Western Christmas Brides by Lauri Robinson, Lynna Banning, Carol Arens


Western Christmas Brides by Lauri Robinson, Lynna Banning, Carol Arens
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Three heartwarming stories of Christmas in the Wild West.

A Bride and Baby for Christmas by Lauri Robinson

Pregnant Hannah Olsen has made a list of Oak Grove’s eligible men. A list that Teddy White sees—and he’s not on it! Time for him to act so that both their Christmas wishes can come true.

Miss Christina’s Christmas Wish by Lynna Banning

Dedicated new teacher Christina Marnell feels her heart race as she watches Ivan Panovsky chop wood for the school. She had ruled marriage out, but Christmas is a time when miracles can happen…

A Kiss from the Cowboy by Carol Arens

Kitson James and Livy York both have secrets, but can their love overcome the lies they’ve told? A Christmas kiss might help…

There are three heartwarming stories of Christmas in the Wild West in this one book. First is A Bride and Baby for Christmas by Lauri Robinson, next is Miss Christina’s Christmas Wish by Lynna Banning and last is A Kiss from the Cowboy by Carol Arens.

To say I was excited to read A Bride and Baby for Christmas by Lauri Robinson is an understatement. The reason I was eager to read this story is because the heroine, Hannah and the hero, Teddy made an appearance in the book Winning the Mail-Order Bride (Oak Grove series) by Lauri Robinson. I knew they were going to be in A Bride and Baby for Christmas and I couldn’t wait to read their story. It was well worth the wait.

This is my fourth Lauri Robinson book. I became an official fan after reading a third book of hers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, her flawless writing style is consistent in each of her books. She creates a web of relatable characters that are intertwined in a community that are unforgettable and inspirational. There is plenty of drama, conflict and sweet romance that kept me flipping the pages. Lauri Robinson books are original, genuine, and entertaining. When you finish one of Lauri’s books you walk around for hours/days thinking about the characters.

A Bride and Baby for Christmas was endearing – a perfect book to read during the holiday season to get you into the Christmas spirit. I especially loved how it immediately started with Teddy and Hannah meeting. The situation was precious. Then there’s a touch of comedy with “the list”. That plot thread was hilarious. Teddy’s sister, Abigail, stirs the pot but that is one element that made the book riveting. Abigail kept me wondering what kind of trouble she was going to cause next. I didn’t like the conflict she caused at first but I understand Abigail’s character was necessary to the entire plot of the book.

I do want to rave about the two inspirational stories that were part of A Bride and Baby for Christmas. I was touched by the story Teddy heard from his grandfather when he was ten years old. That is a message that all humans can benefit from, especially in today’s world. Then the message that Brett’s mom told Hannah one day. Both are thought-provoking and heartwarming. So far Western Christmas Brides is on my must read list.

Miss Christina’s Christmas Wish by Lynna Banning was overwhelming for me. The story was ninety two pages in length. I had to stop reading to get a pen and paper. Within twenty eight pages Lynna Banning had introduced twenty two characters. I don’t have a photographic memory and it didn’t help when she referred to one character as Stockett and later as Abraham. Only after re-reading did I figure out that Abraham Stockett was the same person. She did the same thing with Thad MacAllister. I share this information with you so that you are warned and aware to pay attention. You might want to have a paper and pen ready. Ivan, the hero, has a boss named Ike Bruhn. Later it says his boss’s name was Abraham Stockett. It is later revealed that Ivan actually has two jobs and that is why he has two bosses. I found all of this confusing. I like to relate and bond to my characters. It was impossible to do that with so many to remember.

The heroine, Christina, is the town’s new school teacher. The reader was introduced to ten of her students. In the story there is a dance. It felt like all twenty six characters were at the dance taking turns switching partners and it made my head spin. I gave up trying to remember who Vern Forester was. Actually, according to my notes she was the town dress maker. The romance between Ivan and Christina was in all reality, non-existent. Thirty five pages into the story they still hadn’t even had a real conversation and when they did, it was an argument so, as far as the “Christmas Spirit” goes, it’s not much. Christmas wasn’t mentioned until the epilogue. Needless to say I didn’t connect with this story in this anthology. However that’s not to say that someone else won’t. I suggest other readers give it a try.

Seriously, A Kiss from the Cowboy by Carol Arens gave First a Bride and a Baby for Christmas by Lauri Robinson a run for her money. Wow! I LOVED A Kiss from the Cowboy! Kit, the hero and Livy, the heroine were refreshing. A splash of fresh air. A unique plot with clever threads and fun twists that kept me flipping pages with a smile. The Christmas spirit was alive and thriving in this story. The message of love was loud and clear. If I closed my eyes I could feel myself standing next to Kit and Livy by the town Christmas tree seeing carols. This was a genuine heartwarming feel good story. An entertaining quick read that I would easily recommend to others. The side characters were well developed and enhanced the sense of community in the small town of Sweet Bank. If you’re looking for a sweet quaint enjoyable book then look no further. A Kiss from the Cowboy was delicious!

Overall, I enjoyed Western Christmas Brides. I love Cowboys and Christmas as much as I love Baileys in my coffee. Trust me, that’s a strong love affair. I know I had a hard time with Miss Christina’s Christmas Wish but that’s not to say everyone else who reads that book would. It’s my opinion that the other two stories in this book are definitely worth more than the weight of gold. I definitely recommend Western Christmas Brides to be in stockings all around the world come this Christmas.

Charmed by Charlie by Amanda Uhl


Charmed by Charlie by Amanda Uhl
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (232 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Everybody loves marketing whiz Charlie Solanger–except the woman he really wants.

Creative genius Charlie Solanger has it all: good looks, money, intelligence, charm. And when he swoops in to save Reynolds Paint Company with a brilliant marketing campaign, he has all the ladies in the office vying for his attention. Everyone except math whiz Valerie Wilson.

Val’s not happy Charlie stole her promotion. Worse, his brand of flirtatious charm is reminiscent of her cheating ex-fiancé. So, how come she can’t get him out of her head? The more she challenges him, the more interested–and interesting–he becomes. What secrets is Charlie hiding, and who or what is behind the sudden mysterious drain on their company’s funds? The only way to find out is to join forces. Then it will be a battle of wills…and a triumph of hearts.

If you enjoyed any of these following soap operas: General Hospital with Luke and Laura, or Days of our Lives with Hope and Bo, or Santa Barbara with Eden and Cruz, then you might love Charmed by Charlie.

This book was just what I needed in my life to escape the reality of Hurricane Irma approaching. Which was no small task given the nonstop media coverage. Valarie, the heroine, wasn’t the only one charmed by Charlie, the hero. I was completely smitten.

There’s no other way to explain it other than to say I felt like I was watching a soap opera that was predicted to win the Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series. Valarie would win the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and Charlie would win the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama series. Bernie would win the Outstanding Supporting actress in a Drama Series. George would win the Outstanding Supporting actor in a Drama Series. If there was a trouble maker award then it would go to Julie. Amanda Uhi would win the award for Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama writing series.

I enjoy books where I find myself being emotionally invested in all the characters. I enjoyed the dialog between them, the drama, the misunderstandings, the suspense/mystery, the chemistry, the banter and even the moments of heartbreak. The plot with the characters was brilliantly orchestrated into a “charming” romance story. The pace of the book was a lot faster and consistent than Irma was traveling towards Florida. I couldn’t put the book down.

In no way am I making light of Hurricane Irma; I’m well aware of the destruction she has left behind. I am merely pointing out the strength of Charmed by Charlie. The fact that I was given a few hours of reprieve from my harsh reality is a testament to the quality of this book. Therefore, I enthusiastically recommend this book to all my friends and family.

Trust with Hearts by Kelli A. Wilkins


Trust with Hearts by Kelli A. Wilkins
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (330 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

After a bitter breakup, Sherrie Parker seeks refuge at her cousin Dave’s house in rural West Virginia. Early one morning, she runs into Dave’s other houseguest, a singer named Curtis Taylor. The last thing Sherrie wants is to share living quarters with a country music crooner – even if he is sexy, in a cowboy sort of way.

Thrown together by circumstances, Sherrie and Curtis get off to a rocky start, but soon discover they have more in common than they ever imagined. Unable to fight their growing attraction, they give in to their desires and start a sizzling summer romance.

Everything is perfect between them until Sherrie discovers that Curtis is keeping secrets from her – and his biggest secret of all will change everything. Can their newfound love survive, or will destiny keep them apart forever?

For me to stay up until 1am to finish the book knowing I have to get up at 6am for work tells you it must have been a good book. I hate when I do that though because then I’m very tired and miserable the next day. However, whenever I thought of the book it would make me smile and I knew then, it was worth it and I’d do it again.

I’m such a sucker for this type of story. I can’t reveal why because the synopsis only says “Sherrie discovers that Curtis is keeping secrets from her and his biggest secret of all will change everything.” This “biggest secret” is my favorite kind of plot. Kelli A. Wilkins’ writing style gave this classic love story a fresh look and appeal. I also enjoyed the setting in which the story was set. There were many little things that just gave this book the extra added touch. I enjoyed the implementation of the cats. I did notice the clever connection of the book title incorporated into the story.

Sherrie Parker, the heroine, wasn’t perfect. She cried a little too often but I loved how Curtis, the hero, would comfort her. I fell in love with them immediately when they first met because the entire situation had me laughing. At times Curtis’s secrets were annoying and I just wanted him to tell Sherrie but I understood why he couldn’t. I do need to point out that their relationship was definitely spicy. I started to sweat a little bit.

I got a little nervous in chapter eleven. There was a big bump for me. I almost couldn’t get past it. I still scowl when I think of it. Sherrie did something with someone that I thought was the most stupid thing to do,  the worst decision she could have made. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would have done what she did. Fortunately, I had strong feelings towards Curtis and curiosity in other matters so I was able to get past that plot quirk.

For the most part the story was aesthetically pleasing to me from start to end. Trust with Hearts was a heartwarming story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would honestly recommend this book, especially to fans of cowboys and country music.

His Little Lanie by Keri Ford


His Little Lanie by Keri Ford
Fairy Tales in a Small Town, Book 2
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (158 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Just a girl in love with a guy who doesn’t know she exists. The story of Lanie Lange’s life. She rescued Eriksen from drowning when they were teenagers, but she wasn’t supposed to be there. He suffered a head injury in the accident, and he doesn’t remember her involvement. Another woman took credit for her rescue. Eriksen’s back in town now, and Lanie is dying to tell him the truth about that night. There’s just one problem. She has no proof.

Eriksen Sanders got caught up in the moment and found himself married to the wrong person. Divorced and moved home, he’s aiming to get focused and help bring about the new vibe to Happily. Only there’s something about Lanie he can’t figure out. An unexplainable pull and gut feeling that he’s met the woman before. Determined to find out, he does his best to corner her for the truth, but she constantly slips through his fingers.

In the waters of Maiden Lake, they find common ground. There the secrets about more than either of them expect begin to unravel.

His Little Lanie is a small town contemporary romance retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Little Mermaid.

The premise of the story was alluring and it definitely had some uniqueness to it. The synopsis intrigued me and I was further pleased with the writing style. Apparently this is the second book in a series. I didn’t know that until I finished it therefore it’s safe to say that it can be read as a standalone. However, I am curious to read the first book in the series since I did grow fond of the cast of characters.

The hero in this story was Eriksen. My opinion of Eriksen was that he wasn’t quite developmentally appropriate for his age. He had this youngness about him. He was divorced, a pilot and a man but something was off. I had the same feelings regarding the heroine, Lanie. They just had this innocent sweetness about them. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book since I was able to rationalize that their relationship was unique to their story, and that they shared a past history which only makes sense if you read the book, then you’d know what I’m talking about. I did laugh quite hard when Eriksen entered the water for the first time. That was a bit unrealistic but hilarious.

The author does tell the reader that this story is a contemporary romance retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Little Mermaid. I can see the connections threaded throughout the plot and rather enjoyed the cleverness. Especially the “tail” detail. That was smile provoking. A genuine feel good moment.

The synopsis said “Sometimes we just need a mental break and we’re looking for that comfort read book to take the day away.” That was the perfect description. I did enjoy the entire story from beginning to end. I consistently turned the pages looking forward to the happily ever after at the end in which I wasn’t disappointed.

I enjoyed reading His Little Lanie while I was home recovering from a minor surgery. It was the perfect read to distract me from my worries. Thank you Keri Ford for this unique and entertaining read. I do recommend other readers to pick up this book and enjoy this sweet fairy tale.

Better Together by Annalisa Carr


Better Together by Annalisa Carr
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (198 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Juggling the demands of her troublesome family and a fledgling career means struggling artist Tallulah Becks has no room for romance in her life . . . at least until she bumps into sizzling CEO Aiden Marlowe.

Pressured by his father to return to the family business, Aiden encounters the beguiling Tallulah on his first day back in London.

As his family’s personal and financial problems threaten to overwhelm him, Tallulah is the distraction he needs—if only he can change her mind about where love fits into her schedule.

This book is like being on a diet and eating a healthy turkey burger with a few fixings and less calories when instead you are craving a huge juicy cheeseburger with all the fixings with even more calories. When I’m really hungry I enjoy eating a turkey burger and later, when I step on the scale, I’m sure glad I ate that turkey burger. However, in the back of my mind, I’m always dreaming of that Five Guys burger with all the fixings. Yum.

I enjoyed the story Better Together and I’m glad I read it but I’m reminded of that turkey burger with few fixings. I could see other more delicious fixings, but couldn’t reach them.

The hero, Aiden, was solid. He had a good head on his shoulders, knew what he wanted and didn’t back down. He was handsome and wealthy and smart. The heroine, Tallulah, was true to herself. She marched to the beat of her own drum. They agreed they weren’t each other’s type. Yet, just like the title says, they were better together. I wished though, that Aiden wasn’t so critical of Tallulah’s eclectic ways. She did state several times not to call her a certain nickname but he kept doing it. I think the nickname eventually grew on Tallulah but it distracted me from bonding to them as a couple.

The plot was good. It wasn’t unique but it was enjoyable and it flowed at a medium consistent pace. I consider the plot to be the fixings and I think there could have been more ‘fixings’ added. The synopsis says the “family’s personal and financial problems threaten to overwhelm Aiden.” That plot thread could have been thicker with more suspense or intensity, instead it felt flat. I don’t want to spoil anything but I was anticipating “more”. I understand Better Together wasn’t written for the suspense genre but there was a strong build up to one, and then it fizzled.

The writing style was quite good. It didn’t take long for me to get captured into the story and each page held my interest. I was intrigued to see how Aiden and Tallulah’s relationship developed. I wished the heroine lived in a bit more private or “uninterrupted” environment because certain things happened that took away a little bit of the chemistry for me.

Side characters existed but they weren’t very well developed. They had a thin layer to them. For a book that has two hundred and ninety eight pages they could have been a little bit more established and threaded throughout the book. There were plenty of opportunities to implement more emotion and drama and the author didn’t take advantage of that.

The book had a nice conclusion with all the threads tied up with a single knot instead of a double knot. Aiden and Tallulah did have their happy ever after ending. I’m not left with any unanswered questions. I was entertained for a few hours. I would recommend this book for others to read. It was a fun, quick and easy read.

Gone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart


Gone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart
3rd book in the Honor bound series
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

A childhood terror rears its ugly head in USA TODAY bestselling author Anna J. Stewart’s latest Honor Bound romance. Psychologist Allie Hollister is still haunted by the unsolved death of her childhood best friend. She never expects her past to meet her present when a young patient is abducted and the cold case is reopened. Allie knows she shouldn’t get involved, but the child’s uncle, firefighter Max Kellan, needs her as much as she needs him. Once, Max simply wanted to put his past to rest; now he demands nothing short of justice. As he and secretive, sexy Allie track a lethal criminal, their chemistry is an undeniable adrenaline rush. Their attraction will be put to the test when they confront their most dangerous threat yet: the truth.

Aaaaaaaaah!! Thank you Anna J. Stewart for writing yet another spectacular book! I was combusting with excitement as I read Gone in the Night. It was so awesome!!

Gone in the Night is the third book in the Honor bound series written by Anna J. Stewart. The first was More than a Lawman and the second was Reunited with the P.I. All three can be read as standalones however it is much more fun to read them all in consecutive order. I was fortunate to be able to do just that.

Anna J. Stewart is a consistent writer. All three books are riveting! I’m talking about the kind of book that is impossible to put down once you start. Since I knew this I didn’t even start reading Gone in the Night until I had a rainy day so I could just sit and read it all in one sitting. I was not disappointed at all. Reading Gone in the Night was just as unpredictable and complex as the other books in the Honor bound series. Suspense that was thrilling! Romance that was passionate!

More Than a Lawman ended with one case solved and one unresolved. The unresolved one continues to be threaded through out Reunited with the P.I. along with a new case. The new case gets resolved but left the unresolved still unresolved. Gone in the Night finally resolves the unresolved case! Yahoo!! It was worth the wait!!

Aden, Simone and Allie are three best friends that share a childhood trauma that unites them in an unbreakable bond of friendship that has lasted into their adult lives. More Than a Lawman was Aden’s story. Reunited with the P.I. was Simone’s story and Gone in the Night is Allie’s story.

I couldn’t wait to read Allie’s story. All three leading ladies were relatable and I loved all three but Allie was my favorite. I was able to relate to her difficult childhood. I found Allie to be intelligent, strong and witty. She was perfect for Max, the hero. Oh my Gosh, Max. I loved the banter they had going with each other throughout the book. They had this ongoing guessing game that was so much fun to read. I loved Allie and Max! Max was my dream guy and I definitely have a book glow going on.

The final culmination of the unresolved case was epic! I did not see that ending coming. What a lovely final twist. I was left feeling completely satisfied. I am so happy for Allie that she found a happily ever after with Max. I loved how all the plot threads were tied this time. I would encourage anyone who loves suspense/mystery romance to pick up all three books in the Honor Bound series. Heck, I just might read them all again, they were that good!

Winning the Mail-Order Bride by Lauri Robinson


Winning the Mail-Order Bride by Lauri Robinson
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

She was promised to another…

When widow Fiona Goldberg and her two adorable sons arrive in Oak Grove, Kansas, proclaimed bachelor Brett Blackwell is instantly captivated. But when he learns she is promised to the mayor, he tries his best to keep his distance…

Out of desperation, Fiona had agreed to become a mail-order bride to the disagreeable, self-important mayor. But something about her neighbor Brett makes her feel safe. She knows she must fight her growing feelings for the forbidden blacksmith, even while longing for him to rescue her and take her as his bride himself!

I am officially a Lauri Robinson fan. I’ve read Winning the Mail Order Bride (Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove Series), Surprise Bride for the Cowboy (Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove Duet), and The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride, and I’ve loved each one. I’m hooked on the Oak Grove Series. Everyone who knows me knows that I avoid reading series because I honestly am an impatient person and I can’t stand waiting for the next book to come out. Now I have no choice but to wait for A Bride and a Baby for Christmas (Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove Series) to be released in September/October 2017. I feel like a two year old and I want to have a tantrum because I seriously do not want to wait. The good news is that each book can be read as a standalone which means if you feel the way I do about reading a series then don’t worry. You can read just one but I can’t help you pick which one since I recommend them all. The only reason I have to read the next one coming out is because I fell in love with the characters. They are my family now. I have to read about Teddy and Hannah in the A Bride and a Baby for Christmas (Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove Series).

How did I fall in love with the characters? It just happens with Lauri Robinson’s novels. Her flawless writing style is consistent in each of her books. She creates a web of characters that are intertwined in a community that hooked me in and made me care about them. I find them to be unforgettable. I think about them after I finish reading the books. I think I love them more than my own family. LOL. I’d go so far as to say it’s like watching Little House in the Prairie but better.

In fact the hero, Brett, in Winning the Mail-Order Bride reminded me so much of the character, Mr. Edwards, in Little House in the Prairie. Brett was gentle, kind, generous and fun with a great sense of humor, just like Mr. Edwards. He’s the ideal man you’d want to marry and be the father of your children. Everyone in Oak Grove thought highly of Brett. Fiona the heroine, had a rough life and I was happy to see her and Brett fall in love. She deserved to be cherished after all the horrible tragedies she’d suffered in her life. She was a wonderful mother with two adorable boys in need of a new life. Arriving in Oak Grove was her blessing. Brett and Fiona were a heartwarming romance story. They demonstrated sweet chemistry with strong values that made it easy for a reader to love and respect the couple.

There was plenty of drama and conflict in this sweet romance to keep you flipping the pages. The mayor was deplorable. I’d consider him the villain in the plot, so what eventually happens to him was unexpected. There are plenty of surprises in the plot that either made me gasp, worry, laugh and cry but mostly made me feel satisfied. Every time I considered putting the book down to go do something that needed to be done something would happen that made it impossible to put the book down.

Lauri Robinson writes genuine love stories that inspire me to be a better wife, mother, friend, sister, neighbor, etc. I wish I lived in a small town such as Oak Grove where everyone felt welcomed. I loved the happily ever after ending that undoubtedly left me with a book glow. I strongly urge readers to pick this book up and get comfortable for a few hours. Winning the Mail Order Bride was an entertaining read.

Reunited with the P.I. by Anna J. Stewart


Reunited with the P.I. by Anna J. Stewart
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (364 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

In this Honor Bound romance, a perilous change of heart looms for two former lovers…

Exactly why should P.I. Vince Sutton take his ex-wife’s case? Because she, assistant district attorney Simone Armstrong, put his brother in jail? Because the ambitious spitfire still drives him crazy? No, he’ll take it because -The Avenging Angel- makes him a deal he can’t refuse. Sparks fly when Vince works all-too-closely with Simone to locate her missing key witness…but in the process, they are drawn into a cold case. As much as he tries, Vince can’t deny that he’s never gotten over beautiful Simone, but can he admit his feelings to her–and himself? And can he save her from the danger that’s heading their way?

My first review that I ever wrote for LASR was More Than a Lawman which was the first book in Anna J. Stewart’s HONOR BOUND ministries. I can’t believe I was the fortunate reviewer who was picked to read the next book in the series, Reunited with the P.I..

More Than a Lawman ended with one case solved and one unresolved. The unresolved one continues to be threaded through out Reunited with the P.I. along with a new case. This new case gets resolved but leaves the unresolved still unresolved, thus the hook to read the third book in the series. You can read Reunited with the P.I. without reading the first book in the series. Anna did a nice job reviewing the past for the new reader and previous ones who might have forgotten some details, like me. However, it was nice to read both books in the series because it’s always nice to get reacquainted with old friends.

Aden, Simone and Allie are three best friends that share a childhood trauma that unites them in an unbreakable bond of friendship that has lasted into their adult lives. More Than a Lawman was Aden’s story. Reunited with the P.I.is Simone’s story. Simone is a strong leading heroine who rivals Vince, the hero, in leading capabilities. Together, Simone and Vince make a spicy suspense/mystery romance. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the leading man and leading lady being ex-wife/husband but the author made it work in a way that it was not only believable but unforgettable.

Anna J. Stewart definitely knows how to write a book that grabs the reader’s attention. I could not put the book down. Once again she wrote an unpredictable complex plot that is filled with twists and unexpected surprises. The suspense made me feel stressed out but I loved every minute since I knew there was a plan. Even if that plan didn’t work, I knew Simone and Vince would come up with another plan, sometimes with the help of their friends. I never gave up faith.

I really hope I get to read the third book in the series that is coming out in October 2017. I can’t wait to finally solve the mystery that has been threaded throughout the first two books. I typically don’t read series because I hate waiting for the next book. However, this series is the exception to my rule. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and the HONOR BOUND series.

Red Curtains by Leanna Sain


Red Curtains by Leanna Sain
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (338 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Cleo Davis must find a model for her senior art project or she won’t graduate. When she discovers Lily Telfair-Gordon, she gets more than just an eccentric old woman who spouts famous quotes, talks to ghosts, and wears a weird hat. Lily has unwittingly stumbled upon a counterfeiting ring, and Cleo gets dragged right into the middle of it.

Jonas Holmes, an investigative reporter for the local paper, is asking the question: why do bodies of homeless men keep showing up in the river? But the homeless are scared and won’t talk to him. When he finds Cleo and Lily, he thinks his problems are solved; he doesn’t realize that they’re just beginning.

While romance blossoms between Cleo and Jonas, they work together to see how the two things are connected, but will they find out before it’s too late?

Just before the first chapter begins there is a note from the author that says “I alternate points of view between Cleo, Jonas, and Lily. Each chapter will tell you from whose eyes we’re viewing the story.”

I want to thank Ms. Sain for warning me that she’d alternate points of view between the main characters. I’ve never read a book written like that and I think that I would have been out of my element if I didn’t have that warning. I know I would not have enjoyed the book as much as I did. It took me a few chapters to get into the swing of it. It was an amazing ride once I figured out how to switch gears. It was really nifty to see different perspectives from the main characters especially when they were all involved in the suspense/mystery. It was like viewing a scene from three different angles. It’s hard to describe therefore I really suggest this book needs to be put on the must read list.

Why else should this book be on a must read list? You mean, besides for being a well written, unique and totally captivating plot? Well, it should be on a must read list for the love of the characters. They were well developed and unforgettable. Lily Telfair-Gordon, Jonas Holmes and Cleo – the three of them together make for a positively entertaining story. Cleo is the heroine of the story and not your typical heroine. In fact in the author’s note she explains her type of heroine and I quote, “I create main characters who are strong, creative, successful Southern women—GRITS, if you will. No, they’re not perfect, but they grow and overcome some pretty big obstacles, coming out stronger and more confident at the end.” That sums it up better than I ever could which is why I had no choice but to quote the author’s note again. I loved Cleo and found her relatable because many people experience shyness at one time or another. I loved how she overcame her shyness with the help of Lily. Lily was an amazing character as well. I especially enjoyed her famous quotes that were threaded throughout the novel. Jonas was the hero and while this was more than a romance story with all the suspense/mystery, there definitely was still the thread of a romance between Cleo and Jonas. It was sweet and blossomed slowly into a beautiful enduring relationship. Their romance could be considered most realistic and win a “most genuine couple” award. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jonas right along with Cleo.

The synopsis explains there is the suspense/mystery of the counterfeiting ring and bodies of homeless men showing up in the river. I was on the edge of my seat. Talk about plot twists that were unpredictable. I don’t dare speak of it for fear of giving a spoiler.

I also wanted to mention the setting was in Savannah, Georgia. The author described it in a way that now I totally want to go there on vacation. I love cities with history such as St. Augustine, FL which I have visited. Unfortunately, homelessness is an issue in many big cities such as it is in Savannah Georgia and this novel brings the issue front and center but not in my face to the point that it detracted from the story. I was made aware of the issue through the character, Lily. I need to reference the authors note, again, because I think it’s important to tell future readers that the author stated that a portion of the proceeds from the sales of this book will go to the Stand Down program that was mentioned in the story to help the homeless in Savannah, Georgia.

In conclusion, Red Curtains was a wonderful book. It was well worth my time and I actually feel honored that I got to read this book. I don’t recall ever feeling that way about a book but this one touched my heart. I appreciate the time the author took to write a memorable novel for me to read that I won’t soon forget. Thank you. I encourage others to pick up this book and hopefully they’ll be as touched and as entertained as I was with this thrilling suspense/mystery romance.

In Mistletoe by Tammy L. Bailey


In Mistletoe by Tammy L. Bailey
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (290 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

At twenty-five, Grace Evans is steadily picking up the pieces of everyone else’s life. So, when her younger sister decides to turn into a runaway bride just four weeks before the wedding, Grace, drops everything to chase after her and bring her back home. Only, when the trail leads to Mistletoe, Washington, she finds herself at the mercy of the town’s most handsome and emotionally unavailable bachelor.

Ex-Army officer, Ayden McCabe, has three creeds in life: never make the first move, never fall in love, and never take anyone to Mistletoe’s Christmas Dance. Wanting nothing more than to keep his matchmaking sister from meddling in his personal life, he agrees to help Grace if she agrees to play his girlfriend. Too brunette and meek for his taste, Ayden believes Grace can’t tempt him enough to break any of his creeds. He could not be more wrong.

In Mistletoe captured my heart from the first page. Has this book been made into a Hallmark Christmas movie yet? I won’t be surprised to find out if it has or if it is going to be made into one eventually. I’m ready to celebrate the Christmas season. Too bad it’s the middle of July. This book really put me in the mood to walk under some mistletoe. LOL

I found the writing style made a well written piece of work that flowed effortlessly. At first I thought the plot wasn’t original as I’ve read several “agree to play his girlfriend” stories but this one had its own unique twist to that age old plot thread which was a surprising and pleasantly entertaining read.

Being careful not to give a spoiler, I need to recap the synopsis when it says that Grace is searching for her sister and the trail leads her to Mistletoe and to the town’s most handsome and emotionally unavailable bachelor. Ayden agrees to help Grace find her sister if she helps him to get his sister to stop meddling in his personal life. I had an issue with the fact that Grace gets so distracted by Ayden that she feels guilty for neglecting to find her sister which is the entire reason that she’s in Mistletoe. All I can say is that I’m glad I was able to look beyond that flaw because it paid off. There is much more to this story than meets the eye.

Grace has several layers to her character. Some layers were annoying but her history justifies those annoyances and I was able to look past them. Same goes for Ayden though his annoying qualities were different than hers and for different reasons. Ayden and Grace were a believable couple because his strengths were her weaknesses. Therefore, as the saying goes, opposites attract. I could feel the tension and chemistry as if I was the character myself.

Having said, I found the hero and heroine to be a bit annoying and that had me finding them completely relatable. They had me cracking up several times with their witty humor. The scene where he finds the particular book that she was reading and the location she had bookmarked had me crying with tears. My husband and I had that exact scene in real life. Hilarious!

I was pleased with the ending of the book. I loved how Grace’s mom was redeemed and Ayden’s parents ended on a positive note. This book was like a Vidalia onion, which by the way is one of my favorite onions. You know, sweet with many layers but still having the ability to make you cry while making everything taste better. This book gave me that feel good feeling on many levels and I’d recommend others to read In Mistletoe without any reservations.