Still The One by Robin Wells

stillSynopsis: Katie never got over the death of her husband and the loss of ever having a family of her own. Two years later the boy she loved when she was seventeen came back to town along with the daughter Katie gave up for adoption. Zack Ferguson had never forgotten Kate, and never knew about Gracie until she came to him for help. Her adoptive parents had died, her aunt didn’t want to deal with her, and she was pregnant. Zack hoped Katie could help, but can she ever forgive him for leaving and can he ever learn how to love.

Cover: The artwork leaves much to be desired. There is an unknown and never mentioned flower displayed prominently in the foreground, and a couple staring into the middle distance by a lake in the central section, and the title displayed among the clouds toward the top of the book. It is far from inspiring or eye-catching, not to mention has absolutely no relevance to the story.

Location: The novel takes place in Chartreuse, Louisiana, though the only way this is shown by the characters is by the mention of southern hospitality. Otherwise, the story could have taken place in any small town in North America.

Hook: A couple is brought back together through their pregnant teenager whom was given up for adoption seventeen years prior.

Plot/Subplot: There are many threads weaving through this story that are given enough relevance it makes figuring out which is the main plot a little uncertain. Though there are three or four interconnecting stories, the toss-up is really between Zack and Katie’s attempt to build a relationship with their newfound pregnant daughter with the budding love story between Zack and Kate themselves.

Pacing: If it was not for the multitude of mini-plotlines lacing this book, the story might have been slow. Instead something was always going on because the tale was always moving on to the next person when a change of pace was needed.

Point of View: The story is told from five perspectives, that of Katie, Zack, and Gracie, but also Annette and Dave, Katie’s divorced in-laws who are still trying to deal with the loss of their son.

Theme: The recurring moral of this novel is that there is always another side to the story and how important it is to find out what the other person’s perspective is.

Character: The ladies of the Curl Up N Dye hair salon are a hoot. They are extremely nosy and interfering, but always have the main characters’ best interests at heart. Should anyone be in need of assistance, the townsfolk are there with food and a lending hand… if only to be a part of the latest gossip and drama.

Romance: Two love stories are taking place over the course of this novel, that of Katie and Zack as well as the one between Annette and Dave. Katie and Zack’s growing feelings for each other is the adorable love story you expect, but what is unexpected is how the author made a lying, cheating alcoholic seem like an underdog who deserves a second chance at love.

Unfulfilled Promise: The various threads weaving through Gracie’s life are left dangling. The father of the baby, her adapting to her new school, how she is going to deal with her new baby and school is all left without a conclusion. This wouldn’t have been nearly so aggravating if the story gave any indication of a sequel, but that was never implied.

Quote: “No decision is a decision. Inaction is an action… When all is said and done, which will you regret more: not taking a chance on love, or giving love a chance?”

The Verdict: I picked up this book because I was always fascinated by adoption reunion stories, even though I have never been overly fond of main characters who’ve lost their spouse either to divorce or death. It ended up being a rather good book, and one I scarcely put down for longer than it took to eat or sleep. I would recommend reading it, but perhaps looking for it at the library is the best option until you’re sure you like the author’s style.

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Teaser Tuesday (May-4)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Share the title and author, so others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!!!

 

Still The One by Robin Wells

No one ever told her that grief was a series of little, cutting losses that nicked her heart every day.

“I’ve always been wise. You’ve just been too much of a wiseass to notice.”

Katie didn’t believe he really didn’t believe, but she believed he believed he didn’t believe.

Katie’s late husband used to say that her face was half angel, half pixie, and that she couldn’t muster a stern look if her life depended on it.

 

Nothing good ever comes from bad intentions.

White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick

white_chocolate_moments_by_lori_wickSynopsis: Arcie was eleven when her parents died and she went to live with her grandfather, Sam. Though the pair became closer than before, Arcie spent most of her childhood with the housekeeper. When Sam makes an announcement Arcie can’t live with, she leaves her life of luxery to make a living for herself. Years later, a chance encounter causes Arcie and her grandfather to come together and try to start over.

Pacing: The story spans over a decade of Arcie’s life and the author manages to seamlessly pass through time. This prevents the story from dragging –and being three times thicker!- while still allowing for prominent moments in Arcie’s growing older.

Location: Though the novel takes place in Chicago, it doesn’t tell much about the city. Other than the occasional business trip Sam took his grand-daughter on, most of story takes place either in a home or a workplace.

Character Development: Sam is a man who puts work before his family. He is also a man who plays favourites among his grandchildren, something that causes great contention within the family dynamic. During the time that Arcie was estranged, Sam found God and began to change his ways as he learned that family and faith is everything.

Romance: Arcie and Gabe meet is a series of “coincidences” that keep throwing them together no matter what obstacle gets in the way. This subtly shows that God always has a plan and a way to make His plan come to fruitation.

DIY: Arcie took dance classes as a child, but after leaving home she gave it up. Even if you don’t have time for regular classes or can’t afford them, you can always look into drop-in classes as plenty studios have that option.

Quote: “There you go again, picking those romantic settings… Our first real kiss was in your garage, then you told me you loved me in your office, and now you propose in a hospital room.”

The Verdict: This is a good read if you don’t want to deal with a whole series, as it is a stand-alone novel. I rather liked this book, but find myself curious about the parts of Arcie’s life that were passed over even though such details were not needed.

Teaser Tuesday (May-3)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Share the title and author, so others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!!!

White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick

“Did God make white chocolate?”

“I’m damaged goods –rather broken right now.”
“All of us would have to say that, but I come with extra Band-Aids.”

Not so Snow White by Donna Kauffman

snowwhiteSynopsis: Tess is a nearly thirty, newly retired, pro tennis star who was injured thus leaving her with no career, no direction, and flat broke. Trying to get her life on track, Tess ends up being asked to mentor an up-and-coming player who just moved from juniors to the big leagues. It may be a huge step down for someone with her celebrity status, but she’s perverse enough to do it if as it meant ticking off the newbie’s older brother.

Cover: The cover art certainly grabbed my attention, but ended up having rather little relevance to the story other than the fact there is a budding romance. While the cover impressed me, I would have been more impressed if it was on a different book and this one had artwork that was relevent to the story within.

Writing Style: Donna Kauffman writes in a rather conversational third-person. There is very little flowery phrasing, just straight-shooting speech, much in the same way as the main character’s personality.

Location: The story takes place in England around Wimbledon, partially at a nearby estate, but more often on the courts of the All England Club.

Plot: For all that this was labeled a romance, the novel has a lot more in common with chick lit. The storyline gears around Tess Hamilton’s life in a belated coming-of-age: her career ending unexpectedly left Tess unsure what direction her life should go. The book depicts Tess’s financial struggles, her job search, her dealing with numerous losses, and trying to balance all this with a budding relationship.

Character: Gabby is Tess’s mini-me of the tennis world, the next “big thing” to hit the circuit. She’s sixteen, and the usual combination of naïve maturity and responsible irresponsibility. Her presence is a shadow of Tess’s, for Gabby is learning how to juggle the various aspects of her life as well—from boys to her newly formed pro career. She’s a great character that I’d love to see more of.

Point of Interest: This is one book that loosely belongs to a series. The common thread in this and the related books is the Glass Slipper Inc, a company founded to help provide life-coaching for people, and ends up meddling in the lives of others… but only in a good way.

Romance/Relationship: Tess’s relationship with Gabby is just as important as both their relationships with Max. Gabby and Max are incredibly close for siblings, and that ends up being part of the reason Tess and Max butt heads—the other reason being because Tess and Gaby are so much alike. It is a love triangle of the best kind: Gabby loves her older brother and he loves her; Gabby also loves Tess as a coach and mentor, hoping her brother and coach fall in love; Tess and Max have a tempestuous attraction to each other that cannot be ignored as it would surely lead to love of a different sort.

Quote: She was no longer fresh? How mortifying was that? Not even thirty years old, and her shelf life had already expired?

The Verdict: I have been enjoying the stories in the Glass Slipper Inc series and eagerly awaiting getting my hands on this one as much as the others. As I mentioned before, the romantic story line was a bit weak for a romance novel, yet it falls wonderfully into the chick lit genre. Even if you don’t play tennis or care much for the sport, this book is still a fun read.

Teaser Tuesday (May-2)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Share the title and author, so others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!!!

 

Not so Snow White by Donna Kauffman

She ripped her convertible across three lanes of traffic, ignoring the honks and shouted commentary regarding her driving skills. She had to make her exit, right? Besides, at the moment, she had far bigger things to worry about than instigating inadvertent road rage.

Her life was still upside down, emotionally and financially, and she couldn’t seem to find a way to balance it again.

Sheikh, Children’s Doctor… Husband by Meredith Webber

sheikhSynopsis: Alexandra Conroy is a doctor and could not allow her patient, Samarah, to travel without medical supervision. Alex found herself in Al Janeen living in the royal palace until she felt the Sheik’s mother no longer needed her help. During her stay, an earthquake hits and causes destruction to a desert village. Alex and Sheikh Azzam hurry to help the villagers, but to protect their honour the pair must marry. Can this temporary arrangement possible become one that is a little less temporary?

Author: Meredith Webber lives in Australia and has written over fifty romance novels. Over ten years ago she saw that Harlequin was looking for medical-based novels and decided to take up the challenge. She gave herself a couple of years to see if she could get published, and found that it wouldn’t take nearly that long. She has been writing, mostly medical romances, ever since.

Cover: I haven’t seen a lot of medical romance books, particularly since Harlequin’s redesign. The model is rather good looking with captivating eyes, but the “bellyband” which contains the title, author, and brand cut through the man’s face. It would have been better to lower the stripe a bit more so as not ruin the photo. And speaking of the title, it could definitely have been improved upon.

Writing Style: An Australian in the Arabian Desert could mean some confusion for a North American with unfamiliar phraseology and spellings, but there were few Australian colloquialisms and the unusually spelt names were still pronounceable.

Romance: The relationship between Alexandra and Azzam was gradual, albeit within a short timeframe. They had an immediate attraction, but each had obligations and obstacles they felt stood in the way. When they finally admitted their love to themselves and each other, it seemed right rather than rushed.

Quote: Here I was thinking that the worst thing that could happen was another earth tremor and the mountain could fall on us, but now you tell me a very large and probably hungry [leopard] could carry me off into the night!

I have to stop laughing but you must admit it’s funny. Here I am, given a choice of facing a stray leopard on my own or marrying a prince, and I’m dithering over it. Marriage or a leopard –it’s really not a choice.

The Verdict: A cute read, particularly for those who enjoy medical romances, sheiks, marriages of convenience, and scheming exes.