Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Torn Together by Emlyn Chand

Torn Together by Emlyn Chand
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length:  Full (256 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 Stars
Review by Poppy

From her cheating boyfriend to her dead father and cold, judgmental mother, Daly knows she can’t trust others to be there when it counts. This cynicism begins to melt away when she meets Kashi, a light-hearted charmer from India, who decides he cares too much to let her fade into the background of her own life. After a series of false starts, their quirky romance carries them to India, where Daly must win the approval of Kashi’s family in order to seal their “forever.”

Meanwhile, Laine struggles to cope with the pain of early widowhood, fleeing into the pages of her well-worn library and emerging only to perform her duties as a social worker at the crisis pregnancy center. Although her daughter wants nothing more than to work as an artist, Laine doesn’t know how to redirect Daly to a more suitable profession without further damaging their tenuous relationship.

Can Laine look past her pain to learn from an unlikely mentor? Has Daly finally found someone whom she can trust? Will the women recognize their common bonds before the relationship is broken beyond repair?

"Torn Together," Emlyn Chand’s first sojourn into Literary/Women's Fiction, illustrates how our similarities often drive us apart.

I honestly didn't know what to expect from this book, which is a good thing, I think.  I didn't have any preconceived notions and simply accepted it for what it was, not what I wanted it to be.

Full of emotion, and sure to make you laugh and cry, Torn Together is truly a book about a journey.  Though the blurb makes it sound as though we follow two women, this is really Daly's story.  Her mother, Laine, figures into it, certainly, but it's only as a secondary character.  It's Daly who matters and who we become completely involved with.

Ms. Chand is a talented author who writes with feeling and description.  I became immersed in the story immediately, and had no problem completely connecting with the characters.  I admit to being a little annoyed with Daly in the beginning, and thought she was a little overly emotional, and did some things many women wouldn't (like accepting a ride home from a man she really didn't even know), but she was a real character. So was Kashi. What a wonderful man: full of life, joy and love.  Almost too good to be true, but the perfect person for Daly.  I loved seeing how he drew her out and made her a better person.

That I was so involved with these characters, from the most important to the least, is what made this book both an engrossing read and a difficult one.  In truth, it didn't end the way I would have liked but I understand why Ms. Chand wrote what she did.  This was, as noted, a journey for Daly, and in order for it to complete, for the wounds to heal and the ends to be tied, there was no other ending for this story.  I won't say I was happy, but I will say I understood and that I laughed, cried and loved right along with the characters. For many readers, the ending will be exactly right.  This is an author with true talent and one I hope to read again.

Beginning Again by Peggy Bird

Beginning Again by Peggy Bird
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (64 Pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Liz Fairchild is through with relationships. Widowed in her twenties, now divorced halfway through her forties, it’s time to live life for herself. No man need apply. With the proceeds from her divorce settlement—and business advice from an unexpected source—she opens an art gallery in Northwest Portland, trades her McMansion on the Columbia River for an apartment above her gallery and looks forward to her new, independent life.

Everything is working out. She thinks.

Then Collins, a sculptor who claims to have only one name, walks into her gallery. He’s tall, rugged and way younger than she is. He says he’s looking for a gallery to represent him in Portland and, unwilling to take no for an answer to anything, bulldozes his way into her life—and her bed.

But Liz hesitates. She senses that Collins is not exactly who—or what—he seems. What’s the mysterious business he disappears to conduct? And does it have a connection with why he came into her gallery?

And which would hurt the most—falling for him or losing him?

Romance novel authors are in many ways, pioneers. They are not afraid to tackle delicate issues like relationships in which the woman is older than the man. Beginning Again is definitely not the first romance novel in which the heroine is older than the hero, but for me it was the first one featuring a heroine that is way past her early forties.

Liz Fairchild made two wrong choices in her life about men. First, she married young and before she turned thirty she was widow. After that she married a man who, just before her forty-sixth birthday and after fifteen years of marriage, decides to come out of the closet and her life. What one might expect in this situation is that Liz would be one mean, man hating lady. But no, she is the complete opposite. Aware that she continuously makes mistakes in men, she focuses her energy into an art gallery business. And before the grand opening she meets Collins, who is in his late thirties, a lawyer turn sculptor, and they start an affair.

Both Liz and Collins are great characters. Liz is not a bitter middle aged woman, but instead a very strong and brave lady. Collins is also interesting and although his intentions were not completely honorable at first, at the end he turns out to be a really great guy. This is a short and sweet romance novel and it has one component that I sometimes miss from romance stories and that is the courtship. Liz and Collins are actually going on dates, they are enjoying each other's company, and in the process they are falling in love. All this was really nicely described. Another great thing that I love in Beginning Again is Liz’s sexual awakening, and the message behind it; that is never too late to have a great sexual life and to enjoy sex.

Unfortunately there are also two things that made me give a lower rating to this story. The first is in the realm of illogicality. Liz was supposed to know who Collins was, but when he walked through the door of her gallery she was clueless. He is a sculptor whose work was scattered in different public locations around the town. While starting an art business it seems really silly that she did not do her homework before opening the gallery. The second is in the realm of responsible adult behavior. Liz and Collins shortly after they meet have unprotected sex. In the era of all different STDs, I prefer characters having protected sex, no matter what.

All in all I really enjoyed Beginning Again, because it was an easy read that made my gray autumn day a little bit less gray.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Careful What you Kiss For by Jane Lynne Daniels

Careful What you Kiss For by Jane Lynne Daniels
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (183 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Sunflower

What if you could change one mistake you made when you were young?

With the help of one well-intentioned best friend and one bumbling psychic, Tensley gets a “do-over.” One simple change, and she suddenly goes from being a corporate executive to a stripper dancing nearly naked on a stage under a spotlight.

Tensley’s high school boyfriend Max has gone from teenage bad boy to a driven police detective with a lot to prove. When he sees his first love dancing in the strip club he’s assigned to investigate, he’s torn between getting her as far away from the place as he can and needing her help as a club insider. There are only two things he knows for sure – she’s stirring up feelings he thought he’d buried long ago and a relationship with a stripper/police informant would be career suicide.

Tensley’s falling all over again for the man who broke her heart years ago. Now that history seems to be repeating itself, she wants a do-over of her do-over! But what she doesn’t know is that life and love have a way of taking their own surprising turns. And sometimes what you think is your worst mistake might not be a mistake at all.

Sarcasm at its best. What happens when you get a do over, and make a sarcastic answer? Wind up in a heap of trouble, that's what! Well, who would have thought that the do over would actually come true! Certainly not Tensley. If she knew what was going to happen, she would have come up with a much better do over option.....

Tensley is a woman down on her luck. She's had a string of bad relationships, and there's the one that got away in the back of her mind. With the do over option, she could get a chance to make things go differently, and she definitely does, but not without consequence. Tensley is thrown into a life not her own, and is now facing the wrath of her sarcastic words, her wish, that do over. Oh boy! This could turn out rather....interesting!

Max is the man Tensley can't stop thinking about. And, to be honest, he can't stop thinking about her. By a chance encounter, this high school couple reunites once again, in a life Tensley never imagined possible.

Throw in a mix of a bad boss, life altering events, and a love that just won't fade, Careful What You Kiss For is delightful, funny and intriguing. I love the spin on this second chance romance. I rooted for Tensley and Mas, even though I wasn't completely fond of Tensley in the beginning, she definitely grew on me.

The secondary characters are quirky. Tensley's best friend, Kate, is in the midst of the trouble, too, and she helps Tensley sort out this mess.

This novel dazzles. If you love a bit of paranormal, second chance stories, and plenty of humor to go around, why not give Careful What you Kiss For a shot?

Searching For Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe

Searching For Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe
Publisher: Paintbox Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (310 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

When aspiring writer, Sophie Elliot, receives the keys to the family townhouse in Bath, it's an invitation she can't turn down, especially when she learns that she will be living next door to the house Jane Austen lived in. On discovering that an ancient glove belonging to her mysterious neighbour, Josh Strafford, will transport her back in time to Regency Bath, she questions her sanity, but Sophie is soon caught up in two dimensions, each reality as certain as the other. Torn between her life in the modern world, and that of her ancestor who befriends Jane Austen and her fascinating brother Charles, Sophie's story travels two hundred years across time, and back again, to unite this modern heroine with her own Captain Wentworth. Blending fact and fiction together, the tale of Jane Austen's own quest for happiness weaves alongside, creating a believable world of new possibilities for the inspiration behind the beloved novel, Persuasion.

What would it be like to travel back in time and befriend Jane Austen? The secrets and insights one could learn!

Sophie Elliot is an aspiring writer living in modern-day England. She gets the keys to the family home in Bath. How exciting to find out that the townhouse is next door to the one where Jane Austen lived. There, she discovers a very old glove, from a different century. It seems like nothing, but turns out to be so much more.

She meets her handsome neighbor, Josh, and they form a friendship. Meanwhile, she gets transported to Regency England and inhabits the body of her ancestor. She befriends her favorite author and her family.

The transportation between the two centuries is seamless and magical. Sophie discovers love in the past, with Jane’s brother, Charles, and he loves her. The problem is the centuries separating them. For she knows she can’t live in the past forever. She also has to deal with her snobby family and an unwanted suitor that won’t give up. Then she has an accident. Did she accidentally get her ancestor killed?

This is quite a charming story that lovers of Regency romance with likely enjoy. The historical details meld into the plot, creating a realistic world of the past. There is suspense about how things could possibly end well. In the present, Sophie fights her feelings for Josh because she loves Charles. The ending has an interesting twist. Not a fast and furious page-turner, this book, never-the-less, is cozy and entertaining.

Dustin’s Turn by June Kramin

Dustin’s Turn by June Kramin
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (244 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Iris

When Katie receives a call from Courtney with bad news, she immediately flies to Seattle to be with her. Dusty goes in search of Frank to see about righting this terrible wrong. Upon discovering Katie can’t go back but he can, Dusty eagerly confronts their past, but quickly finds out it’s not as easy as he thought. Getting Katie to fall for him all over again is a challenge he didn’t expect. Finding out the identity of Frank was even more surprising.

There are problems inherent with a time travel story. First and foremost you don’t want to tamper with history . . . you never know what is going to happen. Secondly, if the time jumps are not too far from the character’s current day, it can seem very confusing as to where they are (current or time-jump). Most time-travel I’ve read has their characters jump very far into the past or into the future to take care of most of these problems. Not this one. Not only are the time jumps into recent past (with 20 years or so), but the characters go back into their own timelines. . . multiple times!

So, that prepares you for the initial confusion. Not only does Dusty return to a time in his life where he first meets his wife (and therefore has to attract her . . . again!), but he ends up having to do this several times.

At stake is the life of his wife’s best friend, Courtney. Dusty would do anything for his wife, Katie, including going back in time to change events for a “happily ever after” for everyone involved. When he gets the opportunity courtesy of “Frank”, the mysterious man who sent Katie on a time travel mission years before, Dusty jumps at it.

Despite not having a solid plan, and having to try multiple times, Dusty seems to enjoy some of his time back in college. He gets to enjoy meeting and wooing his (now) wife. Because he is married to her, they tend to jump into bed rather quickly. This is definitely the source of heat in this novel. There is no shortage of steamy interludes.

To eliminate confusing you in the review, I’ll just let you know, there are plenty of other hookups in this story. Plenty of descriptions of college partying. Plenty of raucous college life. However, the hottest and most detailed descriptions are the relationship between Dustin and Katie.

This isn’t an easy book to read. I found myself re-reading passages and highlighting things so that I could co back and check who was whom and who was doing what. Having said that, this is definitely the epitome of a “happily ever after”. It was satisfying in that respect, and well worth the (literary) ride. Readers who are familiar with the Twin Cities and the University of Minnesota may also find a unique connection to the story (as this is where Dusty and Katie went to school – and therefore the time travel takes place there).

I did not enjoy the actual conclusion of the story. Well, I should say, upon first reading, I did not enjoy the conclusion of the story. The upside to this is – as time passed, I found that the resolution was a little easier to understand and did give a unique flavor to the story.

So – in all, I have to give Dustin’s Turn a big thumbs up. It isn’t easy to read, and will make you think about it even when you aren’t actively reading it. But aren’t those qualities you truly enjoy in a book?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wounded Faith by Mary Manners

Wounded Faith by Mary Manners
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
Genre: Inspirational, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (39 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Azalea

Kylie Jordan struggles to piece her damaged life back together following the senseless death of her sister at the hands of a drunk driver. She spearheads a grief support group at New Hope Church to ease the pain, and tends to the roadside cross placed in her sister's memory. Mason Bennett yearns to make sense of the reckless actions that stole his brother's life, as well as the life of an innocent victim. His pain leads him to New Hope Church--and Kylie Jordan. Kylie and Mason's lives are woven together by a single, irrevocable moment in time. When the past is revealed, will their faith--and love--sustain them, or will Kylie's fragile trust be forever shattered?

Kylie Jordan, a social worker, struggles to mend her broken life after the death of her sister a year earlier. The pregnant nurse was coming home from work when she was broad-sided by a drunk driver. Faith lingered on for three days, but the driver of the other car was killed instantly. Kylie erected a white cross where the accident occurred, and she passes it each time she goes to the grief support group she leads at her church.

Mason Bennett also lost a family member. His brother Braden died a year earlier when his out of control car hit another vehicle. Mason was a passenger and is haunted by guilt. He was sober and he should have prevented his brother from getting behind the wheel. Life hasn't been easy for Mason, but he's decided to attend a grief support group to see if that will help. He meets Kylie in the parking lot and instantly finds her appearance and manner appealing. After the meeting he lingers, helps her straighten the meeting room, then asks her out for ice cream.

As the days pass, Kylie and Mason find themselves enjoying one another's companionship ­the first social enjoyment for either in a year. Mason is a civil engineer, and Kylie has a plan to construct a bridge over the creek near the church, then landscape the area with flowers and benches. She asks Mason if he'd like to help. Only when they've finished the project and have extra plants to use does he finally connect the lonely white cross with the name Faith written on it with Kylie. It seems both their lives are woven together by a tragic incident. Will their faith be the catalyst to begin the rebuilding process? Can they turn tragedy into hope?

Ms. Manners has penned a moving short story of faith, love and hope. While it's hard to develop characters with any degree of depth in such a short piece, Manners has done a credible job. I enjoyed Wounded Faith very much.

Mistletoe Cowboy by Carolyn Brown

Mistletoe Cowboy by Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (333 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

'Tis the season for...

A matchmaking grandma on a long-distance mission

Mistletoe temptation in every doorway

A sexy cowboy with a killer smile

When Gran Presely agrees to sell Creed Riley the Rockin' C Ranch for a song at Christmastime, he can hardly believe his good fortune. There's just one little catch-her tantalizing granddaughter Sage is part of the deal...

Paintings, canyons and a grandmother with plans of her's got to be a Carolyn Brown book!

There are cowboy books, then there are Carolyn Brown cowboy books. The writing flows so well and the descriptions are so rich, it's like being there. I've never been to the canyons of the Midwest, but I'd sure like to go if they look the way Ms. Brown has described them. The characters are equally interesting. This book has more focus on Creed and Sage rather than the family, but that's okay. I liked getting to know them without having so many other characters to keep track of. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to see the family dynamic, but also nice to take a breather, too.

There are a couple of slow spots in the book. The way Sage's creative process is described is great, but might not be for all readers. Some might not want the level of detail, but it's not a detraction. I loved how Grandma threw Sage and Creed together. As much as the "pushed together" trope has been used, in this case, this might have been the only way these two would've gotten together. It's so good, too.

If you want a book with a little miscommunication, some arguing, emotional baggage, and hot loving, then this might be the book for you.

The Auction by Lyn Austin

The Auction by Lyn Austin
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (154 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Telstar

A misguided plan and a bachelor auction lead to an estranged couple rediscovering a one-in-a-million kind of love.

Every woman wants Michael Blake. Smart, handsome, sexy, he built Eagle’s Nest into the hottest ski resort north of Park City, Utah. Now Michael is up for sale. In conjunction with a charity bachelor auction, he’s donated a week of his time to one determined bidder.

That bidder will be Katherine Blake. Time is running out, so her plan must succeed. She doesn’t require Michael rekindle the one-of-a-kind love that led to their marriage. He needn’t atone for the mistakes that led to their divorce. All he need do is renovate the gingerbread home they bought together…and one other secret thing. One tiny, astoundingly beautiful yet impossibly awful thing. And with the help of her friends and her willful Grandpa Homer—if Homer will stop picking up women long enough to help—Kat is going to see her dream come true.

"It's amazing what kind of knowledge a girl can glean in a bathroom"

Katherine, or Kat as her friends know her, has the habit of heading for the nearest bathroom when she gets the jitters. And she definitely has the jitters as she waits to bid on the bachelor of her choice in the celebrity Make-A-Wish Foundation Auction.

To make matters worse, the hunk she's bidding on is her ex-husband, a man that if looks could kill, would have already rendered her the victim of his rapier gaze.

Why is Kat bidding for a week of her ex-husband's time? Well now, if I told you that, I'd spoil the fun this story is sure to give its readers.

Kat and Michael are a unique pair that I felt immediately drawn too. Author Lyn Austin shapes her characters with loving care, honest emotions, and real needs that make them more than just names on the pages of a book. While the story is on the short side, it's fully developed and the author doesn't rush the resolution of their problems. This is another story I'd recommend adding to your reading list.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cherish the Knight by Diane O’Key

Cherish the Knight by Diane O’Key
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (328 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Ambushed as he approaches an English estate, Lord Cort Dornogard trusts no one...least of all spirited Gaelic healer Alexis Fallon, who fascinates even as she defies him.

The magnificent Norse warrior is a threat to both Alexis’ heart and her cherished autonomy, for she harbors a secret about the ambush she cannot reveal. Honesty will cost her her freedom. But silence may cost her far more.

Cort harbors a damning secret of his own—one guaranteed to foment rebellion among his new subjects. The escalating attacks and accidents confirm that fear. His foes, both English and Norman, will exploit what he hides to destroy him, his dreams, and the woman he’s grown to love.

Snared in a web of castle intrigue, passion, and betrayal, Cort and Lexi are each far more than either suspects. Will they discover too late that truth is a two-edged sword?

Secrets tiptoe around while stifling good intentions strut around creating obstacles for love. But love, with its own unique tenacity, finds ways to bring joy and hope as it weaves its golden web around two strong personalities.

Alexis Fallon (Lexi), a creature of nature, a healer, and so much more, has an innate elegance that covers a lively spirit sparkling with mischief. She brings a unique type of buoyancy to Cherish the Knight with her joy and respect for life. But without freedom and time for solitude she becomes restive. She is not the usual heroine that one often sees is a historical set in eleventh century England. She is captivating with a sense of self-worth and a sense of humor that augment the many facets of her personality. She is not intimidated by the Normans that arrive with the bigger-than-life Cort Dornogard, the new owner of Avonly.

A tall beauty, with midnight hair, topaz eyes, and an unearthly air about her, Lexi tends the wounded Normans; befriends Dane, the simple-minded, fierce warrior friend of Cort’s. She seems to share a special connection with Dane and teaches him much about tending the wounded. He tends with a gentleness that belies his ferocity in battle. She gains the Normans’ respect and friendship and sets Cort’s libido on high alert.

Lexi comes to see Cort as one akin to Balder the Beautiful—god of spring, sunlight, and joy in Norse mythology. More than that she admires his sense of fairness, his loyalty, his work ethic, his talent and desire to build rather than destroy, his intuitiveness, and his sense of humor.

Athene, Lexi’s pet ferret and Fen, Cort’s wolfhound add a delightful touch and also give insight into Lexi and Cort’s journey toward trusting each other. Athene does stir up trouble that puts Lexi in a precarious spot in a towering rage.

Lord Graham, Lexi’s uncle and the former Earl of Avonly and his daughter Melissande are in an awkward position when Cort and his entourage arrive. How they deal with their loss of property and place of power creates two very different undercurrents that ripple along in all the chaos of building a great stone castle and setting the estate on track for even greater prosperity. How they help or hinder the melding together of Norman and English people to work together for the estate and all to prosper is never far from the surface.

Guy, Cort’s second-in-command and longtime friend, knows what Cort is thinking most of the time and is usually thinking the same way about strategies and temperaments of the people. They’ve survived many lethal situations with their almost telepathic connection with each other. Dane, a might warrior in battle, is a simple-minded, gentle soul by nature and comes to be very protective of his special friend Lexi.

Cherish the Knight has a multitude of intriguing characters that create sub-plots and side stories that enthrall. The antagonist is strong but a coward in a pinch, he is cunning, cruel, and intelligent enough to test the mettle of Cort and his men. He and his co-conspirator wreck havoc at Amiton (Avonly’s new name). While there are injuries and material damage in their doings, the greatest damage is the wedge of mistrust driven between Cort and Lexi, a mistrust that brings about earth-shattering results.

Diane O’key’s characters are brimming over with humanness; flaws, fears, hopes, goals, and life stories create a rich vicarious experience for the reader. The qualities of the heroine are not the usual for an eleventh-century woman. Her strength of character, sense of humor, sense of self-worth, and her ability to function with aplomb in a male-dominated society make her awesome and a worthy match for the “comely” hero with talents and accomplishments galore (can’t tell what they all are, it would give away a super good part of the story). Ms. O’Key tells a tantalizing story with descriptions that reveal time, place, emotions, and actions in such compelling style that the reader’s senses and emotions are swept into it all with pulse-pounding battles, despicable intrigues, secret fears and hopes, and, best of all, delightful foreplay and magical love scenes.

Cherish the Knight throbs with life. It captivates.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Affinity by LaVerne Clark

Affinity by LaVerne Clark
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (115 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

In the wrong hands, Jenna Thomas's legacy could be a curse—in her mind it already is. As a child, a routine x-ray awakened an abnormality in Jenna's DNA, giving her the ability to "call" creatures and take on their attributes. Labeled a freak since then, Jenna's learned to keep everyone at a distance. But all that changes the day she saves a young boy from drowning and the story goes viral.

Nick Hawke, an off-duty policeman, witnesses part of the drama. Captivated by Jenna's exotic beauty, he decides to investigate, not sure what to believe. Jenna puts his cynicism to the test—even as the attraction between them grows.

As word of her extraordinary rescue spreads, a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to control Jenna's abilities draws near. With her feelings for Nick putting him in danger too, can Jenna risk everything to protect them both?

Will Jenna put her life on the line for a man she’s just met?

Jenna is a very easy character to like. Even though she knows she’s risking exposing her abilities to the world, she still saves a young boy from drowning. That alone says volumes about the type of woman she is, but I still would have liked to know more about her past and how she learned to control her abilities. Not only does Jenna have a good heart, but a bold one as well. I expected someone who has spent a good deal of her life alone and trying to hide to be much more timid. However, Jenna has quite a bit of spunk in her. Her display of attitude after chasing some bad guys off her property is especially entertaining.

Jenna’s unique powers make for a thought provoking story that left me wondering what would happen if such a thing were really possible. In Jenna’s case, she becomes a target for a very evil man, but I also couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if those powers resided in someone who didn’t have Jenna’s morals to begin with. The thought is truly terrifying.

Jenna and Nick have an intense connection from the moment they meet. The chemistry between them practically sizzles. Jenna hints that other people have been less than accepting about her powers, so I thought it a bit odd that she was so quick to not only trust Nick, but pursue a relationship with him. Their relationship moves a bit fast for my taste, but the connection between them seems genuine. I also enjoyed the twist added to their bond after they make love.

I thought the conflict with the man who was after Jenna was resolved a bit too quickly. Just as the story was picking up speed and the tension was mounting, everything ended. I just wasn’t ready for the story to be over yet. I also have to question why Jenna and Nick didn’t take more precautions for her safety in the first place. Nick and Jenna knew she was a target, yet they didn’t take much action to prevent another attack. I would have thought Nick would have at least insisted on moving her to a different location. Despite this issue, the plot flowed well and had a satisfying conclusion.

Affinity is a fun, fast paced story sure to get the blood flowing. Anyone looking for a good paranormal suspense filled with spicy romance should give Affinity a try.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Royal Pain by Megan Mulry

A Royal Pain by Megan Mulry
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (338 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

Bronte Talbott follows all of the exploits of the British royals. After all, they're the world's most preeminent dysfunctional family. And who is she to judge? Bronte's own search for love isn't going all that well, especially after her smooth-talking Texan boyfriend abruptly leaves her in the dust.

Bronte keeps a lookout for a rebound to help mend her broken heart, and when she meets Max Heyworth, she's certain he's the perfect transition man. But when she discovers he's a duke, she has to decide if she wants to stay with him for the long haul and deal with the opportunities— and challenges— of becoming a royal.

Some secrets can make or break a relationship. After Bronte Talbott, an advertising executive, breaks up with her Texan boyfriend, she meets a new guy, a really great British guy, Max Heyworth. They have a wonderful time together, but he’s withholding pertinent information. When Bronte discovers his doozy of a secret, she sees him through different eyes.

They break up. The time without him is tortuous because she has real feelings for him. He adores her as well, back in England. The two make their way back together, thank goodness, but their troubles aren’t over. He’s a duke. And wants to make her a duchess. It seems like a great deal, right? Well, there’s more to it. Bronte is the independent type. She doesn’t want her life controlled. The conflict tears away at their relationship.

These are great characters, and their troubles are explored in a natural, entertaining way. Will those problems split them up permanently? Bronte goes to London and gets a taste of the royal lifestyle. She runs into her ex boyfriend on the street for an interesting encounter. She meets Max’s family, his siblings and overbearing, cold mother. Lots of little things chip away at Bronte’s confidence, but she does love Max. Can love overcome all else?

This love story has steamy love scenes, adventures abroad, quirky secondary characters, and emotional explorations in abundance. It’s an enjoyable tale that readers of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and those who are interested in the lifestyle of the royals will probably appreciate.