A Woman To Treasure Review

Another hit out of the park for Ali Vali!!

While I could see shades of Cain Casey in Levi, Dr. Montbard certainly carved her own space out in this reader’s mind. She is the kind of person…ahem…character…that I would be proud to number among my friends. Honorable, dedicated, driven, respectful and caring. She has a big heart and it shows.

The author has once again crafted memorable characters that live on long after the book is finished. Ali Vali’s gift is not only transporting us to her world(s) but also populating those places with people that almost seem to breathe and stumble as we do.

This story had everything I hoped for – adventure, love, danger and a mysterious quest.
I hope Levi and Yasmine (and her sister) have even more adventures, because I cannot wait to see what’s next for them.

This heart-warming novel will be available May 1st from the publisher, Bold Strokes Books, and May 11th everywhere else, but I suggest cutting out the middleman and getting it direct from the publisher.

The Sea Within

I’m a big fan of Missouri Vaun’s writing, so reading this was easy… Except for the disturbing look at what the human race has done to the environment with such brash lack of concern. This novel is the perfect clarion call for us to wake up and pay attention to the effect we’re having on our world. Really, we aren’t that far away from the Earth Missouri Vaun paints for us.

It’s obvious the author put a great deal of research into her work, she explains the grim future so clearly that I could very nearly smell the choking air at the beginning of the book. What a horrifying way to live – needing breathers to go anywhere, dead water, extinct birds and the list of environmental dead goes on. It didn’t take much for me to get caught up in the quest for a cure for the planet.

I desperately wanted Elle and Jackson to succeed, I could feel the ache of their rattled bones, I cringed, ducked and cried with them. Ms. Vaun wields her skill so deftly that I was certain I could reach out and touch the giant trees, or lose a hand to the ancient wildlife. These women may “live” in the near-future, but our hopes for a better world ride with them. They could have been any one of us…with kick-ass military training or a genius I.Q.

If you enjoy reading eco-fiction, and lesbian fiction that will reach out and grab you, and demand you keep reading until the last page is turned…this is the book for you. Go now and get your copy from Bold Strokes Books!

Coyote Blues ~ A Review

I have so much I want to say about this book that I hardly know where to start.
First off, let’s talk about that cover. It’s eye-catching and mysterious – I couldn’t have resisted it if I tried.
Coyote Blues is so much more than just the story of Riley Dawson trying to make her way as a were-coyote. It is the story of family, of trust and faith and second chances. There are layers here that the blurb doesn’t hint at. There are characters I loved, one I hated, characters my heart broke for, some I cheered for and a couple I wanted to high-five. And all of them are completely necessary to the tale. They all feel so real, I want to sit and invite them over for dinner. Well, not Jim.

As with Ms. Williams’s other book, As The Crow Flies, I learned something new with this book, and I love it when fiction can teach me as well as entertain. I found myself noting entire passages in this novel, and then thinking about them when I wasn’t reading. Like the passage on the Karpman Triangle. (And what an eye-opener to see my own family reflected there!)
I still cannot get this book out of my mind, and I think it is a great testament to any author’s work if the reader thinks about a book long after they’ve finished reading it.

My life has been changed because I read this book, and I do not say that lightly or in jest. My life has literally been changed by Coyote Blues.
You have to read this.

As The Crow Flies

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I hardly know where to start gushing about this book!

I expected a typical run-of-the-mill romance. I got so, so much more than that.

Ms. Williams is a superb writer, a story-teller in the finest sense of the word. She understands the fine dance of engaging your reader, sucking them in, capturing their heart and their imagination, and does not let go until the final word.

One of the central characters is Bertha the Crow, shown on the front cover. She is unique, smart, generous and loyal. More than I can say about some people I know. Sam, Liz, Gwen, and Isabel are all so well written that I want to go and have dinner with them. They have such captivating and intelligent conversations – they discuss everything from art history, quantum physics, string theory, the multi-verse, even possession and auric attachments. Even though I already knew about multi-verse theories and auric cameras, I did learn a great deal about other topics, so rest assured, this is not romantic fluff!

The level of writing is top-notch. It’s not all seriousness either. Check out this passage,
“…Everything was fine in the straight world until, one day, while Ken was away on a business trip and Skipper was at camp, Midge came over for a swim and found Barbie by the pool. Midge made margaritas, Barbie put on music, one thing led to another – what can I say? – the whole Mattel household went to hell.”
You can’t help but laugh out loud!

The author’s skill at writing visually enchanting passages is at a level rarely seen. In fact, her words painted such vivid pictures that my heart broke more than once. (Read the book, you’ll see what I mean). There are books we read, others we are absorbed by – consumed by – but this novel drew me in until the world around me faded away and was replaced by one constructed of images painted by written words. I did not want to leave that world, and I was sorry to see the story end.
This is a rare and moving novel that will teach you, break your heart, and show you what true love is.

Get it. Read it. You won’t regret it.

Mail Order Bride

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Austin’s killed a man. Escaping his nefarious past and running from those who would force him to live as a woman, Austin dreams of becoming an upstanding man and homesteading alone on the fringes of the wild frontier.
The burgeoning tent township of Molasses Pond is clenched in the bloody fist of the deadliest gunslinger the country has ever known, Lightning Jack McKade. McKade knows who Austin is. In fact, McKade knows more about Austin’s past than Austin does. He had a hand in creating it.
On the last stagecoach until spring, a mail order bride, Sahara Miller, arrives in Molasses Pond. She claims to be Austin’s and has the documentation to prove it. But McKade’s gang will do anything to have her. Now Austin must choose: Strap on his twin six-shooters to protect the bride he never wanted, or turn a blind eye and keep his dream alive.
This is a brilliant book that meets every convention of Western fiction, but then goes far beyond. There are a couple of fascinating sub-plots that really added to my overall enjoyment of the book. The characters are all unique and memorable, and there seem to be more bad guys than good. A couple of them don’t make their allegiances clear right away, and we’re left wondering whose side they’re on. At times, it seemed like the townsfolk hated Austin, and then they didn’t, then did…so we’re left guessing. And there are twists! Twists written so well that they seemed to make perfect sense.
Now, I know a thing or three about the old muzzle-loaders. I know how to load a flintlock, and a percussion-cap, and I know first-hand how heavy Two-Feather’s Hawken is. So I can tell you that the author knows their stuff when they write about the guns in this novel.Yes, there are a couple of places that the book stumbles into a speed-bump, but overall, the pacing is great. This is a debut, and it’s not going to be perfect. it’s hard to write a book, y’all. But ignore those speedbumps and let yourself get sucked into the story.

I loved every moment of this book. It’s going to the top of my read-this-one-over-and-over-again pile.
Thank you to the author for writing the best Western I’ve read in years. Thank you to Bold Strokes for taking a chance on a Western and letting transgender folks see themselves represented. (And the cover artist needs a raise!) Thank you for letting me read such a great book in exchange for me gushing about it.

Did I mention I loved this book?

‘Where We Are’ A Wonderful Surprise!

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I almost did not get this book, but am I ever glad my partner talked me into it!

There are layers to this story that I’ve not seen in many other books. It is so much more than I expected. The characters are well-drawn and realistic, but this book’s gifts go beyond just that. They’ve each suffered a loss that had brought them to their knees, and when we meet them, they’ve learned how to pick themselves up and move forward. One of the main characters, Sid, is an art gallery curator. In the book, there is a description of a painting hanging in her father’s great room. From the description alone, without knowing who the artist was or the title of the painting, I knew which painting it was. The description was that good! Sid and Mia have a discussion about the Group of Seven, and I admit, I was surprised at the level of intelligence and depth in that conversation. I did not expect to find the Group of Seven in this book, so that was a nice surprise. Another gem was the dimes that kept popping up throughout the story. (Read it, you’ll see what I mean).

All in all, this is an intelligent enemies to friends to lovers tale. The romance is complicated, as it should be. The two main characters are both experienced in life and love, smart, headstrong, and driven. Another thing that impressed me was the love scenes. Even they were a cut above most I’ve read. There was an emotional connection, which is rare in most fiction, straight or same-gender. The physical reactions weren’t the same old thing we’ve seen a hundred times, the descriptions weren’t over-done and even I read them in their entirety. (Which my partner can tell you is rare)

This was my first exposure to this author, and I have every intention of getting every one of her books as she writes them. If I could give her more than five stars, I would. Sharp writing, great characters, dogs, and all that food… This one deserves 8 stars for sure!

Thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Changing Course~A Must Read!

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Another hit outta the park!

No matter what genre Brey Willows turns her hand to we can count on meeting incredible characters, falling into a mind-blowing world and being swept away by a wonderful story. To say I loved this one is a bit of an understatement. I consumed it. I couldn’t put it down and I will read it again.
The characters (except for the walk-ons) are all well-drawn and memorable. Even the bad guy. Even the bad guy that was supposed to be the bad guy, but really wasn’t. (Read it, you’ll see what I mean)
The landscape was so real I could feel sand and grit and desperation.
The ending made perfect sense and was not contrived in any way. It was a great wrap-up. And would you look at that cover! Gorgeous! The romance worked perfectly too!
Loved it…loved it…loved it!

You can get a copy on November 1, 2019 at BoldStrokes Books

Thank you to NetGalley, and Bold Strokes Books for the opportunity to read the ARC, and to Brey Willows for sharing her gift once again.

A Return With An Evil Spirit…Or Is It?

I’ve been away from the blog for a month, but I’ve been busy, (just so you know I didn’t run out of stuff to say.) (Laughs hysterically)

We’ve been renovating our bathroom, and let me tell you what a challenge that’s been! Anyway, when we’re all done, it’ll resemble a cedar-lined sauna.

I’ve also been writing, and hopefully I’ll have something to share with you soon. But in the meantime, check this out…

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I read this book in two sittings, interrupted only by sleep. The first sit-down with this book, I thought it was pretty good and read until I was about 30% through. The next afternoon, I went from that point and read all the rest of it until I finished just before sunset. I mention this because I don’t always read books like that. For that to happen, the writing has to grab me, shake me and not let go.
The House sure did that!
The pacing was pretty good for a debut novel, and believe me when I tell you that’s not always easy.
As a writer myself, I can tell you that writing a story that will leave readers with chills, or even keep them up at night, is tough! I could see the pacing ‘footprints’ here, but that’s not a bad thing. I could see the little clues left like breadcrumbs (Fin’s Uncle is important, pay attention to him) and in retrospect, all of these things were just what the story needed.
I read this as a writer, so while it spooked me in a couple of places, I was left with a great deal of respect for Ms. Darry’s skill and bravery.
As a reader, I’m not too proud to admit it left me with goosebumps.

If you like a little creepy chill with your reading, grab this book from Bold Strokes Books!

Spinning Tales ~ A Review

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Brey Willows has a fabulously colourful imagination that really shines with this tale. The characters are wonderful, the premise is refreshing and the book overall is hard to classify. Others have summarized the plot so I won’t do that here. What I will do is tell you that ‘Spinning Tales’ is one of the most refreshing books I’ve read in years. Yes, years. It has angst, heartache, magic, a quest, romance, love lost, and a sense of wonder that so few books these days have.
I was so captivated by this book that I’ll be ordering the print version, and it will go on the shelf beside my classics like Tolkien and Lewis. and you can bet I’ll be reading this one again and again when I’m in need of some “comfort reading”
Quite possibly Ms. Willows best work!

I received my copy as an ARC, but it will be available from Bold Strokes Books March 1, 2019

Repercussions ~ A Review

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This review will be a bit biased, I admit it. Webb’s writing in this book is well-informed, fast-paced and intense. The reader cannot help but find themselves immersed in everything the main character feels. The book starts off a little slow but once it picks up…hang on tight!
I’m not sure why it took me so long to read this one, I’m a huge Webb fan, and the fact that she’s Canadian doesn’t hurt one bit, either.
However…
I fell in love with her Kate Morrison series first, and I guess that bias is what kept me from really loving this book. There’s nothing wrong with this one, I just didn’t connect with the characters the way I’d hoped. But that’s okay. Not every book will be loved by every reader.
The important thing to remember here is that these characters are well drawn. Mostly. The bad guy needs a bit more motivation and explanation, I think.
There is a mystery to solve, a stuttering, struggling romance, old friendships and an intriguing look at a potential future tech.
This book is enthralling, driven and fast-paced. A solid four star read.
What are you still doing here? Go read it!

You can find your own copy here