I have to admit I haven’t been either reading or listening to books as much as usual.
Cleaning out mom’s house is a bear, but I’ll be back home in a few days to spend Thanksgiving with my family.
One of the great graces from this journey has been reconnecting with childhood and high school friends, many of whom have taken time out of their busy schedules to help us clear some things out.
Friends can be such a huge blessing, and often feel like shelter in a storm.
I’ve read two books where friends play a big role, so I thought I’d mention those.
First is Jasmine Guillory’s second title, THE PROPOSAL, which follows up her highly lauded debut, THE WEDDING DATE (review)—and made Kirkus’ Best Romance of 2018 list. YAY!
Kirkus called the book, “A charming book for the modern romance lover” (full review), and I agree. Fans will remember Carlos from THE PROPOSAL, and getting up close and personal with his Latinx family and sister is especially fun.
The “meet-cute” is when freelancer Nikole’s boyfriend of five months proposes to her at Dodger Stadium, captured on the jumbotron, and she says “No.” Pursued by the media, Nik feels trapped, but Carlos and his sister rescue her by pretending to be long-lost friends who need to catch up. Carlos and Nik begin casually dating, each dedicated to avoiding relationships. Carlos admits to his feeling first, but neither of the two is very adept at handling the situation. Nik’s friends play a vital role in the book as her sounding boards and, occasionally, her voices of conscience, but they also flesh out necessary scenes where Nik is building up her own strength and sense of self.
Especially satisfying is the scene where Nik’s ex comes back—after she’s blocked him for being horrible to her—and tries to blame her for his moronic behavior, then get back together. (Yes. He’s a tad bit clueless.)
There was a bit less overt drama in this title than in THE WEDDING DATE, but it was still delightful, with great dialogue, fun, endearing characters, and a yummy fictional Taste of LA, with all the dining and drinking the diverse cast does through the book. (I’d feel much worse about some of this, if I weren’t in El Paso, having probably more than my fill of delicious Mexican food—or at least more than is probably good for me…).
Very fun, sexy and satisfying read.
Meanwhile my sister and I have done a good bit of driving, and I’ve downloaded some favorite titles from the library to share with her. She’s not a huge romance fan, so we’ve started with MOON OVER MANIFEST. It’s ostensibly a middle grade title, but I recommend it for everyone. An amazing book, which she’s thoroughly enjoying.
Friendships old ad new are at the heart of this tender, beautiful story.
Kirkus says, The absolute necessity of story as a way to redemption and healing past wounds is at the heart of this beautiful debut, and readers will cherish every word up to the heartbreaking yet hopeful and deeply gratifying ending. (Starred review here.)
Next I think I’ll introduce her to Kristan Higgins with THE BEST MAN. You’ve all read that one, right???! (One of the Best Books of 2013. Review here.)
Speaking of Best Books—since I’ve mentioned two—how about Kirkus’ Best Romance Novels of 2018?
Some of my favorites of this year are there, how about yours?
Oh—you all know that Julie Ann Long lost her house in the California fires? There’s a gofundme page set up to help her, in case you’re interested. It’s here.
This is from Sharlene, my co-page coordinator on the Romance of Reading Page:
It's always hard to ask for help but I know many of you, like me, want to help and are not sure how. Due to the fact that Julie is moving from hotel to hotel as occupancy allows she is without an address. I suggested she set up an email so those that wish to help can send her e-cards to her email address.
Wal-mart, Target and Amazon are good options. You can also PayPal to the email address below. If you get a Visa e-card please make sure it can be used in stores.
Her email for e-cards is JulieAnneLongcampfire@gmail.com.
Please share if you know of others that want to help.)