Review of ‘The Goodmans’ by Clare Ashton.

Dr. Abby Hart lives in a little town in England secretly in love with her straight best friend Jude Goodman. Her mother, Maggie Goodman, is like a parent to Abby. But Abby isn’t the only one hiding secrets and they could surface any time with enormous consequences for everyone involved.

What an incredible read. Ms. Ashton has done it again. The first impression is that this is a ‘best friends to lovers’ romance but it’s so much more.
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Review of ‘In fashion’ by Jody Klaire.

Darcy McGregor is a fashion stylist who hosts a successful UK television programme called ‘Style Surgeon’ featuring women in need of restyling. Kate Bonvilston is a security guard with little sense of style and a broken heart. When her mother volunteers Kate to feature in the show, Darcy finds in Kate not only a challenging fashion makeover but someone who can get dangerously close to her heart.

This book features the popular romance trope of an ice-queen, in this case in the fashion world, possibly inspired by Devil wears Prada. Written in third person from the point of view of both main characters Darcy and Kate, the story is set in Wales and London. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I have to admit that her writing style was for me sometimes hard to follow, I was confused reading some of the dialogues and her sense of humour didn’t appeal to me. The use of social media hashtags which is quite central in the book (for example, #embracedesigner), will probably make this book outdated in a few years time.

Darcy is the epitome of an ice queen, a very closeted lesbian with a young daughter and a lot of baggage. Kate is unfashionable but lovable, relaxed and loyal to her family. They say that opposites attract and it should be true for Kate and Darcy but I couldn’t feel their chemistry or empathise with their feelings, specially Darcy’s choices regarding her sexuality. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into the story, some parts felt close to a melodrama and, for me, it was almost a ‘did not finish’.

Overall, an ok read if you are into ice-queens in the fashion world with a bit of melodrama at the side. 3 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Review of ‘Decree absolute’ by W.A. Cooper.

When divorce lawyer Jessica Barron discovers that her husband is cheating on her with their children’s nanny, she throws them out of her home. In urgent need of a new nanny, she finds the perfect replacement in RenĂ©e Arden, an enigmatic French woman owner of a childcare company in need of a temporary home after a recent breakup. After a rocky start, their relationship develops into mutual attraction but will they act on it and what will be the consequences?

This is a slow-burn romance by debut author W.A. Cooper, written in third person from both main characters’ points of view. It took me a while to adapt to her writing style that, in my opinion, interrupted the reading flow. For example, the story is presented in short-ish scenes cut with a text break without transitions. Additionally, the dialogues are often interrupted by long sentences about what the character is thinking and incidentally there is also a good amount of tell but no show.

Regarding the plot, I found it at parts unrealistic – for example, in Jessica’s coming out – and some other parts on the melodramatic side. While both main characters are well rounded and kudos to the author for featuring main 40 somethings, some of the secondary characters seem a bit stereotyped, specially the villains. All in all, the story didn’t appeal to me but I’m not that interested in plots with lots of drama and angst but I’m sure other readers will enjoy it more.

Overall an ok read from a debut author, specially if you are interested in dramatic fiction. 3 stars.

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

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