I’m Reading If Only You Knew by Kristan Higgins

If you follow me at all, you know that I discovered Kristan Higgins earlier this year and devoured ALL her books. One. After. The. Other. And I have no regrets.

Except that once I’d finished them, I had to wait forEVER for her next release. Seriously, does NO ONE think of me and my reading needs??

So I was on cloud 9 when this book finally released.

I’m used to the classic KH plot: female lead (FL) is unlucky in love. She’s either never found the MOHD (Man Of Her Dreams) or she’s been married and Done Wrong or married and widowed . . . whatever, she’s not in a good place man-wise and she’s definitely Looking For Love. (These are capitalized because it’s a thing. Trust me.)

And of course eventually, she meets the MOHD, but not in a romantic, swoon-worthy meet-cute. No, it’s usually in a very embarrassing, I-want-to-forget-it moment. And MOHD usually isn’t very interested from the get-go. (There are exceptions, such as when the MOHD has actually been in her life for some time, just has gone unnoticed.)

One of the trademarks of KH’s books are a singular POV–we have no clue what’s going on in the man’s head. None at all. (Again, there are exceptions. The Blue Heron books do include the male POV.) We’re very much at the mercy of the FL’s take on things.

So I went into If Only You Knew expecting something very much the same. And about a third of the way into the book, I messaged a friend who is also a KH groupie that I didn’t like this one. But of course, I kept reading, because . . . well, KH.

And I was glad I did. Because by the end, I’d cried more than once, I’d felt my heart turn over and I’d giggled.

This story is about more than a relationship. It’s about growth and change and finding out what’s real. It’s about sisters, and about mothers and daughters, and about marriage–both when it works and when it doesn’t. It’s about loss and how we deal with it. It’s about when civilized behavior becomes a mode for other people to justify their actions.

Oh, and there’s a love story.

I loved Jenny and Rachel. I adored Leo. <le sigh> I liked the sub-plots (Evander and Kimber), the unexpected twist and I really, really loved the resolutions.

So now I’m in the midst of a massive book hangover. Who’s going to supply me with my next #BookFix?

 

 

I’m Reading The Mistake by Elle Kennedy and The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

I was trolling the ‘Zon last week when lo and behold, I saw that The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan had been released! I gobbled it up–you might remember that Kristen wrote The Hook Up which I’d found earlier this year. I was so excited to read this book, and it didn’t disappoint. I absolutely loved the relationship between Ivy and Gray and the easy way it developed. Both were well-rounded, believable characters, likable and real. I was thrilled with the bumps along their way and how they were resolved. It was a story worthy of the huge hangover it gave me.

I sighed as I finished, flipping back onto the home screen of my Kindle, and I blinked in surprise and then glee–because there was The Mistake by Elle Kennedy, the follow up book to The Deal. It was like a miracle . . . a reader’s miracle.

While I was enjoying it, though, I was surprised to come across a familiar name from another book. Drew Baylor? But he was a character in The Hook Up. I loved it, though–characters crossing worlds. How cool! So imagine how giddy I was when I reached the end of the book and found out about a very cool Facebook group that lets fans of some of my favorite authors hang out and chat!

The Locker Room celebrates the books and characters of Cora Carmack, Elle Kennedy, Kristen Callihan, Monica Murphy and Sarina Bowen. It’s a dream come true.

So to recap: this week’s books were both excellent follow-ups to the fabulous first books. Both were deep and sassy love stories, deep and realistic characters, men who make us all go ga-ga and women who are more than capable of kicking a little ass.

What could be better? So glad you asked. All Played Out, the Rusk University book I’ve been waiting for over the last months, finally hit my Kindle last night. You know what we’ll be discussing next Wednesday.

Sigh.

Signed,

One Really Happy Reader

I’m reading The Liar by Nora Roberts

I’ve been a Nora Roberts fan for a very long time. My favorites have always been her trilogies, whether they’re the romance with paranormal twists books or straight romance, but of course I enjoy her annual hardback romantic thriller releases, too.

The Liar was a book that intrigued me. I was excited to read it and see if it lived up to the hype. The first few chapters were. . .slow. Now whether they really were or whether my perception of them was colored by my recent new adult romance reading, I can’t say. I do know that although the story was building, slow but sure, it wasn’t quite gripping me yet.

The shift came when the female lead, Shelby, returned with her young daughter to her family and home in the mountains of Tennessee. Here the story not only picked up pacing, the heart of the tale began to beat. There was such connection between Shelby and her family and friends,and their community, that it became almost another character in the story.

Of course, the love story didn’t hurt either. Griffin was a leading man worthy of the title, and his part never faltered.

One of the things I’ve always loved about Nora Roberts is that she doesn’t fall into trite traps in her books. We might anticipate the fight that’s going to alienate the romantic leads, but Nora derails it before it happens. She takes another route and leads us to the inevitable conclusion with finesse and style.

This book was no different when it came to the love story, but the thriller part was fairly predictable. No spoilers here, but I’d called the main situation before I reached the halfway point in the book, and I’m frankly surprised no one in the story itself did, too.

Happily, as in all of Nora’s books, the excellent writing, heart-melting love story and fabulous characterization trumps any weak plot lines. I enjoyed this book; it lingered on my mind for days afterward, and I can gladly recommend it.

I’m Reading Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott and The Ivy Years by Sarina Bowen

When you’re a reader-connoisseur of a certain genre of books, you tend to develop a sixth sense about those books. I can usually tell from a blurb–either how well it’s written or its content–whether a book is for me or not. Sometimes, though, I choose to read a book despite its blurb. At times this works out, and others it does not.

This week, I read three really excellent books that fell into this category. I wasn’t enthralled with any of the blurbs, but I went for it anyway and was pleasantly surprised.

The first book is Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott. I’d read four of her other books; the first two were really excellent (This is Falling and You and Everything After–LOVE those titles), and the other two were only so-so. I’m happy to say the newer books were the better one, so it was clear Ms. Scott’s writing has been evolving. But on the basis of those first two, I bought Wild Reckless even though it seemed to be a little YA.

I loved this story. The characters are amazing, three-dimensional, well-rounded and well-written. There is a lot of angst and trauma, but none of it is manufactured or dwelt on too long. It’s just the sucky stuff that happens in some lives and how we move on from those situations, living past them without letting them define us.

Owen and Kensington had terrific chemistry, and their story developed at the perfect pace. I really enjoyed this book, and I’d love to read more in this world. (Hint, hint, Ms. Scott!)

After finishing Wild Reckless, I started reading The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen. I wasn’t sure about this. The main female character was in a wheelchair, and I wasn’t sure how that would be handled. As it turned out, I was impressed that while the challenges of Corey’s condition certainly were not ignored, again they did not define her. They were part of the situation that allowed her to meet Hartley, and they added some complications, but they only made the ultimate coming together sweeter. Again, well-written characters set into a plot that didn’t have too much contriving.

I enjoyed it so much that I went directly into the next book, The Year We Hid Away, and I loved it, too. Possibly even more! I even read the novella The Blonde Date, and found it wonderful. I highly recommend The Ivy Years books.

And now I’m looking for a new read. Any thoughts? Ideas? Books that are making you sigh?

Release Day!

The Only One is available now!

TheOnlyOne

 

The anticipated final book in The One Trilogy 

is finally here!

Rilla’s a good girl who’s ready for a change.

Mason’s a tough guy who’s afraid to love again.

Sometimes love isn’t the easy choice.

Sometimes it’s the only one.

***

Amazon/iBooks/BN/Kobo

Mason Wallace left his hometown to live his dream: he had the perfect career, a gorgeous wife and a beautiful baby girl. He was on top of the world, until it all shattered with the sudden death of his wife. Now he’s back in Georgia, running his bar and trying to take care of his family. And he needs all the help he can get.

Rilla Grant’s never been farther than twenty miles from her family’s farm. Her overprotective father wants her to marry their church’s youth pastor and settle down into the life he’s chosen for her, but she’s not sure that’s what she wants anymore. Rilla’s chafing to make her own choices, and that includes starting her own PR business and maybe even moving off the farm, no matter how much her dad hates it.

When Mason asks Rilla to work on some promotion for his bar, she’s both excited and terrified. Excited, because it’s just the opportunity she’s wanted, and terrified because Mason, with his intriguing hazel eyes and drool-worthy body, is the kind of guy who makes her knees weak and her heart pound. He’s the only one who’s ever tempted Rilla to defy her family, and when she does just that by moving in to help take care of his daughter, they’re both forced to make a decision that’ll change their lives forever.

Sometimes love isn’t the easy choice. Sometimes it’s the only one.

***

Don’t miss the first two books in The One Trilogy!

The familiarity of home, the warmth of family ties, the sweet sensation of being wrapped in the arms of THE ONE love that meant everything. . .each story is a remarkable package of all this and more.

–Olivia Hardin
USA Today Best Selling Romance Author

The Last One

The One Trilogy Book 1

Meghan Hawthorne is restless. The last year has been a roller coaster: her widowed mother just married a long-time family friend. Her younger brother unexpectedly became a father and a husband. Everyone’s life is changing. . .except for hers. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan’s looking for excitement and TLOEbookSWmaybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun. 

But the only man for Meghan turns out to be the last one she expects. 

Sam Reynolds doesn’t need excitement, and he doesn’t want romance. Fun is out of the question. He’s been the steady, responsible one since his parents were killed, and serious is his way of life. 

When Sam rescues Meghan alongside a dark Georgia backroad, she falls hard for his deep brown eyes and slow drawl. But making him see her as more than just a party girl won’t be easy. Sam’s tempted by the fiery young artist, even as he realizes that giving into his feelings will mean radical change. . .maybe more than he can handle. 

Nobody ever said love was simple.

 “As an almost strictly paranormal romance reader, it takes a certain type of author to convince me to dive into straight romance. Tawdra Kandle is one of the few authors I will make an exception for. Her writing style is so easy and relaxing that I have to really keep an eye on the time or I’ll stay up all night to finish one of her books.” Carrie Williams, Goodreads Reviewer

“Wow. Talk about romance with an edge. From the beginning the characters were so real that I was completely invested in them. The sexual tension woven into the story added so much value to the relationships. I will be reading this book many times just so I can spend more time with Meghan and Sam.” Cheryl Garrett, Goodreads Reviewer

“I’m in love with this book!!” Leah Fennick, Goodreads Reviewer

Buy it now at Amazon/iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo/Google Play

***Free for a limited time***

 Watch the trailer here!

 

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The First One

The One Trilogy Book 2

Ali and Flynn were high school sweethearts. Eager to see the world and leave behind their small Georgia hometown, they’d planned for an exciting new life together after they finished school.

But on graduation day, only one of them hit the road.

Eight years down that road, an unexpected loss brings Flynn home again. He’s a big-shot photo journalist, and he’s made most of his plans reality. But he’s done it alone. Is it too late for his biggest dream to come true?

Ali’s spent those years working hard, raising a daughter and helping her brother keep their family farm alive. Thinking about Flynn and what might have been is a pain she tries to avoid. . .even when it’s impossible to forget.

Flynn’s return brings back feelings Ali thought were long dead and hopes she’d abandoned. Finding their way back to each other will change them forever, opening old wounds and stirring up memories.

Can first love be the one to last forever?

“Tawdra Kandle knows how to weave a story that is both steamy and heartfelt. I cannot even tell you how many times I was brought to tears while I read The First One. I’ve been waiting for Ali’s story ever since I finished reading The Last One, and I was not disappointed.” Melissa at Reading It All

“This was a beautifully executed romance that managed to change around all my preconceived notions about Flynn and Ali from the previous book. I started the book determined to hate Flynn all the way through for abandoning his family, but somewhere along the line I began to hope for happiness between these two. Amazing!” Carrie Williams, Goodread reviewer

Buy it now at Amazon/iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo/Google Play

Watch the trailer here!

 

Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love TK03scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books run from YA paranormal romance (THE KING SERIES), through NA paranormal and contemporary romance (THE SERENDIPITY DUET, PERFECT DISH DUO, THE ONE TRILOGY) to adult contemporary and paramystery romance (CRYSTAL COVE BOOKS and RECIPE FOR DEATH SERIES). She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair. 

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