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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Daughter of No One by Sam Ledel

I never read fantasy novels, I just am not interested in all the world building. I feel like the majority of the time you spend so much time of developing that aspect of the book that everything else can end up taking a backseat. As much as this is a fantasy novel, with the elves and the fae, what you also have is an old-fashioned adventure filled with mystery and a slow burn romance.

Jastyn Cipher and her mother were cast out of the village by the royal family. Jastyn’s mother had a child with a fae and therefore broke one the kingdom’s laws. After spending quite some time in shackles the mother and young child have been shunned by their community for decades. Jastyn despises the royal family. Unfortunately, Jastyn’s younger sister has fallen ill and nothing the Alchemist mixes will fix what she ails from. Going to the queen to beg for her healing powers is not something this young woman wants to do but at this point she has no other options.

Princess Aurelia Diarmaid wants more than anything to break out of the castle and experience the world outside of its protective walls. Her parents have kept the princess safe but have also clipped her wings and made her feel trapped and restless.

Our two main characters are a study in contrasts. Jastyn is considered less than a commoner. Her life has been filled with barely meeting basic needs has toughened her and made her a skilled outdoorswoman. Aurelia wants for nothing but as much privilege as she has something is missing.

The world building and fantastic elements are all there. Ledel makes them believable and paints you a picture as the story unfolds. Where I think the book really takes shape and leaps to the next level is the dynamic between our leading ladies. There is an excellent lesfic drama/romance unfolding between the two young women. Everything is stacked against them and that is obvious from their initial meeting. Attraction, longing gazes, a simple touch, it all begins to stoke the fires of a would be romance. You cannot help but love these two brave heroines who are thrust into chaos and an adventure. With Jastyn, I loved all that vulnerability and the crushing hopelessly on someone who is completely above your stature in society. It is just enough angst to keep you rooting for the impossible. With Princess Aurelia, you love that she is nothing like Jastyn thought her to be. Aurelia is capable, smart, compassionate and is absolutely fearless in the face of danger.

Sam Ledel has definitely set up an epic adventure of star-crossed lovers. This book one of a trilogy doesn’t leave you with a cliffhanger but you are definitely going to be left ready for the next book. The romance is just blossoming, they are not a couple this is one where we are going to have to work for it a bit. As a non-fantasy lover, I adored this book and am ready to read where Ledel takes us next. This book is quality writing, great pacing, and top-notch characters. You cannot go wrong with this one!

4.25 out of 5 stars

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The Road to Madison by Elle Spencer

I fell in love with Elle Spencer’s writing style after I stumbled open Casting Lacey. Such a fun read with a fabulous push-pull dynamic between the two leading ladies, it really had that something special that makes a book memorable. The Road to Madison is no different, this book will break your heart, make you smile and have your fingers crossed that true love wins in the end. A damn fine read!

When we meet the two main characters Madison Prescott has just buried her father. This is a man she despised with her whole being. She is standing by his grave glad that he is gone and can no longer control her life. Ana Perez picks that exact moment, graveside, to reappear fifteen years later. Ana and Madison were childhood sweethearts. Star crossed lovers from a different class, madly in love but torn apart by the cruelness of George Prescott and the power and influence he yielded. In Madison’s dreamworld, once her father was out of the picture, she could reclaim the love the heart of the girl she once let go. The only problem is Ana’s heart has never healed and she has never forgiven Madison for turning her back on their future.

Elle Spencer weaves a tale of full of sadness, remorse but one filled with those little moments that make you have the flutters. Her characters are well developed, the dialogue is seamless and natural, you really get thrown right into Madison and Anna’s world. You feel what they feel. This book grabbed my attention and had me turning the pages through the night. A delightful story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I cannot wait for the next adventure Elle Spencer takes me on.

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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Strike a Match by Fiona Riley

Fiona Riley always gives us a good story. I can absolutely, unequivocally say I am a huge fan of her Match series. The first one was super romantic, the second adorably cute, the third well, awe holy hell it was HOT. Smoking hot!

Sasha McCray is a firefighter and sometimes bartender/waitress for a high-end catering company. She works her tail off to give her parents every penny she can. An accident involving a house fire decades ago left her father with a significant health issue that has compounded medical bill after medical bill. She is doing everything she can to keep her parents in their home and their worries at bay.

Abby Rossmore wouldn’t have to work a day in her life. This woman was born into one of the richest families in America. Doesn’t mean she doesn’t work though, quite the contrary. Abby has taken to running her family’s charitable foundation as the non-profit’s chief accountant. Abby doesn’t like the attention being a Davenport brings her. She never knows when she meets someone if they are interested in her, her money or her family’s connections.

Sasha and Abby end up meeting meet at a Lucinda and Samantha’s wedding. These two had met previously through book number two’s character Shelly’s date mixer. When they meet this time sparks fly with sexual tension. Abby is convinced Sasha is a womanizer and Sasha think Abby is just an accountant. With a whole lot of heat and a little bit of deceit, this book will make you fly through the pages. It’s sexy, it’s cute and it will hold your attention to the very last sentence. This is a fantastic book, with delightful characters, and chemistry for days. Like I said this book is smoking hot! 5 stars

5 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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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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