Heart Strike by M. L. Buchman

Heart Strike by M. L. Buchman
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (384 pages)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

DELTA FORCE: The deadliest elite counter-terrorism unit on the planet
• A precision strike force
• The most out-of-the-box thinkers in any military
• Will die to get the mission done

SERGEANT RICHIE “Q” GOLDMAN: The smartest soldier on any team
SERGEANT MELISSA “THE CAT” MOORE: Newest on the team, determined to be the best

Rescued from an icy mountaintop by a Delta operative, Melissa Moore has never met a challenge she can’t conquer. Not only she will make Delta Force, she will be the best female warrior in The Unit, and woe to anyone who says otherwise. Technical wizard Richie Goldman is Bond’s “Q” turned warrior. A genius about everything except women, he takes point on the team’s most dangerous mission yet. When the Delta Force team goes undercover in the depths of the Colombian jungle, surviving attacks from every side requires that Richie and Melissa strike right at the heart of the matter…and come out with their own hearts intact.

Rough and ready, silent as a shadow, lethal as lightning, this Delta Force team wraps up one successful mission and sets up shop as dirty, down-on-their-luck drug-runners. However, they’ve been sent a new member for the team, a member they don’t think they need. Kyle, Carla, Duane, Chad, and Richie are a cohesive team. They know each others’ strengths and use them efficiently. They’re a little hostile about having to take on a newbie.

Melissa “The Cat” has completed all her training with flying colors. She hates being separated from her old team and has no idea how she can contribute to “the-best-of-the-best” team at taking out drug cartels both small and large in South America. How she copes and contributes is a WOW! She is no shrinking violet. How these high-octane people blend when ‘the chips are down” is exciting and fun to read about from the get-go.

Richie, the nerd and genius of the team besides being one lethal warrior, connects with Melissa in more than one special way. As danger escalates and their attraction to each other heats up, the reader is taken on a vicarious ride that sends the adrenaline racing and the heart singing then sighing with satisfaction.

No one does anything in halfway measures in this team! They kill when it’s necessary, they blow things up, and they outmaneuver the enemy. They do what needs to be done to get the job done. They are dead serious about their work, but the humor that threads through the relationship they have with each other is such fun to read.

I accept the names and technical terms about the planes, guns, and equipment as true since I know nothing about these things, but it sounds like they do since they use them all to their full advantage.

Heart Strike is beautifully written, exciting to the Nth degree with dangerous doings and with sensual, sizzling love scenes that heat the blood.

Once in a while a M. L. Buchman story hits the spot like a cold glass of ice tea on a hot summer day. GOOD READING!

Goslyn County by A. M. McKnight

Goslyn County by A. M. McKnight
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (318 pgs)
Heat level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

A mostly black community with its roots in farming, Goslyn, Virginia lay just south of the State’s Capital. The once small, close-knit county had grown rapidly in the past two decades and boasted a population of just over fifty thousand. But the county’s crime stats had grown as well, and the latest offenses included several break-ins and rumors of a meth lab. Time had brought many changes, and many of the longtime folks of Goslyn no longer recognized their community and longed for days gone by.

Goslyn PD Detective Olivia “Ollie” Winston loves her family and friends and shows it through her sense of humor. Just like her neighbors, she too worries about the recent events, and it’s her job to find out who’s behind the crime spree.

While investigating three burglaries, Olivia meets IRS Special Agent Maureen Jeffries who is pursuing a tax fraud suspect. Their cases are connected, and both soon discover they have much in common, personally and professionally.

Goslyn is a growing community and as the population increases so does the crime in the area. But thanks to Detective Olivia ‘Ollie’ Winston and others at the Goslyn police precinct they are hard on the case. Lead detective on the case of several burglaries at a chain of tax refund business Ollie and her partner Marcus are full on into the investigation.

Will the case be as simple as it seems?

This book was pretty surprising to me and I found myself enjoying the plot. I suspected the suspense as to who was behind the robberies but I didn’t expect the action of high speed chases, stakeouts, explosions all the ingredients that makes for a good read. This was an attention grabber from the beginning when there was a robbery at the tax refund business of Bertrand Lewis and finding out why his business was being targeted. As I read on, the intensity of the book kept going with surprises and suspense. This wasn’t a simple or quick investigation. The author really put some thought into planning this plot in a way to keep the reader guessing at what would happen next.

I enjoyed the police investigation however I didn’t care too much for the story line of Ollie and Maureen’s personal relationship. I just found it strange that everyone was involved in their personal relationship, questioning and being cheerleaders. Were they that lonely and pitiful that their personal life is an all points bulletin for their friends and family members? I did like that their relationship went slow with dates and talking getting to know each other. Their relationship wasn’t the highlight of the book for me, more like a filler to give the novel some personal aspect instead of the entire book being about the robbery case.

The story was wrapped up nicely and a ending that doesn’t leave the reader with a cliff hanger. The plot is one that is original and flowed fairly nice. The author’s writing style is easy to read. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

This was an entertaining read that I enjoyed and would suggest to those that enjoy a action investigative suspense thriller, however it does include a female with female relationship.

Now and Then Friends by Kate Hewitt

Now and Then Friends by Kate Hewitt
Publisher: New American Library
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full Length (336 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poppy

Childhood best friends Rachel Campbell and Claire West have not only grown up, but after fifteen years, they’ve also grown apart…

After her father left, Rachel had to dedicate her life to managing her household: her two younger sisters, her disabled mother, and her three-year-old nephew. When Rachel’s not struggling to look after all of them, she makes her living cleaning the houses of wealthy families—inclulding the Wests, where a surprise now awaits her. . . .

A lifetime of drifting in other people’s currents has finally left Claire high and dry. First it was her parents, then the popular crowd in school, and finally her fiancé. Now she’s returned to Hartley-by-the-Sea to recover. But running into Rachel brings back memories of past mistakes, and Claire wonders if she now has the courage to make them right.

Soon Claire’s brother, Andrew, asks Rachel to keep an eye on Claire, which is the last thing either woman wants. But as their lives threaten to fall apart, both Claire and Rachel begin to realize what they need most is a friend. The kind of friend they once were to each other, and perhaps can be again. . . .

Slow and steady, but not plodding, the characters make every page of this book worthwhile.

I struggled with a rating for this book, and I’m struggling a bit with the review. It’s hard to categorize, exactly, why I enjoyed it and why I kept happily returning to it after I’d put it down for a moment. This isn’t an edge-of-your-seat thriller, or a heart- warming romance. It’s more, rather, a day (or a few weeks) in the life of two women whose lives are at a pivotal moment and how the choices they make, even little ones, may affect their total future.

Claire was my favorite of the two … oddly, she felt more human and actually stronger than Rachel, despite outward appearances. Rachel’s constant irritation with life in general wore on me a bit, and there were times I wondered why Claire and Andrew even wanted to be around her. She goes through changes as the book progresses, thankfully, and by the end I really enjoyed her.

Claire has been treated as if she is fragile and utterly breakable her entire life. She finds just a little spine when she leaves a stint in rehab that she didn’t even need, and goes against her parents’ wishes for her to live with them, instead returning to the home of her youth. It’s there her journey truly begins.

Rachel is trapped in a life she hates. Her mother is an invalid, her father left when she was just eighteen, and her sisters do little to help her with keeping them afloat. Home life is a constant battle, and it gets worse as time goes on. More, suddenly her friend from school, the same friend who up and dumped her without any warning, shows up in town again and acts as if nothing was wrong.

There’s a solid cast of secondary characters to back the girls up. Dan, Lily, Meghan, Mrs. Carwell, Andrew, and others make Hartley-by-the-Sea a real living, breathing place.

I admit to tripping over some British slang and phrasings (like A-Levels … I had to go find out what grade that was in reference to), but I’m sure the reverse is true with the folks from over the pond read books written in the US.

Thing is … nothing much happens in the story. I mean, stuff happens, but nothing earth shattering. It’s really just watching the girls figure out some things in their lives. I still, even after thinking about it more while writing this review, can’t put my finger on what made this book so charming. However, I really, really hope the author visits the town again. I can’t wait to see what’s happening with Claire, Dan, Rachel, Andrew, Lily and others. I’m really quite hooked!

Every Time with a Highlander by Gwyn Cready

Every Time with a Highlander by Gwyn Cready
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical, Time Travel, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (382 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Serabeth’s no-good fiancé is dead, and she needs a husband fast, or she’ll be ruined. Her indignant and handsome captive will do just fine, if she can keep her mind focused on the business at hand…

Gerard is a love-’em-and-leave-’em ad exec who opens the door to a wild party in 21st century New York and wakes up in 18th century Edinburgh with a hangover and a beautiful, disinterested new “wife” who says he has “served his purpose.”

What the kilt?

This one touches the heart, tickles the funny bone, and quickens the senses,

Undine, determined to broker some kind of reasonable peace, does the best she can with the talents she has to work with. Her potions, not quite accurate or get into the wrong hands, land people in precarious circumstances.

In the unsettled borderlands between Scotland and England in 1706, Undine, the half naiad, uses all the help she can get, even the people her potions bring to her.

The settings and potions are important only in that they help reveal the true nature and the emotional, mental, and physical actions of the people.

Michael Kent, a twenty-first century actor/director and a victim of a potion, arrives in the eighteen century just in time to help Undine at a crucial time. Neither of their lives are ever the same again.

They struggle to outmaneuver the English colonel Lord Bridgewater and his cohorts who fan the flames of the conflict between Scotland and England so they can get richer and richer and have more power. Amid all the clandestine doings and cruel actions, a precious, protective love wiggles its way into the mix. Undine and Michael’s gradual slipping into love that is sweet, sizzling, and ecstatic makes the story sparkle.

Secondary characters, Abby, Chieftess of Clan Kerr and her cohorts play significant roles in Undine’s activities. They toe a fine line as they try to help maintain a reasonable peace while all the time working to keep Scotland separated from England.

A well-written, subtle humor runs through the story that gives a delightful touch as the plot unfolds. Also, a twist in Undine’s back story is special.

Gwyn Cready’s delightful writing style makes most enjoyable reading.

The Fairest of Them All by Cathy Maxwell

The Fairest of Them All by Cathy Maxwell
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Quince

In New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell’s glittering new series, wedding bells are ringing…but which Whitridge twin is the right groom?

The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs. All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!

Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .

Who is a right man for her? The one who is not looking for a wife but knows all her secrets, or the one who is looking for a wife, but doesn’t know anything about her?  Although from the very beginning it’s quite obvious who will win Lady Charlene Blanchard’s heart it was interesting to watch how appearances, first meetings and emotions first became complicated in order to be resolved.

Cathy Maxwell does not write typical romance novels. The Fairest of Them All is a sensual novel focused on falling in love without getting in bed or having a marriage of convenience first. This is a novel about love at first sight and Ms. Maxwell wrote it so believably. The pace of the story is a bit uneven, it takes off quickly but doesn’t sustain the pace into the middle. It actually drags a bit only to speed up again. Putting slower parts aside, the question of how Lady Charlene and her hero – Jack Whitridge find their HEA is what pushes this lovely story forward and kept me reading.

Both main characters are amazing. Lady Charlene might be the fairest of them all, but she is also the most courageous and the smartest of them all. She’s a strong woman who is trying her best to get out of a very dire situation. Jack Whitridge is her true soulmate, he is a son of a duke, but he doesn’t have a title. He doesn’t care about it either. Jack knows Charlene’s secret, and as they are getting to know better one another and fall in love, he doesn’t try to change her, he just wants to protect her and to slay a few dragons for her. The connection between them is so sensual, palpable and sincere.

The secondary characters are magnificent too. I refer here to Lady Charlene’s aunt Sarah Pettijohn and Jack’s twin brother Gavin Whitridge. Gavin is a lovable antihero, while Sarah is opinionated actress. From the conflict between two of them it is quite obvious that they will be the main characters in the third installment of the series Marrying the Duke. I cannot wait to see how these two will fall in love.

Although it is a second in the series, The Fairest of Them All can be read as a standalone. I really enjoyed reading it. It is a funny, sensual story that I highly recommend.

The Bad Boy’s Gift by Sara Daniel

The Bad Boy’s Gift by Sara Daniel
Bad Boys of Regret Hollow #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (70 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

His gift is the only thing left from the love they shared…and she plans to sell it.

Former bad boy, now famous artist, Zane DeMonde laughs off an engraved invitation to return to Regret Hollow, the same town that booted him out fifteen years ago. When he discovers the woman who once broke his heart is putting his professional reputation at risk by selling his old paintings, he’s no longer laughing. He’ll do anything to stop her, even return to town … even put his heart in jeopardy again.

High school art teacher Julianne Truman’s last chance to save her beloved art department from budget cuts is to sell the old artwork Zane gifted her. Her heart breaks to remove the final traces of him from her life, but she needs to finally move on from the love she never got over.

Julianne’s life belongs to her students, and Zane’s only goal is to protect his art. But the moment they wrap their arms around each other, their old attraction flares to life hot enough to incinerate them and their best intentions.

It’s been fifteen years, but it only seems like days.

Julianne and Zane’s romance came to an abrupt and messy end as they prepared to graduate from high school. Fifteen years later they find themselves face to face, and neither one is prepared for the emotions that come raging to the surface. As I read it was clear to me that Julianne and Zane have a lot of unresolved feelings, and I was very curious to know what could have happened to end a relationship that clearly meant so much to them both. While there are no Earth shattering surprises in the pages of this romance, I still enjoyed spending a bit of time in Regret Hollow with Julianne and Zane.

I do wish that Zane and Julianne had more time to get reacquainted. Julianne and Zane have great chemistry, and Ms. Daniel provided just enough information about their history for their relationship and reconnection to make sense. However, things between them become extremely serious once Zane comes back to Regret Hollow. I was left wanting to know a bit more about their past and wishing they had more time to figure things out before making some very big decisions. Despite this issue, I do think that Julianne and Zane are well on their way to becoming a great couple.

I had fun reading The Bad Boy’s Gift. It is an entertaining, quick romance with likable characters and spicy romance that can easily been enjoyed in one sitting. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a light book to relax with.

Hell Breaks Loose by Sophie Jordan

Hell Breaks Loose by Sophie Jordan
Devil’s Rock Book 2
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (368 Pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Hell hath no hunger like a man let out of a cage . . .

Shy and awkward, First Daughter Grace Reeves has always done what she’s told. Tired of taking orders, she escapes her security detail for a rare moment of peace. Except her worst nightmare comes to life when a ruthless gang of criminals abducts her. Her only choice is to place her trust in Reid Allister, an escaped convict whose piercing gaze awakens something deep inside her. Reid is nothing like her other captors.

He’s tougher, smarter…and one blistering look from him makes her hotter than any man ever has.

Reid spent years plotting escape and revenge . . .years without a woman in his bed. For this hardened felon, Grace Reeves isn’t just out of his league—she’s from another planet, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting her. Escaping Devil’s Rock was tough, but resisting this woman could be the end of him. For a man with nothing to lose, protecting her . . . claiming her as his own, becomes more necessary than his next breath.

Bad boy falls in love with a good girl and all hell breaks loose. This book was very appropriately titled to say the least.

Every now and then I like to read romance novels like this, because it reminds me that if you try hard enough or long enough you can eventually accomplish what you want or, in some cases, get what you deserve.

Reid breaks free from prison, only to find out his previously sweet and innocent brother is involved in some bad things. One of which is kidnapping the daughter of the president.

It goes from bad to worse when Reid realizes that he’s attracted to her. From there starts a story that I couldn’t put down until I new I would find a happy ending at the end of Reid and Grace’s story. I am so glad I did.

Grace, the President’s daughter, has always done what her father wanted and needed her to do but when she gets kidnapped by a bunch of gangsters, everything changes. Suddenly, she’s not just trying to escape from creepy gangsters who will be willing to use her any way necessary, but stay alive.

She finds the courage to do what she has never been able to do in all life. It felt as if her getting kidnapped and falling in love with Reid gave her a wake up call.

Reid has spent a lot of years being patient in prison, just so he could take the first chance and get out. When he does get out, he doesn’t expect to find his younger brother gone off the bad end. And, worse, he’s a member of the gang that was the cause of Reid getting imprisoned. What he also doesn’t expect to find is himself in the middle of the kidnapping of Grace Reeves.

He knows that he has to protect his brother and Grace. It was endearing to see how hard Reid fought his own desires to protect Grace from himself. The author builds up the tension between them to the point that they didn’t have a choice but to give into it and by then it was explosive. She made cheering for their HEA the most natural reaction to their story. What would happen when she went back home? How could they be together when it would fall back on her family and more specifically, her father. It was a terrific premise because those questions would have to be answered.

This is a story for readers who enjoy a rich plot, vibrant characters and a love that is won over adversity and trials.

Reckless in Texas by Kari Lynn Dell

Reckless in Texas by Kari Lynn Dell
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (391 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Texas Homecoming

Violet Jacobs is fearless. At least, that’s what the cowboys she snatches from under the hooves of bucking horses think. Outside the ring, she’s got plenty of worries rattling her bones: her young son, her mess of a love life, and lately, her family’s struggling rodeo. When she takes business into her own hands and hires on a hotshot bullfighter, she expects to start a ruckus. She never expected Joe Cassidy. Rough and tumble, cocky and charming, Joe’s everything a superstar should be-and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out he’s way out of Violet’s league.

Joe came to Texas to escape a life spiraling out of control. He never planned on sticking around, and he certainly never expected to call this dry and dusty backwater home. But Violet is everything he never knew he was missing, and the deeper he’s pulled into her beautiful mess of a family, the more he realizes this fierce rodeo girl may be offering him the one thing he never could find on his own.

Violet Jacobs has “a head for business and a heart for thrills.” She is the business manager for Jacobs Livestock, a rodeo stock business. She is also a pickup ”man” in the arena during the bronc riding and the bull riding. However, working pickup in the arena isn’t nearly as reckless as what she has done after a few drinks in a bar—all of which are widely known in the rodeo world.

Top-notch rodeo bullfighter Joe Cassidy, manipulated by his partner and unshakable friend, finds himself working a small rodeo with Jacobs Livestock—not his usual high-profile rodeo.

Violet and Joe strike sparks off each other. Soon Violet sees beneath the cold, sarcastic, arrogant façade Joe presents to the world. They connect in a way neither had intended.

Violet, her five-year-old son Beni, and her extended family are close-knit and very supportive of each other and even include Delon who is a long time friend and the father of Beni—product of one of those reckless nights after one tequila too many; while Joe’s only true support is his meddlesome friend Wyatt—an intriguing character that captured my heart.

The undercurrents of secret desires, self doubts, and feelings of unworthiness trickle through the story. Even though the main characters have more than their share of flaws, they are loyal, strong, helpful, hardworking, and honest in their dealings. Then, there is Dick Browning, Joe’s nemesis—a villain we love to hate. He seems to have none of these good qualities.

The almost love scenes, the ones that get interrupted in humorous ways are fun to read. When that uninterrupted love scene finally comes, it is breathtaking. Two restless hearts and souls know they have come home—right where they want to be.

The dialogue enhances the story. It is sharp, sparkling, and shiny, with unique expressions that entertain. Only a few times does the F word show up to tarnish the shine.

I’m not sure I really liked the characters, but they did entertain me, and Kari Lynn Dell writes in a smooth style that is a delight to read.

The Worse For Were by Abigail Owen

The Worse For Were by Abigail Owen
Legendary Consultants
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (114 Pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

In love with her werewolf husband of convenience!

The Canis and Banes packs of werewolves have been feuding for centuries. The Hatfields and McCoys were a tea party in comparison. Until Marrok Banes, the Alpha of his pack, decides to end the fighting with a marriage of convenience. Never mind that he can’t keep his hands off his gorgeous new mate.

Tala Canis is the new Alpha of the Canis clan, the first female to claim that right, a position hard fought and won. For the sake of her people she agrees to wed Marrok. Never mind that the Alpha, once her enemy, makes her body flash heat with a single look.

But after the mating ceremony, Marrok only seems interested in one thing…taking over their combined pack while leaving Tala out of the loop. Now it’s time to show her Alpha mate how to share. That or take the reins of power herself.

From an arranged marriage to a love match.

In order to unite two packs and bring peace to both, the alpha’s of Canis and Banes wolf shifter packs agree to unite themselves in marriage with the help of someone special.

What Marrok and Tala didn’t expect was the amount of attraction, chemistry off the charts, they would have towards each other.

However, instead of the story ending after the mating, they get to know each other and their packs more and I got a ring side seat to see the problems that arise between them and their packs.  That was a point in favor for this spicy novella.

The one thing I absolutely loved was that even though this book was definitely part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone. It wasn’t necessary to be familiar with or have already read the other book in order to understand everything. The way the books were written gave me an idea of possible previous stories without being confusing, as well as giving me an idea of what the next love story would be about.

For readers who enjoy a good shifter mating, prepare for hot, sizzling chemistry between two Alphas.  Absolutely worth the read.

Wanted by Shelley Shepard Gray

Wanted by Shelley Shepard Gray
Sisters of the Heart, Book Two
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (166 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

For a split second, Katie feels certain she’s about to receive everything she’s ever wanted. . .

Twenty-year-old Katie Brenneman has always quietly fancied Jonathan Lundy. So when the brokenhearted widower asks her to help him take care of his two young girls, Katie knows it will be a trying time—yet she cannot pass up a golden opportunity to get to know this man better.

Just as she’s settling into her new life, a message arrives from Katie’s past, threatening to expose her darkest secrets. During her Rumspringa, her running-around years, she experimented with activities forbidden in the Amish way of life. Frightened by how far she’d strayed from her values, Katie ran back home, vowing to cut all ties with the outside world. Now her transgressions are coming back to haunt her, just as Jonathan seems willing to welcome her into his heart.

Will the past destroy Katie’s chances for love? Or will Katie allow herself to accept God’s love, forgive her past, and receive everything she’s ever wanted?

Sometimes, a book just speaks to you. You read it at the right time in your life and it holds a deeper meaning than it probably was written to do, yet, that’s what Wanted did for me. Katie, the heroine, made mistakes and like her friend Anna, in Hidden, the past must be dealt with. The doing of it, facing and reconciling with the past in order to have a better, brighter future is a hard thing to do. It’s the main conflict in this book and I think it will resonate with many readers. The best thing though is the message; forgiveness is healing and freeing. A person just has to take those brave, courageous and difficult first steps to get the ball rolling. It’s that kind of journey that Katie takes which makes this book worth reading.

What made this story so special to me were the inspirational words and prayers written within. It’s not preachy or trite. They’re heartfelt and earnest and key to the spiritual nature that is integral to the Amish community that’s being written about. And yet, as divergent as I am, being an Englisher and all, some of the passages in this book eerily echoed the message in my own pastor’s recent homily. To be able to stare at the words, and see how Ms. Gray incorporated them into living life, in a seamlessly believable and honest way, spoke volumes to my heart. This is a romance story, pure and simple and it’s a good one. But it’s also filled with a simple joy, a humble view on life without all the discord and confusion that the pursuit of materialism can bring. Ms. Gray boils it down to respect of a man for a woman and a woman’s pride in doing her best to show how she cares for those she loves. It’s not the words; it’s her actions, her grace and her willingness to do these things without expectation of reward. Doing the right thing does not always end up being its own reward, but sometimes, it is and does.

The external conflict comes from a past that Katie must face. It is actually sad and poignant and full of emotion. It’s an aspect that gave this novel depth and significance. How the author made it come full circle was well done Ms. Gray wrapped it up with a warm and satisfying happy ever after to come. I say ‘to come’ because every step of a romance in Katie’s Amish community seems cherished and respected and never rushed. It’s a given that Katie and Jonathan have found their way to each other and the courtship will be done according to the Amish way, but by doing so did not leave me unsatisfied. If anything, it gave me a gentle pleasure, a warm smile and confidence that all is as it should be. I found Wanted to be an emotionally fulfilling read with characters, both main and secondary that touched my heart. It’s a solid romance.