Monthly Archives: January 2017

Scissor Link – Georgette Kaplan

Scissor Link - Georgette KaplanThis is a genuinely unusual book. It is very well written, clever and entertaining, but I cant actually decide if I liked it.

The story brings Wendy, a 26-year-old intern, to the attention of Janet, the Assistant Vice President of Production at Savin Aerospace. Wendy is an engineering geek with a dry sense of humour, a crummy flat and a loud motorcycle. Janet the wound up, extremely controlled and controlling career woman, whose wife has just left her for a younger, more flexible model.

Wendy’s crush is huge, her drooling amusing and her dreams decidedly wet. When her boss accidentally finds said dream written out in a work email, she decides to see if the slightly kinky play is as fun as it sounds. And so ensues a sexual romp of that starts with telephone sex, explicit pictures and progresses from there. But it’s more than a sexual encounter for both women, whether they admit it or not.

Wendy is instantly likeable, her interactions with others, particularly her sister, are amusing and highly entertaining. Janet, who appears the big bad wolf, turns out to be a caring person who supports her staff; it’s not her heart that is suspect, just her manner. Her completely out of character friendship with her PA is extremely amusing, but she isn’t an easy person to like.

And there’s the rub. While it is extremely clever, witty, and a decidedly interesting story on many levels, from aerospace intrigue to mild bondage, the emotion is thin on the ground. Both are deep and complex women, and we are told the love is there, but it doesn’t ooze off the page, neither of the characters are the type to ooze, although both manage to gush on occasion.

I think the best way I can define it is as an intellectual romance with good sex and a wicked sense of humour. I certainly wouldn’t define it as a romcom, because that for me implies a light and easy read, and there is nothing about Janet that is either light or easy. I was entertained, amused and intrigued, so in the end I guess I liked it, even if I cant quite define why.


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: 264 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Ylva (December 21, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01NCIZDXK
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Close to Home – Rachel Spangler

Close to Home - Rachel SpanglerThis is the third book in the Darlington Romances series, it stands alone, although it’s nice knowing the back history, especially of the inter-relationships.

Kelly is a CPA who has grown up working with her father in their small town all-service accountancy firm. When her father is taken to hospital at the start of tax season she is left facing a mountain of returns to complete alone, while trying to visit her father and deal with her worry and stress.

Elliot needs a CPA internship to get her qualification, then she will be off to follow her dream of fighting for the unprivileged who suffer from the complexity of tax laws. When Elliot gets placed with Kelly the sparks are bound to fly. Kelly is extremely closeted and determined to stay under the radar, including keeping her distance from the young brash intern, while Elliot is determined to give everything to her work, including exploring her snappy boss’s character.

All three of the Darlington Romances are well done and different, despite the commonality of place and the growing cast of characters they share. The Long Way Home saw the black sheep returning to the small town she hated, Timeless is an unusual story of a coma induced flashback, while Close To Home is the more traditional ‘overcome the odds’ romance.

All three are well written, plotted and edited, but Close To Home feels like a step up, a more sophisticated writing style and a deeper engagement with the characters’ emotional journey. Whether due to a natural growth for Ms Spangler or a change of publisher, this story is more mature. Nothing really happens other than the day to day data entry and processing of tax files, yet we watch both women embark on a voyage of development. Kelly, a fairly unlikeable character in the earlier novel and the start of this one, has a huge course to travel and while Elliot’s growth is less pronounced, she has her own learning to do.

Rachel Spangler bioThe small town setting, the close-nit community, knowing each other’s business, reminds us of the challenges we face to be ourselves and the courage it takes to come out. We see how the support of friends is critical, and yet those very friends can hold us trapped inside the person we have become by doubting our ability to change. For an author it is far easier to take two likeable characters and put a surmountable obstacle in their way than to take a distinctly unlikeable character and convince the reader that they want them to change, take that step, become the better person.

Overall this was my favorite of the three, and probably my favourite from Ms Spangler to date. I felt more engaged, despite the simplicity of the plot and traditional format, somehow i was convinced to care more deeply about a character I didn’t even like, and had distinctly disliked in the earlier story. I am looking forward to seeing where Ms Spangler’s more mature style takes her next.


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: 250 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bywater (January 9, 2017)
  • ASIN: B01N6OW45G
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Dare To Stay – Georgia Beers

Dare to Stay - Georgia BeersBook Three in the Junebug Farms series and we finally see Jessica find love. Running the animal shelter is more than a full time job, it’s a full time life, leaving little room for anything else. Add in the stress of the annual fundraising telethon and Jessica is at capacity. What she really doesn’t need is a change to the TV anchor coming in with new ideas and new pressures.

Sydney doesn’t want to be running the Telethon any more than Jessica wants her. This isn’t where she wants to be or what she wants to be doing, but it’s another stepping stone on her way to wherever she’s going. Sure the Jessica is gorgeous, but there is no way she is getting attached.. or involved.

As always the characters are interesting, there’s enough angst to create a storyline, and a whole host of both new and familiar faces. Sydney is a bit more edgy than others we have seen, a definite incomer with an attitude. Jessica the typically overworked shelter momma with the world on her shoulders. Their journey isn’t straightforward and they both have things to learn, ways to grow.

Georgia Beers BioGeorgia Beers writes excellent stories and this Junebug series has been an enjoyable read. This is perhaps my favourite, slightly more angst and a little more raunchy adds a deeper sense of growth and a piquant of having to fight to get there. But in the spirit of the series this is another gentle and light romance, nothing too stressful and never a serious doubt Ms Beers would resolve the storyline into a “happy ever after” in the end. Charming way to spend some downtime with familiar characters and a favourite author.


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: 280 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Brisk Press (January 3, 2017)
  • ASIN: B01N7G87C4
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

A Quiet Death – Cari Hunter

A Quiet Death – Cari HunterThis is the third book in Cari Hunters “Dark Peak” series, it stands alone, but the back-history is nice to have and all three are absolutely excellent thrillers with a side order of gentle romance.

Detective Sanne Jensen and Dr. Meg Fielding have been friends forever; supporting each other as they fought to escape the dead-end estate they grew up on. After years of an on and off casual fling they have finally realized that they are far better together than apart and their lives are settling down into cosy coupledom.

Sanne works for the local Special Ops Police force. When hikers find the body of a young Pakistani girl out on the moors, Sanne and her team are called in, under intense scrutiny not to inflame the simmering tension between police and local Asian communities. At the same time Meg, a Doctor in the local ER department, has a case that screams domestic abuse, and suddenly there is something very bad going on right under their noses. Once again Sanne gets caught in the crossfire, and it will take all her strength to survive.

The love and friendship between Sanne and Meg is tangible, their characters solid, dependable and very real. Their family and work colleagues are everyday people, recognizable, genuine and authentic; all drawn with a keen eye for observation, a wonderful balance of narrative, frequently humorous dialogue and a gentle sense of affection.

Cari HunterCari Hunter is a master of writing credible suspense laden crime detective stories that feel realistic. Sanne and Meg are extremely ordinary, two women trying to live quiet lives on their beloved Peaks, caught up in a dreadful ring of crime and, as always, doing their ordinary best to help those who need them.

It would be shocking if our heroine didn’t survive, and we are left with the most unassuming happy every after at the end of each dramatic chapter in Sanne and Meg’s lives, but despite knowing all of that Ms Hunter manages to create a sense of apprehension about just how badly damaged and scarred they will be. Creating a page-turner out of the ordinary is far more difficult than writing melodrama.

Once again I cannot recommend this series enough. If you like crime, thriller, and suspense with a cast of real life everyday folk and unassuming hero’s, written with excellent if unpretentious style, you really cannot do any better than this.


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: 264 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes  (January 17, 2017)
  • ASIN: B01N0RTFEY
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Buried Heart – Laydin Michaels

Buried Heart – Laydin MichaelsWe first meat Drew aged 11 running down a street as if she has been transported there from outer space, with no memory of who she is or where she came from. Unusually her amnesia doesn’t fade, although the nightmares do after years of therapy.

Jump to Drew aged 26, working as a Ranger and bopping at the local festival, when she meats the gorgeous Cicely and they form an instant bond. The romance seems set to develop despite Cicely’s’ rather one sided obsession about truth and honesty.

But Drew has started to receive anonymous text messages, and the nightmares flare up again, putting stress on their budding relationship. When a strange man speaks to Drew’s younger sister a warning flares, but her stalker will get much closer before her memories return and uncover the horror of her childhood.

The suspense and terror in ‘Buried Heart’ are very real, the horror of a sadistic man’s behaviour had me turning the pages to get through it, hoping for a happy ever after ending, but dreading a fateful twist in the plot. Ms Michaels can certainly create a crescendo of angst that builds and builds until it is almost unbearable and then crashes like a tidal wave against the shore with the release of pent up energy.

Drew is a likeable and interesting character, Cicely less so, and although her background explains her demanding nature, she is certainly never warm and fuzzy. Drew’s family, particularly her mother, along with her friend Preston and Cicely’s closest friend Kallie, provide the warmth and care, the gentler and loving side.

The dialogue was, at times, a little heavy and the editing could have been tighter, but the author certainly has a gift for thrilling the reader and holding you in thrall. After all they went through I was not convinced by their happy ever after protestations, but I am certain that I wanted, needed, them to survive and escape the horror, however damaged they might be. Ms Michaels should definitely be writing more page turning thrillers.


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: 259 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes (January 17, 2017)
  • ASIN: B01N7J7LAU
Amazon.com

To buy from Amazon.com – click here.

Amazon.co.uk

To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Courageous Love – KC Richardson

Courageous Love - KC RichardsonTake one happy and well centered ER nurse add one handsome Cop and the scene is set for a happy ever after. But throw in a life threatening disease and KC Richardson ramps up the angst.

Alex has a loving family, great friends, a godson she dotes on and a job she loves as an ER nurse. When a gorgeous sergeant pulls her over for speeding and texting, she gets all kinds of angry, but it sparks an attraction for both of them.
Several months later when Alex is diagnosed with the same disease that killed the most important women in Franki’s world and the stage is set for a traumatic time for all of them.

This is a great storyline and felt very well done. While there is a heavy dose of angst, it’s justified and well handled. There is a lot of medical information, but again it felt appropriate, and used to accentuate the overwhelming decisions and emotions of somebody faced with life defining choices.

Alex and Frank are well drawn and along with their closest friends and Alex’s family, become familiar characters we would be happy to meet and get to know. I haven’t read ‘New Beginnings” which sets up Jordan and Kirsten, but their relationship is delightful as is their son Aiden, Alex’s God-son,.

The impact of the disease on the friendly and easygoing Alex is extreme, making her an almost Jekyll and Hyde personality in the two halves of the story. But while extreme Ms Richardson amply justifies the feelings of a young woman whose surgery, in her mind, destroys her femininity.

I personally would have preferred Francesca to be Franki rather than Frank, she felt soft butch despite her uniform, and the fully masculine form seemed harsh, but that is purely personal.

My only real criticism of the book was that it needed a much heavier red pen to take out both word and explanatory repetition, rapidly becoming my biggest bugbear in the works of our newer authors, but then again that is hardly the author’s fault if they aren’t being told.

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: 264 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes (December 13, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01MQL2744
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

The Lavender List – Meg Harrington

The lavender list - Meg Harrington1950’s thriller romance which finds an ex mobster, Amelia, working in a diner and doing auditions. Her crush is the swarve and sexy Laura who lives in the room next door at their boarding hotel. When Laura turns up at the diner with a bad cut and bruises Amelia starts to wonder quite where she goes all dolled up in the evenings, and her investigations lead her into a world of car chases, gun battles and the ongoing war between the USA and communist Russia.

I enjoyed the plot although it didn’t quite go where the blub suggested, i.e. back into Amelia’s mobster world. It was an interesting idea to explore what happened to the brave women who risked everything to work with the European resistance against the Nazis after the war – the expectation for them to go home and settle into 1950’s normalcy of home and children.

This story is certainly full of suspense. Both the romance and the thrill of the chase, with spies and mobsters and even the ‘good guys’ taking a hand. The first half sets the real characters, the second shows what they have become, far from the women they are perceived to be.

The characters of Amelia and Laura are likable, although I never really felt connected to them, but then that is also an element of those 1950’s stories, cool and slightly distant however much the hearts may be fluttering underneath.

The style worked really well for this plot and period, short, catchy writing, lots of sarcasm, definitely imitation the noir of 1950’s detective stories. At times the POV in the second half was a little difficult to follow, it certainly jumps around a great deal. But my only real issue was some of the language used was decidedly not 1950’s NYC, one phrase threw me out completely, the setting and props all seemed perfect for the era, but the language felt decidedly modern.

Overall I enjoyed it and it was a fun and entertaining 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: 266 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Ylva (November 30, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01MQIYTI0
Amazon.com

To buy from Amazon.com – click here.

Amazon.co.uk

To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Hindsight – Jody Klaire

Hindsight – Jody KlaireAction/Adventure, thriller, super Special Ops crime drama with a side order of phychic powers and the slowest burn romance imaginable. There are just so many ways to describe Hindsight, book 4 in the “Above and Beyond Series” that I almost don’t know where to start.

Well actually let’s start by saying this is a series, and while it might be possible to read this as a standalone there is such a huge history of fact and inter-relationships building up that if you haven’t read the first three then you need to go back and start at the beginning, it will be worth the time and effort and pay off ten-fold.

This latest epic instalment is breath-taking. The action is fast paced, the number of players on the table at any one time is unbelievable and the combination of flashbacks and current action, from multiple points of view, left me gasping. And yet somehow Jody Klaire not only manages to keep all the storylines, points of view and personalities clear, she somehow manages to bring it all to a successful resolution.

As the series progresses we are pulled deeper and deeper into the characters, this time it’s Frei that is revealed along with a huge chuck of her history. All the major players, Aeron and Renee, Lilia and Eli, Nan and even Huber are constantly being fleshed out and filled in. Klaire keeps the development and reveal going while cleverly introducing new characters and seamlessly slotting them in as major players on the chessboard. Oh and you are going to love Aunt Bess.

Jody KlaireThe plot is both complex and simple. The overall story arc has a team of special ops forces and FBI investigator types chasing a ring of child slavers, but the sub plots and personal journeys are convoluted and delivered with incredible detail, making the whole become an exploration of the psychology of each major character. Phenomenal.

I literally couldn’t put it down and read half the night, only to cancel my morning and reach for it over coffee. Now I have to take a week off everything else and re-read the whole series to date because I am completely fascinated all over again. If you love fast paced action adventure, psychological thrillers, crime – any of the above, believe me, this series is pure heaven. It is already a classic mind-bending journey and I cannot wait for book 5, “Noble Heart”, to come and confound me all over again.


Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our 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: 344 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bedazzled Ink (December 30, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01NCL39TN
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Depth of Blue – Lise MacTague

Depth of Blue – Lise MacTagueJak Stowell is a female sniper in an all-male army on a planet on the fringe of the galaxy that has been at war for years. Torrin Ivanov is a smuggler hoping to supply at least one side of the civil war on Haefen, with weapons, equipment and supplies. The two women’s lives are about to intersect as Jak’s latest mission is to kill the smuggler, Torrin. Unknown to all parties involved, Torrin is a woman. You see, women on Haefen cannot run businesses or own property. They practically are property on this beautiful blue planet on the outskirts of civilization.

Negotiations take a decided turn for the worse and then Jak shows up.

That’s all I’m telling you about the book…other than their flight back across to the Devonite side of the conflict provides much of the tension in the story as Torrin is attracted to Jak and also completely dependent on this “man” to protect her and get her to some semblance of safety. You just simply must read the rest to see how beautifully Lise MacTague draws you into the story in the second half of the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters that Lise MacTague has drawn in Depths of Blue. The world building is top-notch and the back stories of the characters are told in such a way as to move the story along and not in a pedantic, expository way. I would recommend anyone who likes a good sci-fi book give this a try. The romance is a natural offshoot of the story and not forced. Keeping Jak’s cover as a male sniper in the Devonite army is another source of good tension in the story. The story builds very well to a pleasing and well thought out climax and has me already reading the second book in the trilogy.

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: 264 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bella Books (May 24, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00Y8FREBQ
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

The Roundabout – Gerri Hill

The Roundabout - Gerri HillThis isn’t my normal type of review – and there’s a spoiler about the storyline, so be warned.

On the one hand this is a lighthearted enjoyable read about slightly older women in a small town searching for love. Its starts with a bunch of single friends and through a series of sometimes funny and sometime poignant happenings we get to the expected happy ever after. It’s full of humour and the main relationship is delightful to watch.

As with all Gerri Hill’s books its well written and crafted, well edited. I liked the main characters, particularly Leah who I thought was a particularly gentle and genuine woman. At times I was slightly frustrated by the amount of emphasis on “I am too old to fall in love” or “They cant possibly get together they are too old”.. I don’t know how old Gerri Hill is but at 52 I certainly hope to fall in love again.

<SPOILER>
However one  of the storylines is one older woman bullying another character. This is going to be controversial, and I think many women will be upset and offended. If ‘light hearted’ but rather creepy and stalkersh cyber abuse, done as teasing and playing around, but taken too far, will upset you – don’t read it.

It didn’t completely ruin the book for me, but I think the plot could have started with this storyline as a tool to create the situation, then it could have been dealt with much earlier and the moral of the story not allowed the perpetrator to get off with ‘sorry’ and get her own HEA ending.

I normally love Gerri Hill’s books, and it’s great to see a story about older women finding love, just unfortunate in how one storyline has been dealt with. I suspect neither the author or publisher will have expected the strength of emotion this has generated among some readers and reviewers.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bella Books (December 13, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594935206
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.