Review Post: Smoke and Mirrors (City Limits #3) by M. Mabie

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Contemporary Romance| Second Chance Romance

Smoke and Mirrors is the third standalone in the City Limits series. It features a new couple navigating their second-chance romance. Enjoy this love story between a fireman who has returned home from the military and the single mom he left down the street. Welcome to Wynne.


My best laid plans had backfired. I’d thought by putting miles between myself and my first love that she’d be free to live whatever life she’d wanted, but when I came back from serving my country and Faith was raising her little girl alone, it was time to make new plans.

In eight years, not a single day had passed when she wasn’t on my mind, and not a night went by when I didn’t miss her. She was fierce and stunning and didn’t need a man in her life, but when the time came—and she wanted one—the line would start behind me.

Like smoke, I’d let her slip through my fingers once, but I’d never forgive the man in the mirror if I let it happen again. She was the fire inside me that would never burn out.


Smoke and Mirrors TEASER SQ

*****5 Amazing Second Chance Stars*****

Going back to Wynne is something I absolutely treasure. Getting more of M. Mabie’s exceptional words is something I look forward to with all that I have. Being with her wonderful and distinctive characters is something that just gives me life and everything that I need.

Reading her books always feels good. Damn good. I never want them to end. Ever. I’m never ready to say goodbye to her characters and the feels that they give me. I’m never ready for the story to end, I’m never ready for it to stop consuming me like all of her stories do. I’m never ready to sever the vibrant and all-feeling connection I feel to her words and what she so memorably creates with them.

The inviting and memorable world and characters and moments she creates within the pages of her books’ take me in in the most authentic and heartfelt way. They take me in, they own me while I am in their dynamic grasp, and by the end of it all, I never want them to let me go because that’s how good and right and enjoyable they are.

I can’t get enough of M. Mabie’s words. Or her books. Or her characters. Or what she gives me with them along the way. I can never get enough of it all.

And that is just a fraction of what makes her books so incredible, so enrapturing, and so moving.

Smoke and Mirrors was another exceptional example of M. Mabie’s writing talent and thoughtful storytelling. Every word of this book stole my heart and soul, while simultaneously letting me feel like I was coming home to the best group of characters a girl could ask for. The way she brought it all to life through her words, through the memorable and all-feeling moments she so fantastically created, and the way she let me live it and breathe it and just experience it all was everything to me.


This book was equal parts sweet, meaningful, and heartfelt. It perfectly balanced every amazing aspect of its second chance nature, while giving me a love story that touched every facet of my heart. This story was one built on emotion, feels, heart, second chances, and a helluva lot of hope and strength and fight.

I honestly can’t tell you enough how amazing it was to read and experience. This book just felt good to read. Every word, every sentence, every page and moment felt good and right and needed. It felt like the perfect summer day. It was fulfilling, satisfying, and it flooded me with the most beautiful feeling of contented pleasure. All of M. Mabie’s City Limits books have felt that way, and this book just showed me even more why I love this series, why I love the wonderful and distinctive and honest characters it gives me, and why I can’t get enough of a little town named Wynne.

The events of this story follows two characters, as they get a second chance to fix what could’ve been. Years ago Aaron and Faith had a connection that was full of fire and longing and young love, but there were obstacles that held them back and stood in their way. Now years have passed, yet their connection and feelings and longing for one another have only strengthened. He’s left and come back, she’s now a single mom to an amazing little girl, and they both seemed to be plagued with thoughts of “what would’ve happened it we…” It is those thoughts that take up more of their minds and hearts than they are willing to really admit, and that is what eventually gives them both that little nudge to see what could be.

Smoke and Mirrors follows what happens when Aaron and Faith decide to take that leap of faith, to meet that push that urges them to think of what they could share and have together, and to try to see what might happen if they gave it all a real shot.

This story follows them and their honest and so easy to love hearts as they take that second chance, as they feel it all, and as they try to figure out what the future might hold for them both. They share an intertwined past that seeps into their present in more ways than one. They also share a strong as all get out connection that has them both knowing that they need to do something. It is that connection and pull that will have you in every word of this book, experiencing it all with them as they take that second chance, as their fight and determination and tenacity shines through, and as they soon start to realize that falling for one another is oh so easy when you already fell so long ago.

There were so many aspects that I absolutely loved about this book. I loved that it gave me a front row seat to a second chance romance. Second chance love stories are my jam, and Aaron and Faith highlighted that for me again and again while I experienced their second chance at it all. They showed what second chances are all about. They showed the vulnerabilities and worries and fears that come with them. They showed what happened when you put all of that aside and took that leap of faith to see what could be. They showed every part of their hearts and pasts, they showed how it was all affecting them in the present, and along the way they showed their hopes and dreams and their longing.

Getting all of that was nothing short of spectacular.

What I loved about this book was that it gave me a story about what happens when two people fight for what they want and need and for what they believe in, all while showing their realistic, sweet, and heart melting journey together as they gave it all another chance.

This book lets their story unfold in the most magical and fitting way that will have you swooning something fierce, while simultaneously wishing you were them getting to feel every ounce of what they share.

Suffice to say, those two completely stole my heart. Every page solidified my love for them and my adamant belief in what they shared. That combined with the wonderful characters of Wynne made this story incredible on every level.

Aaron was a man that I loved from the start. I loved how good of a guy he was. I loved that he was a hard worker, both at his job and his life and with everything he wanted to share with Faith. I loved that he was a man who would not give up, and who would not apologize for doing what he knew was right. Aaron was a character who was true to his word, who was so honest and real, and he was someone who was doing all that he could to right the wrong choice he made all those years ago. I loved him so fiercely. I loved his heart, his determination, and how he was there for Faith and her little girl. I swooned for that man, I rooted him on and believed in him, and I just loved him with all that I had.

Plus who can resist a firefighter with a heart of gold?! (The answer to that question is no one, in case you were wondering.)

Faith was a woman who I connected to immediately. I found her so real, so genuine, and she was such a good person and mother doing the best she could for her little girl and herself. That girl has more strength and tenacity than you can shake a stick at, and seeing all that she did to get by and to give her daughter the life she deserved was amazing. It seared my heart to that woman, and the sheer strength she had and how hard she worked and fought for it all was the absolute best. I also loved how real of a character she was. She was smart, she had hesitancies like any person in her shoes would have, and she wasn’t afraid to be honest with what worried her. She was real and complicated in such an endearing way, and that was just one of many things that had me loving her to pieces. She was also just a damn good person and mother and friend, and every interaction with her made me smile or laugh of feel such a strong connection to her.

She was her through and through, and I loved every relatable and sweet bit of her that I got to know and understand in this book.

Everything those two shared together pulled at my heart. It made me believe in everything they were trying to build with their second chance. It had me feeling it all right along with them through M. Mabie’s enrapturing and authentic writing. It had me basking in the memorable moments they shared, the fire that sparked between them, and the feelings that had them falling hard for one another. Every word of this book had me rooting for them and that was just another thing pulling me into this incredible book.

No to be outdone, the rest of the characters that make the world of Wynne what it is are back in this book and will have you loving every moment you get with them. You will love Delaney, Faith’s daughter, with all that you have. The spunk and sass of that girl is all kinds of amazing, and you will love getting her interactions with Faith, with the other people of Wynne, and especially with Aaron. *cue all the swooning* All your favorites are back. Rhett, Sunny, Darrel, Hannah, Vaughn, and so many others that will have you loving what you’re reading and feeling like you just want to pull up a chair and sit down for a beer with them all.

All of these wonderfully distinctive characters make this world and series what it is, and they all add another fantastic layer to this love story that will just have you chomping at the bit for the next time you get more of them all.

Smoke and Mirrors is a story that I loved every word of. I loved how it allowed me to feel good and how it encapsulated me within a story that was magical and real and so honestly heartfelt. I loved how it stole my heart, how it made me hope and wonder and wish, how it let me get the vulnerabilities and the honest selves of these characters, and how it just gave me a second chance romance that gave me everything. This book was another incredible addition to this series, and it told a story that was sweet, real, and one that everyone should have the pleasure of reading.

This book is all about what you do with the second chance you’re given. Do you wait? Do you leap? Do you dance around your feelings, or do you let them take charge? Do you hold back because of what could happen, or do you give it one last push because something could happen? Do you love? Do you fall? Do you put your heart on your sleeve for the chance at something more?

Smoke and Mirrors gave me the answers to all of those questions and more. It gave me a love story that was so memorable and enjoyable and real, it gave me two characters whose hearts shined through every moment, and in the end it let me get a front row seat to a second chance love story that was outstanding in every way possible.

This book made me smile, it made me laugh, and it made me feel good. It gave me every part of these characters and their journey together, and it showed me just how right they were for one another.

M. Mabie excels at real life romance, and Smoke and Mirrors delivers a spectacular real life romance that will have you swooning, have you feeling it all, and that will have you believing in the meaningful power of a good second chance.

If you haven’t yet started the City Limits series of Standalone, you can find them on KU.

Roots and Wings(City Limits, #1 – Standalone)

Sunshine and Rain (City Limits, #2 – Standalone)

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M. Mabie is writer who made thousands of readers hate to love (and love to hate) the angst-filled contemporary romance, Bait.

She lives in Illinois with her husband. She writes unconventional love stories and tries to embody “real-life romance.” She cares about politics, but will not discuss them in public. She uses the same fork at every meal, watches Wayne’s World while cleaning, and lets her dog sleep on her head.

She has always been a writer. In fact, she was born with a pen in her hand, which almost never happens. Almost. M. Mabie usually doesn’t speak in third-person. She promises.




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Instagram: @m_mabie

Twitter: @AuthorMMabie


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