Category: Contemporary (General)
Review: The Disengagement Ring
The Disengagement Ring by Clodagh Murphy
Linda's Review: Murphy’s “The Disengagement Ring” is actually her first novel, which I sought out after finishing “Girl in a Spin”. This one is set in Ireland and the heroine is Kate, a chef who does freelance cooking and has just returned from a catering to an African safari. She is the ugly duckling little sister of a large family so engrossed in her sister’s wedding that most of them don’t notice she’s become a swan – she’s hardly aware of it herself.
Kate does, however, have a boyfriend, her first, Brian (aka “The Treehugger”), universally despised by her family. The “ring” in the title is not the kind one puts on a finger, but rather is the plot hatched by her family to break Kate and Brian’s engagement.
A key, though initially reluctant, part of the scheme is family friend Will, manager of the Walking Wounded, a successful rock band. Will, of course, has been Kate’s secret crush since girlhood, especially since she lost her virginity to him after a Trinity Ball; Will, alas, has no memory of the that alcohol-assisted event.
As with Murphy’s other book there is no surprise ending, but getting to it is worth the time. Again, there’s a great cast of secondary characters: the band members, Will’s skinny, bitchy, celeb-wannabe girlfriend and all of Kate’s family. Even Dev, from the second book (Girl in a Spin), is referenced a few times here.
Having enjoyed The Disengagement Ring and Girl in a Spin (click on this link to read my earlier review), I hope Clodaugh Murphy has another romance in the works. I’ll be the first to check it out.
Girl in a Spin by Clodagh Murphy
Linda's Review: I came across Clodagh Murphy’s Girl in a Spin by accident - something about the cover information appealed to me. This is a lively romance about a young Irish woman (Jenny) now living in London, who becomes involved with the leader (Richard) of the British political party expected to win the upcoming election.
Because of Richard’s high profile, and the recent separation from his wife, the affair has been kept top-secret, but keeping it that way is becoming difficult. This means that Jenny must be groomed to be the appropriate partner for a PM and any skeletons in her closet need to disappear. Enter Dev, Richard’s newly-appointed Director of Communications. He is handed the task of making sure that Jenny’s image is squeaky-clean, a bit tougher chore than she had led him to believe. Needless to say, there is initial friction between Dev and Jenny, but circumstances, and Richard’s less than stellar character, lead to the predictable conclusion.
Yes, it’s predictable, but the journey to the happy ending is worth taking. Jenny’s active social life, most of it including her two delightfully odd male flatmates, combined with the challenges Dev faces in sanitizing Jenny’s past – minor indiscretions, at least in her mind – make for a pleasant way to pass a cold winter’s evening.
Review: The Next Best Thing
JC's Review: I'm only half way through The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins, but so far it has been a really good read. The women of Lucy's family are notoriously called "The Black Widows" because their husbands die young. Lucy is the newest Black Widow after her husband dies in a car crash after 8 months of marriage. The book begins a few years after the accident with Lucy realizing she wants a family. But there are two problems: She only wants to risk marriage with someone she is willing to lose to the family curse, and that means she has to end her relationship with Ethan, her best friend (with benefits). Adding to the twist is the fact that Ethan is her late husband's younger brother.
I'm enjoying this book because Lucy is such a three dimensional character. She has a job in the family bakery, but is frustrated because no one will listen to her ideas, and her talents as a pastry chef are being wasted. She still loves her husband, and her grief is quite real. And she is torn up with guilt over her relationship with Ethan, and trying to make sense of it. I can't speak to the ending because I haven't gotten there yet, but so far, I would recommend this read.
The newest Nora Roberts, Savor the Moment, is circulating at the Library, and is also a Pop Pick! I'm only half way through this one, but so far it is my favorite of the series. -- JC
Product Description: Wedding baker Laurel McBane is surrounded by romance working at Vows wedding planning company with her best friends Parker, Emma, and Mac. But she's too low-key to appreciate all the luxuries that their clients seem to long for. What she does appreciate is a strong, intelligent man, a man just like Parker's older brother Delaney, on whom she's had a mega-crush since childhood.
But some infatuations last longer than others, and Laurel is convinced that the Ivy League lawyer is still out of her reach. Plus, Del is too protective of Laurel to ever cross the line with her--or so she thinks. When Laurel's quicksilver moods get the better of her--leading to an angry, hot, all-together mind-blowing kiss with Del--she'll have to quiet the doubts in her mind to turn a moment of passion into forever...
Vision in White the newest title from Nora Roberts is now in the Popular Picks collection.
Product Description from www.noraroberts.com
Wedding photographer Mackensie "Mac" Elliot is most at home behind the camera, but her focus is shattered moments before an important wedding rehearsal when she bumps into the bride-to-be's brother . . . an encounter that has them both seeing stars.
A stable, safe English teacher, Carter Maguire is definitely not Mac's type. But a casual fling might be just what she needs to take her mind off bridezillas. Of course, casual flings can turn into something more when you least expect it. And Mac will have to turn to her three best friends--and business partners--to see her way to her own happy ending.
I would give this one 2.5 stars out of 5. If you haven't read Roberts before, you will probably like this one, because of its concentration on female friendships and strong female protagonists. However, if you are like me, and have read a lot of Nora Roberts, this one won't stand out.
The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi
Publishers Weekly Review: Southern hospitality and sweetly loose-lipped neighbors ooze from the pages of the sparkling latest from Lippi. John Dodge is a traveling man, rescuing small businesses around the country to flip for a profit. When he finds himself in Lamb's Corner, S.C., to take over a stationery store, he is greeted by some kooky Swedes building an automotive plant and an observant young girl who is determined to uncover his past, among others. Dodge, as he calls himself, befriends Julia Darrow, the owner of a fine linens store who is always in her pajamas. Julia is secretive and mysterious, but Dodge cannot ignore his attraction to her. He doesn't plan to stay in Lamb's Corner very long, and it becomes apparent that Julia can't leave. Lippi's characters are heartfelt and pricelessly named (one 10-year-old boy is called Bean Hurt). While the novel moves slowly, it's never shy of drama: Lippi makes a great story out of how a hardcore wanderer and an agoraphobic come together.
From Publishers Weekly
Bestselling author Susan Wiggs keeps her romance reputation going with this feel-good story of a wronged woman who gets out on her own and gets going. Sarah Moon, a comic-strip writer, is happily married to Jack Daly—until she comes home to find him entwined and naked with a business associate he had badmouthed to her just hours earlier. After five years of marriage, including months of infertility treatments because of Jack's cancer, infidelity is the last straw, and Sarah pack ups and leaves Chicago for her hometown of Glenmuir, Calif. Sarah uses her comic strip, Just Breathe, to vent her frustration and relieve her stress. The character, Shirl, is undergoing fertility treatments, getting a divorce and moving back in with her mom. (Comic strips open each section of the novel). And in Glenmuir, lo and behold, Sarah's dreams come true. She finds out she's pregnant, and begins a friendship with her high school nemesis, Will Bonner, who's now the town fire captain and a single dad whose lonely daughter reminds Sarah of herself as a young girl.
Wiggs takes serious situations and weaves them into an emotionally wrought story that will have readers reaching for the Kleenex one moment and snickering out loud the next.
Just Breathe is available in hardcover (paperback May 2009).
Set to be published this month, Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas is in the catalogue and gathering holds.
Jack Travis leads the uncomplicated life of a millionaire Texas playboy. He makes no commitments, he loves many women, he lives for pleasure. But no one has ever truly touched his heart or soul. Until one day, a woman appears on his doorstep with fury on her face and a baby in her arms. It seems Jack is the father and this woman is the baby’s aunt. The real mother has abandoned the child to her more responsible sister. And now, Jack is being called upon to take responsibility for the first time in his life. With delicious romantic tension, characters so real they walk onto the page and into your heart, Lisa Kleypas delivers the kind of novel that makes you laugh, love; cry and cheer.
Blogger note: I've only read historical romances by Lisa Kleypas, but in those books, she writes very clever dialogue and funny situations.
Miss Prissy loses her cool
by Susan Andersen
Prim and proper Jane, along with her more worldly friends Poppy and Ava, inherited the Wolcott mansion in an old Seattle neighbourhood. Jane is a young museum curator trying to catalogue the timeless treasures left by the widow Wolcott for the Metropolitan Museum but gets distracted by a red-headed Irishman.
Sparks fly between Jane and Devlin Kavanagh, the construction contractor hired to restore the sad old mansion. Dev is confused by Jane's mixed messages; conservative clothes but sexy shoes and underwear? The passion Jane feels for the man startles her, a totally new experience.
While the two are struggling with their new-found relationship, a burglary takes place in the mansion and irreplacable treasures disappear.
Cutting Loose was named #2 on Amazon's Top Ten Romances of 2008. You'll enjoy the sassy and sexy characters, the quick wit and a bit of suspense thrown in.
Adele has had such bad luck when it comes to dating that she is starting to believe she's cursed. When she has to move back to her hometown to help out her pregnant sister, Adele has no hopes for her love life, but has mixed emotions when she runs into her old college flame, and finds out that the curse doesn't seem to affect him.
Overall, Not Another Bad Date is a pretty good romance novel with a bit of supernatural silliness. If you like Rachel Gibson, try another one from her series of romance novels about single female authors like Tangled Up in You or Sex, Lies and Online Dating.
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