Review of ‘Secret of Stone Creek’ by Natalie London

Secret of Stone Creek

Natalie London has written a fascinating mystery that kept my attention to the very end.  I certainly didn’t figure it out and enjoyed how she kept the reader guessing.  Jen moves to Stone Creek for a short time to sort out the large house left to her by her grandmother.  While there she comes across a newspaper article detailing an unsolved murder over 20 years before and finds herself becoming increasingly interested in finding out what happened.  Jumping back and forth between the 1950s and 1970s really worked and cranked up the tension.  I became more and more shocked as the novel progressed and the insight into the mind of a sociopath was chilling.  The romantic element to the story was gentle and very slowly teased out but worked.  I liked Jen and found her style of subtle investigation a welcome change in the mystery genre.  As she began to surround herself with friends and acquaintances from the town the number of suspects multiplied.  There were some I so hoped wouldn’t turn out to be the killer and others I was convinced were. A well written and captivating read.

Review of ‘Conquest – Kai’s Story’ by Kaden Shay

Conquest: Kai's Story

This is the first in ‘The Four Horsemen Series’ by Kaden Shay and it’s a great start. Kai is a General and part of the Regens group who have survived the radiation that killed off a huge swathe of the human population over 200 years ago. They have mutated to different degrees. She is a level four and is long lived, strong and heals easily. She is one of four Generals, all female. They are in constant conflict with the Purists, who proved to be immune to the radiation but remain ‘normal’ humans. Skirmishes between the groups result in a few women and children arriving in Kai’s compound and the introduction into her life of Hayley. The story of their growing relationship is sweet and tender and a strong emotional tie is forged between them. This becomes important to the whole book as the tensions between the generals and between the Regens and Purists really intensify. I really loved this book and found myself totally immersed in the world Kaden Shay has imagined. It is very well written and engaging and I can’t wait for the next one in the series. A well deserved 5 stars.

I was given this ARC free by Supposed Crimes Publishers in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Two Souls’ by Kathleen Knowles


Two SoulsThis is the story of a group of friends who survive the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and how they deal with life in the aftermath.  I haven’t read the previous stories in this series but I don’t think that affected my enjoyment of this volume.  Norah, a Dr newly arrived from New York, and Abby, a botanist and a  loner, are the main characters and it is the growth of their relationship that kept my interest.  Norah is nursing a heartbreak and doubts she will ever find love again, whilst Abby has absolutely no idea when it comes to matters of the heart.  As Norah realises that she is falling in love with Abby she must find a way to make her friend realise that they have a future together.  The other characters living in ‘the commune’, a house full of quite radical professionals, are dealing with their own problems.  Everything is made all the more difficult after the earthquake as they try to hold onto some normality and deal with relationship issue of their own.

The historical aspect of this story really gripped me and it was well researched and written.  I have read another book dealing with the same subject this year, ‘Shaken to the Core’ by Jae, but they are very different in how the authors have dealt with the various characters and their place in society.  Kathleen Knowles writes about a very free thinking and sexually aware group of people (with the exception of the initially clueless Abby).  I enjoyed this story and it had made me want to go back and read how Beth and Kerry became a couple.

I was given this ARC free by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Alice and Jean’ by Lily Hammond


Alice & Jean

I could not put this wonderful book down until I had savoured the last page.  Lily Hammond has written a beautiful love story, full of high emotion and unbearable tension.  Alice is a war widow with two children in 1946 New Zealand, just getting by, while her monstrous mother, Geraldine, lives in a big house in town with plenty of money.  Her mother tries to control her life but Alice is a strong woman with a mind of her own.  When she falls in love with Jean, the local ‘milkman’, things become fraught with tension and danger.  Although some people are willing to live and let live, Geraldine is not and is determined to try and reign in her daughter.  Local town bully Big Jim thinks he has a claim on Alice and is not going to back off.  The level of threat the two women face is immense and I really felt scared for them.  Their relationship is tender and passionate and meant to be and I could not imagine anyone reading this book failing to fall in love with them.  Lily Hammond transported me to another world, in another time and it was mesmerising.  

I was given this ARC free by Netgalley and Sapphica Books in return for an honest review.

The Kill Fee (Poppy Denby Investigates #2)

Set in the 1920s, ‘The Kill Fee’ is the second Poppy Denby story and is a well written and fascinating story of smart young things in London, the Russian Revolution, stolen Faberge eggs and trying to figure out who to trust. We get to find out what happened after the Romanovs were overthrown and the subsequent tussle for power between the White and Red Russians. Poppy, a newspaper reporter, is investigating what happened to a hugely expensive Faberge egg that went missing from an exhibition at Alexandra Palace. How did it get to London in the first place is one mystery. I enjoyed the 1920s setting as one can just imagine the beautiful clothes and decor as well as the social mores of the time. Poppy is an interesting character and I hope to read more of her adventures in the future.

I was given this ARC free by Netgalley and Lion Hudson in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Wildling Rider’ by Helena Maeve


Wildling Rider

Abigail goes to the Highland town of Gormsey in search of a young woman who went missing.  Why would she travel all the way from London to search for a woman she doesn’t know?  As a fashion blogger, what on earth has this to do with her? Why not leave it to the police?  These questions and many more are answered in this interesting story to while away a few hours with.  Her ex, Kayla, a motorcycle gang member and werewolf just happens to live there.  There, I’ve got your attention! Sexy, lesbian, leather-clad werewolves in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland are quite a combination.  Who could resist?  Plenty of revelations, an unexpected backstory and a fast-paced tale kept me reading.  Abigail is not the boring, vanilla, media-type we meet at the start and there is a lot more to her story. An enjoyable read.

I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Less Than Three Press in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘All I want for Autumn’ by Clare Lydon

All I Want For Autumn (All I Want, #5)

Another amazing feel-good romance from the ever wonderful Clare Lydon. I am a huge fan of the ‘All I want…’ series and have adored every one. This time Holly is recovering from an accident and it has really taken the wind from her sails. As well as the physical recovery she finds relinquishing control a problem and her work life is causing her worries. She finds it hard to be open with Tori and this has put a strain on their relationship. It was interesting to see a new side of Holly and the struggles she faced made her re-evaluate her life. Tori meanwhile has been offered a new opportunity but will this affect her life with Holly? This was a fantastic story with emotional turmoil, sizzling love scenes with ultra hot sex as one expects from Clare Lydon. I can’t wait for the final instalment but I will really miss Holly and Tori after following their beautiful romance all year.

Review of Rhythm & Clues’ by Sue Ann Jaffarian

Rhythm & Clues (The Odelia Grey Mysteries)

Amateur sleuth and paralegal, Odelia Grey, gets roped into another investigation, this time by her mother who lives in a retirement complex. One of the neighbours has gone missing and the complex management don’t seem to be taking it seriously. The missing man is an ageing rock star and once Odelia starts looking into the mystery, secrets from the past and present make her wonder where on earth he is.
This was a lovely light read and the perfect relaxing book to escape into. I like Odelia as she is smart, funny and willing to take a risk for her family and friends. The banter between her and her mother really works well. I liked the fact that there are a lot of interesting secondary characters, without whom her detecting wouldn’t be so successful. Nearer the end there were a fair few twists and turns and it really managed to surprise me. I now want to go back and read the series from the start.
I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Midnight Ink in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Lone Ranger’ by VK Powell

Lone Ranger

This is the first book I’ve read from VK Powell and I am impressed.  Emma, a freelance journalist,  goes to a small town in Virginia to write a story on the history of the town.  When she arrives it seems she has been misled on this and the old lady employing her has an ulterior motive.  Fannie really wants her to investigate the disappearance of her brother over 30 years ago. As Emma delves into the mystery she finds out more than she bargained for and it could affect the lives of people she has grown to care for.  While staying at the nearby national park she meets older lesbian Ann and her hot ranger niece, Carter.  She falls hard for Carter and the attraction between them is intense and highly emotional. The love scenes VK Powell has imagined are sizzling and the connection between the characters is so believable and tender.  Carter is secretive at first and used to emotionless hook-ups with women.  Meeting Emma changes all that.  She is a complex character and tries to help young kids overcome their unfortunate backgrounds, maybe because her start in life wasn’t ideal.  I really liked Carter and wanted her to be open to Emma.  Her Aunt, Ann, was fun and her backstory was fascinating.  She enriched every scene she was in.  Emma got to know her really well and was moved by the story of her relationship with her partner Cass, who died a few years ago.  I felt Emma benefited from her time with both of the women as she was dealing with a relationship break-up and lacked confidence.  I thought the mystery Emma was investigating was perfectly teased out and paced just right.  The other characters involved in the story were well written and really added to the whole.  A great read.

I was given this ARC free by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘The Promise’ by JM Dragon


When Claire’s Grandmother arranges for her to work on a cottage renovation with the rather plain and seemingly uninteresting Kris, she could never imagine just how pivotal this will be in her life.  Having survived an horrific car crash she is living a quiet and limited life compared to her previous existence as a famous lesbian about town.  Kris has been existing and no more in New York City, in a boring job with no prospects and very little money.  With no friends and family who don’t approve of her sexuality, she jumps at the chance to do something different.  For each woman life seems to be passing them by and love an unlikely prospect.  J M Dragon tells the story of how they come to know each other, how they begin to become the women they were meant to be.  The path we end up on doesn’t have to be how we live our lives.  With a push and a little mysterious help from a special cottage and a intuitive, kind housekeeper, Shirley, Claire and Kris change.  This was a slow-burning love story with an interesting ambience and a few mysteries and secrets that were teased out along the way.  I loved how Claire changed from an spoilt rich kid into someone i could really root for.  Circumstances made her who she was but she began to realise that she didn’t have to tread that path forever.  Kris was so unsure of herself and she really grew as a person and as her confidence grew, Claire began to see a beauty in her.  I thought the internal dialogue of the characters throughout the book gave an insight into how they were changing.  This book was about finding the person you need and in doing so becoming a better person yourself.  It was about seeing past the surface and letting love take over.  The two main characters were so right for each other but it took a push and a nudge and a certain enigmatic housekeeper.  This was a sweet love story with a twist

I was given this ARC free by Affinity ebooks in return for an honest review.