, heartfelt romance. I highly recommend this novel.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Book Reviews

Book Review: Wife by Wednesday by Catherine Bybee

25 Days of Book Reviews logo.

DAY 2

Wife by Wednesday by Catherine Bybee
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Weekday Brides #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Blake Harrison:
Rich, titled, and charming…and in need of a wife by Wednesday. Blake turns to Sam Elliot, who isn’t the businessman he expected. Instead, Blake is faced with Samantha Elliot, beautiful and feisty with a voice men call 1-900 numbers to hear.

Samantha Elliot:
Owner of matchmaking firm Alliance and not on the marital menu…that is, until Blake offers her ten million dollars for a one-year contract. And there’s nothing indecent about this proposal. The money will really help with her family’s medical bills. All Samantha will need to do is keep her attraction to her new husband to herself and avoid his bed.

But Blake’s toe-curling kisses and sexy charm prove too difficult for Sam to resist. It was a marriage contract that planned for everything…except falling in love.

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

A pleasant marriage of convenience story featuring two strong, dynamic characters with complicated pasts.

Blake and Samantha complement each other really well: sharp, capable, self-assured, adaptable. I like that they cut to the chase and agreed to have a mutually satisfying (and quite steamy) relationship built on open and honest communication instead of spending an entire novel fighting their obvious attraction for one another. That was a nice change of pace.

When their pasts come back to threaten their loved ones and what they most desire, Samantha and Blake work together effortlessly as a team to maintain the facade of happy newlyweds. However, the realization of their true feelings for one another soon starts to unravel those carefully laid plans. That enhanced the uncertainty of if or when they’d get caught.

Getting to know the main characters was an up and down experience (in a good way). Samantha’s painful past was particularly tough and frustrating to read. I liked how both still tried to build a life worth living for themselves despite what others may think.

Overall, Wife by Wednesday was a good story with a sweet and spicy romance and likable main characters.


More by Catherine Bybee

Not Quite
Not Quite Mine (#2)
Not Quite Forever (#4)

The Weekday Brides
Taken by Tuesday (#5)
Treasured by Thursday (#7)

Creek Canyon
Home to Me (#2)

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: When an ambitious female artist accepts an unexpected commission at a powerful earl’s country estate in 1920s England, she finds his war-torn family crumbling under the weight of long-kept secrets. From debut author Courtney Ellis comes a captivating novel about finding the courage to heal after the ravages of war.

Alberta Preston accepts the commission of a lifetime when she receives an invitation from the Earl of Wakeford to spend a summer painting at His Lordship’s country home, Castle Braemore. Bertie imagines her residence at the prodigious estate will finally enable her to embark on a professional career and prove her worth as an artist, regardless of her gender.

Upon her arrival, however, Bertie finds the opulent Braemore and its inhabitants diminished by the Great War. The earl has been living in isolation since returning from the trenches, locked away in his rooms and hiding battle scars behind a prosthetic mask. While his younger siblings eagerly welcome Bertie into their world, she soon sees chips in that world’s gilded facade. As she and the earl develop an unexpected bond, Bertie becomes deeply entangled in the pain and secrets she discovers hidden within Castle Braemore and the hearts of its residents.

Threaded with hope, love, and loss, At Summer’s End delivers a portrait of a noble family–and a world–changed forever by the war to end all wars.

 

My Review: [Disclaimer: I know the author, but this is my honest review.]

At Summer’s End is absolute perfection. I cannot recommend this charming story enough!

Bertie is a woman on a mission to become an artist, have her paintings recognized, and lead a fulfilling life doing what she loves. Risking it all, Bertie accepts a commission from Lord Wakeford, despite her family’s protests. Never could she have guessed how much her life would change by accepting. I certainly didn’t! I had no idea what to expect or how the story would unfold. It was one thrilling surprise after another that consumed all of my attention.

Though she’s only there to paint Castle Braemore and its environs, Bertie’s curiosity often gets the better of her. There’s a mystery surrounding the Napier family, especially about Julian, the estranged Earl of Wakeford. Bertie is extremely intrigued by Julian and his refusal to see anyone, the peculiar morning ritual, and Celia’s (the youngest) aloofness. Furthermore, Bertie wants to know the man who saw value in her work even though she’s a woman. Altogether, an enticing hook.

Bertie is such a wonderful character – fiercely independent, bold, loving, and emphatic. I like how her presence affected the entire household. Enriching, healing, but at the same time drawing out secrets meant to stay hidden in dark pasts.

The more secrets uncovered through bittersweet chapters set in the past, the deeper I fell in love with this story, firmly entrenched in the lives of these characters I couldn’t help but shed tears for on more than one occasion. So much went wrong then that haunts the present. Compounded by WWI, the Napier family were never truly the same again. Julian the most, for the past rules Julian’s present every second of every day in the most painful, heartbreaking of ways.

The traumatizing effects of war and mental health are depicted in vivid details. I liked how the author expressed the raw, realness of how isolating and debilitating these feelings can be.

At Summer’s End isn’t all tragedy and chaotic feelings. It’s beautiful, funny, and brilliantly composed.

The depth of love between the Napier siblings – Gwen, Julian, Roland, and Celia – is beautiful. Despite so much upheaval, they’ve more or less stood by each other as worlds were torn asunder and rage and grief burned within. They are a family who are all heart.

Countless times I found myself laughing and smiling. Ellis does well infusing humor and brevity just when you needed it, just when things seemed all but lost.

There’s so much going on within this story. It seemed so effortlessly written even though I know writing can be anything but at times. The intricacies of the plot were engaging. I am in awe of the author’s storytelling skills she’s cultivated over the years.

I loved At Summer’s End. It’s one of my favorite stories of 2021 so far. I really enjoyed the relationship that blossomed between Bertie and Julian – so wonderful and sweet! This novel was an incredible read, unexpected and breathtaking.

CW: trauma, PTSD, attempted suicide, homophobia (see 24/7 resources below)


24/7 Support That’s Here For You

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, self-harm, or harm to others, please seek help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line
www.crisistextline.org
US and Canada – Text HOME to 741741
United Kingdom – Text HOME to 85258
Ireland – Text HOME to 50808

National Alliance On Mental Illness
https://nami.org/Home
NAMI Helpline – Call 800-950-NAMI
Or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741

To Write Love On Her Arms
https://twloha.com/

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: A Flawed Scotsman by Hildie McQueen

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Clan Ross #4
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: When love blossoms between two unwilling people, will hopeless odds end it all?

Ruari Ross, cousin to the laird, ponders a marriage arrangement that would ally Clan Ross with Clan Fraser. After a lonely youth, Ruari wants the companionship of a wife without the complication of a love match. When he stumbles upon an injured woman in the forest, he not only saves her life, but changes the course of his entire future.

Strong-willed daughter of Laird Fraser, Esme has avoided all her parents’ matchmaking attempts. Above all else, she wishes to avoid marrying a Ross. During a jaunt in the forest, she is mortally wounded and left for dead. When she awakens, she realizes her courageous rescuer is not only a Ross, but the man who would be her husband.

As Esme recovers beneath Ruari’s watchful eye, an unexpected love blossoms, and Ruari soon discovers his betrothed is not only a fiery beauty, but the best archer he’s ever seen. But when a massive enemy army attacks, Clan Fraser faces hopeless odds. With the shadow of war looming, will these reluctant hearts find love, or will a brutal attack end it all?

There can only be one outcome. Triumph or death!

 

My Review: A Flawed Scotsman was a pretty good story. I especially liked the main characters.

Ruari enjoys his horses and solitude. His father left when he was young and since then his mother has wanted nothing to do with him. Ruari is level-headed, strong, and honorable. Fate throws him an unexpected curve ball in the form of Esme, daughter of the Fraser laird.

I love Esme’s personality and courage. I like that she isn’t complacent like her mother just because she’s a woman. She loves her clan and wants to play an active role in keeping them safe. She speaks her mind and isn’t afraid to pick up a weapon in defense, especially from the ruthless Mackenzie clan.

Ruari and Esme mesh well together because of their shared duty and love for clan and family. They’ll do what’s right even at the expense of their own personal happiness. Their relationship isn’t always cuteness and heated passion, but sometimes too impulsive, which brought a lot of contention.

The stakes are high for the most part but some conflicts were too brief. A few transitions between scenes were jarring and disorienting. The very last scene I hated because it seemed random, ridiculous, and out of character.

I liked the story and want to read the other books in this series. If you’re looking for a good, fast-paced historical romance, this may be the book/series for you.

CW: suggested occurrence of rape, trauma (see 24/7 resources below)


24/7 Support That’s Here For You

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, self-harm, or harm to others, please seek help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line
www.crisistextline.org
US and Canada – Text HOME to 741741
United Kingdom – Text HOME to 85258
Ireland – Text HOME to 50808

National Alliance On Mental Illness
https://nami.org/Home
NAMI Helpline – Call 800-950-NAMI
Or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741

To Write Love On Her Arms
https://twloha.com/

Categories
Book Reviews

[#PubDayTuesday] Book Review: Open Your Heart by Cheris Hodges

*advanced kindle copy won in a Goodreads Giveaway*

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Richardson Sisters #3
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Their family’s historic bed-and-breakfast in Charleston, South Carolina, is a legacy the four very different Richardson sisters are determined to protect at all costs. But sudden passion is a seductive–and dangerous–complication…

For fashion boutique owner Yolanda Richardson, coming home is a matter of life and death. Witness to a brutal crime, her family’s quiet B&B is her only refuge until she can testify against the perpetrator. But her reserved hired bodyguard, Charles Montgomery, is anything but safe. His icy cool-under-fire–and hidden intensity–is too explosive for Yolanda to resist…

Love always equals loss–Charles knows that hard equation all too well. Controlling his emotions keeps his clients from harm–and his heart safe. Yolanda’s beauty and headstrong spirit have him wanting her in all kinds of ways. But for her own protection, he has to do his best to keep her at arm’s length. Until unexpected danger and lethal misunderstandings put their survival–and any chance at a future together–on the knife-edge…

 

My Review: This is the first story I read by Cheris Hodges and I really liked it! Open Your Heart was a charming love story.

I admire Yolanda’s independence to strike out on her own and open up her own fashion boutique. She’s got a good head on her shoulders but can be incredibly stubborn when she wants to. There were small moments when she was a tad whiny and her behavior towards Charles unfounded. But I liked her character all the same and how far she’s willing to go to protect her family from danger.

Charles is a swoon-worthy love interest who takes his job very seriously. Though very good at what he does, he has his work cut out for him trying to keep Yolanda safe. I like that he’s not afraid to be real with her about how dire the situation is, though that hot and cold does cause some friction between them. It’s also a struggle at times to maintain his logic and reason around Yolanda when he’s so drawn to her. To both their frustrations Charles holds himself back but for truly tragic reasons. His path towards healing and a second chance at love was so sweet.

I love the relationship between Yolanda and her three other sisters. They argue and sometimes get on each other’s nerves. But it’s clear how much they love and are super protective of one another. The family’s close relationship is unshakable, which was nice to see within the story.

Overall, Open Your Heart was an entertaining romantic suspense. The characters were well written and interesting. The story kept my attention the entire time. And the romance between Yolanda and Charles was tantalizingly slow, sweet as can be, and steamy!

Open Your Heart is book 3 of 4 of the Richardson Sisters series. I’m looking forward to reading the other books featuring Yolanda’s sisters as I got to know them really well in this one.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Waiting For You by Claudia Connor

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: McKinney/Walker Brothers #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: When ER nurse Nora Sellers is hurt in a hospital scuffle, firefighter Zach Walker blames himself. Blaming himself is nothing new. He’s been blaming himself for years for the trauma his baby sister endured as a teenager. Though with his happy–go–lucky attitude no one would know it. He’s good at his job, he’s a good brother, and a good friend, but Zach decided long ago he wasn’t husband and father material.

Even so, when Zach learns Nora is a single mother with a house that needs his help, he can’t walk away. After a few days with Nora and her ten month old son, he knows he doesn’t want to.

But Nora’s wary. She learned at a young age that the only person she can count on is herself. Now with a baby, a job, and a fixer–upper house, the last thing Nora wants is a sexy firefighter, making her heart flutter. But Zach is more than what he seems, and the more she gets to know him the harder he is to resist.

She’s been brave all her life. Can she be brave one more time and take a chance of a lifetime with her heart?

 

My Review: Waiting For You was a quick and super sweet story!

Nora and Zach make a very cute couple. Their attraction is instant and budding romance steamy slow burn. I liked learning more about both characters and what they want in life. Both have pasts that have left them feeling alone, undeserving of love or not good enough. As great as their chemistry was, they struggled at times being with each other because it resembled something they didn’t think or know they could have.

I also adore Will! He is the cutest baby ever and he has the best mom ever. I loved how good Zach was with him.

Waiting For You is the first book by Claudia Connor that I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. The story was great and suspenseful. The characters were likable and endearing. And the romance was utterly sweet. I look forward to reading more by this author.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Heart of Ice by T.B. Markinson & Miranda MacLeod

Image via Goodreads

Genre: LGBTQIA+, Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: What happens when the one person who makes your heart sing is also the one person who could destroy everything you’ve worked for?

Laurie “the Hatchet” Emerson is a ruthless leader in Boston finance who’s rumoured to have a block of ice where her heart should be. If only. Recently widowed, Laurie fears she’s broken beyond repair, until a once-in-a-lifetime business deal reignites her passion for work and gives her a shot at proving to the world she still has some life left in her.

Jack Kennedy is a young portfolio manager who aspires to greatness. Unfortunately, she’s so many rungs down the corporate ladder she can’t even scrape up enough money to move out of her mother’s apartment. Her luck changes when her work ethic is finally rewarded with the job opportunity of her dreams.

A blizzard forces their worlds to collide, but what was meant to be a no-strings night of passion becomes more complicated when they both arrive at the office the next morning to discover they each spent the night with the one person in the city who could crush their futures.

Together, they just might hold the keys to everything they’ve ever wanted, but the difference in their ages and positions could spell the end of their careers. Will the ice queen and the protégé find happiness together or lose everything?

 

My Review: Heart of Ice was a good office romance between two strong-willed, career-driven women who are twenty years apart in age. Their charged attraction and opposing personalities kept my engaged in everything happening throughout the story.

CEO Laurie (49) – or as she’s known around the office, “Laurie the Hatchet” – returns from a “forced” sabbatical after the death of her wife. She’s a hard taskmaster – she’s had to be as a woman business owner in the financial industry. Determined to obtain the company’s biggest client yet, she needs the best team and best idea possible to beat out her interim CEO/stepson. What she didn’t expect was one of her team members also being her one-night stand, Jack, who she obviously has strong feelings for.

Sometimes Laurie’s stubbornness was grating and she would impulsively lash out at Jack. I think part of the reason that Laurie behaves this way is because she wants to save the firm and the legacy Bonnie (her late wife) had built. Laurie also does care about Jack, but that doesn’t excuse her poor actions and reactions.

Jack (29) is lovingly witty and sassy. She’s the kind of hard-working and knowledgeable person you’d be lucky to work with. Jack has worked hard to build her career in a male dominated field. Brought on to be the team’s portfolio manager, this is the perfect chance for Jack to boost her career and prove her worth. What complicated things was her growing attraction to Laurie (her boss) who is very set in her ways and tends to run hot and cold in a way. This made it difficult for Jack to pinpoint where she stood with Laurie.

Jack really surprised me by how cool, calm and collected she was whenever Laurie was being obstinate. There were times when I thought Jack would walk away from the situation. She kind of does much of the legwork in their rocky relationship. I think her wanting to prove herself outweighed the consequences should anyone find out that she and Laurie spent the night together.

Laurie and Jack have fantastic chemistry both romantically and professionally, even when it sometimes doesn’t look like it. Despite their age gap, they are more alike than unalike. There were lots of great will-they won’t-they moments and and funny banter, such as when they played ping-pong together. The few intimate scenes were mildly steamy but showed how deeply attracted they were to each other.

Jack’s good nature and youth challenges Laurie who is set in her ways. Laurie’s hard exterior makes it difficult to open her heart back up for a second chance at love. Laurie is not used to someone like Jack who brings new perspectives Laurie might not have otherwise considered. Jack also sees the good, caring side of Laurie that was only ever shown to Bonnie. In Laurie, Jack sees someone who values her skills and what she can bring to the table, which is what Jack has been wanting for so long.

Jack and Laurie’s relationship was well developed. I came to really care about these characters and wanted badly to see them succeed in all aspects of life. I liked Jack’s quirky mom and Laurie’s office manager and confidant, Marian. There were many setbacks but everything came together quite nicely. I loved the ending, which was feeling galore! It made me want to keep reading to see what the future had in store for these two strong-willed women. Heart of Ice was a pleasant read.

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Bookish Memes Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Nature On The Cover

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is now run by That Artsy Reader Girl.


Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

For today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt – Nature on the Cover – I chose books by one of my favorite authors, Lynn Kurland, that had picturesque nature scenes on the covers.

If you’re a hopeless romantic like me and love fantasy romance, time-travel romance, and/or historical romance, then Lynn Kurland is an author I highly recommend.

Much Ado About Nothing

(MacLeod #9)

~           ~          ~          ~           ~           ~          ~

The Mage’s Daughter

(A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms #2)

~           ~          ~          ~           ~           ~          ~

A Garden In The Rain

(MacLeod #8)

~           ~          ~          ~           ~           ~          ~

Spellweaver

(A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms #5)

~           ~          ~          ~           ~           ~          ~

With Every Breath

(MacLeod #10)

~           ~          ~          ~           ~           ~          ~

Gift of Magic

(A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms #6)

~           ~          ~          ~           ~           ~          ~

Dreams of Lilacs

(de Piaget #16)

(review)

~           ~          ~          ~           ~           ~          ~

Dreamspinner

(A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms #7)

~           ~          ~          ~           ~           ~          ~

Roses In Moonlight

(de Piaget #15)

~           ~          ~          ~           ~           ~          ~

Till There Was You

(de Piaget #12)


More by Lynn Kurland

de Piaget Family
From This Moment On (#9) (2nd Read)
Stars In Your Eyes (#17)

MacLeod Family
A Dance Through Time (#1) (2nd Read)
Ever My Love (#10)


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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About Manga Book Reviews

Manga Series Review: An Incurable Case of Love by Maki Enjoji

Genre: Romance, Manga, Graphic Novel
Series: An Incurable Case of Love
Total Volumes: 7
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (avg. 4.28)
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Nurse Nanase has striven to once again meet the prince of her dreams, so how is it he’s become such an aggravating doctor?!

After witnessing a handsome and charming young doctor saving a stranger’s life five years ago, Nanase Sakura trained to become a nurse. But when she meets the doctor again and they start working together, she finds Kairi Tendo to be nothing like the man she imagined him to be!

 

My Reviews

Volume 1 (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

I wanted to read An Incurable Case of Love because it seemed like it would be a funny rom-com story. I bought Volume 1 – the only volume in English published at the time – on optimism alone. I’m so glad I found this series because it was an enjoyable read.

Volume 1 was super cute. Nanase studies to become a nurse so she can one day work with a guy she met five years ago who helped her save someone’s life. It’s a frivolous reason to become a nurse. But when she finally reunites with the handsome doctor, things go sideways fast. I knew then – from the way these stubborn titans constantly clashed – that I was going to fall in love with this series.

Five years is a long time. I’m curious to learn what changed for Tendo that he’s now so gruff and unapproachable a person that no one wants to be assigned to his department. He’s a great doctor but not easy to work with. I predict this is because of possibly a bad relationship, the stress of his profession, or perhaps mental trauma from losing a patient.

All the characters you meet so far are great and compliment the two main characters. Sparks are already flying in volume 1, so I’m eager to continue the story.

Volume 2 (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

I finally got my copy of volume 2 and of course I had to read it right away. It’s so good to be back in this story! I loved this volume and the continued clashes between Valiant One and the Dark Lord. But that cliffhanger!

Volume 3 (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Volume 3 was very entertaining. The scales are slowly tipping in Nanase’s favor. The Dark Lord is still the Dark Lord (lol). This series just keeps getting better! I wish volume 4 was out now because once again we are left with feelings and a cliffhanger.

Volume 4 (⭐⭐⭐)

This volume was okay for me. Nanase’s reactions throughout a good portion of this volume left me very confused. They seemed…too big? for what certain situations called for. I liked the progression of Dr. Tendo and Nanase’s relationship. There were plenty of cute/funny moments and even a few intimate instances throughout. I think they’ve reached a new understanding about their relationship. I really like the two of them together. I’m looking forward to the next volume!

Volume 5 (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

A challenger has appeared and Dr. Tendo is not happy! Tendo off his game is amusing and surprising. And poor Nanase is at a loss by this new obstacle to her and Tendo’s relationship. I’m worried about Nanase’s confidence. She’s always second-guessing things. It doesn’t help that she takes to heart the things that the other nurses say and then there’s Tendo’s hot/cold behavior. This volume was ridiculous fun; a big step up from the last one. I couldn’t put the book down!

Volume 6 (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

This was a good volume. Tendo was a bit more open (in his on brand hot/cold way) about his feelings for Nanase. This was also the most level-headed I’ve seen Nanase in a long time. The two came to a big decision about their relationship.

Volume 7 (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

I’m so sad this series is over! The series as a whole had it’s ups and downs, but I’m happy with how things ended for Tendo and Sakura by the end of the story. Volume 7 wrapped things up well.

They look so cute together on all of the covers, volume 7 being my particular favorite artwork. I love Tendo and Sakura so much and have enjoyed watching them both grow together. I’m gonna miss them dearly.

This was a great manga series that I totally recommend!


*images via Goodreads*

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Home to Me by Catherine Bybee

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Creek Canyon #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: After Erin Fleming escapes from her controlling and abusive ex, she finds refuge in the heart of Santa Clarita, California. Eager to start over, she has a new name, a new look, and a new career. Settled into a private guesthouse, Erin can breathe free. Far from the shadows she’s outrun, Erin is finally learning to live for herself. Her new unexpected friendship with her landlord starts to crack open the armor Erin’s enclosed herself in. But it’s Matt who speeds up the pace of Erin’s heart and makes her wish for things she believes she can never have.

Matt Hudson, a firefighter in one of California’s wildfire epicenters, has a passion for danger. He lives for the adrenaline rush his profession awards him. But his protective instincts take over once Matt meets Erin. So does an attraction he can’t deny. Above all else, he’s determined to prove to Erin that she can trust him. As the sparks between them ignite, so does a real-world danger. Erin’s past is not letting go. It’s just in hiding.

Before Erin’s ex finds her, she and Matt have to find him. And finally put an end to everything that’s becoming a threat to their love, and to Erin’s life.

CW: Abusive relationship (see end of post for 24/7 support and resources)

 

My Review: Home to Me is as swoon-worthy as it is heartbreaking. I didn’t want this story to end. Good thing this is a series!

Our leading lady Erin, a freelance book editor who longs to be a journalist, has been working hard to get her life back to some semblance of “normal” while keeping her head down and be unnoticeable. But the threat of her abusive ex remains as can be seen in how she lives, thinks, and feels. The long and taxing challenges Erin faced felt realistic and were well-written. Her backstory is heartbreaking and unfortunately a reality for many. The author doesn’t sugar-coating the trauma of abuse in the before, during and after. I like Erin’s strength and tenacity to regain control of her life so she can heal. She is a fighter.

Matt, our dashing and passionate firefighter and love-interest, has a big heart for his co-workers and family who he would do anything to protect. He has been attracted to Erin for a while but she’s always kept him at arm’s length. I like how protective yet very respectful and patient Matt is with Erin. He wasn’t the solution to her problems, but an encouragement and a push in the right direction. I also like Matt’s firehouse family even though they only appeared for a small portion of the book.

Really the support system in this book was endearing and great to see present. It’s a huge part of the story, especially for Erin as her sparkling attraction heats up. Such support helps us do or go after what we want that we otherwise might be too scared to do. There is strength in numbers, which is definitely the case in Home to Me.

Alluring and heavy, Home to Me had everything I love about Catherine Byee’s books. This book stole my heart and shook my feelings all around. Great characters. Great plot. Great chemistry. Suspense that kept my attention. The story really embodied how the idea of home can also be a person. I can’t wait to read more of this series! I also recommend reading the author’s note for this novel.


More by Catherine Bybee

Not Quite
Not Quite Mine (#2)
Not Quite Forever (#4)

The Weekday Brides
Taken by Tuesday (#5)
Treasured by Thursday (#7)


24/7 Support That’s Here For You

National Domestic Violence Hotline
thehotline.org
espanol.thehotline.org
1-800-799-7233
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Crisis Text Line
www.crisistextline.org
US and Canada – Text HOME to 741741
United Kingdom – Text HOME to 85258
Ireland – Text HOME to 50808

National Alliance On Mental Illness
https://nami.org/Home
NAMI Helpline – Call 800-950-NAMI
Or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741