Review of ‘The shape of you’ by Georgia Beers.

This is not a typical lesfic romance and it won’t please everyone because it deals with infidelity which is a no-go zone for many romance readers. However, talking about infidelity and lesfic, author Clare Ashton said that lesfic genre could quickly come still if authors try to please the crowd all the time (LesDoBooks podcast interview, August 2018). I totally agree with her. Kudos to Georgia Beers for writing a novel that won’t necesarily be popular with her fans. So, consider yourself warned that if infidelity is a pet peeve for you as it is a mayor part of this book’s plot.

After an awful and embarrasing heartbreak, Spencer Thomson leaves the driving seat of her life and is happy to have others make decisions for her. When her fiancée enrolls her in a fitness class because her body is “too soft and curvy”, Spencer goes along and attends the “Be your best bride” class. Personal trainer Rebecca McCall isn’t happy having to cover for a colleague on this class as she considers that her job isn’t to make her clients skinny but healthy. She particularly dislikes Spencer who admits that she’s attending only because her fiancée signed her up. Soon their initial antagonism transforms into attraction but Spencer is engaged and an involvement is definitely not acceptable for Rebecca. Or is it?

This is a character driven novel and Ms. Beers is unapologetic about highlighting the mains’ flaws. Spencer makes a very frustrating character: she procrastinates, she allows others to make decisions for her and she’s passive-aggressive when facing conflict. At the same time, she’s compassionate, cheerful and loving. As a reader you just cannot dislike her but, at the same time, you want to shake her up from her lethargy. Rebecca (and the reader) know that she has to make her life changing decisions by herself and see her through this process. Ms. Beers has achieved this cleverly.

My issue with this book isn’t infidelity. This is part of life and I’m happy that the author doesn’t sugarcoat, judge or try to justify it. It’s just a consequence of the main characters’ actions and how lost Spencer is. That’s were the conflict lies and the good thing about this book is that, even though this is a romance, there is no obvious or formulaic end. Infidelity is effective for this plot. However, my issue is how tension is crafted. For me, it doesn’t ebb and flow in the right places. At the beginning, the tension builds painstakingly slow in multiple, almost cloned scenes in the gym. Then the story finally takes off only to almost lose the tension completely near the end. In those sweet moments when the urgency of the tension unfolds is when this book earned my 4 stars. It’s a pity that it didn’t quite get to pack the punch near the end.

The secondary characters are multilayered and support the characters’ journey effectively maybe with the exception of the fiancée who seemed too flat. Zoe, Rebecca’s friend, makes a great secondary character, I hope Beers write a book with her as a main.

Overall, a good departure of the typical lesfic romance. Recommended unless you hate infidelity in romances. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Love’s verdict’ by Carsen Taite.

Carsen Taite excels at writing legal thrillers with lesbian main characters using her experience as a criminal defense attorney. Lately, she has written the ‘Lone star law’ series which was inspired in the 1980s ‘Dallas’ soap opera which, in my opinion, didn’t showcase her knowledge of the American legal system. I’m happy to see that with ‘Love’s veredict’ she’s back at what she does best.

Attorneys Landon Holt and Carly Pachett work for a prestigious criminal defense firm with their eyes on a single opening promotion to partner. As one of the firm’s clients is accused of murder, they are both assigned to the case which means that they have to work as a team but only one will get to be appointed as partner. As hours shared together go by, their initial antagonistic feelings develop into something else which can jeopardise both their careers.

This is a legal thriller with a romance at the side. The focus of the book is the procedural intricacies of a murder case, including details of the grand jury process, jury picking and defence strategies. Ms. Taite puts in layman’s terms all these procedures and that are very informative and interesting. However, you might be disappointed if you are looking for romance as it is much in the background. Despite this, the main characters are multilayered and their chemistry is hot. There are also a couple of good secondary characters, such as Skye (from Taite’s book ‘The best defence’) and Carly’s nosey neighbour. The ‘baddies’ are a bit stereotypical and predictable but despite that, the book is entertaining and the plot twists and turns keep the reader turning the pages.

Overall, an enjoyable novel by Carsen Taite that will satisfy more legal thriller fans than romance ones. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘The taste of her. Volume two’ by Jess Lea.

This is a collection of five erotic short stories by Australian author Jess Lea. Some stories are shorter than others but they can be read in one sitting. The themes vary from self gratification to light BDSM but while all the stories have explicit scenes, this book isn’t just plain erotica.

‘A good show’ is a story of age gap, scars and voyeurism. ‘Candy topping’ describes the sensuality of food, power play and BDSM. ‘A different view’ deals with body image and social expectations. ‘Ephemera’ gives us a different perspective on art, and ‘Last stand’ – my favourite – is a tale of duty, loyalty and love. Every single story is well written, steamy and effective.

Overall, a very good collection of short stories recommended for anyone interested in lesbian erotica with a bit of substance. 4.5 stars.

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

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