Review of 'Two Hearts Alone' by Harper Bliss

Two Hearts Alone’ by Harper Bliss is the first novella in a trilogy, told from the point of view of Anna and Zoe in alternating chapters. Set in the charming small town of Donovan Grove, upstate New York, we get to know the inhabitants and their relationships through the eyes of the two main characters. I liked the alternating POV as we were able to get inside their heads as they go about their lives .

Anna needs her life to be organised and predictable and likes things to be done a certain way. Her particular way of thinking and behaving points a certain way and  is interesting and authentic and will resonate with many readers . The fact that her experience feels real works because you never once feel it is written by someone who doesn’t know what it means . The writing feels very intimate, very true. It’s about raw feelings and thoughts. I really got the pain that’s involved in dealing with life, with everyday ‘normal’ interactions when you are different. Zoe is the complete opposite to Anna – but sometimes that’s exactly what we need. She is kind and funny and perceptive. I liked her. 

I really enjoyed the story. As the first part of a larger story it worked for me.  I want to know what happens next 

Don’t expect it to be chock full of sex scenes just because it’s a Harper Bliss book, though. It needed to be told this way. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'In The Shadow Of Darkness' by Nicole Stiling

‘In The Shadow Of Darkness’ by Nicole Stiling got my attention straight away – because who doesn’t love vampires, right? As a newly turned vampire Angeline Vallencourt, has to leave behind everything she knows and those she loves. Her life may now be long-lived, but without someone to love, it’s not all its cracked up to be. She has no choice but to spend time with the vampire who turned her – but is that really the best option for her?

Megan Denham meets Angeline under very strange circumstances. She can’t quite believe what has happened or the story Angeline tells her. But when people start dying in their small town, Megan has to decide who she trusts, and whether her feelings for Angeline are enough. 

I really enjoyed this story as it had excitement, romance and characters I could really feel something for. Angeline’s story is told both in the past and present day, so we got to know how she became the woman/vampire she is now. She had to do things she wasn’t proud of and make the best of her situation. I liked her a lot the more I got to know her. Megan was braver anymore determined that she gave herself credit for. She was a loyal friend and open-minded. Angeline deserved to be with someone like her. This was a love story, but it was also edge-of-the-seat stuff too. It had me hooked and I couldn’t put it down. A great, well-written story.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'Children of the Stars' by K Aten

What a ride! Mix alien soulmates, Area 51, and a government agency set up to deal with hybrid humans and you have one truly amazing book. You can tell that K Aten loves sci-fi. It certainly shows in ‘Children of the Stars’. Her story starts with a bang and never lets up. It is exciting and adventurous and takes the reader on a journey of a lifetime. 

Amari and Zen were saved from certain death by being sent to Earth as babies. When their adjacent worlds were attacked, the only option their respective parents could see was to send them to safety on another planet. They are bonded to each other, but do not know that the other exists. When their adopted world is about to face its greatest peril, they have to take a stand, even though they risk exposure. 

The author uses a really interesting storytelling style. Not at all conventional, but it works so well. The narrator speaking straight to the reader at some points in the novel  is a brilliant touch. It contrasts perfectly with the third-person narrative of the rest of the novel. ’Children of the Stars’ is  a thrilling story with an emotional connection beyond anything either woman could imagine possible. But there’s a fear of being found out and exposing their origins to all. With super-power enhanced Chromodecs all over the world, one is never sure who is on the side of good – and who is one of the baddies. It certainly keeps the reader intrigued throughout. There is a mention of another K Aten book which was a lovely touch and made me hope for more from this particular universe in the future. As you can probably tell, I loved this book. It was about working together as a group and fighting against the bad guys, but there was also a beautifully romantic and passionate element.  It was exciting and tense and exhilarating all at the same time. Wonderful!

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'Spellbound' by Jackie D and Jean Copeland

Hazel Abbott has no idea she is a witch or descended from Sarah Hutchinson,  a woman imprisoned during the Salem witch trials of 1692. When Sarah suddenly appears in modern day Salem, she sets off a series of events that neither could have imagined. Raven Dare, supernatural hunter under the employ of Queen witch, Morgan le Fay, becomes embroiled in their adventure and the women must work together to save humanity and bring balance to the realms.

The story is imaginative and brings in elements from historical Salem and a very convincing present day dilemma, with parallels to something we will all recognise. It is exciting and thought-provoking and cleverly marries a link to history, witchcraft and present day political machinations. There is, of course, a love story or two in the tale and they are very much integral to the story. Hazel becomes more and more attracted to Raven as she begins to learn who she really is. Raven is trapped by duty and family obligations and has to begin to consider that there is a different way to live. Sarah has been catapulted into modern day America, and it is so different. But in some ways things always stay the same. People are people and the pedantic Puritans of her age are not so different from certain sectors of present day society. Sarah’s feelings for another woman begin to make sense to her though and that was a fascinating element of the story. Morgan le Fay is selfish and unsentimental and determined. Will she ever be able to see the point of view of those around her? As the group battle for what is right and good, we see that their fight is timeless. So much depends on them defeating evil. The thing is, I know it’s a fantasy story, but there is one particular hypothesis in it that makes perfect sense. I really wouldn’t be surprised! Once you read it you’ll know exactly what I mean.

A wonderfully enjoyable book and highly recommended. 

I was given this Arc for review.

Review of 'Lost & Found' by Elle Hyden

‘Lost & Found’ by Elle Hyden is completely enchanting and heartwarming. This mystical romance is the story of Rea, an agricultural landowner trying her best to work in harmony with the planet and with the plants and animals on it. Still grieving for her wife, she puts all of her energies into the local community, but would dearly love to find a soul-mate. Selina is a botanist with Native American ancestry and shares many of the same ideas and traits with Rea. These two women are perfect for each other, and with a little push here and there, from some mysterious beings, they might just make it. 

Elle Hyden is a new author to me and I was very impressed by her style. The novel is captivating and immersive from the start. I loved her descriptions of the landscape and scenery, and she has created two very compelling main characters. I felt an affinity for both of them. They felt like real people, with real problems. Rea could never quite believe someone as beautiful as Selina could ever be attracted to her, but we see that love and desire comes in all shapes and sizes. Selina had a spiritual grace that drew people to her. The story is romantic and tender and very well written. I look forward to more from this author in the future.

I was given this ARC for review.

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 'One Walk In Winter' by Georgia Beers

‘One Walk In Winter’ by Georgia Beers is that perfect combination of idyllic setting, feel-good romance and a beautiful ending that had me sighing in contentment. Olivia has worked hard to get where she is in her career, but the top job has eluded her so far. Corporate America hasn’t got past the old boy network and it shows in the lack of innovation and ideas at the Evergreen Spa Resort. When a new and inexperienced manager turns up to take the job Olivia thinks should be hers, she finds it hard to keep her displeasure to herself. Hayley is the seemingly irresponsible youngest child of the Markham clan. When her father gives her a last chance to prove herself, she has no choice but to give it a shot. Especially since he’s cut off her allowance. But Hayley is an artist at heart and finds it difficult to be the person her father wants her to be. An encounter in the woods with a beautiful woman lifts her spirits – but when they both realise the truth, it’s never going to be easy.

I really liked Olivia. She was conscientious, determined and great at her job. She was a people person and perfect for the job. I wanted her to find love too though, as that side of her life had been put on hold while she concentrated on her career. Her family were supportive and her mother was a gem. Hayley had an uphill struggle, however hard she tried. Forcing someone to be what you want is not a good idea in any scenario. She blossomed when she was out in the countryside taking photos. Her heart soared when she painted. Seeing the two women get to know each other properly –  after the initial wow intro – was beautiful. It was never just a chemical reaction between them – there was so much more. It was bout knowing what you really want, and more importantly, what you need. It was about healing and love and passion. A truly heat-warming story. I loved it. 

I was given this ARC for review.

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

Review of 'Donning The Beard' by E.A. Kafkalas

‘Donning The Beard’ is a beautifully written historical romance, set as the French Revolution begins to take hold. Madeline is a servant girl, brought to live in the household where her aunt works for the high-ranking nobleman Lord Guillemot. She becomes the trusted friend and confidante of the daughter of the house, Gabrielle. Their feelings for each other become more intense as the years go by, and come to a head when it is time for Gabrielle’s father to find her a husband. Neither know what these feelings mean, as they have nothing to compare them to, but they both know that Gabrielle being forced to marry is something they can never contemplate. When the situation becomes dangerous, Madeline is force to take drastic action, and disguise herself as a man to save Gabrielle. But that is only the start of their troubles. Can they ever be together? How can Madeline keep up the pretence? 

First of all, I loved the historical aspect of the story. The characters were affected in many ways by the political and social machinations of the time. Their love would never be accepted, no matter where they lived, so they had to find a way to fool everyone. It was a high risk game. The tension was perfectly pitched and I could not stop reading. The characters were compelling and I wanted to know more. Madeline was clever and talented and could never just accept her station in life. She showed such bravery and her adoration for Gabrielle helped her through difficult times. Gabrielle was no shrinking violet either. She knew what she wanted and was willing to risk everything for love. The story was romantic and emotional, with passion and love evident throughout. An excellent tale.

I was given this ARC for review.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Donning-Beard-Kafkalas-ebook/dp/B082VH4FPZ/

https://www.amazon.com/Donning-Beard-Kafkalas-ebook/dp/B082VH4FPZ/

Review of 'The Roommate Arrangement' by Jae

With ‘The Roommate Arrangement’ Jae has captured my heart yet again. She doesn’t put a foot wrong as she tells a beautiful and tender story, with characters I cared for. 

Stephanie Renshaw is a struggling stand- up comic . She has decided that it’s time to stop going on the road and concentrate on making it in LA. She needs an apartment near the comedy clubs and the one she wants won’t rent to roommates or singles. She has to find someone willing to be her fake girlfriend. Rae Coleman is an ex-cop and now works security at a L.A. comedy club where Steph has been trying to get a chance to headline. Having been injured on duty, her life as a cop had to end and she is trying to just get through each day the best she can. Her need for an apartment close to work is for a different reason, but she’s not about to open up and tell Steph, or anyone else, what that is. When Steph suggests  they share and explains the need for a fake relationship Rae agrees. Can they pull it off without the landlord finding out? 

It’s slow and sweet as they get to know each other. Jae gives them time to realise that they are both worth loving, to get past things that have been holding them back. Steph was a joker, but underneath, so kind. Rae was a bit of a wounded soul and seeing her respond to Steph was beautiful. Claire and Lana from ‘Just for Show’, also a fake relationship story, turn up. I loved that she brought in characters from other stories she has written. It works. I really enjoyed it.

I was given this ARC for review.