Review of ‘Death Before Dessert’ by A.E. Radley

‘Death Before Dessert’ is a feel-good kind of book. You can’t fail to be drawn in by the setting, excellent plot and loveable characters. A cozy mystery set in a small English village, it features a new dynamic duo, Clara Harrington and her irrepressible aunt, Vanessa. Clara has left London after losing her job and home all in the one week. Her mystery writer aunt has offered her a place to stay and the chance to take stock. But one thing she didn’t expect was a murder in the country house next door – and an elderly relative determined to solve it before the police.

I loved Vanessa’s gleeful demeanour. She had a wicked sense of humour and loved a good real-life mystery. There was no way Clara was going to stop her investigating when her reviled next-door neighbour dies in the middle of a dinner party. Clara was sweet and kind and prone to blushing profusely when in the presence of a certain beautiful woman. The inter-generational element to the investigate partnership was a winner. A series with this pair is going to be wonderful and I can’t wait to read the next in the series. A.E. Radley has given us cozy mystery at its best. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Amazon Links :

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Before-Dessert-Vanessa-Harrington/dp/1912684322/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Before-Dessert-Vanessa-Harrington-ebook/dp/B085B54PLV/

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 ‘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 ‘Love For Auction’ by Karen Klyne

‘Love For Auction’ is a story about two women getting to know themselves as well as each other. A nice romance with a few bumps along the way. Philippa Young is an estate agent and auctioneer living in a small English village, after making her name and fortune in London. She’s a love-em and leave-em type and doesn’t see that changing as she reaches her mid-forties. When she is hired to sell the family home left to Kim after her father dies, her life takes a new turn. She’s very attracted to Kim, but she a lot younger and seemingly straight. Will they be able to get past Phil’s reputation and Kim’s inexperience?

I liked the village setting and the minor characters. It felt very real and relatable. Phil was a woman at a crossroads and it was interesting seeing her struggle with her past and her hopes for the future. Kim’s story was multi-layered. She had issues from the past that had to be faced head on. Romantic with some angst along the way.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Pleasure Workers’ by Annette Mori

‘Pleasure Workers’ by Annette Mori is the follow-up to ’The Trophy Wives Club’ by Ali Spooner. These two authors have managed to weave some wonderful stories together. In ‘Pleasure Workers’ we find out the backstory of Alex, the handy-woman taken on at the TWC – but she also performs some special services upstairs. How she got to Atlanta is mired in controversy and she has to keep under the radar. Meeting one of the rich socialites in Sisters lesbian bar turns her head, but can she get past the different social status and the money? As a proud woman who makes her own way in life, it won’t be easy. Danna Nichols, a recent widow, joins the spa at the insistence of a friend and realises what she’s been missing. But it’s the tall mysterious butch doing odd jobs that has caught her eye. 

Alex’s story was fascinating and certainly a story of our time. I can imagine meany readers will fall for her – and when they read about those aforementioned special services, they’ll be hooked. I really liked Danna too. Although from a very privileged background, she was a good woman who insisted on putting back in to society. I really wanted her to have her happy ever after. There was also a great collection of supporting characters. They really helped make the story resonate with me. The story was very sweet and fairly low on angst, which I appreciated. Sometimes that’s exactly what you are in the mood for. When the sex scenes came into play, they were absolutely scorching. And with some very interesting techniques! I really enjoyed it. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Reservations of the Heart’ by T.B. Markinson

‘Reservations of the Heart’ is funny, romantic and very, very sexy. Stella Gilbert is a successful doctor and med school professor, but her personal life is a mess. Divorced and convinced that no woman can ever be really trusted she makes it clear that a relationship is the last thing she wants. Aurora Shirley May just be the woman to make her rethink her red lines though. Working on a temp basis in the med school, organising room reservations, she catches Stella’s attention and the two begin something that neither expect . 

I really liked both of these characters and found their interactions fascinating. They had each convinced themselves that life was going to do what they wanted – and failed to realise that life doesn’t work that way. Seeing them slowly change and grow, with a little push here and there from family and friends was sweet and heart-warming. Stella’s daughter was refreshing and let us see a completely different side of the doc. Aurora was insightful when it can to other people – but boy did she have blinkers on when it came to her own life. The physical side of their relationship was scorching! But it was the romance and emotional journey that really appealed to me most about this book. I loved it.

I was given this ARC for review. 

Review of ‘The Long Shot’ by A.L. Brooks

Golf, family friction and the most adorable love story. That is ‘The Long Shot’ by A.L. Brooks. Morgan has yet to win a major – and as the daughter of a multiple major winner father the pressure is always there. She’s also been unlucky in love and comes across to the media and public as cold. In reality she’s anything but. When a tv company wants to make a documentary about the women’s game with her as the main focus, she’s not keen. Producer Adrienne is respected and a supportive mentor to those in her crew. She’s not about to shaft Morgan, but Morgan doesn’t know that. Their powerful attraction is  a no-no while they are working together on the documentary. But I’ve rarely rooted for a couple more than this pair. 

I loved Morgan. She was vulnerable due to past heartache and had a lot to deal with regarding family issues. But she was an absolute sweetheart. Adrienne was quite a bit older than her and worried about the age-gap. Morgan was drawn to her immediately and who could blame her? Their story was tender and loving and had me swooning. I especially liked that a more mature character got to shine. An excellent story. Highly recommended. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Courier’s Run’ by Ennis Rook Bashe

couriers

‘Courier’s Run’ by Ennis Rook Bashe is set in a dystopian Scotland. Courier is one of many sisters engineered to thrive and survive in a post-apocalyptic world. She’s supposed to follow orders and work against the remaining humans, but this clone has a mind of her own. When she gets to meet real people, and one especially, she has to decide where her priorities lie.

This novella certainly grabbed my interest.  The world-building was well done, and I wanted to know more about this particular version of Scotland. The premise was a mixture of dystopian, sci-fi, paranormal and romance. And I liked how the elements came together. Seeing the world and the people through Courier’s eyes made me realise that I’d like to find out more about how it all came to be – and what happens next to Courier and Sear. A good story with hints of more to come.

I was given this ARC for review.

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Review of ‘A Lesson in Love’ by Harper Bliss

‘A Lesson in Love’ by Harper Bliss is the third book in the Village Romance Series. And it’s excellent. The story is told in first person, alternating between Oxford Literature Professor, Helen and DPhil Student, Rory –  who also happens to be part of the aristocratic Carlisle family of Upper Chewford. This is an age-gap romance – one of my favourite tropes, and one that Harper Bliss does so well. When Helen agrees to be Rory’s academic supervisor for her Doctorate, she cannot imagine the effect that one decision will have on her life. She has been living a secret double life writing cozy mysteries set in Chewford and the stress of keeping that from friends and colleagues is eating her up. She knows she needs to make changes in her life, but becoming involved with a student over twenty years younger seems too big a step to take. Rory finds herself drawn to the professor and can’t seem to keep away. 

The dynamic between the pair is entrancing. I always wondered about Helen, as small teasers appeared in the previous two books in the series. I wanted to know who this woman was. And I was not surprised that Rory found her irresistible too. The intense emotional connection was evident from the start. Rory just had to make Helen see that. I could understand Helen being torn. She was older, in a position of responsibility and she’d been hurt in relationships before. But there was no denying her feelings for Rory. The love scenes were utterly exquisite. Poetic infact. But if you’ve read a Harper Bliss book before you’ll know she is the master in this area. I enjoyed being back in the village again and being back with characters I’ve grown to love. The whole series is wonderfully done. I can see me going back and reading all three one after the other, now that I know them all so well. This story was about realising that sometimes we are ready for a change – and it can be the best decision we’ve ever made. I adored it. 

I was given this ARC for review.