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 ‘Love to the rescue’ by Radclyffe.

This is book five of the ‘Rivers Community Romance’ series which focuses on the small community of Rivers and its hospital. It is a standalone novel but I recommend to read it in order as there are a few parts of the plot based on stories told in previous books. In this novel, flight medic Brody Clark comes back to Rivers after leaving town without a word ten years ago, to work for the Rivers Hospital newly established medevac team. There she meets Val Valentine, an old love interest of Brody’s, who is recently back from living in New York City. Both want to bury the bad memories that they have from their teenage years in that town but, as they get to know each other, they suddenly realise that they have more in common than they’d thought. Will they be able to face their fears and act on their mutual attraction?

‘Love to the rescue’ goes beyond the medical romance formula that Radclyffe masters so well and delves into matters of family, friendship and loyalty. Considering this is a medical romance, the highlight is more on the latter. I think it’s a pity that there aren’t many medical scenes as this author describes them very well, using her experience as a now retired surgeon. If anything, there are more descriptions of Val’s veterinary work and a special focus on Honcho, a retired war dog owned by Brody.

The story catches up with some of the other couples established in the previous books but mainly on Blake, a trans teenager dealing with his sexuality and society’s rejection. Blake is a secondary character who is growing literally and metaphorically with each installment of the series and I can’t wait to see where Radclyffe takes him in the future. Both mains are multilayered, especially Brody in her dark and broody personality that the author excels at describing. There is a small mystery subplot about her past that had much more potential but unfortunately was resolved a bit abruptly. All in all, it’s an entertaining book, possibly not Radclyffe’s best but worth reading anyway.

Overall, a good medical romance with a mystery subplot and a promising trans character. 3.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Love to the Rescue’ by Radclyffe

‘Love to the Rescue’ is the fifth installment in Radclyffe’s ‘Rivers Community Romance’ series.

Brody Clark is a flight medic returning to her hometown after abruptly joining the Army and leaving ten years ago. Her return opens up some old wounds tied to her past with the Rivers family and her struggle to forgive her own reasons for leaving town in the first place. Val Valentine has also returned home after becoming a veterinarian and successfully starting a practice in Manhattan. Her mentor and father figure needed help running the practice she worked for many years ago. Val returned to help him and perhaps make amends for past mistakes.

In a way, this book was like coming home. The Rivers has become a tangible place for all the readers that have enjoyed this series. The hospital and adjacent community are well described, perhaps more so than in any of Radclyffe’s other works with maybe the exception of the ‘Provincetown Tales’. Both of these series are so dependent on their settings that the story would just not be the same in another place or time. ‘Love to the Rescue’ can be read as a stand alone but you will be losing out on a big part of its charm by doing so.

This book adds some new characters to the community. In addition to the above mentioned ones, the helicopter pilot is another interesting character and a potential lead in a future installment. Kudos to the author for introducing a retired Army canine in realistic fashion and making her a great secondary character. Several of the established characters in the series make an appearance, including Blake, one of my favorite story lines.

I will disclose that I am an avid Radclyffe reader. Her medical romances are overall great, with credible circumstances few can provide due to her background as a retired surgeon. I am beyond ecstatic that she has created a veterinarian to join the rest of her characters! Having said this, I will warn that her books also have the instant love factor that may not appeal to everyone. Nonetheless, Radclyffe is worth reading, anytime.

The cover design by Sheri is sharp, eye catching and on par with the story.

Available now exclusively on Bold Strokes Books website until wider release next month.

Overall another successful book by Radclyffe that will not disappoint old and new fans. 4 stars.

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Review of ‘Autumn’s light’ by Aurora Rey.

This is book 4 of the ‘Cape End Romance’ series by this author featuring love stories for each season set in Provincetown, Massachusetts. As this novel presents characters from previous books in the series, especially book 3 ‘Spring’s Wake’, I recommend to read them in chronological order, or at least read book 3 first. The whole series features the beautiful landscape of Cape Cod and ‘Autumn’s light’ showcases the Portuguese heritage in Provincetown, particularly the fishermen who migrated to that area of Massachusetts a long time ago. The book captures the spirit of this tight community that keeps their traditions alive with Portuguese festivals and traditional food.

Mat Pero is a lobsterman (apparently, female lobster catchers are called like that) who comes from a established Portuguese family of fishermen. As her family is traditional Catholic and not completely supportive of her homosexuality, she prefers to keep her relationships casual and hidden from them. When she meets marine naturalist Graham Connor, her intention to keep things light don’t go according to plan. Will they have their happily ever after?

This is a butch-femme relationship that begins with insta-lust but is slow-burn in the romance department. Both main characters are well rounded and credible. Mat is the epitome of the dark and strong butch who, at the same time, wants to avoid family conflicts when dealing with her sexuality. Graham is a femme (paradoxically with such a masculine name) conflicted between her attraction for Mat, who offers her no commitment, and her desire to find a serious relationship. Their conflict is believable and makes the reader wonder how is in reality the coexistence between the traditional Catholic Portuguese and the liberal lesbian communities in Provincetown. Having said that, in my opinion, Mat’s family issues could have had a more developed resolution in the plot considering its importance.

The secondary characters are multi layered and complement the plot skillfully, kudos to the author for introducing a trans character and opening an interesting view into the world of fishing and marine habitat. However, there is an amount of paragraphs telling more than showing how the characters feel, which is a pet peeve of mine but it might not annoy other readers. My relatively low rating is because even though the story background was interesting, the romance didn’t appeal to me much.

Overall ‘Autumn’s light’ is an enjoyable read with the charming background of Provincetown. 3.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘An outsider inside’ by R. J. Samuel.

In the run-up to Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage, Irish-Indian lesbian activist Jaya Dillon has to confront her unresolved issues on bisexualty and her mixed-race origin. When she discovers a manuscript while tidying a rental house, she finds herself emotionally invested in search for its disappeared author.

This is not a typical romance and definitely not an easy read as it touches difficult identity issues such as race, gender and sexuality. On top of that, the author deals with politics, feminism and arranged marriages as well. Some of the real events described in this book are close to my heart as I live in Ireland and witnessed the process of the referendum vote on same sex marriage which was a great advancement for the LGBT community. The myriad of characters – mains or secondary, heroes or villains – are well rounded and realistic and for once I’ve found a set of credible Irish characters in lesfic. There is a book inside this book and Ms. Samuel works well to set each different writing styles. Regarding the mystery disappearance that Jaya tries to solve, the author keeps the reader guessing how events are going to develop including an unexpected twist at the end. It is a testing read, not always pleasant but surely worth it.

Overall, a very well written book. Highly recommended if you are in the mood for a challenging read. 4.5 stars.

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Review of ‘Love after hours’ by Radclyffe.

Radclyffe if one of my top ten favourite lesfic authors (see https://lezreviewbooks.com/my-top-tens/). She’s a very reliable author whose romances often portray glorious butches and strong femmes. This book is number 4 of ‘A Rivers Community’ series portraying love and life around the Rivers hospital and its surrounding small town. Even though this is a stand alone novel, characters from the previous books appear here so it’s better to read them in chronological order.

‘Love after hours’ is the story of Carrie, the hospital CEO’s admin who we’ve met before in the series, and Gina, a building contractor with good looks and big secrets. As the author says in the acknowledgements, this is a book about romance but also about family and finding home. The usual ingredients of Radclyffe’s books are present here: a moving story, sizzling chemistry and hot scenes. Radclyffe fans won’t be disappointed!

Overall, an entertaining romance. 4 stars.

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

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