Deception By Design – Tara Wentz

Deception by DesignA story filled with suspense and enough twists and turns to cause whiplash.

Kellen Reynolds lives for the adrenalin rush that can only come from burning up the pavement at the local amateur racetrack, during the day she works as a graphic/software designer and her best friend is also her dog Chigger.

Photographer Joshlyn Davis tries to keep her life uncomplicated with few friends or acquaintances and a treasure trove full of secrets her mission in life is to go unnoticed. She has worked hard to get her life just as she wants and needs it but then life isn’t always that accommodating.

The two women meet and have an instant attraction. Ms Wentz paints a gradual picture as Kellen and Joshlyn fight against it. Each holding secrets close but inevitably love is too powerful an emotion to run from. They both choose to take small steps hoping that fear will not raise its ugly head. But then love is never that simple.

Tara Wentz bioWe are thrown into turmoil as the story heats up. With enemies crawling out of the pages and both women fighting for the truth, it’s difficult to know who has the most to hide and in the end who is the most in danger. With twists and turns, you are left screaming “whatever next”.

Deception By Design is a well written and edited story. A thoroughly enjoyable read that keeps you on the edge of your seat, especially when Kellen is behind the wheel.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Sapphire Books (March 25, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00V5MGW8Q
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The Rainey Bell Thrillers – R.E.Bradshaw

Rainey DaysWhen I picked up the first book in this series Rainey Days I had absolutely no idea that I would be transported into the world of an exceptional storyteller.

Rainey Days introduces us to the aloof FBI agent Rainey Blue Bell. On medical leave after a life-changing encounter with a serial killer the previous year, we step into her world as she continues her fight to forget the nightmares and move on with her life. Her struggle to cope often has her looking for answers at the bottom of a tequila bottle.

Rainey NightsCurrently running her deceased fathers bail bond business, a request from an old friend may put her back in the firing line.

We also get our first glimpse of the charming Katie Meyers who is unknowingly placed in danger, a pawn in a game where only those with the strongest will to survive have a chance.

The two women find themselves enthralled, each captivated by the other and as the story unfolds we join them in their spellbinding attraction.Rainey Season

With fast-paced action scenes and a sophisticated plot that grips the reader Ms Bradshaw has also fully fleshed out her heroes and villains. The series perfectly balances a gentle  love story with the ever-present danger that shrouds Rainey.

RE Bradshaw bioEach novel has its own menace, its own evil lurking on the pages and as the series develops we learn more about the monsters Rainey Bell had to deal with whilsColde & Raineyt working with the BAU. We also see the supporting cast grow and evolve as we learn more about them.

The Rainey Bell Thrillers capture the imagination of the reader with such ferocity that resistance to reading the complete series to date is futile. As each book comes to an end Ms Bradshaw leaves us with the need to reach for the next instalment.

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For Rainey Season

For Colde and Rainey
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All We Lack – Sandra Moran

All We LackSandra Moran writes interesting books. This is her fourth and while there are some common themes, the novels are all completely different. They have a lesbian element. They explore our place in the world and our perceptions of the world around us. But ultimately all are unexpected, whether from the twist in the tale, the concept, or the point of view.

“All We Lack” is a story of journeys. 4 main characters and a series of bit players are taking bus trips to Boston via New York. Each person is on an expedition to find something they are lacking – in themselves and in the world they inhabit.

Maggie seeks a wholeness she both yearns for and disdains. She threw away one chance for a life mate and is determined to try and create a second chance, despite her ongoing fear of living a ‘real’ life.

Bug needs a home, security, care and compassion. A little boy nobody wants, seeking nothing more that a feeling of belonging, the barest of kindnesses enough to fill him with warmth.

Helen searches for a life with more excitement than the boredom of being married to a controlling man she despises. She gives up everything for the chance of happiness with a gorgeous doctor she met on the Internet.

Jimmy is the archetypal loser. Fat, frumpy, boring and a misfit, he has spent his whole life making bad decisions he can blame on a crummy childhood. He longs to be the man he could have been, but hasn’t yet accepted that the choice is ultimately his.

Each one of Sandra Moran’s characters is a detailed and complex portrait with enough depth and intricacy to fill most other books. In addition we have a whole range of secondary players who both fill out the story and add a layer of interaction that the main characters never quite manage between them

Sandra Moran biogThe writing is, as always, imaginative and immaculate, every word considered and placed. The timeline is complex – a series of flashbacks, overlapping, layered and convoluted. But they flow from the page exactly how our thoughts flash across interconnected life experiences. The concept intrigues, pulls you forward and keeps you glued throughout.

Another winner from Ms Moran, one that will make you think, consider your choices, and ultimately provides the perfect vehicle for people watching without the leaving the comfort of your armchair.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bink Books
    (March 18th, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00UXXRFPW
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The Vision Painter Series – RJ Samuel

The Vision Painter series so far consists of 2 novels; Falling Colours and Casting Shadows. Unusual stories – they combine romance with paranormal and mystery whodunits. Ms Samuel is a gifted storyteller and these novels pull you in and keep you riveted.

Falling ColoursFalling Colours tells the story of an Indian/Irish woman, Kiran, who lives in semi exile from her family in Connemara, Ireland. Unbeknown to her father’s Indian community she has inherited his gift as a Vision Painter, somebody who can literally paint a vision and have the vision come true. Her exile is primarily because girls cannot be Vision Painters, but her lesbianism doesn’t exactly help her relationship with her father.

When a client asks her to help him understand his wife’s suicide it launches them onto a roller-coaster ride involving stolen money, fake priests and murderous property developers. Mixed in with it all is the dream of a romance that seems doomed from the start.

Casting ShadowsCasting Shadows follows Kiran into the next phase of her life. She is happy and beginning to feel settled when her mother is taken ill. Rushing home to Kerala she discovers that somebody has painted a negative vision and caused her mothers sudden illness. As the mystery unfolds the evil follows her back to Ireland and impacts her new life. Eventually she is forced to confront the hidden past of the Vision Painter’s council and the hatred of those jealous of her and her fathers gifts.

Ms Samuel’s books flow and swirl with the creative gift of a bard, her words roll off the page in a way that make me think of oral storytellers sitting around the fire and weaving tales on dark winter nights.

RJ Samuel BiogThe characters are multi-dimensional and stand out from the page, the main players well supported by a wide ranging cast in Ireland and India – good and bad are real people with back histories and deep emotional journeys.

In addition RJ Samuel brings the countryside to life – the cold, fresh, rain-swept green of Ireland and the hot, dry, dust of India play a strong part in the novels, grounding us in the where but adding to the history and sense of cultural pressure.

All in all excellent tales of real people, on individual journeys, with complex subplots that add to the overall completeness of the story. Well written, well executed and highly engrossing, let’s hope there is a third book on the way.

falling colours Falling Colours casting shadows Casting Shadows

On Smashwords:
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On Smashwords:
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The Treasure Seeker – Frankie J. Jones

Treasure SeekerMy first Frankie J. Jones and I really enjoyed the read. A tale combining a failing relationship, a murderous hunt for 80 year old loot and the awakening of a physic talent for finding.

We start with what seems like a fairly traditional busy lives – failing partnership story of Ry and Kate, too caught up to take the time and notice the romance has faded. When Ry accidentally brings home an extra box from an estate sale she feels compelled to take it back, and lands them in the middle of a families battle over missing money. The consequences mark the end of their relationship and the beginning of a whole new life for Ry, including the awakening of the second sight she seems to have inherited from her beloved Granny Jeter.

The book is well written and, of course well edited – by the mistress of editing Katherine V Forrest no less. It flows off the page and into your imagination like a good book should, no thought process required.

The ‘place’ is very well done throughout. The antique store, the Lawson House, the family farm, Granney Jeter’s cabin – all are evocative and add considerably to the emotion and mood of the scenes. Even the places Ry dreams, such as the derelict Dodd house and the cave, are used well to suggest time and place.

Rylene, her family – including her long dead great grandmother – and the other major players are well drawn, three-dimensional and extremely rounded characters. They take on a life of their own and stay in your mind. Kate is less likeable and maybe we wish Officer Matthews played a bigger role – but then that leaves us a tantalising opportunity for a come back if Ms Jones produces a sequel.

Frankie J Jones biogAnd the twist in the ‘normal’ tale, of Ry’s new-found talent for finding, definitely leaves the author with a huge opportunity to make this into a series – it would definitely get my vote. Ry’s talent is the perfect vehicle for all sorts of adventures and no doubt “The Treasure Seeker” cum do-gooder would have some interesting romantic opportunities along the way.

Thoroughly enjoyable reading, a great story and likeable and believable characters – what’s not to love?

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • First published 2014
  • Publisher: Bella Books (May 12, 2014)
  • ASIN: B00LH2YWD6
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Cherokee Falls Series – D. Jackson Leigh

BarebackI think as a reviewer there is a difficult balance between always moving forward with new talent, new titles and current releases, but also acknowledging that previous novels may need a visit every now and then. It is easy to assume readers new to this genre must be aware of these great books, these wonderful writers, but then – maybe not.

With that in mind I thought I would review a series of books that always put a smile on my face. D. Jackson Leigh wrote the first in the Cherokee Falls series back in 2008, its title Bareback, followed by Long Shot and later Every Second Counts.


Long ShotThe novels each have there own stories to tell but the theme running throughout is that of long term friendship and the beautiful relationship between a horse and rider. Each book can stand alone on its own merit, however with muti dimensional characters you really can’t wait for the next instalment.

Bareback introduces us to best friends Skyler Reese and Tory Greyson. The two women have been friends since childhood and know each other better than anyone else, good and bad. Skyler is the arrogant, confident player whilst Tory has always been the quiet, strong, loyal friend. That loyalty is put to the test when both women are drawn to newcomer Jessica Black.

Every Second CountsLong Shot continues the story of friendship and the ups and downs of making difficult choices; sometimes the hardest decision is knowing when to gamble and allowing      the heart what it truly desires

Later in the series Every Second Counts also gives us the opportunity to meet the third member of this ‘friends forever’ group Marc Ryder, who’s confidence with women makes Skyler seem rather tame.

The series is beautifully written and gives the reader a front row seat whilst we watch these D Jackson Leigh Biogthree strong, resilient and hard headed women grow, mature and finally acknowledge the things they need in their lives to make them complete.

Throw into the mix wonderfully descriptive settings, an insight into the life at an equestrian centre, oh and lets not forget the hot sex and I do believe that Ms Jackson Leigh has a winning formula.Three stories, three friends and a series that will warm your heart and soul.

For Bareback
For Long Shot
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For Every Second Counts
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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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