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When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting, Narrated by Jason Clarke and Stella Bloom

Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by Macmillan Audio

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was a fun story, a friends to lover trope that I enjoyed. Avery Spark is living her dream, running her family’s hotel/event center known as Spark House. She works with her two younger sisters and it is now a premiere place to have events in Colorado Springs. She loves working with her sisters, has a great group of friends, and lives in a fantastic condo with her best friend Declan. She is very happy, but is missing a love life. On her way to an activity at her alma mater, that her and Declan were supposed to attend together, she is in a car accident that leaves her immobile and almost an invalid for several weeks. Declan is feeling guilty as well as scared that he almost lost Avery, that he offers to take care of her during her recovery. He arranges to work from home, so he is there 24/7. As he takes care of her and her needs, their friendship begins to shift into something more.

I really enjoyed this story. The characters were all wonderful, from Avery to Declan, Avery’s sisters and the group from college that they met with regularly. The back story is that Avery dated Declan’s best friend while in college and something happened where that friendship ended and Avery and Declan became roomies as well as inheriting the guys. There is a lot of humour, sexual tension and banter in this one that I loved. The relationships in the story, both family and friendships were amazing. Considering there is a lot of sexual activity, I was surprised I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I tend to be a bit prudish, but this was such a fun story, that I just went with it. I will say that the ending was predictable, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the story. I really enjoyed listening to this book’s audiobook, and the narrators was very good. I prefer having both male and female narrators in a romance and both Jason Clarke and Stella Bloom use expression and tone to give voice to the various characters. I do recommend this one to those who enjoy a good friends to lovers romance and do not have issue with open door romance. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

The Beach House (The Book Club #2)

The Beach House (The Book Club #2) by Rochelle Alers

Published May 25th 2021 by Dafina Books

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Leah, Kayana and Cherie meet on Coates Island, North Carolina and form a book club. This is the second book in the series, so I will go back and read the first. This book centers on Leah Berkley Kent. Twenty-Eight years earlier, Leah got pregnant during a tryst with a man many years older than her. They get married and have twin boys. The marriage was never happy, although Leah does everything she can to make a happy home and help promote her husband’s career. Now that the boys have moved to New York, there is no reason to pretend. Leah tells Alan she wants to spend the summer on Coates Island and he loses it. Battered, she is released from the hospital and heads to NC to heal and make decisions about her life. She finds what she needs and more as she grows closer to Kayana’s widowed brother, Derrick. Neither of them are ready for a relationship, but friendship blossoms into something else.

I enjoyed the characters in this one, all except for Allan. The boys were wonderfully supportive of their mother and I really liked that. Kayana was a great support to Leah and I think we all need a friend like that. Derrick is a fantastic love interest for Leah. His patience and understanding were an excellent counterpart to what she had experienced in her life with Allan. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t much of a bookclub in this one, but will see how the bookclub started it all when I read the first book in the series. This is a story about abuse, how people get trapped in a loveless marriage, why women stay and finally healing with caring people. I loved that it is friendship that helps her heal and the romance comes later. She did not need a man and another relationship to move forward. This was an enjoyable story and I am looking forward to more from Rochelle Alers. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.