Book Review

Sunny Shelly’s Review: Last One Home by Shari J. Ryan


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LAST ONE HOME: A NOVEL by Shari J. Ryan

Release Date: March 22, 2021

Cover Design: MadHat Studios

Genre: Historical Fiction
Trope: 
World War II, Pearl Harbor


SYNOPSIS

From the author of Last Words, USA Today Bestselling Author Shari J. Ryan brings readers a new, unforgettable novel. Last One Home was inspired by true events of the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II.

AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR
THIS IS NOT A DRILL

Piercing sirens led to cries for help. The pungent scents of burning oil would be seared into our memories forever, and the meaning behind loss was incomprehensible on that infamous day in history.

Twenty-year-old Elizabeth Salzberg, a nursing student and strong-willed Jewish woman, lived under the strict guidance of her father, a naval commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Oahu, Hawaii. For the five years following her mother’s untimely death, Elizabeth had struggled to abide by society’s expectations of a woman’s duties. While spending her days preparing meals and keeping a clean house for her father and brothers, Elizabeth desired a more profound sense of worth and purpose in life.

Elizabeth’s dream of escaping the rigorous daily grind was drifting out to sea just before her unexpected encounter with the new handsome lieutenant on base. Everett Anderson, a former Hollywood actor who put his career on hold to serve in the Army is the talk of the town as women gossip over his arrival. Despite the attention, Everett fell for Elizabeth at first sight, but unbeknownst to him, she was the commander’s daughter and off-limits to all servicemen on base.

On the morning of December 7th, 1941, a forbidden romance was the least of Elizabeth and Everett’s worries when they found themselves fearing for their lives as they dropped to the ground beneath the air attack that would wipe out the U.S. Fleet within hours.

Elizabeth saw this pivotal moment as a turning point in her life. An opportunity to join the Army Nurse Corps was the purpose she had been seeking. She knew the country needed her services. This path was in resistance to her father’s wishes and would likely disrupt any future plans between her and Everett, but despite the internal battle to make a life-altering decision, Elizabeth felt an overwhelming need to prove her strength as a coming of age woman at a time when equality was more important than ever.

Could Elizabeth and Everett survive the bloodshed and tears of war, or would one have to come home without the other?


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Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars

Last One Home is a gripping story of soulmates, faith, fate and never-ending love, set against the backdrop of WWII and the aftermath of the numbing of Pearl Harbor in particular. Shari Ryan did a great job of creating a vivid visual of that horrible day, and how it plays into the rest of the heroine’s story as Elizabeth struggles with finding her purpose, being proud in her faith as a Jewish woman, and falling in love when she least expected to.

The story is told from Lizzie’s POV in modern 2018 and flashbacks to 1941-44. It’s very much a journey of her growth as a woman as it is a historical romance with the whirlwind relationship between Lizzie and Everett. Last One Home is intense, raw, heartfelt and emotional, a wonderful story that had my heart racing at times and breaking at others.

I absolutely loved Shari Ryan’s Last Word books, so I was very excited to see what she brought to the table with Last One Home. Although I felt this book was missing that special *something* that made Last Words a spectacular story, I still very much enjoyed Last One Home.

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shari J. Ryan is USA Today bestselling author. She lives in Massachusetts with her wicked awesome husband, and two wild sons who fill her life with non-stop comedy.

With a life full of love, writing, drawing, TV binging, reading, and Starbucks, Shari is living her best life.



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Book Review

Sunny Shelly’s Review: Check Swing, by Carrie Aarons

  • Cover
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  • Blurb

Sinclair Callahan is a trust fund baby.

Born into one of the richest, most notorious families in the country, the black sheep title was stamped on him from an early age. While the rest of his relatives earn their keep at the top tier baseball team they’ve owned for generations, Sin prefers spending his time and money on booze, babes and bad decisions.

Until all three land him in a coma, fighting for his life.

One year later, with a sober chip in his hand, he arrives at spring training ready to turn it all around. But when he meets the only woman who doesn’t recognize just who he is, he can’t help omitting a few important details … like his last name. No stranger to charming women, Sin uses one of his old skillsets to kick off what is sure to be an epic hookup.

But when she shows up five months after their brief Florida fling with a secret that will topple his privileged world, he might just lose everything he’s worked so hard to rebuild. Including a real shot at love with the sassy redhead that he’s been too much of a coward to pursue.

Can he shoulder the responsibility he’s always shrugged off? Or will he balk at the real-life complications and strike out completely?

Francesca Kade is an independent goal-getter.

As one of the only female strength coaches in the league, she’s used to invading the boys’ club. After putting up with being passed over and not promoted for a number of seasons, she’s finally got her shot.

A consummate professional with blinders on, there is no way anything will screw up all she hopes to achieve. Well, except for maybe the new employee with eyes the color of ocean waves and a smirk that’s the definition of sin. When they catch fire in the southern heat, it’s almost impossible to put it out.

Until she finds out that he’s her boss’s boss’s boss.

Burned from the betrayal and panicking with a fresh secret of her own, Frankie is shocked when she lands her ultimate dream job. There is no way she’s turning it down. But when she bumps into Sinclair on day one, all of the old feelings and new problems come hurtling at her like a baseball to the face.

Will she ever be able to trust that he’ll put both her and his responsibilities before his vices? Or will their differences cost them the game?

  • Book Links

Read it now: mybook.to/CheckSwing

Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars

Check Swing is the third book in Carrie Aarons’ Callahan Family series, and Sinclair’s story is EVERYTHING! I didn’t like him much in the first two books. I chalked him up as an arrogant, lazy, trust fund kid who was refusing to grow up. Which is exactly what Carrie wanted readers to think, I’m sure! Because when Sinclair Callahan fell, he fell HARD. And his climb out of the ashes was wonderful!

The guy behind the party animal, the one who is a dyslexic recovering addict who always felt second-best in his family, is such a good guy. He’s sweet and overthinks everything… including whether or not to lie to Frankie about his family connection to the baseball team they both work for. I get him wanting to be Sinclair… not Sinclair Callahan. Was it right to omit the truth? No. And it came back to bite him, big time. But I get why he wanted that bit of anonymity with Frankie. And that really does not work to his advantage later on!

And Frankie… I really loved her fire and gumption. She is a strong, independent female, so of course she felt totally betrayed when Sinclair’s true identity comes to light. I loved how these two fell for one another despite their promise to be casual, and how neither of them had the courage to speak up about what they really wanted before spring training was over.

When Sin and Frankie come face to face again in Packton, there is alot that they need to unpack between them. I loved how that all plays out, and it wasn’t an immediate rush that they are back together. They both have issues to work through, and they do it together. She makes him want to be a better man, and in return she gets the family she never knew she wanted in the crazy Callahans.

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.

  • Author Bio

Author of romance novels such as The Tenth Girl and Privileged, Carrie Aarons writes books that are just as swoon-worthy as they are sarcastic. A former journalist, she prefers the love stories of her imagination, and the athleisure dress code, much better.

When she isn’t writing, Carrie is busy binging reality TV, having a love/hate relationship with cardio, and trying not to burn dinner. She’s a Jersey girl living in Texas with her husband, daughter, son and Great Dane/Lab rescue.

Author Links

Visit Carrie’s website: authorcarrieaarons.com
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Book Review

Sunny Shelly’s Review: The Things We Leave Unfinished, by Rebecca Yarros

 

 

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Blurb:
Told in alternating timelines, THE THINGS WE LEAVE UNFINISHED examines the risks we take for love, the scars too deep to heal, and the endings we can’t bring ourselves to see coming.

Twenty-eight-year-old Georgia Stanton has to start over after she gave up almost everything in a brutal divorce—the New York house, the friends, and her pride. Now back home at her late great-grandmother’s estate in Colorado, she finds herself face-to-face with Noah Harrison, the bestselling author of a million books where the cover is always people nearly kissing. He’s just as arrogant in person as in interviews, and she’ll be damned if the good-looking writer of love stories thinks he’s the one to finish her grandmother’s final novel…even if the publisher swears he’s the perfect fit.

Noah is at the pinnacle of his career. With book and movie deals galore, there isn’t much the “golden boy” of modern fiction hasn’t accomplished. But he can’t walk away from what might be the best book of the century—the one his idol, Scarlett Stanton, left unfinished. Coming up with a fitting ending for the legendary author is one thing, but dealing with her beautiful, stubborn, cynical great-granddaughter, Georgia, is quite another.

But as they read Scarlett’s words in both the manuscript and her box of letters, they start to realize why Scarlett never finished the book—it’s based on her real-life romance with a World War II pilot, and the ending isn’t a happy one. Georgia knows all too well that love never works out, and while the chemistry and connection between her and Noah is undeniable, she’s as determined as ever to learn from her great-grandmother’s mistakes—even if it means destroying Noah’s career.

 

Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars

The Things We Leave Unfinished is another spectacular novel by Rebecca Yarros. While it has all of the elements of a romance, I didn’t find it to follow the general formula that most contemporary romance novels do. There is a lot of family drama involved, an enemies-to-lovers romance thread, and a wonderful story of soul mates and a wonderful happily ever after.

There are actually two storylines happening at once in this novel — the current-day tale of Noah and Georgia, and the WW2 storyline of Georgia’s great-grandparents, Scarlett and Jameson. The letters of Scarlett and Jameson are wonderful. The chapters go back and forth between the two tales, telling the overall story. Both romances are epic and swoony, and there is a fantastic plot twist at the end that kind of upends everything that Georgia knew to be true about her life and family.

Although I found this book to be a little slow going at first, I couldn’t put it down by the time I really got into the story. I wanted to see what happens next — but didn’t want it to end! Somehow, The Things We Leave Unfinished manages to be a heartwarming, emotional, gripping, entertaining, sorrowful, happy novel all at the same time!

I received an advanced copy via NetGalley and voluntarily left a review.

About the Author:
Rebecca Yarros is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of over fifteen novels, including Great and Precious Things and The Last Letter. “A gifted storyteller” (Kirkus), she is also the recipient of the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence for Eyes Turned Skyward from her Flight and Glory series.

Rebecca loves military heroes and has been blissfully married to hers for almost twenty years. She’s the mother of six children, ranging from kindergarten to law school, and is currently surviving the teenage years with three of her four hockey-playing sons. When she’s not writing, you can find her at the hockey rink or sneaking in some guitar time while guzzling coffee. She and her family live in Colorado with their stubborn English bulldogs, two feisty chinchillas, and a Maine Coon kitten named Artemis, who rules them all.

Having fostered then adopted their youngest daughter who is nonverbal and on the autism spectrum, Rebecca is passionate about helping children in the foster system through her nonprofit, One October, which she co-founded with her husband in 2019. To learn more about their mission to better the lives of kids in foster care, visit www.oneoctober.org.

To catch up on Rebecca’s latest releases and upcoming novels, including The Things We Leave Unfinished, which just received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, visit www.RebeccaYarros.com.

 

 

Connect w/Rebecca:
Website: http://www.rebeccayarros.com
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Book Review

Sunny Shelly’s Review: In Trouble With Him, by Stacy Travis

In Trouble with Him, a not-to-be-missed, forbidden standalone romance from Stacy Travis is available now!

Falling in love was asking for trouble.

Meeting a hot professor at my best friend’s wedding has hookup written all over it.

Dammit it if he isn’t unexpectedly charming, making me want to abandon one-night stand plans for something more.

But dammit again if he doesn’t run off mid-kiss like a fugitive from Cinderella’s pumpkin coach.

That’s because he’s got a curfew as part of his house arrest for insider trading. Oh well, I’ll never see him again anyway.

Except that he shows up at my office—at my new job where I’ve just been made a law partner.

Turns out, he’s my newest client and he may be guilty of all kinds of things. Would it be a crime if he steals my heart?

Download your copy today!
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Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars

Annie has been thinking about Finn, the hot stranger she hooked up with at her friend’s wedding, all weekend. So when she walks into a meeting at her new job on Monday morning and learns that Finn is the professor she’s defending for insider trading, she’s awestruck. Meanwhile, Finn can’t believe that he’s again crossed paths with the fabulous woman he hasn’t been able to stop thinking of while under house arrest. Is it fate? Or is a romantic relationship forbidden as attorney and client?

This story was all kinds of fun. I loved the instant connection between Finn and Annie. I loved how they tried to “get it out of their system” with the in-depth fantasy description that SO didn’t work! I loved how he calmed her down when she began to word vomit, and how she made him realize that a life of data and figures without anyone to share it with was a lonely one. These two had so much heat, and so much passion. He is the ultimate sexy nerd, and Annie is a kick-ass lawyer with a huge heart.

In Trouble With Him is a pretty low-angst story; there is no big drama surrounding Finn and Annie as a couple other than the SEC suit she is representing him in. After that initial wedding hookup, this book turns into a slow-burn romance with lots of date-type client meetings until Finn and Annie finally explode and can’t take the sexual tension that’s brewing between them any longer.

Now I totally wish I’d read the Summer of Him duet (Nikki and Chris’ story), so I need to go back and check those out while I wait for Finn’s sisters to get their series! I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.

Excerpt

“Wow, time flies, huh?” he said.
“Are you having fun?”
He studied me for a moment. Then he was silent again. Of course, he wasn’t having fun. He was facing potential jail time and major fines from the SEC, not to mention he’d been put on leave from the job he loved, and his tenured position was probably in jeopardy. What a stupid thing to ask. “Sorry. I know this can’t be fun for you.”
After looking through the conference room glass for a moment, he nodded. “Actually, it is. But only because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since we met, and now that I have the pleasure of your company, it makes me happy,” he said.
“Wait, what?” I felt just as giddy as I had at age fourteen when a boy I’d been crushing on for months asked me if I’d mind paying for his slice of pizza after a high school football game. This was pre-cheerleading, to be clear. After I made the squad, the fourteen-year-olds paid for me. Mostly.
“Was that not clear? I can’t stop thinking about you. I’ve barely thought of anything but you since we met. And given that I’m charged with insider trading and facing jail time, I find that significant.”
“Oh.”
“Oh?”
“I mean, that’s… ordinarily, it’s exactly what a woman wants to hear. But now…”
“Now that you know I’m charged with insider trading?”
“No, now that you’re my client. You insisted on being my client. I gave you an out, and you insisted. So now you get lawyer me, not Saturday night me. That was your choice,” I said. It was my turn to look through the glass because I couldn’t keep gazing at him without repercussions.
“I wasn’t aware you were two different people. For the record, I like both,” he said with a smile.
“You don’t get both. That’s not how this works.” I turned toward my notes, hoping he understood that recess was over.
“I’m the client. Don’t I get to dictate how things work?” he asked.
“No, you get to be the client. You answer my questions, and you behave yourself so I don’t get fired or disbarred. I feel like you weren’t listening when I just explained all that.”
“I was listening. I just chose to ignore it.”
He was frustrating. The fact that he was hot in a nerdy chiseled-jaw professor way was also frustrating. I needed to get control of the situation. Looking at the stacks of books on the conference room shelves, I saw nothing to give me direction as to how to handle the situation.
They should make law books for this. Or self-help books. Any guidance would be welcome.

Meet Stacy

It’s a rough world out there, and we all sometimes need a good, romantic beach read, even if we can’t make it to the beach. I’ve spent many lazy days walking the streets of Paris and other gorgeous European cities, and if I’m doing it right, I’m bringing you a dash of romance and a vacay fantasy.
I can’t sit still, so when I’m not hiking, biking or running, I’m playing a very average game of tennis. Background music for writing undoubtedly features some U2, Lizzo, Billy Joel, Pink, Taylor Swift, and Led Zeppelin. Not necessarily in that order. And if I could only eat one food group, it would be cheese. Or wine. Or bread. Are those food groups? Whatever.

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