‘A Fae Tale’ is the story of Dovana, a human saved as a child in Lithuania by Roze, a fae. Every year the pair exchange letters and gifts, even though Dovana has moved with her family to Toronto. They have a bond; one that no-one else in Dovana’s life can match. But as time goes on Roze becomes increasingly worried about the future – one that she has never divulged to anyone. Dovana feels the pull to Roze and wants to see be in contact with her more than just once a year. As she begins to look into doing so, she finds out a lot more than she bargained for.
This is an unusual tale, but a very enjoyable one. It’s funny and a bit kooky, but very sweet and romantic too. I loved the settings of Lithuania and Toronto. It’s refreshing to read a story set somewhere different. I also enjoyed the folklore of Lithuania and mixing it with present day Canada. Genevieve McCluer writes great humorous prose and I found myself giggling out loud a few times in the course of reading this book. Her characters are well defined and fun, and she makes her secondary characters come to life as much as the main protagonists. An enjoyable read.
‘The Girl Who Died’ is a creepy, atmospheric tale set in a tiny, isolated hamlet in Iceland. Una is tired of her monotonous life teaching in Rekyavic, for little money. When the chance of moving to somewhere new comes up, she decides to take a leap into the unknown. But moving to a community filled with secrets and odd characters is not what she expected. Far from it.
There’s a darkness and heaviness hanging over the whole story. A feeling that no one is telling the truth. The atmosphere was scary and stifling and, like Una, I didn’t know who to trust. The tension was ramped up and the creepiness quotient was amplified to an almost unbearable level. I couldn’t get enough. The story kept me gripped and surprised me. It’s one I won’t forget.
‘What A Tangled Web’ is the third in the Tangle Valley Romance Series, and is the perfect end to a wonderful series. Focusing on winemaker extraordinaire, Madison, and her chance at love, it is heart-warming, sweet and intensely passionate. When Madison is advised to start investing some of her money, she’s delighted to find that her favourite local breakfast place, The Bacon and Biscuit, is up for sale. And the thought that it’ll give her an excuse to see a lot more of Clementine, the manager, is an added bonus. Clementine has had a difficult life and managing the Biscuit had given her focus and purpose. Just when she’s about to make an offer on the cafe, Madison swoops in and buys it from under her. The entirely oblivious Madison would never intentionally hurt Clementine, so how are they going to deal with each other while Clementine is so devastated?
This story had all of the feel-good factor of the previous two in the series and a whole lot more. The two main characters were adorable and I found myself seeing Madison in a new light. She had moved on from the injured feelings of ‘Two To Tangle’, and we could see who she really was and how she ticked. Clementine was brilliant at her job, but her confidence levels were precarious. One knock and she was likely to topple. I wanted to hug her. I wanted this relationship to work and was cheering them on throughout. But they had to learn about themselves as individuals before they could be together.
This was the happiest ending to the most amazing trilogy. Melissa Brayden pulled all of the elements together, wrapped them up in a bow, and presented the reader with Happily Ever After to the max!
‘The Rose Code’ is a stunning book. A mixture of historical fiction, suspense, mystery and passion. It’s the story of three young women who find themselves working at Bletchley Park, doing top-secret codebreaking – work they will never be allowed to divulge for decades. Osla, the well-connected deb, Mab, an East End girl determined to make something of her life, and Beth, a downtrodden twenty-something with a sharp and amazing mind. We follow their lives as they become vital cogs in the wheel during WW11, saving the Allies in secret, and trying to find some sort of happiness amongst the chaos of war.
The story jumped back and forward between the war years and post-war Britain. Tying it in with real events and with more than a spattering of real-life figures added to the excitement and intensity. I loved finding out about Bletchley Park when it was the secret hub of those trying to crack the Enigma codes. I’ve visited it and found it utterly fascinating – but this book brought it to life for me, with wonderful characters and a top-notch story. It was tense and full of suspense, with a fantastic mystery at its heart. The best book of the year for me.
Another 5 Star review for ‘The Allure of the Night Train’:
“I’ll preface this review with that I don’t read much erotica, but when a friend of mine said she’d written some under a pseudonym and asked if I wanted to take a look, I of course said yes. And I’m so glad I did! The Allure of the Night Train by Pumpkin Spice is a collection of three sapphic, train-related short stories: The Driver, The Night Train, The Club Car. All are equally delicious but my favourite was the first one, The Driver with its sexy art museum theme. Although all three stories are hot with some sweetness, perfectly given consent, and interesting levels of spice, so you can’t go wrong with any of them. A great little read!”
Chase Stinsen is a principled archaeologist who ends up in some yucky, mucky situations, always hoping to discover and save treasures for the benefit of all humanity. Rayne Marcellus tends towards the less lawful path. She keeps beating Chase to finds that she sells to unscrupulous rich men, instead of giving to the museums Chase favours. The women worked together in the past and have a difficult relationship due to Rayne screwing Chase over. When Rayne asks her to help find the fabled Golden Trinity, to prevent it from falling into the hands of a man who would stop at nothing to possess it, can Chase trust her?
The story has an exciting and atmospheric start and the the adventure continues in the same vein. The archaeological and historical details are fascinating and give another layer of interest that hooked me from the beginning. Add to that the interpersonal dynamics between the two main characters and Robyn Nyx has a winner on her hands. But it was about so much more than adventure and mystery, although those were expertly done. The personal discoveries for Chase and Rayne and the realisations they came to – those were definitely stand out elements for me. There were powerful emotions, not just about the growing feelings the women had for each other, but for the peoples of the Amazon. The danger from incursions by treasure hunters and loggers made me want to weep for them. The setting was exquisitely described, so much so that I could almost feel the heat and humidity as I read. The creepy fear that could never leave them as they traversed through thick, lush jungle, with snakes and worse just ready to pounce. The denouement was thrilling, heart-stopping and full of wonder. I wait in eager anticipation for the next great adventure from this pair.
And for lovers of lesfic, there are a few wonderful Easter Eggs in this book. I almost cried out in delight at the mention of some names and places from another favourite author of mine. I’ll leave you to find them for yourself – but suffice to say, the three I found made me a very happy reader.
‘Tracing Invisible Threads’ by C Fonseca is the story of Eleanor, a well-known photographer who has returned home to Melbourne after many years abroad. As well as spending time with her family, she has a burning desire to solve a mystery left after the death of her beloved aunt, Helen. Helen died in a natural disaster in China and her returned belongings included a trunk, with very old papers and photographs. Alexa Bellamy, a researcher and librarian at the state library is given the task of finding out what the papers and photos are and why Helen had them. When the two women begin to work together to solve the puzzle, an attraction grows, but are either of them ready for a serious relationship? Is Eleanor ready to stay in Australia – and is Alexa going to let herself believe she can be happy?
I loved the mystery within this story. I adore it when a romance has another element – and a fascinating one at that. This story really kept my attention. I was as keen to find out about the people in the old photographs. And I was intrigued as to why Helen had them with her. The Melbourne setting was a big plus for me. I got to know more about its history, the people who lived there in the early days, and the outlying areas around the city. It’s a joy to read a book from places we don’t always get to read about. I loved the two main characters. They sparked off of each other and became something more when they were together. Alexa’s Grandmother, Grace was a brilliant character. So full of life. A great story.
‘A Fatal Affair’ by Faith Martin is a wonderful mystery set in 1960s England, when women police officers were expected to make the tea and mop up the tears of the female victims of crime. But Trudy Loveday is slowly fighting her way out of that stereotype, as she pairs up with the elderly coroner Clement Ryder to solve another baffling case. This time a beautiful young woman is murdered and displayed in a bizarre manner in a village on May Day. Soon after her boyfriend is found hanged in a barn. The unlikely investigators begin to look into the deaths and soon discover secrets some would rather stay hidden.
It was a perfectly plotted story, with likeable main characters and a fascinating look at life in 60s Britain. The author didn’t just stick to the point of view of Trudy and Clement, but we also got a glimpse of the inner thoughts and reactions of many characters- some of them under suspicion. This was an interesting and very effective choice. I found myself transported to a world long gone, but still very relevant. There was something cosy yet shocking about the story. All of the elements of an English village mystery were there, but underneath there were terrible secrets and lies. I loved it and plan to read more in this particular series.
Merrily Watkins is the new vicar in a small Herefordshire village. Women priests in the Church of England are still fairly unusual in the late 1990s and although some villagers are friendly, others seem resistant. But as time goes on she begins to wonder if the resistance is due to her gender or something rather more disturbing.
This is a beautifully written and perfectly executed mystery with a decidedly spooky element. Merrily and her teenage daughter Jane try to settle into the vicarage and the community, but they become aware that there is much more going on underneath. Things no one wants to talk about openly. The gradual teasing build up to the reveal is masterfully done and I did not see any of it coming. And the best bit? Finding out that this is only book one in the series, and I have many more hours ahead of me with Merrily Watkins. Highly recommended.
‘The Castaways’ by Lucy Clarke is the story of two sisters; one lost after her plane to a small Fijian island disappears, the other on a quest to find her. Erin cannot let it go. When everyone else wants to move on, she becomes obsessed and makes it her goal in life to find out what happened. The chapters move between then and now, between each sister, giving us insight into their relationship as well as how they function as individuals.
You will not be able to put it down. There’s a sense of foreboding, tension and suspense that never lets up. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, and takes the reader inside the minds of the characters and to far off places. The twists in the tale were astounding and did not come out as I expected. I was gripped from start to finish.