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Toronto Connections #4

The Wrong Woman

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As an independent filmmaker, Katie Cherry is used to difficult shoots—but a band’s music video in a tiny lesbian bar is proving worse than most. Stress-busting, expectation-free sex with Zay, the calm, gorgeous bartender, seems just the ticket. But then she and Zay discover the band’s lead singer beaten into a coma in the bar bathroom. They need an alibi, but playing girlfriends is a role Katie’s never excelled at, so she can't see this ending well.

Zay Fayed-Smith finally getting her life back together after her junkie ex broke it apart. She’s working part-time while pursuing her dream of being a lawyer, and definitely keeping things chill on the girls front. Of course, that’s when a crime happens in her bar and her ex shows up wanting to try again. “Dating” Katie seems like the best way for Zay to keep her head down and teach her ex a lesson.

Except pretty soon, the charade begins to feel less and less like acting. And when the attacker turns his attentions toward Katie, they have to cut through the lies to discover what’s real.

283 pages, ebook

First published May 20, 2017

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About the author

Cass Lennox

5 books53 followers
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently spinning in an Alpine meadow in Switzerland.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,609 followers
March 30, 2019
A New Adult f/f romance. I liked the core romance--when the characters started communicating, they worked well and the scenes with just the two of them, sex and otherwise, were very engaging. A lot of NA themes in the plot and conflict which didn't work for me because I don't like YA/NA (too old and grumpy, get off my lawn). Clearly I should pay more attention. Very well handled arguments, particularly the issue with people not realising they have very different argument styles and thresholds.
Profile Image for Lexxi Kitty.
2,013 reviews436 followers
May 24, 2017
*I received this book from NetGalley, and Riptide Publishing in return for a fair review.*

Book stars Katie Cherry, the angry director from Finding Your Feet, as an angry film-maker and Zay Fayed-Smith, bartender who is also a law student. Both are somewhere in their mid twenties (an indication occurred that Zay might be slightly older than the 24 year old Katie).

Book opens with Katie working as a director/camera operator at a bar filming an all queer punk band, while Zay works as a bartender there. The reader quickly learns that Katie hasn’t exactly gotten laid in months, and feels to be in a weird ‘lucky’ situation when she gets hit on by two rather attractive women – Zay, and Ana (guitarist in the band). For readers thinking ‘oh god, a love triangle’, or for readers thinking ‘yay a love triangle!’, quicker than the thought can occur, that specific aspect is removed (though flirty Ana lingers). Mostly by events that quickly unfold. Including the part where Zay and Katie head to Katie’s place that same day they meet each other and have an awkward cab ride, but mind-blowing sex (or at least both felt that way). Is it a one night stand? Will they see each other again?

Fairly early on, abusive, horribly, disgusting Parry reenters Zay’s life. An important element because Parry is Zay’s ex, the woman who she had thought she had finally gotten over. Also the woman who was a massive junkie who stole Zay’s stuff to get money for more drugs. But that’s the past and Parry is back now and wants to talk. Zay, despite knowing her friends and family will give her grief over her decision (they do), agrees to meet Parry. Parry gives every indication that she wants to get back together with Zay throughout the book, even bluntly stating that a few times, though it takes Zay a really long time to realize that that is what Parry means/wants/whatever and keeps telling people that no she doesn’t want that (that Parry doesn’t want that; there’s no question Zay doesn’t want that). To try to blunt any kind of feelings on either behave, Zay indicates that she currently has a girlfriend (ah, see, that’s what I get for writing after I finish reading. Zay had already told Parry, when she spotted her the morning after the hook-up with Katie that she had a girlfriend; she was supposed to be ‘clearing the air’ but failed to do so and somewhat doubled down on the girlfriend thing).

Almost at the exact same time, that Zay and Parry had coffee, Katie was having lunch with her mother. Katie seems the kind to be a bitch to everyone around her (what, see as evidence: this book; plus her appearance in 'Finding Your Feet'), so obviously Katie’s life goal is to see how much she can piss off her mother, especially in public. So after the seemingly umpteenth time it appears mother isn’t ‘getting’ the fact that Katie is a lesbian, Katie reminds her mother that she is, and not only that but she has a girlfriend.

So – the book then proceeds from there. Zay, who has had relationships in the past, is friends with some of the exes (who do not appear in this book), and had at least one massively abusive relationship (and she being the victim of it) decided to move a potential relationship match from the haze of ‘one night stand or more’ into ‘fake girlfriend zone’ for reasons involving Parry. Meanwhile, Katie, who has never actually had a relationship (‘dated’ a lot, was with someone for two months in college but never introduced that person to any friends or family as a girlfriend) also agrees to this ‘fake relationship’ for her own reasons. Both, it should be pointed out, have lustful feelings and ‘maybe something more could occur?’ thoughts, but these thoughts and feelings have been short-circuited by this ‘arrangement’.

Slightly further information about Zay and Katie: Katie is pale-white with red hair (daughter of people who have money - so, naturally, she herself disdains money, etc.; has anger/bitchy issues); Zay is ‘olive skinned’ and is a native of Canada (like, I think, Katie) – one or three generations native, though either her parents or her grandparents came over from Lebanon and she still is technically Muslim but for reasons, including religious ideas about homosexuality, Zay isn’t as devout as she might otherwise have been (though notes that others of her generation, as in native of Canada, are also less than devout).

For most of the book my thinking was that I’d be rating this somewhere between three and four stars. I mean, while the story was interesting, I’m not sure that there was a single character that I could actually like in the book (though, oddly, Justine started to grow on me, and she’s the barely seen mother of Katie (who also was in ‘Finding Your Feet’ . . . as a bitch)). Not so much as disliked as more not sure I liked. But the characters kind of grew on me . . . a little. Though it was the books final section that raised the book to something nearish 3.8 and then the epilogue (which I entered with a ‘oh god, probably something super annoying is going to occur now, sappy, or something to annoy me’) occurred. And that pushed everything up to 4 stars. So, unexpectedly, this got up to 4 stars. I might readjust as I think about things, but at the moment that’s where I’m rating this book. A solid (as in, nothing below, nothing above 4 solid stars).

One last little bit before I depart this review: this currently four book series of ‘stand-alones’ includes several things in common: LGBT people, Toronto people, some of the people reappear. Vaughn Hargrave and Jonah Sondern appear in the first book (which I haven’t read). Vaughn also appears in ‘Finding Your Feet’ (I know because I read that one, though I didn’t know until this book that Vaughn was a visitor from another book) and is mentioned in ‘The Wrong Woman’ (haven’t read ‘Growing Pains’ so I only know the stars of that one) but not seen. Jonah, though, is mentioned and seen (barely) in ‘Finding Your Feet’, and seen in ‘The Wrong Woman’ as a friend of Zay’s and a school friend of Katie’s (if I’m getting that right). Evie Whitmore and Tyler Davis starred in ‘Finding Your Feet’ and neither have much of an appearance in ‘The Wrong Woman’, though are mentioned, and Tyler was briefly ‘seen’. Also from ‘Finding Your Feet’ who appear in ‘The Wrong Woman’: beyond those already mentioned: Justine Cherry, mother of Katie Cherry, Gigi Rosenberg, and Brock Stubbs (Brock is a friend/sometime employee of Katie). Gigi Rosenberg and Brock Stubbs star in ‘Growing Pains’, appear in ‘Finding Your Feet’, and have largish roles in ‘The Wrong Woman’.

Rating: 4.0

May 24 2017
Profile Image for Jordan.
379 reviews44 followers
July 17, 2017
3/5 - I really wanted to like this book more than I did.

Okay, lets just get something out there. I mostly read M/M romance. To anyone who actually knows me (IRL, I mean), this is pretty freaking ironic since I'm a ladies lady myself, ya feel? So whenever people find out that I read M/M romance (and a lot of it) they kind of laugh about it. And maybe that's why it's so hard for me to read F/F romance, I dunno. This book was so... ugh. I mean, I love Cass Lennox and I have enjoyed every book in this series so far, but this one just boggled my mind. I really didn't like these characters.

They were both kind of self-absorbed and Zay was arrogant and 100% definitely just using Katie and then somewhere along the way it became "real" and I swear I almost got whiplash. It was like all of the romantic scenes between Katie and Zay were written for a different couple and just used as filler in this book, which I know isn't what happened, but who they were together vs. who they were apart was a huge difference. And in some ways that can be sweet. That whole "I'm only myself when I'm with you" kinda business, but since I was already struggling to connect to these two as a couple, it just kinda floundered.

HOWEVER, these two apart? Yes. YES YES ALL THE YES! I liked these characters when they weren't trying to get into each others pants. Zay was a strong character and she'd been through some seriously life-changing shit. I would have loved to read more about her backstory. Katie was a lot less badass but she was quirky and had this way about her. I would have probably loved to read about these characters if they were romantically with other people. Zay and Katie were both edge pieces and Lennox was trying to piece them together. It didn't quite work that way for me.

But I'll give kudos for the plot and the sexy lesbian makeout scenes. I always love Cass' writing and this book is no exception. It was well written, the characters just didn't jive for me. Take my review with a grain of salt, though, the reviews for this book seem to be pretty positive overall. I'm just a lil' bit picky with my F/F romance. I'm still looking forward to reading the rest of the Toronto Connections series though (I've really come to love these books) and I would definitely recommend this series.

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Reviewed by Jordan at Alpha Book Club.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the author or the publisher in any way.
Profile Image for Jeimy.
4,733 reviews32 followers
September 3, 2017
I honestly don't know if I did not enjoy this book because of the harsh copyright page warning or because the story itself who is weak.
153 reviews10 followers
June 4, 2017
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Katie is pissed. All she wants is for this evening to finally be over, or to go home with the cute bartender, but for now, she is still stuck with the drunk - and getting drunker - band that she is supposed to film for a music video. But as bad as the evening might seem, the next day somehow actually manages to get worse, despite a great night in between. And in between a crime investigation, bothersome ex-girlfriends, and mothers who just can't wrap their head around their daughter actually wanting to be with a girl, Katie and Zay find themselves in a fake girlfriend situation.

And oh my god, was it good! I'm a big fan of fake-dating and it really worked out well with these two. They had great chemistry and they obviously enjoyed sleeping with each other, but friendship and love actually developed much, much slower, which was awesome. Zay was also super supportive of Katie, when all the terrible stuff happened, and I loved that. But I also would have liked for Katie to be there a bit more for Zay too, especially with her ex-problems, since you could see that this really hurt her, but Katie seemed mostly pre-occupied with all the terrible stuff that was going on in her life at the time. This is totally understandable in those circumstances, but it still bothered me at times since it could have made their characters even more lively.

The only thing that bothered me a bit, was the intense amount of drama that was going on in this book. Next to the will-they, wont-they, the fake-dating, the my-ex-is-terrible-but-i-should-still-help-her, the crime stuff, the are-you-cheating-on-me, and so on, it sometimes got a bit overwhelming and so their relationship sometimes felt a bit forced to me, which took away from my enjoyment quite a bit. I also wish we would have gotten to see more of Zay and her family, or just generally Zay doing something that didn't only focus on Katie or Perry.

Trigger warnings for violence and a short instance of anti-Muslim racism as well as mentioned (past) drug use from a side character.

All in all, I have to say that I quite liked this book, the writing flowed well, the characters were likeable, there was a bit too much drama for my liking, but the romance was (mostly) nice and I actually really liked it.
Profile Image for Kitty McIntosh.
Author 10 books47 followers
August 19, 2017
Filmmaker Katie is stressed out making a music video for an all-female band. Too much drama and drug-taking from the musicians makes this particular job a bit of a nightmare, until she meets gorgeous bartender Zay. They hook-up for an amazing night together but don't expect to become each others alibi when the lead singer of the band is found badly beaten and in a coma next morning. Pretending to friends and family that they are in a relationship wasn't part of the plan either. But that is exactly what they do.
I enjoyed this story even though I haven't read any of the previous novels in the 'Toronto Connections' series. The writing is fast paced, irreverent and humorous. I loved the Toronto setting and as a regular visitor to the amazing city I could really appreciate the descriptions. The attack on the lead singer was just the beginning of the mystery and I didn't guess whodunnit. Cass Lennox managed to drop plenty of red herrings to keep me intrigued. The relationship between Katie and Zay was passionate but complicated due to each of them having issues with other people be they family or ex-partners. I liked Zay a lot. Although she had a tendency to take things the wrong way, she was caring, sexy and kind. An enjoyable read that has made me want to go back and read the first three in the series.

I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Riptide Publishing in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Evaine.
490 reviews17 followers
May 26, 2017
I am totally the wrong person for this book. I read it as a Riptide Advance Read and didn't realise that it was SO New Adult. I was hoping for a good lesbian romance but that's not what I felt I got.

I did not like either of the main characters, I thought they were totally self-absorbed, arrogant, and completely clued out about how to go about having any kind of relationship. And the inner dialogue. It was constant. CONSTANT. And irritating. I wish I had a dollar for every time one or the other thought "UGH". I could have a good shop for books, let me tell you.

I don't know, if I hadn't been reading it for Riptide, I would have DNFed it by the end of the 3rd chapter.

But that being said... I'm fairly sure the fault lies mainly with me and not the book itself. Maybe the young people out there will like it? I really hope they're not all like the ones in the book - even the secondary and tertiary characters. I honestly didn't find anything romancey about it (I still don't know why the MCs are together other than that they're hot) at all and as for the mystery at the centre of the plot, well, it was more an afterthought than anything else, it seemed to me. Sadly.

This just re-affirmed that New Adult romances are not for me one little bit.
237 reviews19 followers
June 11, 2017
First off, Zay, one of the characters in this novel is Libyan but other than one incidence of racism it's not a big deal (I'm actually reluctant to mention it but I think it's important to mention it!) She also has quite fabulous hair, which do be honest is more of a factor in the novel than her background.

Zay meets Katie in a the bar where she works when Katie's shooting a music video for a local punk band. There's an instant connection between the two women but the fact that one of the band members also seems determined to seduce Katie muddies the waters somewhat. Despite a ridiculous amount of drama on that first night, mainly generated by some very drunk/high punk rocker, Zay and Katie hit it off but somehow end up pretending to be in a relationship to keep awkward ex's and interfering mothers at bay. Funnily enough, before long the charade becomes a bit emotionally difficult for both women to maintain, particularly when Zay's ex seems determined to spend more and more time around her...
Profile Image for Amanda.
153 reviews2 followers
September 8, 2017
The Wrong Woman is an enjoyable contemporary romance. I recommend this for anyone looking for a feel-good romance with some suspense.

Zay and Katie are great characters with personality and depth. Their relationship is a bit angsty for my taste, but there’s good romantic suspense and some very steamy scenes.

The mystery subplot is engaging, and the conflict offers opportunities for good character growth for Zay and Katie.

This book works well as a standalone story. There is some crossover with characters from the rest of the series, but I feel the background of those characters isn’t really important in enjoying this book. But that said, for me reading the whole series has made each story a little bit richer.

Overall, this was a fun read, and I’ll be watching for more Toronto Connections books.

*I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Erin.
247 reviews2 followers
September 2, 2017
I don't know why this series doesn't get more love. These books are light, well written New Adult, set in Toronto, feature lgbt characters that are adorable as hell, and all center around some sort of mystery.

That being said, this one was fine, but not as strong as the other I've read in the series (can't remember which, but art theft features heavily) which I loved. I just kinda felt like not enough happened in this one to raise the stakes and really have me engaged. Maybe it's because most of the NA I read is *super* angsty via those stakes and this didn't have that.

It just had potential I wish would have been played out more. The fake gf subplot was great! Run with that! It had a lot of potential to be awesome playing that angle up more. Make them work a little harder to be together. It would've been so satisfying.

Like even the end revelation, without giving anything away, could've been done in a more clever way to make the exposition (can you call it that if it's at the end? Like with a mystery when they explain how it all happened at the end - the Bond villain speech, as it were?) a bit less clunky/dull.

One thing I really enjoyed was how the author wrote the mom, but wtf happened with Katie's dad?

I love that this book has genuinely good, but not perfect people. They definitely have things to deal with, but they have good hearts and are honest about who they are. No Mary Sue types here.

Profile Image for RaShae Brown.
113 reviews1 follower
January 7, 2018
This book was good enough that I read it one day. Given this was a short book I’d say the characters were rounded out well enough but I feel like she could’ve wrote a little more about zay’s stuff when it came to her getting annoyed about the kiss and Katie taking out her bad day on her. Since it was obviously related to her past relationship with her ex. Parry asked her at the bar before Katie arrived for another chance so for Zay to consistently deny and ignore that and tell Katie she was wrong in seeing that made no sense at all. It was very obvious the entire time that Parry wanted her back.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Megan.
501 reviews15 followers
July 21, 2021
I picked this book up randomly through my library and was intrigued by the possibility of a mystery wrapped inside a romance. The writing was charming and I loved the characters, but something happened about two thirds of the way into the book. I read those first two thirds in a day or too, and then 3 weeks went by where I just... didn't touch the book again. And when I finally picked it back up, while I enjoyed the romance part of the book, I was truly disappointed in the mystery aspect of the book which really turned out to be no mystery at all.

I wouldn't say there was anything wrong with the book, it just didn't live up in the end to it's beginning.
Profile Image for Pandora.
119 reviews
March 5, 2019
Great characters, very charismatic.
Also, I loved the appearances of beloved characters of previous books. A couple of them were a bit forced, but still.
I'm so very into this writing style. It maintains the good vive and lightness that the first books had.
That being said, I did not enjoy all the jealousy drama at all (and there was A LOT of it). The story is engaging, but very generic. I certainly wouldn't be as generous with those stars if it wasn't for the lesbians. I regret nothing, because lesbians.
Profile Image for Gail.
923 reviews31 followers
June 13, 2017
I rec'd a copy of this book from NetGally/Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review. First book I'm reading by Ms. Lennox. Characters Katie and Zay are the leads in this romance that is angst and drama filled. I'm sorry but I really couldn't appreciate the storyline as too many things seemed to be happening and I couldn't get into the style of writing. However, I will give the author another try in the future. 2.5 stars
173 reviews1 follower
November 5, 2017

I don't read very many lesbian romances (despite reading almost exclusively LGBT romance) so it was good for a change.

Not that that's a deal breaker automatically.

I would have given more stars of my connection to the characters had been deeper (it was so-so).
Profile Image for Felicia.
288 reviews19 followers
September 10, 2017
I really enjoyed reading this! It was cute and light and just what I wanted. I love Zay and Katie. I do think the plot lagged a little bit and then was kind of rushed at the end like the author got caught up in the romance and forgot about the investigation part. But I still fully enjoyed the rest.
Profile Image for Alicia.
881 reviews3 followers
February 21, 2019
Pretty much a masterclass in why it's important for couples to learn each other's fighting style.
Profile Image for sophia davis.
103 reviews
February 23, 2022
wow so much better than the first 3. maybe cause i felt i could connect more with the characters? :) pretty good book. ⭐️
Profile Image for Nicole Field.
Author 18 books144 followers
June 3, 2017
NetGalley Review

The last book from Cass Lennox in the Toronto Connections left a really good feeling in my stomach.

I've been looking forward to this book ever since we saw Zay in Blank Spaces, my true favourite out of this series. Sadly we didn't see much of Jonah, and nothing at all of Vaughn in this book.

Like all the books in this series, we had alternating viewpoints between law student Zay and Katie who, if I don't miss my guess, was the person doing the video of the dance competition in Finding Your Feet. The two of them end up entering into a fake relationship when Zay's ex-girlfriend Perry comes back into her life. The fake relationship is only further engaged upon when Katie is talking to her mum who keeps on seeming to forget that Katie has told her she's a lesbian.

Very quickly, the two of them engage on a friendship overlaying this fake relationship, but that's also where it starts getting complicated as well. Both of them suffer from a great deal of jealousy that could have been cleared up by them talking about their relationship and making it real rather than fake sooner than they did. I'm gonna be honest and say that that's not one of my favourite tropes, but to her credit Cass doesn't draw it out overly much.

One of the things I very much did like about this book, especially after Growing Pains, was the relationship between Katie and her mum was... not the best, but Justine was well meaning if not the most maternal individual.

I also would have loved this more if Cass had have used the epilogue in this book to have a big group scene of all the interlocking friends who have appeared in this series.
Profile Image for LB.
117 reviews6 followers
August 17, 2017
There was a lot that I liked about this book but ultimately I found it to be too much angst and not enough happy connection between the two main characters. They don't really talk or clear up their misunderstandings until near the very end of the book so they don't really spend much time together; their relationship doesn't progress at all through the book. As individuals their stories are interesting, but as a romance, this book doesn't work for me.
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