REVIEW: Sparking the Fire by Kate Meader

Book CoverVeena’s review of Sparking The Fire (Hot In Chicago, Book 3) by Kate Meader
Contemporary Romance published by Pocket Books 27 Sep 16 

Flames came off the pages right from the first chapter when a chaste woman reading Shakespeare is exchanging glances with a smoking Marine sipping Coke. When he finishes her Shakespeare quote for her, I was a goner – but then they adjourned to the hotel elevator and I was well and truly snared. This book seems to have it all: beautiful sexy woman, scorching hot man, all with sizzling chemistry. The strong cast of characters and scintillating dialogue are just the cherry on top.   read more…

REVIEW: 18 Months by Samantha Boyette

Book CoverStevie‘s review of 18 Months by Samantha Boyette
Contemporary Young Adult Lesbian Mystery published by Bold Strokes Books 12 Dec 16

One of my main criteria for assessing mysteries is the identity of the villain. Are they convincing and do their motivations make sense? Are they someone whom readers and the protagonists can spot, without the former getting annoyed at the latter’s missing of obvious clues? In stories featuring amateur or accidental investigators, is there a good reason why the police haven’t already looked at this person? After that, of course, I need a good cast of characters, along with a setting and plot that I can feel comfortable with for the duration of the book. Not too comfortable, obviously – this is a crime story – but I need to understand what makes the protagonist want to live in that location (if indeed they aren’t just desperate to get out) and how the plot carries them along the twists and turns of their investigation. A likable protagonist is generally a plus too, but in young adult stories, one with understandable flaws is sometimes more believable.

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REVIEW: House of Silence by Sarah Barthel

Book CoverStevie‘s review of House of Silence by Sarah Barthel
Historical Suspense published by Kensington 27 Dec 16

I don’t know a great deal about life for the upper echelons of society in the US during the decades immediately following the Civil War, although I’ve gathered bits and pieces from reading about those heiresses who travelled to Britain and elsewhere in search of Old World, usually titled, husbands. This book’s blurb, therefore, caught my attention, particularly with its setting of a sanitarium – of the type reserved for those with diseases of the mind more than the body. The involvement of real historical figures playing secondary roles in the plot only really came to my notice after I started reading, and then got to know them through the book’s heroine.

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REVIEW: Breath OF Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Book CoverVeena’s review of Breath Of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, Book 2) by Amanda Bouchet
Romantic Fantasy published by Sourcebooks Casablanca 03 Jan 17

This story is a thrill ride, chock full of adventures right out of the pages of Greek mythology.   Cat has hidden in obscurity for some years, denying her heritage and her prophesied role in the affairs of Thalyria.  In this chapter she faces a variety of challenges to take her rightful place by Griffin’s side and bring her prophecy to life. read more…

REVIEW: Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

Book CoverStevie‘s review of Someone to Love (Westcott Novels, Book 1) by Mary Balogh
Historical Romance published by Signet 08 Nov 16

Mary Balogh could easily become one of my main go-to authors for mainstream historical romance, with a refreshing selection of characters who aren’t painted as perfect (or as perfectly wicked), but have properly thought-out motivations for their attitudes and actions. So it is with the Westcott family, who all react differently to the news that their entire life has been founded on one man’s lie, and now they have no claim on either their home or their titles. Meanwhile, the newly discovered beneficiary of the estate, whom they first meet when the shocking news is broken, has no real desire to take on her inheritance, simply wanting to go back to the quiet life she enjoyed before.

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REVIEW: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy

Book CoverVeena’s review of Kill Without Shame (Ares Security, Book 2) by Alexandra Ivy
Romantic Suspense published by Zebra 27 Dec 16

This is a great series with fast-paced action adventure stories and a touch of the paranormal. Lucas St. Clair was raised with a silver spoon to a life of privilege, which he left behind to enlist in the military. His only regret is his childhood sweetheart, Mia, whom he left behind not because he didn’t love her enough but because he loved her too much. When a guy from his hometown turns up dead on his doorstep with Mia’s picture in his pocket, it’s clear to Lucas that she’s in danger and he needs to be by her side to keep her safe.

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REVIEW: Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins

Book CoverStevie‘s review of Glass Tidings (2016 Riptide Holiday Charity Bundle, Book 3) by Amy Jo Cousins
Contemporary Gay Holiday Romance published by Riptide Publishing 03 Dec 16

Of the three authors contributing to this year’s Riptide Charity Bundle, Amy Jo Cousins is the most familiar to me, although I’ve previously read her stories featuring couples of college age or just a little older. For the Festive offering, by way of a contrast, we get to meet a pair of more mature characters – one in terms of experiences, the other definitely in terms of years. This novel is also the most obviously Christmas-themed of the bundle, taking place in and around a shop (or ‘Shoppe’) selling Christmas decorations, and only opening for the Festive Season and subsequent January Sale. Just the right place for a stranded drifter to find a job that will tide him over until he can afford to continue his journey south and catch up with the other Renaissance fair regulars at their customary overwinter camp in Texas.

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REVIEW: The Fixer by HelenKay Dimon

Book CoverSandy M’s review of The Fixer (Games People Play, Book 1) by HelenKay Dimon
Contemporary Romance published by HarperCollins 27 Dec 16

Over the last year HelenKay Dimon has made her way up my favorite author list, now competing with Lorraine Heath, Lorelei James, Jo Beverley, and a very few others. As with these other authors, doesn’t matter what she writes, I know  her characters will pull every last emotion out of me and give me a sizzling, intriguing, and amazing story. She proves that once again with The Fixer, a book I couldn’t wait to get back to every time I was forced to lay it down.

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