Title: The Hungry Heart
Author: Brenda Gayle
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (Champagne Rose)
Book genre: Romance
Number of pages: 324
Book summary (from Amazon.com): Child advocate Nora Cross doesn’t have time for the private cooking lesson her sister won at a charity auction. Hunter Graham, the young chef, is the last person she needs telling her she’s forgotten how to have fun. So why can’t she get the very hot, very eligible man off her mind? After a stellar debut in New York City, Hunter’s back in Santa Fe to open a new restaurant. He lives a charmed life and he knows it. He isn’t interested in a workaholic who’s glued to her smart phone. So why is he trying to convince Nora to relax and enjoy life–with him? When Nora’s apartment and office are ransacked, Hunter comes to her rescue, surprised to find himself playing knight-in-shining-armor to the uptight executive. But when it becomes clear Nora is no random target, Hunter realizes he’ll do anything to keep her safe.
I love reading romance novels for the same reason I love watching chick flicks–it’s a getaway to a place where everyone is pretty, problems are big but solvable, and everything turns out alright in the end.
And there’s usually some steamy action at some point. You can’t lose.
Brenda Gayle’s The Hungry Heart delivered on all counts. Wee!
The things I loved the most about this book:
Boy, this gal can build up the sexual tension.
Seriously, this was probably the best part of the book. It’s difficult to build up sexual tension between characters and not only make it sound believable but also make it so that your readers get tense right along with them. Gayle does this magnificently with her two main characters, Nora and Hunter. I won’t say much more because I don’t want to spoil the details, but I will say this: Damn.
You really root for the characters (even if you don’t like them very much).
I’ll be the first to admit: I didn’t like Nora Cross, the female lead, all that much. There were just things about her that made me think we probably wouldn’t be very good friends and I would probably get tired of her very quickly if we met in real life. However, I still found myself rooting like crazy for the girl, particularly because Gayle does a very good job of showing Nora lowering her defenses and becoming vulnerable as the book progressed. I was a little disappointed in myself for taking a liking to Hunter Graham, the playboy millionaire chef, almost immediately. (I must still have remnants of my 20-something attraction to bad boys left somewhere in my psyche.) However, he grew and changed as well, and complemented the story well.
There’s more to this book than the sex.
Don’t get me wrong–a large part of the reason why I would read a romance novel is for the chemistry, the romance, the hot-and-heavy action–but there’s actually more to this story than that, and I appreciated it. You can really get into this book and become fully absorbed in it and the interplay of the characters.
The things I didn’t like so much about the book:
I dunno, it didn’t do much for me. Perhaps it was because I pictured Hunter as being much more attractive than the gentleman on the cover, or maybe it was because I felt like it didn’t really capture the essence of the story, but it didn’t really work as well as I wanted it to.
Now, don’t get me wrong: This was not riddled with typos and errors. Not even close. However, there were more than 10 which, to a Spelling-und-Grammar Nazi such as myself, is too many. Silly errors, too, like using “evitable” where “inevitable” should have gone, or having a sentence end with a comma instead of a period. It didn’t ruin my experience, but it did yank me out of the story for a second (boo!).
I know that romance stories are predictable: Boy and girl meet, attraction ensues, problems arise, boy and girl separate, fate intervenes, boy and girl end up together, happily ever after. That’s not a problem. I expected that. What I didn’t expect, though, was to pretty much know what would happen with the story outside of the actual romance. I predicted the twists and the turns, which was kind of a bummer. I like to have those gaspy sort of “WHAT?!” moments in a book, and I didn’t have them here. Frowny face.
Overall, though, I enjoyed this book. It was a quick, easy, entertaining, single-sitting read (a feat for any book close to 350 pages). The interaction between characters was great, the dialogue was engaging, and the imagery was on point. I haven’t read a romance in a while, and this made me yearn for the genre again. Being able to go on a mental vacation with Nora and Hunter for a few hours was just was the doctor ordered.
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of The Hungry Heart?
Well, there are two ways to enter…
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a
$50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Hungry Heart tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter
on the tour page linked above.
About the author:
Brenda Gayle has been a writer all her life but returned to her love of writing fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communication—although some might argue there was plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too. A fan of many genres, she is drawn to contemporary romance and enjoys writing deeply emotional stories with elements of mystery and suspense. Her first book, Soldier for Love, was a recommended read by a number of reviewers. Her new book, The Hungry Heart, is the first in her Heart’s Desire series, which chronicles the difficult road to finding love and family acceptance for the three Graham cousins. Brenda lives in eastern Ontario with her wonderful husband, two fabulous children, two Siberian Huskies, a rescued cat, and assorted aquatic wildlife.