Monday, 27 February 2012

A Kiss Before Dawn by Laurie Salzler

Chris Martel is a loner. She is more comfortable with her horses and dogs than she is with people. She has one friend, an eighty one year old widow, Frances Cook. When Chris requires a woman’s company, she heads out to the lesbian bar in Rochester. Chris has never had a real relationship. She has too many issues from her past and has a problem trusting people. For Chris to be able to love, she has to learn to trust, which isn’t an easy thing for her to do.

Newly qualified vet, Mary Jo Cavanaugh DVM, meets Chris when she goes with her boss, Doc Hall, to Chris’s farm. She doesn’t make a good first impression when she upsets one of Chris’s precious horses, nearly killing herself in the process.

Once both women get over their initial meeting, they find they have a lot in common. Including a growing mutual attraction for each other.

Gradually Chris begins to let go of her inhibitions and Mary Jo and Chris manage to move their relationship on to the next level. Unfortunately, someone from Chris’s past makes an unwelcome appearance, which could well end the budding relationship between Chris and Mary Jo forever.

Will Chris and Mary Jo’s love survive this intrusion, allowing them to share a kiss before dawn?

This is a lovely well written debut novel, which goes far beyond a lesbian romance. During the course of each year, if I’m lucky, a debut book will be written that exceeds all my expectations. This book is one of those.

It is obvious from the very beginning that Laurie Salzler has a talent for writing, is an animal lover and researches her subjects well. If you love animals you will adore this book, as the animals play a large part in progressing this story along.

Even if you are not a particular animal lover, I feel you would like this book. Both main characters are extremely loveable and there is a good story-line. It’s also hot in parts too as an added bonus. I would defy anyone not to tear up when they read the story of Chris’s earlier life. The life she had with her family before her arrival in Bristol. The life Chris led is a big part of the person she is today.

Mary Jo’s work as a vet also plays a big part in the book. It’s was also very interesting to read of her life as a vet and the day to day work she does, the problems she faces and how she deals with them.

All the characters are well formed and each interacts well with the others to enhance the story. The scenic descriptions are fabulous. From the descriptive writing I could ‘smell’ the stables, and the outdoors. A true sign I was totally lost in the story. This book is a page turner that kept me up way beyond my usual bedtime. A book that I will definitely re-read.

It would be nice to see more of Chris and Mary Jo, even if they are part of another book and not main characters.

I’m not sure how Laurie Salzler is going to top this book with her next one. But it will be on my ‘to buy’ list as a must read.

Friday, 17 February 2012

A Guardian's Touch by Stein Willard

In Transylvania in 32 B.C, Tahlia Oliveira was turned into a vampire. Tahlia is destined to become the Vampire Queen, one of the most feared and dangerous royal vampires to ever exist. Prior to her re-birth as a vampire, Tahlia had fallen deeply in love with Aurora, the daughter of the head of Caesar’s bodyguards. It broke both Tahlia’s and Aurora’s hearts when Tahlia had to leave Rome to go to Transylvania. It was unavoidable though, her mother wanted the best for Tahlia and she needed the money that she would receive for handing over Tahlia to Lecrac, supposedly to further her education.

Tahlia and Aurora had formed an unbreakable bond between them that would last throughout the centuries that followed. As each century passed by, Tahlia’s only reason for her existence in the vampire world was for her lover to be re-born, reincarnated.

Tahlia loves her mortal partner from each re-birth until her mortal death. The cycle is endless. The times in between her lovers reincarnation are torture for Tahlia.

Then the day comes when her lovers re-birth clashes with an enemy set on destroying the vampire hierarchy, an enemy of old, an enemy known to Tahlia. The threat will not be against Tahlia directly. Indirectly though, the threat will jeopardize Tahlia’s un-dead existence, therefore upsetting the Royal Clan Vampires forever. Will Tahlia be able to outwit and destroy the enemy?

This is the first book in a new vampire series, it is also Stein Willard’s debut book. The book is wonderfully well written, the story is tense and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough at first. I had to stop myself, to slow down and savor the story. It is much too good to rush through.

The characters are well formed, each plays a crucial part into the progression of the story. The settings are described so that they leave nothing to the imagination. I was there, living this story alongside of the vampires and mortals. The sights, sounds and smells all came alive. I was totally in tune with this story, nothing else around me mattered except for finishing this book.

As well as learning all about the vampire clan over the centuries, we learn of the emotions of a love that transcends all time and lasts through the centuries to the present day.

The heat of Tahlia’s and her mortal lover’s love just belts off the page throughout the book, no matter what century we are reading about. To say the romance is hot, would be an understatement, it’s sizzling.

Stein has seamlessly woven the story of the past and the present into a gripping book that I simply could not put down.

I’m really looking forward to seeing which direction the next book in the series will take. I’ve read many vampire books, this is one of the best I’ve read in a long while. I hope Stein is not going to keep us waiting for the next book in this series.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Pennance by Clare Ashton

After the death of her partner, Jake, in a tragic car accident, Lucy’s life falls apart. Lucy is haunted by Jake’s death. She withdraws from the world, shutting herself up in the cottage they shared and becomes a virtual recluse. Just emerging when it’s essential. Lucy is nursing her fears and fuelling her guilt that she could have and should have been able to save Jake from their burning car. More to the point is Lucy’s guilt that she didn’t love Jake enough to save him.

When Karen and her two children moved in to the empty property next door, that belonged to Karen’s parents, Lucy was none too pleased. The last thing Lucy wanted or needed was someone invading her privacy. But once Lucy meets Karen and her children, she finds herself coming out of her self imposed isolation and actually beginning to live a little.

Lucy finds herself drawn to Karen and she love’s Karen’s three year old son, George. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the same rapport with Karen’s daughter, Sophia. But no matter, they tolerate each other. In time both Lucy and Karen feel a mutual attraction to one another, will either woman act upon it?

As time passes Lucy becomes more and more convinced that someone is trying to kill her, she becomes paranoid that someone is out to make her pay for her being alive and Jake dying. Little things keep happening around her. But, is the threat real or imagined? What will it take to unravel the mystery? Will this cost Lucy and Karen their friendship?

This is a wonderfully well written debut mystery romance. Right from the beginning, the story is gripping and a page turner right through to the end. A book that once started, I did not want to put down.

The way Clare Ashton has told this story is breath taking. Lucy’s descent into paranoia and near madness from her guilt at not being able to save her partner, is written with such clarity that the emotions are coming in waves off of the pages.

It is nice to see the change in Lucy as she begins to accept Karen’s friendship. But like every story, the paths of love and friendship never run smoothly and there are many obstacles put in their way.

Karen has her own secrets she is hiding too. Which all adds fuel to the fast heating story. The story sizzles off the pages and made me want to finish it quickly.

The mystery stayed a mystery throughout. I simply could not guess what was happening and who was doing what. Which is a big bonus for me. I love a good mystery. All I will tell you here is that the revelation shocked me. Stunned me. Unbelievable, brilliantly thought out.

The characters are so well formed and easy to get to know, that I lost myself amongst them. I was there with them. The setting of this book is Cornwall. My home county. I can tell you, the scenic views are as beautiful as Clare has described them.

The end of this book came all too soon, even though I was desperate to find out who, what and why. This is a book I will re-read even though I know the outcome. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a comfort read, no pressure, just to enjoy the story.

I’m looking forward to any lesfic book Clare may write in the future. I hope it will be sooner rather than later.

Come and Go by Lee Harlem Robinson

Lee Harlem Robinson had all the women she wanted, when she wanted them. That is, until she moved to Hong Kong for her job. It seems that eligible lesbians are few and far between in Hong Kong.

When Lee meets upmarket banker Stella Morales, a few months later, she falls head over hells in love with her. Unfortunately, the same doesn’t seem to be said for Stella. She betrays Lee and dumps her for a new young intern, CJ.

Lee’s life spins out of control. She starts hanging out with her single gay male friends and begins drinking far too much and her job begins to suffer.

Then Lee meets up with lawyer/photographer, Nikki. Nikki could be just what Lee needs to be able forget Stella and move on. But will she be able to? Although Lee likes Nikki well enough, it seems it’s not enough, she can’t let go of Stella. What will happen with Lee and Nikki?

With things going from bad to worse in her job, Lee’s boss and ex lover, Lucy, decides to fly out and pay a visit, in the hope of getting the company back on track. Will Lee succumb to Lucy’s charms again?

Lee is confused, her life isn’t her own anymore. She ends up sleeping with Stella again while she is with Nikki. Then there is Lucy added into the mix. How much will Nikki put up with? Will Lee ever manage to sort her life out?

This is Lee Harlem Robinson’s debut book. It is a delightful, delicious, well written lesbian drama/romance/chick lit. The book is set in Hong Kong, which makes a wonderful setting for a book.

The book centers around Lee and the lives of her mainly gay male friends. The characters are all well formed and easy to get to know, with nice interaction between them all. This is a story of love, loss and finding love again. With an added touch of humor thrown in for good measure.

As with most romance books, the path of true love never runs smoothly or with out hitches. This is not a typical ‘girl meets girl, girl loses girl, girl gets girl back’ romance however. It is refreshingly different. But we still get the desired effect that most of us look for in a romance, that happy ever after ending.

I look forward to reading more from this promising new author soon.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Heart Stopper by R.J Samuel

Dr Priya Joseph is a coder. She works at a dedicated up and coming pacemaker clinic in Galway, just off the west coast of Ireland. Priya is of Indian descent, an Irish Indian.

Priya hasn’t had a very easy life. Her parents were quite pushy and they never really accepted the fact that Priya is a lesbian either.

Priya’s life had spiralled out of control a couple of years earlier. She was just beginning to get her life back to some semblance of order, when she meets a woman on a night out. Unfortunately for Priya, she’d had so much to drink, she couldn’t remember much about it.

When Priya woke up in a strange apartment the following morning, she found her boss, Dr Daniel Fairing, an American cardiologist dead. She had no recollection of how she got there, panicked and ran.

Daniel’s family don’t believe that he died of a heart attack. His mother Catherine and sister Reyna, enlist Priya’s help to investigate into his death.

Priya slowly begins to uncover secrets appertaining to the new wireless pacemaker technology that Daniel and his partners had developed. Priya also uncovers facts that proves she had unwittingly been involved with the earlier research, that could have far reaching consequences for not only herself, but many other people. Along the way, Priya uncovers secrets and lies about her past, secrets that could change Priya’s outlook on life now. Priya has to uncover and unravel the mystery from her past research to find the answers she is looking for. But Priya is being pursued by an unknown enemy. Will she be able to solve the mystery before she becomes another victim? Or will her pursuers catch up with her and force her into helping them?

Meanwhile Priya and Reyna are feeling a mutual attraction between them. Priya has her past to overcome though. Will she be able to put it behind her? More to the point, what will Priya feel when she learns of even more secrets from her past?

Reyna is also hiding a secret. She has a past that she has to resolve before she can move on. But will Reyna be able to settle her past to be able to move on? When the truth comes out, will Priya even want to be with her?

This is R. J Samuel’s debut book. It is different from any of the other medical themed books I’ve ever read. It is well written, fast paced, intriguing, mysterious, exciting, thrilling, dramatic and a real page turner.

R. J has written in great detail of the workings and technology of a pacemaker, all seamless integrated into the story. She has obviously carried out extensive research with all the technical details in this book. I’m afraid some of this went over my head, but I could get the gist of it all. So, I did learn a few things along the way too.

This book is far more than a medical drama, thriller, murder mystery or a romance. It is a unique combination of all these things. R.J writes about race, sexual orientation and also about being an outsider in a new country. The characters are all written so that the reader can feel a part of the group.

I loved the book, settings, characters and the story. Although this book is a book I couldn’t wait to finish, at the same time when I did, I felt as though I hadn’t had enough.

I am looking forward to R.J Samuel’s next book very much.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Awake Unto Me by Kathleen Knowles

Kerry O’Shea’s mother died when she was born. Kerry grew up on the Barbary Coast of San Francisco, living her young life among prostitutes at the Grey Dog saloon. Kerry’s father, Jack does his best to do right by her, but he’s a con man and a gambler and doesn’t set the best example for a young girl.

After Jack dies, Kerry goes to live with Dr Addison Grant, an acquaintance of her father’s, and his prim and proper wife, Laura. Kerry is determined to make a better life for herself. She begins work at the Palace Hotel as a dishwasher. After a great battle of wits, she works her way up to become a cook.

Beth Hammond’s life hasn’t been easy. She grew up with unsupportive parents, her father was a domineering man, and seemed to think Beth should work all hours in his store. All Beth can think about is escaping and studying nursing. Which eventually she is able to do.

Kerry and Beth first meet at the home of Addison and Laura. For Kerry, it is love at first sight. But Kerry has known for years she prefers women. What will Kerry do? Will Kerry trust that Beth won’t run away if she tells her how she feels? Beth, although she has strong feelings for Kerry, has no idea why or what it means. Beth is also hiding a dark secret, which if she divulges, could lose her Kerry’s friendship forever. What will Beth do? Will Beth trust Kerry?

This is a wonderfully well written debut book. It doesn’t read like a debut book. Now and then I read a debut book and it is so good, I find it hard to believe the author hasn’t published before. This is one of those books.

The book is set in San Francisco and the story begins in 1880. It is quite obvious that Kathleen Knowles has done extensive research into the history of turn of the century San Francisco, for this book. It is far more than just a simple lesbian romance. The history comes alive.

As I began to read this story, I felt as though I had been transported back in time. The descriptive settings were so vivid, I could almost smell the aroma of the Bay area.

For anyone who has visited San Francisco, they will know some of these places still exist and some things haven’t changed at all. It is very easy to get lost into the story and to become a part of it.

The two main characters, Kerry and Beth, are well formed and loveable and there is a strong cast of supporting characters to progress the story along it’s way.

This is a story of courage, first love, romance and how women could make a life outside of marriage, which was the norm for women of those times.

The story of these two courageous women will remain with me for a long time. This is definitely a re-read for me. I look forward to more from this promising new author soon.

Lunatic Fringe by Allison Moon

Lexie Clarion is a regular eighteen year old girl. Just like many other girls of her age, she is feeling nervous as she gets ready to go off to college. Lexie has no way of knowing that her life is about to change beyond anything she ever dreamed of.

When Lexie arrives at college, she is determined to make the most of everything and enjoy her life and the freedom of being away from home. She tries to put to the back of her mind the rise in attacks from local werewolves. She isn’t going to let this spoil her new life style.

When Lexie meets up with a group of feminist young women, calling themselves the Pack, she becomes caught up in their world. She is fascinated by the way they are so intimate together. This is really what Lexie secretly desires, to be with another girl.

Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that these girls aren’t all they seem at face value. What will Lexie do when she discovers their shocking secret?

After a tree destroys Lexie’s dorm room, fortunately for her she was out at the time, Lexie meets Archer, one of the clean up crew. Lexie and Archer hit it off and Lexie agrees to go off with Archer after the tree is removed. They go to a meeting of the Full Moon Tribe. This will be the turning point in Lexie’s life. Life as she knows it will be gone forever.

The Pack have other plans for Lexie and they don’t include Archer. So, the Pack and Archer have to fight it out to see who Lexie will allow into her life, but it can’t be Archer and the Pack. Lexie and Archer love one another, but who will Lexie choose?

As the battle rages, new enemies, old hatreds and Lexie’s past all emerge, all set to change Lexie’s life forever.

This book begins with sweet and innocent Lexie going off to college. It’s here that Lexie finds out the truth about her life and family. It’s here that Lexie has her first taste of love. Also where Lexie must come to terms with the fact that she isn’t like other young girls.

There is so much in this book, it is much more than just another lesbian werewolf romance. It tells of the innocence of youth and the pain and anguish of falling in love, of discovering things no young girl should ever have to know about herself. The pain, anguish, love and triumphs radiate off the page.

Although this book started off a little bit on the slow side, it picked up fairly quickly to become a page turner that I couldn’t put down.

I loved the way the characters came together and spoke to me. Each of the characters played their own parts in furthering the story along. Even though I disliked some of them, as we are meant to do, they were well written and essential. The main characters are werewolves, but unlike some books of this nature, it is easy to like them and get close to them.

The settings are so well described, I lost myself in them. I could smell the woods. This was a well written book with a great storyline. It will be very interesting to see where this story goes next.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. I hope we don’t have to wait too long.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Dust by Ann McMan

Evan Reed is in the dust busting business. She is paid by political campaigns to dish the dirt on candidates running for election.

Evan is a lesbian, she has a fourteen year old daughter, Stevie. A result of an experimental encounter with Stevie’s father, Dan. A man still in both their lives.

Evan is hired to investigate Andy Townsend, the former governor of Delaware, who could well become the next President of the USA. As Evan gets deeper into her investigation, she uncovers far more than she bargained for, including a murder.

When Evan meets Andy Townsend’s reclusive wife, Julia Donne, She discovers Julia is also hiding her own pile of dust.

Things become even more complicated when Evan and Julia discover they have a mutual attraction for each other. Evan tries to fight it off, after all, Julia is straight, isn’t she? Evan’s common sense is screaming no, don’t get involved. But her heart is telling her something different. Will Evan take notice of her head or her heart?

A truly wonderful, well written, second book. Full of suspense, mystery, intrigue and of course romance, of which the true path never runs smoothly. There are so many ups and downs and twists and turns in this book, it was hard to say if I was on a roller coaster or a carousel, or both at the same time.

I simply couldn’t put this book down, the mystery and intrigue kept me guessing right through. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and at the end, I wanted more. I would love to see what happens to Evan and Julia next.

I enjoyed the touch of humor throughout, although the story itself was seriously written. It was just right to lighten things up a bit.

The story is set in both the USA and travels across the Atlantic to the UK and back again. The settings are so descriptive, I felt a part of the story. It was like looking in from the side lines.

I loved all the characters, each played their parts to perfection, even the ones you love to dislike.

I am greatly looking forward to more soon from Ann McMan. A refreshing new voice in lesbian fiction.

Third by Q Kelly

Historian Helen Franklin’s area of expertise is the Tudor times. Imagine her surprise when she receives a highly improbable inheritance from her father, scientist Josiah Franklin. Josiah gives her a woman. Not just any woman though. This woman is none other than Anne Boleyn, King Henry V111’s beheaded Queen. How can this be? Anne has traveled through time, that’s how. Helen can’t believe her eyes.

Yalia is Helen’s wife. Helen and Yalia are on the verge of separating. Yalia has not been herself since a traumatic incident in her life occurred three years earlier. Is this really the end of their marriage? They do still love one another, but sadly, this doesn’t seem enough.

Anne Boleyn is being kept a prisoner by Josiah Franklin. He maintains this is for her own good. Anne knows Josiah is dying and she is not looking forward to what will happen to her afterwards. How will she get on with Helen?

When Helen, Yalia and Anne all meet, they are all aware of a strange bond between them. Gradually all three women become aware that they are in love with each other. But all three women are nursing their own vulnerabilities. Will they be able to overcome them?

Will all three women take a chance and live their lives together? What will happen with Anne? After all she has come from the past. Will she be able to remain in the present? Or will she suddenly return to the past?

Once again, Q Kelly has surpassed herself with her ‘going where other authors fear to tread’ writing.

I wasn’t sure whether to buy this book or not when I read the synopsis. I liked the time travel idea, but I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to read about a three way relationship. But, as I’ve enjoyed Q Kelly’s other books, I decided to buy it and take a chance. I’m glad I did. Third is a well written, page turning adventure. Not at all what I expected. If the truth be known, I thought the book would be sleazy. But it’s not. Far from it. The way these three women genuinely care for one another comes through loud and clear.

Helen and Yalia’s situation is common. A failing marriage for one reason or another. It’s how they manage to stay together that’s unusual.

This really is a book on it’s own, like no other I’ve read. Unique in fact.

The story covers a lot of ground. Time travel, history, the past, the present, polyamory and romance. All seamlessly interwoven to ensure the story runs smoothly on. Once you start this book, you won’t want to put it down. The book ended all too soon for me. A sure sign I enjoyed it. I look forward to Q’s next book eagerly.

All In The Family by Q Kelly

Allison knew from an early age she was a lesbian. She had been raped by her step father when she was only twelve years old. She gave birth to her son Allen when she was thirteen, now at sixteen she is working in The Addict coffee place to help her mother make ends meet. Susan, Allison’s mother, has claimed Allen for her own son. Allison is not happy about this, but doesn’t have any choice.

Susan has a new man in her life, lawyer Barry Cannizarro. Barry has a seventeen year old daughter Sam. Sam is deaf and she attends military school away from home. Allison has seen photo’s of Sam and likes what she has seen, more than likes in fact. Allison is set on her and Sam becoming friends and may be more in time and begins to learn sign language in preparation for Sam’s return home. She teaches Allen as well.

Will Allison and Sam get on as well together as Allison hopes?

When Sam arrives home from school, she finds that she has a ready made family waiting for her. A family that Sam doesn’t feel a part of. She likes Allison well enough though and gradually comes around to liking Allen as well. Who wouldn’t like the little bundle of mischief?

Sam finds herself more than liking Allison. But Allison has been pushed by her mother into dating boys, so Sam thinks she doesn’t have a chance. Will both Allison and Sam confide their feeling for one another? Or will each girl go on thinking the other is straight?

As always with Q Kelly’s books, she covers topics that most authors would avoid. I have to give Q Kelly credit for being fearless in her writing. This book is no exception with the varied topics she covers.

This book centers around Sam a young deaf lesbian. It tells of her life within a family where she feels unwanted. Sam’s father re-marries and Sam doesn’t get along with her manipulative step mother. When Sam and Allison get to know each other well, Sam finds it hard to stand back and watch Susan push Allison around.

The story covers over five years of Sam and Allison’s lives. It tells of the emotional turmoil suffered by both Allison and Sam due to interference in their lives and how life almost spirals out of control for both of them.

The story is well written and I loved the characters.

It would have been nice to have had at least a glimpse into Sam’s life at military school. She spent a lot of time there in between her home visits.

I also would have liked to see a little more on how Allison coped with her drinking problem.

All in all though, this was a good read.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Paradise by Kate Sweeney

Genevieve Gastineau is a reporter in a tiny town in Wyoming after being fired by the New York Times. Genevieve needs desperately to get her career back on track, so she needs a really good story. After hearing about a reclusive woman living miles away from civilization way up in the mountains, Genevieve feels the pull of the break through story she has been waiting for. All she has to do is to convince her boss to let her go and investigate it.

Graham Sheridan is the woman living the lonely life in a cabin way up in the mountains. She is there alone for a variety of reasons.

Genevieve gets her own way and eventually meets up with Graham. An accident and a heavy snowstorm strand Genevieve up the mountain in Graham’s cabin for several months.The longer Genevieve spends with Graham, the more she feels unable to carry out her obligations to write the story. Genevieve cannot betray Graham, she has fallen in love with her and her feelings are reciprocated. Together they find themselves becoming as one, having strange dreams and fighting off an unknown evil. Could all of this be connected as to why Genevieve was fired and why she felt the need to write Graham’s story?

Once again Kate has written a winner. I was totally into this story from the first page. As always with Kate’s writing, I found myself laughing at some of the dialogue. The two characters, Genevieve and Graham are so in tune with each other, they are a true pleasure to know. The story is a delight to read. A really nice romance with a little touch of something extra. Excellent work Kate, as always.

Open Water by Pol Robinson

After a bad car accident, thirty two year old Cass Flynn manages to get herself fit enough again to be selected for the double scull rowing team to compete in the Olympics in China. She knows time is running out for her and this will be her only chance to compete.

On her arrival in China, she is met by twenty eight year old rower, Laura Kelly. However Laura doesn’t seem to like Cass and makes her feel very awkward at the lack of a welcome. But as time goes on the two women begin to forge a friendship. Unknown to Cass, Laura is suffering the pain of her ex girlfriend’s sister’s suicide. For which her ex holds her responsible. When Laura’s ex shows up unexpectedly, things begin to go rapidly downhill. The tentative friendship between Cass and Laura is also threatened.

Meanwhile, both Laura and Cass have to continue training for their respective events. Even that doesn’t go smoothly when unexplained things begin to happen. Will Laura and Cass ever get to be friends, let alone more than friends? Which is what they were both aiming for.

A very good debut novel. Although I’m clueless where rowing is concerned, I really enjoyed the excitement of the racing events. The story moves along at a fast pace and I was unable to put the book down. I look forward to more from this author, hopefully very soon.

Crystal's Heart by B.L Miller and Verda Foster

Crystal Sheridan is a stripper. She ran away from an abusive home when she was fifteen, ten years before. She lived alone in a seedy run down apartment, that is until she accidentally caused a fire and it burned down one night. After spending the rest of the night in her car, she goes apartment hunting. For the money she can afford, she is offered a chance of sharing an apartment with lesbian author, Laura Taylor. It’s actually Laura’s friend Peter, that rents the place to Crystal in Laura’s absence.

When Laura returns to her home and meets Crystal, she is horrified. The two roomies are as different as night and day. Crystal drinks, smokes and does drugs, to say nothing of her stripping job and is an untidy slob. Laura on the other hand, hardly drinks, abhors drugs and is also an obsessive neat freak. How are the two women going to exist living together?

Time elapses and both women find themselves becoming more tolerant towards each other. Laura sees a vulnerability in Crystal that changes her outlook of the woman all together. She sets out to help Crystal overcome her fears. In helping Crystal, it also helps Laura overcome some of her own fears. It’s not long before Laura begins to feel more for Crystal than just friendship. But Crystal is straight, isn’t she? Also as the two women have nothing in common, will they even be able to become friends?

I first read this book online a few years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the book then. Both BL Miller and Verda Foster have covered some extremely sensitive topics brilliantly. Child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution, and infidelity are just some of them . But the book is written with such understanding that what could be a big turn off for a reader, actually makes a reader understand more about the subjects, without getting too heavy. I only wish BL Miller and Verda Foster would write more books.

Conquest by Ronica Black

Jude Jaeger has a room in the Conquest Club she uses for pleasuring women. She is a lesbian and is not interested in having a relationship. She wants women for one thing only, to give them the pleasure and passion they can’t get elsewhere and with no strings attached. This works out fine for Jude until she meets Mary Brunelle one evening.

Mary isn’t like all the other women Jude pleasures and Jude finds herself reacting to Mary in ways she didn’t think was possible. Mary is shy and a loner. She had gone to Conquest after being set up by some work acquaintances. But Mary finds herself in Jude’s arms having the hottest sex of her life. Mary is desperate to meet up with Jude again and leaves numerous messages at the club which all go unanswered. One evening when Mary is in her language class, she sees Jude again. She is there in her official capacity of the Professor overseeing Mary’s class. Mary is now more determined than ever to pursue Jude again, no matter what the consequences.

Meanwhile, Jude is battling with her own feelings towards Mary. She can’t let go of her past though. She can’t become involved with Mary just to suffer more pain and hurt. Will the two women be able to get beyond sex to have a relationship? Will they even meet up for sex anymore or will Jude be strong enough to say no?

This book is so hot, it’s smoking and smouldering throughout. The book is fairly short, but very sweet and has a really nice story to it. So, if you like hot with a story and loveable characters, take this to the beach. Make sure you take a tent though!

Confined Spaces by Renee MacKenzie

Andie Waters day job is testing waste water samples for Royal Environmental a corporate company. In the evenings she works as a bar tender at The Cave, a popular meeting place for straight people. Andie has the two jobs to pay off her debts. She is quite happy being single, well, there is her faithful old dog, Xena as well. All this changes when the most gorgeous lesbian she’s ever seen walks into The Cave one night and Andie takes her home. What Andie doesn’t realize is that the woman she’s just spent a steamy weekend with, Kara Travis, is in town to shake up the company Andie works for. This also cuts both ways, Kara has no idea she might be having to fire Andie from her job in the very near future. Imagine the surprise for both women when they come face to face at Royal Environmental’s offices on Monday.

Kara can’t let her personal life interfere with her work. Especially when she discovers fraud within the company. If Kara has to shut down the Georgia division and Andie loses her job, it would seriously affect any relationship they may have. So, Kara has to put a stop to it before it goes any further. Both Kara and Andie find that easier said than done though. What will they do?

A nice believable story and it really doesn’t hurt that it’s romantic and hot in parts either. I got right into this book from the very first page and it held me until the last. This is Renee’s debut novel. I sincerely hope we have another book soon.