I fell for ‘Falling’ by Kris Bryant.

Shaylie Beck is a real state broker on a flight home that goes terribly wrong. When the plane crashes, she is one of the eleven passengers lucky to be alive. In the support group for survivors, she meets Piper Cole, a yoga teacher who lost both her fiancée and her best friend on that flight. As Shaylie and Piper’s connection deepens, Shaylie is faced with the decision of telling Piper what she saw before the crash and risking losing her forever…

‘Falling’ is a slow-burn romance that starts with the extremely stressful situation of a plane crash. The author herself says that she is afraid of flying and came up with the idea of writing this novel based on the premise that the best can come out of the worst circumstances. Ms. Bryant is really good at choosing one-word book titles that can catch readers’ attention and this is no exception. ‘Falling’ conveys not only the plane crash but also falling apart and falling in love. This novel deals with all of them.

This book is written in first person as it’s usual for this author, in this case, from the point of view of Shaylie. That gives the reader a prime seat to her process of falling, literally and metaphorically. However, compared to Ms. Bryant’s previous book ‘Listen’, this novel focuses more on the good aspects of Shaylie’s recovery process rather than the post-traumatic consequences of her accident. On the other hand, with this single point of view, it’s hard to understand what is going on with Piper and how she is dealing with her loss. Hence, her actions might feel a bit out of character and unpredictable.

This is mainly a romance and its feel-good aspects. As a Yoga enthusiast, I loved the description of its healing powers. The cast of secondary characters and the m/f romantic subplot also help in bringing up the good in humanity. It might feel too sweet at times but it works well with the main feel-good premise of the book.

Overall, a very good slow-burn romance about falling apart and falling in love. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Lovebirds’ by Lisa Moreau.

Emily Wellington is the owner of a bird magazine who urgently needs a breakthrough article to keep it afloat. When she travels to Ojai, California to search for an elusive flock of Madagascar lovebirds, she wasn’t counting on crossing paths with gorgeous but infuriating pole dancer Sydney Cooper. As they get to know each other, their attraction is undeniable but Emily is engaged and Sidney is not interested in getting involved with anyone. Will they have their happily ever after?

This is a light, funny and entertaining read based on an original idea with the beautiful setting of Ojai valley in California. As she did in ‘The butterfly whisperer’, Ms. Moreau describes nature skillfully. I particularly loved her use of birds’ metaphors throughout the book. The dialogues are funny and witty, the main characters are lovable and their chemistry is spot on.

‘Lovebirds’ is mainly a romance with a bit of adventure at the side. I should warn romance fans that this book deals with infidelity, though it is mild. Additionally, some situations felt a bit forced and unrealistic but they suit the lightness of the plot. In order to enjoy this book, I suggest not to take it too seriously.

Overall, an ok read if you are a nature lover and you aren’t too bothered by mild infidelity. 3.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘All of me’ by Emily Smith.

Dr. Galen Burguess is the chief surgical resident at Boston City Hospital. She works hard and plays hard, her reputation as a player is well known. But when she meets a new intern, Dr. Rowan Duncan, she’s soon smitten with the very reserved and very straight resident. As Galen decides not to act on her attraction, Rowan discovers new feelings for her boss. But she’s got a boyfriend waiting in Texas and she’s straight anyway, or is she?

‘All of me’ is a medical romance, Radclyffe style, with a butch/androgynous and a femme doctors as main characters in a fast and stressful hospital setting. Normally these types of books showcase several medical cases and emergency situations where patients’ lives are at risk. In this case, these elements are present with the addition of some family drama consisting of a cold and strict father (Galen’s) and a long-distance boyfriend (Rowan’s).

The medical scenes and a couple of secondary characters are the best parts of this book. However, I have a few issues that justify my low rating. My first issue is that the leads sometimes act out of character. For example, the reader is told that Rowan is shy but she acts anything but. To avoid spoilers, let me just say that both characters go through sudden and unrealistic changes from what would be their expected actions which is puzzling and sometimes downright annoying.

My other problem is that some parts of the plot are resolved very superficially, in particular Galen’s relationship with her parents. The story leads us to think this is a crucial matter while it was only mentioned in passing. It seems as if the author didn’t commit to the story completely. The main characters’ chemistry is ok but the insta-love is hard to believe.

Overall, sometimes ok, sometimes frustrating read. 2.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Unforgettable’ by Elle Spencer.

This book presents two romantic novellas with characters who are unforgettable for different reasons. In ‘Forget her not’ Samantha King is a straight art dealer that wakes up naked in bed with a woman and she doesn’t remember anything about it. She is compelled to know what happened that night of her first and only lesbian experience but, is it just curiosity?

This is my favourite of the two stories, I like that the concept is so original. The two main characters are well rounded and very realistic, specially Sam, who is a very complicated and multi-layered character. The dialogues are natural sounding and their chemistry is off the charts. The story is sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking and it has the right amount of angst and drama. Overall, 4.5 stars.

In ‘Forget her never’, Abby Dunn has a one night stand with gorgeous and sexy Kendall Squires who is everything Abby dreams of. Their attraction is undeniable but Kendall is married and that night together should be left in the past. If only they can forget each other…

This is an age gap romance with a bit of infidelity and a lot of drama. Even though I connected with the main characters and their chemistry is hot, the plot doesn’t seem to flow so well and part of the conflict feels a bit forced. There are at least four different points of view which were in my opinion unnecessary. The twists and turns, the angst and anguish were too much for me. However, readers who love their romances with loads of drama might enjoy it much more. Overall, 3.5 stars.

All in all, a very good and entertaining read. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘The shape of you’ by Georgia Beers.

This is not a typical lesfic romance and it won’t please everyone because it deals with infidelity which is a no-go zone for many romance readers. However, talking about infidelity and lesfic, author Clare Ashton said that lesfic genre could quickly come still if authors try to please the crowd all the time (LesDoBooks podcast interview, August 2018). I totally agree with her. Kudos to Georgia Beers for writing a novel that won’t necesarily be popular with her fans. So, consider yourself warned that if infidelity is a pet peeve for you as it is a mayor part of this book’s plot.

After an awful and embarrasing heartbreak, Spencer Thomson leaves the driving seat of her life and is happy to have others make decisions for her. When her fiancée enrolls her in a fitness class because her body is “too soft and curvy”, Spencer goes along and attends the “Be your best bride” class. Personal trainer Rebecca McCall isn’t happy having to cover for a colleague on this class as she considers that her job isn’t to make her clients skinny but healthy. She particularly dislikes Spencer who admits that she’s attending only because her fiancée signed her up. Soon their initial antagonism transforms into attraction but Spencer is engaged and an involvement is definitely not acceptable for Rebecca. Or is it?

This is a character driven novel and Ms. Beers is unapologetic about highlighting the mains’ flaws. Spencer makes a very frustrating character: she procrastinates, she allows others to make decisions for her and she’s passive-aggressive when facing conflict. At the same time, she’s compassionate, cheerful and loving. As a reader you just cannot dislike her but, at the same time, you want to shake her up from her lethargy. Rebecca (and the reader) know that she has to make her life changing decisions by herself and see her through this process. Ms. Beers has achieved this cleverly.

My issue with this book isn’t infidelity. This is part of life and I’m happy that the author doesn’t sugarcoat, judge or try to justify it. It’s just a consequence of the main characters’ actions and how lost Spencer is. That’s were the conflict lies and the good thing about this book is that, even though this is a romance, there is no obvious or formulaic end. Infidelity is effective for this plot. However, my issue is how tension is crafted. For me, it doesn’t ebb and flow in the right places. At the beginning, the tension builds painstakingly slow in multiple, almost cloned scenes in the gym. Then the story finally takes off only to almost lose the tension completely near the end. In those sweet moments when the urgency of the tension unfolds is when this book earned my 4 stars. It’s a pity that it didn’t quite get to pack the punch near the end.

The secondary characters are multilayered and support the characters’ journey effectively maybe with the exception of the fiancée who seemed too flat. Zoe, Rebecca’s friend, makes a great secondary character, I hope Beers write a book with her as a main.

Overall, a good departure of the typical lesfic romance. Recommended unless you hate infidelity in romances. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Does she love you? by Rachel Spangler.

I have to admit that I refused to read this book for a long time. A plot in which two lovers of the same woman discover her infidelity, slowly become friends and eventually get romantically involved had seemed a bit far fetched and endogamous for my taste. Of course infidelity happens a lot in real life but normally romance readers don’t want to be reminded about it. So, kudos to Ms Spangler to raise such an uncomfortable issue and somehow make it work in a lesbian romance. The three characters in the love triangle are multilayered, the author brings to life the ‘villain’ with good and bad traits, in her human contradictions as she falls slowly in her own manipulative trap. The main characters, Annabelle and Davis, each show vulnerability and strength at the same time. Their chemistry isn’t forced despite the strange situation they’ve been thrown into and their eventual involvement flows seamlessly. Despite my previous reticence, it was an enjoyable read.

Overall, a different romance that doesn’t shy of presenting a contentious issue. 4 stars.

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