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.

The Thief’s Daughter by Victoria Cornwall


The Thief’s Daughter by Victoria Cornwall
Publisher: Choc Lit Limited
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (307 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Hide from the thief-taker, for if he finds you, he will take you away …

Eighteenth-century Cornwall is crippled by debt and poverty, while the gibbet casts a shadow of fear over the land. Yet, when night falls, free traders swarm onto the beaches and smuggling prospers.

Terrified by a thief-taker’s warning as a child, Jenna has resolved to be good. When her brother, Silas, asks for her help to pay his creditors, Jenna feels unable to refuse and finds herself entering the dangerous world of the smuggling trade.

Jack Penhale hunts down the smuggling gangs in revenge for his father’s death. Drawn to Jenna at a hiring fayre, they discover their lives are entangled. But as Jenna struggles to decide where her allegiances lie, the worlds of justice and crime collide, leading to danger and heartache for all concerned …

Jenna, born in to a family of thieves, has different morals than the rest of her family. The time comes when Jenna and her brother Silas are the only ones left as the thief takers have dealt with the rest.

Jack is a thief taker, but one who is determined to take down the whole operation of smuggler rather than individual people.

Jenna becomes Jack’s housekeeper and is soon embroiled in the smuggling game.

The conflict and romance between Jack and Jenna was very well handled with the emotions of both being strong and evident. Jenna is a strong young lady who fights against her smuggler brother’s wishes, especially after she discovered he’s lied to her. Jack is wary of Jenna because of her family background.

Several times I wondered if they could possibly make a go of things, as their inner suspicions pulled them apart and then threw them together. This made for an intriguing story.

I enjoyed this book but found it rather long. I began to wonder when it was going to end. However perseverance was worth it when I got to the end and felt satisfied by the resolution.

And the Day Came by Phyllis H Moore


And the Day Came by Phyllis H Moore
Publisher: Del Corazon LLC
Genre: Historical, Holiday
Length: Full Length (219 pages)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Hints of a secret about her father surface when Doris Marie Linney’s mother dies when Doris is twelve. The only girl in a family of five boys, Doris has always longed for a sister. From an early age she has been comforted by her mother’s brothers, the Johnsons, and their extended family. Gatherings at the Lamar bay house always included Doris. She had her cousins, Ida Ross and Bernice to keep her company. However, she was aware of her Danish Johnson heritage and knew nothing of the Linneys.

Doris’s search for her parents’ identities delivers a family saga beginning in the 1700’s, but always leading back to the same breezy slope facing the Aransas Bay. Uncle Jamie’s bay house, set among the bent oaks on the Lamar Peninsula is where she can watch approaching storms and say goodbye to her brothers. It’s also where she can eavesdrop and discover the worries of her uncles.

In this work of historical fiction, Doris reveals the circumstances of the death of her father as told by the sons who witnessed it, but for some reason her uncles seemed to believe he deserved his dramatic demise.

“When they would consent to tell us the story, we’d sit in silence, staring around at each other as if it was a sacred time. I guess it was. It was the death of our father, witnessed by his sons. In a way, they wrote on our memories with their words. We watched their faces when they retold the story and knew they showed our father’s death a reverence because they had been there to witness it and lived to tell it. Doris wished her uncles could show her father the same respect. She wanted him to be the man Ernest and Harry revered.”

Will Doris’s search for the truth about her father confirm her ideals, or will the revelation of a secret lead to more mysteries? Meet the characters driving this saga, Doris Marie Linney, Uncle Bernard and Jamie, Anna Mae, and her lovable brother, Teddy. And what about the Farleys? Who are they and why the mystery with the uncles? The people define the story and they have always been capable of changing their futures.

This is the story of Doris Marie Linnley and her family. It begins just after Heart, mother of Doris and her many brothers, dies while giving birth to the next final addition to the family, a half sibling to the others who goes to heaven with his mother. Doris is then sent away to school and the book carries on through her teenage and adult years.

Unfortunately it moves from past to present with hints at the future then back to the past. Many of the scenes were out of phase with the previous chapters and to be told something would happen in the future made me want to skip the rest of the book and find the future bit. As I was going to review this book I did not do this, but persevered and found the individual scenes were good, although I did find it difficult when the point of view head hopped from Doris to her children. It wasn’t until I got to the end I realised what the main theme was, but this had slipped past me with all the other things going on.

The story could be great but I was left wondering what happened to several members of the family and who were some of the others. They had nicknames, but it wasn’t evident what name belonged to who.

This could be an extremely good book if it moved through the years instead of going from one decade to another.

The scenery and description was extremely well done, especially the parade of nuns. Parts were very enjoyable and the theme was good.

Sight Unseen in the City by Ruth Zavitsanos


Sight Unseen in the City by Ruth Zavitsanos
Publisher: CiaoSummer Press
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Short Story (78 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

It’s July 13th 1977 and New York City is languishing during a record-breaking heat wave. Linda Martinez is trying to succeed in her career while holding on to her Puerto Rican heritage she was raised to respect in the multicultural streets of the Bronx.

Linda meets Gabe when she enters a bookstore to escape the sweltering heat. Gabe is a distinguished, handsome man who helps Linda understand the death of her brother, Michael, who was killed in action five years earlier in Vietnam.

The time Linda spends with Gabe is nothing short of heavenly, and with Gabe’s encouragement, Linda finds herself thinking less about the scorching heat that all but suffocates a city held in darkness during an electrical outage, and more about fulfilling her life’s dream. At the dawning of a new day, Linda’s life, and her brother’s memory will take on a whole new meaning.

Linda is melting in the New York heat when she is rescued by young man who she feels a liking for. He tells her he knew her dead brother and they talk about Michael. When she tries to catch a train home he talks her into waiting for the next one, then the electricity throughout the city goes out. They sit and talk and this leads to a different future for Linda.

I liked the way this book was laid out. I thought I knew who Gabe was, but I wasn’t sure until two thirds of the way through the book. Well written and definitely caught my imagination. This is the type of life, aims and success most young women would like, but few have the determination to see it through.

Nice touch of her brother looking down from heaven and I particularly liked where he became confused by what to him was the future with clothes and manners very different to when he was alive.

Summer Dreams by Delia Latham


Summer Dreams by Delia Latham
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (173 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

The Getaway Of A Lifetime…Kinda.

Summer Callihan isn’t in Cambria for the beach or the ocean or the pine-scented air around Paradise Pines Lodge. She’s there as a companion to her flighty cousin, Deah–with the understanding that they will have separate agendas the entire time. Summer just wants to be left alone to dream up the romance novels she writes under a pseudonym.

A Real-life Hero Who Rivals a Romance Novel…Really!

But never in Summer’s wildest writer’s imagination does she dream of being caught in an undertow and almost drowning, only to be rescued by a wealthy artist. And when Logan Bullard proves hard to shake, Summer fears for her heart–especially when Deah sets her sights on Logan.

A Cupid to pull it all together…?

But at Paradise Pines Lodge, what’s meant to be has a way of happening…at the best time and in the best way. Miss Angelina Love–who may or may not own the place–has an “in” with Heaven’s own “department of romance.” And she’s determined to see Summer and Logan together.

Logan, an artist, has been dreaming of an unknown woman who he longs to meet. In his dreams she dances before the ocean but is swept away by a huge wave. At this point he usually wakes up, but he’s aware this event will happen, he doesn’t know when, but it will happen.

Summer, an author, and her cousin Deah are on holiday at the Paradise Pines Lodge. Summer has a niche above the beach where she loves to write in peace. At the end of one session she decides to praise dance on the beach. This is when Logan’s dream comes true and he acts the hero and rescues her.

This book is inspirational in many ways more than religion. This story gave a feeling of warmth and love. The Lodge owner Miss Angie provided the right amount of stability in the background and Deah provided the conflict. This book was well written and a lovely read. The only problem I had was I felt at times the religious aspect was told not shown. Miss Angie’s Bible quotes were good and in context, Summer’s praise dance was visually wonderful, but when Logan and Summer talked to one another every other sentence seemed to have mention of God, which is not a natural way to speak in every day life. While religious talk is to be expected in an inspirational book, it seemed to be a little over the top.

This is an enjoyable read and provided the warmth, conflict and resolution to make it excellent.

Even Honey Expires by Carlene Love


Even Honey Expires by Carlene Love
A Sin Pointe Novel – 6
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Sin Pointe drummer Will Cordero has good reason to keep his marriage a secret. In an age of no privacy, there’s too much danger and drama should he introduce Honey to the Sin Pointe masses and he’ll do whatever he can to protect her from that. Besides, it’s been pretty perfect having her all to himself. Until one day when he discovers a note she’s written that he was never meant to see.

Living in seclusion has left Honey feeling invisible, pushing her to the breaking point. The secret is no longer their shared adventure. While she is his one source of joy in a mad world, she needs out and he admits he must let her go. But he just can’t. One night, it all comes crashing down on them when Honey snaps, rocking Will’s world. Faced with a life or death situation, can he make the sacrifice and set his soulmate free in the name of love, or will he hold on until his, and her, last breath?

Will is a member of a avaunt guard band and it could be dangerous for the fans to know he is married. He keeps his wife Honey a secret – even from his bandmates. When he realizes he’s not being fair to Honey and is destroying their love by keeping her hidden, he decides it would be best to leave her.

Events beyond their control thwart Will’s intentions and the pair end up in extreme danger.

This book is unusual to say the least. A little bit of the paranormal, confusing Will’s decisions, although he isn’t aware of Honey’s out of body experience. His love for his wife comes across as wonderful and unselfish. He’s willing to sacrifice their marriage to enable her to survive. I did feel it was a bit on the selfish side that he wouldn’t leave the band for his wife’s sake, but had to admit this could also have had a bad effect on the marriage. Not bad, and I felt the length was just about right.

Realm of the Dragon by Cici Cordelia


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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