When Gracie Met the Grump by Mariana Zapata
September 15, 2022
Mariana Zapata is a stealthy author – she just randomly announces on instagram that she is dropping a book that day, and everyone rushes to read it.
If you like Zapata’s writing, this book will definitely work for you. Highly slow burn, over 600 pages long, lots of dialogue between the two main characters. What’s different about this book is that it’s not contemporary romance – it’s a superhero book. The superhero male character is world-famous, nearly indestructible, and crash lands in Gracie’s backyard, needing help to heal. Gracie is lonely, hiding from a big bad (we find out who eventually), and has some slight ESP.
The superhero who is secretly very grumpy and the shy heroine who wants a chance to love very much worked for me. It was a long ride, but I liked the payoff – and if you are a Zapata fan, you’ll enjoy this one too.
You, Again by Lauren Layne
July 19, 2022
Lauren Layne’s most recent releases have really worked for me. She has a strong sense of place in her stories – in this book and others, set in NYC – and I have appreciated her gender-bending take on tropes this year. In this book, the heroine is a commitment-phobic character, whereas the hero knows he wants marriage to a special someone. This book had the ultimate embarrassing meet-cute: while the heroine is getting stood up at the bar for her hookup date, she gets on her dating app and rejects a guy. Unfortunately, the guy happens to be sitting next to her and comments on it. Then, next Monday… that very guy is the heroine’s new boss.
This book was fun – and even though commitment challenged characters are not my favorite, I appreciated the way the two main characters eventually got together. Quick, fun read – for me, it’s an A-.
The Friendly Air by Elizabeth Cadell
First published January 1, 1970
I’m not entirely sure how I found Elizabeth Cadell – possibly by searching for old school romances with a flair of Barbara Metzger or Georgette Heyer. In this book, Emma Challis is a young woman who was orphaned and had to make it on her own in London after her grandparents passed away. She is now engaged to a family friend’s fashionable lawyer son, Gerald, but there is something missing in their relationship. Gerald requests help with persuading an older, difficult client, Lady Grantly, to move, and Emma decides to help the charming woman. This takes her on an adventure to Portugal to help set-up Lady Grantley’s new home, where she meets people who have a more genuine, slow way of life.
The plot sounds convoluted, but it is actually delightful. This book was published in 1970, so prepare for older technology and no steam.
This book contains a love triangle, but Gerald is so odious, that I didn’t mind the love triangle at all. Lady Grantley is a delight, and I enjoyed watching Emma find her own version of happiness.
Solid B read for me.
Thanks for your mini reviews, Iby! I’ve added the Zapata book to my wishlist.