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Friday, August 31, 2012

Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett

Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (341 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sunflower

This time, the straight-and-narrow path could be the road to ruin.

Dr. Elyse Morgan’s mission: find the cure to the HTN4 virus. The compensation, courtesy of the United Nations: a lab stocked with hi-tech goodies, limitless resources and enough chocolate to make her rear look like a cellulite farm. Bonus: she gets to live.

Rescued (kidnapped) and secreted (imprisoned) on an undersea warship, Elyse adjusts to her assumed identity as a cadet with the finesse of a toeless ballerina. Her sulfuric temper and blatant insubordination capture the unwanted attention of the ship’s captain, the gorgeous, infuriating, engaged Nicoli Marek.

Elyse would rather perform her own autopsy than become the other woman, but Nicoli—who’s as full of himself as he is of secrets—regards his impending marriage as a mere political transaction. And Elyse as fair game.

As Elyse’s suspicions about the UN’s true agenda mount along with her attraction to the relentless, chronically shirtless captain, she must choose between the murky path to everything she’s ever wanted, or the squeaky-clean path of self-sacrifice—which could mean taking the secrets of the virus with her to the grave.

It's a race to save the world, keep your life, and...fall in love? Okay, so that's an unexpected bonus. But the road to get there is a bumpy ride, so fasten your seat belts and hang on tight...Oh, and keep all hands and feet inside the contraption at all times!

If it seems the weight of the world falls on Elyse Morgan's shoulders, you're probably right. A woman on a mission can only mean one thing- trouble! Does she find it? I'd have to say yes. Elyse is one tough cookie--as long as that cookie is chocolate, that is. That's her weakness. If someone told her to come to the dark side because they have chocolate, well the fate of humanity may be lost forever. Okay, seriously, Elyse's character is definitely tough. She's got so much to live and fight for, and it's not easy to take her down. The story is written in first person, which is Elyse's, so we definitely get a lot of insight about her character.

Co starring with Elyse in this story (and not too happy about sharing the spotlight, perhaps?) is the ship's captain, Nicoli Marek. He's a character to get used to. I did not like him for most of the story. He's a bit stuffy, and to be honest, full of himself. His attitude is not one to root for, and there were times I wanted to jump into the pages and give him a nice smack. He doesn't treat Elyse very kindly, and he has a tendancy to be a jerk. Need I say more? I think that's where my problem lies within this book. Yes, he does have a few redeeming qualities, but you have to look very hard to find them.

As for the premise of this story- I loved it! It's unique and fun, and very fast paced. The world created by the author is a job well done. Readers can tell that it wasn't just thrown together. The sci fi aspect grabbed hold of me and took me along for a great adventure. I could look past my hero issues because of how well written the rest of the story is.

Overall, this is a great book! Very well played out and the plot stands out and brings plenty of tension. If you like a bit of science fiction blended in with a romance, and want an adventure to keep you on your toes. Degrees of Wrong is a good place to start.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Never Coming Home by Evonne Wareham

Never Coming Home by Evonne Wareham
Publisher: Choc Lit
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (335 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating 5 stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

All she has left is hope

When Kaz Elmore is told her five-year-old daughter Jamie has died in a car crash, she struggles to accept that she’ll never see her little girl again. Then a stranger comes into her life offering the most dangerous substance in the world: hope.

Devlin, security consultant and witness to the terrible accident scene, inadvertently reveals that Kaz’s daughter might not have been the girl in the car after all.

What if Jamie is still alive? With no evidence, the police aren’t interested, so Devlin and Kaz have little choice but to investigate themselves.

Devlin never gets involved with a client. Never. But the more time he spends with Kaz, the more he desires her – and the more his carefully constructed ice-man persona starts to unravel .

The desperate search for Jamie leads down dangerous paths – to a murderous acquaintance from Devlin’s dark past, and all across Europe, to Italy, where deadly secrets await. But as long as Kaz has hope, she can’t stop looking…

If, like me, you’re a fan of romantic suspense and had trouble finding a good one lately, I can highly recommend Never Coming Home. Sometimes it’s hard finding one with the right balance of romance and mystery but this story hits the mark there too.

Ms. Wareham did a wonderful job pulling me into the story from page one. Each chapter seemed to have a surprise that had me turning the page and wondering what would happen next.

The characters were all great and not just Devlin and Kaz. I also give high marks to the dialogue and pacing. Although this book was over three hundred pages long, it felt like it sailed along. I think that had lots to do with the suspense and the ‘I can’t put this down’ quality to it.

One thing I like in suspense stories is a plot that gets me thinking about possible suspects and scenarios and if I’m right about my conclusion. This book did exactly that.

I’ll be looking out for more of the author’s books. I hope her next one is also a romantic suspense because she obviously has a good sense of what readers love about this sub-genre.

If you love romance, suspense and looking for a good novel to curl up with this fall, Never Coming Home is one you’ll want to add to your to read list.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Heart of a Hero by Celia Yeary

Heart of a Hero by Celia Yeary
Publisher: Whimsical Publications
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (213 pages)
Heat Level: sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sunflower

Matt Carrington escapes a terrorists’ prison while in the Army, but he has difficulty escaping the trappings of a demanding fiancé and his own parents. To get away to think, he meets pretty, girl-next-door Lauren Delaney, the kind of woman he desires. But his fiancé and his parents have other plans. They determine to have their way—no matter what Matt wants.

Lauren Delaney is an independent young woman who quickly befriends the soldier hero who comes to town. Knowing he has another life in Dallas, she holds a secret, too. But she pretends neither have a problem in order to have the summer with him.

During the long hot months, a hurricane almost destroys the town. Matt and Lauren work with a team to save as many residents as they can, and in the process fall deeply in love. When the danger is past, the two lovers suffer from their own lies and misunderstandings. Can they find peace and happiness without hurting others?

High expectations can send any sane person running. Wouldn't you? Put yourself in Matt Carrington's shoes. His family expects so much from him. He's to be the perfect, obedient son and do as he's told, even when he's a grown man and can make his own decisions. Even after coming back from the war, his parents want him to feel this, or be that. Matt is an misunderstood man. How many people feel exactly that way? I can sure relate. Heart of a Hero is about a man who doesn't see himself as a hero, trying to make his own way in life.

Most of this story is in Matt's point of view, which is different in a romance, but I liked it. There are many times where I feel so bad for him, when it comes to his parents and the woman he once called his fiancée. Oh, she drives me nuts with her attitude and then when she doesn't get her way she throws fits....and some of them are ridiculously stupid and cries for attention. Matt is an upstanding man and doesn't want any recognition as a hero, though he continues to get it.

Lauren is a young woman working in a diner when Matt shows up. She takes an immediate liking to him. Both Lauren and Matt can't be together in the beginning because they have commitments elsewhere, but it doesn't stop them from being friends and doing things together. Lauren has some secrets of her own, which when I found out, surprised me. Matt had a strange reaction to Lauren's secret, though he really has no room to talk because seems to always be at Stephanie's beck and call.

Emotional, riveting and well written, Heart of a Hero is a story that delivers great characterization, beatitude setting, and a plot that keeps the story interesting. I enjoyed Ms. Yeary's Texas setting, and there are characters that readers will either love or hate. The author does a great job conveying the characters and what they stand for. All around this is a great book.

If you're a fan of contemporary romances, then why not check out Heart of A Hero and fall in love with Matt and Lauren?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Baby Makes Three by Sharon DeVita

Baby Makes Three by Sharon DeVita
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd
Genre: Recent Historical, Holiday
Length: Short Story (130 pgs)
Heat Level: Senusal
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Iris

If he’s such a man’s man, then why did he just win a Mother of the Year award?

“Wild Bill” Cody has a problem. The author of a popular series of action-adventure novels, he has also been penning an anonymous column of motherhood articles based on his experience raising his two-year-old nephew. When his handiwork lands him the magazine’s coveted Motherhood of the Year award, he knows that if he accepts the award as himself, his book-writing career will be over. He needs a mommy stand-in. Stat!

Maggie Magee is perfect for the role. The assistant headmistress of a prestigious girls’ academy, Maggie will make a perfect imaginary mom for Bobby. Too bad she is adamantly against the idea. In fear for her own job should she go along with this harebrained scheme, Maggie finds herself reluctantly agreeing to participate. But as the awards draw nearer, both Maggie and Cody start to see fiction become fact as their partnership becomes something more…and baby makes three.

A warning for the readers first off: This is a historical romance only in the fact that it was written/first published almost 25 years ago. It was written as a contemporary romance and was contemporary when first released (the novel was first published as a “Silhouette Romance in April, 1988”). If you are not aware of this fact, it can definitely color your enjoyment of this novel.

The basic premise is an enjoyable one – stuffy school administrator gets roped into a deception through her mother and all hell breaks loose (as well as a romance). The hero, our “writer under cover as a mother” is everything you would expect of a romance hero. Kind, attentive, good with kids, and has a hint of subterfuge on his mind. Our heroine is confused, cast into a role by her situation, and unbendable . . . until the right hero comes along, that is!

Maggie’s mother is a unique secondary character. She is portrayed as an eccentric, and has her own ideas on how to achieve her goals. The other secondary character is the young man who keeps bringing Maggy and Cody together – Bobby.

As I was reading, I was led in the belief that this story was set in northern Wisconsin which made some of the actions very confusing. During the search for a “mother” to accept Cody’s award, Cody and Maggie head to Chicago to search modeling agencies. This would be quite difficult to do as heading to Minnesota and the twin cities would be much closer. However, we find by the end of the book that they are located in Lake Geneva, which is, in fact, in one of the southern-most Wisconsin counties, thereby making a trip to Chicago much more feasible and understandable!

There were other parts of the book that marred my enjoyment of this book (i.e. lack of a carseat, other child-related issues) that may not have detracted quite so much had I been reading the book in the proper historical context. Therefore, I find myself giving this story the “benefit of the doubt”.

So. . . if you find you are lover of a classic romance, and really enjoyed the late ‘80’s – this one’s for you! However, as a general romance reader, pick this up with the caveat that it truly reads as a 1980’s romance and enjoy from there.

Biting Oz by Mary Hughes

Biting Oz by Mary Hughes
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (386 Pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

Real vampires do musicals.

Biting Love, Book 5

Gunter Marie “Junior” Stieg is stuck selling sausage for her folks in small-town Meiers Corners. Until one day she’s offered a way out—the chance to play pit orchestra for a musical headed for Broadway: Oz, Wonderful Oz.

But someone is threatening the show’s young star. To save the production, Junior must join forces with the star’s dark, secretive bodyguard, whose sapphire eyes and lyrical Welsh accent thrill her. And whose hard, muscular body sets fire to her passions.

Fierce as a warrior, enigmatic as a druid, Glynn Rhys-Jenkins has searched eight hundred years for a home. Junior’s get-out-of-Dodge attitude burns him, but everything else about her inflames him, from her petite body and sharp mind to what she can do with her hip-length braid.

Then a sensuous, insidious evil threatens not only the show, but the very foundations of Meiers Corners. To fight it, Junior and Glynn must face the truth about themselves—and the true meaning of love and home.

There is an old saying in show business – the show must go on. Nowhere is that more true that when the folks in Meiers Corners decide to put on a stage play of the Wizard of Oz, and are beset with low audience turnout, repeated attempts to abduct the girl playing Dorothy, and sabotage of many sorts. Gunter Marie ‘Junior’ Steig believes this is her only chance to escape the boring life at home – if the show is a success, the next stop is New York City and a chance for more than the sausage shop. What Junior doesn’t know is that many of the residents of her little town are vampires…old, strong and powerful, and one of them wants Junior for his own. But Glynn Rhys-Jenkins knows about Junior’s dreams, and he places a high value on home, having lost his long ago. When the evil Chicago vampires up the stakes, Junior and Glynn and the rest of Meiers Corner residents fight back with everything they have. Can Junior and Glynn survive the sausage wars, the cheese rebellion and the vampire attacks to save the show? Will they be able to fight the attraction growing between them? Or will Junior learn, like Dorothy, that ‘there’s no place like home’?

Biting Oz is Mary Hughes’ latest Biting Love book, and one of the hottest so far. Her tiny town of Meiers Corners is a unique society, where ancient vampires and eccentric humans coexist in peace unless the evil Chicago vampires attack. The characters are all well-defined, and the conflicts are edge of your seat, fast paced and mostly unexpected when they come. I have become addicted to the Meiers Corners gang and all that they encompass, from Nixie and Elena to Julian, Glynn and even the mysterious Mr. Elias, seldom seen but all knowing.

Gunter Marie ‘Junior’ Steig is determined to make her move to the big city. She dreams of freedom and a life of her own, away from the sausage shop her family runs. She's falling for Glynn, but feels if she gets close, she will lose her one shot at escape. I enjoyed watching as she falls under Glynn’s protection, and his affection, and slowly comes to realize that home is where the heart is, be it New York, Meiers Corners or even the cornfields of Iowa. She's smart, talented and determined, and I loved watching as she discovered she could have her dreams and Glynn too.

Glynn is a centuries old vampire, and in all those years he has never found his one soul mate…until he meets Junior. He's strong, sexy and sensitive to her desires, but finds it harder and harder to keep from claiming her as his and keeping her by his side. I like Glynn’s sense of loyalty and his generosity in trying to keep Junior safe and yet give her what she dreams of most: her freedom to be who she is.

There are two recurring threads here-the growing relationship between Junior and Glynn, and the repeated sabotage by the Chicago vampires and their minions. I enjoyed this for the unique humor Ms. Hughes brings to all of her Biting Love books, and of course the hot and steamy passion that erupts from the page every time Junior and Glynn come together. I also enjoyed watching as the town united against the ‘outsiders’ and saved not only the show, but the town as well. I recommend this for those who love a side of humor with their main course of romance.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Valkyrie and the Marine by jj Keller

The Valkyrie and the Marine by jj Keller
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (96 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

As a Valkyrie, Kiara of Asgard must look beyond the man to select only the best warriors to fight for Odin. But all her training deserts her when she sees Special Ops Marine Harrison Lombard. Unable to resist him, she saves his life on the battlefield instead of taking him to Valhalla. For her disloyalty, she's given five days as a human while Odin decides her fate.

During a mission in North Korea, Harrison's Force Reconnaissance team is ambushed. Critically wounded, he's straddled by a magnificent blonde wearing a helmet of feathers who eliminates his pain. Before he can find out who she is, she's gone. When she turns up in the States months later, he can hardly believe his luck—or the fire burning between them.

But Odin still has a claim on Harrison's soul. Will his angel of mercy save him again? Or has she come to collect?

Kaira didn’t know why she was dreaming about the warrior she was to collect for Odin’s army. She just knew she felt a connection to him. When she sees him, all the training and all the rules go out of her head. He’s handsome, he wants her, and the connection between them grows. She defies all her training and takes another dying male next to him. She leaves him a feather to cure to him and remove his memories…

Ms. Keller’s Marine is a strong man who is brave and independent. He knew he almost died, but he still has this vision of an angel who came to visit him. He wants to see her again. Ms. Keller’s Valkyrie is a beautiful woman who has magic and is part of an elite team. She has worked hard to succeed as being the best in her team. I found it very easy to relate to both characters; it might be fantasy, but the author expresses true emotions.

The conflict between Odin and Kaira is tense. She has broken rules. She can either be punished or she can die. He does almost the worst thing to her; he makes her human. Kaira is tormented. How does a woman who previously had god-like powers adjust to being a human?

Here is where the author does a great job of adding human interest and a bit of sparklies to the story. She places Kaira in Harrison’s room during a big event at home and has relatives come busting in the door shortly thereafter. The conversation is enough to make you laugh and it’s great fun to watch the Marine and the Valkyrie try to respond and react appropriately.

I had to keep reading to the end of the story because this was just a short visit for Kaira and we all know Valkyrie’s and humans can’t marry. The author has found a unique ending that was most appropriate for this story. I really enjoyed it. Why don’t you try it and see what you think?

A Loyal Companion by Barbara Metzger

A Loyal Companion by Barbara Metzger
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (100 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe


And certainly no proper chaperon. Fitz begged to disagree--after all, a dog was a true Incomparable as far as friendship, loyalty, and protection--and soon lovely Miss Sonia was plucked by her rusticated roots and packed off, dog and all, to London. Perhaps there she would find a husband to tame her free-spirited ways--and keep her out of trouble.

Sonia, however, always had a soft spot for the underdog, and Darius Conover was such a fellow. Scorned by society for a scandalous deed, Conover was not redeemed even by his heroics in battle. Until he met Sonia and Fitz, two passionate souls undaunted by even the most odious circumstances--and decidedly determined to undo the shackles binding his heart.

Sonia was going to pick her own spouse, not get matched up with some high toned gentleman who wanted her money. She was going to marry for love. However, that was never going to happen if her grandmother had anything to say about it…

This book is set in Victorian times, when the ton could make or break any member of society. I find this time period interesting to read about, but I’d never survive there. I’m too outspoken and make my own decisions. That’s why I liked Sonia. She was just like me and her antics and softly spoken snide comments made me grin.

Sonia’s father has spoiled her. When Sonia let his prize dog out during heat and the prize dog from the farm next door impregnated her, he was furious. But Sonia saved the puppies from death and even claimed one for her own. Here's where the book gets really good: The new puppy, Fitz, has his own contribution to the story. Have you ever read a book where an animal tells the tale? I enjoy those and enjoyed Fitz’s contribution to this story, too. Fitz tells you about how a dog views life and how silly humans are. With all that goes on in this story, you almost have to agree with him.

The author introduces Sonia to a wounded war veteran that has been slandered and is scorned by the ton. She then takes her main character through a variety of attempts to help clear his name. Add in a newly remarried father who goes off on his honeymoon, three children who are living with their uncle (Sonia’s love interest) and a ton member who wants Sonia’s money for his gambling debts and the story gets very interesting indeed.

Amusing and heart-warming, this tale grabbed me. The dog’s voice is a great addition, and I found it very easy to relate to the young woman and her “impossible” love. In fact, I liked this story so much I have purchased a copy for my library. I’ll re-read it. Any story that leaves me with a big smile on my face is a winner in my book.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Win during our 5th Anniversary Party!

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Cake by Elise Marion

Cake by Elise Marion
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (70 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Wedding planner Taylor Vaughn specializes in magical moments. So when her best friend asks her to plan his wedding, the task should have come as simply to her as all the others. There’s only one problem……she is desperately in love with the groom.

Caleb has always been Taylor’s best friend as well as her deepest and most secret desire. Her hopes that he will someday come to love her back are dashed on the day he brings his new fiancé into their lives. While the misery of losing the man she loves to another woman looms over her, she doesn’t expect to find her head turned by the most unlikely of strangers.

Ethan Young, cake decorator, is everything a woman could want in a man: handsome, charismatic, and has a way with icing! When she finds herself feeling more than simple attraction for the sexy baker, her heart is torn in two between the man she’s always loved and the man who’s slowly stealing her heart.

This story takes the phrase, “I’ve got your back” to new levels as it follows two lifelong friends on their journey of love.

The epilogue shows what cemented their friendship. The following chapters embark upon the discovery that a different kind of love possibly awaits both friends but there’s a lot of emotional growth that needs to take place before that can happen. What used to be comforting and welcoming like an old pair of slippers no longer satisfies the people that they’ve both become but both are loathe to face the truth.

I liked the technique that the author used to highlight just how in tune both Caleb and Taylor were to each other although I didn’t recognize a lot of the actors mentioned. Its use expressed the sheer volume of past history they both shared without going into long and drawn out details that would do the job but less effectively. It was an interesting choice. That same familiarity also came with unforeseen pitfalls because although they knew each other as no one else did, there was one thing that neither of them ever thought to express or explore and because of it, the specter of the unknown caused a believable and troublesome conflict. Cake was definitely a character driven story.

This book is Taylor’s account. It’s told in her point of view and the author stayed true through the story. When she first gets the bombshell that the traditional dynamic of her relationship was about to change with Caleb, it was made clear that this was a shock. It woke her up that change was afoot and she had a very hard time dealing with it. Caleb’s decision was the first push against a long line of dominoes that knocked over one thing after another, forcing Taylor onto a new path with alternate possibilities before her. None of which she could see in a positive light, until Ethan steps into the picture.

Ethan is a great character. He’s talented, described as a man in his prime and yet, for all his perfection and cake professionalism, he’s had an unfortunate past. I have a lot of respect for a person who can raise themselves out of all that negativity and become a better man as well as a successful entrepreneur. He didn’t take the easy road and the man that Taylor meets is a man honed through adversity, perseverance and guided by the love of his grandmother. Ethan was a great choice for a hero. He’s also a man who knows what he wants and goes after it. It was absolutely delicious when he focused on Taylor.

Taylor, however, is really confused and riddled with guilt. She returns Ethan’s interest but she has to go through a rather emotional process before she’s truly comfortable with even the idea of being with him. That confusion and uncertainty had the power to do great harm and the author used it to good effect. So much so, I wasn’t sure who, if anyone, was going to get their happy ever after. Ms. Marion made it very clear to me how dangerous all these volatile emotions plaguing Taylor were. Their affect on her physically and mentally were hard to read about but that kind of catharsis usually breaks a weak person or strengthens and emboldens a strong person making them fearless in facing the truth. Taylor is the latter and a heroine I could respect.

The few times that Ethan and Taylor are together are quite steamy and hot. That man knows how to please a woman and the author made that clear, much to my satisfaction. There was just enough detail and descriptions to make me very happy on Taylor’s behalf.

Although this story was labeled as having some comedic elements, I didn’t find that. I found this story hard to read because of the intense emotions, the hurt feelings and the suspense of not knowing how anyone was going to end up happy. Yes, there were times I smiled, perhaps chuckled, but this story is a serious romance that touches the heart. I also felt that more time should have been spent with Caleb easing Kim into the relationship instead of the instant, ‘Poof! Here she is!”. Then again, the quickness of the change might have been on purpose because certainly it threw Taylor for a loop and that’s what the story was about, her dealing with it. Ultimately, there is a happily ever after, so it made all the hoopla and throwing up well worth it.

Cake is a wonderfully intense, full bodied romance that explores the nature of strong friendships. It shows that healthy and supportive relationships can have value and staying power when they grow as the people grow. Sometimes it’s not easy but well worth it because they can continue to enrich and support the growing circle of friends and share that special love amongst them all. As for Taylor, her ideas for her own wedding were definitely unique and freeing. For her, the fun is just beginning. Read Cake and see.

Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts

Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (323 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Laird Ciaran MacGregor discovers the beautiful, wounded Lady Rosalia Armstrong while journeying to the king’s court. Already burdened with the task of maintaining the peace in his lands, Ciaran has very little patience for this headstrong woman. She’s as fearsome as the men trying to kill him for his lands, and their verbal sparring leaves him burning for a more intimate relationship. And if Rosalia’s not careful, she’ll soon discover his prowess…on and off the battlefield.

Rosalia Armstrong just wants to find peace …to find herself.

Bruised and battered, Rosalia runs away from an unbelievably cruel mother and from having to marry the domineering Lord Dunnehl who is willing to pay lots of money for her. Her parents have no compunction about using Rosalia to replenish the estate’s coffers so they can continue living in the style they are accustomed.

Ciaran, Laird of the MacGregor clan, is already burdened with heavy responsibilities and does not need Rosalia added to them, but at every turn, he cannot see his way clear to leave her on her own after his men find her unconscious in a forest clearing with her beautiful black horse, Noonie, standing nearby.

Set in the time when King James of England was trying desperately to gain control over the forever-feuding Highlanders, Temptation in a Kilt focuses on the MacGregors and the “bloody Campbells”.

Determined to honor vows made to his dying father, Ciaran keeps the MacGregor holdings well defended against the greedy, power-hungry Campbells that always pose a threat. However, the never-ending burden Ciaran must deal with is his drinking, ‘wenching’, youngest brother Declan. Never having gotten over their mother’s death, Declan is defiant, disrespectful, and disgusting; but Ciaran never wavers in his effort to help him ‘grow up’ and find his place in the scheme of things. Their conflicts stir up strong emotions and at times unpleasant physical encounters.

Rosalia had set out for Glengarry in the far north rough country of Scotland with no idea how to get there or what she was getting into. She’d just hoped relatives, whom she’d never met would welcome her. When she ends up wintering at Glenorchy, the MacGregor Castle, life presents a whole new set of challenges. She is well liked by all but one person there, yet her low self-esteem keeps her at a certain distance from everyone. Even though she and Ciaran share exhilarating times, tense times, and dangerous times, they are hindered from getting on with their lives by Ciaran’s obsession with a vow he made about Declan and Rosalia’s obsession about being a burden. Even though Ciaran is truly temptation in a kilt, Rosalia does not want “just a tumble” and Ciaran does not feel free to marry, consequently love is in limbo. These obsessions may be a little overdone, but not enough to keep one from turning pages to see what happens next.

The secondary characters stir up an abundance of conflicts, keep a thread of humor present, and keep the action lively. Aiden and Aisling, Ciaran’s brother and sister-in-law, bring shining love and delightful humor to events. Beathag, Ciaran former leman, keeps a dark, threatening thread of danger present, while Declan, seemingly the most despicable of all does grow up, but not before his weaknesses are exploited.

The frightening, gut-wrenching events that lead up to the climax makes one’s heart pound and keeps adrenaline pumping. The many twists and turns that take place are skillfully interlaced with foreshadowing and subtle clues that are threaded throughout. Ms. Roberts weaves together historical events, exquisite descriptions, intrigues, humor, and compelling characters to create a love story that leaves the reader with a satisfied sigh—ah, yes, a happy-ever-after.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Lady and Her Magic by Tammy Falkner

A Lady and Her Magic by Tammy Falkner
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (351 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Rules Are Made to be Disobeyed...

Sophia Thorne is new to the Regency's glittering high society, which resembles her magical homeland only insofar as both places are filled with ridiculous rules. Which means no matter where she goes, she's bound for trouble...

And Scandals Are Meant to be Shocking...

The Duke of Robinsworth has flaunted and shocked society for years. In a moment of fateful mischief, Robinsworth encounters the enchanting and distinctly scandalous Sophia. Between her streak of magical mischief and his penchant for scandal, they're about to take rule-breaking to a whole new level...

She’s on a mission: to remove the sadness from the Duke. She has a list of rules she cannot break and she’s determined not to. She does improve the Duke’s attitude, but she doesn’t have much luck with those rules…

Ms. Falkner writes a good story that flows well and is full of spirit, emotions, and love for the two main characters. When Sophia calms his little girl, he’s impressed. When Sophia sees him, she feels butterflies in her stomach. Nobody said he was that good looking! While Sophia works on her goal, which is to make him accept his wife’s death and stop blaming himself for it, he’s working on his goal. He wants to capture her heart. One of Sophia’s rules is that she can’t tell him she’s Fae.

The author placed Sophia in the human world with her grandmother, a maid, and a garden gnome who follows her around. Ms. Falkner gave her a difficult assignment: it’s hard to complete her mission without falling in love with the Duke. The supporting characters often express frustration with her, especially Ronald, the garden gnome. Three of the main supporting cast include the Duke's brother who goes out of his way to have words with Sophia, their mother and a decidedly wicked grandmother. I spent time laughing about what Grandma brought up at parties; she cared not who was listening. While all this going on, the author takes me back to the world of Fae and where the grandfather is plotting. I knew something was going on, but I wasn't sure how it would all turn out.

I enjoy stories about the world of Fae and this author does a very nice job of melding the two worlds together. She gives you fun characters with lots of quirks to make them interesting and the result of her work is magical on its own.

If you like a touch of magic in your stories, this book is for you. If you believe in the power of love, this book is also for you. And if you like a good adventure, this one will work for that, too. Why not get a copy and see what you think?