Review of ‘You’re My Kind’ by Clare Lydon

Clare Lydon certainly played with my emotions on this one. ‘You’re My Kind’ is the story of Justine and Maddie and their road to love after splitting ten years previously. Justine has never been able to get over it and professes to hate the very mention of Maddie’s name. But when she unexpectedly turns up again on an already awful day, Justine is forced to start confronting her feelings.

Now, I was determined to hate Maddie too, on Justine’s behalf. But she crept up on me. I wanted to resist her, but I just couldn’t. I felt myself wavering and letting her in. The story was thoughtful and sad at times and really touched my heart. It was also hilariously funny and I almost spat my coffee across the room at ‘vagina cupcakes’! Clare Lydon writes romance like no other. I ached for the pair of them and when they had sex, it was so much more than that. It was everything; it was remembering and wanting and needing. 

The Bristol setting was wonderful. I could picture so many of the places mentioned. The constant mention of cakes might have made me dash for the mixing bowl too! An excellent story and highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

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Review of ‘Wooing the Farmer’ by Jenny Frame

This is the book we Axedale fanatics have been waiting for. At last Quade gets a chance at love – but the woman she has set her sights on is not going to be easy to persuade. Penelope Huntingdon-Stewart is a famous food blogger and member of one of the most famous families in Britain. She retreats to Axedale after an embarrassing and traumatising incident and is in no mood for romance. Can Quade get past that frosty exterior and win the heart of the fair maiden? 

We’ve known for a long time that Quade wanted to settle down with the woman of her dreams, but she thinks no-one would want to be a farmer’s wife. She has no idea just how gorgeous she is or how appealing the rugged butch farmer vibe is. I loved seeing a new side to Quade, and the protective and caring side of her nature really came out. I also really appreciated Quade and Penny’s story interweaving with that of Harry and Annie and of Bridge and Finn. Penny is the polar opposite of Quade and that is why it worked so well. Penny’s secrets made her hold Quade at arms’s length but when the wooing started it was sweet and tender. But hey, this is a Jenny Frame book, so there were also the most delicious hot and sexy scenes that we have come to expect.

Jenny Frame writes the most amazing characters and this whole series is a masterpiece. But where she excels is in writing butch lesbians. Quade is the ultimate butch and she is a dream. I can’t imagine anyone being able to resist falling in love with this particular ‘Sexy Farmer’. Every time I read a Jenny Frame book I think it’s the best ever, but time and again she surprises me. She has surpassed herself with ‘Wooing the Farmer’. 

I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books to review.

Review of ‘Major Surgery’ by Lola Keeley

I think it was the exceptionally desirable characters in ‘Major Surgery’ that first grabbed my attention. Veronica appears to be a bit aloof and the classic Ice Queen, but appearances can be deceptive. Army medic Cassie makes quite an impression from the get-go. She is determined, unconventional and very, very hot. The London teaching hospital setting was perfect. It gave us a chance to wander the capital’s streets, which were recognisable and familiar and an integral part of the story.

Lola Keeley impressed me with her previous novel, ‘The Music and the Mirror’, so I was looking forward to this new one. She did not disappoint. She writes of small, seemingly insignificant looks and glances that could be missed, except we know what they mean. When Veronica can’t keep her eyes off Cassie we know why. The slow build-up was perfect – the sexual tension at some points was palpable. I couldn’t get enough. ‘Major Surgery’ is the kind of story of that will have you cheering . Wonderful !❤️❤️

I was given this ARC by Ylva Publishing for review.

Review of ‘Perfect Partners’ by Maggie Cummings

‘Perfect Partners’ is set in the world of K9 training for those in law enforcement. Sara is an instructor who is dedicated to her job and is not looking for a relationship – especially with a cop. Izzy finds herself with the chance of doing her dream job – she just has to pass the demanding course. The story was sweet and romantic and I loved the blossoming of something tender and beautiful between the two women. Maggie Cummings has an amazing talent for writing characters I easily fall for and she brings them to life with such panache. I adored the dogs too and finding out how they were trained and paired with their human partners was fascinating. Chase was just a darling! This is a feel-good tale that left me with a smile on my face. Highly recommended. 

I was given this ARC for review by Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley.

Review of ‘Cupid’s Bow’ by Karen F Williams

‘Cupid’s Bow’ is a sweet, funny, short romance with endearing characters. Kay Westscott is a novelist winding down after a busy lesbian fiction conference. She meets a beautiful woman in the bar of her hotel where the woman is planning on attending a lesbian speed dating event that night. When they get talking it soon becomes apparent that there is an attraction between them – but will either of them take the initiative? 

I really enjoy short stories and am always delighted to find new ones – especially lesfic ones. This one is a lovely story of unexpected attraction and the hope of more. It poses the question of whether one can fall in love at first sight. And whether you can make a life changing decision based on that one meeting. I loved it. Karen F Williams is an excellent writer with imaginative flair and I always look out for her work. I am happy to add ‘Cupid’s Bow’ to my collection.

I was given this ARC for review by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books.

Review of ‘Deuce’ by Jen Silver

What a wonderful story! ‘Deuce’ is the story of Jay, ex-professional tennis player, and her life after the disappearance at sea of her lover, Charley. Forced to go on without her, she brings up their child and starts a new career. But she isn’t really happy. Charley meanwhile is living in the Faroe Islands with a new name and no memory of her life before. When she starts to remember, the lives of so many people are about to be up-ended. 

The story is so well told. It has love, unexpected family complications, passion and surprises. I could not put it down. I wanted to know what happened next to these characters. They felt real and I began to care about them. They each had to face the fact that time does not stand still and people change. Sometimes that means accepting differences and sometimes it means putting yourself in their shoes. Jen Silver has a talent for crafting characters and storylines that really resonate. She subtly weaves real events into her work and that makes the reader feel more engaged. ‘Deuce’ may be my favourite of her novels so far. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Spencer’s Cove’ by Missouri Vaun

‘Spencer’s Cove’ is a fantastical tale of witches, good and evil and ultimately love. Foster Owen, a mystery novelist with a serious case of writer’s block, is given a lifeline when a job comes up to ghost write a family memoir for Abigail Spencer. Abby has inherited her family’s mansion on the Pacific Coast and on first meeting she is a shy, frightened rabbit of a woman. When Foster starts looking into the family’s past some very interesting stories emerge and she is intrigued. Just when I thought I knew where this story was going and who everyone was, Missouri Vaun took me on a ride that totally exceeded my expectations. Seeing changes in Abby was enlightening and Foster had a lot to do with that. She was a beautifully envisaged soft butch – and who could blame Abby for being attracted to her? The novel had some amazingly strong women and a feeling of camaraderie and power that appealed to me so much. I loved the mixture of the historical research Foster was undertaking and the present day story that stemmed from it.  It was a magical tale and I absolutely adored it. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books to review.

Review of ‘Hooked On You’ by Jenn Matthews

Ollie was seriously injured during her time in the army. She now owns a craft shop and runs a crochet group in the evenings. When teacher Anna joins the group they fall into an easy friendship, but there is more. What that might be is confusing for seemingly-straight Anna. She is dating total prat Liam, a colleague. Boy, did I want her to see the light regarding that one!

I enjoyed the slow build up in this story. It was so worth it. Ollie and Annie are grown -up women, with full lives and interesting histories. It was so refreshing to read a romance between mature women. Each touch, each kiss was special and tender. It was beautifully written. We got to see how Ollie struggled with her physical problems and how that affected her confidence in pursuing a new relationship. Anna’s struggles were of a different nature – that of being attracted to a woman for the first time. I was literally ‘hooked’ on their stories. 

I also really enjoyed finding out about their families. Anna’s adopted son, Timothy was on the Autistic Spectrum and I loved his way of looking at the world. His depiction was spot on. Jenn Matthews has an excellent understanding of someone with autism and I really appreciated how she put across how wonderful it can be and how rewarding it is to know someone with autism. Thank you for that Jenn. 

Finally the fact that the women met through their love of crochet was fascinating. I have, like Anna, watched multiple YouTube videos to try and learn the skill, to no avail. After reading ‘Hooked On You’ I’m feeling inspired to follow Anna’s lead and join a class. An excellent first novel –  I look forward to more from Ms Matthews in the future.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Royal Court’ by Jenny Frame

‘Royal Court’ has a wonderful set of characters; many I have grown to love over this series. But Captain Quincy and Holly will hold a special place in my heart. Their love story was so touching, so emotionally intense and beautiful. I believe Jenny Frame has surpassed herself. Quincy is a royal protection officer in charge of looking after Queen Beatrice, the Queen Consort. Holly Weaver is the royal dresser and Bea’s friend. Holly is easy going, happy-go-lucky and a delight to be around. However happy she seems though, she hasn’t found love and wonders if she’s been looking in the wrong place. Captain Quincy is buttoned-up, a stickler for the rules and for protocol. She is also gorgeous and Holly has noticed. I loved the will they-won’t they part of the novel. I was also hooked on the significant tension of someone wishing to put a big spanner in the works. 

But it is the slow unravelling of Quincy that is the pivotal element of this whole story. We see more and more of her and can really empathise with her. I could feel Quincy’s pain and I just wanted to hug her. She brings out feelings of protectiveness and desire, even though she’s supposed to be the protector. Holly wanted to do a lot more than just be a good friend to her and seeing that dawn on the Queen’s dresser was fascinating. There were unbelievably hot sex scenes as I have come to expect and look forward to in Jenny Frame’s books. Passions slowly rise until you feel the characters may burst! The encounters are intense and desperate. And Ms Frame’s highly imaginative invention intelliflesh- oh my goodness!!! ‘Royal Court’ is wonderful and I highly recommend it.

I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books for review.

Review of ‘Breaking Character’ by Lee Winter

‘Breaking Character’ is the story of Ice Queen, Elizabeth, star of top rated TV hospital drama ,Choosing Hope, and her new co-star Summer. Deep in the closet Elizabeth (Bess) is a respected British theatre actress and is widely seen as aloof and a bitch. Adorable former child-star Summer sees something different. As she struggles to be taken seriously as an adult in Hollywood, she brings something new to the show and to Bess’s life.

I really liked Bess. She had so many insecurities about her career and herself and it made her all the more loveable. Summer had a great heart and a lovely way of looking at life. I wanted them to be together so much. The twists and turns they had to overcome were so satisfying. I could have cheered at quite a few points in the story. The boo-hiss villain of the story was perfectly pitched and the coterie of friends and family  on both sides made this a very well rounded story. At times I felt the heartbreak and at others the passion and love was beautiful. An enchanting romantic story that had me swooning- especially the last paragraph. Perfect. 

I was given this ARC by Ylva Publishing to review.