Review of ‘Golden Sea’ by Emma Sterner-Radley

Golden Sea is the second in the Mapmaking Magicians series by Emma Sterner-Radley. I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release, as I loved the first book, Silver Beasts.  The four friends are back at the Hall of Explorers, but things have changed. The King is determined to carry on with his agenda and is now less willing to stick to the original plan. No wonder the students are worried. As well as dealing with their forthcoming dangerous mission, their emotions cause them further confusion. Dealing with them will not be easy.  

Wonderfully descriptive language takes the reader into the world of Cavarra, a world that has been meticulously created. I loved how the story opened out and in some ways things became clearer. We learned more about the history and backstory, but the author also teased us with tantalising titbits of adventures to come. It’s a YA story, but its appeal goes far beyond that audience. The fantasy, magic and mystery within the story makes it a great read for a much wider audience. I really enjoyed it and look forward to the next in the series. 

Review of ‘The Caphenon’ by Fletcher DeLancey

If there was ever a series crying out to be filmed, then this is it. ‘The Caphenon’ by Fletcher Delancey is the best science fiction book I have ever read, bar none. It is a masterclass in world-building and character development and had me gripped from the start. Captain Ekatya Serrado makes a decision that will change her life and those of every person on her ship and the planet below her. Engaged in a battle with the Voloth, she takes the honourable path to save a civilisation under threat. Dealing with the consequences comes later. Lancer Andira Tal, leader of Alsea, is faced with the realisation that her people are not alone in the Universe. But dealing with her planet’s first contact comes second to the threat from a hostile force. Their only hope seems to be help from Ekatya and her crew. Will it be enough to save her planet? And will newly forged relationships be able to withstand what is to come?

‘The Caphenon’ is brilliantly plotted and executed. There is wonder in every page as each of the groups get to know about each other and their lives and planets. There’s something special about discovering a new world and new characters and the best part for me is knowing that there are many more books to come in the series. The story had me on the edge of my seat, but it was also deeply emotional and full of surprises. Ekatya was the kind of captain we would all hope to serve under. She was strong, caring and fiercely intelligent. Lhyn was curious, exited and let the reader join in her sense of wonder at everything around her. Lancer Tal had the most difficult job of all. She had to lead her people in the face of possible destruction, whilst dealing with her own feelings and worries.

A brilliant book and very highly recommended.  

Review of ‘Once In Sweden’ by Emma Sterner-Radley

‘Once In Sweden’ is the story of two women, both hurting and confused. Nurse Aubrey has made a decision that has caused so much pain. Did she do the right thing? Looking back she’s not so sure. Elina is in a dark place after a break-up and her friends decide she needs a break away from it all to recover. Will she let them help her? Does she have the strength to get over it?

I like the Swedish setting. It was so refreshing to read a story set somewhere different. I was fascinated to learn about life there, the customs, the differences. The story was emotional and tear-jerking at times but also passionate and loving. It includes one of the most intense sex scenes I’ve read. It was pivotal to the story and written with such feeling. The story was  about heartbreak, and realising that opening oneself up to love can sometimes mean risking that heartbreak. But it can also mean the chance for true love. Beautiful, empowering love. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Death Before Dessert’ by A.E. Radley

‘Death Before Dessert’ is a feel-good kind of book. You can’t fail to be drawn in by the setting, excellent plot and loveable characters. A cozy mystery set in a small English village, it features a new dynamic duo, Clara Harrington and her irrepressible aunt, Vanessa. Clara has left London after losing her job and home all in the one week. Her mystery writer aunt has offered her a place to stay and the chance to take stock. But one thing she didn’t expect was a murder in the country house next door – and an elderly relative determined to solve it before the police.

I loved Vanessa’s gleeful demeanour. She had a wicked sense of humour and loved a good real-life mystery. There was no way Clara was going to stop her investigating when her reviled next-door neighbour dies in the middle of a dinner party. Clara was sweet and kind and prone to blushing profusely when in the presence of a certain beautiful woman. The inter-generational element to the investigate partnership was a winner. A series with this pair is going to be wonderful and I can’t wait to read the next in the series. A.E. Radley has given us cozy mystery at its best. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Amazon Links :

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Before-Dessert-Vanessa-Harrington/dp/1912684322/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Before-Dessert-Vanessa-Harrington-ebook/dp/B085B54PLV/

Review of ‘The Big Uneasy’ by A.E. Radley

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‘The Big Uneasy’ is about love in New Orleans and being open to the possibility that ‘the one’ is the person you least expect. Rebecca and Arabella are on holiday, trying to find out exactly what their relationship means. Ice Queen Arabella needs time to work that out and wonderfully patient Rebecca is willing to wait. Jenn, a resident of New Orleans, has had her heart broken too many times and wants to find the love of her life. She doesn’t know what to make of whirlwind Kathryn, a woman with very definite views about her beloved city. And they are not all complimentary.

First of all I loved being back with Arabella and Rebecca, who we met in ‘The Road Ahead’. I wanted their relationship to develop and for Arabella to become comfortable with her feelings for Rebecca.  She may come across as an Ice Queen, but she was vulnerable and struggling. Kathryn and Jenn’s story was endearing. I didn’t want Jenn to get hurt but I also wanted her to have a chance at love. Would Kathryn be ‘the one’? When they spent time together it was sweet and funny and full of discovery, for both of them. I love AE Radley‘s sense of humour. It is very dry at times and fall off your seat laughing at others. The interactions between both couples and the supporting characters really hit the spot. What struck me though was that the author manages to convey passion and desire with the deftest touch. I was left in no doubt just how much the characters meant to each other.

‘The Big Uneasy’ is a fantastic story and I highly recommend it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Family Ties’ by Amanda Radley

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‘Family Ties’ by is a really great start to a new series. Secrecy surrounds Sarah Stuart, the beautiful Scottish doctor, who also happens to be a Lady with connections. When an old friend sends her a puzzling message she finds herself embroiled in  something that appears to have links to a foreign conflict. The corridors of power close to home seem to be involved too – but how?

I loved how the story built and had me wondering who Sarah Stuart was and why people knew her. I liked Sarah a lot. She was  calm under pressure and engendered trust in others. She was willing to give anything a try and didn’t expect others to do it for her. I admired her. The story was pacey and kept my interest throughout.  The mystery was fascinating and I couldn’t wait to turn the page and find out where it was going. It was quite an adventure.  I also liked the easy banter between Jack and Sarah and the humour and growing appreciation of the part each had to play.

What struck me was just how well this story would transfer to the screen. I could imagine a Sarah Stuart series on TV.  When I  got to the end I just wanted more of the same and I’m glad that Amanda Radley plans to make it the first in a series.  I’ll be waiting patiently for the next instalment. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Climbing the Ladder’ by A.E. Radley

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Sometimes you just feel as if the world is going to be all right after all. A.E. Radley has made me feel exactly that way after reading her latest novel ‘Climbing The Ladder’. Set in the offices of Europe’s most popular magazine for LBT women, ‘Honey’, it is a feel-good story that left me with a smile on my face. The story of Chloe Dixon and her first week in a new job is funny, touching and heart-warming. I could identify with so much of it and Ms Radley’s characters are so relatable. She has office life down to a T and the interactions between the women worked so well. There were stories of unrequited love, massive crushes and sweet, friendly banter. The inter-weaving of each woman’s tale was deftly done. Her descriptions of commuter life were spot on and I could almost smell those noxious odours on the Tube! This book deserves to be the first in a series as I can see so much potential for more of these particular characters. A wonderful read and highly recommended.

Review of ‘The Road Ahead’ by A.E. Radley

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‘The Road Ahead’ is a funny and engaging  romance with characters I really liked. Rebecca and Arabella reluctantly end up driving back from Portugal together on Christmas Eve when the computer system goes down at the airport. Two more different women one could not imagine. Rebecca is easy-going and artistic with a simple and uncomplicated view of life. Arabella is uptight, rigid and high maintenance. The journey pushed them together and their interactions are hilarious, touching and poignant at times. I enjoyed seeing how they affected each other. Neither of them were quite what they seemed at the start and grew as people due to the time they spent with each other. Arabella’s complete arse of a fiancé made my blood boil. Oh did I want her to kick him into touch! The story was of a blossoming friendship and a realisation of so much more. It was one of those books that makes you laugh out loud and end with a smile on your face. Wonderful.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Tinderbox Under Winter Stars’ by Emma Sterner-Radley

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I have been looking forward to the second book in the Tinderbox series by Emma Sterner-Radley and I was not disappointed. ‘Tinderbox Under Winter Stars’ is even better than the first.  Elise and Nessa are on the run from the Queen, who wants Elise back. Her extreme vanity and sense of entitlement won’t let her accept that Elise loves another. Their life in Storsund is full of new and exciting places and things to see. Nothing is familiar. I loved the descriptive writing and felt as if I was right there in the freezing new world. The world building is seriously impressive. As they meet new people we get to find out about the political situation there and how that may come to impact Arclid and the women themselves. I especially liked Anja, the woman who steps in to help them and shows them so much as they try to settle in their new environment. She may have seemed grumpy at first but there was so much more to her. The character development of Elise and Nessa was wonderfully done – but the author did not restrict this to the two main characters.  I appreciated how she allowed us to see more of the the people around them and how they changed over time. The camaraderie was evident amongst all of the characters. There is always an underlying tension in the story as the women are hunted and can never let their guard down. It was an exciting story with depth and scope for much more in future books. Ms Sterner-Radley wickedly left a little clue and that thrilled me! 5 Stars and very highly recommended

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Bring Holly Home’ by A.E. Radley

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Victoria is the archetypal ice queen who seems determined to keep everyone at arms length. When she finds a former employee languishing in a Paris hospital with memory loss she uncharacteristically decides to take care of her and everything she might need for her recovery. Why does she feel the need to be there for Holly? What is it about this particular ex assistant that causes her to drop everything? Holly feels something for Victoria but she can’t put her finger on what. Finding out the answers was a joy.
Rarely do I read a book in one go but with this one I felt I had no choice. I love ice queen stories and age gap stories, so that could be something to do with it. But not entirely. It made me feel warm and fuzzy and happy. It was adorable and Victoria and Holly were characters I connected with instantly. I wanted them to work and I couldn’t put the book down until the last beautiful, romantic and utterly satisfying page. ‘Bringing Holly Home’ is romance at its very best.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review .