LAUGH (Burnside #2) by Mary Ann Rivers – Review


Mary Ann Rivers continues her Burnside family series—perfect for readers of Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Ruthie Knox—as two people try to share their hearts without losing their cool.

Dr. Sam Burnside is convinced that volunteering at an urban green-space farm in Lakefield, Ohio, is a waste of time—especially with his new health clinic about to open. He only goes to mollify his partner, suspecting she wants him to lighten up. Then Sam catches sight of Nina Paz, a woman who gives off more heat than a scorcher in July. Her easy smile and flirty, sizzling wit has him forgetting his infamous need for control.

Widowed when her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Nina has learned that life exists to take chances. As the daughter of migrant workers turned organic farmers, she’s built an exciting and successful business by valuing new opportunities and working hard to take care of her own. But when Sam pushes for a relationship that goes beyond their hotter-than-fire escapades, Nina ignores her own hard-won wisdom. She isn’t ready for a man who needs saving—even if her heart compels her to take the greatest risk of all: love.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.


I just love Mary Ann River’s writing. Even at novella length, The Story Guy, is one of my favorite reads from last year. The beautiful emotions of the story still touch my heart and bring out a sigh any time it comes to mind. Her Burnside series is the same way. Very intense, very emotional, very character driven and so detailed you feel right in the middle of the story. A truly vicarious experience with all it’s ups and downs. Des and Hefin’s story, LIVE was fabulous. I wanted them to find a way to be together so bad I could taste it. And the same could definitely be said of Brian and Carrie from The Story Guy.

It seems to be Ms. Rivers M.O. Impossible relationships. in LAUGH we get Des’s older brother Sam’s story. Sam is a doctor who loves his family so much, but doesn’t have a clue how to show it. Because giving into that need might let them see that he doesn’t have it all together. He worries so much for them all because of the overwhelming responsibility he feels to be all things to everyone he loves. He can’t let them see he feels like a juggler with too many balls in the air. A screw-up with everything around him threatening to crumble at anytime. He is never at peace.

And then Sam meets Nina Paz. A beautiful farmer and restaurant owner who is at one with the land. Who also has a history that taught her the devastation loving someone too much can bring. How quickly it can all be gone. She ran far away from her pain and left all that reminded her of her former life behind. She refuses to be so vulnerable again. She has made a new family of friends and coworkers and is finally, after ten years, finding a little happiness. She may not feel it, but to Sam, she radiates inner peace. Just being near her soothes him and he can’t get enough. She makes him laugh and relax. The doctor wants a life with Nina, but Nina is too afraid to trust she will ever find joy again. She is happy with the laughter she shares with Sam. Happy with the present and too afraid to plan for a future.

LAUGH was a beautiful story of two lost souls finding each other in that irresistible two-halves,soulmate, just what the other needed even when they didn’t know it kind of way. There is a great cast of friends and family to round out the story, infuse even more humor, and at times add to the struggles and fear. But the journey to the end is enjoyable even with it’s ups and downs. Sam’s younger brother PJ was a bright spot whenever he appeared and I’m hoping his book will be next! 3.5 stars

~Complimentary copy downloaded from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

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