Romance

Sand Letters – R.E. Bradshaw

Sand Letters – R.E. Bradshaw1976 and 15 year old Margie Whooten is trying to figure out who she is and where she fits. While sat in a hospital waiting room an older woman winks and leaves her novel behind, clearly intending Margie to pick it up. So begins Margie’s journey into adulthood; she isn’t alone both in her feelings and her strained relationship with her mum.

R.E. Bradshaw is an excellent writer whose thriller series is one of the best and whose romances will always sweep you off your feet. This new novella, clearly intended as a series, brings us a charming coming of age story. The characters are well drawn and engaging, not perfect but real, recognisable. Their individual journeys will hit a nerve and are cleverly interspersed with flashback historical moments that will bring back many memories.

As always the setting is an integral part of the tale and we are once again taken to the sea-shores of the outer banks where Margie surfs, fishes and runs wild as we could in those more innocent days. Full of lessons from both heartache and her older crush, many of us will wish we had had such a mentor.

Charming reading – looking forward to 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: 111 pages
  • First published 2018
  • Publisher: January 29, 2018
  • ASIN: B079G6FRV7
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The Secret Pond – Gerri Hill

The Secret Pond – Geri HillLindsey McDermott is devastated by the loss of her family. She retreats to the family cabin in the Texas hills, gets a puppy and tries to just get through the days. In the next property over Hannah Larson is recovering from the death of her husband. She decided to take a year out, selling the family home and, against her better judgement, she has brought her son Jack to Texas to let him get to know his father’s family.

Jack and Lindsey meet by the creek that divides their properties, and slowly a deep friendship forms between the grieving child and the devastated woman. When Hannah gets over her jealousy the three spend an awesome summer fishing, swimming and laughing. Exactly the right tonic for all three to heal. But the summer wont last for ever and when Jack goes back to school Lindsey and Hannah are left to deal with their own friendship and growing feelings for each other.

This is an absolutely wonderful slow burn romance. Starting from a place of intense grief, we see Lindsey emerge under the gentle and understanding friendship of a boy who is dealing with his own grief over his father’s death. Between them, their puppies and a lots of summer fun, they find a way to heal and find the joy in life, joy that Lindsey never thought she would feel again.

Gerri Hill has an amazing ability to tell a deep and emotional story in an unpretentious way. She uses everyday life, triggers memories that will resonate with many, and, with the lightest of brushstrokes, takes us to a pace where things seem stripped down and simple without ever being simplistic. The emotions in this book are heartfelt and intense, yet not overpowering despite the seriousness of the subject and particularly Lindsey’s overwhelming loss.

The backdrop of the Texas Hill Country is vividly drawn. Cabin life with days spent fishing in the creek or tubing down the river, a child learning to swim in the secret pond and teaching the dogs to jump from the jetty. All evoke a simple life full of nothing more than enjoyment of the moment and the long lazy days of summer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, it tugged on my heartstrings from beginning to end, first hoping Lindsey would emerge from her grief and later hoping Hannah would let them come together. Despite the seriousness of the premise there is little angst, just a gentle flow of change as life moves forward. A tale of friendship and love extremely well done.



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: 308 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bella Books (December 8, 2017)
  • ASIN: B077MVY92S
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Captains Choice – VK Powell

Captains Choice – VK PowellBennett Carlyle gets promoted to Police Captain and handed the project managing the redesign of the new sub-station building. Uncomfortable taking on something she has no experience with, she knows she needs to succeed to prove herself to her team and her boss. When it turns out the architect is her high school crush, who left town after their first kiss, things get way more complicated.

Kerstin Anthony gets handed a project in the town she grew up in, but had no intention of returning too. Unaware of the mess she is being handed, she wants the project to be the centrepiece of her design portfolio that will launch her own agency. When her first meeting brings her face to face with Bennett Carlyle all the painful heartache of being abandoned by her first and only love come flooding back and invading her carefully controlled world.

Can the two of them bear to work together of a project that is critical to their careers or will the heartache force them to step away?

VK Powell is the mistress of Police romances and this one is another classic “will she wont she” story of lost loves reunited by chance. Bennett is a true hero, calm, strong, brave and loyal, her heart has never really moved on despite getting on with her life, she is everything admirable. Kerstin has done the right thing, forged a career, taken care of her mother, but on the inside she is broken, unable to form attachments, scared of the thought of commitment, she holds herself in tight control and lets off steam with emotionless sex in her favourite private club.

There is a lot of prevarication.. this is the archetypal story of a woman not wanting to accept she has feelings, and it might drive you mad; it certainly makes Kerstin behave badly towards Ben whose patience is nothing short of stoic. But ultimately she has to grow, accept her feelings, allow herself to know why caused the breach and what has crippled her emotionally ever since.

The two families are extremely well drawn, far apart in many ways, one warm, caring and engaged, the other cool and distant; both feed the personality of the main characters and provide great sub-plots along the way.

Well written, lots of great sex and excellent sexual tension, great character building and use of the setting, this was a thoroughly enjoyable 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: 245 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (December 12, 2017)
  • ASIN: B077HQF8YY
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Picture Perfect – Lisa Moreau

Picture Perfect – Lisa MoreauTwo photographers, one working for a slightly seedy local photographic studio, the other tied to her family business. Both dream of escaping the small worlds they feel trapped in, one by expectation and tradition, the other by her absolute fear of crossing the water to get off the island. Repeatedly the top two contestants for the local photography competition, they can’t be anything but fierce rivals when the prize is a contact that would take them away from it all. Just how far will thy go to win the prize? And at what cost?

This is a witty, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable light-hearted romance. Olive is an extremely likeable character you can’t help but root for, hoping she wins the competition and overcomes her chronic phobia. The whole concept of a character born on an island with a deep longing to travel and an overwhelming fear of the ocean creates a great personal conflict.

Gabby is the less likable of the two, arrogant, over confident and a player to boot; while the rumours about her may not be totally true her behaviour at the end is almost unforgivable and severely dented my liking for her. But she is redeemed by having an absolutely hysterical, stereotypical Italian American family with superstitious Gran, overbearing Mother and a screaming hydra of sisters.

It’s extremely well written and edited, a wonderful and well developed cast of characters, excellent dialogue, extremely funny at times and with a warmth and humour throughout. It’s my first from this author but definitely wont be my last, I thoroughly enjoyed it.



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: 269 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (November 14, 2017)
  • ASIN: B076P866NJ
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The Last First Time – Andrea Bramhall

The Last First Time – Andrea BramhallBook three in the Norfolk Coast series and this is a cracker, if you haven’t read the first two, this will stand alone but is much better with the back story.

Gina goes Christmas shopping for Kate, in Ann Summers of all places, hoping to move their slow burn romance to a new level with some sexy underwear. But everything changes in an instant with an act of senseless violence, and so begins a series of events that will shatter the peaceful world of King’s Lynn and the normal routine for Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon and her colleagues.

This is an excellent crime-thriller-romance.. and Bramhall balances all three really cleverly. The characters are already well developed but continue to deepen and we meet new ones in each book as well as watching the existing relationships grow and change. This time Kate’s partner Stella takes a strong role, and Gina’s mother returns to stir the pot.

The crime/thriller is slightly different form the norm, very much in the present, and feeds on that tickle in all our minds about our safety in the current climate. At the same time the author doesn’t ignore the previous situations our heroines have survived and the ripples continue to expand throughout. Carefully handled and, in my judgement, well researched and thought through, this author never shys away from difficult or sensitive issues.

I am loving the series, can’t wait for the next.. this ends with a cliff hanger and several threads hanging loose so there must be at least one more. Excellent reading in front of the fire on a cold winters night.



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: 336 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Ylva (December 20, 2017)
  • ASIN: B077Y43GP3
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Right Here, Right Now – Georgia Beers

Right Here, Right Now – Georgia BeersLacey Chamberlain has never felt good enough, she’s taken over her fathers’ accountancy and works her fingers to the bone trying to prove she can cope, especially during filing season. She has a well ordered and controlled life, and seriously doesn’t appreciate the marketing firm who move in next door to her quiet office.

The gorgeous and outgoing Alicia Wight leads a creative team who want to play kickball in the hall, listen to loud music, eat pizza – and who never return the bathroom key. She couldn’t be more different than the buttoned-up Lacey, but seems determined to bring her round and drag her out of her shell.

This is a classic ‘opposites attract” romance done by one of the best in the business. The characters are well developed, there’s a decent sized cast with clear and detailed personalities. There’s a romantic sub plot, enough angst to make it work but not so much it drags with the ‘will she wont she roundabout’, a few unexpected twists and a dog who almost steals the show.

Georgia Beers BioGeorgia Beers is one of the best in the business and this is her at her best. A five star traditional romance, well written, great story arc and likeable characters. It transports you into another world, makes you care about the people who come feel like friends, and gives off that warm fuzzy feeling of an exceedingly good book.



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: 241 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes (December 12, 2017)
  • ASIN: B077MCTG2R
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Set the Stage – Karish Walsh

Set the Stage – Karish WalshArden is a gardener at the local park, following in her grandad’s footsteps. She has a creative spark but resists adding her own design to the landscaping despite her obvious skills.  Lithia Park is the home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s open-air performances, with which she has a love hate relationship; she adores Shakespeare and sees every show, but hates the transient nature of the company – including her parents who left her behind for the bright lights elsewhere.

Every year she has a short relationship with one of the cast or crew, and each year gets hurt when they leave. So when she meets Emilie rehearsing in the Park she is determined to keep her emotional distance.

Emile has recently escaped a domineering relationship where she was constantly second and is resolutely staying single and putting herself and her career first. She sees the season in Oregon as a last chance to establish the career she too easily gave up to follow her heart. So the stage is set but the players determined to resist, always a clear sign they are drawn to each other despite their best intentions.

Karis Walsh write some of the best descriptive settings and scenes out there. Her use of colour, visual narrative and the senses draws us in to the scene and makes it real, to the point you could walk round the park or through the backstage theatre in your mind long after the scene is over.

Her characters are similarly well drawn; rounded, flawed and both have lessons to learn and growing to do. The small supporting cast of established locals and the Shakespeare company are equally well sketched and add to the colour and flavour of the whole.

Well written and edited, Walsh’s romances flow across the page with delightful ease. A mixture of humour and angst, self-doubt and learning, the main characters form a solid friendship and support each other’s professional development, grounding the whole in a sense of reality.

I never miss a new Karis Walsh and she continues to deliver new characters, setting and plots with consistently good stories and charming romance.



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: 212 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes (November 14, 2017)
  • ASIN: B076P6LWXK
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Hearts Orders – Jaycie Morrison

Hearts Orders – Jaycie MorrisonHelen Tucker wants to drive trucks, it’s her escape and always has been. She also wants Teresa Owens, but that might be harder to achieve as Teresa is an incredibly shy Baptist girl who has secrets she needs to deal with. Helen’s ambitions lead her into dangerous waters with her first posting, but her love for Teresa can help save her from a very dishonourable discharge.

Sergeant Rains and Private Elizabeth Smythe both have issues to overcome as they try to establish a life together in a world that doesn’t accept them on many levels. But Smythe has a secret that could destroy them.

Following directly on from “Basic Training of the Heart” this is a sweet romance set in the Women’s Army Core in 1942 at the height of WWII. It stands alone perfectly well, although “Basic Training of the Heart” is also an excellent read so why not try both.

Jaycie Morrison has captured the mood of an era really well in these novels; the fear of the married women whose husbands are overseas, the attitude of the men who take their place for granted, the hostility of the black ghetto at night, and the determination of the women who have signed up to the WAC to not only do a good job but to forge a place for themselves in the world.

The characters are well drawn and each has a journey to take, learning to do. From the platoon being thrown together for basic through to the rivalry and hostility of the sergeants we get to see a wide range of characters all in a very new situation, finding their way in a man’s world and for many the first time they have not only left home but travelled out of state and away from their family.

The romances are sweet and gentle, the mood is soft focus despite the harsh realities of the time. An excellent follow up in the Love and Courage Series, I look forward to book three.



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: 305 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (October 17, 2017)
  • ASIN: B075RNTXSK
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Changing Perspectives – Jen Silver

Changing Perspectives – Jen SilverDani Baker is an artistic director with a high-flying career and successful business who lives her life on the edge of ‘polite’ society. Wearing grunge with pride, a leather dyke who likes S&M and regularly visits very private members clubs, she is used to being judged and sneered at for her life choices.

Camilla Callaghan couldn’t be more different. Uptight, finance director, well dressed and repressed, she is so far in the closet nobody but a few friends even knew she was living with a woman for 10 years, or lost her partner in a tragic attack.

When the two meet through work the attraction is instant but they are so far apart in so many ways it seems a very unlikely pairing. Dani might pursue Camilla and convince her to take a chance, but will Camilla be everything she desires or another vanilla lesbian who shy’s away from Dani’s real needs?

Set in London in 1993 this is a great flash back novel and brought back all sorts of memories. No mobiles, using an A to Z instead of google maps, dial up modems and Silver Moon books. Jen Silver has perfectly recaptured the mood and tone of the gay scene and reminds us how far we have come. How brave we felt being ‘out and proud’ and how public awareness of LGBT people and AIDS has changed.

Dani is an amazing character, presenting herself as a rough and tough dyke in men’s suits and leathers she is a highly intelligent, well educated and cultured woman who accepts the price she has to pay for being herself. Camilla is the exact opposite in terms of the price she pays because she chooses to hide who she is, even from herself. Dani doesn’t expect acceptance even on a social level, whereas Camilla doesn’t expect to ever feel strong passions and real fulfilment.

A brilliant supporting cast of friends and colleagues, Camila’s bosses and Dani’s workmates are extremely well drawn, and morph from sketchy background figures into real friends. The reaction of Camila’s friends and family to Dani is well done even if her parents relatively easy acceptance might be something we all wished for back in 1993.

Excellent storyline, interesting characters, gentle exploration of the fetish/S&M scene of the era and a delightful journey of self-discovery, this is definitely Jen Silver’s best to date and it’s great to see her step outside the charming and rather parochial English romances into something with a lot more bite.



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: 309 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Affinity Rainbow(October 31, 2017)
  • ASIN: B0772FMLKT
Amazon.com
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A Fairytale of Possibilities – Kiki Archer

A Fairytale of Possibilities – Kiki ArcherLauren is the archetypal lesbian in love with her BFF. The best friend a girl could have, always there, always solid, never meeting her one true love, so never going off in her own direction, but secretly in agony – loving a straight girl. She spends her time being everything she can be to Rachel, supportive, caring, witty and fun, while on the inside she longs for more.

Rachel has never admitted to being a little bi-curious, or wondering why Lauren never made a play for her; she is certainly a bit of a player. But as she emerges from the grief of her husband’s death, Lauren’s place in her life and her heart becomes even more critical. And so begins a comedy of errors, of unspoken truths hidden behind flirty but guarded innuendo as both women have things to say but no way of saying them and it is, of course, the straight woman who must do the running.

Witty, sharp and clever this is definitely a laugh out loud romcom and the perfect entertainment for a night in front of the fire. The dialogue between Lauren and Rachel is first class and Trudy, Lauren’s madcap assistant, is absolutely brilliant. Archer certainly has the eye for a situation-comedy, and puts her characters into places where you can see the Monty Python moment coming from a mile away but it never fails to entertain.

It is literally full of laughs, both out loud at the comedic situations and internal as we recognise and empathise with the women trying to communicate or hide their secrets. There is plenty of romcom angst and drama, but there is also a serious undertone and darker shades which takes it from being a comedy into something more than a fairytale. Both women have things to learn, and the character development via horse whispering is absolutely hysterical.

Well written, cleverly put together and totally entertaining, this is an excellent way to drive out the winter blues. I thoroughly enjoyed it.



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: 306 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: K.A Books (June 13, 2017)
  • ASIN: B0721QDM5L
Amazon.com
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