Friday, June 27, 2014
I've now read all of the publications in this series, and was having a hard time trying to decide how I'd review them, or rather... in what order.
Do I start with Winter's Heat, because it is book one in the series? Or do I begin with Savage Secrets, because that's the book that introduced me to the series?
Do I start with Sweet Girl, which really is a novella, a prequel, and is the "latest" publication in the series (releases July 7th!)? But before doing Sweet Girl, should I really review Garrison's Creed, because that's the Titan book truly connected to this novella.
So I'm starting with Sweet Girl.
...because while it's the latest to be written and published, it really sets the stage for the entire series.
Like I said, Sweet Girl is the prequel to the Titan series; it takes place before Titan is formed.
In the Titan series, we meet Jared Westin (Westin's Chase), Parker (book coming soon), and all those boys -- Roman (his book is next!), Cash (Garrison's Creed and Sweet Girl), Winters (Winter's Heat), Rocco (Savage Secrets) and Brock (Gambled, a novella).
Sweet Girl follows Cash and Nicola, and therefore her brother, Roman. While Titan was founded by Jared, the events of Sweet Girl mold Roman and Cash to become the ops they eventually become, as this book takes place during Roman, Cash, and Nic's college years.
Cash and Roman have been best friend's forever. As such, Cash and Nicola have also been friends forever.
Cash has always found Nicola to be pretty, but 'bro code' is always pretty fierce between guys, and there is no way Cash is going to be panting all over Nic, even if he wants to. Cash also has quite the reputation with the ladies; when another college guy, the star quarterback, starts making moves on Nic, Roman groans and talks about how he and Cash had to save Nic from the players that were like said football player; with Cash's reputation, he understands that to mean him too.
Well, Nic has had enough of it. She battles her nerves and she makes her move on the one guy who has held her interest for years. While Cash and Nic's romance seems rushed (kissing, to sex, to intimate secrets and I love you's, to Cash getting ready to propose -- none of this is truly a spoiler if you've read the books in the correct order, as this is all mentioned in Garrison's Creed), it's really not rushed when the reader takes into account that this novella, this few months into the lives of Nic and Cash, is simply that -- a few months out of the years they've known eachother. They've been circling eachother forever; so much so that once it finally happens, every emotion and thought combusts and it all lines up the way it's supposed to...
...until Nic's internship takes a disastrous wrong turn.
...and she dies.
...and Cash is heartbroken but really can't show it more than just the 'her brother's best friend and her friend' role, because Cash and Nic never got around to going public (at least to Roman, the dense, unassuming guy) about their relationship. So he can't be the heartbroken fiance -- he can just be the sad friend.
In passing, he meets a soldier, who tells him about military. Military is not the route he's taking at this point, but after all that happens with Nic, Cash makes a phone call to Roman -- end scene.
And the rest is history ;)
...obviously they joined the military. Obviously, only because the Titan series goes into this.
I was extremely happy and excited to get an early copy of this book. I fell in love with Rocco in Savage Secrets and took a gamble into the rest of the series, reading Winters Heat next (it was the free Nook book one day). I love every single character in this series. Once I got to Garrison's Creed, I was a little apprehensive simply because I knew how much I loved Rocco and Colby Winters, but I also knew that Cristin loves Cash and Nic -- she doesn't hide this in her blogging, her Facebooking, whatever. She is open with the fact that she loves Cash and Nic. So I was hopeful that I'd love Cash and Nic, too.
And with the opening chapter of Garrison's Creed.... yeah, I was right there with her.
When it was announced that Sweet Girl was the prequel, and was exploring the open holes that were spoken about in Garrison's Creed, I was interested in reading it simply to get a better feel for these lovely characters.
...and I love them even more, fully knowing the struggles they (Cash and Nic) faced before getting to where they finally meet again (and fall in love for good) in Garrison's Creed.
......but I'll get into Garrison's Creed later ;)
I guess my only issue with Sweet Girl was a discrepancy between Sweet Girl and Garrison's Creed. In Garrison's Creed, they talk about things like "remember my job in college" (of course he remembers your job in college, Nic; you complained about the fact that things weren't adding up, literally, and he told you to just walk away from it). The biggest issue, though, was in Garrison's Creed, when Nic tells him "...I actually had a crush on you way before college. Like sixth grade."
My issue with this comes from Sweet Girl, when Cash tells her that the moment he knew he was in love with her was actually during his Senior homecoming. And I suppose during this conversation, Nic doesn't say she was in love with him at this point, too; so maybe it really was 'like sixth grade' for her.
I do want to point out that while reading Sweet Girl, I kept referencing Garrison's Creed, and re-read that book twice while reading Sweet Girl.
So yes, Cristin, I love Cash and Nic, too.
I love romance.
I really love contemporary romance books that delve into the world of sports.
This book was no exception.
However, while I've given the book a 4, I still have my little issues with it -- but looking at the story as a whole, it deserved the 4.
This book follows Darcy, a huge fan of the baseball team the Sonics, and an even bigger fan of the star pitcher, Chase Westbrook. When the socialite that Darcy housesits for gives her her invitation for a Sonics-hosted event, Darcy decides to go. Catch -- she has nothing to wear.
Lydia, the socialite, tells her to grab a dress of hers and use her hair appointment to get dolled up for the event. A little unsure, Darcy ends up doing such while Lydia is out of town. Next catch, Lydia and Darcy look a little alike -- enough so that because Lydia is never photographed, people mistake Darcy for Lydia.
Darcy is head over heels when Chase sits next to her at the event and talks with her. She tries to clear up the confusion of her persona, but eventually gives up -- not a single soul is listening to her, anyway.
My biggest gripe, now..
The entire book is under the pretense that Darcy is Lydia.
And it irritated me. I wanted her to come clean (even though she tried, I'd have liked her to try harder). I wanted Chase to realize he was falling for Darcy, the quirky, pretty sport nerd, not the socialite who's grandfather had the ability of getting him to the Yankees. The longer he went out with Darcy-as-Lydia, the more it seemed as if he just wanted her for her connections -- which, yes, was part of what he wanted. He was confused as all get out when the social image of Lydia didn't add up with the private-that-he-thought-he-knew Lydia, but he figured it was an image she portrayed to what little press she had.
Turned out he was falling for the real girl under the extensions and makeup.
So taking out the Darcy is pretending to be Lydia, and pretend that it's Darcy as Darcy the entire time, I loved the story.
I just really hated the length of time it took Darcy to truly come clean.
Yet another great book by Lauren. I'm so glad that I've stumbled across her. Her writing style, as stated in my Only With You review is my kind of quirky writing style. She's so easy to read and get lost in. I just love it.
This book is part of a series. The Love Sex & Stiletto series follows four woman who work for a publication, much like a Cosmo, Vogue, Vanity Fair type magazine.
This particular book follows Riley, the writer behind all the sex articles, and Sam, her brother's best friend. These two have always circled one another (at least since meeting eachother when Riley was 19 and hanging out in the kitchen in her soccer uniform), but they don't act on their attraction. Sam doesn't because he promised her brother, Liam, that he wouldn't (who later states that he doesn't even remember that conversation), and Riley doesn't because surely there's no way he could be attracted to her.
So while Riley can't have Sam for herself, she pretty much acts like the resentful younger sister and sabotages his relationships (with things like genital warts pamphlets that his lady friends stumble across). And while Sam doesn't act on his attraction, he stands up for her to his mother when she calls Riley a slut -- how can she not be when she writes about sex for a living?
Oh, but oh-ho... twist here.
Riley has had sex once, and it was in a type of rebellion when Sam went and got himself married, and Riley realized she couldn't have him.
...but then she doesn't do it since.
She writes about sex yes, but she admits to being extremely book smart about the act, and when it finally happens for her and Sam (and I do mean finally), she's as nervous as a first timer.
Without giving too much away, this book follows these two lovers as they navigate from practically-siblings-but-extremely-attracted-to-each-other, to lovers, to foes, to lovers again. It follows Riley as she fumbles through the need to write a personal article that she hasn't a clue how to write; it follows Riley and Sam as Riley fights him to stand up and be proud of the things he has accomplished -- who the eff cares that his mother doesn't care, Riley's entire family cares and is damn proud of him, couldn't that be enough?; to the eventual demise of their relationship.
Again, what I love about Lauren's writing is it just seems so real. Riley and Sam's break up has a full-on fight. Most books have a discussion, some avoidance, and questions as to how it all went wrong.
But not this one.
Riley and Sam have a full-out, not a thing held back, screaming on the top of their lungs, fight. They let out all of their frustrations. And when the fight reaches it's tipping point, they drive in heated silence.... only to start all over again once they reach home.
I could quote their entire fight. The entire fight has points where she thinks she's right, he thinks he's right, and they're both hurting and not seeing eye to eye. He hollers that his mom is all he has, of course he wants to keep her happy even though she's a total bitch to him. Riley, while she understands the woman is his mom, doesn't understand how he can say that she is all he has -- regardless of the entire McKenna family having Sam's back, Riley feels that her love should be enough for him too.
Yet again, another great, solid effort on Lauren Layne's part, and it hit every mark. Going through my highlights and notes in the book, I don't have a single negative thing written that I need to revisit or hash out.
Lauren's turning into my 5-star kind of gal.
One day last week, I saw Karen Robards (an old favorite of mine) on NetGalley with her newest release, Her Last Whisper. Now, I remembered that I loved Karen Robards (I would always search out the Karen Robards releases when I scoped out the Nora Roberts ones), but couldn't pinpoint the books of hers that I had/read (my spreadsheet list of books is severely outdated). So I looked up her book list.
And right there at the top, her first book...
Was the book I'd been looking for all those months ago. Island Flame and Sea Fire.
Now that I know the titles, I will be scouring through my boxes when I get them out again come August.
Anywho, going through her book list, I realized most of her books I've loved were of the Historical Romance variety, which is odd, because I don't like HR -- just Karen's, I suppose!
Flashforward, now, to Her Last Whisper.
Her Last Whisper is part of a series. Unlike most series where they follow a different couple each book, this series follows Dr. Charlotte "Charlie" Stone, a psychologist working with serial killers. I have not read the first 2 books, and I'm pretty interested in at least skimming through them -- there are some pre-Her Last Whisper questions I have.
Charlie, you see, sees and hears those who have passed. She has the ability to hear spirits, and the FBI uses her for it. One particular case (I'm assuming in book one was when we first met him...) hits her extremely hard, and when he is stabbed to death, his ghost attaches itself to Charlie. Now, from what I gather, Michael and Charlie had 'intimate relations' at some point before he passed, but I'm not really sure how all that worked, between a jail doc and an inmate on death row for committing serial crimes. But however it happens, Charlie is fighting her feelings for him as he was a person, and Michael the ghost taunts her endlessly about the fact she loves him.
Michael can't go farther than 50 feet from her, so he's pretty stuck to her side. There is one point where Charlie is learning about his past from a fellow (now fallen) Marine's father, in which Michael gets agitated with Charlie and the situation and tries leaving, not caring about severing the tie. At that point, he doesn't care if he goes to what is called SpookVille (where spirits go to be forever, never gracing the earth again) forever.
Michael has a difficult time with his being dead, and wants to stick around. He is very into Charlie. Charlie has a difficult time with the gorgeous ghost who won't leave her alone, and eventually she comes to grips that the reason why she can't fall for the handsome (very much alive) detective Tony, is because she's not just attracted to Michael, but in love with him. I'm sure it's difficult to realize that the reason why you can't fall in love with a person is because you're sadly attracted to a dead guy.
Charlie believes with all her heart that Michael is innocent of the crimes he's been charged with -- part of her reasoning for this is that he's a Marine. Surely he couldn't have killed all those women. Beyond that, she feels that she knows him. She's pretty good at telling lies versus truth, it is her career, after all, but when she has evidence and DNA re-run and it comes back conclusive, Michael is guilty, she doesn't understand how it can be. Granted, love does shadow things...
Beyond that, there's the fact that once he's forever gone from the earth, he's banned to SpookVille, the land of hunters and evil -- very much not Heaven. He had to have done something to be banned there... and if it weren't the murders, what was it? Michael doesn't tell her in this book...
Michael learns how to enter other bodies, which comes in handy when he just wants to kiss Charlie -- nothing is more frustrating to him when he can't catch her, touch her, brush back her hair.
Between his entering of bodies (namely just Detective Tony's....), his guilty sentence, and the surprise in the last few paragraphs...
......let's just say I'm extremely hopeful for the next book.
I'm going to elaborate on that last line...
Because I need to.
So don't read any further if you hate spoilers.
Turn off the computer...
Close the tab (not in that order, of course)...
Close your eyes, count to ten....
Ok, I gave you plenty of dead space.
The last chapter has Michael spiraling out of control into the deep dark of SpookVille. Surely, he's going to be there for good. He's bent too many rules and entered too many bodies, done too many things he shouldn't have. Surely, he's gone for good.
But right before he's off the earth for good, he hears Charlie crying out that she loves him. The three words he was taunting and teasing her worth for the majority of this book, and she finally gave in and admitted it, as much to herself as to him.
The very last set of paragraphs has Charlie driving past the cemetery that Michael is buried at. She doesn't want to stop. She's sad, depressed, and now lonely, now that her constant ghostly companion, who she had the misfortune of falling in love with, is gone.
But wait, there's a person standing over Michael's grave.
She races out of the car and realizes that man looks like Michael. She's ecstatic -- he wasn't banned to SpookVille afterall -- hell, he's damn well as good as alive and in true person form as he can be!
But when he turns and looks confused to her yelling and screaming his name, and his normally blue eyes are actually a hazel...
Well, Charlie realizes she's made a mistake.
End of book.
My guess is that Michael has an identical twin. Why it hasn't been brought up in his files or talks, I don't know. Maybe they were estranged? Separated at birth? Whichever, he has an identical twin, and therefore identical DNA to someone else.
This twin must have committed the crimes.
But Michael's gone. So whatever happens when it gets proven in the next book that this man committed the crimes, well, it doesn't bring Michael back.
Or can it?
I'm hopeful that somehow Michael can figure out how to cross back over. Tam, a friend of Charlie's who dabbles in spells, mentions to Michael and Charlie that while Michael can take over bodies, it's only for hours or days -- because to take over a body, the spirit of the body has to be gone for the time and typically that person is dead for that to happen. The new spirit will only be able to embrace the body for a short time because come on, the body is dead or dying. There's something wrong with it which causes the other spirit to leave.
I'm hopeful that they figure out how to get rid of twin's spirit without killing him, forever sending him to SpookVille, as he's the one who truly committed the crimes, and Michael can take over twin's (healthy) body. And while Charlie will know that the body doesn't truly belong to Michael, it will then have Michael's spirit in it and will look 99% like him, so they can live happily ever after.
Ok, so now I need to read (at least skim) the first two books to learn more about Charlie and Michael, because I heart them, and I'm extremely excited for the next installment..!
I have liked Catherine Mann for years, and was extremely excited when I saw this new idea/series she was starting. When she asked for reviewers (and they were all invite only via NetGalley -- no requesting button!), I jumped at the opportunity and crossed my fingers and toes tightly. I love her Dark Ops and Elite Force series -- in fact, I reread many of them every few months or so.
As with the other series I love of hers, Shelter Me is a book about a soldier (Mike), the soldier he worked under/with's family (father 'Gramps', wife Lacey, daughter Sierra, and son Nathan), and a war dog named Trooper.
The book is split into parts, each one starting out in the view of Trooper -- which I thought was really rather ingenious. Trooper spoke of his life as a war puppy -- a stray on the streets who just happened upon a group of military (in this case, Army). As happens in 'real life', Trooper became the unit dog. When Mike's commander is killed, he makes a promise to him to bring Trooper back home -- which involves loop holes and crossing some maybe not so legal lines. It also involves Mike coming face to face with Sierra, whom he had a brief relationship with the year prior to going to war.
When Trooper speaks in the story, Catherine Mann does a great job of being in the mind of a dog -- many of the points of his thoughts had me thinking, "Squirrel!" (thank you, Up, for that phrase...).
Mike and Sierra flirt around with the attraction that is still between them, and eventually act on it. However, Mike puts distance between them because his life growing up was so very much different than Sierra's, and he doesn't feel worthy of her. Sierra, on the other hand, puts distance between them because she grew up the military lifestyle (as well as experienced that ultimate sacrifice when her loved one dies), and doesn't want to be her mother and continue doing it the rest of her life. Bottom line -- she's done with the heartache the military brings.
As the book goes through it's motions, Trooper does his part to be a loyal dog, and Mike and Sierra learn to work alongside eachother, as well as learn that sometimes attraction can be too powerful to fight.
I give the book a 4.... but pretty loosely. This particular ARC didn't format well on my reading app, sometimes
it bothered me when I couldn't keep tRAck of what was
SHELTER ME 396
....I guess I'm a little ADD/OCD about my books that way. Because I had a hard time following, I found myself skimming simply because I was loosing my way. Additionally, while I liked the side story of Lacey and Ray, and I really liked when Mike was 100% there for Gramps (who is battling severe PTSD in the midsts of his Alzheimer's), as well as Nathan's struggles... I was more interested in Mike and Sierra.
But as for Mike, Sierra, and Trooper -- I enjoyed their story.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
I'll buy it tomorrow when I go grocery shopping, but still.
My NetGalley is up to 21 approved books -- they really need to be read and reviewed before I dive into the newest KGI. I do have the entire Titan series read and ready to be reviewed (which REALLY needs to happen, as Cristin asked for reviewers for the novellas and for Sweet Girl; I read them a week plus ago and need to even up on my half of the deal), as well as 3 other NetGalley books to put up here. I have to finish reading the newest Catherine Mann book, Rescue Me, which was an invite ARC -- so that REALLY needs to happen, too. On top of that, I've been in the middle of a Sheryl Woods book for weeks (which really is a great book, I've just been sidetracked with all the NetGalley fun). And also.... I want to get reviews up of the entire KGI series before bringing Swanny into the mix.
So... hopefully tonight and tomorrow morning I can pull up some reviews and opinions for y'all! Keep looking...!
Friday, June 20, 2014
This is book 3 in the series, and I've got to say, I'm looking for the ones before and after this book.
It was a little confusing at first -- the different terms and places -- but it was easy to see past the confusion and eventually catch on.
This book is between Harlen and Sera, two people who have known each other for years. They'd been each other's 'someone special' in college, but life took them in opposite directions -- hers, culinary, his, the army and into being a Dream Master.
Half of the book takes place in the here and now, the other takes place in the dream world. Both connect, as dreams do. When, in present day and life, Sera contacts Harlen because a stalker in her dream life has come into her real life, Harlen doesn't step back. He will always be there for Sera. When they need answers and he needs to use his Dream Master skills to get into her dreams, he warns Sera that in-the-light-of-day feelings are magnified in the dream state. She understands this, and is probably a little shocked to learn that her feelings, as well as Harlen's feelings, from years past are still there.
The reason why the broke up the first time is on both of them. She felt she couldn't continue the relationship because she wanted the stability of a culinary life. He felt they couldn't continue because his job wouldn't really allow it. Through this book, Sera learns (really, she's told) that if she wants to be with Harlen, she may just need to drop her life and run with him. With age comes the realization they are meant to be together, and nothing is going to stop Sera from that.
I've learned with this book that this entire series is reads like one continuous book. The players and actions move from one scene to another, one book the other, but the thoughts they're following change with the book. This book was Harlen's turn. I believe that if I were to find and read book 1, then book 2, it would all flow extremely well. Even the epilogue of Darksider shows you the path into book 4.
This was a shorter book, novella length (I believe every book in this series is?) and was a quicker read. Not necessarily an easier read. With the terms and the bouncing between daylight and dreamtime, one really had to pay attention (much as one must do while watching Inception). If ever I found my mind wandering, or if I put the book down in the middle of a chapter but not a scene, I typically had to go back a few paragraphs to re-get a feel for what was going on.
Not that I'm complaining.
Most books that I read that I find myself doing just that (going back), I tend to get bored, annoyed, and step away. Maybe it's because I'm fascinated by dreams in real-life, but this was a book I wanted to get further into.
I need to re-read it, though, to further understand Harlen's shakes and Coll's scary eyes, but re-reading this one won't be a hardship.
Well, the fiery blonde who strolls into his office isn't exactly his cousin's friend coming to save him from a family dinner nightmare, which Jared learns once he gets Madison to his car. Too late to turn around, he offers her the opportunity to be his stand in girlfriend for a decent chunk of change. Being an actress... well, how can she say no..?
I'm always afraid that I'll put more into the summary than I should. I don't want to give away the really good parts, so I try to skim over them, then realize while skimming some things, I missed other things.
So really, I'd rather just do a 'what I really loved about this book', 'what could have been better', and perhaps a character analysis.
But we'll try with the summary.
Three years ago, Jack Hunter and his HOT team (Hostile Operations Team) were on a mission to take out Metaxes, a man they'd been after for years. Gina Domenico, a pop superstar, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Or so they think.
What comes from this accidental meeting is three days in hiding, and, unbeknownst to Jack, a baby.
Fast forward three years later, and Gina's "adopted" son is kidnapped. She calls to the person that saved her those years ago and when he tells her he'll be there for her, but it's not really a mission his team will go on, she drops the mother of all bombshells -- Eli wasn't adopted; Eli was his.
The story moves through the paces as they try to find the boy, and, for obvious reason, for Jack to believe in Gina. He's not seen pictures of Eli in the media, but Gina shows him one on her phone. The boy could pass as his, he decides. Jack's biggest issue is he was once married and when Hayley died, she'd been newly pregnant. Jack believed with all his heart that Hayley would have been a great mother, one who would sit and play with her children, and shower them with the attention they needed.
He can't help but feel Gina couldn't do the same, not with her lifestyle -- which was oddly, if wrongly, proved when Eli was kidnapped. However, upon seeing Eli (and realizing he's a mini-me of himself) and seeing him with Gina, he understands that Gina really is a good mom -- it doesn't take away from the fact he needs to process everything.
Gina and Jack push eachother's buttons, but they sure know how to makeup after a fight -- something that Jack points out later nearly through clenched teeth. There are trust issues, which are a recurring theme in the romance genre, but it doesn't feel overplayed. Gina didn't grow up in the best way, and as such, she has a hard time with Jack's back and forth emotions -- one moment he seems to want her and Eli in this life, the next he's pissed and brooding.
All in all, I very much liked this book. I'm excited the pick up the rest of the HOT series -- maybe I'll start with Kev and Lucky's, because she intrigues me with her quiet demeanor, her scars, and her way of seeming on the outside of the wives circle (which is entirely her own doing; the other ladies love her).
Thursday, June 19, 2014
I'm going all fan girl for a moment.
Lauren Layne read my review of Only with You, and then shared it on her Facebook. I was scrolling through my timeline then saw my face (that picture to the right) and my heart started racing.
Like I said... Fan girl moment.
Now, getting back to the scheduled programming, with reviews coming from not 1, not 2, but the 3 books I've read in the last 48 hours.
Oh, NetGalley, you most certainly aid my reading addiction.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
This post is for a NetGalley review! So, my last NetGalley review was a totally fantastic, can't believe I stumbled upon it, book. I randomly selected this book on the same day as Only With You, and sadly, I didn't have the same feelings for it.
As with the one other book I've so far stumbled into that I didn't much care for (My Hunger; review may or may not come for that one 'round these here parts), I will try to keep the review unbiased.... but if the opinion comes through, I apologize.
I have found (in my thousands upon thousands of books read adventures) that most series, you don't really need to read the earlier books to understand what's going on. In this case, I was left a bit confused.
The book opens one hundred years (give or take) earlier, with a family, some babies, and a measles epidemic. You're given names of the people, the town, whathaveyou, then right away in chapter one, present day you get...
......the same town. But that's it. For me as a reader who was picking up an Anna Sullivan book for the first time, I felt a terrible disconnect. I wasn't quite sure what the prologue and book had in common. Typically, there is some sort of connection immediately evident, more than just the town and it's history. Right there, I was confused and on my way to disliking the book.
'Disliking the book' may actually be a tad bit harsh. My dad used to joke (and quite honestly, still does) that the only reason why I read quickly is because I skim read. I thought about that long and hard for many years. Surely, this wasn't true. But occasionally, I would notice that yes, this was indeed happening. But why? Why, when I'm such a reader and such a I-want-into-their-heads-and-I-want-their-happily-ever-after, why was I skimming the books.
And then I figured it out.
The book wasn't holding my attention. There was either too much detail where it wasn't needed, or not enough where I really needed to see it.
It's like watching a terrible movie. You keep watching in hopes that it's going to get better, or you keep watching because even though the story line sucks, or the acting is terrible, you somehow feel a connection with the characters and you really just want to see it through to the end.
That's what happens with me and books I don't really like. I read over things I don't care about only to try and find the 'meat and potatoes', the moments of 'Ahh, there it is'.
So this measles epidemic... Maybe because I was skim reading, perhaps that's why I missed key points (I'm hopeful that they were there...). Apparently the baby girl that was introduced at the end of the prologue is a woman who's genealogy is important to this town. Dex (from the previous book in this series) and Hold are trying to uncover the mystery of her family and find her heirs. In Dex's book, Maggie was thought to be the heir and nearly lost her life (oh, fyi, Maggie is the pilot of the airport Jessi is at, and is Jessi's best friend). In this book, the search for the heir continues, and it puts Jessi's life in danger.
One of my very first notes on this book was that it read like an 'easy reader', such as a middle school aged book. I'm not sure how else to describe it. The first chapter was nearly all description, a backstory about the airport and Jessi and Benji and Jessi's role at the airport......
I like dialogue. I like interaction. I was bored.
My next note (well, the second note was about how Jessi loved that her son always considered them a unit) was [finally] dialogue -- and it was between the hero and heroine of the story, Jessi and Hold. Unfortunately, this little tift between the two of them (Hold is trying to convince Jessi to go out with him, but she refuses to because he has been a bit of a player in the flirt department for the few weeks he'd been on-island) came across to me as forced writing. I only recognize it as such because sometimes I find my own writing and dialogue between characters to seem forced.
When Jessi 'throws' Hold out of her life toward the end of the book, that conversation, too, seems too scripted and forced to be true emotion, which I'm sure was the intent (the emotion, not the scripted and forced part).
Altogether though (I know, I know, it almost seems like I couldn't have an 'on the bright side' to this opinionated review) ---
....I really did like Jessi and Hold (said in a whispered voice).
I know it doesn't come across as such, but I did like them. I liked them enough to not put the book down; I liked them enough to want to skim read to read their interactions and their interactions only....
I love Hold's relationship with Jessi's son. I love that Hold is upfront with what he wants from Jessi and her life. I love that Hold understands that Jessi and Benji are a package deal and he is 100% fine with that, sign him up.
I love that Jessi doesn't put people before her son. I love that Jessi wants to protect Benji from his father when he randomly shows up after 7 years. I love that Jessi, even when she wants to, doesn't speak ill of her ex to his mother, even when she's busy bashing Jessi all over town.
I truly did love Jessi and Hold (& Benji, too!). I just really wish I loved everything else about the book.