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review 2017-05-18 07:40
Second Impressions
The Beauty Within - Savannah J. Frierson

I have been a fan of this author since Trolling Nights. I've had several of her books in my tbr pile and I decided to read this one on my Kindle. I really liked this book. It starts out in an unusual fashion. Tyler and Gunnar do not have good first impressions. In fact, Gunnar is actually a jerk to Tyler when they first meet. Gunnar is a gym owner and he has to take his personal trainer's new client and his current girlfriend had pissed him off and he's not happy about it. His behavior reminds Tyler of her insecurities with her weight.

Gunnar is man enough to admit when he's being a tool. He apologizes and finds that he's very attracted to Tyler. Truth be told, Gunnar never seemed to have an issue with Tyler's weight, but he's willing to help Tyler train to be more healthy since her weight was giving her back problems. As they spend time together, the attraction grows into something much more.

I've heard some of Savannah J. Frierson's readers don't like her insecure heroines. That doesn't bother me. I think that's realistic. Most women are insecure about something about themselves, be it external or internal. I think it makes her heroines relatable. I think that one could argue that her heroes are too perfect, but Gunnar definitely isn't that. He's a good guy and he makes up for being a jerk, but he did behave that way. And his past in LA showed that he was fallible and has made mistakes. I liked both of them. I enjoyed their romance. Their relationship was sexy and romantic. I also liked how the author integrated some real life issues into the story, from poor body image, the impact of broken relationships, drug abuse, and body abuse to fit an unrealistic ideal. It wasn't done in a preachy way, which I appreciated.

I also liked how Gunnar's Swedish heritage was integrated into the story. He would use words from his parents' native language, since he spoke it fluently. Also Tyler's culture as a black Southerner was integral. I liked how Tyler was really close to her sister and the fact that her sister's man worked for Gunnar and was friends with him. Their conversations felt authentic to me. Also, the characters have unique professions. Gunnar is an ex-model and gym owner and Tyler owns and runs a barber shop.

I went through a phase where I read a lot of BBW heroines (big, beautiful women) and I sort of fell out of it. I still like the sub-genre and the fact that a woman could be larger sized and still be appreciated by a man without losing weight. I think this was handled well in the book. Tyler focuses on getting healthy (although she does go in a more unhealthy direction with the weight loss and that is a huge trigger for Gunnar). I think that was good that Frierson factored this in, because it's important to be healthy in losing weight. What I loved the most was that Gunnar appreciated her before she lost weight, and my hope is that Tyler comes to embrace herself in the shape she comes and not focus on an unhealthy ideal.

This isn't my favorite by Frierson, because I love Trolling Nights and Being Plumville so much, but I did enjoy it a lot and would recommend this book to contemporary romance readers, and those interested in interracial romance.

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text 2014-01-01 18:14
Best of 2013 - Part 4 - The Honorables
The Palace Job - Patrick Weekes
After Hours: (InterMix) - Cara McKenna
Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch
Thankless in Death - J.D. Robb
A Most Improper Rumor - Emma Wildes
Being Plumville - Savannah J. Frierson

The final part of my four part best of books of 2013.  The first three looked at my top 10.


This one looks at those books that I enjoyed but just missed my top ten.


Part 4 - The Honorable Mentions


Nicest surprise I got all year.  Caper plot.  Kick ass heroine of color.  I am stalking for a sequel.



This author is my rich romance hero antidote.  She writes some of the best blue collar, down to earth romances that happen to have dirty-hot-sexy scenes!  I love romances grounded in realism and you can't get more real than Kelly and Erin.  They are not rich, they do not live in a shiny happy small town and they both have decidedly unglamorous jobs. And yet their romance gives me more feels than the umpteenth one about some billionaire somewhere.



Didn't love this one as much as the first one which was one of my top ten reads of 2012.  But the continuing adventures of Constable Peter Grant, sorcerer in training is great stuff.  So happy to have two more yet to read.



Eve.  Roarke.  Fabulousness.  Ready for the next one.



I've pretty much given up on historical romances.  But Emma Wildes intrigues me.  I think she is massively underrated.  I am enjoying this series because it is a hybrid of a romance-mystery-ongoing serial.  It does something that not a lot of historical romances do in that it is taking a page from fantasy/Urban fantasy models and allowing a continuous story arc to wind through multiple books complete with a central character.  You get enough closure with each book to feel like you've read a complete story, but still there is a big bad out there whose motivations have yet to be uncovered.  And it isn't just the mystery that is incomplete from one book to the next, the central romance is also a work in progress.  I am liking the structure and hope she is able to continue writing this.



set in the 1960s in the heat of the civil rights movement in the South.  A young black woman and a white man begin to fall in love.  Tense and emotional.  Beautifully written. 

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review 2013-09-10 00:00
Trolling Nights - Savannah J. Frierson Solid 3.5 Stars

What I loved:
This book has enormous heart in it. Filled with all of the good, the bad, & the wonderfully unexpected things we call life. Full of change of seasons concerning growth of emotions & truth.

What irked me:
Besides the lead heroine's name, her best friend, Courtney. I couldn't reconcile how this situation was touched on/handled. The issues & emotions involved with what occurred just weren't dealt with realistically, IMO by Bevin once Courtney's true colors were seen (numerous times) vividly, & in plain sight. Basically her butt would have been dropped. Point. Blank. Period.

What I absolutely did not like:
While I loved the passionate connection between Tim & Bevin,
they have this white hot connection of emotional intensity. Still, it took forever for them to close the deal. And when it finally did happen, in what should have been the most romantic way ever, I felt let down. I think it came way too late within the novel. There were too many stops & starts with them & a lot of their stops could have been rectified ALOT sooner. But because the beautiful side of their blessings(Them moving forward) it all comes so late within the novel, everything you've been waiting on feels rushed. Even though you've gotten a novel full of story, it still feels like it ended abruptly.

Overall I do feel that this is a journey worth reading. So I would recommend it.

Thank you Lady D for my "gift/Loan" of Mr. Timothy Capshaw.... You're definitely gonna have to fight me for him LOL!

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review 2011-12-31 00:00
The Beauty Within - Savannah J. Frierson The Beauty Within - Savannah J. Frierson I wanted to love this book. I really did. I always love a good story where the heroine and/or hero have flaws and are not abnormally perfect. Sigh. I'm so happy I finished this book because I felt that Tyler and Gunnar's relationship had a good build-up, steamy beginning then they plateaued thanks to a few hang ups that Tyler had. Don't get me wrong, it is a decent story and I might even read another story from this author in the future. Also the characterization of Tyler and Gunnar are realistic as a couple. I didn't find it as far-fetched as Tyler seemed toI could go on and on about this book but it will read more as whining so I chose a few reasons why I liked/disliked...PROS: Loved the unique names, adored the fact the hero was Norwegian (made Gunnar more of a stand out). Familial relationships both Tyler and Gunnar have pretty awesome families. Gunnar and Tyler...I like them together. Quincy...he was an okay antagonist who realized the error in his ways.CONS: TOO WORDY...I skimmed through a good percentage of the book. The story was being dragged out. At times, i began to lose interest. BEING BLUDGEONED to a pulp my Tyler's insecurities. I get it, man, she feels she is too big and needs to lose about twenty pounds *rolls eyes*. I wanted to go to Tyler mid book and shake her. I understand weight loss struggle and the feelings it entails but Tyler laid it on a bit thick.So would I recommend for others to read? Sure. Is it a DIK? No.
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review 2011-06-24 00:00
Being Plumville - Savannah J. Frierson Being Plumville is a love story about two people who knew they were each other's happy endings from a very young age. But society and the stupid notions of color, race, and what should and shouldn't be done managed to stand in their way for fifteen and more years. Savannah J. Frierson takes the reader back to the late 1960s in the South where there is hope of things changing, but a lot of blood, sweat and tears will be expended to make things better. This is a world in which skin color dictates many things: how much you get paid, where you live, what kind of job you are able to take, even how well you get treated by others. It doesn't matter what you want for yourself or for your children. It is just the way it is.The opening scene tells me a lot about Benny and Ceelee. Benny is protective, caring and possessive of little Ceelee. Ceelee loves and trusts Benny. Benny declares that he's going to marry Ceelee. However, it is not acceptable that Benny should feel that way about Ceelee, because Ceelee is black, and Benny has expectations that he must meet for his family and for Plumville. White future state judges (sons of prominent Plumville citizenry) don't marry black daughters of their family's housekeepers. So, Patty was forced to keep her young daughter away from Benny.Fifteen years later, both Benjamin Drummond and Coralee Simmons have yielded to the dictates of their world. They live in the same small town, but inhabit separate spheres, black separated by white. Until Ceelee is asked to tutor Benjamin in English, or he will not longer be eligible to play as quarterback for their college football team. Benjamin has fallen into the mold of white prominent young citizen. He even jokes along with his racist friends about blacks, even if his heart doesn't feel that way. Deep down, he yearns for his friend Ceelee, and is secretly glad that he can reestablish that crucial connection that was missing in his life for so many years. But now, Coralee keeps him at a distance. She doesn't trust him anymore. To her, he is another white person who thinks he's better than her, thinks he can insult her, and treat her like a second class citizen. Benjamin is determined to show Coralee that he is different from the others. That he is worthy of her trust and friendship, because the truth was, he never stopped loving her. Coralee has to find the courage to fight for the love that she feels (has felt for many years) beneath the hurt and fear.This book was a wonderful read. It was also very difficult to read. It brought the anger and rage to the surface. Knowing that in the United States blacks were (and still are in some instances) treated this way because of some bizarre belief that skin color determines intelligence, eligibility, and superiority. I was born a short five years after this book takes place. My mother and father (both black) lived in this world of Ceelee and Benjamin, dealing with the same issues. It is a painful thought to accept that one's life is not your own. That you don't get the same choices as someone else because that's the way it is. That it's okay for them to call you ugly names, and you have to bite your tongue and deal with it. That you can't love who you want to love without being rejected by your own people, and subject to physical harm by his people.Ms. Frierson didn't make up any of that angst. This book is real. I rooted for Ceelee and Benjamin, even as I knew the road they traveled was a long, hard, ugly one. I could feel their frustration when they weren't even able to hold hands or express affection towards each other in public. It was okay for Benjamin 'try the dark berry', but he couldn't love a black woman. For Coralee, she was condemned and ridiculed for even thinking it was okay to date a white man. It was a lot to take, making this far from a fun, escapist read. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy or love this book. It was just a sobering experience for me, and sometimes I had to put this book down and regroup. I am glad I read this book, because I really appreciate Ms. Frierson's writing. Although painful at times, this gave me something to think about. It helps me to be grateful that I have the choices that Coralee didn't have back then, and not because I am smarter or more deserving than Coralee was. Although I have and will face prejudice for my skin color, my fate and my life is my own. I can love who I want, and if people don't like it, I have the safety and the ability to face that and not find my essential being damaged from it. I for one am grateful that people like Coralee and Benjamin and the real life Mr. and Mrs. Loving paved the way for interracial couples in the modern United States. People can say what they want, but their opinion doesn't legally amount to a hill of beans.This was a moving, excellent book. It hurt my heart, but it also gave me hope that you can believe in love, even if it won't guarantee a perfect road ahead. But two is stronger than one. And love is worth fighting for.Ben and Ceelee
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