Battle for Love by Valerie Bowes


Battle for Love by Valerie Bowes
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (189 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

It’s not easy, being an unmarried woman in the England of 1814. But Nancy Worth will not marry where there is no love, and every man in her small Sussex village is either too old, too young, or has a face like a fish. Except for the handsome Bartholomew Boult, and he has his own reasons for pursuing her.

When, against all the odds, Nancy does find love, both her family and his are determined to put a stop to it. He is gentry, and she a farmer’s daughter. With lies and gossip flying, as well as the unexpected resumption of war, it seems everyone is trying to separate her from Will Carlton.

Even Napoleon Bonaparte.

While Napoleon lingers in Elba the Regency period is in full swing in England. Nancy Worth is not one of the aristocracy, her father is a landowner and although they are well off they are not considered to be of the same social level as the Squire and his family. Nancy finds herself with two suitors. One she loves and the other who, unknown to her, wants her for his own selfish ends.

Regency books are a joy to read, but the main characters can often be a bit silly, acting in ways that seem unnatural. This book has a heroine and hero who are quite natural in their actions and the misunderstandings that always happen in romance, are believable and had me urging them to sort out the difficulties before they were overwhelmed by family members who felt they knew best.

Even the bad guy had a ring of truth to his actions and in the end I felt quite sorry for him. I have to admit I didn’t envisage the resolution to be quite so dramatic, but it was well handled and I felt a great satisfaction when I finished the book. Good story, good characters and lovely to read.

Magic Spark by Sara Dobie Bauer, Em Shotwell, Wendy Sparrow


Magic Spark by Sara Dobie Bauer, Em Shotwell, Wendy Sparrow
Enchanted Book One

Publisher: Pen and Kink Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (215 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

The first of a trio of trilogies by three amazing romance writers. These stories all have two things in common: magic and romance!

“When Demigods Court Death” by Wendy Sparrow:
As the demigod of fertility, Aster Slone has a thriving doctor’s practice. In fact, the incidence of triplets has made it too thriving. He needs more time with his neighbor the demigoddess of death to dampen his powers. Chandra Linton being gorgeous and sweet makes his task less of a hardship. Hitting the zenith of heretofore-unknown powers without enough exposure to her match is killing Chandra. Accepting all that her crazy, but hot neighbor says is her destiny…well, it muddles her convictions, but her real concern is: does Aster want Chandra because she’s the woman he desires or because she’s Death?

“These Roots Run Deep” by Em Shotwell:
Spitfire, New Orleans weather girl, Cheyanne Murphey has everything, and that is exactly how she likes it. When she discovers evidence of her fiancé’s philandering, she refuses to let her perfectly cultivated image fall to pieces. Cheyanne has worked too hard, dragging herself up from the trailer park into New Orleans’ society, to give in without a fight…even if that means trading a year of her life in exchange for a love incantation from her ancestor’s spell book.
A skyclad, moonlit dance, a mysterious potion, and magic gone awry leave Cheyanne with a very peculiar life lesson: love can take on many forms, so be careful what you wish for.

“Destiny’s Dark Light” by Sara Dobie Bauer:
In modern day Charleston, lonely white witch Cyan Burroughs has waited her whole life to lead the battle against dark witches and eventually meet the man she is fated to love. A tragic trolley accident brings Liam Cody into her life. He is her destiny, but he’s also in love with someone else. Now, Cyan and her magic family must find the dark witch who caused the accident while Cyan fights her feelings for Liam—a charming Irishman with secrets of his own.

This book is contains three books written by different authors.

When Demigods Court Death by Wendy Sparrow

Chandra always feels down and can’t understand why others always feel ill or afraid when around her. Her neighbor moves in and his balcony explodes with greenery, she immediately feels a lifting of her spirits.
Chandra and Aster are opposites. I became very engrossed when their story unfolded in a most intriguing way. Their personalities came across very well, allowing me to enjoy the story and at the same time wonder how they would resolve their difficulties.

These Roots Run Deep by Em Shotwell

Another unusual story. What to do when you’re a witch and the love of your life cheats on you? Set in New Orleans, the three witch sisters have taken over from their recently deceased grandmother, but when Cheyanne discovers her fiancé Brett is cheating, she talks her two siblings into casting a spell to make sure Brett remains with her. It’s a case of be careful what you wish for. Good story.

Destiny’s Dark Light – Part One by Sara Dobie Bauer

A family of witches where the youngest one has yet to come into her powers. When Cyan finds her soul mate her powers are supposed to evolve, but all is not as it seems. Her soul mate is with someone else. A catastrophe muddles the waters even further.

I loved this story, unusual plot with humor and tragedy. I was bit put out when I found the end finished with the words “to be continued”. Now I have to wait until the author writes the next bit. Good story and well worth reading.

Despite being by three different authors, this book enthralled me and I eagerly went from story to story. Excellent read.

Reluctant Reunion by Ruth J Hartman


Reluctant Reunion by Ruth J Hartman
Publisher: esKape ePress
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (63 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Orchid

Kennedy Cooper tries everything to stay away from her father’s alpaca farm. Being an actress in New York seems to do the trick. Until it doesn’t. When she fails to get enough acting parts, loses her part-time job, and breaks up with her boyfriend, she has no choice but to return. Seeing her father again is tough, but having to meet his new love interest reminds Kennedy why she’d vowed never to go home.

When Kennedy is out of a job and her boyfriend abandons her, she has nowhere else to go but home to the family alpaca ranch. Unfortunately Kennedy hates alpacas.

Settling back into the homestead is strange. Her mother’s death had been the catalyst for her moving to the city, but now she finds her father has a new woman in his life. Her dead brother’s daughter is also living at the farm and her father is unwell.

Put together all these elements and life for Kennedy is not the quiet stay she’d hoped it would be.

I liked this story, not a romance but it shows Kennedy’s feelings for her father, her home and the “other woman”. I really liked the way it unfolded. It may have been short, but it was well written and intriguing. Good book.

The Ghost and Mrs Miller by Sandra Tilley


The Ghost and Mrs Miller by Sandra Tilley
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (359 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Libby Miller is a good Southern girl, and good Southern girls know the rules. But fate has no rules. On her nineteenth wedding anniversary, fate whips up a tornado of turmoil when Libby finds her husband Neil in the arms of his assistant. But the storm’s not over. Neil flips his BMW, and Libby comes home to find his ghost in the dining room. How is Libby supposed to grieve and move on with Neil’s ever-present, meddling ethereal presence in her life?

With her twentieth high school reunion looming, Libby finds herself torn between two men from her past. One man promises passion and a new beginning, and the other wants to pick up where they left off. Neil stirs up a maelstrom of mischief, making it almost impossible for Libby to sort through the rubble. Libby anticipates a confrontation between her two suitors–not a shadowy stalker who chooses the reunion as his setting for a showdown.

In Libby’s quest for independence, she rejects the one man who can save her. Can she compromise the price of her freedom, or will it cost her a second chance at love and put her life in danger?

On the night of her nineteenth wedding anniversary Libby discovers her husband has been cheating on her. After ramming his shiny white BMW with her tatty old car, she drives home with her mind in turmoil. Her children are away so she is able to give in to her emotions, but a knock on the door brings her more bad news. It’s Eli, a police captain who is also a a childhood friend. He has come to tell her her husband, Neil has been in a crash and has not survived the accident.

With most stories this would be the end of the matter, Libby would move forward and find a new love who her kids would adore and all would be well. This story is different as Neil refuses to move on to the other side. He haunts Libby who can’t help herself taunting him about his indiscretion. This leads to many humorous moments when friends look at her weirdly as she talks to Neil, who they cannot see.

There’s also the stalker who keeps driving past her house which is in a gated community. Eli tries to help and also helps with various tasks around the property, but another childhood friend is also interested in Libby. For a believer in ghosts this is a very apt story about what could happen when a husband dies at what he considers the wrong moment in his life. There’s also the question, does Neil approve of her moving on, or would he like her to remain true to him? Good read with a nice twist to the story.

Love on Longboat Key by Meg West


Love on Longboat Key by Meg West
The Keys to His Heart, Book 1
Publisher: Champagne Book Group
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (143 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Julie Joseph dreads spending Christmas in Florida with her cranky elderly parents. Yet that changes when she arrives at Sun Tower and meets the eligible bachelor whose equally quarrelsome parents have just moved into the penthouse. Thomas Briggs IV is hardly the type Julie has dated in the past: he’s tall, handsome, and out-of-this-world wealthy. He’s also the son of the CEO of Pilgrim Mutual Insurance, where Julie works as a copywriter.

Julie has just a few days to date Thomas before they both have to return to the ice and snow blanketing the Northeast. But there’s one big problem: Julie’s rival for Thomas’s attention happens to be her gorgeous, but mean-spirited boss at Pilgrim Mutual. Can Julie overcome the odds and beat out Amanda Ford to win Thomas’s heart?

Love on Longboat Key, the first in a trilogy of contemporary romance novels set on the barrier islands off Sarasota, is a sweet holiday tale about finding love on the beach.

Julie works for an insurance company in Connecticut but is in Florida to spend Christmas with her parents who live in a block of flats for the elderly.  Thomas works for the same insurance company in Connecticut and is in Florida to spend Christmas with his parents in the same block of flats. They have not met before their holidays.

The two come together and find discover they have mutual employers, in fact Julie’s immediate boss is Thomas’s ex fiancé. They take time out together to get away from the demands of their parents and enjoy the Florida sunshine instead of the Connecticut snow storms.

This is a sweet romantic story where two like souls from very different backgrounds come together and help one another with their family and work problems. Add to this the ex fiancé who expects Julie to work over Christmas and is also a little bit jealous about Julie’s friendship with Thomas, and we have a story with a green-eyed monster making it interesting.

I loved both main characters and Julie’s parents added humorous light relief. The conflicts in their relationship were addressed in a very sensible way, none of this did he – didn’t he? Will she – won’t she? If they were confused, they asked. This could have made it a bit insipid but it didn’t. The story was entertaining and sweet and came a a very satisfying end. I enjoyed it immensely.

Heartfelt by Kay Springsteen


Heartfelt by Kay Springsteen
Publisher: esKape Press
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (205 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Orchid

The story that began on a North Carolina beach with a blind marine, a divorced mother, and a child with Down syndrome continues as the young family struggles to adapt to a new addition. Now eight months pregnant, Trish worries about her baby, her daughter, and her husband. But maybe she should be more concerned with herself. Dan struggles to prove himself at work in the face of what others consider his disability. As he wrestles with his job, he is also concerned with life at home and the impending birth of his son. How will he connect with a son when he’ll never even be able to play a game of catch with him?

A truly lovely story regarding love in almost impossible circumstances. Both hero and heroine, Trish and Dan, have things in their past, and lurking under the surface in the present, which make both hesitate to take the final step into a relationship.

Dan is blind due to an explosion in Afghanistan, while Trish has a daughter with Downs Syndrome. Her daughter Bella, is gorgeous. She is the pivot around which the story revolves. A lovely young girl who is stubborn and determined, but who is loved by both her mother and Dan.

Living near the beach means life by the sea plays a big part in the story especially toward the end. Both Dan and Trish must decide what they want for the future, not what they know they should do, but what they want to do. Once this is decided they can then work out if there is a future for them together, although of course Bella has already made up her mind what she wants to happen.

A wonderful book with a warm and fuzzy story although at times it becomes a tear jerker. Great read.

The Road To Escape by Patricia Kiyono


The Road To Escape by Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: esKape Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (102 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Tom Cooper left his high-pressure law practice in Indianapolis for life on an alpaca farm in the tiny northwest Indiana town of Escape. Though he continued to practice law, the farm provided a good life for him, his wife, and their five children. But when his wife died, grief consumed him. His withdrawal into himself damaged his relationship with his children, and they’ve all left. He’s resigned to taking care of the farm alone, but a disturbing medical diagnosis could change things.

Laurie Matthews left her nursing job in shame. The town of Escape has welcomed her, and she now owns the local diner. She’s attracted to the handsome widower who comes in for coffee and a hot meal but keeps her distance. Everyone she’s ever loved has died — her grandparents, her parents, her husband, and one other — one she still can’t bear to think about.

A romantic relationship isn’t on the agenda for either of them, but when the diner falls on hard times, Tom steps in to help, paving the way for them both to escape the loneliness in their lives.

Tom is a widower whose health is deteriorating; Laurie runs the local diner, but her past is catching up with her.

At first I didn’t realize this was a middle age romance, but it didn’t really matter as the love was obviously beginning to bloom. Unfortunately neither party wanted to admit their feelings for fear of being rebuffed. Their past personal life makes them move slowly toward each other, but there is also a hint of nastiness in the air.

This is definitely a sweet romance, no hot love scenes, no misunderstandings. The reasons for any delay in announcing their feelings are perfectly natural and show how a normal way of life can interfere with the way love is supposed to develop.

I loved the way both hero and heroine knew what the other was hiding, but didn’t reveal their thoughts so neither was aware the other had discovered their secret. Their passion was very much of a “tiptoe around each other“ style and at times I wanted to give them both a big push and tell them to get on with things.

At the end of the story I felt it had a satisfactory conclusion and could actually have left the door open for a follow up.

The Haunting of Hotel Labelle by Sharon Buchbinder


The Haunting of Hotel Labelle by Sharon Buchbinder
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (201 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

When hotel inspector, Tallulah Thompson, is called in along with her pug, Franny, to investigate renovation delays, she meets an extremely annoyed and dapper turn-of-the-century innkeeper. The only problem is he’s in limbo, neither dead nor alive, and Tallulah and the pug are the first to see him in a hundred years. Cursed by a medicine woman, “Love ‘em and Leave ‘em Lucius” Stewart is stuck between worlds until he finds his true love and gives her his heart. When he first sees Tallulah, he doesn’t know what he’s feeling. Yet, her stunning beauty, and feisty attitude pull him in. With the fate of Hotel LaBelle on the line, Tallulah with the help of a powerful medicine woman turns Lucius back into a flesh and blood man. She and Lucius team up to save the hotel, but Tallulah can’t help but wonder if he will ever let go of his past love and learn to love again.

Lucius Stewart, owner of the Hotel LaBelle, loves Mourning Dove, a Native Indian of the Crow nation. When Mourning Dove dies her mother puts a curse on Lucius and he hovers between the spirit world and the real world unable to interact with either.

Over one hundred years later Tallulah Thompson arrives at the hotel to discover why it is losing money. It’s present owner is not what he originally seems to be and when Lucius discovers Tallulah can see him, he begins to follow her everywhere.

This is a ghost story with a twist as the ghost is a spirit out of his mortal body and technically not a ghost.

The concept of a woman falling for a spirit has been done before, but this story has the extra touch of Lucius trying to recover his life and his hotel.

The emotional impact of this story is well handled and this alone would tempt me, but there os also the hidden life of the new owner to be considered plus the way he is ruining the hotel. His actions anger Lucius and provide some comical moments.

Good book, well written and obviously well researched as well. Excellent.

Space Dog by Melissa Hosack


Space Dog by Melissa Hosack
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (45 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Orchid

Excited to be chosen for the journey of a lifetime, Natalie Inglewood is set for a trip to the moon. She’s been dreaming about this day since she was a little girl. Only once she gets into space, Rory, the other astronaut on board, exhibits a peculiar problem. Unbeknownst to him, it seems Rory has a latent werewolf gene. The closer they get to the moon, the more his beast tries to tear its way out of him. Natalie seems to be the only thing keeping it at bay.

How long can the pair go before things turn dangerous? As Natalie finds herself falling for Rory, she fears what reaching the moon might mean for him. If he shifts while on its surface, he’ll not be able to withstand the moon’s environment. The budding couple has to work together to complete their mission and attempt to somehow make it home safely.

In the future, the space race has been revived. Rory and Natalie are sent into space to repair a drone and the job should take about a week. Natalie is an avid reader and makes sure she has enough books to read on the journey.

The drone is near to the moon, but as their ship approaches, strange things happen to Rory. Hair grows on his hands, his face becomes long and his teeth grow and sharpen. Natalie realizes she is alone in a spacecraft with a werewolf.

This is a lovely story. Although it is mainly about the effect of the moon on Rory, it shows the emotional stress on both of them and how Natalie deals with the unexpected transformation. Their main worry is what happens when they return to earth. Will the wolf lie dormant in Rory or will this be a monthly event? I loved how ​the author dealt with their future concerns and worries about what will happen to them when they return to earth. ​​V​ery captivating and held my interest to the end.

Blood of Angels by Amber Morgan


Blood of Angels by Amber Morgan
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (39 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Thea Clayton knows her life isn’t normal. But even she wasn’t prepared for an angel to fall through her roof.

Turiel gave up his place in Heaven to experience true sensations for the first time in his immortal life. He didn’t realize that meant pain as well as pleasure.

Thea isn’t the only person who knows Turiel has fallen. The blood of angels is a precious thing. And some people will do anything to steal it.

A lonely woman, a bad storm and a fallen angel – all these things go to make a good story.

Folks in Milton thought Thea slightly strange. She lived all alone in her family’s house and a nasty storm sends her outside in time to watch a bolt of lightning crash through the roof of her bedroom.

I thought this an intriguing way for Turiel, the wingless angel to arrive. This also seems to give Thea a purpose in life. An interesting story of angels, a lonely woman and how their meeting changes life for both of them. I particularly liked the part where Thea has to fight for Turiel against those who would use him for profit.

An unusual story with emotional impact. I had no problem in wanting to read to the end.