I love it when an author makes all my dreams come true in a novel. M Ullrich made me laugh, she made me cry – and she had me swooning over and over again. ‘Pretending in Paradise’ is the story of travel blogger Emma Morgan, a woman who takes advantage of everything on offer on her work trips – and that includes romantic dalliances. But this time it has backfired on her and her boss insists she takes new P.R. Exec Caroline Beckett as an insurance against any further bad behaviour. The only problem is, Caroline comes across as repressed and so tightly wound that Emma is dreading sharing a trip with her. But as they get to know each other – due to the fact that they are visiting a couples resort and have to fake a relationship – it appears the might just find they like each other.
I really loved Emma. She was fun, gorgeous and had a very caring and considerate side to her nature. She wasn’t at all what I expected. Caroline may come across as prickly and uptight but I just wanted to hug her. I could see why Emma was so drawn to her. The setting of a brand spanking new couples resort in Florida was wonderful. I want to go there! I enjoyed seeing it through Emma’s eyes – as a seasoned professional blogger. Caroline’s perspective was very different but let me see how a rookie traveller would experience it. The romantic element was sweet and taken slowly but that was exactly how it needed to be. And the sex – oh my! It was hot and inventive and very, very naughty. A wonderful story – and another M Ullrich novel to add to my list of favourites.
‘Alone’ is an addictive and fascinating, romantic psychological story. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Celeste Thorne signs up to take part in a psychological experiment that will earn her half a million dollars – if she can last four years alone. With no family and no real ties Celeste jumps at the chance. We are inside her head and hear all the imaginary voices from her difficult past, and because of that the reader bonds with her. When a stranger wanders onto the compound, an injury means Celeste has to decide if she is going to break the rules of her contract and help her. As the story is told in first person it was so easy to sympathise with Celeste’s struggles and worries. The woman who appears in her life, Olivia, is endearing and caring and great company. I could see how Celeste was so tempted. There is so much more to this story than meets the eye though. Celeste’s journey was profound and life-changing and I wanted her to find happiness at last. But could she ever trust anything that happened to her while part of the experiment? At times the story was disturbing. But there were heart-warming moments too and an overpowering intense love that was beautiful and sexy and affirming. I couldn’t put it down. Afterwards I felt the need to sit and process what I had just read – it was very special. Highly recommended.
‘Write Your Own Script’ is absolutely perfect! It is romantic, sexy and endearing – and had me rooting for Tamsyn and Maggie all the way. Tamsyn is a famous actress who has spent her whole life in the closet, for fear of losing her career. When she has had just about enough and needs some time away, she retreats to the quiet of the Norfolk countryside. Maggie is a writer with a serious case of writer’s block. She hopes some time away will make her want to write again. Their meeting is one of those beautiful instances when you just know that soulmates have come together. It feels right. A.L. Brooks gets into the minds and souls of her characters and as a result she makes me love them. The emotional impact is intense and the sex is off the scale amazing. It is hot and heavy and utterly exquisite. But the main strength of this exceptionally well-written book is that she makes me care. I cared that Tamsyn was terrified about coming out. I cared that Maggie had to be true to herself. And I cared that their love would find a way. A truly uplifting story and highly recommended.
Aurora Rey writes the yummiest stories – and in this case I mean the food as well as the romance. ‘Recipe for Love’ is the story of hard-working farmer Hannah Little and new chef in town Drew Davis. Set in the beautiful countryside of Upstate New York, with its fields of delicious produce, the setting is an integral part of the whole. I really want to go there now. Hannah can’t quite believe big city Head Chef will ever fit in. Drew arrives with the attitude that this will only ever be a stop-gap. But when they start becoming more to each other than friends, hard decisions may have to be made. I would find it hard to pick who was my favourite between Hannah and Drew. Hannah was kind and conscientious and had obviously found her niche in life. Drew thought she knew exactly what she wanted but meeting Hannah was not in the plan and seeing her deal with that made me love her all the more. The supporting characters were so well drawn and I especially liked Hannah’s sister, Clare. Through her eyes we saw so much of what was going on. It was a lovely romantic story, with just the right amount of will they-won’t they. It was also incredibly sexy. One particular element of the love-making was hot, hot, hot. But you’ll have to discover for yourself what that was! I adore Aurora Rey’s writing and will never get enough. She transports me to beautiful places, with beautiful women and I can guarantee I will have a happy, satisfied smile on my face by the last page. Highly recommended.
Jae is the Queen of wish fulfilment. I knew exactly what I wanted to happen in this story and she granted my wish. I completely and utterly adored Ashley and Sasha’s story. It was the most romantic, emotional and beautiful story of love, belonging and joy. I was smiling from ear to ear and for the rest of the day after reading this.
Florist Ashley is as far in the closet as it’s possible to be. She is terrified her parents will find out she’s a lesbian and can’t face the reaction she suspects will come from the townsfolk. Baker Sasha has no desire to be tied down to anyone and her fear of commitment has been part of her life for so long. But when the pair begin to spend time together working on their friends’ Leo and Holly’s wedding, it becomes harder to stick to old ways. They are so obviously perfect for each other. And I found myself wishing and hoping it would be a happily ever after for them!
Jae increased the happiness level by bringing in characters from her other books – Leo and Holly – and others I’ll leave as a surprise. Having these wonderful women interact was wonderful. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Reading a Rivers series book is like coming home. I feel as if I know all of these characters so well and I always enjoy being in their company. I will never tire of them. There are so many layers to the Rivers story and ‘Love To The Rescue’ adds another fascinating one.
Brody Clark moves back to town after a decade away. As the new helicopter medic at the hospital she comes face to face with people she would much rather avoid – and with some issues she has avoided. Val Valentine left town for the big city but finds herself back helping a friend who saw something in her and influenced her career. The two women were never really in each others’s spheres at high school but as adults they find an attraction that makes them rethink the future. I liked the connection between them. Sometimes we have to meet someone at the right time, for only then will we be truly ready for each other. Radclyffe pitches it just right with this story. I loved every word. She makes us believe in love and romance and,of course, the sex is so hot. She weaves various threads seamlessly and yet again left me wanting more of this series. Excellent!
‘The Pet Boutique’ is a heart-warming, romantic and healing story that left me with a happy feeling. It is the first novel I’ve read by Suzie Carr and won’t be the last. The author really sees people and what makes them tick. She brings this understanding to her writing and I found myself loving the story more and more as it progressed.
Taylor is a successful author with a serious case of writer’s block. When her friend Maya suggests she help renovate a store with her, it seems this might be the distraction she needs. Maya’s niece Lexie, another helper in the quest to open a Pet Boutique, brings out something in Taylor she didn’t think possible again. Their story was slow and gentle and beautifully written. I loved the coterie of characters around the whole project – especially Lexie’s dog, Cashmere. She had a calming and steadying role and seemed to be at the centre of everything good and positive in everyone’s lives. Both Taylor and Lexie had issues from the past they had to overcome. I enjoyed finding out how they dealt with their problems. I especially appreciated the positive representation of bisexuality. An excellent story and 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.
‘Meant To Be Me’ is a heart-thumping, nerve-jangling, suspense story that had me glued to the page. Inverness-based engineer Darcy has a stalker and finds it hard to let her guard down, even for a second. Her loyal best friend Anja is always on hand with support and work keeps her sane. When she literally bumps into an early morning jogger, Eilidh, she dares to hope that things may be looking up for her. Will the two women ever be able to find a way to get together? Circumstances and interference conspire to put stumbling blocks in their way. But there is much more to it than that.
I have read Wendy Hudson’s first two novels and found them seriously impressive. But I believe this is her best so far. She knows just how to ramp up the tension and this story had a psychological suspense element that had me on the edge of my seat. Just when I thought I knew where it was going I was surprised again and again. It was scary, perfectly pitched and did not let up. The baddie in the mix was so plausible and I wanted to scream out to Darcy. ‘Meant To Be Me’ is beautifully written and one that I can see me re-reading. Highly recommended.
I so enjoyed book one in this series, ‘Parallel Lives’, and have been eagerly awaiting the release of ‘Crossing Over’. I was certainly not disappointed. Kaitlin and Tannus are now lovers and are expecting a baby. They decide to cross back to Kailtin’s home world and to her family in Cheshire. How will her parents and brother react to her fantastical story? How will Tannus and Carray react to a world so very different from their own.
Seeing our world through the eyes of two people from a simpler, more cut-off existence was very interesting. It was also fascinating looking at romantic relationships from Carray’s point of view, as she was heterosexual and lived in a completely lesbian society at home. A clever device that made me think. I worried about Kaitlin’s father and brother as she had been far from complementary about them in the first book. Would they surprise me? The issue of Tannus’s illness was always there in the background and I lived in hope that a cure could be found. There was so much riding on the year they planned to live in our world and it made the story very emotional and compelling.
By the end I knew that I wanted more from this series. In a good way. I will be counting the days until book three comes out. I have grown to love these characters and want to find out what happens next. How will the characters from each world interact? A highly enjoyable story.
I received an ARC of this book from Global Wordsmiths in exchange for a fair and honest review.