Romance

Picking the Right Heart – Jade Winters

Picking the Right Heart - Jade WintersWhen Adriana’s beloved grandmother dies her high spending lifestyle comes to a crashing halt until she can secure her inheritance. She must deliver a handwritten letter to a woman she’s never even heard of, a task that will take her across the world and into a very different reality.

Jessica is living a life that is a million miles from the Chelsea set, scraping a living in a dead-end job and fighting to pay her bills. Adriana is a breath of fresh air, and offers Jessica the chance to see a world beyond her dingy flat and the prospect of dancing at a men’s club. The two appear to have nothing in common, but their whirlwind adventure will show both women what is really important in life.

This is a great fun read with a poignant message. Adriana is a spoilt little rich girl who doesn’t know her world is balanced on very shaky foundations. Her gran is her rock and once she has gone Adriana’s financial situation changes, her ‘friends’ turn away and her parents push her towards a high society ‘arranged’ marriage. Jessica is the exact opposite, a down to earth, working class girl doing her best to survive. What they share is love of their Grandmothers and of course a spark of attraction or it wouldn’t be a romance.

The plot is a madcap chase across the globe, leading the girls into a better understanding of each other’s worlds, and themselves. Bea’s letter to Eddy will have most in tears and reminds us all how far we have come while showing us what really matters.

Thoroughly enjoyable; well written and edited, light hearted and fast paced, it kept me riveted to see where we would shoot off to 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: 179 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Wicked Winters  (October 18, 2017)
  • ASIN: B076L17HNJ
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Eyes Like those – Melissa Brayden

Eyes Like Those – Melisa BraydenBook 1 in a new series set around the Seven Shores apartment complex in Venice Beach, CA and the wonderfully named coffee shop The Cat’s Pajamas, this is Brayden at her best.

Isabel is working dead end waitress jobs to force herself to write. She gets fired, again, but just as she starts to feel the pressure her bff calls to tell her she is lined up for an interview as a staff writer on the top TV show around, and suddenly Isabel’s world is transformed.

Taylor is Isabel’s role model, a hugely successful writer now running her own show and at the top of her game, a Hollywood player. Just getting the chance to work with her is huge, but when the sparks start to fly both women have hard choices to make about their personal lives and their careers.

This is a great start to a new series. A wide-ranging cast from Isabel’s new friends at Venice Beach to the crew and writers at the TV studio and Taylors wonderful friend Scarlett. The setting is well drawn, with the complex and neighbours sketched in ready for more detail and the coffee house a perfect meeting place.

Isabel and Taylor have the classic traditional romance, the “should they, shouldn’t they – but can’t resist”, the “obstacles to overcome; work, ex’s and career choices”, the “heart-rending break-up” that we all know will resolve into a crashing HEA. But while that might sound like a criticism Melisa Brayden does it so well that the formula sinks into the background. We all know how it will end, we can predict many of the steps along the way, but it’s such an enjoyable read that we still wait with bated breath for the story to unfold.

Melissa BraydenDespite being Isabel and Taylor’s story the other characters are incredibly strong; lightly sketched but still drawn in as complex multi-layered people; Scarlett with her excellent wit and grounding role in Taylor’s life, Gia, Hadley and Autumn at the complex who will no doubt be leading future books, even the grumpy landlord and the lead barista are memorable. These characters are people we want to be friends with – and more than anything this is a celebration of friendship and that wonderful bonding between women that simply makes our world a better place.

Brayden’s writing is just getting better and better. The story is well done, full of well-honed wit and humour, the characters are complex and interesting and the whole wrapped in the excellent craftsmanship of the master.

I will admit that I sometimes get bored of reading ten or more traditional romances a month and long for something different, but “Eyes Like Those” rejuvenates my romantic side. Excellent reading, highly recommended, can’t wait for book 2.



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: 287 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (October 17, 2017)
  • ASIN: B075RYS527
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Captured Soul – Laydin Michaels

Captured Soul - Laydin MichaelsThree women and a gallery show, all connected by complex relationships and the twisted art of a serial killer.

Kadence is recovering from a broken heart and excited about her first exhibition, until she realises the woman who destroyed her relationship is also exhibiting at the gallery. While she knows that Shiva’s bronzes are amazing they are almost too perfect and something about them, along with the disappearance of her ex, leads her to look a little harder.

Mallory runs a high end art gallery but feels under constant pressure to live up to the acclaim of her famous artist mother. She is caught up in a seriously manipulative relationship with the sculptress, who seems determined to play hard to get just to keep her guessing.

Sheva is a gifted sculptress with a twisted mind. For her nothing and nobody can stand in the way of her art.

Laydin Michaels has written a very unusual psycho-thriller. The setting is interesting, just beyond most of our knowledge but recognisable and intriguing as a backdrop. The whodunit is obvious from early on; the thrill comes from discovering the details with the amateur sleuth and not knowing if she will work it out in time to save the next victim. The crimes are bizarre but just believable enough to make this a very good story.

The three main characters are all strong in their own way. Kaydence is complex, damaged by a difficult childhood, she has learned to deal with her own issues. She is somebody we can all empathise with and root for. Mallory is less likeable, but as her character unfolds she becomes more human and less the hard-nosed gallery owner. Her relationship with her mother is clearly a defining force that she needs to resolve in order to break free. Shiva is dark, mad, complicated and ultimately evil. As we move between the three, using interior monologue and third person, Ms Michaels weaves a complex emotional and psychological web.

It’s well written, and with each book Laydin Michaels’ writing matures and her characters and plots deepen. The mystery/thriller story arcs are very well done and make a welcome change, something unusual to get your teeth into. For me the romance started well but became secondary to the thriller and I do think that this is miss-classified as primarily a romance when the psychological thriller is so much stronger.

Really enjoyed this and look forward to whatever twisted evil Ms Michaels comes up with 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: 255 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (October 17, 2017)
  • ASIN: B075QWKWSN
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Heart Stop – Radclyffe

Heart Stop – RadclyffeTwo interesting women meet and clash personalities as they are forced to work together in the ME’s department. Assistant chief medical examiner Olivia Price is emotionally cut off and distant. She resents having somebody forced on her who hasn’t passed through the normal channels. Jay “Flash” Reynolds was a high-flying trauma surgeon until an accident left her physically damaged and emotionally bereft at the loss of her career. Forced by friends in high places to try out in a different discipline she is angry and resentful of the changes. Thrown together by chance and caught up in local drug wars the two women must find a way to work together.

This is a mashup from the Justice and Frist Responder Series’ and although it does work as a standalone you certainly get more from knowing the backstory of many of the secondary characters. Cops, trauma surgeons, firefighters, and now medical examiners all play a role with a host of characters re-appearing as minor characters. As with many of Radclyffe’s books it’s like touching base with old friends.

The crime story is somewhat secondary, while it plays an important part in the action of the novel it is more of a vehicle to the developing working relationship of the main characters; their increasing friendship and interdependence. As always the medical drama and detail is excellent and I always enjoy learning more about different disciplines within the medical world.

It’s fast paced, full of detail with multiple story arcs and re-visits, along with a slow burn romance and powerful women who need to grow into a relationship by overcoming their issues, both physical and emotional. Another strong Radclyffe story and a good cross over between 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: 272 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (July 18, 2017)
  • ASIN: B07318NYRR
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

A Girl Called London – Clare Lydon

A Girl Called London - Clare LydonTanya is a high-powered lawyer, interesting, attractive and successful, very confident in her world, with a flaw; she is frequently rude and brash and rather full of her own importance. When her Gran dies Tanya has no choice but to take her Gran’s adored dog before her uncaring mother sends it to the local rescue. But a dog doesn’t exactly fit into her busy flat dwelling life style.

Sophie is growing her dog walking business and licking her wounds from a broken heart while she figures out what she really wants out of life. Under normal circumstances they have nothing in common, but they keep crossing paths and somehow make a connection beyond that of pet owner and dog walker. When they take a road trip to Tanya’s home town things begin to move beyond what either had planned in their lives.

A sweet romcom, this is book three of the London series and definitely stands alone. Those who have read “This London Love” will recognise Tanya as the decidedly unlikeable villain, and it’s good to see her grow into herself, let herself be more than the nasty bottled up woman who has been distorted by her mother and her own baggage. Sophie is a total sweetie who you can’t help but love, and her interactions with her Dad are priceless.

It well written with great descriptions and imagery, great fun, real emotion and hot sex as usual. Both women are on an emotional journey, one maybe more serious than the other, but both have things to learn and a history to overcome. Despite the growth and angst that drives the women together this is a light hearted read full of wit and humour, drawn with love.

Thoroughly enjoyable read and for me, Ms Lydon’s best yet, as her writing, and her characters mature.



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: 342 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Custard Books (June 24, 2017)
  • ASIN: B07391R3WZ
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Take Me There – Julie Cannon

Take Me There – Julie CannonAdrienne Stewart, nee Philips, walks into a business meeting as the attorney of a small pharmaceutical looking for venture capital. Sloan Merchant, attorney of the investment company Foster McKenzie, has only been told her married name and is completely unprepared for the shock of seeing Adrienne who she ran away from at college.

Despite the ethical questions of getting involved the two women are drawn together and seem unable to resist the pull. But Adrienne is a widow and mother still dreaming of her wife and Sloan is a player who never spends the night. Despite the attraction they are worlds apart and neither is ready for the encounter.

This is another strong traditional romance from Ms Cannon, well written, the characters are people we can engage with and their angst is appropriate and understandable unlike so many over blown sagas. The combination of their legal responsibilities, past baggage and current situations makes for just enough tension to keep the expectation going. It’s also fun to revisit Lauren and Elliott from “Come and Get Me”.

As always the sex is hot and steamy, the emotions run high and the happy ever after is a foregone conclusion, but that doesn’t detract from a good book – and as always this was an 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: 240 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (September 12, 2017)
  • ASIN: B074VBHZGY
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Beauty and the Boss – Ali Vali

Beauty and the Boss – Ali ValiA step away from the outstanding Cain Casey series “Beauty and the Boss” is an intriguing mystery/thriller/romance which pulls you in and holds on tight.

Ellis Renois is a NOLA born and bred fashion designer at the top of her game. She, with support from her exceedingly savvy mother and a host of friends in senior places, has built up a fashion label and empire that employs hundreds and stars on the Paris and NY catwalk while catering to the chain store requirements for well priced copies of her creations.

Ellis has never forgotten where she came from and every year gives an internship to one unknown designer to show them the ropes and set them on their way – frequently with disastrous consequences as Ms Renois finds it hard to resist a beautiful women. This year her attention is caught by the 9 y/o daughter of an applicant, and while Charlotte’s drawings are interesting it is the artistic Sawyer who really catches her attention.

So the stage is set for a traditional romance.. or is it? While we quickly get hints of subterfuge and backstabbing from people Ellis thought were friends and trusted to run her business, the evil intent goes much further than we could realise from the opening chapters, and Ellis soon finds herself fighting for her business and the livelihood of her staff.

Ali Vali BiogI love Ali Vali’s writing and this was no exception. The romance is charming, the combination of attraction and wariness is played just right, the charming Ellis is never quite sure where she stands while Charlotte is fighting the attraction to the woman who seems such a player, and Sawyer plays inadvertent matchmaker by her very presence.

The suspense/intrigue keeps on going, with multiple twists and turns, and the plot sustains our interest. People assume Ellis is less savvy than she is because she doesn’t like the detail of running a business, she is the creative genius, but that doesn’t mean somebody isn’t keeping an eye. As the plot unfolds Ellis finds out who she can trust and who are her real friends – and just how creative she can get when pushed into an ever-shrinking corner.

The characters are great, Ellis the seeming player with hidden depths, Charlotte who is almost too good, and the wonderful Sawyer who will steal your heart just as quickly as she stole Ellis’s. The secondary characters ae well drawn and while there are a lot of people involved and at times it feels almost overwhelming as to who did what and who pushed the buttons, that adds to the intrigue.. who exactly is behind all the misfortune that dogs the House of Renois this season?

As well written and creative as always, the descriptions of NOLA are particularly well done – I really enjoyed this… in fact I’m going to make the time to re-read it ASAP.



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: 268 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (September 12, 2017)
  • ASIN: B074TWK3VK
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Beached – Jody Klaire

Beached – Jody KlaireJody Klaire is one of those authors with whom you never quite know what you are going to get, from the absolutely stunning paranormal/crime series “Above and Beyond” to the charming and whimsical “La Vie en Bleu” she always entertains.

“Beached” is the first in a new series about an Island resort run by and for women “on a spectrum”. Mable, naïve and rather immature, for all she has given up her dreams to support her family, is horrified to find her Mum and Aunt are going on a package holiday to the island and she suspects her Mum is being led astray.  So books a flight and follows along after them, willy nilly, without thought of logistics or consequences.

It’s funny, witty and extremely easy reading. The very slow burn romance is cute, the interaction of the experienced player and the green girl who is only just realising her own place on the spectrum is charming, and the interjections, flirting lessons and general by-play of the supporting cast is literally laugh out loud.

Perfect lightweight holiday reading, can’t wait to see where she goes with 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: 314 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: J K Publishing (August 25, 2017)
  • ASIN: B0755PFL8Z
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Perfect Rhythm – Jae

Perfect Rhythm – JaeWell this was refreshingly different. Leo Blake is a burned-out pop star being driven too hard by her manager. When she gets a call to say her father has had a stroke she welcomes the chance to step off the treadmill, even though she doesn’t want to go home to small town America and a father who has never acknowledged her success. But the reality is very different to her teenage angst based memories and her relationship with both her family and the town is not what she imagines. Add in Holly, her father’s asexual nurse, who is less than impressed with Leo’s stardom and her lack of care for her parents and the stage is set for some interesting self-development.

Anybody who regularly reads my reviews knows I love Jae’s books. Her writing is well crafted and edited, her research and empathy for her subject are always spot on. She writes in a variety of sub genres which makes her an interesting author because one book might be a historical romance and the next a light-hearted romcom with the hint of paranormal, and that’s without even mentioning werewolves.

Jae - biogIn “Perfect Rhythm” Jae tackles a new and interesting subject; Holly’s asexuality is central to the story and is a welcome inclusion of ACE women who must feel alienated from trad romance. As Jae mentions in her notes the ACE spectrum covers many nuances, and while many will be unaware, I suspect this may resonate with many lesbians who have no or little sex drive and find that part of a relationship rather a chore. Some will find the romance unrealistic – but it really does take all sorts and while many might not be prepared to get involved with somebody different there are myriad examples of those who are.

While the ACE elements of the story are important they don’t overpower an interesting tale of self development and a charming romance. Leo has issues with her attitude to the town, her family and her career, she has an inflated sense of her-self importance while emotionally undermined by her father’s negation of her career and this trip home while literally change her world. The whole is an interesting exploration of growth and trust, done with Jae’s usual style and excellent writing skills.

Highly recommended.. just be open to something 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: 315 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Ylva (September 20, 2017)
  • ASIN: B075DJW71D
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Lightning Strikes – Cass Sellars

Lightning Strikes - Cass SellarsFirst in the Lightning Series this was the debut novel from Cass Sellars and makes a great start for a new author. I recently got sent the second instalment so had to go back and read the first.

Parker, high flying HR exec with a great job and wonderful friends, has a disastrous personal life after catching her wife in bed with a younger more exciting model on their 10th anniversary. Selling up their house and starting again has made her realise how beige her life has become, but she is definitely not in the market for romance.

Sydney is the ultimate player, whoever she glances at falls at her feet and apart for one short term relationship she doesn’t even do overnights. When they meet at a party their attraction is instant, but what neither expect is to meet again, and certainly not to begin a relationship neither one feels ready for.

These main characters are intelligent well-rounded women, not exactly ‘older’ but late 30’s with mature lives and complex emotional energy. They have built a place in the world and both have style and class as well as intricate back histories. They and their friends are likeable and realistic with their fears and concerns; people we can invest in.

The romance between Sydney and Parker is both an instant flash and a slow burn, both women are commitment shy and while they get together very quickly and both realise their own feelings are growing, it takes time for the relationship to solidify.

The romance is matched with a more sinister plot of the mad ex stalking and ultimately invading their new world in a most unexpected way, which both brings them together but also threatens to overwhelm their fledgling relationship.

Well written and edited this was a pleasure to read, and a decidedly good start from a debut author. I did feel the story faded a little towards the end, almost waiting for the sequel, but as a series addict I can live with that feeling of anticipation.



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: 240 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (March 14, 2017)
  • ASIN: B06X94C4J4
Amazon.com
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
Amazon.co.uk
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.