Title: Pretty Face (2017)
Series: London Celebrities – Book 2
Author: Lucy Parker
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Extent: 222 pages
Release Date: February 20, 2017
It’s not actress Lily Lamprey’s fault that she’s all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that’s not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn’t so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.
Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He’d be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily’s suddenly rising career, it’s threatening Luc’s professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they’re not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…
I don’t usually write reviews for the romance novels that I read, but Pretty Face is a bit of a special case for one simple reason: I liked it so, so much, I pretty much started rereading it right after I finished it. It’s actually the second in a series but it’s more of a companion novel, and while I also enjoyed the first one, I like this one just that much better. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is the level I think contemporary romance should strive to be at, and I’ll be following Lucy Parker’s work for years to come. ✨
Title: Maybe in Another Life (2015)
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary
Extent: 342 pages
Release Date: July 7, 2015
At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.
Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?
In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?
Taylor Jenkins Reid is far from being my favourite author, but I’ve always appreciated what her books speak to. Her stories are essentially, I think, coming-of-age stories: her protagonists always undergo some huge life change that forces them to grow and learn. In Maybe in Another Life, we see one protagonist do exactly that… but in separate timelines.
Title: One True Loves (2016)
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Extent: 352 pages
Release Date: June 7, 2016
In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.
On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.
That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.
I’ve been curious about One True Loves ever since I discovered what it was about, well, two true loves. My past experience with Taylor Jenkins Reid was with Forever, Interrupted, which is a heartbreaking account of a woman who lost her husband soon after they wedded, and my expectations for this one were a bit higher given that it has a higher Goodreads rating. Are they met? Well…
Title: Forever, Interrupted
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Romance, Chick Lit, Contemporary
Release Date: July 9, 2013
Extent: 352 pages
Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.
Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.
Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.
Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.
Forever, Interrupted seeks to answer a question that most—if not all—of us really, really don’t want to answer: What do you do when you lose the love of your life… forever? I picked up this book dreading it a little bit because holy crap, that’s one of my worst fears ever.
Title: Nuts (2015)
Series: Hudson Valley – Book 1
Author: Alice Clayton
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Extent: 320 pages
After losing almost all of her clients in one fell swoop following an accident involving whipped cream, private chef to Hollywood’s elite Roxie Callahan gets a call from her flighty mother, saying she’s needed home in upstate New York to run the family diner. Once she’s back in the Hudson Valley, local organic farmer Leo delivers Roxie a lovely bunch of walnuts, and soon sparks—and clothing—begin to fly. Leo believes that everything worth doing is worth doing slowly…and how! But will Roxie stay upstate, or will the lure of West Coast redemption tempt her back to Tinseltown?
First things first: reading this book at night before bed was a mistake. Every description of scrumptious food called out to me loudly, prompting me to more often than not make a midnight snack I didn’t need but really, really wanted. Nuts is light-hearted—I love all the food puns, descriptions and tips. I bake a lot when I’m stressed and generally enjoy cooking, and this book is definitely close to my heart in that sense.