BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, March 26, 2015

REVIEW And GIVEAWAY: First Time in Forever by Sarah Morgan

Publisher: Harlequin
Series: Puffin Island #1
Format Read: ARC
Source: PR Firm in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | ARe* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

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?


Bea's Thoughts:

Oh, I like Puffin Island: friendly, nosy, mildly quirky people, beaches, and puffins! The book could have used more puffins actually. Although the island is named after them, there aren't many as they nearly died out. :( But the people were friendly, helpful, and always willing to lend a hand. I live in a small town and my neighbors aren't nearly so helpful. (But I do have good neighbors and after all these folks were fictional.)

Ryan and Emily are similar in some respects: Both have childhoods that placed too much responsibility on them and left them, though for different reasons, reluctant to take on having families of their own, a reluctance to have children, and a fear of getting emotionally close to someone. Ryan grew up on the island while Emily used to visit in the summers while at college but their paths never crossed. Emily's good friend from college, Brittany, has a cottage on the island and when Emily has a crisis, she goes there to stay. There's a problem though - Emily is terrified of water. She won't go to the beach or even sit looking towards the water. That's a problem on an island, especially one that's a favorite spot for tourists going to the beach and where kayaking is a major activity. My heart broke for her when we find out why she's so terrified and I applauded her when she determined it was time to work on ridding herself of her fear.

Emily is motivated by Lizzy, her six year old niece, who is now her responsibility. Lizzy's mother, an infamous film star and Emily's sister, died and left Emily as the guardian though the two sisters hadn't had contact in years and Emily and Lizzy had never met. Besides caring for Lizzy,  Emily is also trying to protect her from reporters and paparazzi. Emily has closed off her feelings as they are too uncomfortable and messy and she doesn't want to get hurt again. She's petrified that she can't properly care for Lizzy while at the same time she doesn't want to care about her. She spends a lot of time feeling terrified and incompetent.

Into this mess comes Ryan. Ryan's a former war journalist who chose to change careers and now runs the marina and yacht club. He's also a friend of Brittany's and at her request checks in on Emily. He's immediately attracted to her and they spend the bulk of the book dancing around each other and dealing with coitus interruptus. There are several misunderstandings but happily Morgan doesn't milk them or draw them out; they're dealt with fairly quickly. The main stumbling block for both is opening up emotionally, and in Emily's case, learning to trust.

Emily and Ryan are good together even when Emily is pushing him away. He doesn't give up easily and he has a knack for knowing what Emily needs. He knows when to be assertive, when to back off, and, despite his claims to the contrary, is a nice man. The interactions are delightful and the friendships that Emily has and that she makes are strong, vibrant ones. The characters are fun to spend time with and I cared about everyone, wanted everyone to be happy and have their dreams come true. "First Time in Forever" was a quick read despite it's length and I enjoyed every minute I spent on Puffin Island.  


I have 1 print copy to give away to a reader in the US or CA. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years old to enter. VOID where prohibited. Please read my Giveaway Policy. The giveaway ends April 2nd at 11:59PM EST.

Enter by leaving a comment below and an email address I can contact you at. I'll use random.org to choose the winner.

17 comments:

  1. Great review. I would love to read the book. Of course puffins make everything fantastic.

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  2. Sorry for got the email
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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  3. The review was captivating and the characters and setting great. Thanks for this lovely feature and giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  4. Great review, Bea! I really liked this book, too - good characters and I found myself wishing that Puffin Island was real, so I could go there. (But you're right; the book needs more puffins. I like puffins!)

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  5. I enjoyed the review, thanks for spotlighting Sarah's new book. Sounds like another great read from Sarah and I would love to spend some time on Puffin Island!
    thebigbluewall77 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

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  6. Aw that sounds really good. Love when you're rooting for everyone. I've had her on my tbr pile for a while now. So need to try her at some point.

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  7. Enjoyed reading your review! I'd love to read it as well.

    ann [dot] m [dot] vuong [at] gmail [dot] com

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  8. Thanks for the fun review! I'm just starting the other trilogy but this one has puffins :) thanks for sharing!

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  9. I adored this one too and i am already curious about the the other characters..loving the chemistry.Yep..I want to back my bags and go there.

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  10. After reading your review, I can't wait to read Emily and Ryan's story. This sounds like a new series I would really enjoy. Thanks for the chance to win Sarah's book!

    ahui89 at hotmail dot com

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    1. Congrats, you're the winner! Check your email.

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    2. This is so awesome! Thanks so much Bea, I've sent you an email! :D

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  11. Oh, Puffin Island sounds like somewhere I want to be! Great review.

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

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  12. This book looks great :)

    MeganSilverado@gmail.com

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  13. looks interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  14. Sorry for the late comment - I'm still catching up from being out of town. I really enjoyed Sarah Morgan's O'Neal series and this Puffin Island series sounds so fun! I can't wait to read it!

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  15. I would love to read this book!
    MeganSilverado@gmail.com

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing from my readers. Let;s talk!