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.

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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. 

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.

Review of ‘Seascape’ by Karis Walsh

‘Seascape’ has the most beautiful setting and that drew me into the story right away. Tess is a marine biologist forced to go back to her home town to help with a family crisis. Forks is the wettest place in the entire United States and holds no excitement for her and no chance to date. Or so she thinks. Britt is a woman facing her own crisis and ends up in the area, trying to decide what to do with her life. Their interactions are light and flirty at first but there is always an undercurrent that promises more. 

The strength of this novel is the way Karis Walsh has woven beauty, romance and an absolutely fascinating and enlightening environmental story together. Both Tess and Britt grow so much as they begin to question the choices they have made. I enjoyed going on that journey with them. I also found myself immersed in the world of killer whales, wolves and the fragile ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest. A really lovely story. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Unforgettable’ by Elle Spencer

‘Unforgettable’ consists of two wonderful love stories that warm the heart. ‘’Forget Her Not’ is the story of Sam, a woman who indulges in one-nights stands and stays away from relationships. A surprising twist causes her to rethink her life. The story is beautiful, so emotional and very sexy. I felt very invested in the characters and I cried when they cried. I was stunned at how Elle Spencer manages to make the reader feel so much and we end up really caring for the women in her novels. ‘Forget Her Never’ is sweet and funny and hot. Abby and Kendall are so obviously perfect for each other but life has obstacles in their way. I so desperately wanted it to work out for them and again the author pulled me so far into the story, that I couldn’t put it down. This book is perfect for those times you want to wallow in romance, intense feelings and love. Elle Spencer does it so well. 

I was given this ARC for review.