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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (368 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sunflower

Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she's still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner's suite occupied by the last person she wants to see.
Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn's cheerful veneer.

Single mother Carly has weathered rumors, lies and secrets for a lifetime, and is finally starting to move forward with love and life. But if the Blackberry Island Inn goes under, Carly and her daughter will go with it.

To save their livelihoods, Carly and Michelle will undertake a turbulent truce. It'll take more than a successful season to move beyond their devastating past, but with a little luck and a beautiful summer, they may just rediscover the friendship of a lifetime.

You just never know when it's time to confront your past. Let go of the pain, make amends with those you once loved. In Barefoot Season, Ms. Mallery sets the stage for two women, once friends, until betrayal tore them apart.

Carly and Michelle were like sisters at one point. Who would have thought they envied each other, never once sharing those feelings with one another? Michelle, bitter and angry, has come back from serving in the military. Though she isn't very likable at first, it's understandable why she acts the way she does. As the story progresses, Michelle is redeemed into a character I cared about. I'd hoped things would work out for her in the beginning, despite her attitude. She's got a lot to own up to, and people to deal with she'd left behind all those years ago. It's never easy.

Then there's Carly, the other heroine. She works hard to be the best mother she can be for her daughter. She doesn't allow her past to overcome her, though there are people on Blackberry Island who don't ever want to let her forgot who she once was. The fears within her about her Michelle's homecoming turn into surprise. Carly and Michelle are pushed into working together to save something they both care about - the inn.

It looks almost as if history may repeat itself again when Carly shows feelings for Sam, and he takes a liking to Carly and her daughter. For Michelle, her love interest is less subtle, but it does show promise with Jared. Though Both Sam and Jared play a role in this book, their relationship with the woman doesn't take a leading role in the story. I was particularly interested in how the story would play out with Sam, as he knows both Carly and Michelle. I would have loved to learn more about Jared, but his character wasn't as up front and center as some of the others.

Ms. Mallery creates another delightful story with emotion and depth readers are bound to fall in love with. When picking up a book by this author, we know one thing- we're in for a wonderful heartwarming ride. Barefoot Season is no different. The bonds of friendship and family are tested within the pages of this novel. Let's not forget about falling in love. Both Michelle and Carly have a chance for happiness.

This book aims to please. It's one that belongs on the keeper shelf, to be read over and over again. Michelle and Carly, plus all the other characters in this book found their way into my heart and mind, even when the book was finished. If you're a fan of contemporary women's fiction with strong romance elements, then I strongly suggest Barefoot Season.

Moonlight and Illusions by Diane Wylie

Moonlight and Illusions by Diane Wylie
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (292 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Water Lily

Illusionist Stephen Elliott performs dazzling magic feats to crowded theaters around the world. In Mexico, an old woman presses an ancient Mayan relic, giving him the stone and a mysterious warning with no explanation. Stephen violates that warning and must hide his secret from the world. He’s become a person no one can explain or understand. Sleight of hand becomes real magic, and moonlight becomes essential. Stephen is cursed, alone…and immortal.

From her seat in the twenty-second row, Anabel Bernier recognizes with a jolt the handsome star of the magic show. World War II and the passage of time did nothing to dim the burning memory of her moonlight encounter with the charming Stephen Elliott and his Mayan relic on the deck of the USS Hope. Finding him again twenty years later stirs up more questions than answers. Can she trust that he is telling the truth? Could the stone and moonlight have affected her too? Now their lives are inextricably entwined. If she helps Stephen, she could lose him forever.

Unexplained events, secrets, and powerful magic threaten their second chance at a future together. But how long would the future be? Minutes? Days? Years? Forever? Terrible choices could lead to unthinkable consequences for Stephen and Anabel. The mysterious Mayan relic holds the key.

Don’t take candy, or companion spirits, from strangers. Most kids have been given that advice about candy. Candy from strangers carries the possibility of danger. Companion spirits carry a bit more than the possibility. Illusionist magician Stephen Elliot could have benefited from that advice and its corollary. If you do, by chance, take the companion spirit (or candy), follow the accompanying rules; the unspoken ones (don’t eat the candy) and the spoken ones (don’t expose the spirit to moonlight). If you don’t, you’ll suffer the consequences.

Stephen didn’t mean to break the rules, but sometimes intent doesn’t matter. There are still consequences.

Moonlight and Illusions is a book that hums a familiar tune: love works in the strangest ways. Still, I would have liked to have seen the scenes and experienced the consequences paid by Stephen and his family following the Companion’s exposure to moonlight. There’s a lot of story that gets glossed over. It may be back story since the main plot involves his relationship with Anabel Bernier, but there are chapters of back story and a few of the missing scenes are referred to repeatedly. I’d have happily exchanged some of the present day “maybe I love him, maybe I don’t” scenes for the much more interesting experience of watching the consequences unfold and seeing the realization of those consequences dawn on Stephen and his family.

Ms. Wylie does a fabulous job with setting—Mexico, battle fields, hospital ships, Mayan ruins. She's a master at incorporating the reader’s senses to transport them to each time and place. Moonlight and Illusions is a fun, captivating read, but it could have been truly amazing. I’ve read other books by Ms. Wylie and know she has the talent to pull it off. Delving a bit deeper into the curse/promise of the stone would have made this book sing instead of simply humming. Still, I recommend this book for what it is—a satisfying, descriptive romance with a paranormal twist.

Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss by Maya Banks

Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss by Maya Banks
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (183 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Kennedia

Devon Carter was her first; now newly wed Ashley wants their passion to last. But her dreams of true love are crushed by the discovery that their marriage is another of Daddy's business deals. Her strategy: act the part of perfect wife and make Devon love her.

But Devon misses the bubbly, no-holds-barred woman his wife used to be. Who is this Ashley with the steely demeanor of a society wife? And will he find a way to rekindle the fire in her eyes…especially now that she's pregnant?

Charming romance with emotional turmoil sums up Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss by Maya Banks. This light read had my emotions engaged after the first page, I wanted to reach out and smack the hero of the story and then I wanted to scream at the heroine to turn and run the other way from this creep.

Devon Carter is a driven man who has worked hard to get ahead in life and everything he has ever wanted is at his fingertips. He just has to marry the daughter of the man whose company he wants to merge with his. Nice plan, it’s just too bad an innocent woman who knows nothing about it is in the middle. I really wanted to hate our hero for this lesson in idiocy, but throughout the story readers are shown that Devon isn’t really a bad guy and he really does love his bride to be, come wife. Devon thinks he needs to change his wife to make her the perfect partner for him; he doesn’t realize what a treasure she already is until it is too late. Devon loves his wife just the way she is, he just hasn’t figured it out yet and it was enthralling to watch him discover his true feelings for Ashley.

Ashley Copeland is an optimistic and effervescent woman who loves deeply and innocently. She was a character that immediately stole my heart with her zest for life and exuberant personality. I felt every emotion she portrayed throughout the story and my heart broke for her when it seemed her dreams of happily ever after were not coming true. Ash was one of those characters that I totally empathized with and wanted her to be happy so badly. I wanted to protect her from Devon right from the beginning and watching her trying to transform herself to what she believed Devon wanted just made me mad. I cheered for her when she discovered she doesn’t need to be anything but what she is. Ashley was such a wonderful character with depth and spirit.

Ms. Banks’ prose is sweet and charming in this romantic story of deception and its effects on a relationship. This story was fast paced in the beginning and moved rather relaxed throughout however I did find there were times when it dragged. Nothing significant but the conflict was somewhat repetitive. Ashley needs to be what her husband wants in order to gain his love and Devon doesn’t know what he wants until it is gone. Ms. Banks pens dialogue that is authentic for her characters and kept this story progressing at a leisurely pace. The plot was beautifully written displaying the characters growth throughout. The ending was sweet and satisfying leaving me with a smile on my face and lightness in my heart for the characters and their happy ending.

Maya Banks has written a charming romance with characters that tug the heartstrings of her readers. Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss is a lovely story that will have readers searching for more tasty treats by Ms. Banks.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lessons After Dark by Isabel Cooper

Lessons After Dark by Isabel Cooper
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (334 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

A woman with an unspeakable past
Olivia Brightmore didn't know what to expect when she took a position to teach at Englefiend School, an academy for "gifted" children. But it wasn't having to rescue a young girl who levitated to the ceiling. Or battling a dark mystery in the surrounding woods. And nothing could have prepared her for Dr. Gareth St. John...

A man with exceptional talent
He knew all about her history and scrutinized her every move because of it. But there was more than suspicion lurking in those luscious green eyes. Even with all the strange occurrences at the school, the most unsettling of all is the attraction pulling Olivia and Gareth together with a force that cannot be denied.

Olivia knew the job she was taking on was unusual. She didn’t know exactly what a school for “gifted” children meant, but she knew it wasn’t going to be for common everyday gifts. She was a bit amazed though when she arrived and had to help a young girl afloat by the ceiling find a way to get back to the floor…

Isabel Cooper writes a very good story. Her words flow well, the storyline is interesting and she mixes danger and love together in active quest to stop a demon. There are no boring parts in this story.

The main female character, Olivia, married young, lost her husband, and sustained herself by playing at being a fake medium. As she matured, she found a mentor who actually trained her in areas of magic. It was this knowledge that got her the job.

The leading male character is Gareth. He was injured in the war, knew of her charlatan role, and works as a doctor. He has no respect for her.

The author makes the sparks fly between the two. He can’t keep his hands off her and she wants him just as badly. Even though they end up in bed, they can’t tolerate each other. This part of the story is one my favorite parts. Ms. Cooper has Olivia give as a good as she gets and easily shows how hard it is for them to pretend they don’t care.

Throw in a demon who lives in the woods, wanting to take over the school, and the plot speeds right up. It gets very exciting when he begins to break the portal between his world and theirs. The drama and tension worked into the story as the war begins between human and demon is well expressed by the author. As they learn how their powers work and try to save the students and perhaps the world, you won’t want to leave your chair until you’ve reached the end.

This one is going in my personal library as a keeper. If you enjoy a good read with a bit of paranormal influence, you’ll like this book. Why not give it a try yourself?

A Death That Lingers by Kaylie Newell

A Death That Lingers by Kaylie Newell
Publisher: Beachwalk Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (210 pgs)
Heat Level sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Sage

A wife leaves her abusive husband, but soon realizes nothing will keep him away. Not even death.

Josie Collins is the wife of a world famous rock star and the envy of nearly every woman in the country. But the horrific truth is her husband wants nothing more than to see her dead.

Josie finally summons the courage to leave her famous, abusive husband and returns to her hometown among the winter wheat of Kansas. When her husband is killed in a fiery car accident while on his way to find her, she thinks she has escaped him at last, but she's wrong. It quickly becomes clear that even in death he has no intention of letting her go.

As Josie develops a rapport with sexy police chief, Paul Stark, trouble begins to brew. There's something special about the tall, mysterious officer with the long jagged scar down his face. But Josie soon learns that he's haunted by a nightmarish past.

Sparks fly in their small, Midwestern town, and as their attraction grows, so does a dead husband's fury. In order to smother this dark, sinister spirit, and perhaps find true and lasting happiness with each other, the living must learn to let go, give in, and leave their ghosts in the past.

Domestic abuse victim, Josie Collins, is finally leaving behind her superstar husband. She’s ready to start a new life back in her hometown, but her husband’s shadow haunts her everywhere she goes. Even after she learns of his death, his spirit still lingers by her.

Josie was a very realistic heroine. She came off as an average heartbroken woman on her search to forget and let go of the shadows that haunt her. I found her to be very enjoyable. Her relationships with the hero, her grandparents, and her best friend made the book come together. I felt as though I was reading about a real person's life. I also enjoyed Paul, the hero. He, too, was faced with a death that lingered, and the slow unraveling of his past made me understand him more and more as the pages turned. The scene near the end with him touched me. It was very beautifully written.

My favorite part of the book was the paranormal aspect of it. With most paranormal books, the supernatural elements sometimes overpower the plot and the characters. In this novel, however, the paranormal side of the plot was very slow in it’s development. It seemed more plausible. Ms. Newell also didn’t give her ghost any unrealistic powers. He was rather weak for a ghost, at times doing nothing but making scary noises or appearing here or there. Only near the end does he gain strength and cause some damage. I loved the scenes written from the other ghost’s point of view. That added some depth to the story.

Another part of the book I really enjoyed was the cat. Tumbleweed reminded me of my own cat, and I’m pretty certain the author must have had a cat. I really enjoyed the scenes with Josie’s furry friend.

For everything good about A Death That Lingers I did have a couple of minor issues. I thought the story dragged a bit and there were a few scenes that could have been shorter. Also, I wasn’t happy with the editing in this story. There were parts where more dialoge would have gone a long way to cut down on so much telling and not enough showing. The author's use of passive voice was a distraction for me but unless you know what to look for it probably won't affect your enjoyment of this story.

Besides those tiny little problems, however, I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this wonderful, talented author. If you’re a fan of realistic contemporary with characters who have flaws and quirks that make them real, then you have to give this book a try.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Command Performance by Sally Quilford

Command Performance by Sally Quilford
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (127 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fennel

Wealthy Vittorio d’Este believes in protecting his family, which is why he does not want his nephew, Marcus, to marry songstress Lindi Baker. On the pretext of finding out if she is a suitable mate for Marcus, he orders her to his private island for a command performance. But Lindi is not what he thinks she is. She, too, brings out all his protective instincts and teaches him how to love again. But how will he react when he learns that she has lied to him?

Singer Lindi Baker has been bullied for years, so she is in no mood to be commanded by Vittorio d’Este, no matter how gorgeous he is. Lindi agrees to accompany Vittorio to his private island at the behest of Gemma, who is the one really sleeping with Marcus. Unsophisticated Lindi does not realise until it’s too late that her own heart is at stake.

Ms. Quilford has a wonderfully gentle writing style that carries you along with her story. Lindi Ms. Quilford's heroine is portrayed as more than slightly gullible, incredibly naive, cowed by everyone around her, and I could truly feel her timorous approach to life. I was rooting for her to grow and learn from the new experiences bombarding her when Vittorrio, the author’s hero, came into her life.

The whole story revolves round misconceptions, false accusations from Vittorio, and what truly amounts to kidnapping. I found myself wondering why Lindi simply fell in with his plans when he was less than pleasant to her. She may not like her mother’s partner (and how could she not know they were lovers too?), but up to that point she’d never rebelled against anything she was told to do. At this point, it disappointed me I was not behind Lindi as solidly as I had been, especially as I was enjoying the author’s wonderfully vivid description. I have seen Chesterfield’s crooked church spire, and I’ve visited Venice and loved how Ms. Quilford took me back to those places so easily.

Unfortunately I never came to like Ms. Quilford’s hero. Yes he was a man at the top who let nothing get in his way if he wanted something, but he didn’t grow or change as the story unfolded.

It still didn’t stop me from enjoying the sweet romance involved until suddenly without warning the timid beleaguered heroine turned into a dominant sexual partner who resorts to mild bondage all within one night, and then as quickly as the sun rises, reverted back to character.

While this may not have been my favorite book, that will not stop me looking out for more books by this author. I love her vivid descriptions; she has a writing style that appeals, and characters that bring out reader emotions whether they are negative or positive, and since that is what most writers strive for, Ms. Quilford has definitely achieved her aim with this book.

Brightwater Blood by Shona Husk

Brightwater Blood by Shona Husk
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (77 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Iris

To survive, they’ll have to think outside the circle.

Were-lion Lachlan Garvey is closing in on the Brightwater women, the last of a Shamanic line that the Council wants eradicated for their murderous use of magic. One minute he’s in his animal form, examining a dead body in a patch of charred grass. The next, he wakes up human—naked, shot and lying in a circle of his own blood.

Dayna Brightwater is sure the man she’s bound with a blood spell is the one who just murdered her twin sister. Yet even if she did have the stomach for revenge killing, she doesn’t have the power. But what to do with him now? If she lets him go, he’ll kill her, too.

Trapped in the path of a deadly magical fire, Lachlan has to think fast—and talk faster—to convince the beautiful Shaman he’s innocent. As the roaring flames creep closer, Dayna must choose. Trust Lachlan and use magic to save them both…or flee. And live with the knowledge she caused his death, proving that no Brightwater is capable of love.

Witches, shifters, and imminent disaster . . . oh my! This short story is lacking nothing. Despite the length, the reader is treated to suspense, danger, backstory and a little “sizzle” (having the hero naked for most of the story doesn’t hurt, either!).

While trying to make decisions that affect both herself and Lachlan (our hero), Dayna finds herself reading her mother's and recently deceased sister’s journals and performing magic she does not think herself capable of. All the while, the reader is able to feel the impending doom and increasing urgency of the fire about to descend upon them.

The plot is well-crafted, the characters human, yet magical. The paranormal aspects of their beings do not overtake the plot. The suspense and drama are not over-done. The romance between Dayna and Lachlan is almost an afterthought as the fire and their actions with regards to that are most important. But you don’t miss the physical romance.

Even if you are not familiar with paranormal romances, this is a book you will want to read. Grab an hour or so, and enjoy yourself!

The Mercenary Way by Tory Richards

The Mercenary Way by Tory Richards
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (180 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Kidnapped and imprisoned, Sarah Reynolds needs all the help she can get--but soldier-of-fortune Clint Becker is just a different kind of danger.
When a ruthless gem smuggler mistakes Sarah for her best friend Susan, she's kidnapped and stashed on an island. Her only hope of rescue is Susan's cousin Clint--a man whose my-way-or-else attitude is as infuriating as his muscular body is distracting.

Clint, ex-Navy SEAL turned mercenary, desperately needs a vacation. Rescuing a kidnapped woman from an island paradise isn't what he had in mind. And when he encounters Sarah's sassy mouth and tempting ways, he soon realizes he's the one in trouble. Clint and Sarah elude her captors, but there's no escaping the attraction sizzling between them. With danger pursuing them, they have to learn to work together. But can an opinionated florist and a rugged mercenary ever find common ground?

Danger, so real that death may be a breath away, plus Sara Reynolds and Clint Becker’s primal-need mating makes The Mercenary Way a spine-tingling, adrenaline-driven experience.

The curvy, soft, beautiful little Sarah has a sassy mouth, a spitfire temper, and determination that sustain her outwardly, but on the inside she is scared beyond belief. She has no idea what the goons who kidnapped her want. She does know they think she is Susan, who is her business partner and best friend. To protect her friend, she does not reveal her true identity which puts her in a dire situation.

Clint Becker, Susan’s cousin, is a mercenary who had been a Navy SEAL. For Susan, he takes time out and goes to rescue Sarah and finds himself tested to his limits as they make their way through the jungle, trying to stay ahead of the enemy. Clint has no place in his life for lasting relationships. His work does not lend itself to home, wife, and children.

Tory Richards strips most of the civilized amenities away, leaving survival instincts and the basic primal-needs of human beings at the fore for most of the story. At times the crude language and parts of the sexual encounters are a little off-putting, but the suspense and the hope for more than physical love to emerge keep one reading. Only late in the story, do the finer emotional, mental, and spiritual elements of love blend with the physical. When all these come together the poignancy of the love that Sarah and Clint share is breathtakingly beautiful.

Tory Richards’ skill in creating suspense and scenes of sexual encounters that sizzle and throb with life is phenomenal. Her description, especially those of the waterfall and its cave scene, takes the reader right into the action. She hijacks the reader’s attention and holds it from the beginning to the end of The Mercenary Way.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What She Doesn't Know by Lina Gardiner

What She Doesn't Know by Lina Gardiner
Publisher: Lina Gardiner/Smashwords
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (109 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Raven Gale can’t put her past behind her. Haunted by the fact that her husband tried to kill her and killed himself instead, she's driven to find out what is going on. Someone is pretending to be him on an isolated island in the Bay of Fundy. She needs to know why. But now, stranded on an island with no way back to the mainland, she’s in the worst trouble she could ever imagine.

Who would suspect so much mystery, suspense, and love could be crammed into such a short novel! What She Doesn't Know throbs with adrenaline-pumping action and breathtaking emotion from start to finish.

When the reclusive, somewhat cowed-down Raven Gale decides to put her doubts to rest about the death of her abusive husband, she goes to Haart Island in the Bay of Fundy and unintentionally stirs up a hornet’s nest.

Diagnosed with traumatic amnesia after the death of her parents, Raven has blocked out much of her life. Since the death of her Uncle Phil, who raised her after her parent’s death, she never expects to know what happened during those years. The emotional journey Raven takes is heart-wrenching, plus her inability to trust makes her journey even more treacherous and miserable. As her true nature emerges and she seems to grow some backbone, I couldn't help but celebrate her victory.

Sloan Brockway, an undercover operative for the Protectorate, a secret organization, is neck deep in an investigation. He's in a hot bed of gangsters in the house on Haart Island when the na├»ve Raven shows up, forced along at gunpoint by the irascible Captain Mike. Sloan and Raven have a history that she doesn’t remember, but he does—big time!Sloan never falters in his determination to complete his mission but his need to keep Raven safe adds danger that almost costs him his life.

What She Doesn't Know is action packed. The pace doesn't slow as Sloan and Raven outmanuever the gangsters who want to see them dead. Nor does it lag during the search for a mysterious relic. This book had me turning pages like crazy to see what happened next.

The secondary characters have a tremendous impact on both Sloan and Raven. Even her parents and Uncle Phil, long dead, influence the turn of events.

Lina Gardiner weaves a tight, exciting tale. Her writing style brings the senses to full alert and eggs the reader along with subtle clues and foreshadowing. What She Doesn't Know is an entertaining thriller and beautiful love story. Good entertainment!

A Marshal of Her Own by Linda La Roque

A Marshal of Her Own by Linda La Roque
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (99 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Water Lily

Despite rumors of “strange doings” at a cabin in Fredericksburg, investigative reporter Dessa Wade books the cottage from which lawyer Charity Dawson disappeared in 2008. Dessa is intent on solving the mystery. Instead, caught in the swirling mist that surrounds the cabin, she finds herself in 1890, in a shootout between the Faraday Gang and a US Marshal.

Marshal Cole Jeffers doesn’t believe Miss Wade is a time traveler. He admits she’s innocent of being an outlaw but thinks she knows more about the gang than she’s telling. When she’s kidnapped by Zeke Faraday, Cole is determined to rescue her. He’s longed for a woman of his own, and Dessa Wade just might be the one—if she’ll commit to the past.

Dessa wasn't the only person swept back in time through the pages of this incredible tale. With A Marshal of Her Own, Linda La Roque has hit my “automatic buy” list.

Ms. La Roque does a wonderful job of blending modern day strengths and sensibilities with nineteenth century history, setting, society and morals. She makes the past come alive in this novella. Modern day Dessa Wade is smart, strong, bright and beautiful. Her caring and curiosity prompt her to do whatever it takes to solve a cold case and find what happened to Charity Dawson. And she succeeds in a way she never imagines.

Marshal Cole Jeffers could easily have been the stereotypical 1890’s marshal, but he’s not. The scenes from his point of view give a fabulous depiction of how a modern woman and a modern world would look like through nineteenth century eyes. Ms. La Roque does a marvelous job of bringing both the past and present characters to life in their different settings. The sights, scents, and sounds of the west are vividly described as are the local customs, clothes and prejudices. The sweetness and intensity of Dessa and Cole’s romance took my breath away. I didn’t want to put this book down. (I ended up reading it while the Super Bowl was on. And I really like football.) I’ve read other books by Ms. La Roque. She gets better with each one.

A Marshal of Her Own ended with both a satisfying happily ever after and a hint of more to come. It was the perfect balance which makes me long for the next installment. I hope you'll join me on this time travel adventure by picking up your copy today.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This is a Love Story by Jessica Thompson

This is a Love Story by Jessica Thompson
Publisher: Coronet
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (440 pages)
Heat Level: sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

This is a love story.

Boy meets girl and girl falls for boy - that much is true.

But when Sienna meets Nick it`s not the way it happens in love stories. It`s because of a squirrel on water skis...

She sees Nick`s dangerous brown eyes and thinks,





Who will be there to catch Siena when she falls? She is so fragile. She has so many secrets, and he is not that serious.

Funny and sad, this is the story of two people destined never to come together in the great love affair they crave more than anything else.

Special British humor and lots of “ungrownup” action sets the stage for Sienna and Nick's much deserved HEA. Sienna as "girl next door" heroine will melt our heart while Nick emodies the conflicted hero who comes across as more of an anti-hero. Prepare yourself for an emotional roller-coaster ride.

Sienna Walker, unaware of her natural beauty, has lots of insecurities. To compensate, she tackles her job at Cube Publishing with determination while keeping her private life secret. Oh, happy day when she realizes the gorgeous smiling man on the train, the man who stole her heart, also works at Cube Publishing. He's Nick Redland a graphics designer. That's the good news. She also learns he's a prankster and acts horrifyingly juvenile around his working buddies. A business trip to Florida proves to Sienna that Nick knows how to work hard and play hard. While there they form a bond both of them treasure—a bond of friendship that has them reluctant to speak of love for fear of losing the best friend either of them had ever known.

This is a Love Story spans five years and takes the reader on a vicarious adventure with Sienna and Nick ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Drinking and partying, prank playing, bed hopping, and serious, loving, caring connections are woven into the story. I particularly enjoyed the treasured times when Nick and Sienna do things together just as friends.

Their inability to communicate on a deeper emotional level is both humorous and sad. But taking the journey with them as they move toward mature adulthood is captivating.

Some of the secondary characters, especially Sienna’s handicapped father, make the story multifaceted. Nick and Sienna, along with their friends grow and evolve as they try to find their way to what is truly meaningful and worthwhile in their lives.

This is a Love Story is well-paced and smoothly written adding to the pleasure of reading this entertaining romance. For me, the hero and the heroine having casual sexual relationships with others was off-putting. Still, the story has many redeeming qualities that kept me turning pages, anticipating the turning point in Sienna’s and Nick’s lives. Their happy-ever-after is a long time coming with some big obstacles to overcome.

Jessica Thompson has a sparkling; energetic writing style that makes THIS IS A LOVE STORY bubble with humor and hum with love from start to finish.