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.

View all my reviews

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

Newsletter Sign Up: www.LyzKelley.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LyzKelleyauthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LyzKelley

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lyzkelley/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lyzkelley/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQFoD1TFtfhff2Hb1f1iBcw

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

Bare Naked Words Logo

Just in time for Christmas: Unmistaken, by Lyz Kelley

Tour Banner for Unmistaken by Lz Kelley

Unmistaken 

(an Elkridge Christmas Novel)

by Lyz Kelley

Release Date: 20th December

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Front Cover of Unmistaken by Lyz Kelley

About Unmistaken

Can two souls to save each other in this festive, second-chance, small town fairy tale. Doctor Ethan Brennan wants to ignore Christmas. With the anniversary of his wife and child’s death looming, he’s buried himself in his work. Hopeless romantic Noelle Conroy returns home for the holiday’s only to find nowhere to stay. When the blizzard leaves Noelle snowbound in Ethan’s cabin, he starts to open up to her magic—but is love enough to overcome a tragic past?

Add Unmistaken to Goodreads

My Review of Unmistaken

I’ve enjoyed every book in the Elkridge Series, and Unmistaken is no exception: it’s tender, poignant, and passionate in every detail. Ethan is truly a hero in need of healing, as is the heroine, Noelle; and naturally, in any good romance novel, the process of finding, almost losing, and ultimately healing each other is what readers crave. Unmistaken will satisfy that craving in every way. Although it may easily be read as a standalone, having read the previous books in the series brings important context to the story. Familiarity with the settings, the characters, and their various stories brings much-needed warmth to a highly emotional reading experience.

Lyz tackles many important issues in Unmistaken, including love, loss, disillusionment, and the pain of unfinished business in our lives — things left unspoken, people left behind, and loved ones lost. It’s a lot to pack into a novel, but it works, because it’s beautifully expressed. The only drawbacks for me were related to a common frustration with contemporary romance: the characters fail to communicate until it’s nearly too late. They make unfounded assumptions. Sometimes they fail to see each other’s needs because they’re overly focused on their own. In this case, Noelle, the heroine, frustrated the daylights out of me. She’s so determined that there is only one way to move forward with her life, she refuses to entertain other possibilities. She makes impulsive decisions and sticks to them with obstinance that’s nearly beyond belief. Granted, that’s an essential conflict in the story but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating, especially given her feelings for Ethan.

In one respect, I think the resolution was almost a little too easy, after all the build-up; but it didn’t detract from this heartfelt story. If you’re looking for a holiday read that will warm you inside and out, look no further than Unmistaken. And while you’re at it, read the rest of this beautifully written series as well.

View all my reviews

Buy The Book

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2BrEgYv
Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2CvmG3z

Promo Banner for Unmistaken Sale

Meet the Author

Photo of author Lyz KelleyAward-winning author Lyz Kelley resides in a small community in Colorado with her husband and several four-legged family members. She’s a lover of board games, gardening, and painting, a disaster in the kitchen, a compulsive neat freak, and tea snob. 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 through her masterfully written stories.

To keep tabs on her award-winning novels, connect with Lyz by signing up for her newsletter at LyzKelley.com. Members receive an exclusive copy of Regrets, (the prequel to the Elkridge Series), learn about thoughtful giveaways, and get a sneak peek at upcoming releases. Members may even get the opportunity to receive advanced reader copies. Check out LyzKelley.com for more information.

Keep in Touch

Website: www.LyzKelley.com

Newsletter Sign-up: www.LyzKelley.com

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LyzKelleyauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LyzKelley

 Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/lyzkelley/

 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lyzkelley/

Q & A with Lyz

Why would I want to read the Elkridge Series?  Each book in the Elkridge series is a piece to a puzzle—a suspenseful mystery involving the murder of a small-town sheriff. You get six contemporary romance books to figure out the mystery and a bunch of happy ever after (HEA) endings. Two novels in this fiction series—Blinded and Orphaned—are award-winning romance books.

Where is Elkridge, Colorado?  Elkridge exists only in my mind. On any given day, I can stop at River Creek Café for Jenna’s fresh baked cinnamon rolls, or shop for a birthday present at Mara’s Blooms, or get my nails done at Kym’s nail salon. Sitting in the park eating lunch, I can watch the kids play and hear the latest gossip from neighbors. Later, if I want, I can stop at Mad Jack’s to hear a local band play and get some dinner. Elkridge is a great small town where the sun shines 360 days a year and people do their best to make ends meet.

Would you tell us about your writing process?  It takes me awhile to write each stand-alone story because I am passionate about creating the very best stories for my readers. These contemporary romance books have complex plots and sub-plots and include suspense romance threads, with deep emotional women’s fiction elements, humor and even a bit of quirkiness. I’m so excited to see the 5-star ratings because it means I’ve created the ideal mix to provide readers with a few hours of enjoyment.

More about the Elkridge Seires

Other books in the series & an awesome giveaway can be found here: http://www.lyzkelley.com/elkridge-series.html

 

 

 

 

Rescued, An Elkridge Novel by Lyz Kelley: Blog Tour & Review!

Rescued

(An Elkridge Series Novel)

by Lyz Kelley

Release Date: 12th September
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
#RescuedTour

 

 

About RESCUED


What happens when you realize too late that you’re in love?
Karly’s animal shelter business is failing. Right now, she has too many animals, and not enough foster parents, trainers, or adopters to keep food in the bowls, and she’s desperate to find options. When her first love returns home from Afghanistan wounded and alone, she offers Thad a win-win situation—a job in exchange for training a special needs dog.
Thad wants to be left alone. He feels responsible for not spotting the IED before it killed his friends and his war dog. When Karly drops off a dog for him to train, memories of their deaths swamp him with guilt.
Corruption is tearing the small town of Elkridge apart. Thad is brave enough to give his life to save Karly, but is he brave enough to live? Will she be strong enough to survive? Will fate allow them a happily ever after?

RESCUED is a sensual, contemporary romance about a brave woman and a heroic man who fulfill their dreams. If you like heartfelt characters, deep topics with powerful emotional cores, and happy endings, then you’ll love this sixth book in Lyz Kelley’s tales of strength, love, and survival. Buy RESCUED to unlock the emotional tale today!

Read my 5-star review of RESCUED and add it to Goodreads HERE.


Buy The Book on Amazon (UK) 
or Amazon US


Release Promo Ad for Rescued, by Lyz Kelley


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 lover of board games, gardening, and painting, a disaster in the kitchen, a compulsive neat freak, and tea snob. 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 through her masterfully written stories.

To keep tabs on her award-winning novels, connect with Lyz by signing up for her newsletter at LyzKelley.com. Members receive an exclusive copy of Regrets, (the prequel to the Elkridge Series), learn about thoughtful giveaways, and get a sneak peek at upcoming releases. Members may even get the opportunity to receive advanced reader copies. Check out LyzKelley.com for more information.

Website: www.LyzKelley.com

Newsletter Sign Up: www.LyzKelley.com

 Facebook     Twitter    Pinterest    Instagram

An Interview with Lyz…

Why would I want to read the Elkridge Series?  Each book in the Elkridge series is a piece to a puzzle—a suspenseful mystery involving the murder of a small-town sheriff. You get six contemporary romance books to figure out the mystery and a bunch of happy ever after (HEA) endings. Two novels in this fiction series—Blinded and Orphaned—are award-winning romance books.

Where is Elkridge, Colorado?  Elkridge exists only in my mind. On any given day, I can stop at River Creek Café for Jenna’s fresh baked cinnamon rolls, or shop for a birthday present at Mara’s Blooms, or get my nails done at Kym’s nail salon. Sitting in the park eating lunch, I can watch the kids play and hear the latest gossip from neighbors. Later, if I want, I can stop at Mad Jack’s to hear a local band play and get some dinner. Elkridge is a great small town where the sun shines 360 days a year, and people do their best to make ends meet.

Would you tell us about your writing process?  It takes me awhile to write each stand-alone story because I am passionate about creating the very best stories for my readers. These contemporary romance books have complex plots and sub-plots and include suspense romance threads, with deep emotional women’s fiction elements, humor and even a bit of quirkiness. I’m so excited to see the 5-star ratings because it means I’ve created the ideal mix to provide readers with a few hours of enjoyment.  
Many of your books have challenging topics. Why? The easiest explanation is that I believe everyone can be honorable, brave and loved no matter the circumstances. Blindness, domestic violence, and abuse can create fear and insecurities, yet each situation can be overcome with a gentle, patient, and healing love. In my heart, love begins with respect and the willingness to listen to gain mutual understanding. Without those two components, a relationship filled with love is hard to build.
How did the Elkridge story line develop? I don’t want to spoil the series ending, but the series story arc started with Colorado legalizing marijuana, then it went from there. Question after question started popping into my head. The first question was, “How will the illegal drug trade change?” I started researching news articles on drug trafficking to find answers. Then one day a story formed. I’m glad I had my research notes when I talked to an FBI agent to nail down technical aspects of the story. Otherwise, he might have been a little more curious about why I was asking such in-depth questions. There is a saying, “Don’t judge me by my search engine history, I’m a writer.” {grin}
You say you write about honorable men and brave women, but your characters are so flawed. Everyone can be a hero just by offering a smile, holding a door for another, or opening a medicine bottle for a person with arthritis. Heroes aren’t only those individuals who accomplish grand gestures. We may feel a smile is insignificant, but to the person on the receiving end, we might just have made that person’s day. Being a hero isn’t always about rescuing a child, or stopping a bank robbery, it can also be about the little things in life that bring joy.
Would you ever do a spin off of the other characters introduced in the Elkridge series?
I love this question! What a great way to introduce the Lonely Ridge spin-off series. I chose to differentiate the Lonely Ridge series from the Elkridge set because this group of books will not have the mystery thread included in the Elkridge series. Each new book will be a stand-alone love story and will include the quirky characters from the town I’ve come to love. I’m hoping to have the first book in this new series out in time for Christmas.

Giveaway!

Head to Lyz’s website to enter the giveaway – http://lyzkelley.com/elkridge-series.html

Other Books in the Elkridge Series

Blinded – Buy Here



Spurned – Buy Here


Abandoned – Buy Here


 

Orphaned – Buy Here







 

Exposed – Buy Here