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review 2020-05-24 08:57
On the Corner of Love and Hate - Nina Bocci

Initial thoughts:
I walked into this series already knowing I would love it. Nina’s ability to create a character with richness and realness, build them a world you could live in, and make it all feel important to you — it really is a gift. 

 

Having made the rookie error of reading book three in this series first, I had a good idea about how some things were going to end up — but I loved getting there. 

 

What I loved:
First, I loved learning more about the town of Hope Lake. Seriously, I wanna go there, maybe move there. (Ok, not move there, I don’t do snow, lol!) Kinda like the fans in the football stadium are sometimes called the “12th man” at a game… supporting their team and influencing the process, I feel like this town is another character in the story. There are some things that happen in the story ONLY because they’re in a town like Hope Lake. 

 

I loved the families and friends of the main characters. They all contributed so much to the entire feel of the story. The scenes with Emma and the other two parts of their “friendship quartet” were really great, and I loved seeing how close they all still were, even with the rift between Emma and Cooper. The elderly ladies group cracked me up and made me cheer.  

 

I loooooved every time Cooper called Emma “Emmanuelle”, even though it drove her nuts. I loved that even though he made her crazy now (for any number of valid reasons), she still allowed herself to remember some of their happier times. She didn’t shut herself off from those memories. I loved Cooper’s steadfast belief in the town, and his interactions with the residents during his campaign. Even when he wasn’t 100% sure of himself, his genuine dedication to them never wavered. 

 

As far as the conflict with these two — this mashup of  “second chance romance”/”friends to lovers”/”enemies to lovers” tropes — I was worried that it would get to me, but it didn’t. At each point I could see something happening that, in other stories would get dragged out too long, or handled badly, but this author just nailed it! Yes, I cried when things got mucked up, and that sucked cause I don’t like to cry, but I didn’t spend page after page feeling gutted and horrible about the situations that were happening. I SO appreciated that! Then — when it was time for the happy — I was ALL ABOUT THE HAPPY!! 

 

What I didn’t love:
This is the second time that I feel like the leading lady “got off easier” in the responsible for the pair’s conflict. Yes, Cooper broke her heart… and yes, when you’re young, you don’t always handle that in the best ways. But there were circumstances in both pivotal moments of their younger years that *could* have been handled differently — on both of their parts — and I feel like Emma blamed Cooper for all of it, and he just took on all of it. She could have done things differently, too. Having said that — everything was written realistically — I can easily see exactly those situations happening, and them going exactly as they were written. 

 

Final thoughts:

Of course I loved this book. I was thrilled with my HEA, and I can’t wait to get to the next in the series. 

Source: funknfiction.com/2020/05/24/review-on-the-corner-of-love-and-hate-by-nina-bocci
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review 2020-05-06 11:02
Review | Funk-N-Fiction: THE INGREDIENTS OF YOU AND ME by Nina Bocci
The Ingredients of You and Me - Nina Bocci

Initial thoughts:
I’ve been following this author for many years, and have been rooting for her through several stages of her writing journey. She’s a joy, and her stories are filled with heart and laughter. I walked into this one, fulling expecting to love it.

 

What I loved:
This story is a picture perfect HEA. Parker and Nick fit into those “small town romance” boxes, yet they’re both still full of interesting layers and quirks. The story is lighthearted in all the right places, funny, heartwarming, and hopeful. The two leads definitely have some things to get through… things that are hard and uncomfortable. But Nina gets us to those conflicts, and gets us through them, with genuine emotion and just the right amount of levity.

 

I love how much the how a place can almost become a part of the cast of characters. Hope Lake is a perfect example of this. The residents include a few groups of friends who’ve been through a lot together. I really enjoyed the way the town’s “Golden Girls” were brought into the story, how they interacted with everyone, and the part they play in the growth of our leading lady and leading man.

 

What I didn’t love:
There was a pretty important conversation I felt should have happened much sooner in the story. I kept waiting for the moment to happen, and while it did – eventually – I would have liked it to be earlier. I also didn’t love that Parker didn’t seem to take much of the (deserved, I felt) blame for her role in the major conflict she and Nick had to work through.

 

Final thoughts:
I made a rookie mistake with this one. This is book three in the series, and while I do own the previous two books, they’re still resting on my TBR pile. (insert facepalm emoji here) I definitely recommend that a) everyone read this book… it really is SO good, but b) read the rest of the series first.

 

It’s funny to me, since I *have* been following Nina for so many years, that I can actually see quite a bit of her in some of the situations and ideas in this story. I’m pretty sure it made me love the story even more.

 

If you’re a fan of  second-chance romance, THE INGREDIENTS OF YOU AND ME is definitely a book for you. This was such a fantastic read, and I can’t wait to go back (to ON THE CORNER OF LOVE AND HATE, and MEET ME ON LOVE LANE) to get to know the rest of the “hopeless romantics.”

 

Source: funknfiction.com/2020/05/06/the-ingredients-of-you-and-me
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review 2020-01-30 14:47
ARC REVIEW Malfunction by Nina Croft
 

MalfunctionDark Desires Origins #1, Damn Good Sci-fi Romance! Which I'm not surprised I love her Beyond Human series and with this being the prequel to the Dark Desires series I really need to get all of those and read them. I thoroughly enjoy Nina Croft's writing, her books are immersive they pull you in and don't let go and this one is no different.

The Earth was dying, with twenty-four ships big enough to hold ten thousand people each there was a lottery the winners were the lucky ones, or as they were called "The Chosen Ones" they set off to find a new home. The crews were big enough to man each ship in fifty year rotations and their family got a free pass and an army. But after five hundred years supplies are running short and they still haven't found a new planet and now a "malfunction" is causing cryotubes to fail suffocating the person inside.

Logan Farrell is with the army his current assignment had him with the MPs and that's what they need an investigator, to make sure the failure of the cryotubes was just a malfunction. Well the Captain of the second ship doesn't quite trust the higher ups and wakes up his friend Katia Mendoza a detective with the London Police, or at least she was before they left Earth, to help investigate. Rico the captain of the second ship has his own reasons for putting in his own person on the case, he can't afford everyone to know the truth about his ship. The truth that a good portion of "The Chosen Ones" who were suppose to be on his ship were left behind and replaced by his own people, his own supernatural kind including Katia.

Together Logan and Katia try and find out who is behind the sabotage but with every step closer they get they have a new near death experience that just brings them closer and closer together. The chemistry between them is instant and hot, every spare moment they have is together. But what will Logan think when he finds out not everyone is human? 

Overall, I loved this book. The characters, the situation, humor, romance , hot hot (not limited to the bedroom) scenes. I inhaled this book and I want more!





 

 

 

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review 2020-01-14 16:16
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill - Abbi Waxman

TITLE:  The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

 

AUTHOR:  Abbi Waxman

______________________

DESCRIPTION:

"The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
"

_______________________

REVIEW:

 

Somewhat predictable but entertaining, cute and pleasant. 

 

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review 2020-01-05 11:14
The Little French Bistro by Nina George
The Little French Bistro - Nina George

Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage.  After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as “the end of the world.” Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life’s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it’s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.

Amazon.com

 

 

**NOTE: This novel has also been published under the title The Little Breton Bistro

 

 

POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING: Themes of depression, suicidal thought, abusive relationships

 

Marianne has spent too long in a loveless marriage. At the end of her rope, she takes a walk one night to the banks of the Seine River, where she makes the decision to end her life. Though she goes so far as to throw herself into the river, she is unexpectedly rescued and taken to the hospital to recover from the suicide attempt. Once out of the hospital, she makes the choice to relocate and rebuild her life in a new town, eventually settling on the seaside town of Kerdruc, in the Brittany area of France. 

 

In Kerdruc, Marianne quickly comes to know a new definition of family among the staff of Ar Mor Restaurant, becoming especially close friends with the owner of Ar Mor, Genevieve, as well as Jean-Remy, the head chef nursing a bad case of unrequited love. Jean-Remy's pining away all the time has begun to affect his cooking for the worse. Lucky for him, Marianne's arrival means she can share her tips and tricks (from years of housewifery) for turning around any seemingly ruined meal. Immensely grateful for the help, Genevieve brings Marianne on as Jean-Remy's sous-chef. In return for helping him get his cooking back on track, he offers to help her improve her French. {Marianne, a German military wife who had transferred to France some time ago with her husband's job, had never gotten around to grasping much French, pretty much only learning enough to say "I am German."} Along with the crew at Ar Mor, Marianne also becomes acquainted with the sculptor Pascale and Pascale's longtime friend, the painter Yann.

 

 

"Get down from your cross, we need the timber." 

~ Pascale to Yann one day when he is moaning about his life

(one of my favorite lines in the book!)

 

 

It is in this seaside community that Marianne really works to restructure her life after years of being stifled in a neglectful marriage, largely devoid of affection, with selfish, philandering husband Lothar. Occasionally the reader is given glimpses into Lothar's tightwad ways: always making Marianne get her shoes re-soled rather than ever allowing her new ones; always making her go through the irregular / clearance bins for her clothes; never getting gifts for anniversaries; taking himself on holiday but not her, etc. Marianne even shares details of her hospital stay after the suicide attempt: her skipping out on meeting Lothar at a restaurant that night; him showing up at the hospital rocking a Rolex and yachting clothes, whining about the money he wasted on a meal at that restaurant and a cab to the hospital to come check on her. When she asks for a hug, he quickly denies her. Imagine being in a hospital bed, feeling emotionally eviscerated over so many things, and you can't even get a hug from your LIFE PARTNER, of all people! Gives you an idea of what a softie this guy is. She also hints at examples of emotional abuse throughout the years of marriage that she often forced herself to shrug off... until she just couldn't anymore. So you can understand the need (or at least temptation) to slough it all off and start anew somewhere far away from your usual. 

 

 

Shortly afterward, Lothar's lover Sybille had woken her from the wonderful illusion that a marriage, a house at the end of a turning bay and an indoor fountain were all a woman needed. Lothar had been determined to return to their normal daily routine as soon as possible after his affair with Sybille. "I've told you I'm sorry, What more am I supposed to do?" And with that the matter was closed. After a few years, her pain had subsided. Time had brought solace to Marianne, as had Lothar's secrecy about his other affairs, at least until it became too hard for him to keep lying. He started to leave a trail of clues in the hope that Marianne would make a scene and deliver him, but she had refused to do him that favor. 

 

Quiet Marianne is consumed by fear. She fears death, but also sometimes welcomes it. With the realization that she's maybe moved through a life largely un-lived, she fears that she might not know how to change, or that perhaps the opportunity for change (of any kind) has passed altogether. But with the help of her new friends, she hangs in there... and in time, comes to experience her first crush since meeting her husband. This new love she finds herself dipping her toe in... the two of them are just adorable together and I found myself so excited for her. Yes, technically she is still married to Lothar, and normally I'm not down with adultery --- not in novels, not in real life --- but it's hard to blame Ms. Marianne for craving some heart tingles after going so long trying to make it work in a relationship that very clearly flatlined ages ago. Though I gotta say, a funeral might be an odd way to go for a first date. 

 

I loved your grandfather, and after him, no one else. It is a rare form of happiness when a man makes your life so rich that you need no one else after him.

 

"Was he a magician?"

 

Any man who loves a woman as she deserves to be loved is a magician.

 

Just as Marianne is becoming reacquainted with the stronger, more fiery side of herself, a little something of her recent past makes a reappearance (as often happens in these kind of novels).  The quaint, light-hearted cover art of The Little French Bistro belies the darker themes of this story. In multiple scenes throughout the novel, Marianne continues to toy with the idea of making another suicide attempt. Though she always finds a way to talk herself away from it (or her friends do), Nina George writes a stark truth -- the underlying struggle that can go on in the mind of someone whose exterior seems to be doing well enough. 

 

She suddenly felt an incredible fear of dying prematurely and not having had her fill when her final day came --- her fill of life, up to the top and over the rim. She'd never felt such a lust for life: the pain of having missed out on so much was threatening to blow her heart asunder. Never had the act she had considered committing struck her as more egregious: she had tried to put herself to death long before her time....Yann put his hand on Marianne's back, and her heart was pumping and beating, as if to say: it's far from over. Every second can mark a new beginning. Open your eyes and see: the world is out there and it wants you.

 

The writing here gets a little flowery in parts, but I ended up liking this one more than Little Paris Bookshop and it certainly left me curious to try out George's most recent novel, The Book of Dreams. 

 

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