HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: WAITING FOR “FALLING”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday event, hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Every week, we gather around the blogosphere and search out the upcoming book releases, sharing our thoughts and blurbs. Today’s spotlight is shining on Jane Green’s upcoming release, July 19, 2016: Falling.

 

 

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Blurb:  When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either.

On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son.

Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.

But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all.

In a novel of changing seasons, shifting lives, and selfless love, a story unfolds—of one woman’s far-reaching journey to discover who she is truly meant to be…

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I love Jane Green’s books, and her newest sounds like my kind of read.  What do you think?  What are you sharing today?

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REVIEW: JUST SAY YES, BY ALYSSA GOODNIGHT

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Jade Moran is a web designer and a single mom to thirteen-year-old Evie; the two of them are managing without a man in their lives. Evie isn’t so sure she is all in for that, however, and she sets in motion a whole new era when she persuades her mom to visit a new restaurant, The Pantry, and introduces her to Opal, the woman who believes in the magic of food. A “kitchen witch.”

Max Gianopoulis has taken up residence in The Pantry at his own table where he works as if it is his office. He, of course, is a hunk…and he happens to be a contractor. Jade needs a new kitchen remodel, as she is sick of the 70s style appliances and vibe in her own.

Somehow they connect on this issue, at least, and before long, more is going on. Predictably, the two are hot for each other.

Fun characters included Max’s grandmother, Yia Yia Cleo, and his younger sister Tessa, who is a roller derby girl.

I liked that Evie wasn’t a belligerent teen, as so often seems to happen in books. She had her own mind and had her ways of working her mom, with the little “say yes” game they had going on. But she was not working to undermine her, so that felt good to me.

Set in Austin, Texas, there was a great Southwestern feel to the story, and the food definitely fit in nicely, too. In some ways, Just Say Yes felt a little too smooth, so I liked when an obstacle presented itself in the form of Jade’s ex-husband. Watching everything play out afterwards was very satisfying. A 4 star read.

REVIEW: NORA ROBERTS LAND, BY AVA MILES

91UxRlZpifL._SL1500_She grew up believing in happily-ever-after, and at her mother’s knee, she learned to love Nora Roberts’s novels and how each one seemed to follow a pattern of finding out that dreams can come true and love conquers all.

But grown-up journalist Meredith Hale, a New Yorker, has just been dumped and divorced by her husband, Richard Sommerville, another journalist, now interested in a political career. And he has lashed out at her about how her belief in Nora Roberts’s view of the world had ruined their marriage.

Determined to prove to herself that love like that does exist, Meredith heads to her home town of Dare, Colorado, to find her hero and then write about it. There she works for the family newspaper.

Meanwhile, Richard has blackmailed one of his journalists, Tanner McBride, previously a war correspondent, into taking on a project that will definitely sabotage Meredith’s plans…and hopefully keep her from using information she has about him.

What will happen to Meredith and Tanner when they finally connect? Will the instant attraction between them lead to more? What unexpected events will seemingly derail whatever they have between them? And what will be Meredith’s final conclusions about her premise?

Nora Roberts Land (Dare Valley Series, Book 1) mimics the famous author in its basics: vulnerable girl meets hunky man and they rise about a series of conflicts and finally begin a relationship. Throw in a few obstacles that they overcome and you have true love. Add in necessary ingredients, like sheer determination (by the woman) and gutsy moves by both man and woman, and you have a combustible mix and interesting characters.

The only thing that really saved this predictable novel was that I realized, despite the copycat notions, that there were a few fun and suspenseful elements that kept me reading. Otherwise, I would have had to say that this story was merely a copy of the originals created by Nora Roberts. But I was happy to conclude that the ride was a fun one, and fans of Nora Roberts will probably enjoy this book. 3.5 stars.

REVIEW: BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY, BY SANDRA NACHLINGER

BluebonnetsforElly_SMElly Macauley has lost her long-time boyfriend at the same time that her grandmother is laid up with an injury. It makes sense for her to move in with Granny for a while, to help out. However, Granny’s senior citizens’ mobile home park in small town Shannon Ridge, Texas, has a strict rule, enforced by a bitter woman named Mrs. Bagley: no visitor can stay in the park for longer than thirty days.

Unfortunately, Elly has been there longer. Disguises are now part of her everyday life, as she shuttles around the neighborhood in Granny’s golf cart.

Determined to eventually find a suitable job after leaving Granny’s, Elly searches online for possibilities, but it’s an overheard conversation in the local café that turns her on to something unique. She has been clearing out Granny’s house and shed, and listing items for sale. What if others in the park could also use this organizational service? Desperation often breeds creativity, as she soon discovers.

To spice things up for Elly, and also to complicate her life, she has met a hunky landscape artist named Derek. When things heat up between them, she is suddenly besieged by calls from Rick, wanting to talk. And then, unexpectedly, Derek’s past comes back to bite them.

What will Elly do to turn her life around? How will she find love when every man she meets seems to be untrustworthy? Can Derek redeem himself?

Bluebonnets for Elly was a delightful tale of love, creative inspiration, the wisdom of senior citizens, and the unexpected treasures one can discover in a field of gorgeous flowers. My favorite character was Granny, who came out with charming sayings that reminded me of my own grandmother, but I also enjoyed Elly’s feisty character and her determination to find happiness. Five stars.

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: IS LOVE IN THE AIR FOR YOU? — FEB. 5

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What springs to mind for you during the month of February?  Love matches?  Romantic reads?  The other day, I shared an excerpt over at Snow Chronicles:  Love is in the Air.  A snippet from Interior Designs that spotlights a romantic moment for the characters.

In February, I do find myself drawn to books and movies about love.  Like on the weekend, I watched some old favorites like The Object of My Affection, with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd.

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As many times as I’ve seen this one, I still choke up at some of the scenes…and then have those feel good moments at the end.  Yeah, I’m kind of a sucker for a happy ending.  Some of the time.

I also enjoy movies that are thrillers…and even though I know every scene that lies ahead in Fatal Attraction, I still enjoy some of the lusty moments between the characters.  Despite knowing how it will all end.

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Right now, though, I’m engrossed in a book that may or may not have a romantic ending.  I don’t know that yet, but I’m sure there will be a few scenes along the way, like the one I shared in my Teaser Tuesday.

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So what are your favorite things in February?  Do you love romance…or ignore it completely?

Sparky

WEEKEND POTPOURRI: LOVE LETTERS — THE LOST ART — A MOVIE REVIEW

In this era of text messaging and e-mails, a movie about a letter seems quaint. Charmingly so. And a letter from a secret admirer that sets off a chain-mail reaction amongst teens and adults in one Southern California neighborhood sets the tone for a feel-good flick.

I first saw Secret Admirer (Widescreen Edition) in the 1980s when it came out and watched it over and over with my teens.

Seeing it again in a time when letter writing is a lost art underscores how romance can also seem out of reach in a highly technological age.

Kelly Preston totally inhabits the role of self-absorbed teen Deborah Anne, while Lori Loughlin very effectively portrays the girl next door. C. Thomas Howell made me laugh as he bumbled along, chasing after the beautiful Deborah Anne, when his heart really belongs to his best friend.

A fun movie with lots of nostalgic moments made for a pleasant afternoon of viewing. Four stars.

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Now that I’m on a nostalgic kick, who knows what I’ll grab next?  Pretty in Pink?  St. Elmo’s Fire?

What do you think of these oldies?

PURSUING HAPPINESS FROM OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS — A REVIEW

The two of them were polar opposites: Blake was a handsome, rich rogue who loved to play, while Maxine was a renowned psychiatrist called in to assist with traumatized and suicidal adolescents.

Despite their differences, they loved one another, had three beautiful children, and then divorced. Their differences finally did them in.

It would be many years before Maxine would try again, but Blake moved seamlessly through his jet-setting world with gorgeous women on his arm. None of them lasted, though.

Maxine’s romance with internist Charles West seemed like the perfect match. They had much in common, they were both grown-ups, and the only obstacles seemed to be her three children and her ex-husband.

Rogue is a charming tale of romantic adventures gone wrong, a world filled with beautiful people and beautiful places, and what can happen when two people pursue happiness from opposite directions.

So what catastrophic event will change Blake in a major way? And how will Charles react to the ever-present shadow of a charming ex? What do the three children bring to the mix? And how will unexpected events upend the lives of these characters?

Despite the predictability of a good part of the plot, I enjoyed this story more than many by this author. I liked the characters and the storyline that delved into psychiatric issues, catastrophic natural disasters, while balancing these themes with just the right touch of glamour to make the story feel like both a humanitarian junket and a red carpet event. Funny and charming dialogue at key points along the way made this story a quick and fun read. I’m giving this one four stars.