Review of ‘Marion Lane And The Midnight Murder

‘Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder’ is a wonderful story, with the most fantastic, strange and  imaginative elements. Marion Lane works in a run-down bookshop after a family friend secured her a post there. Or does she? In reality she works for a mysterious investigate organisation, hidden under the streets of London. She must tell no-one and even her own grandmother is oblivious to the reality of Marion’s life. When a co-worker is murdered, Marion must find out the identity of the murderer, to save someone dear and to save the existence of the secret world she has grown to love. 

The premise of a secret world underground is fascinating, and T.A. Willberg uses the most beautiful language and descriptions to pull the reader into the fantasy. I wanted to know what lay in every nook and cranny, and around every corner. It was mysterious and scary. It was exceptionally well-written and left me wanting much, much more of Marion Lane and her life below the streets of London.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘In Our Words’ edited by Victoria Villasenor

‘In Our Words’ is a wonderful anthology of queer stories from black, indigenous and people of colour writers. The selection by Anne Shade is inspired and I loved reading such a variety of well-written stories. I now have some authors, new to me, that I feel compelled to seek out for my next book purchases. Although I enjoyed them all, there are a few stories that took my breath away.

My favourite was ‘Granddaughter of the Dragon’ by Brey Willows. It was a beautiful story of family, love and freedom. Freedom to be who you are and embrace it. Willows is a masterful storyteller, and manages to take the reader to places where anything is possible.

I also loved ‘Sweet Potato’ by Briana Lawrence. The author used imagery and language with such skill that I could see, touch and taste everything her characters did. I certainly want to read more from this particular author in the future.

‘Art Appreciation’ by La Toya Hankins was an empowering story, with a message of hope. I enjoyed the interaction between the two main characters and appreciated how the author developed the characters over the course of a short story.

‘The Depth of Love’ by Anne Shade was an emotional story, with a twist of mythology thrown in. It was a feel-good tale with romance and left me smiling. I would love to know more about the particular mythology she explored in a novel.

This is an excellent anthology, with something for everyone.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Murder-in-Law’ by Veronica Heley

This is the 21st Ellie Quicke mystery, but it does not feature Ellie Quicke. She is mentioned throughout, and it revolves around her family members though. Ellie is on holiday in Canada when he son-in-law is killed during a burglary. It is down to her next door neighbour Susan, with the help of her husband and aunt to solve the case, and clear Ellie’s daughter Diana from suspicion. Diana is the most appalling individual and it is difficult to think that Ellie could be her mother. But even though Susan dislikes her intensely, she loves Ellie and Diana’s kids, so agrees to look into the death. 

This is the first of this series I’ve read, but there is no need to have read the others as it standalone well. It is a really good mystery, written at a hectic pace as befits a house full of kids and a family trying to settle into a new home. It felt so real and the family elements were spot on. I loved the chaos. Susan is a great character and I certainly want to find out more about her in future instalments of the series. I also loved Coralie, the young nanny-in-training, who had a no-nonsense approach that was refreshing. An enjoyable read.

I was given this Arc to review.

Review of ‘Origins’ by Jen Jensen

Jamis Bachman is a ghost hunter, and in this second mystery she finds herself in Arizona trying to help out the new owners of an old house in the desert. Scary apparitions appear each night, but there may be more to it than unhappy spirits. With the help of her friends, she must find out what the ghost wants, before it’s too late.

This is a creepy, scary story, with plenty of twists and turns. Behind it all there are some fascinating historical details, and characters who kept me turning the page. If you’re up for a few frights and like a well-written mystery, then this is the book for you.

I was given this ARC to review.

Lesfic Bard Awards Winners 2020

Lesfic Bard Awards 2020

The results are in for the 2020 Lesfic Bard Awards. This amazing line up of winners again shows the quality and diversity of writing in Lesfic. Congratulations to all of the winners.

Lesfic Bard Awards 2020 WINNERS:

Action Adventure

Julie Tizard

Flight to the Horizon

Airline Captain Kerri Sullivan has a perfect life. Only one thing is missing―a woman to share it with. She’s had plenty of women on the road to success, but she’s never met “the one.” Flight attendant Janine Case is beautiful beyond measure, but comes across as aloof and untouchable. When Kerri and Janine are crewmembers on a flight to Hawaii, an unexpected kiss leads to smoldering attraction.


After Kerri is forced to make an emergency water landing mid-flight and the two women survive a harrowing rescue mission, all Kerri wants to do is follow her heart into Janine’s arms. But Jeanine is hiding a dark secret from her past, one that makes falling in love impossible. She’s on the run from her abusive ex-husband, and she’ll stop at nothing to protect her daughter, even if the cost is her own happiness.

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Flight-Horizon-Julie-Tizard-ebook/dp/B082VBJW24

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Flight-Horizon-Julie-Tizard/dp/1635553318

Drama

Ellen Hoil

Traumatic Love

Dr. Nydia Rogers was stripped of her future long before she had one, she now lives day to day. Her life focused on being a trauma doctor and saving others, not herself. Jo Powers, a cop doing her best to make a difference, is a survivor of domestic violence because of someone she thought was her protector. Chance brings them together, but will real life keep them apart?For the first time in her life, Jo will use every bit of charm and romance to gain the trust of Nydia to soothe both their wounds. Will it be enough to win the heart of the emotionally scarred doctor? Traumatic Love includes themes of surviving domestic violence, abuse, and bullying and is recommended for mature readers.

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Traumatic-Love-Ellen-Hoil-ebook/dp/B08DDHZGGX

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Traumatic-Love-Ellen-Hoil/dp/1948327708

Erotica

TJ Dallas

Pride and the Stranger

Pride and the Stranger, book 2 in the Pride Trilogy, is a lesbian *erotica novel featuring the Seven Deadly Sins. This sequel follows on from The Bartender’s Pride.

The Sins are back in this highly anticipated second installment of the Pride trilogy.

Sexy meets romantic as Lara and Zoe take their relationship to the next level. Unfortunately, our sinful women aren’t so lucky.

A weekend in Brighton turns dark after a horrific truth is uncovered that will change Harry’s life forever, forcing her to make a heartbreaking decision that could tear her and Althea apart. Faced with an impossible choice, nothing will ever be the same again.

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Pride-Stranger-Book-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B08H2JKHBM

Fantasy

LC Mawson

Basics of Spellcraft

BASICS OF SPELLCRAFT is the first book in the Ember Academy for Young Witches YA Urban Fantasy Academy series. If you love kick-ass heroines, Sapphic slow-burn romances, and magical boarding schools, you’ll love this latest fast-paced series in L.C. Mawson’s Snowverse.

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Basics-Spellcraft-Ember-Academy-Witches-ebook/dp/B082853L1Z

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Basics-Spellcraft-Ember-Academy-Witches/dp/B08KH3RY3Z

Fiction

Ellen Hoil

Traumatic Love

Dr. Nydia Rogers was stripped of her future long before she had one, she now lives day to day. Her life focused on being a trauma doctor and saving others, not herself. Jo Powers, a cop doing her best to make a difference, is a survivor of domestic violence because of someone she thought was her protector. Chance brings them together, but will real life keep them apart?For the first time in her life, Jo will use every bit of charm and romance to gain the trust of Nydia to soothe both their wounds. Will it be enough to win the heart of the emotionally scarred doctor? Traumatic Love includes themes of surviving domestic violence, abuse, and bullying and is recommended for mature readers.

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Traumatic-Love-Ellen-Hoil-ebook/dp/B08DDHZGGX

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Traumatic-Love-Ellen-Hoil/dp/1948327708

Historical

Edale Lane

Chaos in Milan

Three powerful merchants, two independent women in love, one masked vigilante.

Love blooms between Florentina and Maddie, but Florentina’s role as the vigilante Night Flyer could lead to her death and Maddie’s broken heart.

Florentina, set on revenge for her father’s murder, creates an alter-ego known as the Night Flyer. Madelena, whose husband was also murdered, hires Florentina as a tutor for her children and love blossoms between them. However, Florentina’s vendetta is fraught with danger, and surprising developments threaten both women’s lives.

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Milan-Three-Night-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B08Q7H6DFX

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Milan-Three-Night-Trilogy/dp/B08PXK13B3

Mystery

Alexi Venice

Stand By Counsel, A Monica Spade Novel

Monica Spade insists she isn’t a trial lawyer, much less one who represents dangerous criminals. Despite her protests, Judge O’Brien orders Monica to serve as standby counsel for a young woman accused of repeatedly stabbing her boyfriend


Setting aside her abject fear, Monica drags herself to the jail to meet her new client, Stela Reiter. A demure Romanian, Stela looks more like a meek librarian than a person capable of overpowering and stabbing a young man to death. Unlike Monica’s other clients, Stela is coy and secretive during their interview.

Meanwhile, Monica’s girlfriend, Shelby St. Claire, is keeping secrets of her own, forcing Monica to question the foundation of their relationship. Cursed with intrepid curiosity, Monica digs into the backgrounds of both women.


Monica uncovers sexual innuendo and layers of international intrigue. Stuck between an unrelenting judge and a killer in a pink cardigan, Monica pursues the truth in court while fighting to keep Shelby and herself out of harm’s way.


Set in in the dead of winter in surprisingly progressive Apple Grove, Wisconsin, Standby Counsel will keep readers’ hearts racing.

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08FRHX7W1

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Standby-Counsel-Monica-Spade-Novel/dp/1456635425

New Author

Maggie McIntyre

Isabels Healing

Do opposites attract? Well, perhaps not always Dynamic and driven, charity director Bel Bridgford planned to write a ground-breaking book on Climate Change until a ten ton truck smashed into her little car and destroyed it, almost killing her in the process. She retreats with her broken bones to a remote cottage in Wales and is forced to hire a personal caregiver for a long summer of recovery and rehabilitation. The young woman who answers the advert is Bryony Morris, a final year medical student from London, clever, cautious, and used to hiding her feelings. Thrown together and alone for most of the time, the two women move on from initial dislike to explore their complicated relationship as they work together on the book. But Bel is still heart-broken after the murder of her fiancée two years before, and Bryony is focused on how to split up from her boyfriend without losing his friendship. As the sparks fly and then turn into an ever more fiercely burning fire of sexual attraction, can either of them survive the summer without breaking the other’s heart? This is a contemporary, passionate story about real women exploring what it truly means to fall in love.

E-Book:https://smile.amazon.com/Isabels-Healing-contemporary-Lesbian-Friends-ebook/dp/B08B3YVH8W

Paperback: https://smile.amazon.com/Isabels-Healing-Isabel-Friends-McIntyre/dp/B08B33T3YJ

Romance

KJ Lesfic

Art of Magic

A story where a touch of love and a slice of life creates a whole lot of magic.


Cath Monroe loves her teaching job, her friends, her family, and her colleagues. They fill her life and her heart. She knows that it’s important to share love with actions and words, but that last one? About the words? That’s a problem. Because when it comes to saying ‘I love you’ to her forever person, Cath discovers that she doesn’t really know anything about love at all.


Then, Rica Diamandis strolls into her life. Rica is all stardust and sexy, and Cath is intrigued. The sudden availability of a romantic blank canvas takes Cath’s breath away. But when her father is taken to hospital with a life-threatening disease, Cath boxes up the romance with Rica, and packs it into the back of her heart. Fortunately, the Universe has other ideas and Cath begins to realise that embracing emotional chaos is actually the art that creates the magic.

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Magic-K-J-ebook/dp/B08DM3WVN1

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Magic-K-J/dp/B08DDT1ZXM

Science Fiction

K. Aten

Remember me, Synthetica

What happens when a woman loses her memory but gains a conscience?

Dr. Alexandra Turing is a roboticist whose intellect is unrivaled in the field of artificial intelligence. While science has always come easy, Alexandra struggles to understand emotional cues and responses. Driven by the legacy of her late great-uncle, she dedicates her life to the Synthetica project at her father’s company, Organic Advancement Solutions (OAS).​

Her life is rebooted when she wakes from a coma, six months after being struck by a car. Traumatic brain injury altered Alex’s senses, her memory, and her personality. Despite the changes, she feels reborn as she navigates her way back into her old life. Part of her new journey includes dating the alluring Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Emily St. John.

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Remember-Me-Synthetica-K-Aten-ebook/dp/B088RMSK1M

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Remember-Me-Synthetica-K-Aten/dp/1619294427

Cover

Julie Tizard

Flight to the Horizon

Airline Captain Kerri Sullivan has a perfect life. Only one thing is missing―a woman to share it with. She’s had plenty of women on the road to success, but she’s never met “the one.” Flight attendant Janine Case is beautiful beyond measure, but comes across as aloof and untouchable. When Kerri and Janine are crewmembers on a flight to Hawaii, an unexpected kiss leads to smoldering attraction.

After Kerri is forced to make an emergency water landing mid-flight and the two women survive a harrowing rescue mission, all Kerri wants to do is follow her heart into Janine’s arms. But Jeanine is hiding a dark secret from her past, one that makes falling in love impossible. She’s on the run from her abusive ex-husband, and she’ll stop at nothing to protect her daughter, even if the cost is her own happiness.

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Flight-Horizon-Julie-Tizard-ebook/dp/B082VBJW24

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Flight-Horizon-Julie-Tizard/dp/1635553318

Winner Erotica Novella:

Erotica

Lyra Hart

Tutor: A First Time Lesbian Romance

My best friend wants to teach me a lesson…
Three years ago, my ex-boyfriend dumped me when he realised that I couldn’t quite ‘get there’ in the bedroom–no matter how hard he tried.

Ever since then, I’ve been too ashamed to date again. I feel broken. Defective.

Now I’m at university, and my best friend Rachel, lesbian hockey star and self-described lady’s woman, has decided to help build my confidence by giving me some ‘private tutoring’. In bed.

She’s convinced that with a bit of hands-on demonstration, she’ll be able to teach me just how much I can enjoy myself between the sheets.

It sounds like the perfect solution. The only problem is, I’ve been desperately in love with Rachel from the moment I set eyes on her.

They were just meant to be lessons. Neither of us expected it to turn into something much more…

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Tutor-First-Time-Lesbian-Romance-ebook/dp/B08KHMTXXL

Review of ‘The Bath Conspiracy’ by Jeanne M Dams

The Bath Conspiracy by Jeanne M Dams is an engaging cozy mystery set in the beautiful English city of Bath, Somerset. Dorothy and her ex-Chief Constable husband Alan are in the habit of getting caught up in mysteries, wherever they go. This time they must clear their names when some loot is found in the boot/trunk of their car. Everything seems tied to the tourist industry of the area, which involves the healing waters and nearby Stonehenge. Can they find out the real culprits before it’s too late – and before things escalate?

Although this is book 24 in the series, I had no problem jumping right in at this point. There is no need to have read any of the previous books to understand this one. I liked that the story centred around an older retired couple and how they used their experiences of life and work to solve the case. The supporting characters were also appealing and there was a lovely family feel about them all. It was also lovely to follow them on their holiday in Bath and to find out about the city and its attractions. An enjoyable way to pass a few hours in the company of a liveable sleuthing couple.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Keepers’ by Kelli Jae Baeli

‘Keepers’ book one in the New Harbor Witches series by Kelli Jae Baeli is a fantastic start to the series, with plenty to grab the reader’s attention. Dane and her sister have been estranged for years, after Penny fled her home town. Dane was left to look after the family bistro and their grandmother, a woman whose very presence sucked the joy out of life. When grandmother dies life changes for the women, and they become aware of a part of their inheritance that is completely unexpected. Strange things begin to happen to them both, and slowly the unexplained becomes clear. How will Dane and Penny cope with their new reality – and how do those around them fit in? 

I felt invested in Dane and Penny’s story from the start and couldn’t put the book down. It’s an excellent mystery with fascinating characters, set in a world the reader can believe in. It’s also very funny and sexy and downright addictive. It left me wanting a whole lot more, so I’ll be reading book 2, ‘Ravens’, ASAP. 

Review of ‘A Death At Seascape House’ by Emma Jameson

‘A Death At Seascape House’ is set on the beautiful Scilly Isles. That in itself was a bonus for me. I love it when authors take us to wonderful places, and let us see them through their eyes. Jem Jago returns to the islands after many years away. She left under a giant cloud, and going back was never going to be easy. Now a librarian, she has been tasked with the job of cataloguing her childhood friend’s vast collection of books and papers. No sooner has she arrived on St Morwenna, when her arch nemesis, the nasty Mrs Edith Reddy is found dead. And who do all the fingers point at? Yes, you’ve got it, Jem Jago. In a bid to clear her name, Jem must find out who the real culprit is, and battle the prejudices of her former neighbours. 

This story worked because it had a very likeable main character in Jem Jago and a cracking mystery that kept me glued to the page. There were plenty of suspects and secrets galore. I liked how we found out about Jem’s years there as a child and teenager, and found out where the animosities came from originally.  We saw growth in her character, and saw how easy it is to blame, but much harder to rethink and forgive. I enjoyed being with Jem and her fellow islanders and look forward to more in this series. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘A Woman To Treasure’ by Ali Vali

‘A Woman to Treasure’ is a cracker of a story. It’s an adventure, a mystery and a love story all rolled into one. Levi Montbard has loved history her whole life, and goes all over the world in search of antiquities. Her fascination with the Templars is particularly important, and when some writings come into her possession, the adventure really begins. Yasmine Hassani is a university professor, with a special interest in women’s studies. She’s an unusual woman in her culture, as she has so far resisted the expected marriage and children route. When she becomes aware of Levi’s quest she has to decide to take a leap, in more ways than one. 

Ali Vali has written a wonderful mystery, with well-researched historical detail and a heart-warming romance at its core. It has beautiful settings  in various parts of the world, with a fantastic group of characters. I particularly loved Louisiana and Morocco, and getting to know Levi and Yasmine’s families there. The story was brilliantly plotted, with stories and revelations that made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. The romance was sweet and endearing and gave me such feelings of joy when they as much as held hands. It was lovely to see the characters grow and change as they got to know each other, becoming who they were meant to be. An excellent book and one I can highly recommend. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Killings at Kingfisher Hill’ by Sophie Hannah

Can an author, other than Agatha Christie, catch the essence of Poirot in their writing? Yes, they most definitely can. Sophie Hannah has Poirot down to a T in ‘The Killings at Kingfisher Hill’. 

When Poirot is called in to investigate a death that the police and authorities have closed the case on, he enters into the lives of a very disfunctional family. With the help of Inspector Catchpool, he has to work out who to believe. And that is not easy. Are any of them to be trusted? Some of the group are the most awful individuals, and anyone with any sense would run a mile in the other direction. Not Poirot. 

Catchpool is the narrator of the story and this works well. He gets given tasks by Poirot, and in these the reader finds out what the important questions are. It works perfectly. It is a proper Poirot with red herrings, twists and turns and a solution I did not see coming. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope that Ms Hannah continues to keep my favourite Belgian detective alive for many more years. 

I was given this ARC to review.