The One That Got Away

Everyone has been posting pictures from the beach in the last few weeks. It is Spring Break, but for those of us here in Dallas, it has been rainy season. I’ve never seen such rain–in Indiana the rain is in short 20 minute cloudbursts and big storms. Here it rains for DAYS, and in constant soaking sheets.

But finally, the sun is out. It was a gorgeous 72 degrees today, not a cloud in the sky. It was warmer in the house than out with the windows open, so after yoga yesterday I decided to make myself a Bloody Mary (or two) and have a mini “Spring Break” day on the porch. It was pretty perfect.

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Bethany Chase is releasing her debut novel tomorrow, and it was the perfect read for such a sunny spring day. If you’re looking for a great beach or poolside read–this is the one! And it just happens to be set in Texas!

Ree’s design business is taking off and her newest client just happens to be a friend of a friend…and a one-night stand from her past. Her boyfriend is away on business in Argentina for a long-term trip, and they are struggling with the distance. Ree is figuring out exactly what she wants out of life, becoming more successful, and balancing two very good-looking (and to be fair, caring) men. It’s all very complicated, dramatic, and sexy. This is chick-lit at it’s best!

I’ll be honest, this isn’t a genre I pick up as often anymore because it can all be very stencil, paint-by number. But Chase had me laughing with the characters’ sarcastic humor. Ree’s countrygirl background was me all the way, and while sometimes in stories where two guys face off one or the other can be placed in a “villian” type role, this was very realistic in my opinion.

All in all, this was a funny, heartfelt book that goes down easily with some sunshine, a little music, and an icy drink.

 

Disclaimer:  NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review.

Before I Go

The last few books I’ve read have been intense–from Game of Thrones to a nonfiction memoir about a boy genius starving in Africa. My brain has been on overdrive, and so have my emotions. I was ready for an “easy read.”

And so I picked a novel about cancer.

What? So much sense I make, right?

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Colleen Oakley’s new book Before I Go is due to release on January 6. And yes, it is about a women in Stage 4 Breast Cancer. Or, as she calls it:  Lots of Cancer. She tackles her Lots of Cancer with…not so much grace as much as stark reality, frustration, and determination. What else are you going to do when you have an orange in your brain?

This isn’t a romance novel, but Oakley follows that same romance novel pattern, which I think is why it was so calming to read, even while it was an emotional subject. It’s very much Women’s Fiction…if not really Chick Lit.

I blew through this in an afternoon, and it was a page turner for sure. I fell in love with Daisy, maybe because she reminded me so much of myself..and Jack is so much my husband. Their relationship was so familiar, and I’m not going to pretend like I didn’t get maybe a little more emotionally involved than I normally would have in a book like this.

This is one to look out for in January. I’ll be recommending it to my mom and sisters. It’s just the type of book they’d like!

Goodbye Chick-lit, Hello Dragons

In the hallway of my childhood home, we had these towering bookshelves that were full to the brim. At least that’s how I remember them…maybe because I spent quite a lot of time, sitting on the floor in front of them, with books scattered on the floor around me, pulled off the shelves. While seated, there was a whole row of Babysitter’s Club, neatly pink and organized. But if I stood up, I could reach all of my mom’s books. And those, my friends, are what I loved most. Those were forbidden fruit. The books I REEEEEEEEEEEAAAAALLY wasn’t old enough for, but read anyway. I don’t really remember any of them, except for Thorn Birds, which I have already told you about, and still love to this day. I do know, that a great many of them were romance novels, because if there’s one thing my mother loves–it’s a love story. I share that trait with her, as do my sisters.

For most of my reading career, smut was my one true love. Especially historical romances. I loved the lords and ladies the most. And it wasn’t even that I needed the sex scenes…that held no interest for me, I mostly skipped over that…mostly. It was the romance that I wanted. I had this dream of being swept off my feet–the Disney Ideal. You know what I’m talking about.

I also loved more modern Chick-Lit. That stuff I could relate to more as I got older, because the women were like me–the same time period, the same worries–to a point anyway.

But then, suddenly, I completely lost interest in them. Maybe it is because I started reading more difficult books, I think that has a lot to do with it. Or maybe it is because I became a lot more cynical and realistic about love and relationships. That’s probably more likely. I’m not going to sail on a pirate ship and meet a dark and dusky sailor…and if I did, he’d be more likely to kill me than love me. HR and Chick-Lit became comical and unrealistic.

That said…I lost faith in that genre about the same time that dragons and magic became believable in my mind. How twisted is that? I think my desire for whimsy makes sense though. When everything in my life was dark and dismal and depressed, I craved the light. When reality was kicking my ass, I wanted a fantasy world full of wizards and adventure. And now that I am out of that darkness, and my life is happy…I no longer need the fake love stories, because I’ve written my own. So why not continue with whimsy and magic?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I will always be a romantic, and I will always ship certain characters. I can’t help it. And when those characters get together in a story…fireworks go off in my head! I just don’t necessarily need that to be the sole premise of the book, or need it to be full of sex and smut. Give me a little substance with the love story. Even Pride & Prejudice has a LITTLE drama. A bit. It’s a classic. Right?