Lera’s Sorrow – Darkliete, Book One by Gail Gernat


Lera’s Sorrow – Darkliete, Book One by Gail Gernat
Publisher: Andrea James Publishing
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (58 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Lera and her cousin have completed their long childhood and their training as healers. Sent to their grandparents back in Madean, they must negotiate the strange new world, attain their werwinstans. Fate intervenes in the shape of handsome young Ian, very human and very poisonous to the elven. Trying out her independence for the first time in her life, what will Lera decide? Where will she discover her loyalty to lay, with love or with duty?

Elves, I love elves! This is a story with a difference as Lera has come to her grandparents to be officially accepted as a healer. During the celebrations she bonds with.a human prince and this causes untold problems which is not helped by the lies of a pooka.

For such a short book, this story is full of emotion and intrigue, plus there’s an evil queen and a handsome prince. What more could a reader want when opening a fantasy book? Lera’s healing helps her through bad times but also puts her in danger which adds a bit of spice to the story.

Well written, easy to read and gives satisfaction. Recommended.

Wild Lily by Cerise DeLand


Wild Lily by Cerise DeLand
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (257 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Money can buy anything, can’t it? Those brash Americans–their dollars and charms work wonders. Until they learn that money can buy anything…but love.

Lily Hanniford has all the qualities an impoverished nobleman could want in a wife. She’s beautiful, educated and funny. Too bad, she has a penchant for riding astride like a man. Too bad, she’s an American with a shrewd, wily father. But she’s unwilling to be sold to the highest-ranking nobleman. She wants a purpose in life…other than presiding over a drafty castle and a loveless marriage bed. Then she accidentally meets a man she can’t resist.

Julian Ash, Marquess of Chelton, doesn’t need a wife. He needs luck at cards…or a way to persuade Killian Hanniford to pay more for his family’s shipping line. But Lily is charming and her wild streak appeals to Julian who has always followed the society’s rules. Now he discovers that being wild with Lily is not only fun, it’s necessary to his life. And so is she.
They struggle to throw convention to the wind. But can they be wildly happy together if they can’t heal old wounds?

Lily is the daughter of an American billionaire. Julian is the son of an impoverished Duke. In Victorian England this usually means a marriage of convenience for her to get a title and him to get money to recover the family fortunes.

Complete fascination with each other smudges the boundaries of propriety but Julian is determined not to marry Lily to help the family coffers. Lily doesn’t want to be married for her father’s fortune, she wants a man to love her for herself.

Their relationship develops well and the minor characters in the book lend credence and depth to the story. Also interesting is the humor that Lily brings to the situation. The differences in their upbringing cause many upsets but also a lot of laughs.

I would mention that toward the end of the story a few editorial comments have been left in presumably by mistake. These caused a hiccup in concentration and if they are removed the book would be a wonderful read. I hope the author considers writing more about the minor characters in future books as it would definitely pique my interest.

The Dating Diet by Daralyse Lyons


The Dating Diet by Daralyse Lyons
Publisher: Books To Go Now Publications
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (288 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

What if you found yourself climbing out of a bedroom window, naked, in the middle of the afternoon, to avoid being caught in bed with your married lover? Would you have second thoughts about dating?

After Shayla Ross discovers that yet another potential “Mr. Right” is, in fact, incredibly wrong for her, she decides to go on a diet. No. She’s not going to forgo her much-loved, sinfully-delicious girl scout cookies or her (admittedly too frequent) trips to McDonalds. Shayla is going on a dating diet.

An incredibly hapless and infinitely loveable heroine, elementary school teacher Shayla Ross decides to take her summer vacation from teaching as a period of self-discovery. Much to the chagrin of her meddling mother, Shayla sets out to find herself and, in the process, bumbles into a series of successive funny and heartwarming interpersonal interactions that will have readers falling in love with her.

A dating diet sounds easy, right? In reality Shayla find it’s not easy at all. After several dead end dates and a relationship with a divorced man, who’s not really free, she decides to swear off men for the summer. Things go well until she meets Dunkin but thankfully they decide to remain friends.

I really enjoyed this book. It is lighthearted and goes from one hilarious episode to another. Dunkin and Shayla play off one another in a series of one upmanship where they try to embarrass each other. Shayla gets involved in various disastrous events and her gay friend Brice involves her in his on again – off again relationship and after the dust has cleared everyone is able to see the funny side of things.

There’s the usual ex girlfriend, ex boyfriend relationship interference which add a bit of spice to the story. There’s also an air of mystery in a will they – won’t they get together and this is not resolved until the end. Even then a disastrous decision by Shayla could make it go either way.

As I got involved with the characters and the story I couldn’t help thinking it reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s style of writing. Amusing story with a light hearted approach and an underlying serious thread.

Fire Born by Rayanne Haines


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ghost of January by Mysti Parker


The Ghost of January by Mysti Parker
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (79 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Against her father’s wishes, twenty-year-old January Cooper elopes with her high school sweetheart and leaves for a fairytale honeymoon in Europe.

Two weeks later, she’s a widow, abandoned by her husband’s family and too ashamed to contact hers. She works her way across the continent, scared but determined to make it on her own.

Renowned food and travel blogger Diederik DeVries arrives in his native Amsterdam and hears rumors of a Ghost Lover who has supposedly left a trail of broken hearts all over Europe. A chance encounter with an American girl named Jan leaves him wondering if she could be this elusive legend.

Despite her fears of falling in love again, January is just as intrigued with the charming and handsome Diederik. Though he is determined to discover her true identity, she refuses to tell him anything about her past. All he wants is to break down the walls of her hidden heartache to find the real woman within. But will the ghosts of January’s past take her away from him before he ever gets that chance?

After the death of her husband on her honeymoon, January roams Europe, afraid to go home to hear her father say ‘I told you so’.

In Amsterdam she finds a job and meets Diederik who has returned to his home town for a short period. They become friends but Diederik becomes cautious when he learns she could be the Ghost Lover who slips away from lovers without any explanation.

This book may be short but it is well written and a compelling read. January’s nervousness of committing herself has taken over her life and the way the author introduced her emotions brought me into the heart of the story. Her desire to get closer to Diederik wavered with indecision and I fully sympathized with the way January swung from one decision to the opposite side.

Good book to read on a wet and windy afternoon as it took me into January’s world and fully engaged my mind.

Second Chance with the Playboy by Charlotte McFall


Second Chance with the Playboy by Charlotte McFall
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (183 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

At thirty-two, feisty Annabel Simpson is the youngest doctor to take charge of a ward in the history of Oakwood Hospital. A possible closure threatens her position and spurs her into action. Organizing a charity bike ride from Brighton to Lands End seems like a good idea until she comes face to face with her past in the form of playboy Marcus Chapman.

Marcus Chapman is still grieving the loss of his daughter. The Oakwood staff did everything in their power to save her. Now, it’s time to give back by donning his biker-leathers for the first time in years. Unfortunately, his teammate is the girl who broke his heart. Annabel has changed from the carefree girl she once was, and Marcus is determined to break down the barriers she has erected.

Can one charity event and her first love help her save the beloved Children’s Ward? Does she have the courage to mend their broken hearts?

Annabel is a doctor in the children’s ward of a hospital. When she’s advised the ward will be closing due to lack of funds, she organizes a fundraiser to keep the ward open. Marcus, a wealthy businessman, lost his daughter a year before and decided to not only make an anonymous donation, but also take part in the fundraiser. They meet and their past becomes their present.

This is a nice book, with characters that have a history and this keeps interfering with the present. Their misunderstanding is totally believable although as a reader I didn’t know if they were going to resolve their differences by the end of the book.

Unfortunately the timeline continuity of the story is not good. For instance it appears they last met four years before, when both were single, but Marcus’s daughter died at the age of 5 years old so the time since their original meeting must have been much longer. There are several other discrepancies in the timeline, too many to ignore. Plus in a couple of places there are obviously words missing between paragraphs.

In the background there is the mystery of why the children’s ward is to close? Where has all the money gone? What evil person would steal from sick children?

Although I enjoyed this book, if the problems were fixed it would be excellent rather than nice as the characters are strong and the conflict is real.

Mugs and Monasteries by Cait O’Sullivan


Mugs and Monasteries by Cait O’Sullivan
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (73 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

When Orchid hunter Evie Bourke stumbles across a near deserted monastery deep in the Burren, she doesn’t realize that she’s the first person alive to see it. All she knows is that her life suddenly takes a strange turn and nothing will ever be the same.

Aiden Dunne’s family has been connected to Munster Abbey for generations, he is determined to find it and to find out what happened to his ancestral relative, the former Prior. What happened all those years ago and why does Aiden seem so familiar to Evie when they’ve never met?

Together they must face the Wanderer and dispatch him back to the darkness where he belongs before he destroys everything they hold dear. Can they trust each other before time runs out?

Evie Bourke is caught in a torrential rainstorm and takes shelter in a small house. There is a sense of evil in the place and Evie wakes in her own bed the next morning but can’t remember what happened the day before.

Aiden Dunne has spent years searching for the remains of a monastery where his ancestor was the abbot. As Evie’s memory slowly returns they join together to search for the reason for her memory loss and Aiden’s lost monastery.

Although short this is a cozy story. The link between the two main characters is not readily apparent and is only revealed gradually as the story progresses. The scenes of the past are very nicely handled and made me want to carry on reading to see the result of their endeavors. Nice book, well worth the read.

Battle for Love by Valerie Bowes


Battle for Love by Valerie Bowes
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (189 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

It’s not easy, being an unmarried woman in the England of 1814. But Nancy Worth will not marry where there is no love, and every man in her small Sussex village is either too old, too young, or has a face like a fish. Except for the handsome Bartholomew Boult, and he has his own reasons for pursuing her.

When, against all the odds, Nancy does find love, both her family and his are determined to put a stop to it. He is gentry, and she a farmer’s daughter. With lies and gossip flying, as well as the unexpected resumption of war, it seems everyone is trying to separate her from Will Carlton.

Even Napoleon Bonaparte.

While Napoleon lingers in Elba the Regency period is in full swing in England. Nancy Worth is not one of the aristocracy, her father is a landowner and although they are well off they are not considered to be of the same social level as the Squire and his family. Nancy finds herself with two suitors. One she loves and the other who, unknown to her, wants her for his own selfish ends.

Regency books are a joy to read, but the main characters can often be a bit silly, acting in ways that seem unnatural. This book has a heroine and hero who are quite natural in their actions and the misunderstandings that always happen in romance, are believable and had me urging them to sort out the difficulties before they were overwhelmed by family members who felt they knew best.

Even the bad guy had a ring of truth to his actions and in the end I felt quite sorry for him. I have to admit I didn’t envisage the resolution to be quite so dramatic, but it was well handled and I felt a great satisfaction when I finished the book. Good story, good characters and lovely to read.

Magic Spark by Sara Dobie Bauer, Em Shotwell, Wendy Sparrow


Magic Spark by Sara Dobie Bauer, Em Shotwell, Wendy Sparrow
Enchanted Book One

Publisher: Pen and Kink Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (215 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

The first of a trio of trilogies by three amazing romance writers. These stories all have two things in common: magic and romance!

“When Demigods Court Death” by Wendy Sparrow:
As the demigod of fertility, Aster Slone has a thriving doctor’s practice. In fact, the incidence of triplets has made it too thriving. He needs more time with his neighbor the demigoddess of death to dampen his powers. Chandra Linton being gorgeous and sweet makes his task less of a hardship. Hitting the zenith of heretofore-unknown powers without enough exposure to her match is killing Chandra. Accepting all that her crazy, but hot neighbor says is her destiny…well, it muddles her convictions, but her real concern is: does Aster want Chandra because she’s the woman he desires or because she’s Death?

“These Roots Run Deep” by Em Shotwell:
Spitfire, New Orleans weather girl, Cheyanne Murphey has everything, and that is exactly how she likes it. When she discovers evidence of her fiancé’s philandering, she refuses to let her perfectly cultivated image fall to pieces. Cheyanne has worked too hard, dragging herself up from the trailer park into New Orleans’ society, to give in without a fight…even if that means trading a year of her life in exchange for a love incantation from her ancestor’s spell book.
A skyclad, moonlit dance, a mysterious potion, and magic gone awry leave Cheyanne with a very peculiar life lesson: love can take on many forms, so be careful what you wish for.

“Destiny’s Dark Light” by Sara Dobie Bauer:
In modern day Charleston, lonely white witch Cyan Burroughs has waited her whole life to lead the battle against dark witches and eventually meet the man she is fated to love. A tragic trolley accident brings Liam Cody into her life. He is her destiny, but he’s also in love with someone else. Now, Cyan and her magic family must find the dark witch who caused the accident while Cyan fights her feelings for Liam—a charming Irishman with secrets of his own.

This book is contains three books written by different authors.

When Demigods Court Death by Wendy Sparrow

Chandra always feels down and can’t understand why others always feel ill or afraid when around her. Her neighbor moves in and his balcony explodes with greenery, she immediately feels a lifting of her spirits.
Chandra and Aster are opposites. I became very engrossed when their story unfolded in a most intriguing way. Their personalities came across very well, allowing me to enjoy the story and at the same time wonder how they would resolve their difficulties.

These Roots Run Deep by Em Shotwell

Another unusual story. What to do when you’re a witch and the love of your life cheats on you? Set in New Orleans, the three witch sisters have taken over from their recently deceased grandmother, but when Cheyanne discovers her fiancé Brett is cheating, she talks her two siblings into casting a spell to make sure Brett remains with her. It’s a case of be careful what you wish for. Good story.

Destiny’s Dark Light – Part One by Sara Dobie Bauer

A family of witches where the youngest one has yet to come into her powers. When Cyan finds her soul mate her powers are supposed to evolve, but all is not as it seems. Her soul mate is with someone else. A catastrophe muddles the waters even further.

I loved this story, unusual plot with humor and tragedy. I was bit put out when I found the end finished with the words “to be continued”. Now I have to wait until the author writes the next bit. Good story and well worth reading.

Despite being by three different authors, this book enthralled me and I eagerly went from story to story. Excellent read.

Reluctant Reunion by Ruth J Hartman


Reluctant Reunion by Ruth J Hartman
Publisher: esKape ePress
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (63 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Orchid

Kennedy Cooper tries everything to stay away from her father’s alpaca farm. Being an actress in New York seems to do the trick. Until it doesn’t. When she fails to get enough acting parts, loses her part-time job, and breaks up with her boyfriend, she has no choice but to return. Seeing her father again is tough, but having to meet his new love interest reminds Kennedy why she’d vowed never to go home.

When Kennedy is out of a job and her boyfriend abandons her, she has nowhere else to go but home to the family alpaca ranch. Unfortunately Kennedy hates alpacas.

Settling back into the homestead is strange. Her mother’s death had been the catalyst for her moving to the city, but now she finds her father has a new woman in his life. Her dead brother’s daughter is also living at the farm and her father is unwell.

Put together all these elements and life for Kennedy is not the quiet stay she’d hoped it would be.

I liked this story, not a romance but it shows Kennedy’s feelings for her father, her home and the “other woman”. I really liked the way it unfolded. It may have been short, but it was well written and intriguing. Good book.