Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tracking Shadows by Regan Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tracking ShadowsIn 2096, when scarcity is commonplace, and even everyday items are outlawed or strictly regulated, a few enterprising entrepreneurs have tremendous influence over black market items. In Chicago, Slick Micky, runs his organization in a firm yet strangely benevolent fashion. Of course, when you are at the top of the heap, the opposition against you is formidable. When Micky’s friend and partner is murdered, he is determined to unravel the conspiracy aligned against him, and protect his family.

As clues are uncovered, an assassin is unleashed. Then the situation really gets complicated as Micky’s past finally catches up to him. Old hurts and long-buried feelings resurface when Micky discovers the assassin is Trina, a beloved friend from another lifetime ago.

Micky and Trina seem to be continually repelled and attracted to each other even though both have changed significantly during their years’ apart, but when the chips are down, and tough decisions must be made, they seem to end up always protecting each other’s back. This story weaves a spell that kept me glued to the pages as the convoluted and exciting activity ultimately delivered me to a supremely satisfying denouement.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

To Those Who Wait by Linda Swift

To Those Who Wait
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once I picked up this book and began reading I became totally lost in the lives of the characters. I was mesmerized in a way that is rare for me. The characters became close friends and colleagues to me – they lived in my imagination. I rejoiced with their victories and felt saddened when life, or petty jealousies, seemed to pummel and torment them, exacting, finally, a terrible, yet some would say, just recompense.

This is a book that forced me to re-examine my personal beliefs and even, at times, to flip-flop on some rather closely held perceptions. It hits on many issues, including loneliness, teen pregnancy, infidelity, vengeance, to name just a few. The story, straightforward and relatively simple, is catapulted to the realm of the extraordinary by its heart-felt prose and a cast of characters that are not easily evicted from the recesses of my mind. In a way, I am reminded of one of my favorite TV series, Friday Night Lights, as I read this book. It is a compelling and unexpected delight.

Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lies and Consequences by Tatiana March

Lies and Consequences
My Rating:  3.5 of 5 stars

Christina Miller is a free-lance reporter who is driven by her ambition and desperate to scoop an inside story about Lucas Frost, a millionaire scientist who abhors publicity. She unknowingly bites off more than she can chew when she finds herself utterly out of her element and a virtual captive aboard a small boat.

It began as a bit of a dare; Lucas never actually expected the nosey journalist to call his bluff. Christina awakes and discovers she is underway on an old fishing boat with a scruffy-looking stranger who seems to care more about fishing than concerned for the comfort or convenience of his irksome stowaway. Her plans thoroughly thwarted, Christina decides she has no choice but to make the best of an awkward situation.

This is an engaging, often amusing tale of two people with radically different temperaments discovering a significant awareness and better understanding of a world view different than what each has previously experienced. Christina is forced to adapt to a slower pace, and when she does is able to take a hard, long look at her life. It is not surprising when she finds that her competitive nature has taken an unwanted toll on her personal life and general happiness. Lucas likewise does some soul searching, and comes to the realization that without someone special with whom to share his life, his accomplishments and inventions seem rather mundane and lackluster. For me, this was a provocative and engaging Cinderella-type story with an imperfect, yet still delectable, Prince Charming.

Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Fight for Love by Delaney Diamond

Fight for LoveMy rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nine years ago Rebekah Jamison’s ill-fated marriage ended. After the break-up, discovering she was pregnant, Rebekah made several attempts to contact Rafael but was somewhat relieved when she was unable to reach him. Now, she and her son live modestly, and are relatively content. When Rafe shows up unannounced with startling news she is overwhelmed.

Retired pro-wrestler Rafael Lopez, better known as La Sombra to his many fans, is flabbergasted when the door opens and a miniature replica of himself stands there facing him, awestruck. Rafael is quick to realize he is not the only one with big news to deliver.

Due to a clerical error, Rafael and Rebekah are still legally married. Unfortunately, all the unresolved issues from the past remain and, to top it off, Rafe is thunderstruck to find out he has a son. Adamant that he will be a part of little Ricky’s life, he insists that he and Rebekah must work out a custody arrangement. The physical desire between the pair is as strong as ever, and while neither wishes to re-open old wounds, the cathartic process is set in motion regardless.

An outstanding character-driven story; this short read is stylishly rendered in contemporary prose that absolutely shines. The dialogue seems realistic and believable; Rebekah’s uncompromising desire to protect herself and her young son from emotional hurt is completely understandable. At the same time, my heart ached for Rafe, who suffered such gut-wrenching loss almost a decade earlier. Both characters, though strong and self-reliant, have hidden vulnerabilities that Ms. Diamond reveals in a masterful manner and with a deft touch. I absolutely, unashamedly loved this story; delighting, also, in the antics and innocent prodding’s of their adorable son. This is a story that transcends ethnicity and makes me cheer.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Hot Latin Men Series:
Book 1, The Arrangement
Book 2, Fight for Love

My Interview with Delaney Diamond on CTR

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to Date a Werewolf by Rose Pressey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rylie Cruz is cursed. It is distressing enough that she turns all hairy and grows fangs once a month, but she also has inherited the family curse, placed several generations early by a gypsy witch. Unfortunately for Rylie, her life suddenly becomes more complicated than ever.

When the sexy Jack Chandler, a psychiatrist, moves into the office space across the hall from Rylie’s fledgling business Get a Mate, a matchmaking service, Jack is drawn to Rylie’s vivacious wit. However, Jack finds out that dating her is more challenging than he ever expected.

Lies, lies, lies – Rylie must protect her secrets at all costs. She finds Jack incredibly attractive but fears that their relationship is doomed to failure because of her wolfy condition and the gypsy curse. Jack tries his best to help Rylie, believing that she suffers from a mental condition, but when the threats escalate, and the police become involved, Rylie is left with only one choice.

This story is filled with mishap after mishap as all of Rylie’s best intentions seem to backfire on her. A consummate liar Rylie is not, but she certainly gets an A for effort. There were so many times I laughed out load at the crazy shenanigans and mischief that dogged even her best attempts at normalcy. Ms. Pressey certainly knows how to keep the humor and the suspense in near perfect balance. This was a quick, quite enjoyable read for me, as I could not let go until the very end. I will certainly be on the lookout for more books to read from this author.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Rylie Cruz Series:

Book 1 How to Date a Werewolf

Book 2 How to Date a Vampire (coming soon)

Book 3 How to Date a Demon (coming soon)

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Cameron Sisters Book Two Texas True by Celia Yeary

Cameron Sisters Book Two Texas True
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

True Cameron fell in love at the Governor’s Ball and after a whirlwind courtship married the devilishly handsome, sexy Sam Deleon. Unfortunately, True discovers that Sam has an agenda of his own.

Sam must act quickly if he is to have any chance of fulfilling the stipulations for inheriting the money left in his trust fund. His father, a mean, miserly, brutish man may be deceased, but Sam still bears the scars the man left upon his soul.

True’s dream is to have a home on a ranch, working beside the man she loves. It is a simple dream but one she will have to fight for. Sam is a difficult man to understand, and his petulant, demanding mother becomes an impossible strain on the already troubled relationship. However, when True sets her mind to a course of action she becomes an unstoppable force; quietly and resolutely determined to let nothing stand in the way of her goal.

This sweet western romance deftly captured the flavor and pioneering spirit of those rowdy times in south Texas. The story is a mesmerizing tale of a beautiful, affluent young woman caught up in an unexpected web of deceit, who rather than whine and complain about the situation, sets a course which will ultimately reward those closest to her with a bounty of unexpected blessings. I enjoyed this well-written, obviously lovingly researched tale about a woman who stood by her man and spoke her mind, though usually in a gentle and gracious manner. This is a beautiful, uplifting story that is sure to lovingly ensnare women of all ages.



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hot Zone by Betty Womack

My Rating:  4 of 5 Cups

Her relationship with her suave fiancé is on the rocks, and Jessica Hammond is grateful for the opportunity of a difficult mission so that she can have some space and time away from his increasingly strident demands.

Jake can not help but admire the shape and looks of his sexy partner, but he wonders if she has all the right stuff. She has a smart mouth to go with her stylish looks, but Jake wonders if she has what it takes for their upcoming mission.

Jake devises several physical tests for his new partner that is designed to challenge her stamina and marksmanship. The results surprise him and Jake must struggle even harder against his growing attraction. Jessica is not unaffected by the chemistry between them, but she is determined to settle the mess with her irksome fiancé; she tries to maintain a professional distance, as best she can. The mission gets underway, and Jess and Jake run into major problems. Almost immediately, they find that depending upon each other is a requirement if they are to have any chance of surviving long enough to carry out their mission. Rescuing the hostage, held by the well-entrenched South American terrorists, will test their endurance and loyalty to the limit.

For me, the book started off a tad slowly but all that soon changed. The action and adventure in the jungle drop zone was spine-tingling. Jake and Jessica, in the field, packed an invincible one-two punch against the terrorists. Even hurt, and badly outnumbered, the duo operated with admirable skill and guile that just made me want to clap my hands and cheer aloud. It was in the bedroom, however, where their passion combusted into a raging inferno of lust and desire. The intimate scenes inspired intense and decidedly sexy reading enjoyment for the voyeur lurking in me. I also particularly enjoyed the witty comebacks and bravado at which both characters excel so well.  This is one spicy read that is likely to appeal to fans of romantic action suspense.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Lycan Moon by S. Durham

The Lycan Moon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dana Pierce is an unusual young woman on a quest to find and help free a man from a terrible, inherited curse. Meticulous research has led her to the small coastal community in Oregon. Regrettably, her single-minded dedication to her mission has aroused the attention of a vicious, unbalanced killer.

His acute senses are in overload; her tantalizing scent bewitches him. Calen Meer thought his old persona was truly buried until the nosy reporter comes poking around. She arouses his lust and his anger simultaneously. He finds the intolerable situation confusing and irritating.

A killer is on a rampage, and several young women have been brutally slain; their throats ripped out, bodies slashed. At first, there is speculation that a rampaging bear may be the culprit. Calen tracks the beast and tries to warn Dana to leave the area, but he is only partially successful. Meanwhile, Aiden, Dana’s adopted brother, begins having frightening visions, also. A prophecy is set in motion.

This debut novel is rich in imagery. The emotional connection between the leading characters is wrought with clarity, attention to fine detail, and an abundance of believability. I also like that the secondary characters seemed real to me, too. At times, my attention wandered, though, especially during the first half. I think a tighter story structure would have been helpful, as there were a few instances in which I felt the story was not being propelled along quite fast enough. Still, the sense of place, the feeling of impending doom, the hopeful optimism consistently embraced by the heroine, are remarkably well-portrayed throughout and, especially for a first novel, made this story interesting. Ms. Durham is certainly a writer to watch and I look forward to reading more stories from this new talent.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Soul Bound by Luxie Ryder

My Rating: 4 of 5 Cups

Jessica Hammond is a Seattle police officer who should be dead.  How is it possible the bullets missed? Her superiors believe her mental faculties have been impaired and force her to take time off to recover from the traumatic event.  She finds herself in Las Vegas.

Performing an on-stage magical extravaganza in Las Vegas is Jessica’s high school crush.  Nathan Cain walked away from her inexplicably all those long years ago.  Yet, here he is more enticing than ever.  It was his velvety voice that had whispered to her the night the bullets failed to strike her vulnerable flesh.

Jessica never realized that Nathan reciprocated her love back in high school, so when she finds herself singled out from the rapt audience, she is pulled helplessly to his side then into his arms. This time, Nathan can not delay the inevitable and Jessica is swept up in a ritual of magic and destiny.

Filled with mystery, romance and magic, this is a tightly constructed story that was a swift read.  There was superb chemistry between the leading couple and I thought their conversations seemed natural. I was captivated by the course of events as they unfolded.  I enjoyed this short tale and was surprised by the twists.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Trading Up by Brindle Chase

Trading UpMy rating: 4 of 5 Cups

Theresa is a beautiful young woman in a relationship that is rapidly becoming stale for her. She yearns for excitement and loves to party. She wants to mingle with other up-and-comers in fashionable style. Besides, she enjoys being single.

Mark enjoys Teri’s company, but ever since he met Heather, her sister, he has had fantasies and desires that he knows he can never act upon. Mark is a true gentleman - one who is about to be dumped.

Teri devises the perfect plan. All she has to do is to convince Heather to set aside her inhibitions for one evening. The plan is audacious, but if it succeeds, Heather could fulfill her deepest desires. The scheme is set in motion, but will the trickery backfire?

This smokin’ hot quick read was entertaining. It is a tightly-constructed reminder that relationships are as diverse as the participants in them. It cleverly illustrates, most graphically, that traits, which may be a turn-off to one person, may be the precise things that another finds most attractive. The siblings in this story identified this early on, and devised an opportunity – risky though it was – to make what could have been a painful breakup into an erotic encounter ripe with future possibility.


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Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure by Rachel Friedman

The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

This book is written in a breezy style that captured my attention from the start. I felt almost as if I were there with Rachel during her travels and escapades. Often times humorous, there were also moments that caused me to step back slightly, as Rachel apparently did, and take a look at an idea or issue with, what seemed like, a new set of eyes. I loved reading about all the different places she visited and people she encountered. For me, it got a bit tedious after awhile listening to her bemoan the fact that she just could not come to terms with what direction she wanted her life to take, as I believe she made that decision rather splendidly when she first decided to travel. I did enjoy watching her grow into a more self-assured, self-reliant young woman as she tackled various new adventures. I found this memoir entertaining, funny, educational, and just down-right appealing. It was worth the time to view the world through Rachel’s experiences, and I am so glad I happened upon this book.

Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews


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Friday, May 6, 2011

100 Points For Miss Kitty by Laci Leigh

100 Points For Miss Kitty (Summer Girls)

My rating:  4.75 of 5 stars

This short, cleverly written romantic romp is sure to amuse and bewitch even the most jaded reader. Katrina is cautious about the possibility of embarking upon a new romance because of a particularly distressing experience that broke her heart several years earlier. In order to prevent that from ever happening to her again, she has devised an elaborate point system which she uses, more or less successfully. Todd, her sexy new neighbor, revs her engines and makes her chassis purr, as he seems to rack up the Kitty points effortlessly.

I loved the witty banter between Todd and Katrina. Their conversations flowed easily, and I wholly enjoyed their shared comaraderie. I thought this story was delightfully different; written from a fresh, comical, and quite tasteful perspective. It is a buoyant little tale that is guaranteed to bring a smile.
Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thrill of the Night by Mina Carter

Thrill of the Night
My rating: 4 1/2 of 5 stars

I was immediately drawn into this delightful short read that captured my fancy and tickled my funny-bone. Told from the heroine’s viewpoint with self-deprecating humor intermixed with confidence and saucy wit, Gwen is a character I could not help but to love. When a mysterious man enters the diner, Gwen is handed some unexpected fodder for her active imagination, but that hardly prepares her for the seductive and dangerous encounter to come. Ms. Carter certainly got my attention with this story, mischievously intermingling suspense, lust, danger and, have I mentioned, humor, into an incredibly fun and entertaining romp. I became so mesmerized that I was disappointed when the story ended though I totally loved the way in which it ended. I am just hoping this is a preview of coming attractions. Please, Ms Carter, write more stories with Gwen in a leading role. She is just awesome!

Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mojo Queen by Sonya Clark

Mojo Queen

My rating: 4 1/2 of 5 stars

Positively magical! Roxanne Mathis, a witch and paranormal investigator, is the voice in this outstanding tale. A particularly conniving and sneaky entity has been called forth; beckoned through a ritual that badly misfired, by a lonely, driven sorcerer. Unfortunately, promises mean nothing once the demon enters the physical plane. A life is destroyed, and several others are threatened. Roxie struggles to unravel the mystery of the hellish beast so that it may be cast out, but she has never before been pitted against an evil of this caliber.

I was almost immediately engaged and caught up in the events of the story. Roxie led the casting parade, but she is supported by an impressive assortment of helpful backup companions. The writing sparkles with wit and humor. On several occasions I caught myself laughing aloud. There were times when I back-tracked to re-read and highlight a particularly funny passage. Here is just one example I loved. Roxie needs her “cousin”, a vampire no less, to defend the home front. He wants to come with her. So, she says to him “This is not the time to Scooby up and ride along.” That kind of expressive imagery really appeals to me, and this book is liberally sprinkled with similar instances of such delightfully cracked, ingenious phrases. If you enjoy paranormals with heaping dollops of mystery, suspense, danger, lust, and humor then this book should certainly be right up your alley.                                                                        


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