‘The Trophy Wives Club’ by Ali Spooner is a fun, sexy and empowering read. Lindy Fremont decides that the women of Atlanta need a very special type of club all to themselves. One where they’ll get a great workout in more ways than one. She recruits the woman who has been giving her the most wonderful massages every week for the past few years – and leaves it to her to staff it with a few of her friends. One of them is Luna, a hot stud who Marley is attracted to, but would never let her know. She’s the settling down type and Luna appears to be all for a good time and no commitment. Will that change as they spend more time together setting up the club?
Now, when I realised what kind of club this was I wasn’t sure what to think. But Ali Spooner allayed my fears. The women do what they do because they want to. It’s all about women and they are always in control. It’s respectful. Within a few pages I knew this was a fantastic idea for a book, and the more I read, the more convinced I was. It is light-hearted and very hot and steamy. I really enjoyed it and was happy to find that this is part of a series – and one of my favourite authors, Annette Mori is writing the next one.
Family, loyalty, love and passion- that’s what ‘Blood of the Pack’ is essentially about. Kenrick Wulver is about to become the Alpha of her pack in the Scottish Highlands. And she’s struggling with the changes this will mean. She visits the Wolfgang Pack in the States to try and learn some of the new responsibilities she’ll be expected to master. While there she comes across a wounded submissive wolf and feels something she’s never felt before. Zaria is from the Lupan Pack and has been on the run for years from their cruelty and abuse. She can never trust a dominant wolf and tries to keep Kenrick at arms length. But it becomes increasingly difficult to resist.
The story is about gaining trust and also about being open to other wolves. I loved the world she’s built for this story and although I haven’t read the previous books in the series, its not a problem. The descriptions of Wulver Forest were so evocative and I was completely entranced. As well as being about family and community- a theme throughout Ms Frame’s books, she also gets across that aching need in her characters. The need for a mate and the joy and pain that brings. Kenrick and Zaria are drawn to each other, but it’s never that simple. The building of a relationship is written with such tenderness and care and I never once doubted the love they felt for each other. The sex scenes were beautifully done. Jenny Frame writes the hottest, most imaginative sex in all of her books. And she always finds a way to bring in something unusual and surprising. She certainly did in this one. They were wild and passionate and scorching. I loved this book so much that I’ll have to go and read the rest in the series now. Highly recommended.
The girl with the treasure chest by V.A. Fearon starts with such intensity that I couldn’t stop reading. I barely took a breath for the first chapter. Dani is a complex character and the layers are revealed slowly. She’s part of a gangland world, where she looks out for her ‘soldiers’ and tries to help them get on, with education and apprenticeships. There’s such a weird dichotomy when it comes to Dani. She didn’t seem to see the contradiction between the two agendas. The same is true in her personal life. While she’s in a relationship with one woman, she continues to be obsessed with Susanna. And that could be disastrous for her. Can she keep control of her emotions and ultimately her way of life, while she’s so affected by her feelings for this woman? The story is unlike anything I’ve read and is so tightly written and exciting. It got better and better as it reached the climax. A great read.
“Learning to Swim” by KJ is the story of three friends, Lauren, a vet, Andrea, an accountant and Hanna, a teacher. After years together Andrea still hasn’t cottoned on to the fact that Lauren is madly in love with her. She’s pretty clueless about balancing her life altogether. With a religious nutter for a sister and a highly driven mother, she has issues that need addressing. And until she does she can never really be happy. Her journey was fascinating and I really enjoyed this book. I liked how Andrea developed as a character. The setting was very interesting and it was good to see the Australian sense of humour in full flow. The story was serious at times and light-hearted and funny too. It was also very hot. I liked the style and pace of the writing and I’ll be looking out for more by this writer in the future.
‘A Lesson in Love’ by Harper Bliss is the third book in the Village Romance Series. And it’s excellent. The story is told in first person, alternating between Oxford Literature Professor, Helen and DPhil Student, Rory – who also happens to be part of the aristocratic Carlisle family of Upper Chewford. This is an age-gap romance – one of my favourite tropes, and one that Harper Bliss does so well. When Helen agrees to be Rory’s academic supervisor for her Doctorate, she cannot imagine the effect that one decision will have on her life. She has been living a secret double life writing cozy mysteries set in Chewford and the stress of keeping that from friends and colleagues is eating her up. She knows she needs to make changes in her life, but becoming involved with a student over twenty years younger seems too big a step to take. Rory finds herself drawn to the professor and can’t seem to keep away.
The dynamic between the pair is entrancing. I always wondered about Helen, as small teasers appeared in the previous two books in the series. I wanted to know who this woman was. And I was not surprised that Rory found her irresistible too. The intense emotional connection was evident from the start. Rory just had to make Helen see that. I could understand Helen being torn. She was older, in a position of responsibility and she’d been hurt in relationships before. But there was no denying her feelings for Rory. The love scenes were utterly exquisite. Poetic infact. But if you’ve read a Harper Bliss book before you’ll know she is the master in this area. I enjoyed being back in the village again and being back with characters I’ve grown to love. The whole series is wonderfully done. I can see me going back and reading all three one after the other, now that I know them all so well. This story was about realising that sometimes we are ready for a change – and it can be the best decision we’ve ever made. I adored it.
‘Beautiful Dreamer’ is a joyful, happy, romantic story. Set in the picture-perfect Dreamer’s Bay, it is home to a woman who positively radiates sunshine, one who sees the good in everything and tries to see it in those she meets. Elizabeth Draper runs an odd-job business from her garage and is exactly where she wants to be in her life – except she has no-one to share it with. When Devyn Winters comes back to town to deal with an emergency situation, the pair find themselves spending more and more time together. Back in their high school days they did not move in the same circles. Devyn was part of a mean girl clique, while Elizabeth was the one involved in organising groups to help her fellow students. They might both be lesbians, but that doesn’t mean they can get past who they used to be and become friends or more.
Yet again Melissa Brayden had me immersed in the most beautifully romantic love story. One where I rooted for Elizabeth and Devyn from the start. Devyn was a high-powered real estate broker and had no time for relationships. Her life ran like clockwork, thanks to the various assistants she employed. But she wasn’t happy, and slowly began to see that there was another way. Elizabeth surprised her every day and opened her eyes to new possibilities. The story was endearing, addictive and hot. I loved Dreamer’s Bay. It was idyllic and I could see that Devyn would be so much happier there, rather than her rat-race life in Philadelphia. And by the end, not a dry eye in the house. Romantic happily ever afters are Melissa Brayden’s speciality after all. Highly recommended.
‘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.
Laura tunes up in a small town in Texas, running from a past that she can’t get over. As she tries to slowly rebuild her life, a woman whose enthusiasm and joy knows no bounds enters her life. However hard she tries to keep her at arms length, Tess isn’t about to give up. Will Laura ever let anyone in again? Will Tess have the patience to wait?
This was a truly moving story, full of emotion and love. I ached for Laura as she attempted to find a way to live again. I wanted her to find the happiness she deserved. She was broken, but I hoped that Tess would be able to get through to her. Tess was the most wonderful, caring woman. She might have seemed lightweight and flaky at first, but there was true depth to this woman. Nothing fazed her. Her entire family were just the same. Laura needed them all, if only she could see that.
It’s was about being there for someone, even when you don’t know if they’ll ever be ready for you. About finding the one person who can heal you. And as this is a Harper Bliss Book it was beautifully romantic and sexy. I do love a happy ending.
Aspen Wolfe lives in a world very like our own, but with shapeshifters in it. She has no idea she is one of them, a Shroud, and a very special one at that. When the government orders the extermination of the shroud population, Aspen finds herself on the run and discovers a community that needs her as much as she needs them. Dr Tora Madigan runs a sanctuary for shrouds in hiding and her operation is forced into top gear as her people face annihilation. There is a spark between them, but they need to concentrate on saving their people first.
This was a very impressive novel. It was a skilfully crafted story and one does not have to look too far to see parallels in today’s America. The shroud characters were believable and well thought out. We find out about them as Aspen does. We see that they are just like everyone else and deserve the same rights and respect. Their fight for survival was thrilling. I loved it. I can certainly see room for more of this particular story if Ms Larkin would be so kind as to make it into a series. Highly recommended.
I have just returned home after a wonderful two-week holiday in Ireland. I took full advantage of the quiet countryside to catch up on some reading. In this photo I was engrossed in ‘Steel City Confidential’ , a new thriller by Anne Hagan. The Carlingford Mountains are behind me and The Irish Sea in front. I could have heard a pin drop in the garden of the cottage, so it was the ideal location to read.
Whilst there I also read ‘A Shot at Love’ by T.B. Markinson and ‘After Mrs Hamilton’ by Clare Ashton. I can certainly recommend a trip to the emerald isle for those seeking a space to relax. I was also able to get some writing done and squirrel away some ideas for future stories. Of course there are plenty of things to do for those days when you want to get out and about. I visited The Giant’s Causeway, Portrush, Dublin, Dundalk and had many lovely meals out at some truly fantastic restaurants. All in all a truly memorable trip.