Dune Drive

Author: Mariah Stewart
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  Always believing she was an ugly duckling, Chrissy Jenkins thought she had finally turned into a swan when her real-life Prince Charming swept her off her feet. But as his true character began to crack his perfect facade, Chrissy realized that not only was she better off without him, but that she was the only one who had the power to transform her life.

Returning to her ancestral home on Cannonball Island for a family wedding, Chrissy is reintroduced to a legacy she’d all but forgotten. In choosing to stay on the island, she reboots her life, successfully reinventing herself as a sous chef at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point just over the bridge in St. Dennis. But despite her newfound self-confidence, she still doesn’t trust her taste in men. So when she meets Jared Chandler, a handsome ship salvager staying at the inn while he conducts a nearby recovery operation, Chrissy’s certain she can keep him as a friend—even though he’s everything any woman would want in a man. As fellow newcomers, together they discover the charm of the historic bayside town and explore the idyllic island.

But when Chrissy agrees to be Jared’s date for his father’s wedding, they embark on a weekend that will find them each seeing the other in a completely different light, one that will change their lives forever.

Ope’s Opinion: Mariah Stewart writes my kind of romance.  It is a slow moving relationship, the steamy part is small and not until they really know each other and it feels real.  This is the 12th book in the series, the only one I have read – I could tell I missed some details or back ground that happened in a previous book, but it did not effect my reading of Chrissy’s story.  It can be read alone.

Towards the end of the book, it gave you some hints of who the next story might be about.  It reminds me of Robyn Carr’s series, which I really do enjoy reading.  The ending was what you would expect and want from  a romance book.

Musical Chairs

Author:  Amy Poeppel
Publisher: Atria / Emily Bestler Books
Genre: Romance
Source : Megan at Atria Books

 

Goodreads:  Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity. 

Ope’s Opinion: The title of this book fits it perfectly on many levels.  Beside the musical chairs of the trio, there are many partners for many characters.  This is very much a character driven story.  The pace was a little bit slow at times for me.  

This would have grabbed my attention a bit more if I had more musical knowledge.  Some of the references got lost on me.  Overall, an average read.

What You Wish For

Author: Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  From Katherine Center, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

Ope’s Opinion: This is in the romance genre, but it is so much more then that. It is about a whole community and their relationships.  It is about letting your guard down and letting other people into your life.  

I am a huge fan of Katherine Center and her writing.  I think my expectations were too high for this book.  This story was good, but not my favorite of hers.  It took a large part of the book for the story to really get going for me.  Once I was into it, I really did enjoy it.  Having said that, I will still look for her next book to read.   The ending is what you expect.

 

Daughters of the Bride

Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  With Joy, Love and a Little Trepidation, Courtney, Sienna and Rachel Invite You to the Most Emotional Wedding of the Year… Their Mother’s

Courtney

~ The Misfit ~

As the awkward one, Courtney Watson may not be as together as her sisters, but she excels at one thing—keeping secrets, including her white-hot affair with a sexy music producer. Planning Mom’s wedding exposes her startling hidden life, changing her family’s view of her—and how she views herself—forever.

Sienna

~ The Free Spirit ~

When Sienna’s boyfriend proposes—in front of her mom and sisters, for crying out loud—he takes her by surprise. She already has two broken engagements under her belt. Should she say “I do” even if she’s not sure she does?

Rachel

~ The Cynic ~

Rachel thought love would last forever…right up until her divorce. As Mom’s wedding day draws near and her ex begs for a second chance, she’s forced to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths about why her marriage failed, and decide if she’ll let pride stand in the way of her own happily-ever-after.

Ope’s Opinion: This is definitely a romance book – so if you like the steamy part of a story, you will love this one.  For me, I could have used a lot less details about the steamy part of the relationships ( it’s just me ).

The rest of the story was wonderful!  Lots of family relationships, each with a little drama – an appropriate amount! I love a good sister story and this was one.  All the relationships have their bumps along the way, that are worked out.

This is a light, enjoyable read that will leave you smiling with a happily ever after ending.  I will read another Susan Mallery any time.

Head Over Heels

Author: Hannah Orenstein
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Romance 
Source: Megan at Simon and Schuster

Goodreads:  The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.

Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.

Ope’s Opinion:  If you are interested in gymnastics, you will love this book.  It goes deep into the sport with it’s own language.  There is also a romance going on and it touches on abuse in the sport.

The friendships in this book were well developed and realistic.  All three women were strong and independent – my kind of women!  I liked how honest Avery was with herself and her friends.  It all worked for me.

I don’t want to spoil anything – so let me say it this way – Ryan made a decision, then quickly changed his mind having very little information.  It didn’t seem realistic and made the ending feel a little rushed.

The Goodbye Cafe

Author: Mariah Stewart
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  California girl Allie Hudson Monroe can’t wait for the day when the renovations on the Sugarhouse Theater are complete so she can finally collect the inheritance from her father and leave Pennsylvania. After all, her life and her fourteen-year-old daughter are in Los Angeles.

But Allie’s divorce left her tottering on the edge of bankruptcy, so to keep up on payments for her house and her daughter’s private school tuition, Allie packed up and flew out east. But fate has a curve-ball or two to toss in Allie’s direction—she just doesn’t know it yet.

She hadn’t anticipated how her life would change after reuniting with her estranged sister, Des, or meeting her previously unknown half-sister, Cara. And she’d certainly never expected to find small-town living charming. But the biggest surprise was that her long-forgotten artistry would save the day when the theater’s renovation fund dried up.

With opening day upon the sisters, Allie’s free to go. But for the first time in her life, she feels like the woman she was always meant to be. Will she return to the West Coast and resume her previous life, or will the love of her family be enough to draw her back to the place where the Hudson roots grow so deep?

Ope’s Opinion: This is the third in A Hudson Sisters series.  It is not necessary to read the first two, but it is definitely recommended.  Each sister has her story, this is Allie’s.  

The slow romance was very enjoyable, but having the sisters and family relationships at the center of the story made it even better for me.  I liked watching Allie  slowly change and enjoy where she was.

The ending answered many questions, but left many more unanswered.  It would be fun to read about more of the Hudson family.

The Ingredients of You and Me

Author: Nina Bocci
Publisher:  Gallery Books
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  From the USA TODAY bestselling author of the “heartwarming and refreshingly sweet” (Lauren Layne, New York Times bestselling author) On the Corner of Love and Hate comes a story about a baker who takes her chances on a new town…and an old love.

After selling her famous bakery back in New York, Parker Adams visits Hope Lake, Pennsylvania, to figure out her next steps. And soon she’s wondering why she ever loved city life in the first place. Between the Golden Girls—the senior women who hold court—and Nick Arthur, her equally infuriating and charming former flame, Parker finds a community eager to help her get her mojo back.

But even though Hope Lake gives her the fresh start she’s been looking for, Parker discovers that it’s not so easy to start over again with Nick. Their chemistry is undeniable, but since Nick is a freshly taken man, Parker is determined to keep things platonic. With a recipe for disaster looming, Parker must cook up a new scheme, figuring out how to keep everything she’s come to love before she loses it all.

Perfect for fans of Amy E. Reichert and Jenny Colgan, The Ingredients of You and Me is a scrumptious romantic comedy that lets you have your cake and eat it too.

Ope’s Opinion: This was the third book in the Hopeless Romantics series.  Each one could be read alone, but following the group of friends from the beginning was really a lot of fun!

Being back in Hope Lake with all the friends made Nick’s and Parker’s story enjoyable.  Their miscommunication made for a lot of difficulties that could have been avoided, but that would have taken the fun out of the story!  Watching them figure out their relationship kept me reading.

The “Golden Girls” in this series really gave it another depth and a little more humor along the way.

I will be looking for Nina Bocci’s next book.  They are perfect escapes for me.

The Sugarhouse Blues

Author: Mariah Stewart
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Romance
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  Mariah Stewart’s second novel in the Hudson Sisters series…

Allie, Des, and Cara, each having her own reasons for wanting a share of their father’s estate, meet in the grand Victorian home in which he grew up, only to be greeted by another secret he purposely hid from them: his sister Bonnie. The women reluctantly band together to take on Fritz’s challenge, working with a local contractor to begin the renovations financed by an account Fritz had set up for the task. While the restoration appears to go smoothly at first, it soon becomes apparent that the work will be more extensive than originally thought, and Des, elected to handle the money, needs to find ways to stretch out the remaining savings while searching for new sources of funding.

As strangers linked only by their DNA try to become a family, the Hudson sisters also try to come to terms with the father they only thought they knew. In the process, each woman discovers her own capacity for understanding, forgiveness, love, and the true meaning of family.

Ope’s Opinion: I enjoyed this second book in the series even more then the first one.  This book picked up right where the first one left off.  Since the first one set up the series it had a lot of detail and back story.  This one moved faster since you already know everyone.  It has more about the relationships and less renovating.  

This was a nice escape from life for me.  The sisters were enjoyable to follow through the next part of their lives.

Reading the first book is not necessary, but very helpful.  And now I can’t wait to read the third one!

 

Look What was on My Doorstep

Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Publisher:  Atria / Emily Bestler Books

Goodreads: The “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances.

Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity. 

Thank you Megan at Simon and Schuster for sharing this book with me!

Waiting at Hayden

Author: Riley Costello
Publisher: Sullivan & Shea Publishing
Genre:  Romance
Source:  Purchased

Goodreads:  From a fresh new voice in women’s fiction comes a page-turning, relatable love story about the complicated nature of timing in modern-day relationships.

Childhood best friends Charli Anderson and Jack Logan fall madly in love during college and can’t imagine a life apart. But when they land dream opportunities on opposite ends of the country following graduation, they are forced to make a heart-wrenching pact. In the hope of one day restarting their love story, they set a date to reunite in five years at their favorite restaurant.

Restaurant owner Gianna Hayden is thirty-seven, single, and one bad date away from giving up on finding the right guy when she meets Peter Clark on a dating website. Attractive, kind, and driven, he is exactly what she thought she was looking for. But as the day of Charli and Jack’s reservation approaches, Gianna finds herself reflecting on the kind of passionate love her former customers once had and begins to question her bond with Peter.

These two riveting stories converge on the night of the fateful reunion. Gianna, Charli, and Jack are all forced to make difficult choices as they struggle to follow their hearts, and ultimately each must decide where their true feelings lie before time runs out.

Waiting at Hayden’s is the first book to be published in the new reading experience format shopfiction™, which Costello coined and branded. The digital version of this book contains links to watch key scenes unfold and to shop the characters’ clothes. The print versions contain web addresses to do the same.

Ope’s Opinion: There were two love stories going on at the same time in this book.  Charli and Jack’s story is amazing, and breath taking.  Gianna’s story is a nice background story  that tied into Charli and Jack’s story.  

This easy to read, light romance should be put on your TBR list.  Once you start reading, you will want your world to stop so you can keep reading until the end.  When you get to the end you’ll be sad it is over.  It was even better then I had hoped.