Review of ‘Paper love’ by Jae.

This is a slow-burn romance between Susanne Wolff, a business consultant, and her uncle’s stationary shop employee Anja Lamm. When Susanne is urged to try to save ‘Paper love’, a small shop located in Freiburg, her relationship with Anja gets off to a rocky start. Can they learn to trust each other to keep away ‘Paper love’ from bankruptcy? Will their budding friendship develop into something more?

This love story has the unexpected setting in a stationary store within the also unexpectedly beautiful background of Jae’s home city of Freiburg (Germany). I have to admit that I knew nothing about this place so I googled it and discovered a hidden gem. You should do it too. Kudos to the author to put this incredibly charming city on the lesfic map. Her depiction of Freiburg in the narrative is evocative and flows naturally like the water in the city’s typical small canals known locally as Bächle. It’s a refreshing change from the usual lesfic scenery.

There are apparent contraditions in this novel. Susanne Wolff (German for wolf) embodies the succesful city executive focused on her career while Anja Lamm (lamb) is idealist, laidback and provincial. Digital and paper worlds war against each other as the two women try to find a way to rescue ‘Paper love’ from commercial disaster. Eventually they find that their common ground doesn’t need to disregard one but to complement each other. Slowly, as their relationship progresses, Anja discovers the importance of business planning and online marketing while Susanne (and most of us readers) discovers the sexy side of stationary. There are no big dramas or angst, the story flows with the simplicity of two very different people getting to know each other and fueling their attraction in that contrast. Even the characters’ sexuality is diverse, as one is a lesbian and the other bisexual. In that regard, Jae gives a good insight on biophia and prejudices against bisexuals without forcing the issue to the reader.

The secondary characters are well rounded, specially Susanne’s ‘womb mate’, Anja’s best friend and Muesli, a cute little kitten. Jae as always delivers a well written, entertaining and original story.

Overall, a feel good slow-burn romance set in a charming city. 4.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Push me pull me’ by Amanda Rhodes.

Mallory Grant is struggling with her life. Her job as a leasing agent for a condo company pays the bills but doesn’t make her happy and her social life is nonexistent. When she meets Corinne Ibori, a gorgeous and confident client who shows more interest in her personally than professionaly, things start to look up for Mallory. If only she could gather the courage to take things to the next level…

Very good erotica novella by debut author Amanda Rhodes. Written in first person from the point of view of Mallory, the reader gets into her headspace learning how she hides her insecurities, negative body image and low self esteem with self-deprecating humour that sometimes comes across as immaturity. The novella is written in three parts starting and ending in the present with a flashback in the middle. Though this book can be considered as erotica with light BDSM scenes, the author takes her time in building the main characters’ relationship and setting the tone. The sex scenes are well written, realistic and highlight the characters’ chemistry. Even though it has a rather abrupt ending, it is worth a read for all f/f erotica fans.

Overall, a very good erotica novella by debut author Amanda Rhodes. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Take your time’ by V.K. Powell.

This book is part of the ‘Pine Cone romance’ series by three different authors: ‘Take my hand’ by Missouri Vaun, ‘Take a chance’ by D. Jackson Leigh and ‘Take your time’ by V.K. Powell. This series follows the lives of three friends: Clay, Trip and Grace in the small town of Pine Cone, Georgia.

There are series written by an author that usually need to be read in chronological order, series of standalone novels by different authors under a common theme, and the ‘Pine Cone romance’ series which is a bit peculiar. In this series the three different authors decided to create three romances (one in each book) but with the three stories overlapping. For example, if the three friends share a scene, it will appear in all three books but with a different point of view. D. Jackson Leigh says in her acknowledgements that it was arduous to write. Well, sometimes it’s also arduous to read. I personally found some issues, one is that after reading the first book (whichever the order) the reader has sometimes a sense of deja vu, a feeling of having read that before because… they read it in the previous book. It works fine in some scenes as it gives other characters’ perspectives but in other cases it is tedious. Also, some events that overlap in the books give information that act as spoilers for the other books’ stories which is a bit annoying. Finally, I found that there are a number of unresolved secondary plots which are main plots in the other books, so in order to grasp the full story, you need to read all the series. So I guess readers can rate each book separately but also the series as a whole. Due to these problems appear throughout the series, you’ll see some of my comments repeated in the other reviews.

‘Take your time’ is the story of Grace Booker, a police officer in Pine Cone who is left with a parrot who hates her. When she takes the bird to Dani Wingate, a local vet, there is an undeniable mutual attraction. But Dani is a city girl staying in Pine Cone temporarily and she’s not looking for anything serious. Will their initial chemistry have any future?

This is a slow burn romance with very little action on the side. The author is a retired police officer and she normally writes crime novels so I was expecting more action. However, I understand the restrictions of writing a story with other two authors. The characters are well portrayed in their rights and wrongs but I personally couldn’t feel much chemistry. The final chapters seemed a bit rushed and one of the crimes is left unsolved. All in all, the funny moments, specially with a very peculiar parrot, worked better than the serious ones.

Now that I’ve read the whole series, my overall rating is 3.5 stars. It’s an interesting writing experiment that, in my opinion, didn’t work that well in the execution.

Overall, an ok read though I recommend to read the rest of the series in order to fill in the gaps in the story. 3.5 stars.

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

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