A Heart to Trust – A.L. Brooks

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
I enjoyed this, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Brooks previous release – Dare to Love. It’s a well written book – but it just didn’t excite me.

The production company Jenny is working for is bought out by another larger production company, putting Jenny’s job at risk, especially as her boss and mentor is already leaving the company. Jenny discovers that there are four people up for three roles, and their new boss has decided to make it into a competition. Jenny really needs the job so as much as she hates the idea, she has to roll with it.

One of the people she’s up against is Olivia, who in Jenny’s eyes is a stuck-up rich Brit. Olivia has a complicated situation, she’s married, but not for love. Her husband is Broderick, one of her closest friends, who is ace and aro, and their marriage is one of convenience to allow him to succeed in his dream career. This situation, plus a bad workplace experience makes Olivia very closed off.

The workplace scenario works in that you get to see Jenny and Olivia interacting regularly and meet the other key players in both of their battles to stay employed. The frostiness between the pair in the work environment makes sense with Jenny not trusting people and Olivia having something to hide, and the slow realisation that they found each other attractive plays really well.

I had problems with Jenny being written as a character that has difficulties trusting due to her family situation, but her then trusting a colleague straight away and not picking up on underlying manipulation. The manipulation storyline adds tension to the narrative and the relationship between Jenny and Olivia.

I have high standards for secondary characters in books, and this one does meet them. The workplace characters make the workplace parts of the book where we spend the most time interesting. Broderick and his family, plus Jenny’s best friends and ex-boss Adrienne are all well written and add real depth to both the MCs and the narrative. I’m intrigued by Brooks’ book on Adrienne and her partner – The Long Shot – and will be checking this one out soon.

Romance wise the two MCs don’t get together until around the 70% mark and they take it slow at the beginning too, definitely making this a slow burn romance. Once they’re together the book feels rushed as they cram in six months in the rest of the book and the epilogue, it also feels a little insta love, but I guess as it’s so slow burn this is kind of understandable.

All in all I would recommend this to romance lovers, as others may feel differently about this than me, as for me my rating is mainly due to a lack of the thing that would make this a real page turner for me.

I received an e-ARC directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Something in the Wine – Jae

Rating: 4 out of 5.
This is my first Jae book and whilst I don’t normally listen to an audiobook if I haven’t read the actual text first, I took a chance with this one as I had the opportunity to listen to a book when I could concentrate on it and I’m glad I did.

I really enjoyed both the storyline and the narration and can see why people enjoy Jae’s books so much. I loved the inclusion of a geek character in Annie and found the realisation of her feelings towards Drew to be written well. I liked Drew and enjoyed the way their friendship turned into a relationship. I also really appreciated that Jae didn’t rush the couple into situations that would have been very uncharacteristic for them.

I’ve only read one or two fake relationship storylines before – I think I’ve subconsciously avoided them, but this was the one I enjoyed the most out of all of them I’ve read so far. Would definitely recommend.

Presidential – Lola Keeley

Rating: 3 out of 5.
I found this easy to read and somewhat charming, but it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. There were some aspects I really enjoyed and things I was missing. It’s about a three and a half stars for me.

After spotting Lex’s updated review of this I decided to watch The American President for the first time (before reading the book). I’m a big Sorkin fan (the scripts anyway) so whilst I was reading I just couldn’t help drawing the direct comparisons. I’ll be honest, I’ve never read much fan fiction, so in general I found the similarities amusing. Despite this though it limited any major connection I could have with the narrative.

I really enjoyed the only other Keeley I’ve had a chance to read and much like Slammed I found Presidential to be well written, it was just missing some things for me. I wanted and needed more politics in the book. I’m a big fan of a series by another author with a female president and an age gap romance, so I think this probably coloured my impressions of this book too.

About three quarters of the way through the book I realised I didn’t really connect with Emily, I sympathised with some of her experiences but was missing the thing the necessary connection with an MC that for me makes books five stars. Connie on the other hand I really enjoyed spending time with, despite that lack of in depth politics. I also appreciated the family connections in the book – both MCs relationships with Connie’s son Zack and Emily’s relationship with her sister Sutton.

The epilogue did leave me smiling.

All in all I would recommend this and I’m sure there are many people out there that will love this book. I’m glad I read it, it’s just not an auto add to the reread pile, which I had great hopes it would be.

I received an e-ARC directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Slammed – Lola Keeley

Rating: 4 out of 5.
When you’re catching up on all of the books that have come out in the last couple of years whilst you’ve had a reading break, it’s easy to stay on a roll of great books and this is most definitely one of them.

A fantastic lesbian sports romance, full of complicated (in all the best ways) and enjoyable characters.
The tennis in the book doesn’t play second fiddle to the romance and you can tell the author genuinely loves and watches tennis. The terminology and action scenes are spot on. The lesser storyline threaded through the book has merit and is an enjoyable factor.

I loved the romance between the MCs, the hesitance at first, followed by the passion and the impact on their lives. The angst mainly comes from influences outside their relationship, which I always enjoy in a book, life isn’t always easy so a well thought out journey like this one helps make the book.

If you love sports and romance, read this book. Even if you don’t love sports, read it anyway, you’ll still enjoy it.