Review Request Sign up for Newsletters Tips and ideas Write for us

Follow by Email

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

With Love For Romantic Books - Kiss Me That Way, Then He Kissed Me, Light Up the Night & Till I Kissed You by Laura Trentham - Book Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

Review by Anniek

A river is what kept their lives separate by creating a boundary between the upscale Mississippi side and Louisiana. Louisiana is considered to be the wrong side of the track, or the river, if you live in Cottonbloom. Monroe has been struggling with the alcohol problems of her mom and the nasty boyfriends she brings home from the bar. When mom's latest boyfriend shows to Monroe that he can't be trusted she flees the house. Monroe ends up at the river having nothing else on her but her nightgown. She's cold, dirty and scared. Cade finds her and promises her that he'll do whatever he can to keep her safe. Will Cade be able to stay Monroe's knight in shining armor or will the river divide them for good this time?

Cade had to grow up really fast when he was a teenager. Needing to provide for his siblings he didn't always follow the law. Cade did what was necessary to keep them all together. He despises people who pray on the weak, just so that they can take whatever it is they want. This is why he defended Monroe at a time when she couldn't do this for herself. He's always had a weak spot for her and that never went away. One night when Cade is caught by the police he has to make a choice. Everything he has ever done has been for others, will this choice give him the space to finally start living for himself?

Monroe isn't a scared young girl anymore. She trained herself in martial arts and knows how to defend herself now. Not only is Monroe teaching self defense classes to teenage girls but she's also a physical therapist. She never forgot about Cade and how she felt when she was with him. He's the only one who knows everything there is to know about her. When he left without a word, Monroe's heart was shattered. I loved Monroe from the start. She has a very good work ethic and is a smart and capable woman. I love to read about people who are strong and will fight for the good in this world. Monroe has managed to overcome her own nightmares and tries to help others to build up their self esteem.

Cade still sees himself as the swamp rat from Louisiana. When he was forced to leave Cottonbloom it meant leaving his family and Monroe behind. It also gave him the opportunity to make something of himself. He's now a wealthy man with a successful company. When he returns home unexpectedly, he can't stop thinking about the girl he once had to leave behind. In Seattle he'd been living the life of a ghost, leaving his soul to wander Cottonbloom. He once was a teenager with the burden of never feeling good enough and now returning as a rich man must feel amazing. Cade is rough around the edges, but has a heart of gold. He did what he had to do to provide for his family and I can't imagine how hard that must have been for him.

Kiss Me That Way is one of the most intense love stories I have read this year. I loved the passion between Monroe and Cade. They know each other inside and out and I felt that connection throughout the story. I laughed out loud several times when the mayors of both towns kept antagonizing each other. Kiss Me That Way is a fabulous story with fascinating main characters, many interesting emotional layers and brilliant writing. Laura Trentham's sentences are exceptional and I can't wait to find out more about Cottonbloom and the great people who live there.


Kiss Me That Way is perfect for lovers of small town romance and compelling love stories.

Cottonbloom is a divided town, split in two by a river. One side is part of Louisiana and the other of Mississippi. There's quite a bit of animosity between the two and this has made life difficult for Nash and Tally. They used to be neighbors and were best friends. They spent all of their time together and Nash wanted nothing more than to run away with Tally. When his mother died he had to move in with his aunt at the upscale side of the river and he lost Tally's friendship. His aunt considered her a swamp rat and didn't think Tally was good enough for her nephew.

Nash is back in Cottonbloom to teach at Cottonbloom College. Tally owns her own gym. The past has damaged them both. Tally went through something traumatic and had to do this without the support of his best friend. They've missed each other, but now that they're adults their lives are very different. Nash's aunt is still against Tally and Tally's ex boyfriend is making her life incredibly difficult. Will they be able to find a way back to each other and repair their once so precious friendship and is there a chance there can be more between them?

Then He Kissed Me is a beautiful romantic story. Nash has a good heart. He's a kind and patient man with a lot of hidden depts. I was immediately fascinated by his multilayered personality. He's smart, strong and resilient. He can stand up for himself and will always defend the girl he loves. I liked the special friendship between Nash and Tally. They've loved each other for so long and it's clear from the start that they're soul mates. I couldn't wait to find out if they'd finally find happiness and read the book in one sitting because of it.

Laura Trentham has an amazing heartwarming writing style. I love the setting she's chosen for her books. The two towns where love and friendship are often being influenced by rivalry between the different parts of the river are a great setting for plenty of intriguing stories. The inhabitants of both parts are equally fun to read about. I love how they all have their own story and how the river plays such a big part in them. Nash and Tally are very special and I hoped they wouldn't let the river separate them ever again. Their story kept me glued to my seat and the ending is fantastic. I really enjoyed reading this amazing romantic book.


Then He Kissed Me is the second Cottonbloom novel, but can easily be read as a standalone. If you love small town romance you'll definitely like this series.

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Regan and Sawyer were high school sweethearts, but not everybody was happy with their relationship. Regan is from the rich Mississippi side of Cottonbloom and Sawyer is from the poorer Louisiana side. After an awful breakup they stopped been part of each other's lives, but that is no longer an option. Regan is the mayor of the Mississippi side and Sawyer the Parish Commissioner of the Louisiana side of the river. They are competing against each other by organizing a festival on the same day. They both need funding for their side and are battling against one another to receive it.

Regan is being sabotaged and at first she thinks Sawyer is behind it, but when the things that are being done to her are starting to get personal and are going pretty far she no longer suspects him. He even offers her his help. Slowly they're finding their way back to each other, but there's a lot of pain from the past they have to deal with before they can make a fresh start. Will they be able to mend each other's broken hearts?

Till I Kissed You is a fantastic romantic story. Regan and Sawyer used to be in love, but they became enemies. At first there's plenty of animosity between them, but they can't keep it up. They still like each other and are trying to find a way to get along. I loved their chemistry. They're both doubting themselves and the other and there's a lot of confusion because of it. They have to talk and work things out, but that isn't always very easy. Especially not when other people are involved. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see where this would lead and hoped they'd be able to overcome their differences and have their much deserved second chance.

Laura Trentham's Cottonbloom stories are terrific and I loved Till I Kissed You. Regan and Sawyer are perfect together and I liked the way they interact. The dialogue is fiery, their connection is deep and the story has many emotional layers. Someone is trying to sabotage the festival they're organizing and finding out who's behind the nasty incidents kept me on the edge of my seat. I absolutely loved Till I Kissed You, it's a dynamic, fun and endearing story with an unexpected gripping ending. I highly recommend this fabulous book.


The Cottonbloom novels can be read as standalones, but I'd advice you so start with book one, simply because they're all really great.

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Sadie was the victim of a mugging that left her traumatized and easily spooked. She's new in Cottonbloom where she'll work at the local college. She has a PhD in psychology, but hasn't been able to get rid of her anxiety. She was hoping to feel safe in her new surroundings, but someone was in her house and she hears noises in the garden. Therefore she calls Thaddeus, the local Chief of Police. Who's behind these incidents and will Sadie eventually feel safe again?

Thaddeus hasn't really lived since his older brother did something incredible for him. He's tried to make something of his life and wants to make sure his brother's sacrifice wasn't in vain. However, he hasn't allowed himself any fun because of it. Will Sadie bring back a part of him he thought he'd lost forever?

Light Up the Night is a lovely sweet story. Sadie is easily scared because of what happened to her and Thaddeus is the perfect knight in shining armor. They like each other straight away and share an easy friendship with plenty of sparks. I liked that they feel so comfortable with each other. They clearly belong together and I kept hoping that they'd both find their happily ever after.

Laura Trentham has written another wonderful Cottonbloom story. The setting has so many possibilities and I love that she makes use of that in such a good way. She's a skilled writer and knows how to create a perfect romantic atmosphere. Light Up the Night is a charming and entertaining story with a great heartwarming ending.


If you love a quick romantic read set in a great small town, Light Up the Night would be an excellent choice.

Free book

Light Up the Night: A Cottonbloom Novel is currently free on Amazon.
About Laura Trentham

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be- read pile of books on her nightstand.

Author links


1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in a little town in northwest Tennessee. I toyed with the idea of majoring in English in college, but I wanted to eat and make money when I got out, so I picked the next most logical major: chemical engineering. I worked, got married, had kids. Just before my 39th birthday, with my kids both in school, I sat down and started writing my first book. I didn’t tell my friends or husband what I was doing until I was about a third of the way done with no signs of slowing down. That’s when I was like, Holy crap, I’m going to finish this book. I got an agent a year later and sold that first book plus its follow-up a year after that. It’s never too late to try something completely different or pursue a dream that you’ve put off!

2. What makes your heart beat faster?

The pot of coffee I drink a day? Lol.

3. You've grown up in a small town. Is this where you get the inspiration for your stories from?

I’ve definitely pulled from my experiences in a small town both in Tennessee and Alabama, both good and bad. If you’ve read my contemporary books, both the Falcon Football and Cottonbloom series touch on the darker aspects of small town life. Drugs, poverty, class differences. I want my small towns to be real. One reader told me that Cottonbloom reminded her so much of her hometown—except her town didn’t have as many available hot men!

4. On your website you wrote about your house which got glanced by a tornado. That must've been terrifying. Are you accustomed to dealing with these forces of nature?

Not at all! In fact, like a total idiot, my 12yo son and I were looking out the window when he said, “The wind is blowing in two different directions!” The bottom edge of the slide on our playset lifted six feet off the ground and only then did I grab the kids and the two dogs and shove everyone in our small bathroom downstairs. The tornado threw our wooden, sturdy playset across the yard and took down our fence. It was matchsticks. Craziness!

5. You have a pages with recipes on your website. Which one is a favorite in your household?

Chicken and Dumplings. Comfort food that isn’t unhealthy and is easy to make. A win-win!

6. Who did you have in mind when you created the personalities of your main characters?

Unlike some authors, I never pull “inspiration” pictures or base my characters on actors or actresses. The characters come to me first, and they are like unique, real people to me. In fact, when I start writing, I usually only know the characters, their backstories, and the first scene. Quite often, I’ll be writing and the characters will totally surprise me! I’ve made myself gasp before. Is that weird?

7. Do you find it difficult to write about romance?

I love romance! I started filching my mom’s Harlequin Presents back in middle school. I would sneak one, read it, return it under her bed, and repeat. I graduated to the lush historical romances of the late ’80s in high school. Even though I read across many genres, when I decided to write a book, it was a no-brainer. The story that came to me was a romance. And, unlike some authors, I love writing sex scenes. The tension and push-pull dynamic make them that much sexier.

8. Can you describe the main characters of your stories in seven words each?

I’ll take the hero and heroine of LEAVE THE NIGHT ON, the next Cottonbloom book.

Wyatt: Rumpled, sexy, blue-collar mechanic, restless, loyal, dreamer.

Sutton: Betrayed, unsure, uptown, classic-beauty, down-to-earth, caring, dreamer.
The fact both Wyatt and Sutton have (as yet) unrealized dreams draw them together.

9. What's the most special thing about Cottonbloom and the river that flows between it?

The river bisects the town in fortunes and also acts as the state line. One side in Louisiana, one in Mississippi. It’s a twist on a “wrong side of the tracks” trope, except it’s a river. Even though a competitiveness and lingering animosity exists between the two sides, when it counts, the town comes together.

10. Recently you've signed a new two-book deal (congratulations!). The books will be military romances. What more can we expect from you?

Thank you! I just turned in the first of the military romances, as a matter of fact. Tentative release date is summer 2018 (so far away!!) I also have three more Cottonbloom books coming. Yay! The first, LEAVE THE NIGHT ON, will be out August 1st! Same town, different family. This trilogy will follow three blue-collar mechanic brothers on the Louisiana side of the Cottonbloom.


One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will receive a paperback copy of Kiss Me That Way by Laura Trentham. If the winner is from the US the book will be signed, if the winner lives outside the US the book will be sent via an online bookshop.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. The Cottonbloom novels sound like a great series. Love feel-good romantic stories set in a small town.

  2. thanks for the review and a chance to win, I am always looking for new authors to read and this sounds like a great set.

  3. I have read all of her Cottonbloom novels. They are wonderful and one of my favorite series.

  4. What a wonderful series! The covers are lovely too. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you guys so much for hosting me!!

  6. Sounds like a really great series!

  7. What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

  8. This sounds like a great series! Love the covers too.

  9. Thanks for the review, it was a really nice way to introduce me a new book to read in summer.

  10. Congratulations on your books deal Laura.

  11. Great interview. I want to read Laura's books now.

  12. Thanks for the giveaway.


  13. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  14. Thanks so much for the giveaway and added the book to my TBR! <3

  15. I would love to read your book series. Thanks for the giveaway. Love lots!

  16. Congrats on the new book deal! Looking forward to more books!

  17. What a great interview and awesome giveaway. Thanks for the chance to win! Good luck all!

  18. "... the swamp rat from Louisiana." What a wonderful description!

  19. Who doesnt love a good romance story...x

  20. Who doesnt love a good romance story...x

  21. This sounds just like my type of romance :)