Paws for Christmas by Mariah Lynne

Paws for Christmas by Mariah Lynne
Publisher: Satin Romance, an imprint of Melange Books, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

It’s the Holidays and Jessica Munroe seems destined for misery. Nonetheless, she is trying to make the best of it. Her fiancé, Jake, an emergency room doctor, dumped her for his nurse and just two weeks prior, she had to put her dog, her best friend, Mazy to sleep.

The pain of losing both the man she loved and her best friend has taken her to a new low. Jessica, determined not to stay down, is now hard at work trying to push through the holiday season by doubling up on the Christmas lights and decorations she’s putting up outside her residence.

As Jessica works, a big brown scruffy dog appears in her yard and refuses to leave when she tries to shoo him away. He’s filthy, looks hungry, and seems like he needs help. A dog lover, Jessica takes him to her vet who discovers a metal bone shaped tag buried in his matted fur. The tag reveals his name, Sam, and a phone number to call if he is lost or injured.
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Sam’s owner, Trey Musgrove, is in the hospital, the victim of a head-on collision. Now, Jessica’s life is about to change forever thanks to Sam, this big brown scruffy lovable dog.

Kindness never goes unrewarded.

Jessica was a deeply kind and empathetic woman. She often bent over backwards to help others with no expectation of reciprocation or reward. Honestly, she’s the sort of person I would want to have around in a crisis. There was no limit to the thoughtful things she did to make the lives of other people better. My one wish for her was that she would finally get to be on the receiving end of all of the joy she created for those around her. She didn’t seem like the sort of person who would ever ask for something like that, but she sure did seem to need it.

The scenes that included Jessica getting regular updates about the health of the stranger whose dog she was taking care of yanked me out of the plot because of the strict rules that nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers must follow about sharing any information about their patients without consent. This is behavior that can result in healthcare professionals getting fired or paying huge fines in the United States, so I was quite confused about why it kept happening in this novel. There was no explanation for why no one was worried about this. It would have made so much more sense for a grateful relative to share updates with Jessica so she’d know if or when Sam might be able to go live with Trey again.

The island Jessica lived on had such a strong sense of community. Most of the people who lived there had known each other for years, and they were always around when someone needed assistance or had extra cookies to share. There was something wonderful about reading about all of the celebration they had, especially the ones that were somehow related to Christmas. They sure knew how to have a good time and include anyone who wanted to join in.

Paws for Christmas was a heartwarming read for the holiday season.

His Prisoner by Lois Carroll

His Prisoner by Lois Carroll
Publisher: Satin Romance, an imprint of Melange Books, LLC
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (254 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

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This was an enjoyable book that I wasn’t able to put down. I found it to be well written and entertaining.

The hero, Jake was dreamy and I wouldn’t have minded being his prisoner. Kate was a lucky lady to be in Jake’s protection. Together they made me feel all gushy and happy. I feel the cast of characters were well developed and I connected with each one.

The plot was mostly believable with some pleasant twists and turns mixed with some suspense elements. The epilogue was appreciated at the end. I was left feeling like I had just watched a really good movie.

This would be a great book to read on a relaxing camping trip.

Vintage Dreams by Jannie Lund

Vintage Dreams by Jannie Lund
Publisher: Satin Romance, an imprint of Melange Books, LLC
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (166 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 2.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Scott Sullivan has been sent on a not all together pleasant trip down memory lane to secure a location for a client. Sure, it may take some charm and convincing to get the owners to sell, but he’s up for the task. And then he’s getting the hell out of dodge to escape the memories. In and out, quick and painless, that’s the plan. He just hadn’t counted on running into a fiery and stunning obstacle with gold flecks in her eyes.

Danielle Harris has worked hard to make her dream come true. With her best friend, she owns a boutique where she sells the vintage style dresses she designs. When a city lawyer comes along and tries to ruin everything, her Italian temper flares.
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With Scott trying to conduct a business deal and Danielle fighting for her dream, sparks fly. Not least sparks of attraction and perhaps love. It’s clear that one of them needs to give in, but the feelings of resistance are deep-rooted in them both.

One of the reasons I enjoy reading romance novels is to see how a relationship between two people will develop. Also, I like to read them to see how they will overcome their problems and fall in love. And, if the story is good, I fall in love with the characters and I live through their fears and insecurities and become very happy when they find their HEA. I really liked how this story started so I was looking forward to more conflict between Scott and Danielle before they fell in love.

Unfortunately, that was not the case with Vintage Dreams. This book had a very promising start, but not so satisfying a performance. Scott Sullivan is sent on a business trip to his childhood town to try to secure a location for a client but it’s occupied by the fierce heroine, Danielle Harris. Under no circumstances does she want to sell her property. Instead of buying the property, Scott finds himself liking Danielle and ends up in a situation where he needs to reexamine his life and make some decisions about his future.

I was hoping that the story would focus much more on the development of the relationship between Scott and Danielle, but it was pretty much an instant love story. Right after their first date they were together and from that point on the focus was not so much on romance as on the resolving of past issues.

I have very mixed feelings about the characters. Scott is such a nice guy. He had a very tough childhood and he is carrying his father’s sins but he is willing to help and has a good heart. Danielle is also nice, but I did not like her temper. She is a bit over the top temperamental and often I did not understand her reactions. I wish there had been more emotional depth between the two.

All in all, Vintage dreams is an okay read. Readers who are looking for a subtle romance novel featuring a lot of nice vintage dresses and “love-at-first-sight” will not be disappointed.

Pandora’s Passion by Amy Hahn

Pandora’s Passion by Amy Hahn
Publisher: Satin Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (46 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Rora is the Pandora of Greek legend who released evil onto the world, but kept hopelessness from escaping. For centuries she protected The Box, but now Prometheus has appeared and issued a warning that Eris, goddess of discord, and Nemesis, god of revenge, have sent the infamous Gorgons after The Box. Seeing him again sets Rora’s emotions into a tailspin and dredges up memories of a painful and passionate past. The Titan and she share centuries of relationship baggage. And she loves him, but he’s never confessed to loving her. The tension is thick between them, the energy electric. In no time they’ve surrendered to their passion, but the arrival of the Gorgons puts them, The Box, and mankind in danger.

How much longer can Pandora bear the burden of The Box?
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The story of Pandora and The Box is a familiar story from Greek mythology, but even if you haven’t read it, the history of Pandora, The Box, and Prometheus is explained very clearly. I was intrigued by the idea of Pandora living an endless life still bound to The Box. What would that kind of responsibility do to a person and the people they care about? I started reading eager to learn the answer.

Pandora, now known as Rora, has lived centuries protecting The Box from those who wish to harm humans, and now she has reached her breaking point. Prometheus is the only man Rora has ever loved, though their relationship has been tumultuous to say the least. Every time they’ve tried to make their relationship work, The Box and their history managed to drive them apart. It is a frustrating, never ending cycle, and it is easy to see why Rora is exhausted and practically ready to give up. Now Prometheus has learned of a new threat to Rora and The Box and once again they are drawn together. Rora has always loved Prometheus, but can she’s not sure he feels the same way. Does he come back for her, or The Box?

I do wish there had been more time for Rora and Prometheus to reconnect. While they have centuries of history, there weren’t many details provided to make it come alive. I truly wanted to feel the weight of Rora and Prometheus’ bond, but from the moment he walks through Rora’s door, everything happens so quickly that their relationship wasn’t as compelling as it could have been. I liked them, but when I finished reading I didn’t feel as if I truly knew them.

Prometheus makes some big decisions regarding his relationship with Rora and the path their future will take. While I have no doubt that these changes will be for the better, I was left wondering why now? This isn’t the first time they’ve found themselves in danger, so why the change or heart? Was it simply the right time, or something else? I just wish I could have had more insight into Promethus’ thought process.

Despite these issues, I had fun reading Pandora’s Passion. It is a quick, fast paced, entertaining short story that can easily be read in one sitting. I recommend this romance to anyone looking for a snapshot in the life of a passionate couple.