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.
After finishing Stephanie Ahn‘s debut and Book 1 of her Harrietta Lee Series, “Deadline,” literally in a blink of an eye (novella length only), that left me wanting more (Harry’s ongoing adventures plus a certain demon!), I had to read Book 2 right away! Plus, I was dead curious about Ahn’s sophomore writing and storytelling skills. Needless to say, I devoured it at top speed and came out of it totally and completely entertained, satiated, satisfied, and more inspired and thrilled than ever! Ahn is most definitely a talented writer and tale-spinner of the wildest, most daring, uninhibited and imaginative kind in the world of urban fantasy!
“Bloodbath.” Yes, that’s the word Ahn used to title the 2nd installment of her Harrietta Lee series. And yes, it means what it means, literally and figuratively, and she made no qualms about it, whatsoever, in bringing that title to life in weaving the sequel to Harry’s adventures as a disgraced blood witch earning her keep as an “unofficial” P.I. in the streets of New York! Ahn definitely nailed the “sequel” formula perfectly, imo: BIGGER. BETTER. MORE. Much, much more.
The wait is officially OVER! Finally, I have Karin Kallmaker‘s latest novel, “Because I Said So,” in my hands!!! Yup, thanks to Bella/NG‘s swift response, I got my ARC copy and literally dropped everything (yes, I was in the middle of reading a couple of books before I got “distracted” by this! Soz, authors X & Y!) and breezed through this story in no time at all! Yup, quick read it was but it left me….. HUNGRY! *more later* Needless to say, my excitement about delving into this story ever since Kallmaker’s blog post announcing it was definitely warranted. What a refreshing story of romance with layers of unexpected discoveries throughout the book! Not only that, but the characters, including one of the MCs, Kesa, was of mixed race and culture, different socioeconomic background and circumstances, effectively giving the whole romance perspective a fresh new spin, altogether. As if that weren’t refreshing enough, the definition of “family” and “parent” was something quite outside-the-box, tbh. I was not expecting to find out how Shannon, the other MC, and Paz were related. Fascinating! Kallmaker being the brilliant tale-spinner that she is, jumped right into describing, portraying, presenting and contrasting all the nuances of cultural, lingual, socio-economic living that entailed with such fervour that I saw them as another supporting character in this richly portrayed biracial romance. I must say, I’d never read anything depicted quite like how Kallmaker constructed it in lesfic romance!
I must say, I was intrigued by Nicole Stiling‘s “Secrets in a Small Town” when I came across its blurb on BSB. And then the subversively crafted cover had a strange pull on my ever-inquisitive sense of curiosity. I know, another book whose cover played a role in my decision to read it apart from its blurb that obviously interested me primarily because of it sounding like it would be an ice queen trope. I’m always game for ice queen romances in lesfic because I’m forever curious to find out the many ways authors could come up with to thaw an ice queen character in a love story! Heh! What’s more, there was a mystery attached to the romance involving a stalker! Crikey! Level of intrigue and curiosity increased, obvs! Anyway, about Stiling, I was curious because I never heard of her before so as usual, I had to find out more which was when I discovered that this book was actually only her first published fiction! Okay, then. So off I went to read it with a sense of anticipation as to how a first-timer would weave this mystery-romance using one of my beloved tropes. Needless to say, I was impressed. It was a light and speedy read for me but I had a lot of fun doing it! To me, it was a great debut effort from Stiling because I really enjoyed her writing style. There’s nothing more satisfying than reading constructed wordings that flow smoothly throughout a book, is there? In any case, I’ll certainly be checking out Stiling’s future stories to see how she manoeuvres and hones in her craft.
K. Aten‘s “Rules of the Road” was such a fantabulous reading experience for me!
It’s Nerdy. It’s Quirky. It’s riotously Funny. It’s Romantic. It’s Engaging. It’s All Around GOOD FUN!
A comprehensively-written, unadulterated journey of two heartbroken souls who inadvertently “found” each other in one of the most unlikely places you can ever imagine. In the car! Via a driving app! Cor! Now THAT’s what I’m talking about – original and bloody creative! Driving App?! Blimey! That’s genius! I absolutely loved the fact that they only ever interacted and got to know each other via the App in the initial stages of their acquaintance, so to speak! Strangely, I thought of that movie, “You’ve Got Mail,” where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks never met either and struck up a virtual friendship via e-mail! So, in effect, Jamie (or as I prefer her nick, James!) and Kelsey’s App interaction was like a massive upgrade of “YGM“‘s virtual communication, innit? Plus, could they BE any more adorable than to be immortalised by their App – a nerd car (James) and a rainbow car (Kelsey) avatars on their screens, eh? Awww… a-bloody-dorbs!
And then OMG, the humour!! So bloody fresh and quirky! I never heard those words or expressions before in me life!!! I mean, bloody hell if I didn’t have a blast reading such colourful, crackin’ vernacular, sniggering endlessly! James’ hilarious outbursts in the car and Kelsey’s more aggressive ones (especially with her cats!) kept me so very entertained! I couldn’t get enough of ’em, tbh! LOL! Thank you, Ms. Aten, for introducing me to such colloquial delights!
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.