Make Lemonade (Hope Falls) by Cassie Mae

make-lemonadeBlurb: Beth’s dream has always been Disneyland, and with the way life has been going, a trip to the magical world was just the ticket she needed. But with a broken transmission halfway there, Beth and her boyfriend Ben get stranded in the town of Hope Falls, and she is not in the best of moods.

As things continue to take a dive, Ben is determined to turn this situation around. With a knack for fixing cars and a ring in his pocket, he prepares to turn the sourest lemon into the sweetest lemonade, all for the woman he loves.

But the problem might just run deeper than a broken down car and a delayed vacation.

 

 

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5 stars

I love the concept of Kindle Worlds. Different authors writing stories in a shared world. How cool is that?  I know a few other authors who write these books. And while this is a short story, it still carries a great emotional weight for me.  That is a tough thing for novellas to do, as I usually don’t become too emotionally attached to them.  But, I felt this story in my bones.  And honestly, I was a bit scared as I read it.  Reading about intangibles has always been a bit scary for me.  I don’t know why.

I myself have not been diagnosed with depression but I know many friends and family that deal with it.  As an outsider looking in, I identified with Ben’s character right away.  He wanted to fix it.  (I’m a fixer) Then questioned himself as a catalyst. (Is it something we did?) I can’t imagine the courage it took for Beth to open up about something so personal and ask for help.

It felt so real, literally I have witnessed a similar situation so those feelings came bubbling back up to the surface. And I could attempt to imagine what Beth was feeling, while in reality have no idea.  I imagine a helplessness not knowing what was wrong and so being unable to know what to do.  As a bit of a control freak, I know this would mess with my head.

Little side note about my past: I was raised to believe that depression was not ‘real’ and it was a controllable condition. That whoever claimed to have it was either too sensitive or just a complainer.  That admitting you needed help was weak or a character flaw.  It took many years for me to break away from that contemptuous outlook.  I still struggle with it from time to time.

At any rate, I feel like Beth showed me that its okay to not be okay.  And I think that lesson is one we need to hear more often.  Because no one is perfect, yeah? So if you like love stories with a dose of reality you’ll like this one.  Go visit Hope Falls and fall in love.

Curly Carla_small

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Expired Listings by D.M. Barr

expired-listingsBlurb: House up for sale?
When the lockbox goes on,
You won’t believe what these agents pull off …

Someone is ‘deactivating’ the Realtors in Rock Canyon and almost no one seems to care. Not the surviving brokers, who consider the serial killings a competitive boon. Not the town’s residents, who see the murders as a public service. In fact, the only person who’s even somewhat alarmed is Dana Black, a kinky, sharp-witted yet emotionally skittish Realtor who has no alibi for the crimes because during each, she was using her empty listings for games like Bondage Bingo with her sadistic lover, Dare. And yet, mysteriously, all clues are pointing her way.

Along with clearing her name and avoiding certain death at the hands of the ‘Realtor Retaliator,’ Dana has an even bigger problem: she’s inadvertently become a person of interest in more ways than one to Aidan Cummings, the sexy albeit vanilla detective investigating the case. While his attentions are tempting, Dana is torn—does she continue her ironically ‘safe’ but sterile BDSM relationship with Dare, or risk real intimacy with Aidan?

Kink, Suspense and Satire–Expired Listings masterfully combines all three while exploring the universal need for validation and the toxic nature of revenge.

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4 stars

I didn’t realize there was no actual sex in the book.  ::face palm:: I did it. I totally judged a book by its cover!  And what a fabulous cover it is!

The MC is hilarious in this book.  Her wit and charm are effortless and I love how she incorporates her BDSM lifestyle into this book without it being raunchy or uncouth.  If anything it made me more interested in this lifestyle. 🙂

The author wrote the people who are part of this lifestyle three dimensionally.  They are not sex symbols nor are they sex addicts.  They are normal people with normal jobs who happens to have abnormal tastes in what turns them on.  They have families and day jobs, they go out on lunch dates and gossip.  The author made it seem all very normal and ordinary.  Which shows me how talented she is.

Combine that with her mommy issues and you’ve got a recipe for a great multifacated story. It reads almost like a cozy, but it is not.  The mystery was very well laid out, I pegged the whodunit way later in the book than I normally do so that was pretty cool for me.

While I don’t usually read mysteries now a days, if these are the kind that are being published, I could be persuaded to pick them back up.

Curly Carla_small