Outside the Law – Carsen Taite

Outside the Law - Carsen TaiteTanner Cohen and Sydney Braswell had the perfect college romance, future plans and ideal partnership… except that what Sydney had planned wasn’t precisely what Tanner wanted, and while Syd didn’t listen, Tanner didn’t really make her.

Years later they are forced to work together when Syd is assigned to the task force Tanner and her FBI/DEA/USA team-mates have formed to investigate their seemingly dodgy boss and his mob connections. Can Syd and Tanner work together and find a way to be friends, or will they face up to the thread of connection still between them? In the last of the Lone Star Law Romance’s Peyton, Tanner, Bianca, Dale and Syd will finally find the answers to their questions as a line is drawn and the good and bad are finally revealed.

This has been an excellent series of romance/crime thrillers and “Outside the Law” pulls it all together and ties up the loose ends. In each successive book we have had a team member find romance, so it won’t be a shock that this time its Tanner’s turn, and when the love of her life turns up in the opening scene we know where the romance plot is going, however bumpy the road might be getting there.

At the same time the plot thickens as US Attorney Herschel Gellar seems to be getting more and more involved with unpleasant characters and shady deals. The big reveal puts an interesting twist on the whole story, especially one dominated by powerful women.

I’m a series junky as I freely admit and it was great to read the final instalment, revisit the characters we have come to know and love, see the ongoing relationships and friendships take another step, and finally find out just who was behind everything from the murder of Lindsey Ryan onwards. Thoroughly enjoyable reading, only sad the series is over.



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: 233 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (May 15, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07CMCGPFF
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The Locket – Gerri Hill

The Locket - Gerri HillDanielle Stevens is Hollywood’s rising star, with a line of blockbusters behind her and her next big role lined up, whether she wants it or not. Set on showing her acting skills as a homicide detective she selects the antsy Detective Harper Jeremiah of Dallas PD to shadow.

Detective Jeremiah is less than impressed to be told she has some actress tailing her, and even when the gorgeous Danielle turns up, to the envy of the male detectives, Harper resists the pull. But Danielle needs her for more than a role model, and when her stalker starts getting serious Harper cannot resist stepping up to protect the woman she has come to like and admire.

Another great Gerri Hill mystery romance. The characters of Danielle and Harper are interesting and complex, their initial interactions, with Harper angry at the assignment and Danielle unsure of how much she can trust the Detective, sets up a level of challenge as they get to know each other. Both have issues that only time and sharing will overcome, which gives the romance an organic development that didn’t feel forced. Both need to make changes in their lives and in each other they find the perfect foil.
The stalker is a nasty piece of work and plays an excellent game of cat and mouse; his actions are utterly unnerving. As he escalates so does the tension and the critical question of who could possibly be quite that sneaky without leaving a trace. Overall the combination of psychological fear, mystery/thriller and slow build romance works really well.

This became a real page-turner as the tension racked up, I couldn’t put it down. Hill has a knack for combining strong characters, vulnerable and complex, with a situation that allows them to grow, while keeping us on our toes as the mystery unfolds. Definitely one of my favourite Gerri Hill thrillers, highly recommended.


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: 252 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bella Books (April 20, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07BVY3GX9
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Love at Cooper’s Creek – Missouri Vaun

Love at Cooper’s Creek - Missouri VaunShaw Daly left Coopers Creek for the big wide world, studied Art and made it to the top in marketing and sales. She achieved more than she ever thought to, even owning a 19C triplex in San Francisco; but life is empty and she no longer get any sense of achievement from selling things people don’t need. When she goes home to Coopers Creek to have some down time she is lost and empty, with no purpose in life.

Apart from a few brief trips and a semester abroad, Kate Elkins is the exact opposite, small-town girl who loves her job teaching first grade and is firmly and happily part of a social and family network. Taking a year off to care for her ailing mother is a sacrifice, but Kate knows It is something she needs to do.

When Shaw and Kate collide in the local shop memories of her school-girl crush flood Kate and so the dance begins. Attracted and interested but aware it can only be short term, both women want to explore their feelings while resisting anything painful.

A light and enjoyable romance ensues, enough natural angst from the expected timeline, with some nice side-lines, particularly Shaw’s unexpected family history. Shaw has an internal journey to realising what’s important and must grow into her real self. The portrayal of Kate’s mother and her care is well done and sympathetically drawn.

A classic traditional romance, easy reading, good dialogue and loveable characters; saccharine sweet in places, the sub-plots and setting save it. The editing could have been tighter in places early on, but overall an enjoyable summer read.


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: 232 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (February 13, 2018)
  • ASIN: B0798HQQCZ
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Goldie Finalists 2018

Ann Bannon Popular Choice

57 Nominees | 9 finalists* | 1 winner (9 finalists due to a tie at 8th place after Round 1 voting)

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
An Outsider Inside R J Samuel Self-Published buy
Edge of Glory Rachel Spangler Bywater Books buy
Goldenrod Ann McMan Bywater Books buy
Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices From the Gay Bars S. Renee Bess and Lee Lynch (eds.) Flashpoint Publications buy
Perfect Rhythm Jae Ylva Publishing buy
Right Here, Right Now Georgia Beers Bold Strokes Books buy
Sappho’s Bar and Grill Bonnie J. Morris Bywater Books buy
Strawberry Summer Melissa Brayden Bold Strokes Books buy
Time’s Rainbow: Writing Ourselves Back Into American History Lori L. Lake & Christopher Hawthorne Moss (ed.) Launch Point Press buy

Anthology/Collections (Fiction)

9 Nominees | 2 finalists | 1 winner

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
Conference Call Ann Roberts (ed.) Bella Books buy
Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices From the Gay Bars S. Renee Bess and Lee Lynch (eds.) Flashpoint Publications buy

Combined Non-Fiction

This category is a combination of Anthlogy/Collections (Non-Fiction) and General Non-Fiction, due to fewer than 6 nominations respectively in those categories

8 Nominees | 2 finalists | 1 winner

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
Fried & Convicted: Rehoboth Beach Uncorked Fay Jacobs Bywater Books buy
Grief Map Sarah Hahn Campbell Brain Mill Press buy

Contemporary Romance (Short Novels)

31 Nominees | 8 finalists | 3 winners

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
Bait and Switch Blythe H. Warren Bella Books buy
Echo Point Virginia Hale Bella Books buy
Fake it till You Make it M. Ullrich Bold Strokes Books buy
Forget Me Not Kris Bryant Bold Strokes Books buy
Highland Fling Anna Larner Bold Strokes Books buy
Pausing Renee Mackenzie Affinity Rainbow Publications buy
Unbridled Fox Brison Bold Fox Publishing n/a
Unexpected Jenny Frame Bold Strokes Books buy

Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length Novels)

40 Nominees | 10 finalists | 4 winners

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
Ask, Tell E. J. Noyes Bella Books buy
The Butterfly Whisperer Lisa Moreau Bold Strokes Books buy
Delay of Game Tracey Richardson Bella Books buy
Love After Hours: A Rivers Community Romance Radclyffe Bold Strokes Books buy
Nantucket Rose CF Frizzell Bold Strokes Books buy
Night Voice CF Frizzell Bold Strokes Books buy
Right Here, Right Now Georgia Beers Bold Strokes Books buy
Sidebar Carsen Taite Bold Strokes Books buy
What Matters Most Georgia Beers Brisk Press buy
Wishing on a Dream Julie Cannon Bold Strokes Books buy

Contemporary Romance (Long Novels)

33 Nominees | 8 finalists | 3 winners

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
Casting Lacey Elle Spencer Self-Published buy
Crescent City Confidential Aurora Rey Bold Strokes Books buy
Edge of Glory Rachel Spangler Bywater Books buy
Perfect Rhythm Jae Ylva Publishing buy
Rock and a Hard Place Andrea Bramhall Ylva Publishing buy
The Secret Pond Gerri Hill Bella Books buy
Vacationland Susan X Meagher Brisk Press buy
Who’d Have Thought G Benson Ylva Publishing buy

Debut Novel

37 Nominees | 9 finalists | 4 winners

Title
Author Publisher Buy book
Bend Nancy J. Hedin Anglerfish Press an imprint of Riptide Publishing buy
Falling Into Her Erin Zak Bold Strokes Books buy
Frame by Frame CJ Murphy Desert Palm Press buy
Just Beyond the Shining River Lynnette Beers Regal Crest Enterprises buy
Marriage of a Thousand Lies SJ Sindu Soho Press buy
The Road To Wings Julie Tizard Bold Strokes Books buy
The Square Donut Lauren Crane Backyard Bird Publishing buy
The Tiger’s Daughter K. Arsenault Rivera Tor/Forge Books buy
The Winter Loon Lori Henriksen Cougar Creek Books buy

Erotica

11 Nominees | 3 finalists | 1 winner

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
Her Best Friend’s Sister Meghan O’Brien Bold Strokes Books buy
Party Favors Jaime Clevenger Bella Books buy
This Foreign Affair Harper Bliss Ladylit Publishing buy

General Fiction

18 Nominees | 5 finalists | 2 winners

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
Bend Nancy J. Hedin Anglerfish Press an imprint of Riptide Publishing buy
Bitterroot Queen Jove Belle Dirt Road Books buy
Changing Perspectives Jen Silver Affinity Rainbow Publications buy
Goldenrod Ann McMan Bywater Books buy
The Price of Cash Ashley Bartlett Bold Strokes Books buy

Historical Fiction

14 Nominees | 4 finalists | 1 winner

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
The Ada Decades Paula Martinac Bywater Books buy
Crossing the Wide Forever Missouri Vaun Bold Strokes Books buy
The Sniper’s Kiss Justine Saracen Bold Strokes Books buy
The Winter Loon Lori Henriksen Cougar Creek Books buy

Mystery/Thriller

22 Nominees | 6 finalists | 2 winners

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
A Quiet Death Cari Hunter Bold Strokes Books buy
Forsaken Trust: A Luce Hansen Thriller Meredith Doench Bold Strokes Books buy
Genuine Gold Ann Aptaker Bold Strokes Books buy
The Girl on the Edge of Summer J. M. Redmann Bold Strokes Books buy
Lethal Care Claire McNab with Katherine V. Forrest Bella Books buy
Taken In Erica Abbott Bella Books buy

Paranormal/Horror

9 Nominees | 2 finalists | 1 winner

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
Five Moons Rising Lise MacTague Bella Books buy
Little Dip – Garoul Series Book V Gill McKnight Dirt Road Books buy

Poetry

10 Nominees | 3 finalists | 1 winner

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
The Girls with Stone Faces Arleen Paré Brick Books buy
Hanging On Our Own Bones Judy Grahn Arktoi Books buy
Walking Through Turquoise Laurie MacFayden Frontenac House Ltd. buy

Romantic Suspense/Intrigue/Adventure

34 Nominees | 9 finalists | 3 winners

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
A More Perfect Union Carsen Taite Bold Strokes Books buy
Heart Stop Radclyffe Bold Strokes Books buy
Into Thin Air Jeannie Levig Bold Strokes Books buy
Letter of the Law Carsen Taite Bold Strokes Books buy
Lucy’s Chance Jackie D Bold Strokes Books buy
Mine To Keep Wendy Hudson Ylva Publishing buy
Moment of Weakness KG MacGregor Bella Books buy
The Road To Wings Julie Tizard Bold Strokes Books buy
The Scholarship Jaime Maddox Bold Strokes Books buy

Science-Fiction/Fantasy

29 Nominees | 9 finalists (due to three-way tie in 7th place) | 3 winners

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
Ardulum: Second Don J.S. Fields Ninestar Press buy
The End Roselle Graskey and Cheyne Curry Bossy Pants Books buy
Erased Robbi McCoy Bella Books buy
Fury’s Choice Brey Willows Bold Strokes Books buy
House of Fate Barbara Ann Wright Bold Strokes Books buy
Phoenix Rising Rebecca Harwell Bold Strokes Books buy
Seoul Circuit Tamara Boyens Supposed Crimes buy
Shattered Lee Winter Ylva Publishing buy
Spark Catherine Friend Bold Strokes Books buy

Tee Corinne Award for Outstanding Cover Art

72 Nominees | 8 finalists | 1 winner

Title
Cover Artist Publisher Buy Book
The Ada Decades Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio Bywater Books buy
An Outsider Inside Ann McMan, Treehouse Studio Self-Published buy
Buried Heart Melody Pond Bold Strokes Books buy
Close to Home Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio Bywater Books buy
Edge of Glory Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio Bywater Books buy
Goldenrod Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio Bywater Books buy
On a LARP Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio Bywater Books buy
Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices From the Gay Bars Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio Flashpoint Publications buy

 

Young Adult

13 Nominees | 3 finalists | 1 winner

Title
Author Publisher Buy Book
Girls Like Me Nina Packebush Bedazzled Ink Publishing buy
Sovereign April Daniels Diversion Books buy
The Square Donut Lauren Crane Backyard Bird Publishing buy

Hiding Hearts – RE Bradshaw

Hiding Hearts – RE BradshawR. E. Bradshaw’s 2x Great Aunt was known as the greatest horsewoman in Wayne County, North Carolina. Wild and untamed, living her life her way, she has inspired Bradshaw to begin a new series which starts at the tail end of the Civil War in Goldsborough, NC. The county is bracing itself for the arrival of Sherman’s troops, the ravages of the bummers and the slow return of the Counties young men, war-weary and damaged in body and mind.

Lottie Bratcher is only 18, but her strong will, fearless nature, and bright mind make her the natural leader of the Bratcher women left to scrabble a survival in their small parcel of land. The men are away fighting a war started by rich men and having little bearing on the poor white families who had never owned slaves and were socially only a step above the free blacks of the area. Scraping a living, guarding their own and protecting the so-called deserters, including her brother Jefferson, Lottie has little time for affairs of the heart and does her best to fight the childhood crush she has for the beautiful heiress Patrice Cole and her twin Patrick. But in times of war allies are frequently thrown together, especially when Patrice is determined that they will be.

This, the first in the Appletree Swamp series, is an intriguing and extremely well-done mix of historical adventure and light-hearted romance, with a delightful twist in the tale for the Bratcher and Cole siblings. The atmosphere created, the action and the setting, are exceptionally well drawn and feel so authentic that you get lost in the lives of the extended family and their neighbours. Full of cameo roles from the illegally literate Medicine Mary, the enchanting ferryman Jacob and even a brief encounter with Sherman himself, Bradshaw has filled the pages with delightful characters who instantly become friends.

The background of the swamp and the detail of the war make this very solidly set in time and place, clearly very familiar territory for Ms Bradshaw who’s eye for detail and love of both family genealogy, Civil War history and the land of her father, shines through in every line. The whole is lightened by the almost comedic attempts of Lottie to avoid the woman who dominates her heart and mind, running like a skittish colt, while Patrice patiently but determinedly chases her down.

Delightful reading, another wonderful example of how an idea can catch the imagination of an excellent writer and a whole world comes to life. From the darkness of the Rainey Bell thrillers through the madcap Decky and Charlie stories and the charming standalone romances such as “Waking up Gray”, R. E. Bradshaw has a real talent for producing deeply felt characters who climb inside our hearts and minds. Her books are always at the top of my reading pile, and the Appletree Swamp series just adds another string to her already full bow.

E-format currently available from R. E. Bradshaw Books



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 2018
  • Publisher: R.E. Bradshaw Books (March 29, 2018)
  • ISBN: 978-0998954967
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Great Bones – Lynn Ames

Great Bones - Lynn AmesWhen Grandma Goldie Horowitz wants to help her granddaughter find a girlfriend she naturally turns to Ida Pinsky, shadchan, lifelong friend and fellow resident at Shady Acres Assisted Living Community. Ida in turn points Goldie toward her own granddaughter, Julia, who runs an online dating service in her spare time.  Rachel, the object of all this scheming, is a die-hard romantic who earns her living writing greeting card sentiments. Her therapist wants her to get out there and stop hiding behind her insecurities, but every date turns into a disaster that reinforces her self-image as a hopeless klutz. Can Julia find her the perfect match? Will Goldie and Ida get caught escaping Shady Acres, or barred from Melvin’s Diner for loitering?  Or will fate take a hand and bring both Rachel and Julia their hearts desire?

Lynn Ames thirteenth book is a departure from her previous romances and thrillers as she takes a step, or rather a shove, into romantic comedy; it’s always dangerous having pushy friends. Needless to say, this romp through the shenanigans of a pair of New York Jewish Grandmothers and their adorable, if damaged, grand-daughters is a huge success.

Rachel and Julia are loveable, complex and moderately tortured souls whose overbearing mothers have twisted into self-depreciating knots with their expectations. With seemingly perfect siblings in finance and medicine, Rachel can never convince her mother that she has a real job and can afford to eat, let alone that she’s at the top of her profession. Julia’s pompous parents care more for their social standing than their relationship with their daughter and quite possibly believe Julia will go to hell for being gay, if they believed in hell.

With the help of her slightly bumbling sidekick Ida, a traditional matchmaker, Goldie pretty much steals the show.  Her adorable plotting that always slightly backfires, her feigned deafness and memory loss to escape her daughter’s house, illicit trips out in her cascade-blue 1972 Buick Electra Deuce-and-a-Quarter to the movies and the diner for chocolate malt; she is the perfect grandma with a naughty streak.

Add into the mix the adorable fluffy golden retriever/Siberian husky mix Freud and we have a classic ensemble piece that will simply make you smile. Yes there’s a little angst with the stressed family relationships and the “will they won’t they” romance, but without some angst what would a Jewish Grandmother have to worry about? Overall the whole is suffused with love, light and affection.

Extremely well executed as always, the writing flows, the reading is effortless and the characters reach right out and touch your heart.  Lynn Ames has hit another home run with this one, it’s taken a while but it’s definitely been worth the wait.

Available in paperback and e-format from LynnAmes.com



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: 274 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Phoenix Rising (March 27, 2018)
  • ISBN: 978-1936429141
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The Promise – Claire Highton-Stevenson

The Promise – Claire Highton-StevensonWhen Susan Jenkins is diagnosed with stage IV cancer she, and her wife Ali, must deal with the consequences, not only of the terminal diagnosis, but of the end of their life together, their hopes and dreams. Susan is the stoic planner who accepts what is coming, fights it as hard as she can, but also prepares and plans for her end and for her wife’s future. With gentle persuasion she forces Ali to promise she will at least try to open her heart again in the future.

The is an excellent, well written and deeply moving story. In the first half we live with Susan’s diagnosis, treatment and gradual decline, heart-wrenching and yet heart-warming. It is handled with such compassion that while it will choke you up it is also so gently done, and represents the best possible terminal care anyone could dream of, that Susan fades away almost on her own terms.

Susan and Ali dominate these chapters, well drawn, deeply emotional, extremely real. It is almost a two person tragedy as we see the drama unfold, only Susan’s nurse, Blair intrudes, and then largely as a foil to Ali’s grief. Susan gentle, caring, the homemaker and manager, Ali, more mercurial, less able to control or show her emotions, but whose actions speak so loudly of her love.

The second half see’s Ali trying to find a way through life without Susan. Now we have a story about how somebody comes through grief, the impact on her work, and the gradual emergence back into the light. Again excellently written, deeply emotional, Ali’s ups and downs, despair and guilt, acceptance and re-emergence are portrayed with empathy and understanding.

I literally couldn’t put this down. It was one of the most engaging stories I have read for a long time and both the tragedy and the romance captured my heart and mind; both had me in tears. I haven’t read Ms Highton-Stevenson’s first two novels, but I will certainly be looking out for her next release.



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: 282 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Indi (March 8, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07BBVK8H1
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Just for Show – Jae

Just for Show - JaeIt really doesn’t look good when you are a relationship therapist and your fiancée leaves you just before the wedding, and it is even worse when you are trying to establish your name by publishing a self-help book titled “The Art of the Lasting Relationship”. For Claire, OCD, neat freak psychologist with ambitions to run her own clinic, the unexpected departure of her fiancée just as the doorbell rings for their engagement party is an emotional, social and career disaster. When she is offered a publishing contract subject to meeting the commissioning editor, who expects the dutiful wife to be by her side, Claire and her agent embark on recruiting a stand in.

Lana is a struggling actress who works as a barista while she waits for that big break, a combination Claire wouldn’t go near in normal circumstances. Lana is messy and casual and makes the kitchen look like a tornado hit, and she hates relationship self-help books. She is everything Claire is not, everything that winds Claire up. But “needs must” and so they embark on a three months contract as fake fiancées.

A great fun read, Jae’s usual excellent writing, scene setting and character building make this a top-notch romance. Not too much false angst, the story line itself provides the tension, and the opposites attract romance is well done. Claire is so self-absorbed she doesn’t even notice Lana is attractive or realise how much she enjoys the mess.

The comedy of the situation makes it light and witty, despite the seriousness for the over thinking psychologist who needs to realise that her counselling advice is better than her personal life. Lena needs to grow out of her anger at her mother and her self-help addiction. The characters are very well drawn, absorbing and likeable, even Claire will grow on you as she realises her own foibles and mistakes. Between them they add up to more than the sum of the parts.

This is part of the Hollywood Series but they are loosely interwoven and this definitely stands alone. Another excellent story from one of the best in the business.



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: 311 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Ylva (March 7, 2018)
  • ASIN: B079Y2W34S
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Fury’s Bridge, Fury’s Choice, Fury’s Death – Brey Willows

A trilogy I hadn’t come across until Fury’s Death hit my inbox, these three are an interesting mix of fantasy and realism with a romance on top.

Fury’s Bridge - Brey Willows In Fury’s Bridge Alectho (Alec), one of the three mythical Fury sisters, is given the job of saving the world by the Fates. She must convince Selene Perkton, an atheist philosophy professor in LA who think humanity would be better off without religion, that the gods exist and work at a company called Afterlife in LA. Together they must defeat the forces of darkness threatening to overwhelm the world, and along the way work out how to deal with their obvious attraction.

34722522Fury’s Choice sees second Fury sister Tis having a breakdown, exhausted from the workload of punishing evil doers in a world where humans seem more crazy and cruel than ever, she is also tasked with writing a contract for the gods during their new phase among humanity. Taking a much-needed break she meets playgirl philanthropist Kera Espinosa whose medical research nearly led to a horrendous outcome. Kera now spends her time trying to do good in the most war torn and run-down places. Tis and Kera are drawn to each other, but both are unsure of how it could possibly work.

37793299Fury’s Death brings the trilogy to a neat and perfect circle. Third Fury, party girl Meg, is capable of more than the rest of Afterlife suspect. While she loves her hedonistic lifestyle and hates the growing workload, she loves her job, and has some seriously good ideas about how the gods can better interact with humans. Death, Dani Morana, has been crushing on Meg for millennia, but while they are close friends the sexy Fury has never seemed interested. Drawn together by the growing Chaos around them Death and Fury must combine to save the world, and in the meantime become their true selves.

The whole is an intriguing concept, light and playfully done but well researched and constructed, with enough ancient and mythological detail to make it work without ever becoming an theology lesson. If you believe in a higher being how would you react to God or Jesus, Jehovah or Mohammed, being available by email? If you don’t believe, how would you feel if the gods – all of them – materialised?

Brey Willows has created an amusing cast from Fates and Furies to the gods of old; led, managed and bullied along by Z, (Zeus). The gods are extremely well done, literally personifying the characteristics we associate with them, drawn with wit and humour, they are exactly who we would expect them to be. God (that’s the Christian God, he’s called God) is a bit stuffy and takes himself very seriously, Jesus has some level of resentment towards his father but does well with his sandal business, Azrael is really concerned with how people perceive Hell and wants to do a complete overhaul, Death is contemplating what happens to those who believe Death is a destination.

The romances are well done, unusual issues when eternal forces fall for mortal humans and mental concepts collide. But while the romances are central, the stories are far bigger, dealing, albeit lightly, with the constant battle between good and evil, forces of Chaos and destruction wanting humanity to destroy itself while the gods make a stand for peace, love and ecological sanity.

Thoroughly enjoyed these; romances with a difference, fantasy set in the here and now with an interesting twist. Highly recommended.



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)

Fury’s Bridge:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (March 14, 2017)
  • ASIN: B06WP98KL2
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Fury’s Choice:

  • Paperback: 271 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes (September 12, 2017)
  • ASIN: B074V9STQH
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Fury’s Death:

  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes (March 13, 2018)
  • ASIN: B079WRMC4N
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My Lady Lipstick – Karin Kallmaker

My Lady Lipstick - Karin KallmakerParis is a geek with a history in Gaming that went terribly wrong and left her riddled with anxiety and hiding from the world. She turned her creative skills to writing intelligent bodice rippers under the pseudonym Anita Topaz, and has become a best-selling author. All is well until the new owners of the publishing house want Anita to appear in public to promote her latest book, and Paris is left between a rock and a hard place, wanting the sales but terrified of the limelight.

Enter stage left Fiona, or is it Diana, struggling actress who fate throws into Paris’ path. Diana has enough layers for the proverbial cake, and picking up the letter asking Anita to come to New York for a meeting gives her the idea for her next role. The ensuing tale is a mix of rom-com, romance and almost slapstick drama, leading both women into complex acts of misdirection and disguise.

Karin Kallmaker writes exceedingly good romances, and this one is a masterful mixture of a fun tale, delightful characters and her wicked sense of humour. It isn’t full of laugh out loud moments, but the more subtle wit that raises a smile at the play on words and the sarcastic banter. Add in Shakespearean character flaws along with the essential growth of our leading ladies and we have a classic.

The main characters are intriguing. Paris, broken and scared from a horrendous cyber-attack that literally threatened her life, is a classic soft butch gaming geek with a chronic anxiety disorder that makes her like a constant battle. Her learned and carefully constructed mechanisms of coping and deflecting make for an interesting read. As she tries to come out of her shell the clash with the extremely confident, outgoing Lady Diana Beckinsale is bound to cause sparks. Diane has her own issues, hiding from her life by combining her jet set lifestyle with part time acting and her more nefarious activities. As they say, opposites attract, compliment and sometimes combine to make more than the sum of the parts.

The romance is of the sex first fall in love later variety and Ms Kallmaker is an expert at the balance between fine drawn attraction, growing emotion and full on sex-appeal. The writing is excellent, tight and clean, and of course perfectly edited. The whole is a perfectly wrapped bundle of enjoyment for anyone who likes a good romance.



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(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bella Books (February 20, 2018)
  • ASIN: B079Y6NMDK
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