Friday, April 25, 2014

An Accidental Meeting

by Nena Jover Kelty from the April 21, 2014 issue

Tagline: It looked as though young Danny's mishap would have happy consequences for his big brother and his pretty neighbor!

In a Nutshell: Big brother Eric comes home to visit. Little brother Danny breaks a windshield with his errant golf ball. The owner of the car almost threatens Danny's idyllic time with his big bro, but everything works out in the end because it's Woman's World!

Stream of Consciousness Observations: I love the interaction between the brothers. I didn't have a big brother, but if I could conjure one, Eric would be very much like him.

Oh, dear. I had a golf ball hit my rear windshield once. Big pain in the behind, but the culprit did come forward just like in the story, so that was good. :)

Okay, job interview...very clever and believable way of pushing the hero and heroine together after the initial meeting.

"Even a ten-year-old could see where this was going." -- Aww. I feel for the kid.

And perfect resolution. We see Eric holding onto his title of "good big brother." We see Danny not being a snotty brat. It's nice to see a kid being respectful and honest, even if the kid is fictional. We see Danny is okay with the three of them seeing the movie together and his logical and, again believable, reasoning.

Good solid story.

Photo credit: Derek Jensen via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Don't Go Breakin' My Heart

by Mary Ann Joyce from the April 14, 2014 issue

Tagline: When Sophie broke up with her ex, she thought the music had gone out of her life. Then she met Aidan...

In a Nutshell: Sophie is getting over a break-up with a singer so she's not particularly up on singing herself anymore. Enter the man who works on the floor above hers. When she finds out he's going to karaoke, she can't resist.

Stream of Consciousness Observations: I got halfway before I realized I hadn't stopped to make any comments. LOL Going back to rethink.

Although I personally hate going to listen to karaoke because bad singing makes me want to crawl into a hole and not come out, I think the idea of karaoke in a Woman's World story is cute.

I like the progression of Sophie's attraction toward Aidan and how we see the tiny little scenes.

LOL at what his mom used to say to him in church.

Okay. Done. LOVED IT. The character arc of Sophie, going from dejected, "washed up" singer, to a woman with optimism who sings with a new guy.

There's a reason why Johnene keeps buying Joyce's stories.

Photo credit: Treyhatfield via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, April 11, 2014

Second Chance at Love

by Tina Radcliffe from the March 31, 2014 issue

Tagline: Who knew a worried mother's rush to the emergency room would lead to romance? (Um, I did. LOL)

In a Nutshell: When Emily's daughter visits the emergency room with a "superficial laceration," Emily notices the handsome doctor. An affinity for beagles is agreed upon, then lo and behold, they meet again at the dog park.

Stream of Consciousness Observations: Risky business to have the daughter be born after the dad died, but Radcliffe managed it without turning off the editors or getting too sappy in describing the situation.

I like Maggie. She's spunky. Radcliffe does great job of showing us Maggie's personality quickly. (This is just another adventure to Maggie. And Most children are afraid of doctors and nurses. Not Maggie. Sitting on the exam table, she holds the compress with one hand while she inspects the room.)

Funny guy: "Which one of you young ladies is seven-year-old Maggie?"

"Tetanus shot up to date?" - This says authentic doctor's office visit so much to me! They engage the child and still talk to the parent about the necessities.

Oooh! An unwitting child matchmaker. We see a lot of matchmakers, but most of the time they're working their magic purposefully. Maggie doesn't even know she's doing it which makes her so cute.

Love this line. So symbolic of her situation and poetic at the same time: I feel a hopeful expectation I haven't felt in a very long time. It's sort of like being gently roused from sleep.

Hm. I wasn't crazy about Emily's behavior at the end. I didn't like how obvious she was in her question, "Do you and your wife take Henry here often?" And then, "Are you and Henry ready of this, Steven?" Seemed just as forward. If I were Henry, I'd be like, "Ready for what?" I half expect Emily to take his hand.  Otherwise, cute story.

Photo credit: Cmee2 via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Love on Laurel Lane

by Terry O'Brien from the April 7, 2014 issue

Tagline: Ellen had already fallen in love with her new house when she met her new neighbor...and fell in love all over again!

In a Nutshell: Ellen moves with her two daughters to a small town for a new start after her divorce. Next door is a divorced man with two daughters.

Stream of Consciousness Observations: First paragraph, I like the setting--it sounds exactly like the type of small town Woman's World adores. Me too, for that matter. Plus, we get a quick backstory for the heroine. However, I have to say, if she's "recently" divorced, she may not be in the best shape for finding love right off the bat.

All right, I'm fairly deep into the story. I'm glad to have read that "The following weeks were busy ones," because this makes it more plausible. Scratch the previous comment. :)

And I'm done. Nicely written. My worries were unjustified. O'Brien did a fine job of convincing me that they were on the path to an HEA. She summarized their courtship, which was necessary because this is an 800 word story, not a novella. I haven't said this recently, but with Woman's World stories, you often have to "tell, don't show," which is the opposite of what you so often hear.

Also--and this is not to knock "Love on Laurel Lane," but in general, I find it unrealistic to show the kids of divorced parents to be so gung-ho about a) their parent finding a new partner or b) moving to a new place (especially if it's pulling them away from all their friends. I lived through my parents divorcing and it sucks. You never stop wishing your parents will get back together. Acceptance eventually comes, but the devastation is never forgotten.

Photo credit: Fae via Wikimedia Commons

OOPS: I skipped an issue. I'll critique "Second Chance at Love" next time.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Big Sisters Know Best

by Nell Musoff from the March 24, 2014 issue

Tagline: Susan had to admit that sometimes her sister Mary actually did know what she was talking about!

In a Nutshell: Susan's sister "bullies" her into attending a meeting of the "55 or Better" social club. Susan sees a classmate she hasn't seen in years.

Stream-of-consciousness Observations: Love the bossy sister. I'm only 51, but I am identifying with these ladies!

"I'm well aware of my age. But that doesn't mean I want to join a social club filled with senior citizens sitting around talking about their latest medical procedures." LOL

Oh, she's mourning a husband. Heartstrings tugged.

Oh, hers too. LOL As always, the mention of my late husband tugged at my heart.

LOL She signed her up for brownies. That's hilarious. And bullseye on the "I didn't have to check with you--I knew you weren't doing anything." Wake up call, Susan!

"...You don't sit next to someone for a whole school year without remembering them." Um...I do. LOL

Aww. Done with the story and it was cute. This is the type of everyday hopeful romance I don't remember having seen in a while. There's no date, but the story ends with promise. It's very open-ended, but optimistic. That's something to remember when you're writing your own stories. You don't always have to wrap it up.