Dating in the Apocalypse: Sarah “The One” (Book 1), by Christopher John Chater

5_13_17 Dating in the Apocalypse

4 stars

I’ll be honest: I had my doubts about how this was going to turn out.

 

After a date gone wrong, Tom Collins goes another day without the love of his life. Or does he? And, let’s be real, who is he to define ‘bad date’ in the middle of an apocalypse?

 

A lot of thought went into Dating in the Apocalypse. There’s quite a bit of backstory to unveil in a such a short space. There needs to be enough information given about characters. The author succeeded. The right environment is present. We have enough of an idea as to what apocalypse they enjoyed, as well as the state of the rest of the area. Tom and co. feel well-rounded. They’re likeable characters. My apprehensions of the ‘damsel in distress’ trope was effectively dismissed. The women were very well-written.

 

The writing style complimented the tone of the novel. I love the creativity that went into crafting the narrative. While, yes, it is an apocalyptic novel, it strays a little from the tried-and-true formula. Those little strays make a big difference in separating this from the rest. Well, that and the premise of the story itself, which was unique.

 

Action-packed, character-driven apocalypse. I wonder if they’ll ever make a game show out of this?

 

Buy it here!

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Wife for a While, by Lorna Baldwin

4_30_17 Wife for a While

4 stars

 

I always have low expectations going into romance novels. To be honest, if you’ve read one romance novel, you’ve read them all. There’s few instances that they deviate from their given formula.
It was nice to find one that did.
Wife for a While is a book about a wedding planner planning a wedding with no bride. The groom-to-be is Benton, a millionaire (of course) that has rules to follow if he’s to remain a millionaire. Jolene is a wedding planner about to lose her business. They enter into an arranged marriage of sorts, contract and all.
While it follows lots of common tropes, it differentiated right where it needed to. It showed that opposites can attract without being petty and difficult. Jolene and Benton are very different, but they take interest each others’ hobbies. Boundaries are set and respected. Or broken, but within respectable parameters.
What I liked most about the characterization was that they were different. Without the “I’m not like other X” spiel. Jolene’s different in that she’s a girl who “refuses to accept charity,” except that she kind of does. All for believable reasons that fall within her personality. Benton does everything he can to respect Jolene as a person. And he never expects congratulations for being a decent human being.
The sex was well-written and realistic. Benton makes sure that Jolene takes precedence over his own needs. It’s not tacky, and he respects her boundaries.
Their nonsexual interactions were also well done. Together they suffer a lot of external conflicts, like mother-in-laws. The internal conflict suffered as a result was the right amount of drama. Things got heated between them sometimes. It happens. Despite that, neither person went overboard in their negative reaction to the other. For the most part, they were super-supportive of each other. A healthy couple. This is what I love to see in romance novels. There’s no spouse treating the other like dirt.
My second favorite part was the fact that the “L” word wasn’t thrown around. Oftentimes within a painfully short period, the characters are confessing love. Or throwing around “true love” as a theme, but characters can hardly stand each other. This plays a huge part in how much I liked the ending.
Writing style was pretty good. I wasn’t wowed by the first person alternating perspectives, but it held up. Character voices fit their personalities and differences were notable. Description lacked a little, but not where it counted ;).
One of the better romances out there, hands down. I liked the premise of the story, the characters, and their interactions. Marks that many fall short of.
Buy it here!