That's (Not Exactly) Amore

Author: Tracey Bateman

Publisher: Faith words

Release Date: August 14, 2008

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5

Format: PRINT

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Laini, a thirty-year-old freckle faced redhead, has a crush on Joe Pantalone, but he is way out of her league.  Until a year ago, she and her two best friends shared an apartment, but then last year, her best friend Tabby got married and moved out.  Then her other best friend Dancy moved into the expensive condo her parents gave her and now she has a new boyfriend who shares her interests.  So her friends are deliriously happy, and she is all alone, eating to get by, which has caused her to gain twenty pounds, depressing her even more.  But it fits in with another of her loves…cooking.  She bakes in the evenings and Joe sells them at the coffee shop where he works.  Laini has a degree in accounting and she has spent the last eight years working as an accountant, like her father.  However, she hates it.  Trying to find something she enjoys doing, she is taking a course in interior decorating, but her grades are not very good.  On the other hand, that could be due to the fact that she is color blind.

Joe Pantalone is running the coffee shop for his Uncle Nick.  He adores Laini, but he has to admit that she is terrible at interior design.  Though his Uncle Nick hired her to redesign the coffee shop, her ideas are not good and Joe lets her know.  To spare her, Joe brings in help.  As a compromise, Laini continues to bake on the side for him.  No one can resist her baked goods.  Joe has even been trying to talk her into opening her own shop, but so far, to no avail.

Laini has just reached her home when she notices that someone has jimmied the door.  She runs, yelling for a police officer.  The police officer she finally gets is Mark, who is very interested in dating her.  Asking her out, she agrees to go out Monday night for coffee.  They go to Nick’s coffee house, where Joe gives them the hostile treatment when he sees Laini there on a date with the police officer.  In turn, Mark warns her about being friends with people in the mob, which makes Laini leery of Joe and his family.  Anytime Joe uses the word family, she thinks mob family.  When Laini meets the rest of the uncles, they seem to confirm what Mark is saying.  However, as she comes to know them, they seem like big teddy bears.  How could they harm anyone?  Torn between the two guys, she is not sure what she should do.  Should she give Joe, the guy she has loved for a long time, the benefit of the doubt?  On the other hand, should she give Mark a chance?

THAT’S (NOT EXACTLY) AMORE, the third story in THE DRAMA QUEENS SERIES, is an enchanting chick-lit contemporary romance novel.  Her problems were very believable, every day problems that could happen to anyone and I loved the way she handles them.  The secondary characters add appeal to the story as it centers on family, friendship and love.  Filled with humor, snappy dialogue, a terrific plot and some suspense, this story is a winner.  Ms. Tracey Bateman seems to bring her characters to life.  I have not read the first two books in this series, CATCH A RISING STAR and YOU HAD ME AT GOODBYE, but I look forward to reading them.  I recommend THAT’S (NOT EXACTLY) AMORE to anyone looking for a pleasurable read.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Dottie

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