Review of 'In The Shadow Of Darkness' by Nicole Stiling

‘In The Shadow Of Darkness’ by Nicole Stiling got my attention straight away – because who doesn’t love vampires, right? As a newly turned vampire Angeline Vallencourt, has to leave behind everything she knows and those she loves. Her life may now be long-lived, but without someone to love, it’s not all its cracked up to be. She has no choice but to spend time with the vampire who turned her – but is that really the best option for her?

Megan Denham meets Angeline under very strange circumstances. She can’t quite believe what has happened or the story Angeline tells her. But when people start dying in their small town, Megan has to decide who she trusts, and whether her feelings for Angeline are enough. 

I really enjoyed this story as it had excitement, romance and characters I could really feel something for. Angeline’s story is told both in the past and present day, so we got to know how she became the woman/vampire she is now. She had to do things she wasn’t proud of and make the best of her situation. I liked her a lot the more I got to know her. Megan was braver anymore determined that she gave herself credit for. She was a loyal friend and open-minded. Angeline deserved to be with someone like her. This was a love story, but it was also edge-of-the-seat stuff too. It had me hooked and I couldn’t put it down. A great, well-written story.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'Spellbound' by Jackie D and Jean Copeland

Hazel Abbott has no idea she is a witch or descended from Sarah Hutchinson,  a woman imprisoned during the Salem witch trials of 1692. When Sarah suddenly appears in modern day Salem, she sets off a series of events that neither could have imagined. Raven Dare, supernatural hunter under the employ of Queen witch, Morgan le Fay, becomes embroiled in their adventure and the women must work together to save humanity and bring balance to the realms.

The story is imaginative and brings in elements from historical Salem and a very convincing present day dilemma, with parallels to something we will all recognise. It is exciting and thought-provoking and cleverly marries a link to history, witchcraft and present day political machinations. There is, of course, a love story or two in the tale and they are very much integral to the story. Hazel becomes more and more attracted to Raven as she begins to learn who she really is. Raven is trapped by duty and family obligations and has to begin to consider that there is a different way to live. Sarah has been catapulted into modern day America, and it is so different. But in some ways things always stay the same. People are people and the pedantic Puritans of her age are not so different from certain sectors of present day society. Sarah’s feelings for another woman begin to make sense to her though and that was a fascinating element of the story. Morgan le Fay is selfish and unsentimental and determined. Will she ever be able to see the point of view of those around her? As the group battle for what is right and good, we see that their fight is timeless. So much depends on them defeating evil. The thing is, I know it’s a fantasy story, but there is one particular hypothesis in it that makes perfect sense. I really wouldn’t be surprised! Once you read it you’ll know exactly what I mean.

A wonderfully enjoyable book and highly recommended. 

I was given this Arc for review.

Review of 'One Walk In Winter' by Georgia Beers

‘One Walk In Winter’ by Georgia Beers is that perfect combination of idyllic setting, feel-good romance and a beautiful ending that had me sighing in contentment. Olivia has worked hard to get where she is in her career, but the top job has eluded her so far. Corporate America hasn’t got past the old boy network and it shows in the lack of innovation and ideas at the Evergreen Spa Resort. When a new and inexperienced manager turns up to take the job Olivia thinks should be hers, she finds it hard to keep her displeasure to herself. Hayley is the seemingly irresponsible youngest child of the Markham clan. When her father gives her a last chance to prove herself, she has no choice but to give it a shot. Especially since he’s cut off her allowance. But Hayley is an artist at heart and finds it difficult to be the person her father wants her to be. An encounter in the woods with a beautiful woman lifts her spirits – but when they both realise the truth, it’s never going to be easy.

I really liked Olivia. She was conscientious, determined and great at her job. She was a people person and perfect for the job. I wanted her to find love too though, as that side of her life had been put on hold while she concentrated on her career. Her family were supportive and her mother was a gem. Hayley had an uphill struggle, however hard she tried. Forcing someone to be what you want is not a good idea in any scenario. She blossomed when she was out in the countryside taking photos. Her heart soared when she painted. Seeing the two women get to know each other properly –  after the initial wow intro – was beautiful. It was never just a chemical reaction between them – there was so much more. It was bout knowing what you really want, and more importantly, what you need. It was about healing and love and passion. A truly heat-warming story. I loved it. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'Someone To Love' by Jenny Frame

Davina Trent is a divorce lawyer and doesn’t believe in marriage or family.  When her cousin dies and she’s left to look after his kids, her answer is to get rid of them to boarding schools as quickly as possible. In the meantime she needs a nanny.

Wendy Darling wants kids and a family of her own. Until that happens,  she’s working as a nanny, and a job with ice queen divorce lawyer Davina Trent will help her get back on her feet financially after a bad breakup.  But she’s shocked and dismayed at Trent’s attitude to the kids and her responsibilities. She wants to help Trent see that being part of a family can be wonderful. Can two women with such opposing views of the world ever be together – irrespective of the smoking hot attraction between them?

Trent is another butch character to crush over, and very different from any of the others Jenny Frame has written. She’s like a wounded animal, retreating into a tough and hard persona. But that’s not the real her. Seeing Wendy chip away at the ice, slowly but surely, was wonderful. We know Trent from her role in ‘Unexpected’ and I found it fascinating to see a side of her I didn’t realise was there. Dale and Becca are back, along with their two kids. They play an important part in the story and I really enjoyed being with them again. The interaction between Trent and Dale was especially sweet and endearing.

Wendy was a warm and loving character and the perfect person to bring Trent and the children together. She was younger than Trent, but wiser in a lot of ways. Their attraction was always going to be a problem given the age gap and the boss/employee thing – but who can resist true love?  It was about getting to be who you really want to be. About finding the love of your life and the family you want and need. A really great story.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of 'Legacy' by Charlotte Greene

‘Legacy’ is a scary, creepy story that had me jumping out of my skin. It was brilliant. Jo and Carter are cousins and have spent their whole lives taking vacations in the family cabin in the mountains. But after a few years of neglect, the cabin is in need of repair and a good cleaning out. With a few friends, they hike to the remote cabin and hope to spend a couple of relaxing weeks sorting it out. The trip is anything but relaxing though. Strange occurrences give Jo cause for concern, but when it starts to become dangerous, and people get hurt, she has to start thinking the unthinkable. Meeting the most gorgeous woman out of the blue takes her mind off it for a moment, but all of the women have to admit that the cabin, and the mountain are not safe places to be.

The creeping tension is beautifully done and I was seriously spooked. Charlotte Greene ramps up the fear factor slowly and with delicate precision. Her masterful writing is so suited to this genre and I can’t imagine anyone doing it better. She weaves the relationship dynamics of the group, with references to the past and manages to introduce the scary elements bit by bit, never overdoing it. There were some surprising twist to the tale and some lovely romantic moments too. Jo’s burgeoning relationship with ranger Andy was tender and sweet, but also had an intensity that caught my breath. It was an amazing story, about family, love, history and fulfilment. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'Uncharted' by Robyn Nyx

Chase Stinsen is a principled archaeologist who ends up in some yucky, mucky situations, always hoping to discover and save treasures for the benefit of all humanity. Rayne Marcellus tends towards the less lawful path. She keeps beating Chase to finds that she sells to unscrupulous rich men, instead of giving to the museums Chase favours. The women worked together in the past and have a difficult relationship due to Rayne screwing Chase over. When Rayne asks her to help find the fabled Golden Trinity, to prevent it from falling into the hands of a man who would stop at nothing to possess it, can Chase trust her? 

The story has an exciting and atmospheric start and the the adventure continues in the same vein. The archaeological and historical details are fascinating and give another layer of interest that hooked me from the beginning. Add to that the interpersonal dynamics between the two main characters and Robyn Nyx has a winner on her hands. But it was about so much more than adventure and mystery, although those were expertly done. The personal discoveries for Chase and Rayne and the realisations they came to – those were definitely stand out elements for me. There were powerful emotions, not just about the growing feelings the women had for each other, but for the peoples of the Amazon. The danger from incursions by treasure hunters and loggers made me want to weep for them. The setting was exquisitely described, so much so that I could almost feel the heat and humidity as I read. The creepy fear that could never leave them as they traversed through thick, lush jungle, with snakes and worse just ready to pounce. The denouement was thrilling, heart-stopping and full of wonder. I wait in eager anticipation for the next great adventure from this pair. 

And for lovers of lesfic, there are a few wonderful Easter Eggs in this book. I almost cried out in delight at the mention of some names and places from another favourite author of mine. I’ll leave you to find them for yourself – but suffice to say, the three I found made me a very happy reader. 

I loved this story and highly recommend it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Back To September’ by Melissa Brayden

Melissa Brayden writes beautiful romances that never fail to be tender, loving and hot. ‘Back to September’ is no exception. But this time she went that little bit further. Hannah and Parker’s story had me gripped and I thought my heart would break in two. Here were two characters that needed to be together, but it wasn’t going to be that easy. 

Hannah liked her life to be fairly predictable and ordered. She was  not overly concerned about romance. If it happened it happened. In walks Parker Bristow to her life. She’s smart and sexy and full of positive energy and Hannah can’t help but fall for her charms. Parker is a world-famous romance author and just having her visit Hannah’s store makes a huge impact. When they are together it’s adorable and unexpected, but can it ever really work out? Long-distance relationships are hard enough, but other issues get in the way too.

I really loved Hannah. She was loyal and kind and seemed to blossom when Parker was around. Parker was wonderful, and who wouldn’t love a romance writer anyway? But it was her struggles that tore at my heart. I just wanted everything to come right for her. I wanted her to see she was worth it, worth loving. As with all of Melissa Brayden’s books I got my ‘aaah’ moment though. It was so beautifully written and love always wins. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Changing Course’ by Brey Willows

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‘Changing Course’ by Brey Willows is a beautifully crafted sci-fi story with exquisite world-building. Jessa Arabelle, privileged intergalactic spacecraft captain, crash lands on Indemnion, a planet most people would be well advised to avoid. Whilst attempting to save her crew she meets worldly-wise Kylin Enderson, a scrounger whose life couldn’t be more different to her own. The attraction between them is powerful, but how can two women with such different outlooks ever be together? As they work together to get to safety they begin to see that there is so much more than what appears on the surface. But will it be enough?

Brey Willows sees into people’s emotions, sees what motivates them. She has taken the genre of sci-fi and injected that emotion and love and made us care for the characters. I loved how she took us to different places on Indemnion and let us see the peoples. I was drawn to one of the groups in particular, but won’t spoil it for anyone by elaborating – but I’d be surprised if a lot of readers don’t feel the same. Feelings can be wonderful but she doesn’t shy away from the reality that love can hurt. And sometimes we have to be prepared for that if we’ve ever to find true happiness.The story is about realising that we don’t have to follow a path determined by society. Our destiny doesn’t have to be decided by our birth – sometimes life throws a spanner in the best laid plans . And taking a chance with someone can be the best decision we’ve ever made. In a planet without hope and full of injustices and cruelty, it takes someone who can see past that. See that there’s a different way. The romantic element was touching and the sex was so hot – but it takes something special to blend that with a fantastic story. ‘Changing Course’ does all of that. I loved it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘The Inn at Netherfield Green’ by Aurora Rey

Lauren Montgomery, a New York advertising executive, inherits an inn in England at just the right time. Needing to get away from a bad situation at home she jumps at the chance to go there. Initially she sees an opportunity to do it up and flip it. Camden Crawley is a local in Netherfield and a Gin distiller. She likes the pub the way it is and is not at all happy that this interloper could change it, and with it the character of the village. Will Lauren even listen to her views? 

Of course, being a romance by the wonderful Aurora Rey, the women are drawn to each other and begin to see that initial impressions are not always correct. Cam is adorably grumpy. To outsiders she comes across as not caring. But she does. She cares about the things that are important to her. I liked Lauren from the start. I hoped she would love life in England and see that Cam was perfect for her. She was kind, clever and lovely to everyone she came into contact with. There was a great group of supporting characters – and I must say that I loved that there was a Kitty amongst them!

Aurora Rey is so good at setting the scene. Seeing a small Derbyshire village through her eyes – and Lauren’s eyes in effect was fascinating. She understands her characters and paints a beautiful picture of where they are and those around them.  All in all a lovely story. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Breathe’ by Cari Hunter

‘Breathe’ by Cari Hunter is the story of asthmatic paramedic, Jemima Pardon (Jem), the unluckiest woman in England. Or so she thinks. Meeting  cherry, fun police officer Rosie Jones might be the start of something different in her life.  They keep bumping into each other on call-outs and it’s full-on excitement from the beginning. 

Cari Hunter’s sense of humour is a mixture of leg-pulling, sarcasm and the gallows humour that anyone working in the emergency services has to adopt to survive. The banter between the main characters is brilliant. It is so real and natural . The language and local lingo and dialect pulls the reader into the world of her characters in a way I’ve never seen with other authors. It’s  hilarious.  Also Cari Hunter- you make me starving every time I read one of your books! From dunking biscuits to roast dinners and hot buttered toast, I need to eat after every chapter. 

The story itself is tightly plotted and full of action and excitement. The two women find themselves in danger more than once and Ms Hunter had me on the edge of my seat.  I’m totally in awe of Cari Hunter. Her skill as a storyteller is unparalleled. I loved this book and highly recommend it. 

I was given this ARC for review