Off the Map by Trish Doller (Beck Sisters #3)
Published by St. Martins Griffin on March 7, 2023
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Romance
On the road to love, you don't need a GPS...
Carla Black’s life motto is “here for a good time, not for a long time.” She’s been travelling the world on her own in her vintage Jeep Wrangler for nearly a decade, stopping only long enough to replenish her adventure fund. She doesn’t do love and she doesn’t ever go home.
Eamon Sullivan is a modern-day cartographer who creates digital maps. His work helps people find their way, but he’s the one who’s lost his sense of direction. He’s unhappy at work, recently dumped, and his one big dream is stalled out—literally.
Fate throws them together when Carla arrives in Dublin for her best friend’s wedding and Eamon is tasked with picking her up from the airport. But what should be a simple drive across Ireland quickly becomes complicated with chemistry-filled detours, unexpected feelings, and a chance at love - if only they choose it.
I am so in love with this book! Here we find best friend Carla in Ireland for Anna and Kean’s wedding. She was set to travel from Dublin to Tralee with Kean’s brother, Eamon, but they decided to take an off-the-map route which ended up being a life changing trip as they explored love, family, hopes, and dreams.
What an incredible adventure! I had such an amazing time road-tripping in Ireland. I liked that Eamon and Carla’s journey took them to lesser known places as we explored the country. It was also a perfect way for these two to get to know each other better. This journey was as physical as it was emotional with Eamon and Carla gaining clarity regarding some major life decisions. I loved these two, and how they pushed each other to make those big life changes. Eamon wanted more freedom, wanting to embrace Carla’s traveling ways, while Carla discovered she wanted to be more rooted. Their desires appeared as polar opposites, but seemed to lead them back to each other.
Though this story was packed with humor and good times, there were some heartbreaking parts too. Carla’s father was slowly losing his battle with dementia. Biggie was her world for so long, and she was struggling with heeding his wishes to stay away as he deteriorated. I swear! Every time Biggie came up in conversation, there were tears because their relationship really was something beautiful. My heart broke, over and over again, but the strength of their bond and their love for each other filled in some of those cracks.
I feel like my adoration for this series grows with each installment, and I am grateful that Doller was able to add another “sister” to the family. My only wish for this book was that it had been longer because I had such a spectacular time with Eamon and Carla and wanted to spend more time with them. Let’s hope there is another sister somewhere to keep this wonderful series going.
*ARC provided by the publisher
Fourteen Days of Valentines by Charlee James (Northampton Hearts #2)
Published by Tule Publishing on February 7, 2022
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Romance
She’s looking for closure, but he wants an opening…
For three years, contractor Savannah Chapman has carried on her late fiancé’s tradition of anonymously donating toys and cards to the Caring Heart Kids’ Club during the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. But knowing she needs to move forward with her life, she decides this will be her last year playing Cupid—until her identity is discovered by a volunteer. Suddenly he’s convincing her to honor a past contracting bid and tempting her to feel things she knows she shouldn’t.
Adam Kelly, a child psychiatrist and club volunteer, is an expert at helping others while always ignoring his own heart. But when he meets the beautiful and kind-hearted Savannah and learns what drives her, hurts from his own past resurface. He strikes a deal with Savannah: if she’ll complete the club’s much-needed expansion, he’ll take over her secret Valentine duties so she can move forward guilt-free.
Will the club be the glue Savannah and Adam can use to build a new life together, or will the past tear them apart?
I am so happy I found this series because I have greatly enjoyed these adorable romances. This time we met Savannah, a contractor who had stepped in for her late fiancé as the secret Cupid for the Caring Heart Kids’ Club. When volunteer Adam discovered she was the undercover benefactor, he struck a deal to take over the Cupid duties if Savannah’s company would complete the club’s expansion project. What ensued was fun events with the kids as Adam and Hannah grew closer and closer. Their romance was a bit of a slow burn due to Adam’s trust issues from a past betrayal and Hannah’s guilt surrounding her fiancé’s death, but it was so lovely to watch it unfold.
My one and only pet peeve was that the author kept using psychology and psychiatry interchangeable. They are not the same. I let that go though because the romance between Savannah and Adam was precious. I also loved the 14 Days of Valentines, and all the wonderful things they did for those kids from the center. In the last book, it was all about the dates, but here, is was more about the things involving the kids. The planning and the events made me smile, and the kids were pretty cute and charming too.
Overall: A delightful small town romance featuring a couple that was easy to root for. The community element was a plus for me, and I had so much fun during those 14 days of valentines.
Great reviews, Sam! I think I need to check out Trish Doller’s books this year cos I’ve heard good things about them so far. A romance set in Ireland sounds fun and these characters sound great. That dementia storyline will probably break my heart though considering how close to home it currently hits but I’ll definitely be keeping this one on my radar!
I read both her YA and adult offerings, and none disappointed. It was a heartbreaking part of the story, and I know it’s one so many can relate to.
So glad to see you gave Off the Map a 5 star rating! I’m definitely looking forward to reading that one.
It was such a fun book, and the exploration of the child-parent bond was something special too. I’m crying just thinking about that part. I hope you enjoy it!
This is weird but when I tried to comment on this post through WP Reader there was no comment box. Had to come straight to your site to do it. Hopefully it doesn’t nonce.
I can feel your love for the first book. You keep enjoying her books, and I keep saying I need to give her a try, but I really do! Maybe in 2023. Great reviews!
Yes! You made “nonce” a verb. HA! I will forever sing the praises of Doller’s books. She is really a wonderful author. The YA books I read from her were fabulous too (I just featured one on TTT)
haha someone had to. It’s annoying when it pops up.
It’s happened to me on other WP sites too, so, I get it. I found something that it could be related to plugins. I only have two – UBB and Jetpack and it started happening when Jetpack updated. I uninstalled and reinstalled Jetpack, so waiting to see how that works out.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s Jetpack and won’t be fixed until the next update.
These both look like so much fun there! I especially love the sound of the James novel. And I love that it has a valentine day feel to the story. I love seeing the less used holidays themed in romances.
Her books are adorable. Very sweet and touching too. The last one I read was Christmas one, and it was so much fun
Traveling around Ireland sounds wonderful!
I like that they went to lesser known spots. Usually when I read books set in Ireland, they go to all the tourist spots I visited
Off the Map was already on my TBR, but you have me soooo much more excited to pick it up. And that fact that it’s almost 300 pages and you wished it was longer says a lot. I know how you prefer shorter books.
You read the other two books? All were so good
I have Off the Map so I’m thrilled that this was a 5 star read for you, Sam!
I can’t wait for you to read it!
OK you convinced me to add Trish Doller to my TBR Sam!
She has some incredible books out there. Her YA books are some of my favorites as well