The Touch of a Woman – KG MacGregor

Touch of a Woman - KG MacGregorIn The Touch of a Woman KG MacGregor has gone for the very traditional lesbian romance – mature women finding herself, the ‘will she wont she’, the slow burn and the out lesbian who knows she should run a mile.

What makes this an interesting read beyond the standard plotline are unusual back-histories. Ellis and her family have been devastated by a workplace shooting rampage that has left them both emotionally and financially bereft. They are all trying to find a way to deal with the after-effects and MacGregor subtly explores the dynamics of a mother and her young adult children recovering from the devastation.

Summer has finally managed to escape from an alcoholic co-dependent and emotionally abusive relationship, and is dealing with issues we will all recognise – who gets the friends, the social life, and how to stop the ex causing a scene.

KG MacGregorThe women become friends, and it really is a slow burn, but it is well done. The characters are well drawn, complex women, who will resonate with many. And their tender attraction is a reminder that real life isn’t always about the grand passion, but a gentle falling.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 213 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bella Books (December 19, 2015)
  • ASIN: B019L42VV6
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The Organization – Lucy di Legge

The Organization - Lucy di LeggeThis is an interesting and unusual book. A dark dystopia set in near future London where ozone burn-off is now deadly and big brother is everywhere under a fascist nationalistic government. It’s a political drama. It’s a romance. And I was surprised to find I really enjoyed it.

Charlie is an American biochemist who has not recovered from the death of her wife and leads a shut down, minimalistic life. She is pulled into “The Organization” by co-workers and is entranced by the cool and distant Harriet. As the story unfolds we see both the politics of resistance and the personal dramas of those involved.

The characters are intriguing, multifaceted and complex. Charlie the loner is coloured in slowly while Harriet remains an enigma, but one we somehow get to know even before she takes centre stage. There are a wide range of supporting players, all carefully and cleverly portrayed. The personal choices our central cast make are all about loyalty, to the cause and each other.

The setting is well done with enough recognisable London to ground the fiction in reality. The impact of ozone burn-off and global warming has changed how people live into an unpleasant battle with the light that somehow resonates with an Orwellian darkness. The whole political scene mirrors the surveillance, misinformation and newspeak of 1984, but with a modern and recognisably British flavour.

Overall an absorbing read and I can’t actually explain why I enjoyed it as much as I did. Not my usual cup of tea by any means, and some of the plot twists had my head spinning. But it certainly kept me engaged. I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author and wondering what she will come up with next.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Supposed Crimes (February 1, 2016)
  • ASIN: B019YC112A
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Untrained Eye – Jody Klaire

Untrained Eye - Jody KlaireBook 3 of the Above and Beyond Series and it’s a cracker. This time our three complex and unusual characters are off to save a bunch of children from the slave trade and have to fight through evil gangsters, traumatised teenagers and their own extremely mixed up psyches.

In this episode Frei takes a much stronger role and we get to learn where her cold and uncaring demeanour comes from. Renee gets to be the mixed up kid and Aeron is the ‘normal’ one. The interplay between the three ranges from coolly professional to extremely emotional as their complex relationships grow.

These are amazing characters and unusual plots. Jody Klaire manages to mix up a thriller crime drama with a psychic whodunit and an ever so slowly burning romance. It’s a wonderful action adventure story for girls. Add in humour, great dialogue, brilliant writing and these books are just a joy.

Jody KlaireIf you haven’t read The Empath and Blind Trust you have a huge treat in store.. go get all three and take the week off work because you wont be able to put them down. And then join the rest of us while we wait with frustrated anticipation for the next instalment.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bedazzled Ink (January 14, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01ANW578E
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Jody Klaire – La Vie en Bleu

Jody Klaire – La Vie en BleuI noticed Jody Klaire’s new book Above and Beyond Series, Untrained Eye, is due out about now which reminded me I hadn’t reviewed her romcom La Vie en Bleu that was out last August.

La Vie en Bleu is an absolutely lovely read. It is well written, humorous and full of excellent human observation combined with an interesting version of the classic re-united lovers romance. It is very different from the Above and Beyond Series, but like all Ms Klaire’s work is extremely well done.

Pippa has settled, she is with a man she doesn’t love living a life she doesn’t like, because what she wanted was too scary. When her past is forced upon her the passion she left behind is impossible to ignore. The only question is whether she will have the courage to go back, to claim what is hers for the taking, and admit she was wrong.

Jody KlaireMs Klaire manages to get the ‘will she wont she’ tension in on several levels while nothing is over the top. The main characters are likeable and whole, faulty and human. The matching pair of best friends add a huge amount of fun to a romantic comedy worthy of a Hollywood script, and the background is ably filled by a beautiful setting and a loving village life.

Definitely a “highly recommended” for those who like a light-hearted romance, I look forward to more of the Romantic Ms Klaire.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing (August 1, 2015)
  • ASIN: B014EAPQ0U
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Chasing a Brighter Blue – Gerri Hill

Chasing a Brighter BlueThe newest Gerri Hill is another excellent read. Set in Colorado at Christmas, Ms Hill uses her knowledge of the outdoors as a wonderful backdrop to a charming romance.

Reagan is the damaged and tormented Photojournalist, withdrawn and struggling to survive. Shelby is the daughter of an exclusive hotel chain owner. They are brought together for a fantastical wedding party where their siblings are destined to marry, among scheduled breakfasts and fights over bridesmaids dresses.

There is an instant attraction. But Reagan is far too damaged to want more than instant gratification and Shelby knows women just want her money. So while they arrive at an uneasy truce and start to enjoy time together escaping the ridiculous pomp and ceremony, there is no way either would be interested in more.

Gerry Hill biogAs always with Gerri Hill’s books the characters are complex and engaging. Both our main protagonists and a range of secondary characters are quickly drawn in with a skilful touch that makes them very real.

The scenery in this novel is magnificent and exceedingly well drawn. Without ever being heavy-handed Ms Hill enables us to imagine the views and relish the freedom.

Gerri Hill has written a lot of very good romances, yet manages to keep them fresh and new. Chasing a Brighter Blue is an excellent example of the best sort of lesfic romance – light and easy to read, but engaging and three-dimensional. Definitely one for the re-read pile.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bella Books (December 22, 2015)
  • ISBN: 9781594934698e
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Cast Me Gently – Caren J. Werlinger

Cast Me Gently - Caren J. WerlingerCast Me Gently is a story of growing up, of loneliness, of coming out and the transformative affects of falling in love. Caren Werlinger always writes intriguing novels about complex and very real people. Once again her well-crafted plot and elegant prose transport us into the lives of her characters with all consuming intensity.

Ellie is alone; she lost her mother early and her brother to the streets. She has carved a life for herself, growing up fast and surviving by shear hard work. Somehow she has managed to keep her dreams of travel and finding her brother, as well as her kindness and humanity alive.

Teresa is part of a huge Italian-American family and while she is older, educated, mature, professional and responsible, she hasn’t really grown up or out of the confines of her family business and home.

Caren Werlinger BiogSet in the early 1980’s in rust belt Pittsburgh we see the grittiness of the city during an economic recession, with large unemployed and homeless populations. Like Ellie and Teresa the city shows us two sides, the strong closely knit ethnic groups and the down and out wandering the streets and surviving on hand-outs.

The period is a complex one, post Stonewall but way before any gay rights, Ms Werlinger uses this recent past to set very real roadblocks for the romance, issues and concerns that most of us will remember. As always her use of place and time is subtle but real, from the ever-present smokers to the grim reality of the streets and the prejudices of the time.

This is an Intricate and delicate story made up of pain and hardship, love and loss, real life emotions that every one of us will empathise with. The themes of growing up, loneliness, even ostracism, make Ellie and Teresa’s journey painful and reminds us just how hard being honest with ourselves and our lives can be. But in the end it is a tale of love, of the joy in finding that “one”, and having the strength to stand up for what will make us whole.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing (October 15, 2015)
  • ASIN: B01678SJDI
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Just Three Words – Melissa Brayden

Just Three Words – Melissa BraydonI didnt read as much as normal over the spring and summer and missed some excellent titles. I also realised I had done Melissa Brayden a huge dis-service by not reviewing Just Three Words. So apologies for being behind the times.

I loved this book. It is well written, has excellent and endearing characters, a charming backdrop of shared history and deep friendship. I enjoyed the camaraderie, the well drawn but varied characters, the recognition that their very differences are what made them such a fine team. The secondary characters are just as well drawn, and we get a real sense that Ms Brayden is a a student of human nature and a fine observer.

Melissa BraydenIt is a fine romance. We know where it’s going and don’t expect any radical surprises, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a very well done book. Excellent style, well edited and put together, and an altogether enjoyable read.. must be, I have read it twice this year and that’s a rarity.

If you haven’t sampled Melissa Brayden’s superb romances you are definitely missing out.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (April 20, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00UTPQSI4
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Sweet Hearts – Melissa Brayden, Rachel Spangler and Karis Walsh

Sweet HeartsThree short stories giving us an insight into the love life of the besties from Melissa Brayden’s Heart Block, Rachel Spangler’s LoveLife, and Karis Walsh’s Worth the Risk.

All light and fun reads, exactly what you would expect from such good romance writers and a lovely way to follow on from the main event. All three use the characters from the first book, but all stand alone as charming little tales.

In Firework by Melissa Brayden: Lucy Danaher was born into a life of privilege, and has always enjoyed the view from the top. But after clashing with reporter and rights activist Kristin James, she wonders if there’s more to the world than she once thought.

In Getting Serious by Rachel Spangler: Lisa Knapp has never been the romantic lead. She’s better suited to comic relief, but when another guest at her best friend’s wedding doesn’t go for the easy laugh, Lisa has to face the prospect of getting serious.

In Risk Factor by Karis Walsh: Myra Owens runs a therapeutic riding program for returning soldiers. She won’t risk getting hurt by becoming personally involved with her riders until Ainslee Cooper challenges her to take a chance on love.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (December 15, 2015)
  • ASIN: B018A2PJJQ
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‘Twas The Nightmare Before Christmas – Ann McMan

‘Twas The Nightmare Before Christmas – Ann McManIf you haven’t read the Diz and Clarissa stories you are missing out on a real treat. This is the 4th of the series following Nevermore!, A Christmas Tree Grows in Baltimore and Blended Families. (All available in Three)

Diz seems to attract trouble at Christmas, even when she is constantly trying to do the right thing. For once Clarissa is her willing accomplice. With sick bins, Marty’s three, the dogs, Brother Frank and Judge Claus they manage to cause chaos as usual.

Ann McManA delightful read as always with Ann McMan’s writing, light and full of fun.  McMan has a wicked sense of humour and a great eye for detail. It’s the little things, always the subtleties, which amuse and entertain. Perfect for an hour or two in front of the tree. A perfect Christmas read visiting old friends for another chapter of seasonal frolics.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 43 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: TreeHouse Studio (December 20, 2015)
  • ASIN: B019N3970S
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A Christmas Tail – Parker and Dixie Ames (As told to Lynn Ames)

A Christmas TaleI am bemused to find myself reading books written by dogs… but hey its Christmas; its well written and funny so I can’t complain. Better than some I have been forced to read.

No seriously, a delightful little tale. Dixie and Parker joining up with La Luce to make Mama smile again after a difficult year. Written to make a lot of us smile actually, particularly this week.

I was aware of Parker’s dry humour and OCD – I suspect he may have British heritage there, or is it his NY upbringing? But I hadn’t cottoned Dixie Chik’s sarcasm or realised she took courses and it’s always fun to learn personal things about our favourite characters.

Ms Ames certainly made me smile – laugh out loud on occasion. Fun to read and a sweet sentiment for all of us this Christmas. As she says in the dedication, laughter really is the best medicine.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 44 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Phoenix Rising Press (December 20, 2015)
  • ASIN: B019MZNDJI
   Available From
LynnAmes.com
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