Review: Mocha Sunrise by Julie Carobini

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Best friends Livi, Bri and Gaby love each other like sisters, including telling it to each other straight even when the truth hurts. When Livi is mentally tortured by her antagonistic cousin/roommate, Bri and Gaby give Livi good advice – that she fails to follow.

Then Caleb enters the picture. Though he’s fighting his own demons, he forms a trifecta with Bri and Gaby to defend Livi. They push Livi to get out of her rut, push through, face her fears, make some decisions.

I like that Julie Carobini writes this story based on friendship, and maintains that main plot even while other things are happening to Livi – getting arrested, having job problems, meeting a new guy. I read a lot of contemporary romances, and none seem to hold the friendships in as high a regard as the romantic relationship. Mocha Sunrise focuses on the strength of friendship even while the best friends have romance in their lives.

I totally loved seeing Livi and Caleb find themselves as individuals and come together as a couple. Their transformations were amazing – from two uncertain and uneasy characters to honest and discerning people who were so authentic that I shed tears for them. 🙂

I appreciated Carobini’s hopeful and uplifting messages delivered by Caleb. And as I read Mocha Sunrise I felt a sense of peace and joy. How appropriate for this Christmas season.

-calliope

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Review: Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson

20140522-211508-76508850.jpg This Juliet faces off with Leo, not Romeo… but their respective families have been in a feud for decades, just like the Montagues and Capulets. Both families make chocolate, and Juliet and Leo find themselves competing against each other at several chocolate competitions. In between trying to best each other, they do a little talking, a little getting to know each other, and a little kissing. Wait until you see what their families think!

I loved these characters! Juliet is strong, sassy, and sweet. Leo is romantic, gentle, and persistent. They each have outspoken relatives that remind me of a big Italian Sunday dinner…. you know, the mom who can stop a train with her glare, the cousin who “by mistake” spills secrets over dessert, the uncle who isn’t quiiiiiite right. These people are heartwarming, charming, and funny.

Know what else is great about Unmasking Juliet? The chocolate. Truffles. Hot chocolate. Caramel chocolate with sea salt. Chocolate covered strawberries. Chocolate bars. More truffles.

This book starts with a masked ball and ends with a happily-ever-after. The middle is magical… and delicious.

–Calliope

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Review: Once Upon a Winter’s Heart by Melody Carlson

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Emma’s Poppi died, and with him all romance and true love – or so Emma thought. When she left Seattle to go home and take care of Nona, Emma was jaded as. Watching her parents’ marriage crumble and her sister Anne’s neglect of her marriage, Emma was set to start the new year in mourning.

Then Emma began helping at Poppi’s bookstore, spending time with her young nephew Tristan, and having fun with friends – especially Lane, Poppi’s protégé. She remembered Poppi’s wisdom and open heart, and tried to do what would make him proud – and make herself happy. Lane joined her on the journey.

Emma and Lane had a roundabout way of realizing that romance and true love was alive and well. Once they did, it warmed my heart. This was a well-written novella with nice, drama-free main characters, and a family feel. I especially liked Nona’s cooking lessons and the spontaneous singing of That’s Amore!

-Calliope

Buy it now Once Upon A Winter’s Heart