The Dollmaker by Mary Burton

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The Dollmaker by Mary Burton
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (387 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Dr. Tessa McGowan had never seen anything quite like it. But the mutilated bodies on her exam table tell a stunningly macabre tale: someone with a twisted mind is kidnapping women and altering their faces to resemble real, life-size dolls. As a forensic pathologist, it’s her job to aid the agent leading the case—even if that agent is her estranged husband.

Twelve years ago an unspeakable tragedy destroyed Dakota Sharp’s world. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, he’s devoted himself to capturing killers. His only regret is that it cost him Tessa. Now, as the Dollmaker case brings them together—and raises his suspicions that he’s crossed paths with this deranged psychopath before—they may just have their second chance. But it seems Dakota’s not the only one who wants to make Tessa his own…

She may be the Dollmaker’s next target, but Tessa has no intention of winding up as another toy on his shelf. Can she and Dakota stop this ghastly killer before his next deadly playdate?

Dakota is an excellent cop but he’s haunted by the death of his younger sister. He wasn’t even in the country when it happened but he still feels guilty. The worst part is that it’s a cold case. It’s worse than cold for him, it’s frozen part of his heart.

Ms. Burton writes suspenseful novels and this is one of her best so far. She makes you wonder how she can imagine a monster so well. Did she have one in her life? Once you start reading her novels, you don’t stop until it’s done. Then you might have to sit and take a few breaths before you return to regular life. Her stories are smoothly done, the horror is real, and the danger gives you chills.

When Tessa, Dakota’s wife, returns from working overseas, she’d like to get back together with him. He tells her he hasn’t changed and what broke them apart before will do it again. Since she’s a medical examiner, she has to work with him. She also plans to work on him.

The newest death is a young man who was found in a dark alley. They believe that it was a drug deal gone bad. The young man was a good boy, but he had a bad father. What makes them wonder about it is the manner of death. It’s almost like a doctor killed him.

Then a woman is found dead and she’s been remade. All her hair has been removed. She’s tattooed as a doll and her wig and clothing are unusual. When she’s identified, she’s part of a group of girls that Tessa and Dakota’s sister hung out in high school. Then they find another one in the same type of tattoos and handmade clothing and she’s another of the group. All of sudden, Dakota has more to worry about than his dead sister…

Ms. Burton, draws you in, gives you pieces of the puzzle from all sides, and manages to scare you to death on the way. Her books are exciting and an excellent read.

The Lullaby Sky by Carolyn Brown

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The Lullaby Sky by Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (321 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

After seven years of misery and abuse, it’s all over—Hannah O’Malley is officially divorced. Hallelujah. It’s like every Christmas in her life all rolled up into one glorious day. Not only does Hannah get to keep her grandmother’s spacious old house, but she has full custody of her sparky five-year-old daughter. All Hannah has to do now is put the past behind her.

And now that she’s free, she wants to make a difference. With the help of her warm, close-knit circle of friends—including her high school crush, Travis Wilson—Hannah begins turning her home into a safe house for other women who’ve endured the pain she’s known. But even as life and laughter return to Hannah’s home, she’s haunted by the memory of her dangerously unstable ex. With a second chance at love on the horizon, Hannah must face down her past in order to let the sunshine back into her life.

Not what I expected from the blurb, but still a satisfying novel.

Honestly, from the blurb I expected something a little more Sleeping With the Enemy, but the focus of this novel isn’t the heroine trying to remain safe from her abusive husband. He’s really just not a threat at all to her. What this novel is about is the journey Hannah takes to become a strong, secure woman and how she helps others to become the same.

She has a solid set of friends and family to support her, and the strength of this novel is their interactions. While there are certainly strong romantic elements in this story between her and Travis, I don’t feel that it’s a romance at the heart of it. It’s more women’s fiction in that it’s about Hannah, and her growth and development, and not about the romance. I absolutely feel as if Travis could have been no more than a good friend and the story itself would still stand.

That’s not a complaint at all. Once I shifted my head from “romantic suspense” to simply enjoying the story, I really had a wonderful time. I loved Aunt Birdie, Rosie, Liz and Darcy as well as Travis. They were interesting, believable and unique. And the relationship between Hannah and Travis grew organically and was also believable, considering Hannah’s background of abuse.

If you enjoy books with a small town feel, populated with fun primary and secondary characters and writing that feels so easy and flows without any bumps, I’d recommend The Lullaby Sky. It’s the first book I’ve read by Carolyn Brown, but it won’t be my last.

Black Diamond by Susannah Sandlin

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Black Diamond by Susannah Sandlin
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Length: Full (266 pgs)
Heat: Sensual
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

For some people, the untamed beauty of the bayou is a place to hide. For Louisiana wildlife agent Jena Sinclair, it’s a place of refuge—one where she can almost forget the tragedy that scarred both her skin and her soul. But when the remains of yet another fisherman turn up, Jena realizes that Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes is not safe for her…or anyone else.

The mysterious deaths aren’t her only problem. A dangerous drug known as Black Diamond is circulating through Terrebonne Parish, turning addicts into unpredictable sociopaths. Jena’s investigation leads her to Cole Ryan—a handsome, wary recluse struggling with his own troubled history—who knows more than he’s willing to admit. If they want to stop the killer, Jena and Cole must step out of the shadows of their pasts and learn to help each other…before the evils lurking in the bayou consume them both.

It was good to catch up with Jena Sinclair and the folks from the bayou. The book starts with a bang–a rather gruesome and honestly tragic death-by-alligator that broke my heart. It plopped Jena right back into an investigation after she was cleared to start working again. Everyone but Jena herself trusts her to do the job and make good choices, even (or maybe especially) her loquacious new partner, Mac.

But the crimes don’t stop with that body…there’s also a new drug in town, Black Diamond (or BSC, for “bat shit crazy”) and Jena finds out her younger brother is using. She brings in her former partner, Gentry, to help her make the right choices about that.

Cole was an interesting person. When we first meet him, he does something that makes me wonder if he’s at all trustworthy. Understand, I read an ARC that didn’t have a blurb, so I didn’t know who Jena’s love interest would be. Thankfully, Cole redeems himself. He’s a loner, true, and scarred (by the end, he’s scarred inside and out, but healing), but it’s those very characteristics that make him appeal to Jena. She’s scarred too, from nearly dying in book one, to doubting herself and her looks. She doesn’t think anyone could possibly find her attractive again.

Filled with plenty of twists, Black Diamond kept me turning pages. Nearly 1/3 of the book had Cole, Mac and Jena in a lot of peril and left me a bit breathless. I do wish a little more time had been spent developing their relationship (the book is definitely heavy on the suspense), but it still worked for me. Additionally, if you’re looking for a book with lots of sex, this isn’t the one for you. I think the physical part of the relationship between Jena and Cole was handled just right, but any more books seem really heavy on the sex. I was pleased that the author focused more on emotions than putting tab A into slot B.

I’m really enjoying the series and look forward to the next… who will be up next time? There are a couple folks Ms. Sandlin can choose from. I can’t wait.

Spotless by Camilla Monk

SPOTLESS
Spotless by Camilla Monk
Spotless #1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (332 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Island Chaptal—nerdy IT engineer by day, romance novel junkie by night—just walked into her messy New York apartment to find Mr. Right waiting for her. No, wait…Mr. Clean.

A gentleman professional killer with a bad case of OCD and zero tolerance for unsorted laundry, March isn’t there to kill her…yet. He wants the diamond her late mother stole for a sinister criminal organization. Island agrees to help him find it, facing the kind of adversaries who dismember first and ask questions later. Good thing she’s got March to show her the ropes. And the guns. And the knives.

The buttoned-up Island is soon having a blast racing from Paris to Tokyo following the clues in her mother’s will, and for the first time, she’s ready to get close to someone. But falling for a hit man may be the very definition of loving dangerously.…

Some very dangerous people think Island knows more than she’s telling.

Island’s life has never been particularly exciting. She has a good job, a great friend, and a serious addiction to romance novels. Everything changes when March blows into her life. March is probably the most unique hit man I’ve encountered in a book. His obsessive need for cleanliness and order is both entertaining and sad at times. While March can be truly terrifying, he is definitely the lesser evil when compared to the other hit man after Island. Unfortunately, Island learns this the hard way. Fortunately, March has no intention of abandoning Island until he’s fulfilled his contract. As March and Island work at unraveling her mother’s secrets, the more Island realizes she didn’t know her mother at all. Island slowly begins to develop feelings for March, but he has secrets too. Will Island ever be able to fully trust anyone?

Island and March are certainly an odd team. March’s rigid standards definitely clash with Island’s more relaxed approach. I enjoyed watching her push his buttons, and a scene involving a stack of road maps was particularly entertaining. As much as I enjoyed following March and Island on their adventures, I must admit I was a little confused by Island’s developing attraction to March. When I finished reading, I didn’t feel as if I really knew much about him. He is very reserved and rarely ever talks about anything personal. I could tell at times that he wanted to say and do more, but just wasn’t capable or ready to take that step. I think that Island could be very good for March if he would let her in. However, March doesn’t think he is good for Island, and I agree. His life is very dangerous, and unless he makes some serious changes, I don’t see a future for March and Island. While I didn’t expect any passionate declarations of love, I had hoped that the end of the story would have been a bit happier. However, I do get the sense that there is still hope for this odd couple.

Ms. Monk’s writing style well paced and easy to read. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter were always a source of entertainment. I found that as I read, I would just glance at the next quote and then find myself hooked into reading another chapter.

Reading Spotless was certainly a wild ride. I never knew what mess Island would find herself in next, and I look forward to reading more about Island and her adventures in the sequel.

All The Beautiful Brides by Rita Herron

BRIDES
All The Beautiful Brides by Rita Herron
Graveyard Falls
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

A young woman lies dead at the bottom of a waterfall, dressed in a wedding gown with a rose stem jammed down her throat. And in the small town of Graveyard Falls, the horrifying vision stirs a long-ago nightmare back to life…

FBI Special Agent Cal Coulter gets called in to investigate the murder, which bears a terrifying resemblance to a series of killings committed thirty years ago: three teenage girls were found dead at the waterfall’s base, all bearing rose stems in their throats. But the high school football star was convicted and imprisoned for those murders, leading Cal to suspect that the killer is still out there.

Now, the body count is rising again. The monster’s sights are set on counselor Mona Monroe, Cal’s best friend’s widow…and the woman he’s always loved. Can Cal stop the killer before Mona becomes the next victim?

I’ll make a confession. I’m a fan of Ms. Herron’s Harlequin Intrigue books and there’s probably not one I haven’t read. So when the opportunity came to review one of her stories, well, I jumped at it.

I haven’t ready any of the other titles in the Graveyard Falls series, but I do have a weakness for settings like these and small towns with loads of secrets that are just waiting to be uncovered.

The one and only thing I didn’t like about this story was there early on there seemed to be a lot of information dumping about the past murders and Mona’s background. However, I did enjoy turning the pages to see if my hunches were right. It seemed just about everyone in town had something to hide.

As always with the author’s books, this was a fast paced story and I found myself sitting down for an hour or more as the stakes got higher. As well as the suspense aspect of the story, there’s also the drama of Mona trying to find her birth mother, and her relationship with Cal who just happens to be Mona’s dead husband’s best friend. There’s conflict and sexual tension like only Ms. Herron can deliver.

The ending, well, I won’t give it away and spoil this book for you. It’s made me what to check out more stories in the series, and if like me, you like a dash of romance with your mystery, then add this one to your reading list.

The Portrait by Hazel Statham

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The Portrait by Hazel Statham
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (194 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

England 1812

Severely injured at the battle of Salamanca, Edward Thurston, the new Earl of Sinclair, returns home to his beloved Fly Hall. Determined not to present his prospective bride with the wreck he believes himself to have become, he decides to end his betrothal, unaware that Lady Jennifer, for vastly differing reasons, has reached the selfsame decision.

Throughout the campaigns, Edward was often seen relying greatly on a miniature he carried, and it is to this token he clings upon his return. Will he eventually find happiness with the girl in the portrait, or will he remain firm in his resolve not to wed? Reason dictates one course, his heart another.

Edward and Jennifer are their own worst enemies.

I have come across few characters as stubborn as Edward and Jennifer. They are both so set on having their own way that they often speak and act without thinking. As a result, they fail to see the hurt they often inflict on each other. Even after the engagement is ended, Edward and Jennifer’s paths cross often because their brothers are best friends who can’t manage to stay out of trouble and are rescued by Edward on more than one occasion. The more time that Edward and Jennifer spend together, the more obvious their affection for each other becomes. Unfortunately, Edward and Jennifer are the only ones incapable of recognizing how much in love they truly are.

Jennifer and Edward have great chemistry. When they relax and enjoy each other’s company, they are very fun to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed their teasing banter as well as their more tender moments. As the story progressed, I must admit that I became increasingly frustrated with Edward and Jennifer’s inability to be honest about their emotions. For the most part, nothing stood in the way of their happiness except themselves. They seemed bent on making excuses and misinterpretations of all sorts. Despite my frustration, Ms. Statham always left a glimmer of hope that Edward and Jennifer would find their way back to each other, which made it a bit easier for me to tolerate their behavior.

There are a few interesting side stories sprinkled throughout the book. Some had more bearing on the main plot than others, but they were all amusing. I must admit that I expected them to impact Edward and Jennifer’s future much more than they did, and I was a bit disappointed when they didn’t. However, the stories do serve to illustrate what a kind, loyal, and strong man Edward is.

The Portrait is a thoroughly entertaining read. Edward and Jennifer are very likable and their happy ending is sweet if a bit surprising. I definitely recommend it to fans of historical romance.

For Love of Sarah by Hazel Statham

SARAH
For Love of Sarah by Hazel Statham
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (179 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Alexander, Earl of Thorne, thought he finally had found the woman of his dreams. But when Sarah fled just weeks after their wedding, his world came crashing down. Five years later, he has given up hope of ever finding her, until a freak accident strands him in a remote Yorkshire village where she is hiding.

Sarah dared to hope she was finally safe. But when her husband is thrust back into her life, she fears her dark secrets and the fact that she has a son will come to light. Though her heart longs to reclaim the love they once shared, Sarah rejects Alexander’s offers of reconciliation. But fate is not so easily thwarted…

Forced from their home by a flood, Sarah and her child have no choice but to accept Alexander’s hospitality in her former home. Yet with each passing day, the risk of discovery grows, threatening to drive Sarah from Alexander’s life forever. Is their love strong enough to triumph over the secrets of the past? Or will life’s cruel forces finally tear them apart?

Statham’s For Love of Sarah will prove completely pleasing to fans of the classic romance genre, easy-to-sympathize with heroine, and the backdrop English culture and countryside.

Sarah, Countess of Thorne, leaves her home -and husband – by dark of night and we are immediately intrigued. Why does she depart? For she does not seem merely faithless, but regretful. Rather a lot of backstory slows the start… but we get a clear view of the husband, Alexander’s perception of events. He married a faithless wife and seems, indeed on the brink of finding her.

Sarah is surely in the right, but we cannot be sure! I found myself impatient to discover what drove Sarah to depart. The easy answer, another man, seems incorrect. Immediate events rather abruptly change what we might expect. Indeed, we readers are both surprised by events and continually intrigued by what must have really happened! And although this rather makes it sound like an action novel, indeed Statham’s elegant turn of phrase is true to the genre and this is a classic romance in every way imaginable.

“Without a word, Sarah turned away and left the room. Closing the door quietly in her wake, she stood with her back pressed to the dark panel. She had never expected to see her husband again, and finding him forcefully brought back into her life resurrected emotions she thought to have died many years ago. Fear that her secrets would now be brought to the forefront made her tremble…”

You see how soundly Statham has hooked us and keeps us reading!

There is some measure of complexity to events, partly due to changing point of views too frequently, but apart from that one quibble, this is a very interesting and unpredictable romance. The quality of the writing and the very engaging characters make this ultimately a very satisfying read: and those particular fans of the English Historical romance will be very pleased.

Country Roads by Nancy Herkness

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Country Roads by Nancy Herkness
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (375 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

When sheltered artist Julia Castillo flees her hometown, she has one goal: to prove to her overbearing family she can make it on her own. She knows they only want the best for her, but when they question her artistic vision, it’s time to break free. Julia’s search for independence carries her to the small town of Sanctuary, West Virginia. There, her courage is tested as never before—by her love for a handsome country lawyer, her bond with a dangerous black stallion, and a secret she is desperate to keep…

Paul Taggart abandoned his high-powered legal career to return to Sanctuary, giving up his own dreams to care for his troubled brother. Then Julia Castillo blows into town like a fresh mountain breeze, changing his staid, predictable life forever. Has Paul earned his second chance at happiness? Or does loving Julia mean having the strength to let her go?

An engaging and sweet romance, I read this in nearly one sitting.

Julia has been incredibly sheltered her entire life, and so watching her find her courage and spine and break out on her own was wonderful. Honestly, there were still times I wanted to smack her, and I did not like her family at all — until I “met” them. I’m a pretty independent person, so simply couldn’t imagine allowing anyone to have the kind of control over me that Julia’s family did over her. Still, while their behavior was far too overbearing, her family had her best interests at heart. They just didn’t realize that she’d grown up and had a mind of her own. Thank heavens she finally broke free, because she’s really a great heroine.

Paul is a sweetheart. In fact, I’m still trying to figure out whether he has any flaws. He’s kind, intelligent, handsome, smart and self-sacrificing. Of course, there are several times he’s resentful of the sacrifices he’s been forced to make, but ultimately he’s just a really nice guy. He leans toward being a bit controlling, too, so watching him try to curb those tendencies as Julia struggles to become more independent was interesting. This was especially true when it came to Darkside, Julia’s “whisper horse”.

This was my first trip to this town and its people. I’ve since discovered that Country Roads is book two in a series, but very easily stands on its own. The book has the small town flavor I enjoy, where everyone knows everyone and folks are in each other’s business. The characters, including some of the horses, are unique and interesting and really make the story as strong as it is. The plot didn’t have tons of conflict, especially in regards to the romance, but even so it kept me completely engaged and interested. I’m looking forward to revisiting this town, and perhaps going back and reading book one. Nancy Herkness is a skilled writer and I’m glad I read this book.

A Change of Heart by Barbara Longley

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A Change of Heart by Barbara Longley
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (312 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 Stars
Review by Poppy

Cory Marcel worked tirelessly over eight grueling years to develop a successful military career. After her commanding officer violently assaulted her, she lost everything—especially her trust in people. Despite the emotional damage threatening to sink her, Cory agrees to accept a new job at a furniture store in Perfect—a job that could offer the fragile brunette the chance to start over.

Ted Lovejoy cofounded Langford & Lovejoy Heritage Furniture, but lately he feels like an outsider in his own business. When he meets Cory, Ted realizes his company can do more than just build furniture—it can also help rebuild lives. He longs to help Cory recover from her pain, yet every time he gets too close to her heart, she pushes him away.

While Cory can’t resist her attraction to Ted, she fears the demons haunting her will drag down both of them. Could this kind, soft-spoken man help her finally bury the past…and unlock a future full of hope and happiness?

A Change of Heart is one of the sweetest, most tender romances I’ve read in quite some time.

Cory was brutalized by her commanding officer while stationed overseas. Instead of keeping quiet about it (which is apparently expected), so brought charges against him in a highly publicized case. And because of it she lost everything.

Now, back living in her mom’s mobile home, feeling like worthless “trailer trash” again, she’s drowning in despair until her lifelong friend, Brenda, comes along and shoves her back out into the world.

I really liked Brenda. She was a hoot and could make Cory do things like only a forever friend could. She truly saved Cory’s life. Along with “Bunny”, Brenda’s brother (and I admit I LOVED that nickname for a big, strong guy) Cory is dragged, kicking and screaming, into the world.

Cory was exceptionally and realistically created. She has to learn how to be human again. How to trust, to allow casual (and less than casual) contact with people, to realize really deep down that the world isn’t out to get her. She knows this in her head, but PTSD doesn’t come from the logical part of a person. Thankfully, she’s plopped down into a group of people who know what she’s going through: the veterans at L&L who’ve gone through similar things themselves.

The odd man out, “not a veteran”, Ted is the love interest for Cory. As much as I absolutely adored Ted–he was everything any woman would want–sometimes he seemed too perfect. Aside from the fact he was not a big, strong alpha male like typically seen in romances (which is good, since Cory would never have been attracted to that type after her experience), he just didn’t seem as if he had any flaws. My first impression of him was when he was talking to several of his employees, all veterans, and he stood with his back to the open door because he knew it made them all nervous, allowing them to keep their backs to the wall. It was interesting to see how well he understood them all since he wasn’t part of the “group”. His only show of being human was his frustration at being called “kid” and the lack of respect afforded him largely due to his relative youth and that he hadn’t served.

A Change of Heart is apparently part of a series, and while I didn’t feel lost, exactly, I could tell I was missing things that might have made this a much richer experience. We have couples, one of whom is expecting their first child, and allusions to the fact that everyone who’s stayed in the carriage house has fallen in love. The story is filled to the brim with secondary characters and I loved that — it’s why I adore choosing small town romances, because of that — but I knew that most of them were probably ones that had been included in the previous books. Again, there is no trouble at all following the story line, but I think you will realize that it’s part of a larger series.

Still, I really enjoyed my time in Perfect. The people were amazing, the story was the kind to make your heart sigh. Watching Ted and Cory fall in love, seeing how incredibly patient Ted was with her as she struggled to be normal again, chuckling over the other characters giving Ted grief, all the while circling their wagons a bit (Cory was warned not to hurt him because he’s such a great guy with a huge heart) … it made me hungry to go back and read the other stories in the series. And I suspect there’s another one coming up …

A Change of Heart is a book I recommend to people looking for a tender, touching romance with plenty of emotion. There are some difficult parts to read when Cory flashes back, and it may be tough for anyone who survived a similar assault to read, but it’s handled well and realistically.

Ms. Longley has done a stellar job with her creation of Perfect and the people who populate the town. I can’t wait for a return visit.

Ex on the Beach by Kim Law

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Ex on the Beach by Kim Law
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (418 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Gardenia

She vowed to protect her heart…

Andie Shayne believes in forever…for everyone else. She has an up-and-coming wedding planning business, and her own failed engagement, to prove it. Now, all Andie wants is to save the date for Seaglass Celebrations becoming a premier destination wedding resort. And making sure the wedding of the summer goes off without a hitch will get her there – despite the arrival of one unexpected guest.

The sexy-as-sin best man…who’s also the ex who broke Andie’s heart.

Mark Kavanaugh wants to make amends with Andie. He knows breaking off their engagement—at the altar!—was unforgivable. But he’s a wiser man now, vowing to make peace with his past. But with desire reigniting on Turtle Island, Mark realizes he never stopped loving Andie. He wants her; and this time, he’s determined to do it right.

So the title says it all, right? Ex on the Beach. Not so … there is more to this book than meets the eye.

The author has created a main character in Andie Shayne who is both complicated and delightful. She has tried all her life to succeed at SOMETHING. She was left at the altar four years ago; lost her job at the same time, include with that a bad relationship with her mother. It all amounts to quite a burden. Now, she is about to lose her Aunt Ginny’s house due to complications. Who knew floods and hurricanes would interfere with her plans to make money as a destination-wedding venue and pay off the loan? We cheer her determination at making something of her life, while helping others.

Of course, Fate lends a hand and who should show up to the island as best man to the next wedding but her ex – Mark. Yes, the one who left her at the altar. Let us face it; I was expecting fireworks to go off once these two met again.  I was correct. It was impressive to read how quickly she dealt him a blow to both his pride and body.

I could not put this book down. Let us say that I was half-asleep in my bed and had to turn the lights back on and continue reading. Andie was doing everything in her power to deliver the wedding of the bride’s dream to save her Aunt’s house while Mark was doing everything in his power to get Andie back. I just had to find out what else could go wrong and how they were going to achieve their goals.

This is a delightful, emotional and sensitive story of growing up, facing our shortcomings and seeking acceptance. It is a book I am sure I will re-read at some future date and smile while I re-acquaint myself with these flawed and very human characters in their search for their place in life and happiness.