Monthly Archives: November 2018

Calendar Girl – Georgia Beers

Calendar Girl – Georgia BeersAddison Fairchild has spent her whole life trying to impress her powerful mother, creator of the extremely successful Fairchild empire. Now her mother has announced her retirement Addison has given up all semblance of a real life and is working herself into the ground to show she deserves to step into the top job. When her health collapses under the strain Addison is forced to accept an assistant, but determined to use her in the most basic ways, collecting her dry cleaning and picking up her groceries.

Katie Cooper accepts a part-time second job at Fairchild Enterprises because, quite frankly,  her family need the money. Her father’s dementia is deteriorating and they need full time care, but the bills are mounting along with her mother’s worries. Having given up her business degree to move home and help her mum, Katie will put up with almost anything to hold on to the well paid PA job, however difficult her new boss is to work for.

This is a classic office “ice queen” romance and an excellent example of opposites attract. The main characters are likeable and well developed, Katie’s backstory is particularly poignant and Beers explores the impact of dementia on a family with subtle but keen observation. Addison’s relationship with her Mother and sibling rivalry are the building blocks of her character and her intensity has made her blinkered to the fact they are, first and foremost, a family that love and care about her. And thus the stage is set for Katie to find room for her own life while also helping her family and Addison to find that her family desperately want her to have a life.

Both families are important to the story and again reinforce the “opposites” theme, the Fairchild’s as high powered business people who can barely meet once a month at a restaurant for dinner and whose absentee father never appears; the Coopers, warm, domestic, welcoming and close-knit where caring for each other comes first. I also really liked our main characters BFFs and there is definitely room for a follow up to allow Sophie and Samantha’s stories to develop.

Georgia Beers writes some damn fine romances, we all know where this is going and how it will end, but there as some fun moments along the way. The cast are loveable and the main characters have genuine journeys they need to take. I thoroughly enjoyed it, excellent ‘happy place’ reading.



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 (November 13, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07JHG5YY3
Amazon.com
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Amazon.co.uk
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Black Ridge Falls – Jody Klaire

Black Ridge Falls – Jody KlaireWhen ex-con and person of interest, Aeron Lorelei, goes on vacation with Commander Renee Black all they want is peace and quiet in the Colorado mountains. But peace and quiet aren’t exactly what follow Aeron and Renee around, and they, along with the rest of the SIG special ops team, soon find themselves fighting for their lives as old enemies come back for revenge and old friends step in to help them.

The three key members of SIG, Aeron, Renee and Frei, are masters of their crafts, physically tough, elite members of the special services, and, in their own individual ways, super agents as well. Aeron is the empath and healer, but also, unbeknownst to her, the physical rock whose stubborn determination means she never quits when her friends need her. Commander Renee Black is the crème de la crème of specialist soldiers, with more decorations than room on her uniform she is the Bond style super-agent. General Ursula Frei is the head of SIG, the is the toughest, meanest and strongest of them all, leading by example with her hyper-intelligence and superhero physical skills.

But underneath their amazing abilities these women are the best of friends with a deep and genuine love for each other. They are very real human beings who have insecurities and fears, worry about their capabilities and want to be the best they can, each for very different reasons. And supporting them are a brilliant array of friends and family, real and incorporeal, who we have come to know as well as the core trio over the series of heavyweight action adventures.

Book 6 of the Above and Beyond series follows on shortly from “Noble Heart”. This is very much a serialised story, and while each book is a complete story arc in itself, the whole is so much greater than the sum of the parts. In this episode we learn a whole lot more about Frei’s emotional depths, about Renee’s family background, the truth about the death of her father and brother, and watch with amused affection Aeron’s bumbling realisation of her feelings.

Which is an odd way to describe an action-packed storyline which makes Bond, Mission impossible and Tomb Raider added together look tame. While the story starts with a gentle reunion it is soon ramped up to a multi-scene encounter with the baddies, SIG under attack on several fronts while the Frei and Lorelei families employ their varied skills to support our heroes. The core of the action boils down to a vicious running battle across Renee’s infamous Black Mountain with multiple nail-biting moments and a breathless final escape.

And in the end the cliffhanger from hell, taking us right back to the opening of the series in “The Empath”… and quite frankly ready to wring the author’s neck if book 7, the last in the series,  doesn’t come out fairly soon.

It’s a huge series, epic isn’t big enough. It’s a love story, it’s a deeply engaging tale of three powerful women fighting against cruel and inhumane criminals, it’s a masterful ensemble piece where we have grown to know a huge cast of players, and it is a breath-taking action adventure that will have your mind reeling as it races around the various settings and the diverse groups interact.

There isn’t praise high enough for a series that absorbs the brain and imagination on so many levels. Its breath-taking, enthralling, engaging, well written and simply stunning. If you love good stories, strong women, fast-paced action, deep characters, wide casts and a book you can’t put down you really need to read this series.



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: 310 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bedazzled Ink (October 25, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07JRBTVVL
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Love All – Rachel Spangler

Love All – Rachel SpanglerAs one of the senior tennis players on the women’s tennis tour, former star Jay Pierce has lived through the ups and downs of life on the court, as well as surviving vicious personal slander and the worst of the paparazzi. Making a final comeback with her signature sarcastic wit and humour, she battles her demons and keeps her self shut-down in self-defence.

At the opposite end of the spectrum up and coming Destiny Larson breaks into the senior tour at 17, expecting to be a star and finding the competition much tougher in the bigger pond. Supporting her in every way is tennis mom Sadie Larsen, a woman who chose to be a single mother from the start, rejected settling for anything, and who will fight like a Grizzly for her daughter.

When Destiny’s coach throws them together to help both their tennis and their finances, sparks fly on and off the court between all three women; the bitter older player, the precocious and sometimes bratty teenager and the Mom trying to keep the peace, bring up a well-rounded human under the pressures of the tour and the woman who has never allowed herself to have a life.

This is Rachel Spangler’s best book yet. She continues to grow as a writer, to refine her craft, deepen her emotional pull and combine wit, humour, pathos and tension into a wonderful story about the growth of three women all wrapped into Spangler’s well-researched sports settings.

Jay is damaged goods but so easy to love as a character, she simply resonates as a deeply traumatised and hurt woman. Her tennis, her personal life, her mental health and her professional standing have never recovered from a spiteful incident that rocked the tennis world and essentially destroyed her career along with her self-belief. She fights on a daily basis to maintain some level of decorum in the face of unending attacks from the press and the drain that has on her emotionally and physically.

Destiny is a teenager thrust into the big stage; hating the limelight, impacted by the pressure, her game falters. A typical teen she must learn to play the ‘professional’ game, make nice in the post-match interviews, smile for the cameras, and realise that sponsorship and her professional standing depends on more than just her ability on court. She must also learn that a spiteful comment can have severe consequences and that, as a grown up, she must take responsibility for her childish actions.

Sadie is the rock, the mum we wish we had, but also an adorable woman inside and out. She is the foundation upon which her daughter’s life, character and career is built; she becomes the strength that supports their doubles partnership. But she must learn to let Destiny become a woman and, after 17 years of putting her daughter first, that she has a right to her own life, a life that includes standing up for, and with, the woman she loves.

The tension in this story is palpable. On the court, back stage, in private – between each of these women locked into a triangle of mutual need, want and pressure. To call a sports-based romance a page-turner might seem extreme, but the emotional anxiety makes it very hard to put this book down. Spangler has created a wonderful trio of characters, ably supported by a few key secondaries who also have lessons to learn, and she literally pulls you into their world. It is so real you feel like you are eavesdropping on the tour, not reading fiction. And the crescendo is nerve-wracking; having become so emotionally invested in the characters, the cliffhanger of who will hold up, who will do the right thing, who will step up… breath taking.

It is wonderful to see a romance writer hone her craft, work to grow and improve, and follow along on the coat-tails. This story showcases Spangler’s ability to develop the emotional intelligence of her characters, tackle multiple complex women and their individual needs, and merge the whole into a spell-binding story of personal achievement and growth. I literally couldn’t put it down.



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: 299 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bywater Books (October 16, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07H8NQ427
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

In the Vanishers’ Palace – Aliette de Bodard

In the Vanishers’ Palace - Aliette de BodardYên, scholar and healer’s daughter, feels worthless and unworthy, knowing her place in the village is tenuous and her value low. When her mother summons the magic of the dragon to save the village leaders daughter from a fatal virus, Yen is not surprised when the all powerful village elders sacrifice her to the dragon.

But rather than being torn apart Yênfinds herself in the Vanisher’s Palace, servant to the dragon Vu Côn and teacher to her teenage children. As the attraction grows between Yên

and Vu Côn both must learn some hard lessons; Yên that she is worthy, Vu Côn that her power dos not make her right.

This is, undoubtedly, an unusual take on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. Set in post-apocalyptic Vietnam and infused with Viet language and customs, we are transported to a version of the world where a cruel and heartless race of aliens, the Vanishers, have come, abused, tested and broken the world, leaving behind them fantasy palaces and mutating gene viruses. They have also left behind magic, the magic of words, a little of which remains with the healers and the one remaining dragon, Vu Côn.

Aliette de Bodard’s writing is exquisite, lyrical, flowing, pure poetry in prose form. The descriptions, both physical and emotional, leave you with vivid mental images; from the village with its poverty and minimalist survival to the Escher like Palace with its magic powers and fantasy proportions, and the horror of the Plague Grove, you cannot read this and be untouched.

Ethics and integrity play a fundamental role in the telling of the tale, from the abuse of power to the nature of real power, the treatment of a subservient race to the place of servants and the role of masters. And, unlike in the original fairy-tale, the consequence of abduction and virtual slavery is questioned and challenged. Even the happy ever after we would expect remains a completely unknown quantity until the very end, because in this cruel world what could possibly be a happy ever after.

This isn’t the easiest read, at times it is a steep learning curve to catch the sense of the complex worldbuilding and customs. It challenges the reader to learn, adapt and follow, while also giving an intricate and very adult take on the morals of a world torn apart and the people scraping by to survive.

It’s not something I would normally pick up, but I am glad I have read it and been introduced to this amazing author and her wonderful prose.



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: 145 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: JABberwocky (October 16, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07H43M4KT
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Resilience – Fletcher DeLancey

Resilience – Fletcher DeLanceyFollowing on immediately from “Outcaste” Rahel Sayana achieves her dream as she joins a Protectorate warship and becomes the first Alsean in space. She has a lot to live up to; the code of a warrior, the shame of her mistakes, the trust of those who forgave her, and the reputation of Alsea all rest on her shoulders.

As Captain Serrado leads her crew on their first tour with Sayana aboard they must all adjust to having an empath among them. The crew think she’s spying, she thinks she is failing, and Serrado must find a balance in using both her physical and emotional abilities. When the Phoenix is threatened by an unknown lifeform the whole crew must pull together as a team, and Sayana becomes the key to their survival.

Sometimes it’s hard to write reviews about long series because I run out of superlatives. Fletcher DeLancey’s Alseaseries is simply one of the best sci-fi series I have read, and continues to amuse, delight and fascinate as it has developed. The writing flows, the descriptions are creative and emotive, the characters have become friends we can’t wait to catch up with and the whole is a wonderful combination of exquisite world building, social observation and action adventure.

Resilience follows on from the previous 6, equally as strong, maintaining the standard, and yet taking us into a new experience as we travel on the Phoenix with her crew. The primary characters continue to develop while we meet new ones who become part of the core of these tales, because while they are action adventures they are also about the psychological behaviours and social interactions of the players in each adventure.

It would stand alone, but why deny yourself the pleasure of the whole… start with “The Caphenon” and enjoy the amazing world and wonderful characters Fletcher DeLancey has created. I have every intention of rereading the set on a regular basis.



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: 399 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Heartsome (October 31, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07JMWR96F
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.