Love Around the Corner – Sally Malcolm
Real life enemies, online lovers. Two lonely men, destined for each other–if only they knew it.
Real life enemies.
Alfie Carter grew up in New Milton, caring for his sick father and keeping their auto repair shop on its feet. He’s touchy about his poor education and doesn’t take kindly to snide remarks from the town’s prickly bookstore owner—no matter how cute he looks in his skinny jeans. Leo Novak’s new life as owner of Bayside Books is floundering. And he could do without the town’s gorgeous, moody mechanic holding a grudge against him after an unfortunate—and totally not his fault— encounter last Christmas.
Left to run the family business alone, Alfie spends his lonely evenings indulging his secret passion for classic fiction and chatting online with witty, romantic ‘LLB’ as they fall in love over literature. Leo’s still reeling from a bad breakup and struggling to make friends in New Milton, so seeks comfort instead in his blossoming online romance with thoughtful, bookish ‘Camaro89’.
But as the holidays approach, ‘LLB’ and ‘Camaro89’ are planning to meet, and realities are about to collide…
Two lonely men, destined for each other—if only they knew it.
What a delightful little story!
Love Around the Corner is the perfect Christmas story for book lovers everywhere. It is an updated version of You Got Mail in which two shop owners don’t get along in real life but connect closely online. While I didn’t enjoy the rom-com because Meg Ryan was forever doing the same character in all her movies and Tom Hanks was not my type, Alfie and Leo charmed me with their online bond and mutual love of Jane Austen, an author I’m trying to get.
I have tried reading Emma twice but I couldn’t move past the mind-numbingly dull conversations but I guess that’s the whole point, it being a commentary on people. I also want to read Pride and Prejudice to see what the fuss is all about with this Darcy fellow. Alfie and Leo understood the whole dissection of human nature thing that Austen is so adept at. Their enthusiasm for classic literature was so contagious I was inspired to read some. I was even pleasantly surprised to learn that Maurice, a book I dismissed as the usual bury your gay classic, has a happy ending! Definitely reading that.
This is another book set in New Milton, this time, in winter. The story is typical of romantic comedies. But even if we know what to expect, Sally Malcolm was able to keep things interesting. She had me hard rooting for both men. Alfie, the moody mechanic, is not really moody. He is actually such a sweetheart. He finds reading challenging but he worked around it by listening to audiobooks. Leo was the exasperating one and I thought Dee should have egged him harder to tell the truth. Heck, Dee should have gone ahead and told Alfie, spare everyone the drama. But since Leo was cute as a button and he was genuinely hurting, I didn’t feel too inclined to be annoyed. Also his love letter to Alfie was so worth it!
If you are up for something warm and fuzzy, Love Around the Corner is for you. That it is about bookworms is an extra treat. Author Sally Malcolm started writing MM in 2016 and she’s an exciting new voice in the scene. I totally loved her New Milton books! I liked how her books are a winning combination of fluff and humor with a side of angst. I recommend this to those who love stories about enemies-to-lovers, second chances and getting into that Christmas spirit.
Review of Sally Malcolm’s book, Between the Lines here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Midnight Angel – Kevin Klehr
Dinner is overcooked. The guests haven’t arrived. And Luke is sitting alone at his dining table on New Year’s Eve. He was hoping to romance Nathan, one of the people he invited for this intimate evening meal.
As midnight draws closer, it seems an angel, who has magically appeared in Luke’s apartment, is the only person to drink champagne and watch the fireworks with.
But this angel has other ideas. He’s about to grant Luke the New Year’s Eve party he thought he wanted.
Midnight Angel is your typical heartwarming holiday story that’s sure to give you feels. However, I felt it was a tad too cheesy at times. Some of the lines and dialogue didn’t feel natural and I couldn’t imagine anybody saying them out loud with a straight face.
One of the best parts of the story is the friendship between Luke and Tim. When they laid it all out and decided that they might be able to make it work, I felt like they would still be friends even if it didn’t. For me, this kind of relationship is more important than a forced romance. I wanted to see more of Tim’s interaction with Luke prior to the party. We are told rather than shown his awkwardness when talking to Luke and I thought it would have been adorable to witness.
The main theme was love vs infatuation and Guy, the angel, tried to steer Luke in the right direction because it was pretty obvious to everyone that Mr. Right was right in front of him but he stubbornly refused to see.
In the end, Luke was able to open his eyes to what the future might bring. They didn’t call it love, at least not yet. I liked that they took time to nurture the relationship and let it grow. As the months go by, Luke was able to finally find the strength to say the words and the story ended in the best possible way.
I received a copy of Midnight Angel from Nine Star Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it