Review of ‘The music and the mirror’ by Lola Keeley.

“Jump before you are pushed. In love, war and pas de deux”

I feel that my words won’t be enough to do justice to this book properly. What a fantastic read and even more so considering that this is a debut novel.

This is the story of Anna, a newbie in a successful dance company, and Victoria, former prima ballerina and its current artistic director. It gives us an insight of the ballet world with its high competition, the physical demands, the threatening of injury looming all the time, the jealousy and egocentric behaviours. Written from the point of view of both main characters, the change of pov flows naturally. Everything is so realistically described that you’d expect a dancer to leap out of the book at any time. Thanks to Ms. Keeley’s talent, she depicts ballet without sounding technical, boring or pedantic.

Victoria is the epitome of the British stiff upper lip, ice queen of ballet, in such control of herself that the reader feels her tension like a string about to snap any time. Her sarcastic comments, her strong discipline, even her wardrobe – always dressed in black – gives her an air of inaccessibility. Anna, on the other hand, is much younger, very eager to please, unaware of her incredible talent and friendly to the point of annoying, bringing a breath of fresh air to the dance company. She is almost the complete opposite of Victoria. And boy how opposites attract.

There’s a delicious slow thawing of the ice queen, step by step, jump by jump. Victoria’s sarcastic renaming of Anna as Annya and gradually accepting Anna in all her honest-to-god self, is a beautiful example of how their relationship evolves. Slowly they copy certain treats of each other, hinting the reader how they are falling in love even before they realise themselves. Their relationship is a huge dancing foreplay, Anna and Victoria’s chemistry is off the charts. Their scene in the wardrobe room is in my opinion, one of the hottest ever mastered in lesfic. Just for this brief but incredibly sexy scene this book is worth a read.

Overall, a fantastic debut novel. Highly recommended even if you are not interested in ballet. This book goes straight to my 2018 favourite books. 5+ stars.

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

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Review of ‘First position’ by Melissa Brayden.

Wow… another Melissa Brayden’s masterpiece. She’s by far my favourite lesbian romance author… and by far I mean miles away from the rest. Ok, now that we’ve got established my not-so -subtle partiality, I have to add that this book is one of my favourites from this author along with ‘Kiss the girl’. For me it has the right amount of wit, romance, sex and angst. The combination of all these ingredients make an incredible read.

What else? The main characters have perfect chemistry, the secondary characters add depth to the story and the appearances of characters from previous books (including my favourites Jess and Brooklyn) is a nice bonus. Ms. Brayden knows how to take the reader into different worlds (in this case, classical ballet) with the talent of a cinematographer. That’s why I think many of her books could make very good movies. All in all, if you are looking for lesbian romance and are a bit tired of the butch-femme dynamic of damisel in distress with her heroine in shinning armour, this book is right for you. I cannot recommend it more but then, be warned that I’m a bit biased. 5+ stars.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review of ‘Miss Match’ by Fiona Riley.

This is a very entertaining slow-burn romance. It’s the story of two women falling in love, as simple as that, with no big dramas or angst. I have to admit that I didn’t expect this story judging from the book’s title and cover but, as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover…

This is Fiona Riley’s first book but it doesn’t really show as it is very well written and fabulously edited by Bold Strokes Books. The characters are multifacetic and their chemistry works great. The book is full of hot sex scenes (maybe a bit too much for a romance novel) but overall it works well as it shows the typical passionate stage of early relationships. But the author doesn’t stop in this “young love” representation, as she describes the personalities and conflicts of the main characters with an unusual deepness for this genre.

The secondary characters and subplots add interest to the story which has a coherence and credibility from start to finish. I particularly enjoyed the story twist in the last chapters which added an element of surprise.

Overall, 4 stars. An enjoyable and entertaining read. Will definitely read the authors’ next book.

I’ve received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.