Review of ‘The Velvet Anthology’

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I was intrigued by the idea of an anthology dedicated to the most famous of Lesfic reviewers, Velvet Lounger. This collection of stories and poetry by women who know her is a gem. And we are left in no doubt that she has made a huge impression on the community. My favourite story was by MJ Williamz. Dani is attending her first con and finds herself totally enamoured by the funny, kind and eminently fanciable English woman. The sweet, shy con virgin was quite adorable and the blossoming romance between her and Velvet tugged at my heartstrings. Annette Mori can be relied upon to go the quirky route and her guardian angel story hit the spot. Cheyne Curry has me in stitches with her road trip tale. These three stories alone make it a 5 Star read in my books but there is so much more. A host of talented Lesfic writers contributed and made this a must read collection.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Wall South Dakota – Loving Blue in Red States’ by Anne Hagan

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This story hit just the right notes romantically for me. Heidi is a photojournalist on assignment and is driven from Pierre Airport by Dani, a woman who ultimately makes her rethink a lot of things in her life. Dani is fun and loves to tease but has a heart of gold. Heidi seems more reserved and takes her time working out what she wants. I loved the interaction between them. The setting was wonderfully described and made me want to visit sometime! ‘Wall, South Dakota’ is a welcome addition to the series and I felt it spoke more to me as the characters were mature women I could identify with.  I really enjoyed it and look forward to further stories.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

 

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Review of ‘Take My Hand’ by Missouri Vaun

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This is the first in a three part series and introduces us to the characters we will follow and the town of Pine Cone, Georgia.  In ‘Take My Hand’ Clay Cahill, an artist and sometime garage worker  and River Hemsworth, a gallery owner from New York are the main characters. I found the observations of the town and its people fascinating and funny. It’s very much set in ‘fried green tomatoes’ country. The friendships between Clay and her long-time buddies are strong and the basis for the trilogy. Clay is a gorgeous butch who is trying to get over a bad breakup. Her art is on the back burner. River is a warm, friendly woman who is immediately drawn to her. I liked how they interacted and how the sparks flew whenever they were together. The town of Pine Cone must be the most pro-LGBT place in the whole of the south. The acceptance was quite touching. The story was well told and hit the emotional mark for me.

I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Code of Conduct’ by Cheyenne Blue

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Women’s tennis, the Australian outback, love, passion and hot sex. What more could one ask from a lesbian romance? Cheyenne Blue has written another heart-achingly beautiful love story,  with all of the intense feelings, the desire and the ache of a forbidden relationship. Viva Jones just wants to keep winning but her injured wrist makes it look unlikely. It doesn’t help that she feels cheated out of her last match by a bad call from a line judge. Meeting up with said tennis official brings out a side in her that she doesn’t recognise. Can she ever get past it and admit that she rather likes Gabriela Mendaro? Maybe more than likes her. Even if she can forget the line call, relationships between players are officials are forbidden. I really enjoyed this story. I could feel the need the two women had for each other. The want was palpable. The background of the women’s tennis circuit made it all the more interesting for me. Viva’s outback life was fascinating and I love that aspect of  Cheyenne Blue’s novels. The women were operating on very different levels of the game and they both had to find a way of understanding the effect their relationship could have on the other’s professional life. ‘Code of Conduct’ was a lovely story and sure to fill many a heart with joy.

I was given this ARC by Ylva Publishing in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Death in Time’ by Robyn Nyx

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A seriously impressive end to this amazing trilogy! ‘Death in Time’, the third book in the series has Landry dealing with the repercussions of her friend Delaney’s actions. Her work as an extractor for Pulsus, an organisation that goes back in time to make small changes for the good of the future, is becoming more difficult. And it’s the emotional toll not the physical that worries her most. She has to face her own past as well as what she really wants for her future with Jade. The mission is full-on action that never lets up. Brooke Jackson adds something a bit different as she is not from their time. I liked her and she really worked as part of the team. The story had a real depth and answered a lot of questions. We got to see a very different side to Landry as she realised what it meant to love someone so completely. And it wasn’t just her love for Jade, but for others in her circle. I felt that they had completed a journey and I am so glad to have gone along for the ride. The whole arc was exceptionally well written. I highly recommend it.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Calling Home’ by Jen Silver

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‘Calling Home’ is a lovely story set at an island writer’s retreat. Sarah Frost is a director of the Frost Foundation and along with general manager and friend , Berry Fields, lives and works there happily. Galen Thomas joins them as their handy-person whilst taking a break from her career as a vet. What seems like a normal week for them as hosts to a group of writers turns out to be something very different. The novel goes in directions I could not have predicted. The relationships between the women are intense. Some forged from a difficult and tumultuous past, others new and tender. There was something quite touching about one particular relationship that I found beautiful. Revelations from forty years ago impact them all and turned everything around. I liked Berry a lot. She was emotionally damaged but found a way to cope. Galen had a quiet strength and was a pillar for Berry. She changed too as she began to take control of her own life. The mystery element of the book really gripped me. I really appreciated the north of England setting and you can tell the author has a real affinity for the area. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and highly recommend it.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Alias’ by Cari Hunter

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‘Alias’ packs a punch from the get-go. A badly injured woman with no memory finds herself in a race to find out why she ended up next to a dead woman in a crashed car in Wales. Detective Bronwyn Pryce may be her only hope to find out. The story is full of suspense and mystery and never lets up. The first person narrative is perfect as we find out what is behind it all at the same time as the woman. Cari Hunter has the most impressive turn of phrase and her use of language adds to the reality of the story. It is funny and true and the characters are expertly imagined. There is also a tenderness and vulnerability that is pitched perfectly. It never wanders into sentimentality but feels real. This is yet another winner from Hunter and it deserves every publishing  industry accolade.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘The Road Ahead’ by A.E. Radley

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‘The Road Ahead’ is a funny and engaging  romance with characters I really liked. Rebecca and Arabella reluctantly end up driving back from Portugal together on Christmas Eve when the computer system goes down at the airport. Two more different women one could not imagine. Rebecca is easy-going and artistic with a simple and uncomplicated view of life. Arabella is uptight, rigid and high maintenance. The journey pushed them together and their interactions are hilarious, touching and poignant at times. I enjoyed seeing how they affected each other. Neither of them were quite what they seemed at the start and grew as people due to the time they spent with each other. Arabella’s complete arse of a fiancé made my blood boil. Oh did I want her to kick him into touch! The story was of a blossoming friendship and a realisation of so much more. It was one of those books that makes you laugh out loud and end with a smile on your face. Wonderful.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘The Pyramid And The Painting’ by Kayt C Peck

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‘The Pryamid and the Painting’ by Kayt C Peck is a fantasy encompassing our world and others hidden from us. This is the second in a series but I don’t believe it is necessary to have read the previous volume in order to enjoy this one. Kidwell is now an important spiritual figure and has been tasked with dealing with evil. She is a prophet and her important  work takes her from home and her  lover Anna. This causes problems in her personal life. The story moves from the jungles of Central America , to New Mexico and The Hague as well as places so fantastic and unfamiliar. The story went in directions I could not have foreseen and I found it fascinating. As she tries to rid the world of evil, seen and unseen, we find out things about her that were truly surprising. It is well written and I was drawn into the story. Kidwell’s emotions were strong and intense and I really felt that in the writing. I enjoyed it.

I was given this ARC by Sapphire Publishing in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Sparks Like Ours’ by Melissa Brayden

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I love the Seven Shores Series by Melissa Brayden and eagerly await the release of each new one. ’Sparks Like Ours’ is the story of professional surfer Gia Malone and her rival for the top spot, Elle Britton. Gia thinks Elle is false and plays up to the media way too much, but she can’t help but notice her killer smile and great body. Elle thinks Gia just doesn’t like her. As they are pushed together in a promo deal they get to know each other and the sparks are definitely there – but can it ever go anywhere when they both are vying to be No1? Again Melissa Brayden has written a beautiful romance that manages to be sweet and endearing at times and very hot and heavy. This woman knows how to write throbbing passion! I enjoyed finding out more about Gia outwith her interaction with her friends Isabel, Hadley and Autumn. They are an amazing group of women who are always there for each other and they pull together for Gia when she needs it most. Seeing her in love and vulnerable was new for them as well as for the reader. I liked Elle a lot. She learned a lot about herself and developed as a character. I wanted her to be the one for Gia. Autumn’s story was lovely and brought all of the friends together in a way that bonded them even more. I won’t spoil why, but it was a highlight for me. Ms Brayden always makes me cry happy tears in her books and ‘Sparks Like Ours’ was no exception. It was so utterly romantic that I couldn’t help myself. I want more of the same please…..

I was given this Arc by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books in return for an honest review.