Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: First Time in Forever
Author: Sarah Morgan
Series: Puffin Island #1
Heroine/Hero: Emily Donovan/Ryan Cooper
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 Pages
Release Date: March 1, 2015
Available at: Harlequin, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Windswept, isolated and ruggedly beautiful, Puffin Island is a haven for day-trippers and daydreamers alike. But this charming community has a way of bringing people together in the most unexpected ways…
It’s been a summer of firsts for Emily Donovan. From becoming a stand-in mom to her niece Lizzie to arriving on Puffin Island, her life has become virtually unrecognizable. Between desperately safeguarding Lizzie and her overwhelming fear of the ocean—which surrounds her everywhere she goes!—Emily has lost count of the number of “just breathe” pep talks she’s given herself. And that’s before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her…
Ryan knows all about secrets. And it’s clear that newcomer Emily—with her haunted eyes and the little girl she won’t let out of her sight—is hiding from something besides the crazy chemistry between them. So Ryan decides he’s going to make it his personal mission to help her unwind and enjoy the sparks! But can Puffin Island work its magic on Emily and get her to take the biggest leap of trust of all—putting her heart in someone else’s hands?
Review: I really loved Sarah Morgan’s previous romance-trilogy, so I was excited when I read that she would be releasing another trilogy this year. And it would be set on an island!! Small-town romance is my favorite kind of romance, and I love a story that is situated on an island because it makes the community-vibe stronger.
So how did this one go?
Well, I was absolutely LOVING it as well!!
In the beginning, I didn’t know whether I could warm up to Emily. Emily discovered that she has become a guardian for her 6-year-old niece and she didn’t know if she could handle the responsibility. She didn’t know if she could provide the love and emotional attachment that the kid needed – her ex-boyfriend accused her of being cold and unfeeling. Worse, she came to Puffin Island in order to protect Lizzy from intrusive paparazzo, but she is terrified of sea! So Emily in that first few chapters for me felt a little bit of a mess. Which is weird, because I would be seriously freaked out if I was in her position too!! I can’t see myself taking care of a child – I definitely don’t have that ‘motherly’ vibe. So maybe I was projecting myself in Emily, and I knew it would be hard for one to warm up to me as well.
But as the story went along, I became very proud of Emily. Despite the fact that she kept saying that she didn’t know what to do with Lizzy, it was clear that she wanted her niece to be safe and sound. Emily could be a tiger in protecting Lizzy and she was willing to overcome her fear to make sure that Lizzy got the best childhood experience. That made me admire her so much!!
There was a reason why Emily became as distant as she was – and I was glad that her secret was revealed in the middle of the book. One thing I dislike from romance is when the hero or heroine keeps a secret that drags along until almost the final chapter. It didn’t happen here which made me very happy. Instead, the reveal helped Emily to move forward and to heal and to embrace being Lizzy’s one and only family. There was one very significant moment between Emily and Lizzy that made me all teary eyed – right there on a public train (that I use for commuting to work).
Now, Ryan, gosh I loved him too! What can I say, when a hero is being sweet to kids and very good with them, I just melt. Ryan was really great with Lizzy (and Emily too!); despite him refusing to be in a committed relationship because he said that he wanted his freedom, it was clear that family kept him grounded. So I loved that he finally recognized his shortcomings.
All in all, this was a VERY GREAT start of a series. I loved the feel of the tight-knit community and the secondary characters that rounded up the town. I seriously can’t WAIT to read about Brittany and her ex-husband, Zach, in the second book. I mean, second-chance romance, people!! That is like, my kryptonite!
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*