Between A Wolf and a Hard Place by Terry Spear


Between A Wolf and a Hard Place by Terry Spear
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (318 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

In Silver Town, the secrets run deep…

Alpha werewolf Brett Silver has an ulterior motive when he donates a prized family heirloom to the Silver Town hotel. Ellie MacTire owns the place with her sisters, and he’s out to get her attention.

Ellie is even more special than Brett knows. She’s a wolf-shifter with a unique ability to commune with the dead. Ellie has been ostracized, so she protects herself and those she loves by revealing nothing-not even when strange and dangerous things begin to happen in Silver Town. And especially not to the devastatingly handsome and generous wolf who’s determined to win her over…

This is a classic romance story that focuses on the characters more than any outside influence. It’s an easy read, entertaining and filled with memorable secondary characters. The most interesting ones were the ghosts. I really enjoyed the means with which Ms. Spear had one ghost communicate with both Elli and Brett.

I liked how some scenes were flavored with holiday references because it showed the characters had imagination and enthusiasm about life in general. They weren’t hokey by any means. Their optimism provided a warm, friendly environment that if it were real, I’d like to visit. Most certainly, I’d love to stay at an inn decorated with themes like the kind Elli and her sisters created at their place. I didn’t put ‘holiday’ as a genre because it didn’t exactly play a specific role. It was just a means for Brett to find time and ways to woo Elli and the best access is to help her decorate. I wish Brett could come and hang MY holiday lights – he was so efficient and energetic about it. It’s amazing how a man can be inspired to do even the most mundane things to impress a lady. The question is, does it work the way he expects? You have to read it to find out.

There is supposed to be a mystery woven throughout the novel, but I wasn’t impressed by it. What I mean is, it didn’t make me want to flip the pages any faster to find out a clue or because I was experiencing the effects of suspense and drama. I didn’t and I wasn’t. What kept me entertained was Elli’s and Brett’s romance and watching them overcome their internal issues and insecurities to discover that their love was real and true.

There was a wonderful sensual build up that finally culminated in their mating. By the time it happened, I was more than ready to see them commit to each other. So was everyone else. It was kind of cute.

Between A Wolf and a Hard Place is a well told romance story that focuses on Elli and Brett. It’s their romantic journey that carries the plot through to its happy ever after. The sense of community and familial love and support from both their families gave this book a warm and fuzzy ambiance that enhanced my reading pleasure. It’s a sweet, spicy read with personality and charm. That’s why I liked it.

The English Duke by Karen Ranney


The English Duke by Karen Ranney
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (277 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

For years, Martha York has been fascinated by a man she’s never met—Jordan Hamilton, the new Duke of Roth and protégé to her inventor father. Could the elusive gentleman possibly live up to his brilliant letters? When Martha travels to his estate to carry out her father’s last bequest, she discovers that the answer is a resounding yes, for the duke’s scientific mind belies a deep sensuality…

Jordan was determined to complete his prototype alone, but it’s impossible to resist the alluring young woman who shows up at his door. Working together, they grow ever closer, until a case of mistaken identity leaves him bound to another. A woman’s heart may be more complex than the most intricate invention, but Jordan must find a way to win Martha’s, or lose the only woman who can truly satisfy him…

The English Duke is a delight. The characters are diverse and each of them has a mind of his or her own with no one acting the shrinking violet. Martha York will see that her dead father’s wishes are carried out. Jordan Hamilton, the reluctant new Duke of Roth, is not interested in her father’s wishes and tries to ignore Martha—not going to happen!

How the story unfolds has one turning pages, all the while giving rapt attention to the twists and turns in the plot.

The author takes the reader into the late nineteenth century of England society with remarkable descriptions of settings and advancements in technical inventions, along with the social changes that are being forced on the peerage at the time. Money is a big issue.

Josephine, Martha’s half-sister, and Reese, Jordan’s friend are soon seen as antagonists that bear watching. Also, Martha’s grandmother who is not above doing a little manipulating, is to be watched. These characters keep the cauldron bubbling with conflicts that beset Martha’s plans again and again. Josephine soon became the antagonist that I loved to hate. Her self-centeredness and amoral attitude are beyond belief.

Martha’s intellectual prowess is equal to Jordan’s. Her long working relationship with her inventive father sets her apart. She and Jordan soon work in harmony as they try to fix one little flaw in her father’s last invention—a torpedo ship.

How Karen Ranney weaves together back story, the supporting characters, a love story that seems ill-fated, and leaves no loose ends is masterful.

The English Duke is a joy to read.

Texas Homecoming by Leigh Greenwood


Texas Homecoming by Leigh Greenwood
Night Riders Series

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (419 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

She’s his last chance to find peace…

Cade, Captain of the Night Riders, is determined to lead his men home to Texas to recover from a long and brutal war. But when a fellow Rider betrays the team, Cade sets aside his hopes for peace and swears he will hunt down the traitor no matter what it takes…

He has a foolproof plan to use the feisty Pilar diViere to lure her traitorous brother out of hiding. And yet when he takes the dark-eyed beauty into his arms, Cade can’t help but remember the passionate past they shared. He would do anything for a chance to rekindle that flame…even spare her brother’s life.

The war has changed them all, and each of the Night Riders must decide what is more important: love or revenge?

Leigh Greenwood once again gives the reader an adventure with characters that come alive on the pages as they pull the reader into conflicts, joys, pains, dreams, struggles, and LOVE.

Cade Wheeler’s and the few remaining Night Riders’ lives are in shambles after the Civil War, as are the ranches in Texas that they go back to. They are hoping to build new lives for themselves. But finding the traitor, Laveau diViere, who had caused the death of so many of their comrades, is a number one priority for them all.

They find Pilar, Laveau’s sister, and his grandmother at the Wheeler ranch, routed from their ranch and opulent hacienda by squatters—an explosive situation. Pilar works like a slave, while her aristocratic Grandmother never leaves her room, but beraes Pilar continually and haes Earl Wheeler. Pilar copes with unending hours of hard work, and contends with Earl Wheeler, Cade’s grandfather, a cantankerous, mean old man, who knows no boundaries, emotional or physical. My goodness, how I wanted to throttle that old man and Senora diViere! My anger still bubbles up when I think of how they used people, even their grandchildren to try to gain what they wanted. Leigh Greenwood creates characters that are real beyond words.

The men set in to brand longhorn cattle that have run wild for all the years of the war, all the time keeping an eye out for Laveau and for thieves that would take the cattle they had gathered. As the author weaves in the unique personalities of these hardworking, war-weary men, each of them becomes so alive and adds layers of speculation to the story—who are they and what will become of them.

Neither Pilar nor Cade was reared with love; neither of them is even sure they know what love is. Moreover, the treachery of her brother, Laveau, stands between them. How they work through the tangled mess of life, at that time in history, and find love makes page-turning reading.

Leigh Greenwood is a master story teller who makes the world and the people he writes about come alive for the reader. EXCELLENT READING!

Talk Cowboy to Me by Carolyn Brown


Talk Cowboy to Me by Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

One cowboy. One cowgirl. One ranch.
Who will win the Double Deuce by the Fourth of July?

Adele O’Donnell knew that Double Deuce Ranch had to be hers the second she walked onto the property. Freshly divorced, she sees it as the perfect spot for her and the kids to start a new life. Remington Luckadeau was always a carefree playboy…until his suddenly orphaned nephews became his responsibility. The Double Deuce Ranch would be the perfect place to raise two boys. But some fiery woman is fighting him for it, and Remington is not sharing-no matter how the sparks fly when he and Adele are together.

This story was an easy, relaxing read. It flowed smoothly and was well paced.  The writing style was solid. The plot was sweet with a feeling very similar to the Brady Bunch. Remi’s two nephews and Adele’s two daughters were a hoot. They were honestly entertaining. One of the daughters, Jett, made a friend who was an elderly person named, Dahlia. That was an unexpected touching thread in the story.

The synopsis teased me about the rivalry between the two main characters, Adele and Remington. Talk Cowboy to Me was all talk and not enough cowboy for me. I expected much more excitement, entertainment and tension from them as they fought over who will win the Double Deuce ranch. Adele was described as a “fiery woman” who was “fighting” him for it. “Sparks” were supposedly flying when Adele and Remi were going to be together. I’m not in agreement with the synopsis. I found it more … nice, than fiery.

The romance between Remington and Adele was strongly on the sensual side, and not spicy at all. With four kids in the house under the age of 14 there weren’t too many opportunities for the “sparks” to fly. The rivalry between Remi and Adele was actually the perfect demonstration of conflict resolution. They both only wanted what was best for their children. Adele and Remi really were a perfect match as both were responsible, capable ranchers. If a reader is in the mood for a completely predictable book from the very beginning without any dark emotional turmoil or heavy conflict, coupled with a sweet and satisfying happy ending, then this book is for you.

The truth is, overall Talk Cowboy to Me is an enjoyable book. I didn’t consider it a waste of time and I would recommend reading it for a completely stress free, smooth and comfortable ride.

Flash of Fury by Lea Griffith


Flash of Fury by Lea Griffith
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Their spark is immediate

Kingston McNally lost men when someone betrayed his team, and now he’s out for retribution. His quest for the enemy’s courier leads him to Cameroon and Allie Redding, a petite Peace Corps volunteer as stubborn as she is brave. Their attraction is immediate, but Allie has secrets of her own…and she’s not giving them up easily.

But their secrets could burn them both

Allie’s life has been spent hiding in plain sight, but she’s had enough of her cloak-and-dagger existence. On her way home, her plane is hijacked-and King saves her life. But that doesn’t mean she owes him anything…even if he is the most damnably sexy man she’s ever laid eyes on. He’s got black ops and secrets written all over him, and trust is a two-way street.

Flash of Fury is definitely a book you want to start when you know you have a few hours to sit and read without any interruptions. Of course I didn’t know that when I started it but I wish I did because with a book as exciting and action-packed as this one was there was no way I could put it down.

I was hooked from page one; immediately on the edge of my seat with my eyes glued to the page. Right then I knew if this book kept up with the same intensity and pace I’d be up all night until I finished it. It did and I was. As I turned the pages I felt like I was a part of the scene as well as friends with the characters.

Allie Redding, the heroine, was a lovable character as we experienced her bravery and vulnerabilities through-out the story. One must ask themselves if they could endure all that Allie did and be as strong as she was portrayed. I would like to think I could if I had Kingston McNally, the hero, by my side as Allie did. King was a hero in every sense of the word. The sparks between them were immediate and consistent. Gosh, what I wouldn’t do to be rescued and loved by Kingston, if only I could have been Allie for one chapter.

As intricate as the plot was, it remained comprehensible, engaging, and kept me guessing all the way until the end. Brilliantly done! In fact, this story is book one in a series, therefore some of the mystery is solved but the epilogue led me to believe that the next book will continue to solve the mystery. The next book we’ll get to know Jude Dagan, King’s teammate, a bit better. As much as I enjoyed Allie and King’s romance I can’t wait to read about Jude’s romance with Ella Banning, another teammate, as the suspense continues.

I’ll have to add the author, Lea Griffith, to my list of authors to follow because her writing was superb and I need to read book two. I need to know the truth about Ella Banning. Flash of Fury was a fantastic read and I highly recommend reading this riveting book!

Highland Vixen by Mary Wine


Highland Vixen by Mary Wine
Highland Weddings Book 2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Cassablanca
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (384 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Fierce Highland war chief seeks comely lass for fun, frolic, and marriage

Marcus MacPherson is every inch the fearsome Highlander. He’s used to men averting their eyes and women cowering before him. He thinks he’ll eventually settle down with a nice, obedient bride. Instead, he gets Helen Grant… Stubborn as the day is long, fearless and dedicated to raising as much hell as possible, Helen is definitely going to challenge Marcus. And challenge him some more. And then some.

It’s anyone’s guess who’ll win this battle of the heart…

There’s stubborn and then there’s Helen stubborn. Marcus thinks he’s large and in charge and then he meets his match. It was enjoyable to watch them fight and fall in love.

Highland Vixen has two main characters but many other important secondary characters. It was not just a story about Marcus and Helen. The side stories were just as engaging as the main plot. The way the author weaves them into the main story, though, made them important and not just page filler.

Highland Vixen can be read as a stand-alone. But since I read it, I do know that I want to read more of this series. One thing that I learned over the years is that Mary Wine is a must-read author.

After reading this book, I have an idea of who the main characters in the next book may be. I do know for sure that the book will be great and worth it for any reader who enjoys historical romance.

Reckless Hearts by Heather Van Fleet


Reckless Hearts by Heather Van Fleet
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Three alpha men and a baby.
What could possibly go wrong?

From boot camp to the Iraqi desert, best friends Collin, Max, and Gavin have been through hell and back. But these rugged Marines might need help facing their biggest challenge: raising Collin’s nine-month-old daughter, Chloe.

After the death of his girlfriend in an accident, Collin Montgomery has sworn off serious relationships. His buddies have his back-and convince him it’s okay to cut loose sometimes. Enter the hottest, smartest girl he’s ever met. But what he really needs is a nanny.

Addison Booker needs a job desperately-and fast. She shows up to interview for the nanny position only to find the sexy, cocky man she can’t get out of her head. Collin knows hiring her is a bad idea-they disagree about almost everything-but Addison is so good with little Chloe. And there’s no substitute for chemistry, right?

An interesting array of characters in Reckless Hearts had me eager to read how they matured and progressed from troubled, somewhat directionless, characters to characters with purpose and the ability to face and overcome conflicts constructively.

Chloe, nine-month-old daughter of Collin, is the most delightful part of the story. She is like the sun that the other characters orbit around. She seems to be the one thing in all their lives that brings happiness.

Addison, Chloe’s nanny, and Collin are the hero and heroine of Reckless Hearts. They are drawn to each other sexually but never seem to quite connect mentally, spiritually, or with deep emotion—and I didn’t get the feeling trust was established.

Their sexual encounters are somewhat like exhibitions in some instances—in pickup bed at drive in movie, on a slide in public park, etc. The sex scenes are often, not very romantic, and somewhat repetitive.

Collin and Addison mature in some ways, but some of the conflicts in their lives are not resolved, even though they have arisen often in the story.

The other characters, Colin’s sister Lia, and his military buddies and friends Max and Gavin, are pretty much the same conflicted characters at the end of the story as they were in the beginning. The many loose ends when the story ended made the story seem incomplete.

The story is told from Collin’s and Addison’s point of view with the author announcing the change in POV every time. This style of writing made me feel like an observer rather than being in the moment with what is happening with the characters.

I would have loved more in-depth knowledge of these interesting characters and fewer sex scenes.

Wolf Unleashed by Paige Tyler

wolf
Wolf Unleashed by Paige Tyler
SWAT – Special Wolf Alpha Team Book 5
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (352 Pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

SHE BRINGS OUT THE WOLF IN HIM
Lacey Barton can’t deny her crazy attraction to Alex Trevino, but that doesn’t mean she has time for the gorgeous SWAT officer. She’s hell-bent on discovering who’s behind the brutal dogfights sending countless mauled animals to her veterinarian office. The trail leads Lacey to a ring of vicious drug dealers and suddenly she’s in way over her head-right smack in the middle of a SWAT stakeout.

With Lacey in danger, Alex’s wolf side is unleashed. But when she witnesses Alex shift, she’s even more terrified… Now it’s up to Alex to crack the case-and earn back Lacey’s trust and, ultimately, her heart.

If you want sexy wolf shifters, Paige Tyler won’t disappoint.

Lacey is a veterinarian who loves animals of all size and breed. However, when she gets called in for a couple of very hurt dogs, this little spitfire shows her own claws. The blurb would suggest that this story is about dog fights, drug wars and wolfy mates but there is so much more going on. It was a lot to take in but the author tied it all in seamlessly.

A running theme in this series is about wolf shifters finding their perfect mates. They each quickly learn that finding them is not enough in most cases. Alex figures out, you can find your mate but telling said mate that she’s ‘The One’ may not go over well.

The story is a constantly evolving and is so full of passion and chemistry between Alex and Lacey. It is a wonder that I ever let go of the book to sleep or eat.

I can’t say for sure that this book could be categorized as a standalone. It does have a complete story that has a beginning and an end but since some of the back story includes knowing the story or at least an outline of the previous plots. Ms. Tyler tried to cover this by mentioning the previous plots. Also since some of the previous books characters do play an important role in this, knowing something about their story would be a helpful thing. Not completely necessary but informative.

This novel was such an enjoyable read, it pulled me into every exciting scene and made me fall in love right along with the characters. That’s a good book.

My Highland Rebel by Amanda Forester

rebel
My Highland Rebel by Amanda Forester
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (407 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

A conquering hero…

Cormac Maclean would rather read than rampage, but his fearsome warlord father demands that he prove himself in war. Cormac chooses what he thinks is an easy target, only to encounter a fiery Highland lass leading a doomed rebellion and swearing revenge on him.

Meets an unconquerable heroine…

Jyne Cambell is not about to give up her castle without a fight, even though her forces are far outnumbered. She’s proud, hot-blooded and hot-tempered, and Cormac falls for her hard.

It’s going to take all of Cormac’s ingenuity to get Jyne to surrender gracefully-both to his sword and to his heart…

When “The World is too much with…” me, I escape in a book. This time I go to the Highlands of Scotland, where the heroine is lost in a fog and stuck in a bog. I identify with her immediately and go on an amazing adventure. I invite your to do the same.

Jyne Campbell is dragged from the bog by the Rebel who is running from a monk. The errant rescuer holds her close to warm her until her powerful, threatening brother, Laird of the Campbell clan arrives. Jyne never expects to see her unknown rescuer again—how mistaken she is. He shows up at her Kinoch Abbey in a dual way that changes Jyne’s life. She changes from the naïve, sheltered “runt of the litter” of the sixteen Campbell children to a woman claiming her rights against her powerful brother.

This, her very first adventure, is rather like a rite of passage that had me totally involved reading like mad to see what-on-earth would happen next.

Cormac MacLean, the Rebel, has no claim to a title. He is a survivor who has a checkered past that is incredible. His father Red Rex is despicable beyond belief. Cormac feels there is no way to escape him. He knows how evil his father is; yet, with his intelligence, he strives to become someone his father recognizes as worthy. When he is finally forced to make a choice between his father and the life he wants, the reader is favored with an ominous scene that sends the heart racing.

Cormac’s duel relationship with Jyne gives the reader’s senses a feast. Whether in a totally dark, caved in tunnel or working in cahoots to control the actions of Red Rex’s men, these two grow from strength to strength.

The sub plots in the story enrich the main plot and fit in perfectly, with some intriguing surprises.

Amanda Forester’s writing style is so smooth and captivating that one feels as if he or she is in the moment with the characters. A thread of humor runs through the often-scary story; yet she also, quite subtly, offers life lessons that have rung true through the ages, such as “Heaven is not for the good but for the forgiven.” and “God grants grace to the penitent.”  Highly recommended.

Lord Sebastian’s Secret by Jane Ashford

lord
Lord Sebastian’s Secret by Jane Ashford
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (355 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Lord Sebastian Gresham is a battle-tested soldier and brilliant strategist. Yet all his life he’s had to hide his complete failure to decipher letters. In his own mind, he’s just stupid. What a miracle it is that he’s found the perfect bride.

Lady Georgina Stane is beautiful, witty, and brilliantly intelligent. Sebastian is head over heels in love, proud as a peacock, and terrified. If she finds out his secret, will he lose her love forever?

Lord Sebastian Gresham, a major in the military, who considers himself “the dimmest” of all the sons of the Duke and Duchess of Langford, goes to meet the family of Georgina, his fiancée, at Stane Castle that is “back of beyond.” He finds a most unique household.

Georgina’s parents married because of their mutual physical attraction, their mutual dislike of society and mutual respect for the other one’s desire to have the freedom to pursue his or her own interests without being nagged. These “interests” create humor, more than a little conflict, and also create obstacles that threaten to destroy Sebastian and Georgina’s dreams.

The humorous situations created by Emma and Hilda, Georgina’s younger sisters, were delightful usually. However, Hilda creates a situation that is life-threatening for both Georgina and Sebastian and really “sets the fox among the chickens” as far as Georgina’s father is concerned. While he is most unconventional in the pursuit of his varied interests, he is very conventional about the behavior of Georgina and Sebastian before they are married. How they get out of this predicament had me reading full-speed-ahead.

About the time I felt like I could slow down to catch my breath, Mr. Mitra, the guest from India teaching Georgina’s father about Hinduism, and the Governess, Joanna, create a situation that will expose Sebastian’s secret. How this gets worked out is not to be missed.

Another humorous part of the household was the herd of little dogs–pugs, no less–that showed up at most inconvenient times. They were Georgina’s mother’s little darlings and nobody dared try to discipline them—fun to read about, but probably not funny to really have to deal with.

The love scenes, so well done, give the reader a good feeling of how right Georgina and Sebastian are for each other. However, there are issues. She is an heiress and has a lot of money while he has little in comparison and then there is his secret. The author, with admirable skill, does indeed hold one’s interest as she untangles the problems.

Lord Sebastian’s Secret is delightful entertainment!