“A pleasure to read:” Bella Books reviews are in

Reviews of Bella Books are in—and wow are they overwhelmingly positive! From best of lists to individual reviews, we’ve gathered all this good news about our books in one place for your reading pleasure. Whether it’s a murder mystery or a love story, our books are making reviewers happy campers—but don’t take it from us, read on to see what the reviewers themselves had to say!

Best of lists

Books by Bella Books authors showed up on a slew of “Best of” lists at the end of 2020 and the beginning of the new year. On Bookvark’s “Lesbian Fiction Best of 2020” list, Gerri Hill‘s Gillette Park was named best horror/paranormal novel and Tagan Shepard‘s Queen of Humboldt was named best action novel. Following Chance by Baxter Brown made “Victoria’s 10 Best Books of 2020” from The Lesbian Review, where Victoria wrote “I love it when an author can put me through the emotional wringer, and Brown really did me in.” Lez Review Books “Best of Lesfic in 2020 – Readers’ Choice” list included Reaping the Benefitsby E.J. Noyes as 2020 reader pick. Also from E.J. Noyes, Alone made The Lesbian Review’s “Shikis Best Books of 2020.”

Lez Review Books’ Lex named a number of Bella Books titles to “Lex’s List of Best Lesfic Books for 2020,” including:

Beyond The Big 5 named M.B. Guel‘s Queerleadersto their best YA of the last decade, noting “It’s a really well-paced novel…and the ending is a really warm one, full of joy and hope. A superb debut.” Beyond The Big 5’s Anya Josephs shared “The Most Anticipated Books of 2021,” naming Cindy Rizzo‘s The Papercutter to the list, noting “This book has all the representation I’m dying for: queer characters and Jewish characters are so underrepresented in speculative fiction, especially characters whose Jewishness is central to their identity and the story.”

What a ringing endorsement for our novels that so many made best of lists!

January new releases

Lambda Literary released their list of January’s most anticipated books, naming all three of our new releases to their list. Choosing Grace by Regina Jamison and The Last Time We Met by Maggie Brown and Leni Hanson made their list of romance novels, and A Message in Blood by Catherine Maiorisi made their Mystery/Thriller list. Lez Review Books shared their recommended lesbian books for January, naming A Message in Blood by Catherine Maiorisi to their Mystery list and selecting and The Last Time We Met by Maggie Brown and Leni Hanson for their recommended debut.

A Message in Blood by Catherine Maiorisi has received some very strong reviews. Rainbow Reflection‘s Betty Harmon gave the novel 5 stars, writing “This is one of the best investigative mysteries I’ve read in a very long time…The mystery and investigation is complete and I never felt I was missing something I needed from the earlier books…This novel has my highest recommendation.” On NetGalley, reviewer Eh Stevens gave the book 5 stars: “Maoirisi delivers another excellent crime drama…a pleasure to read.” Also on NetGalley, Skip Singleton gave it another 5 stars, noting “The mystery element of the book was done really well… We’re kept in suspense until the very end as to the perpetrator and I enjoyed the twists that came with this storyline… If you haven’t started this series yet, do.” On NetGalley, reviewer Claire Estelle also gave the book 5 stars: “There is a lot in this book which really shows the power of a good crime novel especially with a network of kick ass, mostly female, mostly queer people determined to do what they can in a corrupt society.” On NetGalley, emma smith, a reviewer, also gave the book 5 stars, writing “A page-turner… a gripping murder mystery with plenty of twists and turns.” Lex Kent gave the book 4.5 stars on GoodReads: “The mystery was well done again like in every book in this series…I could not figure out who the “bad guy/girl” was. I’m usually good at figuring it out from reading so many mysteries but I was hooked on the wrong person instead. I love when mystery authors can sneak one by me and Maiorisi is clever.”

The Last Time We Met by Maggie Brown and Leni Hanson has received a handful of very nice reviews. On NetGalley, reviewer Krystal Smith gave the book 5 stars: “I loved this novel. I thought the slow burn was perfect and was expecting for one or the other to come forward with their feelings. The writing is beautiful, and the characters felt realistic.” Also on NetGalley, Cathy Williams gave the book another 5 stars, writing ” I absolutely adored The Last Time We Met…A lovely sweet romance which keeps you entertained until the end.” On NetGalley, librarian Kaye Cox gave the book 4.5 stars: “I really enjoyed this light lesbian romance…Little touches […] enhance the story and romance.” Over on Rainbow Reflections, the book received 4 stars, with reviewer Betty Harmon noting: “I’m glad that I read this story. It is a romance with well-developed characters, and several stunningly beautiful settings.”

Regina Jamison‘s Choosing Grace received 4 stars from reviewer Fiona Taylor on NetGalley: “I was drawn to this book by the cover and the description of the story and I was not disappointed!! This book had me hooked right from the first chapter…The author skillfully weaves a believable and authentic world that any reader can immerse themselves in. I am happy to have discovered a talented author and will definitely look out for other future publications.”

New reviews of older releases

From the Ashes by Stacy Lynn Miller received a succinct, glowing review on Goodreads from Dalin who gave the book 5 stars: “Now that’s how you write a book! Love it!” On NetGalley, reviewer Carolyn McBride gave the book 4 stars, writing “There is danger here, passion, secrets…all of the things that keep me reading long into the night. But this book wormed its way into me and wouldn’t let up.” McBride continues, “I do hope the author is interested in bringing us more from this made-up world of hers because I’ll be among the first in line with my money out. I enjoyed it that much.”

Louise McBain‘s Maybe Charlotte received 4 stars from Rainbow Reflections, where reviewer Betty Harmon writes: “I truly enjoyed reading Maybe Charlotte by Louise McBain… I needed something to read that was relaxing as well as uplifting, and this book fit the bill perfectly.”

The Other Side of Forestlands Lake by Carolyn Elizabeth continues to receive strong reviews. On NetGalley, reviewer T Geist gave the book 4 stars, writing, “The author is so great at drawing you into worlds that I was engrossed throughout the whole thing. So many great side characters and backstories. Overall, solid book to read and different enough that I’ll remember it.” Victoria Thomas from The Lesbian Review also enjoyed the book, writing “I enjoyed losing myself in a paranormal story…The book is well paced, and it’s spooky enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck without making you need to sleep with the lights on.” Tara Scott also enjoyed the book, writing a review for Lambda Literary that said, “The ghost story and suspense elements are strong, making The Other Side of Forestlands Lake a fun, compelling reading…The characters are compelling, the relationship growth is heartwarming, and the supernatural elements are intriguing without ever veering into true horror territory.”

The audiobook for Gerri Hill‘s The Scorpion, narrated by Abby Craden, received a very nice review in The Lesbian Review: “Gerri Hill wrote a compelling mystery and Abby Craden did a fantastic job narrating it. There is a slow burn romance and I recommend it.”

Make sure to pick up all of these great titles from Bella Books at BellaBooks.com—we’ll be back soon with more reviews!

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