Monday, November 4, 2013

Leave the Lights On by Karen Stivali - Review and Giveaway

“When love throws you a curve, swing for the fences. ”

Parker Wood’s dreams of becoming a professional baseball player are shattered when he’s injured in a devastating car crash. After two years in hospitals and physical rehab facilities, he’s ready to move back to his childhood home and take over the family landscaping company. The house and business are his, now that his father has passed.
Sophie Vaughn has suffered through a hellishly public divorce from a husband who couldn’t manage to stay faithful for two months of marriage. Determined not to let her personal drama impact her successful wedding and party planning business, she buys her parents’ old house, hoping the comfort of familiar surroundings will help her heal.
When Parker and Sophie discover they’re neighbors once again, it’s as if time has stood still. Their friendship is quickly rekindled, along with the decade-long crush neither of them ever admitted having. Then the heat between them exposes a long-held secret that threatens to tear them apart…unless they can detach from their painful pasts and move forward-together.
Warning: Contains sultry summer nights, steamy pool-side encounters, and you’ll never look at a jar of peanut butter the same way again.

My rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

I started reading this book a couple of weeks ago with the thought that it would guarantee that I had enough time to read it and process my thoughts before having to sit down and write this review.

I finished it in an afternoon.

I make no secret of the fact that I love a good "friends to more" story.  I don't know what it is, I just love the whole idea and this story took that premise and full-on ran with it.  Parker and Sophie make me smile -- and I kinda loved the fact that we could just jump headfirst into their story without any of the all to common miscommunications and misunderstandings.  Their history allows them to hit the ground running and yet the few stumbles and awkward moments along the way reminds the reader that this new aspect of their relationship is uncharted territory.

Like the moment when I wanted to grab Parker by the shoulders and shake him for being stupid.

But then he does something that makes me like him again, so I end up forgiving him  :)  

That being said, I do feel like there were a few places where I wish I had been given a bit more backstory - especially regarding Sophie.  And for those of you that know me, you know I usually wish the exact opposite and preach "less is more."  Never say never, right?  But remember, I finished this book in an afternoon, so obviously it didn't deter me too much.  This was, after all, the story of Parker AND Sophie and that is what Ms. Stivali delivers. 

All in all, Leave the Lights On was a quick, easy and enjoyable read with solid characters that still has me smiling almost two weeks later.  For those of you that love a good HEA, this book is definitely for you.


  Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker, and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men.  When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends, who never seem to mind the excessive quantities she tends to prepare. She attributes her ability to multitask to the fact that she rarely sleeps, which gives her more hours every day. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.
Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic tales filled with sarcasm and sexy details. Although she writes in three genres (erotic romance, contemporary romance and women’s fiction) all of her stories are love stories with happily ever after endings.


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