Review of ‘Pretending in Paradise’ by M Ullrich

I love it when an author makes all my dreams come true in a novel. M Ullrich made me laugh, she made me cry – and she had me swooning over and over again. ‘Pretending in Paradise’ is the story of travel blogger Emma Morgan, a woman who takes advantage of everything on offer on her work trips – and that includes romantic dalliances. But this time it has backfired on her and her boss insists she takes new P.R. Exec Caroline Beckett as an insurance against any further bad behaviour. The only problem is, Caroline comes across as repressed and so tightly wound that Emma is dreading sharing a trip with her. But as they get to know each other – due to the fact that they are visiting a couples resort and have to fake a relationship – it appears the might just find they like each other. 

I really loved Emma. She was fun, gorgeous and had a very caring and considerate side to her nature. She wasn’t at all what I expected. Caroline may come across as prickly and uptight but I just wanted to hug her. I could see why Emma was so drawn to her. The setting of a brand spanking new couples resort in Florida was wonderful. I want to go there! I enjoyed seeing it through Emma’s eyes – as a seasoned professional blogger. Caroline’s perspective was very different but let me see how a rookie traveller would experience it. The romantic element was sweet and taken slowly but that was exactly how it needed to be. And the sex – oh my! It was hot and inventive and very, very naughty. A wonderful story – and another M Ullrich novel to add to my list of favourites. 

I was given this ARC for review.

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Review of ‘Recipe for Love’ by Aurora Rey

Aurora Rey writes the yummiest stories – and in this case I mean the food as well as the romance. ‘Recipe for Love’ is the story of hard-working farmer Hannah Little and new chef in town Drew Davis. Set in the beautiful countryside of Upstate New York, with its fields of delicious produce, the setting is an integral part of the whole. I really want to go there now. Hannah can’t quite believe big city Head Chef will ever fit in. Drew arrives with the attitude that this will only ever be a stop-gap. But when they start becoming more to each other than friends, hard decisions may have to be made. I would find it hard to pick who was my favourite between Hannah and Drew. Hannah was kind and conscientious and had obviously found her niche in life. Drew thought she knew exactly what she wanted but meeting Hannah was not in the plan and seeing her deal with that made me love her all the more. The supporting characters were so well drawn and I especially liked Hannah’s sister, Clare. Through her eyes we saw so much of what was going on. It was a lovely romantic story, with just the right amount of will they-won’t they. It was also incredibly sexy. One particular element of the love-making was hot, hot, hot. But you’ll have to discover for yourself what that was! I adore Aurora Rey’s writing and will never get enough. She transports me to beautiful places, with beautiful women and I can guarantee I will have a happy, satisfied smile on my face by the last page. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Love To The Rescue’ by Radclyffe

Reading a Rivers series book is like coming home. I feel as if I know all of these characters so well and I always enjoy being in their company. I will never tire of them. There are so many layers to the Rivers story and ‘Love To The Rescue’ adds another fascinating one. 

Brody Clark moves back to town after a decade away. As the new helicopter medic at the  hospital she comes face to face with people she would much rather avoid – and with some issues she has avoided. Val Valentine left town for the big city but finds herself back helping a friend who saw something in her and influenced her career. The two women were never really in each others’s spheres at high school but as adults they find an attraction that makes them rethink the future. I liked the connection between them. Sometimes we have to meet someone at the right time, for only then will we be truly ready for each other. Radclyffe pitches it just right with this story. I loved every word. She makes us believe in love and romance and,of course, the sex is so hot. She weaves various threads seamlessly and yet again left me wanting more of this series. Excellent!

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Love’s Portrait’ by Anna Larner

‘Love’s Portrait’ is a perfect mixture of love, romance and belonging. Molly Goode is a fine art curator in Leicester, wishing to bring more diversity to the museum where she works. Georgina Wright is an important benefactor, albeit a reluctant one. She comes across as a bit of an Ice Queen but spending time with Molly begins to thaw her cool exterior. When Georgina needs help to research a painting in her collection, Molly is instructed by her boss to take on the task.

I liked Molly from the start. She was sweet, a bit ditsy and completely unaware of how wonderful she is. She worries about saying and doing the wrong thing and I found her completely adorable. Georgina was a woman in pain, dealing with grief and hurt, and I had high hopes that Molly would be the woman to see her through that. I felt compelled to follow their story. The mystery behind the painting drew me further into the story and I loved the historical aspect of it in regard to the research on the painting. Anna Larner’s writing has a gentle beauty to it, an engaging tone throughout.  Her characters feel real to me and she makes me want to know more about them. This is the second book I have read by this author and I must admit she has become a favourite of mine. A lovely story.

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

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 ‘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 ‘Spinning Tales’ by Brey Willows

Maggie McShay leads a boring life, in a boring apartment, with a boring job – and with a cat who doesn’t seem to like her. What she wants is some magic in her life and when she answers an ad to look after a fairy tale cottage it appears that things may be looking up for her.  The story is of Maggie and her friends as well as a world of fairy stories. It is told in a way that you will not doubt this place really exists. As they work together to save the world from evil villains, Maggie finds out much more about herself and this new world than she could ever have imagined. 

From the minute she answers the advert you feel the excitement along with her. We learn as she does and it’s fascinating. I adored Maggie. She was curious, sweet and feisty. Kody was hot, hot, hot – and didn’t Maggie know it. The whole cast of characters in this book leapt off the page – they were vivid and exciting.

The story was wonderfully, magically imaginative. And you know, I didn’t doubt for a minute that the cottage existed exactly where she said it did! The self-discovery by Maggie was pivotal and her growing feelings for Kody were sensitively dealt with. I loved the story and the imagination behind it but most of all I was enthralled by the use of language. It was beautiful and poetic and lyrical. The skilful use of metaphor and simile took the writing to another level. The descriptions of people and places came alive for me. ’Spinning Tales’ is excellent and I highly recommend it.

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

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 ‘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.