Talk about a cliffhanger…

Rebel and Soul (Wander, #2)Rebel and Soul by Anna Kyss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t wait for Wander #3! (Seriously, I just tried to shelve it on here but it’s not listed yet.)

Back in October 2014, I signed up for a complimentary copy of the first installment through a “read it and review it” thread on Goodreads. The novel, Wander and Roam, is wonderful. It’s a love story that details the wholesome, real, and perhaps “fated” connection between main characters Abby and Sage. (My review for that one can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show….) But as much as I enjoyed it, I think I liked Rebel and Soul better, if only because I connected with this set of characters a bit more.

Yet again the author infuses her writing with some really fresh material: unique settings (the train, Grandmother) and the undercurrent of environmental activism, most notably. Another interesting element is that Anna Kyss gives special emphasis to coincidences, hinting at the deeper meaning(s) behind them.

Both novels are WELL WORTH a read due to their good writing, PRECIOUS heroes, and very effective character development. And I look forward to the next novel, whenever it is to be released.

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New To Me: Author Brinda Berry

Tempting Fate (Serendipity, #2)Tempting Fate by Brinda Berry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. The story in Tempting Fate absolutely blew me away. I started and finished it in twenty-four hours, even forgoing sleep at one point—a sacrifice I don’t take lightly.

There are so many things to love about this novel, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll highlight the most noteworthy to me as a reader.

I really appreciate the effort that went into characterizing Collin and Veronica. Throughout the novel, two notable things about are really emphasized about the former: his tendency toward OCD and his sense of humor. At the beginning of Tempting Fate, Collin admits that both have suffered as a result of a deceitful and unfaithful ex-fiancé. Thus, when he’s anxious or caught off guard, the author plays up Collin’s compulsions toward cleanliness, order, etc. Plus, his personality is rather dry and dull at the start of the novel. But, as the storyline progresses, his sense of humor resurfaces gradually. The banter that thereafter takes place between the two main characters is so funny at times that I laughed out loud.

As for Veronica, the voice used in the chapters from her point of view is spot-on. She’s from Arkansas, and while the particular town may be fictional (right?), the vernacular and descriptions feel incredibly familiar since I have lived and worked in the state my entire life. The flashbacks, Gimme Gas, and her relationships with Gunner and Beck go a long way in characterizing Veronica as a strong, naturally beautiful young woman.

As for sex and violence, both are done very tastefully. Regarding the first, there’s a lot of descriptive, convincing build-up, but the play-by-play that some novels provide is absent here. It seems like some new adult books rely on at least two or three explosive sex scenes to carry the work, so I like that a different choice was made here. But I’ll admit that a small part of me wanted to “see” the sex through Veronica’s eyes, since her previous experiences had been disappointing. When it comes to violence, the little shared is vivid but not terribly off-putting. The antagonist is the right mix of debonair and disturbing, causing Veronica to question her aptitude at judging another’s character.

I highly recommend Tempting Fate to fans of contemporary romance and new adult fiction. The plot is captivating, the characters likable, and the overall experience enjoyable. Collin is definitely swoon-worthy, so if you’re looking to add another book boyfriend to your list, he might just be your man!

*Copy generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

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More Zoe York

Love in a Small Town (Pine Harbour, #1)Love in a Small Town by Zoe York
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although this title isn’t a NetGalley selection, I do have to thank the online service for bringing Zoe York to my attention. Several months ago, I requested her Wardham novel No Time Like Forever through NetGalley, whereafter the author’s ability to craft a romance thoroughly impressed me. Seriously, she has a gift for it…and Love in a Small Town is no exception.

Now I have to admit, I’m hesitant when it comes to second chance romances. And by “hesitant” I mean I avoid them like the plague. However, I’m extremely glad that I took a chance (no pun intended) on this one. York really knows how to plot a romance, adequately representing the highs and lows that come with the territory.

Admittedly, I wanted to villainize either Rafe or Liv for the relationship not working out in the first place. But I just couldn’t. They are both SO likable, and I understood and commiserated with both points of view. So forget placing blame–I just wanted to see them back together in a healthy, more balanced marriage.

All in all, finishing this novel was a great way to start off 2015. And now I’m signing off to dig into Love in a Snow Storm!

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