Review of ‘The Mortician’s Daughter’ by Nan Higgins

‘The Mortician’s Daughter’ is one of those books where you completely accept the premise and run with it. Aria has always dreamed of being a singer and up until her 22nd birthday that’s where she was headed. When she realises that ghosts exist – and they want to talk to her – life is never going to be the same. Finding out her father’s funeral home business is just a front for AfterCorps, an organisation set up to help the ghosts move on, is also a huge shock. Sloane has known about this side of life forever and joins Aria in training to work for AfterCorps. Far from being freaked out by it all, she relishes the challenge and wants a job in the Criminally Demonic Unit. But the pair are about to find out that there’s more going on within the company than they thought – and deciding who to trust is becoming more and more fraught with danger and uncertainty.

I loved this book. Nan Higgins has imagined a world not unlike our own, but with some magnificently thought out paranormal twists. I felt sorry for Aria when she was faced with giving up on her dreams, but I was also fascinated with the world that had opened up to her. I wanted to know more about it and the first person telling worked well in immersing the reader into each discovery. This world deserves a whole series of its own. A great read.

I was given this ARC for review.

Release of ‘Silk and Leather’ – an erotic anthology from Bold Strokes Books

‘Silk and Leather’, edited by Victoria Villasenor will be released tomorrow, and I have a very special reason to be excited about that. My story ‘Taking A Leap’ was accepted for the anthology and I can’t wait to see it in print. I have fulfilled one of my dreams – being published by Bold Strokes Books. I can’t thank Victoria and the whole team enough. They have made it a wonderful experience and one I will treasure. I hope that you enjoy reading my story.

Victoria Villasenor has brought together some of the most well-known and respected authors in the world of lesbian fiction in this anthology. It will be available from Bold Strokes Books on the 1st April here:

https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/books/silk-and-leather-lesbian-erotica-with-an-edge-by-victoria-villasenor-3224-b

And from 14th April it will be available worldwide from all the usual places.

Review of ‘Country Living’ by Jen Silver

I have just spent a wonderful few hours in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside thanks to author Jen Silver. Her latest novel ‘Country Living’ is the perfect book to read right now. Escape with unexpected and exciting storylines and get to know her believable and well-rounded characters. 

Peri has always dreamed of a life in the English countryside, with an old stone cottage, a vegetable garden and walks in the hills and fields. Her wife is not so keen, but goes along with it as long as she has time in London to finish off some projects before joining her. Moving near the lesbian mecca of Hebden Bridge, Peri expects a quiet life and ordinary neighbours. That’s not exactly what she gets though. There are a few secrets being kept from her and life may not turn out as she expected.

I loved Peri. She’s the woman you want living next door. She was kind and approachable and deserved to be treasured. I liked seeing her interact with her neighbours. It brought out something unexpected in her. There are a few different storyline strands woven through the novel and that takes it a notch above most others. Oh and it is very hot too! A great book and highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review. 

Review of ‘A Moment In Time’ by Lisa Moreau

I’ve read every book Lisa Moreau has written and I’ve never been disappointed. ‘A Moment In Time’ is definately another winner. Claire Fontenot jilted her boyfriend many years ago and his family have never forgiven her. Their two families are now bitter rivals in the hot sauce business and their fathers, once friends, now detest each other. When Claire meets Ivy Savoy, the much younger sister of her ex, the pair are instantly attracted. How can it ever work? 

It’s a romantic and sweet story with two extremely likeable main characters. Claire wants to do the right thing, but the Savoys can’t let go of their hatred for her actions. Ivy may be younger, but she’s mature and responsible and very kind. Each of them have problems they have to work through. Seeing them do so together was lovely. I really loved the setting too. I always enjoy finding out about new places and small town Louisiana was fascinating. The story had a powerful message and it was one that only made sense to our main characters once they spent time together . 

‘A Moment In Time’ is a feel-good story and made me want to smile. Who could ask for anything more? Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review. 

Review of ‘Before You Say I Do’ by Clare Lydon

Jordan Cohen is a professional bridesmaid. And she’s good at it. Relationships are not on her agenda and the odd one-night stand is enough at this stage in her life. When she is hired by the fiancé of Abby Porter to help her through the last few weeks before their wedding, she expects it to be the same as every other job. But it’s not. For a start, she’s immediately attracted to the bride to be. Can she keep a professional distance?

Abby did not expect this at all. She has her life planned out, and a stunning fake bridesmaid was not part of the deal. Will she be able to keep on track and make it down the alter?

Clare Lydon makes my heart soar every single time, without fail. ‘Before You Say I Do’ is a beautiful love story, with adorable characters and, of course, Ms Lydon’s trademark injection of humour. I loved Gloria, Abby’s Scottish mum. She was hilarious and very well-observed.  I can attest that square sausage is one of life’s greatest pleasures, as Gloria made sure to point out. Jordan was a wonderful mix of efficiency, kindness and vulnerability. And she was also really, really hot. How could Abby resist? Abby was a woman who thought she had it all figured out, but faced with a glimpse of something different, she began to have doubts. They were perfect for each other and I really wanted them to give in. Their story had such want, such passion, such desire. It is impossible to read this story without the biggest, happiest smile on your face by the final page. I adored it. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Death Before Dessert’ by A.E. Radley

‘Death Before Dessert’ is a feel-good kind of book. You can’t fail to be drawn in by the setting, excellent plot and loveable characters. A cozy mystery set in a small English village, it features a new dynamic duo, Clara Harrington and her irrepressible aunt, Vanessa. Clara has left London after losing her job and home all in the one week. Her mystery writer aunt has offered her a place to stay and the chance to take stock. But one thing she didn’t expect was a murder in the country house next door – and an elderly relative determined to solve it before the police.

I loved Vanessa’s gleeful demeanour. She had a wicked sense of humour and loved a good real-life mystery. There was no way Clara was going to stop her investigating when her reviled next-door neighbour dies in the middle of a dinner party. Clara was sweet and kind and prone to blushing profusely when in the presence of a certain beautiful woman. The inter-generational element to the investigate partnership was a winner. A series with this pair is going to be wonderful and I can’t wait to read the next in the series. A.E. Radley has given us cozy mystery at its best. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Amazon Links :

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Before-Dessert-Vanessa-Harrington/dp/1912684322/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Before-Dessert-Vanessa-Harrington-ebook/dp/B085B54PLV/

Review of ‘Never Too Late For Heroes’ by A.L. Brooks

Superheroes, hot federal agents and an evil baddie mixed together to make a funny, exciting and empowering new novel from A.L. Brooks. ‘Never Too Late For Heroes’ is the story of Agent Geena Fox, an agent just waiting for retirement, and her involvement with a group of very special old ladies in a care home in Missouri. When Agent Fox is assigned a new young partner, she is surprised when Leigh Walker comes back from a routine missing persons case with an unexpected and welcome piece of information. Information that will lead her on a dangerous path back to some old friends and a foe that refuses to go away. 

The characters were engaging and full of surprises. Although Geena Fox had a tendency towards gruffness and irritability, she was actually a principled woman, with an important job and a big secret. I liked seeing the vulnerable side of her and the change in her behaviour when she was around one particular person. Her formidable reputation was well-deserved, but there was so much more to her. Her new partner, Leigh, was nervous and unsure at first, but she had steel and as her confidence grew, she really shone. The romantic element of this story was very sweet, especially with Agent Walker and the object of her affection. My favourite characters though were the Powers. Those older ladies were adorable and feisty and hilarious. The mix of personalities worked so well. When the adventure kicked into gear it really held my attention. I loved it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Kick Back’ by KJ

KJ has done it again! When I reviewed her last book, ‘Coming Home’ I declared it was my favourite  novel of 2019. ‘Kick Back’ is just as inspiring. I loved it. 

Sophia Lindstrom is one of the more experienced players in the South Melbourne Women’s AFL team. She’s strong and determined and a fighter. She’s willing to get involved and help anyone – but when it comes to her own happiness she won’t take that final step. Cam Weathers is a reporter tasked with writing fluff pieces on the league. Her boss expects her to toe the line and ignore the fact that the women are exceptional athletes, with an important part to play in the sport. Let’s just say Cam has other ideas. She’s also drawn to the fiercely protective Sophie, a woman who is determined to make her see that the  women’s league has merit and importance. But both women have barriers and lines they won’t cross. Can either of them get past that, as they are pulled into something increasingly complex and confusing. Something that requires them to join forces if they are going to find out the truth. 

‘Kick Back’ had me feeling so many emotions. KJ made me really care about her characters. Within her fantastic story she made me angry and sad and she made me want to scream at the misogyny the women had to fight against. But I knew Sophie and Cam had this. They were warriors. She also had me ecstatic and joyful in this beautifully observed piece of writing. KJ knows how to write emotionally intense prose. I adore her style. Highly recommended. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Silver Beasts’ by Emma Sterner-Radley

‘Silver Beasts’ is the story of four teenagers chosen to represent their respective counties at the Hall of Explorers, a prestigious training academy. Their aim is to learn all they can before they leave for new lands, where they hope to find a way to escape the silver beasts that threaten their very existence. Cavarra has been blighted by these insects, mutated into metal by absorbing magic. Avelynne, Hale, Sabina and Eleksander must work hard if they are to save their people. Do they have what it takes? And is everything quite as clear cut as they are lead to believe?

This story had impressive world-building, magic, a steampunky vibe and mysteries and secrets that kept me engrossed. But it was also about finding out the truth and discovering who they really were and what they were capable of. The young people began to learn their strengths and weaknesses. I liked seeing how they they grew in confidence and changed as they got to know each other. The writing was skilled and imaginative and I really enjoyed being in Cavarra for a few hours.

It’s obviously the first in a series and left me keen to find out what happens next. I hope Emma Sterner-Radley doesn’t keep us waiting too long.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘A Pinch of Salt: A Towers of the Earth Novella’ by Nita Round

‘A Pinch of Salt: A Towers of the Earth Novella’ is a prequel to a new series by Nita Round. I’m eagerly awaiting the publication of the next book, as this novella laid a great foundation and has me intrigued. Magda is a soldier and diplomat, but has felt the need to disguise herself as a man in order to participate in these roles in her society. Ascara, a soldier in training, is a determined and able woman who has had to fight against the prejudices of those around her. When the pair end up together in hospital, they begin a friendship that leads them in a quest to bring wrongdoers to justice. In a mission to find pirates and the gifted who attacked their friend, they find themselves discovering secrets and lies. Will they succeed? And who are these pirates and gifted individuals? It was quite an adventure finding out.

I must admit to loving a story where tech, unusual powers and a society built on the imagination of a great writer co-exist. This book has all of that. The world envisaged by Nita Round has a steampunk vibe, fantastic characters and the promise of a series that is going to have me completely hooked. This novella whetted my appetite for what is to come. I really enjoyed it.

I was given this ARC for review.