Back to September

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 7 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

In Back to September, Hannah is the owner of a struggling bookstore. Trying to entice new customers, she invites best selling romance novelist Parker Bristow to the store for a signing and the two unexpectedly hit it off. I enjoyed this one. I really liked Hannah and her circle - her employees and her crusading attorney sister, Bo. I also loved the idea of an author/bookstore owner romance, though I was a little less excited about Parker. This book is told entirely from Hannah's point of view and I usually enjoy that, but I didn't feel like I got to know (or understand) Parker all that well. Hannah considers her unattainable or out of reach for a lot of the book, and I felt that remove all through even after they get together. I enjoyed this book while reading it, but I did put it down for a while and it took me a few weeks to pick it back up. But once I picked it back up I was happy to see it through, so overall it worked for me.
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4.5 Stars. This novel is about Hannah Shepard who owns a book shop called A Likely Story in Providence, RI. She takes a risk and tries to get a author, Parker Bristow for a signing at her store, hoping to increase sales. It works and Parker comes to her store for signing. Although there is one thing she does not take into account, how beautiful Parker is and how much she wants to get to know her. They start to spend some time together and Hannah feels an attraction to her that she has not felt with other people. There is only one problem, they mostly live on two different worlds, Parker travels a lot as Hannah just owns a bookstore in RI. 

I really enjoyed this novel, it was solid. I usually enjoy Melissa Brayden novels and this one was no exception. The was some tension and drama between the two main characters that made me want to keep reading. I read this book on a plane and did not want to stop when the plane landed. The characters developed as the book went on and they both had solid dialog with each other and the other characters in the novel. There were some points that were frustrating with the novel and that is why it got 4.5 stars instead of a perfect 5. This book was very good and I would recommend it to anyone.
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A solid and wholesome romance novel. It does what it says on the tin and executes it very well.
Wonderfully written with dazzling chemistry between the two protagonists and some bumps along the way.

Entirely too easy to read (definitely some 'one more page' syndrome with this one) so be careful reading at night or you'll end up staying awake!

Some meta moments with Parker is a romance writer herself but the overall message to take away from this? Sometimes love is just like in the books :)
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Thank you to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Back to September by Melissa Brayden.

This is the first book by Melissa Brayden that I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hannah Shephard is the owner of a small town bookshop, she’s quiet, not hugely interested in relationships, greets her books each morning with a whispered “Good morning books” and delights in finding the perfect book for her customers, oh and she dislikes romance books intensely.

She has two employees, Kurt who generally does the morning shift and Luna the afternoon shift.  When Luna suggests that instead of the display of the new book by the author Groffman that Kurt has meticulously constructed, they should be displaying the new release by the top of her genre romance author Parker Bristow, Hannah has to confront the fact that she is a book snob. Luna points out that while Groffman is a best selling author, Bristow was an absolute power house when it came to her books, and that they would sell more of her books than Groffman’s.  Things have been tough in book shop sales for a while so Hannah agrees to shake things up a little and replace the Groffman display with a Bristow one.  

When Luna pulls out of the promotional material included with the books, a flyer saying that Bristow is doing a book signing tour and the publicist was still looking for bookshops to sign up, Hannah reluctantly agrees to contact them and put her store forward.  Much to her shock Hannah’s bookstore is included on the tour itinerary and suddenly the great Parker Bristow is going to be present in her store, and maybe just maybe this will turn the store’s fortunes around.

What Hannah didn’t reckon on when she applied for Parker Bristow to do a book signing in her book store was that there would be an amazing chemistry between them and that she’d find herself in a relationship with a famous author.

But Hannah and Parker come from two different worlds and two very different lifestyles, can their relationship survive everything the world throws at them or will the challenges tear them apart?

A powerful story of how sometimes love just isn’t enough.

Highly recommended, 4 stars.
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This was a new author for me and I found it's one that just does not keep me entertained.  It seemed like the story was going up and down, and the start was pretty good but the second half was filled with sex scenes which just turned me off.  I truly tried to read it but had other books that were better.  Perhaps it was just me, but it wasn't my type of book.  I had heard of her and her previous books were good but this one had you trying to decide who was right as one was more a loner and the other was very outgoing. Try it and see if it's your kind of reading.  Thanks to net galley for giving me the opportunity to try this author.
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I loved this story...loved it!!
The characters are warm and the dialog is realistic and interesting. 
I felt all the chemistry between the main characters and totally understood their instant fling.  I loved how Brayden pulled them together then upset us as they were  pulled apart.  It made me want to read faster to see how they were going to get back together.  And yes, you really want them to get back together.  I.had no idea how they would resolve the last major break up but Brayden did it very reasonable and convincing.  This was a very warm romance but a bit of a rollercoaster ride and I loved it.  Bravo Brayden.
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Hannah owns a book store in Providence Rhode Island. And it's in money trouble. She managed to get world famous author Parker to come and do a signing. they have an evening and then another and another. They connect and get closer and closer and find themselves falling in love. But, Parker has some serious issues, and they definitely cropped up at weird times in their relationship.

I know that I shouldn't be as annoyed with the whole 'I can match anyone with their perfect book' trope as I was. Although, since it is an entirely fictional skill, I guess it makes sense that it's in a fiction book.

On the other hand, I really liked the push back against the romance snobs. Not to mention, the shade thrown at 'Groffman', which is about the same length as a certain author's name who also writes in short, discrete sentences (and chapters too for that matter). It was hilarious.

Overall it was a fun book and a good read. I think I even caught most of the in Brayden Universe allusions too.

I received this book via Netgalley thanks to Bold Strokes Books.
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Melissa Brayden’s novels are reliably good for me but I had a hard time connecting to this story. By all rights, it should have been in line to become one of my favorites: a bookstore owner falls for a romance novelist! But our bookstore owner Hannah felt more like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl than a fully realized, authentic character. (She’s so, so twee, greeting the books each time she opened up the store.) And romance novelist Parker felt larger than life (think someone with Nora Roberts-level money because holy privileged lifestyle), which made her continued selfish actions that much harder to take. 

FYI both women date other people during the course of the story. There is no infidelity but there are complicated feelings, as they decide to be just friends after a couple of hookups. They have scorching chemistry though so we know they’re going to get together, once they get over this “just friends” nonsense. I didn’t mind their reasons for not being together because they made sense—they live in different places and lead different lives. But the woman Parker chose to date was just awful and even though she later says she dated Carissa because she knew it would never be serious, I couldn’t understand how she could be with someone like that. It made me think less of her. 

Parker has a serious fear of intimacy and Hannah was right to be wary and cautious, especially after Parker’s actions. Were this not a romance, I would have been rooting for Hannah to move on and forget Parker altogether. But it is a romance and so I was curious how Hannah would work through her feelings and what Parker would do to prove she was in it for the long haul. Alas, the plot took an emotionally manipulative turn, which caused Hannah to go to Parker, instead of the other way around. I’m sure they’ll be happy enough together but Parker’s remorse and self-hatred over how she treated Hannah before was not enough to allay my concerns she won’t do it again in the future.

Side note, there’s a plotline involving Hannah’s lawyer stepsister Bo in which Bo continually discloses details about a custody case she’s working on. Not only to Hannah but to Parker and even Hannah’s employees. This felt like a breach of lawyer-client confidentiality. She did not use names but there was a lot of identifying information and details about the case. Maybe it was fine but it felt off to me, especially because of the way Bo’s relationship with her client eventually evolves.

CW: assault leading to hospitalization, custody case involving abusive parent, heroine discloses being removed from her parents’ care as a child and their addiction and imprisonment for robbery and assault charges, past loved one having a debilitating stroke and dying two years later, Missing Persons report
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What an enjoyable romantic read with two likable characters. I also appreciate a read that challenges you to self-reflect and connect on a personal level as the story unfolds. Why do people do what they do? In order to find out you have to care enough to watch, ask questions and listen. I embraced the bookstore setting (one of my favorite places) and one character being an author. Very refreshing.

Hannah Shepherd, bookstore owner. What an upbeat personality working to keep her bookstore afloat. I like her personal touch to connect customers with their perfect book. Cool. Very cool. Parker Bristow, famous author, smooth and sexy without even trying. When Parker agrees to come to Hannah's bookstore for a signing, it not only boost sales but there is also a connection. The interaction and dialogue of the two is quite entertaining and sexy. The secondary characters were important to the story as they encouraged and supported.
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I thought it was pretty average romance overall, I went back and forth on whether I was actually enjoying it or whether it was just a little too contrived and Hallmark-y for my tastes. But I was craving a cheesy F/F romance, and this really satisfied that.

Hannah, our main character, is bisexual; the love interest is, as far as I could tell, only interested in women; and there are multiple female side characters that are queer. And with all of the romantic drama between our two main characters, there was never a moment when Hannah's bisexuality was used negatively against her which I appreciated. 

But overall, I just wasn't really impressed with this. I really like the premise and the archetypes of these two characters: the owner of a bookstore who doesn't believe in romance falls in love with a bestselling romance author. Cute! But like I already mentioned, this just was a little too contrived and like a Hallmark movie for my personal taste in romance. I didn't really connect with any of the characters, and despite this being a romance, the relationship between Parker and Hannah felt super underdeveloped. We don't actually get a lot of scenes of them together and the ending kind of spoiled it for me and just compounded existing problems I had with the book.

I'll definitely give Brayden another chance, but this was not a standout for me.
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Parker Bristow is a very famous writer focusing on love between a man and a woman even though in her private life she herself prefers the company of other women. She funny, beautiful and smart but the idea of making a commitment isn’t something she will ever do. Her childhood left her with lots of baggage so  dating and moving on quickly  is the only way to go. 
    Hannah Shephard is doing just what she’s always wanted to do. Owning her own bookstore that serves the community and while she’s seen some early  successes  she is now facing the reality that she might have to close her door pretty soon. Not something she wants, not only for herself but for her two employees Luna and Kurt, who over time have become  good friends. Both know the book store isn’t doing well so when Luna learns that Parker Bristow is doing a tour to promote her new book, she convinces Hannah to invite the famous writer.
    Problem is Hannah believes romance novels are not what she’d call quality reading but bringing customers to her book store means having many romance novels for sale including Parker’s. Both are somewhat surprised by the effect they have on each other. As a plus  Ms Brayden included another plot involving Hannah’s step-sister Bo that added another layer, making this another winner for Ms Brayden.
   Fast paced with some pretty hot exotica  and lots of fun, believable dialogue. Excellent read that I enjoyed very much as I’m sure many more will enjoy also.
ARC via NetGalley/ Bold Stroke Books
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Back to September by Melissa Brayden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A roller coaster romance with angst, sex and moments of humour that kept me entertained to the end. Leads Hannah (bookstore owner) and Parker (romance author) have undeniable chemistry in this well written storyline. I desperately wanted the book to be longer. Kudos Ms. Brayden. I highly recommend with 5 stars.

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I whizzed through this book so fast, intrigued to know what was going to happen next. The two main characters are beautifully and realistically written and their love story has twists and turns but is endlessly satisfying. The setting of the independent book shop appealed to me and it is fleshed out in detail throughout the book. I enjoyed this book thoroughly.
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This is one of my favourite reads of the moment. I have been having a hard time getting this one out of my head.

This book tells the story about Hannah, a bookstore owner in Providence, and Parker, a famous romance author. The store is struggling so Hannah takes a chance in a romance book, prompted by her employee Luna. Luna also prompts her to request for a signing by the author, Parker. Parker and Hannah have an instant connection, but they are completely different. They start on this beautiful friendship journey, the dialogue between them is just amazing. The friendship turns into an amazing night together, but nothing more. They are great friends, have lengthy phone calls, are each other’s biggest cheerleader and just amazing. Until they meet again for a weekend away with their SO. The friendship crumbles and Hannah is bumped, but too proud to do anything about it (also a little too stubborn). Will she and Parker be able to fix it? Become friends again, or even go to the next level when they finally act on their chemistry?

I like the addition of Bo and Luna. I think they could both have book as well. Especially Bo, Hannah’s sister, I would be really interested in reading her story.

Also, has anyone snatched the movie rights for this book up? To me this could make the ultimate lesbian romance movie. It is not as sappy as a Nicolas Sparks book, but definitely delivers on the emotion. Could be a great hit!
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Ms Brayden hit it out of the park with this one. Hannah is beautiful inside and yet and she very believably meets a charismatic social media influencer who also happens to be an author. From the very beginning Parker is intrigued by Hannah and starts pursuing her. The chemistry and likability of both characters despite all the curve balls thrown their way was incredibly accomplished.
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Hannah is a small bookstore owner who is struggling to survive financially.  I love her passion for books and bookselling. To try to increase revenue, she's convinced by her employee to highlight more romance novels.  Enter Parker, a bestselling romance novelist, who did a signing at Hannah's bookstore,  Sparks fly and romance ensues.  I love that Hannah has to confront her prejudice about romance being a valid genre.  I also love that both Hannah and Parker have personal issues they have to deal with. They`re both flawed humans who are struggling to improve themselves in order for their relationship to work. As with previous Melissa Brayden works, this book is very enjoyable and easy to read,  Highly recommended.

**Thanks to Bold Strokes Books for providing me an ARC for an honest review**
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Melissa Brayden writes beautiful romances that never fail to be tender, loving and hot. ‘Back to September’ is no exception. But this time she went that little bit further. Hannah and Parker’s story had me gripped and I thought my heart would break in two. Here were two characters that needed to be together, but it wasn’t going to be that easy. 

Hannah liked her life to be fairly predictable and ordered. She was  not overly concerned about romance. If it happened it happened. In walks Parker Bristow to her life. She’s smart and sexy and full of positive energy and Hannah can’t help but fall for her charms. Parker is a world-famous romance author and just having her visit Hannah’s store makes a huge impact. When they are together it’s adorable and unexpected, but can it ever really work out? Long-distance relationships are hard enough, but other issues get in the way too.

I really loved Hannah. She was loyal and kind and seemed to blossom when Parker was around. Parker was wonderful, and who wouldn’t love a romance writer anyway? But it was her struggles that tore at my heart. I just wanted everything to come right for her. I wanted her to see she was worth it, worth loving. As with all of Melissa Brayden’s books I got my ‘aaah’ moment though. It was so beautifully written and love always wins. 

I was given this ARC for review.
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First off, I loved the opening chapters featuring the struggles of our erstwhile bookseller Hannah Shepherd. How can you not love a book which opens with “Good morning, books,” when she opens A Likely Story each morning. Brayden touches on the reality of bookstores and their lack of sales and as an ebook reader I am sorry to see the small stores closing down. I do feel guilty, I do.

I also liked her characters discussion on Hannah being a book snob, assuming romance novels are shallow and read by your aunties, the ones without college degrees. Parker Bristow, as famous as Nora Roberts and much, much, much sexier changes Hannah’s attitude and wow, I was in full agreement with her fan base. It’s a credit to this author’s writing skills that her characters can convey so much heat and attraction simply in a glance or a clever remark.

I found this to be a quick and delicious read. Hannah deserves a medal for all she puts up with after their initial amazing getaway in Mystic. First person point of view adds drama as we readers try to figure out what is going on inside Parker’s brain to behave the way she does. Once again kudos to Brayden for allowing their relationship to develop the way it does despite the road blocks thrown up on their path to happiness.

Nicely done

ARC received with thanks from publisher via NetGalley for review.
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A cozy and fluffy feelgood lesbian romance between a bookshop owner and a romance author. While this wasn't particularly memorable reading it was like drinking hot cup of chocolate on a cold night, warm and comforting.
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3.75-4 stars - Melissa Brayden has become one of those authors I can rely on for a good time. She writes well, her characters are usually very likable and her books always give me that happy-cozy feeling. You can never go wrong with Brayden and Back to September doesn’t disappoint.

Hannah Sheppard owns A Likely Story, an independent bookshop in downtown Providence. The shop has seen better days and Hannah is afraid she won’t be able to keep it open for much longer. At this point, she is ready to try anything to bring in more customers, but when Luna suggests they put up a display of Parker Bristow’s new romance novel in the window, Hannah isn’t convinced. But a window display turns into a book signing and pretty much all of Hannah’s dreams come true.

Hannah and Parker have great chemistry. They hit it off right from the moment they meet and you can’t help but root for them. I usually like 1st person POV, but I would have liked to see the 2 different perspectives or it be told in third person so I could get a little bit more insight into what Parker was thinking/feeling.

With Back to September, Brayden delivers the drama and angst. Her books are usually pretty sweet and formulaic (and I actually don’t mind too much when it comes to her work), but with this one, she seems to have challenged herself to come up with something a little different and it’s definitely worth it. However, I felt at times that the angst was a little bit forced and not really believable.

As with any other Brayden books, I definitely recommend you give this one a try. Especially if you like bookstores, small towns and angsty romances.

***Thanks to Bold Strokes Books for providing me with a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review
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