January 27, 2015

book selfie: 'the right design' - 'baby be mine'

While bidding my beloved carbs and sugar farewell before I got a little more serious about continuing my quest to drop a few more l-bs this year, I paired up these treats with some equally delicious reads.

The Right Design by Isabella Louise Anderson
Interior designer Carrie Newman could not have envisioned a more perfect life for herself. She had a great job doing what she loved, wonderful friends, and a close relationship with her sister and brother-in-law. Add in an amazing man who she’d hoped would soon become her husband, and her life was perfect. Until one devastating decision ruins her relationship and changes the course of her life. 
Determined to make a new start, Carrie leaves Texas and heads to Palm Beach to pick up the pieces of her shattered and broken life. The last thing she expects is to find herself attracted to her first client at her new job--Brad Larson, who has proven himself time and time again to be caddish. 
But there’s something beneath the surface of Brad’s arrogant exterior that keeps her craving more of him--something almost sweet that Carrie can’t seem to resist.
Is Carrie ready to take another chance on romance? And will this new design of her life prove to be the right one?
I had a chance to beta read this book more than a year ago, and it was a lot of fun to revisit the characters and see the changes Isabella made. While keeping the point of the story--one about a young woman out to take control of her life and make a big change--I was so proud of how polished the finished product was.

A cute and romantic story, I particularly appreciated the way each scene and character was described. Without being too wordy, I could almost perfectly imagine what each location and person looked like like I was there with them.

Isabella also did a good job of conveying the emotions. Carrie goes through a bunch of them in this book, and the description and depth of each took this reader on a roller coaster ride.

And paired with this little bit of heaven--chocolate peanut butter mug cakes--I had a nice couple of evenings with this read.

Baby Be Mine by Ginny Baird
When hearts are on the line...  
Nobody else will do!  
Nikki Constantino has a big problem. Her Great-Aunt Mallory left her with a wad of cash, which she'll inherit under two conditions. The first one is she's got to marry within eight weeks. With family pressures mounting and her job on the line, Nikki's just desperate enough to want to honor her late aunt's wishes. Lucky for her she can enlist the help of her best friend. But as she sorts through the candidates, could it be that the guy for her is the one she least suspects?  
Jack Hudson has secretly had a crush on Nikki forever. So when she asks his help in securing a last-minute groom, he's conflicted. But where Nikki's concerned, Jack would do almost anything to ensure her happiness. So Jack reluctantly goes along with her plan while trying to put thoughts of them being together out of his mind. With her Valentine's Day deadline approaching, will Nikki settle for another man - or will she start seeing Jack in a new light? 
I'm such a sucker for a story like this--two best friends finally admitting they're in love. Maybe it's because that's what I'd most like to find for myself, and I'm definitely one to project myself into whatever I'm reading, but there's something so sweet about finding that the one is a person who has always been there for you. Someone who understands your baggage and drama without explanation. It's a nice thought isn't it?

A quick-read (this is a novella) that fit perfectly into the time between Christmas and Valentine's Day, I overall enjoyed my experience reading this book. I did find myself more than a little frustrated with Nikki and Jack from time to time, but that angst was the point of the story, right?

Perhaps my favorite part of the story, aside from the premise itself, were Nikki and Jack's family members who played an important role as secondary characters. Their dynamics with the lead characters gave the story more layers than one might expect in such a brief read.

I'll also say I laughed a lot about the dairy farm introduced in the first couple of chapters. I know farming is serious business, but the humor in a city slicker finding herself in charge of cows was so real and nicely done. I appropriately selected a peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake to accompany it.

I'll be back on Thursday with two more carbs and two more reads from recent weeks.

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