Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Published:  June 2019 – Ballantine Books

Book provided by the publisher and NetGalley

My take: On the day Evvie Drake decides to pack up and leave her husband she gets a call from the hospital saying he’s been in a terrible accident. That’s not a spoiler, it happens in the first pages of the book.

Evvie doesn’t tell anyone that she was going to leave thus throwing her into widowhood and keeping up the resulting appearances – even to her best friend. This friend, knowing Evvie needs income, sends another friend who needs a place to live to see about renting the apartment attached to Evvie’s house. Dean is a baseball pitcher who lost his mojo and needs to hide out in a place where he won’t be easily recognized. Small town, midcoast Maine seems like a good place. Evvie and Dean slowly form a friendship that was fun to read. I enjoyed their banter and the slow progression of their relationship. I liked how they figured out, in a not so simple/convenient way, the direction their lives would begin to take.

Themes of depression, anxiety, grief, friendship, and love are touched on in Linda Holmes’ deceptively breezy tale. I read it in an afternoon and recommend it to fans of romantic comedy. I wouldn’t be surprised if this winds up on the big screen.


 

The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely

The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely

St. Martin’s Griffin; July 10, 2018

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Description:  April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau–the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love? (publisher)

My take:  Remember the Rom-Com movies of the 1990s/2000s? That’s what this novel reminded me of. There are attractive characters in their late 20s, fun repartee, and enough drama and comedy to move the plot at a good pace. There’s also great chemistry between the main characters which made me hope for a happily-ever-after. Who am I kidding? Books in this genre are nothing if not predictable – and I enjoyed it all. There are a few sexy scenes and some language that would earn an R rating if it was a film. The Real Deal is the first book by Lauren Blakely I’ve read. If the rest of her books are this much fun I would definitely read more.


Advance Praise:

“I loved everything about these characters, from their sparkling banter to their electric attraction. Witty, clever, and swoony.” — Amy E. Reichert, New York Times bestselling author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

“A hilarious, hot slow burn. The Real Deal is full of witty banter and characters you’ll fall head over heels in love with.” — Helena Hunting, New York Times bestselling author of Shacking Up


About the author:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. She enjoys comedies, cake and good company.