‘Made in London’ by Clare Lydon is the sixth story in her London series. It is the story of single mum Heidi, a wedding photographer, and Eden, a marketing whizz. Neither has dated in a very long time and for very different reasons. Fate just seems to keep bringing them together and despite their dating reservations they find that they can’t stop thinking about the other. Heidi was hard-working and committed to her career but her daughter Maya would always come first. Would Eden be able to get over her past, a past that made very very wary of dating someone with kids? She had spent so long building a structured life that definitely did not involve children or family. For Heidi, family was everything.
I really liked Heidi. She was a great mum, fun and kind. And she was also really hot. Eden was a complex character with reasons of her own to live as she did. I hoped that she would see that there could be so much more to life. Heidi was the perfect woman to coax her. There was some outrageously funny moments as I have come to expect from Clare Lydon. One in particular had me in fits of giggles. The love story felt so right, so natural. It was about two people who had to find a way past certain obstacles in order to be together. I feel that I want to go back and read the whole series from the start. The links between all of the stories has been so well done. Another winner from Ms Lydon.
‘Coming Home’ is my favourite book of the entire year. It’s the story of teacher Sam Markson and famous American actress, Abigail Taylor. When Sam is asked to teach Abigail’s daughter Grace for three months while she is filming a movie in Melbourne little does she know she will meet the woman of her dreams. I really liked the Melbourne setting. It was refreshing to read a sapphic fiction book set in a different place.
The characters were very engaging. Sam is so funny and adorable. She fancies Abigail even before she meets her and it’s sweet to see her get all goofy when she finally does. She is one of those people who knows exactly how to make every single person she meets feel at ease. Abby is lovely and a great mum. She’s so sexy too. The relationship between the two women gave me all the feels. It was sweet and I was willing them on the whole way. I also loved the dynamic between Sam and Abby’s daughter, Grace. It was very loving and heart-warming. As I have come to expect from K.J., the humour was beautifully done. It was so natural and infectious and I loved the Australianisms. I really enjoyed the writing style. I was able to enter that world and feel a part of it . I found myself having such an emotional reaction to this story. How could I feel so invested in two fictional characters? Exceptional writing, that’s why. Highly recommended.
Lauren Montgomery, a New York advertising executive, inherits an inn in England at just the right time. Needing to get away from a bad situation at home she jumps at the chance to go there. Initially she sees an opportunity to do it up and flip it. Camden Crawley is a local in Netherfield and a Gin distiller. She likes the pub the way it is and is not at all happy that this interloper could change it, and with it the character of the village. Will Lauren even listen to her views?
Of course, being a romance by the wonderful Aurora Rey, the women are drawn to each other and begin to see that initial impressions are not always correct. Cam is adorably grumpy. To outsiders she comes across as not caring. But she does. She cares about the things that are important to her. I liked Lauren from the start. I hoped she would love life in England and see that Cam was perfect for her. She was kind, clever and lovely to everyone she came into contact with. There was a great group of supporting characters – and I must say that I loved that there was a Kitty amongst them!
Aurora Rey is so good at setting the scene. Seeing a small Derbyshire village through her eyes – and Lauren’s eyes in effect was fascinating. She understands her characters and paints a beautiful picture of where they are and those around them. All in all a lovely story.
‘Breathe’ by Cari Hunter is the story of asthmatic paramedic, Jemima Pardon (Jem), the unluckiest woman in England. Or so she thinks. Meeting cherry, fun police officer Rosie Jones might be the start of something different in her life. They keep bumping into each other on call-outs and it’s full-on excitement from the beginning.
Cari Hunter’s sense of humour is a mixture of leg-pulling, sarcasm and the gallows humour that anyone working in the emergency services has to adopt to survive. The banter between the main characters is brilliant. It is so real and natural . The language and local lingo and dialect pulls the reader into the world of her characters in a way I’ve never seen with other authors. It’s hilarious. Also Cari Hunter- you make me starving every time I read one of your books! From dunking biscuits to roast dinners and hot buttered toast, I need to eat after every chapter.
The story itself is tightly plotted and full of action and excitement. The two women find themselves in danger more than once and Ms Hunter had me on the edge of my seat. I’m totally in awe of Cari Hunter. Her skill as a storyteller is unparalleled. I loved this book and highly recommend it.
‘Before Now’ by Joy Argento is a a mixture of modern day romance and historical fiction. Delany Payton agrees to meet a friend of a friend for a date with benefits. But it doesn’t turn out the way she expected. Jade Taylor is drop dead gorgeous and sex would be very welcome, but she feels something for this woman she can’t explain. She feels she’s met her before – in a lifetime long ago.
The story goes back and forth between 15th century Scotland and present day New York State. Isobel and Heather’s love in the past was refreshing and beautiful but how could it ever work out? I really wanted it to, but feared the worst. Scotland in 1466 was described in wonderful detail. I enjoyed this part of the story. Delany and Jade’s story was one that was inextricably linked with theirs. I hoped that they could find happiness. There was some welcome humour and a bit of angst. An interesting story well told.
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.
‘Fianna The Gold’ by Louisa Kelley is a tale of dragons, fantastical spells and skilful world-building. There’s also an interesting love story with some heat and passion. Abbie has a very weird experience in the woods and struggles to understand what is happening to her. When she is discovered by three shape-shifting dragons, she begins to understand what is going on. A conniving human who knows Abbie’s secret is determined to take advantage – and there’s also the threat from an ancient dragon with an evil agenda. There’s certainly plenty to keep the reader’s interest.
This is the kind of story that would look amazing on screen. I could imagine it so well, as the descriptive writing drew me in. This is the first in a series and it was a good start to what promises to be an exciting world. I’m looking forward to finding out more about the Draca and their land. I really liked Fianna. She was a grown-up, knew what she wanted and found it. Abbie was impish and fun and complemented her perfectly. This was their story. The author laid a fascinating foundation with this book.
Destiny of hearts by Karen Klyne is a fitting end to a wonderful series. It was good to be back in Caysher and meeting the women we got to know in book one, ‘Parallel Lives’. I didn’t realise how much I’d missed Berran. I even missed old vinegar tits herself, Salin! Kaitlin is back and with news that Berran will not like. It was never going to be an easy reconciliation. Karen Klyne managed to deal with some deep emotions and let us see more facets of each character. There was also some very thoughtful questioning of how the society should continue in the future. Should they remain so insular or go out into the world more? The relationship between Kaitlin and Berran was tortured at times but the heat was always there. And I found myself really rooting for them – even though I have been a big fan of Tannus throughout. I really enjoyed this story and was so happy that it concluded in a beautifully satisfying way.
‘The Secrets We Kept’ by Lara Prescott is a historical fiction about a well-known twentieth century figure, Boris Pasternak. How his famous novel ‘Doctor Zhivago’ came to be published, the people involved and the lasting effects on those around him. It also deals with a group of women working for the secret agencies of the US government. And it is their story that I found much more interesting. I didn’t like Pasternak or his lover Olga. They were self- absorbed individuals who ruined the lives of those around them. But the young women of the agencies were fascinating. Especially the love story between two of the women. Sadly this was the fifties and a lesbian love story was never going to be easy. I enjoyed the way the author used first person accounts of a multitude of different characters. It worked very well. She also has a beautifully vivid writing style that appealed to me. I found the descriptions of life for women at that time very revealing. Being better than the men didn’t matter. They were frozen out of the top jobs and disregarded. A very impressive novel.
‘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.