Reinventing Lindsey by Maggie Brown

Slow burn romances are totally my thing. I love how the tension and angst ramps up over time till its practically vibrating off the page. Melt my heart with your loaded glances, please! Maggie Brown’s latest book, Reinventing Lindsey does just that.

Daisy Parker is an anthropologist who has made a very successful career at being a matchmaker. She is amazing at pairing people and has worked her magic in the love department many times over. Just ask all the happy couples she has helped. Until now she has worked with strictly male/female relationships, but the reclusive scientist Lindsey Jamieson-Ford has reached out to her for assistance. This is a big coup to get one of Australia’s leading scientists on her client list. The only problem is Lindsey is going to test her skills and patience many times over.

Lindsey Jamieson-Ford is a recluse who has locked herself away with her groundbreaking work. She may be leading the field in scientific breakthroughs but she has done nothing at all for her personal life. Lindsey has come to admit she is lonely and would like to meet someone for a longterm romance. It is time to put the past aside and begin meeting people again.

Daisy and Lindsey could not be more different. They clash time and time again as Daisy works to get Lindsey ready to meet her perfect match. The reserved scientist fights her matchmaker every step of the way. These two spar time and time again all the while developing fun and delightful back and forth banter. You can definitely see where this one is going long before our two MC’s figure it out. Once they do, the glorious sparks fly.

Overall I thought the premise was fun, I really liked both of the two protagonists. The first half of the book was really rich in detail and took its time building the budding friendship between Daisy and Lindsey. I wish the last portion would have has a little more depth, it felt a bit glossed over once the relationship hit the next level. Overall a really delightful story that was a great escape from the daily grind. Totally recommend checking this one out if you love a slow burn and fun dialogue!

3.75 stars out of 5

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A Curious Woman by Jess Lea

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

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Code of Conduct by Cheyenne Blue

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

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Playing the Spy by Maggie Brown

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

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All the Ways to Here by Emily O’Beirne

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

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In the Company of Crocodiles by Maggie Brown

Let me just say this book is quite well done. Maggie Brown writes a story that just sweeps you away. You literally are thrown into Australia and through Brown’s words you are chased by the crocodiles, you feel the oppressive humidity, you are right there with the characters as they face countless perilous situations.

Vivian “Viv” Andrews served her country for years as an Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer. She was involved in numerous covert operations around the globe, including Afghanistan where she was seriously injured. Viv decides then and there to take a step back and make her life as simple as possible. She lives in the rainforest and grows row crops when she’s not fishing. Her basic necessities are met, and when she needs companionship she visits her few friends in Cairns. Life, as she has known it for five years, is thrown into chaos when she finds a dead man in the mangroves

Claire Walker just happens to show up in her tiny seaside town the same day as the dead man is found. Claire, a behavioral scientist and special agent for a hush-hush government agency that needs Viv’s help to locate a possible ISIS training ground. Talk about throwing your relaxing haven into the crazy zone.

So the story takes off as Vivian reluctantly helping Claire, she doesn’t want to, nope not at all, but Claire appeals to her in a way she can’t deny. You know what it is, yes, attraction. Claire is gorgeous, smart and takes charge. She’s everything Vivian has always wanted in a partner but never had. She will help Claire find the terrorist cell because no matter what she puts her country before her own happiness. What she doesn’t know is that Miss Walker is equally interested in her. Newsflash, Viv is hot and doesn’t have any clue! So the story really takes off as these two ladies trek through rugged terrain looking for signs of a terror training camp. What they find is not quite a bunch of jihadists but that doesn’t mean their lives are not in serious danger.

This two spar throughout the book, ignoring their attraction for numerous reasons. Claire and Vic both respect each other, but miscommunication and assumptions (Viv thinks Claire is straight) keep acting as continuous roadblocks to the path of happy ever after. A little angsty but not overwhelmingly so. All in this book is pretty great. I definitely recommend it! I must say I love when an author makes both of leading ladies strong characters, who can hold their own.

4 out of 5 stars

 

Here’s the Thing by Emily O’Beirne

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
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

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Flinging It by G. Benson

A gauntlet of emotions! A gantlet of emotions is the best way I can describe of Flinging It by G. Benson. This book is witty, angsty and also so incredibly genuine.  There were times I wanted to shake the main characters and then I would then the next page and want to give them a ginormous hug. Oh the emotional roller coaster how I love you and hate you all the same.

Frazer is a midwife in Perth, the head of Midwifery to be exact. She is beyond dedicated to her job. She spends her days and nights delivering babies or suffering through mind numbing hospital administrative meetings. Work, work and more work. No dates, little fun, just babies, babies, meting and back to babies. Frazer has spent all of her free time developing a program for at-rick parents and reaching out to them through the hospital and mentors to guide them through the pregnancy, birth and trying months after. This do-gooder needs help and a fresh set of eyes, so she turns to an unlikely source Cora, the head of the social work program at Frazer’s hospital.

Cora the head of social work for the hospital spends her day guiding people through the hospital system. While she is a co-worker of Frazer’s these two never speak, some hostility may be in part because Cora happens to be married to their boss, Alec. Alec is a first rate douche bag by the way, he emotionally abuses his wife to the point she is just a shell of her former gregarious self. As Cora and Frazer move forward with the mentoring program they develop an amazing friendship, and after one night of way too much booze the fall into bed.

This book pulls at your heart. While you know that the affair is oh so wrong, you also see that it is a lifeline of sorts for Cora. This is a woman that something to empower her and give strength, even if it’s wrongly through an affair. While her husband is a first rate prick (that’s being kind), and she should be running for the hills, she is terrified of disappointing everyone. Alec has stripped her down to nothing, so when Frazer comes along and becomes her friend, her ally and even her lover she has a renewed since of self. Does this have morality issues? Sure, but know that it is very evident that this marriage is on the flimsiest of last legs. Infidelity is a big no-no for me most of the times, but in this case it did not give me much pause.  Both women know that this affair is wrong, but it’s hard to stop when it’s the only time you find any since of happiness. Frazer and Cora have magnetism to each other. Their interactions are delightful, fun, sometimes really sexy.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Points of Departure by Emily O’Beirne

A breath of fresh air, that’s what this book was to me. Points of Departure by Emily O’Beirne captures the spirit of friendship and adventure in the most charming manner possible. This is the story of five young women who are bonded by an epic adventure to see the world post-high school graduation.

The book starts off as the five ladies get ready to take this grand adventure to Europe and Thailand. The bad news is that Kit, the organizer and touchstone of the group is going to have to bail. Kit’s partying ways have cost her. She must spend her trip money on the neighbor’s statue that was destroyed after wild, but not epic party. This is where apprehension sets in with the four reaming girls, Tam, Liza, Olivia and Mai.

Tam, Kit’s cousin, is a cherry farmer’s daughter from Tasmania. She has spent her life in a small secluded town. Set to attend culinary school, Tami s using this vacation to study the world’s cuisine. The last year has been especially rough for Tam and her family. Her father was diagnosed with cancer and has only recently begun feeling like his old self again. Tam is impatiently waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Oliva, Kit’s best friend, is the daughter of one of Australia’s most favorite authors. Olivia has spent her life in her workaholic mother’s shadow. She has had her sight on being a successful lawyer forever the only problem is she is pretty sure she’s destroyed that chance after flubbing her final exams.

Liza, Kit’s other BFF, is a runner. Not just any old runner either, she is amazingly fast and amazingly talented on the track. She has spent most of her childhood and teen years traveling the country racing the 800M dash. Recently Liza has come to the conclusion that she may be done with racing, she doesn’t have the competitive streak or desire to run to win as a college athlete.

Mai, well she’s just Mai. Super intelligent, obsessed with social media and just wants a big party and lots of hookups before college begins. A classmate who is in the same social circle as Oliva and Kit and the one character that we do not read the perspective of.

Points of Departure is brimming with liveliness and strength. The book effortlessly hops between the friends as they deal with life, failures, success and love. There is a romance too. It’s quite good and quite touching but I’ll let you figure out who that cute couple might be.

I was given this book by Ylva in return for an honest review.

5 out of 5 stars

Points of Departure
by Emily O’Beirne
Link: https://amzn.com/3955336980

Where the Light Plays by C. Fonseca

I struggled with this one, and I hate that! I hate the feeling that I am not giving a book justice, especially one that is obviously well written. I’m going to put it down to the fact that it just wasn’t my cup of tea, you that’s what I’m going to do.

Andi Rey is an artist living near Victoria, Australia. Andi paints beautiful works of art and is currently working to finish her first solo exhibit. For extra income and to support her art she freelances as a graphic designer.  Andi has been unlucky in love, she is not willing to take a risk with her heart on just anybody.

Dr. Caitlyn Quinn is an Irishwoman who has come to Australia to assist her grandaunt in cataloging her art collection. She just happens to be vacationing at a beautiful home near Andi’s. These two strike up a friendship through their love of paintings, wine, great food and the beach. They only problem as their attraction to each other grows, so does the looming fact that Caitlyn is just  in Australia for a few short months.

I have no doubt that there will be people that read this book and love it, 4 and 5 stars all the way. These people are not going to be me unfortunately. Technically there is nothing wrong with this book. I would absolutely say that this book is well written, there were not mistakes in grammar or spelling. The setting was staged well, the characters were developed, so yes, this book is technically sound. What I did not find is any emotion to the book. The characters were dull and the dialogue was dry. I also felt that there were way too many secondary characters that had insignificant roles. Literally, I was trying to keep up with all the different names thrown out, and why they were there. I literally trudged through the entire thing wondering what the point is to this book. There wasn’t much to the story, and obstacles the character’s had to overcome were tired. This book was way too long for how little happened, but hey this is just my opinion.

2.5 stars out of 5

I was provided this book by Ylva in exchange for an honest review.

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