Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU
Free On KU

Forever & Always by Sarah Sanders




…because…short, sweet, quick read

  • Very, very appealing MCs
  • Super-cute relationship
  • No angst
  • Likeable supporting cast in brief appearances
  • Fun dialogues
  • Good humour
  • Amongst the prettiest covers ever
  • Appearance (very, very brief) by Sonja Romanov (heart eyes) from Delicate


Home by Kris Bryant



Seventeen years after she left, Sarah Eastman, now a mother, returns to her aunt’s place in Spruce Mountain after a nasty divorce. The town has a population of a little over a thousand people, so running into the Sheriff, Natalie Strand, is unavoidable. 

When in high school, Sarah, the most popular girl, had kissed Natalie and then essentially ghosted her before leaving town. One small art of Natalie never got over Sarah. So, when they start spending time together again, the incomplete beginning from their high school days finds its inevitable ending.

Everything about this book is right. The MCs are likeable. There is an adorable kid and a seemingly prescient dog. The dialogue is good. The chemistry, perfect. 


This book feels like it is competently written but there is no soul to it. It is like the craft is perfect but the art is missing. We don’t get the sense that the writer has got involved with the characters and is feeling them and resultantly, you don’t get involved and invested in the characters either. 

So, despite there being absolutely nothing technically wrong with this book, it is a rather ho-hum read.


One More Chance by Ali Vali




…because…this is a refurbished fanfic first published in mid-2000s

  • Xena fanfic How Do You Mend a Broken Heart published by Vali in 2005, dusted and padded up for word count by the author and publisher
  • Refurbished, but still feels unpolished
  • A sequel to this story also exists – All it Took Was You – maybe that will also make an appearance as a novel sometime
  • We’re so extremely uncomfortable with super-butch characters who seem to secretly want to be men (case to point: in this book the Xena character, Harry, is called ‘Uncle Harry’ by a kid) 
  • Characterisations and storyline pretty clichĂ©d and slightly over the top – as was he norm with Xena fanfic
  • This is not bad but then, it’s not wow either


Puppy Love by Cara Malone



This is a low-key, rather unconvincing romance. 

Marley St. James is thirty-seven. She’s a vet with partnership in a well-established practise but has a disastrous romantic life. She was emotionally (though not physically) involved with a married woman, Lillian, who claimed to have a bad marriage. That went south when Marley runs into Lillian’s wife at the supermarket and realises that Lillian was only stringing her along. With a history of choosing people who are unavailable in some way or another, Marley is just a tad jealous of all her friends finding the loves of their lives. Because all that Marley really wants is to love and be loved.

Blaire Baker is divorced. As a part of her healing process she attended a Buddhist retreat and has come back with a learning that everything is impermanent and therefore detachment is the key. Her mom’s dog, Toby, is Marley’s patient and Blaire and Marley meet when Blaire takes Toby to the vet. There is immediate attraction between Marley and Blaire which leads to further exploration. 

There is nothing exceptional about either Marley or Blaire – though between the two, Marley reaches you a tad more than Blaire. The relationship between them is at best, mundane. There is a distinct lack of chemistry and connection between them. Also, when Marley is so keen on forever, why she would get into a casual thing is inexplicable. The relationship smacks a little of desperation on Marley’s part. Blaire seems seriously superficial since it takes one conversation with her friend to change her ‘detachment’ world view. 

This one is entirely skippable. 


The Matchmaker’s Choice by Alexa Woods



This is a straight-forward romance. 

Adley James is a highly strung, slightly flailing, goodhearted and sweet matchmaker. She works with an online matchmaking agency that offers personal support to their clients, which means that a human being, like Adley actually scrutinize and even engage with potential matches before suggesting personal meetings. Adley has had a sting of fails with her last six clients and is terrified that she might lose her job if she doesn’t succeed with her latest client, Stephanie De’Silvo.

Stephanie, a science teacher in high school, is not particularly keen on dating and unsure whether she really wants a match. She comes from money and finds that it colours the interactions during dating, hence, not keen. Deep in a closet, in a tightly shut drawer is the small kernel of truth that Steph actually likes women, ergo, unsure about being matched with a man. 

Adley is instantly attracted to Steph and is in the unenviable position of trying to get a match for her while kinda hoping that the matches don’t work out but that would mean losing her job. 

Adley and Steph are pleasant characters. The scene-stealer is Adley’s niece, Tilda. The attraction is decent. There is some sort of angst that we’ve completely forgotten. Part of the book reads really well but then when the conflict starts getting introduced, it is a little meh. 

On the whole, this is a non-intense, mostly predictable romance.


True Hearts by Ellie Green



Set in a small town in Australia, this romance leaves much to be desired.

Gem Tillings was a baker in Melbourne with a shop specializing in vegan offerings. The business failed leaving Gem in debt and owing money to her parents and the bank. A friend gets her an office job in a school in Tyndall, a place that is a little more than a village. Miscommunication by the estate agent finds Gem without a place to lie when she arrives. As a solution, she is offered 9and she accepts) the only other property available – a shop which also has a tiny bedroom and bathroom attached.

Marnie is the overworked local vet who is also the landlord of the shop Gem’s renting. Marnie is a loner and considered slightly weird by the local for her keeping-to-herself ways.

The attraction between the two runs into the wall of Marnie’s extreme introversion which is at complete odds with Gem’s outgoing personality. 

Gem and Marnie are developed in detail. But the pull between them is completely lacking. Marnie is the more difficult character between the two, blowing hot blowing cold, jumping to conclusions and seemingly unable to get over herself. She is just way too much work and effort. If the intensity of burn and heat between the two was more, we could probably have rooted for them but as it is written, we felt zero involvement in the goings-on and the relationship. And therein lies the problem with the book – it doesn’t get us involved, though there is ample opportunity for it to have been and immersive read. 

Also, it begins very well. the introductory scenes of both the women and their first meeting were very well done. But that set an expectation of something written in a faster, breezier way. The sudden change of approach made the whole experience of the book nosedive. 

This one just didn’t grab us.


Goode Deal by JJ Arias



This is an age-gap, office romance with a little bit of rich-girl-poor-girl mixed in. 

Carmela Bravo is a successful real estate agent who loves her job. She has a great relationship with her boss, is driven and is aiming to break into new territory. Rhiannon Rodriquez is an ambitious young lady who took a few years of college before deciding it wasn’t for her. Now she’s become a real estate agent who works in a dubious set-up and is not above using dubious means to move forward. 

In their first meeting, Rhiannon uses her charms on Carmela to gather information about the house that Carmela is holding and open house for and subsequently torpedoes the entire deal for Carmela. Somehow, Rhiannon manages to get a job in the same company as Carmela. Almost the first thing Rhiannon does is to steal an opportunity that Carmela has been working hard for. 

Given this beginning, the interaction to develop into a romance is a little farfetched, but that is what happens. There is background about both the women that gives some context to their personalities. 

On the plus side, Carmela is really likeable from the start and Rhiannon also kinda grows on you as the story progresses. The interaction between the two is fairly nice and the attraction between them is also well done. 

On the whole this is…well, nice.


Fusion by Diana Kane



…because…MC cheats on a perfectly lovely partner because the partner wants a stronger, deeper relationship

  • One of the fastest abandoned books for us (reason, above)
  • Cheating a loving partner is never something we can understand in any way

A Breathless Place by Harper Bliss



Isabel Adler, once a phenomenon in the world of music and winner of thirty-six (or thirty-seven) Grammys, loses her singing voice because of a surgery. The loss of her ability to sing is beyond debilitating for Izzy. She feels anchorless, adrift and almost like she’s lost herself and her identity. Almost a decade after the disaster of the operations, at almost sixty, Izzy has decided that she doesn’t want to continue this was any more. She decides to stop being. 

As her final acts, she is in the process of getting her autobiography written and she is secretly composing a farewell letter to her loved ones. A letter explaining herself and her decision. 

Six months before the date she has set for herself, her biographer has an accident and is replaced by another journalist, a Pulitzer-award winner, Leila Zedah. Leila turns out to be unexpected, to say the least. Her personality and presence create upheavals in Izzy’s controlled life. Their chemistry is completely disarming. Izzy finds herself captivated by Leila and drawn into a relationship which surpasses the initial no-strings-attached expectation. 

First off, a trigger warning. This basis of this book is suicide ideation. So, if that is in any way a trigger for you, you may want to think before you dive into it. 

Having got the trigger warning out of the way: this is a fabulous read Izzy and Leila are both beautiful women who have been written with love and care. Both have been fleshed out wonderfully. The chemistry between them is awesome. 

Izzy’s struggle to hold on to her decision, which has been five years in the making, warring against the undertow caused by her growing feelings and relationship with Leila is excellently understood and written. We love the fact that when Izzy ends up showing Leila her in-progress goodbye letter, Leia points out that this is an act of someone wanting to be dissuaded. The scene is well-thought out, extremely well-written and there is maturity, kindness and love in Leila’s conversation with Izzy. 

The premise of the book is very vaguely similar to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (ex-megastar deciding to end their life because of irreparable medial reasons and having their biography written) but the trajectory of the book is completely different.

This is rather an intense read but is rewarding in every way. We definitely recommend it. 


Her Forever: Lix 3 by Emily Hayes




…because…*shrug* 🤷

  • Lauren, the bouncy, super-enthusiastic and unbelievable thirty-something reaches the peak of her journey to becoming a submissive in this one with a ‘collaring ceremony’
  • We’re not super-convinced about the whole dome-sub dynamic being ‘equal’ despite the best efforts by the author to convince the reader about this
  • Find the relationship particularly imbalanced because more than once Quinn says that as the domme she got to ‘help’ (or actually write) what Lauren will say in the collaring ceremony, which is positioned as equivalent to a marriage in the kinky world
  • Better dialogue than in the previous two parts but still quite unnatural
  • Unbelievable conversations between Lauren and her friends
  • The relationship between Lauren and Quinn also seems strangely wooden and stilted
  • Heads-up: much less sex in this one than expected from Hayes (but then, Lix 2 has a surfeit of sex)


Must Love Silence by Lucy Bexley



Misanthropic Reese Walker hasn’t left her apartment for 272 days. Her job as an audio book narrator of lesbian romances (mostly) allows her to work from home and that suits her just fine. Her biggest problem is her aggressively nice and kind neighbour, Judith. Her entire social life consists of her sister, lo, who is currently in rehab for alcoholism, and an old friend, David. 

When she is forced to answer an unexpected and unwelcome knock on her door, she receives a bill from the rehab of a large amount of money. Fiercely protective, Reese knows she needs to somehow raise the money for Lo. Via David she receives and offer to read a book that may just help her earn the required money. The catch is that she needs to leave her house and record it in a studio in New York under the supervision of the author, Arden Abbot.

Hot, sexy, successful Arden turns out to be something of a micromanager picking on Reese’s pronunciations of words like ‘Sarah’ and ‘and’. Reese is neither happy with Arden’s ‘helpful’ suggestions nor with the fact that Arden is impossibly sweet and attractive. Reese mentally rages against Arden till she realises that Arden is fighting battles of her own. 

The story is narrated entirely from Reese’s point of view so we are privy to all her thoughts, feelings and emotions. She is not awfully likeable or dislikeable. Mainly, she is funny in her extreme reactions to ‘people’ and ‘outside’. At some point, we also realise that besides being misanthropic, Reese is also an introvert and cannot handle being around people too much. 

Arden is a lovely, lovely lady. In fact, the whole relationship growth between Arden and Reese is skewed in the beginning with Arden making all the effort in both, their professional and personal interactions. 

These are two women dealing with their own demons and trying to handle their own imperfections while making the effort to grow and let another person in. That is so heartwarming. We loved that the conflict is totally organic and completely in keeping with the characterisations. It is a situation where, very interestingly, both are right in their actions and expectations and both are wrong in dealing with the other.  

But what really makes this book a highly engaging read is the humour. The writing is awesome (though there are a few regrettable typos – but nothing too bad). 

This one is a perfectly lovely read with a cast full of likeable characters.


Mutual Benefits by HP Munroe



Hannah Melville has always felt like the odd one out in her family. While the rest of her family (parents, twin siblings – sister and brother) are all into science one way or another, Hannah is a dress designer. She is successful enough but still feels defensive. As the oldest child, she’s also been something of a conformist and is chafing a bit under always being responsible and predictable. At a family dinner with her parents, when her mother turns the conversation towards Hannah’s love life – again, she decides rock the boat and announces she is gay. Only, instead of the shock and negative reaction that she anticipated her parents celebrate her “coming out” saying they suspected it all along. And the next thing Hannah knows is that her mother has set her up on a blind date – with a woman. 

Ashley West is a firefighter – a hot firefighter. She is out but not interested in a relationship. She’s been rather badly burnt by a relationship in the past with a girl who claimed to be straight but also insisted she loved Ashley. The ex could never come to terms with her own sexuality and Ashley suffered greatly in the situation. Now Ashley is not ready for a relationship and definitely more than a little leery about having anything to do with straight girls and their experimentation. 

But Hannah is the exact opposite of Ashley’s ex. Ashley’s ex claimed to be straight while having an affair with Ashley and Hannah is out as gay to the world and insists she is straight in private.

To keep their mothers of their backs, Hannah and Ashley agree to pretend to be in a relationship for the world.

Hannah and Ashley are both extremely appealing. The dialogue is sharp and the relationship is really sweet. Munroe takes time in developing the relationship over a period of time and offers plenty of insight into both, Hannah’s and Ashley’s minds and emotions. We loved their interaction, their banter, their caring for each other and the whole relationship.

The secondary characters provide excellent context and are all extremely likeable. We loved the little scene where Hannah’s best friend points out that Hannah hasn’t really been seeing or appreciating the support she receives from her parents and sister because she is so busy feeling like she doesn’t belong. This is absolutely true – completely missing out what is there because you’ve decided something and colour everything with the strokes of that prejudice. 

This is a delightful romcom with great humour and a decent dose of emotions in which everything (including justifiable not-forced-or-drawn-out conflict) just right. 


Now and Again by Natasha West



This is a second chances book but not entirely, because the first time around, the relationship was abbreviated and nixed before it could develop. 

Juliet Sullivan is a nanny. She works with wealthy families looking after their kids with immense love and patience – because Juliet loves kids and she loves her job. When her current employer gets a promotion at work and is scheduled to move to Canada, Juliet finds a new job in the Powell household consisting of an irritable man of the house, a harassed and harried mom, an unmanageable little girl – and Riley Powell.

Riley and Juliet were together in high school where Riley was the all-round popular girl, who was also a good person and did well in her studies, while Juliet was the outcast (because she wasn’t as rich as the others). Riley’s best friend India particularly delighted in picking on Juliet. Despite their differences, Riley and Juliet shared one kiss and that could’ve developed further given that they both were crushing on the other. But India’s machinations ended that possibility. 

Now, Riley had been evicted from the rental house she was living in and is crashing at her father’s with his second family. Riley has no love lost for her dad and can’t wait to get away. When Juliet is added into the mix, things get more complicated because both women still harbour feelings for each other. 

Riley and Juliet are both very appealing women and the attraction that they feel for the other is inescapable. West writes good background about them both and explores their thoughts enough to make their actions understandable. This story is entirely built on non-communication, mis-communication and jumping to conclusions, which is somehow made understandable from the characters’ points of view. We admit that we feel more sorry for than angry with the bad guy, India, because all her actions arise from her own struggles.

This is meant to be a light entertainer and does that job really well. Particularly the scene towards the end where all Powells descend on Juliet. That was pure romcom climax which was thoroughly enjoyable. 

This one is quite a good read. 


Succulents and Spells by Andi C. Buchanan



Laurel Windflower comes from a family of witches but so far her real powers evade her. Sure, she can cook up some potions and stuff but feels rather like her life is going nowhere. 

Marigold Nightfield arrives in Laurels life seeking information about a monster living in Laurel’s house. A mostly benign monster. Marigold is a scientist doing research on monsters. Marigold’s family had magic but she has none. 

During Laurel’s first visit to Marigold’s mansion she is almost knocked over by the presence of some hidden magic. The two women set out to find what secrets are hidden in the house and end up discovering much more than expected. 

This is a rather sweet book. Well written. Two likeable MCs. A rather involved magical realm. Nice chemistry between the mains. We really liked Marigold’s self-awareness and self-acceptance, and we liked everything about Laurel. 

It does take some time to get into the world and complexities that are created in the book, but that’s part of its interestingness. The book doesn’t end with a cliff hanger but there is definitely promise of more to come (hopefully because there is so much more to be explored yet).

A nice enough read.


The Lesbian Billionaires Last Hope by KC Luck




…because…the next predictable instalment of the predictable stories in the series

  • Unimaginably rich, closeted women from across the world form a closed association: The Lesbian Billionaires Club 
  • Extremely predictable (slim) stories of each billionaire told with heavy-handed tediousness
  • To be fair, this one has more of a storyline than the two preceding it
  • Lots of sex – these books are all erotic romances
  • Hope is rather likeable
  • These billionaires have absolutely suck-y security – all of them in all the books
  • The next one promises to be one starring socially awkward billionaire, Kris, and billionaire arch-villain, Georgia DeLane who is almost a cartoonish caricature, but still our favourite character in this series  


The Setup by T. B. Markinson




…because…not a lot of story in this one

  • The whole story happens in one single day that the two mains are ‘setup’ by a mutual friend 
  • Good dialogue
  • Markinson manages to give enough background about both leads (especially Imogen)
  • The day seemed just too long – and for just one day (or less) it felt too much emotionally and the sheer number of incident-wise 
  • This one could’ve well been spread over a few days and been called a novel instead of a novella
  • Once again – great dialogue


Twice Shy by Aurora Rey, Narrated by Keira Grace (Audiobook)



Amanda Russo, owner of Bake My Day, is a successful businesswoman on her way to expanding her popular bakery. She’d just bought the space next door and meets with the architect, Quinn Sullivan, to discuss her vision. 

Amanda and Quinn are both divorced women. Amanda’s ex, Mel, cheated on her and left her and their two kids (now teenagers). Ditto Quinn. Neither of them is particularly looking to get into another relationship despites friends and family egging them to at least date and put themselves out there, maybe just a little. 

On an overnight visit to see her daughter’s recital, Amanda ends up sleeping with Mel, who is in the process of ending things with her new wife (because new wife wants kids and Mel doesn’t). And then they sleep together again. And then the fix up a date for which Mel doesn’t turn up. 

Quinn is attracted to Amanda right away but being somewhat shy and insecure doesn’t particularly do anything about it. But soon they do end up spending time together and their relationship develops. 

So, the synopsis is sketchy considering that there is a lot of presence of Amanda’s children and Mel in this book. Also, the relationship between Amanda and Quinn is developed at an unhurried and convincing pace. The two ladies are very well-developed characters and we really get to know them well. Plus, couple of smoking hot sex scenes. 

But there are a couple of things that weren’t particularly understandable. First, Amanda repeatedly sleeping with Mel and agreeing to meet her for a date all the while loudly protesting that she doesn’t want them to get back together. Didn’t compute. (For the record, Mel seems to be a jerk with her wives. But a mom she seems to have a good relationship with the kids and also seems to be someone the children can count on in times of emergency.) 

The second thing we didn’t quite get was – why exactly did Quinn want a break? Mel made a grand gesture that Amanda rejected. Amanda goes to Quinn post that fiasco…and Quinn asks for space? Huh? There’s lots of mature dialogue but we like are romances to be, well, romantic. More feeling, less thought. 

Keira Grace has a lovely voice and does a great job with the nine-plus hours. But there were times when we wished we’d read the book instead of listening to it – we’d have like to hear voices, intonations and emotions from our imagination in this one. We’d probably have got more involved into it them. Guess we are hardcore readers, after all.


Wild Things by Karin Kallmaker, Narrated by Abby Craden (Audiobook)



…because…this is a lesfic classic

  • First published in the 1990s, this book undoubtedly started off as a Xena fanfic – but has nothing really to do with the serial. It would’ve been an uber fic.
  • Like Denial from around the same time and probably with the same Xena-fanfic genesis, this has one MC (Faith) involved with the other MC’s (Sydney) brother
  • Like many books of that time, this has the two MCs struggling against their attraction towards each other
  • Struggles with owning one’s sexuality – a mid-thirties coming of age story
  • Big role of religion and homophobic parents contextualize and capture the period perfectly
  • We somehow find that the books written is the 1990s are incredibly emotionally passionate – the angst, the feelings, the struggles, the rampant emotions – all so passionate and immersive
  • The angst!
  • Great characterisation
  • We adore (read that in all caps) Faith Fitzgerald 
  • Abby Craden. Nothing more to be said there. Except…no one whispers as seductively as she does.

Pitifully Ugly by Robin Alexander




…because…Robin Alexander

  • Robin Alexander humour and hilarity all the way
  • The dildo mishap scene? Totally ROFL
  • More feinting by MCs than expected
  • Really liked both the ladies….but Hailey a tad more


The Big Tow: An Unlikely Romance by Ann McMan



This crime-com is such a zany, fun, irreverent ride of entertainment that we’re totally signing up for the next instalment. Think: the absurd, fun impossibility of Ruthless People marrying the stylish heists of If Tomorrow Comes and here is the child of that union. 

Synopsis-wise, the blurb is perfect, so we’re just going with it here.

Welcome to the National Recovery Bureau, where your assets are as sacred as God’s holy word.”

Vera “Nick” Nicholson is an overtaxed and underpaid attorney wasting away on the bottom rung of the gilded ladder at Turner, Witherspoon, Anders, and Tyler, PA in Winston-Salem, NC. When a high-priced luxury car belonging to one of the firm’s top clients goes missing, Nick gets saddled with the unenviable job of recovering the vehicle—and its mysterious contents—without involving the cops. Enter Fast Eddie and his quirky band of misfits at The National Recovery Bureau, a repo agency located in a sleepy town called K-Vegas.

When Nick is unceremoniously furloughed from TWAT, she throws caution to the wind and signs on to become the newest agent of the NRB, teaming up with moonlighting third-grade schoolteacher, Frances “Frankie” Stohler. Frankie’s mortician father and beautician mother are stalwarts of the Winston-Salem community—so it’s no surprise that everyone across three counties has some connection to her family. What is surprising, however, is the Slim Jim Frankie carries in her purse and her preternatural talent for jacking cars.

Nick and Frankie’s stumbling entrĂ©e into the surreal world of asset recovery takes them on a hilarious, fast-paced and mind-bending journey across the back roads and byways of the Tar Heel state, setting into motion a chain of misadventures that lead them both toward financial independence, cataclysmic legal jeopardy, and the discovery that true love can sometimes lurk in the most unlikely places.

But the real magic is in the writing and the bunch of wacky characters. Much like McMan’s Jericho, there are a large number of excellently developed secondary characters in this one too. Our top favourites are Antigone, Carol Jenkins and Frankie’s Hermoine-like purse. 

Frankie (small sigh) is awesome. So awesome. Bright, peppy, enthusiastic, enterprising, funny…sexy. We so love her response to vague statements:

“I think want to kiss you.” 

“When will you be sure?”


…I’d think you were flirting with me.”

“You mean you’re not sure? I must not be doing it right.”

Nick is the opposite of Frankie. A Negative Nervous Nelly and quite a downer in the whole proceeding. The book is written in first person from Nick’s PoV, so there way too much of her, but everything and everyone else is just so great that Nick was rescued and she also floated on the high fun-crest of this delightful book.

There is attraction between Frankie and Nick, but the romance is woven into the narrative rather than the narrative being woven around the romance. And it works perfectly. 

This is most definitely amongst the ten funniest sit-com books we’ve read and in the top three crime-coms. 


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Check Out Our Reviews Of

Matters of the Heart
The Shark
Then & Now
Just Married?
Give Me a Reason
Dare to Stay
Peppermint Kiss
Eyes Like Those
Love Like This
Blood and Roses
The Arrangement
Princess of Dorsa
Marriage of Unconvenience
The Lucky Ones
Off Screen
Reality Check
Far from Home
Stormy Seas

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