Review of ‘Her Royal Happiness’ by Lola Keeley

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.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘The Island Between Us’ by Wendy Hudson

‘The Island Between Us’ by Wendy Hudson is an atmospheric and wonderfully descriptive story set on a Hebridean Island off the coast of Scotland. Adventurer Georgia runs survivalist courses using the skills she has gained over many years travelling in the most remote areas of the world. When famous actress Kelsey signs up for one of her courses, Georgia initially has no idea who she is, or that they have a long-lost connection. The fierce Scottish weather leaves the group stranded and faced with using their newly acquired survival skills for real. How will they cope? And what will it mean for Georgia and Kelsey as they become reacquainted? 

Wendy Hudson has surpassed herself with this novel. The writing is excellent, with exquisite descriptions of the island and the dire situations the group face. She slowly ramps up the tension, making the adventure real and dangerous. The distinct personalities within the group add to the drama, and it is only by working together they can overcome the situation they are in. It’s about teamwork and camaraderie and realising what is important. The story is compelling, with characters I could believe in. Georgia was strong, and a born leader. She brought out the best in people – especially Kelsey. I loved seeing how they became a unit and encouraged the others to believe in themselves too. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Chemistry Lessons’ by Jae

Regan and Kylie have been friends forever. It seems everyone else can see they are perfect for each, but they claim they can’t see it. Chemistry teacher Regan decides an experiment is in order. If there is chemistry between them, then her little test should show it. However much they deny it, every little touch sends shivers up their spines. But are either of them willing to risk the friendship for more? 

‘Chemistry Lessons’ is sweet and has the most adorable characters. They were the perfect couple and were closer than most romantic partners, but just couldn’t see what was right in front of them. The mention of characters from Jae’s other books was fantastic. The connections are wonderful and make the reader feel as if they are in on a little secret. It makes them feel a part of this interconnected family of characters. The story was heartwarming and made me so happy.

If a writer can make their readers feel that way, especially in these unusual times, I am thankful.  I really appreciate that Jae does not feel the need to throw too many spanners in the works. Low angst is what I want and I can rely on her every time. Just perfect. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Sliced Ice’ by Lee Winter

I loved this collection of short stories by Lee Winter. I’m a huge fan of short stories and enjoyed how Ms Winter used these to fill in some details about her characters and their lives. They were engaging and extremely hot. My particular favourites were from her Brutal Truth collection. I loved being back with Elena and Maddie. I also enjoyed Number Five, which is based on her Hotel Queens novel. It was scorching and empowering. A wonderful collection.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Tracing Invisible Threads’ by C Fonseca

‘Tracing Invisible Threads’ by C Fonseca is the story of Eleanor, a well-known photographer who has returned home to Melbourne after many years abroad. As well as spending time with her family, she has a burning desire to solve a mystery left after the death of her beloved aunt, Helen. Helen died in a natural disaster in China and her returned belongings included a trunk, with very old papers and photographs. Alexa Bellamy, a researcher and librarian at the state library is given the task of finding out what the papers and photos are and why Helen had them. When the two women begin to work together to solve the puzzle, an attraction grows, but are either of them ready for a serious relationship? Is Eleanor ready to stay in Australia – and is Alexa going to let herself believe she can be happy?

I loved the mystery within this story. I adore it when a romance has another element – and a fascinating one at that. This story really kept my attention. I was as keen to find out about the people in the old photographs. And I was intrigued as to why Helen had them with her. The Melbourne setting was a big plus for me. I got to know more about its history, the people who lived there in the early days, and the outlying areas around the city. It’s a joy to read a book from places we don’t always get to read about. I loved the two main characters. They sparked off of each other and became something more when they were together. Alexa’s Grandmother, Grace was a brilliant character. So full of life. A great story. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Wrong Number, Right Woman’ by Jae

‘Wrong Number, Right Woman’ by Jae is one of those stories absolutely guaranteed to put a smile on your face. When Denny receives a text from a woman she doesn’t know asking for advice, she’s stumped. But also intrigued. As texts fly back and forth between the two women, they begin to get to know each other, in an anonymous and therefore stress-free manner. Eliza desperately needed an opinion on the right outfit to wear to yet another date organised through the latest dating app. She wants to find the one, the person who makes her feel the way they tell it in the movies. It’s never happened yet and she’s beginning to think it never will. Her messaging with Denny is a lot more interesting than any date she’s been on. But Eliza is straight, and surely the person of her dreams can’t be a woman. Or can it?

Denny and Eliza are two of the most adorable characters ever. They both have big hearts, are there for their friends and family, and deserve to be happy. I loved them both so much. And I wanted them to be happy. I had my fingers and toes crossed the whole time I was reading this book. It is a beautifully told romance about seeing the real person behind the fronts we all put up. It’s about falling for someone unexpectedly and realising that love comes in different guises. I adored it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘A Roll In The Hay’ by Lola Keeley

Tess and Susannah’s first meeting does not bode well for true love and happily ever after. If there’s one thing that Tess hates, it’s the upper class thinking they can lord it over the rest of us. Lady Muck owns most of the village and surrounding area – and has a contract dangling to tend to her growing equestrian stables. Tess’s new vet practice could do with that contract, but working for the lady of the manor might be a step too far for her. Even if she is hot. Will the women be able to get past their first impressions? There’s a lot more at stake than they initially think. 

I liked Susannah, even from the start. She was grumpy and entitled, but there was a softer and kinder side to her too. With Tess it was one step forward and one step back. But there was a spark there and neither could quite resist it. Tess was still nursing a broken heart due to disloyalty from her previous partner. She had a bit of a chip on her shoulder regarding class, but it was understandable. They made an intriguing pair. 

The setting was wonderful. When the setting is perfectly described and I can imagine myself there, that draws me into the story. That was certainly the case with A Roll in the Hay’. The intensely powerful feelings between the women kept me hooked. I could feel the joy and the passion. I loved it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Never Too Late For Heroes’ by A.L. Brooks

Superheroes, hot federal agents and an evil baddie mixed together to make a funny, exciting and empowering new novel from A.L. Brooks. ‘Never Too Late For Heroes’ is the story of Agent Geena Fox, an agent just waiting for retirement, and her involvement with a group of very special old ladies in a care home in Missouri. When Agent Fox is assigned a new young partner, she is surprised when Leigh Walker comes back from a routine missing persons case with an unexpected and welcome piece of information. Information that will lead her on a dangerous path back to some old friends and a foe that refuses to go away. 

The characters were engaging and full of surprises. Although Geena Fox had a tendency towards gruffness and irritability, she was actually a principled woman, with an important job and a big secret. I liked seeing the vulnerable side of her and the change in her behaviour when she was around one particular person. Her formidable reputation was well-deserved, but there was so much more to her. Her new partner, Leigh, was nervous and unsure at first, but she had steel and as her confidence grew, she really shone. The romantic element of this story was very sweet, especially with Agent Walker and the object of her affection. My favourite characters though were the Powers. Those older ladies were adorable and feisty and hilarious. The mix of personalities worked so well. When the adventure kicked into gear it really held my attention. 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 ‘The Long Shot’ by A.L. Brooks

Golf, family friction and the most adorable love story. That is ‘The Long Shot’ by A.L. Brooks. Morgan has yet to win a major – and as the daughter of a multiple major winner father the pressure is always there. She’s also been unlucky in love and comes across to the media and public as cold. In reality she’s anything but. When a tv company wants to make a documentary about the women’s game with her as the main focus, she’s not keen. Producer Adrienne is respected and a supportive mentor to those in her crew. She’s not about to shaft Morgan, but Morgan doesn’t know that. Their powerful attraction is  a no-no while they are working together on the documentary. But I’ve rarely rooted for a couple more than this pair. 

I loved Morgan. She was vulnerable due to past heartache and had a lot to deal with regarding family issues. But she was an absolute sweetheart. Adrienne was quite a bit older than her and worried about the age-gap. Morgan was drawn to her immediately and who could blame her? Their story was tender and loving and had me swooning. I especially liked that a more mature character got to shine. An excellent story. Highly recommended. 

I was given this ARC for review.