Friday, March 05, 2010

Feature Review: "Before I Let You Go," By Angie Daniels

By Tracy Montoya, RBTB Contributing Editor

Get your free 2010 Kimani Hotties Calandar! 12 months of super-sexy, sensual and soulful heroes at your fingertips. Deets below.*

When it comes to books, I’m often drawn to superficialities. I’ve resisted reading romances that my friends have gone gaga over, simply because the hero on the cover has a Russian-figure-skater mullet or the heroine is the grown-up version of the class bully from my elementary school. My book club still hasn’t forgiven me for forcing them to slog their way through an interminable, 500-page funeral dirge of a novel, because when it was my turn I’d chosen a book based solely on its elegantly embossed cover art.

And when I got an envelope full of Kimani Romances this month, it was Angie Daniels’ "Before I Let You Go" that rose to the top of my to-be-reviewed pile. Why? Just LOOK at that man on the cover. Helllooooo, gorgeous.

Fortunately, Daniels is a terrific writer -- once my head cleared, I realized I actually knew this, having read her stuff before -- and the story more than lived up to the “Kimani Hottie” in the picture.

When devoted schoolteacher Kellis Saunders spends a rare night out at Wilmington, Delaware’s hottest new nightclub, Ja’Net, she’s drawn to a handsome stranger she spots walking among the crowd -- so drawn, she barely glances at the NFL football player her sister-in-law points out on the dance floor.

When the man approaches their table, Kellis is stunned to discover he’s actually her old high-school crush, Diamere Redmond, now the owner of Ja’Net. Her sister-in-law has set her up.

While “crush” might seem like a superficial word, there was nothing superficial about the way Kellis felt about Diamere. In high school, he’d been good friends with her brother, Mark, and she’d pined away for the older boy in silence for years, even after they’d all graduated and Mark had joined the military.

But Diamere had never noticed her -- until one night when Mark came home for the holidays and invited him to a family gathering. The way Diamere had looked at and flirted with her had seemed like so much more than friendship. But just a few days later, he’d announced that his girlfriend was pregnant with twins, and they were getting married. With that, Kellis firmly shut the door on her hopes for the two of them.

But now, Kellis learns that Diamere has been divorced for a year. And that fact forces her to confront old feelings that apparently have refused to die. While part of her wants desperately to prove to him that they’re meant to be, the other part is scared to death. Though he starts flirting up a storm the minute he lays eyes on her, he’s quick to point out that he doesn’t want “the emotional attachment that comes with relationships.”

Looking at his nightclub-manager lifestyle -- down to the Hooters-style uniforms on the waitresses -- Kellis has no reason to disbelieve him. He already broke her heart once -- does she really want to give him the opportunity to do it again?

Daniels has an array of strengths in her writers’ arsenal, among them her signature snappy voice, an emotion-driven conflict that sucks the reader in and love scenes so smoking, they’ll scorch your fingers as you turn the pages. If you have a pair of oven mitts handy, then stop admiring the cover and …

Buy the book.

People seem to have strong feelings about reunion romances, either loving or, in the case of a small-but-vocal minority, loathing them. How do you feel about them? I love them! And when choosing a book to read, have you ever let a great cover steer you way, way wrong?
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*To score a pdf of the smokin' 2010 Kimani Hotties calendar, shoot your email addy to mbuonfiglio@rbthebook.com. Toss KIMANI HOTTIES in the subject line, please.
___

36 comments:

Becke Davis said...

I'm going to shoot you that email about the calendar as soon as I get my breathing under control again.

Okay, I don't normally buy books because of hot covers. Possibly I have done this once or twice, but it's not my normal routine.

I would DEFINITELY pick up this book for the cover, and if the back cover blurb is anywhere near as good as Tracy's blog, I'd buy it. But since I've already read Tracy's blog, I just got back from ordering it online.

Wow. Love reunion stories. Love the guy who got away. I'm wondering if he was trapped into the marriage-with-twins and really wanted Kellis all along. I'm in - this is my kind of story.

Back to the cover. I have a serious jones for goatees. You know the guy in that great Old Spice commercial? "I'm on a horse?" Well, I saw him on TV and couldn't figure out why he didn't look as hot as he had in the commercial. Darn, he had shaved the face fuzz.

Don't know what it is - I don't want a full mustache or, god forbid, a full beard. But that 5 o'clock shadow, goatee, stuff like that? Ummm, yeah. That works for me!

Fabulous review, Tracy! Man, this blog is bad for my budget!

Tracy Montoya said...

Becke, I think you may possibly have a worse book-buying addiction that I do. At least, I'm telling myself that, because it's making me feel better about myself. I actually gave up buying books for Lent, and it's hard (so hard!). Fortunately, it has led me to get reacquainted with my local library.

And yes to the perfect goatee. I think it's an art and science. Too much, and he looks like a caricature of the devil. Or Brad Pitt. (Eeeuw.) Too little, and he looks pre-pubescent. This one? Just right, Goldilocks! : )

Thanks, Becke!

Becke Davis said...

Yes, I even blogged about a 12-step program for bookaholics once. Didn't do me a bit of good.

Lucy Monroe said...

I so would have read this one too! LOL It is a gorgeous cover and he is an *inspiring* hero. :) Not sure I would have forgiven you the 500 funeral dirge either, though. LOL

The book sounds delish...wonder if the author would like a BRA (book release announcement) on my blog? I've got an opening on March 13th - will she be stopping by here, do you think? My readers love those sexy hero covers! :)

Becke...I love reunion stories too. There's just so much angst inherent in a story about two people meant to be together, but aren't!

Lucy Monroe said...

Oh, by the way...Blogger is being weird about comments - I had to cut and paste the link w/o the pop up instructions to get here. I love Blogger, but this is so frustrating. :)

Tracy Montoya said...

Yeah, Lucy, it got to the point where every time someone picked a clunker of a book, they'd go, "Well, at least it's not that book that TRACY picked." : D

I did invite Angie to stop by, but I haven't heard from her yet. Maybe she's working and won't access email until tonight? Anyway, I'll let her know that your offer is in the comments, and you can always contact her via her website, www.angiedaniels.com.

Lucy Monroe said...

Oh, yay! The pop-up is working again. LOL

Tracy...I can so see that. It sounds like something my sisters would do, only with us, I'm the klutz. (Seriously, I've even broken Corel - more than once.) Every time someone trips, drops something, or knocks something over, they ask if I'm in the room! :)

If I don't hear from Angie, I'll track her down tomorrow. ;-)

Tracy Montoya said...

Lucy, good thing you didn't marry and have kids with my husband. He breaks EVERYTHING. It's so bad, I call him Lenny (from Of Mice and Men). I can't imagine what combining your genes would wreak! : )

Glad Blogger isn't giving you trouble anymore!

Lucy Monroe said...

LOL I'll have to tell Hubcap that he was the stability factor in the gene pool for the kids. He's going to love that! :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buona sera, Bellas! Sheesh, Tracy, way to make me want to throw down everything else I have to do to go buy a book! This is just a terrific piece. And I'm laughing about your book group dilemma, too. I feel like that every time I suggest a book.

I ADORE reunion stories, especially when the object of affection's the older bro's best friend who has to get right w/scammin on the 'kid sister.' You know, the conflict of honor among guy friends, etc.

But I'm w/becke now that she's suggested the baby mamma drama angle. Love. That. but also when I guy steps up to the plate to take responsibility for actions (sometimes even when he knows he wasn't responsible).

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi, Lucy! That's awesome of you. So many more folks need to know how great kimani authors are and how competitive the line is to get to write for. And if tracy says it's good, I always take the rec. Maybe we'll just have her recommend covers from now on... :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Tracy, you call him Lenny? That's evil. My husband's a breaker, too. And our son went through a 'breaking' phase. My husband had the nerve to get upset with him when he got a little clumsy! I made sure that the apple knew he didn't fall too far from the tree.

Lucy: deny, deny, deny. Just tell everyone your sisters did it. But the corelle breakage is too funny... Bet they never let you near the melamine...

Rekaya Gibson said...

I do have a pair of oven mitts handy and an apron and...
Anyway, reunion romances? I will plead the fifth on this one.
The book sounds interesting, especially when I'm yelling at my computer as I read, "Girl Don't Do It!" My co-workers think I am crazy now. I am looking forward to reading, Before I Let You Go. Thanks for sharing. Oh, hi Tracy!

Have a good weekend Bellas!

LuAnn McLane said...

I must admit that I pick up a book because of cover or title, but I buy (well most of the time) because of the back cover copy and sometimes the first page. Yes, I am shallow... hotties totally turn my head but unltmately it's whats inside that counts.

Shelia G said...

The book was great.

I just love this cover and I've already downloaded the Kimani hottie calendar--great daily inspiration. LOL

Princess Bumblebee said...

LuAnn, I'm with you. I simply looooove those beefcake pics of guys, prominently displayed here,hehe! But, yes, it's what's on the inside that counts. Just like these men. And if the inside's as good as the outside....hubba hubba!

Pamela Keener said...

I, too, am not usually attracted by the cover but this one just may distract me LOL. I usually look at the blurb first and if the premise is intriguing it goes to my buy cart. The blurb & your blog for this book definately caught my interest.
Love & Hugs,
Pam

Pamela Keener said...

Okay I'll bite what is a Kimani romance?
Love & Hugs,
Pam

Tracygrrrl said...

Rekaya, thanks for stopping by! Nice to see a new-to-me face. And I totally yell at books and the television on a regular basis. My husband is always going, "Honey, the TV/book can't hear you. But I don't care--it makes me feel better.

Tracygrrrl said...

Michelle, that's too funny about your "apple." And honestly, the "honor between friends" wasn't such a big deal in this book, but I didn't miss it. There's plenty of other conflict-y goodness!

Tracygrrrl said...

Luanne, I do actually look at the back cover copy, too, but a good cover will always sway me in the book's favor if I'm on the fence. The book I tortured my book club with had a good blurb!

Tracygrrrl said...

Sheila, nice to see you! It WAS a great book, wasn't it?

Tracygrrrl said...

Pamela, you are a better woman than I.

Tracygrrrl said...

Princess, this book definitely lives up to the cover!

Tracygrrrl said...

Pamela, Kimani Romance is Harlequin's African-American romance line. The books are mostly straight-up contemporaries, although occasionally I see a little suspense. A friend who writes them says her editor encourages her to make them quite hot, and you can definitely tell!

Pamela Keener said...

Thanks!
Love & Hugs
Pam

Angie Daniels said...

Thanks Tracy for creating the buzz about my book. This was by far my favorite cover of all! Not to mention the delicious man in my story has a striking resemblance. Pam, Kimani Romance is Harlequin's African American romance imprint. Hey Lucy, I would love to be on your blog. Send me an email offline.

Tracygrrrl said...

My pleasure, Angie! It was REALLY good. And isn't it always a plus when the cover matches what's in our heads?

Tracy Montoya said...

Ooops, how embarrassing. I must've logged in under my other gmail account. "Tracygrrrl" is an old joke, and I used it as a login name because my usual one was taken. Argh!

Angie Daniels said...

I like the name, Tracy. I was getting ready to say, Hey Tracy Girrrl! You ladies sure know how to have fun! This book was the last of a series of five. Each were lost love stories. Four siblings and their cousin. My life's a testimony that sometimes love is better the second time around.

Dianne Castell said...

Oh, my... Love the cover and calendar. Very yummy. Reunion stores are my favorite...love lost and found. Nothing better. Can't wait to read it.

Gannon Carr said...

I really love reunion stories. And that cover....HAWT!! :-)

Angie Daniels said...

I've been writing for awhile but I must admit when I saw this cover, my jaw dropped and I don't know how long I sat there staring at the screen before someone came by my desk and tapped me on my shoulder. I was totally mesmerized. you're right Tracy, it's wonderful when the model matches everything I envisioned. I even had a poster made.

Lucy Monroe said...

Hey, Angie...I emailed you. :) I'm a firm believer that a great book (and how cool it's the last of a 5 books series of reunion stories - delish!) deserves all the exposure it can get - okay, especially when that book is hawwt! LOL

We were watching Fast & Furious 4 last night and I sighed happily when the FBI guy kissed his girlfriend, said, "I love a good kiss." Which made my daughter and her husband laugh. But truth is, I love a well written love scene even more. :)

amy kennedy said...

Tracy, I love reunion stories. Love the cover. And I admit to reading books based solely on the cover -- I can't help it. Great review.

And can I just say the "I'm on a horse" Old Spice guy is sososososo lovely...and funny.

Angie, I've also read (or not read) books based on the characters' names. Kellis is wonderful.

honour said...

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