Review of ‘It started With A Kiss’ by Clare Lydon

‘It started With A Kiss’ by Clare Lydon is a smile-inducing sapphic romance, with passion, sexual tension, and the author’s trademark British humour. Gemma and Skye meet in a bar in Cornwall and share the most amazing kiss either have ever experienced. But the strangers part, never expecting to see each other again. When they later end up working together, both agree that business and pleasure don’t mix well. But can they keep to their promise? With an attraction this strong it’s going to be a tall order.

I loved the connection between Skye and Gemma. It was intense, powerful and hot. Their chemistry was off the scale. But Gemma especially was determined that they could not let their feelings progress to the next level as long as they were working together. It caused tension between them – and not always of the sexual variety. 

As ever, Clare Lydon writes characters we can identify with. I could see where Gemma was coming from, but I so wanted her to change her mind. Skye was a woman dealing with hurt, but ready to find a way out of it. They were the right people at the right time for each other. They just had to get to the point that they could see that. This was a passionate, romantic, feel-good story. I loved it.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Change of Heart’ by Clare Lydon

‘Change of Heart’ by Clare Lydon has ALL the feels.  The Scottish Highlands, is the perfect setting for this heart-warming romance. Erin runs a decorating business with her friend Morag in Edinburgh. Her parent’s wedding anniversary means a big party in the Highlands, and she doesn’t want to turn up alone. So she hires a fake girlfriend. Steph, a struggling actress, takes on the role.  It’ll be strictly business and they’ll part ways at the end of the weekend. What could go wrong? A growing attraction and family secrets throw a spanner in the works. Nothing is ever simple.

I loved Erin and Steph. As with all of Clare Lydon’s characters, I get the feeling we would be friends. They’re lovely women and perfect for each other. Their story had some unusual and very surprising twists and I found myself so invested in them. The wider story was extremely emotional and beautifully told. When I realised where it was going, it was a shock, but as with everything Clare Lydon writes, it was so well thought out and pulled me in.  And with some added comedic moments and hot and steamy interludes, who could ask for more? I adored it. 

I was given this ARC for review. 

Review of ‘Big London Dreams’ by Clare Lydon

I have read every book in Clare Lydon’s London Romance series and enjoyed every one. ‘Big London Dreams’ is the best so far. As well as love and romance, we are taken back to the 1950s, and to a time where girls were expected to find a nice young man and settle down. For Eunice Starling and Joan Hart that’s not so easy. Neither have been able to find a man that remotely interested them, and when they fall in love everything seems to click. But this was the late fifties and it took more than love to keep them together. Sixty years later they meet again and tell their story. Will it be happily ever after for them at last? You’ll have to read this wonderful book to find out.

‘Big London Dreams’ was the most heart-wrenching love story. A story of it’s time. But it was also joyful and heartwarming. Clare Lydon told the most amazing tale of true love, where time could not diminish the passion the women felt for each other. It was also beautifully written and the descriptions of London were so evocative. I could imagine it all so well. So much effort was put into making it just right. Although I knew there would be heartbreak, I could not stop reading. I knew that love would conquer all, and Ms Lydon did not disappoint. The fact that it tied in with my favourite romance series and the friends I had come to love, made it all the more special. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Hot London Nights’ by Clare Lydon

Clare Lydon has created the perfect recipe for romance in ‘Hot London Nights’. She gives us a bit of humour here, a lot of sizzle there, a pinch of love and friendship, plenty of heart-stopping emotion – and a cracking story. India Contelli, Tv star and high powered business woman, has had it with love. Moving on from a disastrous relationship, she’s ready to be her own woman, and that means buying her own home at last. As lovely as her family are, she needs her own space. When Gina Gupta is recommended as the estate agent to trust with her dreams, she doesn’t expect to start feeling an attraction. That’s the last thing she needs. Gina has never been in love, maybe she never will be. Having come out late, to a family that disapprove, she’s concentrating on building her business. But is that enough? The connection she feels with India makes her reconsider. 

This is book 7 in the London Romance Series, and we get to see snippets of our old friends, as their lives intertwine with each other and these new characters. That wonderful feeling is there again, as this particular group of lesbians live out their lives in the city. As they prepare for Pride, and try to help old lovers reconnect, there is a vibrancy and joy that made me so happy to be back with them. This was exactly the kind of book I needed to read right now. Because when I can’t travel to London in person, Clare Lydon takes me there, to be among great women and fabulous sights.

I was given this ARC to review.

Kitty’s Top Ten Books of 2020

We’ve all relied on distractions this year. I know I have. Books have been a lifeline and have taken us to other places, far away from the world we’ve had to live in.

I have read so many wonderful books over the past twelve months, so choosing a Top Ten has been extremely difficult. Only three have been pure romance and each of the three were exceptional. Two were mystery and crime stories and among the best I’ve ever read in that genre. The remaining books on my list veered into other genres – science fiction, fantasy and the supernatural. I needed some escapism it seems. 

I recommend each and every one and hope that you will have a look at my reviews and maybe try them for yourselves. Here are my Top Ten, in alphabetical order

Finding Jessica Lambert by Clare Ashton

The Lost Temple of Psiere by K Aten

The Thing About Tilly by G Benson

Never Too Late for Heroes by A.L. Brooks

Spirited by Julie Cohen

Alsea Rising: The Seventh Star by Fletcher Delancey

Without A Trace by Mari Hannah 

Christmas in Mistletoe by Clare Lydon

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Whispering Wildwood by Emma Sterner-Radley

 

Review of ‘Christmas In Mistletoe’ by Clare Lydon

‘Christmas In Mistletoe’ is exactly the kind of book we all need this Christmas. Clare Lydon takes the reader to the tiny hamlet of Mistletoe, Suffolk, and once there we enter into the most Christmassy place imaginable. I was in heaven. Every detail was steeped in the festive spirit, and I could not help but wallow in the wonderful, snowy, pine-scented wonderfulness of Mistletoe.

Ruby O’Connell’s family run a Christmas tree farm in rural Suffolk. When she’s not gigging around London, she returns to there every December to help out. Fran Bell finds herself thrown into the Christmas spirit when her parents move to Mistletoe. Bumping into Ruby was not on her radar. After a rocky start, can the pair find any common ground? Coming from opposite ends of the music business, the gap might be too wide. But there’s something to be said for the magic of Christmas. 

Clare Lydon has hit the perfect note once again. ‘Christmas in Mistletoe’ takes us on a romantic journey, where passion and love jump from every page. But it is the happy, joyful and incredibly cosy feeling from the ensemble cast of characters that brings it all together into the perfect Christmas read. I loved it. This is sure to be one of my favourite re-reads of the festive season from now on. 

I was given this ARC for review. 

Review of ‘One Golden Summer’ by Clare Lydon and T.B. Markinson

‘One Golden Summer’ is a sweet romance with an idyllic English seaside setting. Kirsty McBride is almost fifty, single and owns her own wine shop. She insists she’s happy being on her own, but as the big 5-0 approaches those around her insist she would be so much happier attached. Her resistance is sorely tested when famous lesbian film star, Saffron Oliver arrives in town for the summer, in a bid to get away from the Hollywood lifestyle. Saffron has been a star for half of her life and can’t go anywhere without being noticed. She would love to blend in as a local – and maybe Sandy Cove is the place for that to happen. If she can just stop her overbearing agent exposing her whereabouts.

I loved the easy attraction between Saffron and Kirsty. They seemed to find something in each other that had eluded them with other partners. Saffron was forever on the defensive, thinking that everyone wanted something from her. But with Kirsty it was different. Or so she hoped. I liked Saffron. She might have been a big star, but she was human, just like the rest of us. She wanted to be loved for herself. And she wanted more from life than the superficiality of Hollywood. Kirsty was a woman happy in her own skin. After a painful divorce in her forties, she knew what she wanted and what made her happy. Meeting Saffron was the icing on the cake. She made her feel complete. But there was always that niggle in the back of her mind – what would a famous film star see in her?

I adored the vibe of the seaside town of Sandy Cove. It was relaxed, friendly and the perfect place for Saffron. Kirsty fitted right in. ‘One Golden Summer’ is the perfect book to put sunshine and joy in your life. Settle down in the garden, with a long cool drink and wallow in this romantic and happy story.

 I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Before You Say I Do’ by Clare Lydon

Jordan Cohen is a professional bridesmaid. And she’s good at it. Relationships are not on her agenda and the odd one-night stand is enough at this stage in her life. When she is hired by the fiancé of Abby Porter to help her through the last few weeks before their wedding, she expects it to be the same as every other job. But it’s not. For a start, she’s immediately attracted to the bride to be. Can she keep a professional distance?

Abby did not expect this at all. She has her life planned out, and a stunning fake bridesmaid was not part of the deal. Will she be able to keep on track and make it down the alter?

Clare Lydon makes my heart soar every single time, without fail. ‘Before You Say I Do’ is a beautiful love story, with adorable characters and, of course, Ms Lydon’s trademark injection of humour. I loved Gloria, Abby’s Scottish mum. She was hilarious and very well-observed.  I can attest that square sausage is one of life’s greatest pleasures, as Gloria made sure to point out. Jordan was a wonderful mix of efficiency, kindness and vulnerability. And she was also really, really hot. How could Abby resist? Abby was a woman who thought she had it all figured out, but faced with a glimpse of something different, she began to have doubts. They were perfect for each other and I really wanted them to give in. Their story had such want, such passion, such desire. It is impossible to read this story without the biggest, happiest smile on your face by the final page. I adored it. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Made in London’ by Clare Lydon

‘Made in London’ by Clare Lydon is the sixth story in her London series. It is the story of single mum Heidi, a wedding photographer, and Eden, a marketing whizz. Neither has dated in a very long time and for very different reasons. Fate just seems to keep bringing them together and despite their dating reservations they find that they can’t stop thinking about the other. Heidi was hard-working and committed to her career but her daughter Maya would always come first. Would Eden be able to get over her past, a past that made very very wary of dating someone with kids? She had spent so long building a structured life that definitely did not involve children or family. For Heidi, family was everything.

I really liked Heidi. She was a great mum, fun and kind. And she was also really hot. Eden was a complex character with reasons of her own to live as she did. I hoped that she would see that there could be so much more to life. Heidi was the perfect woman to coax her. There was some outrageously funny moments as I have come to expect from Clare Lydon. One in particular had me in fits of giggles. The love story felt so right, so natural. It was about two people who had to find a way past certain obstacles in order to be together. I feel that I want to go back and read the whole series from the start. The links between all of the stories has been so well done. Another winner from Ms Lydon.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘A Taste of Love’ by Clare Lydon

 ‘A Taste of Love’ by Clare Lydon is a sweet, heartwarming story set in a picture-perfect Cotswold village. It is the second in a series written by Ms Lydon, T.B. Markinson and Harper Bliss. Once you have visited this particular village, you’ll never want to leave. 

Natalie Hill works for the family gin business and has been spectacularly unlucky in love thus far. When a gorgeous Londoner opens an ice cream shop across the street, she can’t help but be affected. Can she ever forget her past failures though? Can she trust an in-comer who might leaves as quickly as she arrived?

Ellie Knap has had enough of the rat-race. A bad relationship has made her realise she has to get out and start anew somewhere else. Will Upper Chewford be a place to call home? Will her beautiful neighbour become more than a friend? 

The story is romantic, sexy and of course very funny. It wouldn’t be a Clare Lydon without embarrassing situations and laugh out loud moments. The characters are relatable and feel like family and old friends by the end of the book. And, as with every novel I’ve ever read by Ms Lydon, I was left with a smile on my face. It was a delight. 

I was given this ARC to review.