One of the best second chance lesbian romances I’ve read

Lesbian Book Review of ‘Always a love song’ by Charley Clarke

4.25 Stars. This was a really good read. I believe this is Clarke’s full-length debut and that makes this book even more impressive. I have actually read one of Clarke’s fantasy short stories before called ‘The Flamebringers’. I thought it was really sweet with my only main complaint was wishing it was longer, so when I heard YLVA picked her up as an author, I could not wait to sink my teeth into this book. I had pretty high expectations and I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed this read.

As I’ve mentioned before I’m a fan of lesbian celebrity romances so this book already had a check in the win column for me. But what surprised me and what made this book so good is that it was a second chance romance. It’s not just that it was a second chance romance, but that it is one of the most realistic second chance lesbian romances I have ever read. This book was pretty emotional at times and not only did I find it gripping but it really affected me too. The anger and betrayal of a break-up, the hurt that both parties cause, it was just really believable and well written.Read More »

A Perfect Book by Jae

Lesbian Book Review of ‘Perfect Rhythm’ by Jae

Alright, this one was a very good read.

Leo is a famous singer just finishing a world tour when she receives a call from her estranged mother. Her father has suffered a stroke and her presence is needed at home. Home is the small town in Missouri where she grew up but quickly left in order to pursue her singing career. It was also the place she never fit in and where her father was clearly disappointed on her choice of career as well as her sexual orientation. Leo meets Holly, her father’s nurse, when she makes it home and discovers her father’s condition has left him in need of full-time care. As Leo confronts her past, she strikes a friendship with hope for more with Holly. Only, she must make amends and gain Holly’s trust in the process.

This novel was the first one I’ve read that has had an asexual character. Read More »

‘The love song of Sawyer Bell’ will make you smile.

Review of ‘The love song of Sawyer Bell’ by Avon Gale.

3.5 Stars. I wasn’t blown away by this book but it was a fun weekend read. This book is a re-release for June under a new publisher. According to Gale not much has changed from the original story. While I have never read Gale before, I have heard of her name since she is pretty big in the M/M world. I think it’s nice to see authors like Alexis Hall, KJ Charles, and Gale, write lesfic so I finally have a chance to try their books.

I almost always enjoy books about musician or artists. I have no musical talent myself and to this day, I completely blame my parents. I had dreams of being a drummer in a rock band, but they would not let me play the drums because it would “make too much noise” so I was forced to take piano lessons by a slightly scary woman with horrible breath. Needless to say I enjoy a book like this where I can live vicariously through the characters.Read More »

Review of ‘Pas de Deux’ by M. J. Duncan.

Well, I feel all I do is confess something or the other nowadays. I am a Duncan fan and have enjoyed all her novels. This author is one of the reasons I decided to renew my Kindle Unlimited membership as her books are available through this service. Of course, I figured that out after actually buying three of them. Wait, I don’t think I needed to confess that…

This is an age gap romance that sees Mallory Collingswood (age 39), a violin prodigy who has returned home to lead the London Symphony Orchestra, deal with a failed marriage proposal and give love another chance. That chance takes the form of Addison Leigh (age 24), a ballerina prodigy making waves with the Royal Ballet. Mallory is presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to collaborate with the Royal Ballet in a project that will push her skills to the max while getting her to step out of her comfort zone in other areas. Mallory accepts and finds herself working tirelessly alongside a new and unexpected partner.

This story starts almost a year after ‘Symphony in Blue’, which was released in 2017. You do not need to read that book to get the story in this one. In fact, I wonder if it was more of a hindrance for me since Mallory was not cast in a good light in that book. I had to get over the previous feelings of Mallory being self-centered and just plain inconsiderate and warm up to her in this story. It helped that Mallory does allude to her shortcomings and shows growth through the book.

This was a straightforward tale with no angst in it. Characters were rational and took their time to know each other. The relationship developed over time and at no point felt unrealistic. Ms. Duncan does a great job describing things such as little courtesies towards each other that allows the romance to feel genuine. The author also did a fantastic job of creating the setting. The ballet scenes were great and one could feel the anxiety and magnitude of the events within the scenes. More palpable though, was the beauty of it all. And I am not even close to being a ballet fan.

On the downside, the book felt drawn out a bit. There was no conflict at all in this story except for executing the ambitious show to perfection. The age difference came up once and it was simply an acknowledgment of it. Parents loved the mains so no conflict there either. Heck, the mains’ hectic schedules did not really affect anything either. The presence of a few typos seemed uncharacteristic for this author as well. That said, Duncan kept me reading as she usually does.

Overall, a solid slow-burn romance that will especially appeal to music/dance fans. 3.5 stars.

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Review of ‘Listen’ by Kris Bryant.

‘Listen’ is part of the ‘Senses’ series by this author along with ‘Taste’ and ‘Touch’. It’s the story of Lily Croft, a former Classical music’s child prodigy who quit music altogether unable to handle the pressure of her career. She now suffers from anxiety and works as an actuary trying to keep to herself. One day she hears beautiful piano music coming from The Leading Note, a music education charity. Slowly she gets drawn to the place and its founder, Hope D’Marco, who is a very talented musician. Will Lily bring her walls down to accept Hope into her world or will her anxiety prove to be too much?

This novel is written in first person, as it is usual for Ms. Bryant, from the point of view of Lily. In my opinion, it is the right choice as the reader spends a lot of time in Lily’s headspace and can experience how anxiety affects her. The author, a sufferer of anxiety herself, has poured her heart out in this book. My understanding of this subject has increased exponentially from seeing it as an outsider to an insider perspective. It’s curious how Ms. Bryant stresses the role of music in calming her own anxiety and how music is the source of conflict for Lily. Anxiety comes in many forms.

After a childhood full of pressure to perform as the music prodigy she was, music for Lily is something to conquer, not a source of pleasure. By contrast, random surrounding noises calm her down. Hope understands this perfectly and prompts her to describe what she can hear in different life situations. That simple mechanism seems to bring about Lily’s musicality without any anxiety. Ms. Bryant describes this soundscape with some exquisite metaphors, it’s true what they say that music is everywhere. The whole book is beautifully written and makes the reader’s heart go out to people suffering from anxiety or any sort of mental health issue.

The characters are multilayered and well written in their strengths and weaknesses. Lily’s low self-esteem but, at the same time, her will to go out of her comfort zone, and Hope’s insecurities but positive personality, make them so human and loveable. Their chemistry together is incredibly off the charts and their intimate scenes are really well done. The secondary characters, including a very skittish and empathic cat, complete the cast perfectly. For me, as a former musician, the music scenes are realistic and bring out its beauty. All in all, it’s been a pleasure to read.

Overall, an excellent novel about anxiety, music, love and getting out of one’s comfort zone. 5 stars.

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

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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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