New Release, Reviews, + Giveaway: Three Dates by Grahame Claire

 

Title: Three Dates

Series: Paths to Love #2

Author: Grahame Claire
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 2, 2018

 

Blurb
MuriellaI’ve never been on a date.

And I intended to keep it that way.

But to save my best friends’ relationship, I agreed to three with the man I secretly long for.

He doesn’t know why we cant be. That chancing a relationship would bring everything crashing down around us.

Whatever he makes me feel is irrelevant. Wherever he thinks this may lead, hes wrong.

Three dates.

Thats all I have to survive before I can put him back where he belongs

At arms length.

StoneSix years.

Thats how long I’ve waited for her.

Now I’ve got three shots to convince her what I’ve known all along

We belong together.

Despite all of my determination, each new revelation seems to pull us apart.

With everything stacked against us, we may not even make it to date three, let alone forever.

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My review:

Three Dates is the sequel to It’s Not Over, although the ending of the first and the beginning of the second overlap. And while technically Three Dates could be a standalone, you definitely need to read It’s Not Over first to know what is going on and who the characters are. (Review for It’s Not Over further down in this post)

Murietta escaped a nightmare by stowing away in a shipping container to the US at age 12. Even the man who found her and took her in and became her family doesn’t know all the details of what happened to her. Daniel and his now wife Vivian are the people closest to Murietta and help keep her safe. Stone was brought into their inner circle six years previously. He is from Texas but is an A-list actor, winning Academy Awards and being named People’s Sexiest Man Alive twice. (You will probably  miss that in this book, though, as the only details given are that he’s an actor and sometimes the paparazzi show up.) He has been in love with Murietta for the whole six years, but between realizing that she was very afraid of something, and being warned off by Daniel, he holds off, just being her friend and hoping she’ll someday let him in.

Finally he convinces her to go on three dates with him (which actually happens in It’s Not Over). She balks when it’s time for the first one, so he tells her it’s “just lunch.” This becomes their mantra to get her through the various dates. She has always been attracted to him, too, but because of all her issues and fears, she won’t let anyone in romantically at all.

Eventually she realizes that it’s different with him. Instead of being afraid, he makes her feel safe. There are many many ups and downs, and once she shares the details of her horror with Stone we are all unsurprised at how she reacts to things. But they try to make a real relationship work.

Then, the thing Murietta has feared most happens.

The fallout from that event could very well tear her and Stone apart forever. Or it could be the thing that allows her to finally heal.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ because I read It’s Not Over first so I knew who the characters are and what was going on. If I hadn’t, I would have been so lost this would have been a 2 1/2 or 3 rating.

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Review of It’s Not Over:
I was taking notes as I was reviewing this book, as I often do because I have a hard time remembering names. A common theme to my notes for this book is “what is going on?” One thing I noted that is quite accurate is that reading this book is like sitting down with a friend to watch a soap that you’ve never seen before and not knowing who the characters are or why you should care about them. The book goes back and forth between the present, with chapters for both Daniel and Vivian, and then eight years prior, to when they met. Although at least 14 chapters in, we still don’t know who exactly these people are. We know Daniel is a businessman, although what exactly he does is unclear except that he seems to have mob ties. Vivian is his live in girlfriend of 8 years, but he’s pushing her away. He says it’s for a good reason but we don’t even know that reason until the last quarter of the book. Murietta is someone who is close to him, but we don’t know who exactly she is or why. She and Vivian become best friends instantly, and the three of them seem to have a codependency that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Stone is talked about as the fourth member of their group, but we don’t know why since he’s not even in most of the book but this is where we learn about his career and the arrangement of the three dates with Murietta.
The story did get more interesting,  especially as we finally learned some details of the characters in the second half of the book. The overall mood of the book was very dark, though. Always foreboding and serious. I almost quit reading several times, thinking “why should I care about these people?” But I’m glad I finished it, because the story did improve and it was necessary to understand Three Dates.
One other note I had that bothers me about this book – in one of the flashback scenes, Vivian, and accounting intern, is given a huge promotion and opportunity, becoming the apprentice of the company’s owner himself. But in the present day scenes there doesn’t seem to be much indication of her job or what she does. There is a mention of her leaving the office at 4, but what does she do now? What became of that incredible opportunity? I do know that she and Daniel are both morally ambiguous people, although they do good things for people or organizations they care about.
Rating: ♥♥♥  I shouldn’t have to work so hard to get through a story. An air of mystery is one thing, but the reader needs *something* to be interested and to have a reason to care about the characters.
Author Bio
A writer. A blogger. United by our love of stories and all things
romance. There was definitely some insta-love. Hello? Books involved. A little
courting. A lot of writing. The result…Grahame Claire.



Soulmates. Unashamed of our multiple book boyfriends. Especially the ones
that rooted in our heads and wouldn
t leave us alone. Dont worry.
We
ll share.



Pleased to meet you.

Author Links

 

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Cover Reveal: Small Town Heart by Andrea Johnson

Release Day is 11/16/18

SmallTownHeart_Amazon

Small-Town Heart is a full-length standalone novel that was originally released in December 2017 as “Mercy” and part of the Wanted Kindle Worlds. The love story of Mercy & Shane remains but has been expanded and the location changed. Fans of the Country Road Series will recognize references to the town of Lexington and there are hints of what is to come in 2019!

 

Add Small-Town Heart to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/SmlTwnHrt_GR

Smalltownheart-wrap

 

Synopsis

Without a plan in place and only a hundred dollars to my name, this big city girl born in a small town world headed for the bright lights of city life.

Four years later, I may have more money in my bank account, but somehow I’ve found myself back in another small town trying to build a life. Even though the residents of Fayhill have welcomed me like one of their own, this is only a detour, not a final destination.

Then I met Shane Abbott.

What’s a girl to do when a certain dark-haired dimpled cowboy, who fills out a pair of jeans like it’s his job with a smile that sets my soul on fire, has me considering burning my map?

*

The bright lights of city life never appealed to me. I like the quiet of small town life, and my hometown of Fayhill fits me to a T.

I never expected to meet Mercy Warner.

Love is the last thing on my mind. These days I work hard and mind my own business. So when a certain honey-haired spitfire blows into town, I take another look.

She may claim small town life isn’t for her, but the way she’s settling in tells me she might be open to the option. Refusing to let this opportunity to pass me by, I take another chance and put my small town heart on the line.

Surely the draw of the big city won’t burn me twice . . .

 

AndreaJohnston(1)

Andrea Johnston spent her childhood with her nose in a book and a pen to paper.

An avid people watcher, her mind is full of stories that yearn to be told.

A fan of angsty romance with a happy ending, super sexy erotica and a good mystery, Andrea can always be found with her Kindle nearby fully charged.

Andrea lives in Idaho with her family and two dogs. When she isn’t spending time with her partner in crime aka her husband, she can be found binge watching all things Bravo and enjoying a cocktail. Nothing makes her happier than the laughter of her children, a good book, her feet in the water, and cocktail in hand all at the same time.

 

Follow Andrea:

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