Book 3, A Nugget Romance
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Nugget, California, is a spot-in-the-road that's easy to miss. But this little mountain town knows how to give the struggling and discouraged many paths back to happiness—and love…
Reporter Harlee Roberts is used to finding the story, not living it. Unfortunately, losing her dream job and glittering city life means she needs a serious rewrite. Downtime at her parents' cabin in Nugget is a break she could really use. But the less her rugged woodworker neighbor has to say to her, the more Harlee’s natural curiosity is piqued, and the more she wants exclusive access—to his heart…
Nugget's open spaces and mountain quiet are the perfect refuge for Colin Burke. All he wants is solitude, to mind his own business—and for Harlee to mind hers. Still, her live-wire personality and take-no-prisoners commitment to those she cares about are a temptation pulling him way too close. Is their connection strong enough to survive his secrets—and risk a future together?
Praise For Stacy Finz
“Finz is a unique new voice. Nugget, California is a charming small town filled with inventive characters and sweet romance."--Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author of the Lucky Harbor Series
"Tender and touching, Stacy Finz writes romance with heart."--Marina Adair, #1 National bestselling author of Summer in Napa
Three-dimensional and wonderfully realistic!
Harlee's life isn't going nearly the way she thought it would. Despite being the best investigative reporter at the paper, she's been let go due to declining sales combined with lack of seniority. The apartment she could barely afford is now completely out of her reach, and the credit cards she used so liberally to live it up in San Francisco are nothing more than a pile of bills she can't pay. Refusing to move back into her childhood bedroom — the ultimate symbol of failure — she takes her parents' offer of living in their vacation home in the small town of Nugget. But as much as she wants another job in journalism, the town is growing on her. Especially the people. Especially the rugged, quiet, incredible man next door.
Judging Covers: That's not how I picture Colin and Harlee, but it's definitely a step up from the previous covers in the series. Mind you, the other covers were actually pretty, including the paperback cover I first saw for this book. But photos of buildings, no matter how nice, don't exactly convey romance. So whether the couple here resembles the one in my mind or not, I'm glad to see the graphics pointing more toward the actual genre.
The Verdict: The books in this series just keep getting better and better! If you'll remember, I wasn't a huge fan of Rhys in the first book, but the writing and story were so good that I stuck with the series. The second one was great, and it included an important piece to the plot that I'm not sure I've ever seen in another romance — at least not the way it played out. But as much as I liked it, I think Second Chances is my new favorite Nugget romance!
Harlee's easy to like from the get-go. She's a bit out of sorts, having lost her job and, in a way, her independence. But she's doing everything she can to get back out there without taking too many handouts. She was a bit of a shopaholic before leaving San Francisco, but it's clear early on that she's no fashionista. She's just a woman who was enjoying life in a great city, and that included taking advantage of all the fashion while she was there. But she's pretty strong-willed and definitely capable of taking care of herself — and finding help when she needs it.
Colin has been a bit of an enigma since the first book. It was always clear that he's a good guy, but he's rather anti-social and never has too much to say. He's isolated himself in a cabin off the beaten path, interacting with the citizens of small-town Nugget only when he has to, but he's been there long enough and done such great carpentry work that the townsfolk have a high enough opinion of him.
Colin's past really surprised me, not only in what he'd been through, but also the gritty realism of it. Much like in Finding Hope, there was no neat, clean explanation that immediately cleared everything up. He was a man who made a terrible mistake, even though he never intended what happened, and he paid the price. Nugget is simply the small town he escaped to where he thought he'd be comfortable and could do his best to fly under the radar.
Aside from the fantastic writing, one thing that sets this series apart is the secondary stories. In other romance series, you meet additional characters, maybe get a general idea of what they want or are missing, and you can look forward to maybe getting their whole stories in future books. But in the Nugget series, you get your main story with a side of full secondary stories. While Harlee and Colin were stumbling toward what I hoped would be a happily ever after, Wyatt got his second chance (maybe) at love. At the same time, Sophie and Mariah continued building their family, and Griffin and Lina hit a few bumps in the road. And since we get the occasional chapter from their points of view, we get a really good look into what's happening outside of the main couple.
I so enjoyed the way Colin's story was slowly revealed, right down to the awful and tragic details, that I don't really want to give anything away in a review. Suffice it to say, though, that the Nugget series is quite unlike any other I've read, and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book! Stacy Finz has a way of spinning a plot into something three-dimensional and wonderfully realistic in a way you rarely find in the romance section.
***FicCentral received this book from Kensington Books (via NetGalley) for free in exchange for an honest review.
You can smell the pine trees
Reading the Nugget, CA series is like being a fly on the wall. Dialog is real. Conflict believable and emotional. The secondary characters are not stereotypical. Enough description to give you a sense of place BUT doesn’t stop the tension. Robin Carr fans absolutely must read this series.