Review of ‘Not The Marrying Kind’

Jae is the Queen of wish fulfilment. I knew exactly what I wanted to happen in this story and she granted my wish. I completely and utterly adored Ashley and Sasha’s story. It was the most romantic, emotional and beautiful story of love, belonging and joy. I was smiling from ear to ear and for the rest of the day after reading this. 

Florist Ashley is as far in the closet as it’s possible to be. She is terrified her parents will find out she’s a lesbian and can’t face the reaction she suspects will come from the townsfolk. Baker Sasha has no desire to be tied down to anyone and her fear of commitment has been part of her life for so long. But when the pair begin to spend time together working on their friends’ Leo and Holly’s wedding, it becomes harder to stick to old ways. They are so obviously perfect for each other. And I found myself wishing and hoping it would be a happily ever after for them!

Jae increased the happiness level by bringing in characters from her other books – Leo and Holly – and others I’ll leave as a surprise. Having these wonderful women interact was wonderful. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. 

I was given this ARC for review.

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Review of ‘Love To The Rescue’ by Radclyffe

Reading a Rivers series book is like coming home. I feel as if I know all of these characters so well and I always enjoy being in their company. I will never tire of them. There are so many layers to the Rivers story and ‘Love To The Rescue’ adds another fascinating one. 

Brody Clark moves back to town after a decade away. As the new helicopter medic at the  hospital she comes face to face with people she would much rather avoid – and with some issues she has avoided. Val Valentine left town for the big city but finds herself back helping a friend who saw something in her and influenced her career. The two women were never really in each others’s spheres at high school but as adults they find an attraction that makes them rethink the future. I liked the connection between them. Sometimes we have to meet someone at the right time, for only then will we be truly ready for each other. Radclyffe pitches it just right with this story. I loved every word. She makes us believe in love and romance and,of course, the sex is so hot. She weaves various threads seamlessly and yet again left me wanting more of this series. Excellent!

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 ‘You’re My Kind’ by Clare Lydon

Clare Lydon certainly played with my emotions on this one. ‘You’re My Kind’ is the story of Justine and Maddie and their road to love after splitting ten years previously. Justine has never been able to get over it and professes to hate the very mention of Maddie’s name. But when she unexpectedly turns up again on an already awful day, Justine is forced to start confronting her feelings.

Now, I was determined to hate Maddie too, on Justine’s behalf. But she crept up on me. I wanted to resist her, but I just couldn’t. I felt myself wavering and letting her in. The story was thoughtful and sad at times and really touched my heart. It was also hilariously funny and I almost spat my coffee across the room at ‘vagina cupcakes’! Clare Lydon writes romance like no other. I ached for the pair of them and when they had sex, it was so much more than that. It was everything; it was remembering and wanting and needing. 

The Bristol setting was wonderful. I could picture so many of the places mentioned. The constant mention of cakes might have made me dash for the mixing bowl too! An excellent story and highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Perfect Partners’ by Maggie Cummings

‘Perfect Partners’ is set in the world of K9 training for those in law enforcement. Sara is an instructor who is dedicated to her job and is not looking for a relationship – especially with a cop. Izzy finds herself with the chance of doing her dream job – she just has to pass the demanding course. The story was sweet and romantic and I loved the blossoming of something tender and beautiful between the two women. Maggie Cummings has an amazing talent for writing characters I easily fall for and she brings them to life with such panache. I adored the dogs too and finding out how they were trained and paired with their human partners was fascinating. Chase was just a darling! This is a feel-good tale that left me with a smile on my face. Highly recommended. 

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

Review of ‘Cupid’s Bow’ by Karen F Williams

‘Cupid’s Bow’ is a sweet, funny, short romance with endearing characters. Kay Westscott is a novelist winding down after a busy lesbian fiction conference. She meets a beautiful woman in the bar of her hotel where the woman is planning on attending a lesbian speed dating event that night. When they get talking it soon becomes apparent that there is an attraction between them – but will either of them take the initiative? 

I really enjoy short stories and am always delighted to find new ones – especially lesfic ones. This one is a lovely story of unexpected attraction and the hope of more. It poses the question of whether one can fall in love at first sight. And whether you can make a life changing decision based on that one meeting. I loved it. Karen F Williams is an excellent writer with imaginative flair and I always look out for her work. I am happy to add ‘Cupid’s Bow’ to my collection.

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

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 ‘Spencer’s Cove’ by Missouri Vaun

‘Spencer’s Cove’ is a fantastical tale of witches, good and evil and ultimately love. Foster Owen, a mystery novelist with a serious case of writer’s block, is given a lifeline when a job comes up to ghost write a family memoir for Abigail Spencer. Abby has inherited her family’s mansion on the Pacific Coast and on first meeting she is a shy, frightened rabbit of a woman. When Foster starts looking into the family’s past some very interesting stories emerge and she is intrigued. Just when I thought I knew where this story was going and who everyone was, Missouri Vaun took me on a ride that totally exceeded my expectations. Seeing changes in Abby was enlightening and Foster had a lot to do with that. She was a beautifully envisaged soft butch – and who could blame Abby for being attracted to her? The novel had some amazingly strong women and a feeling of camaraderie and power that appealed to me so much. I loved the mixture of the historical research Foster was undertaking and the present day story that stemmed from it.  It was a magical tale and I absolutely adored it. Highly recommended.

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

Review of ‘Hooked On You’ by Jenn Matthews

Ollie was seriously injured during her time in the army. She now owns a craft shop and runs a crochet group in the evenings. When teacher Anna joins the group they fall into an easy friendship, but there is more. What that might be is confusing for seemingly-straight Anna. She is dating total prat Liam, a colleague. Boy, did I want her to see the light regarding that one!

I enjoyed the slow build up in this story. It was so worth it. Ollie and Annie are grown -up women, with full lives and interesting histories. It was so refreshing to read a romance between mature women. Each touch, each kiss was special and tender. It was beautifully written. We got to see how Ollie struggled with her physical problems and how that affected her confidence in pursuing a new relationship. Anna’s struggles were of a different nature – that of being attracted to a woman for the first time. I was literally ‘hooked’ on their stories. 

I also really enjoyed finding out about their families. Anna’s adopted son, Timothy was on the Autistic Spectrum and I loved his way of looking at the world. His depiction was spot on. Jenn Matthews has an excellent understanding of someone with autism and I really appreciated how she put across how wonderful it can be and how rewarding it is to know someone with autism. Thank you for that Jenn. 

Finally the fact that the women met through their love of crochet was fascinating. I have, like Anna, watched multiple YouTube videos to try and learn the skill, to no avail. After reading ‘Hooked On You’ I’m feeling inspired to follow Anna’s lead and join a class. An excellent first novel –  I look forward to more from Ms Matthews in the future.

I was given this ARC to review.

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.