Book Review: Dante's Girl

Dante's Girl (The Paradise Diaries #1)
Published By: Lakehouse Press
Publication Date: June 2012
Page Count: 356
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary Romance

I have been reading a lot of paranormal and dark science fiction lately so I was excited to work this one into my reading schedule. Due to stress and a hectic schedule, I was ready to lose myself in a sweet romance that could help me escape for a bit and relax. Dante's Girl was just the book I needed. How could you not enjoy a story about a handsome guy who just happens to be the son of a prime minister on an island paradise? Dante is the perfect fictional date for those chilly November nights. This novel reminded me a bit of the movie, The Prince and Me, but since I loved that movie, it should be no surprise that I enjoyed this book.

The main character, Reece, is a girl after my own heart. She's down-to-earth, hilarious, stubborn, and a little unsure of herself. The novel opens with her waiting in the Amsterdam airport for her flight to London. She is dreading spending a portion of her summer in England with her father. The pair don't have much in common and she craves a locale that is a little more exotic. Fate steps in Reece's path in the form of Dante Giliberti, the human incarnate of a Greek God clad in designer clothing. Dante is everything you dream about as a little girl - handsome, charming, articulate, well mannered. He is Prince Charming for a modern age. From the moment Reece and Dante meet, the sparks fly and the chemistry between the two is palpable. I loved watching this pair sort through their feelings to decide if people from such different social spheres could make a relationship work.

Their relationship doesn't take the straight and narrow path. There are so many roadblocks that I honestly didn't know how things would end up. Courtney Cole kept me guessing until the very last chapter. I loved that what I expected to be a typical romance turned into something that kept me up late. I just didn't want to walk away from this story. I was wrapped up in the romance right along with Reece.

My only complaint is that some of the dialogue in this one was rather cheesy. It didn't distract me from the reading or keep me from enjoying myself, but there were times when I had to roll my eyes or chuckle. I think all good contemporary romances - especially those on the light-hearted side - contain a certain element of cheesy moments. That doesn't make them bad reads; it just means that I have to be in the right mood to appreciate those moments. 

I also was impressed with Courtney Cole's writing. You often have to be wary when taking a chance on an Indie book, but this one was well done. There were a few typos - but I was reading an ARC - so that's not totally surprising. This was my first experience with Cole's writing. (I have had Every Last Kiss sitting on my Kindle for ages, but haven't managed to squeeze it into my reading schedule yet.) I would read her work again without hesitation. Dante's Girl is certainly one of my favorite Indie 2012 reads.

Dante's Girl is a fun, romance that will have you falling in love and rooting for Reece. In the end, you may find that love is really all that matters. I enjoyed this one so much that I immediately purchased book two, Mia's Heart, upon completion. It just came out this week. What lucky timing for me!

One Last Gripe: Reece's jealous moments - while understandable - got on my nerves after awhile. I just wanted her to have a little faith. I do understand where she was coming from and I just had to keep that in the forefront of my mind.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: Dante & Reece's relationship 

First Sentence: It is impossible to look hot in the dingy fluorescent light of an airport bathroom.

Favorite Character: Dante

Least Favorite Character: Elena

I have spent every summer since I was ten years old with my father in London. Every summer, since I was ten years old, has been uneventful and boring. 
Until this year. 

And this year, after a freak volcanic eruption strands me far from home, I have learned these things:

1. I can make do with one outfit for three days before I buy new clothes. 
2. If I hear the phrase, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto,” even one more time, I might become a homicidal maniac.
3. I am horribly and embarrassingly allergic to jellyfish.
4. I am in love with Dante Giliberti, who just happens to be the beautiful, sophisticated son of the Prime Minister of a Mediterranean paradise. 
5. See number four above. Because it brings with it a whole slew of problems and I’ve learned something from every one of them.

Let’s start with the fact that Dante’s world is five light-years away from mine. He goes to black-tie functions and knows the Prime Minister of England on a first name basis. I was born and raised on a farm in Kansas and wear cut-off jeans paired with cowboy boots. See the difference? 

But hearts don’t care about differences. Hearts want what they want. And mine just wants to be Dante’s girl. 

My heart just might be crazy.