Review of ‘A Hint of Hope’ by Nita Round

‘A Hint Of Hope’ is the second prequel in the Towers of the Earth Fantasy series. I loved being back with Magda and Ascara, as they join with pirates to free thousands of captured slaves from a tyrannical regime – and in the process try to capture the world’s most advanced airship. The mixture of steampunk, the gifted with special powers and an exciting adventure had me hooked from the start.  We get to find out more about the world they inhabit and about the people living in it. The more I find out the more I want to know. This enthralling story was full of wonder and imagination and it has made me desperate to find out what comes next for the pair. Roll on the next instalment.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Chasing Sunset’ by Missouri Vaun

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Chasing Sunset by Missouri Vaun is a beautifully written road-trip love story. Finn is a limo driver when we first meet her, but hankers for a life as a stunt driver for the movies. Iris is a Hollywood actress who has had a modicum of success so far, but is poised for something bigger. The first meeting between them doesn’t promise true love, but the attraction is still there – and gives hope. When they decide to make the journey from rural Georgia to California we just know it’s going to be quite a ride.

Finn is a gorgeous butch with a heart of gold. Missouri Vaun writes butch characters with such flair. I never fail to fall for them in her books. And Finn is no exception. I was swooning from page one. Iris was sweet and delightful, but she was at the stage in her life and career where she wasn’t taking any bull. I loved the strength and determination she showed. The road trip was wonderfully descriptive and I was fascinated. The historical and political background to each place they passed through piqued my interest. As their feelings for each other grew over the course of the journey we got to see different facets of each character. The love story was tender and emotional and the sex was steamy and told so much about how intense their relationship was. I really enjoyed this story.  Missouri Vaun has become one of my favourite authors and I’m never disappointed.

I was given this ARC for review.

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

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‘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 ‘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 ‘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 ‘The Pet Boutique’ by Suzie Carr

‘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.

I was given this ARC for review. 

Review of ‘Spinning Tales’ by Brey Willows

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.

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 ‘The Curse Of The Old Woods’ by Elizabeth Andre

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.

Review of ‘Breaking Character’ by Lee Winter

‘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.