The Woman at the Edge of Town by Georgette Kaplan

I have never in my life read the 50 Shades of Grey series. I don’t get the draw on a lot of levels, but I think I may have just read lesbian version. If you have suffered through my reviews in the past you might remember that I am a big fan of Georgette Kaplan’s writing. It’s fast, it’s witty and it is undoubtedly unique. So naturally, I picked this one up! What do I think about it? That is usually not a hard question for me to answer, yet this time it is. Conundrum of epic proportions!

Sarah Keys moves home from college after the unexpected death of her professor father and she hates being back. She has a strained relationship with her mother, her grief is suffocating and while she loves her boyfriend, nothing is working right in the bedroom. She is working part-time at the grocery store and shuffling her way through her days in this small town. Suffering, Sarah is suffering. A car accident on a desolate country road leads her to a chance meeting with Nina Rose. The rich, beautiful hermit that lives in the mansion on the outskirts of town.

Nina used to be one of Sarah’s father’s students. She is a gifted mathematician how often spends her day hidden away in her home working on codes for government agencies. Nina is ultra-mysterious. As Sarah becomes employed as Nina’s part-time gardener they slowly begin to develop a friendship and then something more.

At the beginning of the book, I kept waiting for Nina to become a vampire. She is not. Then I thought, oh she’s a killer. She is not a killer. I was never exactly sure where the book was going to turn and why there were so many rats (you’ll see). I was trying to find my footing with it, unsure but still interested. I’m not really sure what exactly I thought would happen but this one doesn’t have a formula you can put your finger on. Wild, yes. Sexy, yes, maybe. I’m confused! BDSM, big time and that was so unexpected. Perplexing, yes. I can’t quite explain it, I left the book thinking, what did I just read. It needed more details, I still have so many questions. An odd book that left me with a furrowed brow. See my conundrum, because of all that and yet I still liked it.

3.25 out of 5 stars

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Hooked on You by Jenn Matthews

Jenn Matthews’s book Hooked on You by takes you into the world of crochet with a heavy dose of romance. One of our main characters Ollie owns a craft store that offers crochet lessons. This group comes together not only to create scarves and throws but also as a support network for people that need a friendly face. The group finds that in Ollie, a 50+ year old ex-soldier that carries a ton of baggage from her time in the Middle East, her divorce and being a lesbian.

Anna, our other main character decides to find a hobby at the request of her college-aged daughter. Anna spends all of her time working as an English teacher and her kids think she needs something for herself. She decides on crochet and that takes her to Ollie. A woman she just cannot help but be smitten with.

This one was a tough one to nail down when it comes to a rating. First and foremost the book is well written. I thought that Jenn Matthews did a great job with character development and dialogue. The secondary characters add depth to the story and really make it shine. The romance felt authentic like this book could mimic a real-life love story. What holds me back a bit is that the pace was slow. I mean really, really slow and pretty heavy-handed in the crochet department. It almost felt a bit repetitive when it comes to crochet but the romance was written well enough to make up for talks of hooks and stitches.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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London, Actually (London Romance Series Book 5) by Clare Lydon

London, Actually is book 5 in Clare Lydon’s the ‘London Romance’ series. This one takes us to a corporate setting involving Rachel’s younger sister, Becca. Becca has landed her first job since graduating from college working for an event planning firm. One big problem for Becca upon starting her dream job is that she just made out with her new boss Saturday night.

Cleo Nightingale is a 39 year old is the head of events for Workplace as global office space company. On Monday morning she is reeling from an unexpected yet amazing Saturday evening. Saturday, Cleo and her brother Duncan attended the wedding of their childhood neighbor. At the wedding, Cleo met the most amazing woman, 23 year old hottie, Becca. They enjoyed each other’s company went out after the nuptials for drinks and had a fabulous drunken goodnight kiss. One she was still thinking about later.

Becca and Cleo are caught up in a workplace romance neither expected. They both try like hell to put their kiss behind them but as they learn more about each other the attraction only intensifies. As much as Cleo does not want to date a younger woman she just cannot deny the sexual chemistry.
Clare Lydon’s always writes a clever, fun-loving story with well-defined characters. Overall, London, Actually is a very good addition to this wonderful series. A good romance to unwind with after a long week!

3.25 out of 5 stars

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Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson

Every once in a while you come across a book that grabs you and holds on. You know what I’m talking about. A book that you are halfway through and you want to close it and start it back over. A book where you stare into space a mull over the characters and what their next move might be. A story that grabs you and holds on. That book is Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson. This book is that good, this book is that amazing!

Hayden Pérez is our main character with the story told through her POV. She is an emergency room nurse that works tirelessly. Hayden loves her career and interacting with her patients in the fast-paced world of emergency medicine at a hospital in NYC. She does have a major problem she cannot seem to tackle. There is not enough money to keep her afloat. Every extra cent is sent home to Miami to help her family. On a whim, she answers an ad for a female looking to pay for someone to be her wife for one year’s time. Hayden is just that desperate for cash and unpredictable enough to take the leap.

Neurosurgeon Samantha Thomson is that lady looking for a wife. Sam is an interesting character, to say the least. She is truly a complex three-dimensional person. 100% an ice queen, but she isn’t going to just be thawed by love. No, this character sees the world a bit differently than most. She vacillates between serious, looking at problems more as the scientist trying to decipher what needs to be done and how to do it most efficiently. Which to the majority of people around her she comes off a cold and unfeeling. With Hayden though, she is sarcastic and witty, personality traits that are often hidden to everyone else. Once Hayden and Sam get on the same page as becoming a married couple their dynamic changes immensely in all the right ways.

A five-star rating would be inadequate for this book. It’s better than that. It truly is. This is easily one of the, if not the very best books I have read this year. Everything was done to perfection. Characters, pacing, dialogue, plot, there is no flaw. This book is a true gem!

5 out of 5 stars, but really so many stars. All the 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

 

Close to Home by Rachel Spangler

Redeeming a character can be a tough sell. How do you make a character, which said the character was downright terrible in a previous book your main character? Add into the fact that this is a romance novel, and your reader needs to have the feels. Tough, so tough, but Rachel Spangler does it like a boss.

If you read The Long Way Home you will remember, Kelly Nolan. Kelly was Beth’s longtime lover when Beth meets Rory. (side note: you can totally read this a standalone, but I would recommend ready both, just so you can see how far this character comes, and both of these books ae really good. Don’t short change yourself). Kelly is sort of the villain in The Long Way Home. She loses Beth because of her paranoia of anyone finding out they are lovers. She’s’ not a great girlfriend to Beth and her restrictions, her closet become too much for the relationship to withstand.

So now, we meet up with Kelly again. Kelly is still single, a little heart broken, lonely and above all else sill striving to be perfect. Tax season is around the bend and as a CPA, Kelly has a million things workwise to take care of. Add onto the heaping pile, her dad (her mentor, her hero) has just has a massive stroke. Beth, still in the picture as the supportive friend, encourages Kelly to take on an intern to help lighten the load.

This is where Elliott Garza comes in. Elliott is a lot like Rory, which isn’t a plus in Kelly’s book. She’s Kelly opposite, she is out, she’s a feminist, she is ready to take the world be storm and smash social injustices. Personality wise Elliott is the direct opposite of Kelly in almost every way

For all their differences, together they work. Elliot exposes Kelly’s softer sides, the one she has buried long ago to avoid be the whipping post for the small town of Darlington. Kelly learned long ago as a child, that because her mother walked out on them, that she would always be subject to the town’s gossip. Elliot brings out Kelly’s true nature and it was quite honestly mesmerizing to read. These two have a dynamic relationship. Fantastic read!

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Life Pushes You Along by Emma Sterner-Radley

Life is funny sometimes. One day you’re totally fine and then the next you have that overwhelming blah feeling. You take a look around and start to wonder why am I stuck in this rut? Do you take a much need vacation, take up a new hobby or do you flip a switch and make a much-needed career change? That’s exactly what our main character, Zoe does. She takes a leap a faith and starts to change her life’s current trajectory. Will her gamble be worth it?

Zoe Achidi has not had an easy life. When she came out to her parents they abandoned her. Cast out of her childhood home as a teen, she has literally had to make it the hard way. Begging for a job, and working tirelessly to keep a roof over her head and food on the table. Her boss and owner of the neighborhood bookstore, is the ultimate slacker, using Zoe as his workhorse so he can phone it in but keep the benefits of her hard work. Most of us wouldn’t put up with what Zoe does, but how do you leave a job that saved you from the streets, even though you know you are capable of so much more. Rock meet hard place, right! The one highlight of her existence is an amazing brother, bestie and the super-hot client that visits her workplace.

Rebecca Clare is said hottie. Rebecca is a successful businesswoman. Over the course of time, Rebecca has taken notice of Zoe, but she’s the younger woman as out of her league. Funny, because Zoe thinks the exact same thing about Rebecca. Upon an unexpected meeting with Zoe’s brother, Rebecca agrees to help Zoe break out of her rut. She begins to assist Zoe, on improving her resume and searching for jobs with a better career path.
Rebecca and Zoe have a fantastic dynamic. These two have a magnetic pull to each other. Their heads war with the hearts, neither seeing how amazing they are but the other totally seeing it. Rebecca, at the age of 40, doesn’t see why a 26-year-old beauty would want anything to do with her other than a mentor. Zoe, cannot for the life of her, see why a successful professional would see anything in a lowly bookstore clerk. They click, they bring out the best in each other, and finally, the heart wins the battle and their heads get out of the way of love. A little help from the bestie and the brother help as well.

Overall this novella is well written, with excellent dialogues. Zoe and Rebecca are interesting and dynamic characters that jump right off the page. I can’t wait to see what Emma Sterner-Radley writes next.

4.25 out of 5 stars