Review Post: Lessons in Lemonade (Starving for Southern #3) by Kathryn Andrews

Title: Lessons in Lemonade
Series: Starving for Southern Series
Author: Kathryn Andrews
Genre: Contemporary/Sports Romance
Release Date: April 28, 2020


Meg Dukette
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
I believe in living my best life, and if surviving cancer taught me anything, it’s exactly that. I wake every day in the most beautiful city in the South, I’m a chef at my own restaurant, and everything is just the way I want it: easy, calm, and in perfect harmony—that is, until my best friend shows up with his wounded heart, smoldering gaze, and adorable dimples. Now, things are changing—we are changing—but with the promises I’ve made to myself, I don’t want them to. After everything I’ve been through, breaking them now seems unthinkable, but the alternative might be a lesson my heart’s not prepared to learn.
Jack Willett
Just when you think life is the best it’s ever been, fate has a way of intercepting.
I’ve spent ten years playing in the NFL, and with one wrong hit, my world comes crashing down. Now, I’m at the crossroads of what might become my past and a very different future. What I need is time and my best friend. Her gorgeous smiles, sexy legs, and optimistic outlook on life make the world brighter, better, and I’ve quickly found myself craving her more and more. She says we’re just friends, says that’s all we’ll ever be, but actions speak louder than words. It’s time to change the game, and I’m ready to pass the ball. I just hope she’ll be on the other end to catch it.
He’s her best friend.
She’s quickly turned into something more.
Will making a play for her heart be more bitter than sweet? Or will it add just the right amount of zest to make the most delicious ending of all . . .


*****5 Completely Amazing Stars*****

There are many things I know to be true in life, and at the top of that list is the fact that Kathryn Andrews writes amazing, unforgettable books that are truly in a league of their own.

I have been a fan of hers since her very first book Drops of Rain, and every new book, every new set of characters, every new world she lets me so vividly experience shows me again and again why she is one of my all-time favorite authors. Lessons in Lemonade was no different. This book brought me back to a world that I honestly never want to say goodbye to. This book gave me two characters that my heart was immediately with, and that I immediately believed in and rooted for with all what I had. This book was emotional, it was meaningful, it was viscerally beautiful, and it was romantic. It was sweet and swoony and funny.

It was everything. It was more. It was one of the best books I have read.

Every word of this book was incredible. I honestly can’t say that enough.

From the moment I met Meg and Jack, I knew those two were going to permanently own a piece of my heart. From the very first word of this book through the the very last, I was completely consumed with everything those two gave me. Their story and their intertwined journey together is about a lot of things. It is a story of second chances and what comes next. It is a story of emotional and life-changing upheaval that will bring you to places you never thought you’d be. It is a story of two people who are drawn to each other something fierce. It is a story of what happens when you push for more, a story about meeting that one person who makes you think about changing everything.

Lessons in Lemonade is a story of two friends who see what could be when sharing something more together soon becomes an option they can no longer resist.

I loved everything about this book. I loved the characters who completely stole my heart from the very first page. I loved that I could not put down this book for anything. I loved that this story not only took me on a journey with these characters and their relationship together, but it also highlighted their own personal stories and journeys that were just as important. I loved getting to be with the two of them in so many vivid and memorable moments. I loved getting to see a friendship blossom into something so deep, so real, and so beautiful. I loved how Kathryn Andrews once again allowed me to live and breathe and experience every syllable of her words through her incredible writing.

I loved it all.

if you have read the other books in this series, then you know that Meg and Jack were a story that needed to be told. You meet them both along the way in the other magnificent books that make up this series, and that set up is just part of what will have you so ready for their story. Even if this is your first time meeting them, you will love them from the start. I guarantee it. There is no way you can meet them and not fall hopelessly in love with them. They are just too good, too right, and too special to not love them with your whole heart.

And let me just tell you, if you have not had the pleasure of reading the other books in this series, then you need to this very second. Those books are utterly spectacular, and they will not only introduce you to a world of characters you will never want to leave, but they are truly some of the most exceptional books I have ever read. This book is the last in that series of interconnected stand-alones, and let me tell you, Kathryn Andrews brought this world and this story to them most fitting and fulfilling conclusion. I truly could not have asked for more.

One of my favorite aspects of this series and any book that this author writes is the way that she makes it so vivid and beautiful to experience. She transports you to some amazing places that are truly memorable and completely encapsulating. She makes every location feel so real. (And so many of them are real, and let me tell you, I need to go to those places as soon as humanly possible.) She makes every moment feel like you’re right in the middle of it. She brings out so many exceptional nuances and dynamics with these characters that mean everything. She gives you food. She gives you magic. She gives you feels and romance and the little things that really are the big things. She gives you love. She gives you everything.

Lessons in Lemonade was just the best. I loved every single word of Meg and Jack’s story together. I loved that it was very much of friends to lovers story. I loved that these characters both had to face some very tough decisions and choices that showed so many truths about them. I loved that everything they share together made them question everything they thought they knew and everything they thought they wanted. I loved that them being together made all the difference and truly changed everything. I was completely entranced with their connection and their fierce chemistry together. The rightness of the two them enveloped me from the start, and honestly I just spent all of this book LOVING what I was getting with them and eager for more of it all.

From the very start, Kathryn Andrews showed me the literal goodness of the two of them. She showed me their spark. She showed me where it all started for them. She let me be a part of the foundation and start of their friendship, and she let me be there when it crossed over into something more. She let me struggle with these characters with the challenges they faced, both individually and together. She let me understand them both on the deepest of levels. She let me get them, she let me peel back their layers so I completely understood why everything was happening the way it was. She put me there in the thick of it as the events of this story took these characters to places they never thought they’d be. She gave me it all with Meg and Jack, and it truly was everything.

Meg is literal charm and then some. She sweet, she is good, she is smart, and she is determined to live a life that feels good and right to her. She is a restaurant owner and chef who knows her way around the kitchen, and she is someone who knows what she wants. Or at least she thinks she does. She is also a woman who has been through a lot, and has the strength and tenacity to show for it. She is a woman who knows the power of food, and this book will exemplify that with her in spades.

Seeing her world get turned upside down by the seriously heart melting Jack, seeing how their relationship makes her rethink everything she thought she knew and felt. Getting to be with her as she navigated the wonderfully complicated and authentic dynamics this book’s events presented her was nothing short of spectacular. It was real, it was consuming, and it was beyond emotional and meaningful. I love and respect that girl with my whole heart for so many reasons, and honestly I just wish I could spend all the time in the world with er. Kathryn Andrews created a very memorable, authentic, and dynamic woman who is seriously easy to love. She is just the best.

Jack is a good guy. You inherently know that from the very first time you meet him. He is good, he is funny and charming in his own distinctive way, and he is not to be ignored. I loved that he was a flirt and force to be reckoned with in his own very memorable way that was never too much. He was always just enough. He was always more. That man is pure goodness. He has a heart of gold that is on his sleeve ready to feel it all. He is a man who gives it his all no matter what. He is also a man who has his entire world turned upside down in this book, and must face many life changing decisions.

What I loved about Jack was that through it all he stayed true to himself. He never wavered. And even in those moments when it looked like he did, or where he second guessed himself, he was still him. He was still the good guy who gave it his all. He was still the man who would do anything for his friends and family. He was the guy who put it all on the line when it really mattered. He was the man who saw the glass half full, even when the world threatened to break that glass to pieces. He was the best. Getting to be with him through the dark moments, through the bright ones, and through every unforgettable moment in between was phenomenal. It just made me love him more. I think it’s honestly impossible to not love Jack. He is just the best.

let me tell you that this story will take ahold of you with all that it has, and it will blow you away with the emotion, the meaning, and just everything you get with these characters. There will be moments in this story that will make you laugh, moments that will make you melt and swoon with the romance and the heartfelt moments that these characters share. there will be moments that hurt your heart and bring tears to your eyes for these characters and what they go through. There will be moments where you might want to shake them silly because of what’s happening, but all the while you’ll completely understand the whys behind it all. There will be moments in this book that will turn your world upside down just like it does to these characters.

And through it all, you will love it. You will love it with your whole heart and you will know, without a doubt, that you are reading a truly special and incredible story.

In this book, Meg and Jack are both handed some pretty sour lemons, but through every second of their unforgettable story you get to see how they squeeze and twist and mold those lemons into something resembling lemonade. And that lemonade? It just might be the most perfect thing you’ve ever had the chance to get.

And it’ll taste so so good. Trust me.

Lessons in Lemonade is hands down one of the best books I have ever read, and it is definitely one of my top favorites by this author. This is such a special story to me. It was so emotionally meaningful, and it was the perfect way to say goodbye to a world of characters that have stolen my heart for years. It was love and food and connection personified. It was a beautiful and emotional story of what could be, and it truly was magical with what I got with Meg and Jack. Those two are something special. They are the best. They are right and more and just everything.

I am telling you, you will love them. You will love them fiercely with your whole heart, and you will want and need everything with them. You will love the lessons, you will sure as hell love the lemonade, and you’ll even love the lemons that come their way. You will love it all. Kathryn Andrews thoughtfully crafted and created a story that is truly unlike any other, and that will give you it all.

So are you ready? Are you ready for the literal amazingness that is this book? Well take yourself a seat. Get yourself a glass. Give yourself a heavy pour of that sweet sweet lemonade, and be ready to experience the incredible, emotional, beautifully breathtaking Lessons in Lemonade.

Kathryn Andrews loves stories that end with a happily ever after. She started writing at age seven and never stopped. Kathryn is an Amazon Bestseller for her much loved Hale Brothers Series and is a chi-lit, contemporary romance, and new adult writer. 
Kathryn graduated from the University of South Florida with degrees in Biology and Chemistry, and currently lives in Tampa, Florida. She spends her days as a sales director for a medical device company and her nights lost in her love of fictional characters.
When Kathryn is not crafting beautiful worlds that incorporate some of her most favorite real life places, she can be found hanging out with her husband and two young sons, while drinking iced coffee and enjoying the sun. To find out more about Kathryn and her novels, visit:


Releasing Now: Last Slice of Pie by Kathryn Andrews

Title: Last Slice of Pie
Series: Starving for Summer #2
Author: Kathryn Andrews
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Sports Romance/Southern Fiction
Release Date: August 21, 2019
Cover Design: Julianne Burke from Heart to Cover, LLC

Last Slice of Pie is a novel every bit as delicious as its title suggests. From the first page to the last, you’ll be hungry for more of this gorgeous romance.” Author Elle Brooks


Last Slice of Pie is a delicious, sweet southern treat of a second chance sports romance, and I can’t wait to get more of this world that Andrews baked up.” Author Karla Sorensen, USA Today Bestselling Author

Lexi Jarvie
Pie isn’t just a dessert, it’s a way of life. 
Pies, fillings, jams, jellies, honey, they’re all a part of my award-winning business, Firefly Kitchen. After being left behind, by everyone, I was determined to make it all on my own, and I have. I love what I do, I love what I’ve created, and I love who I’ve become. Yes, it’s small, but it’s mine, and nothing or no one can stop me now. Not even Bryan Brennen. He may have returned, but it won’t be long before he leaves. And regardless of which way you slice it, some things can’t be forgotten, no matter how sweet the taste.
Bryan Brennen
Football isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life.
I’ve spent more years than I can remember chasing my dream. When you come from nothing, it’s even more important to become something. The unstoppable drive and incomparable determination that is ingrained in me has gotten me to where I am now; twenty-eight years old and undoubtedly the best professional quarterback in the league. To be happy is to be perfect. Plans, plays, passes, I’ve mastered them all, but it was never just for me, it was for her, too. Only she doesn’t know it, and now, ten years later, I’m ready to tell her.
She’s a small town girl. He’s a household name. 
Off the field and out of the kitchen, will they break and crumble, or finally get their second chance at the biggest game of them all . . . love.
“How long has it been?” Jack asks as he walks up into our conversation. There’s a fork sticking out of his mouth, and I can’t help but roll my eyes. You would think after how much pie he shoved down his throat yesterday he’d be in sugar shock, but nope, he’s back at it again today. 
Catching my expression, he grins. “What? I can’t help that it’s all so good.” His eyes widen as he spots the two new boxes, and he tips his head. “What kind are those?”
I pick up the boxes and hand them to him. One says grasshopper pie, and the other says cherry.
“Yes! Can I take these home?” he asks, his voice so hopeful.
“Sure, and it’s been a while since I’ve been back—years, in fact,” I answer as I look at Jack. I’m certain my frown relays that it’s been more than just a few years, but only I know that the true answer is never. I’ve never gone back home.
He tucks the boxes under his arm, the sleeve of his clean shirt bunching up. He’s already showered and ready to go.
“I understand.” He nods and then breaks eye contact. “I don’t really have any one place I call home, so I haven’t been anywhere in years either. We moved around a lot with my father’s career, and now they’re retired in Scottsdale. I love the water way too much to think about staying there long-term.”
I agree. I love the water, too, which is why many people were surprised when I bought my house on the river instead of downtown or on the island with my other teammates. The minute I walked out the back door, which faces northwest, I knew it was the one for me. Yes, the river cuts through the city, but the view across from me is undeveloped, wooded, and it makes me feel like I’m not in the city. It’s perfect. 
“What time is the ceremony? Want me to go with you?” Reid asks. I should have known he would offer. He’s loyal and a true friend like that. Not many would give up their day off to drive two hours in the car, stand in the heat, and then drive two hours back.
“It’s at ten, and thanks, but no thanks. I might make a few stops while I’m there.” 
Not a few stops, just one, maybe, but I don’t tell them that. 
Tossing my cleats and helmet into my locker and my dirty clothes into my bag, I grab a towel, wrap it around my waist, and turn to find both Reid and Jack staring at me. It’s like they know tomorrow is more of a big deal than I’m letting on, so I slip into my role as a leader and try to assuage their concerns.
“Don’t worry, boys.” I smile real big and see both of them shift away from the uncertain tension that had set in between them. I throw out my arms and begin walking backward toward the showers. “I’ll be back and on the plane for our game this weekend first thing the following morning.”
If only it were that simple.
Kathryn Andrews loves stories that end with a happily ever after. She started writing at age seven and never stopped. Kathryn is an Amazon Bestseller for her much loved Hale Brothers Series and is a chi-lit, contemporary romance, and new adult writer. 
Kathryn graduated from the University of South Florida with degrees in Biology and Chemistry, and currently lives in Tampa, Florida. She spends her days as a sales director for a medical device company and her nights lost in her love of fictional characters.
When Kathryn is not crafting beautiful worlds that incorporate some of her most favorite real life places, she can be found hanging out with her husband and two young sons, while drinking iced coffee and enjoying the sun. To find out more about Kathryn and her novels, visit:

Releasing Now: Chasing Clouds by Kathryn Andrews

Title: Chasing Clouds
Author: Kathryn Andrews
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 19, 2018
Cover Image: Perrywinkle Photography
Cover Designer: Heart to Cover
Reid Jackson
I’m a simple guy. There are only two things I love: my family and playing professional football.
I may not understand why people get married, but I’d go anywhere for my brother, even his friend Camille’s wedding. Once I’m there, I realize our Bronx upbringing has left me unprepared for the world of old Southern money. Over twenty-four hours, I see scandal, threats, and lies. It’s a life I don’t relate to, a place I never want to belong. Even so, when the minister asks if anyone objects, I shock not only myself but also the beautiful bride when I stand up and say, “I do.” I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me—but deep down, I knew I had to make that move.

Camille Whitley
As a political socialite in the South, nothing about my life is simple.

For years I’ve known I’d one day be standing at the altar, about to marry a man I don’t love. In Savannah, family expectations and appearances are everything, but none of it’s real. I hate what I’ve become, and I dream of being free. So, when an opportunity suddenly presents itself in the form of a stranger with captivating green eyes, I find myself asking what’s best for me: the plan or the unknown? I don’t know him, he doesn’t know me—but if I’m going to make a move, it’s now or never.

Look for all day release day giveaways on the Author’s Facebook and Instagram pages

Kathryn Andrews loves stories that end with a happily ever after. She started writing at age seven and never stopped. Kathryn is an Amazon Bestseller for her much loved Hale Brothers Series and is a chi-lit, contemporary romance, and new adult writer. 
Kathryn graduated from the University of South Florida with degrees in Biology and Chemistry, and currently lives in Tampa, Florida. She spends her days as a sales director for a medical device company and her nights lost in her love of fictional characters.
When Kathryn is not crafting beautiful worlds that incorporate some of her most favorite real life places, she can be found hanging out with her husband and two young sons, while drinking iced coffee and enjoying the sun. To find out more about Kathryn and her novels, visit:

Review Post: Foolish Expectations by Alison Bliss (The Sutherlands Anthology)

Title: The Sutherands – One Family Saga: 10 Sexy Stories
Authors: USA Today Bestsellers Robin Covington and Kelly Jamieson, Wall Street Journal Bestseller Terri Osburn, and critically-acclaimed and Amazon best-selling authors Alison Bliss, Shyla Colt, Avery Flynn, Abby Niles, Julie Particka, Joya Ryand and Naima Simone
Release Date: March 15
Of Note: 20% of all royalties earned from the sale of the box set will go to the Reach Out and Read Charity. Also, the box set will only be available until April 15, 2016. After that, the stories will be split up and sold individually for $2.99 and up.
 Meet the Sutherlands, a Texas oil family that doesn’t break the rules…they make their own. This box set of sizzling hot, never before published full-length novels and novellas about the Sutherland family alpha heroes and kickass heroines just might melt your e-reader and will definitely help you find your next book boyfriend. Featuring:
Shadow Ranch by USA Today Bestseller Robin Covington
Screwed by USA Today Bestseller Kelly Jamieson
Wrecked by WSJ Bestseller Terri Osburn
Foolish Expectations by Alison Bliss
Under the Evening Star by Shyla Colt
Brazen by Avery Flynn
Stripped by Abby Niles
Not the Marrying Kind by Julie Particka
One Forbidden Virgin by Joya Ryan
Sweet Surrender by Naima Simone
My Review

*****5 Charming and Wonderful Stars*****

This is a review of Foolish Expectations by Alison Bliss.

Foolish Expectations was another charming, perfectly heated, and completely enjoyable read by Alison Bliss. From the very first word until the very last, I was wowed once again by this author’s undeniable talent for creating such a distinct level of humor and charm, for crafting dynamic characters that jumped rooted themselves right into my heart, and her ability to create an authentic connection that just doesn’t quit. Her writing wholly submerged me into this book, heart first, and I could not stop reading it to save my life, and better yet, I didn’t want to stop because it was just that good.

This book was lively, had the best kind of vibrancy and charm with two unforgettable characters, and it gave me a story with the best level of feels, emotion, and fierce chemistry laced all the way through. Foolish Expectations had it all, and I loved every bit of everything that it was giving me because when you read a book as good as this one, there isn’t anything not to love.

Now it’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Alison Bliss. I have read each and every one of this author’s books, and they just keep getting better and better. Her writing is so fluid and easy to sink right into, and the stories she creates are so thoughtfully crafted that they completely take you over when you’re reading them. She always gives me a story that fantastically blends the right amount of everything into a book that is sure to give you one fulfilling reading experience.

Looking for a book with fierce characters that have a dynamic that will have you equally laughing and smirking and blushing through every page? Then this is the book and author for you. Looking for a story that will completely melt your heart from start to finish, and pull at your emotions in the best and most all-feeling way? Then run yourself, don’t walk yourself, to Foolish Expectations. (Or any of Alison’s other phenomenal books.) Looking for an enrapturing book that packs the most superb level of heat and story and fun and meaning into one fantastic package? Well then you guessed it, Foolish Expectations is for you, and I truly can’t say that enough.

I loved this book, and everything within it. Bailey and Nash’s story was full of their sparkling personalities, their unadulterated chemistry, and more humor, heat, and heart than you can shake a stick at. It had it all, and as I sit here writing this review, I just can’t help wanting and feeling like I need to read their story all over again to experience the literal amazingness that is them.

What I absolutely loved about Foolish Expectations:

  • Bailey’s got some fire. Bailey was a character that I completely loved from the start. The fire shot out of that girl like fireworks on the Fourth of July, and I loved that she wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is no matter what. She was spunky and real and that fire that emanated from her made her so easy to love because it showed the fighting spirit she had. What I also loved about that fire was that with it, I also got to see a more vulnerable side to her too. I got to see what happened when that fire went away, and when those doubts and fears came in and how that affected her. Alison Bliss created her character in such a way that she let me understand and get every part of Bailey. She let me understand her fears and trust issues and where they came from, she let me get why she was scared and why she shielded her heart, and she let me get where that fire came from and why Bailey needed it, and that just had me loving her character to pieces. Bailey was strong yet soft, sassy yet guarded in ways too, and a firecracker to say the least, and that is just part of why I loved her so much.
  • Nash is a man with a heart of gold. Now Nash Sutherland just about had me from the moment he locked eyes with Bailey in Foolish Expectations, even if she was bound and determined to give that man a run for his money. That man is a charmer, and I truly mean that, as he will have you eating out of the palm of his hand in no time flat because that’s the presence he has. He is charming and sweet and will just about melt your heart every chance he gets, but more than that, he is just an honest to goodness good guy. That’s what shined through the most about him, and that was probably my favorite thing about him. (You know besides the fact that he could melt me with just one look and smile!) He was real and honest and true with his feelings for Bailey, and he was determined to show her that what they were sharing was real and meant something. I loved that that goodness shined through every page of this book, and even when he had those moments of doubts or questions, he was still that good guy I knew him to be, and that just made him golden in my eyes.
  • One undeniable connection. Bailey and Nash’s connection hits the ground running from the moment they lock eyes in Foolish Expectations, and it doesn’t stop for a second. Not for one single second. Their connection is full of heat and passion and need, and it’s something that neither of them can deny. As much as they might fight it from time to time, and as much as it might make them a bit unsure of what’s happening between them, it’s there, it’s real, and it’s practically palpable. Alison Bliss creates and evolves that connection in a way that is perfect for what Bailey and Nash are sharing. Though their connection never wavers, she couples that fierce connection with the ups and downs they face in a way that works so well and makes sense for them. It also makes the love story they share that more real, undeniable, and full of heartfelt feeling that you won’t soon forget because of the tangible connection Bailey and Nash share.
  • The pains of the past. Both Nash and Bailey have things from their past that come into this story and threaten the connection that they can’t escape. She’s guarded and has trust issues from the last time she opened her heart, and he’s got some family drama that tends to cloud his thinking and reasoning from time to time. They both have pasts and they both have ramifications from those pasts that work their way into this story, and Alison Bliss weaves it all together in a way that fits their characters and everything that they’re sharing in Foolish Expectations. As much as I hated that they had to experience the pain and doubts that their pasts brought them both, I got it, and I completely understood why they felt the things they did because of their pasts. Understanding their pasts made me love them all the more, and it allowed me to understand them both on such a deeper and meaningful level.
  • Some good ol’ southern charm. Now like any of Alison’s books, these characters and the world they’re in have the best, and I mean best, southern charm that is sure to have you feeling the southern love in no time. That charm is so distinctive, so vibrant, and so fun, and Alison Bliss weaved it all into Foolish Expectations in the best and most memorable ways. She makes the world of this book come to life with all of that charm and sass, and it makes everything you read in this book that more meaningful, that more fun, and that more undeniably southern in the most fantastic way. I loved that charm and everything it allowed me to feel with Bailey and Nash something fierce, and I truly couldn’t get enough of the vibrancy and effervescent spark that charm gave off through every page.

Foolish Expectations is a story about what happens when life throws you a couple of curve balls you never quite expected. It’s about what happens when you end up down a road you never thought you’d be on, a road full of twists and turns, and a bump or two. It’s about taking risks with your heart, letting go of the past even though it’s hard, and seeing where that new road, that new journey, and all that it has to offer can take you, as long as you give it all a chance and get in the damn car. Let me tell you, you need to get in the damn car and take that chance with Nash and Bailey.

This book was fantastic in every single way. It had dynamic characters that were vibrant, real, and so easy to love and root for. It had a sparkling story that was completely captivating from start to finish, and burst with the best level of connection, charm, and feeling that is sure to melt your heart in more ways than one. It also had Alison Bliss’s phenomenal writing that brought it all to life in the most all-feeling and memorable way that will seriously have you loving this book, these characters, and everything they have to offer in no time flat.

Simply put, Foolish Expectations is a must read book that gives you everything that makes a book exceptional. If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would, because it was that undeniably good, that undeniably fun and heated and wonderful, and that undeniably memorable all the way through. Alison Bliss rocked every single aspect of this book and its characters. She let me be there with them through it all. She let me feel everything they were, she let me understand them in the most authentic of ways, and she invested me whole heartedly in everything that Bailey and Nash were sharing, and it truly doesn’t get better than that.

This is the perfect addition to The Sutherlands Anthology, and I for one can’t wait to experience and get more of this author’s utterly fantastic books, stories, and characters real soon!

Sutherlands 1

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Fireworks Over Toccoa

Welcome back fellow book addicts. While we may have made a slight detour on our journey of book addiction with the fun yet very enlightening discussion about the Fifty Shades of Grey cast, the time has come to discuss another book from my Never Ending Book Basket.

Today we travel back down to the south to discuss Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff.

Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff

Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff

I know what you’re thinking: Are all the books on here going to be about the south or take place in the south?

The answer to that question is no, but be forewarned now, I LOVE the south and many of the books set there. I find it very easy to slip myself into a southern state of mind. (It must be the Marylander in me) So it is very likely that a good number of the books discussed on here will take place in the south, but I promise you that each book will have you wishing you lived there, breathed there, and simply felt there.

Now for Fireworks Over Toccoa.

This sweet and charming book is set in the small town of Toccoa, Georgia in a time long ago right after the second World War. The story centers around Lily Davis Woodward and Jake Russo as happenstance brings them together despite their past and present lives. Lily is currently married to a man she hasn’t seen in over three years because of the war. Jake is an Italian American war veteran coming to town with a troubled but endearing past, and brings with him the gift of fireworks for the town of Toccoa.

What ensues when these two meet is a charming story about what happens when you meet someone who you know is going to change your life forever.

What I adored about this book:

  • The setting of the story. You knew this was coming right? The setting is set up well, and it is very easy to picture Toccoa Georgia in 1945. It is written so eloquently, I swear you can even feel the heat on your skin. Toccoa creates a nice backdrop for the story unfolding in the book, and provides the reader with an unforgettable experience. The background and history of Toccoa is also a nice added feature that fits in seamlessly with the characters of the book.
  • The theme of love. I won’t reveal too much of what happens in this story, but it is obvious that this book is about love, which is something near and dear to my heart. The varying levels and displays of love in this book are heartwarming, and makes for a story that will simply make you feel the love. All over.
  • Lily Davis Woodward. I adore a strong female character. (Is that really hard to understand? I am a female, hello?) Lily is a very unique and vibrant character, and is one that does not fit the exact mold of what you think a young woman would be like in post war America. Simply put, Lily defies the mold, but in a way that makes you love her for her vibrancy, tenacity, and desire to simply feel something out of the ordinary.
  • Hello, it’s a love story. What else can I add to that? This is a love story. Plain and simple. Similar to others out there, but Fireworks Over Toccoa is set apart by how the love story is presented and told. Past, present, and future collide here. It also has an air of mystery to it, because while reading there are many ways the story could go. The story simple isn’t told. You feel it. You breathe it. You are immersed in it.

Not to put a rain cloud over all of what I adored, but as always there were a few aspects that left me a wee bit sad:

  • What was left unsaid. I won’t discuss too much about how Lily and Jake’s stories come together, or how they end, but I will say while reading I found myself wanting more for each of the plausible endings that could have happened. This story presents many distinct options for how this book will end, and while I was satisfied with the ending I was left wanting to know more. I know beggars can’t be choosers, and that readers often want more when they come to the end of a book. (Believe me I’ve read a ton of books where that happened) I just felt more information could have been presented about everyone involved in the story, without needing to change the actual plotline.
  • The pace. This is a very fast paced story. I won’t tell you a timeline, but let’s just say it ain’t slow in any way shape or form. I do think the pace was done intentionally this way, and while it keeps you on your toes, I found myself wishing at times things would just slow down. I wanted more time immersed with the characters and the love, and I didn’t feel like I really got that chance.

Fireworks Over Toccoa is a lovely story set in a time that many of us never had the chance to see. It does a nice job of presenting a love story set to an amazing southern backdrop. This story will leave you wanting more for many reasons, but simply put, it is a love story. It is easy to dive into, and immerse yourself in for a short while.

Reading this book is easy as pie, and it will have you waiting for the day that that certain someone will come into your life and change it in ways you never thought possible. And of course, there will be fireworks.


If you’d like to learn more about this book the links below will get you to the author’s website and Facebook page. Enjoy.  🙂