Twice in a Lifetime by Clare Lydon

Twice in a Lifetime by Clare Lydon takes us on a journey of meeting up with the one that got away. Not just the one either, the first one. That sweet first love that was perfect in every way except for being too early and life came crashing in.

Sally McCall is returning to Chicago to visit her zany, eccentric aunt. Her aunt has a business proposal for her, and Sally being a starving artist cannot refuse anyone’s help even if that is exactly what she wants to do. At the airport baggage claim, something crazy happened, her bag disappears. Apparently, someone had the exact same bags as her, even down to the orange ribbon she had ties on the handle.

Harriet Locke’s life is her work. Her job, introducing artists to retailers has its benefits for sure but that is all her life is. Meetings, emails, and more meetings. After a long flight, deliriously tired Harriet grabs the wrong case. Unbeknownst to her, the case belongs to her first love, Sally. The girl she broke up with when the pressure of college became too much. The girl she regretted letting go for seventeen years.

The book has a mix of backstory and present day. Not too much flashback, though. The chemistry between the Harriet and Sally is fantastic, their dialogue and thoughts are fun and witty. Aunt Paula is a riot, as are all the supporting characters that are nicely incorporated into the story.

The quality of the book is high and I found the likeability of both main characters to be the overall appeal of the story. When I finished the book my thoughts were how cute. Cute, fun a light read when you just want to zone out and enjoy yourself. There is depth mixed with this happy ever after, don’t you worry. As always Clare Lydon gives you a solid read and leaves you with a smile on your face. I adore her writing!

4 out of 5 stars

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Edge of Glory by Rachel Spangler

Well, Rachel Spangler did it. What you ask, what did she do? Wrote the best damn book ever, that’s what she did. In the past few weeks, I have read some of the best books all year. A year, quite frankly wasn’t that impressive in the lesbian romance genre. Somehow fall became explosive with amazing tales with fabulous characters in dazzling plots. It seems like every book I have read since September has just been so fantastic they make you literally stop and swoon. Greatness, followed by greatness. This book is different though, it is absolutely is one of the best books of the year but more than that, it is easily one of the best romance books I have EVER read.

First off I love the Olympics and pretty much all sports in general. With that being said, what I don’t want is ever read a how-to on playing said sport. Don’t worry, Rachel Spangler isn’t going to give you the ins and outs of downhill skiing or a dissertation on how to ride a snowboard. No way, she took me down the side of the mountain let me feel and see what the character does. You read this book you literally feel like your racing down the side of a mountain being pulled by G-forces as your stapped to two polycarbonate sticks. I was wrapped in those moments, spellbound. She doesn’t just write the sports aspect amazing well, no that’s not why we are here. The romance is the main attraction, and well, it’s just magical.

Elise Brandeis is an ice queen and then some. She is all business and her business is being the best alpine ski racer that the US and the world have ever seen. She has missed the Olympic podium twice by two-tenths of a second. Talk about painful. Now she has new obstacle to overcome, her body. After blowing out her knee, and multiple surgeries later, Elise is finally cleared to make the comeback of all comebacks. Never one for niceties, no one is going to stand in her way, even if they are trying to help.

Elise is a high-strung prima donna whose unwilling to compromise ever. She wants complete and total control of both her own body and her environment. She never wants to compromise or seem weak and it’s all to mask her vulnerability. She’s a unique character, and one I really enjoyed.

Corey LaCroix at the age of 30 is at the end of her career. She has been the best at Boardercross since the sport got onto the main stage. Corey is hardworking, loyal and lives her life 100% in the moment. Happy go lucky to a tee. This year is an Olympic year and Corey is feeling like her legs don’t have enough to fight off the competition. As hard as she works it may not be enough, but what she wants more than anything is another medal and a shot with the pricky Elise Brandis.

Time and time again Corey comes off as the loveable jock who takes all of the competitive pressure and Elise’s venom in stride. She is also a world-class motivator when she can get her skiing counterpart to listen. Corey has her weakness too, her rise to fame got her plenty of attention from women and tabloids and that past is not something she wants to be repeated.

So what you have is an epic story of conquering all odds combined with an epic love story. These two magnetic forces push each other away until the magnet is finally flipped over and they see each other’s true character. What Spangler does better than most is she creates these multi-faceted characters that jump off the page. Their individual back-stories are dynamic, their chemistry is palatable and you just can’t help but root for them and their success. This book is everything you could ever want. I truly loved this one. This will easily stand at the top of my all-time favorites.

5 stars, hell all the stars. I love this book!

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Strike a Match by Fiona Riley

Fiona Riley always gives us a good story. I can absolutely, unequivocally say I am a huge fan of her Match series. The first one was super romantic, the second adorably cute, the third well, awe holy hell it was HOT. Smoking hot!

Sasha McCray is a firefighter and sometimes bartender/waitress for a high-end catering company. She works her tail off to give her parents every penny she can. An accident involving a house fire decades ago left her father with a significant health issue that has compounded medical bill after medical bill. She is doing everything she can to keep her parents in their home and their worries at bay.

Abby Rossmore wouldn’t have to work a day in her life. This woman was born into one of the richest families in America. Doesn’t mean she doesn’t work though, quite the contrary. Abby has taken to running her family’s charitable foundation as the non-profit’s chief accountant. Abby doesn’t like the attention being a Davenport brings her. She never knows when she meets someone if they are interested in her, her money or her family’s connections.

Sasha and Abby end up meeting meet at a Lucinda and Samantha’s wedding. These two had met previously through book number two’s character Shelly’s date mixer. When they meet this time sparks fly with sexual tension. Abby is convinced Sasha is a womanizer and Sasha think Abby is just an accountant. With a whole lot of heat and a little bit of deceit, this book will make you fly through the pages. It’s sexy, it’s cute and it will hold your attention to the very last sentence. This is a fantastic book, with delightful characters, and chemistry for days. Like I said this book is smoking hot! 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars

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Making a Tinderbox (The Tinderbox Tales #1) by Emma Sterner-Radley

I don’t even know how to start with this one, but I am going to give it my best shot at articulating just how good this book was. One word summary, Wow. I was wowed, amazed, and totally spellbound by Making a Tinderbox. If I could read books like this one everyday life would be truly grand. This is one of those books you find and just turn to mush because it did everything right. It took hold of my heart and a sad as I was that the story was over, I was dazzled by its brilliance as well.

Lady Elisandrine ‘Elise’ Falk has been told by the queen that she is to marry the queen’s brother, Prince Macray in three months time. Elise, not being one to ever want to marry, especially to someone of the male persuasion is undeniably angry at the situation she has been put in. She is literally being locked in a castle until her wedding day. Elise is a character with smart, witty and a ton of spirit. She is never one to hold her tongue and it tends to land her in a heap of trouble.

Nessa Clay is the direct opposite of Elise. A commoner who has worked beside her parents in a small town, taking care of the crops to make ends meet. She is quiet, self-conscious with a bit of a stutter. What draws you to Nessa is that she is both selfless and gracious. A strong, stoic woman that when needed arrises to the occasion. When Neesa meets Elise, and Elise requests her help Nessa goes above and beyond to help the lady.

I think what really sets this book apart from so many others is how multi-layered it is. Sterner-Radley has given you a long detailed story. There are no cutting corners to save space, no rushed ending to warp it. The author takes her time and draws the characters out. Backstories are cleverly crafted, the scenes are set, and you feel the story and see it play out as you read along. What I loved most of all, and I am talking really, really fell in love with, is how the character’s chemistry between each other is just dynamite. It just jumps right off the page! You have sexiness, cuteness, agonizing angst and self-sacrifice all rolled into one epic adventure.

This is a book that has everything I look for and it does it to perfection. Fantastic characters, dazzling dialogue, a delicious plot full of adventure, angst, and romance. You cannot ask for more. Making a Tinderbox stole my heart from the very beginning and by the end I wanted to read it again.

***If I could give this six stars I would. How in the world have I read two books within a ten-day time span that have been this amazing? I have just been giving out 5 stars like nobody’s business.

5 out of 5 stars, but really a six!

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Mine to Keep by Wendy Hudson

I like the idea of a romantic thriller, and when done right you have two amazing genres converging for those final moments to keep you riveted to your seat. Will the heroines survive the vicious maniac and live happily ever after? Gripping, right? In my very humble opinion, you need those two plots points to be really tightly woven. The romance needs to pull in the reader. That couple has to ring true, their love must conquer all. The thriller part needs to increase your anxiety level, get the blood pumping. I think for me in Mine to Keep both parts fell short of really capturing the reader’s attention on both fronts.

Erin is this stoic, enigmatic character that you want to love because she has had so little of it in her life. Abigail, the local chef, feels a bit unsettled in being the chef at her parent’s castle turned hotel. Could she have been a renowned chef like her ex if she had left this sleepy little town? So you have two interesting characters and the beginning starts off so well, then just meh. Meh, because once they admit their attraction out loud, there was no more push/pull until you introduce the ex, who just happened to show back up after being gone years. Come on! How much more contrived can you get. The romance between Erin Carter and Abigail Miller felt bit flat and uninspired.

The thriller, you could see coming from a mile away. No twists and turns, you knew what was going to happen and the book just stayed the course. I wanted so much more, anything, just a tiny swerve would have made a huge difference. Not to mention the character decisions that just didn’t totally add up. The thriller was flatter than the romance and the ending was way too glossed over.

I thought Wendy Hudson had an amazing first book. This one is a good one, it just needed more thriller or more romance. Neither was done to full potential. I left me wanting more.

3 out of 5 stars

Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson

Every once in a while you come across a book that grabs you and holds on. You know what I’m talking about. A book that you are halfway through and you want to close it and start it back over. A book where you stare into space a mull over the characters and what their next move might be. A story that grabs you and holds on. That book is Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson. This book is that good, this book is that amazing!

Hayden Pérez is our main character with the story told through her POV. She is an emergency room nurse that works tirelessly. Hayden loves her career and interacting with her patients in the fast-paced world of emergency medicine at a hospital in NYC. She does have a major problem she cannot seem to tackle. There is not enough money to keep her afloat. Every extra cent is sent home to Miami to help her family. On a whim, she answers an ad for a female looking to pay for someone to be her wife for one year’s time. Hayden is just that desperate for cash and unpredictable enough to take the leap.

Neurosurgeon Samantha Thomson is that lady looking for a wife. Sam is an interesting character, to say the least. She is truly a complex three-dimensional person. 100% an ice queen, but she isn’t going to just be thawed by love. No, this character sees the world a bit differently than most. She vacillates between serious, looking at problems more as the scientist trying to decipher what needs to be done and how to do it most efficiently. Which to the majority of people around her she comes off a cold and unfeeling. With Hayden though, she is sarcastic and witty, personality traits that are often hidden to everyone else. Once Hayden and Sam get on the same page as becoming a married couple their dynamic changes immensely in all the right ways.

A five-star rating would be inadequate for this book. It’s better than that. It truly is. This is easily one of the, if not the very best books I have read this year. Everything was done to perfection. Characters, pacing, dialogue, plot, there is no flaw. This book is a true gem!

5 out of 5 stars, but really so many stars. All the stars 🙂

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Definite Possibility (Bay West Social #3) by Maggie Cummings

I so loved Totally Worth It and was super excited for the sequel to the lesbian Sex and the City-esque story. I did, however, pump the breaks when I found out from a few fellow reviewers that the sequel left you with a broken heart (Meg & Sasha forever). So finally when the third part of the series came out, I am ready to do some power reading and zip through two and three back to back.

I am a fan of this series. I like the style, the pacing, the friendships all tied around cute and sexy romances. For me, this book was all about redemption for Sasha. She let the girl get away and she sure as hell better get her back. Who is this Reina and why is she still here? The story also re-introduced Sam and added a new character, Lucy. If you loved the first one, were frustrated with that disastrous ending of the second, well let me tell you the third one will give you nothing but joy and happiness.

4.25 out of 5  stars

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