I had an ARC of Falling Hard for months. I have no idea why I kept putting it off, I think I juSeries review originally posted at Chachic's Book Nook.
I had an ARC of Falling Hard for months. I have no idea why I kept putting it off, I think I just wasn't in the mood to pick it up. I felt like reading something light and fun just as my new Kindle Paperwhite arrived so this title had the honor of being the first book I read on it. I literally finished this book in one sitting. I think I started reading it while having dinner and finished it before going to bed. Aside from being set in the US, other factors that made this book different from Mina's earlier titles are: 1) it's a lot steamier *fans self* and 2) it's sports romance.
Surely there was a pulsing heart inside of this stinking pile of guys on the ground. Massive, sweating, dirty, powerful, virile pile of... what?
I knew next to nothing about rugby but that didn't stop me from enjoying the book. It was easy to like Nicholas and Daria, and I liked how the trope of the two of them being from different social circles played out. It felt natural, and it was nice that there wasn't any unnecessary drama. They knew from the start what they were getting into, and what conflicts might arise. Even though this was a short book, I also liked that the theme of trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives was present in the story. I think that's always something that new adults worry about. I obviously enjoyed reading Falling Hard and was immediately curious about the rest of the titles in the series. I jumped right into the second book after reading this first one....more
I was so surprised when Laura Florand first posted a snippet of this on her blog - I love how she chose to tie up Snow-Kissed with the Amour et ChocolI was so surprised when Laura Florand first posted a snippet of this on her blog - I love how she chose to tie up Snow-Kissed with the Amour et Chocolat series. I didn't even know that Mack and Anne knew each other! This was a lovely romance between an older couple (parents of the main characters in other books). I think it's great that we got to know both Anne and Mack better, beyond the perspectives of their children. Theirs is a sweet romance that has a strong foundation based on 20 years of friendship. I liked that family is a strong theme in this story, given how important their kids are to Anne and Mack. I also loved seeing glimpses of all the other couples in Laura's books, I found Mack's description of Dom's chef frenemies hilarious. It's good to see all those other characters happy and doing well! Also good for Anne and Mack to get their own happy ending because they deserve it after everything they've been through. If Grandpa Jack also has his own romance, I would be more than happy to read it....more
I enjoyed reading Rachel Neumeier’s House of Shadows so I jumped at the chance to read Black Dog when I was offered a reviewOriginally posted here.
I enjoyed reading Rachel Neumeier’s House of Shadows so I jumped at the chance to read Black Dog when I was offered a review copy. I was intrigued when I first found out the premise of the book. Also, I wanted to see how Rachel’s writing will translate from epic fantasy to urban fantasy.
It’s been weeks since I finished readingBlack Dog and I still have fond memories of it. I remember staying up late one week night to finish reading this novel. It didn’t take that much effort for me to be immersed in the story and I found myself absorbed until I reached the end. I found the characters intriguing and felt that the worldbuilding was solid. I like how the reader is thrown into the story without lengthy descriptions, you just learn more about the world as you keep reading. The magic in this world can be found in black dogs and the Pure. Black dogs are shapeshifters who can change from their human to black dog forms as needed. While Pure women are able to wield their magic to invoke peace and to protect other people from malicious magic. The calmness that the Pure can provide serves as a counterpoint to the anger and violence that are part of a black dog's nature. Natividad is a Pure, her brother Alejandro is a black dog while her twin Miguel is human. I like how these three siblings each have their own strengths and weaknesses. They each have something to contribute to their family, and eventually the Dimilioc clan. Even Miguel, who has no supernatural abilities, has skills in other areas. Aside from having magical skills, I also found it interesting that these siblings are half-Mexican and half-American. They were brought up in Mexico but had to flee to North America to run away from danger, and to hopefully gain allies in the Dimilioc clan. The Dimilioc black dogs also have a mix of interesting characters and I was curious about them as well.
I like how the point of view shifts from Natividad to Alejandro, giving us a better understanding of what this world is like from both Pure and black dog perspectives. I did wonder if the story would have been richer if we also got Miguel’s POV but it wasn’t a major issue. Black Dog was such an enjoyable read for me. I liked how the story progressed until the climax was reached. So many things happened in a short span of time but I thought the events were paced well. I really wasn’t able to predict how things will go, so I kept turning the pages to find out. It’s a good introduction to the world in this series and it made me want to read the sequel even though it hasn’t even been released. I would be more than interested to find out how the members of the Dimilioc clan will adapt based on recent changes that they’ve implemented. The world is on the cusp of change as they enter a new age where vampires no longer exist. I found that aspect of the story intriguing, as well as the history and culture of black dogs. There’s also a tentative romance in the first book that I’m hoping will be further developed in the sequel. I felt that the love story was barely there and would have loved more scenes between the two characters. I also thought that Black Dog had beautiful writing - here's a non-spoilery snippet to illustrate my point:
"Out there in the cold, mountains rose against the sky, white and gray and black: snow and naked trees and granite and the sky above all... The sky itself was different here, crystalline and transparent, seeming farther away than any Mexican sky. The sun seemed smaller here, too, than the one that burned across the dry mountains of Nuevo Leon: this sun poured out not heat, but a cold brilliant luminiscence that the endless snow reflected back into the sky, until the whole world seemed made of light."
Further proof of how much I enjoyed reading this book was that it reminded a little of the World of the Lupi series by Eileen Wilks, which was one of my favorite discoveries last year. I’m happy to report that I feel like Rachel Neumeier made a successful foray into urban fantasy with Black Dog. Like I said, I look forward to reading the next installment in the series....more
I think if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Laura Florand’s writing. I discovered the first two books in her Amour et Chocolat series in March 2013 and I’ve been devouring her books since then. Last year, I even organized a blog event called Amour et Florand to celebrate her books. Once Upon a Rose is one of my highly anticipated releases for 2015 especially since I loved A Rose in Winter, a novella that introduced me to the Rosier family. I loved reading about the Rosiers and their home in Grasse so when Laura offered a review copy of Once Upon a Rose, I jumped at the chance to read it as soon as I can. This happened a few months ago and I just haven’t been able to work on a review for it until now. I’m so behind on reviews!
While I was in the middle of Once Upon a Rose, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read it slowly so I can savor the words or to gulp it all down in one go because it was just so good. Laura Florand is amazing at making the scenes leapt out of the page. So much so that you feel like you’ve traveled to Paris or Grasse just by reading her books. I’m always delighted by books that have such a strong sense of place because they let me travel just by reading. I also love how she focuses on the senses – with tastes and textures in her Amour et Chocolat series, and with scents and sounds in Once Upon a Rose. With Matt as the heir apparent for the Rosier perfume business, he knows everything there is to know about the fragrance industry. Layla, a musician struggling with creative burnout, finds solace in the Rosier valley when she unexpectedly inherits a house there. I enjoyed reading about the sweet and tentative romance that blossomed between Matt and Layla, from their hilarious first meeting until the beautiful ending of the book. I loved how careful they are of each other, showing a wariness that developed from past romantic mistakes. Matt is a big marshmallow who tries to hide his soft side by being all growly and grumpy but Layla was able to see through him right away. A snippet that I loved:
"You always do that," he murmured. "It's as if you take everything I know, wrap it up in wonder, and hand it back to me like this bright, shiny new present. It's like my whole life is Christmas when you're looking at it."
I loved how present Matt’s cousins are in this story. It’s so much fun to see them tease and annoy the hell out of each other but at the end of the day, they’re always there whenever one of them needs help. I also thought it was endearing how vulnerable Matt is when it comes to his family – how he tries to hide his weaknesses to let them see that he’s a strong leader. And yet his cousins are actually aware of what he’s really like. I just think it’s great that the Rosier guys were involved in Matt and Layla’s romance. While Layla’s family isn’t as big as Matt’s, she does have a strong connection with her mom. It’s always nice when the romance isn’t the sole focus of a book (even if it is a romance novel). It’s much more realistic to see the relationships that MCs have with their families or friends instead of having one person as their entire world. I also really liked the contrast between Matt’s rootedness in the valley vs. Layla’s life as a traveling musician. Matt knows that his rightful place is at the stronghold of their family’s business while Layla has never had a permanent home of her own. It was interesting to see how their different experiences shaped who they are now. Once Upon a Rose is a strong start to the La Vie en Roses series and I can’t wait to read the next book featuring a Rosier hero. It would be so much fun to dive back into this Provencal world filled with the sweet scent of roses. I know this wouldn’t come as a surprise but I’m happy to announce that Once Upon a Rose is now firmly placed in my best of 2015 shelf.
I found the first half very confusing but the latter half picked up for me. I liked the worldbuilding and how vampires were portrayed, it's just thatI found the first half very confusing but the latter half picked up for me. I liked the worldbuilding and how vampires were portrayed, it's just that I felt like I didn't understand what was going on during the first half. I enjoyed reading this but didn't love it as much as the author's other series (Touchstone and Medair). Still looking forward to the sequel!...more
I really liked Andrea K. Host’s And All the Stars last year and even included it in my best of 2013 list. I have been meaning to read the rest of her books since then. I know that several friends (namely Rachel, Estara and Li) have loved the Touchstone trilogy so I requested a review copy from the author and started reading it as soon as I was in the mood for sci-fi. I used to say that I’m not much of a sci-fi reader but given how much I enjoy reading Andrea K. Höst’s novels, it seems like I should read more from that genre. I read the omnibus version of the trilogy so this is a review for all three books - Stray, Lab Rat One and Caszandra - although I wouldn't be mentioning any spoilers.
Aussie teen Cass tells her story in diary format, so a big factor of the reader’s enjoyment of the Touchstone trilogy is based on how well you can relate and connect with her character. At first I thought it wasn’t going to work for me since I’m not a big fan of stories where the main character is stranded somewhere by herself. However, I found it easy to like Cass and the pace picked up considerably once she was rescued and brought to the alien planet Tare. Cass is smart, funny and has realistic reactions to finding herself suddenly stuck in an unfamiliar world. I know from personal experience how difficult it is to adjust to living in a foreign country, finding yourself in another planet with a drastically different civilization and language is probably a thousand times worse. I could definitely understand her homesickness and loneliness. I also feel like Cass handles herself quite well in spite of the physical and emotional obstacles in her path. Plus, I always think it's a good thing when the main character of any novel is a book lover. Some excerpts:
"I've spent my life with stories of people who don't walk away, who go back for their friends, who make that last stand. I've been brainwashed by Samwise Gamgee."
"I've spent my whole life reading books. I vaguely remember Mum reading to me in our own bedtime sessions, and our house is practically a library. The way I think, the way I act, most of that's because of the books I've read."
How can I not like someone who says things like that? I was also fascinated with the technologically advanced world that Andrea K. Höst created - with nanotechnology and tiny computer interface that can be injected in human brains. You can do all sorts of amazing things with the interface like record what you're seeing, watch movies, read books and play interactive games. In this world, there are also psychic space ninjas called Setari who are specially trained military personnel tasked with keeping the known planets and the space around them safe. Setari have special talents like telekinesis and enhanced sight/senses. Due to certain developments, Cass spends most of her time with the Setari and even befriends some of them. To be honest, I was a little confused with the number of Setari and their talents but I didn't let that bother me and just kept reading.
One of the aspects of the story that I truly loved was the romance. I kept reading because I wanted to find out what will happen with Cass having such a big crush on someone. I thought she was destined to have “On My Own” as her theme song but fortunately, that wasn't the case. Slowest burn romance that I’ve read in a while! It reminded me a little of the romance in Crown Duel, with a male character who’s all stoic and unreadable, skilled in combat and also a great leader. I was so absorbed by this series that I kept squeezing in time to read it even though I was supposed to do other things - like pack for a trip home or get some sleep. I even read bits and pieces of this in the car, which I don't normally do because it makes me dizzy. I hope that gives the rest of you an idea of how engrossed I was. The story lingered in my mind days after I finished reading it, giving me one heck of a book hangover. I devoured the Gratuitous Epilogue, which features the events after the trilogy, right after I finished the three books. What's interesting is that I think Touchstone will even be better as a reread because I wouldn't be confused by some of the things that initially bugged me and can pay attention to other details instead. I can now safely say that I've become an Andrea K. Höst fangirl. Seriously, more of my reader friends should be introduced to her work. If you haven't read any of her books, consider this a push in the right direction. I already have Medair in my Kindle and I'm looking forward to reading it.
"All these planets, and none of them have chocolate. Severe oversight in world creation."...more
It took just one tweet from Mandi of Smexy Books to convince me that I needed to read The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers as soonOriginally posted here.
It took just one tweet from Mandi of Smexy Books to convince me that I needed to read The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers as soon as I can. Thankfully, I found it on NetGalley and immediately requested a copy. I was thrilled when I got accepted soon after. I downloaded a copy on my Kindle right away. I finished it in one gulp and understood what the fuss was about because The Story Guy was a really good one.
When I saw the premise, I felt that it had echoes of Big Boy by Ruthie Knox. I was right, they do have similarities, not the least of which is how well-written they both are. Seriously, what is it with novellas filled to the brim with emotion? I'm surprised at how short fiction can make you feel so much. It was so easy for me to relate to Carrie, who is a librarian for teens, that in itself is enough reason for me to like her. I have a fondness for characters who get what it's like to love books. I feel like she's the kind of person I can be friends with, we would have long conversations about books, life and love. Carrie knows she has a pretty good life - she has a job she is passionate about as well friends and family who are always there for her - and yet a sense of ennui washes over her. She knows that she should be content and on most days, she is. But she can't help feeling that something is missing in her life. She's restless and couldn't sleep one night so she peruses MetroLink ads because there's something about the Men Seeking Women section that speaks to her. And one jumps right out at her. She answers the ad because she's intrigued, and feels like she could use a little adventure in her life. The guy wants to meet on a weekly basis, only for kissing.
I have never had a first kiss like this. Is it that he's a stranger? So beautiful? If so, I am ruined for anything but beautiful strangers for the rest of my life.
With that one encounter, Carrie knew right away that she would want more than just lunch hour on Wednesdays with this guy. But he's not willing to share more of himself apart from those stolen moments. Carrie gets a lovely piece of advice from a friend, saying that she should try and see where this thing with Brian will lead because he might be a story guy.
"A story guy?"
"Yeah, a good guy with a bad story doing something stupid."
"Explain to me why a story guy is better than a pervert."
"Story guys are like life highlighters. Your life is all these big blocks of gray text, and then a story guy comes in with a big ol' paragraph of neon pink so that when you flip back through your life, you can stop and remember all the important and interesting places."
I like the idea of story guys because that's something that is applicable to all of us. In the course of our lives, we have met (and we are bound to meet) people who stand out from the rest. I was more than happy to read about Carrie doing her best to unravel Brian's complex layers and to see whether he really is a story guy. And just like how we meet remarkable people, we also come across wonderful books that are worth taking note of. If I had to write down a list of romance books that I've read, The Story Guy would have to be highlighted in neon pink because it's just that good. I gave a happy sigh after I finished reading this debut. So if you are a romance reader, go forth and pre-order a copy. The Story Guy will be released on July 8, 2013. I can't wait to see what Mary Ann Rivers writes next. If she had a back list, I would have downloaded those titles right after reading this one. As it is, I just have to try and be patient for her next title....more
April 2015 reread: Medair was one of the titles I included in my last Top Ten Tuesday post and that made me want to reread it so I did. Such a good reApril 2015 reread: Medair was one of the titles I included in my last Top Ten Tuesday post and that made me want to reread it so I did. Such a good read.
Having previously loved Andrea K. Höst's sci-fi novels And All the Stars and the Touchstone trilogy, I picked up her Medair duology when I needed to be fully absorbed by a good novel. It's funny because out of all of her books, I wanted to read this epic fantasy duology first but I didn't get the chance to read them until recently. Once again, I would like to thank the author for providing a review copy of the omnibus edition which contains both The Silence of Medair and Voice of the Lost. I feel that both books have to be read together so I'm glad I got them in one edition.
I was completely immersed in Medair's world right from the start. I read the whole thing in just one weekend because I couldn't get enough of the story and just had to reach the end as soon as I could. I wanted to be swept away into a wonderful world filled with magic and adventure and I'm happy to report that Medair lived up to my expectations. Having had prior experience reading Andrea K. Höst's other novels, I knew there would be surprising twists and turns in both The Silence of Medair and Voice of the Lost and I was right. I was immediately intrigued by the premise - Medair is a Herald of her kingdom, tasked with finding a powerful magical object that will help her people win the war. She succeeded in finding what she was looking for, but she stopped to rest in a place outside of time and when she woke up, she discovered that 500 years have passed. Not surprisingly, Medair feels lost, with no idea how to move forward. A large part of the reader's enjoyment of Medair would depend on whether one will be able to sympathize with her and the issues that she faces. Her narration is very introspective, going back and forth from the past to the present, and trying to reconcile the differences between them. There's a lot of reflection on her part as she reluctantly becomes involved in making decisions that would irrevocably change the world she found herself in. I loved Medair's character, I understood her hesitations, her feelings and her worries. She's an intelligent and resourceful woman, loyal to her liege and her country, and inherently a good person. But completely at a loss with how much has been altered in her world. I do admit that there could have been less of her thoughts going around in circles, even Medair was self-aware enough to realize that she keeps doing that, but I wasn't really bothered by it. I can see why the narration wouldn't work for everyone but I'm delighted that I was completely engrossed by it. Aside from Medair, I was also invested in several other characters in the story and I loved seeing her interact with them even as she tries to keep a distance.
There's a whole lot of history and political intrigue intertwined with the story, partly because of the invasion centuries ago, and also because of the alliances of the various governing bodies around the region. I enjoyed these aspects and how magic was also involved in all of it. I like that there weren't any lengthy explanations on how the magic works but it never got confusing for me. I felt that it was seamlessly woven into the story. I believe that this review wouldn't be complete if I didn't talk about the romance in these two books. While I could see it coming, it was how the characters got there that mattered. In keeping with her personality and the situation she's in, Medair doesn't take her attraction to a certain someone lightly. As a result, there's tension and ambiguity. I really had no idea how things would unfold between them. Andrea K. Höst has consistently surprised me with how she builds and develops relationships in her books. While I wasn't exactly able to predict how things would end, I can say that there was a nice build up and I couldn't see Medair's story ending any other way. Similar to the Touchstone trilogy, I can see the Medair duology will be a very good reread. I look forward to finding the time for it. In the meantime, I need to work on convincing more readers to pick up her books because I seriously find it surprising that they're not as well-known as they should be. I had a book hangover after reading these two books and the only solution I could think of was to start on another Andrea K. Höst title....more
Icon of the Indecisive by Mina V. Esguerra is the third book in the Interim Goddess of Love trilogy. The first two books in theOriginally posted here.
Icon of the Indecisive by Mina V. Esguerra is the third book in the Interim Goddess of Love trilogy. The first two books in the series are Interim Goddess of Love and Queen of the Clueless. Do you need to read the books in order? Yes, unless you want to get really confused. They're all tied together, with Hannah as the main character, tasked with helping college students with their love problems. Mina compared the series to a TV show, with the first two books as different episodes and Icon of the Indecisive as the season finale. I received an advanced review copy of this for the audio commentary that Mina organized with several other bloggers. Here's my account of that experience and feel free to download the file over at Mina's website.
It was nice to be back in Ford River College, a setting that I enjoyed reading about because it reminded me of my own college experience. I feel like I keep saying this but since I had fun in college (in spite of not loving my major), I take pleasure in reading anything that takes me back to those years. Even though Hannah and the other characters in the series weren't ordinary college students, because they had abilities as gods and goddesses, I could still relate to them. To be honest, I was a little worried about Icon of the Indecisive. I felt like we were left hanging at the end of the second book and there were too many questions that needed to be answered in the final book. I shouldn't have worried because the whole trilogy was wrapped up quite nicely in this installment. In the first two books, readers were able to see glimpses of Hannah's own love story interspersed with the cases that she needed to solve as interim goddess. I was rooting for Hannah to get her own happy ending - I felt like she deserves to have her own beautiful romance after going through the trouble of comforting and supporting other people through their love-related difficulties. I had no idea where things would go when it came to Hannah's leading man and I liked not being able to predict what would happen. While I didn't think the ending was perfect because I thought it could have gone in a different direction, I still found it quite satisfying.
The Interim Goddess of Love trilogy is different from Mina's usual contemporary romance with main characters in their mid-twenties. The series is young adult, set in college and has a mythology aspect to it. Granted, it's light on the mythology and doesn't have as much worldbuilding as other fantasy novels that I'm used to. Still, I think it's a good idea for an author to branch out and try writing something different. In this case, I think it worked well because romance is still a big element of this series, something that it has in common with the author's previous work. Like all of Mina's other books, Icon of the Indecisive was a quick read for me. Thank goodness it didn't take long for this one to get published so the story was still quite fresh in my mind and I didn't have to reread the first two. You're pretty lucky if you haven't started on the series and you're curious about it, because now you can read all of them in one go. Recommended for fans of romantic novellas, readers who want something light and fun, and anyone interested in giving Filipino fiction a try.
It's funny how Interim Goddess of Love has several cover designs. I just wanted to mention that I really like that it got redesigned and now all three installments have matching covers:
All three covers were designed by Tania Arpa using photographer/blogger Rhea Bue's photos. Aren't they lovely? I like that the covers feature a Filipino fashion blogger and how all the photos give off a college vibe that represent the series well....more
My love affair with Laura Florand's Amour et Chocolat contemporary romance series started with The Chocolate Thief. I was captivated by that first book and I knew I would want to read the rest of the novels as soon as they came out. I have been really curious about The Chocolate Touch ever since I found out who the two main characters are going to be - both Dominique and Jaime were mentioned in the first book. I was lucky enough to get a review copy of this and I read it as soon as I could. I was a bit bummed that The Chocolate Touch's cover didn't follow the design of the first two and I don't think the couple in it is a good representation of the characters. But that's a minor quibble that has nothing to do with the contents of the novel.
A draft of my review for The Chocolate Touch has been sitting on my dashboard for weeks. I don't know why but I just couldn't find the right words to describe what it's like to be immersed in Laura Florand's delectable version of Paris. But let me try. What I love about the Amour et Chocolat books is that even though each book features a French chef or chocolatier, their personalities are so distinct that reading about them never gets boring. Plus I feel like the writing in each has a different tone - The Chocolate Thief is deliciously entertaining, The Chocolate Kiss is whimsical with magic realism feel to it while The Chocolate Touch has such a sweet and endearing romance. This latest installment in the series is filled with warmth that's very comforting, like drinking hot chocolate on a rainy day. Kind of similar to how Jaime visits Dom's chocolaterie everyday, consuming his creations and letting them revive her both physically and emotionally. I liked the contrast between Dom and Jaime - how he initially felt that he's such a brute compared to how delicate she looks and that he has to be careful with how he treats her. But appearances can be deceiving and Jaime has a core of steel that makes her the perfect match for Dom. I had so much fun reading about the tentative nature of how they got to know each other. Both of them have complicated pasts and there's a reason for why they feel like they don't have much to offer (even though they both think the world of the other person). Here's a snippet that I particularly liked:
He didn't talk, but a man who had Paris in the springtime didn't need to talk. Better not. Better just to concentrate on the cool breeze off the river, stirring his shaggy black hair, the bridges that stretched away through the centuries, that fresh young green on the trees along the quays. Evening was falling later and later. The sun was only starting to set now, easy blurred shades of pink and gold and gray through low strips of clouds. The sky above them was blue, clear, but blurring toward gray. Half the world looked in love, couples strolling hand in hand along the Seine. At the edge of that sunset, in the west, far away along the river that simmered with pink and gold, the Eiffel Tower rose, gentled by the low haze.
Lovely writing right there. Laura Florand sure knows how to set a scene. And write mouth-watering descriptions of chocolates, caramels and pastries. Just thinking about them is making me hungry, I may have to hunt down some desserts tomorrow. Another aspect of the book that I really enjoyed is seeing how Dom and Jaime relate to their friends and family. It was nice to see characters from the earlier novels, especially the members of the Corey family. They're just too funny. If you're a contemporary romance reader and you've never read any of Laura Florand's books, then you must give them a try as soon as you can. Highly recommended for fans of chocolates, Paris and romance. It goes without saying that I cannot wait for the next book in this wonderful series. To get a better idea of The Chocolate Touch's setting, check out the author's pictures of the real-life chocolatier who inspired the book.
Somebody to Love is Kristan Higgins' latest, which I got to read in advance thanks to NetGalley. I heard from a friend that itOriginally posted here.
Somebody to Love is Kristan Higgins' latest, which I got to read in advance thanks to NetGalley. I heard from a friend that it would be better to read Catch of the Day before this one because the couple in that book reappears here. I agree, much better to find out how Maggie and Malone got together first. The main characters in The Next Best Thing also show up in Somebody to Love, they're good friends of Parker so you might want to pick that up as well if you're particular about that kind of thing. Although, I don't think it's necessary and I still haven't read The Next Best Thing.
I'm liking the dual POVs in Kristan Higgins' most recent novels - this one and Until There Was You. It's nice knowing what the two main characters are thinking while the story unfolds. I found it funny that even though Parker chose to be a children's author, she finds her own characters sickeningly sweet. She's an heiress so she really doesn't need to work and was beyond surprised when her series became popular. She donates what she earns from her books to charity because she doesn't really need the money. You'd expect someone like Parker to be spoiled rotten but she isn't. So it's not surprising that she's willing to do what it takes to survive (financially speaking) when she discovers that her father loses all of their family's money - including her trust fund. Enter one of her father's minions, James Cahill a.k.a. Thing One. In Parker's eyes, James is just a slick lawyer willing to do her father's bidding. She doesn't realize that there's much more to James than that. I liked the tension between these two. Parker doesn't think highly of James at the start but slowly changes her mind as they work together. Kristan Higgins' does a great job of developing the romance between her characters, letting them get to know each other first before they're willing to admit that they're attracted to each other.
Kristan Higgins' novels are light and fun - perfect reads for the hot summer weather that we're having lately. Like her other books, Somebody to Love would make a really good beach read. Even though I enjoy reading her novels, there's always something that puts me off and prevents me from really loving them. In her other novels that I've read, it was heroines being too desperate to find THE ONE. It was frustrating for me because I couldn't relate to the desperation involved in finding the right guy - hey, I'm single and you don't see me wallowing in my loneliness. In Somebody to Love, I got really frustrated that bad things kept happening to James. I mean he's a really good guy but people in his life kept blaming him when he's really not at fault. I found it annoying that Parker found it easy to think negatively of James and to hold him responsible for things that are beyond his control. I would have liked Parker to have been more understanding. I still found Somebody to Love an enjoyable read and would recommend it to anyone who wants a taste of contemporary romance. It's just that I've yet to find a Kristan Higgins novel to love (as much as I love Julie James' books)....more