Meeting at St Pancras

The Day We Meet Again Book Cover The Day We Meet Again
Miranda Dickinson
Fiction, Romance,
HarperCollins UK, Avon
September 5, 2019

Their love story started with goodbye…

The brand-new novel from The Sunday Times bestselling author, Miranda Dickinson.

‘We’ll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we’re meant to be together, we’ll both be there. If we’re not, it was never meant to be . . .’

Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn’t part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in twelve months' time if they still want to be together.

But is life ever as simple as that?

This is a story of what-ifs and maybes – and how one decision can change your life forever…

The old film about the strangers that meet at the train station and fall in love is re-imagined here as a modern love story.

Two people travelling in opposite directions but who meet and fall in love (lust?) at St Pancras  station whilst waiting for their delayed trains. They talk and agree to some rules about how they will communicate during the following year. But they break these rules as their communications become more intense. And of course, they have agreed to meet again at the end of the year, in the same place, to continue their journeys together this time.

But life is never as straight forward as that, which is why I liked this story. Most traditional stories would have had them meet and all would be well. But as we know, real life is not as romantic as this.

The writing style was pleasant and the story was well crafted. It was enjoyable if not high literature.

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Boys helping Boys

The Bromance Book Club Book Cover The Bromance Book Club
#1Bromance Book Club
Lyssa Kay Adams
Romance, Romantic Humour, Sports Romance
Headline Eternal
Pub Date 30 Jan 2020

If you love Jasmine Guillory, Sally Thorne and Helen Hoang, you'll LOVE Lyssa Kay Adams! The first rule of book club: You don't talk about book club. Gavin Scott's marriage is trouble. The Nashville Legends baseball star has recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. His reaction to the revelation is the final straw for their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he's let his pride and fear get the better of him. Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency called Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his beloved wife.

I loved the concept here and would recommend people to read this book. The title is slightly misleading in that it implies bromances – ie romances between men – but it is not that at all. It about a group of men who get together when their romances get into difficulties and read romance novels to give them hints as to how their women would like them to behave – and what they could say!

An interesting idea and hey do consider one book in particular, but it might have been nice to find out a little more about the other books they had read ad why and who, choose them.

The issue is that these are men who are archetypal alphas, with women usually falling over themselves to be with them, and thus have never had to actually woo a woman. So when their partner decides that is not who she is, or never was, they find themselves unable to respond in a suitable manner and need to learn different behaviour and speech patterns.

It has some fun situations but does bring up the basic problem, particularly in the US I believe, of the hero worship of sports stars, which means that these men fail to fully grow up and take responsibility as they have never needed to. They are cushioned by the clubs that they play for and the people hired to ensure that they have everything that they need and that any trouble is just magicked away. So they are spoilt.

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Middle of a Jungle: USA style

The Mammoth Murders Book Cover The Mammoth Murders
Minokee Mysteries, Book One and Two
by Iris Chacon
romantic comedy, animals
Delia L. Stewart, Miami
Pub Date: 01 Nov 2019

A blind deejay (Shepard Krausse) and an invisible librarian (Miranda Ogilvy) from a tiny, rural Florida town try to solve a double disappearance connected to a recent canoe trip. It ain't exactly "Deliverance," but there's a heap of trouble brewing fer these folks -- some of it human, some of it animal, and all of it deadly. Shep and Miranda rely on their sense of humor as they face dangerous fossil poachers -- but even that is difficult when their engagement is broken amidst a river of troubles. This is Book 2 in the Minokee Mysteries series.

Shep's Italian friend (Carlo Fratelli - cook, chauffeur, valet, & ladies man) aids the couple in their adventures. Shep's animal friend, Zeus, a huge and independent Maine Coon cat, is so clever, he sometimes seems clairvoyant.

The Coffee Ritual ladies of Minokee add their quirky personalities and folksy wisdom to help Shep & Miranda iron out the bumps in their lives. Martha, Bernice, Wyneen, and Charlotte (average age 74.3) gather every dawn on their front porches to sip their coffee while they wait for the sight of the blond Adonis (Shep) jogging past their Magnolia Street cottages.

Shepard's absurdly wealthy, snobbish, and domineering mother (Hermione Montgomery-Krausse) is always behind the scenes, attempting to direct the course of Shep's career. Hermione wants Shep to become a politician, like several of his ancestors. At the very least, she wants her son to become a television commentator. With his blindness, his noble family connections, and his golden good looks, Shepard would be recognized by future voters - which will not happen if he stays in radio.

The shy Miranda shows a surprising inner strength when confronting Shepard's officious mother, and Hermione has been forced to admire the librarian. Hermione vacillates between trying to separate Shep and Miranda or trying to marry them - on Hermione's terms.

Miranda's difficulties with Hermione are compounded when Miranda's parents arrive unannounced from Miami. Dr. Rosario Ogilvy, Miranda's mother, is a soulmate for Hermione Montgomery-Krausse, while Dr. Ezekiel Ogilvy, Miranda's father, sides with his daughter (and Hermione's son) against the two matriarchs.

The serio-comic family battle continues in the background even while Shep and Miranda risk their future and their very lives attempting to find the killers responsible for The Mammoth Murders.

I fell in love with Miranda. I am reviewing here both books one and two in the series.

 I agree her description of Shepard made him seem hot but a beard – not for me. Apparently a good set of abs though, I can see why the Ladies of Minokee liked to watch him run past.

I read book 1 and couldn’t wait to get my hands on book 2. Unfortunately for me, some of the quaintness and curiosity had gone as we now knew about Minokee and Shepard and Dave and Pietro and Miranda’s parents – although we only met them in the second book.

But the storyline is about how people should not be judged by their external appearances. It is their inner being that is important and it is this inner being of Miranda that Shepard falls in love with and brings out in her, so she stops being the Librarian Mouse and becomes the Librarian Lion instead.

And in book 2 we meet Zeus. He is a wonder. And I look forward to reading about his adventures in future books.

This is a series I shall follow.

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Going Alone?

Plus One Plus None Book Cover Plus One Plus None
by Emica Mao
Women's Fiction, Romance
Pub Date 16 Jul 2019

Plus One Plus None is a candid monologue of a single introvert named Zita who expected to be married someday but instead ended up single in her 40s. Like most girls, when she was in her 20s, she felt like she had all the time in the world and everything would just fall into place within the usual timeline. Except that sometimes, things don't turn out the way you expect them to be which you may only realize after several years have slipped by.

In Plus One Plus None, Zita retells her story as how it unfolded. She shares her unfiltered thoughts, reflections, actions (and inactions), mistakes, imperfections and realizations at every stage in her life. Her musings and anecdotes include various topics from dating, pursuing personal goals, dealing with intrusive questions like "how old are you?" and "when will you get married?", to facing the possibility of not being able to marry and get pregnant within one's prime years, and coming to grips with the possibility of staying unmarried and growing old alone.

Who may learn from Zita's story?

- unattached singles in their mid-30s or 40s who sometimes wonder why they are still single or ended up single because it is when you reach this age when you begin to realize that there's a chance that some of the things you expected to happen in your life may not happen after all (versus when you are in your 20s to early 30s when you're brimming with confidence that everything would happen within your expected timeline);

- the single who complains about her single status and blames it on her busy schedule, lack of dating opportunities and other external factors;

- the shy single or the homebody single who doesn't go out a lot but expects to find a boyfriend;

- the choosy single who starts zoning out on the first date the moment she spots something she doesn't like about her date or who refuses to go out on a second date once the guy isn't her type but claims she's open to "dating";

- the praying single who asks God to send her The One but doesn't do her part to make it happen;

- the single who says she wants to get married and have kids someday but her actions and innermost thoughts say otherwise;

- the single who relies on pure hope and luck in meeting her Plus One someday; and

- the single who claims every new year is going to be "the year" but doesn't do anything new or different each year.

Just remember - each person has different values, fears, challenges, imperfections and reasons for being single and though Zita's fears, challenges, imperfections, circumstances and reasons for being single maybe different from yours, you may use Zita's story as a cautionary tale to reflect where you are right now in your single life and determine what needs to be done to make things happen in your life within your target timeline.

If you are single and you are already doing something about your single situation, or you never run out of dates, or you love to go out to mingle, or you already have a boyfriend, or you are right on track with your relationship goals, there is no need to read Zita's story unless you are naturally curious about other people's life stories or curious to hear one's story of unexpected spinsterhood.

Plus One Plus None is a short and concise read that gives a snapshot of single woman's introspection of 15 years of her single life in 140 pages (for paperback) and 178 pages (on kindle).

Don't let another year quickly slip away only to realize that you are a year older and nothing significant happened in your single life again.

 I rather liked this story and the way the story was told by the narrator - who seemed to be somewhere on the spectrum, but determined to live as normal a life as she could.
However, I do have some criticisms -one of which was on every page and nearly every statement - the use of LOL. Not only is this very outdated in terms of current language use, but it really irritated by the time it was repeated and repeated and repeated. 905 of these should have been cut out.
The bit about prayers was not for me and in my opinion seemed not to fit the the general trajectory of the story. Which led to the final chapter. Oh dear. Where did this come from? It turned into a self-help book. Which was not what it originally appeared to be, but reading the author’s comments it clearly was. This really reduced my admiration for the story as it turned each chapter on its head and even though it was not aimed at me, it felt too prescriptive as a self-help book.
So my star rating zoomed down to a 2.

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A dress that whispers?

The Perfect Dress Book Cover The Perfect Dress
Louisa Leaman
romantic comedy, love, marriage
Transworld Digital - Random House
(17 Oct. 2019)

Fran’s wedding dress shop isn’t like any other. A treasure trove of history, filled with gowns from every decade for every type of bride. But not as you’d expect. Something bold for the shy and retiring. Something simple for the woman who is unafraid to stand out. And something dazzling for the bride who wouldn’t normally dare to be different. No matter your expectations, you’d never guess your own perfect dress. But Fran knows… she feels the wisdom woven into every gown, a gift from the previous owner waiting to be handed down to the next bride. When Fran finds a dress that seems to be perfect for her she can’t wait to know its complex history which starts with her getting to know the son of the previous owner

At first I thought no, not another a wedding dress shop with outsized women in mind, or with some fairy or other magical creature involved. But then it went into another direction. The concept of a vintage dress shop was lovely. And I was almost tempted to find one and give them mine. Yes, I still have it. And no, it hasn’t gone into the dressing up box. But no, it won’t fit me – or my daughter, but who knows, maybe a grand-daughter? It is very much of its era. Victorian themed with sprigs of lilac flowers on cream. Long sleeves and tucked in waist. Full length of course – but then I needed to hide my cast on my leg on the day!

I liked the idea that a dress ‘whispered’. But really felt that a dress can only tell you about the day and not what happens afterwards.

Overall, I liked the story-telling and the romance and the exploration of what happens behind closed doors in a wedding and its reasons.

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