Review of ‘Protecting The Lady’ by Amanda Radley

‘Protecting The Lady’ is an enthralling story, with attraction, sexual tension and that HEA we all want to see. It had me on the edge of my seat at times, rooting for Eve and Katherine at every twist and turn. Eve is a former Protection Command Officer, now living in Japan after a terrorist incident made her rethink her career path. When her former boss asks a big favour, she has to think twice. It involves protecting a minor member of the Royal Family, and as a staunch anti-royalist, Eve baulks at the idea. But in the end her sense of duty takes over and she agrees to the job. Lady Katherine Lovegrove is in danger due to the fact that her father is a senior judge, and about to pass sentence on a member of a notorious crime family. She doesn’t fully grasp just how precarious her situation is, and makes Eve’s job a whole lot harder than it has to be. As tensions rise between the pair, the danger escalates. Will Eve be able to keep her safe? And will she be able to keep her growing feelings a secret?

It was a cracker of a story. Absolutely brilliantly conceived . I couldn’t put it down and didn’t want it to end. Yes, it’s a love story, but there’s a whole lot more. The peril Katherine is in makes it high stakes and a thrilling mystery too. I loved the other characters around them too – especially Eve’s sister, Paula, and Katherine’s dad, Michael. Paula’s light-hearted and caring approach relieved the tension, and Michael’s love for his daughter shone through. I really enjoyed it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Next In Line For Love’ by Harper Bliss

Ali Lennox is the thirty-five year old daughter of Jeffrey Lewis, CEO of Lennox Breweries, one of the most important companies in America. When she’s called home from a 10 year hiatus, she realises it’s time to buckle down and take her place in the company. Jill Gold is the fifty-something COO charged with getting her ready to take over. An attraction develops that both realise could cause enormous problems for their business relationship. Will they act on their feelings? Or will business have to come first?

‘Next In Line For Love’ is an interesting take on the age-gap romance trope. Family dynamics and professional responsibilities clash in this lovely romance. Ali comes across much younger than her age at first, but when we find out her family history it is easy to see why. I liked her. She was willing to step up when it mattered. Jill was a dedicated business-woman whose life revolves around her job. But she was also a kind, thoughtful and caring person. Not what one would expect from someone who has made it to the top in her industry. She has avoided becoming hard and jaded. I enjoyed seeing the two

women navigate their feeling for each other whilst taking into account the needs of the company. An enjoyable story.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Milton’ by Sam Skyborne

I’ve come to look forward to a new short story from Sam Skyborne.’Milton’ is a very different one, dealing with an aspect of life rarely told in lesbian fiction. Milton is an older woman, a grandmother, who has been left badly injured after an accident. Now living with her family, she requires care. Maybe for some people that would mean the end of any chance at love or a fulfilling life. Can Milton ever get past it? 

The first impression I got of her was that she was a very strong-minded woman, with a forceful personality. Yes, she was infuriating and grumpy, but who wouldn’t be? I liked her. Beatrice was a whirlwind of a woman. Would she be able to jostle Milton out of her dark mood and push her to do more? I’ll let you find out for yourself. 

For me, ‘Milton’ was a story of determination.  And with hope for a life beyond what one might have thought still possible. A lovely and thought-provoking tale. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Courier’s Run’ by Ennis Rook Bashe

couriers

‘Courier’s Run’ by Ennis Rook Bashe is set in a dystopian Scotland. Courier is one of many sisters engineered to thrive and survive in a post-apocalyptic world. She’s supposed to follow orders and work against the remaining humans, but this clone has a mind of her own. When she gets to meet real people, and one especially, she has to decide where her priorities lie.

This novella certainly grabbed my interest.  The world-building was well done, and I wanted to know more about this particular version of Scotland. The premise was a mixture of dystopian, sci-fi, paranormal and romance. And I liked how the elements came together. Seeing the world and the people through Courier’s eyes made me realise that I’d like to find out more about how it all came to be – and what happens next to Courier and Sear. A good story with hints of more to come.

I was given this ARC for review.

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Review of ‘Far From The World We Know’ by Harper Bliss

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. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Love’s Portrait’ by Anna Larner

‘Love’s Portrait’ is a perfect mixture of love, romance and belonging. Molly Goode is a fine art curator in Leicester, wishing to bring more diversity to the museum where she works. Georgina Wright is an important benefactor, albeit a reluctant one. She comes across as a bit of an Ice Queen but spending time with Molly begins to thaw her cool exterior. When Georgina needs help to research a painting in her collection, Molly is instructed by her boss to take on the task.

I liked Molly from the start. She was sweet, a bit ditsy and completely unaware of how wonderful she is. She worries about saying and doing the wrong thing and I found her completely adorable. Georgina was a woman in pain, dealing with grief and hurt, and I had high hopes that Molly would be the woman to see her through that. I felt compelled to follow their story. The mystery behind the painting drew me further into the story and I loved the historical aspect of it in regard to the research on the painting. Anna Larner’s writing has a gentle beauty to it, an engaging tone throughout.  Her characters feel real to me and she makes me want to know more about them. This is the second book I have read by this author and I must admit she has become a favourite of mine. A lovely story.

I was given this ARC for review by Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley.

Review of ‘At Last’ by J.M. Dragon

I enjoyed this sweet and inspiring story of a town coming together to try to save the company that keeps them all afloat. Love stories abound in ‘At Last’ and I was especially enamoured by one in particular. Perfume company owner Gene has yet to find the love of her life – but if she opened her eyes she would see love was there in front of her all along. Outsider Quinn comes to town to try and sort out supply problems for her employers – but ends up finding out more about herself. I think the town of Grady had quite an impact on those choosing to spend time there. Powerful circumstances made people reassess their lives. Love, family, romance and loyalty were the themes that drew me into this story.  I felt myself rooting for the characters – be it in their love lives or in business. An enjoyable read.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Deuce’ by Jen Silver

What a wonderful story! ‘Deuce’ is the story of Jay, ex-professional tennis player, and her life after the disappearance at sea of her lover, Charley. Forced to go on without her, she brings up their child and starts a new career. But she isn’t really happy. Charley meanwhile is living in the Faroe Islands with a new name and no memory of her life before. When she starts to remember, the lives of so many people are about to be up-ended. 

The story is so well told. It has love, unexpected family complications, passion and surprises. I could not put it down. I wanted to know what happened next to these characters. They felt real and I began to care about them. They each had to face the fact that time does not stand still and people change. Sometimes that means accepting differences and sometimes it means putting yourself in their shoes. Jen Silver has a talent for crafting characters and storylines that really resonate. She subtly weaves real events into her work and that makes the reader feel more engaged. ‘Deuce’ may be my favourite of her novels so far. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Alice’ by Sam Skyborne

‘Alice’ is one of those books that surprises, engages and takes the reader off in unexpected directions. It is the story of a young woman trapped in an awful marriage. When she decides she can take no more and leaves, her life becomes one of secrets, new friends and a fight to keep her new found freedom. Sam Skyborne made me feel an affinity with Alice. I felt as if I was along for the ride and worried about her as she became more involved in her new life in Cape Town. A PI, Toni Mendez, is sent to track her down and her part in the story opened up a whole lot of other issues. This book had so many layers and was intelligently plotted. I could never have guessed the twists and turns and I take my hat off to the author. Bravo!

I was given this ARC for review. 

Review of ‘Music City Dreamers’ by Robyn Nyx

I’ve read Robyn Nyx’s work before and loved it, so I was excited to see that she had decided to try her hand at the romance genre. I was not disappointed. ‘Music City Dreamers’ is set in Nashville, the home of Country music. It’s not the most LGBT friendly city by any means and record company executive, Heather King, finds that staying in the closet is the only way to get on in the business. She wants to own a record label and make it open to a more diverse range of singers than any of the current, stuck in the mud, labels do presently. Songwriter Louie Francis is out, proud and no-one could ever mistake this gorgeous butch for being anything but a lesbian. When they meet the attraction is obvious, but how can two so very different women be together?

First of all I love Country music so the whole Nashville scene was a huge plus for me. I enjoyed finding out about the world of record labels, big stars, struggling songwriters and of course the famous Bluebird Cafe. The ambience was perfectly done. The story centres around an intriguing romance but also the struggle LGBT people face in homophobic industries and areas of the country. Ms Nyx managed to get across the tension and fear involved in living in such an environment. The racism in the South was also evident. I appreciated the way the author brought to the foreground the need for diversity and being true to oneself. It takes courage and sometimes people need to take their own time. I really liked the main two characters, Louie and Heather. Louie had been hurt a lot in the past but she had a strength of purpose and integrity that shone through. Heather fought every day to make a success of her career but until Louie came into her life she couldn’t see that she deserved more. There are a few unpleasant characters too and the homophobia and manipulation they brought to the story made it all the more interesting. I loved Louie’s friend, Gabe. They made a great team and I wanted things to work out for him too. 

I really enjoyed this story and I am so glad Ms Nyx made this foray into lesbian romance. She has captured the passion and intense emotions of the two women, as well as weaving a fascinating story.

I was given this ARC for review.