Category Archives: Amy P

5 Stars and 3.5 Stars for A Class Act by T.L. Hayes #FF #Romance

CoverTitle: A Class Act
Author Name & Publisher: T.L. Hayes (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: August 1, 2016 – 240 pgs

Synopsis

Twenty-five-year-old theater grad student Rory Morgan walks into her Intro to Theater class expecting it to be a piece of cake. She isn’t prepared for the diminutive little fireball of a professor who walks in. She is instantly captivated by Dr. Margaret Parks, her forty-year-old professor, and even works up the courage to flirt a little, which Dr. Parks quickly dismisses. After their first class, Rory finds herself thinking about the professor more and more and spends most of her class time watching the professor as she passionately does her job. Rory really wants to ask her out, but she doesn’t know if the professor is even gay, to say nothing of the fact that she’s her professor. What follows is a romance full of humor, passionate awakenings, and college politics. Can they overcome the hurdles that lie before them and still be a class act?

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Review

 FiveStarsWhat a beautiful, romantic and heart-warming love story! I really enjoyed being an onlooker in this well written and totally engrossing new relationship between Maggie and Rory.  Rory was just so gorgeous and kind and brought out a side of Maggie that had been kept hidden her whole life. She allowed her to be herself at last, to be happy and content with who she was. It seemed each of them were waiting for that person to make them feel whole.  They had enormous problems to overcome as professor and student dating and the threat to Maggie’s career was always there in the background.  How they both dealt with it and the reactions of those around them made this a powerful novel.  I hope to read a lot more from T L Hayes in the future.
Kitty Kat
ThreeandHalfStars
Truthfully, I don’t know how to rate this. I enjoyed the book; it turned out in some ways much better than I thought it would at about a third of the way through. But in other ways, there are some things that just missed the mark. This is a May-December book, an age gap book for those who don’t use months (I had to explain the term to someone recently). Rory is a grad student, aged 25, who falls for her professor, Maggie, aged 40. One of my first problems was Miranda’s character. I do like the direction Hayes took it, but at first Miranda seemed like a cliched, contrived character – the mean girl who ruins things for others out of spite and because she’s not getting what she wants. And my opinion of the book would have gone south if Hayes had continued with that as the main conflict. But after Miranda stopped being the main impediment to the relationship, and actually the main catalyst as well, the story coasts with no major conflict the rest of the way. Hayes lost the opportunity to use the age gap and Maggie’s feelings about it to explore the biggest stumbling block to their relationship. As the May in an age gap relationship myself, let me tell you those feelings don’t go away easily for the December portion. There was no real problem with Rory’s parents accepting the relationship, which again I think is a lost opportunity. The problem with Maggie’s coworkers also feels a bit underdone. Maggie is supposed to feel extremely uncomfortable with how much they’re intruding into her private life, but other than a note, an email, and the knowledge that they’re going to the board, and subsequently getting shut down, there isn’t a whole lot there that makes me believe the whole change of jobs would be necessary. In all, the book was entertaining, and the romance was sweet, but missed being as deep as it could have been.
AmyP

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5 Star, 4.5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for Far from Home (Belladonna Ink #1) by Lorelie Brown #FF #Romance @LorelieBrown

CoverTitle: Far from Home (Belladonna Ink #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Lorelie Brown (Riptide Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: August 1, 2016 – 208 pgs

Synopsis

My name is Rachel. I’m straight . . . I think. I also have a mountain of student loans and a smart mouth. I wasn’t serious when I told Pari Sadashiv I’d marry her. It was only party banter! Except Pari needs a green card, and she’s willing to give me a breather from drowning in debt.

My off-the-cuff idea might not be so terrible. We get along as friends. She’s really romantically cautious, which I find heartbreaking. She deserves someone to laugh with. She’s kind. And calm. And gorgeous. A couple of years with her actually sounds pretty good. If some of Pari’s kindness and calmness rubs off on me, that’d be a bonus, because I’m a mess — anorexia is not a pretty word — and my little ways of keeping control of myself, of the world, aren’t working anymore.

And, if I slip up, Pari will see my cracks. Then I’ll crack. Which means I gotta get out, quick, before I fall in love with my wife.

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Review

FiveStars

When Rachel offers to marry Pari to let her stay in the country and eventually become a citizen she could never imagine just how
much it would change her life. It starts off as a practical arrangement but becomes so much more. Rachel’s struggles with anorexia and Pari’s difficulty trusting after a heartbreak make the book all the more interesting.   The attraction was obvious from the start but seeing it grow into something beautiful and strong was wonderful.  We see it all from Rachel’s point of view but the author managed to encompass the emotions of both women so well. The love scenes were extremely sexy and the love between them was so true. This was a really great read and I found myself wallowing in the romance of it all. Five stars!

Kitty Kat

FourandHalfStars

This book kept me thinking about it long after I finished the last page. Rachel, our pov, is anorexic, and that is a big part of this story. I found it extremely interesting to get a look at the way Rachel looks at herself, and how different it is from how she views others. In fact, there were many things that caught my attention in this book and drew me in further. After straight Rachel figures out that she’s very much in lust with her fiance, and quite possible in love, I loved the conversation with Nikki and her girlfriend in the tattoo shop. A lot of that conversation resonated for me. I really liked the relationship between Pari and Rachel, and how it slowly changed. Pari made me fall a little in love with her and her mother as well. I’m glad Brown included so much of Pari’s culture in the story, but I would have loved a bit more explanation of some of the parts of the ceremony Pari wanted to cut out. And again, I loved how Pari’s parents were slowly won over by Rachel, but we still got such a real reaction from some of Pari’s other relatives. In all, there was a lot in this story that I loved. A couple of things kept me from giving it a full five stars. First, Rachel’s collapse came as a total surprise to me. I feel like I didn’t get enough of a lead up of her slipping back into her unhealthy habits. I get that she was spending an excessive amount of time at the gym, but I don’t know how long her workouts were before the stress of the wedding hit, so I didn’t get that it was becoming worse. Also, I saw all the habits and rituals she had surrounding food and how she ate it, but again, I didn’t get the sense that she’d stopped eating before she had her break down. Unless she was lying to herself as well, which could be possible, then I would have expected more signs that she was slipping back into her sickness. I loved that final scene before the epilogue though. And the epilogue itself, which holds another surprise simply in how long it took to get back to where they’d been, was a perfect way to end the story. I definitely recommend this book.

Amy P

FourStars

Rachel and Pari devise a plan that will keep Pari in the US and help Rachel pay off some of her college debt. What could go wrong? Well, how about Rachel believing she is straight, Pari’s mother showing up, and both women falling in love with one another.

Far from Home is a lovely read and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I was worried this would be another of the same in a long line of didn’t-realize-I-liked-girls-until-you books. There is nothing wrong with many of those books; however, they are very cliched and don’t really stand out. That was no the case with this book. It put its own spin on the classic tale and we get to meet some great people along the way. I also enjoyed getting to meet Pari’s mother; she was well developed and in general, a lovely woman.

I loved getting to know both ladies; it was enjoyable to watch their love story unfold. I am glad that Rachel has Pari to love and support her through her recovery. Well done!

Tori

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5 Star, 4.5 Star, 4 Star Reviews for Prom and Other Hazards by Jamie Sullivan #YoungAdult #FF @Poor_Medea

CoverTitle: Prom and Other Hazards
Author Name & Publisher: Jamie Sullivan (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 29, 2016 – 36 pgs

Synopsis

Frankly, prom is a ridiculous concept. People at school treat it like its a test run for a wedding, complete with ‘promposals’. That’s not even mentioning the dresses, which look like Disney vomited tulle and sparkles onto the nearest mannequin. Sam wants nothing to do with it.

Except for the tiny fact that she’s been in love with her best friend Tash since they were ten years old, and Tash dreams of a perfect, romantic prom. Sam had given up hope, until she spotted The Suit in a shop window. Sleek, androgynous, and flat out cool—but also way out of Sam’s price range.

But if she can earn the money for the suit, then surely the suit is all she needs to finally admit how she feels and see they both enjoy the perfect prom.

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Review

FiveStars

This is a really cute, sweet story. It’s mainly pretty fluffy, just a nice little story about a girl finding the right way to ask her best friend out and give her the most magical prom night ever.

Although the premise isn’t anything really new, it’s the writing style which made me love this story. It’s funny and smart and features an excellent main character. Sam is a delightful narrator, and it’s easy to see why the girls like each other so much. They’re a perfect pair.

There’s really no angst or drama to be found. The side characters are fun, even Tash’s “date of convenience,” who ends up being a bit of a surprise. Kieran, the tux shop employee, is a fun replacement for the typical fairy godmother. Even the girls’ classmates are a nice bunch, if a bit idealistic.

If you’re looking for a fun, sweet book that will make you smile and say, “aww,” this is the one for you. Very cute!

5 stars
~AmyM
FourandHalfStars
I enjoyed this sweet story of teenager Sam and her secret love for best friend Tash.  As she makes plans for prom night she is a mix of hope and fear and I felt that along with her. It is well written and kept my attention, as Sam was a likeable character dealing with a universal dilemma. Should she come out to her friend and confess her feelings thus risking their existing friendship? This lovely romance was the perfect way to while away an afternoon, dreaming of happy ever afters.
Kitty Kat
FourStars
This was quite a fun and sweet short story. We meet Sam, who has loved Tash since she can remember, and Tash, who may or may not have any idea of Sam’s true feelings. What is certain, is that like many young adults, both have a hard time admitting what they feel for the other. Sam knows Tash dreams of a perfectly romantic Prom, and she wants to give Tash exactly what she wants. But more than finding her way to Tash, this story is about Sam finding herself, finding who she is and becoming comfortable with the person she finds. The catalyst is the Suit. Not only does the Suit finally make Sam work towards being with Tash, but it also becomes the way for Sam to finally accept who she is. The result is a story that satisfies.
Amy P

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TWO 5 Star Reviews for The Color of Love (Romance #13) by Radclyffe #FF #Romance

CoverTitle: The Color of Love (Romance #13)
Author Name & Publisher: Radclyffe (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: July 12, 2016 – 240 pgs

Synopsis

Literary agent Emily May is in danger of losing everything she’s worked for—her job, her home, her friends, and the security she provides her older sister back in Singapore—all because she doesn’t have a green card. Racecar enthusiast, high-flying, fast-living Derian Winfield is called home when the only family member she still cares about falls ill. Forced into assuming a role in her father’s dynasty she’s spent years avoiding, Derian needs to rehabilitate her black sheep reputation in a hurry or the agency will likely end up being lost in a takeover. Together, she and Emily take on Derian’s father and his hatchet woman, and in the process, Derian comes up with a plan to solve both their problems. Now she only needs to convince Emily to marry her, a perfectly reasonable solution to all their troubles, or so she thinks. She just hadn’t counted on falling in love.

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Review

FiveStars

This beautifully romantic story had me hooked from the start. Emily was a dedicated literary agent working for Derien’s family agency. When agency head Henrietta becomes Ill and Derien returns from her travels things begin to get interesting . Derien has led a celebrity lifestyle, with lots of women and gambling but Emily finds she’s not at all like the headlines would have you think. She’s kind , sensitive and unbelievably sexy. Emily finds herself falling hard. I loved seeing how Derien changed as she realised she loved Emily and how she was willing to completely alter her life for her. Emily changed too in that she began to see herself capable of great passion and love. She had been all about business and responsibility before.  Together they fought against forces intent on cutting the agency to the bone and changing its whole ethos. Worries about Emily’s visa were a constant threat too. It all led to them becoming closer and to some scorching sex scenes that are to be expected in a Radclyffe novel. She really knows how to write intense arousal and passion and never disappoints. Heart-achingly romantic doesn’t even begin to describe this story.

Kitty Kat

FiveStars

Can I just say how glad I am that I picked this book up? I know that my opinion may differ from others, but the last couple of books from Radclyffe have seemed to lack the deft touch that made her books so good. This book seems like she’s back in top form. Both characters have depth, and they seem to follow a logical progression that not only shows how they’ve changed, but how they fell in love. Emily is a girl after my own heart, with her love of books, and I loved the fact that she was a literary agent. Derian was a little harder to like at first, with the type of lifestyle she lived, even if she didn’t really enjoy it. Two things saved Derian for me; the fact that she loved Henrietta so much, and that she was ready for a change in her life, and didn’t have a problem going where her heart led her. I know we don’t get much of a resolution for Derian with her father in this book, but that’s something that’s going to take some time, and definitely not a focus in this book. There was a bit of a quick ending, because I would have liked to know what, if anything, Emily was going to do with her sister now that she has greater resources available. I also would have loved to see a little bit more of Derian in action in the boardroom. But truthfully, I came away from this story wholly satisfied and ready for whatever comes next from Radclyffe.

AmyP

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5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for Tales from Sea Glass Inn by Karis Walsh #FF #Romance

CoverTitle: Tales from Sea Glass Inn
Author Name & Publisher: Karis Walsh (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: July 12, 2016 – 240 pgs

Synopsis

Over the course of a year at Cannon Beach, tourists and locals alike find solace and passion at the Sea Glass Inn.

Melinda Andrews and Pamela Whitford own the Sea Glass Inn at Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast. After an oil spill threatens their shore, Mel and Pam join members of the community as they fight to heal the beach and its inhabitants while finding creative ways to keep businesses alive until the tourist trade recovers.

In these four novellas, Pam and Mel’s guests and neighbors find healing for themselves as well. From local residents, including a baker and a bookseller, to a visiting author and a Department of Fish and Wildlife Officer, these women come to the ocean in need of comfort, inspiration, and renewal. They not only discover these qualities at the inn, but they also find what they need most: love.

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Review

FiveStars

Tales from Sea Glass Inn is a lovely collection of stories about the women who visit the Inn and the relationships that they form with each other. Pam and Mel run the Inn and they are always in the background of each story, helping others in a subtle way. Jenny and Helen meet when the town has to deal with an oil spill and are drawn to each other. They both have problems stemming from their childhoods and feel they are pulling in different directions. A romantic tale of love forcing people to confront themselves and their preconceptions and allow love to enter their lives.
Ari, a famous author with writer’s block, finds herself confronted with book owner Jocelyn, who seems to think she knows what is best for her. As they tussle they begin to realise that sometimes we need another person to point out the obvious. This story is about finding that special person and being open to it.
Heather and Aspen are polar opposites who are unhappy with their life’s and only by seeing the importance of following a dream find fulfilment. I enjoyed this one as it had two adorable characters who were so perfect for each other. They just
needed a push in the right direction.
The final tale is of Tam and Maggie, two women who are hanging onto childhood hurt and by being together realise that you don’t have to be defined by it. They were a passionate and sweet couple and I felt a veil was lifted from both as they became closer.
I loved all of the stories and how interconnections became more evident as they went on. The Sea Glass Inn was a catalyst for bringing people together and the owners Mel and Pam helped things along. An enjoyable read.
Kitty Kat

FourStars

To tell the truth, I’m a little disappointed to be giving this book only 4 stars. I loved the prior book, Sea Glass Inn, and was looking forward to revisiting Mel and Pam. I’ve also loved many of Walsh’s other books. And I did enjoy my look into how Mel and Pam were doing, and I love the concept of this book; four novellas spanning a year at the Sea Glass Inn, all of them weaving a strong sense of community that can overcome adversity, and allow growth and love. My real problem is that in each of the novellas there was one character that I had a hard time liking. Well, except the last one, Spinnaker. I did like both characters in this story. But the other stories seemed to focus on having a person who was just a little rude, a little closed off, and a little unlikable. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. After all, Walsh made me care about all of them enough to be happy for them by the end of their story. But I found myself a little dissatisfied while getting to the HEA. It’s almost as if they weren’t very nice people at the beginning of their story, and that makes me wonder what exactly the people who fell in love with them saw that made them continue trying to build a relationship. By the end of the book, and each story, Walsh made me happy that I read them, but I wouldn’t exactly put them in that love category that so many other of her books are for me.

Amy P

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5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for Best Laid Plans by Jan Gayle #FF #Romance

CoverTitle: Best Laid Plans
Author Name & Publisher: Jan Gayle (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: July 12, 2016 – 240 pgs

Synopsis

Nicole James is a hard-working single mother who has dedicated her life to raising her son and providing a safe, loving home for him. Austin is a senior in high school now , and for the first time, Nicky is allowing some time for herself. When she meets Lauren Thomas, an architect at the firm where they work, they both fall deeply in love. Lauren is smart and charming and wonderful; she fits perfectly into Nicky’s family, which includes close friends who have stood beside her. But Nicky’s troubled past and Lauren’s societal fears present seemingly insurmountable challenges.

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Review

FiveStars

Nicky is a talented draughtsman, with a teenage son and a very complicated and scary past.  Lauren is a successful architect, new to the firm and absolutely gorgeous.  The women are really attracted to each other and after some initial flirting they have some very hot dates together that end with some great sex.  Lauren is not out though and the main problems they encounter are related to that.  I found that aspect of the book very interesting as it seemed strange that she felt she couldn’t come out to her mom or at work in this day and age.  She had good reasons though and her struggles were well written and made for a fascinating read.  I really wanted her to find the strength to be open as her relationship with Nicky was so dependant on it.  They made a great couple and the love and tenderness between them was evident.  The love scenes were beautifully constructed and felt very real and true.
The other part of the story, regarding Nicky’s ex boyfriend, Michael, was scary and horrible and the threat was there throughout.  The tension was well done and Jan Gayle knows how to crank it up a notch when required.  Nicky was such a great character – strong, intelligent, feisty and very sexy.  She had been through so much for her age but had managed to make so much with her life.  I wanted her to be happy at last with a woman who really loved her.  I really enjoyed this book and would love to find out what happens next……
Kitty Kat
FourStars
There are actually some parts of this that I don’t know how I feel about, but most of it is a nice, romantic story of two women who fall inexorably in love with each other. Lauren, however, isn’t out, either at work or with her family. In fact, no one but her sister knows, and Lauren’s fear is founded on an incident from her childhood involving her mother and her uncle. This means that when the two women are discovered together in public by an executive in their company, Lauren withdraws completely, and ends up hurting Nicky. Nicky gets to a point where as much as she cares about Lauren, it isn’t worth it to be treated in that manner whenever someone sees them together. She breaks things off. For Lauren, Nicky may just be the one person important enough to come out for. Nicky’s past isn’t all roses either. She was abused at home, along with her mother, by her stepfather. And as a teenager, when she ends up pregnant by the boyfriend she’s using to prove her heterosexuality, she finds out that he has a lot more in common with her stepfather than she’d thought. Now, fifteen years later, her ex is getting out on parole and she doesn’t know what to expect. It may cost her, and those around her, their lives. This is the part I don’t know how I feel about. I like the story of Nicky and Lauren getting together. I liked seeing Lauren grow and realize that Nicky is important enough for her to start living openly and honestly. This part of the book I really enjoyed. The end was a bit violent, which was kind of out of the blue, and jarring. Also, everybody just kind of took it in stride, with no big blowups or freakouts. I would have expected more of a reaction. All in all, it was an enjoyable read, and I liked it.
Amy P

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5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for Just Enough Light by A.J. Quinn #FF #Thriller

CoverTitle: Just Enough Light
Author Name & Publisher: A.J. Quinn (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: July 12, 2016 – 264 pgs

Synopsis

Kellen Ryan has taken the survival skills she learned on the streets and used them to create an elite search-and-rescue operation, as well as the first home she’s known in forever—a sanctuary in Haven, Colorado, high in the Rockies.
A small mountain town was the last place Harvard-educated Dr. Dana Kingston expected to find herself. Still, when she’s offered an opportunity to partner with Kellen’s operation and develop a medical triage center, Dana follows her heart. Dana falls hard and fast for the enigmatic Kellen. But she quickly realizes Kellen’s heart is as carefully guarded as her past, and breaking through will take time. Except time is the one thing they may not have, because a deadly threat has returned, and this time he plans to finish what he started.

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Review

FiveStars

Dana moves to Colorado to work as a doctor at a rescue centre and clinic. She wants to be her own person and make a difference . Kellen runs the rescue part of the service and once they meet she is never the same again. How can either of them ever go back once they make a connection that overwhelms them both. This is a really great read, full of raw emotion and depth and at times a realisation of how awful people can be to each other. We find out how someone can be at the worst place imaginable and yet find a way to deal with it and turn it around. We find out that families come in all shapes and sizes and that loving each other is what makes a family, not blood. Kellen was an amazing character, the strongest yet most vulnerable woman. Dana managed to get past all of her defences and the love between them was staggeringly beautiful. The love scenes were scorching but the most tender imaginable. There was no doubt that they were meant for each other.
As both women become one they have to deal with a shooter determined to kill Kellen. The impending threat makes this an edge-of-the-seat read that I never wanted to end. A well deserved 5 stars.
Kitty Kat

FourStars

I have to say that I have enjoyed every AJ Quinn book that I’ve read, enough to keep an eye out for new books as they’re published. Here again, Quinn gives us a fast-paced, suspenseful plot and characters with depth. The book is a bit heavy though, as many of Quinn’s books are. She tends to address pretty difficult tragedies that her characters go through, and I actually find it amazing that she’s able to address them so well, without falling into the trap of wrapping everything up in a neat little bow by the end of the book. In this book, Kellen has a horrific past, bad enough that it still affects her to this day. She’s been able to open her heart and her home to two young girls who’ve suffered some of the same things she has. She’s tried to put roots down, despite not knowing how, and always being on the edge of running for safety, because in her life movement is safe. Into this semi-stable life comes Dana, who has her own issues, but the attraction between the two women is instant. I love the compassion and patience that Dana shows, not only with Kellen but with the girls as well. This is a group of people whose need for each other brings them closer and closer together. There are external forces coming to bear on Kellen, from her childhood and her more recent past, and all that pressure makes her want to run. Dana’s acceptance of who Kellen is allows Kellen to become more settled and sure of her footing. This was an exciting book, but again, there were a lot of weighty issues that became exposed through circumstances out of Kellen’s control. That may be too much for some readers to get through. My personal feeling was that it was a little much; after the reveal of Kellen’s past I wondered how she and Dana could make their relationship work because so much is unresolved for Kellen, and fear makes her flighty. Again, good job from the author of not allowing love to miraculously heal everything. These are issues that won’t easily go away, and I respect Quinn for not trying to wrap everything up in between the covers of the book. If you like romantic suspense, I’d definitely recommend this one.

AmyP

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