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Dianne Venetta is the award-winning author of contemporary romance and cozy mystery novels, including Jennifer's Garden, winner of Best in Romance for 2012 Indie Discovery Awards. When not knee-deep in romance, she contributes gardening advice to various websites and publications and has been featured on GalTime, Huffington Post, Earth Eats (Indiana Public Radio), eHow and Ideal Home Garden among others.
She lives in Central Florida with her husband and two children. When not whacking away at her keyboard you'll find her in their organic garden chasing grasshoppers and plucking hornworms all while drawing wild analogies between kids and plants and men. Definitely men. A girl's gotta have fun, right?
Dianne also enjoys volunteering in school gardens and has begun a children's series chronicling her adventures called Wild Tales & Garden Thrills. It's a crazy existence to be sure, but at the end of the day, if she can inspire someone to stop and smell the roses--or rosemary!--kiss their child and spouse good-night, be kind to a neighbor and Mother Earth, then she's done all right.
on April 01, 2013 :
Loved this book. Jennifer's Garden was heartwarming/ Jennifer's love of her mother was beautiful
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)
on March 24, 2013 :
This is a book that has a perfect balance of tension between two fully-developed characters, vastly different in who they are and what they (think they) want. It is a wonderful light read, a great example of how characters can change and grow in a story and still make sense. I enjoyed this light, capturing read.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on June 23, 2012 :
I normally read paranormal romances so this was a little different for me. Jennifer's Garden turned out to be a fabulous contemporary romance. This novel is a well written story of love, grief, forgiveness and happiness. There are so many things about life that can be learned from reading this amazing book!
I fell in love with the characters instantly. They were all so real to me. Jennifer is an uptight woman with a lot to learn about life. She is so set on planning her future that she somehow forgets to actually live her life. She is a cardiologist with a ailing mother, a self centered fiance and a deadline for a dream garden. The pressure is on for her and she struggles with it.
She hires Jax to transform her backyard into a romantic garden fit for a wedding. I fell in love with Jax from the first words he spoke on the page. His love for life is the best medicine for the stressed Jennifer. As this story progresses Jennifer spends time with Jax every afternoon and she begins to see that everything she always thought she wanted was exactly what she didn't need.
I really enjoyed this book. This is the first book that I have ever read that took me through such an array of emotion. I felt the bond of a mother and child, the sisterhood of best friends and the love of a lifetime. Jennifer's Garden reminded me of love blossoming and the fear and excitement that goes with it. My only negative comment about this book is that I was left wanting more.
The next installment in this series will be Lust on the Rocks, to be release mid - October. This book will feature Jennifer's best friend Sam.
(reviewed 11 months after purchase)
on May 23, 2012 :
I really enjoyed this book!
It took me a little while to really like Jennifer - but I suspect that was supposed to happen. Like Jackson, I found her cold and closed off but I knew there was more to her than met the eye. She was facing a lot of stress due to her mother's illness and imminent death and I could tell that's where a lot of her standoffish behaviour came from. I was worried for a bit that I wasn't going to like her at all because she acted atrociously to Jackson. For someone who seems to have such high standards she doesn't seem to have any manners. She was incredibly prejudiced towards him and that drove me absolutely crazy. He's a landscape architect and she seemed too think he needed to show up in a suit and tie. Um. Right. Not sure where she got that idea. Anyway, she eventually saw sense, thank goodness!
The story in this novel was really sweet but also very sad. It was hard to read at parts when Jennifer was worrying abut what she was going to do without her mother. I admit I teared up a bit after her mother passed away which shows I was invested in Jennifer's story.
I wish the situation with Jennifer's old boyfriend was explained a little more. They dated when they were teens and he was the reason she never gave into passion and instead chose a man who ticked all the right boxes. Because of how the fallout with this boy was explained I first thought that her father was not a very decent man. It seemed like he completely flew off the handle - more so than a father normally would when he catches his daughter with a boy. As it turns out, her father was a good man and the story of how her parents almost weren't able to get married was quite sweet.
There were a few parts where the flow of the story was a bit awkward, such as a chapter ending in mid conversation. It wasn't a cliffhanger type discussion but the chapter was ended in an awkward place. The only other thing I found odd was the Greek tycoon storyline. I don't think it really added anything to the story at all. (PS I know this is kind of vague but there's a bit of a twist, albeit a strange one, with this and I don't want to give anything away.)
Overall though I really liked reading about Jennifer's life and going through the troubling times with her. She is such a good person and it made me so happy to see everything work out for her in the end. I'm now looking forward to reading Lust on the Rocks which features Sam, Jennifer's best friend.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Oct. 18, 2011 :
I always love picking up a self published novel that blows me away. And let me tell you this was DEFINITELY one of those!! Dianne Venetta is one fabulous write who pulls the reader in with such vivid details and amazing interaction between her characters. I devoured this novel - once I started I couldn't stop! Much to my hubby's irritation!! LOL Hard to cook dinner when you keep running to the computer to read just one more page!
Jennifer's mother is dying and Jennifer more then anything wants to have her mother at her wedding. She hires incredible gorgeous landscape architect Jackson Montgomery (aka Jax) on recommendation from her friend Michael. While these two got off on the wrong foot - they have some great interaction and chemistry. The sexual undercurrents with these two is FABULOUS!
Although Jennifer is engaged she can't get Jax off her mind. Her fiance is perfect for her - Aurelio is smart, successful, educated and sexy. How can she not love him and want to spend the rest of her life with him? With some lingering doubts she has to decide what direction her life is meant to go!
This was an amazing story of self discovery for the main character Jennifer. With her life thrown into turmoil she turns to her BFF Sam who helps her see the light. These two have an incredible relationship.. through up and downs they are always there for one another and are always honest. I loved that - every girl needs a best friend like that! I know I'm lucky enough to have one in my BFF!
This is a great read and needs to be read - I highly recommended that everyone picks this up and check it out!
(reviewed 32 days after purchase)
Hesperia Loves Books
on Sep. 21, 2011 :
We follow Dr. Jennifer Hamilton in her race against time to get married. Her mother is dying of cancer and wants to see her married in a garden, just like she was. The only problem, Jennifer’s landscape leaves much to be desired. So she hires a landscape designer to transform her yard all in time for her wedding. Little does she know that her choice of designer will forever change her life.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this story. From the book excerpt, I thought the premise was very intriguing and had my interest piqued. Dianne Venetta wrote a beautifully descriptive story and during the construction/planting phase of her garden, you felt as if you could see every single plant, fountain, shrub, etc. After reading I want to go home and plant a garden myself, it sounded just that wonderful. The love story was very soft & understated, but that didn’t make it any less powerful. What was even more powerful, was the relationship between Jennifer & her mom, Beatrice. The love that they both shared for each other and struggle with Beatrice’s illness was so moving. I cried for the loss of such an important & integral part of Jennifer’s life.
From the start I didn’t like the main character. Jennifer was a confident “I have everything planned out” kind of girl and if anything diverted from those plans she was lost. She knew exactly what she thought she wanted in a man – education, status, occupation, wealth, class, etc. If a man didn’t meet that criteria, she didn’t even look twice. When introduced to Jackson, she refuses to see past his job title & clothes, to the real person inside and treats him very unfairly. This completely & totally turned me off to her. Throughout the rest of the book, with the help of her friend Sam (whom I loved BTW), we see her realize, confront & change her prejudices, and in the end benefit from that acceptance. However, for me I just never got over that initial dislike. The book was also a little long and I felt that some length could have been shaved off during editing, especially towards the end. Other than those minor things, the book was a wonderful read. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Venetta’s work.
(reviewed 35 days after purchase)
on Sep. 09, 2011 :
Jennifer's Garden is a contemporary romance novel that is well written and jammed packed with romance, desire, internal struggles, sadness and happiness. It is a story about Jennifer Hamilton, an established Florida cardiologist, who has everything going right in her life: a career she loves, she is engaged to a wealthy man that she loves, and she has a beautiful new home. But for all the happiness she has in her life, she also has sadness ... her mom's terminal illness. Jennifer has promised her mom a garden wedding, and time is of the essence since her mom is declining rapidly. Jennifer has to have her garden landscaped before the wedding, which is just weeks away. Enter Jackson Montgomery, a landscape architect, who also does bartending on the side. Jennifer meets Jackson aka Jax at a party unaware that the next day he would appear on her doorstep as the landscaper that was recommended to her by a colleague. In Jennifer's eyes, Jax is not the sort of man that she would fall for, he is not in her social class ... but as time and the landscaping project progresses, she finds herself becoming attracted to Jax. Jennifer is a reserved woman, one who has always been methodical in all her choices, plans and decisions. She has never been one to be spontaneous,carefree, or give in to whimsical desires ... so when she becomes attracted to Jax, her doubts about her pending marriage creates an internal struggle that has her questioning everything in her life. With the help of her good friend Samantha Rawlings, and her mom Beatrice, Jennifer learns that she needs to be free from the shackles of self-discipline that rules her life, give into her true desires .. look beneath the surface and find the true love and happiness that is hers for the taking.
Dianne Venetta weaves a wonderful storyline filled with romance, desire, inner struggles, sadness and happiness. A bonus to the story is the intricate and incredibly detailed description of Jennifer's garden packed full of lush flowers, foliage and waterfalls, that will leave the reader yearning for their own little piece of paradise. As a gardening enthusiast, Ms. Vendetta's description of the landscaped garden was pure ecstasy! The other part of the story that absolutely captivated me was the loving relationship between Jennifer and her mom. This heartwarming yet sad portion of the story reminded me of my own loving relationship that I had with my mom, my emotions ran the gamut just as Jennifer's did in the story, and that made the book even more special in my eyes.
Fans of contemporary romance novels will surely love Jennifer's Garden. I look forward to reading more books from this author.
RATING: 4 STARS ****
Disclaimer: At the request of the author, a Kindle e-book edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
on Aug. 30, 2011 :
Jennifer is getting married to her fiancé Aurelio and she wants nothing more than to get married in a beautiful garden like her parents did. Her mother is dying and she wants to give her this final gift. Unfortunately her backyard is filled with dirt and anthills – not very romantic. She gets a recommendation from a good friend for a fabulous landscaper but when Jackson arrives she’s more than a bit put off by him. You see Jackson had been bartending at her friend’s house just the night before. How can a bartender be any good at landscaping? She’s positive he’s just more of a gardener who mows lawns for a living. She doesn’t need a lowly laborer, she needs the best of the best and Jackson’s unprofessional appearance tells her that he’s not good enough to get the job done the way she wants it. She’s extremely condescending and rude and sends him on his way despite the fact that she’s hard pressed for time in completing the project. You see Jennifer’s mother is dying and she wants her mother to see her get married in her wonderful garden backyard.
Jackson is a pretty easy-going guy but he’s more than a bit pissed at being sent on his way for not being good enough. The lady had sent him on his way without even talking to him about the backyard! His friend Michael who recommended him to Jennifer talks him into doing the job and Michael talks Jennifer into giving Jackson a try.
Jennifer isn’t convinced that he can do the job but decides to go for it since she’s losing time every day. What Jackson does to the backyard and his visions for what the garden will look like are shockingly wonderful. She sees, every time she returns from her cardiology practice, that Jackson has made true headway into turning her backyard into a sanctuary. As the time goes by Jackson and Jennifer become friends and end up talking daily. They become connected in a way that neither of them expected and eventually Jennifer realizes that she can’t marry Aurelio when she’s having these thoughts and feelings about Jackson.
This book was an interesting study in preconceived notions. Jennifer was at first and really throughout a lot of the book, a snob. She looked down on those who were not as elite as herself although she really didn’t think she was that way. She took one look at Jackson and decided that since he had been bartending there was absolutely no way he could be a good landscaper. It was ridiculous. When she received the drawn renditions of what Jackson would do with the backyard she assumed that he had used some sort of template or that someone else had drawn them because there was no way that Jackson could have done it. Frankly I almost stopped reading at this point. Jennifer was a hard nut to crack and I didn’t like her or her thoughts for a lot of the book. She was very fearful of putting her feelings on the line with Jackson but she ended up growing personally during the book so I’m glad I continued reading.
Jackson was a really great guy. He was a bit of a free spirit and very philosophical about life which was a bit off-putting for me at first but he ended up being my favorite character. We didn’t get to hear much from Jackson – mostly his interactions with Jennifer – but what I saw, I really liked.
The writing in the book was very good and I would definitely read more from this author in the future.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Aug. 22, 2011 :
Jennifer’s Garden is a fabulous contemporary romance.
I loved so many of the characters in this story. Jennifer was a bit up-tight as the story began, but she had so much pressure on her, I gave her a pass. I absolutely loved Jennifer’s mom. She was still so positive, even as she knew her life was coming to an end. I also got a big kick out of Jennifer’s best friend Sam. She is the friend every woman needs in their life and only a few of us are lucky enough to actually have her in our life. When Jennifer’s Garden begins, Jennifer is engaged to be married to Aurello, who is in the process of opening a new art gallery. Jennifer is on the search for a landscaper to finish her yard so she and Aurello can be married in her garden, which is her mother’s final wish. Enter Jackson Montgomery, who I loved from the moment he appeared on the page (maybe I was picturing sexy Jackson Montgomery from AMC at first). Jennifer is a bit ugly to him in the beginning, because she first meets him as a bartender at a friend’s party and doesn’t think he is more than just a bartender. He soon proves he is an amazing landscaping artist.
Maybe because I met Jackson, Jax to his friends, first I liked him so much more than Jennifer’s fiancé Aurello. I didn’t like Aurello from the moment he appeared in the story. He didn’t really do anything outright to make me dislike him, but something about him just seemed off to me. I think it’s because everything had to be about what he wanted. Never once did I see him worry about what others around him wanted, not even Jennifer. Luckily, Jennifer sees him for who he really is before she makes a huge mistake. Even better, she and Jax have become closer as he has worked each day at her house. Although there have still been misunderstandings between them, both have very strong feeling for each other.
I really loved Jennifer’s Garden and look forward to reading more books by Dianne Venetta. I’m especially excited for her next book, Lust on the Rocks, which is Jennifer’s best friend Samantha’s story.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on July 28, 2011 :
Jennifer Hamilton is a successful cardiologist who is engaged to be married and wants to have her wedding at her own new beautiful home. Unfortunately, her landscaping leaves a lot to be desired. Jennifer is in a race against time to have everything completed, because, sadly, Jennifer’s mother actually is running out of time. Cancer is ravaging her body, and the doctors don’t give her much longer to live. Her mother’s last wish is to see her daughter happily married in the garden of her dreams to the man of her dreams. However, is Aurelio really the man of Jennifer’s dreams? Enter Jackson Montgomery, landscape architect extraordinaire. Recommended by a dear friend, Jackson is the perfect man for the job, but could Jackson also be the perfect man for Jennifer?
I thoroughly enjoyed Dianne Venetta’s writing. This book really drew me in. I haven’t read anything in the romance genre for a while, and it was a very nice change of pace for me. I was impressed with the author’s extensive knowledge of plants, flowers, and landscaping in general. My father is a horticulturist, and I loved the development of Jennifer’s “garden to live by” almost as much as I loved the romance between the two main characters. And there was definitely a lot to love about one Jackson Montgomery! What an amazing character Dianne Venetta created in Jackson. I also loved the relationship between Jennifer and her mother. It was very heart touching and quite poignant. Sam was another intriguing character, and the best friend relationship she shared with Jennifer was not only charming, but Sam reminded me so much of my own best friend it was uncanny!
This book is a lovely, heart warming, fast read. I look forward to reading more by this talented author.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)