Review of ‘This time’ by S.W. Andersen.

Artist Elena Jake has been having dreams about the same woman for years and no one in real life could ever live to her expectations. Convinced that she might be real and somewhere to be found, she asks her grandmother using her Native American roots to search for her. Dr. Tess Kenner is a neuropsychologist who helps patients with severe mental problems, some of them unexplainable. She believes in science and is wary of anything spiritual but when a chain of inexplicable events shows her the path to something that transcends her lifetime, she has the choice to ignore the strong force that calls for her or to believe the unbelievable.

This is a paranormal novel with the main premise that two soulmates from a previous lifetime can find each other in the next. I’m not a fan of the genre and I’m quite a disbeliever in afterlife so please read my review considering this.

The book is written on a timeline that starts in the 1950s but mainly focuses on 2017 and 2018. As the time goes back and forth a lot, I got lost a few times even though the author states the dates at the beginning of some chapters. Written in third person from the point of view of both Elena and Tess (with a few sections told from the pov of secondary characters), it is easy to get into the story and cheer for their reunion. Their encounter is very satisfying but short for my taste, as the mains are separated for most of the book. The main characters are well-rounded, very convincing in their struggle to understand what’s going on and to search for each other. The secondary characters support the plot perfectly, specially Elena’s grandmother and her best friend. All in all, the story is engaging, romantic and entertaining if you let yourself being taken to a fantasy world.

Overall, an entertaining read if you are a paranormal fan and if you don’t mind that the mains are separated most of the story. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Love all’ by Rachel Spangler.

Jay Pierce is a veteran tennis player whose career was tainted by scandal. She’s trying to make a comeback while keeping a low profile. In her path to tennis glory she faces Destiny Larsen, a 17 year old prodigy looking to make a name for herself in the game. But more challenging than Destiny’s talent on the court and hostility off the court is Jay’s attraction for Sadie, Destiny’s mother. Will they get past the confrontations to their happily ever after?

This novel is as much a typical lesfic romance as an exploration of parental love. The author is a tennis mom herself and the reader can see that much of what Sadie’s experiences as a tennis mom and as a mother is hers too. Sadie’s a half tennis mom, half mama bear character. Her daughter always comes first but not at any cost, she has a moral code that enforces in her daughter. As a result, this book shows a few bits of very wise parenting insight.

Jay is the typical stoic, dark character with a troubled past that is present in many lesfic books. She travels her journey to redemption without much conviction but is a lovable character. Her chemistry with Sadie is powerful and their intimate scenes are hot. Kudos to Ms. Spangler to present an interracial couple with very believable characters.

Destiny is finely portrayed as both a typical and non-typical teenager. As a professional tennis player, she has to deal with responsibilities and pressure that are not normally demanded from an adolescent. But, on the other hand, she is a typical teenager in all her rebellious, testy, immature ways. She’s not a likeable character but she’s very credible.

A couple of things made me drop a star on this rating. Jay’s relationship with Heather, who is an umpire, wouldn’t work in real life as there is a strict no fraternisation rule between umpires and players (I’ve learnt that from reading ‘Code of conduct’ by Cheyenne Blue). Most importantly, some scenes, specially inside a tennis court, were a bit far fetched for the realm of professional tennis at top tournaments. I understand why the author wrote them but they didn’t work for a tennis enthusiast like me. However, the positive sides of the story outweighed these details. It’s worth a read.

Overall, a story of romance and parental love with a view into professional tennis. 4 stars.

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

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Review of ‘If I loved you less’ by Tamsen Parker.

Theo Sullivan is a surfing instructor based in a small island in Hawaii. In her free time she enjoys being the village busybody and matchmaker and eating all things sweet at her friend Kini ʻŌpūnui’s bakery. As Theo is a lesbian, she normally enjoys no-string relationships with visiting tourists but she’d never imagined that the love of her life could be closer than she thought.

This novel is a retelling of ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen. The author mainly writes about m/f and m/m couples with the exception of a couple of f/f books. In the acknowledgements, the author admits that this book was difficult to write and, to be honest, it shows. Even though this book features two main women characters falling in love with each other, I wouldn’t consider it lesfic because most of the attention is focused on heterosexual relationships. Additionally, Theo affirms that she’s a lesbian (or queer as she prefers to call herself) but her attraction to women isn’t completely believable. I couldn’t feel the mains’ chemistry beyond the level of friendship and their romantic involvement is rushed and unconvincing. It doesn’t help that there no intimate scenes either and I’m not sure that they would have worked with that low level of chemistry.

The book is written in third person from the point of view of Theo. To say that Theo is not an easy to like character is an understatement. Most of the time, she comes across as self-centred, opinionated, superficial, immature and manipulative. Kini is the complete opposite and you can only wonder what she sees in the younger woman. There is an age gap between the mains of around 14 years, both characters are believable in their ages and they somehow balance each other. Kudos to the author to tackle an interracial romance in the beautiful setting of Hawaii. However, there are too many out of context Hawaiian words, specially when food is mentioned, which somehow interrupt the reading flow. Additionally, some of the secondary characters are a bit stereotyped and sometimes act strangely for the XXI century. I’m not sure that interpolating Jane Austen’s idiosyncrasy to a modern day lesbian romance worked in this case.

Overall, an unconvincing romance that probably won’t appeal lesfic fans. 2.5 stars.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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