Because you can't judge a book by its cover

Review

dalmation puppySabina Grey was once the shallow head cheerleader but after her sister’s accident Sabina has tried hard to overcome her past and make sure her sister gets the best of everything, even if that means Lucy marries the man Sabina wants.

Lucy Grey was burned in a bad house fire in her teens, as a result of the surgeries and numerous medical procedures she had no control over, she now tries to plan everything in her life, down to when she will get married and what they will have as a couple. But sometimes life throws unexpected things into your life and Lucy has to decide if unplanned events can bring joy or just chaos.

In Last Chance Hero by Hope Ramsay, Ross Gardiner has returned to Last Chance to be the chief of the fire department, the only paid member of the volunteer force, and the only man on the force with professional firefighting experience. After striking out asking out the beautiful Sabina out, Ross has settled for the safe and stable relationship with her sister Lucy.

But when Miriam Randall visits Sabina with some love advice, the whole town gets buzzing with the news and Ross feels the need to move things up more quickly with Lucy. When Ross’s newly purchased home burns to the ground, along with several other homes, things start getting a little out of control in his life and he starts to wonder if he is with the correct sister after all.

Last Chance Hero is a great addition to the Last Chance Series. Ramsay took on a difficult story line when she wrote about a love triangle involving one guy and two sisters. It is a fine line you have to tread as an author between allowing the relationship to flourish with the sister to end up with the guy without making the reader hate the other sister, or hating the sister who ends up with the guy for being a man stealer. But Ramsay did this with southern charm and had me cheering for all three people to get their happily ever after by the end. Ramsay’s fictional town of Last Chance is a great place to visit (you can see by the number of reviews I have written for this series that I love to come back and visit) and, as always, she does as superb job with the fun secondary characters without them over shadowing the main characters (and a cute puppy named Sparky doesn’t hurt).

While Last Chance Hero is a stand alone novel, I don’t think new readers to the series will fully grasp the significance of Miriam Randall’s visit to Sabina and the town’s resulting fervor without having read some of the earlier novels where Miriam’s love predictions have played out. That being said, if Last Chance Hero is your first visit to Last Chance then it is a good one to start with by showing the town’s entertaining residents in a good light and by making you want to turn the pages quickly to figure out with Grey sister Ross ends up with.

You can read an excerpt here.

Last Chance Reading Order:

Welcome to Last Chance (you can read my review here)

Home at Last Chance

Small Town Christmas (anthology)

Last Chance Beauty Queen

Last Chance Bride (short story)

Last Chance Christmas (you can read my review here)

Last Chance Book Club

Last Chance Summer (short story)

Last Chance Knit & Stitch (you can read my review here)

Inn at Last Chance (you can read my review here)

A Christmas To Remember (you can read my review here)

Last Chance Family (you can read my review here)

Last Chance Hero

Rating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Last Chance Hero

Author: Hope Ramsay

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 344

AISN: B00O7X61FE

Publisher: Forever Romance

Release Date: June 30, 2015

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

After disastrously and publicly losing her job, Lily Danville has returned to Cedar Ridge while she tries to find a new job and finally come to grips with the death of her sister and father ten years ago. In Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis,  Lily isn’t back even one day before running into her past crush Aiden Kincaid and of course it would be when Lily isn’t looking her best, stocking up on junk food.

Aiden Kincaid never got over Lily leaving town so quickly after the death of her family members. Priding himself on his control either fighting fires, rescuing hikers, or with his heart, Aiden wonders if Lily’s return will destroy that control and calm one more time or if this time they have a chance at happily ever after.

Second Chance Summer is the beginning of a new series, Cedar Ridge, by Jill Shalvis and I loved it! Set in the mountains of Colorado, the beauty and harsh climate (think big thunder storms, swollen rivers, and potential blizzards) are an excellent counterpoint to the events unfolding in the character’s lives. But with a background this epic you need characters strong enough to stand out and Shalvis delivers that with the Kincaid family. Completely loyal to each other, the Kincaids fight, they are messy, and they eat each other’s food with great relish but at the end of the day they have each other’s backs.

Lily’s character is heartbreaking and lovable but it is Aiden and his siblings that really stole the show. While the strong characters are a draw, it is Shalvis’s humor that makes me love reading and rereading her books so much (which I have reread quite of few of her series numerous times) and Second Chance Summer had me giggling in several places. Any novel that starts off with a fire fighter having to rescue a nearly naked woman from her attempt to get on the front page of the newspaper by threatening to commit suicide and then yelling at the firefighters when she thinks they aren’t saving her fast enough, you know it is going to be a entertaining read. Shalvis’s description of the oldest Kincaid brother had me smiling, “Gray ran Cedar Ridge Resort and knew everything about everyone in town. he was an eighty-two-year-old lady hiding in a thirty-one-year-old man’s body.”

If you have enjoyed Shalvis’s previous novels you will like Second Chance Summer. If you haven’t read any of her books before Second Chance Summer is a great place to start.

You can read an excerpt here.

Cedar Ridge Reading Order:

Second Chance Summer

My Kind of Wonderful (December 2015)

Nobody But You (March 2016)

Rating: Star 5copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Second Chance Summer

Author: Jill Shalvis

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 369

AISN: B00OP5EU8E

Publisher: Hatchette Book Group

Release Date: June 30, 2015

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

paper craneCeony Twill has worked so hard to fulfill her dreams of becoming a Metal Magician but on the eve of her graduation she is asked to become one of the few Paper Magicians and once bonded to a specific type of material she will only be able to perform magic with that material. The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg begins with Ceony arriving at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane but not everything is as it seems when it comes to paper magic and sometimes we are lead to where we need to go even when it wasn’t part of our original plans.

When Magician Thane is attacked soon after Ceony’s arrival, it will take all her ingenuity, courage, and determination to save him from the practitioner’s of the forbidden dark arts.

I picked up The Paper Magician because it has been awhile since I read a true fantasy (as opposed to a paranormal/scifi/fantasy mix) and awhile since I read a Young Adult novel. The Paper Magician is an interesting fantasy novel, very different from most of the high fantasy I have previously read. In the world Holmberg has created, you only get a glimpse of the outside world as Ceony spends most of her time in the cottage or in a specific spot trying to save Thane (I’m not going to say too much because it will give away part of the novel) but the rules of magic are interesting and the few characters are well developed but it is Holmberg’s way with words that I really enjoyed. The images she weaves are, dare I say, magical.  Little pearls of wisdom are disbursed throughout the novel and are so spot on, “The ghostly images lasted only a moment longer before fading away, as all unread stories were wont to do.” But ultimately the great theme of the novel is summed up as this “Everyone has a dark side! But it’s their choice whether or not they cultivate it.” The Paper Magician is a fun fantasy novel that is well worth a read and I look forward to reading The Glass Magician. 

You can read an excerpt here.

The Paper Magician Series Reading Order

The Paper Magician

The Glass Magician

The Master Magician

paper magicianRating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon no background

Title: The Paper Magician

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg

Format: eBook

Page Nos.: 226

AISN: B00HVF7OL0

Publisher: 47North

Release Date: September 1, 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

victorian horse racingMia Carrington has been in love with Vander Septimus Brody, Duke of Pindar, since her painful teens. In Four Nights With a Duke by Eloisa James, Mia knows that the action she is about to take will make him hate her forever but she can’t find any other way to take care of what needs to be done other than to blackmail Vander into marrying her. Vander has always felt bad about how he treated Mia when they were in their teens but that doesn’t give her the right to come to his house demanding that he marry her immediately.

I was so excited to get Vander’s story after really liking him in Three Weeks with Lady X and I feel like Four Nights With a Duke just didn’t quite deliver. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great moments and fabulous, FABULOUS, secondary characters (I adored the drunk great uncle spouting Shakespeare, with only Mia realizing he was quoting the bard and not just being crazy) and the initial scene between Mia and Vander were painfully awkward and well done. BUT (and is a big BUT) I ended up not liking Vander very much and I really didn’t like his treatment of Mia. I get that one of the great tools for a romance novel is mis-communication between the characters but it felt like Vander was just constantly mean in what he said to Mia and how he treated her and I struggled to understand why she would keep going back to him. I get it, the sex was great, but sex alone is not enough to fulfill someone and goodness knows that all Mia wanted was to be loved for herself. I also felt like Vander was unnecessarily crude during the scene where Mia is approaching him to marry her, he was a Duke raised from birth to treat ladies a particular way and I just feel like it was a bit out of character for him.

I did love Mia’s character, I loved that she was a secret novelist and loved the wink Eloisa James gave to other contemporary historical authors Julia Quinn and Lisa Kelypas “P.S. I include herewith not only Miss Julia Quiplet’s works, but a new novel written by Mrs. Lisa Klampas, which I believe you will enjoy.” And I really loved the reference to a Julia Quinn character who was an author “Another Author she knew had caused a character to be pecked to death by pigeons. Pigeons?” It is a stand alone novel but I recommend reading Three Weeks With Lady X before reading Four Nights With a Duke just so you understand the relationship between Vander and Thorn. Four Nights With a Duke is a good one time read but I doubt that I will be rereading it like I do with most of Eloisa James’s other novels.

There is some use of the “F” word.

You can read an excerpt here.

Desperate Duchesses Reading Order:

Desperate Duchesses

An Affair Before Christmas

Duchess by Night

When the Duke Returns

This Duchess of Mine

A Duke of Her Own

Three Weeks with Lady X

Four Nights With The Duke

four nights with a dukeRating: Star 3copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Four Nights With a Duke

Author: Eloisa James

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 384

AISN: B00JBETURA

Publisher: Avon Romance

Release Date: March 31, 2015

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

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Why Ratings?
It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!
Graphic Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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