I love a good starting-over story. In California Summer, Rosie doesn’t have much of a choice. Her Hollywood life fell apart and she ended up in Montecito – uncertain of her future. But, a mother figure/ butler friend/ bff/ neighborhood guy later, and Rosie’s on her way back up. Question is, does she want to go back to the fast lane, or does she want to settle in to Montecito life with the ones she loves?
I loved every fish taco, every Estelle dinner party, and every rose garden chat. Anita Hughes rocked the luxuriousness, as usual, and threw in some pop stars and surfers for good measure. The plot twist was perfect – completely believable and not overdone – and endeared me to Rosie’s boyfriend even more.
The only shortcomings of this novel were that Rosie had two very annoying habits: 1- wearing the same red, full length cocktail dress randomly and to every gathering under the sun, whether it was appropriate or not, and 2- Rosie ran and hid like a toddler from any uncomfortable situation. I just wanted her to get a new dress and grow a set!
Apart from those two things, I liked all the characters, even spoiled Angelica and Hollywood agent Ryan. Hughes did a great job rounding out character development and writing someone for every reader to identify with. My favorite parts were meeting Esmerelda through Rosie’s eyes, and watching Rosie finally grow up.
I like these Jessie Stanton novels. Jessie is a young woman who was burned by her no-good cheating ex husband, but made a new life for herself based on her love and talent for fashion merchandising.
This third installment is probably my favorite– mostly because it’s the most romantic! The love stories don’t necessarily take a front seat, because there’s a lot going on in Jessie’s life; but the romance doesn’t take a back seat either. Besides the ex husband, Bricker writes men who adore the women in their lives, who blow off steam by getting back to nature (surf’s up), and who serve others as a way of serving God.
Not a preachy novel by any means, Bricker uses upheaval in Jessie’s life to show how a faithful circle of support can make all the difference. Jessie’s girlfriends love her unconditionally and help her focus on her business. The God-fearing men who surround Jessie help her focus on her heart.
In the end, the good guys win in ways we don’t usually think about, and the heroine learns to lean on a new person for the really important things in life.
Love, in Writing is about a romance author, Margaret, who meets a sci-fi writer, Graham. They live in different towns in South Africa but keep running into each other at various events. Margaret and Graham develop a relationship, but each is too stubborn to see the love they have between them.
I enjoyed the South African setting, the surfing references, crazy cousin Louise, and Margaret’s bookshop (full of books with happy-ever-afters). The author signings and book launches were fun to read about, too.
I really liked that Margaret stood her ground and wouldn’t compromise her values and needs just because she met a hot guy. She wanted Love and Forever, and she was prepared to wait for it. I also thought it was great that Graham wanted to hold back, since his goal was a casual relationship. He pulled back from getting too close to Margaret before he was really ready.
Within this novel, Margaret and Graham wrote about each other in the books they were writing. Using valuable novel space to describe how and what they were writing was a little too silly for me. I skimmed over those parts when I saw them coming. I thought the plans near the end to get back together were also a little unrealistic. But I suspended my disbelief and was satisfied with the ending and the epilogue.
Love, in Writing is a well-written, quirky romance. The characters are fun, and the setting is unique. I enjoyed it.