A blissful read.

Review of ‘Blissfully Blindsided’ by Robin Alexander.

Well, this was just another funny and delightful read by Robin Alexander!

Caleigh Breaux has just relocated to her grandparent’s town in Southern Louisiana after taking a job at a local company. After her previous job required constant travel and made a relationship impossible, she is ready to put down roots and find someone special. She meets Blaze Sonnier literally on her way to town as her car gets a flat tire and Blaze stops to help. There is some immediate chemistry but they part ways with no plans to see each other. What follows is a funny story about love, family, the town, and making amends…with some romance in there too.

Blaze’s character is by far my favorite. She is, how can I say this, misunderstood. Her life seems to be a constant stream of hilarious events that have been twisted and blown out of proportion by the townspeople. Caleigh is also a likable character with her own silly situations. Likewise, Blaze’s sister going through menopause was both comical and scary.
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Review of ‘The Fall’ by Robin Alexander.

This was just fantastic. However, before I declare that, I have to admit a couple of things. I listened to this one since it was included in Audible’s Romance Package. Once upon a time, I started the audiobook but quit early on. I could not get through the first family dinner scene. I was so overwhelmed by, wait for it, the Italian family (too close to home folks) that I had to move on. Since then, I’ve read two other Alexander books and loved them. Also, I have listened to two books narrated by Lisa Cordileone and also loved them. So, here I was looking for my next audiobook when I bumped into ‘The Fall’ again. I will not lie. I struggled through that same dinner scene at the beginning. Then I realized I had listened to it before and I had a choice to make. Well, since now I’m older and wiser, I pushed through and I am so happy I did!

Noel Savino is a dentist only interested in casual relationships after failing at finding true love a few times. She meets town newcomer Sunny Chase, who has only done serious dating but is looking to change to casual in order to leave her dating rut. After agreeing to casual, Noel puts her foot down and wants to date Sunny for real. This after her niece, Harper, made her promise to stay away from Sunny. Meanwhile, Harper is a teenager struggling with finding her sexual identity after meeting Lydia, Sunny’s daughter. This book just becomes a family affair.

‘The Fall’ is really two stories in one. Yay! This is about Noel/Sunny and Harper/Lydia. They were both fantastic on their own but worked so well together. Noel and Sunny were great together and tackled adult issues. Harper and Lydia were sweet and were in charge of navigating the first love waters. Together they touched on family, parenting, dating guidelines and more. Ms. Alexander wrote so many hilarious scenes that I just volunteered to mown the lawn so I could continue to listen. I’m sure some neighbors are wondering why one needs to laugh out loud while doing such an ordinary chore. The thought behind a person being a dog or a cat in terms of dating…that was priceless. By the way, I am so a dog! Everyone needs to read this to understand, then we can discuss it!

The characters are likable and so entertaining. The ones that are less likable grow on you and end up making you laugh along. The dialog is spot-on but never fails to be outrageously funny. Now, what really pushed this one to 5 stars was the secondary and surprisingly endearing topics such as first love and even some thought-provoking ones such as homosexuality and church. All these were in the background but when the story hits the proverbial fan, it was wonderful to see the author skillfully take the story along these paths without outlandish behaviors. Everything in this book seemed over the top without actually being over the top. That was refreshing!

Overall, a sweet and hilarious story that will no doubt win Ms. Alexander new fans. 5 stars.

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Review of ‘Just Jorie’ by Robin Alexander.

This was only my second Robin Alexander’s book. Although I did not like it as much as the first one, it was still an enjoyable story.

Lena Vaughn is in New York on a work trip when a snowstorm grounds all flights. Jorie Andolini is trying to fly out of New York after going there to meet an online love interest that did not turn out to be what she was hoping for. They meet at the airport and share a ride to a hotel, where they realize the best way to return to their home town of New Orleans is to share a car rental. There is some chemistry but when the trip ends, they part ways without plans for anything more. Jorie is back to her family owned business and Lena is left wondering why a woman has her full attention for the first time in her life.

The beginning of the book felt slow and I was not sold until Jorie fell off the treadmill. Literally. Then it started picking up and I was thrilled to see the book did not end with their arrival to New Orleans. There, the main characters find a way to come together and keep it rolling. The secondary characters also took some getting used to but then I found them hilarious. Of course, I’m talking about the meddlesome older family members of the Andolini clan.

This book does not have any mysterious turns. Things were civilized and the coming out part was as effortless as they come. This was a light fun story that kept me entertained. Pass it up if you like some drama in your romances.

I actually listened to the audiobook. It was narrated by Lisa Cordileone, who did a great job. It took me a few chapters but then she had me laughing out loud, successfully bringing Alexander’s witty dialog to life. Very happy my next listen is also narrated by her.

Overall a solid book for those who enjoy funny banter. 3.5 stars

         

Review of ‘You’re my kind’ by Clare Lydon.

Justine Thomas and Maddie Kind were a couple at university until Maddie left without saying goodbye. Ten years later, they are reunited at a friend’s funeral and Maddie wants to make amends for her past behaviour. Justine is not very keen to let Maddie back into her life but both have changed and this new Maddie is kinder, caring and still gorgeous. Will Justine keep her distance or will she give their relationship another try?

‘You’re my kind’ is a second chance romance that starts with a funeral. As anti-climatic that it might sound, the author makes it work more as a celebration of life than sorrow for an irreparable loss. Lydon is a master of lesfic rom-com with a British feel. Only that this time, she combines her usual witty, funny and sarcastic dialogues and situations with a savvy reflexion about life and death. As the author presents a piece of her philosophy of life, the story will make the reader cry, laugh and keep faith in humanity.

The novel is written in first person from the point of view of Justine, which helps to give an air of mystery to Maddie and her puzzling actions of the past. Despite that narrative distance, both characters are realistic and well-rounded and their chemistry is sizzling. Ms. Lydon knows how to write a good sex scene and this was no exception, both scenes reveal deep intimacy. Plus that first kiss was worth the whole read by itself. Hot, hot hot!

The secondary characters, mostly a group of friends, are also multilayered and altogether set the tone for compelling emotions around life, love and death. But, in my opinion, the absolute showstopper is ‘Cake Heaven’, the cake business featuring all kind of sweet delicacies. Warning: if you have a sweet tooth you might be tempted to run for some cake!

Overall, a great second-chance romance with a British feel and savvy insight about the most important things in life. 5 stars.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Year of the kiss’ by Giselle Fox.

In New Year’s Eve artist Sasha and PhD student Naomi meet by chance and they briefly enjoy an incredible kiss. But things get complicated fast and they both go separate ways without knowing anything about each other. Will they be able to meet again and find out if that initial chemistry has potential to develop into something more permanent?

‘Year of the kiss’ is a sweet romance novella set out in Boston in New Years’ Eve and the first weeks of 2019. All the characters are well rounded and credible, including the very charming Rob (Sasha’s brother in law) a huge Scottish guy with a tendency to drink buckets of whisky, engage in witchcraft and wear traditional kilts. The dialogues are funny and full of banter which gives this novella the perfect light and festive tone.

Despite that sparks fly the first time Sasha and Naomi meet, the author manages well the period they are apart. Their relationship is built slowly but when it reaches the peak it’s sizzling hot. To illustrate this, there’s a long intimate scene that considering its graphic nature seems more appropriate for an erotica book than a romance. However, it fits in the plot seamlessly and it doesn’t feel overdone.

This novel is written in third person from the point of view of both main characters, with each point of view shift marked with the character’s name. I’m not sure if this is necessary as, in my opinion, it interrupts the reading flow, but once the reader gets used to it it’s not too bad.

Overall, an entertaining, sweet and erotic novella with quirky secondary characters and funny banter. It’s my first book by this author but it won’t be my last. 4.5 stars.

With thanks to my Goodreads friend Tere for recommending this book.

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Review of ‘The road ahead’ by A.E. Radley.

Two days before Christmas, all flights from the south of Portugal are grounded due to technical problems. Among the passengers stranded are Rebecca Edwards and Arabella Henley, two strangers that decide to share the last rental car and drive the 1,500 miles back to London. The women can’t be any different and even incompatible but they’ll soon discover that the journey is also of self discovery and mutual understanding.

This is book one of the ‘Around the World’ series by this author which is followed by ‘The Big Uneasy’. Much of this book is spent in the building up of the mains’ friendship so, I suggest that in order to appreciate this story fully, you commit to read both books in chronological order.

‘The road ahead’ follows the ‘opposites attract’ formula and indeed, these women couldn’t be any different. Rebecca is in her late twenties, middle class and a lesbian while Arabella is in her early forties, upper class and – allegedly – straight. They are profoundly different but the author excels in transforming their relationship from the awkwardness of two strangers sharing a small space to find a common ground and to establish a budding friendship. This is where the book earned my 4 stars.

Unfortunately I couldn’t feel their romantic chemistry as much as their friendship bond. Maybe because the author doesn’t get the reader enough into Arabella’s headspace to see her musings about her life’s choices and sexuality, her romantic decisions come through as a bit forced and rushed. It doesn’t help either that the book finishes before their romance develops fully. So I think that this book is better appreciated as a whole with the sequel or else as a friendship story. Either way, it’s entertaining, sometimes funny, others sad, sometimes road-trip, others an inner journey.

Overall, an entertaining age-gap, opposites attract romance better enjoyed with its sequel. 4 stars.

ARC provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

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