Monthly Archives: August 2018

Compass Rose – Anna Burke

Compass Rose – Anna BurkeThe first novel by Anna Burke, and what a great start. Set in 2513 this dystopian fantasy, in the lesbian pirate sub-genre, was hard to put down. Imagine a world where the ice has melted, all that’s left are Archipelagos of land, food is scarce, medicines more so, fuel is made from sludge, the seas are polluted and in some places the air is worse.

Introduce the young fleet navigator, Compass Ross, born facing north and always aware of her direction, she has an uncanny, almost psychic ability to tell where she is, predict currents and speed, and has quickly become a most prized tool for the Archipelago’s fleet Admiral. Sent on an undercover mission to work with the renegade pirate Miranda, Compass Rose’s task is to help the pirate Captain find the megalomaniac Ramada, who is determined to take over the Archipelago’s resources for her own gain.

Combine fast-paced action with swashbuckling adventure, a “will they- won’t they” romance, great dystopian world building and a wide-eyed and innocent main character coming to terms with a cut-throat world and Anna Burke has created a real page-turner.

Compass Rose is adorable, naive, trusting and completely unaware of her value. She is used, threatened, supported and occasionally befriended by a wide range of characters which make this a huge ensemble piece. From the wily Admiral and her honest daughter to the bullies, murderers and haters of both the fleet and pirate ships, Compass must learn fast. Add in the seemingly hard-nosed but entrancing Captain Miranda, and the even nastier baddie, Ramada, and we have every shade of character on the spectrum.

I found the writing intriguing, the tone and energy were different to the standard lesfic novel, and I don’t remember reading anything quite like this in the sci-fi fantasy genre; definitely a new voice and a unique style. The world building was excellent with huge attention to detail, the characters are well drawn and varied, the descriptions vivid and colourful and the action was extremely fast-paced and multi-faceted, it felt like reading an action sci-fi movie… and what a wonderful movie it would make.

Can’t wait for the next one from this exciting new author, a sequel would be wonderful, but whatever Ms Burke puts out I will be reading it. Sandra would have been proud to have her name associated with this stimulating new talent.



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: 375 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bywater Books (July 10, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07FK69944
Amazon.com
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Pine Cone Series by Missouri Vaun, D Jackson Leigh and VK Powell

What an excellent idea.. take three great authors, create three best friends in a small town called Pine Cone, and have each author write a romance. As a series junky I was sold on the idea – a clever twist on the frequent ensemble mini-series.

Take My Hand - Missouri Vaun“Take My Hand” by Missouri Vaun brings Manhattan gallery owner River to Pine Cone to settle her aunt’s estate. When she wrecks her car on the hair salon lawn, local tow truck driver Clay comes to her rescue, with a tow and a loaner. Pulled together by mutual attraction both Clay and River fight the temptation, one isn’t staying, the other isn’t ready to try again, but art becomes a link which will bind them together.

Take a Chance - D Jackson LeighIn “Take a Chance” by D Jackson Leigh the new police officer in town is finding her feet before taking on drug runners with her canine partner, Petunia. Every time she’s on duty she finds a truck illegally parked, and quickly decides the owner has entitlement issues. When her path finally crosses that of the local vet Trip, their past connection brings back issues both need to come to terms with.

Take Your Time - VK PowellFinally in “Take Your Time” by VK Powell local police officer, Grace Booker gets left with a raucous African parrot by a passing girlfriend. Doing her best for the parrot involves help from the new vet, Dani, whose background as a zoo vet gives her a broad spectrum of experience. Their attraction is mutual, but Dani doesn’t want small town life and plans to get back to the city as quickly as possible, leaving Grace facing another heartache.

All three romances build and enhance the others, with the three close friends grounding the series while each author concentrates on one and introduces a new character. Having three authors gives each MC a literally different voice and adds an extra twist to the tone. All three are well done, subtly different but nevertheless meshing into a most satisfying whole.


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)

“Take My Hand” by Missouri Vaugn
  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (June 12, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07D7NN9YJ
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“Take a Chance” by D Jackson Leigh
  • Paperback: 2 pages56
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (July 17, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07F5N4ZFH
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“Take Your Time” by VK Powell
  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (August 14, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07FXZJXBY
Amazon.com

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The Shape of You – Georgia Beers

The Shape of You – Georgia BeersMs Beers has the knack of creating interesting plot and character which, while sticking to the romance formula, is never formulaic.

The Shape of You brings together a slightly grumpy personal trainer forced to take a class she doesn’t even agree with, bringing out her inherent prejudices, and a woman who has given up making her own decisions, to the point where her fiancé has booked her on a “Be Your Best Bride” fitness class. The overarching story arc follows the usual pattern, mutual dislike, attraction, will they won’t they and HEA, but the underlying themes are slightly different than usual.

Rebecca’s dislike for the class sets her up with an issue of professionalism, especially in the face of a woman who lets her fiancé tell her she needs to shape up, and she finds herself unusually biased against somebody who has given up managing her own life. Spencer isn’t even coasting along, she’s barely present in her own life, living what she thinks is expected of her, without even being conscious of the vacuity of her existence. Rebecca must overcome her issues and look beyond the surface of both the class and her students, while Spenser needs to wake up before she commits to something she isn’t even involved in.

And so Ms Beers brings us a complex set of characters, situations and personal decisions.  One needs to face her preconceptions, one must face up to her abdication, and yet another needs to step up and acknowledge the truth of their situation. Some readers will dislike the infidelity, the lack of commitment to a relationship, a fiancé. But for me they reflect reality, a recognition that actually life is far more complex than the simple black and white we generally find in lesfic romances.

For me this is Ms Beers writing more mature characters and themes. As always she comes up with something slightly different, while producing excellently written personalities and plots, all polished with her usual style. IF the Puppy Love series was her light and fluffy, this is the complex grown up romance where people do things wrong, and lives don’t always work out.



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: 234 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes (14 Aug. 2018)
  • ASIN: B07FXTNJF6
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
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Hearts Like Hers – Melissa Brayden

Hearts Like Hers – Melissa BraydenBook 2 of the Seven Shores series finds coffee shop owner Autumn deciding to forge a life outside her beloved coffee shop, The Cat’s Pajama’s. Meanwhile hero firefighter Kate needs to get away from the small town that is smothering her with their praise, so she hits the road for a short trip to California and some fun.  When the spark is obvious between Autumn and Kate we have a classic set up for the “will she wont she” decision and another solid romance from Melissa Brayden.

Autumn is the rock of the Seven Shores gang, the most grounded and the natural mom. When she decides to take control of her life and have a baby, alone, it might seem a rash response to news of her ex, but it’s a long-term decision she knows is right for her. Embarking on the process of artificial insemination she doesn’t expect to fall for a gorgeous tourist with no plans to stay. Firefighter Kate has a tragic backstory, and the slow reveal, she is a hero who hates the limelight. Her attraction to Autumn is strong, but her home is elsewhere and she knows it will only be a short-term thing.

The ensemble cast continues to develop into a wonderful set of friends. Hadley takes the crown as the dominant secondary character in this one, but all play their roles in both the main plot and the emotional development of the whole. These friends have quickly become some of my favourite people.

Melissa Brayden is literally the master of this genre. She writes great characters with depth and feeling we can relate to… Her stories are on the one hand light and fluffy feel good romances, and we all know there will be a predictable HEA.. but they all have a twist, there is substance to the lives and histories of these women, and enough complexity to make even a jaded romance reader like me enjoy the reveal. Well written as always, with moments of laughter and a deep affection for her cast, Brayden’s books might follow a prescribed arc, but never feel rote or repetitive.



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: 233 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: BSB (February 13, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07998PRGX
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.