Purposefully Accidental by G Benson

Purposefully Accidental
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Published: 9/6/2022

Wren Acker is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. When she gets into a car accident, she has no way of knowing that a blast from the past will turn her life upside down. Dr. Madison Taylor is shocked when Wren shows up at her E.R. It’s not like she is a fan, she hasn’t seen any of her movies. No, she wouldn’t dare, not after what happened when they were both nine years old and at camp together. Madison has harbored resentment ever since and only when she starts consulting on Wren’s television show does she start to accept that they both have changed a lot over the years. And neither can ignore the obvious chemistry between them.

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Wren and Madison. They are both so likable and both grow so much as the story progresses. I love everything about this book but the moments on set when the two characters get reacquainted with each other and really open up, those are the moments that pulled me in like no other. It’s in those quiet moments where Benson makes her case for being one of the best writers in the genre. The interactions flow so beautifully and allow the characters to show vulnerability. The moments on set also give us Trinity, Wren’s co-star, who is great comic relief and a friend to both Wren and Madison.

G Benson is one of my absolute favorite authors. Her characters always find a way into my heart, snuggle in and make a home there. Wren and Madison have stolen my heart and I am totally ok with that.  This is a slow burn that Benson weaves masterfully. With every book of hers I read, I become more of a fan.   I already miss these characters and I know I will be reading this book again very soon.

An ARC was received for an honest review.

Cherry on Top by Georgia Beers

Cherry on Top
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Published: 8/16/22

With the advent of social media, we can present ourselves in any way we see fit. Sometimes, it’s as our authentic selves’, other times, it’s as the person we wish we were.  Cherry Davis is working hard on her “brand” and it isn’t always who she is. She uses filters and talks about her nonexistent girlfriend, but it’s a means to an end.

Ellis Conrad is the manager at the Sunny Side Up diner and also an aspiring journalist. She loathes social media and has valid reasons for her feelings. As the two women get to know each other better and the feelings deepen, will their blossoming relationship survive when Cherry’s social media status comes to light?

Georgia Beer has been one of my favorite authors since I began reading sapphic romances. Her characters are so engaging and relatable and book after book, I always find myself becoming more of a fan of her writing. This story is another that will go on my list of favorites. Ellis is such a wonderful character. I felt so much empathy for everything she has gone through, and no one could possibly deserve happiness more.

Cherry is a wonderful character as well, even though I wanted to shake her a few times but in the end I loved her just as much as I did Ellis. Cherry is someone who doesn’t see herself as being enough and tries so hard to cultivate an image of what she wants to be rather than being content with the amazing person she is.

Cherry on Top is another wonderful story from one of the greatest writers in sapphic fiction. It made me smile but it also made me think about how we all present ourselves on social media. What makes social media unique, is that we can put the best version of ourselves out there for the world to see. It isn’t always who we authentically are but more the person we aspire to be.

This is more than a romance with two incredibly charming and wonderful characters. It is a reminder that you shouldn’t have to compromise who you are to fit into a box that society wants to put you into. Georgia Beers once again creates a couple with wonderful chemistry who will warm your heart.

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

 

Chemistry by Rachael Sommers

Lily Cross has returned home to the suburbs on Chicago for her first teaching job. She isn’t overly thrilled to come home but there were reasons she needed to get out of Miami. She is determined to become friends with her new co-workers but she hadn’t planned on Dr. Eva Thomas.

Eva had been a Chemistry professor at Georgetown University, but a family situation brings her home.  Teaching high school had never been something she imagined herself doing and she doesn’t have the time nor the inclination to humor the new, ridiculously peppy Biology teacher. She infuriated Eva or is that feeling something more troublesome?

I gravitate to ice queens. They are so complex and keep so much of themselves hidden away and fear is usually the cause. Eva is no exception.  When Lily gets a glimpse into who Eva is with her students, she begins to see that the icy exterior is just that, a way to keep people at bay and protect herself.

The title of the book is apropos. Eva and Lily have incredible chemistry. They balance each other out as happens in the best ice queen romances. I finished this is an evening because I wanted to witness Lily cracking the ice Eva had around her heart and I was not disappointed. This is a wonderful book to curl up with on the couch with a glass of wine.

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

 

Golden Hour by Kat Jackson

Golden Hour
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Published: 7/19/22

Lina isn’t sure what she expects to happen when she leaves New Jersey for Kitty Hawk, North Carolina for eleven months. She just knows she needs a change. If only she could run away from herself and the nightmares that plague her existence. She can’t call it what it is because that would make it too real. She never plans on someone like Regan coming into her life. Regan, who is unlike anyone Lina has ever known and may be exactly the person she’s always needed.

This is my first Kat Jackson book and it will certainly not be my last. PTSD is not an easy subject to tackle, but Jackson handles the subject with sensitivity and while doing so brings to life a heartbreaking character who I am certain not to forget. Using flashbacks to Lina’s time in the military complete the picture of how Lina has got to this point. And her sessions with her therapist shows how far she has to go to pull herself out of the darkness.

Fortunately for Lina, she has a wonderfully supportive group of friends, her best friend Caitlin and her gf Mallory, from Jackson’s earlier book, Across the Hall and her military pal, Keeley. But it’s the ray of sunshine that is Regan, who comes along at exactly the right moment, and shows Lina that her failed relationships may be a thing of the past, if she can accept that she deserves to be treated well.

I became invested in this story and in Lina immediately. I wanted to reach in and just give her a hug. There are so many veterans who suffer from PTSD and only a few brave authors have dared to write about it. I applaud Kat Jackson for writing this book. This is a subject that isn’t easy but in ignoring its existence, we do a disservice to all those who risked their lives for our freedom, who suffer from PTSD.  Golden Hour is more than a story of a character trying to cope with her past, it is a book that is laced with laugh out loud moments, beautiful coastal views and characters who will stay with you long after you have read the last page.

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

The Last Lavender Sister by Melissa Brayden

The Last Lavender Sister
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Published: 7/12/22

Aster Lavender is looking for excitement. She is tired of her small town, Homer’s Bluff and she is tired of being the forgettable member of her family, always outshined by her more charismatic siblings. She thinks she will have to leave town for something extraordinary to happen to her. Until the temporary vet, Brynn Garrett shows up and brings light into Aster’s overwise gray existence.

Brynn has had her heart broken and Chicago now feels too busy and way too lonely, even though she is surrounded by people. When her vet school friend calls and asks her to take over her practice for six months, Brynn thinks this may be the change she needs. The moment Aster sees Brynn she is struck by her beauty and Brynn finds Aster’s awkwardness endearing. The two strike up a friendship that has the potential to be so much more.

I have loved many of Melissa Brayden’s characters over the years, but I think Aster Lavender, may be my favorite of all of them. She has so many facets to her personality. She is socially awkward and nerdy yet isn’t afraid to make her feelings know and stand up for those she cares about. One of the many things I love about this book is that it spans several years so we get to see how Aster changes and grows as a person. Her character arc is wonderfully written.

Both Brynn and Aster are such memorable characters who have such big hearts you can’t help but root for them to make it work. I wanted to shake Brynn a few times, but it was all part of the journey.  A journey I won’t soon forget and one I know I will revisit many times.

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

The Stepmother by Melissa Tereze

The Stepmother
Published: 6/21/22

Hannah has no plans to stay in London. She arrives in town weeks after her father’s death expecting his wife to be an old, miserable sack of crap like her father.  Only Diane Astell is nothing like what Hannah imagined. She’s gorgeous, kind and her gaze lingers on Hannah longer than is considered polite. Is there a world in which her father’s wife is attracted to her as well or is it just wishful thinking?

Melissa Tereze pushes the envelope, or at least it should feel like that but one of the many things I love about her writing is she gives me a reason to overlook what should be taboo. Hannah and Diane have never met. Hannah didn’t grow up with Diane as her stepmother. Her father has only been married to her for three years. Those detail make me more than willing to embrace this storyline. Not to mention the fact that the person these two have in common was pretty awful to both of them.

I can’t blame Hannah for being attracted to Diane, I’m a bit in love with her myself. She has this playful nature that has been suppressed for so long and Hannah helps bring that out in her. In turn, Diane gives Hannah a sense of home, which she hasn’t had for years since her mother left and her father stopped taking an interest in her. They are both lost souls who exist but aren’t especially happy in their lives. It’s easy to walk through life thinking it’s good enough until you meet someone who makes you realize how much better it could be if you just take a chance.

Like my favorite of Melissa’s couples, Vanessa and Emma, their connection is physical but the emotional connection is just as strong.  That being said, this is a smokin’ hot book. Seriously, Melissa ups her sexy game with each book and if she keeps this up, and I have no doubt she will, I may have to invest in an industrial size fan.

An ARC was provided by the author for an honest review.

 

 

It Started With A Kiss by Clare Lydon

It Started With A Kiss
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Published: 6/10/22
Can one kiss change your life forever?

Skye has never told a stranger at a bar she was beautiful and kissed her. But it’s not every day you find out your cheating ex-wife is getting married, and your boss expects you to plan her wedding. Skye finds herself drowning her sorrows and chatting up a beautiful woman, so why not just plant one on those luscious lips.

Gemma doesn’t go around kissing strangers. She doesn’t act without thinking. But she’s away from home, Skye is gorgeous and for once, Gemma wants to do something unexpected. And why shouldn’t she step out of her comfort zone just this once.  They will never see each other again.

Both women return to their lives but that kiss lingers is the back of their minds. Fate brings them back into each others orbit and soon Skye finds herself taking a job at the winery Gemma owns with her sister. They agree nothing will happen. It was a one off and they are keeping it professional.

This book is now my favorite from Clare Lydon. I was immediately drawn into the story and knew I needed to experience these two women finding their happily ever after.  Gemma and Skye have instant physical chemistry but their emotional connection is just as strong once they start getting to know each other. Both women have a lot of scars and the journey to allowing someone to help heal their dented hearts is well worth it.

Clare Lydon is an exceptional author. She writes such witty dialogue and really connects beautifully with her characters. She made it very easy for me to fall for Gemma and Skye.  They are flawed and both imperfect but are perfect for each other.  Sit back, grab a glass and marvel at the talent that is Clare Lydon. This book is like a fine wine that I know I will be appreciating years from now.

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

 

Embracing The Moon by Jeannie Levig

Embracing The Dawn
An Embracing The Dawn Romance

This is my first Jeannie Levig book, but it won’t be my last. I will be going back and reading Embracing the Dawn so I can get EJ and Jinx’s story. While this book brings EJ’s two best friends, Taylor and Gwen to the forefront, it can be read as a standalone.

Taylor has resigned herself to living the life of a single woman and it has been just fine. Even at 55, she can have any woman she wants.  So what if she is insanely attracted to her best friend. Gwen has been best friends with Taylor for ten years. She has always been attracted to the older woman but would never jeopardize losing her friendship. And she’s never told Taylor she isn’t as straight as everyone thinks she is.

The two women finally confess their attraction for each other and start exploring that attraction. And they really do some exploring! These two have some insane chemistry. After a few weeks of their new dynamic, things are going better than either ever could have imagined and then tragedy strikes. What follows is a long and difficult road for both to navigate,

I was completely surprised by the twist in the story. It made me love Taylor even more. I am always drawn to the player who has so many deeper layers to her and Taylor is so much more than even she recognizes.  She is a special character. I really appreciated how much she grew as the story progressed. And Gwen is the perfect complement to Taylor.

This was an enjoyable read and the supporting characters were an interesting group. Jinx fascinates me and I am looking forward to reading Embracing the Dawn to get her story.  I think we could have done without the person from one of the characters past and still had a fulfilling experience. That character was really my only issue with the book. I just couldn’t feel anything for her. Aside from her, this book is well worth the read.

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

Howl by Lucy Bexley

Howl
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Published: 6/1/22
Home of the Wayward Lovers. I Heart SapphFic Pride Collection Book 7

Clem has finally made it out of Maine and is ready to start a new life in Boston. The world is her oyster, the sky in the limit, or maybe life is still a shitshow. On day one her old Toyota gets stolen. Even car thieves are accepting mediocrity. Her new sweatin to the oldies roommate, Alyssa, invites Clementine to Howl, Boston’s only remaining queer bar. Clementine takes one look at Lou, the bars gorgeous owner and is smitten like a kitten. Maybe this place isn’t so bad after all.

Between trying to save her failing bar and checking in on her grandmother, Lou, doesn’t have the time or energy for anything other than a hookup now and then. Clementine is the perfect candidate for a little extracurricular in  the storeroom, since she is crazy hot and only in town for the weekend and thus they will never again cross paths. Lou may have gotten a wee bit confused as to how long Clem will be around but it doesn’t matter because she has no interest in anything that will detract her from saving the bar that is the only place she has ever felt she belonged.

Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love Lucy Bexley’s writing more, she brings Clem and Lou into my life. This book has everything I have come to expect from her books, moments of laugh out loud laughter, main characters who are relatable and deserving of love. And supporting characters who are so perfect I wish they were real so I could make them friends, like Alyssa and Sam.  I think the character who captured my heart the most Lou’s Gram, Eleanor, who reminded me so much of my late Gram it made me smile and tear up at the same time.

I love this book. I love Lou and how much she wants to preserve the bar for all those who never felt like they had a place where they could truly be themselves. I love Clementine, who has finally decided to live for herself and even if everything she owns has been stolen, she is determined to live her best life. I love how this book made me feel, how it made me smile and how it reinforced that Lucy Bexley is one of the most gifted authors in our community. This is a must read and the perfect book to celebrate Pride month.

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