Review of ‘Welcome to Ruby’s’ by KC Luck.

Allie Dawson and her friends love spending their leisure time in Ruby’s, a lesbian bar in Portland. One evening, Allie meets Vivian Wade, a gorgeous and enigmatic brunette. Their attraction is undeniable but there are a few complications: Vivian is going through a bitter divorce and is Ruby’s new owner. Will these issues get in the way of their happily ever after?

‘Welcome to Ruby’s’ is a sweet slow-burn romance with a slight age gap. Written in third person from the point of view of both main characters, the author highlights their differences but builds up a solid chemistry from the beginning, first by physical attraction and from there by their emotional connection. Vivian is brunette, in her early 40s, she is a successful business woman and lives in LA. Allie is blonde, in her late 20s, is struggling at her job and lives in Portland. Despite their differences, Ms. Luck gets the proverbial ‘opposites attract’ spot on.

The main plot is well written and the story is believable though the conflict could have been resolved with better communication. I would have given it a higher rating if it wasn’t for a few mistakes and typos. Additionally, there are a few secondary characters in Allie’s groups of friends with intertwined stories that aren’t completely developed in this book. This and the fact that the ending is a bit abrupt, makes me think (and hope) that maybe Ms. Luck is planning to write a sequel with some of the characters in mind.

Overall, a sweet and entertaining age gap romance where opposites attract. 4 stars.

ARC provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Love like this’ by Melissa Brayden.

‘Love like this’ is the final book on the ‘Seven shores’ series that follows four friends living in the same condo in Venice Beach, California. This novel is the story of Hadley Cooper, an assistant manager of a boutique in Rodeo drive. When she meets fashion designer Spencer Adair sparkles fly between them. But Hadley’s ideas about love and commitment are very different from Spencer’s. Will they have a future together?

This is definitely my favourite of the series as the four friends’ stories wrap up and the readers get to know about their future in detail. All the best traits of Brayden’s books are present here: great dialogues, banter, humour, a well laid plot, multidimensional characters and, last but not least, a good old romance. The chemistry between Hadley and Spencer is extremely well done. As usual, the author manages the attraction and the sexual tension magnificently. Kudos to Ms. Brayden to introduce an interracial couple (only her second after Sarah and Emory from ‘Heart block’) which needs to happen more often in lesfic.

In the acknowledgements the author hints that this book might be different from what readers expected and, boy, is she right. We thought we had Hadley sussed out from the previous books but in this one we are up for a big surprise. It’s not that Hadley is out of character, it’s just that we see her from a more intimate perspective and the results are incredibly hot. I don’t want to be more specific to spoil anything but let me say that Ms. Brayden manages to blow our minds big time with this one.

The level of angst and drama is quite low compared to other books in the series but suits the story perfectly. This is mainly a feel good romance, upbeat and positive to suit Hadley’s personality and to finish the series on a high.

Overall, a feel-good, entertaining and sizzling hot romance. A great end to the series. 5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Take a chance’ by D. Jackson Leigh.

This book is part of the ‘Pine Cone romance’ series by three different authors: ‘Take my hand’ by Missouri Vaun, ‘Take a chance’ by D. Jackson Leigh and ‘Take your time’ by V.K. Powell. This series follows the lives of three friends: Clay, Trip and Grace in the small town of Pine Cone, Georgia.

There are series written by an author that usually need to be read in chronological order, series of standalone novels by different authors under a common theme, and the ‘Pine Cone romance’ series which is a bit peculiar. In this series the three different authors decided to create three romances (one in each book) but with the three stories overlapping. For example, if the three friends share a scene, it will appear in all three books but with a different point of view. D. Jackson Leigh says in her acknowledgements that it was arduous to write. Well, sometimes it’s also arduous to read. I personally found some issues, one is that after reading the first book (whichever the order) the reader has sometimes a sense of deja vu, a feeling of having read that before because… they read it in the previous book. It works fine in some scenes as it gives other characters’ perspectives but in other cases it is tedious. Also, some events that overlap in the books give information that act as spoilers for the other books’ stories which is a bit annoying. Finally, I found that there are a number of unresolved secondary plots which are main plots in the other books, so in order to grasp the full story, you need to read all the series. So I guess readers can rate each book separately but also the series as a whole. Due to these problems appear throughout the series, you’ll see some of my comments repeated in the other reviews.

Trip Beaumont is Pine Cone’s veterinarian and a well known player. Officer Jamie Grant is the new police officer in town, owner of a drug sniffing dog called Petunia. Trip is intrigued by the elusive officer who frequently writes her parking tickets but when they finally cross paths they realise that they have a conflicted past in common. Will they be able to leave the past behind to build a future together?

‘Take a chance’ is a slow burn romance with a dog as a cute secondary character. Animals play a big part in this book with Petunia at the forefront, a variety of big and small animals and in horses’ metaphors used by Trip. There are a few flashbacks to the main characters’ shared past but most of the story ocurrs in the present. The secondary characters are a bit flat, specially for the ex girlfriend. The main conflict seems a bit irrelevant and Jamie’s PTSD is treated lightly. The subplot involving Petunia is not completely resolved considering that she’s such an important secondary character. But, most importantly, the subplot regarding Trip’s veterinarian colleague is left unresolved, surely to be covered in ‘Take your time’.

Overall, an ok romance read that might interest animal lovers. 3.5 stars.

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

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