Hooked on You by Jenn Matthews

Rated 4.70 out of 5 based on 10 customer ratings
(10 customer reviews)

$4.99 / E-BOOK

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Read an excerpt here: pdf | epub

Author: Jenn Matthews

Description

Anna’s life’s in a bit of a rut. As a teacher with two great kids and a boyfriend, she seems to have it all. Except…she’s bored as hell. Perhaps a new hobby’s in order? Something…crafty?

Divorced mother and veteran Ollie has been through the wars, emotionally and physically. To relax, she runs a quirky crochet class in her English craft shop. She can’t help but notice the attractive, feisty new student. A shame Anna’s straight as an arrow.

But somewhere between the chain stitches, doubles and trebles, Ollie and Anna form a powerful connection they never expected.

A quirky lesbian romance about love never being quite where you expect.

Additional information

Publication Date

February 2019

Formats

epub, mobi, and pdf

Length

98,000 words

Language

English

ISBNs

978-3-96324-134-5 (mobi), 978-3-96324-135-2 (epub), 978-3-96324-136-9 (pdf)

Publisher

Ylva Publishing

10 reviews for Hooked on You by Jenn Matthews

  1. Bugs
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    First off, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a generous offer from the author of this book to read it before its release date sometime in February with no review obligation. After communicating briefly with Jenn Matthews, new author of Ylva’s and the architect of this book, “Hooked On You,” I was intrigued. I promised that I would give it a go after I finished the 3 books that I was reading then. Nonetheless, the story which captivated me from the start has inspired me to decide on commenting about it.

    It IS ironic that the book has the word “Hooked” on its title because…!!! Ok, ever the curious one, despite being busy reading several books simultaneously and carrying on with me day job, I just thought I’d read the first pages of Matthews’ debut published novel just to get the gist of her writing tone and style. There was a Prologue. Good, so I dove in. Oh. My. God. Bloody hell! I instantly suspended all me other reads then so I could dive into this one! Needless to say, I was instantly HOOKED! From the Prologue alone! Whaaa?!

    Anyway, before I become me gobby self about the story, I must say that “Hooked On You” was an utterly refreshing read for me. It was truly a grown-up, mature romance between two women in their 50’s. Already that, in and of itself, was absolutely intriguing, not very common in the world of lesbian romance, mind. Perhaps, me mind still held a strong presence of Jeannie Levig’s utterly memorable romance, “A Wish Upon A Star,” which I only read a month ago. So, I immediately latched on to the desire to find out what Matthews had up her sleeve with this mature romance of hers. And Matthews did not disappoint. In fact, I was extremely pleased with this utterly sweet, warm, adorably quirky, fabulously grown-up romance about two of the most adorable women I’ve come across in lesbian romance, written with so much heart in it (you’ll feel it when you read it), it felt personal to me. And that always gives me a deep appreciation for the author’s openness. Those stories usually stay with me for a while. So, thank you, Matthews, for opening up your heart and soul to tell this fabulously realistic and grounded tale of romance!

    Speaking of quirky, I must say, its quirkiness just elevated the authenticity of the story, imho. I mean, what could be more deliciously quirky than finding love in the world of crochet, eh? Anyway, Matthews delved wholeheartedly into an authentic look at romance that, on the surface, presented itself as a standard romance between two mature adults, but in essence, it turned out to be a new, fresh, very much young-at-heart, “young love”-type that invoked the kind of lovesick feel, filled with endless heart palpitations, heart-racing scenarios that normally only teenagers or youth would experience romance or love for the first time, you know what I mean? That’s creative and original, imo! Well done, Matthews!

    That said, “Hooked On You” was structured as a meticulously slow-burning romance that considered every aspect of Ollie and Anna’s personal lives ever since cupid’s arrow struck them at the most unlikely places, fate making its way toward their destiny of building the foundation of their friendship which slowly but surely flourished into true romance and love that finally found a home in their hearts. The whole journey flowed so organically, especially with the inclusion of both Ollie and Anna’s own grown children and their mates that I felt like I was witnessing, for real, the birth of an everlasting romance between two vastly different women who bonded through one interest they initially had in common – crochet!

    Apart from Matthews taking the lesbian romance genre and turning it on its head with the pairing of two mature, divorced mums of grown children, who discovered their sexuality later in life, she also took me unawares with the introduction of a few characteristics of her characters that you don’t normally find in the genre – the fact that one of the MCs, Ollie, was disabled (had a pronounced physical disability which had a brilliantly compelling back story), a “normal” (I hate this word but in this context, me reckons it’s applicable to depict the definition of average?) representation of Ollie and Anna’s physical characterisation, and the fact that Anna’s adopted adult son was autistic – all of which gave so much more depth and realism to the story Matthews was telling.

    I was infinitely pleased with her realistic characterisation of how a divorce is perceived by family members especially adult children which we all know is based on various aspects including upbringing, social exposure, religious and personal beliefs. Matthews nailed it perfectly with how she presented the children’s individual (or collective) views about Ollie and Anna’s relationship at each stage of its development. I won’t expand more on that because Matthews truly portrayed the entire journey of their children with such aplomb that you need to read it, ride the journey so you can experience its emotional impact. I do wanna mention one thing, though. It’s that, you know, even an adult can throw some really childish tamper tantrums – I say “adult,” but it’s an oxymoron, innit, to describe an adult with tamper tantrums? Anyway, shout out to Ms. Matthews for adding that persona in one of the characters!

    I absolutely LOVED BOTH Ollie and Anna. Usually, as I’d mentioned in one of me commentary in the past, I’d favour one protagonist (usually the 2nd one, for me!) over the other in a romance. But in this particular story, I was positively enamoured with their characters, their heart-tuggingly adorable, heartwarming, heartfelt personalities, from the start! Their realistic portrayals intrigued me to no end. I was desperately curious and wanted to find out more about them, how they thought about themselves and each other, how they acted in front of each other, I wanted to delve deeply into how their initial nervousness turned into a tentative friendship that became more solid as time went on, surrounded by the fantastically depicted world of crochet – colours, textures, patterns, hooks, techniques – which served as both a metaphor and a catalyst to their eventual union. Well, that’s how I interpreted it, anyway.

    I was addicted to their exquisitely slow-burning relationship, their simmering interactions, those longing looks, yearning non-verbal body language that Matthews detailed with brilliant precision. Add to just how they behaved and thought (monologue) was reminiscent of young love! First love, like. And in many ways, it was true! Age is just a number, as we know. It’s the heart and the soul that count, really. The phrase, “young at heart,” truly personified Ollie and Anna, and was deliciously adorable, tugged at me heart at each stage they were in because Matthews truly made it so endearing! First love (for one) and second chance love (for the other) feels melded together perfectly!

    Another shout out to Ms. Matthews is the fact that she portrayed both Ollie and Anna’s POV equally, delving into their psyche via monologues which at times gave me the chuckles! Truly enchanting were these two characters, what with all their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. I truly appreciated Matthews’ efforts in depicting both of their views, giving me, the reader, an insight into both of their states of mind throughout the story. I love it when authors write both POVs because it gives me a better, deeper understanding about both protagonists’ characters, hence their story becomes more resonating for me.

    Oh, obviously there was a twat of a boyfriend (no worries, he turned into an ex faster than you can utter the word “wanker!”) to contend with but then Matthews threw in the ever-adorbs Matthew, Ollie’s gay best mate!! Brilliant! Speaking of Matthew, I utterly enjoyed the secondary characters that Matthews introduced. Me favourite was Timothy, Anna’s son. I loved how his mind worked, which Matthews characterised very well. There was a brief mention of how Ollie and Timothy got on with each other. It was described so heartily that their organic chemistry jumped right out of the words for me! I wish there were more of their interactions together. It’d have been fascinating especially with Timothy’s way of thinking and seeing the world, people, and relationships. Whereas, Matthew was truly charming and so was Bethany. The refreshing mother-daughter relationship between Anna and Bethany was one of the enjoyable moments, what with Bethany’s wicked sense and her sharp tongue always ready for Anna! The contrast between Ollie’s relationship with her children vs Anna’s was fascinating to discover, thanks to Matthews’ captivating depiction. I felt like they were real families facing real issues whilst living their lives.

    I have to go back to crochet, though. First off, I never knew anything about crochet before reading this! No, I didn’t even know what it looked like! I always thought it was knitting! I thought wrong! Matthews deftly described everything you could ever know, at least at the basic level, about what a crochet was – the intricacies of this artistic craft. By the end of it, I believed that I could crochet already, tbh! Well done, Matthews! But what truly intrigued me was me realisation that Matthews might have used crochet as a metaphor to depict Ollie and Anna’s journey toward self-discovery, acceptance and finally achieving an unadulterated true love. The step-by-step effort of crochet, from creating a pattern from scratch (or deciding on an existing one), settling on the colour and “ingredients” needed to crochet every square, then finding out and learning the various knots to use, making the decision of what to crochet, all the way to taking the time and effort to begin, continue and finish the product, putting dedication into doing it as it represented something from the heart. For me, the entire story told with crochet as a crucial backdrop to Ollie and Anna’s journey, romance and love, was so metaphorically affecting, I was left cherishing its deeply heartfelt effects long after I finished the story. I just love metaphors and allegories in storytelling. Well that is if Matthews intended it to be. If not, oh well…interpretation, innit?

    All in all, I HIGHLY recommend everyone who loves lesbian romance to give “Hooked On You” a thorough read. Matthews’ writing style and storytelling resonated in me. High marks! Plus, the fact that Matthews is a Brit warms me heart to no end because the words and expressions in her book reverberated in me psyche with a sense of familiarity and belonging, if you know what I mean! Also, she reminds me a little bit of Jeannie Levig’s style, which I adore!

    Anyway, this is one slow-burn lesbian romance you’d want to venture into because it’s so delicately sweet and heartwarming, so inclusive and realistic, you’ll cheer for them every step of the way and discover that their slow and steady journey was all worth it! Read it and find out for yourself and witness the adorable, emotionally satisfactory effects of Ollie, Anna, Timothy, Matthew, Bethany, Kieran and Helen. A true family affair as well as a compellingly heartwarming true romance!

    Well done, Ms. Matthews!

    *Right, now back to resuming me previously suspended reads. Hmm, where was I?*

  2. Kitty Kat
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    Ollie was seriously injured during her time in the army. She now owns a craft shop and runs a crochet group in the evenings. When teacher Anna joins the group they fall into an easy friendship, but there is more. What that might be is confusing for seemingly-straight Anna. She is dating total prat Liam, a colleague. Boy, did I want her to see the light regarding that one!

    I enjoyed the slow build up in this story. It was so worth it. Ollie and Annie are grown -up women, with full lives and interesting histories. It was so refreshing to read a romance between mature women. Each touch, each kiss was special and tender. It was beautifully written. We got to see how Ollie struggled with her physical problems and how that affected her confidence in pursuing a new relationship. Anna’s struggles were of a different nature – that of being attracted to a woman for the first time. I was literally ‘hooked’ on their stories.

    I also really enjoyed finding out about their families. Anna’s adopted son, Timothy was on the Autistic Spectrum and I loved his way of looking at the world. His depiction was spot on. Jenn Matthews has an excellent understanding of someone with autism and I really appreciated how she put across how wonderful it can be and how rewarding it is to know someone with autism. Thank you for that Jenn.

    Finally the fact that the women met through their love of crochet was fascinating. I have, like Anna, watched multiple YouTube videos to try and learn the skill, to no avail. After reading ‘Hooked On You’ I’m feel inspired to follow Anna’s lead and join a class. An excellent first novel – I look forward to more from Ms Matthews in the future.

    I was given this ARC to review.

  3. Karola
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    ***free ARC
    I liked this book very much, because it‘s not all about falling in love. The problems you can get within your own family, by officially coming out, by having a kid who’s a little bit special is also a part of this book as are some funny episodes. Keep on doing such a good job Ms. Jenn Matthews!

  4. Chris Hooker
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    A well crafted debut novel. The well knitted relationship that forms in this book will leave you as warm as your favorite blanket. Matthews uses hew knowledge of crafts to weave incredibly likeable characters both primary and secondary. It is hard to believe this is a debut novel. Well done!

  5. stephasselin
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    Did you ever felt stuck at a crossroad, living your life in peace, going with the flow until some family members try to push you out of your comfort zone? That is exactly what happens to Anna when Bethany, her daughter, insists on her finding a new hobby, and how Anna finds herself looking through the shelves of Ollie’s business, Darn That Yarn.

    I remember reading the resume for this book a few months ago and I couldn’t wait to read it. I was pleased to get the chance to read and review it. I loved the premise of two older women meeting over Anna’s newfound hobby and sharing their passion over it.

    I think the title properly represents how the reader gets hooked on the story. After a series of deceiving read, this one was refreshing and great.

    I must admit, the prologue made me anxious about the rest of the book since it is so different from where and when the story takes place. Even if it was not my favourite chapter, it was mandatory to understand Ollie’s personality and what goes on in her life regarding her kids and her situation.

    Thankfully, the next chapters do the work of reeling us in and meeting Anna and her family really help the reader wanting to devour the book. 

    Matthews did such a wonderful job at making us feel welcome in this crochet group, it almost made me want to try my hands at it if it wasn’t for my already too busy schedule. It was the first time I’ve read from Jenn Matthews and it will not be the last. She filled her book with *mostly all* loveable characters whose journey was interesting to follow.

    Anna and Ollie’s interactions are really well written and it is easy to understand how much their attraction to one another affects them in their personal lives.

    Hooked on you is a great slow burn romance with only one thing that bothered me. Since the whole book is going at a slow but sure pace, I would’ve loved to see the ending go by at the same pace, but instead, it felt like a rushed ending.

    Don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful ending, but I wish there was more. We spent almost 300 pages falling in love with both characters, and I think it would’ve made sense for the story to either keep the same pace or maybe add a chapter or two.

    That’s all I am going to say on the matter because I do believe this book was really well written and I would recommend it to all readers looking for a fun and easy read. You’ll see for yourself if the ending was enough for you, or if you are as needy as I am and would’ve wanted more.

    RainbowMoose’s Reviews
    @RainbowMReviews

    *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

  6. Rosie
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    Jenn Matthews’ debut novel is set against the unusual background of a wool shop, where the owner gives crochet lessons a couple of evenings a week. That the author knows her subject well is immediately obvious, and to someone like me, who knows absolutely nothing about crochet, it caught my interest straight away.

    In this setting we meet two women in their early fifties who have both had difficult lives, are divorced and who, despite having grown-up children, are essentially lonely. The owner of the shop, Ollie, is ex-Army who was severely injured whilst serving in Iraq. Into her shop one day comes Anna, a teacher of a similar age to Ollie, who is looking for a new hobby on the advice of her daughter. So the scene is set and Anna and Ollie form a friendship when Anna starts attending the evening crochet classes. The attraction between them grows and so we follow their gentle, slow burning romance over the following weeks and months. Ollie had a Lesbian relationship in Iraq but Anna is confused at first by her growing feelings for Ollie especially as she has a rather dull boyfriend, Liam.. The romance is delightfully written and the adult children and other members of the crochet class provide an interesting and varied backdrop to the central love story.

    I enjoyed the book very much indeed and wish Ms Matthews every success with it. Oh, and congratulations to whoever designed the very eye-catching book cover!

  7. Katie
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    A genuinely sweet love story with likeable and nuanced characters. I read this over a few days during my baby’s sporadic naps and really looked forward to finding out more about Ollie and Anna’s story each time I sat down to awkwardly juggle the book and baby on my lap 🙂 A book with real heart. I look forward to reading Jenn’s next novel.

  8. blondi987
    Rated 4 out of 5

    :

    Hooked on You is a wonderfully sweet slow-burn romance by debut author Jenn Matthews. This is the type of book that I try to read when I’ve had a bad day and want to read something that will make me smile. There are no mysteries or murders that have to be solved here; no violence or deep heart breaking angst. Hooked on You is just a lovely story about two people (Anna Rose and Ollie Williams) who meet in a crochet class, gradually become friends and then girlfriends.

    This novel has quite a few positive aspects that I enjoyed. Both the main characters are mature women in their early fifties. Romance really can happen to us more mature folks. The characters are well-developed and likable. This included most of the secondary characters as well, except Liam. I didn’t like Liam, but we are not supposed to like him since he is Anna’s annoying ex-boyfriend. Anna’s coming out as bisexual was handled skillfully. Both characters have different approaches to being out, and I liked seeing this. It seemed very real.

    I must admit I’m rather biased toward this book because I’m also an avid crocheter (hooker). I remember having some of the same experiences that Anna had when I first learned to crochet with my grandmother. I also recognized some of the patterns mentioned. The blanket that was Anna’s second project is one of my favorite patterns. I’ve made many baby blankets and throws with that one.

    This is a delightful read for anyone who wants a good light romance. It is also a good first novel for Ms. Matthews. I definitely will be looking for more of her writing.

  9. Jude
    Rated 4 out of 5

    :

    What a lovely book! The characters are complex and interesting, the story is sweet and believable. The rhythm was a bit slow at times but it gave an atmosphere I really liked.

  10. matsu
    Rated 4 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Anna, a divorced teacher, needs a hobby… or a friend… or a life beyond work. Ollie runs a crochet class and a yarn shop. Anna joins the class, which turns out to be a bit more than just a craft thing. Little by little (real slow burn, this one – loved it) these two learn things about each other, find out they have quite a bit in common, strike up a friendship and move on from there.

    Both protagonists are middle-aged, with grown children, so this is a nice change from the usual lesfic fare – although to be honest, it’s getting more common now (yay!).

    There’s a bunch of funny side characters, very little drama and it’s a sweet story over all. And damn if the book didn’t make me want to learn a bit more than the chain stitch (which is the only thing I learned about crocheting, in school, years and years ago)!

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