Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Series Review - Reluctant Hearts by Brighton Walsh

Title: Caged in Winter (Reluctant Hearts #1)
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
In this emotional and sexy New Adult debut from Brighton Walsh, the only thing more frightening then commitment is hope…

Aspiring chef Cade Maxwell is immediately, viscerally attracted to Winter Jacobson. But it’s not her mouthwatering curves he’s drawn to—it’s the strange emptiness in her eyes. When Cade saves her from a drunken customer with grabby hands, he’s shocked at her response…

Winter doesn’t need Cade’s help. After a lifetime of getting by on her own, she’s happy to rely on herself. She’s exactly seventy-six days away from graduating college, and if she can hold it together that long, she’ll finally be able to rise above the crappy hand she was dealt.

But now, every time she turns around, Cade is there, ready to push her, smile at her, distract her from her plans. Winter knows she can’t afford to open up—especially to a man she’s terrified to actually want…


Cade wasn't looking for anything or anyone when he first came across Winter at the bar where she's a waitress. But after helping her with a handsy customer he can't stop thinking about her. And he's determined to find out more about her, to get to know her. Except that Winter is not looking for a hero. She's only has a couple months of school left before she can finally make something of her life. But Cade isn't ready to let her go that easily. And the more he pushes, the more Winter starts to open up, even if she doesn't want to.


I somehow missed the memo about Brighton Walsh’s Caged in Winter when it first came out. Like I don’t even know what I was doing that I missed it. And even then, I only found out it existed after randomly coming across Tessa Ever After, wanting to read it,  and then realizing that it was the second in the series. All that to say that I have since (obviously) rectified the situation and read Caged in Winter. Which opened the door to some binge-reading of the other books in this series once I got my hands on them. But about Caged in Winter itself. I loved Cade and Winter. Sure, there were plenty of times when I wanted to slap them both in the back of the head and tell them to pull it together and stop being idiots, but I really did like them. A lot. I sped through their story, rooting for them every step of the way despite my sometimes momentary frustrations with them. But they made it through and I loved them all the more for it. And as much as I loved them together, it should be said that Cade and Winter were also pretty awesome individually. Even if it sometimes drove me a little crazy, I loved and respected Winter’s desire to do everything on her own. And Cade? My heart melted a little bit anytime he interacted with his niece. There is just nothing more adorable than a big tattooed guy having a tea party with his four-year-old niece. And obviously reading Caged in Winter made it clear that I needed to read the rest of the books in this series. 

Title: Tessa Ever After (Reluctant Hearts #2)
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Source: Gifted
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
In this grippingly emotional New Adult novel from the author of Caged in Winter, what you want isn’t always what you need…

Jason’s been living (and loving) the rich playboy lifestyle for five years, but now his parents are pressuring him to get involved in the family business. The last thing he wants is another obligation, but when his best friend moves out of state and asks Jason to look after his sister, he can’t just say no.

Tessa had to grow up way too soon. After dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ deaths, then becoming a teenage mom, she knows the meaning of responsibility. Which is why, at twenty-two, she’s looking for so much more than a party boy. She’s looking for someone who can stand by her and her daughter…forever.

A relationship between them is doomed from the start, but who says they can’t have a little fun? But as Jason gets closer to Tessa—and her daughter—fun starts to turn into something else…Something Jason’s no sure he’s ready for.


Even though she's just twenty-two, Tessa knows a lot about life. It's what happens when you get pregnant and have  daughter at seventeen. Now, she's ready to settle down and find someone who'll be there for her and Haley. But the person who steps up is the last one she expected. When his best friend asked him to look out for his sister, Jason never thought it would be anything more than checking in on Tessa and Haley once in a while. But the more time he spends with Tessa, the more he finds himself wanting to be there for her and her daughter. He just has to prove to her that he isn't the party boy she's known him as her whole life. 


I apparently love books that involve children. So really, reading Tessa Ever After was a no-brainer for me. And Haley, the child in this particular story, is adorable. Add to that Jason and Tessa and well I couldn’t possibly not love this book. I always love romances between people who’ve known each other their whole lives. I love seeing that friendship turn into something more. And I loved seeing that happen for Jason and Tessa, even though neither one of them expected things to go that way. And Tessa and Jason were just fun to see together because of all that shared history they had. Granted that shared history sometimes made it so both of them were hesitant to get involved in anything romantic with each other. But still. I loved it. And much like Cade with Haley was adorable, seeing Jason step up and take care of that little girl completely melted my heart. And Cade's reaction to hist best friend and sister getting together? I was laughing. And I should probably mention that I loved Tessa, right? Because I did. If I had had a kid at seventeen, I can only hope I would have my life as together as Tessa does. Also, I want to be friends with her because she's pretty awesome. And I just know we would have a blast hanging out together. With Haley, too, of course. 

Title: Paige in Progress (Reluctant Hearts #3)
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Bright Publishing
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
She wanted a one-night stand…and then he moved in next door.

Paige Bennett is more than content with her life and what she does—and does not—have in it. She’s got a supportive family, a great apartment, and the best friend a girl could ask for; so what if her relationships expire faster than a carton of milk? After a disastrous detour courtesy of poor judgement in the boyfriend department, her plan is back on track and her dream job is finally within her grasp. Nothing can make her lose focus now. Well, nothing except the one-night stand she had with her best friend’s surrogate brother. The one-night stand she can’t stop thinking about.

Adam Reid has always been reliable…the responsible son, the loyal friend, the steady boyfriend. Two years ago, he graduated Magna Cum Laude and is well on his way to making a name for himself at an accounting firm in Denver—a far cry from working as a helper in the Mom and Pop store his parents own in Michigan. But when said store starts failing, he’s the only on who can step in and help. So reliable Adam does what he always does and comes to the rescue.

Paige thought Adam was a safe bet because he lives halfway across the country. But then suddenly he’s moving back to their town, and then into her apartment building, and soon he’s worming his way right into her life. If she’s not careful, he might sneak his way into her heart, too…


When she hooked up with him all those months ago, Paige thought Adam would be the perfect one-night stand. After all, he lives halfway across the country. What she didn't count on was being unable to stop thinking about him. And him unexpectedly showing up in town and moving in to the apartment across the hall from her. But even though she can't stop thinking about him, Paige isn't looking for a relationship. Adam, hasn't stopped thinking about Paige either. And he's determined to spend more time with her. If only he could convince her that relationships aren't as bad as she believes they are. But then, what happens when Adam has to leave town again?


I have a lot of book boyfriends, let’s not kid ourselves here. And I often say that I wouldn’t mind if a guy from a book existed in real life. But never has that been more true than with Adam in Paige in Progress. I have come to the conclusion that Adam is pretty much my dream guy. Seriously. Every time I thought he couldn’t get more perfect, something new would happen and I would fall for Adam a little harder. Also, I want to be Paige’s new best friend. Well, actually her’s and Tessa’s new best friend. I just know we would have a lot of fun together. Because I loved Paige something fierce. I just loved her attitude and the way she didn’t take crap from anyone. And how she and Adam were together? When she wasn’t having a mini breakdown about the idea of being in a relationship, that is. That’s the kind of relationship I want with someone. There was just so much that I loved about Paige in Progress and of the three books in this series, I think it might just be my favourite. Probably (definitely) because of Adam (but Cade and Jason are great, too). All that to say that I absolutely loved reading this book.


If you love New Adult romance and haven't yet picked up Brighton Walsh's Reluctant Hearts series, what are you waiting for? Believe me when I say that you need to read these books, like yesterday. And don't even think about trying to fight me for Adam because I've already called dibs.

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