Review of 'Two Hearts Alone' by Harper Bliss

Two Hearts Alone’ by Harper Bliss is the first novella in a trilogy, told from the point of view of Anna and Zoe in alternating chapters. Set in the charming small town of Donovan Grove, upstate New York, we get to know the inhabitants and their relationships through the eyes of the two main characters. I liked the alternating POV as we were able to get inside their heads as they go about their lives .

Anna needs her life to be organised and predictable and likes things to be done a certain way. Her particular way of thinking and behaving points a certain way and  is interesting and authentic and will resonate with many readers . The fact that her experience feels real works because you never once feel it is written by someone who doesn’t know what it means . The writing feels very intimate, very true. It’s about raw feelings and thoughts. I really got the pain that’s involved in dealing with life, with everyday ‘normal’ interactions when you are different. Zoe is the complete opposite to Anna – but sometimes that’s exactly what we need. She is kind and funny and perceptive. I liked her. 

I really enjoyed the story. As the first part of a larger story it worked for me.  I want to know what happens next 

Don’t expect it to be chock full of sex scenes just because it’s a Harper Bliss book, though. It needed to be told this way. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'Children of the Stars' by K Aten

What a ride! Mix alien soulmates, Area 51, and a government agency set up to deal with hybrid humans and you have one truly amazing book. You can tell that K Aten loves sci-fi. It certainly shows in ‘Children of the Stars’. Her story starts with a bang and never lets up. It is exciting and adventurous and takes the reader on a journey of a lifetime. 

Amari and Zen were saved from certain death by being sent to Earth as babies. When their adjacent worlds were attacked, the only option their respective parents could see was to send them to safety on another planet. They are bonded to each other, but do not know that the other exists. When their adopted world is about to face its greatest peril, they have to take a stand, even though they risk exposure. 

The author uses a really interesting storytelling style. Not at all conventional, but it works so well. The narrator speaking straight to the reader at some points in the novel  is a brilliant touch. It contrasts perfectly with the third-person narrative of the rest of the novel. ’Children of the Stars’ is  a thrilling story with an emotional connection beyond anything either woman could imagine possible. But there’s a fear of being found out and exposing their origins to all. With super-power enhanced Chromodecs all over the world, one is never sure who is on the side of good – and who is one of the baddies. It certainly keeps the reader intrigued throughout. There is a mention of another K Aten book which was a lovely touch and made me hope for more from this particular universe in the future. As you can probably tell, I loved this book. It was about working together as a group and fighting against the bad guys, but there was also a beautifully romantic and passionate element.  It was exciting and tense and exhilarating all at the same time. Wonderful!

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'Lost & Found' by Elle Hyden

‘Lost & Found’ by Elle Hyden is completely enchanting and heartwarming. This mystical romance is the story of Rea, an agricultural landowner trying her best to work in harmony with the planet and with the plants and animals on it. Still grieving for her wife, she puts all of her energies into the local community, but would dearly love to find a soul-mate. Selina is a botanist with Native American ancestry and shares many of the same ideas and traits with Rea. These two women are perfect for each other, and with a little push here and there, from some mysterious beings, they might just make it. 

Elle Hyden is a new author to me and I was very impressed by her style. The novel is captivating and immersive from the start. I loved her descriptions of the landscape and scenery, and she has created two very compelling main characters. I felt an affinity for both of them. They felt like real people, with real problems. Rea could never quite believe someone as beautiful as Selina could ever be attracted to her, but we see that love and desire comes in all shapes and sizes. Selina had a spiritual grace that drew people to her. The story is romantic and tender and very well written. I look forward to more from this author in the future.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'One Walk In Winter' by Georgia Beers

‘One Walk In Winter’ by Georgia Beers is that perfect combination of idyllic setting, feel-good romance and a beautiful ending that had me sighing in contentment. Olivia has worked hard to get where she is in her career, but the top job has eluded her so far. Corporate America hasn’t got past the old boy network and it shows in the lack of innovation and ideas at the Evergreen Spa Resort. When a new and inexperienced manager turns up to take the job Olivia thinks should be hers, she finds it hard to keep her displeasure to herself. Hayley is the seemingly irresponsible youngest child of the Markham clan. When her father gives her a last chance to prove herself, she has no choice but to give it a shot. Especially since he’s cut off her allowance. But Hayley is an artist at heart and finds it difficult to be the person her father wants her to be. An encounter in the woods with a beautiful woman lifts her spirits – but when they both realise the truth, it’s never going to be easy.

I really liked Olivia. She was conscientious, determined and great at her job. She was a people person and perfect for the job. I wanted her to find love too though, as that side of her life had been put on hold while she concentrated on her career. Her family were supportive and her mother was a gem. Hayley had an uphill struggle, however hard she tried. Forcing someone to be what you want is not a good idea in any scenario. She blossomed when she was out in the countryside taking photos. Her heart soared when she painted. Seeing the two women get to know each other properly –  after the initial wow intro – was beautiful. It was never just a chemical reaction between them – there was so much more. It was bout knowing what you really want, and more importantly, what you need. It was about healing and love and passion. A truly heat-warming story. I loved it. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of 'The Roommate Arrangement' by Jae

With ‘The Roommate Arrangement’ Jae has captured my heart yet again. She doesn’t put a foot wrong as she tells a beautiful and tender story, with characters I cared for. 

Stephanie Renshaw is a struggling stand- up comic . She has decided that it’s time to stop going on the road and concentrate on making it in LA. She needs an apartment near the comedy clubs and the one she wants won’t rent to roommates or singles. She has to find someone willing to be her fake girlfriend. Rae Coleman is an ex-cop and now works security at a L.A. comedy club where Steph has been trying to get a chance to headline. Having been injured on duty, her life as a cop had to end and she is trying to just get through each day the best she can. Her need for an apartment close to work is for a different reason, but she’s not about to open up and tell Steph, or anyone else, what that is. When Steph suggests  they share and explains the need for a fake relationship Rae agrees. Can they pull it off without the landlord finding out? 

It’s slow and sweet as they get to know each other. Jae gives them time to realise that they are both worth loving, to get past things that have been holding them back. Steph was a joker, but underneath, so kind. Rae was a bit of a wounded soul and seeing her respond to Steph was beautiful. Claire and Lana from ‘Just for Show’, also a fake relationship story, turn up. I loved that she brought in characters from other stories she has written. It works. I really enjoyed it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Holly and Ivy’ by T.B. Markinson and Miranda MacLeod

When workaholic Holly travels to Poppy Island in need of a complete break from her life as CEO of her own tech company, she is not a happy woman. She has to be forced to step back and think of her own mental health. Meeting a beautiful woman on the ferry piques her interest, but she’s confused about the goat the woman is transporting with her. Ivy is a conundrum she is quite willing to unravel. It would certainly help her sabbatical pass more pleasantly with a pretty woman to keep her company. But both women have secrets they’d rather not reveal. Can they really manage to keep it light and not get involved? Because once they begin to open up to each other, things might not go exactly as planned.

I really enjoyed this story. I knew it was written by two authors, but I was hard pushed to work out who wrote which parts. It blended seamlessly and kept my interest throughout . Holly was a complex character, with issues from her past that determined how she reacted to Ivy, and to the others on the island. I enjoyed seeing a different side to her as she began to see how other people lived. Her position of extreme privilege and being brought up in a military family had skewed her views in a particular direction. Ivy was able to let her see something else. Ivy was kind and determined to help others, often at the expense of her own dreams. Being with Holly let her do something just for herself. When they were together it was scorching – and something neither of them expected. Neither believed they would find ‘the one’ – but sometimes they walk into your life when you least expect it. I liked Ivy’s friends Betty and Scarlett – they provided some hilarious moments and an insight into island life. ’Holly and Ivy’ was heart-warming, emotional, very funny – and very sexy. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Back To September’ by Melissa Brayden

Melissa Brayden writes beautiful romances that never fail to be tender, loving and hot. ‘Back to September’ is no exception. But this time she went that little bit further. Hannah and Parker’s story had me gripped and I thought my heart would break in two. Here were two characters that needed to be together, but it wasn’t going to be that easy. 

Hannah liked her life to be fairly predictable and ordered. She was  not overly concerned about romance. If it happened it happened. In walks Parker Bristow to her life. She’s smart and sexy and full of positive energy and Hannah can’t help but fall for her charms. Parker is a world-famous romance author and just having her visit Hannah’s store makes a huge impact. When they are together it’s adorable and unexpected, but can it ever really work out? Long-distance relationships are hard enough, but other issues get in the way too.

I really loved Hannah. She was loyal and kind and seemed to blossom when Parker was around. Parker was wonderful, and who wouldn’t love a romance writer anyway? But it was her struggles that tore at my heart. I just wanted everything to come right for her. I wanted her to see she was worth it, worth loving. As with all of Melissa Brayden’s books I got my ‘aaah’ moment though. It was so beautifully written and love always wins. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Big Girl Pill’ by KD Williamson

Maya’s former best friend, Nina, is getting married and she’s going to be a bridesmaid. The problem is, she’s in love with her and it’s not reciprocated. Things between them ended badly, but Maya thinks going through with her wedding duties will help her get over Nina once and for all. Nina is marrying, but she doesn’t seem that keen. Her overbearing snob of a mother and deadly boring fiancé have her under the thumb. Life for her is all about doing what other people expect. Will she ever be able to be her own person?

This story had characters that were relatable and true and made me root for them. I could feel the emotions, the longing and the passion. And it gripped my heart. K.D. Williamson showed us that loving someone so much that it hurts just to think about it, can be heaven or hell. Maya’s pain was obvious and I wanted her to get her happily ever after. I wanted Nina to speak up for herself, to be the great woman I knew she could be. The boyfriend Drew was truly insufferable as was Nina’s mother. It was going to take a great deal of courage on Nina’s part to get out form under that. I really liked her cousin Rachel. She was sassy and forthright and the kick up the backside both Maya and Nina needed.     

I loved the sarcastic humour. KD Williamson used ridiculously funny situations brilliantly and showed the truth of relationships through them. It was about finding strength to be yourself  and not living for other people. It had a lovely vibe and some beautifully tender moments – as well as some very hot and sexy times. A great read.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Bells Will Be Ringing’ by Barbara Winkes

Dana Clover’s life just went to pot – and she needs to get away from it all. Escaping to her holiday home in Chestnut Hill, she meets the beautiful local doctor, Holly McEwan, and begins to think life may not be that bad after all. With a home in need of TLC, she finds that folks in the small town are there to boost her spirits and make this Christmas one to look forward to after all.

I enjoyed the cosy, homely feel of the story, of the town and of the relationship as the women got to know each other. It was exactly what I wanted from a Christmas story . Dana was a principled woman who needed to heal after recent problems in her life. I liked how she brought out something in Holly that had been missing for a long time. Holly was kind and caring but still scared and unsure of the future. But together they made everything just right. It was a sweet and romantic story with the most enchanting setting. I finished this story in one sitting, as I was enjoying it so much I didn’t want to stop reading. Just the ticket to get you in the festive mood.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Reservations of the Heart’ by T.B. Markinson

‘Reservations of the Heart’ is funny, romantic and very, very sexy. Stella Gilbert is a successful doctor and med school professor, but her personal life is a mess. Divorced and convinced that no woman can ever be really trusted she makes it clear that a relationship is the last thing she wants. Aurora Shirley May just be the woman to make her rethink her red lines though. Working on a temp basis in the med school, organising room reservations, she catches Stella’s attention and the two begin something that neither expect . 

I really liked both of these characters and found their interactions fascinating. They had each convinced themselves that life was going to do what they wanted – and failed to realise that life doesn’t work that way. Seeing them slowly change and grow, with a little push here and there from family and friends was sweet and heart-warming. Stella’s daughter was refreshing and let us see a completely different side of the doc. Aurora was insightful when it can to other people – but boy did she have blinkers on when it came to her own life. The physical side of their relationship was scorching! But it was the romance and emotional journey that really appealed to me most about this book. I loved it.

I was given this ARC for review.