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Friday, December 17, 2010

Wedding of the Season by Laura Lee Guhrke



Wedding of the Season by Laura Lee Guhrke
Publisher: HarperCollins/Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Rosemary

Abandoned at the altar . . .

Lady Beatrix Danbury had always known she would marry William Mallory. She'd loved him forever and she'd never doubted he loved her, too. But when she made him choose between their life together or his lifelong dream, Will chose the latter . . . and left two weeks before their wedding.

Return of the duke . . .

Will has no illusions that Beatrix would welcome him back with open arms, but six years did not dim his love or desire for her. The only problem is, she's about to marry someone else. Someone safe and predictable . . . the complete opposite of Will. But can he stop the wedding of the season and win Beatrix back, or is it just too late?

Will Lady Beatrix Danbury marry safe and predictable Aidan Carr or will she will follow her heart and marry the adventurous and passionate William Mallory?

Childhood friends and sweethearts Beatrix “Trix” Danbury and William “Will” Mallory broke off their engagement so Will could pursue his dream of discovering King Tut’s tomb. Six years later, Will has returned to England from Egypt to secure financial backing to continue his search for King Tut, and Trix is now engaged to Aidan Carr. When Will and Trix find themselves spending a month at the same house party, they discover the love between them still exists but so do the differences that tore them apart years before.

Wedding of the Season is a fun-filled novel that takes Trix on a journey of self-discovery. Her deep love of her father and her desire to live a traditional life contributed to her inability to marry Will and move to Egypt. Following her father’s death, Trix and her cousin Julia embark on a madcap journey that involves learning to drive a motorcar, skinny dipping in the moonlight and dancing the can-can. Her engagement to the proper and dignified Aidan lacks passion and excitement, but Trix easily overlooks that in her quest for a conventional marriage.

It does not take long for Will to realize that he is still in love with Trix but he is not going to give up his quest for King Tut’s tomb. He cleverly devises a plan to spend time with Trix and bring some much needed adventure to her life, and hopefully along the way, force her to fall in love with him again.

Well rounded, engaging characters and snappy, humorous dialogue keep Wedding of the Season moving at a rapid pace. Laura Lee Guhrke is a gifted story teller, and fans of her novels will love this delightful new series.

Dragon’s Stone by Jane Toombs



Dragon’s Stone by Jane Toombs
Darkness of Dragons Book Three
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Historical
Length: Short Story (100 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Holly

A man with a dark side, in love with a woman. A woman with her own worries, who barely tolerates him. The pair are thrown together to perform the impossible task of dealing with the evil and immortal Black Dragon—their only ally a Siamese cat. A puny trio facing impossible odds. Especially when the man’s dark side manifests itself and turns him into a danger to his own allies. Their other adversary, a witch, who is on the dragon’s side, adds another complication to an already seemingly hopeless task. How can this man control his dark side, convince the woman to love him and seal the dragon’s fate?

The evil of the Black Dragon is leaking as the wards weaken. David and Tima can’t be there to stop it, so David calls his cousin Ellis to step in and help. But it takes three to stop it, and Ellis believes that the darkness of his father’s blood will betray him and help the Black Dragon break through.

When Gwen hears David’s message on her voice mail, she heads up to join Ellis at Enid’s cottage. As the darkness grows stronger, Ellis fights his attraction for Gwen, believing she will never love him like he loves her. When Louhi, the evil witch, casts a lust spell, Gwen seduces Ellis, and fulfills his greatest fantasy. But there are hidden secrets that soon reveal themselves in shocking and surprising ways. Can Gwen and Ellis, along with the cat Nala, be able to defeat the Black Dragon once and for all? Can Gwen and Ellis find love together, once all the spells are done?

This is the third book in the Darkness of Dragons series by Jane Toombs, and it is the most intriguing of them all. It takes the reader back to a time when the Black Dragon was free, and the steps taken to imprison him. The family dynamic that brings Ellis and Gwen back to the cottage to face the weakening wards and encroaching evil is well depicted. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters, and the way Ms. Toombs allowed the relationship between Ellis and Gwen to develop.

I liked watching Gwen mature in this story. She came into this as a slightly spoiled young woman, knowing what needed to be done, but wishing someone else could take responsibility. I enjoyed watching her develop a true admiration for Ellis, and her ability to finally see him for the man that he was, instead of the pest he has been in their youthful days. When she stopped being self centered and finally saw the big picture, she learned so much more about herself, and her role in things.

Ellis is not the typical hero. He isn’t gorgeous and sexy like the two dragon shifters, David and Vran. And the beast in him scares him. But he is smart and determined to stop the darkness, no matter what. His secret love for Gwen keeps him grounded in some way, and it is what will bring out the best in him when it is needed most. I think the growth of Ellis as a man is the best part of this story.

There are several very surprising angles to this story, and the fight against Louhi and the Black Dragon is just one aspect of it. There is a strong sense of romance and destiny here, and the fight for the happy ever after is marvelous to read. Do they defeat the Black Dragon forever? You will just have to read this one to see.

In His Sight by Pamela S. Thibodeaux



In His Sight by Pamela S. Thibodeaux
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (81 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Grade school teacher Carson Alexander has a gift—a gift that has driven a wedge between him and his family. Worse, it’s put him at odds with God. Feeling alone and misunderstood, Carson views God’s gift of prophecy as the worst kind of curse…that is until he meets Lorelei Conner, landscape artist extraordinaire, and perhaps the one person who may need Carson and his gift more than anyone ever has.

Lorelei Connor is a mother on the run. Her abusive ex-husband has followed her all over the country trying to steal their daughter. Distrusting of men and needing to keep on the move, she’s surprised by her desire to remain close to Carson Alexander. Through her fear and hesitation, she must learn to rely on God to guide her—not an easy task when He’s prompting her to trust a man.

Can their relationship withstand the tragedy lurking on the horizon?

Is prophecy a gift or a curse?

Carson would like nothing more than to live a quiet, normal life. He loves the small community he teaches in and cares for his students. However, Carson’s gift of prophecy ensures his life will never be exactly normal. Carson once thought prophecy was a gift from God, but after a tragedy, he turned his back on his gift, and he isn’t sure where his relationship with God stands. From the moment he meets Lorelei, he knows he wants to be a part of her life. He also knows that she is in grave danger. Will Carson open himself to God and his gift, or will he let his anger stand in the way?

Lorelei is fiercely protective of her daughter, Laurel. Moving from place to place to avoid her ex-husband has made life difficult, but Lorelei is resilient. She’s a talented landscaper and manages to find good work whenever she feels compelled to move. Lorelei knows that the nomadic lifestyle has been hard on Laurel, but when Lorelei moves to Stars Crossing, Tennessee, she promises it will be the last time. When Lorelei meets Carson, she is immediately suspicious, especially when he tells her he has visions. Despite her doubts, she begins to feel a powerful connection to Carson. Will Lorelei lay her doubts aside and trust God’s plan, or will she continue to let fear control her life?

I have often thought an author writing a story where the heroine is also a mother has a tough job to do. They have to find a way to balance the heroine’s personal life and romance as well as the heroine’s responsibility to their child. Ms. Thibodeaux certainly accomplishes this. Lorelei is a wonderful mother, and her first priority is always her daughter. However, when Lorelei begins to have feelings for Carson, she doesn’t shut him out or use her daughter as an excuse to keep him away. I enjoyed watching Lorelei learn put her trust in God and make more room in her heart for both her daughter and Carson.

Carson is a wonderful hero. He is strong, loyal, caring, and exactly the man Lorelei needed in her life. He makes his feelings and intentions known from the start. His feelings for Lorelei are intense, and he knows she is the woman he wants to spend his life with. I loved his bold attitude. Carson also genuinely cares for Laurel. Despite the odd circumstances surrounding Carson’s relationship with Lorelei, I thought Ms. Thibodeaux did an excellent job of working Carson into Laurel’s life in a very natural way without Carson acting fake or trying too hard to be Laurel’s friend.

I also loved the way that Carson and Lorelei worked as a team. When it becomes clear through Carson’s visions that Lorelei’s ex-husband is near, they come up with a defensive strategy together. They have a few disagreements, but I loved how they stuck together and worked things out. Their ability to talk things over certainly puts them not only on the path to being a powerful couple, but also great parents for Laurel.

Reading In His Sight was a pleasure. Carson and Lorelei had a powerful connection and great chemistry. Anyone looking for a short, inspirational romance with a dash of suspense will certainly enjoy In His Sight.

McCormick’s Prayer by Jo Barrett



McCormick’s Prayer by Jo Barrett
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (68 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Drake McCormick prays for nothing but peace, the final sleep, and yet knows his prayers will go unanswered as he is cursed to walk the crumbling halls of his castle with one lone companion, a small boy named Collin. Never allowed to venture beyond the ruins, for if they so much as dare to cross the threshold they will be cast into the deepest darkest depths of Hell, they watch the world pass them by, unseen and unheard by the infrequent visitors to his hall.

Until her.

The beauty and mystery of the Scottish Highlands pulls Mary Beth to its shores with the promise of a new beginning, a new way of life. But add one sexy Scottish ghost and his endearing companion, and her new life is like nothing she could ever have predicted.

He’s as hot as a romance cover model, but he’s a ghost. She’s looking for somewhere to call home and to belong. They might be what the other needs...if they are willing to trust and have a little faith.

I must say I enjoyed this short little offering from Ms. Barrett. I’m not familiar with her work, but I will definitely be on the lookout for more. The characters all but jumped off the page and I found myself lost in the world the author has created. A perfect bit of escapism for a chilly day. The writing is crisp and moved along nicely.

Drake and Collie are such a pair. I loved the interplay between them. Drake would do anything to keep the boy safe even though they are both ghosts. It was sweet to read about them. Their confusion with the modern world had me in quiet stitches. I never realized what the world might be like experiencing things like blue jeans for the first time, or driving a car. Ms. Barrett’s characters and their circumstances put things into perspective for me. I liked it.

Mary Beth had me a little off guard. I enjoyed the tension between her and Drake. She was a very independent and kind woman—just the type he needed. She did have her moments where I wasn’t sure what she was thinking and why she was so hard on herself. But, with that said, I could relate. Imagine finding the man of your dreams and having him in the same house. It’s a lot to think about. Now imagine you’re self conscious. It’s easy to see why she might freak out a little. I understood, but wanted to see her have a tick more backbone with him. Oh, and I wanted to know how she managed to have a coherent conversation with him as he toyed with her chest. However she did it, she’s got talent and kudos to her.

Still, this was a great little read. There were lots of plot twists I didn’t see coming and they were all great. Just the right measure of whimsy and romance.

If you want a book that’s guaranteed to stick with you after the last page, then you need to read McCormick’s Prayer. I give it 4 books.

Deadlock by Moira Rogers



Deadlock by Moira Rogers
Southern Arcana Book 3
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (213 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Holly

He’s no one’s hero. She’s no one’s pawn. And now they’re caught in the crossfire…

Southern Arcana, Book 3

Abandoned by her wolf shifter father and raised by her human psychic mother, Carmen Mendoza can’t deny she’s different. She craves things most women shy away from—and she has a trail of shapeshifting ex-boyfriends to prove it.

Working at a clinic for supernatural creatures, she’s escaped the notice of her father’s legacy-obsessed family. Until they need a pawn in their bid for power. Snared by a vicious spell designed to wake her inner wolf, Carmen’s only hope is to trust the one man strong enough to soothe her darkest instincts.

Alec Jacobson was once the heir apparent to the wolves’ ruling elite, until he walked away to marry the woman he loved. She paid with her life. Now he lives as a rebel, a black-sheep alpha who protects the supernatural residents of New Orleans from the wolves’ barbaric class system. Too bad he can’t protect himself from his need for Carmen.

Yet staking his claim on his enemy’s niece will turn his city into a battleground. Unless he can find a way to stop breaking the rules—and start making them.

Carmen Mendoza has always known she was different. Born the daughter of a wolf shifter father and psychic mother, she was ignored for most of her life by her father’s family. At least until she was needed as a bargaining chip in wolf hierarchy, a prize to the highest bidder to ensure power for her uncle and her father.

When Carmen refuses to play their game, things become dangerous in her chosen home of New Orleans, and this brings her to the attention of Alec Jacobson, the ‘unofficial alpha’ of the city. Alec followed his heart once, turning his back on pack society, and it cost him his wife. He isn’t going to let Carmen fall prey to the same politics, but the only way to protect her is to claim her, and take his place among those who make the rules. Can Alec follow his heart and find a life with Carmen? Can they stand strong against the Council, and bring changes to the old order? Or will it all come crashing down on them?

This is the third book in Moira Rogers’ Southern Arcana series, and one I have really looked forward to reading. This is Alec’s story, and I can truly say it was worth the wait. The unique world that Ms Rogers has created keeps growing and encompassing new and interesting inhabitants with each new book. I love her character development, as each person seems real and likeable. Even her ‘bad guys’ are not always truly evil, but just weak and greedy at times.

Carmen is a strong woman, a healer and psychic who works at the clinic for paranormal beings in New Orleans. She is strong and determined to go her own way, in spite of what her family wants from her. I loved watching her convince Alec that she could handle him, in spite of his concerns. She is also smart and loyal, and will go the extra distance for those she cares about.

Alec has been the protector of New Orleans for a long time. He can’t imagine a woman like Carmen wanting him. He is strong and protective, helping any who are in ‘his town’ when the need arises. His loyalty is unquestioned, but he is shocked by the feelings he develops for Carmen. Leadership, at least the official kind, was never his goal, but he takes the challenge to protect his people and try to make much needed changes to the political hierarchy.

The heat generated each time Carmen and Alec get together is nothing short of volcanic. I love the way these two interact, and it gets so hot I needed to open my window at times. When Alec realizes that Carmen is strong enough to take all that he offers, things go up an extra notch to scorching, and I just wanted this one to keep going. The secondary characters are just as well developed as the main ones, and we meet some new people in Carmen’s brothers, Julio and Miguel. I hope to read more about them in future stories from this world.

Does Alec change the world and win his fair lady? Read Deadlock and find out for yourself.

Whisper Falls by Toni Blake


Whisper Falls by Toni Blake
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Rosemary



Welcome to Destiny, Ohio—where coming home means finding your true heart and maybe even your true love

Tessa Sheridan came crawling back to her quaint hometown of Destiny after her big-city interior design career crumbled. Now not only must she struggle to make ends meet, but she has to contend with a biker next door and the roar of Harleys shattering the serenity of her cabin in the woods by Whisper Falls.

Worse still, her sexy, bad boy neighbor makes her feel breathless and weak—and shy, petite Tessa knows what a major mistake it would be to get involved with someone so . . . dangerous.

They say that former teen rebel Lucky Romo has a dark, secret past—that he’s trouble with a capital "T." Still, Tessa feels all tingly when she sees how well he fills out a pair of tight jeans. And when Lucky invites her into his world, she knows the intense heat sparking between them could lead her somewhere wild and wonderful . . . and, yes, dangerous!

Whisper Falls by Toni Blake is a powerful love story about redemption, living life to the fullest, and the discovery that what a person looks like is not necessarily who that person is.

When Lucky Romo moves in, he shakes up next door neighbor Tessa Sheridan’s peaceful world. It has been a three year struggle, but Tessa has finally built a new life for herself on the outskirts of Destiny. She has a job she enjoys, loyal friends, and a loving family, but she feels as if life is passing her by. When she meets tattooed, long-haired, sexy Lucky, she is astonished by the instant attraction she feels for him. When she decides it is time to grab life by the horns, Tessa and Lucky embark on a passionate affair.

Lucky Romo left Destiny sixteen years ago and never looked back. His troubled childhood led him down a self destructive path that he has finally been able to leave behind. His affair with Tessa becomes a turning point in his life, and what begins as a purely physical relationship evolves into something much deeper. When his past collides with his present, will Lucky still have a future with Tessa?

Tessa’s struggles with living with a chronic health condition have completely changed her outlook on life. It has given her a deep appreciation for the many things she has in her life and a desire to experience all that life has to offer. Despite her own reservations and the advice of well-meaning friends, Tessa trusts her instincts about the man she sees lurking behind Lucky’s tattoos and wild reputation.

For Lucky, starting over in Destiny will lead him to confront his past and resolve his relationship with his family. With hindsight and maturity, Lucky accepts responsibility for the poor decisions he made in his past but he finally realizes he is no longer that person. After a lifetime of living alone, Lucky has to decide if he is ready to accept the fact that relationships are going to leave him open and vulnerable to pain. And he is going to have to learn to fight for what he wants instead of walking away.

Whisper Falls is a deeply emotional novel that tugs at the heartstrings. My heart broke for Lucky the child, but it rejoiced for the man he becomes. Tessa’s realization that Lucky loves her is the most incredibly touching, heartwarming, and unique scene I have ever read. The underlying message of Whisper Falls is that no single event in your life defines you. The person you are is the total of all of the experiences of your life.

Destiny, OH is a wonderful place to visit. Old and new fans of Toni Blake’s Destiny series will love Tessa and Lucky’s story.


Liar, Liar by J.L. McCale



Liar, Liar by J.L. McCale
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemp, Mystery/suspense
Pages: Full Length (221 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Magnolia

Murder is such a nasty thing. The police don't believe a murder occurred but Mia knows. Now she has returned to the home where mysterious footsteps echo through the halls, children that can't exist cry, and the place where her husband fell to his death. No one knows why he died or why someone has returned to the house during Mia's final visit. Perhaps she can learn the truth with the help of a detective with a personal interest.

J.L. McCale has done it again. Liar, Liar is a wonderful tale of suspense, mystery, murder, and love. This story reaches out and grabs the reader from the first page and there is no way to put it down until you've read every word. Entwining an intriguing murder mystery with a paranormal subplot is a genius twist in this story, and is done so smoothly it will take your breath away. While danger lurks at every corner and no one is to be trusted, Ms. McCale has managed to make the good guys suspect and the bad guys displaying acts of chivalry in unexpected ways. What makes this book worth reading, in addition to the fabulous story line, is the quality of writing.

Sadly there were two things that bothered me with the book that are outside the author's control. The editing errors were frustrating for me to see in such a wonderful story. As a reviewer, I see those things and wonder why an editor would allow mistakes to distract from an otherwise marvelous story by an author who continues to enthrall her readers. I also wasn't crazy about the rather generic cover – it simply does not do justice to this fantasic story. A cover should intrigue the potential reader, entice them to pick up a book and make them want to know more. This cover fails in that area.

However, I did not let those things detract from a story that kept me up late in order to finish it. Ms. McCale is by far one of the best writers I've read and the consistency in her work and level of professionalism is what makes me continue to read her books, whether to review them or simply for the sheer pleasure in enjoying her stories.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Second Chance Brides by Vickie McDonough



Second Chance Brides by Vickie McDonough
Texas Boardinghouse Brides, Book 2
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc
Genre: Historical, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Rosemary

Fans of The Anonymous Bride, will feel for Shannon O’Neil and Leah Bennett who are stranded in Lookout, Texas, without husbands or future plans. Thankfully, the marshal has ordered the rascally Corbett brothers to pay for the women’s lodging at the boardinghouse, but will the brothers’ idea of hosting Saturday socials really bring these women the kind of loves they long for? Will Shannon choose to marry just for security? Will Leah reject love when the challenges mount?

Second Chance Brides centers on Leah and Shannon, the two rejected mail-order brides from Vickie McDonough’s The Anonymous Bride. Stranded and penniless, Leah and Shannon are still living in Rachel’s boardinghouse following Rachel’s marriage to Luke. Both women find their faith in God strengthened as they learn that while it may not yet be apparent to them, He has a reason for bringing them to this small Texas town.

Shannon O’Neil is an Irish immigrant whose parents died soon after their arrival in America. An only child, Shannon eagerly accepted the opportunity to create a new family for herself by becoming a mail-order bride. Now that Luke is happily married to Rachel, Shannon realizes that she, too, wants to marry for love. With few prospects for work, Shannon finds herself working for the two men who brought her to Lookout, Mark and Garrett Corbett. Shannon is beginning to fall in love with Mark, but a secret from his past prevents Mark from acting on what is in his heart. Will Mark find a way to forgive himself for past actions before he loses Shannon forever?

Leah Bennett chose to become a mail-order bride to escape an unwanted marriage to a man twice her age. The oldest of eleven children, Leah’s childhood was consumed by caring for her younger siblings. She and livery owner Dan Howard quickly fall in love and plan their wedding. However, unforeseen circumstances threaten their future, and Leah finds that God’s plan conflicts with what she has envisioned for herself.

Friendship becomes a central theme in Second Chance Brides. Now they are no longer vying for Luke’s hand in marriage, Rachel, Shannon, and Leah have become steadfast friends who provide spiritual and emotional strength for one another. Rachel’s daughter, Jack, find herself questioning her loyalty to friends that involve her in situations that often conflicts with her Christian beliefs and upbringing.

Second Chance Brides is faith based historical fiction at its best. Ms. McDonough’s characters are engaging and authentic as they incorporate their faith in their day to day lives. Fans of inspirational historical romance will not be disappointed in this wonderfully plotted, fast paced novel that quickly works its way into the reader’s heart.

Under a Halloween Moon by Beverly Breton



Under a Halloween Moon by Beverly Breton
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (44 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Single mother Annika lives a safe existence centered around her five-year-old daughter, a little imp who is growing up faster than Annika wants to admit. Cameron is a widower working constant overtime to cover for a partner on leave, which leaves no time for his five-year-old daughter, let alone a social life.

But then Cameron has no interest in the women focused on his long eyelashes, the fit of his jeans, and the size of his paycheck, and Annika has steered clear of the turmoil of relationships ever since her divorce. Are the two destined to remain single? Perhaps…

Until the Halloween moon when Cameron crosses paths with the bewitching single mother of his daughter’s best friend, and a weekend of mischief, masquerade and magic convinces Annika to take a chance on love.

Who knew Halloween could be the season for miracles?

I love a sweet short story. This one is no exception. Beverly Breton writes simple, sugary sweet stories that warm the heart. The writing in this book is tight and had me glued to my seat for the duration. I couldn’t put it down. Keeping in mind it’s a short story, the details are a tad thin, but it really didn’t take away from the book as a whole. Keeping it simple kept the book light and kept me guessing what would happen next. There are more than a couple plot twists I didn’t expect and I’m glad they happened as they did.

Annika, the heroine, is wonderful. A single mom, rife with loneliness and a bit of heartache, just wants that one special man to make her heart light. She’s relatable. I felt like I was in her shoes watching the world happen, her little girl grow, and wondering if love still existed. Although there were times when I thought she got a bit too down on herself, I liked her. She came across very human and easy to identify with.

This story is told Annika’s point of view, so the hero was a little harder to grasp. Cameron is overworked and overstressed. He’s a great single father, but he knows there’s so much more he can do. I had a hard time really knowing how he felt about Annika because we’re in her head the whole time, but I got the vibe that he liked her and wanted to know about her. I felt the connection between them immediately and wanted to know where it was going next.

The little girls, without doubt, make the story. Mindy and Livvy are hilarious because they have their own very individual opinions on things and are very plain in stating their feelings. Livvy has some great one-liners.

If you want a simple, sweet little Halloween tale, then this is the book for you. I give Under a Halloween Moon 4 books.

Beyond a Viking Horizon by Tami Dee



Beyond a Viking Horizon by Tami Dee
Mists of Time Viking Series Book Three
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Time Travel, historical, sci-fi/fantasy
Length: Full Length (150 pgs)
Heat Level: sensual
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Lavender

Balmung Nabbodderson is a man whose feet are as firmly planted in the year 908 as the roots of his thriving crops.

Until, that is, he makes an unexpected discovery within the very soil he had vowed never to leave…

Iris Johnson is a woman of color living in the time of the Great Depression. Suddenly widowed, she is left to raise four children against all odds.

With the security and well being for her children her utmost concern, will she be able to trust and open her heart to a man who claims to have come from a Time one thousand years past?

I love time travel stories, and Beyond a Viking Horizon by Tami Dee is a pretty good one. My favorite aspect of the story was the characters.

Iris Johnson, a young widow, is living in the year 1930 in Denmark. She’s from Chicago and traveled all this way when her husband inherited land. Sadly, he died under suspicious circumstances, leaving Iris and the kids to deal with some very unfriendly people who want them gone. They burn her land. How will she get by? When the nasty neighbors ruin her livelihood, and Iris still refuses to leave, the tension is set up.

In walks Balmung, a handsome Viking from the year 908. What a difference there is between him and Iris. They’re pretty opposite in terms of style, but Balmung is so loveable, it's not suprising that Iris would trust him and like him so quickly. Iris’s home is Balmung’s, just a thousand years apart. He has crossed time for her. He says some great things. His logic is at times humorous and so true.

To add to the intrigue, Iris’s young son is harboring a terrible secret. Poor little guy…a reader feels so sorry for him, for the whole family.

Aspects of this novel are fresh; I hadn’t read them often in the huge amount of books I read. The interracial romance is great. There are some charming scenes with the children, and some surprising turns.

Sometimes, though, I wished for more transitions and descriptions. The writing was distant at times. This is an enjoyable story, but with lots of “telling.” This caused the pacing to slow down in areas. Also, there were many spelling/grammatical errors, but not so much as to interfere with my enjoyment of the story.

I liked the tidbits of history and culture and the moments of humor. Iris is a great character, tough, smart, and independent. The chemistry worked well between our two protagonists. They’re a good match and I liked the great, romantic moments.

Overall, this is an entertaining read that fans of time travel should check out.

Broken Angels by Anne Hope



Broken Angels by Anne Hope
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (251 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Larkspur

Tragedy gave them a second chance. Now they’ve got everything to lose.

Zach Ryler always prided himself on his ability to handle anything life flung at him. Nothing could have prepared him for his sister’s brutal murder, let alone being named legal guardian of her three children. Now, the only person who can help him is the one woman he vowed never to touch again. The one woman his love couldn’t fix.

Rebecca James never stopped loving Zach, even after her infertility slowly crushed her spirit and destroyed their marriage. Suddenly Fate has dropped her dream in her lap: a family. But opening her heart to them—and to Zach—is a risk she wonders if she’s ready to take.

As Zach and Rebecca struggle to help the children deal with their grief, they slowly begin to rediscover the passion they thought they’d lost. Just as they believe that this time they can get it right, shadows from the past close in, tearing at the fragile bonds they’ve forged. And a lethal predator is waiting and watching, one who will stop at nothing to protect his secrets…even murder.

Zach and Becca tried to make a go of their marriage and failed, they now have much more at steak than just broken promises now they have to consider their Broken Angels too. And when someone threatens those they love they will do anything to protect them, but at what cost and can they afford it.

Ms. Hope gives us a wonderfully plotted romantic suspense novel complete with all you need for a great murder mystery -- especially the villain and I dare you to figure out who it is before the very end. She gives us narrative that I can actually see happening at my dining table complete with expletives, spilled liquids and thrown vegetables. She gives us three bright, funny, complex and loving children to co-star in this novel and they do a wonderful job of depicting your normal everyday misbehaving kid to a tee. The other characters, while not as important, have a crucial role to play and the villain is exceptional and stays in the background for most of the tale only to come out and strike when guards are down.

The hero and heroine are exquisite examples of jumping ship too soon because it becomes obvious to the readers that they still harbor deep love for each other. The romance is heartfelt and heartbreaking that will leave you with tear tracks and in the next moment laugh out loud humor. The love scenes are scorching hot and yet so tender they will bring tears to your eyes.

If you like driving as fast as the speedometer will let you, buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life with this nail biting edge of your seat romantic suspense thriller. If you like the writing of Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner or J.T. Ellison you will love Anne Hope.