Review – Grand Valley Series #1 & #2 by Liora Blake @LioraBlake @xpressotours

Book & Author Details:

First Step Forward by Liora Blake
Publication date: November 29 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

First Step Forward.jpgPro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series.

After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.

Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.

Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.

Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.

A charming love story for romance and sports fans alike, First Step Forward is a sexy, heartwarming romp perfect for readers of Jennifer Probst, Kristan Higgins, and Julie James.


Now, I’ve not read anything by Jennifer Probst, Kristan Higgins, and Julie James, so I really can’t tell you whether that claim is true or not.  All I can really tell you is whether I enjoyed it or not, and the answer is a resounding “YES!”

Honestly?  There’s not really very much to dislike about this book, except perhaps the overwhelming desire this provokes to smack Cooper and Whitney’s heads together at certain key points in the book, just to knock some sense into them.  And yes, I know that violence is not the answer, but their behaviour was quite frustrating!

That said, the dynamic between them was just lovely to read.  Not laboured, just natural.  And their character differences actually worked to make this a better read.  Add in the tapestry of side characters and you really do have a promising start to a new series.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.




Book & Author Details:

Second Chance Season by Liora Blake
Publication date: (date)
Genres: (genres)

Second Chance.jpgReturn to Liora Blake’s Grand Valley series with Second Chance Season, in which an avowed country boy meets an ambitious city girl who reminds him why dreaming big and taking a chance is worth the risk.

Garrett Strickland is unapologetically country, fiercely loyal, and all about living in the present and not dwelling in the past–even if he was once on his way to a lofty agricultural sciences degree that would guarantee the brightest of futures, only to end up back home when his old man died, leaving behind a debt-ridden family farm that was impossible to keep afloat. After that, it was easy to see why dreaming big wasn’t worth the heartache of losing everything. And until he crosses paths with a city girl who’s hell-bent on kick-starting her own future, he’s sure that good enough is just that.

Cara Cavanaugh is ready for more from life, even if that means changing everything; including dumping her long time boyfriend, turning down a lucrative job at a major newspaper, and leaving behind the upscale suburbs of Chicago where she grew up. Now, she just has to pray that temporarily relocating to the middle of nowhere in Colorado will be the first step in building a career as a freelance writer–all she has to do is prove she’s got what it takes to make a name for herself. Unfortunately, her tony country day school is as close to country as she’s ever been. But when a goodhearted guy who looks like he just stumbled out of a country music video offers to help, she ends up falling hard…and discovering that the perfect story, as it turns out, is a love story. And it’s theirs.

Second Chance Season, book two in the Grand Valley series, is a charming, feel-good romance, perfect for fans of Jennifer Probst and Kristan Higgins.


I read this book hot on the heels of the first in the series, and was keen to read Garrett’s story.

Garrett is written so beautifully and with real depth in my opinion.  Not that Cara isn’t; far from it.  It’s just that for me, Garrett’s past (even though it isn’t picked over in minute detail) has clearly affected his entire life, such that it underpins who he is, but there is still an element of fragility which is bound up with him.

And Cara is much the same.  It is difficult to see her revert to the persona she adopts when with her family, after seeing how free she becomes during her time in Colorado.

My favourite bit?  The bit that tugged at the heart?  The scene with Cara’s mum at the spa.  You’ll know it when you get to it.  Just subtly powerful.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.



purchase links

Amazon (Universal Link)

About the author

Liora Blake is a contemporary romance author who writes because it’s what she’s always wanted to do. She writes novels because she likes to tell the whole story, and she writes romance because a happily ever after is the best kind of story to tell.

When she isn’t writing, she’s likely baking cookies she shouldn’t eat, inventing elaborate excuses to avoid going for a run, or asking the nice barista to sell her another quad-shot Americano.

author links

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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