book club


a surprising and entirely unexpected email popped up in my inbox granting me early (and i like to think of it as VIP) access to jessica lemmon’s newest book HARD TO HANDLE, in exchange for posting a review. i almost deleted the email because (a) i enjoyed the first book so much and second books often don’t live up to the expectations the first one set and (b) i’m still on a self-imposed blogging hiatus.

however, the lure of the VIP book and the request for words written by me was too much to resist…apparently i’m not hard to handle (ooh, see what i did there?) and i decided to dive into lemmony’s pages and put my blogging pants back on for this occasion.

what it’s about from Porter Square Books:

ONCE BURNED Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she’s bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can’t resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn’t let herself fall in love . . . TWICE AS TEMPTING Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he’s determined to win back the woman he’s always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden’s not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?

my opinion:

this companion novel contained some of the same characters we met in TEMPTING THE BILLIONAIRE, but the tone of this story was quite different than its predecessor. this story was one of loss, hardship, second chances, and redemption. even though this wasn’t as lighthearted as i expected, it was a refreshing read because these are real people making real mistakes and figuring out how to overcome their own boneheadedness. usually i read to escape reality, but the honesty and raw emotion of this story were wrapped up in truth and i wanted to squeeze out all the advice i could. it felt like a bit of free therapy (thanks, lemmony!).

my only gripe was the pacing. the beginning was a bit slow with its hashing and rehasing of the initial meetings between aiden and sadie. having read the prequel CAN’T LET GO, i already knew the savory details of that time and didn’t need to hear about it again and again. basically, i think HTH stands on its own without the prequel. sure it was nice to spend more time with these two firecracker characters in CLG, but it wasn’t necessary towards furthering my understanding of HTH.

while reading this story, i came across a line that stood out to me because i remember lemmony on twitter asking about the slang term. i didn’t know this particular bit of slang, but i was the only one in that conversation who did, and so lemmony included it in the dialogue (as she should have). i got a real kick out of reading it in the final version because i felt like i was part of a secret society — one who knows exactly how much thought and care and time goes into each line of text even though it reads as effortless.

jessica lemmon has turned the romance genre on its head once again which i guess means she’s turned it right side up (since she flipped the genre with her last book), but if this is the new normal, you can count me as a permanent audience member.

HTH releases on october 1, so you barely have to wait until you can get your own copy!! huzzah!

FTC Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.

book club

BOOK HUNGRY: i’ll be seeing you

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, blake leyers, karla nellenbachand myself. we pick a book to read. we discuss via phone and/or google hangout and/or on email and/or on twitter. we post a review on our individual blogs the 3rd thursday of the month. click on their names above and enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is: 

I’LL BE SEEING YOU by suzanne hayes and loretta nyhan

what it’s about from porter square books: 

“I hope this letter gets to you quickly. We are always waiting, aren’t we? Perhaps the greatest gift this war has given us is the anticipation…”

It’s January 1943 when Rita Vincenzo receives her first letter from Glory Whitehall. Glory is an effervescent young mother, impulsive and free as a bird. Rita is a sensible professor’s wife with a love of gardening and a generous, old soul. Glory comes from New England society; Rita lives in Iowa, trying to make ends meet. They have nothing in common except one powerful bond: the men they love are fighting in a war a world away from home.

Brought together by an unlikely twist of fate, Glory and Rita begin a remarkable correspondence. The friendship forged by their letters allows them to survive the loneliness and uncertainty of waiting on the home front, and gives them the courage to face the battles raging in their very own backyards. Connected across the country by the lifeline of the written word, each woman finds her life profoundly altered by the other’s unwavering support.

A collaboration of two authors whose own beautiful story mirrors that on the page, I’ll Be Seeing You is a deeply moving union of style and charm. Filled with unforgettable characters and grace, it is a timeless celebration of friendship and the strength and solidarity of women.

my opinion:

there is something about the act of writing letters that is utterly charming to me and this is the third book i’ve read that’s utilized the letter writing forum to reveal an astonishing story. (the first being the GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY and the second DADDY LONG LEGS.) i think this form appeals to me because letter writing breeds a particular honesty and in the middle of that, there’s something tangible about the connectivity between these women.

it reminds me of my relationships with my book hungry gals — we’re using the technology at hand to communicate and cajole and teach and learn and laugh and connect. of course, we’re more likely to trade insults than recipes, but that’s just how we roll.

but back to the book, these two women are astonishing in their bravery, resilience, determination, humor, selfishness, unselfishness and strength of character. they both fall into and defy the stereotypes of their ages (rita is a bit older than newlywed glory) as they live and love and struggle. i adore rita and her cast of characters in iowa a bit more than glory and her team, but my not so tender feelings towards glory are redeemed during this won’t part i won’t tell you about because i don’t want to spoil anything, but basically, she earns my respect and gratitude and i’m talking like i know her. that’s how real these characters are.

i also loved learning how loretta and suzy wrote this. how did i learn this? loretta joined our conference call and dished the details. these two ladies “met” on social media and launched into this project much the same way glory and rita began. neither woman had met the other in person, but the tales and emotions and advice and respect grew as the letters flew back and forth.

long story short, this is a delightful book and you should read it.

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