Monday, February 8, 2016

Review and Giveaway: Carolina Dreaming

Carolina Dreaming (Dare Island - Book 5) by Virginia Kantra

Publication Date: 02/02/2016
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Virginia Kantra on the WEB: WebsiteTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Dare Island

1. Carolina Home
2. Carolina Girl
3. Carolina Man
4. Carolina Blues
5. Carolina Dreaming

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Carolina Dreaming, courtesy of the author's website.


When it comes to love, anything can happen on Dare Island—especially in this latest novel fromNew York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.   

After escaping a disastrous marriage, bakery owner Jane Clark has convinced herself that she has everything she needs—her precious son, a thriving business, and a roof over her head. But the arrival of a handsome stranger on the island shows her exactly what she’s been missing...   

The only home Gabe Murphy ever had was the Marine Corps. He's working hard to rebuild his life. It will take a special place, and a special woman, to make him want to stay.   

Now Gabe is determined to prove that he's worthy of Jane’s trust—and her love. But when her past reappears, that trust will be tested, and Jane and Gabe will have to fight hard to hold onto their love and make their dreams a reality..


Virginia Kantra takes readers back to Dare Island for another small town romance that will delight the heart. Carolina Dreaming focuses on a couple who both have some issues to overcome. The past can sometimes hold you back from the future. Kantra does a wonderful job delivering characters who are both realistic and easy to identify with. This is a sweet romance that readers will find satisfying in many ways. A great new book, from a seasoned author!

What I liked:

Virginia Kantra has a way with words. Her style is a lot like the setting of her books. Island living is often at a much slower pace, more simplistic and full of poignant moments and that's certainly what readers get with Kantra's writing. Her words flow effortlessly. The story seems to unfold in a very realistic manner. There is no insta-love here and no I can't live without you symbolism. It's about making real connections and finding your place in the world. Kantra never disappoints and her latest book is just as good as the others in this series.

Carolina Dreaming may be book five in the series but it can be read as a stand alone. I guarantee you will quickly want to go back and read the rest though. The hero in this one, Gabe, is a former Marine who has had some trouble adjusting to life outside the core. His childhood was no picnic and he has some issues with self-confidence and feeling worthy of finding love. He isn't a tortured soul, he is just a man looking for a new start and he finds it in the hometown of a former buddy, Luke, who is the hero of one of the other books in the series. 

Jane is a sweet lady trying to rebuild her life. She's a single mom who had a bad first relationship that has tainted her idea of love. She has some trust issues and who could blame her. She has found success with her business and her son means everything to her, but when she meets Gabe she realizes there is still a missing part. On the outside Gabe looks a lot like the bad boy from her past. But once she takes a deeper look, she sees beyond his past, to the man he really is. This is just such a sweet relationship that goes from friendship to love in a normal easy pace.

Kantra makes the reader fall in love with these two characters both separately and together. I loved Jane's relationship with her father and the wonderful friendship that starts between her son Aidan and Gabe. There were some upheaval's of course. You can't have a truly good romance without some conflict and a lot of soul searching, but this one really hit the spot. A very good read!

What I didn't like:

This is a romance so the reader knows up front that the hero and the heroine will most likely end up together unless it's a Nicholas Sparks novel... lol. Because of that the author has to do something within the novel to draw the reader in, to give them something else to keep their attention. There wasn't a lot of that in this one. But the romance was poignant enough that it was not a big deal. Certainly not a deal breaker. 

Bottom Line:

If you looking for a sweet romance about two people finding themselves and love, this is the one for you. There is a good secondary romance and the relationship between a boy who needs a man in his life and a man who needs a family is definitely emotionally pleasing. Jane and Gabe have a lot to overcome before they can be together and it was nice to watch their love bloom. The setting as usual was amazing and small town coastal life is for me... LOL! A very good offering from Virginia Kantra.

Carolina Dreaming is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra has written over twenty-five books of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. Her deeply emotional stories have won numerous writing awards, including Romance Writers of America's RITA Award and two National Readers' Choice Awards. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of three kids, she is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling, and the power of love. 

Her favorite thing to make for dinner? Reservations.

Giveaway Details

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.

~ The deadline to enter this giveaway isMidnight EST, February 22nd.

1. Please leave a comment describing why you think women have a thing for bad boys.

2. Please fill out the FORM.


Anonymous said...

Excitement and a feel of danger.

Rachael B. said...

excitement and adventure

Robin Driscoll said...

For the excitement and the unknown

Brooke Showalter said...

I would love to visit Dare Island! I have a thing for bad boys as well ~ something about my tattooed, drummer guy gets my heart fluttering. :)

traveler said...

Bad Boys are irresistible for their attitude.

Di said...

because they make things feel exciting!

Anonymous said...

Because they are on the wild side, they lend an air of excitement.
Karen T.

bn100 said...

they're fun

Monniehamilton5 said...

Cause they can be good looking.

Anonymous said...

The excitement of thinking what they may do. Love bad boy books.