Review of ‘The Life and Times of a Very British Man’ by Kamal Ahmed

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Kamal Ahmed has a wonderfully engaging and easy-going writing style and it is shown to great effect in ‘The Life and Times of a Very British Man. He weaves the story of his family and his upbringing with the story of post World War 2 changes to British society . He is the mixed-race son of an African father and British mother and his experience of Britain from the 1970s onwards was fascinating to me as I grew up at the same time with many of the same cultural highs and lows – but from a different background. As immigration begins to expand and people come from all over the world to settle in Britain he shows how it affected him as an individual and the wider community. I enjoyed reading about his family and how he saw himself fitting in or not with those around him. His perspective was enlightening and really made me think. Seeing events of the recent past from his point of view was an eye opener. An excellent account that kept me enthralled..
I was given this ARC to review.

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Review of ‘The Book Addict’ by Annette Mori

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’The Book Addict’ is a quirky story with an unusual premise and lots of fun. I wouldn’t expect any less from the inimitable Annette Mori. Tanya is a quiet book nerd and severely lacks confidence. When a new bookstore opens in town she is first in line and finds herself drawn to the owner. Elle is a magician and her role in life is to find book lovers who would benefit from an adventure inside their favourite stories. And Tanya is her latest project. Things don’t run smoothly though as Elle and Tanya find themselves embroiled in wizard politics and a fight for what is right.

I enjoyed the magical element of the book and the idea was something I’d never come across. It was intriguing. Tanya was so unsure of herself but she was an amazing woman underneath – she just needed someone to show her. Elle could see all of that and I loved how she tried to get the best out of Tanya. The various other enchanting characters around them were equally fascinating. Some were hilarious, some downright wicked. A lovely story with a feel-good factor.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Against All Odds’ by Kris Bryant, Maggie Cummings and M Ullrich

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‘Against All Odds’ is a heart-achingly beautiful love story. Peyton and Tory meet under tragic circumstances and have to deal with so much together in the aftermath.  The connection between them was intense and true and felt completely natural. It was also unbelievably sexy and the intimate moments captured the feelings they had for each other so well.  I liked getting to know them through their individual chapters. Each of the three authors wrote a character and it really worked.  Their styles intertwined seamlessly and  I hope they may consider doing another book together in this way. The appalling situation that brings them together is full of tension and suspense. It introduces us to Bradley, a class A creep and psycho. Weaving his thoughts through the story was chilling but highly effective. An excellent novel that had me gripped till the very end.

I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Bold Strokes for review.

Review of ‘The Big Uneasy’ by A.E. Radley

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‘The Big Uneasy’ is about love in New Orleans and being open to the possibility that ‘the one’ is the person you least expect. Rebecca and Arabella are on holiday, trying to find out exactly what their relationship means. Ice Queen Arabella needs time to work that out and wonderfully patient Rebecca is willing to wait. Jenn, a resident of New Orleans, has had her heart broken too many times and wants to find the love of her life. She doesn’t know what to make of whirlwind Kathryn, a woman with very definite views about her beloved city. And they are not all complimentary.

First of all I loved being back with Arabella and Rebecca, who we met in ‘The Road Ahead’. I wanted their relationship to develop and for Arabella to become comfortable with her feelings for Rebecca.  She may come across as an Ice Queen, but she was vulnerable and struggling. Kathryn and Jenn’s story was endearing. I didn’t want Jenn to get hurt but I also wanted her to have a chance at love. Would Kathryn be ‘the one’? When they spent time together it was sweet and funny and full of discovery, for both of them. I love AE Radley‘s sense of humour. It is very dry at times and fall off your seat laughing at others. The interactions between both couples and the supporting characters really hit the spot. What struck me though was that the author manages to convey passion and desire with the deftest touch. I was left in no doubt just how much the characters meant to each other.

‘The Big Uneasy’ is a fantastic story and I highly recommend it.

I was given this ARC for review.

The Bravery of Dr Ford by Kitty Kat

The Bravery of Dr Ford by Kitty Kat

It happened once, it was enough

It never goes, the scars so rough.

The laughter rang above it all

Even now my skin will crawl.

I stood before the old, white men

Told my tale and remembered then.

They sneered and smirked, those good old boys

Yet there I showed such grace and poise.

Held up my hand to testify

For every woman I can but try.

Come what may we will prevail

I have no doubt, we cannot fail.

Vote them out, persistence matters

Misogyny, abuse in tatters.

‘Me too!’ the cry, the shout, the yell

Our voices loud, they’ll never quell.

Review of ‘Autumn’s Light’ by Aurora Rey

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Aurora Rey has shown a mastery of evoking setting and this is especially evident in her Cape End romances set in Provincetown. I have loved this entire series and the fact that my favourite characters pop up in this one too is wonderful. ‘Autumn’s Light’ is the story of Graham, a naturalist working on a dolphin spotting boat. She wants her happily ever after but is fed up waiting for it to happen. When she spots a gorgeous woman working one of the lobster boats in the harbour, she tells herself she can keep it casual and no-strings. Mat makes it clear she can’t offer more than that. Can either of them stick to their guns?

Their story was off-the-scale in terms of sexual intensity and emotion. Mat’s journey was complex and I felt my emotions change towards her as the novel progressed. I really liked her and felt great empathy for her. Graham was sweet and caring and I hoped that she would get what she really craved. I loved that we also got to see Graham and Mat interact  with her Aunt Nora and girlfriend Will. We got to see so many sides of Graham this way – as a niece, a friend, a scientist and a lover.

There was a calm, cosy and homely feel right away in the story and the feel-good quotient had me hoping this was not going to be the end of this series. I highly recommend ‘Autumn’s Light’.

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

New Queer Book Shop in Glasgow!

I visited Category Is Books in Glasgow for the first time today. This new Queer bookshop opened recently on South side of Glasgow and has a fantastic selection of new and second hand LGBT+ books as well as badges, T-shirts, greetings cards and zines. I was really impressed by the selection as well as the friendly owners and relaxing ambience. I can see myself being a regular visitor. The store can be found at 34 Allison Street.

Review of ‘Love Like This’ by Melissa Brayden

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Melissa Brayden knows just how to get her reader’s hearts beating faster. Her stories are full of the most joyful romantic moments that literally take my breath away. ‘Love Like This’, the final book in the Seven Shores Series is a perfect example. We have followed the love lives of the group of friends living in the Seven Shores Complex in Venice Beach and this time it’s Hadley’s turn. What she doesn’t know about fashion and how to make customers happy is not worth knowing. She is sweet and caring and a ray of sunshine but has yet to find that special someone who will make her life complete. An eternal optimist, she truly believes that her ‘Big Bang’ moment is just around the corner. Spencer Adair, on the other hand, does not believe in finding a one true love. She’s open to finding someone for now, but not forever. How can these two world views ever come together?

It was wonderful being back with Gia, Isabel, Autumn, Kate, Taylor and Elle. It was like a homecoming for all of them and it felt right. I loved finding out more about Hadley this time as she has always been the happy, thoughtful friend but never centre stage. I adored her even more by the end of this book. I can’t imagine anyone not falling in love with her. We got to see more of her and at a deeper level. After spending so much of her life being there for other people I wanted her to fall in love and get that ‘happy ever after’ she always wanted. I liked that Spencer was so different from Hadley. The contrast really worked well and I couldn’t stop smiling as I read this beautiful romance. As this was the last in the series I read slowly as I didn’t want it to end, but Ms Brayden has rewarded her loyal readers with a feel-good wrap up that will leave us all swooning for days. I highly recommend ‘Love Like This’ – and now I’m off to read the series from the start again!

I was given this Arc by Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley for review.