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Heart of the Storm

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Juliet Mitchell is doing just fine. Her career with the Shell Creek Police Department is on track, her son, Declan, is amazing, and for the first time in a long time, life is simple, if unremarkable. Until a dead body is found outside the Shell Creek Library. Sienna Bennett doesn’t know how she ended up here. She’s overwhelmed as a big city victim advocate, her soon-to-be-e Juliet Mitchell is doing just fine. Her career with the Shell Creek Police Department is on track, her son, Declan, is amazing, and for the first time in a long time, life is simple, if unremarkable. Until a dead body is found outside the Shell Creek Library. Sienna Bennett doesn’t know how she ended up here. She’s overwhelmed as a big city victim advocate, her soon-to-be-ex-husband is living in their pool house, and she feels like her stepson, Declan, blames her for the state of their family. She needs something else to focus on. Juliet and Sienna might share a history with Declan’s dad, but they’re nothing more than friendly acquaintances. When they’re thrown together in the midst of the biggest investigation Shell Creek has ever seen, neither anticipates a forbidden attraction. It definitely isn’t worth upending the life they’ve worked so hard for. Is it?


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Juliet Mitchell is doing just fine. Her career with the Shell Creek Police Department is on track, her son, Declan, is amazing, and for the first time in a long time, life is simple, if unremarkable. Until a dead body is found outside the Shell Creek Library. Sienna Bennett doesn’t know how she ended up here. She’s overwhelmed as a big city victim advocate, her soon-to-be-e Juliet Mitchell is doing just fine. Her career with the Shell Creek Police Department is on track, her son, Declan, is amazing, and for the first time in a long time, life is simple, if unremarkable. Until a dead body is found outside the Shell Creek Library. Sienna Bennett doesn’t know how she ended up here. She’s overwhelmed as a big city victim advocate, her soon-to-be-ex-husband is living in their pool house, and she feels like her stepson, Declan, blames her for the state of their family. She needs something else to focus on. Juliet and Sienna might share a history with Declan’s dad, but they’re nothing more than friendly acquaintances. When they’re thrown together in the midst of the biggest investigation Shell Creek has ever seen, neither anticipates a forbidden attraction. It definitely isn’t worth upending the life they’ve worked so hard for. Is it?

30 review for Heart of the Storm

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    This was a good one. This is Stiling’s third book and my new favorite by her. She actually has officially made it to my automatic read list. Her first two books had some bumps but also a ton of potential. With this book I saw some real improvement and it makes me excited to see what she will write in the future. A marriage ending while someone falls for another, storyline has been done plenty of times before. But what I really liked was the slight twist of how all the characters were connected. This was a good one. This is Stiling’s third book and my new favorite by her. She actually has officially made it to my automatic read list. Her first two books had some bumps but also a ton of potential. With this book I saw some real improvement and it makes me excited to see what she will write in the future. A marriage ending while someone falls for another, storyline has been done plenty of times before. But what I really liked was the slight twist of how all the characters were connected. It gave the story a real forbidden love trope feel that spiced up the romance. One of my complaints, in Stiling’s first two books, was that I felt the romance needed a bit more show instead of tell. I’m happy to say that I think Stiling finally hit the perfect balance in this book. The characters had good chemistry and the kind of feelings you could really invest in as a reader. Another part of the romance I have to mention is the communication. What a nice breath of fresh air. It was great seeing these two women in a tough situation but that they kept talking to each other. There was still plenty of angsty push-pull going on but the communication was really nice to read about. It also helped the romance that both mains were very likeable and I was even happy that the soon to be ex wasn’t made to be a bad guy. While the romance really was the star of this book, this also has a lighter murder mystery. When I saw lighter I mean that it felt more ‘cozy mystery’ than a hardcore dark mystery. I wasn’t blown away by how it unfolded, but I really enjoyed how it enhanced other parts of the book. I think the mystery allowed the romance to shine. It made it so that the romance never dragged and it also added some little bits of excitement to the story that kept the pages turning. So while it wasn’t the best mystery on its own, I really do think it made the rest of the book better. This was a good read and one I would recommend to romance fans that like a little something else mixed in their romance. I don’t think you have to be a mystery fan to enjoy this one since it is not so hardcore. But I do think Stiling is an author that readers should keep an eye on. She's had major potential from the start, but now she’s improving her craft. I would be shocked if she didn’t have some really great books coming up in the future. A copy was given to me for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    “Heart of the Storm” by Nicole Stling is a forbidden romance with a side of mystery/intrigue. I loved this book a lot more than I thought I would after reading the blurb. Juliet, a small-town cop, and Sienna, a victim’s advocate, are connected through Juliet’s son, Declan. Sienna is married to Declan’s dad, Will. Although they’ve known each other for years, they don’t really become friends until they road trip together to drop off Declan at baseball camp. Things get complicated when in the midst “Heart of the Storm” by Nicole Stling is a forbidden romance with a side of mystery/intrigue. I loved this book a lot more than I thought I would after reading the blurb. Juliet, a small-town cop, and Sienna, a victim’s advocate, are connected through Juliet’s son, Declan. Sienna is married to Declan’s dad, Will. Although they’ve known each other for years, they don’t really become friends until they road trip together to drop off Declan at baseball camp. Things get complicated when in the midst of Sienna’s divorce from Will, her friendship with Juliet grows closer. On top of that, their jobs also bring them closer together after a murder occurs in their small town. This book had everything for me. There’s a sweet undeniable romance, mature women who know how to communicate with each other, a touch of angst, and just enough push and pull surrounding their unique circumstances to make you wonder if their relationship can actually make it. Sienna and Juliet are also working on a murder mystery that has just enough twists and turns to keep you interested. The romance between Juliet and Sienna was believable and their chemistry was undeniable. It had a forbidden vibe to me that brought some extra built-in angst that I really enjoyed. But what I loved about it was that they both tried to fight it because they didn’t want to upset Will and Declan and cause their family anymore turmoil. They communicated their feelings and talked it out that was so nice and refreshing to read. While it’s not quite a love triangle as Sienna is truly over her marriage and no longer loves Will, I did feel bad for him. He wasn’t a bad guy and their pain over hurting him with their relationship felt natural and really got to me. The mystery was also fun to read. While I guessed who the murderer was there were some unexpected things that happened that kept it interesting and kept that plot line moving along. This was my first novel by Stiling but it definitely won’t be my last. “Heart of the Storm” is a well written romance with an original plot and a great cast of characters. I absolutely recommend this. I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jude in the Stars

    I didn’t read the blurb before I started reading this book. I knew I’d liked Nicole Stiling’s first two novels a lot and that was enough for me. Though I didn’t exactly decide not to read the blurb, I’m really happy it happened. The story that unfolded before my eyes took me entirely by surprise and I loved it. I was unsettled for most of the time I was reading, which echoes what the characters were going through. In my reviews, I usually summarize the plot in a few sentences, doing my best not t I didn’t read the blurb before I started reading this book. I knew I’d liked Nicole Stiling’s first two novels a lot and that was enough for me. Though I didn’t exactly decide not to read the blurb, I’m really happy it happened. The story that unfolded before my eyes took me entirely by surprise and I loved it. I was unsettled for most of the time I was reading, which echoes what the characters were going through. In my reviews, I usually summarize the plot in a few sentences, doing my best not to spoil. I’m not even going to do that this time. This will probably be a shorter review than this book deserves but I really recommend going in knowing it’s good but without too much information. All I’ll say is that it’s not an easy task to make sudden chemistry between two women who have known each other for almost ten years believable. And yet Stiling succeeds, there’s no doubt about that. Belated instalust is a thing, trust me. I was rooting for Siena and Juliet from the start but also liked the secondary characters very much. I wasn’t always sure what the timeline was, however. It felt like things were happening pretty quickly between the two MCs but at one point, one of them says it’s been going on for “a while”. It didn’t bother too much, though, I had plenty to focus on that mattered more. Another thing Stiling writes really well is atmosphere. I get completely sucked into her stories and have a hard time restraining myself from reading them in one sitting. Heart of the Storm is heavy on romance and lighter on the mystery aspect, which is more in the background, but in both areas, the author manages intricate storylines, making this book very enjoyable on both sides. ARC provided to Les Rêveur for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    MZ

    3.75 stars. I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this book and it did not disappoint. There is an interesting mystery in the book, but the romance was the best part for me. The mains are in a delicate situation that easily could have led to a high amount of drama or angst. Luckily, this was not the case, it was handled very well, mature and balanced (as far as possible in this kind of situation), which was refreshing. Sienna is about to divorce Will after 9 years of marriage. They have g 3.75 stars. I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this book and it did not disappoint. There is an interesting mystery in the book, but the romance was the best part for me. The mains are in a delicate situation that easily could have led to a high amount of drama or angst. Luckily, this was not the case, it was handled very well, mature and balanced (as far as possible in this kind of situation), which was refreshing. Sienna is about to divorce Will after 9 years of marriage. They have grown apart and there’s nothing left anymore in their marriage. One of the things she worries about most is what will happen with her relationship with Declan, her 15-year old stepson who she loves as her own son. Add Juliet to the mix. Juliet is Declan’s mother and while she never lived together with Will, they are best friends and co-parent Declan. Juliet and Sienna were always friendly, but barely knew each other until now, and it turns out that they actually like each other…..a lot! A recipe for disaster. Juliet and Sienna have feelings for each other, they admit pretty easily to that, but they do not want to give into them. Sienna is not even officially divorced and Will and Declan are still hoping that the marriage can be saved. Juliet is aware of Will’s feelings for Sienna and knows a relationship between her and Sienna will break his heart (and their friendship). So, there is a lot of push and pull and doubt, which all felt so natural because there is so much more at stake here than their relationship and their feelings only. I liked how they talked things out and tried to make sense of it and do the right thing, but obviously the heart wants what the heart wants. Another thing I liked is that Will is not the bad guy in this story, he is actually a nice guy and I felt sorry for him, but at the same time I wanted Sienna and Juliet to be together. Juliet and Sienna also work together on a professional level in a murder case. Juliet is the investigating cop and Sienna is a victim’s advocate. The murder mystery was nice, it didn’t knock my socks off, but it kept me interested throughout the book. I guessed who was involved pretty quickly, but I kept wanting to know the details and there was a nice twist near the end. This was the first book by Stiling I read and I will read more in the future. An interesting mystery and a good romance that handles a complex situation without going over the top. I received an ARC from Bold Stroke Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  5. 4 out of 5

    mishi

    Heart of the Storm by Nicole Stiling is a mystery-romance that takes place in a small town. Usually I am not one for crime/mystery books unless the book is set around the main character being in danger (like the author's debut book) but the plot sounded really intriguing to me. especially the romance part and I really liked author's other two books so I decided to read this. Unfortunately I didn't like it as much as I expected to. The book moved slowly and the mystery didn't interest me. The rom Heart of the Storm by Nicole Stiling is a mystery-romance that takes place in a small town. Usually I am not one for crime/mystery books unless the book is set around the main character being in danger (like the author's debut book) but the plot sounded really intriguing to me. especially the romance part and I really liked author's other two books so I decided to read this. Unfortunately I didn't like it as much as I expected to. The book moved slowly and the mystery didn't interest me. The romance was cute but nothing earth shattering. The MCs acknowledged their attraction pretty quickly and then they did the 'I like you but we can't be together because of our family' thing way too many times. My favourite in the book was probably the family watching horror movie scene. I am sure fans of mystery-romance will like it.. Overall this was a good read but didn't give me the same thrill that the other two books by this author did. I look forward to reading Stiling's next book I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    R

    This story involved a complicated murder with a few twists and turns and an even more complicated romance. Sienna, a forty four year old victim advocate, was not happy for many years during her nine year marriage to Will. She finally had enough and wanted a divorce. But Will, always self centered didn’t actually listen to Sienna’s words and thought they would separate and then get back together. Declan, Sienna’s fifteen year old stepson, just wanted his dad and stepmom to stay together. He was a This story involved a complicated murder with a few twists and turns and an even more complicated romance. Sienna, a forty four year old victim advocate, was not happy for many years during her nine year marriage to Will. She finally had enough and wanted a divorce. But Will, always self centered didn’t actually listen to Sienna’s words and thought they would separate and then get back together. Declan, Sienna’s fifteen year old stepson, just wanted his dad and stepmom to stay together. He was already involved in different housing arrangements between his dad and his police office mom, Juliet. Even though Sienna and Juliet, 38, had known each other for almost ten years, they were friendly toward each other but not really friends. This status changed when Sienna accompanied Juliet on a several hour trip to drop off Declan at a one week baseball camp. The women found they had a lot more in common, besides Will and Declan, then they originally thought. They started hanging out and soon became attracted to each other. That was when the problems started and continued throughout the story. The characters were likable and each had their own set of problems to worry about, beside the one major problem they had in common. Juliet was also stressed about a murder committed in their small town. The possible suspect list was easy to narrow down, but not the motives. I enjoyed this storyline. The romance part was sweet, but the characters went back and forth a lot throughout the story. This was a bit annoying, but it was somewhat understandable. They were afraid of the reactions of Declan and Will. Sienna’s divorce was not yet finalized even though the marriage itself was over years ago. They both loved Declan and wanted to do the right thing for him, more so than themselves. I liked their heartfelt conversations and reasoning behind this indecisiveness. Overall, I think the author did a good job with this mystery romance combination. There was always something going on, and a bit of humor was also added to the mix to offset other serious issues. An ARC was given in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tiff

    This book, one-word problematic! Imagine falling into love with your child’s stepmother. Yikes, that going to have some awkwardness at family gatherings. You have crimes, you have murder, a whole big mystery to solve and a lot of romance. Nicole Stiling has written one heck of a dynamite read. This book is a must read! Juliet Mitchell is living a god life as a single mom, small town police officer. She loves her life, her career and the only thing missing is true love. She’s okay though, she has This book, one-word problematic! Imagine falling into love with your child’s stepmother. Yikes, that going to have some awkwardness at family gatherings. You have crimes, you have murder, a whole big mystery to solve and a lot of romance. Nicole Stiling has written one heck of a dynamite read. This book is a must read! Juliet Mitchell is living a god life as a single mom, small town police officer. She loves her life, her career and the only thing missing is true love. She’s okay though, she has the company of lady or two when the need arises but for the most part, she is content with her day-to-day existence in Shell Creek. As a small-town policewoman, she spends most of her time dealing with small crimes and domestic disturbances until the day beloved librarian, Richard Kowalski is found dead in the outside the local library. Sienna Bennett has finally acknowledged to herself and her husband that their marriage is over. It has been for years but its finally time to break it off so she and Will can move on with their lives without each other. A spur of the moment trip with her stepson Declan and his mom, Juliet brings friendship into her life again. Add on to the fact that Sienna, a victim’s advocate, will be working with Mrs. Kowalski and Juliet on the case of the murdered librarian. Both of our two leading ladies are great characters. You love them for their strengths and flaws. The relationship begins as friends and then evolves into more even though both ladies know that this could be a disaster for their family relationships. You cannot help but root for their love. This is a great book that has a damn fine romance and mystery. The author does a perfect job of balancing them both and weaving the story together. Loved it!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Skip

    This was another book that surprised me on this months slate of releases. A mystery romance that gets a high three stars from me. Juliet is a cop who had a son with her best friend. She’s called to a murder in her town. Sienna is a victim’s advocate and the step mother to Juliet’s son. The murder pushes them together. I enjoyed that the main characters had known each other and been in each others lives for quite some time. It was refreshing to have two people notice each other as their true selve This was another book that surprised me on this months slate of releases. A mystery romance that gets a high three stars from me. Juliet is a cop who had a son with her best friend. She’s called to a murder in her town. Sienna is a victim’s advocate and the step mother to Juliet’s son. The murder pushes them together. I enjoyed that the main characters had known each other and been in each others lives for quite some time. It was refreshing to have two people notice each other as their true selves, rather than a storyline with two people just meeting. I liked how Stiling dealt with the breakdown of Sienna’s marriage and the impact it would have on her husband and step son for her to fall for their best friend/mother respectively. I appreciated that Stiling didn’t make either Sienna or Juliet oblivious to the implications of their love on others and that there was no automatic presumption it would all just be ok. With it being a mystery this book came with a slew of additional characters. I thought this added to the depth of the book, as due to the nature of the MCs knowing each other already, there aren’t a lot of scenes added to allow us to get know the characters as part of the natural process of dating. I liked Juliet’s friends and thought Declan the son/step son was written wonderfully. The mystery was interesting. I didn’t find it riveting, but it moved along at a pace that kept me somewhat interested in who had committed the crime and why. There were some parts that I felt were missing to explain some of the situation but I think it was mainly because by the time the crime is resolved we’re full into romance mode. There’s lot about this to enjoy and I think anyone who enjoys wlw romance would enjoy this. I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Luce

    4 Stars for Heart of the Storm by Nicole Stiling This is the second book I've read by Stiling (previous book was Secrets in a Small Town). We visit another small town (actually a small city) with a mystery and a romance. The head librarian of Shell Creek Library is found dead at the foot of the steps of the library. Did he die of natural causes or was it an unnatural cause? Police Lieutenant Juliet Mitchell, is assigned to find out. Juliet is a lesbian who shares custody of her fifteen year old s 4 Stars for Heart of the Storm by Nicole Stiling This is the second book I've read by Stiling (previous book was Secrets in a Small Town). We visit another small town (actually a small city) with a mystery and a romance. The head librarian of Shell Creek Library is found dead at the foot of the steps of the library. Did he die of natural causes or was it an unnatural cause? Police Lieutenant Juliet Mitchell, is assigned to find out. Juliet is a lesbian who shares custody of her fifteen year old son, Declan with the boy's father, Will. When she found out she was pregnant, she had already determined she was a lesbian and decided to keep the baby. Will asked if they could raise the baby together. Declan alternates weeks staying with Juliet or with Will and his wife of 9 years, Sienna. The arrangement was working for all of them, Declan accepting Sienna as his second mother. But now Will and Sienna's marriage is rocky. Sienna wants a divorce but Will is dragging his feet. So he moves into their pool house while Declan is away at camp. Juliet and Sienna really don't know each other until Will insists that Sienna goes in his place to drive Declan to camp with Juliet. Juliet and Sienna hit it off and become friends. Sienna works as a victim's advocate for the county and she is assigned to help in Shell Creek to be the advocate for the widow of the dead librarian. When her husband was dead on the steps, his wife was run off the road and is now unconscious in the hospital. Victim's advocates, support and aid victims of crimes be it emotional or informational support, grief counseling, and any other help victims might need. After a bit, the mystery didn't hold my interest even though I'm a big mystery fan. There were so many suspects and red herrings that after a while I really didn't care, other than rooting for Juliet to solve it. I did however, guess correctly on some aspects of the mystery. What I cared about was Juliet, Sienna, Declan and Will. Juliet and Sienna become closer and have a believable friendship which eventually leads to romance. Will is in denial that his marriage is in trouble which in Sienna's opinion had been over for quite a while and Declan is angry at both his mothers. Declan was enjoying the arrangement and relationship he had with all his parents. Now it was changing. Overall a good book and I'm looking forward to Stiling's next one. An advanced readers copy was given to me by Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

  10. 5 out of 5

    Clout

    Heart of the Storm was wonderful. I was very interested In the romance story line, because I don’t recall ever seeing that particular situation before. I particularly enjoyed how there was no misunderstanding or issue that could be cleared up with a five minute convo. There was a real obstacle that they had to overcome or just not be together. That was it. Sienna and Juliet had great chemistry and I was on pins and needles waiting for them to get together. The mystery aspect was also well done. Heart of the Storm was wonderful. I was very interested In the romance story line, because I don’t recall ever seeing that particular situation before. I particularly enjoyed how there was no misunderstanding or issue that could be cleared up with a five minute convo. There was a real obstacle that they had to overcome or just not be together. That was it. Sienna and Juliet had great chemistry and I was on pins and needles waiting for them to get together. The mystery aspect was also well done. I liked how there were real emotions involved and there wasn’t a clear cut villain. I plowed through it quickly and was left satisfied. Great read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jo reece

    The first book I read by Nicole Stiling I really enjoyed... 'Secrets in a small town', so I was looking forward to 'Heart of the storm'. I wasn't disappointed. Juliet Mitchell as her career with the Shell Creek Police department, she as a son, Declan, who means the world to her, and her life seems to be simple. That is until a body is found outside the local library. Sienna Bennett isn't happy with her life, she doesn't know how things ended up how they did. Her job is overwhelming as a big city The first book I read by Nicole Stiling I really enjoyed... 'Secrets in a small town', so I was looking forward to 'Heart of the storm'. I wasn't disappointed. Juliet Mitchell as her career with the Shell Creek Police department, she as a son, Declan, who means the world to her, and her life seems to be simple. That is until a body is found outside the local library. Sienna Bennett isn't happy with her life, she doesn't know how things ended up how they did. Her job is overwhelming as a big city victim advocate, and the person she built up alife with, lives in their pool house. She dotes on her stepson Declan and still wants to be part of his life, but he blames her for the family falling apart. Both main characters share some kind of history with Declan's dad, but they are thrown together whilst there is an investigation of a murder in Shell Creek, both become attracted to one another, but try to keep the boundaries for the sake of Declan. This story is a mystery-romance... more romance than mystery tho. It's a good read, one of them pages turners... You found yourself cheering them on but scared of the consequences of their actions. I gave this story 4.5. I was given a copy for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    A murder mystery with a F/F romance, this is an enjoyable read. Juliet is a cop at an ocean side small town. She's sharing custody of her son, Declan, with Will, who is married but estranged from Sienna, a victim's advocate. Anyways, the small town they lived in just had a homicide. The head librarian has been found dead and police is suspecting poison. Juliet has to find the killer, even though she had never worked a murder before. Problem is, the librarian did not seem to have any enemies. I l A murder mystery with a F/F romance, this is an enjoyable read. Juliet is a cop at an ocean side small town. She's sharing custody of her son, Declan, with Will, who is married but estranged from Sienna, a victim's advocate. Anyways, the small town they lived in just had a homicide. The head librarian has been found dead and police is suspecting poison. Juliet has to find the killer, even though she had never worked a murder before. Problem is, the librarian did not seem to have any enemies. I like the police procedural aspect of the plot. It's also nice to see Sienna at work, since it's not often we see victim's advocate in books. When Juliet and Sienna find themselves falling for each other, the romance is complex and convoluted, as can be expected. It does not help that Will is hoping that his marriage with Sienna might be fixed. Declan also does not want his family unit to be changed. Add to all that a powerful tornado wreaking havoc through town, it's all Juliet and Sienna can do to resist their mutual lust and attraction. Overall, this book has a unique plot with likable characters. Definitely enjoyable and very readable. **Thank you to Bold Strokes Books for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!**

  13. 5 out of 5

    Danni Mladenovic

    Even though there is a crime / mystery development, there is one thing that pops out about this book: The maturity of the main characters! And that got me for good! I don't think I've recently encountered the characters this mature; it's amazing how both Sienna and Juliet dealt with the situation that's not easy at all - Sienna being soon to be ex-wife of Will, and Juliet being Will's college fling, now a great friend, whom he shares a son with. I loved how the writer presented their talks, thei Even though there is a crime / mystery development, there is one thing that pops out about this book: The maturity of the main characters! And that got me for good! I don't think I've recently encountered the characters this mature; it's amazing how both Sienna and Juliet dealt with the situation that's not easy at all - Sienna being soon to be ex-wife of Will, and Juliet being Will's college fling, now a great friend, whom he shares a son with. I loved how the writer presented their talks, their dilemmas, on top of how skillfully she wrote about the crime that happened and investigation about it. 5 stars from me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    These two women have known each other for a number of years but it isn’t until they have to spend time together that they discover they have more in common than they’d ever thought. The reason they really don’t know each other that well is simple. Juliet Mitchell had a one time sexual experience with a man. The reason she only had the one time fling was because having it made everything clear, she was a lesbian. but when she told the man, Will she was going to have a baby they decided they’d t These two women have known each other for a number of years but it isn’t until they have to spend time together that they discover they have more in common than they’d ever thought. The reason they really don’t know each other that well is simple. Juliet Mitchell had a one time sexual experience with a man. The reason she only had the one time fling was because having it made everything clear, she was a lesbian. but when she told the man, Will she was going to have a baby they decided they’d try raising him together. So their son Declan spent his time with each parent. Juliet is a member of the local police force where the most they had to deal with were a few minor problems. But when the town librarian was found dead outside the library she and the other small force had the task of finding out just what happened. Sienna Bennett was Declan’s step mother. She met Declan when he was only five yrs old and as far as she was concerned she was in effect another parent to the boy. All is going well with only a few little problems. She worked as a victim’s advocate and was called in to help with events happening in Shell Creek. It just happened that at this time she was going through a divorce, something Will didn’t want but she knew she had to do what was right for her. Her only concern was keeping Declan as a part of her life. Now the two women are working on the same case, getting to know each other and finding that they shared a mutual attraction for each other. Ms Stiling has made a story I’d probably pass by but when I started reading I just didn’t want to put down. Well developed characters and an appealing story line makes this an interesting read. Very enjoyable read. ARC via NetGalley/ Bold Stroke Books

  15. 4 out of 5

    XR

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was a doozy of a book to read, and I really liked it. I loathe reading anything where a character cheats or starts something new while still technically being in a relationship, but I suppose in this case, the relationship between Sienna and Will was over years ago. I'm conflicted with how Sienna and Juliet started their relationship. The murder mystery was pretty good, I had already thought the Monique was involved but Stiling's twist had me giving imaginary high fives for making me so sure This was a doozy of a book to read, and I really liked it. I loathe reading anything where a character cheats or starts something new while still technically being in a relationship, but I suppose in this case, the relationship between Sienna and Will was over years ago. I'm conflicted with how Sienna and Juliet started their relationship. The murder mystery was pretty good, I had already thought the Monique was involved but Stiling's twist had me giving imaginary high fives for making me so sure I was right. Tara's character was so super weird, so thinking of her as the killer was easy too... her twisted thinking made things all the more shocking. People can truly do crazy things for "love" as they know it. I liked the epilogue the most, seeing Declan finally getting over himself for the happiness of his mother and step-mother, and then the surprise with Will and Ashley. Also, that they include Gretchen in their family was truly sweet. I was supposed to keep things simple, but these are my thoughts so... meh.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aleana Harris

    Juliet is happy with her life she has a great son Declan even when he being a moody teenager. She loves her job and has great friends. Sienna is married or soon to be ex married to Declan father Will she hasn’t been happy in a long time she loves Will but not in love with him and thinks there more to life and doesn’t want wake up with regrets the only problems is Will doesn’t want to let her go even though he knows if he look over the years they haven’t been happy for a longtime. Juliet and Sienn Juliet is happy with her life she has a great son Declan even when he being a moody teenager. She loves her job and has great friends. Sienna is married or soon to be ex married to Declan father Will she hasn’t been happy in a long time she loves Will but not in love with him and thinks there more to life and doesn’t want wake up with regrets the only problems is Will doesn’t want to let her go even though he knows if he look over the years they haven’t been happy for a longtime. Juliet and Sienna never really spent time together despite sharing Declan when a chance to know each other is presented they are both caught off guard by the attraction they feel for each other. As they tried to navigate this attraction a murder happen in their town and Juliet and her colleagues are baffled that someone will murder the town librarian Richard as they tried to pieces things together they are stumped with Sienna helping with Richard widow Gretchen they may finally have a lead. Juliet and Sienna had great chemistry and dialogue was good as they tried to not give into their feelings because they didn’t want to hurt their family. I received an ARC copy of this book from the Publisher via Netgalley and voluntarily leaving my review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    For me, the blurb really doesn't do this book any favours. This book is so much more than the blurb makes you believe. Sienna is divorcing her husband Will of 9 years, she has postponed it long enough. Mostly for the sake of her stepson Declan, she doesn't want to lose him. Sienna just can't be with her husband any longer, the love/ spark has been gone for many years and nothing changes. Her job as a victim advocate is fulfilling, but she just can't seem to give it her all. Sienna just feels lack For me, the blurb really doesn't do this book any favours. This book is so much more than the blurb makes you believe. Sienna is divorcing her husband Will of 9 years, she has postponed it long enough. Mostly for the sake of her stepson Declan, she doesn't want to lose him. Sienna just can't be with her husband any longer, the love/ spark has been gone for many years and nothing changes. Her job as a victim advocate is fulfilling, but she just can't seem to give it her all. Sienna just feels lackluster, in both her private and work life. Juliet works for the Shell Creek PD, she is Declan's mother. Will and Juliet co-parent Declan, and Will has always remained a good friend to Juliet. When Juliet and Sienna take Declan to a baseball camp some three hours away it's the first time they actually have a real conversation in all those years. The women click, they decide to try and become friends. With a dead body showing up outside the Chell Creek Library Sienna and Juliet are also forced to work together. With Sienna splitting from Will and Juliet and Sienna becoming interisted in being more than just friends it is a weird "love triangle" and a difficult one in their family unit. Will The characters are really well done. And extremely surprising in a wlw-book they communicate. They know words and how to use them, who to say words to, it's amazing. Ok, so maybe that's a little over the top, but honestly, it is refreshing to have main characters actually communicate with each other. They talk about their feelings honestly and they act their age, not like some hormonal teenager (ok maybe they do a little sometimes, but they talk first). The secondary characters are pretty great as well. Will is a nice, albeit a little boring man, luckily the book doesn't paint him like a bad guy, because he truly isn't. He is a very realistic secondary character. Declan is a moody teenager, also a perfect character in the mix. The mystery is a tad boring in this book, but that's ok. You see it from a mile away who is the killer, you do "hope" it turns out to be someone else, just so it is more of a surprise, the set up for that is certainly there. The story of family, love, and communication is what stands out to me. 4.5 stars not rounded up because of the mystery storyline. *ARC received in exchange for a voluntary and honest review*

  18. 5 out of 5

    Villain Elle

    I have read all three of Nicole Stiling's books and I think this one might be my favorite. The mystery was intriguing and the romance hit all the right notes. Sienna and Juliet are friendly acquaintances but not much more than that. When a drive up to camp keeps them in close quarters for a little while, they get to know each other and find that they have a good amount in common. The only problem: Sienna is married (divorcing) Will and Will and Juliet share a son. If it sounds complicated, it is, I have read all three of Nicole Stiling's books and I think this one might be my favorite. The mystery was intriguing and the romance hit all the right notes. Sienna and Juliet are friendly acquaintances but not much more than that. When a drive up to camp keeps them in close quarters for a little while, they get to know each other and find that they have a good amount in common. The only problem: Sienna is married (divorcing) Will and Will and Juliet share a son. If it sounds complicated, it is, but in the best way possible. They were mature and tried to be smart about things, but the book maintained the excitement of falling in love. I had an idea about who killed Richard, but I wasn't exactly right. That was a nice little twist. Really really enjoyed this one and I would certainly recommend it. Thanks to BSB and Netgalley for the ARC.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christian M.

    I seriously love the storyline. The mystery of finding the culprit captivated me, I was totally side blinded and I kept on guessing who did it. The MCs were relatable and written wonderfully. The tension and chemistry between them was palpable. The love triangle was also something not very common, which added a different kind of twist to the plot line. I love how the MCs communicate, they talked about everything and try to deal whatever situations that arises together. If only we could all be li I seriously love the storyline. The mystery of finding the culprit captivated me, I was totally side blinded and I kept on guessing who did it. The MCs were relatable and written wonderfully. The tension and chemistry between them was palpable. The love triangle was also something not very common, which added a different kind of twist to the plot line. I love how the MCs communicate, they talked about everything and try to deal whatever situations that arises together. If only we could all be like that, there would be less misunderstanding in a relationship 😁. Definitely recommending this book to others. I received an ARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Juliet Mitchell is part of the Shell Creek Police Department and Declan's mother. Sienna Bennett is a victim advocate and Declan's step-mother who is divorcing her husband and has never really spend much time with Juliet. That is until a homicide shakes the little town of Shell Creek and Juliet and Sienna start working together. What starts as a friendship slowly develops into and attraction none of them cant fight. But is it worth hurting the people they love the most? This book had a great prem Juliet Mitchell is part of the Shell Creek Police Department and Declan's mother. Sienna Bennett is a victim advocate and Declan's step-mother who is divorcing her husband and has never really spend much time with Juliet. That is until a homicide shakes the little town of Shell Creek and Juliet and Sienna start working together. What starts as a friendship slowly develops into and attraction none of them cant fight. But is it worth hurting the people they love the most? This book had a great premise and it delivered! It was a very well written story where we see the two main characters slowly falling in love while trying not to hurt their beloved son and solving a murder. I was capture by the story from the first page. Both, Juliet and Sienna, are very likeable and well developed characters. The author did an amazing job at making the romance pure and raw while not making it weird, being that they had share a son /stepson. It was a really great book, another one for this great writer! Cant wait for the next one. This ARC was provided by Netgalley in exchange for a honest review

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lissa

    Juliet Mitchell, police lieutenant, has been called to investigate the murder of the local librarian. Juliet has to drive her son, Declan, several hours to a baseball camp, as she picks up Declan at his father's, Will and step mother's Sienna's place, Sienna, a victim's advocate, who is pushing for a separation from Will is coerced into traveling with Juliet and Declan. Juliet and Sienna have never spent any time together over the years but suddenly find themselves finding a spark. As they are f Juliet Mitchell, police lieutenant, has been called to investigate the murder of the local librarian. Juliet has to drive her son, Declan, several hours to a baseball camp, as she picks up Declan at his father's, Will and step mother's Sienna's place, Sienna, a victim's advocate, who is pushing for a separation from Will is coerced into traveling with Juliet and Declan. Juliet and Sienna have never spent any time together over the years but suddenly find themselves finding a spark. As they are forced to spend more and more time together in their personal and professional life, their attraction in this awkward situation grows. This was a book that had both romance and mystery and both genres were equally as good to the point I couldn't put it down. Juliet and Sienna's relationship had so much simmering chemistry, it sizzled and the mystery had twists and turns to keep you guessing.  I also thought the dialogue was intelligent and respectful and didn't make me cringe which some of these romance books tend to do. The storyline was different and i really enjoyed all the interesting family dynamics and connections. I loved it. 5 stars.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    3.5 stars. Juliet Mitchel is busy raising her kid, Declan, and being a police officer, she has not had time for romance. Sienna Bennett is married to Will, Declan's father and is a social worker working in Boston. When Sienna and Juliet drive Declan to camp, they realize they have a lot in common. There is a murder in their town, and they both are involved. Juliet is the Lieutenant investigating the murder and Sienna helps people through trauma and makes sure they are okay, she is helping the vi 3.5 stars. Juliet Mitchel is busy raising her kid, Declan, and being a police officer, she has not had time for romance. Sienna Bennett is married to Will, Declan's father and is a social worker working in Boston. When Sienna and Juliet drive Declan to camp, they realize they have a lot in common. There is a murder in their town, and they both are involved. Juliet is the Lieutenant investigating the murder and Sienna helps people through trauma and makes sure they are okay, she is helping the victim's wife. Juliet and Sienna start to spend more and more time together and their feelings start to develop. They have a forbidden interest in each other, as they are both connected to Will. I thought this concept seemed a little strange but I read it anyway. I really enjoyed their dynamic and how they relationship evolved. Their relationship seemed a little quick, but I enjoyed it anyway. I thought it was interesting how they have never spend time together really in the long time they have known each other. Sienna was married to Will for almost 10 years. Sienna is now divorcing Will and starts to realize she could have feelings for Juliet. It seems more like she was open to be with someone after realizing her marriage was over. It was also a little weird since Sienna was married to Juliet's son's father and that made it a little complicated. I did enjoy this novel and would recommend it. I liked the written and the tension throughout the novel.

  23. 4 out of 5

    DANI BERNSTEIN

    I was excited for this when I read the blurb. It contained all the things I enjoy: forbidden romance, mystery, and a small town setting. It was worth the wait. Sienna and Juliet build their relationship organically throughout the story and the obstacles they need to overcome aren’t simple issues to work through. I loved how their feelings were woven between the investigation of a murder and their complicated connections. Declan was one of my favorite characters because he was portrayed as an actu I was excited for this when I read the blurb. It contained all the things I enjoy: forbidden romance, mystery, and a small town setting. It was worth the wait. Sienna and Juliet build their relationship organically throughout the story and the obstacles they need to overcome aren’t simple issues to work through. I loved how their feelings were woven between the investigation of a murder and their complicated connections. Declan was one of my favorite characters because he was portrayed as an actual teenager and not a high schooler who just happens to have the actions and words of a thirty year old. I was drawn into this from the beginning and by the last page, I had all the warm and fuzzies and was sad to see it end. Will be rereading this one in the near future.

  24. 4 out of 5

    nutmeg

    “Yeah,” Juliet said, also nearly a whisper. “I like you too.” “I wish you weren’t who you are.” The synopsis of the book was an eye catcher. The main characters, Juliet and Sienna are connected through Will, the father of Juliet’s son, and Sienna, the soon to be ex-wife of Will’s. Apart from sharing their responsibilities as mothers to Declan, both women have been acquaintances until circumstances put them straight onto each other’s path. When a murder was committed in Shell Creeks, Lieutenant Ju “Yeah,” Juliet said, also nearly a whisper. “I like you too.” “I wish you weren’t who you are.” The synopsis of the book was an eye catcher. The main characters, Juliet and Sienna are connected through Will, the father of Juliet’s son, and Sienna, the soon to be ex-wife of Will’s. Apart from sharing their responsibilities as mothers to Declan, both women have been acquaintances until circumstances put them straight onto each other’s path. When a murder was committed in Shell Creeks, Lieutenant Juliet Mitchell was cast into disarray with the investigations and her feelings towards Sienna that had no signs of abating. While the attraction was mutual, both parties found any progress in their relationship too complex and a big taboo. Tossed together in the investigations, Sienna, a victim advocate, was a feeder of information to the police and fighting her affections for Juliet, the pair threaded on thin lines where they had to deal with guilt and repercussions of getting together. I have read two other books from the author and found myself liking this as well. The storyline was refreshing and the limitations of the relationship were realistically portrayed, the criminal aspects of the book had twists and turns to leave readers guessing who was the murderer and overall I liked how it all ended. I just reviewed Heart of the Storm by Nicole Stiling. #NetGalley

  25. 5 out of 5

    emma

    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Actual rating: 3.5 stars The Heart of the Storm is a small town lesbian romance with a murder mystery ongoing. The murder mystery was definitely more of a side plot than the major storyline but was enjoyable, with some twists and turns at the end of the book. I liked the romance, except for the forbidden aspect of it, which just stressed me out. I thought that Sienna and Juliet had good chemistry and I liked both of them. A I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Actual rating: 3.5 stars The Heart of the Storm is a small town lesbian romance with a murder mystery ongoing. The murder mystery was definitely more of a side plot than the major storyline but was enjoyable, with some twists and turns at the end of the book. I liked the romance, except for the forbidden aspect of it, which just stressed me out. I thought that Sienna and Juliet had good chemistry and I liked both of them. A fun and quick read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Loved this book! I thoroughly enjoyed the tension between the two women and the back and forth banter. It’s an unusual love triangle that I haven’t come across before. Usually I can figure out the guilty party but this book kept me guessing until the end. I am not looking for heavy sex scenes but a great story line and that’s what “Heart of the Storm” has. I also hate books that take too long to get to the “good stuff” and are way to descriptive; this one isn’t. I love dialogue too so this book Loved this book! I thoroughly enjoyed the tension between the two women and the back and forth banter. It’s an unusual love triangle that I haven’t come across before. Usually I can figure out the guilty party but this book kept me guessing until the end. I am not looking for heavy sex scenes but a great story line and that’s what “Heart of the Storm” has. I also hate books that take too long to get to the “good stuff” and are way to descriptive; this one isn’t. I love dialogue too so this book was perfect. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read that you can finish in a night or two.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ginger

    I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Families are complicated. A lesbian mom, a straight baby daddy, a stepmother and a fifteen year old son. Yeah, recipie for chaos. Juliet is a thirty something mom, police officer and single lesbian. Will is a straight dad, working on resurrecting doomed marriage. Sienna is a forty something stepmom who has hung on to an unhappy marriage for too long. Declan is a fifteen year old who likes his family just the way they are. Throw in a mu I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Families are complicated. A lesbian mom, a straight baby daddy, a stepmother and a fifteen year old son. Yeah, recipie for chaos. Juliet is a thirty something mom, police officer and single lesbian. Will is a straight dad, working on resurrecting doomed marriage. Sienna is a forty something stepmom who has hung on to an unhappy marriage for too long. Declan is a fifteen year old who likes his family just the way they are. Throw in a murder, a tornado to cause massive upheaval to their sleepy little coastal town and it's difficult at the best of time to navigate unexpected attraction. The plot navigates solving the murder, the heartache and joy of the different stages of friendship and love smoothly and realistically.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex Lfr

    An entertaining book but the “will they?!” was too much when I reached more than half of the book and the MC kept at it, kissing but “breaking up” just to be a mess 5 seconds later. I know, I know.... that was quite clear in the blurb when you see it’s a story about an impossible situation but I do think the author played too much with it. The mystery side of the plot wasn’t that interesting to me, I just wanted to see Juliet and Sennia together and I got really frustrated about it. Entertaining an An entertaining book but the “will they?!” was too much when I reached more than half of the book and the MC kept at it, kissing but “breaking up” just to be a mess 5 seconds later. I know, I know.... that was quite clear in the blurb when you see it’s a story about an impossible situation but I do think the author played too much with it. The mystery side of the plot wasn’t that interesting to me, I just wanted to see Juliet and Sennia together and I got really frustrated about it. Entertaining and it helped with the massive cold I’m going through.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kennedy

    Love complications galore with a crime mystery. What an entertaining read. While reading, I thought about relationships, marriage, and family. I also thought about the song "Should I say or should I go"by The Clash. What made the read entertaining was that the premise was refreshing with several likable characters. Sienna Bennett, victim advocate, step mother with a big heart. She is also struggling with her marriage and her happiness. Juliet Mitchell, police lieutenant, mother content with her Love complications galore with a crime mystery. What an entertaining read. While reading, I thought about relationships, marriage, and family. I also thought about the song "Should I say or should I go"by The Clash. What made the read entertaining was that the premise was refreshing with several likable characters. Sienna Bennett, victim advocate, step mother with a big heart. She is also struggling with her marriage and her happiness. Juliet Mitchell, police lieutenant, mother content with her life. Declan is the son who is important as the read unfolds. I appreciated the back and forth as the characters struggled to deal with their attraction. There was no way that if they acted on their attraction that it would not impact Declan and his family. ARC provided by Bold Strokes Books, Inc. via NetGalley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I loved everything about this book! It is a romance with a side of mystery. The book flows nicely. The characters are well written. I read this book in one sitting. I could not put it down. You won’t be disappointed with this book!

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