Review of ‘Face it’ by Georgette Kaplan.

This is the second book of the ‘Scissor link’ series that I recommend to read chronologically as this book reveals a couple of spoilers from the first book.

Elizabeth Smile is contacted by Michelle Harlow, an old college fling, to pose as her girlfriend to beat her cheating husband. For Elizabeth, it’s good money and an opportunity to help her old friend, provided she can ignore her feelings towards Michelle and an awkward week with her fake girlfriend’s family. Will they succeed in their deception? Will it change their relationship?

There’s been a number of fake relationships books in lesfic lately with diverse success. It’s hard for me to rate this book as it has its good and not so good parts. I liked that it’s got some twists and unexpected situations and it’s generally well written. Most of the plot describes the time Elizabeth spends with Michelle and her family during the Christmas holidays. Each member of the family (dog included) has a distinctive personality and quirks which made them easy to recognise in a relatively short novel. However, the dialogues and their banter sounded artificial, as if the author was trying too much to be witty. There are also a lot of references to popular culture (actors, books, films, music, TV shows, etc.) which are a bit excessive even for a well informed person. So much so that in a decade’s time this book will probably be outdated. There are also long parts of the book dedicated to phylosophical discussions between the characters around a number of subjects such as racism, environment, feminism and religion, among others. While some discussions were interesting, I kept wondering if this is the type of book to dwell on them as the plot loses focus on the romance. Consequently, the end seems a bit rushed and the ‘I love you’ moments too fast.

Overall, an ok read if you don’t mind a few philosophical discussions and multiple references to popular culture. 3 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review of ‘Dangerous waters’ by Radclyffe.

This is book number 7 of Radclyffe’s ‘First responders’ series which can be read as a stand alone novel. According to the author, she got inspiration from the tropical storms that caused havoc and devastation in 2017 in South Florida and Texas. Fusing real events with fiction, several stories run parallel and provide different perspectives of the same event. Among those stories is the romance between National Guard Colonel Sawyer Kincaid and Chief of Emergency service at Miami Memorial Dr Dara Sims who have to relinquish their initial antagonism and work together in order to help evacuation and provide medical services during the storm. As danger approaches and pressure goes high, so does their emotional involvement. Will there be a happily ever after?

This is not a typical Radclyffe romance. It’s true that some of her characteristic elements are present, such as the dark, handsome and stoic butch and the gorgeous but strong femme. However, the main character in this novel is Leo. The storm sets the pace, presents the tension and delivers all the punches in this book. I think it’d be unfair to review this novel as a typical romance because love is in the background letting the storm take precedence. Even the ubiquitous steamy sex scenes so typical of this author are watered down or relegated to a secondary role. Despite that, this is a very good effort by Radclyffe. ‘Dangerous waters’ presents a compelling, emotional, nail biting page-turner about the power of nature and the extraordinary efforts of the first responders who put their lives on the line in order to help others.

Overall, an action packed page-turner by Radclyffe. Highly recommended even though romance is a bit in the background. 4.5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review of ‘Summer fling’ by Jean Copeland.

Four years ago attorney Kate Randall had a traumatic breakup after 17 years of relationship. No wonder she is reluctant to try again and is enjoying her single status. That is, until she meets singer Jordan Squire who is sexy, kind and interested. Pity that she is almost two decades younger. Will Kate see past the age difference and her relationship baggage to give Jordan a chance?

There’s no doubt that ‘Summer fling’ is a well written book, the characters are skilfully portrayed and the dialogues are witty and funny. My problem is that I just couldn’t warm to the main characters, specially Kate who comes across to me as self-centered and immature. The conversations and behaviour of Kate and her friends seem more typical of people in their 20s not late 40s. It was frustrating to read at times. Jordan, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite. She is mature, patient and ready to commit. So much so that readers might wonder what she sees in Kate. While I understand that opposites might attract, it really didn’t work for me. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that other readers could enjoy this story.

Overall, an ok read if you can can put up with a frustrating main character. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review of ‘Playing the spy’ by Maggie Brown.

Sophie Marsh is a journalist who is forced by her boss to disguise as a maid to dig up secrets on Hollywood star Eleanor Godwin. As a political journalist, Sophie is annoyed with her assignment but once she gets to know the ice queen actress and starts to have feelings for her, she is confronted with a moral dilemma. Shall Sophie reveal Eleanor’s secrets to keep her job or shall she respect her privacy and the new feelings they have for each other?

This is a well written and entertaining book with the idyllic setting of the Australian Great barrier reef. Ms. Brown’s description of the landscape is vivid and is the perfect background for a romance. The main characters are skilfully portrayed, Eleanor is a typical ice queen, very talented but distant. Sophie is vibrant, caring and too well read for a maid. Their chemistry is sizzling and the intimacy hot. However, I didn’t find the story very realistic specially at the beginning and the end seemed a bit rushed. Anyway, it’s a well written and entertaining book worth a read if you are into I’ve queens or like romances between celebrities and ordinary people.

Overall, a good romance with a beautiful setting. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review of ‘Love at Cooper’s Creek’ by Missouri Vaun.

When Shaw Daily escapes San Francisco to her grandparents’ town of Cooper’s Creek to decompress from the stress of her corporate career, she finds there more than she bargained for. In the rural town she meets Kate Elkins, a beautiful school teacher in a sabbatical year to care for her aging mother. Along with love, Shaw discovers unexpected family secrets. Will Shaw be able to make peace with her past and take her budding relationship with Kate to the next level?

This book goes beyond the typical sweet romance and explores difficult subjects such as life choices, bereavement, aging and dementia. The author touches all these issues with tact and, at the same time, keeps our focus on the beautiful love story. The chemistry between the mains, the multi layered secondary characters and the well structured plot contribute towards a very pleasant read.

Overall, a very well written and sweet romance. 5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review of ‘A heart to call home’ by Jeannie Levig.

A terrible tragedy left teenagers Dakota Scott and Jessie Weldon in opposite sides of a family feud. But after meeting again as adults they are both unable to deny their mutual attraction. Can they explore their feelings further or accept that their past history is an insurmountable obstacle?

This book’s main premise is a difficult starting point for a romance. Can love be built over the flimsy foundations of pain and mistrust, even when events happened many years ago? In ‘A heart to call home’ somehow Ms. Levig does the trick. As Dakota and Jessie get to know each other, they also discover things about themselves which change them profoundly. The main characters embark on a soul searching journey which is moving, poignant and sometimes heart-breaking. The reader joins this emotional rollercoaster suffering and enjoying along with the characters. It is one hell of a ride. My only issue about this book is that the ending seems too abrupt and would have benefited from a bit more development. Despite this, it is a very recommendable read.

Overall, an emotional, compelling romance. 4.5 stars

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review of ‘Twice in a lifetime’ by PJ Trebelhorn.

This is book number 2 in the Burke sisters series which started with ‘The right kind of wrong’. The story catches up with the main characters of the first book but it can be read as a stand alone. Bar owner Taylor Fletcher lost her firefighter wife on duty and is not looking for a love interest, let alone one with a risky job. But when her late wife’s best friend, Police Detective Callie Burke, returns to town, Taylor starts questioning herself. Will she decide to risk her heart again provided she survives a dangerous threat to her life?

Good romance with a bit of action in the form of a lesbian stalker. The plot touches a few sensitive issues such as bereavement, friendship, first responders’ duty and second chances. The author does a good job at portraying the main characters with their flaws and feelings though sometimes Taylor’s indecisiveness is frustrating to read. The stalker subplot adds a bit of action but has its ups and downs in terms of realism.

Overall, an ok read if you like a romance with a bit of drama. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.