Book Review: Dragon Gold (Order of the Dolphin Book 2) by Kristie Clark

Dragon Gold (Order of the Dolphin Book 2) by Kristie Clark

A Technothriller Novel published by Delphi Imprint, LLC (07/15/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC

Summary:

Eva Paz is continuing to make breakthroughs in dolphin communication. She, along with the dolphins, is making great use out of the upgraded facility. The only problem is where she got the money to pay for the building and the man she took the money from is back to claim it. Julian, his megayacht, and his henchman waste no time and kidnap Eva’s mother and hold her as a ransom for the millions Eva took. The money is already spent but Eva won’t let that stop her from gathering her friends to stop her old nemesis and save her mother, the reef, and the natural order of the ocean.

Keywords:

Dolphins, Communication, Teaching, Parents, Friendship, Mother, Daughter, Revenge, Family, Marine Life, Swimming, Submarine, Boat, Yacht, Dolphin Communication, Marine Biology, Island, Genetics, eco-fiction

My Review:

Dragon Gold made me question what I knew about marine biology, genetics, submarines, and dolphins. The facts of the world that Clark builds are rich and persuasive. I would believe Lusca are real. Clark writes them in a more convincing way than any of the dinosaurs in the Jurassic series. The way Clark writes about dolphin communication and communication between dolphins and humans using imaging technology and playback is very exciting and kind of makes me want to work with dolphins. They are one of the smartest animals in the world after all! The opening scene depicts the practical usage of this partnership in a fresh and sensational way before being swept up in the main plot of the story.

The story was thrilling, full of action, and contained high stakes. Eva is more than capable of handling herself, but it will take a team to take down the bad guy. There is more than one moral to this story. Friends to the rescue! Though there were quite a few characters to keep track of, I felt like there was a balance to the amount of narrative time spent with the main characters, and really enjoyed the POV switching. The chapters told from the perspective of the dolphins added some fun and lightness to the heavy perils Eva and her family (and the reef at large) were facing.

Julian is the epitome of a villain and played his character perfectly. His right-hand henchman was even more vile than Julian and without much backstory, the reader can feel disgusted without any hint of pity for him. Julian, is more complex, and I really enjoyed the chapters from his POV. If at first, he had clear and virtuous reasons for creating what are ultimately sea monsters, but he quickly devolves into a madman and the perfect supervillain to hate.

The book was well-paced and a very fun read. It will appeal to readers who enjoy eco-fiction and/or thrillers. There is even some romance to round out the layers of this book.

My favorite part about this story, though, was the dolphins. They are the coolest part of the book, especially Cleo and the role she plays. She is able to follow multi-step directions and during her POV chapters, she shows her ability to think through problems. For readers who love reading horse books, they may get a kick out of the Order of the Dolphin books.

This novel was published by Delphi Imprint, LLC on 07/15/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.5

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Kristie Clark’s Website

Online Retailers

Book Review: I.C.Q.: A Novel By Og Maciel

I.C.Q.: A Novel By Og Maciel

A YA Contemporary Romance Novel published by Og Maciel (02/09/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC

Summary:

Auggie is a senior who spends most of his spare time teaching himself coding and freelancing his skills to earn some money. He meets Clarissa online in a chat platform and quickly falls head over heels for this girl he’s never met in person.

Keywords:

High School, Epistolary, Coding, Online Persona, Self-Taught, Online Games, Computers, 90’s, Online Relationship, Romance, Pop Culture, Dating

My Review:

I was a child of the ’90s and was never into computers like the main character Auggie. He is at the forefront of coding and using home computing technology when it first came out. It’s fascinating to read books like I.C.Q because of our culture (and generation’s) obsession with technology. The home computer of the ’90s is like the personal phone of the 2000s. New and exciting and, of course, the parents just don’t get it. I could really feel Auggie’s excitement and his passion for working with computers, software development, and coding. I sympathized with him so much when his parents dismissed his work with the computer as just a hobby and not that important. Maciel really brought this relationship alive and I wished I was into coding!

The very adult conversations that Auggie has with his parents are awesome and rather fascinating. He’s levelheaded and can provide an outside – almost- perspective. With his own relationship, he is anything but objective. He gets caught up in his own feelings and emotions and reactions to the point where he doesn’t even realize that his girlfriend might also be hurt and upset. He is a great model of showing growth and communication in a romantic relationship.

I pulled out my high school love notes because of this book and they were just as sappy and romantic as the correspondence between Auggie and Clarissa in the back half of this story. The overly dramatic way they write to each is very much the essence of a high school romance. I might have rolled my eyes a few times, but reading their letters reminded me of my 17-year old self away on an adventure and constantly writing love notes to send in the mail to my boyfriend of the time. This book will bring out all the nostalgia and is very authentic to teenage drama and heartache. If you would like the nostalgic feeling of teenage love, you’ll definitely enjoy the emotion this book brings out.

The format of this novel changed a bit over halfway through and you’ll be reading those love letters for most of the rest of the chapters.

The ending was disappointing for me. It lacked a satisfying conclusion and a sense of closure for the characters and their relationship. I prefer to have a closed ending. If you’re a reader who doesn’t mind open endings, you might not be disappointed because there is a lesson learned and Auggie does express his thoughts about what happens in the end.

This novel was published by Og Maciel on 02/09/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Og Maciel’s Website

Book Review: Latent By Raegan Salander

Latent By Raegan Salander

A Romance Novel published by SK indent (05/22/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC

Summary:

Aliens live among humans – but relations between the races aren’t perfect. Arwen isn’t certain that everything is perfect even though she has a fiancé, best friend, and a job prospect. Her life is shattered when she’s kidnapped by aliens and held against her will in an alien prison. Though they don’t always treat her well and don’t always understand the needs of humans, especially since they have different anatomy, Arwen can’t stop thinking about her captors. Fate and what happens to her may come down to her very DNA.

Keywords:

Rape, Sex, Children, Fate, DNA, Aliens, Prison, Abuse, Torture, Betrayal, Ambition, Infertility, Polyamory

My Review:

Latent is categorized as a dark dystopian romance. I did not get the sense that the world Salander builds in this novel is dark or that it delves too deep into dystpoia. Yes, there are aliens and no, they don’t live in harmony with humans but Arwen’s story is the focus of the book. Arwen’s story is dark. Trigger warning that this novel contains multiple rape scenes. A lot of this book read like literotica and if that’s your thing you might really enjoy this fictional work. The characters refer to rape as violence but don’t explicitly name it as rape. Perhaps in this world the definition of rape is different but both Arwen and the aliens acknowledges that this violence against Arwen is wrong.

The Descriptions of the aliens were the perfect length – enough to give me a sense for what they looked like without dragging. The book’s plot was also well-paced and didn’t drag.

I really like the olfactory sense use in this book, especially to differentiate between some of the main characters. The author used these differing scents cleverly and really made the world come alive for the senses.

There were a number of missing dialogue tags and some issues with the dialogue formatting. Paired with the unique otherworldly names that I couldn’t pronounce and some of the sameness between characters (especially those of the same species), I was often confused over when someone was talking and who was talking. I also didn’t differentiate between several of the aliens for quite some time and wasn’t sure which one had done certain actions. This story features multiple POVs but I felt at times that the aliens‘ POVs weren’t differentiated enough and the plot moved fast enough that several of the aliens felt the same to me.

The book could use a good once over by a line editor, especially regarding those dialogue tags. Also – the written out contractions were distracting in the beginning of the book.

That being said, I couldn’t seem to look away from this book. It was oddly fascinating to me and it’s fast pace kept me reading until the very end.

This novel was published by SK indent on 05/22/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Raegan Salander’s Website

2021 Q2 House, Goals, and Progress

I bought a house! I spent all of my cash monies and now I have to build my emergency fund and savings funds back up so I’ve added that goal to my list. 

2021 Goals Progress Update:

Goals for 2021

Time frame

Q2 progress goal

Finish outlining Two for Tiny

6/15

Tabling this goal until I am back into writing

Take floorwork intermediate series

7/15

Completed intermediate series

Signup for advanced when offered

12 chin-ups

8/1

8 chin-ups

5 pull-ups

Book inventory gone

7/15

Completed

First draft for Two for Tiny

12/31

Wrote two chapters, not interested in continuing at this time

Freestanding Handstand

12/31

No progress

Pass intermediate inversions at Divine!

12/31

Moved to Renton and tabling this goal as I will be taking the majority of classes at Ascendance

1000 lifetime ebike miles

12/31

390 miles in 2020

63 miles in Q1, 133 Q2

April – 46.7

May – 86.5

June – 0

Take 500 lifetime pole classes

12/31

April – 463

May – 469

June – 475

Writing conference or workshop

12/31

Pick or defer for the year. ECWC is virtual this year. PNWA 9/15 – 9/19

Take a doughnut making class

12/31

No classes on schedule yet https://www.raiseddoughnuts.com/classes

Take goat/bunny yoga class

12/31

No classes on schedule yet

Take a mochi making class

12/31

No classes on schedule yet

https://www.surlatable.com/cooking-classes/in-store-cooking-classes/

emergency/disaster/community preparedness

12/31

Listed 3-day workshop was too expensive, check for other options

Tiny house show

12/31

No local shows yet

Pole Expo/Convention

12/31

No local in-person events yet

Corgi Con

12/31

Date announced 10/16 from 10AM – 2PM

Build up $10k in my emergency fund

12/31

$6500

Make $5000 side hustle funds

12/31

~$2800 so far

In other news…

My partner and I completed two housesits, caring for 5 cats and one dog in total

I watched some more cats for Rover/Meowtel

I tried out some new donuts from The Flour Box. They were good but overhyped.

I bought my first house!

I wasn’t planning to but I ended up planting five tomato plants and several cucumbers in my garden this year. They are growing like bonkers with this heat!

Reached the next level in Pokemon Go

I’m boarding a lovely cat for the next 6 weeks

It reached records temps in the area! 115 at the highest…

 


What are your goals and how are you meeting them?

Book Review: Love & Rum (The Cocktail Series Book 1) by Dani McLean

Love & Rum (The Cocktail Series Book 1) by Dani McLean

A Romance Novel published by Mood Publishing (07/06/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery

Summary:

It’s been one year since Audrey got her divorce and she’s ready to move on. Jackson has never been in a serious relationship because he’s too busy acting in a hit TV show and he’s never wanted more than a one-night stand. Audrey just wants something casual and Jackson is just the man for the job! First, the one-night stand turns into something casual. Then they start to develop feelings for each other. Is Audrey really ready to move on? Is Jackson really ready for a long-term relationship?

Keywords:

Steamy, Sex, Romance, Cocktails, Drinking, Best Friends, Dual POV, Actor, TV Show, Divorced, Overworked, One Night Stand, Relationship, Past Emotional Abuse

 

My Review:

Love & Rum is a slow to develop romance for the reader even though it is hot and fast for the two main characters. The two main characters, Jackson and Audrey, are complex, fully formed, and well-rounded characters. During the course of the novel, they both grow personally as well as together in their relationship. There is a perfect balance of narrative devoted to their separate lives and their growing relationship together as a couple. When they are together, a lot of the focus is on their physical relationship. This makes sense since they originally met as a one-night stand and progress to casual sex at the beginning of their relationship.

Though a lot of the time Jackson and Audrey spend together is spent physically, the scenes are exceptionally well written. The sex scenes are very steamy but still feature consensual and communicative sex as the norm. I really, really enjoyed the emotional component and the running commentary of the characters during these scenes.

Both Audrey and Jackson tell their story with their own chapter POVs. The POV switching was seamless between the two characters and balanced quite well by the author.

Understated but not overlooked is the diversity of sexual preferences in this book.

Though I absolutely loved both Audrey and Jackson as well as their individual journeys, I could not get enough of best friend Tiff. Everyone needs a best friend like her and I can’t wait to read her story (assuming she has her own book in this Cocktail Series. 

The plot appears simple but the story is told well, the characters are emotionally gripping, and the scenes are well chosen. I could see where the climax was coming from immediately but the ending was emotionally satisfying and optimistic. The extra chapters at the end that tied up the narrative serving as an epilogue were well placed and I appreciated having a completed and full ending.

This romance novel will appeal to most romance readers who enjoy dual POV, lots of steamy sex scenes, and a happy ending.

I can’t wait to read the next novel by this author and/or in this series.

This novel was published by Mood Publishing on 07/06/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Dani McLean’s Website

Book Review: These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden

These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden

A Dark Romantic Fantasy Novel Independently published (03/31/21)

Summary:

“The eyes gave away most. Even humans.” (Location 754).

Thistle and Thorn are some of the last remaining free humans on Earth. The arrival of aliens from a tear in the fabric of the universe was the end of humans’ topping the food chain. The aliens, Suriias, have several different species but most are of the same mindset – that humans are lesser beings, pets, and sometimes food.

Thistle and Thorn have survived their whole lives in hiding, but they are determined to find their parents’ killer in the capital city of Courtenz. In order to navigate more freely, they decide to attach themselves to a pair of Suriias, Thistle as fiancée and Thorn as a tagalong. Thistle embraces this new life, this chance at normalcy, but Thorn is convinced that Suriias can only ever be the enemy.

Keywords:

Magic, Aliens, Technology, Flying Cars, Multiple Worlds, Multiple POV, Sisters, Brothers, Friends, Love, Romance, Sacrifice, Revenge, Fighting, Death

My Review:

I’m reticent to read fantasy and longer novels because they often drag, but this book didn’t feel like it was 600+ pages long. This book read like a satisfying trilogy all-in-one and I’m glad the author took time to give it proper pacing and an exciting and gratifying ending.

Another reason I’m reticent to read fantasy is that it takes me longer than with other genres to get into the story. I fell in love with the characters of this world before I fell in love with the world, but I was soon hooked on the world with its technology and magic. After getting through the first chapter, I couldn’t put this story down.

This novel is like two stories in one, but I was caught off guard when halfway through the book we leave Thorn’s story behind to focus on Lucian (I may have made an indignant sound at this point). I was so very, very engrossed in Thorn’s story that I didn’t want to leave her behind, though I quickly decided that I wanted more of Lucian’s story.

Crunden took no shortcuts and didn’t fall into quick stereotypes with her characters and her romances. I love the way she writes her characters and builds a romance.

This was an exceptional story with enticing characters and a seamlessly flowing writing style.

I can’t wait to read the next novel by this author!

This novel was Independently published on 03/31/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Rebecca Crunden’s Website

Book Review: Rebuilding Alexandra Small by Mo Fanning

Rebuilding Alexandra Small by Mo Fanning

A Comedic Fiction Novel published by Spring Street Books (06/04/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery

Summary:

Allie Small was an alcoholic. Now she’s been sober for years, is married to a rising-star athlete, and is trying for a baby. Everything is on the up and up until she finds out that her husband has been having an affair with their fertility doctor. Not only that, but somehow the media keeps getting ahold of all the most sordid details of Allie’s troubles. It appears that someone from her past has it out for her.

Keywords:

WAG, Alcoholism, Press, Rumor, Gossip, Work, Love, Backstabbing, Media

My Review:

This book was refreshing, but at the same time had me biting my nails with mild anxiety. I never knew what was going to befall the main character Allie next. Nothing terrible happens to her, but every day some new annoyance, mishap, snide comment, or bullying occurs. At times I felt sorry for Allie and at other times I blamed her. Allie is not perfect, hasn’t always made great decisions, and sometimes lashes out. She’s like one version of ourselves, the version we are always trying to hide. Yet even then, I envy her. Allie doesn’t suppress herself. She reacts. She says what she shouldn’t and acts on impulse… but not all the time. She is trying to pick up her pieces and move on with her life, except she’s been thrust into a state of limbo. Mo Fanning has cleverly crafted this complex environment for Allie and I was enthralled watching the ups and downs of her everyday life within this environment. I was forever guessing what she would do or say next. I couldn’t put the book down. I was very curious about what was going to happen next. My life feels like it’s so different from Allie’s and I found her absolutely fascinating.

Allie is a WAG, thrust into the media and spotlight (mostly for her shortcomings or any negative drama surrounding her) because she’s married to a well-known athlete. Every time someone recognizes Allie on the street, I was not shocked at the interactions, but disgusted by the media’s negative portrayal of her. This is a reality of pop news and it was maddening to see Allie have to deal with this type of bullying. Allie wasn’t always nice to others growing up, so perhaps the way people see her and treat her now might be some kind of karma, but she doesn’t deserve it! Nobody does. The small window into the nasty way celebrities and those in the media are treated was both fascinating and saddening.

I felt like I was reading a mid-life crisis in action. Allie runs the gamut of moods, from hopeful to impassive to angry and worked up.

I was intrigued by Allie’s relationship with her husband, her friends, and people in the media. The book features heavy dialogue that is well-written and really tells the whole story.

For those who love some good gossip and day-to-day comedic tragedy, this is the book for you!

This novel was published by Spring Street Books 06/04/21 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Mo Fanning’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Gagging For It By Ellis Richmond

Gagging For It By Ellis Richmond

A Coming of Age YA Novel published by Oata Publishing (03/07/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery

Summary:

In a small town in the 1980s Claire is seduced by her older cousin’s husband. Thinking that a relationship with Tony will be good for her, Claire does everything he says and keeps their relationship a secret. After Claire starts dating a boy her age from school, she struggles to reconcile the two different relationships. Tony won’t take no for an answer and he loves her, doesn’t he?

Keywords:

Grooming, Teenager, 1980s, Troubled Home, Affair, Sexual Relationship, Sex, Abus, Injury, Friendship, Trapped, Manipulation, Secrets, Bullying, Coercion, Rape

My Review:

Claire is young. So very young. This book will punch you in the gut because this story is very realistic. This story is scary and at times hard to read. In the 1980s where the novel is set, it is much more likely for a story about Claire to happen. She is somewhat isolated. The influence of the world is narrow. Claire knows what she is surrounded by and the author very cleverly sets the novel in the poorer end of a small town. Claire’s home environment, her neighborhood, and her school are so well described that I can visualize her upbringing and see her story so clearly. I can understand Claire and her thought process and her confusion and changing perspective as she grows throughout this book. I feel so much for Claire and the situation that Tony has pushed her into.

The author creates so much empathy for Claire in the eyes of the reader. Claire may not be a model teenager but she is an amazing person. She is always willing to help with her younger siblings and the kids at the gym. She is hardworking and enjoys the challenge of an early morning newspaper route up hills so steep she can’t always bike them. She has such strong drive and motivation. She isn’t lazy or selfish. And yet she gets pulled into this terrible situation with Tony. I feel like the author manipulated me at times! I know what Tony did was very, very wrong and yet the way he groomed Claire from the very beginning made so much sense. If I was Claire, I might have made the same choices she did.

I’m so glad that the author included Frank and Luke as examples of good men and positive role models in Claire’s life. Just in case the reader gets confused by Tony, there are these two shining examples of how men should be acting toward and around Claire and other kids. Because of Tony though, I kept waiting for Frank or Luke to do something wrong. The author primed me not to trust anyone in the book, that anyone could have ulterior motives.

I absolutely loved the easy camaraderie between Charly, Maddie, and Claire as well as the realistic and open conversations between the three girls.

My one complaint about this novel was the abrupt ending that wasn’t satisfying to me as a reader. This book felt like part one of a two-part book and I would have preferred a clear and gratifying ending. I felt like Claire was in the middle of her transformation, that she was only partway through growing as a character when this story ended.

This book will appeal to readers who like clever and realistic portrayals of hard-to-read and emotional subjects.

This novel was published by Oata Publishing on 03/07/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Book Review: We’ve let her know: about love, fate, and online dating by Etienne Bijnens

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We’ve let her know: about love, fate, and online dating by Etienne Bijnens

A Contemporary Romance Novel published by Baartele Press (03/27/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery

Summary:

“I pretend I have no ulterior motive other than to meet new people in a city where everybody is too afraid to look anyone in the eyes.” (Page 84).

Lyam is about to relocate from South Africa to London. He doesn’t want to be lonely so joins an online dating app to look for likely prospects in his new hometown. Immediately he finds Anna and plans to meet her the first day he arrives in London. But Anna isn’t the one. Neither is Kyra, Fiona, or the hundreds of other women Lyam meets up with or messages. Lyam will have to either evolve his approach to online dating or his mindset and expectations of the women he meets.

Keywords:

Love, Travel, Study Abroad, Band, Singer, Artist, Photography, England, Farewell, Bandmates, Best Friends, Brothers, Adoption, Family, Violin, Fate

My Review:

This book did not follow the typical three-act story structure but the writing style and flow of the novel reeled me in from the very beginning. It felt like the book meandered with purpose as if it was following its own structure related to the various stages of online dating. The ending came full circle and was immensely satisfying in an “aha” type moment of release. This book meets the happy ending requirement of typical romance novels, though it may take a roundabout way to get there.

The story is told through the lens of the main character Lyam as he navigates online dating for the first time. Without any guides or cheats, he will learn what most people eventually learn from online dating. Lyam will go through each of the stages of online dating hilariously, jumping to all the conclusions and hitting upon all the issues along the way. If you ever wanted a practical guide to online dating and what’s in store for you as a man trying to find “the one” then this is the perfect comical perspective. Learn what pitfalls to avoid and what perspective you should have when going into online dating while following along with Lyam and his story through several years of his life in London. His experience is both general and specific enough with online dating to provide a guide of how to adapt your expectations for online dating through the changing perspective Lyam has for his own experiences.

Can you optimize your approach to online dating, the way you structure your profile, or how you communicate with potential matches? Lyam certainly thinks he can and his attempts to do so are fascinating and his mindset before, during, and after are even more fascinating. At times they are downright comical.

This book was very relatable as well as eye-opening for what someone on the other side of the online dating match is thinking.

Lyam’s search for love wasn’t the only story told in this book. I was just as interested in Brett and Richard and how their quest for love would turn out. I was most interested in the relationship between Lyam, Brett, and Richard and how wholesome their friendship remained throughout the novel. At times I thought Lyam was being a shallow jerk when he dismissed the women he met with but then his easygoing nature with his buddies endeared him again as a sympathetic individual.

If you want to dive deep into online dating and the male perspective, you will enjoy this book as long as you don’t mind the meandering story focussed on Lyam’s changing perspective about online dating.

This novel was published by Baartele Press on 03/27/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.00

Links for more information:

Etienne Bijnens‘ Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Please Stay for Me (The Brotherhood Series) by M. W. McKinley

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Please Stay for Me (The Brotherhood Series) by M. W. McKinley

A Contemporary YA Novel published by M.W. McKinley (12/18/20)

Summary:

“My plan to come to another country just to take photographs is slowly beginning to unravel as each new picture focuses on the face of someone I care about.” (Kindle Edition Chapter 14).

Avery is excited for her summer study abroad at Oxford University. She’ll have many opportunities to focus on her photography. After meeting Liam, she’ll also be focused on her new feelings of love. But he lives in England and she’ll be going home at the end of the summer. Liam is the lead singer of Brotherhood, but he also plays violin and has always wanted to attend Julliard. The band is starting to make waves and Liam will have to choose between the violin or the band. After meeting Avery, being in the same time zone as Avery will be more and more important as the summer comes to an end.

Keywords:

Love, Travel, Study Abroad, Band, Singer, Artist, Photography, England, Farewell, Bandmates, Best Friends, Brothers, Adoption, Family, Violin, Fate

My Review:

First Reviewed through Reedsy Discovery.

I love books that have compelling backstories for their main characters, especially in romance novels. Please Stay for Me gives each main character very compelling and emotional backstories. Both characters have grown up with deep traumas related to their family. It’s interesting to see how Liam and Avery react to their own childhood traumas. Liam holds tighter to the bonds he formed himself – the family he’s chosen while Avery holds everyone at arm’s length – not wanting to get hurt again. Both characters were stronger despite their tragic backstories.

I felt deeply connected to the emotion the author wrote about, the trauma from the characters, and the heartaches they were going through.

I absolutely loved how communicative Liam and Avery were throughout their relationship. I was glad the author didn’t rely on miscommunication to push the plot along. The flow of the story felt natural. The relationship between Liam and Avery began one-sided with Liam pursuing Avery. This made sense due to Liam being completely open and Avery reticent to allow anyone to get too close. Eventually, Avery was won over by the charming Liam!

I wish there was more description and details related to Avery’s study abroad and her day-to-day but I didn’t miss it that much since the story was more focused on the character relationships, the romance between Avery and Liam and their backstories.

I really enjoyed the additional subplots and backstories of other characters and the similarities that were drawn between the relationships the other characters had with their families (or lack thereof). The side characters were an integral part of the story. I wanted more scenes between Avery and Katherine. I really liked Katherine. I also really liked Trinity, Rob, Hugh, Lei, and Emily. I can just imagine future books in this world where we see the relationship between Rob and Emily or a book devoted to Trinity or Katherine.

I loved the passion the author communicates from Liam and Avery for their art, the violin, and photography. Even Avery’s deep appreciation for music is strong and the way she connects to music through memories of her family is poignant.

This is a story for those who enjoy summer romances that are built upon strong character backstories and feature character relationships heavily.

This novel was published by M.W. McKinley on 12/18/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

M. W. McKinley’s Website

Goodreads