Secrets Of The Last Castle

– A. Rose Mathieu

 

After having SO much fun with “Sins Of Our Fathers,” obviously I HAD to continue the A. Rose Mathieu way with her sophomore effort and sequel to “Sins,” “Secrets Of The Last Castle” immediately or I wouldn’t be able to go on with other titles! First off, sequels, in general, are hard to write mainly because of all the pressure of trying to top the success and quality of their originals, aren’t they? Hence it’s not commonplace for sequels to fair better than their predecessors because most often than not, creators tend to go overboard (with few exceptions, obvs!). But Mathieu not only succeeded in nailing another top-notch sophomore story but also succeeded in crafting a sequel with flying colours! Perhaps even surpassing the overall quality of the writing and storytelling of the first one, imho! In fact, for me, “Secrets Of The Last Castle,” was just superbly remarkable and extraordinary!

You know how sequels tend to be bigger and more elaborate than the first, right? Like Randy Meeks said in “Scream 2,”: “There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate — more blood, more gore. Carnage candy.” Mathieu did it. With remarkable effect. The plot was bigger, more sinister and infinitely more dangerous, Elizabeth and Grace’s relationship was more expanded, deeper, their roles in the plot more intricately entwined, stakes couldn’t be higher.

I was beyond ecstatic that I had the opportunity to take that fabulously thrilling ride with Elizabeth, Grace and the rest of the pack from “Sins Of Our Fathers” in this highly entertaining, superlatively weaved, darkly subversive piece of crime/mystery thriller! This time, Mathieu took her innate skill in weaving a truly splendid tale and elevated it to another level of brilliance! In this sequel, Mathieu delved even deeper into the many intertwining events and stories that formed this tale. A cerebral, intelligent, clever, ingenious plot that just kept getting more intricate at each developmental stage of the story, the characters, primary and secondary alike, the ever-changing situations and warping circumstances.

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Eastside / Westside / Love

– by Eliza Andrews

 

 

Eliza Andrews‘ latest novel, “Eastside / Westside / Love,” literally placed the love story between two women from vastly different backgrounds under a microscope in order to examine and explore the implications of some of the most pertinent and very relevant social and political issues today – race, class, inequality and gentrification – to determine if the power of love could conquer all that came between them. In essence, it was a heavy-hitting socio-politcal commentary wrapped in a compellingly-told, complex love story. Talk about complicated!

From the start, I could sense Andrews’ passion and determination to tell not just another complex love story but one that provokes the psyche into delving into the deepest recesses of the mind to reflect on the fundamental beliefs about race and class when it comes to the pursuit of true love, on top of all the usual emotional facets that come with it. And in America, race is still a highly-charged topic especially between Caucasians (white) and African-Americans (black). Yes, I’ve read lesfic romances involving a black woman and a white woman from different class/social status but they barely scratched the surfaces of how race and class would play a consequential role in their love and relationship. Reckon it’s too difficult and uncomfortable to delve into it. But not for Andrews. If you’ve been following her blog, you’d know that she’s always been very vocal about how she feels when it comes to race and class in America, the inequality and how systemic gentrification has increased the inequality gap between rich and poor, with the common denominator being race, in recent times. Worse since America’s new administration came into power and divisive politics has further degraded the unity of the nation as one people. Anyway, Andrews managed to weave a love story that tackled these very issues with as much sensitivity as she could whilst being utterly honest. Needless to say, I was left with some reflective thoughts to ponder.

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Compass Rose

– by Anna Burke

After a captivating read of Anna Burke‘s latest novel, “Thorn,” obviously I HAD to read her debut work, “Compass Rose.” The critics were right. By gosh, what a fantastic, thrilling, captivating ride indeed! This swashbuckling action-adventure where I got to read about pirates, mercs, and the military all converging in the high seas (not to mention monsters!), marking their territories and warring for more was exceptionally depicted with persistently vivid visualisations of each and every situation, environment, surroundings, all described with such realism that I was transported to every scene that Burke created, like I was there meself, observing every action and sequence….virtually!

Burke’s “Compass Rose,” at times, was reminiscent of Jules Verne’s classic sea voyage adventure literature, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea,” and at times reminded me of “The Pirates of the Carribean,” for me. Except, Burke’s voyage was infinitely better for me, imho, because of many factors, namely, all the badarse, kick-arse leading characters were WOMEN! Bloody hell YES! Having expressed just how much I loved Burke’s literary, lyrical writing style in “Thorn,” Burke continued to impress me to no end with her brilliant knack for creating a glorious sense of music in her richly descriptive, heart-tugging words in every scenario and dialogue/monologue that somehow transformed into lyrical notes in me head as I read on!

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Pursuit of Happiness

– by Carsen Taite

Carsen Taite‘s latest, “Pursuit of Happiness,” was one of the must-read books in 2018 that I was looking forward to explore especially due to its subject matter. Having always been fascinated with and intrigued by the US political and justice systems (since they’re so different from our own, in fact, most of the world’s!) – the good AND the bad – and knowing that I can always count on Taite to give me a bloody good read about said subject matters, all wrapped in romance or thriller in lesfic to boot, I expected no less when I started reading this book. Let’s just say…there’s a reason why Taite is me go-to lesfic author for anything related to the US legal/political matters. Because she delivers. Every. Single. Time. Continue reading “Pursuit of Happiness”