I picked up A Curious Woman by Jess Lea on an impulse. I was looking for something different and was struck by the book’s description of quirkiness and fun. I’m down for a good rom-com and I am always curious about a new author from Ylva Publishing.
Bess Campbell is learning to live a grounded grateful life. She has an off the grid tiny house, a handful of chickens and a job she absolutely loves at a hip and zany museum of oddities. Bess is a total hipster who lives her life quoting self-help mantras. She is a ray of positivity and light, with a heart of pure gold.
Margaret Gale is Bess’s direct opposite. Margaret is stern, rigid and has guarded herself against everyone in her small seaside town. She is an outcast whose past is shrouded in gossip and rumors. Margaret comes across very cold and unforgiving but really has built a fortress around herself not to let anyone hurt her again.
These two are thrown together when Bess’s boss and Margaret’s rival, Leon is murdered. Everyone in Port Bannir immediately thinks Ms. Gale is the killer and is ready to pin it on her. Bess comes to Margaret’s defense and they begin a journey of uncovering who done it in this sleepy small town.
What I liked about this book is 100% about Bess and Margaret. They were fascinating characters and their interactions together were delightful. The murder mystery was interesting but nowhere near as gripping as the romance. I wish there had been more of it. I’m hoping that this is a series where we get to see Bess and Margaret take on the bad guys again. For Jess Lea’s first book I thought she produced an amazing debut. She is definitely an author whose works I will be reading again.
3.75 out of 5 stars
I am a total sports junkie, love it! So, when I get a chance to read sports based novel I almost always jump at the opportunity. I will not lie, the cover of this book grabbed my eye and totally sold me on this one. I have never formally played tennis but I am fascinated by the game. Code of Conduct by Cheyenne Blue is a book that puts tennis front and center. It’s not used just as a backdrop that has no bearing on a romance-first story; professional tennis makes the two main characters who they are and drives the plot.
Viva Jones is a professional tennis player who has had an amazing career, a career she does not want to end. Unfortunately, years of being an elite athlete have taken its toll and her body is failing her. Viva’s body is screaming for a break, her head tells her it’s time to retire but her heart doesn’t know how to walk away from the sport that she loves and is truly her life’s passion.
Gabriela Mendaro is a silver badge tennis umpire. She is just one rung away for the very coveted top position as a gold badge. Very few women reach this pinnacle and Gabriela has her sight on becoming one. A chance meeting with Viva cannot derail her career. There is a slew of ethical issues with an umpire and a player being friends, not to mention anything more. Unfortunately for Gabriela, her draw to Viva is hard to deny no matter the repercussions.
This slow burn romance is one that keeps you on your toes. The two protagonists have a nice chemistry and the whole we shouldn’t be together, just adds more spark to the fire. Overall the story is well balanced. I tend to think some sports-focused romance books tend to be too heavy-handed in the athletic aspect of the book often overshadowing character development and/or the romantic connection between the leading ladies. This is absolutely not the case with this book. Blue writes a great story, one where you are rooting for a happy ever after.
4 out of 5 stars
Lies and deception is never a good way to start a relationship. It is a damn good way to start a romance novel though. Add in chemistry and a whole lot of sexiness and you have a book by Maggie Brown you just won’t want to put down.
Eleanor Godwin is a mega-star in Hollywood and beloved by many. As a household name, Eleanor has very little privacy and the small amounts she does have she guards fiercely. After wrapping up a punishing role, Eleanor is exhausted and ill from the toll she reeked on her body to get into character. She decides to return to her birth country of Australia for some much needed rest out of the public’s eye.
Our other main character is a journalist on the political beat. Sophie Marsh is forced by her editor to take an undercover role, as a housekeeper/cook to infiltrate the life of Eleanor Godwin. Sophie has no interest in Hollywood or reporting on entertainment news. Her sexist boss forces her to take the role or hit the unemployment line. The young journalist reluctantly agrees knowing that this is so wrong on so many levels and decides upon arrival at the private island she will not do harm to Eleanor Godwin’s reputation no matter what.
This adorable and sweet relationship blossoms from a reluctant friendship to an all-out burning love affair. The two main characters are delightful and you love them for their kindness and strength as well as the many missteps they make on their journey to happily ever after. You root for their success all the way through. A fantastic read!
4 out of 5 stars
Every time I pick up an Emily O’Beirne book I am spellbound on how she delivers amazing storylines, dazzling dialogue, and characters that you treasure long after the last page is turned.
Emily O’Beirne is the very best at what she does for a variety of reasons. Each book captivates me. Her characters are so developed you feel as if you personally know them. Their dialogue sounds and feels real. To me, dialogue is the make it or break it for a book. You can either write it or you can’t. To make it flow and feel real the whole way through, that takes a mega amount of skill, and this is a skill O’Beirne has in spades.
There are two authors that stand at the very top of this genre. Every single one of their books is fabulous. O’Beirne is one of the two. Am I biased? Yeah, I guess I am for the fact that I know when I open one of her books that I am going to be blown away by its awesomeness. I could read one of her books every single month and it still wouldn’t be enough. She writes the kind of books that you want to finish just so you can re-read it. Finish that baby and start right back at it again.
If you read Future Leaders of Nowhere and adored it as much as I did, this one is for you. Willa and Finn are back navigating the waters of demanding school work, home life, and their new relationship. What a great read, but even more so what amazing characters. Once again Emily O’Beirne steals your heart with another beautiful read.
5 out of 5 stars
Consistency must be Emily O’Beirne’s middle name. She consistently writes amazing characters that steal your heart and dazzle your imagination. Her latest novel, Here’s the Thing, is a wonderfully sweet story and honest reflection from the main character, Zel.
Zel, is sixteen and is probably smarter and more aware than most thirty-year-olds. This character is open, honest and level headed. You don’t often hear that with teenagers, levelheaded, but Zel just is. She gets people for who they are, she sees past the veneers, bad attitudes, and silence. Which is how she meets Prim, and an unlikely friendship develops on the subway system on NYC.
Zel has been in New York for a few months, not really developing any strong relationships or exploring her new city. Until she meets and connects with a young model, in her mother’s modeling agency. Primulka is an enigma of a girl. One who rarely smiles and spends most of her time acting nonchalant and blank. She inwardly hates everyone, thinking most of her peers are silly and mundane. To say this girl is challenging is an understatement! You know as the reader someone has hurt this young woman terribly, making her build a fortress around herself to self-preservation. Zel figures this out too and proceeds with caution slowly pulling Prim into a friendship. These two take off on an epic weekly adventure with the end goal of riding all of the subway lines. Sounds awesome right, I can only imagine the people you would meet. It is epic to them as well, and while Zel harbors a crush on Prim, she knows that this friendship is something. Then the monkey-wrench thwarts the plans of finishing the lines, Zel is moving back to Australia. Her time in NYC is up.
This is a story that shifts back and forth between real-time, Zel in Sydney and memories of her time with Prim in Australia. The story builds upon the friendships that Zel makes. Her friendship with Prim is on a pause because of a misunderstanding and hurt feelings, and this causes Zel much anguish. One the other side she is plowing ahead with her life is Sydney and befriends a group of enigmatic young people in her drama class. Through her new school and this group of friends, Zel really begins to branch out. Her photography passion is ignited again and she becomes part of something more. She also meets a Stella and that is a really great part of this book, as sweet and tender as only that first love can be.
I don’t think I did a very good job of summing this book up for you. So I’ll say this, read it. This one is fantastically written by one of the very best authors in the genre. The characters have depth and the story is captivating. Overall a great story, that I was sad to see it end. Another winner from Emily O’Beirne.
5 out of 5 stars
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing