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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Calendar Girl by Georgia Beers

Georgia Beers writes a dang good story. You know that when you pick up one of her books you are going to get a quality story with interesting characters that have dynamite chemistry. I would be hard-pressed to find a Beers book I’ve not adored but this is quality stuff that every romance junkie will love.

Addison Fairchild is the runs one of the three branches of the Fairchild Empire, Fairchild Rentals. She is an absolute ice-queen that is cold and aloof. Trained from birth to run her mother’s real estate corporation she has learned to become hard-nosed and closed off. Since her mother has decided to retire, Addison has increased her workload with no breaks, zero fun, and life that is nothing but work, emails and phone calls. What this does is takes a toll on her health and leaves everyone who loves her petrified.

Katie Coper is the exact opposite of Addison. She has a magnetic personality that draws people to her. She lovable, cheerful and radiates positivity. Katie has every reason to be down on her luck but she still has that sunny disposition. Katie recently gave up a job she loved in the tech sector to take a part-time nanny position watching pre-school twins. Her father had been diagnosed with early onset dementia and Katie put her career on hold to move in with her parents to help be there for both of them during this trying time. After a while, the bills pile up and Katie needs to help with the financial load, when her bestie at Fairchild offers her a well-paying personal assistant job to the distant Addison, Katie has no choice but to jump at the opportunity.

These two get off on the wrong foot, mostly because Addison is a control freak who is being forced by her mother/boss to have a PA. Katie has big ideas of how to help her new boss but Addison is hesitant to change anything. These two butt heads, but as their time together increases they begin to see each other in a new light. The walls fall, and perceptions fall away. The chemistry between these two is seriously dynamic and sexy.

I adored this book. The two mains were written beautifully and the whole opposites attracts thing is always a winner in my book. Loved the amped up tension with some angst! The connection between Addison and Katie is palpable. You can feel the chemistry coming right off the page. Loved it!

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Breaking Character by Lee Winter

Nobody writes an ice queen like Lee Winter. She truly is the queen of the ice queen. She builds up their walls, fortifies their heart and brings in the perfect lady to thaw all that ice. I live for her writing. Over the past few months I have hit a major wall with reading, nothing really piqued my interest and the books you thought would be knockouts were just meh. Happens right? Well, I am so glad I picked this one up because I don’t care how big your funk is this book is stellar.

Elizabeth Thornton is dubbed as the “British Bitch”. As the lead interest on a medical television show, you would think Elizabeth relishes her stardom and careers rise. In truth, she hates the television show she stars in. The stories are mundane and overly dramatic with plot twists that are too ridiculous to describe. Her fame has made her withdraw into herself, putting on a mask not even her closest friends can penetrate.

Summer Hayes is the newest cast member on Elizabeth’s TV drama. As a childhood actress Summer has grown up in Hollywood, she knows how the business works. As cutthroat as the entertainment industry is, Summer has the heart of gold. She’s sweet, kind, perpetually happy and has a strong moral fiber. She believes in doing the right thing and damned the consequences. She is adorable! Summer has had a long-time crush on Miss Thornton. Seeing Elizabeth perform Shakespeare years ago in London captivated her and Summer has held Thornton in the highest regard since, with a mega crush as well.

This book takes its time. It builds fabulous characters, our two mains are delightful. The story builds and has so many layers. You really get the full effect of the chemistry between the leading ladies. Just enough angst to pull on those heart strings and keep you turning the page. This is a book you will come back to and read again. I loved it in case you couldn’t tell.

5 out of 5 stars

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Under Your Skin by Lee Winter

Under Your Skin by Lee Winter is the sequel The Red Files. If you loved The Red Files, you are going to go out of your mind for this one. If you have never heard of The Red Files, stop her and go buy both of these. You will thank me because these are two of the very best in the lady-loving romance genre.

This time around Lauren King and the Caustic Queen, Catherine Ayers are residing in DC planning their wedding and looking for the next big scoop. Of course, they are going to stumble on to a monster story, one with all kinds of nooks and crannies to keep you on your toes and breathless with anticipation. The best part though is their other moments when planning a wedding that at times seems doomed all the while out of their element in Lauren’s Iowa hometown. It is fabulous to read about Catherine so out of her element in the mid-west.

I loved this book even more than the first one. These two have an amazing banter, witty repertoire and the love just jumps right off the page and melts your heart. This book gives you the feels. I cannot recommend it enough.

5 out of 5 stars

Bring Holly Home by A.E. Radley

A.E. Radley knows how to deliver a great story. Her newest book, Bring Holly Home is one of her best yet! A great ice queen romance gets me every single time.

Victoria Hastings is one of the world’s most influential people in the world of high fashion. As the editor-in-chief of an international fashion magazine, Arrival, Victoria is busy, demanding and an absolute ice-queen. Her assistants are known for fleeing, and if they don’t get away first they are often times fired for inconsequential reasons. Under all of her tough exterior, there is a sweet woman who loves fiercely. You just have to break down the massive concrete barriers around her heart.

Holly Carter is one of the few assistants that handled working with Victoria with ease. Victoria threw every challenge her way and Holly met expectations with ease and excellence. So when Holly up and walked away during Paris Fashion Week, Victoria was surprised and unbelievably hurt. Twist! Holly didn’t leave to quit, somehow she was injured and developed amnesia. The young assistant has been living in Paris for a year now.

This ice queen age gap romance will keep you on your toes all the way to the end. Radley keeps the tension taut all the way through the last chapter. My only grievance with this book is that I wish there had been more one on one interaction between the two leading ladies. A little more dialogue would have launched this book into the next stratosphere. With that being said, this book is a really great read, and I sincerely hope that we get another book featuring Victoria and Holly.

3.75 out of 4 stars

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The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley

There are books out there that you love, 5 stars all the way, you read the book, you love it and depending if you are like me you will most likely read them again. There are some books though and these are the truly great ones. You know these books, The Blind Side of Love, How Sweet It Is, and And Playing the Role of Herself. The books that are truly in another realm of greatness. Outstanding books that pull emotion from you, that the story wraps you in a cocoon and all you see and hear is the characters on your page. Those books are the ones when you find them you treasure them forever. I found one!

The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley isn’t good, it isn’t great, its next level amazing. This book is exceptional in every single way. No flaws, no lags, no character misses. Nope, it is phenomenal. Yes, I used my thesaurus for adjectives. You cannot just say awesome eleventy billion times, come on now.

Anna Gale is a new dancer at the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. She has been a ballet dancer all her life, she lives and breathes it. Coming to New York from Dubuque, Iowa to studying and dance under the greatest ballet dancer of the modern era is her dream come true. Anna embodies this wholesome rock solid nature. She’s one of these really good people that others cannot dislike because she is just a noble person. She cares for others, even when it’s in her best interest not too. She works harder than everyone else without complaint and eager to do so. Ballet literally fuels her soul.

Victoria Ford is known as the greatest ballet dancer in modern times. When she danced audiences were captivated by her skill and artistry. An injury to her knee has sidelined her from dancing so now she choreographs and runs the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. Victoria is not an easy woman to please, she is beyond tough, she expects excellence from everyone around her and when it’s less than that you can expect biting, caustic remarks intended to sting. She is truly the emotionally detached ice queen.

This is a dialogue-heavy book, with lots of exchanges between characters. Lola Keeley takes her story and layers it. There is no skipping ahead or fast-forwarding through life moments, hell no. This author takes her time and draws out the story and the tension The sub-plots are done with craftsmanship and skill. She creates supporting characters that are distinct and authentic. The banter between Anna and Victoria, oh the banter, well its legendary and they talk like real honest to god people. The key to real-life characters is nuance. Lola Keeley could teach a class on it because her characters have it and it is glorious. As the reader I thank you.

It’s bittersweet when this book ends. This is a story that I adored, absolutely cherished. I miss it already, but know without a doubt will visit many times again. Lola Keeley made true love jump off a page like a ballerina in a Grande Jeté. Her first book by the way. Yeah, WOW and that wow is the understatement of the year.

All the stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • To Purchase: https://www.ylva-publishing.com/product/the-music-and-the-mirror-by-lola-keeley/

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Blend by Georgia Beers

I really like the way Georgia Beers writes. I love the way she develops characters that are interesting, dynamic and well, hot. It’s been a while since I have read her stuff, the reasoning, I have not a clue why, but I am so glad I picked up her latest novel, Blend. This is a fantastic romance novel. So good, fabulous!

Lindsey Kent is the general manager of a wine bar, Vineyard. Lindsey is likable, cheerful and always has something positive to say. She loves her job. She lives and breathes wine and has an amazing relationship with Ellen Bradshaw, the owner of Vineyard. When Ellen tells her she is taking a sabbatical to explore the world, Lindsey is truly excited for the widow. What is is not excited about is learning that she will need to run all of Vineyard’s business decisions through Ellen’s youngest daughter, Piper.

Piper Bradshaw is the direct opposite of Lindsey. She is an ice queen with a hard, no-nonsense personality. Her job is in the financial sector, and she has learned to be hard-nosed and closed off to thrive in this male-dominated field. Piper’s work and the loss of her father two years ago has hardened Piper’s heart. She is a closed off control freak. Having to work with Lindsey throws her orderly world off-kilter.

These two get off on the wrong foot. Neither is excited about working with the other. Lindsey has big ideas of how to take Vineyard to the next level and draw in a younger hipper crowd. Piper is hesitant to change anything, not wanting to change anything her father created when opening the business. The butt heads, but as their time together increases the begin to see each other in a new light. The walls fall, and perceptions fall away. The chemistry between these to is dynamic and sexy.

You know a book is good, first when you don’t want to put it down. Second, you know its damn good, when your reading it and thinking, I’m totally going to read this one again. Great read and is absolutely a 5-star romance.

5 out of 5 stars

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