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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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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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Whirlwinds go around…

Warpaint
OhSoBoutique! Series Book 1
J.J. Maya
Romance | Women's Fiction, Romantic Comedy
BooksGoSocial, Michelle McDermott
3 Apr 2020

WARPAINT IS THE SIMPLY SPARKLING ROM COM NOVEL OF 2020 - WILL WILLOW STEAL YOUR HEART? Readers are falling in love with Warpaint!  Scottish Makeup Artist Willow meets dashing New Yorker, Rick, and marries him after a whirlwind romance. But her new life in NYC is far from the perfect fresh start she imagined. Ignoring the warnings of her colleagues on the beauty hall floor, Willow headed off into the sunset with Rick...but his “Manhattan” loft is a bedsit in Queens and his ex, Isabella, appears to be in residence. Scorned Isabella alerts the authorities of a suspected “Green Card Marriage,” setting off a chain reaction with dramatic consequences. Now, faced with the threat of deportation and her marriage over before it had the chance to begin, will Willow find the courage to stay in New York and make all her makeup artistry dreams come true? Warpaint is Book One in the heartwarming OhSoBoutique! Series.


Are whirlwind marriages always deigned to go wrong? Can you fall in love (not lust) within a matter of weeks and marry and give up everything you’ve ever known to follow your new spouse into a new country and culture?
Well this heroine thought she could.
Willow is not the youngest heroine, nor is she the most beautiful, and so when Rick – a dashing American who appeared to have plenty of money – claims to have fallen in love with her, asks her to marry him and move to his Manhattan loft, she accepts. With trepidation its true. Which was justified as Manhattan lofts are not quite what she expected – especially when she finds remnants of Rick’s girlfriend in evidence. Seems she had only just left the ‘loft’. And wasn’t best pleased about it either and was determined to let Willow and Rick know.
This is a sweet tale of misguidedness and naivety and how difficult it can be to settle into a new culture and worse – to get a job in the States. The legal requirement of a valid and happy marriage being one of course.
With some finagling we manage to get to a happy ending through tears and struggles and stubbornness which makes one fall for Willow in her innocence, even not so much Rick. But her choice. And Willow finds she has some lovely co-workers who are prepared to put themselves on the line for her, demonstrating their depth of friendship.

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Finding out who dun-it

Where The Innocent Die Book Cover Where The Innocent Die
Detective Ridpath #4
M J Lee
Fiction
Canelo
March 2020
300

The case was closed. Until people started dying... DI Thomas Ridpath was on the up in the Manchester CID: a promising detective who captured a notorious serial killer. But ten years later he’s recovering from a serious illness and on the brink of being forced out of the police. Then the murders began, in an uncanny echo of his first case. As the death count grows, old records, and bodies, go missing. Caught in a turf war between the police and the coroner’s office, Ridpath is in a race against time. A race to save his career, his marriage, and innocent lives. When a detective disappears everything is on the line. Can Ridpath save his colleague? A nail-biting crime thriller, perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James and D. S. Butler.

So this is Detective Ridpath again in the Coroner’s Office and there is a death in a Detainee Centre and he is asked to investigate it and confirm the findings as the Inquest was due – the parents had flown over from China to take their daughter’s body home. The Coroner did not want to postpone the inquest because of this.

The pathologist had identified the death as suicide but there was one factor that confused Ridpath. Despite all the doors to the rooms being locked by 9.15pm and the inmates being unable to unlock them, the girl’s door was unlocked – which was why her death had been discovered in the wee hours of the morning as the ‘officer’ made his rounds. And then the camera outside her room had been disabled – as had 5 others in the facility.

 Ridpath has to work fast to discover the truth of the death which turns out, as one could expect, to be rather more complicated than the initial findings.

The story proceeds – and Manchester is portrayed in its grimy, grey self accurately – and yes, people retiring wanted to get away to somewhere warmer – it drove our daughter, once she had lived there a few months, to Australia!

 I like these stories and hope Ridpath stays with the Coroner’s Office as it makes a definite change of storyline from the usual major incident squads.

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Department store makeup?

Someday at Christmas Book Cover Someday at Christmas
Lizzie Byron
Fiction
Hachette UK
September 3, 2020
400

Enter the magical world of Duke & Sons department store, with this enchanting and laugh-out-loud funny romcom from Lizzie Byron, perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Jenny Colgan and Beth O'Leary! Shell Smith is the most popular make-up artist on the ART counter at Duke & Sons, a beautiful but old-fashioned department store in her hometown. But whilst Shell's love life is looking up, now that her long-time crush Nick is back in town and business is booming in the beauty department, the rest of the store is noticeably quiet . . . The owner's grandson Callum has come up with some creative ways to keep Duke & Sons afloat this Christmas, including allowing a production company to film a romcom after hours. When Shell discovers the secret, Callum recruits her to help out and, in the process, Shell finds there is more to Mr Duke Jr. than sharp suits and a business-like demeanour. Change is coming and romance is in the air for Shell during this most wonderful time of the year. Except real life is nothing like a Christmas romcom . . . right?

Here we have a small town with an old-fashioned department store.

As we are all too aware these days, department stores are struggling and they need everything they can offer to help them make it into the next few years of consumer choice- adding to the experience of shopping seems to be the way forward.

I only use a department store myself for 2 things: 1. A personal shopper – for which they don’t charge; and 2. An occasional  quick facial – for which I usually pay £15 and then I purchase – often – some new item. But I never get the money I paid back in purchases! But then nearly every shop assistant in these beauty brands gets a bonus on sales so…

This store is very old fashioned in that people are salaried without bonuses on sales – except that the more funky make-up brands begin to offer their sales assistants interesting prizes if they do well. Take a look at the Gucci pink Marmont bag!

I do like to look at the funky brands myself – a cabinet full of items just for eyebrows for instance.  And lots of new products. Always coming out. The beauty department is where I gravitate! To it makes sense that this store should use it to help bring itself into a new age.

A sweet romance in the trope .

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