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Friday, January 29, 2010

McKettricks of Texas: Tate by Linda Lael Miller



McKettricks of Texas: Tate by Linda Lael Miller
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (368 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

For divorced dad Tate McKettrick, there are barely enough hours each day to run the Silver Spur ranch, do the suit-and-tie thing for his business and run herd on his beloved six-year-old daughters. But time stands still at the sight of Libby Remington. When they were high school sweethearts, the wealthy McKettrick made a mistake that cost him the love of his life. But now they’re both back in Blue River, Texas. And cattle rustlers, a manipulative ex-wife and a killer stallion can’t keep Tate from trying to win Libby again.

Libby has her hands full caring for her mother and running the Perk Up Coffee Shop. Caffeine she needs. Tate McKettrick—with his blazing blue eyes and black hair. No way! Oh, heck—yes! But can Tate and Libby really hope for a second chance?

If you enjoy stories about second chances, close family ties and the strength of true love, then grab your cookies and iced tea and kick back for a wonderful Texas style romance.

Tate is the man who got away. Not that he wanted to but he royally messed up his life when he went to a party in college, got a little plastered and ended up getting married. The tragic part of it all is that he truly was already in love with someone else and had intended on marrying her but responsibility and duty to do what was right overrode what his heart wanted. The only joy he now has is the gift of laughter and love from his twin daughters. I loved how Ms. Miller wrote Tate’s character. He is strong of principle and intrinsically knows how to behave in front of his daughters, even when his ex-wife plays her manipulative games and pushes all his mad buttons. Even knowing that, he’s still vulnerable and very human when the woman pulls some seriously bad mojo and sends him to the brink of those emotional cliffs. Tate could have become embittered and played the blame game. He could have holed up on his ranch and sunk to his ex-wife’s level, but he has something his ex doesn’t. Family and its traditions, brothers and friends, love and respect, and hope for the future cushion him when things seem their worst. He retained his sense of humor for the most part but he was hiding too. It takes one of those “cruel to be kind” moments from one of his brothers to make Tate face the truth. He doesn’t’ shy away from it, he doesn’t make excuses. Nope, he takes it like a man and plans on changing. I respected Tate McKettrick.

The woman left behind was Libby. I got a strong sense that an undying love still burned within her, but she’s buried it deep. She’s had to. Even though Tate is technically available again, the hurt of betrayal still haunts her. She’s tried to keep her head down and not cross his path. How gut wrenching it must be to see the man of her dreams and believe he’d never be anything to her but a dream. Her character is sensitive, nurturing, warm and passionate. She also can’t cook even though she runs a coffee shop. She’s made something of her life even though it’s not what she’d ever planned on. She struggles too because not only is she trying to run her business, she has a family thorn to deal with. Not her sisters; they are supportive and have been each others’ rock. The lemon in the family is their mother who I swear has a touch of some emotional disability. She’d drive me absolutely bonkers. As it is, that woman single handedly crushed even the tenuous hold Libby had on her future, leaving her with decisions which could hurt her for the rest of her life -- or force her onto the road of happiness and sense of self. I really wanted Libby to be happy.

The atmosphere of this book is small town, where the pain from loss of one family is felt by the whole community. There is a tragic event that takes place and I have to say, Ms. Miller did an excellent job of describing the funeral, how it affects people and how emotions get shown. At one point I felt I was there and I had to grab a tissue. I’m not sure if it’s because I had just experienced a death in the family or not, but the tone and sadness resonated with me and that could not have happened without Ms. Miller tapping into reality and touching the heart.

The secondary characters include animals. Some provide tender and fun moments and others drama and fear. As for people, I loved the interplay between Libby and the Sheriff. And I really could relate to one of the neighbors. Tate’s ex-wife certainly produces conflict, but the main conflict is the reclamation of trust between Tate and Libby. There are certainly sparks flying between them and when they get together, Ms. Miller writes wonderful scenes which include exciting verbal and physical interplay. Sweet romance has never been hotter.

I could go on and on about Tate’s brothers or Libby’s sisters because I was introduced to all of them and given small little insights into their personalities and quirks. I could go on about the secondary conflicts and give you hints on their unexpected outcomes but this review would go on forever. I could even tell you how much fun a water fight can be. Suffice to say, The McKettricks of Texas: Tate, is a solid and well written story about forgiveness, hope, family and the staying power of love. It encompasses a community spirit of small town America in a state where everything is larger than life. This love story is worthy of the big state of Texas.


Trust Your Heart by Christine Columbus



Trust Your Heart by Christine Columbus
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (132 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Michelle, a divorced mother of two preschool children living in a Minneapolis suburb, maintains her subscription to her hometown newspaper. So when she bumps into childhood friend David, she already knew he was successful and a bachelor, but what the paper forgot to mention was how he had matured into a handsome man.

Memories of their past resurface, and once more, she envisions playing house with him. Although this time it's the adult-rated version, where he's selling software that threatens her job, her co-workers refuse to play nice, her ex-husband is acting just plain weird and the hometown paper is in an uproar over who is sending her flowers and who she should date. Michelle doesn’t know whom to believe until she steps back and looks deep within and trusts her heart.

Michelle Mason, a beleaguered single mom with two children, works in a job that may disappear, listens to too much gossip, still hurts from her failed marriage, and even tolerates being propositioned by her ex-husband. Her self-esteem has hit rock bottom until David Lindstrom, an old high school friend, comes back into her life.

David Lindstrom is the farm boy made good. He no longer smells like manure. He is rich now and works for a technology company that may be instrumental is causing layoffs in the company that employees Michelle. She is conflicted about renewing their friendship. But David is a hit with her children and he is SO sexy.

The humor in TRUST YOUR HEART is a little off-putting at times. However, it does relieve some of the hopelessness that threatens to engulf Michelle until she takes her mother’s advice to find answers by examining what is in her heart then act on those answers.

Many of the secondary characters create a negative environment for Michelle and her ex-husband regularly undermines her resolve, making her question her judgment. She does struggle to get to her happy-ever-after.

TRUST YOUR HEART is a fictional look at what, at times, is a fact of real life. How Michelle copes and learns to trust her own heart while finally recognizing what she truly values in life makes the story a revelation of how a woman comes to terms with the past and moves on to a more positive future.

Exiles from Christmas by Sandra Sookoo



Exiles from Christmas by Sandra Sookoo
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Holiday
Length: Short (44 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Bittersweet

Can Jayne convince Santa to take her off the naughty list?

Santa’s nephews have come to Crystal Falls to run a cookie business. If they fail, they’ll have to go back to the North Pole and fill their uncle’s black boots when he retires. But sick of toys, elves, and the North Pole’s influence, that’s the last thing Landon and Aaron want. They’re looking for love.

Jayne isn’t much for sentimental family holidays and she certainly doesn’t believe in magic. Working in the Crystal Falls post office, she is mystified when she handles mail bearing a North Pole postal mark.

When Landon and Jayne meet, their attraction for each other is undeniable, but will the truth about Landon’s life make Jayne’s a believer, or will it be his love that finally melts her heart?

“Very witty, Jayne. Funny and sexy. A great combination...”

This quote initially describes one of the main characters from “Exiles from Christmas”, but it also serves well to describe the short novel in its entirety.

The story centers on one side, on Jayne, an unbeliever of Christmas or anything magic. Through her eyes, we see what perhaps most of society thinks about the holiday season today: it is time for avarice and greed. On the other side, there’s Landon, Santa Claus’ nephew.

Magical sparks fly and love surges between them. Inevitably, I found myself hooked by “Exiles from Christmas”. When will they kiss? Will it work out? What about Landon’s brother, Aaron? Will he be an obstacle with his Roman god good looks?

Ms. Sookoo promptly answers all the questions, accompanied with a good dose of humor, and a lot of Christmas magic -- all except one: What is wrong with Aaron? This one loose thread left me wanting more.

Regardless, “Exiles from Christmas” is definitely a nice read for Christmas or at any time of the year if you want to be put into the holiday mood and wish to be reminded that it is believing that counts, not seeing.


This Time You Are Mine by Suzannah Safi



This Time You Are Mine by Suzannah Safi
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short (147 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Queen Anne’s Lace

Some are haunted by their first lost love, the lucky ones get to find it again.

For fans the supernatural and undying love, This Time You Are Mine should not be missed. I originally wanted to read Ms. Safi’s novel because the blurb reminded me of many other beloved paranormal stories I’ve read. I worried the book wouldn’t live up to my expectations, but I was wrong. The book grabbed me from page one and I couldn’t stop reading until the end. A fabulous story!

The story first introduces us to Miranda Blair, our heroine, a true-crime non-fiction author. I love this career choice for the heroine. I haven’t read a romance before with the heroine working in this genre. It works very well in this story proving to be a well-chosen and brilliant literary device that propels the storyline well. For years now, Miranda has been plagued by nightmares which quickly bloomed into visions. In them, she is another woman, Rose, and living another life, two hundred years in the past. These visions inexplicably draw her to an unsolved murder case on a Scottish island. Miranda leaves home determined to write a true-crime book, never imagining she would solve the mysteries in her own life and answer the yearning of her heart.

Then enters our mysterious and extremely sexy Scottish hero, Mac Wardlaw. He not only sports the good looks and delicious burr, but holds the mysterious allure as half of his face is hidden behind a mask. Anyone getting images of the hot and sexy Gerard Butler wearing his mask and singing in Phantom of the Opera? :::fans self::: Mac is the perfect tortured hero, determined to avenge his injustices but also blessed with a big enough heart to hold forgiveness and love. I fell in love with Mac, sympathizing with his struggles and glorying in his hard won triumphs.

This Time You Are Mine begins strong and keeps the reader in a delicious grip until the decadent conclusion, which won’t fail to satisfy. You’ll want to read Miranda and Mac’s story again and again. Don’t miss out on this superb read. A+++ job, Ms. Safi‼ I’ll definitely add Ms. Safi to my list of MUST-READ authors.


Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr



Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (376 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Virgin River is abuzz with the news that a stranger bought the town's abandoned church on eBay. The buyer, a young widowed reverend, is a little like the building itself: in need of some loving care.

Noah Kincaid arrives ready to roll up his sleeves and revitalize his new purchase, but he's going to need some help. An ad in the local paper brings an improbable candidate his way.

"Pastor's assistant" is not a phrase that springs to mind when Noah meets brassy, beautiful Alicia Baldwin. With her colorful clothes and even more colorful past, Alicia needs a respectable job so she can regain custody of her children. Noah can't help but admire her spunk and determination, and she may just be the breath of fresh air he needs.

This unlikely duo may come from two different worlds, but they have more in common than anyone would have expected. And in Virgin River lasting happiness is never out of the question.

Brassy, but honest and hardworking Ellie knows herself and is comfortable in her own skin. However, the way others perceive her before they know her limits her options in the workplace. Ellie children have been taken from her and placed in the custody of her ex-husband who is not their father. The horror of it all threatens to crush her but with the fortitude that her “gramma” engendered in her she tackles the problem with determination.

Ellie’s strength, candor, and underlying desperation touch Pastor Noah Kincaid’s heart. He hires her not realizing what a dynamo he is getting, not just for getting a rundown church up and running but also for rekindling a feeling that had gone dormant deep inside him when his precious Merry died.

Noah knows about hard times. Since leaving his opulent home when he was eighteen, he has made his way in the world doing hard work with lots of hard knocks along the way. Emotionally bankrupt he immerses himself in refurbishing and opening a church in Virgin River. His true calling and his compassion along with his understanding of what “real life” is makes him a hero to be remembered.

All the characters make FORBIDDEN FALLS pulsate and hum with life. The sub-plots about Paul and Vanessa and about Jo Ellen and Nick bring a sense of joy and affirmation of what love can do.

Robyn Carr works magic with words to make the people in the community of Virgin River seem real. The reader can feel the hurts, fears, joys, and a ton of other emotions as Robyn weaves a story full of love that overcomes hate, despair, and so many negative feelings that would deny the characters happiness. The faith (not preachy kind) but faith lived day by day is the abiding strength that gently nudges the characters toward happiness.

Robyn Carr’s remarkable writing style makes her disappear and allows the reader to vicariously experience life with her characters who touch the heart and give that special feeling that good can overcome evil and love brings meaning and joy to lives of those who give and receive it.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Promise Me Tonight by Sara Lindsey



Promise Me Tonight by Sara Lindsey
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (296 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Isabella is determined to marry James...
Isabella Weston has loved James Sheffield for as long as she can remember. Her come-out ball seems the perfect chance to make him see her in a new light.

James is determined never to marry...
James is stunned to find that the impish girl he once knew has blossomed into a sensual goddess. And if he remember his lessons correctly, goddesses always spell trouble for mortal men.

A compromise is clearly necessary...
When Izzie kisses James, her artless ardor turns to a masterful seduction that drives him mad with desire. But, no stranger to heartbreak, James is determined never to love, and thus never to lose. Can Isabella convince him that a life without love might be the biggest loss of all?
A poignant story of love too long denied, PROMISE ME TONIGHT seduces one’s emotions and takes the heart on a special journey. Sara Lindsey’s masterful use of words tantalizes and delights the senses, and makes scenes sizzle with incredible love—a love that matures and survives against tremendous odds.

Isabella Weston, one determined little girl, grows into a determined young woman. Her boundless love and her courage to hold fast to her convictions, even when she is devastated, make her a heroine that takes risks, bears heartbreak, and follows the twists and turns of fate as she does everything she can to have a happy-ever-after with James, the love of her life—the one who makes her complete. Her flaws, impetuous nature, and relationship with her family show many bright facets of her character, but her love for James is the sparkling depth in her soul.

James Sheffield determined at age ten that he would never love again because it hurt too much when that love was no more. Reared by his bitter grandfather, James became a part of his best friend, Henry Weston’s family and basked in their love but kept himself apart. Determined to protect his heart and deny his grandfather the continuation of the Earldom in his family name, James vows never to marry or have children. In so doing, he wreaks havoc on his own life and hurts the ones he cares for the most.

PROMISE ME TONIGHT, set in 18th century England, touches on England and France’s longstanding war but does not linger too long there. It takes a short sojourn in Scotland with Isabella’s Aunt Kate, but the activities around the Weston home and Sheffield Park are the ones to savor.

Even though eager to find out how Isabella and James reach their happy-ever-after, I found myself slowing down to enjoy the journey with the exquisite writing style of Sara Lindsey. PROMISE ME TONIGHT reveals just how sacred a promise is to a woman.

This one is a KEEPER.

Witch One? by Erin Sinclair


Witch One? by Erin Sinclair
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (88 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Cassandra Blanchard has it all, looks, breeding, education, successful career, beautiful home, magical powers and the hottest English teacher on the East Coast. Her life cannot be any more perfect than the night her love proposes to her under a full moon, a bonfire, and the entire small town of wonderful neighbors and friends cheering the happy couple on when she accepts Ethan McBride's offer of marriage.

After a blissful evening together, she awakens to find her very perturbed mother reminding her of one small problem--she has forgotten she is already engaged to another, an old family friend who journeys to the States to claim his wayward betrothed.

Which one will Cassandra choose--the golden prince or the darkly handsome knight who casts his charismatic spell?

Cassandra’s simple life is about to get a whole lot more complicated.

Cassandra’s life is perfect. She loves living in a small town working as an art teacher, but most of all she loves Ethan. When he finally proposes, she couldn’t be more thrilled. However, her happiness is short lived. Cassandra’s mother pays an unexpected visit and reminds her that she’s already engaged.

Cassandra is shocked. She’d forgotten long ago about her adolescent romance with Armand. Cassandra’s family supports her decision to marry Ethan, but getting out of her engagement isn’t that simple. She’ll need to get Armand and his family to agree to break the engagement as well. Even if they agree, they still need to get permission from the goddess, the one who blessed their betrothal in the first place. Cassandra has a decision to make. Honor her promise or follow her heart.

As a heroine, Cassandra is definitely likable. I can perfectly picture the quirky witch turned art teacher dancing around her classroom at the end of the school day. She’s certainly a free spirit who lives in the moment, which makes it a little easier to believe that she’d honestly forget that she’d been betrothed to someone when she was a teenager. Still, it is a little hard to believe that something that important could completely slip her mind.

I would have liked the men in the story to be a bit more compelling. Ethan is a very nice man and he’s clearly devoted to Cassandra, but as I read the story, that’s about all I learned about him. Armand’s character is the typical playboy, a womanizer not remotely interested in marriage, let alone marriage to a woman who is practically a stranger to him now.

I also felt the conflict of the story was not as strong as it could have been, and was too easily resolved.

Despite these issues, Cassandra's character is so much fun, it makes the story enjoyable. The fact is, I did enjoy reading Witch One?. It is a sweet short story that can be read in one sitting. I recommend it to any fan of romance and happy endings.

Too Hot to Handle by Mary Hjerleid



Too Hot to Handle by Mary Hjerleid
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (99 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Fennel

Female arson investigator Jennifer Valdez and Fire Marshal Mark Edwards are forced to work together to solve a series of arson-related fires. A series of sabotage incidents occurs that place the blame on Jennifer, and while Mark can't deny he attraction he feels to her, he still has to do his job.

Betrayed by Mark's assumption that she is guilty --- Jennifer is deeply hurt when he can't believe in her innocence. While solving the arson, they must both learn to trust before they can truly love.

Lt. Mark Edwards' mission in life was to protect the citizens of his town against fire. When an arsonist played games on his turf his frustration rose exponentially.

This tightly written story carries the reader through several scenarios smoothly and swiftly. It is not a story that’s easy to put down until the last page is turned. In Mark we are introduced to a strong, caring man. A man who’s loved and lost; a man who meets challenge head-on. And when the challenge extends from fighting fires to working with the one woman guaranteed to distract his attention, he’s on red-alert.

When Jennifer Valdez joins Engine Nine, her reputation precedes her. Mary Herjleid takes her heroine, and gifts her a whole pile of problems, both work related and emotional. It doesn’t take the reader long to recognise the fighter in Jennifer. She’s a strong lady who’s at the top of her speciality. She’s a single woman, working in a man’s world and has all the consequential baggage to cope with. She’s a lady any reader will relate to, and go bat for; I certainly did.

Mark and Jennifer are given plenty of conflicts to overcome, and Ms. Hjerland presents them in a steady and attention grabbing scenario. Her writing style kept me riveted from page one. While the HEA is a given, it is how Ms. Hjerleid maps out the journeys of her hero and heroine that will keep you turning the pages.

Texas Hearts by Rachel Smith



Texas Hearts by Rachel Smith
Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing
Genre: Historical (Western)
Length: Full (339 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Wild West bounty hunter Charlie McKenzie and Eastern finishing school educator Elizabeth Cameron were children together, separated by society’s demands. When a serial killer stalks them both, their reunion is complicated by Elizabeth’s distaste for Charlie’s profession and unexpected desire blazing between them. Distracted by Elizabeth, torn between love and fear, can Charlie protect her, himself and the only home either has ever known from a faceless killer named Mad Dog Durham?
On the plains of Texas in 1867, the lives of Elizabeth Cameron, Charlie MacKenzie, and Texas Ranger Captain Jesse Rivers become forever after intertwined. Though later separated for more than a decade, they reconnect at the Flying J ranch to find themselves having to face an old enemy that did so much to shape their lives.

Elizabeth (Liz), back from a school for young ladies in Virginia, realizes not all the “ladylike” things she learned at school will serve her well in this land where earthy, practical people still strive to build a life on the settled, but not totally tamed frontier. She also finds some of the outrageous things she did before being shipped off to Virginia have to be faced and dealt with, because the people of the community seem to remember every single one of them.

Charlie MacKenzie is no longer the boy Liz had felt belonged to her and she to him. He is now a big, beautiful but dangerous man with the grace of a cougar—a bounty hunter, a killer of men. Only gradually, does Liz comes to realize that he gives his life to the pursuit of justice-- guarding the lives of the innocent.

The lives Liz and Charlie have lived the past decade are poles apart, but the need for each other runs deep. However, Charlie is almost a wild creature after his years of frustration, despair, rage, fear, and the gut-wrenching sickness he feels when the memory of his and Liz’s parents’ murder and mutilation creeps under his defenses. He finds peace and joy for the first time with Liz make and he knows he can't be separated from her. It would be like trying to separate the body and the soul; but he also knows she cannot travel the trail he must travel—a trail that will most likely take him to his death.

Rachel Smith weaves a tale that encompasses the most petty of gossip to the horrific deeds of murder and mutilation. However, she also lets the reader vicariously experience a love that is deep, true, and driven—a love that has more strength than all the little and huge evils that try to destroy it.

This happy-ever-after is hard won but so appreciated and savored by the hero and heroine that it makes the heart feel SO GOOD..

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stormy Weather by Nancy O'Berry



Stormy Weather by Nancy O'Berry
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (94 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Fennel

As a woman, Lauren Phelps has suffered the worst life can throw at her. The loss of her breast, the rejection of her husband, a divorce can she pick up the shattered threads of her life and continue?

Cole McGuire met Lauren Phelps through a mutual friend, his mother. When Lauren took a medical leave of absence, he wondered if he would ever see her again. When she returned to Teague and Marshalls, he made sure she was transferred to his office. Now divorced, he wondered if he stood a chance to woo her.

Can Lauren learn to love again after the storm?

Nancy O'Berry takes a subject that instills fear into many, and turns it into a powerful, charming and touching story. Unusual in a short story, her forward takes us through the experience of finding a lump in your breast and the subsequent appointments and treatments with her doctor. By the time the story begins the reader is fully in tune with Lauren Phelps, in a way many who are fortunate enough not to have experienced such trauma, would otherwise find hard to understand fully.

When Cole McGuire, son of the company founder, enters a room all the female hearts start to flutter, their eyes to turn dreamy, and their brains to turn to mush, so when he turns up to escort Lauren Phelps to her new office, it is to the whispered sighs of wistful dreams. Ms. O’Berry creates a warm and loving family environment around Cole, so it’s not surprising when he falls for Lauren, he accepts expert advice to assure he wins his prize.

Cancer survivor Lauren Phelps vows never to become one of life’s victims but when she faces her greatest challenge yet, will she remember her vow?

Ms O’Berry’s heroine is caring and clever. She is popular and you might be forgiven for thinking she’s too good to be true, but you’d be mistaken. It is her strength of character that carries the day. The realism of her fears and her pain make her a truly believable character, and has the reader rooting for her. She certainly had me rooting for her!

It is a story that reminds us that there are thousands of women out there, like Lauren, getting on with their lives as winners. And that for many , like Lauren, there is the right ‘strong’ man who is ready and willing to walk by their side through life. This is a very moving story, and one I am glad I was fortunate enough to read.

Journey to Redemption by Anne Patrick



Journey to Redemption by Anne Patrick
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Ivy

Detective Morgan Reynolds thought her nightmare was over when serial killer Charles ‘The Slasher’ Tate was sent to prison for her husbands murder. But she was wrong. The Slasher has escaped and he’s making it even more personal this time. Tate has kidnapped her son and is giving her 72 hours to find the answers he wants or Jared dies.

It’s been a year since Morgan Reynolds’ husband was murdered by the villain, Tate, who has now escaped prison. Together with her partner Russo, she must find the cruel killer and get him back behind bars. Her one driving force is the love and concern for her small son who still struggles with his father’s death.

To complicate matters, a new lieutenant arrives on the force and Morgan finds herself working too easily by Chase McAdams’ side. He is not put off by her abrupt manner and to make him even more charming, he believes in her. Then Tate one up’s her, kidnapping her son, and all bets are off. Morgan is ready to risk her career, her heart, and her life, to save her only child.

Journey to Redemption is police drama that builds suspense while carrying a blossoming romance, all at a fast clip. The police work is believable and interesting. Morgan’s terror at her son’s disappearance and her efforts to rescue him are riveting. I found her steps to keep her relatives ignorant of the drama almost touching. She is definitely a lone desperado.

Chase is clever and patient. He makes the story all the more pleasant with his un-chauvinistic attitude and determination to get under Morgan’s skin. There’s something about a man not afraid to admit attraction, and who can pull it off without using a pickup line. Chase McAdams is a sweet hottie. Gotta love it.

I had one issue with this storyline, though it was necessary up to a certain degree. Building a romance within a fast-paced suspense is tricky. There were moments I questioned some of Morgan’s reactions to Chase, despite the attraction and budding feelings. After all, her child is in the hands of a killer. Despite the reservations, the romance is believable and sweet. Some of the timing just seemed a smidge off.

Journey to Redemption builds great suspense and has a creative twist to tie the loose-ends together. Ms. Patrick has developed a wonderful back story for this novel and it carries the plot along nicely. Her characters have the potential to carry another novel; her confident writing in this genre will make you want to pick up another one of her books. I plan to.

The Macgregor's Daughter by Dee Julian



The Macgregor's Daughter by Dee Julian
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon



In 1776 England, American born Anadreya Macgregor is branded a spy by the arrogant Marquis of Canderlay. Despite her pleas of innocence, he refuses to listen and has her imprisoned. Aided by the Scottish father she never knew, Dreya escapes to Dragon's Breath Castle.

Five years later, the laird is missing and a badly injured Frenchman washes ashore. Dreya is wary of the blind and amnesic man, though something about him is hauntingly familiar. Is he an ally or a ruthless mercenary who stumbled upon her father's smuggling activities?

The stranger's vision and memory gradually return and Dreya discovers her fate and the continued existence of her clan might very well be in his hands. As the web of deception binding them together unravels, both are in danger of losing everything. Including their hearts.

Charm and intrigue exude from the cover, and The Macgregor’s Daughter does not fail to live up to all that the images suggest. From the first heart-pounding moments, we follow ‘Dreya’ through a twisting array of exploits.

It is eighteenth century England and this young woman, Andreya may be foreign-born but she is dedicated to her clan nonetheless. She is also strong willed, loyal and utterly admirable. The first man she encounters we rather suspect is something of a cad, perhaps noble, certainly sly and suggestive… but her focus is on escaping, and we readers are forced to just wonder about this encounter.

On one of Scotland’s western islands, Dreya will discover a man desperately in need of her aid. Their early encounters are beyond amusing, as he is blindfolded, she suspects he is a pirate, and their mutual antagonism only increases, as she tries to be a good care-giver and he attempts (from the sick bed) to prove just the sort of man he is. These are some of the absolutely best pages of the tale.

As the story progresses, the strength and determination of Dreya really come through. That first encounter sort of haunts the reader though, so when Lucien appears, you don’t so much wonder, as hope. Although Dreya’s true heart is not so hastily revealed, her extraordinary actions will eventually reveal where her heart lies.

The Macgregor's Daughter has a lot of good points, from characters to pacing, includes delicious descriptions and maintains your interest level. However, I must admit that the shining star here is the simply fantastic dialogue. It is always fast-paced and believable, sometimes heartfelt, sometimes full of innuendo, and always always revealing. A great story that I have to recommend.

Prairie Wind by Maxine Isackson



Prairie Wind by Maxine Isackson
Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing
Genre: Historical (Western)
Length: Full (196 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Widowed at nineteen, Leah Worth is challenged with being 'boss lady' on the Diamond C, a large cattle ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills. Faced with motherhood without the husband she so deeply loved, while contending with the dangers and entanglements of the widespread ranch community, she is forced to go through the motions of living despite her broken heart.

When tall, broad-shouldered Louis Drake comes into her life, sharing a similar view on romance and remarriage, they become close friends. They face the dangerous challenges that confront first one and then the other. During the process, Leah discovers while going through the 'motions', she has been living all along, and a rich past can lead to a new love and an amazing future.

Life seems over almost before it started. Ty Worth, Leah’s husband is dead and she, not yet twenty years old and pregnant has the Diamond C ranch to run.

Her question of, "Why did God do this to me?" is quickly set in perspective by her older friend Maude Henderson. She tells Leah that God did not do this, life did and reminds her that Leah’s much-loved Simon had taught her to “…just face what you have to do, then do it”. She adds that, in time, Leah can learn to live with the pain—she knows from experience.

Many men are interested in the widow Leah Worth, some for herself and others for her profitable ranch. Then, there are the men on the ranch that love and respect her for who she is. They see to it that the ranch continues to operate at a profit. As “strays” show up needing a place to stay, they too soon give allegiance to her.

The love story is subtly woven into the fabric of the tale. It becomes bolder in design as the story progresses—perfect for the reader to see Leah’s emergence from grief to awareness of life and then to a pulsating love for life with a mate that understands, admires, and loves her completely.

With beautiful writing, Maxine Isackson creates a community in the Nebraska Sand Hills during the late 1800’s that augments the characters who interact with Leah to make a heartfelt story, while revealing the depth and compassion of Leah as she offers shelter, aid, and friendship to those in need. Ms. Isackson also shows how Leah, even-handedly, deals with the new sheriff, the botanist who boards in the bunkhouse, and with the old beaus that once again seek her favor. Very appealing and concise writing, make Prairie Wind a story that grips the reader’s attention.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries



The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries
Publisher: Pocketbooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (392 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewer Flower Name: Camellia

In the two decades since a tragic "accident" took the lives of his parents, Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, has survived the scandal surrounding that fateful night by living as an unrepentant rakehell. And with his grandmother vowing to disinherit him if he doesn't settle down and wed, he plans to fulfill the bargain in true Sharpe style -- by bringing home a fake fiancée from a brothel! But his scheme is derailed when he rescues an American beauty in a dire predicament instead. Maria Butterfield came to London to track down her groom-to-be, who's gone missing, but her engagement won't stop Oliver from getting what he wants: her, in his bed. His rebellious masquerade may call his grandmother's bluff , but it's soon made all too real -- by a love that tempts him to be a hellion no more.

This novel is a sumptuous feast of secrets, scandal, sensuality, and sweetness, laced with sexual chemistry and scintillating dialogue. THE TRUTH ABOUT LORD STONEVILLE, a fascinating tale of love and redemption, seethes with all the machination and debauchery of early 1900’s century England; but it also has an undercurrent of desperation, guilt, and low self-esteem that tries the soul of Lord Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville.

The entrance of the outspoken, opinionated American, Maria Butterfield into Oliver’s home, with his family living there, creates a stir that sets each of the family members into a flurry of covert and overt actions as they each plan to further their own agendas.

Charming but arrogant Oliver Sharpe works hard at “living down” to what he considers himself to be because of the genes he inherited from his dead father. He frequents such places as brothels, opera houses, and gambling clubs, while leaving the running of his estate to a steward. All of which outrages his grandmother who reared him and his siblings after the death of his parents. She gives an ultimatum. Oliver sets out to out maneuver her. Taking advantage of Maria Butterfield who finds herself and her cousin in a perilous situation, Oliver sets in motion his plan. Little did he know he had bullied the wrong person. He soon loses control of events that change his life forever.

Dressed in mourning and searching the streets of London for her missing fiancé, Maria and her cousin Freddy stumble into an unsavory part of town as they follow a man they think can help them find her fiancé, Nathan. They end up in a brothel and are in danger of going to jail until Oliver makes them a deal they cannot refuse if they want to stay out of jail.

Maria, with her resourcefulness, commonsense, American work ethic, and strong sense of right and wrong, stirs up strong feelings in the aristocratic household of Halstead Hall. However, the emotions that stir inside her tantalize her curiosity and make her heart long for something that she cannot define.

Maria reminds Oliver of the ever-elusive happiness he longs for. Her innocence, curiosity, determination, and vulnerability bewitch him; but he knows she represents respectability, which is not for him in this life.

Sabrina Jefferies’ writing, with witty and pithy dialogue, sensual love scenes, subtle humor, and undercurrents of emotional stress that fuels doubts and fears, moves the plot along at a fast clip. Her secondary characters add sparkle, intrigue, and variety to the story. Her writing has a magic that makes THE TRUTH ABOUT LORD STONEVILLE captivating reading that sizzles at times.

This one is a keeper.

I’ll be watching for the next book in this series.