Too Good to be True – Leigh Hays

Rating: 4 out of 5.
I’ll be honest, after reading the first book in this series – this wasn’t what I was expecting from the second book – but nonetheless I really enjoyed it.

Jen is a fundraiser for Brown, still married to her ex and sharing both a house and custody of her son. At the wedding of her niece she meets Madison and they take the opportunity to share a night together.

Madison is a social worker, recovering from a bad relationship she returns to Providence and finds herself working at the school Jen is on the board of.

Whilst it’s the second in the series, the characters are tied together by the town they live in, rather than a friendship group. You don’t need to have read the first book – Providence – to read this one. Lindsey is friends with Jen and appears briefly, whilst Rebekiah is only mentioned – so you won’t miss anything in this storyline.

Their friends and families integrate well into the storyline. I found the relationship Jen had with her friends to be effective as part of the narrative in understanding who Jen is and how she fits with Madison. Madison’s family are included just enough for background infill and some familial grilling of Jen.

I loved Madison’s relationship with Carter, Jen’s son. The natural bond they have over geeky things is written really well and it helped to build a picture of any long term future Jen and Madison might have together.

The inevitable angst happens with enough time for things to be resolved with a satisfying end, and I felt the ending was appropriate for the pair. I’m hoping that they’ll be another in the series and we’ll get to see some brief glimpses of them again.

I can’t say this is the worlds most exciting book – but it is a good portrayal of how life looks when it’s complicated and you’re trying to do your best as a couple in building and maintaining a respectful relationship. I was surprised that the sex scenes weren’t steamier after reading Providence – but they do seem fitting for this pairing.

Any wlw age gap romance fans should find something to enjoy in this one, as will most other romance fans.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Providence – Leigh Hays

Rating: 4 out of 5.
This book surprised me. I picked it up in readiness for Too Good to be True – the second part of the series as I don’t like to pick up a series in the middle. I remembered it receiving pretty decent reviews when it first came out so I didn’t read the blurb – just went for it and somehow it wasn’t what I was expecting.

Lindsey is a workaholic, working in wealth management as a partner in her own firm as a method of life avoidance. I really enjoyed the discussions of her work and the characters she encounters through her job. Rebekiah is a boudoir photographer – capturing the most vulnerable of moments through her lens. They are thrown together when Rebekiah needs someone to manage some newfound wealth.

Both MCs have reasons not to fall in love – which essentially makes them the perfect characters for me to get maximum enjoyment. There are some aspects that could have been dealt with slightly better but I enjoyed the honesty between the two and the slow burn of how they get together. There’s some family angst that adds to the character depth.

The sex scenes are steamy. They have BDSM components (we experience this with other characters as well as the MCs) and the scenes are written really well – emphasising the trust and respect between the characters.

There was one part of the narrative that I found disappointing that I’m going to discuss behind a spoiler tag so as to not give away one of the big reveals.

***Spoiler Started***

Lindsey gets screwed over at work – she’s arrested and bailed out by Rebekiah’s lawyer friend. There’s lots of discussion about her partner trying to blame her and how Lindsey needs to ensure she stays out of jail – but we never actually find out what happens to ensure she doesn’t go to jail. She was obviously innocent – but after the big angst arrest it just kind of gets swept under the carpet. I needed more detail, especially as I’d enjoyed the prior discussions of her work so much but that could just be a personal feeling and might not bother others.

***Spoiler Finished***

The ending came about too quickly for me. I wanted more – an epilogue, an extra chapter or two – anything, just to give me a little bit more about them as a couple in their new life. Perhaps we’ll get a little bit of a taste of this in the second book even though it’s going to be about different MCs.

I enjoyed this and I’m glad I finally got round to making time.

I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys a romance with angst, some deep characters and some steamy sex scenes.