And They Lived Happily Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales Boxed Set by Maddie James, Janet Eaves, Cat Shaffer, Arlene Hittle, Jennifer Anderson, May Williams

And They Lived Happily Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales Boxed Set by Maddie James, Janet Eaves, Cat Shaffer, Arlene Hittle, Jennifer Anderson, May Williams
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (628 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet, Sensual, and Spicy (depending on the story)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

…and they lived happily ever after. A modern fairy tales boxed set.

This boxed set includes six modern fairy tales by popular and bestselling romance authors. In this set you will find:

Red: A Seduction Tale by Maddie James (Little Red Riding Hood)
Sins of the Father by Janet Eaves (Sleeping Beauty)
Dixie White and the Seven Dates by Cat Shaffer (Snow White)
Just Right by Arlene Hittle (The Three Bears)
Death Sat Beside Her by Jennifer Anderson (Little Miss Muffet)
Playing the Piper by May Williams (The Pied Piper)

And They Lived Happily Ever After has a little bit of everything!

”Playing the Piper” by May Williams (Contemporary-sensual)

Penny is a very entertaining heroine. Her inner thoughts and the things she writes in her diary never failed to bring a smile to my face. I love how good she is with her students. However, Penny is very insecure. She frequently jumps to conclusions about James and his motivations concerning her and the park she loves. I could understand her misgivings the first time around, but they seemed to straighten things out fairly quickly. Unfortunately at the very next sign of trouble, Penny is ready to believe the worst again. The situation Penny and James find themselves in is very difficult, but without trust they aren’t going to make it very far. Will Penny finally give James a chance or will she let her insecurities cloud her judgment?

Some of the secondary characters in this short story are very nasty at the beginning but undergo some dramatic changes by the end. I understood the reason for one character’s change, but some of the others changed very quickly and without much explanation. Consequently, I found those parts unrealistic.

I also think that Penny and James’ relationship progresses too quickly, especially given Penny’s inability to trust James. However, the ending was still sweet and the situation with the park is solved in an interesting and fun way.

“Just Right” by Arlene Hittle (Contemporary-sensual)

I truly felt sorry for Callie. She has fame, good looks, and money. From the outside, her life might look perfect. However, I don’t envy the price Callie has paid for fame. As I watched Callie struggle to manage her public persona versus her personal life, it was easy to see why she needed a vacation out of the spotlight.

Ty and his brothers are certainly an interesting group. They teased each other unmercifully, but they also cared for and looked out for each other. Callie was nothing like Ty expected her to be, and their first encounter with each other was anything but smooth. I could certainly sense some underlying chemistry. However, I found it very hard to get a sense of what kind of couple Callie and Ty will be. He is very jealous and possessive right from the start even though they don’t know each other very well. Most of their encounters are antagonistic despite their physical attraction. In spite of these issues, Ty is a good man who just wants to protect the woman he loves from the ugly side of the media.

I must say that I found the “happy for now” ending to be very realistic and a good solution for Callie and Ty. Callie’s schedule is very demanding and while being famous has definite drawbacks, she isn’t ready to leave the spotlight just yet. I’m not sure what the future will hold for this new couple, but I think they are on the right track.

“Red” by Maddie James (Paranormal-spicy)

“Red” was by far the most unusual story in this collection. There is a lot about Garnet’s world that I don’t understand. Even Garnet doesn’t seem to know much about it. I definitely think the magic and the history of Garnet’s family needed to be expanded in greater detail. While a bit of mystery is intriguing, Garnet was put in a position of making major, life changing decisions mere moments after learning that her family is much more than it seems. I understand that her family thought they were protecting Garnet by allowing her some time to live a normal life, but I think it is unfair to spring everything on her right before she’s called to make a monumental decision.

Garnet’s relationship with Max ignites from the moment they meet and the chemistry between them burns brighter with each turn of the page. Sex between them is nothing short of scorching. However, I do wish they had had more time to get to know each other. Unfortunately time is something neither of them seem to have. Does Garnet make the right choice, or will the night end in disappointment?

“Death Sat Beside Her” by Jennifer Anderson (Suspense-sensual)

Elysse is a sweet girl, but she is stuck conforming to her mother’s idea of what a young lady should be. Her mom strikes me as very old fashioned and controlling. I know that her mother loves her, but it was clear to me that Elysse was struggling to gain her mother’s approval and was losing her individuality in the process.

Everything changes when Liam walks into her life. The attraction between them is clear from the start. Unfortunately, Elysse has a boyfriend. As I read, I wasn’t sure how the love triangle was going to play out. I can’t give any details without ruining the story, but I will say that I found it very easy to cheer for Liam.

I enjoyed watching Elysse begin to distance herself from the carefully crafted image she’s maintained for so long. Elysse says she’s making the changes because she wants too, but I couldn’t help but wonder if Elysse was simply trying to remake herself into the kind of girl she thought Liam would like.

It was very easy for me to figure out who the murderer was. The suspense of this story came from not knowing who the next victim would be and wondering when Liam and Elysse would put all the pieces of the puzzle together. The conclusion is very satisfying, and I have no doubt that Liam and Elysse are well on their way to a happy ending.

“Sins of the Father” by Janet Eaves (Contemporary-spicy)

Aurora has led a very sheltered life thanks to her overprotective aunts. I must admit that I’m not entirely sure why Aurora’s family went to such great lengths to insulate her from the world. There is some violence in Aurora’s past, but she was too young at the time to remember anything and drastic steps were taken to conceal Aurora’s identity. Aurora certainly needed some degree of protection, but the situation with the aunts just didn’t sit right with me.

Consequently, it is very easy to understand Aurora’s powerful urge to break away. I do think she made some very poor decisions in the process. She is very trusting of Philip, a man she knows nothing about, and she puts herself in an extremely vulnerable position. Fortunately, Philip is a very nice guy, and I enjoyed watching Aurora and Philip relax in each other’s company.

As the story progressed, and the truth of Aurora’s past is revealed, Ms. Eaves did a good job of building the suspense. When Aurora finally learns about her parents and who Philip is, I couldn’t wait to find out what their next step would be. Unfortunately, the story ended at this point. I must admit to being disappointed as I had hoped for a more satisfying conclusion.

“Dixie White and the Seven Dates” by Cat Shaffer (Contemporary-Sweet)

Dorothea’s story is easily my favorite from this anthology. She had my sympathy from page one when she learns some ugly things about her boyfriend. Rather than wallow in self pity, Dorothea decides to take control of her life for the first time. As I read, I had the pleasure of watching Dorothea blossom into a vibrant, caring young woman I’d be proud to call a friend. It took courage for Dorothea to walk away from everything she’s ever known. Fortunately, Dorothea discovers a wonderful small town in Kentucky that nurtures her new found desire to grown and change.

Ms. Shaffer did an excellent job creating the charming small town of Cardington, Kentucky, and most of the people who lived there were just as lovely, especially Lou and Len. Without their support and encouragement, Dorothea’s quest for independence would have been much more difficult.

The blind dates Dorothea goes on are entertaining. However, the men she met seemed more like caricatures rather than real people. Some of the dates were better than others, but I wasn’t surprised that Dorothea didn’t really click with any of them.

Rick is definitely a great guy. He and Dorothea are very comfortable around each other, and they have the beginnings of great chemistry. Their slow dance is particularly memorable. I have no doubt that they will grow into a wonderful couple.

I enjoyed reading And They Lived Happily Ever After. Each story is different with a unique take on various classic fairy tales. I recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance.

Just Right by Arlene Hittle

Just Right by Arlene Hittle
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (107 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Myrtle

Home improvement shouldn’t look this good…
America’s Sweetheart, Callista Gold, needs an escape from Hollywood—and the scandalous photos hackers leaked to the tabloids. She buys a cottage in northern Arizona, sight unseen, and heads for what she thinks will be a mountain retreat. But like her now-tainted reputation, Rosewood Cottage needs some major fixing-up. Contractor Tyler Behr—one-third of Behr Construction—is just the man for the job. Problem is Ty had other plans: buy Rosewood and flip it. He agrees to work for the frosty beauty, with thoughts of delaying the project long enough for her to get bored and go back to wherever she came from.

But Callie is no prissy miss. She jumps in to help with the renovations, perfectly at home with construction—and one particular construction worker. Sparks ignite between them with every swing of the hammer, until a photo of Ty and Callie in a compromising position creates another scandal for her and a dilemma for him. He’s never been big on sharing, not even something as simple as loaning power tools to his own brothers. How can he share the woman he loves with the movie-going public?

Callista Gold is America’s Sweetheart, Hollywood-style. But when a scandalous secret is exposed, she heads for anonymity, and peace and quiet in Northern Arizona. What she finds is completely unexpected.

Starlet Callie goes into hiding after a set of nude photos is released to the public, courtesy of a hacker. She eludes reporters and paparazzi by buying an old fixer-upper cottage in a small off-the-beaten-path town in Northern Arizona, sight unseen. Little does she know that she just bought the cottage right out from under Ty Behr, one-third of a local remodeling team of handsome brothers. Ty, Jeff, and Will Behr had plans to purchase the property, remodel it, and then flip it for a nice profit. The youngest brother, Ty, was the brainchild of the failed plan and he’s not happy to find out that the cottage has a new owner, beautiful or not.

In a turn of events, Callie ends up hiring “Baby Behr” and his brothers to do the remodeling job, and with nothing else to do but hideout until the media storm blows over, Callie decides to jump in to help with the remodeling, and she isn’t a bit afraid of using a sledgehammer when needed. And it seems both Ty and Jeff notice – everything. Although eldest brother Will tries to keep his two brothers focused on the job, the two find themselves at odds over Callie. And since Ty was never good at sharing, Jeff had a fun time riling him.

The story had its amusing moments, but I did not see it as a romantic comedy, as billed. Some incidents were more embarrassing and awkward than funny, such as the time Callie traipses out into the woods behind her cottage, only to realize she doesn’t have her cell phone so she doesn’t know what time it is, but knows she is hungry. She finds “the widest pine tree in the area” and squats. Unbeknownst to her, one of the handsome Behr brothers also decides to find a tree. Startled and caught with her pants down, Callie falls into an unfortunate “patch of bright green leaves.” Yep, you guessed it!

Most of the time, the relationships came off as fickle and seemed to have a malfunctioning stop and go button. And frankly, even though I wanted to believe the three men and Callie got along well with each other, the relationships were not convincing and I never felt more than an awkward employer/employee relationship, even when Callie and the men became attracted to one another. Although I believe the author intended a multiple viewpoint story, the method was not fully successful. Callie often posed questions to herself and then answered, before the next sentence gave Ty a turn doing the same. At times, it was confusing trying to decipher who was answering whose question.

If you enjoy stories of Hollywood starlets and their search for normalcy amid chaos, this is a quick amusing read.

Shallow Graves by Christina Wolfer

Shallow Graves by Christina Wolfer
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (185 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Be Careful What Secrets You Dig Up

When a young girl’s body is discovered in a shallow grave on a farm outside of Ripley, Ohio, FBI Agent Kendal McNally returns to her estranged hometown to investigate. The similarities to another murder on the same farm seventeen years earlier is unnerving, not to mention the fact that she helped put her best friend’s father behind bars for the crime. Her search for the truth puts her in the middle of a serial killer’s graveyard.

Reed Harvey’s life was turned upside down when his father was convicted of murder. It didn’t help that Kendal had been the key witness in the trial or that she turned her back on him and their friendship. Now she has returned to investigate another murder, living in an apartment above his restaurant and making him remember what almost was.

Despite their pasts, Kendal and Reed turn to each other as Kendal’s investigation unravels a web of lies in a town where everyone thought they knew everyone’s business. And when another girl goes missing, Kendal will unearth a devastating secret that may put an end to the murders—except one. Hers.

Can Kendal right the wrongs of the past?

Kendal is definitely a tough heroine. After escaping a physically and emotionally abusive father, Kendal built a successful career as an FBI agent. She never dreamed she go back to her hometown on a case she’s personally connected too. Her homecoming to Ripley is very awkward, especially given her father’s position in the community. All of their interactions are toxic and prone to exploding into scary confrontations. In addition to facing her father, Kendal also comes face to face with her former best friend and first love, Reed.

Kendal and Reed are beyond damaged by their pasts. I couldn’t help but mourn the loss of their innocence and how wonderful their budding young romance might have been. Kendal and Reed constantly doubt the other’s motivations. They have spent years keeping people at arm’s length. Kendal in particular seems to be obsessed with never letting anyone see her as weak. While I understand that Kendal and Reed have had to be strong to overcome the challenges they’ve faced in life, they just don’t seem to know when to quit. They are so busy trying to protect themselves that they fail to see the damage they do to each other. It is frustrating to watch them together because it is clear that they have strong feelings for each other, but refuse to admit it. As I read, I couldn’t help but think that one honest conversation would work wonders for the couple. Even though the road to their happy ending is going to be bumpy, I think it will all be worth it in the end.

I must say that Ms. Wolfer knows how to write a good suspense. The pacing in Shallow Graves is excellent, and I could hardly put the book down once I started it. It is difficult to figure out who the murderer is because there are several plausible suspects. The ending is well done and very satisfying. Although I must say there is still a bit of a loose end where Kendal’s father is concerned. I would really have liked to see him pay for some of the terrible things he’s done. However, I can safely assure readers that his life will never be the same now that his secrets are out.

Shallow Graves is a thoroughly enjoyable book. The characters are well rounded and the pacing kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend it to fans of romantic suspense.

A Dose of Romance by Cheryl Norman


A Dose of Romance by Cheryl Norman
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (150 Pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Reviewed by Myrtle

Just weeks before his wedding, a young man finds his soul mate.

Drake Springs Pharmacist Woody Fox and single mom waitress Tiffany Blair have a unique friendship: She’s not in the market for a boyfriend, and he’s off the market. He’s engaged to marry his college sweetheart and pursue a career in her father’s pharmaceutical firm. When friendship turns to romance, Woody must make a difficult decision.

Life as a single mom has enough challenges. Searching for love would only complicate things. So why does falling in love with the most complicated man of all, suddenly seem so easy?

Single mom Tiffany Blair is a waitress at Boyd’s Diner where the locals from the small town of Drake Springs gather. She knows their likes, dislikes, allergies, and coffee orders, as well as she knows her own. She is polite and helpful. She also knows the local happenings, but keeps most things to herself instead of adding to the rumor mill. And Woodrow “Woody” Fox notices it all.

Although engaged to his high school sweetheart, Woody can’t help but be drawn to the beautiful, kind, and caring waitress. Pharmacist by day, and charity deejay when needed, Woody prides himself on helping people. It’s the one thing he’s sure he loves. So when his fiancée refuses to join him in what she calls “Podunk” Springs, Woody finds himself keeping company with Tiffany, knowing neither of them is looking for love.

This book focuses on two people, Tiffany and Woody, and can easily accommodate a few secondary characters to help round out the story. But in the first twenty pages, 40+ named characters are introduced which made it difficult to know who the real players were in the story. I found myself trying to memorize names and occupations not knowing who was important to the storyline and who was not. I felt a bit defeated when, halfway through the book, I realized only six or seven people actually mattered to the story. I also thought it was a bit odd that folks who had lived in this small town their entire lives, like Tiffany and Woody, didn’t seem to know each other. In fact, Woody’s favorite car mechanic—who happens to be the only mechanic in town—is Tiffany’s father. There were also areas that I felt needed more structure and polish, which may have helped to eliminate “telling” portions of the story. For example, from page 49: “Let’s just talk.” She followed him back to his table, where she hopped up and sat on her cute little butt. Had Woody noticed her “cute little butt” rather than the narrator, the scene would have played better.

On the upside, this is an easy read for a peaceful summer day. Anxiety and tension are minimal. The characters are likeable, and the small town has a relaxing and enjoyable feel to it. Overall, the story had a charming quality, which kept me reading to the end.

If you like stress-free family stories, especially ones featuring hardworking, single mothers, A Dose of Romance may be the perfect read.

Ladies in Waiting by Linda Rettstatt

Ladies in Waiting by Linda Rettstatt
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (251 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Myrtle

Five very different women, each carrying her own secret, meet on the Jersey shore for a retreat: Embracing the New You: Reinventing Yourself After Fifty. A story about change, self-acceptance, and sisterhood.


The flyer reads: Embracing the New You: Reinventing Yourself After Fifty. Liv, Andi, Julia, Markie, and Cee Cee each arrive at the women’s retreat with her own agenda and her own secret. Retreat director, Bree, is called away for a family emergency and the five women are left on their own to deal with their differences, reveal their secrets and find what each is seeking.

Will differences divide or will sisterhood prevail?

Five women, each strangers with their life out of alignment, come together on the Jersey shore expecting eight days of respite, which might put their lives back on track. What each woman did not expect was to find new friends.

It’s one thing to be young and vibrant and know your dreams are ahead, but it’s quite another when you’re 50+ and realize you’ve been so busy holding life together for others, your own dreams have slipped away.

When Julia, Markie, Andi, Liv, and Cee Cee first meet, they find themselves stranded together on the front porch steps of Siochain – the women’s retreat whose name means peace. It’s easy to see these women are vastly different, and their personalities clash or cradle each other almost immediately.

Upon their arrival, Bree, the director of the retreat, is nowhere to be found. With the day’s heat bearing down, and menopausal Andi already complaining of heat flashes, Markie decides to search for a hidden key. “It’s not breaking in if you have a key,” she assures them. Once inside, they find out that Bree has been called away on a family emergency, and with each women desperate to get something from the “Reinventing Yourself After 50!” retreat, they decide to stay. During the week, the strengths and weaknesses of each woman come into play. We learn about their life struggle, as well as the secret each woman carries with her.

Romance is not a key element in this story, although love makes its own powerful point. So much so, in fact, that the reader may find themselves redefining their own understanding of it.

I found myself totally immersed in the lives of these five women. Their journey felt personal, as if they had shared their secrets with only me.

The character development in this book was superb! Only a masterful writer could create the individual backstory behind each of these characters. Readers, especially those who are 50+, may feel as though they’ve been on a women’s retreat themselves after finishing this wonderful novel.

The Long Road Home: Callie by Maddie James


The Long Road Home: Callie by Maddie James
The Montana McKennas Book 2
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (168 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 2.5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Leaving her job behind and heading home to Montana for a family emergency is worrisome enough, but when Callie McKenna’s New York future collides head-on with her Montana past, she is faced with making a life-altering decision.


Callie McKenna is going home. Her father has suffered a fall from his horse and she is needed back at the ranch. She temporarily leaves New York and her promotion behind to be with her family in Montana, planning only to stay until her father is well again.

But she doesn’t expect the worse, and Callie loses her father. Nor does she expect to rekindle an old relationship with ranch hand, Murphy Reynolds.

Nothing goes according to plan. Callie must face her past, to not only mend some family fences, but to figure out what is happening between her and Murphy. She knows the choices she makes now will shape her future. But will that future be with Murphy and her family on the ranch, or will it be back in New York, where her promotion waits along with that quaint little brownstone she adores?

Callie McKenna had her personal reasons for leaving for college and not returning home, but when she receives a call that her father is in the hospital she immediately returns. Will her visit bring about family resolutions and perhaps rekindled love?

The Long Road Home: Callie is a simple plot with a predictable ending. The story is well written as far as style and editing goes but lacked story depth to me.

The continued love between Callie McKenna and Murphy Reynolds over the years seemed odd.  In the ten years Callie was gone, Murphy never married and neither did she. In fact, it appeared neither was involved in any other romantic relationship, which seems very unlikely. They loved each other that much, but she never came back home–even just to see him–in ten years? Additionally, the author didn’t give many details about her problems back home, just that she didn’t get along with her step-mother and siblings. Callie seemed to be a rational person, and her life on the ranch didn’t see to be so horrible the she had to leave and never look back. Why punish her dad and brother, as well as Murphy, if she loved them so much? There just weren’t enough details to show issues realistic enough for me to believe she’d to stay away for so many years.

Still, it was an okay read and I’m not unhappy I picked it up. It was certainly readable and the author is clearly skilled. The emotional part about Callie losing her father was sad, and how the family gathered during the grieving process was heart felt. The ending was happy and the author showed the importance of family and resolving conflicts. I was glad the family was able to heal and resolve their differences. Also, I liked how the author showed Callie taking a chance and following her heart with her love life.

Breathing Space by Sylvia May

Breathing Space by Sylvia May
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (207 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Sometimes walking away from your life is the only way to find yourself.

Lydia’s vacation on Hyde Island turns into a journey of self-discovery. The island so entices her that she decides to stay, forsaking her family and obligations in Toronto. Her new life on the lush green island is peopled with interesting characters: a hippy scientist, a dashing Southern gentleman, a slimy boss, and an undocumented Mexican hotel maid with a sad history. As Lydia makes one questionable choice after another, she soon begins to understand why she so easily succumbed to Hyde Island’s lure.

How many of us have gone on holiday, either alone or with friends or family, and been reluctant to return home? I know I’ve been in this situation and there can be many reasons. Not wanting to return to humdrum life, not happy at home, or simply wanting a breathing space from everyday life.

As the title tells us, this book is about a breathing space for Lydia.

Hyde Island has provided her with a glorious place to paint and get away from family and obligations in Toronto, but when it comes time to return, she refuses to go back. This woman is clever and resourceful and finds herself a job and a place to stay while she tries to decide where her future will lead her. Freedom is the feeling she experiences on the island, but she knows it can’t last forever.

Lydia’s story pulled me gently into a soft relaxing time, with a little jolt every now and again to make me aware I had to think of the future too. All the way through the book I tried to guess if she would return to her life, start a completely new one or compromise. I got it wrong, but I’m not going to put in a spoiler. I definitely enjoyed this book and would be happy to read it again, or read another of Ms May’s stories.

One last thing I must say is I loved the cover. It encompassed exactly what the book was about and drew my attention in before the opening words.

The Heartbreaker by Maddie James

The Heartbreaker by Maddie James
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (196 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The heartbreaker is back in town…

Lucki Stevenson spends most of her time coaching unruly teenagers and avoiding the unwelcome advances of a co-worker in her Parks Department job. So when all-grown-up, boy-next-door, Dr. Sam Kirk moves back into his childhood home, she doesn’t hesitate welcoming him back into town and her life, as her childhood best friend, of course. Because that’s all they will ever be—best friends.

Sam broke her heart once; she won’t give him a chance to do it again.

Returning home to care for his younger brother J.J., after his mother’s death, Sam is happy to accept Lucki’s expert advice about kids—and even happier that the tomboy he remembers is now a beautiful woman. When Lucki agrees to help him with J.J., Sam is sure he’s on the road to success as an instant parent, and possibly as a husband—but first he’s got to convince Lucki that he’s not the heartbreaker of her past.

In fact, he might have to get the whole town in on the act.

This small town is a hoot!

I love the work of Maddie James. I know I’m going to get a story with heart that will stay with me. This one was no different. I’m glad I picked this book up. I won’t forget it.

The writing flows well. Once I opened the book, I had to know what would happen next. Lucki is great. I liked her hesitancy. I felt like I was right there with her, fumbling through what she was going to do with life and with Sam. She’s got a good head on her shoulders and I rooted for her right away. I loved how she worked out what she wanted to do with JJ, too. Smart girl.

Sam…at first, I didn’t like him much. I’ll be honest. I wanted to conk him on the head. I kept thinking, can’t you see what’s right in front of you? But with that said, I loved, LOVED the way the story was handled. Maddie James kept me right there, even when I wasn’t thrilled, needing to know that things would work out. I came around on Sam and by the end, I rooted for him, too.

If you want a book that’s great for a beach read or just a great quiet afternoon read, then this is the book for you.

Rescued by the Celtic Warrior by Amy Jarecki

Rescued by the Celtic Warrior by Amy Jarecki
Roman Love – Pict Desire Series
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (275 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

After arriving in Roman Britannia, Valeria is captured by savages. She prays the Romans will find her—but it’s Taran, a Pict warrior, who comes to Valeria’s rescue and ignites an unquenchable flame of passion that fills her soul.

Highborn and privileged, Valeria has never known life outside her father’s Roman fortress. But when Hadrian’s Wall falls, Valeria’s world shatters.

Ripped from her bed, she’s captured by savages. Terrified, she prays her betrothed will mount a rescue. But it is the enemy, a Pict with Celtic tattoos and hair of fire who wields his sword and fights for her freedom.

When she seeks refuge in the warrior’s stronghold, the Picts eye her with distrust and force her to earn her keep as a commoner. But the longer Valeria remains, the more agonizing it becomes to conceal her burning love for the Celtic warrior.

Will Taran’s people ever accept a Roman into their community?

Valeria’s life certainly changed a lot when she arrived at the Roman frontier. Valeria is a very innocent girl who has led an extremely sheltered life. When I started reading, I expected her to be a bit self absorbed. However, Valeria is a very kind and endearing young woman. Even though she doesn’t have much worldly experience, she genuinely cares for people of every station and tries to help others in need. Valeria doesn’t lack courage when it comes to facing difficult situations. Unfortunately, her practical knowledge is certainly deficient. I give her credit for learning how to handle herself in the wild and being humble enough to know when she needed help. Taran’s unexpected appearance in her life challenges everything she’s ever known about the world. Her eyes are quickly opened to the fact that Roman society is far from perfect. I enjoyed watching her learn to think for herself and grow from a fragile girl into a strong woman.

Valeria and Taran are a bit of an odd couple. Despite coming from completely different backgrounds, they have an almost immediate connection. Even though they find themselves in several intense situations, I like that they were still able to take time to get to know each other. They have great chemistry that sizzles with each encounter. Unfortunately, Taran and Valeria’s union will not go unopposed. The elders of Taran’s tribe aren’t about to let a Roman enter their community without serious consideration. Will Valeria survive the challenge or lose Tarn forever?

I think Ms. Jarecki paced the tale very well. There was plenty of fast paced action interspersed with some slower sections. In addition, several situations had rather surprising outcomes. Just when I thought I knew how things would play out, Ms. Jarecki threw in a twist or two. This kept the story fresh and interesting without seeming too farfetched.

Rescued by the Celtic Warrior is an entertaining read. Valeria and Taran are great main characters and their romance is certainly compelling. I recommend this tale of love and courage to fans of historical romance.

Second Chances by Magdalena Scott

Second Chances by Magdalena Scott
Ladies of Legend: Return to Legend
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (85 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Second chances. Sometimes the hardest part is believing they exist.
Anne McClain Bradley returns to her small town roots after an absence of 30 years. Pete Garrity is in Legend, Tennessee, for a new start in a place where nobody knows him.

Ms Adeline Bynum, recently deceased, has a hand in bringing them both here.

Legend has a way of healing broken hearts. But can Anne and Pete let go of the tragedies of their pasts in order to have a future together?

All Anne wants is some peace, but she might get more then she bargained for.

The last couple years of Anne’s life have been filled with hardship and tragedy. When she returns to Legend, all Anne wants is some tranquility and time to heal. If anyone deserves a long rest, it is Anne. Pete is the last person she expected to see in her hometown. Pete’s reappearance in her life is problematic. His presence forces her to face some things in her past she’d rather forget. Does Anne have the courage to face the past, or will she let her second chance slip through her fingers?

I have to admit that I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Anne and Pete at first. It was clear from the start that Pete was attracted to Anne, but I wasn’t sure how she felt until much later. I do wish there had been more interaction between them. While I knew how Pete felt, it was hard to get a real sense of their chemistry because they didn’t spend much time together. In fact, Anne seemed intent on avoiding Pete because of something painful in their shared past. Despite this issue, I did enjoy watching the town of Legend work its magic on this reluctant couple.

Ms. Scott did an excellent job at slowly revealing the past connection between Anne and Pete. Anne’s past is certainly painful, but as I read, it became clear that there was much more to it then I first realized. Ms. Scott left a trail of clues that seemed to point in a heartbreaking direction, but the situation wasn’t quite what it seemed. The conclusion was very surprising and even a little refreshing. I no doubt that Anne will now be able to fully heal and open her heart to new possibilities.

I enjoyed reading Second Chances. Anyone looking for a fast yet heartwarming romance should give Second Chances a try.