Love Rules (2018) by Jacki James is a fantastic short read and introduction to the author’s Breaking the Rules series.
The book follows the love story of barista and artist Sean and businessman Carter. The story is told from both of their POVs. Carter makes the 20-minute journey to the White Rabbit where Sean works to get his coffee despite living in a building where he can get his coffee. Meanwhile Sean awaits his visits but is playing it somewhat cool and casual.
I like them as a couple. They have a very relaxed vibe with each other and actually listen to each other which is nice. I also loved their friends and was happy to see that future books included their stories too. I liked the humour in the book, the very natural dialogue and thought process of the characters. I liked how the author brought awareness to LGBTQ+ issues through Sean’s art and showed also there how creative outlets can be a great vehicle for expressing emotions you go through and the emotions other people go through.
Very likeable characters. Very real characters. Fantastic writing style. A story of romance with a great dose of friendship with the secondary characters as well. The one flaw I do have is that Sean’s and Carter’s relationship did feel slightly rushed in order to fit into the short story mould but I didn’t care because I absolutely loved it! I adored the characters.
An amazing read.
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The Mechanoid Cries Within (2019) by Brock T.I. Penner is a great short read.
The story follows a robot who is captured and left at the mercy of a demon owner with a sci-fi element. The story is deeply emotional and you find yourself really hoping for an escape. In so few words, the author really sweeps the reader up in the world and the characters present in the story which is really, really difficult to do. No word in this piece is filler. It’s a brilliant read and I would love to read more of this author’s work in the future.
The plot deals with the very important themes of slavery and control. The author deals with these issues in a very authentic and sensitive way and weaves these themes perfectly into the story and highlights these themes and raises awareness of them.
Gorgeously written, very fast-paced and an excellent read which brings out so many emotions in the reader from anger to compassion to passion about wanting things to be better. Very thought-provoking.
A really super write and a great introduction to this author’s work.
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Avalon (2018, first published 2015) by J. Scott Coatsworth is an immensely breathtaking romantic short write which also breaks your heart.
The story follows the love story of Tony and Jake. Jake is dying and Tony is caring for him in his final days in the world. But ever the romantic even in his suffering, Jake insists they go to the ocean in honour of their anniversary which they do every year. They get stranded in a fog and end up in an abandoned cottage. Here Tony ensures Jake gets the rest he needs after their detour has put a strain on him. But all is not quite as it seems. This beautiful, scenic area Avalon helps restore Jake to full health but it is on the condition that they can never go back. The way the writer describes the dilemma Tony faces is perfectly written. Tony wants to stay in Avalon with Jake but on the other hand his mother is unwell and he is worried that his family will think he is dead. But ultimately Jake is his main priority and he naturally stays.
I loved this book. It made me go through so many emotions while reading it. Tony and Jake are so in love and their romance is so sweet and beautiful. On the other hand their situation and the struggles they face are heartbreaking. There is also parts of this book which deal with prejudice against LGBTQ+ people and kudos to the author for not shying away from how horrible these situations can be. Even though the scenes were awful to read, it is realistic and it raises awareness of the prejudice LGBTQ+ people face and how awful it can be.
This is a short piece but the author packs so much into the book. The plot moves along at a perfect pace and nothing seems contrived or forced. Tony and Jake are lovely and are an adorable couple who really make the reader care about them and you are swept up in their emotional rollercoaster ride.
Sad and emotional but gorgeously written.
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His Spark (2018) by D.J. Jamison is a short romance set in the world of a Harry Potter book club, a Halloween party and is connected to Harry Potter fanfiction.
The story follows super Harry Potter fan Josh and non-Harry Potter fan Dylan. Josh works in a book store and is the leader of the Harry Potter book club. One night warehouse worker Dylan comes into the store to purchase a book for his niece and finds himself caught up in the middle of the book club. The pair are instantly attracted to each other but are unsure that they are what the other is looking for because they are very different in many ways such as Josh being a reader and Dylan being more into hiking. Their fear and insecurity are not being each other’s type is very authentically constructed.
As the book progresses, the author gets so much packed into this short and helps us get to know both characters very well. The secondary characters are also interesting, add to the plot and are as likeable as the MCs. Well almost so.
I like the way Josh and Dylan are both so down-to-earth. They are both like people you meet every day. And I love how interested Josh is in fanfiction and how Dylan plays along with it because he adores Josh. I also liked how Josh wasn’t some prejudiced jerk about Dylan’s dyslexia. Together they are super sweet and they work together so, so well.
Very enjoyable & character-driven. Great read.
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It was a routine appointment for Claire. Like how her friend Joanne went to the book club or her other friend Sophie went to her careers advisor. It was an appointment she wouldn’t tell the girls about at lunch later. Doctor Cole tried to get her to open up about why she looked so much for love, why she felt so much rage. But Doctor Cole would go home to her loving husband and forget all about her.
I want love so bad because Daddy never gave it. I feel so much rage because Daddy was a controller of Mum.
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Murder by Bear and Other Short Stories (2016) by Marlow Kelly is a collection of short stories about women in various stages of their lives facing all manner of situations.
There is four short stories in the collection. The first story is Murder by Bear and though I liked all the stories in the collection, this was one of my two favourites. The protagonist in this short is Julia Hepburn and she is currently married to a man called Mike. They have an unhappy marriage and they trek off to Churchill, Manitoba where Julia encounters a polar bear who is out to kill her. I don’t want to give away the story but there is numerous twists and turns and she meets another man on the trip called Jake who something may happen with. Very fast-paced and so much packed into such a short piece. I was enthralled from start to finish and intrigued to know where this was going. Oh and I couldn’t stand Mike at all. The writer said in the collection that Murder by Bear was her first piece that she wrote and it is not only a very strong first attempt, it is simply a very strong piece and I knew from it that this was penned by a very good writer with great storytelling techniques which hook readers in. Next up is Escape where our protagonist is Marilee who is running away from her past in a small town in British Colombia, Canada. For much of this story, I didn’t know where it was going. As it went on, I started to. It works very well because the author gives you little clues as to where it is going, hoodwinks the reader when needed but is also fair to the reader to allow them work it out and again and it was something that ran throughout this collection, there is a sense of suspense and intrigue which keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next. Marlow also wrote small-town life perfectly and I lived in a small-town most of my life so I think I can judge that fairly.
In the third story, we meet Emily. This story is called The Encounter and is the shortest in the collection. Set in Victorian England, specifically 1838, Emily is out to make ends meat in London. In so few words, we get a lot about Emily’s backstory and once again the suspense of where this is leading is very well crafted and documented. The final story in the collection is First Impressions where the main character is Ann Hamilton. The story is a Mother’s Day story by the author who gives a brief bit of history about the day which I didn’t know and found very interesting. The story is based in England in 1905 and is about Ann who loves to draw and George who loves taking notes on wildlife. Through their mothers they are reluctantly forced together and I would say this is my other favourite story in the collection. The dialogue is great, very believable. Ann is very likeable and George, though he has a few flaws which made me go whoa, I liked too and I was rooting for them. Some of it was a bit predictable but just when you think you know where this is going, you don’t. There is more than meets the eye. Very imaginative and flows very easily.
Marlow also includes the first chapter of her 2017 novel Sun Seeker which certainly made me interested to read more of that particular book in the future.
A really great read.
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My new book and the fourth book in the One Step Closer series One Step Closer 4 is now available on Amazon! 🙂
I love writing this series. There is hard moments and a lot of emotion and heart in it but it also has a lot of fun moments to write too. I’ve grown very used to a lot of these characters now and got to know a few new characters this time around too. 🙂
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Thank you everyone! 🙂