Read Between the Lines by Rachel Lacey

Read Between the Lines
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Publisher:
Published: 12/1/2021

Read Between the Lines is the first book in Rachel Lacey’s Ms. Right series. It’s a charming book with sweet characters who will warm your heart. Rachel keeps churning out the lady lovin hits!

Rosie Taft owns her own bookstore, Between the Pages and runs it with her best friend Lia. Her mother opened the store thirty years ago and Rosie absolutely loves it and can’t imagine her life without it. Books are in her soul, romance books, specifically. She develops a crush on her favorite writer, Brie, after they start chatting on Twitter. She hasn’t dated in a while but it’s because she doesn’t want to waste her time with someone who will be wrong for her not because of her crush on Brie, or so she keeps telling herself. Her life is turned upside down when she receives a letter from the company who owns her building telling her the lease will be terminated at the end of the year.

Jane Breslin is a property manager for her family company, Breslin Property Development. On a day out with her nine-year-old niece, Alyssa, they come upon Between the Pages. Jane is shocked to see her latest book, On the Flip Side on display. Jane writes as Brie but only her sister Amy is aware of her other life.  Jane can’t stop thinking about Rosie after being in her bookstore knowing she’s the one who mailed her the letter telling her lease wouldn’t be renewed and Rosie can’t stop thinking of the hot woman in the power suit because power suits are so darn sexy.

Rosie sends an email to Jane inviting her to an event at the bookstore hoping she can convince her to extend the lease. Jane shows up introducing herself properly, which bursts Rosie’s bubble because she had crushed on her when she showed up with Alyssa. Jane can’t do anything to stop it as the building is set for demolition so that condos can be built.

The two continue chatting to each other online unaware of the others true identity and decide to meet. Both are feeling the pull of attraction until Jane see Rosie and puts it together that Rosie is Aurelia. Rosie stays unaware and thinks Brie has stood her up and Jane being at the bar is a coincidence.  A few days later after a heart to heart with Amy when Jane reveals how much she likes Rosie (Aurelia) she ventures to the bookstore and reveals her pen name. After Rosie’s shock wears off, they have an honest discussion and share a steamy kiss. Rosie can see the good in Jane despite the inner turmoil she still feels regarding Jane’s job. Obstacles will need to be overcome and understanding achieved before the girls find their happy ending.

I adore Rachel Lacey’s Midnight in Manhattan series and this one is just as good. Her characters are well developed and relatable.  Rosie is the perfect girl next door who just wants her storybook romance.  She is someone who brings a smile to everyone’s face with her kind heart and charm.  Her bookstore is a connection to her mom that she can’t bear to lose. It would be like losing her mother all over again.

Jane is Rosie’s opposite. She is an introvert who avoids conflict. It’s why she is working at her family company instead of writing full time. She doesn’t have close friends and prefers to spend her free time with her sister, brother-in-law and niece. Jane is awkward in social situations and thinks she is much better writing romance than living her own. But her heart has other ideas when Rosie comes along. Jane has hidden her writing from her family and hasn’t allowed herself to be proud of being a published author. Rosie not only opens Jane’s heart to love but also to allow herself to be proud of her accomplishments. She allows Jane to truly be herself and loves her for the wonderful person she is.

You can’t have a book like this without supportive friends for the protagonists to confide in. Rosie’s best friend Lia and Jane’s sister Amy provide laughs and encouragement to help the two accept that they have found their lobster. Lia manages the bookstore for Rosie and helps her make it a success while being the best friend every woman needs. Amy encourages Jane to strive to be a full-time writer and leave the family business because she knows it will make her happy. They are both wonderful supporting characters.

Rachel Lacey has written a charming lesbian “You’ve Got Mail” that will you all the feels. It’s what I have come to expect from her books and I look forward to the next book in the series!

ARC received from the author via Net Galley in exchange for honest review.

Back in Your Arms by Monica McCallan

Back in Your Arms
Published: 10/16/21

Reading a Monica McCallan book is like coming home. It can be stressful but brings you a comfort that you didn’t realize you were missing. Back in Your Arms, her latest, is another stellar read and reaffirms Monica’s place as one of the best writers in our community.

Quinn McKinley left Kingsford, NY seventeen years ago and is now a successful New York City real estate agent. When a new client comes along with wants to buy a house located in her hometown, Quinn returns to her hometown with her only objective to finalize the deal and get the hell out of town. She left Kingsford after her father left town and her mother shut down. Quinn took over caring for her sister, Kelly, but it was too much. She had to get away and left Kingsford and everyone there behind.

Quinn’s former best friend, Sawyer Kent, still lives in Kingsford where she runs the family antique store with her brother Shane. After the death of her grandmother the store was left to Shane, while Sawyer was left with the house. The house Quinn is sent to Kingsford on behalf of her client who is determined to own it, even though it isn’t for sale.

Kelly is shocked to hear from Quinn and begs Sawyer to go with her to meet her at the bowling alley Kelly and her husband own. Kelly is clueless that Sawyer was in love with Quinn back in high school as Sawyer kept that a secret, especially from Quinn. Sawyer was heartbroken when Quinn not only took a step back from their relationship but also started dating Shane. I have a lot of feelings about Shane and all of them are bad. Shane completely disregards Sawyer as a person and worse than that, doesn’t correct Quinn’s assumption that he’s the owner of the house she’s trying to purchase for her client.

Quinn was also in love with Sawyer back in high school and ended their friendship so her family drama didn’t bring Sawyer down. Quinn soon finds herself wanting to be back in Kingsford not only to reconnect with her family but also with Sawyer. For Quinn, Sawyer, was always her safe place. Time and distance hasn’t done anything to change that feeling.

I started this book feeling a lot of love for Sawyer. She always puts others first, she’s a great friend to Kelly and adores Kelly’s young daughters. She works with her brother despite how irritating and infuriating he is because she feels like her family would want her to do so. She works long hours at the antique store, while her brother saunters in in the middle of the day and could care less about making it a success. Seeing Quinn again, Sawyer realizes that the feelings she had as a teenager never really went away. While Sawyer was always Quinn’s safe place, Quinn gives Sawyer strength to make some much needed changes in her life.

Quinn threw herself into her career after leaving Kingsford. She shut down connecting with people. She thought she had to leave her hometown to continue living but she essentially stopped living the moment she left. It isn’t until after she makes her way home does she open herself up to feeling again. I fell for Quinn and just wanted her to find some joy in her life that wasn’t connected to career success. She deserves happiness and more importantly I wanted her to realize what a good person she was and how worthy she was of love.

Belinda, Quinn’s assistant and her sister, Kelly were great supporting characters. Kelly, who lost her big sister all of those years ago and has to work hard to forge a relationship with her. But Sawyer’s brother, Shane, is the clear villain in this story and every part of me detests him. It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t write this book because I’m pretty sure Shane would have gotten taken care of Dexter-style.

There are some authors I gravitate to. They simply speak to my soul.  They paint a picture that allows me to perfectly see the scenery and characters that they write about. Monica McCallan is one of those writers and Back in Your Arms is a beautiful book with characters that will warm your heart.

ARC received from the author for an honest review.

Favorite Quotes:

Her life was curated the same way that a room was expertly staged. Meant to convey exactly what she wanted the viewer to see. Highlighting the right features. Presenting the most favorable schemes blended together effortlessly.

Quinn had missed her terribly. She’d wondered what Sawyer would think of her new life, if she hated Quinn for what she’d done. Quinn hated herself, so it seemed only fair Sawyer would too.

Maybe it was some type of karmic punishment for the decision she’d made. She’d thought that seventeen years had put enough distance between the torture she’d felt in her youth and the woman she’d become.

Last night, when they’d been bowling, Quinn had hit a strike that had surprised them all, and her face lit up with pure excitement. Sawyer had felt like they were kids again; that same look used to take over Quinn’s entire face when she excelled at something..

It was so easy to fall back into Quinn’s orbit. She exuded an energy that made Sawyer want to lean in and let herself go along for the ride. Against the odds, they’d worked well as best friends. Quinn, the popular, outgoing one. Sawyer, the practical, introverted one.

All The Little Moments by G Benson

All The Little Moments
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Author:
Publisher:
Published: 8/12/2015

G Benson is one of favorite writers. In 2015 her debut novel, All the Little Moments, was released. I just read it this year and I am awed that it’s a debut novel. It allows all of the emotions to come out, just like life’s little moments do.

Anna Foster is a successful anesthesiologist in Brisbane. She returns home to Melbourne after her brother Jake and his wife Sally are killed by a drunk driver. She is shocked when she learns that Jake and Sally named her the guardian to  their two children, fifteen month old Toby and six year old Ella. Anna doesn’t want kids. Her and her girlfriend of three years, Hayley, are both too focused on their careers and even if they weren’t, motherhood is something they both agree isn’t for them. But looking into the faces of her niece and nephew and seeing so much of Jake and Sally, she knows she has no other choice but to be there for them.

Hayley ends things with Anna not wanting to to the long distance thing and knowing she won’t compromise her career to move to Melbourne. Anna is barely keeping it together as she moves into her brother’s home to raise her niece and nephew. Things take a turn when Anna, literally, runs into a beautiful woman at the grocery store. She then sees that same woman at the new hospital she gets a job in. Lane is so wonderful. She just wants to spend time with Anna, at whatever speed she is comfortable. Anna also makes a good friend in Kym, they bond over shared grief and Kym becomes a part of Anna’s new little family.

Anna loved the kids as her niece and nephew but the little moments they share, make it so clear to her that her place is with them. The way Toby clings to her when she drops him at daycare and says “Na” over and over begging her not to leave him. The way Ella snuggles into her and tells her about her day at school. Sitting on the couch watching Disney movies as Kym and Ella dose off and she makes eyes at Lane. Watching how the kids greet her Mom and how her Mom’s eye light up even through her sadness over the death of her son. These little moments all bring Anna to a place of peace she never expected to feel after losing her brother. It doesn’t come easily but Anna has the love and support of so many and she is a strong woman who deserves happiness.

I can’t even begin to express how much I love G Benson’s writing in this book. These characters were so well developed and nuanced.  I love Anna and how she cared for Ella and Toby, even though she was scared and angry that her life was disrupted. Lane is the perfect partner for Anna. She understand that the kids come first and that Anna has a lot going on and she just wants to be there to support and care for her. Kym is the perfect best friend and having Anna and the kids come into her life helps her just as much as it helps Anna.  Anna’s mother, Sandra is shattered at the loss of her son but is there to help Anna with the grandchildren she loves so much. Anna’s father shuts down and locks himself away because he can’t handle the loss.  Sally’s mother is a horrible person!  I have nothing nice to say about her.

I read this book a few weeks after my brothers death. Probably not the best idea I’ve ever had. But it actually helped me to see that life does go on and that despite the sadness there are little moments that not only show us that we will survive but that’s it ok to smile and laugh. All the Little Moments is a beautiful book that will make you laugh, cry (a lot of crying from all of the feelings)  and say some curse words (Sally’s Mom, legit asshole). Even with all of the feelings that that brings to the surface, I consider this to be a simply fantastic book.

Memorable moments: She pushed the thought that Jake was dead to the back of her mind, buried it as deep as she could. But there were times when she was doing something completely mundane, that her chest would tighten and, for no apparent reason, it felt like she couldn’t breathe.

“Anna, I’m sorry. I wanted to try. I didn’t want to be the bitch that left you after your brother died and you got dumped with this… this huge responsibility but I just… I can’t do this. It’s not me. And the firm… I just got promoted.” I’m sorry. Kid- I can’t. I can’t I love you. But I can’t.”

“Mama.” He gave a nonsensical cry again and then, “Da.”. The sound almost broke her heart. She wondered how long until he’d forget, until he no longer cried for the parents who had once shown up without fail.

Fuck, she missed her brother. She missed talking to him, hearing his laugh. While accidentally calling him had ripped a new hole in her, she kind of wanted to do it again just to hear his voice, like a balm- the sound could wash over her and take her away for a minute.

“Okay. My brother and his wife died in a car accident, leaving behind two tiny children. My girlfriend of the time, Hayley, and I flew over for the funeral, and when they read the will, we found out he had name me guardian of the kids. I never wanted kids, ever. It was why Hayley and I worked; we wanted the same things. But I agreed to take them on and so Hayley left me. Now I live in my dead brother’s house and am attempting to raise his kids in a city that I hate.” Anna picked her glass back up. “No offense”  Kym leant back in her chair. “Whoa.” A playful smile crossed her lips. Wait, you’re gay.”

Lane had walked in wearing a clingy white dress that draped over every curve like it had been made just for her. It was cut low- low enough that Anna was concerned she wouldn’t be able to look anywhere else. The white set off Lane’s dark sin in a way that had Anna mesmerised. In that moment, she couldn’t remember a single reason why seeing Lane was a bad idea. “Oi, do you need a napkin to get that drool.” Anna turned around to find Kym and a nurse friend of her grinning.

 

No More Secrets by Jamey Moody

No More Secrets
Time Can't Stop True Love

Jamey Moody has written a heartfelt happily ever after that proves that true love doesn’t have an expiration date. Actress/Producer Krista Kyle runs a lesbian hideaway resort  with her best friend Julia Lansing. She is nursing a broken heart after her breakup from reporter Brooke Bell. Brooke reconnected with her first love and Krista was left shattered.

Upon learning of the breakup, Krista’s first love Melanie Zimmer shows up with her daughters, who were children when they first met at the resort. The girls now have children of their own and have remained in touch with Krista.

I like how the book goes back to the beginning and you experience the joy of them falling in love and find out how many obstacles got in the way to them making it work over the years. It can sometimes take longer than expected but your heart always returns to the one who makes it come to life.

An ARC was provided by the author for an honest review.

 

Just Physical by Jae

no title has been provided for this book
Category:
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Published: 11/30/15
Tingly feelings all around

Jae has a lot of great books out. Several that are a lot newer than this one. But for me it’s a sentimental choice. This is the only book I’ve read with a lead character who suffers from MS.  I was diagnosed 19 years ago with MS right after I turned 30. The symptoms and emotions that Jill experiences are very similar to what I experienced. The fear of the unknown future that you face and not wanting to burden those you love. Jae captured those feelings perfectly.

Jill is an actress who is co-starring in a movie based on her friend Lauren’s screenplay. Lauren and Grace loved it up in the previous book in the series, Damage Control. Crash is a stunt woman working on the film. She is immediately attracted to the fiery redhead.  She commences with the wooing but Jill is having none of it as she has sworn off relationships, unwilling to burden anyone with her uncertain future. Jill, however, can’t seem to resist Crash’s charms.

This brings about the old no strings attached nudie fun. This doesn’t work because those pesky feelings get in the way for both of them. Crash would be easy to fall for, she’s super sweet and patient and does her best to understand the illness Jill has to deal with. I would date Crash in a second. I could sing Crash Into Me during a romantic moment because that would be too awesome not to do!

I love all of the books in Jae’s Hollywood Series but this one is close to my heart. Representation matters and to have a character with MS who I can relate to will always have this book in my favorites list. Jae delivers as usual.