Running From Love – Jen Silver

Running From Love – Jen SilverBeth and Sam have been together 14 years, married two, and as far as Sam is aware everything is settled and solid. She comes home from a business trip to find her wife gone, her cat in kennels and her life in tatters. Pulling herself through the dark times and never quite accepting Beth has gone for good, she takes on a research project which should help her get away from it all.

Temperley Cliffs Golf Resort is the brain child of Lady Freya Temperley. Set up as a luxury hotel and teaching course Freya also hopes it will become a mainstay of the Women’s European Tour, and her ‘friend’, Golf Pro Andi, has designed the course to Open standards. They are about to run their first teaching course for women beginners and while Freya may have planned to the last degree, she hasn’t counted on the emotional interaction of 20 women in a resort for a fortnight.

Jen Silver writes great realistic and empathetic characters we can all recognise and understand. Here she has brought together a wide range of women, from the loud and obnoxious to she shy and retiring, with some seeking love, some surviving heartache and others trying to find a way to say just how they feel. Full of keen observation of human interaction, like “Christmas at Winterbourne”, “Running From Love” is another great character driven drama.

Jen Silver BioThe settings always play an important role In Jen Silver’s books and the north coast of Cornwall provides a stunning backdrop to the golfing and romance. Drawn with loving humour the golf itself is a constant thread, but doesn’t overwhelm or baffle a non-golfer, in fact the women at the resort are just as bemused, and through them we learn at least some of the basics.

Well written and well plotted, Jen Silver has given us another solid exploration of relationships new and old, examining how women interact and behave in a variety of situations. I would have liked to see more exploration and discussion of why Beth left, but that is just me wanting to explore the deeper psyche of these characters.

Another enjoyable read, entertaining and amusing at times while dealing with very real emotions of heartache, loneliness and fear of commitment, in a world where far too many women still have to worry about what society will think of them.



Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 301 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Affinity (June 1, 2017)
  • ASIN: B071ZRGRLR
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Best Maid Plans – Jody Klaire

Best Maid Plans - Jody KlaireFollowing directly on from her enchanting romcom La Vie en Bleu Jody Klaire delivers another light and breezy romance full of sexy French women and English humour.

Pippa and Rebecca have moved to France, one rekindling the love of her life, the other finding it. But of course, nothing is quite that simple. One must charm the super-rich super-protective parents of the woman she loves, the other must convince her lover that she isn’t running back to her ex fiancé just because she is returning to England to help him renovate a mansion and plan his wedding. Add in the politicking, shenanigans and jealousy of ex-girlfriends, unrequited lovers and a village full of unemployed tradesmen and the scene is set for another fast-moving comedy romance.

Pippa and Rebecca, Berne and Babs, along with family and friends, provide a full cast of delightful real-life figures we can relate to and empathise with, while envying their privileged lifestyles and enjoying the banter between them. The baddies are cyphers to move the plot along and the angst is non-existent. We never really doubt that love will prevail, golf matches will be won, parents will fall into line and projects, business’s and lifestyles will effortlessly materialise for all concerned.

Jody KlaireThe plot rolls along at pace, mansions repaired, houses renovated, wedding panned, while the players criss-cross the channel and pop down to Monaco for a visit. Hairdressers and stylists materialise along with lesbian decorators, classic cars and chocolate wedding cakes. All put together with a wonderful sense of style and corresponding elegant prose by a one of my favourite storytellers.

I said La Vie en Bleu would be a wonderful movie and “Best Maid Plans” would be an equally amusing sequel, think lesbian Bridget Jones; a Renee Zellweger type klutzy Pippa, and Hugh Jones as the clueless Doug, with a backing cast of gorgeous French women.  Charming, easy to read and highly entertaining.


Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.


(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: J K Publishing (June 14, 2017)
  • ASIN: B072KP4NQH
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Lammy Finalists 2017

29TH ANNUAL LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD FINALISTS

Jacqueline Woodson and Jeanette Winterson were also honored for their lifetime achievements.

Lesbian sections – winners in bold

Lesbian Fiction

Lesbian Poetry (tie)

Lesbian Mystery

Lesbian Memoir/Biography

Lesbian Romance

LGBTQ Drama

LGBTQ Erotica

LGBTQ Anthology

LGBTQ Children‘s/Young Adult

LGBTQ Graphic Novels

LGBTQ SF/F/Horror

LGBTQ Studies

LGBTQ Nonfiction

Love in the Stacks – Cara Malone

Love in the Stacks - Cara MaloneThis is a fast-paced emotional rollercoaster with some serious erotica. The story starts off with the rather unlikely premise of somebody being given a job despite completely inappropriate behaviour at their interview, but develops into a decent plot with enough twists and turns to keep the attention. The work place intrigue might be obvious to the reader, but it adds a good sup-plot to the story and saves it from being simply an erotic romance.

The main characters are well done, both flawed, both need to grow and the author has done a good job of maturing them throughout the romance as one takes more responsibility and the other learns what is really important to her.

The scenes are well drawn, descriptions well done, the library has real character and is a pleasing background to the plot.  The sex scenes are hot, explicit and with enough variety to make them fresh, definitely no fade to black here. There were grammar and editing issues which was a shame as it did detract from the experience, but not so badly as to make me stop.

I want to say lesbian Mills & Boon but don’t mean it as an insult. It’s a good fast read, enjoyable and definitely erotic. The improbable opening coloured the whole book for me, which is unfortunate as from then on the story settles down into a solid well-conceived plot.



Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Amazon  (May 1, 2017)
  • ASIN: B06Y4STR5P
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The Standing Stones: The Chronicles of Caymin Book 3 – Caren Werlinger

The Standing Stones - Caren WerlingerSometimes it is hard to find superlatives. The Standing Stone is an outstanding conclusion to this wonderful Celtic/Dragon lore saga. Simply brilliant world building, top class storytelling and writing that flows across the page and straight into your heart.

In book three of the The Dragonmage Saga, Caymin and Péist must find the hidden talisman that controls the dragons and destroy it, while both defeating the evil pairing that caused the dragon war a thousand years before, and helping her friends fight off the impending Viking attack led by a crazed Christian determined to wipe out the old ways.

Set in Eire in the seventh century at a time of clan wars, Christian incursion and the erosion of the druid traditions, The Chronicles of Caymin is firmly set in the legends of celtic fantasy and dragon lore.

Caren Werlinger is a great storyteller and this is a wonderful saga, up there with the best. Book three stands alone, but why deny yourself the joy of all three? The writing is crisp and exact, lyrical yet spare. The story is gripping, in this even more than the earlier episodes, and the reader is literally on the edge of their seat for most of the book.

The subtly is everywhere though, through personal quests, huge loss and dragon battles. Our main characters and many of the secondary’s grow, visably, throughtout.  Caymin suffers both physically and emotionally for the decisions she must make. Gai finds himself but loses his brother on the journey. Caymin and Péist both find a parent only to lose them all too quickly. The forest is ravaged and the Mages decimated, even the beloved badgers are not spared. Hard to remember sometimes that Caymin is 12.

Caren Werlinger BiogThe world building is first class, the time lines and personalities distinct. Even at the height of a complex battle between multiple dragons and Mages Werlinger keeps a firm hand and a clear sense of the who and what. The personalities are so strong and so well drawn we know their reactions, can guess their actions. Their emotional suffering is that of friends.

It is a joy to have such a well done series of gender neutral dragon fantasy/celtic lore. Sexual identity and gender are just not issues, for dragon or humans, and it is such a refreshing change after so many years of male/hetero-centric fantasy.

The door is left open for more. Can’t wait to see where Werlinger might take us next.


Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 385 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Corgyn (June 6, 2017)
  • ASIN: B072JL6GWB
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The End: Sanctuary Series Book 1 – Cheyne Curry, Roselle Graskey

The End: Sanctuary Series Book 1 - Cheyne Curry, Roselle GraskeyLieutenant Jessica Baumer and Staff Sergeant Branna Maguire are locked down in an underground “lab”, undergoing an experiment in how they cope with isolation; one because the Army felt she didn’t cope well when cut off, the other as punishment for having some issues with the abuse of authority.

When they do a routine check of the outside world they realise life as they know it has ended, and it appears they may literally be the last ones standing. As comms become available they reach out and find others who have survived, but many are contaminated and others come out into the open too soon – there are no guarantees of survival.

As the air clears they too must leave their underground shelter in order to see what is left, gather resources and find a safe place to live. The old world order has gone, now only the strong survive, but even strength is no guarantee as gangs stake out territory and commandeer the meagre resources available. Can Baumer and Maguire make it to the sanctuary they seek? Do they have the skills to survive? How will they and those they meet carve out a new existence in a brutal new world?

Edge of the seat doesn’t even come close. This, the first in a new series of dystopian novels, is stunning in its intensity and breadth of vision. T wake up one morning and the world as we know it has ended, with a barrage of nuclear, neutron and chemical weapons essentially wiping out most of the world, and be faced with the overwhelming issues of survival. Literally breath-taking.

Baumer and Maguire are intriguing and powerful characters. They form a rock-solid core to the story and are the glue that we bond with. As their journey unfolds they meet others, equally well drawn, some they join with, others they leave behind, all stay in the mind as strong characters we are likely to meet again.

The journey is both gruelling and exhilarating. Tough both physically and mentally, they encounter horrors beyond civilisation. The world has literally reverted to the middle ages and the barbaric nature of man is revealed. This isn’t for the faint hearted, don’t expect an easy ride, it contains sex and violence, but is never gratuitous.

The authors’ background is obvious throughout and gives an incredibly strong sense of realiCheyne Curryty to the military behaviour and action of our heroines. But this is so much more than a story about some military adventure; the world building and vision of what could be the reality of a post-apocalyptic world is simply brilliant.

I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t want to. The only problem with it is waiting for volume two. Ms’s Curry and Graskey better be beavering away because they have impatient readers waiting. Even if you don’t normally read dystopian or fantasy of any sort, this book will intrigue and fascinate, keep you up way past your bedtime and inevitably ask the question.. how would I survive?



Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bossy Pants (February 8, 2017)
  • ASIN: B06WLGFND9
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Heartland – Vickie Adams

Heartland - Vickie AdamsCam was the archetypal troubled teen, ran from home the day she finished school and never went back, has a memory block from her early childhood which hides a chronic trauma. As an adult she has made a life, avoided entanglements and has anger issues.

When a call from her hated Uncle to say her GrandaPa is dying pulls her back to Tennessee she is reluctant to visit for the first time in so many years, but feels the need to pay her respects to the man who held the family together. Believing her mother to be a cut off and unemotional woman who never cared for her, she is completely unprepared for the revelations that her GrandPa’s deathbed confessions unleash.

Vickie Adams first full length novel shows huge potential. The main story is excellent; shocking and deeply moving at times. It’s a complex and convoluted plot with visions, murders, an extended family drama and some very nasty history. Add in a typical lesbian “U-Haul” romance with some steamy sex and it adds up to a great combination.

Cam is a strong main character and the other leading players, her family and former school friends, are distinct and well portrayed. The relationship sub-plot, sudden and intense, is the rekindling of a high school crush, it did feel a little like an except from an erotica short story – well done but slightly off kilter with the serious emotional drama of the main story.

It’s a fast paced read with plenty of edge of the seat moments that definitely make it interesting as layer after layer of the wholly dysfunctional extended family comes unglued. The writing is solid, but perhaps lacks some emotional maturity given the extremely serious nature of some of the plot threads. There is nothing wrong with it at all, but as an author develops her craft emotional depth gets woven into the fabric of a story, and Heartland, for all its complexity does feel like a first novel.

I dont mean to be overly critical however, there is a good balance between the narrative structure, dialogue and interior monologue. I look forward to reading future works from this author who clearly has an excellent imagination and the ability to create complex characters and deal with difficult emotionally charged themes.

A personal gripe – I don’t get the jacket at all. It looks like an erotica cover, with a provocatively dressed woman who looks nothing like any of the main characters and suggests a steamy romance. This is a good emotionally charged drama touching on complex issues and the cover does not reflect that at all.


Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.


(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Wicked Publishing (May 10, 2017)
  • ASIN: B071L8RXQJ
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Heights of Green – Lise MacTague

Heights of Green - Lise MacTagueIn Heights of Green, Lise MacTague returns us to the lives of Jak Stowell and Torrin Ivanov. After their escape from Haefen at the end of Depths of Blue, Torrin returns them to her home planet of Nadierzda. Nadi is another fringe planet but this one is hidden from the rest of the galaxy by an asteroid belt and all off-world travelers keep even the existence of the planet a secret. Nadierzda is a planet of only women and Jak is in for the culture shock of her life.

As a female sniper in an all-male army on her home planet of Haefen, Jak constantly was on guard to never be seen as anything other than a man and a soldier. As she recovers from her ordeal escaping from Haefen, she has to learn to let herself be seen as female and that her relationship with Torrin, a crime where she comes from, is perfectly natural on Nadi.

Where survival and civil war provided the main source of conflict in the first book of the trilogy, angst regarding Jak and Torrin’s growing relationship, Jak’s internal struggles with her identity and Torrin’s type A personality when it comes to her business, all provide the dissonance between the characters for most of this second book.

Ms. MacTague once again builds a stunning world whose women run an entire planet, from politics to economics to the military and everything in between. She introduces us to new characters like Torrin’s family and business partners and the soldiers at the military base who become Jak’s friends. As the story progresses, the reader becomes more and more invested in the relationship between the sniper and the smuggler from completely different worlds.

As most second parts in a trilogy, this one ends in a cliffhanger, leaving dangling threads to be picked up and carried through to the third book. I’d suggest that you have the third book, Vortex of Crimson, at the ready. As soon as you put down Heights of Green, you will want to start reading the next one immediately. I know I am!! Lise MacTague is batting 1000 so far with the Edge of Deception trilogy. I can’t wait to keep reading!


Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bella Books (December 18, 2015)
  • ASIN: B019KU3J5I
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Under Parr – Andrea Bramhall

Under Parr - Andrea BramhallWhen a skeleton is found in a previously sealed up WWII bunker Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon is faced with a cold case which some intriguing twists. Scraps of women’s clothes on a man’s bones, different names on the labels, different sized shoes on the wrong feet. Kate isn’t sure they will ever find out who he was, let alone how he died and ended up in a bunker that has been sealed since the storm floods of 2013, but she is determined to do her best find out.

As the investigation unfolds the twists and turns become more of a puzzle, unusual activity at the golf course, above average deaths at the local care-home, and a series of clues that just make the detective’s radar ping.

Book 2 of the Norfolk Coast Investigation Stories series and the events of book 1, Collide-O-Scope, are still being felt in the fishing village of Brandale. Gina has recovered physically but emotionally the scars are deep. Sammy is having nightmares and being bullied at school by kids whose fathers are either waiting for trial or out of a job. The impact on Kate and Gina isn’t good either, Gina has withdrawn, and Kate doesn’t know how to get through to her.

As always Andrea Bramhall’s story arc are excellently thought through and executed. This is a solid detective story, occasional leaps of intuition and faith, but essentially the local “Plod”* following a series of interrelated clues and gradually uncovering how the events we see in the prologue came about.

The characters are becoming old friends, deepening as we get to know them, filling out details, colouring in history; their friendships and relationships growing over time. The police team has a new member who doesn’t quite fit and is definitely causing friction, but Kate and Stella’s friendship provides wonderful light relief and flashes of laugh out loud humour.

Sammy is particularly well drawn and the combination of childhood simplicity and trauma induced maturity is intriguing to read. Bramhall always manages to introduce a serious theme in her novels and here we have several; Sammy’s bullying, Gina’s emotional struggles and care-home abuse. However this is not a heavy book, these serious threads add to the reality without detracting from the gentle romance. The flashes of humour and the reasonably fast paced unfolding make it a genuinely pleasurable read.

Andrea Bramhall biogUnder Parr is set a few weeks after the events in Collide-O-Scope and while it stands alone as a story arc there is no doubt it is firmly part of a series; indeed we are left with a tantalising thread to carry over into book 3. I would definitely recommend reading them as a series, if you like romance/crime and excellent writing, this is one you don’t want to miss.

Set on the east coast of England these stories have a decidedly English feel, and are a delight to read. The characters are solid, the events fit the time and place, even the weather has a very English role to play. The angst is there but underplayed, the emotions and relationships are realistic and the whole is grounded in a very English setting. Midsomer Murders with a lesbian twist.

*Plod is English slang for the local police, affectionate although implying slow thinking and moving, comes from the old-fashioned Bobbies walking the streets with their slow heavy pace.


Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 289 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Ylva (May 17, 2017)
  • ASIN: B072HMT2DB
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Unbroken – Donna K Ford

Unbroken - Donna K FordThis is a classic combination of the “quiet girl/player” and the “opposites attract” theme, but with a serious sub plot.

Kayla is a therapist, open hearted and caring but badly damaged by previous loss, she would love to settle down with a life partner, but is too hurt to consider looking. Jackie is the big brash confident and extrovert player.. except underneath it all is a woman scarred by childhood abuse.

When they quite literally collide the attraction is immediate, but Kyla runs a mile. She may think, wistfully, of the attractive woman she met, but she wont allow herself to make that call. Fate, however, has different plans, throwing them back together when Kyla needs a PT after a violent encounter, and the stage is set for a rather tumultuous relationship.

Kayla and Jackie are complex women with recognisable strengths and weaknesses but both wracked by their own fears. As usual Donna K. Ford has created real life women with classic characters that are people we can believe in and relate too. Their fears shape their behaviour and are founded on solid life experiences we can all empathise with.

The main subplot to the romance, of Kayla’s colleague Jen’s problem marriage and drug addicted husband, provides both the action that re-connects the main characters and the cause of their subsequent estrangement. At the same time Jackie is searching for her mum, or at least information about her, and the plot themes intertwine as the story progresses.

Donna K Ford bioThe issues of abuse, violence and addiction threads its way through the novel and grounds the romance into something more serious. While the romance remains the core story, the impact of addiction and violence on both women, and Jen and Jackie’s mum, is dealt with strongly as you would expect from Ford, who always intertwines a serious sub plot with her traditional romances.

Well written and expertly handled, the sub plots deepen the emotional integrity of the characters. The romance is slow moving, and the internal dialogue plays an important role, but while there is a lot of angst, it is well founded and well portrayed within the complex emotions of abuse survival.

I always enjoy Donna K Ford’s writing style and the balance she achieves between romance and the more serious issues she tackles, making them feel real for the characters rather than a bolt on for effect. Definitely on my recommended list this is a slow burn and thoughtful read that also has some seriously hot encounters.



Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes (May 16, 2017)
  • ASIN: B071H7V44C
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