lesbian romance audiobook

Not Alone in praising Noyes

Review of ‘Alone’ by EJ Noyes

Uff, this one was intense!

I just need to start at the beginning of my experience reading this novel. Literally, as I read the first sentence, I smiled. Yep, happy sigh. First person POV, you have become my favorite. First person POV written by EJ Noyes, I love you! Ms. Noyes, at the risk of sounding like a lunatic to you (again), you singlehandedly are responsible for my first person POV obsession. Your first person POV is simply genius. I’ve read other books written in first person, but none that resonate with me like when written by this author.

Did I mention my smile right? Well, that’s the last time I did until later, later in the book. This is Celeste Thorne’s first-person POV recount of her participation on a psychological study. The goal is for her to endure four years in close to complete isolation from human contact. The story begins after the third year, when suddenly Olivia Soldano, a lost hiker, appears on the edge of the compound. Suddenly Celeste must readjust to this person who is simply everything she ever wanted. The problem is that after such isolation, Celeste’s feelings are in disarray and she struggles to determine what is real and what is part of an elaborate lie.Read More »

The angsty road to Madison.

Review of ‘The road to Madison’ by Elle Spencer.

This is a second chance story with angst. But, aren’t all second chance stories ‘angsty’?

Madison Prescott is the only heir to a multimillion dollar company and estate. Raised by her conservative father, her path in life has been predetermined by her last name. This is derailed by Madison’s relationship with the maid’s daughter, Ana Perez when they were both kids. Now in their 30s, 15 yrs after Madison proposed then abandoned Ana, her father died. Can Madison pursue the love of her life once again, or are the wounds she created too deep for Ana’s heart to overcome?Read More »

lesbian romance audiobook

Review of ‘Alone’ by E.J. Noyes.

Celeste Thorne is taking part in a scientific experiment that involves solitary confinement for four years with a final prize of half a million dollars. More than three years into the study, she finds a woman lurking in the border of her compound. Olivia Soldano is beautiful, caring and enigmatic but her sole presence in the house breaks the rules of the experiment and ultimately, can Celeste trust her?

Oh well… E.J. Noyes cannot stop surprising her readers, can she? ‘Alone’ is a book hard to categorise: it’s a game of contrasts. It’s dark but also optimistic, it’s about solitude but features a couple, it’s unsettling but, at the same time, hopeful. If you are acquainted with Ms. Noyes’s work, you will recognise the imprints of her style that readers have learned to love. Her books are always written in first person usually from the point of view of a broken woman with her co-lead presented as a flawed but righteous rescuer. What I consider outstanding is that, despite this apparent repetition, the stories have very different settings (war zone, corporate world, sports and now a psychological experiment) that make them all very distinctive, original and, at the same time, realistic.Read More »

‘The road to Madison’ is a bit bumpy.

As a teenager, Madison Prescott, the sole heir to her family’s banking empire, falls in love with Ana Perez, the maid’s daughter. Madison’s father doesn’t approve of their relationship and, through threats and lies, he forces Madison to break up with Ana. Fifteen years later, when her father dies, Madison is determined to make amends but Ana feels betrayed and hurt. It seems that time doesn’t heal all wounds, or does it?

This is the third book by Elle Spencer whose writing career started with the acclaimed bestseller ‘Casting Lacey’. I find her books on the angsty side and this one was no exception. ‘The road to Madison’ is, in my opinion, her weakest novel and, by far, the most dramatic. I know that many readers like a good amount of drama in their lesfic romances and might disagree with this review but I think that this story is borderline with melodramatic.

The novel is told by multiple points of view, which is not necessarily a problem, but in this case, it seems that some characters only have a voice to urge the mains to get together. As a consequence, some secondary characters sound too unrealistic and excessively honourable. Of course, there is nothing wrong with ethical characters, but their widespread presence in this story makes their voices sound very similar.

As the story takes place in two time periods, now and fifteen years ago, there are a few flashbacks intertwined with the present. I felt that they were a lost opportunity to showcase the strong bond and love between the characters that justified such amount of heartbreak and angst. In my opinion, Ms. Spencer fails in building up their chemistry at the start of their relationship. ‘At seventeen’ by Gerri Hill, while not perfect, is a prime example on how to describe the intimacy between teenagers, a long-lasting love that makes it worth fighting for in adulthood, despite the dispute that separates them. In ‘The road to Madison’, however, pain and conflict outplay love and chemistry, which sometimes made me wonder if their relationship was really worth fighting for.

Overall, an ok romance with a great amount of drama and angst. 3 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Meant to be me’ by Wendy Hudson.

Engineer Darcy Harris is on a quest to find long-lasting love and no one will stop her, not even a creepy stalker or her demanding best-friend. A chance encounter with Eilidh Grey has the potential to develop into something meaningful but as the stalker’s threats escalate, all three women get involved in a dangerous game in which no one knows who they can trust.

Ms. Hudson is consolidating her voice within the lesfic genre as an accomplished suspense writer with a British feel. After reading her excellent debut novel ‘Four steps’, I have to admit that I was a bit let down by her second book ‘Mine to keep’. However, I’m happy to say that ‘Meant to be me’ exceeded my expectations.

This novel is set in Inverness, Scotland, and the author’s depictions of the landscape perfectly set the tone of a suspense thriller. According to the publisher, this is a romantic suspense novel, but it’s light on the romance and heavy on the suspense. Don’t be fooled by the few first chapters that seem to set the tone for a romance novel, the love interest is more a plot device than an end in itself. There isn’t much development of intimacy and the only sex scene is fade to black. However, this makes sense in the context of the whole story and doesn’t make it less interesting.

‘Meant to be me’ is written from the point of view of everyone involved in the plot, including the stalker, so we get to know how their twisted mind work. This knowledge doesn’t stop us from being surprised by a few twists and turns that the plot takes, despite that a couple of them are a bit predictable. All the main characters are very well written and have their own distinctive voices coherent with their background stories. It’s good to see that the author took her time in the last few chapters and the epilogue to give the story the proper closure it deserves and, at the same time, keeping the reader interested.

Overall, a very good romantic suspense thriller full of twists and turns with the beautiful setting of Scotland. 4.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Not the marrying kind’ by Jae.

Ashley Gaines is a florist adamant to remain in the closet as she lives and works in a conservative small town. Her neighbour and bakery owner Sasha Peterson is a pansexual who likes to stay away from relationships. Living in a small place, they know each other but aren’t friends. When they are asked to help organising Leo and Holly’s wedding, they start sharing more time together and eventually realise that they are attracted to each other. But Ashley is determined to stay in the closet and Sasha isn’t the marrying kind anyway. Will they find their happily ever after?

This is book two of the ‘Fair Oaks’ series which started with ‘Perfect rhythm’. Even though this novel reads as standalone, many events refer to the previous book and it catches up with Leo and Holly’s relationship. Having said that, Ashley is not a likeable character in ‘Perfect rhythm’ so, if you read that first, it might take you long to warm to her in this new book.

To say that this is a slow-burn romance is an understatement as the author takes her time to develop both characters’ personalities and their budding relationship. This makes the story credible in redeeming Ashley’s hurtful actions of the past and in challenging Sasha’s assumptions about commitment. Even though Ashley’s self-inflicted repressed sexuality might feel alien to younger generations or people living in big cities, Jae’s description of the circumstances that force Ashley to remain in the closet will strike a chord with many readers. In this series, the author continues to challenge our views about sexuality by introducing a pansexual character, in addition to the asexual and non-binary characters that were featured in book one.

‘Not the marrying kind’ balances the above-mentioned serious issues of diverse sexual preferences and society’s pressure on LGBTQA+ individuals, with the sensual world of baking and flowers. The use of the hidden meaning of flowers and baking metaphors, in addition to a few playful scenes and wonderful slow-burn chemistry, introduces lightness and beauty to the story. As usual, Jae excels in bringing out the romance and depicting the characters’ intimacy with, for example, an excellent remake of a famous ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ sequence plus a very steamy undressing scene. As a bonus, readers who enjoyed Jae’s ‘Damage control’ will have the chance to catch up with Grace and Lauren’s relationship.

Overall, an entertaining, sensual and fun slow-burn romance which raises deep issues of sexuality and coming out. 4.5 stars.

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

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