Life of the Party
Calypso Falls #1
By: Kris Fletcher
Releasing January 17, 2017
In this all-new contemporary romance series, the five Elias sisters of Calypso Falls, New York, discover that love sometimes arrives in surprising ways…
Jenna Elias was always the life of the party, coasting on her charm and beauty, hiding the shame of the scandal surrounding her absentee father, a corrupt politician. But the party ended all too soon with an injury that left her partially paralyzed and a husband who simply left her. Now, at age thirty, she’s back in Calypso Falls. She leads a simple existence working in her sister’s coffee shop, but Jenna misses the joy she once had in her life. Then Cole Dekker walks into the coffee shop.
As idealistic as he is sexy, the local lawyer is running for mayor of Calypso Falls. Drawn to Jenna’s quick wit and radiance, he asks her to volunteer for his campaign. As the two start working together, there’s no denying the powerful attraction they feel for each other. A desktop makeout session leads to much more. But when Jenna’s dad returns to Calypso Falls and wants to be a part of her life again, the association could spell political suicide for Cole—and the end of a once-in-a-lifetime chance at true love.
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
As a native to the DC metro area, I tend to steer very clear of any novels with a political bent as it sometimes seems that I am forced to breathe politics 24/7. So my first inclination was to pass by Kris Fletcher’s Life of the Party, a romance about a man running for political office. There was something different in the synopsis though, probably the description of Jenna’s past and her current state, that intrigued me enough to ignore my usual “no politics” rule.
After having not read many romances in years, this past year has brought an onslought, many of which have been very good. Life of the Party falls into that category. While the topic of a political candidate whose election may go south because of his romantic involvement has been done countless times before, Kris Fletcher breathes new life into it with her fresh characters.
Frankly, for me, the characterization in this romance was what scored a huge amount of points. The characters are so fully drawn that they could be real people, mature, rational people. There were no tantrums or eye-rolling-worthy behavior or melodrama to add oomph. The characters are the oomp. Both Jenna and Cole are thinking people and they change through the course of the novel, sometimes with the aid of close supporting characters who offer insight into their behavior that they aren’t able to see. So if any of you are planning on writing a romance novel and want it to be fresh—this is the way to do it. Create fully realized characters. There will always be someone who may not care for your characters, but it won’t be because they are cardboard stereotypes.
While I am still thinking along the character lines, I want to emphasize that Fletcher has done credible world-building here already to launch her series. The supporting characters each possess their own—different—personalities so I look forward to reading future novels. The Elias family is a support structure of strong, warm, intelligent and spunky women and that is also a good quality to recommend the series. A lot of thought has gone into this novel, which made it a pleasure to read.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
rating: (4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5)
Kris Fletcher writes about small towns, big families, and the love that grows despite them. She has a thing for underdogs, which probably explains her lifelong devotion to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kris shares her central New York home – fondly known as Casa Kitty – with her husband, kids, two cats, and a large population of wild killer dust bunnies. You can learn more about Kris, her books, and the view from her balcony at http://www.krisfletcher.com.
(Jenna) couldn’t quite stop staring at him.
Her rational brain ticked through the points—attractive guy, my age, waiting politely—while something within her urged her to look harder. Deeper. Before she missed something vital.
Then he raised his eyebrows and tipped his head, and she caught it. The flash of humor. The air of expectancy. The feeling that, in this moment, she was the only thing that mattered to him.
“Could I get a coffee, please?”
Hello, reality, you cruel bitch.
“Um . . . sure. Sorry. I’ll be right with you.”
Okay. So his desperate focus had been not on her, but the caffeine she represented. Nothing wrong with that. Better, even, than the possibilities being offered up by her imagination.
She returned to the register and focused on the order she needed to modify. It would be a lot easier if she wasn’t certain that he was following her every move, watching her hands glide across the keyboard like they held Harry Potter’s wand. Or maybe he was the one with the magic. It certainly took all of her resolve to stay on task when she had this sense that she was being compelled to turn back to him.
Lucky for her, learning to walk again had taught her a few things about determination.
At last the receipt was modified. She braced herself and returned to Mr. Compelling with the practiced smile she kept in her pocket for any situation requiring tact and/or faking.
“Sorry for the delay. One coffee, right?”
“Right. Milk, no sugar.”
“Let me deliver these and I’ll get right on that.”
She reached for the tray, but he placed a hand across it.
“Hang on,” he said.
Well, hell. There was nothing like watching a guy turn into an entitled, demanding jerk to crash through the Hormone Net.
“I’ll be right back.” She said it firmly, resisting the urge to explain playground rules about taking turns to him.
“That’s going to the table in the corner, right? The loud group?” At her nod, he added, “I’m with them. Add my coffee to the bill, let me pay up, and I’ll do the delivery myself.”
Her first thought was that Aunt Margie had got things seriously wrong when she said that all men were shortsighted asses who couldn’t see beyond the ends of their peckers.
Her second was that he’d caught her limping and felt sorry for her.
She straightened her shoulders, her backbone, her hips. “Thanks, but I can manage.”
“Sure you can. But I’m heading that way anyway.”
“That’s very kind of you, but I’ve kept them waiting long enough.”
“Yeah, well, I kept them waiting longer. If I come bearing gifts, they might be more forgiving.” The grin flashed again. “In fact, why don’t you toss a few of those muffins on the tray, too. I have a lot of groveling ahead. It might go better if I feed the beasts before I throw myself on their mercy.”
How was a girl supposed to resist that?
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