I finished up a couple of books on the long weekend. Both were great reads!
First up is Michelle Styles's AN IMPULSIVE DEBUTANTE.
As Michelle's critique partner, I see things in a first draft stage and then again in the finished book. It's always neat to see how things have changed or morphed through subsequent drafts and revisions.
An Impulsive Debutante has Lottie Charlton as the heroine - the same Lottie that caused such a scandal for Emma and Jack in A Christmas Wedding Wager.
This is a great book...and a fine example of how to take a villain from a previous book (Ok, maybe villian is a little strong, but Lottie certainly wasn't likeable) and turning them into a wonderful main character by exploiting the exact same qualities that we didn't like them for previously. Kind of like taking a personality trait and pointing out positives and negatives of that trait - Lottie is the same person but this time we get to see all the positive parts of that and how she has a HUGE heart. Tristan isn't bad either...though we know his plan is going to blow up in his face, we understand exactly why he's keeping his secret from Lottie.
And it is, I think, one of her best reads as far as keeping threads tight and pacing.
The second book is CJ Carmichael's MATTHEW'S CHILDREN. This is the second in a trilogy called Three Good Men about three brothers. Matthew is a lawyer we met briefly in the first book, who is recently divorced and trying to figure out how to be a good parent when he's given the world's most difficult case - defending a soccer coach who's been accused of impropriety. To top it off, the other lawyer assigned with him is Jane Prentice, the woman everyone thinks is responsible for the breakup of his marriage.
They never had an affair, but Jane had fallen in love with him and doesn't know that he'd had feelings for him too. After his wife made a scene in a restaurant, they've spent the last year avoiding each other whenever possible.
Both of them, along with his rebellious son, his angry ex-wife, the whole community...are invested in this case. All the threads weave together so well I just couldn't put it down. CJ didn't shy away from difficult subjects - is there anything more polarizing than a child whose been abused and the person accused of doing it? I love how she took risks with this book, and as as result I think it's my favourite of all of hers that I've read so far. Way to go CJ!
And the girls and I watched CHARLOTTE'S WEB on the weekend as well. Is there anyone more perfect than Charlotte? Selfless, giving, kind....and such a good friend. The crows added fantastic comic relief, and the cast was incredible. Robert Redford as the horse afraid of spiders was fantastic. And I loved Beau Bridges. Dakota Fanning was, well, Dakota Fanning...adorable. You cannot help but love her. And yes, I cried at the almost end. I'd been warned and my eldest, who is also quite the faucet at sappy movies, was sniffling beside me. My husband just shook his head.
Now...today is crazy day as I am going to update my home page, send out my newsletter, put up the new releases on the Harlequin Romance Author Blog and work on editing the novella. I'm hoping it won't be that difficult. :-)