‘Alice’ not in Wonderland.

Alice is visiting South Africa with her husband Dr. Magnus McCroy as the full-time carer of his mother. After a crisis with Magnus, she decides to leave him and embark on a trip of self-discovery. In the meantime, Dr. McCroy sends private investigator Toni Mendez to South Africa to find Alice and take her back to England. But nothing is as it seems and Alice will have to learn who to trust…

This is a novel hard to categorise and even harder to review without giving anything away. Let’s just say that the story follows the premise that, as the blurb says, ‘all reality is subjective’. Even though there are scenes of lesbian love, this isn’t a romance but there is a good amount of intrigue and psychological thriller. This is the second book featuring P.I. Toni Mendez which follows her story after Ms. Skyborne’s ‘Risk’. It’s not necessary to read them in order and ‘Alice’ can be read as a stand-alone.Read More »

Review of ‘Moonlight Avenue’ by Gerri Hill.

Finley Knight is an ex-cop turned into a private investigator living a solitary life in Corpus Christi, Texas. She prefers working solo but when former security guard Rylee Moore offers her services as a receptionist / assistant, Finley cannot resist her charms. When an apparently routine cheating-wife case changes into a murder investigation, Police Detective Dee Woodward gets involved. Dee prefers to do things by the book while Finley was never a stickler for the rules, but as events escalate and get extremely dangerous, the three women will need to work together and leave their differences, and their feelings, aside to defeat an extremely violent gang.

This is a very entertaining, fast-paced, crime mystery book by Gerri Hill with a romance at the side but with a lot of prominence in the story. The mystery plot is quite complex with many layers to unveil and a good number of suspects. Despite this, Ms. Hill manages to pull off a credible and absorbing story that keeps the reader guessing until the end. The novel is written from the point of view of Finley, Rylee, and Dee who are multilayered characters with distinctive personalities and backgrounds. The age-gap romance is slow-burn and sweet, with very well-written chemistry in which opposites attract. The sex scenes have all the ingredients known to Ms. Hill: they are hot, sensual and romantic all at the same time.

The landscape of Corpus Christi (Texas Gulf Coast) with its beautiful beaches and bay area is a frequent feature in Ms. Hill’s romances. By setting this novel during winter time with its foggy and cloudy days, however, the author sets the perfect tone for the mystery. The depiction of the impoverished neighbourhoods where most of the action takes part also contributes towards an eerie backdrop and makes a great contrast with the most affluent areas which the Gulf Coast is known for.

Even though the case is completely resolved and the main romance has a satisfying conclusion, there is room for a sequel to this novel. I hope that Ms. Hill decides to write a book that features Dee more prominently and develops Finley’s relationship with her estranged mother. I wouldn’t hesitate to read book 2.

Overall, a very entertaining and page-turning mystery with a sweet, slow-burn romance at the side. 4.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Shadow hand’ by Sacchi Green.

This is book four of ‘The superheroine collection’ featuring different Ylva Publishing authors under the common theme of lesbian superheroines. There has been a couple of very good books in this series such as ‘Shattered’ by Lee Winter and ‘Chasing Stars’ by Alex K. Thorne.

Lieutenant Ashton receives the power to move objects with her hand by a goddess while deployed by the US Army somewhere on the Middle East desert. When her abilities are discovered, she is sent to a special division in Germany to research her powers as a potential weapon of war. Separated from her longtime lover Sargent Cleo Brown, she looks for ways to get together again and use her powers for a greater good.

Sacchi Green is a seasoned author of short stories but this is her debut novel which, in my opinion, wasn’t successful. I feel that her writing style is a bit distant and impersonal. For me, the book reads as a chronicle or a bird’s-eye view of series of events. As the main characters’ intimacy is described in a detached way, their scenes together feel devoid of emotion, too clinical. That really affected my connection with the characters and the story as a whole.

The plot seems a bit contrived and unrealistic even for the sci-fi world the author built. For example, Shadow Hand’s lack of secrecy about her powers and real identity doesn’t follow usual superhero behaviour. I also feel that the book ended rather abruptly, it would have been good to see how the relationship between both main characters evolve.

Overall, a good idea that fails on the execution. 2.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Outside the law’ by Carsen Taite.

This is the fourth and last book of the ‘Lone Star Law’ series. According to the author, she’s been inspired by watching the tv series Dallas and decided to write something similar but with lesbian main characters. There are loads of plots, subplots and several different characters in the series so it’s easy to get lost. Despite that the author presents here a good catch up with the previous books stories, now that the full series is available I suggest that you read them one after the other.

This is by far the best book of the series and Ms. Taite has saved the best for last. Each book features a romance and the main characters, Tanner Cohen and Sydney Braswell are well rounded, lovable and their chemistry is sizzling. The author follows her usual romance formula between a hot, stoic butch (FBI Special Agent Tanner) and a beautiful but strong-minded femme (Prosecutor Braswell). The twist is that they’ve been a couple during college which didn’t end well so trying to work together and trust each other is a main issue. The author takes the reader between their past and present relationship fluidly. The book found the perfect balance between romance and thriller with a surprising twist at the end. Very entertaining read.

Overall, a very good end of this series. Recommended for both romance and thriller fans. 4.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘A quiet death’ by Cari Hunter

I didn’t want to read this book. Despite the fact that I’ve previously read a couple of Ms. Hunter’s books and loved them, I tend to avoid gruesome stories and I normally go for romances or light mystery / action books. However, after seeing so many good reviews about this series I decided to take the plunge and read it. I read the series chronologically starting with ‘No good reason’ and I suggest that you do the same. Not because these are not standalone novels but because you will lose the chance to enjoy the background stories that the author so skillfully builds throughout the series. There are also some spoilers in the second and third novels about the previous stories that you might want to avoid.
I’m afraid I cannot add much more to what other reviewers have said and I’m not going to be very original here. Ms. Hunter is very skillful at building a fast paced thriller with unexpected twists and turns. In this book the author adds a third point of view (in addition to that of the main characters) based on DI Stanmore, the detective in charge of the investigation which gives an interesting insight to this secondary character.
A bonus for me is the British feel that permeates this book, starting from the beautiful description of the landscape, the depiction of the awful winter weather and the clever use of British English that describes characters perfectly. Additionally, you can “hear” the author’s voice in her social and political criticism that touches issues ranging from racial inequality to budget shortages on the health system. This criticism is delivered in a subtle manner and never losing the main plot.
Despite its level of violence, nothing seems gratituous or unnecessary to the plot. As a matter of fact, I prefer that the author didn’t decide to water down the cruelty of human trafficking for the sake of a lighter read.
In conclusion, I’m glad that I’ve decided to bite the bullet and read this book. 5+ stars.
ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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