Lesbian Book Review

A great story of mature lesbian love

Lesbian Book Review of ‘This Foreign Affair’ by Harper Bliss

Zoey Das is a journalist with her own television show in Australia. She is still finding her footing even six months after her partner of 16 years broke off the relationship. A serendipitous event puts Camille Rousseau, a scientist, in her path and the connection is immediate. The only problem is Camille is a week away from returning home, all the way in Paris, France. The holiday fling that feels like so much more may just be what Zoey needs to start a new chapter in her life.

This was a very good story. The mains are likable, very mature characters as should be at close to 50 years old. The book is told in first person from Zoey’s POV. Have I mentioned I love first person POV? Because I do!Read More »

Review of ‘Gnarled Hollow’ by Charlotte Greene.

I really enjoyed this. This is the fifth book I have read by Greene and by far my favorite. The best way to describe this would be paranormal/mystery/crime, with a little romance. The paranormal is on the darker side, you could almost put a horror tag on this. I was well and truly creeped out at times. This would be a perfect book to read around Halloween time.

Emily is an English professor, who has just been laid off before reaching tenure. She is feeling bleak and a bit depressed with no new jobs on the horizon. When she gets a letter, inviting her to study the papers of an important deceased author, she hopes this is the break she needed. Little is known about the author’s life since she became a recluse in her estate of Gnarled Hollow until death. Emily and a few other scholars will be spending the summer living and learning about the estate, art, and the author’s diaries. But when Emily gets to Gnarled Hollow she quickly realizes there is something strange going on. Gnarled Hollow is hiding secrets that may put their lives in danger. Can Emily and her fellow scholars figure out the mystery before it is too late?

When I read the blurb for this book I was very excited to read this. This sounded like my kind of book. The book ended up being everything I was hoping for. I have to be honest that Greene felt like a new author to me. Not sure if she was just having fun writing this book, but I felt like it was a big step up from her previous books. I really hope she would consider writing more paranormal or mystery-crime books in the future.

As I mentioned above this book is a little dark, some violence, and touches on some disturbing subjects. I could easily see this as a movie that makes you jump and hold the covers up by your face. But it’s far from all dark. It has a very interesting mystery and a bit of a sweet romance. The main character of Emily was pretty easy to root for and get behind. Her blossoming romance with another scholar was a nice change of pace to have in the book. There are no explicit sex scenes, but with everything going on in the house, it might have felt a little odd to be reading about steamy sexy time in the middle of a haunted house.

In mentioning words like almost horror and violence, I hope I’m not putting people off. While yes this book is dark, but it wasn’t really graphic if that makes sense. While I was jumpy and creeped out at times, I was never really scared. The book was more intense and hooked you in, not a stomach-turning too hard to read kind of book. It had some good twists and kept me in suspense until the end. In fact, I was a little sad when it ended. While this is longer than the average Bold Strokes’ book, I would have loved even a little more.

I would absolutely recommend this to paranormal-crime/mystery fans. Because it is a bit dark and creepy, I know it might not appeal to everyone, but this was definitely my kind of book. I really hope Greene takes the opportunity to write more books in similar genres. I would love to read them if she does. 5 stars.

An ARC was given to me by BSB for an honest review.

Review of ‘I’m gonna make you love me’ by Tracey Richardson.

Claire Melbourne is a newspaper editor who lost a big story to a mistake by young intern Ellie Kirkland. After firing her for the error, they meet by chance and realise that they have some things in common, like the love for Motown music and Claire’s 1965 Mustang. Their budding relationship will have them both questioning their values and life choices. Will they have a chance together?

This book is not only a romance and an exploration of human relationships, but also a tribute to Motown music. The novel and every chapter are titled after a well known song of that era. In the author’s note, Ms. Richardson says that she grew up listening to this music and it’s part of her identity. I’m not a fan of Motown myself but I agree when the author says that this genre make people dance even to songs about heartbreak. It is such an upbeat music style. The tribute to that era is completed with a great inanimate secondary character: a 1965 red convertible Mustang.

Like a typical age-gap romance, Ms. Richardson has her older character pondering on the wisdom of getting involved with someone 16 years younger but, ‘I’m gonna make you love me’ goes beyond this. Both main characters have mother complex, low self-esteem and insecurity issues that make them well-rounded and interesting. The author slowly builds their relationship from their initial antagonism to a sizzling chemistry. Their intimate scenes are well written and Claire’s body image issues makes them even more realistic.

The secondary characters are multi-layered, specially Claire’s best friend Jackson and Ellie’s twin sister Erin. The twins are the daughters of a lesbian couple with high expectations and the reader gets invested in their search for their own identity and independent life choices. It’s good to see a lesbian couple that is not idealised in the plot; Ellie’s mothers are as flawed as they come. The fact that all the names in the family start with ‘E’ is a bit confusing and both mothers are hard to tell apart, at least at the beginning. Two very cute dogs complete the mixed cast.

The story is gripping to read not only regarding the characters’ personal struggles, but also thanks to the secondary plot that gives a glimpse into the world of investigative reporting, the role of the media and journalism ethic dilemmas. I’d say that beyond the music references, there is a bit of the author’s own experience in this book. Like Claire, Ms. Richardson was a newspaper editor and the reader can appreciate the pieces of her own professional and personal wisdom which makes the story all the more entertaining.

Overall, a very good age-gap romance that explores life choices and family relationships with a side story of investigative journalism. 4.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Bring Holly home’ by A.E. Radley.

Fashion magazine editor Victoria Hastings discovers while staying in Paris that her former assistant Holly Carter, who allegedly abandoned the job, is in hospital with amnesia. Victoria is adamant to bring Holly back home and help her recover but, in the process, both women will undergo a journey of mutual discovery of their feelings.

This is another novel based on the Devil wears Prada trope which normally features an age gap relationship and an ice queen against a more lively character. The peculiarity of this novel is that Holly suffers from amnesia which brings additional conflicts to the plot.

The novel is written in third person from the point of view of three characters: the leads Victoria and Holly and Victoria’s friend Gideon. While the main characters are well-rounded, I didn’t feel their chemistry until the very end maybe because the reader is told about the characters’ feelings more than shown by their actions. The secondary characters are a bit stereotyped and Victoria’s children sometimes act too mature for their ages.

All in all, the story is entertaining with some funny and humorous moments and a good twist at the end. Depite some situations feel a bit far-fetched, it’s a good read if you don’t take things too seriously.

Overall, an entertaining read based on the Devil wears Prada trope. 3.5 stars.

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Review of ‘Media darling’ by Fiona Riley.

Emerson Sterling is a famous actress with a bad-girl reputation. Hayley Carpenter is a celebrity gossip journalist whose dream is to be a screen writer. When their paths cross in an awkward situation, they start to form a bond which evolves into something deeper. But Hayley soon learns the high price to pay behind the apparent glamour of celebrity life.

I have to admit that I don’t care much about celebrity lifestyle but this book got me hooked from the start because it’s so much more than a relationship between a celebrity and an ordinary person. This is a sweet romance with the addition of a critique of the media role in their portrayal of celebrities. Both main characters, Emerson and Hayley, are multi-layered with their personalities well defined. Their chemistry is absolutely off the charts, Ms. Riley has done a great job at building their attraction slowly but surely. Some of the scenes of them together are cute and others are very sensual, that variety makes the romance even more enjoyable.

The secondary characters are well rounded, specially both mains’ best friends, Alison and Tremont. The setting of the story is very well written, the descriptions of the places in both LA and Maine are beautifully portrayed. The dialogues are very well written, sometimes funny and witty, others seriously deep and moving.

The plot is tightly woven, Ms. Riley has got the ebb and flow of the tension perfectly. Even though there is a good deal of drama, the conflict doesn’t feel contrived or artificially created, on the contrary, it makes sense and seems the logical consequence of the chain of events. Many readers are going to like the fact that the author takes her time to finish the book after the conflict is solved. The story has a perfect length, neither is rushed nor stretched.

Overall, an entertaining, poignant and romantic story with a side of social critique to celebrity culture and the media. 5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Under your skin’ by Lee Winter.

Lee Winter’s ‘On the record’ series consists of ‘The red files’ (book 1), ‘Flashbang’ (a short story, part 1.5) and the sequel ‘Under your skin’. I highly recommend to read them in order. You could do without ‘Flashbang’ as it’s a bonus erotica story based on the series main characters but I still suggest to read it to have a better glimpse of their relationship.

Lauren King and Catherine Ayers are both journalists who met while investigating a news story in ‘The red files’. In this book we get a better view of their relationship and even though there is investigative journalism involved, the plot mainly revolves around their personal relationship and with their respective families.

Lauren and Catherine couldn’t be any different. Lauren is in her thirties, with a middle class upbringing and a loving – though sometimes overzealous – family. Catherine is in her mid forties, with an absent upper class family. Lauren wears her heart on her sleeve and Catherine is well renowned as the Caustic Queen, distant and sarcastic. This might be the most at odds lesfic couple ever but, boy, how opposites attract.

While ‘The red files’ was written in third person from the point of view of Lauren to showcase Catherine’s distant personality, this novel alternates both characters’ perspectives. As we get into Catherine’s headspace we start to tie loose knots from the previous book. Catherine is a complex and multi layered character and the author slowly brings her out in a different light, making her more human and realistic. It’s interesting to see a sweet, vulnerable side of her and funny to realise that she is also sarcastic in her thoughts. Lauren’s extended family is loving, hilarious and each character of the numerous relatives have a distinctive voice. The plot presents them in Lauren’s Iowa homeplace which comes to life through the beautiful descriptions of Ms. Winter. All in all, this is a very well written and entertaining series for both intrigue and romance fans.

Overall, another very good book in this series. Hopefully it won’t be the last one. 5 stars.

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

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