Everything We Never Wanted – Sienna Waters

Rating: 4 out of 5.
This is my third book by Waters and whilst I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the others I’ve read, this is still a really good book. Waters is rapidly becoming one of my favourites.

Alex has recently taken on custody of her niece Libby. Kat works as Libby’s teacher at her new school. They don’t see eye to eye on anything regarding Libby’s education, making this an opposites attract romance.

I found the book to have an interesting storytelling technique in that a lot of things happen off-the-page. At first I found this very confusing when the scene jumped but once I’d got used to it I actually enjoyed the way the approach moved the story forwards.

The reason the inevitable relationship difficulties come about felt fresh to me personally because I haven’t encountered it elsewhere, so that was refreshing. I also really appreciated the depiction of the realities of being a teacher and the financial decisions they have to make.

I didn’t particularly connect to either MC, which is what makes this a four star rather than a five for me, but I would still recommend this to any lovers of wlw romance.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Spindrift – Anna Burke

Rating: 5 out of 5.
I’d read a couple of reviews of Spindrift which had encouraged me to want to read the book and I was not disappointed. It’s taken me a couple of days after I’d finished reading to think about what I wanted to say, as to be honest I almost feel like I can’t do it justice in a review.

Set in Seal Cove, Emilia returns to the town after the death of her father and a life changing period of depression. She very quickly runs into Morgan, her childhood crush and as it transpires friend of her father. Both have recently lost significant partners and are trying to piece together what is left of their lives.

Everything about this book crept up on me slowly. I was merrily reading, thinking I was reading a well written romance that I was really enjoying, and then all of a sudden came the feelings. I’m not a vet, and what I do for a living can’t be considered a matter of life or death sometimes, but I am someone who has walked away from what I believed to be my dream job due to the impact it had on my mental health. Emilia’s depression is depicted and discussed so well I felt like I was experiencing all of her feelings with her. I loved the ways her family are also woven into the storyline, both as supportive factors, but also in the genuine way worry and love were expressed.

Morgan is a great character; another I’d add to my list of characters on the page I’d want to be friends with in real life. Her loyalty, work ethic and soft butchness all really spoke to me. Her wariness of falling for Emilia didn’t feel contrived and her eventual examination of why she felt that way seemed plausible.

Once they get together their relationship felt believable, with both giving each other space to be their authentic selves and to recover from their pasts. When the inevitable crunch point of a lesbian romance book happened, I was rooting for a resolution far more than I normally would.

The secondary characters in their friendship group are three dimensional and not just there to add angst, they provide real depth and great moments in the narrative. The animals were great too. I’m extremely happy to know we’ll be seeing more of these characters in the Seal Cove series and that we might have more of an opportunity to read about Emilia and Morgan.

I’d highly recommend this to anyone to be honest and I’m now off to find some space in my TBR pile for Nottingham.

I received an e-ARC directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Out on the Ice – Kelly Farmer

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Like many I was attracted to this book by the cover and I’m glad I decided to chance it. Farmer as a first time author does a good job of bringing something enjoyable to the genre. Caro is a retired professional ice hockey player, now running a hockey centre for girls in Chicago. She brings Amy, a current pro player, to coach at the centre for the summer.

Sports crossed with lesbian romance is one of my favourite genres so I was really looking forward to this book. It’s a bit different to many of these types I’ve books I’ve read recently, in that no real sporting action actually happens. Any time spent on the ice is minor with a focus on the coaching when it does happen. When Amy is with her professional team the on ice action is alluded to but not ‘seen’. In that respect this book is about relationships, and not just the romantic kind, so even if you’re not a hockey fan, or even a sports fan you can appreciate the narrative.

I found one of the most significant parts of the narrative to be the character growth of both MCs. The development of the relationship between Amy and Caro was strong and I liked the development of Caro throughout the book. I also appreciated the discussions about bisexual erasure and internalised homophobia.

The beginning started off a bit samey for me. I felt like I was going through many similar filler type scenes and I was wondering when it was really going to get started. However once it does it moves along at a nice pace. The secondary characters are for the most part are interesting and worthwhile in the storyline – and there’s even one that would make a great character for a sequel should Farmer feel inclined.

I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of wlw romances or sports romances in general.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Old & New – Lily Lancaster

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Fantasy isn’t normally but my thing but I was intrigued by the description of this novelette so I thought I’d give it a go – and I’m glad I did. Whilst obviously very short and quick to read at only 12,000 I thought Lancaster did a really good job of starting a longer narrative whilst introducing the main characters and completing a story within the novelette.

The captain of the ship is interesting but at this point we don’t know much about her. We are mainly introduced to two lesbian secondary characters in a relationship and the challenges they face conducting their relationship whilst ship breaking. There’s some intriguing samples of life on the ship – and life off the ship (including some interesting sushi action).

All in all this a good start to the series and I’m looking forward to the next part to see where things go.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Thinking About Her – Ophelia Alexander

Rating: 4 out of 5.
A surprisingly good book from a debut author.

The story is told from the point of view of Clare, a senior at high school and part of the popular crowd. She dreams of using photography as her way out of her small town and constricting life. Hilda enters her life as a transfer student from Germany, returning to her hometown and forces Clare to examine all that she knows about herself.

This is the second book I’ve read recently that included controlling religious parents, and I thought the tone of this book was done really well so that it had impact but was appropriate for a YA novel.

There a lots of characters in Clare’s friend group, something that can be a little hard to keep track of at times. As you’d probably expect there is quite a bit of angst in this book – both from the main characters and those around them, but for the most part it works well within the narrative.

The book keeps a hopeful tone, especially in the ending, but doesn’t promise anything. All in all this kind of book I wish had been around when I was a teenager.

I received an e-ARC via BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.