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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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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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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Fire & Ice

– by Rachel Spangler

 

When I first found out that Rachel Spangler wrote another sports romance, only this time, it’s about a sport that I don’t think I’ve ever come across in lesfic – CURLING (!!!!) – I was like, “Whaa?!” That, in and of itself, thrilled me to no end because, firstly, it’s a sport that no one has written about in a lesbian romance, and secondly, I’ve been intrigued by curling since discovering the sport whilst watching the Olympics coverage a few years ago. My prior prejudice, prejudgement, presumptions about the sport went out the window upon discovering that there was so much strategy in the game! Like chess! Such complicated scoring criteria, too! Curling was definitely much harder than it looked! At the end of watching the entire match for the first time, I was aghast at the level of quiet competitiveness and stress, and had to admit that it was an intricately charming sport that I could easily get sucked into! *So I could relate to Max (one of the story’s MCs)’s initial scoffing of the sport! 

In this sports romance, Spangler truly characterised and epitomised the sport of curling with rigour as I learned so much about it with all the details that she weaved into the story – terms, tactics, scores, movements, strategy plays, the hard work, sports coverage. What better to tell a story about curling than having the skipper (leader) of a small town curling team and a seasoned sports reporter who was recently relegated to the bottom pit in the world of sports reporting because of a huge scandal and steadfastly reluctant to be assigned to do a coverage on an unknown curling team in a small town. Bam, that’s Spangler’s story right there with all the intricacies, conflict, and other intriguing ingredients for a well-told and written slow-burn romance between two ambitious professionals from either side of the sport’s world. An athlete and a reporter.

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What Happened After…(San Francisco Series, #4)

– by Nicole Pyland

 

I love Nicole Pyland‘s writing so obviously I’ve read all her books and won’t miss any future ones. So when her latest, the post-epilogue finale her San Francisco series, “What Happened After…(San Franciso Series, #4),” came out, I quickly devoured it.

I must say, I like and enjoyed this series finale much more than the Chicago series. I was a little tentative at first because of the Chicago post-epilogue series finale. But then…I literally whooped in delight when I discovered that all 3 post-epilogue updates of the 3 pairings from the SF series (Books 1-3 – Keira/Emma, Joanna/Macon & Hillary/Amara) had….NO BABIES!!!!!! Thank bloody Christ!! I mean, I was truly baby-ed out from the post-epilogue “What Happened After…(Chicago Series, #4)”, if you must know. This one though, I was chuffed to bits finding out each couple’s married life and their future’s trajectory did not include tiny humans at all!! Phew! What a fabulous and delish surprise for me! Sigh of relief! **Why? Because not every lesbian couple’s future has to be about babies, you know what I mean?** So, cheers, Ms. Pyland!

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