Not Alone in praising Noyes

Review of ‘Alone’ by EJ Noyes

Uff, this one was intense!

I just need to start at the beginning of my experience reading this novel. Literally, as I read the first sentence, I smiled. Yep, happy sigh. First person POV, you have become my favorite. First person POV written by EJ Noyes, I love you! Ms. Noyes, at the risk of sounding like a lunatic to you (again), you singlehandedly are responsible for my first person POV obsession. Your first person POV is simply genius. I’ve read other books written in first person, but none that resonate with me like when written by this author.

Did I mention my smile right? Well, that’s the last time I did until later, later in the book. This is Celeste Thorne’s first-person POV recount of her participation on a psychological study. The goal is for her to endure four years in close to complete isolation from human contact. The story begins after the third year, when suddenly Olivia Soldano, a lost hiker, appears on the edge of the compound. Suddenly Celeste must readjust to this person who is simply everything she ever wanted. The problem is that after such isolation, Celeste’s feelings are in disarray and she struggles to determine what is real and what is part of an elaborate lie.Read More »

Review of ‘Alone’ by E.J. Noyes.

Celeste Thorne is taking part in a scientific experiment that involves solitary confinement for four years with a final prize of half a million dollars. More than three years into the study, she finds a woman lurking in the border of her compound. Olivia Soldano is beautiful, caring and enigmatic but her sole presence in the house breaks the rules of the experiment and ultimately, can Celeste trust her?

Oh well… E.J. Noyes cannot stop surprising her readers, can she? ‘Alone’ is a book hard to categorise: it’s a game of contrasts. It’s dark but also optimistic, it’s about solitude but features a couple, it’s unsettling but, at the same time, hopeful. If you are acquainted with Ms. Noyes’s work, you will recognise the imprints of her style that readers have learned to love. Her books are always written in first person usually from the point of view of a broken woman with her co-lead presented as a flawed but righteous rescuer. What I consider outstanding is that, despite this apparent repetition, the stories have very different settings (war zone, corporate world, sports and now a psychological experiment) that make them all very distinctive, original and, at the same time, realistic.Read More »

Review of ‘Unexpected Partners’ by Michelle Larkin.

Dr. Chloe Maddox is a cop turned sex crime profiler who has restarted her career at the Boston Police Department, where Dana Blake works as a detective. One evening, Chloe sees a suspect in the office that triggers lost memories from when she was abducted and left for dead two years prior. Dana immediately recognizes that Chloe has a connection to a previous case and is the only one capable of sending the psychopath to jail. As the suspect is arraigned and released on bail, Dana and Chloe find themselves running away from a serial killer. Can they survive and help each other move on from their previous traumatic experiences?

This book was intense, with crimes that are sexual in nature. However, a lot is implied and thankfully not described in detail. The two main characters endure many ordeals, yet are strong and have great, immediate chemistry. Even though circumstances are not ideal, the budding romance is not too much of a stretch as it’s skillfully written.

The story captures the reader right away and moves along  with several action scenes. I feel there was probably one too many of such scenes, but the book kept my attention all the way to the end. The secondary characters are well done and enjoyable. I also liked that, although the book lacks of a formal epilogue, there was complete closure for all the characters.

For all the animal loving readers, there is a wonderful canine in this one. Unfortunately some of the interactions seemed a bit far fetched and the veterinary medicine felt like it was pulled right from the human medicine side of things. Nonetheless, I enjoyed Taz and especially, the book’s dedication. I agree with Ms Larkin, humans are flawed and dogs love us unconditionally and do lead by example!

This is Ms Larkin’s second published work. I picked this one up after enjoying her debut novel ‘Mercy’ pleased to see law enforcement characters continue to be the main characters in her stories. I will definitely be looking out for her next book.

Overall a solid action, crime-romance. 4 stars

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Review of ‘L.A. Metro’ by RJ Nolan.

Dr. Jess McKenna is the busy ER Chief of the LA Metropolitan Hospital. She’s known for her impenetrable facade needed to get her through difficult cases and essential to guarding her past personal burden. Dr. Kim Donovan is a psychiatrist relocating after a disastrous stint at a hospital near her hometown in Detroit. Her ethics were questioned while working on a case and much to her devastation, everyone near her, including her closeted girlfriend, deserted her. Now her job is to liaison with the emergency department and the formidable Dr. McKenna. Can these two women help each other heal and move past their insecurities?

Confession time- I enjoyed this book more than I probably should have because of the hospital/medical setting. The book is well written with well defined characters, including a handsome Great Dane. There was no depth to the medical cases but enough said to be enjoyable and also propel the story forward. I also loved that Kim is a psychiatrist as it seems the majority of the hospital settings revolve around first-responders, ER and trauma specialties. Who knew psych would be such a novel and welcomed field?

The women had immediate chemistry and attraction. However, do not be fooled. This is a slow-burn romance. I enjoyed the characters’ journey was great and interesting. The only thing that I disliked was how many “inner thoughts” were literally shared and how at times they were simply not needed since the thought was obvious or even cliche.

This is the first of three full length books in the series. There are two novellas to go along with the first book and one prequel. Gaby reviewed the third and final novel ‘Wounded souls’.

Overall a good read that will appeal to anyone who loves medical romances. 4 stars.

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Review of ‘The do-over’ by Georgia Beers.

Bella Hunt is a successful therapist who, as a teenager, struggled to deal with her sexuality and was bullied by her classmates. Fifteen years later Easton Evans, one of her high school bullies, ends up in her conflict resolution class. Soon Bella discovers that grown-up Easton is friendlier and kinder than her teenage self but still very beautiful. As their mutual attraction develops, their shared past is eventually going to catch up with them…

This is a second-chance romance by Ms. Beers in which she draws on her own high school experience, showing how difficult a time that could be but also how people can change in adulthood. The story is mainly set in the present but it introduces a few flashbacks of some high-school moments that marked Bella’s life. Past and present are woven seamlessly and the flashbacks make the reader understand the present better.

It’s no news that Ms. Beers is an accomplished writer but, still, it really amazed me how well she built the chemistry between the main characters. The dialogues are perfect, their body language is depicted perfectly and the sexual tension is exquisite. This is undoubtedly Georgia Beers at her best. However, it’s disappointing that both sex scenes felt a bit rushed and didn’t reflect the intimacy that the author created so well.

The secondary characters are also very well-rounded. Shondra, Easton’s best friend, plays a great role in showcasing Easton’s goodness, compared to her past self. If there are any doubts of her transformation, motherhood completely redeems her. Emma, Easton’s daugther, is another convincing character though it’s a pity there wasn’t so much interaction with Bella.

Heather and Amy, Bella’s best friends, act like a sounding board and show how far she has overcome her own demons. Her two dogs are lovable fur characters. Somehow the author managed to balance the apparent fierceness of a pitbull with the gentleness of their temperaments. Also, kudos to Ms. Beers to portray their distinct personalities so well.

My major criticism and the reason why my rating dropped is that the main conflict, that is, Bella keeping her real identity a secret from Easton, seems a bit forced into the plot. I understand why Bella was hesitant to reveal who she was but, for me, it dragged for too long and it didn’t flow naturally in the story. Maybe letting the conflict develop earlier in the book would have made it more believable and the ending wouldn’t have felt so rushed. Despite this, because of the lovable leads, their amazing chemistry and the fantastic secondary characters, this is a very recommended read.

Overall, a very good second-chances romance with an amazing chemistry that only a few lesfic authors can create. 4 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘The sex therapist next door’ by Meghan O’Brien.

Diana Kelley is a sex therapist with emotional intimacy issues who needs to find a replacement for her impending hands-on sexual education workshop. She decides to ask Jude Monaco, her younger next door neighbour who secretly has a crush on Diana. As the workshop progresses, both women’s feelings and fears start to unravel. Would it lead to something deeper as Jude craves?

Meghan O’Brien is one of the best lesfic writer of erotica. There’s no doubt that she can write hot, different and wide-raging erotic scenes. ‘The sex therapist next door’ is a prime example of this. The best parts of the book are the erotic ones while the rest is just average; sometimes repetitive, others plain melodramatic.

Sex therapist Diana is a hard to like character, she comes across as self-absorbed, distant and sometimes manipulative person. At 39 years old, she refers herself as a ‘middle age’ woman but sometimes she is very immature. She plays the age-gap card (of 13 years) continuously though most of the time Jude seems the mature one. Jude is more likeable though her transformation into a needy character feels more like a plot device rather than the expected development of her relationship with Diana. Both characters spend a long time in their heads and some of Diana’s arguments for why she shouldn’t get involved with Jude are so repetitive that cause more irritation than empathy. However, there is a good subplot between Ava, Diana’s best friend, and Katrina, Jude’s cousin.

Having said all this, if you are looking for good quality, lesbian erotica and you don’t mind much of the rest of the plot, this books is right for you. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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