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Crescent Blues Book ViewsOnyx (Paperback), ISBN 0-451-41090-4

As Christmas approaches, Reese Brock discovers that her life falls short of her expectations. She finds herself no longer very interested in her Ph.D. program (even though she merely needs to write her dissertation), her part-time job sucks, her love life falls flat, and her mom drives her up the wall. Kenneth, Reese's most recent boyfriend, fails to spark any passion in her, and she refuses to let her mother push them together just because they make a perfect couple.

Book: Jill winters, blushing pink

Things get crazier while home during Christmas break. Reese's younger sister, Ally, plans to get married in a couple of weeks, stressing their micromanaging mother to the max. But Reese's biggest problem turns out to be the best man, Brian Doren. Reese and Brian shared a heckuva New Year's Eve kiss two years ago, but nothing came of it. But after meeting him again, things start sizzling.

They share lunch at the bookstore/café where she works, and things seem to perk along nicely. But misunderstandings about Kenneth as well as Brian's ex-fiancee-who-wants-him-back Veronica throw wrenches into the relationship. Other family problems also serve as distractions -- Brian's pregnant sister Danny needs lots of help after being abandoned by her boyfriend. Reese's older sister seems to be having marital troubles as well.

The relationship between Reese and her mother, Joanna, ends up being one of the funniest bits of the book. Her mother tries to impose a number of wedding-related tasks on Reese as well as pushing for Reese to attain certain states of being -- specifically, an actual Ph.D., as well as a perfect romantic relationship…with Kenneth. But through it all, Joanna's love for her daughter shines through, taking the edge off the demands. In addition, a twist at the end involving Kenneth proves both unexpected and very funny.

The relationship between Reese and Brian steams along nicely, with lots of sexy foreplay. But Reese occasionally comes off as slightly neurotic, analyzing every little thing too much and jumping to conclusions too quickly. But on the whole, Jill Winters writes a fun, fluffy romance.

Jen Foote

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