#Review : A Family By Christmas by Viv Royce #AFamailyByChristmas

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A Family by Christmas by Viv Royce
Publication Date: October 14th 2019
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Genre: Romance
Pages: 200
Stars: ★★★★☆

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Chocolatier Emma Miller has a new business selling bonbons to the residents of the quaint town of Wood Creek. When a tiny visitor stops by her shop with an interesting request, Emma is intrigued. The young girl needs chocolates that will help her widowed dad fall in love, preferably with her teacher. What Emma didn’t count on was Casey’s ever so charming and handsome dad, Grant, stepping into her life. She has to remind herself to be cautious because the one thing she learned in foster care is that people always leave.

Pilot Grant Galloway is touched by his daughter’s gift and is curious about the person who made the world-class chocolates. But when he steps into Emma’s shop full of delicious smells and tasty morsels, he forgets to breathe. And it has nothing to do with his favorite dessert. She’s pretty and kind, and when she has to deal with a difficult client, his protective instincts kick into high gear. But he risked his heart once. When his wife died, it left him broken. He’s just now beginning to pick up the pieces, and he and his daughter will be leaving town once the holidays are over.

Thanks to some Christmas wishes, though, these two might discover that their carefully laid plans are about to change.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author and publisher. ***

A family by Christmas was chocolaty sweet romance that revolved round Emma, Grant and his lovely family in small town. It was about new venture in small town, family, love, belongingness, following your heart and gut feeling.

Characters-

Emma was nice person who wanted to keep her customer happy and survive her business in new town. She was too gentle and generous but I liked her sentiments and outlook towards her business totally opposite of what she was taught. Her thoughts and feelings were realistic and heartfelt. I loved her even more for selflessness.

Grant was her polar opposite. While Emma was cautious by nature, loved her sanctum of shop and home, Grant loved freedom, life-risking adventure and his old pilot job. He was caring and lively person. His feelings for his daughter was lovely.

Casey the little girl of Grant was sweet adorable child. All side characters were nice and supportive.

What I liked-

Writing was great, east to follow and atmospheric. Setting was vivid filled with Christmas spirit that gave festive touch to the story. I loved Emma’s shop, Wood Creek town, Galloway nursery and Christmas fair. The story was third person narrative from Emma and Grant’s perspective. It worked nicely here giving the parallel view of their thoughts and feelings.

It started with a little girl trotting in Emma’s Chocolate Shop placing a cute special order for her daddy. She wanted Emma to make chocolates that help her dad, Grant, fall in love with her teacher. On receiving such delicious chocolate gift, Grant was curious why owner of the chocolate shop was giving it away and so he visited her shop. He wanted Emma to befriend Casey, spend Christmas with her so she can build bond with new people, come out of her shell and enjoy Christmas before they live the town when he get new job. Emma was hesitant at first but she loved Casey and didn’t want to spend Christmas alone. But could she stop the feeling that has started growing after meeting Grant? Can she save herself from heartbreak when both Grant and Casey left the town?

Both had one thought, enjoy it and have fun till it lasts but as they spent more time with each other, friendship turned into deep feelings and blossoming love. It complicated their situation. Emma wanted to stay while Grant wanted to leave on first opportunity. I was curious to see when he will realize his true feeling for Emma and what he will decide after that and will Casey agree to leave her grandparents and Emma with whom she was attached now and have formed strong bond.

Emma’s loneliness being a foster kid touched my heart. It was admirable to see her standing on her own feet, running a shop by heart with so much love and dedication. I was happy for her when she got connected with Grant’s family and all the support she got from town and other shop owners. I knew it will be her best Christmas this time. I liked her attitude and the way she handled her feelings not spoiling new formed bond with Grant’s family. I loved her even more for her selfless advices even though it hurt her.

I liked Grant’s perspective. I could understand Grant’s dream and wish to get job after getting over his loss. It looked like selfishness from certain view but I didn’t feel so. Everybody needs to live for themselves, for something that make them happy and flying was his need and happiness. But I liked him for thinking about his daughter at the same time. His dilemma was realistic.

I loved getting answers to all questions. I liked the message in the book about, trusting your feelings and working out a way that is best for everyone not what you want and your family wants. End was sweet and filed with happiness.

Why 4 stars-

No villain, no drama, no misunderstandings that equals to no twist which made it a tad predictable.

Overall, I enjoyed this family by Christmas. It was charming, cozy, and delightful Christmas read filled with festive feel. Do I recommend this for your Christmas reads? Righto.

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What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already? Are you going to add it to your Christmas TBR? Recommend me your all time favorite Christmas read.
Fun Question- Which is the best Christmas gift you have received so far?

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#Review : Neither Here Nor There by Miriam Drori

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Neither Here Nor There by Miriam Drori
Publication Date:
May 17th 2014
Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing Ltd
Genre: Fiction / Jewish Literature / Contemporary
Pages: 180
Stars: ★★★★☆

Love in an exotic setting.

Esty’s life was laid out for her from birth. She would marry one of a handful of young men suggested to her and settle down to raise a large family in a tiny space within the closed community of her parents, near to and yet far from the modern world. But Esty has decided to risk all by escaping while she still can. Will she make it to the other side? Mark, who is struggling with his own life changes, hopes that Esty will find a way through her troubles. He is fast falling in love with her. Separately and together, in Jerusalem and London, Esty and Mark need to overcome many obstacles in their endeavour to achieve their dream.

So much more than a romance. A tale of transformation.

*** Note: I won this book in giveaway ***

Neither Here Nor There was simple romance that was made beautiful because of its setting in Jerusalem. Story revolved around Haredi Judaism, Esty’s struggle who left the orthodox ways, challenged its beliefs and lifestyle to live life of secular that can have meaning, freedom, and love. It was about struggle of transition in lifestyle; orthodox vs tradition, secular and extremism; strength and determination; going against the flow; understanding different culture and adopting the best in it.

What I Liked:

Book started with Esty leaving her parents’ home, culture she knew and grew up in to discover new life, life of secular, a life in which she can have freedom to make choices, actually live it and enjoy it rather than getting married, take care of house and giving birth every year. But it was never easy, she was in middle situation, Neither Here Nor There, after leaving her family. What challenges she will face in this in-between path? Will she able to cross it and transform into lifestyle of other side? Can she cut off with her family and friends? How her decision will affect her family? Will she discover new friends and true love? It was great to discover answers to all these Esty inner turmoil.

I believe she was lucky to find good people on her way towards new lifestyle. It wouldn’t be this easy for all.

I loved theme of this book. Author portrayed lifestyle and belief of orthodox people so well. It was not just about differences between orthodox, secular, and traditional but was about extremism. Being extremist is most dangerous and not just for orthodox but for secular as well and this controversial matter was well conveyed here.

Esty learned many things through her observation of secular world, different lifestyle and people she met. The doubts she had for what she was taught in schools and by community before leaving the old world proved right, she saw secular world is not that bad as she was taught, she could see how people in her community are following their belief not because they fear God or because they were pure and other are malign but because they want to please others in their community.

Every chapters ended with the question, doubts Esty and Mark had regarding their life and relationship that made me think about the situation, about community and their age-old beliefs, religion along with them. Characters turmoil, struggle and emotion was the central part of the story.

Romance was simple. It didn’t have that juicy drama or complicated issue we usually read in romance novel but it was nice to see both Esty and Mark evolve, taking baby steps in their relationship. They had some simple and realistic issues, Esty trying to adopt new world and Mark trying to go slow and let her grow out of her discomfort but I liked how they both made efforts to strengthen their bond.

Turns in the book were good. It made story interesting. I did guess those endings but it didn’t affect the ending. I liked the happy ending.

Why 4 Stars:

As I said things were comparatively easy for Esty. In real life there might be lot of problems and I was little annoyed character didn’t see things realistically. She should have expected the problems she faced and when her sister thought to follow her footstep she felt wrong about it! Come on, that’s clearly selfish.

Overall, it was interesting, insightful and unique but simple contemporary fiction that dealt with controversial subject. I recommend this book. It is short, fastpaced that you can finish in one sitting.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
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What do you Think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Have you read book dealing with controversial or religious issues? Which are they? Recommend me your favorite book in this theme or genre.

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#Review : Fractalistic by Gerardo Delgadillo @Gero_Delgadillo

Fractalistic by Gerardo Delgadillo
Publication Date:
July 9th 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Genre: Contemporary / Fiction
Pages: 308
Stars: ★★★★★

After moving to Mexico with her parents, Winter Gutan had been hoping the local alternative medicine doctor would cure her mother’s illness. When her mother does not survive his controversial treatments, Winter’s life spirals in despair. Her father, a software engineer, insists his computer program, Fractalistic, will enable them to communicate with her mother’s spirit. But as his sanity begins to slip, Winter confides in her friend Rafa, a computer wizard, who tells her he’s found information about using fractal technology to treat false memories—nothing paranormal about it, leaving Winter confused and without hope. Will she lose her mother forever?

Suspecting her dad is hiding a deep secret, Winter runs Fractalistic behind his back, unveiling a sea of computer-generated imagery swirling on the screen. Her mother appears to her…begging for help! But is this all just Winter’s imagination?

Fractalistic may enable Winter to communicate with her deceased mother, but it might also unleash more mysterious memories buried within Winter’s mind. To figure it all out, Winter must hack into her father’s system to uncover a horrifying truth…or remain in the dark forever.

Previous books I read by the same auhtor:
1) Bacon Pie (co-author)
2) Summerlypse

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***

Fractalistic was YA contemporary that revolved around Winter’s life after losing her mother. I will not limit it to just contemporary as there was good portion of book related to fractal theory and experiment so one can call it mix of Si-Fi, contemporary and romance. It was about grief, coping with loss of loved ones, shock and depression that affect mind and alters memory and behavior, trying to bring closure and move on in life.

Characters-

Winter was great in this book. Her voice was realistic, emotional and touching. I could feel her and could empathize with her. I and she are really opposite- I will not hesitate to confront anybody if I felt they were hiding something or lying. So I actually wanted to shake her a little and tell her to go ahead girl and find out the truth asap. But I could also understand her love for her father. Her development was gradual and like the way she cope with fears and grief and strength to face the horrible truth.

I liked secondary characters in the book. They all were great. They all tried to help her, lifted her spirit, made her to see the world she thought she will never like after leaving America, helped to see her mom and to find out, what really was happening with her, and loved her unconditionally.

What I liked-

The title and cover was eye-catching. I didn’t know anything about fractal theory before reading this book. It was interesting to see how it was used here in story.

Fractalistic was written from Winter’s perspective. Writing was amazing, easy to follow, page-turning, and description of characters and setting was vivid. The small Mexican town, language and life-style was lovely. I have read previous book by author so I knew there will be Spanish in the book. I cannot read it, of course, but those sentences were translated in English so it was relief for me.

Book started with Winter describing sadness and grief engulfed her house after losing her mother, her angst and frustration of new place and culture that she didn’t feel connected to after leaving America, her worry for her father who was obsessed with IFVI, fractal app he invented, whose sanity was slipping and was not loving her the way he used to.

But when she attended academy, made new friends, she got to know more about IFVI and other secrets. What was her dad hiding, why he was lying to her or so secretive about his app, were her friends genuinely trying to help her or there’s some hidden agenda? Was that app really working, helping to see her mom or was it all her imagination?

First few chapters were disjointed. I could not correlate them with each other- fractals used to communicate with her mother, then she got to know it was used to treat false memory, Julia insisting her to drink tea while watching fractal that sounded fishy, her dad’s horrible behavior towards her friends and then Chucho the dog and Misifus-cat. Lot was happening and I didn’t have clue where this was going, who to trust. Because of it I first thought I will rate it 4.

But as I read more, I could see it was meant feel disjointed, it was written in that style to show the mental status of Winter, the way she processed things. It all made sense when one by one I got answers to all question, fog of confusion lifted and horror of truth and reality was revealed.  

I liked to read Winter’s relation with other characters– her father, Rafa, Julia, Bel and her dog and that Misifus cat. All these relations evolved beautifully throughout the book. It was first complicated, there was secrets, mistrust and fights but as I read more I could see it strengthening gradually. Young love of Rafa and Winter was quite cute. It was not the strongest, but I like to read this portion. It gave breathing space between depressing and poignant story of Winter.

Turns in the book was nicely placed. I could guess what might have happened after 40% of the book but I was curious to see how it happened and how Winter was going to discover it. End was satisfactory and liberating.  I liked this even more than my previous books by the same author.

Overall, it was emotional poignant and heartfelt YA contemporary and those who has suffered loss will feel it intensely. I surely recommend this book.

Author Bio:
Hello! I’m Gerardo Delgadillo. Originally from San Francisco and raised in Mexico, I live in the Dallas metropolitan area, which means, my house is somewhere in a distant suburb nobody’s heard of.
My stories gravitate around fifteen-to-seventeen-year-olds, venturing into Mexico, or living in Mexico. I consider my writing contemporary and realistic. Well, as realistic as it can be. Truth to be told, real life can be quite boring.
I spend my days writing, either at my day job coding high-tech software, OR typing YA novels surrounded by lots of caffeine.

Author Social Media Links: Blog | Author Page | Goodreads | Twitter

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you Think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Do you read many contemporary fictions? Have you read books based on loss and grief? If so, recommend me your favorite in this theme or genre.

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The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw @claidlawauthor #bookreview

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw
Publication Date :
June 20th 2019
Publisher : Accent Press Ltd
Read Date : July 18th 2019
Genre : Fiction / Contemporary
Pages : 448
Stars : ★★★☆☆

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…

Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.

But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.

The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. ***

The Space Between Time was contemporary fiction that revolved around Emma’s life and her grandfather’s famous theorem that helped her understand world and herself, to come out of loss and grief and move on in life. It was about loss, grief, love, family, fame and its fatal effects, forgiveness, and mental health.

I have mixed feeling for this book. It was quite different but it was also not the best and I really didn’t enjoy some part of the book .

First the writing was descriptive, flowery and beautiful filled with wit and emotion. It was first person narrative. Emma’s voice was different, I loved the way she told her life story. It felt like reading Emma’s diary where she jotted down her life and thoughts, like Diary of young Girl. And I liked those unique chapter headings with math equations.

It started with Emma, introducing her imperfect family. A mom, Caitlin who was always anxious, worrier, low esteemed but utterly beautiful, good at heart, hated limelight, attraction and ostentatious life style that she could not avoid because of her famous Hollywood star husband, Paul, Emma’s father for whom his looks and acting career was always important than his family and for that Emma never wanted to be like him, in fact hated him.

Emma loved her mother, felt protective for her, and always supported her when she felt anxious. But a child cannot possibly save a person from depression and unhappiness. Even though they had all money, luxury, and fame, Emma and her family was unhappy, never at peace. It affected Emma’s childhood and mental health. When tragedy struck, she couldn’t cope with situation, it shattered her from within. Things and life went on and so did Emma, but only outwardly and that lead her to series of bad decisions.

Emma was more attached to her grandparents. Alberto was Italian astrophysicist who could explain everything by mathematics and had written a controversial book. Her relationship with them was great, we see them more in first part and through Alberto’s book. I liked them, I wish I could know them more.

I didn’t like Emma’s father. He was ungrateful person who put everything else before his family. I even hated him for what happened to Caitlin and Emma, what they had to go through because of his fame and had to face everything alone as he was never with them when they needed him. Like Emma, I also thought why he married her mother as there was apparently no love and I didn’t care what happened to him later in the book, until third part of the book.

I loved the way author represented life of celebrities and how difficult the life of fame can be and not just for them but their family as well. How it can have both positive and negative impact. It was insightful to read about impact of parents’ behavior on children’s life and their mind. I cannot stop thinking about the way Emma’s parents behaved and what could have been if they could be more sensible, resolve their problems by conversation and bit of trust.

Third part was best in whole book. Everything made much more sense, her voice, narration, plot, characters. I could understand Emma, her mother and father even better. Like Emma, I was surprised by knowing and seeing everything that happened in her life with different perspective and this changed my thoughts about all other characters.

I liked the way Emma developed in this part and learned and accepted things in hard way. I liked the end, the final chapter where she was different person than the first one, wise, sensible and little less mad.

I will be honest here. I couldn’t understand anything about Alberto’s book or Rossini Theorem. Like Emma and her parents, I’m not good with numbers, physics was never my favorite subject, and astrophysics is alien to me. It was kind of boring part for me and I itched to skip those part whenever the story and the events were connecting to his theories.

First part of the book was slow but second was even slower, terribly slow. At the end of the second part I felt first part was much better both in terms of pace and plot and characters. It took me more than a week to finish this book!

I couldn’t connect with Emma and I didn’t care what she was doing, especially in second part. I’m glad third part was much better or I would have hated Emma.

I didn’t enjoy as much as I expected.

Overall, it was slow read with complex theorem and Emma’s life but definitely unique story. If you don’t mind slow pace and you love astrophysics and its connection to life, go ahead.

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The Art of Dust (Elsie Creek, #1) by Mel A. Rowe

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The Art of Dust (Elsie Creek, #1) by Mel A. Rowe
Publication Date
: May 23rd 2019
Read Date: June 29th 2019
Genre: Contemporary / Romace
Pages: 268
Stars: ★★★★ /5

Some summer loves you can never forget, found in a place where summer never ends and where you’ll discover the essence of the rugged and romantic outback of Australia’s Northern Territory, in this small-town series of Elsie Creek. It’s a place filled with more cattle and crocodiles than people—who still manage to find love…Are you ready to Escape to a HAPPILY EVER AFTER?

After seven-years, creative Mumpreneur, Kathryn (Kat) Jones, returns to the outback town of Elsie Creek at the request of her dying uncle. Kat can’t fix the man but she can care for his wife, fix his home, and fix his beloved vehicle to get him there.

Workaholic, Kyle Smythe, owns the only mechanical workshop in town, and he’s about to propose to another woman when his ex-muse rolls into his yard seeking help to restore her uncle’s ute.

For Kat, Kyle was her best friend, her creative collaborator, and first and only love. But his rejection tore her heart apart.

Kyle’s scars still sting over Kat’s desertion—especially when he’d needed her the most.

Yet these long-lost summer soulmates are compelled to team-up to make a man they both care for happy in his final days.

Can they work together without re-igniting that spark shared those many summers ago? Or will it remind them of their promises of forever that ended in never…

What readers are saying about this sweet, second chance, small town, rural romance:

“The author paints an amazing picture of the outback with her words drawing you into the story…”

“If you’re fan of Aussie outback stories then you will enjoy this…”

“The descriptions of the outback are so real, you would think you were in Australia yourself.”

“A wonderful outback tale”

Are you a fan of small town romance?

Are you a lover of Australian Rural Romance authors Rachael Johns, Cathryn Hein, Annie Seaton, Fleur McDonald, and Karly Lane?

Then you’ll adore Australian bestselling author, Mel A ROWE’s unique outback spin, set in a place where cattle and crocodiles outnumber the people and where the summer never ends… Welcome, to Elsie Creek.

The Art of Dust was a lovely contemporary romance that revolved around Kat and Kyle, a story about getting over past, rejection and loneliness, giving second chance to love and happiness, and trust our own and letting them help in need.

Kat – I liked Kat and her whirlwind fun loving nature, her determination and handywoman skill was admirable. She could fix anything but her love life and happiness. What her family did to her created a deep scar in her soul and so she feared rejection that kept her away from love and happiness. Her development was slow but good. Coming back to Elsie Creek not only healed her family and love but herself as well. I loved reading her POV.

Kyle – Reading Kyle’s pov and his heartbreak made me question Kat but in heart I knew there was something bigger, a stronger reason that made Kat to leave. He told about his beautiful summer days with Kat that made me fall in love with his love for Kat. He was handsome, swoon worthy mechanic who was great uncle, friend, boyfriend and a person. He made Kat realized how good they were together. And after that big revelation I liked him even more.

Kaytlyn- This tiara-less, tutu-loving princess was such a charming character. Listening those rule of hiking from this little girl in the beginning only made sure I’m going to love her throughout the book. Her tuts and hiking boot combination was quirky and cute. I loved reading all scenes on her.

JT, Lenny and his kids, Kat’s Uncle- Frank, Wendy and Nora all secondary characters were fabulous.

The writing and plot was gripping and fast paced that didn’t give me a chance to write a note. I loved author’s style. It was simple and yet felt lovely and lively. I needed it after the last book I read. This was really amazing story of Kat and Kyle, the old summer love birds, who rediscovered their love after long time with intense feelings that made me blush and beam like a teen. The story was third person narrative told from Kat and Kyle’s perspective with their refreshing voice.

Book started with Kat aka Kathryn taking her 6-years-old daughter Kaytlyn to Elsie Creek, one of the small country of Australia, where she spent summers in her childhood and teens. She was returning after 7 years on the request of her dying uncle, fighting cancer for so long without letting her know. It was obvious she was hurt by someone and she desperately wanted to avoid that person and I dare to say I guessed it even before she confessed who and why.

What will she do once her uncle is gone? Will she return to states and continue living like she did or will stay for her aunt? How she will cope with grief of losing uncle who was more like a father to her? Can she avoid the reason she left town for so long in this small community where gossips travelled father than wind? Will she give a second chance to love and happiness? How will people react once her secret is out?

What I loved most was the setting and the town. There ain’t a secret if you are living in Elsie Creek. People knew everyone and everything about them, what’s new in the town and what the latest gossip is. They helped each other, supported in need and celebrated events like a family. It didn’t take long for this country to win my heart. Everything said in blurb about ‘for small town lover’ was so right. You can’t resist this book if you love beautiful picturesque small town and its people. I liked that idea of billboard water buffalo on whom country people advertised special occasion or events.

Another thing I liked about the book was characters and their relation with each other, whether it was mother daughter or father daughter or Kat’s relation with her friends and relatives. Both main characters were fabulous in the book. Conversation was realistic, their emotions were touching and I could easily imagine everything they were connected to.

The way Kat and Kyle’s life and story was connected to her beloved Uncle’s car was interesting to read. Like the restoration and new paint, repairing the old dents and engine of old red ute, Kat and Kyle’s love needed to be rekindled, past mistakes repaired, and to be coated with love and new relation.

Climax was good. I didn’t expect what happened to Uncle Frank and what he revealed later. About Kat’s secret and who was father of her child was no big secret but the reason behind how they separated or what caused their separation was different from what I guessed.

End was lovely, feel good, happily ever after kind. However, I didn’t want to end it where it ended. I wanted to read more, but knowing this was just first book in series I retrained myself from cutting more star. In fact, this book has upped my expectation. I can’t wait to read next book in series.

Here is few small things that made me hesitate to give it 5 star-

First, I wanted to hear secrets Kat shared to her uncle Frank, not kid’s father secret, which was predictable bit, but the other one. From what Kyle said I got what her problem was but that coming from Kat would have given it emotional touch.

Second, Kat’s reason for not coming back or contacting again was understandable but I couldn’t digest Kyle’s reason. I mean how Kat would have known about what happened to him!! And Kat’s uncle and Aunt should have told Kat. It’s unbelievable they haven’t cleared things before it got so out of hand.

Third, as I said, most of the turning points were predictable. But I didn’t mind it as all in all the story was interesting.

Overall, it was sweet and refreshing, feel good romantic story of Kat and Kyle and small town that you would love to read. I surely recommend this book.

Book Links : Goodreads Amazon

*** Note : I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***

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