Review: The Black Sheep’s Inheritance (Dynasties: The Lassiters, Book 1) by Maureen Child

black sheep's inheritanceHeroine: Colleen Falkner receives an unexpected legacy from her client J.D. Lassiter in his will. Three million dollars is more than enough to help her achieve her dreams and fulfill her mother’s too. Colleen wants to be a nurse practitioner for the remote mountain area in Wyoming around Cheyenne. The money will more than enable her to get her license, buy a cabin, and set up a practice. When Sage, J.D.’s son, appears to have an interest in her, she is flattered and excited. She feels like she knows him from all of the stories she’s heard.

Hero: Sage Lassiter wasn’t close with his adoptive father. In fact, the two were loggerheads most of the time they got together after an incident in college. So he’s not surprised when J.D. pulls something crazy in his will. What he is surprised about is that the person who was screwed-over wasn’t himself, but was his sister. The one person who might know about why J.D. did what he did would’ve been his private nurse. And, the woman, just got a three million dollar legacy, so clearly, she’s up to no good.

Review: I’m not sure who the black sheep is supposed to be in this story. I felt the inheritance most in question was the heroine’s (and the hero’s sister’s), but it was the hero who had conflict with his family. The story is adorable and I particularly enjoyed the scenes where Colleen and Sage go to look at houses and she nearly falls into the ravine… which leads to fun sexy times. I also loved how Sage pulled out all the stops to win her over again after making an ass of himself.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Black Sheep’s Inheritance (Dynasties: The Lassiters)

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Review: Luck of the Devil (Speak of the Devil, Book 1) by Patricia Eimer

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This story is written in the first person.

We see that Faith Bettincourt and her friends are not exactly human. But she has a human job working in a hospital. She’s a charge nurse in the Children’s ICU unit. Her friend Lisa is a succubus who’s also a nurse. Faith is also the youngest daughter of the devil.

As you read, you’ll notice that as a succubus Lisa isn’t very good at it. If you’re a fan of the series Drop Dead Diva, you can almost picture April Browlby (character: Stacy Barrett) as Lisa – it seems to be a perfect fit. Lisa is just as “dippy” as Stacy is.

Faith isn’t your typical looking girl either – she’s a demon off the old block. She can also do some things that we can’t do like teleport from one place to another. She also has a crush on her next door neighbor, Matt. As you read, you will see that they start a relationship. But even Matt is not all that he seems.

Faith’s brother Tolliver is a major pain. He’s also the one that made Lisa into a succubus. But Faith is different from most demons – she has a conscience. Not your typical demon. Although Patricia has made all her characters different from what I thought they would be – in a good way.

Faith is coming out of a coffee shop and who should she bump into but none other than her sister, Hope. Hope isn’t any better than the brother. As I continue reading, I can definitely see the actors from “Drop Dead Diva” playing the characters in Patricia’s book. It would make a great Lifetime movie or series. I would definitely watch.

If I could cast the part of the devil, I would love to see Steve Martin in the part. For the mother, I could see Diane Keaton. And of course Faith would have to be Brooke Elliot (character: Jane Bingum). Jane’s demeanor would fit Faith’s perfectly.

Patricia also gives us some mystery and suspense. This is all a great mix. It’s what keeps us reading from the beginning of the story all the way to the end. You have no choice but to read the whole story – it’s that good. As I was reading, there were parts that I just had to laugh.

Don’t let the title of this story fool you. It’s definitely not a dark story with some sex thrown in. It’s a very funny tale with romance thrown into the mix. This is definitely a story that you may want to read more than once. I went into reading this thinking this would be a book to read around Halloween – boy was I wrong!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Luck of the Devil

Review: Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid (Kellington Book One) by Maureen Driscoll

Story: Nurse Jane Wetherby and Lord Edward Kellington have a very brief and hot affair behind enemy lines at the Battle of Waterloo. Jane convinces Edward (Ned) of her widowhood when in fact she’s an unmarried virgin – talk about your virginity surprise! Of course the dunderhead ruins it all by proposing they continue the illicit affair instead of proposing marriage. Jane disappears and because he doesn’t know her real name he can’t find her when he comes to his senses.

They meet again seven years later when Ned shows up in Marston Vale to do his duty and pay to the family, which as we all know means he’s got to get hitched whether he likes it or not and trust me he does not. The bride-to-be in question was loosely arranged between the parents and is an unkind scheming woman Ned has no interest in – though he’s quite interested in the kind surgeon he meets riding in – very interested. Now he’s just got to convince her to marry him!

Review: This is a stunning and beautiful romance. I couldn’t put it down, which I feel is a good indicator of how fabulous it is! :) There’s quite a lot going on in this novel: a second son of a duke turned soldier/spy, mistaken identity, virginity surprise, a bastard secret baby from the union, another woman/arranged marriage, a wicked grandfather, a murder, several attempted kidnappings, one real one, the heroine’s a surgeon, and at least one more thing to tie it all together. I was swept up in the adventure and rooted for the characters from the first paragraph and I think you will be too. Be sure to pick this book up if you like Regency romances and anything else I’ve mentioned to this point. I can’t wait to see what else Maureen Driscoll turns out next! I’m particularly looking forward to Lynwood’s romance.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid (Kellington Book One)

Review: A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist

I didn’t know I was thirsting for this type of novel until I glutted myself on it. The story itself is an inspirational set in America during the Civil War aftermath. I picked it up and read and read and read. It’s sweet and chaste, with both leads good God fearing people, which I found refreshing and charming. Deeanne Gist is a master weaver of storytelling, effortlessly combining fact and fiction into one cohesive whole.

The premise of the book truly is based on fact, which is really cool. Obviously the writer exercised creative license with her research but a good amount of that research appeared in some manifestation in the book. Clippings from newspapers, edited and/or condensed, are sprinkled throughout the novel and help set the mood. The letter to the heroine from her father was inspired by a similar missive one man sent his daughter. And so forth…

It does not talk down to you and doesn’t hold any ulterior religious agenda. Yes, both leads are Christian and quote the Bible, but neither they nor the author try to persuade the reader into Christianity or a particular sect of Christianity. There are only two churches and they’re named after the color of their paint. You shouldn’t shy from this book because of the fact it’s inspirational. I have limited experience in inspirational romance, but that will change because of this novel and Deeanne’s expert handling. I plan to get all of her published works from the library and glom on them.

When you open the book you are transported to 1860s Seattle (part of the Washington Territory at that time). Joseph Denton is a lumberjack whose land claim is in jeopardy because his wife died and never showed up in the Territory. It wouldn’t be an issue, except he’s being sued by a man he fired.

The judge through marriage is related to this man and while having a bias is pretty fair-minded toward Joe. He gives Joe a year to get a new wife or hand over his wife’s death certificate. Against his better judgment, Joe takes part of Asa Shinn Mercer’s bride importation project for the Territory. He would go East to get war widows and orphans and bring them back to the Pacific Northwest.

Anna Ivey, one of Mercer’s Girls, desires to be a cook and not a bride. When Mercer gives her a certificate for passage it’s with the understanding that her future employer would settle the debt and she would work it off. Needless to say Joe is not happy, but then it’s not Anna’s problem. Her paperwork from Mercer is different from Joe’s.

The judge is not happy but he gives Joe an extension. Joe is fortunate enough to have another choice, but the woman is old enough to be his grandmother and she hasn’t any teeth and refuses to wed until she gets them!

So Joe brings Anna back where she starts to cook for him and his men. Not even a week passes before news comes that his elderly betrothed’s husband is not dead, but very much alive and coming to claim his wife. That leaves Anna and Joe is more than happy to pursue her… but she can’t find out his intentions or about the returned husband until her answer to his proposal is yes.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: A Bride in the Bargain

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Review: Insignificant Moments by Jeremy Asher

by Karin from Savvythinker, guest reviewer

Love happens when you least expect it.

Insignificant Moments is a self-published inspirational book. It won a Rising Star award from iUniverse, the publisher. It teaches life lessons through story, in the tradition of Nicholas Sparks. It is not preachy or didactic.

The Short Lesson: There are no insignificant moments in life. What seems insignificant, in retrospect, may be very important. It reminds me that there are very few, if any, mundane moments.

The romance: It is a romance, but it is not sexual, finding one’s life partner by finding one’s own way, with twists and turns along the road. It also shows the courage it sometimes takes to find a new life, moving out of one’s comfort zone.

The Story: Jaye Logan is an assistant librarian and unadventurous. At 27 he has lived his life out in fear, rather than taking a chance on life.

But he reads an article “Brave of Heart” in his newspaper. It was written about a man by his daughter. She tells of her father’s epiphany on Long’s Peak. One of his favorite expressions was “Time is neutral, it’s what we do with the time we’re given that matters.”

Jaye is inspired to find out what the woman’s father found on top Long’s Peak . He really lacks the skills to climb, and once he is at the top, there is a fast moving storm he must avoid, and he really doesn’t have the skills to retreat safely. On his way down, he hears and finds a young woman, hurt, who has fallen from a large rock. In the midst of the storm, he finds cell phone coverage and calls in a rescue helicopter. It calls upon him to use his best self, to overcome his fears, and get her help.

But as usual, he forgets to get the girl’s name or give her his. It is another lost opportunity.

Disappointed in himself, he writes an email about what he has learned, but has yet to live, and sends it on to his friends. As you would imagine, his email plays a significant part in the story, as it wings its way around the world through time and space.

The Characters: The characters’ lives intersect and intertwine throughout the book in unexpected ways. It’s not completely beyond belief that something similar could happen in real life. It works.

Each chapter is labeled with a character’s name and tells part of that character’s story; sometimes the chapters are consecutive stories of the same character.

The Timeline: Along with the name of the character, each chapter heading tells the timeline of the story unless you are at the same point in time — ranging from about the time Jaye is on top of Long’s Peak, right up to present day which is three years later. For me, it was a bit confusing. I would have to refer to the chapter heading to tell me where I was in the time frame.

My Rating: I rate the book Rating: ★★★★☆. It really was very good, as well as clever, and if you like this genre, you will likely love it.

It is more inspirational than religious. I especially liked that it wasn’t preachy.

The characters find their way, sometimes blinding heading in the right direction, not always knowing it, but ending up where they are supposed to be.

Have you read it? How do you feel about insignificant moments?

Buy: Insignificant Moments

Review: Wolf Fever by Terry Spear

by Susan S., guest reviewer

A would-not-could-not stop…read! Full of nail-biting suspense, sexy scenes, and plenty of hot alphas to get you through the coldest of winters.

Summary: Carol was bitten during a fight between the reds and the gray lupus garous. Since that fateful day, she’s having trouble coinciding her halves. The human half, a nurse with precognitive powers, and her werewolf half, as a newly turned red. Darien Silver’s grays have been kind, patient, and protective of Carol Wood (heroine). But, as the saying goes, you can lead a wolf into the forest, but you can’t make it howl. She’ll accept their ways, when she’s ready. And not a minute sooner! In the interim, she refuses to shift.

When Ms. Wood realizes she’s in danger in more ways than one, she hires a bodyguard. She’s not only endangering her human patients by refusing to shift, but someone’s determined to kidnap her. Chester Ryan McKinley, hero, is a gray alpha and an uber sexy P.I. She’ll need Ryan 24/7. Oh, he’s qualified all right. He can protect her as a man, or as an alpha wolf. But, who’ll protect her from his “growing” desires? Perhaps, no protection is needed. There’s a bioengineered virus spreading among the packs. When Carol develops a low grade fever, is it too late for loving Ryan?

Review: As a reader who’s been following Spear’s werewolf series, I’m declaring Wolf Fever the best novel…thus far. I held my breath quite a bit with book six. When Carol’s grasping at straws searching for a cure, I felt the desperation. When she’s kidnapped, I felt the horror. Terry Spear knows exactly how to extract emotions from her readers, draw them into the story, and how to keep them riveted until the last word’s printed on the last page. Suffice to say, I’ve added it to my re-read list.

Favorite Scenes: Coincidentally, my favorite scenes involve windows. The first scene is when Carol peers into the forest, and spots a wolf watching her. Time stood still when I read it. Then, there’s the scene where Ms. Wood is in a sunroom, its dark out, she looks out the window and gazes at the moon. Then she loses her tightly reigned in control. Love it! Oh, it bears repeating…love it!

Recommendations: I’m recommending Wolf Fever to anyone who enjoys reading romances. It was a delight to read; I’m sure you’ll agree.

What’s Next? Heart of the Highland Hero (book seven) is set to release in June 2011. Who’s the hero? One sexy laird named Ian McNeill.

Books 8-10: Dreaming of the Wolf, The Wolf and the Seal, and Highland Wolf in Paradise.

All those gorgeous wolves! Count me in.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Wolf Fever

Paranormal Romance, December 2010, Sourcebooks Casablanca, Print Pages 399. ISBN# 978-1-4022-3752-2.

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Review: Strange Neighbors by Ashlyn Chase

Merry MacKenzie is finally stretching her wings in the big city of Boston, leaving home for the first time at age twenty-five. She has plans to kick up her heels with her best friend, Roz, ala Sex in the City. On the day she moves into her new apartment she meets her landowner and sexy hunk, Jason Falco, who also happens to be a major league baseball pitcher with a big secret.

Strange Neighbors is filled with a variety of side characters that get a lot of screen time. You have Lila, the alcoholic paparazzo who’s always around trying to capture Jason doing bad things in order to get her next paycheck. She had a lot of potential as someone who could mess up the budding relationship between Jason and Merry but her involvement came across as little more than a mild irritant. Then there’s Sylvestero, who turns out to be a vampire with a secret connection to Merry. Actual neighbors include two Wicca psychics who run a phone sex business and psychic hotline, a raven shifter, a werewolf, a super annoying ghost, and busybody relatives of Jason Falco.

Parts are incredibly cheesy and over the top, but if you like cheese you will find it a fun romp. As for me I thought there was a little too much going on that should have been kept on the sidelines because it started to detract from the romance. When Chad’s story overtook that of the hero and heroine, it was a problem for me because neither the heroine or hero had any relation to Chad, nor did they help find out who did it or break up over it.

My final thoughts are that Merry and Jason’s romance was a little too much tell and not enough show. Merry waffled too much for my tastes, considering how little she had to waffle over even after she finds out his big secret, and if I’d been the hero I would have shaken the girl. The ending sequence with the pebble though is very yum.

Rating: 2 Stars

Buy: Strange Neighbors

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Review: The Fiorenza Forced Marriage by Melanie Miburne

The Fiorenza Forced Marriage is a classic marriage of convenience story meets surprised virginity story and all that implies.

Emma – Money Grabbing – March – is caregiver/nurse to Rafaele’s father Valentino – or was as Valentino dies and leaves behind a very inconvenient will. Rafaele is convinced she was not merely a caregiver but also his father’s mistress and that she someone convinced his dad to change the will in her favor. If he doesn’t comply with the ridiculous will his family’s villa goes to Sondra Henning, Valentino’s ex mistress. Only part of the will is known to Emma, the rest the hero knows and keeps secret while he festers like mold on cheese about the small stuff.

I was rather shocked (and delighted initially) by the more graphic and forceful language used by the hero, Rafael Fiorenza, in the story. It made a nice change having the author actually show how arrogant, cruel, and ignorant a hero could be than just saying he was. But my initial good thoughts did not last as the hero ends up just being a schmuck.

His verbal assaults centered around his impression of what a whore and slut the heroine was. He took inconclusive evidence, ignored what she said in defense to his absurdities, and continued to be a grouchy overly self-entitled guy to keep the story going.

He crosses the line into being irredeemable in my opinion. I would not take that kind of verbal abuse for long and I would not keep being gracious and nice in an attempt to prove my own side of things. I would have packed up and left leaving the hero in a lurch. (Just another reason why I can’t be a romance novel heroine lol)

There’s also a case of accidental pregnancy resulting from the virginity surprise. He didn’t ejaculate (author explains how don’t worry it’s not off the wall magical impregnantion) and Emma wasn’t on the pill. They used no contraceptives. Oops. He really should have known better considering he’s opinion on her. Luckily it didn’t fall into a *gasp – she did it on purpose!* situation to break them apart.

Rating: 2-2.5 Stars

Buy: The Fiorenza Forced Marriage

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