Lesfic Bard Awards Update

One of the great things about working with K’Anne and Shadoe Publishing, is you get a chance to see a number of great events, review wonderful books by really talented authors and chat to K’Anne herself about her writings and what she does to help authors get their work out there to readers.

Earlier this year, I blogged about one of these ideas that she was working and following one of our online chats, I thought I would write an update about her Lesfic Bard Awards, which are rapidly gaining momentum as a competition for authors to showcase their works,

award submissionThe first thing I wanted to share with you is that the nomination categories have been announced !!!  Check out the poster to see this years categories.   Any grab your fancy ? (That’s not as rude as it sounds, I promise !!)

As well as the traditional categories, there are some really interesting genres here that you wouldn’t normally see represented.  Anthology for example, as well as BDSM (get your kink on) Poetry and Studies.  This diverse range of categories is another strength of the awards, you just don’t get this range of genres in other schemes that I’ve seen.  It really gives every author a chance to showcase their talents !

 

The next piece of news that I wanted to share with you is that sponsors are starting to come on board.  So far, sponsors have offered financial support for the awards as well as publicity for winners and I thought I would take the opportunity on behalf of lesficbardawards,com to say a huge thankyou to the following organisations !!

  • Lezbelib – are offering winners the chance to publish an article on their site, shared throughout their social networks.  PLUS an advertising banner promoting their latest book !!!
  • Canadian Lesfic – for sharing the Lesficbardawards love !!!
  • After Ellen – for sharing the judging love and helping us get the call out for judges !!
  • Curve Magazine – for helping publicise the award and calling for author submissions !!

Its shaping up to be a great award, you really want to be part of this !!

 

 

 

Announcing the LesFic Bard Awards

Working with K’Anne is such great fun, no idea is dismissed out of hand, everything is explored, everything is for the benefit of the authors. on behalf of the readers and the more fun we have doing it, the better !  And thats how she came to create the Lesfic Bard Awards.

What makes this such a unique award for authors to enter and win is the Triple blind judging system that the executive committee have chosen to employ.  This UNIQUE system of reviewing books means that the judges don’t know the author, the book title OR the subject matter.  AND no one knows who the judges are !!!

There’s no risk of authors or readers currying favours to influence the panel or the award.  Its a high integrity system.   Completely FAIR and UNBIASED.  It’ a great idea which reflects the morals and ethics of K’Anne herself.  Just to reinforce this, she isn’t submitting any of her own books or part of the judging panel.  This helps ensure no conflict of interest.

I’m really excited about these awards and what I’m hoping they’ll come to represent for authors and readers.  There’s been great interest in the award already since it’s been announced, particularly when the trophy was shown !

If you’d like to know more, there are a number of ways you can get involved with the Awards.

  • If you’re a reader, and we mean a KEEN reader, then you might be just the person we’re looking for to be part of the judging panel.  Just think, you get to read great fiction, from talented authors, for free !!!  How cool is that ?  Just follow the link to join in !!!
  • If you’re an author, we’d love to have you enter and be part of the awards.  It’s a great opportunity to showcase your book and if you’re lucky enough to win, the way in which the award is judged makes a real statement about the quality of your work.  You can enter by clicking on the link here.  Then make sure you share the fact you’ve entered !!
  • If you’re a sponsor (hey every scheme needs sponsorship !) the awards give you a nice way of giving something to an undervalued section of society and associating your brand with some of the best that lesbian fiction has to offer.  Get in touch with the committee by clicking on the following link and marking your mail “sponsorship”.

Can’t wait !!!

 

Beneath Everything – Suzie Carr

beneath-everything-webjFor me, the news of a upcoming release of a book by Suzie is something that always makes me smile when I read it. She has a way of writing which makes every book a joy to turn the pages of, something for her readers not just to enjoy, but also to reflect and learn from. This joy of expression and skill in creativity shines through in her characters, which she gives so much of herself and her own experiences to. They’re the kind of people you want to get to know and spend time with.

Her latest book, “Beneath Everything” is the story of Sarah, a marketing executive who, without knowing it has slipped into a soulless, joyless existence in the endless pursuit of a career which she has risen to the top off but has seen her lose perspective and left her empty of feeling and passion. Stuck in an unseen rut, it takes a meeting with Jolene, a diver or Divrer if you read her business card (it’s not a spelling mistake, it’s just a little fun from their story) from the Island of Bonaire to open her eyes to what she has become. Their first meeting, outside a friends party sets the scene for the rest of the book. Sarah, being challenged to realise her fears and encouraged to face them by Jolene slowly comes to change her views on what’s important and reconnect with her friend Frenchy, a friend with whom she has drifted apart.  This first

But it takes the change in perspective the experience of a scuba diving course which gives Sarah the push to overcome her final fear (and which gives the book its title) and commit to the moment and the simple joy of just being. Accompanied by Frenchy who, herself is overcoming her own personal trauma they travel to Bonaire and experience the vast, colourful silence of ocean diving, which opens Sarah’s eyes to what she has become. Changed, from that moment, romance and longing lead to relationship with Jolene and the final chapters of their story.

There’s so much to enjoy in this book, not just for the realness and beauty of the characters, but also their expression, their frailties and the journeys. Sarah’s story is one of the exploration of life to find joy, freedom, wedgieless knickers and non cannibalistic escalators. Not being afraid to lose control or ownership of the material things that you don’t really want and seek out those experiences that bring real value and meaning to these precious moments we spend on earth. It’s a story of the benefits that taking a risk can bring and never being to be too old, too afraid or too closed minded to try. I particularly like Frenchy’s approach to getting over a bad relationship, she has a “good Will”, well actually more than once.

It’s a beautiful book, something to treasure and not just read once, but to return to again and again. There’s a particularly lovely section about the various meanings of friendship which has been highlighted by a number of readers in the kindle edition, which is worth reflecting on a moments in your life. I don’t know about you, but I love this feature in my kindle. It adds layers and insight into what the book means to people and what they are reading into it, which you just don’t get outside a book club. There are lots of notes and highlighted sections in this one, a sure sign that its come to mean a great deal to the people who’ve read it.

You can catch up with Suzie on Amazon here

or her Facebook author page here

or, you can join her Facebook group “feed your joy” here

Trans – a memoir by Juliet Jacques

TransI bought this book recently and was so pleased it came just before my short break in the lake district. I’ve been a fan of Juliet’s for ages and was absolutely thrilled when I heard she was working on a book and even more excited to get my hands on it.

For me, Juliet is one of the unsung heroes of the trans community here in the UK. Just one of those people who have moved beyond the label of transgender and lives her life. Intelligent, well written and insightful, I got through the paper copy in just under a week of night time reading and then bought the kindle copy so that I could conveniently take it around with me and return to it often, which I look forward to !!! (There’s even an audiobook now !!)

With the mainstream media adopting an increasing number of transgender personalities and their stories into their regular broadcasting, it would be easy to lose sight of  something as special as this book.  But what makes it so good ?  Well, firstly, it’s written in such a personal, enjoyable style, but if you knew her, you’d expect that.  She is a talented journalist and writer, regularly appearing in UK national newspapers and magazines.  Even with that expectation though, you still aren’t prepared for how good it is, which is for the second reason.  “Trans – a memoir” is Juliet’s own personal and very detailed account of what it’s like to be transgender.  Even being trans myself,  I learnt a huge amount from reading it, not least of which was once you pick it up, you can’t put it back down again !!!  A definite must read for anyone interested in learning about transgender issues.

I would describe it as an honest, funny, brave and moving story through gender expression and maybe even feminism.  More than that, it’s about gender variance and it’s difficult interaction with social acceptance. It beautifully describes Juliet’s experiences in such a moving way, you’re struck by not just how likeable and brave she is, but also how much you want her to be her friend (seriously – she’s SO nice !!!)  She deals with really difficult situations through her transition with an inner calm and voice which should act an inspiration and model for people going through their own transition.  It’s all in here, self acceptance, the frustration with the NHS, recognition from family and friends, feeling good in your own skin afterwards, it’s all in here.  Intimately told, it’s a fascinating personal stories that will linger in the mind and memory long after you’ve archived it back to your library shelf to look at with happy memories.

I genuinely hope you don’t just read this review, either here or on Amazon, I wish that you go out and buy it.  It’s a great addition to the increasing library of meaningful trans literature and manages to explain the intricacies of a huge variety of genders and sexualities, the history of feminism and transgender, ethical dilemmas of confessional journalism, and a lot of Trans film and culture while weaving it all through her own story. Personal and political and incredibly well executed. Her writing on depression is incredibly sensitive and eloquent.  This is written so well. Gives a very detailed experience of what it’s like to be transgender – I learnt a huge amount from reading it, and could not put it down. A definite read for everyone.

Would happily recommend this as a worthwhile addition to the libraries of trans people out there from an important woman. Read it, treasure it and celebrate it.

You can buy “Trans – a memoir” at the following link – as I said, it’s available in a variety of formats – pick your favourite and dive in !!!

My Best Friends Girl – Blythe H Warren

my best friends girlThe hangout I belong to on Facebook recently decided to go a little outside its comfort zone and read a debut book from an author and a little under a month in I have to say their choice has turned out to be an utter joy.

I really enjoyed this book from cover to cover, there were a lot of lovely touches to the story.  The story itself is of two women finding each other after a concert that features the Band our heroine (Jessie) plays in.  Zoey is initially dating Neal the bands lead singer, but is drawn to Jessie following an introduction by Neal after the band plays at a “battle of the bands” style concert.  What follows is a really lovely story about two women finding themselves through their developing relationship, dealing with issues like disapproving parents, luke warm acceptance from friends and another set of parents.

Then there’s the difficulty of Zoey extracating herself from her relationship with Neal too. Worse than that, there are a couple of scenes as the book develops which threaten Zoeys and Jessies relationship as well.  Blythe uses Zoey’s character to explore a really interesting perspective on this style of relationship as well, in terms of Jessie’s maturity as well as Jessie’s life’s experience to explore the subject of trust in a relationship.

The story moves along at a really easy pace and keeps you hooked with the detail that’s included within it.  One nice detail that Bythe returns back to is using the underlying theme of the band and music to describe the scenes with.  She picks out bands and song lyrics, bands style of music and also artists to give an extra insight into what each character is feeling at a particular point in the story.  It’s a really nice touch.

Another thing that I really enjoyed were the love scenes between Jessie and Zoey.  They are so well written, not too graphic or lewd, but tender and inviting, much the same way as the rest of the book is written.  Perfectly in tune with the characters, story and their relationship.

I’d thoroughly recommend this book to anyone looking for a perfect Sunday morning read, whether it’s on the beach on holiday, in bed with your favourite croissant of choice or lounging in your favourite jumper in your comfy sofa.  It’s a really lovely story from a new author that you might not have heard off before, but is well worth looking for more from when she publishes her next.  Who knows, she might even write a sequel which would be a nice touch !!!

You can download “My best friends girl” from Amazon by clicking the following link – why not give yourself a little pressie and a treat for your kindle ?  I’d love to hear what you think if you do !!!

How Sweet it is by Melissa Brayden

how-sweet-it-isHow Sweet It Is

  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (19 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602829586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602829589

 

Yay !!!  What a wonderful book !!!  Simply one of the best books I have ever read in this genre. It’s a story about chocolate, about a charming small town and its adorably quirky people and about finding yourself.  It’s just a great way to spend an evening with a glass of your favourite drink, maybe one or two of your favourite nibbles and what your kindle was made for !!

It’s beautifully written. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the main characters Molly and Jordan. Both have to deal with the loss of Cassie in their own way. I really enjoyed how their relationship develops and how well written the slow realization and acceptance of the situation settles upon the characters. The intensity between the two main characters was captivating and suspenseful.

Melissa is a superb writer and this book showcases characters with distinct and fun personalities. There aren’t any of the obvious character flaws or annoying stereotypes and there wasn’t any of the insta-lust/love stuff that seems so common in this genre. The intimate scenes between the characters are exciting with Molly and Jordans developing relationship told in a realistic, believable way, which truly make you feel like you were stealing a glimpse into someone’s life (I particularly enjoyed how Molly changed so spectacularly over the course of the book (the scene where she is talking to Cassie’s grave about how she is going to move on was just so beautifully poignant). The book even concluded in a satisfying way by tying up all the loose ends and questions I had in a very pleasing way.

If you’re the type of person who is looking for the darker and more emotional tones throughout a book – I’d strongly encourage you to check this out. If you’re like me, and are looking for a more fluffy read, you may want to consider waiting until you’re in the mood to have your heart stabbed a few times.

This story makes me want to have more. I really hope for a sequel, there is so much more to tell about the enchanting little town of Applewood and especially Molly and Jordan.

You can buy this lovely little book at Amazon either as a Kindle edition, paperback or Audible copy by clicking on the below links.  You’ll be so glad you did !!1

Kindle

Paperback

Audible

Transgender Magazines review

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One of the questions I’m often asked across user forums and via email is, which Transgender magazine is it best to get ?  Well, in my experience, best is a relative word, which will have different meanings for all of us, depending on our personal preferences.  So rather than recommend a magazine, the table below gives answers to the kind of questions that I typically get asked.  Hopefully, this helps you make the best decision for you.

Some things to bear in mind.

  • Prices were correct at the time of article publication.
  • This is only a review of the magazines, there are a number of support sites and online forums which offer useful news and information.  I’ll get round to reviewing some of these at a later date.
  • All of the magazines below will offer a free version to allow you to see what you are buying.  Make the most of this offer as the content varies greatly between them and what’s best for you will reflect your personal preferences.  In short, try before you buy !!
  • If you’re still in the closet, an online subscription or access point will make most sense for you.  Although most online magazines can be viewed via your smartphone browser, for convenience and security, an app is best.  If you access via your mobile phone browser, then don’t forget to clear your cache history on exiting.

Beaumont Society

Frock Repartee

Transliving

Magazine Number of pages

48

82 68

85

Editions per year

4

6 4

4

Online

£29

Free[1] Free

Free

UK Print Copy

£35

£10.49 [2] N/a [3]

£36

EU Print Copy

£42

£6.99 [4] N/a

£42

Worldwide Print Copy

£48

£2.99 [5]

N/a

£48

Back Issues

POA

£3.99 £3.99 [6]

£6.00

Mobile App IOS

Yes

N/a Yes

Yes

Android (Incl Kindle)

No

N/a Yes

Yes

Windows

No

N/a No

Yes

Other Online Forum

Included in membership

No Free [7]

Included in membership

Email Support

Free

Yes Free

Free

Telephone Helpline

National access number

No Free

Free

Shop

No

No Yes

Yes

[1] Access to current online version is free

[2] Cost for a 12 month annual subscription

[3] The last edition of Repartee will be edition 82, after which it will only be an online version.

[4] Cost for a 6 month subscription

[5] Cost for a 2 month subscription

[6] Back issues will be available only as long as stock allows.

[7] Online forum of Repartee is via Roses Forum

 

Do you have a personal favourite out of the ones I’ve looked at ? Or perhaps I’ve missed one that you like (sorry) let me know in the comments section below !!

 

Suzie Carr – Kindle Unlimited

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Recently, a friend of mine (still honestly cannot believe I can call her that) the lovely Suzie Carr took the decision to release all of her books on Kindle unlimited.  Why is that important and worthy of blogging ? Well, quite simply, because her books are awesome !!!!  If you don’t believe me – check her rankings for yourself.  Her books have attracted a number of awards, she’s had top 10 releases in contemporary fiction on Amazon, she’s a generous philanthropist ( She’s given over $1000 to the NoH8 charity alone) and an empowering supporting woman, who deeply cares about people and just the nicest person you’ll ever meet.

So why would you take the decision to subscribe to Suzie’s Kindle unlimited offer and stream her books ? Well, you already have.  You own a kindle already don’t you ?  You clearly love to read,  so why wouldn’t you want to connect with a talented author, someone who writes with a freeness of joy and expression about wonderful characters with meaningful messages ?  Still don’t believe me ?  Just take a look at this list and tell me why you wouldn’t want to read them all, more than once !!

Inner secrets” – Perfection.  I want to marry Hope and have her babies and live happily ever after.

New leash on life” – This is a book of selfless love, which any pet owner will appreciate and understand.  When Olivia’s animal sanctuary is destroyed in a hurricane, she broadcasts a desperate plea for help to the local community. But, surprisingly help comes from an unexpected source, an ex-girlfriend called Chloe and the only girl Olivia has ever loved.  As they work together on rebuilding the shelter, Olivia’s walls start to crumble and the past catches up to them.

Sandcastles” – Lia is smart, successful a no nonsense in control woman, that is, until she meets Willow, a psychic who’s capable of making her off balance and affecting her in a personal way.
As they come together we learn about Lia’s friend Dean and how difficult it is to maintain fragility of the sandcastles of their lives while embracing the parts of life that really matter.  This book is an exploration of alternate therapies, spirituality and work life balance.  It must be good, because it received the Rainbow Book Award Runner-Up for Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction AND the Rainbow Book Award Runner-Up for Best Lesbian Book in 2015.  What more proof do you need.

Snowflakes” – Suzies first and only short book (to date) and it’s lovely.  Perfect for the bus ride into work, or while you’re waiting for your next appointment.  A snowy dog park in the middle of a quiet town is the last place Alice and Desiree expect to meet up with their destiny. Secluded, these two women are able to let down their guards long enough to enjoy a tantalizing moment that leaves them both breathless and conflicted. Can their desire further develop outside the fence of this private dog park once the real world catches up to them………..

Staying true” – You have to love Ruby, a free-spirited masseuse who is at the heart of this story. Fiercely independent, that is until she meets Nadia, the two begin to realise a connection between them which threatens to overwhelm Ruby’s autonomy as she commits to this new relationship.  Supported by Shawna, a transgendered friend and Ruby’s gramps, the unlikely foursome embarks on a quest to learn the meaning of love, letting go, and staying true to themselves.

The Journey Somewhere” – This is a slightly unusual story from Suzie, it’s her first and only sequel (to Tangerine Twist) At first site, Kelly looks to have it all, life is stable and easy. But, then an ex girlfriend, the beautiful Becca James, comes back into town.   Everything is set to change when she offers Kelly the opportunity of a lifetime, to photograph her while on tour.  It’s quite literally the story of a Journey somewhere !!

The muse” – this book could have been written for my friend Karen.  Our Heroine, Carefree Janey’s life takes a daring turn when she enters the world of social media shortly after meeting the alluringly sexy Eva.  Flirting online is one thing, but can Carefree Janey battle the demons of her bullied past and overcome them to reveal her true identity to Eva and live her happily ever after ?  This book delves into the traumatic world of bullying, along with sexuality and social psychology.

Two feet of the ground” – This book is quite simply hilarious !!! Lauren is madly in love with Paula. She’s sexy, adventurous and the hero to her son, Owen. And its mutual.  There’s just one thing….. Paula has accepted a job offer across the country and Lauren is afraid of flying.  Oh and Owen doesn’t want to leave his friends and lets not forget the best friend who depends on her too. How on earth are these two ever going to have their happy ending ?

The Fiche Room” – We join Emma just as she is about to marry her college sweetheart, destined to become president of her dads organisation.  Then the liberating Haley comes into her life and quite literally turns her world upside-down and cause her to question and reinvent herself.  This is a wonderful story not just of love, but of having the courage to change for the better and challenge peoples expectations.

The dance” – This book is simply exquisite.  A stunningly moving story of love after loss.  In the wake of a tragedy which derails their lives, Jacky focusses all her attention on stepdaughter Sophie.  But they’re suffocating each other as they struggle to overcome the loss of Sophies mother.  Enter Brooke a beekeeper who contacts Jacky to help train her overly-protective dog, Bee.  Just as they learn to open up and dance with life again, a hurtful truth reveals itself. Will this truth set them free or unravel all they’ve come to learn about life?

The Dance – Suzie Carr

the danceFor me, every release of a book by Suzie is pretty special.  I even have my own routine.  It has to be Sunday morning when I first read it.  I pile all the cushions into the corner of my sofa, make myself a hot chocolate in a wide cup and stuff it full of as many marshmallows as I can.  I keep a box of tissues close by (because I know I’m going to cry) and then one, just one milk chocolate hobnob as a treat when I’ve finished.  I have to read it in my big green sloppy jumper, which I can tuck my knees into.   It might not seem much, but these are important details to get right.

Time simply stopped when I read this wonderful book. Literally stopped.  The first clues I had as to how long it had been and how it had completely captured me was when I looked over to my right, at my cup of hot chocolate, stuffed with marshmallows, which had gone cold and solidified.  To my left, there was a pile of used tissues from the impact of the sudden loss early in the book had made.  It was a perfect Sunday.

The first thing you notice about “the dance” is the stunning cover photo.  It’s simply a beautiful close up shot of nature, which hints at the message of the book to come.  A bee, captured in the moment, going about it’s everyday business.  Fragile.  Unaware of the events on a wider scale that impact it.  Just being.  Moving on, with selfless compassion.

We first meet Jacky and Sophie, whose world collapses when Drew, Sophie’s mother and Jacky, Drew’s partner is killed in a car crash after a sharp exchange with Jacky.  The sense of hurt and regret that Jacky feels is the first effect of loss that Suzie explores, along with the fractious nature of Jacky’s relationship with Sophie who overhears a conversation between her parents that changes her feelings towards her stepmother.

This is more than a book about coping or surviving with loss though.  It’s about moving on, letting go of that moment of pain and opening your heart up to the possibilities love can bring through living in the moment of something so powerfully simple as nature.  Suzie treats us to two superbly crafted, beautifully matched characters who come to find each other through Jacky’s abilities as a “dog whisperer” and Brookes need to treat her over protective dog “Bee”.  From their initial encounter, you just want them to fit together.   Then there’s the wonderful supporting characters of Brookes Nana and Jacky’s stepdaughter Sophie, who each add new layers to the story through their own personal demons.  Writing with confidence and enviable skill, Suzie lets the book flow exquisitely between them.  We get to see Jacky and Sophie healing through  Brooke’s love and belief that mother nature is the ultimate nurturer. Then there’s Brooke herself, whose role changes as their story unfolds and we get to see her insecurities in trusting Jacky as a new partner.  Let’s not forget the wonderful Nana too, who brings a wisdom that only age can know.

It’s a beautifully told and well thought out, gentle love story, whose characters speak to you as a reader on a number of different levels.  But the simplest one is the one that the front cover hints at, where the plight of bees is a metaphor for a better world   It’s just exquisite. I hope you give yourself the chance to read it and you let its message into your heart.  It’s simply beautiful.

You can get it on amazon by clicking here  – you really should.

Review of It’s only love – Diane Marina

It's only love

Do you remember those moments from your childhood when the excitement of an event was all you could think about ?  Even better, when the event finally came, and lived upto your expectations and stayed with you forever ?  It was like this for me with this book.  I just adored it.  I first got to hear Diane was working on this last year through a Facebook group that I belong to (you can click on it here) So what else could I do but advance order it and eagerly await for it to appear in my download queue ?

After her success with “How still my love“, this book see’s Diane return to writing not just one, but a collection of 5 shorter stories, released as one volume.  One of these, Imperial hotel, has been released previously, but to be honest, I didn’t mind this as it’s by some way my favourite  short story. As an added bonus, you also get an excerpt of “How still my love” to enjoy at the end.  Really nice addition.  Even if you’re not a fan, this latest book is well worth checking out.  Diane has a really versatile writing style, which is showcased in beautiful scenes featuring a wonderful wicked sense of humour.  She writes the kind of books I would love to be able to write myself.

Let me tell you a little about her latest release, while trying not give too much away…..

Italian Summer tells the story of Jessica, a young woman who escapes to Italy to recover from a break-up with Keira.  Staying at the wonderfully named “Appartamenti della Cinque Lune” she explores the local tourist sights, before meeting Antonella, a local tour guide who lives in the apartment next door.  This is a story about how “the one” can utterly change your life, making you alive to the possibilities of taking chances and living in the moment.  It’s beautifully framed by Diane’s signature ability to create a scene and rich, intriguing characters, leaving you the chance to create your own sequel and backstories.  (For me one of the best things about a short story)  As anyone who knows me would tell you, its my favourite of the set, right in my comfort zone and preferred genre,  I would definitely fly to meet Antonella – yummy !!!

Sweet girl.  This story, written for some friends of the author, (who share a fondness for all things confectionary) see’s Mandy, a local confectioner, fall for Skylar, a woman, who I’m not afraid to admit, wears mascara the way I want to !!!  There’s more to Skylar than meets the eye though and soon Mandy wonders if “sugar and spice, really is all that’s nice”, or whether, in the books penultimate scene whether Skylars betrayal was just “sugar loving”.   This was an intriguing story  for me, whose twist, when it was revealed took the story in a direction I wasn’t expecting.  I like that. It was a nice touch, which again, drew me to the characters and the possibility of their follow on story, but in a different way to the first.  I also found myself wondering whether it was a insight into the authors friends, particularly when I read “If you want to woo me, buy me a book for valentines day”  Something only an author would say, particularly when there’s the possibility of chocolate !!!

It’s only love.  As you would expect from the story which the book is named after, this is a little longer than the pre-ceeding ones.  It’s also a departure from what you might expect from, but her trademark writing skills are all on display here.  We join Cameron, our lead, questioning her sexuality after a bad encounter with Evan, who even in the brief time we know him comes across as a complete sleaze.  In an attempt to forget him and acting on a conversation she heard on the train, Cameron goes to a local fetish club and horror of horrors, meets two of her friends !!! Breezing past the potentially awkward encounter, Grayson leads her into an antechamber with Corbin ( a girl she has been friends with for a long time, even lusting after) Although initially a threesome, the encounter quickly becomes about Cameron and Corbin as Diane treats us to some really expressive, descriptive and powerfully erotic writing.  It’s clear from her words that she has really enjoyed this story and understood the premise of this type of relationship, born out of friendship, that turns into exclusivity.  Like the others before, it gives you enough detail to be complete on its own, while inviting you to experiment with the characters after you finish, but in a very different genre.  Personally, I really enjoyed this one and can see why Diane has named the book after it.   I loved the names of two of the protagonists and the concept of the story – Cameron and Corbin.  If you’re from the UK, this alone makes the whole book worth buying and reading !!!   It’s just typically Diane, different, edgy, thoroughly enjoyable and one I’m sure her fans will love and why not ?

Blue lamp.  Continuing on with the edgy theme, this paranormal story sees Miranda and Chelsea move to Mirandas fathers house at his request after two couples unexpectedly move out at short notice for no apparent reason.  For me, this was the most different of all the four stories and one that I hadn’t expected to enjoy as much I did.  I’m more of a girly romance fan than a paranormal one, but its a  well written story with a lot to enjoy in it as well as its very own “Eeeeeek” moment at the end !!! .  Told separately Miranda’s and Chelsea’s viewpoints, I’m told that it really captures the essence of how possession and channelling feel from a spiritually open and sensitive persons viewpoint (Chelsea) counterplaying it with the more  questioning and sceptical one from Miranda.  It’s positively good fun and a really strong addition to the set.  I hope she writes more in this style.

Imperial hotel is a beautiful love story which tells of the relationship between Joan and Lily in a time when the social attitudes and expectations of women were very different.  The book divides neatly into three parts, their introduction, courtship and latter day reflection, with the story highlighting each woman’s thoughts about the relationship during each part.  Joan’s introduction to Lily at the hotel is typical of many around the world at a time of arranged marriages.  Her mother is introducing her to the socialite scene and looking for lily to “mentor” her in order to find an appropriate suitor.  From this introduction, Joan’s feelings for Lily develop as they spend more time together making arrangements for both Lilys wedding, Joan’s courtship and volunteer work at a nearby homeless shelter. Joan and Lilys characters each have a different appeals and vulnerabilities which depending on your own perspective, you’ll find hard not to sympathise with at least one, or both off.  I personally aligned with Lily, not just because of her rebellious nature that is full of hope, but also what she stands to lose in terms of how her life develops.   For me, that made her the villain of the story, who also comes complete with her own “pretty woman” moment, which I would defy you not to smile at !  Joan’s character (for me the heroine) is more confident of her feelings after their initial introduction, but which aren’t enough for Lily to buck the social convention and path laid out for her.  Reeling from this rejection, Joan throws herself back at rebuilding her life and her university studies, with Lily seeking her out again, shortly after the birth of her child.

Four very different stories, from a very talented writer.  One of the really nice things about an anthology for both the writer and the reader, the author gets to take a chance and try something different, without potentially ruining a whole book for her readers and the reader gets to experience a different style with someone that they know and trust.  Overall for me – completely worth a 5 star review.  You’re sure to find something to suit your preference here and if you do, why not pop her a note to let her know which one you would like a sequel to ? You never know – you could end up with your own version of “sweet girl” !!!

If you would like to hear more about what this talented author is upto, you can check out her out at the following contact points.

Web :- Just click here !!!
Facebook :- You’ll need an account…..
Amazon :- Author page
Twitter :- Tweet Tweet !!!
Email :- (she even writes back !!)