Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies! I hope y'all have had a wonderfully productive week and plan to have fun this weekend.
This week I read Something to Prove by Kimberly Lang. I met Kimberly at the Summer Lovin' Romance Writers' Conference at our local library a couple of weeks ago. My daughter wanted to attend because she has a romance book that's being published soon, and she hoped to meet other romance writers and learn more about the business. During the Friday night dinner we sat at Kimberly's table, and she was lots of fun. It was neat to discover that she graduated from the same high school as my daughter: the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Ironically, neither of them majored in creative writing. The conference also had discussion panel sessions and book signings. Shanley and I had so much fun! We ran into a few friends, met some wonderful writers, learned new things, and each bought a couple of books. I bought Kimberly's because I liked her so much.
For those of you who've followed my blog for a long time you know that I don't read that much romance. The only two romance writers I regularly read are Lynne Kurland (who's one of the very best storytellers on Earth) and Karen Marie Moning (whom I love and adore). Both write paranormal, and Karen also writes urban fantasy and Lynne writes straight-up fantasy, so it's extremely rare that I read contemporary romances.
But methinks Kimberly Lang has won me over to contemporary romances….her romances, at least. Something to Prove, the first book in her Magnolia Beach series, has such a wonderful sense of place that if Magnolia Beach, Alabama truly existed, I'd be moving! She perfectly captures the spirit of a small Alabama coastal town, and the setting couldn't lend itself any better to romance.
Helena Wheeler has returned to Magnolia Beach to help her grandmother recover from a terrible fall. She's been away from home for almost twelve years, and she'd earned her nickname "Hell-on-Wheels" honestly when she was a teenager; she was not very delightful. During her tenure away from Magnolia Beach, she's grown into a lovely responsible adult running her own graphic design business. Helena loves the anonymity of living in Atlanta: it suits her well. Her icy homecoming reception by the upstanding citizens of Magnolia Beach had been expected, but it hurts nonetheless.
Ryan Tanner is Magnolia Beach's golden boy. Everyone has admired him his entire life. He never got into any trouble as a teenager: he was a football star, Auburn graduate, and now mayor of Magnolia Beach, juggling those duties with his construction business. Helena hires Ryan to make her grandmother's home handicapped accessible, and they become friends with benefits. Helena admires and respects Ryan so much she becomes concerned that their association might harm his reputation, so she wants to keep their relationship on the down low. Ryan won't have it and finally asks her on a date. Then things get very, very interesting.
I love Helena and Ryan. As the story builds, their true characters are revealed along with Helena's storied past. I think they're a wonderful couple, they balance each other, and I truly hope readers get a glimpse of them in the other books in the series. I have already preordered the second novella for Nook entitled One Little Thing, which will be released in November, and the second novel in the series, Everything at Last, which will be released in January.
And now onto the delicious part…
Kimberly shared some fun goodies at dinner. Check it out: