No Wrong Turns by Lisa A. Adams
Falling for You by Michelle Ziegler
Coffee and Cufflinks by Annabelle Blume
A Slippery Slope by Rebecca Hart
The Shamrock Incident by London Saint James
“For the Love of Murphy” is a collection of stories all about Murphy’s Law, which states: “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong”. What does this mean for the 5 stories in the anthology? While people do indeed get a bump here and a bruise there, the truth is it’s not all bad. In fact, each story gives credence to optimism. Something great always can follow something bad; you just have to be open to having a few mishaps before you find what you’re seeking.
“No Wrong Turns”
The first of the stories revolves around a young woman, Jessica, who is leaving her home for the first time. After car trouble she meets a kind guy with a southern accent. They are share a mutual attraction but don’t quite admit it.
This story, like all the others, was well written. The Jessica’s thoughts let the reader in on their true feelings and they are often well paired with literary techniques which create an intriguing atmosphere. Readers can get into the characters and feel what they feel.
You get both sides of the story and as a consequence are introduced to two different people who match well together. One is having a difficult time and is glad to have the help of a handsome stranger, while the other is a friendly person who is a little shy.
You might be pleasantly surprised by how the story unfolds based on the inauspicious opening for Jessica who was looking for something new after having her heart broken.
If you’re up for a dash of southern charm and the bonding of a sweet couple then you’ll enjoy No Wrong Turns.
“Falling for You”
Pining over someone, then settling for someone else is not an uncommon story, but them reappearing in your life and chasing after you is. This is what happens to the main character, Darci, in this story. She once was in love with a man in her recent past, and that love never faded.
Murphy’s Law is applied a little differently in this story. Instead of one little bad thing coming after another, it focuses on events in the past which kept two people apart.
At first you are shown a somewhat disorganised woman who it would seem has become a little too frustrated with life. Her dating record is not enviable, and there is no sign the rut is coming to an end. Her friend, Abby, plays a nicely supporting role and ends up playing a major role in the story. Both women are likeable, but Abby has a determination and a no-nonsense attitude about her which draws you ever closer to both Darci and the story itself.
The flow of the writing is good. You see the story developing quite nicely and the ending itself worked as a scene. Murphy’s Law did impose itself near the end and threatened to yank the story off of its course. However, the recovery was made and it also wasn’t strange or confusing, so it didn’t leave you feeling like anything was rushed.
There were quite a few pleasant moments. They represented an intimacy and amorousness not abundant anywhere else in the anthology. This story told the tale of a couple who were technically in the middle of a relationship since they had been friends for quite some time and both fancied the other. In this story you get a man who kept his feelings to himself for quite a long time, knew the woman he cared for liked him as well and when the opportunity presented itself he went after what he wanted. A nice touch was his target didn’t wait or swoon like a helpless maid when he arrived; instead she remained strong when she needed to be.
“Falling for You” is a fun, warm and captivating story about missed chances and a reignited fire flaming back to life with a vengeance. It is a romance with a touch of sadness and with a hefty helping of promise. This is most certainly not one to be missed.
“Coffee and Cufflinks”
Here you find Olivia, and her influential friend Michelle, who are a pair of women who work in worlds filled with pressure. One is a CEO with bags of sex appeal while the other is more reserved.
This is one of the more robustly written pieces, with references, descriptions and a style probably best suited to an intense drama. Still, it lends a lot of substance to the story and makes it quite an interesting read from start to finish.
There is precious little flirting involved. The lead initially has some shyness to her, but she steers clear of that as the story progresses, even more so toward the end. This story isn’t a sweet romance. It is a story of a woman’s desire to have her job and to face her life without fear.
What you get is a very strong, very independent woman who goes after what she wants. The author sets her apart from a predator through flashes of vulnerability and Olivia’s reluctance to play with the emotions of others.
This one certainly stands apart from the rest in the tone and type of female lead, but whether that works for it or against it entirely depends on your taste. Either way, it is worth a read regardless of your preference, something which is not common enough in romance stories.
“A Slippery Slope”
The backdrop of the story is a ski resort in the Salt Lake City where a trio of women go for a girl’s weekend. One is in a relationship, another is busy searching for her next “victim”, while the last, Anne, has recently undergone a breakup. She has thrown herself into work and does not enter the weekend especially eager to “hunt” with her friend.
After Murphy’s Law strikes her footwear upon her arrival, it tries to get her again, but is foiled by a handsome ski patrolman. This story is one of a couple in the anthology which are less concentrated on the cosy elements of a romance. While attraction is undoubtedly shared between Anne and the ski patrolman, they see little of each other until Anne finds herself in an undesirable situation.
Still, Anne is likeable and so are her friends. They are an entertaining group which could easily fill a novel with memorable characters. Anne’s love interest can be similarly regarded, with his kind personality instantly setting him apart from a vast amount of men. Anne finds herself doing what she had not expected from the weekend, which is chasing after a man who at first leaves her dumbfounded. He plays the part of a professional and while is a little bit flirty at times he still forces Anne to do the chasing.
Although the romance starts slowly the story has a nice pace to it. Anne and her friends have a good time and the author takes you with them. The dialogue flows well and each character has an engaging personality. It all comes together to make an enjoyable read.
“The Shamrock Incident”
One most charming of the set starts with two business owners meeting in less than ideal circumstances. Marissa is having a tough day trying to keep her customers happy while Trey has come to address a hit-and-run incident.
After Murphy’s Law does a number on Marissa, Trey is there to take care of her. That simple scenario leads to a period which exposes the likeability of both characters. Marissa is sweet and humble while Trey is caring and sensible.
Told from both perspectives, the story has an added layer of substance because you can see how both react to one another. After Trey comes to Marissa’s rescue, you come across something too few stories contain. Trey exhibits a genuine desire to look after Marissa after she takes a harsh bump to the head. While her beauty does not go unnoticed to him, Trey does not take advantage of the situation, and even sets aside his own problems to stop Marissa’s day from getting any worse.
The relationship they have at first makes for pleasant reading because of the way they both try to ignore their attraction in favour of the roles they might be expected to take. Marissa is the shop owner who should be attending to her client while Trey is the bystander who is supposed to stay with the injured until help arrives.
There are shades of You’ve Got Mail present in this story in the way Trey tends to Marissa and neither wants to admit their true feelings. In this case, however, there are no schemes afoot. Trey comes to Marissa’s rescue in a rather modern way in addition to the traditional damsel in distress format the pair follow when they first meet. Instead of protecting her from the physical hazards of the world he gives sorts out a fairly tricky employee problem for her before romance can truly bloom. It is then the author reveals different sides to the characters, making them just that little more balanced.
While there was not much room for sweet or steamy romance, the story still is truly a terrific read for any fan of the romance genre. It is both a fun and pleasant read for both story and characters. It’s worth a second and even a third look.
Ultimately all 5 stories are nicely written, have memorable characters and there are elements of multiple types and stages of romance tales. You would be hard pressed to not find something you can greatly enjoy and remember for quite some time to come. Grab “For the Love of Murphy” now and let the warmth and heat radiating from this book lift your spirits and, hopefully, ward of Murphy’s Law as well.
General (strictly compared to other similar works in the genre): 6/10
Weighted (audience, author and personal opinion considered): 6/10
[Original Post Date: 22 March 2014]