Winnawarra by Elizabeth M. Darcy


Winnawarra by Elizabeth M. Darcy
Publisher: Luminosity Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (277 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Emily Perkins is over the moon to learn Jock Macgregor has left her a share in Winnawarra Station in the magnificent Kimberly region of Outback Australia. The bonus comes when she realises, his handsome grandson, Doug is the man of her dreams. She loves working beside him and every day is an adventure.

After receiving a letter from Jock, she discovers he was convinced the accident that killed his son and daughter-in-law was actually murder, and he included her in his will to investigate the deaths.

When accidents start happening to Emily, and she hears footsteps outside her room at night, she is convinced someone is stalking her.

Is she next on the killer’s list?

Isolated on an Outback cattle ranch, will strong, dependable Doug be able to keep her safe?

A murderer is loose at Winnawarra Station, and she must race against time to identify the killer before he strikes again.

I definitely recommend this book but I don’t recommend starting to read it late in the day because it is one of those impossible to put down books. Also I would not suggest reading it while home alone, especially if it’s dark outside. I made all those mistakes. I should have heeded the warning in the synopsis when it said “heart pounding suspense”.

Honestly, the suspense was really like “are you kidding me?” “Again?”. How many times was the hero, Doug, going to say “I’ll keep you safe” and then we hear the “Tap, Tap, Tap”. I can’t say any more than that but let me tell you I fell for it every stinking time. My heart pounded and I was terrified to read what came next. I seriously began to lose trust in Doug’s ability to keep the heroine, Emily, safe. However, I kept the faith in the strong, dependable and handsome Doug.

It was a good thing he was so handsome, and Emily was smitten with him from the moment she saw him at the airport when he picked her up. I too found myself drawn into his masculine aura. True, Doug was attracted to Emily’s beauty but also to her whit and he needed her in more ways than one. Together they completed each other.

I have to tell you, when I read the synopsis my excitement about reading this book was mediocre at best because it sounded similar to other books I’ve read in the past. Well, I was the fool. This novel really surprised me with several original elements and, plot twists, and let’s not forget the “Tap, tap, tap”. You’ll just have to read the book to know what I’m talking about. I enjoyed reading the descriptions of the Kimberly region of Outback Australia.

This book was truly a romance after my heart even though my heart was having frequent palpitations. I started to think I was next on the killer’s list. I fear some people might think this book had too many repetitive phrases because that thought certainly crossed my mind, but I think Ms. Darcy’s writing style successfully walked that fine line. Instead of being repetitive it gave me a sense of a very real and evocative drama. Elizabeth M. Darcy pulled it off and wrote a very engaging and enthralling romance story. This is an easy book to recommend.

Heart and Dagger by Holland Rae


Heart and Dagger by Holland Rae
The Ships in the Night Series
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (174 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Lady Charlotte Talbot hasn’t seen Armand Rajaram de Bourbon, her oldest childhood friend and once betrothed, since his family returned to India when she was fifteen. Since then, she has left a groom at the altar, changed her name to Catalina Sol, opened a house for unwed mothers and orphans, and captained a ship, the Liberté, crewed by the best fighters in the Spanish Main. She’s no longer the lady he left behind, not that she’d admit to wishing he’d return.

When Armand’s brother is kidnapped, he breaks his rule of never engaging with pirates. But desperation drives him to the Liberté and a life he thought he’d left far behind. He’d do anything to save Henri, but Armand never expected to find Charlotte here, and now that’s he’s found her, he doesn’t have a clue what to do about it.

Together, they must face kidnapping, pirate captains, blackmail, and themselves. The Liberté may sail thousands of miles from the shores of England, but that might not be far enough to escape the past.

The series was definitely launched with a substantial start. Heart and Dagger is book one in The Ships in the Night Series and introduces the heroine, Lady Charlotte Talbot, also known as Catalina Sol. Catalina took in strays and runaways while purposely forgetting her past, which became impossible when she ran into the hero, Armand Rajaram de Bourbon whom she’s known since her childhood. Armand has a story of his own and when mixed with Catalina’s it made for an interesting debut for a new series. I enjoyed getting to know several of the characters since they were well developed, relatable and likable. I am hoping there will be a story for Catalina’s sister, Eliza and Armand’s brother, Henry, in the future.

When the synopsis mentioned that Catalina captained a ship, I was intrigued. That sounded unique and like something I’d like to read in a romance book. It turned out to be a fun and entertaining read. I enjoyed Catalina’s strength and her courage to make difficult decisions, ones that maybe would endanger her or her loved ones. It was refreshing to read a leading heroine that was confident, smart and yet could be a refined lady if she needed to be. It made her irresistible in not only in Armand’s eyes but in my eyes too. I appreciated the writing attempt in using Armand to bring out the sweet and vulnerable side in Catalina. I respected Armand’s ability to trust Catalina and let her lead yet still be in protection mode. It was a fine line for him to walk and the author did a wonderful job exemplifying that fine treading. Armand and Catalina clicked together like a fine tuned piano and together they made harmony. I enjoy knowing their relationship was healthy in the chemistry department. I was secure in the knowledge that they would eventually achieve a happy ending. Armand was a dream-worthy hero.

This was a great book to escape into while I sat in the car for eleven hours traveling home for Christmas. The plot was riveting; between the kidnapping, pirates, blackmail and the budding romance, I forgot I was stuck in holiday traffic since I was too busy flipping pages to find out what was going to happen next.

Heart and Dagger was well written and its conclusion left me with a happy book glow. I especially loved the epilogue. It is my pleasure to recommend this book.

White Water Passion by Dawn Luedecke


White Water Passion by Dawn Luedecke
Publisher: Kensington Lyrical
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (230 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

The Montana Territory is one of the last outposts of the American West—where adventure as grand as the wide-open plains is around every corner, and passion as wild as the land itself beats in every heart…

Elizabeth Sanders isn’t afraid of anything, except what will happen to her beloved town if the Big Mountain Lumber Mill is destroyed. When she overhears a plot to do just that, she vows to put a stop to it, even if it means dressing as a young lumberjack to expose the saboteur. There’s only one problem with her plan—her brother’s handsome friend and fellow logger Garrett Jones, who arouses a desire within her soul as fierce as the river rapids.

When Garrett discovers that the odd new lad on the crew is in fact Beth, he’s shocked. A logging camp is no place for a young woman—especially the spirited beauty he’s admired for so long. Keeping her safe is easier said than done, however, as the attraction between them flares into true passion. As the danger mounts, Beth and Garrett must work together to survive the last log run down the wild rapids and claim any chance of saving the mill—and their chance at a future.

This book affected me in a way no other book has. I just finished reading White Water Passion and I feel emotionally and physically exhausted yet I feel like I just won something grand. I can’t even compare this feeling to anything in my personal life but I feel like I just participated in a river drive; as if I just survived riding a log down the wild rapids. I couldn’t wait to write the review for fear I’d lose this feeling that I have which is a feeling of amazing victory. There were so many unpredictable plot twists that were so suspenseful, I couldn’t read nor turn the pages fast enough. It’s amazing how I was sucked into the events in this story. Seriously, if I hear a twig snap behind me then I’m going to expect Garrett to save me.

Garrett, the hero … what can I say? He’s the complete package when it comes to a book boyfriend. Handsome, strong, smart, honorable and a leader, Garrett took his responsibilities to heart. He loved Elizabeth more than anything.

Elizabeth, the heroine, was awesome. She wasn’t your typical damsel in distress. I loved how her character developed. She was a brave lady who cared about others. I would most likely find myself being a friend of hers.

Together, Elizabeth and Garrett were part of an entertaining, exciting and suspenseful romance. I was impressed as to how well Elizabeth learned to manage the bateau. I’ve been in a canoe with my husband and I couldn’t paddle straight to save my life never mind against a current. I think my husband would have preferred if I was more like Elizabeth when it comes to paddling, cooking and chopping wood.

It was crazy how much I hated Victoria for most of the book and then ended up liking her at the end. I had no choice but to switch gears and genuinely change the condition of my heart towards that woman. I will forgive her but I won’t forget her. I pity the man that falls in love with her.

I really hope that Simon, Elizabeth’s brother, and Carrie, Elizabeth’s best friend, get their own book. I’d love to read how they develop into a couple with a happy ever after ending. Simon deserves to be loved.

Oh, and Wall, Garrett’s friend deserves a book of his own. I did almost wish that Elizabeth chose Wall over Garrett.

The only disappointments I had in this story were when Garrett discovers Elizabeth is on his crew dressed as a man. It is mentioned in the synopsis and I thought it was revealed too early in the story. I would have enjoyed keeping Garrett confused for a bit longer. That was a big pause for me. I don’t know how the other men on the crew didn’t figure it out sooner but it made for a fun read. The other disappointment was I really wanted an epilogue. I turned the page and there wasn’t one. I needed a little more afterglow. Unless there is a sequel and they will be mentioned then I could let it go. Otherwise, I would have liked a more conducive ending. The ending was a quick wrap up. It was too quick for me considering the pace of the rest of the book but I duly note that there weren’t any loose threads. They were just tied quickly.

Otherwise White Water Passion was a wild ride. I am very happy that I chose to read this book. This novel goes on my list of recommended reads. It was my first Dawn Luedecke novel and I don’t think it will be my last.

Hot Water (Heart and Endurance, 3) by J.S. Marlo


Hot Water (Heart and Endurance, 3) by J.S. Marlo
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (198 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Can Agent Sullivan repress his feelings for the woman he secretly loves and use her as bait to catch a serial killer?

Nineteen-year-old varsity swimmer Maxime Tremblay is leery of the string of fatal accidents involving female athletes, but after she thwarts an attack, she can no longer ignore the connection between the victims.

Special Agent Ross Sullivan investigates the deadly events on campus only to discover they are not accidents, the athletes are not targeted at random, and the killer is only warming up.

To protect his only witness, he goes undercover as Maxime’s boyfriend, but as pretense and reality begin to blur, Sullivan faces the dilemma of putting her in harm’s way to stop the killings.

This is my second J.S. Marlo book yet my first book in the Heart and Endurance series. Even though this happens to be the third book in the series, it can be read as a standalone.

I enjoy reading contemporary novels that are relevant to me in some manner. The last ten years my sons have swum competitively, therefore I was excited to read a story about a heroine who was a varsity competitive swimmer in college. Maxime Tremblay was a brave, caring and sweet yet fiery red-headed nineteen year-old woman.
The hero, Special Agent Ross Sullivan, was competent, confident, safe and of course, handsome. He was also slightly older than Maxime. This age difference between Ross and Maxime was an internal conflict between the characters. As a mother of an almost nineteen year old I personally felt the internal conflict but from a parental perspective. Trust me when I tell you that it took an exemplary writing style to enable me to connect with this couple and their budding romance considering my ideal age expectations of a hero and heroine. I honestly struggled a tiny bit with Ross’s nicknames for Maxime. They made me feel he was a father figure at times more than a boyfriend. However they were appropriate in the context.

Maxime was very mature and responsible for her age. It was amazing how she balanced all her obligations while her life was in danger. The suspense/mystery plot made for a rapid paced page turner. It was unpredictable and the twists were clever. I’m not sure how realistic it all was but I was definitely entertained.

Over all I was pleased to read Hot Water. The ending was nicely wrapped up giving me complete closure which resulted in a satisfying sigh. I agreed with Maxime’s father when he gave Ross and Maxime his blessings. This was a clean romance with just enough chemistry that made it a heartwarming love story with well-developed characters that will linger in my mind for days to come. I wish them all the best as they go on in their life journey.

The Prairie Doctor’s Bride by Kathryn Albright


The Prairie Doctor’s Bride by Kathryn Albright
Publisher: Harlequin/Mills & Boon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (288 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Wedding bells in Oak Grove…

Raising her son alone, penniless Sylvia Marks has had enough of being the subject of town gossip. But when her son is seriously injured she’ll do anything to save him…even kidnap handsome Dr. Nelson Graham!

Nelson knows what he wants in a wife; she’s to be amiable, biddable and skilled in domestic chores. Gun-toting Sylvia Marks isn’t what he had in mind, but as the two are forced together he realizes she’s exactly what he needs!

I first became aware of the author, Kathryn Albright, when I reviewed “Mail-Order Brides of Oak Grove”. “Mail-Order Brides of Oak Grove is one book with two stories. One story is written by Lauri Robinson, “Surprise Bride for the Cowboy”. The other was written by Kathryn Albright, “Taming the Runaway Bride”. Even though it’s two books in one, they are connected by sharing the setting and characters. I still think that is the best book I’ve ever read. I still 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. If I could be morphed or transported anywhere I’d choose to be transplanted into Oak Grove, Kansas to live among all the townsfolk. I would love to personally meet all the characters I’ve grown to love. After reading and reviewing “Mail-Order Brides of Oak Grove” I reviewed “Winning the Mail-Order Bride” by Lauri Robinson which introduced Fiona Goldberg and Bret Blackwell, who made an exciting appearance in “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride”. There is one other book that I reviewed before “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride” that involved my favorite town of Oak Grove and that one is “Western Christmas Brides”. That book has three stories in it but the one that is relevant to this review is “A Bride and Baby for Christmas” by Lauri Robinson. I just can’t get enough of this Oak Grove utopia. A reader does not need to read all the other books prior to “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride” but I think I loved “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride more because I have read the other books. When I saw “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride” posted I knew I just had to read it. The fact that Lauri Robinson was the author who introduced Fiona and Bret yet they made an appearance in Kathryn Albright’s book, “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride”, made me feel again that Kathryn Albright and Lauri Robinson are in fact the same person. Yet when I Googled their names, my theory is wrong. All I can say at this point is that I will continue to read any book written by these two authors and most definitely if it is set in Oak Grove, Kansas. I know that there are still some eligible bachelors in Oak Grove. I hope they continue the Oak Grove series.

With all that being said, The Prairie Doctor’s Bride was a heartwarming novel. I’m not sure if I’ll ever stop suffering from this Oak Grove, Kansas book hangover; which is the inability to start a new book because I’m still living in the last book’s world. This novel has all the makings of a great love story.

Sylvia Marks, the heroine and the hero, Dr. Nelson Graham are an admirable couple. Together they are entertaining and emotionally exhausting in a rewarding kind of way. They are both incredibly relatable as are all the cast of characters which is one of the reasons they are unforgettable. It was nice to see Nelson find his match. He was introduced in “Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove” in the first story “Surprise Bride for the Cowboy” by Lauri Robinson. That book ended with a plot twist involving the doctor that I didn’t see coming. I remember it had me smiling like a silly goose long after I finished the book. I typically don’t read series but in case you couldn’t already tell, I am in love with this one.

When I started reading The Prairie Doctor’s Bride I was overcome with this comforting and familiar feeling. It was like going home.

I guess I’d compare the Oak Grove series to the T.V. show Little House on the Prairie in some ways but better. There were friendly and not so friendly town folk. There was Mr. and Mrs. Gallagher who ran the Oak Grove mercantile. Neither one of them were welcoming to Sylvia. They’d be an example of the not so friendly town folk. These unfriendly town members added the conflict to the story which made it interesting. Then there were mishaps that happened from living on such harsh lands. There was always something happening that made me want to turn the pages. The writing style was fabulous. The plot was fun and creative. I can’t think of any constructive criticism. This book was a pure delight.

If I could give an award out to best series it would be to this one. There is just something about it that has hit home with me. I heartily recommend all the books I’ve mentioned in this review. They are books I’ve put on my keeper shelf. Lauri Robinson and Kathryn Albright are two authors that I would consider actually collecting their books. They make me happy and feel good. The Prairie Doctor’s Bride made me feel courage and hope.

The Prairie Doctor’s Bride had the best ending. I’m going to end with that. I totally recommend spending time with this novel to all readers and to consider purchasing the other books in this series!

Wyatt’s Bounty by Kim Turner


Wyatt’s Bounty by Kim Turner
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (292)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Bounty hunter Wyatt McCade is taking down outlaws one at a time. He’s been in love with Tess Sullivan for years, but she refuses to give in to her feelings. Reeling from the rejection of his marriage proposal, he chases bounties with little concern for his own safety. When word reaches him that Tess never left for Boston, he rides for Cheyenne to confront her. Instead, he is ambushed and left for dead.

Doctor Tess Sullivan shattered her heart by refusing Wyatt McCade’s marriage proposal and making the biggest mistake of her life, by holding onto a secret. Pining for his return, she blames herself when he arrives in Cheyenne near death. Forgiveness comes quickly in his arms, but she finds herself a pawn in a deadly game of revenge.

When McCade lands are threatened, Tess is caught in the balance. On the bounty hunt of his life, Wyatt will risk everything to rescue the woman he loves.

Oh my goodness! What a great book! Wyatt’s Bounty just has to be made into a movie in the near future. I had no idea this book was book two in “The McCades of Cheyenne” series until after I finished reading it. Therefore it’s safe to say it can be read as a standalone. There was enough awesomeness in Wyatt’s Bounty to have its own movie. I am very curious and want to buy book one which is called Sawyer’s Rose and see if it’s as spectacular as its sequel and if it should be included to make one featured film. This is my first book written by Kim Turner and I might have found a new favorite author. I did Google her to see what other books she has written. I was that smitten with her writing style. Wyatt’s Bounty was absolutely entertaining from the beginning to the end.

Wyatt McCade, the hero, was amazing. Everything you’d want in a book boyfriend. If you look up the definition of a hero you’ll see Wyatt McCade. I easily swoon for cowboys naturally but Wyatt was my everything.

Dr. Tess Sullivan was a fabulous match to Wyatt. She was intelligent, caring, strong and of course beautiful. I was a little jealous of her but it was made very clear that she was the only woman for Wyatt. He didn’t have any interest in anyone else. I would never have stood a chance.

I already stated that the writing style was phenomenal from her word choice to her sentence fluency. There was a well-established cast of characters that flowed like a well-oiled machine. They all interacted and cared for one another. There’s a warm sense of community in Cheyenne enhanced by an organized web of characters all synchronized into a rhythm of love, joy and family. No bounty, outlaw, or land stealing thief stands a chance in their town. Not with the McCades of Cheyenne!

I was easily transported into the action. The plot had me frozen to my seat. I wasn’t moving for anything. There was never a boring moment. It was one unpredictable, emotionally provoking scene after scene. Not in my wildest imagination could I have thought of all the details that were implemented in this masterpiece.

Is there anything about this book that I wish was different? I can’t find one criticism. It even had a prologue and an epilogue. The ending was as solid as the entire book was. The novel gave me complete closure leaving me feeling more than satisfied.

I don’t have any qualms about recommending this book. I found this book full of love and romance. My expectations were more than met. Wyatt and Tess filled my emotional love tank. I guess the only criticism I can come up with is that I didn’t want it to end.

The Lady’s Arrangement by Colleen L. Donnelly


The Lady’s Arrangement by Colleen L. Donnelly
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (368 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.

Ranger Rex Duncan needs a false identity—just long enough to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves. Answering Regina’s ad for a temporary husband, he leaves his beloved red dirt of Oklahoma to assume that disguise. But the most obstinate woman he’s ever known confounds his assignment, and with hair the red color that has always made his heart beat a little faster.

Regina Howard needs a new Mrs. in front of her name—just long enough to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch, since Kansas law won’t allow women to own property. When Rex answers her ad for a husband who can take orders as part of a brief business arrangement, she finds this stubborn man ignores her every command. Yet a good man is far more than just a name…

I started this novel anticipating a romance between Ranger Rex Duncan and Regina Howard. The synopsis piqued my interest. It sounded like I was going to get to read an intriguing sequence of events with some sensual true love mixed in. While all my expectations weren’t exactly met, I was pleasantly satisfied with the plot thread of uncovering the ring of Kansas ranch thieves.

I believe Regina, the heroine, would describe this book as a tranquil and sophisticated piece of work that was slow to evolve with its abundance of verbiage. I think Rex, the hero, would say this book would be a great book to bring on an extra-long relaxing vacation.

Ranger Rex needed a false identity to infiltrate and uncover the villains. While Regina Howard needed a new husband’s name to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch. I quote “Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.” I interpreted that incorrectly. The “needs” they needed weren’t romantic needs. In fact, this book barely qualifies as a romance for me. The writing style didn’t have the emotional conflict of a ‘cat & mouse chase’ romance between two unlikely people, instead I consider this book to be more of a mystery. The entire book was about uncovering the ring of murderous thieves and land grabbing cutthroats .

The synopsis says that Regina “is the most obstinate woman” Rex has ever known. I agree with that statement. I think Rex deserved a better leading woman to be matched with. She was from New York and the setting is in Kansas. Regina adapted to Kansas but still had that New York style class about her. Rex is a Ranger and skilled at being a rancher. Well, Regina would use these words that most people don’t use in every day speaking. Rex wouldn’t know what some of the words meant and I felt that made Rex look dumb. Then, Rex had “ranch” lingo that he used that Regina didn’t understand but it still made him look dumb. I think this might have been an attempt at humor to make me laugh, however, it made me dislike Regina for the way she belittled Rex and therefore I was unable to connect with them as a couple. This is especially true since there was little chemistry between them. There has to be more for me than “she looked good in a pair of pants” and “he was strong”. I understand that not everyone likes public displays of affection. It was obvious that Rex and Regina grew to care about each other by their actions. Sometimes, thoughtful actions speak louder than words.

Despite my disappointment in the lack of open affection in the romance department, Rex’s false identity to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves was worth the read for me. Oddly enough, for some reason this book reminded me of a Scooby Doo episode. Rex would be a mix of Fred and Velma and Regina would be Daphne. There is a character that would be the unmasked villain at the end but that would be a spoiler so I can’t mention the character’s name. There are clues along the way though and it wasn’t a totally predictable plot. There were a few surprise moments which I appreciated. I grew up loving Scooby Doo so I enjoyed this book from the point of view of it being a mystery.

I do think The Lady’s Arrangement was worth my time to read because it had a nice ending. I liked how it came full circle back to how it all started. I would recommend to readers of sweet romantic suspense and mysteries to give this novel a try. I know my mother and my mother-n-law would love this book because they enjoy clean, innocent, and well written stories between two adults who grow to respect and care for one another.

The Right Fit by Daphne Dubois


The Right Fit by Daphne Dubois
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (247)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

When Maxine Nicholls discovers her fiancé is cheating, she turns to fast food and nighttime soap operas, but her sister has a plan—unbridled rebound sex with a stranger.

As one of Toronto’s hottest players, Antony Laurent tallies scores on and off the ice, but when the chiseled defense man hits a slump, rumors of a trade to the minor league send him to ambush a managers meeting at a posh club.

That night a chance encounter ends up as an unforgettable evening of passion. But Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.

At the end of the book there is “a word about the author…”. I must quote it for you because I believe it would have been beneficial if I had read it in the beginning of the book. “Daphne Dubois writes steamy contemporary romance and loves putting her characters in awkward situations. She believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference.” I must say that the author was an over achiever. This book is anything but your average romance book. The characters, plot, and setting were all unique, contemporary, steamy and awkward, yet, heartwarming. It all makes for an entertaining read.

The heroine, Maxine, is relatable and I connected with her. However, I felt like she was an endorsement for plus size woman. It’s wonderful that our society is finally embracing body diversity and we’re seeing a greater acceptance of girls in different sizes. I applauded Sports Illustrated when they featured a plus size model on its cover. Name brands and magazines are finally paying attention and we’re seeing less body shaming in society. Therefore, I had trouble with Maxine constantly struggling with her self-image. I would have liked a stronger leading character. Yet, I understand the need for the focus to be on her weight concern because it was significant to the plot. There was a moral to this story; The Right Fit was more than just the size of the clothes.

Our significant others can be “The Right Fit” – which leads me to the hero, Antony Laurent. I don’t have any complaints about him. He was divine and I wish he was mine. Antony’s first language was French so he struggled to speak English; that was entertaining and romantic at the same time. I loved that Antony was a hockey player for the Toronto hockey team. I grew up around hockey and met my husband at a hockey game. I had no issue considering Antony to be my book boyfriend. He was drawn to Maxine and accepted her for who she was inside and out. She was very lucky to have that chance encounter with him. Together they were “The Right Fit” and full of chemistry.

There were other significant characters that were relevant to the plot such as Maxine’s twin sisters, Crosby and Rose. Maxine also had a brother named Westley. Westley had a best friend since elementary school named Stuart. The most special character that was heartwarming was Carmine. The character that caused conflict was Antony’s brother, Marc. Together they made for a memorable cast of characters.

My attention was caught starting with page one. The author’s writing style kept my attention all the way until the end as I continuously turned the pages at a steady, moderate pace. I enjoyed the quirky awkward moments since they made me snicker from the imagined embarrassment that I’d feel if I was in that situation. I can’t say the plot was predictable. There were plenty of emotional provoking threads that were unexpected.

Here is the point where I get perplexed about my review because near the end of the book I got perturbed. Without giving any spoilers there is an unexpected and unnecessary scene that as far as I’m concerned was pandering to make yet another social statement. Prior to this scene I was satisfied with how the story was progressing. The scene was not relevant or necessary to the romance between Maxine or Antony. The entire scene was rushed, illogical and superfluous. The scene could be cut out of the book and no one would miss it because it had no relevancy to the plot. I felt the author did the story a disservice by adding that m/m kiss – literally seconds before the monumental moment where the leading man and leading woman realize they are destined to live their happily ever after. I have no issues with gays, lesbians, transgender or whatever but I would have liked to have been warned that there was some m/m in this story. It’s not my style to read those kinds of books, even if it’s one scene. This scene happened with 10 pages of the story left! I didn’t see it coming. If I was in the audience I really don’t think I would have been cheering and applauding.

This was a worthy read despite the irrelevant scene. I was entertained and would recommend this book with a warning about the m/m scene.

Fortunately there was an epilogue which helped erase the shocking scene from my mind though not completely, hence the difficulty of writing this review. Luckily this story had many great scenes such as when Maxine, who is an esthetician, loved to name the colors of her nail polish. I thought that was clever and unique how the author connected the name of the polish to the current scene at hand. I wanted some of her nail polish that she described. I loved the humorous sexy banter between Maxine and Antony. I appreciated the dedication at the beginning of the book. It says “This book is dedicated to every woman who has ever gone bathing suit shopping—you’re beautiful and worthy. Own it.” This was definitely the moral of the story. A great message for all women.

Laked by J L Wilson


Laked by J L Wilson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (214 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Vivian DuLac, shop owner of Curiosity’s Curios and Collectibles, has come into possession of an old sword that Arthur (“Able”) Leroy wants. But that’s not all that Able wants. He wants Vivian and her connections to her ex-husband, CEO of a large software company.

Able follows Vivian to northern Minnesota where her ex-husband is meeting to discuss a merger with another company. It’s the one that Able used to own and the one taken from him by his scheming stepsister, Faye Morgan.

When Faye dies under unusual circumstances, everyone associated with her comes under suspicion, including Vivian and Able. On a storm-shrouded night, Vivian finds out if she can trust Able. And they both find out if an ancient sword is worth Vivian’s life.

If you ever watched the TV show Matlock or the TV show Murder, She Wrote and enjoyed them, then that gives you an idea if you will enjoy this book or not. I loved those television shows and therefore enjoyed reading this book. The synopsis sounded intriguing to me and I wasn’t disappointed.

It’s not very often I read a book that the hero and heroine were “older”. It did put a different perspective on things but in a good way. They were mature, established and still young enough to have some romantic chemistry.

Vivian DuLac, the heroine, was a strong, independent, successful business owner. She was past the age of worrying what other people think of her. She said what she thought regardless of the outcome and was still well liked and respected by others. She could protect herself from danger when needed. Vivian was intelligent but a bit gullible and easily trusted others. I found Vivian’s characteristics easy to relate to.

Able, the hero, was complex and I can’t say much about him because he’s a huge part of the suspense/mystery plot. He has secrets and motives that made the book worth reading. He was strong, handsome and kind. He possessed the qualities of a heroic leader.

As a couple, their relationship worked considering the intricate plot. Between the sword, the history of the sword, the merging of the companies, the mysterious death of the character, Faye, there was a lot of depth to this story. Vivian and Able have individual past histories that are intertwined in this swirly plot. It was all fascinating how the writer master planned this elaborate story and still incorporated a budding romance between the lead characters. I particularly got a hoot over their love scene. That was the most unique love scene I’ve ever read.

There are several side characters but I didn’t get lost or confused. They each had a relevant existence to the evolving story line. Together they created a well gelled cast of characters. I enjoyed reading the setting as it was described at a lake. I’ve been to Lake Winnipesaukee once and we rode in a boat all over that lake. With that personal experience I was able to vividly imagine the setting in my mind.

The writing style was creative, unique and polished. I already mentioned how the lead characters were “older” as in old enough to be in their menopausal stage of life. I haven’t googled J L Wilson therefore I have no idea how old the author is. Yet, I feel like I definitely heard the author’s unique voice when Vivian spoke. Vivian spoke of a woman of her age. The love scene alone vindicates a unique writing style. The specifics in the story made it tangible and believable, such as the footprints in the snow. The details added to the quality and made for a concrete plot. The piece written about the sword was another example of a creative writing style, especially near the end. Very dramatic!

The pace consistently flowed at a moderate speed thanks to the combination of mood and emotional provoking plot threads. As these elements were implemented throughout in the dialogue, setting and action, it made the suspense/mystery riveting. I was on the edge of my seat wondering where this point was going to go. With several suspects and narrative twists I found this story unpredictable.

Whenever my father would eat something that he really liked he’d say, “You know what this taste like?” I’d say “What?” and he’d say “It tastes like MORE”. He’d say “more” all drawn out while laughing. I fell for it every time.

This book was like that joke. I wanted more. It had an abrupt ending without an epilogue. I’m sitting here still in a state of surprise. I point this out for the future reader to brace themselves for the unexpected brusque ending. With that being said it’s important to point out that there are no loose threads or a cliff hanger. I wanted to rave that this was the best book ever but I can’t with that unanticipated ending. I flipped the pages looking for more. I needed more assurance. I was not left with a confident happily ever after. It was there but not rock solid like the rest of the book.

In conclusion, I’d recommend this book but I’d tell my friends that they’ll have to add their own addendum to the ending. However, if you like a wham, bam, thank you mam swift kind of ending then there’s a strong chance you’ll absolutely LOVE this book. It definitely was an entertaining read.

To Marry a Texas Outlaw by Linda Broday


To Marry a Texas Outlaw by Linda Broday
Men of Legend Book 3
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (384 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Three Brothers. One Oath.
No Compromises.
The MEN of LEGEND

The Outlaw
Outlaw Luke Weston survives by his wits. On the run for a murder he didn’t commit, the last thing he needs is to go looking for more trouble. But when Luke stumbles across a fiercely beautiful woman struggling against two heavily armed men, it’s obvious that trouble has found him.

After all, he never could resist a damsel in distress.

Josie Morgan’s distressed, all right―and hopping mad. She has no idea why she’s been kidnapped…or who she is…or why her body melts for the mysterious gunslinger who saved her life. But as the lost memories come tumbling back together, Josie is faced with the stark reality of why she and Luke can never be…even as her heart is telling her she will always be his.

The last name, Legend, is a pretty cool family name to marry into. I for one wouldn’t mind marrying one of the three Legend brothers. Even the Father sounded pretty swoon worthy. Strong, brave, and willing to fight for justice. Did I mention tall, gorgeous and quick with a gun? I’d ride on a horse into the sunset with any one of them. To Marry a Texas Outlaw is book three in the Men of Legend. I didn’t read the first two books and I could tell they were referenced , but I didn’t feel lost or confused at all. I was only made curious to learn more about what they were talking about. I felt a little left out as if I wasn’t in on the inside joke.

Josie Morgan, was the lucky damsel in distress to be rescued by the outlaw Luke Weston. The best part of the plot was Josie trying to regain her lost memory. As feisty as she was, there wasn’t anything she could do to force herself to remember. The reader was filled with anticipation waiting to see if and when she’d ever remember her past. I felt frustrated for her yet at the same time wishing she wouldn’t remember in case it ruined her future with Luke.

Luke had quite the past of his own. The suspense of him being an outlaw with bounty hunters after him was completely engrossing. The mystery involving her kidnapping by two heavily armed men was as equally as captivating. The chemistry between the two could start a forest fire if they weren’t cautious. Together they made for an entertaining read.

Some books read at such a fast pace that I get whiplash. Other books read at such a slow pace I want to bang my head against the wall. Then there are books such as this one that move along at a run/walk/run pace. If you’re familiar with Jeff Galloway then you know about his run/walk/run method that I’m referring to. That is what came to my mind as I was reading this book. At first the “I love her but she deserves better than me” and the “I love him but he won’t open up his heart and let me in” made me feel “aww, how sweet”. However, it quickly became a broken record and those moments became the walk pace in the book. Time to go switch the wash, check the mail, fold the laundry, or go to bed moments. Fortunately, it was easy to get back into the book because before I knew it, the pace was off and running again. It felt great and then we were back to the “stark reality of why she and Luke can never be…even as their hearts were telling them otherwise”. If it wasn’t for the suspense/mystery plot threads then it would have been a head banger. I guess the writing style wasn’t for me. I was frustrated with the ideology of picking flower petals and chanting “he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not…” At that point all I wanted to ask was, How is this book going to end?”

I am pleased to say that To Marry a Texas Outlaw did have a wonderful, happy, long drawn out ending. I don’t recall the last time I was so happy to finish a book. If you ever ran a half marathon you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s the most wonderful feeling to run the marathon but it’s the best feeling to cross the finish line. This is how To Marry a Texas Outlaw made me feel. I won the race with Luke and Josie. If you love this kind of melodrama then this book is for you. I can’t speak for the first two books but based on this third book in the series I’d be likely to recommend the Legend brothers to all romance genre readers.