No One But You by Brenda Novak

  • Title:  No One But You
  • Series:  Silver Springs #2
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Pages:  448
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pub. Date:  May 30, 2017 – MIRA Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes you to Silver Springs, a picturesque small town in Southern California where even the hardest hearts can learn to love again… 

Struggling to make ends meet after a messy divorce, Sadie Harris is at the end of her tether. Her waitressing gig isn’t enough to pay the bills let alone secure primary custody of her son, Jayden, a battle she refuses to lose. Desperate, she accepts a position assisting Dawson Reed—the same Dawson Reed who recently stood trial for the murder of his adoptive parents. Joining him at his isolated farm seems risky, but Sadie is out of options. 

Dawson has given small town Silver Springs plenty of reasons to be wary, but he’s innocent of the charges against him. He wants to leave his painful past behind and fix up the family farm so he can finally bring his dependent sister home where she belongs. 

As Sadie and Dawson’s professional relationship grows into something undeniably personal, Sadie realizes there’s more to Dawson than the bad boy everyone else sees—he has a good heart, one that might even be worth fighting for. (publisher)

My take:  Can two people, down on their luck, find acceptance and even love when most of the world seems to be against them?

Sadie Harris, estranged from her husband (soon-to-be ex) and mother to a five-year-old boy is struggling to make ends meet. She just can’t seem to get ahead and her son’s father is trying to delay divorce by any means possible. He’s a bad guy and also a police officer who has the loyalty of his coworkers. No one seems to have a good opinion of Sadie because of what he’s told them. So it doesn’t help matters for her when she accepts a job being a caregiver to the sister of the local pariah, Dawson Reed. He was recently found not guilty of murdering his adoptive parents. He’s still guilty in the eyes of most of the townspeople and the local authorities.

Sadie and Dawson will have to contend with Sadie’s ex and others as they try to live normal lives. Brenda Novak’s novel was a quick and compelling read. Filled with interesting, odd, and a couple of abhorrent characters, the novel’s pages flew by and came to a satisfying conclusion. No One But You is second in the Silver Springs series but it can definitely stand alone. Recommended to fans of Brenda Novak and contemporary romance.


 

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Finding Our Forever by Brenda Novak

  • finding-our-foreverTitle:  Finding Our Forever
  • Series:  Silver Springs #1
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  224
  • Published:  March 2017 – Harlequin Special Edition
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  Cora Kelly was adopted as an infant by affluent parents and lived a good life. That didn’t stop the need to know who her birth parents were and why they gave her up. When her search leads to her birth mother will she be prepared for the answers.
Cora, an art teacher, interviews at the school for troubled boys that was founded by Aiyana, her birth mother. The person who hired her is Eli, one of Aiyana’s adopted sons. Cora is stunned to know that her birth mother would let her go but adopt several sons. One more question that needs an answer. Eli will figure prominently in Cora’s story. They have an attraction to each other that neither bothers to fight. Lots of intimate scenes for these two. On one level that kind of bothered me. On another level it was understandable.
I thought the resolution of Cora and Eli’s story was surprisingly quick and pat. I can live with that. Finding Our Forever is the first in a new contemporary romance series by Brenda Novak. I liked it and look forward to reading the books that follow.


 

The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak

  • the secrets she kept (7:26)Title:  The Secrets She Kept
  • Series:  Fairham Island #2
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Pages:  400
  • Genre:  Romantic Suspense
  • Published:  July 2016 – Mira
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  The rich and powerful Josephine Lazarow, matriarch of Fairham Island, is dead. The police say it’s suicide, but Keith, her estranged son, doesn’t believe it. 

Keith bears scars—both physical and emotional—from his childhood, but he’s worked hard to overcome the past. After walking away from his mother and her controlling ways five years ago, he’s built a new life in LA. He’s also accumulated a fortune of his own. But as soon as he learns of his mother’s death, he returns to Fairham. He feels he owes it to his grandfather to put the family empire together again—and he’s determined to find his mother’s killer. 

Problem is…coming home to Fairham puts him back in contact with Nancy Dellinger, the woman he hurt so badly when he left before. And digging that deep into his mother’s final days and hours entails a very real risk. Because the person who killed her could be someone he loves…  (publisher)

My take:  The Secrets She Kept is book 2 in the Fairham Island series. In book 1 we were introduced to the wealthy matriarch Josephine Lazarow. She was a complicated woman (a narcissist) who had to have control over everything and everyone in her life.

In this book a murder (or a suicide?) has taken place. The Lazarow family experiences changes they never anticipated. Josephine’s estranged son Keith returns home to find out what exactly happened to his mother. He also reconnects with Nancy, his love interest from five years earlier.  That’s not all though. Will he be able to prove that his sister couldn’t have had anything to do with their mother’s death?

This is a novel about secrets, lies, betrayals and love – and ultimately, forgiveness. I think fans of Brenda Novak and romantic suspense will enjoy The Secrets She Kept.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author has written more than fifty books, with more than four million copies in print. This four-time RITA® Award nominee has won many awards, including the National Readers’ Choice, the Booksellers’ Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Holt Medallion. She also runs an annual online auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com (her youngest son has this disease). To date she’s raised $2.7 million.


Praise for the first book in the Fairham Island series: The Secret Sister
“This emotional novel showcases Novak’s exceptional talent at creating genuine characters and real-life situations we sometimes try to dodge. The power of family is strong, and the element of mystery is stable throughout this romance. Fairham Island is painted as a picturesque seaside town, but the debut to this series could have readers believing there are a lot of buried secrets and stories to be told surrounding the residents’ wishes for peace and quiet. Completely engrossing with a twist at the end you wouldn’t dare dream of!”—RT Book Reviews (4.5 Star Top Pick)

The Secret Sister is a sweet story that touches on the trials of life and illustrates how death, loss, abuse, despair, and unexpected trials can make us stronger, but also points out that it is perfectly acceptable to find someone to lean on when you really need the help. This is a great book that romance readers and fans of general fiction are bound to enjoy.”—Portland Book Review

“Skillful plotting, well-developed characters (a blind little girl is adorable), a delightful romance, toxic family dynamics, and a puzzling mystery make this story a rewarding read that will appeal to both romance and women’s fiction fans.”—Library Journal

“In her latest, Novak neatly entwines contemporary romance and women’s fiction by delivering the emotionally compelling romance readers expect while at the same time thoughtfully exploring the other relationships every woman has in her life. Add a gothic-tinged plot, and you have a book with wide reader appeal.”— Booklist

The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak is indeed the best romantic thriller I have read… Brenda Novak has a raw talent for bringing her novels to life. Realistic, suspenseful, and an edge of your seat romance that will have readers coming back for more.”—The San Francisco Book Review

Review/US Giveaway: Discovering You by Brenda Novak

  • Discovering You by Brenda Novak (6:1)Title:  Discovering You
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Series:  Whiskey Creek #10
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  June 2016 – MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  India Sommers once had the perfect family—until an ex-boyfriend broke in and shot her husband. Not only did that cost her the man she loved, a respected heart surgeon and the father of her child, but she also feels responsible. Charlie died because of the people she hung out with before she had the strength to change her life. 

Just after moving to Whiskey Creek with her little girl, Cassia, to start over, she’s learned that her ex-boyfriend’s trial ended in a hung jury. He’s getting out of jail; he could try to find her again. And that’s not all that scares her. She’s extremely attracted to her next-door neighbor, but Rod Amos is the handsome “bad boy” type that’s given her so much trouble in the past. If she got involved with him, her in-laws would sue for custody of Cassia. 

India has to keep her distance from Rod—but the more she gets to know him, the more difficult that becomes. (publisher)

My take:  Discovering You is the newest book in the Whiskey Creek series.  It features one of the younger Amos brothers, Rod and a newcomer to town, India Sommers.

India is hoping to make a new start in a town where no one knows her past. She has a memorable introduction of sorts to her neighbor Rod that makes for an entertaining start to the novel. These two are intrigued by each other.

The past year has been one of heartbreak and anguish for India. She’s hoping to get her new home in Whiskey Creek ready for her young daughter so they can both move forward in life. But first she needs to put things from her past right. That leads to some dramatic events that Rod involves himself in, thankfully.

Brenda Novak’s story was a page-turner. Even though it had a bit of a tidy wrap-up I enjoyed it and think fans of the Whiskey Creek series will as well.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Brenda Novak has written over 50 novels. A five-time Rita nominee, she’s won The National Reader’s Choice, The Bookseller’s Best, The Bookbuyer’s Best and many other awards. Besides writing, she runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity which hosts an annual fundraiser for diabetes research. To date, she’s raised over $2.5 million for this cause. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

PRAISE FOR THE WHISKEY CREEK SERIES:
“Another Whiskey Creek novel is just what readers need to satisfy their craving for a romance that tugs at the heartstrings.”

–RT Book Reviews on A Winter Wedding, Top Pick

“[This Heart of Mine] had such beautiful details that it captured my full attention–and had me sniffling and smiling while waiting to board my plane.”–First for Women

“This Heart of Mine is a potently emotional, powerfully life-affirming contemporary romance that can be read and enjoyed on its own, but it also serves as an excellent addition to Novak’s popular Whiskey Creek series.”–Booklist, starred review

“Another engrossing addition to Novak’s addictive series.”–Library Journal on This Heart of Mine, starred review

“Novak’s Whiskey Creek novels are a favorite among romance readers because of their small-town charm… Novak never disappoints.”

–RT Book Reviews on This Heart of Mine, Top Pick

“Once again Novak’s Whiskey Creek springs to life in all its realistic, gritty Gold Country glory as two determined, likable people come to terms with their pasts and give love a chance. This poignant, heartfelt romance puts a refreshing spin on the classic reunion/secret baby theme.”–Library Journal on Come Home to Me

“One needn’t wonder why Novak is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. Just read Come Home to Me.”–Examiner.com

“The Whiskey Creek series is an absolute delight and this newest installment is…so satisfying I ran out of superlatives. Brenda Novak outdid herself in Take Me Home for Christmas.”–Fresh Fiction

“It’s steamy, it’s poignant, it’s perfectly paced–it’s When Lightning Strikes and you don’t want to miss it.”–USATODAY.com’s Happy Ever After blog


US Giveaway

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Discovering You by Brenda Novak (6:1)

A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak

  • a winter wedding (10:27)Title:  A Winter Wedding
  • Series:  Whiskey Creek, #9
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
    • Pages:  384
  • Pub. date:  October 27, 2015 – Mira
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  One Christmas can change your life… 
Kyle Houseman believes he’ll never find anyone he could love as much as Olivia Arnold, who’s now married to his stepbrother. Not only did he lose her, he’s been through one divorce and has no desire to go through another. He’s determined to be extra careful about the next woman he gets involved with—which is why he fights his attraction to the beautiful stranger who rents his farmhouse for the Christmas holiday.  

Lourdes Bennett is a country music artist. She’s only planning to stay in Whiskey Creek long enough to write the songs for her next album—the album that’s going to put her back on top. Her dreams don’t include settling in a town even smaller than the one she escaped. But as she comes to know Kyle, she begins to wonder if she’d be making a terrible mistake to leave him behind…  (publisher)

My take: If you’re a fan of the Whiskey Creek series you know Kyle and his story of bad luck when it comes to love. The fact that both of his past experiences were with polar-opposite sisters (and neither ended well) has left him extremely reluctant to get involved with just anyone.

When Kyle meets Lourdes he knows she’s special but circumstances lead him to believe it wouldn’t be a good idea to get involved with her. She comes to the same conclusion about him but still wonders “What if?”.  If they decide to go for it do they really have the courage to make difficult choices and see it through?

I enjoyed A Winter Wedding. It was fun to see most of the Whiskey Creek gang and find out what they were up to and I liked the setting of the town decorated for Christmas. I suppose this book could stand alone but you’ll get more context where Kyle is concerned if you read the first few books in the series.

Recommended to fans of the series and contemporary romance.


 

 

The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak

  • the secret sister (7:28)Title:  The Secret Sister
  • Series:  Fairham Island #1
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Mystery
  • Published:  July 2015 – Mira
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Did she once have a sister? Has her mother lied all these years? Why? 

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal—and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who’s asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is the wealthy, controlling mother she escaped years ago. 

Instead, she finds herself living next door to someone else she’d prefer to avoid—Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at sixteen. He’s back on the island, and to her surprise, he’s raising a young daughter alone. Maisey’s still attracted to him, but her heart’s too broken to risk… 

Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must’ve been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister. 

Maisey’s convinced that child existed. So where is she now?  (publisher)

My take:  It’s alway fun to get in on the first book in a series when it first publishes. 

I loved the gothic tone of The Secret Sister. There’s the rich family with the cold, detached matriarch, the mansion on the hill, and the mystery that no one wants to talk about. Youngest daughter Maisey is determined to find out what happened to (what appears to be) her older sister.  Her brother Keith has been blamed for her disappearance and that has affected his life to the point that he finds his only relief in drugs. He doesn’t think he can handle having it all dredged up again so he’s not thrilled that Maisey is asking questions.

Thank goodness Maisey has Rafe and his young daughter to help keep her sane. They knew each other briefly when they were younger. Now, more than ten years later, life has given them both new perspective and they appreciate their possible second chance. Rafe wants to help Maisey find out what happened to the girl in the photographs. I thought they had great chemistry and I loved the interactions between Maisey and Laney, Rafe’s daughter.

I was satisfied (and a little surprised) with how the mystery was solved. If you like a contemporary romance wrapped around a mystery I think you’ll enjoy The Secret Sister. I certainly did and can’t wait to read the next book in the Fairham Island series.