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When Friends become Sisters

Three Sisters
(Blackberry Island, 2)
Susan Mallery
Fiction, American Fiction
Mira Books; Reissue ed. edition
(17 May 2016)

In this heartwarming and celebrated Blackberry Island novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery introduces us to three women whose friendship is about to change their lives forever.

After Andi Gordon is jilted at the altar, she makes an impetuous decision--buying one of the famed Three Sisters on Blackberry Island. Now the proudish owner of the ugly duckling of the trio of Queen Anne houses, her life is just as badly in need of a major renovation as her new home.

When Deanna Phillips confronts her husband about a suspected affair, she opens up a Pandora's Box of unhappiness. In her quest to be the perfect woman, she's lost herself...and could lose her entire family if things don't change.

Next door, artist Boston King thought she and her college sweetheart would be married forever. But after tragedy strikes, she's not so sure. Now it's time for them to move forward, with or without one another.

Thrown together by fate and geography, and bound by the strongest of friendships, these three women will discover what they're truly made of: laughter, tears and love.

So perhaps this intended as a story for female entrepreneurs to not lose sight of family and friends - to not get too engrossed in your business? Or not a morality tale at all? The reader must judge for themselves.
BlackBerry island is another of those mythical small USA places where everyday knows everyone and it's all good. Part of the American mythology. Do I sound cynical? Maybe. I just don't believe in them and find too many authors do.
Initially I failed to see the added value of Clandestine Kitty until they started adding unique touches. My guess is that the Internet is less widely used in America than England where Amazon and a host of online retailers can provide direct from manufacturing to users.
But a nice read despite the above.

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Not together but?

Separated Book Cover Separated
(In Midsummer Book 2)
Jessica Frances
LGBTQIA | Romance
Pub Date 03 Jul 2020

One jealous sheriff. One pushy Hollywood hunk. One threat. One undeniable attraction. One messy situation. One chance to fix it.

I’ve guarded my heart the same way that I’ve guarded my hometown of Midsummer—with unwavering compromise and integrity. I’ve never even once been tempted to let my guard down. That is … until I met Conner Sherwood.

It didn’t matter that I swore off all romantic relationships. Or that I wasn’t interested in opening myself up and likely getting hurt. Like a moth to the flame, I can’t resist him. I can’t stop myself from wanting something I shouldn’t. Even pushing him away didn’t stop me from wanting him. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who wants Conner. He has caught the eye of a Hollywood heartthrob. How can I compete with that?

But when Conner starts to receive death threats and an attempt is made on his life, I begin to realize that there is more at stake here than having my heart broken. Conner is in danger being in Midsummer, and whoever is threatening him won’t be satisfied until Conner is no longer breathing.

What I know for certain is that I won’t stop until I catch the person responsible for harming the man I’m coming to realize that I cannot live without.

Authors Note:

Separated is the second book in a steamy m/m romantic mystery series. There are sex scenes between two men, occasional violence and coarse language. It is recommended for readers 18+. While this book ends with the mystery solved, the romance will develop over several books. It is recommended that each book in the series be read in orde

This is a romance in the LGBT format with a bisexual hero.

It follows much of the usual trope but the interesting part is how ‘macho’ the author shows the hero to be – ie he is a small town sheriff, tall and brawny – with a moustache – and very apt to use his strength and muscles. His lover is a photo journalist in social media with blogs etc. the background to Conner And what he was doing before he arrived by invitation into this very small town is not clear and I found this rather annoying. Also, there is a Hollywood film star thrown into the mix plus some stalking/threats to Conner.

The issue of course is that our bi-sexual sheriff had a previous relationship with his high school sweetheart which led to marriage and a child, of which he is very protective. Especially since his wife left him with the child after a noticeably short time, to bring her up on his own.

While this was a normal romance with a little suspense, I want to read the next story of these two as they cope with the surprise they are given right at the end of the book! Which I think will make a better and more humorous story.

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Heart owning: our author explains

He Owns My Heart Genres: Book Cover He Owns My Heart Genres:
(Owned Heart, Body, & Soul #1)
Evie Drae
Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
Clandesdyne
Publication date: August 11th 2020

Only true love can free a captive heart. Landon Jenks, retired four-time Golden Glove-winning shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, is lonely, heartbroken, and in desperate need of simple human contact. Trapped in the sticky fine print of an ironclad contract that forbids him from revealing his very-much-single status until the season finale of his reality show airs, he calls an elite male escort service that caters to the rich and wretched. Accustomed to servicing his often less than savory clients at more upscale locales, twenty-six-year-old Toby Carmichael is surprised when his handler sends him to a run-down motel off I-55. But “surprise” doesn’t come close to describing the shock that rocks his system when a delightful stuttering mess covered in tattoos and nearly ten years his senior stumbles into the room—and right into his heart. For the first time since Toby was forced into the life of prostitution, a kiss sparks a desire that has nothing to do with money and everything to do with genuine chemistry and the faintest beginnings of something so much more. But Toby’s dark past and troubled present make it impossible to see a future with Landon. And when the truth comes to light, a horrified and helpless Landon is determined to save Toby at all costs. Content Warnings: Discussion of childhood verbal abuse by an adult survivor, homophobia from a close family member, discussion of previous self-harm/cutting behaviors by an adult survivor, prostitution with dubious consent (all interactions between the main characters have full consent and there are no on-page depictions of dub-con situations), consensual and experimental Domination/submission play between mostly-novice characters, mild violence between a main character and antagonist, and human trafficking associated with illegal drugs (nothing explicit on-page, only discussions related to and psychological/mental ramifications of addressed in moderate detail).  

Once upon a time, I used to consider myself a pantser. The idea of outlining gave me the writerly heebie jeebies. However, it was this story in particular that turned the tides on my aversion to plotting and planning. When I first set out to write Toby and Landon’s story, it was following a “dare” of sorts from a writing friend of mine who was trying to help me get out of a slump. She had recently discovered the joys of authoring short stories and challenged me to write one of my own. I agreed and decided to use a couple of characters who had been banging around my head for a while at that point. I thought their story could be told in a simple linear fashion without too much diversion into deep emotion or side plots. At the time, neither of them had spoken to me beyond the idea of a hot hotel tryst between a celebrity trying to maintain anonymity and the escort he hired for an evening of company.

The problem came once I really got to know the characters and realized, quite quickly, that their story couldn’t be told in the breadth of a short story. In fact, the deeper I got into their world, the more they had to say. By the time I’d wrapped up the very poorly paced short, I realized—for the first time ever—that I had to start back at the beginning… and actually do an outline. A few months of stress and overthinking later, and my short story had turned into a highly detailed and planned out trilogy, complete with an overarching story arc that I positively cannot wait to share with the world.

Toby and Landon were originally going to have a pretty easy go of it. I was going to follow the prostitute-finds-love-and-quits-his-job trope with minimal tension or conflict. You know, the necessary level of angst associated with novella-length stories. However, their journey has taken a much different path now that it’s been stretched into three books with distinct and involved storylines all their own. Above all else, I’m most excited about depicting Toby and Landon’s voyage into the world of BDSM. As a member of the lifestyle myself, I’m thrilled to portray a relationship where domination and submission plays a role in not only building their bond, but also in providing a place for healing, communication, and personal as well as relationship-based growth.

About the Author

Evie Drae is a registered nurse by day and an award-winning male/male romance writer by night. She has won first place in seven Romance Writers of America® (RWA®) competitions, including the prestigious title “Best of the Best” in the 2018 Golden Opportunity Contest. She is a double finalist in the 2019 Golden Heart®, in both the Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense categories, and finished as a second-place runner-up in four additional RWA contests.

One of Evie’s favorite things to do is encourage her fellow writers. To that end, she started the #writeLGBTQ and #promoLGBTQ hashtags on Twitter to support and promote LGBTQ+ authors and allies while providing a safe space to connect and grow as a community. She is married to the love of her life, is the mother of three wonderful fur babies, and runs almost entirely on coffee and good vibes.

Evie loves to link up with fellow writers and readers. You can reach her directly at EvieDrae@gmail.com or find her on her social media accounts listed below. Twitter is where she’s most active but be sure to check out her blog too. She focuses on reviews for LGBTQ+ authors and allies with the occasional quirky advice/recommendation post just to toss things up.

https://www.facebook.com/eviedraeauthor

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Carnivals are usually noisy not silent

Ven'tarian Silence
(Of Cats And Dragons) #6
by Carol E. Leever (Author), Camilla Ochlan (Author)
Fantasy, Animals, Magic, Adventures
independently published
23 Aug. 2020

Guided by troubling visions and chased by death-dealing horrors, Omen Daenoth and the feisty talking cats find themselves center stage in the city of Ven'taria, a place of uncanny magic and jaw-dropping revelry. But when Omen and his companions -- an eminent Sundragon scholar, the notorious prince of Terizkand, a child prophet, and a paranoid Machelli spy -- unravel the dark source of the Ven'tarian Socerium's incredible powers, a desperate countdown begins.Can our young heroes and their chatty felines break the dreaded Ven'tarian Silence or will they bring on the forbidding reign of endless night?OF CATS AND DRAGONS, where the epic meets the adorable.

The next in the series about the cats and dragons and…

So off the whole crew go in a rather special ship through a wormhole and into their world’s equivalent of Venice. A city built on canals and islands but the canals aren’t smelly (wow – not like Venice in reality then, especially in August) and the city is going to hold its Carnivale – see Venice’s Carnivale – which not only has masked balls but artwork and sculpture and…

And everyone needs a mask – even the cats – and when dusk falls they find out why they not only need the masks but also why they need to have hotel rooms, and not just for the banquet.

Elephant Carnival mask stock image. Image of medieval - 110933327

Adventures befall them all as they try to help the small sprites and ethereal creatures that power the magic that runs the city (and as they realise the ship too). Take down one, take down all. And disaster comes close as there are monsters out there in the night.

A rollicking tale of trial and tribulation and terrors which follows nicely on from previous adventures. And yes, cats can fly too… I’m sure mine would love to as they find climbing fences a lot of effort!

Our own mini Tiger or great ginger cat! Oh, and he is very chatty too, but not in English…

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London stores

Meet Me in London Book Cover Meet Me in London
Georgia Toffolo
Fiction, romance,
HarperCollins UK
October 15, 2020
320

What do you do when your fake engagement starts to feel too real…

Aspiring clothes designer Victoria Scott spends her days working in a bar in Chelsea, and her evenings designing vintage clothes, dreaming of one day opening her own boutique. But these aspirations are under threat from the new department store opening at the end of her road. She needs a Christmas miracle, but one is not forthcoming.

Oliver Russell’s Christmas is not looking very festive right now. His family’s new London department store opening is behind schedule, and on top of that his interfering, if well meaning, mother is pressing him to introduce his girlfriend to her. A girlfriend who does not exist. He needs a diversion. Something to keep his mother from interfering while he focuses on the business.

When Oliver meets Victoria, he offers a proposition: pretend to be his girlfriend at the opening of his store and he will provide an opportunity for Victoria to showcase her designs. But what starts as a business arrangement soon becomes something more tempting, as the fake relationship starts to feel very real. But when secrets in Victoria’s past are exposed will Oliver walk away, or will they both follow their hearts and find what neither knew they were looking for…

Ooh, Shiny!

There has been, it seems to me, a sudden rush of books about department stores. This is my 3rd in 2 weeks. All about renovations and the staff and machinations and…

This is nicely written book and as it happens  Portobello Road is under renovation at the moment and under pressure from developers who are trying to buy up the area with the antiques – not for a department store though, but for flats. Small developments are permitted as we are so short of living accommodation here in London.

This is another warm book again. Victoria is a very giving person and Ollie comes across as someone who has been trained to the that English reticence and inability to express emotion that comes from the boarding school and rigid upbringing that older parents, with a very large business empire to manage, can impart.

I loved the closeness of Victoria’s friends and how they had all found he best life for them after their teenage tragedy. But small coastal villages are somewhat over romanticised in my opinion and lead people to think it is all happy living, when often it isn’t – too many people and no privacy and rather inbred. That said, I totally agree about Chelsea Physick Garden – it is a wonderful place.

Chelsea Physick Garden

As its name implied, it is all about medicine and was set up in 1673 as a botanical  garden for the doctors of the time with a wonderful collection of  plants for all sorts of uses from medical to dyeing to…

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