Review of ‘Royal Family’ by Jenny Frame

‘Royal Family’ by Jenny Frame is book four in her Royal Series. I’ve enjoyed them all, and it was lovely to be back with some of my favourite characters. This time we follow the romance of Clay, a royal protection officer, and Katya, the new nanny. Clay has reached her position despite a rocky start in life, and is now dealing with grief after the death of her mother. She’s not ready to trust the new nanny, but can’t quite put her finger on why. Katya left her native home as a child refugee and is determined to pay her adopted country back for the good life she has now. She finds Clay attractive, but is not ready for any kind of relationship. Guarding her privacy and her heart is too important to her. 

Katya and Clay’s story was a slow burner. Their backgrounds made them wary and they needed time to open up. I really warmed to Katya as I got to know more about her. Her backstory was fascinating and I enjoyed finding out about her. Clay’s story was worlds away from that of Katya, but they found in each other something that was missing. Something that made them whole. Jenny Frame ties the threads from previous books in the series beautifully, and the family element really came through. It felt welcoming and inclusive. I love Queen George and Queen Bea and their growing family. The fact that they make their friends and close staff part of that family enhances the series. There’s a warmth and affection woven throughout the story and I hope there will be more tales of this particular Royal Family and their entourage.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Detour To Love’ by Amanda Radley

Melting an Ice Queen is a trope I must admit to being partial. And Amanda Radley does it so well. In ‘Detour To Love’, her first novel for Bold Strokes Books, she has hit the jackpot. Beautiful settings, adorable characters, and a love story to set the heart a flutter, make for a perfect read. 

High-flying businesswoman Celia Scott is on the way to Tokyo to accept an award she does not want. She starts the day off in a foul mood, and things go from bad to worse when her travel plans go south. Talented artist Lily Anderson is on the same flight, hoping that her online friend might turn into something more. The two women rub each other the wrong way, but sometimes wonderful things come from unlikely beginnings.

I loved the crankiness of Celia. Who can resist the sexy older woman, especially one who gives off an abrasive vibe? Lily sees past the icy exterior. She sees something in Celia worth waiting for. Each woman brought something to the other that made them a better person. It was a fantastic story and captured my heart.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Sealed With A Swim’ by Sam Skyborne

‘Sealed With A Swim’ by Sam Skyborne is the second story set in Skala Eressos, Lesvos. This time we follow the story of Carol, high flying business woman and Lisa, sports coach and tour guide. Carol is back home on the island for a hen party for her friend. Whilst staying at the resort owned by her family, her mother attempts to pull her into the business more. That would be bad enough, but interfering in her love life is even worse. Meeting Lisa changes everything. Lisa is involved in trying to save the soul of the island from unscrupulous outsiders – and when that is linked to the resort Carol’s mother runs, there’s bound to be trouble. There was tension and angst, and a baddie to get the hackles up. But there was also community and hope and joy.

I loved the links to the first book ‘Sealed With A Kiss’, and hints of the past. The setting is wonderful and beautifully described. I could imagine it so well and hope to hear more of these tales in the future. I really liked these characters and could feel the passion and love. The story is multi-layered and kept me up until the early hours reading. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Hot London Nights’ by Clare Lydon

Clare Lydon has created the perfect recipe for romance in ‘Hot London Nights’. She gives us a bit of humour here, a lot of sizzle there, a pinch of love and friendship, plenty of heart-stopping emotion – and a cracking story. India Contelli, Tv star and high powered business woman, has had it with love. Moving on from a disastrous relationship, she’s ready to be her own woman, and that means buying her own home at last. As lovely as her family are, she needs her own space. When Gina Gupta is recommended as the estate agent to trust with her dreams, she doesn’t expect to start feeling an attraction. That’s the last thing she needs. Gina has never been in love, maybe she never will be. Having come out late, to a family that disapprove, she’s concentrating on building her business. But is that enough? The connection she feels with India makes her reconsider. 

This is book 7 in the London Romance Series, and we get to see snippets of our old friends, as their lives intertwine with each other and these new characters. That wonderful feeling is there again, as this particular group of lesbians live out their lives in the city. As they prepare for Pride, and try to help old lovers reconnect, there is a vibrancy and joy that made me so happy to be back with them. This was exactly the kind of book I needed to read right now. Because when I can’t travel to London in person, Clare Lydon takes me there, to be among great women and fabulous sights.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Two To Tangle’ by Melissa Brayden

‘Two To Tangle’ is the second in the Tangle Valley Romance series by Melissa Brayden. I loved being back in Tangle Valley, with a wonderful group of friends, and a new romance to wallow in. This time, chef Gabriella Russo is the focus of our attention. As she works towards opening a new restaurant in the vineyard, her life becomes complicated with the arrival of gorgeous contractor Ryan Jacks. Gabriella has decided that romance can go on the back burner, as she concentrates on her career. But however much she tries, and despite locking horns with Ryan on numerous occasions, she finds it increasingly difficult to resist her.

I adored Gabriella. She was beautiful, insanely talented and had a mind of her own. This was one woman who would not put up with any BS. And Ryan would realise her mistake is she didn’t put Gabriella first and take her seriously. I loved Ryan too. She might have come across as a player at the start, but her vulnerability was endearing. As they get to know each other, sparks fly. The love scenes were romantic, intense and hot. I wanted this couple to work and I warmed to their relationship more and more as the story progressed. It had a wee bit more angst than I was expecting, but ultimately had me swooning. Melissa Brayden has a winner with the Tangle Valley series. I can’t wait for the next one.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Thing About Tilly’ by G Benson

Do you know how difficult it is to write a review with happy tears streaming down your face? Well, I found out today. ‘The Thing About Tilly’ by G Benson is hands-down my favourite book of the year. Tilly runs away – a lot. Throughout their friendship, Ellie has had to accept that she would. But she’s never known why. Finding herself unexpectedly pregnant, Ellie needs to be able to rely on her friends. She can rely on the third member of the triumvirate, Sean, but Tilly’s another matter. There are so many secrets between them, secrets that stop them living their lives to the full. Will they find a way to be honest, to say what needs to be said? 

I loved the relationship dynamics, the longing and the angst. There were so many layers and stories to be told and I couldn’t put it down. It was wonderful. G Benson certainly knows how to make her readers feel. It was heartbreaking at times, and joyful at others.  And being a G Benson novel, it was also very funny. The intensity of the emotions was breathtaking and so beautifully written. I adored ever last word. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Christmas In Mistletoe’ by Clare Lydon

‘Christmas In Mistletoe’ is exactly the kind of book we all need this Christmas. Clare Lydon takes the reader to the tiny hamlet of Mistletoe, Suffolk, and once there we enter into the most Christmassy place imaginable. I was in heaven. Every detail was steeped in the festive spirit, and I could not help but wallow in the wonderful, snowy, pine-scented wonderfulness of Mistletoe.

Ruby O’Connell’s family run a Christmas tree farm in rural Suffolk. When she’s not gigging around London, she returns to there every December to help out. Fran Bell finds herself thrown into the Christmas spirit when her parents move to Mistletoe. Bumping into Ruby was not on her radar. After a rocky start, can the pair find any common ground? Coming from opposite ends of the music business, the gap might be too wide. But there’s something to be said for the magic of Christmas. 

Clare Lydon has hit the perfect note once again. ‘Christmas in Mistletoe’ takes us on a romantic journey, where passion and love jump from every page. But it is the happy, joyful and incredibly cosy feeling from the ensemble cast of characters that brings it all together into the perfect Christmas read. I loved it. This is sure to be one of my favourite re-reads of the festive season from now on. 

I was given this ARC for review. 

Review of ‘The Real World’ by Kathleen Jowitt

‘The Real World’ is the second book in Kathleen Jowitt’s Stancester series and was a joy to read. I purposely made myself slow down when reading it as I wanted to stay part of this world, of Stancester, for a while longer. There was something familiar and soothing about being with Colette and Lydia. I loved finding out more about their lives and the decisions they were having to make. This is a book about people, about communities, and just happens to involve those of various religious persuasions.

Lydia wants to become an ordained minister, but that is problematic as the Church of England will not allow gay clergy to marry. How will Lydia and Colette navigate that particular issue? Colette is part way through her PhD, and dealing with that is about as much as she can handle. How will she deal with being the partner of a vicar, if that were ever to happen? This is a book about realisation, about finding answers to the questions we all have. Sometimes it takes time to know exactly what we really want. It’s a book to savour. The writing is exquisite, and the characters have depth and realism. I loved it and hope this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Lydia, Colette and their friends. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Treacherous Seas’ by Radclyffe

Radclyffe made me smile again. Going back to Provincetown and to some old friends, was exactly the tonic I needed in these difficult times. As Reese Conlon and her wife Tory await a much anticipated birth, the town faces an unknown threat. Andy Champlain, a rookie cop, is working the busy summer months in Provincetown. Sometimes it seems she’s trying too hard to prove herself. But to whom? Encountering the new PA at Tory’s clinic, Laurel,  certainly brightens her day, and she has no complaints when a mysterious outbreak on a berthed cruise ship keeps bringing them together. 

I loved how all of the main characters were brought together to deal with the outbreak. Seeing their work and home lives mingle was fascinating. And it made the story more real. The writing is such that the reader feels an affinity to these characters. We can identify with them. Radclyffe manages to engender a feeling of belonging, of being home. I enjoyed the romantic elements immensely, but the mystery aboard the cruise ship piqued my interest even more. I love a good mystery – in this case a medical mystery. Seeing how they all coped made me think it might turn out OK for us all in the end. A fantastic read.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Entangled’ by Melissa Brayden

Who doesn’t jump for joy at the prospect of a new Melissa Brayden series? I was delighted to find out I could wallow in some new stories and new characters from one of my favourite romance writers. ‘Entangled’ is the first in the Tangle Valley Romance Series and is set amongst the vineyards run and owned by Joey Wilder. She knows where she wants to go with her business and it doesn’t involve intrusion by corporate America, in the form of the new Jade hotel. She likes the local town, Whisper Wall, just the way it is. And she’s determined not to cave to the charms of the gorgeous hotel manager, Becca Crawford. But the best laid plans……

This novel has a group of friends, women and men, who are going to become part of my reading life for the next few years. I can see wonderful things coming. The setting is cosy and friendly and makes me wish I could visit. In this story we meet Joey, who has had a difficult time and is not open to relationships. But when you meet someone who takes your breath away, it’s not easy to resist. Becca was ambitious and smart, but it was her kindness and caring nature that appealed to me most about her. They were meant to be together. I loved seeing their feelings for each other grow. The people around them were instrumental in helping it happen. It was a feel-good story, with the perfect setting, adorable characters and Ms Brayden’s beautiful writing. I can’t wait for the next in the series.

I was given this ARC for review.