Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Review: For Pete's Sake

For Pete’s Sake
by Linda Windsor

Ellen isn’t sure true love exists until she contracts to landscape the estate of her sophisticated new neighbor. Adrian Sinclair has it all--at least on the surface. A successful businessman, he’s engaged to a beautiful woman and he’ll soon have a step-mom for his troubled son Pete. Yet, from the moment Ellen rescues a stranded Adrian on her Harley, his well-ordered world turns upside down. With his business under investigation for espionage and his son pushing for the tomboy next door as his new mom, Adrian’s façade of happiness shatters, revealing the void of faith and love in his life.

As Ellen’s friendship grows with Pete, she realizes that his father is about to marry the wrong woman for the right reasons. Her resolve to remain “neighbors only” with the dad wanes as Pete works his way into Ellen’s heart, drawing her closer to Adrian. But how can her heart think that Adrian is the one when he’s engaged to a sophisticated beauty who is everything Ellen isn’t?

As Ellen’s three best friends step in to help her navigate this uncharted territory, Ellen must ask herself whether she’s ready to risk the heart that she’s always held close. Will Ellen trust that God brought this family into her life for a reason? And is she willing to risk that life when Adrian's enemies threaten Pete?

This book is the second in Linda Windsor’s Piper Cove Chronicles. If I hadn’t already been a devout Windsor fan, this story would have won me over by itself. With the skill of an expert, Linda brings the characters to life and leads the reader on an emotional journey that will have you laughing, hurting and loving along the way.

Ellen Brittingham is a motorcycle riding landscape artist with a love for God and a heart for children. She is a confident, no-frills tomboy who often attracts disaster. Although I have a black thumb and would dare only to ride behind a skilled driver, I found myself able to relate to Brit, as she is called by her friends. She is real. She is believable. She will walk off the pages and into your heart.

Adrian Sinclair is one of those guys you just want to take home. A business success and millionaire, Adrian comes across as a confident, high society man. Upon closer look, you realize there is a lost soul lurking behind the expensive suit and you can’t help aching as you watch the struggling relationship between him and his son, Peter.

And Peter. I can’t remember when a child has so captured my heart, with the exception of my own, of course. Pete is hurting while he struggles with the difficulties of his condition. There is a loving boy locked behind the anger and formality he displays and it was pure joy to watch him slowly come out of his shell.

Now, this review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the musketeers. This group of four women – Alex, Jan, Sue Ann and Ellen – shares a lifetime of friendship, support and ice cream. It is amazing to watch the dynamics of these women as they laugh together, support each other and speak the truth, even the hard truth, in love. It had me longing to be a part of their group, and thanking God for the special friendships in my own life.

This book is packed with chemistry, emotion, action, laughter, fun, faith and love. It is truly one of a kind. There was not a boring moment among the pages and I found myself completely enthralled and drawn into the lives of these characters and the town of Piper Cove. I would suggest, however, that you pick up the first book in this series Wedding Bell Blues, as you won’t want to miss a moment with this unique group of women.

Book Rating:

Review by Lily

Review: Ready to Reel

Ready to Reel by Lainey Bancroft

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Dandelion

When Suzette Michaud reels into the arms of a man she wouldn’t ordinarily look twice at, she reexamines her priorities. Fed up with the social limitations her parents and her French boarding school background impressed upon her, she decides it’s time to take a walk on the wild side. Handlebar Hank and his Honky Tonk are just the distraction she needs.

She doesn’t count on falling in love with the rough around the edges man, especially when he insists on treating her—a forty-six year old divorcee—like some blushing virgin. And she certainly doesn’t suspect that his big body, heart and sense of humor hide a bigger hurt than she ever could have imagined. Can a wounded bar owner and a bitter French debutante/divorcee make each other feel whole again, or are they just reeling into more heartbreak?

This sweet short story won my heart! Suzette and Hank are a charming, if unlikely couple. At first, her conservative, uptight personality seems to have nothing in common with his country music lovin’, bachelor-bartender lifestyle. But once they hit the dance floor, sparks fly. I thought the development of their attraction was completely believable, and I especially liked the fact that this hero and heroine aren’t starry-eyed lovers, but middle-aged singles trying to negotiate the world of dating while balancing their private baggage.

This baggage, of course, is what keeps Hank from giving his heart to Suzette, and be prepared: his secrets are pretty deep. But the final scene of the story, when all is revealed, is heart-warming and satisfying. It’s refreshing to read about two characters who are realistic and honest about what they can and cannot give one another.

I enjoyed all the minor characters in this story as well: Alexandra and Riana, Suzette’s best friends since high school, and Matt, Alex’s fiancé and second chance at love. And Hank’s tacky roadside bar, Handlebar Hank’s Honky Tonk, is a place where you’ll feel you’d like to pull up a saddle stool to the horseshoe-shaped bar and stay awhile.

“Ready to Reel” is a charming story, and I only wish it had been longer. I’d like to know what Ms. Bancroft has in store for these characters next!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Review: Welcome To Texas

Welcome to Texas
by Sally Farley

After moving from Minnesota to Texas, Kacey Newton must adapt to the strangeness of The Lone Star State. To Kacey, the accents are undecipherable, the heat is unbearable, the neighbors are inconsiderate and the hunky police chief’s uniform of choice is a tank top, baggy shorts and flip-flops.

The only thing Chief Jack Boudreaux likes as much as a sexy woman is steak. Thick, juicy steak. Now if he could just find a sexy woman who actually eats steak, and not just salad, he’d be in hog heaven. It’s just a matter of time before Jack attempts to seduce Kacey with a pitcher of ice cold margaritas, some spicy, hot fajitas and his dazzling Texas charm.

What a hoot this story was! I was just tickled from beginning to end. This author writes one smooth, funny story that was quick and easy to read. I loved everything about it (except maybe Cheryl, but that’s to be expected).

Poor Kacey, moving to slow, amicable Texas from high-strung, less friendly Minnesota is quite a change. She’s not sure how to interact with anyone—especially her redneck neighbor—and continually finds herself in awkward situations.

Jake, on the other hand, is just a handsome, good-old-boy who’s looking for a lady with whom to share some quality time and a plate steak fajitas.

From the first moment—when Kacey has a run-in with a pyramid of limes, to Jake’s discovery of his date’s blue teeth, to the interaction over a roast, this story is pure pleasure. I only wish it was longer… I’ll be on the lookout for more work from Sally Farley.

Review by Poppy

Review: Cupid's Dilemma

Cupid’s Dilemma
by Mia Romano

Preston Heartgrove took his job as Cupid seriously. He made sure everyone who was supposed to fall in love on Valentine’s Day couldn’t resist each other. But when he’s required to find his own love of a lifetime, he doesn’t know where to start. Would he succeed without using magic, or die trying?

This was such an entertaining read! I had an absolute blast reading it. Mia Romano has written a fun, witty story that kept me grinning and laughing through the whole book.

Preston is just a hottie, and could possibly be the perfect man! The man is a logger most of the year… and Cupid for the other part of it. He’s got it all… romance, personality, a hot body and a cat. Okay, it’s a talking cat, but it is a cat! The problem? If he can’t get Miki to fall in love with him, he’ll lose more than just his wings. And this cupid knows just what to do for everyone else but his own love life has him stumped.

Miki Newton is clueless when it comes to Preston. She’s been eyeing his hot body for the last year, but figures he’s not interested in her. Her confusion as Preston seems to come on hot and then go cold is priceless, as Preston has no idea how to tell her of his feelings. Throw in a meddling best friend and Miki is ripe for mishaps.

This tale is chock full of situations that left me snickering and wondering what in the world would happen next. The entertaining hijinx of the secondary characters made for a comical addition to an already charming story. The eventual resolution was fun and left me with a smile on my face. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for more books by Mia Romano.

Review by Viscaria

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Review: Lady Iona's Rebellion

Lady Iona’s Rebellion
by Dorothy Mc Falls

When pressured into accepting a husband of her father's choosing, Lady Iona seeks out the notorious rake Lord Nathan Wynter for his help in learning how to stand up for herself.

While Iona is looking for adventure, Lord Nathan is doing his honest best to reform his ways in order to repair his reputation and his disastrous relationship with his family. Winning the very proper Lady Iona for a wife would go a long way to achieving that end.

However, the more he tries to protect Lady Iona from running headlong into disgrace, the more he grows to admire her daring spirit and unpredictable antics. Instead of returning her to the obedient world in which she was raised, he encourages her blossoming passions. Such a move is surely going to lead them both to ruin. But for love he is willing to risk everything.

Lady Iona would make a perfect wife: well-mannered, obedient, with perfect taste and poise--except she doesn’t want a husband, and when her father imposes his choice on her, she rebels for the first time in her entire life.

Lord Nathan Wynter is the last man any well-bred lady would chose for a husband. A reputed rake and despoiler of virtue, his own family barely acknowledges him.
And yet, it would seem the former close friends are the only people who can help each other, and may even have a chance to forge a future together. If they can break through the barriers society has erected between them.

Dorothy McFalls has a very nice Regency voice and uses it to good purpose to relate the tale of these unlikely lovers. In spite of an occasional lapse into more modern rhythms, which prevents me from bestowing 5 Books on her work, the author weaves a charming tapestry of intrigue and innuendo, colorful balls and discreet parlors. Her characters are vivid and unforgettable. The settings are bright and easy to picture. The reader is invited to share rides in horse-drawn carriages with the characters, down to the comfort – or the discomfort – of a given conveyance.

The author has a gift for descriptions that illumine the period of the story and define the characters’ interest in clothes and other items of everyday life, and highlight the importance of such details – and conversely, the unimportance of other aspects of their lives.

Let’s not forget the story itself. It kept me enthralled from beginning to end, and the conclusion did not disappoint me. It was a light and pleasant read, and utterly satisfying. Dorothy McFalls truly recreated a believable Regency England, invited her reader into her world, and the reader there until the end.

As it should be with a fully satisfying novel, reaching the last word was bittersweet: the satisfaction of knowing the conclusion was mixed with the sad necessity to leave a well-built world and extremely likable characters.

Review by Cherry Blossom

One Love For Liv by Marianne Arkins

One Love for Liv by Marianne Arkins
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Black-Eyed Susan

Liv is out to prove her high society fiancé is cheating on her. Can she do it without breaking a nail—or falling in love with Mike the mechanic?

Olivia “Liv” Leigh, wealthy socialite and spa owner, suspects her fiancé of cheating on her. Drastic steps are required to discover whether appearances are deceiving. And if those steps require a bit of stalking, a change of appearance, a hippo-sized dog named Spike, and sacrificing her manicure to clean house for a sexy-but-sloppy man whose neighbor is determined to break several of the strangest Guinness world records, why should that be a problem?

Mike, a happily single auto mechanic, is more than content sharing his bachelor pad with piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and a sneaky ferret. But when a half-crazed woman in a bad wig shows up on his doorstep, what’s a nice guy to do?

Why, invite her in, unknowingly help her in her search for the truth and, in the process, fall head over heels for a woman who’s never been less his type.

First of all, let me assure you that I am a cheapskate. I do not buy books online unless they are absolutely necessary for our homeschool (I prefer free use of the public library!). I'm not crazy about the e-book format and I definitely don't obtain any of those unless they are free. However, I read this author's blog pretty much every day. I was happy for her when she finally published One Love For Liv, but I had no intention of buying the book. None whatsoever, thank you very much. Then I started reading the reviews and every single one was positive. I was intrigued enough to actually fork out some money and BUY the book so I could see what everyone was raving about. I am so glad I did!

One Love For Liv starts out with Liv going out in disguise to track down her fiancé and prove his suspected unfaithfulness to her. The action snowballs quickly and believably into a refined, cultured, formal, well-dressed owner of an exclusive spa being thrown into a world of beer and corner store pizza, scary pets and tiny apartments with thin walls, informality and quirkiness.

Ms. Arkins has done a wonderful job of using the story's circumstances to transform Liv from a tense people pleaser to a relaxed, confident woman who is comfortable being herself. The changes in Liv's persona are reasonable and satisfying.

The plot is a page-turning saga of doubt and love and disappointment and discovery. I truly did not want to stop reading. I couldn't wait to see what whacky chances Liv would take or what delightfully peculiar character might be introduced on the next page. There were plenty of odd characters in the story, but none were gratuitous; Each one played a part in Liv's transformation - even the terrifying ferret and the attentive, slobbery bull mastiff.

The author also keeps the tension high by throwing in some unexpected twists and revelations along the way. Was Geoff cheating on her or not? Could Mike ever forgive her for her blatant deception? Could Geoff forgive her for her own tryst with another man a week before their expected wedding? Could Liv's father deal with all the changes in his daughter? Could Liv forgive herself? Would Liv ever find the missing ferret? And who really was Liv's "one love"? I wasn't sure of any of the answers until close to the very end!

In fact, the only thing that kept me from giving One Love For Liv a full-fledged five book endorsement is that all these thrills and chills and changes take place in two weeks time, which seems a tad unrealistic to me. However, if you can lay aside your timeline and just read, you'll find One Love For Liv a very worthwhile book.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Review: Queen of Trees

Queen of Trees
by Lynn Lowery

Mordavia lies in peaceful slumber as it has for centuries. Lana the Tree Warder uses her powers of nature in World Wood, guarding and protecting the trees and cares little for the outside world. Then the day comes when she meets prince Kail Mageking and everything changes. On a quest against the darkest of evils she soon discovers she is on a journey that could cost her more than her life. It could cost Lana her heart.

"Queen of Trees" takes us to the environmentally friendly world of Mordavia. I enjoy how the author added subtle touches of conservaton throughout the book, but in no way lectures the reader.

Lana, the Tree Warder, protects the trees from harm. She is bright, courageous, and easy to like and admire. Kail is the Prince of Mordavia, who while handsome and sweet, could have played a stronger role in winning back the kingdom.

I have many favorite moments in the book, like the exciting fight where Lana shows her prowess with a bow. Then there is the quirky secondary character, Rey, an Elf, who helps them on their quest. Though if I had to pick my favorite, it would be the lovely ending with a twist that I didn't see coming. "Queen of Trees" is an action packed tale that will leave the reader wanting more.

Review by Heather

Review: Come Back, My Love

Come Back, My Love
by Sylvia Rochester

When an antique locket turns a Civil War reenactment into reality, Olivia Montgomery disappears into the past, leaving Joseph Underwood a suspect in her murder. She finds herself in the arms of Prentice Angelle, a Confederate surgeon. Amid the fervor and uncertainty of this tumultuous era, they fall in love. Happiness turns to disaster when a spurned riverboat captain attempts to kidnap Olivia. His action triggers her return to the present. Can true love overcome the barrier of time?

"Come back, My Love" by Sylvia Rochester is one of those hard to define romances that is both contemporary and historical, paranormal yet still completely plausible.

Oliva Montgomery, in the midst of a reenactment, suffers a momentary magic and falls out of time. She lands in the era of the Civil War, only to discover her own true love.

While this may sound like the classic time travel romance, it really is one step beyond. While lovely heroine Olivia Montgomery struggles to adapt to the time, present day occurences (the investigation into her 'murder') make us realize she desperately needs to return to her own time. She must save an innocent man; her friend and museum curator Joseph Underwood.

At the same time, readers will empathize with her attachment to Confederate doctor and principled man Prentice Angell. The tug between the two times is not all however; Olivia's beauty attracts the attention of a less-than-worthy soldier, and the threat to her is nearly palpable. Her life, as part of the past, is threatened. The interplay between the main characters - as well as some supporting ones (like Joseph) is warm ; heartfelt and enthralling. Rochester has a gift for light dialogue and subtle humor. She also gives us feel-like-you were there descriptions of battle, and life in yesteryear. From the reenactment to the battlefield, home life to river boat, the scenes are incredibly well described and in many cases, memorable.

This romance is a paranormal because it steps out of the bounds of time, but any reader of historicals, and especially those interested in the Civil War years, will thoroughly enjoy this tale.

Review by Snapdragon

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Review: Blood On the Tartan

Blood On the Tartan
by Chris Holmes

A Woman Fighting a Cause…

Catherine Ross rallies her neighbors to openly resist the mass evictions, which empty the glens of her homeland of people and replace them with sheep.

On the Other Side of the Law…

Constable Ian MacGregor, sworn to uphold the law, finds duty conflicts with love. There's only one woman for him - Catherine. However, he is torn by that love and his sense of honor.

The Coming Storm…

Ian must decide: to protect his beloved or obey his orders. Will Catherine's truest love become her greatest adversary, or will they both perish in the coming conflict – the Highland Clearances.

Holmes' new historical and very Scottish romance, Blood On the Tartan, is the classic tale of capitalist landowners against a community roused by a single brave underdog. The tale begins with a gripping and extremely visual prologue, where each side is personified, but in a rather black and white, good-versus-evil way. This gives the reader a strong sense of theme, and also, creates a great feeling of empathy within the reader.

Only at the start are the two sides so simply portrayed; Holmes goes on to create characters of great depth and feeling on each side.

Catherine Ross' connection to her home and the land is apparent from the start. She watches the robins playing in the garden and the cows wandering the distant braes(fields) of her neighbor. When she meets truncheon-toting Ian MacGregor, the new constable, she is alarmed but reminds herself of 'Highlander' hospitality. Her past, hopes for life, and love of home blend into a strong and admirable woman. Ian is no less admirable, though it takes a while to find the best in him. Throughout, these primary characters symbolize a people who struggled through a horrible nineteenth century event. Readers will uncover the impact of the quality of a love so strong it challenges the beliefs of a people known to fight for their beliefs ... and even patriotism in a land of extraordinary patriots.

The plot is exceptionally well done, even if not entirely original. Specific events are not easily predictable, although the larger picture is, to some degree.

Powerful characters and richly detailed descriptions characterize Holmes' work. Exceptional visual details, and the choice of specific words; 'hoarfrost' 'cieldh' for celebration, the valleys or 'Strath,' the peat bogs,all enhance the flavor and develop a sense of the time of this tale. Well done.

Review by Snapdragon

Review: A Hero For Jessica

A Hero for Jessica
by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Anthony Paul Seville is known as the 'most eligible bachelor' in New Orleans, possibly even the entire state of Louisiana, but finds himself alone—completely and explicitly alone. Jessica Aucoin is a writer on her way to fame and fortune, but is haunted by a man from her past. Will the "champion" lawyer and the author of romantic suspense find love written in their cards?

When Attorney Paul Seville agrees to teach a Friday night seminar rather than take advantage of the night, he has no idea it would lead to finding the love of his life. Novelist Jessica Aucoin has a problem, and she needs the help of an aggressive lawyer. Paul Seville seems the perfect man to ride in on his white horse and save her. But will he be able to see past the mistakes from her past which continue to haunt her and truly be the hero she so desires?

I enjoyed this short story, and especially the scintillating descriptions author, Pamela Thibodeaux employed in it. There is an air of sensuality thoughtout the story, an attraction so strong between the two main characters that it left me almost breathless. But this is a sweet romance, no sexual scenes, and frankly, it didn’t need them. The romantic tension was kept high, but done in a respectful way that truly impressed me. Some scenes seemed a little telling, at times, but over all it was well done.

It contained a good climax that built suddenly, and a satisfying conclusion to both the suspenseful part of the story as well as the romance. A good, sweet read charged with attraction but an emphasis on true love. I recommend it to women of all ages.

Review by Violet

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Review: Water Goddess

Water Goddess
by Crystal Inman

Every woman is a Goddess. Some simply don’t realize it yet. That’s when a Guardian arrives. She guides and protects. But most of all…she comes to set a woman’s inner goddess free. Because in a mortal’s strength is a Guardian’s salvation.

Erin Sanders is a school teacher with a past that has scarred her very soul. She is close to no one until a chance encounter turns her world upside down.

Daniel Rodriguez is a man who knows what he wants. He’s a serene soul who feels drawn to Erin through a brief meeting and vows to find out more about her.
But Erin has secrets that tear at her world.

Daniel doesn’t heed Erin’s words or warnings. He vows to gently open her eyes to a world she didn’t know existed. A world where a man will give anything to be in her heart.

Kendra is one of four sisters, Guardians who must each “save” a mortal in order to move up to the next level of power in their world. When Kendra, the Water Goddess, chooses Erin Sanders, she has her work cut out for her. Erin is an elementary school teacher who is wonderful with children but keeps to herself. She resists any chance for happiness with a man because of her background: as a victim of the foster care system, she was abused and taken advantage of and eventually had to fight her way to a new life. As a result, her soul is bruised, and she believes no one will love her.

When she meets Daniel Rodriguez, however, Erin’s determination to remain aloof is tested. Daniel, the owner of a bar and strip club, is a handsome, smooth-talking Spaniard who is immediately drawn to Erin. To be honest, the speed at which he falls in love with the distant schoolteacher was a little startling. Still, Daniel is charming and patient, and when he brings Erin home to meet his mother and many nieces and nephews, readers see the gentle, family-oriented man behind the handsome face.

When Erin meets Erica, Daniel’s eleven-year old niece, she intuits that something is wrong. Since Erin understands what it means to be “different,” she and Erica soon form a bond, and Erin is instrumental in uncovering the harm Erica is silently facing.

Through all of Erin’s personal growth, Kendra is there, encouraging her to take a chance with Daniel and accept herself for who she is, rather than who she was forced to become as a young teen. The idea of a “guardian angel,” which is really what Kendra is, is a charming twist on this story of injured-woman-learning-to-love-again.

I did find the climax a bit sudden and jarring, when Kendra and Erin switch places so that Erin can discover her own internal power. It is told in dream sequence and is a little difficult to follow. However, I thought the overall effect, of Erin finally taking control of her life, still worked.

The characters in Water Goddess are well developed, and readers will find Daniel a charming and convincing hero. The friendship between Kendra and Erin is fun and believable and moves the plot along. However, it’s doubtful that any elementary school would allow a new hire to wander the halls of the school unattended, or that a single teacher would have access to building keys and/or the alarm code, in today’s high-security world. The only other plot point I took issue with was the fact that all the “bad men” in this story commit the same crime. There are many ways that men can harmfully exert their power, and it would have provided interesting complexity if the author had explored some of them.

Overall, however, Water Goddess is a well-written, engaging story. Readers will enjoy the female friendship that triumphs over life’s ills, as well as the love of a great man who heals a broken woman through tenderness and passion.

Reviewed by Dandelion

Review: The Last Promise

The Last Promise
by Mallary Mitchell

Andersonville escapee, Captain Josh Elliott, is willing to do anything to get home to his wife. A Georgia boy in Union blue, he dwells on all the empty promises he made his young bride and wishes to make things right.

All she once had has been lost to her. Pregnant and alone, Nora’s only hope is that her husband will make his way home to her. Can love restore what war has taken away?

Escaping from the horrors of the Confederate prison camp, Andersonville, Captain Joshua Elliot is barely alive. But the belief that his wife needs him desperately keeps him going against all odds.

This little story did a real number on my emotions. Don’t think because it’s about a married couple that it will be a boring read. It’s not. It’s a powerful statement about the strength of true love, and the honor of a man’s word. I can’t say a whole lot without giving away the ending of the story, but be sure to read all the way to the end. The plot twists were well done and kept me guessing until the end. Filled with good characterization–I felt like I knew the characters well in only a few pages--and strong emotional impact, The Last Promise will not disappoint the most romantic at heart. Recommended for readers of any age.

Review by Violet

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Review: Anna's Secret

Anna’s Secret
by Jude Atkins

When a firebomb intended for Kelly McWinter kills his wife, he quits the Fort Worth police force and isolates himself in the tiny community of Indian Creek. Eventually, Kelly settles into a quiet routine of daily chats with the fishermen at Bubba's Bait House, and Saturday night barbecues at Cam Belsher's Hideaway Bar.

Then Kelly and his dog Jake find the body of Anna Davis inside the local flea market. Determined to remain uninvolved, Kelly keeps a low profile. But when Cam Belsher is singled out as the sheriff's number one suspect, Kelly realizes he must put his ghosts aside and find the killer.

Kelly is drawn to Anna's daughter, Krystal. When Krystal shares some family secrets, Kelly's investigation turns upside down. A family reunion awakens a long dead memory where Kelly is confronted with an uncomfortable truth. And just when everything starts to make sense another murder is committed, and Kelly uncovers the killer's shocking secret.

Kelly McWinter is hiding from his past in the tiny community of Indian Creek. As the security guard of the local flea market, he’s been adopted by the local fishermen, and befriended by Bubba of Bubba’s Bait Shop, and by Cam Belsher, of the Hideaway Bar.

But even quiet fishing holes have their secrets. When Anna, an old, cantankerous, but well-liked drunk, is found murdered inside the flea market, the police suspect Kelly’s good friend Cam Belsher. The arrival of Anna’s alluring daughter stirs up memories Kelly thought well buried, and another old friend – his former partner in the Fort Worth PD – pulls him into the investigation.

The inquiry reveals surprising secrets about the victim, and Kelly finds himself drawn to Anna’s long-lost daughter, and forced to face his past. The search for the killer brings still more danger to the community, until the all the truths are brought to light.

In Anna’s Secret, Jude Atkins creates compelling characters and a wonderful sense of small-town community. The author lets her hero, Kelly Mc Winter, navigate the pitfalls of life within a group mistrustful of outsiders, yet where he himself is not entirely an insider. The tension created by his insecurities, both about his position in the community and his cautious peace with himself and his memories, gives the story a real-life depth.

The mystery of Anna’s Secret relies as much on the interaction of the characters as on the physical and verbal clues sprinkled throughout the narrative. In the tradition of classical whodunits, no one is quite who he (or she) appears, or for the reasons the reader may think. And yet, once the truth is revealed, the logic of the story is marvelously clear.

Anna’s Secret is a pleasure to read. Kelly McWinter, Indian Creek, and its inhabitants, will remain with you for some time after you read the last sentence. The only reason why this review did not rate 5 books is that the fastidiousness of this reviewer was occasionally assailed by less-than-perfect editing. I might also have liked a better developed backstory, although what Jude Atkins presented of it was well integrated into the storyline.

Nevertheless, I would welcome a series of investigations by Kelly Mc Winter, and I would keep an eye out for stories by Jude Atkins.

Review by Cherry Blossom

Review: The Fourth Time's A Charm

The Fourth times a Charm
by Lily Rose Moon

Rowena, the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, is a young witch whose spells have a tendency to go awry. She is determined to find a successful invisibility spell to regain her self-respect and get back into the good graces of her local Counsel of the Craft, but when the spell goes awry for the third time, she accidentally turns her neighbor’s cat invisible. When her neighbor Michael comes looking for his cat an attraction flares between the two. Rowena is powerfully attracted to him but not overly optimistic about it; she hasn’t had much luck with relationships. When her reversal spell goes awry, things go from bad to worse. If Rowena finally fixes this situation (and she's not so sure she can), will Michael still want to be with her?

It's magical, it's funny, it's enchanting, light and very sweet. On a dreary day, take a cup of time and read this. My heart lightened and I felt so much better after reading this book.

A witch with respected lineage but rather inept herself manages to make her neighbors cat disappear. Rowena, the witch, is adorable as only a witch can be, Curly cinnamon colored hair with a great attitude. Trying to reverse the spell that accidentally "poofed" away the cat causes her to accidentally "poof" away her neighbor. Now there's another dilemma to try to reverse that spell.

Sweet, touching things happen like the heroine accidentally falling into Michael's arms causing that instant throb of sensuality. The plot action continued to bring out wonderful touching feelings for me. You'll need to read this to see the worst thing that happens! It tickled my funny bone. Nothing serious, just a lighthearted comedy, well written and the thing to read when you need a light sweet feeling.

Review by Verbena

Monday, March 24, 2008

Review: Periwinkle Way

Periwinkle Way
by Nancy A. Lindley-Gauthier

When teenager Robyn looks up from snorkeling, she thinks she can see dolphins leaping in the distance. It is a beautiful place, a little beach just off beautiful Captiva Island, Florida. There are shells and wildlife. A swim across this natural, untamed beach is her one goal, the one plan she held on to through her whole, week-long vacation. It will be a wonderful, never-to-be forgotten experience, she is sure. And, Robyn's younger sister Rue is, like always, spoiling everything.

In a perfect piece of bad timing, a motorboat chugs up the beach, with a more than averagely cute guy preparing for a swim. Will his arrival makes things better or worse? Jump right in - the water is fine!

The descriptions of the setting in this story are downright delicious. It makes you feel as if you were right there on the sugar sand feeling a faint breeze ruffling your hair, seeing the blue sky, peering into the water, watching living things dart around as they go about their daily business. The setting feels and sounds good enough to eat! And having personally been on Sanibel and Captiva Island, I can tell you they capture the exact feel of the place.

The characters are two sisters Robyn and Rue and Mike a friend that they have met. They are typical young teens, one sister reluctant to expose herself to any strangers view and the other eager to snorkel. Their conversations are real enough to make you think you were sitting right there on the beach watching and listening to two siblings. One pleading with the other to do something and one resisting. Mike appears on the scene and with his outgoing personality instantly sweeps both sisters together and sends the trio off for some action. They are able to put you in that magical place watching with them as some magic unfolds before your eyes. They swim and snorkel. In the excitement they get caught up in a current. You feel their nervousness as they are swept away.

In the adventure they are able to spot an environmental hazard taking place. They later follow through on investigating and reporting it. It sort of makes you feel like “well, these youngsters today aren’t really so bad”.

A good read and maybe one you might consider sharing with a young friend.

Review by Verbena


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: The Madness of Celia Summers

The Madness of Celia Summers by Charlotte Chalmers

Celia Summers, intrepid mother of two, loves her work as an art therapist. She’s proud that she gives her elderly independents something to look forward to each day, even if her partner, Martin, is disparaging of her efforts.

But then Martin has a secret agenda Celia knows nothing about. Meanwhile she defends her geriatric charges, fights to secure gallery space for their artwork, and fights to keep The Harbour, a home the residents can truly call home, from being closed. She takes on the might of the town council; to the point of leaping from a church steeple to bring attention to the plight of her independents, no matter that she might fall and end up splattered all over the pavement. When she does fall, however, it’s much more painfully.

Police Constable Alex Burrows, the son of long time Harbour resident, Colonel Burrows, whose sense of humour has made her laugh, whose tragic personal circumstances have made her cry, whose smile has stolen her heart; turns out to be just as much a liar as Martin. Can Celia ever trust again? Can Alex get past her protective family of friends, forgotten by most of the people in their own lives, and convince her to trust him, to love him, as he does her?

I have to say right off it's been a long time since I've laughed out loud while reading a book, but Charlotte Chalmers has introduced a cast of characters you will love to get to know.

Celia Summers is the single mother of two, living with Martin, her partner and the father of her younger son. She's also an art therapist at a retirement home which is danger of being shut down. Celia makes it her aim to stop the Harbour from being shut down and her friends from losing their homes, much to the embarrassment of Martin, who describes Celia's work as "a bit of a part-time thing...A bit of a hobby, teaching them to paint wonky sunflowers."

The Harbour is filled with eccentric and charming people: Colonel Burrows, who sculpts when he's not chasing the women at the home with a glint in his eye; Eleanor Simpson, painter and elegance personified who finds Colonel Burrows' manner a little too condescending...or does she?; and, my personal favorite, May Binton, who loves to run barefoot and is a wonderful ditzy woman...with all the wisdom that comes with simplicity.

Colonel Burrow's son Alex comes on the picture and proceeds to complicate Celia's life. The interaction between Celia and Alex, and indeed Celia and Martin, makes The Madness of Celia Summers a page-turner. Add in a bit of mystery and a strong dose of the funnies, and you have a very satisfying read which I highly recommend.

Review by Rose

Note: A copy of this eBook is being given away in this weeks author spotlight. Earn an extra entry into the contest by commenting on this blog post between March 24 - March 28, 2008. Drawing will be held March 29, 2008.

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!