The Wedding Season – Samantha Chase

Welcome back to another week and another new book! This book was centred around a girl, her best friend (who’s a guy) and his brother. Without even getting into the book we’ve already got a love triangle going on!

As we get into the book it turns out that our girl (Tricia) leads a rather boring life of work, friends weddings and talking to her best friend via Skype. Where we kick off Tricia has just received more wedding invites meaning that she’s up to 6 weddings to attend that summer. Luckily her best friend Sean was due back before the first wedding and said he’d go to all of the weddings with them. And as part of this, they could pretend like they were dating so that both could avoid all the annoying set up situations and questions. I was pretty surprised at this stage that a single guy would be willing to do this. I can’t say I know any guys that would pretend to date me if we were single to attend weddings for friends to avoid all the annoying setting up stuff that goes with them.

So the fact that Sean is willing to do that is quite a surprise. Instead his brother ends up going with Tricia to carry out the plan to save her the embarrassment of going alone. While executing this plan they end up getting involved romantically only for it to end up on the rocks with Sean coming between them. While all this was playing out I was so confused. Trying to figure out how this had happened, how Sean’s mum had made sure it happened. And in the end how Tricia and Sean’s brother end up making it work.

It’s not 100% figured out at the end of the book which I liked. But they felt like they were on their way. One of my pet peeves with a lot of romance books is how everything is going amazingly well, then something happens to derail the whole relationship, only for them to figure things out JUST IN TIME for the end of the book. Often in ways that are so over the top and unrealistic I’m left going “ahhhh when and how does that ever actually happen?”. So to have a book bring in the issues of family and distance among other things and the fact that they aren’t 100% resolved by the end of it is a refreshing change. I really enjoyed that perspective and I can see how Samantha can build on that in the rest of the series.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks post. It was a little shorter than normal because I didn’t want to spoil the book for anyone. When I see you next week I will be reviewing “The Viscounts Mistress”  by Claire DuLac.

One Summer Weekend – Juliet Archer

This one is a pretty new book and I feel honoured to bring you a review about it. Today I’m going to start with a quick blurb about the book then I will get into my thoughts about this one!

I began reading this book at the start of the Queens Birthday long weekend, for those of you not in the Commonwealth that basically means we get an extra day off work just the Queen of England wants to celebrate her birthday. Which for us Aussies just means we get another day to drink and relax. This year I took the opportunity to have a mini-getaway with my partner since we won’t be having a mid year holiday together. And because we are a super cute and romantic couple our mini-getaway was basically spent walking around Daylesford in rural Victoria before I spent a good 2 hours or so soaking in the spa bath having my glass of wine topped up regularly while he watched UFC on the tv.

Now I’m gona guess that some of you are probably thinking “but what has that got to do with this book?”. For me, everything. I believe that the time and place you read a book can really impact how you enjoy it. Since this book is shorter (or at least it felt shorter) than most of the books I’ve been reading recently I felt a great sense of achievement when I realised I’d read like half the book while relaxing in the bath. And since Daylesford is a really quiet, romantic type of town (after you get through the stupid tourists that seem to forget that there are other people around) made especially so by our secluded villa with a fireplace (since it’s winter here the fireplace was very much appreciated!).

So already being in a romantic frame of mind I felt I was really able to enjoy this short, sweet story between a modern day woman fighting against the “old school” mens club mentality by building her career off of coaching them how to manage their companies better. And then we also have a guy that initially comes across as your typical young playboy who’s had too much money and power all his life and is enjoying it much to much to ever contemplate changing or listening to an attractive woman.

What I thought was a great twist was that it seemed that for once the man was more in tune with his true feelings than the woman was. And that the woman was all wrapped up in her own past, insecurities and negativity to be able to move forward. Even when the object of her past that is holding her back reappears and tries to make things worse she manages to wake up an triumph against it. Which of course, since this is a romance novel means the happy couple end up together.

How they got together in the end irked me a little bit because they end up deciding that they will just up and take time off work without any notice or planning. I don’t know if this annoys be because of my OCD need to plan those types of things out. Or whether it’s because I feel like I’m often left having to pick up the pieces when someone decides 2 weeks to a month out from their holiday that they are going to go away regardless of what is happening at the time. But I guess it’s just a novel so I shouldn’t read to much into that aspect of it.

The rest of it was beautifully written, simple and allowed me to really just relax and enjoy my romantic weekend away which wouldn’t have been complete if I didn’t have a good book.

Now that the long weekend is finished I will see you next week with a review of another Guernsey Novel. This time it is “Dangerous Waters” by Anne Allen.

Also, don’t forget to check out the other blogs participating in this Book Tour, the author bio (below) and you can enter a draw to win copies of “The Importance of being Emma” and “Persuade Me” (also below)!

Author Bio

Juliet Archer writes award-winning romantic comedy for Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction. She has been known to spend many happy hours matching irresistible heroes with their equally irresistible chocolate counterparts – watch out for the dark nutty ones!

Her debut novel, The Importance of Being Emma, won the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Her second novel, Persuade Me, was shortlisted for the 2011 Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read Award.

Juliet’s third book, One Summer Weekend, is out in June 2018. You can also read her short stories: Incense & Insensibility in the Choc Lit Love Match anthology, and Love Rules in Choc Lit’s Kisses & Cupcakes anthology.

Juliet was born and bred in North-East England and now lives in Hertfordshire. She gives talks all over the UK and in the USA about the classic authors who inspire her work. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Jane Austen Society. Her non-writing career has spanned IT, acquisitions analysis, copy editing, marketing and project management, providing plenty of first-hand research for her novels.

The Seven Steps to Closure – Donna Joy Usher

Welcome back, this week I read The Seven Steps To Closure by Donna Joy Usher. I started this book while on the plane back home after finishing up Bleddyn Hall and I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of this book because I’ve never read anything that started off with a heartbroken woman. But this was a surprisingly great book and had me hooked in so bad I stayed up until midnight two nights in a row even though I needed to get up for work at 6am. It was worth it though! It was worth crashing and being ridiculously tired the day after I finished the book at midnight, just so I could finish the book.

We started off with Tara who is heartbroken a yr after she left her husband after finding out he was cheating on her. With her cousin. At this stage she’s just had her 30th birthday and finds out her husband is already engaged to before she’s even received any divorce papers. What kind of a guy cheats on their wife, let alone with her cousin who she had previously been really close to?!

To try and help her get over Jake and allow her to regain control of her life, her 3 girlfriends encourage her to complete the 7 steps to closure from an article in Cosmo. Tara is a little hesitant to do this not thinking it would help. However she realizes that she needs all the help she can get at this stage an agrees to complete all 7 steps to closure. I’m sure most of us have been there at some point in our lives. And it sucks. The fact that she’s got 3 awesome girlfriends there to support her and help her get over her ex is amazing, and more than some people have when in similar situations.

The first 2 steps are really quite simple and I was surprised Tara hadn’t already done this as many woman will get a new haircut and wardrobe after a breakup to allow themselves to feel better and more empowered. But I gota say, I was surprised by step 4! Have meaningless sex. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and can go against some peoples beliefs and values so it can be really tricky. Plus if you don’t do this with the right type of guy it can even be detrimental to the healing process. So I’m kind of surprised that Cosmo would recommend women have meaningless sex!

Luckily Tara doesn’t sleep with just anyone and passes on a few guys that sounded really creepy. She is however committed to having meaningless sex and so goes out to have drunk meaningless sex. By the sound of what she remembers she found the right type of guy to do this with. And she seems to have held up well the morning after which was a relief to hear.

At this stage her friends give her her passport back so she can organise step 5, which is to take an adventurous holiday! Here I was thinking she’d be jetting off in like 3-6 months because that’s normally how long I’d spend organising a holiday since you need to get time off work, flights, hotels etc. I guess having one of her best friends as her boss meant she had more flexibility than most and could organise a holiday to head off in a few short weeks. Now me personally could never do this. My OCD and need to control details would leave me a stressed out wreck trying to organise a holiday on such short notice. But Tara manages it and jet’s off to India to stay with her ex-brother-in-law who also happens to hate Tara’s ex Jake.

Fate seems to have kicked in and on the way to India the guy sitting next to her keeps bumping into her, looking at her and overall making her feel uncomfortable. Until he tells her that he was her one night stand. At which point she becomes mortified, which had me feeling mortified along with her. Having to face your one night stand and having to admit that you couldn’t remember them aren’t exactly easy things to do. Luckily he seems pretty cool about it and even proposes that they do some sight seeing together. I started to get a little skeptical about Tara’s safety at this stage. Because to me this seems like a silly thing to do. Although that might just be because of all the crime based tv show’s I’ve watched where the careless girl inevitably gets kidnapped and/ or killed by the hot friendly guy she barely knows.

Good news is, while out with her ex-brother-in-law it turns out Matt is also friends with him. So he can’t be that bad! And after a turn of events Matt ends up having Tara tag along with him to see some of India’s sights. Along this trip there are some cringe-worthy moments where I really feel for Tara and I feel like she had to have ruined any chance of ticking off step number 6, have meaningful sex, with Matt. I mean, she got food poisoning and spent a night on the toilet which is bad enough as it is. To then have Matt offer to slide her book to her since she’s likely to be there and offer to put the TV on really loudly so she doesn’t feel as self-conscious has got to kill any feelings in that department, surely right?

And if that didn’t, you’d think tripping and landing on a pile of cow shit would definitely do it! Nope. Tara is one lucky girl where none of these things turn Matt off of her. And I sat there thinking, I couldn’t even get a kiss out of my partner when I went through this for almost a day and she gets sex and a relationship within a day of having food poisoning? Life is definitely not fair, and I found myself a little jealous that Tara could just jet off to India, meet a cute guy (ok technically it’s re-meet) on the plane and get to have her very own tour guide take her around to all the best places on just a few weeks or days notice!

And then when they got back to Sydney it all falls apart. And I gota say, I was secretly happy that this happened. Then started to feel bad when I found out that she had to publicly watch and hear how both her ex’s were moving on with their lives by getting married to other women.

With some encouragement from her friends, Tara ends up trying to crash Matt’s wedding to object to the marriage. Except she rocks up just a little bit late to then be hit in the leg with a golf ball from her ex husband Jake, to then swallow a bee who stung her tongue when she falls to the ground. Which meant that she needed an ambulance since her tongue and face became quite swollen. This really shows that she seems to get hit with the unlucky stick quite a lot. Which really allowed me to feel like I was her. Because I felt so similar to her.

And if she can get her happily ever after, maybe I can as well. Even if I am hard to get along with at times, seem to get hit with the unlucky stick quite a bit and that I don’t always find it easy to express how I feel and would rather withdraw and get away from what’s hurting me. So maybe I can learn to let go of my control like Tara did to really make the most of my life.

The next review will be for “His Fair Lady” by Kathleen Kirkwood. I look forward to seeing your then!

Feel free to comment below with your thoughts or feedback on this blog!

Thirty-Eight Days – Len Webster

This book got me in so many ways that very few books do, and I love that it didn’t give me the typical happily ever after that so many romance books strive for. Which makes it unexpectedly engaging for someone like me who normally guesses what is going to happen before it happens. So let’s jump into the book now!

We start of with a memory of a young Noel and even younger Clara, as innocent as can be and as sweet as can be. At this stage I guessed the book was a boy (Noel) meets girl (Clara) and when they are older they move into a romantic relationship and live happily ever after!

Fast forward 15 yrs and we get to Noel who now lives in Boston and has been living in America since he graduated high school. At the time we get to him he’s preparing to take an 8-week holiday back to Melbourne, Australia with his best mate Alex. That is until Alex calls to tell him he can’t make it and wants Noel to go back to Melbourne as planned, but now he wants Noel to stay with his little sister to make sure she’s ok since going through a bad breakup. Noel ends up accepting for the sake of his best friend, since he has to stay in New York because of a court case he’s caught up in.

Then we move to Clara, and we will keep switching between Noel and Clara throughout the rest of the book. When we get to Clara we find her finishing up her final uni exams for the yr and looking forward to going home to wallow in her self-pity at being newly single. We find out that Clara considers herself a loner with no friends even though Annie, Stevie and Jarrod try to get her to open up to them and accept that she is a part of their friendship group.

Next thing Noel has arrived in Melbourne to sweltering heat and meets Liam while heading in to Clara’s apartment building. Liam chats to Noel and they hit it off as buddying bro-mance straight away. Liam mentions that there is a hot brunette living on the same level as Noel’s “mate” and Noel’s sexual interest is immediately peaked. Then of course, because Noel is a typical Aussie bloke, he puts his foot in his mouth because he hasn’t seen Alex’s little sister since he left for America. And turn’s out Clara has turned into a beautiful woman that Noel is instantly attracted to.

For the first half of the book Noel and Clara are fighting their attraction to each other and avoiding the other as much as possible. The final straw for this was when Noel forgot about Clara’s birthday after having a great dinner with her and leaving her to pay the bill herself and then walk home alone from Lygon Street while he catches up with his ex and then taking said ex back to Clara’s apartment to have sex with her while Clara ends up sleeping outside in the courtyard to avoid hearing them.

This mistake does however tip Clara over into being mad at Noel and that forces Noel to kiss Clara as an explanation of why he’s been so awful to her for so long. Now I don’t know about you, but if I was yelling at the guy I like coz he’s been a complete ass hole then I’d be even more pissed off if he then tried to kiss me. And yet Clara has the poise and control I don’t, and she simply turns around and walks out of her apartment to get away from Noel.

The next 30 odd percent of the book seems like everything is going well once Noel rescues Clara from a dive bar. They are super in love, doing cute dates, Noel even goes out of his way to show Clara how much he loves her by finding a trinket he bought for her before she was even born. The final 2 days before all hells breaks loose we know Noel spends the day making phone calls. Now they never actually confirm what these calls were, but I think that they were calls to his boss’s in America to resign, to his landlord to end his lease and to organise for all his stuff to be moved as well as to start the search for a job in Melbourne.

What we do find out at the end of the following day is that he organised a custom-made engagement ring for Clara that truly represents their love. Only to have Clara end it because she won’t let Noel explain what happened when she was told a lie by a spiteful ex and saw another ex kissing Noel for a split second. We get to hear how both Noel and Clara handle this heartbreak and I found myself wondering how and when they’d make up as I crept closer and closer to the end of the book. By the time I got to 90% complete with Clara dating Liam and Noel planning to ask some new girl in Boston out I found myself wondering what miracle would happen to bring them together for their happily ever after.

Only to find out that they don’t have one in this book! My first thought was “thank god! It’s not another sappy love story. It has a girl too afraid to really let people in who just want to be her friend, let alone want to love her. And she’s learnt how to protect herself from others”. However, at the same time I couldn’t help but feel that this resonated with me.

I’ve always been fearful of letting others in, of sharing secrets about myself and who I really am in case these get used against me to hurt me. And it made me reconsider if Clara is only setting herself up for more pain by doing this. Whereas Noel was ready to open himself to this pain and got burnt. But he accepted this and is doing the best he can to move on and mend his broken heart. And this is what I will take from this book.

But stay tuned for book number 2! Because turns out this is just the first book and Noel and Clara’s story isn’t over yet! But next week I will be reviewing “Bleddyn Hall” by Amanda L.V. Shalaby.

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