logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Light-Romance
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-01-09 09:27
The Devereaux Legacy
The Devereaux Legacy - Carolyn Hart

An early stand-alone mystery from Carolyn Hart, that was originally bought by Harlequin and marketed as a gothic romance.  This is one of those stories that is best discovered by someone who hasn't already read a fair variety of romantic suspense.  With nothing to compare it to, one might find this a very lively and escapist story.

 

Leah arrives in South Carolina after the death of her paternal grandmother and Leah's subsequent discovery that she herself has been presumed dead since she was 2.  Wanting to find out why, and the truth about what happened to her parents, she arrives at the Devereaux Plantation full of questions, discovering she still has a maternal grandmother who is thrilled she's alive, and 3 cousins that might not be so thrilled.

 

This slim volume reads exactly like a Barbara Michaels in many respects.  Hart says in the introduction to this re-issue that she suddenly found herself in a market that had no interest in women writing murder mysteries, and after 9 years of rejection, found that she could sell her books if she made them romances.  This bow to contemporary demands is apparent in the romance: it's insta-love at it's most glaring, and more than a little bit naive and awkward.  

 

Sandwiched in between in the awkward romance is, unfortunately, only a slightly less awkward mystery, but knowing what I know about Hart's real mysteries, I have no problem believing it's because she had to cram it in along the edges.  It's a good mystery; just not one that was allowed the space to unfold naturally.

 

It's definitely nowhere close to Hart's normal standards of writing, but hints of what will come in her future Death on Demand series are evident: haunting atmosphere and fully fleshed out characters that are capable of passionate acts of love and cruelty.  

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-12-11 09:35
The Ebony Swan
The Ebony Swan - Phyllis A. Whitney

If reviews came with musical accompaniment, you'd be hearing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah as you read this.  I've finally finished this book.

 

There's a combination of factors involved in the blame for my incredibly slow progress: I'm in a slump, and therefore easily distracted by anything right now - it doesn't even have to be shiny; life has been busy and when I did sit down to read, interruptions abounded; this is not Whitney's best work.  By a long shot.

 

Susan's father took her away from her grandmother's home and cut off all contact, after the death of her mother under mysterious circumstances.  Susan was the only witness and at 5, suppressed the memories.  Now her father's dead, she's an adult, and she's returning to her grandmother's home in Virginia to get to know her and figure out why she can't remember her own mother.  But grandma has a trunk-load of secrets she's less than enthusiastic about sharing, and nobody else seems to want Susan to come back at all. 

 

This is one of Whitney's later books, written in the 80's, and she's still got her magic touch when it comes to atmosphere, setting, and characters.  But the story dragged... the pacing was continental drift slow, and there was so much time spent in the heads of the characters, it was a challenge to keep myself engaged.  And when everything came together with a solution/ending that was twisted in that way in which Whitney excelled (this is an author who really understood long-simmering anger and epic grudges), I was so ...exhausted by the slow pacing that I just couldn't feel the punch I should have. 

 

It's good, it's even a bit haunting, but you have to really be patient with it, and in the midst of a slump, patience is thin on the ground.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-11-19 21:37
Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck (Southern Eclectic Novella)
Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck - Molly Harper, Amanda Ronconi

If you read the Southern Eclectic novels, this is a prequel back story for one of the characters, Marianne, and how she ended up with Carl.

 

It's short, but it covers all the bases, introducing most of the family, including one character that dies before the full-length books begin.  We get a bit more insight into Donna, Marianne's curmudgeonly mother.  Less funny than most of the other books, it's sweet in its way and since I went in already invested in the characters, I enjoyed it well enough.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-13 05:37
How to Find Love in a Bookshop
How to Find Love in a Bookshop - Veronica Henry

The title's a pretty strong implication of romance, but it's not, strictly speaking, a romance novel.  Left to standard categorical labels, I'd call this more a blend of contemporary and chick-lit with a strong thread of love throughout.

 

The story follows the lives of half a dozen people, 4 of whom have their lives altered by their connection to the village bookshop, Nightingale Books.  Emilia is the only daughter of the recently passed owner, determined to carry on and keep the doors open in spite of the uphill battle.  Sarah is the lady of the manor house and is the poster child for silent suffering; her daughter Alice is lightness personified but dreadfully naive.  Jackson is a man with a good heart and the victim of his own lack of courage and conviction, who gets himself stuck doing something distasteful.  Thomasina is a painfully shy introvert who crushes on the cheese monger she met in the cookbook section.

 

They all have different stories, and their stories involve the stories of others.  Some are painfully predictable (mostly the falling-in-love ones) but some are more complicated, with the author choosing to take the story in an unexpected, or at least atypical, direction. For me, Emilie's story was the most compelling and the reason I kept reading - I wanted to know about the bookshop!  It sounded magical, perfect and I wanted to know what happened to it.  But everyone else's story was good too.  ;-)

 

It was an easy, enjoyable read.  Almost a beach read, but not.  There are a lot of painful moments scattered throughout, especially at the start when there are a few chapters that take place in the past, building up the world that's crashing down in the present; sniffly moments.  Maybe good for the beach if you remember to pack tissues in your beach bag.  Just in case.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-01-02 06:00
The Peach Keeper
The Peach Keeper - Sarah Addison Allen

I've thoroughly enjoyed all the Sarah Addison Allen books I've read, but I stayed away from this one for a long time because, frankly, I don't like peaches*.    

 

As reasons go to not read a book, it's a pretty stupid one, so when I saw the title at a library sale for $1 I did the mature thing and bought it.  

 

I LOVED this book!  It was SO good.  It had shades of Practical Magic in it, and a cameo by Claire Waverly from Garden Spells and a small but very important murder mystery.  The only thing it needed to make it perfect was Claire's apple tree.

 

The Peach Keeper felt like Allen crossed from Magical Realism into straight magic; there aren't a lot of logical reasons (or any) for why the strange events in Walls of Water were happening.  The character development felt a lot richer too; limiting the plot to only 4 people, and really focusing on the 2 female protagonists made it feel like a much tighter story.  The romantic tension was intense (although the sex scenes were almost non-existent).

 

Is this Pride and Prejudice good?  No, of course not (nothing is that good), but it is Practical Magic (the movie, not the book) good.  If you liked that movie, or you enjoy good stories about the power of friendship, I think you'll enjoy this.

 

* It's a tactile thing; peach fuzz = fingernails on a chalkboard.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?