Wednesday, October 23, 2013

REVIEW TOUR with EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY - REKINDLED DREAMS by Linda Carroll-Bradd:



Title: Rekindled Dreams
Author: Linda Carroll-Bradd
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 7, 2013
Published by: Entranced Publishing
Format: Ebook
Pages: Approx. 222

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Book Blurb:
When museum curator Vena Fenton returns to her small Montana hometown, she’s forced to live under the same roof as Finnian Quaid, the star of more than one teenage fantasy. Finnian is now an environmental lobbyist, making a bid for senate, and is as dreamy as ever.

Finnian needs a more settled image if he wants to get ahead in the polls. In order to do that, he needs a wife. With Vena living under his roof, his problem seems solved. As the romantic sparks fly, there's more at risk than Finnian's political aspirations. Can they keep their eye on the prize, or will their growing love derail them both?

Reviewers Note: Rekindled Dreams is an Adult Contemporary Romance written by Linda Carroll-Bradd. I received this eARC from Entranced Publishing in exchange for an honest review.



3.5 Small Town Charmed Stars!
Sweet and Fun!

The Review:

Living in a small town can be charming with its histories, old world values, close knit families and relationships, with beautiful, scenic views that seldom change, where residences live out their entire lives, developing generations of stories to pass to their children. This is what Vena is looking forward to when she escapes the rushing cities of California. Disenchanted with her life in L.A. and her disagreeable, unenthusiastic fiancé whose soon to be her ex fiancé, Vena heads back home to Dry Creek, Montana for a well deserved, overdue vacation to gain some much needed perspective and hopefully to stir her creative muse so she can write up a living exhibit skit for the museum she works for in hopes of acquiring a promotion. She feels stifled and hopes the fresh air will do her good.

She’s been alone for a long time. Having been raised by her loving grandmother, who’s now passed, while her parents were out exploring the world, she grew up admiring her best friend Moria’s family who were a beautiful mass of rambling chaos, always doing things together. She also had a wild, unrequited crush on Moria’s brother, Finnian who only had eyes for her sister, Thia. Going back to Dry Creek after ten years is something she’s very much looking forward to, but what she didn’t expect was bumping into her childhood crush on the first night back into town, when she knew he was supposed to be gone. And he’s not just there for a quick visit at The Shamrocks, his family's small Inn. He’s there to ask her for a favor, and one she’s hard pressed to deny.

Finnian Quaid hasn’t seen his sisters best friend for ten years. He’s been off living his life and inserting himself into the public arena where he’s been offered assistance in acquiring a political position. All he needs to do is gain the affection of his constituents and present a stable presence to the public. To do that, he’s been advised to have a fiance, possibly even settle down. Finn thinks Vena’s vacation is the perfect timing to do as he’s been ask, knowing that shy, timid Elfie won't pose a threat to his single lifestyle but rather be the perfect fake fiancé. What he didn’t expect was for the stuttering girl he once knew to have grown into a beautiful, enchanting, quirky woman she is now.

As their time together progresses, so does their feelings but Vena keeps finding herself in the most ludicrous situations as the small town she’s so fond of fills their time with gossip and rumors and having to deal with over zealous police cadets, all of which keep putting Finns political ambitions in jeopardy by association and making Vena realize she’s not cut out for public scrutiny. And to top it all off, her sister Thia comes back into the picture and all her insecurities come out to play.

Thoughts...
I enjoyed this read. Having grown up in a small town, I was able to relate as I'm familiar with both its charms and the acrid flavor of busybodies. Vena found herself in some very creative and interesting misunderstandings that were hilarious at times and sad at others.

I really liked the story and the gaggle of Grey Ladies kept me highly entertained. I enjoyed the smart dialogue and the sometimes sweet, sometimes awkward moments between Finn and Vena.

But...
I wasn’t to terribly impressed with Finn as a character. He was very stand offish throughout the whole book and not in a broody alpha male way but in a snooty way. It wasn’t until the end that my ice thawed towards him.

I liked Vena and though she became a bit more secure with herself, I also wished by the end of the book she’d found her woman power within instead of caving to her fears. I wanted her to be a powerhouse for Finn should he choose to stay in the political field, not feel compelled to relinquish his ambitions due to Vena’s disapproval of it. Weather he decides to stay in and run for election is beside the point. I wanted them to be a united front, together, and conquer the world if they wanted to, not be rebuked by it.

And lastly, though I liked the sweet moments between Finn and Vena, the romance fell a bit flat for me. I think it was because Finn was so distant that I just couldn’t connect with him or see the potential for a HEA with this couple. I would have liked to have seen him be more enamored with her, say encouraging words to her and though he accepted her, I felt like it was a reluctant acceptance.

The Wrap Up:
Regardless of some of the flat points, for the most part, this was a great Sunday afternoon read that was highly entertaining and had a good story. I’d definitely read more by this author.



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EXCERPT
Finn stood at the entrance of the gazebo, grinning. “Should have figured you’d be here.”
“Hi.” Her jumbled thoughts prevented a clever response. “You look tired.”
“Today’s been hard—full of facts and figures.” He stepped forward and held out his arms. “Just seeing you makes me feel better. I need a hug, Elfie.”
Without hesitation, she walked into his embrace, melting against his firm body. His arms grasped her shoulders, and then crossed slowly over her back and molded her body to his.
Finn groaned. “You don’t know how much I’ve wanted this since this morning.” He turned his face into her hair and inhaled. “This is what’s important. Not what’s going on in some corporate boardroom.”
Vena stroked her fingers along the corded muscles of his neck and played with the ends of his hair. Their children would all have heads covered with masses of curls. Whoa. She was letting herself get carried away. What mattered was he was holding her, telling her with his body that he needed her. She could give him a calm place to come home to, could be his anchor in life’s storm.
His head dipped lower, and his lips nuzzled kisses along her neck to her shoulder. The brush of his stubble on tender skin made her shiver.
“Don’t you have anything warmer than this?” His voice was gruff, but his eyes were caring as he arranged the crocheted shawl over her exposed shoulders. Using his grip on the cloth, he pulled her close, and his mouth covered hers in a possessive kiss. “How was the rest of your day? I’ve been—”
Lips still tingling, Vena came to a decision. She didn’t want to talk. The hours since he’d left her in this exact spot had dragged, especially when every single thought came back to Finn.
From under the shawl, she twined her arms around his waist, hands locking behind his back. Pressing against the heat at the tops of her legs, she gave herself up to the rush of wanting. She tasted his mouth from one angle and then another, the pull of desire tugging deep in her belly. So often, she had thought of this, and vowed to make this night unforgettable.
No matter what came tomorrow.




About the Author

As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.


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