Short Take Reviews: Tempting Promises | Stay With Me | Last Call at the Local


by Corinne Michaels
Series: Whitlock Family #3
Pub: 2/22/2024
4 stars

Rowan and Charlotte were neighbors with adjacent farms. Rowan also happened to be Charlotte's sister's ex so Charlotte was duty-bound to loathe him. A series of events threw the two of them together and, naturally, the sparks flew. And when Charlotte was in danger of losing her farm, it was Rowan who stepped in to help. Charlotte was left to wonder if Rowan was the unfeeling player her sister claimed, or if there was more to Rowan that good looks and snarky comebacks.

I'll admit that enemies to lovers is not my favorite trope, but I do trust Corinne Michaels to deliver a good story - and that she did. Rowan's reputation in their small town took a hit when Charlotte's sister dragged his name through the mud. People like a juicy story better than the truth, so he gave up trying to set the record straight. In additional to rising above petty gossip, Rowan also had a huge heart and I loved the bond he had with his niece, and his love for his family. It took Charlotte longer to come around than I would have liked - Rowan came to her rescue both literally and figuratively more than once, proving he was a good guy - and I wanted to shake her for blindly believing her sister when all the evidence showed that her story was faulty. As always, Corinne Michaels excelled at creating a believable family dynamic with strong ties. I liked how Charlotte's issues at the farm were resolved and getting more time with the rest of the Whitlock family was a bonus.
by Brooke Montgomery
Series: Sugarland Creek #2
Pub: 2/7/2024
4.25 stars

Magnolia spent years in an on again-off again relationship with a total loser. She'd been crushing on her best friend's brother for years but he never showed any interest. Tripp pined for Magnolia but wouldn't interfere in her relationship and had long accepted his place in the friend zone. When Magnolia is finally single, she and Tripp can (finally!) act on their mutual feelings. When Magnolia learns she's pregnant from a drunken night with her ex (pre-Tripp), she worries that things might be over before they've even really began.

The prologue (which had me teary-eyed) really set up Tripp's background and explained the issues with guilt and anxiety that plagued him. He was an absolute sweetheart and I liked seeing him open up to Magnolia about his mental health, knowing that she provided a safe space for him. Magnolia was a wild one, and her decision-making skills (or lack thereof) sometimes made her seem immature for her age. But there was no denying their chemistry and their feelings for one another. I did feel this one lagged a bit and got bogged down in details that just weren't necessary (like lengthy descriptions of the 90's movies that they watched). At 400+ pages, it felt overly long, but even so I was invested in their story and loved the inclusion of the rest of the Hollis clan. The minor suspense plot was a nice touch but it was Tripp who was the shining star here. His devotion to Magnolia gave all the swoony feelings. 
by Sarah Grunder Ruiz
Series: Love, Lists & Fancy Ships #3
Pub: 1/2/2024
4.5 stars

Raine walked away from medical school and a life she did not want to become a traveling musician, busking her way across Europe. When stranded in a small town in Ireland, she accepts a temporary job from pub owner Jack. Free-spirited Raine makes friends, revitalizes the pub, and in Jack she finds someone who accepts and appreciates her just as she is. 

I find it impossible not to gush over this charming tale. Raine and Jack were such perfectly crafted characters, and while they each had their struggles (Raine had ADHD and Jack had OCD), they were so much more than those labels. Where others struggled to understand, Jack and Raine simply accepted each other's foibles and quirks. I adored their banter, their inside jokes, and their easy and honest way of communicating (so refreshing!). Beyond Raine and Jack, the entire cast of secondary characters were an absolute delight, right down to Sebastian the cat (aka Princess Ugly). I listened to this one on audio and the narrators were sheer perfection. Karissa Vacker and Gary Furlong brought the story to life in a way that had me seeing every scene, laughing out loud, and feeling every heartfelt moment.

Have you read any of these books?


  1. I agree, the cat was definitely the star of Last Call at the Local for me. But seriously, I loved this book. I liked catching up with Jack and Nina, and who can resist a tale of finding those who not only want us warts and all but are also able to see beyond our flaws to appreciate the best parts of us. It was a good one.

    1. Sam - I definitely want to go back now and read Ollie and Nina's story.

  2. I hadn't heard of Last Call at the Local before. You have me wanting to read it now!

  3. My TBR list keeps growing! And I've got to add all three, lol.

  4. I haven't read any of these, but they do all sound very appealing. :D

  5. Stay With Me sounds really good. I enjoyed Last Call at the Local overall, but I didn't connect with Raine so I struggled with the story a bit. I absolutely loved Jack and the black kitty!

  6. I was needing new recommendations. Thank you so much. Happy Sunday.

  7. I think I saw Sam gushing over Last Call at the Local some weeks/months ago!

  8. The first two especially appeal to me. More for my neverending TBR list. :D

  9. I've seen such good things about Last Call at the Local - I really should give it a try!

  10. Enemies to lovers isn't my favorite romance trope either, but it's a great trope to get some good angst out of, which Tempting Promises seems to have! I need to check this series out for myself. Awesome reviews, Tanya :)

    aimee @ aimee can read

  11. I haven't read any of these, but your review of the third book on your list makes me think I should give that series a try.

  12. Happy to see you enjoyed Last Call at the Local as much as I did!