I recently listened to a couple of romances that were easy to listen to and just what I needed to relax after a long day of online learning with my granddaughter. Both had been provided to me at one time by either Netgalley or Edelweiss, but I chose to listen to the audiobooks as they were available from my library.

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Love in Catalina Cove (Catalina Cove #1) by Brenda Jackson, Ron Butler (Narrator)

Published October 30th 2018 by HQN, November 20th 2018 by Harlequin Audio

3.5 Stars:

This is the first book in the Catalina Cove series by Brenda Jackson. I am going to be doing a binge listen to this series as the fourth book in this series just came out and I want to read/listen to them in order. Catalina Cove is a small community by the Gulf of Mexico not too far from New Orleans. It is a community that wants to keep its small town coziness and doesn’t want large scale businesses or resorts to spoil that. This is bad news for Vashti Alcindor, who is hoping for a quick sale of the B & B she inherited from her aunt, as she has no desire to move back to the Cove. When the sale to a developer is blocked by the town council, she is made an offer she can’t refuse from one of the town’s businessmen to come back, renovate and run the B & B herself.

I enjoyed this story a lot, but be warned, there are some sexually explicit scenes that I did fast forward through. Vashti left Catalina Cove after teen pregnancy left her childless and heartbroken. She returns with trepidation and secrets. Meeting Sawyer Grisham on the way into town, when he stops her and gives her a speeding ticket, she feels something for him that she is not sure of. I liked the characters in this story. The residents of Catalina Cove are small town and are in each other’s business, but they welcome Vashti back. Both Vashti and Sawyer have some baggage that they need to get over if they want to move forward with a relationship. I really liked Sawyer’s daughter as well, she brings that fresh teenager outlook on life. There are a lot of twists in this story and secrets from the past that come to light to force Vashti and Sawyer to make decisions. This is a story of secrets, of snobbery and class status, of friendship, love and acceptance. This is a second chance for Vashti, that I was very happy with, but I did figure it out part way through the story. Overall, a good story that I enjoyed. The narration was performed by Ron Butler and he does a good job with the male voices, but he is unable to make the female voices believable. I have voiced this complaint before when a male tries to make his voice sound feminine, it often doesn’t work and would be better if they just did a dramatic performance and forgot about the voices, but that is just my opinion.

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Somebody to Love (Blessings, Georgia #11) by Sharon Sala, Amy Rubinate (Narrator)

Published February 23rd 2021 by Sourcebooks Casablanca, April 6th 2021 by Tantor Audio

4.5 Stars:

I am really enjoying the Blessings, Georgia series. These are clean and sweet romances that occur in a small town in Georgia. They are usually second chance or new beginnings stories that end with a happily ever after. In this story, Hunter Knox returns home to Blessings after being gone for fifteen years. When someone in his family steals his college money, he joins the army instead and now lives in Texas flying helicopters for an oil company. Only his mother knows where he has been and what he has been doing, so when she is dying, he returns to say good-bye and grant her last request, which is to be the executor of her estate. He comes face to face with his four siblings, the youngest not knowing why he left all those years ago. He also meets up with Ava Ridley, a girl that his mother provided childcare for when they were growing up. She was like a little sister to him, but she always hoped that he would see her as more than a friend.

One of the reasons I enjoy these books is because they are all about community. Even though each book is about different characters, the townspeople that I have grown to know and love usually make an appearance in the story. There is also more than one story going on, but the romance is the main one. Sharon Sala throws some roadblocks in, has some angst and something happening where the town has to come together to support others, which always makes me smile. I really liked Hunt’s character. He has been burned by his own family and rather than wanting revenge, or to cause hurt, he comes to do what his mother wants before he moves on with his life. Of course, that isn’t going to fly in Blessings and things happen to assist in some reconciliations. Secrets are revealed and family forgives, but it is an interesting ride to that point. Overall, these are sweet, clean and enjoyable romances with a Happily Ever After and this one was one that I recommend. You do not need to read or listen to these books in order, but I have and enjoyed the progression of these stories. Amy Rubinate narrates this series and I have come to enjoy her sweet, expressive voice. She does a nice job with this book and I will continue to listen to this series.