Review of ‘Lost in paradise’ by Rachel Lacey.

Nicole Morella is a recently divorced New Yorker taking some thinking time in a cruise ship in the Mediterranean. When she meets Fiona Boone, a British artist living in France, they hit it off immediately but their budding attraction is interrupted when the cruise is hijacked. Both women escape in a lifeboat and they will need to fight together for their survival and their chance at love.

Rachel Lacey is a seasoned author of almost twenty romance novels but this is her first LGBT and f/f book. According to the author’s notes, she wrote the first draft in a week which is a big accomplishment because the plot is original and well crafted.

Written in third person from the point of view of both main characters, the story is varied in thrilling moments, romance and drama, all of them well balanced and realistic. Both women face setbacks in their fight for survival and the reader cannot help but cheering for them. The secondary characters are mostly in the background but it makes sense as a big part of the story happens with both women isolated from anyone else. However, when the secondary characters make their appearance, they are well-rounded and believable, specially Nicole’s parents.

There’s a trigger warning of abuse but just narrated by one of the characters in a couple of paragraphs. The sex scenes are well written and realistic and show the characters’ growing intimacy. I think that this book will appeal not only the usual lesfic reader but also to Ms. Lacey’s fans.

Overall, an entertaining book with a well-balanced mix of thrilling scenes, romance and drama. 4.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Going down’ by Barbara Bell.

After a quick hookup with her boss Casey at their work’s Christmas party, Ellie tries her best to avoid her gorgeous manager. But that is about to change when they both get trapped inside an elevator for hours and have to face their feelings for each other…

This is a hot and entertaining erotica novella part of the ‘Dirty Bits’ collection by Carina Press. Written in third person from the point of view of Ellie, the reader is stuck in her headspace with her funny, sarcastic and insecure personality. It also provides an air of mystery surrounding Cassie that suits the character’s personality and her position as Ellie’s boss.

The novella starts in the present as the elevator gets stuck and both mains are trapped inside. There are a few flashbacks from the Christmas party in which Ellie and Cassie had a bit of action in a toilet stall. The transitions between present and past are seamless and gradually give background to the story.

The sex scenes are very well written and have all the ingredients for a great erotica read: steamy and varied. They showcase the characters’ personalities and their budding relationship. Worth a read for erotica fans.

Overall, a well written, entertaining and hot erotica novella. 4.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Rising above’ by Genevieve Fortin.

Ana Bloom is an engineering geologist in a sabbatical leave researching the effects of climate change in rising sea levels in the small town of Sainte-Luce-Sur-Mer. She is convinced that people have to relocate away from the coastline as the consequences of climate change will eventually hit it with destruction and life loss. She settles in the White Sheep Inn and soon she befriends the innkeeper Yvonne and her dog Miller. But Yvonne’s granddaughter, Melodie, isn’t convinced by Ana’s theory and sees her as a threat to her life’s values. Melodie is cold towards Ana and downright rude. But when a storm hits the White Sheep Inn both women will have to learn to join forces to fight it it and in the process discover their own feelings.

This book is plot driven around the conflict between Ana, who is strongly convinced that the only solution to rising sea levels is to relocate away from the coast, and Melodie, whose livelihood means to live by the sea. The author states that despite she was always aware of the consequences of climate change, researching for this novel gave her a new level of consciousness.

As a native of the nearby town of Rimouski (Quebec, Canada), Ms. Fortin describes beautifully the charm of Sainte-Luce-Sur-Mer, along with the very real threat to its coast by human actions. The author makes a fantastic case for climate change awareness and what people can do about it. However, the romantic storyline didn’t work for me as the environmental one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with the characters fully. Melodie is a hard to like character who at the beginning comes across as disrespectful and immature. This first impression is hard to reverse even by understanding her reasons behind her bad attitude, specially in her relationship with her mother. The opposite happens to the other main character. Ana is more likable and well rounded but her out of character reaction in the middle of the book is unappealing and feels more as a plot device rather than her normal actions. As a consequence, the conflict feels a bit forced and contrived.

The novel is written in third person from the point of view of both main characters set in the present with flashbacks from one year earlier. The secondary characters Yvonne and Miller the dog are, in my opinion, the best part of the novel. As in ‘Dingo’s recovery’, the dog acts as a facilitator in a human relationship, in this case, the friendship between Yvonne and Ana which feels warmer than the romance itself. Thomas, Melodie’s little son is well portrayed and he brings to light a much needed caring side of Melodie though, for me, it wasn’t enough to like her.

Overall, a good story to raise climate change awareness that falls a bit short in the romance department. 3.5 stars.

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

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