24 April 2014

Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner

I found a great addition to your summer reading list:

Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner by Lisa Wingate is a charming Texas romance complete with a dreamy cowboy, a large, soulful dog that just won't go away, and a cast of quirky Texans to help our unhinged heroine along her life-changing journey.

While I could cook up my own summary, this one on the back cover is what drew me in:

Big Lizard Bottoms--where getting hitched is a local industry--is not any place Lindsey Attwood, a play-it-safe paleontologist who's sworn off romance, ever expected to find herself. She's here posing as a horse psychology student to help recover dinosaur tracks stolen from a local guest ranch. After only a day at the ranch, things start spiraling out of control. Her horse-therapy horse hates her, she's been adopted by a huge stray dog with a bad reputation, and there's this local rancher who has her all moonstruck. After years of digging around in the past, Lindsey's wondering if it's finally time to see what the present has to offer.

Doesn't it sound like PG fun? Sometimes you just need a light-hearted, kissing only, cowboy love with a mystery thrown in for good measure. Lindsey's character is frustratingly overprotective and borderline neurotic about her 8 year old daughter being in Mexico with her father, but I had to keep reading because I wanted to watch Lindsey let go and evolve. The large, smelly dog that won't leave Lindsey alone is reminiscent of Barnabus from The Mitford Series and adds some light hearted fun into the mix. 

Overall, the story is anything but unpredictable - which I didn't mind as I was hoping for a relaxing read - and the ending wraps up almost too neatly. However, the writing is clever, easy, and enjoyable, though I doubt a lot of the dialogue would translate well to film. Yet Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner is the perfect summer book and has made me a definite fan of Lisa Wingate.

11 February 2014

Vision In White: Book One of The Bride Quartet series

I'm back. Like a Hollywood film serial killer that just won't die no matter how many times you shoot, stab, or burn him, eventually turning the poor psycho into an actual monster from Hell, I have returned.

To review a book.

How anti-climactic.

Yet I felt it a borderline necessity to write my review of Nora Roberts's romance Vision In White asap because Friday is Valentine's Day. I mean-- duh.

(thanks for the photo Random Website)

Because of repeated wanderings throughout the library staring at books, judging their covers, checking them out and then not reading them, I went to Facebook and whined for something fun and romantic to read. I'm an emotional reader and could not figure out what book would fit my mood. I got a few great titles that I will review at a later date (you know-- WHEN I'VE READ THEM), but Vision In White - courtesy of my friend Kellie - stood out. Mainly because I like the shoe on the cover.

First of all, Vision In White popped my Nora Roberts cherry.

Her books are EVERYWHERE and I knew she wrote mysteries as JD Robb, but I thought the Roberts books were smarmy romance novels. And even though I secretly want to read a smarmy romance novel despite 50 Shades of Grey making my eyes bleed, Nora Roberts never entered my brain.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when all of my misguided, ignorant prejudices were proven wrong with this lovely little romance between a wedding photographer and a professor.

Mackensie (Mac) Elliot grew up in a broken home thanks to divorced parents comprised of an absentee trust fund baby father and a beautiful, selfish, dramatic mother. She and her three best friends now run a wedding business out of the estate owned by her best friend Parker Brown. Mac loves her job and friends, enjoys men, but does not believe herself capable of true love or wanting true love thanks to Mommy Dearest.

Enter Carter Maguire. Bookish, handsome, clumsy, awkward in a charming way, and sufferer of a major crush on Mac in high school. At this point, we still have the plot to a bad porno but with sweet characters and witty dialog. There are no surprises in this book. And that's not the point. You like Mac, you want to see her evolve into a woman who will finally stand up to the nightmare that is her mother and realize that she deserves happiness, however messy. It's about the journey.

The witty flirtation between Mac and Carter made me smile, as did Carter's total inability to smooth talk Mac - it was cute. I'm excited to read the other three books in The Bride Quartet series and watch the other three women meet the men of their dreams. Mac is a very relatable character, making up for Carter's unrealistic perfection……. which makes him a great guy for female readers to fantasize about - I mean, he rescued a three legged cat and named him Triad! *swoon*

I also enjoyed the sex scenes. Well written, not too detailed, and focused on "making love" versus "having sex," a rarity these days. The most annoying part about the book - and I have a feeling this applies to many of Roberts's works - is the blatant product placement. It never occurred to me that brands would purchase advertising space in books, but when you're an author as popular as Nora Roberts, that's not a half bad idea.

I found it tacky.

Overall, Vision In White is like reading your favorite romantic comedy film with a bit of good sex, some cheesiness, and a character study for good measure. A good book worth curling up with a blanket, glass of wine, and chocolate to read on Valentine's Day.