Review of ‘Twice in a lifetime’ by Jodie Griffin.

Talia Wasserman is a widow with grown-up daughters who just got a job as a civilian assistant to Lieutenant Eve Pope, chief of Police Community Relations. Their chemistry is hard to ignore but boss-subordinate relationships are frown upon. To make matters worse, there is a criminal on the lose endangering female police officers. Can Talia find love twice in a lifetime and not lose her partner again?

‘Twice in a lifetime’ is an interracial romance with a small side of mystery. Kudos to the author to feature two women in their early fifties, both with grown-up children and a bisexual protagonist who is in a lesbian relationship for the first time. This provides a realistic view of a bisexual character who didn’t have to deal with homophobia before because she was married to a man.Read More »

Review of ‘Undiscovered affinity’ by Jane Hardee.

Olivia Reynolds is a manager at an athletic wear company dedicated exclusively to her job. She likes no-strings relationships and to be always in control. Cardic Lawson is a cultural anthropology professor dedicated to the study of polygamy and a firm disbeliever in committed relationships. After a chance encounter and acknowledging their mutual attraction, they decide to engage in a casual relationship. But as things start to get heated and their relationship develops, will they recognise their own changing feelings? Will Olivia be able to let go of her need to control everything?

This novel deals with different interesting issues such as commitment, polygamy vs. monogamy and body image. The author dedicated this book to all plus-size ladies and includes one of them as a lead. Kudos to Ms. Hardee for writing a plus-size character comfortable in her own skin and for discussing the neglectful attitude of the fashion industry towards large clothing sizes. It’s also very interesting the way the story connects Cardic’s anthropological research subject (polygamy vs monogamy) and the main romantic plot.

Having said that, there are some issues in the execution of the story. It was hard for me to see the development of the mains’ chemistry from the no-strings sex to a more meaningful lovemaking. The author sets the tone very well for a detached relationship but, in my opinion, fails to develop it into a romance in a believable way. Maybe it’s because the balance between telling and showing is a bit off and it’s hard to see the characters’ changes through their behaviour rather than from what the author tells us. Despite this, ‘Undiscovered affinity’ is a good read that might appeal the fans of no-strings to romance stories.

Overall, a good romance that deals with commitment, monogamy and losing control. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘1st Impressions. A Cassidy James Mystery’ by Kate Calloway.

Cass James moved to the small lake town of Cedar Hills, Oregon after her partner died. Not needing to work, she finds herself learning the private detective ropes after her best friend suggested it. Erica Trinidad stopped by her uncle’s lake house on her way to Canada. That night, her uncle was murdered and abandoned in the lake. Erica ends up hiring Cass to help solve the murder for which she has now become the prime suspect. Things get more complicated as Cass unravels the case and finds herself in the thick of it.

This is a fun story that grabs your attention with the very first sentence. The setting is this little town of a few hundred where crime is not common. However, it seems any of the residents are capable of murder overnight. It was fun to “come along” with Cass for the interviews and have a guess at who was involved in the crime. That said, there was no major plot twist, which may disappoint serious mystery/thriller readers alike. The story could have also benefited from more action scenes early on instead of saving most of it until later in the book.

I actually did not realize this book was published during my freshman college year, 1996, until I finished it. There was mention of poor cellphone reception in the town but I assumed it was just due to the location. Now I see how it was simply because cellphone networks were not well established then. It was interesting to see how Cass had to call from a pay phone and check her home answering machine! That’s a blast from the past.

This is the first of eight books in the series. The mystery is the book’s main focus and the romance is the side story, but it feels more like the foundation for more to come. I will be reading the rest of the series to see what happens with the leads and the rest of these likable characters.

Overall a nice read culminating in good action. 3.5 stars

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