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Sugar & Spice by Sarah Sanders

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This one is super short, super cute and super hot. Princess Aurora has just been formally made the Crown Princess of her c...

Entangled by Melissa Brayden


⭐⭐⭐⭐★

Each time we finish one of Melissa Brayden’s books we spend some time in a kind of afterglow just cherishing our favourite new characters birthed by that magical mind. This one was no exception. Happy bonus, this is the beginning of a series of books that will feature a group of friends – and this, series-about-group-of-friends, is really where Brayden excels.

Josephine Wilder, Joey, is in a happy place in life – looking after Tangle Valley Vineyard in Whisper Wall, Oregon, with her father and uncle. Three years back Joey had been literally left at the altar but she is trying to move on from that setback and all the pity that she felt from the small town she is in. Where Joey’s dad is winemaker par excellence, Joey’s skills are perfectly suited for organising, marketing, selling and everything else to make a success of their prize-winning wines. When Joey’s father suddenly passes, she is devastated and calls on her old friend Madison, now an up-and-coming winemaker herself. Madison arrives with a great chef, Gabriella in tow for the restaurant Joey is planning.

One sore point for the residents of Whisper Wall is a huge commercial resort, the Jade, being opened by a big chain, Elite Resorts. Becca Crawford is the general manager of said disliked resort. Sunny and cheerful, Becca arrives in Whisper Wall little knowing the resentment against the Jade.

Becca visits Tangle Valley Vineyard and meets Joey. Both feel that something between them. And that something sparks even with the ‘evil empire’ resort thing between them.

Brayden’s books can never be captured in a synopsis because they are much more about the characters, the dialogues and attitudes than they are about just the plot. In every book, Brayden gives us at least one character to love (sometimes more than one).

As typical, in this one too there is one quirky, adorable leading lady offset by the second leading lady who is hot, nice but rather stoic and not entirely as emotion-capturing as the first one. Joey is the adorable one in this. (We must admit when they were introduced we were expecting Becca to be the solidly likeable one, especially in her introductory scene.)

There is a lot that happens with Joey and her character gains a lot of depth as the story progresses. Joey is extremely well-rounded and there is a definite character growth in her.

We do have a problem with the post-conflict relationship-repair part. The conflict happened because Becca kept important information from Joey for weeks plus she shared that information with Joey’s friends thus igniting every single one of Joey’s not wanting to be the person pitied triggers. Resultantly, Joey understandably breaks off (with a very mature conversation). Now, after that, Joey is the only one working towards getting over what happened and saving the relationship. It’s like the actual problem triggered by Becca wasn’t the problem at all and Becca didn’t have any making-up to do. That made the whole latter part rather lopsided and while Joey gained greater depth as a character, Becca is left very wanting.    

However, each time we read (or re-read) one of Brayden’s books we feel a desperate urge to be the women she writes about and even more, we want everyone we know to magically become like the people she writes about – all accepting chill attitudes with great sense of humour and solidly supportive in every circumstance.

Of course, we recommend this book and eagerly look forward to the rest of the series.

⭐⭐⭐⭐★

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