©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Roses are Yellow, . . .

A Bouquet of Love is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. Niko Pappas has moved his family from California to Galveston Island, Texas, to open a new Super Gyro sandwich shop. Unfortunately his shop is right across the street from the Rossi family pizza place, Parma John's. Instead of offering olive branches of peace, Niko offers instant competition, with vituperative comments in Greek toward Laz Rossi, the owner.

Niko's oldest daughter, Cassia wants to work in a florist, she has a floral design degree and portfolio, and she has a love of flowers that goes beyond ordinary appreciation. When she sees a sign on a trolley advertising a need for help with a floral shop, she applies and is hired immediately. Unfortunately, the owner of the florist is a member of the Rossi family, and if her father ever finds out, he'll hit the roof.

Janice Thompson has written a book that hit my funny bone just right. Imagining the stand-off between Niko and Laz was hysterical on the surface and easily imaginable. Cassia's desire to honor her father battles with her desire to be on her own and live a life outside a gyro shop. Helena, Niko's wife, wants more consideration from Niko than he's given in the last few years and stages her own protest against his heavy handed ways.

The romance between Cassia and Alex is almost a side note to the family dynamics that reside in the novel. Cassia becomes friends with several Rossi family members and walks the tightrope between the Italian and the Greek families. When some of her siblings also find themselves on that tightrope, Cassia feels she must come up with a way to approach their parents about the Rossis. When she finds that her mother has also befriended the Rossis, Cassia knows that the volcano is about to blow.

Alex is a bystander in all of this, loving Cassia, supplying flowers to the floral shop, and loving the Rossis too; but he is no stranger to loud families, because he has one himself. And when he lets Cassia meet his family, he ignites the spark that will allow Niko's volcano to blow.

I loved the way Janice brought about reconcilliation to Helena and Niko, the Pappas family and the Rossi family, Cassia and her father, and how she brought the whole book to a satisfying conclusion.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a Rose in any color to smell as sweet (you'll have to read the book to get this reference).

Revell allowed me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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