It’s a love story. It’s a ghost story. It’s a life story. It’s a happy story. But they’re all really one in the same, aren’t they?
Douglas Warren’s romantic “Montmartre Stairs: A Paris Love Story” is a genuinely written piece about love and all of the insane dynamics behind it. The story finds the instantly likeable and realistic Michelle, who encounters a stumble down a flight of stairs only to be rescued by the enchanting John. OK – this might not be groundbreaking plot development, but it’s purpose as catalyst to the following love story is effective and purely functional.
Smitten, the two embark on a journey of the realization of love and, to a certain extent, fate. Several obstacles are thrown their way, from John having to return to London for work, and Michelle an upcoming theatre star in Paris. While John has some things he needs to straighten out back in his London life which includes some truly vile parents, Michelle immerses herself completely into her newfound theatre life.
What unfolds is surprising. John’s epic battle with his parents allows him to embrace the more creative, innovative part of himself as presented through his new friendships with Michelle’s zany theatre friends. It’s not only his relationship with the love of his life that is presented in the book, but also his journey towards understanding who he really is. Yeah sure, there’s romance and love, but there’s also some truths about how the concept of love is really just a step on the ladder towards self-enlightenment.
What exactly is a love story if not a sordid saga of tumult, exultation, and longing? In the saccharine-lite “Voice of Innocence” author Lindsay Detwiler chronicles the oft-rugged terrain of first love.
The story is one of true love and devotion above all else. However, intertwined with the outpouring of one of life’s truest emotions is a story that is at once both modern and timeless. Emma and Corbin are the lovestruck couple here, and not without their own set of problems. Corbin is convicted of a murder he didn’t commit and finds himself not only in prison, but torn apart from his one true love.
Naturally, with him being locked away and ostracized from society, Emma finds herself having to live a life that is Corbin-free. She misses her betrothed heavily, however, she manages to forge a life for herself that is independent. Faced with Corbin’s release from jail, she and him must question the boundaries of their love, and if it still exists at all.
Don’t worry – Detwiler doesn’t pile on the schmaltz when dissecting the power of first loves and its inevitable impact on the rest of our lives. It’s an interesting take on what defines the state of contentment that we are so conditioned to crave and actively search for.
This one’s a keeper.
In “Sideways: The Sideways Series Book 1”, author Annie Carisle manages to create a mash-up of sorts of all the elements that make fiction so great. She incorporates intrigue and intensity, throws in some humour before things get too intense, and then comes back and throws in some gut-wrenching plot points.
In “Sideways”, our protagonist has a picture-perfect existence, which any seasoned reader will instantly knows is a catalyst for pending unraveling. Olive Prescott, said heroine, is viciously attached one night, forcing her to reevaluate her stance on life.
There are some roadblocks to Olivia’s road to happiness, primarily one man who is described as having “dark, soulful eyes” who keeps trying to integrate himself in Olivia’s life. This throws another wrench in Olivia’s current attack-induced state of second guessing herself and her romantic choices.
But wait! This book is also told from the POV of said man with the eyes. Gabriel Hughes, a savant when it comes to security and investigations, is enamored with Olivia but is unsure, as Olivia is, if romance is something that should go from in-the-cards to something more real.
The novel gracefully moves from a contemplation of human emotions to the more visceral needs of human life. It’s an interesting exploration of the choices we make, as well as with the coping mechanisms we have adopted with the choices that have already been made.
You are absolutely right – I did say I was not going to review any more historical romance novels, but I was just so intrigued by Rebecca M. Gibson’s woefully written “Diamonds Fall.” I’m not saying I’m going to re-introduce this genre into the reviewing fold, but I’m sure glad I did make an exception for this promising, young author.
As with today’s fascination with all things historical, from Outlander to Penny Dreadful, Diamonds Fall is a cohesive work that presents atypical heroes and heroines, each with their own set of flaws and strengths. The protagonist in Gibson’s book is Annabel Maria Hoddington, a girl born into high society, whose life of luxury has been ripe with extravagance and luxury. However, that all suddenly changes when she is kidnapped and held hostage in a remote village that is literally the antithesis to the ways of life Annabel is used to. She soon finds herself having to live the life of the impoverished and disenfranchised, forced to live with three siblings who have their own set of problems.
Now this is what I’m talking about.
Emily Clarke’s Fallen is a short and effective take on teenage romance with ambitious goals that does not fail to live up to its intentions. The protagonist here, Julie Anderson, goes beyond the personification of a real teenager. Depicted as an already semi-morose person, things only get worse for Julie as she has to leave all that she’s ever known when her father gets a new gig in Texas. All of this pre-sadness is of course the perfect catalyst to the tumult of the relationship Julie soon finds herself in with the very conflicted fallen angel, Nick Landers.
Ok, I have to be real for a second. Historical Romance is not really my thing. I mean, I LOVED Gone with the Wind and I like Outlander well enough, but I sometimes find the genre a bit trite and heavily formulaic. However, reading Monica Miller’s Threads of Betrayal has caused a semi-shift in my thinking towards the popular genre. Avoiding the jargon that comprises so much the Outlanders of the world, Miller presents a refreshing take on love, happenstance, and survival.
Falling firmly within the fantasy/action adventure genre, Sharon Cho’s “A Slice of Quietude is a refreshing” and modern take on the standard supernatural love story. The novel itself takes place in an unusual and outlandish cosmos where the key tenets of classic literature prevail: allegiance to established authority, true protection by loved ones, and the intrinsic violence of a modern society.