Review of ‘At Last’ by J.M. Dragon

I enjoyed this sweet and inspiring story of a town coming together to try to save the company that keeps them all afloat. Love stories abound in ‘At Last’ and I was especially enamoured by one in particular. Perfume company owner Gene has yet to find the love of her life – but if she opened her eyes she would see love was there in front of her all along. Outsider Quinn comes to town to try and sort out supply problems for her employers – but ends up finding out more about herself. I think the town of Grady had quite an impact on those choosing to spend time there. Powerful circumstances made people reassess their lives. Love, family, romance and loyalty were the themes that drew me into this story.  I felt myself rooting for the characters – be it in their love lives or in business. An enjoyable read.

I was given this ARC for review.

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Review of ‘The Book Witch’ by Annette Mori

‘The Book Witch’ is funny, quirky and full of surprising twists. The first book in the series ‘The Book Addict’ introduced us to Elle and Tanya, who are now all loved-up. When Imara, a book witch with the power to bring characters to life, appears in town things begin to get exciting again. She wants to help Jai, a local teacher, find love at last. But she needs her friends to help. Things are never that simple though and enemies, old and new, try to put a spoke in the machine. 

Ms Mori uses some unique plot devices to take this story in very unexpected directions. Fans of the author will be thrilled to find some of their favourite characters from other series turn up. This really worked for me. In a book about the supernatural I was was surprised to find myself suspending belief and really going with the premise. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if book witches did exist and our beloved characters came to life? This was exactly the kind of book I wanted to read and I salute the imagination of Annette Mori. 

I was given this ARC for review.

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 ‘The Book Addict’ by Annette Mori

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’The Book Addict’ is a quirky story with an unusual premise and lots of fun. I wouldn’t expect any less from the inimitable Annette Mori. Tanya is a quiet book nerd and severely lacks confidence. When a new bookstore opens in town she is first in line and finds herself drawn to the owner. Elle is a magician and her role in life is to find book lovers who would benefit from an adventure inside their favourite stories. And Tanya is her latest project. Things don’t run smoothly though as Elle and Tanya find themselves embroiled in wizard politics and a fight for what is right.

I enjoyed the magical element of the book and the idea was something I’d never come across. It was intriguing. Tanya was so unsure of herself but she was an amazing woman underneath – she just needed someone to show her. Elle could see all of that and I loved how she tried to get the best out of Tanya. The various other enchanting characters around them were equally fascinating. Some were hilarious, some downright wicked. A lovely story with a feel-good factor.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘True North: Strong Southern Women 3’ by Ali Spooner

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This third book in the Strong Southern Women series by Ali Spooner ‘True North’ is set 10 years after the events at the end of ‘Gator Girlz’. Cam is the head of the the family business and all of the St Angelo girls have moved on in their lives. They are still together on the homestead working and doing what they can to keep the family together and afloat. I loved reading about their adult lives and loves as well as the various activities they are involved in to contribute to the finances of the whole family.

In this book there’s a fair bit of worry for Cam and her sisters but they are such a strong unit and I hoped that they could pull together and get through it. Sandy has turned into a fine young woman and it was interesting to encounter her as an adult this time. It was a close thing between her and Cam as to who was my favourite character. I really enjoyed my time with the St Angelo girls again and I implore Ali Spooner to consider writing more in this series. I don’t want to let them go just yet!

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Gator Girlz’ by Ali Spooner

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Ali Spooner took a hold of my heart with this book and never let it go ‘till I had used up a whole box of Kleenex. To say this story was emotional is an understatement but it was worth every tear shed. Cam looks forward to a new year at college and the chance to play for the team again. Her plans are put on hold when her family need her more. The way the family pulled together was inspiring and I could completely understand why Cam didn’t hesitate when the call came. The love and warmth extended beyond the immediate family too as Tab felt part of it all. I worried for Cam and Tab as circumstances meant they would have to work hard to keep their love alive. Life on the bayou was beautifully described and the slow, meandering pace was so appealing. The St Angelo’s respect their environment and take from it what they need, while giving back tenfold. I would love this series to go on and on as I don’t feel ready to let them go yet. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC by Affinity ebook Press for review.

Review of ‘Calling Home’ by Jen Silver

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‘Calling Home’ is a lovely story set at an island writer’s retreat. Sarah Frost is a director of the Frost Foundation and along with general manager and friend , Berry Fields, lives and works there happily. Galen Thomas joins them as their handy-person whilst taking a break from her career as a vet. What seems like a normal week for them as hosts to a group of writers turns out to be something very different. The novel goes in directions I could not have predicted. The relationships between the women are intense. Some forged from a difficult and tumultuous past, others new and tender. There was something quite touching about one particular relationship that I found beautiful. Revelations from forty years ago impact them all and turned everything around. I liked Berry a lot. She was emotionally damaged but found a way to cope. Galen had a quiet strength and was a pillar for Berry. She changed too as she began to take control of her own life. The mystery element of the book really gripped me. I really appreciated the north of England setting and you can tell the author has a real affinity for the area. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and highly recommend it.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Free to Love’ by Ali Spooner and Annette Mori

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‘Free to Love’ is a fantastic book, comprising of two linked stories by Ali Spooner and Annette Mori. Set in the 18th century in a time of slavery, it tells of the lives of some amazing women who fought against injustice and for love. In ‘ The Chandler’s Daughter’ by Ali Spooner,  Cecilia works for her family business  in the South and becomes increasingly aware of the appalling treatment of the slaves who are brought in to the harbour nearby. Her lover, Captain Hillary Blythe is equally appalled and vows to do something to help. Their love story was very hot and steamy but with a love that shone through. They are linked to Annette Mori’s story ‘Forbidden Love’ by Captain Blythe’s visit to Antigua and a Mission run by Elizabeth Allen. Elizabeth is a very religious woman and fights against her need to be with the woman she has come to love. Rescued slave Kia becomes everything to her but they risk their lives by being together at such a dangerous time .

I found these stories inspiring and full of love. The historical aspect was fascinating  and I learned so much about the history of slavery and  of the reality of same sex relationships at that time. The characters were wonderfully written and I was completely enthralled. They were strong women who had to fight to be free to love. The people around them were important too and their interactions showed the lengths to which the women were prepared to go for love and justice. The stories blended so well together and I hope that Ms Spooner and Ms Mori decide to collaborate again in the future. I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Trusting Hearts’ by Samantha Hicks

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Trust is at the heart of this emotional roller-coaster story. Carrie and Holly start off being business rivals and the enmity between them is palpable. Neither are able to trust other people or themselves due to life-changing incidents in their past. But they are drawn to each other in a way that overwhelms them. Their attraction was unbelievably intense and emotional and I was all over the place wondering ‘Will they? Won’t they?’. Samantha Hicks knows how to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I loved her writing and how she managed to convey the feelings the women had for each other. Her characters were real and I wanted them to be together so much. The sex was off-the-scale hot and heavy and extremely effective!! An excellent first novel. 5 Stars!

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Diamond Dreams’ by Ali Spooner

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‘Diamond Dreams’ is the story of Cam St Angelo and her move to college and the softball league she has been dreaming of joining. Cam comes from the Louisiana bayous and her close-knit family life is a far cry from the life she leads at college. And very different from that of her roomie Tab.

I loved finding out about the life of the St Angelo family and I’m glad this is the first in a series because I want more of them. Cam’s youngest sister Sandy was adorable and her parents were loving and accepting people. The story was told at a relaxed, easy-going pace that was perfect for the type of life lived in the bayous . Cam’s sexual awakening was natural and beautifully done. She was a lovely character, full of wonder and hope and seemed to charm those around her. I was so glad she had Tab to introduce her to college life. She was sweet, generous and kind . I know absolutely nothing about softball but that didn’t matter at all. I rather enjoyed finding out about it through Cam’s eyes. I can’t wait for the next one to come out.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

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