The Woman at the Edge of Town by Georgette Kaplan

I have never in my life read the 50 Shades of Grey series. I don’t get the draw on a lot of levels, but I think I may have just read lesbian version. If you have suffered through my reviews in the past you might remember that I am a big fan of Georgette Kaplan’s writing. It’s fast, it’s witty and it is undoubtedly unique. So naturally, I picked this one up! What do I think about it? That is usually not a hard question for me to answer, yet this time it is. Conundrum of epic proportions!

Sarah Keys moves home from college after the unexpected death of her professor father and she hates being back. She has a strained relationship with her mother, her grief is suffocating and while she loves her boyfriend, nothing is working right in the bedroom. She is working part-time at the grocery store and shuffling her way through her days in this small town. Suffering, Sarah is suffering. A car accident on a desolate country road leads her to a chance meeting with Nina Rose. The rich, beautiful hermit that lives in the mansion on the outskirts of town.

Nina used to be one of Sarah’s father’s students. She is a gifted mathematician how often spends her day hidden away in her home working on codes for government agencies. Nina is ultra-mysterious. As Sarah becomes employed as Nina’s part-time gardener they slowly begin to develop a friendship and then something more.

At the beginning of the book, I kept waiting for Nina to become a vampire. She is not. Then I thought, oh she’s a killer. She is not a killer. I was never exactly sure where the book was going to turn and why there were so many rats (you’ll see). I was trying to find my footing with it, unsure but still interested. I’m not really sure what exactly I thought would happen but this one doesn’t have a formula you can put your finger on. Wild, yes. Sexy, yes, maybe. I’m confused! BDSM, big time and that was so unexpected. Perplexing, yes. I can’t quite explain it, I left the book thinking, what did I just read. It needed more details, I still have so many questions. An odd book that left me with a furrowed brow. See my conundrum, because of all that and yet I still liked it.

3.25 out of 5 stars

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Hooked on You by Jenn Matthews

Jenn Matthews’s book Hooked on You by takes you into the world of crochet with a heavy dose of romance. One of our main characters Ollie owns a craft store that offers crochet lessons. This group comes together not only to create scarves and throws but also as a support network for people that need a friendly face. The group finds that in Ollie, a 50+ year old ex-soldier that carries a ton of baggage from her time in the Middle East, her divorce and being a lesbian.

Anna, our other main character decides to find a hobby at the request of her college-aged daughter. Anna spends all of her time working as an English teacher and her kids think she needs something for herself. She decides on crochet and that takes her to Ollie. A woman she just cannot help but be smitten with.

This one was a tough one to nail down when it comes to a rating. First and foremost the book is well written. I thought that Jenn Matthews did a great job with character development and dialogue. The secondary characters add depth to the story and really make it shine. The romance felt authentic like this book could mimic a real-life love story. What holds me back a bit is that the pace was slow. I mean really, really slow and pretty heavy-handed in the crochet department. It almost felt a bit repetitive when it comes to crochet but the romance was written well enough to make up for talks of hooks and stitches.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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Pursuit of Happiness by Carsen Taite

I am not going to lie, I was very hesitant to pick up a book based on politics. In today’s political climate it is hard enough to read the news every day without becoming more and more depressed. I read to escape, so whether its fact or fictional politics, is that an area I want to wade into? The author is was what sold me on this one. I like Taite’s style of writing. She is consistent in terms of quality and always writes strong female characters that are as intelligent as they are beautiful.

Senator Meredith Mitchel is part of a political dynasty. Her family knows the political arena well. Being president is a dream of Meredith’s but that’s years from now. When the story begins, Meredith is fully backing another female Democrat, a senior senator from Texas who has been positioning herself for the presidency for years. A wrench is suddenly thrown in Merideth’s plan to wait out this presidential cycle. A damning scandal hits and suddenly Meredith’s name has shot to the very top of the candidate wish list. The biggest question is does she go for it, and everyone is pushing for a yes, everyone but the women she has developed the biggest crush on.

Our other main is Stevie Palmer. Stevie is a public defender in DC who avoids politics at all cost. She will testify before Congress on criminal justice reform but anything more than that is too much. Her focus is on her work and ensuring justice for her clients. Through hard work and a ton of sacrifices, Stevie has found herself in a job she loves and friends she can count on. As attracted as she is to Senator Mitchel dating a presidential nominee is overwhelming and the spotlight is blinding.

First off, yes this book deals with politics, but I would not say it is not a political heavy book. I think more than anything it makes you wish this was real life and not what we are currently living through. I really liked both characters and I thought their romance was sweet but the story needed to focus on them as much as it did on Meredith’s campaign. I felt it tilted more towards a drama than a true romance. My biggest fault with this book is that the ending was way too fast and abrupt. It felt like the pacing was off when the book was screaming for more chapters. We hit the crescendo of the story and then bam the end. I needed more and I wanted more from this book. Still good, just could have been great.

3 stars out of 5 stars

London, Actually (London Romance Series Book 5) by Clare Lydon

London, Actually is book 5 in Clare Lydon’s the ‘London Romance’ series. This one takes us to a corporate setting involving Rachel’s younger sister, Becca. Becca has landed her first job since graduating from college working for an event planning firm. One big problem for Becca upon starting her dream job is that she just made out with her new boss Saturday night.

Cleo Nightingale is a 39 year old is the head of events for Workplace as global office space company. On Monday morning she is reeling from an unexpected yet amazing Saturday evening. Saturday, Cleo and her brother Duncan attended the wedding of their childhood neighbor. At the wedding, Cleo met the most amazing woman, 23 year old hottie, Becca. They enjoyed each other’s company went out after the nuptials for drinks and had a fabulous drunken goodnight kiss. One she was still thinking about later.

Becca and Cleo are caught up in a workplace romance neither expected. They both try like hell to put their kiss behind them but as they learn more about each other the attraction only intensifies. As much as Cleo does not want to date a younger woman she just cannot deny the sexual chemistry.
Clare Lydon’s always writes a clever, fun-loving story with well-defined characters. Overall, London, Actually is a very good addition to this wonderful series. A good romance to unwind with after a long week!

3.25 out of 5 stars

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Lovebirds by Lisa Moreau

Lovebirds by Lisa Moreau is a delightfully fun, syrupy sweet opposites attract romance.

Emily Wellington plays it safe. The only risk she has ever taken was to leave her well-paying marketing career to start a birding magazine call The Tweet. She promised her wealthy Beverly Hills parents and equally wealthy girlfriend that she would give the publication two years and if it was not profitable she would give up on her dream and go back to her old job. Tick tock, two years is up and her business is well into the red. She has also just accepted her long-term girlfriend’s marriage proposal. Pressure is coming from all sides to give up her birding passion, return to her corporate business career and settle in the Beverly Hill’s lifestyle her parents and girlfriend demand.

The opposite of Emily is Sydney Cooper. Sydney is broke, perpetually unemployed and cannot seem to catch a break. A teenage runaway, Sydney has brought herself up on the streets and used pole dancing as a way to make ends meet. Her dream is to teach at a Beverly Hills dance studio all she needs is the owner to finally give her the audition so she can show off her skills. 

Emily and Sydney develop an unlikely friendship as Emily searches for a rare bird and Sydney auditions for the posh dance studio. These two are thrust into hilariously awkward scenarios that leave them bickering, laughing and revealing a whole lot of attraction. 

Lovebirds is an endearing story that had me captured to the very last page. I loved the spark between the two mains and the dialogue between them was witty and fun. This is a good romance with a little something extra to set it apart.

3.5 out of  5 stars

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/books/lovebirds-by-lisa-moreau-2713-b

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Drawing the Line by K.D. Williamson

I think this one is going to come down to personal preferences when it comes to what you are looking for in a romance. A breakup to makeup story can be a success but it’s a hard road to navigate. The reader has root for the couple even though they know there has been a monumental moment that caused that relationship to end. By the time I finished with Drawing the Line I just couldn’t have cared if the love was back or not.

Dani and Becca broke-up four years ago. They tore each other apart at the end of their relationship. One night Dani coming home late after a long night as a medical student walks into an empty apartment. Becca took everything that belonged to her and hit the road. No goodbye, nothing but a disconnected number. In all honesty who could come back from that kind of hurt. Who is going to even take your phone call much less fall in love with you again? That is a monumental mountain to climb up. Add on to it that for four years they have had ZERO contact. Then Becca decides to move back to Atlanta needing forgiveness. Girl, come on now. Dani and Becca share a mutual bestie, Rick, who has played the middleman for years. To say their bad blood is thick is a huge understatement. These two ladies have monster obstacles to overcome even to be in the same room together.

Dani, she’s okay. A bit of an ice queen who keeps everybody at a distance never really overcoming her breakup with Becca. Becca, she is really, really hard to connect with. I did not care for her, and maybe I missed something but she came off like a giant ass. Really neither character made my heart swoon. I needed to root for their them, for their love, and in all honesty, I just wanted to end my time with them as quickly as possible.

K.D. Williamson is a brilliant writer. I love her work, but this one was just not for me. I’m going to chalk it up on me that this isn’t my type of story. I know there will be folks that love Drawing the Line and rightfully so. I think it comes down to preference, this just not being the book for me on this given day.

2.75 out of 5 stars

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Breaking Down Her Walls by Erin Zak

Julia Finch is running away from life. The destination is 100% unknown. How can you run away totally from your past and self-hatred? She tries like hell too, that is until her beat-up old clunker of a car finally gives up on her journey in a teeny tiny Colorado town. With little money, she has to make a deal to work off her automobile repair debt by lending a hand at a large cattle ranch.

Julia spends her days shoveling manure and bonding with the ranch’s horses. Her immediate connection to these beautiful working animals endures her to the ranch’s owner, Elena Bennett.

Elena Bennett spends her time working her ranch and being perpetually pissed off. Her heart has been broken too many times and she cannot shake off her anger. Her wife was killed in an automobile accident breaking her heart the first time, the second women she trusted with it decided to up and leave her with little warning. Now she’s just angry and a bit broken. When she first meets Julia she is hard bitter and has very little patience for the new ranch hand.

I like the premise of the story. Two characters overcoming past tragedies to find their way to love, trust and respect. For the most part, I enjoyed this book. I will be honest I thought the ex-girlfriend showing back up after her disappearing act was a bit contrived and made to story slow way down and become a bit too contrived. I mean if your ex-lover dumps you with no word, disappears out of town and now you have a new lady you are just pining for you’re going to hang out with said ex when she shows back up. Hell no! Penn showing back up was a monumental waste of reading space. It would have been infinitely better spent on dialogue between the two mains.

Overall a good book that I am happy that I spent some time with.

3 out of 5 stars

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