Review of 'Lost & Found' by Elle Hyden

‘Lost & Found’ by Elle Hyden is completely enchanting and heartwarming. This mystical romance is the story of Rea, an agricultural landowner trying her best to work in harmony with the planet and with the plants and animals on it. Still grieving for her wife, she puts all of her energies into the local community, but would dearly love to find a soul-mate. Selina is a botanist with Native American ancestry and shares many of the same ideas and traits with Rea. These two women are perfect for each other, and with a little push here and there, from some mysterious beings, they might just make it. 

Elle Hyden is a new author to me and I was very impressed by her style. The novel is captivating and immersive from the start. I loved her descriptions of the landscape and scenery, and she has created two very compelling main characters. I felt an affinity for both of them. They felt like real people, with real problems. Rea could never quite believe someone as beautiful as Selina could ever be attracted to her, but we see that love and desire comes in all shapes and sizes. Selina had a spiritual grace that drew people to her. The story is romantic and tender and very well written. I look forward to more from this author in the future.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'Next In Line For Love' by Harper Bliss

Ali Lennox is the thirty-five year old daughter of Jeffrey Lewis, CEO of Lennox Breweries, one of the most important companies in America. When she’s called home from a 10 year hiatus, she realises it’s time to buckle down and take her place in the company. Jill Gold is the fifty-something COO charged with getting her ready to take over. An attraction develops that both realise could cause enormous problems for their business relationship. Will they act on their feelings? Or will business have to come first?

‘Next In Line For Love’ is an interesting take on the age-gap romance trope. Family dynamics and professional responsibilities clash in this lovely romance. Ali comes across much younger than her age at first, but when we find out her family history it is easy to see why. I liked her. She was willing to step up when it mattered. Jill was a dedicated business-woman whose life revolves around her job. But she was also a kind, thoughtful and caring person. Not what one would expect from someone who has made it to the top in her industry. She has avoided becoming hard and jaded. I enjoyed seeing the two

women navigate their feeling for each other whilst taking into account the needs of the company. An enjoyable story.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'One Walk In Winter' by Georgia Beers

‘One Walk In Winter’ by Georgia Beers is that perfect combination of idyllic setting, feel-good romance and a beautiful ending that had me sighing in contentment. Olivia has worked hard to get where she is in her career, but the top job has eluded her so far. Corporate America hasn’t got past the old boy network and it shows in the lack of innovation and ideas at the Evergreen Spa Resort. When a new and inexperienced manager turns up to take the job Olivia thinks should be hers, she finds it hard to keep her displeasure to herself. Hayley is the seemingly irresponsible youngest child of the Markham clan. When her father gives her a last chance to prove herself, she has no choice but to give it a shot. Especially since he’s cut off her allowance. But Hayley is an artist at heart and finds it difficult to be the person her father wants her to be. An encounter in the woods with a beautiful woman lifts her spirits – but when they both realise the truth, it’s never going to be easy.

I really liked Olivia. She was conscientious, determined and great at her job. She was a people person and perfect for the job. I wanted her to find love too though, as that side of her life had been put on hold while she concentrated on her career. Her family were supportive and her mother was a gem. Hayley had an uphill struggle, however hard she tried. Forcing someone to be what you want is not a good idea in any scenario. She blossomed when she was out in the countryside taking photos. Her heart soared when she painted. Seeing the two women get to know each other properly –  after the initial wow intro – was beautiful. It was never just a chemical reaction between them – there was so much more. It was bout knowing what you really want, and more importantly, what you need. It was about healing and love and passion. A truly heat-warming story. I loved it. 

I was given this ARC for review.

My Top 12 Books of 2019

I found it so difficult to narrow down my list of favourite books this year. And even more difficult put them in order of preference. I loved them all. So, this is my top twelve,  and in alphabetical order. I highly recommend all of these books and will certainly be re-reading them again in 2020. 

Alone by E.J. Noyes

Blood of the Pack by Jenny Frame

Borage by Gill McKnight

Breathe by Cari Hunter

Coming Home by K.J.

Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones

Galileo by Ann McMan

Legacy by Charlotte Greene

Spinning Tales by Brey Willows

Steel City Confidential by Anne Hagan

The Sovereign of Psiere by K Aten

Uncharted by Robyn Nyx

Review of 'Donning The Beard' by E.A. Kafkalas

‘Donning The Beard’ is a beautifully written historical romance, set as the French Revolution begins to take hold. Madeline is a servant girl, brought to live in the household where her aunt works for the high-ranking nobleman Lord Guillemot. She becomes the trusted friend and confidante of the daughter of the house, Gabrielle. Their feelings for each other become more intense as the years go by, and come to a head when it is time for Gabrielle’s father to find her a husband. Neither know what these feelings mean, as they have nothing to compare them to, but they both know that Gabrielle being forced to marry is something they can never contemplate. When the situation becomes dangerous, Madeline is force to take drastic action, and disguise herself as a man to save Gabrielle. But that is only the start of their troubles. Can they ever be together? How can Madeline keep up the pretence? 

First of all, I loved the historical aspect of the story. The characters were affected in many ways by the political and social machinations of the time. Their love would never be accepted, no matter where they lived, so they had to find a way to fool everyone. It was a high risk game. The tension was perfectly pitched and I could not stop reading. The characters were compelling and I wanted to know more. Madeline was clever and talented and could never just accept her station in life. She showed such bravery and her adoration for Gabrielle helped her through difficult times. Gabrielle was no shrinking violet either. She knew what she wanted and was willing to risk everything for love. The story was romantic and emotional, with passion and love evident throughout. An excellent tale.

I was given this ARC for review.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Donning-Beard-Kafkalas-ebook/dp/B082VH4FPZ/

https://www.amazon.com/Donning-Beard-Kafkalas-ebook/dp/B082VH4FPZ/

Review of 'The Roommate Arrangement' by Jae

With ‘The Roommate Arrangement’ Jae has captured my heart yet again. She doesn’t put a foot wrong as she tells a beautiful and tender story, with characters I cared for. 

Stephanie Renshaw is a struggling stand- up comic . She has decided that it’s time to stop going on the road and concentrate on making it in LA. She needs an apartment near the comedy clubs and the one she wants won’t rent to roommates or singles. She has to find someone willing to be her fake girlfriend. Rae Coleman is an ex-cop and now works security at a L.A. comedy club where Steph has been trying to get a chance to headline. Having been injured on duty, her life as a cop had to end and she is trying to just get through each day the best she can. Her need for an apartment close to work is for a different reason, but she’s not about to open up and tell Steph, or anyone else, what that is. When Steph suggests  they share and explains the need for a fake relationship Rae agrees. Can they pull it off without the landlord finding out? 

It’s slow and sweet as they get to know each other. Jae gives them time to realise that they are both worth loving, to get past things that have been holding them back. Steph was a joker, but underneath, so kind. Rae was a bit of a wounded soul and seeing her respond to Steph was beautiful. Claire and Lana from ‘Just for Show’, also a fake relationship story, turn up. I loved that she brought in characters from other stories she has written. It works. I really enjoyed it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Blood From A Stone’ by Rose Madon

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Lark is homeless and desperate for money after being framed for a crime she didn’t commit. She answers an ad to sell some of her blood to a stranger. Thea is the older woman buying blood. But why? Vampires aren’t real, are they? When the issue of sex comes up, will Lark take that step – especially since she’s not at all sure who or what Thea is?

Lark is down on her luck but hasn’t lost her sense of humour. I really liked her and wanted her to find a way out of her situation. Since I love vampire stories I wanted her to find it with Thea. Thea was unexpected in many ways.  Could she ever be with someone in a relationship? I could understand why she would worry about people finding out her true nature. It’s sexy but also quite touching and tender. The story was very well-written and I hope to read more from this author in the future.

I was given this ARC for review.

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Review of 'Milton' by Sam Skyborne

I’ve come to look forward to a new short story from Sam Skyborne.’Milton’ is a very different one, dealing with an aspect of life rarely told in lesbian fiction. Milton is an older woman, a grandmother, who has been left badly injured after an accident. Now living with her family, she requires care. Maybe for some people that would mean the end of any chance at love or a fulfilling life. Can Milton ever get past it? 

The first impression I got of her was that she was a very strong-minded woman, with a forceful personality. Yes, she was infuriating and grumpy, but who wouldn’t be? I liked her. Beatrice was a whirlwind of a woman. Would she be able to jostle Milton out of her dark mood and push her to do more? I’ll let you find out for yourself. 

For me, ‘Milton’ was a story of determination.  And with hope for a life beyond what one might have thought still possible. A lovely and thought-provoking tale. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'Someone To Love' by Jenny Frame

Davina Trent is a divorce lawyer and doesn’t believe in marriage or family.  When her cousin dies and she’s left to look after his kids, her answer is to get rid of them to boarding schools as quickly as possible. In the meantime she needs a nanny.

Wendy Darling wants kids and a family of her own. Until that happens,  she’s working as a nanny, and a job with ice queen divorce lawyer Davina Trent will help her get back on her feet financially after a bad breakup.  But she’s shocked and dismayed at Trent’s attitude to the kids and her responsibilities. She wants to help Trent see that being part of a family can be wonderful. Can two women with such opposing views of the world ever be together – irrespective of the smoking hot attraction between them?

Trent is another butch character to crush over, and very different from any of the others Jenny Frame has written. She’s like a wounded animal, retreating into a tough and hard persona. But that’s not the real her. Seeing Wendy chip away at the ice, slowly but surely, was wonderful. We know Trent from her role in ‘Unexpected’ and I found it fascinating to see a side of her I didn’t realise was there. Dale and Becca are back, along with their two kids. They play an important part in the story and I really enjoyed being with them again. The interaction between Trent and Dale was especially sweet and endearing.

Wendy was a warm and loving character and the perfect person to bring Trent and the children together. She was younger than Trent, but wiser in a lot of ways. Their attraction was always going to be a problem given the age gap and the boss/employee thing – but who can resist true love?  It was about getting to be who you really want to be. About finding the love of your life and the family you want and need. A really great story.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of 'Legacy' by Charlotte Greene

‘Legacy’ is a scary, creepy story that had me jumping out of my skin. It was brilliant. Jo and Carter are cousins and have spent their whole lives taking vacations in the family cabin in the mountains. But after a few years of neglect, the cabin is in need of repair and a good cleaning out. With a few friends, they hike to the remote cabin and hope to spend a couple of relaxing weeks sorting it out. The trip is anything but relaxing though. Strange occurrences give Jo cause for concern, but when it starts to become dangerous, and people get hurt, she has to start thinking the unthinkable. Meeting the most gorgeous woman out of the blue takes her mind off it for a moment, but all of the women have to admit that the cabin, and the mountain are not safe places to be.

The creeping tension is beautifully done and I was seriously spooked. Charlotte Greene ramps up the fear factor slowly and with delicate precision. Her masterful writing is so suited to this genre and I can’t imagine anyone doing it better. She weaves the relationship dynamics of the group, with references to the past and manages to introduce the scary elements bit by bit, never overdoing it. There were some surprising twist to the tale and some lovely romantic moments too. Jo’s burgeoning relationship with ranger Andy was tender and sweet, but also had an intensity that caught my breath. It was an amazing story, about family, love, history and fulfilment. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.