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 !!)

Review of Lawyered by K’Anne Meinel

Lawyered

Nia Toyomoto has worked hard all her life to prove she was the best; high school, college, and most recently career, becoming a partner at the tender age of thirty.  But when you realise you don’t have someone to share it all with and that you’re looking for that special woman……..

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by one of my friends from the excellent “My Lesbian book club” on Facebook and having previously enjoyed “love of my LIFE”, I eagerly downloaded the book to my kindle and set aside a weekend to catch up with this latest addition to her works.

The first thing that strikes you about the book is the cover.  Although some may find it provocative, I like it when the cover of a book hints of the forthcoming story.  The intimacy of touch and the trace of a gasp on the well dressed woman’s face while the other woman whispers in her ear summarise the book perfectly……….

The book quite neatly divides into three distinct parts.  In the first, we learn about Nia’s life and world.  It’s easy to get absorbed in the detail and care that K’Anne has paid to Nia’s character, which passes  easily for the reader and keeps your interest peaked for what is to follow.  There are nice touches here, particularly around the concessions that Nia makes in order to pursue her career, the need for a mentor, the importance of networking etc.  Mirroring real life, we explore and learn how Nia reacts and adapts by these situations, in particular, how she maintains her privacy around her personal life.  All of which give the reader an appreciation of what Nia’s life is like, setting the scene for what follows.

The second part is all about Nia’s exploration of herself, her sexuality (and the Big ‘O’) and ultimately the emotions, care and simple act of being that comes from a relationship with the one we love.  Here, the story is more romance focussed and there’s less business, which some people reading this genre of book will appreciate more.  As with the first part, Nia’s experiences mirror real life, with each relationship adding another facet to her understanding of what she is looking for from “the one”.  There are also a number of interesting plot lines at work here with explosions, consequences of past relationships as well as development of the Colleen character for what is to the ending.

For me, the final part was about living your life with your perfect partner no matter what life throws at you as well as enriching your life with more than just the material things.  Here the book explores personal and professional integrity and how these are tested in two specific scenarios.  As we might expect from Nia after learning about her in part one and then understanding her in part two, she stands tall in the face of the various challenges she faces.  I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s about the “changing of the old guard” and looking forward to a positive future.

Before I finished, I wanted to end by saying a couple of things about the editing and the spelling which a number of people have drawn attention to in other book reviews.  Sure, there are a couple of typos and the books editing and vanacular might not suit everyone, but for me personally, it didn’t stop me enjoying it and, please, don’t let it stop you.

Catching up with friends

Diane McGavin 

Have you ever had the chance to meet up with someone that you’ve admired for quite a while, even become friends with ?  Incredibly that happened to little old me recently when the gorgeous Diane and Angela came to London to see the recent Kate Bush concert (lucky moos, my time will come) They’re such lovely people, friendly, fun, chatty, have wonderful smiles and one of them is even a star Author on Amazon with her books regularly appearing in Amazons top ten as well as Goodreads……………

But what do you say to someone like that for that all important first meeting ?  You want to make a good impression obviously, but something funny ?  just a simple hello ? Maybe even a you look nice or its so lovely to see you ?  Being my own woman I went for the totally original – “Doing the tourist thing and shopping for cookies eh ?” and then followed it up with a creepy stalker moment following them around Harrods (They’re so down to earth)

Thankfully though it wasn’t long before we all recovered by the olives in the delicatessen, relaxed and tried the “hello” thing instead. That seemed to work better and my nerves settled  Nearly four hours later, and our  “Ladies that do lunch”, souvenir shopping, (WOW, just how many teddies, handbags, chocolate and cookies do two people need ?)  obligatory photos with the legendary doorman Michael Pinsker and hearing of the wonders of earl grey fudge (you can find it just the left of the confectionary section, just of the side entrance) and our first meeting was over.  Can’t wait to do it all again, lots more, but not before I’ve read all the lovely pressies they bought with them. 

The only downside was when they posted a video of one of the songs from the concert online – note to self must be strong and resist.

Meeting Suzie Carr though ?  I’m not ready for that quite yet !!!

Review of Imperial Hotel by Diane Marina

Imperial hotel

Imperial hotel tells the love story of Joan and Lily, two society women of the late 1940s and how their lives develop together following a meeting at the hotel arranged by their mothers.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Having read “Landslide” before, I expected to enjoy this book. Diane has a wonderful writing style which really shines in a “Novella” like this.  I particularly liked the way the book engages the reader, encouraging you to develop the plot yourself allowing you to explore the characters and their feelings long after you’ve put it down.  It isn’t just a nice story, but one that stays with you after you read it, giving you chance to reflect on how things have changed, not just for women, but for women in love.  Best of all you can also ponder what you would have done in the same situation…..

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.

I really enjoyed this book, not just for the story and the characters, but for the style of writing.  For me, this is a “feel good” book, which was easy to read and impossible to put down !!  Why not give your kindle a treat and buy it for an ideal start to a perfect lazy Sunday?