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Eternity Springs #14

The First Kiss of Spring

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Spring has come to Eternity Springs in the newest installment in this New York Times bestselling series by Emily March.

When Josh Tarkington gets stuck on a gondola with the lovely Caitlin Timberlake, he thinks his consistently bad luck might have changed.

After their blossoming romance is interrupted, Caitlin realizes that her encounter with Josh was a sign that she needed to make a major life change. So she packs up her things and moves to Eternity Springs, opens a day care, and sets her cap for the town’s mechanic—Josh.

But Josh is hiding a well of secrets that would ruin him, and his relationship with everyone in Eternity Springs—especially Caitlin. When tragedy strikes, Josh and Caitlin find themselves, and their relationship, tested beyond imagining. Will they be able to find their way back to each other?

368 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published February 27, 2018

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About the author

Emily March

61 books1,374 followers
Pseudonym(s): Geralyn Dawson

Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a "master of delightful banter," and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 354 reviews
Profile Image for Julie .
4,025 reviews58.9k followers
July 27, 2018
The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March is a 2018 St. Martin’s Press publication.

A Touching story of home, family, and redemption.

At first glance, Josh Tarkington is an ordinary resident of Eternity Springs, an auto mechanic by trade, but unknown to many, he may be one of the unluckiest people on planet earth.

So, it’s just his luck when he gets stuck on a gondola ride. However, he manages to pass the time with Caitlin Timberlake, who is in Colorado for a wedding. Before all is said and done, he’s agreed to be her ‘plus one’ for the event.

Could his luck be changing? Well, maybe not right away. Josh just happens to be harboring a big secret about his past, a secret he will protect at all costs. But, if his past has taught him anything, it’s that he can’t do relationships, or fall in love. The stakes are too high, and he won’t risk hurting himself or anyone else, ever again.

Caitlin is ready to leave the rat race of New York City. She’s returning home to Eternity Springs and plans to open a daycare center. But, she knows her parents, her mother, especially, may not be thrilled by her news. But, when she meets Josh Tarkington the realizes something very special could develop between them and plans to pursue all those possibilities. In fact,she's positive, someday she'll marry Josh Tarkington.

Emily March always manages to strike just the right balance in her stories. This one is a perfect blend of insightful family drama mixed into a sensual and emotional love story.

When Josh explains to Caitlin that despite her charms, she shouldn’t set her heart on him. He’s upfront and very honest about that. He's so sincere, in fact,he had me totally convinced. But, Caitlin still feels like he’s worth risking a broken heart for, so they agree to have a ‘friend affair'.

Meanwhile, Caitlin must convince her parents that she’s doing the right thing by leaving her career and moving back to Eternity Springs. But, her father isn’t as concerned about her career as he is about her interest in Josh Tarkington, a man he’s decided, rather hypocritically, isn’t good enough for his daughter.

The last book in this series was a really nice summer frolick, but this story is more of a return to form, dealing with some very heartbreaking themes. However,as with many ‘Eternity Springs’ novels, this story has a whimsical quality to it, a lightness that balances out the heavier subjects, the angst, and occasional sadness.

Caitlin’s unwavering faith, her confidence in her decisions, knowing what she wants and going for it, and her willingness to risk everything for a chance at true love is inspirational.

But, I think, Josh’s story is the centerpiece of the novel. He’s gone through some really tough times and carries around an enormous amount of weight in his heart. He’s the sort of damaged soul that breaks my heart and makes me want to reach inside the pages and give him a big hug!! The reader is made aware of some parts of his past, via his journal entries, but some of his revelations are simply stunning. The conclusion, though, is about as heartwarming as it gets, but you know it wouldn’t be an Eternity Springs novel if it wasn’t.

This is another stellar installment in this fine series. I can't hardly wait for the upcoming Christmas edition!!
Profile Image for Dani C. (Polly's Place).
546 reviews242 followers
March 21, 2018
What first drew me to this book is its lovely cover. I wish my house and yard looked that pretty! I was so taken with the cover that I didn’t realize that THE FIRST KISS OF SPRING is the fourteenth book in the Eternity Springs series. It appears that I have only read 1 other book in this series, so I was a bit worried I would be a little lost. I am happy to say that this book works great as a standalone!

Then the book started hitting one of my sensitive issues – child abuse. It didn’t go to deep, just touched on it enough to let you know it happened. Thankfully it was not enough to make me stop reading.

THE FIRST KISS OF SPRING by Emily March is an easy to read small town, contemporary romance. I enjoyed getting to know the characters. Josh has his own unique issues and reasons not to want to ever get in another serious relationship again. Caitlin is finally following her dreams and she has decided she want Josh by her side. But how long is she going to have to wait for him.

I am happy to say that I liked THE FIRST KISS OF SPRING so much I will be getting some of the others in this series very soon. I can’t wait to see what I missed!
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,766 reviews588 followers
January 28, 2018
His past is one of the best kept secrets in Eternity Springs and Josh Tarkington wants to keep it that way. His greatest fear? His past has cost him dearly and he has vowed never to taint anyone with his affections or to risk having his heart shredded again. Josh didn’t count on a chance encounter with the lovely Caitlin Timberlake who has come home to find that everything she left behind just may be exactly what she needs in her small town.

Caitlin is an idealist, perhaps sometimes a little too much and Josh is the guy who finds a gray cloud in front of any silver lining he might dream of. Talk about opposites attracting each other, like moths to a flame, a flame that threatens to burn with both passion and pain!

Looking for a sweet romance that has a tsunami of turmoil to overcome? THE FIRST KISS OF SPRING by Emily March satisfies that need for romance, pure and simple. It also satisfies a need to watch two people earn that romance, sometimes the hard way, sometimes by finally being open and honest, taking a chance on love, just one more time and daring to give it their all! Will they find that what they have a chance to live is worth the risks or not?

This definitely is a light-hearted romance, but it does have its dark streaks, and there are intense moments of heart wrenching soul searching and love blind, head-in-the-clouds dreaminess. Like I said, two opposites drawn to each other, exploring not only their own feelings but if they have what it takes to take a chance on love together! Expect some very high drama along with that sugar.

I received a complimentary ARC edition from St. Martin's Paperbacks. This is my voluntary review!

Series: Eternity Springs - Book 14
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (February 27, 2018)
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Number of Pages: 320
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for ♥ WishfulMiss ♥ .
1,079 reviews119 followers
February 27, 2018
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is it not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13;4-7

Where to start with this one … First off, I love this quote and reading it reminds me why I prefer to read romance over any other genre. I love a book that can deliver a believable love story. Whether it’s dramatic, OTT, sweet, cheesy, dark, hopeful or lighthearted. If it has a HEA and characters that I can connect with, I wanna read it. The First Kiss of Spring delivered on all the above. It has a lot of funny moments and a few tear jerker scenes but it balanced out nicely. It’s a love story with hard knocks but a happy ending :)

Quick Summary:
Caitlin is away from home for the weekend, to attend her best friend’s wedding. While out sightseeing, she bumps into Josh and his adorable wheelchair bound dachshund, Penny. They instantly hit it off and knowing that they both are playing tourist for the weekend and that a fling is all there could be between them, Cait and Josh let down their guard, deciding to enjoy each other’s company while it can last. Before things can get hot and heavy between them, Josh finds out it really can be a small world and that Caitlin’s from Eternity Springs, where Josh has recently settled and that her family still resides there. Putting the breaks on things quick, Josh backpedals before anything serious can happen, fearing that what little he can offer Caitlin (a short temporary affair) wasn’t worth the awkwardness of his new neighbors, especially since Eternity Springs is the first place in a long while to feel like home.

Caitlin regrets how things ended with Josh before they even began but when life throws her a curve ball, she decides to take the plunge and takes steps to follow her dream. Which means quitting her job and moving back home to open her own daycare center.

Josh new Caitlin was too good to be true and she was. No way does he want to mess up a good thing in Eternity Springs. He wasn’t a settled down and forever type and Caitlin was the marrying kind. But out of sight, out of mind right? Not. Because she’s back home and seems to pop up everywhere he goes. Temptation is harder to resist when she’s only a few doors down.

What I liked:
I loved the romantic town of Eternity Springs and their resident love guru, Celeste. She was such a sweet and adorable character, she definitely brought some humor to the story. I also liked Caitlin, she wasn’t a shy or fragile heroine, she makes up her mind about something (or in Josh’s case) someone and she goes after it full throttle. I liked that she was confident in her feelings and in her own skin to put herself out there so fearlessly.

Then there’s Josh. The glimpses of his past, his childhood and his family tore at my heart. I was not expecting that turn of events and with each snippet we got, I felt for him, more and more. Life certainly did not pull it’s punches when it came to Josh and I really wanted him to finally catch a break and be happy. With all the KOs he’s lived through, it’s no wonder he was running scared of the big bad l-o-v-e.

The story starts off fun and flirty and just hints at the more serious undercurrents of the characters. The pace picks up when Caitlin and Josh begin to see each other in a more permanent setting. Day to day interactions that start to reveal more and strengthens feelings too potent to deny for long.

Because I wasn’t expecting this to go down the route it took (the cover paints such a happy picture!) the intense emotional issues tackled between the MCs gave me more push/pull than I was looking for. Caitlin and Josh have a lot of obstacles to overcome and it isn’t always pretty. I loved these characters and was happy things worked out and I loved the hopefulness the MCs give off. There was no easy fix for the problems they faced but their positive outlook and love for each other nailed it.

Would I recommend?
Yes, if you like damaged heroes and strong heroines who don’t give up so easily, The First Kiss of Spring might be right up your alley.

* * * ARC provided for an honest review * * *
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All
thoughts and opinions are my own.

Profile Image for Tammy.
671 reviews43 followers
January 28, 2018
I loved Caitlin and Josh together.

Caitlin knew from the moment that she met Josh that he was the one for her. Needless to say, Josh doesn’t feel the same way. Josh has had some ruff times during his life, nothing but bad luck, so he tells Caitlin that they can never be more than friends. That he has nothing to offer her.

We see both of them face obstacles in their life and family in their book, The Fisrt KISS of Spring.

I love that we get to visit with past characters in this book, with one of them facing something major. You must read The First KISS of Spring to see what happens. Emily March always delivers us such wonderful stories from Eternity Springs.

ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
1,070 reviews27 followers
March 13, 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It held my attention and was full of great characters!

My only regret is that I had not read any previous books in the series! I think that would have helped me to understand some of the back stories better.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Profile Image for Bambi Unbridled.
1,282 reviews140 followers
February 19, 2018

I'm not gonna lie - I was totally sucked in by this cover. I just love the look of the colorful house in a small town Colorado setting... the whole thing is just appealing. I have not read any of Eternity Springs books, and I have not previously read Emily March. So I was trying something new here. And I'm glad I did! I want to move to Eternity Springs now... and I definitely need Celeste working her matchmaking magic to set me up.

Side note - while I didn't feel lost without having read the earlier books in the series, there is a ton of character crossover and maybe some spoilers for previous books. There was probably also some world building having to do with the town as the series has progressed. So you may want to start at the beginning instead of jumping in at Book 14 like me.

Caitlin Timberlake is a member of one of the founding families of Eternity Springs, and the youngest child of the Timberlake clan. Caitlin's mother has pushed her toward a big career designing textiles in New York City, and she is good at her job. But lately Caitlin has felt the itch to come home and be closer to family and maybe settle down in the process. All of these things definitely resonated with me. Caitlin was a likable heroine and her determination was admirable. I especially liked that she decided on our hero and was going after him gung-ho. I hate wishy washy heroines, and Caitlin was definitely not that.

Josh Tarkington is hiding out in Eternity Springs - hiding from his past, his demons, and from the possibility of love. There are journal entries from Josh interspersed throughout the chapters and I was a bit surprised by them... the tragic nature didn't seem to fit with the idyllic cover and setting of the story. But they will quickly sink their hooks into you and have you sympathizing with Josh and wanting to heal him with a hug. I applauded that he was able to escape his past and make a life for himself in Eternity Springs, and I was definitely sympathetic when those old demons started haunting him. And how can you not love a guy who has a doggie in a wheelchair?

So there is a definite meet cute moment between our couple in a gondola in Telluride... and it definitely made my sweet tooth ache. I thought that it was setting the tone for a sweet and sappy romance, but that is not really what you got. Instead we had a flawed hero and determined heroine set in a town where everyone has their issues, but seemingly maintains a positive outlook. Celeste seems to be the fairy godmother of Eternity Springs, a town matriarch if you will, and everyone goes to her for advice and comfort. All of the characters are church-going favorable individuals that left an overall content feeling to the reader. There was a little bit of steam but it did not overpower the story. I would maybe classify this one along the lines of a feel-good or sentimental or maybe even inspirational romance. It's a series that I will be more likely to pick up in the future.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, St. Martin's Press.
Profile Image for Carla.
5,920 reviews126 followers
September 1, 2018
I love a small town romance and this series fits the bill. I have read several books in this series and even though I have read them out of order, and not read them all, I never have an issue following the story. The first time Caitlin and Josh meet, they are sharing a gondola ride, with Josh's dog, Penny, who uses a wheelchair after breaking her back. When there is a major power outage, they are stuck for several hours together before getting rescued. They get to know a bit about each other and the next thing you know, Caitlyn has invited Josh to be her plus one at a wedding she is standing up in. As the story progresses, Caitlyn decides that she wants to marry this man, he on the other hand, does not want a commitment. He is looking for a friend with benefits.

I liked the way this book is written. Each chapter opens with a journal entry taking us into the past of one of the characters. We do not know who wrote these journals. This adds some angst to the story as these memories contain issues with child abuse, suicide and drug addiction. The romance plays out quickly at first, then due to situations in the story, it looks like it may not pan out. Their journey is rocky, there are family issues and secrets that come out that cause problems that must be dealt with. Like most second chance romances, they must review their life choices, often starting something new, move back home and listen to their hearts as well as to each other. There is so that happens in this story which makes it an enjoyable story. I recommend this one to anyone who enjoys contemporary and/or second chance romances. I requested and received a copy of this book from the pubisher, St. Martin's Press, to read. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Profile Image for Deanne Patterson.
1,826 reviews85 followers
February 26, 2018
I have to admit the cover for this book really drew me in. Who wouldn't want to live in a small town with houses,friends and family like this? This is my first book I've read in the series but I as able to enjoy it as a stand alone, which is a big bonus! The book kept me entertained and reading it quickly. Loved reading how Caitlin and Josh met. Fun, realistic book. I need to make time to read more books in this series.
Pub Date 27 Feb 2018
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a review copy. I was not required to write a positive review.
Profile Image for Michele A..
2,692 reviews13 followers
February 27, 2018
Josh Tarkington is a man on a mission to not feel anything remotely like love for a woman or a child again. He has reinvented himself from a tragic past and has no intentions of falling for a woman again. He is compassionate, successful and hiding some secrets. His journal entries were disturbing. His personal battles were not for the faint of heart. I did feel like he suffered quite a bit in this book. While I applauded his struggle, some of it was skirted over.

Caitlin is in town for a friend's wedding and bumps into Josh and his disabled dog, Penny and finds herself captivated. She has decided to make some changes in her life and knows that returning to Eternity Springs is now a certainty. She is a 29-year-old woman who still stomps around like a teenager while in the presence of her parents. Their dynamic was a bit choppy and I didn't feel much warmth from any of them. All of them told lies and kept secrets from each other, some worse than others.

Caitlin decides to pursue Josh, even though he is quite clear that he has no interest in anything permanent. She bulldozes her way into his life and then acts surprised when things don't pan out the way she wanted them to right away. Her character was difficult for me to relate to. She would make decisions that had no basis in reality, just what she wanted. She would get mad and then had a tantrum that reminded me of a toddler. Stomping her feet and carrying on didn't not endear her to me. Her constant whining and inability to act like an adult had me ready to stop reading this a time or two. For someone who was supposed to be trying to run a new business, she sure wasn't at work all that much. I applauded her in trying to take care of Josh, but instead of leaving him for a bit when he was grumpy, she would whine to someone about it. Her real fear of him not wanting her back if she left was extreme. Her inability to see that his present to her was real was kind of unbelievable.

Josh and Caitlin are very much aware that her father, Mac, does not approve of Josh. His character was hard to like and I found him overbearing at best. Her mother was all over the place. I guess since I haven't read any other books in this series that maybe that detracted from this book for me.

I will say this book deals with drug abuse, sexual abuse and alcohol abuse. It is done in an in your face way and the treatment was glossed over. There were some things that were never really dealt with and I had a hard time figuring out why they weren't. I had no issue with Josh trying to bury his past and Caitlin didn't seem to get that. She decided that he was there for nefarious reasons and came to her own conclusions just like her dad did.

Overall it was an okay read. I was hoping for more romance and less outside issues taking precedence. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
Profile Image for Amy.
679 reviews38 followers
February 3, 2018
I'm always willing to try out a new author or publisher. This one sounded good, thought I'd give it a try.

It's not for me. First of all, way too explicit. It has a really odd feel to it. You have some really devout church going characters, even quotes scripture and then follows a very trashy, lustful relationship. In other parts it borders on classy. It doesn't gel. Second despite the appeal of this ideal mountain small town near Telluride, CO - everyone is leading these unrealistic lives. Everyone's uber successful. Despite some dialogue between Caitlin's father, Mac & Josh later in the book there is no explanation for his massive initial dislike. He's a product of the foster system too? That automatically qualifies someone as screwed up. I don't like the implication. Second it goes way too far in descriptiveness of the drug and alcohol abuse, and let's just say other things Josh experienced as a child. Last year I read a fabulous book, that though a little heavier than I like addressed drug abuse in a careful manner and raises awareness, while being realistic and remaining true to the struggle it is. Ensured empathy, concern and a reason for hope. The journal entries were just plain disturbing - and I wondered just what genre this book falls under! Some things can be understood without full on in your face. I won't pick up another by this author or the publisher.

I received this eARC from Netgalley and this is my honest review.
Profile Image for Hannah.
1,999 reviews29 followers
March 1, 2018

Eternity Springs #14, Eternity Springs is where the heart goes to heal, and we've seen that in the previous thirteen book from near death experiences to falling in love again. Emily March has covered a wide range of issues and and trauma for these people and it never gets old, I love this series more now then when I first found it. It's the perfect place to fantasize about living there, about soaking in the hot springs and just letting the place heal whatever maybe wrong with your heart, to talk with Celeste, the town's personal angel, and getting some of her sage advice. Reading these books almost makes me homesick for a place that's never existed.

Josh Tarkington thinks he has the worst luck ever, an F5 tornado took the life of his fiancee and her daughter and then twice more a tornado destroyed his home, business, and once again the life of someone he cared about; moving out of Tornado Alley seemed the wisest thing to do. When Brock his foster brother invited him to Eternity Spring Josh thought it sounded like the best place to start over. Caitlin Timberlake didn't like Eternity Springs when her parents decided to leave Denver for the quaint little Mountain town but it grew on her and now no other place feels more like home, except she lives in NYC. Caitlin has some major life changes planned while she enjoys her work in NYC and everything she's experienced living there it's time she does something she actually loves; that means moving to Eternity Springs and starting a much needed daycare.

Josh and Caitlin have chance meeting on a gondola ride (no not the flat bottom boat you find in Italy the electric ones that go up and down mountains). When it gets stuck Josh and Caitlin have plenty of time to talk and get to know each other and not to mention the adorable wheelchair bound Dachshund, Penny. It's not until later when Caitlin's parents suddenly appear does Josh realize Caitlin is one of those Timberlakes. Josh not waiting to upset his new life in Eternity Springs decides it best not to pursue Caitlin. Caitlin has other plans and when she moves to Eternity Spring's she is almost certain she is already in love with Josh and is determined nothing is going to stop her from dating him. Starting first with a "Friend Affair" it isn't long before Josh and Caitlin decide to make a real thing of it and come out publicly as a couple. It isn't long after that then things start to go wrong. Josh has been pretty open about his past except for what came before his time in the foster system and when Josh is hit by a car everything about his childhood and the troubles that come with it are forced to come out. Is Caitlin's love strong enough to understand why Josh lied about it or is this finally going to push Josh over the deep end to the point of no return?

Overall, it is another outstanding novel from Emily March. I love the Journal entries in between the chapters it gives you a real good feel for the character and why that part was kept a secret. The side story with Mac and Ali was just as heartbreaking as the main story. Once again Eternity Springs works it's magic.
Profile Image for Elaine.
3,353 reviews103 followers
February 27, 2018
This is a sweet, contemporary, small town romance and works well as a standalone, even though it is the fourteenth in the series - I haven’t read any of the earlier books in the series and still enjoyed this one. It is different to many other stories as alternating chapters share information about the past and, for much of the story, you aren’t quite certain who has these memories, adding a layer of mystery and intrigue to the overall story. Tragedy, thoughts of suicide and child abuse play important roles in the story so if any of these are triggers for you, I’d suggest avoiding this book. However, they are dealt with comparatively sensitively and really are key to some of the actions and interactions which occur.

The first time Caitlin and Josh meet is sharing, getting stuck in and rescued from a gondola ride. He has his cute wheelchair using dog with him and the two have plenty of time to connect as they await rescue. Their romance is well portrayed, with plenty of reticence, angst and turmoil occurring during their fraught journey towards their HEA together. Their journey is anything but smooth - there are plenty of potholes along the way to trip them up and drive them apart! Reviewing your personal life choices, starting in a new way, moving home and so much more all happen in this story which I have no hesitation in recommending to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance with plenty of drama! I’ll definitely be looking out for more by this author in future.

I requested and received a copy of this novel. This is my honest review after choosing to read it.
Profile Image for Tracy.
684 reviews20 followers
February 26, 2018
I jumped into this series late- The First Kiss of Spring is book 14 of the series, and my first Eternity Springs novel. I can say it can be read as a standalone. There were couples and past events mentioned that I assume are from prior books, however it did not detract from the story at all.

I really liked the heroine and hero, Caitlin and Josh. Caitlin is a determined woman. She knows Josh is the one for her. She just can’t understand him, and he doesn’t want to be understood. His past is where he left it and he has no desire for anyone to revisit it. He has so many secrets, and resists Caitlin for so long.

The First Kiss of Spring is heartbreaking and hopeful. Some things, not related to it being part of a series, were confusing at first. It’s quickly revealed what’s between the chapters and it makes the story that much more intoxicating. The book was paced well, and the characters were easy to fall in love with. I would recommend this to the reader looking for an emotional tale.

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Profile Image for Lisa - (Aussie Girl).
1,331 reviews171 followers
March 8, 2018
This is a series that has really grown on me now that the author Emily March (Geralyn Dawson in another life) has got the balance right between the inspirational and the fact that most grown up people in a relationship do have intimate moments. Love the connection to her original Callahan series and the feel good storytelling about the people who call Eternity Springs home where love and good old fashioned decency heals all.
Profile Image for Minxy Melissa.
1,735 reviews66 followers
December 12, 2020
I love to get behind romances where I feel that the main character truly deserves to have unconditional love. The First Kiss of Spring was the perfect example of that type of story. Josh Tarkington had a troubled and turbulent past and he has been making strides to get everything under control and live a different life than his past had dictated. He had settled in Eternity Springs and started the life he had always wanted and he was satisfied with the way things were. He had also sworn off ever considering things like love, marriage, or children. It was not that he was never interested in those life markers, it was that he knew he would never be allowed to have them as fate seemed to destroy everything good that came his way.

Caitlin Timberlake was the opposite in that matter. She has lived her life and achieved all of her goals with the exception of one, finding her happily ever after with the right fella. Over the past few years she had been considering what it was that she really wanted to do with her life and right about the time she met Josh, she had truly cemented her new life plans. From the start her and Josh had hit it off but when they both discovered that he was living in Eternity Springs of which her family was actually a founding family, Josh had put an all stop to any hanky-panky between them. Josh did not want any complications in his social standing in town because he was not interested in anything besides friends with benefits with anyone and Caitlin’s family would not take that very well. Caitlin though saw things very differently with Josh and she decided that all was fair in love and war and she determined to show Josh that they were meant to be.

The relationship between Josh and Caitlin was developed nicely. They were both upfront and honest with what they wanted from each other and what they expected. Caitlin was not underhanded and Josh was not cruel in his rejection of her “ideas” of what they could be. They made their choices with everything out in the open. I definitely prefer that type of transparency in a romance! There was plenty of conflict throughout this story but it was due to Josh’s wounded past and life developments in Caitlin’s family. I just loved how this story was written and it was developed over time. There was a nice ebb and flow to this romance and it just made for a deeper intimacy for the main characters. Even though this was the fourteenth book in the series I did not feel that I was missing anything, even with the introductions of previous characters. I felt every bit a part of this story and fell in love with all the characters past and present. The First Kiss of Spring was a breath of fresh air and reading this story left me with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. It was a good read!

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
Profile Image for Chris Conley.
913 reviews11 followers
March 13, 2018
Okay, let’s be honest. I am a sucker for strong and flawed people who figure out a way to make their lives work. In Eternity Springs, these people find a home and community that help them achieve their dreams. I love this world that Emily March has created. These books are wonderful.
Profile Image for Mary Brown.
1,224 reviews49 followers
March 5, 2018
The First Kiss Of Summer
Eternity Springs, Book #14
Emily March
5 Stars


Spring has come to Eternity Springs in the newest installment in this New York Times bestselling series by Emily March.
When Josh Tarkington gets stuck on a gondola with the lovely Caitlin Timberlake, he thinks his consistently bad luck might have changed.
After their blossoming romance is interrupted, Caitlin realizes that her encounter with Josh was a sign that she needed to make a major life change. So she packs up her things and moves to Eternity Springs, opens a day care, and sets her cap for the town’s mechanic—Josh.
But Josh is hiding a well of secrets that would ruin him, and his relationship with everyone in Eternity Springs—especially Caitlin. When tragedy strikes, Josh and Caitlin find themselves, and their relationship, tested beyond imagining. Will they be able to find their way back to each other? (Goodreads)


The characters are well rounded and well developed. I really enjoyed getting to meet Caitlin and Josh. Caitlin is a small town girl who made a name for herself in New York as a textile designer. But she starts feeling like she wants to return home to be near her family and do something different in her life so that is what she does. Josh has a lot of baggage that he carries with him. He does not want a relationship or a happily ever after with anyone. He has too many bad memories from his past and he has too many secrets that he feels he must keep. But when Caitlin meets Josh, she knows that he is the one for her. Now she just has to convince Josh of that fact and that will not be easy. I thought that they made a great couple and I was pulling for them to get together.

The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is very talented in writing an emotional book and much of what happened pulled at my heartstrings. I really enjoyed that she included journal entries that helped with the backstory of the person writing the journal. She took some serious issues in our society, such as drug abuse, and wrote about them in a touching way. That could not have been easy.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written contemporary romance. This book will take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride but sometimes as a reader we all need that. It is not only a love story, it is a story about second chances, fighting for what you want and forgiving yourself as well as others.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.

Profile Image for Nadwa.
187 reviews28 followers
February 24, 2018
[I received a free advance review copy by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review]
God bless good small-town romance contemporaries. This book had me on a roller coaster of emotions from the very first chapter. It's my first Emily March read, and for heaven's sake, I'd read anything she'd write if it's half as good as The First Kiss of Spring.
The chemistry between Caitlin and Josh was obvious from their first encounter. The fact that Josh owns a crippled dog called Penny for whom he's made a friggin wheelchair did crazy things to my heart. Caitlin somehow knew, after that weekend they spent together, that Josh was the one for her. And although that sounded crazy, it totally wasn't. The chemistry that Mrs March portrayed in the book was clear as day, I couldn't help but ship those two from the moment they met.
So Caitlin basically decides to turn her whole like upside down in order to build a life for herself that allows her to pursue the guy she has set her sights on. As crazy and creepy as that might sound, I found that totally influencing and honestly? it was unconventional in a very feminist-friendly way. I high-five you Caitlin Timberlake. You rock, girl.
So Caitlin moves back into Eternity Springs, leaving her mother's dream job of textile designing behind in NYC. She tries to build her relationship with Josh, but he's pretty closed off and what they eventually agree on is a, and I quote, "a friend affair". Of course, being in a small town requires hiding said affair and sneaking around, which I admit was fun and sexy as hell. But eventually, a series of events puts Josh and Caitlin's relationship through hell.
I loved the town's fairy Godmother, aka Celeste, Harriet, Brick and Lili, Chase and Lori, Mac and Ali. The familial vibe Eternity Springs gives off reminds me why I love small town contemporaries so much.
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,232 reviews304 followers
March 21, 2018
The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March

Contemporary small town romance. 14th in the series. Can be read on its own.
These stories are always heart fulfilling. Emily March is a master storyteller.

I worried in the beginning. Here was the intro to the hero.
“The hot blonde went gooey. They always did. It was one of the perks of owning a dog with a broken back.”
Ok, instant turn off.
But Caitlin recognized his line of BS quickly and the conversation turned genuine.

I felt so bad for him, trying to avoid the pain pills on his own. Would sharing have helped? Caitlin wouldn’t have left the pills in the medicine cabinet if she knew.
I know he doesn’t trust doctors, but aren’t there better options every year?
The supporting hand came from a surprising person. It was touching.

Canned dog food Saturday. Hahaha. My sister does that with her dog too.

An adorable phrase:
“A flower bomb had gone off in her hallway.”

Loved it. Will always prioritize Emily March and a new release. Feel good romance.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. I also purchased a paperback copy.
Profile Image for Sissy's Romance Book Review .
7,836 reviews16 followers
February 26, 2018
The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March is book fourteen in the "Eternity Springs" series. This is the story of Josh Tarkington and Caitlin Timberlake. This can easily be a standalone book.
Caitlin decided to take a chance and move to Eternity Springs and pursue the connection she felt with Josh. But Josh is keeping something back that might hurt his new relationship.
This was overall a sweet romance that I enjoyed reading.
Profile Image for Isha Coleman.
6,979 reviews135 followers
March 4, 2018
The First Kiss of Spring (Eternity Springs #14) by Emily March  
She's found her man and wants his heart. He knows his limits and doesn't have a heart to give. Emily March goes beyond the romance. Caitlin and Josh are only a tiny piece of a puzzle. There path is full of snow drifts not easily plowed, but waiting to be explored. Amidst the bad choices, heartbreaking moments and personal setbacks, lies a chance at redemption. Eternity Springs is the beginning of the rest of your life. No matter the road travelled, count on Emily March's Eternity Springs to point a wanderer home. The First Kiss of Spring is a sentimental, second chance love song. 
Profile Image for Robin Reynolds.
765 reviews37 followers
January 24, 2018
*received from NetGalley for review*

I'm usually pretty anal about reading series books in order, but when I received an email from NetGalley that this book was available for forty-eight hours I immediately downloaded it. I've not previously read anything by this author, but I've heard good things about her, and one friend compared her to Robyn Carr, so I was excited to give her a try.

Each chapter is prefaced with a short “Journal Entry”. We don't know at first which character is journaling, but they threw me a little off kilter at first with hints of past child abuse. Once I got past that though, I enjoyed the story. And not having read the previous books in the series wasn't an issue at all. I suspect some of the supporting characters might have been the heroes/heroines of previous books, but this one can definitely stand on it's own.

Caitlin meets Josh, and his dog Penny, who is in a little doggy wheelchair, while in Telluride for a wedding, when they are trapped together in a gondola. Like Caitlin, that first meeting with Josh had me hooked on him immediately. He's good looking, he's funny, and who wouldn't fall for a man who loves a little dog like Penny?

In a lot of romance novels the hero is the dogged pursuer. He meets a woman and knows right away that she's the one, and he sets out to convince her of that, while she resists because she's been burned before. Here, it's Caitlin who decides early on that Josh is the one. The last thing he wants is a relationship, and he's not a happy camper when he learns that Caitlin has moved to Eternity Springs to be near her parents and brother.

Of course you know how it will all end, because it is a romance, after all. But the journey to that ending was very enjoyable. The writing is a bit breezy, and I especially enjoyed Caitlin's interactions with her brother. The subject matter does get a little deep, as Josh has a lot of baggage, but it was never sensationalized and was thoughtfully handled. I'm going to have to look for the first book in the series and then go on from there!

Review first posted on my blog.
413 reviews3 followers
January 25, 2018
This might be viewed as spoilerish, but it needs to be said: this book contains talk and thoughts of suicide by more than one character, and that could be highly triggering to some readers. There's also talk of child molestation (in the past) and a very insensitive, crass comment about pneumonia and elderly people that could also be triggering. If you are sensitive to any of these topics, PLEASE consider your own emotional self-care before reading this one.

This book starts out as a really cute, fun story which made me think this was going to be a light-hearted read, but when the story shifts to Eternity Springs, the tone definitely changes to more dramatic and angst-filled than I expected from the blurb. A lot of things happened in this story, it felt like a non-stop whirlwind at times, but it was a really good story despite the non-stop drama.

Caitlin was really likable, if a bit naive about how things work in the real world. Josh was a mess, but he was really likable despite his many flaws. I found myself rooting for both of them, no matter how blindly idealistic Caitlin was or how gloom-and-doom Josh was. Despite all of the dark topics addressed in this book, the story was interesting, and the way that Josh dealt with his demons was surprising but really well-written. Celeste was also fabulous. Not being familiar with the larger series didn't take away from how much I liked her as a character.

If you enjoy a women's fiction style book that deals with some darker life issues, you would probably enjoy this book. Again, please just keep your own self-care in mind.

I requested and was very generously granted an ARC of this book via NetGalley and the publisher. I very much appreciate the opportunity to read this book.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
1,246 reviews51 followers
March 17, 2018
I loved this book so much. Here is a case where I really wish Goodreads gave us the ability to rate a book with half stars. This would definitely be a 4 and a half stars. 4 stars just feels to low, but 5 stars is just a bit too high. Hopefully by the time I finish this review, I decide whether to give this 4 or 5 stars. This book is somewhat more serious and deep than many of her previous books, but is still full of the magic that is Eternity Springs. Many of the characters from the previous books make appearances. I look forward to the next book in the series that I believe comes out in the fall to prepare us for the holiday season. I really like that although this is a long series, each book can also stand on its own without a new reader being confused.

I would like to thank St. Martin's Press, NetGalley and the author for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Emily.
358 reviews11 followers
May 2, 2018
Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing a copy for an unbiased review.

This book was a bit of a one-off for me for a couple of reasons. (1) I rarely like to jump into the middle of a series - I do love a good series, but I like to start at the beginning and read through in order. (2) I tend to shy away a bit from books that I think may get to be a bit too sweet or uplifting. “Eternity Springs” - it just sounded a bit too inspirational for my taste, especially when there’s a whole series. I figured it’s probably just not for me. But I’d heard a lot about this series from some of my bookish friends, so requested the ARC as a way to give it a try. And much to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not overly sweet, not overly uplifting, just a nice love story, with a bit of mystery about the background of the male lead, and most of the predictable miscommunications etc that go with romances. And a lot of fun, interesting recurring characters that I’ll be seeing again (and again) as I go back and start the Eternity Springs series from the beginning. Yep, I’m hooked. I guess that’ll teach me to judge a series by its name!
Profile Image for Reeca Elliott.
1,240 reviews14 followers
February 27, 2018
Caitlin is moving back to Eternity Springs, CO. She is leaving her high stressed job to start a daycare. Her parents are not real enthused about the idea nor are they real pleased with her new choice of a boyfriend, Josh. But, when Josh saves a child from an oncoming car, many people change their tune. However, Caitlin’s father doesn’t. He even hires a private detective to find out more about Josh.

I fell in love with Josh from the get go! He is moody, good-looking, has a handicapped dog, and has a past which he doesn’t want anyone to know about. Now, how can this go wrong? When Caitlin enters his life, he is determined to keep her at arms length. You know…friends with benefits. Luckily, it doesn’t turn out the way he plans.

I enjoyed this tale, probably more than I should. It is simple, quick, and very charming. Sometimes you just need an entertaining romance to kick start your week. I have never read Emily March. But, when I saw the cover and the title I just had to give this a whirl! I am really looking forward to her other books. This story hit the spot.

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.
Profile Image for Lois Baron.
1,081 reviews8 followers
March 14, 2018
Easy to tell that this was part of a series (several confusing connection lists between people like "begats" in the Bible), but I didn't realize it was the 14th.

The first chapter is solid, but then we are tossed a mysterious journal entry--no idea who is writing it and when the entry was written--and after a few more such inserts, I found them more annoying than intriguing.

I hate criticizing other romance writers because I expect karma will bite me on the butt for it someday. But I wouldn't be honest if I said that I liked this book much. Criticism: Lectures pass for dialogue. A box of silver bars is found in the attic and never is mentioned again? Really?! (I'm guessing it will show up in the next book.) The story often plods. The tone is uneven, with the content of the journals being so much darker than a typical sweet romance, and the level of "sizzle detail" varying widely as well. Many times dialogue went on for too long, with someone saying the same thing three times. Praise: Loved the dialogue and relationship between Caitlin and her brother.

I finished it only because I got it from NetGalley and felt obligated to keep reading.
Profile Image for Chris Torretta.
863 reviews38 followers
June 13, 2018
Depression Triggers:

Full disclosure, I've been a depressed person my entire life. I don't remember a moment where I wasn't depressed. My hubby and I joke that I was emo before emo was cool. As I'm moving through this book, I noticed a few triggers. I hate calling them that, but it fits what happens when you're bombarded with feelings that you weren't expecting, especially from a romance.

One of the main characters has depression. So badly that he thinks about suicide quite often. I think someone reading this that maybe doesn't understand depression may think that his life isn't so bad, why would the main character, who seems to have all his crap together (mostly on the outside, definitely not on the inside), why would he want to commit suicide?

It's probably not a full on discussion for a review post, however it's important to note that this happens. This author must have some real life experience or has definitely done her homework, because this is exactly how it works. One little moment could send a cascade of thoughts through my mind, even if my life seemingly is going good. Then WHAM, all of a sudden I'm attacked by something (seemingly) minuscule and the suicide thoughts run through my head. It happens. It happens a lot.


All that said, this added so much to his character. It explained why he did the things he did. He's not perfect and he's not trying to hide the fact, well he does hide a lot of it actually. But he's also not going out of his way to tell everyone his thoughts. Which, again I completely understand. Josh is someone that has been through a lot. His story is slowly unveiled, and each piece that is given to the reader, should be cherished.

Then we have Caitlin. Caitlin has her own issues from family as well, but they're the opposite of Josh's. First, I think this makes them a great couple, but they each have to work on their issues alone, before they can together. Caitlin is a strong, healthy character, that is just dealing with some stuff. Nothing to the point of Josh's identity, but it is still worthy of a reader's time. All the clues for her family also slowly unfold.


The plot was amazing. I read this in a day because I couldn't set it down. I loved the characters, worked through the moments where Josh was thinking about suicide (which was hard for me but probably wouldn't be an issue for most), and I just loved that there was a little pup in this that loved Josh to death!

Romance is always strange for me to write about because it's obvious that we want to the couple to get together, but in this it was different. I wanted them to get their life together before they tried to pursue each other. It works in real life, it works in fiction!

Character arc:

Going back to the suicide thing. The character arc was lengthy! I think Josh having to deal with so much is almost too much. Without trying to spoil, I will say that FOUR bad things happen to him, almost in succession. Like it's one thing after another, after another. There's a reason that so much happens, and there needs to be a lot for him to go down his suicide rabbit hole, but again, there really doesn't need to be a lot for anyone to want to go down that path. Depression hits everyone differently.

I think this was the only thing that got to me. It was almost too much. The character arc starts around 57% and just goes and goes and goes and goes. It's a lot to deal with, but even still, I never wanted to put the book down. I wish a couple of things would have been a little different, not even much, but there again, I loved the story, so I'll shut up!

In short:

With the exception of the triggers, which were mostly in the character arc, this was fabulous. A little heavier than a normal spring read, but still phenomenal story telling with a lovely romance.
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