Monthly Archives: December 2015

‘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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CarⓍl of the Bells – RE Bradshaw

CarⓍl of the Bells – RE BradshawThe Rainey Bell thriller series is one of my all time favourites and I love that RE Bradshaw throws in these light, fun, family Christmas shorts for us to enjoy. No grizzly crime scenes here, just a lovely snapshot of the family at peace.. well as much peace as you can get with nearly 4 year old triplets.

This is definitely one for the series junkies out there, and if you haven’t read the Rainey Bell series you are missing one of the best crime-thriller-romances available. There are 5 novels now and this is the second Christmas short. Seriously good stories with a delightfully developing family that has grown out of some tough crime scenes and overcome some horrendous criminal minds to survive.

RE Bradshaw bioBradshaw’s writing draws you in to the people, the story and the settings. Her sense of place and use of the surroundings adds depth to excellent characters and edge of the seat plots. The Christmas shorts are light relief, but a charming read all the same. You definitely feel like one of the family looking in.

Top of my must-have list when I know there’s a new one on the way, CarⓍl of the Bells was exactly what I expected – delightful.

(author review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 38 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: R. E. Bradshaw Books (14 Dec. 2015)
  • ASIN: B019E6P4EC
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Just Physical – Jae

just Physical - JaeAnother of the Hollywood Series, in Just Physical we follow the story of Jill Corrigan, who we met as Grace’s best friend and co-star in Damage Control. As with others in the series the books are linked, but not interdependent, and if you haven’t read the earlier titles this stands alone as a very good read.

Jill has MS but is determined to stay strong, independent and self-sufficient in every aspect of her life. She meets Crash on the set of her latest movie and the attraction is instant. Jill wants to keep it ‘Just Physical’ and so off we set on a tug of war between her heart and her head that makes for a great “will she-wont she” romance.

Jae’s books are always well written. Her characters are likeable, realistic, multi-layered. With the Hollywood Series she is building up a cast of interconnected women who have become familiar characters and give depth to the backdrop of each romance.

Jae - biogAs an author Jae is excellent at creating different tone and feel, from the historical and romantic Oregon stories, through police procedural Portland Police Bureau books and the Were fantasy set of Shape-Shifter Series she has produced a wide ranging back catalogue. All are excellent books by a master storyteller with an enjoyable and extremely readable style that flows across the page.

I know Jae writes phenomenally fast, so no doubt there is at least one in the pipeline. Her books are always high on my must have pile, and constantly on the re-read list.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing (November 30, 2015)
  • ASIN: B018AT7PI2
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Comfort and Joy – Karin Kallmaker

Comfort and Joy - Karin KallmakerA soldier comes home for Christmas leave, a surprise for her Mon who isn’t expecting her for another week. On the way she stops at the grave of her ex, a woman on a different path who couldn’t deal with her signing up. A chance encounter changes the holiday season entirely and gives her a whole new outlook on the future.

A delightful, gentle tale of an unexpected connection, Comfort and Joy is a simple story that will nevertheless warm the heart and bring hope to those who are searching for something special. Full of the warmth of family and Christmas spirit it is perfect for an evening in front of the fire with the Christmas lights glowing.

Karin kallmaker bioKarin Kallmaker’s writing brings the scene to life, from the chilly cemetery to a teaming hospital café, the setting is an extra player in the plot. She is the consummate storyteller who can make the simplest of tales creep into your heart. Most enjoyable

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 51 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Karin Kallmaker (December 7, 2015)
  • ASIN: B0193122OS
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If only they knew – Karin Kallmaker

If only they knew – Karin KallmakerAny ladies out there of a certain age.. don’t you just hate how nearly all the stories are about the youngsters – how everyone assumes we slightly more mature women can’t – don’t – wouldn’t? Well here is a short just for you.

Originally published in 2004 as part of an anthology from Alyson Publications, If Only They Knew is a brilliant example of a master storyteller at work. In a handful of pages Karin Kallmaker gives us the characters, the romance, the back-history and the subtly erotic, as well as the eye rolling naiveté of the youngsters who don’t know that trust and friendship – with a healthy spark – makes for a lifetime of love, laughter and rock-my-world sex. Karin kallmaker bio

Brilliant and fun and delightfully well done. Made me smile and dream of such a love.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback:  2,606 words
  • First published 2004
  • Publisher: Bella Books (2015)
  • ASIN: ss083e
Available from Bella Books

Dress-tease – Jae

Dress-tease JaeThis isn’t a long review. It isn’t a long short story.. but OH MY it’s hot. I went to start reading Jae’s new Hollywood Series release Just Physical and imagine my shock to find I had missed one in the series.. quelle horreur.

So I am a series junkie, I admit it. Maybe I will start a group. Of course I had to go back and read book 3 before I could even consider book 4.

Needless to say its excellent. If you have read Damage Control and liked Lauren and Grace then this is a delightful snapshot into them getting ready to go to Nick’s first premier. If you haven’t, first – where have you been? And second, even without the backstory is a hot erotic short you will love.

Jae - biogJae’s writing is always good. This series is very much in the traditional romance genre compared to her others, and very enjoyable it is too. By the way – if you like fade to grey.. don’t bother.

Now I can get on with Just Physical then… watch this space.

Product info:

  • Paperback: 23 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing (May 3, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00X4FRDNK
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The Princess and the Prix – Nell Stark

The Princess and the Prix – Nell StarkFollowing on from The Princess Affair Nell Stark continues her theme of European Royals discovering their sexuality and finding romance in unusual places. It isn’t precisely a sequel, but those who loved Kerry and Sasha wont be disappointed.

Here we meet Princess Alix of Monaco, the brainy one who hasn’t had time to find herself, and Thalia, rebel racecar driver with a chip on her shoulder. They have nothing in common and the sparks soon fly. But of course it wouldn’t be a lesbian romance without all sorts of sparks flying. Both women need to grow up – in very different ways – and it is a fun read to watch them develop.

Ms Stark’s books are always well written and this one is particularly well researched, giving a huge amount of inside knowledge about formula one, without ever feeling heavy handed. I am sure most readers will be unaware quite how physically tough it is.

It’s a fun read, light and easy going. Definitely a nice way to spend an evening in front of the fire. I always enjoy Nell Stark’s books and this one is no exception.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (November 16, 2015)
  • ASIN: B017862E4I
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Deliberate Harm – J.R.Wolfe

Deliberate Harm – J.R.WolfeDeliberate Harm is a fast-paced thriller in the style of Cussler and other madcap action adventures where they leap from one crisis to another. I have mixed feelings about the characterisation – but it’s fun to read as long as you can suspend disbelief.

It tells the tale of Portia Marks, ex army protective detail, who’s fiancé, Dr Imma Thomas, was abducted and executed by Zimbabwean terrorists. Struggling to come to terms with life after this tragedy and blaming herself for a series of decisions, Portia is suddenly confronted with the possibility that Imma escaped. A chase ensues across southern africa and London – twisted with spies, terrorists, crime syndicates, dirty bombs and CIA traitors.

While the baddy is obvious fairly early, Ms Wolfe keeps you on the edge of your seat about how Portia, and her trusty sidekick Altan, will navigate the challenges they are presented with.

The characters are likeable, although I found the idea that an ex US Army PSU agent who had served in Iraq would quake with “sickening terror” when threatened, or wonder what it would be like to fire a rifle, rather implausible and out of character.

Despite this I enjoyed the read and it was fun to have an action adventure thriller with a real balance between the male and female characters, strong women leads and lesbians saving the day.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Ylva Verlag. (July 22, 2015)
  • ASIN: B0128N3WHE
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Cold to the Touch – Cari Hunter

Cold to the Touch – Cari HunterCari Hunter writes decidedly good stories. She combines excellent plot lines, which twist and turn, with crime drama and just the right amount of thriller to keep us on the edge of our seats. Each book feels distinctive, enjoyably new and refreshingly different to standard crime dramas. Cold to the Touch is a sequel to the excellent No Good Reason, and fans of Sanne and Meg will love where she takes them this time. Cold to the Touch is more than strong enough to stand alone, but why miss an excellent series?

Hunter’s characters a well rounded, multi layered, believable and real – women we could bump into and recognise in the pub. We meet many different players in her novels and they are all distinct; from partners and colleagues to the boy having a snowball fight Cari brings them all to life with the small details of a keen observer.

Cari HunterThis series is set in the English Peak District, a glorious national park of bleak rolling hills, tortuous desolate roads that cross the tops, occasional stands of trees and deep valley reservoirs that feed the cities around it. As in all her books Hunter uses the location and the weather as an extra dimension, our heroines fight the English winter and the snow covered hills just as much as the criminals and baddies who beset them.

Cari Hunter’s books are always on my must have list, and my re-read pile; they are guaranteed to entertain. The dialogue flows, the action excites, the romance softens and all in all the pieces simply fit. Like all of Hunter’s books she never puts a foot wrong with any of the elements of excellent storytelling and weaves them together into a well crafted whole. Already impatient for book three in the series…

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (December 15, 2015)
  • ASIN: B0189W4X5I
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