Refreshing, down-home approach to New Adult romance
Paige was born and raised in Philadelphia, but several years ago her parents retired to Mirabelle,...more Refreshing, down-home approach to New Adult romance
Paige was born and raised in Philadelphia, but several years ago her parents retired to Mirabelle, a town of 5000 on the Gulf Coast in the Panhandle of Florida. Paige loves them, but she opted to stay behind where she had friends, a boyfriend, and a job. She'd roomed for seven years with her best friend, Abby, while completing an art degree and then moving into a job in the art department of an advertising agency. She'd been dating her boyfriend for over a year and assumed they would eventually marry. Then, suddenly, within a matter of months, Paige's world fell apart. First Abby moved to Washington, DC. Then Paige was laid off before she could get a roommate and could no longer afford her apartment. Worst of all, her boyfriend callously dumped her. With nothing of significance holding her in Philadelphia, Paige drove to Florida and moved in with her parents.
The culture shock between the big city and small-town life is initially almost too much for Paige to bear. In particular, multiple, vicious, female gossips are rude to her and spread false stories around town about Paige, insisting she is a promiscuous hippie who uses drugs, when in fact Paige merely has an artist's love for colorful clothing. Paige has difficulty finding a job, and she is about to give up on Mirabelle entirely when what starts out as yet another turn of terrible luck--her car breaking down--leads to what might be the best luck she's ever had. The man inside the tow truck who comes to rescue her is 28-year-old Brendan who, along with his grandfather, co-owns the only garage in the area, and just happens to be one of the best-looking and nicest guys Paige has ever encountered.
Paige is a sympathetic heroine whose "fish out of water" experiences form a large part of the story as she discovers two faces of the small, seaside town of Mirabelle: the judgmental, harsh gossips, and the kind, supportive friends she makes through her connection to Brendan.
Brendon is a very appealing hero who isn't just a handsome hunk: he's a great friend, a wonderful brother, son and grandson, and a man just waiting for the right woman to come along.
This New Adult (NA) novel with its protagonists in their late 20's is a refreshing change from so many of the college-based NA novels which are overflowing (ad nauseum) with bacchanalian frat parties, detailed, frantic sex scenes, and massively, obviously tattooed, alpha heroes. (Brendon does have one tattoo, but it is unobtrusively placed on one inner arm, and Paige's two tattoos are small, also well hidden, and of her own artistic design.)
In contrast, the style of this novel is very similar to contemporary romance novels written for the Harlequin American line, which have these characteristics: There is dual narrative of the heroine and hero. The main focus of the plot is the desire of the hero/heroine to be part of family and/or community. There is a strong sense of place within colorful, small-town life in the USA. (The author herself hales from the Panhandle of Florida, and she does an excellent job of portraying an authentic flavor of this setting.) The level of sensuality is low to moderate, and the warmhearted story contains both humor and light drama. In addition, as is the case with most all lines of Harlequin romance (even, I believe, the semi-erotic Blaze line), there is no coarse language within the sex scenes, though there is an occasional street curse from male characters.
This book has a gentle pace, exploring the courtship of Brendon and Paige across eight or nine months, and for most of the book, the conflict is mild, up until the climax, which has some tragedy and strong excitement. I haven't read a book like this in years, and it was an extremely refreshing, pleasurable experience.
This book is the first in a series set in Mirabelle, and it includes an excerpt from Book 2, Undeniable. This series is my favorite kind, in which the stories are linked by a shared setting and characters, rather than being an ongoing, melodramatic saga of the misadventures of the same romantic protagonists. The events of Book 2 occur six months after the end of Book 1 and encompass the romance between Brendon's younger sister, Grace, who is 24, and one of his two best friends, the town sheriff, Jax, who is 29.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Hero: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Romance Plot: 5 stars Setting: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Reviewer disclosure: I received a Kindle-format review copy of this book, at my own request, via NetGalley. (less)
Sloane Emily Jacobs is the sixteen-year-old daughter of a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. She has be...moreFun, YA, girl-power, trading-places, sports story
Sloane Emily Jacobs is the sixteen-year-old daughter of a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. She has been burned out on figure skating since she fell in a major competition three years ago, but her mother wants her to make a comeback by attending an ice-skating camp in Montreal, Canada which will consume eight weeks of Sloane's summer break. Sloane seeks out her father at his office to gain his support in foiling her mother's plan and stumbles upon him in an amorous embrace with his young, beautiful press secretary. Suddenly all Sloane wants is to get out of town.
Sloane Devon Jacobs is the sixteen-year-old daughter of a working-class family from Philadelphia. Her mother is an alcoholic currently in court-mandated rehab; her father is struggling with losing his wife, and Sloane has put her painful feelings of abandonment on hold by making hockey her whole life. Unfortunately, her game is a mess because she keeps getting into fights with her team members, and she freezes up every time she has a clear shot at the puck to make a goal. Her coach warns her that her chances for a college, hockey scholarship will go up in smoke if she doesn't get her act together. In order to make that more possible, he uses his personal connections to get her a spot at a prestigious hockey camp in Montreal.
The two Sloans meet by chance at a hotel in Montreal, and impulsively agree to trade places for the summer, since both have a similar need to avoid the stressful pressure to succeed at their particular sport.
Anyone who enjoys stories where two protagonists switch places (such as The Parent Trap, The Prince and the Pauper, and Trading Places) will enjoy this novel. And those who are fans of young-adult, girl-power, sports stories will be particularly pleased. There are also family-dysfunction subplots for both of the heroines which will be appreciated by readers who like YA family drama.
My favorite parts of the book involve the skating scenes. They are extremely well done and often quite exciting. There are also excellent romantic subplots, with each of the two young women finding very appealing romantic partners in Montreal.
The main trading-places plot is based in several major coincidences, and there are additional coincidences strewn throughout the novel. However, since the author consistently employs coincidence to cause conflict rather than to conveniently solve problems, it is easy to overlook that literary device because it results in such a fun story.
Both of the Sloanes are sympathetic and intriguing heroines, and I loved that each are clearly outstanding athletes. I liked that their love interests were both athletes as well, and that these guys were supportive and sensitive, rather than merely well-muscled alpha males.
The setting of Montreal is very well done, adding to the unique appeal of this story. It is great to discover a YA novel that has not a single scene set in a high school. In addition, the writing in general is excellent.
This story is a "clean read," suitable for all ages. There is no underage drinking, smoking, wild parties or sex.
I rate this book as follows: Heroines: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Girl-Power Sports Plot: 5 stars Romantic Subplots: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book through Amazon Vine. (less)
To Dina Demille's neighbors in her small, Texas town, she is an attractive, pleasant young woman with a cute, tiny...moreThe Andrews team has done it again!
To Dina Demille's neighbors in her small, Texas town, she is an attractive, pleasant young woman with a cute, tiny dog who manages a bed and breakfast situated in a large, old Victorian house. But appearances are deceiving. Dina's broom can instantly change shape into a multitude of different, deadly weapons, and her inn is a sentient being with vast magical powers whose sole purpose is to serve as a sanctuary for supernatural guests not only from planet Earth, but potentially anywhere in the galaxy. Currently, Dina has only one guest, a retired Galactic aristocrat responsible for millions of deaths who has lodged with Dina to escape retribution for her many crimes.
The prime directive for an innkeeper is to keep her guests safe. But unfortunately for Dina, she is incapable of standing by while innocent people and their children and pets are threatened with slaughter by a vicious night-stalking predator who has begun seeking prey in Dina's town.
As if that weren't problem enough, the town she lives in, a huge area around it, and her inn itself has been claimed as the territory of a gorgeous, alpha werewolf, and he and a cosmic, vampire soldier have both inserted themselves in Dina's battle against the unknown creature terrorizing her hopelessly outmatched, human neighbors.
I have devoured every book that the Andrews husband-and-wife team have produced, and I am continually awed at their skill as writers. As in all their other books, in Clean Sweep they do a fabulous job of magical worldbuilding, create dynamic, highly sympathetic protagonists, and provide tons of high-voltage action. What is unusual in this book that I have not seen in their other ones is that it contains elements of science fiction as well as fantasy. In addition, its take on werewolves and vampires is quite original.
Unlike in the Kate Daniels series or the Edge books, the Andrews team has departed from their traditional romance formula of one love interest for the heroine. In this story, there is a love triangle. It is a testament to my love of the writing of this team that I didn't run away from the story because of that, since I loathe romantic triangles. Especially in a situation, as in this book, where the two love interests are equally desirable. But readers who don't mind triangles won't be bothered by this at all.
In further good news, Renee Raudman, the brilliant voice talent who has narrated all of the Andrews's other books, will soon be recording this book as well. I can't wait to purchase it.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Fantasy World-Building: 5 stars Action-Adventure Plot: 5 stars Romantic-Triangle Plot: 4 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars(less)
Event planner, Meg Renshaw, has never hosted a mystery weekend before, but it seems like a sure thing to set it within an e...moreDelightful comedy of errors
Event planner, Meg Renshaw, has never hosted a mystery weekend before, but it seems like a sure thing to set it within an enormous, atmospheric, antebellum mansion on a Charleston plantation. Unfortunately, the project is plagued with problems from the start, most disastrous being when the actor hired to play the murder victim passes out from root-canal pain pills before it is time for him to become a corpse. As if that wasn't bad enough, handsome, wealthy Matt Rossi shows up and announces he is the new owner of the property. He claims that Meg's contract to use his home is invalid, and he demands that she and her guests leave at once. Meg exercises every bit of patience and charm she possesses to change Matt's mind, and he is unable to resist her. He hasn't been this intensely attracted to a woman in his life, and his insistence on staying on to supervise the mystery weekend is as much about connecting with Meg as it is about protecting his home. Meg immediately takes advantage of his presence to further persuade Matt to join the cast of her flamboyant production in the role of the dead man. Once again, he gives into her, because Meg plays the part of his character's mistress and there is at least one bedroom scene before his character is murdered.
This is a really cute romantic comedy which uses the ever-green plot of the spontaneous, seat-of-her-pants heroine loosening up a straight-laced, workaholic hero. The setting in a Southern plantation house is unusual and fascinating, and the concept of a mystery weekend is also quite unique, is extremely well done, and provides endless opportunities for comedy-of-errors hysteria.
As for the romance between Meg and Matt, they are highly sympathetic protagonists who have terrific chemistry, and their repartee is wonderful.
All in all, this book is a major treat for fans of romantic comedy, and I strongly recommend it.
When Stephanie Kendrick, a 20-year-old college senior, signed up for a summer screenwriting course with a famous screenw...moreFantastic, NA romantic comedy!
When Stephanie Kendrick, a 20-year-old college senior, signed up for a summer screenwriting course with a famous screenwriter at NYU, she didn't anticipate being saddled with a partner for the project that will provide the entire source of her grade for the class, a screenplay based on the myth of Pygmalion.
Ethan Price, Stephanie's assigned partner, is a senior at NYU like her, but he couldn't be more different from her in his background and life choices. Where Stephanie is a film major with a middle-class upbringing whose approach to fashion is classic, tortured-artist Goth, Ethan is a business major from an ultra-rich family who looks like a GQ cover model. The two of them trade barbs from the moment they meet, colliding in the corridor outside their screenwriting classroom on the first day of summer school. Stephanie dreads working with Ethan, whom she regards as a feckless frat boy who will torpedo her grade point average, and she is shocked when, seemingly out of the blue, Ethan begs her to act as his real, live Pygmalion. He needs a fake girlfriend for multiple upcoming family events to convince his parents that he is never going to get back together with his cheating ex-girlfriend--a rich, polished beauty from Ethan's social circle. Stephanie initially resists the appalling notion of forsaking her own avant-garde identity to become Ethan's personal, dress-up Barbie doll in sweater sets and pearls, until it occurs to her that the masquerade will provide invaluable hands-on research to increase the authenticity of their mutual screenplay.
I was thrilled to discover this novel because I am a huge fan of romantic comedy, something that is almost non-existent in the relatively new romance subgenre, New Adult, which so far tends almost exclusively toward very dark drama. Even more delightful is the fact that the humor in this story extensively derives from the clever repartee between Stephanie and Ethan, as well as the ever-green romance plot of a fake romantic relationship, which is one of my comic favorites. Delightfully, the witty banter extends throughout the novel, a humorous feat that is extremely difficult for authors of romantic comedy to sustain.
I also greatly enjoyed reading a NA novel with a hero who has not a single piercing or tattoo on his body, and whose romantic history includes only one lover within a long-term relationship rather than an endless string of one-night stands emblematic of the cliche "man whore." Ethan in specific is a fabulous hero. He can be overconfident to the point of being egotistical, but he is also quick witted, attentively observant, and compassionate.
Stephanie is also a terrific heroine. She has strong goals and motivation, and she has a significant growth arc within the story. Her angst in the dark periods of the book is never whiny, and her relationship choices, in her family and romantic past, make sense given her history and personality.
There is plenty of sexual tension between the two attractive protagonists, but the sexual scenes are never graphic or crude and, again unlike the vast majority of NA novels in the marketplace so far, this novel does not consist of an endless string of erotic sex scenes. The emphasis is on the hero and heroine's mental and emotional connection, with a gradual movement from semi-enemies to friends occurring before any sexual acts are initiated.
In short, this is an absolute treasure of a romance novel, and fans of romance in general and romantic comedy in particular will be utterly delighted.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Hero: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Romance Plot: 5 stars Comedy: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars (less)
Twenty-nine-year-old Grace Brighton recently broke up with her boyfriend of nine years, when she caught him chea...moreTerrific contemporary, romantic comedy
Twenty-nine-year-old Grace Brighton recently broke up with her boyfriend of nine years, when she caught him cheating on her. As a result of the breakup, she lost not only her faith in men, but a much more comfy lifestyle in hyper-expensive New York City than she can afford on her salary alone as an editor for the women's magazine, Stiletto. Not that Grace actually has to live only on what she herself can earn, since she comes from a very wealthy family, but Grace is a self-sufficient woman who prefers to make her own way.
On her first day returning to work after an extended leave of absence to lick her wounds, Grace is running late and is forced to take a cab to work instead of the subway. A gorgeous man, obviously making the walk of shame after an overnight sexual adventure, is flagging down a cab at the same time as Grace and gallantly offers the cab to her--or so she thinks, until he climbs in after her. The two of them immediately begin a verbal sparring match, and the attraction between them is instant and obviously mutual, but Grace leaps out of the cab before any phone numbers can be exchanged, determined to keep to her vow to avoid dating for at least six months and turn all her attention to her job.
Unfortunately, Grace's no-men vow is immediately tossed overboard by her very first assignment. Her editor has accepted an offer from the new owner of Oxford, a men's magazine along the lines of GQ, to create a series of "he said, she said" stories written by Grace, as the dating expert from Stiletto, and her male counterpart at Oxford. Each will write his/her version of events occurring during a series of pre-arranged dates between the two of them. The dates themselves, and the write-ups afterward, are to be pursued as a competition to determine which of the two of them is best at the game of dating. Grace's dislike of the assignment turns to dismay when the journalist assigned to partner with her, against all odds, is revealed to be the impudent hunk she met that very morning in her cab.
Jake Malone is in his early thirties and has worked at Oxford for six years. He never thought he'd stay in one place this long, and he is extremely restless. Prior to the current owner taking charge, it was understood by arrangement with his former boss that he was to become Oxford's travel editor. Aggravatingly, the new owner is only willing to conditionally keep that promise. Jake first must take one for the home team and successfully demonstrate that the Oxford editors are not the insensitive, sexist clods that women believe them to be by proving himself to understand women far better than the female editor from Stiletto understands men. Jake thinks the whole idea of the competition is ridiculous, but he does love the company of women and considers himself something of an expert on them, so he believes winning this competition is in the bag for him, and if it will guarantee him the job he wants, he agrees to cooperate with his editor's stunt. But Jake's initial reluctance turns to excited interest when the beautiful woman he recently, and extremely memorably, encountered in a cab shows up at the first date, dressed like a high-class hooker, and even more filled with snappy comebacks than she was when he connected with her the first time.
I had not read the initial book in this series before reading this one, but this book quite comfortably stands on its own, and I did not feel as if I were missing any important context necessary to follow the story. I did, however, enjoy this book so much that I have since sought out not only book one in this series but everything else this extremely talented author has written.
Grace is a highly sympathetic heroine, and Jake is a terrific hero. Both are strong, independent, and very verbally adept. I am a huge fan of romantic comedy, and my absolute favorite aspect of it is when the hero and heroine trade witty barbs, as occurs so entertainingly in this book. I also love relationship-of-convenience stories, and this is a particularly well done one.
As is common in traditional, "happily ever after," adult, romantic fiction (as opposed to young-adult romance), we get to experience both the hero and heroine's point of view. This allows us to get to know both of them really well. Underneath each of their crusty exteriors, they have a lot in common, such as intelligence, compassion and loyalty, and they are equally ambitious in their careers. The sexual chemistry between them is explosive, and the development of their relationship from antagonists to friends and then to lovers is extremely well done.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Hero: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Romance Plot: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book through NetGalley.
This is a self-published promo piece created cooperatively by 24 different romance authors. I was only familiar with two of...moreAn interesting author promo
This is a self-published promo piece created cooperatively by 24 different romance authors. I was only familiar with two of them prior to downloading this free ebook, and I discovered it through an Amazon recommendation link.
I'm always intrigued by the first-meet stories of married couples I know personally, and I was curious to learn how authors who make a career of writing about romance have experienced it in their own lives.
I was happy to discover that many of these authors go beyond simply describing how they met their husbands, expanding their narrative into highlights of their courtships. I also found it a fascinating coincidence that most of the authors in this collection knew their husbands for many years before marrying them--unlike typical romance heroes and heroines who tend to marry precipitously. In addition, many of these authors have been in very long, happy marriages, ranging from 19-45 years, which is quite inspiring, and very like the happily ever after that romance novels offer their readers.
After the authors' individual narratives, each provides an excerpt from of one of her most recent published books, and these novels represent a wide variety of subgenres of romance fiction, such as: historical, contemporary, comedy, erotica, paranormal and Christian. There is something here for almost every taste in romance.
I am rating this ebook as to how effective it is in promoting the authors participating in it. As a fan of the romance genre always looking for new authors to read, I believe that these authors have done a good job achieving their intended objective in promoting their work. (less)
Fans of "putting on a play" young-adult comedies, such as "Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List" by Janette Ralli...more Terrific YA romantic comedy
Fans of "putting on a play" young-adult comedies, such as "Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List" by Janette Rallison, classic John Hughes teen comedies such as "Sixteen Candles" from 1984, or the adult romantic comedy movie, "You've Got Mail," will greatly enjoy this fast, fun comedy of errors.
Cassie is an almost-sixteen sophomore who has never been kissed, mainly because, as a shy introvert, she's never dated. Her two best friends insist it's past time for her to launch herself into the world of dating, and they set a deadline that before she turns sixteen in a few weeks, she must kiss a high school boy. Ideally, it would be someone she is attracted to and is dating, but her friends proclaim that being kissed is the paramount necessity, and they have a ten-step plan for accomplishing the goal of shoving Cassie out of her shell.
When they announce their mission to Cassie, it immediately becomes obvious to her friends that though Cassie is at the Volkswagen (or even motor scooter) level of the school's social hierarchy, she has Ferrari tastes. Gorgeous, popular Ryan is, even as a sophomore, one of the hottest guys in school, way out of Cassie's league, and she's had a hopeless crush on him for ages. Not only doesn't he even know she's alive, he has a girlfriend, a cheerleader named Amber who is Cassie's complete opposite. She's as good-looking and outgoing as Ryan, a co-equal member of the school's elite, and her family is almost as prosperous as his. What Ryan doesn't seem to realize, though, is a major flaw in Amber that is glaringly evident to everyone else at school--she doesn't know the meaning of fidelity, as she blatantly cheats on him with multiple boys.
As part of their plan to put Cassie where she has a chance to interact with kissable boys, her friends urge Cassie to try out for the school play, something her BFF's do every year and Cassie never has. No one is surprised when Ryan wins the male lead and Amber is selected as his leading lady, and Cassie is relieved that she herself is only offered a small, non-speaking part. But unfortunately for her issues with shyness, Cassie is also chosen as Amber's understudy. Because of Amber's flakiness about showing up for play practice, the director commands Cassie to take Amber's place, and she's overwhelmed by the simultaneously thrilling and terrifying experience of acting the part of Ryan's beloved on stage.
This is an extremely cute story that is a terrific combination of chick-lit-style, comic, relationship disasters and sweetly sexy romance. Cassie is the classic, naive heroine, and Ryan is a fascinating combination of socially savvy male and seemingly clueless cuckold. In the midst of the comedy, though, Ryan's motivation for staying loyal to his unfaithful girlfriend is carefully and believably exposed.
In addition to the comedy created by the main storyline of the kissless Cassie, there are many moments of laugh-out-loud humor generated by the antics of two marvelous subcharacters who are my particular favorites in this book, the school's coach, who also teaches science, and Cassie's younger brother.
Though this isn't a traditional romance in the sense that Ryan is not technically available to potentially date Cassie for most of the book, the plot device of a central romantic conflict of one of the romantic protagonists being tied up in a relationship with an unfaithful partner is a popular, time-honored trope in romantic comedy movies, and it works very well in this book.
I am a huge fan of comedy in general, and romantic comedy in particular, and I am always delighted when I am fortunate enough to encounter YA romantic comedy. It is, sadly, far too rare, with so much emphasis in the YA market on melodramatic plots, whether in the form of family/social drama or horrifying dystopians. It is the proverbial cherry on the top of the sundae when the YA, romantic-comedy author I discover has as much talent as Emily Evans. In my humble opinion, she is a rising star worthy of the ranks of YA luminaries such as Janette Rallison, and I have read with delight every romantic comedy she's written so far.
Parental Guidance: As is the case with all YA books by Ms. Evans, this is a "clean read," with no more overt sexuality contained in the book than kissing, no swearing, and no drunken, underage parties.
I purchased this book in a Kindle edition, and it is well edited and well formatted.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Hero: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars (I'd give the coach and the heroine's brother 6 stars if I could!) Comedy-of-Errors Plot: 5 stars Romance Plot: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Fans of the TV series Numb3rs will enjoy this clever, YA, mystery-adventure series with an 18-year-old heroine who is a m...moreA second adventure with Digit
Fans of the TV series Numb3rs will enjoy this clever, YA, mystery-adventure series with an 18-year-old heroine who is a math genius.
Farrah ("Digit") Higgins has just begun her freshman year at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is delighted to be there, because she has finally found "her people." She can just be herself, utterly brilliant at math, and not pretend to be a so-called normal teenage girl, which is how she spent the past four years while attending a public high school.
Digit is also relieved to have escaped the traumatic adventures she experienced the spring of her senior year. She had a wonderful, relaxing, and very romantic summer with her handsome FBI boyfriend and first lover, John--who is almost as smart in his way as Digit and, unlike Digit, opted to graduate early from high school and complete university in a couple of years, so he is only about three years older than her. Digit is looking forward to John's first visit to her campus from his job in New York City--a much less significant position in terms of career advancement than he could have had if he had not opted for a lesser position in order to have plenty of time for his committed relationship with Digit, whom he loves very much. However, within minutes of John's arrival in Digit's dorm room, they have an argument which leads to Digit dumping him before he can, she assumes, dump her. She takes it as a major rejection when John says he wants them to have some breathing room from each other for a while because he believes that the intensity of their relationship will overshadow her fun and fancy-free time at university, and it won't be very good for his FBI career either.
The breakup definitely puts a crimp in Digit's collegiate happiness, and the last vestige of it is destroyed when she learns, the hard way, that her life of dangerous adventure has not come to an end. Her laptop has been under surveillance for months by both the CIA and the evil ecoterrorist, Jonas Furnis, who tried to kill her last spring. She discovers this privacy invastion after she thoughtlessly hacks into the Department of Defense’s database and two very bad things happen. First, the director of the CIA threatens her with a possible jail sentence for espionage and, second, her phenomenal hacking skills inspire Jonas Furnis to seek her out as a potential forced ally for his world-dominion aspirations.
This is the second book in the young-adult Digit series. The first book put major emphasis on the romance between Digit and John, to such an extent that, had it been written as an adult novel, it would have been classified by the publisher as "romantic suspense." This book has a very different focus. Because the romance with John is thrown overboard early on, the publisher is marketing this book as a "sassy, super smart thriller."
I personally very much enjoyed the lighthearted romance between Digit and John in Book 1, and I was quite disappointed to see it not only shoved to the side, but the author introducing a romantic-triangle as well, which acted to undercut everything the author did such a great job constructing in Book 1. By the way, the author implies in the acknowledgement section of her book that dumping John was her editor's idea. I respectfully disagree with the editor's suggestion. I liked this book in spite of throwing John overboard, not because of it.
Digit herself, though, continues to be a fascinating, enjoyable character. I personally love plots with brilliant, quirky geniuses, and almost always they are male. Having Digit be female is a terrific addition to this particular type of action-adventure mystery, and she is also a trailblazer among girl-power, YA heroines.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 4 stars Subcharacters: 4 stars Romantic-Triangle Plot: 3 stars Action-Mystery Plot: 4 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 4 stars
Terrific fourth installment in a fun, paranormal, chick-lit series
Heather Tildy has a much more stressful than normal transition from middle school to...moreTerrific fourth installment in a fun, paranormal, chick-lit series
Heather Tildy has a much more stressful than normal transition from middle school to high school as she begins her freshman year, because she is a ghost handler who is in between assignments and wide open to be latched onto by an opportunistic ghost. Up until the moment the ghost Heather is currently wrangling fulfills what it is hanging around for and moves on, no other ghost can make demands on Heather. But once that ghost is gone, Heather is vulnerable to the next ghost who manages to get its hooks into her.
When ghosts at her school realize that Heather can see and hear them, they loudly plead with her to help them, and Heather knows from hard experience that she has very limited time to size up her numerous petitioners and choose the least-worst from among them. Even though she's, by now, handled multiple ghosts, she still hasn't figured out how to improve the quality of the ghosts accosting her, and she ends up stuck with a middle-aged battle-axe who is the worst ghost poor Heather has had to deal with so far.
The ghost is a control-freak lunch lady who steamrolls the hapless Heather into acting as her living instrument to spread a rigorous regimen of healthy eating. Since Heather lives in Pecan Hills, a backwater area in Georgia where a diet loaded down with fried and processed junk is epidemic among the local population, this is an enormous feat to attempt in her own family, let alone in her school and beyond.
This book is fourth in a series, and I had not read any of the other books before this one. I was easily able to follow the plot, though, because the author does a great job filling in important backstory, including just enough crucial information to avoid confusion, but not so much as to slow down the forward action of the current book.
Heather is a very sympathetic heroine. Though she is constantly overwhelmed by her ghost-handler destiny, she never gives up or gives in, and her many misadventures with ghosts provide lots of laughs.
The Southern setting created by this Georgian author adds uniqueness to the story and is very well done. As someone who was born and raised in the southern part of Missouri and spent time as an adult living in Georgia, I find the Southern culture presented in the story delightfully authentic.
Each book in this series provides Heather with a new love interest and, as is common with chick lit compared to romance novels, the focus is on girl power and dating disasters rather than achieving a committed, romantic relationship.
This book is G-rated, and girls as young as ten will enjoy it. But Heather's adventures are so clever and entertaining, that girls and women of all ages, especially fans of the paranormal and comedy, will love both this particular book and the entire series.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Fantasy World-Building: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Chick-Lit Plot: 5 stars Overall: 5
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. (less)
Acheron (Ash) Dimitrakos is a gorgeous, thirty-year-old Greek billionaire. He founded a global corporation called DT Industries,...moreClassic Lynne Graham!
Acheron (Ash) Dimitrakos is a gorgeous, thirty-year-old Greek billionaire. He founded a global corporation called DT Industries, but his recently deceased father owned half of the company. In his will, Ash's father states that if Ash does not marry within a year, his father's share of the corporation will go to Ash's stepmother and her children, all of whom Ash despises and avoids. Ash knows he could snap his fingers and have his pick among unlimited numbers of desirable women competing to become his wife, but he has known since childhood that he never wants to marry or have children. He has a dark familial secret, and he does not believe that he would make a good husband or father.
Then Ash has an explosive first meet with Tabby Glover, a young woman in her early twenties. Tabby and Ash are the legal co-guardians of a baby girl named Amber, who is the offspring of Tabby's best friend and a young man who was a distant cousin of Ash. Both of Amber's parents are deceased, and Tabby has not been able to get Ash to take any personal or financial responsibility for Amber, which is a huge issue, because Tabby is broke. She and Amber's mother had a business together, but when Tabby's friend got sick, Tabby lost the business and spent all her time nursing her friend until she died, and afterwards dedicating herself to caring for Amber. As a result, Tabby is desperately close to losing Amber, because Social Services has declared that Tabby can't give the baby a proper home. Amber is extremely attached to the baby, and Ash is her last chance to stop them from taking Amber away from her within the next few days and putting her up for adoption.
Ash is appalled at the temerity of the small, angry woman who is rudely confronting him at his place of business. Everyone in Ash's rarefied circles is in awe of him and strives constantly to impress him. But this young woman has dared to appear at his place of business dressed in a worn jacket, sweat pants, and athletic shoes, and she hasn't put on a drop of makeup or fixed her hair. He decides at first glance that Tabby is plain, until he glances into her stunning, violet eyes. Ash refuses to tolerate anyone cursing at him as Tabby does, and he threatens to throw her out of his office, until it suddenly connects with him who, exactly, the baby's father is. He was not merely a cousin, but the son of Ash's mother's caretaker during her final illness, a relative who was very kind to Ash at a vulnerable time in his childhood.
It abruptly occurs to him that he and Tabby could be of mutual use to each other. He needs a wife to keep his corporation in his hands, and she needs a husband who can assure she gets to keep Amber. He proposes a marriage of convenience, and thus begins the wild ride that is their relationship.
If you are a fan of Lynne Graham, you will very much enjoy this classic, Harlequin Presents (HP), marriage-of-convenience plot. The requirements of this romance line as to its plot lines are so stringent, it takes real genius to write fresh, exciting, sensuous romances within their confines. Ms. Graham is one of the very best at this creative feat. In this particular story, both Ash and Tabby are strong, sympathetic characters. I liked them both very much, and I greatly enjoyed the progress of their relationship. The two of them share a fascinating commonality in that each had an extremely difficult childhood, and in both cases, rather than adversity breaking them, it made them strong. Their mutual flaw is great difficulty in trusting others--especially each other. As a result, their relationship is full of the fiery battles, and equally passionate love scenes, which Ms. Graham does so extremely well.
I've read every one of Ms. Graham's 70-plus HP romances, and I can't say that for any other prolific, HP author. Though no author can be expected to hit a home run for every single book, Ms. Graham's HP novels generally run from very good to outstanding. This book is definitely in that range.
This is the third book in the Svatura, young adult, urban fantasy series. If you have not read the first two books, please do not read this review, as...moreThis is the third book in the Svatura, young adult, urban fantasy series. If you have not read the first two books, please do not read this review, as it contains spoilers for those books.
Here is a brief summary of the crucial plot points of the first two books as a memory jogger for those who read them a while ago:
The Svatura are humans who genetically inherit magical powers of all sorts, such as: shape-shifting, super strength, super speed, teleportation, telekinesis, healing, controlling the earth, controlling the weather, and producing fire, ice and toxic gas. Svatura are very long-lived, as much as several thousand years. They are not immortal because they do age, though extremely slowly, and they can be killed. Their powers begin to manifest at puberty, but it can take decades--and in some cases as much as several hundred years--for a Svatura to reach full mastery of his/her power(s). Since there are not very many Svatura in the world, they are not always able to marry another Svatura, and even more rarely are they able to find a fellow Svatura who is their "te'sorthene," a magical soulmate. In a mating of a human and a Svatura, the offspring, if they become a Svatura, usually only inherit one power. When a Svatura is born of two Svatura, it is possible to inherit two powers, but this usually only occurs in the case of twins, and the twins can share the three to four powers that they have inherited between the two of them.
In Book 1, Blue Violet, the heroine is Ellie Aubrey, who looks as if she is about 18, but in fact is over 150 years old. She meets, falls in love with, and marries her te'sorthene, Alex Jenner, who appears equally young, but is of a similar actual age to Ellie. In that book, we are introduced to her twin brother, Griffin Aubrey, and Alex's family. Hugh and Lucy Jenner are te'sorthene who have been together for centuries and are the parents of Lila and Adelaide Jenner and are Alex's adoptive parents. The Pierces are a companion family to the Jenners. Charlotte and Dexter Pierce are te'sorthene who are the adoptive parents of Nate Pierce and Ramsey Pierce, and Nate and Ramsey are a similar age to Ellie, Alex and Griffin. In this first book, the Svatura band together to defeat their long-time enemies, the Vyusher, who are Svatura who can morph into wolves as well as having additional powers. For over 130 years, their leader, Gideon, has enslaved his sister Selene with his power of mind control, forcing her to use her own magical powers in his war to exterminate non-wolf-metamorph Svatura. Selene has the ability to turn off temporarily or permanently the magical powers of Svatura and to visit dreams. The primary focus in this story is Ellie, and the A Plot is her romance with Alex. The B Plot involves the skirmishes and final, epic battle with the Vyusher in which Ellie, utilizing her ability to morph into a dragon, kills Gideon and, presumably, ends the Vyusher war.
In Book 2, Hyacinth, Selene, Queen of the Vyusher, is redeemed and brought into the Jenner-Aubrey-Pierce family circle by Ellie. Selene is Griffin's te'sorthene and a similar age to Griffin. She has visited Griffin's dreams for many, many years, and until he met her in the flesh, he had no idea she was a real person, though Selene was very aware of Griffin as a real Svatura, and had used her powers to protect him and Ellie from her evil brother. In this book, once again the Jenner-Aubrey-Pierce family circle unites to defeat terrible villains. Though most of the Vyusher, under Selene's command, have given up the war against their fellow Svatura which was forced on them by Gideon's mind control, a mysterious Vyusher named Maddox is, for reasons unknown, continuing to persecute both regular Svatura and Selene's Vyusher subjects. Maddox is traveling the world, seeking out Svatura communities, convincing them that Selene's Vyusher are still their enemy, to the point that they must pre-emptively strike against the Vyusher before the Vyusher can come after them. This book is narrated from multiple points of view and is written as an ensemble-cast story, rather than primarily focusing on a romantic couple, as was the case with Ellie and Alex in Book 1. The A Plot in Book 2 is "woman power" and the magical enhancement gained by Ellie, Selene, and the other women in the Jenner-Aubrey-Pierce family circle due to performing ritual, group magic with each other. The romance between Selene and Griffin is secondary to the female-friendship plot and the action-adventure plot of the battles against Maddox and his allies.
In this, Book 3, the battle against Maddox and his minions continues, and this book, like Book 2, is narrated from multiple points of view and is written as an ensemble-cast story. The A Plot is how the Jenner-Aubrey-Pierce family circle, in cooperation with Selene's Vyusher pack, works together to defeat Maddox and his murderous minions, and a big part of the story is discovering how Maddox is obtaining minions and what his motivation is. The romance between Lila Jenner and Ramsey Pierce is a strong B Plot. Lila's inherited Svatura powers are the ability to sense when others are telling the truth and the ability to sense and heal emotions. Within the sisterhood plot of Book 2, she additionally gained the ability to share Ellie's falcon morph power and telepathy (a power that Ellie shares with Griffin) and dream visitation from Selene. Ramsey is a firestarter, a feared and dreaded power since it is one of the most destructive and most difficult to control.
Fans of action-adventure-fantasy books and films with a focus on teamwork to overcome impossible odds, in particular those which include female team members who are co-equal warriors with the males, will greatly enjoy this latest addition to the Svatura series. The world-building remains very well done and highly entertaining, and the one-for-all and all-for-one mentality of the heroic Svatura is very appealing. No matter which of the characters are your favorites, this book offers a chance to revisit all previous members of the Jenner-Aubrey-Pierce family circle once again. The ensemble-cast approach to YA urban fantasy that this series takes is quite unique, and readers looking for an original YA read will be delighted with the Svatura books.
I rate this book as follows: Ensemble cast: 5 stars Fantasy World-Building: 5 stars Action-Adventure Plot: 5 stars Romantic Plot: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Disclosure: The author contacted me to review her book because I am a top reviewer on Amazon. I rarely accept such requests because I don't have a lot of time, but in this particular case I am very glad I did. (less)
When seventeen-year-old Brooke Thomas is invited by Cassie Deegan, the most popular girl in school, to join a secre...moreA fun read for fans of YA chick lit
When seventeen-year-old Brooke Thomas is invited by Cassie Deegan, the most popular girl in school, to join a secret club, Brooke eagerly anticipates that membership will greatly improve her lowly social status. But at the initiation meeting, she learns that the group is called the Boy Swap Club, and the only reason Brooke has been invited to join is because she has "a desirable boyfriend," a fellow band geek Brook has been dating for four months. Brooke agrees with the assessment about her boyfriend Chris, whom she regards as quite handsome, though she hadn't until now realized that the popular girls shared her opinion. Confused and overwhelmed by what is at stake in the Boy Swap Club, Brooke allows herself to be pressured into signing a pledge that consists of four startling rules:
1) Never hog your boyfriend all to yourself. 2) Never get mad at a sister member for dating your guy. 3) Don't go all the way with any of the swapped guys. 4) And never, ever, fall in love with any guys involved in the swap.
Within days of committing herself to the club, Brooke painfully discovers that these rules have concrete consequences when Cassie starts hitting on Chris, and Brooke's assumption that her boyfriend would never cheat on her is proved horrifyingly incorrect.
This book reads like a classic plot for a comic teen movie such as "Mean Girls," and I can easily imagine it optioned to become a film. As is typical for chick lit, the story focuses almost exclusively on girl power rather than romance, though there is a bit of romance in a significant subplot. There are many humorous moments as mild-mannered Brooke becomes the "worm that turned," working hard to outwit Cassie and beat her at her own game.
Fans of YA chick lit will find this an entertaining read.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Chick Lit Plot: 4 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author to enable me to read it so I could write a review. (less)