‘Humbug’ is the Christmas cuddle we all want and need this festive season. Once again Amanda Radley has given us characters we can love, a gentle romance and a setting we never knew we needed. Ellie Pearce is ‘Christmas Girl’ to everyone in the company she works for. Although an accomplished and brilliant statistician, she has, through circumstance, ended up in the marketing department of a recruitment firm. It’s not her ideal job. The CEO of the company, Rosalind Caldwell, is the archetypal Ice Queen – or is she? She may like to come across that way in business but as Ellie soon discovers, there’s a heart of gold underneath. When Rosalind is left in the lurch a few weeks before the big Christmas party, she needs someone to organise it from scratch – and who better than Christmas Girl? Despite the fact that Ellie has never been a PA or organised anything in her life, she is promoted upstairs, to the very top floor of a Canary Wharf building. Her extreme fear of heights is just the start of her worries. A growing crush on the boss is the last thing she needs, but try telling that to her heart.
This was a lovely story, full of kindness and joy. It was fun to see the thawing of an ice queen as the temperatures plunged in the corporate centre of London. Rosalind was firm, but fair. She needed the right person to let her see that love was possible. Ellie was completely adorable – the kind of friend we’d all like to have. Her enthusiasm was infectious and I couldn’t help but get into the Christmas spirit with her. This sweet story will open your eyes to the wonder of Christmas. I loved it.
I loved this collection of short stories by Lee Winter. I’m a huge fan of short stories and enjoyed how Ms Winter used these to fill in some details about her characters and their lives. They were engaging and extremely hot. My particular favourites were from her Brutal Truth collection. I loved being back with Elena and Maddie. I also enjoyed Number Five, which is based on her Hotel Queens novel. It was scorching and empowering. A wonderful collection.
Karen Klyne knows how to write an Ice Queen. And this time she has given us an unconventional twist. Amelia Steele is, at first glance, stand-offish and very anti-social, and I was prepared to dislike her. But that didn’t last long. To me she wasn’t at all unlikeable, because I knew who she was and why she acted the way she did. Her behaviour was perfectly normal for her and I really liked her. Who says we all have to be the same?
When out walking her neighbours dog, Amelia finds herself somewhat beholden to the woman who rescues the adorable mutt, when Karma slips the lead. As someone unused to small talk or even any attempt at the social niceties, it’s hard for Amelia to know what to do. Juno Costello was warm and vivacious and full of chatter. So unlike Amelia. But opposites attract, don’t they? For some reason she sees past the social awkwardness and wants to know more about Amelia. Will Amelia let her see the woman behind the mask? I really liked Juno. She was sweet and thoughtful and the fact that she was interested enough to take time with Amelia, getting to know her, appealed to me. But it was Amelia that drew me into the story. I loved her vulnerability and her bluntness. What you see is what you get with her. I enjoyed this book and the intelligent and emotional storytelling.
Hayfield Manor’ is a beautifully written mystery romance, with enough twists and turns to keep any reader up until the early hours. You won’t want to put it down!
Morgan Lloyd, medically retired from a high-flying career in the police force, takes on her first role as a private investigator. As a favour to a friend she agrees to take over the security at Hayefield Manor, in an attempt to find out why bodies keep appearing on the grounds. Suspicion has fallen on lady of the manor, Sophie Haye. Cold, hard and terrifying she may appear to those outside, but as Morgan finds out, there is more to Sophie than first impressions imply. As evidence mounts, can Morgan trust her instincts, or is Sophie playing her?
Sophie is one scary woman, but I really warmed to her. She had that irresistible ice queen vibe, but Morgan slowly chipped away until she could see something more, even if no-one else could. Jody Klaire’s writing is wonderfully descriptive and so impressively clever. Just when I thought I knew where it was going, I was astounded again by the ingenuity of the plot. I love it when an author can do that to me. She flipped my perceptions. The story was very cleverly crafted and layered. It was one helluva ride with surprises and revelations galore. Absolutely fantastic
Tess and Susannah’s first meeting does not bode well for true love and happily ever after. If there’s one thing that Tess hates, it’s the upper class thinking they can lord it over the rest of us. Lady Muck owns most of the village and surrounding area – and has a contract dangling to tend to her growing equestrian stables. Tess’s new vet practice could do with that contract, but working for the lady of the manor might be a step too far for her. Even if she is hot. Will the women be able to get past their first impressions? There’s a lot more at stake than they initially think.
I liked Susannah, even from the start. She was grumpy and entitled, but there was a softer and kinder side to her too. With Tess it was one step forward and one step back. But there was a spark there and neither could quite resist it. Tess was still nursing a broken heart due to disloyalty from her previous partner. She had a bit of a chip on her shoulder regarding class, but it was understandable. They made an intriguing pair.
The setting was wonderful. When the setting is perfectly described and I can imagine myself there, that draws me into the story. That was certainly the case with A Roll in the Hay’. The intensely powerful feelings between the women kept me hooked. I could feel the joy and the passion. I loved it.
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.
Astral is a Fireside witch of the influential Projector family. Borage, her familiar, is a cat with a rather prickly personality. She’s not a powerful witch, but she makes up for it with her kindness and the ability to make anyone feel at home and comforted. The new High Priestess of her coven has a nasty streak and when she gives Astral an important task to fulfil, we wait for the other shoe to drop. I won’t say anything more about the plot as it would be too easy to give something away. But I can say it’s brilliantly done and wonderfully satisfying.
The descriptions of people and places were delicious. Lush and imaginative . One particular character description was stunning and made me stop and re-read it-just to take in an amazing piece of writing. It’s also very funny and Astral is completely adorable. I want to know a Fireside witch just like her. Abby Black is more than we first think. Think Ice Queen boss mixed with hot, mysterious and enticing object of desire. It all goes in ways I didn’t see coming. This is the kind of book that grows on you more and more as it reveals itself.
The world Gill McKnight has invented is beautifully crafted, with depth and humour and an addictive quality that means I will be eagerly awaiting the next in the series. Wonderful.
Aspen Wolfe lives in a world very like our own, but with shapeshifters in it. She has no idea she is one of them, a Shroud, and a very special one at that. When the government orders the extermination of the shroud population, Aspen finds herself on the run and discovers a community that needs her as much as she needs them. Dr Tora Madigan runs a sanctuary for shrouds in hiding and her operation is forced into top gear as her people face annihilation. There is a spark between them, but they need to concentrate on saving their people first.
This was a very impressive novel. It was a skilfully crafted story and one does not have to look too far to see parallels in today’s America. The shroud characters were believable and well thought out. We find out about them as Aspen does. We see that they are just like everyone else and deserve the same rights and respect. Their fight for survival was thrilling. I loved it. I can certainly see room for more of this particular story if Ms Larkin would be so kind as to make it into a series. Highly recommended.
‘Love’s Portrait’ is a perfect mixture of love, romance and belonging. Molly Goode is a fine art curator in Leicester, wishing to bring more diversity to the museum where she works. Georgina Wright is an important benefactor, albeit a reluctant one. She comes across as a bit of an Ice Queen but spending time with Molly begins to thaw her cool exterior. When Georgina needs help to research a painting in her collection, Molly is instructed by her boss to take on the task.
I liked Molly from the start. She was sweet, a bit ditsy and completely unaware of how wonderful she is. She worries about saying and doing the wrong thing and I found her completely adorable. Georgina was a woman in pain, dealing with grief and hurt, and I had high hopes that Molly would be the woman to see her through that. I felt compelled to follow their story. The mystery behind the painting drew me further into the story and I loved the historical aspect of it in regard to the research on the painting. Anna Larner’s writing has a gentle beauty to it, an engaging tone throughout. Her characters feel real to me and she makes me want to know more about them. This is the second book I have read by this author and I must admit she has become a favourite of mine. A lovely story.
I was given this ARC for review by Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley.
This is the book we Axedale fanatics have been waiting for. At last Quade gets a chance at love – but the woman she has set her sights on is not going to be easy to persuade. Penelope Huntingdon-Stewart is a famous food blogger and member of one of the most famous families in Britain. She retreats to Axedale after an embarrassing and traumatising incident and is in no mood for romance. Can Quade get past that frosty exterior and win the heart of the fair maiden?
We’ve known for a long time that Quade wanted to settle down with the woman of her dreams, but she thinks no-one would want to be a farmer’s wife. She has no idea just how gorgeous she is or how appealing the rugged butch farmer vibe is. I loved seeing a new side to Quade, and the protective and caring side of her nature really came out. I also really appreciated Quade and Penny’s story interweaving with that of Harry and Annie and of Bridge and Finn. Penny is the polar opposite of Quade and that is why it worked so well. Penny’s secrets made her hold Quade at arms’s length but when the wooing started it was sweet and tender. But hey, this is a Jenny Frame book, so there were also the most delicious hot and sexy scenes that we have come to expect.
Jenny Frame writes the most amazing characters and this whole series is a masterpiece. But where she excels is in writing butch lesbians. Quade is the ultimate butch and she is a dream. I can’t imagine anyone being able to resist falling in love with this particular ‘Sexy Farmer’. Every time I read a Jenny Frame book I think it’s the best ever, but time and again she surprises me. She has surpassed herself with ‘Wooing the Farmer’.
I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books to review.