Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: Three Little Words by Melissa Tagg

Book Cover and Synopsis:
Ava Kingsley and Seth Walker might be the most unlikely friends ever. The only thing these two polar opposites have in common is a knack for wordsmithing. Back in college, they were known for their written sparring in the campus newspaper's popular "He Says/She Says" column.

At their ten-year college reunion, they pick up right where they left off. Except this time their squabbling leads to a surprising turn: friendship and a year-long exchange of emails. So when Ava approaches a crossroads in her athletics department career in Minnesota, Seth is quick to offer the open apartment above the restaurant he's been remodeling in Maple Valley, Iowa.

Ava doesn't know where her career will lead her next, but she's starting to suspect she might see Seth as more than a pen pal. Which would be exciting...except for the fact that he only sees her as a friend.

As Maple Valley grows on her, Ava wonders if there might be something here for her even though Seth is unavailable. And maybe, just maybe, after all the words the two of them have exchanged over the years, they'll finally be able to say the three that matter most.

My source for book: Personal Library
My Thoughts:
I love when a novella doesn't actually feel like a novella. The pacing on this one is really good, and it's very much a complete story despite the shorter length. It doesn't seem rushed or lacking details at all. Score!

While I couldn't identify with Ava's love of sports and (strange!) desire to be a football coach, I certainly could relate and sympathize--as I'm sure most can--to her struggle of knowing where to take her life next. As for Seth, I really admired his desire to keep his relationships solid and to not imitate his split-up parents. It was interesting to see him weigh this conviction against his feelings and come to terms with what he ultimately wanted.

I liked how the story was built on the basis of a long distance email friendship. Not many emails are actually featured, but they are the foundation for the growing relationship between Ava and Seth. I thought it was cute how they continued to email each other even when they were in the same town, and even the same room! :)

This novella serves as an introduction to Melissa Tagg's "Walker Family" series, but it would also work well as a stand alone. It's definitely one of the best novellas I've read in quite a while, and I can easily recommend it.

My Rating: 5 stars

Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: Match Made by Erynn Mangum

Book Cover and Synopsis:
Annie McKay is a perpetual loner who moves to town for a job and expects for life to pretty much stay the same as it's always been - until she meets Lauren Holbrook Palmer and her group of crazy, fun friends. Being alone has always been Annie's way of life, but with Jesus and Lauren at the helm, things are likely going to change.

My source for book: Personal Library
My Thoughts:
I just love Erynn Mangum's novels. She has such a fun and peppy way of writing that makes reading a pure joy. This one is much like her other novels in the fact that it's light, but it still manages to get across a good message while being extremely entertaining.

It's been a while since I read the first 3 Lauren Holbrook novels so I didn't remember everything, but that actually didn't matter. Laurie and her gang are just supporting characters (large ones) in this novel, while newcomer Annie is the main focus. I really liked the way Laurie and her gang sort of ambushed Annie and dragged her into their friend circle, and the visible changes that occurred in Annie as she got used to having friends were really cool to see.

Annie is quite a bit different from Laurie, but she does have a similar--though slightly less wacky--sense of humor, so it doesn't seem odd that the focus of the story has turned to Annie. I liked her right away, and my fondness for her continued to grow throughout the story. Oddly enough, she actually reminds me of myself in a lot of ways, which may be why I felt so connected to her.

Match Made is an e-book only at this point, and I do admit that it didn't seem quite as polished as the author's print books are. There's a fair amount of typos and some misplaced words, which I know can bother some people so I thought I would mention it. I don't count this against the author or story, and honestly I enjoyed the story so much that it didn't bother me much, though I did continually notice it. I imagine it's possible this may be fixed in a later release.

To sum things up: This is one of the most enjoyable books I've read in quite a while. The only sad thing is that the next book won't be released for several months, and this one ends on sort of a cliff-hanger. No doubt the intention was to get you hooked, and it surely worked for me. I will gladly be purchasing the next book as soon as it becomes available!

My Rating: 5 stars!