5 out of 5 stars
This isn’t my first or even my third book by Monica McCallan, and there’s a good reason for that. I love her writing style, characters, and overall “feeling” that each book has. Charm City has all of those aspects and more.
I haven’t read a ton of romance books set around Valentine’s Day, but this one was a genuine surprise. I liked that it was set in a struggling bar with struggling characters. It had that real ‘underdogs all around’ feel to it. Taylor has to recreate/remake herself and her business after she’s left to fend for herself. And Carson is bartending in a struggling bar that needs all the help she can get.
The instant spark between them was great, and the planets rotating around each other for a while before they crashed together put a smile on my face.
I found myself rooting for both of them throughout, and I wanted them to end up together so bad. I knew there would be a part where some things fell apart. I was expecting it, but it still devastated me. But the “make-up” scenes after were well worth the issues that came up. It caused each woman to be more open and honest about things. And, of course, McCallan didn’t just leave it there. The story had a proper ending that had me smiling ear to ear.
It’s no surprise that I love the performances by Lori Prince. I’ve been reading and reviewing her work for years now, and with every book, I think, “maybe this will be the one I don’t like!” And in every book, I fall more in love with her performance.
Taylor Tate has one last chance to turn things around. As the owner of Charm City Events, she needs her upcoming week of Valentine’s Day events to go off without a hitch. She’s painstakingly planned every detail down to the last red heart decoration, but what Taylor doesn’t plan on is the less than enthusiastic bar manager she’s paired with stumbling into her life at the worst possible time, making things more difficult every step of the way.
Carson Smith is getting by fine. She loves her job as the bar manager at Second Chances, a dive bar staple of the Baltimore landscape, and she doesn’t need anything or anyone disrupting the delicate balance she’s created. Especially for a stupid Valentine’s gimmick to take advantage of desperate singles. When the owner of the bar forces her to work with an event planning company to drum up business, she has no choice but to begrudgingly agree. It’s either play along or see the bar close, and she can’t let that happen.
It’s only a week, but time passes differently when there’s love in the air and too much on the line, and both women soon find their lives, and hearts, intertwined as they work together to make the week a success.
Contains mature themes.Charm City by Monica McCallan
Narrator: Lori Prince
Length: 5 hrs and 30 mins
Published by Tantor Audio on February 28th 2023
Genres: LesFic/Sapphic Fiction
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Also by this author: The Flaw In Our Design, Then & Now, When I'm With You, Back In Your Arms
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