“A lovely romance” and “lyrical” Bella Books reviews are in!

Reviews of Bella Books are in—and they are remarkably positive! From sweet romances to intense mysteries, our books are making reviewers so happy we can’t help but say “D’aww!” But don’t take our word for it, read on to hear directly from them…

Reviews of June new releases

Tagan Shepard’s Swipe Right has received some strong reviews! Cathie Williamson gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley: “What I appreciate most is the level of respect that’s given to build their relationship to the next level. This author has a knack for observing and translating the human heart and the emotions we tie to it while moving the story through a roller coaster of how Kieran reacts to those emotions. So much more than a standard romance, Swipe Right will be one of my favorites of 2021.” Karen Cobb also gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “Tagan Shepard’s writing style is so lyrical and lovely and lush that it just draws me in immediately. I love first person and it really works here as we get to experience all the disappointment Kieran feels every time one of her dates is a disaster…Within the lovely writing, Shepard parcels out Pen’s back story in increments that resulted in this being unputdownable for me.” The reviewer continues: “This one will be standing near the top for me at the end of 2021 when I look back on my favorites of the year.” T Geist gave the book 4 stars on NetGalley: “I loved the [dating] horror stories in this book, and really looked forward to each date knowing how bad it would be…Overall, I really like this book and felt like it was unique enough to remember it in a few months.” Les Reveur gave the book 4 stars, writing: “This book had me laughing by the end of the first page. It’s not a comedy but the relationship between Kieran and Pen includes hilarious moments.”

The Papercutter by Cindy Rizzo received a nice review from Lez Review Books who have the book 4 stars: “There’s so much more here, secret codes, clandestine agencies, dangerous meetups, and mysticism. But it’s the characters that make you care and maybe at the back of your mind, grow a seed of concern if you live here in the USA. The last third of the book absolutely flew and all I could think of was, when is book 2 coming out?”

Nancy J. Hedin’s Old Love received a nice review from The Lesbian Review: “The character development is superb, and I loved the warm community feel that grew as the story progressed. A really good mystery, with a second-chance romance.”

Save The Date, our recent anthology of wedding-focused short stories, has received some very nice reviews! Carol Coleman gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley: “What a fun summer read-I love anthologies because I discover new authors. With Save the Date, I have multiple new authors I am looking for more books they wrote… If you are looking for a good summer read, I highly recommend this anthology.’ Melina Bickard gave the book 4 stars on NetGalley, writing “This is an enjoyable read for the summer reason as weddings start picking up again. I enjoyed how the anthology featured very different genres and writing styles, and a range of established authors and new names…Overall, I’d recommend this book as a nice and light read for the summer.” Kaye Cox gave the book 4 stars on NetGalley: “June is traditional time for weddings and a month to celebrate Pride. What could be more timely than an anthology focusing on f/f love with weddings as a common denominator. Eleven different authors create short stories with romances…Now I have some new authors I can be on the lookout for future books.”

Reviews of May new releases

Pas de Deux by E.J. Noyes has received some great reviews. Rainbow Reflections gave the book 5 stars: “I had a blast reading this novel. I’ve listed it as a favorite book, and it has my highest recommendation.” The Lesbian Review’s Anna added the book to her list of favorites, writing “This story is not the traditional enemies-to-lovers romance, and I love that. Noyes really puts emphasis on how skewed memories can become as you get older, and how an experience may appear different to another person who had the exact same one.” Anna continues: “If you love horses, enemies-to-lovers, or even just Noyes’ stories in general, this one will definitely be a favorite on your list.” The Lesbian Book Blog says of the book: “she really outdoes herself with Pas de Deux. The descriptions and word choice for all things equine is beyond notable and extremely well done. I was totally engaged in this story, these characters and the horses until the very end. Pas de Deux is a rich and complex story.” Carolyn McBride gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “This novel might well rank up there in superstar-land alongside Noyes’ “Alone”. It’s THAT good. This deserves much more than five stars, and I’m a little sad that’s all I can give.”

The audiobook version of Pas De Deux, narrated by Abby Craden, has also received a couple nice reviews. Les Reveur writes: “Another exceptional book by E.J. Noyes. We thoroughly recommend you grab your copy as soon as you can. You won’t regret it.” Speaking of the narration, they write “Abby Craden’s narration is wonderful as usual. One of the reasons why I love audiobooks is that of course, it’s a totally different experience but also, what catches my attention when I read and when I listen isn’t always the same. And while I loved this book when I read it, I completely rediscovered it in Abby Craden’s narration.” Gaby with Lez Review Books writes: “If you are looking for a sports romance with endearing characters and low on angst, then this one is definitely for you. It’s a great audiobook to listen to coming into the Olympics.”

Jaime Clevenger’s One Weekend in Aspen has received some very nice reviews! Lez Review Books gave the book 5 stars, writing “if you are looking for an equal part hot, romantic and drama-filled read, this one is for you.” Rainbow Reflections gave the book 5 stars: “this novel blew me away. It has everything you need for a great romance. The premise is unique and definitely interesting. The setting is absolutely gorgeous. The people are what really makes this novel special though… This is what makes the story one of the most beautiful romances I’ve read this year.” Les Reveur also gave the book 5 stars, writing “I don’t even know where to start. This book is all about chemistry, the best kind outside of erotica: chemistry so strong it has to be rooted in compatibility beyond sex… Jude and I loved One Weekend in Aspen, and I personally think this is the best book Jaime Clevenger has ever published.” Melinda Bickard gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley: “This book was the best thing I’ve read all year and will no doubt find itself in my to-reread-multiple-times category. I love Jaime Clevenger’s books so had high expectations going in, and she’s managed to surpass them many times over with this book.” Jill Hallworth-Smith also gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “What makes this work so well is that the novel is more about the characters discovering themselves and having the courage to go after what they really want. Yes, it’s a hot sizzling novel, but it is so much more than being just about sex.”

Love’s No Joke by Cheri Ritz has received strong reviews! Jaq Allan gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and how they were developed through the story. When the girls were in the Café meeting for lunch it took me back to the days of The L Word…As a lesbian myself it was great to read about normal everyday women and there be an actual genuine storyline.” Bonnie Kay gave the book 4 stars on NetGalley: “Love’s No Joke is a well written, quick, enjoyable contemporary romance set in Las Vegas…Great main and secondary characters with amazing chemistry. I enjoyed the story and appreciated the bond and support the circle of friends had. Overall a great read.”

April new releases

KG MacGregor’s Words Unsaid has received some strong reviews! Dianne King-McGavin gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “KG MacGregor is one of my favorite authors, and her Shaken series is right at the top of my favorite work of hers. I love the characters of Anna and Lily and was so happy to read more about their journey together…Loved it – is it too much to hope that there may be yet another installment?” Mikhila No also gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley: “Going into this book, in my head there was absolutely nothing that the author could do to top the previous books, I told myself that this was just another unnecessary add on to an already perfectly wrapped up series- boy was I wrong…It’s been awhile since I’ve been unable to put a book down and admittedly for the first few pages of this book I had already made up my mind to give it four stars out of my lack of excitement but as I approached the climax of the book I found my self all over the place in emotion.” Bonnie Kay gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “This is a great family drama that touches on issues that are currently going on today…[this] page turner is beautifully crafted and well written.” Nutmeg also gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “You cannot miss this series of love, family and life. Although this latest addition does not focus as extensively on the couple, it is a natural progression of their great relationship and a very welcomed update of their family life.”

Across the Hall by Kat Jackson has received some great reviews. T Geist gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley: “I completely enjoyed this book from start to finish…Overall, a very fun read with great characters, excellent chemistry, and just the right amount of story. Can’t wait for the next one from Kat Jackson.” Orlando Javelin also gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “I could write pages and pages of nerdy literary criticism on this book but I will attempt to stick to a vaguely traditional review format and say that you should definitely buy and read this book! Mallory and Caitlin are complex characters with great depth, who I alternately wanted to hug and shake. Their stories are carefully crafted, and I am so thrilled to hear that Lina is getting her own book!” Karen Reno-Cobb gave the book 4 stars also on NetGalley: “I really enjoyed following the ups and downs of the relationship and it was hard to tell where it was going. I started reading and next thing I knew, I was finished. That’s what I love about a book.”

Carolyn Elizabeth’s Zero Chill has received some very strong reviews including 5 stars from Rainbow Reflections: “a wonderful mystery and medical romance with beautiful characters, just the right touch of angst, and a fair dash of dark humor that we’ve come to expect in these books. Ms. Elizabeth has written another winner of a novel to add to this series, and I can’t wait for the next one.” Carolyn McBride gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “I loved this book…Zero Chill is a mature, satisfying and humorous extension of the series that I’ve greatly enjoyed, and I can’t wait to read the next book!” The book also received 4 stars from Les Reveur: “I love Thayer and Corey. I love them individually and together. They’re flawed and complex and relatable. I love their banter and I love their difficult times, not only when they get hurt by outsiders, but also what they go through as a couple, how they grow together and with each other…Elizabeth really writes excellent characters.” Gaby at Lez Review Books gave the book 4.5 stars, writing “Thayer and Corey are one of my favourite lesfic couples ever. Having read more than 700 lesfic books (at least, as I lost count of some) that tells a lot. Seriously, they manage to be sweet, hot, funny, imperfect, and vulnerable, and together they have this amazing chemistry that seems to have no end. Kudos to the author to make them so real that I wouldn’t be surprised to meet them one day in person (I wish). It’s hard to maintain the same level of reader’s investment throughout a series and that what makes this one so special.”

March new releases

Riley Scott’s On The Rocks received a strong review from The Lesbian Review where Samantha added the novel to her list of favorites. The reviewer writes: “Yes, run for this book! On the Rocks by Riley Scott has romance, angst, and hot sex – everything to transport you into a sunny mini-vacation on the Gulf Coast!”

Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go by Kay Acker has received some strong praise! Megan Cooper gave the book 5 stars on Net Galley: “This was a very pleasant surprise. Ms Acker’s novel is an impressive debut. Well written, engaging characters that feel real…This is a refreshingly romance that hits all the right buttons with engaging characters who are original and well developed and a nice build up of the romance.” Also on NetGalley, reviewer Jasmine G gave the book another 5 stars, writing “The author did a fantastic job at showing the reality of family drama and the way those relationships evolved throughout the book. I also loved Lauren and Hannah’s relationship. Acker is an excellent writer, the dialogue and the setting and the flow of the novel was really excellent. I look forward to future books from this author and can’t wait to see where they go!” Rainbow Reflections gave the novel 4 stars, writing: “The premise of the novel is great, the romance is beautiful, the small town setting is perfect for the story, and the realistic characters made this book a joy to read.”

Kate Gavin’s Table for Two has received some effusive reviews. Les Reveur gave the book 5 stars, writing “I adored every minute and every page of this book. I wouldn’t change a thing, and I really hope that Kate Gavin uses her wonderful secondary characters in future novels. She has jumped on my must-watch list. Can’t wait to see what comes next.” Patricia House gave the novel 5 stars on NetGalley: “I highly recommend this excellent story of complex personalities, trying circumstances, and finding that piece of yourself that you didn’t even know you needed.” Bonnie Kay also gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “The book was very engaging. Well-developed and written. The main characters were strong, compassionate, communicated well and bonded beautifully. They overcame their adversaries by leaning on each other. I would definitely recommend this book. Well done!” Cathy Williams also gave the book 5 stars on NetGalley, writing “This is my first time for reading a Kate Gavin book, and I can guarantee this wont be my last. What a fantastically written book and story, I absolutely loved everything about it…Once I started I just couldn’t put down.” Diane Wallace gave the book 4 stars on NetGalley as well: The book “will literally grab you from the beginning to the last sentence — unleashing a roller-coaster of emotions because of its pragmatic storytelling…A highly recommended book!” On Goodreads, Pin gave the book 4 stars: “If you are a romance fan, I very much recommend it. I had a hard time putting it down, and will read it again.”

Older releases

Victoria Thomas at The Lesbian Review gave Choosing Grace by Regina Jamison a very strong review, saying the novel is “a lovely romance…Jamison does an excellent job making Sky feel like an old friend.” The reviewer continues: “The entire book is populated with strong female supporting characters and it makes for a delightful read.”

Leslie Shaip of Kissing Backwards gave Queen of Humboldt by Tagan Shepard 4 stars, writing: “This book is everything I needed right now. I was looking for something engaging and escapist. This book moves at a million miles per hour with plenty of action and romantic tension. With hints of enemies-to-lovers and the-one-that-got-away mixed with high stakes and espionage, I was hooked. When I finished it, I said out loud, ‘Aw, man! It’s over? I want more.’ Been a minute since a romance has captivated me so completely.”

Susie Staplehurst gave Pursuing Pandora by Maggie Brown 4 stars on NetGalley. The reviewer writes: “A not-to-be-missed romance-come-mystery…This book was quite delightful.”

Reviews of Audiobooks

Gaby at Lez Review Books reviewed the audiobooks for first two installments of Stacy Lynn Miller’s Manhattan Sloan Thriller series, narrated by Lori Prince: Out of the Flames and From the Ashes. Gaby writes: “Miller knows how to keep the reader at the edge of their seats waiting for the other shoe to drop at any moment.” Discussing the Price’s role, she writes: she “really brings the story to life. Her pace is perfect, specially in the numerous nail-biting action scenes but also in the more intimate ones.”

Several audiobook versions of novels by Gerri Hill, all narrated by Abby Craden, have received strong reviews from the Lesbian Review.

  • Of Love Waits, reviewer Sheena says: “This book is absolutely adorable and SO SO worth having in your audio library. It’s the kind of book I will return to again and again because it makes my heart happy.”
  • In regards to Killing Room, Sheena says: “I am pleased that it’s in my collection and will probably return to it when I want hot chemistry with a side of interesting serial killer. Worth noting is that the ending utterly surprised me and that was great fun. I do love a good Hill – Craden pairing and this is a solid addition to any audiobook library.”
  • Of The Rainbow Cedar, Sheena writes: “I enjoyed this audiobook. Hill is a good writer, her words flow easily and coupled with Craden you can be sure it’s a winning audiobook…All in all I enjoyed it and am glad I put in the time with this one. The story is sweet the main characters are lovely and there is an adorable element of meant to be together.”
  • Addressing In The Name of the Father, Sheena writes: “This is a great addition to the series and can absolutely be read as a stand alone but do yourself a favor and start with book one…it’s delightful.” Sheena continues: “I highly recommend the audiobook because Abby Craden is a legend and can pair up with Gerri Hill any day of the week and make me a happy listener.”
  • Finally, in regards to Partners, Sheena says: “I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook and loved the romance…The romance was scorchingly hot and dramatic and while there were not a ton of sex scenes there was enough sexual chemistry to keep me captivated.”

We’ll be back soon with more reviews of our new releases and older titles, too!

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