Category Archives: Barbara Freethy

#SuperThriller : Falling for a Stranger (Callaways #3) – Barbara Freethy

The blurb reads,

From #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy comes the third book in the popular Callaway Series, an emotional and suspenseful novel of love, family and dangerous secrets. 
Ria is as sexy and sultry as a warm tropical night and as beautifully dangerous as the island drinks she serves at the beachside bar on Isla de los Suenos — The Island of Dreams. But Ria is not as carefree as she appears, and the pretense is wearing her down. One night she risks everything to escape from reality.

Drew Callaway is a former Navy pilot and rescue operative looking for his own escape from a life that has seen too much tragedy. Meeting Ria is like embracing the sun, and their single night together is life-changing. But the dream quickly fades when Ria is killed in a tragic accident at sea.

Months later, thousands of miles away from where they first met, Drew sees a woman who looks just like Ria. She claims her name is Tory, and that they’ve never met before, but he can see that she’s in trouble, and he can’t walk away. He’s going to save her whether she wants it or not.

Drew isn’t afraid of a little danger, but can he risk losing his heart to a beautiful stranger?

** FALLING FOR A STRANGER is the third book in the connected family series, The Callaways.

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So this was the third book in the Callaways I was reading. It was interesting to read story upon story and wonder how it must be to have so many siblings.

I’ve never before read an NYT #1 author and this chance I got from Novel Publicity, I completely sapped it up and opted to review all the 8 novels. Albeit during the blog tour,  I ended up reviewing only 2, I have read 6 at the moment and I am on the way to finishing the 7th and the 8th! Phew!!

What I really like about Barbara Freethy’s books is that she involves you in the story completely. You feel a part of the characters lives and you just can’t stop reading. Also, I’m beginning to soften up towards Romantic Suspense and I think that is great for me because I love Suspense as a genre.

So this book picked up on Drew Callaway’s life. He digressed from the usual Callaway line and worked with the Coast Guard. This itself set the book apart because the Callaways are a firefighter family.

So Sean meets this woman, who changes his life in one night. The next day, she is killed in a boat accident. Sean is devastated.

But all is not as it appears. Ria, the woman who stole Drew’s heart, is hiding in San Francisco, from her sister’s druggie brother-in-law. She is harbouring her niece, who she wants to protect from a degenerate life.

What happens when Drew finds Ria in the crowd. Will he stop to finding the one woman who stole his heart? Will Ria’s past catch up with her? What will happen to this love story?

As most of the men in books, Drew is brooding, quiet and keeps to himself. I feel, this isn’t a very good quality for men to have. I mean, I feel men should be allowed the power to express what they feel.

Any way, my feelings about Drew changed as I read through the book. I saw how he changed because of his interactions with Ria and how he wanted to be more cheerful when he was with her. And that was the true power of love. Changing you for the better.

I could feel Ria’s predicament about how she felt so much more grown up than she was because of the difficulties she was facing. I also felt bad for Megan, Ria’s niece. She just wanted to discover a new life for herself and the life she had in San Francisco was so much better than she had. Her naivete endeared me to her.

I felt, mystery wise, this book did not have that great a mystery. It wasn’t that thrilling and page turning. Drew and Ria’s increasing chemistry made me flip through page after page to find out what happened next.

This was a good book and I really jumped straight into the next book right away.

My Rating: 3.5/5

 

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#Super-Thriller – So This Is Love (Callaways #2) by Barbara Freethy

The blurb reads,

Emma Callaway, a hot fire investigator clashes with Max Harrison, a cool homicide detective in SO THIS IS LOVE, the second book in the Callaway Series, by #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy

For Max Harrison, love seduces and then destroys. His brother went to prison for love. His father left his family for love. And Max is determined not to follow in their footsteps, until he meets Emma…

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Callaway Print Covers

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Emma runs into burning buildings without an ounce of fear and embraces life as if every day is a new adventure. But while she’s fearless on the job, Emma is a coward when it comes to love. Betrayed by an ex-boyfriend, Emma has no intention of putting her heart on the line again, until she meets Max…

As the fires around the city rage, the heat between them ignites in a blaze of passion that’s far more dangerous. Will it destroy them or will they finally get everything they ever wanted…

All Callaway Book Covers

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I’ve finished reading 5 books from the Callaways and I’m on ‘That Summer Night’ now. And this one remains my favorite from all the books.

Emma is my favorite Callaway. She is deeply intuitive, wise and warm. She is friendly and immediately makes you want to be friends with her. She is best friends with Sara and makes an appearance in Book 1 when she welcomes Sara back to San Francisco.

Emma is an arson investigator. She looks into fires which appear suspicious and investigate whether it has a criminal intent to it. Very interesting but highly dangerous work. Is this danger going to catch up with Emma sometime?

Max is someone who has secrets. His brother was convicted 7 years ago. Max has lived his life in the pale shadow of guilt and shame for not helping his brother. He evades love no matter what. He is convinced that love is not worth anything.

When these two meet, sparks fly immediately. Emma tries to ignore them and Max acts gruff whenever he meets Emma. But then their attraction is undeniable. Sparks fly everytime they meet. And no matter how much Emma and Max try to avoid it, they fall into a deep vortex of trying to get to know each other and falling in love.

In the meantime, there is a serial arsonist in San Francisco. He is targeting everything that the Callaways hold dear. Who is the arsonist? What problem does s/he have? Destroying places which Emma holds dear. Is this an arsonist or is he getting much more bolder with each step? Will he stoop to murder next?

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And I found that in terms of suspense, this book had it all. I was so involved with Emma and Max and their story. I was also trying to solve the arsonist’s identity in my mind.

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This was a great book to read. Emma and Max were both afraid of love and it sort of reminded me of myself when I was a little younger. I too was burnt and hesitated about letting myself go. But when I decided to take the plunge and say yes, it was the most beautiful experience ever. It IS the most beautiful experience EVEN NOW.

Likewise, I found myself falling for Max and Emma as a couple. It is so important in a romance to have a connection to both the people. It always matters to see the book from the POV of the man and the woman. To slowly discover their feelings and then to go with the flow when they metamorph from Me to We.

I appreciated the level of suspense and mystery in this book. I enjoyed the writing and also how engaged I was when I was reading the book. It mattered a lot to me that Emma felt like a shadow of myself and that was an added bonus.

My Rating: 5/5

5 star

This book really made me want to read about the Callaways. It made me want to discover and peel every layer of each Callaway and find what made their family the way they were. It sort of set me up to reading into them and was definitely miles better than Book 1.

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#Stellar Beginning – On A Night Like This (Callaways #1) by Barbara Freethy

The blurb reads,

From #1 NY times Bestselling Author, Barbara Freethy, comes a romantic new contemporary series about the Callaways, a big, blended Irish family born to serve and protect.

The second oldest of the Callaway clan, Aiden Callaway veered from the family tradition of urban firefighting and became a smokejumper, never questioning his choice until the job took the life of his friend, Kyle, and left Aiden with injuries and fractured memories. Everyone blames Aiden for what happened, but he doesn’t remember, nor is he sure he wants to remember.

The truth may clear Aiden of blame but destroy Kyle’s reputation and hurt the people he left behind. 
 
 Aiden seeks help from an unlikely partner… 
 
 Sara had always been untouchable, sweet, innocent, his sister’s best friend, and the girl next door. But one reckless night in their youth took their relationship to a new level.

Sara has never forgiven or forgotten the way Aiden brought it crashing down, but she’s no longer that girl with the crazy crush. She’s a woman in search of her own truth. The sparks between Aiden and Sara have been smoldering for a very long time. Sara is afraid to take another chance on a man who broke her heart, and Aiden knows better than anyone how dangerous an intense fire can be.

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All Callaway Book CoversAs teenagers they weren’t ready for each other. Are they now?

Callaway Print Covers

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Right, so I’ve always wanted to read these series romances which talk about one family member at a time. I’ve not had the gift card balance on Amazon or a credit card to make those sort of purchases. And in a way, I’ve felt these books were too expensive for a common reader like me who barely makes money working online.

So when my favorite blog tour company, Novel Publicity, came out with a tour where I could read all the 8 books from a series, I jumped. I quite literally jumped. And I signed up for it.

I didn’t know I would be in for a huge huge ride. I am reading Book 6 as I type this review out and I cannot wait to discover what these others have in store for me.

I’ve always loved Romance and Suspense and I’ve always believed that their combination is potent. There are those books which are predominantly suspense which have a smattering of romance or erotica in them but this series isn’t like that. I can tell you that after having read 5 books with a different mystery and a different suspense being built up concurrently with a romance.

There’s an almost surreal quality to Romance novels in today’s age and time. We work so hard in our daily life and by some stroke, we live extremely stressful lives. Romance as a genre has such an important role in making people wear slightly tinted glasses, even for those 150 odd pages so that they can live a life where there is a HEA (Happily Ever After) involved.

The book starts off with Sara. She’s lived a life as a by-product of her father’s harsh judgement and cynicism. She’s lived her whole life being saddened by this rejection and feeling that her father somehow abdicated his responsibilities but not having enough courage to speak up.

And that strikes so close to home in so many cases. Expectations of doing well are so rife these days that a slight error of judgement can make parents lose their cool. Parenting in these times is hard.

Aiden is the second Callaway who has a slight history with Sara. He rejected her advances as a teenager adding to Sara’s guilt and rejection, damaging her further psychologically.

Sara comes to San Francisco to mend fences with her father and gets caught up in a fire. Aiden is home to get over the guilt of not saving his best friend. He needs answers.

A fire in Aiden’s neighboring house brings these two together. They embark on a journey to find out what secrets Sara’s father had fostered all these years and to find out what really happened in that smokejumping accident which caused Aiden’s best friend, Kyle’s death.

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My thoughts about this novel were that it seemed too conventional, the set up. Two people who came together and then slowly fell in love.

But then I was wrong. I realised I didn’t get anything being cynical about romance. I read the book like how it was, without drawing parallels to my own life and it flew so much better.

I could imagine Sara’s plight because I know how it is to feel like you’ve let someone down and then have the burden of not living up to expectations. That’s why I connected to Sara.

I somehow didn’t manage to connect as much to Aiden. I wanted to know more about his inner demons and his fears but somehow he did not bare himself as much as I would have liked. He felt a little aloof and that is the only place where I felt the book lacked.

When I read through the book, it just seemed like a movie playing right in front of my eyes with drama, love, peace, emotions and fire!!

This book started this series off with a BANG and I couldn’t wait to read what happened next. For the next few days when I read novel after novel, I could feel my life literally coming to a standstill as I ploughed through suspense after suspense to strip one Callaway bare after the other.

My Rating: 4/5

This is the perfect set up for the other 8 books. You can trace the journey of the Callaways and you mostly end up guessing which Callaway is going to be featured next. That’s the best part, moving forward with the book, moving forward with the characters.

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