Short Take Reviews: The Sweetheart List and Echoes of You

 

by Jill Shalvis
Series: Sunrise Cove #4
Genre: contemporary romance, women's fiction
ARC provided by the publisher

Harper has just walked away from everything in her life that didn't spark joy - her job, making lists, and especially her ex. Returning to Sunrise Cove, the last place she felt truly happy, she has plans to open her own bakery and make a fresh start. Her first meeting with Bodie - bar owner and her landlord - was bumpy but they quickly developed a friendship, with the possibility of more. Finally, teenage Ivy was also new to Sunrise Cove and had come with a purpose. When she finds compassion and support, she's left uncertain about her future.

There was so much here to love. Both Harper and Bodie had issues to work through, and needed to lay down hurts of the past before they could move forward. Bodie was so open with his feelings for Harper while never pushing her beyond what she felt she could give. Bodie's family was a delight and I loved their easy acceptance of new family and friends into their fold.

The Sweetheart List is one of only three that I have read from Shalvis, but I can tell you that it is my favorite. I loved these characters. I was drawn into their lives, I felt their struggles, and I wanted the very best for them. This one delivered all the feelings and warmed my heart. 4.25 stars

Note: The Sweetheart List is part of the Sunrise Cove series but can easily be read as a standalone.
by Catherine Cowles
Series: Lost & Found #2
Tropes: contemporary romance, romantic suspense

Maddie and Nash had been best friends since kindergarten. While they both had feelings that went beyond friendship, they never acted on those feelings (or even admitted to them). Now Maddie has returned to Cedar Ridge, fleeing her abusive ex-fianc√©, and is ready to reclaim her life, surrounded by friends who feel like family. Nash is by her side, thrilled to reconnect with his best friend, but Maddie's happy homecoming is cut short when threatening texts start and her tires are slashed. As Maddie and Nash begin to explore a romance, danger seems to be closing in, and Nash is determined to protect the woman he loves.

I loved returning to Cedar Ridge and reconnecting with the large, boisterous but loving Hartley family. They welcomed Maddie home and still considered her one of their own. Unfortunately, Maddie's happy homecoming was short-lived when the threats started, especially considering there was likely more than one source. Nash had some serious "who hurt you" vibes so if you love a protective hero, this one's for you. My only quibble would be that both Nash and Maddie seemed to drown in misplaced guilt. With every new development in the story, one (or both) of them was wracked with guilt for situations they had no control over. I kind of wanted to shake them both out of that habit. Beyond that, it was so easy to pull for these characters and yearn for a happy ending for them. Maddie, especially, had been through so much (she truly lost out in the family lottery) and after abuse at the hands of someone who should have protected her, it was satisfying to see her embraced by her found family. If you enjoy childhood friends to lovers, a heroine in hiding, a dash of suspense, and a small town setting, you'll love Echoes of You. 4 stars 



Have you read either of these books?


18 comments

  1. I haven't read either of these, but I will read that Cowles book eventually. I'm working through her Tattered & Torn series right now.

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    1. Deanna - I've really loved everything I've read by Cowles so far. I'm excited to jump into her backlist.

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  2. I can't wait to read both of these! I loved the first Cowles' book I read and am excited to read more by her; and Shalvis is always a favorite. :D

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    1. Lark - Cowles has become such a favorite over the last year or so! I hope you'll enjoy Echoes of You if/when you decide to read it!

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  3. I have The Sweetheart List and will be starting it soon and am so looking forward to it! I haven't read the second book but it also looks like a great read!

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  4. I haven't read either, but would love to try the one by Jill Shalvis. Good to know it's fine as a standalone.

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    1. Lucy - I've only read a few by Jill Shalvis, but I've enjoyed them. This one, in particular, was wonderful!

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  5. I have the Shalvis one, so I'm thrilled you enjoyed it! I need to read more by Cowles.

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    1. Rachel - I hope you'll enjoy the one by Shalvis when you get to it!

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  6. I want to check out both of these. I love Shalvis and am a new fan of Cowles' books. :D

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    1. Lark - I'm still fairly new to Shalvis (her backlist is huge!) but I've really enjoyed the few that I've read.

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  7. Bodie's family were a plus for me too. I was pretty surprised by a certain storyline too. I didn't think it would go in that direction, but I loved it

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    1. Samantha - I agree! I really liked the way Shalvis handled that plot line.

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    1. Karen - I've only few a couple so far but I can definitely see the appeal!

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  9. Great reviews!! I know Sam really enjoyed The Sweetheart List, too. Both of these are on my TBR.

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    1. Thanks Alison! The Sweetheart List was so good! I hope you'll enjoy it if/when you get to it!

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