Lady Annabelle’s Abduction by Charisse Howard

Lady Annabelle’s Abduction by Charisse Howard
Publisher: Boom-Books
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (81 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Hawthorn

If Lady Annabelle Chatfield’s reckless brother had to die in debt, couldn’t he have borrowed from someone young and handsome? Marrying the dumpy middle-aged Earl of Brackenbury is not her idea of a bright future. But that sacrifice starts to look like bliss when a dark stranger blocks her wedding by climbing in her bedroom window and carrying her off into the night. Who is this ruthless but compelling man known as Hawk? What does he plan to do with her? Can her pet spaniel and a young footman rescue her before her honor and her family are ruined?

Lady Annabelle’s Abduction is a story about the passion that upsets the plans for a marriage of convenience.

I was intrigued by the premise of the novella because I’ve read some remarkable renditions of the topic of a kidnapped heroine. Ms. Howard didn’t disappoint in this respect. She made both Lady Annabelle and her captor likeable characters that made me hope their predicament could be solved favorably in the end.

What Lady Annabelle’s Abduction lacked was a story supported with more details and a deeper insight into Lady Annabelle’s and Hawk’s emotions and the progression of their relationship. Where the blurb promised that Annabelle and Hawk warily grow acquainted, their relationship actually progresses into far more than mere acquaintance in the space of a few pages. Instead of dedicating a third of the story to Hepton’s attempts to finding Annabelle, the space would’ve been better used focusing on the heroine and her abductor.

The language and manners of the characters were all very age appropriate, but I felt, especially in the most intimate moments between Annabelle and Hawk that the discrepancy between the events and the language was too big; it seemed like the language was mocking the characters. It bothered me and it took some pleasure from reading.

This novella is full of suspense and romance set in the authentically presented Regency era.

The Sword of Agrippa by Gregory Lloyd

The Sword of Agrippa by Gregory Lloyd
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (48 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

It is 2020. A rogue scientist’s search for dark energy collides with the interests of those profiting from a lucrative, stagnant status quo. Computerized sensors are now more common than computers and smart phones.

Graphene is now being produced in large quantities and ever more powerful properties have been discovered.

Roy Swenson, banned from the US, hits Prague on a quest for energy which will transform the world and lead to a new tech revolution, a new renaissance.

Mainstream leaders in science, industry and religion have become enemies. Dark energy could render entire industries obsolete. Discoveries threaten religious dogma.

Roy, empowered by tragedy, will not back down. Every life has a purpose and he knows what his is.

Roy’s dreams take him to Egypt as a young Roman soldier, Marcus Agrippa. He falls for Samia, an Egyptian slave priestess. In the secret chambers of the Great Library, she guides him through mysteries political and cosmic. Mysteries now hidden behind the veils of history and conquest.

Science and religion answer completely different sets of questions. What happens, then, when the line between them begins to bleed?

Roy’s dreams provided some of the most interesting scenes for me to read. They were so richly detailed yet oh so subtly affected by the fuzzy logic that can creep into even the crispest dream that for a moment I briefly wondered if I were actually still awake. It isn’t easy to write such convincing snapshots of dreams, so I was impressed by how well Mr. Lloyd fleshed them out.

I found the first third of this short story confusing due to how much happens during it as well as the limited amount of time that was spent explaining certain key plot points.The two main characters had such similar voices that I also sometimes had trouble telling them apart. Everything made much more sense once I was a dozen or so pages into it, but it was frustrating to not know what was going on for such a large percentage of the plot.

This tale is the first in a series of instalments, which isn’t something that I realized when I requested it. It sets up the background information and conflicts quite well, and even begins to unravel some of the biggest questions facing these characters. It will be intriguing to see how my criticisms of this tale hold up once the characters have had a chance to explore more of the worlds they inhabit and explain certain details of it to the audience a little better. In the meantime, this can be read as a standalone piece, although I know that I’m curious to know what happens next!

The Sword of Agrippa is a good choice for fans of hard science fiction, especially if they already know a little something about neurology or microchips.

The Lost Flower by Geraldine Solon

Cover_The Lost Flower

The Lost Flower by Geraldine Solon
Publisher: Self
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Mystery
Length: Full (273 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 3 stars
Review by Rose

After third grade teacher, Lacy Stone undergoes a kidney transplant she develops vivid dreams of a toddler running away from a blazing fire. Lacy soon embarks in a journey to Boracay island, Philippines to find answers. On the island, Lacy meets Sampaguita Navarro, one of the last few Aetas of her tribe. As a manghihilot, Sam hopes to open her own holistic spa on the island, but as she acquires tragic visions, she discovers that her gift of touch comes with a price. Searching for clues, Lacy crosses paths and falls in love with investor, Adam Shaw not realizing that he’s the prime target of waitress, Frankie Lloyd who has acquired a new identity to seek revenge and claim her redemption. When Lacy and Sam provide a threat to Frankie’s plans, trouble looms paradise which leaves Lacy with a choice between saving the man she loves or the child from her dream.

This book has an interesting premise– after a kidney transplant, Lacy Stone begins having vivid dreams of a toddler in need of rescue. Because of clues in the dream she realizes it takes place on the island of Boracay in the Philippines and has a strong sense that she needs to go there.

Once there, she is introduced to other people on the island who, at first, seem to have little in common but it is soon evident that there is a thread that ties them all together–a thread we do not see clearly until the end of the book.

This book could have done with a bit of editing–it was not an ARC but there were several points where the editor fell down on his/her job (punctuation, duplication of a passage, etc., actions which seem inconsistent with transplant patients).  It was hard to connect with the majority of the characters– I think if the book had been longer the author would have been able to deepen the characters. As it is, we see a lot of what they do, but we don’t actually come to feel what they feel.

However, the story itself is compelling that this reviewer was able to get back into the story even with these issues. The mysteries as to why Frankie was hiding on the island, who the child was and what she had to do with Lacy, the connection between Sam and all the other characters is well done. I could see this as a movie–it had the feel of watching various scenes play out.

I would be interested in trying other books by this author.

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Planet Mail by Kate Pearce

Planet Mail by Kate Pearce
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (180 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Waratah

As far as job hazards go, Douglass Fraser didn’t think crash-landing on an alien planet and spending her recuperation being erotically pleasured by three gorgeous men was in the United Planetary Parcel Service’s courier handbook. There certainly wasn’t a section on what to do when a very sexy king wants you to have his baby and save his world.

Marcus Blood Axe isn’t only a descendant of ancient Viking space travelers, he’s also a ruler dealing with a shortage of fertile women and no heir. Surely the gods are on his side when Douglass drops out of the sky and into his bed, giving him a last chance to stop his people’s death spiral into extinction.

Despite the exquisite pleasures to be found in the king’s arms, Douglass wants more from Marcus than to be his broodmare. When another woman claims to be pregnant with Marcus’ child, it’s past time to get back home. Now the war Marcus wages is one of sensual passion designed to convince his Earth woman that she’s worth everything to him…even if it means giving up what he cherishes most.

Douglass won’t be playing the typical female the warriors think they know. But the servants do a very good job of “coddling” her and seeing to her needs. Pleasure like Douglass has never known literally at her beck and call, even before she calls.

Marcus is the definition of alpha male, a King whose word is law. He rules a planet where women are a precious commodity, with no babes being born and no one knows why. He’s a King that always puts the needs of his people and planet first.

The heroine was awesome, a sassy mix of intelligence and sauciness. Something like a modern woman who crash lands in cave man days. To see how the men viewed themselves and the total arrogance they displayed had me giggling.

Even as jaded as I am, I had a few awww moments quickly followed by the thought that I might need a cold shower. This one is hot, hot, hot. The running theme of this story is most surely communication or the lack there of. As often happens, the hero and heroine could have avoided a whole lot of conflict by simply communicating.

Still, it was easy 4 star rating for me, with the biggest reason being the book was truly fun. It was a quick, easy read, and the story flowed well. The dialogue was good and the sex was scorching! The main characters and the secondary interacted well, and I will be looking forward to the next two books in this series which are already out. I’d recommend this to any Sci-Fi lover out there. I loved it!

From the Shadows: The Complete Series by KB Shaw

From the Shadows: The Complete Series by KB Shaw
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: Full Length (324 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

FROM THE SHADOWS is an exciting science fiction novel for readers 12 and up.

As he is about to unleash a technological revolution that could threaten the world, a reclusive former child prodigy leads two teens and a young reporter on an odyssey that will explore the boundaries of reality, time, and what it means to be human.

In the near future…

“Can’t separate paths, despite their divergent courses, convey their unwary travelers to the same destination?” — SJ

GundTech transformed the world of communications when it introduced the multiCom with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) personality at its core. Now, the reclusive former child prodigy who created the AI programming is about to unleash a technological revolution that could threaten the very fabric of society.

Cameron Rush and Rosa Costas are best friends, even though they have never met in person. Cameron is from a small town in Wisconsin, while Rosa lives on a ranch in New Mexico. They are typical fifteen-year-olds living in their isolated worlds of family, school and friends.

Meagan Fletcher, the technology reporter for the World Broadband Network, doesn’t trust her multiCom and she trusts GundTech even less. The young reporter is on a mission to expose the reclusive genius behind GundTech and discover the computer company’s true intent.

They are innocent travellers, heading down separate paths, oblivious to their final destination and the dangers that lie ahead.

Cameron Rush and Rosa Costas are best friends even though they have never met in person. Thanks to the multiCom, which is a computer/AI combo, they are able to connect even though Cameron lives in Wisconsin and Rosa in New Mexico. They come from very different backgrounds, but they share a love of technology. And when a new school is set up by the largest computer developer, GundTech, both of them apply for admittance.

This is an action packed novel filled with puzzles to solve. In addition to Cameron and Rosa, there is a reporter, Meagan Fletcher, who is relentless in her pursuit of the truth. She is determined to discover who is behind GundTech and their latest technological advance, a quantum computer which uses “bits called qubits, and not only do they have more than two states of being, they can be in more than one state at the same time. In short, a quantum computer can be extremely powerful and very small at the same time.”

The characters are very well developed, and I really liked both Cameron and Rosa. They came across as very real teenagers, each with his/her own personality, complete with strengths and weaknesses. I also liked Meagan, an honest reporter who is a workaholic with no personal life, but she has a drive to report the news honestly, without rumor-mongering or distortion.

There are a lot of fascinating settings in the various simulations in the book, and we get to meet such famous personages as Arthur Conan Doyle and Madame Curie. Cameron and Rosa are both extremely bright and they and their classmates devise all sorts of interesting puzzles which are great fun to solve, for the reader as well as for Cameron and Rosa.

Someone is trying to destroy GundTech and its head, and the solution to that mystery raises a host of philosophical questions which Cameron, Rosa, and Meagan must solve before it is too late. Other issues which this book deals with include providing technology to those who can’t afford it, a company’s right to patents versus a free disclosure of knowledge, time travel, the nature of reality, and what it means to be human.

Readers of science fiction, especially those who would like a bit more than merely a great story, who want to think as well as enjoy, will certainly find From the Shadows to be an exciting and compelling novel.

Nothin’ But Trouble by Jenika Snow

Nothin’ But Trouble by Jenika Snow
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (105 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Sex
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Waratah

Lilly Winters gave her virginity to Court Devlin—her brother’s best friend—at the age of eighteen. Losing it in the back of his pickup truck hadn’t been romantic, but it didn’t matter because she loved him. But afterwards Court distanced himself from her and Roan, and she knew it was because he felt like he betrayed her brother.

Court Devlin is a bear shifter and a member of the Grizzly MC. After turning his back on the two people he cared about, he immersed himself in the biker life. The MC is violent and dangerous, but he embraces it.

After Lilly is attacked, Court delivers retribution to the man that hurt her in the most grisly of ways. He realizes he can’t let Lilly go again, not when his bear has already claimed her.

Motorcycle riding bears… nope, the circus isn’t in town, but the Grizzly MC is certainly making their presence known. Especially a certain hard, virginity stealing biker named Court.

Right off the bat, I didn’t like Court. He has a callous attitude, and to just up and leave Lilly, that’s not the act of a hero. Thankfully, he does get better throughout the book.

Lilly is Roan’s little sister. Roan is Court’s best friend. So, of course, that made Lilly totally off limits, until she was eighteen and drunk, not smart and not particularly romantic.

After an attack on Lilly, the story became a bit too sugary to be MC (biker) themed. It’s not a negative so much as I had to shift gears in what I thought it would read like. I actually adored Lilly and Court after all they’ve been through. I can even say the fallout was a bit of both of their faults.

Lilly has been in love with her brother’s best friend. Soft, sweet and loving, and seemingly naïve to the lifestyle that surrounds Court… or is she? The chemistry between Lilly and Court was there, the sex scenes were nice. I did wish for and expect a bit more heat with Court being a biker.

This is book four in the series but it can be read well without the others. I kind of thought this read was a bit different than the others. Ms Snow has the talent to weave her spell and give readers something good. I enjoyed it even when it felt like it could have used more Pow! In the end it all worked out and if you like bike and bear stories then by all means grab up a copy and give it try.

The Most Ferocious of Creatures by Chris Sykes

The Most Ferocious of Creatures by Chris Sykes
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Childrens
Length: Full Length (166 pages)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The Most Ferocious of Creatures is a fun and exciting, illustrated chapter book for boyish young people, as well as adults (it was written by one after all).

Mrs Lambsbottom wakes up one morning and accidentally douses a mouse with milk, unwittingly creating the most ferocious of creatures. She decides to rid her home of the terrible beast but Mrs Lambsbottom is not the most mentally stable of characters. Neither is the cat that she brings home from ‘Meow’s Cat Shelter for the criminally insane’. All the ingredients mix together, ensuring a stupendously silly story, satisfyingly stuffed with suitable story related things and, er, stuff.

Packed full of funny pieces of incredibly relevant information, although perhaps not always factual, The Most Ferocious of Creatures will have you smiling. If not, it will try as hard as a book trapped inside your kindle can. Free this book, it yearns to be read.

Sometimes spilled milk is worth crying over.

This was one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. Physical humor isn’t usually something that amuses me so much, but the author did a great job at balancing it with puns, wordplay, and a few playful interpretations of the bizarre things grownups do.

Nigel, the cat that Mrs. Lambsbottom brings home to catch the mouse, was by far my favourite character in this tale. He has such a well-formed, cat-like personality that I looked forward to every scene he was in. I didn’t even realize I knew what a cat-like personality was before I read this story, but his stoic goofiness fits his species amazingly well.

I loved the illustrations that accompany each chapter. It isn’t easy to describe them without giving away spoilers since so many of them deal with events from later on in the plot, but they complement all of the wacky things that happen to Mrs. Lambsottom and her milk-soaked mouse beautifully.

The age recommendation is flexible. Some of the jokes will probably fly over the heads of preschoolers, and the vocabulary might be a little difficult for brand new readers to tackle on their own. For these reasons I strongly suggest reading it aloud to younger fans if possible, but there’s nothing in this tale that is inappropriate for children a little younger than 6.

The Most Ferocious of Creatures is a fantastic choice for kids – and former kids – of all ages. I can’t wait to read it again, and I recommend doing the same to anyone else who dives into this wonderful book!

Murder In Red Rock Canyon by Sherry Derr-Wille

Murder In Red Rock Canyon by Sherry Derr-Wille
Book 5: The Rhonda Pohs Murder Mystery Series
Publisher: Class Act Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (149 Pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Two days after being hired by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department Rhonda Pohs finds herself smack dab in the middle of a murder committed in Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas. Her investigation leads her to other murders in Nevada to say nothing of other states including her home state of Wisconsin.

To solve this mystery, Rhonda must dig deep into the history of the ancient Native Americans who left behind the petroglyphs and rock paintings that seem to draw this killer like a magnet.

With the help of her new partner Jenny Sims and her old partner Phil Mason, Rhonda is finally able to bring a mass murderer to justice.

Rhonda’s husband, Mark, has just accepted a new coaching position at an exclusive private high school in the Las Vegas area, and they are relocating. Rhonda is worried about her prospects, but soon after arriving in Las Vegas, she is hired by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department. Before she officially begins her employment, she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

This is an exciting mystery where the bodies just keep piling up. Rhonda is severely tested by this case, having to prove herself the minute she is hired, with no break-in period. Red Rock Canyon is different in every way from Wisconsin where she worked in a small rural area. Rhonda proves that she is up to the task. She and her new partner, Jennifer Sims, work well together and Rhonda, because she had more experience, is assigned as the lead detective. However, she is very grateful for Jenny’s knowledge of the terrain.

While the story is exciting. However, the pacing is uneven, and I found the beginning, detailing Rhonda and Mark’s drive from Wisconsin to Las Vegas, to be slow. I also wondered how Rhonda managed to get weekends off in the middle of a high profile investigation. There was a lot more telling than showing, making it difficult for me to engage fully with the characters.

The information about petroglyphs was fascinating, and I was intrigued to discover just how many petroglyphs there are across the country. The geography in and around Red Rock Canyon provides for an interesting murder scene, as do some of the other areas mentioned in the story. The author also deals with various cultural stereotypes. Mark is the cook in their family, as well as an athletic coach, and he is very sympathetic to the rigors of Rhonda’s job, providing her with relaxing and romantic breaks. Rhonda and Jenny are not always well received as they perform their jobs in a male dominated field. And Native Americans are readily condemned, leaving Rhonda to find the real culprits.

Mystery fans who are interested in Native American history, particularly petroglyphs, will enjoy heading out to Red Rock Canyon on the trail of a murderer.

It Was Fight or Die! by Raymond Cook

It Was Fight or Die! by Raymond Cook
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full Length (224 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

“It Was Fight Or Die!” © 2014 by Raymond Cook is a 224 page story about the conflict between settlers coming to Colorado and the bands of Indians that inhabited that land in the 1890’s. Before the coming of white people to the land that would be called the ‘Colorado Territory’ many groups of Indians inhabited the land.

The Apache, Arapaho, Comanche, Crow, Kiowa, Paiute, Pueblo, Shoshone, Sioux and the Ute tribes relied on vast hunting and fishing grounds not only for food but also clothing. Some tribes lived peacefully near each other, traded and sometimes even inter-married between tribes. Other tribes though were bitter rivals and attacked each other.

The ‘Homestead Act of 1862’ was the match that lit millions of Americans dreams back east of wanting to own their own land out west. Each married couple was eligible to own 160 acres of land out west if they built a home, lived on the land and farmed it for five years. The gold rush era of Colorado too brought thousands upon thousands of pioneers to the rugged Rocky Mountains in hopes of striking it rich.

Some families traveled 1,500 miles by covered wagon to reach Colorado to stake their claim. For those who didn’t want to homestead, they could prospect for gold or silver or start up a business. As wagon trains brought setters to Gunnison County, Indian conflicts occurred frequently and the settlers demanded the U. S. Calvary remove the Indians.

Many battles large and small were fought. With the use of the Gatling gun and cannon, most Indian tribes were forced into surrendering. The Indian people were relocated to reservations with the promise of an annual allotment of cattle to feed their people and good land to live on. But the U. S. Government often times failed to provide the annual cattle allotments promised to the tribes who gave up their lands, hunting grounds and way of life.

If the Indians tried to flee the reservation they were either killed trying to escape or were hunted down and killed. Their children were spit upon and forced to give up their language and customs and learn the English language.

The town of Marble, in Gunnison County was prosperous by 1900. Cattle ranchers needed ranch hands and The Yule Quarry outside of Marble needed workers to work at the quarry.

By 1900 nearly 400 people lived in or around Marble. The town even had its own newspaper and a dentist. Not only that but they were about to have hand pumps in their houses and businesses so they wouldn’t have to go outside to fetch water. The railroad would soon come to Marble too and that would open the area up to even more settlers. But the families in and around the town of Marble needed food, lots of food.

Elk, buffalo, deer and antelope were free for the taking but cattle cost 15 cents a pound. As settlers hunted more game to feed their families, meat for the Indians dwindled. In Gunnison County there were scattered bands of Shoshone, Paiute, Ute and Sioux Indians who refused to go to reservations. As hunting parties returned to their villages with less and less game they knew they faced starvation in the winter ahead.

If they didn’t fight back against the settlers and try to reclaim their lost hunting and fishing grounds, the Indian people would surely to die. The Shoshone, Sioux and Paiute people had no choice but to join forces and make a stand or die trying after they discover an entire village of Ute Indians murdered. This is their story.

Western history about the white man and Indians has never been a pleasant read. The white man was greedy and felt the Indians were below him in importance. They were herded up and put in reservations for the most part. Many died during this process, including anyone that fought against it. No one should have been surprised when they fought back.

Mr. Cook has done a nice job of gathering facts about Marble, Colorado and the Indian wars there. He points out how the land was given free to anyone willing to homestead for five years, or they could buy the property cheaply if they planned to resell and move on sooner. He also mentions the lack of food the Indians got in reservation (many of soldiers in charge of delivering the animals sold them elsewhere and kept the money) and how they got smallpox from the used blankets they were given to keep them warm.

He makes his characters come to life and you care about the white families as well as the Indians. Many of the families had hard lives before they settled in the valley. Misfortune had touched almost everyone in town. Yet, they had courage and were willing to fight for their family and land.

Mr. Cook does a very good job of explaining the Indian’s war strategy. The white man didn’t give them credit for being smart and that was a big mistake. While the white man thought superior weapons and force would win the fight, the Indians used stealth and planning to take them down. This resulted in more guns and horses for the Indians.

I noticed a couple of historical references being repeated more than once in this book. Once is enough to establish the sequence of events. There were also some grammatical mistakes and a misspelling. Nothing too big, but I would suggest the author ask someone with new eyes to read his manuscript before publishing. They might catch these things, and then your book would be perfect.

All in all, it’s an educational read done in a fictional form and it makes reading history much more pleasant. Mr. Cook has the facts down right and his discussion of their motivations is also right on. Life was hard in homesteading days. Life was even harder for the displaced Indians. We have much to learn from history and this author will help you find out about it.

Sapphire Angel by Khloe Wren

Sapphire Angel by Khloe Wren
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (70 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Verbena

Vampires are real… as is the fact they will only ever take one woman. Their Eternal Bride.

When Angelo sees Darcy he knows she is his Bride. Her sapphire blue eyes match his exactly. But he must wait to claim her. He fears he has lost her forever when she disappears.

Five years pass before he finds her again. Just when things start heating up between them, Darcy is taken by their enemies. Angelo must fight to free his one true love. Will he be in time?

After years of searching, Angelo has found his eternal bride. Problem is, she doesn’t even know he exists. For the time being, Angelo knows that’s probably the only thing saving her from the Nobles. For centuries, the order of the Nobles has made it their life passion to hunt and destroy vampires. Knowing the easiest way to catch their prey was to steal an eternal bride, the Nobles target all brides, especially newfound ones. However, they don’t just capture a vampire’s bride and hold her prisoner. A newly claimed bride is a real prize, for the union of a vampire bride and a Noble produces a Noble with exceptional power and strength, a coveted offspring indeed. Unfortunately, the brides aren’t willing captives and therefore must suffer through being raped during their fertile time. It’s truly a barbaric practice for an order that considers themselves “Nobles”.

Angelo can’t claim Darcy until she’s 23 years old. Fearing the safety of his bride until he can she’s of age, he decides to remain in the shadows and just watch for a while, waiting until he could confront and claim her. Nevertheless, the Nobles are one step ahead of his plan, before he knows it, his bride disappears and it’s a long six years before he’ll find her again.

Darcy knows a little about vampires and eternal brides, but not enough to really consider that she may be one of them, and a special one on top of that. Abandoned as a young child, she’s had a lifetime of heartache and loneliness. It’s no wonder she jumps into a relationship with the first man that pays attention to her. Karl seems to appear out of nowhere and promises her all the things in life she longs for, particularly love. But love is blind and there’s more to Karl than Darcy knows. His motives are far from admirable. In the world of immortals, there’s a good side and bad. Let’s just say Karl does not have Darcy’s best interest at heart. It’s all about saving ass, specifically, his own.

The beginning of Sapphire Angel goes through a blur of time. The prologue introduces some of the main characters and gives the reader a little bit of background about vampires and eternal brides, and then the story jumps ahead six years. It seemed a bit odd that Angelo couldn’t find Darcy after she disappeared. He’s described as being pretty well off financially. I would imagine that a vampire with unlimited resources could find anyone they wanted quickly. When he does find her, it’s in the same place he’d found her initially, which makes me believe she never went very far away to begin with. There are several instances throughout the book that describe the technology as a bit archaic for both the Nobles and vampires, considering their described wealth. I found myself having a hard time accepting the plot at times. It just didn’t seem to jive.

Character development was minimal. We do get an acceptable amount of Darcy’s history, which explains some of her emotional hang-ups, particularly concerning commitment and attachment. She’d been abandoned as a child—or so she thinks—by her mother and father. It’s easy to see why she’s starving for affection, but some of her choices seem a bit reckless. She goes home with a man she doesn’t know not once, but twice from the bar. When Angelo finally confronts her, she seems to accept the fact that he’s a vampire and she’s an eternal bride pretty quickly, no questions asked. I do get that she’s just caught her boyfriend cheating on her and probably feels like getting even. Angelo sounds tempting. I might have done the same thing myself. She does regain some of her common sense when Angelo goes to claim her and she puts the brakes on. It’s a big decision and I was glad to see she didn’t rush into it under the influence of alcohol and a broken heart. It’s also proves to be a saving grace later on when it’s mating time in the Noble stronghold.

Angelo is a charming fellow. His whole world revolves around Darcy. When she’s taken from him a second time, his distress is palpable. The second part of the book really began to draw me in as I watched the steps he takes to not only save his bride, but others as well. We also learn quite a bit more about Darcy’s past when she meets an unexpected relative in the Noble’s stronghold. Even Karl manages to redeem himself, before the end.

While I think some things could have been ironed out a bit more, overall the story was enjoyable and made for a pleasant afternoon read. The Nobles certainly have a powerful ploy in bringing their prey to their knees, but the vampires quickly show them that while they might be down, they certainly are not out. One false move, the tables suddenly turn and all Hell breaks loose at several Noble strongholds across the globe. I liked how the author left us hanging in the epilogue, hinting the possibility of another story in this saga. I for one am curious to see what might happen next.