Review: A Swedish Christmas Fairy Tale

Amber, who works at a publishing house, has an impossible mission just before Christmas: she needs to secure the rights to an old collection of fairy tales. The problem is that the rights are held by the granddaughter of the original author of said fairy tales – and she’s a recluse who only communicates through snail mail. She also lives in Sweden.

A Swedish Christmas Fairy Tale by A.E. Radley was sweet, funny, stressful and satisfying. Funny because of the unexpected culture clashes (I didn’t think Brits and Nordics were that different), stressful because dammit, they should have talked more – and why was the boss so unreasonable? Wut, yelling at fictional characters again – who, me?

The ending was very satisfying, although I did think [character] was a bit OOC for doing that. But hey, it’s romcom, not srs lit. This book was perfect reading for a cold winter evening (don’t forget the hot drink and woollen socks!).

🎯🎯🎯🎯 

Review: Drawing the Line

Drawing the Line by KD WIlliamson is the fourth book in the Cops & Docs series (but only the second one I’ve read). Exes Dani and Rebecca are thrown together again after a few years and there’s a whole lot of tension – not just the sexual kind. It’s like the aftermath of a war between these two, but they have to learn to get along again.

At first there’s a whole lot of bad blood between the two main characters, and their individual storylines reflect that. Both just try to to focus on their jobs. One’s kind of cold at work, too, one tries to adjust to a new workplace.

There are a few important supporting characters who are really fleshed out, complete people with their own traits, flaws and storylines. Main focus is still very much on Dani and Becca, with all the angsty slow burn you’d ever want. There’s even a bit of hate sex and hurt/comfort thrown in, so this was quite a ride. I liked it!

🎯🎯🎯🎯 

Review: London, Actually

The best of the series! No, seriously. All the things that are good in a Lydon romcom, dialed up to the max. There’s the usual gallery of main characters who are sweet but far from perfect, quirky friends and relatives (and of course, old acquaintances from previous books), and a plot that will keep you entertained to the end.

Cleo and Becca meet at a wedding, and while neither is looking for a relationship with the other, they hit it off and become friends. Friends who can’t seem to stay away from each other, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves.

Snappy dialogue, funny (and sometimes embarrassing) situations, and London as the backdrop.. London, Actually by Clare Lydon was pretty much the perfect romcom. I also loved how it sometimes made fun of itself.

I started this book the same day it was released (some time in the evening) and couldn’t stop reading until the end, which was in the small hours of the next morning. My eyes were double-bagged the next day but it was so worth it!

🎯🎯🎯🎯🎯

Review: The Big Uneasy

I already loved The Road Ahead, and when I found out about the sequel, I was.. I don’t even know the words to say how absolutely thrilled I was.

Rebecca and Arabella are travelling together again, despite their first trip, which was not a success. This time they go to New Orleans (also known as The Big Easy). They’re also visiting Jenn, one of Rebecca’s friends, who works numerous jobs in the city. 

Jenn keeps running into Kathryn, who is on a forced vacation, and despite Kathryn’s prickly demeanor, wants to show that the city does live up to its nickname. Just like Arabella in The Road ahead, Kathryn claims to be straight. We’ll just see how that goes!

Rebecca and Arabella see the sights, explore the local cuisine and culture, and the reader gets to see not only the city through their eyes but also how their relationship develops. If you were disappointed that “nothing happened” in the previous book, it is all explained here.

The two separate storylines eventually converge, and with the help of a laughter-inducing supporting cast everything falls into place. I loved the parallels between the two pairs, the dialogue is again spot on, and dammit, I want to hug this book, too.

🎯🎯🎯🎯🎯 

Review: One Way or Another

Bethany hasn’t dated in ages. Sarah doesn’t do relationships. They meet sort of accidentally in front of a sex shop – one’s nervous, one’s outrageously flirty. This is, at first look, a simple opposites attract type of a romance, but there’s more layers than you’d think. I won’t spoil it, though, because there are enough hints throughout the slow burn (but fortunately not too slow!) romance.

I really, really liked One Way or Another by A.L. Brooks. I grinned, laughed out loud at times (so glad I wasn’t reading in public!), sighed happily, and at one point ground my teeth and needed some chocolate to take a break. I may also have called Sarah a few choice names.

The pacing was great, ditto the dialogue, supporting characters.. and just about everything! So.. five stars? Yeah, close enough, I’ll round this up to five. Maybe a bit more length and a bit less obvious secondary romance  (glad it wasn’t explored in great detail) and it would have been a certain, solid five.

🎯🎯🎯🎯🎯

Review: The Club

No-strings attached sex, for women-loving women. That’s what the club is about… but the book, The Club by A.L. Brooks, is much more than that. Yes, there are hot sex scenes of all kinds, but the story spans a couple of decades, the flashbacks seen through the eyes of the club owner.

There’s a bunch or characters, some appear only in one chapter, some have a longer story arc. At first it looks almost like a collection of short stories, but it’s not – it’s just constructed in a really cool way.

I pretty much fell in love with this book after reading the first few chapters. I was so invested in the characters’ lives and everything that I wanted to read it in one sitting (impossible, but one can dream). This was a perfect mix of sex and feels.. and made me so hungry for more. The day after finishing The Club, I bought another book by Brooks and devoured that too.

🎯🎯🎯🎯

Review: Family Ties

“Brilliant! I’m going to lose some sleep tonight but who cares, I have to know how this ends!” That’s what I wrote on Goodreads when there was still a bit left to read.

It’s been a while since I’ve last read a political thriller – and being thrown right into the middle of the action felt great! Family Ties by Amanda Radley has it all: kick-ass heroine, big supporting cast, intrigue, even chase scenes and… and everything you’d want in this genre.

This book is a bit like P.D. James (loads of upper-class characters) meets John Grisham (gripping action that you don’t want to stop reading), but then again, there’s warmth and humour, sometimes in unexpected places.. yeah, it’s Radley.

The action is breathtaking at times, but it’s nicely balanced with calmer moments, and I never felt that there was too much of either. Sarah, the main character, was thoroughly fascinating; I really hope there will be more books with her as the lead.

(I know, this is a short review but I don’t want to spoil anything – so will not comment on the plot at all!) 

🎯🎯🎯🎯🎯

Review: Climbing the Ladder

Chloe has finally landed the job of her dreams – at a magazine she’s loved since forever. Her first week is full of excitement, drama, and action.. quite the opposite of what you’d think a first week at a new job would be.

There’s a big cast of characters, some nice, some so not, lots of office gossip, intrigue and crushes (oh, poor Darcy!), but it doesn’t seem daunting at all once you get going with the story. It’s funny and cute and had me completely invested in the characters – although I wanted to shout at Chloe for… no, not going to say. Her parents too, oh god.

Another character in the book could actually be London. The snippets of life in the city – the tube rides, the streets and crowds – are so real I almost felt like I was there!

Climbing the Ladder by A.E. Radley left me happy but hungry for more. I really want to know what happens next… to every one of the characters – yes, the uptight asshole, too.

🎯🎯🎯🎯

Review: Four Steps

I finished this book just a couple of days ago and basically, I’m still flailing and trying to form a coherent sentence. So damn good! This deserves all of the awards and I’m blown away that this was a debut novel. Holy moly, what a start!

There’s a mystery that is revealed little by little, mostly through flashbacks. There’s a romance between the reclusive Alex and Lori, who’s finally realising she has settled for something that’s not quite what she wants. There’s a cast of great characters, plus all the beauty of the Scottish countryside and… just read it already if you haven’t!

At first the two plotlines in Four Steps by Wendy Hudson seem completely separate, but of course they won’t stay that way. When they intersect, the action speeds up and you will be hard pressed to stop reading and do something else (like go to sleep). It gets violent, though, so be warned if you’re squeamish.

The love story is slow and sweet and I’ve rarely read a more beautiful sex scene. All of the feels, none of the clinical description. The characters all seem real and believable, the baddies included.

Note to self: buy the paperback too!

🎯🎯🎯🎯🎯

Review: Falling Hard

This was a nice book. Nothing too dramatic, nothing too angsty, just an opposites attract sort of story. Jordan is a bit of a player, Emma isn’t. Emma has a kid, Jordan doesn’t. Jordan is a surgeon, Emma was cheated by one.

Jordan gets injured and helpful neighbour Emma lends a hand.. and things develop from there. The characters are all pleasant enough and I did like the way the slow burn romance was done.. and I might even read it again.

It’s just that Falling Hard by Jae contains no surprises. A tiny bit of drama with the ex and that’s about it. The player is easily transformed into someone who wants a steady, exclusive relationship and although some people around her are surprised, most aren’t.

So, nothing wrong with anything.. but still, there was something missing (and I can’t put my finger on it). Liked it anyway, but I know Jae can write better.

🎯🎯🎯½ (rounded up to 🎯🎯🎯🎯)