Bittersweet, by Lyz Kelley: A Beautiful Addition to the Elkridge Series (Book Review)

Introducing Bittersweet

an Elkridge Novel

by Lyz Kelley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Single Parent Romance

Series: The Elkridge Series

Release Date:  August 27, 2018

Tour Hosts: Bare Naked Words

Synopsis

Cover of Bittersweet, an Elkridge NovelStarting over is never easy, but in Elkridge, Colorado, where newcomers are welcome, and friends become family, it’s possible to find yourself again.

Leza promised to return to Elkridge after she finished her FBI undercover assignment. Only the local sheriff didn’t keep his promise to be there when she returned. Now she’s searching for a way to rebuild her life.

Heath applied for the deputy position because he wanted to raise his newly-adopted niece in a small town. He’s not interested in more complications—until he meets the town’s newest resident.

Heartbroken, Leza is unable to risk having her hopes shattered again. He’s sworn to protect and serve, but Leza doesn’t want that either.

Can Heath’s single-dad charm and captivating openness heal Leza’s heart?

Click on the link below to add Bittersweet to your TBR on Goodreads!

My Review of Bittersweet

BittersweetBittersweet by Lyz Kelley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bittersweet is a beautiful story of two “lost” souls who find each other and, in doing so, begin the process of healing and becoming whole again. The theme is familiar, similar to others in the Elkridge series, and for continuity’s sake, the storylines overlap to some extent, but each book is unique, featuring interesting, well-developed characters that stay in your heart long after you’ve read the last page. And while I think Bittersweet could be read as a standalone novel, I recommend reading the series in order to fully appreciate the impact of this story and the contributions of its secondary characters to the reading experience.

Bittersweet is what I like to call a “cozy romance.” It’s warm and inviting, immersive yet easy to read. Lyz Kelly has a unique voice that infuses just the right amount of humor, heat, suspense, angst, and action to hold your interest. The reading experience itself is cozy, but the sometimes raw but always powerful emotions, plot twists, and edge-of-your-seat subplots keep you just enough on edge to keep you guessing until the end.

The Characters

Leza is a tough-as-nails former FBI agent, a survivor with a scarred body and a broken heart, looking to heal and make a home in the small town of Elkridge, Colorado – the same small town where her former lover Sam, the town’s sheriff, lost his life while investigating the same drug and sex trafficking operation she infiltrated and helped to bring down before turning in her badge for the final time.

Heath is a former Marine, scarred by the horrors of war in Afghanistan, who gave up his military career to raise his young niece, Ellie, following the tragic death of his sister. Overwhelmed by the changes in his life, struggling to make ends meet while parenting a grieving child, and studying for his new career as an Elkridge deputy, he is often exhausted, lonely, and more than a little bit lost.

Until he meets Leza, who piques his curiosity and almost immediately captures his heart.

The Conflict

Leza doesn’t want a relationship, especially with a man in uniform who could lose his life in the line of duty and force her to re-live the trauma of Sam’s death. Headstrong and stubborn, Leza is determined to make it on her own without letting anyone get too close – no matter how handsome and irresistible he is. Heath is ready to settle down and take a chance on loving Leza, and if he only had himself to worry about, he would happily do so. But he also knows he can’t risk bringing Leza fully into Ellie’s life – no matter how much he wants and needs her -until she is willing and able to stay.

Recommendation

Four Gold Stars

Bittersweet is a perfect title for this story. It is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. Lyz delicately balances the hope and despair experienced by all three of its main characters. She captures and beautifully portrays the excitement of new love, and lovingly conveys the humor and tenderness of a tough Marine who is fumbling–and sometimes stumbling–as an exhausted, well-intentioned, but inexperienced single parent. She also accurately and relatably depicts the devastating emotional consequences of trauma and loss, coupled with the overwhelming fear of losing again.

If you are a fan of Emily March and Debbie Macomber, you will especially enjoy the approachable, relatable novels of the Elkridge and the Lonely Ridge series – and I highly recommend you read them all. With fall on the horizon, these are perfect stories to warm you on the inside and out.

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Teaser photo from Bittersweet by Lyz Kelley

Buy Bittersweet

on Amazon US

Discover the Elkridge Series

This series beautifully captures the emotionally charged, complex dynamics that come with being part of any community. I hope you laugh and reach for a few tissues as the characters discover what it means to be loved, supported and accepted by the people who mean the most.

Available as a 6-book series or as individual titles on Amazon.com

Meet Lyz Kelley

Award-winning author Lyz Kelley resides in a small community in Colorado with her husband and several four-legged family members. She’s a disaster in the kitchen, a compulsive neat freak, and tea snob, a lover of board games, gardening, and painting.  She loves writing about strong women who have endured challenges and the men who enrich their lives.

A healing love is at the heart of her book series. Creating wounded yet amazing characters—discovering what drives them, frightens them, heals them, makes them laugh—is what gives her joy. Lyz is pleased to share that joy with her masterfully written stories.

To keep tabs on her newest releases, connect with Lyz by signing up for her newsletter at LyzKelley.com. Members receive a copy of Unmistaken and learn about thoughtful giveaways, Members may even get the opportunity to receive advanced reader copies. Check out LyzKelley.com for more information.

Follow Lyz

Website: https://www.lyzkelley.com/index.html

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/60669260-lyz-kelley

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lyz-Kelley/e/B01N4AYJUL/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lyz-kelley

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Cover Reveal: BOUNTIFUL (True North #4) by Bestselling Author Sarina Bowen

Front cover, Bountiful, by Sarina Bowen

Coming Soon . . .

BOUNTIFUL

a standalone from the True North series by bestselling author

Sarina Bowen

 

Pre-Order BOUNTIFUL Today:

 Amazon http://geni.us/BflAmazon 

 iBooks http://geni.us/BFibooks 

 Kobo http://geni.us/BFkobo

About BOUNTIFUL

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time, a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard-won love—are Bountiful.

Add BOUNTIFUL to Goodreads

Each novel in the True North Series may be read as a standalone — but you won’t want to read just one.

Check out Books 1 – 3 of the series HERE!

 

Steadfast (True North #2), by Sarina Bowen – Book Review

Steadfast (True North, #2)Steadfast by Sarina Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon-Kindle: http://amzn.to/2amEMsG

 

I don’t know where to begin, and nothing I say will do this incredible story justice, but I have to try. I loved Bittersweet, #1 in the True North series; but I adored this sequel. Sarina Bowen seamlessly wove all of the best things about Bittersweet – including its setting, its sense of realism, and its wonderful characters – into the fabric of Steadfast, and in doing so, she set a new benchmark for greatness. This book moved me as much, or more, than any I’ve read so far this year.

Do you love stories that make your heart swell until it aches with love? A story that grips your soul with hope and dread at the same time? A story so emotionally charged and psychologically suspenseful you can barely stand to turn the page? A story so heartbreakingly real that you physically feel the pain of its characters, as if their struggle were your own? If so, Steadfast will quickly find its way into your heart and stay there forever.

We first met Jude in Bittersweet, as a young man just released from drug rehab after a 3-year prison sentence. We see his struggle with insomnia, cravings, flashbacks, nightmares, agonizing guilt and remorse. We see him begin to reclaim his life when the Shipley family offers him a chance to continue his recovery as a day worker on their farm. And when autumn comes and the season is over, we see him head back home, to the place where his addiction nightmare began: a place where nothing has changed; a place where the love of his young life, and the source of his deepest regret, Sophie, may or may not be waiting for him. But one thing is certain: he’s alone, he’s afraid, he’s nearly broke, and he’s in constant danger. The town hasn’t forgotten – or forgiven – his sins. His dealers know where he lives. And he’s ever at risk for falling back into old habits when his demons come to call.

Steadfast is Jude and Sophie’s story, and it is positively spell-binding. Sophie is strong, compassionate, and smart; she is also extraordinarily lonely. As the surviving sibling in a family tragedy, she bears the burden of survivor’s guilt as well as the devastating effects of dysfunctional family grief. Jude’s spiral into addiction, and its aftermath, nearly broke her, and it changed her life immeasurably. But she can’t let him go – he is inextricably linked to her past, and now her present…but what about the future? Can there be a HEA for two people destroyed by addiction and its tragic consequences? Can she afford to take that chance?

This is a story of secret, lies, betrayal and cover-ups. It’s full of twists and turns that will leave you breathless, but desperate to continue. It’s full of power, passion, and overwhelming love. But it’s not just about romantic love; it’s also about the kind of unconditional love and steadfast faith that makes addiction recovery possible for those who are able to break free. It’s a story of transformation, not just for its primary characters, but for others you will come to care about as you read it. It’s also full of new – and utterly unforgettable – characters I hope we’ll see again as the series continues.

The series title says it all. The True North series is all about finding your inner compass – the one that helps you find your way home. Despite the odds against them, the steadfast love that Jude and Sophie share makes anything possible. And that makes for a truly amazing read.

Do yourself a favor and start this darkly passionate, sexy, sweet, suspenseful love story today.

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