Undone – E.M. Hodge

UndoneThis is, without a shadow of a doubt, a love story from one woman t­­­­­o another. A rediscovery of emotion the author thought unobtainable, a life and passion she had despaired of achieving.

The themes are love, lust, fulfillment. Each poem a journey of expressing something heartfelt. An outpouring of wonder at the joy of rediscovery and re-emergence from a profound loneliness and desolation. We can feel the pain that has been before, and experience the rebirth, literally from darkness into light.

The language is exquisite. Some poems are wordy – expressive torrents that wash over the reader.

“The cicadas make the movie soundtrack
As we move in the way that lovers do
To heart beats and breezes
Rising and falling
And listening to the river
We flow”
            Lyrics

Others are minimalist, where every word fulfills a paragraph of meaning and the very simplicity becomes an art-form.

“Sometimes
Melts
Into Always”
                              Citadel of Me

Throughout each poem, and the collection, we experience emotional and physical ecstasy, at times almost overpowering. Deeply personal and yet made public, speaking to anyone with a romantic soul, a yearning for more.

E.M. Hodge takes hold of your heart and soul and twists them along with her angst, then releases the visceral pleasure of new love, new desire and the physical bliss of physical exploration.

She is a wordsmith of the highest order, where every word fills a place and a purpose, every phrase a rounded and well-mannered addition to the flow of feeling.

Whether you normally read poetry or not is irrelevant. This is a book for lovers, for dreamers, and most of all, for women who love women. Read it to lighten your own darkness with hope or to woo a new love with passion. Share it with your partner in bed every night. Speak it out loud and revel in the glory of a perfectly expressed emotion.

“She
spacerOn top of me
Inside of me
Captured
Anticipating
Needing

To be undone”
                  Undone

 

Product info:

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • First published 2014
  • Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing
    (13 Nov. 2014)
  • ASIN: B00PM3YNXU
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My Happy Ever After – D.K.Linda

My Happy Ever AfterThis is by far one of the best novellas I’ve ever read.

My Happy Ever After is a story about the loves and heartaches of Talia and Michele, two women destined to find each other and live their lives surrounded by love, understanding and outstanding passion.

Ms Linda has a wonderful gift of developing the characters so that you literally feel their love and emotion seep through the ink on each page. As a reader you are with them as they take those first little steps that lead to first dates, their first kiss, and as for the sexual chemistry, be sure you don’t read the book in a public place, because it is definitely hot!

DK Linda BiogAs with most ‘happy ever after’ stories there is usually heartbreak and this is no exception. The story takes you on a roller-coaster journey of emotional ups and downs. But I think that is simply because it is so well written that you simply can’t help but feel as the characters do. Giddiness, joy, happiness, grief, devastation and, eventually, that slither of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

This novella has it all, two beautifully written female characters, a handful of furry babies, a strong supporting cast and a story that will have you holding your breath till the very end.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • First published 2013
  • Publisher: D.K. Linda (December 20, 2013)
  • ASIN: B00H5AF1RA
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Woeful Pines – S.Y. Thompson

Woeful PinesS.Y. Thompson’s latest novel, Woeful Pines is an excellent adventure, truly emblematic of the essence of speculative fiction. Go wherever the story takes you and prepare to be entertained.

Susan Thompson happens to be one of those rare writers who devise plots that can inevitably surprise the reader. With consistently unique, clever, page turning stories, Susan reveals a propensity to push limits without stumbling into triteness — Woeful Pines, being no exception.  In this tale, Thompson aptly demonstrates the beauty of speculative fiction: writing where description begins in the author’s imagination, but finishes in the reader’s. In complex plots composed of shifting landscapes of possible worlds, alternative futures, supernatural, space travel, and dystopian landscapes, Susan can spin such miasma into a cohesive tale.

The plot of Woeful Pines can amuse the reader with a detective cum romance story while simultaneously, albeit subtly, compelling the reader to question the nature of reality. Thompson switches the novel’s landscape by weaving portals into another, darker world, without ever seeming to leave rural Kentucky. As a matter of fact, moving the setting to an entirely different world occurs while investigating a series of unexplained disappearances. The shift of setting along with of the some attributes of plot tension makes Woeful Pines illustrative of speculative fiction: it refuses simple placement into any one genre.

That is one surprise for the reader: what sort of book is this? The main character, Emily Baptiste, is investigating disappearances in rural Kentucky, which makes the book appear at first glance, a crime drama. Emily meets the local sheriff, Jenna, and a romance spark ignites. During an investigative event gone awry, a portal for inter-dimensional travel reveals the existence of vampires. However, the vampires are not of the expected sort whatsoever — now moving the plot into fantasy/horror genre, but in a refreshingly different manner. The alternative world contains a dystopian world, fraught by domination, power and corruption, replete with counter-cultural rebellion. Incredibly, such disparity is seamlessly formed into a pleasing story, which, ultimately, love requited. Remarkable!

Susan Thompson creates a complex plot, multi-faceted, and with exceptional attention to narrative and sensory imagery. The characters of Emily and Jenna are brilliant, strong, sexy, engaging heroines. The antagonists are equally well written, as the embodiment of beautiful, yet flawed females, within a society built on corruption and power. The story is wonderfully different and unique, totally worth a read, perhaps even a second one as well.

Regardless of novel genre preference, Susan Thompson manages to please with Woeful Pines.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 251 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises, LLC
    (January 27, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00SURVOP0
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For the Love of Cake – Erin Dutton

For the Love of CakeErin Dutton is well known and respected for her ‘chick-lit’ lesfic romances and she won the 2011 Alice B. Medal for her body of work. “For the Love of Cake’ follows in the footsteps of other good reads such as “Fully Involved”, “Sequestered Hearts”, and is a loose sequel to “A Place to Rest” where we left Jori Diamantina and Sawyer Drake in their adorable cake shop haven.

Here we find 42 year old Shannon Hayes who has spent her life living other people’s lives, first for the expected husband, and then her beloved adopted daughter. Finally she has started to find her own path from catering school to the Drake bakery where she has become the star decorator. When she is picked to take part in a baking reality show her first ambition is not to be sent home first – and to meet the extremely gorgeous, bad-girl chef, who is joining the judges.

Maya Vaughn won the first series as a hot-tempered rebel and the intervening years has done little to soften her reputation. She is seen as a dangerous, egocentric celebrity and a bi-sexual player. Whether any of the media hype is based on the truth doesn’t disguise the fact she is a million miles away from ‘soccer mum’ Shannon both in terms of lifestyle, age and personality type. When the two meet the sexual tension is almost impossible to resist and the ensuing tug of war between reality and celebrity, trust and fear is an enjoyable roller coaster.

Erin Dutton biogThe main characters are excellent, their development well handled and their attraction and occasional rejection make for good reading. The reality show is also well drawn. We get the celebrity characters, the manically bouncy and controlling producer and the wide-ranging contestants chosen at least as much for their TV appeal as their skills. The contrasting personality and styles makes for an intriguing contest and the combination of the romance and competition gives multiple layers of suspense.

Thoroughly enjoyable reading. If you like a good romance this will hit the buttons, and if you like reality cooking shows you will have a double winner. As many others will probably say – it has hot women and cake, what else could it possibly need?

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (February 16, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00SNSU23G
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Tie Dye and Flannel – Rhavensfyre

Tie Dye and FlannelThis is the 4th book in the Chase and Rowan series and forms a prequel to the other books, taking us back to the 1980’s when Rowan is a squabbling kid. More than anything though, it’s a straightforward “Traditional Romance” with all the best characteristics of that genre. Two solitary women – one longs for her soul mate, the other has never really gotten over he BFF from High School. They meet, they are drawn together, they both resist in different ways. They both have to fight the fear and face what they want.

Stacie and Maria are both powerful women, tough, capable and confident in their skills. They present us with a juxtaposition of the spiritual and practical, hard and soft, demanding and self-effacing. Rhavensfyre are adept at sketching in characters quickly using a range of tools, and then drawing out their development as a part of the plot. Surrounded by a cast of strong characters our main protagonists have no problem remaining center stage and holding our attention.

The scenery and setting plays a large part in the spirit of the novel and is well drawn. Roxy and KL have a knack of painting a vivid picture of the landscape and using it as an extra player in the narrative. The sun, storm, heat and desert all add to a strong feeling of place and give additional depth to the relationships. These are people who are literally ‘of the land’ and the land roots them in time and place. Set in the 80’s the references to time are subtle and clever without being overwhelming or making this a history.

Well written and edited, Rhavensfyre continue to develop an increasingly good writing style. Their stories are strong and their characters are always endearing. They also write exceptionally good erotic scenes that are not allowed to overwhelm the romantic story.

These are definitely people you will enjoy meeting and empathize with, whether you have read the other Chase and Rowan books or not it will stand alone as a good solid romance – with the added benefit of leading new readers into a developing series.

Product info:

  • Paperback: 169 pages
  • First published 2014
  • Publisher: Rhavensfyre (December 12, 2014)
  • ASIN: B00QY28U82
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And A Time To Dance – Chris Paynter

A time to danceA moving story about lost love, dreams and the unimaginable necessity to start again. To rebuild a life and travel down a different road after the one you thought you would travel forever comes to an abrupt end. How do you climb out of the encompassing darkness, begin to breath life back into the sadness that has become your daily routine.

Corey Banner is living just that life. Overwhelmed by the lose of her true love, Judy, she struggles every day to deal with the crippling grief. Although supportive family and friends surround her, no one can penetrate the walls that she has constructed.

Two years have passed and still she wakes every day and feels the emptiness inside. Corey realises that she must make changes in her life and with that in mind heads for Grand Lake, Colorado, a town located at the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and somewhere she and Judy had dreamed of visiting. Arriving at Rainbow Lodge, owned by Erin Flannery and her Aunt Tess, Cory successfully takes position as head of maintenance.

Erin Flannery is vibrant, beautiful, and enjoys sexual encounters with women who are passing through. No commitment, no accountability and definitely no emotion involved. Having been hurt in the past she has closed her heart and mind to the idea of love.

Chris PaynterChris Paynter paints a beautiful, emotionally charged dance of growing affection. Taking two hurt, bruised hearts, and through a connection neither woman can understand or deny allows them to trust, grow and flourish. The main characters are multidimensional and the supporting cast well developed.

The excitement as a reader is to watch Erin and Cory as their attraction grows. To enjoy the way  Chris Paynter takes us that step further to love with each chapter. We not only want Corey and Erin to reach for each other, we fear that if they don’t their hearts and ability to love will be lost forever.

Product info:

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • First published 2014
  • Publisher: Companion Publications
    (September 16, 2014)
  • ASIN: B00MTB5VKM
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Forever Faithful – Isabella

Forever FaithfulWe once again find ourselves enthralled with the lives of Major Nichol ‘Nic’ Caldwell and Claire Monroe. Following on from Always Faithful Isabella takes us on a journey of danger, bravery and valour.

Nichol Caldwell is given a ‘payback’ tour that sends her to Afghanistan, working out of Camp Leatherneck in the Helmand Province, her job to work with a civilian collecting information from village elders. The constant danger and Nic’s intuition keep her sharp but even those with the most to lose can’t fight and win every battle.

From the traumatic opening sequence of events the reader is transported to Afghanistan. With outstanding detailed descriptions you literally feel the dust encompassing you as you read along.

Forever Faithful not only deals with the lives of the two characters we have come to love and admire but touches on so much more. The aftermath of war, life threatening injuries, PTSD and, above all, the courage that not only puts a soldier on the front line to keep us safe, but the level of courage, that gives them the ability to stay strong in their darkest moments.

Isabella BiogNot even the strongest love can remain unscathed by war.Nic and Claire have to draw on their love and dedication for each other to fight their hardest battle.

If you loved Always Faithful, my advice is buy the book. You will not be disappointed. Isabella has once again written from the heart about strong women fighting for all their worth.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing (February 7, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939062758
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Rest Home Runaways – Clifford Henderson

Rest Home Runaways86 year old and half blind Mac escapes from a rest home away-day and steals a car to fulfill a promise – driven on by his wife’s ghost. 3 octogenarian ladies rush to his rescue in the care-home mini-van and gain national TV coverage as the Runaway Grannies.

Meanwhile his lesbian daughter, Morgan, is having a crisis because her Alpha wife is obviously having an affair with a younger woman who is, almost certainly, not having hot flushes and suffering middle aged-spread. When the call comes that her father has disappeared she is determined to prove her capabilities and reassert her independence.

The ensuing chase reveals things to all involved. Mac finds out just what he is capable of, the ladies form a bond that will change their futures, and Morgan goes on a journey of self-discovery that will decide the fate of her marriage.

The story is full of humor and pathos, written with love and care. The characters are well developed, well rounded and delightful. Their life experiences shine from the page. All are drawn out by the ‘adventure’, challenging their own self-perception as well as our image of old folks and middle-aged women.

Clifford Henderson BiogAs much as anything this is about exploration, finding out who we are and who we are capable of being. Life can put us in boxes to do with our age that we aren’t ready for. In this charming story we watch as each group fights against those restraints and choses who they want to be – old and consigned to the scrap heap, or living life as an adventure to be taken.

This isn’t a romance, but it is full of romance none-the-less. Morgan and her wife, Treat, have had a happy and successful marriage. The life they have shared is revealed in the gentle touches of remembered experiences. The challenges we face of both aging and long term relationships are lightly drawn, but will resonate with all of us who face the issues of parent care and our own aging.

Funny and touching, this story held my interest and kept me turning the pages. Ms Henderson’s novel is brilliantly written and full of delightful observation. It would make a wonderful movie in the style of “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • First published 2014
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (August 17, 2014)
  • ASIN: B00MTB5VKM
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Undone – E.M.Hodge

Undone“Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own” ― Dylan Thomas

There is no better way to exquisitely describe this book. E.M.Hodge has a gift and from the first page to the last her words fill you with reverence.Several caught my attention from the very first word, ‘Sunrise’ ‘Wake-up’ and every line of ‘Reading’ allowed me to re-live Sunday morning bliss.

As T.S. Eliot wrote – “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood” and with that in mind Undone is filled with powerful words written by a poet who is undoubtedly passionately in love with language and the need to express emotion on a celestial level.

My personal favourite is ‘Weirdo’. It’s not me but so is. It would be a travesty for women not to read and enjoy this wonderful catalogue of work.

So to finish this review I’m going to quote Eli Khamarov – “Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition”, Dr Hodge is most definitely a soldier.

Product info:

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • First published 2014
  • Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing (13 Nov. 2014)
  • ASIN: B00PM3YNXU
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Zero Visibility – Georgia Beers

Zero VisibilityHaving read all Georgia Beers’ novels I always get excited when a new release is imminent. You know without doubt you are going to meet well-developed characters and enjoy their growing friendship, affection and eventually love.

Cassie Prescott has always lived in Lake Henry. Set in the Adirondacks, the mountains of upstate New York, Cassie enjoys the changing of the seasons and couldn’t picture living anywhere more beautiful. Her friends and family surround her every day and she feels loved and part of the community.

Emerson Rosberg is returning to Lake Henry for her mother’s funeral. After a tragic skiing accident as a teenager Emerson ran as far away from Lake Henry and her family as she could get. L.A has been her home ever since. The last time she had visited her mother was 5 years ago and Emerson has had to deal with that guilty knowledge from the moment she had received news about her mother’s death.

Cassie and Emerson strike up an unexpected friendship, each having regrets and recovering from bad choices. The more time they spend together, the more each one begins to influence the other. The reader can’t help but be drawn to the characters. Each with their own weaknesses, fragility and foibles.

Georgia Beers BioMs Beers paints a picture with a beautiful backdrop, where the spectacular colours of Fall dance along the pages and the crisp clear air surrounds you. Add to that two women who’s character development is so magnificent that you can picture yourself having them both as a friends and you have a masterpiece in romance.

Some authors have a gift of writing strong, powerful and stunning characters that stay with us long after the final page is read, Ms Beers is one of those authors.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Brisk Press (January 22, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00SM9EOCQ
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