Leading The Witness

– by Carsen Taite

 

When Carsen Taite releases a book especially when it’s something to do with US criminal law/legal matters, I get very excited because as you may know, Taite’s my official go-to author for all things US criminal law-related. I love all her law-related books because I can always feel this sense of authenticity, the level of detail and knowledge that Taite innately injects into her stories. I love authors who use their other professional expertise to validate and substantiate the realism of the cases/plots weaved. For me, it makes for a better, more convincing, more informed read when I believe in what’s being written and told. But that’s just me, so…!

Anyway, back to Taite’s latest legal romance outing, “Leading the Witness,” which I read it in one short sitting. First off, I was already intrigued by what the blurb revealed about the story, the plot and the MCs. A seasoned prosecutor, a zealous defence attorney hellbent on grilling law enforcement witnesses in all her cases (aka a chip on her shoulder but as a result of very legitimate reasons which readers will get to discover as the story progressed), two attorneys with opposing methodologies in trying criminal cases, a high profile child kidnap case, an old equally high-profile child kidnap case resurfacing that was related to one of the MCs, not to mention, both MCs butting heads in every step of the way whilst also being attracted to each other! Intriguing, innit? But then, as I started reading it, I must say, how this story unfolded from the start was an unexpected one for me because going into the story, mindful of what the blurb alluded to in regard to the plot, I was prepared for what I thought would be Taite’s usual writing structure and storytelling style. Alas, it wasn’t and my intrigue level increased exponentially! For me, this was not the usual style that Taite uses in her writing and story-weaving of a crime-and-law-related plot and romance.

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All The Reasons I Need (Paradise Series Book 2)

– by Jaime Clevenger

 

I utterly loved Jaime Clevenger‘s “Three Reasons To Say Yes,” Book 1 of the Paradise Romance series (and my first book of hers), which incidentally made my favourite lesfic books of 2018. So when I heard that there was going to be a sequel exploring the romance between Mo and Kate, the secondary characters featured in Book 1, who were Julia’s BFFs, I was thrilled! “All The Reasons I Need,” whilst can be read as a stand-alone, if you ask me, I would highly recommend reading Book 1 first simply because Mo and Kate were heavily featured in it with details about their characters and relationship. That said, Clevenger did give a general recap about what transpired between these two best mates in Book 1 in this installment. But I’d still recommend giving “Three Reasons…” a read, perhaps after reading this sequel if not before.

Mo and Kate. I was intrigued by their characters and their relationship as part of the trio of BFFs since college sixteen years ago – Julia, Mo and Kate – when they were introduced in Book 1. Their relationship got even closer as they ended up spending most of the time with each other when Julia was busy falling in love with Reed whilst they were all on holiday in Hawaii. Things happened which led to the start of this story.

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Burn It Down

– by K. Aten

Well! As if K. Aten hadn’t had enough genres to play with for her infinitely inquisitive mind that houses her incredible writing and storytelling talent, now she’s done it with yet another genre – “Contemporary Fiction!” And, dare I say, she’s hit the nail on this one, too, with her latest deeply emotional, intensely personal endeavour in “Burn It Down.” Well done!

When Aten promised tears to be had when reading this book, I told myself that it ain’t gonna happen with me. No tears! No way! Yeh, my rebellious nature always rears its head, sometimes at my own peril! Nonetheless, I was determined to fight it! Until I was immersed in the depths of the protagonist’s journey of agonising pain, suffering but ultimately healing in this book… Bloody hell! As I found myself unexpectedly choking up, literally fighting back tears (ffs!)  in not one but two gut-punching, heart-wrenching moments, I was literally dumbstruck by the sheer power of Aten’s words and expressive narrative. Awestruck. It was then that I raised my white flag fervently to the creator of these soul-stirring words in welcoming defeat. Ms. Aten, you won. Respect. I devoured the book in no time at all. By the end of the ride, I was emotionally drained, physically knackered, but filled with an encompassing sense of cathartic euphoria, exhilaration, and pure joy….. for Ash, who came to life as well as every other character that Aten vividly described and authentically portrayed. I felt like I knew all of them by the end of the roller-coaster ride, from the depths of darkness to the jubilation of light, literally wishing them well like I would if they were standing in front of me IRL.

I have so much to say. So, so much… My mind is still reeling even as I write this with the steady, hypnotic sound reverberating in my stream of consciousness…

ching-clp ching-clp ching-clp…

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Mine To Keep

– by Wendy Hudson

 

I know I should have read this book earlier especially with an irresistible cover like this one (more about this and the title later!) and because I thought “Four Steps” was a brilliant debut effort by Wendy Hudson, which put her on my radar in the world of lesfic reading. But for some reason, I thought I’d read it all this time until I happened to review my reading queue and surprise sur-bloody-prise, “Mine To Keep” was still sitting there staring at me with that bloody mesmerising cover taunting me! Gobsmacked, I was! Bloody hell! Reckon me mind’s done for! Too many books, too little time! Grrr!  Anyway, by this time, I’d read her 3rd and latest book, “Meant To Be Me,” already. But just like everything else, things happen for a reason, don’t they? And timing is everything, innit? Won’t bore you with the deets about what it means except I can firmly attest that “Mine To Keep” is now my favourite Hudson book! Her best one, thusfar, as far as I’m concerned! Hence, this book has effectively renewed my continued interest in her writing and creativity whose craft I’ll always be looking forward to exploring! Well done, Ms. Hudson!

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Wooing The Farmer (Axedale Series Book 3)

– by Jenny Frame

 

**LOVE the cover! Oh-so colourful, so quaint! Bright and joy! Look at the reflection?! So pretty! Makes me happy every time I look at it! Well done!**

I’ve been looking forward to reading this third installment of Jenny Frame‘s Axedale Series, “Wooing The Farmer!!!” So naturally, I devoured it in one short sitting as soon as I received it! I couldn’t wait to see what Frame had in-store for me favourite farmer, Quade, the shy, adorable, terribly forlorn and lonesome butch who had been looking for the love of her life, the femme of her dreams since Book 1. Aaarghhhh!! Poor Quade!

Not anymore!!! Thank Christ!!

And the ideal femme of Quade’s dreams? Well, just wait ’til you read all about Penelope Huntingdon-Stewart (Penny)! Wow! Talk about THE femme of the femmes!!! Frame’s detailed description of Penny was so vivid that I could see clearly – with the many bright girly/feminine colours and cute cartoony prints that accompanied them in all of her attire including her footwear, her make-up, accessories, the lot – what exactly she looked like! As if those weren’t enough to describe a stereotypical-looking femme, Penny also had a dog, a brown toy poodle named Princess Baby Bear who accompanied her everywhere in the designer dog bag she carried with her all the time. Yes, Penelope Huntingdon-Stewart and Princess Baby Bear. There you have it. Hats off, Frame, for creating this unapologetic, extremely femme-looking femme, whom I’d never come across in any lesfic character described quite like her before! How absolutely refreshing and exciting especially when Penny came face-to-face with the other end of the spectrum – yes, the ultimate butch-looking butch, Quade!! Ah yes, let’s not forget that this is a fairy tale romance. Perfection!

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Never Enough

– by Robyn Nyx

NE-RN

After reading Robyn Nyx‘s time travel saga (The Extractor Trilogy), I had to go back to her beginning, obviously, so I read her debut novel, “Never Enough.” Since I loved her writing style in the Trilogy, I had a strong feeling I’d love this book. Nothing like a writing style that captures the beating of the heart and words that flow like a rhythm, innit? Sure enough, two chapters in, me mind was made up. I shall be reading everything this new favourite author of mine churns out. End of.

I think I may have finally found me favourite McDermid/Cornwell-style of crime/thriller writing in lesfic! Yup, Nyx’s book ticks all the boxes (and then some!) that I’m looking for in this particular genre – unreservedly dark, intense, gruesome, graphic violence (non-sexual, mind!), suspenseful, thrilling. It’s the dog’s bollocks, really (for me!). But the icing on the cake that McDermid/Cornwell doesn’t have but Nyx does? Explicit, uninhibited sex and romance. In other words, the whole package. Sealed and delivered brilliantly with originality and creativity in the plot and story. Bloody hell YES!

Picture this:

Celebrity (Actor)–Journalist–Human trafficking plot–Sadistic killer–Love

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The Doll Maker: A Detective Sophie Whitton Story

– by Claire Highton-Stevenson

I must admit, it was the creepiness of THIS cover that hooked me in. I was sold. Instantly. Yes, visuals, graphics, images are important to me especially when it comes to the thriller/mystery/paranormal/supernatural/horror genres. Having not read any of Claire Highton-Stevenson‘s books before, but had heard about her critically-acclaimed writing, and the fact that it was her first stab at writing in the crime/thriller genre, me curiosity was naturally piqued. And being a huge fan of this genre, especially when it’s dark and psychological, PLUS with a cover like THIS one…very hard to keep me away. So I read it. In one single sitting.

Initially, I assumed the perp was just like any other serial killer who left messages beside their victims, i.e. note, playing card, toys, paraphernalia, dolls. I actually thought – ok, another woman-hating murderer. Then the murder scenes were reminiscent of Jack the Ripper’s (you know what he did to his kills so you’ll have to read this to draw your own conclusion). But then Highton-Stevenson turned this theme on its head with a refreshingly intriguing modus operandi which I totally was caught off-guard and simply loved the surprise! Frankly, having read so many dark crimes and thrillers, very rarely would I be surprised. Bloody well done, Highton-Stevenson! I’m officially impressed! Continue reading “The Doll Maker: A Detective Sophie Whitton Story”