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Friday, November 30, 2007

Review: Between the Gutter and the Sky

Between the Gutter and the Sky
by Babe King

Jacquelyn “Jac” Donnel, second-in-command doctor of the E.R, has vowed to do everything in her power to make the E.R more efficient and fast especially after the loss of her father due to inadequate care. And she won’t let anything or anyone stand in her way, especially Sam Allen and his teens. Jac believes that the gang rivalry and irresponsible teenage behaviour are taking up precious rooms and money from the E.R.

Sam Allen, has become a social worker to help and save the teens who are going down the same path that he did: joining gangs and causing trouble. But he did not expect to run into Dr. Jac at every turn. Sparks fly when Sam sets up his office in Jac’s hospital and starts to change the way things are run regarding treatment of teens. And on top of that, a lot of money is being shelled out into the teen intervention program, money which Jac believes can be used to better the E.R. Will these two who are extremely stubborn relent and get along before it is too late? How far will Sam go to help the teens?

This was a great book by Babe King. The characters were real, with real issues. Both Sam and Jac are equally stubborn. This created for a very interesting read.

The gang situation was very well described, portraying the need for love and the need for firmness when dealing with gang members and teens. The dialogue between the main characters are very snappy and quick, making it a very quick read. The one-liners between Jac and Sam had me laughing frequently.

The book climaxes with a scenario I have never considered before. I am not going to tell you what it was; you will have to read it to find out. But I guarantee that this will be a great read since it is filled with all the right amounts of what is needed for a fantastic story – suspense, romance and laughter!

Review by Jasmine

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Review: Coiled Revenge

Coiled Revenge
by Sara Thacker

When young women start dying, lead detective Tony Santos is drawn into a web of deceit and revenge that forces him out of the police department and directly into the sights of the killer. His wife walked out, and he’s glad for that fact after a dead body winds up in his bed. Now he needs Marissa more than ever, but she’s got her defenses up and his charm isn’t working on her.

Marissa has never been physically strong, but threats to her personal safety force her to prepare for a fight. She hires a personal trainer to help her get in shape. But can Marissa get her emotions in shape and stop her overwhelming desire for Tony? He’s too close for comfort but her body begs to differ. She wants him but living in a small hotel room with Tony may prove to be more dangerous than the murders happening close to home.

COILED REVENGE by Sara Thacker is a spine-tingling suspense that is replete with dead bodies – bodies that bring chaos to Ton Santos and his estranged wife, Marrisa.

This romance is a page-turner that pulls the reader into a heartbreaking impasse between Tony and Marissa. While living apart, they both long for what they use to have before their daughter Ashley’s death and the arrival of notes that seemingly give proof of Tony’s infidelity.

As the body count climbs, Tony becomes a prime suspect and Marissa becomes a prime target for the killer. As the police department of Juniper, Texas, that Tony had been suspended from, and the FBI work to solve the murders, Tony and Marissa work on their own to find the killer’s motivation and why they seem to be at the core of the happenings.

The tangled web of deceit and revenge ensnares a wide array of character, many of whom seem to be likely suspects for the killings. The reader has clues about the killer as the story unfolds but not until the breathtaking, chilling climax comes is the truth really known.

If a reader enjoys suspense along with compelling romance, COILED REVENGE will give great satisfaction. Just be sure to lock the windows and doors if you're reading at night.

Review by Camellia

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Review: Three Dog Knight

Three Dog Knight
by Tori Phillips

The white rose of York was no hothouse flower. Nay, Mistress Alicia Broom was a long-stemmed beauty with a dangerous secret of royal proportions. But for a chance to claim her as his promised bride, Thomas Cavendish would fight the hounds of hell!

Though plots and plans and barking dogs seemed to pursue the Earl of Thornbury wherever he went, Alicia knew she’d found a champion. Mayhap Thomas Cavendish was not what people expected, but the gentle knight had become her heart’s desire.

Three Dog Knight, the prequel in Tori Phillips’ “Cavendish Chronicles” historical romance series, is a winner! In this tale set in fifteenth century England, Alicia Broom is promised to Thomas Cavendish when they both are children. Alicia is the foster daughter of a goldsmith, though secretly a child born of royal blood. Her foster parents pair her with an unlikely but suitable future husband in Thomas, the third son in the Thornbury line.

Ten years after the initial marriage contract, Alicia’s foster parents deliver her to Thomas’s doorstep. Alicia has become a beautiful, strong-willed, and capable young woman. Thomas, in turn, is now heir to the Thornbury estate, since his father and two older brothers have died in a recent plague. He is an awkward Earl, though, who prefers the company of his three dogs to any human being. He is strong and handsome but also a virgin, a secret kept by his flirtatious but loyal servant, Andrew.

When Thomas sees the grown-up Alicia, he falls desperately in love but is totally incapable of expressing his feelings. Instead, he flees to his dogs and his horses and goes hunting at all hours of the day and night. Alicia, meanwhile, is hopeful that she will find a permanent home with Thomas and goes to work befriending his servants, preparing delicious meals, and cleaning out the dusty estate home. But her presence there is a threat to Isabel, widowed sister-in-law to Thomas, and Isabel wastes no time in plotting Alicia’s demise.

The chemistry between Alicia and Thomas is utterly convincing. Each feels attracted to the other, but their innocence and lack of experience prevent either from making any kind of move. Thomas writes her love letters but is afraid to sign them, so Alicia thinks they are from Andrew. Alicia longs to hear words of love from Thomas, but she begins to think he is only marrying her to honor the original marriage contract.

The way these two characters become comfortable with one another, and move from nervous respect to open friendship to passionate love, is a wonderful tale. Thomas is hot, strong, and sweet – and I really liked the fact that he’s an inexperienced virgin rather than a typical vanquishing knight. His stumbling affections for Alicia are completely charming. Alicia is a likeable heroine, too, though she waffles between being intelligent and insightful and then second-guessing Thomas’ feelings for her. That inconsistency in her character was the only thing that kept me from giving this 5 books.

Otherwise, Three Dog Knight is a great historical romance – I’ll definitely pick up the rest of the Cavendish Chronicles by Tori Phillips!

Review by Dandelion


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Review: Oz

by Ann Warner

Geoff Flemington is one of the most appealing men Glenda Lewellen has ever met. The only problem? She lives in Chicago, and in two days he returns home to Australia. Can two people who live half a world apart take a chance on falling in love?

A confession? I haven't read much lately that puts a smile on my face. This story did just that. In fact, I'm still smiling.

Ms. Warner has quite a way with words. I can't put my finger on exactly what enchanted me so much about this story, but enchanted I was. I wish, oh how I wish, she'd made this a bit longer. I adored both characters: flawed and funny. I loved the contrast between an American and an Aussie. The author used clever wit and sharp description.

This encounter between people at a wedding was warm and funny. Her hero was handsome, adorable and flawed. The heroine was lovely, uncomfortable and annoyed with her date. To see both the hero and heroine open to the possibility of romance with their eyes wide open to the possible roadblocks was lovely.

Well written, well edited... if you're looking for a wonderful (albeit short) read, I highly recommend "Oz".

Review by Poppy

Monday, November 26, 2007

Review: On the Loose

On the Loose
by Tara Janzen

He's a special agent who never loses his cool.

She's the heat-seeking missle headed straight for his heart.

Keeping cool under pressure is the credo C. Smith Rydell lives by. That’s why he was handpicked by the Special Defense Forces for a mission few men survive. So why has the ex-DEA superstar been reassigned to Panama City, playing bodyguard to a blond in a black string bikini? Except Honey York isn’t your average pampered socialite. She’s the woman Rydell caught smuggling cash into El Salvador four months ago. And now she wants him to take her back.

All Honey has to do is find the guerrilla camp, deliver the goods, and get the hell out of the jungle—all in forty-eight hours. Only one man is up for the job. But sharing an unforgettable one-night stand was nothing next to being stranded with Rydell on some third world mountaintop. And with bullets flying and all hell breaking loose, now is not the time for passion. As if these two could possibly resist it….

Tara Janzen has another winner on her hands and I can’t wait to share it with you!

C. Smith Rydell is a military warrior. Honey York is a socialite warrior. How in the world can these two make it when they’re thrust together into the underbelly of a South American drug war? They’re fighting each other before they ever get to meet the really bad guys. I believe I ‘met’ the two main characters and one of the, no wait, two of the sub characters in Tara’s last book, Crazy Sweet. Have you read any of her ‘Crazy’ series? Major treat.

Anyway, if you have then you can expect this to be a quasi-continuation but no direct link to Steele Street until an intriguing moment at the end. Rydell is quite the hunk. He was in the last book when he saved Honey’s cute little butt, however, I got to know him much much better in On The Loose. What fun. He’s not perfect, which I adore; he’s fighting his attraction to Honey, which is funny; he’s being pursued by someone he never expected, which was grating on my nerves (in a suspenseful kind of way); and his first name gets revealed. Once I heard Honey say it, I started singing. That’s not going to make much sense unless you’re an 80’s fan and remember the first Farm Aid. I wonder if you’ll make the connection.

Sorry, I digress. Let’s just say I liked Smith’s first name. And it tugged my heartstrings when he explained to Honey why ‘C’ stands for what it does.

Honey has a secret and I’m not telling you what it is. Smith found out and you want to know why? That’s right, why, not how. Because he’s in love. Oh, he doesn’t call it that; he runs from ever admitting the “L” word but I think you’ll find it adorable at how he figured it out.

Honey is a driven woman. She’s got quite a few irons in the fire, one of which is caring for her sister; the nun. Honey is being blackmailed by the CIA to do their dirty work because she unknowingly left herself wide open in the last book for them to use her as a tool in this story. There is a great scene, fun for me – scary for Honey, which greatly reminded me of the third Indiana Jones movie, but better. It was action packed and Rydell was oh, so alpha that the girly-girl in me was wowed. Then again, I’d be just like Honey when she was going down those stairs -- check please!

I simply have to share an observation on my favorite steamy scene between Rydell and Honey. It took place inside their vehicle during a torrential rain storm. I hope this isn’t a spoiler but I absolutely got turned on by how Tara described Rydell nibbling on Honey. It was quite touching, romantic, playful and his actions are totally opposite from those he exhibits due to his chosen profession. They were almost alien to him. Such is the power of love.

On The Loose has all my favorite elements for a thrilling romantic suspenseful read; alpha male with a lady under his skin, a alpha female wrapped in chartreuse *gg*, a bad guy who I want redeemed, a really bad guy who I know shouldn’t be redeemed and female stalker who totally threw me and I still can’t figure out why. Best of all is the romance budding between the two main characters and how Rydell proposes. By the way, WHAT is pavé?

And for the record, I really wish somehow, someway, Tara would or could surprise the tar out of us readers by somehow logically or illogically resurrecting J. T. Chronopolous because from all that has been written about him, I want and crave an HEA for a dead guy. How weird is that?

Take it from me, if you are considering any book this month, pick On the Loose. I guarantee a wild ride.

Review by Xeranthemum

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Review: Ten Things I'd Do For A Cowboy

Ten Things I'd Do for a Cowboy
by Donna Michaels

Journalist, Amanda Lang, wishes she’d never written the article, “Ten Things I’d Do for a Cowboy”. Thanks to her, cowboy Rafe Buchanan lost his marriage, his bank account and nearly his ranch because it had been her husband his wife ran away with. Now, two years and a divorce later, Amanda is back on Buchanan soil to write another article, film a documentary and deliver a face-to-face apology.

Rafe Buchanan wants the woman gone. The Buchanan Wild Mustang and Burro Transition Ranch is his life and, after almost losing it once, he isn’t about to allow another disaster. But when he sets out to make the beauty voluntarily leave, his tactics take an unexpected turn. Could there be more than wild horses in transition on his ranch?

This western-set romance with snappy dialogue features an intriguing opening and carries on with an inventive storyline. The two main characters are strong and believable. The secondary characters are well-developed, especially for the space of this tale- but every word counts. The ranch, the round-up, the details of the documentary all have a true ring to them, and add to the tale.

The tangle the main characters, Rafe and Amanda, find themselves in starts with a clash back in the past. Although both are genuine, neither is especially trusting, especially of one another. Their obvious chemistry (even to themselves!) only makes the trust issue ever more important.

Personally, I love how the work was built around the transitioning of the American Mustangs and burros - a very contemporary and plainly heartfelt topic that adds a wonderful touch to this work. Michaels depicts the animals with great accuracy, but also great empathy; she brings them to life in this work.

" A trotting colt in the nearby corral, caught her attention.Held back from the last batch, he stood his ground with the remaining stragglers, but his soulful eyes appeared unsure..."

This is a fun, speedy read; a contemporary western-based romance that is believable and moving.

Review by Snapdragon

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Review: Inseparable

by Jan McDaniel

Devin has protected Zoe Broderick ever since she was orphaned as a toddler. Grown-up now, Zoe knows her imaginary friend should have disappeared long ago. Saddled with psychic powers, the dance hall owner wants a normal life free of premonitions and of her pretend pal.

When newspaper editor Max Wilder exiles himself to Zoe's small Texas hometown to overcome grief over his wife's death, fireworks ignite between him and Zoe on the Fourth of July. Zoe's attraction to Max throws Devin into a jealous fury.

Threatened by his sudden malice, she wonders what is Devin really? Were the tragedies that befell her past lovers sheer bad luck? Can she find a way to banish Devin, or has her interest in Max placed him in danger?

The characters in Inseparable are experts in tragedy. Zoe lost both parents to an accident, every man she ever loved has died, and her cousin Emery delights in making her life difficult. The hero of the piece, Max, is dealing with the death of his wife and some inappropriate feelings for her sister. Yet both of them find the courage to try for a relationship with each other.

Characterization is one of this book’s strengths, but the plot isn’t too shabby either. We don’t really find out who and what Devin is and what he’s up to until the very end. There were a few things that didn’t work for me, though. Zoe’s psychic powers were a little bit vague. Sometimes things she dreams come true, but there’s no way for her to know for sure that she dreamed the event until afterward. It frustrates her, because there’s nothing she can do about it. It would have been interesting had her powers been a little bit more defined and if there had been something about them that was different from every other lightly psychic heroine out there.

There was a point about twenty pages from the end where it felt like the story should have ended. There was more, but the attempt at a twist seemed a bit unnecessary and I wondered if the original draft fell short and needed extra words. The twist would have been better served had some subtle detail been worked in throughout the novel to make it logical as well as surprising. But, other than that, the ending was pretty satisfying.

Ms. McDaniel has a real gift for writing mutual attraction and sexual tension between her hero and heroine, and that was the element that kept the pages turning for me. She writes her love scenes without those awkward euphemisms, yet she refrained from the vulgarity that can yank a reader right out of the story.

Inseparable will appeal to readers who enjoy contemporary romances with paranormal elements like Nora Roberts’ Key trilogy and Kay Hooper’s paranormals.

Review by Daisy

Friday, November 23, 2007

Review: Scent of Darkness

Scent of Darkness
By Christina Dodd

Ann Smith loves her handsome, dynamic boss, Jasha Wilder, but her daring plan to seduce him goes awry when she encounters a powerful wolf who-before her horrified eyes-changes into the man she adores. She soon discovers she can't escape her destiny, for she is the woman fated to break the curse that binds his soul.

A delicious bit of world building can be found in Christina’s new book, Scent of Darkness. I was a bit hesitant to read about another cursed family but I’m glad I sat down and took a chance, because I would have missed a gripping tale. Already, I’m eager to read about another piece of the puzzle getting solved by a different, yet very hot, alpha brother. World building is tough and challenging for any author, but Christina pulled it off better than most.

In this book, I met Jasha Wilder (not sure how to pronounce that, do you?) a very alpha male. A bit more than a successful businessman, he’s also a man cursed. I found it interesting that Christina chose not to call him a ‘werewolf’ and didn’t use any of the trappings you’d expect in most stories about humans turning into animals. Very refreshing. I enjoyed the family element Christina sought to give Jasha, the love and closeness he has with his brothers and sister, and the respect he has for his mother and father. Reading about the affection and caring he gives and receives in turn, provided an excellent background to establish why the horror they fight is so important, why the odds are seemingly against them and why they must persevere.

On the other hand, some things gratefully remain the same. Like the use of the canine nose and how it can smell arousal and desire. That gets put to wonderful use when we meet Ann Smith.

Ann starts off sounding a bit like how a lot of single women feel; lonely, alone, on the outside looking in and yearning for that emotional connection called love. She compensates by being the best she can be in her job, hoping Jasha will once day notice her. Oh, yeah, he notices her all right--and things won’t ever be the same again.

I accepted and found it believable that Ann considers herself a coward. It was good to read about a vulnerable and realistic person who didn’t know ninja moves, didn’t own the biggest, baddest gun in the county and didn’t wear black like armor. She didn’t freeze in panic, she used her head but the one tactic that backfired was her choice to run. She ran from Jasha. Anyone who has read werewolf romances knows you don’t run. You can imagine the passion and hotness that is coming next, can’t you? It’s wild, it’s fast paced and it is surprisingly controversial. I didn’t expect the extreme dominance enacted when he caught her. It was a forceful claiming and quite rough, to a point. Jasha exerted his dominance over Ann and even though she ended up enjoying it, it might raise some eyebrows as to how accepting she eventually became of her treatment.

That being said, I will defend Jasha’s actions and Christina’s decision to write it thus because this story is a paranormal. Jasha is being ridden by the very forces he and his family are fighting against. Yet nothing brings out the animal in any man like lust, the chase and the conquering. Paranormal stories allow me, the reader, to explore this titillating and perhaps secretly enjoyed aspect of our feminineness. And before someone gets hot under the collar with that sentence, Ann gets her own back. She fights when things get bad and I was extremely pleased with her defense of her cat, Kresley. In fact, it was a great touch and unexpected. I had no clue and I love surprises like that. And she certainly doesn’t let Jasha walk all over her. It may seem like it at times, but that's passive/aggressive defiance at it's best. I liked that, too.

This tale embodied elements of emotion that gripped me, teased me, had me laughing and turning the pages as fast as I could to find out what happens next. The dynamics between Jasha and Ann were a joy to watch as their relationship changed from professional to personal. The reason for their struggles gripped me and had me rooting for their success.

More than their future is on the line; so is the fate of someone Jasha loves very much and whom Ann is just beginning to. That touch, that hook, has me antsy with anticipation for the next book. Christina Dodd has created a wonderful and unique paranormal world to visit and for that, I’m grateful. Man, that sounds tame. I'm THRILLED!


Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Review: Canyon Wolf Bride

Canyon Wolf Bride
by Alisha Paige

When Olympic ski champion, Sean Wilson, takes his best friend’s widow, museum curator, Paige Wellington, on a vacation to The Grand Canyon, he’s attracted to more than the beauty of his companion and the magnificent scenery. Sean discovers an entire pack of werewolves thriving in a canyon paradise. The Havasupai, known as the people of the blue-green waters, share his genetic defect, the werewolf gene. Paige learns the secret of the wolf tribe and struggles with her decision to end their relationship, unable to imagine herself married to a half-man, half-wolf creature and bear his fuzzy, carnivorous children. Sean wars against the beast within. Even as the werewolf, he is an intelligent and keen animal, never losing touch with the man lurking beneath the fur and never losing sight of the woman he loves. Will the wolf gene keep them together or tear them apart?
Also available in print!

This exceptional paranormal suspense-thriller features some edge-of-your seat (or perhaps more correctly, 'hair-raising" ) moments. Why is it when someone says, "Don't be afraid," you already know you are going to be terrified?

Paranormal and wolf trappings aside, "Canyon Wolf Bride" by Alisha Paige is an honestly good, intriguing and suspenseful story. The descriptions of wildlife and details of the forest are vividly real, and become a plausible backdrop for unpredictable occurrences.

The heroine, Paige, is a feisty, fun and obviously smart person, with a bit of sadness in her past. Her love interest, Sean, is obviously more than he seems, but he seems so wonderful, you want to love him. Sexual tension and sexual arousal build toward a very celebratory experience, although even while reveling in the moment, we realize that there is something hidden, something yet to come. And though we guess at all that is foreshadowed, the storyline is original and unpredictable. The natural world twines amazingly with the human world, and somehow, the world of the paranormal seems no less natural than an owl flying home by twilight.

This beautifully written book is a sensual delight, from beginning to end. Listen to the haunting background of Celtic song while the fire pops and crackles. Smell the cinnamon... admire that man with the very tight behind, the big, strong arm muscles, and his 'other side' as well. Canyon Wolf Bride is a contemporary paranormal romance, with hints of not just the other world, but of other times.

Review by Snapdragon

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Review: 1080 Kiss

1080 KISS
by Angela Steed

The "God of Snow" has met his match.

He never followed the rules. Vince Evans, professional snowboarder, is a black-haired, green-eyed charmer no woman can tame and no man can match on the slopes. Followed by a flurry of bad publicity and a trail of ex-managers, his Olympic dreams teeter on the brink unless he can orchestrate a career turnaround. And fast.

Her rules were unbendable. After a year-long hiatus, public relations extraordinaire Morgan Price is ready to resume her high-profile job resurrecting musicians fallen from grace. A bad-boy athlete is not the type of client she expects—or wants. But then she sees a side of the “God of Snow” no one has seen before, a side she just might break all the rules of business for.

Angela Steed’s 1080 KISS brings to light a modern business that makes those involved susceptible to emotional upheaval. Morgan and Vince meet and strive to find a way to work together in this business that thrives on hype.

With the need for sponsors, which translates into money, Vince finds himself in a position to lose his chance to achieve his life-long dream. When Morgan, a pro in recruiting sponsors, arrives on the scene, he know he needs her help but hates the constraints he’ll have to accept. More than that, he is attracted to her and thinks he’ll end up getting hurt again.

Morgan, still raw from a bad relationship, is determined to keep their business on a professional level, but soon finds her heart does not seem to understand the ‘Rules of Business’ that she demands of herself.

This romance has both light-hearted and heartbreaking scenes that make the characters seem real. Their dialogue carries much of the story.

1080 KISS is a sensual story that gives the reader a tingly feeling of satisfaction. It is a good book to curl up with and forget the mundane for a little while.

Review by Camellia

Review: Deidre's Dilemma

Deidre's Dilemma
by Susan St. Clair

She traveled deep into the Scottish highlands as snow swirled around her carriage. Deidre understood the implications of her father’s wealth. Like so many others within her social sphere, her upcoming marriage had been arranged. It didn’t mean she would acquiescence to the marriage, especially after the unusual sight in the Duke’s courtyard. There must be an escape.

Diedre's Dilemma is a short historic romance. The characters are likable, but the storyline seems simple.

The exact time frame is not clear. The start is in a carriage and the mention of the trains, as well as the arranged marriage, all suggest nineteenth century, but there are few other clues. The strange husband-to-be, his peculiar home (and visiting animal!) but most especially, his business like manner, create empathy for the main character, Deidre. One expects something of a revolt by this young American girl who is being dragged along, all unwilling. Her decisions are very unexpected, though. She finds herself in a "topsy-turvy" world, but no less do we.

St. Clair did not create a strong sense of conflict, but this short romance does feature intriguing elements.

Review by Snapdragon

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Review: The Luxe

The Luxe
by Anna Godbersen

Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions. White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups. This is Manhattan, 1899.

Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone—from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud—threatens
Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future.

With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear...

In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

Anna Godbersen's debut novel, The Luxe is issued as a YA novel. It's been years since I could be considered a young adult and I have to admit I found this glimpse into the turn of the 19th century teens fascinating. Think Gossip Girl meets the Gilded Age.

The Luxe is excellent. The characters are well-drawn and the problems facing them compelling and believable. The differences between the sisters lead to a climactic moment that, in retrospect, seem inevitable given their natures and outlook on life.

The peripheral characters as well add an element of richness to the story. The reader will want to slap the obligatory b****y friend and cheer for the lover from "the wrong side of the tracks."

I'm looking forward to next spring when the sequel comes out, simply because I was left with a feeling of "what will happen to ____" at the end of this book. I was sorry to reach the end and put it down.

I highly recommend this not only for young adults, but for those of us who are... ahem... young at heart.

Reviewed by Rose


Edited to add: Several of you who have entered have private blogger profiles with no email address included in your entry or on your profile. If I can't find you -- you can't win. I don't announce the winner anywhere -- I EMAIL you to notify you that you've won. So, if you don't have an email address where I can find it, you're not eligible for this prize. Thanks!

Review: Thanks, But No Thanks

Thanks, But No Thanks
by Susan Lyons

When Kari’s friend Nicola offers to fix her up, Kari says, “Thanks, but no thanks.” She’s so shy, she can never think of anything to say on a date. That’s why it’s such a treat when, as a guest at Nicola’s family Thanksgiving, she finds herself chatting so easily with the man she believes to be her friend’s brother. Pity he’s married – it only goes to prove her theory that all the good guys are taken. Or are they?

Kari, a shy accountant, hates being single, but she hates blind dates even more. If only all guys were easy to talk to, like her friend Rhonda’s married brother, whom Kari has just met at Thanksgiving diner. Have all the good ones really been taken already?

Short and sweet, Thanks, but No Thanks was a fun, quick read with a satisfying ending. The characters were fun, easy to like, and captivating even though I was only with them for a short space of time. If you want something short and cute, this is for you. Recommended for women of any age.

Review by Violet

Monday, November 19, 2007

Review: The Jaguar Legacy

The Jaguar Legacy
by Maureen Fisher

Despite baffling panic attacks that devastated her career, journalist
Charley Underhill barges in on a Mexican archaeological dig, bent on
sniffing out a juicy exposé that will restore her reputation and earn enough money for her mother's life-saving treatment. Haunted by past betrayals, Dr. Alistair Kincaid isn't about to let a smart-mouthed reporter leak word of his latest discovery, an ancient Olmec city, to the press. A battle of wills and wits ensues. Strands from a past life intertwine with the present, drawing the couple into a vortex of chilling evil. Torn between redeeming her soul and betraying the man she loves, Charley faces impossible choices.

'The Jaguar Legacy' jumps right into a magic (and powerful) realm, and immediately, we learn of an otherworldly portent. Charley, the beautiful young woman summoned, is revealed; not as a high priestess or some sort of enchantress, as we expect, but as an exceptionally tenacious journalist. The sharp juxtaposition between the start and this main character is a surprise.

Ms. Fisher pulls off the contrasts beautifully. The very believable protagonist teamed with the author's complex, even graphic descriptions, bring us from the otherworldly to common-contemporary with ease and without obvious machinations.

The storyline is mostly unpredictable, and features exotic settings, and well-developed, interesting characters. Dialogue occasionally seems somewhat overly descriptive, and in places, reads slowly. The attitudes and antagonism between the main characters comes across very clearly, though. The author does have a very light touch with humor, and sprinkles in just the right amount throughout. At one point, after the main character's career is maligned, Charley says "I'll keep myself busy, you know, take photographs, snoop, pry and ask inappropriate questions."

This is a fun, lengthy and fantastical romance. The book jacket crafter deserves a gold star here, too, as the cover certainly does the story justice and is very appealing in its own right.

Review by Snapdragon

Review: Thanksgiving

by Janet Evanovich

When Megan Murphy discovers a floppy-eared rabbit gnawing on the hem of her skirt, she means to give its careless owner a piece of her mind, but Dr. Patrick Hunter is too attractive to stay mad at for long.

As for Patrick, he wants nothing more than to play house with Maggie—and make Thanksgiving dinner for their families.

But Megan has wept over one failed love, and she's afraid to risk her heart again. Can the good doctor help heal her heart?

While Thanksgiving has some cute, funny moments, overall it’s a clichéd story that relies too much on coincidence, convenient plot devices, and cookie-cutter characters. The hero and heroine fall for each other immediately, and within twenty-four hours think they’re in love and can’t live without each other. Megan is a fiery redhead (of course) who’s working as a part-time aide in colonial Williamsburg. Dr. Patrick Hunter is a young, hunky doctor who, though new in town, already has half his neighbors swooning over him. The two meet thanks to a runaway rabbit (his) who likes to chew clothing (hers). That’s well and good, but after Meg returns the rabbit to Pat, we never see or hear from it again. Maybe that’s because on the very next page, Tilly Coogan, one of Pat’s young mothers, shows up on his doorstep and hands over her ten-month old baby.

The rest of the story revolves around Pat and Meg taking care of the baby together while making some half-hearted attempts to find the mother. Of course, the baby is adorable and endearing, and independent Meg finds herself craving marriage and motherhood even though she’s already been engaged three times and sworn off men for good. When Tilly comes back to reclaim her son, Megan is so blinded by hormones that she will do anything to force Pat’s hand into a marriage proposal – even though as a first-year doctor, in a brand new town, he isn’t ready for such a commitment.

Okay, there are a few funny moments, such as when Meg’s parents show up unannounced, or when the Thanksgiving turkey ends up on the floor. And the chemistry between Meg and Pat, though rushed at first, ends up being believable enough that you do hope they end up together at the end. The setting of Williamsburg, Virginia, is one of the best parts of this story. It’s a charming, historic town, especially during the holiday season, and thanks to Evanovich’s descriptions, you can really picture the Christmas decorations and the cozy homes and the snow coating it all.

If you’re looking for a fast, entertaining holiday read, Thanksgiving might fill the bill. Just don’t expect to be blown away by the writing or the plot or the conveniently packaged happy ending.

Review by Dandelion


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Review: Baby Proof

Baby Proof
by Emily Giffin

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes…a baby carriage? Isn’t that what all women want?

Not so for Claudia Parr. And just as she gives up on finding a man who feels the same way, she meets warm, wonderful Ben. Things seem too good to be true when they fall in love and agree to buck tradition with a satisfying, child-free marriage. Then the unexpected occurs: one of them has a change of heart. One of them wants children after all.

This is the witty, heartfelt story about what happens to the perfect couple when they suddenly want different things. It’s about feeling that your life is set and then realizing that nothing is as you thought it was – and that there is no possible compromise. It’s about deciding what is most important in life, and taking chances to get it. But most of all, it’s about the things we will do – and won’t do – for love.

I was disappointed in this novel. The back blurb suggests Baby Proof is a story about what brings, and keeps, two people together, and what happens when people change their minds in a relationship. The novel does explore these issues, but in a shallow, superficial way. Claudia and Ben meet, fall in love, marry, and divorce by the end of the first chapter. At first happy to discover a soul mate who feels the same way about not having children, these characters quickly find that, when Ben changes his mind, all bets are off, and they are not compatible after all.

The rest of the novel falls into typical chick lit fare: Claudia works in a New York publishing house (of course) and, post-divorce, dips her toes into the dating pool with the help of her best friend Jess (a brainy blonde bombshell) and co-worker Michael (the requisite good-looking best friend; at least he isn’t gay). What follows are Claudia’s discoveries that yes, it’s rough to start over with someone new, and no, it’s not easy to replace the person you promised to cherish forever. She drinks too much, pines for Ben too much, and feels sorry for herself too much.

By the end of the book, Claudia has done some major self-reflection and decided she needs to compromise in ways she never thought she would, all for the love of a man. While her personal growth does have a few touching and redeeming moments, overall I think readers will either find her character too self-centered to really like, or too superficial to really identify with.

Giffin does an admirable job in trying to explore what parenthood means to different people, and the life-changing impact that becoming parents has on a couple. But ultimately, I think she falls short in really delving into the tough decision of whether or not to have a child.

The subplots of Baby Proof involve Claudia’s sisters and her close friends and focus on the issues of infertility, infidelity, and the meaning of motherhood. I did like many of the minor characters that brought these subplots to life. And certainly, the novel is well written: humorous and touching and even painfully acute in its discussion of heartbreak. The ending, however, provides no closure to the book’s central issue; perhaps Giffin deliberately chooses to leave Ben and Claudia in limbo to emphasize the enormity of the baby decision. To me, though, it just felt like a letdown after 300 pages of reading about their seesawing relationship.

I won’t write Giffin off completely; I’d like to read her novels Something Borrowed and Something Blue, both of which have gotten rave reviews. I just wish that Baby Proof had more substance and faced the “child vs. childfree” life decision with more teeth.

Review by Dandelion

Review: Locking Horns

Locking Horns
by M. K. Trent

High school comes back to haunt Lexi Cunningham when she finds herself doing community service in Charles Town, West Virginia at Buddy Beckett’s cattle ranch. Buddy was the school trouble-maker she had no time for. Now she has to make time for him – 100 hours of time to be exact.

Buddy Beckett’s favorite fantasy thirteen years ago was arrogant, unapproachable Alexis Cunningham. Much to his delight, she’s gotten herself into dutch with the law and her retribution includes cleaning stalls in his barn. Quite a come-down for the girl who considered herself better than everyone else in high school.

Thrown together in one crazy situation after another, Buddy and Lexi discover that life can toss some pretty big cow pies into the ring – including the big “L” word, Love.

M.K. Trent's "Locking Horns" jumps right into the heart of cowboy-action and maintains a breakneck pace throughout this full-length, contemporary romance. Powerful, strongminded (if not downright stubborn!) characters meet head to head, and the battle of the wills makes it a cannot-be-put-aside read.

Lexi is unquestionably a babe, from her fancy peep-toed shoes to fine city-slicker outfits. We meet Buddy as he pries his thoroughly bruised self up off the dirt in the calf-wrangling pen. While Buddy is one tough cowboy, we suspect straight away that he has more than met his match in Lexi. We discover - as they discover - in their first chance meeting, that they in fact know one another from high school, and neither one has a good memory of the other.

Tough attitudes and some strong language to accompany it are sprinkled throughout this story. So is humor; you have to appreciate some wonderful moments, like when Bess, the loveliest of the Longhorn Ladies impersonates a bull to become a real ranch terror. Or when Randy, the calf, seems to be developing a unique (and Houdini-like) personality. This is real farm-life, from running the manure-spreader to rounding up the herd.

The antagonism between the main characters is central to this story. It is perhaps a little alarming that, at the start, the man doesn't so much want to charm, or seduce the girl, but more like, break her. Course' now, his memory of Lexi brings him the girl that was so unkind... while Lexi says Buddy has a "Disposition like a mule with a corncob up his butt." Their feelings about one another are plainly mutual.

And, just when you think you can tell where this story is going, the unexpected pops up! In addition to a heartfelt, realistic romance, there are wonderful and gentle moments of compassion. Each main character's life is beautifully portrayed, so that parents, siblings, and friends are all important elements in this story. The characters, and their situations are complex and intriguing.

"Locking Horns" is a fun, fast read. My one regret is that Trent didn't include a recipe from that "Grange Cookbook" she mentioned... of course, it would have had to be a spicy one to fit in with this sizzling read.

Review by Snapdragon

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Review: Regency Society Revisited

Regency Society Revisited
by Susanne Marie Knight

A professional woman journeys back in time and finds herself torn between duty and love.

A toplofty lord encounters a mysterious “widow” who doesn’t live by Society’s rules.

The future and the past collide! How could anthropologist Serenity Steele have foreseen she’d meet her heart’s desire back in Regency England in the form of one short-tempered aristocrat, Nicholas Wycliffee, Lord Brockton? In 2020, Serenity’s research assignment is back in the year 1812. Her duty is to collect data and return to the future. However, the call of love is far stronger than she ever imagined. Should she ignore her obligations... or should she leave behind the man she loves?

Resentful at having had to cash out of the Navy at his father’s request, Nicholas Wycliffe certainly does not intend to further please his father by taking a bride. But that is before he meets the enigmatic “Mrs.” Steele. The devil of it is, she refuses to discuss her dead husband, and when Nicholas proposes, she turns him down!

Dr. Serenity Steele, an anthropologist from 2020, is thrilled when her boss offers her a time travel assignment. That is, until she discovers it's to Regency England, a time period filled with chauvinistic rakes, melodramatic females, and class distinctions abhorrent to her twenty-first century sensibilities. To say she is not very happy is an understatement, but being the professional she is, she agrees to go. But what–or who–awaits her there in 1812 comes as a complete surprise. Maybe the good doctor isn’t as “steely” as she thinks she is.

When I saw this story up for review, I pounced on it. I recently read another Regency romance by this author, and I enjoyed it so much I was eager to read another. I like time travel, too, so this was doubly interesting to me. The story opened in Serenity's own time period, and I admit, moved rather slowly for about the first three chapters. But as soon as Serenity finally went back in time, it picked up and kept me up at night reading far longer than I should have been. Although there was one sex scene, which might, for this review site, have labeled the story as "hot," it was not overly graphic, and not the focus of the story. This was definitely an enjoyable read, and I look forward to more from Susanne Marie Knight.

Review by Violet

Review: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is a story of love and life among English gentility during the Georgian era. Mr Bennet is an English gentleman living in Hartfordshire with his overbearing wife. The Bennets’ 5 daughters include the beautiful Jane, the clever Elizabeth, the bookish Mary, the immature Kitty and the wild Lydia. Unfortunately for the Bennets, if Mr. Bennet dies, their house will be inherited by a distant cousin whom they have never met, so the family's future happiness and security is dependant on the daughters making good marriages.

Life is uneventful until the arrival in the neighborhood of the rich gentleman Mr. Bingley, who rents a large house so he can spend the summer in the country. Mr. Bingley brings with him his sister and the dashing (and richer) but proud Mr. Darcy. Love is soon in the air for one of the Bennet sisters, while another may have jumped to a hasty prejudgment. For the Bennet sisters many trials and tribulations stand between them and their happiness, including class, gossip and scandal.

Here it is, folks: the grand-dame of all romance novels. If you haven’t read Jane Austen’s funny, charming story of the five Bennet daughters and how they find love, you need to pick it up, pronto. Yes, the language is Victorian and takes a little getting used to, but by the end of chapter one, you’ll find yourself engrossed in the story of beautiful Jane, strong-willed Elizabeth, and their three gossipy little sisters.

Mrs. Bennet is a silly, air-headed woman who is desperate to marry off her daughters, and the way in which poor, hen-pecked Mr. Bennet stands up to her is quite comedic. In fact, this novel is full of funny characters and moments. It’s also a great picture of 19th-century England, of the ways in which upper and lower class interacted (or didn’t) and the ways in which men and women were supposed to act during courtship. The slower romantic pace of this story is almost foreign to today’s reader, but there’s enough temptation and flirtation to make you keep turning the pages.

Pride and Prejudice is a beautiful story about the way in which two stubborn, independent people find love. Elizabeth cannot stand Darcy, early on: she finds him proud and obnoxious. But while Darcy finds Elizabeth both unpolished and “plain,” he is also stunned to find himself attracted to her quirky, honest, independent nature.

Class differences and family conflicts keep the two apart for most of the story, and you’ll find yourself anguished as rumor, jealousy, tall tales, and other love interests come between them. Only at the end of the novel, when Darcy selflessly and nobly saves the Bennet family name, does Elizabeth finally discover the truth about him. The novel’s ending is supremely satisfying, the classic happy ever after.

If you’ve seen any of the movie variations of this novel, you know it’s a powerful romance. Now give the book a chance – you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. I rarely hand out Best Book recommendations; in fact, this is my first. But Pride and Prejudice is worth it – every other romance novelist owes the popularity of the genre to Jane Austen, who started it all.

Review by Dandelion

Friday, November 16, 2007

Review: Heart's Desire

Hearts Desire
by Leanne Karella

Carson Kinsey saved Ella from working in a saloon, selling her body to whomever Madame Chloe demanded. Now, four years later, she loves the man who took her away from the life of drunken men and adores the little girl she has been hired to tend. Standing between the love they both secretly feel for the other is Carson’s dark memories of the wife he lost, and Ella’s knowledge that she’s a soiled woman who has nothing to give him but herself.

Hearts Desire by Leanne Karella is so very, unexpectedly delightful. It is not the setting that makes it unique: Colorado in the late nineteenth century. Nor is it the superficial identity of the characters: a typical cowboy and a fallen woman. What makes this work shine is the unexpected depth of those characters. Ella, and her efforts to mother the little girl Hattie. Carson, his heartbreak, and his longings.

This is a short tale, yet reveals a great deal about their personalities and growth as individuals. Karella's attention to the daily chores that made up life in 1865 adds a believable level of detail. This is moving and heartwarming in the best and most classic sense.

Review by Snapdragon

Review: Blue Smoke

Blue Smoke
by Nora Roberts

Eleven-year-old Reena Hale, watching her family's restaurant go up in flames, decides to become an arson investigator. The fire shapes another child's destiny, too, as Joey Pastorelli sees his father go to prison for setting the blaze. Reena's close-knit Italian family rebuilds; Reena grows up and completes police and firefighter training.

Despite inheriting her mother's good looks, Reena proves unlucky in love, mainly because her beaux tend to die in fires, but her fortunes look up after she meets hunky carpenter Bo Goodnight. Bo gets along with Reena's family, friends and co-workers, and handles the demands of her career with patient humor, so nothing stands in their way—except an obsessed, pyromaniac stalker determined to kill any man Reena loves.

Reena is a most unconventional heroine: a fire investigator who proves her mettle by fighting her way out of burning buildings and hanging with “the boys” most of the time. Plus she has bad luck when it comes to men: all the ones she likes end up dead. She’s tough, which I liked, but she still needs loving. She doesn’t always make the best decisions, and is impulsive, but this of course is why she needs to be saved by the sexy, grounded hero, Bo Goodnight.

This guy is super-hot, and from the moment he and Reena meet, it’s evident they’re meant to be together. The one complaint I had, though, was the heavy hand that “destiny” (or fate or coincidence) played in their getting together. Bo sees Reena at a college party, when they are both quite young, and he’s completely love struck. He sees her a few times over the next few years, and each time, the world stops spinning. So imagine the wonderful coincidence (and yes, it is) that she ends up buying the house right next door to him! I couldn’t quite buy it.

The rest of the novel, though, is fast-paced and intriguing. You really won’t know who’s stalking Reena and the men in her life, until the very end of the story. You’ll enjoy the vivid, mesmerizing fire descriptions as well as the tight-knit Hale family and the Italian neighborhood in which they live. While not one of her Roberts’ best works, Blue Smoke is still an entertaining read that’s hard to put down.

Review by Dandelion

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Review: Wraith

by Phaedra Weldon

Zöe Martinique was just your average, single female, past 25, looking for love and/or exciting job opportunities. Until life handed her the dubious ability to travel outside of her body at will—which she turned into a career, hiring herself out as a literal spook. Industrial espionage, domestic surveillance, you name it—when she’s traveling she can see but can’t be seen…

Then one night things get out of hand while she is out-of-body: Zöe witnesses a murder. What’s worse, the killer is also a Traveler—and he most definitely not only sees her, but tries to pursue her.

To save herself, Zöe must somehow guide the very handsome detective assigned to the case to the truth without revealing herself. And with the help of her semi-psychic mom, a pair of gay ghosts, and her best friend (a Goth techno witch), she also has to figure out exactly who—and what—the murderer is, before he finds her and puts an end to her traveling—permanently.

Phaedra Weldon is an exciting, emerging talent on the Urban Fantasy scene. Her first novel, Wraith, is tightly plotted and fast paced with plenty of twists and turns. But her talent really shines through her main character, Zöe Martinique.

Zöe is the best kind of modern heroine: kick butt and strong with a soft underbelly. Zöe tends to act before she thinks and her impulsiveness may annoy some readers as well as her propensity for interjecting comments throughout the first-person narrative. I thought the latter was charming. Zöe is funny, sarcastic, outspoken, and her insights had me giggling more than once. She’s a breath of fresh air in a crowd of tortured, scowling paranormal characters.

That isn’t to say that life is easy for Zöe. A painful event in her past still affects her daily life. She almost dies more than once, and a change in her power makes her doubt herself and who she is. But she gets through things with the support of her family and friends, and her own aplomb. All of that makes Zöe seem like an everyday woman. It’s easy for the reader to connect to her.

The romance in Wraith is a little light, but I suspect that will be remedied in future installments as Zöe’s dry spell is quenched with her detective, while a mysterious savior and the man of her nightmares wait in the wings, effectively making a potential love quadrangle. Ms. Weldon can’t write the sequel fast enough for me.

Wraith will appeal to Laura Anne Gilman fans as well as Urban Fantasy readers who also like Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

Review by Daisy

Review: The Bachelor's Bargain

The Bachelor's Bargain
by Catherine Palmer

Housemaid Anne Webster will stop at nothing to save her family from their dire circumstances. Even if it means accepting the proposal of the roguish Ruel Chouteau, Marquess of Blackthorne, who has just returned to England from the Americas under a veil of mystery. Both have their own agendas: she to use his riches, and he to use her lace-making skills but neither could have dreamed what they would discover on the other side of their scheming.

As always, society tattler Miss Pickworth has a thing or two to say about this scandalous union. Unless they want their plans aired in her column, Anne and Ruel must keep their banter to a minimum and play the role of a happy couple.

Hes handsome and arrogant; shes smart and obstinate. But can Anne and Ruel put their differences aside to fend off an unexpected foe?

Desperate to help her family, and believing she’s about to die, Anne Webster agrees to marry the rich but roguish son of the lord who is her employer. Anne recovers from her illness, to everyone’s surprise, but now she’s bound to a man who is basically a stranger. A man she believes she can trust with her life, but what about her heart?

Anne Webster was first introduced in The Affectionate Adversary, as Lady Delacroix’s personal maid. I liked her right away in book one, and she didn’t disappoint in her own story. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that I enjoyed this book even more than the first one. The Bachelor’s Bargain takes the reader back, once again, to the charming but pampered society of Regency England. Catherine Palmer’s grasp of the time period is, as with her other Regencies, right on the mark. I felt like I was actually there, living out for myself Anne’s adventure...and her romance.

Though there were no sex scenes in the book–it is a Christian book after all–the sexual tension between Ruel and Anne was kept high throughout. And I think the author handled this well. It didn’t feel convoluted to me. The reasons that kept these two people apart were reasonable, and that kept me rooting for them all the way through. The heat level of this book, according to secular standards, would be sweet, for there were no graphic sex scenes. There were some very passionate kisses portrayed, but you knew it was okay because they were, after all, married. I did hesitate to let my fourteen-year-old daughter read it, just because the level of sensuality was a little higher than you’d usually expect for a Christian book. But I can say it is a good clean read, with no cursing, and enjoyable for women of most ages.

Review by Violet

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Daddy Spell by Patti Ann Colt

The Daddy Spell (Echo Falls Book 1) by Patti Ann Colt
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full
Heat level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Poppy

Five-year-old sisters Boo and Lindy want a daddy – and anything goes in their quest, including a secret spell known only to the twins. On a lonely country road, Chad Applegate appears out of nowhere to help the girls and their mother rescue an injured dog. Robin Harmon's stubborn independence and breathtaking curves mesmerize the handsome pumpkin farmer, and her daughters charm him. They, in turn, are fascinated by his tales of pumpkin magic.

Despite Chad's captivating blue eyes and tender kisses, Robin cannot believe his happily-ever-after promises. Experience has proven those kinds of dreams never come true. Will Robin deny the possibility of forever or will her daughters' daddy spell work its magic?

The Daddy Spell introduces the reader to the quaint, tightly-knit town of Echo Falls. Chad, our hero, is part of a large family with strong ties to the community: the mayor, police, etc.

The heroine, Robin, is the single mother of preschool-aged twins and has no ties at all. She was abandoned by both parents, raised in foster homes, left by the father of her girls and, at the time we meet her, without employment.

When Robin hits a pregnant dog on a rain-soaked country road, Chad comes to her aid. He takes the dog back to his farm and agrees to house her in his barn. The only problem? The dog snaps and growls whenever he comes near, so he tells Robin she has to stay while the dog has her puppies.

When one of the twins breaks a valuable item in Chad's house, and it comes to light that Robin has neither the money to pay for it, nor the job to earn the money, Chad offers her a job: The man who owned the farm before him had died, so when Chad bought the farm, he ended up with a house full of stuff. He asks Robin to sort and catalog it for him and to sell the valuables and get rid of the rest.

She reluctantly agrees, but her past has taught her that people are seldom kind without strings attached and she waits for Chad to show her he's the same as everyone else she's known.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The twins, Lindy and Boo, are sweet, funny and just precocious enough to be believable. Robin's wary view on life is directly attributable to the fact that everyone has used and abandoned her. She doesn't believe in happy-ever-after.

Chad is such a solid, good man with deep family ties and quirky, but fun relatives. He is attracted to Robin, but falls in love with her girls first, and knows he has to prove to Robin that he isn't going to leave her. He is the stuff of "happy-ever-after" and I wanted to tell Robin to believe.

And, I have to admit: I got the sniffles, just a bit, at the end. If you're looking for a good autumn romance, I highly recommend giving The Daddy Spell a try.