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Friday, February 29, 2008

Review: Table For One

Table For One
by Georgiana Daniels

Successful stockbroker Lucy Brocklehurst hasn’t had a date in four years. In a town where the ratio of single women to men is 7:1, she’s determined to wait on God for the perfect mate—as long as it’s the hot new youth pastor at her church.

Lucy will do anything to get his attention, including volunteering for the youth group. Through a series of misadventures on the teen outings, Lucy finds herself falling in love with a kindhearted chaperone named Edgar Flowers. But when their relationship grows serious, Lucy discovers the lengths his recently-widowed mother will go to in order to keep them apart. What starts out as harmless interference turns into an all out tug of war, with Edgar as the prize!

Will Lucy crumble under the scrutiny of her would-be mother-in-law? Or can Lucy and Edgar’s budding romance survive the schemes of his meddling mom?

This story was hilarious, moving, engaging. I found myself utterly captivated by the quirky Lacy and her quest for love. I laughed myself silly over the situations she found herself in and her wild sense of humor. The supporting cast of characters included a straight shooting best friend, an extreme match-making mother, a grumpy cantankerous old biddy, a too-cool hunky youth pastor, and a mix of crazy work associates. Add in a geek-turned-gorgeous sensitive guy and you have a story unlike any other.

I found myself pulled into this story from the first chapter until the last. Lucy was a quirky, some-what paranoid character who struggled with the need for acceptance. Her fears and insecurities made it easy to relate to her and sympathize as she battled to find her inner strength and ended up finding the value of true love.

Edgar was the quintessential geek from his out of date glasses and clothes, to his shy, unassuming demeanor. But as the story progresses, Edgar’s quiet strength and hidden depths emerge even as his outward appearance changes. You can’t help falling in love with this guy.

This review has been my most challenging to date. While I absolutely loved Ms. Daniels writing and her way of vividly crafting each scene, I struggled with parts of the story. The writing itself was wonderful, but I found there were times I wanted to shake Edgar and give him a stern talking to. Perhaps this story struck a little closer to home and stirred my righteous anger.

However, despite the times where I stomped around my living room in indignation, the truth is Ms. Daniels drew me into her story and made me feel with the characters. I shared the joy, laughter, frustration, tears and love. That is the mark of a truly gifted author – the ability to bring a story and its characters to life, making the reader care deeply about each new friend they find within the book. Ms. Daniels does all this with a skill that is unrivaled. A fabulous story from a very gifted storyteller!

Review by Lily

Review: The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever
by Julia Quinn

2 March 1810 . . .
Today, I fell in love.

At the age of ten, Miranda Cheever showed no signs of Great Beauty. And even at ten, Miranda learned to accept the expectations society held for her—until the afternoon when Nigel Bevelstoke, the handsome and dashing Viscount Turner, solemnly kissed her hand and promised her that one day she would grow into herself, that one day she would be as beautiful as she already was smart. And even at ten, Miranda knew she would love him forever.

But the years that followed were as cruel to Turner as they were kind to Miranda. She is as intriguing as the viscount boldly predicted on that memorable day—while he is a lonely, bitter man, crushed by a devastating loss. But Miranda has never forgotten the truth she set down on paper all those years earlier—and she will not allow the love that is her destiny to slip lightly through her fingers . . .

The wind is blowing and I’m sick of snow! So I curled up with The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever and was instantly transported back in time. The plot is that of the traditional historical romance - which I really enjoy. And in my opinion, Ms. Quinn does historical romance wonderfully.

Nigel "Turner" Bevelstoke is a deep, dark FUNNY hero. It isn’t often an author can write that combination and have it work but Ms. Quinn does an outstanding job. His a wry wit accompanied by the darkness that haunts his soul will engage the reader. Nigel is a wonderful break in the hero mold. It took two pages for me to fall in love with him myself.

Miranda is a warm and insightful heroine, the complete opposite of Nigel. Miranda has a spine and a lot of spirit despite her quietness. She is witty, a bit feisty and :) punchy!

The chemistry between Turner and Miranda is entertaining and very passionate. There is a lot of classic Quinn chatter and barbs. Turner and Miranda are intellectual equals and I found myself giggling at a lot of their conversations. Their closeness is so real, we just want Miranda to win over her man--and for him to believe in love once again!

The character development is very satisfying. Turner is not the one dimensional dark character--we feel his pain. Turner's inability to trust again is understandable and then we, as readers feel Miranda's pure love and her pain when her love is not given back in return.

If you are looking for a winter escape, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, is sure to deliver.

Reviewer: Magnolia

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Review: Ravenwood: Night's Salvation

by Laurie Sorenson

Duty, love and passion take flight on the wings of destiny. Compelled by honor and duty, Night Ravenwood leaves the life on the sea he loves to return home after the death of his brother. As heir to Ravenwood Manor, he finds himself in an arranged marriage and living a life he did not want. When tragedy strikes the newlywed couple, Night finds himself in love with the beautiful and serene Satine, they are tested in every way. Satine vows to make Night understand his destiny is with her while someone is willing to commit murder to keep them apart. Will love or murder shape the diestiny of this union?

RAVENWOOD: NIGHT’S SALVATION begins with all the elements I love about English historical romance. I recognized so many of the trappings; it seemed as if I were going home for a visit.

Feeling smug, I settled in for a comfortable read thinking I could guess the way events would unfold. Was I in for some emotionally fraught surprises!

A subtle hint of mystery about family lineage slips into the story. A ‘white witch’ who steals my heart arrives on the scene. While Mrs. Sorensen moves gently along, she creates a cast of characters whom are many faceted. They show strengths and weaknesses that make them come alive, as each seems to be tested at some point in the story.

The unenviable position of a second son of nobility in eighteenth century England society plays a major role in the unfolding of Night’s story. His salvation as well as salvation for the whole family arises from a tragedy.

Murder, attempted murder, tragic death, and madness propel the story along as heartbreaking, heartwarming, and breathtaking events take place. Amid all the chaos, love blooms. Some spicy, hot, sensual love scenes, that more than jumpstart the reader’s imagination, create a world apart from all the mundane happenings at Ravenwood Manor.

Ms. Sorensen tells a tale that takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride at times but there is a safe landing with a happy-ever-after. This is one to enjoy!

Review by Camellia

Review: Tatmagouche Inheritance

Tatamagouche Inheritance
by D.C. Clark

Erin Forbes has come to Tatamagouche intending to spend a quiet week at the rural ancestral property she is about to inherit. On vacation, Michael Cameron has also come to the village, searching for his family roots and a grandfather he has never known. Sparks fly when Michael confronts Erin with the revelation that they may be related. Erin knows this handsome stranger can only be an impostor, showing up to lay a claim to the family property. Attraction and trust retreat and rebound with each new development until the two are able to discover the truth about dark secrets in each family’s background. Understanding and commitment grow as the two conclude they do not want a repeat of the unhappy decisions made two generations ago. The future holds promise of happy ever afters being the true Tatamagouche inheritance.

Quietly sensual. Erin Forbes is a nurse who inherits the family property in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, after her grandfather passes away. Michael Cameron is tracing his family genealogy when their paths intersect due to a hidden scandal decades earlier. Could the two of them be related? Fighting a mutual attraction to each other, they team up to find the answer. Erin must cope with her grief and learn to trust again. Michael has his own life priorities and commitment issues to work through. Only by learning from the mistakes made in the past can they inherit the greatest gift of all.

I loved the Canadian history, culture and geographic descriptions in this book. I truly felt as if I were transported to the Maritimes on a summer day. Mr. Clark’s vivid imagery does a bang-up job of recreating Tatamagouche in the reader’s mind. The family scandal was a bit uncanny as my own family had a similar scandal decades ago that was kept hush-hush, but I enjoyed reading about the records searches by Erin and Michael. Initially, I had my doubts about a male romance writer being convincing, but the author proved me wrong by making me care about and empathize with both the hero and heroine. This book is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The only thing missing was the recipe for Nanaimo squares.

Review by Daffodil

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Review: An Offer From A Gentleman

An Offer From A Gentleman
by Julia Quinn

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball-or that ‘Prince Charming’ would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other - except, perhaps this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers her his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?

I loved this book. Yes, it is like the fairytale Cinderella but is far more detailed and has a great plot. The characters are also so real. I loved the way Benedict would chase after and tease Sophie. It reminded me of the typical flirtations that go on in the beginning of every real life relationship. Benedict and Sophie are such dynamic characters, that the reader knows it will only be a matter of time before the sparks fly.

Sophie is a wonderful heroine. The reader will enjoy her true Cinderella spirit and sense of humor. Yet, Ms. Quinn does a wonderful job side stepping the ‘normal’ Cinderella pitfalls. Sophie will quickly warm the readers heart.

Who doesn’t want a Prince Charming? Make mine Benedict Bridgerton. He’s charming, witty, and handsome. So many historical hero’s are cardboard figures, not so with Benedict. He’s multi-dimensional and readers should truly enjoy him.

The scenes involving Sophie and Benedict were steamy yet sweet and heartwarming. Ms. Quinn’s development of both characters felt "real" and made me believe they were in love with one another deeply.

The secondary characters are also multi-dimensional and so enjoyable, I'm going to try out some more of The Bridgerton series books. I love it when an author develops re-occurring characters.

If you long to be swept into the lives of two enchanting people, I highly recommend this one this book. It has everything you need to create a good romance: a dashing hero, a beautiful heroine, a person who always seems to interfere with the hero and heroine, and most of all...PASSION!

Reviewer: Magnolia

Review: The SS Grace

The SS Grace
by Betsy Ann St. Amant

Savannah Dodson thinks this cruise will be the honeymoon she never had. But once onboard, her husband delivers a blow that threatens to drown her heart forever. Can Savannah and Austin find the grace they need to save their marriage? Or will it sink to its death beneath tumultuous waves?

After three years of marriage, Savannah and Austin finally get to go on their honeymoon. A lovely, tropical cruise, no less! But there’s no smooth sailing for this tormented couple. Will old hurts and past mistakes make this a good-bye cruise rather than the hoped for honeymoon they never had?

Not your typical little romance, this short story packs a lot into a small space. It deals with some issues that are close to my heart, about some of the reasons why so many marriages fail today. There is a much needed message in here that even couples who are not struggling in their marriage as the couple in SS Grace are, can learn from. Sometimes we need to stop and take a look at ourselves rather than pointing the finger at the other guy. And just when we think we’ve hit bottom, God sends help.

Once again, Betsy St. Amant draws in the reader with a character who portrays vivid, well developed emotions. And so realistic. At one point I felt my eyes well up with tears as I felt what Savannah felt.

I liked the way the heroine was quick to recognize her mistakes. It was a refreshing change from many of the attitudes of female main characters in stories today. Even so, like a true human being, she held on to her own self-righteousness, at least for awhile. Made it realistic. The setting of the cruise ship and vistas of the ocean and sky were described well, just enough to put the reader there, without being too much.

A short, clean read, but definitely not light hearted or shallow. There was nothing indecent in it, but because of the marital conflicts, a more mature reader might enjoy it, or at least sympathize with it more than would young girls. Recommended for women of most ages.

Review by Violet

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Review: Sundial

by Carrie Lofty

Amber Schulman stepped into a lush English garden in 2007, only to arrive in breath-taking Sorrento, Italy – in 1958. The only person who understands her confusion is fellow time traveler Mark Lacey, a New Yorker who comes from the land of cassette tapes and Reaganomics. His dark, world-weary eyes beckon her with secrets and sensuality. But why does he seem so familiar?

Trapped in the past since he was a teen, Mark wants nothing to do with another whining newcomer. But the blue-eyed Aussie might be able to answer the one question that haunts him: Do I ever get back to 1987?

From soccer to samba to sex, Amber tempts him with a zeal for life and love, pulling him free of his lonely isolation. But getting home could prove easier than they imagined. How will their love endure if Amber returns to her time – and Mark to his?

I thoroughly enjoyed this touching, passionate time-travel story that blends mystery with genuine longing and love in a wonderfully original tale.

When Sundial opens, Mark Lacey and Amber Schulman both find themselves mysteriously transported back through time, to Italy, 1958, where they meet in the city of Sorrento. Mark has already been there for 4 years, and though barely 20 years-old, he’s become jaded and indifferent toward life. When the 30-year old Amber arrives, however, she takes him under her wing. Together they weather the frustration and confusion of being trapped in time. While the couple suspects they will eventually return to different decades in the future, they make the most of their circumstances together and fall deeply in love.

Ms. Lofty does an excellent job of setting the scene (who wouldn’t want to be trapped in mid-twentieth century Italy, after reading this story!) and developing the characters of Mark and Amber. Mark is a sensual young man, yet immature, sad and lost. Amber is a perfect match for him: older and worldly, passionate and strong. The love scenes are hot and well written, balanced perfectly with the tension of the situation the lovers find themselves dealing with. The chapters leading to the final climax will have readers flipping the pages to find out what happens when Mark and Amber discover a way to leave Italy and return to the future.

My only criticism is that Amber seems to take the whole time travel experience in stride. After falling through a time portal from England to Italy, and leaving everything she knows behind, maybe forever, she completely adjusts to living in an unfamiliar country in a foreign time period, after only a couple of days.

However, the story rises above this minor stumbling block, thanks to the authentic love relationship between the hero and heroine, the sensuous setting of the story, and the thread of tension that Ms. Lofty continually winds from beginning to end. I recommend Sundial highly!

Reviewed by Dandelion

Review: Tales From The Treasure Trove Vol. III

by multi – Anthology

Seven DISTINCTIVE AUTHORS offer new, short, exciting Tales from the Treasure Trove—each featuring a sparkling jewel!

Seven COMPELLING COUPLES discover romance, suspense, second chances, forces of nature, a love triangle, or the supernatural.

Seven ENTERTAINING SITUATIONS feature destined lovers, threatened worlds, cursed stones, dangerous secrets, mysterious talismans…or even poisoned pies!

TALES FROM THE TREASURE TROVE, VOLUME III is a collection of romance stories that is diverse and well written. The writers each have distinctive styles that tempt, tease, and excite the reader’s imagination. While a happy-ever-after is anticipated, each story takes twists and turns in the plot that makes the reader anxious for the “good guys”.

For the reader who grew up with ‘genie-in the-bottle’ tales, The Turquoise Talisman” is a jewel of a story to be enjoyed again and again.

“The Tanzanite Curse” brings the reader a ‘yummy’ lover who transcends time to be with the heroine, who does so need to experience true love.

“Princess Sapphire”, set in Montana in 1880’s, brings the reader a historical romance full of the mores and charm of the time as the lovers find their way to each other.

The mystery story “Mrs. Clause and the Moonstone Murder” has several side trips that can confuse and the humor can be distracting at times. But the main plot is intriguing.

“Bloodstone Legacy” is a lovely fantasy with dragons and beasts with glowing eyes mixed in with the goodness in the light and the evil in the darkness that make the heart race.

“Revenge in Amethyst” is a modern romance that’s invaded by evil. The demon-possessed enemy finds the heroine, making for some breathtaking fear and action.

Lastly, “Garnet Nights” is a feel-good romance about a young mother who is a survivor. When it seems like life has defeated her on every turn, she finds true love.

The collection of romance stories offers a variety of life styles and worlds but one constant can be found over the ages and in all the life styles—true love finds a way and humanity find physical, emotional, and spiritual joy in life.

Review by Camellia

Monday, February 25, 2008

Review: Girl of My Dreams

Girl of My Dreams
by Morgan Mandel

When the cast of a new reality show targeted to save a foundering TV studio succumbs to food poisoning, Jillian, the temporary assistant, sets out to round up a contestant, but ends up filling the gap herself. Her boss, the producer, discovers what she's done, but it's too late to stop her. She's already there and the show must go on. Believing his loyal assistant has turned into a selfish conniver like his screen-star mother, the producer is furious. The further Jillian advances in the rounds, the more convinced he is of her deceit. Jillian faces all sorts of embarrassing situations and adventures on her way to the main prize of the millionaire. He's obviously attracted to her and she should be happy. The problem is Jillian loves the producer.

Ms. Mandel brings us a fun twist on the traditional Cinderella story. Jillian Baker, Blake Caldwell's temporary assistant, is capable and efficient and in love with her boss. When food poisoning threatens to derail Blake's new reality show, Jillian does what any woman in love would do. She takes advantage of a loophole in the rules and steps in to replace the missing contestant. But, the best laid plans of mice, men, and temps go awry and, rather than being cut in the first episode, Jillian progresses further and further in the contest.

Jillian is the epitome of Murphy's Law... if anything could possibly go wrong in her plans, they will. From one disaster filled episode to the next, Jillian's penchant for doing the wrong.. or the right, depending on the viewpoint... thing keeps her in hot water, keeps the millionaire intrigued and keeps her former boss trying to maintain a balance between his show, his desires, and wanting to grab Jillian and sweep her away.

Add Jillian's best friend and Blake's parents to the mix and you have a fun-filled light comedy that is a pleasure to read. Girl of My Dreams is funny, has great descriptions of the exotic locales the show visits, and is just an enjoyable afternoon read.

Reviewed by Rose

WE ARE GIVING AWAY AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THIS BOOK IN OUR AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT CONTEST! As an added bonus, all comments on this blog post between 2/25/08 - 3/1/08 will earn an additional entry into the contest! -- DRAWING TO BE HELD ON 3/2/08. GOOD LUCK!

NOTE: If you have a private Blogger profile or a profile with no email address available, you must include an email in your entry -- this is how we inform the winner. If we are unable to locate an email for you, you're ineligible to win this prize. Thanks!

Review: Remembered (Book 3 Fountain Creek Chronicles)

by Tamera Alexander

Though loss is often marked in a single moment, letting go of someone you love can take a lifetime...

The threat of war--and a final request--send Veronique Girard from France to a distant and uninviting country. In the Colorado Territory, she searches for the man who has held her heart since childhood--her father. Pierre Girard left Paris for the Americas to seek his fortune in fur trading, vowing to send for his wife and daughter. But twenty-five years have passed and his vow remains unfulfilled. Sifting through shards of broken promises, Veronique embarks on a dangerous search for a man she scarcely remembers.

His grief finally healed, Jack Brennan is moving on with life. After years of guiding families west, he is now working as a freighter to the mining towns surrounding Willow Springs. What he doesn't count on is an unexpected traveling companion on his trips up into the mountains, and how one woman's search will cause havoc with his plans... and his life.

When Veronique Girard, comes from Paris to the dusty Colorado Territory town of Willow Springs in search of a father she barely remembers, she has no idea what awaits her. She needs a driver to take her around to the neighboring mining towns where she believes her father might still be living. But not just any man will do.

Jack Brennan has spent the past thirteen years guiding wagon loads of families across the prairie. Determined to put behind him the pain of loss–and guilt–he’s carried around for years, he decides to settle down in Willow Springs. He’s not too happy about being forced to drive Veronique to the rough mining towns in the mountains surrounding Willow Springs, but he doesn’t trust any man other than himself to do right by her. Reluctantly, he agrees. But the lovely little French woman is more trouble than he’d bargained for.

This book is the ultimate romance. A strong and feisty, but likeable heroine, and the most swoon-worthy hero you could ever want. A beautiful setting, skillfully word-painted by the author to make you feel like you’re right there. And a plot that keeps you guessing right up to the very end. The romantic tension sizzled from the beginning, but the feelings that grew between the two were based on an affection that eventually turned into true love. Tamera Alexander dealt with the growing attraction between Jack and Veronique in a realistic but tasteful way. It was a good portrayal of how, even when temptation knocks, two people who are determined to remain pure will do everything possible to resist. In the end, the love that blossomed was so much stronger and, for me as a reader, more meaningful because the couple exercised abstinence.

Jack is a dream. He’s strong and handsome, and almost desperate, at times, to keep Veronique safe. Veronique is independent and even demanding at times, but vulnerable and feminine in a way that allowed me to really connect with her. I was rooting for them the whole way, and couldn’t stop reading until I reached the last page.

If all of that hadn’t won me over already, the tribute Tamera Alexander pays to the pioneering spirit of the Americans who settled the West would have. In a time when all we seem to get, even from within our own ranks, is criticism and revisionist history, Remembered is a refreshing and beautiful testament to the hardships and joys faced by those who came before us, who helped to make our country a great nation.

This was a satisfying read, and highly recommended for young women of most ages.

Review by Violet

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Review: Revealed (Book 2 Fountain Creek Chronicles)

by Tamera Alexander

Annabelle Grayson has been given a second chance at life, but she can't claim it with the cloud of her past hanging over her in Willow Springs. After her husband dies, she advertises for a trail guide to accompany her to land waiting for her in Idaho--and a most unlikely candidate applies for the job.

Matthew Taylor is a man on the run, with consequences of past mistakes pursuing him at every turn. Meeting Annabelle Grayson the first time was unpleasant enough, but when she crosses his path again, her presence in his life--and what she reveals--is devastating. If given a single wish, Matthew would turn back time and right a grievous wrong. If given a second wish, he would make Annabelle Grayson pay.

Annabelle Grayson has not lived the easiest of lives. But she’s been given a second, even third chance at the life she only dreamed could be hers. The only problem is, she depends on a man who seems determined to see in her only the woman she used to be, a woman she wants to forget ever existed.

I really connected with Annabelle in this book, and though I knew it would be hard saying good-bye on the last page, I couldn’t wait to reach the end to find out how things would turn out for her. She is a strong woman to have survived her past, and that strength only makes her more determined to succeed in her mission. It was very easy to fall in love with Matthew, even though he could be a little brooding at times. The romance between these two develops very slowly, and it’s effective. You know they’ll eventually get their act together, but you just have to keep reading to see what’s going to happen to get them to that point.

Something that touched me deeply with this story is the portrayal of the women who were enslaved in the brothels out west. It was not a pretty picture, and nothing light-hearted or fun as some western type movies might like to make us think. It was a horrible life, and without being inappropriate or sexually explicit, this story shows that clearly. It also shows the power of God to heal and transform lives torn apart by abuse and sexual slavery. Reading Revealed is an emotional rollercoaster, but a ride well worth taking.

Highly recommended to women of most ages. My only hesitation at recommending it for all ages is the realistic portrayal of life in a brothel. For that reason only, it might not be appropriate for young readers.

Review by Violet

Review: B*E*A*S*T of Burden (book 2)

B.E.A.S.T of Burden
by Rebecca Goings

Rogan Wolfe desperately wants to find the wife he doesn't remember. After kidnapping him two years earlier, B*E*A*S*T* faked Rogan's death to make it appear as if he'd died in a gruesome car accident. With that knowledge, he is driven to reclaim the life that was so maliciously stolen from him.

Marlie Silver is in shock. Not only has she just found out that her husband is alive and well, she learns that he's a shifter--able to change his shape into a timber wolf. She's never gotten over his loss and he's offering her a second chance. Problem is, he doesn't remember their life together. But Rogan is being pursued by Sean Ross, a murderous shifter determined to kill him--and Marlie--at any cost. Can Rogan protect her from the man who wants them both dead? And can a wolf ever stand any chance at all against a Kodiak grizzly?

Review: I was lucky enough to snag both B.E.A.S.T of Burden and its predecessor, The B.E.A.S.T Within, at the same time. Normally, I don't read books in the same series back to back because I have a tendency to burn out. But I don't think that's going to be a problem with the B.E.A.S.T series. Each plot leads almost seamlessly into the next. So much so that I could see them eventually presented in one volume.

It stands to reason, then, that the things I liked about B.E.A.S.T of Burden were pretty much the same as The B.E.A.S.T Within: screaming fast, linear plot; interesting, realistic characters; unique premise. On the other hand, the villain lusting after the heroine subplot was present as well, which was the one thing I really didn't like about the first book. It wasn't as severe this time. This villain was more interested in hurting the hero by torturing and killing the heroine, but it was the same basic concept to me.

What makes B.E.A.S.T of Burden different and (I think) better than the first book is the relationship between Rogan and Marlie. Instead of a "boy meets girl" situation, they were married before he was taken by B.E.A.S.T. He only has snatches of memory - images of her, and that's what drives him to seek her out. She remembers everything and is still deeply in love with the man he was. They have to sort out their feelings and attempt to make a new start while on the run. This complex relationship makes for a richer story without slowing down the pace.

The B.E.A.S.T series is recommended for romantic suspense fans, paranormal readers, and anyone looking for a quick, satisfying read.

Review by Daisy

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Review: Rekindled (Book 1 Fountain Creek Chronicles)

by Tamera Alexander

Ten years ago Kathryn Jennings made a vow. For better or worse. And that promise still holds true, even though her marriage has not turned out as she expected. When her husband fails to return home one stormy winter night, she struggles to keep their ranch, but her efforts are blocked at every turn. After a shocking glimpse into her husband's past, Kathryn uncovers a hidden truth. What she wouldn't give to turn back time and be able to love her husband for the man that he was, not for the man she always wanted him to be.

Larson Jennings has spent his entire life running from a broken past, unable to trust, reluctant to try again. One fateful night, his life takes an unexpected twist, and soon he is forced to make a choice. Whatever he chooses, his decision may cost him his life.

At a different time, in a different place, under different circumstances... could two people fall in love once again?

When unfortunate circumstances separate Kathryn and Larson Jennings, they are given a second chance at love.

The title of this book tells it all, with just one word. Absolutely brilliant. It’s no wonder that Rekindled, a debut novel for this author, won a 4 ½ star review from the Romantic Times. It is not your typical romance, yet it is. The main characters are already married, but the romance is not in the least boring. Tamera Alexander did a great job of plotting this book, and keeping the romance alive and going. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I won’t reveal what happens to separate these two, but it works. Both of them have to face immeasurable difficulties... things that any normal human being would rather not face. But with a strength that can only come from a strong faith in God, they keep going and become stronger people for it.

Rekindled is about more than just romance. It’s about the way God can take tragedy and transform it into a thing beauty. It’s also a testament to the determination and fortitude of the human spirit–something that makes mankind so completely separate from the animal kingdom.

With twists and turns that keep you guessing the whole way, this is a book that will keep you up way past your bedtime. So read at your own risk.

There was some sensuality in it, more than might be expected from a Christian book, but very tastefully done and not enough to warrant even a sensual heat level. The focus was on the love between Larson and Kathryn, and nothing inappropriate was shown. I recommend it to young woman of any age.

Review by Violet

Review: The B*E*A*S*T Within (book 1)

The B*E*A*S*T Within
by Rebecca Goings

When Lanie Erickson is thrown from her car in a horrific accident, she never dreams she'll be saved by a white tiger! Nor does she think meeting the man who claims to be the tiger's 'friend' will change her life forever--but it does.

Noah Carpenter has a terrible secret. Mutated genetically by the agency known as B.E.A.S.T., Noah is a shifter, able to change his shape at will. But he escapes the agency that made him a monster, and now he's on the run. As Noah remembers more about who he used to be, his attraction for Lanie grows until it cannot be denied. Even though Lanie knows of his savage side, she welcomes him with open arms. But when B.E.A.S.T. suddenly abducts her, can Noah save the woman he loves from the torture he once had to endure? And can he do it even if it means killing anyone who gets in his way?

Just like Vampires, shape shifters are all the rage in paranormal romance. After a while, they all begin to sound alike. But The B*E*A*S*T Within starts off a shape shifting series with the most original premise I've seen in the past couple of years: a secret agency kidnaps the heroes, lies to their families, wipes their minds, genetically engineers them with animal DNA, and trains them to fight. There's a lot more to it, but I don't want to go to spoilerville. Some of the neatest things about the premise come out in the story as little twists.

If you exclude the fact that Noah can shift into a white tiger, he and Lanie are fairly regular folks and it's easy to relate to them. In fact, Lanie could be the girl in the next cubicle at work or the neighbor you cat sit for. She makes for a good contrast to the butt-kicking hard-as-nails paranormal heroines that are saturating the market now (although I love that type of heroine as well!).

The main antagonist is the B*E*A*S*T organization itself, but Lanie and Noah are chased by an operative who fixates on Lanie. So much so that his goal seems to shift from eliminating or recapturing Noah to making Lanie his mate. I was a little bit disappointed with this subplot. It is one that I feel is overused - lust for the heroine being a villain's main motivator.

Ms. Goings writes in a very concise, streamlined style which makes for great action scenes. The plot is very linear; one scene causes the next which causes the next and so on which is great for folks looking for a quick, exciting read. This is one of the things I liked about The B*E*A*S*T Within. Everything was set up well with logical and satisfying payoffs. She also set up the sequels this way. By the end of this book I knew exactly whose story I was going to be reading next and what the plot would deal with.

The B*E*A*S*T Within is an exciting downhill sled ride so readers who look for big complex plots should give it a miss. It is recommended for folks who are looking for a quick fix, a screaming fast pace, or for contemporary romance readers who want to dip a toe into the paranormal pool.

Review by Daisy

Friday, February 22, 2008

Review: Beowulf and Roxie

Beowulf and Roxie
by Marisa Chenery

When Roxie and her friend, Candice, decided on a girls' night out, she didn't realize the Wulf's Den would be more than she had anticipated. But Roxie soon learned to expect anything. The presence of a super-abundance of super good-looking men surprised her and when the best of the bunch stared at her as if he wanted to devour her, surprise turned to amazement.

Beowulf recognized her as his mate the instant she crossed his path and her scent filled his lungs. But he had to overcome one hurdle. She was not one of his kind—a werewolf. He had waited for years to find his mate and he would claim her even if she was a mortal. He would soon teach her all about werewolves.

Roxie is caught up in strange events. Archaic markings appear on her wrist, and strong forces threaten to tear her away from her love as two other male werewolves try to claim her as their own. Would Roxie and Beowulf be able to keep the bond love had forged or would they lose each other forever?

"Beowulf and Roxie" is about an ordinary woman who becomes extraordinary and when she comes into her powers, she is able to defend herself — and others — in a big way. I love stories that portray strong women that can take care of business, and this one fits the bill. Roxie doesn't start out as weak or whiny, she's just a normal girl that keeps to herself, but knows who she is and is aware of her limitations. This makes her likable as a character and her reactions to the various circumstances she finds herself in more plausible.

The chemistry between Beowulf and Roxie is intense and passionate. Their destiny is to be together and as an aftereffect of their "mating", they can't be apart for more than a couple of hours without being intimate. Consequently, they have a lot of sex. The lovemaking scenes are steamy but they are rather uniform both in the sexual activities and the description of the specific movements and reactions — on more than one occasion word-for-word depictions were repeated from previous erotic scenes. Because of the quantity of intimate encounters, this is obvious and a little distracting.

The intrigue is engaging; there are secrets and twists, and she teases you just enough to keep you interested. The supporting characters are interesting and move the action along. The antagonist, however, was puzzling at times. His is portrayed as evil and power hungry, but at a pivotal point leading to the climax, he does a couple of things that are out of character, and not really explained.

I did enjoy this engaging adventure. If you appreciate tales of werewolves and women who can kick butt, give this one a try.

Review by Camomile

Review: Swamp Baby

Swamp Baby
by Adra Steia

Suwannee lives in mortal fear of the swamp that borders her home. Generations of her family have been lost in the depths. Every night it calls to her, beckons her. Although her best friend Derry promises he won’t let anything ever happen to her, she wonders if she’ll ever be free of the deadly swamp’s siren song.

Michael loves the swamp with a passion, one that rivals that for his ex-wife. While she cowers in the shadow of the wetlands, he embraces it. When a vicious entity offers him an unimaginable power, he seizes it, despite the horrible sacrifice he must make.

Before Michael can help Spirit-Mother claim Suwannee, something else from the swamp does. Derry and Michael join forces to rescue Suwannee from the horrors of Hertley’s Swamp, but will Derry be strong enough to defy his brother and save the woman he’s come to love?

There’s a lot going on in this novel, and readers will need to pay close attention to the twists and turns of plot, as well as the multiple mysterious characters who show up with little introduction.

Swamp Baby begins with a human sacrifice to the swamp’s Spirit-Mother, an omnipotent power which has the ability to turn men into panthers to do her bidding. The paranormal is only one element of this story, however. Young women are disappearing in the swamp, and no one can find them. When Suwannee becomes one of the missing, her ex-husband Michael and her best friend (and new lover) Derry launch a rescue mission. Michael, however, has been possessed by the Spirit Mother, and his motive to find Suwannee is much more evil than Derry’s, who simply wants to find his beloved and carry her far away from the cursed town of Hertley’s Swamp.

Squeamish readers beware: this book is not for the faint of heart. Several scenes detail the torture and mutilation that the missing women endure, and there is a higher body count and more spilled blood in this short novel than any other I’ve read recently. In fact, my chief criticism of this novel is that it tries to do too much: it is both a paranormal story featuring shape-shifters, and a horror story with very real, very evil humans who find glee in torturing and killing others.

Despite the gore of Swamp Baby, however, this novel is quite well-written, with vivid details and scenes that will plunge readers into the heart of Hertley Swamp’s evil (you may not want to be there, but you won’t have any choice!). For the most part, the central characters are well-developed, though some readers may question why Derry and Suwannee remain so devoted to bad-guy Michael throughout much of the novel. For being a grown man, Derry is the most awkward, uncoordinated, and unlucky hero I’ve come across in a long time, utterly unable to defend himself against any kind of physical assault. But he remains endearing to the reader, and that’s a testament to the writing that makes him real and not a caricature.

Swamp Baby is apparently only the first in a series featuring these characters; as such, it does not have a particularly happy ending. However, the fast pace and high tension of this novel makes it a page-turner that will appeal to anyone with a yen for the paranormal and/or a little bit of the darkest Stephen King.

Reviewed by Dandelion

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Review: When The Light Was Still New

When the Light was Still New
by Elrena Evans

When the daughter of a vineyard owner is betrothed to a man she cannot love, she pleads with her father to reconsider. But, in ancient Israel, age-old traditions are not dismissed lightly.

Can she escape the forced marriage? Will she be allowed to marry her true love? And what will her betrothed do when he finds out she is trying to get out of the arrangement?

When you’re a young woman living in a world of men’s traditions, sometimes all you can do is pray for a miracle.

The heroine of this story is in love. And she’s thrilled when her father announces he has made a match for her. But when she discovers it is not her beloved Gibbor her father intends her for, she is devastated. Will she and the man she loves be able to convince her father to let them marry?

This cute little Bible era romance was a gentle, heartwarming read. I liked the way the author brought the ancient time period to life through dialogue, habits of the characters, and a few setting props, yet without burdening the reader with too much description. It was a good blend. I might have liked a touch more conflict, or what was there could have been carried out a little longer, but it was a short story after all, so there might not have been room for that. I loved the end. I didn’t see it coming at first, but to explain more is to give that ending away. I recommend this story for women of all ages.

Review by Violet

Review: Bridget's Rainbow

Bridget’s Rainbow
by C. H. Admirand

Bridget O’Halloran has a second chance to make a wish when the magic rainbow appears in the mist over Killarney Lake. She wishes for a man to love; one that would be strong and wise and love her forever. But between the voice calling to her from the depths of the lake and the faeries hovering about her, she leans over too far.

Duncan Garvey cannot say why he finds himself driving out to Killarney Lake, but he arrives in time to see a redhead plunge headfirst into the water. He dives into the lake and pulls Bridget to safety, and that’s when the trouble begins. But a clever ghost and a host of faeries conspire to make certain the two lovers find their way back to each other’s arms.

Bridget’s Rainbow is a fun escapade set in Ireland with faeries, leprechauns and a ghost to liven things up. Bridget O’Halloran is determined to wait on the man she’s wished for on a magic rainbow, a man she feels she is fated to marry. The man of her dreams, however, has run away from Boston to escape his demons as well as a broken heart and the last thing he wants is another woman, much less a wife.

Duncan Garvey is in Ireland trying to heal emotional wounds. After rescuing Bridget from a near drowning, he tangles with her brother and would-be fiancé over her honor and sustains some physical wounds as well. Denying his growing affection for Bridget and trying to convince himself that she’s not worth the trouble, the ghost, the leprechaun and the faeries offer advice — and not so gentle persuasion — and help him figure it all out.

There is humor throughout the story and it is presented in a way that is most entertaining. The introduction of the magical beings to Duncan is satisfyingly plausible; being from the States and not accustomed to meeting those from an enchanted world, Duncan’s initial disbelief and then gradual resignation to his new reality are offered with just the right balance. The ghost was especially pleasing in the mischievously manipulative role he portrays in the unfolding of the tale.

Bridget’s Rainbow is a charming story full of wit and complications through the conclusion of Bridget’s and Duncan’s fated path. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys faery-inspired stories and also to those who appreciate a good book that can make you smile.

Review by Camomile

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Review: Crowning a Warrior King

Crowning a Warrior King
by Diana Castilleja

Life has been calm and quiet for Aran for almost seven years since moving into Banter. She is a prosperous business owner, has friends, and helps those in need without question. Yet a delivery of a mysterious jewel encrusted box changes all of that for her in an instant. Not only is the mysterious box enchanted, revealing someone knows of her deepest secrets, it imprisons a man unlike any other. Bold, fearsome, strong. A warrior from a place she's never heard of, a land she's never known. And the most glaring fact to his arrival is she is the only one with the knowledge to set him free, with a magic he cannot trust. Rordan must return to the kingdom of Eglandor to stop the wicked sorceress who has imprisoned him, deliver the throne to King Tah-lel's appointed heir, and fulfill his destiny with the woman from another time, another world. And there's only so much time to do it all with the King's health failing and an uprising from within only waiting for the moment to claim the throne.

Aran Larson is a spirited and powerful witch who uses her knick-knack shop as a cover for her abilities. She’s afraid to let her customers know that it’s really her spells and enchantments--and not the aromatherapy candles she sells them--that heal their ills. When a mysterious guardsman appears on her doorstep with the gift of a jewel-encrusted box, Aran never guesses its contents will force her to reveal her powers and will even pull her into another world. Rordan Hawke, the one warrior in Eglandor who stands between the ruthless witch Branwyn and the throne, is the slave of the box. Rordan vows that one day he will be free of Branwyn’s curse and that never again will he allow a witch to control him.

Crowning a Warrior King is a spicy fantasy that carries the reader across parallel worlds as the hero and heroine work together to end his slavery and save the kingdom of Eglandor. Aran must expose her magical powers, relying on her abilities to protect them both, and Rordan must overcome his hatred of witches and accept that only Aran, the lady he vows to protect, can keep Branwyn from the throne.

Rordan, with his long black hair, expressive black eyes and tall muscular frame is a gift that few women would mind receiving. The attraction between Rordan and Aran is instantaneous and adds a sensual magic to this story of enchantments, castles and curses. The author paints a fantastic world in Eglandor, peopled with fairy folk, elves, and the villainous witch, Branwyn. And if I occasionally got confused by some details, or thought the identity of the heir to Eglandor’s throne was obvious well before it was revealed, the author more than made up for these flaws with her attractive characters and sexy romance.

Review by Hydrangea

Review: All In Good Time

All in Good Time
by Marty Kindall

When Philadelphian Elizabeth Temple arrives in a small, Southern town to teach first grade in 1948, she hopes to slide unnoticed into a spinster's existence, believing herself unfit for any companion. She doesn't count on falling for handsome Jake Ryan, a World War II veteran tainted by a scandalous divorce now struggling to raise his young son alone. Despite an undeniable chemistry, the road to romance is strewn with roadblocks and detours. Between the personal secret that has a devastating grip on Elizabeth, and Jake's temperamental, soon-to-be-ex-wife, what looks like a 'sure thing' could easily slip away.

Marty Kindall has written a wonderful book in “All in Good Time.” Her characters are real and the plot is easy to fall into.

The main character (Elizabeth Temple) carries with her a heart-rending secret that makes her feel as if she will never have the life she truly wants. She leaves her home to start over elsewhere, planning to live as a teacher and spinster. However, her plans are interrupted when she meets Jake Ryan, the handsome -- and single -- father of one of her students.

Every reader will find someone in this story they can relate to. I’d highly recommend this book as a comfort read to anyone who wants to curl up on a chilly winter evening or relax in the shade on a warm summer day.

This is one of the best short novels I’ve read in a long time and one I’m not likely to forget.

Review by Freesia

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Review: Below the Surface

Below the Surface
by Karen Harper

Briana Devon knows her twin sister would never deliberately leave her-—but when she emerges from underwater, Daria and their boat have vanished. Fighting rough waves and a fast-approaching storm, Bree doesn't have time to question: if she wants to survive, she has to swim.

Exhausted and terrified, Bree barely makes it to a tiny barrier island, where Cole De Roca, who has also taken shelter, revives her. Bound to Cole by the harrowing experience, she turns to him as she struggles to understand what happened to her sister. What was her twin, whom she thought she knew so well, hiding? What really transpired that terrible afternoon? And what secrets lie dormant…below the surface?

Karen Harper proves yet once again why she is on my "auto buy" list with this latest entry.

Daria and Briana always dive together. After all, it's their business as well as their passion. And, being twins, they share everything…or do they? Briana comes up from a dive to find both Daria and their boat gone and a storm on the way. Convinced in her heart that Daria wouldn't have just left her, Bree strikes out for land in an attempt to save herself.

She's rescued by Cole, who has also taken refuge on the island. He manages to get her back to the mainland and saves her life, but is he her savior or does he have a part to play in Daria's disappearance. Despite everything, Bree feels she can trust him.

However, Briana soon learns feelings can't always be trusted as she begins to learn of secrets her twin has kept from her. Was one of those secrets enough to bring her harm?

Karen has spun a web of lies and deceit around a framework of love and trust in this suspense-filled story of sisters and lovers. As Briana learns she doesn't know who she can trust, the reader is on the journey with her. Possibilities abound in this book and Karen Harper doesn't let you know until the end who you can actually trust and who you can root for. This is another page turner from one of the masters of page-turning suspense.

She puts more emphasis on her secondary characters in this book than in some of the others I've read, but it works. She especially spends some time in Brianna's other sister's POV, which gives an interesting insight into the family relationship we would only know otherwise from Bree's POV.

All in all, this was another excellent book from Karen Harper.

Reviewed by Rose

WE ARE GIVING AWAY AN ARC OF THIS BOOK IN OUR WEEKLY CONTEST! As an added bonus, all comments on this blog post between 2/19/08 - 2/22/08 will earn an additional entry into the contest! -- DRAWING TO BE HELD ON 2/23/08. GOOD LUCK!

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Review: One Bite Stand

One Bite Stand
By Nina Bangs

Harpies don’t get callbacks. That’s why Daria’s job as night manager of the Woo Woo Inn is the opportunity of several lifetimes. Where better to prove that in the snatch-and-dispatch business she has CEO potential? So what if she doesn’t really fit the corporate image. So what if she has to nurture her inner bitch to compete. And triple so what if she’d rather take Declan MacKenzie to bed than on a one-way all-expense-paid trip to Tartarus. His sexy blue eyes and hard male body lure her into deep and dangerous erotic waters.

With a monster eating guests for its midnight snack, cosmic troublemakers cooking up chaos and Declan making serious moves on her, this looks like a lot more than a …
One Bite Stand.

This story is quite a switch. So used am I to reading about females who decry their plain looks, their height in any direction, unmanageable hair and microscopic chest assets, One Bite Stand was an intriguing difference of perspective.

Daria is a harpy who wants to be ugly, scary and mean. She finds her nemesis and competitor in the ultimate harpy competition, Eris, to be everything she wasn’t. Daria tries so hard because her mom and aunt are two of the top three harpies. She wants to earn her mom’s respect but she’s doesn’t look like she should and it’s bothered her all her life. She even has her brother, Kal, put glamour on her to make her uglier. She does all this, and stresses over it all because her and her brother had the misfortune of having Apollo as their dad. You can well imagine how Apollo looks, so Daria has an uphill battle ahead. She absolutely can’t fail at being the ‘perfect’ harpy.

Daria thinks that her dad’s lineage causes her problems? She can’t hold a candle someone else’s paternal parentage. Wait until you get a load of him-he makes Hannibal Lector look sane.

Enter Declan MacKenzie and Daria starts to question her goals. He’s a man who’d make any woman take notice but he’s been alive for so long, he really doesn’t connect with people anymore. Declan is a bit more than your average vampire. I appreciate the angle that Declan is a born - not a made - vampire. Because he was born, he did what regular human men do and you’ll get a wonderful glimpse of that in the story … at some point. It might make you feel mushy.

I enjoyed reading his change in heightened senses when Daria walks onto the scene. The man in him takes notice and it’s a driven alpha from then on. A good romance brings out the best in the hero and heroine, even when they fight against it. I always get a kick out of it when one of the main characters decides to pursue and not run. Half the fun comes from the chase. Yum.

Just to make things interesting, I got treated to my favorite cosmic troublemakers, Sparkle Stardust and Ganymede – who is still enjoys roaming around in the from of a rather well-fed cat. Sparkle cracked me up when she decorated Daria’s room with eye-popping décor. Sparkle doesn’t nudge her victims toward their romantic fate - she pushes them off of a cliff. And when a character tics off Sparkle, she gets quite creative with her retaliation.

A new monkey wrench is thrown into the relationship with Sparkle and Ganymede. I’d heard reference to the Ice Cream Man before, but never had a clear picture of his purpose in getting involved with the two cosmic troublemakers. I think I get it now, and it’s an ‘Aha!’ moment.

This story is a delight and pure escapism. Working within the world that Nina has created, the conflict is believable, the HEA satisfies, the good guys aren’t really all that good and the weak characters proved their mettle. I shouldn’t be surprised when the underdogs come out on top because anything can happen at the Woo Woo Inn.
Once again Nina delivers an entertaining and fun read to while away the hours of a winter’s day.

Review by Xeranthemum

Monday, February 18, 2008

Review: In A Soldier's Arms

In a Soldier's Arms
by Marin Thomas

Determined to uncover the truth about her mysterious Appalachian past, Maggie O'Neil drives to Heather's Hollow in search of her granny, the only other surviving member of the O'Neil clan. Her grandmother's uncanny sixth sense and healing powers intrigues the nurse practitioner when they meet, but what really fascinates her is her granny's neighbor, brooding ex-soldier Abram Devane.

The secretive major pretends to like his solitude, nut Maggie's gut feeling says he's not immune to her. And as all of Heather's Hollow knows, when the O'Neil women look into the future with their bewitching green eyes, whatever they see comes true.

Herself in a soldier's arms forever is the sight before Maggie. Can Abram face down the demons in his past and allow himself to see the same thing?

I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to reading this book! I loved the first one tremendously, and had high hopes that Ms. Thomas would be able to please me again with her sequel. She did not disappoint.

City-slicker Maggie O'Neil starts her journey into Appalachia with a run-in with one colorful character after another, not the least of whom is her grandmother "Granny" O'Neil. Once she finally gets past the outhouse and learning how to ride a horse, she begins to appreciate the charm of the backwoods.

She also begins to appreciate the charm of Granny's closest neighbor, an "outsider" named Abram Devane. Despite the disapproval that rolls off Granny at Maggie's attraction, she can't seem to stay away from him.

Once again, Ms. Thomas has peppered her book with wonderfully drawn, fun and in-depth characters. I do have to admit that, as much as I loved Granny in the first book, I did begin to tire of her nasty temper and snide remarks after a bit. That may be the only negative thing I have to say about this book. Along with the amazing characters, there is a realistic and interesting conflict--two, actually--and very real emotion between Maggie and Abram. I thoroughly enjoyed watching both of them slowly open up, not just to each other but to the community around them. It was also wonderful to revisit our friends from the first book and catch up with them to see how they've grown and changed. Ms. Thomas has done "pert near" everything right with this heart-warming sequel. Once again, I can't wait for the next book in this series. And, I'm so impressed with this author's writing, that I'm planning on digging in to her backlist!

Do yourself a favor and dive right into this series. You won't be disappointed.

Review by Poppy


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Review: Inferno

by Karen Harper

Bush pilot Lauren Taylor knows better than most the devastation fire can leave in its wake: two years ago she lost her husband to a raging wildfire. But when she flies a stranger into her isolated hometown of Vermillion, Montana, her actions may be the spark that starts an inferno. Because the mysterious passenger bears an undeniable resemblance to a serial arsonist wanted by the FBI—and he's disappeared into the tinder-dry woods…

FBI agent Brad Hale doesn't have time to fly into picturesque towns based on one woman's vague suspicions, but Lauren Taylor seems desperate. And when her young son goes missing, he realizes the little boy may hold the key to his investigation. Hot on the stranger's trail, Lauren and Brad will do anything to stop a man bent on destruction…even if that means rushing headlong into the flames.

I picked up Inferno the other night to have something to read for a few minutes before bed. It wasn't on my list to review. I was scheduled to review Karen's new book being released this week, Below the Surface. All I wanted was something to read for a little while before turning off the light. Boy, did I ever make a mistake.

Karen Harper caught me with the first page of the prologue and pulled me into the story with her descriptions, her characterizations, and the shear "what will happen next" that kept me turning pages way after that light should have been turned off. As a matter of fact, I literally could not put the book down until I discovered what happened to Lauren, Brad, and Nicky. When Nicky went missing, my eyes filled with tears because I could feel the mother's pain and panic.

Karen Harper has a gift for creating suspense from the beginning of a book and sustaining it until the end. A fact I would have done well to remember when picking up a book at eleven o'clock at night.

Review by Rose

WE ARE GIVING AWAY AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THIS BOOK IN OUR WEEKLY CONTEST! As an added bonus, all comments on this blog post between 2/18/08 - 2/22/08 will earn an additional entry into the contest! -- DRAWING TO BE HELD ON 2/23/08. GOOD LUCK!

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Review: The Treasure Within

The Treasure Within [Legacy Of The Celtic Brooch 6]
by Dana Mentink

Things aren’t always perfect in paradise. Lorna Amerino flees to Hawaii to find peace but she finds herself trying to save a struggling coffee shop for lovable old Pappy, a blind man who is convinced he can see. Pappy says he’s got a treasure hidden somewhere and his silver brooch is the key. To complicate things, Kai Keala lends a hand and stirs Lorna’s heart in the process. She’s not ready for love, even though Kai is as delicious as the coffee he grows on his plantation. Can he and Lorna find the treasure before Pinks goes under? Or will it fall into the hands of the person wants to destroy them all?

Dana Mentink takes her readers on a trip to the beautiful islands of Hawaii, where things aren't always so beautiful and serene. In addition to trying to keep a struggling coffee shop going with a more modern one just down the street and an old blind man who believes he can see, Lorna also has to deal with a group of senior citizen naturalists and a man who is showing her a great deal of interest, even though she's not sure she's ready for love.

I smiled often while I was reading The Treasure Within. I found myself reading parts of this novella aloud to my husband...from Pappy's "seeing" to the reaction of Maria who works at the coffee shop when the Natural Beauties show up. I joined with Lorna in her suspicions and ached with Kai to discover what had made Lorna shut her heart off to love.

You will discover, along with the citizens of The Treasure Within that the treasure truly is within...and that God definitely does provide in a most amazing way. Just read the story and you'll see how.

Review by Rose