Knit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl – Hettie Bell

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
3.5 stars. This is a solid debut from Bell.

Poppy has just found she’s pregnant. Her circumstances tell her she isn’t ready for this to be a part of her life, so she visits her local Planned Parenthood. It’s here she meets Rhiannon, an interesting woman who helps her find her way to and from the clinic through the protestors. Poppy doesn’t think she’ll ever see her again until she decides to join her local knitting group.

Bell has written this in first-person point of view, so we spend the book in Poppy’s thoughts. The writing comes across as light-hearted, with a determination and humour in the prose, however, the narrative actually deals with some pretty complex topics, and for the most part, does this well.

The narrative is mainly about the romance, and it was here I really wanted the opportunity to get more of Rhiannon’s thoughts to understand the decisions she was making. I really liked the idea of her as a character, but as we only see her from Poppy’s point of view, I found it hard to connect with her.

However, at the same time, I enjoyed getting to read Poppy’s thoughts on her pregnancy, her family, and her life in general. I thought Bell did a good job of bringing all of the secondary characters together, both in the family situations and with the knitting group. I felt I could really picture them all, which is impressive for a book with a large number of secondary characters.

Like most debut books it has its bumps, but they soon even out. There were some moments I didn’t like personally, and I did nearly put this down after the sex scene, but I think they were more a question of personal taste, and suspect others would read this and not feel the same way.

Whilst the topics are relatively common in sapphic fiction, I thought Bell did a good job of keeping it fresh and I’m looking forward to seeing what Bell does next.

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

The Secret Ingredient – K.D. Fisher

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
This is a solid 3 1/2 star book for me.

Beth and Adah come from very different backgrounds, nearly everything about them appears to be the opposite of each other, except for their love of cooking – although they both believe that the others philosophy on cooking is different to themselves.

Beth appears to be a fly by night, disorganised character, yet she runs a successful family business that is gaining a reputation on the east coast. Adah is a complicated character due to her background and the majority of her cheffing experience is working at high end restaurants. Both characters shine when they are together. Adah grounds Beth, whereas Beth gives Adah the opportunity to open up and want more.

I enjoyed all of the additional characters in the book, especially Adah’s son Pete and her best friend Jay. Fisher managed to make it so that both MCs were supported by great additional characters who helped to add to the depth of the story and each character.

I loved the amount of representation throughout the book, be it gay, bisexual, genderqueer or a butch single mother and really appreciated Fisher’s style of writing. I will definitely want to read more of Fisher’s work. The writing relating to both the food and the places the story is set work really well – giving you enough information to paint the picture in your head.

There is something missing from the narrative that means the book isn’t elevated into the four star world for me – but I would definitely recommend this to fans of opposites attract romance and another other wlw romance fans.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley 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.