Review of ‘Love like this’ by Melissa Brayden.

‘Love like this’ is the final book on the ‘Seven shores’ series that follows four friends living in the same condo in Venice Beach, California. This novel is the story of Hadley Cooper, an assistant manager of a boutique in Rodeo drive. When she meets fashion designer Spencer Adair sparkles fly between them. But Hadley’s ideas about love and commitment are very different from Spencer’s. Will they have a future together?

This is definitely my favourite of the series as the four friends’ stories wrap up and the readers get to know about their future in detail. All the best traits of Brayden’s books are present here: great dialogues, banter, humour, a well laid plot, multidimensional characters and, last but not least, a good old romance. The chemistry between Hadley and Spencer is extremely well done. As usual, the author manages the attraction and the sexual tension magnificently. Kudos to Ms. Brayden to introduce an interracial couple (only her second after Sarah and Emory from ‘Heart block’) which needs to happen more often in lesfic.

In the acknowledgements the author hints that this book might be different from what readers expected and, boy, is she right. We thought we had Hadley sussed out from the previous books but in this one we are up for a big surprise. It’s not that Hadley is out of character, it’s just that we see her from a more intimate perspective and the results are incredibly hot. I don’t want to be more specific to spoil anything but let me say that Ms. Brayden manages to blow our minds big time with this one.

The level of angst and drama is quite low compared to other books in the series but suits the story perfectly. This is mainly a feel good romance, upbeat and positive to suit Hadley’s personality and to finish the series on a high.

Overall, a feel-good, entertaining and sizzling hot romance. A great end to the series. 5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Lost for words’ by Andrea Bramhall.

Sasha Adams is a massage therapist living with her cancer survivor mother. She’s content with her life but she wishes to become a screenwriter. Her life changes radically when her mother and best friend enter one of her works in a writing competition and she wins it. Suddenly she gets a script-writing contract and a love interest in Jac Kensington, her new boss. Jac is a self-made businesswoman with abandonment issues and a predilection to never grow up. But when she meets Sasha, her world turns upside down and both women have to decide if they want to keep their old ways or take a chance at love and face together come what may.

It’s hard to describe this novel. The cover and its rom-com labelling might suggest a lightness that’s only half truth. As the blurb states, ‘a bittersweet rom-com’ is a better description, bittersweet being the operative word. Additionally, it’s a romance in a broader sense of the word. There’s not only romanic involvement but also maternal love (or lack thereof), friendship and unrequited love. You can truly say that love is in the air.

This novel is anything but ‘Lost for words’. It shows the author’s deep convictions and deals with issues such as abandoment, illness, aging and death. Ms. Bramhall pulls no punches, she’s not afraid to tackle such difficult issues. The story is sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad. It will make you laugh and whenever you least expect, it’ll punch you in the guts. It’s no coincidence that the winning script referred in the book is ‘Nightingale’, a self reference to possibly Bramhall’s most woeful novel. However, this is a more optimistic story, like it should be in a book about love. My only criticism is that at some points the book stretched too much and less words could have been more.

The characters are well written and realistic. It’s refreshing to see leads in their late forties, early fifties. Jac, also known as ‘Pan Pan’ for her similarities with Peter Pan, is an incredibly complex character who very slowly opens up to reveal her real issues behind her carefree attitude. Sasha’s unselfish personality and maturity is the perfect balance to Jac. Together they have great chemistry. The supporting cast is rich in layers, specially Sasha’s mum, Fleur. She’s a character that could have been written by Robin Alexander, with her quirky lifestyle and hilarious behaviour. She brings much of the lightness of the book.

Overall, a very good bittersweet book about love with endearing characters. Worth a read. 4.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘The London of us’ by Clare Lydon.

This is book 4 in the ‘London romance’ series. It can be read as a standalone novel though I recommend to read them all if you like lesbian romances with a British feel. As in the previous books, London is at the background of a beautiful love story.

Alice Di Santo has a comfortable life. A job that she enjoys, great friends, supportive family and a lovely boyfriend. Even her social media life is thriving as a co-star in an increasingly popular YouTube channel. But lately she feels that something is missing in her life soon discovering her growing attraction for her friend Rachel, a sexy and very lesbian chef. Surely this is a passing crush, or is it?

‘The London of us’ is as much a romance as a coming out story. Ms. Lydon wisely chose to write it in first person from Alice point of view getting us into her headspace as she deals with her first ever attraction to a woman. The book starts with a bang and keeps the momentum with humour and wittiness that puts a smile on your face. Those of us who have experienced the coming out process know that it’s not an easy path and Ms. Lydon showcases this but the angst, while realistic, never takes the lightness of her writing style. As a matter of fact, Alice’s coming out scene with her parents is the funniest I’ve read in lesfic. All the characters – mains and secondary – are well portrayed and the intimate scenes are hot, highlighting the chemistry between the main leads.

Overall, a very good addition to this successful series. Great read for romance fans. 4 stars.

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

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