The Bookgeek reviews Kiss The Girl by Melissa Brayden

Sweet romance with lots of hot kissing

There are romances and there are romances – some come with heavy angst and a lot of deep and troubling issues, some are mysteries cum romance or paranormal cum romance and some are just that a romance. And as I have said before, the last kind of pure romance is the most rare and the most difficult to find. Melissa Brayden can be relied on to write consistently very sweet, pure romances and delivers again with her newest book Kiss the Girl.

Jessica is a tough, driven business woman who is all work, no fun. But then she meets Brooklyn and discovers life, love, and sweet kissing. Brooklyn is creative, fun, and a crazy driver in NYC. She has spend her youth in the foster care system and has learned early in her life not to open up her heart lest she will be left again. Now she runs a successful advertising agency with her three friends who won her heart during their college years. Enter Jessica and enter a message from her birth mother. It’s showtime for Jessica in her personal life and also at work because it turns out that she and her agency are fighting for the same, big account.

I loved how Melissa Brayden puts a true romance together from scratch which tugs at the reader’s heart strings, is filled with humor, and introduces us to wonderfully likable secondary characters. There are scenes suffused with the sweetest love, some with great sadness or even anger – a whole gamut of emotions takes readers on a gentle roller coaster with a consistent upbeat tone. And at the heart of this book is a hymn to true friendship and to human decency. A special mention must be made of Ashton – a great teenager – who helps Jessica on her quest for humanity. The setting, advertising in NYC, is well done and convincing.

The editing, though, disappointed a few times e.g. I had to reread some scenes or dialogues to get the timeline or who was speaking.

Since on the cover we learn that this is “A Soho Loft Romance” I hold high hopes that we will hear more about Brooklyn and her friends, Sam, Mallory, Hunter who are not only great friends, but single too – hint. This review definitely needs to end with mentioning that there is kissing – sweet, hot, great kissing.

You can purchase Kiss the Girl by clicking here or at Bold Strokes Books.

Alberta Reviews 96 Hours, Heart Block, and Second Nature


96 hours by Georgia Beers

96 hours is set in the first days and weeks of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

Abby Hayes, a young woman in her late twenties, is on a return flight from London to New York to visit her mother for a few days. After having quit her job a few years before so she could experience life and travel around the world, she’s what you would call a free spirit. On the same plane, Erica Ryan is returning from a business trip that didn’t quite turn out as planned. Living for her work and ready to be home so she can continue to work on a solution for her product, she’s more than a little frustrated when all of a sudden the plane is redirected to a small town in Newfoundland. With nearly 7,000 other passengers they learn of the 9/11 attacks and try to cope with the horrible reality of the aftermath. Trapped for nearly a week in this small town, Abby and Erica have to learn to work together to make the whole situation as bearable as possible.

I started this book a bit apprehensively since I was afraid it might be more about the attacks on the Twin Towers than about the characters and I wanted to read a novel not non-fiction. I needn’t have worried. Georgia Beers uses the backdrop of 9/11 as a setting for two very different characters to look beyond their own perspective. It is never a tool to paint the world in black and white and good and evil – something I unfortunately have come across while reading stories set around the attacks. One of her main characters describes this best when she sits in a bus in New York a few weeks after 9/11 and is devastated by the hateful looks some passengers throw at everyone that looks like someone from the Middle East.

The secondary characters are equally well developed, with their own backgrounds and perspectives. Something I came to expect from Georgia Beers’ books. Her characters are always well developed and seem very real – no superheroes, no perfectness. Everyone could be someone you might actually meet in the grocery store or on the street. The whole story has a very slow pace since most of it takes place within a week. As a reader that gave me the chance to experience this claustrophobic atmosphere along with the characters, the waiting around, not knowing what to expect.

I recommend this book to everyone who is interested in reading about three-dimensional characters in a very difficult situation and a slowly developing romance. If you are looking for an action-driven plot in the midst of 9/11 this is not the book for you.


Heart Block by Melissa Brayden

Emory Owen, owner of a multi-million dollar news agency, isn’t all too thrilled that she has to take care of selling and cleaning out her late mother’s mansion. Never having been close to any of her family and especially not her mother, she’s not willing to invest too much of her time into her childhood home. When a friend recommends a cleaning service to take care of the house, she accepts right away.

Sarah Matamoros is a young woman, working for her mother’s cleaning house business. She tries to balance her life around the job, taking care of her eight-year-old daughter Grace and finding enough time for her large Mexican family.

When she meets the owner of her newest project, Emory Owen, she’s at first taken aback by the aloof, all-business like behaviour of a daughter that has just lost her mother. As time passes, the two so very different women get to know and love each other. But is that enough to overcome the obstacles of two very different worlds?

Having read Melissa Brayden’s “Waitng in the Wings”, which I really liked, I was curious whether she’d be a one-hit-wonder or if her second book would be equally as interesting. And it is. Her characters are well developed and especially the little girl was most definitely not a plot device – which in the books I’ve read is unfortunately quite often the case with children. I especially liked the way Emory developed new insights throughout the book. There were a few problems I didn’t really get since simple communication could have solved them pretty easily but it didn’t take away from my reading enjoyment. The book features interesting secondary characters in real worlds as well, with jobs, friendships, responsibilities and families.

All in all I’d like to recommend this book to anyone that’s interested to read a story that’s – much like the author’s other book “Waiting in the Wings” – not your formulistic lesbian romance.


Second Nature by Jae

Jorie Price is a writer of fantasy books, working on her newest project – a book about shape shifters.

Griffin Westmore is a real life shape shifter, assigned to stop Jorie from publishing her novel since it comes very close to the reality of their world and might endanger her species. When she realises that there is more to her assignment than trying to stop Jorie from finishing her book, she starts an investigation into her own ministry – a decision that puts her, as well as Jorie’s life into mortal danger. But there is only one way to save them and that involves trusting a human with her greatest secret and at the same time trusting her own estranged family to support her decision.

Second Nature is not your typical lesbian romance novel. Having read several of Jae’s previous books, I was curious if she’d be able to draw me into her fantasy world as well with her writing skills. She did. Developing not only interesting and three-dimensional protagonists and secondary characters, she also created a very complex and thought-out setting – a world where shape shifters exist in a parallel world to “regular” humans. She manages to make their worries to be found out believable and their struggles with their identity very convincing. After all, those are circumstances, a lot of minorities that have to hide in an unfriendly society have to face. So I wouldn’t consider that a fantasy aspect.

But even though this part was not fantasy for me, the rest of the book most certainly is. The characters are not humans with an additional skill – like an additional sense or special powers like Spiderman or Harry Potter, who are first and foremost humans, no, they aren’t human – at all! They are as much animal, if not more so, as they are human. So if you are not into the fantasy genre, this book is not for you. One of the protagonist’s for example is a cat shifter. Which means, even in her human form she walks like a cat and only tries to disguise it and she sees colours like a cat does and not like a human.

If you are new to this genre – like I was – and you are willing to open your mind to this world then you’ll find a novel full of suspense and action, of romance and fleshed-out cast of characters and a storyline that had me reading until late at night. And if you are already a fantasy fan then you’ll love this book.

Heart Block by Melissa Brayden


Heart Block is a sweet romance that features a highly successful woman, born with a silver spoon to largely uncommunicative parents. Upon the death of her mother, Emory requires the organizational skills of Sarah’s family business. Emory is immediately attracted to Sarah, and surprisingly charmed by her precocious and witty daughter.

Sarah and Emory quickly become friends (and more) but must deal with a multitude of obstacles. Emory’s stressful job takes up all her spare time, and Sarah suffers bouts of insecurity, being surrounded by people that are “above her station.” Emory’s problems stem from her emotionally-stunted family dynamics, so you can imagine there are some hurdles to be jumped. Have I mentioned that Sarah has never been attracted to a woman before?

I’ve heard people on Goodreads complain that there are too many “coming out” romances around. I wonder if that’s a common sentiment among lesfic readers, but I’ve gotta say, it’s not how I feel at all. Maybe it’s because I didn’t spring forth from the womb knowing I was attracted to other girls. I didn’t realize I might have been looking in the wrong place until I was 25, and I wasn’t even 100% sure until a year or two later. I honestly believe that there is quite a wide range on the Kinsey scale, and it is a rare person that is a strict 0 or 6. Maybe it’s because of this that I felt such a strong connection to Sarah in the story. She would be attracted to men, but never felt those emotions that one should feel when falling in love. The way Brayden tackles the subject through Sarah (you date men, because that’s what you do) was exactly the same recognition I came to years ago. I never consciously realized that I wasn’t feeling what others were until I did.

The author handles two things particularly well: Sarah’s hesitancy to tell her family and her daughter’s limitless acceptance.  It really emphasizes the contrast between the older and younger generations in regard to how homosexuality is becoming ‘no big deal’ which is so very lovely. Did I mention the humor? Although this book doesn’t beat you over the head with wit, the interactions are almost always humorous, making both characters really quite loveable. Overall a very enjoyable read, and one that I just flew through. I’m thinking it will be one I revisit on a regular basis, when I’m looking for a sweet pick-me-up.

If you’re interested in hearing more about this book, you should hop over to Cocktail Hour, where the author stopped by for a delightful podcast with Andy and the Rev.

You can get Melissa’s books at BSB or Amazon