Guest Review: Holly Lane by Toni Blake

Holly Lane (Destiny, #4)Holly Lane by Toni Blake
Contemporary Romance
October 25, 2011

Nicole, from The Book Pushers Blog is guest reviewing today!

Goodreads Blurb: The weather outside is frightful, but kisses by the fire are so delightful . .

Sue Ann Simpkins is working hard to rebuild her life and find some holiday spirit. A weekend away from Destiny in a cabin on nearby Bear Lake seems like the perfect Christmas gift to herself—until her ex’s best friend, Adam Becker, shows up at the door, claiming the cabin is his! And if that’s not trouble enough, how had she never noticed how gorgeous he was?

Alone for the holidays and forced to play a reindeer at the local department store, Adam’s been feeling rather Scrooge-ish himself. But finding the smart, sexy woman he’s admired since elementary school waiting in the house he rented is helping to brighten his humbug mood. And when a sudden snowstorm strands them together in very close quarters, leading to one very hot night together, Adam soon realizes that what he really wants for Christmas is a second chance at love. Now all he has to do is convince Sue Ann . . .

This was my first read by Toni Blake, and I had heard so many great things about her that I was excited to start this one. Unfortunately for me it started strong and slowly started falling apart.

Sue Ann’s husband has left her and she is barely hanging on trying to keep her spirits up and provide the best Christmas she can for her daughter. When she tries to get away for the weekend, a scheduling mishap has her spending the night with her ex’s best friend Adam. After a night of some smoking hot sex, Sue Ann does everything she can to put some distance between them.

But Adam has other plans. After just one night with Sue Ann he is hooked on her. What starts as physical soon turns into more for him, and each time Sue Ann pulls away from him he gets more and more grumpy. But he is determine to win her over, and when he puts his mind to it, he is determine to get the girl in any way possible.

I wanted to like this book, and when it started strong and sexy I was fairly optimistic that this would become a new favorite holiday read. But the more the story went on, the closer and closer it came to being a contemporary romantic retelling of A Christmas Carol. Now, I have nothing wrong with using classic books as a guide, I even liked A Christmas Carol. But one of the things that I absolutely can not stand is when contemporary romance books add in a splash of paranormal: ghosts, premonition, dreams that are so real the character believes they have actually happened/will happen. I love paranormal books, but when authors try to use even a little supernatural in their contemporary romance books it completely turns me off.

That being said, had the dreams of Christmas past, present and future not played such a predominant role in Adam’s behavior, I think I would have liked this book more. Both Adam and Sue Ann were well developed characters and I thought that their romance had great potential. I did wish that each of their kids would have played a more active role in the book however, it felt like both Sue Ann and Adam didn’t think about them as much as I would have liked them too.

I do think the town of Destiny housed a cast of characters that could be lead to another great small town series. I’ve always been a big fan of books set in small towns, as I think the town itself can be portrayed as another character that livens and can really make a book great.

One of the other things I noticed is that is seems as if everyone in Destiny is divorced. I don’t know if that is a common feature in Blake books, but that in-and-of itself almost turned me off a little because it seemed like everyone had to go through a fail marriage before finding a good one. It just seemed a little unreal and ridiculous.

All in all I wanted to like this, I really did. However it really just didn’t work for me. While I enjoyed Blake’s writing and might be willing to try another story by her, this one really didn’t do anything for me.

I give Holly Lane a D+

Recent Reviews:
Dear Author – C
All About Romance – B
Heroes & Heartbreakers

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  1. says

    Well not sure if I would mind that ghosts of christmas, but a man who gets more and more grumpy I would dislike. And I think that the children would be important, is that not the whole reason of being a parent?

    • says

      I would think so. I hate when books have children as an integral part of the story, but don’t ever give them the necessary attention. It’s upsetting to me. :(

  2. says

    Thanks for the warning Nicole, I’m with you on this: me too I don’t like paranormal elements in my contemporary novels :-/

    I loved Toni Blake’s Sugar Creek and was looking forward to reading Holly Lane, but you made me cautious, thank you, would have hated to be disappointed.

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