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

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.

The Road To Winterhill by Gloria Gay


The Road To Winterhill by Gloria Gay
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (214 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

In the silence of St. George’s Cathedral, the clergyman’s voice rang out unnaturally loud: “Do you, Richard Branston, Earl of Berrington, take this woman, Belinda Presleigh, of Hunsley Manor, as your lawful wedded wife, to love and honor until death do you part?”

The few wedding guests crowding around them waited for Berrington’s response which was long in coming. Belinda saw their smirks and heard their muffled laughter.

She felt the sting of tears in her eyes at the long pause and realized she could not undo what she had done. The awful deed had come to roost in her heart.

She wished he would say no. She’d rather be jilted than that awful hesitation in which everyone looked at each other, some with smirks of “I told you so.”

Finally, Lord Berrington’s voice rang out—loud, impatient and clear: “I do.”

Society shuns Belinda Presley when her mother’s scheme results in a forced offer of marriage from Richard Branston, the Earl of Berrington, the man she loves in secret.

Warm conversations during the day and passionate nights of love at night on their three-days’ journey give Belinda the only happiness she has ever known. Yet on arriving at Winterhill, Belinda feels the family’s animosity, as the earl, unaware of the danger she leaves her in and still resentful, returns to London.

Her only friend, Lord Wilbur, and solitary walks, are her solace, but Belinda’s enemies’ hatred soon place her in extreme peril.

Quirky and unpredictable, The Road to Winterhill sets off with what seems could be an ordinary enough challenge: Belinda Presleigh is dragged into pursuit of the ‘advantageous situation’ (otherwise known as marriage) by her very determined mother. It seems hardly a new predicament, but her mother is quite unpredictably crafty!

Belinda is concerned about decency, about embarrassment, and avoiding rogues, and that all seemed quite enough before being reminded about the spiders!

Berrington, an Earl, has friends that seem as eager to see him tie the knot as well. Vastly more interested in an assignation, he, it seems, may be manipulated too. The eerie opening setting (dark, dank wine cellar) could scarcely be more fitting. Throughout, locations never intrude, but are somehow just there as perfect background.

The two live in relative wealth, but both somewhat trapped by their status.  Yet, neither of these two are quite the pawns they first appear…the situation is riveting, long before the end of chapter one.

The unexpected intrigue brings us to quite the tale, and we run through an array of emotions. Belinda, who seemed a simple, protected gal of marrying age has actually had quite a number of experiences, sorrows, and hopes. We find ourselves hoping she will find her way to a kinder man…

The past contributes to the unexpected twists of the story. ‘The whims of fate’ indeed seem to take charge of events, but then we do begin to suspect that some one person is at the heart of suspicious circumstances.

The opening dialogue seemed a bit slow (my only complaint) but my inability to stop reading this hysterical and bewitching historical romance means I must give it top marks, and I must say, if I’d had any idea what lay in store, I’d have started reading sooner.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Road To Winterhill as the characters were so unexpectedly engaging. A real treat: Do read.

Two Tutor Doves by Patricia Kiyono


Two Tutor Doves by Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (67 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Robert Townley prides himself as an efficient and indispensible valet to Phillip, Duke of Bartlett. But when Robert is coerced into teaching the poor children at the duchess’ chapel school, he’s out of his element. Thankfully, he has assistance from some of the other servants, including the prickly Miss Brown.

Jeanne Brown is lady’s maid to the Duchess of Bartlett. She loves working with the children but can’t abide Robert’s lofty attitude toward them. She’d love to put him in his place — but she needs her job.
When the duchess decides to hold the school’s Christmas party in her home, Robert and Jeanne must put aside their differences and work together to ensure that the holiday celebration goes off without a hitch. Will they be able to endure the partnership, or will their sparks ignite something more?

Robert Townley is the valet to Phillip Peartree – Duke of Bartlett. In his profession Robert has always risen to any challenge presented to him, but his current post might be the one to topple his perfect record. Instructing a classroom of ragtag ruffians how to read and write might be beyond even his vast capabilities. Worse was the fact Robert wasn’t in this endeavor alone, Jeanne, the duchess’ lady’s maid was also there and should Robert cut the lessons short he was certain Jeanne would inform the duchess. Can Jeanne and Robert find some common ground and work together?

The characters in this story were complicated and I found them interesting. Jeanne has a very different and complicated history. The duke and duchess were more cameo’s than main characters, and both clearly very excited and happy with their impending child. An assortment of other servants of the household all were shown to work together like well-oiled cogs in a wheel. I was particularly pleased with Robert’s character. While he preferred things neat and orderly he was open to hearing the genuine thoughts from those around him and I found his mind was usually open to opinions other than his own.

I found this to be quite a thoughtful and interesting historical story. Robert is a good man, but I thought he made an exceptional, if flawed, hero. I really enjoyed the realism of Robert’s character, particularly for this historical time period. Robert genuinely wants to do his best to teach the poor and rough children he’s been told to educate, but he has pretty much zero experience with children and almost no exposure at all to young, poor and not-well-mannered kids. The students aren’t rambunctious or wild – just young children. So having Jeanne point out his failings as a teacher – no matter how kindly – really flummoxes Robert.

While certainly not a perfect man I grew to really respect him and genuinely wanted him to end up happy. Indeed, my only real criticism of the book was even until almost half way through Jeanne thought negative and mean thoughts of Robert and only paid attention to his pompousness and different views of the classes. The main reason this irritated me so much is while Robert could appreciate other people’s perspectives and tried to look at things from more than his own point of view, I felt that Jeanne just watched Robert’s actions and made judgments on it. She didn’t try and learn anything about his past, or try and view the matter from Robert’s perspective – that society expects servants to respect and show manners to their betters. It doesn’t matter that this might not be morally correct – it was what society was back in those days. And teaching the children these things were important. The children needed job, work and education, and I felt that the reality was that teaching them these notions and manners would help them progress. Jeanne’s thinking poorly of Robert for doing this made me really annoyed. Initially at least I really disliked her character for it. I was pleased when Jeanne’s history was explained and it helped me understand her intense dislike of Robert’s need for keeping a proper distance and distinguishing between the upper class and the working class. While I could understand Jeanne’s thoughts, it still struck me as a little odd – particularly for the historical setting where Robert’s views were not just normal, but expected and frequently enforced.

At no stage were the character clashes between Jeanne and Robert mean or particularly angry. I think the author did a good job of balancing their conflict while still leaving room for there to be a common meeting ground and for a light romance to flourish. Readers looking for a deep romance though – with long looks and heartfelt feelings – might not find this as satisfying. I found the story was strongly focused on the education of the children, the historical setting and the characters. The romance was definitely a side-issue and not the main focus to my mind. I didn’t mind this and found the story quite rich in details and characterization, I’m just not certain I would classify it strictly as a romance. Personally I found it to be more of a historical story with a small element of romance towards the end. Either way, I found the story interesting and the characters engrossing and complicated. A satisfying read.

Harper’s Place by Sheryl Winters


Harper’s Place by Sheryl Winters
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (46 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Harper Grey is fed up with over-bearing men.

Her father wants to sell the family hamburger joint to her brother because a woman could never make it successful.

Harper knows she has the same flair for business as her mother, and sexy Navy SEAL Patrick O’Brien dares her to prove it to the world.

When duty calls and Patrick must leave her side, will Harper be strong enough to make her dream a reality?

This book may be short, but it’s a lovely romance story with a touch of humor. Harper wants to take over the family burger business but her brother has talked her father into closing the place instead. An old high school friend Patrick comes into the burger joint and encourages her to follow her dream. All too soon he returns to his regiment overseas, but leaves behind the promise that he will be free of the forces in a few months.

I loved how this story did not force romance onto the reader. The main story was about Harper fighting for the right to have her own business despite her family’s opposition. Patrick believes in her and provides the support she needs, not only regarding the business but also on a personal level. Even from a distance Patrick shows his love and this makes for a very soft, sweet, but touching romance.

I like the way he often surprises her and drags her back when she’s ready to give up. Great story with lots of human interest and love.

The Partridge And The Peartree by Patricia Kiyono


The Partridge And The Peartree by Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (57 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Phillip Peartree, Duke of Bartlett, dreamed of a peaceful life with a suitable mate until a hunting accident left him scarred and nearly deaf. Resigned to spending the rest of his days alone, Phillip has devoted himself to rebuilding his family estate. But a chance encounter with a lovely young woman in a dusty bookstore rekindles his almost-forgotten hopes and dreams.
Lady Amelia Partridge has no time for the frivolity of the London social scene. In addition to her work with the Ladies Literary Society, she has a mission – educating poor children in the city. She also has a secret life, one she fears might drive away the young duke who has become increasingly important to her.

Phillip Peartree – Duke of Bartlett – was scouring titles in his favourite bookstore. When Lady Amelia Partridge literally bumps into him Phillip feels more than the air knocked out of him. Scarred and partially deaf, Phillip has gone to great pains to avoid the confusing and bustling society whirl. Amelia is a dedicated member of the Ladies Literary Society and thus has far more important things to focus on that finding a husband and ordering her own household.

This is an incredibly sweet historical story. While quite predictable I thoroughly enjoyed the characters – both the hero and heroine as well as a strong cast of secondary characters. I appreciated the conflict Amelia’s brother, Edward, and Edward’s fiancé especially, created. I also liked the fact Amelia had modern thoughts and a strong sense of independence, though I found that slightly unrealistic given the historical setting and the strictures placed on women – especially women of rank – back in that time period. I could let go of realism long enough though to sit back and enjoy the story.

The main conflict between Amelia and Phillip – the “secret” of his not being able to hear well – seemed a little stilted to my mind, but I have to admit it did fit in well with the older setting and stiff-upper-lip mentality of historical London. Amelia is teaching a bunch of young children how to read and write down at the local church. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story – partly because it showed me that Amelia wasn’t just willing to talk about trying to help and change the lives of those more impoverished than herself, but also that she was more than happy to get down and actually help. To lead by example. It was no surprise that this generosity of time and spirit was one of the main things that appealed to Phillip.

For a refreshingly sweet historical story – with just a simple kiss to seal the deal at the end – I found this to be an interesting and character-driven short story. I thoroughly enjoyed Phillip and Amelia as well as all the secondary characters. While the plot was not unique, I truly enjoyed it and the writing style of the author. I will certainly be searching for further stories by this author.

Watchmakers Heart by Juli D Revezzo


Watchmakers Heart by Juli D Revezzo
Publisher: Raven Queen Publications
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (127 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

For Miss Phoebe Lockswell, fashionable London tea parties and balls aren’t her style. Instead, she prefers to tinker tirelessly with a clockwork diffuser she’s built from scratch. If only she can get the invention to work on command, she might earn her way out of an arranged marriage to a repugnant member of the House of Commons.

London watchmaker Mortimer Kidd was brought up hard in the arms of an infamous London gang. Despite the respectability he strives for now, the gang leader is blackmailing him. When Mortimer sees Phoebe’s diffuser, he thinks he’s found a way to buy himself out of trouble. The brash Phoebe manages to steal his heart, however, before he can purloin her invention.

Will Mortimer’s unsavory past catch up to him before he convinces Phoebe of his devotion? Worse, once Phoebe learns the truth, will she ever trust him again?

Phoebe is the daughter of a well to do lawyer, Mort is a watchmaker. While she had engineered an animated statue to enhance love making, Mort is hiding a past that would threaten his life and friends from his childhood. If he allows Phoebe into his world it will also threaten her reputation and life.

When Phoebe’s father tries to force her into marrying the objectionable Sir Dugard, she resists and Mort comes to her aid.

This is a fascinating Victorian era love story. It travels from the affluent house of Phoebe’s family to the slums of Whitechapel. In the background is the mysterious Doggett who holds Mort’s life and future in his hands. A lot of the story is shrouded in mystery and the couple find their budding romance is fraught with problems, and even Phoebe’s best friend turns against her.

Murder, theft, blackmail all these are present at one stage or other of the story. It also shows a view of the stews of the east end of London. This is one of those books I couldn’t put down. I read it in one day as I wanted to know what happened.

Petals by Reina M. Williams


Petals by Reina M. Williams
A Rancho Valle short story
Publisher: Rickrack Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (65 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Visit a small town with a heart as gold as the California hills! Settle in a cozy seat and enjoy these sweet, Austen-inspired stories of pride and prejudice, persuasion, and matchmaking in this modern “country village.”

Bennet Ray is home. She loves her grandma, their toy shop, and their cobbled-together family in the small Sonoma County town of Rancho Valle. But restless wanderer Bennet is afraid she can’t settle down, or be open to the love she wants. When her former high school nemesis Ryan Stone threatens her family’s business, and her feelings, can she face her past and find and way to remain in Rancho Valle?

After the death of her Grandpa and her Grandma’s stroke, Bennet decided it was past time to move back home and help her Grandma run the toy store. Even though her heart yearned to continue her music and travels, Bennet couldn’t turn her back on her the woman who raised her in a loving home. To help welcome her back, Bennet’s Grandma invites a number of the locals around for dinner, people Bennet grew up with and a few of her childhood friends – including Ryan. Can this be their second chance together?

This is a very sweet short story. I was a little surprised at some of the tension and conflict that was initially between Ryan and Bennet. While Ryan wasn’t exactly a prince charming, I didn’t feel as if he was quite the rude villain that Bennet initially made him out to be. Ryan seemed to me to be one of those men who doesn’t always understand how blunt his comments come across as – which while certainly not comfortable, is nothing too disastrous in my mind. What surprised me was that Bennet slanted a number of things Ryan said to her as if he were criticizing her and putting her down. Because of this I really didn’t understand why he appealed to her at all. In the beginning I felt like Bennet was a little over-sensitive and biased when it came to Ryan.

I was extremely pleased when this stopped still fairly early on in the story. It was quite a relief when Bennet began to see Ryan as he truly was – not the best communicator, but not rude or mean either. From here their romance blossomed wonderfully and by half way through the story I was feeling quite comfortable and invested in both Ryan and Bennet.

Readers who like small-town stories should really enjoy this. There is a strong cast of a number of secondary characters and plenty of that lovely small town/old fashioned feel to this story. Add in that it’s exceedingly sweet – one small, non-descriptive kiss at the very end to seal the happy ending – and I feel this is a good story for readers of all ages. This is the sort of story I would happily recommend to my mum or grandma, or even a teenage reader.

With great characters, an interesting plot revolving around Bennet coming home after quite a few years away and the beginning of a beautiful romance between Bennet and Ryan, I feel this is a good book with a number of things to appeal to a wide range of readers.

Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt


Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (224 Pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Myrtle

Small-Town Daddy

Jackson Daughtry’s jobs as a paramedic and part-owner of a local café keep him busy—but the single dad’s number one priority is raising his little girl with love and small-town values. And when his business partner’s hotshot lawyer niece comes to town planning to disrupt their lives by moving her aunt away, Jackson has to set Melanie Harper straight. When circumstances force them to work side by side in the coffee shop, Jackson slowly discovers what put the sadness in Melanie’s pretty brown eyes. Now it’ll take all his faith—and a hopeful five-year-old—to show the city gal that she’s already home.

Love has a way of working its way into life, sometimes slow and easy, other times by crashing in head-on. Either way, a sensible seatbelt for your heart is a must!

Melanie Harper is a Washington D.C. big city lawyer who knows how to get things done. She’s smart, pretty, hardworking, and she loves her aunt Phoebe enough to drive all the way to the small town of Sweet Gum to convince her she would be better off living with her in D.C. Aunt Phoebe, however, is perfectly happy in Sweet Gum no matter what her loving niece believes.

When Melanie, who “never takes a vacation,” decides to visit, Aunt Phoebe is delighted. Phoebe co-owns The Coffee Bean, a breakfast and lunch diner, with Jackson Daughtry, a local paramedic. Jackson is a single father who dotes on his little daughter, Rebecca. He is the kind of dad every little girl deserves. His faith is strong, both in the Lord and in people, but the story is never preachy.

Lovely Melanie has strong values, too, but her past could shake a person to their very core, perhaps beyond repair. When Melanie has a car crash, Jackson has to make the call to Phoebe.

Author Jill Weatherholt has created a cast of characters every reader will appreciate. They are each very different with their own strong beliefs and opinions—they are each very real people. I expected this story to be a run-of-the-mill romance, and when I first started reading, I wasn’t bowled over by any uniqueness, although the writing was good. But before long, I found myself over-the-moon surprised by the strength of its wonderful characters and its fabulous storyline, which shanghaied me for the duration.

Second Chance Romance is a story that allows you to settle in and get comfortable before it consumes you in the most wonderful way. This is a must-read for real-life romance lovers!

Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson


Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson
Publisher: Revell
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (354 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she’s hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

Seth Sloane didn’t move three thousand miles to work on his uncle’s B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian–and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.
The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they’ve got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

Step into the Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the north shore of fabled Prince Edward Island. It’s a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won’t you stay for the season?

A One-Click that was totally worth the risk.

The story starts with Marie who is down to her last few dollars and needs to buy a ferry ticket to go to Prince Edward Island. While waiting she meets, an older man, Jack who just so happens to be in need of someone to help him pick colors for an inn he’s just purchased. While at the inn Marie meets with a few of the local residents, Aretha and Caden and things seem to be going okay for her until Jack’s nephew, Seth enters the picture and things begin to get rocky.

I loved all the characters in this book. They came across as lifelike and loveable and I found myself cheering each of them. What I enjoyed the most was the speed at which the author revealed why Marie was running so far from home. Nothing was dumped too soon into the story which I felt added to its appeal. Seth too has his own demons to bear and as they slowly begin to trust one another you find yourself wanting to read more at each sitting.

There’s a second romance weaved into this story which was also enjoyable and that’s the one between Aretha and Jack. The conflict was believable and just when you thought they’d turned a corner there was something else that got in the way and made you want to read on.

I can’t remember ever reading a book set on Prince Edward Island but Ms. Johnson did such a good job describing it, I think I’d like to see it for myself. If you like sweet romances with lovable characters, a realistic plot and an island setting, then I’d definitely check this one out.