Charm City by Monica McCallanCharm City by Monica McCallan is a heartwarming opposites attract, Valentine’s Day romance story.

Taylor Tate is an upbeat, “the glass is always half full” kind of person but lately her life seems as though it has turned into a low budget, B rated movie with bad luck appearing in every scene. She is the owner of Charm City Events and she needs as much business and positive reviews as she can get. Taylor has poured a lot of time and energy into the meticulous plans she had made for the upcoming week of Valentine’s Day events at the Second Chances bar. She thought she’d made plans for everything but nothing in this world could have prepared her for the surly and insanely attractive bar manager she has to work with.

Carson Smith likes to keep everything in her life simple. She enjoys her job at the Second Chances bar and she loves the fact that the bar represents her personality—no pretense, no frills and its sturdy and reliable. All was well in her world until her boss asked her to work side by side with Taylor Tate so that they could pull off a week of Valentine’s Day events that would bring in much needed revenue for the bar. Carson grudgingly agrees to work with the event planner even though she believes that Valentine’s Day is a ploy to cheat single people out of their hard-earned money and make them feel as though they will meet their soulmate one day. Despite her disgust for the entire revenue generating plan, Carson decides to be a team player because the little dive bar is very dear to her heart and she can’t bear to see it close.

One fun-filled week of activities, two strong-willed women and lots of alcohol…

When love is in the details what could go wrong or better yet, what could go right?

The Characters

Carson Smith is a bar manager at the Second Chances bar. She is the wizard of all things alcohol. I’ve got to be honest, at first I wasn’t fond of Carson at all because of her awful behavior toward Taylor, however, I slowly warmed up to her when I learned about the heartbreaking circumstances she had to deal with. Even though Carson can be frank to the point of being rude, she possesses such a sincere, down-to-earth and affable personality that made me reserve a place for her in my heart.

Taylor Tate is the owner of Charm City Events. She has a sixth sense when it comes to knowing what people want and she is determined to satisfy her clients and the customers who attend any event she is overseeing. I have the biggest crush on Taylor! She is everything that I adore in a woman. Her positive outlook on life, her sarcastic and witty responses and her fun-loving nature made me add her to my lengthy list of fictional wives.

The Writing Style

I got everything I wanted and so much more from this delightful Valentine’s Day story. Monica McCallan gave me flawed and realistic characters with real life situations that took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride. From the moment I started to read this story, I just knew that I was going to get sucked into Taylor and Carson’s world because of the entertaining banter between the characters and the vivid descriptions of the Baltimore landscape.

The Pros

I’m a born and bred foodie but this story made me appreciate drinks a lot more than I already do! A huge smile took over my face each time Carson prepared a quirky and delicious drink for Taylor. I really wished that I was in the Second Chances bar because I would have had the time of my life—Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Taylor and sample a few cocktails?

The Cons

You won’t get any complaints from me!

aprils favourite booksThe Conclusion

This lovely story goes well with chocolate (I’m not ashamed to say that I devoured a box of chocolate fudge cookies while I was reading this book!) I have a soft spot for stories that portray a lot of character growth and awesome women who find love when they least expect it. This is the first book I’ve read from this author and I know that it won’t be the last because after reading this beautiful story, I want to read all of her books!

Excerpt from Charm City by Monica McCallan

“Oh, shit. I’m sorry,” called a woman standing next to an open door in the alley, still a few feet away from her. She held a bucket in one hand, a surprised look etched across her face.

Taylor wanted to glare, but she stood still and willed her body to resist the growing urge to have a meltdown. She wasn’t the Wicked Witch of the West. A little water shouldn’t have that much of an impact on her. Even if the woman had just ruined a three-hundred-dollar pair of heels. Her favorite heels, coincidently.

“I’m looking for someone named Carson,” Taylor responded, hoping the edge in her voice wasn’t audible. “Do you know where I can find him?”

The woman stared her up and down but didn’t speak, giving Taylor the same opportunity to stare right back. She continued to stand next to the door, a tattooed arm resting gently against it, feet crossed at the ankles with a calmness that bothered Taylor, her own poise waning with each water droplet sinking through her tights.

“I’m Carson,” she answered neutrally, that goddamn smirk still sitting on her annoyingly pretty face.

“Oh, sorry,” Taylor said with an apologetic tone, immediately correcting her error. “Glenn just used a lot of words to describe you that led me to believe you might be a man.”

Taylor struggled to read the situation, and the woman in front of her, who she now knew to be Carson.

“And what might those words be?” Carson asked evenly.

Probably best not to go into detail on this one. He hadn’t said anything inaccurate from what she’d already encountered, but she knew enough to know that people didn’t want to be described as prickly. Why had she even brought it up?

She needed to shut up right now and get down to business. Too much depended on these events, and she needed to control the situation.

Taylor shook her head slowly from side to side to calm herself. “I think we got off on the wrong foot. I’m Taylor Tate.” She stepped closer, out of the puddle of water forming around her feet, and stuck out her hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Carson.”

Carson let out a small laugh, the sound echoing around the enclosed alleyway, amplifying the effect. She didn’t extend her own hand, instead choosing to push the door farther open and run the other hand through her long, dark hair. “Well, you might as well come inside. Sounds like we have a lot of work to do.”

Taylor’s face flushed with the rejection, but she quickly retracted her hand like she’d never extended it in the first place. She plastered on her most genuine fake smile. “Great. Let’s get started.”

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