I am a romance novel junkie. There are very few books in the genre I won’t or haven’t read. From historical to contemporary to paranormal to mystery – I love them all.
I started reading romance novels around age 13. I secretly stole a copy of my mom’s The Wedding by Julie Garwood – and was hooked from then on. There was something about alpha heroes, strong-willed females, and undeniable chemistry that had me turning page after page for almost two decades now.
Of course, I have my favorite authors and I’ll be sharing them with you, but I also love when I discover a new author or series. Romantic series are probably my favorite stories, simply because you can invest in an entire family or set of friends or however else they are connected. There’s something about knowing you don’t have to say good-bye to two characters once their story is over. Instead, you can continue to read about how their romance evolves after the HEA (Happily Ever After). It’s a way to move onto a new story without feeling the sadness that comes with leaving behind two really great characters and an amazing love story.
After several friends recommended the Sullivan Series to me, I finally gave in and read the first book a few days ago. I’m now on Book 5. I did say I was a romance novel junkie, right? 😉
The Sullivan Series follows a family with eight siblings. Eight siblings. It’s every romance reader’s wish! With six hunky brothers and two gorgeous twin sisters, there are so many possibilities! From a firefighter to movie star to vineyard owner to photographer to librarian – this family has someone for everyone to fall madly in love with.
While at times some of their professions and scenarios seem a bit far-fetched – we don’t read romance for the reality of it, right? Each Sullivan has their own unique personality and role to play in the family, but by exploring their individual stories you get to really know each of them and how they are much more than what meets the eye.
As I’m only four books into the series, I thought I’d review those I’ve read now and provide a follow up post on books 5-8. There are also several short stories and prologue book that I’m hoping to get to. There is nothing more exciting than meeting a new family and falling in love with every single one of them. If you haven’t had a chance to pick up one of the books – ask your friend to loan you one! This is one of the few series that actually is available to loan through Amazon Kindle.
The Look of Love
It’s a dark and rainy night. Famous photographer Chase Sullivan is on his way to his brother’s winery when he sees a woman stranded on the side of the road. Chase meets Chloe, a woman in trouble, but she refuses to admit it. From there – the magic begins. What I loved about Chase and Chloe’s story is that it was the perfect way to start off the series. Chase is the second oldest brother. He’s strong, thoughtful, and perhaps a bit more sensitive than the other brothers. Chloe is loving, strong, warm – but extremely guarded as she runs from a troubled past that could threaten her developing relationship with Chase. What I really enjoyed about Chloe is that the author didn’t make her sound like a model – just the type of woman Chase works with all day on his photo shoots and his typical M.O. Chloe is described as “lovely” and womanly. While I like my heroines to be beautiful in their own way, not every single one of them needs to be drop dead gorgeous. What makes this work is that she is drop dead gorgeous to Chase right off the bat. While the author’s character all seem to have that “BOOM” moment – where they instantly see each other and know their life is about to change along with a strong dose of lust – it really helps move the book along and keep the pace.
What really surprised me about Bella Andre’s books are the steamy scenes. You’re talking to a romance reading veteran and after reading hundreds upon hundreds of books – I tend to get bored with the steamy scenes. Most of the time they tend to be the same thing over and over, but Bella Andre surprised me. In a really great way. Don’t miss the first steamy scene in the book – it’s bound to get you hooked on not only the rest of Chase and Chloe’s love story – but the entire series.
From This Moment On
This is by far my favorite Sullivan story to date (minus the cover artwork which I don’t think does either character justice). There is something so riveting about Marcus, the oldest Sullivan, who quickly became the surrogate father figure for his seven siblings after their father passed away. Marcus owns a winery, wears a suit, and is very serious. However, he’s also extremely passionate. After breaking up with his girlfriend who he never really loved anyways, Marcus heads to a popular night club to wash away his regrets with a steamy one-night stand. Nicola sees him from across the club and they are immediately drawn to each other. As their first night ends with a cuddle session rather than sex, Nicola holds back on revealing that she’s actually the mega-famous popstar, Nico.
Marcus and Nicola face daunting odds – which might be why this is my favorite book. He’s an in-demand business man with ties to Napa Valley. She’s a touring songstress, who is significantly younger and has already been betrayed and ruined by love. They are perfect for each other. I think what was great about this book was the Black Moment. This is what authors call as the moment when it seems like the two main characters will never be together and that there is no way to overcome their fears and objections to the relationship. This book had an amazing Black Moment followed by an equally amazing White Moment – the moment when the reader and characters realize there is hope and it leads to the HEA.
What was intriguing about Marcus is that you get glimpse of his inner Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey. While he does not have a Red Room of Pain nor is he into overly kinky stuff, he does have a dominant personality in the bedroom, which only makes it that much sweeter when he hands the reins of control over to Nicola. There’s something freeing the moment Marcus realizes that while he will always be protective and love his family, it’s now time for him to be a brother and to fall in love with someone who is just as important, if not more so, than his eight siblings and mother. Of course, Nicola would never make him choose, but knowing that they are number one to each other really brings a beautiful ending to the book.
Can’t Help Falling In Love
Who doesn’t love a man in uniform? Especially a firefighter. However, Gabe and the heroine, Megan, meet in undesirable circumstances as Gabe saves both her and her daughter, Summer, from their burning apartment. Injured during the rescue, Megan and Summer visit Gabe in the hospital and thus begins their romance. Gabe has sworn never to fall in love with another fire victim after a past relationship ended poorly, and after losing her adrenaline-junkie husband to a careless plane accident, Megan has sworn to only fall for the safe and the reliable. However, the safe and reliable, along with past fears, are no match for the instant attraction and connection the two feel.
I really like Gabe – he’s fourth in line with Marcus, Chase, and Ryan ahead of him. However, there was something that felt young about him, despite him being close to 30. I also got annoyed with Megan’s daughter, Summer, who actively plotted and schemed to get the two of them together. While I’m all for a cute kid that brings two people together, Summer came off as spoiled and used to getting her way. That really put a damper on the story for me. However, the good news is, the author manages to get Summer off the page for several chapters by sending her to school or on a vacation to Disney with her grandparents.
I thought the conflict in the book was drawn out too long. Gabe quickly realizes he’s going to break his rule about dating fire victims while it takes Megan much longer to decide to date a man who has a dangerous job. Personally, I thought Gabe’s story about his ex (the fire victim) should have caused more problems than Megan’s ex husband. Megan’s husband was careless, selfish, and we find out that she didn’t really love him. She did in her own way, but not like “we’re in love so we’re getting married.” Instead, Megan finds herself knocked up at 20 years old and after only a few months of dating Summer’s father. Summer’s father just doesn’t seem like the type to mourn over or to cause such fear. I just didn’t buy it.
However, Gabe was so likeable (and sexy) that it didn’t make reading the book a chore. The moment when Megan finally realizes she can’t be without him is very sweet, and despite Summer being annoying, the relationship she develops with Gabe is sweet and probably the type of thing every single mom hopes for.
I Only Have Eyes For You
Straying away from the brothers, Bella Andre tackles the first twin’s story: Sophie. Sophie has been in love with Jake since they were kids. Dubbed the ninth Sullivan because of his close relationship with the family, Jake had a rough childhood with no mother and an abusive father. Despite loving Sophie for years, Jake has held his distance because he doesn’t find himself good enough for Sophie. On top of it all, Jake is hiding secrets from Sophie and most of the Sullivan clan that makes him unworthy of her and her love. However, at Chase’s wedding everything changes. One night of passion is all is takes for the two of them to battle each other for whose love will triumph.
I really wanted to love this story. Sophie is likeable right off the bat, but Jake is so tough on himself that it’s hard to fall into the story. I also didn’t really feel like Jake had changed that much by the end of the story. There just wasn’t that moment where they put all the cards on the table and overcame the obstacles. Technically, there is this scene in the book, but it just didn’t hold the Wow moment I was looking for. I think I just didn’t get enough of Jake and Sophie’s story individually and then together to really love this book. However, I really liked it and being such a big reader I enjoyed that Sophie was a librarian. And again, my hat is off to the author for her steamy scenes. Despite being now five books in, they have yet to get stale or repetitive. What I did like about the story, is that Sophie did get her HEA with the man she had loved for years – and while Jake remained a bit too gruff throughout the whole book, the final scenes are remarkably beautiful and that’s where I think Jake’s transformation truly shines through.
I’m really excited to continue my journey with the Sullivan clan and will post the reviews of books 5-8 soon!