Category: Romance Reviews

Review: THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY by Melissa Pimentel

51unp28xXlLTHE ONE THAT GOT AWAY by Melissa Pimentel • Romance • St. Martin’s Press • Released Aug 22, 2017

Book Review by Colleen L Donnelly 


“The One That Got Away” has the air of the Bridget Jones Diary series – a young woman amidst the complications of family and peers, telling and recounting the story of that one love – Ethan – who was there, and then not, but might be again.

Ruby is a quick-witted and slightly sour heroine, a modern girl fully up to date on who and what’s in, and doing her best to operate both as she navigates her sister’s wedding where the ex love of her life appears also. Because of Ruby’s speed in a generation that insists on it, I was a bit slow catching up with Pimentel’s dive into the story – the jargon, the current trends, and Ruby’s compulsion to stay on top, causing me to flounder before I attached to Ruby and cheered her on. But I did. And it was worth it – for anyone else not of that generation or speed.

I applaud Pimentel. She tells a story of Then and Now without chapters, switching back and forth from third person in the Then, to first person in the Now, sandwiching Ruby’s and Ethan’s happily ever after…or not between past and present events. There was never a lull in the story, the writing keeping pace with the setting, leaving me intrigued and wondering how, why, and if Ruby and Ethan would ever make it.

The characters are real and humorous, Ruby’s biting inner thoughts toward family, friends, and coworkers who deserve those judgments, entertaining. This is a light and fun read with situations and people we can relate to, and a smattering of profanity that like Bridget Jones, suited the characters and their lives.

If you are looking for a humorous romance that includes some of the downsides of love and life and still makes you smile, “The One That Got Away” is right for you.

Colleen L Donnelly

Review: EMERALD COAST by Anita Hughes

51SUPCYoIvLEMERALD COAST by Anita Hughes / Romance / Released Aug 1, 2017 by St, Martin’s Griffin

EMERALD COAST is told in trademark Anita Hughes style – a current dilemma that can only be resolved as relevant past events surface and unfold. “Emerald Coast” is the quest by divorced Lily and Oliver to escape the hurt of mutual betrayal in the past and find happiness apart…until they are thrown together unexpectedly at an exotic resort.

Written with the full flavor of taste, sight, and sound Anita Hughes does so well, the reader is caught up in the sensuality of the setting, feeling every temptation and opportunity Lily and Oliver each does as they forge forward to create new, individual lives and leave the pain of their pasts behind. However, this same environment that entices each toward the new, also churns up unbroken ties still binding their hearts and souls to the old. Not alone in this upheaval, new lovers, old flames, and current family members also get caught in the turmoil. The Emerald Coast becomes the perfect stewing pot of what’s old and what’s new, forcing dross and truth to the top for Lily and Oliver to face in order to discover what their futures really hold.

“Emerald Coast” is a very pleasant read, immediately absorbing the reader into its characters’ situation and lives. Their struggles to escape the hurt of past betrayals heightens the tension, and the fiery furnace of escalating circumstances takes the novel to that “I don’t want to put this book down” level. Free of anything graphic, this book still takes the reader on a very human and relatable journey that I highly recommend.

Review provided by Colleen L. Donnelly a #1 Amazon Bestseller

Contemporary Author Melissa Klein talks about her new release OUT OF SIGHT

Klein13024-12-8x10[1]Melissa Klein writes contemporary romance about everyday heroes fighting extraordinary battles. Whether facing the demands of caring for a child with special needs or the struggles of a soldier returning home, her characters take on the challenges life throws at them with perseverance, courage, and humor. Melissa won Georgia Romance Writers Unpublished Maggie award in 2013 and Rose City Romance Writers Golden Rose award in 2012. She lives in Atlanta with her family and can be found at



OutofSight_w11613_750What led you to write this book? Three years ago, a skiing accident left my daughter with a traumatic brain injury. She experienced the same memory loss and aphasia as Mia Jones, the heroine in Out of Sight. My daughter’s tenacity and willingness to work hard inspired me to write about a woman who triumphed over a similar life-changing event. I dedicated Out of Sight to Laura and the medical professionals at the trauma center where she was Life Flighted. Without their skill, Laura wouldn’t have gone on to lead an independent and happy life, just like Mia.

What do you hope readers take away from your work? In Out of Sight, Hank Taggart also faces life-changing events and struggles. I want readers to rethink what it means to be a hero. Everyone deserves their own version of happily ever after, even former naval pilots who must trade dog fighting in the skies for AA meetings.

Do you have a reoccurring theme to your books? I find myself repeating the theme of second chances in my books. I believe everyone deserves another chance to correct past mistakes and a second chance at love.

What do you do when you are not writing? When I’m not writing, I like to garden and travel. I have a small yard where I enjoy planting southern perennials I remember seeing in my grandparents’ gardens. This year my gardenias and hydrangeas are especially beautiful. I recently returned from visiting my daughter and was able to add Rhode Island to the list of states I’ve visited. Only 9 more to go.

What’s next for you? Out of Time, the third book in the Out of Uniform series will release sometime in August. I’m also completing another book in my Magnolia Springs series. My current work is progress is a departure from my usual military romance. It’s a humorous contemporary romance that starts when the hero and heroine attempt to stop their respective parents from marrying.

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5180-8M3tPLWHITE SAND, BLUE SEA:  A St. Barts Love Story by Anita Hughes

Contemporary Romance / Released April 11 by St. Martin’s Griffin

I fell into Anita Hughes’ story, “White Sand, Blue Sea” from the first paragraph, living and breathing the past and present with each character as this book took me through their individual and family dilemmas. Admittedly, I am a fan of literary and women’s fiction, and Anita Hughes has written this novel in such a style. However, I encourage those who feel hesitant to read such genres to pick up “White Sand, Blue Sea,” for some element of other more common genres – romance, suspense, or historical – will certainly be woven in.

Although this story takes place over only a few days, it spans years as Anita adeptly reveals past events which formed the bases of relationships pertinent to the book’s main theme. She also uses setting as a character, masterfully putting the reader into each character’s shoes as they come to grips with the current tumult in light of what happened years ago.

“White Sand, Blue Sea” is a title that insinuates happiness, and indeed the desire to be happy is a strong theme, even without the promise that this is how the characters’ situations will end. Anita has clashed and fitted at the same time a previously abandoning husband/father back into the lives of his ex-wife and daughter who are twenty years into their new family when he appears. It wasn’t a lack of love that caused Sebastian to walk out on Hadley and their daughter, Olivia, ages ago, and it wasn’t the end of that love which kept him away all those years. Nor did his abandonment destroy their love for him, thus creating outer upheaval as well as inner turmoil for the three of them – not to mention Hadley’s current husband and Olivia’s potential fiancé – when Sebastian unexpectedly shows up for Olivia’s twenty-fifth birthday. With the passion and eye of the true artist he is, Sebastian is not only a reminder of what was lost those past twenty years, but also a naked look at what might currently be missing in all of their lives, especially in Hadley’s and Olivia’s new family and relationships.

I give this book five stars, and intend to read more of Anita Hughes’ stories.


Review provided by Colleen L. Donnelly, Amazon #1 Bestselling Author of MINE TO TELL.

Donna’s favorite reads in 2015

The December column is always my favorite because I get to look back at my favorite reads from the year.

Duke City Desperado2015 saw the third book in the Duke City series by Max Austin released in June. DUKE CITY DESPERADO was a fun frolic through the misadventures of Dylan James and his buddy Doc who tried to rob a bank through the drive-up window.

Yeah, most of us would see the folly in this right from theDuke City Hit start but Doc, well, his perspective was skewed. It comes as no surprse that Doc was immediately captured but Dylan manages to stay about a half-step away from the law through a crazy set of circumstances that only Max Austin can deliver.

517UBdb43dL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Each book in the series stands alone with one common element: Alburburque, New Mexico. If you like crime from a slightly tweeked angle you’ve got to give the Duke City series a go.


Continue reading “Donna’s favorite reads in 2015”

Review: VIRGO’S VICE by Trish Jackson

Virgo's ViceVIRGO’S VICE by Trish Jackson

Soul Mate Publishing (October 21, 2015) Romantic Suspense/Thriller

Lexie King lands a job on the film crew for a reality survival show. She’s spent her whole life dealing with the symptoms of PTSD due to abuse. When her abuser ends up as one of the contestants on the survival show, it’s too late for Lexie to turn back. The contestants and the film crew are air-dropped into a remote area of Africa. When they realize the director and the rest of their supplies are not coming, they scramble to make a shelter and find food. When fellow contestants start turning up dead, they literally scramble to stay alive.

This story is unusual in that the story is told from several points of view, and even though the main characters voices are the dominant voices, I found it unnecessary to have every contestant speak in their voice. In my opinion, the story would have been stronger by using only first person.

I did like the structure of the plot and the twists and turns one expects in a suspense. The author’s take on what could happen in a remote place was interesting, especially given the fact the contestants come for a survival reality show and end up fighting for their lives.

I recommend this story to readers who enjoy survival shows.

Review provided by Jackie McMurry for her column Jackie’s Jargon in the November 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.

Review: SAVE MY PLACE by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Save My PlaceSAVE MY PLACE by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Mercer University Press (September 10, 2014) Historical Romance

Olivia deBelle Byrd takes the reader on an emotional ride with the ever hopeful heroine, Elisabeth Belle Sterling, a Southern woman through and through. The book is based on the real life events of a friend of the author and told from Elisabeth’s point of view. The book starts with Elisabeth’s proclamation that she will be a spinster. She’s only twenty-two, but she’s determined to stay a spinster after her college boyfriend dumps her right after graduation. She believes nothing can sway her, that is, until she meets Kincaid Patterson on a blind date.

Kincaid is a West Point graduate with a dark past, but he’s attentive towards Elisabeth and she soon discovers love can be hers again. When they married half-way through the book, I wondered what conflicts the couple would have to face and then the news came that Kincaid was being sent to Vietnam.

This seems like enough of a conflict—Elisabeth is naturally lonely and misses him like crazy. And then the author layers in some great news (I don’t want to spoil the plot) only to lead into the most difficult tragedy Elisabeth will have to face. Save My Place is a story of faith, hope, and unconditional love. The narrator’s voice is compelling and leads the reader through a maze of highs and lows in a manner that had me feeling what she felt—laughter, relief, frustration, anger, love and loss.

Review provided by Jackie McMurray for her column Jackie’s Jargon in the November 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.