Friday, 22 August 2014

Made to Love by Syd Parker

A follow on from Someone Like You

Lex and Aspen are back in a new story. They’ve been back together now for a year and are settled into a deep and loving relationship with a baby on the way.

Lex and Aspen’s sculptor friend, Mason, is single and has just lost her best friend Anne, the person she thought of as her second mother. Mason is taking Anne’s sudden death very hard. When Mason meets Anne’s estranged daughter, Marly for the first time, sparks fly between them. Unfortunately, not sparks of love and attraction, sparks of anger. When the dust finally settles down, Mason and Marly become firm friends. There can never be anything more between them. Can there? In any case, Mason has her sights set on Lex’s gorgeous cousin, Nikki.

Nikki is a player, a toy boy of sorts, used to dating older women and being kept in the manner she had quickly become accustomed to. Will she change her ways to become the woman Mason needs and wants? But, never mind Nikki changing, Mason really isn’t Nikki’s type, so Nikki thinks Mason needs to change. What a tangled web being woven between the two of them. Then there is Marly, where does she fit in with all of this?

Sometimes though, people simply don’t see what is right in front of them!

I thoroughly enjoyed Someone Like You and when I heard this was a follow on, I couldn’t wait to read it. I wasn’t disappointed. I love Aspen and Lex and to see them back here and together was pure heaven. This story mainly focuses on Mason and her love conquests, but Aspen and Lex do play sizeable parts. The book is a page turner from start to finish. No surprises there with Syd Parker as the author. Whether Syd writes chick-lit, serious romance or a thriller, the outcome for me is always the same, a most enjoyable read and one to add to my re-read list. 

Although there is a death at the center of the story, it is not full of angst, doom and gloom. Yes, parts are sad, but on the whole, it’s the Syd Parker sense of humor that shines through and triumphantly overshadows the angst. The story is also about healing, after the loss of a loved one. The whole grieving process is most tastefully written.

Mason is a klutz, a loveable woman, but rather accident prone. It’s her antics that had me laughing out loud many times throughout the story. Marly is a bit of an enigma, not exactly likeable in the beginning, but she grew on me. Nikki’s character really speaks for herself.

All the characters, whether main or secondary, are multi-faceted and a pleasure to get to know. There was just one big problem with this book. It ended too soon and I wanted more. Hopefully, Syd will listen to her fans, of which I’m one of her biggest and put out a sequel.


Friday, 15 August 2014

Cold and Lonely, Lovely Work of Art by S. Anne Gardner

Barbara is divorced with two young sons. She comes from a world of privilege and safety. But, one filled with lies and deception.
Taya is an out lesbian. She comes from a world filled with the drugs of the moment, which right now is the white. Her underground world is filled with violence and death. She is the Black Angel. The person most feared throughout the pens. Even the most hardened drug dealers quake with fear at her wrath.
Barbara’s world is crashing down around her. All the lies and deceit have rocked her world to pieces. One afternoon, Barbara inadvertently wanders into unknown foreign territory. Barbara has no way of knowing her world is about to change forever.
When Barbara and Taya meet, their two worlds collide shattering both their hearts into tiny pieces. Life for them both will never be the same again. But can two shattered hearts, from two so very different worlds be joined into one?
I’ve read most of S. Anne Gardner’s work and enjoyed it. This book is no exception. I hadn’t realized when starting the book, that there is going to be a sequel. This was welcome news to me as I enjoyed this fast paced, well written book, very much.
Both Barbara and Taya are so very different, but from personal experience, this works very well, opposites do attract. Both characters are fully developed and easy to get to know and are backed up with a wonderful cast of secondary characters to progress the story along. Although, with Taya’s character, as a reader, I felt I shouldn’t be liking her for what she is and what she stands for. But, I couldn’t help myself. There was just something about her, a vulnerability that drew me to her like a moth to a flame.
Both Barbara and Taya have had burning past issues to deal with. Both are in dire need of love and affection. Even though neither woman wants for material things, money simply can’t buy everything. It’s their journey towards love and the obstacles in the way that we read about here.
This is far more than an adventurous romance. The storyline is gripping, dark and gritty. The story did conclude, but has left me wanting much more and quickly too. This looks to be a riveting blockbuster series.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Desert Blooms by Dannie Marsden

Sequel to Desert Heat

Luce Velazquez is back in this long overdue sequel to Desert Heat. The story continues directly on from where the cliff-hanger in Desert Heat left off.

Now Luce’s hopes of getting her life back on an even keel have been shattered. She’s in hospital after being shot and her lover, Beth, is nowhere to be found. Luce has no idea she’s in protective custody.

Luce’s best friend and her ex lover, Jessica, isn’t buying Beth’s protestations of love for Luce. Something isn’t right. Jessica is determined to get to the bottom of what is going on and pulls out all stops to ensure Beth remains in custody until their investigations are carried out.

Will Jessica’s hunch be right? Is Beth genuine? Will Luce’s dreams of a happy ever after materialize?

There is enough background for this book to standalone. But, I would advise reading Desert Heat first so you can get to know the characters fully.

After waiting almost three years for this sequel after the cliff-hanger ending in Desert Heat, I have to say, I’m disappointed in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed Desert Heat, but Desert Blooms doesn’t measure up to it.

I’m not going to add in any spoilers. What I will say is, I was not happy with unfinished storylines, characters doing turnabouts and also once again, although this book hasn’t ended in a cliff-hanger, it hasn’t actually concluded, there are too many questioned left unanswered.

The story itself is good and was fast paced and apart from the above mentioned, enjoyable enough. I feel with a little more time and effort this book could have been an excellent read.


Loved And Lost by Stephanie Kusiak

Blake Fortnier and her wife Rachel Kaplan are a ‘together forever’ couple. Soul mates, madly and deeply in love. They have been together for fifteen glorious, love filled years, until tragedy tears Rachel from Blake forever. Or is it?

Blake is numb, shocked beyond reason, insane with grief, until one day a miracle occurs. Blake is given the opportunity to relive her life.

But can Blake live her life differently and alter the course of her destiny and in turn Rachel’s? She is certainly going to try her hardest, come what may.

This is Stephanie Kusiak’s debut novel. But, it most certainly doesn’t read like one. In fact, it is far better than some books I’ve read by well established authors. It’s well written, well edited and the storyline is written in a true master storyteller style. Wonderful.

I have to say, I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I would. I don’t usually enjoy books unless they have the standard ‘happy ever after’. But this story is simply superb.

The whole book is written from the first person point of view. So, it is very easy to follow the storyline. The book is too long to read in one sitting, but is a page turner from start to finish. So, I was kept up a couple of nights because I couldn’t put it down.

Both Blake and Rachel’s characters are multidimensional, loveable and very easy to get to know. Their love radiates in waves from the pages. The roller coaster ride of emotional grief stemming from Rachel’s death was like a tidal wave washing over me. Absolutely heart breaking.

The fact that Blake got the chance to re-live her life, travel through time and so maybe alter the consequences and outcome of Rachel’s death had me turning the pages at break neck speed to find out what happened.

I’m not going to add any spoilers into this review, suffice it to say, this is a must re-read for me and a sequel would be most welcome. In fact, I’m looking forward to anything else Stephanie writes in the future.

Faking It by Jade Winters

Twenty four year old Danni Gardener’s ambition is to be a writer. Although talented, she receives one rejection letter after another from different publishers. Her best gay male friend and housemate, Josh, comes up with a solution. If Danni agrees to pretend to be his fiancĂ©e for one night, Josh will ask his father to use his publishing company to publish a book for her. What can go wrong? It’s a win-win situation. Who can possibly be hurt?

Top notch, non fiction editor, Brooke Gibson, is tasked with working with Danni to get her book edited for publication. Brooke is having problems of her own. Her partner Megan is a commitment phobe and Brooke is fed up with her constant absences. Their relationship is not going at all well.

From the first time they meet, there is a strong and immediate attraction between Danni and Brooke. Unfortunately to all intents and purposes, Danni is engaged to Josh, the one night of pretence has turned out to be endless and Brooke is with Megan.

Will Danni reveal her true colors and tell Brooke the truth about her and Josh? Or will she go on letting Brooke think she’s engaged and straight? Will Brooke throw caution to the wind and pursue a straight woman? Then there is Megan, what should Brooke do about her? Such a tangled web.

Another winner from Jade Winters. This book is well written and edited. A true lesfic chick-lit romance with a good dose of humor thrown in for good measure. A quick and fast paced page turner from start to finish.

The two main characters, Danni and Brooke are so obviously meant to be together. I immediately connected with them both. Although I found Josh to have Danni’s best interests at heart, I did feel like slapping him for his cowardice. As for Megan, she’s the character I love to hate in a book. Josh’s dad also played an excellent part.

The way the story unfolded had me on the edge of my seat turning the pages so fast it’s a wonder my ereader didn’t catch fire. I’m going to have to re-read this book soon so that I can enjoy it at a more leisurely pace.

Although this is chick-lit, this story did have a more serious side to it too. There is lies, deceptions, angst and homophobia all entwined with a light hearted sense of humor. So, it’s not all doom and gloom, but a very well thought out and put together work of art. 

I’ve read all of Jade’s books and with each one I can see her growth as a writer. In my honest opinion, I would rate her stories up there with the very best writers of lesbian fiction. I always, without exception, enjoy her work and eagerly look forward to her next book.


French Kissing Episode One by Harper Bliss

Contains all six episodes.

This is a book set in Paris and tells the stories of the lives of a group of lesbians and their lovers.

Claire and Juliette own a PR company, Barbier and Cyr and have been best friends for years. Unfortunately, their all work and no play work ethic has had a profound affect on their personal lives and relationships.

Claire hasn’t had a date for a long time and she yearns to find her soul mate, fall in love and live an idyllic happy ever after.

Juliette and her partner Nadia, have been together for ten years and their relationship is stale and floundering.

Steph, their employee is a happy go lucky, love them and leave them sort of girl. That is until she gets involved with one of Barbier and Cyr’s top, high profile clients.

This blockbuster series is a page turner from start to finish. Far too long to read in one sitting, but pure agony to put down. I lost count of how many ‘just one more chapters’  I read.

I would describe this as a realistic lesbian romance, with angst, drama, fun and smoking hot erotica throughout.

Each and every one of the main characters are just like our real life friends. I simply couldn’t pick a favorite, they each have good qualities and are all loveable. There is a wealth of secondary characters to enhance the story. All are fully developed and multi-faceted. The scenic descriptions of Paris are accurate and real, just like looking at a film. Harper Bliss certainly has the art of showing, rather than telling a story.

This is an epic series, episode one will be followed by episode two due out early next year. It can’t be published soon enough. Harper has written a book that has me totally invested in the characters and their lives and wanting more without her resorting deviously to cliff-hangers. This is without a doubt her best work to date. A definite re-read for me when the whole series is complete.


From The Hat Down by Andi Marquette

A follow on from the novella From The Boots Up

It’s ten years on from the last time we met with Meg Tallmadge. A lot has happened during those ten years. Meg is now a qualified veterinarian working in a clinic in Laramie, Wyoming. Meg loves her job, has lots of friends and goes home frequently to the family ranch, the Diamond Rock, her father, Stan owns.

There is one fly in the ointment of Meg’s mostly well ordered life. Well, two if you count her recent break up with her ex girlfriend Kate. Meg’s mother Irene is the biggest fly. Her constant homophobic remarks, her denial of Meg’s lifestyle and the way she keeps on setting Meg up with various eligible men, really gets Meg down.

After Meg’s break up with Kate, she begins to wonder why she is so unsuccessful with maintaining relationships. Which in turn sets her thinking about her past.

Ten years previously, Meg had met Gina, the woman she thought was the love of her life, her soul mate. Meg and Gina had been together two years when circumstances forced them to part. Meg hadn’t really got over her.

Gina is a successful journalist, living and working across the world. Although Gina always sends Meg a birthday card, they have very little contact at all. So, why is Meg thinking so much about Gina now? Second chances, even supposing Meg and Gina wanted one, only belongs in films and books, where the audience wants and expects a happy ever after ending.............Doesn’t it?

I loved From The Boots Up and was eagerly waiting for From The Hat Down to be published. It was well worth the wait. If you love a well written and edited, heart warming, modern day western with cowgirls and romance, I’m sure you’ll love this book. There is no need to read From The Boots Up first, although you will be missing out on a great story if you don’t.

The two main characters, Meg and Gina are simply meant for each other. But, will they see this or will they miss their chance of true love? We follow their story in this beautifully described scenic book. Follow their ups and downs and every day lives with never a boring moment. They are both fully developed characters and there is a wealth of secondary characters bolstering up the story. My all time favorite is the dog, Moonshine, a typical old and faithful dog with a mind of his own.

There is so much going on in this book. It is not fast paced, but slow and sensual allowing the reader to really get the feel of the story. Although there is a lot of angst, there is also a lot of laugh out loud moments and good fun throughout.

I’m looking forward to reading more from Andi Marquette in the future.


The Ghost of a Chance by Natalie Vivien

When Darcy Morrow’s beloved soul mate, Catherine, has a fatal accident, she’s shocked and beside herself with grief. Haunted by the woman she loved so dearly and lost, Darcy has no time for the gorgeous nurse, Alis Baker, her mother in law hired to care of her. Darcy is out of her mind with her pain and loss.

Alis Baker, is alluring and beautiful. Her blue eyes and healing touch begin to break through Darcy’s hard protective shell she’d built around her. Alis is determined she will be the one to help Darcy overcome her grief, the one to be there for her, come what may. Alis herself is hiding a dark secret, will this destroy any chance she has of helping Darcy?

Darcy finds herself unable to resist Alis’s charms any longer. As their passion rises, both Darcy and Alis have choices to make.

Will Darcy allow a relationship to begin with Alis, or will she let a ghost from the past interfere and destroy her second chance of love? Will Alis be able to leave her past behind her to pursue her chance of love with Darcy? Or will outside influences wreck her chance of true love?

This is a well written, wonderful, haunting story of love, loss, acceptance, healing and finally finding love once again. I was pulled into the story from the very beginning and hooked right through to the end. A real one sitting page turner, full of twists and turns and ups and downs throughout. I loved the scenic wintery descriptions. Natalie Vivien has the art of showing the reader, rather than telling the reader what they are seeing.  

From the title and the synopsis, I knew the book would be based on grief, the supernatural and romance. But, this story is far more than simply a haunting and grief with a romance thrown in. Natalie Vivien has written Darcy and Alis’s story with a great deal of thoughtfulness and added a most unexpected storyline. It isn’t full of angst and turmoil, but shows the stages both Darcy and Alis go through to come out the other side on top.

Both Darcy and Alis are multi-faceted, well developed characters and are backed up by some equally as engaging secondary characters. Portia the cat is a special character deserving of a mention. I especially liked the way Catherine’s ghost interacted with Darcy. There are twists and turns throughout that kept me rushing through the pages until I reached the end. I’m not adding in any spoilers, so I won’t say any more about the actual story.

I really enjoyed this story and highly recommend the book. It’s vastly different from the usual supernatural books I’ve read before. It’s a book that made me think, if only this could really happen. If only we could have one more chance to connect with our loved ones.

I’m looking forward to reading more from Natalie Vivien soon.

Second Chances by M.E Tudor

Pam Matterson had loved Casey Durham from a distance in college. Circumstances tore them apart. Pam wasn’t in a position to pursue her love for Casey and they parted before even beginning a relationship.

Years later, Pam goes to Kentucky to save Dorothy Durham, Casey’s mother, from her abusive husband. Pam knows that in all probability her path will cross with Casey’s. Deep down she’s excited with the prospect of meeting Casey again, but at the same time she is also dreading it. She hurt Casey deeply and has no idea how Casey will react to seeing her again.

Casey Durham is moving from Memphis back to Nashville to begin her residency as an orthopedic surgeon. The last person Casey expects or wants to see is Pam. Why would she want to see her when her love was rebuffed and Pam walked away?

Pam and Casey do eventually meet and are in a situation where they have to interact together for the good of Casey’s family. Old feelings come rushing back to both women. Will it be too late for them to have the all consuming love denied to them both back in college?

This is the first book I’ve read by M.E Tudor. The idea of the story was excellent, unfortunately, the writing wasn’t. I found it repetitive, stilted and amateurish, almost childlike. There were numerous typos throughout. Not just one or two here and there, but far too many to even begin to count. For example, the word where instead of were is used on more than one occasion, heals instead of heels, also boutique of flowers instead of bouquet, plus many, many others. Well, you get the picture. This pulled me right out of the story.

The two main characters, Pam and Casey just didn’t seem to have that spark between them that would normally be simmering away waiting to be ignited in a good romance. I know there were numerous problems they had to contend with, but even so, I expected a bit more passion there.

It’s a shame that M.E Tudor used a bad editor. With a good editor and some good beta readers, this could have been a much better book. The synopsis drew me in to buying the book. It sounded different from the usual romance novels. Unfortunately, it just didn’t deliver and for the price here in the UK, it’s certainly not value for money.