THE TRUEST THING by Samantha Young

Nine years ago, Emery Saunders moved to Hartwell to start her life over as a bookstore owner. Her inability to trust people made it hard for her to find a place in the small community until Jessica Lawson moved to town and befriended the shy beauty.
But there was one person in Hartwell who tried to befriend Emery long before Jessica arrived…

Jack Devlin has his secrets. One of them is that he fell hard for Emery the moment she appeared in Hartwell. Another is that his father blackmailed him into covering up a dark family tragedy. It forced Jack to sever his relationships to protect the people he cared about. Yet, staying away from Emery has not been easy throughout the years and he hasn’t always succeeded. When Jack’s mixed signals hurt Emery once again, she puts him out of her heart for good.
Until the Devlin family secret is finally revealed, freeing Jack from his father’s machinations. What Jack wants more than anything is to repair his relationships, starting with Emery.

However, Emery isn’t ready to forgive and Jack’s not ready to give up.
And when the town’s latest scandal ties Jack and Emery together, Jack is not above using their new reality to prove to Emery once and for all that their love is worthy of the legend of Hart’s Boardwalk.


Title : The Truest Thing
Author : Samantha Young
Series : Hart’s Boardwalk
Format : eARC
Page Count : 380
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Piatkus
Release Date : August 18, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Fans of this series have been waiting for this book, for Emery’s story in particular. She’s been a rather special side character, present in most of the book and I have needed to see her story in focus. Thus the joy at this precious landing on my kindle.

I liked the style of storytelling for THE TRUEST THING, it started nine years ago and edged its way through Emery and Jack’s hurtful dance around one another to the present time. It was frustrating, slow-burnish and traumatic all at once but I couldn’t put it down.

The best thing about this story for me, was Emery’s slow emergence from her shell, her shyness and beginning to form friendships to eventually standing up for herself. The female friendships in this group were great reading and felt real to me. There was a moment, a line from Cat that completely cracked me up.

“Dana Kellerman is a pile of shit frosted in diamonds.”

Jack on the other hand, I really struggled at times with him. He frustrated the heck out of me. Yeah, yeah, he had all the reasons but how Emery stayed the hopeful distance is beyond me. I came to a place of grudging acceptance with Jack but I never really liked him.

This series has been a favourite of mine and each book has delivered on story, couples to cheer for and a building groups of characters across Hart’s Boardwalk. THE TRUEST THING really did feature all the couples from the other books and I loved their involvement.

If you’ve not started this series, or you’re not up to date, get on that, so that you can read this final (I think) instalment.

Thank you to the author for the early review copy.

 

BLACK TANGLED HEART by Samantha Young

To my siblings, Jane was a friend. A pseudo-sister, the girl we grew up with.
To me? She was everything.
Our passion consumed us.

When our world fell apart, I thought our love would be the thing that held us together.
She was the love of my life. But she abandoned me when I needed her most.
And I’ll never forgive her.

For years I’ve been planning my revenge against the people who took everything from me.
Jane won’t be an exception. I’m coming for her.
She knows it.

She says she wants to help me serve my version of justice on the people who hurt me.
I’ll let her.
She probably thinks it will save her from me.

It won’t.


Title : Black Tangled Heart
Author : Samantha Young
Series : Play On #3
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : May 14, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

BLACK TANGLED HEART was a story of two parts and I love it when a book moves through time frames for the characters. The first part of this book gave me Kissing Booth vibes with the two MCs Jane and Jamie. The young love and connection between these two was desperate and passionate but also brushed with the sweetness of first love.

But this was much more than a love story, it was a story of families and their flaws. Jane was an unofficial family member of the McKenna siblings but she loved them and was loved by them. The side stories of Skye and Lorna were both painful to read.

When things went downhill in this story, all the characters were carried with it and life was transformed in a bad way. When time jumped it was fascinating to catch up with the new realities. I didn’t always care for some of the drama, nor was the Hollywood backdrop my favourite but I did like the suspenseful developments of the story.

It was difficult to look away from the intensity of Jamie and Jane’s connection and that carried this story through for me. This was a solid continuation of the Play On series, not my favourite, but I’d still love to read more in this series.

Thank you to the author for an early review copy.

OUTMATCHED by Kristen Callihan & Samantha Young

What happens when a boxer finds chemistry with a geek?

Parker Brown can’t believe she needs to hire a fake boyfriend. When she landed her dream job in renewable energy, she thought she’d be entering a world at the forefront of progressive thinking. But the head boss prefers to promote employees who are “settled.” Thankfully, she’s found the perfect candidate, a fellow intellectual looking for some quick cash. What Parker gets is his protective big brother—Rhys Morgan. The tall, muscled ex-boxer with a foul mouth shows up just as her boss does, and now she’s stuck with the manipulative jerk.

Responsibility weighs heavily on Rhys. Now permanently out of the ring, he’s trying to hold together his late father’s gym and keep his younger brother, Dean, on the straight and narrow. To save Dean from himself, Rhys takes his place, ready to give this society girl a piece of his mind. Instead, he finds an opportunity. Even though they can hardly stand each other, posing as Parker’s boyfriend is a win-win deal. She gets to keep her job, and he’ll charm her star-struck boss into sponsoring his gym.

Problem is, they can barely keep their hands off each other. And what started as an easy deal isn’t so easy anymore. Because what future can a rough ex-boxer, afraid to open his heart, and a polished society geek, who has sworn off real relationships, possibly have?

They say opposites attract. These opposites are about to combust on impact.


Title : Outmatched
Author : Kristen Callihan & Samantha Young
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : November 19, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 3 star review

The coming together of two of my favourite romance authors was like Christmas and I waltzed into OUTMATCHED with full enthusiasm. This was a story of a fake relationship (which I do enjoy) and two very opposite characters. There were misunderstandings, judgements and chemistry along the way, so lots to get your teeth into.

Parker was battling a misogynistic workplace and a boss who’s behaviour forced her hand to hire a boyfriend figure for work events. She just wanted equality but I hated that she had to do this just to get her mind to be taken seriously. Rhys was the occasionally angry and definitely grumpy character who could turn on the charm and unexpectedly offered to be Parker’s boyfriend for a price. He was all about the money…initially. I loved the uncovering of how they misjudged one another, that was something pleasurable to read.

The boss was an absolute revolting character and I didn’t love to hate him, I just hated him. This element of the plot drove me somewhat wild with annoyance. I also struggled with the fake relationship storyline going on too long and the narrative became lacking in tangability for me as the story progressed. Because of the extended fake relationship, I didn’t buy into Parker and Rhys as something more. The weird thing was, I really liked them as characters and their backstories, just not together. It made me sad that I couldn’t buy into them fully.

OUTMATCHED has lots of goodness, a nice sporting foundation (sports romance is kryptonite to me), an opposites attract story and fake dating. If these are your thing, I hope you enjoy this story.

Thank you to the author for the early review copy.

WAR OF HEARTS by S. Young

New York Times Bestselling author Samantha Young writing as S. Young.

Thea Quinn has no idea what she is. All she knows is that her abilities have been a plague upon her life since she was a child. After years of suffering at the hands of a megalomaniac, Thea escaped and has been on the run ever since.

The leadership and protection of his pack are of the utmost importance to Conall MacLennan, Alpha and Chief of Clan MacLennan, the last werewolf pack in Scotland. Which is why watching his sister slowly die of a lycanthropic disease is emotional torture. When Conall is approached by a businessman who offers a cure for his sister in exchange for the use of Conall’s rare tracking ability, Conall forges an unbreakable contract with him. He has to find and retrieve the key to the cure: dangerous murderer, Thea Quinn.

Thea’s attempts to evade the ruthless werewolf are not only thwarted by the Alpha, but by outside dangers. With no choice but to rely on one another for survival, truths are revealed, intensifying a passionate connection they both fight to resist. At war with themselves and each other, Conall and Thea’s journey to Scotland forces them to face a heartrending choice between love and betrayal.

War of Hearts is a standalone paranormal romance.


Title : War of Hearts
Author : S. Young
Series : True Immortals #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 447
Genre : Paranormal Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : October 1, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


This was an interesting paranormal world created by Samantha Young that was overall something I could invest in for this book but also for a series ahead. It’s been a while since she’s written in this genre and since I’ve read her older fantasy/PNR but I guess it’s like riding a bike because it worked for me.

WAR OF HEARTS focuses on Thea, a human type of being from unknown descent and difficult to label. She was a loner and she’d been on the run for a long time. I really liked how her character, powers and abilities were constructed; she was exciting to read about. I felt like it took a bit of time to get to know her, but she was kind of mysterious so this fitted in with the story.

Conell was a shifter, a Scottish wolf and the alpha of his pack, sent to literally sniff Thea out. The story of Connell and Thea, in opposition to one another and grudgingly developing changes in perception, was superb to observe. I got very absorbed and involved. At the heart of this was a great romance and rode with the tide on this one.

The story straddled Europe and that element made for engaging reading. I struggled a bit initially to get on board with the fae element of the storyline and the narrative of the past. I did come to appreciate parts of that, however.

There’s so much to this story, needing world building and that was delivered. The characters were well developed and on top of enjoying this first story of the series, I think there’s lots of good reading to come with characters from this story merging into the next book.

THINGS WE NEVER SAID by Samantha Young

Local metalsmith and gift shop owner, Dahlia McGuire, likes her quiet life in Hartwell, Delaware. It’s the perfect place to hide from her family and the tragic events that led to their estrangement. However, when her father, the person she loves most in the world, needs her Dahlia has no choice but to return to Boston to face her ghosts. One of those happens to be her ex-boyfriend’s best friend, Michael Sullivan. The man she was never supposed to fall in love with.

Michael Sullivan has never forgotten Dahlia McGuire. Some might say he’s never gotten over her. For years he lived with the anger of her desertion, and now, newly-divorced, he’s finally ready to move on. That proves impossible when Dahlia returns to Boston and reawakens their explosive connection. Despite everything, Michael wants her back, but Dahlia can’t seem to let go of the tangled emotions of the past. When she flees home to Hartwell, Michael follows, determined to do everything in his power to convince her they belong together.

However, when the unthinkable hits the quiet seaside town, Michael finds himself trying to unravel more than the mystery of Dahlia’s broken heart. It’s time for truths left unsaid to finally be spoken or Michael and Dahlia might find themselves torn apart forever…


Title : Things We Never Said
Author : Samantha Young
Series : Hart’s Boardwalk #3
Format : eARC
Page Count : 361 pages
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : May 7, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

It felt great to be back with the Hart’s Boardwalk crew and the friendships that feel more like family were just as I recalled. THINGS WE NEVER SAID quickly transported the story to Boston but this did not detract from the Hart’s feel and fans will be glad to know that Hart’s Boardwalk remains central to everything in this book.

THINGS WE NEVER SAID is an intense second chance romance between Dahlia and Michael. This was a story that traversed a few decades but centred on the present. Dahlia and Michael had a serendipitous meeting. Life after that was peppered with possibilities and roadblocks. The connection between these two was undeniable but they just didn’t seemed destined to be together.

There is a wonderful family that pulls the whole focus of the story and Dahlia’s family is real, warts and all. The family story made me just get lost in the words as I identified with the relatability of this aspect. There was also a suspense element later in the story that added to being drawn completely into the story.

I don’t want to give anything away about the whys and whens of Dahlia and Michael’s story but suffice it to say they made great reading. The build of the relationship burnt slow and deep, the heat was preeettty firey.

Like most fans of this series, I continue to need Emery’s story badly. Please let this be coming sometime soon.

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book, thanks to the author for the review copy.