Rising From Ash by Jax Meyer

“It takes great courage to advocate for your own needs.” – Ash.

What was the book about?:
If you’re running away from your past, your present, yourself, then a particularly awesome place to do that is Antarctica, right? No, actually. When astrophysicist Ashley Bennett, and cook Phoenix Murray first meet at the Antarctic research station, they can’t help but push each other’s buttons. Phoenix doesn’t understand that her confident sexuality puts Ash on edge while Ash’s curt formality triggers Phoenix’s insecurities about her upbringing. But living at the bottom of the world means there’s nowhere to run, and as they find common ground, their differences aren’t nearly the hindrance they thought. Where they are is perhaps where they are meant to be, as they explore their true selves, and perhaps see in each other the possibility of a completely transparent relationship, just like the ice which surrounds them.

Featured Tropes: Slow-burn, asexuality, sexuality spectrum, 

Book Strengths:
The setting is clever. It’s difficult to say whether this slow-burn romance,  where the MCs engage in an intricate analysis of trust and sexuality would have  realistically occurred in their hectic, laden with distractions everyday lives. But because it’s set in Antarctica, where it is absolutely not hectic, or laden with distractions, Ash and Phoenix can solely focus on their budding relationship. Intimacy comes from the steps that two people take to truly romance each other, and without whacking us over the head with the Sexuality Textbook, Meyer lets us learn about this aspect through the eyes of Ash and Phoenix.

Book weaknesses:
It’s quiet. I mean, the text structure, sentences, even word choices are quiet and considered. They’re used as a foil against the turmoil of Ash and Phoenix’s thoughts and prior experiences. It didn’t feel like a weakness for me because it made sense. But it may be for some readers who are looking for more action or drama.

Character Chemistry:
Oh yes. Absolutely. Phoenix and Ash should not work. On paper or any other surface. But they seriously do. Because they talk to, and learn from each other and it gets really sexy and then there’s kissing and…

Heat Rating: 2
Look, if we’re working with an allosexual (I learned this word from this novel. Yay, lesfic ftw) rating scale, then Rising From Ash is a 2, because there is sex in this book, and it’s beautiful. But see comment above in character chemistry for pure burn factor.

Conclusion:
I loved this book. It shows two people with their own insecurities and fears, learning to trust each other, so that they can really see themselves for who they are and who they can be.

Star Rating: 5 stars

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Kickin’ Rocks by Marianne K. Martin

Kickin’ Rocks takes you by the hand and says, “Come with me. I have a beautiful story to tell.”

What was the book about?:
Jada Baker might be a millennial, but she was born to worry—about her mom, about her job, about abused animals, and about the growing hatred she sees playing out in the news every day. But she also believes that the system will work, that goodness will win out over evil, and that she can find a love as rich and deep as the love her parents have for one another. And when Amie Luca, a veterinarian whose compassion and dedication to helping mistreated animals captures her heart, Jada finally begins to trust that she has found what she’s been searching for all along. When the system suddenly fails them and their happiness is threatened by ugly hate and bitter homophobia, the young couple turns to help from a woman who has learned the hard way that kicking rocks is painful and that it takes unwavering persistence to move them. Dusty Logan fought for the ERA, she’s suffered with friends through the AIDS crisis, and she’s battled for the right to openly love a woman—but a lifetime of fighting has left her exhausted and disengaged. Yet when she sees a new generation of women facing old, familiar challenges, her spirit to fight the good fight once more is rekindled—and Jada and Amie might have a shot at real happiness after all.

Featured Tropes: Politics, rallies, forever-love, grief, happily-ever-after.

Book Strengths:
Talk about a book taking your heart out, stomping on it like grapes in a barrel, and then shoving it back into your chest. I cried while reading this story. If there are typographical errors in this review, it’s because I can’t see the keys through my tears. The writing is wonderful. Crisp, clean, and like a vortex of prose, sucking you in and holding you there. This story is about passion and love between two pairs of women. But it’s the story of a passion for finding your place in society, in the world, and how to fight for all of it. Even when you think you’ve lost.

Book weaknesses:
I found some of the American political references hard to understand, but after a while, my incomprehension didn’t impact on my enjoyment of the story.

Character Chemistry:
Dusty and Ali, the two characters who traverse the 1970s, 80s, 90s are divine. Utterly gorgeous, timeless love. No spoilers, but oh my God. Jada and Amie are the millennials; so much cute chemistry and sweet newness.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥

Conclusion: Two beautiful vines that start independently and twist and tangle together to create a gorgeous inter-generational story.

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I’d seriously give it more if I was allowed.

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The Empath by Jody Klaire

Fantastic way to start a series!

What was the book about?:
Aeron, a woman with a gift and a troubled past, returns home from a correctional facility to find herself judged, and exiled. She finds herself embroiled in a crime for which the town immediately point the finger at her for blame, but is she just being set up?

Featured Tropes: Mysterious woman

Book Strengths:
I absolutely loved this story. It was heart-felt, deep with emotion and feeling, and fed my curiosity. There is nothing better than people with mystery, and Aeron has lots of it. Her story is unique, and I am so glad this is a series because I adore her, and can’t wait to find out more about her. Jody Klaire brilliant used Aeron’s gift as an Empath to create this uncertainty, but never letting enough doubt creep in for you to misjudge Aeron. You saw a kind, compassionate woman, who faced many challenges, but was always noble, trusting, and forgiving. 

The story was a thrill! Paranormal, mystery, and tons of intrigue building quite the complex and intricate crime thriller. As a reader I was encapsulated by the events going on in town, and invested in working out if they were all connected and whether I should doubt Aeron. Using both first person, and third person points of view really helped add to the confusion and distortion, in deceiving the reader to create such uncertainty in this thriller. 

I never could have guessed how intense this story was going to be, nor did I realise how emotional it was going to be until I started reading, but the journey was amazing, thought-provoking, and for me just a wonderful start to a series that is really going to keep me entertained, but also challenge me mentally. 

Book weaknesses:
Really every second of this story was amazing, and there was anything I didn’t like. 

Character Chemistry:
Aeron has to be one the most unique characters I have ever encountered. Everything she embodies is the ultimate reminder that no matter what, we are all human, we all have feelings, and we will be judged. Good or bad, you decide when it comes to Aeron, but I know I wouldn’t be frightened of her no matter what her capabilities, or her past. Aeron’s actions, thoughts, and feelings, were so well put to me in the first person narrative that I definitely felt a connection to her, and she is one of my all-time favourite characters. Nothing better than a misunderstood, misfit, with unique paranormal skills. Love Aeron. 

The ultimate reminder to never judge a book (person) by its cover!!! You will be surprised.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

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Tight Knit by Shaya Crabtree

This was perfect!!!

What was the book about?:
Lara is home to the small town of Perry after her grandmother is taken ill. The town holds many memories for Lara, and a lot of sigma surrounds her family. When she finds her path crossing with her ex, Paige, things quickly become complicated, especially when Lara’s emotions start getting the better of her when it comes to her feelings for Paige.

Featured TropesSecond Chance Romance

Book Strengths:
I loved every second of this story, and it had cats – so duh! What’s not to like?! Any romance that has second chance is already on to a winner, but the fact that Shaya has so much tension going on with Lara and Paige from the very first moment they find themselves back into one another’s lives it just amazing. I truly can’t express in words all the ways in which this book was amazing. The story really speaks for itself. It is heartfelt, and cozy. Lara’s emotions drive a tense and exciting story about falling in love with someone she never really fell out of love with – if she is being honest – and not her stubborn self.

Book weaknesses:
The story was just so cute, yet intense with a slice of humour, and a wonderful sense of community that meant it was truly perfect in so many ways that I just loved it.

Character Chemistry:
The tension – I know I keep saying it – but it really was everything between Lara and Paige. It was intense, dramatic, and just everything I could have hoped for from two broken hearted characters that have completely fallen apart because they are both ambitious, and stubborn, therefore completely miss-understood each other. If you can’t have the fairytale love at first sight kind of relationship, then this is the next best thing you can get; passion.

I can honestly say I loved Lara the most, she was so complex she was perfectly relatable for someone like me. A woman who is hurting is often the epitome of Lara and Shaya did a fantastic job of portraying someone with hang-ups relating to a difficult past.

Heat Rating4 Flames

If you don’t read this, you are missing out on a perfect romance. Plus come on people – CATS!!!! It has cats in sweaters!!!! It gets five stars just for that, seriously!!!

Star Rating: 5 Stars

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Reviewed at Les Revêur (5)

A Conflicted Woman (A Woman Lost Book 4) by T.B. Markinson

Lizzie returns with more feelings and slightly less sarcasm.

What was the book about?:
The fourth book of the series starts just before the twins turn one. Lizzie is her neurotic self, and has to deal with an unwelcome blast from the past. Sarah is struggling with her identity as a stay at home mom and also trying to deal with her mother’s new romance with a man closer to Sarah’s age, than Rose’s. Maddie still lives and breathes to give Lizzie hell. They are all still trying to build their lives within the new and different make-up of the Petrie family.

Featured Tropes: Series; changing family dynamics

Book Strengths:
The thing I have always loved about this series is how dysfunctional the characters are. This book is no different. T.B. Markinson has built a world that is as real as the one we actually live in with characters who are just as messed up as the people in our own lives. Add a dash of wit and whole heap of comedy, and you have a wonderful ride. You could read this without having read the previous books, but you would really miss out on understanding some of the real dynamics of the relationships between the characters.

Character Chemistry:
Lizzie is one of my all-time favorite characters. I kind of identify with her on a spiritual level, even down to her sweater vests. She’s neurotic and sarcastic, but deep down she has really big feelings. Her relationship with Sarah is indicative of this, and they play off each other exceptionally well. Sarah generally handles Lizzie just the way she needs to be dealt with. Although sometimes she goes too far, Lizzie and Sarah also have really hot sex, so there is that.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

I am excited to read the rest of this series.

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

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Reviewed at Les Revêur (3)

Up on the Roof by A.L. Brooks

A Sweet, Authentic Romance!

What was the book about?:
Lena suffers from severe anxiety and OCD. She likes her apartment spotless, her routines uninterrupted, and does not handle change well, at all. Lena meets her new, klutzy neighbor, Megan, when she damages Lena’s door while moving in. With each encounter, Megan’s clumsiness further disrupts Lena’s routines making her dislike Megan more and more. When a storm hits destroying Lena’s apartment, she has no option but to accept Megan’s generosity and move into the spare bedroom of Megan’s very, messy apartment. Did I mention Lena suffers from OCD? As the two women learn to navigate living together, they also have to navigate their growing attraction.

Featured Tropes:
Enemies to lovers, slow burn

Book Strengths:
This book has a lot of strengths. The story is well written and the characters exceptionally well developed. The best part, it’s realistic. The characters are not models, they have self-esteem and mental health issues, and they are flawed, but genuine. A.L. Brooks has written a book that is truly about us, everyday women.

Book Weaknesses:
The only issue I had with this book is the ending. It wasn’t a bad ending, I would have just liked a more concrete wrap-up, or preferably, an epilogue.

Character Chemistry:

I adore Lena. As someone who suffers from OCD and anxiety, it is wonderful to see representation in the genre I love. The chemistry between Lena and Megan is sweet and undeniable. It’s also real. Once they decide to date, we see them take two steps forward and one step back each time Lena’s anxiety rears its ugly head.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Star Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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If you would like to purchase Up on the Roof please click the links below:

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Reviewed at Les Revêur (19)

Just One Moment by Dena Blake

This book broke me but in all the good ways. I’ll be honest, I worried about this story, the synopsis indicated at an affair and honestly, I struggle with reading my protagonists having affairs because hey, this is meant to be true love, right? No heartbreak allowed! But that’s what’s beautiful about this book, it’s REAL. It’s so beautifully real and undeniably vulnerable that you’re invested by the first chapter. Because the book shows that real life, with all its hard crap and struggles, can still be a fairytale. It just takes hope and a truckload of love…

Let me tell you a little about this book…

Chloe is trying to settle into her new life without Shay. Shay is in no way ready to leave Chloe behind but all attempts to try and fix their marriage come against a stone wall. But that all changes when Shay is in an accident and she can’t remember not being with Chloe. Chloe decides to help look after Shay until she recovers not realising that in doing so she may fall in love with Shay all over again.

This is the sweetest, yet rawest book from Dena Blake yet. It is 100% the best book she’s ever written. The pacing was perfect, and the story told well. No epilogue which would normally annoy me but because these characters have already been in a relationship and it’s more of a rekindling of their love, I didn’t mind that there wasn’t one.

Shay was my favourite character. She was so sweet and couldn’t understand why Chloe was being distant after her accident. The love she felt for Chloe just broke my heart. I reckon if there was ever to be a true match made in heaven, it was Chloe and Shay.

As they found their relationship beginning to build again and realising that they had never truly fallen out of love was probably my favourite sections of the story.

Sex scenes and chemistry were excellent. Like I said before, the connection between both characters really was out of this world and not just the love, but the anger too. When Shay and Chloe are fighting at the beginning of the book you can still feel the passion and chemistry flowing.

Just one last thing! Big shout out to Tammy Seidick who designed the cover for Just One Moment. This book has the sexiest cover… ever!

Fantastic book.

5 stars

If you would like to purchase Just One Moment please follow the link below:

Bold Strokes Books

 

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Playing Passions Game by Lesley Davis

What a fantastic story!

Trent loves computer gaming. She works for a games store near her home, she plays games online with friends at weekends and competes in gaming competitions with her team. Her life is gaming and that suits Trent just fine. Until she meets Juliette… Then everything changes. She doesn’t do entanglements but she can’t stop thinking about Juliette. Trent doesn’t want the heart ache that Juliette could bring but she also can’t help herself either.

Honestly, I was reading Playing with Fire and then I released that this book is a series. So, I swiftly put it down and started the first book in the series, Playing Passions Game. Thank goodness I did because it’s such a wonderful story line. The book is written from both protagonist’s point of view which I love. The story is quick and not much angst which again was right up my street.

I absolutely love Trent. She’s the epitome of sexy for me. She’s butch, sweet, a game nerd and cares about everyone in her life. She’s amazing and honestly, I hope she continues to be a part of each of the following books in the series. Juliette complimented her in every way and I think what I loved most was she gave Trent the comfort and love to be who she was without pushing her into something she isn’t. It was all one major swoon.

The chemistry between Trent and Juliette was magnificent and really added a whole other sexy level to their intimacy. The sex scenes were written incredibly well while still being extremely hot.

The secondary characters were also fantastic. I really adored the chemistry and comradery between the set of friends. Also, how much they all support each other. They gave me the feels when they talked about how they care for and support each other.

If this is a taster of the series, then I am 100% on board!

Loved it. 5 stars

 

If you would like to purchase Playing Passion’s Game please follow the links below:

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As the Crow Flies by Karen F. Williams

What a fabulous book. It has some of the best story telling I have ever read, I simply couldn’t get enough.

This story follows the love story of two couples. Sam Weller, famous Novelist and the older Gwen Laraway. They meet over an antique book end that Sam is looking for the matching end. They find each other alluring from the beginning but between Gwen thinking she’s too old and a series of odd events happening that are keeping them apart, it was a rollercoaster ride for these two. A much slower romance is Liz and Isabel. Liz is related to Sam through marriage and comes with her on her quest to find the other book end. When Liz see’s Gwen’s niece, Isabel for the first time, all her casual relationship ways fall out the window as she can’t stop thinking about Isabel and wants much more than a meaningless fling. Isabel is so sweet and innocent she seems not to be seeing Liz’s affections for more than friendship but as time wears on we see that Isabel is just acting as a novice in love.

This book is so brilliantly written with great pacing and such interesting and enchanting characters. I was transfixed from the very beginning. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to read this authors works.

I enjoyed both romances thoroughly and kept thinking what a fantastic series this book would make. Sam and Gwen ticked my age-gap romance box big time. I enjoyed their conversations and how in tune they were. I have to say though that my favourite romance was between Isabel and Liz. I reckon those two were supposed to find each other no matter what. Isabel’s naivety and innocence really drove their story and I loved the way Liz became so protective over her even though normally Liz would normally be the aggressor in a relationship.

There is a scene where Isabel shows up at Liz’s door unexpectedly and it’s my favourite scene in the whole book because it funny, upsetting, endearing and gave me the butterflies all at once. Anyway, I digress…

All in all, this is a fabulous book and I would love for it to have a sequel. More please!

5 stars

 

If you would like to purchase As the Crow Flies please follow the links below:

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The Road To Madison by Elle Spencer

I basically started this story lying in bed one morning and didn’t put it down (or leave the house) until I finished it. I was entranced from the first chapter and hung on every word until it was finished. 

Ana and Madison were madly in love when they were teenagers. But when Madison’s father puts a stop to their relationship they are both left heart broken with no one ever quite measuring up to each other. When Madison’s father dies they bump into each other at the funeral and chemistry and love bubbles back to the surface. But can they ever really be together when the past still haunts them? 

This book gave me all the feels. Elle Spencer is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. She transports me into the story and I feel like I’m living vicariously through the characters. The pace was perfect, especially for this love story. It gave the reader the time to understand the characters and their past and why they were so cautious. 

The book is written in the present but there are flashbacks to the relationship Maddie and Anna have as teenagers. The love they feel as kids is so potent that you understand the degree of heart break they both went through. Maddie and Ana are the very definition of soul mates. They complete each other and their second chance at being together is so beautiful. I mean don’t get me wrong Elle Spencer makes you work for it as they navigate their feelings but at no point do you question their love. It’s at the forefront from the first chapter.

The love scenes were intimate while hot and passionate. Even as teenagers the tentative touches and exploration was written beautifully. 

The secondary characters were so important in this story and I think I bonded with them… well, the nice ones anyway. Especially Kris and Scott whom I just loved every time they got page time. I’m kinda hoping Kris gets her own love story… she certainly deserves it.

All in all this was a fantastic story! 

5 stars

 

If you would like to purchase The Road To Madison please click the link below:

Available now from Bold Strokes Books

Bold Stokes Books

Available from Amazon on 14th of May

Amazon

 

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