Meant To Be Me by Wendy Hudson

Darcy Harris has a great job, an adorable countryside cabin, and part ownership of a sailboat. Life is good, almost perfect except for two issues. One, this beautiful hopeless romantic is looking for that perfect someone to fill her heart with love, laughter, and companionship. The second is a bit more pressing. Darcy has a stalker, who is hell-bent on running off every potential suitor and whose anger and erratic behavior is escalating quickly.

Eilidh Grey is on the road to recovery. Eilidh was attacked as she attempted to help a homeless man escape a brutal beating by a gang of thugs. They killed the man and nearly killed Eilidh as well. After months of recovering both physically and emotionally, Eilidh has finally she has broken up with her unloving girlfriend, returned to work and has her sights set on really living her life to the fullest.

The story is set in Inverness, Scotland and begins with a chance meeting between Eilidh and Darcy. These two immediately hit it off and a date is made. As smitten as these two are with each other, Eilidh needs to get her affairs in order after her breakup and Darcy is dealing with a demanding best friend whose marriage has just dissolved and the stalker issue. There is a romance and it is so sweet and cute but this book is all about the thriller.

What is really cool about this book is that it has multiple points of view. You read through Darcy, through Eilidh, as well as the demented stalker. You see what they see, feel that they feel and really get into their headspace. This book takes you on a roller coaster of emotions that keep you tangled up till the very end. Wendy Hudson did a bang up job with this one and every character is so well.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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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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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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Payback by Charlotte Mills

Oh wowzers! Payback is a solid whodunit with smart twists and turns that keep you turning the page. You are working just as hard as the detectives to keep up with this one. Charlotte Mills has written a delightful police drama filled with romance, banter, and suspense. Did I mention this book was smart?

Detective Constable Kate Wolfe has been sent to Warner, a small rural town as punishment for a screw-up. We don’t know what Kate did but it must have big enough for the brass to send her away far away from London. She super sullen about being sent away and her attitude towards everyone speaks volumes about her level of pissed off. Kate’s arrival just happens to coincide with an unexpected rash of crimes. So she might be mad but she’s also busy.

Detective Chief Inspector Helen Taylor had her time in a big city. For years she worked in Manchester but decided to leave the urban epicenter for the laid back life of Warner. While Kate is sullen and prickly, Helen is cheeky and fun-loving. She knows Kate is mad and she prods her with humor and sass until she finally chips away at the walls of the new detective. From the moment these two formidable ladies meet there is heat and attraction. How Mills writes the interactions between Kate and Helen is skillful and dynamic. It keeps you on your toes much as the crimes everyone is trying to figure out.

You really feel like you are in the investigative process of two highly skilled detectives juggling multiple cases. Often times in crime based novel the romance is a lesser part of the whole story. Not this one! Charlotte Mills does a fantastic job of balancing both the romance and crime aspects and weaving them together to make an excellent story. Not to mention there is a monster holy moly guacamole moment. Damn, I never saw it coming and that was awesome. This is a great book you will not regret picking up.

4 out of 5 stars

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Major Surgery by Lola Keeley

It safe to say Lola Keeley will always have a bit of my heart. You see last year she wrote hands down the best book of 2018. That story took my damn breath away countless times. Fighting one hell of a reading slump, I was truly grateful to read her newest novel, Major Surgery. 

Medical romances, I’m going to flat out tell you, I love them. LOVE THEM! Two hot lady doctors that square off and have tension, heat and intelligent banter, oh yeah, that is just what I am looking for. Add in that one of our docs is a total ice queen. Give me this book!

Major Cassie Taylor is a trauma surgeon who has left the service and is applying for a new position as Head of Trauma for St. Sophia’s hospital in London. As skilled as Cassie is at saving lives with quick thinking and great hands she cannot do anything right in the eyes of Veronica Mallick, the head of the Acute Medical Unit. Cassie’s not supposed to be the head of Trauma. Veronica had been grooming another colleague/friend to take that spot for years. The major’s arrival is unexpected to twist to Veronica’s world. To say this woman is a control freak would be an understatement. As much as these two clash, there is still a level of respect and professionalism in their stand-offs. That I appreciated! Veronica and Cassie challenge each other professionally as well as personally and you can see as the story progresses that they relish the banter and the friendship that develops.

This story has that slow burn that starts with dislike, eases into friendship and then develops into something more. I thought the two characters were very well written dynamic leading ladies. The story is smart and leans just a bit more of into a drama than an actual romance. It is a very good story. I really loved my time with it. Keeley is definitely one of those authors that you cannot wait to see where they take you next. 

4 out of 5 stars

Drawing the Line by K.D. Williamson

I think this one is going to come down to personal preferences when it comes to what you are looking for in a romance. A breakup to makeup story can be a success but it’s a hard road to navigate. The reader has root for the couple even though they know there has been a monumental moment that caused that relationship to end. By the time I finished with Drawing the Line I just couldn’t have cared if the love was back or not.

Dani and Becca broke-up four years ago. They tore each other apart at the end of their relationship. One night Dani coming home late after a long night as a medical student walks into an empty apartment. Becca took everything that belonged to her and hit the road. No goodbye, nothing but a disconnected number. In all honesty who could come back from that kind of hurt. Who is going to even take your phone call much less fall in love with you again? That is a monumental mountain to climb up. Add on to it that for four years they have had ZERO contact. Then Becca decides to move back to Atlanta needing forgiveness. Girl, come on now. Dani and Becca share a mutual bestie, Rick, who has played the middleman for years. To say their bad blood is thick is a huge understatement. These two ladies have monster obstacles to overcome even to be in the same room together.

Dani, she’s okay. A bit of an ice queen who keeps everybody at a distance never really overcoming her breakup with Becca. Becca, she is really, really hard to connect with. I did not care for her, and maybe I missed something but she came off like a giant ass. Really neither character made my heart swoon. I needed to root for their them, for their love, and in all honesty, I just wanted to end my time with them as quickly as possible.

K.D. Williamson is a brilliant writer. I love her work, but this one was just not for me. I’m going to chalk it up on me that this isn’t my type of story. I know there will be folks that love Drawing the Line and rightfully so. I think it comes down to preference, this just not being the book for me on this given day.

2.75 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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