Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review: "That Thing You Do" (Whispering Bay) by Maria Geraci


Allie Grant doesn’t believe in second chances. She does, however, believe in the power of a permanent paycheck. So when a tipster reports that the soon-to-be demolished senior center in her hometown is haunted, Allie hightails it to Whispering Bay to get the scoop that could secure her dream job at Florida! magazine. What she finds, though, is far scarier than any ghost. Cue her ex-boyfriend, sexy construction foreman Tom Donalan.

When Tom catches Allie poking around his construction site, he quickly realizes his former high school flame is just as feisty as ever. And, heaven help him, her irresistible, mile-high legs still take his breath away. But Tom isn’t about to delay the building’s demolition because of a silly ghost story.

With neither of the stubborn exes backing down from their opposing positions, sparks fly. And, underneath the surface, the fire of their old attraction burns as hot as ever. When strange things start happening with increasing frequency around town, even a tough skeptic like Tom is tested. The question is, can Allie and Tom stop fighting long enough to get to the bottom of Whispering Bay’s ghost problem—and the more important matter of mending their broken hearts?

Genre: Contemporary Romance, with just a touch of sweet paranormal thrown in!
My Review:
What a wonderful, sweet, quirky story. Maria Geraci was a new to me author when I picked up That Thing You Do, but she is now a permanent resident on my "always read" list. I think what I maybe liked best about this story is many times when you read a "first love" story, it's often the woman who has come full circle and is ready to reconcile with her first love. I like that from the beginning it was clear that Tom is drawn to Allie again and with just a little nudge by a friend from the past (why does it matter that she isn't alive anymore!), he is quick to do what he needs to to reform a relationship with Allie. While I believe Allie has unfinished business with Tom, I don't even believe SHE knows her feelings for Tom are still lingering below the surface. Tom and Allie's story weaves itself through a story of bunco babes, rebellious teenagers, friendly ex-wives, and lonely older townsfolk and comes out happily on the other end.
I like that the author portrays family life in a realistic way. Allie's "rose colored glasses" with regards to her brother's marriage are tainted by dealing with a rebellious teenager who is acting out due to tension in the house, and forced smiles and small talk that do nothing to hide the real tension in Allie's brother's marriage. I thought it was a realistic depiction in that the parents feel their issues are private, yet the kids are quick to acknowledge the problems to almost anyone who will listen. Through Allie's relationship with her niece, Claire, Allie realizes that she is no longer the teenager she was when she left town 12 years ago. She may be "going through the motions" of being a "grown up" but really, living paycheck to paycheck waitressing while she tries to make it big as a writer. Dealing with a irresponsible roommate. These aren't the true signs of a mature adult. It takes Allie coming home to realize that this is where she can truly mature into the person she is supposed to be - WITH the person she is supposed to be with.
And just like Allie, you couldn't help but love Tom's ex-wife Lauren. She is quirky but so sweet, you can't hate her - even when you KNOW she was the reason Tom and Lauren lost 12 years together. I think her life appears more together than maybe she is and I look forward to her story in an upcoming Whispering Bay installment. 
I loved That Thing You Do. The story is well written, well paced, and I was really able to get to know the characters through the words on the page. Maria helps the reader get into the minds and hearts of her characters and invites you to enjoy a sweet evening in Whispering Bay, and perhaps fill in as a sub with a crazy Bunco group. It's small town fiction with some romance thrown in, a friendly spirit who helps our heroine move forward with her life, and a teenage love that finds its way home again.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


About the Author:
Maria Geraci was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised on Florida’s Space Coast. Her love of books started with the classic, Little Women (a book she read so often growing up, she could probably quote). She writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction with a happy ending. The Portland Book Review called her novel, The Boyfriend of the Month Club, “immensely sexy, immensely satisfying and humorous.” Her fourth novel, A Girl Like You, was nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA ® award.

Her current addictions include watching the STARZ adaption of OUTLANDER to drool over Sam Heughan, hitting the beach on the weekends, and searching for the perfect key lime pie recipe (but not the kind they served on Dexter).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review! I have it on my wish list. I think now it'll move to the top of the pile! I like that the ex-wife isn't shown as a big meanie.