3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · LGBTQIA+ Books · mystery

New Release | All Things by Amber Belldene

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All Things by Amber Belldene

Published: September 9, 2018

Publisher: Amber Belldene

Pages: 305

Genres: LGBTQIA+, mystery

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: books with great diverse representation, modern day religion, strong friendships

Foodie Vibes: green tea and vegan baked goods from a local bakery

 

Synopsis:

A priest and a rabbi walk into a lesbian bar…

If something is unjust in San Francisco’s Mission District, the Reverend Alma Lee will face it down. She leads her vibrant church of St. Giles’ with compassion and sass. Her busy days involve match-making, meddling, and saving the city’s beloved lesbian landmark, The Carlos Club. Alma meets the intriguing Rabbi Naomi Cohen there, and she’s smitten.

Death comes to the church’s door…

When the proprietor of The Carlos Club turns up dead on the steps of St. Giles’, Naomi’s brother is the number one suspect. She needs help exonerating him, and Alma’s knowledge of the neighborhood makes her the perfect priest to solve the case. If only Alma’s ex-boyfriend, homicide detective Cesar Garza will accept her help. She still feels the pull of their old connection, but she’s convinced the sexy-smart rabbi is her perfect mate. . . Too bad Naomi is playing by different rules.

Can Alma solve the case before the murderer silences her forever?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley and Amber Belldene for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

The book starts out with a lesbian Reverend at a bar. And no, that’s not the beginning of a politically incorrect joke. All Things centers around Alma, a Reverend at the local church. We are along for all the drama that’s happening in her life these days. The book is primarily a murder mystery with veganism, modern day religion, and LGBTQIA+ representation playing a significant secondary role in this unique book.

The characters and inclusivity were the best part. I wanted to keep reading about some of these characters no matter the plot. The character development throughout was good too. Inclusivity and representation of people in non traditional churches is refreshing as well.

However the murder mystery was only okay. It kept me guessing, but I wasn’t as pulled into the mystery as I would have liked. Also there were so many references to veganism. To be clear, I have nothing against veganism, but the references weren’t subtle. Way too much telling instead of showing. The repetitiveness of telling us she’s vegan became annoying after awhile.

Overall, an enjoyable unique murder mystery that has a little something for everyone.

 

Do you love books about religion or steer clear? Or maybe somewhere in the middle?

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · LGBTQIA+ Books · Medical

ARC Book Review | Passionate Rivals by Radclyffe

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Passionate Rivals by Radclyffe

Published: September 11, 2018

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Pages: 240 

Genres: contemporary romance, medical, contemporary fiction, LGBTQIA+

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: hospital centric romances, women in medicine, the TV show Grey’s Anatomy

Foodie Vibes: hospital coffee and leftover pizza

 

Synopsis:

Onetime lovers, unexpected rivals…
Emmett McCabe never expected to see Sydney Stevens—a woman with whom she’d shared a brief, incendiary connection before it all went up in flames—again. Luckily, ascending the cutthroat ladder of a high-pressure surgery residency to reach the top spot makes it easy to ignore what’s missing in her life. Then Sydney reappears after nearly five years. Emmett is barely over her shock when she discovers Sydney is her new competition for the coveted chief’s position everyone, including Emmett, expects will be hers.
Professional rivalry and long-simmering passions create a combustible combination when the two are forced to work together, especially when past attractions won’t stay buried.

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Radclyffee and Bold Strokes Books for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

If you’re looking for the book version of the medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy but with mainly lesbian relationships, Passionate Rivals is for you.

Emmett and Sydney knew each other form years ago. They had a few passionate nights but went their separate ways. Now, as resident doctors are forced to switch hospitals due to budget cuts, the two are working side by side each day. 

I absolutely enjoyed the authentic feel of the book. The friendship and competitive nature of the residents seems real and lends an ease to the story. The writing is not overly dramatic, because the day to day life of medicine is dramatic enough. It feels like a behind the scenes look at a day in the life of a resident doctor working at a hospital. Incredibly captivating! 

However this doesn’t feel like that much of a romance novel to me. Yes, there are relationships and sexy times, but the majority of it is navigating the world of being a doctor. That will naturally include romance and relationships at times, but I wouldn’t classify it as a typical romance book.

Also, it’s the fourth in the series, but I think it can absolutely be read a stand alone. I hadn’t read any other the other books before and had no trouble. I’m definitely putting the other three books on my TBR list now!

All in all, a super enjoyable read that I highly recommend. 

 

Which TV show do you wish existed as a book series?

4 Star Books · Adventure · feminism · historical fiction · LGBTQIA+ Books

The Pirate’s Booty by Alex Westmore

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Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the review for a fun Bookish Question. I’d love to hear your answers!

 

The Pirate’s Booty by Alex Westmore 

Published: November 22, 2016

Publisher: Broad Winged Books

Pages: 344

Genres: historical fiction, LGBTQIA+, historical romance, adventure

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: pirate adventures, badass women, historical fiction with lesbians, feminism

Read with food: a nice juicy orange which is such a treat for a pirate 

 

Synopsis:

When Quinn Gallagher’s childhood friend is abducted from a dock in Ireland, she’ll do whatever it takes to come to the rescue—even if that means dressing as a man and joining the crew of one of the most notorious pirate captains the world has ever seen.

Quinn soon finds there is much to enjoy living as a man, in particular the company of other women. When she finds herself falling hard for Lady Fiona, a woman far above her own station, she is torn between revealing her true identity and continuing the façade of being a male pirate. Love is never easy, especially in the sixteenth century and especially under false pretenses.

Can Quinn live with one foot in two different worlds, or must she consign herself to either the lusty life of a pirate or the loveless life of a noble woman? Come sail the high seas in this exciting and erotic adventure with the fierce pirate Gallagher as your guide. You’re in for a wild ride and may even score some booty along the way.

 

Review:

I was contacted by the publicist of the author and offered a free ebook in exchange for a review. I read the synopsis and of course said yes! As always, an honest review.

I don’t usually read pirate adventure stories, but when I read that The Pirate’s Booty featured a female pirate queen I was very intrigued. Initially there was a bit of an adjustment regarding the language. It’s written in a 16th century pirate dialect, so I didn’t read it as quickly as modern American English. But as time went on, I became quite used to the writing style. It definitely adds to the atmosphere of the story.

The Pirate’s Booty isn’t what I think of when I imagine a typical pirate adventure novel, but it’s so much better. Female pirate queens, lesbians, women disguised as men, and of course the action packed adventure aboard the high seas!

I found myself captivated by the adventures and heartfelt stories. I loved the focus on woman power. Women proving that they are just as capable as men. The underlying themes of women’s freedom, literally and figuratively, provides interesting parallels to current day women’s issues.

Occasionally there were parts of the story that didn’t captivate me as much as others. However, there was so much going on, that it wasn’t long before another storyline came along to grab my focus.

The Pirate’s Booty is the first in a series of books featuring badass lesbian pirates. A wonderful unique story of heart, bravery and determination.

 

The Pirate’s Booty is the first in the Plundered Chronicles series.

Book 6: X Marks the Spot will be released soon, so keep a look out for it!

 

If you liked my review and are interested in learning more about the author and her books, check out:

Her website (subscribe to her newsletter for updates): http://alexwestmore.net

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alex.westmore/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009227907721

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4lrQpHa8ZX3qdkVDYEi0ng

 

 

Bookish Question of the Review:

Do you stick to a few favorite genres or read almost anything or somewhere in the middle? 

2.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · historical fiction · LGBTQIA+ Books · Literary Fiction · Uncategorized

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

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The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Published: June 19, 2018

Publisher: Viking

Pages: 421 

Genres: literary fiction, historical fiction, LGBTQ

Rating: 2.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: historical fiction about the AIDS epidemic in the 80s

Read with food: Chinese takeaway

 

Synopsis:

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to the publisher and author for a copy. As always, an honest review.

I was disappointed by this read. The story takes place in the art world in 1980s Chicago and also present day Paris. The main focus is the lives of the gay community during the AIDS epidemic in the 80s, which the author does justice. Despite what could be a phenomenal book, it fell short for me.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, nor did the story draw me in. Therefore I went through the book appreciating and enjoying certain moments, but overall not invested in either story due to lack of connection. Also the two separate stories barely had anything to do with each other. They honestly could have been 2 separate books or even eliminated most of the present day Paris storyline.

The Great Believers had some redeeming benefits though. It told a story that isn’t always portrayed in the media and actually went into detail instead of glossing over unfavorable moments. A part of the history books that isn’t always done justice.

If you can connect with the characters, then you will probably enjoy it more than I did. But if not then take my thoughts into consideration. The tone of the book and writing doesn’t really change as you get farther along in the book.

 

I liked the overall concept, but it didn’t pan out for me.

 

Anyone have any other similar books that you really liked and would recommend to me?

 

 

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · LGBTQIA+ Books · Literary Fiction

Book Review: Most Precious Blood by Vince Sgambati

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Most Precious Blood by Vince Sgambati 

Published by Guernica Editions On March 1, 2018

Pages: 300

Genres: literary fiction, LGBTQIA+ fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: authentic stories, struggles with one’s sexuality

Read with food: any sort of authentic Italian food . . . be sure to make enough for the whole family

 

Synopsis: 

Hard Luck Lenny Lasante is the quintessential good son, brother, and father. He fears a calamity will derail his son’s future the way his own dreams were derailed years ago and is adamant that Frankie leave home for college, but Frankie is preoccupied with thoughts of Gennaro DiCico, the son of a small-time mobster. Lenny’s fears are realized when a cabdriver’s son avenges his father’s murder. Most Precious Blood, set in the eleventh-hour of a declining Italian-American neighborhood, speaks of complex and often destructive loyalties, consequences, and forgiveness.

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.

Most Precious Blood tells the stories of Italian Americans living in New York City. Like most families, life is messy, filled with heartbreak, struggles, and attempts to find oneself despite what family might think. It’s Italian family life written into a story format.

At the beginning, I wasn’t really enjoying the book. It didn’t really draw me in. As I kept on reading, I learned more about all the characters and grew to enjoy their stories more and more.

Most Precious Blood mainly focuses on Frankie, a teenager growing up in the neighborhood. He’s in love with Gennaro, the son of a small time mobster. They don’t want to reveal their relationship to others, for fear of judgment and lack of acceptance. I ended up really enjoying the story as it continued to unfold. I could even see a sequel being written.

Overall, I would recommend Most Precious Blood for it’s traditional but open minded characters, rich storytelling, good food, and relevant topics.