The advantage of reading ‘Deuce’

Review of ‘Deuce’ by Jen Silver.

Jay Reid was a tennis star with a promising career, a loving partner, and their baby. When Charlotte disappeared while at a sea expedition, she left Jay alone to raise up their child. She was rescued by a fisherman and lived in the Faroe Islands with no recollection of her previous life. Twenty-three years later, an event triggers her memory and Charlotte goes back to England to reunite with Jay and their child. But after such a long time, will Charlotte and Jay be able to get back what they had?

‘Deuce’ is a love story but also a tale about bereavement, soul mates, family, and acceptance. It goes beyond the typical lesbian romance formula to focus not only on the main couple but also on the lives of the different people around them. It is loosely based on the selkie legends of Scotland and Faroe Islands, in which the seal people or ‘selkies’ shed their skins and come ashore to mix with humans to eventually return to the sea and leave them heartbroken. As in those legendary stories, this novel explores the unique bond between soul mates and the permanency of love.Read More »

Review of ‘Painted over’ by Sofi Keren.

3.50 Stars. I ended up enjoying this more than I expected to. It was a sweet romance and a good debut. This is a second chance romance with some angst (but not too much) and likable main characters. Sofi Keren is definitely an author I will keep my eye on.

This is a story about two best friends that have a falling out that leads to them not speaking for a decade. When a flat tire re-connects them, they must decide if they can pick up where they left off or is there too much heartbreak in the way.

The second chance storyline is one we see often in lesfic but it worked for this book. What I was most surprised to find was how invested I was in the characters in such a short amount of time. I found myself almost crying at one point and was actually happy about that because it meant the book was making me feel. The book is on the shorter side, but it just made it so the book had a nice pace that never got bogged down.

My only real complaint is I’m not a fan of third person single point of view. If you are only going to be in the headspace of one character the whole book, I would prefer it to be in first person. That way you can really connect to the one character. But this is a personal preference and the book still made me feel so I can’t complain too much.

This was short and sweet with some angst. I think most romance fans will enjoy this one. It’s not perfect but it’s a good debut and it put a smile on my face. This is one I would recommend.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.

Review of ‘Fore play’ by Julie Cannon.

Peyton Broader is an ex-con on parole working at a golf club and trying to stay out of trouble. Leigh Marshall is a hotshot executive in a big company with strict fraternisation rules and homophobic executives. When they both meet in a golf course, their attraction is undeniable but trying to take their relationship to a more serious level might destroy Leigh’s career and threaten Peyton’s parole status. Will they have a future together?

‘Fore play’ is written in third person from the point of view of both main characters. Judging the book just by its title and cover, one might think that most of the plot revolves around the game of golf, but there is a great deal of the story describing how Peyton ended up in jail and her life in prison. A word of caution: there are some references to extreme violence and also some violent scenes that might not be suitable for everyone. With respect of the game of golf, Ms. Cannon goes into a bit of explanation of its rules and characteristics of the game that might be excesive for people who aren’t interested in it. Golf aficionados might feel that there is no need for such detail either.

Ms. Cannon is really good at creating chemistry between her characters, specially lust. The sex scenes are well written and hot. However, the plot lacks a bit in the romance department in which the reader is told about the characters’ feelings but there is little showing. For that reason, some parts of the story feel a bit forced, specially at the end which also seems rushed. This story would have benefited of an epilogue as some parts of the plot and subplot would have needed further development such as Peyton’s sister situation or Leigh’s workplace issues.

Overall, an ok read, good in the lust department, not so much for romance fans. 3 stars.

ARC provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Love all’ by Rachel Spangler.

Jay Pierce is a veteran tennis player whose career was tainted by scandal. She’s trying to make a comeback while keeping a low profile. In her path to tennis glory she faces Destiny Larsen, a 17 year old prodigy looking to make a name for herself in the game. But more challenging than Destiny’s talent on the court and hostility off the court is Jay’s attraction for Sadie, Destiny’s mother. Will they get past the confrontations to their happily ever after?

This novel is as much a typical lesfic romance as an exploration of parental love. The author is a tennis mom herself and the reader can see that much of what Sadie’s experiences as a tennis mom and as a mother is hers too. Sadie’s a half tennis mom, half mama bear character. Her daughter always comes first but not at any cost, she has a moral code that enforces in her daughter. As a result, this book shows a few bits of very wise parenting insight.

Jay is the typical stoic, dark character with a troubled past that is present in many lesfic books. She travels her journey to redemption without much conviction but is a lovable character. Her chemistry with Sadie is powerful and their intimate scenes are hot. Kudos to Ms. Spangler to present an interracial couple with very believable characters.

Destiny is finely portrayed as both a typical and non-typical teenager. As a professional tennis player, she has to deal with responsibilities and pressure that are not normally demanded from an adolescent. But, on the other hand, she is a typical teenager in all her rebellious, testy, immature ways. She’s not a likeable character but she’s very credible.

A couple of things made me drop a star on this rating. Jay’s relationship with Heather, who is an umpire, wouldn’t work in real life as there is a strict no fraternisation rule between umpires and players (I’ve learnt that from reading ‘Code of conduct’ by Cheyenne Blue). Most importantly, some scenes, specially inside a tennis court, were a bit far fetched for the realm of professional tennis at top tournaments. I understand why the author wrote them but they didn’t work for a tennis enthusiast like me. However, the positive sides of the story outweighed these details. It’s worth a read.

Overall, a story of romance and parental love with a view into professional tennis. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Food for love’ by C. Fonseca.

Jessica Harris is a successful professional cyclist recovering from a serious injury who is forced to travel from Britain to Australia in order to sort the inheritance of her estranged brother. Down under she meets chef and single mother Lillian McAllister, Jessica’s brother close friend. After an initial antagonism both women start enjoying each other’s company, but Jessica is only temporarily in Australia so a future together isn’t an option, or is it?

This is Ms. Fonseca’s second novel, both set in Australia, which is beautifully described. ‘Food for love’ is a slow-burn burn romance inspired by the author’s childhood memories of cooking with her family. The story partly focuses on the sensuality of food and Jessica’s journey to its enjoyment, lost since her mother’s death. Lili plays a bigger part beyond her role as a romantic interest, she is Jessica’s link to Australia and to her estranged brother. Additionally, food plays a big part in her reconnecting with her Indian roots and life’s small pleasures.

Having said that, the book dwells, in my opinion excessively, on too many culinary details. Maybe the author’s purpose was to emphasise the importance of food but the level of detail seems to create the opposite effect. I’m a food lover, but for me the story dragged in some parts and lost focus. In this case, less would have been more.

The main characters are well written and there is good chemistry, kudos for presenting an interracial couple which isn’t so common in lesfic. The child character is very realistic, which is also uncommon and it’s a pet peeve of mine. The secondary characters are mostly well rounded, with some exceptions like Lili’s ex girlfriend who seems a bit stereotyped. All in all, this is an ok romance with very little angst and an almost complete certainty of where the plot was heading to.

Overall, a good romance if you are a food enthusiast and you don’t mind loads of culinary details. 3 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Review of ‘On the fly’ by PJ Trebelhorn.

Lana Caruso is a concert violinist with a Chicago orchestra who’s granted a 6 month leave of absence to take care of her father’s pizzeria in Kingsville, Pennsylvania. When she meets ice hockey player and gold-medal-winning Olympian Courtney Abbott they both feel an undeniable chemistry, but they both know that Lana’s stay is only temporary and nothing serious will come from it. or will it?

This is a slow-burn romance with some scenes of ice hockey on the side. While Courtney and Lana’s attraction is settled early in the story, the resolution of their conflict stretches until near the end. There aren’t any major twists in the plot and the reader knows from early on where the story is heading. The hockey scenes happen mostly in training sessions in Courtney’s team and they lack the fast-paced flow typical of the game which is a lost opportunity. Additionally, the ice hockey subplot is resolved too easily for my liking.

The main characters are well written and their chemistry is strong. As a former musician myself, I have a credibility issue with Lana’s music career as it is mentioned only in passing. The plot doesn’t show properly how crucial is her career that merits sacrificing her love life. The secondary characters are a bit stereotyped, specially Hilton, and Eric, Lana’s son, seems too mature for a 16 year old but he’s a sweetie. Despite all these, ‘On the fly’ is an entertaining read more for romance than sports fans.

Overall, a good slow-burn romance with a bit of sports at the side. 3.5 stars.

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

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