Heartstrings and Diamond Rings
by Jane Graves
(Warner Forever, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-446-56848-7
****
Alison Carter and Brandon Scott are just about perfect for each other in the modern romance, Heartstrings and Diamond Rings.

Alison Carter has hit a dating slump. Sheís convinced herself that sheíll find Mr. Good Enough to spend the rest of her life with, but so far the champs sheís thought she found have all turned into chumps. There was the boyfriend that turned out to be gay, the one who wanted her try out his S & M lifestyle, and now the latest one she thought was going to propose but that was an outright disaster.

Sheís desperate to have a family, and decides to take the plunge and visit Matchmaking by Rochelle. Alison expects that Rochelle will be able to find her a couple of better candidates than sheís been able to find on her own, hopefully.

Unfortunately, Rochelle has passed away and her grandson Brandon Scott has inherited both her home and her business for the time being. Alisonís very skeptical about the idea of a male matchmaker, especially one so young and handsome, but he sweet-talks her into becoming his client with all sorts of promises that Alison canít resist.

But, Brandonís not a professional matchmaker. Heís a down and out real estate developer looking for a way to make enough money to close his latest big deal. As he takes new clients and their money to make a halfhearted attempt at matching them up, he figures he canít really be hurting anyone. He sets up dates, crosses his fingers and hopes they all go well. Alisonís first couple of dates are horror shows, and she has no problem telling Brandon exactly what she thinks of his matchmaking skills. He manages to talk her back into trusting him, and they spend a little time together talking about dating and other things. Brandon doesnít need the complication, but he starts liking Alison way more than he should on a professional level.

As Alisonís dating life gets worse, she starts to wonder why Brandon canít set her up with the one man that she really has the hots for Ė himself. Brandon and Alisonís involvement steams up while his business picks up steam, and soon he has the money in the bank to make a big decision. The problem is, Brandon no longer knows what he wants to do, because making a big profit will be at the expense of Alisonís heart.

Heartstrings and Diamond Rings is a great story, itís kind of gentle romance was underpinned by a great cast of amusing background characters.

There is a lot of humor in the storytelling, and a lot of reality in the way that dating can be a real comedy, horror or romance depending on who youíre with at the time. Jane Graves captures this perfectly.

What held this story back from being a 5 heart read was the slow moving pace of the story as it progressed. It moved painfully slowly especially for the first half of the book. I was getting impatient and I can see some readers getting too annoyed to finish the book, but it was well worth the read by the time I reached the end.

--Amy Wroblewsky


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