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.
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?
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.
Brenda Murphy‘s latest, “Complex Dimensions,” is the fourth installment of her Rowan House Series (if you haven’t read any of it, you should!). In this installment, although there were characters from two of the previous instalments making appearances, this story was purely about an ex-con trying to make a life of her own after losing everything – her girlfriend, her academia, her future – by signing up as a horse barn manager at the exclusive and elusive Rowan House in Skye, Scotland.
I was intrigued by Murphy’s choice of the title – Complex Dimensions. Complex dimension is a mathematical term used to refer to the dimension of shapes, i.e. the complex manifold or the complex algebraic variety (figures shown below), with real and imaginary points.
Within a complex dimension, you can find strange attractors, which make fractals – infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales, driven by recursion, they are images of dynamic systems – picture of chaos, nonlinear and unpredictable. So expect the unexpected, so to speak. An example of a strange attractor would be the Lorenz attractor (figure below), with a butterfly shape, which the term butterfly effect is derived from. These two mathematical terms, complex dimensions and strange attractors which Murphy briefly used in one scene to describe the main character’s academic interest and research, imo, symbolised the love story between she and the other MC.
Having read Telanu’s fanfic of the same title first a while ago and had since been waiting in anticipation for its full publication because, first, “The X Ingredient” was so superbly written and told that when Telanu left me hanging at the end of the fanfic version with a promise of a full publication at a later time, I was beside myself with horror because….well, I really wanted to know what happened in the second act and Telanu spared no mercy with that cliffhanger! That was prolly 2 years ago?
As you know, Telanu is Roslyn Sinclair‘s fanfic pen name – and whilst we’re at it, I HIGHLY recommend you to go get yourself some Telanu reads because they’re simply a cut above, you’ll never realise you’re reading a fanfic piece! Her “Truth & Measure” (DWP)? Truly outstanding, one of my all-time favourite lesfic and I don’t even classify it as a fanfic, really. Top notch quality writing. Ok, ok, I’m sorry. I think I just went off-tangent here! THIS is about Ms. Sinclair’s newest book, “The X Ingredient,” the finished product of its original incomplete fanfic piece, which, technically is not, since Sinclair practically overhauled the entire DWP-inspired setting, basically scrubbing off any trace of it, toned down the level of “explicitness” (you know what I mean!) but just a little bit (no worries!), and reworked it into an office romance in a high-powered law firm with a new premise of the story. Continue reading “The X Ingredient”→
My first Jess Lea book, which was incidentally her debut published work, too, “The Taste Of Her (Volume 1),” was an experience that rarely occurred in my reading. I couldn’t evaluate her writing effectively because I was too distracted by the mammoth of a tease the book presented to me! I tried. I knew I liked her word flow and rhythm but I just couldn’t get past that “hurdle.” So, I didn’t pursue Volume 2 when it came out although it was always floating in my consciousness because of the curiosity in me. And then I read Lea’s first full-length published work, “A Curious Woman.” Needless to say, my enquiry about her writing, style, narrative, was summarily answered. Lea’s style, her keen sense of unconventionality, curiosity and creativity, evidenced in her writing and storytelling of that book, is my cuppa! So, thanks to “A Curious Woman,” which I utterly enjoyed, I decided to give this Volume a proper read, knowing that this time, I’d be able to focus, whilst hoping it wouldn’t be another tease in the world of lesbian erotica! I was absolutely thrilled that Volume 2 was completely different than Volume 1 – in style, story, effect.
Ok, Volume 2 came with five stories. Different lengths and dare I say, uniquely different, utterly unconventional, highly irregular stories of erotica! At least, I never came across anything quite like how Lea concocted them! Talk about eccentric in a very risqué way! Another observation which I reckon is prolly Lea’s theme. Age-gap. Even in “A Curious Woman,” it was an age-gap romance. So, I reckon, this particular trope is Lea’s forte and preference (?). Anyway, back to this book, shall we? Out of the five stories, two of them truly stuck out for me in virtually every way of the story construction and effect – quality and essence of the plot, the characters, the situation/circumstance – all but made me want to know more even after they ended! IMO, they could very well be expanded into full-length novels. Without further ado, here they are: Continue reading “The Taste Of Her (Volume 2)”→