‘The Pet Boutique’ is a heart-warming, romantic and healing story that left me with a happy feeling. It is the first novel I’ve read by Suzie Carr and won’t be the last. The author really sees people and what makes them tick. She brings this understanding to her writing and I found myself loving the story more and more as it progressed.
Taylor is a successful author with a serious case of writer’s block. When her friend Maya suggests she help renovate a store with her, it seems this might be the distraction she needs. Maya’s niece Lexie, another helper in the quest to open a Pet Boutique, brings out something in Taylor she didn’t think possible again. Their story was slow and gentle and beautifully written. I loved the coterie of characters around the whole project – especially Lexie’s dog, Cashmere. She had a calming and steadying role and seemed to be at the centre of everything good and positive in everyone’s lives. Both Taylor and Lexie had issues from the past they had to overcome. I enjoyed finding out how they dealt with their problems. I especially appreciated the positive representation of bisexuality. An excellent story and highly recommended.
Maggie McShay leads a boring life, in a boring apartment, with a boring job – and with a cat who doesn’t seem to like her. What she wants is some magic in her life and when she answers an ad to look after a fairy tale cottage it appears that things may be looking up for her. The story is of Maggie and her friends as well as a world of fairy stories. It is told in a way that you will not doubt this place really exists. As they work together to save the world from evil villains, Maggie finds out much more about herself and this new world than she could ever have imagined.
From the minute she answers the advert you feel the excitement along with her. We learn as she does and it’s fascinating. I adored Maggie. She was curious, sweet and feisty. Kody was hot, hot, hot – and didn’t Maggie know it. The whole cast of characters in this book leapt off the page – they were vivid and exciting.
The story was wonderfully, magically imaginative. And you know, I didn’t doubt for a minute that the cottage existed exactly where she said it did! The self-discovery by Maggie was pivotal and her growing feelings for Kody were sensitively dealt with. I loved the story and the imagination behind it but most of all I was enthralled by the use of language. It was beautiful and poetic and lyrical. The skilful use of metaphor and simile took the writing to another level. The descriptions of people and places came alive for me. ’Spinning Tales’ is excellent and I highly recommend it.
I was given this Arc for review by Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley.
‘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!
The curse of the old woods is an intriguing story from the start. Maya and Julie are paranormal investigators with their own companies. They are thrown together when both are hired by an elderly lady, Mrs Fourier, to investigate the disappearance of her sister Katie many years before. The mystery of why Katie disappeared and why her sister needs the two women to help them connect again had me gripped. This ghost story has all the chills too and is well crafted. The strength of this story and the reason it works so well is the interaction between all of the characters in it. Maya and Julie don’t work alone but have friends and family helping them. I was so glad to find that this is the first in a new series as I can really see it working. A very enjoyable read.
‘Breaking Character’ is the story of Ice Queen, Elizabeth, star of top rated TV hospital drama ,Choosing Hope, and her new co-star Summer. Deep in the closet Elizabeth (Bess) is a respected British theatre actress and is widely seen as aloof and a bitch. Adorable former child-star Summer sees something different. As she struggles to be taken seriously as an adult in Hollywood, she brings something new to the show and to Bess’s life.
I really liked Bess. She had so many insecurities about her career and herself and it made her all the more loveable. Summer had a great heart and a lovely way of looking at life. I wanted them to be together so much. The twists and turns they had to overcome were so satisfying. I could have cheered at quite a few points in the story. The boo-hiss villain of the story was perfectly pitched and the coterie of friends and family on both sides made this a very well rounded story. At times I felt the heartbreak and at others the passion and love was beautiful. An enchanting romantic story that had me swooning- especially the last paragraph. Perfect.
I was given this ARC by Ylva Publishing to review.
‘The Doll Maker’ is a seriously impressive thriller. It is gripping, well-written and an excellent example of the genre. It deserves to get recognition and should definitely appeal to a wider audience. I can see it transferring perfectly to TV – and if Ms Highton-Stevenson continues the story into a series, it should get snapped up.
DI Sophie Whitton is on the trail of a serial killer – one who leaves macabre-looking dolls by the bodies of the victims. Her home life is a mess as she finds her relationship with her lover Yvonne becoming more and more strained. The story is disturbing and deals with unpalatable subjects. The realism is stark and the writing captures every nuance. The author has quite a turn of phrase and her descriptions of characters are so well done that I had no problem visualising exactly what she was getting at. As the story progresses the suspense is ratcheted up perfectly. I was on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed ‘The Doll Maker’ and highly recommend it. I can’t wait for the next one!
‘Hiding Hearts’ is a wonderful book, a story that captures the essence of the Civil War immediately. As a huge fan of historical novels I was delighted to find this novel and this particular author. This is my first R.E. Bradshaw book and it certainly won’t be my last. I loved her writing style and her descriptive powers are excellent. I felt as if I was right there.
Lottie Bratcher, a poor illegitimate farm girl, has taken on so much to try and get her family through what is to come as the Yankees arrive in the area. There is much danger, especially for a young woman, but she is determined. She is also infatuated with Patrice Cole, a rich neighbour, but has no idea how to deal with it. The romantic element was very touchingly written. For a few hours I could immerse myself in a world long gone, a world of war and bloody battles, of women left behind to pick up the pieces. The characters were realistic and sympathetic and I could feel their pain, their fear. As well as dealing with the collapse of their society, Lottie and Patrice are finding that there are so many secrets they have to keep. R.E. Bradshaw weaves a fantastic story and I adored it. Highly recommended.
Barbara Winkes has surpassed herself. ‘Killer Instinct’ is an excellent story, full of suspense, mystery and characters that seem so real. I couldn’t stop worrying about them. Joanna, an ex-cop, finds herself unable to keep out of an investigation into a serial killer. She should know better – it didn’t end well for her before. Her friends warn her off but the danger is at her door and she wants to make sure no more women have to die. A new woman in her life, Rue, makes her feel good again, but does she really want to expose anyone to the darker side of life, a life that she can’t seem to escape?
I was gripped by the story and found myself shocked and surprised at some of the twists and turns. Ms Winkes certainly knows how to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Joanna really got under my skin too. She was a complex character, with a background that made her strong, resourceful and someone to rely on. Seeing her realise that was empowering. This is a definite must-read for lovers of high quality suspense and thrillers.
‘Love Birds’ is a beautiful love story set in the adorable setting of Ojai, California. Emily owns a magazine for bird enthusiasts and needs that one big story to save her publication. She has let other people run her life for far too long and takes the chance to do something for herself. Pole-dancer Sydney has her hopes set on a dream job but has to make some changes if she is going to get there. These two women from totally different words find themselves thrown together and as they find a way to coexist, something neither expected changes their lives forever. Lisa Moreau writes the most appealing characters, with a gentleness and understanding that I’ve yet to find in another author. Her stories are so romantic but when things get hot she knows just what buttons to press. I loved seeing how the relationship between Emily and Sydney developed. It was sweet and sexy but also very empowering. I really enjoyed this story, as I have everything I’ve read by this author. I can highly recommended ‘Love Birds’
I have never laughed so much in my entire life. Ever. And this woman knows me! I recognised so much of myself in this book and I bet a lot of women will. Kiki Archer has the amazing knack of seeing the humour in situations we all can recognise. She is hilarious and so observant. I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time I was reading this book. That and laughing out loud. My chuckling every two minutes got me some very strange looks from the kids.And when I was doubled over in fits of laughter at a certain scene in Boots they thought I’d gone mad!
The story of thirty-something Camila, a mum returner to the workforce and Harriet, high-powered famous business woman is funny, scorchingly hot and romantic. There is such a lovely connection between them and an honesty that shines through. This story has it all. Kiki Archer gets under the skin of Women-loving-Women. She really sees them- and it shows in every beautifully crafted page. A brilliant story that deserves 10 Stars! Highly recommended.