Reviews: THE LOVE CONNECTION & THE EMMA PROJECT

 

Hey everyone! I hope your week is off to a great start.  I have a three-day weekend so I’m using the time to relax but also to get caught up on some reviews I had gotten behind on due to busy times in my personal life (end of school year activities, soccer tournaments, an upcoming shoulder surgery for my son, etc.).  Today I’m sharing my thoughts on two romances I was able to squeeze in in between all of those activities.

 

Reviews:  THE LOVE CONNECTION & THE EMMA PROJECTThe Love Connection (Airport Novellas, #1) Goodreads

Author: Denise Williams

Publication Date: May 17, 2022

Publisher:  Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

You wouldn’t think romance could blossom within the confines of an airport, but in her new novella The Love Connection, part of her Airport Novellas series, Denise Williams not only convinces me love in an airport is possible, but that it can also be quite a magical experience!

The story follows Olivia Wright (Ollie), who, along with her best friend Jess, owns a pet grooming salon in a busy airport.  Having just come out of a bad breakup with a cheating fiancé, Ollie is 100% focused on expanding her business and has no interest in putting herself out there for another man.  That said, she does enjoy watching the eye candy that passes through the terminal adjacent to her salon, in particular, the sexy guy in a suit that comes through every week, obviously traveling for work.  Ollie is quite content to watch this sexy man from afar, but when a runaway soapy dog leads to the most adorable meet-cute in the middle of the airport, Ollie’s life takes a most unexpected turn and one she’s not sure she’s ready for.

I adored Ollie from the moment we meet her.  She’s smart, funny, and I love that she’s willing to take a chance on such an unusual business. I mean, really, a dog grooming salon at the airport?  I admired her creativity and her determination, and I immediately wanted her to also have a personal life that made her happy because she deserved so much better than her loser ex.

The sexy stranger, Bennett Baker, is pretty great too.  His day job is a professional risk assessor, but in his free time, Bennett actually writes historical romance novels.  He is experiencing writer’s block at the time of the meet-cute with Ollie, but inspired by his chance encounter with her, he is suddenly able to write more than he has written in months and the two of them start having the most adorable dates in the airport every time he comes to town – coffee dates, dates at the pretzel kiosk, picnics.  I was practically swooning at how romantic each of their meetups were and by the flirty texts they start sending each other.

Normally novellas leave me frustrated and wanting more because they’re just so small, but Williams does a phenomenal job with The Love Connection.  The character development is wonderful, the banter is hilarious, and the evolution of their relationship is perfectly paced, from meet cute to some deliciously steamy moments. Nothing felt rushed, and Williams also very realistically explores the theme of taking chances after being hurt as well as the obstacles involved in a long-distance relationship.  I did want more and was sad when I reached the end, but it was just because Ollie and Bennett were so perfectly suited to one another, not at all because I felt like I had been cheated by a novella.

The Love Connection is fun, fresh, and oh so sexy.  If you’re looking for a quick but satisfying romance to read this summer, be sure to check it out!  5 STARS

 

Reviews:  THE LOVE CONNECTION & THE EMMA PROJECTThe Emma Project (The Rajes, #4) Goodreads

Author: Sonali Dev

Publication Date: May 17, 2022

Publisher: Avon and Harper Voyager

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

The Emma Project is the fourth installment in Sonali Dev’s popular Jane Austen-inspired series, The Rajes.  The Rajes are a prominent Indian American family, and each book in the series focuses on one of the adult children in the family.  This time, it’s Vansh’s turn and Dev tells Vansh’s story in the form of a wonderful gender-bent retelling of the Austen classic, Emma.

Vansh is the baby of the family. He’s handsome, engaging, his family completely dotes on him and so do most other people who meet him.  Vansh spends his time working on various charitable projects and has lived a charmed life thus far.  The only person who ever challenges him is his long-time friend, Naina.

Naina is a career-driven young woman who up until recently, was fake dating Vansh’s older brother, Yash.  This arrangement allowed Naina to focus on her work without her family pressuring her to find a man.  When Yash breaks off their relationship because he has met someone he wants to marry, things become strained between Naina and the Raje family, including with Vansh.

The situation between Vansh and Naina becomes even more awkward and tense when one of Naina’s financial backers proposes diverting some of the funding from Naina’s foundation to one of Vansh’s pet projects.  After some initial arguing, Vansh and Naina soon realize the only way to move both of their projects forward is for them to team up.  Both of these characters were quite likeable and I liked the way they interacted with one another as friends. There’s plenty of fun banter between them, and it’s pretty clear that they have more than friendly feelings toward each other.

As with the previous books in the series, Dev has crafted wonderful characters with so much depth.  Naina, in particular, has a complicated and strained relationship with her mother and father, and Dev does a marvelous job delving into that and fleshing out Naina’s character.  It became very easy to understand why she seems so aloof and closed off most of the time.

My only issue is with the romance trope used, mainly because it doesn’t quite match up with the original Emma.  In that one, Emma and Knightly are friends who are completely oblivious that they have feelings for one another until nearly the end of the book.  If you’ve seen the movie Clueless, another Emma retelling, think Cher and Josh.  This modern retelling doesn’t really have that same level of obliviousness, or at least I didn’t sense it.  It didn’t really hamper my enjoyment of the read since I do enjoy a good rivals-to-lovers story, but if you’re an Austen enthusiast, just don’t expect the read to exactly mirror the original.

With its rivals-to-lovers vibe as well as several scenes that are much steamier than in the earlier Raje novels, The Emma Project concludes the series on a very sexy and satisfying note.  3 ½ STARS.

14 replies
  1. Sam@WLABB
    Sam@WLABB says:

    Seriously, Williams always delivers a great story, and you have me excited to read this novella. A risk assessor who writes historical romances in his free time? Love it!
    Sam@WLABB recently posted…Tiny Tidbits

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah, the historical romance angle adds some fun elements to the story, especially their banter. Loved it! Oh and I just tried to leave a comment on your Wednesday post and I think it’s either going to come through twice or not at all. I kept getting a strange “nonce verification failed” message.

      Reply
  2. verushka
    verushka says:

    I am seriously making heart eyes at The Love Connection — it’s just so cute! And there’s a cute puppy to boot! Seriously though, the author seems to have packed a novella with all the right kind of goodness to make it feel complete and like a full length book — and that is always worth noting for me too,

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.