Danika reviews Rescued Heart by Georgia Beers

rescued heart georgia beers cover

I’ve been wanting to get into the romance genre lately, but I wasn’t sure where to start. I enjoyed Fresh Tracks several years ago, so I knew I liked Georgia Beers’s writing style, and that combined with the premise made for a book I couldn’t resist. A lesbian romance centred around a rescue shelter? Lesbians and puppies??

Rescued Heart is told in dual perspectives: Lisa’s and Ashley’s. Ashley is a cute-as-a-button cookie baker who volunteers at the shelter and has spent her life passively going with the flow of things. Lisa works at the shelter and comes across as uptight. She is determined to not have to take care of anyone (anymore), though she’s also reluctant to give up control.

Ashley and Lisa are obviously drawn towards each other, and both find themselves acting in surprising ways with the other’s influence. They have good chemistry, but it’s the setting and background characters that really make the novel for me. Junebug shelter seems like a real place, and it’s populated with a whole host of characters. Beers is obviously setting up for a series, but it also gives the whole story more depth. Characters weave in and out of their story without being essential to it.

The tension is also not just between the main characters. Ashley is contemplating her role at the bakery, and she’s let herself get stuck in a tepid romance. Lisa is struggling to avoid the mother that walked out on her as a teen and is now trying to establish a relationship with her decades later. And, of course, dogs and cats are prominent on the page, both at Junebug and in Lisa’s home.

I did have one cringing moment while reading this, however. [Spoilers] Ashley and Lisa agree at one point that they should go on a date without sleeping together, in order to deal with their issues. At the end of the date, Lisa pins her against a wall and they have sex anyway, even as Ashley feebly reminds her that they weren’t supposed to. They are both happy and satisfied during and after, and Ashley clearly doesn’t feel like Lisa went too far or that she was not consenting, but it still threw me out of the story. [End Spoilers]

Overall, Rescued Heart lived up to its premise, and I’m excited to read more in the Puppy Love series as they come out. Junebug is definitely a place I want to revisit.

Marthese reviews Pegasi and Prefects (Scholars and Sorcery #1) by Eleanor Beresford

pegasi

“I take my questions and shining little badges with me”

Keeping in line with my recent reviews, I read another short fantasy book. This time, I read Pegasi and Prefects which is the first in the Scholars and Sorcery series. I found it to be a somewhat good introduction but it focuses more on the main character, Charley rather than world building. At times it seemed slow but I quite enjoyed that. The book is only 138 pages so a quick read overall.

The story is about Charley, who attends Fernleigh Manor, a school for gifted people which are people that possess talents that are somewhat different from each other as no gift is the same. Charley has an affinity to communicate with fabled animals. Her family has a business in raising fabled beasts and in fact, Charley has a pegasus named Ember. She is friends with Esther and Cecily who are quite popular and so by default but not only, is Charley. They are in their last year of studies and Charley wants a quite year but her year is anything but that as she is made a senior prefect and a games captain- a sort of peer trainer for all the years and hockey teams.

Charley’s year is also rocked when two new girls transfer in their last year at the Manor. She has to share a study room with Diana, who many people are charmed by but not Charley. Moreover, She has to be friendly to Rosalind, a very shy girl but in the end this would not be a problem as Charley develops feelings for Rosalind after the two girls take care of an animal together since it turns out that they both share an affinity to fabled beasts.

Charley is what could be called a tomboy and we see some gender relations and how different people treat her because of this- namely Esther, Diana and her brothers. Charley learns not to fall into prejudice and also learns to be less selfish. This seems also a theme about her love life, where she assumes things about Rosalind and is jealous but at the same time wants to be selfless.

World building is slow and sometimes confusing but things eventually got clearer. We get to know more about different animals and about the history of the reality that the characters live in. When reading fantasy I tend to assume that it’s a different world and so I was surprised when things like cars or hockey got mentioned but when they were, it helped me understand and relate better.

Despite it’s slowness, I found it to be a calming book and it also kept me interested and as such, I read it very quickly. I recommend it to people that like fantasy books but that are looking for something different from the usual epic battle or action theme. It is also suitable for young audiences and more focused on Charley’s self-reflection.

Danika reviews Call Me Softly D. Jackson Leigh

I’ve got to tell you, I am perhaps unreasonably impressed by this book. I’ve been reading a lot of self-published lesbian fiction, and I’m sorry to say that that often lowers the bar.

Besides, Call Me Softly even corrects some common published lesfic annoyances, in that it has a plot unrelated to the romance. A plot! There is mystery and suspense and murder and family secrets and horses! I mean, there are actual things happening other than girl meets girl, girls fall in love with each other, girl inadvertently screws it up with girl (usually due to a tragic misunderstanding), and girls eventually get together after all. Other things! So, if you are not as easily impressed by these things, I’m not sure how you’ll feel about it.

Oh, and also, the writing doesn’t distract from the story! Okay, well, I have to admit that the sex scene writing seemed a little odd, and in places awkward to the point of being unbelievable (the dialogue, especially), but that was the only place I had a problem with it.

Did I mention horses? See the horse on the cover? They feature prominently in the novel. If you went through a horse phase growing up (or still love them now!), this will probably be a plus. Even if you don’t have a particular interest in horses (like me), however, I don’t think you’ll find it distracting. Unless maybe you’re not an animal person at all.

Usually I avoid mysteries because I’m so terrible at picking up on clues that I feel completely lost by the end, but in this one I could see one of the big reveals coming. Again, I don’t think it really detracts from the novel, but you most likely won’t have to think too hard about the mystery aspect, especially if you’re an experienced mystery reader.

The ending seemed to be rather sudden and dramatic, but in retrospect I’m not sure how else it could have been done. I would have preferred, however, and epilogue or something to get back to the slower pace the rest of the novel has, but that’s a very minor point.

This review is a bit all over the place, but overall I think this definitely an above-average lesbian romance and I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a little more interest in their lesfic.

Check out MFred’s review for more info about the plot and characters (and let’s face it, a little more cohesive of a review).