‘Dead Lez Walking’ is exciting, tense, funny and touching. When an outbreak of a mysterious virus hits Perth, the hospital Taren works in takes the brunt. As a lockdown is enforced, she and her colleagues must find a way to survive – or become victims themselves. This is no ordinary virus. As zombies wander the corridors looking for their next meal, surgeon Joy wakes to find her world turned upside down. One by one, the survivors find each other and with the help of some medical knowledge, sheer determination and more than a hint of gallows humour, they battle against the odds.
G Benson’s books are normally funny, romantic and exciting. And ‘Dead Lez Walking’ is all of those things – but with gore and light horror too. It was so well written that she had me believing this could really happen. She made it seem so real. That was down to great characters, snappy, witty dialogue and a story with pace. All throughout I could not help but think it would make a terrific film.
Emily Austin had me in stitches at Gilda’s predicaments one moment, then weeping the next. This insightful and poignant book is one I will never forget. As Gilda obsesses and overthinks her way through life, I could not help but feel her every emotion, be it dread, anxiety or fear. But it was her attempts to pass as a devout Catholic that had me roaring with laughter. This wonderful book took me into the mind of a woman struggling with her mental health and made me really feel everything she felt. A stunning debut.
‘Do You Know Dorothy?’ is part of a series, following the lives and loves of gay people in New York City in the fifties. We follow Al Huffman as she builds on her career and tries to save the night club she helps run with her friend Max. She still pines for her soul mate Juliana, but here she learns more about the secret world of lesbians and gay men in that era. She also finds out things about herself and how she feels comfortable as a lesbian. Not that following the ‘rules’ comes easy.
The story was interesting from a historical perspective, in that we find out how gay people lived, and how they were treated. The fight for equal rights was in its infancy, and in this novel Vanda explores the movement through her characters. Attitudes were different, even between one minority group and another. Although there is some romance in the story, I get the feeling this will be explored more fully in the next book in the series.
‘In Our Words’ is a wonderful anthology of queer stories from black, indigenous and people of colour writers. The selection by Anne Shade is inspired and I loved reading such a variety of well-written stories. I now have some authors, new to me, that I feel compelled to seek out for my next book purchases. Although I enjoyed them all, there are a few stories that took my breath away.
My favourite was ‘Granddaughter of the Dragon’ by Brey Willows. It was a beautiful story of family, love and freedom. Freedom to be who you are and embrace it. Willows is a masterful storyteller, and manages to take the reader to places where anything is possible.
I also loved ‘Sweet Potato’ by Briana Lawrence. The author used imagery and language with such skill that I could see, touch and taste everything her characters did. I certainly want to read more from this particular author in the future.
‘Art Appreciation’ by La Toya Hankins was an empowering story, with a message of hope. I enjoyed the interaction between the two main characters and appreciated how the author developed the characters over the course of a short story.
‘The Depth of Love’ by Anne Shade was an emotional story, with a twist of mythology thrown in. It was a feel-good tale with romance and left me smiling. I would love to know more about the particular mythology she explored in a novel.
This is an excellent anthology, with something for everyone.
Another 5 Star review for ‘The Allure of the Night Train’:
“I’ll preface this review with that I don’t read much erotica, but when a friend of mine said she’d written some under a pseudonym and asked if I wanted to take a look, I of course said yes. And I’m so glad I did! The Allure of the Night Train by Pumpkin Spice is a collection of three sapphic, train-related short stories: The Driver, The Night Train, The Club Car. All are equally delicious but my favourite was the first one, The Driver with its sexy art museum theme. Although all three stories are hot with some sweetness, perfectly given consent, and interesting levels of spice, so you can’t go wrong with any of them. A great little read!”
‘Without A Trace’ is the best Kate Daniels book yet. It’s an emotionally intense, perfectly plotted story, that doesn’t let up for a second. When a plane goes missing over the Atlantic, with Kate’s soulmate on board, she stops at nothing, and is willing to break all the rules to find out what happened. Mari Hannah’s pacing ramps up the tension bit by bit, and takes the reader with Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels as she struggles to cope with the prospect of losing Jo. This is the book in which we see more of Kate than ever before. We see her vulnerabilities and her pain. I could feel that pain with her and like her, I held onto hope. The combination of personal and professional and the pull of her heart over the job was powerful. It’s something Daniels has always struggled with, but not to this extent before. Mari Hannah is an astounding talent in the field of crime writing, and here she is at the top of her game.
‘The Yellow Tandem’ is a lovely FREE story, heart-warming and beautifully described. Told from the point of view of a London commuter, it will resonate with those who see the same sights and sometimes the same people every day, but never go on to meet them. Our commuter wonders about the rider of the yellow tandem and I was intrigued too. Why would someone cycle to work every day on a tandem by themselves? Who are they? Finding out was fascinating. A great wee story.
A.L. Brooks has a deft touch for writing real, flawed individuals who nevertheless make us fall in love with them. Lena is one such character. She is seemingly closed off, abrasive, rude and hard to love at first but given time and understanding I saw past all of that. She didn’tget that way without cause. Megan, her new neighbour is kind, considerate and willing to get to know her. Their story is one of opposites who end up living together when Lena needs somewhere to live in an emergency. Can they every manage to share a flat without driving each other mad? Will they ever be more than just flat mates? I enjoyed finding out and became more and more enamoured as the story progressed.
I was given this ARC by Ylva in return for an honest review.
I think this might be my favourite Morelville Mystery to date. I’ve read every one and enjoyed following Sheriff Mel, her wife Dana and their family, friends and colleagues through many mysteries. This one concerns the death of a distant family member and ties in with the previous story‘The Turkey Tussle’. It’s certainly beneficial to have read that one too but not entirely necessary. The story is well written and addictive – I couldn’t put it down. There are so many twists and turns that I didn’t want to miss anything.
I loved the forays into the home life of Mel and Dana as it was all tied into the case. This was Mel’s book really as it dealt with her family and their involvement in an old murder from the 1970s as well as one from the present day. As Mel is most definitely my favourite character in the series this was a big bonus for me. And I know there is more to come from Anne Hagan’s excellent mystery series so that makes me a very happy reader. I highly recommend ‘Sullied Sally’ and give it 5 Stars.
I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.
This is the third book in the Cape End Romance series by Aurora Rey and another wonderful love story. Nora runs a guest house in Provincetown and has had her niece Graham staying with her while she works on the tourist boats. When Graham brings her friend Will home Nora finds herself disconcerted. After a bad break-up in the past she has kept away from women and is disturbed at the attraction to this younger woman. Will is bowled over too but neither of them have the guts to act on their attraction.
I really liked both main characters, but especially Will, who had a gentle, kind manner and was struggling after a disastrous relationship with an abusive partner. It’s no wonder Nora was drawn to the adorable butch. As they got to know each other it was so obvious they were meant to be, but each had to get past the the baggage they were carrying. The P/Town setting was idyllic and the supporting cast of characters from the previous books made it feel welcoming and homely. The love story was slow and perfectly timed, with a fair amount of heat. I loved it and hope that this isn’t the last from this particular series.
I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books in return for an honest review.