Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Warrior’s Rise by Brieanna Robertson



Warrior’s Rise by Brieanna Robertson
Publisher: Forbidden Publications
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Snapdragon

Logan Savage is a man’s man. His idea of a good time has never included watching over and entertaining a bunch of kids at a summer camp. Especially when that camp happens to be full of kids with a love for mythology and medieval fantasy. In other words—a bunch of geeks. Unfortunately, in order to avoid a jail sentence for assaulting a cop, that’s exactly what he has to do. Head counselor and owner of the camp, Willow Avaris, is a nice surprise. Beautiful, fiery and sexy… Too bad she loathes his very existence. Plus, the kids are making his life a living nightmare. Could the summer get any worse?

Bravery and strength were things Logan always thought he had in spades, but as the summer goes on, and strange, surreal events take place around the camp, Logan is forced to look within himself and figure out what’s important to him. It’s safe to remain the self absorbed, shallow man he’s always been, but can he find the courage to reach inside and embrace the true warrior he was destined to become?

Warrior’s Rise introduces playboy Logan, just as he’s finally going to have to answer for some past misdeeds. He’s far from contrite however; in fact, he’s so busy trying to catch the eye of the super-hot court bailiff, he barely takes note of his sentence. Even his sister’s comments about growing up don’t phase him, but they do provide a clue for the reader.

Obnoxious he might be, but handsome, sexy and funny make up for a lot; or they do for most. Logan’s magical charisma does not land well with the big boss at one very unusual summer camp. Lovely Willow makes it clear she knows exactly what he is, and doesn’t need to know him any better. The interaction between Willow and Logan is simply wonderful; all attitude, snappy dialogue; you’ll grit your teeth in frustration one moment, and laugh out loud the next. There is so much potential there; there is so much sexual tension there! Wonderful – Robertson has totally outdone herself with these two characters. Or so I thought: The kids at Fantasy Camp are simply fantastic.

Of the ‘campers’, Darien is the special standout, the ‘say it like it is’ kid; but in truth, Aki, Colt and all the others form a wonderful, entwined secondary story. Their characters are incredibly plausible, often funny, but easy to believe in, every minute. And, the strength of all the character’s in Warrior’s Rise make the unexpected events easier to believe in.

Not that challenging events make life easier for Logan! Fun and unexpected twists arise from Logan’s interaction with the kids (talk about a love/hate relationship!) The kids are while unforgiving at first, but surprisingly honest. And; unexpectedly needy. The true Logan – a real man – begins to shine through the laughing, uncaring front he projects. He might just find what really matters…

A fun and speedy read, Warrior’s Rise gets 4 books.

Joshua’s Hope by Carol Ann Erhardt



Joshua’s Hope by Carol Ann Erhardt
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (204 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Review by Lilac

Hope Courtland escaped her marriage to save her life. Her only regret is leaving her four-year-old stepson, Joshua, behind. Though she wants custody, no attorney is willing to tackle her ex-husband in a custody battle. Hope’s faith begins to falter. She learns that Joshua is paying the consequences for her freedom, and in an act of desperation, she kidnaps him. Suddenly, she becomes a suspect in her ex-husband’s murder.

Zack Stone is content to be sheriff of Pine Cove, Tennessee, where the worst conflict he deals with is handing out speeding tickets. Though his faith is strong, he struggles with issues of forgiveness surrounding his wife’s death. When he rescues Hope in a rainstorm, the last thing he expects is to find a woman who stirs his heart. Being a small town sheriff shouldn’t involve kidnapping and murder, but Zack can’t turn his back on Hope and the little boy she loves.

In this sweet and touching story a woman is determined to get custody of her stepson from her abusive ex-husband.

The heroine of the story, Hope Courtland has left an abusive marriage with a powerful attorney and is struggling to get custody of her stepson, Joshua, a little boy she has raised since he was an infant and who she loves as if he were her own. She has run into to obstacles at every turn as no one is willing to take on her ex and she is willing to do anything, even kidnapping, to keep the boy safe. An independent woman, Hope is a survivor and a very strong character who finds it difficult to trust anyone. But despite her strength she also has a soft and vulnerable side that really tugs at the heartstrings as the story progresses. Her vulnerable side is especially evident in scenes where her maternal instincts are put into action. There are few scenes and instances where her love for Joshua really pulls at your emotions as you feel for this character. It broke my heart to see her long to protect and love the little boy and struggle to do so. Hope grows a lot throughout the story as she learns to trust in herself, others, and in God again.

A lot of her growth comes courtesy of Zack Stone, the hero of the story, who is a perfect match for Hope. The Sheriff of the small town in which Hope now lives, Zack has a painful past of his own and when he meets Hope his protective instincts kick in. He longs to take care of Hope and knows he has to take things slow in order to win her trust. I really enjoyed how Zack does take things slow with Hope despite his obvious attraction to her. I enjoyed their relationship as they started out as friends before making any further steps toward a relationship. Zack is a strong character and the perfect support for Hope.

In addition to the romance, there is an element of suspense to the story as well as Joshua, Hope’s stepson, witnesses something that puts him in danger. Someone is out to keep both Joshua and Hope silent and won’t stop until they do. I really enjoyed this part of the story and loved how everything fell into place and seemed to just flow smoothly.

There is also great message woven in throughout this story about trusting in oneself, others, and in God to help you through difficult times. The author did a wonderful job of portraying this through the actions and experiences of the characters without sounding preachy.

With a few twists that I didn’t see coming, Joshua’s Hope, is a wonderful story that kept my interest throughout the ups and downs that Hope experiences as she struggles to protect and gain custody of her stepson. If you are looking for a heartwarming and touching suspense, then I’d recommend this one.

The Chocolatier’s Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer



The Chocolatier’s Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer
Publisher: Drollerie Press
Genre: Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (238 pages)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Review by Orange Blossom

Tasmin, William's wife to be, was chosen by a spell, as all wives and husbands are chosen. It's a nice, tidy way to find a reasonable mate for almost everyone. Unfortunately, Tasmin is from the North, a place of magic and strange ritual, and William is from the South, where people pride themselves on being above the kind of insanity practiced by the Northerners, which has nothing to do with the fact that most people in the South have lost their ability to practice magic.

William doesn't seem in a hurry to send for Tasmin, for which none of his family blame him. After all, she's a barbarian. She, on the other hand, would like to know what's keeping him. When he's framed for murdering his patron, Tasmin takes matters into her own hands, harnessing the wind to bring her to William's side. She's gotten to know Wiliam from his letters. He's not a murderer and she's going to help him prove it.

William, incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit is shunned by his family for the embarrassment, and for giving up the family shipping business for foolishness, and for saddling them with a Hag for a wife, which means he can't protect Tasmin from his family's cold dislike of his barbiaran wife-to-be--but that's not the worst of it.

Someone out there doesn't like him and is begining to dislike Tasmin almost as much, and that someone isn't at all averse to making sure William and Tasmin aren't around long enough to celebrate their wedding.

Tasmin, of course, has other plans.

I love a good fantasy but throw in mystery, romance and even chocolate and I’m hooked. That’s exactly what you get in The Chocolatier’s Wife. Ms. Speer created an Exceptional Read. I found when I wasn’t reading the book that I was thinking about it—thinking about the characters—thinking about the mystery plot. What would happen on both fronts? That’s when you know you are reading an outstanding book.

From the onset, the reader learns that Tamsin and William have been promised to each other since childhood. They’ve never met in person—only through their letters. The author had a spark of genius when she decided to let us in on these letters. So at the beginning of each chapter (as the story progresses), we get to read one of these letters from the past. And in this way we get to understand their past as well as clues to the plot as it transpires.

The romance in this story begins quite subtly. In fact, there is nothing very romantic about the arranged marriage between Tamsin and William. That is just the way it is. But as the story develops and these characters get to know one another, the romance begins to bloom in a poignant and beautiful way without becoming overly sentimental. Excellently orchestrated.

I do love the idea of mixing two of my favorite genres: mystery and fantasy. Ms. Speer created a believable fantasy world with political difficulties, magic, sprites, herbalists, elementalists, and the list goes on. Completely enjoyable. Add to that the mystery and you have an excellent read. Intrigue, adultery, murder, evil machinations, and a few surprises too.

Beautifully written, The Chocolatier’s Wife will draw you into its spellbinding pages until you have read each and every one. All and all I have nothing unfavorable to report on this book. I enjoyed each moment and encourage everyone to pick up a copy today.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Black Swan by Linda Nightingale



Black Swan by Linda Nightingale
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Paranormal; Fantasy
Length: Short (43 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily



Suffering from a broken marriage, Carol Langston meets Tristan McLaghlan at a Black Swan party. Black Swans are mortals who willingly barter blood for the sensual ecstasy and euphoria vampires give in return. To Carol, this looks like the real thing until her handsome vampire runs away from her and his true nature. Separated by miles, divided across two species, can their love survive?

One tall, dark, and handsome vampire is seeking his perfect mate – if she’ll have him again. Tristan McLachlan needs to satisfy his bloodlust and Carol Langston is the only woman who’ll do. Now he needs to find the way back into her heart.

Ms. Nightingale writes an interesting plot. Her vampires have consciences and remorse. The twists are logical and believable because the reader can identify with the trials of the characters. The hero Tristan captivated this reader. He knows where his heart lies, yet he wants to become more than a vampire. Growing as an individual, he finds that going back to his roots is the only way he can exist. His flaws make him more of a decent man.

Carol’s character comes across as a bit weak, but that draws her more firmly to Tristan. She’s a woman who knows what she wants and is smart enough to know when to go for it. Although, the progression of the story picks up in the second half, the story is an enjoyable read. The love scene on the hood of the BMW is very hot because of the chance they may get caught.

If you like brooding vampires and damsels in distress, then "Black Swan" is the read for you and your friends. I give it 4 books.

Soldier for Love by Brenda Gayle



Soldier for Love by Brenda Gayle
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (213 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Lilac

She’s his Commanding Officer. So why does he seem to be in charge?

Major Julie Collins should be on top of the world. Her long-sought promotion has finally come through and she has just been given her first overseas command. But when one of her troops turns out to be the handsome Native American who has just left her bed, everything starts to unravel. Lieutenant Matt Wolf’s exploits with the opposite sex are legend—if only they were true. His larger-than-life persona masks deep loneliness and isolation. He has every intention of obeying Julie’s order to stay away, but what’s he to do when she follows him and then gets herself kidnapped by a deranged voodoo priest? Suddenly, all orders are belayed as Matt mounts a one-man rescue, risking both of their careers and the only home he has ever known.

Soldier for Love is a fascinating story featuring two strong characters and a plot that will keep you enthralled.

Major Julie Collins has spent her career living in the shadow of her military family and has finally earned her own command helping a war torn country rebuild itself. She puts a lot of pressure on herself to succeed as she wants to prove herself to everyone. She is surprised to see that one of the soldiers under her command is a man she had a one-night stand with and can’t help but question his motives for sleeping with her. Past experiences have made it difficult for her to trust him as she believes he is only using her. Julie is a fascinating character who has a lot to deal including pressure from her job and pressure she has placed on herself. She lets her fear of being used hinder her relationship with a man who obviously cares about her and I found it interesting to watch her inner struggle with her feelings for Matt. She grows a lot throughout the story as she learns more about herself and those close to her.

As for the hero of the story, Lieutenant Matt Wolf knows no other life than the military as it is the only home he has ever known. He is attracted to Julie and when she is kidnapped by local rebels, he risks all to rescue her. He truly cares about Julie and is willing to respect the walls that she has put up to keep him out, but soon he can no longer resist his attraction to her. Matt is a great character full of strength and intelligence. He comes across as kind and caring and really knows how to deal well with others. His intelligence and cool attitude under pressure serves him well as it helps him in rescuing Julie from a deranged voodoo priest. He has his own doubts and insecurities which come across very well and add to this intriguing character.

The story touches on several issues such as gender, race, and family and I really enjoyed how the author demonstrated and handled these issues with Julie and Matt. They face a lot of self-imposed obstacles throughout the story including issues with trust. They both seem to have a lot to work out internally as well as together before they can move forward. The incident with the locals and Julie’s kidnapping lights a fuse to their relationship and gives them a reason to explore more.

The exotic setting of the story and local characters intrigued me and really added to this story and its interesting plot. Soldier for Love is a fascinating romance that I would recommend to those looking for something a bit different.

Her Sanctuary by Toni Anderson



Her Sanctuary by Toni Anderson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (311 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Lilac

Running for her life, ex-FBI agent Elizabeth Ward escapes to Montana with a new identity. She craves peace and solitude, but instead finds handsome rancher, Nat Sullivan. Nat is trying to hold his ailing family together, while struggling to keep the ranch from bankruptcy. The last thing he needs is a beautiful stranger reminding him there is more to life than work. But Elizabeth isn't what she seems. And when a murderer and rapist track her down to the remote ranch, they all find out about the power of revenge. Revenge or Redemption. Which would you choose?

This suspenseful tale will leave you breathless as an ex-FBI agent seeks refuge on a ranch in Montana.

Following a case gone wrong, Elizabeth Ward has fled to a ranch in Montana seeking solace and refuge. Having been viciously hurt by a suspect on the case, Elizabeth fears it is only a matter of time before he or those that work for him find her. She finds comfort in the ranch and in the arms of Nat Sullivan, the ranch’s owner who is struggling to keep it together as he faces losing his home. Both have painful pasts and must learn to trust one another in order to move forward.

Elizabeth is a character full of strength and determination. I felt for her as she struggled with what happened to her and tries to move forward. Nat is also a strong character and has his own difficulties that don’t include Elizabeth. But he comes to care for her, but still worries at the secrets she is hiding. I enjoyed their relationship and watching them deal with everything. Their pasts have really affected them and their relationships with others and they face many obstacles on their way to their happy ending…especially once Elizabeth’s past catches up to her.

There are quite a few threads in this story including Elizabeth’s past, Nat’s financial troubles, the mobster’s lust for revenge, and more. And while it could have been overwhelming, it wasn’t as everything came together quite nicely. There were even a few unexpected twists that I didn’t see coming that really made the story interesting.

In addition to the main plot, there is a secondary story involving a fellow FBI agent of Elizabeth’s and the woman who helped her to escape her old life that I felt was left unfinished. I would love to know more about what happens between these two. There are also some fascinating characters at the ranch from Nat’s widowed brother to ex-con ranch hand that I felt could use their own stories.

As a whole, Her Sanctuary was an interesting story with fascinating characters that definitely entertains.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This Can't Be Love by Kasey Michaels



This Can't Be Love by Kasey Michaels
Publisher: Zebra Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (347 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Review by Poppy

One Crazy Summer...

If Molly Applegate marches to the beat of a different drummer, it's probably a naked bongo player. Gorgeous and free-spirited, Molly's set for life – provided she stays employed ten months out of the year as stipulated in her parents' will. To keep the inheritance flowing, she works as a lingerie model, a mansion-sitter, a singing-slash-roller-skating carhop ... you name it, Molly's done it. But a weekend gig babysitting her cousin Jane's daycare business might just lead to something permanent with would-be client Dom Longstreet. He's a Broadway producer who could make all her dreams come true ... if only she'd let him ...

Dom's idea of "summer vacation" is hosting a working retreat for the cast of his upcoming musical spectacular. Sure, he's also promised to babysit his niece and nephew for two weeks, but that's what the local daycare center is for, right? Unfortunately, the place will be closed just when he needs it, according to the beautiful – and exasperating – woman he finds in charge. In exchange for room and board on his estate, Molly Applegate agrees to watch the kids. But Dom can't stop watching Molly, who's fast becoming the unlikeliest of muses ... and maybe – just maybe – his perfect leading lady ...

I only wish there was a higher rating than Best Book... because this book moved and entertained me in ways that I've never been moved or entertained before. This incredible book with its funny, emotional, heartstring-tugging, unexpected characters and plot has earned not just a permanent place on my keeper shelf, but an honored one.

Let me try to tell you why -- aside from saying that in the midst of all the craziness and the chaos, the author surprised with a moment so incredibly touching and unexpected that I cried like a baby. And, even now, thinking back to it, I'm welling up again. I was that invested in the characters.

And just who were they? Let's start with our heroine: Margaret "Good Golly Miss Molly" Applegate, poor little rich girl. She grew up without parents (they existed, they just didn't know SHE existed), but she did okay. Still, she's got all kinds of issues: abandonment, inability to open her heart, runs from her problems, won't stick around anywhere long enough to care about anyone... well, until she ends up playing nanny to two kids long enough to fall in love with them. I can pretty well guarantee you'll fall in love with them, too. Why?

Let's talk about the kids: Lizzie and Little Tony (aka Al aka Butch aka... well, you get the idea). These kids are NOT perfect. Nor are they completely out of control brats. It seems that most novels portray kids as one or the other. These two were just... kids. Sometimes funny, sometimes bratty, frequently fighting with each other as all good siblings should. Occasionally picky about food, frustrated when they're bored, and most of all they have the hearts of children: open and trusting and guileless. And they're hurt when they think their uncle wants nothing to do with them for the three weeks he's supposed to be watching them while their parents are on a second honeymoon.

Let's talk about their uncle: Dominic, the Broadway producer. Dom has way too much on his plate. Instead of taking time off (like he'd promised), be brought the cast of his latest production to the house to rehearse. He's so completely stressed out that he eventually ends up ill, and Molly has another "child" to take care of. He amused me to no end with his head in the clouds, not really paying attention to what was going on around him unless it pertained to his show. The first night Molly is there with the kids, she sets up the table so they're all sitting near each other -- up until then, the kids sat w-a-a-a-a-a-y down on one end, and Dom sat at the other. Molly opens his eyes to possibilities without even really intending to. He, in turn, begins to pry open her locked-up-tight heart without meaning to.

The secondary cast was priceless and so three-dimensional I would know them if I saw them on the street. From the housekeeper to the cast to Mama Billie (and, I've never wanted someone to get their cummupance so badly in my life!), they all added so much to this amazing book!

I checked the author's website and discovered that I (horror of horrors) read this book out of order. It's actually the last in a "sort of" series -- five loosely linked books. And, the moment I'm done writing this review, I'm ordering every last one of them. I. Can't. Wait.

Ms. Michaels, thank you. You absolutely made my day. I can't recommend this book with it's well-drawn, flawed but funny characters and it's funny but touching plot enough and suggest that each one of you grab a copy of your very own.

Carolina Wolf by Sela Carsen



Carolina Wolf by Sela Carsen
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (86 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Poppy

All it takes is a spark of Grrrrrl power to set the swamp on fire!

A Tickle My Fantasy story.

Librarian Debra Henry is boring. And she’s okay with that. Really. It’s not as if the teensy amount of witchcraft that flows in her veins is worth getting excited about. Yet someone—or something—thinks it’s worth crawling out of the swamps to attack her. Those “somethings” are werewolves.

When one of them is hurt saving her, the least she can do is take him home and patch him up. Healing him stirs more than her senses. Maddox Moreau awakens the magic that sleeps in her blood. And suddenly, life’s not quite so boring.

A wildlife manager at Congaree National Park by day, Maddox likes being the BWIS—Big Wolf In the Swamp. By night, he lets his wild side out to play lone wolf. At least until he meets the one woman who can share his soul. Perhaps it’s best, though, if he holds off on sharing his preference for raw meat.

Rescuing her seals his fate—but only if he can protect her from a rogue of his kind. A werewolf with a nasty stalker streak…

Warning: This story contains hunky werewolves, librarian fetishes, Southern humor, smart-ass women and men who think that’s sexy, magic, medieval legends, disco music and flatulent Boxers. (The dogs, not the underwear.)

I love a story with a sexy werewolf and strong plot, and this latest release from Ms. Carsen doesn't disappoint.

From the moment the story starts with vivid descriptions of a walk through a dark and eerie swamp, I was well and truly caught. But, I'd thought this was a light, comedic romance? No worries... after the first few pages, the humor begins. Don't get me wrong, this story absolutely has its darker moments, but with the simple addition of a strong and three dimensional secondary cast, the author kept things from getting too heavy.

From the moment I met our hero, Maddox, I was in love (okay... maybe it was lust initially, because, dear heavens is he sexy). Despite her feeble attempts at denying him, I knew our heroine was sunk from the get-go.

What about our heroine, Debra? Well... she's a witch. Okay, so her power is weak and unused, it's still there, and we find out that it's not just hereditary, but that she and her family have been charged with guarding something -- a "something" that the bad guy wants in the worst way.

The bad guy? Oh yeah... dark and slimy and powerful. The kind of villain that leaves a black trail behind him. Debra has the misfortune of meeting him in the dark of night, is completely under his power and certain she's going to die. Until she's saved by a wolf... or maybe not a wolf. As the attack ends, and the villain slinks off into the woods, the wolf becomes a naked man -- yep, gorgeous Maddox is a werewolf.

The two of them work together to figure out just what's going on. Debra helps Maddox heal from the wounds inflicted upon him by the evil guy (and what a hot, hot, hot scene THAT was), and the two set tongues a-wagging. Did I mention our secondary characters? They include two gossips who try to one-up each other by getting the scoop on anything juicy in the small town first.

If the story occasionally moved so quickly that I struggled breathlessly to keep up, and if some of the storyline about the ancestors of our H/H was a little confusing and convoluted, it really didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of this entertaining read.

Kudos to Ms. Carsen! I read this story from beginning to end in one sitting. With a good balance between dark and light, she built a world that interested me, created characters I quickly became invested in and made me fall in love. And, really, isn't that what it's all about?

I truly hope the author writes about this little town again. I'd love to revisit it and would be first in line to grab a copy of my very own.

Wicked By Any Other Name by Linda Wisdom



Wicked by Any Other Name by Linda Wisdom
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4.5 Books
Review by Snapdragon

Feisty witch Stasi Romanov was one of 13 classmates at the Witches Academy who was expelled seven hundred years ago for bad behavior. Stasi has since then settled down a bit, owning a lingerie boutique while dabbling in a brisk side business of love charms.

Sparks fly, however, when one of those charms goes awry, and Stasi finds herself in a preternatural lawsuit matching wits with devastatingly handsome wizard attorney Trevor Barnes. Then mysterious magic from an unknown enemy threatens to turn Stasi's quiet town into a modern day Salem, and Stasi's witchy friends from long ago gather for the fight. They need Trevor's powerful help. But every witch knows you can't trust a wizard, and soon Stasi is fighting for her life and her heart.

Wisdom’s latest, “Wicked by Any Other Name,” threatens to kick off with a “major witchy hissy fit.”

Snappy Stasi is innocently doing her job, making the best of several centuries worth of banishment by dabbling in a bit of witchy entrepreneurship. Her romantic heart is taxed by witnessing a just-plain-wrong relationship though… and she is accused of letting a love charm go wrong. Of all things: Stasi is called before the Wizards Court! It feels like a witch hunt, for sure.

An eclipse is coming, mercury is in retrograde and when witches start to sense things are not as they should be… they sit down and eat lemon squares--a lot of lemon squares!

In Wisdom’s charming tourist town, a flock of witches live among the mortals, and a few other preternatural folk. There are a cauldron’s worth of great, original characters; like the infuriating Carrie, and just plain busybody, Agnes, who are both mortal. Among the more magical are thoughtful friend, Blair and visiting spirits like Fergus, not to mention the gargoyle Horace, who spends his days endlessly peeking up skirts … and then, of course there’s Trevor. He may be a magical attorney, and most definitely on the wrong side, but he is also gorgeous with a capital G! Still, he can’t be trusted. First off, he’s a wizard, and then, didn’t he take the case because business had been a bit bland? Linda Wisdom’s characters are so lively they seem alive and entirely plausible.

Trevor, bad guy though he is, engenders reader sympathy at once--although you do hope he’ll bury the hatchet with Stasi. Stasi just knows him as the attorney who's never lost a case. Still, things don’t go entirely Trevor’s way either. It doesn't take him long to figure out his client is infuriating … but he can't turn her down once he's agreed to represent her. And then he’s puzzled by things like shimmering red hearts dancing above the defendant, Stasi. Distracted from the case, he sets about setting up some sort of casual meeting; but lovely Stasi makes every effort to avoid him!

Within the whole community something doesn’t feel quite right, and it's more than creepy Poppy’s baking efforts. True-love or no, the little community by Moonstone Lake will have to band together if everyone is going to make it… and it takes more than hot lingerie to solve the big issues.

Wisdom weaves a wonderful magic here, from characters to descriptions, dialogue to detail, all are quick and glib and completely spellbinding. The zippy plot and unpredictable turns of events will keep you turning the pages!

Wicked by Any Other Name is wicked fun… and earns 4.5 books from this reviewer!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Losing Patience by Kara Lynn Russell



Losing Patience by Kara Lynn Russell
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Inspirational
Length: Short (68 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Books
Review by Orchid

Orchard Hill Residents – lock up your hearts!

Pansy Parker and Misty Green are rivals in romance. Each believes she is the town’s best matchmaker. Now, they’re going to settle the question for once and for all. They’re keeping track to see who can make the most matches in a year’s time.

No heart is safe in Orchard Hill – not even their own.

Shaun Thiesen’s jealous nature and quick temper drove his wife Patience away. Since then he’s been through counseling with Pastor Isaac and gotten involved with the church. Now he’s just waiting for his second chance. When he learns Patience is visiting her parents for Thanksgiving, he thinks this may be it. In only a few precious days he has to win back his wife, and suddenly the stakes are raised when Patience tells him he’s going to be a father. Can Shaun show convince her they deserve a second chance?

Losing Patience is a romance with a difference. Sweet and inspirational, this story runs the full gamut of feelings from despair to love.

Shaun feels betrayed by his parents and takes his frustrated anger out by emotionally attacking his wife Patience. Poor Patience is unable to cope with her husband’s anger and flees to stay with an aunt. Once again Shaun has been abandoned. To save his marriage he must first sort out his life and get his anger under control.

Patience only intends to stay away long enough to give herself a breathing space but circumstances delay her return. Her parents dislike Shaun and try everything to separate the couple, but Patience has a secret that will decide whether or not her marriage to Shaun will survive.

This is the second Orchard Hill Romance I’ve read and I enjoyed this one just as much as the first one. The story may be classed as inspirational but is a true romance with a depth of emotion often missing from longer romance books. I recommend Losing Patience if you are looking for a short, meaningful book to read.

Passion in Paradise by Suzanne Brandyn



Passion in Paradise by Suzanne Brandyn
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (196 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Books
Review by Camellia

Jacqueline Ryan's love belongs to only one man, Michele Ranieri, who left her with a broken heart. Five years later he's back, and she's determined to lay old feelings to rest. She wants closure on something she thinks is puppy love. But when she confronts him it escalates into full-blown love.

Michele Ranieri has always reserved a special place in his heart for Jacqueline. When stranded on a deserted island with her and having amnesia, he questions why they weren't more than friends.

A kiss in a freshwater stream has her reassessing her situation. Finding temptation at close range impossible to refuse, she forgets about what is waiting for her back home. But when Jacqueline is lost during a storm, when Michele's memory returns, and when rescue forces reality back into their lives, will their love be lost forever?

Looking for love in all the wrong places for more than a decade really messes up both Jacqueline Ryan’s and Michele Ranieri’s lives while doing nothing to ease the unrequited love they have for each other.

When Jacqueline’s widowed mother Shirley and Michele’s father Roberto decide to live together, they admonish fifteen-year-old Jacqueline and nineteen-year-old Michele to treat each other as brother and sister.

The teenagers are immediately attracted to each other and within a year, Michele leaves to live at the university rather than at home. He avoids home as much as he can and finally stops coming altogether. When they meet at a resort after many years of being apart, they think they will stay aloof and not reopen old wounds but end up stranded on a deserted island, which becomes a wrinkle in time for them. Sizzling sex and loving care create poignant moments while guilt and doubt plague them both when they think of the lives they have left behind.

Suzanne Brandyn paints wonderful word portraits of Michele and Jacqueline with beauty and sexuality plus shining through. Her description of the island creates a place that is both enchanting and terrifying depending on the circumstance. Even though a misused word jars the reader out of the story occasionally and a few incidents like “George” on the island do not seem significant to the story, the fantastic romance captivates the reader as Jacqueline and Michele struggle to find their way back to each other through the debris of emotional entanglements after they are rescued. The story has some tense, heart-pounding moments, particularly the events with Stephen who adds a definite twist to the story.

PASSION IN PARADISE makes one forget about the harsh world for a time and brings that feeling of rightness as soul mates find their way back to each after SO long.

Mr. Complete by Sheridon Smythe



Mr. Complete by Sheridon Smythe
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (272 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Hibiscus

"This is your lucky night. I just happen to be wearing black silk boxers." That was exactly the kind of confirmation Lydia Carmichael was looking for. Proof positive that the drop-dead gorgeous date provided by Mr. Complete Escort Services was a gigolo. All she had to do was lure that bad boy into her bed and she'd put the slimeballs out of business. But Lydia soon learned she wasn't cut out for this kind of under-the-covers work. Luke was not only hot with a capital H, he was also a considerate, caring man. As she discovered, there was a lot more beneath the surface than his sexy underwear and she found herself wanting to leave her tidy white-cotton life behind. If her secret wishes could come true, their bought-and-paid-for beginning would lead to a happily-ever-after ending that had nothing to do with money and everything to do with love.

This delightful story of gigolos, revenge and reversing the tables is fun, witty and fast-paced. I haven’t laughed so much while reading a book in a long time.

The story revolves around Lydia Carmichael and her quest to avenge her aunt. Lydia tells her plot, which is overheard by Luke, to expose Mr. Complete to her best friend Casey over lunch. Lydia is the owner of a spa in which many very funny scenes take place and Luke finds her--with her dark brown hair and eyes--quite attractive. I think Lydia does not see herself in the same light. I could tell she doubted herself since she didn’t have a boyfriend, nor ever experienced the "Big O".

L.J. (Luke) Reynolds owns Mr. Complete but he is fighting to keep it from being besmirched. Tall, dark and sexy with beautiful hazel eyes, he is the walking model for his company in my opinion. I loved how he decided to turn the tables, so to speak, on Lydia when he heard of her plan for his company. What I especially loved about Luke was how real he was. He cared for the children at Hope House. He babysat his employee’s child so he could work out to keep his job. Luke also had his moments, like when he caught himself in his zipper on his first date with Lydia or when he tells Bart about his cat. I would go from laughter to tears. When he started falling for Lydia, I could not wait to see what he would do next and if his plans would change or would he make Lydia “rue the day she thought to make a fool out of him”.

I loved that Mr. Complete was jammed packed with stories. From the rivalry between step-brothers, to the police detective and his quest, to the inhabitants of Hope House and Casey’s marriage; the stories kept me pulling for so many of the characters and wondering what would happen next. Mrs. Scuttle was a riot, especially her scene with Jet and the bite. Tears of laughter were running from my eyes. Greg was another of my favorite characters in the story. The stir he created at the spa along with the services he tells he had done had me grinning from ear-to-ear.

Mr. Complete was originally released in 2004 and I am glad that it has been re-released. This is one book that brought a smile to my face and I know that I will read it over and over.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips



What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (401 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Review by: Xeranthemum

How did this happen? Georgie York, once the costar of America's favorite television sitcom, has been publicly abandoned by her famous husband, her film career has tanked, her father is driving her crazy, and her public image as a spunky heroine is taking a serious beating.

What should a down-on-her-luck actress do? Not go to Vegas . . . not run into her detestable former costar, dreamboat-from-hell Bramwell Shepard . . . and not get caught up in an ugly incident that leads to a calamitous elopement. Before she knows it, Georgie has a fake marriage, a fake husband, and maybe (or not) a fake sex life.
It's a paparazzi free-for-all, and Georgie's nonsupporting cast doesn't help. There's Bram's punk-nightmare housekeeper, Georgie's own pushy parent, a suck-up agent, an icy studio head with a private agenda, and her ex-husband's new wife, who can't get enough of doing good deeds and saving the world—the bitch. As for Georgie's leading man, Bram's giving the performance of his life, but he's never cared about anyone except himself, and it's not exactly clear why.

Two enemies find themselves working without a script in a town where the spotlight shines bright . . . and where the strongest emotions can wear startling disguises.

If you enjoy character driven romance stories about unrequited young love, second chances and the lunacy of adult hang-ups mixing up the whole enchilada, then What I Did for Love delivers it with fun, mayhem and passion.

Georgie York has a lot going for her, and much more yanking the rug from under her. She’s been living her life dealing with ancient history; when she wore her heart on her sleeve and had it torn right off. For many people that could be a crippling event, for others a character strengthening trauma and for others it could be a combination of the two. I’d say Georgie was a combination of the two. She’s grown and yet she hasn’t. I found this story to be about a woman who had it all, but never by her own merit. For all the glitz and glamour, I don’t think she grew up until she faced adversity –- on the most personal level. The reader gets to enjoy the roller coaster of Georgie’s wake up call to self-awareness, destiny and her push-pull realization of what adult love demands from a person. It was interesting to see what made Georgie tick –- and what ticked her off.

Bram ticks her off. Oh boy, does he ever! You know what they say don’t you? There’s a fine line between hate and love. What I Did for Love explores that in all its hilarious possibilities and frustrations. Bram is from Georgie’s past and that is where she wants him to stay...only fate, in the name of our author, Ms. Phillips, has a sense of humor when it comes to male/female relationships. The author put Bram through his paces where at one point you agree with Georgie, he’s a jerk. Then you realize there is more to Bram than the reader or the heroine suspects. It’s his character growth, the bad boy reformed scenario, which is truly the gem that completes the jeweled setting in this story.

The secondary characters--and there is quite the cast--incite, tantalize, browbeat, inspire and discombobulate Bram and Georgie as they slog through misperceptions about each other, revelations about the people they thought they knew and the realization that true love is a bumpy but real thing between them.

My only cringe comes from something very small and inconsequential--the constant use of the word "paps" for the paparazzi. It irritated me but by the same token, I guess it could be said that they ARE irritating especially when they’re in your face all the time. If the author’s intent was to showcase that, then she succeeded perfectly.

What I Did for Love is a story filled with messy human emotions which act like a trial by fire. If a couple’s love can grow and survive after all of that, then it can stand up to time. The writing is brisk, the dialogue insightful and witty and the happily-ever-after has the most adorable ending which ties up loose ends, brings warmth to your heart and leaves you with a goofy smile.

Best of Intentions by Michelle Cary



Best of Intentions by Michelle Cary
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense
Length: Full (202 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Review by Tiger Lily

Seth McFadden would love to ditch his life as a rock star and return to his hometown and girl he left behind. When a wicked winter storm fulfills his desire, Seth learns the true meaning of be careful what you wish for. Injured and blind, Seth loses his psychic powers. Finding out Tess, his high school love, is his nurse is even more of a shock as he learns to adjust to his new life.

Tess Parker has never been psychic, save for her connection to Seth. Now after his return, she’s having strange nightmares and visions about the hospital’s ‘Angel of Death’ killer. Seth broke her heart once and she’s fearful he’ll do it again, yet she can’t walk away knowing he’s the only one who can explain what’s happening to her. When the killer learns that Tess knows the truth, the price for justice may very well be her life.

A sweet read with a psychic twist! Former high school sweethearts Devin Mc Fadden and Tessa Parker reunite to rekindle their love after a tragic accident. Can they accomplish their goals and catch a murderer?

Ms. Cary writes a unique plot. Her hero is the type of man the reader can root for and the heroine is the type of woman she’d like as a close friend. The plot device of the accident gave the reader something to relate to – tragedy, loss, and overcoming obstacles. Throughout the story, the antagonist was captivating, yet undefined which made the book a page-turner. Devin’s psychic ability is a clever twist. Although the relationship seemed to progress too well, that didn’t hinder the story, but rather made it easier to identify with the characters.

If you can’t resist brooding rock stars and independent women willing to keep the man in his place, then Best of Intentions is the book for you! I give it an enthusiastic 4½ books!

Kisses Of Fire by Phyllis Campbell



Kisses Of Fire by Phyllis Campbell
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (50 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Hibiscus

Cassidy Hilarion needs money to save her bar…hoping auctioning off her waitresses and herself for a night of pleasure might do the trick. How can she protect her heart when a gorgeous hottie bids on her and all she wants to do is kiss him…endlessly.

Mark Carrington is on a mission—to find some incriminating evidence to help his father close down the bar. For years, the Carrington’s have tried to get this land from the Hilarion’s, and Mark is determined to win. But when he gets to know the sexy co-owner he wants more than the bar. He wants her body and soul.

What do the Colossus of Rhodes, a bachelorette auction and a bar have in common? I found out in this delightful story that had me laughing to myself one minute and fanning myself the next.

Cassidy Hilaron Brown is a divorcée who is not too keen on men. She is part owner in the family bar that is quickly going under and in order to raise money, one of their brilliant ideas is to hold a bachelorette auction. When one of their girls fails to show up, Cassidy takes her place. I could not stop laughing as I visualized Cassidy getting dressed. It’s like the old saying, trying to put ten pounds of potatoes in a five pound sack. Of course the best looking man, according to Cassidy, purchases her and things just keep getting better.

Mark (Carrington) Carey is a gorgeous hunk who disguises himself in western apparel to attend the auction. He purchases Cassidy thinking it’s a sex-for-hire operation and wants to get the goods on her in order to close down the bar. I loved how Mark fell for Cassidy. When he questioned his father’s motives, I knew he was hooked for good. I thought nothing could top their first date but the second one was just as good.

Things moved quickly in this story. When I learned about the significance of the Colossus of Rhodes, everything fell into place for me. But it all fell apart for Mark when the search for protection went into his wallet. I hoped that things would turn work out for him but I didn’t know how it could possibly happen. The ending was a stretch but I could see it happening and still enjoyed how everything worked out.

I enjoyed this hilarious romance. It had me in stitches through most of the story. For a light-hearted romantic read, I highly recommend Kisses of Fire.