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Short Take Reviews: Roommate, Without You, Torn, Mackenzie 's Mountain


4.5 stars
Any new release from Sarina Bowen makes me happy, but returning to the True North world is extra special. Both Kieran and Roderick were characters that I loved and both had family and/or relationship issues that made my heart hurt. Kieran (he's a Shipley!) was a bit of a grump, while Roderick was a ray of sunshine. They were thrown together first by their jobs and then by ending up as roommates. They both had a kind of vulnerability that made me want to give them a hug. Their chemistry was off the charts and I loved watching as they navigated a friendship and then more. There were cameos from much-loved characters which was a fun bonus. The narration from Teddy Hamilton and Stephen Dexter (two of my favorites) made Kieran and Roddy come to life and made the reading experience extra-special.

4 stars
To be honest, I largely downloaded the audio of Without You because Teddy Hamilton was one of the narrators. This one ended up surprising me and being more than I expected. Both main characters were dealing with grief and it felt so genuine. They were born pretty broken and it was easy to be sympathetic. Deacon was grieving the loss of his younger brother. Julian, his deceased brother's boyfriend, had been part of the family for years and, with no family of his own, was devastated by the loss and also unsure if he still had a place in his boyfriend's family. There was such long-standing simmering friction between Deacon and Julian and it took a long time for them to resolve that and move forward. But when they did, the relationship that formed between them was so solid and I loved the unconditional support they showed each other.


4 stars
When I saw a trusted Booktuber rave about Torn I decided to give it a try. This was a taboo/age gap romance, further complicated because Toren had been an "uncle" of sorts to Kenzi since she was born. They had always been close, with a unique bond, but by the time Kenzi was graduating high school both of them were experiencing feelings that went beyond friendship. This could have come across as prurient or salacious, but Carian Cole took the time to really set the foundation, build the relationship slowly, and highlight the conflict that both characters felt (especially Toren, who truly struggled with his feelings). At 400+ pages (12 hours on audio), it felt a little long at times, but it was also necessary to tell the story in a way that actually had me pulling for Kenzi and Tor. There was one aspect of the ending that I wasn't a fan of, but overall this was a solid story that impressed me.

2.5 stars 
I could not get past the issues that permeated the whole book. The whole thing felt extremely dated, and I don't mean because it was published in 1989, because it would have seemed dated even then. Several times I had to remind myself that I wasn't reading a historical romance. Main character Mary was the prissiest character I have ever encountered. She came across as some Little House on the Prairie character with her antiquated views and speech. (Only shameless hussies would wear a skirt without a proper petticoat underneath. I can't make this up, y'all.) She was in her early 30's and constantly referred to herself as an "old maid schoolteacher" ( sixteen times, according to my Kindle).  When it came to the male lead, a Native/Indigenous American named Wolf Mackenzie, the language used when talking about him stopped me mid-sentence several time. At their first meeting Mary asked Wolf if he was a "half-breed." Yeah, that happened. At one point she fantasized about him wearing a loincloth, and the term "savage" (when referring to Wolf) was used on several occasions. I mean, WTH? Maybe Linda Howard was intentional in her terminology to show how sheltered Mary was (I'm reaching here, I know it), but the whole thing just screamed out of date and out of touch. It's unfortunate because the storyline was interesting and Wolf and his son Joe were intriguing characters.


Review / Release Blitz: Return To Us by Corinne Michaels


RETURN TO US by Corinne Michaels is now live!

From New York Times Bestselling author Corinne Michaels comes a new second chance standalone love story.

At eighteen, I walked away from Willow Creek Valley for good.

I was young, scared, and stupid, and it cost me the love of my life—Grayson Parkerson.

Fourteen years later, a crash sends me back home to recover.

Back to where we met, fell in love, and planned a future.

The one he’s now living as a single dad to his daughter.

Working at The Park Inn together gives us a chance to reconnect, and seeing him with his little girl makes me long for the days when he was mine. One look in his gorgeous blue-green eyes, and it’s like I never left. One kiss, and my world is upside down. One night together, and I know without a doubt, in his arms is where I belong.

I’m not the girl I was—intimidated by his wealthy family and desperate to escape our small town. I can imagine a new life for us here.

But he’s learned to guard his heart, and trust won’t come easily.

How can I convince him to give first love a second chance?

M Y   T H O U G H T S

Corinne Michaels consistently delivers heartfelt, sexy/swoony romance and Return To Us is no exception. Jessica is back in the small North Carolina town where she grew up – the same town she fled fourteen years ago when she ended a relationship with the man she loved. Never accepted by his family, she knew it was only a matter of time before he would feel forced to choose between them. So she took that choice out of his hands and left. Now back home to recuperate from a traumatic accident, she’s forced to face the feelings for Grayson that have never gone away.

Grayson was shattered when Jessica chose to leave. Now, raising his daughter alone, the never-married Grayson is guarded and gun-shy. He’s never stopped loving Jessica, but he also won’t open himself up to that kind of hurt again. Convinced that Jessica will leave again as soon as she is able, he does his best to keep his walls up, but there’s no denying that their connection is still there.

I loved these two characters from the very start. Jessica was dealing with some serious issues that sidelined her and she was struggling. My heart hurt for Jessica as she suffered from recurring nightmares, crippling headaches, and speech issues. I loved her commitment to her therapy sessions and her willingness to be honest and open. But the real focus was on she and Grayson and I loved every minute. Whether these two loved and cared for one another was never in question. They just had to overcome the obstacles in their way (mostly self-created) and learn to trust again.

Corinne Michaels is the best at second-chance romance and small-town settings and both of those aspects really shine here in Return To Us. This was an absorbing story of lasting love and I can’t wait to get more of the Parkerson siblings’ stories as the series continues. 

Download today on Amazon, Apple Books, Audible, 

Google Play, Kobo, Barnes & Noble!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uaYe2q

Apple Books: http://apple.co/2ZwV5ff

Nook: https://bit.ly/3jNQZHb

Kobo: http://bit.ly/3ds1OiS

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2NCgYHd

Audible: https://amzn.to/3pCzdJL

Narrated by Andi Arndt & Sebastian York

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2M4jkyj

Meet Corinne

Corinne Michaels is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of romance novels. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love, and she enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak before finding a way to heal them through their struggles.

Corinne is a former Navy wife and happily married to the man of her dreams. She began her writing career after spending months away from her husband while he was deployed--reading and writing were her escapes from the loneliness. Corinne now lives in Virginia with her husband and is the emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun-loving mom of two beautiful children.

Connect with Corinne

Website: http://corinnemichaels.com

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2N1H2Gb

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NVZmhv

Facebook: https://bit.ly/1iwLh6y

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/corinnemichaelsbooks/

Instagram: https://bit.ly/2L1Vzo6

Twitter: https://bit.ly/2Jcp29z

Bookbub: https://bit.ly/2yc6rss

Pinterest: https://bit.ly/2m7MkEL

Book+Main: https://bit.ly/2EibEEn


The Sunday Post #239 | February 21, 2021


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news: a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books,
 and share what's coming up on your blog in the week ahead. 
Another week... still working from home. It's been eleven months of working from home with just a couple short interludes of being in the office. It's just bizarre sometimes to think it's been almost a year of this. A year of having our lives shaken up and looking so different. And how so many things now seem normal when before they would have sounded so very strange. 

It was a fairly uneventful week... other than me being a total shopaholic (online, obviously). I ordered new rugs from Amazon (dining room, foyer, hall) and that turned into "let's just start adding to the cart." So that happened. The Amazon delivery drivers are going to hate me next week. Might be time to put the snacks/drinks table back out on the front porch. :) 

This week's 80's music fix is a one-hit wonder. Anyone remember Beat's So Lonely by Charlie Sexton? And just a head's up - there are no vocals in the video until about a minute and a half in. Looong instrumental intro.

Tuesday, February 16

Thursday, February 18

Friday, February 19


Listened to:
I downloaded this one from Hoopla after hearing a Booktuber rave about it. It was a taboo/age gap romance and I was pretty impressed with how Cole portrayed it and let it play out. She steered clear of anything salacious and the character's actions (and reactions) felt realistic. I'll likely continue on with the companion series at some point.


I'm reading an ARC of Corinne Michaels' latest and I'll probably finish it up today (which is a good thing since it releases Tuesday). As with every book I've read from Corinne, I love these characters and I'm pulling so hard for them.

A Court of Silver Flames (ACOTAR #4) - Sarah J. Maas
It's been a looong time since A Court of Wings and Ruin (three years... four??) and I am so ready to return to the world of the Fae and Rhysand's inner circle. This is a chunky monkey, too... over 700 pages!

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share?
I'd love to hear about it!