by Amy Rivers
Wooden Pants Publishing; 2 edition (August 15, 2016)
Val Shakely is a list-maker. Daily routine. Check. Calm, quiet (but successful) business. Check. No drama. No excitement. Some might call it boring, but it’s precisely the way Val likes it. She loves her hometown of Cambria, nestled in the mountains of Colorado, and runs a fruitful PR firm. And that’s more than enough for Val. So what if she doesn’t have a social life?
Then, her cousin Gwen decides to take on the local political bully, the Mayor, in head-to-head combat for the Mayoral seat and Val takes her company reluctantly, and against her better judgment, into the fray. The minute Val takes on Gwen’s campaign, the safe world that she has carefully constructed begins to unravel. She feels the pressure of the campaign and the personal attacks by Gwen’s opponent.
And as if that wasn’t complicated enough, Val finds herself falling in love. Val’s desire to stay on the sidelines is put to the test and she’s forced to reexamine the life she’s built as she trudges toward a new and more exciting future.
What Amazon.com reviewers are saying:
“…the perfect, light, romantic book to read on a rainy day, sipping Earl Grey.”
“…a delightful story!”
“…an excellent, fast paced book that will not disappoint.”
“A story with characters you will love, an entertaining plot, and a very enjoyable read.”
There was something comfortable about a nice shallow man, selfish and simple. The more she thought about her type, the more she realized her taste in men required some adjustment.
She’s amazing and scary and beautiful and frustrating, and I think about her pretty much constantly.
She sounds wonderful and awful.
The title of this book should have been Wallflowers Blooming (plural) – as both members of this couple (Val and John) were equally loner types, although each were workaholics and more than successful in their businesses – so not total recluses but more than a bit high-strung, socially awkward, and prone to anxiety when uncomfortable. Their mutual attraction pulled them far from their comfort zones and found them mystified and off-balance. Their usual MO of avoiding tension became an impossibility once they both found themselves the target of a petty bully who happened to be a somewhat powerful business owner and local politician, one that Val’s cousin was currently running against with Val’s assistance in the campaign. The characters were likable and relatable, and the story was relevant and easy to follow. Ms. River’s writing was observant, thoroughly detailed, and written from a third person POV with many insightful little touches that added texture and definition to the characters and depicted scenes. The plot was somewhat tense and busy with the difficult campaign issues and emotional upheavals, although the blossoming romance softened and sweetened the characters into stronger and significantly improved versions of themselves, which is always a highly desired and pleasant outcome for any story.
Amy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado. She had an idyllic childhood despite a severe visual impairment and, perhaps because of her disability, she learned a lot about compassion and empathy from a young age. Her keen interest in social issues and violence prevention led to a Master’s degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics. She was the director of a sexual assault response program and remains an advocate for social justice. Amy has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, Novelty Bride Magazine, ESME.com and Splice Today. Wallflower Blooming is her first novel.