Review: Close to Home – Lily Everett

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Paperback, 304 pages Publication: February 7th 2017 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN13: 9781250074058     Series: Sanctuary Island #5 Rating:  5*

Johnny Alexander was finally home, nervous and trying to shake off the deep undercover life he’d lived for the last two years.  First he needed to report into his supervisor, and then go home to the one thing that had sustained him for the time he’d been away – to hold his wife Terri whose memory had kept him sane when the world he’d lived in turned insane.  Much to his dismay, his best friend and supervisor Brad handed him an envelope filled with legal papers – divorce papers from over a year ago.

Terri had changed her name to Tessa but kept her married name of Alexander.  Finally Tessa had grown from the scared timid girl Johnny had married eight years previous and had decided that she needed to stand on her own!  Tessa had found her independence and was forging a new life for herself on Sanctuary Island with a job she loved; new friends; and her very own self-dependence.   It’s a quiet life on her own and though she still loved Johnny she felt she had to let him go to find a real wife he’d be happier with.

***   Wow, loved this scenario!   Terri/Tessa had been rescued by Johnny when he discovered her cold and shaken in his barn.  Always an honorable young man, he knew he had to protect the young girl and he married her in order to give her a safe home and his protection.  He treated her like a precious ‘china doll’ and after a few years where he was gone more often than not as a soldier and then as  a special ATF agent Tessa came to the conclusion that she wanted more from Johnny than a chaste kiss on her forehead as she went to bed alone.   What she didn’t realize was that Johnny did want more but wasn’t ready to cross over the line that he’d set for himself.

When Johnny was faced with the fact that Terri/Tessa had actually left, he followed her to Sanctuary Island and found a completely different woman than the shy girl he was married to.  Tessa had cut her long brown  hair into a very becoming blonde style but her whole demeanor had changed.  Far from the shy retiring girl he married, Tessa was smiling and laughing and obviously both very happy and very much in control of her life.

Johnny was going to have to work very hard in trying to seduce his own wife and show her that the marriage he wanted was the same one she had dreamed of – both physical and passionate.   The only thing that stood in their way was a madman from Tessa’s past who was determined to drag Tessa back to where she’d come from.

Bottom line:   Great writing – wonderful storyline and lovely characters you can easily fall in love with.  Sanctuary Island is a magical place – Highly recommended read.

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: Saving Jake by Sharon Sala

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Jake Lorde is headed home to heal after a long hospitalization from an IED blast ends his time in the military. His neighbor, Laurel Payne, has already seen the damage war can do to a man, having lost her husband to suicide. Laurel has no intention of falling in love with another man, especially not another soldier, but Jake’s steady presence and their instant attraction has her rethinking things. Can Laurel and Jake exorcise the demons from their pasts and find a lasting love?

Sharon Sala has a gift for crafting characters who pull at your heartstrings. Laurel’s pluckiness is admirable and I couldn’t help but cheer for her as she stood up to various family members. Some of the scenes are nothing short of heart-wrenching. I have to admit, however, that it is Laurel’s daughter, Bonnie, who steals my heart in SAVING JAKE.

Sharon Sala doesn’t shy away from addressing real world issues in her books and SAVING JAKE is no exception. The family dynamics after a suicide can be catastrophic. Sharon Sala addresses these issues (as well as other issues) in a sensitive but realistic manner. In fact, it’s part of the reason I return to Sharon Sala’s books time and time again, despite the fact that her books are outside my typical reading genre.

SAVING JAKE is the third book in Sharon Sala’s Blessings, Georgia series, but can easily be read as a standalone. However, once you get a taste of the town of Blessings, as well as Sharon Sala’s heartfelt writing, you’re going to want to dive in and read each and every book in the series- and then follow up with devouring every book Sharon Sala has ever written. Highly recommended!

*Review copy provided through NetGalley*