Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Review - Summer is for Lovers by Jennifer McQuiston

This is the next book in the series I reviewed a couple of weeks ago.  While I really enjoyed the first book, I found I enjoyed this one even more.

The book takes place in the same world as What Happens In Scotland, but this time David has gone down to Brighton for an extended holiday with his Mother.  This also happens to be the same place he had previously attempted to take his life 11 years earlier and had been saved by a local girl.  They meet again on the same beach, and strike-up a friendship knowing nothing more can happen because he is unwilling to fall in love again and she needs to find a husband with more financial security.  At least that is the plan.

While this is the second book in the Avon series, this book stands alone well.  The same humor is there from What Happens in Scotland, but this book expands upon all of the elements that were present in the previous book and this time knocks them out of the park.  The humor is still there, but is more subtle and rarely takes the reader out of the story to land the joke.  The characters are just as well developed, and the struggles they each are going through are relatable.  The challenges of an unmarried 23 year old women during this time were real, and  having to chose between the financial security and future of her family and the man she loves is a realistic problem to have, and is done without too much angst. 

I hope we will finally get to see David and James work out their differences.  There is a bromance brewing there that I think McQuiston will be able to handle with the same humor and charm she has put into these last two novels.

Another 5 star book.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review - Loved by You (A Laurel Heights Novel) by Kate Perry

This is the 10th, and I believe final, novel in the Laurel Heights series by Kate Perry.  KT and Chance are both quirky characters who begin a fake relationship that at some point stops feeling fake, and they have to figure out if they can make a real relationship work.  The side story is about KT's sister Bijou's budding relationship with musician/therapist Will, and her reluctance to date another relationship.  KT and Bijou grew up the children of world famous rock star parents, who are just as quirky and lovable as their children. 

We also get to see glimpses of several of the previous characters in the Laurel Heights series.  If this is the end, I wish we could have seen just a bit more of the characters we had grown to love as some were completely omitted in the final book and I felt like I didn't have a chance to say goodbye.

I think for a new reader who had not read the previous books, this would be easy to pick-up and not feel lost.  The characters from previous books we do see are well explained and have reasons to be there, so it shouldn't leave a new reader wondering what they were missing.

Romance - 4 stars

I liked KT and Chance together and honestly find it hard to imagine either of them not being happy with anyone else.  I found Chance more likable of the two, however from the glimpses of KT I'd seen in previous books, I was already fascinated by her and was looking forward to her story.  I found the romance a bit rushed.  I felt it from Chance's side, but sometimes KT seemed more in lust than in love. 

Plot - 4.5 stars

I think Perry does a good job with the plot and pacing of this book.  My only complaint is that there are several points where I was shouting at KT and Chance that they just needed to keep their clothes on a little longer and talk to each other!  I think Perry is a good enough writer to have found a more creative way to keep the couple apart.

Characters - 5 stars

KT and Chance were well drawn out characters as was Bijou, but I felt Will was lacking a little.  I liked Bijou and Will enough as a couple, I really wanted them to have their own story and get to know Will a little better, and more about why he didn't perform as much anymore.  Maybe we'll see more of them in the next book, which is why I am still giving this 5 stars.

Writing - 5 stars

Perry does a great job of giving the characters their own personalities and staying true to them.  The story is light and funny and everything I've come to expect from Perry.

Overall - 5

Overall I give this novel, and the series, 5 stars.  It was an easy read, and left me happy and content, if not a bit sad to be leaving the Laurel Heights community that I've come to know over the past year.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book Review - What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston

This book is best described as The Hangover meets Jane Austen.  This was a challenging task, but McQuiston absolutely hit it out of the park.  She had me on the first page.  I found myself reading half of it out loud to my less than appreciative husband because I was laughing so hard.

Romance - 4 stars

The romance in this book was good.  It felt a little rushed at times, and I wasn't always sure if the heroine was wanting a relationship or if she wasn't.  Neither did she, so that was probably the point, but sometimes the story felt a little wishy-washy because of it.  I was getting a little frustrated 1/3 of the way into the book when they main characters had not really met yet, but once they did there was no doubt that I wanted these two to get together in the end, and the way it happened was perfect.

Plot - 5 stars

The plot in this book was solid.  McQuiston did a great job putting several different smaller story-lines into play, and then wrapping them all up believably by the end.  I also enjoyed how the book was full of "mini mysteries" where different pieces of the puzzle were solved throughout, and not everything all at once at the end.

Characters - 4 stars

I gave this 4 stars because of the wishy-washy heroine I discussed above.  Otherwise, I think the character development was done very well. 

Writing - 5 stars

This is where the book excels.  McQuiston creates great imagery in her word choice.  Each sentence is put together deliberately that gives a clear idea of what is going on in the hero and heroine's heads.  She also keeps the characters in their time period well.  I always knew I was in 1800's Scotland.  I also thought she did a great job using the brogue, keeping it to the characters of lower class and only having the high class characters break into it when they were excited or drinking.

Overall - 5

Overall I give this novel 5 starts and will absolutely be reading the next book she publishes.  The first chapter of the next book in this series is included in the digital copy, and I anxiously await its release.