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 '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 '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 'Uncharted' by Robyn Nyx

Chase Stinsen is a principled archaeologist who ends up in some yucky, mucky situations, always hoping to discover and save treasures for the benefit of all humanity. Rayne Marcellus tends towards the less lawful path. She keeps beating Chase to finds that she sells to unscrupulous rich men, instead of giving to the museums Chase favours. The women worked together in the past and have a difficult relationship due to Rayne screwing Chase over. When Rayne asks her to help find the fabled Golden Trinity, to prevent it from falling into the hands of a man who would stop at nothing to possess it, can Chase trust her? 

The story has an exciting and atmospheric start and the the adventure continues in the same vein. The archaeological and historical details are fascinating and give another layer of interest that hooked me from the beginning. Add to that the interpersonal dynamics between the two main characters and Robyn Nyx has a winner on her hands. But it was about so much more than adventure and mystery, although those were expertly done. The personal discoveries for Chase and Rayne and the realisations they came to – those were definitely stand out elements for me. There were powerful emotions, not just about the growing feelings the women had for each other, but for the peoples of the Amazon. The danger from incursions by treasure hunters and loggers made me want to weep for them. The setting was exquisitely described, so much so that I could almost feel the heat and humidity as I read. The creepy fear that could never leave them as they traversed through thick, lush jungle, with snakes and worse just ready to pounce. The denouement was thrilling, heart-stopping and full of wonder. I wait in eager anticipation for the next great adventure from this pair. 

And for lovers of lesfic, there are a few wonderful Easter Eggs in this book. I almost cried out in delight at the mention of some names and places from another favourite author of mine. I’ll leave you to find them for yourself – but suffice to say, the three I found made me a very happy reader. 

I loved this story and highly recommend it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'The Yellow Tandem' by Sam Skyborne

‘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. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Click on the links below for a copy:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yellow-Tandem-binary-gender-romance-ebook/dp/B07VMMXHT1/

https://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Tandem-binary-gender-romance-ebook/dp/B07VMMXHT1