Just Perfect by Julie Ortolon
A while ago I raved about the first book in this series, Almost Perfect. Well, I'm most pleased to say I'm raving about this next book too. As a reminder, this is a series about 3 friends who each make a commitment to do something they have always been afraid to do. This is Christine's story and she, while an excellent skier, has been terrified of getting up the mountain on the ski lift. Her challenge is to get past her fear of the ski-lift and beat her brother in a downhill race. Since she hasn't skied in over 7 years, she hires a ski instructor to help her. Instead of a regular ski instructor, she gets Alec Hunter.
This is absolutely charming story. Christine is an overacheiving trauma surgeon in an emergency ward who comes from a real dysfunctional family. All her life she has been trying to please her rigid and disapproving father, so far without success. I can't say too much about Alec without giving away spoilers - other than to say he's a delighful hero and he's much more than what Christine first believes him to be. This also is an older woman/younger man story - one of my favourite types. However in this version, Christine has what I consider a healthy, and much preferred outlook on their age difference:
"How old are you"?What starts out to be a vacation flirtation, of course, develops into something much deeper.
He sighed. "It's the face, isn't it? Do you know I still get
carded, which the guys think is flippin' hilarious."
"You don't look that young. I mean, you aren't are you?"
She sagged in relief. "That's only four years' difference. I
can live with that." Which left no reason why she couldn't spend every
minute of the next two weeks with Alec. Grinning, she crooked a
finger at him. "Come here."
His eyes lit with understanding. Ripping off his seat belt, he leaned
over, moving in for a kiss. Before his lips met her, though, he pulled
back. "Wait a sec. You're only twenty-five? How'd you get to
be a doctor so young?"
She laughed. "No. Four years the other way. I'm thirty
three.' She traced his jaw with her fingertip. "But you win major
points for thinking the opposite."
"An older woman." He smiled slowly. "Cool."
Many times the second book in a series can be weaker. I'm happy to say this one isn't. Another point in it's favour is both Christine and Alec are completely different characters from Maggie and Joe in the first book. And the third one is out in November. Cool.
Grade 41/2 out of 5
Practice to Deceive by Patricia Veryan
This is the first book in her Golden Chronicle series. I've probably said enough about the author, but I haven't really said much about her books and why I find them so special. Talking about them recently made me want to reread them again. If you follow the link, the reviewer does a good job in explaining this book. I just have to add that Ms. Veryan has a way of writing that really draws you into the stories she is writing about. While reading Penelope and Quentin's adventures, it was like I was right along beside them, feeling the adventure with them. She does a wonderful job in describing events and it's always an emotional read. I'm looking forward over the next little while to a reread of all the books in this wonderful series. This books was published in 1985 and it's just as exciting now as it was 20 years ago.
Grade 5 out of 5
It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas
To me, Dreaming of You is a classic and THE perfect historical romance. I’ve been reading everything she has written since then hopping for a repeat. Although none have quite come up the standard of DOY, some have come pretty close and some not nearly as much. This is one that has come close. This is a series (boy we are in series mode aren’t we) of four friends that have named themselves The Wallflowers due to their lack of popularity in the ton. This is the second installment and is the story of older sister Lillian, a young woman from America who has come to England to land herself a titled hero. I really enjoyed the character of Lillian. She is open and honest and says what she thinks and does what she wants – sometimes a little to much for those around her. Marcus, Lord Westcliff is one of those who finds her much to bold and lacking in the social graces. They had already met in Secrets of a Summer Night and rubbed each other the wrong way then. This continues as the Bowman family is invited to a month long house party at the estate of Marcus. Even though he completely disapproves of her, Marcus is still very attracted to her much to his dismay. And this attraction and feeling of dismay is reciprocated by Lillian. Their bickering is fun to read and I quite enjoyed both characters. Before I started reading it, I wasn’t sure I would warm up to Marcus. He has made appearances in a few books by Ms. Kleypas now and I wasn’t impressed. But this one is fun watching a stuffy, arrogant lord get such a comeuppance and act so far out of character. I liked the first book and I liked this one even better. Now it seems such a long wait for the next book in the series The Devil in Winter. There has been some discussion on the character of Sebastian – but I for one can hardly wait. I understand these were originally supposed to be released much closer together, but Avon decided against this. I really wish they had stuck to the original plan. I want to read the next one - NOW!
Grade 41/2 out of 5
Part 2 coming shortly