– 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…
Continue reading “Body of Work”
– 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…
Continue reading “Burn It Down”
– by Yvonne Heidt
Having been one of my favourite paranormal lesfic authors, obviously I’ve read all of Yvonne Heidt‘s books, to date, including this 2017 outing, “Meet Me In The Middle.” My primary draw to Heidt’s books is because of her brilliant writing and narrative style of telling a paranormal story with a nod to her own abilities, which, for me, gives it a more personal, evocative feel when I read it. Doesn’t change even when I re-read her books. Which brings me to “Meet Me In The Middle,” that surprised me when I initially read it because Heidt took a decidedly different route. Yup, she shifted gears and crafted a romantic comedy! Not just any romantic comedy, mind, but one with a cheekily adorable twist, a quirky cast of characters, enriched with emotively written bittersweet moments that evoked deep introspective feels as Heidt manoeuvred the subject of grief. As I read those moments, I couldn’t help feeling that it had a touch of personal realism to it. A conjecture, obvs, but I did feel it, thus, making those moments even more resonating to me. Perhaps there was a reason that my reread occurred at this particular point in time. Oh well… prolly just me! Ignore.
Since I’d read this a year ago (and having been reading so many books since then), I couldn’t remember anything about it other than the fact that I’d enjoyed it immensely. So re-reading it not only gave me a good refresher and helped jog my memory about the plot, to my utter delight, it read even better the second time around! I’m glad I read this again!
Continue reading “Meet Me In The Middle”
– by Caren J. Werlinger
Caren J. Werlinger‘s “When The Stars Sang” was my first book of hers since I stumbled upon several reviews of her latest, “Bittersweet Garden,” which subsequently piqued my curiosity about her and her work. Needless to say, all credit goes to Lex from GR (cheers, mate!) who thought that this book would be an ideal first one to start with in order to experience Werlinger’s writing and storytelling style. I was captivated by the story from the start. So, it was a quick read for me, obvs! Werlinger’s writing style was compelling. The story and its characters, primary and secondary, alike, weaved into each other so effortless, they formed a perfect tapestry.
“When The Stars Sang,” to me, is essentially a story about loss, guilt, love, forgiveness and letting go, personified with zeal by its main protagonist, Kathleen. Werlinger also posed this question, “What is family?“, as Kathleen journeyed through her second chance at living her life. I utterly loved that Werlinger chose a tiny, remote island as Kathleen’s sanctuary for solitude, self-reflection and self-discovery. An island that had been floating in the recesses of her mind for the past 25 years since she left, calling to her, the voice getting louder as time went by, to a point where she couldn’t ignore it anymore. It’s like two magnets attracting each other. To me, that’s so symbolic. Our path, our life journey is like a compass. We all have our own True North that completes us – our TRUE self. Only then are we able to discover life, love, family, spirituality. We’re programmed to find it as we journey through life. Kathleen’s True North was the island and its inhabitants.
Continue reading “When The Stars Sang”
– by Natasha West
Natasha West‘s “Only Ever You” was something I’d never come across before. At least not like this. I was enthralled by the story and how West approached it. Grief and romance with a bereavement support group as the backdrop of the entire story. Structured and weaved in so many different angles, reading the book was like watching it on-screen. Reckon this could have easily been a movie, imo! If you’ve read West’s books, you’ll know her writing style – witty, hilarious, albeit with a little more dramatic in certain quarters, conversational dialogue that flows so naturally you think you’re eavesdropping on the characters’ conversation, succinct with no unnecessary fillers that’d otherwise drag the story or overstretch the plot. And this book was no different in her deftly constructed approach. A truly captivating romantic black comedy, imo.
I absolutely loved the opening. The fact that it opened with a funeral scene was original enough for me to put it as one of my favourite opening scenes in fiction. The entire scene followed by the wake in Jessie’s house were written so vividly that I could visualise every angle of the scenes (funeral, burial and wake) playing out like a movie scene. For some reason, scenes from “Four Weddings And A Funeral” kept creeping into my mind the whole time I was reading it! Continue reading “Only Ever You”
– by Anna Burke
A holiday gift surprise fell onto me lap whilst I was on holiday, courtesy of the very kind and generous Salem West of Bywater Books! (Ta, mate!) Yes, it was in the form of a book (me fav form!)!
“Thorn” by Anna Burke.
Never read anything by this author ever before.
Wow. To say the book captivated me was an understatement. I was hooked, lined and sinkered. From the first paragraph. Literally.
Just read this… Continue reading “Thorn”