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Friday, July 30, 2010

To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning

To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full (366 pages)
Heat: Hot
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Only her love could gentle his savage soul—

He was born to a clan of warriors of supernatural strength, but Gavrael McIllioch abandoned his name and his Highland castle, determined to escape the dark fate of his ancestors. Hiding his identity from the relentless rival clan that hunted him, he called himself Grimm to protect the people he cared for, vowing never to acknowledge his love for ravishing Jillian St. Clair. Yet even from afar he watched over her, and when her father sent an urgent summons, "Come for Jillian," he raced to her side—into a competition to win her hand in marriage.

Why had he run from her so many years before? And why return now to see her offered as a prize in her father's manipulative game? Furious, Jillian vowed never to wed. But Grimm was the man she loved, the one who urged her to marry another. He tried to pretend indifference as she tempted him, but he could not deny the fierce desires that compelled him to abduct her from the altar. She was the only woman who could tame the beast that raged within him—even as deadly enemies plotted to destroy them both....

What’s not to adore about a fierce Scottish warrior with a special talent that he believes makes him unlovable? What’s not to be intrigued about a fine and feisty lass who battles and breaks down the walls the man has built around his heart? All those are answered in this wonderfully crafted tale of medieval Scottish romance with a supernatural flair.

What is great about this story is that the heroine and hero know each other and have a history. This isn’t a fly by night romance. It is based on a true knowledge of each other and yet secrets abound that seem insurmountable, at least to one of them.

Jillian is the heroine. She’s got attitude and is determined to never marry. Of course there truly is only one reason that she’s so dead set against marriage but a reader won’t know that for quite some time. It’s a good reason too. It sure kept me flipping the pages. Another reason to enjoy the book is when one of her parents turns conniving and sets a plan in motion to undermine all of Jillian’s stubborn intents. The action picks up and the fun starts. How is she going to maneuver out of this one? The odds are against her in more ways than one. Her mettle is tested. Her love is battered and stretched and yet Jillian is no retiring miss – she’ll stand up and be counted when the going gets tough. And boy, does it ever.

Grimm is a man of deep emotion. He has the manly elements of lust, rage, focus and other valuable warrior talents. He’s also burdened with honor, integrity and self-flagellation. He bases the path of his life on one incident from when he was a boy. Its ramifications have rippled through the years and only mid way or later through the book does a reader get the germ of an idea that things are completely skewed and Grimm is in for a major about face. It rocks his world and crumbles the basis of his life into ruins. He then has to face rebuilding himself. It’s bittersweet, it is very emotional and with Jillian by his side, extremely romantic and hopeful. Grimm isn’t a weak or ineffectual man. He’s a warrior through and through and his dialogue, verbal and internal, showcase that effectively.

The internal conflict is considerable but the external conflict is deadly. How can a people do despicable acts and call themselves righteous? How can they justify what they do and sleep at night? Let me put it this way. The bad elements are like a doctor who cuts off a person’s finger just because they were double jointed in that finger and feel perfectly justified in the doing. Why? Because it creeped him out. Does that sound like he’d be demented and evil? Then you have an idea what Grimm and company are up against. Big doings.

Secondary characters bring a rich and vibrant flavor to the story. They help in showcasing the hero and heroine’s personalities, their foibles and the world in which they live. There is humor, adventure, action and tender moments to flesh out the tale. If a reader enjoyed the marriage scene in the Princess Bride movie, then they’re in for a lot of fun when the time comes for Jillian to wed.

To Tame a Highland Warrior is a gripping, exciting and romantic read sure keep a reader riveted from chapter to chapter. I had a great time reading this book and it’s going on my keeper shelf because it has re-readability. It is what a perfect romance story should be, timeless.

Mr Irresistible by Julie Kimbrell

Mr. Irresistible by Julie Kimbrell
Publisher: Wild Horse Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (181 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Fennel

Kate Simon hasn't met the right man, but she's happy with her life regardless. But one look at Gage Morgan and she wonders if maybe she's missing out on something after all. He makes her heart race, her palms sweat, and leaves her body yearning for his touch. While he may be irresistible, Kate isn't sure he's quite right for her. He manages a bar and rides a Harley. Could he possibly be more different than her? And yet, every time they're apart, she can't wait until the moment she can see him again.

In this, her debut novel, Ms Kimbrell chose her heroine’s name when she was standing in line at the store checkout one day. Her writing is fluent and her scene setting is vivid and enticing. Her enjoyment at writing Mr Irresistible shines through.

There were times when tighter punctuation would have improved this story. Also the writing seems to change from third to first person as in ““That‟s because they like me more,” I teased.” as on page 173. There are also several careless typos that weren't been picked up during the editing process. I docked a half point from my rating for that reason, because it did affect my enjoyment of the story.

Ms Kimbrell’s secondary characters all play integral roles, some supportive, others conflictive, but throughout she creates a strong sense of family. I never quite got why Kate wasn’t prepared to give up her independence as the sense of family seemed so strong and she was surrounded by loving couples, all well portrayed. But Kate is a character you can’t help liking. Gage is just right for Kate, but Ms Kimbrell ensures he has his own baggage to carry and discard before they reach their HEA.

Starlight Wish by Janice Bennett

Starlight Wish by Janice Bennett
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Holiday
Length: Short (122 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Book two in the Wishing For Love series.

When Major Aubrey Kellands becomes the fifth Earl of Daventry, he returns from the Peninsula to the ancestral home he has not seen in eleven years. He finds both household and estate in complete chaos and decides he needs a sensible wife to help him restore order. His whimsical wish on a star brings Xanthe—his fairy godmother—and her cat Titus. Xanthe announces she will hold a house party over Christmas at his home, thus granting him the opportunity to find the wife he truly needs.

Miss Desdemona Lynton is lively and mischievous—the exact opposite of the wife Daventry seeks. Her humor—and her relentless pursuit of housebreakers who plague the neighborhood—enthrall him despite his best efforts to ignore her. His heart and his head are in deep conflict, and only Xanthe’s magical humming can help him discover that what he really needs—and wants—is love.

Daventry is ready to settle for a practical wife, lucky for him his fairy godmother knows best!

Major Aubrey Kellands, Fifth Earl of Daventry has been away from home and in the military for the last eleven years. His return to Kelland Court is met with an overwhelming reality check in the form of dilapidated buildings, neglected fields and a severe shortage of capable staff. Not to mention the stent of home invasion and robbery that had been hitting the surrounding area.

With two young step-sisters to care for and a house in bad need of proper managing, Daventry comes to the conclusion that what he really needs is a wife. A wish upon a star and a burst of smoke and feathers later, in pops Xanthia, his fairy godmother. What follows is fun, a little danger and pure Regency romance.

From the pen of Regency romance writer extraordinaire, Janice Bennett, comes a tale of magic, mystery, and a little bit of mayhem. Daventry is the stoic military man that has forgotten how to laugh in the face of chaos and enjoy life.

Desdimona “Desdi” Lynton is all that is “light and life”. Chaos seems to follow her wherever she goes.

I found myself laughing out loud at the scrapes that Desdi tended to get herself into. She was such a fun character. Unfortunately for Desdi, Daventry saw her as hoydenish, irresponsible and completely unfit to help raise his younger sisters. I was pleased but not surprised to see that he eventually came to the conclusion that he couldn’t live with Desdi and her chaos. Some might say I just spoiled the book but this is a true romance. There can be no other ending than a perfect and sweet happily ever after.

Ms. Bennett stays true to form by adding secondary characters that have their own heartwarming stories as well as an exciting subplot that keeps the story moving smoothly to a satisfying conclusion. This reviewer was pleased to note that Ms. Bennett left a beautiful opening for a continuation of Xanthia’s wish fulfilling adventures with her many god-children.

The Moon’s Pull by Beverly Torres

The Moon’s Pull by Beverly Torres
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short (77 pages)
Heat: Spicy/Hot
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Larkspur

Quentin Blackstone, an old werewolf has come to Hanson, Wyoming to stop his childhood friend from killing the humans. What he didn't expect to find was the beautiful detective, Samantha Woodrow on the case. She stirs passions in him he thought long ago forgotten. But when he looks into her emerald green eyes, his insides sizzle.

Samantha Woodrow knows something beyond passion is happening when she touches Quentin. She can feel him whenever he is near, and the pull of him is so strong, she senses he might be her soulmate.

Can Quentin stop his friend from killing Hanson's inhabitants and find the love he has for hundreds of years denied himself? Will the secret Samantha's grandmother told her when she was little help or haunt her as her desire for Quentin mounts? Only time will tell, as the Moon pulls these two lovers to their destiny.

Detective Samantha Woodrow has more to worry about than being the only woman in a male dominated department, someone is turning her small town into a killing field and there’s nothing natural about the way it’s being done. Quentin Blackstone is a handsome stranger who shows up just when he’s needed, but he’s more than a stranger, he’s got danger written all over his handsome face.

Ms. Torres uses every trick to turn this short story into a memorable tale, her plot is unique and with a world gone ga-ga over everything paranormal she gives us a new twist on a very familiar and popular monster. Her dialogue is precise and descriptive, albeit sometimes a little too over dramatized. Her characters, though of the paranormal persuasion, are believable. Her hero, Quentin and her heroine, Sam are two very different types and yet she makes us see how right they are for each other. Her romance is sweet and she makes her audience need pull them through the rough patches and cheer them on to their all elusive Happy Ever After. Her love scenes are spicy, hot and sensual and yet retain that innocence that the true romance reader needs.

So come howl at the moon and enjoy a very short sweet tale that has everything it takes to be a great short story. Kudos to Beverly Torres for her excellent storytelling.

Seduced By The Wolf by Terry Spear

Seduced By The Wolf by Terry Spear
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (404 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Cassie Roux is a wolf biologist who has studied real wolves for years, trying to prove to the world they’re not the evil predators so many people believe them to be. A red lupus garou, who lost her pack and was raised by real wolves, she has dedicated her life to their preservation. Now for the first time, she discovers a female wolf, her mate dead, and the pups and the mother in real danger, and Cassie does everything she can think of to protect them. Until she runs into one stubborn alpha pack leader—werewolf kind—who has other plans for her.

Leidolf Wildhaven is a red lupus garou pack leader of Portland, Oregon and has more troubles than he ever thought possible what with running a pack, a ranch and other businesses, dealing with a couple of cantankerous new lupus garous, and a myriad of other problems when a little red wolf of the lupus garou variety is spotted in his territory. She’d be perfect as his mate, if she agreed. Only the headstrong woman has other priorities, saving real wolves from extinction, when he’s more worried about his own kind’s extinction and winning her heart.

This story is a classic case of Tag, Dodge Ball and Hide and Go Seek. The game of love abounds with the pursuit, the tease and the requisite bad guys to make this story a consistent page turner.

Cassie is the heroine and a lady who could define the word ‘survivor’. At a young age, her world, her life and her future was destroyed and she was left to fend for herself in the only way she knew how. She lived with real wolves. Because of that event she has dedicated herself to their protection. She’s knowledgeable, earnest and knows no fear when she’s on the trail of a new pack to observe and get to know. I would say she’s a bit obsessed too. She has good reason, that’s true. But she has turned into a woman who finds it almost impossible to trust another person, human or werewolf. So she does things her own way. For the most part, it’s an admirable quality but as she finds out the hard way, being alone has some great disadvantages. And she has to eventually come to the realization that she wants more out of life than what she’s settled for. It’s that road to discovery which weaves throughout this book that allows a reader to get to know Cassie, and care for her. A reader wants her to be happy but wants her to lighten up too. She’s so stubborn! Then again, she is an alpha female.

Leidolf is the alpha and pack leader. I’ve been waiting for his story because in previous books in the series, he seemed so alone and I didn’t want him to be. Finally he has his lady love but the path to wedded bliss, werewolf style is fraught with peril – she is too stubborn to admit she wants him; he’s got other guys wanting to usurp his leadership, teenagers doing stupid stunts compounded by raging hormones and a mystery that if left unsolved could get some people near and dear to Leidolf, killed. Talk about pressure. But the hunky red wolf is up to the challenge and won’t let anyone deter him from his goal, and that’s mating with Cassie. Unfortunately, he makes more than your average amount of detours in his quest to gain Cassie’s agreement to mate. One of those places is downright embarrassing, which of course made me snicker. What endeared me to his character was his inability and in fact, total bemusement in doing business accounting and math. He was hopeless which made him flawed, vulnerable and for a romance hero, perfect.

The bad guys and the good guys get mixed up a bit for awhile. I had a hard time figuring out if the bad guys were really bad or misguided and the ones I expected to be troublesome ended up being halfway decent. A lot of twists and turns, misleading hints and diabolical misconceptions kept me guessing and wondering throughout the book. All the threads woven throughout were tied up either as an exciting action packed confrontation, romantic seduction with spectacular results or a comedic zing that lightened up the dramatic tone of most of this story. The secondary characters were varied, numerous and interesting. There are even adorable puppies to coo over.

Ms. Spear has another exciting winner on her hands with Seduced By The Wolf. It delves into pack dynamics and a man’s sense of self. It shows the value of trust and the joy of protecting family. It’s a book worthy to continue the wolf series that I fell in love with a few books ago. It’s so well thought out and orchestrated, it’s a pleasure to read. I hope she writes another one soon, and I can’t wait to find out who is going to have a happily-ever-after next. There’s no better recommendation that I can make except to say, read Seduced By The Wolf, it’s a gripping and entertaining tale with a rich plot, dynamic characters and a love story sure to please.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time For Alexander by Jennifer Macaire

Time For Alexander by Jennifer Macaire
Publisher: Calderwood Books
Genre: Time travel, Sci-Fi, Historical
Length: Full (271 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Lavender

Ashley is a one of the elite, a time-travel journalist who has fought to prove herself in a world that that believes her road in life was paved by her parents' money and her title.

After winning a prestigious award she is chosen to travel through time and interview a historical figure. Choosing her childhood hero Alexander the Great, she is sent back in time for less than a day to find and interview a man whose legend has survived to the present day. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time.

What follows, after she awakes under a pomegranate tree, is a hilarious, mind-bending tale of a modern woman immersed in the ancient throes of sex, love, quite a bit of vino, war, death, and ever so much more.

Time for Alexander by Jennifer Macaire was not only well written, but very entertaining as well. This book was great and I loved it.

The main character, Ashley, is from the future. She is a time-travel journalist and wins an award and so gets to travel back in time to interview any historical person of her choice. She chooses Alexander the Great, a man she is already in love with. Ashley is an injured character, lonely and seeking something. When she meets Alexander, she discovers something similar in him. She is awed by him, but as she gets to know him, it becomes clear just how human he really is, despite everyone around him treating him like a god. He¹s strong but vulnerable.

Alexander is utterly endearing, and the way this story is written, I believe every word of it. The author is truly talented.

I loved the little details such as Ashley's preparation to travel time. For example, sandals made of plaited grass imported from the Euphrates riverbank are given to her. Also, as a bit of sci-fi comes into play, she¹s given a futuristic invention, a tradiscope so she's able to understand languages, and given the proper shots. I read a lot of time travel, but I have never come across such an important detail before. It's one of many that makes the story more realistic.

The book has many good lines as well. I really liked this one: I hadn't known I'd had a heart until it broke. A tale filled with emotional ups and downs, Time For Alexander moved me many times.

As Ashley and Alexander become involved, I felt her heartache at being unable to tell Alexander that he is to die young or try to save him, for if she changes history, she will be erased. As I read this, I kept hoping something would happen, and she'd be able to get around that. Alexander was just so loveable.

I liked the scientific explanation given for when she arrived in his time; it was just enough and not over the top. The author described how the elasticity of time allowed for short visits, but problems occurred if a person stayed longer. The body's atoms fought to stay in that time...very interesting.

Many unexpected things happen in this book. Ashley and Alexander's relationship is so tender and strong that at first I suspected this is primarliy a romance, but it definitely is not. It gave me all the rewards that reading romance gives me, but, well, Alexander had other wives, and both he and Ashley had other relationships. If this hadn't been handled right, I might have been disappointed or lost respect for the characters; however, Ms. Macaire wrote this with such authentic attention to history and the culture her characters resided in.

Many complex relationships were explored. It was fascinating. In a less talented author, things might have gotten a little confusing, but the author made me understand.

It was fun meeting Alexander's teacher, Aristotle, in this book. I feel like I learned many things while reading this story but was also wildly entertained. The touching moments weren't lacking either. Alexander helps the dying. Then there's humor, and spicy sex.

Both characters experience personal growth, and it was interesting to read about. This story is intelligent, and deep topics are approached, but it's good enough that someone ought to produce it. I highly recommend it and will be looking for the other books in this series.

Psyche’s Caress by Viola Grace

Psyche’s Caress by Viola Grace
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short (95 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Holly

Sector Guard 10

Roha Excelter - code named Psyche - is on assignment on Marketh. She had a simple investigation planned until someone tried to kill her. Twice.

The simple problem turned out to be a conspiracy to keep volunteers imprisoned and the population in general, ignorant. Working with the Marketh council she has to uncover the seedy details of the confinement and find a way to bring the prisoners back to dignity. Once a third attempt on her life is made and she is saved by the same man for a second time...she begins to realize that Ruar might be a good candidate for the Sector Guard.

The Sector Guard series is such fun to read. The amazing mind of Viola Grace creates such unique characters and so many unusual worlds.

Psyche has come to Marketh to use her unique mix of talents -- reading souls and diplomacy -- to investigate why the women brought to the planet to help repopulate it have been not only unsuccessful, but in several cases, suicidal. When three separate attempts are made on her life, one within minutes of entering Marketh airspace, she is determined to get to the bottom of things. When the man who saves her twice uses his unique powers, Psyche recruits him as a possible member of the Sector Guard. Ruar Asher is the son of the head of the Council on Marketh, and while she says nothing, Psyche realizes he is her mate.

Can Psyche solve the puzzle of why the women are infertile and suicidal? Can she and Ruar uncover the traitor in the midst of the Marketh council? Will Ruar choose to stay on Marketh, or will he join the Sector Guard and find a future with Psyche?

Psyche is a force to be reckoned with. She's able to read souls, and also able to compel with her voice. This latter talent is shared with her brother, hero from another of the books. Psyche is determined, focused and strong in both mind and body. I really enjoyed watching her take over, in spite of the opposition from many of the Marketh men. She is smart and a bit sassy at times, and she does what she needs to do to solve the problems on Marketh.

Ruar is a delight as well. He is the perfect hero, innocent and sexy at the same time. He is quick to act when he senses danger, and he enjoys watching the other men squirm when his woman confronts them. When these two finally get together, the heat level begins to rise quickly and there are a couple of memorable scenes involving these two.

For Sector Guard fans, there is an added bonus: a visit to Morganti for the impending birth of the first naturally conceived offspring of the Sector Guard family-Mala (Fixer) and Isabi (Shade) who finally welcome their long awaited offspring. The whole of Sector Guard is on hand, from both the original base on Morganti, and the new base on Station 13.

There is something for everyone here, romance, intrigue, danger, humor and a wonderful sense of family throughout. I recommend this to all science fiction fans who like their romance with a touch of danger and a dash of humor.

Girl Gone Nova by Pauline Baird Jones

Girl Gone Nova by Pauline Baird Jones
Publisher: L & L Dreamspell
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (434 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Cholla

Doc—Delilah Oliver Clementyne’s—orders are simple: do the impossible and do it yesterday. A genius/bad ass, she does the impossible on a regular basis. But this time the impossible is complicated by an imminent war between the Earth expedition to the Garradian Galaxy and the Gadi, an encounter with some wife-hunting aliens, and not one but two bands of time travelers.

The only way it could get worse? If the heart she didn’t know she had starts beating for the wrong guy…

Stop the war brewing between the Earth expedition and the Garradian Galaxy? Okay. Keep a band of marauding aliens from stealing every woman in sight? Sure! Do it all before lunch? No problem, after all, the impossible only takes longer, if you ask Doc – Delilah Oliver Clementyne – that is. Known for always having the right tools at the right time, there isn’t anything she can’t do.

Doc is probably the most creative and inventive character I’ve met to date. Able to adapt to any and every situation within the blink of an eye, there isn’t a job too difficult for her...or so she thinks. And then she meets Hel – Leader of the Gadi people and everything changes.

She is strong, reliable and confident, everything that makes a good soldier better. What makes her remarkable is how well she knows herself and her abilities. Watching her manipulate her talents to fit each new obstacle was fascinating. She also grows and changes more than almost any character I’ve ever read as well. Moving from cold and wondering if she even had a heart, Doc becomes what she terms ‘a real girl’ before it’s all over. I loved her and her quick wit and would love to read more of her adventures.

Hel is a paradox of his own. His public side is all professional. He’s the calm and serene diplomat at all times, both out in public and with his advisors. However, when he’s backed into a corner, you definitely do not want to be the one standing in his way. Hel draws on resources you wouldn’t expect him to have, and this gives even more depth to his character. In addition, he knows from the very beginning the Doc isn’t your average solider and his patience with her, even when he’s utterly confused by her comments and actions, is heartwarming. He is just what she needs to complete the transition to a ‘real girl’.

Girl Gone Nova is an action-filled science fiction treat! Stuffed full of intrigue, time-traveling, wisecracks and every girl’s dream of love and happily-ever-after, it’s a sure-fire hit with any lover of the genre. Ms. Jones has a talent for bringing unusual characters forth and making them seem like ‘one of the guys’, it’s a talent you’re sure to remember for a long time to come, as is her amazing novel, Girl Gone Nova.

Where There’s Heat by Grace Hood

Where There’s Heat by Grace Hood
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (136 pages)
Heat: Hot
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Larkspur

Darren Kelley loves his town, his job as a volunteer firefighter, and working at a shelter for abandoned horses. He couldn't imagine living anywhere else. Until the cute girl from high school returns to town, all grown up.

Angie Davis is a pastry chef working at a popular restaurant in Boston. When her mother runs off with her latest toy boy, Angie rushes back to her small hometown in Maine to rescue the family pasta factory. Not content to return to the boonies, she decides to sell the business, fast, and get back to her real life. But before she can escape, she meets up with the man of her high school fantasies, and questions whether she needs the bright lights and big city to be happy.

It’s said that you can never go home again, but Angie Davis has to take care of some family business back in her old hometown. Darren Kelley has lusted after her since high school but never thought he could measure up to her high society life. Fate brings them together and sparks fly -- but is it enough?

Author Grace Hood has that rare ability in an author to give her readers a full length novel in the amount of pages usually found in a short story. Believe me when you’ve finished these scant 136 pages you will feel fulfilled like you’ve read a much longer book. What also sets her apart is her incredible storytelling talent and that will become obvious to you as you read her amazing tale, a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl, lusts after her, gets her and tries his best to keep her. And another thing I love about this is that her heroine is strong and independent and the big he-man hero is the needier of the couple.

The dialogue is filled with the best humor I’ve read in a long time, I actually found myself laughing out loud at some of the comments the characters make, but it’s also filled with great lines, precise narrative mixed with a little naughty speak.

Now let’s talk about Ms. Hood's characters, especially her hero and heroine Darren and Angie. These are two of the most unlikely people to fall in love that you will ever find, but you’ll also encourage them all through their trials and tribulations because you just won’t be able to help yourself. Her secondary characters are equally important and some have four legs.

Her romance is funny, witty, heartwarming with that heartbreak that makes the happy ever after so much more meaningful. Her love scenes are so hot you’ll think you’re having hot flashes. They’re physical, visceral, sensual and erotic. This is definitely not your Grandmother’s romance novel. But those of us who love sizzling romances will really appreciate Ms. Hood’s talent.

All in all you will not find a more comforting romance. A must read for the summer. So put on your sneakers and run to the nearest bookseller for one hot summertime romance. You will not be sorry you did. Oh and Ms. Hood, kudos to you!!!

Comedy of Terrors by Ingrid Darzins

Comedy of Terrors by Ingrid Darzins
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: Short (135 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Rose Hill's life is about to change when she is forced to take on a student teacher who is terrified of her own shadow. It's not helping that a serial killer is on the loose, either.

Comedy of Terrors is a farcical jaunt through a contemporary classroom; It's bound to puzzle, amuse, and perhaps even annoy any reader.

Teacher Rose has a sarcastically funny mind, a Mr. goody-two-shoes principal, and an inept student teacher named Ms. Figgy Puddy. Life is far from ideal.

Then the parents start complaining… and when a preacher gets into the act, Rose instructs her student teacher (Figgy) to leave lurid details out of the history lessons, no matter how much it improves the interest level. (“If they want sex, they can thumb through National Geographic like everyone else…”)

It takes a long time to begin get any sense of story from this odd compilation of characters, who seem to be working at odds (both to one another and to reason.) Author Ingrid Darzins (via teacher Rose) sees absolutely everything in a funny way. From a moment in the staff lounge to the infamous student-teacher meetings, this is one mini-disaster after another. Finally, when a parent ends up dead, we begin to get a sense that we are going somewhere. This is not a terrifically long story, and there is not one dull or slow moment in it.

Strange though this certainly is, it does move right along and it is incredibly funny. I have to think if you are a teacher, or have ever been, you pretty much laugh (or cry) from one end of this story to the other. Comedy of Terrors is a worthwhile diversion.

Viking, Go Home by Faith V. Smith

Viking, Go Home by Faith V. Smith
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short (82 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Wulgar Thorrason’s inability to keep his lust under control earns him the ire of a Faery Princess, who sends him forward in time to modern-day Michigan to learn the difference between lust and love. There he meets Raven Harrison, a romance author. The petite beauty piques his lust, but he sees red when she scoffs at his tale of being a time-traveling Viking.

Raven is blown over by the handsome and half-dressed man who comes out of nowhere. His sensuality sends a shiver of desire straight to her feminine core. However, his tale of being curse by a Faery leads her to believe he should be locked up for his own protection. Before she can suggest just that, someone begins shooting at them, and both she and the Viking are running for their lives.

A circumstance that brings them closer in more ways than one, until their unknown assailant threatens Wulf’s life. Now both must make decisions that could destroy their relationship before it gets off the ground—and before the Viking is snatched back to the past.

“Until you learn that lust is not love, you will be banned from your homeland.”

This is the harsh sentence handed down upon Wulfgar Thorrason by the Norseland faery princess Catriona, for wreaking havoc in both the human and faery worlds. Wulf is catapulted nearly a thousand years into the future to the year 2010.

His first impression of the 21st century includes being shot at and meeting a beautiful woman dressed in “men’s garb”. Raven not only insults his name but she promptly tells him to Go Home!

As you can imagine, Wulf would be only too happy to comply but has no recourse until he has learned his lesson in love. What happens along the way makes for a humorous, hot and exciting story thanks to one very modern and independent romance writer on a deadline, Raven Harrison.

I enjoyed watching Wulf’s appreciation for the fairer sex as independent and capable individuals grow and develop throughout the story. At the same time Raven learns that it’s okay to allow someone to care for about her. She doesn’t have to be alone to be in control of her life.

Ms. Smith has penned a fun and fast moving novella that will keep you entertained from the beginning to end. Raven and Wulf’s HEA, while a little fantastical, works for these characters and left a smile on this reviewer’s face. I think you will enjoy it as well.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Saving Emma by Cheryl Wright

Saving Emma by Cheryl Wright
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Length: Full (241 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Larkspur

Emma Larkin is running for her life--nowhere is safe. Stalked by her husband's killers, desperate to protect her young daughter, Emma must find what the killers are looking for before she becomes their next victim. When undercover cop Gary Bedford planned a relaxing break, he hadn’t counted on bumping into Emma. Now he can't resist the temptation to discover all her secrets....

But should Emma trust her life and heart to Gary Bedford?...And can they solve the mystery surrounding her husband’s death -- and uncover his deadly secret?

Running for your life and the life of your young daughter is hard, dangerous work and Emma Larkin knows that all too well, but running straight into the arms of a tall stranger is the hardest thing of all. Can she trust him or is he just another thing to run from?

Ms. Wright takes us right into the wild beauty of Australia with this contemporary action packed suspense filled romance who’s plot is that of a time honored traditional crime drama and yet she makes it truly her own by exposing her American readers to a culture shock when she takes us to the Australian cities, country sides and bush country. Her dialogue is that rowdy and sometimes profane speak you’d expect from seasoned cops mixed with vivid descriptions of scenery and scenes filtered with the twang of Aussie talk.

Her characters are exceptional, three dimensional, realistic and very well developed. Her hero, Gary and heroine, Emma are truly deserving of a happily ever after but to our great enjoyment the author makes them work for it, then she adds the added attraction of the young sprite, Sally who enriches the whole of the novel. Other secondary characters are equally important and add everything we need to complete the tale. The romance is sweet and sexy and we readers are left no choice but to cheer the couple on because they are so desperate in their need and obvious love for one another. The love scenes are hot and sexy, yet she leaves some room for your imagination to complete the scene.

If you like your romance on the dark side with a little danger mixed in with your happy ever after or if you need your hero and heroine to be truly deserving of each other, look no farther. Just look for something to help ease those goose bumps you’ll get from the roller coaster ride that is Saving Emma.