Este libro es asombroso! That could be Spanish for ‘this book is amazing!’ or it could be Spanish for ‘I have travelled to Spain through Rachel Spangler’s fabulous novel ‘Spanish Surrender’ and you must as well, I implore you’.

What was the book about?:
When Simone Price lands in southern Spain, she has one job upon which the future of her entire career rests: She must convince a small, Spanish publishing house to sell their business to her much larger American corporation. The job should be easy, but many others have failed. Refusing to repeat their mistakes, she hires a guide, translator, and purveyor of Andalucan culture for the week leading up to her big meeting. The plan seems simple enough until she meets Loreto Molina, and it quickly becomes apparent that Loreto knows more than her casual demeanour might suggest. The complications only escalate as the two set out on a scorching path through a region that shatters all expectations. As their time together stretches on, both women must confront not only their assumptions about each other, but also their own world views amidst a steamy landscape of temptation, power, purpose and raw attraction. Spain acts as both catalyst and conduit for unearthing desires long buried and threatening carefully planned futures. As the stakes and emotions rise like the hot, unrelenting sun, Simone and Loreto fight to hold onto the ideals they hold dear, but what if the only way for either of them to truly win is to surrender? 

This book is a sort of follow-up of ‘Spanish Heart’, which Spangler published in 2012. The main characters from that story appear briefly in this novel, as they are the reason for Loreto and Simone being matched together as employee/employer.

Featured Tropes: Sort of an enemies-to-lovers, employee/employer, tourist/travel guide, instalove

Book Strengths:
Coincidentally, I read ‘Spanish Surrender’ only two weeks after reading ‘Spanish Heart’, and if I hadn’t checked the front covers, I would have stated categorically that two different people had written the stories. This is how much Spangler has improved as an author. Clearly, she has a deep love for Spain, the culture and the language, but instead of sounding like a travel blog where the writer travels to Spain, meets a couple of locals, eats some tapas, and declares themselves a citizen with voting rights, this novel is a beautiful tapestry, where the stories of the people, their connection to their country and the psychology of place is woven around Loreto and Simone’s relationship. 

Book weaknesses:
The relationship is quick. Like, speak-glare-drink-eat-glare-kiss-sigh-sex-angst-sex, then moving-continents-uprooting-my-whole-life level of quick. But, if it’s love, it’s love. Right?

Character Chemistry:
The MCs have a baking-soda-and-vinegar-level of chemistry for half the story, which is explosive, and fun to watch, but then when Simone stops being so bloody obtuse and judgemental, and Loreto pulls her head out of her arse, they are delightful together. Cheering on love from the sidelines.

Heat Rating: 4

Conclusion:
I had to Google the Spanish that I used at the top of this review, which is terrific because it means that the novel didn’t try to teach me a foreign language. Instead, this novel invited me into the language’s home, offered me a drink, and told me a story.

Star Rating: 5 stars

What was the book about?

What would happen if your regular, ordinary, safe, everyday existence suddenly became…not any of those things? When Samantha Markson, ordinary person, is thrust into the life of Abigail Taylor, not at all ordinary person, it proves to be an experience like she’s never had before. World famous actress Abigail Taylor is in Melbourne filming her new movie, and is accompanied by her nine year old daughter, Grace, because Abigail wants her to experience an Australian education for three months. Sam Markson is a teacher at one of the best schools in Melbourne, and is perfectly happy doing that, when she’s suddenly redirected from the classroom into the job as Grace’s teacher; a move so fast that even blinking would feel like slow motion. Sam has never met anyone like Abigail Taylor, and she starts to realise that her ordinary life might actually be missing something extraordinary.

Featured Tropes: Romance, celebrity/teacher, age gap

Book Strengths:
The book is extraordinary and made me laugh so much. I loved the humour, the plot and the characters. There’s a little bit of Angst, but KJ drives us cleverly through the story. I loved Abby, Sam and Grace. They’re all very special and it’s impossible not to love them. Also, the side characters are really something, Cath and Tom are like the annoying brother and sister you definitely need and love. I enjoyed very much the built-up of the romance between Sam and Abby. It is slow paced as they are tentative and unsure to follow their feelings while there are so many things to consider. It is fascinating to see their friendship grow until they reach the point where is impossible to hold back anymore.

Book weaknesses:
It is a minor issue that really doesn’t affect the story. For me, the first chapters have a minor continuity glitch, which is easily overcome by the good development of the story.

Character Chemistry:
It’s so easy to fall in love with the characters. They are all strong, intelligent women and it is very delightful to see how their storylines progress. We all would have wanted a teacher like Sam undoubtedly. Grace is very smart and so mature for her age. It is very believable because despite of showing a great emotional balance, we can also witness that innocence, curiosity and energy that comes with young age. Abby is so down to earth despite of her fame, I liked how she treats Sam from the beginning and how much she cares about Grace.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥(2.5)

Wrap up: I loved KJ’s writing style. It is a very well written story, the plot and characters are well developed as well as the built-up romance and amazing lovable characters. This is a very good book that I am sure everyone will enjoy it. It’s the first book I’ve read of KJ and after this, I know I’ll be reading more of her.
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(4.5 stars)


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What was the book about?
It’s the story about Ali and Susan Jenkins, a beautiful couple so in love and very happy. Until they received the news that Susan has a terminal illness. They make most of their limited time together, as Susan makes Ali promise her that she will keep having a full live, be open to love again after she’s gone. The story relates the loss, grieving and hope in a very well written way. Highton-Stevenson makes an excellent job conveying the feelings involved in such a heart wrenching and at the same time heart-warming story.

It is divided in two parts. Part one is about the loss. Part two about coping and hope. Logically part one it’s very hard, got me into tears. Not only because Claire did an outstanding job conveying the feelings and all that a loss like that involves, but because turned personal. Those who have dealt with similar circumstances understand the struggle and tugs at the heart. But it’s so masterfully written than you just want to keep reading. Then comes part two and it’s a wonderful relieve. We get to see the coping process, the healing after the loss, the hope. It’s simply brilliant. 

Featured Tropes: Drama, internal journey, love, healing

Book Strengths:
It is a very well written story. The feeling you get after finishing the book is one that can take you to higher placer, heal your heart and leave you with a warm, happy feeling. And despite the heart wrenching bits, it has so many happy, beautiful, loving, hopeful moments.

Highton-Stevenson conveys easily all the feels and I am sure it isn’t only because hit close to home, but because it is masterfully written. This is undoubtedly a great story that invokes emotion while reading and well after the last chapter is finished. I laughed, cried, experienced every emotion reading this story and still couldn’t stop reading. We can witness Claire’s undeniable talent, this story is among the top of my favourites.

This is by far one of the best books I’ve ever read. It is an amazing book. It’s a very emotional one as well. But the feeling after reading it it’s liberating. There is so much to learn, to understand about love, loss, cope and hope. 

I can say this book is therapeutic and wonderful in so many ways. It’s not surprising why won a Goldie in short romance as the literary recognition that deserves.
This book is extraordinary in so many ways that I am having a hard time even writing this review because I don’t think I can find the words to really do it justice.

Book weaknesses: If the need of a high supply of tissues for the first part it’s a weakness, then that’s it.

Character Chemistry: 
It’s easy to feel the love between Ali and Susan, undeniable chemistry. Both characters are so loveable, you fall for them from the first moment. It’s impossible not to feel high empathy for them. There are also those intense intimate moments, emotionally and sexually. Then the addition of Blair who is the caring hospice nurse who is there to help Susan in her last days as well as be a friend and support for Ali. The interactions between all of them are very warming and the feelings believable. You will love and enjoy their journey greatly.

Heat Rating: 4

Conclusion: It is undoubtedly a brilliant masterpiece. It is one of those rewarding books that once you finish them you need to take a moment to absorb, assimilate and enjoy all the greatness that entails.

Star Rating: 5

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What was the book about?

This is a story about love and personal growth. I liked very much the way Ms Hill showed us these two tormented women through each of their eyes, and see them grow before our eyes. It is a very slow-paced romance, but it couldn’t be any other way. The pace fits the story perfectly. Melanie and Erin, two women with a rough past who have been fighting their demons on different sides. When Erin’s family couldn’t stand anymore, seeing how she was driving herself to self-destruction slowly every day more and more by working nearly to death and filling her body with caffeine and alcohol, they sent her to a remote ranch in New Mexico with no internet access and limited communications to heal. Running away from her past Melanie ended up at the Ranch and has for seven years now. She is the youngest in their small community. This time she gets to host the new guest for three months. Erin didn’t want to be there, and Melanie just wanted her peace and solitude. But as the days passed by and they started to know each other better, help each other go through the days and heal. They forged a strong friendship and got close while they fell in love without even noticing. Melanie struggling deeper with her demons, trying to fight the attraction… Until there’s no reason to fight anymore. But Erin is still going back to her old life…..

Featured Tropes: Opposites attract / Internal journey / Slow-paced romance

Book Strengths:

This soul searching journey it’s a very well written one and undoubtedly one of the greatest things about this book. It is a sweet heartwarming story, a feel-good kind of romance, with a little bit of angst and some light steamy scenes. The author descriptions of the scenes are well detailed that it is like being there with them. I could feel the sun and picture myself there on the farm. That adds wonderfully to the reading experience. The side characters are very endearing, as well.

Book weaknesses:

It not a real weakness, but for some, the slow burn may not bode well. Although in my opinion, this story couldn’t have been rushed. The slow burn is necessary and fits well.

Character Chemistry:

The development and growth of the characters throughout the story is one of the best things about the story. Both characters with troubled souls, find each other to find their way and heal. Very romantic, it’s so easy to love them both and cheer on for them. It is very enjoyable to see their transformation as individuals and little by little as a couple. From strangers to friends and finally to lovers.

Heat Rating: 2.5

Conclusion:  It is a very enjoyable read. If a sweet romance with endearing characters that share a soul searching journey is your thing. This is the book for you.

Star Rating: 4

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Reviewed at Les Revêur (36)

Brilliant, mid angst, sexy second chance romance.

What was the book about?

Brook Chambers after a changing life moment has to leave the Army to take care of her teenage sister and is looking for a job. When she meets Catherine at a club sparks fly all over. They don’t care about the age gap as their chemistry is off the charts and lust got them together as magnetos of opposite polarity. But turns out Catherine works in her new work place and because of a bad experience she refuses to mix her private life with her work and break things up with Brooke. There’s an incident, Brooke loses her memory and forgets Catherine…

Featured Tropes: Second chance romance, age-gap, ice queen, rich girl/poor girl.

Book Strengths:
Highton-Stevenson has a particular, fascinating way to tell stories. This story in particular is wonderful, and enthralling. She did an excellent job building the plot; the twists keep the story engaging and going at a perfect pace. The characters are very lovable and well developed. We get to witness a beautiful build-up of the romance. I was hooked right from the start. There’s a bit of angst, humour, sexy times and of course romance. It is undoubtedly a page turning book.

Book weaknesses:
If wanting more of them is a weakness, then is the only thing I can think about

Heat Rating: 4

Character Chemistry:
The chemistry between Brooke and Catherine is just magnificent. I could feel their connection from the beginning. Starts as instant attraction from the moment they met in the club and it is pure intensity. It is easy to feel how well they are together, even when Catherine was being an ice queen and through the amnesia period. I liked both characters, but Brooke is my favourite. I like her commitment to take care of her sister, her humour and that she never gives up.

Star Rating: 5

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