Category Archives: Romnce

Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Volume 2

Past Forward- A Serial Novel: Volume 2 by Chautona Havig

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother still in her bed, never to awaken again in this life.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

This collection includes episodes six through nine of Past Forward. Willow, battling grief and anger, drives Chad from the farm, but he finds himself drawn back, despite her determination to keep a wall between them. An accident and the chance of a lifetime threaten everything she thought she held dear. As the walls crumble, Chad and Willow’s friendship deepens into something truly special, but to what end? Everyone around him pushes Chad into a relationship he both wants and fights, knowing that Willow simply is not ready.

Someone is wreaking havoc around her farm. Afraid for Willow’s safety, the police take turns guarding her place when off duty and she finds it hard to endure the disruption of her tranquility.

And then, Chad asks her to dance. Can she trust him? Find out in this second volume.

Follow as Willow’s story unfolds past forward.

Past Forward is a serial novel released weekly on Kindle.

Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Volume 2 is the collection of episode six through nine of this serial novel. If you don’t like reading in little snippets this is for you. Encompassing about three hundred pages its novel length and the story isn’t even over. If you missed any episode since five this is also for you. The drama is revved up in this volume.

At first I was so disbelieving that Willow would be that naïve. Then I remember that she IS that naïve. Then it was like WOW. We live in a world, which the public has fostered us, to be intrusive on Public Figures’ personal lives.

More so than the previous volume I feel like a voyeur, reading about the development of a woman kept in captivity. I’m excited that she’s starting to adjust to being around larger groups. Even when nothing’s really happening I’m too invested to be disappointed.

When Christmas takes place its interesting how Chautona Havig addresses Willow’s isolation during the holidays. Her apparent naïveté to Christmas traditions is refreshing as a seven year old on Christmas Day. Willow’s grandparents are one of the “elephants in the room.” Their characterizations fall into the suspected coloring with their previous introduction to the reader. I’m shocked at the deceitfulness and depravity that doesn’t become known until the nearing of this volume.

It wasn’t until Aggie and the kids came over for Christmas that I realized this was interconnected in the same world as Chautona’s other works. There’s a plot developing subplot that I just can’t figure out it purpose. I don’t understand the motives of the character that’s driving this device or why.

I give Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Volume 2 4 out 5 Gs.

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Filed under 2012, 4, Book Review, Havig, Chautona, Romnce

Past Forward- A Serial Novel: Episode 8

Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Episode 8 by Chautona Havig


Past Forward is a serial novel released weekly on Kindle.

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother still in her bed, never to awaken again in this life.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

In this episode, Chad wrestles with truths he’s not ready to acknowledge while Willow becomes a little better acquainted with both sets of grandparents, discovering things about each she wasn’t prepared to handle.

Follow as Willow’s story unfolds past forward.

Released weekly as a serial novel.

Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Episode 8 is perfection. But this episode also has to be prefaced with the other seven episodes. This is the defining episode that marks the identity of this novel.

Unlike last weeks, this one had me engaged from the start. Taking place just before Christmas its interesting how Chautona Havig addresses Willow’s isolation during the holidays. Her apparent naïveté to Christmas traditions is refreshing.

This episode addresses one of the “elephants in the room,” Willow’s grandparents. Their characterizations fall into the suspected coloring with their previous introduction to the reader. I’m shocked at the deceitfulness and depravity that doesn’t become known until the end of this episode. And yet I should have, I mean if you can raise a man to rape a woman, that’s an reflection on the people you are.

The drama and conflict in this episode is more subtle than in the previous ones and you know it’s about to rise to the fan. It’s also developing more branches of conflict as ones from previous episodes come to a close.

If you haven’t started reading this serial novel you really should. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy taking the time to invest in a serial novel. As this is the first one I’ve ever read coming back to it is quickly becoming one of my sweet of the week.

I give Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Episode 8 5 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 5, Book Review, Havig, Chautona, Novel, Romnce, Serial

Married by Mistake

Married by Mistake (Harlequin Super Romance) by Abby Gaines


Do not adjust your set. That really was Casey Greene being jilted by her fiancé on live TV! And that really was Memphis’s most eligible bachelor who stepped in to marry her instead.

Millionaire businessman Adam Carmichael wanted only to help Casey save face. He isn’t prepared for the news that their “fake” wedding is legal and binding.

While they secretly wait for an annulment, media and family scrutiny forces them to put on their best loving-couple act. Except by now, neither one is quite sure who’s acting….

Married By Mistake is as formulaic as 3+3=EIGHT. There wasn’t anything compelling or driving about the story. Once you get past premise of the jilted bride is saved by the “roguish knight in rusted armor” it falls predictable and hollow. The contrived problems of our protagonist couple are nowhere as interesting as the subplot relationship of the older couple Eloise and Sam. Even the conflict with Adam’s family is more interesting.

Is this the formula for written romance? I’ve read this same formula more times than I care to count. Even in movies they follow this formula. Touted as Harlequin Super Romance, where was the SUPER? I remember as a kid seeing Harlequin novels, knowing they what they were but never caring what was on those pages. Does that mean my younger version of myself is smart than my current version of myself?

This review isn’t knocking Abby Gaines, because it was the writing that kept me reading. It’s just the predictability of the romance genre. For most romance novels if you’ve read one you’ve read them all. There are notable exceptions which made me think romance novels aren’t that bad. But I’m starting to realize this really was the exception and not the rule.

I read this book based solely on the title, Married by Mistake. Who even gets married by mistake? This couple is so in love with each other that it doesn’t make since when they breakup. Which I knew from the first page; don’t they always?

For the entire book I teetered on whether I thought it was okay or didn’t like. One thing shattered any chance. I don’t care how gentlemanly or in love a guy is two months to retrieve his car especially a 400,000 dollar car is unfreaking believe. I know women eat this stuff up. Love is a form of insanity; it overrides the natural tendency of self-preservation.

This is only for those that jonesing for the romance genre. It has an interesting premise, but I think I’m nearing my limit of “romance” novels for this year.

I give Married By Mistake 2 out 5.

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Filed under 2, 2012, Book Review, Novel, Romnce

Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Episode 7

Past Forward- A Serial Novel: Episode 7 by Chautona Havig  
 
 
Past Forward is a serial novel released weekly on Kindle.

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother still in her bed, never to awaken again in this life.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

In this episode, Chad discovers a way to help Willow deal with her grief, while Willow experiences her all-American Thanksgiving. While she makes plans to reconnect with her grandparents, Chad connects even deeper with the beauty that is her life.

Warning: Here We Come spoilers in this episode.

Follow as Willow’s story unfolds past forward.

Released weekly as a serial novel.

And cue the meddling family… Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Episode 7 is the seventh episode is this amazing serial novel. The second episode after Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Volume 1 which encompasses the first five episodes. This episode takes place in November; it finds Willow being included in Chad’s Thanksgiving celebration.

More so than any other episode I feel like a voyeur, reading about the development of a woman kept in captivity. I’m excited that she’s starting to adjust to being around larger groups.

This episode highlights that Chad Tesdall is comfortably living not in Fairbury or Rockland but a town named Denial. He’s so much deeper than he can imagine. When he realizes it’s going to be like a slap and punch to the face, and a kick in the gut. Even when he starts getting close, he doesn’t even try to trim the hedges of the bush.

Even with nothing really happening I’m too invested to be disappointed. Every episode is just that an episode to be enjoy. It’s more entertaining than anything offered on television. If you haven’t invested in Willow’s story, Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Volume 1 will get you caught up with episodes 1-5, volume 6 and 7 are out now.

I give Past Forward-A Serial Novel: Episode 7 3 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 3, Book Review, Havig, Chautona, Novel, Romnce, Serial

Past Forward- A Serial Novel: Episode 5

Past Forward- A Serial Novel: Episode 5 by Chautona Havig

Past Forward is a serial novel released weekly on Kindle.

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother still in her bed, never to awaken again in this life.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

In this episode, the foundations of Willow’s life are shaken from several sides. Suffering from a blow that will take months to recover from, Willow is also given the opportunity of a lifetime. To accept would change everything, but is she ready for her life to turn upside down?

Follow as Willow’s story unfolds past forward.

Released weekly as a serial novel.

 

Past Forward- A Serial Novel: Episode 5 is bittersweet. This week my oldest uncle died this week, so I was dealing with the grief of his death. The impact of Willow hitting the depression state of grieving had greater impact on me.

People rallied around Willow just like all of my extended family. This episode was strangely surreal when I read it. Willow’s drama in this episode was a comfort more than entertainment. It let me escape the pain and drama.

It helped because, not only was she starting to grieve but she was physically not at her best. It made her more vulnerable than I think she’s ever been in her life. This reliance on other people is the catalyst for this most unusual woman by today’s standards to begin the grieving process.

 

I give Past Forward- A Serial Novel: Episode 5 4 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 4, Book Review, Havig, Chautona, Novel, Romnce, Serial

Still the One

Still the One by Robin Wells

After Katie Charmaine’s husband is killed in Iraq, all she has left is a closet full of his clothes, a few pictures, and fond memories. She not only lost her love, but her last chance to have the children she’s always wanted. Until Zack Ferguson shows up in town . . . with the daughter Katie gave up for adoption nearly seventeen years ago.

Zack Ferguson has never forgotten Katie, or the one magical night they spent together. Seeing her again brings up a tidal wave of emotions: regret over the way he left her, anger at the secret she kept, and desire he hasn’t felt in years. But he’s in town for Gracie. Their daughter is sixteen, angry at the world, and-worst of all-pregnant. She needs the love of her two parents now more than ever. Can these three forgive the hurts of the past and open their hearts to each other?

Still the One is a happy-ending to a serious dysfunctional situations. Katie Charmaine is basically going through the motions of her life until this event. When most people give their child up for adoption they home that they end up in a better home and situation than themselves. It’s the main reason for choosing adoption. When Katie Charmaine’s first love returns to town with the daughter she gave up for adoption, it’s definitely a shock. But to find out she’s pregnant like you were at her age is heartbreaking for her.

This is a light summer read. Robin Wells gives the characters the patented drama to overcome but it felt light and manageable. There are many situations that could have had darker turns.

This is perfect snapshot of themes: modern romance, families in the 21st century, and forgiveness. The romance is shone through the lives of two couples. The family is blended the new standard in American society. Even though they are related that closeness we associate with family had to be developed through forgiveness.

For me, it gave me a glimpse into the thoughts of a child of adoption. I loved the character of Grace, the adoptive daughter reunited with her bio-parents. She was anger and made all of these incorrect assumptions. I never could figure her reasoning for them. I didn’t identify with her and that’s why I loved her.

Her perspective is a world that I may never understand. I can emphasize and sympathize but I can never KNOW.

I give Still the One 3 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 3, Book Review, Novel, Romnce

The Morning After

The Morning After by Sally Clements

 

 

One photo changes everything…

A mortifying incident in her youth has shaken sense into Cara Byrne. No more bad-boys. No more getting arrested. Instead, hard work and good behaviour has earned her a job teaching at the local Boys Secondary School, and a proposal from a worthy man. So what if he doesn’t exactly light her fire – surely passion is overrated?

When her friend since childhood, Ethan Quinn, storms back into the small Irish village he left to pursue a career as a Hollywood action hero, she’s stunned to discover she’s as susceptible to his lethal charm as every woman in the world. And when a compromising photograph floods the media of them in a clinch, her almost fiancé reveals his true colours, CarEthan starts trending on twitter, and she loses her job, could anyone blame her if she accepts his invitation to hide out at his Malibu beach house?

Ethan loves women, but never lets his girlfriends into his heart. He’s failed at being there in the past, and won’t put his heart on the line for anyone, ever again. But Cara’s a different matter – and when passionate attraction is added to his friendship with the one person he’s always confided in, he’s thrown for a loop. Cara’s lost everything, and like it or not, he’s responsible. There’s no fighting the attraction that blazes between them – but when the month long affair is over, will he ever be able to let her go?

 

 

The Morning After is definitely suitable for a Lifetime movie. It has that will they, won’t they drama that’s patented on Lifetime. This is one of the few romance novels that take its cue firmly in the present day.

This novella definitely takes place in the present day. I recently joined twitter. Ethan and Cara trending and having their own hashtag added to the appeal of this novel. But in ten years will that aspect make this novel dated.

This isn’t one of those all-consuming romantic love stories. It’s a love story, about two lifelong friends developing into something more. Where people are consumed with that epic Romeo and Juliet it’s nice to read about the simple love story Sally Clements has crafted in this novella.

I’ve read more romance novel this year. The things they all have had in common are their descriptions. They made me want to read them. ‘One photo changes everything…’ it drew me in from the start.

It’s a short read that can be finished in one sitting. It surprised me at how quickly I finished. Actually I would consider it a novella more than a novel.

I give The Morning After 3 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 3, Book Review, Romnce