Daughter Of Fire: Conspiracy Of The Dark by Karen Frost

Quite the mystical magical adventure 

What was the book about?:
Aeryn dreams of the magic told to her in stories by travellers when she is young. When she discovers she has magic herself, everything changes! She finds herself away from all she knows, experiencing the unfamiliar and meeting others like herself as they embark on embracing their powers and learning of their fate. But one, Lyse, catches Aeryn’s eye and when working closely with one another during training their friendship is sealed.  

Featured Tropes: Young Adult, Friendship, Magical 

Book Strengths:
I really enjoyed this story of magic, and worlds unknown. With a Young Adult feel the story focuses more on the magic and mystery of the Ice Crown Region and the magic mage powers Aeryn possesses. I loved how it took me on an adventure, and all the uncertainty it held for Aeryn and her future made me want to read on, learn about her powers, and know more about the kingdom she lives in, so it has built up the story nicely for the next book in this series. 

Book weaknesses:
I found I really had to concentrate whilst reading this story to get the full benefits of enjoying it, but that is nothing different to how I usually find Fantasy books. All that world-building and mystery deserves the full attention of the reader, and the way this book is written you certainly can’t avoid doing just that. 

Character Chemistry:
Aeryn is an inquisitive and infectious character. Although she is uncertain and nervous, she comes across as extremely brave, very accommodating, and she deals with the changes she faces with boldness and courage. There is a lot to be admired in Aeryn. The way her story develops means her interactions with other characters hinge on that uncertainty, she has to learn to trust those that join her on her journey, rather than be afraid. Her interactions with each character start out hesitant, but as she gets to know them she opens up and so do they, this way we get quite an intimate look at their friendships, and learn what it is that makes Aeryn trust each of them.

Wrap Up:
I really enjoyed this, and I am looking forward to more from this series. 

Star Rating: 5 Stars 

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Not Since You by Fiona Riley

Now that’s how you write second chance romance… pure perfection!

What was the book about?
Lexi loves her life cruising around the world. She is a bartender/ VIP liaison on a large cruise ship. Life is good, and she’s exactly where she thinks she should be. That is until Charlotte sails (see what I did there 😉) back into her life and Lexi’s broken heart from more than a decade ago starts to ache again. 

Charlotte has cancelled her wedding to her cheating fiancé but like hell is she missing out on the honeymoon of a lifetime. But the last thing she expects is that her VIP liaison on the cruise ship is the woman who was the love of her life. With Lexi now in front of her, all she wants is a way to fix the biggest mistake of her life. But can Lexi ever forgive her? 

Featured Tropes: 
Second Chance, Holiday romance, Soulmates, First Love, Oh the Sex!

Book Strengths:
I can’t even tell you how unbelievably excited I was about receiving this book. I love Fiona Riley’s books, and in fact, she’s up there with my favourite authors, so it’s been a long year waiting (not patiently) for this book. And boy was it worth the wait!

This book is exceptional lesbian fiction, and the characters (especially Charlotte) were swoon-worthy… honestly, I think I hugged my kindle at one point. 

When it comes to the storyline, I can’t imagine a more perfect second chance romance. The storyline moved along beautifully, and I couldn’t believe by the time I was at the epilogue how much time hadn’t passed. I was so captivated by the story. I think I got lost in there for the duration. 

Charlotte was definitely my favourite character but only by a small amount because Lexi is fantastic too. Charlotte was just so honest and upfront about her feelings for Lexi right from the get-go. She’s probably the character I’ve been waiting forever to read, wears her heart on her sleeve and no drama/angst. In fact, Lexi didn’t even bring much angst to the romance, and it just made it so much more enjoyable. 

Character Chemistry:
Hot damn!!! This is to date the sexiest book Fiona Riley has ever written and let me tell you, she has written some of the sexiest lesbian fiction scenes to date. The chemistry between Lexi and Charlotte was almost combustible, and at times I thought the sheets would light on fire. But it wasn’t just about the sex (ok it was mostly about the hot sex), but they also had an intense intimacy that I wasn’t expecting. There were little moments, smiles, waves where it seemed like the room disappeared, and it was only them. But be aware don’t read the sex scenes in a public place… #scorching

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Wrap up: Well how can Fiona Riley top that? I have confidence she will, but I’ll need a week off to recover next time! 

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Ouroboros (circuit fae #2) by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

What was the book about?

Syl and Rouen are dealing with the aftermath of events of Moribund. Syl is trying to control her awakened powers and not hurt her girlfriend. All this definitely puts a damper on their relationship.

Featured tropes: YA, Fae, High school

Book Strengths:
I loved many of the characters in this story. Syl and Rouen are so cute together. There were so many adorable moments between the two.
Another one of my favorite things about this series is the fun geeky references. I was always looking forward to what would come up next.

Character Chemistry:
It was hard for for Syl and Rouen to get close due to Syl’s powers being very dangerous to dark fae. This didn’t stop them from trying though and hoping for some kind of solution. Other complications often kept popping up but they worked together to overcome them.

Heat rating: 3 flames

Wrap up:
I can’t wait to see what happens next. Highly recommend.

Star rating: 4 stars

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Huntress by A.E. Radley

Sometimes, being in the wrong place at the wrong time works out.

What was the book about?:
Amy likes her comfortable life. She works in a café, she dreams about the exotic customer she has a crush on, and she ignores all the things she could be doing with her life. When she accidentally stumbles into a terrorist plot, she, along with her best friend, are forced to go on the run to try to clear their names. MI5 sends the most skilled hunter in the business after her.

Featured Tropes: Age-gap, mystery

Book Strengths:
A.E. Radley always writes fantastic books. Huntress is a little different than most of her books, but just as wonderful. I had actually had this one in my personal reading list for a long time but kept putting it off. I’m so glad it ended up on my review list. The humor was fantastic, the story was absolutely adorable, and the writing was superb. Amy’s entire journey, while being on the run, was like a comedy of errors. But one in which she consistently came out on top. This is truly one of those books where the characters really stick with you long after the book has ended.

Character Chemistry:
I loved the chemistry between Claudia and Amy. Their interactions were cute, adorable, and hysterical. From their first interaction, you knew they intrigued one another, even though Claudia thought Amy was a great criminal mastermind.

Heat Rating: 1

Wrap up: I wish I’d read it sooner.

Star Rating: 5

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Made in London by Clare Lydon

What was this book about?

Heidi has the child she always wanted, a great family, and a successful career; but she’s missing someone to share it with. It’s hard when you’re a single mum with a job that doesn’t hold normal nine to five hours, but Heidi is ready to dip her toes back into the dating pool and find her special someone.  Eden on the other hand is all business. She loves her job, and she’s good at it. All her energy goes into that. She doesn’t have time for holiday, let alone a girlfriend.

When Heidi and Eden meet for the first-time sparks fly but not in the best way. As they keep bumping into one another they realize there is definitely a underlying chemistry between them. The more time spent together,  the more invested they get. But Eden isn’t looking for baggage, especially a child, and Heidi can’t be with someone that won’t entertain the idea of dating a single mum.

Tropes: Opposites attract/ Single Mum/ Kids

Book Strengths

I always get excited when Clare brings out another book in the London Series. This is book six, and even though I think each book could be read as a standalone, I promise you won’t be disappointed if you read the entire series. 

I loved the premise of this book from the beginning. It was really engaging, and Clare Lydon knows how to make me chuckle. She always adds a level of levity that just gets me. I think Heidi and Eden where perfect for one another, and they really hit the mark on the opposites attract trope. As a mum I really felt for Heidi in the moments when Eden wasn’t into the idea of dating a woman with a child. But by the end I loved Eden just as much as Heidi and was really cheering them on. 

I’d love more from secondary character, India. She was a force, and by god, she sounded sexy. I really hope Clare Lydon jumps on that and dedicates the next London book to her character. WOW.

Book Weaknesses 

I felt there could have been a longer gap between the last chapter and epilogue because it felt like there wasn’t enough time for things to have developed further. Also, I would have liked more time with Eden falling for Maya, Heidi Daughter. She was a sweetheart, and who couldn’t love her to bits? But that’s probably a personal mum thing for me.

Character Chemistry

The chemistry between Heidi and Eden was present from very early on. The flirting was great, and it kept the banter going between them. I reckon these two would set the sheets on fire the more time they spent in bed, and they proved to have a very interesting sexual dynamic between them.

Conclusion

I can’t wait to see what comes next from the London crew.

4 stars 

Girls Who Pray by Evelyn Dar

What was the book about?:
Girls Who Pray is a story inside a story. The novel opens with Claire Roberts, an author who is being sued by the Amish for publishing a nonfiction book about the experience of being Amish and queer. Girls Who Pray tells her story as she navigates her day(s) in court, as well as the story she’s being sued for writing – the story of Rachel and Sarah, 2 young women grappling with their surprising love for one another. 

Featured Tropes: Amish, new adult, coming of age

Book Strengths:
Evelyn Dar really hit this one out of the park in terms of telling a NEW story in lesbian/WLW fiction. This is definitely not one you’ve read before. The story within a story element was engaging and exciting, and Girls Who Pray has an EXCELLENT twist.

Book weaknesses:
I found the ending of this book to be rushed – there were several threads that I would have loved to see wrapped up with a tidier bow. 

Character Chemistry:
Sarah and Rachel have truly believable, sweet chemistry. Evelyn Dar really made every part of their relationship exciting to read. 

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥 (3.5 flames)

Wrap up:
Girls Who Pray was a truly captivating book with both structure and content unlike anything else I’ve read in the genre. I would love to read more about these characters!

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Being Hers by Anna Stone

A great way to start a new series! Looking forward to what’s next. 

What was the book about?:

Melanie is a hard-working Law student who works nights at a swanky and exclusive club to help with her student expenses. She is intrigued by a beautiful woman that she serves at the bar most nights. 

When an incident at the bar finally throws them together, Melanie falls hook, line, and sinker for Vanessa. Vanessa is taken with Mel, and they begin an affair that is only casual sex. Vanessa introduces Mel to her submissive nature and the joys of BDSM. But it’s only supposed to be sex… So why does Mel feel like she may need more?

Featured Tropes: BDSM, Erotic, femme-femme

Book Strengths:

I always enjoy a good erotic romance, especially when I know that it is part of a series of erotica books. The pace was just right and I actually loved the back story of both character as it gave them both more substance. The book was written from Mel’s point of view and I have to say I loved being in her head when she was in her submissive role.  Her strength and curiosity was intriguing and I felt myself getting pulled into her role more than Vanessa.

I’d categorise this as ‘Light BDSM’ and think it’s a great book to start with if you haven’t read a book with these elements before. Also, Anna Stone used very good BDSM language and the reader can learn along with Mel as she is educated by Vanessa. if the reader hasn’t read this trope before they will learn the terminology correctly. 

Book weaknesses:

I would have like to have read Vanessa’s point of view because her back story played a large role in Mel and Vanessa’s dynamic, and I think it would have been good to hear her thoughts during the process of their relationship. 

Character Chemistry:

Vanessa and Mel definitely have heaps of chemistry. Some moments were just plain hot. They really learned about each other and how to play the roles that fit them. Both in and out of the bedroom. By the end, they had both grown emotionally. The sex scenes were thorough and well described, and as BDSM goes, I think this was a great way to start of a BDSM series. 

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Conclusion: Kudos to Anna Stone. I think she has created a book that even people not familiar with the BDSM community would enjoy. 

Star Rating: 4 stars

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Spanish Surrender by Rachel Spangler

Este libro es asombroso! That could be Spanish for ‘this book is amazing!’ or it could be Spanish for ‘I have travelled to Spain through Rachel Spangler’s fabulous novel ‘Spanish Surrender’ and you must as well, I implore you’.

What was the book about?:
When Simone Price lands in southern Spain, she has one job upon which the future of her entire career rests: She must convince a small, Spanish publishing house to sell their business to her much larger American corporation. The job should be easy, but many others have failed. Refusing to repeat their mistakes, she hires a guide, translator, and purveyor of Andalucan culture for the week leading up to her big meeting. The plan seems simple enough until she meets Loreto Molina, and it quickly becomes apparent that Loreto knows more than her casual demeanour might suggest. The complications only escalate as the two set out on a scorching path through a region that shatters all expectations. As their time together stretches on, both women must confront not only their assumptions about each other, but also their own world views amidst a steamy landscape of temptation, power, purpose and raw attraction. Spain acts as both catalyst and conduit for unearthing desires long buried and threatening carefully planned futures. As the stakes and emotions rise like the hot, unrelenting sun, Simone and Loreto fight to hold onto the ideals they hold dear, but what if the only way for either of them to truly win is to surrender? 

This book is a sort of follow-up of ‘Spanish Heart’, which Spangler published in 2012. The main characters from that story appear briefly in this novel, as they are the reason for Loreto and Simone being matched together as employee/employer.

Featured Tropes: Sort of an enemies-to-lovers, employee/employer, tourist/travel guide, instalove

Book Strengths:
Coincidentally, I read ‘Spanish Surrender’ only two weeks after reading ‘Spanish Heart’, and if I hadn’t checked the front covers, I would have stated categorically that two different people had written the stories. This is how much Spangler has improved as an author. Clearly, she has a deep love for Spain, the culture and the language, but instead of sounding like a travel blog where the writer travels to Spain, meets a couple of locals, eats some tapas, and declares themselves a citizen with voting rights, this novel is a beautiful tapestry, where the stories of the people, their connection to their country and the psychology of place is woven around Loreto and Simone’s relationship. 

Book weaknesses:
The relationship is quick. Like, speak-glare-drink-eat-glare-kiss-sigh-sex-angst-sex, then moving-continents-uprooting-my-whole-life level of quick. But, if it’s love, it’s love. Right?

Character Chemistry:
The MCs have a baking-soda-and-vinegar-level of chemistry for half the story, which is explosive, and fun to watch, but then when Simone stops being so bloody obtuse and judgemental, and Loreto pulls her head out of her arse, they are delightful together. Cheering on love from the sidelines.

Heat Rating: 4

Conclusion:
I had to Google the Spanish that I used at the top of this review, which is terrific because it means that the novel didn’t try to teach me a foreign language. Instead, this novel invited me into the language’s home, offered me a drink, and told me a story.

Star Rating: 5 stars

Back to September by Melissa Brayden

What was the book about?

Hannah owns a quaint little bookstore in Providence. Her life is filled with life’s simple pleasures and she’s more than content. That is until the famous author, Parker walks into her store. Hannah’s life is spun on its axis, never to be the same again. But friendship or more with Parker Bristow was never going to be plain sailing, especially when they live very different lives… But when the connection is as strong as theirs, it will either make them or break them. 

Featured Tropes: Celebrity, Friends to Lovers, Femme-Femme, Oh the angst!

Book Strengths:
I adored every second of reading the beautiful story. I’ve read every single Melissa Brayden book ever published and it astounds me how every book she has written is flawless. And this book is no different, in fact, it packed a few new punches that had me in my element. 

With every fore mentioned punch being so unexpected that it turned the intensity of the book up a notch each time. And don’t get me started on the amazing secondary characters. They added levity and a whole lot of substance that was incredibly endearing. Hannah’s sister, Bo for example… Swoon! 

I couldn’t get enough of Hannah and Parker. Talk about a match made in heaven… Bookshop owner and Author love story! This book is just waiting to be picked up by Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Settle/ You’ve Got Mail director). 

The connection between Parker and Hannah is strong from the very beginning and you’re drawn into their world almost like a friend along for the ride. I think I felt every elation, every special moment and every heartache. It was truly a perfect love story and Melissa captures every moment beautifully. It’s hard to explain but even though the angst (and there are heaps), the story almost felt effortless in how it unfolds.

Character Chemistry:

Parker and Hannah are just made for each other in the most passionate and intense way. Their beautiful, effortless intimacy is just everything. And the friendship they built in spite of everything just gave me the major feels. 

The level of sexiness in this book was just beyond intense. Melissa Brayden just knocked my socks off with that first sex scene in this book… like knocked them clean off and then she just kept doing it over and over. Even the kissing scenes got my heart rate up. It’s always the book geeks that show up in the bedroom… YUM! I’m standing here catching flies with the amount of sexy that just came from this book! Wow.

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Wrap up:

This is my new favourite Brayden book. Grab some good vino, chocolate, a box of tissues and a blanket and settle in for the night because this is a book you’re not gonna want to put down. 

Star Rating: 5 stars 

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Savor the Moment by Dana Piccoli

 This book is a Rockstar

What was the book about?:
When rockstar Nat Chambers comes home from her latest tour, she’s ready for some serious R&R. The last thing she expects is a stunning pastry chef named Maddy LaDuke  to send her tumbling (literally) head over heels. As Nat spends more time with Maddy she discovers a side benefit—it seems that their romance may hold the key to that serious writer’s block problem.
Just when Nat thinks she’s ready for something big with Maddy, an old flame arrives and tries to burn it all down.  Now Nat has to come up with a way to let Maddy know how much she cares for her. 

Featured Tropes: Second chance romance.

Book Strengths:
The romance was amazing to the point I couldn’t put the book down and didn’t want it to end. But the ending was magnificent. The break up is what got Nat back on track with her writing and she was writing better than she ever had before. This was because of Maddy. And the sex was hot!!

Book weaknesses: 
I thought it was a bit slow in some places, but it didn’t hamper the story for me.

Character Chemistry and favorite character:
I adored this book. The chemistry between Nat and Addy was on fire from their 1st meeting. This was a slow burn romance to the point I said come on, get to it.  It was fun and flirty mixed with heartwarming scenes. I loved the secondary characters. Bandmates ,Paul and Jackie, banded together to get these two back together. Both Nat and Maddy brought their own special zest to the story. I do have a thing for spunky redheads so Maddy may have edge Nat out for me.

Heat Rating : 5 Flames

Wrap up:
This was an excellent book. I highly recommend it.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

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