Set the Stage by Karis Walsh

I really adored this book. From the characters to the setting and the slow burn romance, I was in it for the long haul with this one. Karis Walsh to me is an expert in creating interesting characters that often have to face some type of adversity. While this book was no different, it felt like the author changed up her game a bit. There something new, something fresh about this book from Walsh.

When we first meet Emilie Danvers, Emilie is saving every cent she gets from her fast-food gig to save up enough capital to start over with her new career as an actor in an Oregon Shakespeare Festival company. Emilie has one a coveted lead role and is about to get her acting career back on track after a long hiatus. Nothing will deter her from her passion for acting. She’s learned this the hard way after giving up promising roles to travel with her ex-girlfriend. A relationship that left more scars than happy memories.

Arden Philips is a gardener at the nearby park from the theater festival. While Arden has had dalliances with the performers over the years, but she carefully guards her heart knowing that they are just passing through Ashland on the way to the next career move. Arden is unknowingly kind of stuck in a rut. Abandonment issues from childhood have caused her to settle for a career she likes but doesn’t truly love. When she meets Emilie, these two have an instant connection and draw each other out of their proverbial shells.

I have always enjoyed Walsh’s work. I think you are guaranteed a solid read each time you pick up one of her stories. This one felt different, it gave more, it felt like more. It’s not a page burner but a slow fulfilling story with beautiful characters that had a deep connection. You have an amazing backdrop that is laid out perfectly that just pushes the story to flourish even further. I absolutely enjoyed my time with this one. It is a great book to escape with!

4.25 stars out of 5

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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 adorable was that. 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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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

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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Mergers and Acquisitions by A.E. Radley

Mergers and Acquisitions by A.E. Radley takes us into the cutthroat world of advertising. This book is filled with tension, rivalry, unexpected friendships and of course, romance.

The book starts off introducing the reader to Red Door a UK marketing firm owned by Kate Kennedy. This business is Kate’s life. She pours her heart and soul into keeping Red Door as the top advertising agency in Europe. Along the way, she has made some enemies, but not bigger and thornier than Georgina Masters, her American rival. As one of their mutual clients, Yannis Papadakis, the CEO of an engine manufacturing company, wants the two companies to collaborate on the marketing campaign for his latest creation, a supercar. Georgina and Kate can barely stand to be in the same room together, much less work intimately on a campaign of this magnitude.

Now add in the unexpected factor, an adorable, preppy nerd named Sophie Young. Sophie has just accepted a new position at Red Door after completing her internship. A gopher, running errands and fixing the copy machine is not exactly what she planned on, but she’s at Red Door and that’s what counts. All of the sudden, as Kate’s assistant, is injured and out of commission for a while, Sophie is now the right hand to her marketing idol, Kate.

This book is fun, witty and adorable. I had no idea which way this book was going to take me, and I loved it. Each character is interesting and loveable in their own right. You don’t want to miss this one, heck if you have read any of A.E. Radley’s books you know it’s quality stuff.

4.25 out of 5 stars

 

Sawmill Springs by Gerri Hill

Gerri Hill is one of my favorite go to writers. She has beautiful style and while every book might not be a 5 star it’s almost guaranteed a four star, that saying something pretty spectacular, right? That you can rely completely on her books being quality reads time and time again.

Mandi Murphy moves from Houston to Sawmill Springs after a horrible case goes wrong and ends up resulting in the death of a friend. She decides a slower pace is needed and she takes a job offer in sleepy Sawmill Springs. Expecting to give traffic tickets and break up the occasional bar fight, Murphy no way expects to start her career with a murder case that continues to escalate daily.

Kayla Dixon is the Police Chief’s daughter, she just happens to be a former FBI agent as well. Kayla leaves Dallas to escape a terrible breakup and the frantic pace of the FBI. Her dad offers her a job on his staff and she jumps at the chance to come home. Thank goodness she does, because Murphy and Kayla are the only officers in town that can handle a killer on the loose.

Kayla and Murphy are partnered together. They both are new on the Sawmill Springs police force to solve a multiple murder case. This case is one with very little clues, and a whole town frightened by the turn of events. As the case increases in intensity, so does their friendship and attraction.

This one is a great murder mystery with a heavy dose of romance. The interaction between our two mains is cute and the dialogue is well written and believable. A really good story, my only complaint, and it is pretty small, it I wish just a little more time was spent on the mains interacting with each other outside of solving the case. Take that chemistry up one notch and it would have been stellar.

4 out of 5 stars

Sawmill Springs - Paperback

Heart Stop (First Responders, #6) by Radclyffe

If you are a Radclyffe fan, you’re going to love this one. The romance of Heart Stop has all the right elements. Fantastic main characters, delicious romantic tension, and just enough angst to keep you riveted to the storyline. I adored this book!

Dr, Jay Reynolds is lucky to be alive. An almost life ending accident has changed the direction of Jay’s life. Jay was born to be a surgeon. This was her life plan for as long as she can remember. In the blink of an eye, everything has changed. Jay is no longer physically capable of surgery. She can’t stand for long periods of time and not to mention the tremor in her hands. A push from a friend Jay changes her medical career into the field of pathology.

Assistant chief medical examiner Olivia Price is 100% the job. She expects excellence not only from herself but everyone around her. Burned by her first love, Olivia has completely written off all aspects of love, nope, this is for others, not for her. She spends her time focusing on the dead, and giving them final respects and answering clues on how they met their end. She is fine with that. Of course, this all changes when a new student, is thrust upon her.

Right off the bat, you have two things, a lot of tension and a lot of attraction. Let me tell you, I loved every second of Jay and Oliva’s story. It’s interesting, it’s hot and Radclyffe gives you just the right amount of push and pull to keep you riveted to their story. Secondly, there is a crime element of this book. If you have followed Radclyffe’s books you are going to meet up with a lot of past characters. Rebecca Frye and Catherine Rawlings, Dellon Mitchell and Sandy Sullivan, Dr. Ali Torveau and Beau Cross are all in here somehow connected to our main characters and looking for who a fatal synthetic heroin has ended up on the streets of Philadelphia. I think when you have a book that includes past characters you walk a thin line of whose book is this. Radclyffe does a good job of their cameos tying in directly to the story as a whole.

I always love a Radclyffe book, and this one I must say was a delight. I really, really liked Jay and Oliva’s dynamic.

4.25 out 5 stars

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