Review of ‘Pretending in Paradise’ by M Ullrich

I love it when an author makes all my dreams come true in a novel. M Ullrich made me laugh, she made me cry – and she had me swooning over and over again. ‘Pretending in Paradise’ is the story of travel blogger Emma Morgan, a woman who takes advantage of everything on offer on her work trips – and that includes romantic dalliances. But this time it has backfired on her and her boss insists she takes new P.R. Exec Caroline Beckett as an insurance against any further bad behaviour. The only problem is, Caroline comes across as repressed and so tightly wound that Emma is dreading sharing a trip with her. But as they get to know each other – due to the fact that they are visiting a couples resort and have to fake a relationship – it appears the might just find they like each other. 

I really loved Emma. She was fun, gorgeous and had a very caring and considerate side to her nature. She wasn’t at all what I expected. Caroline may come across as prickly and uptight but I just wanted to hug her. I could see why Emma was so drawn to her. The setting of a brand spanking new couples resort in Florida was wonderful. I want to go there! I enjoyed seeing it through Emma’s eyes – as a seasoned professional blogger. Caroline’s perspective was very different but let me see how a rookie traveller would experience it. The romantic element was sweet and taken slowly but that was exactly how it needed to be. And the sex – oh my! It was hot and inventive and very, very naughty. A wonderful story – and another M Ullrich novel to add to my list of favourites. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Advertisements

Review of ‘Alone’ by E.J. Noyes

‘Alone’ is an addictive and fascinating, romantic psychological story. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Celeste Thorne signs up to take part in a psychological experiment that will earn her half a million dollars –  if she can last four years alone. With no family and no real ties Celeste jumps at the chance. We are inside her head and hear all the imaginary voices from her difficult past, and because of that the reader bonds with her. When a stranger wanders onto the compound, an injury means Celeste has to decide if she is going to break the rules of her contract and help her. As the story is told in first person it was so easy to sympathise with Celeste’s struggles and worries. The woman who appears in her life, Olivia, is endearing and caring and great company. I could see how Celeste was so tempted. There is so much more to this story than meets the eye though. Celeste’s journey was profound and life-changing and I wanted her to find happiness at last. But could she ever trust anything that happened to her while part of the experiment? At times the story was disturbing. But there were heart-warming moments too and an overpowering intense love that was beautiful and sexy and affirming. I couldn’t put it down. Afterwards I felt the need to sit and process what I had just read – it was very special. Highly recommended.

I was given this Arc for review.

Review of ‘Write Your Own Script’ by A.L. Brooks

‘Write Your Own Script’ is absolutely perfect! It is romantic, sexy and endearing – and had me rooting for Tamsyn and Maggie all the way. Tamsyn is a famous actress who has spent her whole life in the closet, for fear of losing her career. When she has had just about enough and needs some time away, she retreats to the quiet of the Norfolk countryside. Maggie is a writer with a serious case of writer’s block. She hopes some time away will make her want to write again. Their meeting is one of those beautiful instances when you just know that soulmates have come together. It feels right. A.L. Brooks gets into the minds and souls of her characters and as a result she makes me love them. The emotional impact is intense and the sex is off the scale amazing. It is hot and heavy and utterly exquisite. But the main strength of this exceptionally well-written book is that she makes me care. I cared that Tamsyn was terrified about coming out. I cared that Maggie had to be true to herself. And I cared that their love would find a way. A truly uplifting story and highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Recipe for Love’ by Aurora Rey

Aurora Rey writes the yummiest stories – and in this case I mean the food as well as the romance. ‘Recipe for Love’ is the story of hard-working farmer Hannah Little and new chef in town Drew Davis. Set in the beautiful countryside of Upstate New York, with its fields of delicious produce, the setting is an integral part of the whole. I really want to go there now. Hannah can’t quite believe big city Head Chef will ever fit in. Drew arrives with the attitude that this will only ever be a stop-gap. But when they start becoming more to each other than friends, hard decisions may have to be made. I would find it hard to pick who was my favourite between Hannah and Drew. Hannah was kind and conscientious and had obviously found her niche in life. Drew thought she knew exactly what she wanted but meeting Hannah was not in the plan and seeing her deal with that made me love her all the more. The supporting characters were so well drawn and I especially liked Hannah’s sister, Clare. Through her eyes we saw so much of what was going on. It was a lovely romantic story, with just the right amount of will they-won’t they. It was also incredibly sexy. One particular element of the love-making was hot, hot, hot. But you’ll have to discover for yourself what that was! I adore Aurora Rey’s writing and will never get enough. She transports me to beautiful places, with beautiful women and I can guarantee I will have a happy, satisfied smile on my face by the last page. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Moonlight Avenue’ by Gerri Hill

‘Moonlight Avenue’ is an excellent mystery novel, sheer class. Gerri Hill’s writing is flawless, her story compelling and much more than a notch above others writing in this genre. Finn Knight runs her own one-woman detective agency but after many solitary years finds herself involved with two other women as they try to solve an increasingly puzzling case. Rylee Moore appears at her door looking for a job – but there is more to this young woman than Finn wants to admit. The dynamic between the pair was fascinating. Dee Woodard is a cop whose interest in Finn’s case forges an unlikely friendship. I really enjoyed the interpersonal relationships in this story. They were well observed and natural. The case they were working was full of twists and turns and had me desperate to find out more. I loved it and would be interested to find out what happens next for these characters if Ms Hill decides to make this a series. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review. 

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.

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 ‘Love’s Portrait’ by Anna Larner

‘Love’s Portrait’ is a perfect mixture of love, romance and belonging. Molly Goode is a fine art curator in Leicester, wishing to bring more diversity to the museum where she works. Georgina Wright is an important benefactor, albeit a reluctant one. She comes across as a bit of an Ice Queen but spending time with Molly begins to thaw her cool exterior. When Georgina needs help to research a painting in her collection, Molly is instructed by her boss to take on the task.

I liked Molly from the start. She was sweet, a bit ditsy and completely unaware of how wonderful she is. She worries about saying and doing the wrong thing and I found her completely adorable. Georgina was a woman in pain, dealing with grief and hurt, and I had high hopes that Molly would be the woman to see her through that. I felt compelled to follow their story. The mystery behind the painting drew me further into the story and I loved the historical aspect of it in regard to the research on the painting. Anna Larner’s writing has a gentle beauty to it, an engaging tone throughout.  Her characters feel real to me and she makes me want to know more about them. This is the second book I have read by this author and I must admit she has become a favourite of mine. A lovely story.

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

Review of ‘At Last’ by J.M. Dragon

I enjoyed this sweet and inspiring story of a town coming together to try to save the company that keeps them all afloat. Love stories abound in ‘At Last’ and I was especially enamoured by one in particular. Perfume company owner Gene has yet to find the love of her life – but if she opened her eyes she would see love was there in front of her all along. Outsider Quinn comes to town to try and sort out supply problems for her employers – but ends up finding out more about herself. I think the town of Grady had quite an impact on those choosing to spend time there. Powerful circumstances made people reassess their lives. Love, family, romance and loyalty were the themes that drew me into this story.  I felt myself rooting for the characters – be it in their love lives or in business. An enjoyable read.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Running From Forever’ by K Aten

Wow! The heat was positively sizzling off the page. ‘Running From Forever’ has to be one of the hottest, most intensely erotic books I have ever read. The story of commitment-phobic singer Sarah and mysterious club-owner Keller is also a brilliant tale of love, longing and emotional fervour. It is an urban fantasy that veers very much into other genres – but it would be giving away too much to say which. I was completely bowled over by the slowly, skilfully built up story and it just got better and better as it went on. The relationship between Sarah and Keller was complicated – and the issue causing them problems was one that Sarah had to take her time coming to terms with. Her sister Annie was her rock and the interaction between the sisters was powerful and loving. Sarah’s bond with her was forged through tragedy and it was a major factor in every decision she had to make. But it was the chemistry between the two main characters that really gripped me. The sex was off-the-scale and one particular scene was so wonderfully envisaged that a cold shower will be in order after reading it. This is the first book I have read by K Aten, but it certainly will not be the last. I love her style and her skill at getting inside the minds of her characters. I can highly recommend ‘Running From Forever’.

I was given this ARC for review.