Monthly Archives: February 2016

Rescued Heart – Georgia Beers

Rescued Heart - Georgia BeersSet in an animal shelter this is bound to hit all the right spots for lovers of smulchy lesfic who can’t resist good-news stories. It’s a sweet, soppy romance with the wonderful girl who cant find ‘the one’ and a difficult loner who’s issues don’t allow her to open up. Between them and the dogs it is literally lesfic heaven.

Georgia Beers write great romances, slow burning, problematic characters who need to grow, but with the inevitable outcome we all know and love. Lisa Drakemore (who appeared in A Little Bit of Spice) is the typical baggage laden ice-maiden who doesn’t notice anything outside her own small world of rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals. Ashley Stiles is the sweet, passive, happy easy-going baker who volunteers at the shelter. Ashley doesn’t rank herself highly in the attraction stakes, or any others really, and needs to find some gumption to move up and onwards. Her attraction for the cold fronted Lisa is bound to be un-requited…

Georgia Beers BioAll Georgia Beers novels are well written, well paced. This is no exception. If you have read her previous works you will almost certainly love this one. My personal favourite is still 96 Hours, but this was a pleasant way to spend the evening. Easy reading and pure lesfic escapism – it’s as sweet as its cover implies.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Brisk Press (January 28, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01B13G6J8
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Stowe Away – Blythe Rippon

Stowe Away - Blythe RipponBlythe Rippon’s second novel lives up to the promise of the first – Barring Complications. Completely different stories, setting and even sub genre, but the writing, the characterisation and the intelligence are all there.

Sam is a science genius, destined for great things. At Yale she falls for Natalie, straight and unobtainable, a player who never settles. Even when Natalie starts dating girls she doesn’t want Sam, and the unrequited love tears Sam to pieces.

When Sam’s mother needs her home she goes, willingly, but with a huge resentfulness about losing her dreams. Back in her hometown she needs to see that all things are possible, that what she wants can still be achieved despite the obstacles, and that there is more to life than the unreachable Natalie.

Here we have 3 main real life characters and a very strong supporting cast. The women are independent, ambitious and determined. They may stumble, but they never fall. They reach for what they want and form a great set of role models in different ways. Each has a different definition of success, but as the novel progresses we see that all are valid.

The first half of the novel is slow. Setting the scene for Sam’s fall, like an epic tale of the Greek tradition, she has everything and everything is achievable if she pushes hard enough. But life – fate – intervenes, and her world comes crashing down like a Homerian hero. Gradually she must learn to value things differently. The second half of the book sees her grow and change, adapt to her new life circumstances, eventually finding the peace she was incapable of before the fall.

Well written, interesting and entertaining Stowe Away shows that Blythe Rippon is a great addition to the Lesbian Fiction fold. Looking forward to what she comes up with next.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing (February 3, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01ATWTB58
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Love on Tap – Karis Walsh

Love on Tap - Karis WalshKarish Walsh writes excellent romances. They draw you in, engage your mind and capture your heart.

Love on Tap is perfect for a lazy afternoon of dreaming. The characters are interesting, absorbing. Their struggles are ones we all recognise. Their choices perfectly reasonable and the ‘will she wont she’ resonates.

Walsh is great at using a setting to deepen the plot and circumstances. Like one of my favourite novels Wingspan the place adds to the plot and characterisation. Tace is part of her landscape and it’s that connection which adds veracity to the plot. Berit is a nomad who dreads settling. Ultimately it is a question of who will change – who will concede their dream – or maybe neither will.

Well written, well paced and with an excellent balance of internal monologue, dialogue, action and sexual encounter, this will definitely be on my re-reading pile.

Karis Walsh biogWhat really good romance writers do is make you dream of being that loved, that chosen. Love on Tap is exactly that novel – interesting characters, slightly different circumstances to anything you have read before, slightly different challenges. And although you KNOW the happy ending is coming, you still have that little bit of “oooh – make it happen”.

Loved it. Wish it was me. What more is there to say?

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (February 15, 2016)
  • ASIN: 01ATVGJUE
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Rising From the Ashes: The Chronicles of Caymin – Caren J. Werlinger

sing From the Ashes: The Chronicles of Caymin - Caren J. WerlingerBefore we start and to be really clear – this is NOT a lesbian fiction title. It is a fantasy based in Eire in the 8th Century set in the Celtic-druid landscape.  I don’t normally review non lesbian fiction titles on LRR, but this is such an excellent book, and so many of us also love fantasy, that a book written by one of the best storytellers around needs a shout out to all you Mage/Dragon/Fantasy Fans.

The Dragonmage Saga Book 1 is the story or Ash, a child orphaned by a night- time raid on her village, left to die in the fire, rescued by badgers who raise her as their own. Scarred and apart from the two-legs of nearby villages Ash can talk to the four-legs and learns to live as one of them, scavenging and hunting by night, holed up in the sett by day.

An attack by wolves on her beloved badgers brings out Ash’s magic, untrained and untamed, when she instinctively heals a deadly wound. The reverberations of her power brings a Mage to collect her for training, and so begins her journey into the world of human interaction, magic, druid rites and her destiny.

To say this is an excellent tale is an under-statement. As an avid reader of this genre who considers Robin Hobb, George R R Martin, Barbra Hambly and Anne MeCaffrey among the best of the best, I would rate this first book in the series to be right up there.

Ash is a wonderful character. We watch her grow in every way, and her transition from four-legged youth to two-legged power gives Werlinger the perfect vehicle to explain the world. As Ash grows and learns, we learn. What particularly sets her apart is her imperfections, burned by the fire she is disfigured and disabled.

She is surrounded by a varied and deep cast of animals and humans, treated equally and with well rounded characters from those we barely touch upon to those who we come to know in depth. The four-legs are wonderfully drawn with personalities to match their type. The two-legs show how far humans have come from the simpler morality of the animal world, with both good and bad impacted by deceit and the lust for power.

Ireland in the 8th century provides a wonderful setting and the perfect canvas upon which the story unfolds. The forest and lands play an important role in Ash’s journey and are drawn with a perfect balance of description and understanding. Love of the landscape shines through the writing and draws us even further into the story.

Caren Werlinger BiogWerlinger is an excellent storyteller. The Celtic/Mage/Dragon lore books seem to attract them, perhaps because the whole Celtic/Druid tradition is one of oral history and places such a value on the bard. Her lesbian fiction titles are all intriguing, varied and unusual. Now she has stepped out into the fantasy genre and her light touch of description, intelligent characterisation and stylish writing have created an awesome first novel… I stayed up all night reading this and I literally cannot wait to for the next book in the series.

If you are a dragon lore/ fantasy fan.. you will love it. If you aren’t – give it a try, you wont find a better example of sympathetic writing, elegant prose, a wonderful heroine, and the storytelling of a genuine bard.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Corgyn Publishing, (February 1, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01APWFEC6
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Carved In Stone – Jen Silver

Carved in Stone - Jen SilverBook 3 of the Starling Hill Trilogy brings back all the characters from the previous two novels and rounds out the story. This time Jo Bright Flame gets welcome attention, and we find out more about Jasmine from book 1, but all of the women we have got to know are included in a finale to both their and the ancient British Queen’s tale.

Ellie might be going mad but Queen Cartimandua is talking to her, telling her she wants a proper burial, and that there’s a treasure trove on the farm.

Den might have gone mad asking Kathryn to marry her, but she said yes, however unexpected that had been.

Jo knows its time to settle down and sort out her life, but how and where are a problem when everything seems temporary, including her love life.

Jen Silver BioSo the stage is set for another amusing romp from the Starling Hill Farm in West Yorkshire to London and Durham. Avoiding mad domineering ex’s, sorting out their complex lives and finally putting in the foundations for a happy ever after. Jen Silver is a great observer of human interaction and draws a humorous but realistic picture of the complex way women relate.

Thoroughly enjoyable trilogy with well-rounded characters, an unusual setting, interesting twists and a very recognisable smorgasbord of real lesbians – with all their convoluted emotional responses.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 185 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Affinity Ebook Press (February 4, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01BHGSGGK
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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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