Tuesday, February 2, 2016

REVIEW: Chill Out by Jana Richards #Romance

Renata Cabral needs to hide for the weekend. Her cousin’s Valentine’s Day wedding means she’ll face embarrassing questions from her large, extended family. Questions like “Why aren’t you married yet?” Since the breakup of her last relationship, she’s not ready to answer that question. She invents a work-related excuse and escapes to a friend’s lakeside cottage. 

Noah Brownlee has been hiding for two years. But now he’s ready to come home and mend his broken relationship with his brother. When a friend offers the use of his lakeside cottage, Noah arrives in the middle of a blizzard with his English Mastiff, only to find the place is already occupied. With her big brown eyes and quirky sense of humor, Renata stirs feelings he thought long dead. 

As the blizzard rages, the candy hearts predict love. Can Valentine’s Day work its magic between them?

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RATING: 4 Stars 

Two single, somewhat lonely people, accountant Renata Cabral and Dr. Noah Brownlee find themselves accidentally sharing the same lakeside cottage, thanks first to friends who neglected to communicate with each other before recommending the cottage as a refuge, and then to a Canadian blizzard that rules out either of them going elsewhere.  Making things even more interesting is Spike, Noah’s English Mastiff, who loves sleeping on his person’s bed – and already, on the first night both people are in the cottage, Spike decides to choose Renata’s bed.

‘Chill Out’ uses a familiar basis for starting a romance – two strangers forced by circumstances beyond their control to share living quarters for a time.  The romance in this story progresses nicely, with two interesting characters trying to escape and also resolve painful past experiences.  Both Renata and Noah frequently have brief recollections about those experiences, and then have to once again face their present circumstances.  Through it all, Spike moves between them, serving as a friend, a topic of conversation, a justification for some of their actions; he becomes a common ground, something to share and to care about.

As readers, we learn about those painful past experiences, and how they have affected the present, as Renata and Noah remember them, think about them, and come to exchange those recollections.  The relationship they begin to share with each other builds upon these exchanges, and, again as a reader, I found it easy to sympathize with them, and ultimately to hope for a mutual happy ending – one that will be happy for Spike as well.  And a reader can’t forget those interesting candy hearts popping up occasionally, with their oddly appropriate sayings.

There were no big surprises, no startling twists, no hidden terrors popping up to change the story’s direction.  This is simply a fun, interesting, easy-to-read romance about two nice people, and I can recommend it to most romance fans.  I rate ‘Chill Out’ as worth 4 stars, and I am grateful for the reviewer’s copy I was sent.

Reviewed by: Roberta

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