Friday 30 August 2013

Denial by Jackie Kennedy

Dr Celeste Cameron is used to working in a war zone. Danger is no stranger to her. On Celeste’s return to America from Somalia after a particularly harrowing experience, Celeste meets Amy, her twin brother Josh’s fiancée. The two women don’t exactly hit it off right away.

When Celeste and Amy begin to spend time together, it’s apparent there is an attraction between them.The feelings Amy evokes in Celeste are far more dangerous to her well being than working in the war zone. Amy is beginning to feel the same, but is in complete denial. No matter how she feels, it may not be enough for her to cancel her wedding to Josh. So, what will the two women do?

This well written book is an absolute blockbuster. There is a little bit of everything in it. Humor, a touch of  the supernatural, heartbreak, angst, yes, a lot of angst, but at the same time as it’s heart aching, it’s heart warming and gives out hope. It is also hot and sexy, steaming hot in fact. It’s painful to read at times, but as soon as I thought, please, no more pain, I was actually laughing out loud. So, there is an excellent balance between the pain and the laughter.

The whole book is an intense and powerfully written masterpiece. Jackie Kennedy writes about extremely sensitive issues with sensitivity and understanding for the persons suffering .

This book is a real jewel in the crown of the lesbian fiction world, a true gem. 

The two characters, Celeste and Amy are both multidimensional and are so obviously made for each other. They are true soul mates in every sense. Unfortunately, their lives are far from easy. There is a wonderful wealth of minor characters, some playing larger parts than others, but equally as engaging as Amy and Celeste and absolutely essential to the progression of the story. All of these characters are so outstanding, that I’m still thinking about them over a week after finishing the book.

Although this is a long book, I wanted more. I definitely want to know more about Celeste and Amy and their lives.

I don’t say this often, but every now and then I read a book from a new author and I just know she will be a big hit. Jackie Kennedy is now on my to buy list for the future. This book is in my to be read again folder. Hopefully, very soon. 


Monday 26 August 2013

Sin No More by Syd Parker

A Gray Foxx Thriller.  Book Two

Detective Rebecca Foxx is enjoying some rest and relaxation time with her FBI partner, Special Agent Jordan Gray. When Jordan’s phone rings, it’s the signal for the end of their loving and yet another heinous crime for the two women and their respective work partners to solve.

Jordan has in fact received a frenzied phone call from her mother’s priest, Father Murphy. The murder of a prominent Senator has been committed in Father Murphy’s church. The hunt is on for a particularly sadistic killer. It is going to take all their staying power, ingenuity and resources to find the murderer.

Will Rebecca and Jordan find the crazed killer before he or she strikes again? The answer is no and the body count escalates.

Unfortunately, common sense flies out of the window when Rebecca decides the murderer is her arch enemy, Chicago’s much feared mob boss. Jordan isn’t convinced she’s right. Will common sense prevail so that Rebecca can put aside her feelings and logically sift through the evidence?

This is the second book in a great murder, mystery, intrigue and thriller series, with a slow burning, intense and delicious romance thrown in just for good measure. The series was off to a flying start in The Killing Ground. There are many of the same characters in Sin No More that we met in The Killing Ground. Both books can be read as standalones. But I would advise reading The Killing Ground first. Not only would you be missing a rattling good story, but you would miss the terrific character introductions if you skip the first book.

Sin No More is a page turner from the start. I simply had to finish it in one sitting. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Which didn’t matter that I was doing the story a gross injustice, as I knew I’d be re-reading it to write this review. The second read was just as great as the first, no pressure either to find out whodunit.

The story is fast paced and takes the reader through sacrificial rites, has biblical overtones and involves the mob. It’s an exciting and harrowing race against time to prevent the killer striking again and again.

The story is intricately woven and gruesome. From fairly early on I was convinced I knew who the killer was. But, with so many twists and turns, I began to question myself, but still thought I knew the murderers identity. Imagine my surprise when a final twist proved me totally wrong. This is what has made this book an excellent read for me. The fact that it is hot in places, didn’t hurt either.

I love the two main characters, Rebecca and Jordan. They work very well together. As a couple they are dynamite. Their relationship is so hot, it’s explosive. They have a very good working relationship with the rest of their teams as well, which enhances the story throughout.

Although this read is intense, there is the usual Syd Parker touch of humor throughout I’ve come to know and love.

I am always very sad to come to the end of one of Syd’s books. But, I know there will be another one eventually. This is another for my re-read folder.


Monday 19 August 2013

Till There Was You by S. Anne Gardner

Julia Alston-Vale is single and lives with her young niece Nicole. Julia is used to having her own way, is super rich and quite frankly isn’t very nice to people.

Theodora Greyson, (Teddy) her husband Edward and their son Sebastian had recently moved into an adjoining estate to Julia.

When Julia and Teddy meet, there is an immediate attraction between them. Teddy is quite baffled as to her feelings. Julia knows exactly what she feels though. The two women, although attracted to one another, are far from firm friends to begin with. When they do become friends eventually, their journey is filled with anguish, pain, highs and lows of emotions and a profound love that will rock the very core of them both and change their lives forever.

Another well written page turner from S. Anne Gardner. As with the other books of hers I’ve read, I got into the story right from the first page and was hooked right the way through.

The two main characters, Julia and Teddy are both multifaceted and interact well together. They are joined by a great cast of secondary characters essential to the progression of this tumultuous, turbulent story through to it’s ending. There are many twists and turns along the way, which kept me reading right the way through until I’d finished. This book left me wanting more than I actually got. It simply ended far too soon for me. I loved these characters. Days after I finished the book, I was still thinking about them.

This is more than a romance, much more. There are deep, dark secrets hidden away and when they are unleashed, they almost cause the death of someone. We learn that families are not always what they seem to be on the surface.

There are some great scenic descriptions, so it was easy to coast along with the characters and become immersed in the story with them.

I would like to have a sequel to this, so I can see how Julia, Teddy and their family live their lives after their return from Spain.



Thursday 1 August 2013

Gretel a fairytale retold by Niamh Murphy

Hans and his sister Gretel are alone in the woods. Lost and starving, they are set upon by a pack of bloodthirsty wolves. They are saved from their fate by a beautiful woman, Maeve. Maeve invites Hans and Gretel into her home to recover from their ordeal. Although she doesn’t want recompense, Hans is suspicious of her. Gretel however, is bowled over by her beauty and kind heartedness and becomes close to Maeve.

Gretel finds out all too soon that she will have to choose between her brother and Maeve who is a stranger. Will loyalty win over love?

This is a well written page turner with twists and turns along the way from an up and coming UK lesbian fiction author. It’s a beautiful lesfic variation on the timeless fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, that has held the attention of millions of children and adults over the years.

All three characters are well formed and easy to get to know. Although this is a novella, Niamh Murphy has packed a lot into it, including the age old subject, homophobia and the outcome of that hatred. At the heart of this story though, is a beautiful and tender sweet romance.

I’m looking forward to reading more from Niamh Murphy. I like her easy flowing writing style.


Counting Down The Seconds Freya Publications

This is a book of short stories that were put together following a competition run by Freya Publications and When Sally Met Sally. For the sake of disclosure, I should tell you that I was one of the judges for this competition.

This eclectic collection of stories are mainly from authors previously unpublished. Like many short story collections, there are some that are absolutely outstanding and some that are not so remarkable. But on the whole, I found most of them enjoyable. The thing about these stories is, they are original and unpublished before and their writers are from round the globe.

The stories vary vastly in content and are a mix of drama, comedy, science fiction, fantasy, lost love, hot sex and a variety of other equally exciting situations. The one thing they all have in common is, they are all about women who love women.

This is an ideal beach read or for a cosy night in. Take a look and discover some new authors who could well be the lesbian fiction best sellers of tomorrow.

This book is only available with DRM on Amazon.


Walking The Labyrinth by Lois Cloarec Hart

Co-owner of a private security company, Lee Glenn, is grieving for her wife Dana. She can’t see any end to her suffering. Her life is over, just as surely as Dana’s is. A year later and Lee is still locked away from her family, friends and colleagues, hiding out in her basement rooms. Lee’s family and friends intervene with a message from beyond the grave, giving Lee the shake up she needed.

Lee is back at work and beginning to turn her life around. She isn’t convinced she can just pick up her life again and carry on. But Lee’s business partner, Willem, knows different.

At Willem’s urging, Lee takes on a private protection job, which takes her away from the memories of her loss, to the beginning of a new life.

Lee meets many different people along the way. Probably the strangest person she meets is Wrong-Way Wally. A harmless, colorful oracle, who is shunned by most of the small town because of his way out speech and way of life. It appears the only person who can understand and translate Wally’s predictions is Gaëlle, his life long best friend.

Gaëlle herself appears at first to Lee to be strange. She seems to have a connection to the afterlife. Although Lee pushes aside Gaëlle’s beliefs as hooey, is it possible there is some truth in them?

Lee becomes attracted to Gaëlle, but will she allow herself to open up to the possibility of love again? What if loving again should cause even more pain? Will Lee have the courage to stay for the course and find out? Or will she run back home to her safe, but lonely, miserable existence?

I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully written story. I liked that the two main characters, Lee and Gaëlle, are multidimensional, mature in age and there is an actual story here as well as a romance. Once I began the story, there was no putting it down. The book is a page turner from start to finish. Lee and Gaëlle are backed up with some unforgettable characters throughout. All playing their parts to perfection to progress the story forward.

There are a lot of emotions running high throughout. Highs and lows of love and love lost and prejudices. But amongst all the emotions, there is hope, a light at the end of the tunnel, the end of anguish and loneliness. That’s if Lee will allow herself to be open to the possibility and taking a chance of loving a second time, if it’s offered. It’s this journey that makes the book into the exciting and enjoyable story it is.

I can’t say my beliefs are those of Gaëlle and Wally, but it made for very interesting reading and added an enjoyable aspect to the book.

I’ve added Lois Cloarec Hart to my  list of authors to watch out for. I like her style of writing and look forward to more soon.


Dove by Rain McAlistair

Housewife Hillary, lives with her bullying husband Dermot, in a village on the west coast of Ireland. Hillary has had every shred of self esteem and confidence torn from her over the years by Dermot.

Unsurprisingly, Hillary is afraid of Dermot. He is a control freak and a mean drunk. Her marriage is loveless, a sham and she has no children. Hillary knows she is different, she also wants and needs love. But Dermot is not the person she’s ever really wanted. Will she ever find someone to love her? Someone she can love back?

If it wasn’t for Hillary’s beautiful faithful dog, Timber, she wouldn’t have any affection at all in her life. Hillary’s only interest is her lovely garden. However, this is all about to change. Shortly after her thirty fifth birthday, an event occurs that will change Hillary’s life forever.

On the whole, the story was reasonable, even though parts of it were a touch unbelievable. But, this is fiction after all. The story ambles along at a nice pace. It made a change to read a story set in Ireland with some nice scenic descriptions.

I found myself feeling sorry for Hillary and very angry with one of the other characters. Which, I suppose is what I was meant to feel. But at the same time, I couldn’t help feeling that Hillary was too naive for her own good and too quick to forgive. I don’t intend to put in any spoilers, so I won’t expand on this any further. The story just seemed a bit contrived in parts.

There are a few typos and grammatical errors, not enough to pull me out of the story. But for the high price I paid for this 85 print length page novella, I expected perfection. Rain McAlistair has penned a fairly reasonable novella. But, I’m not willing to buy any more of her works at the price she’s asking for them.


Wind and Dreams by Linda North

It’s 1901 and Rose McLeod is in Egypt with her father to acquire some Egyptian  relics for their antique business in Baltimore. Rose is kidnapped by a notorious slaver. Her destination is likely to be to someone’s harem as a concubine. Fortunately, although Rose didn’t exactly see it that way at the time, she is rescued by a beautiful woman who says she is the Pharaoh of a hidden kingdom in the Sahara Desert.

Meryneit, the chosen one of Neit, is convinced Rose is a personal gift to her from her Goddess. Rose will not accept this. She is determined she will be a slave to no one. She is a free American woman and this is the way she intends to stay.

As the caravan makes it’s long journey across the Sahara Desert to the Valley of Wind and Dreams, Rose becomes a member of Meryt’s household with her three other companions. Rose is not happy with her situation at all. When Rose discovers that Meryt’s companions are more than ‘just’ companions, she is deeply shocked. Rose begins to think of them as being Meryt’s harem. Rose hopes with all her being that she’s not Meryt’s latest addition. There are a lot of clashes along the way because of the different cultures. Dangers arise, there are betrayals and passions ignite. As Meryt and Rose find themselves becoming more attracted to each other, so they find themselves beholden to their fate as the ancient Egyptian Gods foretold. 

This is a wonderful book. Well written and very different from the usual lesbian romances. I have to say, when I first opened the book, I found the Egyptian glossary a bit daunting. No worries though, the use of Egyptian words throughout is self explanatory. I did enjoy reading through it all once I’d finished the book.

It is apparent that Linda North has done extensive research into ancient Egypt. From the scenic descriptions, I was immediately transported to 1901 in Egypt, living the story with the characters.

Although the story is between the two multidimensional main characters, Rose and Meryt, they are backed up by an equally as important set of secondary characters to enhance and progress the story forward at a very nice pace.

Rose and Meryt have a love/hate relationship in the beginning. But as I’ve often found out, there is a fine line between love and hate, both are extremes of emotions. Their relationship clips along at a believable pace for the story.

Along the way, the story tells of ancient Goddesses, beliefs, betrayal and the love between women and past lives seamlessly intertwining with the present. It’s clear from the outset, that Rose is inexperienced in the world of Sapphic love. We see how she slowly comes to terms with the love Meryt has for her companions. The vast difference between Meryt and Rose’s cultures is apparent and a part of the problem Rose has to come to terms with. It’s very interesting to see how Rose handles her feelings.

Although I finished the story in a day, it has stayed with me. I would like to see more of Meryt and Rose. I  enjoyed reading about the clash of cultures and how they overcame the inevitable barriers when two worlds collide.

History, geography, a touch of the mystic from ancient times and hot romance, all the makings of an excellent read. More please and very, very soon.


Graceful Waters by BL Miller and Verda Foster

After assaulting a teacher, Seventeen year old juvenile delinquent, Grace Waters, is sent to Sapling Hill, a boot camp for out of control teenagers. Grace isn’t at all bothered by the judges sentence, thinking that Sapling Hill will be a breeze. She soon finds out just how wrong she can be.

Joanna Carey, (Carey) is the senior instructor in charge at Sapling Hill. She sees potential in Grace and in turn tries her best to help her. Before Carey can help Grace though, Grace has to help herself. This includes divulging the dark secret she’s been carrying around with her for so long and letting go of her various demons. Will Grace ever get to the point where she will trust someone enough to open up to them?

Grace and Carey lock horns on many occasions. Both women are stubborn and there can only be one victor. Of course, due to Carey’s position, it must be her. Which doesn’t go down too well with Grace.

As time passes, Grace begins to see Carey in an entirely different light. Carey herself, finds Grace is getting under her skin in ways she never thought would be possible.

The meeting of Grace and Carey is going to change both their lives forever.

This is a reprint of one of my favorite books that I’ve read many times. I’ve loved all of BL Miller’s and Verda Foster’s books. Whether they write together or alone, they are both outstanding authors.

The story is fast paced and a page turner from the first page through to the last. I’d like to add in here, that there is nothing inappropriate at all between Grace and Carey while Grace is under Carey’s care in Sapling Hill.

There is far more to this book than a peek into a teen boot camp. Very real issues are dealt with in a sympathetic manner. It’s so good to see how Grace transforms from an out of control teenager, into a young woman in control of her life and her future. The growth pattern we see is tremendous.

Both Grace and Carey are well formed, multidimensional characters and are backed up by a wealth of equally as well formed secondary characters. The scenic descriptions and interactions between all the characters, leaves nothing to the imagination. I felt as though I was living out in Sapling Hill myself.

Even though I’ve read this book on many occasions, I still cannot put it down once I start it. I was so pleased when I saw that this was to be re-published and in ebook, no less.

I know this was written quite a long while ago, but I would dearly love to see a sequel. Both Grace, Carey and their family and friends have a lot more to say to us.


Fatal Hesitation by JM Dragon

Part two of the When Hell Meets Heaven series

After their adventures in When Hell Meets Heaven, Private Detective, Olivia Santos and Psychologist Dr Amelia West, open up a new investigation business aptly named When Hell Meets Heaven. Olivia does all the investigating and Amelia sees to the psychological side of their business. Amelia’s side of their business hasn’t quite taken off though and she begins to question whether she should return to the convent or continue with her new life away from the church.

The new case Olivia takes on needs Amelia’s input to help her solve the mystery. The situation helps both Olivia and Amelia to solve the mystery and answers the questions Amelia has about their new working partnership.

As with most new businesses, there are teething troubles. It’s a rocky road for Amelia to begin with, it’s nice to see it smooth out along the way. Olivia herself, seems to fall right into the investigation side of the business, but she’s not infallible and this is where Amelia comes into her own.

Another well written part to this excellent series. It’s full of twists and turns and ups and downs with surprises along the way as we follow Olivia and Amelia in their new business venture.

At the heart of this book, there is a mystery to be solved and the journey Olivia and Amelia take to solve it is fun, dangerous and with a touch of humor too.

Both Olivia and Amelia are terrific characters, they interact well together and have an excellent chemistry between them. I’m really enjoying my second read of this series without the pressures of knowing how it all ends. 

I love this series and I’m amazed that it’s actually being offered free. Thank you JM Dragon and Affinity.


Landslide by Diane Marina

A Short story

Michelle and Rachel have been together for five years. Rachel has never had any reason to suspect that Michelle has cheated on her. As far as she knows, they have the perfect relationship. But her imagination runs away with her after she hears a radio broadcast about the signs to watch out for when your lover may be cheating on you. Michelle has been working late recently and receiving odd phone calls, then there is the smell of a strange perfume.

Rachel is devastated, does Michelle love her? Is she seeing someone else?

Michelle has planned a surprise Valentine’s weekend for them both. Will this weekend allay Rachel’s fears? Or will her heart be broken by a landslide of overwrought emotions?

I thoroughly enjoyed this well written poignant short story that is chock full of emotions that radiated off the pages. Both Rachel and Michelle are great characters and easy to get to know. I’d like to meet them again sometime.

The scenic descriptions enabled me to be a part of the story instead of simply reading from the page. Just for good measure, the story is sizzling hot. For a short story, there is a lot packed into it. 

I believe this is Diane Marina’s debut story and she’s off to an excellent start. I’ll be looking out for more from this author and I hope I don’t have to wait too long for her next story or book.