Clarissa of York may be a pawn in the forever struggle for power between the English and the Scottish Highlanders, but she has faith in her wits and inner strengths. This faith gives her a unique power among those who force their will on her by brute strength.
The acknowledged bastard-born daughter of Edward IV, Clarissa’s station in life is a dubious one. She's of royal blood but not being born in wedlock keeps her out of the main stream of nobility society. She's the “looked-down-on” relative often used for the family’s betterment. Clarissa has no say in the matter. She’s reminded daily of “her place”, “her duty”, “her fate”.
When she’s sent to Scotland in hopes she will bear an English-royal-blood son for James, the puppet ruler of Scotland, she sees life closing in. Then, as silent as the night shadows, Highlanders come. She’s whisked away. Once more she has no say about what they do to or with her.
Laird Broen MacNichols wants justice for his family. He wants to keep the Highlander clans from feuding among themselves so they can stand together against the Royalists. He's a blue-eyed giant of a man, smart, brave, a man of honor—not a barbarian like Clarissa had been told. He causes her to have “wicked, carnal thoughts”. He's temptation. Yet, she cannot give her trust even though she respects him for giving her a choice. Her virginity is all she owns and he lets her choose to whom and when she will give it.
The many strong secondary characters make the Highlander's Prize rich with sub-plots. It seems everyone has his or her own agenda. Edme, who runs Broen’s household at Deigh Tower holds a unique place and gives wise council to Clarissa. Edme tells the young Englishwoman that there is a huge difference between being considered property of a man and sharing delights of being loved by a man. Another unusual character is Daphne. Her story brings out amazing truths about what lengths some will go to for true love and friendship. Oh, my, how tangled and secretive some of the lives are in this multi-layered story.
The antagonists, some less evil than others, but all threatening, create scary, heart-stopping happenings that make one wonder how in the world the hero and heroine will get out alive much less find their way to a happy-ever-after.
Mary Wine does a fantastic job of weaving together a very troubled time in history, amazing descriptions of Scottish castles, the unyielding environment of the Highlands, and horror of battlefields. She engages all the reader’s senses and pulls the readers into the time, place and action of the incredible characters. She weaves in the Scottish humor, sense of honor, Highland culture, beliefs, and fealty to clan. Best of all, she makes the reader feel the primal, sexual attraction of the hero and heroine. She delights with their posturing and their challenging each other as they find their way to awesome love that sparks and sparkles. Societal rules create trials and troubles for them, but their love transcends all and even reaches out to help others have and hold their own true loves.
Highlander's Prize is another Mary Wine historical for the book shelf—a keeper to be enjoyed more than once....more
Love can be all consuming like a raging fire, but in Bryon and Callum’s case they need love to tame the fire within.
What originally made me pick up this book was because it featured dragon shifters, Who doesn’t love a dragon shifter? The author not only met my expectations with her dragons but she exceeded them. This story fully included Bryon and Callum’s dragon side, even when they were in human form. I adored the way their dragon nature played a role in everything about their lives, from the way they scented others to the dynamic of their relationship. There wasn’t a moment in this story when I forgot what these men truly were and how dangerous dealing with a dragon can be.
Mira’s a human I really grew to love in this story. I particularly liked the way past affected her ability to accept Bryon and Callum as her mates. It brought a sense of honesty to the story because many of our pasts play such a vital role in who we are and the decisions we make in life. Another enduring quality I liked about Mira was her ability to rationalize her reality instead of relying in preconceived notions to make decisions. These qualities really made her a likable and sympathetic character.
While the story was good there weren’t any real surprises that would have made the story more memorable for me. I would have liked to have seen one or two scenes that really just blew me away. Instead, I got a consistently decent story. While that is in no way a bad thing, Ms. Armstrong wrote such a well developed story there was opportunity to really expand on who these dragon shifters are and possibly throw in an additional exterior conflict.
With comprehensive and catchy characters and an ability to stay true to the dragon shifter theme, the author was able to create a story I definitely recommend to others....more
This time travel novel has it all!! No Matter When has the past, present and future; love, hate and friendship; and a well thought out plot that is developed beautifully. What more could you ask for?
In the future, there's a technology that can be used for good or evil. If used properly, it can save lives. If it falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to change the future and for other wicked pursuits. Now five people, from different walks of life and times, are in a race to save the past and the future.
Lilly’s whole world changed the moment her mother died. In an instant, her foundation was demolished and she was left alone. In the accident that took her mother from her, Lilly gained something she was ill prepared for, a photographic memory. At a young age, she must learn to cope with her new ability. She tells the one person she thinks may understand and help her through this problem, but he's unable to comprehend the situation and abandons her. This event forms her present existence. She works hard to not reveal her ability and in turn, she's introverted and unable to trust anyone ever again.
Gabriel's an advanced human. He's the product of science in a time where genetic impurities and disease have been systematically removed from human genes. Gabriel is a soldier to which all future soldiers will be compared. Unfortunately, he's killed before his time. Now he lives in Scotland in the year 1503, along with three other men. Two of the men are from the past and a fellow soldier from his time. None of them know why they were sent to this particular place in time, but from the moment Lilly arrives, everything begins to change.
Finally, all the pieces are in order. The professor responsible for their time travel has revealed the reason for their continued existence. What may have started out as an experiment on his part now has a purpose. The five of them must work together to thwart a conspiracy. Along the way, they also find friendship and love.
This story may be about the blossoming romance between Gabriel and Lilly, but I truly believe the underlining message is of loyalty and friendship. These five people were sent to the past for reasons unknown to them. They bonded over the hardships and the commonality of their situations. No Matter When is so much more than a romance.
Lilly and Gabriel are two people who are astonishingly different, but at the same time amazingly similar. I enjoyed reading their adventure and how they grew as people. It was not an easy road for them, but I’m glad I was able to read about how they eventually came together.
No Matter When appears to be book one in the series, Out of Times. Beyond that, I have absolutely no idea what will happen next in this series or when. I found very little information on Ms. Adams and her books. I have noted this talented author and I plan to keep a look out for her future works and the next book in this exciting new series. She's written an amazing tale, captivating characters and a promising universe.
There's no time like the present to experience No Matter When. This is a riveting novel that will take you back in time, make you contemplate the present and question the future. It’s not to be missed! ...more
One of the advantages of a time-shifting story is anything can happen. When the “future” in the story is the reader’s future, the possibilities are endless.
Magic, virtual reality, and motorcycle repair. One would think these things were mutually exclusive. Alas, for our heroine, Angel, they are not. Throw in a vengeful ex-husband and a daughter she loves but is not able to see, and the complicated and twisting plot unfurls.
The past is a little less complicated, as magic is a part of everyday life for Torin, our hero. But there are secrets and lies hiding in the past, too. And the past is not an easy place for a modern woman like Angel.
It took awhile to catch my interest and bring me into the story. Once I was hooked, I found a connection with the characters and started to enjoy. The plot is fine, but the shifting timeline means the reader needs to pay close attention and/or do some re-reading in order to truly enjoy the subtle nuances in the story.
Despite the potential for confusion, it’s an interesting read - especially if you enjoy time-travel stories. Grab a copy and put it in your to-be-read pile today!...more
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. ...more
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? ...more
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....more
The Librarian and the Preacher: dull premise, you say? Try hot and fast! I hadto read this book all in one sitting. It captivated me from the first few pages!
Determined to lead a proper and spinsterish life as a librarian while running away from a disastrous previous relationship, Isis is persuaded otherwise by a handsome preacher. Even their kisses are hotter than a 100 degree day.
Isis Garrett traveled from Egypt to Paloverde, Texas to start a library and a new life. The hero, Preacher Prescott Mackay, is enjoying helping people in his parish and taking care of his ranch. Both of them are hiding secrets from the past they worry would have others see them in a not-so-desirable light. What secrets are they both hiding? Will the other person think less of them if their secret is revealed? Isis very reluctantly agrees to a date with Pres. She thought that since he's a preacher, he would surely be a gentleman. What they experience together is a sensual treat sure to have your pulse pounding.
Ms. Quinn’s writing is wonderful, making the vicarious experience seamless. The plot is well-written and moves along at a quick pace. I felt as if I were transported into this frontier town, experiencing life in 1877. With historical stories, I am often worried the descriptions might take over the story which would have me lose interest in it. Ms. Quinn makes sure her characters are up front and center, with the description enhancing the story like whipped cream on dessert. The characters themselves are honorable and attractive people (despite Isis worrying about her self-perceived plumpness). They won my admiration when they help Opal, a town prostitute, showing her the same concern and regard as anyone else. The characters’ internal struggles about their past and their interactions with each other make for a very satisfying story.
Hot Under the Collar was a wonderful reading experience. The author has won me as a fan and I will be looking for more books from Ms. Quinn! If you enjoy a well deveolped historical and don't have much time to read, you won't want to miss out on reading this very sexy novella. ...more
Greg Hart has an active imagination for a boy. He’s not particularly athletic or exceptionally smart. He writes in his journal and creates exciting fantasies where he's the “hero” in some imaginary adventure. He sure never expected to transport from his world to another and find himself ACTUALLY facing a death-defying adventure!
This author has created a very challenging course for his young character who keeps protesting he’s no hero. He takes an ordinary school kid and plops him in another world where witches and dragons and strange creatures live. His assignment: To slay the dragon and save the princess. There’s nowhere to run and if he hides in the wrong place; something might eat him.
Mr. Allen grabs your attention at the very first chapter and keeps Greg running all throughout the book. Young adults reading this will find it easy to stay connected to the characters and interested in what might turn up next in the woods. The author has a very creative writing style. Some creatures are merely odd, some will eat you, and some will kill you just for fun. It’s good that Greg has some friends with him or he’d never make it through.
One aspect I really liked about this story is how the author takes a young man with no self-confidence to speak of on an adventure that helps him grow up and understand he has skills he had never identified as being important. The author also plays word games in the story. How Greg slays the dragon is amazing. This ending will suprise with it's cleverness!
This is a very good adventure that younger readers can enjoy. You might want to use it as a read-aloud book because they may not recognize some of the “punny” jokes included. There is also some violence and danger included in the story which makes it exciting and could be discussed if the child has any questions.
This was Greg’s first adventure and it appears he will be returning to Mryth. This series put me in mind of the Magic Tree House stories. Why not grab a copy of How to Slay a Dragon and then watch for the future books. Greg is an fantastic character you’ll want to follow....more
The Needle in the Blood is a medieval adventure rife with danger, romance, and rich, historical detail. Reading this book brought the world of mid-eleventh century, Britain to life. The nitty-gritty, down-to-earth particulars of this brutal era are engrossing and educational at the same time.
It was a fascinating time, the end of Anglo-Saxon England, when William the Conqueror took control of the English throne. William had a half-brother, a bishop named Odo. Odo makes a great hero in this story. He's charming and driven; a political man from the word go.
Gytha is Saxon and hates the Normans. She’s tough, and does what she must to survive in a world turned upside down. She is practical and not romantic. This story, among other things, is about character.
Gytha wants to kill Odo, as revenge for taking away her mistress. She gets the chance to meet the powerful but lonely Odo, who is plagued by nightmares. Something unexpected happens during this meeting. From then on, her contradicting feelings battle each other. She calls Odo her enemy but still lusts for him. He’s tender with her as no man has ever been. Odo grows to love her, but she pulls away at first, creating great tension. She wonders if she’ll fade into the mass of treasures he owns.
The Needle in the Blood is based off of true events in British history. The tapestry central to this story actually exists and depicts the events that lead to Norman control. One particular scene woven into the tapestry shows the Bishop Odo caressing the face of his mistress. Quite possibly this was the inspiration for this work of fiction.
The writing is intelligent and engaging. Be forewarned though, this is not a light read. It's obvious Ms. Bower spent time researching historical events and the time period for accuracy. Besides forbidden love, it’s also a tale of survival and politics of the era. One just doesn’t know what will happen next during the reading.
The Needle in the Blood is for fans of serious historical fiction who appreciate a good romance; it’s an enjoyable book....more
A Light on the Veranda is a multilayered story. It takes the reader back and forth from the present to the nineteenth century when another Daphne lived—a Daphne who yearned for love. Interesting parallels emerge between the two Daphnes.
There's more to Bluff House than Daphne ever imagined when she left New York to move to the deep South. Family roots run deep in Natchez, Mississippi and Daphne’s family is no exception. The old harp at Bluff House plays in the wee hours of the morning and Daphne has visions about ancestors, long-dead.
As Daphne tries to rebuild her life she meets wildlife photographer, Sim Hopkins. Sim stirs her blood, but Daphne has experienced disastrous relationships firsthand. Trusting a man does not come easy. Even so, Daphne and Sim have a sizzling chemistry she can't quite dismiss.
Sim has no idea his family has roots in Natchez—he's there to photograph birds painted by Audubon long ago. Though drawn to Daphne, he has unresolved issues he hasn't been able to come to terms with for ten years. Invisible ties seem to pull them together. It's almost as if ghosts from the past urge both Sim and Daphne to move past all their hang-ups and reach for a happy-ever-after denied so long ago.
Ciji Ware’s ability to weave a tapestry showcasing past and present lives and emotions is amazing. An ever-present thread in the tapestry is the extent of influence the Whitaker “blue devil” genes can have on generations. Ms. Ware stirs in emotional struggles, environmental upheavals, and economic woes. This passionate tale wouldn't be complete without manipulations of malicious ‘meanies’ such as present-day Daphne’s “Magnolia Mama”, the vindictive Jack Ebert and nineteenth century Daphne’s family and husbands. The book isn't all darkness and gloom. There are several bright spots actually. The secondary characters are a kaleidoscope of colors that blend and add texture and continuity to the tapestry that tells a fantastic tale about mingled lives of many families—past and present.
The magic of rich, emotionally charged music that Ciji Ware writes about pulls the reader into an-otherworldly-place that transcends time. She engages all the senses with descriptions that make the story come alive as she takes the heroine and hero on a journey. They find redemption, but also bring peace to long-dead ancestors. One can almost hear a sigh of relief echo across time as ghosts of ancestors whisper well done and finally rest in peace.
A Light on the Veranda, with its well-researched history, ‘so-real’ characters, subtle humor, and meant-to-be love story is a book to be enjoyed more than once....more
One man’s whipping sets a course of events that ultimately takes a path of vengeance and turns it into a journey of love. A reader will figure out that the two beleaguered protagonists will get their happily ever after, eventually. What happens along the way however, is a grand bit of storytelling where some of the characters end up in very different places than what a reader is initially presented.
Oliver “Beau” Blackthorn is the eldest of the Blackthorn brothers. For all of his aura of responsibility, cunning and deviousness there remains a youthfulness to him. A reader will see it early on but will also see how it got destroyed. After reading this story and watching him fall in love with Chelsea, I don’t think it was demolished as much as suppressed, hidden and denied. It didn’t serve him well at all in the beginning. But with the heroine, elements and hints of the young, hopeful and earnest man he once was start to surface. He learns to trust her and like a flower unfurling in the sun, Oliver experiences emotions and feelings he never thought he would. Certainly he had no idea what to do with them, and that was the beginning of the entertainment.
Chelsea’s character is many things but the one thing that tops them all is, she’s fun. I got a charge out of how alternately smart she was, then blushingly innocent, before shocking the hero with her cheeky wit and stunning him with her plans. You see, she always comes up with a plan. It may sound silly, it may be over the top or just plain genius, but she always comes up with something. And it cracked me up every time. It was one of the best things about her because of what it did to the hero. I can just imagine the author rubbing her hands briskly together with an evil “bwahahaaa” as she concocted another predicament to toss at the hero and heroine. It was one snafu after another and Chelsea never took no for an answer, nor did she ever take a defeatist attitude. She was plucky, inventive and quite charming. Oliver never stood a chance.
The first set of secondary characters is the Blackthorn siblings. I was introduced quite thoroughly to Puck. Again, I found myself giggling as I imagined this poor beset upon young man having to travel all over the country, chasing after his brother and hopefully wife-to-be. He was a cheery sort and seemed rather vacuous in demeanor. Nothing could be further from the truth. The scene at the Crown showed he was made of sterner stuff. Also he has the ability to think on his feet and is as dedicated and loving to his brothers as a reader could wish. He was a great support cast and I enjoyed getting to know him. Good thing too because the next book is about him. I’m excited. As for the other brother, Jack, the author pretty much kept me in the dark but threw some very interesting tidbits to whet a reader’s appetite for the future. He’s a real mystery not only to me but to his own family. Very cool.
The other secondary characters are the bad ones. They either participated in the wrongs of the past or are perpetuating future grievous harm now. The ‘crow’ was truly the evil in the piece. It takes one to know one and ironically, Chelsea’s sister recognized him for what he was right off of the bat. In a way, I liked her shrewish disposition because it was entertaining and I could tell she enjoyed twisting the figurative knife. Chelsea’s brother is a bully. He’s not inherently evil, but he’s not a nice person. I sort of pitied him – but only a little. Even the bad brother had his own epiphany by the end of the story, but the truth didn’t enlighten him for long. After learning about him, I don’t think he could have responded any other way. He wasn’t a strong man of character. In fact, sour grapes was quite fitting for him. Once you read the book, you’ll know what I’m making reference to.
The family dynamics between Oliver’s family and Chelsea’s was fascinating to read about. The author took great pains to make sure I understood how unconventional the Blackthorn brother’s childhoods were. It is on the one hand sad and on the other, really bizarre, especially for the time period. Chelsea’s was normal yet that isn’t a compliment.
I was completely charmed by the verbal byplay between Oliver and Chelsea, and then again between Oliver and his brother, Puck. It kept the story lively, intriguing and faced paced. Another thing Ms. Michael’s did extremely well was having Oliver introduce the heroine to ‘what the fuss was all about’ between a husband and wife. Chelsea’s response was entertaining and the results of some of the scenes were deliciously spicy. They were well spaced, effectively placed and sweet and saucy all at the same time. They were a credit to the story.
The Taming of the Rake is a rollicking good read. I laughed, I gasped and I giggled some more. The author kept surprising me with one fiasco or plot twist after another. The drama was light and enough to keep the story moving at a steady and energetic pace. I enjoyed the characters, the setting, the descriptions and the dialogue. I can’t think of one thing the author could have done better, I had that good of a time. If a reader is looking for a story that entertains, makes a reader smile and provides a sense of justice satisfied, all the while making it hard to put down due to the twists and turns of the adventure, then The Taming of the Rake is a real winner.
Rafe’s been hiding the truth for so long he’s worried he may have lost himself in the process. Life is tough for an Austrian living in the US in 1955. Although he lost his family as they fled from the Nazis, Rafe is often seen as German. After losing everyone he’s ever cared about due to their heritage and life style, Rafe is afraid to show any part of himself. He’s cultivated an image of an all American ladies man living a quintessential bachelor life that he clings to religiously. Only when officer Ben gets a glimpse into the lonely reality, is Rafe’s carefully cultivated world rocked.
Secret Light is a moving story about loss and fear set in the 1050's. This post-war era shows bigotry and fear running rampant and how two men try to circumvent the pitfalls of a taboo relationship. Ben is a cop hiding the fact that he’s gay. Living with an elderly mother gives Ben a good cover but it may not be enough when he falls for Rafe. Behind Rafe’s careful image is a desperately lonely and scared man. He’s been taught all his life that being honest will lead to prejudice and loss. He wants to fight his connection with Ben but their need is too great.
The story is well written, as are all books by this author, but it has a distinctively different tone and pace. The seriousness of the topics and issues brought up lend a weighty feel to the story. The pace helps with this as the pages fly by with language that helps alleviate the otherwise dark tone. Instead the romance feels real and so genuine that you can’t help but be moved. Both men are wonderfully realistic with honest issues and flaws. Rafe’s fear is not something to be overcome but worked with. He has real reasons not to be open and the story works with that instead of seeing it as an obstacle to overcome. This happens with most issues so the end result is a very authentic feel to the relationship and outcome.
Secret Light is not necessarily a feel good story but it’s wonderfully written and highlights a more realistic look at gay men in that time. It offers a hopeful ending with men deeply in love trying to etch out a future the best way they can. There are a few quibbles here and there but honestly this stands out in the genre and makes it easy to recommend and like. It’s different but more so moving without being heartbreaking or too intense.
Stefan and Caroline are in a race against time to overcome the curse before Stefan’s eighteenth birthday, but with Timon tripping them up at every opportunity, will they be able to win the race?
I was excited to begin reading Twilight Over Moldavia. Ever since I read the first book in the series, The Wolf’s Torment, I had eagerly been anticipating the next installment. Once I began reading, I was delighted to discover a wonderful new generation of characters to carry on the Moldavian Moon series. Even though this is the second book in the series, the story can certainly be enjoyed on its own. However, if readers want a greater understanding of the emotional turmoil that led Stefan’s mother to curse him I recommend they read book one first.
Stefan embodies all the traits of a great hero. He’s warm, caring, loyal, and strong enough to face whatever life throws at him. Like his father, Stefan matured at a very young age. Though he's not even twenty, Stefan has been groomed to unify and rule Romania. It's a lot for such a young person to handle, but Stefan bears it very well. In fact, I would say that Stefan is just a little too perfect. He hardly ever gets angry or argues with anyone. Even when he learns that he's been cursed, his reaction is very controlled. I think if there had been a chink or two in Stefan’s armor, he would have felt more realistic.
Caroline is certainly the woman for Stefan. With her love of the outdoors and her slightly wild ways, she's the perfect complement to Stefan’s careful control. I found her personality refreshing. She has spirit, and her determination to protect those she cares about was commendable. Caroline demonstrated a great deal of strength when she discovered that Stefan had been cursed by a werewolf. She could have walked away from it all, but she didn’t. Instead, she stood by Stefan and used all her power as a witch to defend him. I also loved how Caroline treated Jane and Louise, her ladies. Rather than looking on them as servants, Caroline treated them with respect and forged true and lasting friendships with both women.
It was truly a pleasure watching Stefan and Caroline grow as a couple. There was a certain harmony in watching them work together in order to develop their powers. They also have amazing chemistry. Every time they touch, sparks fly. Ms. Burkhart did an excellent job of building the sexual tension between Stefan and Caroline. When they finally acted on their deep feelings for each other, the resulting love scene was very moving.
Timon is a villain in the truest sense of the word. He is extremely selfish and ruthless. If Stefan breaks the curse, Timon is determined to claim him. Every time Stefan and Caroline turn around, Timon is there lurking in the shadows. As the story progressed, Timon’s attacks became bolder and more frequent. This really added a sense of urgency to Stefan and Caroline’s situation that had me racing to the end of the book.
The final showdown between Stefan and Timon was definitely intense and action packed with both sides fighting fiercely. There were also a couple of big secrets that were brought to light, and I had a bit of an idea of how some things would play out. However, I was completely unprepared for the heroic and ultimately tragic actions committed by one character in order to save Stefan’s life. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I read that scene.
Twilight Over Moldavia is even better than the first book in the series. It is an excellent story filled with just the right balance of romance, magic, and danger. Stefan and Caroline’s story certainly has a happy and satisfying ending, but the epilogue opens up a whole new story line. I’m already looking forward to the next book in this exciting series.
He speaks a language only she understands. She can be his greatest ally or his worst nightmare. They don't have much time but they plan to make the most of it.
Violet Winterbottom is a quiet young woman is recovering from a broken heart when she meets a mysterious man from a foreign country who distracts her from her memories of the man who left her abruptly after a passionate night together. The man who broke her heart was a refined aristocrat while the man she just met is a rough foreigner. So why in the world would they resemble each other? Violet is short on time and knows she must help the foreigner. If only he wasn't so distractingly sexy and charming.
Corentin Morvan is the foreigner who desperately needs Violet’s help, but he's also quite taken by her. In the short amount of time that he has to accomplish his goal, he intends to leave no doubt in her mind that he means business.
Ms. Dare paints pictures for us with her words and spins a story that is exciting and romantic. Her descriptions are not overly done, but just enough to make the reader feel close to the action. The heroine starts out as a passive, quiet lady and becomes an assertive, quick thinking, brave woman as she helps the man who she is falling for. The hero’s situation gave the story a twist that was interesting.
The struggle that these two go through, culminating in the heroine making her choice for her future, makes for a satisfying read. Even though it is a novella, it is thoroughly entertaining, with spicy love scenes. I also love the cover which really goes well with the story. This is a book that will be going on my “keeper shelf”. If a clever Historical with a bit of intrigue strikes your fancy, pick up a copy of Once Upon a Winter's Eve today.
Get ready for a wild ride with chills and thrills because six authors are going to take your mind on a roller coaster of adventure as they explore the spicier side of romance and passion.
Captain of Nara’s Heart By Laurann Dohner is all about being in the wrong place at the right time. I thought the premise to be incredibly sexy and well done. It didn’t beat me over the head with sex scene after sex scene. After the first incredible and well described event, the story focused on the growing love Nara had for Cathian. She got to know the man behind the body and the mind behind his very talented tongue. I was charmed as to how strong-willed the hero was, to the point that he’d deny his heart because he wanted to protect her. I was equally impressed with Nara’s ultimate determination to chart her own course and grab the brass ring even if she had to hog-tie someone to do it. I loved the ending: basically he was wrong, she was right and because of Nara’s stubbornness, they get their happily ever after. Women really do know what’s best for their men.
Dragon Heat By Mel Tescho has a bit more action and drama to spice things up. It’s a story about a woman being duped and, whether by accident or design, discovers the truth when she falls in love. It’s a great paranormal story with plenty of interesting tidbits about dragons and their capabilities. The tale also has a nasty villain that truly is scary because he had such power. Dragon Heat’s other accomplishment is that it made me want to know more about this dragon world that the author has created. There’s a bigger picture out there because someone has to free the captive ‘pets’ from their brainwashed state. This is certainly a sexy and well told story and is one of the reasons why I enjoy anthologies. I discover new authors and new interests and this short paranormal romance has captured my imagination. I’m hoping that maybe there’ll be another undiscovered dragon as hunky and as yummy as Benson, the hero in this story. Now that’s something worth investigating.
Dangerous Addiction By Desiree Holt is for the romance reader who likes to be seduced by the BDSM lifestyle. It’s actually pretty well done with a wonderful buildup to Cord and Fallon’s relationship. There’s the emotional vulnerability from Fallon and the need to heal and dominate and love from Cord. The ending is more of a happily for now as the story is more about their meeting and Fallon finally agreeing to leave her past behind by trusting Cord. It’s powerful, romantic and quite sensual. The way this installment was delivered, and how the characters were written, has created an avid curiosity to find out what it’s going to take to heal Fallon’s trauma completely, and how will Cord eventually reward her for giving her all to him. As it is, this tale ends with optimism and hope for their future. And, based on this little snippet, I bet it’s going to be powerfully sexy and entertaining. What fun!
Highland Tryst By Eliza Knight starts off pretty dramatic and then does a fast switch into giggles. From there it was sizzle and pop with a hunky Highlander and I had a ton of fun reading this very sensual and exciting tale. Ms. Knight was very inventive in how the hero and heroine explored their passion and I got a kick out of the choices the author made when it came to introducing Fin to the modern world. The part that had me giggling all over again was what the author decided to have the hero do for a job. It’s actually pretty cool but at the same time, imagining a solid, old-world Scottish warrior doing that kind of work gave me delicious goose bumps. What a terrific idea! This is a well told and thoroughly entertaining story with a delightful romance to satisfy any reader.
Tattoo Witch By Kathy Kulig opens up with a sexy but definitely sinister edge. The set up is innocent enough but very quickly turns scorching with elements of fear and anger to spice up the action. Not everything that sounds good is good. Yes, there is some incredible skin on skin action, even a brief stint with another couple. The writing was vivid and it captured the heated passion that drove the main characters. But when a person is told that there’s bad with the good, decent people can’t possibly imagine the lengths evil will go to in order to ruin them. Even though this is a very sexy tale, the motto, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” applies in a big way. There is suspense in this short story. It’s their sense of determination and belief in what’s right that pulls the hero and heroine together to defeat what was thought undefeatable. This wasn’t an easy read for me but it’s definitely well done.
The Addiction By Jaid Black is the story I’d been waiting for. Figures it would come last in the anthology. I’m a fan of Ms. Black’s and somehow I knew that this was going to be the icing on an already yummy cake. I was right. The author set up the plot, conflict and character hook within the first few paragraphs. There’s the cynical and world-weary hero and the energetic, optimistic go-getter yet still sort of innocent heroine, and their worlds clash.
Ms. Black’s sense of humor and cleverly described bit of slapstick totally sucked me in. In such a short space, the author packed in a crazy but loving family, internal angst, gleeful manipulative friends and a wonderful surprise that embodies what romances do best – gives a reader the warm and fuzzies while providing them plenty of reasons to sweat and swoon. Ms. Black’s ability to create characters that seem real and alive is as vibrant a talent as ever. And this short story proves it.
Something Wicked This Way Comes covers the spectrum of readers’ tastes and satisfies on every level. Whether a reader is looking for a bit of sexual adventure, an out of this world experience or the simple beauty of “I love you”, it’s all here to discover in this wonderfully well-written anthology. There are things that made me gasp, had me laughing and giggling, or wide-eyed and reaching for the ice cubes. This book is a lot of fun and so engrossing, it could possibly make time cease to exist. It certainly felt that way to me and I enjoyed every second. If you’re feeling a wee bit wicked, then this is the book to read.
Enith is no lady. She’s the blacksmith’s daughter and is living with her uncle and his family after her father’s death. His wife tries to teach her appropriate ladylike talents, but the lessons don’t take. Enith likes working with metal and that’s it. Then a silly princess comes to town and upsets her whole life…
Ms. Cole’s words wisk you away you on a magic-filled tour of a medieval world with predators that reminded me of ones I’d met in the Lord of the Rings series. It seems everyone has a bit of magic and many don’t know how to use it. That makes the story even more fun to read.
Juliana is in love with a guardsman and doesn’t want to marry the prince. Enith must challenge the right of Juliana to claim her betrothed to stop the marriage. The challenge turns into a sword fight between the two suitors and everybody is surprised when the prince actually marries Enith, right then and there in the courtyard. However, the parents involved are NOT charmed by it.
The author gives you ambushes, invigorated fights and near death on almost every page. You won’t be bored reading this story. I especially liked the fight between good and evil; magic was used for evil and foiled by good magic. It’s easy to pick out the good and bad characters in the story and it only took me a chapter to know that Enith and Acwellen are a good match for each other. The author takes you through an early romance that matures at the end of the story and it’s a sweet tale.
Ms. Cole also weaves enough nuances in the story to let you know that the adventure is not quite over. The evil wizard is still alive, Nerian (Acwellen’s best friend) has not realized all his potential yet, and it wouldn’t be hard to develop another book to continue the story.
I hope she does, I’d love to read more about this world and the characters that people it. If you like fantasy, I know you will too!
History and science fiction don't sound as if they should be in the same sentence, but in the case of this book both descriptions fit.
Captain Hartwell discovers Admiral Johnson intends to go into the slave trade and he objects. Most of his crew side with the Admiral, forcing Hartwell, his loyal men and his sister to attempt escape. They are aided by a burning rock falling from the sky to the sea. The Captain and his followers swim through a weird colored sea to an ancient ship crewed by escaped slaves. As they escape they pick up the survivor from the fallen rock, which is in fact a crashed spacepod. The survivor is part machine, part humanoid and her path lies with the escaped sailors, especially as she develops feeling for Captain Hartwell. But does he feel the same?
The author has put together history of the navy with an alien from space. The story flows well and has the usual villains and heroes, but there is also a sense of humor. They hire "Lucky Pete" a sailor who has lost one leg, a hand and two fingers as well as being blinded. This is apart from other disfigurements gathered from when he was taken prisoner by cannibals. Why is he considered lucky? Ah well you'll have to read the book to find out. The way Pete and other characters are introduced, and when the mechanical lady defends herself, are all handled with a lighthearted tone which enhances the smooth flow of the story.
The plot is interesting, the characters well-rounded, the writing descriptive. The details at the beginning of the book state it is the first of a brand new series and I couldn't be more pleased. I look forward to reading more about Captain James Hartwell and Lady Mechatronic. If the following books are as good as this one I believe Ms Wyatt will have a winning series.
A Scottish Love is a book impossible to put down once started. Ms. Ranney’s novel hooked me from the start and kept me interested and engaged with the characters even after I’d reached ‘The End’
The story has two clear main characters: Shona and Gordon. From the first page, I felt the tension and the attraction between them. As the story develops, their feelings unfold, past mistakes are brought to light and the characters begin a path of growth and improvement.
Shona reminded me a lot of Margaret Mitchell’s character, Scarlett O’Hara. Like Scarlett, Shona faces many hardships in life. She is a woman who does what needs to be done to get through and she does it without shedding a tear even though she’s dying inside. Shona is frustrated, sad, and lonely, but she holds back her tears. I am not so strong and more than one tear seeped through my eyes at her circumstances.
Gordon is much like Shona. Strong when he needs to be strong, charming, handsome, and a good man altogether, but like Shona he has a major flaw which keeps him away from happiness: his pride. Too much pride on both characters' part creates setbacks both in their lives and in their relationships. Gordon is better at hiding his pride, and is perhaps not even aware, that he shares the same amount of pride she does. Shona on the other hand, is prideful through and through and that hinders her and keeps her away from Gordon and away from happiness. Besides their pride, both characters are also terribly stubborn. It was extremely frustrating. More than once, I felt like locking them up in a room and not letting them out until they solved their issues.
Throughout the story emotions run raw, painting a vivid picture of hurt and pain between the characters. It was excruciating to read through each of their encounters and their past and hope for them to reunite; that one of them would give in to the love that was so palpable between them.
Finally, it is important to mention the other interweaving stories that play throughout the novel. Craft fully introduced, snippets of past ghosts tell the tragic tale of the Weeping Ghost and the Piper. Woven into the story, Shona’s brother Fergus and the nurse Elizabeth also find love and demonstrate that if you’re willing, love doesn’t have to be as bittersweet as Shona’s and Gordon’s (though Fergus and his nurse also go through their share of pain).
With memorable characters, a bittersweet story that captivates your heart and leaves behind a message of hope (mistakes can be fixed), A Scottish Love is a book worth reading time and time again.
Pride and Passion is a Victorian romance with a paranormal twist. It has a rich historical feel and wonderfully lush atmosphere.
Lucy, the heroine, is in love with someone she shouldn't be. She’s a loyal person, so it’s easy to see why she resists falling in love with Adrian. It becomes even clearer why she holds herself back when he is so painfully proper with her. How can someone love another person who is not sharing himself fully? It is easy to sympathize with Lucy and to understand why she does the things she does. She works hard to keep herself from falling for Adrian and tends to view him in a light that helps her to do that.
Adrian is a sweet, strong if somewhat priggish gentleman with a tortured background. He’ll need to show a lot more passion if he is to turn Lucy’s heart away from her first love. Once Adrian warms up however, he’s pretty hot. He’s most skilled with his tongue and by that I mean he speaks beguiling words of love and sex to Lucy. That’s one of the sexiest parts of their coming together. The sex itself is moderately spicy, not overly erotic and very romantic.
Speaking of romance, the love story is satisfying. The moment when Lucy comes to see how much Adrian cares for her and to what length he is willing to go for her, is deep and poignant. Her inner change was very moving. The paranormal aspect never takes over the romance and I liked that very much.
This is my first book from Charlotte Featherstone and I would gladly read the others.
Mariah Tate respects and depends on wagon master Campbell Jefferson’s ability to guide her to California. Determined and practical, Mariah plans for a new start far from her old home. She does more than her share of work on the trail, but Campbell soon learns that trying to control Mariah is like trying to control the wind.
Her persistence and Campbell’s sensing something different about her makes him forego many of his long-standing rules. He allows her to join the wagon train, even though she is a twenty-four-old woman traveling alone. Of course, she does have Worthy, her dog that looks like a wolf and is totally devoted to her.
Cindi Myers uses many of the usual elements that western historical readers are familiar with, but all these become incidental as the characters come alive as they are tested to their limits on the life-changing journey from Independence, Missouri to California. Their attitudes about how to handle their emotional baggage as well as their physical baggage pretty much determine who makes it to California and who succumbs to the rigors of the journey.
Mariah is a survivor and an optimist, but the burden of guilt she carries overwhelms her at times. Worthy seems to sense her moods and is always there to help her regain her emotional balance and her courage so she can move on. Worthy proves his ‘worth’ in many ways as the story unfolds—especially in the episode with the Sioux Indians--spellbinding.
Campbell, handsome and rugged, has a wildness about him. He says he hates taking wagon trains to California, but he feels compelled as if he has no choice. He is ready to settle down with peace and quiet after this, his seventh trek across the country. He wants Mariah, who stirs a never-before-known passion in him, to come with him when they get to California, but he knows something in her past holds her apart from him.
The secondary characters are a kaleidoscope of personalities, hopes, dreams, and strengths. The “me-first” attitudes of a few bring disaster more than once. The gambler St. John and Crystal, who travels with him, and the elder Latham prove to be antagonists on a par with the Indians. They do present mega challenges for Campbell and Mariah.
West With the Wind propels the reader along, at times gently and at other times in emotional or physical storms that are breath-holding happenings. The descriptions of the environment leave no doubt about how difficult the trek across half a continent is, but most of all the characters-good and bad-seem so real with their flaws and foibles that make the reader feel as if they are personal acquaintances.
Once again Cindi Myers entertains with her smooth, compelling writing style as she takes the reader on a vicarious trip that keeps one turning pages.
This was a cute little story filled with light drama, an interesting twist and a heroine not afraid of what she needs to do to survive. Well, okay, she was a little skittish until a hero with an icy demeanor stepped in to even the odds. The by-play between the secondary characters was like a tennis-match and it kept the pages flipping.
Lily is the heroine. She’s not a typical heroine for the period romances I usually read. She’s not a governess, nor part of the ton. No, the leading lady is an orphan down on her luck and, way back then, a woman without a family or protector had little option for decent employment. The emphasis is on decent. The author’s set up of the environment that this little tale takes place in was well done. The despondent atmosphere came through loud and clear as well as Lily’s eventual acceptance of what she’d need to do if she wanted to eat. What I liked about her character was her feistiness. Even though she was trying to give herself a mental pep-talk about doing what she had to, her inherent goodness and sense of right and wrong still battled within her. She wasn’t broken yet and I liked that. The best thing about this story is that she didn’t have to completely let go of her principles, only her inhibitions. I found out that there’s a lot more chutzpah in Lily’s backbone than I at first believed. And, she has one heck of kick.
The man with the stiff and noble bearing is Talfryn. He’s an exercise in contradiction. At first he’s harsh, then there’s a hint of a thaw and then he gets all growly and intense. Well, more intense. He’s fighting a literal internal battle and the author came up with an awesome explanation of his condition. It made this tale all the more interesting because it means that perhaps there might be another story out there with an even bigger battle in the offing. As it was, in Dance Macabre the exploding conflict came at a time I least expected it. It sure made me sit up and take notice and I really enjoyed that. It was an unpleasant surprise for the protagonists but it sure made for some great reading for me.
The most romantic element was Lily’s eventual reaction and sacrifice on Talfryn’s behalf. That was very interesting, even if it was a bit bloody. I also liked how it ended as it was filled with a combination of impressions: sweet, saucy, pragmatic, hopeful, a touch of shy and eventually a healthy dose of joy.
The editing was good, the pace brisk, and watching the hero and heroine come together was a delight. The villain wasn’t who I thought it would be but there was a point in the first altercation that makes made me question something that Talfryn revealed to Lily later in the story. Did the clothing protect him? Why didn’t it affect him earlier? These questions are being deliberately obtuse because I realize that if I ask what I really want to ask, it’d be a spoiler and I don’t want readers to miss out on the surprise. But there is something that seems amiss and I wonder if other readers will catch it too. No matter whether the answer is yes or no, the action and light drama really worked and I had a great time.
Dance Macabre is a compact book of action, surprise and spicy romance. The author’s descriptions provided a real feel for the ambiance of the dance house – depressing and resigned with a coating of false bravdo. Lily stuck out like a fish out of water and I was so happy to have Talfryn rescue her even if it was a bit unconventional in manner. I had fun, was entertained and enjoyed the hero’s fight with himself. Happily for both Lily and me, he lost and the rest was delicious reading. I’d recommend this short novella to paranormal romance readers in a heartbeat -– it has a little bit of the best of everything and is time well spent.
Maura Collyer may seem a “Cinderella type”, but in truth she is a strong woman of action in an age when women, especially commoner women, regardless of their talents and intelligence, had little power or position in society. Maura does what she has to do, according to her way of thinking, and is willing to suffer the consequences. Her innate sense right and wrong and her sense of humor and sense of self-worth help her in times of despair. However, her pragmatic approach to life is not enough to stop her heart from loving Ashton Wilde, even though she tells herself he is off limits.
When her best friend’s brother, Ashton Wilde, the eight marquis of Beaufort, rides to her rescue, partly to appease his managing sister Katharine and partly on principle, both he and Maura get jarred out of their comfort zones.
Ashton, known for his outrageous roguish ways, long ago became bored with the “same-old, same-old” English Ton society. He gets an adrenaline and testosterone rush as he helps Maura rescue her adored and prized stallion, Bold Emperor. His “take-control” ways get challenged often by Maura, since she is used to giving orders and managing her own racehorse breeding stables. Theirs is a relationship that sizzles even though they both claim it is only a temporary arrangement.
The plot develops smoothly in Princess Charming as the primary characters drive the action with vivacious, intriguing personalities, with wit, and with intelligence that outwit antagonists like the selfish step-mother and the supercilious snob, Viscount Deering. These antagonists do make life difficult for Maura. Many of the secondary characters, especially the Wilde family are compelling. A tragedy early in the Wilde clan’s lives made them a tight-knit family. Each of their personalities adds to the richness of the story. They are an interesting, wild, intelligent, and mysterious assortment of “can-do” people.
Ash and Maura’s honest, open sexual attraction to each other and the steamy love scenes are incredible “time-outs” from the social posturing, malevolent maneuvering, and family meddling. Princess Charming races along with fun, emotional upheavals, underhanded deeds, and unending social strictures.
Nicole Jordan’s “just-right” adjectives, her subtle metaphors and captivating descriptions propel the reader along in a vicarious experience that makes the heart race and often brings a smile or chuckle. But most of all, it takes the breath away with a love that promises the best is yet to come for the hero and heroine.
Write a good ghost story and then set it in the Regency era and you have my attention. I had high expectations for this story and it didn’t disappoint me. Ms. Rock did a wonderful job immediately setting the scene with Rose entering the house and being asked to free it of ghosts. It almost reminded me of an old gothic tale but instead of being Victorian this one was of an earlier time.
As she explores the house you get the feeling that there’s something creepy about it and the owner hasn’t been imagining things. There’s also an erotic edge to it, especially when Rose first sees the two men. In fact, the book had a wonderful balance of eerie story and erotic tale. I liked all three characters but especially Rose who seemed to be down on her luck. I cheered for her but at the same time wondered how the author would bring this to a happy ending for all three characters.
The dialogue is good and the pacing perfect for the tale which does, in fact, have a satisfying conclusion. I’ll definitely be looking out for more stories by Ms. Rock.
If you enjoy a historical short story packed with ghostly and erotic goings on in an old house, this is one you won’t want to miss.
Landed by a Flyboy has angry bankers, a hunky Naval officer, and a lot of twists and turns.
There is a lot going on in this snazzy little book. I nabbed Landed by a Flyboy because I have a love of pilots and an interest in all things from the WWII era. May Williams manages to combine the uncertainty of the times with some interesting characters in this short story.
As I said, this is a very short read. If you’re looking for lots of description, then this book might not be for you. Yes, I got an idea of where the book took place, but I didn’t really feel like I was there.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot going for this book. Greg is an interesting character. I liked that he wasn’t perfect and wasn’t above letting Bertie know exactly how he felt. The scene where he worked on the car was my favorite because it was sexy in a “being taken care of” sort of way. I sighed happily after reading that scene.
As much as I loved Greg, I had some issues with Bertie. She’s in a strange situation. Granted, her brother is missing. Granted, she’s carrying a huge load. Still, I wasn’t sure why she was so angry at Greg from the very beginning. Greg comes across as a perfectly decent guy, but if there was more explanation as to why she keeps a cool distance I might have been able to identify with her more.
Still there were moments of sweetness and heat that I’m glad were there. I got to see the blossoming feelings between Greg and Bertie and it was fun.
If you want to take a sentimental journey through wartime 1940’s, then this is the book for you. ...more
Annabel Wheaton is new money. After her father hits it big in goldmines, she is thrust into a world of riches that were never thought possible. Growing up dirt poor in a tin roof shack, the idea of more money than she could spend in a lifetime is almost impossible to imagine. But she is learning money can’t buy you class, and it sure can’t buy you love. All money can buy you at the end of the day is heartache and an air of falsehood. With one broken heart and a failed marriage under her belt will the idea of giving love a second try be worth gambling on or is this a sign that she needs to cash in her chips?
Christian Du Quesne, Duke of Scarborough, is living a life that he never planned. After the death of his older brother he must step into the role of Duke and it has left a bitter taste in his mouth. Being a notorious rake, gambler and all around bad boy is something Christian has relished in, but now he has to grow up overnight. After one look at Annabel, Christian knows that he must possess her. There is something about her that calls to the real Christian, and not this man he has had to become.
This was a wonderful book and it was a pleasure to read. The characters were really well thought out and the story line moved at a nice, believable pace that really worked with the time period of this tale. I would have liked to see how things turned out for Christian and Annabel after the wedding, i.e. babies, Dinah’s coming out party, etc. But outside of those possible hanging details (which could make for a follow up story to this book) I truly enjoyed this read. I have read Laurie Lee Guhrke before and this book just reaffirms my thoughts that she is an author to follow and that nothing of hers will disappoint a reader. This is a book that would be great to reread and recommend with friends looking for a new author.
Love is a light that keeps the darkness of evil at bay. However, memories of fear in a dark closet and echoes of the words—God does not listen to bad girl’s prayers—rules Adriane Darcy’s response to many things that happen. In spite of this psychological hang-up, Adriane is a strong twenty-two-year-old woman who uses her unique talents as she helps her father, Wade Darcy, run the Tribune, a popular newspaper in mid-nineteenth century Louisville, Kentucky. The burden of guilt she carries about her mother and step-mother threatens to sabotage her chance at happiness The time comes when she must make a decision, “honor thy father” and marry the man he wants her to marry or marry the man she loves, for “God is love”. Her struggle almost debilitates her, but courage and faith keeps her doing the best she can in a troubled time. What an incredible vicarious introspective experience the reader has with Adriane!
Blake Garrett, the editor of the Herald newspaper in Louisville, is in direct competition with the Tribune, but in love with Adriane. He came from New York and brought with him his own share of guilt that impedes his ability to feel worthy to love. However, he knows the first time he sees Adriane Darcy that he has loved her all his life, he just had not known it until he saw her. In his efforts to print the truth, he creates dangerous enemies that have a strong hold on Wade Darcy and also Adriane. His tenacity and unflagging energy gets him into trouble, but they also help him find a way to survive and thrive for himself and for Adriane when it seems the dark has truly absorbed all the light in their lives.
Ann Gabhart weaves a beautiful tapestry of a tale with the golden thread of love shining among the varying dark shades of evil in political corrupt, prejudice, and disregard for human life. The iridescence of Adriane and true blue of Blake woven in with the golden thread make a beautiful design, while the pastels of society ladies create part of the landscape design that seems to get mixed with the dark designs of evil. However, some of the secondary characters have varying shades of golden threads, some rather tarnished and some finely polished with age, and some even a little dirty and unpolished, but they enrich this compelling story.
Wade Darcy’s love for Adriane seems to have become tarnished over time as his precious Tribune becomes his first love. The old polished gold is Beck, longtime friend of Wade Darcy and his right hand man in the pressroom. He loves Adriane (Addie to him) as if she were his own daughter. He has shielded her, taught her, shown her how faith in God sustains in all things, and protects her with his very life when needed. The unpolished gold that twines itself near Adriane in the tapestry is Duff, the Irish lad who is loyal to Adriane and guards his family as best he can in troubled times, while the dirty gold is the dog Mr. O’Mallery who never agreed to belong to anybody, but is always there for Adriane when she needs a friend to listen to her.
Antagonists Coleman Jimson and Stanley Jimson and their henchman make up the dark evil as they contrive to control. The horror of the “slasher” who kills young Irish girls, the rioters who roam the streets killing and burning made many dark scenes in the tapestry. They create a terror that makes the heart rate jump into high gear.
Ms. Gabhart’s beautiful, thought-provoking story brings to life a time in American history not often remembered—a time when the right to vote, so taken for granted in our day, was not a given. It was a hard-won privilege. In a unique way, she weaves inspirational bits and pieces into the lives of the characters in this time in history and does it naturally and simply, giving the story a rich texture.
Words Spoken True has subtle foreshadowing, exquisite metaphors, and remarkable characters who have their flaws. Some of them steal the heart, others are frightfully mean, still others are fluff that drift with the whims of society. Most of all, there are those who make a poignant impact and linger in the mind long after the book has been read and put on the shelf, more than likely, to be read again and again.
The best of Cracking the Ice is on the ice - hockey descriptions are in-the-moment, bring-you-there. "Jessie cradles the puck on his stick and took off, skating ahead ten feet, then dropping the puck and cutting to the left..." Hockey is important, not only as the game itself, but how it impacts the dreams and goals of the main character.
Ultimately, this is a personal journey story: goals, and the future are what drive the main character and the plot. He's an admirable young man, ethical and strong, but he lives at a time when those dreams seem one step too far: Jessie is a young black man, in the late 60s.
The Civil Rights movement is in full swing; Martin Luther King is a hero - and those events are important backdrop and in a odd way, parallel some of the action. For Jessie gets an opportunity: he's accepted at a predominantly white prep school with an amazing hockey team. This school might be the ticket to his dreams - but then things start to go wrong. The coach doesn’t want him, even if the principal does. Coarse players go from hazing to threats to worse. The reader will worry and hope that what seems predictable downward turn of events will not be the actual events. The dark side here is dark indeed. It must be admitted that this is an unsettling story. It will stir emotion and anger and leave one wondering how our world could have ever been like this. It is however, sadly believable.
Spoilers would do this story no good at all; it is a worthy, if heartwrenching read, with a fair amount of violence. The best of humanity is explored -- and some of the worst, exposed. It is very readable, written with a clear and powerful voice, and is engaging from beginning to end.
What could happen in today’s Russia if there had been a surviving member of the Romanov family? This is the question that Dora Levy Mossanen asks in The Last Romanov. She takes you through the last years of the Imperial Couple’s rule, up to the moment of their execution… and possible survival of the teenaged Tsarevich, Alexis Romanov. Prepare yourself for one wild ride through history as Darya tells her tale and makes her search for the missing Tsarevich!
Darya believes it’s her divine destiny to guard and protect the young Tsarevich Alexis Romanov from everything that might possibly oppose his eventual ascension to the Imperial throne of Russia. She’s so focused on her duty to the royal family that she often sacrifices things important to her for their benefit. While this is an honorable and often required trait in a member of the royal household, it also shows a single-mindedness that might not always make for a good companion, either. She lets her care of, and eventual search for, Alexis Romanov consume the remainder of her life. Darya is, on the other hand, a loyal and caring caretaker to Alexis as well as a devout and dedicated soul.
Darya’s one distraction from the young Tsarevich and the Imperial Family is her one true love, Avram. Their romance is fiery and passionate, made even more so by the fact that he is a forbidden Jew. For someone of her standing to be involved with a commoner was unheard of at that time, but for this commoner to also be a Jew? It was pure scandal. Darya and Avram do not let this come between them, however, showing both grace and the strength of true love to overcome all obstacles. The way the keep finding one another, despite the odds and political crisis of the time, is both magical and hope for us all.
However, despite Darya’s complete obsession with the young Tsarevich and what became of him, her story is one of the most interesting I’ve read in a long time. This era of history, and the Romanov family itself, has long been a curiosity of mine. To find such an imaginative and intriguing story set during this time and involving this family was a happy surprise for me. Filled with both wild and the more sedate historical characters plus just a touch of the mystical, The Last Romanov brings magic and history together in a spectacular way.
The Last Romanov is a wonderfully well-written read for any lover of history or even just someone who believes in the impossible.
How does one take a battered and abused woman and teach her to love? The answer is: very slowly and with as little magic as possible. Thing is, that’s hard to do when she’s stuck in a magical world as a slave and the master is a psychotic magic wielding elf with fits of paranoia. But Drystan wouldn’t be the hero he is if he didn’t try. And that is only one of the amazing journeys that a reader experiences on this final wild ride in a world where England is riddled with Fey power plays.
That’s been the overall story arc throughout this amazing series by the talented Ms. Kennedy – to free England from the elves’ maniacal rule. It’s been a long struggle with many great warriors dying for the cause and this story is no different. There are some very unexpected fatalities that occur and although they weren’t English, they were noble and honorable just the same – in their own way. But I get ahead of myself.
Even though there is a hero and heroine, Drystan Hawkes is the man who made the most impact on me. Whereas the heroine, Camille, has been in the magical part of England all her life, the hero has not. His experience is so unusual because he’s magically affected, even so far away. There’s a reason for that but I’m not saying how. Because of it and the fact that he’s in the small non-magical part of England, he ended up being a victim of prejudice and fear. It’s isolated him from society and he’s practically lived his life vicariously through books. How then can a man of limited actual experience jump into the middle of an active rebellion and expect to defeat the demented elf, save the girl and free England? Sounds complicated and it is which is why I’m so impressed with Ms. Kennedy’s writing. She kept a tight rein on all the plot threads while thoroughly entertaining me.
Give Camille her due, she’s had a horrific life. She’s truly been abused mentally, physically and socially. In a way, she reminded me of that Shirley Temple movie way back when the rich little girl was pampered and well treated but as soon as it was thought she was a pauper and orphaned, bad, nasty things happened until her daddy was found alive and she was rescued. Camille wasn’t as fortunate because her rescue will come years and years after her secure world was ripped from her. What I admired about her was her determination to rise above slave status. It took sheer guts to get knocked back as many times as she was only to get up and start over again. That kind of strength of character deserves to be rewarded and it is, with Drystan.
Drystan has an in as to what special handling Camille needs and that is where the romance begins. It’s a slow dance of trust building peppered with small gestures of respect and kindness. He shows the heroine admiration and gives her back honor and a sense of self worth. Does she trust it? No. That provides plenty of character driven conflict that kept me turning the pages.
The external conflict is varied. It bounces between secondary characters of ill intent and the main Fey lunatic, Lord Roden. There are magic battles, sword battles and lots of other kinds of action to keep a reader enthralled. There is a good support cast too which really rounded out the book.
Then there are the moments when fledgling love leads to tentative touches and soft caresses. I enjoyed that writing immensely. Again, Ms. Kennedy captured the emotions of her characters and shared it with readers with effective dialogue, descriptions and action, making the scenes come alive. When Camille finally allows herself to express her love to Drystan, it was beautiful, passionate and dare I say, quite inventive. The part with the Arabian Nights was deliciously naughty and I loved every word because it was so sexy and sensual.
The big climactic battle did not disappoint. It was hectic, frenetic and desperate. All the important characters came together from the previous books in the series to help out. There are tears, suspense and ultimately, jubilation. What happens to the elves wasn’t what I expected at all. But, the author proved once again that they just aren’t human. The comment about the scepters gave me pause and I’m filled with speculation. I am also very curious as to how England is going to look, sound and feel post-elf. I hope Ms. Kennedy has some secret plans to visit once again. Something that was said leads me to hope for the possibility.
The Lord of Illusion is sensory nirvana. I totally enjoyed Drystan’s idea of romantic ambiance and found it dreamy and delightful. I loved the descriptions and the author’s ability to capture emotions and translate into words just how much the hero loved the heroine. Some of them were truly poetic. When the action started and the swords started swinging, again, Ms. Kennedy made me feel like I was in the thick of it. The happily ever after was everything I could have hoped for and it ended the series on a solid note of hope, joy and optimism for the future. I’m going to miss this mad, magical world of England and I thank Ms. Kennedy for a wonderful reading experience....more