Monday, October 24, 2016

The Trouble with Flying by Rachel Morgan

From Goodreads
Sarah doesn’t talk to strangers. Aiden won’t shut up. When they find themselves next to each other on a plane, unexpected sparks begin to fly …

Sarah doesn’t talk to strangers. It’s awkward, stressful, and there’s the uncontrollable blushing to worry about. When she boards a plane to fly home after an overseas holiday, she plans to stick her nose in a book and ignore everyone around her.

Aiden’s terrified of flying, and it’s his first time on a plane. If he can distract himself by talking non-stop for the entire flight, he will. Too bad for Sarah he’s sitting right next to her.

Against all Sarah’s expectations, she ends up enjoying Aiden’s company. They laugh, argue, concoct stories about other passengers, and accidentally hold hands during the turbulence. When the time comes to say goodbye, Sarah can’t help the crazy thought that she shouldn’t let Aiden go.

Then he kisses her.

And then he’s gone.

With her world turning upside down in more ways than one, Sarah has to make a decision: stick with the safe, predictable life that’s been mapped out for her, or find the courage to go after what she truly wants.

My Take:
Oh, this was fun for me. I guess I've been in the mood for something different because here is another book set in another country. Sarah is from South Africa and Aiden is from England. I loved the little things that were so NOT American. It was refreshing for me. I should mention that my husband spent two years in South Africa and so there were things that I recognized from his stories. It made me a bit nostalgic for our younger days.

I really connected with Sarah and her problem. She is a people pleaser, a co-dependent personality who avoids conflict and confrontation at all costs but she doesn't realize it. She thinks she's shy. I'm the same, but manifest it in different ways than Sarah does. Every time I saw her interact with her boyfriend Matt, I want to slap her and say "wake up and look at what's going on!" You see it's easier for me to see the problem in other people. When her friends do basically just that I cheered. And I totally understood why Sarah ran from her friends hurt and angry. Learning you're a doormat is hard to accept.

Aiden is good for Sarah from the beginning. He sees her. For the first time in a long time she can be herself. Actually learn who she is and what she wants. He pushes her to be better. It takes a long time for Sarah to come to grips with who she is and what she wants out of life. I love that she has to make changes on all levels to show her growth--starting with her parents, then Matt, and finally she has room to let Aiden in.

I give The Trouble with Flying a 4.5 for tackling the subject with such realism.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Christmas Down Under by Marion Lennox

From Goodreads:
Sarah’s committed to her stellar modelling career in New York, but there’s an obligation she needs to fulfil. Harold was a Grandpa to her when she needed him most. Now all Harold wants is one last Christmas in his beloved Waratah Bay Homestead. Sarah’s not that so hot on baking and Christmas seems a bit… challenging… but she’s prepared to fly half way round the world to give it a try.

The only problem is, Harold no longer owns Waratah Bay Homestead. Farming tycoon Max Ramsey owns it now and he doesn’t like company, he doesn’t like Christmas and most of all, he doesn’t like Sarah.

When the two clash, enough sparks ensue to light a Christmas tree. How many enemies does it take to cook one Christmas turkey?

Previously titled Christmas at Waratah Bay

My Take:
I'm getting in the Christmas mood! I picked this one up for free from BookBub. It was a sweet and touching story that pulled on many different emotions. Sarah is a wonderful character. She's full of love for Harold, light and goodness for everyone else. She's a hard worker and not afraid to take on things she has no clue about--turkey and Christmas dinner being a good example. I enjoyed the fact that she didn't feel the need to correct Max's wrong idea about her in the beginning. She wasn't there for Max, didn't care what he thought of her, all that mattered was Harold and giving him one last Christmas.

Even when Sarah started liking Max, Harold was her focus. She simply found room in her heart to include Max and his family in her goal to provide a Christmas to remember.

Max's change of heart happened slowly as well. At least as slow as possible for a few days time in the book. I liked this. He didn't immediately fall in love and change who he'd been for years and years. He struggled with letting people in, even though he wanted to let Sarah in. It took Sarah's strongly independent spirit to finally break through his walls. She was strong enough on her own. She didn't need him to fix everything for him. In the end though, they both realize that everything could be wonderfully better and more fulfilling if they were together.

I enjoyed being in a different setting for Christmas--no snow and a day at the beach. It was a refreshing change. This read was also clean. I give Christmas Down Under a 4.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure