Lydia Reviews: Beautiful Goodbyes by NJ Nielsen


Title: Beautiful Goodbyes
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Author: N.J. Nielsen – Saddington
Pages: 231
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:
As someone wise once said—life is like an ice cream cone. When you think you have it licked, it drips all over you.

When life seems to be running smoothly there has to be a bump, or three, in the road. Ray and Viv realize that while they grow closer in their relationship, their family is falling apart around them, and they can’t seem to do anything to stop the heartache from happening. The only thing they can do is pick up the pieces.
Ray would love nothing better than to shake the hell out of the adults in the family and tell them all to wake up. The problem is that Ray has his own demons to face. From being swept away by flood waters to his daughter’s unraveling relationship, custody battles and launching a new business that helps abandoned teenagers, Ray loses himself for a while.

Viv tries desperately to hold the family together. He’s so used to Ray being the strong one that at first he’s clueless how to fix what’s going wrong in their lives. Viv enlists the help of the family to get everyone back on track. Sometimes wisdom comes from where you least expect it, but mostly it comes from the ones who know and love you best.

With so much going on in their family, will Viv and Ray keep their love alive? Or will their world come crashing down around them?

Review:

Beautiful Goodbyes is the second book in the, The Connelly Chronicles series. This book picks up where the first book ended so readers need to read Family Connections first. This also means that there will be spoilers ahead for those who have not yet read the first book.

When Family Connections ended, Declan had just showed up to tell Viv he thought Viv was his father. He makes it clear from the beginning that the only thing he is looking for is help finding his missing friend Nate. Much to everyone’s surprise Nate turns out to be Girly’s half-brother. As fans of the first novel know, this means that not only are Viv and Ray now going to look for Nate but so are Girly and Dan. The addition of these two young men to the Connelly family brings joy and problems.

Ray and Viv also find themselves dealing with problems that have Bear and Jamie. Bear’s father doesn’t want his son living in the same house with two gay men. It becomes worse when he learns that Jamie and Bear share a bed. The scenes that follow had me crying and while I could understand why the author would do what she did in regards to the two little boys at the same time it made me very sad.

Then there is Girly and Dan. As readers, will remember Dan is bi and was intrigued by both Girly and Ray in the first book. As he told Viv the reason he went after Girly instead of Ray was because Girly kissed him first. When Nate moves into the house, Dan is fascinated with him and Girly can’t help throwing them together to see what happens. It only makes since that this would cause more than a few problems and soon someone is going to get hurt.

There is so much going on in Beautiful Goodbyes that readers will be laughing one moment and crying the next. The family faces one issue after the other, more than a few of which are troublesome. I really began to worry just how the story would play out.

In many ways, Beautiful Goodbyes is like the middle of a story. While it gives us more of Ray and Viv, it sets up the rest of the series, giving the readers a hint to what may be coming next. I was up late into the night reading this book, you think I would have learned by now not to start a NJ Nielsen book so close to going to bed, and can’t wait to see what the next book will hold. Fans of this author are sure to love this story. Those that have not yet tried either this series, or this author really should give the books a try.

Reviewer: Lydia

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Family Connections by NJ Nielsen


Title: Family Connections
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Author: N. J. Nielsen
Pages: 450
Kisses: 5+




Blurb:

Thrown into circumstances beyond their imagining, Ray Connelly and Christopher ‘Viv’ Vivvens must step beyond their own lifestyles to survive the future. What started out with a small white lie and two men becomes more than either of them ever dreamed.

Ray and Viv learn that love isn’t always what they expect but in learning to deal with the road ahead, they realise change can be so worthwhile as they become a family in the greatest sense.

When an ex makes and appearance and tries to destroy their happily-ever-after, the guys need to find out if they have what it takes to beat the odds. With the help of family and friends, Ray and Viv fight their past demons to make their future even better than they ever thought possible.

Review:

Family Connections
by author N.J Nielsen is the first book in the Connelly Chronicles series. This is an excellently written story about love, forgiveness, and most importantly family. It is the type of story that will grab you with the first page and keep you reading until the end. Family Connections is a nice long novel, over 400 pages, and I found myself staying up late into the night just to see what would happen. Even know as I write this review I find myself wanting to start the book over again.

Ray and Viv’s relationship does not start out in the normal manor, but the connection between them is strong. Watching them, and those around them, adjust to their changing relationship was fun to watch. While the main characters, Ray and Viv pull you in with their story, the book is filled with many wonderful secondary characters, all of whom play an important role in the story. This is one of the things that make this story a little different from the norm, as few books have secondary characters that are just as important to the story’s plot as the main characters. In fact it is secondary characters, Jamie and Teddy that really grabbed me. I loved these two, more than once they had me close to tears. I cannot wait to see what the author has planned for them.

Family Connections is the first book by the author I have read, but it will not be the last. If you are looking for something to sink your teeth into then I would strongly recommend that you give this book a chance. It is the type of story that stays with you long after you have finished it, and I will let you in on a little secret. After reading this story I went to the author’s website and from what she has posted, the second book, which is due out sometime in 2014, is sure to be a hum dinger.

Reviewed by: Lydia

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Christmastime at Papa Lee’s by NJ Nielsen


Title: Christmastime at Papa Lee’s
Author: NJ Nielsen
Publisher: MLR Press
Pages: 85
Characters: Marty Lee, Casey Chambers
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Holiday, Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4

Blurb:

RSVP by December 20th: You are cordially invited to attend a Christmas celebration at Papa Lee’s.

Casey Chambers isn’t used to kindness; being tossed out onto the street does that to a person. His life takes a turn for the better when he lands a job at Papa Lee’s. Not only does the Lee family give Casey a place to work, they give him a place to call home… And the opportunity to find love with one of their own. But Casey’s burgeoning relationship with Marty Lee is threatened when Marty withdraws after a vicious attack. It’ll take a miracle for Casey to convince Marty they’re meant to be.

Good thing it’s the season for miracles.

Review:

The holiday season is filled with hope, love and the joy of the season. I love reading these types of romances because most of the time they always leave me with a smile on my face. The book Christmastime at Papa Lee’s gave me everything I love when it comes to reading these types of stories. It gave me many smiles and left me with the hope of everyone finding their one true love during the holiday season.

Marty Lee is unlucky in love, but always hopes to find the one man meant for him. He lives above his parent’s garage and works in their family owned diner. Coming from a close-knit family, he has seen first-hand what it’s like to find that one special someone, and although he’s starting to wonder if true love will ever happen to him, he tries to stay optimistic about it one day happening to him.

There is one man that Marty has been fascinated with. Casey comes into the diner at least once a week and orders the same thing every time. There is something about Casey that really pulls at Marty’s heartstrings and soon he decides to take a chance and finally try to talk to the beautiful man. Casey is quiet, smart and his utter sweetness captivates the soon to be lovestruck Marty and Marty immediately decides to take Casey under his wing. Soon Casey has stolen the hearts of Marty’s family and they give him the opportunity to have a warm bed and a job at their family diner. But as much as Marty cares for Casey, he wonders if they really should be together. There is an air of mystery to Casey and there is a ten year age difference between the two men that Marty wonders is too much. Plus, Casey has many past hurts and betrayals that he must work through. Will the two men be able to work through their differences so they can have that once in a lifetime love they both crave so much?

When it comes to writing sweet and sexy romances, Ms. Nielsen is definitely on top of her game. I loved both Marty and Casey and was immediately swept into the story they had to tell. I liked how Ms. Nielsen did not sweep both Casey and Marty’s problems under the rug, instead both men faced these obstacles head on and became stronger, better men because of it.

I also liked the strong bond Marty had with his family. Marty’s family accepted Casey into their fold and between the love they gave him as well as from Marty’s love, Casey was able to reach inside himself, find forgiveness and love with his whole heart.

If you are looking for a feel good, sweet romance, Christmastime at Papa Lee’s is definitely a book you should consider. Lovely and romantic, this book is definitely a symbolic read for the holiday season. Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Rules are Meant to be Broken by NJ Nielsen


Title: Rules are Meant to be Broken (The Lines of Marsden Book 1)
Author: NJ Nielsen
Publisher: MLR Press
Pages: 237
Characters: Michael Marsden, Christian Risely
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Paranormal Romance, Series
Kisses: 4.5




Blurb:

The lines of Marsden were born into existence for a reason: to right the wrongs that had once taken place. Destiny fated that they must destroy the Eldren before Evil wins.

Michael Marsden wants to die – for real this time. He wasn’t meant to lead the half-life that he does. He chooses to let it go and let death take what it had already claimed.

But Christian Risely isn’t about to let that happen. He is drawn to Michael and will do anything to ensure that he lives, even if that means keeping him alive against his will.

Review:

I’ve read a couple of book by Ms. Nielsen and I’ve liked every one of them. She really seems to get into the heart and soul of her characters and in Rules are Meant to be Broken, she created an inventive and unique spin on a well-used vampire inspired romance.

This book will be difficult for me to review because I don’t want to spoil it. I also want to point out that this is the first book in a long series of books Ms. Nielsen plans on writing. After I read it, I checked out her website, http://normanielsen.blogspot.com/p/lines-of-marsden_12.html, and there looks to be at least 15 more books that will be written in this series. So, I need to warn some readers that there are many unanswered questions, and the story also ends with a cliffhanger. I know this will probably keep some readers from reading this book immediately, preferring to wait until more books in the series are published, and in all honesty…I’m usually one of these types of readers. But now that I’ve started this series, I’m addicted to it, and now I’m waiting on pins and needles wondering what in the world is going to happen next!

I thought the characters in this book were very well-written. Although the blurb gives the impression that this is mainly a romance between Christian and Michael, there’s really a lot more to it than that. There is also a vast array of characters that all give something important to what’s going on in the storyline. To my best guess, at one point they will all be focal points in either their own stories or they’ll continue to be just strong supporting characters. Also, there are a lot of points of view told as the story progresses. There’s quite a bit of head hopping that goes along in this book, and although I understood why the author does this, at times I did find that a tad bit distracting and it brought me out of the story a little bit.

Also, we find out pretty quickly that there are a prophesy of dreams that will determine what will happen in these characters lives. *spoiler so please skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know* Including how Michael and Christian will not end up being together in the end. I’m not going to lie and act like this doesn’t bother me because it does. I normally would shy away from this because well…the romantic in me wants the heroes I’ve invested time in to be together. Also, I really LIKED Michael and Christian as a couple, so both of them finding someone else they’ll love even more disturbs me a little. I also have a feeling I MIGHT know who Michael in particular ends up with and well, I’m not sure about that either. But saying this, I also have to put my trust in the author and hope that as the story continues to evolve, all of these things will make sense. *end of spoiler*

Both Michael and Christian are interesting characters. Christian in particular really stole my heart and the mystery of his past really fascinates me. He’s so sweet and innocent one minute, but in the next I could see where he could be a dangerous force to be reckoned with if he was to be pushed too far. Also, I liked how Michael’s character really seemed to start coming into his own and I appreciated the deep love and respect he has for both his family and his adoptive family of friends.

Another thing I really liked about this book was: It’s very obvious that these characters are still young people. They still make mistakes and don’t always make the most mature or smart decisions, but in my opinion this just makes them read a little more realistically. I know I personally made some very STUPID mistakes when I was in my early twenties, so I could identify with this.

Now that I’m addicted to this book, I’m really looking forward to reading the next one. The future is certainly unsure for these characters and I for one hope that in the end, they all get the happy ending they all deserve. Recommended.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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