Mine to Keep by Wendy Hudson

I like the idea of a romantic thriller, and when done right you have two amazing genres converging for those final moments to keep you riveted to your seat. Will the heroines survive the vicious maniac and live happily ever after? Gripping, right? In my very humble opinion, you need those two plots points to be really tightly woven. The romance needs to pull in the reader. That couple has to ring true, their love must conquer all. The thriller part needs to increase your anxiety level, get the blood pumping. I think for me in Mine to Keep both parts fell short of really capturing the reader’s attention on both fronts.

Erin is this stoic, enigmatic character that you want to love because she has had so little of it in her life. Abigail, the local chef, feels a bit unsettled in being the chef at her parent’s castle turned hotel. Could she have been a renowned chef like her ex if she had left this sleepy little town? So you have two interesting characters and the beginning starts off so well, then just meh. Meh, because once they admit their attraction out loud, there was no more push/pull until you introduce the ex, who just happened to show back up after being gone years. Come on! How much more contrived can you get. The romance between Erin Carter and Abigail Miller felt bit flat and uninspired.

The thriller, you could see coming from a mile away. No twists and turns, you knew what was going to happen and the book just stayed the course. I wanted so much more, anything, just a tiny swerve would have made a huge difference. Not to mention the character decisions that just didn’t totally add up. The thriller was flatter than the romance and the ending was way too glossed over.

I thought Wendy Hudson had an amazing first book. This one is a good one, it just needed more thriller or more romance. Neither was done to full potential. I left me wanting more.

3 out of 5 stars

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Planning for Love by Erin Dutton

This book starts off with a big issue between the two main characters. Well, really, I’ll be honest this book starts off with one main character on top of the other’s best friend…who happens to be getting married in a few months. Oopsie, you weren’t supposed to walk in on THAT. You can see how things might be a bit uncomfortable.

Rachel Union is Violet’s best friend and her maid of honor. The last thing she ever expected was to find her bestie is the horizontal mambo with her wedding coordinator, Faith McKenna. To increase the anxiety level, the engagement party is set to begin in just a few hours. To make matters infinitely worse, Violet hired Faith for just this sort of thing. No, not the walking in on part, the let’s have a no strings attached lady loving sexy time part. Apparently, Violet’s other bridesmaid used the wedding coordinator for just this sort of thing too. Gross out y’all. All I could think is that on the business card or something?

Okay, this is a romance novel, so you know where this is going to go but Dutton starts this book off with a steep hill to climb. That is a lot for the two characters to overcome. Faith is an interesting character, once she opens up you have a loner, who as a child was used as a pawn in her parents’ divorce. She doesn’t really believe in love, which is odd for a wedding planner, but then again she is the go-to for cheating brides.

Rachel is a pro-commitment people person. She isn’t going to settle for less than her perfect mate, and for the life of her, she cannot understand both Violet and Faith’s actions. It drives her crazy, and she lets Faith know how despicable the actions are on a constant loop. I almost felt sorry for the wedding planner! Of course, as she gets Faith to open up, she softens her attitude towards her, but it does take quite a bit of time.

My thoughts are a bit mixed on this one. Was the book well written? Yes. Was the hill too steep to climb for ultimate redemption? In my opinion, it was.

3.25 out of 5 stars

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Fake It Till You Make It by M. Ullrich

M. Ullrich is a fantastic writer, one of the best, in my opinion in the f/f romance genre. I think when we pick up a book we are looking for a few key factors. Developed characters, yup Ullrich gives us those in spades. Good dialogue, once again we have that too, thank goodness. A strong balance between showing and telling, again we are good. Lastly the originality element. Is this another recycled plot line, and if it is you better bring it better that the predecessors. This factor Ullrich owns easily, her books have a uniqueness that we don’t always see in this particular genre. Her stories go a bit outside the box and they do it in the best possible way. Fake It Till You Make It is no exception.

Our main protagonist is Genevieve Applegate. Gen is your small town girl, from rural Pennsylvania. She has had the same friends since birth, knows every soul in town. Unlike everyone else, Gen feels this need to get out and do more. She feels as though her wings have been clipped both professionally and personally. So she scours the employment ads for a newspaper or magazine journalist position that will take her anywhere outside of Milan, Pennsylvania.

Harper Davies is the editor/owner of Out Shore Magazine. Harper who has been burned by love once does not see that in her cards anymore. She pours her heart and soul into the magazine and that takes precedence in her live above everything else. Everything changes when she interviews, the adorable girl next door, Genevieve Applegate. For the first time in a very long time, Harper wants to get to know a woman in more than a professional aspect.

There is a big problem, Gen has no clue she just accepted a position at LGBT publication. She also digs herself in a big ol’ self-inflicted hole by allowing everyone to believe she is a lesbian. This is especially a problem since she has a fiancé, a man, named Jeremy who she has been dating for a decade. EEK! You can see the dilemma, the drama from a mile away. You also get the see the amazing chemistry Harper and Gen have. A sweet romance, that is eye-opening for both of our leading ladies.

My only complaint is I wish the book when have been longer. This one is definitely on the shorter side than I usually prefer. Overall this is a really good book, and you can count on this author giving you a fantastic story time and time again. I cannot wait to see where she takes us next.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Capturing Jessica by Jane Hardee

Communication is key to any relationship, am I right? Whether you are friends, family or lovers, open dialogue is vital to building and maintaining a healthy, solid foundation. In romance books, a common trope is miscommunication/no communication between the two leading ladies. I think this is a delicate balancing act if you too heavy handed, it just leads to the reader’s frustration and basically a lot of eye rolling. Create angst and tension, but don’t make it so unrealistic that it just becomes ridiculous. So how is Capturing Jessica by Jane Hardee, well, let’s just say lots and lots of eye rolling took place during my read.

Michael is a highly revered sculptor that is on the precipice of really landing major contracts. While her art has become wildly popular, her personal life is has intensified up to almost painful levels. She is desperately in love with her childhood best friend, Jess. Unwilling to chance their friendship, for love, Michael buries her feelings and turns to binge drinking when Jess is approached by any would-be suitors.

Jess, is your girl next door type, a sweet, thoughtful elementary teacher who literally everyone adores. Jess feelings for Michael, come about after a night out celebrating a mutual acquaintances birthday. Her feelings become pronounced and she begins to reach out to Michael in a multitude of ways, showing her interest and affection for the artist. Michael has the incite of a door knob and sees none of this, much to Jess’s dismay.

EYE ROLLS like a mo fo! Frustration, frustration and more frustration. The lack of even basic communication between the characters was astounding. You have two emotionally stunted protagonists, one way more than the other mind you, and it became hard to give a damn whether these two find their way to happy ever after. Basically, Jess needed to give Michael a high five, wish her the best and run for the hills.

2.25 out of 5 stars

Capturing Jessica
by Jane Hardee
Link: http://a.co/dS1W1nA