Posted in Books

Live (Burnside #1) by Mary Ann Rivers

I don’t think I’ll ever read a book by Mary Ann Rivers I won’t like. Let the fangirling officially commence!


Mary Ann Rivers kicks off a new contemporary romance series—sure to please readers of Ruthie Knox, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis—where love can be found unexpectedly.

If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.

Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.


Hefin is a Welsh man, close to 40, living in the mid-west after his divorce from his American wife. He’s just about to leave to go back to Wales. And from the very point where you get to meet Hefin, you don’t want him to go. Naturally.

Destiny (the name choice is perfection and when you read you’ll get it!) is a young woman, unemployed, an optimist who is always putting her family first. She has recently lost her father, and her sister is struggling with recovering from a bad accident. She has an older brother who’s, apparently, going to be the next book subject *squeee*, he’s a little uptight and seems cold-ish,  and a younger brother who I already like for his free spirit and knowing what he wants.

Oh, and she’s a redhead, and if the girl on the cover is her, I WANT THAT HAIR, DAMMIT!!

When Destiny and Hefin connect for the first time, it’s nothing short of awesome, because it’s probably the last scenario in which you’d like to meet your soul-mate.  The slowly developing relationship is so special because of the MCs personalities, and it’s on borrowed time, because of Hefin’s fast approaching return to Wales, that while I enjoyed the story and wanted the HEA, I didn’t want it to end because I didn’t want to get to the part where they say goodbye.

Everything in this story is real. From their professional occupations to their families and the situation they’re both in, from the feelings the MCs feel, how they deal with situations, how they bond and fall in love, it’s just real.

I really can’t say much about the plot so as to not ruin the journey they go through, so I’ll talk about Mary Ann’s writing. Mashing up excellent writing and word choice, symbolism, allegories and an immense amount of spirit, Rivers always makes me FEEL the story. I absolutely love that, and I wasn’t disappointed when I felt that tenfold reading Live.

Keeping this short, I know, but if you loved The Story Guy and Snowfall (OMG so good, both of them!) and you get Mary Ann Rivers’ storytelling style, this novel and predictably the subsequent novels in the Burnside series are right up your alley.

Thank you NetGalley and Loveswept for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Mary Ann Rivers has been wearing a groove in her library card since she was old enough for story time. She’s been writing almost as long—her first publication credit was in Highlights magazine. She started writing and reading romance in the fifth grade once she stumbled on the rainbow of romance novel book spines in the library’s fiction stacks.

She was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals, and leading creative writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a Nurse Practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients.

Mary Ann lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son. She writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line.

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I read, review, flail and swoon.

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