Monday, July 18, 2016

This Loving Feeling by Miranda Liasson

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Title: This Loving Feeling
Author: Miranda Liasson
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Genre: Romance

*I obtained a copy of this book free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Samantha Rushford’s future looks bright: the high school art teacher is getting ready to leave Mirror Lake and move to Boston with her ambitious boyfriend, and she hopes a diamond ring is just around the corner. But her past still has a hold on her—especially the bittersweet memory of her rebellious ex, who kissed her passionately before he left town without a word.

Since then, Lukas Spikonos has parlayed his rebel ways into life as an up-and-coming recording artist. When he shows up for a surprise gig at the high school prom, Sam is more dumbstruck than starstruck—he used the words of a poem she wrote about their breakup to create a number one hit. But Lukas hasn’t returned just to impress students; he’s facing some real-life responsibilities and needs Sam’s help. But she has her own unresolved issues about the life she wants to lead. Will the music—and the pull of true love and family—put their hearts back in harmony?

Samantha Rushford thinks she has finally found the right guy, an uptight political type named Harris, so she's dismayed to find out her old boyfriend, Lukas Spikonos, is in town. Lukas is now an up-and-coming rock star, so he could have his pick of anyone, but he's still stuck on the 18 year old girl he fell in love with years ago. Sam obviously still has feelings for him too, she just doesn't trust him after he left her twice with no explanation. Lukas also has a new responsibility: raising his brother's son. As Samantha and Lukas get reacquainted, she has to decide if the safe, steady path with Harris is the right choice, or if she should take a chance on an old flame.

I liked Lukas a lot. He was a popular rock star, but he didn't act like one. He didn't seem to think he was better than anyone and the fact that he was determined to raise his nephew as his own was incredibly sweet. Samantha was a little frustrating at times. She kept telling herself she wasn't going to get sucked in by Lukas' charms, however she kept putting herself into situations where she would have to be around him. I think deep down that's what she wanted anyway, and I know she felt like she was in an impossible situation. She clearly never got over Lukas, but Harris had been there when she got her heart broken and had stood by her for years. Even though he was a bit of a jerk. Honestly, I think my favorite character was probably Samantha's grandma, Effie. She was so upbeat, ornery, and often the voice of reason for her granddaughter. I loved that she added a bit of humor to the scenes she was in.

I do not like the cover of this book at all. The couple just looks awkward, not at all like people who have any sort of chemistry together. The guy doesn't fit how Lukas is described in the book; Samantha mentions that his hair is at least long enough to fall in his eyes, it's supposed to be "gypsy black", and his skin is described as "golden". I mean, he is of Greek descent. I remember Samantha also saying he looked like "John Stamos circa 1993". The guy on the cover doesn't fit any of those parameters. Usually I don't even comment on covers, but I felt like this one missed the mark enough to warrant a comment...or three.

I'd be lying if I said this novel won me over right away. The first few chapters contained an annoying amount of instances where Samantha lamented the presence of "Lukas Spikonos". It wasn't the fact that she was upset about his being in town that irritated me, it was the constant use of Lukas' last name. I just didn't feel like it was necessary; I don't go around complaining about my ex's using first and last name, not even in my head. Of course it needed to be disclosed at least once, and some other instances where it is warranted, but not every other sentence at the beginning of the book. In the first chapter, I counted at least 11 uses of "Lukas Spikonos" instead of just "Lukas".

After I got past the first few chapters though, I started to enjoy the book more. It kept up a pretty good pace and the author did a great job of giving enough of the couple's backstory to make you understand what went wrong, but not so much as to annoy you with constant flashbacks. There aren't really any twists or turns to speak of; everything unfolds pretty much how you would expect it to. Even so, it was a nice, light read that I think romance fans will enjoy.

If you would like to learn more about the author, Miranda Liasson, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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