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4.5 out of 5 stars
When Summer Comes (Whiskey Creek)
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2013
One of the things that I love so dearly about this series is the messiness of the characters' situations. A conflict may begin fairly simply but then wind its way naturally through all the various threads of a character's relationships. And, they're pretty appealing. This story is no exception. We've seen Callie Vanetta show up in previous stories but always on the sidelines, in the background or as a pretty quiet member of the Friday morning group that meets at Black Gold, the town's coffee shop. Her story begins with the devastating news of her need for a liver transplant. Callie's life span won't go beyond the end of the summer without one and she's determined to keep her condition a secret as long as she can to avoid being pitied. When drifter Levi McCloud shows up on her front porch in the middle of the night, severely injured, he alters the course of Callie's life from that point on.

Levi is obviously keeping secrets so he and Callie share that between them. Her friends, particularly Kyle Houseman, who she's had a "friends with benefits" relationship with recently, are completely in the dark about her illness. They don't understand why she's drawn to him, sexiness and all, and why she's now keeping them at arm's length. Callie has never been in a relationship where she's been in love or been loved so Levi represents her last opportunity as she's facing her mortality. It's not the only reason she's drawn to him but it's a factor. She hires him and of course he lives with her on the farm, helping to prepare it for sale and protect her from some menacing tenants living on a neighboring property. Levi wants to keep his distance and resist his growing feelings for Callie but it's a lost cause. Both of them find new life in each other in addition to love. It's a compelling story of two people trying to find a way to keep living under extraordinary circumstances. You'll need some tissues so be prepared.

Quite a few of the secondary characters appear in the story and several have subplots that are just as complicated and emotionally charged as Callie's. They're left unresolved, a perfect set up for the next few books. That's great news as this series is too good to even think about establishing an end date.

I loved Callie and Levi's story and cannot wait for the next book as each seems to just get better.

(I received an ARC from NetGalley)
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2013
(This one was really more of a 3 1/2 star read for me, but I liked it more then 3 stars so I'll bump it up....)

So far, I am really enjoying Novak's Whiskey Creek series, but this book was not my favorite. I liked it, but there were a few aspects of the story that just felt...off. First, Callie's refusal to tell anyone about her condition got really old really quickly. On the one hand I kind of understood her rationale, but it just felt as if she were making everything a hundred times harder than it had to be by refusing to let anyone in on her problems. It felt like it went against the type of person she was. Secondly, it bothered me that after a few initial mentions of Callie's calling as a photographer (the scene where Levi finds her in the barn totally psyched about finding and photographing an ant hill was really cute) it felt like it was just dropped. I suppose it could be explained away by saying she was sick and therefore had other priorities, but really, it felt odd and again, out of character. Finally, though I know it's a romance and therefore going to have a happy ending, it ended up feeling ultimately too easy, lacking the realistic and dramatic punch that it could have had.

That said, though, I really did like the relationship and romance between Callie and Levi. It was definitely a highlight of the book--as it should be--and well done. I am looking forward to seeing what is in store next for this group of friends.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Callie Vanetta is a thirty two year old single woman, who aside from not having a steady boyfriend has everything else she could want, a business called Reflections which she owns, parents who adore her and a fantastic group of friends she has grown up with since she was little in Whiskey Creek.

Valentines Days is supposed to be about love and romance but it turns out to be the worst day of Callie's life when she is told she has non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and might not make it till summer.

Afraid and not sure what to do she decides to stop working and return to the farm her grandparents owned and see if she can relive some of the wonderful times she had their growing up and also help make some improvements in it before her parents sell it.

Her outlook on life and has changed knowing she only has a short amount of time to live and she is not about to tell anyone just yet. One night while she is sleeping she hears pounding on the door and being alone (except for Rifle her dog), she is afraid to see who is at her door. Realizing that she is not strong enough to tackle any one on her own, she decides to call the police to alert them before she goes to open the door. When she does, she finds Levi McCloud bleeding and in very bad pain. She is afraid and yet concerned about this stranger? It turns out Levi was attacked by two pit bulls while riding into Whiskey Creek when his motorcycle broke down and he tried to get help. She is concerned and wants to help him but friends think she is crazy as he is "vagrant ."

This is a story of changes, forgiveness and opening up about secrets that are from the past. Levi is going to arouse feelings in Callie that she has never felt before and has to decide how to proceed, as he is a stranger who she knows nothing about.

Ms. Novak, has written a touching and very emotional story about caring, taking risks and letting your heart lead the way, I truly enjoyed it and think you will also.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2013
This is a book that totally satisfies my desire for a hard-to-put-down story. I just love books that are about small towns and the interesting people who live in them. A bonus for me is when I get so caught up in the character's lives that I laugh and cry along with the. I have to say that this book nailed it on every level.

Callie has a secret. She has been diagnosed with a fatal liver disease and she is living her last days on her grandparents farm. Then one night a strange man comes to her door, begging for her to help him...

Since Levi has been out of the military he has become a drifter with just a motorcycle, jacket and a backpack as his only possessions. There are secrets in his past that he doesn't want to talk about or deal with. So after being attacked my some dogs he goes to the closest house looking for help without involving the authorities. Now Levi is staying in the barn so he can heal and fix up his bike. He is also helping out on the much needed repairs around the ranch and unwillingly is falling for Callie. Unfortunately Callie is running out of time...

Before I started reading When Summer Comes I did pick up and read the short novella and the first two books in the Whiskey Creek series. I am glad I did. While this can be read as a standalone I feel it was more enjoyable after having read these previous books (which I love BTW!).

I want to thank Danita Moon for introducing me to this series and to the fabulous writings of Brenda Novak. Needless to say I now have another favorite author!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2013
I actually started this book ages ago as my first look at Brenda Novak's writing. After reading over half the book and finding myself hating the heroine, confused by the large cast of secondary characters and their importance within the heroine's life and annoyed by the hero's undying love for a woman from his past I thought I'd give up on this book. A friend of mine suggested I go back and read the first books in the series because the cast of characters would make more sense. I did this and enjoyed them enough to give this book a second try.

What Worked: The beginning of the book was quite exciting with a late night visit from an injured stranger, getting the local veterinarian, who lived next door, to patch him up and the following incidents regarding some less then upstanding renters in the area. The initial chemistry between our hero and heroine had great potential also. Oh and I liked Callie's dog, Rifle too.

What didn't work: As Callie is dealing with her mortality and knowing that without a new liver her time is short she decides to not tell anyone so she can have one last summer without being coddled and surrounded by looks of pity. In addition she also justifies not telling as a way of saving her friends and family months of sadness. What could have been a story of a strong independent woman ended up being one about a martyr. It is evident during the course of the book she needs a support system in place for doctors visits and emergencies yet she chooses to leave 12 people in the dark to protect them.

In addition to the issues I had with Callie, Levi was not a whole lot better. His underlying 'fear' of the police and living under an assumed name felt a bit ridiculous as did his undying love for a dead girlfriend.

Now lets talk about diuretic spironolactone. There were a few medical jargon words thrown into the book to authenticate Callie's condition and her need for a lot of medications. If the book had been written in a way that coming across a phrase like diuretic spironolactone would have felt natural I wouldn't have been pulled out of the book long enough to say "What?" and highlight the phrase in my kindle. Yes I did highlight it, it's one of the things I love about my kindle. Anyway, "she could claim the diuretic spironolactone, or the lactulose, which she had to take four times a day to inhibit the buildup of ammonia in her blood, were for a harmless condition like premenstrual cramps." She not only decided not to tell anyone of her impending doom but she went out of her way to lie about it while telling everyone that nothing was wrong!!! She ended up hiding her box full of medicines under the porch. In the middle of summer. Outside. Just want to point out that storing medications in the summer heat outdoors is generally frowned upon. Oh and she gets her medications filled in another town much further away because "She couldn't use the one inside Nature's Way--a locally owned grocery store not far from Whiskey Creek--unless she wanted everyone to know about her condition...." Really? Even small town pharmacies have to comply with HIPAA laws and regulations.

Now lets talk about transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts. Just kidding. Since I really disliked Callie and didn't like Levi any better one could hope the secondary characters were worth reading about. Not so much. Once again I found her large close knit group of friends nothing more than busy body gossip whores who judge books by their covers. Their continual treatment of a woman in the group (yet not quite part of the group) is horrifying despite their constant justification of their rudeness being based on the woman's 'mean girl' attitude when they were in high school. Good Gravy people. It's been a decade. Grow the Hell up!

So where does that leave us? The ending. It was all wrapped up in a nice big unrealistic bow where the good guys or girls don't die (or go to jail) and the bad guys get run out of town by Deputy Dawg (aka Office Stacy). How lovely.

In a Nutshell: I still maintain that I like this series or rather, I like the idea of the series. I think fans of the series will find this an ok read and I'd never encourage anyone to not read this book. However, for new readers of Brenda Novak and/or this series I'd recommend you go back to the beginning and read the first book When Lightning Strikes first. Because there is such a large cast of secondary characters it is impossible to understand their impact on the Whiskey Creek storyline as a whole without their back stories and there isn't enough time or space to spell it all out as a recap. 2.5 stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 30, 2013
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Callie has a liver disease. She is deteriorating fast and if she doesn't get a donor liver soon she will be dead. She hasn't told anyone what is ailing her. She hasn't told her friends, or even her parents. She wants to enjoy her last days; she doesn't want to be surrounded by sadness or pity. So she moves into her grandparents' farm where she spent so many happy days and begins her slow goodbye.

Levi shows up on Callie's doorstep battered and bloodied. He has his own demons and secrets so the last thing he expects is to be taken in and trusted by this sweet woman. They create a tentative friendship and soon find themselves fighting their attraction to one another.

I fell in love with this story from page one. Callie and Levi are characters you instantly bond with and want the best for. I started this book yesterday morning and found it impossible to put down... I just didn't want to leave Whiskey Creek and I needed to know what was happening next. The characters rang true, their struggles were heartbreaking and their approach to life and how to deal with things only made them more real.

To say that this story is emotional is an understatement. I cried about a zillion times while reading this book. Sometimes I was crying because things were sad, but a lot of the times I found myself crying because I was just that moved or touched by Levi, Cassie and her pals. It really is a beautiful story. This is one of those books you love so much you want everyone to read, but at the same time you don't want to share your copy. You want your copy to remain safely on your bookshelf where you know you can grab it and reread it at anytime.

This is my favorite book in the Whiskey Creek series, so far. I can't wait for the next one!

Cherise Everhard, January 2013
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2013
Love this series! When summer comes is no exception to Brenda's brilliance. Just couldn't put it down! I can't wait for the next one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2013
I have read all of the Whiskey Creek books by Brenda Novak, and have been thoroughly fulfilled and AWED. This series has resulted in the display of a myriad of emotions as I read each story. I look forward to more on the characters in this series. I would like to hear about Ted and Sophia rekindling their love for each other. Could there be more on Presley and Aaron and their love child? I hope so.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2013
What I love most about the characters in Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek series is that they seem so much more "real" than typical romance novel characters. They have real life problems and real life emotions; they fall in love while dealing with a life that is far from perfect. They seem like people you might actually know, which makes reading about them that much more enjoyable.

Callie and Levi's story is the newest example of Novak's personable writing. She needs a liver, but no one knows her secret, and he is running from a past he needs to keep hidden. A chance encounter brings these two troubled souls together, showing them just what they will miss if they give up hope.

This tender story will have you laughing, crying, wringing your hands in anticipation, and wishing that somehow you could jump in and set everything right. It will draw you in and keep you reading to the final page, then leave you eagerly awaiting the next installment.

The best novels are those that make you feel like you've made some new friends. You will make friends in Whiskey Creek.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I loved the female and male protagonists of "When Summer Comes." Callie Vanetta needs a liver transplant - desperately - or she is going to die very soon. Levi McCloud is a drifter that tangles with two pit bulls and ends up on Callie's doorstep. He has a questionable past and problems of his own but Callie welcomes him into her home and her heart.

I like this formula for a romance - a lot, and Novak did a great job tying all of the pieces together.

There were a couple of quibbles on my part. It seems like every time there are "bad dogs" in a book or the news for that matter, they are pit bulls. Pit bulls are actually very easygoing dogs. It is the way they are raised by humans that makes all the difference in the world. So don't always pick on pit bulls.

I thought it was strange that Callie didn't want to tell ANYONE just how sick she was, not even her parents or very best friends.

There were a couple of other minor issues I had with the book but for the most part, I really enjoyed the romance, the humor, the in-depth characterization. And the storyline was different than other romances out there and that's a good thing.
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