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.

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 'Someone To Love' by Jenny Frame

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.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of 'Legacy' by Charlotte Greene

‘Legacy’ is a scary, creepy story that had me jumping out of my skin. It was brilliant. Jo and Carter are cousins and have spent their whole lives taking vacations in the family cabin in the mountains. But after a few years of neglect, the cabin is in need of repair and a good cleaning out. With a few friends, they hike to the remote cabin and hope to spend a couple of relaxing weeks sorting it out. The trip is anything but relaxing though. Strange occurrences give Jo cause for concern, but when it starts to become dangerous, and people get hurt, she has to start thinking the unthinkable. Meeting the most gorgeous woman out of the blue takes her mind off it for a moment, but all of the women have to admit that the cabin, and the mountain are not safe places to be.

The creeping tension is beautifully done and I was seriously spooked. Charlotte Greene ramps up the fear factor slowly and with delicate precision. Her masterful writing is so suited to this genre and I can’t imagine anyone doing it better. She weaves the relationship dynamics of the group, with references to the past and manages to introduce the scary elements bit by bit, never overdoing it. There were some surprising twist to the tale and some lovely romantic moments too. Jo’s burgeoning relationship with ranger Andy was tender and sweet, but also had an intensity that caught my breath. It was an amazing story, about family, love, history and fulfilment. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Holly and Ivy’ by T.B. Markinson and Miranda MacLeod

When workaholic Holly travels to Poppy Island in need of a complete break from her life as CEO of her own tech company, she is not a happy woman. She has to be forced to step back and think of her own mental health. Meeting a beautiful woman on the ferry piques her interest, but she’s confused about the goat the woman is transporting with her. Ivy is a conundrum she is quite willing to unravel. It would certainly help her sabbatical pass more pleasantly with a pretty woman to keep her company. But both women have secrets they’d rather not reveal. Can they really manage to keep it light and not get involved? Because once they begin to open up to each other, things might not go exactly as planned.

I really enjoyed this story. I knew it was written by two authors, but I was hard pushed to work out who wrote which parts. It blended seamlessly and kept my interest throughout . Holly was a complex character, with issues from her past that determined how she reacted to Ivy, and to the others on the island. I enjoyed seeing a different side to her as she began to see how other people lived. Her position of extreme privilege and being brought up in a military family had skewed her views in a particular direction. Ivy was able to let her see something else. Ivy was kind and determined to help others, often at the expense of her own dreams. Being with Holly let her do something just for herself. When they were together it was scorching – and something neither of them expected. Neither believed they would find ‘the one’ – but sometimes they walk into your life when you least expect it. I liked Ivy’s friends Betty and Scarlett – they provided some hilarious moments and an insight into island life. ’Holly and Ivy’ was heart-warming, emotional, very funny – and very sexy. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Back To September’ by Melissa Brayden

Melissa Brayden writes beautiful romances that never fail to be tender, loving and hot. ‘Back to September’ is no exception. But this time she went that little bit further. Hannah and Parker’s story had me gripped and I thought my heart would break in two. Here were two characters that needed to be together, but it wasn’t going to be that easy. 

Hannah liked her life to be fairly predictable and ordered. She was  not overly concerned about romance. If it happened it happened. In walks Parker Bristow to her life. She’s smart and sexy and full of positive energy and Hannah can’t help but fall for her charms. Parker is a world-famous romance author and just having her visit Hannah’s store makes a huge impact. When they are together it’s adorable and unexpected, but can it ever really work out? Long-distance relationships are hard enough, but other issues get in the way too.

I really loved Hannah. She was loyal and kind and seemed to blossom when Parker was around. Parker was wonderful, and who wouldn’t love a romance writer anyway? But it was her struggles that tore at my heart. I just wanted everything to come right for her. I wanted her to see she was worth it, worth loving. As with all of Melissa Brayden’s books I got my ‘aaah’ moment though. It was so beautifully written and love always wins. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Big Girl Pill’ by KD Williamson

Maya’s former best friend, Nina, is getting married and she’s going to be a bridesmaid. The problem is, she’s in love with her and it’s not reciprocated. Things between them ended badly, but Maya thinks going through with her wedding duties will help her get over Nina once and for all. Nina is marrying, but she doesn’t seem that keen. Her overbearing snob of a mother and deadly boring fiancé have her under the thumb. Life for her is all about doing what other people expect. Will she ever be able to be her own person?

This story had characters that were relatable and true and made me root for them. I could feel the emotions, the longing and the passion. And it gripped my heart. K.D. Williamson showed us that loving someone so much that it hurts just to think about it, can be heaven or hell. Maya’s pain was obvious and I wanted her to get her happily ever after. I wanted Nina to speak up for herself, to be the great woman I knew she could be. The boyfriend Drew was truly insufferable as was Nina’s mother. It was going to take a great deal of courage on Nina’s part to get out form under that. I really liked her cousin Rachel. She was sassy and forthright and the kick up the backside both Maya and Nina needed.     

I loved the sarcastic humour. KD Williamson used ridiculously funny situations brilliantly and showed the truth of relationships through them. It was about finding strength to be yourself  and not living for other people. It had a lovely vibe and some beautifully tender moments – as well as some very hot and sexy times. A great read.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Penny on Parade’ by Penny Taylor and Gill McKnight

‘Penny On Parade’ is a biographical story of life in the British Army in the 1970. And it is excellent. Penny Taylor needs to get away from her home town of Darlington and a heartache that just won’t go away. Joining the army seems like the perfect way out and a way to start a new life. I really liked Penny. She was funny, a bit of a rebel and seeing the armed forces through her eyes was fascinating. Being a lesbian was a risky business and would lead to instant dismal if found out. Penny’s need to discover her true self led to situations that were dangerous for herself and those she was with. But the authors managed to balance the worry about discovery with a great deal of humour and insight. The stories of army life had me enthralled and I would love to find out what happened next to Penny. There’s another book or two in this tale.

I was given this ARC for review

Review of ‘Bells Will Be Ringing’ by Barbara Winkes

Dana Clover’s life just went to pot – and she needs to get away from it all. Escaping to her holiday home in Chestnut Hill, she meets the beautiful local doctor, Holly McEwan, and begins to think life may not be that bad after all. With a home in need of TLC, she finds that folks in the small town are there to boost her spirits and make this Christmas one to look forward to after all.

I enjoyed the cosy, homely feel of the story, of the town and of the relationship as the women got to know each other. It was exactly what I wanted from a Christmas story . Dana was a principled woman who needed to heal after recent problems in her life. I liked how she brought out something in Holly that had been missing for a long time. Holly was kind and caring but still scared and unsure of the future. But together they made everything just right. It was a sweet and romantic story with the most enchanting setting. I finished this story in one sitting, as I was enjoying it so much I didn’t want to stop reading. Just the ticket to get you in the festive mood.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Pleasure Workers’ by Annette Mori

‘Pleasure Workers’ by Annette Mori is the follow-up to ’The Trophy Wives Club’ by Ali Spooner. These two authors have managed to weave some wonderful stories together. In ‘Pleasure Workers’ we find out the backstory of Alex, the handy-woman taken on at the TWC – but she also performs some special services upstairs. How she got to Atlanta is mired in controversy and she has to keep under the radar. Meeting one of the rich socialites in Sisters lesbian bar turns her head, but can she get past the different social status and the money? As a proud woman who makes her own way in life, it won’t be easy. Danna Nichols, a recent widow, joins the spa at the insistence of a friend and realises what she’s been missing. But it’s the tall mysterious butch doing odd jobs that has caught her eye. 

Alex’s story was fascinating and certainly a story of our time. I can imagine meany readers will fall for her – and when they read about those aforementioned special services, they’ll be hooked. I really liked Danna too. Although from a very privileged background, she was a good woman who insisted on putting back in to society. I really wanted her to have her happy ever after. There was also a great collection of supporting characters. They really helped make the story resonate with me. The story was very sweet and fairly low on angst, which I appreciated. Sometimes that’s exactly what you are in the mood for. When the sex scenes came into play, they were absolutely scorching. And with some very interesting techniques! I really enjoyed it. 

I was given this ARC for review.