Monday, September 14, 2020

Melinda's Mini Reviews for September

Melinda has a few mini reviews for you today, from 4 to 4 1/2 Stars!

Just a Heartbeat Away
by Cara Bastone
Publisher: June 30th, 2020
Series: Forever Yours, 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance (M/F)

Some people change your life

Others change your heart

Newly widowed dad Sebastian Dorner was unraveling at the edges—until his son’s teacher, Via DeRosa, threw him a lifeline. Now, two years later, they reconnect at Matty’s new school, and an inconvenient but unmistakable jolt of attraction crackles between them. But why does the first person to spark with Sebastian in years have to be a millennial? Is twentysomething Via really too young for him or does fortysomething Sebastian just feel too damn old?

A former foster kid, Via’s finally forged the stable life she’s always dreamed of—new job, steady income, no drama. The last thing she needs are rumors about her and a single dad at school. But why does she keep being drawn into his capable, worn-flannel orbit? And why does being around Sebastian, Matty and even their dog, Crabby, seem to spark so much want?

They’re trying to ignore the tension threatening their friendship. But sometimes what’ll heal you is just a touch—and a heartbeat—away.

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Can't Help Falling
by Cara Bastone
Publisher: August 25, 2020
Series: Forever Yours, 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance (M/F)

The more you resist,

the deeper you’ll fall

Serafine St. Romain doesn’t need her psychic powers to know she’s no longer in Tyler Leshuski’s good graces. True, she did tear him to pieces when he asked her out, accusing him of being shallow and selfish. Despite the energy crackling between them, the gorgeous sports writer is a no-strings, no-kids kind of guy. And Serafine, raised in the foster system, intends to be a foster parent herself. She won’t compromise that dream, even for a man as annoyingly appealing as Tyler.

In a simpler world, Tyler would already have gotten Serafine out of his system. For him, women equal fun. Not this kind of bone-deep, disconcerting desire. Life gets even more complicated when he becomes the guardian of his much younger sister. Suddenly, he’s way out of his depth. Serafine’s the only person who can connect with Kylie. He can’t jeopardize that for a fling.

But maybe…just maybe…he’s finally ready to risk everything on forever.

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Melinda's Review:

One of the aspects of romance books I’m extremely interested in is non-traditional family. We talk a lot about found family in Romancelandia and generally I think of creating a family out of the friends you make. But in these two books the author emphasizes a different kind of non-traditional family and I’d love to see more of it in romance. Both books feature main characters who are intimately familiar with the pains of dealing with the foster system, or being abandoned by their origin families. Just a Heartbeat Away deals with Via desperately chasing normality and stability in her life after dealing with the uncertainty of her past.

And Can’t Help Falling has Serafine, also raised in the foster system, wanting to be a foster parent because she wants to provide for someone like herself. I loved that part of the book because it rang so true to me. But we also get to see Kylie, an abandoned kid, dealing with not wanting to trust anyone and walling herself off from everyone. Seeing the two of them connect slowly and having Kylie’s brother, Tyler, trying so hard to build their family packed a huge emotional punch for me. In my opinion there is no true traditional family anymore. Whatever your family is? It’s valid. And books like these just reinforce that and I hope to see more and more. I’ve read quite a few with these kinds of themes in YA and I can’t wait to get more in adult romance.

4 and 4 1/2 STARS!

Hairpin Curves
by Elia Winters
Publisher: Carina Adores (July 28, 2020)
Genre: Contemporary Romance (Queer, F/F)

RITA® Award—winning author Elia Winters delivers a sexy, playful frenemies-to-lovers road-trip romance.

Megan Harris had hopes of seeing the world, but at twenty-five she’s never even left Florida. Now a wedding invitation lures her to Quebec…in February. When her ex-friend Scarlett offers to be her plus-one (yeah, that’s a whole story) and suggests they turn the journey into an epic road trip, Megan reluctantly agrees to the biggest adventure of her life.

A week together in a car is a surefire way to kill a crush, and Scarlett Andrews has had a big one on Megan for years. The important thing is fixing their friendship.

As the miles roll away, what starts as harmless road-trip games and rest-stop dares escalates into something like intimacy. And when a surprise snowstorm forces Megan and Scarlett to hunker down without the open road as distraction, they’ve got a bigger challenge than making it to the church on time: facing the true nature of their feelings for each other.

Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

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Melinda's Review:

We read this for the #RomanceSparksJoy August book club and it was one of those perfect timing kinds of books. There is a lack of conflict that really appealed to me at the exact moment in time that I needed that type of book. YMMV but for me it was low conflict and worked great for me. The two bisexual female MCs were previously friends who’d had a falling out but now decide to go on a road trip for a wedding...what could go wrong?

I really enjoyed the on-the-page use of toys in the sex scenes, as well as the mutual masturbation. The book was very sex positive which I love. Generally I was like uhhh who wants to do a road trip!? But really, this worked for me and thought it was sweet and lovely.


Thanks for the reviews, Melinda!


Until Next Time,

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