Saturday, May 18, 2013

Friends & Lovers Trilogy: review and tour-wide giveaway

We have romance and more romance today as we are one of today's stops on the Friends & Lovers Trilogy Blog Tour hosted by AToMR. We have reviews of all three and there's a giveaway. Find the complete tour listing here.
Friends & Lovers Trilogy: Make it Last, I Choose You, Trust in Me 
by Bethany Lopez
New Adult Contemporary Romance – novella series 
Event organized by: AToMR Tours
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Make it Last (Friends & Lovers, Book 1): 
Paperback/eBook, 184 pages
Published November 17th 2012 by CreateSpace (first published November 3rd 2012)

In a small town, it's hard to recover from being dumped by your high school sweetheart. That's just what Briana has to do after Colin leaves her to follow his dreams. She focuses her energy into her friendships and the pursuit of her own goal of becoming a chef. Just when she finally feels like she's on the right path, he comes back to town.

Colin knew breaking up with Briana before leaving for college was the right thing to do. He was determined to leave small-town life behind forever, and that included his high school girlfriend. But when a sports injury puts him on the sidelines, he's forced to return home. Seeing Briana again brings back a lot of memories, and Colin wonders if he made the right decision. It doesn't take long for him to realize he wants her back, and this time, he wants to make it last. 

I Choose You  (Friends & Lovers, Book 1):  
Paperback/eBook, 202 pages
Published December 27th 2012 (first published December 22nd 2012)

Up until now, Nicole's life has been mapped out for her. She'd go to college, marry Jake and become the upstanding minister's wife. When she leaves that life to begin again in a small town in Texas, she finally has the freedom to live as she chooses. There, she meets Kent, a guy whose charm and passion make it hard to stick to her morals.

Dodging his father’s fists and protecting his twin sister made Kent into the man he is today. He learned by watching his mother stay by his father’s side that it’s better to keep relationships simple. Then he meets Nicole. Her sweet smile and genuine response to him land like punches to his resolve. After a lifetime of learning to protect his heart, can he finally let down his guard? 

Trust in Me: 
Paperback/eBook, 215 pages
Published February 28th 2013 (first published February 9th 2013)
Roni’s dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer were smashed under the brutal rage of her ex-husband's fists. Getting divorced and starting over at the age of twenty-two was never her plan, but maybe in Texas, she'll find her path. When the town's local player, Rich, opens a Rec Center, she sees a way to rekindle her dancing dreams...and maybe have a little fun with her sexy new boss.

Rich never expected to fulfill his dreams in the town he planned to leave behind, but that's just what he's doing. His reputation as a noncommittal ladies' man might make it challenging to earn respect in the business world, but he's willing to prove that he's serious. In fact, when it comes to pursuing Roni, he's more than willing. But she's taking a page out of his book, not wanting to risk another relationship. Can he convince her that his playboy days are over and that she can trust him with her heart?

About the Author 
Bethany Lopez
IAN | Webpage | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest 

Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult series. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her novels through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. 

Friends & Lovers Trilogy: Make it Last, I Choose You, Trust in Me is the complete trilogy of this series in one convenient volume. This volume also has special endings for each book which provides the readers with closure for each couple. 

Book one, Make It Last, quickly became my favorite of the trilogy. Why? I believe it's because Briana and Colin had a history. A high school couple with years of dating already provided a foundation for these two. When Colin announces he's breaking it off before he enters college to pursue his dream of being a football player, he leaves Briana to face her last year of high school with a broken heart. A strong and touching scene, their parting begins their story. Fast forward four years and Colin returns home, his dream shattered by injury. I liked how Briana kept telling herself it wouldn't matter if she saw him after all this time, she was stronger/had moved on. Nope. 

The author does a nice job of conveying both characters as they begin to run into each other in town. The tension is like rising dough as we await that 'special' moment/acknowledgment/reunion and Bethany Lopez delivers. Also my favorite scene! There are a few twists thrown in which only strengthen this couple's resolve and endeared Briana to me even more.

In I Choose You, we are privy to Nicole and Jake's relationship. I read this book first earlier (review). 

By the time I got to Trust in Me, I couldn't wait to see what happens with Roni and Rich. Roni has been such a support system for her girlfriends in the other stories and readers are well aware of her simmering attraction to playboy Rich. 

I have to applaud Bethany Lopez for putting the romance back in romantic New Adult for me. As much as I like reading the stories in this field, I've grown tired of some of the formulaic story lines and abusive relationships. I don't care what kind of upbringing any guy has had or how broken he is, that is simply not the excuse to treat any woman with such brutish caveman behavior  Abuse does not equal romance, no matter how hot the guy is. (Rant over.) Ms. Lopez has decent young hot guys who become respectable men (especially Rich). As a player, he never treats Roni with any disrespect or manhandles her. Yes, he views her as a typical guy but we know there's more to his attraction to Roni and he soon learns it as well.

Roni is one of my favorite female characters in this series. She has been married, is now divorced, and carries the memories of her abusive past. I would have liked to have seen more of her struggles and subsequent therapy as she begins to heal on the pages, especially after the thunderstorm scene. I really liked how she celebrated her divorce and that hot scene with Rich. 

Friends become lovers over the courses of these stories and each tale merely cements these characters in reader's minds. I like each girl and guy in this series and that's a telling admission. I don't always like the guys in some romance stories. Romantic yet spicy, moving yet still fun and enjoyable, Friends and Lovers Trilogy is a terrific summer read (and all year long too). The stories may seem light and the characters not as fully realized as in other books, but they do pack a lot of emotional depth in their shorter volumes. Bethany Lopez injects a tremendous amount of heart and spirit into this group. Having the three stories all together only provides the reader with a seamless reading experience. The special endings show us what happens after each original book's ending and gives us insight into each couple's HEA.

Ratings for all each individual story: 3

Rating for the Trilogy: 3.5

Cover comments:
As a trilogy, the covers work well together. I'm not crazy about the cover for the trilogy. There's nothing special in that photo.  

Book source:
I received promotional copies in return for my honest opinion in my review.
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  1. I'm happy you enjoyed the trilogy. Thanks!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.