Thursday, February 27, 2014

Once and For All

by Suzanne DuBois from the February 17, 2014 issue

Tagline: Tim had a feeling Amy was "the one," but he just couldn't tell her what was in his heart...

In a Nutshell:  Tim is your typical young man, playing the field, not really looking for love, so when he meets Amy, he's a bit blindsided. Suddenly shy, he bumbles his approach a couple of times before she finally takes matters into her own hands.

Observations: The appeal of this story for me was the intimate telling of it from the hero's point of view. It was cute to see his paradigm shift from the type of woman he'd always been attracted to, to someone more like you and me, since I've never been a head-turner, tall or athletic! LOL

There was a bit of a black moment as his sister--sort of a quasi villain in this story--says maybe the universe is trying to tell him something. But our hero ignores her.

We also get an epilogue paragraph in which we find out how it all turned out: wedding, starter home and a baby on the way.

Not your typical Woman's World story, but well within the tone and style of the magazine. Well done.

Photo credit: Larsinio via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Little TLC

by Joan Dayton from the February 10, 2014 issue

Tagline: Julie and Ken both understood that homes are like hearts--they require tender loving care to flourish...

In a Nutshell: Julie is a real estate agent trying to sell a house owned by the Gradys. Ken restores houses for a living. He used to do odd jobs for the Gradys when he was younger and even though it has a petunia pink kitchen, he wants to buy the house himself.

Observations: This story did not stand out for me. There was only one moment that resonated and that was:

In the kitchen, his gaze swept the room. "Yep. petunia pink." Seeing her puzzled look, he said, "I did yard work as a kid and the Gradys were customers. After I cut the lawn, Mrs. Grady would invite me in for lemonade. I never knew my own grandparents, so they sort of filled that spot for me."

This part made me smile. I could totally picture a young boy being coddled by them, especially Mrs. Grady, in that pink kitchen.

Otherwise, the story didn't evoke any particular emotions in me. As usual, my usual disclaimer says your mileage may vary. Johnene thought it was good enough to pay $800 for and somewhere an author is taking that to the bank!

Photo credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, February 15, 2014

We [heart] Paris

by Mary Haupt from the February 2, 2014 issue

Tagline: Dinah couldn't wait to leave for Paris. Then she met Kelly-and he made her look forward to coming home too.

In a Nutshell: Dinah is going on her long dreamed of trip to Paris. Kelly, the man who is temping while she's gone, was an exchange student there when he was younger. Over dinner, he gives her some tips on what to see while she's there. The next day, he sends her off with a smile.

Observations: This story started out average for me, wandered into weird territory, and then finished strong.

I thought the first part of the story was cute, typical of a Woman's World story. There's a perky friend. There's the backstory about Dinah's trip. There's a cute meet where Dinah is expecting a girl because her replacement's name is Kelly.

In addition to the black moment at the end of the story, there was a gray moment in the middle when Dinah almost declines Kelly's dinner invitation, which was slightly unusual. I really loved how Kelly shared his knowledge with her, pointing out special things she might want to see herself. But the whole screenplay thing felt out of place to me. Maybe it's because I live in Los Angeles, and I was pretty skeptical that he had a producer interested in optioning it. Everyone and their mother is a screenwriter here, and not that many are successful at it. Hollywood is very much a "who you know" town. I might have believed it if the screenplay had been described a little bit more. "Based on his experiences that year," didn't sound too lucrative. And he changes the topic soon after mentioning it anyway, so I didn't quite see the purpose.

By this time, I'm not all that interested in the couple, unfortunately. I didn't see too much personality in either of them. I admired Dinah for making her dream come true and going on a trip like that by herself. She's braver than I am! However, other than that, they seemed pedestrian.

However, I thought the ending of the story was strong. I liked the drawn out tension of Dinah in the airport as she hopes to see Kelly and the way he sends her off was perfect. That ending redeemed the story for me.

I'd be interested to see what everyone else thought. Maybe it was just me.

Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn via Creative Commons

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Banking on Love

by Elizabeth Palmer from the January 27, 2014 issue

Tagline: Megan was too shy to make the first move with Ryan--until her twin sister delivered a challenge she simply couldn't resist.

In a Nutshell: Megan likes Ryan the bank teller. Megan's sister dares her to give him her phone number on her deposit slip. Just as she's about to give it to him, the manager takes his place because it's time for his lunch. Never fear though, because Ryan is outside waiting for Megan. He wants to take her to lunch.

Observations: I loved how this story played out. There were no real jumps in time. Did you notice that? There was no shift to another scene. The narrative began and went on uninterrupted until the end. I think it made it really feel like I was living it with Megan.

I felt bad for her when the manager snaked the deposit slip with her phone number on it. How embarrassing! And I thought the sister seemed realistic. She is just the right amount of loving (she wants her sister to find love) and annoying (daring Megan and then laughing when it goes wrong).

I loved the ending line, "Her work here was done," referring to her sister's matchmaking efforts.

The only think I found lacking was I didn't really experience a lot of joy when he asked her out. Ryan seemed a little flat to me.

Other than that, another winner from Ms. Palmer!