Review of ‘We Are All Liars’ by Carys Jones

The Fierce Five have been friends since early childhood. Once close, they have drifted apart as adult life takes hold. In an attempt to rekindle the feelings they all had for each other, Gail invites the women to her cabin in the Scottish Highlands for the weekend. Will they find that friendship again, or will they discover that the lies we all tell each other are too big and too serious?

‘We Are All Liars’ is exhilarating, terrifying and very, very, clever. Told from the point of view of Allie, we see the lives the women lead now and how that has affected their friendship group. But the past cannot and will not be forgotten. There are secrets and lies that have remained hidden for twenty years, but once the women are together it becomes increasingly difficult to keep them from surfacing. I was shocked and surprised and could never have guessed where it was all going. Carys Jones took me on a rollercoaster ride, one I could not get off until the brilliantly conceived twist was revealed. What an amazing story.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘The Fair Botanists’ by Sara Sheridan

‘The Fair Botanists’ by Sara Sheridan is the standout novel of the year for me. It’s the wonderful story of two women and the connections they make in Edinburgh in the early 1800s. Elizabeth is a widow moving to Edinburgh to live with her husband’s family, and hoping for a better life. Her interest in botany and especially illustration, brings her into contact with those working at the new botanical gardens. The imminent flowering of a special tree has the city fascinated, as has the expected visit of the King. Belle has a secret identity and a plan for the future. She knows her present career will be short lived, so is using her interest in botany to ensure her comfort later. These two very different women find a common bond, forming a friendship that defies society’s expectations .

Elizabeth and Belle’s stories weave in and out with those of other prominent and not so prominent members of Edinburgh society. It is this that captured my attention and did not let go until the last page.  Sara Sheridan builds each layer, and connects each strand, with beautifully written descriptive pose. It’s  a story of life, of friendship and of love.  Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Big London Dreams’ by Clare Lydon

I have read every book in Clare Lydon’s London Romance series and enjoyed every one. ‘Big London Dreams’ is the best so far. As well as love and romance, we are taken back to the 1950s, and to a time where girls were expected to find a nice young man and settle down. For Eunice Starling and Joan Hart that’s not so easy. Neither have been able to find a man that remotely interested them, and when they fall in love everything seems to click. But this was the late fifties and it took more than love to keep them together. Sixty years later they meet again and tell their story. Will it be happily ever after for them at last? You’ll have to read this wonderful book to find out.

‘Big London Dreams’ was the most heart-wrenching love story. A story of it’s time. But it was also joyful and heartwarming. Clare Lydon told the most amazing tale of true love, where time could not diminish the passion the women felt for each other. It was also beautifully written and the descriptions of London were so evocative. I could imagine it all so well. So much effort was put into making it just right. Although I knew there would be heartbreak, I could not stop reading. I knew that love would conquer all, and Ms Lydon did not disappoint. The fact that it tied in with my favourite romance series and the friends I had come to love, made it all the more special. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Under A Greek Moon’ by Carol Kirkwood

Carol Kirkwood has taken me on a wonderful journey, full of romance, Hollywood glamour and summer loving. ‘Under a Greek Moon’ is the story of Shauna Jackson, a beautiful  film-star with a secret in her past.  When her life changes unexpectedly, she feels a desire to return to the Greek island where she lost her heart many years before. Demetrios Theodosis appears to have it all, but he has regrets and feels it’s too late to change. Trying to control his headstrong daughter is not working out well. Will he push her away? Or find a solution they can both live with? Life on Ithos is about to get very interesting!

I loved this story. There was love and romance, but there was also heartache and regret. It had heart and warmth and characters I grew to love. Ms Kirkwood gave me everything I wanted in the perfect summer holiday read. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘What A Tangled Web’ by Melissa Brayden

‘What A Tangled Web’ is the third in the Tangle Valley Romance Series, and is the perfect end to a wonderful series. Focusing on winemaker extraordinaire, Madison, and her chance at love, it is heart-warming, sweet and intensely passionate. When Madison is advised to start investing some of her money, she’s delighted to find that her favourite local breakfast place, The Bacon and Biscuit, is up for sale. And the thought that it’ll give her an excuse to see a lot more of Clementine, the manager, is an added bonus. Clementine has had a difficult life and managing the Biscuit had given her focus and purpose. Just when she’s about to make an offer on the cafe, Madison swoops in and buys it from under her. The entirely oblivious Madison would never intentionally hurt Clementine, so how are they going to deal with each other while Clementine is so devastated? 

This story had all of the feel-good factor of the previous two in the series and a whole lot more. The two main characters were adorable and I found myself seeing Madison in a new light. She had moved on from the injured feelings of ‘Two To Tangle’, and we could see who she really was and how she ticked. Clementine was brilliant at her job, but her confidence levels were precarious. One knock and she was likely to topple. I wanted to hug her. I wanted this relationship to work and was cheering them on throughout. But they had to learn about themselves as individuals before they could be together. 

This was the happiest ending to the most amazing trilogy. Melissa Brayden pulled all of the elements together, wrapped them up in a bow, and presented the reader with Happily Ever After to the max!

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 ‘True Karma’ by Karen Klyne

Karen Klyne knows how to write an Ice Queen. And this time she has given us an unconventional twist. Amelia Steele is, at first glance, stand-offish and very anti-social, and I was prepared to dislike her. But that didn’t last long. To me she wasn’t at all unlikeable, because I knew who she was and why she acted the way she did. Her behaviour was perfectly normal for her and I really liked her. Who says we all have to be the same? 

When out walking her neighbours dog, Amelia finds herself somewhat beholden to the woman who rescues the adorable mutt, when Karma slips the lead. As someone unused to small talk or even any attempt at the social niceties, it’s hard for Amelia to know what to do. Juno Costello was warm and vivacious and full of chatter. So unlike Amelia. But opposites attract, don’t they? For some reason she sees past the social awkwardness and wants to know more about Amelia. Will Amelia let her see the woman behind the mask? I really liked Juno. She was sweet and thoughtful and the fact that she was interested enough to take time with Amelia, getting to know her, appealed to me. But it was Amelia that drew me into the story. I loved her vulnerability and her bluntness. What you see is what you get with her. I enjoyed this book and the intelligent and emotional storytelling.

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 ‘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 ‘Addie Mae’ by Addison M Conley

‘Addie Mae’ hits the sweet spot when it comes to lesbian romance. Maddy is ending an awful marriage but her husband and his family aren’t going to make it easy. How can she escape with her dignity and finances intact, when her rich in-laws have the means to make her suffer? Will she spill the beans on her unfaithful husband and his philandering ways? All that matters is the love and respect of her son. What will his reaction be? 

As she adjusts to her new life, gorgeous butch Jessie appears on the scene. Can Maddy take a chance on love? Is Jessie all she seems? 

It’s a well-written and engaging story, with a fascinating setting and premise. I really liked  the main characters, and those around them. There was ultimately a feel-good vibe. I loved it.