Review of ‘Where there’s a will’ by Virginia Hale.

Dr. Elizabeth Hordern is the co-inheritor of The Blaxland Homestead, a murder house in Australia converted into a tourist attraction. Deep in debt thanks to a former girlfriend, she’s eager to sell the property. However, she wasn’t expecting her co-inheritor’s resistance to sell.
Life has thrown a few curve balls to Dylan O’Connor but now she is happy with her job as a tour guide at The Blaxland Homestead. Selling isn’t an option for her but being attracted to Elizabeth wasn’t in her plans either. Will they be able to agree on the house’s future and their own?

This is the second book by Australian author Virginia Hale which I was expecting anxiously as I absolutely loved her debut novel ‘Echo Point’, on my list of best lesfic books of 2017. ‘Where there’s a will’ is both different and similar to its predecessor. Sometimes the plot seems lighter and more humorous, others is heavy and profound, but with the same compelling characters and vivid scenes that were present in her debut novel.

Written in third person from the point of view of both main characters, the reader has a prime seat to both leads’ strengths and failures. Their chemistry builds up slowly but surely and when it gets to the sizzling point is a delight to read. This author manages the characters’ feelings perfectly, the reader couldn’t get any closer to them. Ms. Hale has the ability to pull off an incredible hot scene and, in a couple of paragraphs, throw a proverbial bucket of cold water on the reader. Their emotional journey is realistic and moving.

However, I feel that Ms. Hale couldn’t keep that magnificent level all the time. There are moments when the story seems to go flat and lose its vibrancy or the timeline appears to jump a bit. In my opinion, the mystery subplot could have benefited from a better closure. Also, be prepared to find a few obscure Australian terms and local cultural references. Having said that, the novel was very enjoyable and emotional to read.

Overall, an entertaining romance with some brilliant compelling scenes. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Echo point’ by Virginia Hale.

Beautiful love story set in the Blue mountains near Sidney in Australia. This is not just a romance: it’s a story of loss, family ties and redemption. Don’t expect heroines or larger than life characters: Ally and Bron are better described by their flaws and missteps – and maybe because of them – the reader can sympathise and redeem them before they do.

Nothing major happens in this book, which is set in the aftermath of Libby’s accidental death. She leaves behind her sister Bron, her best friend Ally and her little daughter. This book is the story of how they cope with the loss in their everyday lives and how they change them in the process.

The author’s description of the landscape is vivid and picturesque. The bushfires and intense heat are a metaphor of the passions at stake. Ms. Hale knows how to build up the tension and the chemistry between Bron and Ally rages like a bushfire: uncontrollable, hot and consuming.

Overall, a very solid debut novel and a highly recommended romance. 5 stars.

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

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friends to lovers lesbian book

A perfect friends to lovers lesbian book

Review of friends to lovers lesbian book ‘The secret chord’ by Virginia Hale

This was a perfect friends to lovers lesbian book. People who read my reviews know that I don’t give 5+ stars lightly. Honestly, I cannot fault this novel in any way, including my enjoyment. What a fantastic writer is Ms. Hale! She can write beautiful romances in diverse contexts like her previous ‘Where there’s a will‘ set in a murder house-turned into a tourist attraction or this one, in a Catholic boarding school. Talk about unromantic environments…

The ‘friends to lovers‘ trope has been used quite a bit in lesfic but here Ms. Hale presents a plot with a clever twist. Best friends Kate and Tilly used to be classmates at St. Joan of Arc Catholic boarding school sharing some heated make-out sessions. After graduation, they parted ways, Kate to study teaching, Tilly to become a nun… yes, a nun. Twelve years later, they meet again at the same school, sharing teaching positions. Tilly isn’t a nun but is engaged to an Anglican Church vicar, a much older widower with two kids. After so many years, Kate has lots of questions about the past and lots of feelings in the present, but Tilly is completely out of limits… or is she?Read More »

Recommended Lesfic Books of July 2018

This month, the Golden Crown Literary Society, dedicated to promote lesbian literature, has announced its 2018 Goldie Awards. So here are my recommendations among those winners:

Categories

Ann Bannon Popular Choice

An outsider inside‘ by RJ Samuel

In the run-up to Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage, Irish-Indian lesbian activist Jaya Dillon has to confront her unresolved issues on bisexualty and her mixed race origin. This is not an easy read as it touches difficult identity issues such as race, gender and sexuality. It’s a book inside a book with intriguing characters and a rollercoaster of emotions. 4.5 stars.

See my full review

Get it on Amazon

Contemporary Romance: short

Bait and switch’ by Blythe H. Warren

This is an enjoyable lesbian rom-com with emphasis in the comedy part. Written in first person from the point of view of marine biologist Liv Cucinelli, the story starts when she meets her former college nemesis Mira. To say that Liv holds a grudge against Mira for ruining her college career is an understatement, but somehow they manage to go past their previous differences to start an unlikely friendship. Will it develop into something more?
Overall, a very enjoyable and entertaining read. 4 stars

See my full review

Get it on Amazon

Echo Point’ by Virginia Hale

Beautiful love story set in the Blue mountains near Sidney in Australia. This is not just a romance: it’s a story of loss, family ties and redemption. The author’s description of the landscape is vivid and picturesque. The bushfires and intense heat are a metaphor of the passions at stake. Ms. Hale knows how to build up the tension and the chemistry between the main characters rages like a bushfire: uncontrollable, hot and consuming. A very solid debut novel and a highly recommended romance.
5 stars

See my full review

Get it on Amazon

Contemporary Romance: Mid-length

Sidebar’ by Carsen Taite

This author writes legal thrillers like nobody else. This book combines a realistic description of the intricacies of the legal system with a deep immersion in the main characters’ world.
4 stars

See my full review

Get it on Amazon

Contemporary Romance: Long

Perfect rhythm’ by Jae

This is a slow-burn romance between Leontyne, a famous lesbian pop singer, and Holly, an asexual nurse who cares after Leo’s father. When her father had a severe stroke, Leo is forced to go back to her small hometown entering a rollercoaster of emotions in the process. The book goes beyond the romance and also touches issues such as parents’ expectations, friendship and self-realisation. 4 stars

See my full review

Get it on Amazon

Who’d have thought’ by G Benson

The theme of sham marriage is not new in lesfic but Benson presents it here so skillfully that makes up for the lack of originality. Both main characters are crafted with special detail in their personalities and little quirks. Ms. Benson’s descriptions are quite cinematographic, the reader can actually feel their chemistry growing slowly until it sizzles out of the pages. 5+ stars

See my full review

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Debut Novel

The road to wings’ by Julie Tizard

An informative and sometimes entertaining read on Air Force pilots’ training and the situation of women (and lesbians) within the force in the 1990s with a slow-burn romance at the side. 4 stars.

See my full review

Get it on Amazon

Erotica

Her best friend’s sister’ by Meghan O’Brien

An entertaining erotica read by Meghan O’Brien. This book won’t disappoint her fans as more than half of the book describe sex scenes: they are varied, explicit and, of course, hot. 4 stars

See my full review

Get it on Amazon

Romantic Suspense/Intrigue/Adventure

A more perfect union’ by Carsen Taite

‘A more perfect union’ can be considered a mystery mixed with military and political intrigue and a bit of romance on the side. The story focuses on Zoey Granger, an army Major with impeccable credentials who is called by the Pentagon to investigate a scandal involving army officials and escorts, and Rook Daniels, a spin doctor contracted by the White House to monitor the enquiry. As the investigation progresses, so does their relationship and involvement. Will they discover the underlying complot and the culprits before their lives are at risk? 3.5 stars

See my full review

Get it on Amazon

Science Fiction/Fantasy

Shattered’ by Lee Winter

Ms. Winter is an author who departs from the conventional lesfic stories. She did it in her second book, ‘Requiem for immortals’, and she does it in ‘Shattered’ again. Without providing many details, what really surprised me about this book is the intensity of the dialogues between Shattergirl and Lena, the build up of their relationship, the depth of their emotions. 5 stars

See my full review

Get it on Amazon

See all the winners here:

https://www.goldencrown.org/page/2018Winners

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Recommended Lesfic Books of May 2018

Springer has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer vacation season is about to start soon, so now is the time to begin picking books for your holiday reads. Here are my favourites of the month.

Recommended new release:
‘In Development’ by Rachel Spangler.

4.5 stars

Cobie Galloway, America’s sweetheart, is tired of playing the straight girl-next-door beauty in teenage movies. She desperately wants to play a badass lesbian action heroine but needs a complete makeover, along with a super famous fake girlfriend. So, who’d be better to play that role than straight pop star Lila Wilder who’s edgy, fiercely independent, bossy but dangerously attractive? Cobie soon finds herself in a moral dilemma: is she prepared to lie her way to get the acting part of her dreams? And what if it’s not so fake after all?
Lately, there’s been a few fake relationships romances in lesfic but ‘In Development’ is one of the best. It’s a compelling, emotional and engaging story that combines A-list celebrities, a temperamental ice queen and a fake romance all in one package.

Classic lesfic book of the month:
‘Too close to touch’ by Georgia Beers.

4.5 stars

Written in 2006, this novel is the epitome of an office romance in a corporate environment. Ms. Beers plays expertly the contrasts between the main characters: boss / assistant, blonde / brunette, outgoing / reserved, age gap, and so on. As the main characters work relationship evolves so does their attraction and the tension build-up is seriously hot. This book has a mix of romance, sex, drama, angst and love.

Last year’s book that you should read:
‘Echo Point’ by Virginia Hale

5 stars

Beautiful love story set in the Blue mountains near Sidney in Australia. This is not just a romance: it’s a story of loss, family ties and redemption. The author’s description of the landscape is vivid and picturesque. The bushfires and intense heat are a metaphor of the passions at stake. Ms. Hale knows how to build up the tension and the chemistry between the main characters rages like a bushfire: uncontrollable, hot and consuming. A very solid debut novel and a highly recommended romance.

Royalty themed book that you shouldn’t miss:
‘Once Upon a Princess’ by Clare Lydon & Harper Bliss.

4 stars

Olivia Charlton is an out lesbian and the fourth in the line for the British throne. Her parents find a suitable candidate in Jemima Bradbury and all is arranged for an imminent royal (and lesbian) wedding. Olivia decides to take a break under a false name in Cornwall to relax from the commitment stress. In the small town of Otter Bay she meets coffee shop owner Rosie Perkins. Will Olivia deny her attraction to a commoner and follow the call of duty to marry Jemima? This is an enjoyable read co-written by two very talented lesfic authors specially if you are into royalty and like novels with a British feel.

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Best lesfic books of 2017

Order in author’s alphabetical order:

‘Pieces’ by G Benson

Category: Young adult, romance.

In this young adult romance, Ms. Benson deals with very difficult issues such as the fallouts of the foster care system, transsexualism, bisexuality, bereavement and generally the young adults struggle to grow up.

‘Who’d have thought’ by G Benson

Category: romance.

The theme of sham marriage is not new in lesfic but Benson presents it here so skillfully that makes up for the lack of originality.

‘Under Parr (Norfolk Coast Investigation Story Book 2)’ by Andrea Bramhall

Category: mystery.

This is book 2 of the Norfork Coast Investigation Story which follows Detective Sargeant Kate Bannon in solving the mystery surrounding a puzzling discovery of an skeleton in an old bunker. In this story, Ms. Bramhall discusses the subject of euthanasia, the care of old people and the terminally ill in a thought provoking manner.

Eyes like those (A Seven Shores Romance)’ by Melissa Brayden

Category: romance.

In this new book series called Seven shores, the author manages again to present endearing characters, long lasting friendships and a hot romance. Pure Melissa Brayden at her best.

‘Echo Point’ by Virginia Hale

Category: romance.

Beautiful love story set in the Blue mountains near Sidney in Australia. This is not just a romance: it’s a story of loss, family ties and redemption.

‘A quiet death (Dark Peak Book 3)’ by Cari Hunter

Category: mystery.

Ms. Hunter is very skillful at building a fast paced thriller with unexpected twists and turns while describing the cruelty of human trafficking.

‘Twice in a lifetime’ by Clare Lydon

Category: romance.

Set in Chicago and New York, this is the story of former high school sweethearts Harriet and Sally who accidentally meet again seventeen years later. The plot describes their trials and tribulations at second chances and long distance relationships.

‘A girl called London’ by Clare Lydon

Category: romance.

This book shows Clare Lydon at her best: witty, funny and downright romantic. Additionally, the author manages to introduce serious issues such as homophobia and family conflict with a perfect balance between depth and feel-good moments

‘Ask, tell’ by E J Noyes

Category: military, romance.

This is a beautiful love story between two US army doctors (one the superior of the other) in times of the Don’t ask don’t tell policy.

‘Turbulence’ by E J Noyes

Category: romance.

This is the story of Isabelle, a rich stockbroker who has a one-night stand with Audrey, unaware that she is the new-hired pilot of Isabelle’s private jet. Having to meet each other almost every day, the plot focuses on how their relationship evolves.

‘The Lily and the Crown’ by Rosalyn  Sinclair

Category: sci-fi, romance.

‘The Lily and the Crown’ is a sci-fi story in which the universe is ruled by a human empire under attack of both pirates and extraterrestrials. In this context, Ariana is a recluse botanist, daughter of a space station commander. Her world is turned upside down when she is given a slave to assist her. The nameless slave is beautiful, intelligent and sexy and will change Ariana’s life forever.

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