Looking for a clean romantic read? Check Jaye Elliot’s newly released book, No Chance Meeting. You can read all about it below, and don’t forget to enter the giveaways!
About the Book
Alex Jennings is done with life. After losing her brother in Afghanistan, everything has collapsed around her. Getting laid off from her day job and failing in her art career, she has nowhere left to turn. She once had faith to believe that all things would work together for good, but that faith died with her brother. Now she just wants the pain to end.
Riley Conrad served thirteen years in the military until three bullets sent him home. After a year and a half of physical therapy and scraping together a living, all he wants is to live a simple life and perhaps even open the coffee shop he dreams about. However, the weight of failing his parents’ expectations doesn’t make it easy, and working as a bartender isn’t getting him anywhere fast.
Could a “chance” meeting between Alex and Riley set them both on the path God always intended?
Disclaimer: I had the privilege of beta reading an early version of this book a year and a half ago, and, while I quickly read the updated copy prior in preparation for this blog tour, I have not yet thoroughly read the final version. Because of that, I’m focusing this review mainly on what I enjoyed about the book.
What I Loved
Pace and flow: I loved the overall pacing of the story! It’s a long story, but it’s interesting. I loved how it didn’t necessarily follow a typical romance novel structure. I loved how there wasn’t major conflict between Alex and Riley – there seems to be too much of that in most romance novels I’ve read. Instead, this book was a slower upward journey for both characters. There was conflict, change, growth, turmoil, and happiness, but I could feel the upward slow climb all the way until the biggest crisis (apart from the opening scene). The slow journey style carried me right with the characters, and I enjoyed seeing their small daily victories and successes.
Characters: The characters were quite vivid. I LOVED Joe. I liked Zach, too, though he didn’t end up having a huge unique part – mostly just Mindy’s sidekick or the guy Riley talked to while Mindy and Alex talked. The families were well-described as well. The author did a great job giving everyone unique interests and styles.
Spiritual focus: The characters’ spiritual journeys were excellent. They weren’t forced or rushed; they seemed entirely natural. I loved how God is shown as the most essential One underlying all else.
Happy daily life: I loved the little glimpses of everyday fun. 🙂 And the coffee shop, even though I’m not a coffee drinker. 😉
Respectful romance: The romance was well-written. I loved how the main focus was who Riley and Alex were as people – their maturity and personality – and not so much the physical aspects. We need more romance novels with the focus on the person/spirituality/character/manliness or ladylikeness! So many books rush too fast into romance or proposals, but this wasn’t one of them. I loved how the author allowed the characters to develop individually as well – the characters had lives besides just the romance. That made the characters much more realistic and relatable. People are more than their love life, which so many romance novels forget.
Family closeness: I loved the growth of the family relationships! So many books lack family bonds. At first, I wasn’t sure what direction the parent-subplot was going – the relationships looked so bad to start with. Too many books portray the parents as the bad guys and don’t give readers a chance to get to know them as people too. And if you love holiday scenes, you might love this book.
What I Didn’t Love
I wasn’t a fan of the bar that figured so prominently. It’s a personal conviction that will be widely different for everyone: for me personally as a Christian, to supply people with the means for drunkenness would not sit right with my conscience. I will say, however, that since it was in the story, the author did a good job handling it. And this book does not come across to me as being okay with drunkenness.
Content Advisory: intentions of suicide, PTSD-type issues, mild kissing, creepy drunk speaks inappropriately to a woman before being interrupted, a person gets beat up
Romance novels are popular today for good reason. There’s something about a “feel-good” happy story and happily ever after endings. While the market is saturated with novels that don’t uplift the Christian reader to the best thoughts and meditations, I’m glad for one like this with Christian values and depth of character growth.
Interview with the Author!
What’s the story behind your series title No Chance Love? (I know it wasn’t your original title.)
At first, I had no series title because, well, No Chance Meeting wasn’t supposed to be anything more than a standalone novella that came upon me by surprise. But, being the writer that I am, my ideas tend to grow a bit out of control. I was barely into writing NCM when I started to have ideas for two more loosely connect stories. These two followed the “No Chance” title theme, so I wanted the series title to as well. Book three (which has since shifted to book two) took on the title “No Chance Romance.” I thought that fit well for the series as well and would work fine since that was the last book. Or so I thought. Many more ideas later, a fourth book idea jumped into the mix and book three became book two. After that, the series title didn’t seem to work as well anymore, so I changed it to No Chance Love. The entire theme of the series is that nothing in our lives happens by chance. God is always working behind the scenes. That includes bringing people into our lives who we come to love.
What’s the hardest part for you of writing romance?
I love writing romance. As long as I know my characters well and they are well developed, it comes pretty easily and naturally to me. I think the hardest part doesn’t come in the writing, but in wondering how readers will respond. Everyone has their own set of standards and views. For writers, you put a huge part of yourself out into the world to essentially be judged. Romance is definitely a topic that people can have strong opinions about.
How does romance rank on the genre scale for what you prefer to write?
I’m not sure I can rank it. Everything I write has romance in it. I may predominately write fantasy adventure stories, but there is always at least one romantic subplot. However, I would say that I like writing a mix of romance and adventure more than straight up romance most of the time.
About the Author
Jaye Elliot is an award-winning author, country girl, and hopeless romantic at heart. She loves a good hero and will always sigh happily during the lights scene in Tangled. She writes from her home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which she shares with three cats she considers her kids. When not writing romance novels, she pens fantasy and adventure stories as Jaye L. Knight.
To celebrate the release of No Chance Meeting, Jaye is giving away a reader bundle that includes a signed copy of NCM, a hand-painted watercolor bookmark, a coffee mug, and a bag of Dove chocolates! Enter using the form below. U.S. entries only. Not open internationally.
For her second giveaway, Jaye is offering 3 ebook copies of No Chance Meeting. Open internationally!