Lila Mae Guidry is a Southern girl through and through. As a fourth-generation Latter-day Saint in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she's proud of her heritage as both a Southerner and a Saint—and she doesn't take kindly to people who disparage either. Ten years ago, Max Archer was just that kind of jerk. As the mission president's son, Max spent his entire three years mocking the South...and teenage Lila. After Max's family moved away, Lila forgot about her sworn enemy. Almost.
When a new job brings a grown-up Max back to Baton Rouge, Lila is less than thrilled with his reappearance, especially since everyone seems intent on throwing her together with this old adversary. Yet fight as she may, Lila soon realizes resistance is futile—their connection is undeniable. Max embodies everything she wants in a man—except perhaps the most important thing—her life is rooted in the city she loves, but his dreams are bigger than Baton Rouge. With such mismatched visions of the future, Max and Lila are faced with a life-altering decision: jeopardize their aspirations or risk losing love.
|Size||6 x 9|
|Published||Covenant Communications 2016|
By LAWonder10, Submitted on 2016-10-11
Southern Charmed is a light chic lit for a pleasant, relaxing, clean YA/Adult read.
Lila Mae loved living in Louisiana. She c0uldn't imagine living anywhere else. Her father recently died and the other children were far away. Lila would not ever consider leaving her mother. She lived in her childhood home with her mother and taught in a public High School in a rough part of Baton Rouge.
Lila Mae had noticed Max, her High School crush/nightmare at church for a few Sundays but had avoided him. As she arrived home from Church one Sunday, she was mortified to find him siting in the kitchen with her mother awaiting her arrival for Sunday Dinner!
This was the turbulent beginning of what was to be the first in several occasions.
Kendra was a student of Lila Mae's who was bright but battled a devastating home-life. Lila Mae was determined to do al she could to persuade this student to fulfil a very challenging task which could change the rest of her life if she succeeded.
This drama covers different aspects of Lila Mae's life and various challenges she faces. It, also, addresses heart-wrenching decisions one often has to make.
Although this novel is directed at an LDS audiences, it is an entertaining book for all to read.
The characters are very real and endearing. The background scenes are easily visualized. A few times the sentences did not "flow" well, interrupting a smooth read. Other than those few occasions, it was very well-written and entertaining.
*This book was gifted to me but in no way an I obligated to offer a positive review.
By Melanie, Submitted on 2016-09-30
Once I started reading this book, I didn't stop until I was finished. It was such a fun read! Lila Mae has lived in Louisiana her entire life and has no plans to leave. She's a high school history teacher who is dedicated to her students and she feels the need to live close to her mother. Max lived in Louisiana for a few years when he was a teenager and made it clear that he wanted out of there. Well, Max is back and the sparks fly between them, but is he ready to settle down or is he is just passing through?
I loved Max and Lila's story! They worked well together and balanced each other out. Their relationship and romance was fun to read and I laughed quite a bit. There were obstacles for them to overcome which made things more interesting.
There were some great side characters in this book as well, like Lila's mother and Kiana, one of Lila's students. It was fun to read an LDS romance set in Louisiana and it was definitely full of southern charm. This is a great book for anyone that enjoys clean, contemporary romance!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. My opinion is 100% my own.
By Shauna Wheelwright, Submitted on 2016-09-21
I absolutely loved this book! It was exactly what I needed this week! The southern flair was SO FUN--
I adored the relationship between Lila Mae and Max, but what really captured my heart was the side story of Kiana--BRILLIANT WRITING!
Snatch up a copy of this book for a fantastic read!
By Lisa F, Submitted on 2016-09-19
Teenagers do stupid stuff. In my opinion, it's a fact. Max Archer was an arrogant young man who made a very bad impression on Lila Guidry. He was condescending of her beloved Baton Rouge.
Ten years later he comes back, this time he is employed in Baton Rouge and he wants a do-over. He wants a chance to make a new impression. Will Lila let him? Will she hold a grudge forever? Or will she give him the second chance? One thing in his favor is the obvious chemistry they have.
I really like romance books that give characters a chance to redeem themselves. Max has a lot of redeeming to do. At the same time I think that Lila needed a little humble pie see that other people are allowed their own opinion and it doesn't mean that they are nonredeemable.
This is a cute romance that is set in the Southern United States. Both of the characters are wonderful with a bright future ahead of them. They obstacle is whether or not that future includes the other. It is full of Southern culture, love, and some kissing.
One part of the book brought tears to my eyes. It has nothing to do with the romance, but the worth of individuals. Lila teaches high school history. She makes an impact on one student. Her example and love show this young woman that she is of infinite worth and value. I loved the romance, but I loved the positive relationship between student and teacher more.
This is a clean romance that has features the LDS religion and culture.
By Aimee Brown, Submitted on 2016-09-16
Can you hear my heart right now? It's breathing out a very contented . That's because it's happy and full of all kinds of romantic notions. Seriously. It might be on overload.
This is contemporary romance at it's best for me. Witty dialogue, playful banter, characters who are flawed but so endearing and a vibrant setting full of food descriptions that will make your mouth water. What more could you want?!?!
I love when I get butterflies in my stomach while reading a book. This one gave me some butterflies and to quote the book, "My heart did a Cajun jitterbug."
I probably can't tell you anything better than that. I loved this book!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
By Andrea, Submitted on 2016-09-15
I'm a big fan of Melanie Jacobson's books, and was very excited for the chance to review her latest novel, Southern Charmed. Just before receiving my review copy I saw a post by the author about how part of the proceeds from the sale of the book through Seagull Book were going to help with flood relief in Louisiana. This helped me appreciate the book even more knowing that it was helping a great cause.
The premise was fun-enemies (of a sort) meeting again, and then seeing if they could overcome their past to be friends (or more) with mom pushing for a relationship. The first re-meet was awkward for Lila but very enjoyable as a reader.
I got a bit caught up on how a lot of focus went toward what had happened at a dance many years before. When the details finally came out, I was surprised that Lila had already forgiven Max. Of course, that was good, but it was strange since it seemed like she still dwelt on it and then the matter was suddenly over.
The ending was very sweet. I liked Lila's role as a teacher. She was very good and definitely went the extra mile. I'm not sure that I liked Max. He did make up for his career driven-ness at the end though.
This had a bit of a different feel from a lot of Melanie's other books. It wasn't bad different, but I wasn't totally sure how I felt about it.
By Heidi G., Submitted on 2016-09-15
Melanie Jacobson has written a truly charming book about a place that she clearly loves. And so does Lila Mae Guidry, a Lousiana girl through and through, who teaches at a local high school and dreams of getting married. But Max Archer isn't her ideal man, at least not at first. When she knew him as a kid he hated Baton Rouge and he humiliated her at a stake dance. But Max isn't the same person she knew and she has to fight to remind herself that he has no intentions of staying in the place she doesn't plan to ever leave. But hearts don't always follow their owners advice and the two fall in love despite their geographical differences. I couldn't help falling in love with both Lila and Max, two good people, each with their own plans and strengths. Stories like this remind me that while life often doesn't go the way we plan, sometimes things turn out far better than one could have ever dreamed.
By Katie, Submitted on 2016-09-14
There's something about that South that gives me the warm fuzzies. I've never lived there, but I love the way the people are so true to their roots, are so polite, and have a way of making everyone feel like warm honey. This book exemplifies the Southern hospitality and really brings Baton Rouge's way of life to life.
Lila is all grown up and teaching school. She wants to be married, but her prospects are slim. When Max comes back to town, she's expecting the same "punk" from her teenage years, but discovers that sometimes people grow up. He's everything she wants--on paper--but he didn't grow up in the South and isn't rooted to it like she is. And that's where priorities come in: what is most important?
The characters in this book are religious (LDS/Mormons), and while I didn't feel it was preachy at all, some readers who aren't familiar with the faith may be lost at some of the events and terminology. It's refreshing to read a story with these types of characters in such a culturally rich setting. I love Lila, her matchmaking mother, and Max. I especially loved the little side angle of Lila's teaching. She sounds amazing, especially with the way she is able to handle and reach out to her students at this rough high school. I love romantic connections and the chemistry is full of tension so thick, you could almost cut it with a knife. This is a darling story and one that I really enjoyed.
Content: mild romance; moderate religious elements. Clean!
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*
By Heidi Reads..., Submitted on 2016-09-14
What a fun book with a great sense of setting! Baton Rouge is a huge element in this book and it totally made me want to visit Louisiana and try all the food that the main characters were swooning over ;) Lila Mae is one of those women who is beautiful and independent with an inner strength... and everyone wonders why she isn't married yet. I loved that even though she struggles with difficult feelings when it seems all the young women around her are planning weddings or having babies, she is determined to trust God and be happy with the life she has. The subplot of Lila helping a bright student trapped in poverty reach above her circumstances was inspiring and showed how compassionate and thoughtful Lila is.
Max is a charming leading man, but because the story is told in first person from Lila's perspective and she initially harbors a grudge against him for being a punk as a teen, it was harder for me to move past that, even though Lila seems to pretty quickly. They begin with friendship but since the chemistry is sizzling between them from the start, the romance naturally grows in spite of Lila's misgivings about his temporary stay in Baton Rouge. I love how they relate to each other, it's very real and they don't hide their flaws from each other. It was refreshing to see them face and work through their differences. The other subplot of Lila's sweet grieving mother touched my heart and even brought a few tears at the end.
(Thank you to Covenant Communications for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
By Charissa, Submitted on 2016-09-12
This book's title perfectly matched how I felt about it. It charmed me in that subtle way Southerners have about them. I loved the characters. Lila Mae is sweet, witty, and rooted to Louisiana in concrete. Max is charming, yet I kept wondering if it'd be enough to win her over. The romance took time budding, especially since Lila fought her attraction to Max so hard. The pacing was done just perfect enough to keep me turning the pages to see what Lila would do next. I loved how the author worked in teaching inner city high school kids into the plot. That was super fun to read about their challenges. This was a delightful read that had me smiling a lot, especially at the end. It's a good, solid story with a clean romance and fun Southern characters that will bring a smile to the grouchiest reader's face. I highly recommend it.
By Cathy J, Submitted on 2016-09-12
Melanie Jacobson has such a way with writing contemporary romance. I love the way that she writes her book. I have each and every one of the books she has written and I wouldn't part with them for anything. There aren't many other authors that I could say the same thing about. And this book is just as amazing as any of the other ones!
I LOVE Lila in this book. I love her strength. I love that even though she was raised as a "Southern Belle," she is spending her career teaching high school in an area that is known for it's poverty. And she is an amazing teacher, I love the way that she takes these kids under her wings to give them wings to fly and make their lives better. I especially love the way that she is with Kiana, just thinking about the things that she did for her brings a tear to my eye. So sweet!
I love that this whole story is from Lila's perspective. That means that for some of the parts, even the reader gets a surprise. When you see the story from multiple perspectives, sometimes you lose that sense of surprise. I really loved the way this one was written. Everything, even down to the way it ended was a surprise. I had no idea just what was going to happen for Lila.
Max...what about Max. Max is amazing! I loved that you really don't know his true motives for having to returned to Baton Rouge, a city he had hated as a teenager, until way late in the plot. I love the way he was a gentleman in everything he did, and how he realized his mistakes throughout the whole book and was continually trying to fix them and make himself better.
The whole plot of this one was great. I loved every bit of it, and especially the ending! This is a cute, clean, fun romance that I didn't want to put down, even when it ended. I still kind of want to know just what happened in both Lila and Max's lives. That's the mark of a great book to me, the way that it sucks you in, even after the story is over!
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
By Susan, Submitted on 2016-09-03
This came my way at a perfect moment. Reading Lila Mae and Max's story was such a beautiful read for me! MJ books often are funny, and humorous. This was a little bit more serious. I loved her picture of Louisiana. It made me want to go there and experience it for myself. Lila Mae's passion for teaching, for her students, for her family, for the people in her circle, made her a beautiful, heartfelt character. Max's jump into work ethic, wholehearted enthusiasm, joy at being with Lila Mae while trying to figure out their 'journey' from acquaintances with a past, to friends and more than friends with a future was a beautiful read. Both of their passions for life, their obvious chemistry and attraction to each other, their family loyalty, their love for life, food, kindnesses, their devotion to service (at church), made for a beautiful, heartfelt, wonderful journey. There was such a magic, almost a bit of pixie-dust in this novel. I rarely give 5's. Obviously this is a feel-good story, but it was so well-crafted. I loved the optimism they had to change the world, one person at a time and bring hope to people around them, along with staying true to who they were. This was a magical, lovely read, with all the promise of something wonderful to come!
Plus the Etta James song and Elvis.... Perfectly magical heartfelt, heart-tugging moments. Their compromise at the end, although they both came to it different ways was really lovely. MJ is a master writer. She brings sympathy, charm, characters we care about, hope, faith, magic and wit to her writing. I will always be a fan and gobble up anything she has written. This deserves to be read by a wide audience. HEA at it's finest and with dose of wonderful southern charm! I can't wait to read her next novel!!