First, there is Andrew Conner, or as he prefers, Ace. He was once a best-selling author, but now he suffers from a drought of inspiration. He’s neither the hyper-masculine brute nor the silent, brooding type that seems to plague too many novels (of the romantic sort). He’s dorky and quirky and witty and well-read, and even at his lowest, Ace still elicits some smiles—even a few chuckles. Then there is Hannah, a spunky gal from Montana, who makes me wonder why can’t more heroines be like her? She has an insatiable case of wanderlust, and she speaks her mind. She just might be the cure for Ace’s writer’s block. We have a set up for a story that I’m guaranteed to love.
Textual Healing by Eric Smith
Released: November 2010
Publisher: Author House
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Few people have to deal with a haiku-speaking flower-shop-owning ninja every day on their way to work. Unfortunately for Andrew Connor, he is one of those people. And poor Andrew, his week has been a rough one. His former bestseller, Chasing Fireflies, is on clearance at Barnes & Noble for $1.37, his girlfriend left him for a corporate America action figure, and he’s been tricked into joining Textual Healing, a support group for writers who can’t seem to write anymore. Dealing with his employees at his failing used bookshop, a strange new love interest from the Midwest, and a pet sugar-glider that has somehow managed to destroy his entire apartment… when will he ever find the time to put pen to paper again?
Even though I was a total sucker for Ace and Hannah, my actual favorite characters are the wonderfully written secondary characters. On one hand, I connected with Valerie, a young woman working in Ace’s bookshop. She’s shy, teetering on socially awkward, and she always has her nose buried in a book or her homework. But! She has a secret, which is revealed in time. On the other hand, I loved the Orchid, the ninja who owns the flower shop across from Ace’s bookstore. She only speaks in haikus and she (almost literally) kicks ass. I say almost literally because I don’t think she actually kicked anyone in the rump; she does tie up “evil-doers” though, and she chucks shuriken at people.
This only scratches the surface of all the incredible characters readers meet in Smith’s Textual Healing. I was in book heaven since I’m one of those people who crave well-written characters over intriguing plot and world-building and…other stuff.
There were several pop culture references, which might be distracting to some readers. I thought they were tastefully done though and often hilarious. I especially loved the nod to the epic pirate vs. ninja debate. And, although often laugh out loud hilarious (seriously, it was), some of the humor was a little…overkill? For the most part though, Smith knew where to draw the line.
I typically avoid romantic comedies/romance novels, but Textual Healing offered a fresh approach to a plotline that can easily become clichéd and full of one-dimensional characters. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.