Vessel of Power by Michelle O’Leary


Vessel of Power by Michelle O’Leary
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (389 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Lia must stop the elemental prince at all costs. Prince Destin is searching for the Vessel of Power, an object containing the might of the gods. His soulless father will use it to destroy their world, starting with her family. Lia will do whatever it takes to protect the Vessel, except she can’t seem to end this magnetic prince of fire. Destin won’t let anything stand in his way, even a gorgeous changeling with mayhem on her mind. He’s determined to prove his worth as son and heir by retrieving the Vessel for his father. Lia challenges him at every turn, but he burns whenever he’s near this tantalizing changeling. Torn between loyalty to family and desire for one another, Destin and Lia struggle to find the right path. Can they save their world and each other? Will finding the Vessel bind them together or drive them apart forever?

Lia has a very good reason to keep the Vessel of Power hidden.

Lia was prepared to do anything to stop Destin from finding the Vessel of Power, but one glance at the elemental prince gave her pause. Instead of a ruthless, power hungry royal, Destin is much more human than Lia ever could have imagined. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, Lia and Destin aren’t as different as they seem. If only they’d stop fighting long enough to realize it.

Lis and Destin have an antagonistic relationship right from the start as they have opposing views on the Vessel. Lia professes to want the Vessel to stay hidden to save the world from destruction, but Destin and his cousin, Rune, believe Lia has a much more personal reason for wanting the Vessel to remain hidden. It is very interesting to watch Destin, Lia, and Rune interact. Lia alternates between helping Destin escape the clutches of his uncle and putting her own stumbling blocks in Destin’s path. Even though they are on opposite sides where the Vessel is concerned, it is clear that Lia and Destin have great chemistry, and I couldn’t help but wonder how long it would take them to realize they’d be stronger together than apart. I do think that their relationship was rushed. It just seemed like one minute they were fighting and annoying each other and the next they were in love. I would have liked to see more of a transition between those extremes.

Rune is by far my favorite character. I liked him immediately, and he is consistently a bright spot in this tale. Rune is so much fun, and he always lightens the mood at just the right time. I found myself smiling every time he opened his mouth. Even Lia, who doesn’t open to others easily, can’t help but like him.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to read Vessel of Power. I hope that Ms. O’Leary has plans for a sequel because I’d love to spend more time with Rune, Lia, and Destin. Fans of fantasy romance won’t want to miss this novel.

The Right Kind of Reckless by Heather Van Fleet


The Right Kind of Reckless by Heather Van Fleet
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Maxwell Martinez

I’m in love with a woman I can’t have, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to stop myself from falling.

The problem? Her brother’s my best friend.

I shouldn’t want her this much. Not when it goes against the bro code. Not when I’ve never been able to commit to a woman for longer than a night.

But one look into her eyes and I’m a mess for her. She’s my everything. And I have to walk away with nothing.

This is a second book in Reckless Hearts series. The series features three war veterans and best friends. The Right Kind of Reckless is a Max and Lia’s story. Max is Lia’s brother’s best friend and comrade. They been together in a battlefields and the friendship between them is strong. Max knows that Lia is forbidden territory but when he is around her he thinks with his heart. Lia is also in love with Max. She fell for him the moment she met him.

For me The Right Kind of Reckless was very different from the most of the romance novels I read; because Max and Lia confessed their feelings pretty early in the story. Until that moment the story was intense and emotions were high, but after the mutual revelation there is no more that sweet anticipation of what will happen next. From that moment on, the story focused more on Max and Lia’s happy end and HEA. This was definitely not something that diminished my enjoyment of reading this story; it just slowed the pace and toned down intensity.

Max and Lia are very lovable and complex characters. Each character have somewhat troubled past. I hoped that the author will deal a bit more with their pasts and traumas and issues but, she did not. Due to that characters remained a bit unfinished and they did not changed a lot.

All in all The Right Kind of Reckless is story worth reading. It is funny, it is sexy, it is told from POV of both Max and Lia. Although is second installment in the series it can be read as a standalone.

Cajun Crazy by Sandra Hill


Cajun Crazy by Sandra Hill
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (355 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Welcome back to New York Times bestseller Sandra Hill’s Cajun country, where love heats up the Louisiana bayou . . .

Former Chicago cop Simone LeDeux is back home in the bayou, sharing a double wide in the Pearly Gates trailer park to help her mama recover from surgery. Her one rule: no Cajun men. Loved and left by too many double-crossing Cajuns, Simone puts bad experience to good use by opening Legal Belles: an agency that uncovers cheating spouses.

Suddenly she’s confronting a two-timer about to swindle his wife out of millions and antagonizing New Orleans bigwigs over an illegal sex club. Adam Lanier learns of the dangerous game Simone is playing . . . and the sexy single dad comes to her aid. Known as a rogue in the courtroom and a player in the bedroom, the ragin’ Cajun has Simone triply on guard.

With their crazy chemistry, danger on their trail, and infamous LeDeux relative Tante Lulu working her magical matchmaking, the bayou has never been this steamy.

Ms. Hill has become one of my ‘go-to” authors when I need a smile, entertainment and a romance that presses all my happy buttons. Her latest romantic adventure is Cajun Crazy and what I look for is found within its pages. I’m a satisfied reader, especially enhanced by the wonderful epilogue at the end.

My favorite character that stirs the plot pot is Tante Lulu with her close association with St. Jude. That woman’s faith is unshakeable and well known to all and sundry in Bayou Black, and for those that don’t know or worse, don’t believe, they will come to the conclusion that whether or not they believe, the type of things going on are too similar in nature to be simple coincidence. The conversations that result, the actions some characters take and the outcomes are totally grin-worthy.

Tante Lulu has her sights set on Adam and Simone, two people who have been burnt by relationships and love. They are both determined to avoid any serious entanglements. Adam’s daughter, Maisie, has other plans for her dad. Simone’s mom also has her own opinions about Simone’s single status. There are a whole host of secondary characters that flavor and color the community in which the hero and heroine now live in.

I found charming the many ways, clever or silly, serious or sophisticated words are mispronounced; it might be said they’ve been ‘Cajunized’. Some caused me to snort, roll my eyes or just outright laugh. It sure made the dialogue interesting.

The celebratory thread woven in for a good chunk of the book is Maisie’s planning of a ‘little’ party. That little nugget of an idea blossomed into opportunities for fun, hilarity and/or some good old fashioned head banging, face-palming groans. All are done with good intentions.

The external conflict comes from both Adam and Simone doing their jobs. At one point their cases cross and it becomes a dance of saying things that don’t say anything at all because the conflict of interest demands that neither one knows what the other is doing. Ms. Hill straddled that line quite effectively. The pursuit of the final outcomes produced some serious drama, and yet, when it could have gotten really nasty, the author has Adam rush to the rescue. Readers are in for an eye-popping treat of written description that left me with no choice but to giggle and laugh. Yeah, it was creepy too, but Ms. Hill’s writing prevented it from being overwhelming. Instead she shared the situation not only as a narrow escape but she colored the scene with the ridiculousness that it deserved.

I totally enjoyed Cajun Crazy because the novel delivers solid and believable character building. I liked meeting Adam and Simone, I adored the major role Adam’s daughter played in getting the hero and heroine together and I appreciated Adam’s final gesture of his love for Simone.

It’s all good, it’s fascinating and fun and makes Cajun Crazy an easy recommend for all Sandra Hill fans, new and old.

The Immortals and Other Tales by Victor J. Banis


The Immortals and Other Tales by Victor J. Banis
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (90 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Edgy. Controversial. Thoughtful. Brilliant.

There are a lot of adjectives that have been used over the decades to describe the writings of Victor J. Banis. From his start in gay fiction, to forays into other genres such as mystery and horror, Banis’ unique voice has brought to life a myriad of characters and creatures, excitement and entertainment, as well as the trials and tribulations of love between both gay and straight couples. Gathered here are stories spanning more than five decades of Banis’ incredible career, including “Broken Record,” his first story to ever be published.

No matter how strong they may be, first impressions aren’t always correct.

In “New Kid in Town,” the main character had slowly come to regret her marriage to a kind, wealthy man who was much older than she was. She spoke of her spouse in such glowing terms that I was surprised by how tired she seemed to be of their relationship. The more I read, the more curious I became about what could be making her so unhappy. It was as much fun to discover the twist ending to this one as it was to try to figure out what was going on in advance.

While I deeply enjoyed the majority of the tales in this collection, there were a couple that I thought could use more development. “The Journey (a parable)” was one of them. There was one character, and he or she was never given a name, backstory, or any identifying features. I was intrigued by the idea of a narrator speaking directly to the audience about what they think human intellect can and can’t do for people who are on a literal or metaphorical journey, but I would have liked to see more time spent transforming this monologue into something that also included a traditional sort of plot at some point.

The protagonist in “The Canals of Mars” was a man whose face had been badly scarred in a lab accident. After his boyfriend left him, he had the chance to find love again with an old friend. As their love began to blossom, they both began to experience things that defied explanation. What I enjoyed the most about this tale was how many different ways it could be interpreted. Mr. Banis is quite good at tying multiple genres together in ways that I don’t typically see them combined, and this was one of the best examples of that talent of his that I’ve seen so far.

I’d recommend The Immortals and Other Tales to anyone who is looking for some truly creative mysteries.

Reel Love by Elizabeth Hartey


Reel Love by Elizabeth Hartey
Publisher: Crimson Cloak
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full Length (486 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rated: 3.5 stars
Review by Rose

Annie Caslo is a successful, young doctor, but when she begins rethinking the career choices she’s made, she makes a decision to find a way to stay focused and achieve her true ambitions – that is until fate steps in and she is thunderstruck by Colt Ballard. He’s six foot three inches of heart-stopping hotness, an adept, roguish soccer star and also one of her interns. But he’s a player – on and off the field – and Annie has better things to do. Still, the combustible chemistry between them is impossible to resist – Colt brings out feelings she never knew existed and Annie’s swept off her reluctant feet.

When she continues to second-guess her life choices, opportunities and obstacles begin piling up higher than the greasy Mexican food stacks she hates to admit loving. While in a state of emotional turmoil, she gets a celestial visit from a hunky, Hollywood heartthrob, lookalike, who claims to be her guardian angel. He takes her on a magical road trip to self-discovery with the help of several, dearly departed film icons.

Drawn into the excitement of a life she’s always dreamed of, this new life threatens to shatter the LIFE and love she already has—unless her quirky angel can help her find a way to have it all.

Reading this book, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old adage “be careful what you wish for.” Annie Caslo became a doctor because that’s what her parents wanted for her, but she wanted to be an actress.  She was offered a job she could not turn down, but made the decision to only stay there a year, then follow her own dream.  Her plans are derailed when she meets Colt, and her life takes a very different plan than she envisioned.

The story is told from several points of view (including forays into Annie’s childhood).  While this helps explain what everyone is feeling (it was amusing seeing, at the beginning, Colt and Annie’s different views of the same incident in the coffee shop), it also prevented this reader from really connecting with Annie as much as I would have liked to.  I would have enjoyed being able to “feel” more of what Annie felt.  As it was, the many POV shifts never allowed me to completely immerse myself into the story.

The writing itself was clean with no grammatical issues.  Looking at it with an editor’s eye, there were areas that could have been tightened up more, but that is more of a personal issue on my part.

If you are a lover of classic movies, like I am, you will love all the references and quotes this author uses — it’s worth reading the book just for those!!  3.5 stars.

Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen


Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (416 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke’s daughter’s bodyguard will be easy―but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion…

Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he’s offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington’s stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged.

Lady Lorraine wants none of her father’s high-handed ways, and she’ll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard―until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan’s protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he’s always done―fight for what he wants.

Amazing, this story is absolutely amazing. When I started it I wanted to read it in one sitting and on the other hand I did not want to end it.  Third Son’s Charm is a story about Ewan Mostyn and Lady Lorraine. Ewan is a son of a nobleman; but he is the third child and also because of his learning disabilities his father does not like him. Therefore he joined the army and became a decorated war hero. Ewan is a strong and silent type. He is perfect material for a bodyguard. So it comes at no surprised that Duke of Ridlington hired him to watch over his daughter Lady Lorraine. Lady Lorraine is Ewan’s complete opposite. Where he is silent, she is chatty, where he is big, she is petite. But as every romance novel reader knows: opposites attract. I absolutely adored the way Ewan and Lorraine’s attraction was described. Each scene containing the two of them was filled with electricity and high emotions.

Both characters are amazing and they both have their own issues. Ewan was bullied as a child because he was big and because of his learning disability. Due to that his self-esteem is low. But he is not full of pride and thus not afraid to ask for help. On the other hand he acts like nothing can break him and undo him… until Lorraine. Lorraine has her fair share of issues. Although she is a daughter of duke and high expectations are put on her, she bends rules and misbehaves all the time. She is stubborn, determined and bright and she has a kind heart.

Besides being very hot, this story is also funny and it contains some adventure. I highly recommend reading it. Third Son’s a Charm is definitely a wonderful beginning of the series about younger sons of nobility who were all members of an elite military group. I am anxiously looking forward to the next story in the series.

Escape from Behruz by Judy Meadows


Escape from Behruz by Judy Meadows
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (208 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Rashid will help Olivia and the baby escape the violence in Behruz, but he must guard his heart. He can’t risk being hurt by her again.

Olivia has her own reasons for keeping her distance from Rashid. If he learns that the baby she’s been caring for is actually hers–and his–she’ll everything that matters to her.

Their escape involves traveling with nomads across the mountains into Iran. As they trek together by day and sleep beside each other in a tent at night, the attraction that has always drawn them to each other grows ever stronger, Can Olivia survive the trip without revealing her secrets and without losing her heart to Rashid once again?

Did this story accurately describe the locations from Behruz to the mountains into Iran? I have no idea since I’ve never been to those locations. The setting sounded authentic and aesthetically pleasing to me. Was the plot plausible or the story realistic? It was for me. I’ve never been on the run or in another country never mind a hostile one. However, from what I’ve seen on T.V. or in the movies, I thought the story was believable and entertaining.

The hero, Rashid and the heroine, Olivia, had an undeniable attraction towards each other that was tested throughout the fast paced, never-a -dull-moment plot. I had to lower the air conditioner down because of their chemistry. I was drawn to their love story and couldn’t wait to see if they took the risk to lose their hearts once again. As if the story wasn’t exciting enough we had to endure the Sultan of Behruz and his selfish manipulations.

I felt this story was more of a “how to get to from one place to another without getting caught” travelogue. My anticipation was bigger than it needed to be. Ms. Meadows missed an opportunity to engage me and keep me riveted. A case in point was how the Sultan of Behruz was portrayed. He was a man of selfish persistence. I had high expectations for the “escape” plot but it felt a bit flat. I guess it might make the story unpredictable for others but for me, I felt disappointed from the lack of surprise. There was so much potential but the story missed the mark.

Overall though, I was pleased with the happy ending and how all the plot threads were tied up. If the synopsis sounds interesting to readers as it did me, then I suggest you give it a try. I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to my friends. It had enough good stuff to make it worth it.

Wyatt’s Bounty by Kim Turner


Wyatt’s Bounty by Kim Turner
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (292)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Bounty hunter Wyatt McCade is taking down outlaws one at a time. He’s been in love with Tess Sullivan for years, but she refuses to give in to her feelings. Reeling from the rejection of his marriage proposal, he chases bounties with little concern for his own safety. When word reaches him that Tess never left for Boston, he rides for Cheyenne to confront her. Instead, he is ambushed and left for dead.

Doctor Tess Sullivan shattered her heart by refusing Wyatt McCade’s marriage proposal and making the biggest mistake of her life, by holding onto a secret. Pining for his return, she blames herself when he arrives in Cheyenne near death. Forgiveness comes quickly in his arms, but she finds herself a pawn in a deadly game of revenge.

When McCade lands are threatened, Tess is caught in the balance. On the bounty hunt of his life, Wyatt will risk everything to rescue the woman he loves.

Oh my goodness! What a great book! Wyatt’s Bounty just has to be made into a movie in the near future. I had no idea this book was book two in “The McCades of Cheyenne” series until after I finished reading it. Therefore it’s safe to say it can be read as a standalone. There was enough awesomeness in Wyatt’s Bounty to have its own movie. I am very curious and want to buy book one which is called Sawyer’s Rose and see if it’s as spectacular as its sequel and if it should be included to make one featured film. This is my first book written by Kim Turner and I might have found a new favorite author. I did Google her to see what other books she has written. I was that smitten with her writing style. Wyatt’s Bounty was absolutely entertaining from the beginning to the end.

Wyatt McCade, the hero, was amazing. Everything you’d want in a book boyfriend. If you look up the definition of a hero you’ll see Wyatt McCade. I easily swoon for cowboys naturally but Wyatt was my everything.

Dr. Tess Sullivan was a fabulous match to Wyatt. She was intelligent, caring, strong and of course beautiful. I was a little jealous of her but it was made very clear that she was the only woman for Wyatt. He didn’t have any interest in anyone else. I would never have stood a chance.

I already stated that the writing style was phenomenal from her word choice to her sentence fluency. There was a well-established cast of characters that flowed like a well-oiled machine. They all interacted and cared for one another. There’s a warm sense of community in Cheyenne enhanced by an organized web of characters all synchronized into a rhythm of love, joy and family. No bounty, outlaw, or land stealing thief stands a chance in their town. Not with the McCades of Cheyenne!

I was easily transported into the action. The plot had me frozen to my seat. I wasn’t moving for anything. There was never a boring moment. It was one unpredictable, emotionally provoking scene after scene. Not in my wildest imagination could I have thought of all the details that were implemented in this masterpiece.

Is there anything about this book that I wish was different? I can’t find one criticism. It even had a prologue and an epilogue. The ending was as solid as the entire book was. The novel gave me complete closure leaving me feeling more than satisfied.

I don’t have any qualms about recommending this book. I found this book full of love and romance. My expectations were more than met. Wyatt and Tess filled my emotional love tank. I guess the only criticism I can come up with is that I didn’t want it to end.

PS From Paris by Marc Levy


PS From Paris by Marc Levy
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (270 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

On the big screen, Mia plays a woman in love. But in real life, she’s an actress in need of a break from her real-life philandering husband—the megastar who plays her romantic interest in the movies. So she heads across the English Channel to hide in Paris behind a new haircut, fake eyeglasses, and a waitressing job at her best friend’s restaurant.

Paul is an American author hoping to recapture the fame of his first novel. When his best friend surreptitiously sets him up with Mia through a dating website, Paul and Mia’s relationship status is “complicated.”

Even though everything about Paris seems to be nudging them together, the two lonely ex-pats resist, concocting increasingly far-fetched strategies to stay “just friends.” A feat easier said than done, as fate has other plans in store. Is true love waiting for them in a postscript?

Boy meets girl, boy gets girl…life happens.

I’m all for a sappy story. I’m all for a book that pulls me out of my life and gets me into someone else’s for a few hours. Marc Levy’s PS From Paris, was certainly a ride.

Mia is a famous actress with problems in her marriage. She’s in Paris and trying to forget her husband’s cheated on her. She meets Paul. He’s got a snoot-load of problems, too. He’s a struggling writer. They’re not really good for each other, but they are.

I’m not going to lie. I went into this book with high hopes. She’s an actress and he’s essentially no one. Could they make it? How will they? It’s intriguing. I had to keep reading to know what would happen.

But there were multiple bumps along the road. I put this book down many times. I kept wanting to shout at Mia. I get she’s lonely and her marriage is a mess, but why would her cheating be okay/therapeutic, but his isn’t? And some of the ways she got around being noticed, even though she’s famous…I really had to suspend my disbelief and it didn’t work a few times. I struggled with what felt like cliched situations, too. I won’t get into details, but I would’ve liked more characterization, too.

That said, this book was still enjoyable. Mia deserved a happy ending and Paul deserved one, too. I didn’t see the ending coming, that’s for sure. Check this book out. It might be the beach read you’ll love.

Fire Born by Rayanne Haines


Fire Born by Rayanne Haines
Book 1 The Guardian Series
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (256 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Independent, tough as nails, and fierce to her core, Alex Taleisin can’t quite believe it when she has to fight for her life against something not-quite-human in the YMCA parking lot.

That’s when her aunt lets her in on the family secret. They’re immortal—Elementals to be precise, and Alex is the long-lost daughter of the strongest female warrior of their time.

Her guardian (a freaking Dragon!) and the sexiest man Alex has ever seen gives her a choice. Go with him, learn how to control her fire, and find her father’s people, or try to survive on her own. It’s an easy choice considering she’s only twenty-six. And the Elders may already be on her trail thanks to the fight with the nut job in the parking lot kick-starting her dormant DNA.

Enter an insane grandfather, a shifter with a hidden agenda, and a witch with a shoe addiction, and suddenly loner Alex is wishing for a quiet house in the hills with the dragon she’s falling for.

But a fight is coming and Alex knows the only way to find her answers is to trust her powers and become the warrior she was destined to be.

Despite being set in the present, this story also refers to the history of the guardians. Alex comes into her powers which include fire. Collum, her dragon guardian, must keep her safe until she is a full elemental, able to control her magical urges and make them obey her wishes.

This is a wonderful story of dragons, magic, and the solving of an ancient mystery which has bearing of Alex’s past, in particular who her parents were. Life for Alex is mixed up and becomes more so when the weird Elders of the Elementals interfere.

I loved the way this travelled all over the world, but would point out that the author should research her venues. The island off the south coast of England is called Isle of Wight (pronounced white, but not spelled that way). This error took me out of the flow of the story and it took a while to get back into it again as I kept looking for other mistakes.

I really enjoyed reading this book as it had a bit of everything fantasy and in the main was well written. Definitely worth 4.5 stars.