Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove by Lauri Robinson and Kathryn Albright

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove by Lauri Robinson and Kathryn Albright
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Twin sisters say “I do” in the Wild West!


Mary McCary never wanted to be a mail-order bride, but falling off the Oak Grove train into Steve Putnam’s lap changes everything… Could he be the cowboy to tempt her down the aisle?


Running from trouble, Maggie McCary signs up to be a mail-order bride. She doesn’t intend to actually marry…until she shares one sensational kiss with Jackson Miller!

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove was awesome! Twin sisters say “I do” in the Wild West. Mary and Maggie each have their own love story to tell in this one book. This is two books in one yet they are connected. The flawless writing style of each book was brilliantly blended for the reader as I got to read the same scene twice, but from the other twin’s perspective. I actually nanny for a family with three year old twin girls. There is something special about twins. They have a bond that can’t be explained and this book captured that.

The first book, “Surprise Bride for the Cowboy” by Lauri Robinson was my ideal romance book. I love when I suffer from a book hangover; the inability to start a new book because I’m still living in the last book’s world. That to me is the sign of a great love story.

The original plots were beautifully written and had me laughing numerous times. Immediately I felt I was hooked and transported into the book’s world and I couldn’t read the pages fast enough.

I fell in love with Steve, the hero and Mary the heroine. Gosh, they were perfect together. I enjoyed the situation in how they met. Mary was a spitfire with determination who does what needs to be done, yet demonstrated compassion and empathy towards others at the appropriate times. I loved how Steve was patient, thankful and forgiving. Of course he was gorgeous, strong and thoughtful. He didn’t possess any unlikable qualities. The perfect book boyfriend. Together their romance was sweet and irresistible. I must add that the description details of Mary’s cooking had my mouth watering. Do NOT read this book while hungry! LOL…

All the characters were well developed in both books and I was able to easily relate to them. The doctor was a plot twist in the end of the first book that just had me grinning like a goober. The author got me on that one. Well done, Lauri Robinson.

The second book was “Taming the Runaway Bride” by Kathryn Albright and was also a lot of fun to read. The entire book was the best reading experience and words won’t do justice to as why I would recommend this book to all my friends and family. I didn’t think the romance story between Steve and Mary in the first book could be matched but not only did the story between Maggie and Jackson in the second book match the first but it surpassed it. I fell in love with Jackson and Maggie and experienced another book hangover!

I could see Jackson and Steve becoming best friends and everyone living happily ever after as one big adventure-filled family. I can only imagine the stories they will have to tell their grandchildren.

I laughed so hard when Maggie entered Jackson’s workshop and, well, you just have to read it. I couldn’t stop re-reading that part because I love laughing so hard that I cry tears of joy and get a cramp in my side.

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove was excellent! I don’t understand how two authors could write a book sharing some of the characters and yet I didn’t feel like I was reading a book written by two authors. I highly recommend this book for a pleasurable entertainment.

Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell

Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (338 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Mistflower

“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.”

Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.

This book was outstanding! Dallas Coryell is a talented author and apparently a gifted musician as well. I wish I knew the songs written in the book from Mason, the hero, to Tegan, the heroine, were real and on YouTube prior to reading the book. Never have I read a book where the story and characters were as vividly alive in the room with me as the characters in this story were. I think that if I had listened to the songs as they appeared in the book, I would have melted on the spot. Maybe even go as far as faint on the spot.

I sincerely fell in love with every aspect of this story. It was uniquely clever how the author incorporated a love story on the side through Tegan reading old love letters from an ancestor. It was sheer brilliance how the author connected the closings of those love letters with the last few pages of the book. I appreciated the detail of the key that Tegan wore around her neck to the detail of her middle name. All of these special mentions made the book remarkable in my eye.

I can’t rave enough about this story. Melody’s Key was heartwarming, sweet, sensual, romantic, heartbreaking, gut wrenching with a touch of despair, funny, sad, happy, hopeful, happy, ecstatic, hilarious, and all satisfying! I can think of a specific event for each of those feelings. This book was a great ride and one that I didn’t want to end.

I fell in love with Tegan’s entire family. Her parents were supporting and her sister was hilarious with her pranks. I’ve never been to London but if I did I’d love to see Tegan’s estate. I’d want to curl up with a blanket under the old tree with big roots. I wish the characters and places in this book were real.

Everything about this book worked. My interest was captured from the first page to the last. I couldn’t put the book down. Reading as the romance budded and blossomed between Mason and Tegan was scrumptious. The story was consistently enthralling from beginning to end.

I highly recommend everyone to read this book. I would love to see this book made into a movie. I’d pay to go see this movie the night it’d premiere. I’d buy this book. I’d actually read it more than once. Those who know me know that I never read a book twice. I’m tempted to re-read it now just to pause at the song parts. 🙂 This is seriously a major “book glow” book!

Dom of Ages by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams

Dom of Ages by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (263 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, spanking, flogging, sex toys, fetishes, BDSM
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Lilac

Eli may only be thirty, but he has had enough of pretend submissives. When he spies Jarod in a BDSM club, everything about the man screams submission. So what if Jarod is probably twenty years older than Eli. What does age matter, anyway? All he can see is what he’s always wanted—a sub who wants to serve.
Jarod spent twenty-four years with his Master before Fate took him. Four years on, Jarod is still lost, so when a young Dom takes charge, Jarod rolls with it and finds himself serving again. But he keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because there’s going to come a point when Eli realizes he’s a laughing stock in the club. Who would want to be seen with a fifty-year-old sub?
After several missteps, Eli realizes that in order to find happiness, they will need friends who will understand. At a friend’s insistence, he visits Collars & Cuffs, where they are met with open arms. As they settle in to their new life, Eli begins to see things differently and he dares to think he can have it all. Until a phone call threatens to take it all away….

An older sub loses his lifelong master and then loses his will to live. Could a younger Dom be the answer to his dilemma?

This story shows that age is not a determining factor when it comes to a person’s tendencies in either domination or submission. Here the older man is submissive and the younger man is dominant.

Jarod is a true submissive. He lives to serve in every sense. He’s been with his Master his whole adult life, so when the Master dies, Jarod is completely lost. Four years later he still mourns. And it doesn’t help that every time he tries to go out to clubs and find some relief in the form of a Dom, he gets laughed at, mocked, ridiculed, and berated for being too old (late forties), useless, and unwanted. Such hateful ageism from a supposedly accepting community. Guess such things exist in every community.

Eli is in his early thirties, and he’s tired of poser subs who act defiantly in the hopes of being punished with a spanking and fuck. He’s bored. When he spots Jarod at a club, he doesn’t hesitate to take the man home to be his sub. But… Jarod has his issues to deal with, and Eli doesn’t seem to understand what to do with a broken sub now that he has one. They find it difficult to talk about their pasts and what they want from life and each other. Their growing affection for one another, though, is a powerful force gluing them together.

This works as a standalone even though it’s the seventh in the series, Collars and Cuffs. The title refers to a BDSM club that houses some very special Doms and subs, and where Eli brings Jarod, hoping to give his sub a better experience than the ones he’s received in the past. The owners and many patrons become familiar as the story progresses, and their stories have clearly come before this one in the series. Though it’s not necessary to read the other books, I suggest you do. Just to find out what’s happening and who the numerous cast members are and what they’re all about. Hey, more reading goodies.

Not knowing the BDSM community well, I have to wonder if these kinds of situations aren’t more common, since an older Dom with a younger sub seem to be the norm. That when a Dom is with a specific sub for a long time, their age discrepancy automatically means that one of them will likely die and leave the other alone. I can’t even begin to imagine the emotional toll that takes on the survivor who is cast adrift. Apparently, though, that isn’t the whole case, since the capacity of the human heart to rediscover love is eternal, as this story proves. One just has to be willing to take a risk and put yourself out there again.

The plot unfolds slowly, revealing various facets of Eli and Jarod as they try to build a life together. But they both have unfinished business, so that’s not an easy task. This isn’t an insta-love story. Not even insta-lust. The two men find each other attractive right from the start but the first sex scene doesn’t come for a long time. So if you’re into instant gratification for your sexy-read jollies, look elsewhere. This tale takes patience.

The two authors seem to know their stuff. Not just in terms of personalities but BDSM specifics and the community, as Eli teaches us a few things during his lessons. For example, I’d never heard of using sounds for a session. Intriguing. The men feel real and the beautiful writing takes us right into their heads and lives. The book is written in first person from the perspective of both the main characters. Their individual voices didn’t come off the writing, per se, but on showing us how different the men are and how they deal with their problems. Where Eli puts things off, Jarod falls deeper into the mire of feeling not yet dealt with. There are serious matters at work here.

Spoiler warning! There’s an attempted suicide here, so if that theme offends or troubles you, be warned.

Though the pace is leisurely, the story moves swiftly enough. The writing is fluent and professional, and I was quickly drawn into the story, wanting to know more, read more, to be shown more, to be invited into this sensual world and to be taken for an emotional ride. Though at the times the feelings ran amok, such as Jarod being teary-eyed a lot, I understood that both men needed something elusive and had a lot going on. They only find balance with each other and are able to take each other to places they’ve never been.

Now, while I said this works as a standalone, it’s clear this series is reaching its end. If you haven’t read the previous books yet, I suggest you avoid reading the epilogue. It doesn’t show Eli and Jarod, but instead gives us a peek of what’s to come with the next book and the wrap-up of the series.

In any case, this is a wonderfully written tale of two realistic men who show us that most things in life are not dependent on age. Regardless of how many years we’ve lived, we can still suffer or fall in love or be a part of something greater. That’s a great positive message to take from this since none of us are getting any younger. I for one will be checking out the other books in the series. Highly recommended!

Home by Elizabeth Murphy

Home by Elizabeth Murphy
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult
Length: Full Length (364 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Quince

Aspen Kirkland is a slut. Or at least, that’s what she’s spent all of high school believing. So when she goes to visit her estranged father the summer after graduation, she has no reason to believe things will change. But then she finds her childhood best friend Sean again, and everything changes. Sean is smart, driven and Harvard-bound: everything Aspen isn’t. But the more time she spends with him, the more she feels their old connection. He makes her feel like the person she was before high school, before her life did a 180. But Aspen doesn’t want to change, and she doesn’t want to make any more mistakes. Between her renewed friendship with Sean, a cute local boy and the revelation that her father may not be as clueless as she once thought, Aspen feels the ground shifting beneath her every day. As the summer unfolds, she finds herself working to reconcile her past, present and future, and carve out a place in her constantly changing universe to call home.

Before I started to read Home I google the book and author and I tried to find some information on Goodreads about them. Unfortunately I didn’t find much. Anyway I decided to read it, because the blurb sounded promising and I like to read indie and new authors. And I am glad that I read it, because Home turns out to be a hidden gem; a beautiful, brilliant hidden gem.

This is coming of age story that takes place in a Cambridge over the course of one summer between high school and college for the main character, Aspen Kirkland. Aspen is confused, and a bit lost; because her parents got divorced, because she move away from Cambridge with her mother after it and because she tried to define herself by dating different boys. But instead of finding herself, her behavior left her empty. She knows that she did some bad things and she is beating herself up very hard because of that. Aspen is clever, but a bit lost. Fortunately for her the things  change upon her return to Cambridge. During the summer she will work on her relationship with her father and with her childhood friend Sean. Sean is completely opposite from Aspen. Where she is experienced, he is inexperienced; where he know his path, Aspen is clueless; where he is driven, she is not. But also he is exactly what she needs in order to define herself.

Written from Aspen’s perspective it gives a great view into her emotions and actions. The story goes back and forth, providing an insight into Aspen’s past and creating a full overview of her life in preceding four years. Home is such emotional read. The writing is beautiful, descriptions good and characters so alive. It has to be said that there is certain predictability, but the author still managed to write an interesting and captivating story.

Home is beautiful coming of age story that I highly recommend. Read it.  You will not regret it.

The Omega Chronicles by Artemis Milchon

The Omega Chronicles by Artemis Milchon
The Last Dragon – Book One
Publisher: Avalerion Books Inc
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (234 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Orchid

Sally has never felt truly wanted. Not by family, friends, or the few men who ever took notice of her. But a single night out changes her life forever. She is abducted from a bar into a world she could never have imagined, and there she meets Drake, a gorgeous stranger with a mysterious past. As she falls ever further under his spell, she must confront every insecurity she’s ever had about herself. But Drake has much more to conquer than just Sally’s fears. An ancient enemy has followed him, one that threatens all of the Omega Lords, and he discovers that Sally not only holds the key to his heart, but to the very survival of the Clans.

As a relentless foe works to end the Omega for all time, Drake has to convince Sally that she is worthy of the love he feels for her; she in turn must accept what she once thought was impossible. The fates of all the Clans are in their hands. Failure means certain death. With a world in the balance, can one woman find the strength to believe?

Dragons, water beings, shadow movers plus their enemies all blend together to make this a really great book.

A shy, quiet woman dominated by her siblings is kidnapped and taken to Sanctuary, the home of beings from another dimension. Drake makes her his but Sally’s quiet unassuming ways bring the outcasts close together in a way they have never experienced before.

Meanwhile an enemy is on their doorstep, waiting to pounce at the slightest opening. The outcasts unite to protect Sally, from herself, from them and from her family. Sally meanwhile is having the time of her life. She’s never felt this free and able to do what she wants instead of following orders, but at the back of her mind she knows it won’t last.

I would have thought this book was good just because it had dragons in it, but once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down, and the best thing is it’s book one of a series. All the characters have their own special personalities and abilities and despite the fact it’s a fantasy, they seem so real!

Hot love scenes combine with humour, understanding and the need to keep sane, all these combine to make an outstanding book which has punch, intrigue and love.

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

shell seekers
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (632 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Camellia

The Shell Seekers is a novel of connection: of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The Shell Seekers is filled with real people–mothers and daughters, husband and lovers–inspired with real values. The Shell Seekers centers on Penelope Keeling–a woman you’ll always remember in world you’ll never forget. The Shell Seekers is a magical novel, the kind of reading experience that comes along only once in a long while.

At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling’s prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather’s work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer…and it lies in her heart.

The awesomeness of this family-love story reveals so much about human nature. It lures you in gently and holds on tight.

This is Penelope Keeling’s story, but it encompasses the lives of those who influenced her and whom she influenced. The Shell Seekers has a uniqueness all its own.

Penelope is an elegant woman even in her well-worn, often shabby clothes. Her generosity, industry, joy of life, tolerance, and caring for others never seems to falter. Her gentle, steadfast inner strength shines like a golden thread in the tapestry of her whole life. Her elegance comes from within, one sees IT as she gives unstinting love, rises above mistakes and hard times and “makes-do” with what she has to work with.

Another bright thread, ever present, is her belief that money buys, not necessarily just material things, but it also buys freedom, independence, dignity, learning, and time. As she deals with her children, she comes to believe that the greatest gift a parent can give the children is to maintain one’s independence, be self-reliant, and not witless.

The reader first meets Penelope when she is in a secure place in life, even though her good health is iffy. She takes the reader back to not-secure times when mistakes were made, when World War II governed their lives, and when never-to-be-forgotten love abided for a time.

The reader get to vicariously experience life in Cornwall, England with Penelope and her artist father and his young wife Sophie, One gets to know the village people and the evacuees Doris and her two sons during scary, deprivation times of WWII. Later, life is shared with her in London with her children and a wrinkle-in-time month visit in Spain when one gets to know her daughter Olivia and her friends Cosmo and Antonia. The reader gets caught right in the middle of the never-ending conflicts that her other two children, Nancy and Noel, have with her. But one of the best experiences for this reader was the time Penelope shared with Antonia and Danus, the gardener—made my heart feel good.

Rosamunde Pilcher makes no excuses for the sins of the characters (there are many), but the reader is privy to so much more than missteps. One sees the beauty of life through Penelope’s eyes as she copes and accepts whatever comes her way, never admitting defeat, and all the while stays true and honest to herself.

The Shell Seekers is a family-love saga—compelling , satisfying, memorable, and is beautifully,masterfully written.

Dead Man’s Fingers by J.K. Bovi

Dead Man’s Fingers by J.K. Bovi
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (150 pages)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Orchid

Renovations in a Savannah building expose a skeleton that had been buried and forgotten about for over a hundred years. It is immediately apparent that the person’s death was the result of foul play.

When the bones are removed and the mumbo-jumbo dark magic spell is broken, The Ghost of The Savannah Strangler rises up from the dead determined to squeeze the life out of the living with his creepy cold dead man’s fingers.

The police can’t capture him. The psychics can’t control him! He’s back from the dead causing hilarious mischief and mayhem as he evades justice, wrecks havoc, and has the best time of his deceased life.

Dead Man’s Fingers — the title sends shivers down the back and the content lives up to the name.

In Savannah, Georgia the Haints – or ghosts – are everywhere but they are thick on the ground (or under or above it) at the full moon.

When a fix-it man uncovers human bones in a store basement he unwittingly disturbs the resting place of the Savannah Strangler. The tenant on the top floor of the building decides to get rid of the ghost in the basement but she gets more than she bargained for when instead of banishing the haint, the fake medium releases him into the community.

The author takes us with the Strangler through the streets of Savannah where he eventually finds a body to inhabit. I believe the author meant this to be comical, and I found it very funny when the Strangler tried to come to terms with the modern way of living and dressing. His description as a big bald-headed dude who looked like he ate light bulbs for breakfast, covered in pink sequins, gold glitter, and aquamarine puff balls, and smelling really, really bad, follows him through the book and it made me smile each time I read it.

The scenes in the book came to life with each word I read and the characters from the student on the top floor and her friends, the policeman, the tourists and the Savannah Strangler were all easily pictured especially the cold dead fingers trying to strangle Victorian prostitutes, which of course no longer existed.

The hilarity continues right to the end of the book. Certainly a good read as far as I’m concerned, and very entertaining.

To Parts Unknown by John Anthony Miller

To Parts Unknown by John Anthony Miller
Publisher: Taylor & Seal
Genre: Historical, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (378 pgs)
Rated: Best Book
Review by Snapdragon

London, January 1942. London Times war correspondent, George Adams, is a tortured soul, devastated by his wife’s death and rejected by all branches of the military. Destroyed by events he couldn’t control, he can’t face the future and won’t forget the past. His editor sends him to Singapore, a city threatened by the Japanese, hoping the exotic location and impending crisis will erase his haunting memories. Within minutes of his arrival, George is caught in a near-fatal air raid that triggers a chain of conflict and catastrophes. Injured and sheltered underground, he meets Thomas Montclair, a crafty French spy, and Lady Jane Carrington Smythe, an English aristocrat, who are destined to share his adventures. When a Japanese general is murdered, Lady Jane becomes the prime suspect. The trio flees the enemy and their own troubled pasts, confronting personal demons as well as the Japanese. They chase their dreams and elude their nightmares, evading a manhunt that spans the islands of the southwest Pacific, their lives wrapped in a swirling kaleidoscope of death, doubt, and desire.

Miller’s new To Parts Unknown thrusts us directly into the action of World War II, in, of all places, Singapore. London Journalist George Adams hasn’t yet got his bearings, when the bombing begins…not all that much different from what he experienced at home, actually. This time, he has no time, no idea where to go, but a guardian angel in the shape of a smart, quick to react, and kind lady.

The speedy, unpredictable action of the start continues throughout this wonderful novel. George, we gradually discover, is an incredibly admirable man… and the dear lady he comes to admire so quickly, is so very attached to someone else. Though there seems nothing can be done about that, he steps up to help her without a second thought.

The local conditions are appalling–the sounds and smells and destruction of bombing raids, the fear and the anxiety of what might be coming next is incredibly real and believable. Miller’s distinctive, no nonsense, straight-forward style is …well, it is very like the voice we’d expect from his lead character: Honest, descriptive, true.

Characters, from the hastily-made friends to the people on the street, and the interactions with those but briefly met in trying circumstances, all are wonderfully believable. We follow George from Singapore toward the hope of safety, via cart, boat and even plane; and every moment, we hope Lady Jane might notice his heroic actions through his efforts to save others.

Sloppy layout left the text with some odd spacing issues, and while not terribly distracting, this work deserves better. This is a gripping, believable, alarming yet heartwarming read. This is the best story I have read in a very long time.

Never Been Kissed by Mari Carr

Never Been Kissed by Mari Carr
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (155 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Quince

Two’s company. Three is perfection.

Second Chances, Book 5

Shelly MacIsaac has pretty much given up all hope. Hope that she’ll lose weight, that she’ll find any excitement in life, that there will ever be any man in her bed besides Barney, her cat.

When her friend Zoey suggests the wine girls come up with resolutions for the New Year, Shelly latches onto the one everyone expects her to choose—the tried-and-true commitment to go on a diet and get into shape. Deep inside, however, Shelly knows she needs to change a lot more than just her physical appearance.

After a year licking his wounds over a broken romance, Christian is through. He’s been quietly lusting after Shelly at work, and he’s not wasting any more time. There’s something about her that makes him believe she’s the one. Unfortunately, Shelly’s kickboxing instructor, Lance—Christian’s best friend—has set his sights on the sweet blonde as well.

Instead of pistols at dawn, the two friends come up with a deliciously erotic answer to their shared dilemma—if the shy beauty will accept their racy proposal.

This is an absolutely amazing story. Before I elaborate further I would really like to say it one more time: Amazing story. Although it is relatively short it is perfectly written, without loose ends, everything here is in its place.

Never Been Kissed is story about Shelly MacIsaac and her relationship with two wonderful, but a bit different, men. One is, her colleague and IT expert, Christian and the other is her trainer, kickboxing instructor and Christian’s friend, Lance. The relationship between three of them started as interesting friendship only to turn into intimate sexual relationship. But what makes this story different from so many erotic romances that I read is that before they became intimate they fell in love. Their love is palpable, as well as erotic/ sexual tension between the three of them. And that is what makes this story so sensual and so beautiful.

Everything in Never Been Kissed is amazing. The characters are equally developed. Each one of them has its own character arch and each realized something by the end of the story, something that makes him/ her a better person. The relationship between three of them is also amazingly written, it goes step by step, there is no rush, and what is the most important, all the sex scenes are an integral part of this threesome relationship because through them the author is also showing the progress of this interesting relationship. Sex scenes are highly sensual, magnificently written and, oh, so hot.

I also like the positive message of this story; and that is love your body and enjoy sex with the partner(s) you love.

Reading Never Been Kissed was an amazing experience for me. I highly recommend this story.

The Richebourg Affair by R.M. Cartmel

The Richebourg Affair by R.M. Cartmel
Publisher: Crime Scene Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (328 pgs)
Rated: Best Book
Review by Snapdragon

Who’d have thought it?

Commandant Truchaud of the Paris police is used to dealing with villainy and violence in the French capital, but when he is summoned home to Burgundy on the death of his brother, he finds a seething vat of theft, fraud and cold-blooded murder fomenting beneath the serene surface of the little village of Nuits-Saint-Georges.

• What is hidden behind the cellar walls?
• Who wanted his brother dead?
• Why does Inspector Molleau have a loaded pistol in his desk drawer?

As Truchaud digs deeper and deeper into the mystery, he discovers that, for some people, Richebourg is quite literally a wine to die for…

The Richebourg Affair introduces commander Truchaud of the Paris police; he is on his way to visit home, to the small rural town of Nuits-Saint-Georges. His journey is personal; all is not well in the small home vineyard overseen by his aging father. His family and old friends (largely neighbors) are happy to see him, for the most part.

The vineyard and village as the setting becomes nearly a character in its own right. Its beauty, its important role within the community as well as the central ‘livelihood’ for the community make the place vitally important. Community members are very connected to their lifestyles and to one another, and the dedication to their wines is strong. People know one another. Anyone might pop by for the odd wine to go with dinner, and his family is a regular customer of the patisserie but three doors down. Neighbors visit, share wine and local gossip and…in the midst of this lovely community-friendliness, Truchaud, the respected inspector, stumbles into both memory (of a long ago love) and murder.

Of course the local gendarmes (police) are immediately worried the big shot inspector from the Paris division will infringe on their territory, pull rank or, worse yet, discover what they wish he would not. It seems a clear concern about respecting borders, but it might be something more.

However, Truchaud is sensitive to their concerns; he’s a respected, logical thinker who it’s easy to like, immediately.

A few small matters (a missing season of wine, that should be aging in the cellar, for example) strike Truchaud as odd, but he slowly uncovers that which is more than simply out of place. It starts with a casual concern about the appropriate tax on certain products, and proceeds toward fraud, betrayal… deceit. Suspense builds slowly, and then concern. The clever inspector is working alone because, although his family is quite close at hand they are somehow…possibly…involved.

R.M Cartmel joins the ranks of the best of the classic crime writers here: one whose mystery has the full character development of any novel, with believable events, attention to police procedures – and that hard to define element which makes the story very difficult to put down. I rank R.M Cartmel with my own personal favorite, Dame Ngaio Marsh, and am delighted to discover this contemporary writer creating mysteries. This one is right at the top of the charts! Do put The Richebourg Affair on the top of your reading list: and I will be watching hopefully for another ‘Cartmel.’