Tag Archives: romance

Touched by Tom Jolly

This book started out so promising, with the concept of a perpetual afterlife where one can go anywhere, literally, even to the moon, but without being able to touch anything or anyone. Then it morphed into a 50s sci-fi movie, which is okay, but a little jolting from what I expected from the opening chapters. Other than that, it’s a super fun read, with lots of humor and interesting characters, including aggressive, greedy Martian ghosts. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy through NetGalley.

Her Dark Lies by JT Ellison

Claire is marrying into money and finding out even before the wedding exactly how far his family will go to maintain their reputation . At the family villa, isolated off the coast of Italy, with a storm killing power, Claire doesn’t know who to trust as those around her are killed. This is an excellent thriller and I highly recommend anything by J.T. Ellison. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher MIRA through NetGalley.

After Elias by Eddy Boudel Tan

Coen decides to turn the wedding ceremony into a memorial for his groom when Elias dies in a plane crash the week they are to be celebrating. The cryptic last words of Elias haunt Coen, and he delves into Elias’ past to find out why he never spoke of his family. Tan’s tale of a past too hurtful to recall is heartwrenching as Coen learns more about Elias than Elias would ever have told him. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this wonderful story of a struggle to love from the publisher Dundurn through NetGalley.

A Door Between Us by Ehsaneh Sadr

On the way home from their wedding, amidst political protests, Sarah pulls an activist into the car to protect her, changing her new husband Ali’s destiny, as military police drag him from the car. Sarah’s cousin is with the military police force, and Ali’s sister is a protestor, bringing untold shades of gray into this harrowing family drama unfolding within political turmoil in Iran. Sadr is an amazing storyteller, and I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of her novel from the publisher Blackstone Publishing through NetGalley.

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Sam contemplates leaving her job and her life when someone from her past becomes the new principal of her school. She remembers him as easygoing, but he’s changed, and not for the better. Center has a way with characters that makes them endearing, funny, and so real and relatable. When they finally face their challenges, readers yearn for them to succeed. She’s a must-read for me without even needing to see the summary. A new Katherine Center book automatically goes on my TBR list. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this heartwarming story from the publisher St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley.

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev

Ashna Raje fears losing her restaurant, her connection to her late father, his legacy. Ending up on a reality cooking show with her first love was not her solution, nor his preference, as he’s moved away from that life to become soccer star Rico Silva. Old wounds open and heal in this second of the Raje series, a standalone novel in itself. If you like Jane Austen or not, Dev’s take on her work is fresh and delicious, with moments that take your breath away, as when Rico saves Ashna’s toes from being severed by her dropped chef”s knife, diving across the room and damaging further his career-ending injury. Dev makes romance novels more accessible to those of us who don’t prefer them by making the stories credible and the characters delightfully flawed, yearning and yet drawing back, again and again until dear reader is just as frustrated. I didn’t read romance until I won a set of novels by Sonali Dev. There’s so much more going on than the steaminess and sexual tension, although there’s plenty of that amongst the dynamics of family and friendship and careers. I highly recommend this book and basically anything by Sonali Dev. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher William Morrow Paperbacks through NetGalley.

Friday Flash Fiction: The Beast

She was just a girl.

With a trust fund none knew about.

A girl born into the wrong time.

I should have lived in Victorian America, when melancholy was in high fashion—she’d whisper as I lay spooned around her. More often than not, I found her curled up in bed, staring at the wall. Only I witnessed her bravery in rising after days of feeling like nothing. She remained alive by sheer will.

And my cooking. I loved to cook for her. She ate everything and delighted in it, even when the beast held her tighter than I ever could. Food comforted her, and kept her alive, if not lively.

She rarely left her little home overlooking the river. The little house hung like an afterthought upon the bluff, threatening to come unmoored at any moment and tumble into the river. Incredibly, she worried not at all about the inevitable possibility. Her reason—This house will fall when I’m ready.

I love this house—she said quietly—Did you know it used to be a hermitage before this area was developed? I did, but shook my head, encouraging her to continue with the story about our local river king, whom most called a saint for the miraculous happenings during his time in this home.

Susurrations of gossip followed her through town as she walked, head up, eyes straightforward, never lingering to purchase anything beyond necessities.

Until I followed her home one day and she invited me in as though she were expecting me. From that day on, I made her purchases along with my own, but nothing staved off the beast, her modern day melancholy. The conversation that first day immersed us in an ongoing dialogue of slightly differing philosophies and worldviews, with matching intellectual curiosities. Love blossomed that day.

I saw it happen.

On my way up the switchbacks with an angelfood cake and a handful of wildflowers, the ground trembled. A cracked formed on the edge of the bluff just under the overhanging edge of the house. It shook, and slowly shifted downward.

Until it tumbled and slid down into the river. A hand may have appeared out the window. Perhaps not.

There’s no explanation for my continued climb to what was now the top, where I found the beast dangling. It lives in me. I shall not love in that way again.

I Know How This Ends by Amy Impellizzeri

Journalist Rory Garcia struggles in her relationship and her career, seeking stability in both. On her way to cover a protest, she is thwarted by roadblocks, yet she finds herself investing in a story that calls to her despite her skepticism of its veracity. Kate and Ian return in their friend Dee’s tale to Rory of their time-bending romance, as they make their way to their daughter Hope’s graduation, valedictorian of a special class, those born on or close to 9/11. Impellizzeri moves her characters in and out of time and dimensions and lives carefully and credibly, so that by the end, Dear Reader is fully satisfied by not only the romance at the crux of the tale, but by all the connections and possibilities. I received a digital copy of this wonderful story from the author for an honest review. Although I was a bit confused throughout the story, the ending pulled it all together beautifully and left me with a book hangover.

This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagán

Annie has had it with people, declaring that she is accepting no new people into her life after her fiance moved to Paris to find himself, her career stalled due to a sexual harassment incident, and her closest friends have become “concerned.” Told in epistolary style through Annie’s journal and email correspondence, Dear Reader is privy to Annie’s private thoughts—her frustrations and confusions—as she stumbles into new friendships despite her declaration. Pagán infuses humor into the story as Annie faces challenging decisions. Fans of Ann Garvin and Sonali Dev will appreciate Pagán’s delightfully flawed characters and realistic storyline which offers no clear-cut answers to life’s hard questions. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this wonderful novel by one of my favorite authors from the publisher Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley for an honest review.

The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green by Erica Boyce

Daniel Green finds purpose in secretly designing and creating crop circles within a secret organization who have field agents across the country. On his significant fifteenth crop circle, he feels drawn to the family of the farmer who hired him, and his life may just find another purpose. Boyce carefully presents the process of designing and making the crop circles, delving into the psyches of those who choose to do this work, and offering very human reasons for their hire. I received a copy of this wonderful story from the author’s agent Eric Smith for an honest review, and I highly recommend this book.