Tag: HCI Books

Review: The Icing on the Cake by Alison Kent

Posted November 3, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Holly‘s review of The Icing on the Cake by Alison Kent

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match . . . dot com!  An on-line dating service is not Michelle Snow’s idea of how to find love but when the Big 3-0 hits, Michelle decides she has nothing to lose since she hasn’t brought a date home in ten years, she’s professionally burned out, and her climb up the corporate ladder has come at the expense of abandoning her sweet dream: to own a boutique cupcakery.

Todd Bracken, early 30s and a successful technology consultant, isn’t exactly a player after being off the market for ten years, and pours himself into his dual passions of martial arts and home-sweet-home renovations. Only there’s no one to come home to so he decides to give Match.com a try. Todd isn’t so sure the Internet dating scene is his thing—until a message pops up in the wee hours on a weekend night: “I like your smile.” Todd likes—a lot—the whole package that glides into a French bistro in Washington, D.C.

It’s serious mojo-at-first-sight but there’s a glitch: Todd and Michelle live in different cities. Will love find its way in the digital age with a You’ve Got Mail courtship when video cam kisses just aren’t enough? And when Todd challenges Michelle to not only go for her dream but let him share it, will they be able to make it happen together despite obstacles more plentiful than a shower of rainbow sprinkles? 

This is the second reality-based book I’ve read. I really enjoyed the first one and had high hopes for this one. I’ve read novels by Kent in the past and really enjoyed them, and this was no exception.

Thanks to a nudge from her friends, Michelle signs up for Match.com. She doesn’t expect much to come of it, but she’s pleasantly surprised when she comes across Todd’s profile. After exchanging a few emails, they agree to meet. What blossoms is a sweet, steady love story. From their first text message to their first kiss, Kent beautifully showcased their developing romance. Right from the beginning I was caught up in them.

There isn’t a lot of drama involved in their relationship. There’s no major obstacles to overcome, nothing to keep them apart. This is a story about two people who meet and fall in love. They go through trials as a couple, but the conflicts are all external and they do well facing them together. I really liked that. I’m not sure I’d always want that to be the case, but it worked here.


This book is available from HCI. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Reality-Based Romance™ Giveaway: Meet Me in Manhattan, The Icing on the Cake, Hard to Hold

Posted September 29, 2010 by Holly in Giveaways | 29 Comments

 Thanks to HCI books and TLC Book Tours, we have a set of the True Vows Reality-Based Romance™ novels to giveaway.

Meet Me in Manhattan (True Vows)
The Icing on the Cake (True Vows)
Hard to Hold (True Vows)

Leave a comment answering these questions for a chance to win. What do you think of the concept behind the line? Would you want your True Romance published in a novel? Contest ends Tues 10/5 at 11:59pm.

*contest open to residents of US/canada only.

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Review: Meet Me In Manhattan by Judith Arnold

Posted September 29, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Holly‘s review of Meet Me in Manhattan by Judith Arnold

Ted Skala and Erika Fredell were the perfect New Jersey high school sweethearts. Like many teens Ted and Erika spent plenty of time in parked cars under the stars, but there was so much more between them than the chemistry that ignited their courtship, and Ted couldn’t imagine a life without Erika. By graduation he was ready to get engaged. Erika, however, was ready to spread her wings and faraway she flew to college. She broke his heart. She sailed the world.

Fast forward 15 years. Living in Manhattan, Erika successfully climbs the corporate ladder but her love life stinks. Ted is also living the life of a successful businessman in Manhattan, and he’s involved in a serious relationship. Problem is, he still can’t get Erika out of his system. When fate intervenes and their paths cross, the result is emotionally explosive and that old black magic is back with the force of a super nova. But Erika once ravaged his heart: How can Ted ever trust her again? And now that he’s seriously involved with another woman, how can Erika hope for a second chance with the man she never should have let go?

When I first heard about the Reality-Based Romance™ HCI books was putting together, I was really intrigued. People submit their real life romances and then an author takes the story and expands on it. Way cool. Only..I have to be honest and say I struggled a bit with that while reading. Fiction is fiction..it’s ok to love or hate the character, because they don’t exist. But these are real people, and this is really their story. So I found myself almost feeling guilty when I was annoyed at one of them, or feeling almost like a voyeur during some parts of it. Silly, maybe, but there you have it.

Ted developed a crush on Ericka the first time he ever saw her, when they were in 10th grade. For 2 years he pined for her, thinking she was out of his league. Ericka was always focused on her riding, and though she knew Ted casually, she didn’t think about him as someone she’d be interested in until just before senior prom. Then things changed, and she couldn’t get him out of her head. Just after graduation a friend of theirs finally pushed them together and they started a summer romance. Ted knew Ericka was the perfect girl for him. He loved everything about her – her determination, her free spirit, her zest for life. They spent an amazing summer together, falling more in love and developing a strong bond. But there was a pall hanging over their time together, because Ericka was leaving for college in the fall, and Ted wasn’t.

As much as Ericka loved Ted, and loved being with Ted, she wanted to go out into the world and experience life. She wanted to climb mountains, travel the world, learn to ski. There were times when she thought she could do all those things with Ted, but he scared her. He made her think she would lose herself in him and she didn’t want that. So she broke things off with him when she moved away to college. Ted was devastated. She completely shattered him. He wanted to marry her, to be with her, to have her love him the way he loved her. He sank into a deep depression, then started traveling, working his way around the country, trying to exercise her from his mind and never quite succeeding.

16 years later they meet up again in Manhattan. Both are successful in their chosen fields, and neither has ever really been able to get completely over the other. Ted is in a relationship, but he’s unable to commit. And Ericka hasn’t been as lucky in love as she has in business. After meeting for a drink, they decide they need a chance to get past their feelings for one another. Ted is determined to keep his heart safe from Ericka this time. But Ericka is ready to commit..to be with Ted as he wanted to be with her all those years ago. Can Ted let go of his hurt feelings and trust Ericka not to break his heart again?

This is the first novel I’ve read by Judith Arnold. She did an excellent job of taking us through a romance that spanned 16 years. I was totally caught up in Ted and Ericka’s relationship in both the past and present.

I really enjoyed the journey both characters took, though I have to say Ericka’s attitude bothered me at times. Maybe because I sympathized so much with Ted? She was right that they were probably too young to get married, but she seemed almost selfish at times. She didn’t consider him and his feelings, only herself. Which, really, is pretty typical of a high school girl. I loved that Ted loved her so completely. Maybe her love for him was a puppy love, but his was true and lasting.

Overall a sweet novel. Arnold really captured the teen/high school angst, but still made this a fresh, lovely story.

4.25 out of 5

The True Vows Books:
Meet Me in Manhattan (True Vows)Hard to Hold (True Vows)The Icing on the Cake (True Vows) 
(these books aren’t related, but they’re all Reality-Based Romance™)

This book is available from HCI Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Do you love romance?

REAL romance??

Please join us for a super-fun Reality Romance Twitter Chat with MEET ME IN MANHATTANauthor Judith Arnold, as well as the real couple the book is based on!  We’ll be giving away signed copies of MEET ME IN MANHATTANevery 10 minutes during the hour-long chat!
Register to attend the live Twitter chat by going HERE and receive 5 free chapters of the book to check out in advance of the chat!
The chat will take place on Tuesday, October 5th, at 6pm PST/9 pm EST.  Remember to use the hashtag #TLCbookchat.  We hope you can make it!

 Don’t have a Twitter account? Sign up here.

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