Hey everyone, I am so excited to be a part of this blog tour and release day blitz for Lia Riley's "It Happened on Love Street"! This was such a cute book, so read on for my review, an excerpt, and a great giveaway!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET
Author: Lia Riley
Series: Everland, Georgia
On Sale: April 25, 2017
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD
In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Marina Adair, comes the first in a new series by Lia Riley about two city sisters finding love in a small town.
The most romantic place she never wanted to be . . .
Pepper Knight moved to Everland, Georgia, as step one in her plan for a successful legal career. But after this big-city gal's plans go awry, going home with her tail between her legs isn't an option. So when the town vet—
and her sexy new neighbor—offers Pepper a temporary dog-walking job, she jumps at the chance. No one needs to know that man's best friend is her worst nightmare . . . or that Everland's hot animal whisperer leaves her panting.
The last thing Rhett Valentine wants is to be the center of small-town gossip. After his first love left him at the altar, he's been there, done that. These days, life is simple, just the way he likes it. But sultry southern nights get complicated once sparks fly between him and the knockout next door. When she proposes a sexy, secret fling—all the deliciousness and none of the prying neighbors-it seems too good to be true. And it is. Because Pepper's determined to leave Love Street, and when she goes, she just might take his heart with her . . .
BUY THE BOOK HERE
THE EVERLAND, GEORGIA SERIES
IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET, #1
THE CORNER OF FOREVER AND ALWAYS, #2
“Here’s an idea.” He nudged his finger on hers. “Say we—and this is purely hypothetically—enjoyed the . . . ahem . . .pleasure of each other’s company in the privacy of our homes.”
“Hypothetically, kept it casual and under the radar?”
She nudged back. “When I leave, there’s no heartbreak, no drama, and no one is the wiser.”
“Interesting theory?” He reached out, his hand splaying her knee. “Or recipe for disaster?”
Tingles shot up her thigh. His skin was warm, those fingers very big and very male. “I have enough to worry about with my future. If you don’t need me for more than a little here and now? I might be persuaded. Hypothetically.”
He moved his hand from her knee to the back of her neck. The touch melted her faster than an ice cube in the July sun.
“What are you thinking?” she murmured.
His deep blue gaze locked on hers and there it came again, that curious sensation of floating and drowning. “That I’d like to hypothetically kiss you.”
There was a sudden roaring in her ears, a whoosh of blood. “Well, there’s only one way to test a hypothesis.”
Slowly, oh so slowly, he dipped forward. His lips didn’t settle on hers like she expected. Instead, he kissed the center of her forehead, softly, experimentally. A tremble rocked through him.
The evening air was sultry, no a hint of chill. The idea that she shook this steadfast man sent a shiver of need through the join of her thighs, a throbbing shudder that swelled to an ache as he peppered a light trail of kisses down her temple, and then moved lower. He took his sweet time on her cheeks, treating her as something to savor, a delicious dessert you didn’t want to wolf in one bite. Tension spread through her body, pulling tighter and tighter, her belly doing a fluttery dips and dives.
When he finally reached her lips, it seemed reasonable to expect that the kiss would be as soft as the others. Silly. Because Rhett was full of surprises. He didn’t hold back, his tongue was greedy, insistent, and hungry. Their teeth banged together. A chair tipped over. They crashed against a table leg, sent it screeching across the floor.
“In theory, you’re a good kisser,” she gasped, tracing her lower lip with her tongue. The skin was puffy, aching.
“Let me experiment a bit more. The initial results are promising.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lia Riley is a contemporary romance author. USA Today describes her as "refreshing" and RT Book Reviews calls her books "sizzling and heartfelt." She loves her husband, three kids, wandering redwood forests and a perfect pour over coffee. She is 25% sarcastic, 54% optimistic, and 122% bad at math (good thing she writes happy endings for a living). She and her family live mostly in Northern California.
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My gosh, Lia Riley never disappoints! I have been a huge fan since I read her first book, "Upside Down", three years ago, and I've enjoyed every one of her titles I've read since. While "It Happened on Love Street" was certainly more lighthearted than Riley's "Off the Map" series, I loved the change of pace and small town feel here.
Pepper Knight was a fun character. She's a bit introverted, highly driven to succeed, smart, sassy, and feisty. She's also petrified of dogs, due to a traumatic incident when she was a child. Unfortunately, I can also relate to this trauma as my daughter was bitten in the face by our family dog a couple of years ago. It was awful, and although my daughter does not seem to have any lingering fear of dogs, she still bears the scars on her cheek. Pepper, too, has scars on her face, but the internal wounds are what she needs to overcome if she wants to make ends meet in her new town of Everland, Georgia, as the only job she could find once her clerkship position was rescinded was that of dog walker. Poor Pepper, I really felt for her, things weren't going even remotely as she'd envisioned! But at the same time, Rhett Valentine was there to ease the pain, so I couldn't feel too sorry for her.
If you are tired of reading romance novels where the hero is a clichéd brooding bad boy, then Rhett Valentine is definitely your man. He doesn't sleep around, he's always respectful and chivalrous - even to the old biddies who drive him bonkers poking their noses into his personal business! - and he has strong relationships with his best friend, his sister, and even his ex. In a word, he's amazing! Even though he's extremely attracted to Pepper, he feels the need to be cautious, considering how he'd been burned in the past. Eventually, he and Pepper enter into a friends-with-benefits type of secret relationship, which is super sweet and steamy, and I loved everything about it! This arrangement works out great for both of them, until of course, it doesn't.
So what else is there to love about this book? Well, Everland itself sounds pretty fabulous. There are some interesting characters making appearances throughout, most notably Mayor Beau and Tuesday (born on a Friday). There's a villain, a treasure hunt, and a mystery, plus a new twist on an old classic board game. And then there's the time that Pepper lost her favourite hat...
I do wish that some of the townspeople and events surrounding them had a bit more depth and description. For instance, there was one character introduced in the beginning of the book, and he didn't appear again until the end, where he was able to fulfill a pretty significant role in solving the mystery. I would have liked to know more about him, or for his character to at least be mentioned a couple of times throughout the book. Otherwise, his role in the story feels a tad forced, know what I mean? The mystery itself was cute, but I didn't really feel any urgency to see the resolution. Same with the treasure hunt - it was a neat idea, but too easily solved, and didn't add a whole lot of significance to the story. I also felt like Pepper was able to overcome her fear of dogs quite easily, and I wanted more detail on how she did this. Plus, she only ever made mention of walking the Chihuahua, Wolfgang, and maybe one other dog. I'm not asking that Pepper's every moment of every day be explained in detail, but for a person with a major phobia suddenly forced to spend a good chunk of time each day with the object of that phobia? I need a bit more to buy into the whole deal.
Those minor complaints aside, I thoroughly enjoyed my time hanging out on Love Street with Pepper, Rhett, and all their kooky sidekicks. You can bet I'll be picking up "The Corner of Forever and Always" as soon as I'm able!
Many thanks to Forever Publishing for the Advance Reading Copy in exchange for my honest review.