Monthly Archives: November 2016

Believing in Blue – Maggie Morton

Believing in Blue – Maggie MortonWren is a ‘normal’ 17 year old with a dysfunctional family and a big secret. Not only is she gay, she has developed sky-blue wings. Just before her graduation and 18th birthday she receives a letter from her long departed father and the adventure begins. She is not only not of this world; she is destined to save it and her home-world from the Winged Red.

This is a fast paced and at times confusing fantasy. The world creation is excellent, the world hopping feasible, and the antagonism between two halves of a world divided into red and blue is somehow believable despite being extremely stereotyped and never explained.

However, the plot is overly complex. Wren bounces back and forward between where she is, what she looks like and both who she believes and who she if about to fight for, far too often for credibility. She desperately missed her dad and almost worships him when they are reunited, in an understandable way, only to believe in an instant that everything is a lie and everyone is deceiving her. Similarly she instantly adores Sia, the lovely woman sent to teach her to fly, but completely besotted by the looks of the evil Ember the first time they meet.

I liked the concept, its well written, some of the characters are great and many if the familial relationships are well developed. But it’s just too complex to make sense. Why the red and blue at war seems fundamental to justify the whole plot. We never do find out why Wrens father left. And while trying hard not to give away the ending, a war that has been built up into ‘the end of times’ suddenly stops after we witness painful and brutal deaths, over for no more obvious reason that it started.

It sort of works, and it feels like part of the problem is trying to be a growing up story, a fantasy, an action adventure and a romance all in one. There is just too much angst and too much contradiction to give any sense of a consistent story line. Interestingly it isn’t the fantasy that overwhelms the suspension of disbelief, it is the inconsistency of an 18 year old girl.

And that’s my final observation. This is a YA book, NA at most. It might be YA/Fantasy with a light romance (no fading necessary) but it’s current classification as Lesbian Romance first and Fantasy second is misleading to say the least. The only justification for Wren’s behaviour is her immaturity in the face of overwhelming change, without that her actions make even less sense than they do.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (Sept 12, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01M0R1RZ4
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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.

Lone Ranger – VK Powell

Lone Ranger - VK PowellEmma Ferguson is a wannabe reporter in shock from her girlfriend’s heartless infidelity. She is running away to escape the fall out and another failed relationship. Emma accepts an assignment from an elderly lady in a small town to write the family history, but all is not as it seems and we soon have a cold case murder mystery on our hands.

Booked into to stay in a park cabin Emma immediately meets the eccentric Ann, an out lesbian from a time when dealing with small town issues was even harder than now, and her park ranger niece, Carter. Ann and Carter are incredibly close, surviving a series of tragic losses, and forming a strong bond. Unfortunately Emma’s digging is literally going to force all sorts of family history out into the public view.

The who-dunnit is interesting, merging 37-year-old history and characters with modern day threats and aggression intended to hide the truth. The villain becomes obvious fairly early on, but we are never quite sure which of two characters is the real baddy, and there is enough suspense to keep the pages turning. Add in a series of attempts to drive Emma off the trail, and a twisted ‘stalker’ cop and the mystery was well done.

VK Powell BiogEmma is insecure, warm and caring, struggling with the on-going impact of her father’s disappearance, while Carter is emotionally cut off, giving them the classic ying and yang of lesbian relationships. At time Carter’s wavering was a little overpowering, on the one hand she is a king and intuitive woman working with children, on the other she wont listen to her gut responses to her on and off again lover. We know why Carter acts like she does, but it still irked.

Ann is charming, funny, kind and with a great back history. The small town and settings are also well done, with just enough divergence from the stereotype to save the secondary characters, especially the amusing Fanny, the intelligent Sherriff and the lightly drawn Sissy and Clem – and although I did find the ex’s rather too shallow to be credible they did add humour.

Soundly written and healthily paced with VK Powell’s usual attention to detail and well plotted storyline this was an enjoyable read. There were times I wanted to shake the main characters, but the steamy sex scenes more than made up for my short lived annoyance with them. I would definitely put it as a romantic suspense and murder mystery rather than a romance.

NB while the MC’s aren’t over 40 Ann certainly is and I found enough synergy with her struggles to rate this of interest to 40+ readers

(publisher review copy received)

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.

Product info:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (Nov 15, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01MA6JTAP
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
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The Secret Unknown – Dillon Watson

The Secret Unknown – Dillon WatsonAdeena Minor’s world is turned upside down after her mother is killed in a school shooting. Having her face plastered all over the news triggers a series of events connected to her birth, and to the ego and ambition of a family used to getting their own way. Sal is a shady computer expert whose skills and connections are critical in solving the mystery of just who Adeena really is.

Dillon Watson has created a complex and absorbing thriller, with a touch of romance on the side. At times the relationships and who is who are extremely confusing at the beginning, but stick with it, most of it becomes clear as the story unfolds.

Adeena is an excellent MC, witty, sarcastic and intelligent with enough sass to overcome the often-scary situations she is thrust into. Sal is a wonderful creation – a complex back history, a shady past and a very useful but clearly dodgy set of connections. The pair make a formidable team with ideas and emotions bouncing between them.

The plot is extremely intricate, and the flashback at the start takes a lot of resolving, although we do finally get all the pieces in place. It’s a page-turner that drags you through the complexities with enough detail to just about keep you in the picture. The romance is very much second fiddle to the mystery thriller, it adds an element of sexual energy without becoming the focus.

There were places that I felt could have been tightened up, occasions where the repetition of names became aggravating, but overall the force of the plot and characters overcame shortfalls in the editing.

A thoroughly enjoyable and fast paced read, will definitely be looking for more from this author.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bella Books (October 16, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01MCUVSWP
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Heart Trouble – Jae

Heart Trouble - JaeJae has taken a new tack with her latest novel, Heart Trouble, and branched out into a medical drama. The premise is unusual, gives her a really wide scope to explore emotional connections – and would fit into a paranormal category.

Dr Hope Findlay is an emotionally repressed ER doc who hs devoted her life to her work and cut off almost everything else. Laleh Samadi is a warm loving and highly emotive woman with a rich Persian background, including the meddling family. They meet by accident when Laleh’s heart palpitations land her in Hop’s ER department and a small mistake with the defib machine creates and unusual bond between them.

This is an out and out romance of the sweetest kind. Two opposites who would normally expect to have nothing in common, are brought together by a powerful link and the empathy between them in palpable in Jae’s writing. As always her characters are extremely well drawn, three dimensional, very human. In this book they are even deeper and more rounded than before because the whole premise of the story is about their emotional bond.

Jae - biogThe secondary characters are charming, from bffs to Laleh’s extended family, there is a warmth and love that permeates. Even when the family tension rises, it is love which shines through and wins out.

Heart Trouble is an absolutely lovely story, a sweet natured romance with a hot slow burn attraction. As usual with Jae you definitely get your money’s worth. An unusual plot and Jae’s normal excellent writing style put this way up the list for top notch traditional romances this year.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 357 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing (October 5, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01M0IFKOA
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.