Title: Sunset Rivalry
Author: Shannyn Leah
Series: By The Lake – The Caliendo Resort Book #2
Genre: Contemporary/New Adult Romance
Release Date: April 19th, 2016
Anya Caliendo left her family and their resort two years ago. She was ashamed and afraid that her family would blame her for some of their father’s ruthless dealings. Now she returns to the resort in secret to find files to clear her name, but she doesn’t plan on running into her one-time lover, Quinn.
Quinn used to work for Anya’s father too and he’s out to do the same as Anya – clear his name. When he runs into Anya, they strike a deal to help one another. Quinn wonders how he can trust a Caliendo to keep her word. Will she turn out to be just like her father?
Amid the secret meetings and late-night file searches, Anya and Quinn also fight a connection that seems to draw them closer and closer. Will they be able to clear their names and rekindle a romance or will their past destroy the future they so desperately seek?
“…just when you think you have figured it all out, there’s another surprise thrown in. I was left guessing until the very end, which contained a twist I never saw coming.” ~ Rochelle’s Reviews
Shannyn Leah lives in London Ontario, Canada. She comes from an entrepreneurial family, who all have a passion for developing new and exciting business ideas. When she’s not writing contemporary romance books, into the early hours of the morning, she’s antiquing with her two favorite people, her momma and her sister.
Shannyn has published five books in her series, By the Lake, including, Lakeshore Secrets, Lakeshore Legend, Lakeshore Love, Lakeshore Candy, and Lakeshore Lyrics. She is excited to be currently working on the Caliendo Resort, a new series for 2015/2016.
A contemporary humorous mystery set in the fictitious small college town of Gold Springs, California. Raina Sun is a typical graduate student trying to keep her head above water as the bills roll in from a lawsuit disputing an inheritance from her dysfunctional family. Then her dashing college adviser cons her out of several months of rent.
Her quest to get her money back sets into motion a streak of bad luck. First, she finds the dead body of an ex-lover and becomes the prime suspect to his murder. The only man she ever loved reappears as the lead detective to the case and wants to reignite their passion (or at least he’s sending out smoke signals).
Her life careens out of control as her best friend does whatever it takes to get the inside scoop for the town’s newspaper. And her grandma moves into Raina’s postage-stamp-sized apartment, dragging a red suitcase and trouble. The family secret Raina has been running away from is now staring at her across the dining room table every morning.
Raina must figure out how to extract herself before things get dicey. There is no place for an amateur when it comes to murder.
I really enjoyed this story. There are so very many adjectives starting with “c” that I would use to describe this tale: clean; cute; charming; comfortable; charismatic; comical; and the list continues to go on. The klutzy main character can easily be described as a representative of “Murphy’s Law” where all best intentions go awry. The adage of “if it was not for my bad luck, I would have no luck at all” certainly comes into play. And it is that quirkiness that envelopes this novel and gives it a hug. There are twists and turns and surprises galore and each character is hiding a secret or three. Betrayals abound and yet the sense of the story remains true to the defined descriptions of each character. An enchanting, tongue-in-cheek, and entertaining read.
Nicholas Blake is your typical class A, rich bastard who loves getting what he wants. He’s spoiled, selfish and enjoys all the lavish pleasures life has to offer—especially those that involve women and getting naked. Nicholas’ life is just damn near perfect. But one night out on the town with his friends and everything changes. One encounter with a stripper in stilettos who fittingly calls herself Cinderella, and his life suddenly doesn’t seem so goddamn perfect anymore.
As if that isn’t enough, there’s also Emma, the new maid in his father’s mansion that immediately piques his curiosity with her sweet smile and blue-green eyes. He finds himself drawn to her and wants nothing more than to seduce her into his bed, to make her his. But he just can’t seem to stay away from the stripper that makes him burn in ways he never knew possible.
The more he starts to care for Emma, the stronger his obsession grows for Cinderella.
Completely screwed up? Hell yes.
A decision needs to be made; he needs to choose. But will Nicholas be able to make that choice when he finds himself all tangled up in a giant cluster of love, lust and stilettos?
** ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. **
A ravishingly stunning and sensual introduction. The Cinderella theme was apparent throughout the entire story, including: the name of the stripper that Nicholas is haunted by and unable to relieve himself of her pull; Nicholas’s father trying to arrange his marriage alliance; Emma being a maid in Nicholas’s home; and (of course) the obligatory evil step-mother and step-sister to Emma. Yet this retelling worked on so many different levels it did not once feel contrived. Such exhilaratingly intense characters and erotically charged encounters. The antics between Nicholas and his friends is side-splitting hysterical. They are truly brothers in every way but blood. Sizzling and epically romantic.
Two years have passed since the attempted coup that nearly cost Leisha, Queen of Tahaerin, her crown, her lover, and her life. With her fractious and peevish nobles cowed into submission, she can finally enjoy the peace she work so hard to forge.
But, war has come to the kingdoms of Ilayta. Sailing over the horizon, vicious invaders arrive first on the shores of Tahaerin. Under the banner of their nameless god, they threaten to drown the land in blood and bring a weapon never imagined here.
Leisha will fight ferociously to save her kingdom and her people, while once more, powerful men plot against her. Conspiracies she thought long dead return and her one-time lover reappears with grand promises. One of her closest friends and advisers guards a secret that threatens everything she has built. Isolated and betrayed, she has only a pitifully small army and a handful of people she can trust.
As her enemies drive her from her home, turn friends against her and threaten her life, where can Leisha turn?
Although this is technically considered a sequel, it works as a stand-alone novel as the author nicely reviews past occurrences from “A Gift Freely Given” without reciting the entire prior installment. And what a stellar follow-up it is!! Such constant and thrilling action sequences that I often forgot this is considered a fantasy-based genre story. Aside from the magic-ish elements, this was quite realistic and I was drawn in and thoroughly and anxiously was tearing through the pages to see how the storylines were resolved. I want to be Leisha. And not just because of Zaraki either! (Okay, I will admit that there is a small portion of me that likes him included; as an added bonus of course.)
Leisha’s father, the king of Tahaerin, bartered away her childhood with his failed invasion of a neighboring kingdom. She grew up a hostage, a guarantee of the king’s good behavior. At sixteen, she returns to a land and a throne she knows almost nothing about.
Her powerful and ruthless uncle plans to force her into a marriage or take her crown by violence. The nobles of her kingdom all expect her to fail spectacularly and are eager to fight over the scraps. But, Leisha has no intention of going along quietly with any of their plans.
As a boy, Zaraki watched as slavers butchered his family. Orphaned and starving, he was taken from the streets, trained to spy and kill. He finds a position with the new queen when he is forced to flee the only home he remembers. But the job is far larger than he anticipated and Leisha’s life is threatened from all sides.
Leisha will fight to hold her crown and her throne with the help of an unknown and unproven spy. Zaraki will try keep her alive and to keep the oaths he took – to be loyal to her, to keep her secrets and never, ever fall in love with her.
I really liked this story. This was not just about having a strong female lead but rather this was a full-on leader that just so happened to be a female. The issues and situations that woman endured would have lessened most men and yet she handled it with grace and fortitude. And now I have a bit (by measure that the Titanic was a slip of a boat) of a girl-crush on Leisha. The writing was inspired. I cheered, cringed, and literally cried at points throughout the story. And I do not emote often, so in order to get me not only to actually weep, and thenadmit that I did, well then…well done!