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Search tags: contemporary-romance
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review 2018-07-18 01:29
Double Up (Lake Lovelace, #1) by Vanessa North 4.5 Review!
Double Up - Vanessa North

Knowing he’s loved can make any man fly.

Fifteen years ago, Ben Warren was a wakeboarding champion: king of big air, ballsy tricks, and boned grabs. Until a career-ending injury left him broken in ways he still has no hope of fixing. Now he takes his thrills where he can get them, and tries not to let life hurt too much.

Then Davis Fox arrives in Ben’s sporting goods store with a plan to get in touch with his estranged brother by competing in the annual wakeboarding double-up contest. The catch? He’s never ridden before. It’s crazy, but Ben’s a sucker for the guy’s sob story—and for his dimples, too—so he agrees to coach Davis.

Davis is everything Ben isn’t: successful, confident, and in love with life. And he wants Ben to love life—and him—too. But before Ben can embrace a future with Davis, he needs to remember how to hope.

 

 

Review

 

Vanessa North writes this tale of a former pro athlete and a younger hero with care.

She explores the sport of wake boarding. addiction, and friendship.

What I like best about this romance is that Ben and Davis have this dance of what real success means. Ben is stuck and Davis is willing to move forward.

We don't get enough time with Ben's talents and work nor a fully understanding of his mother but we do get the engrossing details of a romance with characters and connections that make me savor each moment.
 
 

 

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review 2018-07-17 00:19
Macarons at Midnight (Just Desserts, #1) by M.J. O'Shea and Anna Martin Review
Macarons at Midnight - M.J. O'Shea,Anna Martin

Tristan Green left his small English town for Manhattan and a job at a high profile ad agency, but can’t seem to find his bearings. He spends a lot of time working late at night, eating and sleeping alone, and even more time meandering around his neighborhood staring into the darkened windows of shops. One night when he’s feeling really low, he wanders by a beautiful little bakery with the lights still on. The baker invites him in, and some time during that night Tristan realizes it’s the first time he’s really smiled in months.

Henry Livingston has always been the odd duck, the black sheep, the baker in an old money family where pedigree is everything and quirky personalities are hidden behind dry martinis and thick upper east side townhouse facades. Henry is drawn to Tristan’s easy country charm, dry English wit, and everything that is so different from Henry’s world.

Their new romance is all buttercream frosting and sugared violets until Tristan's need to fit in at work makes him do something he desperately wishes he could undo. Tristan has to prove to Henry that he can be trusted again before they can indulge in the sweet stuff they're both craving.

 

Review

 

The baking in this romance was amazing and comes with recipes. 

The book also showcases New York City. 

The love story between Tristen is sweet and tender. The loneliness Tristen feels so far from England and Henry's choice to not be part of the New York elite is nicely detailed.

Because the connection between the heroes charms, the conflicts in the book between Tristen and his awful work environment and then the over reaction of Henry of something that happens feels too heavy handed and made me want to skip around and took away from the pleasure of the book.

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review 2018-07-16 20:02
Love Has No Expiration by C.S. Poe Review
Love Has No Expiration - C.S. Poe

There's more to life than work, and love has no expiration, even for those approaching their forty-fifth birthday.

Daniel Richards is a private chef in New York City who has committed over a decade to his skills and passion. He has carved out a name for himself in the industry and has bookings for parties and dinners months in advance. Now that he's in his midforties, however, he's come to the realization that he's lonely and desperate for companionship. Two days before Valentine's Day, he meets Keith Maxwell at a farmer's market and can't keep the much younger man out of his thoughts. Keith is eager and willing to take a chance with someone older, but Daniel's reluctance stops Keith's every attempt. Worried his career will suffer if he dedicates time to a serious romance, or that Keith won't be satisfied with someone so much older, Daniel nearly thwarts his own attempts at finding happiness.

 

Review

 

I like C.S. Poe's writing a great deal and this is a lovely age difference romance which starts at a Farmer's Market.

This love story between Keith and Daniel explores adjusting one's life to make room for love. 

Well written.

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review 2018-07-16 18:54
A light, feel-good read, for those who enjoy choral books full of larger-than-life characters.
The Not So Perfect Plan to Save Friendship House - Michelle Gorman

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and thank Rosie Amber (check here if you would like to have your book reviewed) and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.

Sometimes it seems as if all the books and movies on offer are centred on young protagonists, and I’m not only talking about Young Adult books. However, recently there has been a move towards including older protagonists and subjects. I enjoyed the two Dutch books about Hendrik Groen, a man in his eighties living in a nursing home, and have watched a few movies, usually choral, about older protagonists (like The Exotic Marigold Hotel). The setting of this novel, in a residential home, and the promise of a comedy made it sound like the perfect choice for me.

The first-person narrator of the story is Phoebe, a chef who had a very successful career in a bistro before disaster struck. She loves her job at the residential home (The Jane Austen Home for Ladies, and, as we discover, the name is meaningful in several ways), but has always felt frustrated because her parents (and her mother, in particular) do not seem to value her job and are dismissive of her career. To make matters worse, her mother (a larger-than-life character) dies suddenly at the beginning of the book, but her internalised voice keeps gnawing on her confidence.  Her best friend, June, is the manager of the home, and she fancies Nick, who is the official physiotherapist but also takes on any odd jobs going on (art therapy, gardening, handyman…). I know some readers don’t like first-person narratives, although Phoebe is unassuming, witty and an excellent friend. (On the minus side, her lack of self-confidence can make her sound paranoid and bitchy, and she keeps mulling over things, unable to decide what to do, trying hard to feel comfortable in her own skin and accept the credit for her achievements). We learn some surprising things about her family life together and by the end of the book, although I don’t have much in common with her character, I felt connected to her and appreciated her role as a narrator. Her friendship with June is convincing and their relationship is one of the strongest points of the book.

I also loved the residents of the home, and in many ways (not only due to my age, I hope), I felt closer to them than to the protagonist. We get to know some of them more than others (Maggie is fabulous and I loved Dot, Laney, Sophie, and yes, even Terence). They all feel real, with their foibles and their endearing traits, and make the book memorable. We follow the intrigues that have to do with the home and the changes that take place there (from a women’s only place to a mixed one) and learn about its inhabitants, their secrets, and their past lives. We are both observers and participants in much of the action, and we feel invested in their fates. We learn the importance of accepting people for who they are and moving beyond appearances and prejudices.

There are several romances with happy, or at least hopeful, endings (for the young and the older generations), broken hearts and disappointments, secrets and lies, and there is also the connection (pointed out through references to the book club and their discussions) to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I would not call the novel a variation on Pride and Prejudice but if we think of Austen’s text as we read it we can discover nuances that might be easily missed otherwise.

Although there are many amusing lines in the novel (and some pretty touching ones as well. As we know, humour can be an excellent defence mechanism against hurt), I thought I’d share a few (remember that I got an ARC copy, so there might be some changes to the final version of the novel):

We’ve never let something as trifling as the spectre of death stand in the way of a good snipe.

My mother didn’t get ulcers, she gave them.

He’s a perv-whisperer.

She wouldn’t like my ponytail, though. I did try taking it down, but having it up in a hair tie the entire weekend meant my hair had a ridge along the back that gave it a very White Cliffs of Dover effect.

I’m surprised he doesn’t need an oxygen tank with all the social climbing he’s been doing.

The writing flows well and fits in perfectly with the voice of the narrator, who can spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about her beau but is also attuned to the feelings of the residents and her friend. There are plenty of amusing events taking place throughout the novel that keep the action moving, but the characters are much stronger than the plot and by the end of the book (that I enjoyed) they have all become good friends (or most of them have).

The author defines her books as light reads, as beach novels, and says her readers describe them as “feel-good.” All that is true, although behind all the funny goings-on the book illustrates the importance of keeping expectations and prejudices under control, and it reminds parents that they should encourage their children to find fulfilment in their own terms rather than expect them to make their parent’s dreams come true.  If you are looking for a light read, full of memorable characters, plenty of humour, and a big deal of heart, I’d recommend this novel. And, if it existed in real life, I wouldn’t mind working at the home (and in time even living there) either.

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review 2018-07-15 19:44
Diving in by Bru Baker Review
Diving In - Bru Baker

Being the pool boy makes it easy for Max Jansen to ogle his long-time crush, water polo player Everett Caldwell. Never mind the fact that Max owns the company and is overqualified for the task of monitoring chlorine and cleaning skimmers. He’s just happy to watch his unattainable dream play—until one day Everett invites him over and suddenly Max is his platonic plus-one for everything from movie nights to racy industry parties. Then Max learns the one-time Olympian isn’t as straight as everyone assumes, and he isn’t sure how long he can hold out before his crush grows much deeper.

 

Review

 

This is a lovely short story between Max and Everett;

It is fun crush romance with the added bonus of water polo. 

Good stuff.

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