The Wrong McElroy by K.L. Hughes

KL Hughes brings us a zany romantic comedy with her latest noel The Wrong McElroy. This book involves a huge family brought together to celebrate Christmas. Think National Lampoons, a lot is going on here, and it is just so much fun. Plus there is adorable romance.

Fiona Ng adores her best friend, Michael McElroy. These two grad students have an amazing bond and are really each other’s people. When Michael begs, Fiona to come home with him to Arkansas and pretend to be his girlfriend, she reluctantly agrees. She has no clue what kind of craziness she has just subjected herself to.

Fiona’s biggest problem, aside from Michael’s racist granny, is she is 100% attracted to one of Michael’s sisters. Lizzie captures Fi’s attention from the very first moment they meet. The chemistry is there, and it is heavy on both sides. These two just have a magnetic pull to each other. This is a zany will they won’t they romance with one big problem, a bestie who is also your pretend boyfriend.

This is a fun read that keeps you entertained until the very last page. It’s your go-to book with you want a lighthearted read with a side of romance. You can never go wrong picking up a KL Hughes book, a guaranteed good read.

3.75 out of stars

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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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Always a Love Song by Charley Clarke

This book is one that will make your heart hurt. The angst is so rich and realistic that I felt actual pain. You can literally feel your heartbreak right along with the two leading ladies. A fantastic book that is full of emotion.

Bridget Callahan and Alex Marlow a childhood best friends. There has always been a special connection between them. As they grew into women, they became everything to each other. They spend their 20’s wrapped up in school absolutely in love with each other. When college ends and both are forced to find any work they can. The stress of not enough money or time begins to slowly make cracks in their relationship. When Alex’s father suddenly passes, the cracks become craters and their love is cast aside for reason’s neither of them has ever fully recovered from.

A handful of years later Bridget, a pop music sensation decides to return to her small hometown. The same location in which Alex owns and runs a cafe and brewery. Bridget thought she could handle being back but the emotions and loss of her relationship with Alex are beyond overwhelming. Everywhere she goes brings back a flood of memories of better times. The book flashes back between Bridget’s and Alex’s romance to the present day. This one is full of tension, angst, and romance. I’m not kidding when I say this book pulls at your emotions. I felt my heartbreak with them, I felt their joy as well as their pain.

4.25 stars out of 5

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Not the Marrying Kind by Jae

Jae is one of the premier writers in the romance genre. She knows how to write a romance novel that keeps you engaged and gives you those amazing butterflies. Not the Marrying Kind maybe one of her best books yet. This romance is sweet, well developed and pulls at your heartstrings. This book was so good and I hated to see it end.

While this is a spin-off of A Perfect Rhythm, you definitely do not need to read the latter before you start this one. Our main characters are Ashley and Sasha and the story throws the two protagonists together as they plan the flowers and coordinating wedding cake for their friends Holly and Leo’s upcoming nuptials.

Ashley owns the one and only flower shop in this sleepy mid-west Missouri town. Ashley is deep in the closet, you can count the number of people that know her sexuality on one hand. She is terrified of disappointing her parents and fears that if she is out her business in the conservative community would suffer greatly. Ash has convinced herself that she is fine living her life alone and without a love interest. The risk is just too great.

Sasha is an amazing baker who runs the local bakery. A popular resident who came back home after culinary school. Sasha is a pansexual, who is out but rarely speaks of her sexual preferences or past relationships she had before coming back to her hometown. Ashley was her high school crush but since then they only speak pleasantries to each other in passing.

When Holly and Leo pick their friends to do the cake and the flowers, Sasha and Ashley are thrown together. Sasha pushes Ashley to open up and these two leading ladies develop an amazing friendship with an undercurrent of sexual tension. They are attracted to each other but no it is a no-go.

Where this book really excels is the slow burn racked with emotions. This book pulls that string just tight enough and then gives you all the emotions. I loved the dialogue between the two mains. Ashley’s fear of revealing her sexuality is palatable. You feel her nervous energy pop right off the page. Sasha’s quiet strength gives her the courage to reveal her true self and to stop suppressing all of her emotions. So many feels in this one! THIS BOOK IS SO, SO GOOD!

5 out of 5 Stars

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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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