A Match Made in Texas by Margaret Brownley


A Match Made in Texas by Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (369 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Welcome to Two-Time Texas:
Where tempers burn hot
Love runs deep
And a single woman can change the course of history:
There’s a new sheriff in town.

Amanda Lockwood gets more than she bargained for when she’s elected Two-Time Texas’s first female sheriff. Anxious to prove herself, she sets out to stop crime in its tracks—taking down wanted man Rick Barrett in the process. But there’s something special about the charming outlaw. Common sense says he must be guilty…but her heart keeps telling her otherwise.

So what’s a sheriff to do? Gather an all-female posse and ride to save the day.

Things sure don’t look good for Rick. If he doesn’t convince the pretty sheriff to let him go, he’ll soon be pushing up daisies. But his plan to woo her to his side backfires when he’s the one who falls head over heels. Now he must choose between freedom or saving the woman he loves…and the clock is ticking.

Who knew A Match Made in Texas could be such sweet, clean, madcap fun?

She’s a young, independent woman. She’s fighting for women’s right to vote and has been in jail a few times. She’s not interested in marrying. She’s also her parent’s despair…

She’s traveling back home on the stage and the driver is running the team like a demon. She cusses him out, he throws her and her baggage off the stage and leaves her in the middle of nowhere. This is not a good start at getting back home. When a cowboy pulls up in his wagon and offers her a ride, she’s not sure she trusts him. However, there’s no other way to town because she can’t pull her hope chest all that way. She says yes.

This was a very cute story with danger, robberies, a house burning down and a sudden interest on Amanda’s part with this particular cowboy. She decides to forget him but she can’t. It gets even worse when she says she’ll run for Sheriff to further support women’s rights. The men protest but they can’t stop her. It’s even worse when she gets the most votes.

The story moves well, the snappy conversation between Amanda and Rick will make you laugh, and her deputy is a joke but she does her best. Rick even tells the men that she hit what she was aiming at chest level. He didn’t mention it was her hope chest.

When Rick gets thrown in jail for murder, it really makes her worry. How can she prove he didn’t do it without witnesses? Luckily she has a woman posse (which all the men are mad about) who can help her. There’s no way not to enjoy a book where the Sheriff can’t shoot straight, her deputy wants to shoot everyone, and her posse runs around in carriages. Enough silly stuff happens to make it a fun read and it ends well. This was a very enjoyable read.

Highland Hellion by Mary Wine


Highland Hellion by Mary Wine
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (314 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

KATHERINE CAREW

Illegitimate daughter of an English earl… Abducted to Scotland at age 14… No family, no reputation… No rules

ROLFE MCTAVISH

Heir to an honorable Highland laird… Can’t believe how well tomboy Kate can fight… About to learn how much of a woman she really is

Scotland is seething with plots, the vengeful Gordons are spoiling for a fight, and the neighboring clans are at each other’s throats. All it takes is a passionate hellion with a penchant for reckless adventure to ignite the Highlands once more.

Mary Wine’s tales always transport me to the far-away and long-ago Highlands where danger and feuding are forever present. Highland Hellion is one of her best. I highly recommend it.

Bastard born to an English noble, Katherine Carew, at age fourteen, was sent to Scotland to be used by the Earl of Morton in his efforts to keep England from invading Scotland and to bring peace to Scotland’s “forever-feuding” Highlanders—Highlanders who hated English blood. She becomes the Highland Hellion.

Marcus MacPherson, ordered to marry Katherine, pulls a fast one on the Earl of Morton. Marcus marries Helen, the woman he loves, and spirits Katherine away to the far north where he trains her along with the young men of the MacPherson clan. However, at age twenty, she is told she cannot go on raids with the young men. She must now start dressing like a woman and doing things women do, things for which she has no training.

She rebels and sneaks out at night on her horse. The raiding neighboring clans capture her and use her to their own advantage or, at least try to. Her hard-won courage is her sole possession. She calls up every ounce of that courage to survive in a world where she is hated just because of her blood.

Rolfe McTavish takes Katherine from the cruel Gordon clan. Rather than take her home to the MacPherson clan, he takes her to his clan’s stronghold to teach her a lesson.

Here we have the beginning of a turbulent love story that sends the heart racing. Love versus duty becomes a major issue as Rolfe’s crippled father, the Laird of McTavish, against his son’s wishes, plans to use her to gain title and position for himself.

How Mary Wine works things around so all the clans that had tried to use Katherine end up in Edinburgh area wanting to save her makes spellbinding reading.

Lastly, Adwin, Rolfe’s mentor since he was a child, sees Rolfe scolding and almost crushing Katherine for doing a super courageous thing to save Rolfe. Adwin tells Rolfe in no uncertain terms: “Do not let her affection be strangled by your pride.”

How a happy-ever-after comes out of all this is amazing.

SUPER GOOD READING!

Surviving the Fatherland by Annette Oppenlander


Surviving the Fatherland by Annette Oppenlander
Publisher: self
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (355 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953, SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND tells the true and heart-wrenching stories of Lilly and Günter struggling with the terror-filled reality of life in the Third Reich, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, freedom, and ultimately each other. Based on the author’s own family and anchored in historical facts, this story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of war children.

SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is a sweeping saga of family, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the children’s war.

This historical novel is based on the author’s parents and what they went through as children in Germany during the Second World War. As the wife of a history buff, I’ve seen a great many movies and heard a lot about the soldiers during that war, but except for The Diary of Anne Frank I’m not familiar with what the children had to go through. This book is eye-opening and heartbreaking, and I would recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in the war.

Lily and Gunter grew up in the same city, but their lives during the war took very different routes. The book is told from each of their points of view- the hardships they had to face and the struggles to stay alive.

My heart broke for Lily as her mother so obviously preferred her younger brother and worked her like a slave, even turning a blind eye to potential dangers to Lily in order to make life more bearable for herself. It’s hard for me, as a mother, to understand Mutti’s reaction to her daughter, which cannot be blamed on the war as she was already disengaged from Lily at the beginning of the story. Her father lied to the family, telling them he had been drafted, but he is full of enthusiasm to do his part in Hitler’s war.

We first meet Gunter as he takes part in the local youth drill that all the young men had to join—training children to one day be soldiers. Once his father is drafted, life is different for him as well as supplies become short, and he is forced to do whatever he can to help keep his family together.

When Lily and Gunter met, the war was over but they each had to deal with the baggage they gathered during it. They fell in love, but the path of true love, in their part, didn’t run smoothly. I enjoyed the way they were together as they each worked through their own demons.

This family saga is wonderfully written and, aside from the emotional ramifications, very easy to read. I stayed up too late a couple of nights reading it. I was really invested in the characters and wondered what was going to happen to them next. Knowing it was based on the author’s parents, it was obvious they would get together at the end, but there were still moments I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out.

I highly recommend this book!

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The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride by Lauri Robinson


The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride by Lauri Robinson
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Reunited with the cowboy!

Long ago, orphans Bridgette Banks and Garth McCain made a promise to stay together. But it’s been years since they were parted, and Bridgette’s almost given up hope! So when Garth’s cattle trail passes her town, she won’t let him leave her behind again

Sparks fly as they’re reunited especially when the cowboy catches Bridgette telling everyone she’s his bride! Faced with a past he thought he’d lost forever, Garth realizes this impulsive beauty might be the future he never thought he deserved.

Lauri Robinson created a genuine love story between Garth, the hero and Bridgette, the heroine. Garth possessed all the qualities I admire in a hero; strong yet sensitive, smart, thoughtful, honest, hard worker, brave and very handsome. Bridgette complemented Garth quite well. She was his equal in the ways that mattered. I was pleasantly surprised by her skills and talents. The banter between the couple had me cracking up. The chemistry between the two was obvious and on the shy side of being spicy. The fact that they knew each other in the past and have been reunited only leads me to believe that they were truly meant for each other.

The cast of characters were brilliantly developed and implemented throughout the story. They all had a relevant impact on Garth and Bridgette’s relationship as well as on me. I felt a connection with many of the secondary players. There were too many to name but Jo Jo was probably my favorite supporting cast member. I loved his tender heart and willingness to help. My least favorite secondary character was Cecil; however he was nicely redeemed before the story was over.

The plot was captivating and well written. I enjoyed reading a romance that took place in the west during the cattle drives. It’s an era I’ve always been intrigued by. I thoroughly enjoyed the little bits of suspense that was woven throughout the plot in regards to the selling of the cows, the possible dangers involved in cattle drives and the consequences of Bridgette’s not well thought out plans. Some of those not well thought out plans were hilarious. The plot flowed very smooth and made it impossible to put the book down.

I thought The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride was an amazing love story and I highly recommend this book!

Shockwave by Sierra Cartwright


Shockwave by Sierra Cartwright
Impulse
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (188 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal play, Anal Sex, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Bittersweet

There can only be one victor…

He vows to personally deal with her…

When Master Nathaniel Stratton catches Alani Dane, a professional submissive, yawning during a scene with one of his club’s most prestigious members, he vows to personally deal with her.

In order to claim her…

Nathaniel works to shatter the emotional barriers she’s erected to keep her heart safe and takes the biggest gamble of his life to claim her for his own.

But she’s no man’s submissive…

He alternately thrills and terrifies Alani. Even though she craves the intense release that subspace brings, at heart, she’s no man’s submissive. In this intense battle of wills, dominance and submission, love and commitment, he’s determined to tear down the walls around her heart.

Sierra Carwright is a one-click author for me, and Shockwave, doesn’t disappoint. The story sizzles with passion and heat from the beginning, and even after finishing the novel I’m still daydreaming about the characters’ relationship.

From page one, I was drawn into the world of Alani, a professional submissive who appears to be a little bored with what she does. Furthermore, though she’s a proclaimed masochist she is not by any means a submissive, at least, according to her.

I really liked Alani. Although she was a bit mouthy at times, I enjoyed the way she interacted with Master Nathaniel. The fact that she felt that she wasn’t a perfect submissive, that she didn’t even recognize herself as one, made her feel real. I enjoyed reading her development, not only as a submissive to Master Nathaniel, but as a fierce woman who realizes independence doesn’t necessarily mean going at it alone.

As for Master Nathaniel. Swoon. Could he be any more perfect? I think I fell for his kind of dominance from page one. He was extremely demanding at times, but when he showed his tender side, my own heart pitter-pattered. He gave Alani as much as he took.

As always, Ms. Carwright does a superb job at writing the sex and the BDSM elements within the story. Hot is an understatement regarding Shockwave. Fair warning, I have to admit, that with Alani being a masochist there were a few scenes that made me wince in sympathy (those clamps with weights, and that really big anal plug…). But the care Master Nathaniel showed for her made it worthwhile.

The book is long, but very fast paced and I read it in two days. I’m looking forward to read possible future novels involving Master Braxton and AJ.

All in all, Shockwave was an exquisite, highly recommendable read.

Realm of the Dragon by Cici Cordelia


Realm of the Dragon by Cici Cordelia
The Soul Mate Tree
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (162 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

For sheltered Lily Kiers, it’s all too real. Her escape from danger, straight into the arms of her destiny.

Thrust into a realm made of fantasy and unbridled passion, Lily faces violent resentment and jealousy from extremely powerful enemies. Amidst fierce creatures whose very existence defy all common sense, Lily pieces together a past she could never have imagined.

Claimed by Kord, Prince of Battle Draconian, their love will not be denied, even as malevolent forces plot to rip them apart.

Chased by a psychopath, Lily runs as hard as she can through the park, trying to outrun her pursuer. Next thing she knew she has fallen as if from a great height, and landed on a dragon!

Kord has his life mate literally drop into his arms.  Unfortunately she’s human and doesn’t know anything about dragons who can change to human shape.

This story is fascinating. It has the action and adventure of dragons who have a peaceful nature until roused. Unfortunately, a female dragon has marked Kord as her own and Lily’s abrupt arrival upsets her plans. With the help of another male she plans to dispose of Lily, take Kord as her own, and kill Kord’s parents to enable him to become King of Battle Draconian.

The plots that interweave in this story make it very exciting and alluring. I read it in one go as I couldn’t put it down, partly due to the fact I love dragon stories. This was not a straightforward “dragons are strong beasts so Lily was bound to fall for Kord” it was about the life of dragons, how they lived and the social mores which kept the three dragon kingdoms apart but in tune with each other. This is very well written and a joy to read.

Lost Wolf by Elsa Jade


Lost Wolf by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest – Book 5
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The harvest moon is rising…

The black wolf lost everything when the Kingdom Guard werewolf hunters drugged him, tortured him, and tried to turn him into a weapon against his own kind. All that remains is Zane—a man with no memories, no future, and a bloodthirsty monster lurking under his skin.

But after a seemingly chance encounter with a curvy, black-haired beauty, Zane starts to remember things: glimpses of his past, his favorite book, the taste of desire…

Mahalia Booker needed to dig up the past — just a few petroglyphs from an archeological site on Mesa Diablo — to finish her master’s in history. She never expected to uncover a secret society of werewolves thousands of years old. She’s always stood on the outside, but now she’s become a part of the story — a story with a scary, strangely fascinating and sexy hero…

Zane is an unusual hero even within the paranormal world – he’s an anomaly because he has no memory of who he was before his capture. No one knows the level of trauma and depravity this man has suffered through and how it’s affected his mind and sanity. He’s more animal than human yet the man I come to know in Lost Wolf has depth, passion, drive and all the makings of a true leading man. Hallie, the heroine, gets more than she expects when she comes to Angels Rest to do some research. Research that nothing and no one is going to stop her from accomplishing, but she never counted on meeting Zane and stumbling onto a secret more fascinating than anything she could have envisioned. Fate has something in store for both of them they never expected and the romance that evolves despite the challenges they have to overcome make this novelette another must read from the talented Ms. Jade.

Zane is the unknown assailant from the previous story. Initially it was thought he was unreachable and not able to be saved and there was a good chance he’d have to be destroyed. If a reader is a fan of the tortured hero redeemed theme then Lost Wolf delivers in spades. The very short prologue hints at how badly he’s been treated. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a great hook and very effective. The visual imagery Ms. Jade uses about the water washing ashore is as beautiful as it is haunting because of what it means to Zane’s sanity. Another strong bit of writing is when Zane first claps eyes on Hallie. That whole scene just sucked me in and pretty much stayed there for the rest of the book. A romance is born.

Characters from the initial books in the series are on hand to bring context, continuity and support to Zane and Hallie. There are a couple of new characters that are introduced which amp up the complications between the hero and heroine and create a powerful emotional tangle. For a while there was a lot of uncertainty which contributed to some drama and suspense.

The part when the wolves of Angels Rest were looking for their lost wolf gave me goosebumps. The writing was at its most powerful during this whole scene and made an impact. My emotions were in a tight grip from that point all the way to the very beautiful, poignant and promising happy ever after.

I don’t know how Ms. Jade does it but she’s continued the high quality of writing and storytelling even into this fifth installment of the Angels Rest Mating Season series. Lost Wolf is another keeper along with the previous books. I’m a happy reader and I can’t wait to find out who gets their HEA next.

Spirited Attraction by Ashantay Peters


Spirited Attraction by Ashantay Peters
Warning: Ghosts at Work
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (153 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Long ago, Julia Wilkinson left home and didn’t look back. Now she’s unwillingly facing her parents’ ghosts—and their plans for her love life.

Sam Bradley has a ghost of his own, his interfering and opinionated deceased father. He’s a parent with definite ideas about whom Sam should date.

Julia and Sam think they’re happy singles and resist their supernatural matchmakers. But when the ghosts combine efforts, all bets are off. Will Julia and Sam heed advice from the other side, or will they go their own way?

Julia has trust issues when it comes to romance. Her friends decide to set her up with a co-worker but Julia feels her klutzy ways will put the man off before the relationship even starts. Little do both of them know that help is on the way…spiritual help.

This book is very funny in places, sad in others and gives a nice cozy, cuddly feeling as well. Then, of course, there’s the spicy bedroom romantic get-together moments. I thought the spiritual assistance of both Julia’s deceased parents and Sam’s father provided comedy and helped the couple overcome their awkwardness and inability to communicate properly.

I smiled, had tears in my eyes and felt compassion all through reading one book. At the end of the novel I sighed, but the author hadn’t finished with her twists to the story. The final page was…well I won’t spoil it for other readers, but I finished reading with another smile.

Bandit by Fiona Roarke


Bandit by Fiona Roarke
Publisher: Nickel Road Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (178 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Miles Turner, a handler and operative with The Organization, a private security firm, is used to always being the man with the plan, the guy in control of everything around him. He can’t imagine any situation that would get the better of him — until he meets Sophie.
Traveling sales rep Sophie Rayburn has been burned by love before, but she’s determined not to spend Christmas Eve alone. When she spots sexy Miles at a run-down bar in a Podunk New Mexico bar, she decides he’d make the perfect gift to herself. Why shouldn’t she indulge them both with a little holiday cheer between the sheets?
Sensual sparks fly as soon as they come together, like they were made for each other, in bed and out. A kidnapping scheme, a drug scam and a dangerous mole don’t stand a chance.
Sweet, sexy Sophie is enough to make even a good man lose total control. And Miles is not good.
He’s all bad boy.

I started this book on a Saturday morning and finished it that night. It was challenging to read this book with so many chores on my “To- do” list. I’d read as much as I could before the dryer beeped. I never folded my laundry so fast! That was how my day went. My chores were done lightning fast so that I could read a few more chapters. I actually enjoyed my chores thinking about the story. The hero, Miles Turner, and the heroine, Sophie Rayburn, put a bounce in my step and a smile on my face. My husband asked me why I was in such a good mood. I replied because I’m in the middle of reading a really good book.

Honestly, “good book” doesn’t do Bandit justice. It was an excellent book! It was really difficult to put down. The suspense/mystery was riveting, and the relationship between Miles and Sophia was fast, full of passion and completely satisfying. Miles was the sexy operative that worked for a private security firm that I’d love to be rescued by. Sophia was sweet, brave and was a bit of a “TMI” (too much information) sharing kind of lady but Miles wasn’t put off by her honesty at all, which made me love them all the more.

The plot had a good mix of predictable and unpredictable story lines which kept me guessing. The pace was fast and only one of the reasons that made Bandit hard to put down. The writing style was smooth and easy to read. Fiona Roarke sure knows how to write! I felt like I could smell the smoking gun or feel the heat of the hot metal beneath my jaw. I was easily transported into the scene as it evolved – especially the love scenes. Oh boy, the love scenes; Miles was in my dreams that Saturday night! 🙂

I would most definitely recommend this book! Those who know me also know that I love books with a happily ever after and an epilogue. Epilogues to me are like a gift for delaying the end. I absolutely loved this book!

The Road To Winterhill by Gloria Gay


The Road To Winterhill by Gloria Gay
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (214 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

In the silence of St. George’s Cathedral, the clergyman’s voice rang out unnaturally loud: “Do you, Richard Branston, Earl of Berrington, take this woman, Belinda Presleigh, of Hunsley Manor, as your lawful wedded wife, to love and honor until death do you part?”

The few wedding guests crowding around them waited for Berrington’s response which was long in coming. Belinda saw their smirks and heard their muffled laughter.

She felt the sting of tears in her eyes at the long pause and realized she could not undo what she had done. The awful deed had come to roost in her heart.

She wished he would say no. She’d rather be jilted than that awful hesitation in which everyone looked at each other, some with smirks of “I told you so.”

Finally, Lord Berrington’s voice rang out—loud, impatient and clear: “I do.”

Society shuns Belinda Presley when her mother’s scheme results in a forced offer of marriage from Richard Branston, the Earl of Berrington, the man she loves in secret.

Warm conversations during the day and passionate nights of love at night on their three-days’ journey give Belinda the only happiness she has ever known. Yet on arriving at Winterhill, Belinda feels the family’s animosity, as the earl, unaware of the danger she leaves her in and still resentful, returns to London.

Her only friend, Lord Wilbur, and solitary walks, are her solace, but Belinda’s enemies’ hatred soon place her in extreme peril.

Quirky and unpredictable, The Road to Winterhill sets off with what seems could be an ordinary enough challenge: Belinda Presleigh is dragged into pursuit of the ‘advantageous situation’ (otherwise known as marriage) by her very determined mother. It seems hardly a new predicament, but her mother is quite unpredictably crafty!

Belinda is concerned about decency, about embarrassment, and avoiding rogues, and that all seemed quite enough before being reminded about the spiders!

Berrington, an Earl, has friends that seem as eager to see him tie the knot as well. Vastly more interested in an assignation, he, it seems, may be manipulated too. The eerie opening setting (dark, dank wine cellar) could scarcely be more fitting. Throughout, locations never intrude, but are somehow just there as perfect background.

The two live in relative wealth, but both somewhat trapped by their status.  Yet, neither of these two are quite the pawns they first appear…the situation is riveting, long before the end of chapter one.

The unexpected intrigue brings us to quite the tale, and we run through an array of emotions. Belinda, who seemed a simple, protected gal of marrying age has actually had quite a number of experiences, sorrows, and hopes. We find ourselves hoping she will find her way to a kinder man…

The past contributes to the unexpected twists of the story. ‘The whims of fate’ indeed seem to take charge of events, but then we do begin to suspect that some one person is at the heart of suspicious circumstances.

The opening dialogue seemed a bit slow (my only complaint) but my inability to stop reading this hysterical and bewitching historical romance means I must give it top marks, and I must say, if I’d had any idea what lay in store, I’d have started reading sooner.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Road To Winterhill as the characters were so unexpectedly engaging. A real treat: Do read.