Auntee's Reviews > Willow Springs

Willow Springs by Toni Blake
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May 20, 12

bookshelves: contemporary-romance, part-of-a-series, toni-blake-lacey-alexander, 2012_reads
Recommended for: Fans of the series; Fans of Virgin River series
Read from May 15 to 18, 2012

Well, Toni Blake has done it again. Much like Robyn Carr and her tremendously popular, down-home Virgin River series, Toni Blake has captured the mood of small town (Destiny, Ohio) life with her vivid characterizations, natural dialogue, and picturesque setting. Reading a Destiny novel is like slipping into a pair of your favorite worn jeans after a stressful day--very comforting and relaxing. And while this story may not be my favorite of the whole series as far as wringing the emotion out of me (that honor goes to One Reckless Summer) or favorite hero, it did make me tear up a couple of times and the heroine (Amy) more than made up for any of the hero Logan's shortcomings.

So, the plot...Amy Bright, 34-year-old (view spoiler), book store owner, unofficial town matchmaker, all around good girl, and notorious cat lover, is preparing for the upcoming weddings of two of her best friends (Rachel--Sugar Creek, and Tessa--Whisper Falls). The fact that all her friends have found their special someone has Amy facing some hard truths. Will she ever find someone to love? Of course she loves her best friend from childhood, firefighter Logan Whitaker, but only as a friend. But when a tragedy at work has Logan mired in a deep depression, Amy is by his side to pull him out of it. That's what friends do, right? When Amy is the recipient of a drunken kiss from Logan, she realizes that her feelings for him may be more than just 'friendship'. Could it be that Amy has "I'd-like-to-be-your-lover and-something-more" feelings for the handsome Logan? And how would Logan feel if shy Amy got up the nerve to tell him? Maybe if she wrote him some steamy notes to tell him just how much she desires him...but signs them from "Your Secret Admirer"?

Amy..."au natural"...
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and more "glam"...
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Okay, sounds like Amy is about to make something happen out of her non-existent love life. But just when she sets the ball in motion, and starts to get Logan to notice her as more than just his "Freckles" (and boy, that nickname started to annoy me after a while) an unexpected, complicated beauty with a connection to Logan's past arrives in town, catches his eye, and throws a kink into her plans. Now what will Amy do? Is there any hope that she can compete with this stunner? Will Logan only see Amy as his best buddy, or will he open his eyes and see that Amy may be the best thing that could ever happen to him?

Logan...
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So yes, the plot is your 'friends-to-lovers' story, and it's not all that complicated, but it sure had me turning the pages. Now Logan--he's a good guy, sexy and cute, a good friend to Amy and good pals with Mike Romo (Sugar Creek)-- which is important to the plot. At times I felt that he was not the sharpest tool in the shed, at least when it came to Amy and her feelings. I realize that he was going through a personal crisis where he wasn't sure if he wanted to continue being a firefighter, wasn't experienced in having a committed relationship, so he was a little mixed up in his thinking. I thought that maybe it wasn't a good time for him to start an intimate relationship with Amy, but once they were intimate, he should've realized what that would mean to her. In other words--don't be wishy washy and think you might like to be with someone else--don't take dear, sweet Amy for granted! I will give him high marks for how special he treated Amy her first time, but...I guess I wanted him to face his feelings a little sooner and not put Amy on hold.

Now Amy, I loved. She's the kind of character that you could easily relate to. The good girl who everyone likes, but often times gets taken for granted; the one who doesn't make a lot of noise or cause a lot of drama, but sometimes gets overlooked. I liked that in this story Amy started speaking up and telling people what she wanted and expected. She still was nice sweet Amy, but with a little more backbone and sassiness.

The love scenes--not a whole lot (I think maybe three or four) but well executed (nothing kinky, but plenty steamy). And none of them in a traditional setting. Let's just say that both parties were more than satisfied.

This pontoon boat sees some action...
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Amy's cat, 'Mr. Knightley', among the books...
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Toni Blake's writing kept me reading and turning the pages even when I was miffed with Logan. I loved the scenes with Amy and her girlfriends (especially Tessa) as they plotted to get Logan to really 'see' Amy. TB is a fantastic storyteller, made the characters come alive, kept the story moving smartly, and brought up a lot of issues (those would be spoilers if revealed) that made me think. It was fun catching up with all the characters--I was afraid I wouldn't remember all the others' stories, but TB worked it all in seamlessly.

I'm hoping that this isn't the end of the series, since all the girlfriends have had their HEAs. I'm hoping we might get a story for Duke (who was used to great effect)-- Lucky's biker pal, or maybe Tessa's brother, who's in Afghanistan, and certainly for the woman who blew into town unexpectedly and decided to stay--that's a no-brainer, she has to get a HEA. I know one thing--I'd be happy if this series could go on and on like Robyn Carr's Virgin River. If it does, I'll read every one of them! 4 1/2 stars

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Reading Progress

05/15/2012 page 1
0.0% 3 comments
05/16/2012 page 40
10.0% "Uh-oh. Wow...didn't see that coming..."
05/16/2012 page 159
41.0% "Well it's about time you clueless...fool"
05/16/2012 page 167
43.0% "Duke?! C'mon Amy, make your move before it's too late..."
05/17/2012 page 261
68.0% "C'mon Logan, figure it out!"
05/17/2012 page 384
100.0% "Good story. I'm happy. Review to come..."

Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

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Dorsey aka Wrath Lover & KA Addict Lucky you!! Looking forward to this book and your review :)


Auntee I am so happy to be reading this one!:)


Dorsey aka Wrath Lover & KA Addict I bet! Looking forward to your review ;)


message 4: by MountainKat (new) - added it

MountainKat Nice review Auntee! I will have to check this series out. It is hard to know whether to thank you for adding to my TBR or curse you?!

Oh look! I have the first book in my TBR! It is so big I don't even know what is buried in there...


Auntee Thanks MountainKat!

Aha! Now you can dive right in! One Reckless Summer is probably my favorite of the series.:)


message 6: by Dorsey aka Wrath Lover & KA Addict (last edited May 21, 2012 07:09AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dorsey aka Wrath Lover & KA Addict GREAT review Auntee....pre ordered my copy!! Cannot wait to read it ;)


Mareli Robyn Carr's VR is one of my favourite series! I'm always glad to discover some other jewels here and there! Thanks for the recommendations!


message 8: by Vicki (new) - added it

Vicki Great review, I'm excited to read this book...like Dorsey, I'm going to pre order my copy! :)


Auntee Thanks ladies, enjoy!
This is such a great contemporary series.:)


message 10: by TJ (new)

TJ Crap! One more series, I'm going to have to start! I have never read Toni Blake, but after this one single review, I'm stuck with an obsession to start! Great review Auntee :o)


message 11: by Dorsey aka Wrath Lover & KA Addict (last edited May 22, 2012 04:42PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dorsey aka Wrath Lover & KA Addict TJ wrote: "Crap! One more series, I'm going to have to start! I have never read Toni Blake, but after this one single review, I'm stuck with an obsession to start! Great review Auntee :o)"

It's a really GREAT series TJ!! Toni Blake's writing is similar to Jill Shalvis if you are familiar with her....


Auntee Thanks TJ--sorry you have to add another series to the TBR pile though!:) But I think this one is worth it.:)


Dorsey aka Wrath Lover & KA Addict Auntee wrote: "Thanks TJ--sorry you have to add another series to the TBR pile though!:) But I think this one is worth it.:)"

I agree Auntee....it's soooo good and your reviews totally do it justice :)


Auntee Thank you Dorsey!


message 15: by Anne OK (new)

Anne OK Super review Auntee! I'm really looking forward to TB's latest release. The "Destiny" series is one of my favorites! And I'm a big fan of all the books Toni has written.


Auntee Thanks Anne!
I think Destiny fans will really enjoy this one. I hope this series just goes on and on and on...:)


Dorsey aka Wrath Lover & KA Addict Auntee wrote: "Thanks Anne!
I think Destiny fans will really enjoy this one. I hope this series just goes on and on and on...:)"


Me too ;)


message 18: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen How did I miss that you read this book? I absolutely LOVE this series and can hardly wait for it's release. Great review BTW :-)


message 19: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Oh and One Restless Summer was my favorite so far too.


Auntee Thanks Kathleen--this is one of my favorite series too. I know you're going to love it!:)


♡Karlyn P♡ I'm reading this now (on page 135), and so far great but I want to slap Logan upside the head!!!


Auntee I know what you mean--he's totally clueless!:)


♡Karlyn P♡ Ill finish it today, sure hope Amy makes him grovel for being so clueless, lol.


Auntee Well...I won't spoil it for you!:)


Lisa Kay Wonderful review, Auntee! Love the pics, as usual!


Auntee Thanks Lisa Kay!:)


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