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[Review] Forever Starts Tonight by Roni Loren

Forever Starts Tonight Book Cover Forever Starts Tonight
Loving on the Edge, 5.5

Erotic Romance, Romance,
September 16, 2014
NetGalley/ Intermix

The wait is over. They fell in love in Melt Into You, but that was only the beginning. Now New York Times bestselling author Roni Loren dials up the passion as three lovers reinvent the meaning of togetherness and find out if love is truly enough…

Two dominant men, one beautiful woman. Jace Austin knows he doesn’t have what you’d call a conventional relationship with Evan and Andre, but it works. Boy, does it work—until Evan starts acting strangely and Andre’s ex-fiancée pops back into his life, unbalancing a perfectly happy threesome. Jace is forced to face the unthinkable: that the two people he cares most about in this world are in danger of slipping away from him.

So Jace plans a surprise getaway to a secluded mountain cabin for the three of them. And he knows exactly what he needs to do: give both his lovers a fantasy week they’ll never forget. And the possibilities for pleasure are endless. But when they get snowed in and the heat between them reaches a fever pitch, secrets come out. And Evan has one that could change all their lives forever.


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I almost never watch a movie sequel. The followups are never as good as the first, because the characters have already told their story and resolved their conflicts. What usually results is a thinly veiled, flimsy excuse for the characters in the film to reunite, solve new conflicts and try to bring closure.


Book sequels are a different animal to me. Less a reason for characters to reunite, more of continuation of a story that was started. The next chapter, if you will, especially if there is great chemistry and opportunity for more story at the end of the previous novel. As is the case with Forever Starts Tonight, in which we revisit the relationship of Andre, Jace and Evan, I feel more like sitting down with good friends for coffee and catching up on what’s been going on in their lives since we last chatted.

Forever Starts Tonight is a novella length return to the M/M/F committed relationship that we first read about in Melt Into You. Evan is a successful photographer and happy in her relationship with her two main men, but she’s feeling the slightest longing for something more. Andre is feeling the same, especially when confronted by an ex girlfriend, the one he thought he could have married and had a family with, had he not chosen to explore his feelings and eventually end up in a poly-amorous relationship. Neither are interested in the vanilla family set up- husband and wife, 2.5 kids, white picket fence… but some part of each of them is looking toward the future and not finding any answers.

Sensing that his partners need a getaway– and a long serious discussion about this word FUTURE, Jace sweeps his partners away for an unforgettable ski weekend… foiled only by Evan’s little surprise, one she’s not sure if she’s happy or upset about, but one that will change the direction of their relationship forever. What happens to a couple of three when the words marriage and family and FOREVER start getting tossed around?

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed not only the steamy, heavy on the enjoyment, sexy scenes but also the storyline. The inner fight, specifically with Andre but also Evan as the memories of giving up a child for adoption was palpable. I wanted them all to win and wasn’t sure how things would work out, but the ending was, as usual, satisfying.

I’ve always enjoyed how much Roni’s characters seem real.. real people with real problems, real issues, real conflicts that I can relate to. I’ve also loved how her characters are so into each other… there is love and respect, especially within the roles of BDSM and how everyone plays their parts, but there’s also passion and pure lust, an almost uncontrollable desire between committed partners.

To me, that’s what romance is, and Roni weaves and crafts these experiences through words so well, it’s almost like these people actually exist.

Roni is one of my favorite authors and reading one of her novels is always a pleasurable experience!

Happy Release Day to “Every Time I Think of You” by Tracey Garvis-Graves

We’re celebrating the release of Every Time I Think of You by best selling Author Tracey Garvis-Graves! Check out how Tracey came up with the idea for the book and take a peek at the excerpt below. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Title: Every Time I Think of You
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Amazon US (e-book and paperback) | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Amazon Australia  | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Kobo


Thirty-year-old Daisy DiStefano has two people she holds dear: the grandmother who raised her, and her three-year-old son, Elliott. But when Daisy’s grandmother is killed in a seemingly random act of violence, Daisy must take steps to protect herself and her child.

Despite a thriving career in San Francisco, thirty-six-year-old Brooks McClain has returned home to spend what little time his mother has left before she succumbs to the deadly disease that is ravaging her. The seasoned investigative reporter has taken a position with the local newspaper and been on the job less than twenty-four hours when he’s summoned to cover the death of Pauline Thorpe.

Brooks is all business, but the more time he spends with Daisy DiStefano, the more invested he becomes; there’s something about a single mother, a defenseless child, and an unsolved crime that has stirred Brooks’s protective instincts like nothing ever has before.

And when the unthinkable happens, Brooks will do whatever it takes to clear the name of the woman he’s fallen for and the child he’ll protect at any cost.

Romantic and suspenseful, Every Time I Think of You shows how far two people will go to fight for the ones they love, and the life they’ve always imagined.

Check out an excerpt of Every Time I Think of You and enter the Giveaway below! Congratulations Tracy!


[Review] A Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick

A Light in the Wilderness Book Cover A Light in the Wilderness

September 2, 2014

Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read--as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him. Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband that she knows she will follow him anywhere--even when the trek exacts a terrible cost. Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for. As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip readers' hearts and minds as they travel with Letitia on the dusty and dangerous Oregon trail into the boundless American West.

When I was invited by the publisher to read this book via an offer from NetGalley, I only hesitated for a second. I’m a sucker for historical fiction, set in the US in the 1800’s. Add a beautiful cover and an intriguing blurb and I am game.

That said, had this not been based on a true story, I probably would have stopped set it aside, rolling my eyes at the story of a freed slave marrying a white Irish immigrant and setting off with him across the country, where along the way they meet and commune with several other friendly whites who treat Leticia Carson like family. I know enough of my history to know that sympathetic friends would have been hard to come by.

Knowing that this novel was built on the backs of history made it worthwhile to push through, to read of the trek from Missouri to Oregon, and more importantly to explore the bonds of friendship and relationship where the law stood in the way. Davey and Leticia were married in words only… though she was free, he could never claim her as his wife. Several moments of foreshadowing ring Letitica’s fears about what could happen to her, their property, the life they’d built, should something happen to Davey.

The most irritating character throughout this book was Davey. I couldn’t figure out his motivation for doing the things he did, saying the things he said. He lied, he took shortcuts, he left his family in grave peril for the hollow promises of money and riches. I also didn’t understand his reluctance to make Leticia feel safe and secured. Surely she made her preferences known but he continually brushed her off as if her feelings weren’t important. With so many against their union lurking in the shadows, I felt Davey was irresponsible and cowardly when it came to caring for his wife. She risked so much to be with him.

This novel was well written, a bit slow in pacing and changing POV a few times, which I found refreshing. I was just thinking about the Grapes of Wrath the other day… this book reminds me a lot of that novel– a family venturing west for a better life, meeting joy and tragedy along the way. This was an excellent read.

[Review] Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers

Accidents of Marriage Book Cover Accidents of Marriage

Adult Fiction, Literary Fiction
Atria Books
September 2, 2014
NetGalley, Atria

Accidents of Marriage explores a topic rarely shown in fiction: the destruction left in the wake of spouse’s verbal fury. Ben never meant to hurt Maddy. He never imagined his recklessness would lead to tragedy. 

Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he’s lashing out at her during his periodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids – which works to keep a fragile peace – until the rainy day when they’re together in the car and Ben’s volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.

Randy Susan Meyers takes us inside the hearts and minds of her characters, alternating among the perspectives of Maddy, Ben, and their fourteen-year-old daughter. Accidents of Marriage is a provocative and stunning novel that will resonate deeply with women from all walks of life, ultimately revealing the challenges of family, faith, and forgiveness.

ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE explores a topic rarely shown in fiction: the damaging effects of a spouse’s emotional abuse

This book reminds me so much of Lisa Genova’s science and medicine based novels. In Lisa’s book Left Neglected, she details a woman’s struggles with putting her life back together after a near fatal accident that resulted in a brain injury. I find such stories extremely interesting, so even though this book is mainly a story about a marriage falling apart, I decided to read it because adding a traumatic injury on top of a festering and failing marriage just makes for some good dramatic reading.

Maddie and Ben are in love… madly in love but recently can’t seem to keep things on an even keel. Their marriage is good, but…. and they’ve been living on the ‘but…’ more often than they care to admit lately. Ben has a terrible temper that has worsened as time has gone on, resorting to screaming and throwing objects in his tirades. Maddie has turned to what my friends and I call “Better Living Through Chemistry” to make it through life. Her teen, Emma and two younger children, on top of her demanding social work job keep her in a constant state of awareness and ‘on edge’. Maddie just can’t keep things straight, can’t do anything right and it’s all she can do to keep the peace. 

In the pouring rain through Boston traffic and high speed, reckless driving, Maddie’s life transitions in the blink of an eye from worrying about lunches and her small group meeting of battered women and whether or not her husband, a prominent attorney, will come home in a decent mood. Instead, Maddie is tasked with learning basic skills and brain function again, even how to speak in more than four word sentences. How to cook, how to drive, how to live. Due to her brain injury, Maddie is different. She says what’s on her mind with no filter, which is a turnaround from the pre-accident Maddie that just tried to get along.

Ben is an angel, dedicated and calm and understanding. And there’s a reason for that. He doesn’t want Maddie to discover the real cause of her accident, why she’s broken and put back together. Ben wants to be the hero of this story, but when Maddie discovers that it wasn’t just a simple accident, that Ben’s temper had a strong hand in her current state, Maddie has difficult, life changing decisions to make. And so does Ben.

Some parts of this book were extremely engaging. I had the largest problem with the conclusion to the story. I thought I would find it cathartic to see Maddie finally stand up for herself, but I didn’t dislike Ben enough to want a complete dissolution. I wanted him to learn his lesson… which I felt he did. I wanted him to WANT to make things better, for life to be different, because the family had gone through so much already. 

It’s difficult to review this book without giving much of it away. Suffice it to say that it’s highly emotional and expressive– I felt Maddie’s pain and sorrow and frustration. I sometimes sympathized with Ben and with Emma, who bore the Lion’s Share of care while Maddie was recovering… so much for a 14 year old to handle. The pacing was slow enough to agonize with the family, yet quick enough to keep the pages turning to see just what happened next. This is a novel of a breaking apart but also a putting back together and though the conclusion seemed… abrupt while also vague, it also sparked a bit of hope that this family will heal. 

[Review] In Doubt by Drusilla Campbell

In Doubt Book Cover In Doubt

Literary Fiction
Grand Central Publishing
August 26, 2014
NetGalley/Grand Central Publishing

Defense Attorney Sophie Giraudo is about to open a new legal practice in her hometown of San Sebastian, California, when the beloved governer is shot and seriously wounded during a celebration in the town park. The only thing more shocking than the crime itself is the identity of the would-be assassin: a seemingly gentle teenager named Donny. Driven by her desire to understand what could make a person with no history of violence suddenly commit such a terrible act, Sophie reluctantly agrees to take him on as a client, knowing that, at least, it will bring her some income. But soon she realizes that she also has personal motivations for taking the case: a desire to prove to her overbearing mother that she is not the reckless and self-destructive tennager she used to be, to prove to her ex-husband, who happens to be the prosecuting attorney, that she can win her case, and to prove to herself that the traumatic events of her adolescence no longer define her.

As she digs deeper into Donny's past, Sophie begins to suspect that he might not be the cold-blooded killer everyone thinks he is. Does Donny's narcissistic mother really have her son's best interest in mind? Is Donny's mentor who runs Boys Into Men, a program for disadvantaged youths, the altruistic man he claims to be? Is Donny a deranged murderer, or a victim of his circumstances acting out of desperation? As Sophie races to uncover the truth, she is forced to come to terms with her past and to fight for what she knows is right...even if it means risking her reputation and possibly her life.

In Doubt by Drusilla Campbell depicts the story of a defense attorney that unwittingly finds herself in the middle of the biggest crime to ever hit the small town of SanSeb– San Sebastian, California. Danny Crider, fresh out of the Boys into Men Boy’s Home, has shot the governor,hometown hero Maggie Duarte. Crider’s mother, Elena, is especially hurt because she feels a strong connection to the Governor. Elena takes Donny’s crime so seriously that, while she pays for Donny’s defense, she refuses to see him.

Donny is quiet, to a fault. He refuses to assist in his own defense so Sohpia Giraudo, fledgling defense attorney that only took the case for the fee, finds herself digging into Donny’s past for clues. Why did he shoot the Governor? He says he doesn’t know, but how could he aim and shoot and not know why? Sophia surmises that something in his past, specifically something regarding his father’s disappearance from his life, is overbearingly inappropriate and compulsive mother, and Iva and Roman, the couple that own Roman’s Gardens and run Boys into Men.

While I enjoyed reading this novel and trying to figure out the mystery alongside Sophia, I couldn’t help feeling unfulfilled. I feel like so many issues were uncovered but left to wither in the sun. Donny’s stoic silence was an interesting plot point at first but eventually he was just annoying. There was no introspection as to why he wouldn’t speak about his actions. Sophia’s investigator, Camp, whose daughter has been missing for two years– we get a hint that he may have possibly found her, but that glimmer of hope falls a bit flat for me. As did the mention of her childhood rapist, specifically she and Camp walking down to the house where he used to live. If she wasn’t going to ask Camp to find him…. ???

Some characters were very thin- Camp and Ben especially. Brad as well… I just didn’t get him. Anna, in contrast was so vivid I practically had her cast in the movie in mind mind. Iva as well was so sympathetic and empathetic, I really felt for her, especially when she discovered the truth about her husband.

This book can be a lesson in how justice really works. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes without a whole lot of palatable answers. Sometimes justice is just barely served. And sometimes that’s just enough.

I was granted a copy of this novel for review from NetGalley.

Welcome to The Sweet Escape, home of writer Melinda Jones. I blog about my adventures as a Literary Fiction/Romance/ Women's Fiction reader and writer. My work has appeared at IndieInk.org, Short-Story.net and Storyfix.com.

I enjoy reading (lots and lots of reading) writing, candy, Sprite, and things flavored with raspberry... but not raspberries themselves. I blog Mondays and Fridays and random Wednesdays and Sundays as time and material allows. I hope you'll drop by often and share in the joy (uh huh) of writing! Enjoy your stay!



A Proud Stop on the Forever Starts Tonight Blog Tour!

Check back here on September 18th for my review of Roni Loren's steamy new release Forever Starts Tonight! FST Blog Tour Button

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