PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE BOOK TAG (Nov 16, 2019)
I found this tag on Chelle’s Book Ramblings . It’s simple and fun. I thought I would put my own spin on it and make it a
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
Soundtrack: Lost in Austen
Artist: Mystery Jets
Between The Lines – Sally Malcolm
Theo Wishart has given up on finding love.
Luca Moretti doesn’t want to find it.
A handful of summer days may change their lives forever—if they’re brave enough to look between the lines.
Eyes might be windows to the soul, but for Theo Wishart they’re all shuttered. His dyspraxia makes it hard to read people. He doesn’t do relationships and he certainly doesn’t do the great outdoors. Two weeks spent “embracing beach life” while he tries to close the deal on a once great, now fading seaside hotel is a special kind of hell.
Until Luca. Gorgeous, unreachable Luca.
Luca Moretti travels light, avoiding all romantic entanglements. Estranged from his parents, he vows this will be his last trip home to New Milton. His family’s hotel is on the verge of ruin and there’s nothing Luca can do to save it. He’s given up on the Majestic, he’s given up on his family and he’s given up on his future.
Until Theo. Prickly, captivating Theo.
No mushy feelings, no expectations, and no drama—that’s the deal. A simple summer fling. And it suits them both just fine. But as the summer wanes and their feelings deepen, it’s clear to everyone around them that Theo and Luca are falling in love. What will it take for them to admit it to themselves—and to each other?
Oh Theo, you poor cinnamon roll! Lemme give you a hug（⊃≧ω≦(´ω｀*⊂)
Damn you Luca! For making him go through all that. You should have been the one begging!
There were moments where I almost didn’t like Luca. Moments when he was being so damn stubborn. It was Don, of all people, who made him open his eyes. He was suitably contrite and more importantly, took that big leap forward so I forgave him. Though, I still think he needs to make up to Theo big time.
Theo, at first glance was a privileged snobby rich man’s son out to make profit but right off the bat, I had an inkling he’s going to be the cute one. Turns out, he was a hopeless romantic who cries at weddings. Aaaw…
Luca was the golden boy who can do everything but doesn’t want to be tied to anything. I kind of felt like the balance of the relationship was tipped in his favor. Like there was slightly more take than give. In fairness to him, he tried to understand Theo’s dyspraxia and I am convinced he does love him but he was also a coward who made Theo go through painful scenes so you better give him his dream wedding, mister!
Between The Lines is set in New Milton, a small seaside town which is slightly on the decrepit side and needed that economic boost Lux Properties was offering. This is one of the three novels set in New Milton. Perfect Day is a prequel of sorts and the couple there, Finn and Josh had their big wedding scene here. However, Between The Lines could be read as a standalone and I had no problems dealing with the references from the first novel even though I have not read it yet.
I was swept away by this summery little tale. Sally Malcolm created a delightful story with an equally beautiful setting. Granted there were some predictable elements, the overall delivery was still engaging and enjoyable. As the cover suggests, this is a good book to read while getting toasted on the beach.
I received a copy of Between The Lines from Carina Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
Soundtrack: I Would Do Anything for You
Artist: Foster the People