Once Perfect, A Loveswept Contemporary Romance, Cecy Robson
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
So..I loved Cecy’s Weird Girls novels but hadn’t read any contemporary romance of hers. This was a slow start for me…I didn’t feel that magic connection between Evie and Teo for a long while, but it grew eventually and I was rooting for everything to come right. I found it hard to really get “into” the book til about quarter of the way through, I’m not sure why – I think maybe the settings and characters just didn’t really appeal at first. There’s a number of different issues brought up on this book, race, sexual and physical abuse, and a huge change in living standards for Evie. I found some parts really interesting even though they were hard to accept – Teo’s mum’s attitude for example, and the way people struggling financially put so much into a teenage party for reasons of tradition. Still, that’s what’s fun in reading, the way we see and learn about different cultures. Its no less than the people who spend thousands on a fancy wedding when the bills are piling up elsewhere…..
I admired Evie, the way she’d struggled to overcome her past and make something of her life, it would have been easy to just give in and not do anything constructive. Teo’s a like minded person, but he’s also supporting his family too, and his troubled past means finding better work is difficult. Donovan provided a bit of extra contrast but I didn’t feel his role added that much to the story. I liked the epilogue but did feel that part went really quickly – we jumped ahead without really seeing too much about how the actual problems were resolved on a day to day basis. There was drama here – and I do love that – but somehow it didn’t come across as very strong, and I didn’t feel really moved despite some terrible things happening.
Stars: three and a half, its more than three but not quite up to a four for me.
ARC provided via Netgalley and publishers.
The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams, Fiona Harper
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
This is the third book I’ve read about a business dealing with wedding/marriage proposals, and each one has started from the same point and gone in very different directions. That’s what is so great, how authors have such different ideas about stories, even if the brief is the same. I’ve been to art classes where 12 people will follow a step by step painting and yet produce 12 very different works at the end. Originality always comes through.
So, poor Nicole, her business really needs this latest job if its to survive, but then she meets the man who’s about to get proposed to…and finds out he’s the new years dream kiss mystery man. That wouldn’t matter so much, he wasn’t going out with this lady then but – wow – the attraction is still there on Nicole’s side, and she’s determined not to let it show. Fate and Alex though seem to have other plans. I love Nicole, she’s been hurt in the past by a jerk who she’d dated for two years, then just when she thought they were on the brink of getting engaged he dropped the bombshell and dumped her, looking for someone who fit the social grouping he’s in…grrr…that must have been devastating, especially as she’s worked so hard on herself to fit in with others. A real blow to her confidence and since then she’s avoided dating and focussed on her business.
Alex, wow – what a heartthrob. He’s not only a good looking guy but a decent one, and though he feels a pull to Nicole he tells himself its not really there, that he’s with Saffron and he’s just helping Nicole with her magazine article by letting her work with him for another full day. Its one of those times where Nicole can’t tell the truth without giving away the job she’s doing, and of course confidentiality is essential so she finds herself roped into another day working with Alex, and then another…meanwhile Saffron’s ideas go from giant to enormous, and Nicole can’t seem to steer her in the direction Alex would like, maximising the chance of a Yes – the Yes and publicity that would follow that her business needs to survive. The lies keep growing, she can’t tell either Alex of Saffron the truth and she’s getting really stressed about the whole thing. Her two friends have money invested in her business though so it’s not just herself depending on the success of this job. Saffron is a media star and she knows the job will attract the publicity they so dearly need.
Its a fun read, a bittersweet one at times and I really felt for Nicole especially when everything hits at once. That was tear-jerking in just the way I love. Once Nicole had gone down the path she did I couldn’t see what she could do either – if it was just her the business depended on then maybe – but her friends need their money protected too.
Stars: Four, a really enjoyable read.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers.