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SHE LAUGHS IN PINK by Jessica Calla: Hot Read – Deep Characters

She Laughs in PinkLooking for a hot summer read with a cast of wild characters, a lot of fun, and just a touch of magic? You found it in SHE LAUGHS IN PINK!

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Four years after her twin is murdered, Juliet Anderson still struggles with guilt, her parents, and her relationships. Two things keep her from falling into a deep, dark place—dancing and her best friend, Ben. So when Ben decides to play football for New Jersey University, Juliet doesn’t hesitate. She follows. Finally away from her past, there is nothing to stand in the way. Juliet will win Ben’s heart.

Then she meets Ben’s roommate, Chase.

On probation and hell-bent on adhering to a “new life plan,” aspiring artist Chase leaves his New York City home for New Jersey University and meets Juliet before even stepping foot on campus. For him, their connection is instant. She’s the most vibrant girl he’s ever seen. Her colors explode on his canvas, and he’s never been more inspired in his life.

Too bad she’s madly in love with his seemingly perfect, good guy roommate.

Calla has an exceptional ability to create deep characters with dark pasts who we root for all the way. I never felt like I was overloaded with backstory and was eager to hear about Juliet and Chase. They are each, in their own way, fighting to move on with their lives and in doing so, smack right into each other.

Sheridan Hall, the dorm where Juliet and Chase reside, is always active. It’s diverse cast of characters help to create an atmosphere that makes the college experience very believable!

To backtrack a bit–I picked up this title after reading Calla’s THE LOVE SQUARE because I enjoyed the spin she put on the love triangle trope and was looking forward to another cool, outside-the-box read. I wasn’t disappointed.

The air between Juliet and Chase sizzles despite Juliet’s chasing her best friend, Ben and Chase dealing with pressures from home. Chase is an artist and sees straight to Juliet’s essence–sees it in color, in fact. Chase has the ability to see auras. He begins to paint them–ballerina Juliet dancing and laughing. Laughing in pink.

But before Chase and Juliet can have their happily ever after, they need to reassess their own goals, decide what really matters, and face a tragic event that sweeps in at the end of Act II. I’m all about bittersweet endings, and–not giving this part away–I have to say, the ending of this book was perfect. 

I hope you check out SHE LAUGHS IN PINK and Calla’s incredible debut title THE LOVE SQUARE! To visit her webpage, click here.

Romance Reviews

COUNTRY ROADS by Nancy Herkness — Hot Jersey Author

country roads
Image from goodreads.com

Next in this series of hot romance authors from New Jersey, I bring you Nancy Herkness who turned the heat all the way up in her contemporary romance, COUNTRY ROADS.

The novel begins with our heroine, Julia Castillo, stranded on a country road on her way from the big city to a small town.  Julia has her artwork in tow, striking paintings of dark horses that won’t sell according to her manager uncle.  Handsome Paul Taggart, layer and former mayor, sweeps in to save her, getting her to town and the art dealer who is convinced Julia’s work will rock the art world.

Julia isn’t used to being outside of the sheltered world her family created for her, but she soon develops a taste for this new independence and for the man who rescued her.  Their passion roars to life with a heat that catches both off guard.  Julia, who has always been protected due to her epilepsy, worries that Paul will find out about her condition and treat her as her family did, like a broken doll.  Paul is tied to his home town by an alcoholic brother who is struggling to retain custody over his son.  Will the power of the whisper horses for which Sanctuary is so famous be able to help these lovers overcome their odds, or will Julia and Paul ultimately part ways on these country roads?

One of my favorite things about the book was Herkness’s vision of Sanctuary, a fictional West Virginian town with enough charm to make the reader want to linger and whisper horses to boot. I love fish out of water stories, so it was fun to follow the big-city artist to this place.  The perspective switches between Julia and Paul, and Herkness worked hard to make both of these characters equally complex.

So if life may be troubling you, stop by Sanctuary where the whisper horses may hear your troubles and help you find your way. 🙂

Here’s a link to Nancy’s Herkness’s website: http://www.nancyherkness.com/

Michelle Joyce Bond