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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Deadeye (Luce Hansen Thriller Book 3)

– by Meredith Doench

 

After having read Books 1 and 2 of Meredith Doench‘s utterly engaging “Luce Hansen Thriller” crime series, which I thoroughly enjoyed, obviously I HAD to read its 3rd installment, “Deadeye!” Speaking of Doench, it was thanks to Jeannie Levig who first recommended her series to me when we talked about dark lesfic crime thrillers. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known and would’ve missed an opportunity to explore Doench’s brilliant crime writing style and plot weaving in lesfic! For me, her style is reminiscent of James Patterson and Thomas Harris’, which is my cuppa tea. Needless to say, Doench’s 3rd installment continued to showcase her crime/thriller writing skills in crafting yet another intriguing case, not to mention, her insights into the ongoing development of Hansen’s emotional and psychological journey as she continued her efforts to juggle her work with her personal life better this time. One swift read later, yup, this one’s my favourite installment of the series, yet.

Obviously, I have to comment on the captivating book cover! Feast thy eyes: A scope target. Fixed on a Celtic cross. Red all over. Interpretation: Danger. Insidious. Deadly. Sniper. That’s the story. Right there. Staring at me. Who wouldn’t be curious? Well, I was! And as I explored the story, I was immediately struck by its symbolism. Well done!

Because Doench also included Hansen’s private life which she first developed in “Crossed” (Book 1), continued growing in “Forsaken Trust” (Book 2), including her romantic relationships/entanglements, there was no reason she wouldn’t further advance Hansen’s relationship with her current partner, Bennett (first introduced in “Forsaken” not merely as Hansen’s love interest but played a major role in investigating and solving the featured case), in this installment. So, even though, like other crime serials, the Luce Hansen series is a procedural, meaning each installment can be read as a stand-alone, I’d personally advise readers who haven’t read the previous two books, to do so, IF you’re also interested in the chronological development of Hansen’s private life besides the case-of-the-week plot.

Continue reading “Deadeye (Luce Hansen Thriller Book 3)”

The Fire

– by Nicole Pyland

I just stumbled upon Nicole Pyland‘s 2018 novel, “The Fire,” whilst browsing through my Goodreads timeline recently. Its blurb piqued my curiosity, tbh, because I’ve always been fascinated with stories evolving around past memories. Memories about unfinished business that resurface one day out of the blue in the present time. After reading some great reviews and a high rec from one of my GR mates, I just had to read it and explore Pyland’s craft. And was I immensely glad I did because I simply loved it! Everything about it, really. Pyland’s writing was brilliant and her story weaving was superb. The overall tone, word flow and feel of the story and its main characters were just right up my street!

Speaking of the story, I thought “The Fire” was original, creatively constructed and presented with the appropriate physical, emotional and psychological effects of someone suffering from chronic PTSD as a result of  a devastating childhood trauma that persisted throughout her adulthood. Furthermore, I thought Pyland aptly and mindfully handled Ripley’s (MC) process of “coming out for air” in the presence of love from its inception to the possibility of a future after years of living under the fog of her trauma. Needless to say, I was enthralled by Ripley’s journey which Pyland brilliantly depicted with every stage of the her character development and growth.

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Royal Court (A Royal Romance Story #3)

– by Jenny Frame

I was excited to read the 3rd installment of Jenny Frame‘s popular “A Royal Romance” series, “Royal Court.” The story was especially intriguing to me because Holly Weaver, one of Bea’s (Queen Consort) besties and her Royal Dresser, finally had her story told! I always wondered what her story was going to be about (obviously hoping, at that time, that Frame would write it! Little did I know….) since her introduction in Book #1, “A Royal Romance.” I was intrigued by her fiery character and always wondered if she was truly what she professed to be – a hetero man-eater. You know, a person who feels the need to clarify their sexuality or self-profess their sexual lifestyle for everyone to hear, always gives me this “a lady doth protest too much” feeling, if you catch me drift! So, I put Holly in that “slippery slope” category since Book 1 especially when Captain Quincy was briefly mentioned in Book 2, “Royal Rebel,” and Holly’s “Adonis” remark about her in that scene! I had me wishful thinking about their pairing, then, mind! And VOILA, what d’ya know!!! I got me wish!! Holly has her own story to tell! And goodness, did Frame give her a brilliantly crafted story, indeed, matching her with, yes, the “Adonis” she referred to in Book 2, a highly decorated Royal Marine-turned-Queen Consort’s Protection Officer, Captain Quincy, no less! YAY!! Wish came true! Imagine me joy! Needless to say, “Royal Court” is now me favourite installment in the series, yet! Yes, because of Frame’s brilliant creation and portrayal of the ever-tantalising characters, Quincy and Holly, and their utterly mesmerising journey.

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Ask Me Again

– by E.J. Noyes

I was very excited when I first heard that E.J. Noyes would be writing a sequel to her debut novel, “Ask, Tell,” which had instantly secured a place on my list of favourite stories in lesfic! Romance in the era of America’s military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, what with all the stolen glances, the hidden feelings, the nuances of forbidden love, not just because of DADT but also because of the superior-subordinate relationship between the two protagonists, Rebecca (Bec) and Sabine, that complicated things when the professional line was crossed into the personal. Oh, the unforgettable third act..! Yup, that was “Ask, Tell” in a nutshell, which I enthusiastically recommend everyone to read, btw! I loved Bec. She’s one of me fav lesfic characters. She and Sabine’s chemistry was written so authentically, their relationship organically weaved that they also became one of me favourite couples, thanks to Noyes’ exquisite storytelling.  

So, unsurprisingly, I devoured “Ask Me Again” simply because I’d missed Bec and Sabine and wanted to know what Noyes had in store for them as an established couple in their long-term relationship. I must say, Continue reading “Ask Me Again”

Anita

– by Max Ellendale

Anita by [Ellendale, Max]

Max Ellendale‘s latest, “Anita,” a 3rd tie-in to her critically-acclaimed “Four Point” (FP) trilogy (one of me favourites lesfic trilogies), was another brilliantly written story that left me spellbound! If you’ve read all 3 books from the FP trilogy, you’d know who Anita was. This book, essentially, if you ask me, is the 4th book of FP because all the characters featured in the FP trilogy made appearances in this book (which was such a delight to welcome them back! Ta, Ellendale!). That’s because Anita’s character literally touched the lives of all the characters, even though, the trilogy didn’t elaborate on her character and story other than being the resident psychiatrist for the characters and related cases.

Anita” was what I was waiting for. I was intrigued by Anita, the mysterious, enigmatic psychiatrist since Book 1 and increasingly so as her role expanded to include other characters besides Sali, the main character in the FP trilogy. For me, I’ve always been curious to find out just how therapists like Anita, deal with the effects of listening, getting involved, being immersed in the psychological journey, specifically the dark facets of the mind of their patients/clients, like trauma, grief. In other words, therapists heal and treat other people’s minds. Who heals theirs? For this reason, I was really curious about how Anita dealt with all the dark, intense events that she was a part of for so many years via Sali, Jenny, Nora (and Mags, albeit in a much more demure effort)’s traumatic journeys. Surely she would be affected psychologically and emotionally because, really, there’s only so much a human being can take, no matter how much of an expert and professional a therapist can take in the long run without any release, which Anita was clearly in that position. Ellendale (bless her!) then decided to finally give us the story of Anita! And did she delve into this incredible character, psychologically, emotionally, physically and spiritually, indeed, with perfection, to say the least!

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