Secrets in a Small Town by Nicole Stiling

Nicole Stiling’s debut novel Secrets in a Small Town is a dynamic romance meets mystery that keeps you on your toes yet smiling page to page. No worries with this one, you won’t be scared to turn out the lights but you will be enchanted and thoroughly entertained.

Savannah Castillo is the town manager of a sleepy little community of fewer than 1,500 people. She picked this small town specifically because it was an ideal place to raise her daughter, Eliana. Savannah is 100% an ice queen. She lets no one, other than her little one, close to her. This control fanatic is disturbed by the sudden onslaught of mysterious gifts. They arrive at her office and home at all given times with no sender to be found. The gifts start increasing in frequency as well as becoming more and more threating. Savannah thinks she can handle this on her own until her assistant goes over her head and involves the one person Savannah wants to avoid more than anyone, the chief of police, Micki Blake.

Micki loves working in Winter Valley. She was worried when she left the hustle and bustle of the city she would be bored. Come to find out she likes the slow pace of small-town life. The only thorn in her side is that the town manager seems to loathe her for reasons she can’t quite grasp. Micki takes Savannah’s attitude in stride and throws it right back at her needling the uptight town manager whenever she gets the chance. You really can’t rule this lighthearted good-natured police chief. When Micki’s friend and Savannah’s executive assistant, Chloe, brings the gift situation to Micki’s attention, the chief is bound and determined to help her abrasive nemesis.

Nicole Stiling can write a damn good book that is for sure. My mind is still boggled a bit that this is a debut novel. It really has a good flow, the plot is dynamic and the dialogue reads very natural. From the very first page, I was drawn to the story and the main characters. As caustic as Savannah was at times I still liked her and Micki is just a main you are immediately drawn to. There were enough twists and turns in who the stalker might be that I was guessing to the end. I will definitely be reading what Nicole Stiling has to offer next.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Lovebirds by Lisa Moreau

Lovebirds by Lisa Moreau is a delightfully fun, syrupy sweet opposites attract romance.

Emily Wellington plays it safe. The only risk she has ever taken was to leave her well-paying marketing career to start a birding magazine call The Tweet. She promised her wealthy Beverly Hills parents and equally wealthy girlfriend that she would give the publication two years and if it was not profitable she would give up on her dream and go back to her old job. Tick tock, two years is up and her business is well into the red. She has also just accepted her long-term girlfriend’s marriage proposal. Pressure is coming from all sides to give up her birding passion, return to her corporate business career and settle in the Beverly Hill’s lifestyle her parents and girlfriend demand.

The opposite of Emily is Sydney Cooper. Sydney is broke, perpetually unemployed and cannot seem to catch a break. A teenage runaway, Sydney has brought herself up on the streets and used pole dancing as a way to make ends meet. Her dream is to teach at a Beverly Hills dance studio all she needs is the owner to finally give her the audition so she can show off her skills. 

Emily and Sydney develop an unlikely friendship as Emily searches for a rare bird and Sydney auditions for the posh dance studio. These two are thrust into hilariously awkward scenarios that leave them bickering, laughing and revealing a whole lot of attraction. 

Lovebirds is an endearing story that had me captured to the very last page. I loved the spark between the two mains and the dialogue between them was witty and fun. This is a good romance with a little something extra to set it apart.

3.5 out of  5 stars

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/books/lovebirds-by-lisa-moreau-2713-b

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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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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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The Price of Cash by Ashley Bartlett

Last year when I read Cash Braddock I was floored by the story’s paradox. Cash is a drug dealer with a heart of gold. You cannot help but love her soft heart, funny quips and bucket loads of sarcasm. Her career of choice is reprehensible, absolutely. The thing about this character is she makes you care deeply for her and the predicament that she finds herself in knowing that it is wrong but finding ways to justify her actions. This year, Cash Braddock is back in the Price of Cash. Life has changed immensely for the character and her growth is palatable.

Warning: If you haven’t read the first book and you are thinking that you might. Stop reading this review!!! I’m about to spoil a big reveal in Cash Braddock. Go read it. It’s amazing, I totally promise!

Cash comes back in the Price of Cash heartbroken, pissed and despondent at the curveball life has thrown at her. 100% in love with Laurel all those feelings have to be pushed aside because her dream girl is actually an undercover police officer and now her handler. Cash must also take a good hard look at where her life is going. Is selling soft drugs any better for society as opposed to heroin or cocaine? A moral dilemma of epic proportions and one she will wrestle with throughout the story. Add to it that college students and former customers of Cash’s are now dead thanks to a new drug on the street.

While the book is written through Cash’s POV Laurel remains our other main character. As much as I love Cash, Laurel is the one I am most drawn to her. A stoic, tough law enforcement officer, Laurel struggles with her feelings for Cash. She absolutely wasn’t faking her feelings for her mark, more than anything she struggles with what to do with her attraction and love for Cash. She absolutely should not have these feelings but she cannot stop herself.

The chemistry between Cash and Laurel is fantastic. This match has tension, heartache that pulls you deep into their dilemma. You want them to go for it and damn the consequences. It is so good! The whole book is fantastic, the love story, the crime, supporting cast, really top notch. Ashley Bartlett has written a fabulous follow-up. I cannot say enough good things about this one. I am absolutely hooked on this series!

5 out of 5 stars

Edge of Glory by Rachel Spangler

Well, Rachel Spangler did it. What you ask, what did she do? Wrote the best damn book ever, that’s what she did. In the past few weeks, I have read some of the best books all year. A year, quite frankly wasn’t that impressive in the lesbian romance genre. Somehow fall became explosive with amazing tales with fabulous characters in dazzling plots. It seems like every book I have read since September has just been so fantastic they make you literally stop and swoon. Greatness, followed by greatness. This book is different though, it is absolutely is one of the best books of the year but more than that, it is easily one of the best romance books I have EVER read.

First off I love the Olympics and pretty much all sports in general. With that being said, what I don’t want is ever read a how-to on playing said sport. Don’t worry, Rachel Spangler isn’t going to give you the ins and outs of downhill skiing or a dissertation on how to ride a snowboard. No way, she took me down the side of the mountain let me feel and see what the character does. You read this book you literally feel like your racing down the side of a mountain being pulled by G-forces as your stapped to two polycarbonate sticks. I was wrapped in those moments, spellbound. She doesn’t just write the sports aspect amazing well, no that’s not why we are here. The romance is the main attraction, and well, it’s just magical.

Elise Brandeis is an ice queen and then some. She is all business and her business is being the best alpine ski racer that the US and the world have ever seen. She has missed the Olympic podium twice by two-tenths of a second. Talk about painful. Now she has new obstacle to overcome, her body. After blowing out her knee, and multiple surgeries later, Elise is finally cleared to make the comeback of all comebacks. Never one for niceties, no one is going to stand in her way, even if they are trying to help.

Elise is a high-strung prima donna whose unwilling to compromise ever. She wants complete and total control of both her own body and her environment. She never wants to compromise or seem weak and it’s all to mask her vulnerability. She’s a unique character, and one I really enjoyed.

Corey LaCroix at the age of 30 is at the end of her career. She has been the best at Boardercross since the sport got onto the main stage. Corey is hardworking, loyal and lives her life 100% in the moment. Happy go lucky to a tee. This year is an Olympic year and Corey is feeling like her legs don’t have enough to fight off the competition. As hard as she works it may not be enough, but what she wants more than anything is another medal and a shot with the pricky Elise Brandis.

Time and time again Corey comes off as the loveable jock who takes all of the competitive pressure and Elise’s venom in stride. She is also a world-class motivator when she can get her skiing counterpart to listen. Corey has her weakness too, her rise to fame got her plenty of attention from women and tabloids and that past is not something she wants to be repeated.

So what you have is an epic story of conquering all odds combined with an epic love story. These two magnetic forces push each other away until the magnet is finally flipped over and they see each other’s true character. What Spangler does better than most is she creates these multi-faceted characters that jump off the page. Their individual back-stories are dynamic, their chemistry is palatable and you just can’t help but root for them and their success. This book is everything you could ever want. I truly loved this one. This will easily stand at the top of my all-time favorites.

5 stars, hell all the stars. I love this book!

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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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The Loudest Silence (Part One) by Olivia Janae

A great book to me usually has a few key elements. Dialogue is first and foremost the most important aspect. The dialogue in a story is absolutely crucial. Second, interesting characters. I want them to captivate me, I want to love them or loathe them, but please have them be amazing one way or the other. If I can get some tension and angst thrown in I will love you forever. So when you have it all wrapped into one delicious story, if you are me, your heart sings with happiness. The Loudest Silence has it all and sooooo much more. This book captivated me from the start and you couldn’t have pulled me away if you tried. I loved it!

Kate Flynn has just arrived in Chicago to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She is a fill-in for a fellow cellist who had an unfortunate accident and will need an extensive recovery time. This is the first time in forever that Kate and her three-year-old son, Max will be able to put down some roots for longer than a handful of months. Kate is loveable, she’s down to Earth, an amazing mom and she doesn’t hold anything back. If something needs to be said, you can count on Kate to let you know exactly what she thinks.

Vivian Kensington is the ice queen of all ice queens. She is gorgeous, formidable, intimidating, abrasive, rich and above all else, she is the boss. Vivian, who lost her hearing is a young child, was raised by world-class musicians. Unable to go into playing music herself she went into the business side of the music world. You do not want to cross this woman, and of course, that is exactly what Kate does in their first interaction.

The ladies are opposites and it totally works. They butt heads until they realize neither is as bad as the other one has made her out to be. An unlikely friendship strikes up and the love of young Max solidifies this bond. Of course, nothing is easy and there is the not-so-sane, bass player Ash Campbell for their romance to deal with.

I know that this at one time was a SwanQueen fanfic. I know that I read it, but it doesn’t feel the same, and I mean this in the best possible way. I felt like I was getting a new story that was so fantastic just every once in a while I had an, oh yeah, I remember this moment. This book is wonderfully written and will grab your attention and keep it until the last page is turned. It is part of a series with a bit of an angsty ending. So, be prepared to start counting down the days till Olivia Janae releases the next one. I was glad this wasn’t over, I need more of this in my life.

5 out of 5 stars

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The Story of Lizzy and Darcy by Grace Watson

I will be the first to admit I have never read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I know, I know, how have I gotten this far in life without this reading this classic book? What I have read is The Story of Lizzy and Darcy by Grace Watson. Watson has shaken things up a bit and made this a same sex adaptation with a modern day twist. A truly delightful read.

Lizzy Bennet has just graduated from college and is ready to head to London for a career in the book publishing industry. Her dream job in the exciting big city with her best friend as her roomie, life is looking great for Lizzy. A few weeks of to relax and catch-up with the family is just what she needs for she conquers the business world. All is fine and dandy till her sister Jane drags Lizzy along with her on dates with the new adorable neighbor Charlie Bingley. Jane needs Lizzy, to be her wing-woman and help keep Charlie’s bestie, the formidable ice queen Darcy Williams occupied. Easier said than done, Darcy is one tough cookie!

Lizzy and Darcy clash, oh boy, do they ever. Getting off on the wrong foot, these two keep going at each other throwing barbs and jabs making for a very tumultuous relationship. What it also has is heat. As these two spend more time together Darcy softens and begins to see how amazing Lizzy is, Lizzy not so much. She definitely isn’t ready to sign up for the Darcy Williams fan club.

The story progresses and our two mains go their separate ways for a bit only to meet back up at a smaller publishing house Lizzy gets farmed out to. A professional seeing allows each of the ladies to see the other side of the other and a timid friendship is born, and then more. Like magnets pushing away one flip and boom, you have an amazing connection.

Grace Watson gives us a really fantastic story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. I will say, I love an ice princess, cold as ice on the outside, but with the right person a sweetheart. Darcy absolutely fits this bill. Good characters, interesting dialogue, I am a fan. Great read!

4.25 out of 5 stars

  • The Story of Lizzy and Darcy: A ‘Pride and Prejudice’ adaptation
    by Grace Watson
    Link: http://a.co/2Rn0hD1

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Unlikely Match by Fiona Riley

If you liked Fiona Riley’s debut novel, Miss Match, well you just have to read her second installment into the Perfect Match series. Riley brings us two adorable strong female leads that have an abundance of chemistry. I mean really what more does a romance need.

If you think back to Miss Match you remember that Lucinda was helping an adorable genius client of Samantha’s how to dance. Well, that client is now the main focus of Unlikely Match. Shelly White a lady version of Steve Jobs is looking for her true love. Shelly is an adorable character who reaches out and grabs your heart. She is dorky in the best possible ways. Her insecurities endear the reader to her. A female lead that is sexy, super smart and has a heart of gold is nothing to shake your finger at but seeing those little “imperfections” is absolutely adorable.

Out other main is Claire Moseley. Claire, also in Miss Match, was promoted by Lucinda to clean up some of the messes at Clear View. Clair leapfrogged some senior associates to become a PR and marketing executive and basically Lucinda’s right-hand woman. Claire is tenacious and competitive by nature. She has no no-nonsense approach to her job, she unequivocally knows that Luce went out on a limb and offered her a huge opportunity career-wise. In return, Claire works long hours and produces quality work time and time again, her loyalty to Clear View and her boss is endless. She is the ultimate workhorse. What she hasn’t had much luck in is meeting anyone special. Work takes precedence and she just hasn’t put herself out there in quite some time. That is till she is introduced to Shelly, and they begin working together on unrolling a few new products for the IT magnet. Shelly makes Claire want things she had put on the backburner. The only problem is dating a client is probably not the best idea career-wise.

This book is a true romance, built on two strong capable women and their journey to each other. The story is well crafted, as are the characters. They feel real. You read the book and feel as you could actually know women like this in real life. The best part is these two have chemistry in and out of the bedroom. Yay for that! I loved Riley’s first book and without a doubt took her writing up a notch. It was nice seeing Luce and Samantha together again, but the best part is those two dynamic characters stayed in the background and let Shelly and Claire be the true stars of this book. A really great read. I loved it!

4.25 out of 5 stars