Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Review: Summer’s Sweet Embrace (Anthology) + Excerpt + Giveaway

Title:  Summer’s Sweet Embrace, a sweet romance anthology
Author:  Various
Publisher:  Roane Publishing
Release Date:  August 19, 2015
Keywords:  Summer, Beach, Ocean, romance, contemporary, Summertime Romance, short stories
Description: Summertime love is always the sweetest. These eight sweet tales of summer romance are the perfect companion for a day at the lake or the beach. 

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Link for Summer’s Sweet Embrace on Goodreads:



Truly Paradise – Michelle Ziegler

Waiting for the right one can be torture. 

Too bad for Hailey, impatience got the best of her. Finding Mr. Right in time for a destination wedding couldn’t happen fast enough. Instead of listening to reason, or rather her friends, she’s stuck in paradise alone, again. Nothing ruins a tropical paradise faster than catching your date with another woman. Justin’s ready for a change. He’s been caught up in his own success for too long and is looking to finally settle down. Timing is everything and his cousins wedding is the perfect start of his new life. His luck is changing with the captivating mystery woman on the beach.  Now all he has to do is find her, before he agrees to his family’s match making plot.

This I thought this story was ok. I loved the introduction because it made me laugh. I couldn't connect with the main character on an intellectual level. She seemed to be unable to deal with her problems on her own. I understand she made a mistake but I couldn't understand the way she handled it. Just tell him up front and/or tell your friends so that they can help you. She didn't and her friends didn't bother reading the signs either.

I also thought the love interest was too hands off. I would have liked to see him do more to help her or see her reach out for him. It just seemed the communication seemed to be on the wrong wavelength between them. I guess it's because they just met but still, I didn't understand. The writing is a bit choppy and not as smooth as I'd like.

Ocean Dust – Laurie Treacy

Carly Dawson, 18, is facing her last summer before leaving for college, all alone. Still nursing a broken heart over the loss of her boyfriend, Chase Montgomery, she wants the next two months to be different. A shocking unexpected visitor one night just may offer Carly the excitement she seeks. Her only decision is whether or not to choose what this visitor offers her.

I found this story difficult to get into and found myself skimming to get to the point. It's really only half way through do I truly get invested. I liked the idea of paranormal elements taking place but I feel the characters are too young and things aren't explained clearly.

I like the background of the love interest but it seems that this is the beginning of a whole story in itself. I don't quite get the end of the story but I think that it could be continued into something else. I would have liked to had a full story arc instead of just an introduction to another story.

The Beach Rose – Christa MacDonald

Annie Thomas can’t believe her good luck when she inherits the family’s beach house in Oceanside Maine.  It’s one of the few places she was truly happy so she sells everything she owns, quits her job, and moves in hoping that her new business, The Beach Rose, will bring in enough money in its first season to let her live up there year round.  But on her first day things aren’t as easy or as simple as she’d hoped.  To cap it off she discovers that her best new client is actually the boy she had a huge teenage crush on.  So much for rekindling a summer romance.  

For Craig, Annie was everything he wanted when he was a geeky seventeen year-old.  Now that he’s pushing forty and the owner of half the real estate in town, he wants another shot at convincing her that he’s everything she needs.  He didn’t count on her owning the business he just signed a contract with though.  Craig has to find a way to help Annie’s struggling business without her knowing it since anything else would push her further away and that’s the last thing he wants.  

Together they may get a second chance for a summer romance.

This story is nice with a contemporary feel. The theme is a "second chance". I thought it was sweet but the story didn't thrill me as much when I read. Nothing interesting really intrigued me as I read. What I got out of the story is wistfulness of the characters about their lives and regrets they had in the past. Maybe I'm not the right target audience for this yet because I didn't find this story exciting, but I can appreciate the idea of wanting a second chance and to make a better choice than the first time around.

When the Sea Swallows the Sun – Kim Strattford

A trip to Clearwater Beach was supposed to be a fun escape from the D.C. rat race for Emma and her boyfriend Sam.  Until Sam dumped her, leaving her with a ticket she was too cheap not to use and a resolution to enjoy her time in the sun and get over him.  A plan that sputters when Sam’s good friend Rick shows up.  Rick, who’s never seemed to approve of her for reasons she’s never understood.  Rick, who seems to think he has license to bug her just because he bought Sam’s ticket.  Rick, who may be a much nicer guy than she ever realized, and who might have a very good reason for not thinking much of her.  Can they make peace in the beautiful Florida sun and surf?  Peace—or maybe more?

This story I enjoyed. I liked the tension between the characters and how the characters changed during the story. It was quick but enough development for me for a short story. I particularly enjoyed the banter between the characters. I found myself chuckling at them and found myself immersed in the story. The writing is short but straightforward and more up my alley when it comes to writing.

The plot advanced quickly and my favorite part is that the characters communicated with each other. Well they bantered, but during that banter they were able to discuss and learn things about each other that they may not have noticed if they didn't talk like so many other characters in stories. I thought the writing could be polished just a bit but I still enjoyed this story.

Love’s Nectar – Jaylee Austin

What if fate pushed you to make a choice between keeping a promise and revealing a truth? After her grandmother’s death, she opens an unexpected letter containing an unwanted request. Isabel feels obligated to honor her grams final wish. In the process she risks losing the man of her dreams.

Six months before their marriage Isabel reveals a time bomb that will forever change their lives. He loves her but the betrayal of not trusting him weighs heavy on his heart. Trust means everything to Seth.

One ring, journal, box, spirit, and flower will teach everyone the power of commitment and the importance of honesty.  Secrets left buried will always haunt the living, a life lived truthfully leads to happily ever after. Will Isabel and Seth realize this before they are doomed to replay the mistakes of the past? 

This story is ok. I can see how relationships could be complicated but I don't really appreciate these types of complexities even though they happen in real life. I couldn't relate to any of the characters. Except for the child. Overall, this story is probably for those who enjoy complex relationships and deception.

Love’s High Tide – Niki Mitchell

Tired of the vacationers hitting on her, surf shop owner, Skye Taylor quits dating. In walks the cocky, Harley Nicholson from Idaho. She’s not open for another summer fling. Can he convinces her to give love a chance? 

Harley sees Skye shooting through the Huntington Beach Pier on her surfboard. Mesmerized by the woman’s connection with the wave, he sets out to meet the brazen surfer. He bets his cousin that before he leaves in three weeks, she'll be his.

Skye’s life is kept busy running the Epic Surf Shop and training for annual surfing contest. The handsome, buff Idahoan interests her, but she doesn’t want another disastrous summer fling. Harley charms her into giving him a surfing lesson, woos her with moonlight strolls, and coaxes her with sweet gestures. Skye discovers Harley’s betrayal. She refuses to see him or hear his explanation. 

Miserable, Harley must do something monumental to win her back. Will Skye ever forgive Harley?

I liked this story but I didn't love it as much as I had hoped. I've seen the cliche of making a bet with a friend to get the girl but this story doesn't really do anything to twist the cliche. It was fun to see but nothing really happened to make me care as much for the story. I liked Skye and how tough she is but I didn't like how she melted just because Harley was hot and helped her a few times. It just didn't seem enough for me that he did a few things and her shield just melted. It seemed unbelievable to me. Also the big thing at the end didn't seem to be enough for me to believe he was worth it then either. Perhaps I'm also not the type to enjoy public displays of affection.

Linger – Melissa J. Crispin 

Tracey Thompson isn't like most twenty-year-olds. She's looking forward to settling down and marrying her soul mate, Noah Martin. Even though their love bloomed when they were just little kids, they never doubted it and never looked back.

When a tragic accident separates Tracey from Noah, she struggles to go on without him. As the days wear on, she becomes aware of a chance for them to be together once again. All she needs to do is understand what tore them apart in the first place. But, overcoming this is harder than it seems. Will she be strong enough to find her way back to him? 

I liked this story. It was interesting. I did get a bit confused at first at what was happening in the story but overall I liked it. I do have a few questions about the story but I don't want to spoil it. There seemed to be a plot hole that was missed during edits that still bothers me. If you ignore that fact then you'll probably be fine. I like the theme of the story and thought the end was sweet. Also there was a cute dog and I'm a sucker for dogs.

Above Reproach – Sheryl Winters
Executive Secretary, Margaret Simms should have had it all. An apartment on the beach and a job at Reynolds Ad Agency, working for her best friend and business mogul, Garrett Reynolds. 

A one night stand leads to a pregnancy and a re-evaluation of her life goals. In reality, Margaret's always hated her office job and culinary school is her life dream. But that too is ripped away from her when Garrett, her best friend and father of her child, develops cancer. 

Obligation forces her back to the work she hates. When office espionage threatens her life, Margaret finds she must make a choice. Stand up for what she truly believes in or lose all she's ever wanted. 

This story is good. I liked that Margaret is established and has a life of her own but she seemed to be extremely moody. I suppose it's because she's pregnant but still her anger is a bit much in my opinion. Then again, I've never been pregnant so I don't know. Garrett is nice, he didn't seem much at first but I liked how the author gave both characters a weakness to make them stronger. They both developed nicely and they become stronger because of that and I appreciate the thought behind it.

Overall, a good selection of stories. The stories are all diverse in age and romance so you're bound to find something you'll like. There is no LGBTQ romance in here just so you all know. I would have liked to see one to help make it more diverse but this is still a good variety. If you're looking for sweet, cute, and beachy romance then you'll like these stories.

3.3 out of 5 rating for me!

(A copy was provided for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.)

Ocean Dust
By Laurie Treacy

Carly Dawson, 18, is facing her last summer before leaving for college, all alone. Still nursing a broken heart over the loss of her boyfriend, Chase Montgomery, she wants the next two months to be different. A shocking unexpected visitor one night just may offer Carly the excitement she seeks. Her only decision is whether or not to choose what this visitor offers her.

The swing jerks me around and I become five years old again. My sandal soles scrape the ground, splashing dirt around the worn-out treads, a two-lane road for stomping feet. As my arms reach out sideways, enjoying twirling around, my finger presses my phone on. When I come to a complete stop and the last of the squeaking has faded away, I’m about to laugh at my childishness, but the sound gets jammed somewhere in my throat.
The camera app is open. Photo albums from months ago are displayed, their contents spread out like the keys of an accordion.
Selfies. Dates. School events. The school cafeteria. Shared lunches. Movies.
The pictures I didn’t have the heart to delete.
Laughing. Hugging. Holding hands. Making funny faces. Kissing.
My life with Chase.
I clasp my free hand across my mouth to keep in my sob while shutting it off. The really pissed off part of my subconscious surfaces. I resist the urge to toss my phone into the woods.
Get out of the past. It won’t bring him back.
The hairs on my back stand up.
Something is scratching at a tree. The sound reminds me of Mom’s cat, Butterball, when he scratches his post—except this is magnified about a thousand times. What kind of animal makes that much racket?
A large shadow emerges from the trees and moves quickly. Right toward me.
What is it?
I stand, feeling slightly woozy, and try to make “it” out.
The figure easily hops the fence then begins to jog. Directly at me.

About the Author:

Laurie Treacy is a fantasy, paranormal and contemporary romance writer. She graduated from Marist College and lives in New York's picturesque Hudson Valley with her husband, three children, and various pets. She's a Whovian, loves frozen Goobers, photographing nature, and is a member of the SCBWI. She can be found at local writer's events and online at and   

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