Come Away With Me by Rachel Lacey

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

A television star and a flight attendant walk into a bar…

Six months after a traumatic event left actress Piper Sheridan confined to her apartment with debilitating panic attacks, she’s determined to start living her life again. Motivated by an upcoming audition, she summons her courage and goes out for a drink, keeping her identity under wraps. It sounds simple enough, but nothing about going out in public is easy for Piper these days. And her hopes of going unnoticed are stymied by the bubbly blonde on the next barstool.

Flight attendant Chloe Carson is only in New York for the night, and she’s only looking for a little casual fun to go with her cocktail. The mysterious woman beside her isn’t fun, exactly…but she’s intriguing. And beautiful. Even without knowing her name, Chloe is drawn to her. When they share an unexpectedly intimate moment, Chloe knows this is a night she’ll never forget.

Can these two strangers turn a chance encounter into something lasting?

Review

I read this book in one sitting, that’s how good Come Away with Me, is. Do yourself a favor and snag this book up. Piper and Chloe, there was something so natural about them and their developing relationship. It was easy to get lost in the pages and forget time passing me by as I read. I had a movie playing in my mind as I read.

Piper Sheridan, an actress who is suffering from crippling anxiety after witnessing a horrible moment, starts living her life again. In slow steps from her therapist’s recommendation, she sets small goals for herself because she’s determined to land a career changing moving role.

She goes to the Dragonfly bar, identity hidden, and she bumps into flight attendant Chloe Carson. Chloe is kind, funny, and makes it easy for Piper to work through her anxiety. This chance encounter sparks a relationship between the two women.

I loved, loved, loved, the fact that Chloe was supportive of Piper. As someone who deals with anxiety every day, I could relate. Chloe encouraged Piper slowly, but she was there for her in the aftermath as well.

The attraction between the two women sparked from the first meeting and it was fun. The more the saw each other, the more intense it became. Their kisses? *fans self* Ooh boy, those kisses probably had my cheeks all flushed.

Even though distance kept them apart due to their work, they found a way to make their relationship work. I loved the fact that Piper traveled to North Carolina and met the people important to Chloe. I feel like we don’t get that enough in books and this just tickled me.

There were scenes that I felt like was there. Lacey’s writing put me on set with Piper and then working with Chloe to prepare another. I could see Chloe’s fixer upper in North Carolina, the airports, and Los Angeles.

To be released January 12, 2021

A Hive of Secrets and Spells by Ellen Jane

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Four out of Five Stars

Except and Giveaway at the bottom!!

The Summary:

Cupcakes, romance, and lovable canines abound in Heather and Sinead’s next adventure, but it isn’t all fun and games. The girlfriends are investigating a very personal kidnapping, and the threatening notes left behind accuse Sinéad and her punk-rocker twin brother of hiding something.

But after solving their first mystery together last Christmas, this one should be a piece of cake.After all, no one’s been murdered this time, and their witch-sorcerer rivalry is a thing of the past.Except it turns out there is a murderer, and a jewel thief as well, and why on earth does everyone keep talking about bees?

It appears Starford is a lot more exciting than Heather’s home town of Old Wetchhaven, and Sinéad’s insistence that Heather move in with her brings a whiff of trouble to their private paradise. Can Heather adjust to life near the big city? Or will the mounting secrets prove too much and turn their second case into their last?

A Hive of Secrets and Spells is a witch cozy mystery with a sweet lesbian romance and heart-warming magic.

The Review

If you are a fan of cozy mysteries then  A Hive of Secrets and Spells, the second novel in the Cupcakes and Sorcery series by Ellen Jane, will be right up your alley.

Being in Starford with Sinéad was supposed to be a vacation for Heather. They are still getting to know each other’s quirks and enjoying the newness of their relationship when crime strikes again in the form of a jewel thief and a murderer. This should be easy after the case they handled last Christmas. Right? Toss Cian, Sinéad’s twin brother, into the mix and it couldn’t get anymore complicated for the pair.

What I loved about A Hive of Secrets and Spells is the fact that it is a cozy mystery! I honestly think this is the first cozy mystery I’ve read in the LGBTQ genre. Heather and Sinéad feel real. Heather battled with not being the stereotypical “U-Haul” lesbian throughout the novel. Sinéad very much marched to the beat of her own drum. I feel like they leveled each other out. Heather and Sinéad continued to develop and grow. We learned more about their past and how it influenced their actions now. It made me believe there would be a realistic future in the cards for them.

The secondary characters were phenomenal. It’s not often I can say that, but Cian? He was so unique, sassy, and one hundred percent himself. I can’t wait to read more about him. I could hear his voice in my head and he had me cracking up at certain points. The bees? Well they were very important and I don’t want to spoil it for you, but they were very much a character to keep an eye on.

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Check out the GIVEAWAY and EXCERPT below!!

Giveaway:

Win one of 2 packages with e-copies of Magic, Murder & Mistletoe, A Hive of Secrets and Spells & A Match Made at Christmas by Ellen Jane.

 

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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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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.

Order your copy here

Gotta Catch Her by Kelly Haworth

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Three out of Five Stars

The Summary: Who says phone games are only for kids? Sometimes they give just the respite you need from a hectic life. At least, that’s the way Ann feels about Ani-min Move, an AR mobile game full of cartoon animals caught with nets. Legendary raids have just launched, and Ann arrives at a nearby park to find it full of people of all ages playing the game, including Rachael, a kind, attractive single mom. And sweet! Rachael is more than willing to teach Ann the proper way to spin her nets to snag the raid boss.

Back in reality, Ann has a lot on her plate: a full workload as a project manager, finding the energy to walk her dog, Franny, and now trying to figure out if Rachael is queer. And how does Ann converse with Rachael about her six-year-old son when she doesn’t know a thing about parenting?

Ann is lost as to how to proceed until Rachael takes the guesswork out of the equation by proclaiming she’s bi—right when Ann gets a massive work assignment that consumes way too much of her time. Life/work balance was never Ann’s forte, but between caring for her sweetheart dog and figuring out how to navigate a relationship with a single parent, Ann’s determined to make it work, especially before Rachael gets cold feet and leaves Ann playing by herself.

The Review

Gotta Catch Her is a novella featuring two women who meet by chance playing a phone game call, “Ani-Min Move”. The game serves as a break from the reality that our ladies are going through in their every day lives. Ann is a project manager undertaking a massive audit at work, while Rachel is a single-mother running after he young son in the park. I was stoked to see a story featuring a premise like this one. Two characters meeting due to a video game.

The pair meet up with each other during raids a few times before Ann decides to ask Rachel out for coffee. Due to commitments at work and commitments at home, several of their dates get canceled, cut short, or interrupted. It’s how life truly is, but it got frustrating because the point of a romance is for there to be romance! Right?

I feel like if this had been longer, there would have been more interaction between Ann and Rachel this would have been a real treat. Almost all of the scenes revolve around Ani-Min Move and even their first ‘date’ included them playing throughout. Call me old fashioned, but if my date is on their phone its probably because they aren’t interested in me.

Ann and Rachel were just starting to get to know each other and then book ended. There was a romance scene that felt out of place for me, but that’s totally probably a just me thing. It would have read just as well if that scene hadn’t been included.

Did I enjoy it? Yeah, it was a good, quick read. It just left me wanting more for Ann and Rachel.

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New Ink on Life by Jennie Davids

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The Summary: Quiet does not equal weak… 

Leaving a dependable job to apprentice as a tattoo artist was a drastic step after surviving breast cancer, but Cassie Whiteaker is nearly five years cancer-free. Nearly. She’s not ready to go out on her own until she clears that all-important hurdle. Also off-limits are relationships and sex—something Cassie is sure she’ll never want again.

Struggling tattoo shop owner MJ Flores doesn’t give a damn what people think, but losing Thorn & Thistle would mean losing everything. When her former mentor’s protégé arrives at her door, MJ hires her out of obligation…at first. Cross-stitching goody-goodies are not her type, but Cassie’s business background might just get the shop back on solid footing. They strike a bargain: Cassie will enact new marketing plans and MJ will teach her to find her inner bitch.

Only when clients request to see Cassie—having learned of the beautiful, compassionate tattoos she creates for survivors and their families—does MJ realize all Cassie has endured. And as Cassie’s fears fade, she finds it harder to keep her admiration for her bad-girl boss from reawakening all she’d feared was lost.

The Review

Cassie Whiteaker is a survivor. She’s nearly five years cancer free and she’s finally pursuing her dreams. She went from a corporate job to apprenticing as a tattoo artist. She ends up at Thorn & Thistle and MJ Flores hires her out of pity (that’s what it felt like to me). Cassie knew MJ’s mentor who had passed from her fight against cancer. It’s the tipping point that pushes MJ to give Cassie a chance.

The two women couldn’t be more different than each other.  Cassie is quiet, reserved and polite to a fault. MJ is definitely not. She’s loud, brash and has an attitude that is hard to get past. They end up working out a deal, Cassie will help MJ with the shop’s marketing and MJ will help her grow a backbone. Ending up in bed together was supposed to be a no strings kind of deal, but can you really keep something no strings when you start to get to know another person, their struggle and fight?

I liked the concept of New Ink on Life but there was something missing. I think it was the fact that Cassie and MJ were such polar opposites. It was hard for me to like MJ and it was difficult to relate to how meek Cassie was. MJ’s attitude was all a cover and I eventually came to understand that. I did appreciate what she was trying to teach Cassie. To stand up for what she wants and believes in. I just felt like it was the wrong way to go about that. The initial build up to their first kiss and first touches was intense. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for it to happen. But then I was a little let down the further we progressed into the book and their exploration of each other.

I like that art played a big part in Cassie’s growth. This is what she wants to do with her life and she’s settling into her skin as a tattoo artist. The description of some of the pieces she drew were vivid.

Due to be released May 27, 2019

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants—life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life—or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

The Review

This was another book that I needed to read for one of my graduate studies coursework. So I’m going to make this as non-academic as I can because I’ll be writing an in depth analysis of this for the rest of the week.

The Paying Guests was the first book I’ve read in full by Sarah Waters and it was definitely one that will keep my reading her work.

This was a stunning story. The setting was vivid and I could see the house, the streets and the back garden like a movie playing in my head. I found myself engulfed in Frances and the situation she and her widowed mother found themselves in, needing to take in lodgers in order to pay their bills. Lilian and Leonard Barber had taken rooms at the house and it’s an entirely new experience for them all. They face all the daily rituals that you don’t think about until you faced with it. For instance, passing each other on trips to the outdoor bathroom, hearing coughs, arguments, furniture moving around and interpreting those odd noises coming from the couple upstairs.

Through all this Frances and Lilian take a shine to each other. First they’re friends and seem to be exactly what each other needs to get through the day. They start to bond over Ana Karenina which my nerdy little heart swooned over. Soon those feelings turn into something much stronger. I was entranced with their stolen moments filled with kisses, want and need for each other.

I literally picked this book out of a bag, so I had no clue what was awaiting me towards the end of this book. I did not expect to end up in a courtroom or dealing with the day to day emotional toll a court case will take on a person. I was so happy that Frances and Lilian were together that this BOMBSHELL broke my heart for them. I’m being deliberately vague here because I don’t want to give anything away, but my poor heart.

Sarah Waters has this was of making you feel for her characters and have you just as invested in an outcome as they are. So when things go wrong, it just really freaking sucks and leaves you feeling just as horribly as the characters did.

So, the question here is: should you read it? Yes. This isn’t full on romance. There’s daily life, flirting, a criminal court case and emotions all over the place. But it’s all in the best ways if that makes sense. Will I finally open up Fingersmith and give that one a read? After I finish this paper, you bet cha!

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Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

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Three out of Five Stars

The Summary: A landmark coming-of-age novel that launched the career of one of this country’s most distinctive voices, Rubyfruit Jungle remains a transformative work more than forty years after its original publication. In bawdy, moving prose, Rita Mae Brown tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes—and she refuses to apologize for loving them back. This literary milestone continues to resonate with its message about being true to yourself and, against the odds, living happily ever after.

The Review

Rubyfruit Jungle is a book one of my graduate studies professors recommended to me for a term project in comparison of a classical vs. contemporary work. I hadn’t ever heard of this book and out of all the choices, this sounded like the least torturous option out of them all. I actually read it over the weekend and enjoyed the story, although I don’t see it in the amazing light that so many other people have. And I’m not going to review it in a literary way because I already have to do that for class.

Molly Bolt is most definitely gay. I figured that out very quickly when she decided to make money off of getting her cousin to show other students his penis. She didn’t care at all as to what he was packing. I think that was the best part of this book, even if it through me way off, I was cracking up laughing at how methodical she was at getting her money.

We get to watch Molly as she grows up in the south and how each experience she has in different times of her life impact who she ultimately becomes. First we meet Molly in elementary school. Middle school is when she first kisses a girl and falls in a younger version of love. Then, in high school she has sex with her ‘cousin’, who really isn’t her biological cousin but a male sexual partner.

I really started to enjoy this book once Molly went to college. She finds love in a sorority sister and once they are discovered, there goes their college careers. This was the relationship that I was most invested in. They were friends first, sarcastic, witty, and jerks to each other kind of friends. The pair felt real compared to the rest of Molly’s love interest. I think perhaps because of how everything played out. I felt for them.

No matter the trouble Molly found herself in, she never gave up. She was still sassy and one hundred percent herself. She didn’t make any apologies for being a lesbian, enjoying living a much different lifestyle than she did where she grew up. She fought for what she wanted and I admired that about her.

Now, do I recommend this to every person who is coming out the closet? Eh, probably not. It was a good read and I can see the literary value in it. The boundaries were pushed upon its first publication in the early seventies. It could be seen as quite racy in several sections. I do think if you are into literary fiction this is a great read for you to pick up and try out.

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Breaking Down Her Walls by Erin Zak

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Leaving is what Julia Finch does best.

When a meeting with her birth parents goes horribly wrong, Julia escapes on a hastily planned road trip and winds up breaking down in a Colorado town so small the cows outnumber the people. Completely out of her element, she takes a temporary job as a ranch hand at Bennett Ranch. She only has to survive long enough to get her car fixed, and then she’s out of there for good.

Her bad luck continues when she meets the ranch owner, Elena Bennett. Elena is unhappy, abrasive, and annoyingly breathtaking. But the longer Julia stays, the more the ranch starts to feel like home, and her feelings for Elena become impossible to ignore. She’s spent years building her defenses high and running from her past. Could a love worth staying for be the key to breaking down her walls?

The Review

Julia Finch is a runner. If something doesn’t work out well, she moves on. There’s no point in living the disappointment day in and out, is there? When a road trip ends up with her car broken down and no where close to being fixed without dropping a pretty penny, Elijah strikes her a deal. If she works at the Bennett Ranch to pay off the repairs to her car, he’ll get it fixed and then she can move on. It’s a decent deal, even if she has no idea what she’s doing. She didn’t expect to like the ranch owner, Elena Bennett as much as she does. It makes leaving all that much harder.

Now this is an age-gap romance and I have a difficult time finding that in lesbian romances but this hit the spot. It wasn’t your typical meet and move in type of relationship that I have a knack for finding. This was a slow, steady burn that made you want Julia or Elena to make a move. When the move was made, *fans self* whoa boy. They had some intense chemistry and weren’t afraid to get lost in each other. Zak writes sex scenes that don’t make me uncomfortable when I’m reading them. They flow well, it’s never one-sided, both characters are just as into to the moment as the other was.

What I really enjoyed was the fact that each character, Cole, Elijah, Toni, the horses and even Penny, they were all what pushed the story along. (Although Penny I felt like wasn’t entirely necessary to this story, more like just thrown in there as an after thought) I liked reading about the secondary characters as much I liked reading about Julia and Elena. Cole is my spirit animal.

Elena and Julia found themselves when Julia’s car broke down in Colorado. They flourished as they got to know each other. It was a treat to see both of these women settle into their skin again and I don’t think they would have done so if they hadn’t met each other.

I’m definitely looking forward to more written by Erin Zak, she’s become a one-click author.

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Going Down by Barbara Bell

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3.5 out of 5 Stars

The Summary: Trapped in an elevator with her boss… 

Ellie has been trying to keep her distance from Casey, her supervisor, ever since last year’s Christmas party. A quickie in a bathroom stall left both women breathless…and more than a little embarrassed when they rejoined the party. Workplace snogging is highly inappropriate.

Though enormously erotic.

Body temperatures are already rising when Ellie and Casey find themselves alone in the elevator one Friday night at the office. When the lift comes to a grinding stop, awkward isn’t large enough a word.

Trapped in an elevator with her boss. Her tall, powerful, beautiful boss—the woman who monopolizes Ellie’s fantasies and sneaks into her dreams.

Whatever will they do to pass the time?

The Review

First, let me give you a little background on Dirty Bits by Carina Press. Dirty Bits gives you what you want, when you want it. Designed to be read in an hour or two, these sex-filled microromances are guaranteed to pack a punch and deliver a happily-ever-after. So any time I review one of these, expect a micro-review, because I’m not giving everything away 😉

Ellie and her boss, Casey, may have crossed a line in a bathroom stall at the previous work Christmas Party. It’s been months and Ellie has been avoiding Casey and only speaking to her boss about work matters when they used to be friends with each other. It takes getting trapped in an elevator for a couple of hours together for Ellie to relive the mind blowing experience, and try to figure out where they went wrong.

The sex between the two is going to leave you fanning yourself and wondering how Ellie could have ever let Casey disappear out of her life as a potential lover. There’s a specific part that I wasn’t really into and I’m finding this in a lot of lesbian erotica, check the tags for that spoiler, but the rest of it was great. I’d definitely want to visit Ellie and Casey again to find out how their relationship has progressed.

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