The Wrong McElroy by K.L. Hughes

KL Hughes brings us a zany romantic comedy with her latest noel The Wrong McElroy. This book involves a huge family brought together to celebrate Christmas. Think National Lampoons, a lot is going on here, and it is just so much fun. Plus there is adorable romance.

Fiona Ng adores her best friend, Michael McElroy. These two grad students have an amazing bond and are really each other’s people. When Michael begs, Fiona to come home with him to Arkansas and pretend to be his girlfriend, she reluctantly agrees. She has no clue what kind of craziness she has just subjected herself to.

Fiona’s biggest problem, aside from Michael’s racist granny, is she is 100% attracted to one of Michael’s sisters. Lizzie captures Fi’s attention from the very first moment they meet. The chemistry is there, and it is heavy on both sides. These two just have a magnetic pull to each other. This is a zany will they won’t they romance with one big problem, a bestie who is also your pretend boyfriend.

This is a fun read that keeps you entertained until the very last page. It’s your go-to book with you want a lighthearted read with a side of romance. You can never go wrong picking up a KL Hughes book, a guaranteed good read.

3.75 out of stars

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Breathe by Cari Hunter

You know when you pick up a Cari Hunter book you are in for one hell of a ride. This writer can really write a book! In her newest novel, Breathe, she gives you amazing characters, thoughtful dialogue and a plot that just won’t stop.

Jemima Pardon is an accident waiting to happen. She’s klutzy and just one of those people that is a magnet for disasters. Jem just happens to be the best damn paramedic in Manchester. While Jem is on her own on night trying to help a patient she gets a ton of help from police officer Rosie Jones. These two quirky characters hit it off right from the start. Both Rosie and Jem’s characters are full of complexity. Their backgrounds make them who they are today, and Hunter takes us on the ride of bringing their past to their present if that makes any sense. She gives us enough detail and emotion to bring them to life. I loved their banter and wittiness even in the most harrowing situations.

This is a great book to pick for when you really want to escape. As with all Cari Hunter books you are getting a quality story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

4 out of 5 stars

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30 Dates in 30 Days by Elle Spencer

30 dates in 30 days, can you even imagine all that pressure and awkwardness. Hard pass. Don’t hard pass on this book though, Elle Spencer gives us a delightful romance full of fun, silliness, angst and a dang good romance.

Veronica Welch is just a few weeks away from being named partner at her prestigious New York City law firm. Her goal has been to make partner and then find the love of her life and settle down. That is winning to Veronica. While the partnership is almost a done deal, there is no lady on the horizon. Her fabulous assistant, Bea, takes matters into her own hands and puts V on a dating app specifically for lesbians. Bea convinces the ambitious lawyer that now is the time to find Mrs. Right and by having 30 dates in 30 days is the way to do it.

Rachel Monaghan is a world-renowned wedding photographer. Her business is booming, but when she has downtime she helps out her bestie/cousin tend bar at the family pub. Her cousin is going through a lot right now, so any help she can give she will. What this “I don’t believe in love anymore photographer” doesn’t expect is to strike up a friendship with a successful lawyer who is looking for the love of her life.

Elle Spencer delivers with this one. This book has all the elements to keep you spellbound to the end. 30 Dates in 30 Days is a fun dynamic read. Don’t let this one pass you by, really don’t let any book by Spencer pass you by, they are all fantastic.

4.25 stars out of 5

Always a Love Song by Charley Clarke

This book is one that will make your heart hurt. The angst is so rich and realistic that I felt actual pain. You can literally feel your heartbreak right along with the two leading ladies. A fantastic book that is full of emotion.

Bridget Callahan and Alex Marlow a childhood best friends. There has always been a special connection between them. As they grew into women, they became everything to each other. They spend their 20’s wrapped up in school absolutely in love with each other. When college ends and both are forced to find any work they can. The stress of not enough money or time begins to slowly make cracks in their relationship. When Alex’s father suddenly passes, the cracks become craters and their love is cast aside for reason’s neither of them has ever fully recovered from.

A handful of years later Bridget, a pop music sensation decides to return to her small hometown. The same location in which Alex owns and runs a cafe and brewery. Bridget thought she could handle being back but the emotions and loss of her relationship with Alex are beyond overwhelming. Everywhere she goes brings back a flood of memories of better times. The book flashes back between Bridget’s and Alex’s romance to the present day. This one is full of tension, angst, and romance. I’m not kidding when I say this book pulls at your emotions. I felt my heartbreak with them, I felt their joy as well as their pain.

4.25 stars out of 5

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Daughter of No One by Sam Ledel

I never read fantasy novels, I just am not interested in all the world building. I feel like the majority of the time you spend so much time of developing that aspect of the book that everything else can end up taking a backseat. As much as this is a fantasy novel, with the elves and the fae, what you also have is an old-fashioned adventure filled with mystery and a slow burn romance.

Jastyn Cipher and her mother were cast out of the village by the royal family. Jastyn’s mother had a child with a fae and therefore broke one the kingdom’s laws. After spending quite some time in shackles the mother and young child have been shunned by their community for decades. Jastyn despises the royal family. Unfortunately, Jastyn’s younger sister has fallen ill and nothing the Alchemist mixes will fix what she ails from. Going to the queen to beg for her healing powers is not something this young woman wants to do but at this point she has no other options.

Princess Aurelia Diarmaid wants more than anything to break out of the castle and experience the world outside of its protective walls. Her parents have kept the princess safe but have also clipped her wings and made her feel trapped and restless.

Our two main characters are a study in contrasts. Jastyn is considered less than a commoner. Her life has been filled with barely meeting basic needs has toughened her and made her a skilled outdoorswoman. Aurelia wants for nothing but as much privilege as she has something is missing.

The world building and fantastic elements are all there. Ledel makes them believable and paints you a picture as the story unfolds. Where I think the book really takes shape and leaps to the next level is the dynamic between our leading ladies. There is an excellent lesfic drama/romance unfolding between the two young women. Everything is stacked against them and that is obvious from their initial meeting. Attraction, longing gazes, a simple touch, it all begins to stoke the fires of a would be romance. You cannot help but love these two brave heroines who are thrust into chaos and an adventure. With Jastyn, I loved all that vulnerability and the crushing hopelessly on someone who is completely above your stature in society. It is just enough angst to keep you rooting for the impossible. With Princess Aurelia, you love that she is nothing like Jastyn thought her to be. Aurelia is capable, smart, compassionate and is absolutely fearless in the face of danger.

Sam Ledel has definitely set up an epic adventure of star-crossed lovers. This book one of a trilogy doesn’t leave you with a cliffhanger but you are definitely going to be left ready for the next book. The romance is just blossoming, they are not a couple this is one where we are going to have to work for it a bit. As a non-fantasy lover, I adored this book and am ready to read where Ledel takes us next. This book is quality writing, great pacing, and top-notch characters. You cannot go wrong with this one!

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Fear of Falling by Georgia Beers

Sophie James is known worldwide. The singer is known for her amazing ballads, soulful voice and selling records at lightning speed. Everyone looking from the outside would think she lives the dream life. The truth is, she is basically all alone other than the companionship of two friends, her longtime stylist and makeup artist. Her mother sees her as a cash cow and the only person she could look to as a loving parent figure, her long-time manager Ray, has suddenly passed away. Sophie is beginning to realize that she needs to forge her own life and start making music that means something to her.

Dana Landon has just been assigned Sophie as her new client. She will be the singer’s PR specialist as well as her manager. She could not be less excited. Sophie has gone a bit off the rails since Ray’s death and the last thing Dana needs is a superstar that has public drunken escapades she has to clean up. Dana really doesn’t think too highly of the “diva” she now represents.

What I really adored about this book is how the main characters, Sophie and Dana, played off each other. The unhurried pace lets them develop from a business relationship, then to friends, and then finally to lovers. Beers sets a nice pace, not too long, not too short and just enough heat to keep you begging for more. It’s the little moments or intimacy between Dana and Sophie that really hook you. You the reader are right there for every step and misstep on their journey. Georgia Beers always delivers amazing stories. This is a book that will charm you and leave you with a smile. Not a bad way to spend your time.

4 out of 5 stars

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Secrets in a Small Town by Nicole Stiling

Nicole Stiling’s debut novel Secrets in a Small Town is a dynamic romance meets mystery that keeps you on your toes yet smiling page to page. No worries with this one, you won’t be scared to turn out the lights but you will be enchanted and thoroughly entertained.

Savannah Castillo is the town manager of a sleepy little community of fewer than 1,500 people. She picked this small town specifically because it was an ideal place to raise her daughter, Eliana. Savannah is 100% an ice queen. She lets no one, other than her little one, close to her. This control fanatic is disturbed by the sudden onslaught of mysterious gifts. They arrive at her office and home at all given times with no sender to be found. The gifts start increasing in frequency as well as becoming more and more threating. Savannah thinks she can handle this on her own until her assistant goes over her head and involves the one person Savannah wants to avoid more than anyone, the chief of police, Micki Blake.

Micki loves working in Winter Valley. She was worried when she left the hustle and bustle of the city she would be bored. Come to find out she likes the slow pace of small-town life. The only thorn in her side is that the town manager seems to loathe her for reasons she can’t quite grasp. Micki takes Savannah’s attitude in stride and throws it right back at her needling the uptight town manager whenever she gets the chance. You really can’t rule this lighthearted good-natured police chief. When Micki’s friend and Savannah’s executive assistant, Chloe, brings the gift situation to Micki’s attention, the chief is bound and determined to help her abrasive nemesis.

Nicole Stiling can write a damn good book that is for sure. My mind is still boggled a bit that this is a debut novel. It really has a good flow, the plot is dynamic and the dialogue reads very natural. From the very first page, I was drawn to the story and the main characters. As caustic as Savannah was at times I still liked her and Micki is just a main you are immediately drawn to. There were enough twists and turns in who the stalker might be that I was guessing to the end. I will definitely be reading what Nicole Stiling has to offer next.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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