Someone To Love (An Unexpected Romance Series Book #2)

– by Jenny Frame

 

Jenny Frame‘s latest work, “Someone To Love,” is a spin-off of her previous book, “Unexpected,” which I really enjoyed very much specifically because of the originality of the story and how Frame executed it with heartwarming resonance. In the story, there was an antagonistic character, Trent, who was one of the MCs’ (Becca) ex, who really piqued my curiosity as I thought there was potential in expanding her storyline. And voila! Before I knew it, Frame announced that she would write a spin-off with Trent as the MC! Thus born this Book 2 of the Unexpected Romance series. Needless to say, I enjoyed exploring Trent’s back story and what made her who she was. Also, I always find it intriguing to explore a character who starts off as an antagonist in one circumstance but transforms into a protagonist when the POV turns to that individual in a new environment and set of circumstances, thus, making her an even more layered character altogether.

Essentially, this story was an age-gap, second chance, and a totally unexpected romance between Trent, a 40-year-old divorce lawyer, who was still licking her wounds, mentally and emotionally, even years after she and Becca ended their relationship, and Wendy, a 26-year-old “au pair” aka nanny, who left the country to nurse her heartbreak 5 years ago and only just returned to London after working as a nanny to various families from different countries. How did these two individuals, both having experienced a major heartbreak in their love lives, from totally different backgrounds, not to mention, polar opposites in every sense of the word, cross paths, you might ask. Well, as serendipity goes, you’d never know what’s lurking around the corner waiting to steal your heart just when you least expect it and when it strikes, there’s no escape, no matter how hard you try. Despite Trent being hopelessly averse to having kids in her life and Wendy who loved kids, always dreaming of having a family of her own, it was Trent’s sudden “inheritance” of two kids (from her cousin who died from a sudden tragic accident with no next of kin except her, their godmother!) who effectively ended her “freedom of singlehood” that brought Wendy into her life! Fate, it seemed, was not without a sense of irony, was it? (channeling Morpheus!)

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Uncharted (A Chase Stinsen Adventure)

– by Robyn Nyx

 

I was thrilled to find out that there would be a lesbian-themed, Lara Croft-style adventure courtesy of Robyn Nyx when an announcement was made. Being a fan of Nyx’s writing and storytelling, I was really looking forward to reading it. Thus, when I received an ARC of “Uncharted,” I was thrilled with anticipation! Let’s just say, Nyx didn’t disappoint! In fact, the two MCs, Chase and Rayne, embodied the characterisation of Lara Croft/Tomb Raider (Rayne) and Indiana Jones (Chase), two of the famous fictional archaeological characters whom I’ve always loved! Not to mention, the archaeological digs/adventures, too! Can’t get any better than that, can it?

This story was about the ultimate archaeological find aka treasure hunt, in this case! Just like many other archaeo-adventure I’ve come across, i.e. Indiana Jones movies, Lara Croft movies, Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Romancing the Stone, Jewel of the Nile, Treasure Island, King Solomon’s Mines movies,  National Treasure movies, The Goonies, The Mummy, Prince of Persia, amongst others. Most often than not, there’s always a treasure map, rumoured to be authentic and the enticement is always gold! No exception here in “Uncharted.” A treasure hunt of something that no one had ever discovered before, something that would change the world. One word: Mayan.

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Tinsel

– by Kris Bryant

 

Kris Bryant‘s latest outing, “Tinsel,” was inundated with holiday feels! Well, obviously because…just look at the cover! Right? Well, more than that, it was a quirky, bashful, witty, whimsical (yes!) story about life after a break-up, taking a chance, letting go and just…. having fun with the new, the unknown, in life.

It was a different kind of writing and storytelling style for Bryant in this novella. Well, at least different for me compared to her previous work, in the tone, rhythm and sound of her word flow and expressions, especially the situation with Jessica’s state of mind and her bad break-up (of the worst kind!) which seeped into her workplace, too because… well, you know the saying, “Don’t sh*t where you eat?” The wit and caricature style in the “wicked witch” characteristics and behaviour department were fun to read. Is it just me or do I detect a hint of Brayden-esque, no? Oh well… just me then…

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Double Six (Rowan House Series, Book 5)

– Brenda Murphy

 

Finally! Finally I got to explore Elaine’s story in Book 5 of Brenda Murphy‘s Rowan House series! I had been intrigued and curious about Elaine’s character since Book 1. If you’ve read the Rowan House series, you would know that Elaine was Martha’s sister, co-owner of the exclusive Rowan House, who used to be the Cook before she delegated it to someone else.  In the previous installments of the series, Murphy’s depiction of Elaine was one of mystique, equipped with a cold, hard exterior, brash and seemingly unaffected by whatever was going on at the Rowan House including its residents. Such an enigmatic character was why I was intrigued by Elaine in the first place because there’s always an underlying factor or reason for a person to behave in such a removed, apathetic, aloof manner.

Although this book could be read as a standalone, because the other past MCs from previous installments made appearances in this story, i.e. Martha and Lucia, Millie and Veronica, Jaya, including other secondary characters, i.e. Elaine, Robin, who incidentally became the MCs in this installment, it’d have been even more engaging to read this story with the knowledge of the history and back stories of these characters. But, it’s not a big deal because this story introduced a new character, Petra, a prospective employee for the vacant Dom (Mistress) position, being chauffeured to Rowan House for an interview and a tour of the place.

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Invisible, As Music

– by Caren J. Werlinger

 

What can I say about Caren J. Werlinger‘s latest book, “Invisible, as Music,” eh? Gosh, Werlinger can really squeeze your heart, pull your heartstrings, with her stories, can’t she? After reading “Bittersweet Garden” and “When The Stars Sang,” I knew Werlinger would give me yet another thought-provoking, heart-gripping, gut-wrenching story about the human condition – the wonders, fragility, strength, power, vulnerability of it – in her own unique voice, which, I must say, always carries a certain spiritual undertone. And, I was not wrong because “Invisible, as Music” was absolutely captivating from start to finish, with some memorable moments I’d not soon forget!

Firstly, the title. Not knowing its origin, I was immediately intrigued because…music. Anything about music always perks my curiosity. And to add the word “invisible” to it… I don’t know but it immediately gave me this feeling of mystique. Invisible, as music… It’s so lyrically poetic. ‘Nuff said.

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If The Shoe Fits

– by E. J. Noyes

 

I was thrilled when I first heard that E.J. Noyes was going to write another story which would give one of my all-time favourite lesfic couples, Sabine (Sab) and Rebecca (Bec), from the “Ask, Tell” and “Ask Me Again” books their well-deserved, fully celebrated happy ending! Plus, the book would be about Sab’s sister, Jana, who was featured as a secondary character in the previous two books.

Anyway, “If The Shoe Fits” was a brilliantly written story about self-discovery, sexual awakening, truth and reconciliation, and living one’s true self, ultimately. I love Noyes’ voice in her writing because it’s always filled with emotional depth that relates and resonates so the characters and situations she creates are realistic. At least for me. Obviously, the same happened with this story as Noyes took us on Jana’s journey of metamorphosis. Speaking of, this story was told in a first-person narrative, focussing solely on Jana’s journey. I must say, Noyes’ first-person narrative always sucks me in, I was fully invested in the MC from the start because of how she crafts the character’s entrance and scene.

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Back To September

– by Melissa Brayden

 

I’ve recently become a big fan of Melissa Brayden‘s books, although, I must say, I didn’t catch the Brayden bug until much later. Yeh, until I read her last book, “Beautiful Dreamer,” which sealed the deal for me. My all-time favourite Brayden book yet. Something to be said about one’s first, eh? Anyway, since then, I’d raced through her entire catalogue and got all caught up. So, when her latest outing, “Back to September,” was released, I had to explore it, obviously.

First off, as I began reading it, I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my favourite movies, “Notting Hill,” because the setup sure had the feel of it – a small bookshop, an eccentric staff, bookstore owner encountering a celebrity in the shop, mutual attraction strikes, celebrity visiting owner’s home from the get-go, striking a nice, breezy, smooth, natural chemistry between them. In this case, Hugh Grant’s character was Hannah, the MC. Speaking of, this story was written in first-person narrative, from Hannah’s sole POV. As for Julia Roberts’ famous actor-celebrity character, it was Parker, a renowned romance author, the story’s other MC. But since this story was written solely as Hannah’s journey, I didn’t get a chance to get to know Parker’s character as well as Hannah’s.

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