Children Of The Stars

– by K. Aten

 

K. Aten‘s latest, I must say, took me to a whole new level of intrigue!! The subject matter, the significance of the metaphysics, psychic abilities including telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation, telesthesia, levitation, clairvoyance, the lot! As if not enough, Aten also injected the divine connection of soulmates, not to mention, higher consciousness, aliens, other universes… the whole nine yards! With all these ingredients mixed together to create a uniquely engaging and intriguing story about two royal babies, princesses, born from two different planets, Tora and Reyna, in the Q’orre system, who were bonded as soulmates (Q’sirrahna), but as a result of their respective planets being under attack, they were inevitably shipped off to Earth for their own protection, kept under watch by the Watchers. When I read this prologue, I couldn’t help but be reminded a little bit of “Superman.” Just a little bit.  But what really piqued my curiosity and intrigue was how Aten moulded the back story of the entire situation with the MCs’ planets of origin, the system, the battle, and the nature of the soulmate bond and the circumstances in which the two MCs, Zendara Inyri Baen-Tor (Zen), Princess of Tora, and Amari Losira Del Rey (Amari), Princess of Reyna, were separated on Earth, living separate lives but were meant to be reunited when the timing was right. I won’t elaborate here except to make reference to the following: Wes Penre and Robert Morning Sky. It’s uncanny how Aten’s story here reminded me so much of these two people. If you know either or both of them, you’d understand. Simply remarkable! Obviously, this is just my own interpretation regarding the parallels between what Aten brought into this brilliantly weaved and told sci-fi/speculative/paranormal/supernatural/metaphysical story, and Penre and Sky’s observations. If you don’t know what in the world I’m referring to, don’t fret. Read this story as is. But if you do, then, it really is extraordinary, innit? Hmm.. I wonder…

Anyway….

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Soul Burn

– by Megan Hart and Brenda Murphy

Brenda Murphy‘s latest is actually a duology which she collaborated with a fellow author, Megan Hart, with their own unique story to tell. I had read some outline of Murphy’s story, “Shifting Flames,” which she so generously shared when it was still work-in-progress and I was intrigued by the dynamic between the two MCs in a particular situation under a precarious environment. Anyway, so I was looking forward to reading the entire story altogether. However, I had never heard of Megan Hart before. So this duology was as good an opportunity as any, for me to explore Hart’s writing and storytelling, with her story, “The Fire Inside.”

Shifting Flames” and “The Fire Inside” were two separate stories but in the same genre – urban fantasy. Yup, shape-shifters. First off, I love urban fantasy especially when it comes to shape-shifters, werewolves, vampires, and the lot. That said, what was unique about this urban fantasy-themed duology was that both stories were structured in the world of BDSM. Yup, I must say, I’d never encountered this original blend of urban fantasy with BDSM as the sub-genre before until now. So, apart from having the opportunity to explore these two genres together as one, my curiosity was piqued. I was intrigued by just how Murphy and Hart would craft their stories with the nature of shape-shifters as their main backdrop of their BDSM-focussed romance. Let’s just say, by the end of each presented story, I was impressed by the amount of effortlessness in telling a proper romance with the “added” ingredient. I was fully invested in the dynamic of the MCs, in their respective journeys of love, truth and reconciliation and letting go.

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Body of Work

– by Charlotte Mills

 

Charlotte Mills’ latest outing, “Body of Work,” was a combination of a second-chance romance with a touch of mystery built around it. The story also dealt with a myriad of emotional and psychological issues, namely, grief, depression, loss, childhood trauma and mental instability. After having read all of Mill’s books since her debut, “Unlikely Places,” and her last one, “Payback,” which became one of my favourite crime/mystery/romance books, had effectively sealed her as one lesfic author to watch out for. I’ve enjoyed her writing style and stories which almost always have some twists along the way. So I was looking forward to what was up her sleeve with this new story of hers. Reading the blurb got me excited about exploring the story especially how Mills would weave the intriguing mystery into the main arc. As I expected, Mills didn’t disappoint because all throughout the story, she made you feel like at any given moment, something would pop out revealing something about the mystery!

I loved that Mills started the book with a prologue that was a flashback from the present time. 1987. Immediately it hit my sense of curiosity. Right off the bat, Mills set up what would become the backdrop of the main arc all throughout the book. The case of a mysterious disappearance of the main character’s elder brother, a late teen, who was not only her sibling but also her close mate. The circumstances surrounding his disappearance were pure mystery. One moment he was just going out to his bestie’s house, the next, poof, he was gone! Missing and never found despite attempts from the police force to locate him. Then in a blink of an eye, 30+ years had passed. That’s when the main story began…

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Corporate Lines

– by Donna Jay

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Donna Jay’s latest, “Corporate Lines,” was another delightfully written and told erotic (light BDSM) romance between two women who met under some strange circumstances one evening. A circumstance that I thought was unique, in that, I’d never read anything like it before. So, that was refreshing! Jay wrote this story in a dual-POV format, where every chapter denoted each MC’s POV, albeit, told in a third-person narrative. I thought it was a good move to do so in light of the unique dynamic they were in. So knowing about their state of mind separately allowed me, as a reader, to be invested equally in both MCs’ stories.

What’s unique about this insta-attraction, “office“-ish romance was that it happened at the least likely of situation because, don’t know about you, but for me, my whole perspective has changed after reading this book, and from now on, I’ll be looking at office cleaners in a whole new perspective! Anyway, there’s also an ice-queen persona added into the mix, although, Jay didn’t use it as a proper trope in this story, only a passing thought, really. Might as well because in this story, Jay’s primary focus was the D/s dynamic between Simone and Nadia, both of whom, weren’t the typical D/s characters that we are (at least I am) used to reading about. I loved it that Jay portrayed their initial meet as a typical boss-meets-worker scenario. And then, we discovered that nothing was what it seemed, which made the story more interesting than it already was! Boss and office cleaner?

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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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