Review of ‘The Goodmans’ by Clare Ashton.

Dr. Abby Hart lives in a little town in England secretly in love with her straight best friend Jude Goodman. Her mother, Maggie Goodman, is like a parent to Abby. But Abby isn’t the only one hiding secrets and they could surface any time with enormous consequences for everyone involved.

What an incredible read. Ms. Ashton has done it again. The first impression is that this is a ‘best friends to lovers’ romance but it’s so much more.
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Review of ‘This time’ by S.W. Andersen.

Artist Elena Jake has been having dreams about the same woman for years and no one in real life could ever live to her expectations. Convinced that she might be real and somewhere to be found, she asks her grandmother using her Native American roots to search for her. Dr. Tess Kenner is a neuropsychologist who helps patients with severe mental problems, some of them unexplainable. She believes in science and is wary of anything spiritual but when a chain of inexplicable events shows her the path to something that transcends her lifetime, she has the choice to ignore the strong force that calls for her or to believe the unbelievable.

This is a paranormal novel with the main premise that two soulmates from a previous lifetime can find each other in the next. I’m not a fan of the genre and I’m quite a disbeliever in afterlife so please read my review considering this.

The book is written on a timeline that starts in the 1950s but mainly focuses on 2017 and 2018. As the time goes back and forth a lot, I got lost a few times even though the author states the dates at the beginning of some chapters. Written in third person from the point of view of both Elena and Tess (with a few sections told from the pov of secondary characters), it is easy to get into the story and cheer for their reunion. Their encounter is very satisfying but short for my taste, as the mains are separated for most of the book. The main characters are well-rounded, very convincing in their struggle to understand what’s going on and to search for each other. The secondary characters support the plot perfectly, specially Elena’s grandmother and her best friend. All in all, the story is engaging, romantic and entertaining if you let yourself being taken to a fantasy world.

Overall, an entertaining read if you are a paranormal fan and if you don’t mind that the mains are separated most of the story. 3.5 stars.

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

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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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