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Review: One Night on the Island by Josie Silver

Josie Silver
Publication date: February 15, 2022
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Day in December . . . When a double-booking at a remote one-room cabin accidentally throws two solace seekers together, it feels like a cruel twist of fate. But what if it’s fate of a different kind?

Spending her thirtieth birthday alone is the last thing that dating columnist Cleo wanted, but she is going on a self-coupling quasi-sabbatical--at the insistence of her boss--in the name of re-energizing herself and adding a new perspective to her column. The remote Irish island she's booked is a far cry from London, but at least it's a chance to hunker down in a luxury cabin and indulge in some quiet, solitary self-care while she figures out her next steps in her love life and her career.

Mac is also looking forward to some time to himself. With his life in Boston deteriorating in ways he can't bring himself to acknowledge, his soul searching has brought him to the same Irish island in search of his roots and some clarity. Unfortunately, a mix-up with the bookings means both solitude seekers have reserved the same one-bedroom hideaway on exactly the same dates.

Instantly at odds with each other, Cleo and Mac don't know how they're going to manage until the next weekly ferry arrives. But as the days go by, they no longer seem to mind each other's company quite as much as they thought they would...

Written with Josie Silver's signature warmth, charm and insights into the human heart, One Night on the Island explores the meaning of home, the joys of escape and how the things we think we want are never the things we really need.


Cleo Wilder is at a crossroads. The dating columnist for an online magazine is sent on assignment to Salvation Island, a remote location on the Irish coat, to “self-couple” (aka marry herself) and document the experience for her column. Feeling a mild sense of discontent, and weeks away from turning thirty, she takes the opportunity to indulge in some solitude and self-reflection. Except she’s not alone. A booking mishap means the one room cabin has also been reserved for Mack, a thirty-something American who is exploring his roots on Salvation Island while also escaping his marriage-in-shambles. Initially they demand the other leave, with neither of them willing to budge. Eventually an uneasy alliance is formed and when a storm hits the island and ferry service is suspended, their forced togetherness leads to a growing connection that neither of them ever expected.

One Night on the Island is one of those novels that makes me feel thoroughly inadequate when attempting to explain its power, its message, and the way it resonated with me. I admit that I was unsure of Cleo at first. Her initial interactions with Mack were filled with snarky barbs and a total unwillingness to make the best of the situation – as if their predicament was Mack’s fault. But the combination of some solitude (where she could find it), time spent with Mack, and with the island’s quirky yet welcoming residents, softened Cleo’s demeanor. Silver slowly developed these characters, adding layer upon layer, making them feel fully authentic and completely sympathetic. I loved the way Cleo, in particular, made a place for herself on Salvation Island, basking in the acceptance that was so freely given by the group of women she bonded with. 
 
The romance was handled with such care, and in such a realistic way; it felt like my heart was on the line as much as Cleo’s and Mack’s. They entered into a relationship with their eyes wide open, knowing what it was – and what it wasn’t. Cleo had a life in London (albeit one she was no longer sure she wanted to return to), Mack lived in Boston, and he had yet to come to terms with the dissolution of his marriage. It was messy, and complicated, and I ached for these characters who seemed to find the right person at the wrong time in their lives.

Straddling the line between women’s fiction and contemporary romance, One Night on the Island was a one of a kind story. Beautiful, introspective, funny, romantic, and uplifting – and sure to be one of my favorites of the year.

ABOUT JOSIE SILVER

Josie Silver
 is an unashamed romantic who met her husband when she stepped on his foot on his twenty-first birthday. She lives with him, their two young sons, and their cats in a little town in England called Wolverhampton. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Day in December and The Two Lives of Lydia Bird.

Review: Beloved and Beholden | The Belonging Duet by Corinne Michaels

Corinne Michaels is one of those "it" authors for me. She writes just the kind of emotional contemporary romances that I love, and over the last two years I've devoured more than a dozen of her novels. Recently I decided to do a deep dive into her backlist and read the Belonging Duet, her first two published books, and I've gotta say: she's come a long way, baby. Sure, Corinne's signature romance and emotional impact was there, but without the polish and the remarkable characters that I've come to expect. It's obvious there's been a lot of growth and finesse over the last 7-8 years. So here are my rambly-ranty thoughts on Corinne's earliest work, The Belonging Duet.

     

Pub date: May 27, 2014
Format: Audio
3.25 Stars

Enough. That single word is all I’ve ever wanted to be. Enough to make someone stay. Enough for someone to love and cherish, but I’ve been burned every time.

Except at my job. I thrive there. In my office, I have the ability to fix things and command situations.
Until my new client walks in.

It shouldn’t matter that he fills out a suit better than any man I’ve ever seen. His dimples and blue-green eyes shouldn’t call to me on every level. I know men like him and they’re dangerous to trust.

But Jackson Cole is irresistible.

The pain of the past disappears when he’s around. With him, I’m more than enough, and I break every rule about dating a client. I fall desperately in love with him—only to realize I should’ve trusted my instincts because I’m no one’s beloved.

Pub Date: 
Format: Audio
3 Stars

I tried resisting him. I fought to ensure history wouldn’t repeat itself. In the end, Jackson and I knew he would win. He broke down my walls, obliterated every excuse, and made me love him against all odds.

Then he shattered my heart into thousands of pieces.

I can’t let him back in. It was hard enough surrendering my heart the first time. If he hurts me again, I’ll never survive. No matter what he thinks, we’re beholden to our past.


Catherine - One of my favorite things about Corinne's books are her characters. The women are down to earth, strong, relatable, and someone you could imagine being friends with. Catherine was... eh, not quite those things. Those around her were forever telling her how strong she was but I beg to differ. Girlfriend played the victim very well. She used her Daddy issues and a bad break-up with her fiancé to color her outlook on virtually everything. I can't remember the last time I read about a character who was so in her feelings. I mean, she wallowed in some epic teenage-level angst. Her friendship with Ashley was pretty cringey. They called each other Biffle (as in BFL... yeah, I cringed, too) and their relationship just felt super immature. I will say that I really admired Catherine's ambition and her work ethic - she was quite the go-getter. And her loyalty to those around her was strong.

Jackson - I adore Corinne's heroes. She writes men who are strong, protective, and willing to go the distance for the women they love. There were glimpses of that in Jackson but he often missed the mark. Too often he crossed the line from alpha-male to alpha-hole. His mood swings, specifically in the first book, were annoying. I loved his loyalty to his friends and his former team members but this guy's guilt and savior complex was written with a heavy hand. I mean, you'd think Jackson was solely responsible for all the ills in the world, such was his angst.

Plot - First, this really could have been one book. There was no need to drag out the drama over two books. It made the overall story feel repetitive and I was starting to think: Oh FFS, will you two just sort it out already? I really enjoyed the times Jackson and Catherine were together and they did have great chemistry. I also liked the sub-plots with both of Jackson's companies and the conflict/sabotage that occurred with Catherine and a rival. Those aspects really added a lot to the story. But in the end, the characters felt weak and the drama and angst was overdone. Oh, and Jackson's Big Secret that finally came to light in the second book? Really? Why was it a secret (Jackson's explanation was pretty flimsy) and why did Catherine overreact so badly? Yeah, too much drama and angst.

So there you have it. My ranty thoughts on the Belonging Duet. If You've read Corinne Michaels before, what did you think of these? And if you're new to Corinne Michaels, some words of advice: Skip her earliest work and jump right into the Arrowood Brothers series or the Willow Creek Valley series, both of which are excellent.

HAVE YOU EVER READ A FAVORITE AUTHOR'S EARLIER WORK AND BEEN SURPRISED OR DISAPPOINTED?



Top Ten Tuesday: Pleased to Meet You | New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic:
New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2021

It's such a great feeling to discover a new-to-you author. Especially if they have a lengthy backlist! 
I read about sixteen new-to-me authors in 2021, with varying degrees of success. A few became new favorites, a few were middle of the road, and a couple were duds. But you never know until you try, right? Here are some of the authors I discovered in 2021.



JILL SHALVIS - If you read romance, you know the name Jill Shalvis. But I'd never read her before last year. To be honest, her backlist is pretty intimidating but I took a chance on her latest release last December and will definitely be reading more.

CARIAN COLE - I read both Tied and Torn last year and was instantly hooked. Cole is definitely a new favorite and I'm dying to inhale all her words.

CHLOE LIESE - When it comes to me + Chloe Liese, it's complicated. In 2021, I read the four books that comprise the Bergman Brothers series (so far). One I really enjoyed, two were just okay, and one didn't work for me at all. Not a great average, really.

KENNEDY FOX - Once I read my first by Kennedy Fox, I was off and running. I quickly binged the Roommate Duets series (six books) and then the Bishop Brothers series (4 books). I'm sure 2022 will see more of the same.

COLLEEN OAKLEY - The Invisible Husband was okay but nothing that wowed me. I probably won't be in a rush to pick up something else from Oakley.

PIPER RAYNE - The writing duo hooked me from the first novella I picked up and I immediately started making my way through The Greene Family series. I know I'll read more and more from Rayne.

NATASHA MADISON - I read two from Madison last year and both were just okay. I decided to move on.

KATE CLAYBORN - Unpopular opinion time... I did not love Love at First. Sad to say, I was mostly bored. So a future with Clayborn does not look likely.

K. STREET - Two of three that I read from Street last year were super enjoyable. I wouldn't hesitate to read more from her.

J. DANIELS - When I "discovered" J. Daniels last year I was over the moon for Down Too Deep. But my second pick from Daniels was pretty disappointing. So the jury is still out.


HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE AUTHORS?

The Sunday Post #277 | January 23, 2022

 

 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.

T H E   W E E K   I N   R E V I E W

Winter has made it to northeast Florida. Finally! It hovered around 40 degrees (4 C) all day yesterday and is in the 50's today. I'm loving it. 

I had to go into the office one day this week and it was good to see Boss #1 and Boss #2 (Boss #3 was working from home). I only saw a couple other people since most are working from home. It was pretty much a ghost town. But it was fun to get out and have a somewhat normal day. Whatever that means at this point.

The other day I was telling The Husband the premise of a book I was reading and how at the start of the story the two characters didn't get along at all. 

    Him: Oh, so it's angry love.
    Me (laughing hysterically): Uh, that would be enemies to lovers. 

But the more I think about it, the more I like his "angry love" trope. LOL

This week's 80's music fix is a cover of Fools Rush In (1982) by Bow Wow Wow. I love that it was used in the Kirsten Dunst movie, Marie Antoinette. 



O N   T H E   B L O G

Tuesday, January 18

Friday, January 21


W H A T   I   R E A D

      

eARC: Running Wild (Wild #3) by K.A. Tucker - ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Audio: Beholden (The Belonging Duet #2) by Corinne Michaels - ⭐⭐⭐


C U R R E N T L Y  R E A D I N G

      

eARC: Tattered Stars by Catherine Cowles
Audio: The Best Men by Sarina Bowen & Lauren Blakely


N E W   A D D I T I O N S

Physical Books

      


Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
Baden by Sawyer Bennett


T O T A L L Y   R A N D O M




HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?
I'D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT!

Review: Running Wild by K.A. Tucker

RUNNING WILD
K.A. Tucker
Series: Wild #3
Pub Date: January 25, 2022
Format: eARC
Source: Valentine PR
4.5 stars

From the internationally bestselling author of The Simple Wild comes the story of a woman at a crossroads in her life, struggling between the safe route and the one that will only lead to more heartbreak.

Veterinarian Marie Lehr knows unrequited love all too well after pining for her best friend, only to watch him marry another woman. It’s a mistake she will never make again, especially not when she can practically hear the clock ticking on her childbearing years.

The trouble is, she can’t seem to find anyone who appeals to her even a fraction as much as that burly bush pilot did. Competitive musher Tyler Brady certainly doesn’t, especially not after the heated altercation with the handsome but arrogant, spiteful man.

Or so she thinks.

While volunteering at the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, Marie discovers that first impressions may have been false, and her attraction to Tyler is very real. But his heart belongs to someone else, leaving him with nothing to offer but friendship. Marie’s been down this road before and knows how that ends. Yet, no matter how hard she works to keep from falling for Tyler, it seems she’s doomed to follow her own trail once again.
 



Marie spent several years secretly (or not so secretly, depending on who you asked) in love with her best friend, Jonah, going so far as ending her engagement to another man. With Jonah now married, Marie has moved beyond those feelings and is thankful that their friendship remains strong and intact. When she meets Tyler, an Alaska transplant from Finland by way of Montana, they get off to a rocky start when she falsely accuses him of abusing his dogs, but that quickly morphs into a mutual attraction and a friendship of sorts. The flirtation comes to an abrupt halt when she realizes that Tyler cannot return her feelings. Yet again, a one-sided relationship that was over before it began.

Tucker has described Running Wild as a subtle, soft, slow burn romance and I couldn’t agree more. Marie was a woman nearing forty and coming to terms with her life’s choices and where they had led her. She wanted a relationship, she wanted children, but at this stage in her life she wondered if any of that was in the cards for her. I loved the delicious push and pull between she and Tyler. He ran hot and cold with Marie, which was frustrating at times, but also understandable considering his past.

The sport of dogsledding played a strong role in Running Wild and it was obvious Tucker did her research. She was able to share aspects of a sport that I knew next to nothing about and present in it a way that had me interested and invested, highlighting the love and care that mushers have for their dogs, while still recognizing the concerns and controversy that surrounds the industry.

Running Wild is very much a character driven story, one that includes real-life topics like financial issues, family dynamics, aging parents, and facing that your future may not hold what you had hoped and expected. I loved the sense of community and the way those who lived in the harsh environs of Alaska looked out for one another. Those who have read the previous books in the Wild series will revel in the inclusion of all the beloved characters, while readers new to the series can easily enjoy Running Wild as a standalone.

Marie and Tyler truly captured my heart and I ached for the hurdles they faced – personally, professionally, and as a would-be couple. Marie was strong yet vulnerable, no-nonsense and pragmatic, with an unwavering sense of right and wrong. I love how Tucker portrayed these oh so flawed characters and had me completely invested in their lives. With Running Wild, Tucker delivered a top-notch addition to the Wild series and I loved every minute of it4.5 stars