‘Meeting Millie’ by Clare Ashton is set in amongst the dreaming spires of Oxford. Upper-class lesbian Charlotte is geeky and awkward and is surprised to find friendship with the powerhouse that is Millie Banks. Millie is straight, confident and charismatic. No-one could have predicted they would become friends. Ten years after university, they meet again and this time could be different. Can they be friends after all of this time? Or is there a chance of more?
Meeting Millie was so easy to read and so difficult to put down. It had lovely characters and was deliciously heartwarming. It was also beautifully written, and proved to me that Clare Ashton has genuine love for her characters. Oxford is described with real affection too, making it a character in its own right.
Clare Ashton lovingly takes the reader on a wonderful journey, with the odd emotional blip on the way. But she always gives us the prize in the end. Love wins. The experience is akin to snuggling on your favourite comfy spot, with a warm cup of milky coffee and a delicious cupcake. Comforting, immersive and welcome.
MyQueerSapphfic.com has a huge festive sale on at the moment and one of my books is part of it. You’ll be able to find Kilbirnie, Scotland – one of the Loving Blue in Red States series on sale for $0.99. If you love sapphic romance, then I’m hoping you’ll give it a try.
‘Christmas In Heaven’ by Lise Gold is the story of Helen, a professional matchmaker working for Heaven, a high-end company specialising in bringing wealthy couples together. When she is tasked with organising the Christmas party, she turns to the services of Matilda, a corporate events planner. When attraction bubbles between them, their own self-imposed rules about love may prevent them from acting on it. Helen has a very scientific approach, which tells her she and Matilda are a match made in hell, not heaven. And Matilda tells herself she is far too busy to even think about love. Will they be able to stick to their own rules? Or will true love conquer all?
This is the first book by Lise Gold I have read, and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. I adore her writing style and the beautiful descriptive touch she has. Told from alternating points of view, this is a fun, cosy and wonderfully romantic novella. I loved London in the festive season. Lise Gold captures it so well. She notices every little detail, and through her writing, she allows the reader to feel as if they are really there.
This was a refreshing story, with originality and the feel-good factor. The perfect, heart-warming Christmas romance.
‘Lines of Love’ by Brey Willows is the story of Eris Ardalides, the Muse of Love. A Muse who has lost any interest in love. As she sees it, love doesn’t mean anything anymore. Why bother? Grace Gordon, a divorce lawyer, is privy to the worst of relationships, and has no desire to become entangled in one herself. Like Eris, sex is fine, just don’t expect her to settle for anything less than perfection.
When Eris is sued for failing in her perceived duty to those seeking love, Grace takes on the case. Attraction is certainly a factor between them, but since they’ve both sworn off love, how can it ever work out? As they fight to save Eris’s reputation and what it might mean for the rest of the gods and immortals, will they give in to their passion?
I love the world Brey Willows has created. She writes about the interaction between gods and mortals in a fascinating and engaging way. Although I’ve read the whole series, and the previous books about Afterlife Inc, there is no need to have done so to enjoy this book. It works just as well as a stand-alone. But you’d be missing out if you didn’t check out the entire body of work.
This isn’t just romance, there’s peril and danger this time. And boy, does she know how to up the ante! It was great to have some of my favourite characters show up and play a part in this novel too. My favourite Afterlife Inc character, Dani, is always a welcome addition to any story.
It’s emotional and passionate and utterly beautiful. Love conquers all. Brey Willows excels again.
‘Vision of Virtue’ by Brey Willows is the second story in the Memory’s Muses series. This time we are with Clio Ardalides, the Muse of history and virtue. She seeks to show the good in every situation. Positivity is her mantra. But sometimes her TV show veers too far towards the superficial.
Kit Kalloway is the complete opposite. She is for truth and reality, whatever the situation. It irks her that Clio focuses too much on appearance and the lighter side of life. She may find the Muse extremely attractive, but that won’t stop her voicing her disapproval.
When the pair are pushed together in a terrible situation, can they see past first impressions? And can they find a way to take their mutual attraction further?
Brey Willows breathes new life into classical characters. Characters who would otherwise have remained in dusty tomes, unknown to the majority. Her stories are thrilling, exciting and fascinating. The world she has imagined, where gods and mortals coexist, is a stroke of genius.
Clio wasn’t the person I thought at first. She had lived a long life and had witnessed some awful things. She didn’t want to dwell on all that horrible stuff – and who can blame her? Sometimes we all need to shut off the news.
Kit had a huge chip on her shoulder, but spending time with Clio let her see that immortals are not all the same. She didn’t seem to consider the feelings of others. Until faced with some home truths – and the fear of losing a chance for love.
Brey Willows took Clio and Kit to a place where they had to face who they really were. Humans and immortals can both be guilty of self delusion. Sometimes it takes a kind soul to point out the truth. Or an inciting event forces reflection. It takes courage to change and a desire for something more than the status quo.
I loved being back with the muses. All of them. Tying their stories together works so well and I look forward to the next in the series. Highly recommended.
‘Of Light And Love’ by E.V. Bancroft is ‘thawing the ice queen’, but with a twist. Two years after the death of her wife, Caro is still mourning as if it happened yesterday. With a shrine to her wife in her bedroom, she cannot see a way out from the dark desperation she feels everyday. Believing that they were soulmates, she sees no possibility of ever finding happiness again. Her financial situation is becoming precarious, as she can no longer paint and earn money. She needs to take in a lodger, but is not happy about it.
Masters students Laura desperately needs a place to stay for the duration of her course. The only place on offer at such short notice is with a woman whose grumpiness knows no bounds. Her icy demeanour doesn’t put the sunny young woman off, though. Can she break through the hard shell Caro has built around her heart? Is it possible to move on from different types of heartbreak and find love again?
I liked the drawing out of Caro, from her static grief-filled stage. She was stuck and unwilling to move on. She felt she would be betraying Yvonne if she let go for just a minute. E.V. Bancroft skilfully developed both of her characters, made them feel real. We experienced the changes in both Caro and Laura, as each woman recognised their own flaws.
I loved that the story revolved around art. Caro and Laura came from different areas of the art world and had much to teach each other. I enjoyed finding out about the high-end exhibitions Caro was involved in, and also the newer animation-studio based industry familiar to Laura. The Bristol setting was especially interesting, as it is refreshing to encounter different places. The descriptions were vivid and enlightening.
‘Of Light And Love’ is a well-written and engaging novel, with imagination, warmth and passion. Highly recommended.
‘Just A Touch Away’ by Jae is a feel-good romance set in Portland. Hannah Martin is a professional cuddler, a job that brings her a great deal of satisfaction. She is proud of that fact that she helps those who need a healing touch. One such client leaves her one half of a prestigious building in the city. The only snag is, she must share it with his daughter, Winter Sullivan. The two women must live together for 92 days in order to secure the inheritance. Surely Hannah can manage that? Winter proves to be an ice-queen of the highest magnitude, so it may not be as simple as Hannah first thought. Can they learn to live together – or will their differences end up being too great?
This book has lifted my mood in a way no other has this year. My oxytocin levels, also known as the ‘love hormone’, were overflowing by the time I had reached the final page. Hannah was kind and caring, and had a heart so big, she could have cured a whole city of the blues. Winter on the other hand was the quintessential Ice Queen who needed the right woman to melt her apparently stone cold heart. Jae hit the right balance with Winter, in that she made her vulnerable and not unlikable. I was rooting for the pair from the start.
Their story felt like being enveloped in a giant cuddle. Sometimes you want to feel good and wallow in the romance of a story. Jae does that every time for me. And no more so than with ‘Just A Touch Away’. Highly recommended.
‘It started With A Kiss’ by Clare Lydon is a smile-inducing sapphic romance, with passion, sexual tension, and the author’s trademark British humour. Gemma and Skye meet in a bar in Cornwall and share the most amazing kiss either have ever experienced. But the strangers part, never expecting to see each other again. When they later end up working together, both agree that business and pleasure don’t mix well. But can they keep to their promise? With an attraction this strong it’s going to be a tall order.
I loved the connection between Skye and Gemma. It was intense, powerful and hot. Their chemistry was off the scale. But Gemma especially was determined that they could not let their feelings progress to the next level as long as they were working together. It caused tension between them – and not always of the sexual variety.
As ever, Clare Lydon writes characters we can identify with. I could see where Gemma was coming from, but I so wanted her to change her mind. Skye was a woman dealing with hurt, but ready to find a way out of it. They were the right people at the right time for each other. They just had to get to the point that they could see that. This was a passionate, romantic, feel-good story. I loved it.
With ‘Let Love Be Enough’ Robyn Nyx has taken her characters into some of the most depraved corners of society and brought them out the other side. Madison Ford is an award winning journalist whose work ensures she has enemies all over the world. Her articles require her to take risks and come into contact with the worst elements of society. Elodie Fontaine is Hollywood’s darling and at the top of her career. But it is her humanitarian work that interests Madison. When she gets a chance to interview the star, she finds an attraction she was not expecting. An investigation into organ trafficking brings them together and with the danger comes a closeness that neither can deny.
The story is well written, engaging and powerful. The subject matter deals with disturbing issues and extremely distasteful people. Nyx shows how damaged some people are by the start they get in life. Some escape, others do not. There is appalling violence, and those who spiral further into the darkest depths show no mercy.
The light comes from the growing relationship between Madison and Elodie. They are passionate, intense and reach extreme heights of sexual compatibility. Finding your person will do that. I really enjoyed their story.
What happens when a Princess of the Realm meets a feisty education specialist who has no time for the Royal Family? Sparks – that’s what! Princess Alice has never met anyone quite like Sara, a south London single mum with a mind of her own. When it become clear that Sara can help Alice’s family with a delicate matter, the pair pretend to date in order to keep the secret from the press. But will they be able to keep it strictly business – or will their feelings for each other make that impossible?
First of all I must thank Lola Keeley for writing a beautiful love story with the lowest angst possible. In these stressful times that’s exactly the kind of book I want to be reading. It made me smile and it made me very happy. I loved Princess Alice and Sara. Alice was strong, capable and loyal. Duty was important to her and she had spent her life doing the right thing. But she realises that there is more to life than duty. Spending time with Sara made her see that. Sara was accomplished, clever and principled. She was also a fantastic mum. Would she be willing to change her life for Alice? It would mean rethinking everything, and taking her daughter on a different path too. I enjoyed seeing her work through that decision.
Lola Keeley made everything seem so real. She made the Royal Family accessible. In this story we see that wealth and status do not shield anyone from problems. I loved every minute of it. The love story was sweet and tender, with humour and poignancy. Ms Keeley was on top of her game. Highly recommended.