In ‘The pet boutique’ the dog steals the show.

Review of ‘The pet boutique’ by Suzie Carr.

Taylor Henshaw is an accomplished bestselling author suffering from writer’s block. To help her find her writing mojo again, her editor sends her to work in a pet shop that needs serious building renovations. While working on the project, Taylor meets Lexie Tanner, an attractive photographer and pet shop manager. As the refurbishment project progresses, Taylor and Lexie explore their budding attraction, but Taylor is a complicated woman dealing with bereavement and unsolved issues from her past. Will they have a happily ever after?

This is a slow-burn romance with the background of a building renovation and a cute dog as a co-lead. ‘The pet boutique’ refurbishment progresses as Taylor rebuilds her life and heals her old wounds. Both women leads are multi-layered and believable, their chemistry is built slowly but surely with the help of Cashmere, the dog, who acts as a facilitator in their relationship. Ms. Carr knows how to bring a dog character to life, to showcase their bonding with humans, their ability to support their masters in times of need and to understand the heartbreak of losing a pet.Read More »

A ‘Perfect Match’ made in Japan.

Review of ‘Perfect Match Book One’ by Mildred Gail Digby.

This was different from the usual romance books I get to read. Although still a medical romance, the setting made it seem far from what we are used to.

Megan Maier is a pediatrician returning to work after losing her partner the previous year in an unfortunate accident. She is taken by Syler Terada, a pediatric surgeon with dashing, androgynous looks. The attraction is immediate and was mildly disappointing since it happened on the heels of Megan’s panic attack. However, the rest of the interactions are great and not rushed, so overall the romance was done very well.

As mentioned above, the singular element in the book is the Japan setting. I was not sure initially where they were as it was only clear that Megan had been in Thailand the previous year. I also could not tell which language they were referencing. The narration is obviously in English, but there are Japanese words sprinkled throughout the story. The author, later on, mentions that the characters were speaking Japanese at times and even mentions how English and German are other languages spoken at the hospital. I enjoy other languages, wanted to see how Japan’s medicine was portrayed and certainly, the author showcased her knowledge of Japanese, but these words were a reading disruption for me as I did not have a clear translation readily available for many of them and I frequently found myself searching for definitions on the internet.Read More »

I fell for ‘Falling’ by Kris Bryant.

Shaylie Beck is a real state broker on a flight home that goes terribly wrong. When the plane crashes, she is one of the eleven passengers lucky to be alive. In the support group for survivors, she meets Piper Cole, a yoga teacher who lost both her fiancée and her best friend on that flight. As Shaylie and Piper’s connection deepens, Shaylie is faced with the decision of telling Piper what she saw before the crash and risking losing her forever…

‘Falling’ is a slow-burn romance that starts with the extremely stressful situation of a plane crash. The author herself says that she is afraid of flying and came up with the idea of writing this novel based on the premise that the best can come out of the worst circumstances. Ms. Bryant is really good at choosing one-word book titles that can catch readers’ attention and this is no exception. ‘Falling’ conveys not only the plane crash but also falling apart and falling in love. This novel deals with all of them.

This book is written in first person as it’s usual for this author, in this case, from the point of view of Shaylie. That gives the reader a prime seat to her process of falling, literally and metaphorically. However, compared to Ms. Bryant’s previous book ‘Listen’, this novel focuses more on the good aspects of Shaylie’s recovery process rather than the post-traumatic consequences of her accident. On the other hand, with this single point of view, it’s hard to understand what is going on with Piper and how she is dealing with her loss. Hence, her actions might feel a bit out of character and unpredictable.

This is mainly a romance and its feel-good aspects. As a Yoga enthusiast, I loved the description of its healing powers. The cast of secondary characters and the m/f romantic subplot also help in bringing up the good in humanity. It might feel too sweet at times but it works well with the main feel-good premise of the book.

Overall, a very good slow-burn romance about falling apart and falling in love. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Committed’ by Suzanne Falter.

This is book two of Ms. Falter’s ‘Oaktown Girls’ series following a group of lesbian friends in the San Francisco Bay area. ‘Committed’ resumes the story of Lizzy and Tenika, co-owners of ‘Driven’, a garage for women, and their respective girlfriends Kate and Delilah. A new couple is introduced in this book, Frankie, a police officer suffering from PTSD, and Sally, a psychic with bad luck with relationships who is trying to adapt to changes in her life.

All of the three couples’ stories share approximately the same amount of page space in the whole novel which revolves around the issue of commitment in relationships. It is written with seven different points of view (the three couples plus Kate’s former employer) but despite there are so many different characters, it’s not hard to follow each story. However, I recommend to read ‘Driven’ first as a lot of what happens in this book is based on the previous one.

The new romance story takes a long time to start and not much happens in this book. I would have liked to see more development of Frankie and Sally’s lives and of their relationship. As they aren’t together much in this book, it’s hard to feel the chemistry between them. Hopefully there will be more about them in the next one.

If you like novels with groups of friends with the chance to catch-up with the stories of all the couples involved, and you don’t mind committing (pun intended) to read a whole series, then this book is for you.

Overall, a good novel about commitment in relationships with a new romance on the side. 3.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘You’re my kind’ by Clare Lydon.

Justine Thomas and Maddie Kind were a couple at university until Maddie left without saying goodbye. Ten years later, they are reunited at a friend’s funeral and Maddie wants to make amends for her past behaviour. Justine is not very keen to let Maddie back into her life but both have changed and this new Maddie is kinder, caring and still gorgeous. Will Justine keep her distance or will she give their relationship another try?

‘You’re my kind’ is a second chance romance that starts with a funeral. As anti-climatic that it might sound, the author makes it work more as a celebration of life than sorrow for an irreparable loss. Lydon is a master of lesfic rom-com with a British feel. Only that this time, she combines her usual witty, funny and sarcastic dialogues and situations with a savvy reflexion about life and death. As the author presents a piece of her philosophy of life, the story will make the reader cry, laugh and keep faith in humanity.

The novel is written in first person from the point of view of Justine, which helps to give an air of mystery to Maddie and her puzzling actions of the past. Despite that narrative distance, both characters are realistic and well-rounded and their chemistry is sizzling. Ms. Lydon knows how to write a good sex scene and this was no exception, both scenes reveal deep intimacy. Plus that first kiss was worth the whole read by itself. Hot, hot hot!

The secondary characters, mostly a group of friends, are also multilayered and altogether set the tone for compelling emotions around life, love and death. But, in my opinion, the absolute showstopper is ‘Cake Heaven’, the cake business featuring all kind of sweet delicacies. Warning: if you have a sweet tooth you might be tempted to run for some cake!

Overall, a great second-chance romance with a British feel and savvy insight about the most important things in life. 5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Twice in a lifetime’ by Jodie Griffin.

Talia Wasserman is a widow with grown-up daughters who just got a job as a civilian assistant to Lieutenant Eve Pope, chief of Police Community Relations. Their chemistry is hard to ignore but boss-subordinate relationships are frown upon. To make matters worse, there is a criminal on the lose endangering female police officers. Can Talia find love twice in a lifetime and not lose her partner again?

‘Twice in a lifetime’ is an interracial romance with a small side of mystery. Kudos to the author to feature two women in their early fifties, both with grown-up children and a bisexual protagonist who is in a lesbian relationship for the first time. This provides a realistic view of a bisexual character who didn’t have to deal with homophobia before because she was married to a man.

The story is written in first person from the point of view of Talia which, in my opinion, restricts the development of the plot. As a result, the mystery part is very much on the side, because Talia isn’t involved in the criminal investigation. Most of the action, which is lead by Eve, is told by the author and not shown by the characters’ actions. Unfortunately, this takes the thrill off the story a bit. The second half of the book, however, is better paced and more enjoyable.

The dialogues are well written as the author builds the mains’ chemistry through their banter and witty remarks. The book could have done with more of these conversations. It’s refreshing to see that the mains talk about their disagreements in a mature way and the sources of conflict aren’t forced into the plot. Both characters present their feelings with clarity and maturity that comes from their life experience and is coherent with their ages.

The relationship between Talia and her two daughters is very credible and enjoyable to read. In my opinion, the author got the tone right for these relationships and the description of Jewish traditions and family life enriches the plot tremendously.

Overall, a good interracial romance with older characters, well-rounded secondary characters and a bit of action on the side. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

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