Review of ‘One Golden Summer’ by Clare Lydon and T.B. Markinson

‘One Golden Summer’ is a sweet romance with an idyllic English seaside setting. Kirsty McBride is almost fifty, single and owns her own wine shop. She insists she’s happy being on her own, but as the big 5-0 approaches those around her insist she would be so much happier attached. Her resistance is sorely tested when famous lesbian film star, Saffron Oliver arrives in town for the summer, in a bid to get away from the Hollywood lifestyle. Saffron has been a star for half of her life and can’t go anywhere without being noticed. She would love to blend in as a local – and maybe Sandy Cove is the place for that to happen. If she can just stop her overbearing agent exposing her whereabouts.

I loved the easy attraction between Saffron and Kirsty. They seemed to find something in each other that had eluded them with other partners. Saffron was forever on the defensive, thinking that everyone wanted something from her. But with Kirsty it was different. Or so she hoped. I liked Saffron. She might have been a big star, but she was human, just like the rest of us. She wanted to be loved for herself. And she wanted more from life than the superficiality of Hollywood. Kirsty was a woman happy in her own skin. After a painful divorce in her forties, she knew what she wanted and what made her happy. Meeting Saffron was the icing on the cake. She made her feel complete. But there was always that niggle in the back of her mind – what would a famous film star see in her?

I adored the vibe of the seaside town of Sandy Cove. It was relaxed, friendly and the perfect place for Saffron. Kirsty fitted right in. ‘One Golden Summer’ is the perfect book to put sunshine and joy in your life. Settle down in the garden, with a long cool drink and wallow in this romantic and happy story.

 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 ‘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. 

Review of ‘A Taste of Love’ by Clare Lydon

 ‘A Taste of Love’ by Clare Lydon is a sweet, heartwarming story set in a picture-perfect Cotswold village. It is the second in a series written by Ms Lydon, T.B. Markinson and Harper Bliss. Once you have visited this particular village, you’ll never want to leave. 

Natalie Hill works for the family gin business and has been spectacularly unlucky in love thus far. When a gorgeous Londoner opens an ice cream shop across the street, she can’t help but be affected. Can she ever forget her past failures though? Can she trust an in-comer who might leaves as quickly as she arrived?

Ellie Knap has had enough of the rat-race. A bad relationship has made her realise she has to get out and start anew somewhere else. Will Upper Chewford be a place to call home? Will her beautiful neighbour become more than a friend? 

The story is romantic, sexy and of course very funny. It wouldn’t be a Clare Lydon without embarrassing situations and laugh out loud moments. The characters are relatable and feel like family and old friends by the end of the book. And, as with every novel I’ve ever read by Ms Lydon, I was left with a smile on my face. It was a delight. 

I was given this ARC to review. 

Ireland – Peace, Quiet and Lots of Reading!

Enjoying the peaceful Irish countryside – reading as usual

I have just returned home after a wonderful two-week holiday in Ireland. I took full advantage of the quiet countryside to catch up on some reading. In this photo I was engrossed in ‘Steel City Confidential’ , a new thriller by Anne Hagan. The Carlingford Mountains are behind me and The Irish Sea in front. I could have heard a pin drop in the garden of the cottage, so it was the ideal location to read.

The Irish Sea

Whilst there I also read ‘A Shot at Love’ by T.B. Markinson and ‘After Mrs Hamilton’ by Clare Ashton. I can certainly recommend a trip to the emerald isle for those seeking a space to relax. I was also able to get some writing done and squirrel away some ideas for future stories. Of course there are plenty of things to do for those days when you want to get out and about. I visited The Giant’s Causeway, Portrush, Dublin, Dundalk and had many lovely meals out at some truly fantastic restaurants. All in all a truly memorable trip.

Review of ‘A Shot at Love’ by T.B. Markinson

‘A Shot at Love’ is what happens when an American political speech-writer finds herself unceremoniously dumped from her high-stress, high-stakes job and realises her life needs to change. Josie Adams has had it with the backstabbing and slimy world of politics. And Upper Chewford is a million miles away from that. Spotting a beautiful woman in the quaint Cotswolds village takes her breath away – but is she ready to change everything for love? Harry runs the local newspaper, after escaping the rat-race in London. She’s been unlucky in love and can’t believe someone as gorgeous and accomplished as Josie would ever love her. Seeing how they navigated through their insecurities kept me reading, desperate to know how it would all pan out. The other characters around them made it a well-rounded story. I found Josie’s mum, Eugenie infuriating at times – but her uncle, Clive, was endearing and really rather sweet. The book is romantic, sexy and funny. It is the perfect first book in the series, which will soon be followed by stories by Clare Lydon and Harper Bliss. It is such a feel-good story. It made me happy and I love T.B. Markinson for taking me to such a wonderful place and letting me be a part of it. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Girl Love Happens’ Prequel by T.B. Markinson

Girl love

This prequel to the ‘Girl Love Happens’ series is a wonderful introduction to how Tegan and Gemma met and to their college friends. Gemma isn’t out and is reluctant to open up to her friends and especially to Tegan. I enjoyed seeing how Tegan gradually begins to see what is in front of her. The reader knows the score before she does and that makes it all the more satisfying. There are some laugh out loud moments and some poignant moments too. It’s a great teaser for what happens next in the series and it answered a lot of questions for me. I’d recommend it to anyone who has read the series and to those who are about to. I want more of Tegan and Gemma!

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

Review of ‘Girl Love Happens’ by T.B. Markinson

TB.jpg

I really enjoyed the story of Tegan and Gemma, college roommates in the early 1990s, whose friendship becomes so much more in a very sexy and touching way. TB Markinson has managed to convey just how different things were for young lesbians then. Tegan worried about what people would think and especially her mother who was not the most enlightened of parents. Gemma was sweet and loving and I felt for her as she waited patiently for Tegan to decide what she really wanted. ‘Girl Love Happens’ is about intense love, sexual awakening and finding a way forward in a world that doesn’t seem quite ready.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review

Amazon UK

Amazon US