I love a romance novel! Here are some I’ve read lately…
Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe was a review copy given to me by the fine folks at Touchstone Publicity. We learn early on that Frankie is a young widow, though we don’t know the exact circumstances of her beloved Alex’s death. She flees from his memorial service to a small cabin in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, owned by his family. There, she seeks refuge from the world and slowly builds a group of trusted friends, all while dealing with (mostly well-intentioned) attention from her family, and from his. The romance between Frankie and Alex never felt that convincing to me, and while the setting and secondary characters around the cabin were lovely, this novel never really coalesced for me. Not quite romance, not quite chick lit, not quite literary fiction, not quite a mystery…not quite anything. Easy to read and very atmospheric, in the end, this novel left me a bit…hollow.
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave isn’t exactly a romance novel, but certainly has romantic elements. A week before her wedding, Georgia runs home to her family’s Northern California vineyard to seek solace, answers and reassurance. But things are in upheaval in her family just as much as in her love life. This is such a great modern novel of love, family, wine and being a grown up, no matter how much we don’t want to be. Filled with great humor, memorable characters, easy writing and a dandy plot, this is a great summer read!
Unteachable by Leah Raeder is not like the other romances on this page, let’s just say that! Maise just turned 18 and is ready for her senior year, despite her trainwreck of a mother and absolute disinterest in fitting in with her classmates. When she meets a stranger at the nearby carnival, their chemistry is scorching and immediate. Until…he turns out to be her teacher. This novel actually really surprised me – the writing is sharp and lyrical, with some truly fantastic turns of phrase; the characters are believable, and not always likable (making it even more compelling); and the plot was surprising to me in a lot of ways. The sex scenes are blazing, and the story is appealing to the new adult crowd, as well as those who remember those love-is-EVERYTHING feelings of high school. Recommended!
Only a Promise by Mary Balogh is the next in the “Survivor’s Club” series of novels taking place in Regency England. Ralph has tremendous survivor’s guilt for having come through the war, when so many of his friends perished. Chloe is still reeling from a terrible Season in London, so when these two damaged souls meet, it may not be love at first sight…but it soon will be. Another great addition to the series!
I also recently read an advanced reader’s copy of 37 Things I Love by Kekla Magoon, a young adult novel. It sounded so promising, the cover was so great, but the story was so…flat. Unimaginative. Boring. 😦