Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ErRatic



ErRatic by N.D. Hansen-Hill
Publisher: Gale Group
Genre: Contemporary; Paranormal
Length: Full
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Magnolia

Emma Rathburn would love to be normal, if only she can figure out what that is. Her life is a disaster, with unexpected phenomena emerging from the shadows to trample her best efforts at conformity. All too often she finds herself running from trouble, or moving to hide from notoriety. Harley Chalmers is a policeman, prepared to battle human assailants. His arrival at Emma's house coincides with yet another terrifying paranormal event. She is being haunted, but her adversary is more than a wisp of ectoplasm, and far more solid than a bygone memory.

Harley soon discovers that if he wants a relationship with Emma, he's going to have to - literally - confront her demons.

ErRatic is most definitely not a book to be read at night or while alone in a large old house. I know because I made the mistake and did both. The romance element is a secondary story line - a strong secondary. This is a scare-your-socks-off horror.

Emma Rathburn is the heroine. Now in every story the heroine has demons - only Emma’s happen to be real. And they are not the nice ones that are in some paranormals. Besides seeing ghost, having a problem with rats, and a demon that is really trying to kill her, Emma’s life is pretty run of the mill. Emma is a strong heroine but not to the point of obnoxious. She readily calls on her friends, the guy she kind of digs, and a group of ‘ghost busters.’

Harley Chalmers likes things black and white. So Emma must be crazy - stay away. Okay maybe Emma’s not crazy but still stay away. When this doesn’t work, Harley must decided if he can deal with Emma’s many shades of gray. In the end, Harley comes through in a big way.

Emma is surrounded by a wonderful group of friends. Dale, her oldest friend, is incredible. I have had friends bale out on me when I burned the cookies for tea; this guy sticks around after numerous demon attacks! Nicky and Chang are also true friends. All the secondary character are well thought out and carefully placed to add to the story.

The plot is an incredible woven mixture of horror, humor, and romance. Not an easy combination to carry off, but ErRatic does it very well. The climax actually had the hair on my arms standing up and sent shivers down my spine.



Fire and Shadow



Fire and Shadow by Imogen Howson
Publisher: Drollerie Press
Genre: Young Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short story
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Orange Blossom

On Fern's 18th birthday, she discovers she's a fire-starter. It's a gift, and she's glad to have it. But fire starting is a curse as well as a blessing. Fern must learn how to control it, and to do that she has to leave her home and family, lest she burn them all by accident. Fern travels to a place where other young people have gathered to learn how to manage their gifts. Though none are firestarters, they understand self-control, and there are books to help. And that's where she meets Nik, the enigmatic magician who seems to understand her and her gift better than she does herself.

From the moment they meet, sparks fly, sometimes literally. Nik makes her lose her temper faster than anyone else can, but he understands her better than anyone else, too. Fern realizes something she didn't look for and didn't expect; she's falling in love with him.

But can Nik be trusted? Or is he hiding dangerous secrets of his own?

This is definitely a story anyone can enjoy from young to old, a young adult dark fantasy that will keep you turning the pages till the very end.

Fern is a typical eighteen-year-old except for the fact that she’s a firestarter and has no idea how to control it. She contains the foibles of a typical young woman and one who has the unseemly flaw of panic which affects not only her new found power but her personal relationships. She was realistically drawn and as a reader I wanted to know how she would deal with her new situation in life and how it would all work into the plot. The author put together a complete story regardless of its novella length. The secondary characters filled their roles brilliantly and the character of Nik will definitely steal your heart.

I was impressed immediately by Ms. Howson’s writing style. The story is told in lovely language that flows so well you really want to keep reading in order to find out how the heroine will defeat the menace to her world and her people. It contains the tenants to many well-written and plotted fantasy novels with a sweet romance strung throughout while at the same time fresh and original. It had a terrific ending and a couple plots twists which I was not expecting. In this day in age when much of the new fantasy being produced is filled with cliques and predictability, "Fire and Shadow" stands out in creative uniqueness. I encourage everyone to pick up a copy today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Lake Placid Cure



The Lake Placid Cure by Sharon Buchbinder
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Peony

After Sandra Blake catches her husband in flagrante delicto with a younger woman, she checks into a spa/clinic in Lake Placid which promises to cure her life’s ills. Little does she know that the secluded spa hides suspicious activities and characters.

Chief of Police Doug Harrington has seen a lot of strange things among the rich and famous in his little resort town, but even he’s surprised by the events at the ritzy medical spa. The last thing Sandra wants is another charming man in her life. The last thing Doug expects to find is a woman who matches him in intellect, integrity, and compassion.

After joining forces to protect a young girl who witnessed her mother’s brutal murder, each discovers miracles can happen, once again, in Lake Placid.

Sandra witnesses what no wife should ever see: her husband making love to another woman. To further wound her, the woman he leaves her for is pregnant. Sandra’s heart is broken from her past miscarriages, and now her marriage is over. Will her pain never end? When she meets a young girl who’s all alone in the world she is thrown into caring about someone else’s life again. Will Erin and Sandra find a way to get past their pain and forge new lives? Or will the terrors of their pasts continue to plague them?

"The Lake Placid Cure" is filled with exceptional characters and deeply moving dialogue. The story comes to life, and every scene is so realistic it is easy to see and hear everything. While the “love story” in this short tale is thin the bond between Erin and Sandra, as well as Sandra’s strong commitment to moving on with her life, make up for it. If you’re looking for an emotionally satisfying, short read, "The Lake Placid Cure" just might be the thing for you! Nicely done!

A Rogue's Pleasure



A Rogue's Pleasure by Hope Tarr
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Rose

Regency female Robin Hood steals from the rich to help ransom her kidnapped brother. But she becomes the captive of her most recent victim, the dashing Viscount Montrose, when she steals his heart.

A Rogue’s Pleasure, while not a new book, is my first time reading Hope Tarr, but it definitely won’t be the last time I pick up one of her books. This was Ms. Tarr’s premiere book, and if the rest of her work is anything like this one, I’m going to be having some fun reads in store for me. A Regency novel, it brings out all the elegance and beauty of that long gone world.

The heroine, Chelsey Bellamy, is faced with a terrible dilemma. Her brother, Robert, has been kidnapped and the kidnapper is demanding 500 pounds. 500 pounds Chelsey does not have. Exactly what she needs to worry about at the end of a year that has already about ruined her. And, the one person she thinks can help her... well, the cost he requires is just too much to pay. So... Chelsey does the only thing she can do. She becomes a highwayman.

The hero, Anthony Grenville, Viscount Montrose, is Chelsey’s first victim in her guise of One-Eyed Jack. He, from the first, realizes that One-Eyed Jack has a secret. And, when chance brings One-Eyed Jack to Lord Montrose’s house, he is prepared for her. Holding her captive, he soon learns her reasons for turning to a life of crime and offers his assistance in rescuing her brother.

The hero and heroine strike sparks from the very beginning and their attraction to each other is obvious. Also obvious, however, is the fact that he is engaged and, no matter what he feels for Chelsey, he is honor bound to marry.

Ms. Tarr keeps the reader on her toes as she maneuvers this pair in their efforts to locate Robert and to fight the growing love between them. Although the identity of the kidnapper will come as no surprise, there are some twists involved along the way to keep the story hopping and to keep the reader interested.

I recommend this first book of Ms. Tarr’s for anyone who has a love for Regency romance and do not hesitate to give it four books.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ellie's Delight



Ellie's Delight by Lea Winter
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Heat: Hot
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Jasmine

Tall, dark and magnetic, Sterling Blalock lives every man’s dream. The CEO of Black Bean Foods is calculating and cunning in his element, but his rationality goes out the window when he rents a room, as Stuart Black, from a fiery brunette rancher named Ellie Burton. He’s never met a woman that could melt his heart with her cooking, or one who makes him forget his bank account by straddling a horse with those long, sexy legs. He’s determined to close this deal, and take Ellie home as the ultimate dividend...

There’s something strange but seductive about Ellie Burton’s temporary tenant, Stuart Black. He knows too much about finances for a penniless graduate student, and he’s a little too eager to offer his uncle’s help in rescuing Ellie’s failing farm. Still, she can’t help but yield when he flashes those steel gray eyes, and his sensuous lips fuel fantasies for days. She’s never felt this way about a man, but then, Stuart isn’t just any man...

Ellie and Sterling share a secret. Though they’ve just met, Black Bean Foods is at the core of Ellie’s potential demise. Can Sterling Blalock take a wrong and make it right, winning the woman of his dreams?

Eleanor “Ellie” Burton needs money fast. Her alternatives are either to sell her farm or marry Darryl Owens, one of her childhood friend who is hankering after her farm. So she listens to her uncle’s advice and agrees to board vacationers at her home. But just as a trial run, her uncle agrees to find somebody to rent from her for a month and soon Stuart Black shows up on her doorstep.

Sterling Blalock a.k.a Stuart Black goes to Michigan under the assumed name to get back to his roots and enjoy a vacation without any interruptions. A business tycoon, he is looking forward to month away from New York and work. What he does not bargain on is meeting Ellie. Even though he wants to help her out of her predicament, she is not the kind of woman to accept any man’s help. So he tries to help her as secretly as possible. But his actions start to backfire and secrets are revealed that show a history between Ellie and Sterling’s family that is not so pleasant. Will their relationship survive the revelations?

Ellie’s Delight is a fun, sweet story. It was interesting to read it since I knew many of the places mentioned in the story. Ms. Winter has authored an exceptionally well-written story that is sure to capture many hearts. Her characters are alive and breathing. Sterling/Stuart was sometimes a bit too boyish, I thought. And I was confused by Darryl’s intentions regarding Ellie and her farm: did he love her or not? But other than that it was a very good story. I would recommend it to anyone!

Man of the Year



Man of the Year by Lisa Ruff
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Viscaria

He’ll take one for the team!

Advertising executive Samantha James is looking for a ballplayer who can turn the city’s losing team into a winning package. From the moment she sees pitcher Jarrett Corliss in that steamy locker room, she knows she’s found her star candidate. She also knows she needs to steer clear of the arrogant player outside the boardroom.

Jarrett agrees to be Samantha’s poster boy on one condition – that she goes out with him. Even though the team’s owner has forbidden fraternization because of recent scandals that almost brought down the ball club, Jarrett isn’t about to strike out. He needs the team to win this season to save his career, but he also needs Sam… and this is the one time where he hopes his pitch lands a home run
.
What a fun book! Lisa Ruff has hit a home run with her debut novel, Man Of The Year. Yes, I’m sorry, pun intended. It just fits so perfectly, as does this book.

Samantha James is an advertising executive who has big dreams. Her small company is on its way when she lands the ad campaign of the year. When she gets the opportunity to revamp the damaged image of The Rainiers baseball team, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I loved Samantha’s dynamic personality, and her ability to give as good as she got. She didn’t let much ruffle her feathers, and I can honestly say I wish I could handle myself half as well as she did. I found it quite admirable that even though she was immediately attracted to Jarrett when she first met him, she didn’t jump straight into bed with him. She had integrity and strength of character that kept this story from becoming trite and repetitious. I really enjoyed seeing how Samantha made Jarrett prove that she wasn’t just another notch on his belt. Samantha was a truly enjoyable heroine.

Jarrett Corliss was quite a character, and I mean that in every sense of the word. He was charming, funny, handsome, and determined. He knew what he wanted and had no problem going after it. When Jarrett first meets Samantha, all he knows is that he has to have her for himself. He honestly can’t understand why she doesn’t want to be with him. His arrogance was almost endearing, especially when he would get so very baffled when Samantha kept turning him down. Usually, I don’t like a manipulative hero, but Jarrett was adorable in his antics. He would back Samantha into a corner and I found myself grinning the entire time, wondering how she would react THIS time. When Jarrett finally does get his way, and face it he does or there wouldn’t be a book, the love that grows between him and Samantha is really quite poignant.

A cast of entertaining and spunky secondary characters added depth and interest to an already well-written book, giving me even more enjoyment of Ms. Ruff’s writing. I felt that I got to know each one without it detracting from the main love story. I would love to see more of these characters. Especially Boomer. I can only hope that one day I get to see if things truly do change for him.

This book was full of witty banter and sexual tension as two very headstrong people worked their way into each other’s heart. I had a great time reading this, and I’m almost sorry that I am giving it away, as this book deserves a spot on my keeper shelf. Lisa Ruff will most definitely become an author that I look for in the future. A truly engaging read, and one that I highly recommend. Ms. Ruff is definitely an author to be on the look out for.



Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fox & Hound



Fox & Hound by Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary; Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Verbena

Which is more important—redemption or attraction?
Todd Orso is one of the best jewel thieves around. When he goes after the diamond, Hortensia, in the heart of Paris’s Louvre, he is stunned when it turns up not in his hands but in those of Celestia Armstrong instead. After three years in prison, he goes after her, seeking redemption and revenge.

Instead, he ends up pulling them both into an unlikely partnership when he finds out they were played and betrayed for the jewel by a master thief, Tito Bandero.

They embark on a journey to take back what is theirs and prove their worth. Their path is riddled every step of the way with mystery and danger. Guarding each other’s secrets and codenames—Fox & Hound—they watch each other closely and realize they have another problem: they are attracted to each other.

What Todd and Celestia don't count on is the powerful attraction between them. When the quest grows dangerous, will they choose: payback or each other?

Smokin' hot! Two jewel thieves Todd Orso and Celestria Armstrong meet unexpectedly (on his part) over Hortensia, a famous diamond about to be stolen. She grabs it, he takes the rap and that’s the beginning of the story. Even though Todd hunts her down with revenge on his mind it all turns to dust as they meet without the alarms going off. Of course the fireworks between them are there from the onset. Todd, a tall Texan with good looks and a regular hometown appearance will steal your heart also. He is indeed a regular guy from a small Texas town. He left years ago and got caught up in the excitement of big time jewel heists. That occupation owns him thoroughly with thrills and close calls. In spite of his occupation he is one heck of a nice guy and a gentleman to boot.

Now, Celestia is a different story. While her father is the head of the CIA, her mother comes from a long line of thieves. The family fortune is indeed that. Artifacts and jewelry stolen from the friends and acquaintances of the family date back to the Civil war and are stored in a chamber under one of her mother's houses. Celestia will also fascinate you with the story of her mother's tragic death, her dad's disapproval, and her recent fiancée who set her up to use her to steal for him.

These two of a kind thrill seekers fall hopelessly in love as they team up to catch the ex-boyfriend to exact revenge. The trip to the end of the story will lead you through their attraction for each other and many steamy scenes. The plot is intense with many twists and turns on the road to revenge. Fascinating details of high stakes robbery methods and means make a really good read. Suspense running high through the story and will keep your attention. There are unexpected surprises and some sad happenings along the way. But you will enjoy this book as much as I did. Kudos to the author for a most enjoyable story!

Journey's End



Journey's End by Marly Mathews
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary; Paranormal
Length: Short story
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 books

Soul mates separated for over one thousand years… Faerie Princess, Lily Fairchild, is on a quest to find her husband, Leo. Guided by her pledge to love him for all eternity, she travels to the human realm of Earth, to seek him out and guide him home. When she discovers him in his prison, she realizes that only her true love can set him free from the evil curse that has trapped him for so many years.

Will their combined love for each other be enough to break the curse and set him free, proving that love really is the greatest magic of all?

"Journey’s End" is the last installment in the Legacy of the Celtic Brooch series. I have read several of the other installments and enjoyed them all. While "Journey’s End," like the others, can be read as a stand alone, it makes a wonderful conclusions to the series. With any book of this length the author faces major challenges: to develop a plot, create full dimensional characters, and leave the reader with a sense of a story completed. "Journey’s End" meets all of these challenges.

Princess Lily is heroine with a clear and well defined motive - find her long lost husband. She has spent years (10 faerie and 1000 human) searching for him. The fact she refuses to give up and is willing to go to any length to find him adds to the fairy tale element. She is also a very much to the point type of princess. Like in her conversation with Richard …“Everyone that ever owned the brooch found their perfect love match. Look at Mia…she owned the brooch before she gave it to her aunt.”

“Hmm…perhaps, she should have worn it a bit longer;….”

Richard is a character with some pride issues and Lily has no problem telling him so. The subtly differences between the love she feels for Leo and that of Richard and Mia makes a great conflict in the story. Even adding a moment of doubt--if Lily and Leo are meant to have a happily ever after ending. The character of Hawthorne is well developed and plays a surprising role in the story. The plot of the story is simple but entertaining and fulfilling.

"Journey’s End" provided a nice mid-afternoon escape.

Seeing Red



Seeing Red by Maggie Toussaint
Publisher: Freya's Bower
Genre: Contemporary; Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 3 books
Reviewed by Gloxinia


Owning a bed and breakfast is Emma Heartly's dream, but without a clear title she can't afford the rehab of the abandoned family dwelling. To prove herself to her younger sisters, Emma moves in and begins renovating the two-story house.

Quentin Stone much admires the classic lines of the crumbling Victorian and its red-haired owner. Though Emma can't afford to hire Stone Construction, he volunteers to help her after-hours.

Despite family interference, they lay the foundation for more than a B&B, but troubles follow. Can they overcome past mistakes to find happiness?

Sometimes love comes to you...

When Emma Heartly's parents are killed in a tragic car crash, she is forced to grow up early and take care of her younger sisters. Emma spends her life doing what's best to give her sister their dreams, but will she ever be able to follow her own? She never expected that her dreams of love and career would show up at her door.

After four failed engagements, Quentin Stone was finished with dating. His construction company and hobbies seemed like enough, until he encountered Emma Heartly. Quentin must fight an internal battle with his fears of commitment and his overwhelming attraction to Emma.

Can Quentin and Emma fight through both their fears and ex-lovers to find the love and happiness they both deserve?

Maggie Toussaint brings life to these intriguing characters in her short novel, Seeing Red. Whether describing the vibrant attraction between the lead characters or the suspense and mystery of the events that bring them closer together, this novel is a romantic treat.

Set in modern day, suburban Maryland, Ms. Toussaint's character descriptions leave you wanting to know more about Emma and Quentin's delightful family members. Her suspenseful dialogue and plots have you rooting for our hero and heroine from the very beginning. This is a great story that you won't want to put down and I would recommend it to anyone wanting a sweet, non-graphic romance.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pemberley Remembered



Pemberley Remembered by Mary Simonsen
Publisher: TRC Castle Garden Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Rose

While visiting Montclair, an 18th Century Georgian country house located in the Peak District of Derbyshire, England, Maggie Joyce, a 22-year-old American living in post-war London, is told that the former residents of the mansion, William Lacey and Elizabeth Garrison, were the inspiration for the characters of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride & Prejudice, and that Montclair is the novel’s Pemberley.

During her visit to the nearby Village of Crofton, Maggie meets Beth and Jack Crowell, both of whom have ties to the Lacey family and Montclair, and who know if the legends associated with the house and Fitzwilliam Darcy are true. While exploring the truth behind the romance of Darcy and Elizabeth, Maggie is drawn into the love story of the Crowells, who married in the midst of the horrors of World War I, as well as her own love story with Rob McAllister, an American who flew on bombing missions over Germany during World War II, and who has returned to England for his own deeply personal reasons.

For anyone who is a lover of Jane Austen’s works, and in particular Pride and Prejudice, Pemberley Remembered is a must read. Ms. Simonsen, in her debut novel, has captured not only the essence of Austen’s work, but has brought a rare talent for weaving historical tales together and making the reader feel as if she is right there. There were times during my reading of this story I would find myself forgetting that the characters of P&P, as well as the characters in this book, are fictional.

This is not a simple love story, but is, instead, three love stories woven together seamlessly. Maggie is attempting to work out her relationship with Rob and where, if anywhere, it is going. You have the story of William Lacey and Elizabeth Garrison, told in their letters and diaries which Maggie studies, trying to discover the truth of the legend. And, you have the romance of the Crowells themselves and the mystery of how they know so much about the legend.

Ms. Simonsen gives a character list at the beginning of her book; in this reviewer’s opinion, however, it would pay the reader good stead to read back over Pride and Prejudice before starting Pemberley Remembered, or at the very least to watch one of the many fine movies that have recently been made of P&P, in order to keep the characters straight in your head.

The research and detail that has gone into Pemberley Remembered is evident and the intertwining of the three love stories is masterfully done. I throroughly enjoyed this outing. It is truly a book that is well worth reading more than once, if only because there is so much richness in the book, you can’t grasp it all in one sitting. It is truly something to be savored. For that reason, I give this novel five books.

Let Them Eat Cake



Let Them Eat Cake by Kathy Pratt
Publisher: AweStruck Ebooks
Genre: Contemporary; Historical; Paranormal
Length: Full
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Verbena

Anna Mulligan's first trip to France is supposed to give her a chance to research her genealogy. Instead, it turns into an opportunity for romance and adventure both in present day and in 18th century France. She is transported back in time by a mysterious fog surrounding the Hameau de la Reine at Versailles. She discovers the name of her ancestor when the inhabitants of the hamlet, including Queen Marie-Antoinette and Geoffroi Andrieux, mistake her for that ancestor. Here she finds love with Geoffroi Andrieux, the ancestor of Dr. Jeff Andrews--the present day doctor she's loved from afar. Could Geoffroi be Jeff?

A unique peek at the French Revolution told by a time traveler!
This story has been woven like a fine tapestry. Plot, events, settings, characters all are seamlessly integrated into a whole. I felt like it was written just for me because it incorporates all of the things I like in a romantic novel.

The events of the story begin and end in Paris and it’s environs. You, the reader, are treated to the real Paris. The smells, the sights and the feelings are wonderfully described. The Paris Metro becomes clear to you with the aroma of crepes hanging in the air. The architecture of the Basilica of Sacre-Couer of Montmatre is there before your eyes as plain as can be. The Emile Caudeau square is vivid with the umbrellas of the artists painting as they do for the tourists. You will experience the trip up the Arc De Triomphe and the view of Paris laid out before you. But mostly the story will take place in the PetiteTrianon of Marie Antoinette. There the village will bustle as it once did with villagers dedicated to the Queen. They are growing food and raising poultry and hunting just as they did in her time.

And you will meet the Queen and perhaps formulate a different view of her than you received from the history books. She doesn’t appear as a heartless monster deliberately starving peasants yet the difference between the court and the peasants of France at the time of the Revolution is not ignored. The main characters: Dr. Jeff Andrew and an ICU nurse named Anna Mulligan are on a tour offered by the California hospital where they both work. You feel the immediate attraction between the two yet they have worked together for a while but never connected. They both have admired and desired each other from afar. Jeff’s two sisters are with him and it’s a while before Anna finds out that they are his sisters. Then the hope that she nourishes for the two of them comes alive. The found passion and love will make you remember finding your own soul-mate. I know it did for me. Both have an ancestral history that they want to find out more about. Anna somehow finds herself drifting into a fog and time-travels back into the life at Petite Trianon. I adore time travel stories. They really speak to me and this one is perfect. Anna finds that she is Anne-Marie Toussant, her own ancestor. And lives out three months in history with her lover Geoffroi Andrieux. Yes, you guessed it, Jeff Andrews. They have been in love through time and space. Simply gives me chills. You will love it.

The author skillfully merges both ages into one and there are times when you don’t know whether it’s present or past that is speaking. Best of all the unknown ending that was blocked out by the revolt on Versailles is happily found.

Moon of the Falling Leaves



Moon of the Falling Leaves by Diane Davis White
Publisher: Highland Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Magnolia

Alone in the Wilderness…

Jessica Maxwell finds out just how uncertain life can be when she and her children are stranded on the side of a mountain with winter looming.

The Lakota Warrior…

Swift Eagle has discovered his destiny in the flames of a vision that leads him to help this white family.

Compassion Becomes Passion…

Duty becomes desire when Jessica and Swift Eagle are forced to fight for their love, their survival in the old West.

Moon of the Falling Leaves is story of many layers. It is a romance, a story of personal growth, a glimpse into the past, and a wonderful example of ‘love will prevail.’ The story takes place in 1870 in the Rocky Mountains.

When we first meet the heroine, Jessica Maxwell, she is in a difficult situation. Ms. White does an awesome job creating Jessica. She is a woman that lives by the 1870 rules. And does through the entire story. The character of Jessica is heart warming and sincere. The way she deals with the issues at hand is how a woman of that time would have. I enjoy this….I enjoyed reading a historical where the characters very much limited by the times, i.e. the social standards. Jessica, however, is not a whiny woman. She accepts what fate has dealt her and moves on. Because of this attitude she doesn’t become bitter and people find themselves wanting to help her. People that in normal situations would have turned a blind eye.

The hero, Swift Eagle, a Lakota Sioux shaman, is hesitate to engage in any thing more than is required of him. He is honest with Jessica that he is simply there because of a vision. Swift Eagle retains this honesty through the story. He never denies his feelings for Jessica but is also frank in that a relationship between an Indian and a white woman is just not possible. In the beginning, Swift Eagle declares he is “a man accustomed to a lonely life, without companionship.” But after a short time with Jessica and her delightful children he is rethinking that.

The story is mainly focused on Jessica, Swift Eagle and her children. Most of the secondary cast isn’t introduced until the last quarter of the book. Jessica’s four children are each written with their own personality and role in the story. Grace, Jessica’s only daughter and third child, is however the most engaging. From sticking her tongue out at the bad guy to asking Swift Eagle if he is going to sleep in bed with her mom like her dad did, Grace adds to the story. Just when I was sure that the biggest road block to the happily ever after ending lay in Jessica and Swift Eagle’s personal trauma, enter Charlie Hawkins. Hawkins is vile in every sense of the word.

Moon of the Falling Leaves is definitely a five book story. I would challenge any reader not to find Jessica endearing, feel a deep sadness for Swift Eagle, smile for Grace, and feel contempt for Charlie Hawkins. It was a story that kept returning to my thoughts as all good love stories should.



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Always a Cowboy



Always a Cowboy by Cindy Spencer Pape
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Jasmine

When old friends reunite, danger threatens and sparks fly!

Trip Hall had a nice life in Hollywood until a car crash gone wrong destroyed his future as a stuntman. Now he’s back home in Shirley, Wyoming, leaning how to walk again, and how to be a single dad to his baby son Trevor. He doesn’t have room in his life for a woman, especially one with lots of baggage and an adorable three-year-old daughter.

Beth Corcoran learned her lesson about Trip’s playboy ways back in high school, and she knows better than to give her heart to him again. But when a stalker threatens Beth and her daughter, everything changes. Will Trip be able to save them in time? Can they trust each other with their hearts, as well as their lives?

Beth MacArthur was back in Shirley, Wyoming, to raise her daughter Bailey. Being widowed and happily so, she has determined to live her life alone and bring her daughter up properly. After all no man can be trusted since they all just want something. But circumstances change and Howard Hemingway Hall or Triple H (Trip) as he is lovingly called reappears in her life. Trip had been the first guy to break her heart. When she had tutored him in Chemistry and Trigonometry she had fallen hard. But Trip had not spared her a glance.

Trip Hall had left Shirley, Wyoming, the day after high school graduation, eager to get out of the small, stifling town. He had made it big in Hollywood as a stuntman, until his career came crashing down after an accident. His fiancé left him because of his accident and left their son in his care. He returns back to Shirley to raise his son and start a new career: that of an author. He never expected to meet Beth again. Will Trip be able to protect Beth and Bailey when a madman unleashes his anger bent on destroying them?

Always a Cowboy is a fun, light-hearted and poignant novel about learning to trust again. I enjoyed the fact that Trip was a father. It is not often that you see a man willingly take on the role of fatherhood. The story moves fairly quickly and Beth and Trip’s relationship progresses at a steady pace. It was a novel that had everything in it: romance, suspense, fantasy and mystery. It can be read by any genre lover, since all genres are present in the novel!

Flower of Passion



Flower of Passion by Rose Lerma
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Jasmine

Proof that a man really can open his heart to a woman without bleeding all over the floor.

Aster Hampton returns home determined to overcome the nickname, Aster Disaster. Marriage isn't part of her plan. A bride falling on her face in the church aisle wouldn't endear her to the groom. Full of confidence she steps off the stagecoach. And runs into Adam McCallister. The collision sends them into a puddle of mud.

Adam wants a marriage based on compatibility, not love. Love reduces a man to a spineless being. Lust, though, is fine. Judging by his body's reaction to the woman atop him in the puddle, he's found his mate. Her fist slamming into his eye only heightens his determination to have her.

Aster Hampton is determined to rid herself of the nickname Aster Disaster. Since she was a young girl she has been getting into one scrape after another. Hence, she feels that she has lost everybody’s respect and love. When she comes back to town after a two year trip to Europe with her aunt, she is hoping that she will make such a good “first” impression that the town folks and her family will forget her nickname and her previous actions. However, as soon as she steps off the train she is dragged down by somebody, thus losing her chance to present the new calm and composed Aster to the town.

Adam McCallister did the only thing he could when the woman stepped right underneath a case of nails and metal that was falling down: drag the woman down and out of the way. Expecting to be rewarded with a smile of thanks, he is surprised when he is run away by the same woman toting a gun. Refusing to even give the woman another thought, he determines to forget all about her and get on with his life and his aim of finding a suitable wife from the next county over. But Aster’s family and the townspeople have other ideas.

I tremendously enjoyed Aster and Adam’s story. Aster’s impulsive nature is something that everybody can relate to. Her kindness and giving heart makes her very likeable. But her impulsiveness and clumsiness makes her human. Adam too is an excellent hero for this story. He is a typical hero, but also a lovable one. He hides his hurts well, but allows Aster to heal them. I especially liked the fact that the thoughts of all the characters were shown in the story. This made the novel more enjoyable and more exciting to read. This one is definitely a keeper!

Love is a Many Splendored Thing



Love is a Many Splendored Thing by Nancy Fraser
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short story
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

At a friend’s wedding, Marnie Shelton encounters Air Force Major Edward Louden, a man she originally met three years earlier when he’d come to her door to tell her that her husband had been killed while serving in Korea. Since that fateful day, Marnie has turned her life around by attending college and earning a business degree all while caring for her two young children. The last thing on her busy agenda is to become involved with a man, especially one in the military.

Ed has other ideas. Surely this beautiful, confident woman can’t be the same young girl he’d met just three years earlier. Despite Marnie’s refusal to see him again, the persistent Major won’t take no for an answer and sets out to woo and win both mother and children.

"Love is a Many Splendored Thing," by Nancy Fraser, takes us to 1955 and the life of a widowed mother. At an evening wedding celebration, pretty young widow Marnie has to stay on her toes to escape her never-say-die best friend's matchmaking effort. The handsome Major friend Terri rushes to introduce her to is a kindly person, but he and Marnie share a sad bit of history, and the meeting is not especially joyful. Still, it is hopeful. Fraser has a great ability to subtly evoke emotion, and hopefulness is incredibly strong throughout, even as we come to understand Marnie's sadness.

Poignant yet with lighter moments, this touching story acknowledges some of the sadness of war, yet never cedes that hopeful, promising aura. The lovely Marnie is composed and even self-possessed, and comes across as a very admirable main character, and her doubts and indecisions are entirely understandable. The handsome Major, 'Eddie' is all one could dream him to be, but his understanding and his general demeanor will make you wonder if he has the strength to reach Marnie through her sadness.

"Love is a Many Splendored Thing," has a storyline that is quirky enough to carry some surprises, but it is Fraser's characters who make this story shine.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Outlaw in Petticoats



Outlaw in Petticoats by Pati Jager
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Jasmine
Maeve Loman has had her heart crushed before; she isn't about to have it happen again. When she takes Zeke Halsey up on his offer to help her discover the truth about her father, she's sure she can control her traitorous body and not fall for the man's considerable charms.

Zeke Halsey has wanted Maeve Loman since he first set eyes on the prickly schoolteacher. Even as she thwarts his advances, he sees the desire burning in her eyes. He knows she feels abandoned and uses bravado to keep people at arm’s length. Offering to help her find her father, he hopes to prove he’s not going anywhere.

Neither one knows the extent to which they will stoop to get the answers they crave.

Maeve Loman has always been afraid to trust anybody, especially men. After her father abandoned her mother and her to go mining, when she was young, she has also been suspicious of miners. When Zeke Halsey, a local miner starts courting her and asks for her hand in marriage, she wants to say “Yes” but her fears stop her. However, she finds the perfect excuse when she happens upon an incriminating photograph that states that Zeke’s father and her father were cousins.

Zeke Halsey cannot believe that Maeve and he are related. There is just no way that is possible. So to prove her wrong he challenges her to a trip that will reveal the truth. He convinces Maeve to take a sabbatical from teaching and go back to the place where her father was last seen to determine the truth. Along the way they meet robbers and gangs. These events strengthen their bond. But will their relationship grow to the point where Maeve will learn to trust him and his promises?

This was a touching story about love and trust. Ms. Jager writes a wonderful novel about finding love when all the odds are working against you. Filled with colorful and life-like characters, this story will sweep you into an uncivilized and exciting world where outlaws and gangs were as common as the dirt on the ground. The historical aspects of the novel with respect to mining add a touch of authenticity to the novel. For historical fans, this novel is highly recommended!