Authors Showcase: Love in bloom

The Book: Second Chance Grill

The Author: Christine Nolfi

ref=sib_dp_kdThe Story: An unforgettable tale of love, loss and second chances.

Second Chance Grill is the prequel to Treasure Me, 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards Finalist, which The Midwest Book Review calls “A riveting read for those who enjoy adventure fiction, highly recommended.”

Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn’t prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can’t resist falling for the precocious preteen—or the girl’s father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.

Welcome back to Liberty, where the women surrounding the town’s only restaurant are as charming as they are eccentric.

Review by Megan: What a great book! I really enjoyed this one. It is an emotional and heart warming story about second chances and being open to life’s journey, even when it derails all your carefully laid plans. The characters are large as life and you can’t help but love them. The story takes place in a fictional small town in North East Ohio which was great fun for me, being from Ohio myself.

You really get a feel for the town and the people who live there and it all just comes alive. All in all, I loved this book and look forward to the next one. I labeled this an adult book because it is a romance with some discussion of sex but it is nowhere near as graphic as most romances. It could easily be read by almost anyone.

Review by Charlotte Lynns Reviews: Blossom, age eleven and in remission from leukemia, convinces her dad, Anthony, to take her to the Second Chance Grill for ice cream. The young girl has ulterior motives; her long time single dad needs to meet the new owner, Dr. Mary Chance.

Dr. Mary Chance moves to Liberty, Ohio, after her best friend dies. In Liberty, she has inherited a struggling restaurant from her aunt. When Blossom and Anthony come to her restaurant the first time the connection is immediate. Will their bond keep her in Liberty?

Second Chance Grill takes us to a charming, typical Midwestern town. I love towns like these. Everyone knows each other and there are no secrets. Dr. Mary Chance comes from big town Cincinnati and doesn’t quite fit right in, but as time goes on she becomes one of the townsfolk.

Watching Mary fend off her feelings and stay on course for her original plan was fun. The story was not predictable, I know how some parts would end, but were happily surprised with other parts. The unpredictability made me keep reading having to know what happen next. I also loved how Anthony persuades her to doubt her original plan without ultimatums. Not being over bearing, just incredibly sexy, sweet, and thoughtful won him a place in my heart.

The there is Blossom. My favorite character in the whole book. At eleven she is witty and smart beyond her years, but Nolfi did not make her old beyond her years. She still had tantrums and struggles with tween issues. The fact that she wants and needs a mother was not lost on me and that is the true reason I was hoping for Anthony and Mary to get together.

I believe this is a novel you will enjoy and come back to again and again. Second Chance Grill is a truly good book with a truly amazing story. I know that I will most definitely read the rest of this series.

The Book: The Dating Game

The Author: Susan Buchanan

ref=sib_dp_kd-1The Story: Workaholic recruitment consultant, Gill McFadden, is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her. Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert.

She realises she has to act, as work keeps piling up and at this rate she will have retired before she has time for a relationship.

Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency. She quickly discovers men are like buses. They all come along at once. Unsure what her type is, Gill decides to keep her options open. Soon she has problems juggling her social life as well as her work diary. Will she ever strike the right balance?

Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love? But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.

Review by Francine Lasala: There’s so much to like about this book, it’s hard to know where to start. Well-developed characters, beautifully described settings. I loved Gill’s antics with her pals and her romantic escapades made me miss the dating scene–the adventure of it all. Discovering new people and places, the way new people can affect you. Even the at-the-time mortifying but now-hilarious bad dates! Buchanan nicely captures that world.

And speaking of capturing worlds, I have never been to either Scotland or Spain, but after reading this book, I feel like I have an intimate knowledge of both. A satisfying read!

Review by Maria Savva:  Having read Susan Buchanan’s excellent debut novel, Sign of the Times, I was keen to read this book. I was not disappointed. Just like her debut novel, this is a book full of believable characters and is very entertaining. Chick lit lovers will adore this book.

The Dating Game is the story of a 37 year-old businesswoman looking for love. She signs up to a more traditional type of dating agency rather than an Internet site. Soon Gill has a list of potential suitors and is going on plenty of dates to try to find the right man. A tangled web is soon woven, and there are plenty of ups and downs.

The author has created a very realistic story, which reflects true life. Things are not always what they seem. The interaction between Gill and her three best friends was fun. Gill’s dates are often in restaurants, so there is an awful lot of reference to different types of foods.

The descriptive quality of the writing is again seen when Gill and her friends take a trip to Barcelona, and the author describes the festival events and the different places the girls visit. Attention to detail is a signature trait of this author’s writing. I was reminded of her skill at keeping the reader in suspense (something that is very common in Sign of the Times) when one of the twists in the story occurs towards the middle of the book. The Dating Game is a cleverly written story, that tells the tale of one woman’s search to find love, but simultaneously reveals many truths about modern relationships along the way.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though, for me the ending came too abruptly. Perhaps that’s just a sign of how much I enjoyed getting to know the characters. Could there be a sequel in the future? There is definitely scope for this. Congratulations to Susan Buchanan on writing another winning novel.

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