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Lessons in Love (Patti Shenberger)

2 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
I’m a little torn because I really don’t read enough short novella romances to know what to compare this to, but at a little under 5,000 words total for three different stories, each of these felt more like a really promising idea laid out in an interesting scene than an actual romance. The characters and set-ups are all interesting; I just wish this had been say, three books, as opposed to three fairly quick scenes.
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March Author Spotlight: Patti Shenberger

We interviewed Patti Shenberger on how she became a romance writer, who she wishes were her literary parents, and a host of other things for our March Author Spotlight.

booknosh: How/when did you know you wanted to be a writer? Were you a romance reader who wanted to write? Or a writer who happened to like romance?

PS: I think I knew since the first time I could hold a pencil and print words that I wanted to write.  I remember in kindergarten, every Monday the teacher would give us construction paper and we would write and draw what we did on the weekend.  That was my favorite thing to do.  On the other hand, I’m also a reader who loves romance and a writer who loves to write romance. If it has a happy ever after, count me in. 

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Unlikely Angels (Patti Shenberger, The GAIT Group)

1 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
My biggest problem with this book is that I think it’s misclassified — I don’t think it’s really a romance novel (where you have a hero and heroine and get to see their journey of falling in love with one another)… it’s more… erotica. It’s very creative erotica: John Wayne Western meets paranormal guardian-angels-earning-their-wings meets Debbie Does Dallas… but there’s not really the character development or romantic progression that I expect (and require) from a romance, thus the low rating.
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Flavorful Seductions (Patti Shenberger)

2 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
While I get that novellas are going to be short by nature, it wasn’t just the plot and pacing that felt rushed in this novella (yes, because it’s shorter, it has to progress more rapidly).  The writing seemed to trip along itself, and other than the fact that these two characters are very, very attracted to one another, you never quite get anything to hold onto in order to believe that they will be together, or make it, in the long haul.  Though the sex is sensual, I would have almost preferred a little less sex (gasp!) and a little more interaction to let me believe that these two characters are meant to be together.  Otherwise, I’m left with interesting, funny characters who get together, but in a way that makes it more believable they’ll have a passionate affair that burns out than a longer lasting happily-ever-after.
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Secrets of the Heart (Patti Shenberger)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
The book starts with arguably its most controversial plot line — I don’t want to give it away for everyone (spoilers below), but let’s just say it’s a breakup that’s quite dramatic and also a bit heartbreaking.  Despite that (I’m not usually a fan of my escapist fiction starting with such heady drama), it was a thoroughly interesting and engrossing read.  Ten years pass between the initial breakup and the current action, and it’s quite obvious that old memories and emotions flavor everything that happens between our main characters.  Further, there are additional complications in that he’s a prince (yes, really) and she’s a cardiac surgeon used to having her own way.  Though I think there were some missed opportunities (in that this really should probably have been a slightly longer novel so that there was time to address everything brought up) and the dialogue is sometimes a little stilted (more on this below), overall, it was a very well done novel that kept me interested and invested in both of the main characters and their journey towards one another.
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