Blu Reviews Puppy Love by L. T. Smith

Are you looking for a sweet romance with endearing characters and the opportunity to laugh in sympathy as two lovely women navigate the clumsy beginnings of a relationship? L. T. Smith’s Puppy Love (Ylva, 2013) will fit the bill. You will likely be drawn to this story when you learn of the author’s commitment to donate all her royalties to Dogs Trust in the UK and her publisher’s commitment to do likewise with their profits in Europe. How can you resist?

Puppy Love is described on Amazon as follows:

Ellie Anderson has given up on love. Her philosophy is “Why let someone in when all they do is leave?” So instead, she fills her life with work and dodges her sister’s matchmaking. Then she meets Charlie—a gorgeous, brown-eyed Border Terrier. Charlie is in need of love and a home, prompting Ellie to open the doors to feeling once again. However, she isn’t the only one who is falling for the pup’s charms. Emily Carson is her rival for Charlie’s affection, thus starting what can only be classed as a working relationship. By allowing herself to love Charlie, can Ellie open her heart to anyone else?

Ellie has experienced abandonment and her response is to be especially cautious about entering into relationships – until she is introduced to Charlie. Her reaction to this ward of the local dog pound is coloured by her loss and continued grieving of Toby. From the age of 13, Toby provided her with unwavering support through parental rejection and the consistency she needed as she began a life ill prepared for. Her initial meeting of Emily is hilarious and perhaps a little overdone, but it retains enough realism that I cringed in sympathy as they try to regain their footing. Ellie vacillates from total fascination with Emily to avoidance as her internal doubts and misunderstandings create bumps in the road. It is not only Ellie who misreads signs, finds difficulty in communicating her interest and in maintaining pace. Emily is also intrigued, but needs to protect her heart as she tries to investigate this electric attraction. There are not too many secondary characters but they are relatable and fit into the setting quite believably. Abbie is determined to ensure Ellie experiences love and while you might identify with the latter’s frustration at her sister’s meddling efforts, you could also join me in cheering Abigail on.

When reading, I seldom laugh out loud or cry. This story had me giggling and covering my mouth in glee, then tearing up in empathy over the very believable descriptions of Ellie’s responses to grief. Neither are overblown and the internal processing Ellie does as she works through her attraction to Emily is very well written. Some reviewers have expressed frustration at the vacillation described. I found it very plausible and absolutely loved the descriptive self-dialogue Ellie has – even seeing myself in much of it. While the plot is relatively straight forward, the characters are very strong, the love scenes potent and the pace pleasing.

After See Right Through Me, this is the second of L. T. Smith’s stories I have enjoyed. When The Clock Strikes Thirteen is downloaded, a reward awaiting me as soon as I submit this review. I am eagerly anticipating Hearts and Flowers Border that will be released in 2014 by Ylva and would encourage you to pick up any of Ms. Smith’s titles currently available.

You can download a sample or purchase Puppy Love by clicking here.

Beginnings by Fingersmith

Bryan Adams will take us back to the ”Summer of ’69” and in “Beginnings” Fingersmith will let us take a peek at the summer of 1974. You can listen to the tune or read the story – either way it rocks!

The hot, sticky summer of 1974 was the summer that the six-year-old Lou was struck to the ground by Ash – the new girl on the block. This happened when Ash fell from a tree as Lou walks by heading her mothers call to come in for her tea! This was the beginning of a friendship that lasted all summer, but ended abruptly when Lou’s mother chose to leave her ever absent, non-caring husband and moving herself and the kids to a new town – guess who was unhappy with that move!

Move fast forward 10 years and see Lou falling of a stage – while doing a drunken version of “Waterloo” (Karaoke) – and landing on top of a table full of empty glasses, surrounded by amorous young men, ready for a woman to drop into their lives. And the cause? A pair of pale blue eyes – guess who they belong to!

After the surprise reunion the girls take to each other like the friends they used to be, but – as you might have guessed – things have changed; the kids have grown and new confusing feelings surface. Sarah proves to be the one who can put at least some of those raging hormones to a good use – no I’m not confusing the names here! Things will get even more confused as the girls all battle with their feelings and the courage to own up to how they feel. Before the teenagers can sort out their feelings Lou’s mother decides to …. move again – gee can’t she just stay put for once!

Take a deep breath and a giant leap into maturity and visit with Lou and Ash as they meet again in the cause of a dramatic criminal investigation that mix with family history. Perhaps the third time’s the charm ?

This is a story spanning almost half a lifetime from childhood, through teenage years and further on to a time when girls are no longer girls but women of maturity. Even if it’s a rather long story – 206 pages if you go by the count on The Athenaeum – we are only treated to the bit’s and pieces of the lives of Lou and Ash when they happen to get in touch with each other.

“Beginnings” is really three separate stories in a tight woven series. The story that I like the best is the third and last one as this seems the most complete both in the storyline, in the interactions between the protagonists and in the ease of writing. The story as a whole holds a little for every reader though both those who favour the tales of the first teenage love, the soul mate theme, witty moments, spicy encounters or the usual angsty misunderstandings between those that we – the readers – deem to be right for each other.

All in all I’ll say that this is perhaps not Fingersmiths best on-line story as I’m particularly fond of “Once”, but it’s still an entertaining read, romantic and catching at places and well worth a read.

http://www.xenafiction.net/scrolls/fingersmith_beginnings1.html

Once by Fingersmith (aka Linda Smith)

For some, the end is a new beginning. But when you walk in on your girlfriend doing “it” with another woman on your bedroom floor, a new beginning can be really far away! For Beth it’s shattering to realise that “I love you forever” was really just a promise of a three year long partnership ending in a “floor show”.

With her girlfriend gone, Beth is back to being just herself and her boy, Dudley. Life is going downhill and she is really not at all in the mood to interact with other “humans”, let alone meet new people. But with a bit of assistance from Dudley, Beth meets Amy at the park and they get rather intimate – on the floor the local café. Don’t worry it might be embarrassing, but it’s not anything like the “floor show” that Sue put on. This is the beginning of a rapidly developing attraction and a slowly progressing friendship between Beth and Amy. And it’s the first of a number of times that Beth and Amy land in a heap on the floor together… really there is no “funny” stuff involved!

But this Sue must really have been a right ass, as Beth seems to be of the conviction that no one, and certainly not the attractive Amy, would consider her for more than a friend. Yes – here we go – the scene has been set for a lot of misunderstandings, a couple of bleeding hearts, and some much needed growing to love yourself again.

I’m a sucker for these lengthy and slowly developing romances where you might just wonder at times if the ladies will find the way into each others arms. Yeah well – I know a romance always has a happy ending, but don’t you sometimes wonder if this one is just the one exception to the rule? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t matter as long as the emotional ups and downs are believable.

I like the fact that this story is penned by an English writer, it gives the story just a slightly different and fresh touch. Furthermore there are a good amount of funny episodes included, and Dudley seems to be a real darling… dog.

Fingersmith has penned a number of stories which are available on The Athenaeum (www.xenafiction.net). This one is my favourite, but you might find some of the other stories worthwhile. I might warn you, though, of a little quirk in the writing. Fingersmith likes to put in little comments on the progressing of the story, like “Where do I go from here? Should I move on and race ahead? Or should I drag it out?”

Enjoy!

http://xenafiction.net/scrolls/fingersmith_once1.html

Hearts and Flowers Border by Fingersmith (Linda Smith)

Hearts and Flowers Border is a reunion story, which I tend to enjoy. And I did enjoy this one. It tells the tale of Laura Stewart and Emma Jenkins, as told from Laura’s point of view. The first part of the story takes place during the end of high school and the college days of the two characters and describes how they became close friends. There’s plenty of confusion and mixed messages but the story is touching and funny and Fingersmith does a great job of getting the reader invested in the story. Then, suddenly, something happens and our two friends are separated.

The reunion part of the story comes ten years later. There are more touching and funny bits and we get to be happy for our girls. There’s a bit of sadness and hurt feelings and such but that’s what you’d expect, isn’t it. I found myself seeing Emma as someone who could use some therapy at a few points. I don’t remember if I felt that way the first two times I read this story, but I certainly did this time. There’s loads of sex in this one. So much so that toward the end of the story, I started skimming through.

I do recommend this one. There’s a good plot and it was very easy to connect with the narrator and become invested in her story. Emma’s character seemed less developed but since it’s told from Laura’s point of view, that may have had something to do with it. Fingersmith has a great sense of humor and that comes through – along with a heavy dose of swearing. And I like both of those things.

Hearts and Flowers Border has also been published by PD Publishing under the name L. T. Smith. If you’ve read the published version, post some comments if you noticed major differences. I’m always happy to purchase a book that’s made the transition from fan fiction – as long as there’s enough of a difference to make it worthwhile.

http://www.pdafiction.com/fingersmith.htm