Review of ‘Worth the wait’ by Karelia Stetz-Waters.

This is book 3 of the ‘Out in Portland’ series by this author that can be read as a standalone novel. In a high school reunion, television presenter Avery Crown meets Merritt Lessing, her former best friend and teenage crush. After fifteen years, their mutual attraction is still alive but past and present get in the way as Merritt cannot forget an old betrayal and Avery is a closeted lesbian who cannot build a relationship without putting her career in jeopardy. Do they have any hope of having their happily ever after?

I have to admit that I’m not into high school reunion romances or stories about decades-long grudges held from teenage years. Normally my theme preferences don’t influence a book rating or critique. But beyond the subject I’m afraid that I have a few issues with this book, starting with the plot which seems a bit unrealistic and over the top dramatic. Additionally, I couldn’t warm up to the main characters, Avery with her low self-esteem, stuck in her mother issues and self-pity while Merritt… well, much the same. Some of their behaviour or conversations felt childish and immature for a thirty something. On the other hand, the secondary characters were much more interesting, specially DX and the couple of Iliana and Lei-Ling. I would read a book about them as they are quirky and multi faceted.

Overall, an ok read if you are into school reunions and drama. 3 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Listen to your heart’ by Becky Harmon.

Attorney Jemini Rivers and Deputy Steph Williams grew up in the small town of Riverview and were best friends until the day when Jemini and her mother left town to never return. A couple of decades later, Jemini returns to Riverview after her grandmother’s death who left her the family property in hope that she would return for good. Jemini has no interest in staying in Riverview for long but meeting Steph again stirred feelings for both of them. Will they be able to reconnect after a rocky past?

This is a slow burn romance between two women who were best childhood friends until a big misunderstanding set them apart. The issue I have with this story is that their conflict would be relatively easy to overcome if only they would have a proper conversation which they avoid for most of the book. Both main characters are well rounded but it’s hard to root for their happily ever after as sometimes they behave like the children they once were. The supporting characters appear in Harmon’s book ‘New additions’ and there are a few spoilers in this book so if you plan to read both books, I suggest you to read that one first. There’s a bit of a mystery subplot but most of the story is spent in a will-they, won’t-they have a proper conversation…

Overall, an ok read if you can put up with a lengthy, almost absurd miscommunication between the mains. 3 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Add romance and mix’ by Shannon M. Harris.

This is a slow burn romance between Briley Anderson and her next door neighbour Leah Daniels. Briley is a property developer who loves to bake in her free time, she’s also shy and hopelessly attracted to Leah who is sixteen years her senior, divorced, mother of two and a grandmother. Will Briley be able to overcome her shyness to approach her neighbour and will Leah give a chance to a much younger woman?

‘Add romance and mix’ is a very sweet story, as sweet as the baking goods made by Briley. So much so that sometimes it sounds too good to be true. The main characters show almost no flaws and seem upbeat in a ‘loves conquers all’ way even when life throws them a big curve ball. There’s nothing wrong with upbeat characters like that but the story sounds a bit unrealistic. The secondary characters follow the same pattern of ideal behaviour. It is quite obvious in Leah’s teenage boy and the two year old toddler. The conflicts or tantrums are just mentioned as an afterthought but in the plot’s interactions they act like ideal children, the same as the adults. The story delves a lot in inconsequential details but rushes past conflicts and challenges. Again, too sweet and too good considering the circumstances.

Overall, an ok read if you like baking and don’t mind a bit of ‘too good to be true’ characters. 3 stars.

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