Review of ‘A Shot at Love’ by T.B. Markinson

‘A Shot at Love’ is what happens when an American political speech-writer finds herself unceremoniously dumped from her high-stress, high-stakes job and realises her life needs to change. Josie Adams has had it with the backstabbing and slimy world of politics. And Upper Chewford is a million miles away from that. Spotting a beautiful woman in the quaint Cotswolds village takes her breath away – but is she ready to change everything for love? Harry runs the local newspaper, after escaping the rat-race in London. She’s been unlucky in love and can’t believe someone as gorgeous and accomplished as Josie would ever love her. Seeing how they navigated through their insecurities kept me reading, desperate to know how it would all pan out. The other characters around them made it a well-rounded story. I found Josie’s mum, Eugenie infuriating at times – but her uncle, Clive, was endearing and really rather sweet. The book is romantic, sexy and funny. It is the perfect first book in the series, which will soon be followed by stories by Clare Lydon and Harper Bliss. It is such a feel-good story. It made me happy and I love T.B. Markinson for taking me to such a wonderful place and letting me be a part of it. 

I was given this ARC for review.

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Review of ‘Steel City Confidential’ by Anne Hagan

‘Steel City Confidential’ by Anne Hagan is a triumph. It’s a fascinating story, well-told and with characters readers will warm to immediately. Ro Rabinowitz, a Pittsburgh lawyer takes on the case of Pamela Wilson, a woman in her sixties charged with the murder of a college professor who got her daughter pregnant. She’s confident that the case can be won, but there are complications – and a story from the past that Pam’s not telling. It’s not going to be that simple. I was drawn in from the start with a revelation of something I’ve known and loved for many years. Characters from the past . It was a brilliant set up. There are plenty of surprises that will have readers jumping for joy – but that’s all I’ll say. I won’t divulge any spoilers. But they are stunning.  Now, I know that  Anne Hagan writes great mysteries, but she has really found her forte with this legal thriller. I am so glad that this is book one in a new series for her. I was intrigued from the start and it just kept getting better and better. She skilfully weaves a complex tale of secrets and revelations and her characters are likeable and I want to find out more about them. Ro is a great mentor, a principled and caring lawyer. I liked her associate Dominique too. I can see her developing well in the future. Oh, and for aficionados of Ms Hagan’s Morelville Mysteries Series, a certain name pops up that will have you smiling. The book is brilliantly done and if Hollywood has any sense then this would be made into a movie – because I can guarantee there will be a huge audience for this particular story. Highly recommended.

I was given this Arc for review.

Review of ‘Say You’ll Love Me Again’ by Kiki Archer

This is the tenth and final book by Kiki Archer. And boy, will we all miss her- especially after reading this. It was quite a rollercoaster of a ride and the perfect story to sign off with. Piano teacher, Sophie is distraught after splitting from her soulmate, Jazz, a comedienne. Apparently straight up until setting eyes on Jazz, she fell hard. She tells the story of their relationship to her friend Laura who is training to become a life coach, the latest in a long list of jobs. Laura’s attempts to get the story out of Sophie were hilarious, but then Ms Archer surprised me by taking it off in a very different direction. The story is slowly revealed as layers are peeled back. One minute I was laughing out loud and scaring the neighbours, the next I was surprised at the depth of emotion. The funny moments were hilarious. Her description of a character having a ‘breast ledge’ took me back to high school and one of my teachers who had the aforementioned ‘breast ledge’. I was mesmerised by it, as was half of the school. The heat level was scorching between Sophie and Jazz. It was certainly not vanilla and will have you blushing. But Kiki Archer’s trademark humour had me in stitches even at these sexy moments. I loved it. And when I read the words ‘Say You’ll Love Me Again is Kiki’s 10th and final novel’, I shed a tear.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Muses’ by Elizabeth Andre

‘Muses’ by Elizabeth Andre is the second in the Paranormal Grievance Committee series and a very enjoyable read. Once again we are back with Julie and Maya and their motley crew of ghost hunters. In this instalment the group is hired by Lily, a woman desperately looking for an answer to her uncle’s death. A trio of ghostly figures are causing mayhem in the family home and Lily needs them gone. 

I like Elizabeth Andre’s writing style. It is light and fun and immersive. She makes me feel as if I am solving the mystery alongside them. I am a huge history fan and I love how the author weaved a story from the past, with wonderful detail, and the present day mystery. The great bunch of characters really make it for me too. Although Maya and Julie run the show, the other characters are allowed to shine. I really enjoyed it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Fear of Falling by Georgia Beers

In ‘Fear of Falling’ Georgia Beers doesn’t take the obvious, easy way . She surprises me as she decides to take her story in altogether more satisfying and joyful routes. She doesn’t write formula, but goes way above that and she makes me love her characters. Sophie James is a world-famous singer getting over the heartache of her father-figure manager dying suddenly. When she is paired with a new manager, Dana Landon, how will she continue her career with someone she doesn’t know? I loved Sophie. She was at a turning point in her life, and she could have chosen to go in two different directions. The way everyone expected – or to finally be true to herself. Dana was strong and sure in her professional life, but her love life was a disaster. Her ex had left her behind without a thought and moved to the other side of the country. Dana has been left still confused. Will she let Laura back in? Or will she take the other path? I enjoyed seeing how the women got to know each other and brought out something unexpected. Sophie’s interactions with ordinary people were my favourite parts of her development. ‘Fear of Falling’ was romantic, feel-good and beautifully told. A lovely story that I can highly recommend.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘A Window to Love’ by Annette Mori

I’ve been an admirer of Annette Mori’s books for a few years now and I realise that it is her unique take on life that draws me in. She takes an idea and goes off in a direction I could never have imagined. She is funny and quirky and embraces love. ‘A Window to Love’ does all of that and more. Mandie and Gail meet in very unusual circumstances after both being involved in accidents. They click immediately and seem to be made for each other. But this is an Annette Mori story, so things are not as they seem. Will the two soul mates find true happiness? Well, I recommend reading it to find out as I don’t want to give away any spoilers.  It’s a lovely story, full of imagination and warmth. As always, she uses humour and love to make me feel invested in her characters. Bravo!

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Addicted to You’ by Erin O’Reilly

Addicted To You’ is a story of obsession, sexual discovery and passion. It is also a story of love, redemption and realisation. Elin is young, naive and ripe for the picking. Older woman Marissa spots this right away and takes full advantage. She is predatory, manipulative and downright nasty. Boy did I hate her! I wanted Elin to see all of this for herself, but good people don’t always see when they are being used. I was so happy when Aimee came into the picture. Would Elin realise what a wonderful woman she was though? I enjoyed the character development in this book and seeing how they each dealt with changes in their lives. Erin O’Reilly always leaves me happy to have gone on the journey with her. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Uninvited’ by Jane C Esther

I am a big fan of sci-fi, so this novel was right up my street. A mixture of sci-fi, love, old memories and a bit of a mystery, ‘Uninvited’ is a great story. Aerin McLeary is in Finger Lakes with best friend Zoe, undergoing a post-divorce cleansing ritual. Whilst in the water she feels a strange vibration and ends up with some unexpected changes and abilities. And the only person she can turn to is her old love, Olivia, now a professor. 

I enjoyed how the author moved back and forth between Aerin and Olivia’s teenage romance and the situation they find themselves in now. It was enlightening and I could see why they needed to find a resolution. The attraction between them was powerful. The fact that it all ended so badly in the past made it so difficult to move on. But I wanted them to. The sci-fi element was fascinating and an unusual take on how alien contact may happen. I really enjoyed it and would actually like to see more of these characters and their story. I was therefore delighted to find out that this is the first in a series. I’m looking forward to the next one.

I was given this ARC for review.

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.

Review of ‘Alone’ by E.J. Noyes

‘Alone’ is an addictive and fascinating, romantic psychological story. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Celeste Thorne signs up to take part in a psychological experiment that will earn her half a million dollars –  if she can last four years alone. With no family and no real ties Celeste jumps at the chance. We are inside her head and hear all the imaginary voices from her difficult past, and because of that the reader bonds with her. When a stranger wanders onto the compound, an injury means Celeste has to decide if she is going to break the rules of her contract and help her. As the story is told in first person it was so easy to sympathise with Celeste’s struggles and worries. The woman who appears in her life, Olivia, is endearing and caring and great company. I could see how Celeste was so tempted. There is so much more to this story than meets the eye though. Celeste’s journey was profound and life-changing and I wanted her to find happiness at last. But could she ever trust anything that happened to her while part of the experiment? At times the story was disturbing. But there were heart-warming moments too and an overpowering intense love that was beautiful and sexy and affirming. I couldn’t put it down. Afterwards I felt the need to sit and process what I had just read – it was very special. Highly recommended.

I was given this Arc for review.