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Books & Chocolate

I love to read just about anything, as long as it's fiction. I read for me - that means I read what I want, when I want. My reviews tend to mostly be based on how I'm able to personally connect with the story/characters. They are not intended to influence someone to read, or not read, a particular book. I always encourage people to take a chance and make up your own mind.


Oh, and I love chocolate.

Hide Your Heart

Hide Your Heart: A New Zealand Small Town Romance (Far North Series Book 1) - Tracey Alvarez, Book Cover by Design

Overall, Hide Your Heart was a sweet read. That's good because that's what I was looking for after reading a few emotionally heavy books. Much of it followed the predictable and formulaic plot of a romance novel, but I was all right with that, knowing going into it that's what I signed up for. However, the author did surprise me a bit by avoiding a few of the typical cliched plot 'twists'. In a nutshell, the main characters actually communicated their feelings most of the time. I know - novel concept, right? It was a pleasant surprise and certainly kept this author on my list of one that I'll check out again sometime in the future.


I liked the main characters, Lauren and Nate. I liked the way they were together and I liked the way their relationship evolved. I liked how Lauren became the anit-model of who she used to be, and I liked the back story of how/why she became a model. It helped me believe that it was easy for her to leave it all behind and start over. 


I think the one area I had an issue with is that there were a few parts that felt contrived for the sake of the plot and creating drama. Since it's in the book summary, I'm not giving anything away by saying that Lauren had left her abusive husband and model life to reinvent herself in her New Zealand hometown. While I liked that we didn't get a drama-filled encounter with her ex-husband in the book, I do feel as though she was able to shed her past a little too easily. I would have expected that if her husband was controlling enough to punish her for leaving his side at a party to be with their sick child, then he wouldn't simply let her divorce him. I wanted an uncomplicated book, so I'm glad it didn't go there, but I guess I still would have liked a bit more reality. Maybe it could have offered the details of a messy divorce as part of Lauren's back story, rather than a 'that was the moment it went too far so I left' kind of thing. Another example is her desire to hide from the public and paparazzi. Again, I was conflicted with this. On one hand I was glad for the unexpected - rather than hiding from an abusive ex who wanted to find her, she was hiding from the public spotlight. However on the other hand, I wasn't buying into her reason for trying not to be recognized. I mean, it was her hometown - not some remote place where no one would know her to begin with. If the paparazzi wanted to find a famous model who suddenly disappeared... um, the hometown is the most logical place to start. Find the brother, find her. 


Overall, it was a sweet book and a good read.