My Best Books of 2021!

This year has been another difficult one, but authors have stepped up and given us some amazing stories. I struggled to whittle my favourite books of the year down to a reasonable number. There was no way I could stop at a Top Ten, but I managed a Top Fifteen. These are the books that made my year, and I highly recommend each and every one. Here they are, listed in no particular order:

  1. The Tell Tale by Clare Ashton

2. A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry

3. The Island Between Us by Wendy Hudson 

4. The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan 

5. Ignis by KJ

6. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

7. Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily R Austin

8. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

9. The End Of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

10. Her Last Request by Mari Hannah

11. The Dead Of Winter by Nicola Upson

12. Song Of Serenity by Brey Willows

13.The Appeal by Janice Hallett

14. Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife by Alison Weir

15. Shiver by Allie Reynolds

Review of ‘Murder By The Book’ edited by Martin Edwards

I can’t adequately describe the thrill of looking at the contents of ‘Murder By The Book’ and seeing that some of my favourite authors of the Golden Age have stories in it. Gladys Mitchell, Ngaio Marsh and GDH and M Cole to name just a few. There are also stories written later by other writers, many paying homage to that era in their style.

There is a wonderfully informative introduction by Martin Edwards, and each story is prefaced by a piece about each author, what part they played in the genre and their other writings. They are all ‘bibliomysteries’, and all to do with books in some way. The best thing about this type of book is that I have been introduced to some writers that are new to me. I can now add them to my list of authors to check out.

My favourite stories were ‘A Man And His Mother-in-Law by Roy Vickers, ‘Chapter & Verse’ by Ngaio Marsh and ‘A Question of Character’ by Victor Canning. But they were all excellent stories and the perfect way to spend a few hours. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC to review.

Lady Grim 2021 coming 18th September

My story ‘The Shop on Pitkin Lane’ is part of this wonderful anthology due out on 18th September.

Lady Grim 2021 is a collection of stories from some of your favourite authors, just in time for the Halloween season.

There are stories from Adrian J Smith, Annette Mori, Elaine Mattern, Jane Alden, KT Brodland, LL Shelton, Kitty McIntosh, Lila Bruce, Nance Sparks, Ocean, Rita Potter, Serenity Snow, Tiffany E Taylor.

Review of ‘The Bookshop Murder’ by Merryn Allingham

‘The Bookshop Murder’ is an enjoyable cozy mystery set in rural England in the 1950s. Flora Steele owns a bookshop in a quiet village where nothing exciting ever happens. That is until a body is found in her shop. When rumours start flying Flora’s livelihood begins to suffer, so finding out why the body was there becomes vital. With the help of local author Jack Carrington she begins to investigate and finds that her seemingly sleepy village holds a multitude of secrets. 

I love cozy mysteries, so I’m always on the lookout for a new series. This is the first in the Flora Steele Mysteries and I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next. The dynamic between Flora and Jack was engaging. They worked well together and there was a spark of something more. I’d like to see how that pans out in the future. The setting was perfect and the time period made it all the more interesting. A really enjoyable story, with the promise of more to come. 

I was given this ARC for 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 ‘Reserved for Murder’ by Victoria Gilbert.

I adore a cosy mystery – especially one that is done well. ‘Reserved For Murder’ is entertaining, has great characters and a wonderful setting. Charlotte Reed runs the Chapters B&B she inherited from her great aunt. The local book club meets there in her extensive library, and when a world famous author is booked in as part of her tour, Charlotte is delighted. A select few super-fans are booked in too as part of a prize, but when the president of the fan club is found dead, Charlotte and her neighbour Ellen must try and solve the mystery.

This was exactly the kind of mystery I want to read as I while away a few hours relaxing in the garden. It reminded me of the feeling I get when reading an Agatha Christie. It was the perfect small-town mystery, with enough twists and turns and a myriad of suspects, to keep my brain trying to work out whodunnit. I loved the dynamic between Charlotte and Ellen, her elderly neighbour, and the book club members and locals added extra flavour. I look forward to reading more in this series.

I was given this ARC to review.

Look What Arrived In The Mail!

I just had to share this wonderful prize that arrived in the mail today. I recently won a Pride competition run by K Aten. I was thrilled to receive a signed copy of ‘Children of the Stars’, along with postcards from some of Kelly’s other books, bookmarks and badges. Thank you Kelly!

‘Children of the Stars’ was one of my favourite reads of the last year, so I’m delighted to own my own signed copy now. And to top it all, the postcards are signed too! ‘Remember me, Synthetica’ is K Aten’s latest release, and absolutely fantastic. As a huge fan of sci-fi this really hit the spot for me.

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

https://www.amazon.com/Children-Stars-K-Aten-ebook/dp/B0831TPFH6

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

Ireland – Peace, Quiet and Lots of Reading!

Enjoying the peaceful Irish countryside – reading as usual

I have just returned home after a wonderful two-week holiday in Ireland. I took full advantage of the quiet countryside to catch up on some reading. In this photo I was engrossed in ‘Steel City Confidential’ , a new thriller by Anne Hagan. The Carlingford Mountains are behind me and The Irish Sea in front. I could have heard a pin drop in the garden of the cottage, so it was the ideal location to read.

The Irish Sea

Whilst there I also read ‘A Shot at Love’ by T.B. Markinson and ‘After Mrs Hamilton’ by Clare Ashton. I can certainly recommend a trip to the emerald isle for those seeking a space to relax. I was also able to get some writing done and squirrel away some ideas for future stories. Of course there are plenty of things to do for those days when you want to get out and about. I visited The Giant’s Causeway, Portrush, Dublin, Dundalk and had many lovely meals out at some truly fantastic restaurants. All in all a truly memorable trip.

A Lesfic Bookworm’s Trip to Wigtown!

In Reading Lasses Bookshop

I have just spent the most wonderful weekend in Wigtown, Scotland’s very own Booktown. Situated in the south-west of Scotland, in Dumfries and Galloway, it boasts thirteen bookshops. Yes thirteen bookshops! I have been keen to go for a long time and was not disappointed. Some of the bookshops are also cafes and restaurants. The Airbnb I stayed in, The Glaisnock, had a vegetarian cafe attached, a reading room with shelves and shelves of books and books in the rooms. The bistro we had dinner in was a lesfic heaven. The Green Room is a fairly new restaurant, lesbian-owned, and had the largest selection of lesfic books I have every seen in one place. It is to be found in Bank Street, on the site of an old hotel and garden nursery. You have to be eagle-eyed to spot it, but believe me, it is well worth a visit. The food was fantastic, the owners super-friendly and you will have the chance to browse the shelves of books from every lesfic publisher imaginable. I bought six there but could have bought a hundred if I’d had room in my case for them!

My purchases from The Green Room
The shelves of The Green Room

Reading Lasses was an other wonderful cafe/bookshop with the best soup I’ve ever tasted – and a great selection of lesbian fiction too.

After leaving Wigtown we took a drive west to Portpatrick, a quaint coastal village. It is the most picturesque place imaginable and well worth checking out if you are in the area.