Review: Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

grand centralReviewed by Karin

Blurb

A war bride awaits the arrival of her GI husband at the platform…

A Holocaust survivor works at the Oyster Bar, where a customer reminds him of his late mother…

A Hollywood hopeful anticipates her first screen test and a chance at stardom in the Kissing Room…

On any particular day, thousands upon thousands of people pass through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, through the whispering gallery, beneath the ceiling of stars, and past the information booth and its beckoning four-faced clock, to whatever destination is calling them. It is a place where people come to say hello and good-bye. And each person has a story to tell.

Now, ten bestselling authors inspired by this iconic landmark have created their own stories, set on the same day, just after the end of World War II, in a time of hope, uncertainty, change, and renewal….

Very touching and evocative. This book features original stories by best selling authors. Much of it has to do with Jewish refugees — and also Jews who had left Europe for America, at least one had been in concentration camps. It gives a glimpse into what it must have been like to live those early years post war.

My father served in the air force in Europe, so it holds a special poignancy for me.

While there are possibilities — and even love — it is not an easy life or an easy read. It is a world very far removed from where we are now, but not far enough to be in the way distant past. It holds too many memories.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

Review: Bought for Revenge by Sarah Mallory

bought for revengeReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Captain Lucas Blackstone has, unlike many of his men he served with returned from the battle of Waterloo unscathed. By coming back, he hopes to renovate what was once his family’s mansion, but seeing it in its current state causes him concern.

Debutante Annabelle Havenham’s father has to settle with his debtors and the only way he can is to sell the mansion he has come to see as his home. He thinks Captain Blackstone is the worthy buyer, yet he wants more into the bargain if he is to get his revenge on her father for what he had done in the past.

Review: Lucas comes to Annabelle’s father pretending to be a Mr Monserrat to avoid problems, but even in this deceptive manner, Annabelle’s father thinks he recognises him. Little by little, Lucas plans to take the loathed Mr Havenham down, knowing no one can prevent what will come to pass. Once Lucas meets Annabelle he has feelings for her as she is a strong-minded woman who wants to be seen as an equal in relationships. He wants to take down her father, yet he also has a hard time making her a worthy pawn in his game. Lucas makes the mistake of getting too close to her, close enough to have feelings for her that could cloud his judgement if he wants revenge against her father. He does have a heart, though but he keeps it in check for his own sake if he is to make her father pay for his past sins. In doing so, he puts his future and that of Annabelle’s at risk – she might never trust him after he tells her he wants to ruin him. He was after all a child when the incident happened and as a result, he could be alienating the only woman who would love him back, and the one man who, if Annabelle would accept his offer of marriage, would accept his offer of marriage without question.

Good Bits:

  • Annabelle’s first meeting with Lucas.
  • The interesting business of the Havenham family painting that makes Lucas very nervous indeed.
  • The mysterious cousin Hugh and how he fits into the story.

Summary: What starts out as a heated romance novel soon turns into a murder mystery both Lucas and Annabelle have to solve before it is too late. I found this an enjoyable and gripping novel that twists and turns really well until the satisfying reveal at the end.

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: Bought for Revenge

Review: Knight of Love by Catherine LaRoche

knight of loveHero: The hero has a complicated name. He is Wolfram von Wolfsbach und Ravensworth, also known as Wolf, the English Earl of Ravensworth. He first meets the heroine when he’s undercover as a blacksmith in Prince Kurt’s court, where he finds her being publicly whipped for a small infraction to the amusement of the Prince. Barely able to contain himself, Wolf watches and then volunteers to carry Lenora upstairs where he gives her a large knife for protection.

Heroine: Despite appearances to the contrary, Lady Lenora Trevelyan is not a damsel in distress. She is resourceful and determined to make her escape on her own… no knight in shiny armor needed. She successfully escapes her abusive fiancé, Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt and is galloping toward freedom and safety with the English/German diplomat… and gets captured by rebels just days down the road. The head of the rebel camp is none other than the blacksmith who gave her the knife.

Review: The hero is an unusual mix of beta and alpha characteristics. He’s very flowery in his language, chivalrous, and believes in love at first sight, but is also skilled at war, believes in civil rights of man (and woman,) and carefully controlling to ensure all is in his favor. For my tastes, I would have had less flowery language and more determined wooing. Wolf arranges a wedding to Lenora in order to protect her – this battlefield wedding is hardly legit as she didn’t give her consent. Still, he consummates the marriage in a forced seduction that evening. It is a heartbreaking (and erotic) experience for both of them which makes it successful. That night destroys what trust Lenora had in him. Now she’s plotting a new escape… but it’s harder to break the touch of silk than the touch of iron. There’s also an erotic scene where Lenora is in full control of Wolf and that is also successful as it is healing for both. I felt the story fell short when it changed locations from Germany to England. It was a night and day difference and the smoldering passion cooled quickly. Definitely a memorable read.

[Rating:3.5]

Buy: Knight of Love

Review: Tapestry by Karen Ranney

tapestryHero: Alex, the Earl of Cardiff, never planned to be the earl. He had a father and older brother and so went off to war to make his mark. When he returns, he is severely wounded and hides his ravage face and body and heart in the castle of Heddon Hall. His servants are terrified of him. His stepmother despises him. He can’t tell if his estate manager is swindling him because he can’t read due to the loss of one eye and the headaches that come from trying to focus the other. When an uppity little maid arrives, bold as you please, on his doorstep, he’s intrigued despite his attempts to distance himself from her.

Heroine: Lady Laura Blake has had enough of being rebuffed. If Alex won’t return her letters and tell her what is going on she will figure it out on her own. She shows up at his estate in disguise, wearing her maid’s clothes and using her maid’s name. Once inside his household, she’s put to work in the kitchen. Being a scullery maid was not quite what she had in mind! Soon she’s elevated to be his personal secretary and that suits her so much better. Now she can spend her days with Alex… and nights.

Review: The first half of the novel is the best part of the story. If you want a happy ending that’s truly happy end at book one/part one. I enjoyed the setup with the heroine breaking into the hero’s lair as a servant (though how she managed it is a mystery because she’s a family friend, you’d think she’d be recognized by someone – Alex!!) I like Laura’s bumbling in the kitchen, her determination to reach Alex and break down his walls. I loved his elation at recapturing humanity and love.

However, after they come together the story goes downhill as they are separated, when the hero returns to his wartime duties for one last assignment. Laura doesn’t want him to go, but for his masculine and national pride, Alex must. Their separation leads to misfortune as Alex is captured and assumed dead. Laura experiences a miscarriage because of the news and also faces the doubly incapacitating grief of losing Alex and the babe. When Alex gets out of prison, he allows his evil stepmother’s cruel words to sway him from finding the truth of what is going on with Laura which causes a big misunderstanding. My friends, you know me, and you know I love angst, but holy moly this is too much. I also like more time together with the main characters and less time apart.

[Rating:2]

Buy: Tapestry

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Review: The Officer and the Secret (Semper Fi, Book 3) by Jeanette Murray

the Officer and the SecretReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This is the third book in Jeanette’s Semper Fi series. The books in this series are stand alones but if you love military romances I hope you will read all the books. I tried to find out if there will be a book four in this series but was unsuccessful.

Captain Dwayne Robertson is a Marine who’s coming home from his last deployment. When you read this you will think he is a solitary man. Isn’t that sad for a soldier to come home to be alone. During the Gulf War, I had a chance to welcome home our soldiers at our local base. It was an honor and privilege. I still have the undershirt that I had some of the returning soldiers sign for me. If you ever get the chance, take advantage and shake the person’s hand that helps to keep our country safe.

Veronica Gibson has been talking to Dwayne via Skype while he was away. They forged a friendship that seems a little awkward since his return. Jeanette has made these two characters polar opposites. Dwayne is all alpha male and Veronica is shy and introverted (even though she is fighting to change that). Makes you think of the saying about opposites attract.

It’s interesting to watch how Veronica experiences things. We get to see things from her perspective for what we take for granted. Jeanette also includes a very real problem for a lot of people in the military – PTSD. She doesn’t get preachy but she shows the reader that it is a serious problem and that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help – it is not a show of weakness.

Our author also shows her readers that you need to learn to take chances. You might miss out on finding the love of your life if you don’t take a chance. You need to learn to get out of your comfort zone. Otherwise, how can you experience some of the things going on around you?

If you like military men, you will love Dwayne and his crew. If you like quirky love interests, you will love Veronica. You will want to make sure to read this book if you like love stories where the characters have to work at their relationship. Jeanette kept me interested from the first sentence. You’ll also get your HEA ending.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Officer and the Secret (Semper Fidelis. Always Faithful.)

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