Christie's Reviews · Danielle's Reviews

~ REVIEW X2: To Have by M.L. Pennock ~


My life was good.
But, like most things that are just “good,” it fell apart. I fell apart.
I had lived to work before, but when my husband left my job became my entire life.
Then I went for coffee and my life changed. Days before finalizing my divorce, my past sat down across from me and it was like life had been breathed back into me. It was only the beginning of a crazy, not at all planned out adventure with him … much like our escapades when we were kids.


Twenty years ago my parents moved our family to Tennessee. My heart stayed behind in Western New York.
On a well-planned whim, my best friend and I packed up and headed north to begin realizing our dream of owning a business — a coffeehouse — in the small college town I spent my childhood exploring.
It took me years before I had the courage to go home, set up shop, and find her, though. I needed to be certain I could give her everything.
That day finally came.
When she walked in, she stole the air from my lungs.

This is our story.

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daniell review 5 star aFantastic Debut Novel!! This is such a beautiful story of childhood sweethearts reconnecting.

When the story begins, Stella comes home from work to find her husband with his bags packed and telling her he has found someone else.  She is shocked even though she knows their marriage was not at all like a marriage should be.  As Stella is trying to get her life together again when her first love, Brian, moves back to town and changes her hopes for the future.

“We knew each other before we knew what heartache was, and now here he was entering my life again right in the midst of the second biggest one of my life without knowing he caused the first.”

Brian hasn’t seen Stella since they were 9 years old, 23 years before, but he never forgot her.  He decides to relocate from Tennessee back to the small town in New York where he lived when they were friends.  He has opened a coffee shop and hopes that Stella will come in for a cup of coffee.  And when that day comes, Brian still feels the connection to her that he felt all those years ago.  

“I came back for you, I prayed every night for you, I wished on every shooting star I saw…I wished for you.”

Will Brian and Stella be able to build a future together based on the friendship made as young children or is that strong connection no longer there?  Read this story to find out.

Loved this book!! I loved how Brian and Stella had such a strong bond that it withstood over 20 years of separation. While both had moved on with their lives, they had never forgotten each other.  While the story is told in the present, both Brian and Stella reflected back on their childhood and I loved getting the glimpses of their history.  It was perfect that this story was told with both Stella and Brian’s POV.  The secondary characters in this book were equally as entertaining and am looking forward to their story as well.  This was a sweet story without too much angst.  Superb job on your debut M.L. Pennock!!

christie review5 star a

“It feels like fate’s pushed us together and reminded us we’re allowed to feel despite heartache and past lovers no longer loving us, that regardless of how broken we may be as individuals we’re each a half and together that makes us whole.”

What a wonderful, emotional, and magical love story! It’s like a fairy tale for adults! Stella has had her heart broken by two men during her life. The first was Brian, her best friend and first love from her early childhood. It was broken when he had to leave and move away. The second was her teenage love and husband, Keith. He walks out on her after revealing he doesn’t love her anymore and has fallen in love with a co-worker. Since she has been with him most of her adult life, she is devastated and lives in a dark world of hurt. But, fate has better plans for her. Her dark and painful life is getting ready to be much brighter with the return of her first love, Brian. He has come back to open a business, but most importantly, to find the girl he has spent his life looking for, Stella. This begins one of the best, heart-warming romances I have read in a long time!


“I was made for you, Stella. I was handpicked from the stars, just for you.”


The romance begins not long after they reconnect and not long after her divorce is final. Once they become a couple, there is very little angst involving the two of them at all. It’s more about them getting to know one another again and their love growing deeper along the way. There are several little twists throughout the story that I wasn’t expecting. The first one is very sweet and plays a huge role in Stella’s healing. Nope, I am not revealing what it is; I don’t want to ruin it. All the characters are complex and very well-developed. This plays a huge role in pulling the reader into the story. One of the other twists involves Stella’s sister, Stephanie. I am hoping this is a clue that we will be getting her story soon!

If I hadn’t read that To Have is M.L. Pennock’s first book, I would never have guessed it was. It’s very well-written and developed. If you love a romance that is sexy, sweet, deep, and magical, this one would be for you! Of course, our hero, Brian is the icing on the cake. He has it all; he’s sexy, gorgeous, and sweet-the perfect Prince Charming! I can’t wait for your next book, M.L. Pennock!!!!

**ARCs were provided in exchange for an honest review**

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