Second Kiss: Daisy Grace Webber’s life hasn’t exactly turned out how she thought. She didn’t think she’d drop out of college and come back to the small town she grew up in. To be fair, she didn’t think her love of baking would turn into a job at the Violet Hill Cafe either, but it did.
Something else she didn’t expect was for Molly Madison to walk back into her life, eight years after she moved away. They’d been best friends forever, or so she’d thought. But Molly is back in town and she’s looking… really good, actually. And that reminds Daisy of that one time at a sleepover when they’d kissed during a game of Spin the Bottle. That one kiss has been on her mind since then, but it’s irrelevant. Molly isn’t into girls.
But as Daisy and Molly spend more time together, feelings start to grow, and Daisy is wondering just how “straight” Molly really is…
Rep: lesbian MC, queer LI
Double Exposure: Anna Corcoran’s life is hectic, but that’s how she likes it. Between her jobs at the Violet Hill Cafe, the local library, and doing publicity work for authors, she doesn’t have much time for anything else. Until Lacey Cole walks into the cafe and she feels like she’s been knocked off her axis.
Lacey’s a photographer and writer and wants to do a profile on the cafe, including an interview with Anna. She’s game, but after spending a few days with Lacey, Anna is falling. Hard. The only problem is that Lacey isn’t going to be sticking around. She floats from town to town, never staying in one place.
But as they get closer and closer, Anna wonders if maybe this would be the one time when Lacey would decide to stay put. With her.
Rep: pansexual MC, trans bisexual LI
Second Chance: Serena Nolan’s summer isn’t going how she planned. Fortunately, her cousin, Anna, is there to rescue her from spending her time off from college with parents who don’t understand (or want to understand) her. Serena’s thrilled to be living with Anna and her girlfriend, Lacey in Lacey’s studio, and working in the Violet Hill Cafe. She’s even adores Lacey’s cat, Murder.
What she definitely didn’t plan was running into her ex, Fiona Davis. They’d been best friends that had turned into something else, but everything had crashed and burned before the end of high school several years ago.
Serena is still smarting from the heartbreak, but she can’t say no to spending some time with Fi. Against her better judgement, old feelings are mixing with new ones, and she doesn’t know what to do. Serena will have to decide if past heartbreak is going to keep her from a potential future with Fiona.
Rep: bisexual/demiromantic and demisexual MC, queer LI
My (average) rating:
When I started reading this series I soon realized I wasn’t really going to be able to review each book, and that I’d have to write a collective review instead.
It’s funny how all three titles play with the number two: second, double, second. It’s funny because for each negative thing I will say in this review, I will also say why I also found the same thing positive.
➖ The novellas are short, around 60 pages each. I usually prefer longer romance books because I enjoy spending more time with the main characters to get to know them and care about them.
➕ No matter if you’re working full time or if you’re on holiday, there’s always a time at some point when you might feel like reading something super short and that won’t keep you up all night. These novellas are perfect for that.
➖ The short page time also means that there’s not a lot of time to develop the relationships. It also means that there’s not a lot of time to be subtle about it: the MC always goes “wow she’s so hot” about the LI literally the first time they meet and then keeps going on about how hot she is and that’s most of the internal monologue. That’s not exactly something I’m a fan of because it gets repetitive fast.
➕ But it’s also so fucking nice and refreshing to read about attraction between women in a way that’s so explicit and uncomplicated and normalized. Misogyny tells us we are sexual objects but it’s shameful to embrace sexual attraction ourselves, especially when no man is involved in said attraction. To see this normalized, even if in a way that I found a bit over the top, is really damn important.
➖ I would find it more realistic if the relationships were shown the way early-stage relationships are: less “I love you”s and more “let’s be together and see where this goes”. I don’t mean that it’s impossible to fall in love that fast, but I feel like it should be more the exception than the norm. Especially since the characters find themselves taking pretty big and important decisions about their lives because of said relationship.
➕ On the other hand, I feel like sapphic stories need all the HEA they can get, so who cares if these short novellas end with a totally sappy and totally fluffy ending.
Now onto random stuff I liked and that doesn’t have a negative counterpart:
I loved the explicit use of labels! The pairings were diversified and I also appreciated the fact that in the second novella had a trans LI.
The sex scenes were also explicit and not fade-to-black, which I appreciated because of what I said before about normalizing sex between women.
The setting and common-thread of the novellas is a queer café in which all the MCs work. It’s literally a café where only queer people work and it’s super inclusive of everyone and it’s supposed to be a safe space for the queer people of the town, and it contributes to create a safe feeling for the reader too.
TL;DR: I would have probably given this series a slightly lower rating because of personal taste, but I appreciated it nonetheless because of the importance it has for sapphic girls and because sometimes you need to reminded that it’s okay to be a sapphic girl and that you deserve your happy ending.
Have you read this series? What did you think about it? Do you usually enjoy reading novellas? What are some of your favorite ones (not necessarily romance)?