Friday, October 29, 2010

PURITY by Rick Baber

Fiction Thriller
5 Cups

Jeff Davis is definitely not a candidate for Employee of the Month.  He is an Insurance Adjuster with a bad attitude. Bored with his job he routinely does the barest minimum to get by. He also lies through his teeth with creative excuses to his wife, boss and clients. Still, he is positively brilliant when it comes to extraditing himself from sticky situations.  He is also unusually witty and generally sarcastic.

Gaylon Crittes is the stepson of the influential right-wing conservative Arkansas State Senator, Thaddeus Pinkley.  Gaylon needs Jeff to approve a rental because his Lincoln Town Car was badly bashed in a fatal accident the previous night.  Gaylon is a weird duck and a control freak.

Gaylon quickly becomes unhappy with Jeff’s lackadaisical attitude when Jeff refuses to authorize payment on the rental until he has inspected the damage to the Lincoln.  In the meantime, the accident scene becomes a crime scene as some surprising evidence is discovered that could be related to a serial kidnapping case.  As Jeff plods through his insurance investigation pressure builds, loyalties are tested, and four innocent lives hang in the balance.

Rarely does a story come along that is so strangely compelling.  I was hooked right from the start as Jeff procrastinated, lied, grumbled and complained to himself about practically everything.  Yet, I laughed and rapidly flipped the pages almost as if I was right there with him willing him to triumph – an invisible presence captivated by his irreverent, sarcastic humor.  Pick up and read this book.  Rick Baber knows how to tell a story that is thrilling, funny and both politically and religiously controversial. This one is a winner; I am fervently praying for a sequel.   

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

I received the Yank My Chain Award for this review


3 Cups

Alfred Rhys Smythe is in shock having just learned that his favorite brother Ian was found dead the previous evening, in his London Flat, by the landlord there to collect rent. Ian was an actor, a profession that Sir Neville, his father, deemed quite disreputable.

Inspector Arthur Jenkins of Scotland Yard and Alfred are good friends and comrades.  It had been Arthur’s unhappy duty to inform Alfred of the tragedy. The distressed Alfred must identify the body and vows to uncover the truth of his brother’s untimely demise. 
Both men are privy to a terrifying secret – vampires do exist. Smythe and Jenkins are tracking a small cult currently wrecking havoc in London’s Theatre District and believe they have finally discovered the identity of the evil vampire master.  Their purpose is to destroy the satanic creature without causing a panic among the innocent and unsuspecting populace.

Set around the turn of the 20th century in London, England, this horror mystery is written with nice gothic flair. The conversations and mannerisms of the characters all seem very characteristic of the prim and proper Victorian Era.  This story reminded me very much of a Sherlock Holmes mystery but with the paranormal twist.  Personally, I liked the book but I found the pacing of the first half rather slow as the stage was being set and characters brought under the spot-light. However, the tempo picked up considerably in the latter half, which was action-packed. The ending contained a couple of surprise elements that I found particularly satisfying. This is the final book in the My Soul to Take Trilogy. It is a stand alone book with minimal back story explanations.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Book 1  Corpes so Lively (My Soul to Take Trilogy book 1)
Book 2  Enter Death, Stage Right (My Soul to Take book 2)


Contemporary Romance
2 Cups

Debbie has a secure if somewhat boring job with a small company. She is a petite twenty-seven-year-old; smart and attractive. Debbie is trying to find that perfect man who will make her life complete.

James is Debbie’s supervisor.  He is seven years older than she, dark-haired, good-looking, fun to be with, and already married.

Debbie and James work well together. Theirs is a flirtatious relationship.  James is taken somewhat by surprise when Debbie boldly asks him one day if he has stronger feelings for her than simply friendship.  She confesses that she finds him attractive and would be interested in getting to know him better.  That is also when she finds out his marital status.  Will James leave his wife for Debbie? Lust is a powerful, wonderful feeling but is theirs only a fleeting passion?

This book made me uncomfortable.  I found Debbie’s flirtatiousness on the job irritating and unprofessional.  However, I liked that James and Debbie were able to put their personal feelings aside when necessary in order to make winning client presentations.  I thought that many of the secondary characters in the story were interesting and believable – most offered Debbie excellent advice.  I also liked that Debbie matured as an individual throughout the course of the story and that she came slowly to recognize there should be more to a relationship than lust if it is to survive and flourish. 


Genre - Contemporary Romance
My Rating  2 Cups

The thirty-year-old Prince Gianfranco di San Benedetto is disgruntled to discover that his recently deceased Uncle Niccolo included a stipulation in his will most distasteful to the young prince.  Even though Gianfranco adores his Aunt Flavia and loved his uncle like a father he has no inclination to marry, yet now, it seems he must find a bride within three months and remain married for a year or lose his inheritance.

Suzanne de Beauvoir is introduced to the charming Prince Gianfranco by a mutual friend.  He is struck by her forthright manner, savvy intelligence, silvery-gray eyes, and coppery-blond tresses.  Gianfranco knew he wanted her so he set out to charm and woo her affections – after all time is of the essence. 

Suzanne, an astute and competent business woman, is overjoyed when the Prince hires her to be his Personal Assistant. She is flattered when his interest quickly becomes more personal.  For Suzanne marriage is a lifetime commitment but can Gianfranco live up to her high expectations?

I found the Cinderella – Prince Charming storyline interesting in the modern setting.  I liked the strong, professionally competent Suzanne and was able to relate well with her. That she captured the attention of the wealthy prince was exciting and I felt the possibilities for this couple were limitless.  Unfortunately, I never became comfortable with the dialogs in the story.  The conversations, especially between Suzanne and Gianfranco, seemed awkward.  Most significantly, though, I had a very difficult time reconciling what I perceived as the de-evolution of Suzanne from a strong, self-assured, business professional who had bedazzled a prince into the clingy, subservient, and basically unimaginative lover he idolized.  However, this novel should appeal to readers wishing to escape into a story featuring a rich, super-sexy, alpha male who whisks his mate all over the world to beautiful and exotic locations.  

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Contemporary Romance
My Rating 4 Cups

After the recent humiliating break-up, Kate needs a break.  When she and her business partner, Jessica, land a freelance investigative gig, that entails a three-month canoe trip down the Mississippi River, she is ecstatic for the opportunity get away from the cares and entanglements of her complicated life – most particularly her cheating ex and men in general.

Tracey jumps at the unexpected opportunity to take a three-month canoe trip replacing Jessica who just took a nasty fall and badly fractured her ankle.  Recently unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend, Gwen, Tracey feels that sharing a canoe with a lesbian partner will be an ideal get-a-way as he is fed up with women and the games they play.

Kate and Tracey finally meet the day before their adventure is to begin.  Both are shocked and dismayed to discover that neither partner meets the expectations of the other.  Thus begins the adventure as Kate and Tracey take on the dual tasks of uncovering major river polluters and coming to terms with past personal mistakes.

This is a fun, easy to read story.  The pacing is steady and constantly moves the story along in a very pleasing manner.  The chapter breaks are appropriately placed and the decision that the reader must make at the conclusion of each seems realistic and logical.  For me, the best part is definitely the chemistry between the characters. Their conversations sparkle and their romantic interludes sizzle.  I read the story four times making different choices at the decision points. Each time I learned more about one or both characters and each time the adventure was pleasantly different.  

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Featured Author - kNight Series OnLine Magazine

Featured Author - kNight Series OnLine Magazine
Wonderful Interview with Author Keta Diablo. Thanks Karen!!

***Excerpt from my 5 Star Review***
The characters, their quirks and their humanity resonated with me and I was sorry to leave them behind me at the conclusion of the novel.  I hope to see some of these characters again in future stories by this author.  I highly recommend Where The Rain Is Made to all fans of historical, paranormal, romance fiction.  It is undeniably enthralling!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Magick Charm by Jennifer Wells

                          5 Cups
I was absolutely, totally charmed by this thoroughly entertaining novel.  The several important characters were all exceptionally well-developed with identifiable characteristics and quirks.  The conversations sparkled with humor that was fresh and believable.  The story, told from Janie’s perspective, in first person, was fast-paced and flowed smoothly to a joyfully satisfying conclusion.  I loved Nostradamus, the naughty little scene-stealer; he also stole my heart. Time flew by as I quickly turned the pages to find out what would happen next.  I applaud the author for penning such an original, outstanding tale and highly recommend this fun urban adventure romance to anyone who craves a little Magick. 

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Taken By Midnight by Lara Adrian

                                                           4 Cups  
      This stand-alone novel was easy to read and had lots of excitement and several hot, passionate sex scenes.  I have not yet read any of the earlier books but had no trouble picking up the general premise of the series.  I would certainly be interested in reading the other books.  I particularly liked that Jenna was an astute, capable fighter in her own right. I felt a couple of scenes would have benefited from a tighter, more fluid choreography. The author, Ms Adrian, is a remarkable storyteller.  She does not overload the narrative with the back story but provides enough of the history to make the character’s motivations convincing.  It was an enjoyable read.
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HALLOWEEN COLLECTION ANTHOLOGY: Sweet Stories to satisfy your romantic cravings

4 Cups
I found each story in this collection engaging. All had a haunting Halloween theme that I thought was quite well done for such a diverse set. My favorite story was Honor CafĂ©.  The story was beautifully laid-out, eerie, yet at the same time I found it especially heart-warming.

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A Duet Novel by David Russell

My Rating 3 Cups
I found both stories unique in that they both portrayed the trysts from a very narcissistic first person point of view. I found it interesting to compare and contrast these tales with my own secret thoughts and longings. Therefore, while the author’s musings did not align with nor cater to my own imaginings, I applaud his effort to convey his in a distinctly readable form.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blood of a Werewolf by T Lynne Tolles

Blood of a Werewolf (Blood Series - Book 1)
My Rating - 4 Stars
Blood Series Book 1
Darby is a kind, intelligent, level-headed young woman who enjoys her peaceful, ordinary existence and loves her younger sister Rowan with her whole heart.  Rowan is an energetic whirlwind who is somewhat scatter-brained and a trouble magnet.  Since the death of their parents several years ago the two sisters rely on each other.  They know that they are descended from a long line of witches because they found some old books and a diary.  However, neither has ever shown any particular gifts in that area. 

Devon and his younger brother are vampires who have just moved into the house next door.  Devon is immediately enamored of the lovely Darby and Blake is similarly drawn to Rowan. At first the girls have no idea that the guys are vampires.  It is only after a frightening and almost deadly encounter, where Darby unexpectedly finds she has special powers that allow her to repel the attacker, that the two young women learn the truth about their handsome boyfriends.  The foursome face peril together, learns some significant lessons of love and loss, and must make some tough decisions.

I enjoyed this fun paranormal romantic tale.  Written in an easy conversational style, it was at times quite humorous.  I thought the pacing of the story was good. This story is very light on the sex – it is only implied in a few places. Parents should feel quite comfortable letting their teenage children read this book.   I absolutely adored the “manly” feline, Harry.  There was an excellent sense of suspense in the latter half of the book and I became invested in discovering if the couples were meant to be together or if hatred and bigotry would tear Rowan and Blake apart.  This is the first book in a series by this author. I will be reading the next book, Blood Moon, within days where I am hoping the brooding, sexy Dean Wolfe – Rowan’s mentor and friend - will show his amorous side. If you enjoy books with witches, vampires and werewolves living secretly within our society you should read this one.

Laurie J
Reviewed 10/15/10

Monday, October 18, 2010

On the Soul of a Vampire by Krisi Keley

Beautifully Told Tale with Little-Known Fascinating History
My Rating - 4 Stars
On The Soul of a Vampire is a mesmerizing and often sonorous story that examines the basic concepts of good versus evil, free will versus pre-destination, and a full spectrum of religious dogma, divine mercy and forgiveness.  Skipping through 800 years of history the author still managed to make the transitions between different scenes easy to follow and exceedingly interesting.  I was fascinated with the way in which the story unfolded bit by bit until toward the end I had that “ah ha” moment when the pieces meshed together beautifully.

A significant portion of the tale is told in the first person as the reader is privy to the tormented Valerien’s thoughts, internal arguments, and indecisiveness as he first stalks then grudgingly befriends Angelina, the first mortal who has ever truly known him.  As Angelina attempts to guide Valery toward the discovery and acceptance of the truth he has sought throughout his long centuries she also tests his patience with her almost beyond endurance.

This book is the first in a planned series.  For me, it was not a light or easy read and I had to several times put it down and return to it later as I preferred to slowly savor the intellectual journey.  This book can be read on several different levels.  There were scenes that were quite horrific but they were described in such an understated, unadorned manner that I was even more chilled and disturbed than I would have been otherwise.

The reflective, contemplative tone of the narrative was refreshing.  The author did a wonderful job creating an archaic manner of speaking for the oldest vampires and for the strange, beguiling and mysterious Angelina.  While it added depth to the overall narrative at times the sentences were difficult to decipher.  I believe this was purposely done so that the reader could more easily relate to Valery’s frustration as he journeyed the path to enlightenment.  I look forward to the next installment.

Laurie Jenkins
Reviewed 10/2/2010

Human Blend by Lori Pescatore

An Entertaining Paranormal Suspense
My Rating - 4 Stars
Human BlendI recently ran across the blurb for this book on one of the Amazon conversation threads.  The story concept was appealing as I was looking for a light, fun read with a little romance and a little mystery.  Julie, the protagonist, is a special young woman who has some very special abilities.  As the book opens she has just moved into a new town, is scared, but determined to make a new life for herself.  She had recently managed an escape from the thugs who had kept her captive since she was a small child. Certainly, she has every reason to be cautious and concerned.

Most of the secondary characters seem compelled to want to assist or protect the beautiful Julie though they each have their own agendas and reasons for doing so. The mysterious and reclusive Doctor Elsworth, for instance, in spite of a disconcerting first impression becomes an unexpected ally. The relationships become more tangled as the story evolves and for me that helped make this novel a more rewarding reading experience. The author has a talent for creating unusual characters.  

As the story progresses, the author gives us glimpses into Julie’s past letting us relive some of those experiences through Julie’s recollections.  Abused and mistreated by her captors for years, Julie struggles with questions of her personal identity. She feels isolated but is concerned she will put others at risk if she allows herself the luxury of friendships. After all, this is not her first escape and she vividly recalls the unhappy consequences of another earlier attempt. However, she has a spunky spirit, is a kind person and others just naturally seem to be drawn to her. She makes new friends and accepts a volunteer job at the community hospital where she feels she can use her gifts to ease the suffering and illnesses of others.

I enjoyed the story and loved the author’s conceptualizations of the various paranormals and alien beings. It easily held my attention and I hope there will be another book with characters like these. I think Julie is a likable person and I would love to see her mature a bit and learn to better control (at least sometimes) her remarkable abilities. But that's just me, I really like to see us girls kick ass!


Where the Rain is Made by Keta Diablo

Rip-Roaring Time-Travel Romance


This fine time-travel novel hooked me early on and provided non-stop thrills and adventure throughout the entire book. It’s one of those stories that grab you by the throat; relentlessly holding the reader in thrall as the author crafts a believable, historically realistic tale of Native American life in the mid 1860’s on the American Plains. The Cheyenne were one of the fiercest fighting tribes and the Dog Soldier Warriors of the Cheyenne tribe were some of the most courageous and lethal fighters of that era. In small doses, the author expertly weaves tidbits of the history and tribal myths of Cheyenne customs and lore throughout the narrative.

This story revolves around the capture and ultimate fate of a young woman, Francesca Duvall, by the mysterious, enigmatic leader of the Dog Soldiers who also is an immortal Time Wanderer.  Called Meko (I Am The Wind) by his fellow warriors and tribes peoples he also resides here, with us, in the present time. When he is not on assignment for the Sacred Council he is Ethan Gray, a museum curator who specializes in Native American artifacts. Most of this fascinating story plays out amid the backdrop of the American Plains and within the village of the Dog Soldiers.  As the story unfolds I was awed by the descriptions of the life and times of the Dog Soldiers.  The brutality and savagery of their existence living on the razor edge as the never-ending hoards of white settlers encroached mercilessly westward kept my heart pounding, my pulse racing and my fingers flipping the pages.

While the story is ultimately about the relationship that develops between Cesca and Meko, the secondary characters are also wonderfully realized, believable and often provide a measure of levity and tenderness.  My personal favorite was BrownWing, Meko’s foster mother.  She also becomes a mentor and friend to the headstrong Cesca.  Brown Wing is the epitome of wisdom, maturity and humor.  The characters, their quirks and their humanity resonated with me and I was sorry to leave them behind me at the conclusion of the novel.  I hope to see some of these characters again in future stories by this author.  I highly recommend Where The Rain Is Made to all fans of historical, paranormal, romance fiction.  It is undeniably enthralling!

Reviewed by Laurie 9/16/2010

Vampire Vacation (V V Inn) by C.J. Ellisson

My Rating - 4 Stars

Vivian and Rafe own and operate an inn north of the Arctic Circle.  The remote location makes an ideal get-a-way for their fanged guests.  A new entourage is due to arrive in just a few hours so Vivian is doing a final inspection tour to ensure all is in readiness for the new guests.  Unfortunately, she learns all is not well at the VV Inn when she discovers a dead body.   So begins the adventure and mystery.

I loved the humor that was woven throughout this engaging story. It was a pleasure to read the well-edited pages.  There were quite a few secondary characters within the story but the author did a great job individualizing the important ones so that it was easy for me to keep track of who was who.  The descriptions of the landscape glistening under a heavy blanket of pristine snow in the near continuous darkness were so realistic and believable that a few times I actually shivered. 

Vivian sets the bar high with her alluring sexuality and there are several scenes that are intense and provocative.  The exceptionally erotic sex-scenes, however, are written in a fun, playful manner and the reader is encouraged to abandon inhibitions and fully enjoy the freedom of the fantasy.

This book is the first in a planned series by this debut author and I am looking forward to further madcap adventures with Vivian, the sometimes despotic ruler of her domain, Rafe, her soul mate and fierce protector, and all the other unforgettable characters who serve the dedicated and loving couple.  

Reviewed 10/8/10

Black Dog Rebel Rose by Danielle D Smith

                      Non-Stop Action and Sizzling Sex


Known, among friend and foes alike, by his nick name Black Dog, Skriker had it all. He was handsome as sin and had amazing prowess when it came to satisfying a willing multitude of eager ladies or fighting ferocious battles against the evil denizens from hell and beyond.  Yet he was also burdened - and blessed – with a secret.  Alone and free with no room for pesky entanglements, that was the life he lived and the life he cherished, until, by chance, he met Rose.

Alluring and with an otherworldly beauty, Rose also carried a secret.  She, too, was a top-notch warrior with sharply honed combat skills.  Rose delighted in seeking out and wiping out all things evil.  Determined to live life on her own terms, Rose was a loner with no room for romantic entanglements, until, by chance, she met Skriker.

Meeting by chance in the abandoned ruins of Paradise Hills, Rose and Skriker are instantly attracted to each other.  Breaking their own rules, they fight together to clear the forsaken city of its evil inhabitants.  It is during the course of their adventures together that secrets are unintentionally exposed – secrets that could mean the damnation of them both.

It is technically, I guess, a sequel to Psyche’s Gate but this book was easily able to stand alone on its own merits.  While Psyche’s Gate was, for me, defined by its lyrical writing and brooding, gothic atmosphere I found Black Dog and Rebel Rose much more fun overall and easier to read – a rollicking fantasy romp.

This novella hooked me from the very first page.  With non-stop, breath-taking action and sizzling hot sex scenes, the author effortlessly pulled me into the story of Skriker and Rose.  The chemistry between the two protagonists was just delightful.  Their conversations, at times poignant, were skillfully crafted.  This was a fun, well-written yarn that should appeal to readers who enjoy tough, no-nonsense leading characters who are able to extradite themselves from sticky situations using intelligence and guile.  It was superb entertainment for my Sunday afternoon. I Loved It!!


Legend Love A Romantic Adventure in Time by Joan Grammer

Young Adult Historical Romance  Time Travel

When precocious Heather was twelve years old she fell out of an immense tree and somehow landed back in 13th Century England. Surprised, Heather reveled in the wondrous adventure and adapted quickly to her new life until the day that memories of her real life returned and she unwillingly traveled back to her own time.

Young Lord Ranaulf of Braunwythe Castle was overjoyed when he discovered the child abandoned in his heather fields.  The lonely boy was happy to have a new friend.  He adored Heather and thought of her as a beloved younger sister.  Heather and he soon became inseparable friends.

Devastated by her disappearance, Ranaulf searched many years for her convinced that she would return to him.  Ten years passed.  By chance, Heather saw a documentary about Braunwythe Castle one day on television.  Memories came flooding back and she quickly made plans to visit the ruins of the old Castle.  After an arduous journey she found that she was able to step back time, once again.  Ranaulf and Heather find that they are attracted to each other more than ever this time around. Despite the conniving, malicious attempts by Ranaulf’s step-mother Elaine to keep them apart they make plans to marry. 

This was a fun, fast read.  The dialog was well-written in a manner intended to capture the actual speech patterns and dialect of the old England.  I fell into the story easily and was able to pick up the written dialect quickly.  The story is told in a straight-forward, rather spartan manner that I found refreshing since I was able to paint in the details myself as I read.  I particularly recommend this sweet story for Teens and Young Adults.


Forever Mine by Elizabeth Reyes

Young Adult Romance - First Love - Debut Author

Sarah was forced to move from Arizona to Southern California just before starting her senior year in high school.  Understandably unhappy about the unwelcome change, Sarah and her best friend, Sydney, vowed to each other to stay in touch daily via the phone and email.

Popular football jock, Angel Moreno, noticed the shy new girl, Sarah, and felt drawn to her fresh, unassuming personality and sparkling green eyes from the very first time they met.  Angel and Sarah soon became practically inseparable and as their friendship blossomed so too grew their desire for each other.  Unfortunately, Sarah was keeping an important secret from Angel – a secret that would later bring heartbreak and severely test the boundaries of their love.

When Sarah moves to California she is intent on returning to Arizona to be reunited with best friend Sydney once again after her 18th birthday.  She just has to make it through the first semester.  Sarah and Angel meet and begin dating shortly after school starts.  Their attraction for each other soon has Sarah conflicted about returning to Arizona but still determined to do so for the sake of her best friend.  Angel tries not to dwell on Sarah’s pending departure, instead, he strives to show her everyday by word and deed why she should remain in California with him.

An uncomplicated, yet moving story of first love, I was easily caught up in the lives of Sarah, Angel and their friends.  I found the story entertaining and well-told. The teens all seemed remarkably grounded and well-mannered for the most part. There was very limited adult involvement and supervision.  Most adults were barely present and quite peripheral to the story. The author, though, did an excellent job of fleshing out the teenagers.  There were numerous teenage characters and each one’s personality was believable with realistic, true-to-life motivations. This novel is a complete stand-alone book.  I look forward to reading the next book in the series that will be about the commitment phobic pair, Alex and Valerie.


The Revelation (Wickford High series #1) by Karen Fuller

Sweet, Engaging Debut Paranormal Read  1st in Series
My Rating - 4 Stars
Being “The New Girl” her senior year was not exactly Vicky Phillips idea of a good time but meeting sexy Luke Wolfburn the very first morning definitely put a spring in her step and a sparkle in her eye.  Luke was charming, handsome and kind.  He also was quickly besotted by spunky, courageous and self-assured Vicky.  He vowed to be her protector and friend.

The story flowed smoothly and was very easy to follow. I loved the conversations! They drove the story forward in a believable way that made this book even more of a joy to read. Secrets abound but are revealed through the course of events. I was very pleasantly surprised at the superb editing of this novella. This remarkably well-written quick read - 1587 locations on my kindle - centered entirely on Vicky's very first day at Wickford High. It is an engaging introduction to a new planned series by this debut author and I am certainly looking forward to the next book. As a mature adult I enjoyed this paranormal coming of age story for its fast pace, believable characters and sparkling dialog. I highly recommend for tweens, teens and young adults who are paranormal fans as well as mature adults who hanker for a sweet, romantic revisit to youth.