Seven Times Unto Eternity by J.S. Frankel

Seven Times Unto Eternity by J.S. Frankel
Publisher: Extasy Books
Genre: Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance, LGBTQ, Contemporary, Historical
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Being reincarnated over and over is one thing. Becoming the opposite sex is another. But saving the world is an entirely different story—and it’s also a lot stranger.

You get only one go-around in life, or so the experts say. Paige DeMaster, almost nineteen years of age, formerly Callisto Merriwether, formerly five other lives, has seven chances to right a major wrong. She has seven chances to save the world as well as save herself—and now she’s down to her last chance.

Saving the world is much more difficult than it looks!

I enjoyed the casual and friendly dialogue in this book. It sounded just like the sort of conversations one might accidentally overhear in public places or share with friends and family. This also made it easy to get to know the characters and figure out what their personalities were like as the way they spoke always felt natural to me. It’s certainly not easy to write these things out in such a realistic manner, so I must tip my cap to Mr. Frankel for pulling it off!

Some of my favorite scenes were the ones that explored Paige’s romantic relationship. They fit in so seamlessly to everything else that was going on in the storyline and showed me aspects of her personality that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise taken note of. I thought she and her partner were a lovely match and hoped for a happy ending for them as soon as they became an item.

The world building was strong and consistent from beginning to end. I especially liked the flashbacks to Paige’s previous lives that showed what she learned from them and how she adjusted every time she woke up again in a new era. Of course it would be disorienting at first to speak a new language, worship different gods, and eventually even figure out how the Internet works! Seeing how the main character interacted with the various people she met from one lifetime to the next as she tried again and again to save the world made me yearn for more.

Seven Times Unto Eternity was lovely.

Breathe For Me by Donna B. Comeaux

Breathe For Me by Donna B. Comeaux
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Chamomile

Robert Aaron Jaeger no longer has the emotional fight to outlast his grief. Less than a month ago, his wife and four-year-old daughter were in a terrible accident on the downtown streets of Seattle. The four-year-old came away with scratches. His wife, Christina, succumbed to her injuries. Under the disguise of rafting through Glenwood Canyon, Robert sets out to kill himself, but his plan is thwarted when he stumbles upon a woman standing in freezing water aiming to do the same thing.

Lilly Radford has been riddled with guilt since the day her baby died and there’s not been a day she hasn’t beat herself up about it. She finally snaps, takes her rent money, and uses it to keep her tank filled until the money runs out. With her car running on fumes, she’s forced to exit off I-70 in Glenwood Springs at the Grizzly Creek Rest Stop where she gives up and falls in the river.

After Robert rescues Lilly and later steps off the plane in Seattle, Zachary Butler lurks close to his heels, determined to kill Robert for getting him fired. Zachary is much more than a typical killer on the loose. His disorder causes him to converse with the good side of himself to collaborate on a scheme for revenge. To complicate his chaotic existence, his wife, Ethel, threatens to derail his plan.

As danger looms and a loved one becomes a victim, Robert and Lilly let down their guard and wrestle with their physical attraction to each other. Determined to right past wrongs, their self-centered past haunts them, but if they aren’t careful, they could miss the beauty lying just below the surface of their pain … if the killer has his way.

Anger. Madness. Darkness. Murder. Obsession. Ambition. How will it all end?

Donna Comeaux takes readers on a thrilling ride with this fun read! From the opening pages I knew that this one was different, and the more I read, the more I found myself drawn into the story and the character’s lives! So good!

From the start it’s clear we are about to enter into an interesting mystery read, and it’s that, but it also turned out to be one of the best romantic suspense reads I’ve found in a while! Donna B. Comeaux has such a gift for writing, and I loved getting to enjoy that in this exciting story. Lilly and Robert are so real and raw, and I found their story to be just as delightful as I’d hoped!

This twisty story is sure to please, and offers a good balance of mystery, romance, suspenseful dangers, and unexpected surprises! And that ending! You won’t be able to put this one down! Mary Elizabeth was precious, and as with many of the characters in this one I enjoyed getting to see her character being revealed as I read and seeing her interact with the other characters was a real treat! I also really enjoyed Sarah and was surprised at how much I enjoyed another character (who will remain nameless) and their relationship with Lilly! That was a wonderful surprise, and I did not see it coming, but so wholesome!

This whole story was a delight to read, but does deal with some tougher topics, so might not be for everyone. Death, some violence, and mental illness are a few of the issues addressed in the story, all of which are handled gracefully, but are still heavy topics that need to be cautioned about in case it might not be a good fit for some readers. If it’s a story you think you’d enjoy though, I do recommend this one!

Waiting For Spring by Sonya Rhen

Waiting For Spring by Sonya Rhen
Jelly Beans and Spring Things Series
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Returning to belly dance at the annual Kirkland Crocus Parade with the Habibi Nile Dancers, Shayna vows to forget her breakup after last year’s parade and guard her fragile heart. However, her best friend is just as determined to find her a new love interest. Shayna would rather not think about matters of the heart and just concentrate on entertaining the spectators by dancing with her dignity intact. Which is harder than she thought. As the parade participants march on through Kirkland’s quaint downtown streets, the Easter Bunny, her fearless leader, her best friend, an eye-catching drummer, and a jelly-bean-tossing clown, might give Shayna a reason to open her heart…after all, spring is in the air!

Love is everywhere.

There are so many little details that go into organizing even one section of a parade, much less the whole event. I was not expecting the narrator to discuss such matters, but I’m glad she did. It taught me some new vocabulary words and gave me a sneak peek into something I’ve never done. This was also a nice way to get to know the main character better, from her occasional absent-mindedness while preparing for this big day to the exuberant joy she felt while dancing in the Kirkland Crocus Parade.

The chemistry between Shayla and her possible match made my heart flutter. Obviously, parades aren’t exactly the ideal setting for small talk, but there are plenty of nonverbal ways to communicate one’s intentions instead. I enjoyed seeing how many of them the author used in order to build tension and make this reader curious to find out what would happen next.

What a nice ending this short story had! It wrapped up the most important storyline but also left plenty of space for interpretation or even for a possible sequel if Ms. Rhen decides to write one. I must admit that I wondered how she was possibly going to resolve everything when I first began reading. Some of Shayla’s problems felt a little too big for a piece of this size, so it was wonderful to be proven wrong about that.

Waiting For Spring felt like a hug from a new friend. It was so warm and delightful.

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss Collection by Ciara Knight, Brenda Lowder, Susan Carlisle, Terra Weiss, Susan Sands, Christy Hayes

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss Collection by Ciara Knight, Brenda Lowder, Susan Carlisle, Terra Weiss, Susan Sands, Christy Hayes
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

You’re cordially invited to the charming town of Cherry Creek, Tennessee, where the legendary book—Once Upon a Christmas Kiss—promises true love to the one who possesses it during the holiday season.

Don’t miss this collection of unique, romantic novellas by six different authors about women who’ve been given the gift of romance. In one story there is a hint of mystery, in another, comedy, and in others, a touch of drama. No matter the story, you are assured a happily ever after.

Who knows, you might be the next to find Once Upon a Christmas Kiss in your stocking.

Included in this

Once Upon a Christmas Reunion by Ciara Knight
Broken hearts reunite for a second chance at love on Christmas night.

Once Upon a Christmas Treasure By Brenda Lowder
When Amelia enlists former best friend Oliver to help her hunt for a legendary book for her sister, she doesn’t know finding the treasure might mean losing her heart.

Once Upon a Christmas Promise By Susan Carlisle
Two emotionally scarred hearts mend through the promise of love.

Once Upon a Christmas Secret By Terra Weiss
To uncover the deepest secret of her late best friend, Dawson must volunteer for the holidays with her nemesis, Sawyer, and do good for the community… and maybe her heart too.

Once Upon a Christmas Wish By Susan Sands
Star-crossed lovers reunite with the help of a little Christmas magic.

Once Upon a Christmas Party By Christy Hayes
Two young millennials find love with the help of a Christmas legend, meddling grandparents, and a well-placed sprig of mistletoe.

A book to guide them all? I love it!

When I saw this collection, I was all in. I wanted happy-ever-afters and I got them. Each story is great on its own, but as a group, they’re fantastic. The writing was wonderful and I was pulled right into each tale from the first. I couldn’t put this collection down.

I particularly liked the idea that whoever possessed the book would find love. How cool is that?

Susan Carlisle’s story was my favorite. I love her writing and how the story simply unfolded perfectly. Brandon and Laurel don’t seem like they should fit together, but the author writes them in ways that I had to root for them. They were great together, even when they weren’t getting along. I liked that.

If you’re looking for a collection to warm the body and soul during the holiday season and prove that love does exist, especially with a little magic, then pick up this collection today. You won’t regret it!

*Starstruck by Ivy Dawes

*Starstruck by Ivy Dawes
Publisher: Flower and Bear Books
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur


Dropped by my acting agent? Check. Dumped by my crappy ex boyfriend? Check.

This was not what I envisioned when I moved to LA. So I’m starting at the bottom. Again. When I get a job as a PA on the set of an upcoming Starlight Studios movie, I am stuck catering to the whims of a has-been who treats me like dirt. It’s almost enough to make me reconsider this gig. That is until I meet a background actor who gives me butterflies and makes me feel like I’m alive again.

But looks can be deceiving. Especially when he is buried under layers of facial prosthetics and fake blood. Turns out he’s not a background actor at all. He’s James Everett, the film’s leading star. He’s smart, funny, ridiculously handsome, and everything I want.

Falling in love with a movie star? Check. But does that matter when the film studio is pushing him to enter a fake relationship with someone else?


I have money, fame, and now the leadership role I’ve dreamed of for years at Starlight Studios is finally within my grasp. As long as I stay in line. Anyone would want to be in my shoes. But despite what the public believes, being a part of the Everett family acting dynasty isn’t all award shows and accolades. People only look at me for what they can get from me. Roles, connections, even just being seen in public with me is enough to boost someone’s image in Hollywood. It’s exhausting.

Then, I run into Kat… literally. She’s fun, feisty, and beautiful inside and out. Instead of wanting me for my name, she wants me for who I am. And she’s starting to make me question my father’s actions and his control over my career. The only problem? In order to get that promotion at my family’s film studio, I have to sign a relationship contract… with someone else. What we have is a bright spot in my life, but is it about to be extinguished?

Starstruck is an entertaining Hollywood story about a struggling actress and a popular movie star. The two main characters are down to earth and easy to connect with and their connection is sweet and easy.

Kat is working as a P.A. on a movie set when she meets James, the star of the movie. Her life hasn’t worked out as she has planned, and her confidence is at an all-time low.

I liked James and Kat and thought they were great together. They are down to earth, don’t have big egos and help each other deal with some of their issues. Hollywood is a cutthroat place, and this wouldn’t be a Hollywood story without some backstabbing, bloated egos and insincere smiles. Where everyone around them is insincere James and Kat are honest and work well together. This is an entertaining story from start to finish.

Sunset Ledge by Darlene Deluca

Sunset Ledge by Darlene Deluca
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Chamomile

Jack Armstrong lives like a recluse on his Texas ranch. In the difficult years after his wife’s death, he goes through the motions of life and wants to be left alone.

Caroline Tate, a widowed ecology professor, arrives at the ranch for a much-needed break and to take nature photos for her sabbatical project. But relaxing is a challenge when she finds herself at odds with the curmudgeonly cowboy who owns the place.

Jack generally steers clear of the guests, but this time, it’s not so easy. Vivacious Caroline doesn’t fade into the background. This city gal comes with pearls around her neck, a big red flower on her floppy hat, and way too many questions. Her self-assured, adventurous spirit gets under Jack’s skin, and she soon stirs feelings long dormant inside him.

Can a college professor from Nashville find common ground with a reclusive Texas rancher?

Caroline has taken to traveling since losing her husband several years ago, after their only child left home. When she finds herself on sabbatical from work, and looking for a place to reset and unwind she finds herself on a ranch in the wilds of Texas. Not sure what to expect, she sets out taking nature photos for a book she’s working on and ends up making quite the impression!

Jack Armstrong has only ever known ranch life, and that suits him just fine, thank you! Yet, when when he finds himself running into the renter of one of his ranch cabins, he can’t seem to shake the feeling that she’s different from the other women he’s met. The two quickly spark a unique friendship and take readers on a fun adventure of their own!

The characters in this one were fun and the small town near the ranch offered a unique glimpse of small town life along with the fun ranch life experiences Caroline gets to enjoy in her time on the Armstrong Ranch. Things like the snickerdoodle cookies and the town dance added another layer to the charm in this one!

The romance was well paced and fit well with the story. Both Jack and Caroline were previously married and had lost their spouse giving them a bit of common ground, and a more matured sense of what they wanted in a relationship, should they choose to take the risk. Overall, this was a quick and enjoyable read.

Falling for the Trauma Doc by Susan Carlisle

Falling for the Trauma Doc by Susan Carlisle
Kentucky Derby Medics, Book 1
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

It’s off to the races with Susan Carlisle’s latest Harlequin Medical Romance as a physician’s assistant and trauma doc treat patients at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby…while trying to resist each other!


Callee needs to move on from a huge loss, and the way to do that is to armor plate her heart. So when trauma doc Langston arrives at her clinic to temporarily conduct research, she knows she’s in trouble. Not only is he helpful with patients, but their chemistry is electric! Is Langston the guy to take a leap with, when he isn’t planning to stick around?

She wants to make a difference and he’s not ready to settle down, but when they meet the chemistry is off to the races.

I’ve already mentioned before that I love the work of Susan Carlisle. I’ve read all of her books and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. I’m glad I did. The writing sparkles and the characters are great. I couldn’t put it down.

Callee wasn’t interested in human medicine, until circumstances changed. Langston is there to conduct research. These two probably shouldn’t work out, but they balance each other well. I liked the banter between them and the way the story developed. It wasn’t quick, which is great. The story had time to unfold and I ate up every page.

If you’re looking for something sweet and unique, then this is the book for you. Callee and Langston are my favorites. Check it out!

Kent and Katcha by Larry and Rosemary Mild

Kent and Katcha by Larry and Rosemary Mild
Publisher: Magic Island Literary Works
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Romance, Historical, Fiction
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

Larry and Rosemary Mild breach the deeper cover and higher intrigue to bring you a fictional novel full of spy-craft, espionage, and adventure drawn from Larry’s former association with real agents and their spook agencies.

The year is 1992. The Soviet Union has collapsed, but danger persists. Young Kent Brukner, a freshly trained American spy, arrives in Moscow for a high-risk mission: to infiltrate and compromise a Russian Federation Army facility. Under an alias, in a military uniform, he plies his skills—unprepared for the brutal confrontations and irrational consequences.

Kent meets the innocent and passionate Katcha, daughter of a British expatriate and a Russian dissident. Together the lovers embark on a near-impossible journey, beginning in the foothills of the Ural Mountains. Stalked by the evil Major Dmitri Federov, they must escape from St. Petersburg to Helsinki, Finland, or face life in a Russian prison.

This novel is a marvelous throwback to the early nineteen nineties, shortly after the end of the Cold War. Kent is an engaging character, an American spy, whose background is fleshed out enough for us to understand who he is and what his motivations are. The Russians capture him and throw him in prison. The situation seems hopeless.

Then, in a surprising turn of events, he manages to escape. Every step of his hopeful journey towards freedom is filled with tension. One thing after another threatens him along the path, and readers will worry for his safety. He meets an interesting lady during this time, Katcha, whose mother proposes an intriguing possibility for the young couple. It is so dangerous, so filled with a likely tragic end, and Kent only agrees with hesitation. Now, his risk has doubled. Can he and Katcha possibly survive the scrutiny and perseverance of the Russians going after him?

This book is a page-turner. The pace moves quickly but not too quickly. There is time for emotional introspection. The setting is convincingly drawn, taking readers into the era and place with ease.

This is an entertaining vintage novel readers of espionage tales with a bit of romance thrown in are sure to enjoy.

Second Chance for the Heart Doctor by Susan Carlisle

Second Chance for the Heart Doctor by Susan Carlisle
Atlanta Children’s Hospital
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Will the children’s cardiologist put his heart on the line for the new pediatric nurse? Find out in Susan Carlisle’s latest Harlequin Medical Romance story.

Risking his locked-away heart…

After his ex ran off with his best friend, cardiologist Jenson’s sole focus is his small patients. But the fireworks that erupt when he meets dedicated nurse Bayley are too powerful to ignore… Both are determined to put their jobs ahead of romance, but beautiful Bayley continues to captivate him. Is the guarded doctor ready to embrace a second chance?

Tough circumstances, but tender hearts.

I love the works of Susan Carlisle and will auto-buy her books. This one was no exception. I loved the storytelling, the characters and the developments.

Bayley and Jenson are great together. They’ve been through a lot of tough situations, since both work in the children’s hospital setting. They’ve seen some beautiful things, but also some horrors. How they handle them and navigate love are the true balancing act.

The author writes these characters, who could be jaded and negative, in a very positive way. I rooted for them and wanted to see them get together. I got emotionally involved from page one.

If you’re looking for something tender and sweet, then this might be the book for you. Recommended.

Past Tense: A Matt Moulton Mystery by Michael Amedeo

Past Tense: A Matt Moulton Mystery by Michael Amedeo
Publisher: Level Best Books
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Romance, Historical
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

As America races toward the supposedly bright new decade of the 1950s, disillusioned white private dick, Matt Moulton finds himself faltering in the dark. Should he serve an amnesiac client whose recovering memories of paid murder intensify his own wartime guilt as an assassin? Should he risk endangering the person he loves, a beautiful black woman, for information on that case and an apparently related one? Does he imagine he can save her and himself from the corruption, the intolerance, and the apathy that linger in that violent nation’s shadows?

Taking place in a misty, sulky San Francisco, “Past Tense” appeals to readers who love their thrillers hardboiled. It brings pulp fiction back from the past, but here, the genre seems more modern and yet more noir-like than ever before.

Good murderers cover their tracks. Can a good detective foil the murderer’s plans before too many more people die?

The main storyline was fast-paced and interesting. I enjoyed taking note of the clues Matt found and trying to figure out why so many people connected to this case kept turning up dead. There was plenty of fodder for the imagination here, and my attention remained strong from the first scene to the last one.

I would have liked to see more character development in this novella, especially when it came to Matt. He was an intelligent but often conflicted protagonist. Learning more about his past and how it had shaped his personality would have made it easier for me to connect to him. I also found myself wishing he had shared more information about his feelings for Gina as she seemed to occupy many of his thoughts when he wasn’t focused on work. Exploring that relationship in more depth would have been a good way to showcase more of who Matt was when he wasn’t attempting to solve cases.

Speaking of Gina, I loved the romantic subplot between her and Matt. There were definitely sparks to be seen every time she showed up in his life. I appreciated how clearly they communicated their feelings to each other and found myself wishing they could find a way to overcome the racial prejudices of the late 1940s that were such a huge obstacle for them. My fingers are crossed that readers will get more opportunities to get to know her later on in this series as she seemed to be a level-headed and kind woman.

Past Tense: A Matt Moulton Mystery kept me guessing.