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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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 

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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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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Lost at Sea by A.E. Radley

I wouldn’t mind getting lost at sea with Captain West!

What’s the book about?

Annie is running from her mafia boyfriend when she bumps into her doppelganger, famous opera singer Serena. Serena is looking for a way to get out of going on a cruise her manager has book for her so she can instead spend the time with her boyfriend. Serena cooks up a plan for them to swap identities for the duration of the cruise, and Annie accepts, desperate to disappear.

Captain Caroline West isn’t looking for love. Instead, she spends her days sailing the sea’s as Master of the Fortuna. She is like a superstar aboard the ship with everyone wanting to get a piece of her. When Caroline and Annie meet for the first time, the sparks fly. Annie is interested in the gorgeous captain, and the feeling is clearly mutual. But how can she begin something with Caroline when Caroline doesn’t know her real identity or what’s chasing her?

Tropes: Age-gap, intrigued, romance 

Book strengths

This book was pure excitement. If it wasn’t from the sparks between Caroline and Annie, or the mafia ex hot on Annie’s heels, it was from the beautiful and scenic places they visited. I spent a solid hour looking at cruises after I finished reading this book. The character development was probably my favourite overall aspect of the book. Both Annie and Caroline need to dig deep in the feelings department because of the past and allow their feelings to show. A.E. Radley really knows how to keep her readers engaged, and she writes age-gap romance books beautifully. In fact, she probably writes some of my favourite age-gap romance tropes to date.

I kept thinking that these characters would make for a great cross over book with any number of A.E. Radleys other characters. Who’s needs a cruise in the Radley character verse?

Book weaknesses

I felt the pace slowed down during the last 20% of the book, and I would have liked more time with the couple together at the end.

Character chemistry

You know sometimes I struggle with fade to black novels but in this instance,  I think it might have ramped up the chemistry. I won’t go into too much detail, but there is a scene in the book where the characters are tangled in a steamy kiss and I was taken aback by it, quite a bit. I really think A.E. Radley ramped up the tension in this scene. I reckon if she ever decided to, she could write some steamy sex scenes because that kiss was delicious.

Conclusion

A very intriguing book that I really enjoyed. More Captain West please!

4.5 stars

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30 Date in 30 Days by Elle Spencer

This was just fun!

What was the books about?

Veronica is at the top of her game professionally not to mention that she is about to make partner at her firm. Just one small snag… She made a pack with herself to be married by the time she was 35. Times running out so she decides to give in to one of her assistant’s hair brained ideas and join a dating app. Her assistant sets up 30 dates in 30 days. All in the same location and same time.

The location being the local bar and that is where Veronica meets Rachel. Rachel works the bar to help her cousin, the owner. She is blown away by Veronica when she first sees her. Rachel isn’t looking for anything long term. She just wants fun with beautiful women. But there is something about Veronica, and she can’t stop thinking about her. It’s clear the attraction is mutual, but they want very different things. Opting for friendship seems to make the most sense… but can they keep it just friendship? And can Rachel sit back and watch Veronica date all these women in the bar night after night? I know I couldn’t.

Book Strengths:

I had so much fun reading this book. It was just fun, not too much angst and the pace just flowed. It was the kind of book that had me looking for little lulls in my day to sneak in a chapter. I just couldn’t get enough. The banter between Veronica and Rachel was awesome too, and I chuckled more than once. I think the idea of 30 dates in 30 days would put my anxiety into overdrive, but I applaud Veronica for giving it a solid go.

Veronica and Rachel are just perfect for each other and you can see that from the moment they are together. I’ll get to their chemistry later in the review, but made for each other couldn’t have been more relevant for them both. Major swoon.

The secondary characters in this book really made it for me. The group of older patrons at the bar who took to commentating on each date were hilarious and a great source of levity throughout the books journey. Also, there is a few cameos from Madison and Ana from The Road to Madison which made me so happy, you could probably hear my shriek worldwide when they graced the page.

Book Weaknesses

No epilogue.  

Character chemistry

Did these characters have chemistry? Hell, to the yeah, they did!! I shouldn’t have been blindsided by that because it is Elle Spencer, and she’s amazing at writing character chemistry. But what builds between Veronica and Rachel is really quite something.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Conclusion

Great book and lots of fun to read.

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5 stars)

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One Walk in Winter by Georgia Beers

I’ve been struggling to review this book recently because I can’t honestly put into words how much I loved it. But here goes nothing… 

What’s this book about?

Olivia has worked for Evergreen Resort for what feels like forever. As the assistant manager she thinks she is a shoe in for the resort manager role that has become available… She was practically doing the job for the past seven years while the actual manager wasn’t doing much. Hayley comes from a rich family where she has never had to work but plays hard and lives well. Her father is over paying for her lifestyle so he puts a hold on all her money and gives her the ultimate ultimatum… work at Evergreen Spa as the manager and prove she can do the job well, if she can show she is successful he’ll unfreeze her accounts. 

Meeting each other one morning during a walk in the snow sparks amazing chemistry for both Hayley and Olivia. But once Olivia finds out the new manager is Hayley, their relationship is fraught, however the undeniable chemistry is still simmering on the surface.

Book Strengths
I’ve been keeping this book for when life is a little crazy and I need an escape because let’s face it, it’s Georgia Beers so the guarantee I’ll enjoy it is pretty high. I was not disappointed. I adored this book. I think it is definitely my favourite of Georgia Beers’ books to date and that’s a big thing because she has many books in my all-time favourites list. Olivia and Hayley are both such likeable characters and from the moment they meet out on the snow, I was sucked in on their rollercoaster ride. I loved Olivia with her pure heart and big ideas. She was so sweet and completely lovable, so it wasn’t a shock that Hayley fell for her. Hayley was also an amazing character, but I liked watching her evolve and rise to challenge after challenge and by the end I liked her just as much as Olivia… She was also (in my mind) incredibly hot. 

I can’t not mention Hayley’s father Benton because he ended up being my favourite character of the whole book. Every time I was reading Benton’s POV I was in tears. I could feel his love for his late wife, Kerry so bad it was overwhelming and honestly, I wasn’t expecting to be as affected as I was. Chapter seven when we are reading Benton’s thoughts about his wife and daughter, broke my heart. I could really feel his pain at that moment. It was a little disturbing how much I felt his sadness. Watch out for this chapter because you’re going to want to grab the tissues… In fact, just keep them with you throughout. You can thank me later. 

Character Chemistry
WOW! The chemistry is full on from the first time Hayley and Olivia meet. Even when Olivia is describing Hayley, you feel how affected she is by Hayley’s beauty. It was hot and the buildup to when they get together is truly delicious… Worth the wait!

Heat Rating: 3

Conclusion
Phenomenal read that I can’t wait to snuggle down with again soon. Go buy it now… You won’t regret it. 

Star Rating: 5 Stars

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Fire & Ice by Rachel Spangler

Another one for the favourites shelf!

What was the book about?
Max has taken the wrong turn in her sports journalism career and trusted the wrong person. She wants to rectify her mistake and the only way to do that is to cover the Buffalo Curling team.

When she arrives and sees Callie for the first time, she is more than a little attracted to her but being here and reporting on curling sours everything and she needs to get through this to make it back to the big leagues. But the more time she spends with Callie, the more she wants something with a little less ice and little more fire.

Featured Tropes: Sport romance

Book Strengths:
Rachel Spangler writes the best sports romance novels on the market in Lesbian Fiction. One of my all-time favourite books is Heart of the Game so from then on if it is sports and is by Spangler, I am 100% onboard. This book definitely lived up to its hype. Not only was I glued to the page from the minute I started reading it, (and not to sound too much like Max) but I enjoyed learning about curling, a sport honestly that has never been on my radar.
The writing as always was tight, and the pace was perfect for this storyline. I enjoyed the fact Max and Callie were not only attracted to each other, but frustrated with each other too. In fact, some of my favourite moments were when Max would stuff up some Curling reference and Callie would just school her in the sport.
The secondary characters really made the story more exciting. I especially loved Layla. In fact, I wouldn’t mind Layla in a romance novel.

Character Chemistry:
The chemistry between Max and Callie is there from the moment they lay eyes on each other, even through the moments when they were frustrated with each other. Rachel Spangler was able to write this book in a way that at any given moment you can feel the desire they held for one another. When they did finally get together, it was more intense because the whole build up to that moment felt like foreplay.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

Conclusion:
From the first chapter to the epilogue I was hooked. I can’t wait to see what Rachel Spangler brings to the table next!

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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The Arrangement by Melissa Tereze

An Emotional but beautiful ride!

What’s the book about?
When Sam’s wife dies, her world is destroyed. She throws herself into work, leaves their home to live in the city, and pushes her family away. As time moves on she becomes lonely and wants no strings company for a simple dinner. After some prompting from her sister and assistant she hires Alexis, an escort. Sparks fly from their first meeting, but Sam pulls back not wanting to forget her feelings for her late wife; however, with chemistry as strong as theirs they keep getting pulled together. And each time, the issues keeping them apart become less and less problematic.

Featured Tropes: Age-Gap, Escort, Femme-Femme, Ladies in Uniform

Book Strengths:
This book intrigued me from the moment I read the synopsis. It had all my favourite tropes and really drew me in from the first chapter. The idea of losing my wife is emotionally crippling, so I really felt a deep routed sadness for Sam. How could she continue? But her strength is extremely admirable, and I wanted her to find happiness. She certainly deserved it. Alexis came with heaps of her own drama, and honestly, this along with her profession, made the book more believable. I think Alexis is probably my favourite character in the whole book. Her personality and caring nature make her the perfect woman for Sam’s second chance.

Book weaknesses:
This is not a weakness, but I want to highlight that there is a rape trigger in this book. It is intense, and as much as Melisa Tereze does it justice, it’s better to be aware.

Character Chemistry:
The chemistry between Sam and Alexis is off the hook. The moment their eyes meet, you know this is gonna be an all-encompassing love that both of them are not prepared for, and that is exactly what happens. I feel like they are both each other second chance at a new life, and when that realisation happens, it’s really exciting to be a part of.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Conclusion: A great book that I enjoyed getting lost in. I am excited about the sequel, ‘The Call’ to be released in a few months because I just need more from Sam and Alexis.

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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The Inn at Netherfield Green by Aurora Rey

What was the book about?
New Yorker, Lauren Montgomery has just been fired from her high-powered marketing job and in the same day inherits an inn in England. She jumps at the chance of upgrading the inn with a view to flip it and use the money to start her own marketing firm.

Cam Crawley loves her little sleepy village and the beloved inn she has spent her life visiting. Her Gin distillery is expanding, and life is generally pretty good. That is until Lauren strolls into town with her city slicker thinking and trendy ideas. Cam just wants everything to stay the same. It doesn’t help that she is insanely attracted to Lauren which just frustrates her further.

Featured Tropes: Enemies to lovers, city girl and country girl, Small town romance

Book Strengths:
I really enjoyed this book but that’s not surprising because it came from the pen of Aurora Rey. This is the kind of book you read while sitting by a warm fire with a Rosemary Gin and snuggly blanket.

I really fell for Lauren in this book. She has sass and confidence but she’s also reserved and shy in a certain way. There is a small side story about her being fired at work and how she handles the horrible situation she is faced with. I really admire strong women in the face of diversity I think it not only heightens my respects for them, but it is also damn sexy. And Lauren is damn sexy!

Cam is something else entirely. She’s stuck in her ways and is a little arrogant (in an endearing way) about her idea of what the Inn should be, so it was inevitable Lauren’s fresh and exciting outlook was going to drive her crazy. It was really fun watching Cam try and work out how she could be so frustrated with Lauren while being extremely attracted to her.

Another massive plus was the secondary characters. Honestly, they had their own little storylines going on behind the scenes. I really hope Aurora Rey follows up with Charlotte and Anja in a sequel or a short at some point… You’ll get why after you finish the book.

Character Chemistry:
It goes without saying that the chemistry was going to be off the hook because of who the author is. When Cam and Lauren have page time together their chemistry is almost tangible, and they are not subtle in their appraisals of each other.

The sex scenes are very sexy, and this is where I saw another side to both Cam and Lauren that really mixed it up. Very sexy indeed.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Conclusion:
A fantastic read that you will not want to put down (and I didn’t until 5am). Go grab your copy now… you can thank me later!

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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