Review of ‘Hooked on you’ by Jenn Matthews.

School teacher Anna finds herself stressed and bored so she decides to take on crochet classes with Ollie, an army veteran and the owner of the craft shop ‘Darn that yarn’. As Ollie teaches Anna how to crochet, both women soon become friends and slowly discover their mutual attraction. But a jealous ex-boyfriend, their wary offspring and a good dose of self-doubt get in their way to love. Will they have a happily ever after?

This is a debut novel by British author Jenn Matthews featuring main characters in their 50s, both divorced, one a lesbian and the other allegedly straight. As the reader can tell by the cover and the title, crochet is at the center of this story and it’s the facilitator of the relationship between the leads. You don’t need to love crochet to read this book (I personally don’t) but an interest in arts and crafts would be beneficial.

As an avid crocheter herself, Ms. Matthews knows what she’s talking about and the novel is filled with descriptions of techniques and materials for the craft. Personally, I think that the book goes into too many details (crochet or otherwise) that could have been removed to make the pace of the story slightly faster. Having said that, the slow-burn romance suits this type of story and I was pleased to see that the author took her time to develop the mains relationship and the subplots.

The crochet classes environment works well to present the good number of secondary characters and to build the leads relationship. I liked how the author gave hints of their attraction through their body language and the natural sounding dialogues. The author is very cinematographic in her descriptions, she makes it easy for the reader to create a mental picture of the scenes. All the characters, mains or secondary, feel multi-layered and authentic, including Anna’s autistic son. The sex scene is well written in addition to an excellent self-pleasuring scene. One of the best that I’ve read in non-erotica lesfic.

Through and through, this novel has a distinct British feel not only in the use of the language but also in many British references such as the use of tea as a conversation enabler or alcohol as a social lubricant. This helps to establish the tone and setting of the novel, providing authenticity and a credibility to the story.

Overall, a very good slow-burn romance between a couple in their 50s with the unusual setting of a crochet class and an authentic British feel. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Love to the Rescue’ by Radclyffe

‘Love to the Rescue’ is the fifth installment in Radclyffe’s ‘Rivers Community Romance’ series.

Brody Clark is a flight medic returning to her hometown after abruptly joining the Army and leaving ten years ago. Her return opens up some old wounds tied to her past with the Rivers family and her struggle to forgive her own reasons for leaving town in the first place. Val Valentine has also returned home after becoming a veterinarian and successfully starting a practice in Manhattan. Her mentor and father figure needed help running the practice she worked for many years ago. Val returned to help him and perhaps make amends for past mistakes.

In a way, this book was like coming home. The Rivers has become a tangible place for all the readers that have enjoyed this series. The hospital and adjacent community are well described, perhaps more so than in any of Radclyffe’s other works with maybe the exception of the ‘Provincetown Tales’. Both of these series are so dependent on their settings that the story would just not be the same in another place or time. ‘Love to the Rescue’ can be read as a stand alone but you will be losing out on a big part of its charm by doing so.

This book adds some new characters to the community. In addition to the above mentioned ones, the helicopter pilot is another interesting character and a potential lead in a future installment. Kudos to the author for introducing a retired Army canine in realistic fashion and making her a great secondary character. Several of the established characters in the series make an appearance, including Blake, one of my favorite story lines.

I will disclose that I am an avid Radclyffe reader. Her medical romances are overall great, with credible circumstances few can provide due to her background as a retired surgeon. I am beyond ecstatic that she has created a veterinarian to join the rest of her characters! Having said this, I will warn that her books also have the instant love factor that may not appeal to everyone. Nonetheless, Radclyffe is worth reading, anytime.

The cover design by Sheri is sharp, eye catching and on par with the story.

Available now exclusively on Bold Strokes Books website until wider release next month.

Overall another successful book by Radclyffe that will not disappoint old and new fans. 4 stars.

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Review of ‘Major surgery’ by Lola Keeley.

Veronica Mallick is the head of the Acute Medical Unit in a London hospital. She’s both an accomplished surgeon and an efficient administrator. Major Cassie Taylor, a former army doctor, is the new Head of Trauma. Her preference for action rather than becoming entangled in the hospital’s bureaucracy grates on Veronica’s nerves. But when they both realise that there is a colleague defrauding the hospital, they join forces to prove him guilty. Will the investigation fuel their budding attraction or make their initial antagonism worse?

I have to admit that I had big expectations about this book after Ms. Keeley’s debut novel ‘The music and the mirror’ made into my list of Best Lesfic Books of 2018. Even though I liked ‘Major surgery’, it didn’t blow my mind as her previous one.

Having said that, Ms. Keeley, who comes from an IT background, has the impressive ability to write about dispariging worlds with insider knowledge, first in ballet and now medicine. This novel provides a good insight to UK’s health system, its strengths and shortcomings.

Written in third person from the point of view of both main characters, this is an interracial, ‘enemies to lovers’ romance. Even though their initial antagonism and their eventual relationship is credible, I didn’t feel that their chemistry was off the charts. However, it might be me comparing this couple to Victoria and Anna in ‘The music and the mirror’ or Eden and Simone in ‘And the bells are ringing’, her short story in ‘Language of love’. Ms. Keeley knows how to write damn hot couples.

The story has an investigation side, with someone embezzling hospital funds and trying to frame Cassie, and a minor issue in Veronica’s family. Both conflicts are solved relatively easy which agrees with the light tone of the novel.

Overall, a very good medical romance with the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope. 4 stars.

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

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