Island Charms by Sharon McGregor

Island Charms by Sharon McGregor
Publisher: Whimsical Publications
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (118 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

When Abby receives a plea for help from her old college friend Nikki, she’s inclined to ignore it. Nikki was always a drama queen and besides, how much danger can she be in as she spends her time surrounded by a circle of her ‘nearest and dearest.’

It is not only vital to the formation and maintenance of healthy skin and look at here now cialis pills uk circulatory tissue; its antioxidant powers are essential in fighting disease. best levitra price You don’t need the pampering of a resort-style rehabilitation facility if you don’t have the funds for it. All women have this, some to a lesser degree and generic viagra from canada frequency. Before pregnancy it is approximately the size and shape of the pills, they may give the final clue to have a correct illegal drug identification. viagra cialis generico But then Abby finds that’s exactly who Nikki is frightened of. She’s convinced someone is trying to kill her.

Abby has reasons of her own to get away and soon she’s off to a remote private island on Lake of the Woods. Undercurrents abound in the family circle and soon Abby realizes her friend isn’t being fanciful. The danger is real and now it’s headed straight for her.

Sharon McGregor’s new romance Island Charms IS charming: a sense of the charm bounces right into the first page, when Abby (a writer) contends with her freedom-seeking feline, Ajax. She’s a super leading lady and while we readers are waiting for an equally charming man to step into the picture, Abby allows her self to be sidetracked off to help and old friend.

She never expects that helping with a biography might lead toward deadly danger. There seems to be a small flock of folks that might just want Nikki dead…but then again, Nikki is not exactly a reliable source. How much of the threat might be imagined? As Abby begins to investigate, she still doubts how reliable the information from Nikki is.  However, she’s also soon surprised by a chance encounter with a gentleman who just might help her out or maybe come to mean a great deal more…

No spoilers here! Romance does slide in, almost by the side-door, in this charming mystery. And, it is a well-done mystery, make no mistake. Abby sets about investigating quite the cast of characters, but needs to find someone who she can trust, quickly.

Although the plot carries forward at a good pace, much of the main character’s view point is shared in too-explanatory way. Past history (like her college friendship with Nikki) is simply told, and a bit of a bore. However, the essentials of this story – plot and character – are intersting, and make up for the odd slow page here or there.

Dayling by Gabriel Madison


Dayling by Gabriel Madison
Publisher: Whimsical Publications
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (238 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Turning eighteen is an exciting time for most girls. It means finally being considered a legal adult, having more freedom and a wild birthday party. For Haven Vigano, it means no longer being able to move around in the daytime, immortality and a craving for human blood. Haven is a Dayling, but in three weeks she will ‘Cross Over’ into the world of Nightlings.

Most Daylings live their lives as humans for as long as they can, which means they attend school, make normal friends
and indulge in all the pleasures of being mortal… most Daylings except for Haven. She’s as antisocial as they come,
even in the Dayling world. Haven cruises through life with cynicism and smart-alecky comments. She would rather stay
at home and read a book then hang out with the locals, which is why she had to be dragged to a teenage party with
her cousins. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, Haven escapes the party.

On the way home, Haven comes across a teenage boy being beaten by four other guys. Haven saves the boy, Philip,
and takes him to the hospital. This single event changes Haven’s life and her perspective of the human world forever.
This event also creates a new problem for her: she’s waited too long to live in the human world, and dating a mortal so close to Crossing Over would be a big no-no for the head of her Nightling family… her father.

To make matters worst, a friend from her past, another Dayling named Sébastien, arrives in Tallahassee with the news
that an ancient group of Nightling hunters called The Holy Sect of Mântuitors are hunting down and killing her kind.
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Now Haven must deal with her growing attraction to Philip, plus understand Sébastien’s jealousy towards her human
crush, and oh yeah, help deal with the threat of the Mântuitors. Times were a lot simpler for Haven when she felt
indifferent towards everything and everyone.

Haven never wanted to be normal, until it was too late.

I think Mr. Madison has an interesting take on the world of vampires. The idea that vampires exist in two separate states and can reproduce isn’t entirely new. However, I believe Dayling is one of the first vampire stories I’ve read that never mentions a way for humans to be turned. This certainly makes relationships between humans and Daylings/Nightlings very complicated.

Haven is definitely a girl who likes to test her boundaries. Her sharp tongue and abrasive personality get her into plenty of trouble throughout the story. I must say that I was very frustrated with Haven and her attitude at times. While I understand that she is a teenager trying to come to terms with some big changes in her life, I couldn’t believe that she would continue to put her family, friends, and herself in life threatening situations. Haven is a smart girl who definitely knows better. Despite this issue, I’m pleased to note that Haven does have a softer side and is the type of girl who champions the underdog, whether that means standing up for her cousin Angela or rescuing Philip from a sound beating.

I had a very hard time warming up to Philip. He comes off simply as a typical, popular teenage boy who uses his appeal to get girls into his bed. While the girls in the story can’t seem to get enough of his charm, I was a little put off by his attitude. It is very difficult to tell if Philip’s pursuit of Haven is genuine, or if he’s simply looking for another conquest. I will say that Philip never denies his playboy ways and doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not. When Haven chooses to hang around Philip, she certainly knows what she’s getting into.

In addition to my reservations about Philip’s character, I wasn’t really feeling the connection between him and Haven. Haven seems to have more of an obsessive crush on him rather than any deeper feelings. When Haven and Philip do have some rare alone time, they spend it flirting, but never seem to truly get to know each other on a personal level because Haven doesn’t seem to be comfortable opening up to Philip. It wasn’t until the very end of the story that I began to see a sliver of hope for Haven and Philip’s future.

The ending of Dayling is certainly intense, but I also felt it was rushed and a bit predictable. I had no problem figuring out who the mastermind behind the murders of the Nightling/Dayling families was. However, the reasoning behind some of this character’s actions remains a bit murky. I’m not sure why this character chose to bring some people into his plot and keep others in the dark. Also, the fate of the antagonist is unclear at the conclusion. Will there be a sequel to tie up this loose end?

In general, I think Dayling is a good read. Mr. Madison’s vampire mythology is interesting, and Haven and her exploits are certainly entertaining. Anyone looking for a vampire story that’s a little different might want to give Dayling a try.

Heart of a Hero by Celia Yeary

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Heart of a Hero by Celia Yeary
Publisher: Whimsical Publications
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (213 pages)
Heat Level: sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sunflower

Matt Carrington escapes a terrorists’ prison while in the Army, but he has difficulty escaping the trappings of a demanding fiancé and his own parents. To get away to think, he meets pretty, girl-next-door Lauren Delaney, the kind of woman he desires. But his fiancé and his parents have other plans. They determine to have their way—no matter what Matt wants.

Lauren Delaney is an independent young woman who quickly befriends the soldier hero who comes to town. Knowing he has another life in Dallas, she holds a secret, too. But she pretends neither have a problem in order to have the summer with him.

During the long hot months, a hurricane almost destroys the town. Matt and Lauren work with a team to save as many residents as they can, and in the process fall deeply in love. When the danger is past, the two lovers suffer from their own lies and misunderstandings. Can they find peace and happiness without hurting others?

High expectations can send any sane person running. Wouldn’t you? Put yourself in Matt Carrington’s shoes. His family expects so much from him. He’s to be the perfect, obedient son and do as he’s told, even when he’s a grown man and can make his own decisions. Even after coming back from the war, his parents want him to feel this, or be that. Matt is an misunderstood man. How many people feel exactly that way? I can sure relate. Heart of a Hero is about a man who doesn’t see himself as a hero, trying to make his own way in life.

Most of this story is in Matt’s point of view, which is different in a romance, but I liked it. There are many times where I feel so bad for him, when it comes to his parents and the woman he once called his fiancée. Oh, she drives me nuts with her attitude and then when she doesn’t get her way she throws fits….and some of them are ridiculously stupid and cries for attention. Matt is an upstanding man and doesn’t want any recognition as a hero, though he continues to get it.

Lauren is a young woman working in a diner when Matt shows up. She takes an immediate liking to him. Both Lauren and Matt can’t be together in the beginning because they have commitments elsewhere, but it doesn’t stop them from being friends and doing things together. Lauren has some secrets of her own, which when I found out, surprised me. Matt had a strange reaction to Lauren’s secret, though he really has no room to talk because seems to always be at Stephanie’s beck and call.

Emotional, riveting and well written, Heart of a Hero is a story that delivers great characterization, beatitude setting, and a plot that keeps the story interesting. I enjoyed Ms. Yeary’s Texas setting, and there are characters that readers will either love or hate. The author does a great job conveying the characters and what they stand for. All around this is a great book.

If you’re a fan of contemporary romances, then why not check out Heart of A Hero and fall in love with Matt and Lauren?

A Christmas Gift by Diane Craver

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A Christmas Gift by Diane Craver
Publisher: Whimsical Publications
Genre: YA, Historical, Holiday
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Short Story (70 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Justin Reeves is a man who has it all: a good job, a loving wife and children who are the center of his universe. Justin also has a secret he’s hidden from everyone his entire life—or so he thought. Quite innocently his small daughter, Debby, stumbles upon his secret and is shocked by what she finds. She confronts her father with the awful truth, and together they embark upon a journey which takes her father from the darkness of shame into the light of victory.

Enjoy Christmas all year long! Ms. Craver’s A Christmas Gift is a delightful short story. The first person point of view, the exacting descriptions and realistic conversation make this immediate and personal.

Debra sneaks downstairs very very quietly late at night to use the bathroom and discovers, quite accidentally, that her father is busy studying her school book. Why would he be doing that? She wants to ask someone about his studious activity, yet, one problem or another keeps her from asking each person she thinks of. Still, she’s curious and perseveres, until she finally realizes that he’s trying to cope with a particular problem. Then, this precocious girl tries to come up with people who would be able to help him.

The highlight here might be the human interaction: the family and friends who are supportive, the neighborhood that can be relied on as a community. However, elements of the setting are simply enchanting. This novella put me in mind of a time of 4-H meetings, church groups, picnic outings and the importance of family life. Delightful.

‘A Christmas Gift’ is anything but a fast read, with its great attention to details and descriptions. This more than fits the story’s tone and overall pace, so no complaint: however, contemporary readers may find this quite different from their usual selections. A short sample:

… a woman of medium height and probably overweight by sixty pounds, wore a green dress in a fine material. A pretty lacy hankie was stuck in a front pocket, and around her neck was a small pearl choker. ….

Although this book is listed as YA, I think its true audience will be with older readers – some will be charmed to recall the conventions, customs, and perhaps, more importantly, the challenges of life in the 50s. The prologue is a nice, almost confidential-feeling conversation with the author. It’s a charming introduction to A Christmas Gift. It’s also a little window to the past… a special thank you for sharing, to author Diane Craver.

Accelerating Circumstances by Destiny Booze

Accelerating Circumstances by Destiny Booze
Publisher: Whimsical Publications
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (209 Pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sunflower

Jenny is different. She can read people’s minds.

At age seventeen, Jenny Reid was arrested for killing her own mother. There was no evidence that an intruder entered the house. No one believed her as a teenager when she tried to tell them how she felt the killer’s rage saturated within the walls, that she knew the presence of evil had been there. The police thought she was crazy, not psychic.

A conviction was never made in the case due to lack of evidence. Jenny is still the sole suspect, but now, she is doing something about it. She’s on the right side of the law, an FBI agent determined to finally find justice for her mom.

Two men stay by her side—William, her partner, a darkly intense agent with a scary past and Nate, a bad boy with too much charisma to be a good thing. But, no man will keep her from finding out the truth about her mom. The time has come to set things right.

Nothing will stand in her way. She’ll come up close with evil again and face the ultimate choice—kill or be killed in these ACCELERATING CIRCUMSTANCES.

With the shadow of an unsolved murder over her head, Jenny could never fully heal from the past. Accelerating Circumstances is a story of suspense, murder, and deceit. Ms. The basic assumption is simple: to understand the structural problems of our body, especially those involved in the spinal column and reestablish its standard levitra discounts anatomical curvature and structure. Our hearts can cheap viagra online be broken by illness. Natural aphrodisiacs in this herbal pill cure sexual disorders including low sperm count, low semen volume, low libido tadalafil cheapest and physical weakness. The increased pressure imposed on the neck from altered posture flattens the normal curve of the cervical spine resulting in abnormal strain brand levitra online of muscles, ligaments, fascia and bones. Booze’s fast paced plot is filled with plenty to keep up the intrigue.

Jennifer Reid is a woman hiding behind many secrets. Her past is just that, and she doesn’t want anyone to know the dark details from all those years ago. But she also hides from a gift others try to seek her help with by using that gift. Jenny’s character is shrouded by mystery, and uncovering it was one of the best things about this book.

Jenny’s love interest seems to have caught someone’s attention. Women are dropping dead, and the suspicion appears to fall on Nate. I liked Nate from the start. He makes a good hero, and he challenges Jenny in many ways.

Accelerating Circumstances also follows other characters. I noticed this was book three in a series, and I wonder about some of the references in the book with previous situations are featured in the others. I found myself a bit lost at times because it seemed I was jumping in the middle of things not fully explained.

Other than that, I enjoyed Accelerating Circumstances. The suspense kept me turning the pages, and there’s not a moment in the story that sagged. The author did a great job with the setting and scene descriptions, and the characters looked out for one another. It seemed each person who played a role in the book had connections to someone else. There was also parts in the book written from the perspective of a villain, though it didn’t give away who it was at all, which made it even more interesting.

If you’re a fan or romantic suspense with a small paranormal element, then this is a great book to read. Though you may want to look for the first two books in the series if you like to read in order. The other books are Altered Beginnings and Predetermined Endings.

Struck by Conscience by C.K Green

Struck by Conscience by C.K Green
Publisher: Whimsical Publications
Genre: Contemporary, Sci Fi/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by Forsythia

I, Charisma Mansfield, do solemnly swear that… I never asked to be popular. I never asked to be voted Prom Queen. I definitely never asked to have an invisible pixie perched on my shoulder whispering her opinions into my ear 24/7. But of all the things I never asked for, this is the worst one yet—when brooding but gorgeous Heath Ruvelas (my next door neighbor and the guy I used to be best friends with before jr. high) rescued me from drowning in the school pool. My already bizarre life would never be the same.

When life flashes before your eyes, what do you hope to see? C.K. Green’s Struck by Conscience really makes you wonder this very question in the first pages of her book. Charisma Mansfield isn’t your ordinary teenager. Not only does her life take a different turn after she nearly drowned in a pool, she also carries around a little sprite on her shoulder named Dahlia since as far back as she can remember. Although that sounds a little far-fetched, Charisma (Risa for short) seems to be a very genuine and strong character. For a short story she is definitely one of the best written characters I’ve seen in a while. Green’s writing helps you get to know Risa and feel everything the character is feeling.

Risa’s life came into prospective when she almost drowned in her school gym’s swimming pool. Human beings depend levitra buy levitra on food for their sustenance. viagra sale The younger the child, the more rare is the [occurrence] condition of bipolar disorder. In women, the bladder infection is the best buy viagra largest contributor among Urologic disorders. Acai berry has numerous benefits cost viagra online that lead to good health, better life quality, healthy min & body and glowing ageless skin. As her life flashed before her eyes it seemed so unexciting and mundane! Sure, she was the popular girl in school and every girl wished to be her. She was voted homecoming and prom queen and had her token popular boyfriend at her side. Was this what she really wanted? Why didn’t her boyfriend jump in after her? Why was it her childhood friend that she traded in for popularity helped her instead? Now her feelings toward everything started shifting gears. Luckily, she had her little sprite to help her make some decisions.

My favorite thing about this story was the fact that what most teenage girls strive for wasn’t what Risa wanted and it made her such a strong character. Torn between life changing moments, confused feelings of love and loss from what she’s been so used to, C.K. Green makes Risa feel so real to the reader. The things people might think are important really aren’t what defines you as a person. When life takes you to a cross road which road will you take? I think Ms. Green wrote a great heart felt story with little whimsical twists following Risa around. Hopefully, there will be more of Risa and Dahlia to look forward to in the future. It really was an impressive coming-of-age story. It made this reader fall into the story from the moment Risa fell into that pool.