I’m a big fan of Toni Blake’s Destiny series and friends to lovers storylines, so I was really looking forward to Amy...more3 ½ stars – Contemporary Romance
I’m a big fan of Toni Blake’s Destiny series and friends to lovers storylines, so I was really looking forward to Amy and Logan’s book. And while I enjoyed the comfy familiarity of once again visiting small town Destiny, Ohio and spending time with its endearing characters, I was disappointed with the romance this time around.
The H/h pairing of town good girl and resident matchmaker, Amy, and her hunky firefighter lifelong best friend, Logan, had potential for a great romance but unfortunately didn’t quite deliver and fell rather flat. Their relationship progression from friends to sudden attraction following an awkward kiss to unexpected “is this love that I’m feeling” just didn’t seem believable, especially with Logan spending a significant amount of time flirting with and circling around a woman from the past whose surprise appearance in Destiny and competition for Logan’s attention makes Amy rather miserable. The triangle went on far too long, and I just didn’t buy the character motivations, romance, or eventual HEA.
My biggest complaint was with Logan’s character, or more accurately, his shortage of appeal. I’m a hero-centric romance reader and Logan was sorely lacking as a romantic hero. He was immature, selfish, oblivious, inconsiderate, and pretty much an a**hat for most of the book. His constant ineptitude regarding Amy’s feelings was frustrating, and I wanted her to realize that she deserved better. I actually found myself thinking she should have explored things with Lucky’s biker friend, Duke. (I hope Ms. Blake gives us his story at some point!) I also felt like there wasn’t nearly enough of Logan’s POV, which probably exacerbated his a**hat status.
So, not as good as previous books in the series, but I’m still a fan and look forward to returning to Destiny when Half Moon Hill comes out. I can’t say I “really liked it” for 4 stars but it’s better than just a 3...therefore I’m rating it 3 ½ stars.
Big thanks to Lindsey and Ms. Blake for providing me with an ARC!
I intended to write a review for this long before now, but life has been rather stressful lately and sidetracked...more4 stars – Contemporary/Holiday Romance
I intended to write a review for this long before now, but life has been rather stressful lately and sidetracked me a little. But better late than never I suppose.
Toni Blake’s Destiny series has all the things I love in contemporary romance: a charming small town setting, genuine characters, witty dialogue, humor, intense emotion, and steamy love scenes. I find that holiday themed romances serve as great reminders of why I enjoy reading romance and also help inspire me to get in the spirit, so a Christmas themed addition to the Destiny series was a joy indeed.
‘Tis the Season for reflection, remembrance, and celebration of what’s truly important in life: family, friends, love, laughter, music, food, and yes, romance. But Sue Ann, who’s still reeling from her husband’s emotional betrayal and their recent divorce, is finding the Christmas holiday season less than jolly. A quiet, solitary getaway at a remote lake resort seems like an ideal solution to help her get in the holiday mood, and the last thing she expected is to find herself stuck in a cabin during a snowstorm with her ex-husband’s best friend, Adam Becker.
Adam is feeling rather Grinch-ish about spending the season without his kids and isn’t any happier to find himself bunking down with Sue Ann than she is. Well, that is until their surprising mutual attraction sparks hotter than a roaring cabin fire and they discover all kinds of steamy, creative, and festive ways to enjoy being snowed in together. But once they’re back in their hometown of Destiny, things aren’t quite so simple, and Adam finds that convincing Sue Ann to take a chance on them might just take a holiday miracle. It’s a good thing he’s got a reindeer trick up his sleeve.
Being told “I’m not in love with you anymore” by the person she loved and trusted most left Sue Ann devastated and heartbroken. She’s struggling to rebuild her life and to heal and opening her barely mended heart and giving her fragile trust again seems too risky. But she’s determined to make the season not only as normal as possible, but also special and memorable, for her young daughter. Adam’s friendship and support brings extra cheer and warmth to their holiday, and when he gives her daughter a Christmas surprise she’ll never forget, Sue Ann learns that putting your faith, hope, trust, and love in the right person is a truly rewarding gift.
Holly Lane is a feel-good romance and a wonderful respite from the hectic holiday season. 4 stars!
I received this Avon/HarperCollins e-ARC from Lindsey Faber, Toni Blake’s assistant, via NetGalley.com.
H – Holy Hot Tamales Batman! O – Our grandmothers would be shocked and appalled to discover their beloved chocol...more4 ½ stars – Contemporary Erotic Romance
H – Holy Hot Tamales Batman! O – Our grandmothers would be shocked and appalled to discover their beloved chocolate meringue pie being used in such a naughty fashion. Chocolate pie as a sexual turn-on? Meringue as lubricant in unmentionable, private places? T – Tsk-tsk, tut-tut! Can’t you just see the stunned, disapproving headshakes?
This book is fire alarm smokin’ HOT, the sex is raunchy, and there’s dirty talk aplenty, but it also has a poignant storyline about two damaged people who connect sexually but may or may not be best for each other emotionally. 4 ½ stars!(less)
Reading Toni Blake's Destiny series is like coming home and visiting with dear friends, and Whisper Falls is my favorite...more5 stars – Contemporary Romance
Reading Toni Blake's Destiny series is like coming home and visiting with dear friends, and Whisper Falls is my favorite book in the series so far, which is really saying something considering how much I enjoyed the first two books. There seems to be a noticeable trend lately in contemporary romance of characters returning to their small hometowns, but this has more depth than most, making it one of the better series. There are several attributes about the Destiny series that I love, including its perfect balance of charm, humor, drama, and steamy romance. But one of the strongest elements is its genuine characters with realistic flaws, and Lucky and Tessa are by far my favorite hero and heroine and romantic couple of the series.
Tessa Sheridan is back in her hometown of Destiny, Ohio seeking a serene fresh start to recuperate from a debilitating illness that caused her thriving big city interior design career to disintegrate. She just wants peace and privacy living in her remote cabin in the woods, and the last thing she expected was to have a hot, tall, muscled, long-haired, tattooed, and possibly dangerous biker for her new neighbor. Tessa's surprised to discover that he's Lucky Romo, Destiny's long lost, notorious bad boy, but even more shocking is the powerful, yet unwanted sexual attraction she feels toward him.
Lucky Romo left Destiny years ago without a word to anyone, and his whereabouts since have been a subject of shady speculation. Now he's back in the hometown that caused him so much grief as a teen and that he once swore he'd never return to, for mysterious reasons. Lucky hires Tessa to redecorate his house, and as they spend time together, a friendship develops and the explosive attraction between them ignites. Lucky has a dark, painful past that he'd like to forget and keep private, but can Tessa ever truly trust him without knowing his secrets? And is it too late for Lucky to reconcile with his family, especially his angry older brother Mike, who also happens to be a dedicated local cop?
Tessa and Lucky have combustible chemistry, but they also complement each other in so many ways. They're both surprised to find themselves attracted to someone so different than their usual type, but their emotional connection reinforces the strong physical desire they feel for each other. Tessa admires Lucky's artistic talent and the way he's found success doing what he loves with his custom bike painting business. She's determined to live life to the fullest and not let her disease control her or dictate who she is, and her emotional strength, positivity, and zest for experiencing all of life's pleasures is inspiring to Lucky. Tessa grows more liberated and daring because of her relationship with Lucky, and he becomes less guarded and more open with his feelings.
The romance between Tessa and Lucky was sexy, touching, fun, sweet, and steamy, and the relationship conflict was realistic, especially when Lucky's dark past endangers the trust and sanctuary they've found in each other. There were so many tender, heartfelt, and romantic moments between them. I loved when he insisted on taking care of her, the sweet scene in the park, and the sexy way he called her “hot stuff”. And it has one of the most sigh-worthy, romantic, and touching endings that I've read.
Tessa's cheerful attitude despite her health adversity was admirable, and I loved how she found encouragement from watching Ellen's TV show and optimistic life quotes. I definitely agree that laughter and dancing are powerful therapies and two of life's greatest pleasures.
Whisper Falls is another wonderful, entertaining story with great characters from talented author Toni Blake, and I highly recommend it for fans of hot, emotional contemporary romance, especially those who love sexy, sweet bad boy heroes.
This was an ARC, received courtesy of NetGalley.com. And I’d like to give a special appreciation to Lindsey Faber, Toni Blake’s personal assistant, for her perseverance in getting me a copy. Thanks Lindsey!
I was fortunate to receive an ARC copy of this from one of my ‘good’ Goodreads friends (thanks, KarLynP!), and I was hap...more5 stars – Contemporary Romance
I was fortunate to receive an ARC copy of this from one of my ‘good’ Goodreads friends (thanks, KarLynP!), and I was happy to return to Ms. Blake’s quaint city of Destiny for some smokin’ hot small town lovin’!
It’s a charming, fun, sweet, emotional, and steamy love story about independent, ad executive, Chicago city girl, Rachel Farris, who loves the security and freedom that her successful, single lifestyle brings, almost as much as her most treasured Manolo Blahniks, but finds her priorities and desires turned upside down and inside out by hardened, gruff, by the book, small town cop, Mike Romo, when she returns to her hometown of Destiny, Ohio to help her grandma Edna with the family apple orchard.
So what if the Farris and Romo families have been feuding for years and that Rachel and Mike initially can’t stand each other? He’s a hunky, brooding, sexy, commanding cop with delicious chocolate brown eyes and an impressive...ahem...package, and opposites must definitely attract because she can’t seem to resist the explosive sexual chemistry that makes her toes curl inside her prized Jimmy Choos!
Although I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as One Reckless Summer, it’s still a wonderful, feel-good contemporary romance...oh, and did I mention that it’s smokin’ hot?! Whew, Toni Blake can write one heck of a scorcher when it comes to love scenes...and there are plenty of steamy moments in this to indulge in some wickedly hot, fun cop fantasies! With a strong cast of secondary characters providing promising future storyline possibilities, I’m anxious to see what’s in store next for the folks of Destiny. Sugar Creek is a truly delightful, touching, and sexy romantic read! 5 stars!
One Reckless Summer is a very touching, sweet, and steamy contemporary romance that’s a perfect escapist read for a hot,...more5 stars – Contemporary Romance
One Reckless Summer is a very touching, sweet, and steamy contemporary romance that’s a perfect escapist read for a hot, lazy summer day, but it also has emotional depth and makes you think and feel.
Jenny Tolliver returns to her small hometown of Destiny, Ohio to spend a summer in the lakeshore cottage where she grew up to heal and regroup from a painful divorce that’s left her self-esteem and soul bruised and battered. Her ex-husband had an affair with Jenny’s 21-year-old teaching assistant at the school where they both worked as teachers, resulting in a crumbled marriage and her leaving the job she’s comfortable with. Her cheating “rat bastard” ex blames his affair with a “chippie” on the fact that Jenny’s too much of a good girl and just too nice to meet his needs in the bedroom. He even compares her to June Cleaver...yikes!
While staying the summer in Destiny, Jenny hopes to rediscover and reinvent herself while catching up with her childhood girlfriends. She’s tired of being the perfect, good girl and wants to prove, especially to herself, that there’s much more to her than that. She gave up her dream of being an astronomer to teach because her husband convinced her that it was foolish. Jenny’s nursing a broken heart and spirit, and she never expected to find everything she ever wanted and needed in town bad boy Mick Brody.
Mick Brody and his older brother come from the wrong side of the tracks, or lake in this particular town, and were Destiny’s notorious hellraisers. Mick and Jenny were in total opposite worlds as teenagers, but they shared a memorable moment of attraction that both were too scared to act on because of Jenny’s innocence and good girl reputation and Mick’s bad boy ways. Mick left Destiny to avoid following in his brother’s criminal footsteps and to turn his life around. Now he’s come home in secret to fulfill a promise to his brother that could cause a lot of trouble if discovered.
When Jenny crosses paths with Mick while trespassing on his family’s property across the lake to use their hill for stargazing, Mick makes her swear to keep his presence and secret from everyone in town, including her sheriff father. Of course, they experience an explosive attraction that ignites a wild, passionate, reckless affair that’s sure to complicate matters, and neither is prepared for it to evolve into a serious, deep relationship.
This is a very pleasant contemporary romance with lots of steamy sex scenes, and although there’s nothing too overtly erotic, it’s definitely hot! What’s really surprising, at least it was for me, is how heartwarming, moving, and thought provoking the story is. Jenny is a lovable heroine, and anyone who’s been hurt and left to pick up the pieces after a devastating break-up or divorce can relate to her. Mick comes from a poor, abusive background and has always been an outsider looking in, longing to be a part of Jenny’s world and to be accepted by the town. Anyone who’s ever been judged, teased, ridiculed, looked down on by the rich, popular crowd, and/or had to overcome abuse or hardships can relate to his struggles. I had tears in my eyes a few times, especially reading the scenes involving Mick and his brother. Jenny and Mick make a great couple, both trying to shed unfair stereotypes, her always feeling judged as the good girl and him never quite feeling good enough.
It’s an emotionally moving, tender, and steamy romance with great characters and a terrific story about looking beyond misconceptions, past mistakes, labels, and appearances, that things aren’t always black and white, and the healing power of forgiveness and love, even for yourself. It’s a delightful contemporary romance and a great summer read. I’m looking forward to the next book in this terrific new series. 5 stars! (less)
There’s probably not much left to say that hasn’t already been covered since many of my GR friends hav...more**spoiler alert** 5 stars – Contemporary Romance
There’s probably not much left to say that hasn’t already been covered since many of my GR friends have already written such great reviews, so I’ll just join the bandwagon and do a little bit of gushing.
Letters to a Secret Lover is a fun, sweet, sexy, touching, smokin’ hot contemporary romance with a H/H who’s initial opposition transitions to an explosive attraction that results in a steamy affair and of course leads to a deep emotional connection. It’s reminiscent of Blake’s Destiny series and Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series (only waaay hotter) because of the charming small town setting of Moose Falls and endearing secondary characters that add an extra fun spark to the story.
I really liked Lindsey, even though she was a bit airheaded, naïve, shallow, and selfish at times, but she was also nice, funny, adorably cute and quirky, and most of all, real. I could totally see myself shopping and laughing over cosmos with her...or raiding her designer shoes. Her tendency to babble nonstop over ridiculous, random things when she was nervous was hilarious. I thought she was a perfect fit for Rob, who was such an incredibly sweet, romantic, caring soul underneath his surly, gruff, guarded, lone wolf, lumberjack persona. I just about melted over the way he insisted on always holding Lindsey’s hand, once she started to crack through his tough shell, and his fetish for her extravagant, animal print lingerie cracked me up. Their love scenes were supercharged with passion and scorching hot!
Rob’s painful, mysterious past and dangerous secrets were handled and revealed in a realistic, honest way. I just knew Lindsey’s revealing private details about her affair with Rob, however innocently, on her blog was going to have some serious consequences, but the twist and turn of events and character reactions still took me by surprise, which I liked since I find it irritating when I easily predict exactly what’s going to happen in a story.
So kudos to Ms. Blake for keeping the characters genuine, the story refreshing, the suspense exciting, the emotion compelling, and the romance extra steamy! It’s an enjoyable, moving romance with a lovable H/H that had me laughing, sighing, smiling, reaching for some ice water, and even crying. 5 stars!