Review (quick and dirty #4): The Rules of Love and Grammar by Mary SimsesĀ 

I chose this cute story because it’s set on the Connecticut shore, where I spend some time on the beach with my children each summer. I liked meeting Grace, and seeing the family dynamics as she temporarily stayed with her parents. I enjoyed meeting the people in her hometown, especially the bike shop peeps. But then Grace got a little unlikeable: immature (re)actions toward men she’s crushing on, blundering through her home life, and making some disappointing choices. The bike rides were beautiful, though, and so was the happily ever after, but the ride could’ve been a little smoother. 

Note: If you like your heroines seriously flawed, you’ll appreciate this book more than I did. 

-calliope

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Review: Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe by Rebecca Raisin

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Looking for a cozy, warm-hearted read on a chilly day? Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe is full of yummy baked goods, loving friends, and sweet romance… not to mention lots of snow!

Lily and Damon must plan their wedding among the ups and downs of real life. I liked that Damon was so supportive and loving, but it was a little too convenient that he always walked into the cafe at just the right moment!

Lily’s friendships and family relationships were believable and fun. Her woes seemed real and would have me on the same emotional roller coaster she was riding! The characters dealt with heartbreak – from whatever cause – although things did happen a little more neatly than they do in real life. (Of course! Or else it wouldn’t be a romance!)

My favorite part of any romance is the happily ever after. Here, there are some predictable twists and turns on the way, along with a very interesting wedding cake.

It was a little bizarre reading a British romance set in a small, northeastern American town with an important character having a southern American dialect. And even more bizarre when I would read British vocabulary (braces for suspenders) after reading a southern accent in a northern town! But I managed through it for this charming Christmas romance.

-Calliope

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Review: The Mountain Between Us by Cindy Meyers

20131108-161406.jpgA snowy Christmas romance! The Mountain Between Us is set in Colorado, in a tiny town where everyone leans on each other. The dynamics among the residents of Eureka remind me of those in Robyn Carr’s Virgin River — a focus on family, with woodsy, macho men who protect strong and emotional women.

Cindy Meyers gives us DJ and Olivia, a former couple who may or may not get back together; and Maggie and Jameso, a newish couple who have some real obstacles to overcome. Throw in a few spinsters, a con artist, a teenager and a local diner, and you have yourself a town.

I liked how Meyers gave the characters strength and integrity. They were likable and sweet. They held each other up during snowstorms and swindles. They lent each other an ear and a shoulder to cry on. I also liked the dual romance… and the inclusion of extended family. I felt like I could depend on these people. I trusted them.

The only thing that disappointed me about this book was the rambling writing. Some chapters took way too long to say what they needed to say. A good 10% of the verbiage should have been cut to tighten up the writing. Because of the long-windedness (especially in the first half), I found myself skipping over entire paragraphs, itching to get to the action! Nevertheless, the writing is excellent and the dialogue flowed naturally.

The Mountain Between Us is a warm Christmas romance, replete with snowstorms, love, and a strong sense of family. Read it beside your Christmas tree with a cup of hot cocoa, and you might even hear the jingle bells.

–Calliope

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