All posts by VL

The Neighbor – Gerri Hill

The Neighbor - Gerri HillLaura bites the bullet and goes to live at home to help her mother, despite their frosty relationship. Stuck with writer’s block and needing a break she tackles the long-neglected yard which her mother had so lovingly tended before the accident. Listening to, then watching, then, quite frankly, spying on her nympho neighbour’s weekend pool parties hits a nerve and telling her neighbour off for the noise gives Laura some little revenge.

Cassidy likes women, beautiful women. But not for long; a couple of weeks and she’s bored of the airhead younger women she takes to her bed and her seemingly endless pool parties. But she doesn’t know how to change the pattern, and does she really want a grown-up relationship?

This is classic Gerri Hill at her very best, top of the pile of so many excellent books she has written, I genuinely loved this story and these two women.

Drawn together initially in conflict and then, as much as anything, by their differences, Laura and Cassidy aren’t truly opposites, but they certainly appear that way. Laura, after failed relationships and years of failed manuscripts, feels like she is going backwards moving home at the end of her savings. She thinks of herself as a million miles away from the beautiful stick insects who arrive every weekend to hang out at her neighbour’s pool. And becoming the neighbour’s yard girl is hardly going to elevate her self-esteem. But it is her very down to earth attitude, literally as well as figuratively, which draws Cassidy to her, sick of the women who use her bed, her house and her pool.

The growing friendship and hidden attraction between them is skilfully written and totally engaging. This isn’t a new story or a clever plot, but it is so exquisitely done that it is totally absorbing. Laura needs to accept who she is and let go of who she thought she was. Cassidy has to work out who she’d rather be; a conflict reflected in her friendships, real and false.

A 40 something romance, genuine and real, women we can relate to and empathise with, laugh with and relish. This was a joy to 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: 257 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bella Books (September 14, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07H38MRXC
Amazon.com
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Wait for Me – Susan X Meagher

Wait for ME - Susan X MeagherMolly has had a tough year; she’s lost her best friend to a freak accident, ended her marriage and feels alienated from her conservative and catholic parents over the divorce. W
hen she joins a book club to fill the void she is instantly alienated by the hyper-intellectual snobbery of the organisers, but the host, Alexa, is appealing enough to go back for more.

As their friendship develops Molly must control her growing attraction for the happily married Alexa, despite knowing she is stifling her own chance to find happiness, but the thought of losing her friend is enough to make her take a vow of celibacy. Now if only Alexa loved her back…

This is a well-done take on the “don’t fall for straight women” story with a decidedly interesting twist. The characters are deep, well rounded, real people who feel their situations acutely and with whom we can’t help but empathise. Anyone who has had an unrequited crush must feel Molly’s pain, and most of us have had to choose to hurt somebody we cared for but just didn’t love enough.

The connection between the new friends is extremely well portrayed, the growing knowledge and understanding, the matching attitudes and opinions which make for the strongest of bonds between best friends, and the shared joys in everyday things which makes them virtually inseparable.  New York plays an important role as the backdrop; restaurants, High Line and  NY life adding an extra dimension to the reality.

As the twists and turns unfold Susan Meagher pulls us in, feeling the agony, the shock and pain of rejection and hurt, of difficult decisions and life-altering actions. The emotions are very real and few of us will have escaped our own variations. But don’t let these serious descriptors put you off, this is a romance and a happy ever after, there is just some real angst to get there.

Extremely well done, I thoroughly enjoyed this very grown-up romance. Neither woman has an easy road, but the outcome is even more heartfelt for having had a high price. It is really refreshing to read a very realistic journey that many of us can empathise with.



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: 243 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Brisk Press (August 30, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07H14W8HH
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Captive – Donna K Ford

Captive – Donna K FordWhen Greyson and Olivia bump into each other in a coffee shop they have no idea they just sealed a joint fate. Greyson, about to hike the Appalachian Trail for two months, has been targeted by a human trafficker to be taken and sold to one of his employers, and the “Recruiter” instantly wants Olivia for his own collection. The two women will soon be literally fighting for their lives to satisfy the pleasure of the men who control them.

This is definitely an unusual romance, another distinctive tale from Donna K Ford. The real story is the trade in women, mostly illegal immigrants and the poor, marginalised girls who won’t be missed. A cross between a suspense/thriller and an action adventure, the romance is important to our main characters and their personal development but secondary to the bigger plot.

Its fast paced and full of action, the story twists and turns as the women try to survive and learn who to trust. The cast is wide ranging from a seemingly innocent caretaker figure to the monsters who use women for their amusement. The captive women form a strong backdrop to the plight of the main characters and it becomes a collective piece, both in our emotional engagement with the imprisoned women and their fight for survival.

The setting is evocative as always with Ms Ford’s writing, the scenery, or in this case the place the women are held, is used as an emotive tool to heighten the intensity of their plight and the feelings of despair. The emotional intensity of the whole piece is high, from the anger and fear of the captives, through the budding romance and the individual relationships between the women.

In a way the whole seems farfetched, but shockingly is not, this happens, and we should all be aware of it. Ms Ford is once again using her writing to highlight the plight of a group without a voice and manages the difficult task of telling a gruelling story with integrity and without lecturing. In all honesty I suspect it is the “happy ever after” ending which is far-fetched for most of these unfortunate victims.

Well written, exciting and absorbing, this captivated my attention and I couldn’t put it down. My only complaint is that it ended to easily, all wrapped up without a problem. I’m hoping for a sequel, to find out what happens next. Did they really catch the Recruiter that easily and who was Lucile?



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: Bold Strokes (August 14, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07FY1RVW2
Amazon.com
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Tailor Made – Yolanda Wallace

Tailor Made - Yollanda WallaceGrace is a tailor, working at the family firm her father built up, mainly taking the women and younger clients, but gradually taking over the business from her father. Her work-life and home life are great, but her dating life is a mess, constantly trying blind dates with women her friends set her up with and rarely making a second.

When rising supermodel Dakota Lane walks in late for an appointment, needing a suit for her sister’s wedding, Grace is annoyed and hostile. She hates people who are both rude and presumptuous. Add to that Dakota is totally not her type, all hard edges and attitude, and they have little in common.
But Dakota has other ideas and peruses Grace with a humorous determination, showing a different side to her public profile, and proving that she is more than just the playboy model.

This is a traditional romance, but takes on and deals with the attraction between different styles, how we stereotype ourselves as well as our “type”. Add in the gender-bending, the trans clients and this subtly highlights the prejudices we face within our own community let alone outside it.

As the story progresses business, family relationships and grown-up decisions add depth to the story. Family and friends add a great cast to the piece, from the strong patriarchal figure of Grace’s father, the jealousy and prejudice of a traditional family, through to the genderfluid friends in Dakotas world and Lillie, in particular, nearly steals the show.

The romance is a typical “will she won’t she”, but both characters must recognise their need to grow and change, both must open up to something different from the past. The ending felt a little rushed with a few slightly incongruous actions that could have used a little more detail, but overall it worked well.

Enjoyable reading, something a little different which always appeals, and I really loved the diversity of the characters and the way Wallace handled the ‘not my type” and gender-bending sup-plots… oh and the sex scenes were HOT.



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: 237 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (December 11, 2017)
  • ASIN: B0787X3K4K
Amazon.com
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Love’s Verdict – Carsen Taite

Love’s Verdict – Carsen TaiteTwo attorneys, one partnership slot, and a manipulative boss who claims they will make a decision after a high-profile case. Landon and Carly both want the promotion, both know they deserve it, but desperately don’t want to work together in some forced test to see who is best. A romance with a court-room drama, full or suspense and the hint of a thriller as well, this is an excellent new story from Carsen Taite.

Well written, cleverly plotted, with a great balance between the slow change from dislike to attraction to love in the romance department while the high profile case works through its phases. The merging of the two plots is subtle and well-crafted seamlessly moving us forward on both fronts.

The characters are likeable, flawed but growing, and coming to realise that they complement each other as they evolve both at work and develop their personal relationship. Their growth adds to the depth of the story, and we can see how well suited they are as the plot unfolds and their strengths shine through.

The high profile murder is well played, as always with Ms Taites courtroom drama’s and I liked the way it became a real life thriller as well as a legal case. Overall an excellent read, one of my favourites from this author. Only one complaint – its short at 234 pages and I would definitely have liked more.



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 Books (August 14, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07FXZJSTJ
Amazon.com
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Lost for Words – Andrea Bramhall

Lost for Words - Andrea BramhallYou never know what will come next from Ms Bramhall; traditional romance, old school English mystery, overseas thriller. Her latest, “Lost for Words’ is a traditional romance with a lot of the author’s humour showing through, but also an emotional and heart-breaking sub-plot which had me in tears as it reached its conclusion.

Unusually there are three main characters; Sasha the author who hides her manuscripts, Jac the self-made movie producer who wants to produce Sasha’s script, and Sasha’s pot smoking and mischievous mum, Fleur. Each have strengths and weakness, each has a journey, even though Fleur’s may be short, and it is great to have the cast set in their 40’s and 70’s, dealing, despite the light-hearted romance, with real life issues. Secondary characters are strong, even the vapid Vanessa plays her role, and their inter-relationships and dialogue are often hysterical.

The primary plot is a traditional as you like, with the not quite lesbian U-Haul relationship, but the deeper sub plots of unrequited love and the impact of being a carer for an ageing parent give this a most unusual feel for a romance. Despite the high-speed love affair and the quick transposition from hidden author to successful script writer, the story is completely grounded by the boredom of work at the spa, by the reality of the estate, and of course most of all by Fleur’s illness.

It reminds me of a Beryl Cook painting, for those who know the artist.. (that may be an English reference – google her) with real-life people in real-life situations but full of life and hilarity.

I enjoyed the light-hearted romance, the frequent humour and the deeper and most touching relationship between Sasha and her mum. Good to read something a little bit different.



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: 303 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: Ylva (August 15, 2018)
  • ASIN: B07G2G2728
Amazon.com
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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
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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
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