Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
Tropes: part of an expanded universe; MFM; FMC with past trauma; small-town romance; found family
There is a long list of reasons I enjoy Lexi Blake’s writing as Sophie Oak’s Unexpected Bliss, book 13, in her Nights in Bliss series. I’ll give you the reasons in a moment, but it’s important to underscore the heart of this story: Blake’s own experience infused into her FMC, Elisa’s journey. One of the main reasons I love teaching writing is the promise of learning about the writer through their story-telling. Our filters (past experiences, values, upbringing, etc) find purchase in our writing. When it’s soulful and filled with pain, we, the reader, feel it too, and in many instances, we find the author’s experience reflecting our own. This creates a tether to the story that adds profundity to it. It’s why we cry or laugh or feel butterflies in our stomachs because we find a little bit of ourselves in it. Blake’s bravery in offering bits of her story through Elisa’s journey makes Unexpected Bliss compelling and thoughtful and passionate, and I loved every moment of it. It’s brave. It’s insightful. And it tugs at your heart. That’s just the start. Here are the other reasons I loved this story:
- Elisa perfectly balances the literal and sometimes brooding Hale and the charming, stubborn Van. Where Hale and Van struggle, Elisa excels. The three have been crafted to complete each other.
- Elisa’s connection to Mel. Mel’s character has challenged the veracity of aliens if you’ve “lived” in Bliss through the pages of Blake’s romances. In this book, Mel and Elisa find something in the other that they didn’t know what missing.
- I love a found family trope, and it’s beautifully constructed in this story.
- The expanded universe of Bliss is always a treasure. Blake gifts her readers with a trove of past characters, which means you spend a lot of time getting caught up with the various couples. Even more, the next generation infuses the pages of this book.
- While Blake follows her usual story pattern (two of the throuple recognize their love for each other while the third believes they don’t have a future together), it doesn’t matter because we know they’re headed for a happy ending, and we’re treated to some delicious spice while they figure it out.
If you love MFM romances and you’ve never been to Bliss, Colorado, today’s the day to start. If you’ve been to Bliss, but you’ve yet to grab Unexpected Bliss, it’s like pulling on your favorite sweater on a chilly day: it leaves you feeling warm and satisfied until the very end
In love and romance,