March 28, 2012

An Interview With LAUREN OLIVER

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver visited Manila recently to promote her latest novel, PANDEMONIUM, a follow up to the bestselling book DELIRIUM.  This was upon the invitation of National Book Store as part of their ongoing efforts to bring over some of the world’s most well loved authors. 
 I was lucky enough to have been invited for a one-on-one interview with Lauren.  I was touched by her genuine delight in being among her many fans here.  She is a charming and effervescent interviewee. An incredible multi-tasker, she is simultaneously writing several books, doing interviews, book signings, note writing/checking for the script of Delirium the movie and is also currently planning her wedding set for September this year.  Lauren is an amazing woman and it was a pleasure talking to her.  Here’s our conversation:

So how are you enjoying your stay in Manila?
I’m loving it! It’s been very quick I go tomorrow.  I’m going down to Australia.

You just met your fans at the signing, how do your Filipino fans compare to those from other parts of the world?
All my fans are exactly the same which is very cute.  They’re all so enthusiastic and what amazed me is how similar avid readers are around the world.  They’re Very smart.

So many fans are looking forward to the third and last book of the trilogy REQUIEM.  What can you tell us about it?
I’m not gonna tell you very much of anything. I will say that requiem takes place in two different points of view which is kinda interesting.  I’ll let you have one guess whose it is.
No? So there’s nothing you can tell me at all?
You gotta wait.  It’s coming out march 1st 2013 so you just gotta re-read pandemonium.

Ok. But If you were Lena (the main protagonist in the Delirium trilogy) though, who would you choose between Alex and Julian?
It’s not necessarily about choice.  Sometimes life chooses things for you.  For anything else please wait for Requiem to come out…(laughs)

You did write a short story of Hana (Lena’s bestfriend).  Will we be seeing her at all in Requiem?
Yes. we do get to see her, we get to see Grace, we get to see some people from Delirium that we have not seen subsequently because Pandemonium took us away from Portland.  We might meet Lena’s mother again in Requiem, let’s see..

After Requiem, what other books can we look forward to?
I am working on a book now which is a return to realistic fiction called Panic.  I can’t say that much about it because it is in its very early stages, it is fun for me because though I loved writing the dystopian series, this is a stand alone so it harkens back into my first book before I fall although as my editor says this takes place on the other side of the tracks, before I fall took place in a wealthy community.  This is a rural very poor part of America where the kids lose themselves in a very different way.  There is love in it but there’s a lot about fear.  I have another middle grade book coming out this fall called the Spindlers.  It’s kind of a subterranean journey.  A girl has to go rescue her brother’s soul from these spider people who live underground, she teams up with this enormous rat called Mirabella who wears this newspaper hat and a skirt and it’s crazy, they meet all these creatures down below so it’s fun.

You have rats and spiders, then you have dystopian and contemporary stories.  Where do you get your ideas?
I get a lot of ideas from fairy tales.  The idea for panic came from a fairy tale by Grimm where this brother sets out to see if he can be scared, he’s too simple to be scared so he sets out to do all these tasks that scare him.  So that was a premise that grew and evolved and changed.  And I get ideas from artwork.  The ideas for Spindlers came from both a Maurice Sendak book that I loved when I was younger and an artwork my sister gave me that is this really creepy piece of artwork that showed this baby and this crib in the foreground and these terrible looking creatures coming in and at the bottom it say “it’s fairy time” underneath and it’s really scary.

Which authors do you read a lot?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ian McEwan has a large body of work which is nice.  But I read a lot of mysteries too.  I love mysteries and I think you can learn a lot about plotting from them and suspense.  I love Stephen King.  I would love to meet him someday.

A lot of YA books are being adapted into movies, are you looking forward to that happening with Delirium?
Delirium and Before I Fall were both optioned for film. They both have very strong producers, studios and scripts attached to them. I’m actually supposed to give notes on the script for Delirium today.  So I am looking forward to having that happen, I mean it’s a really large process, it’s like making the world’s largest soufflĂ© because you have to have all of these different elements in place at the same exact time so it’s a process that can take 5 months if everything goes correctly or 5 years so we will see.

Speaking of the movie, are there particular artists you’re looking forward to playing the parts?
I really don’t know because there are so many new young actors and actresses who are incredibly talented and fill the role.  I think the fans have a better sense than I do and I get a lot of casting advice from my fans on a regular basis because they’re more in touch with the younger generation of film stars.  I’m still like George Clooney, great!
I love George Clooney, he can play the uncle
Exactly yeah

But I wonder who can play Lena, Julian and Alex?
Not Justin Beiber that’s all I know.
He’s too young?
No he’s getting up there, he’s like 18 man and he’s hitting the wall.
But Lena is Magdalena so I’m thinking more Hispanic?
Yah I was thinking Selena Gomez, she has dark hair and she is very very pretty and she looks like a regular girl which is kind of nice.  But definitely no Miley Cyrus, she’s too old now though.

What’s your process when you write? Do you have typical habits while writing?
I don’t think I have any habits honestly. I used to say I need coffee to live but I’ve really cut down.  I used to drink 10 to 14 cups a day and now I’m only at like 6.  But I have trained myself out of habits partly because writers get very fussy about where they need to write but all that means is when you don’t have those things you’re not gonna be able to write that day so I’ve trained myself to write wherever whenever on anything.  I can write by hand, I can write on my blackberry, I can write on my computer.  Really whatever is fine.  I’ve written in the back of cars, in the back of taxis, in bathrooms, on airplanes.

When do the best ideas hit you?
The best ideas usually hit me when I’m in two places.  Either when I’m running or when I’m taking a shower.  I think because both are places when your mind is really relaxed.

How do you relax?
My kinds of relaxing are either running or eating and drinking wine.  So those are the ways I relax.  My ideal day would include a really nice run, a great meal, wine and reading.

How in touch are you with your fans?
I’m really in contact with my fans. I write them back…sometimes it takes me while to write them back but I email people back and I’m active on my blog and I’m there on twitter.  I actually wished I had more time in the day to do more of that but it’s simply not possible to do all the connecting you wish you could do and still write. But it means something to them and to me.

Do you have a playlist with your books? Coz a lot of writers have that now especially YA.
I made a playlist for Delirium awhile ago and it’s on my Amazon page but it’s so long ago I don’t even remember what’s on it.  I need to do that with pandemonium.  See a lot of writers write with music, I don’t.  I tend not to.  But I was asked what would be Alex and Lena’s song so I decided their song is Romeo & Juliet by the Dire Straits.  That’s a really good song for them.  You just have to listen to it a couple of times and it will break your heart.  It is an amazing song.

How about Julian and Lena?
I was originally thinking about this song by Alanis Morisette but I don’t remember the title, it’s like “you’ve already won me over…”… I could sing it. I like that but then I think the Ryan Adams song “Lucky Now” off of his new album.

So what else can your many many fans expect from you in the next few years?
I know I will be writing more Young Adult definitely.  I really have a great aspiration to do a big fantasy epic middle grade book but it hasn’t so far materialized so that may take a while.  I’m also writing an adult book so that will be a new challenge for my fans and for me.  And hopefully they can expect movies to come out of it.

All Lauren Oliver books are all available at National Book Store branches nationwide.

March 26, 2012

Book Review: SOMEBODY TO LOVE by Kristan Higgins

Author:  Kristan Higgins
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Publisher:  Harlequin

"We don't have to do anything Parker."- James
"Right...No, James, it's just the last guy i was with was....You. You're the last guy I was with.  But feels different."- Parker
"Maybe because we're friends that a yes?"-James
"It's a yes."- Parker
 Parker Harrington Welles wanted for nothing.  A successful children’s book author and daughter of a multi millionaire Wall Street businessman, she needs and loves nothing else apart from her son Nicky.  That is until her father Harry Welles is indicted for insider trading and loses everything, including Parker’s and Nicky’s trust funds.  She has been cleaned out and needs to start from zero.  Her only consolation is an old house left by her great aunt in Gideon’s Cove.  Her plan is to flip the house and sell, which is easier said than done seeing that the house is a big fixer-upper. 
Then James Cahill shows up to help restore the house while Nicky goes on a three week vacation with dad Ethan and stepmother Lucy (both Parker’s best friends).  James is her father’s right hand man, his lackey, otherwise known to her as “Thing One” in the many years they have orbited in the same social circles.  Parker loathes him, but since she needs help in fixing the house without the proper funds, she relents and lets him stay.  Working in such close proximity breaks their walls and slowly, Parker realizes James is not the man she thought he was. 
James has always loved Parker though he never stood a chance with his boss’ daughter.  Until one drunken night at a wedding when he finally had her…or so he thought. Years later, he is still nothing more to Parker than her father’s sycophant.  But her change of fortune might just bring him the luck he needs to turn her heart around.

I really enjoyed reading this book.  Since I have been a Kristan Higgins reader for quite awhile now, her writing has become familiar to me in the sense that I felt like I was reading about a friend going through Parker’s life.  Yet, the story is still as new and enjoyable as I expected it to be.

James’ and Parker’s characters are easy to like and love.  They have the same fears and apprehensions as we do about loving, leaving and hurting that make them so relatable, I couldn’t help but root for their relationship.
My heart went out to James who has a bad past, a mistake he has had to live with since he was 12 years old, a guilt he has never let go.  But he has been trying to make up for it by being a respectable person and earning good money to support the sister he loved and damaged the most.  I felt so bad for James yet hopeful because even though he has been through so much, he’s not the one who’s emotionally unavailable.  In fact he’s the one looking for somebody to love (ergo the title).  Parker tends to run away when she gets emotionally attached brought about by her father’s betrayal during her childhood.  Her lack of faith is understandable though I got a bit frustrated with Parker’s refusal to acknowledge her feelings for James only because I wanted them to get together already.  In all though the pace of this book is just right.

Apart from the Parker and James, the other characters to watch out for are Lucy, the supportive best friend, and perfect paragon Ethan.  Their own love story is from Higgins’ earlier book THE NEXT BEST THING Other people to fall in love with are Lavinia (the chain smoking cousin and florist), Mary Elizabeth (Parker’s biggest fan) and Chantal (best cougar in town). 
Be ready for thrills, sweet love and good banter.  The epilogue alone deserves to be read many times over.  All I can say is get ready to fall in love.

"You seem to wait for people to disappoint you Parker.  And guess what? they will.  People make mistakes.We're not perfect..."- Harry Welles
"Dear Parker, thank you for the best sex I've ever had, even counting the last time you did me, which was also fantastic.  Still, last night was even better...."-James
".....Once I love someone, I tend to keep them really close, and I think I have a good sense of humor. I put out as you also know...Also, I love you. A lot. What do you say?"-Parker

March 22, 2012

Book Review: PUTTING BOYS ON THE LEDGE by Stephanie Rowe

Author:  Stephanie Rowe
Category:  Young Adult Romance
Publisher:  TKA Distribution

“So do you want me to?”-Colin
“To what?”-Blue
“Blue.”- Colin
“Do you want me to kiss you?”-Colin
14 year old Blueberry Waller gets cast for the first time in their school musical.  unfortunately it’s as mother to Heath, a gorgeous high school senior she dreams of going out with.
So her three best friends Allie, Frances and Natalie give her a makeover and she succeeds in catching Heath’s eye.  They get together at a class party, and as Heath tries to kiss Blue, she runs away.  Humiliated, she wants to learn how to kiss before seeing Heath again so she doesn’t make a fool of herself.  
Her friends dared her to practice on Colin, the boy Blue’s parents hired to clean out their backyard muck.  He willingly participates in the dare because he secretly likes Blue.  The practice kiss was good…so good in fact that now Blue is confused.  She still wants to go out with Heath though so Colin starts giving her the cold shoulder and going out with another girl.  Her one date with Heath turns out to be a dud.  She finally realizes Colin is the one she wants but does he still want to be with her?

This is a very simple teen story with a typical plot. A no brainer book that I went through within 2 ½ hours.  But it was a fun read, a good antidote to my heart which bled from reading THE REPLACEMENT WIFE.
I recommend this to pre-teens and teens.  Moms do not have to worry. This book was written with an innocence that kids can relate to. If you (or your daughter/s) like this, the other characters also have their own stories:  STUDYING BOYS for Frances, SMART BOYS & FAST GIRLS for Natalie and WHO NEEDS BOYS? For Allie (my personal favorite among the four).
Happy reading!

“…The Ledge isn’t for girls.  It’s for boys….it’s an emotional place.  You always have to keep him teetering close to The Ledge so he never treats you badly.  As long as you’re holding the Ledge over his head, you’re in control.”- Blue
“Definitely.  That was it. I wasn’t hopeless. I would never be myself in front of a guy I wanted to impress.  Just with guys I didn’t.  Phew! I still had a chance.”- Blue

March 19, 2012

Book Review: THE REPLACEMENT WIFE by Eileen Goudge

Author:  Eileen Goudge
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Publisher:  Open Road Media

“You’re my wife.  The only one I want. And you’re not going anywhere.  That’s all there is to say on the subject.”- Edward
“I’m not doing this to hurt you. I’m simply choosing not to live in a dream world.”- Camille
“Knowing what lies ahead doesn’t make it any easier believe me…. It’s just a longer goodbye.”- Edward
Camille and Edward have been married 20 years.  Both are successful in their professional lives (he a doctor; she a professional matchmaker) and are parents to two kids.  Things are seemingly perfect after a year of hell due to Camille’s cancer.  They thought they had it beat, but it came back worse…much worse.  Camille’s cancer has spread.  She is dying. 
Having lost her own mother in childhood, she doesn’t want her children to grow up without one.  So she told Edward her dying wish, which he vehemently dismissed at first.  That is for him to find her replacement in his life, a new wife.
Being the matchmaker that she is, she wanted to choose her own replacement.  So she set about introducing Edward to Elise and Kat, both very nice and successful women.  What she didn’t expect was for Edward to meet and get close to Angie, her company’s caterer.  Edward and Angie start off as just friends but in the end become lovers. 
On Edward’s insistence, Camille undergoes advance treatments.  It works so well that Camille’s cancer is again on remission.  She happily thought her life would go back to what it was, what she never expected was for her husband to fall irrevocably in love with someone else.

I ended this book with a heavy heart.  I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or bang my head against the wall.  That’s how affected I was.  In fact I had to read a very light teen romance a few minutes after ending The Replacement Wife just to get my head on a better plane.  That’s how heartbreaking this book is.

As usual, Eileen Goudge told the story beautifully.  At 482 pages, it is a long read but well worth the effort particularly if you like emotional stories.  Admittedly I am a sucker for light reads and happy endings.  And depending on which character you root for, you may just get it.  The thing is, almost everyone has a good ending except for the one who mattered most to me.

Independence and survival are two things highlighted at the end of the book.  And the biggest lesson I learned from reading this is:  It is okay to be selfish with the one you love because martyrs don’t always end up winners. I do recommend THE REPLACEMENT WIFE but with a warning. Have someone you want to hug close by, because after finishing this book, you will need it. 

March 12, 2012

Book Review: PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver

Author:  Lauren Oliver
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Category:  Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

“What does it feel like…..the deliria?”- Julian
“I can’t describe it…..”- Lena
“I want to know…..I want to know with you…”-Julian

**********SPOILER ALERT**********

Lena Haloway has escaped to the Wilds.  Alex is dead.  Last she saw him beyond the wire fence, blood was seeping through his shirt.  He was shot so she could escape. The old Lena died along with him.
In the Wilds, she learns to live with a group of Invalids who finds her almost at death’s door.  Slowly she recovers and lives with the ragtag group through hunger and more deaths.  She joins the Resistance and is given a new identity so she can infiltrate the Cured in New York City, particularly the DFA or Deliria Free America, an organization which pushes for the CURE to be administered to those who are sick and under the age of 18.  Her task is to follow Julian Fineman, son of DFA head Thomas Fineman.  Julian is in remission from cancer and is pushing for his own cure for Deliria even if it kills him. 

The big DFA rally was attacked by Scavengers (those who are uncured and wreak havoc to kill and steal) who kidnap Julian as well as Lena, who was tailing him.  Being kept in one small room for many days, an uneasy friendship blooms between them.  Julian slowly loses his prejudice and fears about the invalids.  They make an escape and spend the night at a homestead (temporary home used by Invalids in between moving) where finally, Lena and Julian give in to their growing feelings for each other.  The next day they are caught.  Julian is returned to his father while Lena is miraculously saved by a sympathizer.  She later finds out that Julian, having now refused the cure, will be put to death.  She rescues him and thinks that finally she will be happy and free.  But someone else has found her, someone she thought she had already lost, someone she has never really let go….

This is a total turn around from the first book, which I now realize, was just a set-up book, putting things in place for this one and the last. Still fluid with beautiful prose, Lauren Oliver stepped up the action in Pandemonium.

Written in alternate chapters of THEN and NOW, Then being Lena after escaping into the Wilds and Now with Lena an active part of the resistance.  I alternated between loving one more than the other.  The plot and twists are so thrilling that now I cannot wait to read the last of this trilogy. 

Here Lena is much stronger.  She has shed her old doubting self and has moved on, spurred by Alex’s sacrifice and love. I like that she now takes charge or her life and has opened herself to a new love.  Julian is not exactly naive, he was however raised by a Cured family who thrives on conformity so he believes what has been drilled into him for years.  But he was open to changing when he met Lena and saw that she wasn’t a monster he believed Invalids to be.  He is a good person who like Alex, will sacrifice everything for what he believes in.

The ending of Pandemonium stopped my heart.  I can’t tell you why but just know that if you have read Delirium, then this is what you are praying for.  This also makes me so sure that the next and last of this series will be most romantic and time freezing.  I cannot wait for REQUIEM, coming out February 2013. 

Suffice it to say, I truly and fully recommend Pandemonium.

Now available at NATIONAL BOOKSTORE branches nationwide.

“If you want something, if you take it for your own, you’ll always be taking it from someone else….and something must die so that others can live.”- Raven
“I’m less scared with you.”- Julian
“There’s a place for everything and everyone….even waste must have a place.  Otherwise it will clog and clot and rot and fester.”- Coin
“Names don’t mean a thing anymore.  The past is dead.”- Rat-man

March 11, 2012

Book Review: DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver

Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Category:  Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well – The Book of Shhh
“That’s when you really lose people you know.  When the pain passes”- Alex
“I didn’t know what anything meant before you…. not really…” – Lena
“I love you. Remember. They can not take it”- Lena’s mother

LOVE is a disease. 
That’s what this dystopian society believes.  Better known as Amor Deliria Nervosa, it needs to be eliminated.  So upon reaching the age of 18, it is mandatory for teenagers to undergo a treatment called The Cure, which is supposed to permanently remove that emotion from their system.
Lena is counting the days till her own cure.  She and her best friend Hana are up for evaluation which would determine their future spouses after the treatment.  But Hana is acting weird.  Lena discovers that Hana has been listening to illegal music and wants to attend unauthorized parties.  Against her better judgment, she follows Hana, and there she meets Alex. 
She first saw Alex at her failed evaluation thinking that he was an Invalid.  These are people who have not had the cure, resist the government and live in the Wilds (outside the borders of the approved communities).  They are thought to have been destroyed years before with the bombing.  But some have survived and infiltrated the community.  Alex is one of them.  Lena stays away from him until a surprise raid is conducted by the police in their area.  Lena rushed to a party she knew Hana attended and in the process was almost caught herself.  But Alex saved her.
As they got closer, she finds out through Alex that her mother is possibly alive.  Lena’s mother supposedly commited suicide years before after refusing a 4th treatment of the cure.  She is one of those rare individuals whose Amor Deliria Nervosa never went away.  As far as Lena knew, her mother jumped off a cliff.  Now she believes otherwise and wants to leave for the Wilds.  But plans go awry at the last minute.  Lena was caught and her treatment schedule was pushed up.  She tries to escape with Alex but a happy ending is not to be.

I’m not a huge fan of dystopian novels but since I loved The Hunger Games trilogy and seeing this is a Lauren Oliver book, I just assumed I would happily breeze through this one.  I was wrong.

To be honest, it took me ¾ into the book before connecting with Lena.  And picking up the book itself to continue reading was an effort.  Her character just comes off as too weak.  She had too many i-will-i-won’t-i-can-I-can’t moments.   Hana came off as a better and stronger character.  I guess with Lena’s personal history it would be harder to believe if she were gung-ho but her indecisions just dragged on too long.  Alex, as expected, was the best character.  He was strong, confident and self sacrificing.  No woman would fail to fall in love with him.

The writing itself was fluid and the descriptions made their world easy to imagine.  I just failed to sympathize with Lena until the last quarter.  The book’s ending is a good cliffhanger.  So good in fact that I will be picking up Pandemonium, this trilogy’s 2nd book, after writing this review.  Even with the slow flow of the story, the ending is so interesting that I still recommend Delirium.  It is worth a read.

Now available at NATIONAL BOOKSTORE branches nationwide.

March 07, 2012


Author: Maya Banks
Publisher: Harlequin
Category: Contemporary Adult Romance

“How much did I cost you Dev? Or should I ask how much my father offered you to marry me?”-  Ashley Copeland
“No one who truly loves you should ever want you to change.  And no one who wants to change that essential part that makes you YOU deserves a single moment of your time”- Tabitha
“I’m putting you on notice right now. I’m watching you.  If Ashley isn’t more herself in very short order, I’m coming after you with everything I’ve got”- Eric Copeland
“Someday there’ll be a man who’ll accept me too. Until then, I’d rather be alone and true to myself than with someone who places conditions on his ability to love and accept me”- Ashley
“You are the most beautiful, precious thing that has barreled into my life.  I didn’t see it because I didn’t want to see it”- Devon carter

Devon is getting married.  He doesn’t want to, but he has to, if he wants the biggest business deal he has ever made to push through.  The father of the bride, for some reason, believes he is the best man for his beloved only daughter, Ashley, who has no idea she is the biggest pawn in the contract.
Ashley is head over heels in love with Devon.  Though they’ve been dating only for a short time, she knows in her heart, he is the man she wants.  So when Devon unexpectedly pops the question, she doesn’t hesitate nor question his motives though she knew he was working with her father on a huge corporate merger. 
They are total opposites.  Devon is controlled, unemotional and serious whereas Ashley is flighty, impulsive and too trusting.  So they forge ahead and get married with Ashley believing it’s the start of her forever with the man she adores.  On her honeymoon night however she accidentally sees an email on Devon’s computer from her father mentioning the merger and marriage.  She confronts Devon, who eventually tells the truth about everything.  Though devastated, she still believes that in the end, she can make Devon love her.  So she decides to change everything he doesn’t like about her.  Slowly she loses her exuberance, her happiness, her entire self.  Then she discovers something that makes her question what Devon’s love is worth….and hers as well.

I finished reading the entire book in under 3 hours.  Suffice it to say it was a light and interesting read.   Some lines were a bit dramatic considering the contemporary setting and the characters’ personalities, particularly Devon, but it worked out in the end. 
Both Ashley and Devon are likable characters.  Off the bat I loved Ashley for her sun-shiny personality and loving nature.  Devon is also easy to like even in his stiff and stunted ways, he truly had good intentions and beliefs towards Ashley and their marriage.   Even Ashley’s father is okay in that he never wanted to harm either his daughter or Devon.  He just wanted to push forward and hasten what he knew was inevitable: the couple’s marriage and eventual happiness.  There is no evil character to hate in this book.  Both Ashley's and Devon’s friends are good and supportive with occasional funny quips to lighten the heavy moments. I also appreciate the message of this book which is you should never have to change who you are in order for someone to love you.  you have to love yourself first.
Tempted By Her Innocent Kiss has many sexy, thrilling moments. I recommend this book for romantics who want absolute closure and happy endings.

Note:  It comes with a bonus story by Brenda Jackson.
Readers Beware: There are explicit/graphic sex scenes in this book.

March 01, 2012

Book Review: REAL MEN WILL by Victoria Dahl

Author:  Victoria Dahl
Publisher:  Harlequin
Category:  Adult Romance

Eric Donovan has always been safe.  A responsible, serious man who has had to take care of everything when his parents died young and he was left in charge of a brewery business and two young siblings.    But he’s no longer happy with his identity, he wants to be different, He needs to be someone else.  So he pretends to be his younger and irresponsible brother Jaime on a one night stand with Beth Cantrell, a voluptuous sex shop manager, thinking she would never find out about the lie.  Boy was he wrong!  Not only did Beth find out and publicly confronted him, his brother Jaime was also furious about his duplicity.
But just when he thought he would never see Beth again, she approaches him, feeling somewhat responsible for a crime that happened at the brewery sometime back (which you can read about in Victoria Dahl’s Good Girls Don’t about Eric’s sister Tessa) involving her old college roommate.  Their chemistry is undeniably.  So though they promised not to see each other ever again after their first night, they embark on an affair.  In their minds, their nights (and mornings and in betweens) together are purely sexual.  But can there really be nothing more between two people more alike than they are not?

I like this book.  It is a pleasant read with good characters.  I like that the backgrounds of both Eric and Beth are so well explained that we understand why they are as they are.  Eric is uptight, a type-A man who needs to be perfect because he needs to prove to himself that he is worth the name Donovan.  Beth is insecure and afraid of love because she went through something so horrible as a teenager that it has taken so long for her to get over the hurt and humiliation.  Both are reluctant to like anyone much less love.  so they end up being perfect together.  The other characters like Jaime, Tessa and her boyfriend Luke are good support to the story.

Real Men Will is a good book.  Nicely paced and well written.  A good end to the Donovan Brothers Brewery Series.
Readers Beware:  There are explicit/graphic sex scenes in this book.