Review of ‘Not the marrying kind’ by Jae.

Ashley Gaines is a florist adamant to remain in the closet as she lives and works in a conservative small town. Her neighbour and bakery owner Sasha Peterson is a pansexual who likes to stay away from relationships. Living in a small place, they know each other but aren’t friends. When they are asked to help organising Leo and Holly’s wedding, they start sharing more time together and eventually realise that they are attracted to each other. But Ashley is determined to stay in the closet and Sasha isn’t the marrying kind anyway. Will they find their happily ever after?

This is book two of the ‘Fair Oaks’ series which started with ‘Perfect rhythm’. Even though this novel reads as standalone, many events refer to the previous book and it catches up with Leo and Holly’s relationship. Having said that, Ashley is not a likeable character in ‘Perfect rhythm’ so, if you read that first, it might take you long to warm to her in this new book.Read More »

Review of ‘Love to the rescue’ by Radclyffe.

This is book five of the ‘Rivers Community Romance’ series which focuses on the small community of Rivers and its hospital. It is a standalone novel but I recommend to read it in order as there are a few parts of the plot based on stories told in previous books. In this novel, flight medic Brody Clark comes back to Rivers after leaving town without a word ten years ago, to work for the Rivers Hospital newly established medevac team. There she meets Val Valentine, an old love interest of Brody’s, who is recently back from living in New York City. Both want to bury the bad memories that they have from their teenage years in that town but, as they get to know each other, they suddenly realise that they have more in common than they’d thought. Will they be able to face their fears and act on their mutual attraction?

‘Love to the rescue’ goes beyond the medical romance formula that Radclyffe masters so well and delves into matters of family, friendship and loyalty. Considering this is a medical romance, the highlight is more on the latter. I think it’s a pity that there aren’t many medical scenes as this author describes them very well, using her experience as a now retired surgeon. If anything, there are more descriptions of Val’s veterinary work and a special focus on Honcho, a retired war dog owned by Brody.

The story catches up with some of the other couples established in the previous books but mainly on Blake, a trans teenager dealing with his sexuality and society’s rejection. Blake is a secondary character who is growing literally and metaphorically with each installment of the series and I can’t wait to see where Radclyffe takes him in the future. Both mains are multilayered, especially Brody in her dark and broody personality that the author excels at describing. There is a small mystery subplot about her past that had much more potential but unfortunately was resolved a bit abruptly. All in all, it’s an entertaining book, possibly not Radclyffe’s best but worth reading anyway.

Overall, a good medical romance with a mystery subplot and a promising trans character. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Pretending in paradise’ by M. Ullrich.

Caroline Beckett is a PR specialist hired by travelwisdom.com to save them from a possible defamation lawsuit caused by the reckless actions of travel blogger Emma Morgan. When Emma is invited to travel to Miami to review a couples retreat, she jumps at the opportunity to redeem herself. But that chance comes with the condition that her travel companion has to be Caroline and they have to pose as a couple. Pretending to be in a relationship can be a hardship when they cannot stand each other but, as time goes by, both women discover that their early dislike for each other is turning into the complete opposite. Will they have a chance to make their fake relationship real?

This is a sweet slow-burn romance combining the fake romance and the enemies to lovers trope. Ms. Ullrich did a great work in building the relationship between the main characters from dislike to attraction. Both leads are well rounded with very distinctive personalities and in this case opposites attract. While Caroline is self conscious and introvert, Emma is extrovert and sociable. As the story progresses, both women – alongside with the reader – discover that there is more than meets the eye about the other. The chemistry is built slowly but surely and the sex scenes are well written, original and hot.

My only criticism is that I felt that the main premise on why they go on a trip together is a bit hard to believe but once that’s sorted the rest of the book feels credible, as are their interactions with other people and conversations. There is a good balance between funny and more serious moments and the conflict and resolution have everything that a romance novel needs. As a bonus, the epilogue set a few years later provides a neat conclusion to the story.

Overall, a sweet slow-burn romance with well written characters and great chemistry. 4.5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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