Review of ‘Keepers’ by Kelli Jae Baeli

‘Keepers’ book one in the New Harbor Witches series by Kelli Jae Baeli is a fantastic start to the series, with plenty to grab the reader’s attention. Dane and her sister have been estranged for years, after Penny fled her home town. Dane was left to look after the family bistro and their grandmother, a woman whose very presence sucked the joy out of life. When grandmother dies life changes for the women, and they become aware of a part of their inheritance that is completely unexpected. Strange things begin to happen to them both, and slowly the unexplained becomes clear. How will Dane and Penny cope with their new reality – and how do those around them fit in? 

I felt invested in Dane and Penny’s story from the start and couldn’t put the book down. It’s an excellent mystery with fascinating characters, set in a world the reader can believe in. It’s also very funny and sexy and downright addictive. It left me wanting a whole lot more, so I’ll be reading book 2, ‘Ravens’, ASAP. 

Review of ‘A Woman To Treasure’ by Ali Vali

‘A Woman to Treasure’ is a cracker of a story. It’s an adventure, a mystery and a love story all rolled into one. Levi Montbard has loved history her whole life, and goes all over the world in search of antiquities. Her fascination with the Templars is particularly important, and when some writings come into her possession, the adventure really begins. Yasmine Hassani is a university professor, with a special interest in women’s studies. She’s an unusual woman in her culture, as she has so far resisted the expected marriage and children route. When she becomes aware of Levi’s quest she has to decide to take a leap, in more ways than one. 

Ali Vali has written a wonderful mystery, with well-researched historical detail and a heart-warming romance at its core. It has beautiful settings  in various parts of the world, with a fantastic group of characters. I particularly loved Louisiana and Morocco, and getting to know Levi and Yasmine’s families there. The story was brilliantly plotted, with stories and revelations that made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. The romance was sweet and endearing and gave me such feelings of joy when they as much as held hands. It was lovely to see the characters grow and change as they got to know each other, becoming who they were meant to be. An excellent book and one I can highly recommend. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Change of Plans’ by KJ

Are you supposed to fall in love with the characters in the book you’re reading? If not, I must have missed that directive. Because it is impossible not to fall for Emily and Skye in KJ’s latest novel, ‘Change of Plans’. Emily is a stickler for planning every last detail of her life. Skye is not. Emily is unsure and worries a lot, and finding a way to be happy is not easy for her. Can she find a way to change? Will Skye be the one to help her do that? Her life as a bike courier suits her. She goes with the flow and hopes for the best. Can two such different women ever make it work?

I loved Emily. Kind, adorable and thoughtful, with her own outlook on life. She is who she is, and that’s fine by me. It takes different strokes and it’d be boring if we were all the same. Skye could see how wonderful she was and felt quite protective of her. This is the kind of book that makes the reader feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s about finding your person. The one who gets you. Because not everyone will, and that’s fine too. It made me feel hopeful, because there are good people out there. We’re so used to hearing the bad stuff on the news – and we forget that there are good people out there with hearts of gold, ready and willing to help others.

It made me smile with joy and happiness. KJ looks into the hearts of her characters and sees the best in them. She has a wonderful  outlook, and it comes through in her writing.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Unrivaled’ by Radclyffe

‘Unrivaled’ is the story of Dec, an attending, back at Philadelphia Medical Center after years away. Her recovery after an accident complete, she is determined to make work her top priority and leave love for other people. But she didn’t count on meeting resident, Zoey. She’s a breath of fresh air to Dec, but Zoey won’t ever consider coming second place with a woman.  Will they be able to meet in the middle? Can love make them change?

There’s a wonderful family feeling to this story, with the other characters being such an integral part. The other doctors have interesting backstories that weave in perfectly with Dec and Zoey’s blossoming love story. I was as invested in them as I was the two main characters. The group dynamic was a huge part of this book. It worked perfectly and made me want to know what happens next for them all. I liked the slow burn between Dec and Zoey. We find  out about each of them gradually,  and I enjoyed getting to know them through their reactions to each other. It’s a passionate story with a perfectly crafted and paced romance at its heart. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘A Fae Tale’ by Genevieve McCluer

‘A Fae Tale’ is the story of Dovana, a human saved as a child in Lithuania by Roze, a fae. Every year the pair exchange letters and gifts, even though Dovana has moved with her family to Toronto. They have a bond; one that no-one else in Dovana’s life can match. But as time goes on Roze becomes increasingly worried about the future – one that she has never divulged to anyone. Dovana feels the pull to Roze and wants to see be in contact with her more than just once a year. As she begins to look into doing so, she finds out a lot more than she bargained for.

This is an unusual tale, but a very enjoyable one. It’s funny and a bit kooky, but very sweet and romantic too. I loved the settings of Lithuania and Toronto. It’s refreshing to read a story set somewhere different. I also enjoyed the folklore of Lithuania and mixing it with present day Canada. Genevieve McCluer writes great humorous prose and I found myself giggling out loud a few times in the course of reading this book. Her characters are well defined and fun, and she makes her secondary characters come to life as much as the main protagonists. An enjoyable read. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘What A Tangled Web’ by Melissa Brayden

‘What A Tangled Web’ is the third in the Tangle Valley Romance Series, and is the perfect end to a wonderful series. Focusing on winemaker extraordinaire, Madison, and her chance at love, it is heart-warming, sweet and intensely passionate. When Madison is advised to start investing some of her money, she’s delighted to find that her favourite local breakfast place, The Bacon and Biscuit, is up for sale. And the thought that it’ll give her an excuse to see a lot more of Clementine, the manager, is an added bonus. Clementine has had a difficult life and managing the Biscuit had given her focus and purpose. Just when she’s about to make an offer on the cafe, Madison swoops in and buys it from under her. The entirely oblivious Madison would never intentionally hurt Clementine, so how are they going to deal with each other while Clementine is so devastated? 

This story had all of the feel-good factor of the previous two in the series and a whole lot more. The two main characters were adorable and I found myself seeing Madison in a new light. She had moved on from the injured feelings of ‘Two To Tangle’, and we could see who she really was and how she ticked. Clementine was brilliant at her job, but her confidence levels were precarious. One knock and she was likely to topple. I wanted to hug her. I wanted this relationship to work and was cheering them on throughout. But they had to learn about themselves as individuals before they could be together. 

This was the happiest ending to the most amazing trilogy. Melissa Brayden pulled all of the elements together, wrapped them up in a bow, and presented the reader with Happily Ever After to the max!

I was given this Arc to review.

Review of ‘Tracing Invisible Threads’ by C Fonseca

‘Tracing Invisible Threads’ by C Fonseca is the story of Eleanor, a well-known photographer who has returned home to Melbourne after many years abroad. As well as spending time with her family, she has a burning desire to solve a mystery left after the death of her beloved aunt, Helen. Helen died in a natural disaster in China and her returned belongings included a trunk, with very old papers and photographs. Alexa Bellamy, a researcher and librarian at the state library is given the task of finding out what the papers and photos are and why Helen had them. When the two women begin to work together to solve the puzzle, an attraction grows, but are either of them ready for a serious relationship? Is Eleanor ready to stay in Australia – and is Alexa going to let herself believe she can be happy?

I loved the mystery within this story. I adore it when a romance has another element – and a fascinating one at that. This story really kept my attention. I was as keen to find out about the people in the old photographs. And I was intrigued as to why Helen had them with her. The Melbourne setting was a big plus for me. I got to know more about its history, the people who lived there in the early days, and the outlying areas around the city. It’s a joy to read a book from places we don’t always get to read about. I loved the two main characters. They sparked off of each other and became something more when they were together. Alexa’s Grandmother, Grace was a brilliant character. So full of life. A great story. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Royal Family’ by Jenny Frame

‘Royal Family’ by Jenny Frame is book four in her Royal Series. I’ve enjoyed them all, and it was lovely to be back with some of my favourite characters. This time we follow the romance of Clay, a royal protection officer, and Katya, the new nanny. Clay has reached her position despite a rocky start in life, and is now dealing with grief after the death of her mother. She’s not ready to trust the new nanny, but can’t quite put her finger on why. Katya left her native home as a child refugee and is determined to pay her adopted country back for the good life she has now. She finds Clay attractive, but is not ready for any kind of relationship. Guarding her privacy and her heart is too important to her. 

Katya and Clay’s story was a slow burner. Their backgrounds made them wary and they needed time to open up. I really warmed to Katya as I got to know more about her. Her backstory was fascinating and I enjoyed finding out about her. Clay’s story was worlds away from that of Katya, but they found in each other something that was missing. Something that made them whole. Jenny Frame ties the threads from previous books in the series beautifully, and the family element really came through. It felt welcoming and inclusive. I love Queen George and Queen Bea and their growing family. The fact that they make their friends and close staff part of that family enhances the series. There’s a warmth and affection woven throughout the story and I hope there will be more tales of this particular Royal Family and their entourage.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Detour To Love’ by Amanda Radley

Melting an Ice Queen is a trope I must admit to being partial. And Amanda Radley does it so well. In ‘Detour To Love’, her first novel for Bold Strokes Books, she has hit the jackpot. Beautiful settings, adorable characters, and a love story to set the heart a flutter, make for a perfect read. 

High-flying businesswoman Celia Scott is on the way to Tokyo to accept an award she does not want. She starts the day off in a foul mood, and things go from bad to worse when her travel plans go south. Talented artist Lily Anderson is on the same flight, hoping that her online friend might turn into something more. The two women rub each other the wrong way, but sometimes wonderful things come from unlikely beginnings.

I loved the crankiness of Celia. Who can resist the sexy older woman, especially one who gives off an abrasive vibe? Lily sees past the icy exterior. She sees something in Celia worth waiting for. Each woman brought something to the other that made them a better person. It was a fantastic story and captured my heart.

I was given this ARC to review.