Books in brief: Alexander, Hunter, Stark

There is nothing I can do about the news. So I may as well talk about books.

Mardi Alexander, Spirits of the Dance. Bold Strokes Books, 2015. E-ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Lesbian romance. Better than many of its ilk. Set in Australia, on a cattle ranch/in a small town, starring a leg-amputee ex-military officer and a young local with an abusive father. Lots of horses. Extended description of attempted (hetero) rape. (And when the barn goes on fire, I asked myself – homophobic foul play, or just Australian summer?) Somewhat off-balance in terms of pacing and structure, but nonetheless rather satisfying.

Cari Hunter, Cold to the Touch. Bold Strokes Books, 2015. E-ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Crime novel set somewhere around about Sheffield, as best I can tell. Starring lesbians, because Bold Strokes Books. It’s a pretty solid crime novel: with this and her last novel, Hunter has taken a step up in terms of structure, pacing and tension. There is murder, winter, relationship drama, and occasionally kissing. It is a very enjoyable novel.

Nell Stark, The Princess and the Prix. Bold Strokes Books, 2015. E-ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Lesbian princess romance is apparently a subgenre of its own now? Formula 1 driver meets Monagasque princess! Hijinks ensue! Batshit, and yet a ridiculous amount of (ridiculous) fun.

Books in brief: Cari Hunter, NO GOOD REASON, and Karis Walsh, MOUNTING EVIDENCE

Somehow it came to pass that a certain publisher of queer fiction auto-approved me on Netgalley, which means that I received access to a tranche of new or forthcoming lesbian novels.

The best of that tranche, by me, are the novels by Cari Hunter and Karis Walsh.

Cari Hunter, No Good Reason. Bold Strokes Books, 2015. Ecopy courtesy of the publisher.

This is a crime novel set in the Lake District. The two protagonists, cop Sanne and doctor Meg, are best friends and occasional lovers. When a badly injured young woman is found by hikers, who appears to have escaped from an abductor, both Sanne and Meg are drawn into the hunt for the perpetrator. It’s a very readable novel, with very appealing characters, albeit with some pacing issues, and for that reason I went out looking for everything else Hunter has written when I was done. It transpires that No Good Reason is her fourth novel: the others aren’t quite as good but they’re still solidly enjoyable.

Karis Walsh, Mounting Evidence. Bold Strokes Books, 2015. Ecopy courtesy of the publisher.

A romance between a cop who comes from a family of dirty cops, and an environmental activist/single mother. Abigail Hargrove is a lieutenant with the mounted police unit. Kira Lovell is a wetlands biologist. They meet at the state fair, and murder and kidnapping and underhanded dealings interfere in their awkward courtship. Fun, although the prose is a touch clunky and the pacing on the uneven side.