Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters

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Four out of Fives Stars

Summary

Megan Harris had hopes of seeing the world, but at twenty-five she’s never even left Florida. Now a wedding invitation lures her to Quebec…in February. When her ex-friend Scarlett offers to be her plus-one (yeah, that’s a whole story) and suggests they turn the journey into an epic road trip, Megan reluctantly agrees to the biggest adventure of her life.

A week together in a car is a surefire way to kill a crush, and Scarlett Andrews has had a big one on Megan for years. The important thing is fixing their friendship.

As the miles roll away, what starts as harmless road-trip games and rest-stop dares escalates into something like intimacy. And when a surprise snowstorm forces Megan and Scarlett to hunker down without the open road as distraction, they’ve got a bigger challenge than making it to the church on time: facing the true nature of their feelings for each other.

Review

Megan and Scarlett used to be great friends, now? Not so much. Megan felt left behind as Scarlett moved from Florida for college and life. When Juliet invites them to her wedding in Quebec, they reluctantly agree to road trip their way from Florida to Quebec.

Megan packs her scrap book and polaroid camera, hesitantly ready to see what she’s been missing out on. Even with ground rules, Scarlett manages to surprise Megan with her thoughtfulness in planning stops that Megan might enjoy.

I liked that we eventually got to find out what split Megan and Scarlett apart and upon learning those reasons, they were able to address it and move forward in their budding relationship. They both complimented, and challenged each other. Their chemistry and attraction to each other grew with each stop they made and I loved it.

Their romance was a slow burn that grew in intensity. There were a few moments that had me fanning myself lol. I was a little surprised by the boldness of Scarlett at first, but then I can’t see Scarlett being any other way but bold, even in the bedroom.

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The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows (Feminine Pursuits, #2)

Four out of Five Stars

Summary

When Agatha Griffin finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, it’s the not-so-perfect ending to a not-so-perfect week. Busy trying to keep her printing business afloat amidst rising taxes and the suppression of radical printers like her son, the last thing the widow wants is to be the victim of a thousand bees. But when a beautiful beekeeper arrives to take care of the pests, Agatha may be in danger of being stung by something far more dangerous…

Penelope Flood exists between two worlds in her small seaside town, the society of rich landowners and the tradesfolk. Soon, tensions boil over when the formerly exiled Queen arrives on England’s shores—and when Penelope’s long-absent husband returns to Melliton, she once again finds herself torn, between her burgeoning love for Agatha and her loyalty to the man who once gave her refuge.

As Penelope finally discovers her true place, Agatha must learn to accept the changing world in front of her. But will these longing hearts settle for a safe but stale existence or will they learn to fight for the future they most desire?

The Review

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. I expected it to be overly floral and reminiscent of the boddice rippers that you may have found your mother hiding away from prying eyes. Despite the cover, this was an elegant historical romance that made me want to go back and find the first novel in the series.

Agatha Griffin never expected to find a colony of bees in her warehouse, but the woman who would come to her rescue was just as surprising of a discovery. Penelope Flood, bee-keeper extraordinaire spends most of her time taking care of the beehives around town. She floats between the wealthy and the tradesmen.

Through beekeeping, Agatha and Penelope form a bond. Penelope’s letters originally intended to keep Agatha updated on her relocated bees, shifted into companionship. I love when authors include letters between characters. You get a clear picture of their voice, their sarcasm and sense of humor. It feels intimate and genuine.

I melted once they finally gave in to their feelings. I’ll say this, I was not expecting the romance scenes to be written how they were. They weren’t cheesy or unbelievable. These women together were passionate, insatiable, and exciting.

While they were finding themselves as a couple, they found themselves as individual women. Agatha had to be strong, business-minded, and needed to take care of everything around her, found her match with Penelope. Penelope, who had grown used to loneliness found a true companionship with Agatha.

*insert wistful sigh here*

This was a great read, despite the cover, and I hope to read more from Olivia Waite.

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Breaking the Surface by Rebecca Langham

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Alessia is an Outsider—a member of the not-quite-human community that has recently been released from their underground prison. Shortly after their liberation, Alessia is given an ultimatum: obey all the United Earth Alliance’s demands, or her mother will forever remain a hostage—a mother she’d believed dead for fifteen years. Reluctantly, she agrees, though she has no idea what those demands may be, or how she will balance her obligations to the UEA with her responsibilities to her people and her family.

As the UEA tightens its grip on humans and Outsiders alike, it becomes clear that meaningful social change will not be possible without a revolution. Alessia and her peers embark on a mission to discover just how far the government is willing to go to maintain their monopoly on power.

What Alessia and her comrades discover, however, goes much deeper than they’d ever anticipated. Who are the Outsiders, really? What secrets of their destiny lay hidden within a top-secret space station? And why are the Outsiders linked to an emerging disease the UEA seems desperate to keep secret? As they delve deeper, it isn’t only Alessia’s identity that will be called into question, but the fate of the entire planet.

Review

Breaking the Surface is the second in Rebecca Langham’s Outsider Project series. One thing I would recommend is reading this series close together. If you don’t, you may find yourself a little lost with everything happening in this book.

With that said, this was a great sequel. Not only was I glad to find out what was in store for Alessia and Lydia, but we were allowed to see all the characters that I fell in love with in the first novel. Each character grew and adapted to the life they had been thrust into.

The romance between Alessia and Lydia took a back seat to the main plot. I liked the moments between Lydia and Alessia, but we got to see them develop as characters distanced from each other.

I zipped through the last 40% of this book. I was completely engulfed in learning the history of the Celestials. It was startling, but it was very much possible in this universe. Hell, I could even say something like be possible in our world.

If you are a sci-fi fan, then this series is a definite must read.

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Spellbound by Jackie D and Jean Copeland

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Three out of Five Stars

Summary: Hazel Abbot spent her whole life unaware she was a witch. When a spell thrusts her great-aunt Sarah Hutchinson forward from the Salem witch trials of 1692 and lands her in Hazel’s bookstore, everything Hazel thought she knew about herself changes. Complicating matters, Raven Dare, a supernatural hunter, informs her that they’ve all been summoned by the Queen Witch, Morgan le Fay.

Morgan compels Hazel, Sarah, and Raven to correct the shift in the realms of good and evil by ridding the world of the evil that followed Sarah into modern day. If they fail, the forces of white magic will be extinguished forever. But completing the perilous mission, convincing Sarah to return to Puritan life, and resisting their growing attraction for each other might prove more difficult than Hazel and Raven ever anticipated.

Review

Don’t let the cover of this book put you off. I’ve found many of the Bold Strokes Books don’t have the typical exciting covers, but the stories inside are well written. I’m going to be completely honest in this review. I enjoyed aspects of Spellbound but I felt there was a lot of potential that was left unexplored.

Time travel pulls Sarah and Ayotunde out of the middle of the Witch Trials and into present day America. They, along with Sarah’s descendent, Hazel, are pulled into a fight they had no idea idea was happening. There were some interesting takes on hellhounds, demons, witches and supernatural hunters.

Sarah and Ayotunde and Hazel and Raven were paired together as romantic interests, but there wasn’t as much development as I liked. It was very insta-love, with the typical character that creates jealousy, but in the end turns out to be a great person.

The connections between the love interests were, eh. That’s legit all I can say about it. I didn’t relate well with any of the characters and I think that may have influenced me. It didn’t feel chemistry between any of them and it was disappointing. I honestly can’t recall much about this storyline, just that I spent a lot of time trying to make my way through it.

Maybe I chose to read it at the wrong time? It just wasn’t one that I immediately wanted to tell people to go out and get a copy of it.

 

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Grimmer Intentions by Jodi Hutchins

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary: She screwed up. She broke protocol. She saved a life. Grim Reaper Margo Petrov may have resurrected a drowned surfer on the brink of death, but she isn’t earning any awards or receiving employee of the month from Corporate; she’s under more scrutiny from the Grim governing body than ever before. Since she has a massive secret that could spell disaster if revealed, she sure as hell doesn’t want to be in the spotlight, in any form.

Margo vows to keep her head down and stay out of trouble, reaping her quota of spirits lest she cause more problems for herself and the woman she saved with an illegal blood bond. She certainly shouldn’t be opening doors to the Fae lands or offering her neck to an Empusa woman suffering from bloodlust, but Margo’s laundry list of bad decisions keeps growing. With the threat of becoming decommissioned by Corporate looming in her periphery, Margo stumbles deeper into the politics of her people and soon realizes their intentions are far worse than she initially thought.

The Review

First things first, I friggin’ love Margo and if you haven’t read the first book in the Tales from the Grim series, Grim Assistant, then this review is going to spoil the heck out of it for you. Go read the first book and then read the this one. If you enjoy sarcastic, genuine characters and need a fresh take on Grim Reapers, this series is for you.

After reading the Grim Assistant I e-mailed Jodi Hutchins and shared my love for Margo. Finding out that she was getting her own book was beyond exciting. I needed to know how she came to be a Grim and what her life was like before she got to this point. I needed more Margo in my life, because I feel like she’s my spirit-Grim. AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I GOT!!

What I enjoyed about this book was the more intensive background that was given on how a person becomes a Grim, what each of their roles were, the different supernatural beings (Empusa, Djinn, Fae, Grim … ), and how they all interact with each other. There was a much fuller picture of that world and the politics that comes with being a Grim and dealing with Corporate. I was able to see why Margo was so closed off, why she hides behind her knife sharp wit.

Margo’s got a soft side to her, especially when it comes to Jackie. Surprisingly, they get along with each other well. The two kind of misinterpreted each other when the first met each other and it carried over because they’re STUBBORN. But once they spend more time around each other, Jackie sees how kind Margo is when she works, they click and balance each other out. Both Margo and Jackie learn to trust the people in their lives with information they thought they couldn’t.

There was something about this book that just reeled me in and I wanted to stay with Margo. It’s not often I could say that the second book in a series is better than the first, but I feel like this surpassed the first novel. Now I’m ready for the next book!

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Blog Tour and Giveaway: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5 – Out December 10th

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In Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5, award-winning editor Rachel Kramer Bussel takes readers on an outrageous journey into the world of female fantasy and desire. These sexy stories offer up wild, hot and steamy tales from today’s top authors. You’ll be swept away by the sexiest business deal ever, break the rules in a future world where skin on skin contact is forbidden, and discover the art of getting off by phone sex.

From threesomes to mermaid sex, fetishes, sex parties and much more, these authors steam up the pages with tales of trysts, love, and lust where nothing is held back. If you’re looking to escape from the everyday and discover what happens when women are ready to get totally outrageous, this book is for you.
With new stories by beloved authors including Joanna Angel, Balli Kaur Jaswal, CD Reiss, Sierra Simone, and Sabrina Sol, along with newcomers to the genre, you’ll savor every sizzling page.

Check out an Excerpt and enter the Giveaway!!

**For your LesFic fix in this anthology, check out: The Summer of 1669 by Lee Minxton, Spin by Lauren Emily **

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Slammed by Lola Keeley

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary:

World No. 1 tennis star Elin Larsson is in hot pursuit of a record number of Grand Slam titles. But between pressing injuries and growing anxiety, it’s starting to feel like her heart isn’t in it.
Gorgeous rival player Toni Cortes Ruiz bursts onto the scene, chasing her first slam.
As their paths keep crossing in big matches, a growing attraction starts to burn between the competitive women.
Elin’s used to winning—but not when the woman she’s falling for is on the other side of the net.
As scandals, the media, and the world starts closing in on them, Elin and Toni need to decide whether they’re competitors or on the same side.
A sparkling lesbian tennis tale about rivals and romance and putting everything on the line.

The Review

Slammed by Lola Keeley was such a fun read. I was unsure that I would enjoy it because I know absolutely nothing about tennis, but while I was reading I felt like it was a sport that I had grown up with. It was easy to get lost in and I connected with Elin and Toni from start to finish.

Elin is at the top of her game, nursing an injury, and working to break a record. Toni has just come back to the sport after rehabbing a injury and is slowly working her way up the standings. Elin finds herself attracted to Toni, but it is a slow burn between them. The best kind of romance. Now I will say, tennis was the main focus here. The romance was secondary, but there were scenes filled with chemistry, flirtation, and intimacy between Elin and Toni. They were so sweet and supportive of each other (I do this happy little sigh when I think of them).

While Elin is pursuing her ultimate goal, there was more to this story than playing tennis and finding love. Elin makes a move to do the right thing when she sees inequality in the tennis world she takes a stand. It made me proud that a woman of her stature wouldn’t ignore what was happening to her colleagues. It’s how we should all strive to be.

I love sports romances, and finding a new sport and author to read was awesome. Even if you don’t know anything about tennis (like me), give this one a read. This book is one that I’ll probably end up rereading because that’s how much I enjoyed it.

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The Bachelorettes by Maria Jackson

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Three out of Five Stars

Summary:

Stuck in a cabin alone for three months, Claudia and Miriam compete to win a cash prize. The reality show only has one rule: they can’t fall in love. Claudia can barely stand the arrogant supermodel, and Miriam only wants to seduce the annoying bookworm. Will these bachelorettes hate each other by the end of the filming? Or will they end up breaking all the rules?

The Review

Claudia and Miriam are both in a competition for the money but along they way they find more than they ever expected. This was a quick, easy, and light read. I think I was expecting more than what was written. The competition or challenges that they faced, weren’t all that challenging. They were tasked with games that you could see at kid parties or outdoor company picnics. It didn’t force them into close proximity like you would have thought if the challenge was not to fall in love.

I will admit that I did have a difficult time connecting with both Claudia and Miriam. Claudia felt too perfect and Miriam was too flawed. The chemistry that I hoped they would have, I didn’t feel it until the very end.

The title and cover was misleading. It’s very pretty and eye catching, but not what the book is about.

If this would have been longer and there would have been a bit more character development I probably would have enjoyed this a lot more. That being said, I did like this book. I just wanted and expected more. It may be your cup of tea though, give it a try if you want.

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The Grim Assistant by Jodi Hutchins

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Postal carrier and amateur surfer, Samantha Diaz, lives an uncomplicated life. Well, other than helping her sister with childcare, crushing on her unavailable customer, Lauren Brennan, and catching as many waves as possible before hurricane season begins. Suffice to say, she isn’t looking for much more, but when Lauren invites her to a monthly game night at her house, Sam happily agrees.

When Sam sets out on an early morning surf, the last thing she expects to do is die, but a sudden thunderstorm thrashes offshore, creating a riptide that steals Sam’s life. She awakens to a snarky woman named Margo speaking cryptic nonsense. Not only does she claim to be one of the many Grim Reapers, or Grims, in the world, Margo makes Sam an offer: she’ll bring Sam back from the dead, as long as she becomes Margo’s temporary assistant. Sam accepts but soon realizes the deal was too good to be true, and the consequences she faces may be worse than the death she dodged.

The Review

Samantha Diaz, a postal carrier and amateur surfer, likes the life she’s got. She works, looks out for her sister and nephew, surfs in her free time, and has a bit of a crush on one of the residents living on her postal route. Sam’s morning surf doesn’t go as expected when a freak thunderstorm rolls in that creates a riptide that pulls Sam under to her death. When she wakes up on in the hospital, the last thing she expects is for a random woman named Margo to be spouting information about Grim Reapers. Margo offers Sam a deal, become her assistant or pass on to wherever it is the dead go. Sam accepts the offer and enters into a world she never expected.

First, Grim Reapers are my jam! Like I immediately related this to the television series Dead Like Me. It’s got a dark, witty humor to it that I LOVED. The Grim Assistant. Margo is such a sassy ‘boss’, I started reading it more like she and Sam were on equal footing. They worked together to help lost souls move on. It was done tastefully, and it didn’t shy away from the fact that it isn’t only ‘good’ people who die that need help crossing over.

The relationship between Sam and Lauren felt very organic. They had been flirting with each other over as they swapped books, which omg my little nerdy heart loved. They moved slowly, they fought the urge to move quickly, and then they gave in. *happy sigh*.

With all the good, there is bad that no doubt has to happen. Sam’s secret Reaper status being discovered by the higher ups, Lauren finding out that Sam’s big secret and having to come to terms that there is more to this world than what meets the eye. I did get annoyed by Lauren’s reaction but that’s because I’m so pro-Reaper I couldn’t help myself.

What’s even better is the fact that there’s going to be more in this series!! I’m so looking forward to the next book.

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Perfect Match by Mildred Gail Digby

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Three out of Five Stars

The Summary: After a tragedy derailed her life, Dr. Megan Maier crawls back to the land of her birth to take a job in a private Jewish hospital. There, she meets Syler Terada, a pediatric surgeon with a brash attitude and a lack of respect for authority who incidentally rocks a tuxedo. She captivates Megan with one glance. Conservative culture and rules against fraternization can’t stop Megan. However the secrets she’s running from can.

The Review

Perfect Match by Midred Gail Digby is a medical romance, featuring two female doctors navigating the waters at a private Jewish hospital in Japan and discovering a romantic connection between them. Dr. Megan Maier took a new job at a private Jewish Hospital in Japan after facing tragedy in her personal life. She is still learning how to cope with that when she becomes enchanted by fellow doctor, Syler Terada.

The two women are immediately attracted to each other, but they don’t just jump into a relationship. Which I liked. The intimacy between the two women slowly builds. Syler believes that Megan was straight, and a lesbian relationship is something completely new to her. She lets Megan set the pace and slows them down at times to make sure that Megan is okay with moments they are sharing. They took the time to discover each other’s wants and needs within a relationship and that was sweet. It’s what everyone wants for themselves in a relationship. It was great to see it written out in the way it had been.

What was surprising about this book, was the culture that I had never heard about. I didn’t know there were strict roles in the lesbian lifestyle that are held to and if you don’t fit into that mold, then if feels as though you’re looked down on. Almost as if you aren’t a ‘real’ lesbian.

There were a few things I had a issues with. The terminology. There were bits of different languages sprinkled throughout. It is representative of the characters and the setting and it served to put you further into their world. My problem was that I had to stop and look terms up because I couldn’t figure out what they meant via context clues. (The author does provide a link to the terminology on the GoodReads page) I also had a hard time figuring out what Megan and Syler looked like. Yes, I got that Syler was androgynous and slim, but I felt like I had an incomplete picture in my mind.

I was not expecting this to end when it did. It left me a little baffled and then I figured out there was going to be a second book continuing this story line. (I know, I should have figured that out with the face that the title says ‘Book One’. Don’t judge.) There were a lot of unanswered questions which I feel like will be resolved in book two.

Overall this was a pretty good read and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to read it. There is a lot about the LGBTQ+ culture that is different from region to region, and it was enlightening to see it written out. It sparked the need to broaden the novels I read even further than what I currently read.

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