Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: One Last Risk (Oak Grove #1) by Nancy Stopper

"I didn't think it could get any better, but each time I'm with you feels new and different and wonderful." - Sarah Robinson

One Last Risk
Series: Oak Grove #1
Author: Nancy Stopper
Publisher: Anderby Lane Publishing
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Source: Author for Review

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A guilt-drive firefighter, a widowed mother, neither is ready for love, but love has other plans.

Firefighter Lucas Bennett had the carefree life he’d always wanted until a deadly blaze took the life of his company mate and best friend. Blaming himself was easy but pulling himself from the tailspin of guilt proved to be much harder. The fog of sadness and guilt pushed him down a dangerous path until he nearly died fighting the beast. Forced to stop and reevaluate his life, he decided to make a change before it was too late.

A fire took almost everything from Sarah Robinson—her husband and her home—leaving her to raise their precious daughter alone. Everywhere she looks holds memories of her husband, pouring salt on her ever-present wound. Unable to live any longer around the memories of her husband, she and her daughter moved to Oak Grove, far away from the grief of the past. All Sarah needed was the chance to start a new life for her and her daughter.

A car accident on a dark, rainy night put Lucas and Sarah on a collision course neither of them expected… with questions they’re not ready to answer. Can a single mother open her broken heart for a second chance at love? Will a broken firefighter risk his heart for what might be his only chance at forever? Are each of them willing to take one last risk to be together? His risk. Her reward. Together, they’ll mend each other's broken hearts.

If you like small-town romance where the heroes are sexy and the women are strong, unlock One Last Risk to start your visit to Oak Grove, Pennsylvania and fall in love with Lucas and Sarah!

As I started reading One Last Risk I prepared myself for an emotional romance between two deeply wounded characters. While they both lost someone very close to them - Lucas lost his best friend and partner while Sarah lost her husband - their reactions couldn't be more different. Lucas allowed his guilt to override his sense of safety and he started to put himself into dangerous situations, always pushing every moment of a fire to the very brink of disaster. Until the day it caught up to him and was forced to step back. Sarah, on the other hand, guarded her heart carefully. The sharp loss of her husband forced her to not let people close. She doesn't want to go through the pain of getting her heart broken from the death of a loved one. I think the element of this book that I loved the most was that while they shared a similar event in their past, it was their different reactions to the pain that ultimately helped each other heal. Sarah and her daughter gave Lucas something to live for, something to want to come home to at night. She opened his eyes to what could be instead of what was. Lucas showed Sarah that it is okay to open herself to love, that it's okay to move on and let love in. I loved how they balanced each other during a rough period in their lives.

There was one element of the story that didn't sit well with me. No spoilers, but I wasn't happy with how things were left with a secondary character. It is obvious what this character is going through and I felt that more should have been said about it, not left wide open. I'm pretty sure that it is something that will play out in the next book, but I can't see her family leaving it the way it was. I felt that they would have stepped in the second they noticed something was wrong. I know that sounds cryptic, and I apologize, but I'm trying to not give anything away. In the end, it didn't have a big impact on how much I enjoyed the book. I just would have liked a bit more closure. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading One Last Risk and I'm looking forward to seeing what the author has in store for her readers next.

Nancy Stopper is an award-winning debut author. She writes contemporary romance with strong women and sexy heroes that tug at your emotional heartstrings and leave you with a warm feeling that lingers long after the last page. Her favorite escape is small-town romance and even when set in a larger location, her books have that small-town feel.

Her first novel, One Last Risk, won first place in the Short Contemporary Romance category of the Fool for Love Contest and was a Maggie Finalist in the unpublished Single-Title Contemporary Category.

Dreams Come True in Laguna, Nancy's first novella, was published in the Laguna Beach Kindle World in 2016. Her first full-length contemporary romance novel will be published in 2017.
Nancy lives in Virginia with her husband, two of her three kids that are still at home, and one cat who regards her with disdain daily. When she's not behind her laptop, you can find her at a ballfield, cheering on her favorite team (Washington Nationals) or her favorite player (her son, who pitches for his local high school), or at a dance performance with her daughter.

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