Change of Plans

By K J

The blurb from the publisher…

Emily Fitzsimmons, award-winning architect, creates meticulous plans for every aspect of her life, which is understandable considering her difficult childhood. After all, prudence keeps her safe. Lately, though, too many of those comforting plans are disintegrating and Emily is forced to function spontaneously which has spiked her anxiety so much, she’s put her therapist on speed-dial. 

Skye Reynolds, bike courier entrepreneur, knows all about exploding plans. That’s literally how she lost her job when her company blew up a 40,000-year-old world heritage site. But Skye is not someone who asks for help to reassemble her life blueprints, which is lucky as she nearly always lands on her feet whenever she happily ignores prudence to embark on any new adventure.

When Skye’s ad hoc dirt track intersects with Emily’s carefully paved freeway, their lives are thrown into disarray, with the added complication of their unexpected attraction. Prudence plays tricks on both of them when they choose to navigate their true paths and explore the direction of their relationship. 

Sometimes a change of plans is all you need to see what lies ahead.

My thoughts…

Change of Plans is a triumphantly tender story of overcoming life’s disappointments and surviving its losses. Mostly, however, it’s about finding peace, acceptance and love in a world that seems hell-bent on stacking the cards against you. This engaging and heartfelt story is absolutely gorgeous and masterfully showcases KJ’s skill as a storyteller. Her ability to write wonderfully complex and heartfelt characters is nicely demonstrated in her newest piece of fiction.

Emily and Skye are fantastic leads. They are richly layered and beautifully complex. Readers like them and appreciate their flaws as well as their strengths. But, what really resonates with readers is Emily and Skye’s unvarnished vulnerability. They honestly expose themselves and readers connect with that. Their touchingly tender moments are exquisite to experience as a reader.

KJ’s writing style is fresh and vivid. I was continually captivated by the insightfully raw narrative. The storytelling within these pages is nothing short of authentic, moving and real. Thoughts and emotions are brightly illuminated with her word choice and construction. I highlighted so many passages during this read. They were just so poignantly worded; I continually found myself moved. KJ knows how to capture the emotion of a moment so splendidly; she simply puts you there with her words.

The following highlighted excerpt is a perfect example. This scene takes place a few weeks after Skye and Emily meet. Emily is supremely frustrated with things at work, and Skye lends an ear and lets her vent. It’s a lovely scene, and in my opinion, KJ just nails it.

“When I get frustrated, I climb a tree. Want to go climb one of my favourites?” Skye suggested.

Emily tilted her head and looked quizzically at Skye. There was a beat, and their breathing seemed to synchronise. Then she nodded contemplatively. “Okay. Yes. I’ll climb a tree with you.” A slow smile pulled her lips.

**********

The walk to the park was brisk in light of the cool breeze that had picked up…. Eventually, they arrived at the enormous Moreton Bay fig tree at the high point in the park. Skye waved her hand, like a shopping channel presenter. “My thinking tree. One of many in the city, but this one’s my favourite. Don’t tell the others.” She bumped Emily’s shoulder, who laughed.

“It’s a beautiful tree…Okay, where do we start?”

Skye grinned again, then grabbed Emily’s hand. “Let’s go.”

She led Emily around to the other side of the trunk and pointed out the branches that could be used to clamber up. Emily went first and Skye forced her eyes not to stare at her backside because she was supposed to be assisting, not ogling. She followed Emily up until they reached a large, fairly horizontal branch.

“Hang on. We stop here. This is the meditation sorting-things-out branch,” Skye said, and Emily twisted to position herself on the wide limb, scooting over slightly so Skye could fit into the space between her body and the trunk. Then Emily warmed Skye’s arm and thigh when she shuffled sideways again so she could use Skye as a brace. The mechanics of breathing became Skye’s focus for a moment.

They sat in silence for a while.

“I like this,” Emily whispered.

“What part?”

“All of it. The silence. The not-quite silence. It feels like the tree is holding my thoughts for me.”

“It does. Sometimes it’s nice to pass them off for a bit so your head can relax.”

Emily hummed. “True.”

I loved that scene. Readers see a rawness and a youthfulness in these two characters that is usually tucked away from the world at large. It is refreshing to see this other side of them. Skye demonstrates nothing but compassion for Emily. Skye’s a natural fixer, and she longs to offer reassurance and solace to Emily. Emily, on the other hand, is buttoned-up and fearful of change. Emily likes control, and Skye threatens that control—and somehow Skye understands that. But, the most important thing here is this: Emily shows readers she’s capable of letting her guard down and opening herself up to unscripted possibilities. This comes with nurturing patience from Skye, but it does come. With that in mind, this tree becomes symbolic; this is where their relationship takes root.

I enjoyed watching the relationship develop between these two characters. Skye and Emily’s romance builds slowly and organically. It is neither forced or rushed. It feels right. There are times when the characters’ emotions run wild and intense and they are both very reactive to it all, but KJ manages to keep it real. She uses her characters’ honesty and introspection to keep the romance believable. I bought into it, and I certainly cheered it on. I wanted it for them because it made sense in their world and mine.

Final remarks…

Change of Plans is a marvelous story. Well-penned and soundly crafted, it is one you will most definitely want to add to your reading list. Skye and Emily are beautiful souls that will make an impression on you. They are ordinary, yet brave women learning to be comfortable with themselves in a cluttered and chaotic world. I will miss them and will need to visit them again someday.

Strengths

  • Well-written
  • Wonderful characterization
  • Bright, fresh writing style
  • Insightful storytelling

This book is available from…

Available formats…

  • Paperback
  • Ebook

Author’s Website…

Spotlight: New Author V.A. Wonder

A Millennial Daydream is a debut novel for V. A. Wonder. This coming of age lesbian novella is set in Argentina and contains themes of family, love and friendship. It is currently available for free on Amazon.

The blurb from the publisher…

Hartley is a rebellious teenager with a drug problem. Jaden is the girl next door with a savior’s complex. Them falling in love is inevitable. But in the world of Argentina’s high society, it is also full of obstacles.

Set in Argentina of 2007, A Millennial Daydream tells the story of a love between two girls, where the last of their problems is the fact that they are two girls.

Hartley is the resident bad girl, every parent’s nightmare. But deep down she is a hypersensitive girl who likes to read philosophy and write songs.

Jaden seems like the girl next door but has a secret passion for volunteering at shelters and organizing political rallies.
Their families run the country, but all they want is to gain control over their own lives.

This book is available from…

Available formats…

  • Ebook

The Date

By T.B. Markinson

The blurb from the publisher…

What happens when a prickly cat lady runs into the new dog owner next door?

Brittny Parker, an American graduate student, is moving to London with her lovable Boston Terrier, Cooper, in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympics. Could life get any better? How about adding a super sexy woman next door? The problem is her snooty neighbor is not a dog person. In fact, she despises Cooper from the moment he knocks her over and sends her groceries spilling all over the ground.

Prin Jones is a native-born Londoner whose most successful relationship is with Francesca, her Persian cat. With a bakery to run and an unpleasant ex-girlfriend to dodge, the last thing Prin needs in her life is an obnoxious American and her poorly trained dog. But it becomes almost impossible not to run into Brit at every turn.

When Francesca and Cooper decide to become balcony friends, and Prin’s twin sister takes on the role of enthusiastic matchmaker, Brit and Prin decide to give each other a second chance. All they need is one date to see if there might be something more between them.

It should be easy, right? But somehow everything keeps going hilariously and disastrously wrong.

Can two women from different worlds meet in the middle to become more than neighbors?

Best-selling lesbian romance author TB Markinson has written a hilarious and quirky story about finding love in a foreign land.

My thoughts…

Markinson grabs her readers’ attention once again! The Date does not disappoint. It is absolutely adorable. Loaded with fun characters and heated romance, this book is pure pleasure from page one.

The chemistry between Prin and Brit is near perfect with its nicely balanced tension and humor. Readers will no doubt enjoy the light-hearted and witty exchanges between these two romantic leads. It’s Markinson captaining the ship, so expect the unexpected; she’s at her best when things seem to take a turn for the worst in the love department. Prepare to laugh because it can not be avoided.

As usual, Markinson does a nice job with her character development. Both Brit and Prin are likable and believable characters. Prin is a bit of a mystery at times, but that is part of her appeal. Brit, on the other hand, is very much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of girl and has no pretense or airs about her. Together they make a very interesting and compelling couple.

This is a quick read. At just a little over 200 pages, it makes for the perfect weekend read. And quite frankly, its length works. All loose ends are tied up nicely and a HEA is had by all. Markinson knows how to start a story, and she knows how to end it, too. Dragging things on without purpose has never been her style.

Final remarks…

If you are looking for a romance that’s light and refreshing, then The Date is the perfect choice. It’s short, sweet, and playful, but at the same time, honest, engaging and balanced. This happy little romance is an all-around good time and wonderful read. It’s guaranteed to lift your spirits.

Strengths…

  • Entertaining
  • Engaging
  • Nicely developed
  • Likable, interesting characters
  • Charming romance

This book is available from…

Available formats…

  • Paperback
  • Ebook

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Audiobook)

Written By Taylor Jenkins Reid and Narrated By Alma Cuervo, Julia Whelan and Robin Miles

The blurb from the publisher…

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in afascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Praise for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo:

“A cinematic tale with hardscrabble roots, staggering highs and sickening lows. The novel reads like a celebrity tell-all, and this makes it delicious. But it’s also got heft, because Hugo’s story is one of overcoming adversity, racism and sexism to get to the top. She fails, falls, triumphs and learns difficult lessons about the things that really matter. With this riveting novel, Reid has created an exceptional character with the wherewithal to take on the patriarchy.” (Globe and Mail)

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is more than escapism fiction sweeping its audience back to an era when show biz glamour danced with real-life intrigue, romantic entanglements and perceived impropriety. With memorable characters rivaling any Hollywood blockbuster, Taylor Jenkins Reid marries themes of loyalty, betrayal, friendship and love into a soaring, fast-paced and gripping performance. It leaves readers asking if they are merely role-playing with those they love or being true to an authentic self.” (Shelf Awareness, starred review)

“If you’re looking for a book to take on holiday this summer, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has got all the glitz and glamour to make it a perfect beach read— as long as you’re prepared to cry off all your sunscreen, because this book gets *emotional*. Each of Evelyn’s marriages comes with its own hurt and heartbreak, from infidelity and betrayal to domestic abuse. But running throughout Evelyn’s tumultuous life is one great love that will leave you sobbing into the pages.” (Bustle)

“Riveting, heart-wrenching, and full of Old Hollywood glamour, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is one of the most captivating reads of 2017.” (Buzzfeed)

“In her mesmerizing tale, Taylor Jenkins Reid explores Hollywood’s heyday with a heroine akin to Elizabeth Taylor. Movie icon Evelyn Hugo, now a recluse at 79, unfurls the story of her glamorous life and her scandalous seven marriages.” (Us Weekly)

“Come for the glam old Hollywood vibes; stay for a touching tale of a young reporter and a silver-screen legend.” (Cosmopolitan)

“The epic adventures Evelyn creates over the course of a lifetime will leave every female reader mesmerized. This wildly addictive journey of a reclusive Hollywood starlet and her tumultuous Tinseltown journey comes with unexpected twists and the most satisfying of drama.” (PopSugar)

“[The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo] is fascinating, emotional and will be hard to put down. For fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid, this is her best work yet.” (Associated Press)

“A spellbinding novel about love, glamour and the price of fame.” (Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love )

“In her latest mesmerizing tale, Reid transports readers back to Hollywood’s heyday with a heroine in the likes of — but more intriguing than — Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Katherine Hepburn. Yes, Evelyn Hugo is the glamorous idol you admire, but she’s also the relentless fighter you aspire to be. Her life’s story is heartbreaking, yet beautiful and will keep readers captivated until the very last page.” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly )

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the total package: the very best of Classic Hollywood intrigue, a delicious twist, and incisive commentary on the wages of stardom, especially for women.” (Anne Helen Petersen, BuzzFeed culture writer and author of Scandals of Classic Hollywood )

“Reid’s characters will enchant readers as they travel through the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood and the truths they both must confront.” (Real Simple)

“Addictive, dazzling and bound to leave you in tears (classic Taylor Jenkins Reid), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugoshould be your No. 1 reading priority this summer.” (SheKnows)

“Leave it to Taylor Jenkins Reid to keep readers captivated, from the first page to the last. With a parade of lovable characters and unputdownable plot, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo should top every reading list this summer.” (Working Mother)

“A big, juicy read…Reid expertly captures the hothouse nature of Hollywood…the story is fresh, and the end reveal is worth the wait” (Historical Novel Society)

“This sweeping tale is about an aging Hollywood starlet and the rookie magazine reporter she hires to pen her breathtaking (and scandalous) life story. Trust us: You’ll be swooning over the twist for months.” (Brit & Co.)

“Evelyn Hugo is a character who can demand top billing…Reid’s heroine reveals her darkest secrets as if she were wiping off makeup at the end of the night—a celebration of human frailty that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Reid knows how to tug at heart strings with unusual tales of finding real and lasting love…the reader [will be] captivated by old Hollywood glamour, intriguing and complex characters, and Reid’s unsurpassed ability to leave her audience reaching for a hankie. An utterly unique take on what truly makes a family.” (Booklist)

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has big, juicy secrets at its heart– not just about the surprising identity of movie star Evelyn Hugo’s true love, but of the lengths she has gone to protect that mysterious lover. Brimming with heartache, betrayal, and a lifetime of Hollywood gossip, this raucous novel will seduce you even as it leaves you wanting more.” (Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet and June )

“A glamorous romp through Hollywood in its heyday, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest offers up several unexpected twists and a dazzling, ambitious movie star who will break your heart.” (Fiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse )

“Evelyn Hugo makes Liz Taylor seem pedestrian. Taylor Jenkins Reid has drawn a rich, emotionally complex heroine who is so real that you’ll forget she only lives in the pages of a book. This is an utterly compelling dance with love and tragedy, sometimes both at once; you’ll laugh with Evelyn, cry with her, ache with her, and then go back to page one and do it all over again.” (Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, authors of The Royal We )

My thoughts…

I don’t usually include quotes from other reviewers in my reviews, but everything they said about this book stands. Quite frankly, I don’t think I could sing its praises any better, anyway. I mean, how many different ways can one say captivating, mesmerizing, spellbinding and hard to put down?

The format and production of this audiobook are beyond exceptional. I think the effect that the people over at Simon and Schuster were going for was old-school radio drama and they hit the mark. The stylistic choices the producers made accentuate the storytelling perfectly. The era and culture of this fabulous drama are splendidly highlighted with their calculated creativity. I was pulled in from the first moment I hit play and I couldn’t stop listening.

The performances of these three narrators, especially Alma Cuervo, are enchanting. Normally, I’d object to this many narrators. I like the narrative to be consistent and fluid. That’s hard to achieve with multiple narrators; too many narrators often make the storytelling choppy, or just plain confusing. Not so here. Each narrator effectively pushes the story with their distinctive voice, making it easy to follow along and enjoy.

Literary-wise, this is a supremely complex story; I can’t say too much or I will spoil the ending. But, know this: it will blow your mind. Everything—and I do mean everything—works toward building that “ holy cow” moment at the end. This story is so well-layered and so well-crafted; I can’t say enough about it. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo definitely deserves the praise it has received. Its characters, construction and development will leave readers in awe.

Final remarks…

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a powerful story and it definitely leaves a lasting impression. As an audiobook, it’s incredibly well-done. In fact, I’d love to see it on the big screen told in all its captivating glory.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is available from…

Crossed Reins

By Graysen Morgen

The blurb from the publisher…

Barrel racing is Carly Rae Walsh’s life, until it’s ripped out from under her. With nothing to do and nothing to lose, she uses her years of horse whispering skills and intuition to train a troubled thoroughbred race horse.

Allison McKinley is a world class dressage rider who has stepped back from the spotlight to mourn the sudden death of her mother. The last thing she needs when she decides to start training again for competition, is her father’s impulsive desire to own a race horse, and his bizarre decision to choose a rodeo barrel racer as the trainer.

The two women have nothing in common except horses, and even that’s a stretch. Can they uncross the reins long enough to see what’s happening between them?

My thoughts…

The romance in this lovely novel is nicely crafted and effectively fueled by a well-balanced tension. Readers like the leads and want them together. Even though Allison is a bit of an ice queen, readers are sympathetic to her. Her flaws are appealing because they understand her vulnerabilities and heartache; they know it is from the traumatic loss of her mother, a woman that meant the world to her.

Carly Rae is Allison’s opposite in every way. She wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. About the only thing she can see that she has in common with Allison is her passion for horses. Somewhere along the line the two start to see more in each other than their differences and they form a friendship. However, they both know far too much attraction exists between them to remain just friends.

The real pleasure in Morgen’s storytelling is the journey the reader takes through the equestrian world. Morgen makes dressage, horse racing and rodeo life interesting. She provides readers with a splendid backdrop for her story arc, prompting readers to become fully invested in not only the story, but the characters.

I would be absolutely remiss if I did not fully address just how thoroughly delightful the horses are in this book. They successfully act as secondary characters and effectively push the narrative forward. I was fascinated by them and enjoyed the nuances of their personalities. I was especially drawn to Sir Rigsby. His deafness presents an interesting subplot; it fuels the story arc in captivating and unique ways. Furthermore, the bond the horses share with their owners and handlers is nothing short of touching and endearing. I found them completely enthralling.

Final remarks…

Crossed Reins is a lovely, easy-going read. It’s the kind of book one cannot help but enjoy. Allison and Carley Rae’s spirited romance is nicely crafted and neatly woven into the overall fabric of this story. Additionally, the equine elements are immensely engaging. Together they all work splendidly to create a lovely read.

Strengths…

  • Interesting subplot
  • Lovely romance
  • Nice attention to detail
  • Engaging read

An except from Crossed Reins

Allison accompanied Carly Rae to go check in and get her transponder. The race times for the Friday slack were electronically drawn ahead of time and posted twenty-four hours in advance, so she already knew she was in the middle of the group. Several women and a few of the men came up, welcoming Carly Rae back, while the others simply stared in their direction while they waited in line.

“Fancy meeting you here,” a woman said as she walked up.

Carly Rae turned around and smiled as she hugged the woman. “Tammy, it’s good to see you.”

“You too, honey. It’s been a hot minute,” Tammy said with a thick southern accent. “Anyway, I just wanted to say hi really quick. I need to get back and get ready. I’m second out in the slack.”

“Good luck. I’m sitting in the nineties,” Carly Rae replied, just before she walked away.

“She seemed nice,” Allison said.

“Yes, most of them are.”

“Some of them look like they are salivating over you and others are staring like they want to cut my head off.”

Carly Rae laughed.

“It’s not funny.”

“I’m sorry.” Carly Rae’s eyes met hers. “No one has ever been with me before…well, except my parents if I’m at an event close to them. I’m sure they’re wondering what, or who, I’ve been doing for the past five and a half months. Then, I show up with a beautiful woman who is clearly not a rodeo girl.” She smiled. “They’re going to stare at you. However, none of them have the balls to say anything to you, so don’t worry about it.”

“You think I’m beautiful?”

Carly Rae grinned and shook her head. “Is that all you got out of what I just said? And, yes. The first time I saw you, that’s the first word that came to mind. Then, of course, you opened your mouth and bitch became the second word.”

Allison guffawed.

“Next,” the lady at the registration window called, breaking their conversation.

This book is available from…

Available formats…

  • Paperback
  • Ebook

Scarlet

Book Two of the Robyn Hood Adventures

By Niamh Murphy

The blurb from the publisher

Greed. Corruption. Gold.

Robyn Hood and her loyal friend Littlejohn want nothing more than to stay one step ahead of the Sheriff of Nottingham’s men.

But when they offer their help to a Holy Sister in need, they soon discover not all is as it seems.

Now they have both the Sheriff of Nottingham on their tail and the self-serving Bishop of Hereford too.

Will they aid a fellow thief?

Or save their own necks, keep the gold for themselves, and leave the fugitive, sword-wielding rogue for the gallows?

Find out in this brand new Robyn Hood Adventure!

Prince of Thieves, Disney’s Robin Hood, and Errol Flynn have been smashed together and updated in this brand new version of the famous legend that’s so fresh you can smell it!

This book is for anyone who loves:

  • The Robin Hood Legends
  • Historical Gender-Flips
  • Stand-alone adventures in a series
  • Rollicking Adventures with Sapphic Romance
  • Young Adult and New Adult Fiction
  • Action Adventure Stories
  • Exciting stories with Strong Female Lead Characters

My thoughts…

The writing in this wonderful retelling just flows. It is quick paced and entertaining throughout. I normally would not choose this genre, but something about Scarlet was simply appealing. From its first page I was smitten with this spectacularly worded and imaginatively constructed tale. Fantastic writing always captures my attention, and Murphy’s lovely narrative held me till the very end.

Fans of lesfic retellings will no doubt appreciate what Murphy has crafted here. The beloved and well-known story arc is definitely turned on its head with this Sapphic depiction. In Murphy’s version of this legendary tale, a dynamic leading lady named Robyn Hood fills the role of the heroic outlaw. Even though Scarlet contains a powerful and charismatic female protagonist, this retelling still has the look and feel of the traditional folktale. This fresh focus on Robin Hood—or Robyn Hood—keeps readers enthralled and engaged throughout.

Final remarks…

For those that love retellings, this is a fantastic read. Murphy definitely has a gift for submerging readers into a colorful and vivid story world, a world that surrounds readers with fascinating characters and lively adventure. With Scarlet, readers get all of that and more. This lovely adaptation is page-turning fun and absolutely worth the read.

Strengths…

  • Wonderful word building
  • Nicely crafted storytelling
  • Colorful story world
  • Lively adventure

This book is available from…

Available formats…

  • Paperback
  • Ebook

Spotlight: New Author Luisa Cai

Wrong Love Letter marks Luisa Cai’s debut as an indie author. This young adult, slow burn comes in at around 382 pages, so it doesn’t shortchange readers on length. In fact, priced at $3.99, it’s certainly a big bang-for-the-buck!

The book description:

What happens when the love letter that Chloe wrote for Jevon two years ago suddenly resurfaced, and now everyone in school knows about it? What is worse is that the cheerleading team and the student council are still not on the best of terms for years now. And, the more she spends her time with Natalie, her irritation slowly turns to attraction. Did she write a love letter to the wrong person after all?

A slow burn high school romance.

This book can be purchased from:

Available formats:

  • Ebook

Hot For Teacher

By Emersyn Gray

The blurb from the publisher…

Riley Stephens is taken on an unexpected outing that will change her life forever. What will she do when she meets a beautiful blonde who reappears in the least likely of places?

Lakin Hart loves the power her job gives her, and she’s not looking for a change. But what will happen when her path crosses that of a lonely professor?

Will Riley and Lakin be willing to explore worlds outside their comfort zones in search of what they’ve both been missing most?

A steamy but sweet read to brighten your day.

My thoughts…

This debut novel Hot for Teacher by Emersyn Grey is a nice blend of romance and erotica. It’s laced with steamy, hot scenes, dom-sub role play, and tender-sweet moments. It contains low angst and drama, and concludes with a happy ending that doesn’t leave readers hanging.

This is Grey’s first novel and her inexperience shows a bit. Yes, the story arc could have benefited from some tightening and there are a few head-scratching plot-points. However, I still see talent. Grey takes a trope that lesfic fans gobble up (sexy college student/hot professor) and provides readers with an entertaining story.

Final remarks…

At 183 pages, Hot for Teacher is a quick, easy read that can be devoured in one sitting. If you are a lesbian fiction reader that enjoys hot, steamy sex scenes between emotionally connected characters, then this book is sure to please.

Strengths…

  • Quick, easy reading
  • Steamy and erotic
  • Perfect pick for pool-side entertainment

This book is available from…

Available formats…

  • Ebook
  • Paperback

The Love Factor (Audiobook)

Written By Quinn Ivins and Narrated By Lori Prince

The blurb from the publisher…

Molly Cook is almost 30, with dismal career prospects, and has given up on saving the world. It might be the 90s, and everything’s shoulder pads, Doc Martens, and The X-Files, but people won’t budge on gay rights. Molly decides to give a PhD a whirl but finds herself more interested in campus politics…and her strict and sexy statistics professor.

Professor Carmen Vaughn is stuck in small-town Maryland with smarmy blowhards for colleagues and ungrateful students who can’t handle her high standards. She has no intention of coming out, least of all to Molly, a troublemaking grad student who can’t stop picking fights with the conservative faculty.

But when Molly discovers evidence implicating a homophobic colleague in a scandal, Carmen can’t ignore it – even if the subject hits too close to home. As the two women work together to make their case, they grow closer than Carmen ever imagined. But she absolutely refuses to get involved with a student.

The thing is, as the chemistry builds between them, Molly isn’t sure she wants to be a grad student anymore…if she ever did.

My thoughts…

The Love Factor is a wonderful audio and fantastic piece of romantic fiction. It had my full attention in the first few minutes and it didn’t let go until Lori Prince finished narrating the last words. I enjoyed this story immensely and was disappointed when I realized that I had reached the end.

This is Quinn’s first book, and this surprised me; it definitely does not come across like a debut novel. She writes like a seasoned author, crafting a well-structured story arc like a boss. The writing flows nicely, the characters are well-developed and the plot is compelling throughout. This romance is nearly perfect in every way, providing listeners with delightful entertainment from start to finish.

Lori Prince does an exceptional job giving voice to Quinn’s words. She breathes life into this lovely creation with her masterful talent and qualified expertise. She beautifully conveys the emotions and vulnerabilities of each character with little difficulty. Her pleasant voice guides listeners easily through this romance and lets them experience it as it was intended. Ultimately, she takes this story to the next level and gives listeners a top-notch theatrical performance.

My final remarks…

This is an excellent audiobook. The storytelling is solid and and the character development is first-rate. Quinn does a nice job laying the foundation for the romance and creating the necessary believability. Molly is charming, loyal and stubborn. Carmen is a brilliant, hard-working and a bit of an ice queen. Together their chemistry is off-the-charts good. This is the kind of romance that one likes to revisit; I know I’ll listen to this one again.

Strengths

  • Well-written
  • Strong chemistry
  • Believable romance
  • Likable characters
  • Fantastic narration

This audiobook is available from…

The Love Factor is also available as a paperback and/or ebook from…

The Imperative of Desire (Passing Rites Book 1)

By Elena Graf

The blurb from the publisher…

In the waning years of Queen Victoria’s reign, a brilliant daughter is born to an aristocratic, military family in Prussia. A quirk of inheritance law allows Margarethe von Stahle to inherit her family’s titles. Her elders collaborate to educate her to take on her future duties, which include administering her family estates and supporting an order of nuns.

Margarethe’s curiosity and precocity delight and perplex her teachers as they try to mold her. Her father trains her with his military cadets. A retired opera singer teaches her how to sing. Her grandaunt, headmistress of the convent school, educates her in philosophy and classics. At an early age, Margarethe heads to Oxford to follow in her father’s footsteps. Gifted with both musical and intellectual talents, she must choose between singing and service. Raised to take her duty and noblesse oblige seriously, she decides to study medicine and becomes one of the few female surgeons in 1920s Germany.

Because she needs heirs to her titles, Margarethe reluctantly marries, but that doesn’t prevent her from finding solace in the arms of women. She trains under the best surgeons in Germany and England and rises to prominence as London’s infamous “Lady Doctor.” Finally, duty requires her to return to her homeland and take the reins of the family fortunes.

The Imperative of Desire, the first volume in The Passing Rites Series, is a coming-of-age story that takes a young woman from La Belle Époque, through a world war, a revolution that outlawed the German nobility, the roaring twenties, to the decadent demimonde of Weimar Berlin.

My thoughts…

The Imperative of Desire, quite frankly, is an incredible story. It is impressively written and thoughtfully told. Historical fiction fans will no doubt delight in its rich history and captivating characters. Elena Graf’s ability to weave a fictional, yet compelling story between the major historical events of pre and post World War I Germany and England is quite remarkable.

Graf uses the main character Margarethe von Stahle to guide readers through this spectacular tale. Margarethe’s perspective and experience is what makes this story so unique. Graft depicts her as a brilliant young woman that’s nearly unstoppable in her pursuits. Her drive and determination is awe-inspiring and unmatched, enabling her to achieve things unimaginable for most, especially for those of the female persuasion in the early 1920’s. Margarethe is clearly a woman ahead of her time, making her one complex and intriguing character.

Margarethe’s narrative takes readers through the first thirty three years of her life. Since Margarethe is born into wealth and power, her position affords her much privilege and opportunity. Because of this, her life is filled with substantial academic and professional success. However, she often becomes restless and searches for something more concrete and certain. Be that as it may, it seems what she really yearns and desires is a faithful companion that offers real friendship and love.

Margarethe’s life is complicated and she is frequently dealt heart stopping blows of loss. These devastating losses take the wind out of her sails, but never leave her completely defeated. She always manages to recover. Fortunately, she possesses the unique ability to reassess and redirect her talents, ultimately ensuring a better life for herself and those she is duty-bound to serve. Her never ending sense of responsibility and obligation is where the real story lies, though. When the curtain is pulled back, so much is revealed about Margarethe. Readers will most certainly be enthralled with her riveting drama.

My final remarks…

This is a generous and grand novel. At 462 pages, it is far from light reading. Nonetheless, it is well worth the read. It is a well-plotted and soundly structured with intriguing characters and compelling story arcs. Its captivating narrative is enhanced with fascinating history that will most certainly delight any history buff. I throughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any one who enjoys this genre. Be forewarned though, as you will want to pick up the next book in the series, Occasions of Sin, Passing Rites Book 2.

Strengths…

  • Well-written
  • Original
  • Intriguing characters
  • Enthralling drama
  • Fantastic history

This book is available from…

Available formats…

  • Paperback
  • Ebook