Tag Archives: contemporary romance

Review of On Her Own Two Wheels, by Stacy Xavier

I’m in England for the holiday and the blog is on hiatus, but I wanted to make sure I managed to get this review written and posted, since On Her Own Two Wheels (by Stacy Xavier) is my 2019 X-authored alphabet challenge book.

Description from Goodreads:

Just three years out of college and Cassie Wright has hit a dead end. Still living at home with her mom and dad and dating the same writer masked as a waiter, Devon, for just as long, she knows she wants more out of life. Motorcycle lessons seem like a fun idea and the perfect escape. Cassie soon finds herself breaking away from her dull life and starts on a journey to self-confidence as she learns how to make each day extraordinary. 

While driving home from visiting her grandmother in Wisconsin, she drags a reluctant Devon to a local biker event at a motorcycle dealership. From there, she becomes inspired to take riding lessons for some much needed fun and adventure. In time, she meets Marcus, the part-time riding instructor and full-time college administrator. He is drawn to Cassie’s ambition and adventurous spirit, and a romance quickly blossoms, forcing Cassie to realize she deserves better than what Devon chooses to give. 

Becoming more confident in her everyday life through her riding, Cassie quits the electronics shop to become the motorcycle dealership’s new marketing director, opening herself up to an entirely new set of professional and personal obstacles. Cassie must learn to approach her issues in a whole new way while striving to be the type of woman she herself would want to emulate. 

An inspirational coming-of-age novel for any woman who has ever settled for less, romantically or professionally, On Her Own Two Wheels tells the moving tale of a young woman finding the courage to challenge herself, break the mold, seek adventure, and make the ordinary in her life extraordinary as she truly comes into her own.

Reviews:

This was light and fluffy, but I also thought the writing quite pedestrian and the plot shallow. I very much appreciate the themes the book took on—sexism in the workplace, respect in relationships, finding yourself after college, etc. But the solutions were presented as too simple to be believed. She shattered long engrained sexual harassment habits in a garage full of men with professional dress and a quelling glance, for example. 

I think my biggest issue with the book however is that it starts with the main character deciding to change her life and she does, in big ways. But we’re never given any reason for this change in her attitude. It feels anchoress and random. If she’s such an outspoken, feminist, respect driven woman why has she let her life get to the point it has. If she hadn’t been up until the beginning of the book, what changed? I feel the book really needed that information. 

All in all, not bad but not great either.

Review of Sonata, by A.F. Henley

Author, A.F. Henley was generous enough to send two of their books to be included in my Little Free Library. Sonata is one of them. This afternoon, I chose to borrow it back and read it.

Description from Goodreads:

At thirty-six Ian feels done with the world. When a night at a bar goes as poorly as expected, he wants only to return home to be miserable in peace. Instead, he encounters Jordan. Hot, young and interested, Jordan is everything Ian’s ever wanted and nothing he believes himself capable of actually obtaining. 

Jordan has enough going on in his life trying to scrape together a living for himself and his autistic son. When he meets Ian, all he wants is a brief, erotic moment and nothing else. 

But fate throws them together again and again, and Ian finds himself determined to do whatever it takes to give their story a happy ending – no matter what secrets Jordan’s past has waiting for him.

Review:

This is another hard one to review. I really adored some aspects of it. I mean Ian’s openness and heartfelt desire to care for someone was super touching. I really liked him. I felt Jordan’s desperation, even before we knew why (though I guessed his circumstances fairly early on). They were a compelling pairing.

However, even as I appreciated Henley’s inclusion of an autistic child, I also felt like he was simply a plot device. He had no real discernible personality and conveniently disappeared when the plot needed him to. Plus, the happy ending wrapped up so easily that I felt Cole had simply been shunted off into the wings.

Speaking of endings, I felt like Henley just fixed everything off screen and I found it difficult to make the transition along with the story. Plus, I felt like there were a lot of things I wanted the men to talk about (to see the men talk about) that didn’t happen.

For the most part however, I thought this was a sweet little romance.

Review of Let It Snow, by Nancy Thayer

I won a paperback copy of Nancy Thayer‘s Let it Snow through Goodreads. I read it now, in September, so that I can put it in the Little Free Library with the other holiday themed (or set) books in December.

Description:

Christina Antonioni is preparing for the holidays at her Nantucket toy shop, unpacking last-minute shipments and decorating for her loyal Christmas shoppers. But when her Scrooge of a landlord, Oscar Bittlesman, raises her rent, it seems nearly impossible for Christina to continue business on the wharf.

Even so, Christina hopes there is a warm heart underneath Oscar’s steely exterior. When she bonds with Wink, his sweet, young granddaughter who frequents the shop, it becomes clear that perhaps he isn’t so cold after all. And with the help of Wink’s uncle, who happens to be a charming and very handsome bachelor, this may be the best Christmas any of them could have ever imagined. Nancy Thayer’s enchanting Nantucket setting provides the perfect backdrop for this holiday love story. 

Review:

This is a hard book for me to review, because everyone’s taste varies and this particular kind of book makes me cringe. At about the halfway mark I thought, “This is the sort of book people who like the Hallmark Channel would enjoy.” It’s completely true. At one point the main character even sits down and watches it herself. Unfortunately, that particular brand of wholesome, clean (read bland in my opinion), never rings true for me. I dislike it extremely. But I also acknowledge that there is a reason the Hallmark Channel has been around as long as it has. There are people out there who love tis kind of feel-good cheese. I’m just not one of them.

So, I’ll give it a middle of the road three stars. Acknowledging that the writing is perfectly solid and though I can’t relate to a 3-week romance culminating in a proposal, or the crass talk of who is rich and who is poor, or even the fact that everyone refused to get involved in the business issue and that was somehow supposed to be fair, others will no doubt love this.