Book Review, Books, Romance, series, Uncategorized

Book Review – New Release – Heartland, Truth North series #7 by Sarina Bowen

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5 of 5 emotional stars

I love Sarina Bowen’s books, especially the Truth North series. I’ve read all but book 6, even though I own it; I just haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet. I was selected to be a member of Sarina’s ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) team recently, and was given the opportunity to read and review this 7th book, and I jumped at the chance.

This book is interesting, because it has a connection not only to the Shipley family and the other Vermont folks we’ve met in the rest of the series, but our heroine has a deep personal history with the hero in book 3, Keepsake. Chastity and Zachariah were both raised on a polygamist ranch in Wyoming, but it would be a spoiler for me to say much more than that. One thing I will say is that they each had to overcome seriously messed up views of men and women and sex. It’s one of the things that made Keepsake such an interesting read, as well. Keepsake looks at it from a man’s point of view, and Heartland sees it from a woman’s.

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you may know that I don’t read blurbs, especially when it’s an author I love.  I actually don’t want to know what is going to happen in a book (or movie or TV show) before I read or watch it. If I know something ahead of time, I’ll spend the whole time anticipating when that thing is going to happen, and I won’t be fully present. So I did not know anything about what Heartland was going to be about, except that the main character was Dylan Shipley.

The last book I read as part of an ARC team was Crush, by Mae Wood. I love her books, but I didn’t really like this one because the heroine was 22. It has been a long time since I was 22, and I couldn’t relate, plus I have a daughter who is 20, so I usually avoid books about kids in college. Dylan is 20, and the heroine, Chastity, is 21, and yet I didn’t have a problem with this story. I’m not really sure what the difference was, but I was hooked from the start of this book and I didn’t want to put it down!

Books, New Release, Romance, series

New Release – Heartland, True North series #7, by Sarina Bowen

CREDITS: Photo by David Vance, Design by Sarah Hansen at Okay Creative

HEARTLAND BY SARINA BOWEN

A standalone romance in the USA Today best-selling True North world.

January 28, 2020

Goodreads: https://geni.us/HeartlandGoodread

Expect: cute goats, college parties, caramels, a hot, broody farm boy and a broken girl who can’t stop loving him.

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.

But I know better than to confess.

Now that I’ve joined him at college, I’m seeing a new side of him. This Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.

Until the moment I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.

One crazy night sets our friendship on fire. But now my heart lies in ashes, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Heartland is a standalone college romance set in the True North world. Expect: a young, broody farmer, a giant crush, tasty caramels, cute goats and late night confessions.  

RELEASE DAY EXCERPT FROM HEARTLAND

“So why were you having a bad day, anyway?” Ellie asks. “Man trouble?”

“Not exactly. It’s more like a lack of man trouble. I kissed my hot algebra tutor. And I wasn’t supposed to.”

Her big eyes widen. “Which hot algebra tutor? You never said.”

“He doesn’t work at the lab,” I say hastily. “He’s a friend. And he wants to stay that way.”

“Oh.” She looks deflated. “That is a bummer.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No.” She makes a face. “It would be nice, though. This year is kind of lonely. My roommate is a total bitch.”

“Oh, I have one of those, too.” 

“Yeah?” Ellie’s eyes brighten. “Does yours steal your clothes and then lie about it?”

“Um, no. She wouldn’t want any of my things. We have singles, anyway. Just a common bathroom.”

“Lucky! She must be easier to stand, then.”

“You’d think.” I take a gulp of mint tea. 

“My roommate took my brand-new scarf. With the tags still on! And when I called her out on it, she tried to gaslight me.”

“Gaslight?” I feel my cheeks flush like they sometimes do when I don’t understand the idioms that people use.

“You don’t know Gaslight? It’s a movie from the forties.”

“Ingrid Bergman,” says Dylan’s voice. “We haven’t got around to the classics yet.”

I startle, sloshing my tea over my hand. And when I look up, Dylan is right there. Clear brown eyes. Tousled hair. Tight, muscular body that’s clothed in a nice sweater and ripped jeans. A handsome face that I finally kissed.

Pain slices through me. Because I’m never going to get over him. There will never be a day when I look at Dylan and don’t wish for more.

“Can I talk to you for a quick second?” he asks, taking the mug and grabbing a napkin off the table. He wipes the tea off my hand.

“Now is not a good time,” I say quickly. Because I don’t want to cry in the coffee shop in front of my only new friend.

Dylan actually rolls his eyes. “Fifteen seconds, Chass. Give a man a break.”

I’d talk to you.” Ellie raises her hand like a school girl. “Pick me.”

And that’s just what I need—another girl in my life who’s swooning for Dylan. Because that always turns out well. 

“Fine. Fifteen seconds.” I jump to my feet. Let’s get this over with.

Dylan takes my arm and tows me gently over toward the bulletin board, where nobody is currently reading the flyers for meditation circles and ski equipment sales. 

“Look, I’m sorry,” is his opener. “You’re avoiding me. Not that I blame you. I’m sorry things got so out of control.”

“Which things?” I ask warily. Because I don’t want an apology for fooling around with me.

“Pick one!” Dylan raises his hands. “All the things. I shouldn’t have been so inappropriate.”

“But…” I know Dylan was in a serious state of drunken depression when he kissed me. It’s not like I was expecting to hear those kisses made him as happy as they made me. But would it kill him to be a little less patronizing? “Dylan, I’m not twelve years old. It was just a kiss or two. I don’t think I’ll need a full course of therapy to recover.”

He blinks. “Okay. Good?”

“So did you really need to drag me over here to apologize a third time? Did you apologize to all the girls you kissed during Spin the Bottle in seventh grade?” 

I heard about Spin the Bottle and Seven Minutes in Heaven only last year, by eavesdropping on Debbie and her buddies at another bonfire. I’d been transfixed by their tales of who’d kissed whom over the years and how often. 

At thirteen, Spin the Bottle would have sounded like heaven to me. Seven minutes in a closet with a boy? I would have lobbied for eight. I was always the most inappropriate girl in the bunch. 

Yet somehow Dylan sees me as some kind of innocent child. 

“No. Good point.” He crosses his delicious arms and smiles at me. “You are in a feisty mood today.”

“Is that so wrong?”

“No.” He shakes his handsome head. “Not at all. Are we going to hug it out?” He opens his big arms wide.

Oh boy. I can’t resist stepping into them. And when he pulls me in, I experience the familiar hormone rush that always happens when I’m close to him. Rapid heartbeat? Check. Goosebumps? Check. My nose lands against his flannel shirt. 

My mouth is mere inches from his, of course. But this time he has no interest in kissing me. It takes all my willpower to give him a squeeze and then step back.

“Be well, Chass. I’ll leave you to your tutoring session, even if you’re basically cheating on me right now. But we’re still making caramels this weekend, right? I told Griffin we could use six gallons of goat’s milk. Don’t make a liar out of me.”

“I won’t,” I say quickly. I might be slightly irritated at him, but it will blow over. My capacity to forgive him for not loving me back is basically infinite. “We’ll leave right after Friday classes?”

“You got it. And this is for you. Share it with your friend.” He pulls something out of his pocket. “More market research.”

He puts a little box in my hand and then walks away.

As always, it takes me a second to get over my hormone rush. I stand there blinking for a long moment until I realize Ellie is grinning at me from the sofa. So I go back over to her and sit down.

“Wow…” she says, stealing a glance at Dylan’s retreating backside. “Is that hot hunk of Vermont male your algebra tutor?”

“Yes.” My voice is gravel.

“And your future ex-boyfriend?”

“Nope. I’ll never get that chance. He’s my best friend, but…” There’s no tidy explanation.

“But you want more. I would if it were me.”

I nod, miserable. 

VENDOR LINKS

Amazon https://geni.us/HeartlandAmazon 

Apple https://geni.us/HeartlandApple

Kobo https://geni.us/HeartlandKobo 

Nook https://geni.us/HeartlandNook 

Google https://geni.us/HeartlandGoogle

Books, Free book, Romance, series

FREE BOOK – Payback by Amy Daws – Today only!

Payback by Amy Daws is FREE for a limited time!! If you’ve read Blindsided, this is the story of Mac’s best friend – but both can be read as standalones!

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ALLIE HARRIS WANTS PAYBACK.

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THE PROBLEM?

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Books, Romance

Review of: Love Like Ours (Sugar Lake #3) by Melissa Foster

 4 out of 5 stars

Love Like Ours was such a treat! So much so, it should come in a Sweetie Pie Bakery box!

The Dalton family returns in this third book of the Sugar Lake series. This time, it’s Talia’s story. The careful professor has been hesitant to date, but her sisters aren’t having it.  This loving tale reminds us that we never know what anyone else is going through in their personal lives. Will Derek’s interesting career choice become a deal breaker? It’s always hard to resist the magic of her mother’s love potions (much to the eye rolls of the family).

Melissa’s descriptions and word choice for character dialog is so realistic, you really get to know the characters and their different personalities. I smiled and giggled many times throughout the book. So many amusing scenes.  The romance is off the chart in this one. Page after page, I got sucked in and lost track of time! Another great piece of this book is how Derek’s drawings create a vivid mental picture of important moments of their story. So clever!

I hope we see more in this series because I would LOVE to know what will happen with Piper, and if Ben and Aurelia ever get their acts together. Will Fletch find a love interest? I’d also enjoy reading more about the success of Derek’s business venture in the future. So many places to go with this intriguing family.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“I don’t know, Teach. Is this like when adults offer kids candy to take a ride in their van? I’m smart. You’ve got to show me the candy first.”

“You can trust me to be careful with your heart.”

“Which one called you–the sugar pusher, the not-so-sweet mama, or the one who thinks s** is a breakfast entree?”  (this cracked me up)

“Life is short,” India said. “We capture the good times when we can.”

Buy on Amazon