Review of ‘Turbulent Waves’ by Ali Vali

‘Turbulent Waves’ by Ali Vali is a romantic fantasy novel set in Atlantis and New Orleans. Vivien could never forget meeting a girl on the beach years ago. She appeared to dip beneath the waves in the company of sharks – but how could that be? Years later she finds out when Kai Merlin, heir to the Atlantean throne, comes back into her life and they fall in love. As they plan their wedding Vivien finds out about the world beneath the sea and is astounded at the scope of it all. But Atlantis is under threat and the women must fight for their lives and the home they will now share. 

This is the second in the series and I feel reading the first one is important to understanding the whole story. It’s a truly amazing world and the concept is so well thought out. I loved finding out about the history and technology of the Atlantean people. The love story between Kai and Vivien is beautiful and tender and extremely hot. The heat level is scorching, with very descriptive love scenes. But underneath all of the happiness at the impending wedding is an undercurrent of fear and tension as they battle an enemy from the stars. I loved to wallow in fantasy and this let me do that. An enjoyable story.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘The Fiend In The Fog’ by Jess Faraday

‘The Fiend in the Fog’ is a wonderfully atmospheric story set in Victorian England. When a noxious fog envelops certain parts of the city there’s talk of demons. Abby and Gideon’s clinic begins to see patients affected by the mysterious goings-on. Meg and her brother Nat live privileged lives, but are drawn into the mystery, thought their own particular interests. What is going on in a nondescript building in the East End? What are they studying there – and will it have implications for the group of individuals, brought together by the fog and what lies beneath it?

The story was compelling from the very start, with a fascinating mystery and interesting characters. I loved the historical setting of 1885 London. The wonderfully descriptive writing pulled me right into the heart of the story, and I could just imagine the dirty buildings and awful stench of the city at that time. I won’t give anything away about what exactly they were looking into, or why they were all involved, but it was brilliantly done. I would love to see more from this group of characters, as their stories could lead off into so many directions.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ by Jenny Frame

I loved being back in Rosebrook Village. This time we are with dapper Archie Archer, a townie who loves her job, but wouldn’t want to live there. When she falls for the romance-loving country-phile Ashling, Archie has to decide what she really wants in life. Can she change her ways for the love of a good woman? And will she be able to give Ashling the storybook ending she hopes for?

There is conflict from the start for this pair. They seem to disagree on everything. But it’s obvious for anyone to see that they are made for each other. They might just need a little push in the right direction. As they are forced to work together more closely, the sparks start to fly. I adored the growing romance between Archie and Ashling, and could feel the passion jumping off of the page. The dynamic was wonderful. This age-gap, enemies to lovers story swept me off my feet. And the wonderful family-feeling of the village made it so special. Every person wanted to be there, and they were all behind the couple, cheering them on. I can’t wait for the next one and finding out what happens next for Fox, Clem and the gang.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Under Her Influence’ by Amanda Radley

‘Under Her Influence’ by Amanda Radley is a sweet love story and leaves the reader feeling happy and contented. And that’s exactly what I want from a romance these days. Ms Radley keeps angst to a minimum and lets her readers enjoy the blossoming of love between her characters. Beth Fraser runs Fraser Park, a theme park in Scotland, where she takes the brunt of the responsibility and decision-making, whilst her brother apparently skates through life without a care in the world. When social media influencer, Jemma Johnson comes to the park to check out all it has to offer, Beth is perplexed. What is an influencer? She barely knows what Instagram is, so the idea that hundreds of thousands of people would follow Jemma on her travels around the world is beyond her. But as a hostile board threatens everything Beth has worked for, she realises that the park needs new ways of attracting customers. 

I loved this story, as it was gentle and endearing, with two main characters I could really get to know. Beth was determined and focused and worked non-stop. In her way Jemma was the same. But the way they chose to deal with life was completely different, and bringing them together worked so well. It was a fee-good love story, with wonderful descriptions of the park. So wonderful that I want to go to Fraser Park. Tell me its a real place please Amanda Radley!

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘In Our Words’ edited by Victoria Villasenor

‘In Our Words’ is a wonderful anthology of queer stories from black, indigenous and people of colour writers. The selection by Anne Shade is inspired and I loved reading such a variety of well-written stories. I now have some authors, new to me, that I feel compelled to seek out for my next book purchases. Although I enjoyed them all, there are a few stories that took my breath away.

My favourite was ‘Granddaughter of the Dragon’ by Brey Willows. It was a beautiful story of family, love and freedom. Freedom to be who you are and embrace it. Willows is a masterful storyteller, and manages to take the reader to places where anything is possible.

I also loved ‘Sweet Potato’ by Briana Lawrence. The author used imagery and language with such skill that I could see, touch and taste everything her characters did. I certainly want to read more from this particular author in the future.

‘Art Appreciation’ by La Toya Hankins was an empowering story, with a message of hope. I enjoyed the interaction between the two main characters and appreciated how the author developed the characters over the course of a short story.

‘The Depth of Love’ by Anne Shade was an emotional story, with a twist of mythology thrown in. It was a feel-good tale with romance and left me smiling. I would love to know more about the particular mythology she explored in a novel.

This is an excellent anthology, with something for everyone.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Origins’ by Jen Jensen

Jamis Bachman is a ghost hunter, and in this second mystery she finds herself in Arizona trying to help out the new owners of an old house in the desert. Scary apparitions appear each night, but there may be more to it than unhappy spirits. With the help of her friends, she must find out what the ghost wants, before it’s too late.

This is a creepy, scary story, with plenty of twists and turns. Behind it all there are some fascinating historical details, and characters who kept me turning the page. If you’re up for a few frights and like a well-written mystery, then this is the book for you.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘A Woman To Treasure’ by Ali Vali

‘A Woman to Treasure’ is a cracker of a story. It’s an adventure, a mystery and a love story all rolled into one. Levi Montbard has loved history her whole life, and goes all over the world in search of antiquities. Her fascination with the Templars is particularly important, and when some writings come into her possession, the adventure really begins. Yasmine Hassani is a university professor, with a special interest in women’s studies. She’s an unusual woman in her culture, as she has so far resisted the expected marriage and children route. When she becomes aware of Levi’s quest she has to decide to take a leap, in more ways than one. 

Ali Vali has written a wonderful mystery, with well-researched historical detail and a heart-warming romance at its core. It has beautiful settings  in various parts of the world, with a fantastic group of characters. I particularly loved Louisiana and Morocco, and getting to know Levi and Yasmine’s families there. The story was brilliantly plotted, with stories and revelations that made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. The romance was sweet and endearing and gave me such feelings of joy when they as much as held hands. It was lovely to see the characters grow and change as they got to know each other, becoming who they were meant to be. An excellent book and one I can highly recommend. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Unrivaled’ by Radclyffe

‘Unrivaled’ is the story of Dec, an attending, back at Philadelphia Medical Center after years away. Her recovery after an accident complete, she is determined to make work her top priority and leave love for other people. But she didn’t count on meeting resident, Zoey. She’s a breath of fresh air to Dec, but Zoey won’t ever consider coming second place with a woman.  Will they be able to meet in the middle? Can love make them change?

There’s a wonderful family feeling to this story, with the other characters being such an integral part. The other doctors have interesting backstories that weave in perfectly with Dec and Zoey’s blossoming love story. I was as invested in them as I was the two main characters. The group dynamic was a huge part of this book. It worked perfectly and made me want to know what happens next for them all. I liked the slow burn between Dec and Zoey. We find  out about each of them gradually,  and I enjoyed getting to know them through their reactions to each other. It’s a passionate story with a perfectly crafted and paced romance at its heart. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘A Fae Tale’ by Genevieve McCluer

‘A Fae Tale’ is the story of Dovana, a human saved as a child in Lithuania by Roze, a fae. Every year the pair exchange letters and gifts, even though Dovana has moved with her family to Toronto. They have a bond; one that no-one else in Dovana’s life can match. But as time goes on Roze becomes increasingly worried about the future – one that she has never divulged to anyone. Dovana feels the pull to Roze and wants to see be in contact with her more than just once a year. As she begins to look into doing so, she finds out a lot more than she bargained for.

This is an unusual tale, but a very enjoyable one. It’s funny and a bit kooky, but very sweet and romantic too. I loved the settings of Lithuania and Toronto. It’s refreshing to read a story set somewhere different. I also enjoyed the folklore of Lithuania and mixing it with present day Canada. Genevieve McCluer writes great humorous prose and I found myself giggling out loud a few times in the course of reading this book. Her characters are well defined and fun, and she makes her secondary characters come to life as much as the main protagonists. An enjoyable 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.