One of the perks of living in the “writer world” is meeting other writers and getting to read their stories. This week I had the opportunity to read Carla Laureano’s debut novel FIVE DAYS IN SKYE. It was like relaxing with a cup of coffee and watching my favorite movie. Leap Year, Decoy Bride, and P.S. I Love You all rolled into one delightful banter-filled romp . . . I loved it!
And as far as my checklist for what makes a GREAT contemporary romance novel, FIVE DAYS IN SKYE pretty much nailed them all.
1. Good-looking hero with an accent. CHECK! (picture Henry Cavill with the voice of Gerard Butler…*SIGH) **James MacDonald is a world-known chef with a reputation. He may play the part of “playboy”, but James is hurting and just not ready to do “serious”…yet…
2. Strong, smart, feisty heroine who isn’t whiny, and likes shoes. CHECK. **Andrea Sullivan is a feisty, consultant. After punching the last client in the face (Woot! Woot! The man wasn’t listening to her “no touchy-touchy” policy), she’s being “banished” to Scotland to consult for a world-known chef that she knows nothing about.
» “As punishments went, Scotland was a big one.” (page 9)
» “This is a business trip. Trust me. My dream vacation involves sunshine and umbrella drinks on the beach, not rain and fog in some backwater village.” If she’d only managed to keep her temper in check, she’d be spending the next week in the tropics with the promise of a fat commission and a guaranteed promotion, not serving time in Scotland babysitting a celebrity client who suddenly wanted to dabble in the hotel business. (page 10)
» “Frankly, I don’t know the first thing about him. I’ve never seen his show, I certainly don’t cook, and I can’t fathom why anyone with a successful career in London would want to open a hotel on the Isle of Skye.” (page13)
3. Playful Banter and sparks. CHECK! CHECK! **Sparks of all kinds started flying from page one and didn’t stop.
“If you can’t find me tomorrow, I’m probably hiding out somewhere so I don’t have to leave,” she murmured.
“You won’t hear any complaints from me.” He rubbed her arms briskly. “It’s cold, and I promised you something to warm you up.”
“Is that so?” She turned to face him and raised her eyebrows.
“Chocolate, you vixen.”
“Somehow, I’m disappointed.”
“Can’t have that, can we?” He pulled her closer and proceeded to kiss her until the cold was the last thing on either of their minds. (Page 231-232)
4. Exotic location. CHECK. *Scottish Isle of Skye… I love learning about new places, feeling like I’m there. Carla does an excellent job of giving enough detail without making it read like a page from a textbook or guidebook. Now I REALLY want to go to Scotland!
5. Just enough “serious” to get me thinking, a take away thought that sticks with me even after I’ve closed the book. CHECK.
» “We’re all broken. We’re only human. Some wounds only God can mend. If we let Him.” (page 250)
6. An ending that doesn’t skip ahead to “and they lived happily ever after and just found out they’re pregnant…” CHECK. The wedding, first years of marriage, and pregnancy/baby is a whole book in and of itself! **I’m not going to tell you how it did end, but Carla did a great job with it!
**Pretty much the only thing missing from FIVE DAYS IN SKYE, are scratch-and-sniff stickers. Food was being prepared ALL. THE. TIME. My stomach growled audibly several times, which says a lot about Carla’s descriptive-sensory writing. YUM!
**Carla Laureano does an excellent job of creating characters that are relatable and likeable. I couldn’t wait to read what happened next, but I didn’t want to read too fast and get to the end . . . I look forward to reading the next book in this series. It’s about James’ brother, Ian. YEAH! That name holds a special place in my heart, seeing as it’s the name of MY good-looking hero with an accent in BOUND! 😉
For more info on Carla, check out her Facebook page and her website: