Begin Again…Again by Addison Clarke

Begin Again...Again
Category:
Published: 4/28/22
A Moonflower Cove Novella

Hayden Forrester has just gotten the worst news imaginable. And all she can think of is that she has to tell her best friend. Molly Jaymes that she’s been in love with her for years, before it’s too late. She quits her job and heads to Moonflower Cove, Maine, where all the lesbians go, to confess her love.

Molly is shocked to see her best friend Hayden on her doorstep. Her momentary happiness at hearing that Hayden loves her turns to sorrow when she discovers what prompted the urgent reason Hayden confessed her feelings.

This Moonflower Cove novella is just as adorable as the previous books in this series. Addison Clarke keeps impressing me with her writing and the wonderful characters she creates. Hayden and Molly are both lovely and I found myself hoping for a miracle, so they enjoy being happy and in love.  Of course, we get to enjoy time with our favorite Moonflower Cove characters, including Mason, who finds herself experiencing that unfamiliar feeling of jealousy when she witnesses the love between Molly and Hayden. I’m looking forward to Mason finding happiness in a future book.

This is a heartfelt read that made me smile, while also causing some anxiety. I love these characters and wish I could travel to Addison Clarke’s lesbian mecca in Maine to hang out with them. I am eagerly anticipating the next story in the series.

An ARC was received from the author for an honest review.

 

A Long Way To Fall by Elle Spencer

no title has been provided for this book
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Author:
Published: 5/10/22

Bridget Berg loves her family’s ski lodge in Utah. Her father was a decorated skier and his death devastated Bridget but she’s determined to keep his beloved ski lodge open even if she has to work nonstop. Her father was her best friend and she can’t imagine letting him down.

Kennedy Fleming hasn’t been to her father’s vacation home in years but goes as a favor to her brother to put it on the market. The moment she sees Bridget she’s attracted to the beautiful redhead. Little does she know that anyone with the Fleming last name is not looked upon kindly thanks to Kennedy’s father’s long-standing dispute with Bridget’s father. Bridget isn’t interested in getting to know anything about Kennedy, even if she is annoyingly attractive.

Elle Spencer has such a gift for writing comedy. This book was really charming. I loved the witty banter between Bridget and Kennedy. At first Bridget’s cruelty turned me off but it didn’t take long for her to be won over by Kennedy’s charm. These women have such good hearts and are so deserving of happiness. If you’re looking for a lighthearted, entertaining read, this is the book for you.

An ARC was received from NetGalley for an honest review.

 

Truth & Measure by Roslyn Sinclair

Truth & Measure
Publisher:
Published: 4/20/22
Truth and Measure is the first part of a two-book series. This slow-burn office romance is a steamy story of fashion, passion, and the power of the unexpected.

Jules Moretti is a very good assistant. She anticipates what fashion editor Vivian Carlisle needs before she says it. She has to or she would be unceremoniously fired like so many before her. When Vivian finds herself unexpected expecting, Jules finds herself become far more involved in her bosses life than she ever anticipated.

This is one of the most eagerly anticipated books of the year and it was well worth the wait. Roslyn Sinclair has adapted her Devil Wears Prade fanfic into two books.  The second, Above All Things will be released in May. In Jules we get the overachieving girl next door, trying to make a go of her writing career while working for the iciest of fashion editors. Jules has a bit of hero worship for her boss and who can blame her. Vivian takes no shit, she’s ridiculously hot and has power that most people can only dream about. That hero worship turns into something more when Vivian allows Jules to see her vulnerability.

Roslyn Sinclair is an incredibly gifted author. I really loved The X Ingredient and The Lily and the Crown. I liked this book and am looking forward to the second book, Above All Things. She excels at writing the ice queen. The only way the ice queen trope works is if the sweet character manages to thaw the queen. In this instance Vivian is thawed as much by the shocking situation she finds herself in as by her interaction with Jules. This makes for a very effective character arc. Her vulnerability comes through so beautifully I couldn’t help but falling for her as well. Sinclair is also incredibly gifted at writing scenes that nearly set my Kindle ablaze. When things heat up, they heat up quickly and there is no turning back for either of them.

My only complaint is that I wish the romance would have been developed a bit more but I’m hoping we get more romance in book two. The book ends with a bit of a cliff hanger so I can’t wait to dive into the second book and see what Roslyn Sinclair has in store for us. I am fairly certain it’s going to be hot, emotional and with some twists I won’t be anticipating and what more could we ask for.

An ARC was received from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.

 

 

 

If I Don’t Ask by E.J. Noyes

If I Don't Ask
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Series: ,
Publisher:
Published: 5/17/22
Rebecca Keane has it all figured out. With a successful career as an Army surgeon and a fresh promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, she loves her life leading a surgical team. Even if that life means she’s spent years hiding her sexuality and ignoring her desires under the Army’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Then Captain Sabine Fleischer’s arrival sets off an attraction that cracks Rebecca’s carefully cultivated armor and brings about fresh complications.

If I Don’t Ask gives us the Ask, Tell story from Rebecca’s point of view. Being back with Rebecca and Sabine is like getting together with old friends. You didn’t realize how much you missed them until they are back in your orbit. It’s exactly the book I wanted it to be and I’m so glad E.J. Noyes brought them back into our lives.

Dr. Sabine Fleischer arrives at the Army base in Afghanistan that is under Rebecca’s command. Rebecca is impressed by Sabine’s talent and dedication but is also attracted to her both physically and emotionally. There are many obstacles in the way of a relationship between the two women, from DADT to Sabine being Rebecca’s subordinate. Anyone who has read Ask, Tell knows how things turn out but getting Rebecca’s point of view adds so much to an already brilliant story.

E.J. Noyes writes Rebecca’s love, longing and when tragedy strikes, her pain, so beautifully. Rebecca and Sabine’s story is one of my favorite. Their love is undeniable and all encompassing. It’s one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read and being able to read it from both of their perspectives is a gift. Ask, Tell was E.J. Noyes first book and she has done nothing but continue to impress with each book since.

This is book ten and she has come full circle by returning to these wonderful characters. I couldn’t recommend this book more. Sit back, grab a drink and fall in love all over again with Rebecca and Sabine.

An ARC was received from Bella Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

 

Delafield by Katherine V. Forrest

Delafield
Publisher:
Published: 4/19/22

Almost twelve years ago when my partner and I started dating she introduced me to Katherine V. Forrest’s Curius Wine. It was a revelation and began my love affair with lesfic. I read a few of her Kate Delafield books but then life got in the way. When an opportunity to read Delafield came up, I couldn’t grab it fast enough and it reminds me of the immense talent Ms. Forrest has. She is a pioneer and the authors of today owe her a debt of gratitude.

Kate Delafield is an unforgettable character. In this, the tenth book in the series, we find Kate retired and living in a small desert community. She spends her days and nights waiting for the moment she dies. After spending twenty years in prison, wrongfully convicted of her daughter’s murder, Ellie Schuster is out and has vowed to kill Kate for her part in her confinement. Kate feels a tremendous amount of guilt for the way the case was handled as she let her rookie partner take the lead on the investigation.

This book is intense and I felt so bad for Kate. She is such a tortured character. After so many years in law enforcement she’s haunted by so much, the cases that’s she’s worked, the loves she’s lost. She is her harshest critic and doesn’t see all of the good inside of herself. This is a beautifully, haunting character study of a woman working to maintain her sobriety while trying to make amends for the mistakes of the past. I will be going back and reading the previous books in this series because this book has reminded me of just how brilliant and legendary Katherine V. Forrest is.

An ARC was received from NetGalley for an honest review.

Cast Away Her Fears by Claire Highton-Stevenson

Cast Away Her Fears
Category:
Published: 3/25/22
A second chance romance from the author of Blinded by Love, Love's Witness, and The Cam Thomas series.

Connie needs to get away, away from the memories of her failed relationship with Jenny. She needs to get over her but it’s hard to do when she’s still loves her so much. When she sees an ad for a glamping trip to a deserted island where she can be alone, she decides it’s the perfect place for a getaway. Only fate has a different plan for Connie and getting over Jenny isn’t part of the plan.

This was a fun read. I am pretty good at suspending reality and just going where the story takes me. That is a good quality to have for this book because you can only explain Connie and Jenny being stranded on an island together as fate. Connie is a better woman than I am. I was frustrated with Jenny before I ever met her, but Connie’s love is unwavering. Being on an island together forces Jenny to actually talk to Connie instead of her default, running away. She doesn’t handle confrontation or even difficult discussions well but when stranded on an island trying to survive, Jenny is forced to make some much needed changes.

This story is told from Connie’s perspective, which works in that it gives us insight into why her long for Jenny is so strong and why she’s willing to deal with so much. It’s also why I had issues with Jenny for quite a while in the story. Gradually, I began to understand Jenny and it made me want the two to get back together and get their happily ever after. Claire Highton-Stevenson has given us a fun story of the power of fate. This is a great read for a relaxing spring day. If only I were reading it while on an island.

An ARC was received from the author for an honest review.

Night and Day by Lily Seabrooke

Night & Day
Category:
Published: 4/9/22
Parker Ferris needed a roommate, but for the crabby ball of snark she is, maybe upbeat Instagram lifestyle influencer Cassie Peterson wasn’t the best choice. Not like she had a choice: with her business rival Gary Founders crushing her coffee supply business, and her family still needing money, she’s eager to save rent. But it’s only delaying the inevitable. When a contentious roommate agreement becomes an alliance to keep Parker’s business alive, the attraction between…

I really wish Port Andrea were a real place I could visit. This is the fourth book Lily Seabrooke has set in the fictional city and while Fake It will always be my favorite, this is a close second. The story centers around Parker Ferris, a supporting character in Last Chance, the second book in the series. Parker finds herself in need of a roommate. Enter one very annoyingly cheerful Instagram influencer, Cassie Peterson. They battle Parker’s business rival together, while trying to avoid falling in love.

Parker owns a coffee supply business. One of her customers is the coffee shop where Cassie works. It’s not until after Cassie becomes Parker’s roommate does she learn that Cassie is an Instagram influencer. Parker is the grumpiest of the grumps and Cassie is sunshine personified. Cassie is also harboring a giant crush on Parker that she has had since they first met. She’s so far in the closet while Parker is out and proud. These two are polar opposites in every way.

Parker is adorable and knowing she would hate me calling her that makes me want to do it more. She’s one of those people who guards her heart by pretending not to care about anyone but it’s all an act. And it takes someone like Cassie, with her 5am yoga and sunny disposition to allow Parker to let a little of the snark go. Cassie is the kind of woman we all need in our lives. You can’t help but be drawn into her orbit.

As always from Lily Seabrooke, we are gifted with a fun, sexy and incredibly sweet read. Along with wonderfully charming characters, excluding Gary, who is literally the worst person ever, this book is sexy. Parker and Cassie have sizzling chemistry while but also make each other better people. It’s always a good day to visit Port Andrea.

An ARC was received from the author via Booksprout for an honest review.

A Whisper of Solace by Milena McKay

A Whisper of Solace
Author:
Published: 4/12/2022
What makes an Ice Queen? Neve Blackthorne, head of one of the most successful Studios in Hollywood, is the one to rule them all. Powerful, beautiful, and aloof, she’s ruthless, yet irresistible. Above all, she has an unquenchable survival instinct. Surely a fleeting entanglement with one Audrey Avens, a bright, young, rising star in her company, won’t bring down the Wicked Queen of Tinseltown. Or will it? Neve’s public persona has no chink in the…

It is difficult to adequately convey how much I love Milena McKay’s writing. I’m not eloquent enough to do her work justice but I will do my best to express how her writing in A Whisper of Solace made me feel. When I first read The Delicate Things We Make, I was enthralled and then The Headmistress blew my mind. I thought there was no way she could eclipse the brilliance of The Headmistress but then I met Neve Blackthorne. This character and story will stay with me for a very long time.

Neve Blackthorne is the CEO of one of the biggest studios in Hollywood. She has been having an affair with one of subordinates, Audrey Avens for four months and she goes to therapist to help her quit because she knows she can’t do it on her own. She lives in constant fear that she will be found out, she will lose the power she has, she will lose her son. So, she pushes Audrey away even though Audrey is the first person to really love Neve just as she is.

What makes this story unique is that it is told from the ice queen’s point of view. We get to see the many facets of Neve and not through the rose-colored glasses of the woman who loves her. No, we see all of the moments where Neve is cruel and cold mixed in with the moments where she can be kind and vulnerable. There are more cruel and cold moments but in the kind and vulnerable ones, we see who Neve has the capacity to become as she gains more insight into why she behaves the way she does.

Each chapter begins with Neve talking to her therapist and over the course of several years, we see Neve’s growth. Dr. Moore never pushes, she listens and over time a trust develops as happens with the best doctor/patient relationships. Audrey is a fascinating character. She isn’t intimated by Neve, although she’s nearly twenty years younger. I really like Audrey’s growth throughout the story as well. She hardens as the story progresses but still retains her goodness. She is Neve’s perfect match if Neve can only get out of her own way.

This is a fascinating character study of a woman who lets fear consume her and the struggles she must endure to get to a place where she can overcome those fears. It may not be wise to call A Whisper of Solace perfect, but it’s a close to perfect as I have read in a very long time. It will be a few days before I can read anything else. I need to sit with this book and with Neve Blackthorne for a while. Milena McKay continues to show that she is one of the most talented writers in our community. Her writing is layered, beautiful, at times painful but always mesmerizing. Spend a day with Neve Blackthorne. It won’t always be easy but it will be an experience you won’t soon forget.

An ARC was received from the author for an honest review.

No Rings Attached by Rachel Lacey

No Rings Attached
Category:
Author:
Published: 4/12/22
Fake dating, only one bed, road trip.  All the best tropes in one book!

I enjoyed Read Between the Lines a lot, but I absolutely love No Rings Attached. Lia demanded to have her story told and I am so glad Rachel Lacey listened. Rosie’s two best friends meet when Lia returns home to England to attend her brother’s wedding. Grace lives in London and when Rosie reaches out asking her to accompany Lia, Grace is reluctant but knows she will accept because she would do anything for Rosie.  Grace wants to hate Lia because she feels Lia replaced her as Rosie’s best friend but the two have immediate chemistry. But Grace doesn’t do relationships and the two live in different countries.

Rachel Lacey has quickly become one of my favorite authors. With this book, she gives us fake dating, an only one bed situation and a road trip. She also gives us two characters in Lia and Grace who are each other’s perfect match. Lia is not only incredibly likable, but she also has a directness that takes Grace by surprise. She’s kind and instead of showing pity when Grace confides information from her past, she just listens and is there for her and seriously, she has a British accent and who doesn’t love a woman with an accent.  Grace surprises Lia by charming her family and making her want more than just their fake dating situation. Grace has a lot to deal with and her default has always been compartmentalizing. Her growth throughout the story was beautifully written and at times my heart broke for her.

I loved that we get more of Rosie and Jane from Read Between the Lines. Rosie is the catalyst for her two friends meeting and the hopeless romantic that she is, probably knew how it would all turn out.  I felt so many emotions while reading this book. That is one of Rachel’s greatest gifts, writing books that cause so many emotions to come to the surface. I laughed, I had a few moments of anger related to Lia’s ex, I felt Grace’s pain and Lia’s frustration. My favorite couple of Rachel’s is Josie and Eve from Don’t Cry for Me, but Lia and Grace are right behind them and now hold a special place in my heart. This is a great read and I highly recommend it.

An ARC was received from the author for an honest review.

With A Trist by Georgia Beers

With A Twist
Published: 4/12/22
A Swizzle Stick Romance Book 3

Amelia Martini is a mess. At 49, she’s divorced and being hit hard by menopause. She’s retired from her government job and has started a dog walking/sitting company. When she takes a job house sitting for one of her father’s friends, she never expects Kirby Dupree to turn her life upside down. Kirby’s a housepainter and starts a job at the house Amelia is housesitting. Kirby is drawn to Amelia despite her less than pleasant disposition.

This is the third book in Georgia Beers Swizzle Stick series. The first two featured Amelia’s cousins, Julia and Vanessa, who also play a part in this book, along with their respective loves. The three cousins are more like sisters and are always there for each other, but Julia and Vanessa can’t really understand what Amelia’s going through. Kirby, on the other hand, even though she’s 14 years younger than Amelia, she shows such understanding and compassion to Amelia, which is exactly what she needs. Maybe because I’m the same age as Amelia and have started perimenopause, I felt a lot of empathy for her. There is nothing worse than feeling like a stranger in your own body and it takes someone with the compassion and patience of Kirby to help Amelia realize that the way she sees herself isn’t at all how everyone else sees her. I really like Kirby and Amelia together. They complement each other beautifully.

I have enjoyed most of the Georgia Beers books I have read. She always creates entertaining characters, and this is no exception. Kirby and Amelia are both extremely likable. This story has lot of humor but also deals with a subject that doesn’t get enough attention in lesfic, a woman dealing with menopause. Amelia’s plight is one we will all have to deal with, maybe not to the severity she does but I can only hope we all have someone like Kirby to help us get through it.

An ARC was provided by Bold Strokes Books via NetGalley for an honest review.