Review of ‘All of me’ by Emily Smith.

Dr. Galen Burguess is the chief surgical resident at Boston City Hospital. She works hard and plays hard, her reputation as a player is well known. But when she meets a new intern, Dr. Rowan Duncan, she’s soon smitten with the very reserved and very straight resident. As Galen decides not to act on her attraction, Rowan discovers new feelings for her boss. But she’s got a boyfriend waiting in Texas and she’s straight anyway, or is she?

‘All of me’ is a medical romance, Radclyffe style, with a butch/androgynous and a femme doctors as main characters in a fast and stressful hospital setting. Normally
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Review of ‘If I loved you less’ by Tamsen Parker.

Theo Sullivan is a surfing instructor based in a small island in Hawaii. In her free time she enjoys being the village busybody and matchmaker and eating all things sweet at her friend Kini ʻŌpūnui’s bakery. As Theo is a lesbian, she normally enjoys no-string relationships with visiting tourists but she’d never imagined that the love of her life could be closer than she thought.

This novel is a retelling of ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen. The author mainly writes about m/f and m/m couples with the exception of a couple of f/f books. In the acknowledgements, the author admits that this book was difficult to write and, to be honest, it shows. Even though this book features two main women characters falling in love with each other, I wouldn’t consider it lesfic because most of the attention is focused on heterosexual relationships. Additionally, Theo affirms that she’s a lesbian (or queer as she prefers to call herself) but her attraction to women isn’t completely believable. I couldn’t feel the mains’ chemistry beyond the level of friendship and their romantic involvement is rushed and unconvincing. It doesn’t help that there no intimate scenes either and I’m not sure that they would have worked with that low level of chemistry.

The book is written in third person from the point of view of Theo. To say that Theo is not an easy to like character is an understatement. Most of the time, she comes across as self-centred, opinionated, superficial, immature and manipulative. Kini is the complete opposite and you can only wonder what she sees in the younger woman. There is an age gap between the mains of around 14 years, both characters are believable in their ages and they somehow balance each other. Kudos to the author to tackle an interracial romance in the beautiful setting of Hawaii. However, there are too many out of context Hawaiian words, specially when food is mentioned, which somehow interrupt the reading flow. Additionally, some of the secondary characters are a bit stereotyped and sometimes act strangely for the XXI century. I’m not sure that interpolating Jane Austen’s idiosyncrasy to a modern day lesbian romance worked in this case.

Overall, an unconvincing romance that probably won’t appeal lesfic fans. 2.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Up on the roof’ by A.L. Brooks.

Lena and Megan are neighbours living in adjacent flats of a converted Victorian house in London. They couldn’t be more different: Lena is obsessed with order and routine, Megan is carefree and messy. Their relationship starts badly as Megan clumsiness gets her into trouble with her uptight neighbour. However, everything changes when a storm leaves Lena homeless and Megan offers her to move in her spare room. Will they manage to get along and what happens when they realise there might be attracted to each other?

This was a frustrating read for me. There’s so much potential in this story, for example, to explore homophobia in the first generation of Indian immigrants in the UK or how is to live with an obsessive compulsive disorder but unfortunately, this novel fails not only in achieving that but also in the romance part. Paradoxically, its main strength – the main characters’ development – is the cause of its demise. I think that Lena is well rounded as a person suffering from OCD and Megan as a carefree though insecure character. However, put them together and their interactions aren’t believable and their chemistry inexistent. The secondary characters are stereotyped and flat, maybe with the exception of the ground floor neighbour. There was a great amount of description that made this read tedious and boring. Considering that this is a romance and a happily ever after is expected, the plot development and the end weren’t believable at all. It’s a pity because Ms. Brooks’s previous novels are much better and I was expecting an enjoyable read.

Overall, a frustrating read. 2.5 stars.

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

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