Sleuthing the Klondike by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

Sleuthing the Klondike by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey
Publisher: BWL, Inc (Books We Love, Inc)
Genre: Historical Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Chamomile

Helen Castrel and her lady’s maid, Mattie Lewis, have just arrived in Victoria, British Columbia, from England. Helen hires Detective Baxter Davenport to go with them to Dawson City and help find her brother David, who was sent to Canada as a remittance man ten years ago. Mattie has come along to look after Helen and also because she has her own motive to find David.

The last word the family had from David, he was on his way to the Klondike gold rush at Dawson City. Before they leave Victoria Helen and Baxter discover that a man had been killed the summer before and had never been identified. They wonder if he was David.

But Helen is determined to find her brother alive and the three head north armed with an old photograph and a recent description provided by David’s former landlady. When they arrive in Dawson City, the gold rush is in full swing and they are challenged by deceit, fraud, and danger in their quest to find David.

This one starts off with an interesting twist and pulled me along for an exciting ride! It’s not often that a mystery can keep me guessing until the final pages, but this one does just that!

Helen and Baxter make for an unusual pair, but as the story picks us their teamwork, along with the help of some friends, provides for a wonderful search for the truth. When all hope seems lost, a new clue or twist will put them back on the hunt. I loved meeting the cast in this one and enjoyed the storytelling.

Joan Donaldson-Yarmey is a new author to me, and I’d not heard of the Canadian / Alaskan mystery books that inspired and included this story before picking this one up but love the idea and am so glad I got to read this one!

Tangled Love by Rosemary Morris

Tangled Love by Rosemary Morris
Publisher: Books We Love
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full length (191 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Dryas

Tangled Love is the story of two great estates. The throne has been usurped by James II’s daughter and son-in-law, Mary and William of Orange. In 1693, loyal to his oath of allegiance, ten-year old Richelda’s father must follow James to France.

Before her father leaves, he gives her a ruby ring she will treasure and wear on a chain round her neck. In return, Richelda swears an oath to try to regain their ancestral home, Field House.
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By the age of eighteen, Richelda’s beloved parents are dead. She believes her privileged life is over. At home in dilapidated Belmont House, her only companions are her mother’s old nurse and her devoted dog, Puck. Clad in old clothes, she dreams of elegant dresses, and trusts her childhood friend Dudley, a poor parson’s son, who promised to marry her, but he is not as he seems.

Richelda’s wealthy aunt takes her to London and arranges her marriage to Viscount Chesney, the new owner of Field House. Richelda is torn between love for Dudley and her oath to regain Field House, where it is rumoured there is treasure. If she finds it, Richelda hopes to ease their lives. However, while searching for it, will her life be in danger?

We get to meet Richelda Shaw as a young child, confused by the politics of 1693 England where James II, the real King of England has been overthrown by his daughter Mary and her husband William. This affects her whole life as her father left to go to France to join the real king and left her and her Mother virtually penniless. The one thing that saves the family is the fact that Bellemont Manor is in her mother’s name. We get to learn about the main mission of her life, to regain the ancestral estate of Field House as she promised her father. Another reason she wants to regain Field House is because of the family legend. This legend is a common thread woven through the story of how one of their ancestors, a buccaneer named Sir Nicholas hid a fortune in Field House. The figurehead of Sir Nicholas’s ship whom he called Lady Luck was still placed on the fireplace mantel.

I adore Chesney; his good looks are only matched by his golden heart. He never lies to Richelda. He makes sure that she knows that he not only likes her for her beauty but also her spunk, and care for her friends, including the mongrel of a dog she had in the country. Her feelings for Chesney confuse her as her body responds to his touch and kisses but her brain rebels at each step. When she finds out that he had a mistress, and meets her in person when she calls upon her aunt a line is drawn between them.

I did think there was a little too many unnecessary details. There were some things I thought could have been cut without affecting the story. It could make for some long reading, mostly after Richelda had a fight with Chesney.

This was a wonderful, romantic, action packed novel that shows that you never really know someone until push comes to shove. It also shows that jealousy can make or break a relationship and opening one’s heart up and talking through feelings can keep from relationships breaking, and that being naïve about feelings can get you in a ton of trouble. Love can come to those that wait though and perseverance can break down any wall.

Her Vanquished Land by Diane Scott Lewis

Her Vanquished Land by Diane Scott Lewis
Publisher: BWL Publishing Inc.
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (272 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

In 1780, Loyalist Rowena Marsh insists on spying for the British during the American Revolution. As a girl, she must dress as a boy, plus endure devastation and murder as she decodes messages for a mysterious Welshman.

The tide has turned in the rebels’ favor. General George Washington appears to be winning. The loyalists are bombarded by threats and lost battles. Rowena stays determined to aid the British cause and preserve her family as they’re chased from their Pennsylvania home.

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This book starts out with a bang, and from a point of view readers are not often graced with. American loyalists are attacked by patriots during the American Revolution. Rowena, at seventeen, is a strong young woman, and quite the tomboy. Her brothers are fighting in the king’s army.

The story is peppered with period details, immersing us in this world. Rowena wants adventure and to be actively involve with the war effort, which would put her in danger. Seeing things through the eyes of a Loyalist family puts a new perspective on things. This is not a bad family. American readers can even sympathize with them if not agree with them. This is a good sign of good writing, giving us a fascinating view that is rarely seen.

There’s a mystery early on: Is Rowena’s cousin James a spy for the Loyalists, or is he possibly a Patriot?

And what about those just trying to survive this? Danger escalates. An underlying message of women’s importance, their contribution in the war weaves itself around the exciting plot.

It is a well-written story, produced by an author who knows the era. It comes across as very realistic. Rowena is constantly worried that the Royalists will not be victorious and what will become of her and her family if the “Rebels” win the war. We readers, knowing the outcome of the war, can’t help but to worry for this lovable character, whatever side we sympathize with. The author has done a good job of showing that people on both sides were complicated and not all good or bad.

Occasionally Rowena has a thought of understanding for the rebel side, making readers wonder how far this will go in the end. Details of espionage and intrigue keep those pages turning. This is an exciting historical novel well worth the read.

Seducing the Chef by Janet Lane Walters


Seducing the Chef by Janet Lane Walters
Publisher: Books We Love
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Heat: Hot
Rated: 3 stars
Review by Poppy

Allie Blakefield, editor of Good Eatin’ wants to do a feature on Five Cuisines a restaurant across the river from NY City. Her father forbids the feature and won’t say why. She’s not one to sit back and be ruled by someone. She borrows a friend’s apartment.
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While leaning over the balcony she sees a handsome dark haired man doing a Yoga routine. He looks up and she is struck by the Blakefield curse. Love at first sight.

Smoking hot!

Wow … when the blurb says “love at first sight” it isn’t kidding. The relationship between our hero and heroine goes from zero to 60 in about two pages.

I read this story knowing it was short, so I understand that it’s tough to fully develop a plot or characters in so few pages. I’ve tried to figure that into my feelings about the book, and into my rating. The author is definitely talented. Her skill is undeniable and her voice is fun and easy to read, and I have no issue with that at all. And, although there were a few editing errors and wrong word use, technically, it was a good story.

My issue was the speed of the relationship development. “Love at first sight” doesn’t have to mean leaping into bed moments after meeting someone (and before knowing anything about them … integral to the story is the fact their families are enemies, but since they barely get each other’s first names before getting naked, they have no idea). They progress quickly to a little very light bondage, which felt out of place since that requires a bit of trust and how do you build real trust in a day? I’m not adverse to a story with plenty of sex (especially well-written sex, which this was, though a bit less descriptive than erotic romance), so it wasn’t that abundance that was frustrating, just that I felt as if the plot suffered because so much space was given to sex instead of story.

Still, I really did appreciate the author’s voice and I would definitely pick up another one of her books to try. And if you prefer lots of heat in your stories, this may be a great choice for you to read.

His Shadowed Heart by Hazel Statham

His Shadowed Heart by Hazel Statham
Publisher: Books We Love
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (99 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Can a shadowed heart be healed? Can love grow where least expected? The Earl of Waverly believes not. How wrong can he be!

After the death of his wife, the Earl of Waverly, believing his heart irreparably damaged, enters into a marriage of convenience. However, he is not prepared for the healing influence his new young bride has on his life.
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Despite the couple’s new-found happiness, nefarious deeds abound and strange happenings are attributed to the ghost of his former wife. Will their love stand the test or will the perpetrator emerge the victor?

More than shadows darken Richard and Caroline’s future.

I thought the arrangement Richard and Caroline entered into was interesting from the start. Caroline is smitten with Richard from the moment they meet, so I found it easy to believe she would be eager to marry him, even though it was only supposed to be a marriage of convenience. Though Richard professed not to have any serious feelings for Caroline, it is clear that he is very fond of her. As they spent more time together, their bond gradually strengthened. They have many obstacles to overcome before they reach their happy ending, including an enemy lurking in the shadows trying to sabotage their happiness. Richard is also tormented by memories of his past. He wants to let Caroline in, but every time I thought he was making progress, something would remind him of his former wife and he would push Caroline away. I kept wondering how long Richard would let his past ruin his future with Caroline.

I have to give Caroline credit. She is a warm and caring woman with an enormous amount of patience. Caroline is fairly accommodating concerning Richard’s mood swings, but she isn’t weak. She is perfectly capable of standing up for herself when Richard crosses the line. Her personality is the perfect mixture of gentleness and strength and is exactly what Richard needed to help heal his heart.

I must admit I found it very easy to figure out who was behind the incidents attributed to the ghost of Richard’s dead wife. There were only a few plausible suspects, so I was fairly sure how everything would play out. It was simply a matter of wondering when Richard and Caroline would finally put all the pieces together.

I enjoyed reading His Shadowed Heart. Richard and Caroline are charming characters and I had fun watching them on their journey to peace and happiness. Anyone looking for a good book to pass the afternoon with should give His Shadowed Heart a try.

The Defiant Lady Pencavel by Diane Scott Lewis

The Defiant Lady Pencavel by Diane Scott Lewis
Publisher: Books We Love
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (161 pgs)
Heat: Sensual
Rated: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

In 1796, Lady Melwyn Pencavel has been betrothed to Griffin Lambrick since she was a child—and she hasn’t seen him since. Now almost one and twenty, she defies being forced into an arranged marriage. She aspires to be an archeologist and travel to Italy during the upheaval of the Napoleonic Wars. Griffin Lambrick, Viscount of Merther, resents these forced nuptials as well, as he desires no simpering bride and wants no one in his business. For the thrill of it, he smuggles artifacts from Italy at his Cornish estate. Two reckless and stubborn people will meet—with chaos and humor—in this romantic satire, and face their fears.

This is because people are cipla levitra looking for an experienced counselor with specialties in relationship and family counseling, Denver Colorado is your best bet. When you are under stress, buy levitra online you run the risk of stroke. The web sites of fake pharmacies are normally bad or have numerous cost of viagra canada typos and grammatical errors. Not only do you make yourself more comfortable by doing so; you also get rid viagra 25 mg Recommended website of unwanted toxins this way. Diane Scott Lewis’s The Defiant Lady Pencavel is unexpectedly humorous and lively. Our heroine Lady Melwyn Pencavel steps forward as a typical eighteenth century about-to-be-married young woman, in a way that is immediately recognizable to fans of the Historic English Romance Genre. She grouses about her lot but – unlike the typical marched-to-marriage young woman, has her own aspirations and more than enough spirit to take of family and society expectations.

Her aspirations do not include a decent marriage, life, or society,  and how she wishes she could conjure magic to get her out of it all!

Griffin Lambrick, the Viscount of Merther is not her dream.  As a matter of fact, betrothed or not, it appears she is not his either. Oddly, they do share this interest in archeology. There are stern moments, light-hearted, and downright silly (Oh, and Lady Melwyn’s maid! So fun!).

In spite of a person and plot that kicks off in an entirely recognizable manner, Scott Lewis bring us an imaginative and unpredictable storyline. Surprises delighted me, and that is enough reason alone to recommend reading The Defiant Lady Pencavel. My recommendation is not without some reservations: some conversations are too wordy and so cluttered with explanation or backstory that they become unbelievable. At the opening, the tale bogs down with too much discussion of society – as if the norms of the day were to be remarked upon. However, once things get going, they really do take off. Better yet, they charge forward in entirely unpredictable ways.

Fans of the English-style romance will have to put aside expectations and let themselves enjoy some silliness here – a worthwhile read (and nice change of pace).

The Marriage Market by Cathy Spencer

The Marriage Market by Cathy Spencer
Publisher: Books We Love Ltd
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (207 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

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This book begins in Regency Portsmouth where a mother tells her husband the family must move so her daughters will have more than navy officers as potential husbands. I like the Admiral, typical old sea dog. Needless to say, his wife gets her way and they move to Bath.

The main character is Victoria the eldest daughter. When Victoria finds her own happiness, she is determined to see everyone around her achieve the same state of bliss. The hardest challenge is her husband’s best friend James Wovington. It doesn’t help that Wovington is in love with Victoria, but she is out of reach due to her marriage. Several other characters pop up throughout the book, usually as potential love interests for James.

This is a pleasant book with an entertaining plot, but I would have liked it better had the author shown me what was happening instead of telling me this or that had occurred. Telling the story in this manner did not draw me into the depths of the book, it made me feel I looked in from the outside rather than actually being there with the characters.

There were one or two gripping moments spread through the book, and these made me want to carry on to find more. Pleasant reading and a good way to spend an afternoon.

The Perfect Guy by Ann Herrick

The Perfect Guy by Ann Herrick
Publisher: Books We Love, Ltd
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Length: Short Story (66 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Can Rebecca turn her new stepbrother into her new love?

When Rebecca’s mother marries Pres’s father, Rebecca is sure that living in the same house with the guy of her dreams will have its perks and it will be just a matter of time before Pres sees her as more than a kid sister. Even though her best friend, Celeste, warns her to face reality, Rebecca doesn’t listen. She thinks Pres is the perfect guy for her. But Celeste’s brother, Josh, has been friends with Pres for years, and Celeste thinks she knows what she’s talking about.

Rebecca’s not so sure about her relationship with her new stepfather. She knows he can’t replace her real dad, but she thinks she can break through his cool surface by helping him with the school play.
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But things don’t go as planned, and as friendships start to change, Rebecca faces surprising truths about herself and her friends. Will she find happiness in her new family and find The Perfect Guy?

The Perfect Guy is the third reissue of this novel that was first published in 1989 and then again in 2005. In 2013 it was reissued as an ebook. This story might not appeal to readers who are in late teens and above due to its simplistic writing, but I highly recommend it for readers between 12 and 14 years of age.

This is a light, clean YA story that revolves around the theme that not everything that a person wants is what we need and what we do need is sometimes closer than we think. There are no major dramas or angst in this story and all issues are resolved in nice and simple way. Characters are well written and interesting. I did not call them likable, because not all of them are. I found Rebecca’s stepfather annoying and bossy and he put so much pressure on his son, Pres. Furthermore, not going into spoiler territory, I did not like the way Rebecca’s best friend Celeste acted and especially I did not liked her insincerity. Due to that I also did not like the way the problem resolution between Rebecca and Celeste.

On the other hand I found Josh and Rebecca very nice characters. Josh is charming, funny, good friend and he has a big heart. Rebecca’s is a naïve, honest girl who likes to daydream. Her character is the is the most developed one, which is no surprise, since the story is written from her POV. I think that the author did a good job in transforming her from sheltered girl who was walking in the clouds to creative, proactive young girl who learned some valuable lessons along the way.

All in all this was fun read, that I highly recommend to girls in late ‘tweens and early teens.

Geriatric Rebels by Roseanne Dowell


Geriatric Rebels by Roseanne Dowell
Publisher: Books We Love
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (67 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Forced to stay in a nursing home while undergoing therapy, seventy-two year old, Mike Powell refuses to get out of bed, won’t cooperate with the nurses, and won’t take his medicine. At least not until he meets Elsa. The tiny, spunky little Elsa sparks new life into him.

Seventy year old, Elsa -left in the home while her son takes a family vacation – joins forces with Mike, setting the home on its heels, and later discovers deception and fraud. Can they find happiness together?

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This author must have known some feisty older folks. She makes her characters a bit lonely since the death of their spouses and a bit slower because of age, but their brains are still working just fine. Elsa and Mike meet one night. They are both skulking around in the evening because they aren’t ready to sleep yet. They are also being bad. Elsa moves water pitchers about; Mike does things like substitute sugar for salt. Once they find they are partners in crime, they begin to share time together and mutually play tricks on the staff.

Have you ever visited an assisted living unit? People there are mobile for the most part and just require minimal care. Some need help showering and dressing and pills are monitored, but they have a lot of freedom otherwise. The author does an excellent job of showing how focused people with limited activities and space can be after time. They often develop ideas that may not be true, but they believe it and refuse to change their minds. When Elsa and Mike start becoming a couple, George is extremely jealous. He had his eye on her. The war between the two old men over Elsa sounds very reasonable and real. They take turns dumping food and drink on each other; messing up each other’s room, etc. Elsa is at first excited about have two men fighting over her, but George begins to scare her.

The best part of the story for me was when Elsa finds out what her son and his wife have done to her.  Watch out! The old folks are going into action and they’re taking no prisoners.

This author has given you some elderly that can still command respect and have all their faculties together. Elsa comes into her own in this story and that alone made it worth reading. You won’t be bored. Why not see just how dangerous smart old people can be?

Persephone Cole and the Halloween Curse by Heather Haven


Persephone Cole and the Halloween Curse by Heather Haven
A Persephone Cole Mystery
Publisher: Books We Love Ltd.
Genre: Historical, Holiday, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (127 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

In 1942, no one heard of a female PI, not even in New York City. But meet Persephone (Percy) Cole, newly inaugurated private investigator, with a penchant for Marlene Dietrich suits, pistachio nuts and fedora hats.

Halloween finds her backstage during the previews of the latest Broadway production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth where there’s double, double, toil and trouble. When an actor falls from the overhead catwalk and breaks his neck, Percy is hired to save the show. But casting a spell over the grand old Royal Theatre are more people with secrets than you can shake a witch’s broom at. Putting aside deadly daggers, threatening letters, and falling set pieces, the cast of characters include a company of devious actors, a double-dealing producer, a duplicitous director, a deceitful star, and dead bodies aplenty, enough to fill a witch’s cauldron.

Armed with her noodle and a WWI German Mauser pistol, this working mother is not sure which is worse, being foisted into acting the role of Witch Number Two, her son’s jack-o’-lantern being snitched, or someone trying to kill her. It has not been a good day.

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Percy is certainly not the stereotypical mother of the 1940s. She’s a tough woman with an attitude big enough to match her 5’11” frame. She possesses a sharp mind and an even sharper tongue. I love the way she handles people, men in particular, who doubt her abilities as a detective. Though she can be brash at times, Percy also knows how to turn on the charm when she needs to. I can just as easily picture her buttering up a potential witness with free food or roughing up a hostile one.

What I like most about Percy is that she is completely unapologetic about who she is. She knows she’s a good detective and simply goes about her business the best way she can and doesn’t let anyone stand in her way. She lets insulting comments about her height and weight roll right off her back. Even though Percy projects a tough attitude, she has a soft spot for her family, especially her young son. The moments she spent with him really softened her character and served to make her even more likable.

As much as I love Percy, she is the only truly rounded character in the book. I would really like to get to know some of the eclectic members of her family a bit more, especially Percy’s parents. Any couple who would name their three children Adjudication, Persephone, and Serendipity has to be worth getting to know better. Perhaps I’ll have that opportunity in future installments of the series?

The mystery Percy works on in this tale is intriguing. The list of suspects is very long. So many of them seem to be hiding something that it is very hard to sort out who was hiding what. Percy has great instincts and a knack for getting people to reveal their secrets, even if she has to fudge the truth a little. While it is very entertaining to watch Percy stare her suspects down, I don’t think it is entirely realistic that her suspects would always fall for her bluffs. Some failures mixed in with the successes would have made this mystery more believable.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Persephone Cole and the Halloween Curse. Percy is a great character, and I found myself smiling and laughing at her antics throughout the story. Anyone looking for a fun, fast read should certainly give this book a try. I know I’ll be on the lookout for more about Percy and her adventures.