I was excited to see Harlequin releasing another bwwm IR novel. They seem to come out like Haley's comet over there so fellow fans like myself of this...moreI was excited to see Harlequin releasing another bwwm IR novel. They seem to come out like Haley's comet over there so fellow fans like myself of this subgenre have to grab em while they can.
I'm happy to say that S&SB does not disappoint in all aspects of telling a great story. If you're like me and haven't read all of the Braddock series, you won't be lost a bit as all the Braddock siblings are explained in detail.
I won't rehash the synopsis as it is available in the link below on the HQN book page, but I will say what I really enjoyed about the book.
First of all it's characters. Shondra is a strong female without being too close offish. Due to her father's death she's a bit vulnerable and although she is really attracted to the hero (who's seriously a babe, who can blame her?) she wants to tread lightly considering his status in their company. I gotta say much props for the intro of the story to Ms. Amos. I love how the hero and heroine first meet and how they interact right from the beginning. The hero is strong minded, driven and also sensitive and romantic: everything the perfect hero is made of (where can I get me one of him?). I love how they play off each other and the sexual tension is there right from the start. I had to fan myself off now and then!
The loves are hot without being too overly sexual, so if any readers out there are a fan of hot loves scenes without being in your face, you'd be happy here. The race situation is mentioned but doesn't get in the way, which I think is a good thing. During the rise of IRs many bwwm romance books used to place race as a major obstacle and I'm glad it's mentioned here but not the driving force of their problems. Shondra and Connor are mainly treated as a man and woman trying to find a way to each other's hearts despite the workplace and despite the recent death in Shondra's family.
Ms. Amos had me laughing at the interaction between Shondra and Connor, especially over music: he loves hip hop (she's not too familiar with it) and she loves country (he's not too familiar with it) and during a private jet ride to Monte Carlo they discuss this. One of the best lines of the book are in this scene and it's a cheeky one that comes from Connor after they realize the music difference:
"I think we both owe it to our people to fit our assigned stereotypes better."
LOL she had me rolling during this scene and I can could so imagine the facial expressions and voices as they verbally sparred back and forth. And just like good storytelling, a few moments later she nearly had me in tears right there with the hero and heroine as they relived their respective familial losses.
If I had to gripe about one thing I'd say I was kind of bummed about the ending being a happy for now rather than happily ever after. I guess I'm kind of traditional in that I like the couple to make it official with a wedding down the road or at least an engagement. And the two characters felt like they were happy just being physical with each other for now. (less)
Don't let the too hot to handle cover fool ya (and it is an awesomely hot one, I have to admit). There is a wonderful, warm story as yummy as sweet po...moreDon't let the too hot to handle cover fool ya (and it is an awesomely hot one, I have to admit). There is a wonderful, warm story as yummy as sweet potato pie between these covers that proves you can go home again.
Sara leaves her affluent lifestyle and her prestigious yet neglecting lawyer husband once she suspects his infidelity, with her best friend, no less. After a devastating miscarriage, she returns home to Chaumiere Isle where her Aunt Olivia (Liv) and Uncle brought her up after Sara's parents died when she was young. When Sara returns to the home she grew up, it is quite different and very full with an assortment of boarders who have become a sort of surrogate family. There's volatile Vietnam Vet Mr. Nash, Aria a hard working young girl who once lived on the streets and is struggling with low confidence in herself but has a big heart; and then there's Michael. The hot yet sweet confident New Englander who comes from a family whose big on money, but low on family and showing love amongst one another. Each and every one of these characters find something under the family that Aunt Liv has created within her home. At first Sara is shocked that her Aunt let strangers live in and is somewhat put off that they may have taken over her place in the home as family. But as time goes on, she learns to live with everyone and find strength to live and love again.
This book is FABULOUS. I loved this story so much because it was a romance and yet a book about a woman finding her strength again. This was an awesomely well written novel filled with interesting characters from all walks of life, a complex heroine and a sweet, strong hero you just wanna take home. Fabulous characterization, a great setting and a warm-hearted plot makes you feel like your favorite aunt has wrapped you up in a homemade quilt to tell you this timeless love story.
Do yourself a favor and check out this fabulous story of loss, regret, love, family and renewal which is definitely one for the keeper shelf.
Since this book came out in 2007 I can't exactly put it on my best reads of 2008 (since it's for '08 releases) but I can make it an honorary best of 2008. I can't wait to go back for seconds. ;-)(less)