French Roast (Dare Valley #2) by Ava Miles

Ava Miles has brought readers back to Dare Valley Colorado, and put us in the midst of the town’s very boisterous and colourful business owner Jill.  Losing her best friend and crush just before graduation from high school, and not quite fitting in with the dynastic feel of the family newspaper business, Jill went her own way after school and has opened a coffee café.  This little town has grown, and benefitted from her café, the hot spot and gathering place in town.  But she has dreams: big ones.

When her estranged childhood friend returns after culinary school and years working in New York in a 5 star restaurant, Brian  is looking for a change, and a chance to regroup away from the drama of New York.  Never having really given up on being friends, or more, with Jill, he’s working to repair their fractured relationship: unwilling to go too far, for Jill deserves forever and more.

Jill is outwardly rambunctious and has a joie de vivre that is fun to watch: a redhead with the temper to match, she gains strength and sustenance from the town that knows her so well, even as she chafes against some of the memories that people refuse to release.  Brian suffers from some of the same issues with the town residents, although his family was far less idyllic than Jill’s, he also wants to redeem his reputation in the eyes of the town, even as he cringes at some of the encounters he has.

The two are involved in a delicate dance as they seek to recover from the death of friend, and heal old wounds while offering themselves up to the potential of disaster in their business and personal relationships.

It wouldn’t be a small town if there wasn’t plenty of input and interference from others: with old lovers returning, new friendships being built, and the dynamic between Jill and her newlywed sister Meredith taking turns to add drama, laughter, support and build the overall sense of community so integral to this story and a large part of the smile factor when reading.  Little insets from these secondary characters solidify the fun from the first book, and set up potential for further instalments.

Dare Valley truly is a lovely small town, and manages to present a touch of the idyllic, we do see and understand the struggles that both Jill and Brian have with the community knowing them so well, and watching their every move.  Laughter, tears and an unrelenting optimism are just a few of the many highlights within the pages.

French Roast (Dare Valley #2) by Ava Miles

Title: French Roast
Author: Ava Miles
Published by: Aspendawn Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 356
Rated: four-stars
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An exciting new contemporary romance with a New Adult and foodie flavor.

Small-town biz wiz Jill Hale has been in love with her childhood best friend Brian McConnell for as long as she can remember. A falling out led to years of estrangement, but when Brian returns to Dare Valley after trying to make it big as a chef in New York City, Jill’s determined to make amends. She’s convinced that starting a restaurant together will be the perfect win-win situation, allowing her and Brian to work together and play together.

After a series of missteps sliced and diced Brian’s career in the Big Apple, he came home to regroup and find himself. He’s convinced that reestablishing his connection with Jill, the girl who got away, will put his life back on track. And when she approaches him with her plan for going into business together, he’s certain it’s the one way he can have it all—his dream job and his dream girl.

Jill and Brian are falling for each other all over again when Brian’s ex sashays into town, intent on sabotaging their reunion. Add in a mysterious investor who’s determined to get Jill on board with his project, and the bond between the couple is tested to the limit. Will their second chance at love implode, or will they find their own recipe for a happy ending?

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Ava Miles

Ava Miles burst onto the contemporary romance scene after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off The Dare Valley Series and brought praise from reviewers and readers alike. Much to Ava’s delight, BlogCritics says “It [NORA ROBERTS LAND] captures the best of…a Nora Roberts novel,” while USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog praises the series noting its “wonderful, idyllic setting… [and] great characters.” Ava continued The Dare Valley Series in FRENCH ROAST, which Tome Tender says “raised the entertainment bar again” and then THE GRAND OPENING, which reviewer Mary J. Gramlich says “is a continuation of love, family, and relationships.” Now, Ava releases the fourth book in the series, THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, with her recognized wit and charm, creating happy endings with humor and heart.

Born in a small town herself, Ava has created the small, Colorado town of Dare Valley and the residents who make it memorable, including the Hale family who, like Ava, are descended from a long line of journalists. Ava’s great-great grandfather won his first newspaper in a poker game in 1892 and her family has had something to do with telling stories, whether to share news or, in her case, fiction, ever since. In fact her clan is still reporting on local events more than one hundred years later at their family newspaper.

Ava is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Washington Romance Writers. She is also part of an unofficial group that regularly convenes a writing retreat at Nora Roberts’ restored Inn Boonsboro in western Maryland. Having left behind the “day job,” which took her, literally, all over the world, she now writes full-time in the peace and quiet of her northern Virginia porch-swinging-friendly community.