Superheroes, hot federal agents and an evil baddie mixed together to make a funny, exciting and empowering new novel from A.L. Brooks. ‘Never Too Late For Heroes’ is the story of Agent Geena Fox, an agent just waiting for retirement, and her involvement with a group of very special old ladies in a care home in Missouri. When Agent Fox is assigned a new young partner, she is surprised when Leigh Walker comes back from a routine missing persons case with an unexpected and welcome piece of information. Information that will lead her on a dangerous path back to some old friends and a foe that refuses to go away.
The characters were engaging and full of surprises. Although Geena Fox had a tendency towards gruffness and irritability, she was actually a principled woman, with an important job and a big secret. I liked seeing the vulnerable side of her and the change in her behaviour when she was around one particular person. Her formidable reputation was well-deserved, but there was so much more to her. Her new partner, Leigh, was nervous and unsure at first, but she had steel and as her confidence grew, she really shone. The romantic element of this story was very sweet, especially with Agent Walker and the object of her affection. My favourite characters though were the Powers. Those older ladies were adorable and feisty and hilarious. The mix of personalities worked so well. When the adventure kicked into gear it really held my attention. I loved it.
KJ has done it again! When I reviewed her last book, ‘Coming Home’ I declared it was my favourite novel of 2019. ‘Kick Back’ is just as inspiring. I loved it.
Sophia Lindstrom is one of the more experienced players in the South Melbourne Women’s AFL team. She’s strong and determined and a fighter. She’s willing to get involved and help anyone – but when it comes to her own happiness she won’t take that final step. Cam Weathers is a reporter tasked with writing fluff pieces on the league. Her boss expects her to toe the line and ignore the fact that the women are exceptional athletes, with an important part to play in the sport. Let’s just say Cam has other ideas. She’s also drawn to the fiercely protective Sophie, a woman who is determined to make her see that the women’s league has merit and importance. But both women have barriers and lines they won’t cross. Can either of them get past that, as they are pulled into something increasingly complex and confusing. Something that requires them to join forces if they are going to find out the truth.
‘Kick Back’ had me feeling so many emotions. KJ made me really care about her characters. Within her fantastic story she made me angry and sad and she made me want to scream at the misogyny the women had to fight against. But I knew Sophie and Cam had this. They were warriors. She also had me ecstatic and joyful in this beautifully observed piece of writing. KJ knows how to write emotionally intense prose. I adore her style. Highly recommended.
‘A Pinch of Salt: A Towers of the Earth Novella’ is a prequel to a new series by Nita Round. I’m eagerly awaiting the publication of the next book, as this novella laid a great foundation and has me intrigued. Magda is a soldier and diplomat, but has felt the need to disguise herself as a man in order to participate in these roles in her society. Ascara, a soldier in training, is a determined and able woman who has had to fight against the prejudices of those around her. When the pair end up together in hospital, they begin a friendship that leads them in a quest to bring wrongdoers to justice. In a mission to find pirates and the gifted who attacked their friend, they find themselves discovering secrets and lies. Will they succeed? And who are these pirates and gifted individuals? It was quite an adventure finding out.
I must admit to loving a story where tech, unusual powers and a society built on the imagination of a great writer co-exist. This book has all of that. The world envisaged by Nita Round has a steampunk vibe, fantastic characters and the promise of a series that is going to have me completely hooked. This novella whetted my appetite for what is to come. I really enjoyed it.
‘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.
‘The Trophy Wives Club’ by Ali Spooner is a fun, sexy and empowering read. Lindy Fremont decides that the women of Atlanta need a very special type of club all to themselves. One where they’ll get a great workout in more ways than one. She recruits the woman who has been giving her the most wonderful massages every week for the past few years – and leaves it to her to staff it with a few of her friends. One of them is Luna, a hot stud who Marley is attracted to, but would never let her know. She’s the settling down type and Luna appears to be all for a good time and no commitment. Will that change as they spend more time together setting up the club?
Now, when I realised what kind of club this was I wasn’t sure what to think. But Ali Spooner allayed my fears. The women do what they do because they want to. It’s all about women and they are always in control. It’s respectful. Within a few pages I knew this was a fantastic idea for a book, and the more I read, the more convinced I was. It is light-hearted and very hot and steamy. I really enjoyed it and was happy to find that this is part of a series – and one of my favourite authors, Annette Mori is writing the next one.
Family, loyalty, love and passion- that’s what ‘Blood of the Pack’ is essentially about. Kenrick Wulver is about to become the Alpha of her pack in the Scottish Highlands. And she’s struggling with the changes this will mean. She visits the Wolfgang Pack in the States to try and learn some of the new responsibilities she’ll be expected to master. While there she comes across a wounded submissive wolf and feels something she’s never felt before. Zaria is from the Lupan Pack and has been on the run for years from their cruelty and abuse. She can never trust a dominant wolf and tries to keep Kenrick at arms length. But it becomes increasingly difficult to resist.
The story is about gaining trust and also about being open to other wolves. I loved the world she’s built for this story and although I haven’t read the previous books in the series, its not a problem. The descriptions of Wulver Forest were so evocative and I was completely entranced. As well as being about family and community- a theme throughout Ms Frame’s books, she also gets across that aching need in her characters. The need for a mate and the joy and pain that brings. Kenrick and Zaria are drawn to each other, but it’s never that simple. The building of a relationship is written with such tenderness and care and I never once doubted the love they felt for each other. The sex scenes were beautifully done. Jenny Frame writes the hottest, most imaginative sex in all of her books. And she always finds a way to bring in something unusual and surprising. She certainly did in this one. They were wild and passionate and scorching. I loved this book so much that I’ll have to go and read the rest in the series now. Highly recommended.
I’ve published my short story ‘The Woman By The River’ and it is free on Amazon and all other ebook outlets. It is a prequel to a forthcoming novella set on the west coast of Scotland, where you will find out more about the mysterious woman and her life. I hope you will click on the link below and read all about Gillian.
‘Steel City Confidential’ by Anne Hagan is a triumph. It’s a fascinating story, well-told and with characters readers will warm to immediately. Ro Rabinowitz, a Pittsburgh lawyer takes on the case of Pamela Wilson, a woman in her sixties charged with the murder of a college professor who got her daughter pregnant. She’s confident that the case can be won, but there are complications – and a story from the past that Pam’s not telling. It’s not going to be that simple. I was drawn in from the start with a revelation of something I’ve known and loved for many years. Characters from the past . It was a brilliant set up. There are plenty of surprises that will have readers jumping for joy – but that’s all I’ll say. I won’t divulge any spoilers. But they are stunning. Now, I know that Anne Hagan writes great mysteries, but she has really found her forte with this legal thriller. I am so glad that this is book one in a new series for her. I was intrigued from the start and it just kept getting better and better. She skilfully weaves a complex tale of secrets and revelations and her characters are likeable and I want to find out more about them. Ro is a great mentor, a principled and caring lawyer. I liked her associate Dominique too. I can see her developing well in the future. Oh, and for aficionados of Ms Hagan’s Morelville Mysteries Series, a certain name pops up that will have you smiling. The book is brilliantly done and if Hollywood has any sense then this would be made into a movie – because I can guarantee there will be a huge audience for this particular story. Highly recommended.
I’m just back from my first ever Bold Strokes event in Nottingham. What a weekend! After a delay getting there (due to a cancelled flight and subsequently four cities in a day to make it), I attended the ‘Meet and Speak’ at the Five Leaves Bookshop in the city. As soon as I was through the door I was greeted by a sea of friendly faces – Brey Willows and Robyn Nyx, Valden Bush, Carol Hutchinson, Isabelle Lonitz, Anna Larner and her wife, Jen Silver, Jane Fletcher and her lovely wife Joanie, Jody Klaire, Em and Ferb, Sam Skybourne, Lise Gold and her wife, Anne Holt and many more. After listening to some wonderful readings a few of us headed off to the Pitcher and Piano for drinks and chat. We sat outside in the warm night air until the early hours talking until we realised we had an event to get up for in the morning and headed off to our various hotels.
Saturday morning started with a welcome from the lovely Brey Willows. The room filled up quickly and we were treated to some fascinating panels – Challenging the Norms, Flowers and Wine, Playing with the universe, It’s a Writer’s Life and reading from the authors. I found hearing the authors read their own work made me want to buy more books. We were all able to mingle throughout the day and chat to the authors and get our book purchases signed. The After Party at the Pit and Pendulum nearby gave us a chance to socialise more. As we moved around the tables we all got to know some new people. The banter was fantastic.
Sunday brought some more panels, readings and a hilarious quiz. We all headed off to The New Foresters bar afterwards for a BBQ and lots of chat. Hours passed quickly as we met new people and old friends. The conversations brought us all together and made us realise just how much we all have in common. Getting to spend time together was energising and affirming – and I cannot wait for next year to do it all again.
K Aten has made me very happy. I loved ‘The Sovereign of Psiere ‘ , the first in a new series, where mystery, fantasy, sci-fi and romance come together in a fascinating story. Olivienne is the heir to the throne, the connate, and also a Historical Adventurist. Her work involves trying to translate the mysterious scrolls left behind by the Makers. But she is a handful and her security detail find it hard to keep up with her. None have managed to stay the course – until the dashing and committed officer, Castellan ends up in her sphere. Their story is immersive , as they work to solve mysteries that have stumped those before them. Their growing attraction was intense and very sexy. I enjoyed seeing them become closer. I also enjoyed the world-building – the word-building too. It was familiar but unfamiliar at the same time. I like her writing style. Although she explains a new world and new ideas and people, she makes it easy to grasp. K Aten has managed to create a place I want to revisit again and again. She has laid a perfect foundation for the series in this novel. Highly recommended.