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REVIEW:  The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

REVIEW: The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

The Hook Up (Game On #1) by Kristen Callihan

Dear Ms. Callihan:

Elyssa Patrick told me I’d love this book and she was right. There’s Drew, the loveable quarterback of an unnamed school who has two National Championships and a Heismann under his belt. I tried very hard not to envision Johnny Football during the reading of this because that would have ruined everything!

He’s got the world by the tail when he meets Anna Jones. Anna is skeptical about Drew. He’s good enough for a hook up but he’s not ever going to be boyfriend material. The fact that he’s good enough to have sex with but not good enough to kiss or even go on a date with gnaws at him.

Anna’s reasons are probably the only flaw in the book. Drew is such a nice guy, saying all the right things, telling Anna how much he likes her and not playing the field–that’s not his thing–that it’s hard for the reader to understand why Anna doesn’t just give him a chance.

But Anna’s appealing too. Her reasons for not believing in the permanency of relationships are grounded in her mother’s own failed dates. Anna’s mother is a successful doctor but she’s had a revolving door of men. I appreciated that the mother wasn’t portrayed as evil but rather as a woman trying to find love of her own even though it could damage the psyche of her daughter.

Secondary characters such as Anna’s roommate who is in a terrible relationship with a guy who cheats on her constantly, her roommate’s twin brother, and several guys from Drew’s team round out the cast.

They cast Drew in the light of the father figure for the team. He’s responsible for making sure that they aren’t drinking too much or getting in trouble. There’s a twist that happens late in the book that flips the situation for Anna and Drew and provides a way for Anna to be the pursuer in a situation where Drew exhibits reluctance.

The details of the football series were pretty well done but not overwhelming.The angst is believable, present but not overwhelming. Probably the worst thing about this book is that the second one isn’t due out until 2015. B

Best regards,

Jane

 

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REVIEW:  The Four Graces by D.E. Stevenson

REVIEW: The Four Graces by D.E. Stevenson

The+Four+Graces

No Matter What Life Throws at Them, the Grace Sisters Always Have Each Other

The four Grace sisters—Liz, Sal, Tilly, and Addie—love their quiet life in the country village of Chevis Green. To some, their insular world might seem dull, but the sisters and their father, Mr. Grace, never seem to run out of conversation, jokes, and pleasant ways to pass the time together. They truly are the happiest of families.

Dear Readers,

I think had I not already been a fan of D.E. Stevenson in general and the Miss Buncle series of books in particular, I might have read this blurb and thought, “Hmm, how dull and uninteresting.” But since I’d already fallen for Stevenson’s gentle tales of country England before and during WWII, I clicked the buy button without a moment’s hesitation.

Set in the bucolic village of Chevis Green and close to Wandlebury, the story picks up not long after “The Two Mrs. Abbotts” though readers new to Stevenson need not worry about starting here. A few characters from previous books appear but their backstories are quickly sketched in and then it’s back to the four young ladies who give this book its title.

The young women are daughters of the local vicar or “Passon” as the villagers call him. Happy in their home and family lives, they’re content as they deal with wartime rations and the wedding of the new Squire who hyphenated his name in order to inherit the Chevis estate while slightly less thrilled with the two young men who wander into their lives courtesy of their father’s absentminded invitations and their dread Aunt Rona who knows everyone and everything and isn’t shy about announcing it.

“The Four Graces” has that happy charm which I fell in love with while first reading about Miss Buncle. Issues arise and are gently dealt with, life flows through the village while standing in line with your ration book or making sure there’s a clean start to the children’s footrace during the annual fete. And swirling through all this are two romances which kept me guessing about who would be paired with whom. When all was said and done, it makes perfect sense who says “I love you” to whom and while one marriage is hurried due to wartime postings, the other serenely takes its time to develop.

I did wonder if perhaps Stevenson had plans for the two unmarried sisters which never came to be written. Unless anyone can tell me differently, I’ll mentally match one with the ankle judge and conjure up some dashing serviceman from London for the other sister.

A fast and funny book, “The Four Graces” is a great finish to a delightful “series” and could stand as a fine introduction to Stevenson’s work. It’s a sweet look at village life which was in the process of changing and probably changed forever after the war. As is usual with her books, it’s filled with both charming and eccentric characters and could serve as a blueprint to navigating village politics. It also goes to show that a cup of tea can fix any problem. B

~Jayne

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