Sunday, 27 April 2014

Secret Lies by Amy Dunne

After years of abuse at the hands of her step father, Nicola Jackson, (Nic) can’t take any more and finally leaves her family home. She has nowhere to go and no friends she can turn to. When Nic literally bumps into Jenny O’Connor, one of the most popular girls in school, they hit it off right away and a friendship between them develops. Soon they are best friends and sharing their deepest, darkest secrets. Their friendship escalates into a romance that must, at all costs, be kept a secret. Although Jenny is in love with Nic, she is too frightened of losing her family and friends to go public.

As time goes past, Nic finds the courage to face her abuser in the hope of trapping him into admitting his abuse and leaving the family home. Unfortunately, Nic’s plans go terribly wrong.

Will Jenny come through for Nic, even though it may mean her life will never be the same again?

This is Amy Dunne’s debut book and she is off to a flying start in the world of lesbian fiction. She’s shown she can pen a good book on extremely difficult topics. Abuse, self harm, homophobia and two inexperienced young women embarking on their first lesbian romance together, comprises just a small part of this well written and researched story.

The book is a fast paced page turner from the first page through to the last page. I found it emotionally harrowing to read in places. But the story and the characters have all stayed with me days after I finished the book.

The two main characters, Nic and Jenny are both fully developed and multidimensional. The secondary characters are equally as well portrayed and play their parts to perfection. All except for one. Elizabeth, (Jenny’s older sister) her behavior is unbelievable. She storms in, full of hatred, all religious and holier than thou, homophobic and demanding, treats both Jenny and Nic like outcasts, upsets their relationship and a short while after is purring like a kitten backing them both up in the face of adversity. In my opinion, there is no way that a person as hateful as she is portrayed would do a complete turnaround. Especially not in such a short space of time. But, this is my only problem with the book. It didn’t spoil the story at all, but was a small, niggling annoyance.

The fact that Jenny and Nic were as different as chalk and cheese adds to their charm. Opposites can and do attract and their differences are very well described in this story.

Although the overall theme of this book is a serious one, there are light hearted times and humor throughout to lighten the darkness.

I’m very pleased I read this book, even though Jenny and Nic are young enough to be my granddaughters. No matter what age you are, this is a great story. One that I will re-read.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

When You Know by Kiki Archer

Sequel to One Foot Onto The Ice

Teacher Susan Quinn and Club Ski Instructor, Jenna James are now in a loving, committed relationship. Unfortunately, Susan is at St Wilfred’s All-Girls School and Jenna is working in Morzine. Long distant relationships can and do work. But when Susan and Jenna parted, their fledgling relationship was only two weeks old. Will the distance separating them simply be too much to sustain such a new relationship? Absence often makes the heart grow fonder, but will insecurities and outside influences tear them apart?

Both Susan and Jenna believe in when you know, you know. But will that be enough?

A fast paced, hilarious, chick lit romance from the very talented Kiki Archer. Not just the usual light hearted fluffy stuff normally associated with regular chick lit. There is a more serious side to this story.

This book carries on from where One Foot Onto The Ice left off. We have most of the same wonderful, fully formed, multidimensional characters and a few surprise ones too. There is enough background that you don’t have to read One Foot Onto The Ice first. But, I would strongly urge you to do so. There’s no point in missing out on a good story and it really sets the scene and lets you get to know the characters.

Although Susan and Jenna have to be apart, they find some very interesting ways to be together. But, exactly how safe is the internet?

I won’t be adding in any spoilers, but in my honest opinion, this is one of the most hilarious books I’ve read in ages. This book is written by a British author, but I’m more than certain that wherever you are from, you’ll be laughing at the antics of some of these characters in this book.

From the romance angle, Susan and Jenna are the ideal couple. Their romance is bittersweet, tender and full of ups and downs. True love sometimes meanders and deviates from the path along the way though, as theirs does here. The story is also steaming hot in parts, just to enhance your pleasure.

The horrible, despicable, Marcus Ramsbottom situation hasn’t been resolved from One Foot Onto The Ice. He’s still creating havoc. Does he get his just desserts? You’ll have to read the book to find out. I do know one thing, I could have cheerfully slapped him on more than one occasion.

I was pleased to see little Daisy Button taking a nice role too. She is one of my favorite characters and along with some of the other pupils, a great support to Susan and Jenna.

There is just one point I’d like to make. This book is crying out for a sequel. It simply has to have one. When you read it, you’ll see why.

I’ve added this book with the rest of Kiki Archer’s books into my re-read folder.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Out Of Retirement by Erica Lawson

Doctor Melanie Stokes, (Mel) was a good doctor. Cool, calm and collected, nothing rattled her. Well, not until she got caught up with the old women at the Dykes Retirement Home. That’s what it said on the board anyway. It should have read Shady Oakes. First impressions always last the longest, so what was Mel to think when she saw a little old lady chasing the paper boy calling him a little runt?

Caitlin Joseph runs the small retirement home for women who are in need. There are not many residents, probably due to everyone in the home being gay.

When Mel agreed to help out doing relief work for the regular doctor, little did she know that her life would be turned upside down.

On Mel’s arrival at the home, she knew right away that there was something she liked about the place. The residents were likeable, (well some were) zany and impossible, but her eyes were on Caitlin. Her attraction instant. But, most of all, Mel was impressed with Caitlin’s care of her residents.

The residents took it upon themselves to become match makers and ensure that Mel visited often. Not that Mel needed much encouragement. Their crafty plans and scheming were helped along by a new woman arriving at the home. A woman whose presence caused long forgotten feelings to emerge. It’s just a shame she isn’t a lesbian.

This is quite a humorous book about life in a retirement home where all the residents are lesbians. The story centers mainly around the old women who have nothing better to do than cause mayhem making for some laugh out loud moments throughout. Secondary is the slow romance between Mel and Caitlin, making the book top heavy on the comedy and too light on the romance, for my preference.

The book started out funny and looked to be a promising read, but unfortunately, by the time I got to around the half way mark, I was wondering where the actual story was going. It meandered aimlessly along with a few more funny moments and incidents interspersed. The romance between Mel and Caitlin never seemed to really heat up or shine through.

The main characters are multi-faceted and likeable enough. The secondary characters are a mixed bunch, some more likeable than others and they all interact well together.

If you are looking for a quick, humorous read, you  should enjoy this book.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Requiem by JM Dragon and Erin O'Reilly

The Final book in the When Hell Meets Heaven series

Olivia and Amelia are up against Doco (Department of Covert Operations) once again. To win the final battle against them, Olivia and Amelia feel they have no choice but to ask Parker and Remington to join forces with them. It could be the only way they can save all their lives and those of their loved ones. Reluctantly they set about trying to convince their arch-enemies that this is the right thing to do.

But...........the question to be asked is....... ‘how will three of DOCO’s finest operative Alpha’s and a nun work together to rid the world of the evil without killing each other in the process?’ The strength of DOCO knows no bounds. Thrown into the mix is a corrupt politician, both parties hell bent on causing mass destruction and mayhem.

Will these four women be able to defeat their enemy? If they fail, their deaths are imminent.

I’ve followed this series from book one, always eagerly awaiting the next part. Sadly, this is the final part of a well written blockbuster series. A series full of twists and turns, adventure, suspense and surprises throughout. The fact that it’s hot, steaming hot, in parts didn’t hurt either. I rather thought this book was a cross between Charlie’s Angels with a touch of Hogwarts magic for good measure.

It’s great to see Olivia, Amelia, Parker and Remington back in action. A most unlikely combination of women I’ve ever come across, but they fit well together.

This final part is a fitting end to a great series. A real edge of the seat page turner from start to finish. To get the full benefit of this book, you would need to read the previous books in the series. The first two books are free over on Affinity. The rest are very cheap, it’s a win-win situation.

Although I’ve read the first books twice, now that the series is complete, I’m going to indulge myself and read the whole lot back to back. Yes, I’ve enjoyed the series that much. JM Dragon and Erin O’Reilly have produced an excellent series between them. If you are looking for a great series, full of thrills and spills, with an added touch of humor, look no further.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Fervent Charity by Paulette Callen

This book continues on from Charity with the saga of the five women friends from the prairie, who are all as different as chalk and cheese. Lena is a young mother, she’s living a tough life on the verge of heartache. Lena’s sister-in-law, Mary, is a beautiful woman, but unloved. Happily married Alvinia is the midwife for the area and the mother of ten children of her own. Gustie and her Indian partner, Jordis are desperately trying to set up home together. Unfortunately they are finding they don’t belong in Charity or at the reservation.

All these women form a deep bond in the adverse face of hardship, hatred, childbirth, disease, storms and disaster. As well as all this, there are people so full of hatred and evil who will stop at nothing to harm them. But, in the end, they are bound together by a dark secret none of them could have imagined in their wildest dreams.

After reading Charity, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this sequel. If you like stories from the old wild west, you won’t be disappointed with these two books. They both really got me deeply lost out in the wilds. This book will standalone. But, why miss out? It’s always nice to have the background on the characters and read more of their adventures, so I strongly advise reading Charity first.

As with Charity, this book is a well written page turner, with all the characters I grew to love and more. It flows along at a nice pace, is exciting, adventurous, heart breaking and humorous in parts. Tales of survival, Indian’s, tornadoes and hard living and dying, fill up the pages enabling the reader to experience just how life was lived out on the prairie.

Paulette Callen has done extensive research for this book and it shines right through. It is very real to read about. Especially the tornado scene. Not that I’ve ever been in a tornado, but I’ve seen numerous films and documentaries, this is as real as it gets and as close as I ever want to be to one.  

So, if you are looking for an exciting adventure with great scenery and wonderful characters, look no further. You’ve found it. A definite re-read for me. I’m also hoping there will be a third book too.


Give Me A Reason by Lyn Gardner

Antoinette Vaughn, (Toni) was enjoying a very nice life. Beautiful, intelligent and sophisticated with an excellent job, she had no idea when she stepped in to help a friend, that her life would change forever. Wrongly sentenced to a lifetime in hell, Toni’s life came crashing down around her.

Although four years later Toni’s conviction was squashed and she walked free, the damage, both physically and mentally had been done. She may have her freedom, but her life is a living hell. She’s a prisoner in her own mind as well as her dingy flat.

Toni had been born into a life of privilege. Estranged from her family years earlier, the dark, dilapidated flat in a building that should have been condemned is her home now. Cold and stark, just like how she feels, she doesn’t need much. It will be less to leave when she is gone. In her mind, her life is not worth living and her self esteem is zero. Death will be welcomed.

Toni’s lonely existence begins to slowly change when a beautiful woman who won’t take no for an answer comes into her life like a breath of fresh air. But, has Toni sunk too far into an abyss to be helped? How can she survive in a world that terrifies her? Toni views everyone as her enemy, who can she trust? Can Toni learn to breath without wishing for her own death? Furthermore, what would Toni do if her past returned? Would she want revenge on her abusers?

This book is a well written, absolute blockbuster of epic proportions. None the less, I still didn’t want it to end. It’s one of those books that I didn’t want to put down until the end, but I had to because it was far too long to read in one sitting. Tearing myself away wasn’t easy though.

This is not an easy book to read and the story is emotionally draining. It is full of angst and pain, but, also full of hope too. Emotionally, this book has a little of everything. Love, happiness, sadness, despair, agony, humor, but most of all, learning how to trust, courage and hope. Hope that Toni will be able to get her life back on track. Hope that she will simply be able to do the things most of us take for granted, like being around people, shopping, an evening out, a day trip, trusting a friend. All things Toni had to overcome her fears for and find the courage to do.

Both Toni and Laura are wonderful multidimensional characters. They are backed up by a cast of fully formed secondary characters, all of whom kept this story marching forward at a nice steady pace until it’s climatic ending.

This is a book that evoked so many emotions in me as I followed Toni’s dramatic and at times, horrific journey. Shock, horror, anger, sorrow, laughter and a whole range more.

Toni’s road to healing with Laura’s help is not an easy one. Their love shines through with total commitment to each other, they are true soul mates. A love story that days after I finished reading it is still resonating through my head. This is a definite re-read, a book I will read and savor many times. In fact, I would dearly love a sequel to find out how Toni and Laura fared over the years.

London Calling by Clare Lydon

Londoner Jess had been living in Australia for three years when she had her heart broken by her cheating girl friend, Karen. Utterly miserable, she decided to return home to her family. A part of her heart was left in Australia though. Even as Jess sat on the plane, she wondered if Karen was happy, or if she realized she’d made a mistake and wanted Jess back. All wishful thinking of course.

On Jess’s return to London, she’s jobless, living at home with her parents and single again. Not quite the life she had envisaged herself leading at the age of thirty two.

As Jess gradually begins to sort herself out, she meets the beautiful and slightly shy Lucy, she wonders if her life is going to take a turn for the better. But as is usual with Jess, her life of near chaos gets in the way. First there is her best friend Julia’s wedding, then coming back to haunt her at inopportune moments are some of her previous girl friends, as if this isn’t enough, there is a goodly measure of tequila thrown into the mix.

Will Jess and Lucy’s new found friendship stand a chance, let alone the possibility of love? Will Jess ever find her happy ever after?

When I saw the title of this book, noticed that it was lesfic and by a debut author, the deal was done, I had to buy it. It’s one of the best buys I’ve made recently. This book is well written and edited, gripping, fast paced and a page turner from start to finish. It’s filled right to the brim with wonderful, multidimensional characters, glorious scenic descriptions of my home town, hilarity, family issues, loving and not so loving friends, there are even a couple of extra cute children to add to all the fun. A true melting pot full of authentic British dialogue and drama.

Although the dialogue is decidedly British, I think it will be easy for overseas readers to follow. I manage quite well with most American books, so I can’t see a problem.

I’m looking forward to reading Clare’s next book. Now and then I come across an author who I feel is going places. Clare Lydon is one such author. If her second book is as good as her debut book, she’s set to fly high in the world of lesfic. A book I’ll read many times and added to my favorites folder.


Scarlet Assassin by Isabella, writing as Jett Abbott

Vampire, Selene Hightower, is an assassin for hire. She walks in the darkness and the light. But, she has some unfinished business to attend to. This could throw her out of the light and into the darkness of evil forever.

Will the light or the darkness win?

Doctor Francesca Swartz leads a mundane, rather boring life. She lives for her work and most of her time is spent in the laboratory amongst the test tubes and blood trials. One night Francesca succumbs to the temptation of a night out. Her foray into the world of leather and torture leads her to a dark, tormented soul, Selene. Her desires to experience something new could change her life forever.

Two women from two very different worlds. Can they be together?

Worlds are colliding. Happiness is elusive. There can only be one winner. Who will it be?

I love vampire stories. I absolutely loved Scarlet Masquerade and I could hardly wait for this sequel, Scarlet Assassin to be published. It was well worth waiting for. Although this book centers around Selene, her story and the possibility of a new love, both AJ and Clarissa are playing a large part in this on-going saga which began in Scarlet Masquerade. All the characters are fully developed and interact well together.

You don’t have to read Scarlet Masquerade first, as this book stands alone well and there are some flashbacks to AJ and Clarissa’s past. But I would advise reading it anyway to get all the background and story on the characters and their lives. Plus you won’t want to miss out on another fantastic book.

This story is a well written, intense and intriguing, fast paced adventure from start to finish. I had to read this in one sitting, it’s a page turner. So, don’t start it just before bedtime! Oh, and it’s hot in places too, red hot and steamy. 

The hunt is on for De Marcus, Clarissa’s tormentor from bygone years. Both AJ and Selene are determined to hunt him down and rid the world of the evil he spreads. Clarissa will never be safe while he lives on. The journey taken to find this creature of the darkness is vividly portrayed. But, will they be successful? Age old vampires are hard to destroy. There are many twists and turns throughout. Just when I thought things were going one way, they veered off again in another direction.

This book ended far too soon for my liking. I would have liked to have seen more of Selene and Francesca. But, maybe we’ll get another book with more about Selene, Francesca, AJ and Clarissa. I’m certainly hoping so.

If you are looking for a sexy vampire story, with loveable characters, look no further, this is it.


Lessons In Love And Life by Jae

When Rika moves to the Hamilton ranch, Amy Hamilton’s dream has come true. She has the woman she loves. But after having to hide her emotions and who she is for years, Amy has a lot of insecurities and fears. Amy thinks that Rika is bored with life on the ranch. So, she comes up with a plan to dress up as a man and take Rika dancing in Salem for an evening. After all, how difficult can it be? Her ‘father’ has dressed as a man for years and got away with it. Unfortunately, Amy’s plans don’t quite work out the way she thought they would and she learns some lessons in love and life.

Another well written page turner from Jae.

I loved Backwards to Oregon and Hidden Truths. So, this short story was a must for me. I enjoyed reading more about Amy and Rika’s relationship and the difficulties they faced in the days of the old wild west. Just a simple thing like dancing together was a no go back then for two women.

Although short, this story packed a lot into it. Amy’s fears and insecurities come through loud and clear. But, she has to learn to listen to Rika’s needs and feelings. Part of the lessons on life and love.  

I didn’t used to like westerns, but over the past several years they’ve grown on me and they are now one of my favorite genres in lesbian fiction. The Oregon series is one of the best in the genre.

As always with any book I’ve read by Jae, the story is well written and edited. The characters are fresh and fully developed. Even if you haven’t read the two books preceding this short story, this stands alone and will give you a sample taste of Jae’s wonderful writing.


Rebound by Lynette Mae

Superstar women’s basketball player, Connor Maguire is at the top of her game. The world is her oyster and she’s in great demand. Her life just couldn’t get any better. Until the fateful day of her accident on the court, when everything came crashing down around her and her world is turned upside down. Her life as she knows it has been destroyed in the blink of an eyelid. Connor has to change her whole lifestyle. Her life can never be the same again.

War veteran and basketball coach, Shawn Tyler, a beautiful woman with a broken heart and many issues of her own, is on hand to help Connor find her way. But, will Connor be open to meeting new challenges and seeing how her life can be? 

First off I have to say that I’ve read all of Lynette Mae’s books and have enjoyed them all. Each and every one is well written and well edited. This book, in my honest opinion, is her best yet. Although I hadn’t got a clue about how basketball was played, I still enjoyed the story and could easily follow the games. The story is about far more than basketball. It is a story of survival. A story of how people can have their lives devastated and turned upside down and inside out, but still find the courage to come out the other side bigger, better and more courageous than ever. It also has a tender, sweet romance simmering away too.

Lynette Mae isn’t afraid to write about controversial themes. She has obviously done her research very well. Although the topics covered here are sensitive, they are written with a total understanding and respect for those who are differently abled. Reading this book made me really look at differently abled people in a new light. I had no idea of the problems they faced on a daily basis. The effort it takes to do the simple tasks that I take for granted. I’d never given a thought either to the abuse they may suffer. Although I should have realized. Anyone slightly different is open to all sorts of harassment. So, although this is a work of fiction, this story could just as easily have been based on fact. It’s certainly been an eye opener for me and has been thought provoking.

The main character, Connor, wasn’t very nice to know in the beginning. Self opinionated and a bit full of her own self importance. Although I got the impression that a lot of this was due to her nasty ex girlfriend, Victoria and her manager. But, as the story progresses, we get to see the other side of Connor. The softer, more understanding side. When Connor and Shawn first meet through a friend, war veteran, Elvis, Connor is immediately smitten with Shawn, unfortunately, they don’t exactly hit it off due to a misunderstanding. But, as we read on they begin to respect one another and then begin to feel a mutual attraction. These two main characters are well developed and multi-faceted. They are backed up by a wonderful cast of secondary characters, Elvis, Andi, Red and Diane to name a few, that are equally as important to the progression of the story. Also important to mention is the humor that shines through in the face of adversity. So, although the theme of this book is serious, it’s not all full of agony and angst. The balance, in my opinion, is just right.

So, if you are looking for an excellent read, a believable romance and a wonderful true to life, heart warming, page turner, look no further. You’ve found it. A definite re-read for me.