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Love, Alabama

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Emma Laroux’s a fallen Southern beauty queen whose past is barely whispered about in her small town. But the secrets and lies surrounding her scandal still haunt her, and something about Matthew Pope may hold the answers…if only she could put her finger on it. Matthew Pope wonders what awful karmic thing he’s done to land him in Podunk, Alabama. But when he sees Emma Laroux Emma Laroux’s a fallen Southern beauty queen whose past is barely whispered about in her small town. But the secrets and lies surrounding her scandal still haunt her, and something about Matthew Pope may hold the answers…if only she could put her finger on it. Matthew Pope wonders what awful karmic thing he’s done to land him in Podunk, Alabama. But when he sees Emma Laroux again after all this time, he knows he’s still the only one who holds the key to unlocking the truth of her past… Will a shared moment in time ten years ago threaten the best thing that’s ever happened to them – each other?


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Emma Laroux’s a fallen Southern beauty queen whose past is barely whispered about in her small town. But the secrets and lies surrounding her scandal still haunt her, and something about Matthew Pope may hold the answers…if only she could put her finger on it. Matthew Pope wonders what awful karmic thing he’s done to land him in Podunk, Alabama. But when he sees Emma Laroux Emma Laroux’s a fallen Southern beauty queen whose past is barely whispered about in her small town. But the secrets and lies surrounding her scandal still haunt her, and something about Matthew Pope may hold the answers…if only she could put her finger on it. Matthew Pope wonders what awful karmic thing he’s done to land him in Podunk, Alabama. But when he sees Emma Laroux again after all this time, he knows he’s still the only one who holds the key to unlocking the truth of her past… Will a shared moment in time ten years ago threaten the best thing that’s ever happened to them – each other?

30 review for Love, Alabama

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hristina

    Copy received through NetGalley Actual rating: 3.5 Few months back I sat down and binge watched Hart of Dixie, so I’m on the lookout for books set in Alabama, it’s an obsession. I think this book did a great job at bringing in southern charm into the story. I liked the way this book was written, it worked well as a standalone (I only learned it was a series after my NetGalley request was approved). It deals with some serious issues, but keeps romance as the main genre, providing an interesting plot Copy received through NetGalley Actual rating: 3.5 Few months back I sat down and binge watched Hart of Dixie, so I’m on the lookout for books set in Alabama, it’s an obsession. I think this book did a great job at bringing in southern charm into the story. I liked the way this book was written, it worked well as a standalone (I only learned it was a series after my NetGalley request was approved). It deals with some serious issues, but keeps romance as the main genre, providing an interesting plot. The dialogues were playful, the characters were great. It's not perfect, and I couldn't get into as much as I wanted to, but overall, it’s a decent summer read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Beth (YA Books Central)

    Tiffany's Review: I may be a little bias when reviewing this book. I am a former small town Alabama pageant girl that attended Auburn University. I feel like this book was written just for me, ha!! I absolutely LOVED it! Emma had it all...the beauty, the grace, the perfect boyfriend and the coveted crown of Miss Alabama. Tad, the perfect boyfriend turns out to be anything but! The mystery that surrounds what really happened between Emma and Tad keeps the reader intrigued. And then there's Matth Tiffany's Review: I may be a little bias when reviewing this book. I am a former small town Alabama pageant girl that attended Auburn University. I feel like this book was written just for me, ha!! I absolutely LOVED it! Emma had it all...the beauty, the grace, the perfect boyfriend and the coveted crown of Miss Alabama. Tad, the perfect boyfriend turns out to be anything but! The mystery that surrounds what really happened between Emma and Tad keeps the reader intrigued. And then there's Matthew! Matthew comes to Emma's hometown to help with the production of her sisters cooking show. Emma and Matthew quickly form a friendship that leads to them being more than just friends. I love the chemistry portrayed between these two! Matthew is keeping a secret though. When Emma finds out will she be able to forgive him?! I give this book 5 stars!!! Loved it and can't wait to read other books written by Susan Sands!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    Originally posted at http://smexybooks.com/2016/05/review-... Favorite Quote: “We’re all broken just a little” Emma Laroux, former Miss Alabama and current pageantry coach, is pretty content with her life. Who cares if she is cursed when it comes to dating men? She has her home, health, business, and family for comfort. When her sister lands her own reality cooking show, Emma helps out and finds herself at odds with the show’s producer. Matthew Pope has come to the small town of Ministry, Alabama t Originally posted at http://smexybooks.com/2016/05/review-... Favorite Quote: “We’re all broken just a little” Emma Laroux, former Miss Alabama and current pageantry coach, is pretty content with her life. Who cares if she is cursed when it comes to dating men? She has her home, health, business, and family for comfort. When her sister lands her own reality cooking show, Emma helps out and finds herself at odds with the show’s producer. Matthew Pope has come to the small town of Ministry, Alabama to produce a cooking show but he’s pretty sure he’s really just paying for past sins. Matthew’s reluctance to succumb to the town’s southern charms stems from bad memories of his own hometown, only two hours away. Meeting Emma Laroux brings back some of those memories. Matthew and Emma soon reach a truce and Emma begins to think that maybe her curse has been lifted as she and Matthew begin to grow closer and fall for one another. But there is someone who doesn’t want Emma finding happiness with anyone. Her narcissistic ex-boyfriend-Tad Beaumont. Tad and Emma dated in college. He broke up with her during a difficult time in her life. Now the mayor of Ministry, Tad’s controlling behavior ramps out of control as he uses his position in an attempt to manipulate Emma’s love life. When the lies of the past are finally revealed, can Matthew and Emma weather through them or will the curse claim another victim? Love, Alabama is the second book in Susan Sand’s Alabama series which follows the lives and loves of the Laroux family. Family, second chances, and forgiveness are the bases on which this small town southern romance contemporary is built upon. Though a series, each book can be read as a stand alone. I’m a sucker for small town romances. I often enjoy the gossipy nature that permeates these stories and the often eccentric and sometimes outrageous characters who inhabit these towns. Add in a southern flare and you are usually guaranteed to have a good time. Unfortunately, this story didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Emma Laroux, crowned Miss Alabama ten years ago, lost her boyfriend, her crown, and her dreams though she has always refused to discuss what happened. Now back in her hometown of Ministry, Alabama, Emma is a well known and respected pageantry/debutante coach. A slew of unfortunate circumstances has left her love life nonexistent though it provides much gossip for the residents. It doesn’t help her ex-boyfriend, the one who left her during her greatest time of need, is the very married town mayor and seems to have an unhealthy fascination with her and her love life. The proper southern bell, Emma is a contradiction of steel and deep vulnerability. A stickler for decorum, she shows just enough spark and snark to assure us that she doesn’t always toe the line. Intelligent and witty, she is entertaining though there were times though when she became a little too judgemental for me towards those she deems as inappropriate or different. Matthew is a sweet, hard working, slightly uptight television producer whose past has a very strong hold on him. Born and raised about two hours from Ministry, Matthew left home as soon as he could and never returned except when he was injured while in the military. A former football player for Auburn, he remembers Emma from their college days though he is reluctant to tell her how he knows her. Matthew more than holds his own with the prickly Ms. Emma. Both characters are interesting to an extent but there is nothing that sets them apart from everyone else in the book. The story moves at a meandering pace with the emerging romance a huge part of the storyline while an astonishing amount of subplots flow in and out of it. We have a stalker, childhood trauma, secret baby daddy, mean girl turned bff, and a mystery from the past. The romance moves fast with Matthew and Emma quickly overcoming their antagonism towards each other and falling in love. Even though Emma and Matthew spend quite of bit of time together, Sands never manages to completely convince me the romance is based on anything more than attraction and the fact that Matthew isn’t being scared away by Emma’s stalker. We never see the point where they fall in love or even why. Emma’s stalker was another bone of contention for me. Everyone knows who he is-the town mayor. We learn of everything he has been doing to stop Emma from dating yet nobody in this town seems to see what he’s doing until his wife finds out and tells Emma’s family. I could see this working if it had just started, but it is hinted at that it’s been going on for years. Also, Emma’s family never pushed at why she suddenly relinquished her crown and left school. Their whole attitude was that she would tell them when she was ready. The ending is a series of over the top dramatic plot devices that solve all the problems in one lazy swoop. Matthew is the only one whose issues were resolved in what I would deem realistic in time and manner. We are left wondering how and why this was able to resolve so effortlessly. Love, Alabama had some interesting characters and humorous dialogue scenes but it couldn’t seem to decide if it wanted to be funny and sweet or serious and weighty. It flips back and forth with an unsteadiness that is noticeable. Sands use of serious subject matters isn’t supported by the story’s frivolous attitude and lack of serious discourse. A nonchalant beach read that doesn’t ask for or require any emotional connection. GRADE: C-

  4. 5 out of 5

    Megan | A Page to Turn

    My rating: 4.5 Love, Alabama had everything that I needed in a contemporary romance novel. It had connection, well-developed characters, flawed humans, suspense, blurred lines and broken trust. It's a beautiful story of second chances at love, learning to let go of the past, and living life to it's fullest potential. We meet Emma, the former beauty queen, on the set of her sister's new cooking show that's to be tapped, directed and produced by a hot shot from NYC named Matthew. The banter and My rating: 4.5 Love, Alabama had everything that I needed in a contemporary romance novel. It had connection, well-developed characters, flawed humans, suspense, blurred lines and broken trust. It's a beautiful story of second chances at love, learning to let go of the past, and living life to it's fullest potential. We meet Emma, the former beauty queen, on the set of her sister's new cooking show that's to be tapped, directed and produced by a hot shot from NYC named Matthew. The banter and connection between these two is undeniable. Sands writes them both so well in this disconnected version of third person, but for this book, it seems to work. (I'm genuinely more a fan of first person, but I liked this take on third.) Not long into the book, you realize that Matthew knows Emma from many years previous to the current story line, that there is a past there to be explored. I really enjoyed seeing these two learn how to love and trust again once secrets were revealed. I really liked that though these characters seemed "perfect", they are both deeply flawed and are both struggling to fight their own personal battles in life. For me, I connected the most to Emma and her Southern life, charm, and hospitality. Being a Georgia girl myself, it was great to see these factor into a romance of this capacity - it really reminded me a lot of a Mary Kay Andrews novel! I will be recommending to friends in my circle, for sure. I plan to pick up more from Sands in the near future.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cyn

    I have no idea why I read this. Maybe it was free? Not my kind of thing, and not particularly well written, though it was charming and a bit funny in parts. I'm sure this author has her audience but I'm clearly not one of them. I have no idea why I read this. Maybe it was free? Not my kind of thing, and not particularly well written, though it was charming and a bit funny in parts. I'm sure this author has her audience but I'm clearly not one of them.

  6. 5 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    Emma Laroux, is living the life she believes that she has been destine to live. Now ten years has pass since she has had to give up her crown as Miss Alabama, now helping her sister with her new cooking show a director Matthew Pope has the answers if she is looking for them. He was a football player at the University Auburn and after the big game between the two schools he got a girl out of an occurred position and later called her roommate to get. He recognizes her but does tell her that it is Emma Laroux, is living the life she believes that she has been destine to live. Now ten years has pass since she has had to give up her crown as Miss Alabama, now helping her sister with her new cooking show a director Matthew Pope has the answers if she is looking for them. He was a football player at the University Auburn and after the big game between the two schools he got a girl out of an occurred position and later called her roommate to get. He recognizes her but does tell her that it is him because not everything is clear for her from that night. What is clear is that her former boyfriend is now the mayor and has an unhealthy interest in her life especially when it comes to dating. After two dates her men are driven off, of out of town. Matthew who is attracted to Emma and her to him is the only man who has stood up to the mayor. When everything comes to a head during a pre wedding celebration for her mother and then the mayor steps up his anger towards Matthew and his true colors. Matthew out of town because he must deal with his own family is now caught off guard when he arrives back in town, and then gives her space. Later the mayor’s wife of all people finds evidence that he really is the person who was behind what took place back in college and had been doing all of the illegal things to drive off her men. Once everything settles it is up to her to decide whether to take him back and a future or decide to be single forever. A very good story and I very much liked the two main characters but also all of them. I got this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    Priscille Richman

    A love story full of southern charm that draws you in from the very beginning, causing you to simultaneously fall in love with the characters, the town, the whole shebang ... I’m ready to move to Alabama! Don’t be fooled though, it’s not just a love story. There is also intrigue and deception, keeping you turning page after page until you clear run out of pages to turn.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hannah (Sakurahan or ForeverBooks18)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Love Alabama Review. Hi ForeverBookers, I've just finished reading Love Alabama by Susan Sands and I did LOVE it. It's a cute contemporary that reminded me somewhat of Heart Of Dixie crossed with Gossip Girl. I'd say this is okay for 17+ readers. There is sex but it's not described. The main characters just have it. Love Alabama centres around Emma Laroux and Matthew Pope and their relationship. This is a 3rd person POV story, which I didn't dislike (for once). I thought the fact that it was 3rd Love Alabama Review. Hi ForeverBookers, I've just finished reading Love Alabama by Susan Sands and I did LOVE it. It's a cute contemporary that reminded me somewhat of Heart Of Dixie crossed with Gossip Girl. I'd say this is okay for 17+ readers. There is sex but it's not described. The main characters just have it. Love Alabama centres around Emma Laroux and Matthew Pope and their relationship. This is a 3rd person POV story, which I didn't dislike (for once). I thought the fact that it was 3rd person worked because you could see everyone on the same level. If it had been first person, we wouldn't have seen the parts where either Emma or Matthew were alone. Unless the chapters switched POV, which could have gotten messy. I was approved to read Love Alabama through NetGalley so thanks to them for allowing me access to read it! Spoilers below... Emma Laroux is doing makeup for her sisters cookery show when she meets Matthew, the director of said show. What Emma doesn't realise is that Matthew and her have met before. Matthew knows this but keeps it a secret because he doesn't want to wreck his chances with Emma. There is an evil, selfish character too. Tad Beaumont, mayor of the town is this character. He always wants everything to go his way. I just thought he was very egotistical and that he didn't show anything but hate towards the other characters, even his wife and daughter. He was only concerned with getting Emma back. Of course Emma only wanted Matthew, though. Matthew goes through his own struggles as well, in Love Alabama. He suffers from PTSD because of an event that happened in his past. We see him work through that to be better in himself. This was nice to see as we saw him revisit his past and make do with it. The climax of this book is whether or not Emma and Matthew end up together or not, which I enjoyed reading about. What I liked about Love Alabama: I liked the language used...this comes across an authentic Alabamian story. The author is from America, so that's probably why. I like reading contemporary books set where authors are from. It gives the reader confidence in what they're portraying is correct. The romance...you knew this would be here somewhere, right? This is my favourite trope. Although some might think it a little instalovey I really didn't think that at all! Matthew knows Emma, already, hence why he just throws himself in there, I think. There really wouldn't be a story without the romance, as its central to the plot. What I didn't like about Love Alabama: The quick/perfect ending...I would have liked to have seen the ending played out longer. I also would have liked to have seen Emma and Matthew as a married couple with their own family but we might see this in the next book. All in all then I really liked this sweet, Southern contemporary. It's the perfect summer read! That's why I'm giving it 5 stars as I really couldn't see anything wrong with it. Stand by for my next review coming really soon...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth - Comet Readings

    Emma Laroux, a former Miss Alabama is a stunning, independent, and strong woman. Ten years earlier she won Miss Alabama and was ready to join Miss America, she had a stable relationship with Tad Beaumont, but something happened, and she lost both her boyfriend and her dream. Now she is still single and seems to exclude the possibility of a romantic relationship. But soon, with her sister’s show in town, she could finally change her mind and discover how amazing an unexpected relationship can be. M Emma Laroux, a former Miss Alabama is a stunning, independent, and strong woman. Ten years earlier she won Miss Alabama and was ready to join Miss America, she had a stable relationship with Tad Beaumont, but something happened, and she lost both her boyfriend and her dream. Now she is still single and seems to exclude the possibility of a romantic relationship. But soon, with her sister’s show in town, she could finally change her mind and discover how amazing an unexpected relationship can be. Matthew Pope comes in town to direct Cammie’s show, and he immediately recognizes Emma. He finds her as beautiful and sensual as she was ten years ago, when he met her in such unpleasant situation, but he now prefers to hide his role in the events that had changed Emma’s life forever, hoping not to hurt her feelings again. What he has not considered, is their affinity, the same that could help to break down not only Emma’s shield but also all the fears he has due to his difficult childhood and the relationship with his family. I found this second book in the Alabama Series very entertaining and captivating. As in the first book, the leitmotivs are the importance of the family bond and the need to deal with the past in order to enjoy the opportunity to finally be happy. I find this book enchanting, and also the secondary characters are so well written and rounded as the main ones. In my opinion, Susan Sands’ mastery while creating such adorable storyline is superb. Thank you Susan, for this new adventure in Ministry. I also posted my review at CometReadings.com

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Morr

    This was my first read by Susan Sands, she earned herself a new fan!! Love Alabama kept me turning the page, I had to force myself to put it down to go to bed but as soon as I woke up & had my coffee in hand I picked the kindle up & finished reading it, I just had to find out what happen 10 years ago to Emma & how Matthew was involved. I was expecting a romance but got a little suspense in there that kept me turning the page. Love Alabama was a great read you had the family saga with Matthew & h This was my first read by Susan Sands, she earned herself a new fan!! Love Alabama kept me turning the page, I had to force myself to put it down to go to bed but as soon as I woke up & had my coffee in hand I picked the kindle up & finished reading it, I just had to find out what happen 10 years ago to Emma & how Matthew was involved. I was expecting a romance but got a little suspense in there that kept me turning the page. Love Alabama was a great read you had the family saga with Matthew & his family & Emma & her family, I loved the banter between Emma & her siblings, an obsessed ex, small town atmosphere, & a little suspense all rolled into one book. Who doesn't love a book that can have you laughing one moment, saying what the heck the next & maybe a little tear coming out at the end, that is what Love Alabama had this reader doing. The only thing I didn't like was they were Crimson Tide fans , maybe cause I am a Buckeye fan ...lol. If you are looking for a romance with a little bit of suspense, Love, Alabama is for you but beware you will not be able to put it down. I received a free copy from Tasty Book Tours for my honest review, thank you for the opportunity!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ash P Reads

    Emma Laroux has convinced herself that she is happy living the single life with a successful business. Her one experience with love has left her feeling insecure about relationships. Especially when every time she has attempted to date, the guys mysteriously break it off before it even begins. It does not help that Tad Beaumont, her ex and now mayor of Ministry, Alabama, keeps close tabs on her every move. Then Matthew Pope comes into the picture and Emma can't help but befriend him. Matthew is a Emma Laroux has convinced herself that she is happy living the single life with a successful business. Her one experience with love has left her feeling insecure about relationships. Especially when every time she has attempted to date, the guys mysteriously break it off before it even begins. It does not help that Tad Beaumont, her ex and now mayor of Ministry, Alabama, keeps close tabs on her every move. Then Matthew Pope comes into the picture and Emma can't help but befriend him. Matthew is allergic to the thought of Alabama so being in Ministry is hell for him. He has his own skeletons to hide but he also knows Emma's secret and he cannot bear to reveal that fact because she is the only thing that makes it worth staying in Ministry, Alabama. But Tad can't have Emma and he won't let Matthew have her either, so when the truth comes out more than one life is bound to be destroyed. This book was a terrific mix if romance, suspense and drama. It was also the first book I have ever read by Susan Sands and it prompted me to go in search of the first book in this series. ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angieleigh

    There are few things more satisfying than a great book set in the deep South complete with sweet romance, a little controversy, and much forgiveness. Not to mention a few laughs here and there. Love, Alabama is the second book in Sands’ Alabama Series and is the perfect runner up to the much loved Again, Alabama. Sands’ writing flows smoothly, having you fall in love with the town of Ministry, Alabama and the well written characters she has created. I found Emma charming, amusing, fiery, and overall There are few things more satisfying than a great book set in the deep South complete with sweet romance, a little controversy, and much forgiveness. Not to mention a few laughs here and there. Love, Alabama is the second book in Sands’ Alabama Series and is the perfect runner up to the much loved Again, Alabama. Sands’ writing flows smoothly, having you fall in love with the town of Ministry, Alabama and the well written characters she has created. I found Emma charming, amusing, fiery, and overall a great female protagonist. She had amazing, not to mention believable, chemistry with Matthew, but can’t really put her finger on how or why she knows him. Matthew, of course, doesn’t want to let her know. He’s too busy fighting his past after having crawled his way out of small town living in the South. I can’t wait to see who’s up next in this enjoyable series that I hope goes on for quite awhile. I highly recommend this to add to your beach bag (or reading device!) for a bit of flirty summer reading!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Jewkes

    Susan Sands has done it again! Love, Alabama is a delightful love story full of Southern charm, secrets, manipulation, and taking chances. When Matthew Pope shows up in Ministry, Alabama to produce Emma’s sister Cammie’s new cooking show, he’s not sure he’s up to the task of living in a small Southern town. He and Emma hit it off, but how can he tell her they’ve met before, years ago on a night that changed the course of Emma’s life? That mysterious night is the driving force behind the primary c Susan Sands has done it again! Love, Alabama is a delightful love story full of Southern charm, secrets, manipulation, and taking chances. When Matthew Pope shows up in Ministry, Alabama to produce Emma’s sister Cammie’s new cooking show, he’s not sure he’s up to the task of living in a small Southern town. He and Emma hit it off, but how can he tell her they’ve met before, years ago on a night that changed the course of Emma’s life? That mysterious night is the driving force behind the primary conflicts in this story. As layers of intrigue are peeled away, the reader learns about the players who have manipulated Emma’s life. The characters are well-developed, the chemistry between Emma and Matthew is undeniable, and the story progresses at a satisfying pace. Love, Alabama is a fantastic continuation of the Laroux family introduced in Again, Alabama. I can’t wait to read the next installment!! 5 stars

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    A beautifully written story that adds so much to the series. Everyone has a past, sometimes with things that they don't want to remember or things that they can't remember happened. Emma had one of those moments 10 years ago and applied a band-aid to her life. She has her family, friends and a job she loves, what else could she ask for? Matthew returns to Alabama to film a cooking show and runs into someone he hasn't seen since his college days and that shakes him up. The truth always seems to f A beautifully written story that adds so much to the series. Everyone has a past, sometimes with things that they don't want to remember or things that they can't remember happened. Emma had one of those moments 10 years ago and applied a band-aid to her life. She has her family, friends and a job she loves, what else could she ask for? Matthew returns to Alabama to film a cooking show and runs into someone he hasn't seen since his college days and that shakes him up. The truth always seems to find its way to the surface, usually at the wrong time but if you have people who love you, you can handle anything that is thrown your way. Be prepared that once you start reading this great story, you will not be able to stop until the very end and it will be worth it! I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Gonzales

    I would like to give this book a four and a half stars as it was flat out enjoyable. The characters were very well written, the ladies had that sweet Southern charm and the men were strong with good manners and values, well most of them. All the characters just were so believeable and just came alive on the pages. Its almost like bonus books in this one as the book is more than just one couples story. I was given an ARC in return for my honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Donnajo

    Read/review for honest opinion for Tule Love, Alabama by Susan Sands, book two in the Alabama Book series. A sweet story with likable characters and great dialogue. I really enjoyed this story and looking forward to reading more in the series and more by Susan Sands

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paula Pugh

    This is a story about how unresolved events in our past direct and temper our future. It is well written with an understanding hand that tenderly weaves a story of lives that need to be unstuck from the past so love can have a chance to blossom and grow.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Ruppe

    Wonderful!!! Underlying issues that hit me close to home, dealing with someone with NPD myself. A lot of misunderstandings cleared up and a great story!! Looking forward to another novel in Ministry!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    RoloPoloBookBlog

    Love, Alabama by Susan Sands Book #2: Alabama Series Source: Netgalley and purchase My Rating: 4/5 stars My Review: By nearly every standard, Emma Laroux is stunning. She has poise, grace, charm, beauty, all the things one would expect a former Miss Alabama to have. One would also expect a woman such as Emma Laroux to have a handsome man on her arm, but that is something Emma Laroux most definitely does not have. In fact, it’s been roughly a decade since Emma last had a serious boyfriend. In college Love, Alabama by Susan Sands Book #2: Alabama Series Source: Netgalley and purchase My Rating: 4/5 stars My Review: By nearly every standard, Emma Laroux is stunning. She has poise, grace, charm, beauty, all the things one would expect a former Miss Alabama to have. One would also expect a woman such as Emma Laroux to have a handsome man on her arm, but that is something Emma Laroux most definitely does not have. In fact, it’s been roughly a decade since Emma last had a serious boyfriend. In college, the world was seemingly at Emma Laroux’s feet until she quite unexpectedly gave up her Miss Alabama crown and walked away from her long-term boyfriend. With little to no explanation, Emma left behind everything she had worked so hard for leaving everyone confused by her actions. Though Emma knows she made the right decision at the time, all these years later, she still isn’t completely clear on what led her to such a huge, life-altering decision. Things about that time are hazy and lost and time has helped her remember. In the ten years since her abdication (is that what you call it when a beauty queen gives up her crown??) Emma has led a successful life and mostly fulfilled life. She’s tremendously close to her family, she has a successful pageant-prep business, and big dog who loves her unconditionally. Every single (and some married!) man in town wants her, but they also know she isn’t going to say yes to a date. That is, until Matthew Pope comes to town. Matthew Pope is a man of the strictest control. After a near-disastrous childhood, he knows first-hand what a loss of control looks like. He watches his food intake, he controls his exercise routine, and he runs a tight ship at work. As a result, Matthew has risen far in his field and carved a nice life. Emma Laroux makes him want to give up his strict hold on control and, in the beginning choke the life out of her and her big dog. Trouble is, that frustration and aggravation are mixed with some serious desire and Matthew Pope is determined to have Emma Laroux. Since he’s new to town, he doesn’t know about Emma’s no dating rule so he dives right on in the deep end and hopes for the best! What he gets is a whole lot of sexy and more trouble than he could have ever imagined. While Emma has worked hard to ignore/forget her past, being in a new relationship means sharing and that’s something Emma isn’t at all capable of doing. Matthew makes her think about the future, but until she can fully understand her past, a future just doesn’t seem possible. Adding to the frustration is her now married ex-boyfriend turned town mayor who seems awfully interested in Emma’s current situation. In fact, his interest in she and Matthew borders on stalking and no one, including her ex seems to be able to explain the behavior. As the days pass by and Emma and Matthew become more serious, it becomes clear Emma’s ex is tied to her hazy past, the abandonment of her crown, and even some of the strange events of the last ten years. Figuring everything out means exposing a whole host of secrets no one, including Matthew want exposed. The Bottom Line: I tell you what, Ministry, Alabama is just a hot bed of drama and awful secrets. Isn’t it awesome??? Emma’s story is dramatic, sad, scary, and ultimately very sweet. She’s lived alone for so long she’s gotten used to the feeling and doesn’t even realize it until Matthew walks into her life. Matthew reads as somewhat nerdy and wimpy in the beginning, but as the tale unfolds he proves to be nerdy, strong, and sexy. In short, exactly what Emma needs! The road for Emma and Matthew is strange, twisted, and dark which makes the ultimate HEA so very, very good. Because of Emma’s close relationship with her family, they play a huge part in this read and they shine in she and Matthew’s defense. The only element of this read which kept me from a higher star rating is Matthew’s family which added absolutely nothing to this read. At the end of it all, I enjoyed Love, Alabama and look so very forward to returning to Ministry, Alabama to see what new, awful secrets are lurking and just waiting to be uncovered.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn Grabas

    Although the storyline was good and the characters were adequate - BUT and that's a big BUT, Ms Sands overlooked the fact that guys don't think like girls - they tend to roll better with the punches while girls get all torn up about things. So her girly thinking affected her male character, Matt's, take on things, which I felt was unbelievable. Point of interest, he had Nothing to feel guilty about as he had done nothing. That's a girl thing, feeling guilty without the reason being valid. If he h Although the storyline was good and the characters were adequate - BUT and that's a big BUT, Ms Sands overlooked the fact that guys don't think like girls - they tend to roll better with the punches while girls get all torn up about things. So her girly thinking affected her male character, Matt's, take on things, which I felt was unbelievable. Point of interest, he had Nothing to feel guilty about as he had done nothing. That's a girl thing, feeling guilty without the reason being valid. If he had not been there 10 years ago, she might well have been gang raped. When she did not recognize him, he was kind in not bringing it up and embarrassing her by acknowledging that he knew something that was embarrassing and that only she and Tad knew and that she would have, most likely, preferred to leave it at that. And her not being able to forgive him - for what? Saving her from being gang-raped, spending his own money to put her up in a motel till she recovered from the effects of the drug that she was given and seeing that she got back to her friends unscathed? Oh yes, that was unforgivable. She remembered his kindness and gentleness, but quickly forgot that and wondered if he had done anything to her. All in all, what a lousy judge of character she is. And then, after the time they had been spending together, she would even consider that he might be a sexual predator. And, then, of course, he had to be the one to come crawling and clear the air - of cause he did - he's the man. Bull dingy. I don't buy it, All I can say is Ms. Sands should get her head out of the sand and learn the difference between a man and a woman and not interchange their emotions. I for one, will not be reading anymore of her Alabama series. Ms. Sands, as if it really means anything, has officially been added to my "authors non grata" list.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    Emma Laroux is a South Carolina girl, a past Miss Alabama for a short time, and now a pageant coach. She is part of a large, close-knit family who run a venue for celebrations. Her mother is getting re-married soon and her sister, Cammie, is the host of a popular television cooking show. She does her make-up before the taping every day. The show has a new director, Matthew Pope, who has not made a great impression on anyone since he came. There is a secret that Matt is keeping close to the vest, Emma Laroux is a South Carolina girl, a past Miss Alabama for a short time, and now a pageant coach. She is part of a large, close-knit family who run a venue for celebrations. Her mother is getting re-married soon and her sister, Cammie, is the host of a popular television cooking show. She does her make-up before the taping every day. The show has a new director, Matthew Pope, who has not made a great impression on anyone since he came. There is a secret that Matt is keeping close to the vest, one that may impact his relationship with Emma. Emma is also keeping a secret, one that she is not even sure about. Her former beau, the town mayor, Tad Beaumont, seems overly solicitous of Emma and is determined to keep her away from Matt. Something is not computing here. Emma has not dated in a decade, ever since she resigned as Miss Alabama right after her crowning. Something happened one night that she is not aware of, but that caused Tad to break if off from her and threaten her all these years. Matt knows more than he’s telling. He finds himself enamored by Emma, but unable to tell her who he really is. She does not recognize him and he keeps putting it off, which doesn’t spell a good thing. Following this story as it goes along and comes to a surprise ending is a good evening’s pastime, but I found the premise a bit soft. It just didn’t ring true to me. Nevertheless, “Love, Alabama” by Susan Sands was entertaining. You can find this review on my blog at https://wp.me/p2pjIt-vx, and other reviews on my blog at http://imhookedonbooks.wordpress.com.

  22. 4 out of 5

    SH

    This is the first book that I have read by Susan Sands and I was pleased that I tried something different. Love Alabama, with its very appealing front cover, tells the story of Emma Laroux, a former Miss Alabama and Matthew Pope, who has come to the small town of Ministry, Alabama to produce a cooking show featuring Emma’s sister. Matthew and Emma cross paths when Emma comes on set to do her sister’s make-up. However, it is soon apparent that Matthew has met Emma several years ago, whilst Emma d This is the first book that I have read by Susan Sands and I was pleased that I tried something different. Love Alabama, with its very appealing front cover, tells the story of Emma Laroux, a former Miss Alabama and Matthew Pope, who has come to the small town of Ministry, Alabama to produce a cooking show featuring Emma’s sister. Matthew and Emma cross paths when Emma comes on set to do her sister’s make-up. However, it is soon apparent that Matthew has met Emma several years ago, whilst Emma does not remember him. This is a pivotal point to the book. Emma has struggled to meet anyone since breaking up with Tad Beaumont, a narcissistic male who has overshadowed Emma’s life since then. It is soon apparent that Tad is somehow involved in the events surrounding Emma’s reasons for stepping down from the title of Miss Alabama Both characters of Emma and Matthew are well outlined with Emma displaying, strength and dignity despite the disappointments that she has faced. Whilst Matthew is initially portrayed as being remote, he is soon shown to be the ‘good guy’. He carries his own disappointments but he strives to support his family and faces his demons head on. I did wish though that the romance had been built upon, in more detail, as the intensity of their feelings was quite rapid. A sweet romance with a touch of drama, which came together effectively. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Reeca Elliott

    Emma is a retired beauty queen. She runs her own business and keeps to herself as much as possible. Enter Matthew, who rocks her world when she least expects it. Both of these characters are flawed and have had some terrible experiences in life. This is, to me, why they hit it off. They each recognize the damage and the strength in each other. As their pasts unfold it brings them closer until….Matthew has a secret!! I never understand why characters don’t come clean when given the perfect opport Emma is a retired beauty queen. She runs her own business and keeps to herself as much as possible. Enter Matthew, who rocks her world when she least expects it. Both of these characters are flawed and have had some terrible experiences in life. This is, to me, why they hit it off. They each recognize the damage and the strength in each other. As their pasts unfold it brings them closer until….Matthew has a secret!! I never understand why characters don’t come clean when given the perfect opportunity. It would make life so much simpler. Which, I guess is why the author chooses not to do it. It keeps the story moving. Matthew has ample opportunity to tell Emma (and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why he didn’t want her to know). What would it change if she knew. His secret, in my opinion, is not that big of a deal. But, like I said, my opinion. I did enjoy the setting of Alabama. Being a Mississippi girl, I felt right at home with all the small town characters. The author did a fabulous job with all the quirky southern ways and especially the southern sayings. I caught myself grinning through most of this book because of the southern antics. There is a twist at the end but it is rushed and almost like it was added as an afterthought. BUT! I did enjoy this book. It is cute, quirky and fun to read. It hit the right spot! I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mandi

    A fun albeit predictable romance. I really enjoyed the characters and the setting. I'm from Alabama and there were a few nit picky things that bugged me. However unless you are a Auburn fan married to a die hard Alabama fan you probably wouldn't have picked up on them. As a southern lady I did appreciate that the language in the book did feel southern. It wasn't full of the over the top Bless Your Hearts and other catch phrases so many southern authors feel they should toss in to make the book fe A fun albeit predictable romance. I really enjoyed the characters and the setting. I'm from Alabama and there were a few nit picky things that bugged me. However unless you are a Auburn fan married to a die hard Alabama fan you probably wouldn't have picked up on them. As a southern lady I did appreciate that the language in the book did feel southern. It wasn't full of the over the top Bless Your Hearts and other catch phrases so many southern authors feel they should toss in to make the book feel southern. It truly just felt normal and the small town felt real and true. With the exception of one purposefully over the top character. All in all it was an enjoyable quick read. I'll be looking for the other books in this series. I had no clue this was the 2nd book in a series. I didn't feel left out of confused at all by not having read the first book. I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    Susan Sands has taken the reader back to Ministry, Alabama for Emma’s story. What a story it is. Love, Alabama by has romance, suspense, a galore of family drama, one former Miss Alabama, one guy trying to make amends and one sleazy ex-boyfriend. While this is second in the Alabama Series it read well as a stand-alone though her sister is part of this story too. In fact, I liked this one the best of the two stories. Ted is somewhat of a cliché jerk but that made the story more fun when he didn’t Susan Sands has taken the reader back to Ministry, Alabama for Emma’s story. What a story it is. Love, Alabama by has romance, suspense, a galore of family drama, one former Miss Alabama, one guy trying to make amends and one sleazy ex-boyfriend. While this is second in the Alabama Series it read well as a stand-alone though her sister is part of this story too. In fact, I liked this one the best of the two stories. Ted is somewhat of a cliché jerk but that made the story more fun when he didn’t get his way. Emma and Mathew’s sparring dialogue is witty and interest holding, which adds to the chemistry that that they had when together. Add the secret to Emma and Matthew’s past only served to make them more approachable and likable, not quite so perfect. I liked them, I liked them a lot, I liked their second chance together too. 4.5 Stars An ARC of the book was given to me by the publisher through Net Galley.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bette Stanek

    3.5. Book two of the Alabama series. I read the first book in 2015. I’m feeling nostalgic for a Sweet Home Alabama type of read. What can I say? I read the first book in this series, Again, Alabama, in 2015 so it took me just a little bit to get back up to speed with the characters. The Laroux family is one that I remembered quickly. They are a tight-knit group that is a whole lotta fun. Love, Alabama is about Emma, the beauty pageant sister, the former Miss Alabama, the one who gave up her crow 3.5. Book two of the Alabama series. I read the first book in 2015. I’m feeling nostalgic for a Sweet Home Alabama type of read. What can I say? I read the first book in this series, Again, Alabama, in 2015 so it took me just a little bit to get back up to speed with the characters. The Laroux family is one that I remembered quickly. They are a tight-knit group that is a whole lotta fun. Love, Alabama is about Emma, the beauty pageant sister, the former Miss Alabama, the one who gave up her crown after a college weekend that no one really knows much about. Matthew Pope knows more about it than he’s willing to admit. There’s no really deep drama, at least of the unresolvable kind. There’s plenty of drama that’s been going on behind the scenes in Emma’s life, but it doesn’t come out until Matthew comes to town. Little by little the pieces start to fit together. This is a quick, fun, and easy to read Southern romance that will have you saying bless your heart more than a few times.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    Love, Alabama is a wonderful small-town, Southern love story. Emma Laroux, former Miss Alabama, has barely dated since a humiliating break-up. When she meets Matthew, the producer of her sister's cooking show, her defenses are up, but she starts to fall for this handsome, charming man. But Matthew realizes that he and Emma had met before, 10 years earlier, at a time when Emma's life fell apart. Emma's ex, Tad, now the town mayor, still finds ways to ingratiate himself into Emma's, causing her gr Love, Alabama is a wonderful small-town, Southern love story. Emma Laroux, former Miss Alabama, has barely dated since a humiliating break-up. When she meets Matthew, the producer of her sister's cooking show, her defenses are up, but she starts to fall for this handsome, charming man. But Matthew realizes that he and Emma had met before, 10 years earlier, at a time when Emma's life fell apart. Emma's ex, Tad, now the town mayor, still finds ways to ingratiate himself into Emma's, causing her grief and heartache, and making it hard to trust any man....can Matthew gain her trust and her heart? Love, Alabama is the sequel to the equally charming Again, Alabama, and it was fun getting reacquainted and catching up with the Laroux family. Love, Alabama is a lovely read as a standalone, but you will want to read more about this enchanting family in the first book!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for their advance copy in return for an honest review. I loved the cover of this, which along with the premise, is why I requested this novel. Emma Laroux is what I would take as a typical southern belle, she even has the Gone with the Wind theme as her cell phone ringtone. She is a former Miss Alabama (though she handed the crown back), and she runs her own pageant training business. Yet she is still single, despite being in her thirties, and seems unable Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for their advance copy in return for an honest review. I loved the cover of this, which along with the premise, is why I requested this novel. Emma Laroux is what I would take as a typical southern belle, she even has the Gone with the Wind theme as her cell phone ringtone. She is a former Miss Alabama (though she handed the crown back), and she runs her own pageant training business. Yet she is still single, despite being in her thirties, and seems unable to move on from her first, and apparently only, failed romance. This has everything you expect from a Southern Romance, the handsome incomer to the town who steals her heart, and unfinished business from her first romance. The main problem I have this is the unfinished business is solved so quickly I was left wondering they left it so long.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Bolen

    Obvious written by a therapist or therapy enthusiast Some times a tree is a tree and a jerk is a jerk. No need to find a definition or worry about motivations, just say duck it and move on. The analysing of every little thing and taking blame is so very grown up and unrealistic. The whole book rings more like a therapy session about how people should react than what actually happens and the sad part is this that someone thinks this is better. Depression doesn't magically disappear because someone Obvious written by a therapist or therapy enthusiast Some times a tree is a tree and a jerk is a jerk. No need to find a definition or worry about motivations, just say duck it and move on. The analysing of every little thing and taking blame is so very grown up and unrealistic. The whole book rings more like a therapy session about how people should react than what actually happens and the sad part is this that someone thinks this is better. Depression doesn't magically disappear because someone cares. A controlling abusive person would not allow someone else to win even if they have to kill to win. And therapy doesn't make everything better. People are messed up and some like to be broken. Fixing broken is hard work that most people would rather run from than do. That's life as as complicated and messy as it is; I prefer real to fantasy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Allyson

    I gave up when he had a panic attack. Maybe I’m being too critical, but none of the panic attack descriptions felt real to me. Everything felt too jarring - and not in a “oh hey this is what a panic attack must feel like” but more in a “pull me from the story what the hell is this?” kind of way. I’m not unsympathetic to people who suffer from panic attacks - there was just something that felt disingenuous to me. I was first put off when Emma was described as perfect - can eat donuts and hot choco I gave up when he had a panic attack. Maybe I’m being too critical, but none of the panic attack descriptions felt real to me. Everything felt too jarring - and not in a “oh hey this is what a panic attack must feel like” but more in a “pull me from the story what the hell is this?” kind of way. I’m not unsympathetic to people who suffer from panic attacks - there was just something that felt disingenuous to me. I was first put off when Emma was described as perfect - can eat donuts and hot chocolate for breakfast but still looks like a beauty queen? No thanks. And the way the author tried to hint at a mysterious background - trying to draw us in with the promise of secrets - didn’t work for me. I felt like I missed something more than I had a secret to unravel. I skimmed ahead and the secrets to be revealed make me squicky so I’m going to pass on finishing this one. DNF

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