At Last in Laguna by Claire Marti


At Last in Laguna by Claire Marti
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (160 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Snapdragon

Alyssa Morgan has secretly been in love with her older brother Nick’s best friend, Brandt Dempsey, since she was an awkward, lonely teenager. When she catches the bouquet at Nick’s wedding, she throws caution to the wind and propositions Brandt to a two-week fling. He’s tried to ignore how Alyssa has blossomed into a strong, talented, gorgeous woman because as his best friend’s baby sister, she’s off limits.

After they share a mind-blowing kiss, Brandt struggles to fight their undeniable chemistry. His tragic childhood scarred him, but he pushes it deep inside, only allowing the world to see a wealthy, carefree entrepreneur. Forced to work together on Brandt’s latest charitable venture, Brandt and Alyssa’s passion cannot be denied. Alyssa knows he’s the one. Can she convince him they belong together?

Readers are intrigued right from the very start of At Last in Laguna. We cannot help but wonder exactly what has gone on before…and where on earth could this relationship be going?

The mention about how to find a ‘happily ever after?’ seems insane: Alyssa and Brandt don’t seem to be heading to any such ending. They can barely be in the same room together.

Brandt…oh she is so bitter about Brandt!

This is a twist on love-at-first-sight: More like, love at first kiss. Or would it be second? And can it be love? There is rejection, unrequited emotion, the desperate empty feeling of non-passion; who cannot relate? We cannot guess where this fast-paced and emotional start will bring these two. At Last in Laguna is entirely unpredictable.

I didn’t care for the changes in point-of-view, not because they weren’t well-written, but because it left no air of mystery on either side. Seeing both sides did not add to the plot, although I can’t say (for sure) that it detracted, either.

The powerful physical scenes would be enough to drum up fans regardless of the rest of the storyline; yet this is also well done, with influential secondary characters and a meaningful backdrop. There are a number of ups and downs, revealing more and more about each of our main characters; Brandt and Alyssa.

Powerful characters and an unusual conundrum plus plenty of hot action make this a top choice read for any romance fan.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hear Me Roar by Joy Smith


Hear Me Roar by Joy Smith
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Jan Simmons never expected trouble to move into her quiet Charming Way cul-de-sac. Nor did she expect her husband Jeff’s weakness for fast money to drag their once happy family into danger.

When her husband turns to crime, Jan, a people-pleaser with little self-worth, must release the death grip she has on her failing marriage for the sake of her children and draw on her inner strength.

As Jan fights to free her family from a web of lies and deceit she also battles to save herself.

Life can give us the unexpected, but when your husband turns to living a life breaking the law what does a wife do? Jan Simmons has a lot she is dealing with. It’s hard when her husband Jeff, the breadwinner of the household, lost his job and has to take a lesser paying job. I am not sure if the loss of his job ignited this change for the worst in Jeff, but this is the path he is traveling…a bickering, cheating drunk. Jeff is a character that I found very unlikeable. His priorities never seemed to be on his family and as the story goes on he gets caught up in a web of a mess and loses all sight of being a family man.

I enjoyed the author’s style of writing, but the story starts out slow. There wasn’t anything exciting about the life of a stay-at-home mom tending to kids, baking and conversations with other stay-at-home moms.The lack-luster husband who shows signs of a second life helped give the story something to look forward to. It’s a predictable story that was drawn out too long.

The new neighbor to Charming Way, Frank Carlucci (Digiorno) brought interest to the storyline but left me wondering why did he only have one card game at his house and why did he let Jeff accrue such a debt which in turn set the stage for Jeff to veer down his path of lawlessness.

Even though the story told of mafia behavior with drug dealing and kidnapping there wasn’t really any action. The story tells of a kidnapping but doesn’t show the events. I would have liked to have read the action. There were more details shared on the mom’s day than there were on the action details that must have taken place during the kidnapping and the trouble Jeff was involved in.

Jan didn’t start out as a strong woman but she eventually saw she had to provide for her family and protect their lives from the life her husband started to bring home. I like that Jan is a survivor and a fighter. She always kept her children’s best interest in mind. Maybe her growth and strength is the reason behind the title. Jan evolves from a housewife to finding her footing to being a business owner and mom of two.

The story is well written. It shows the courage of a woman taking charge of her life and the livelihood of her family. If you enjoy reading stories of women and their growth into a strong lioness be sure not to miss Hear Me Roar.

Murder Beach by Rena Leith


Murder Beach by Rena Leith
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (341 pgs)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Her husband’s infidelity turns Cass Peake’s world upside down. Hoping to start fresh, she moves to a sleepy little town called Las Lunas on the northern California coast. The cute seaside bungalow is surprisingly affordable and Cass snaps it up. She soon discovers why the place was so cheap; it’s haunted! And the beach by her new home is called Murder Beach by locals. She can’t even get a pizza delivered.

Back in the Roaring Twenties, the bodies of Doris Pierpont, a notorious bootlegger’s daughter, and her lover were discovered on the beach. Summoned by a séance in the Swinging Sixties, Doris returned to the house. Now she wants to know who murdered her.

As Cass tries to make a new life and solve Doris’s murder, the corpse of the local bookstore owner is found in the sand. Is Murder Beach living up to its name once again?

Can a book about a haunted house and a witch be funny?

If you told me I would enjoy a mystery that contained a witch, I’d think you had never met me. But…I did enjoy Murder Beach and its witch. The dialog was humorous which always entertains me. The setting of this book is in a little town with an old house on a beach that needs fixing up. Wow, I wanted to be there with my tools. Well…maybe I wanted to be there sitting on the beach. Nonetheless, the picture painted by the author wanted me to get involved.

Let’s talk a minute about the good and the not so good in this book. There was a little dialog about vampires that ran through this book. It is not my thing but it didn’t turn me off. That in itself means it had to be a fairly good read. This book moved a little slowly and it might be because some of the same actions went on a lot but it never made me want to put the book down. The principal characters were readable but not really fleshed out enough to “know” them. It was the dialog and the humor that I enjoyed most of all.

It’s a quick fun read, kind of sweet, not deeply involved, and I’m glad I spent the time reading it.

Sacrificial Lam by Gary Guinn


Sacrificial Lam by Gary Guinn
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (268 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

When English professor Lam Corso receives a death threat at work, he laughs it off. A liberal activist at a small Southern conservative college, he’s used to stirring up controversy on campus. It’s just part of the give and take of life. Even when violently attacked, Lam is convinced it must be a mistake. He can’t imagine anyone who would want to kill him for his beliefs.

When his home is broken into and his wife’s business vandalized, Lam is forced to face the truth. His wife—a passionate anti-gun crusader—is outraged when Lam brings a gun into the house for protection. The police can’t find a single lead. Left to their own devices, Lam and Susan are forced to examine their marriage, faith, and values in the face of a carefully targeted attack from an assailant spurred into action by his own set of beliefs.

What will it cost to survive?

Sometimes your job forces you to push on the limits of society.

Lambert Corso is an individual with just such a job. As an English professor with very liberal views teaching at a religious college, Lam has stepped on his fair share of toes. Suddenly unnerving written threats against his life and then physical attempts against both Lam and his family cause a deeper concern for what is happening at the university. Lam is suddenly forced to question everyone and everything in order to protect his own family.

Sacrificial Lam is an enveloping story told from the viewpoint of Lambert Corso and his wife Susan. The story highlights the various types of personalities that exist on a college campus as well as the frustrations that occur from being the voice for those oppressed when the majority of those on campus have very opposing views.

The threats and Lam’s reaction to the increased threats are understandable and realistic, given Lam’s history and views. The dialogue is smooth and concise and the descriptions of work, personality conflicts, student concerns and the main plot line of fear and mystery focused on Lam and his family weave together to form a great mystery!

I really enjoyed the various conflicts and frustrations that Lam encountered, both internally and externally. Lam’s marital concerns and even his stress impacting his parenting of his two sons speak volumes into the psychology of the storyline. The depth of human nature and our response to external stress is a great pivotal point in the story.

If you enjoy suspense and mystery stories, be sure not to miss Sacrificial Lam!

The Ghost and Mrs Miller by Sandra Tilley


The Ghost and Mrs Miller by Sandra Tilley
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (359 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Libby Miller is a good Southern girl, and good Southern girls know the rules. But fate has no rules. On her nineteenth wedding anniversary, fate whips up a tornado of turmoil when Libby finds her husband Neil in the arms of his assistant. But the storm’s not over. Neil flips his BMW, and Libby comes home to find his ghost in the dining room. How is Libby supposed to grieve and move on with Neil’s ever-present, meddling ethereal presence in her life?

With her twentieth high school reunion looming, Libby finds herself torn between two men from her past. One man promises passion and a new beginning, and the other wants to pick up where they left off. Neil stirs up a maelstrom of mischief, making it almost impossible for Libby to sort through the rubble. Libby anticipates a confrontation between her two suitors–not a shadowy stalker who chooses the reunion as his setting for a showdown.

In Libby’s quest for independence, she rejects the one man who can save her. Can she compromise the price of her freedom, or will it cost her a second chance at love and put her life in danger?

On the night of her nineteenth wedding anniversary Libby discovers her husband has been cheating on her. After ramming his shiny white BMW with her tatty old car, she drives home with her mind in turmoil. Her children are away so she is able to give in to her emotions, but a knock on the door brings her more bad news. It’s Eli, a police captain who is also a a childhood friend. He has come to tell her her husband, Neil has been in a crash and has not survived the accident.

With most stories this would be the end of the matter, Libby would move forward and find a new love who her kids would adore and all would be well. This story is different as Neil refuses to move on to the other side. He haunts Libby who can’t help herself taunting him about his indiscretion. This leads to many humorous moments when friends look at her weirdly as she talks to Neil, who they cannot see.

There’s also the stalker who keeps driving past her house which is in a gated community. Eli tries to help and also helps with various tasks around the property, but another childhood friend is also interested in Libby. For a believer in ghosts this is a very apt story about what could happen when a husband dies at what he considers the wrong moment in his life. There’s also the question, does Neil approve of her moving on, or would he like her to remain true to him? Good read with a nice twist to the story.

Where Danger Lies by Donna Del Oro


Where Danger Lies by Donna Del Oro
The Jake Bernstein FBI Series, Volume 3
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense/Mystery
Rating: Spicy
Length: Full (278 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

FBI Special Agent Jake Bernstein is recruited to help investigate two apparently unrelated cases while on medical leave in San Diego. A female officer assigned to Naval Base Coronado has been killed and a Muslim woman is viciously beaten and left for dead.

Meg Larsen is in San Diego pursuing additional teaching credentials but is interested in becoming an active volunteer and helping Jake in his investigations. She’s more than ready for Jake to commit to her and give her a reason to alter her career plans but also gets drawn into the danger that surrounds his cases.

Jake must use his training and skill to keep everyone safe but there’s a chance that even if he’s successful in solving the cases, his relationship with Meg may be a fatality.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. I haven’t read the first two in the series, so I worried a bit about being able to understand the undercurrents between characters and the backgrounds and such. While I do think my experience with the story might have been richer if I’d read the others, and I would have understood Meg and Jake’s relationship more fully, I never felt lost during my reading of this book.

The plot was solid and interesting. The author does a good job with red herrings and mysteries and leaves the reader wondering just which way is up. There are plenty of misleading clues, along with solid ones, so we are just as deceived and confused as Jake and his NCIs are. It takes some sorting and sleuthing to figure it all out, but the mystery definitely comes to a satisfying ending.

The romance, for me, wasn’t the strongest part of the book, and this may be where my not having read the first two stories may have put me at a slight disadvantage. In the beginning, it seems as if Meg doesn’t trust Jake (she grills him a bit about whether he was with another woman when he traveled for work) and that made me not like her as much as I wanted to. Of course, we’re in Jake’s POV and can see that he wasn’t being unfaithful, and can also see how he feels about Meg, so that may be part of that, too. I was already on his side and didn’t like Meg questioning his loyalty.

There were some odd word choices, and some phrasings throughout, that were a bit awkward for me. It’s very likely a personal issue and may not bother most readers, but they did pull me out of the story on occasion.

That said, I really did like Jake and enjoyed watching him (with help from a few other folks) unwind the mystery of the murder and assault. He’s a good, honorable guy with plenty of smarts (and looks) and made a great hero for this romantic suspense novel.

All-in-all an enjoyable read. I do wish I’d read the first two books, but only because I really liked Jake and wanted to know more about him and his background. My TBR pile is incredibly tall, but I may have to add the first two Jake Bernstein books to the top!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t Dream It’s Rover by Misty Simon


Don’t Dream It’s Rover by Misty Simon
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (77 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Things at the ghostly junkyard have calmed down since Mel Hargrove and her boyfriend, Becker, destroyed a nasty ghost bent on mischief and mayhem. So when Becker brings a stray dog to her house, one that seems to understand far more than it should and might have brought along a ghostly friend, she is not exactly happy. A junkyard full of ghosts is no place for a pet — or for ghosts she can’t see or talk to.

She tries everything she has in her arsenal to get answers, but time is running out when she finally realizes what they’re up against. No amount of hairspray, jelly shoes, or lace gloves is going to get her out of a confrontation that threatens not only her home but possibly her very life.

There’s something about being dead that makes some folks refuse to play by the rules.

Mel was a likeable and interesting main character. Her compassionate reaction to Mumford, the stray dog who had recently wandered into her life, only made me like her more than I already did. I was also amused by how she responded once she realized that he was different than most dogs.

There were some pacing issues. This book started off with a lot of stuff happening at once, so I was surprised by how much it slowed down after the first scene or two. It would have been nice to spread some of those plot twists out more. I had trouble staying focused on the plot during the slower sections of it.

The world building was well done. I started imagining the people and places who were part of it in vivid detail as soon as I finished the first page. It was especially interesting to find out what the author’s ideas were about why some folks become ghosts after death while others go straight on to the afterlife. Her explanation made perfect sense for the tone of the storyline, and it was also downright emotionally satisfying for me as a reader.

This is the second part in a series, but it can be read on its own or out of order. I hadn’t read part one yet, and I didn’t have any issues keeping up with what was going on.

Don’t Dream It’s Rover was a spooky, fun tale that I’d recommend to anyone who likes a little humour in their ghost stories.

Trouble Cove by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier


Trouble Cove by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (194 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Far from the all the action of World War I, in a charming tourist’s spot on Cape Breton Island, Elizabeth Eames has stumbled into the most wonderful man in the world. She’s landed herself in a world where wealth reigns supreme; where any eligible bachelor would meet her mother’s aspirations. Of course, she’s dead set on the one she’s certain should not be mentioned in her letters home. Actually, there’s a lot she’s not mentioning. Something is not-quite-right at the grand resort Oceanside, but Elizabeth isn’t giving up her one great chance…

Will Elizabeth’s time in Cape Breton be the adventure of a lifetime, or a huge mistake?

Elizabeth’s job at the Oceanside resort isn’t exactly her dream job, but, as her mother hoped, it has placed her in the midst of some very wealthy and well-connected bachelors. However, as Summer gives way to Fall, Elizabeth becomes convinced that something sinister is going on at the resort. Many of the guests are lingering long after the resort should have closed. They all have their reasons, but Elizabeth is skeptical. Are some of the guests up to no good, or is Elizabeth simply imagining things?

Elizabeth is a delightful character who finds beauty and magic in the world around her. She has a vivid imagination, and I enjoyed watching her create wonderfully detailed stories for people and places she encounters. While her imaginings might not be entirely accurate, they are certainly entertaining. I hope she never loses her ability to perceive the world in such a creative way.

Elizabeth’s heart is set on Daro from the moment she meets him. Unfortunately, he is neither wealthy nor well-connected. None of this matters to Elizabeth, and while she knows a future with Daro is unlikely, she endeavors to spend as much time with him as possible. I would have liked Elizabeth and Daro to have a stronger, more well-defined connection. It is abundantly clear how Elizabeth’s feels, but Daro’s feelings and intentions are a bit of a mystery until very close to the end of the story. However, I’m confident that they have the potential to be a great couple, and their happy ending is well deserved.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Trouble Cove. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet, historical romance with just a hint of mystery and danger.

Red Curtains by Leanna Sain


Red Curtains by Leanna Sain
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (338 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Cleo Davis must find a model for her senior art project or she won’t graduate. When she discovers Lily Telfair-Gordon, she gets more than just an eccentric old woman who spouts famous quotes, talks to ghosts, and wears a weird hat. Lily has unwittingly stumbled upon a counterfeiting ring, and Cleo gets dragged right into the middle of it.

Jonas Holmes, an investigative reporter for the local paper, is asking the question: why do bodies of homeless men keep showing up in the river? But the homeless are scared and won’t talk to him. When he finds Cleo and Lily, he thinks his problems are solved; he doesn’t realize that they’re just beginning.

While romance blossoms between Cleo and Jonas, they work together to see how the two things are connected, but will they find out before it’s too late?

Just before the first chapter begins there is a note from the author that says “I alternate points of view between Cleo, Jonas, and Lily. Each chapter will tell you from whose eyes we’re viewing the story.”

I want to thank Ms. Sain for warning me that she’d alternate points of view between the main characters. I’ve never read a book written like that and I think that I would have been out of my element if I didn’t have that warning. I know I would not have enjoyed the book as much as I did. It took me a few chapters to get into the swing of it. It was an amazing ride once I figured out how to switch gears. It was really nifty to see different perspectives from the main characters especially when they were all involved in the suspense/mystery. It was like viewing a scene from three different angles. It’s hard to describe therefore I really suggest this book needs to be put on the must read list.

Why else should this book be on a must read list? You mean, besides for being a well written, unique and totally captivating plot? Well, it should be on a must read list for the love of the characters. They were well developed and unforgettable. Lily Telfair-Gordon, Jonas Holmes and Cleo – the three of them together make for a positively entertaining story. Cleo is the heroine of the story and not your typical heroine. In fact in the author’s note she explains her type of heroine and I quote, “I create main characters who are strong, creative, successful Southern women—GRITS, if you will. No, they’re not perfect, but they grow and overcome some pretty big obstacles, coming out stronger and more confident at the end.” That sums it up better than I ever could which is why I had no choice but to quote the author’s note again. I loved Cleo and found her relatable because many people experience shyness at one time or another. I loved how she overcame her shyness with the help of Lily. Lily was an amazing character as well. I especially enjoyed her famous quotes that were threaded throughout the novel. Jonas was the hero and while this was more than a romance story with all the suspense/mystery, there definitely was still the thread of a romance between Cleo and Jonas. It was sweet and blossomed slowly into a beautiful enduring relationship. Their romance could be considered most realistic and win a “most genuine couple” award. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jonas right along with Cleo.

The synopsis explains there is the suspense/mystery of the counterfeiting ring and bodies of homeless men showing up in the river. I was on the edge of my seat. Talk about plot twists that were unpredictable. I don’t dare speak of it for fear of giving a spoiler.

I also wanted to mention the setting was in Savannah, Georgia. The author described it in a way that now I totally want to go there on vacation. I love cities with history such as St. Augustine, FL which I have visited. Unfortunately, homelessness is an issue in many big cities such as it is in Savannah Georgia and this novel brings the issue front and center but not in my face to the point that it detracted from the story. I was made aware of the issue through the character, Lily. I need to reference the authors note, again, because I think it’s important to tell future readers that the author stated that a portion of the proceeds from the sales of this book will go to the Stand Down program that was mentioned in the story to help the homeless in Savannah, Georgia.

In conclusion, Red Curtains was a wonderful book. It was well worth my time and I actually feel honored that I got to read this book. I don’t recall ever feeling that way about a book but this one touched my heart. I appreciate the time the author took to write a memorable novel for me to read that I won’t soon forget. Thank you. I encourage others to pick up this book and hopefully they’ll be as touched and as entertained as I was with this thrilling suspense/mystery romance.

The Haunting of Hotel Labelle by Sharon Buchbinder


The Haunting of Hotel Labelle by Sharon Buchbinder
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (201 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

When hotel inspector, Tallulah Thompson, is called in along with her pug, Franny, to investigate renovation delays, she meets an extremely annoyed and dapper turn-of-the-century innkeeper. The only problem is he’s in limbo, neither dead nor alive, and Tallulah and the pug are the first to see him in a hundred years. Cursed by a medicine woman, “Love ‘em and Leave ‘em Lucius” Stewart is stuck between worlds until he finds his true love and gives her his heart. When he first sees Tallulah, he doesn’t know what he’s feeling. Yet, her stunning beauty, and feisty attitude pull him in. With the fate of Hotel LaBelle on the line, Tallulah with the help of a powerful medicine woman turns Lucius back into a flesh and blood man. She and Lucius team up to save the hotel, but Tallulah can’t help but wonder if he will ever let go of his past love and learn to love again.

Lucius Stewart, owner of the Hotel LaBelle, loves Mourning Dove, a Native Indian of the Crow nation. When Mourning Dove dies her mother puts a curse on Lucius and he hovers between the spirit world and the real world unable to interact with either.

Over one hundred years later Tallulah Thompson arrives at the hotel to discover why it is losing money. It’s present owner is not what he originally seems to be and when Lucius discovers Tallulah can see him, he begins to follow her everywhere.

This is a ghost story with a twist as the ghost is a spirit out of his mortal body and technically not a ghost.

The concept of a woman falling for a spirit has been done before, but this story has the extra touch of Lucius trying to recover his life and his hotel.

The emotional impact of this story is well handled and this alone would tempt me, but there os also the hidden life of the new owner to be considered plus the way he is ruining the hotel. His actions anger Lucius and provide some comical moments.

Good book, well written and obviously well researched as well. Excellent.