The post promised a great historical read—FREE through Tuesday, August 14. Well, the last time Smitten Romance informed me (through a friend) that I’d love this “great historical book,” I’d found myself lost among the pages of Among the Poppies. So, I dashed off to Amazon.
Then I saw it. Free for Kindle Unlimited.
Now, look. I’m an author. I get it. Free books are great ways to introduce people to your work and to get needed reviews. But writing is an expensive business. And yes, it may be a ministry for many Christian authors, but it is also a business. So, instead of the download, I hit the Kindle Unlimited button. At least the author will get paid for it, right?
The screen popped up with, “YOU GREEDY FOOL! YOU HAVE TOO MANY ALREADY! PUT ONE BACK, FIRST!”
Okay, that’s just how it felt. In reality, it said something like, “You already have ten books shelved. Please, return one and try again.”
There was just one problem.
I hadn’t read any of the ten that sat shelved on the page.
I might as well confess that I almost just said, “forget it” and bought the dumb book. But I am no quitter. If I must read a book so that I can shelve another, then I’ll make that sacrifice. Take one for the team and all that.
But which one? That wasn’t an easy prospect. I finally landed on a pink-covered book that screamed “fluff and nonsense” to me—with a fabulous title. Bookishly Ever After.
Emory Blake is the ultimate bibliophile. She’d take curling up with a good novel over a night on the town any day of the week. But then best friend Tate Woodby accuses her of living between the pages of her paperbacks instead of the real world, and make a bet that will force her to experience the adventures of her fictional friends…instead of just reading about them. With her face no longer buried in books, Emory must confront the pain of the past. But is it also her perfect opportunity to discover the hunky hero who could be the happily-ever-after of her own story?
I’d skim that sucker—get it done in no time. After all, it was “just a sweet little romance” from what I could tell. They’re the easiest ones to skim.
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How One Fluffy Read Betrayed Me & Why I’m Thrilled
Yeah. And so I began. Riveting opening… I jumped, even knowing what would happen, I jumped right when I should have. And the game (both literaturely and literally—within the context of the story, anyway) was afoot!
Emory? I’m half in love with her myself. She’s a delightful mix of flawed perfection. She has a sharp wit that doesn’t cut, she’s clueless but not indefinitely, and not stupid in her cluelessness, and she’s oh, so much fun.
I’d gotten two or three chapters in before I realized that I had read every stinkin’ word. Then I looked at my progress. How many hours would this take!?
Confession: I did not have time to be reading a book today. I was busy. Behind. Scrambling for time as it was!
But I was already at about twenty-five percent! That’s when I realized I’d grabbed a novella!
Confession number two: I don’t usually enjoy novellas. They feel rushed.
Yes, I recognize the irony there.
But Sarah Monzon pulled off a delightful novella that held my attention and made me slow down and savor every scene.
Yes, it was fluffy—in part.
The book is pure romance. That didn’t surprise me at all. What did surprise me was how into the romance I was. Maybe it was because she kept it about people instead of piling emotion upon emotion. It could be.
But I suspect it was more.
Because even in this short, ninety-one-page novel, she also tackled a deep-seated issue in Emory.
And she used a great guy, Tate, to help with it.
I love a good best friend. I mean, come on. Like I shared here, I married mine. And Tate has some first-rate qualities that remind me a little of the guy who got stuck with me for life. (Hey, I finally “get” the whole “sorry, not sorry” thing…).
And Monzon wrote a great one. He’s real, honest, raw, and flawed—just like every “hero” I’ve ever loved. His patience spoke volumes. I’m just sayin’.
Did I mention she did it in first person?
Yeah, I just fell in love with a book written in first-person.
Confession: I didn’t notice until I was three-quarters of the way done with the book. She should get five stars for that alone. But Monzon earned it many times over.
Like how about taking something people complain about and turning it on its head?
Look, in so much of romantic fiction, a whole boatload of stuff could be solved if people just talked instead of “misunderstood” and brooded.
Sarah Monzon did something novel in this novella. She had her characters talk—or at least acknowledge an unwillingness to when something else got in the way (mostly Emory’s past issues).
Monzon earned five stars just for that. But I didn’t give them to her for it.
Nope. She gets five stars for writing a book with fabulous characters I’d love to have over for dinner and chat with. I’d love to hear more about their bookish dates and when he just…knew. I’m giving her five stars for writing a book I loved and immersed myself into when I just wanted a skimmed read.
She gets five stars for writing fluff I couldn’t put down, with something substantial beneath that fluff, and for betraying my need for a quick read while giving it to me at the same time.
I didn’t skim this book. But being a novella, I read it in just over an hour and a half. Yes, it was fluffy. But writing something more than just fluff among the pages made it rich, too.
It was my first book by Sarah Monzon. It will not be my last.
For my .02 on book two in this series, Literarily for Keeps, go HERE.