Audio Review: Once More, My Darling Rogue (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, Book 2) by Lorraine Heath

once more my darling rogueHero: Drake Darling isn’t his real name, but it’s the one he uses. Drake’s father was an awful abusive man who murdered his mother. Drake watched him hang. He was taken in by a nice well-to-do family and raised as one of their own, even though he wasn’t. He can charm any woman, but Lady Ophelia Lyttleton. She knows what he is and makes sure he knows it too.

Heroine: Phe (Ophelia) loses her memory in an accident she can’t recall. She doesn’t even really know who she is, but the man, Drake, who says he’s her employer makes her feel safe. She likes that feeling even if the rest of what he says seems false. How can she be a servant? She doesn’t even know how to do the basic things a servant does!

Review: This book started off very strong for me and kept it’s pace right up to the last portion of the book. Then the story kind of nosedived and hit concrete instead of landing in the pool. I didn’t like that the author made the heroine a victim of incestuous rape in order to make her likable. Not to diminish the horror of it, but the whole thing reeked like a cop-out. I liked the heroine perfectly fine when she was an uppity chit with airs and so much pride she became a snobby ill-bred person around the hero. She could have been a product of her upbringing like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. She even had lovely Emma undertones as her personality was revealed in little pieces here and there as her memory loss allowed her to flourish away from what society demanded of her. It’s really too bad because for me it took the book from a five star rating and plummeted it. For somebody else it might work.

Narrator: At first I didn’t really like Helen Lloyd as she narrated the heroine’s part. Her voice didn’t quite jive, but as the story progressed I learned to like her. James Adams had a very nice voice and I liked listening to him a lot. It’s always fun to listen to men narrate romances.

[Rating:2]

Buy: Once More, My Darling Rogue (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, Book 2), Once More, My Darling Rogue (Audio Book)

Women’s Relationships: Rivalry and Friendship

Nine Fold Heaven - Cover ArtGuest blog by Mingmei Yip, author of The Nine Fold Heaven

A Chinese saying goes, “In life, if you have just one real friend, you can die with no regret.” For this reason, I treasure my few close female friendships. Friendships between women are special – we can share many things that would bore our male companions.

However, it is because our girlfriends know our most intimate sentiments that, if one day we have a falling out, they know exactly which button to push to hurt our feelings. Sometimes one will push the button anyway and a friendship is lost. This is sad because true friends are rare and we all need companions along our life’s journey of many thousands of miles.

The two protagonists of my new novel The Nine Fold Heaven the singer spy Camilla and the magician Shadow started out not as friends but as enemies, competing for the affection of the notorious gangster Master Lung so they could gain some of his power, wealth, and fame.

However, after Camilla and Shadow schemed to outwit each other, they realized they were both, “two forlorn people sharing the same lonely fate at the margin of the world.” Then they became friends, or at least allies, to comfort and look out for each other in an uncaring world. They had no one except each other, to look out for them, no choice but to live by their wits.

Women need to stick together but, unfortunately, we do not always act on this. A betrayal I have never forgotten occurred when one of my friends in Hong Kong threw away thirty of my paintings that I had left with her for safekeeping. She denied it but her maid took me aside and revealed that she had been told to set them out in the garbage. It turned out that she had been going through a very bad time. One day, she admitted what she had done and apologized. We are friends again but it is not the same. However, I still believe that friendship sometimes requires forgiveness.

About Nine Fold Heaven

Come along with an ex spy as she returns to Shanghai where she’s a wanted woman – but she has to search for her baby and her lost lover. Is her baby really alive? Will she be able to find her lover? Can she elude the police long enough to find them? Learn much more about Nine Fold Heaven and Mingmei Yip at http://www.mingmeiyip.com and get your copy of this exciting and exotic novel at Amazon.

The Nine Fold Heaven is part of a series about Camilla the songbird and female spy – you can also read Skeleton Women, the first book about Camilla.

Mingmei Yip - Author Photo 3About Mingmei Yip

Mingmei Yip has been writing and publishing since she was fourteen years old and now she has twelve books to her credit. Her five novels are published by Kensington Books and her two children’s books are published by Tuttle Publishing.

Mingmei is also a renowned qin (ancient string instrument) musician, calligrapher and painter. In Hong Kong, she was a columnist for seven major newspapers. She has appeared on over sixty TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and the US. Visit Mingmei at: www.mingmeiyip.com

Buy: The Nine Fold Heaven, Skeleton Women

Review: Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Claire

barefoot in the sunReviewed by Patsy F.

This book begins in an unusual way. The “life secret” of the main character is revealed in the prologue and you get a good sense of the history of the characters. Then Chapter 1 starts with 9 years later. So immediately I was intrigued and excited to be reading a romance mystery.

The story begins when Zoe Tamarin confesses to her true love (Oliver, a hot, strong, prestigious doctor) that she had a nightmare childhood. She tells him that the woman that she calls, Aunt Pasha, is really the woman that saved her from a tragic life and abducted her. They were always on the run because Pasha was afraid they would be caught and she would be sent to prison. Little did Zoe know Aunt Pasha had another secret.

As Zoe grew into a beautiful young woman, her love for Aunt Pasha grew too. Pasha had given Zoe a wonderful loving life but a life on the run nonetheless. Zoe had developed three strong sisterhoods during the years. These friends were just as much family to Zoe as aunt Pasha and although the friends had no idea that Pasha had changed Zoe’s real name and been on the lamb, they loved her as much as Zoe did.

Though they were only together for four months, Dr. Oliver Bradbury was the only true love Zoe ever knew (her soulmate). She had left Oliver nine years ago in the beginning of the story. Oliver was about to tell a secret of his own to Zoe that his ex was pregnant with his child. He had met Zoe months after he separated from his ex. But then when she left he knew Zoe would never return, so he married his ex and raised their son just to do the right thing.

Finally now that Zoe is grown and after years of running, Zoe and Pasha decide to go to meet Zoe’s friend on an island in Florida. The friend has opened a beautiful resort and is about to give birth to her second child. When she goes into labor, there is a handsome, respected, well qualified doctor at the resort with his son.

The real mystery of the book is Pasha’s secret. The end of the story is what you would expect after a story such as this, but leaves you with a feeling of…love conquers all…no matter what.

This is a very good read, the only negative would be some of the chapters were a little too wordy in the scene description.

I would like to read more of this author’s Barefoot Bay series. I rate this book at 4 stars!

[Rating:4]

Buy: Barefoot in the Sun (Barefoot Bay)

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Review: The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne (Sydney Dovedale, Book 2) by Jayne Fresina

the wicked wedding of miss ellie vyneHero: James Hartley is tracking down the man who stole a family heirloom right off the neck of his mistress. He knew better than to give her the jewels, she was not the mysterious woman he kissed at a costume ball. The only person he wants to find more than the Count de Bonneville is his Marie Antoinette. If he only knew they were one and the same!

Heroine: Ellie Vyne does what she must to keep her stepfather and half-sisters afloat. If they guessed she did it crossing-dressing and pretending to be a Count while fleecing noble drunkards at the gaming tables nearly every evening, they would all surely have a fit and explode. She’s just deciding to call the charade quits, when James bursts into her room at a hotel and comes to the conclusion she’s the Count’s mistress. Oh boy.

Review: As childhood frenemies, Ellie liked to take James down a size so he and his ego could fit through a door, and it’s much the same now that they are grown. If he won’t get over Sophie (see previous book in series) and notice how much she likes him, then she’ll poke fun at him instead. Grieves is a great side character – adding depth to the hero’s life and supplying endless dry humor for the reader. There were a few things I’d write out of the story, like the bastard child, but overall there are few complaints to be had. The wit, banter, and charm of the story are a home run smash out of the park. In conclusion, if you are looking for a terrific, wonderful, and amusing romp – look no further than Jayne Fresina’s latest release – with characters you like, and a couple to lose your heart too. You will want to run not walk to the bookstore.

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne

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A Hero with a Heart!

Guest Blog by Aimee Thurlo, author of Buy: Secrets of the Lynx (Copper Canyon)

David and I have been writing together for most of our married life, yet we’re not at all alike. He grew up on the Navajo Indian Nation on the high desert. I came to the U.S. from Cuba when I was eight years old and have lived in big cities almost all my life. We’re totally different from each other, in backgrounds, and in personality. Yet the ability to merge our unique qualities has become our greatest asset. It’s what enables us to bring readers emotionally charged stories filled with high adventure.

Like it is in our lives, the skills we bring to the table are complementary, but different. David can craft powerful action scenes, but I can do emotions far better than he can. Very right brain/left brain!

Our collaboration really comes together in a romantic suspense novel like Secrets of the Lynx. This is a story about destiny and reaching for a dream. It also delivers one heckuva high action adventure.

Hosteen (Mister) Silver, a Navajo medicine man, fostered Paul Greyhorse, the hero of our novel. It was through Hosteen Silver that Paul learned to respect things that can’t always be explained through logic.

Paul and each of his brothers received a very special gift when they turned sixteen – the fetish of an animal. According to tradition, a fetish is more than just a carving. It’s a symbol that is said to capture the essence of the animal and impart those qualities to its owner. Lynx knows what others try to keep secret, and sees what’s not readily apparent.

Yet the real magic of the story unfolds as the hero and heroine, two emotionally damaged people, come together and realize that they’re stronger together than they are apart – like it is with David and me.

I have to admit that I especially like Paul Grayhorse. He’s a hero among heroes. He doesn’t judge others, though they often judge him. For example, when he questions several streetwalkers, he treats them with great respect. He understands that somewhere in there is a woman who dreamed of bigger and better things – but took a detour. That a “Pretty Woman” (movie with Julia Roberts) is there, just beyond what the eye can readily see.

Romantic Times said, “Thurlo understands the mindset of The People and uses the beautiful legends and myths that define them to add depth to his action packed tale.”

I hope you’ll have a chance to pick it up!

For a signed bookmark please send one stamp to:

Aimée and David Thurlo
P.O. Box 2747
Corrales, NM 87048

We’ll take care of the rest!

Happy reading!

Aimée and David

BIO: David and Aimee Thurlo have been married for forty-two years. Aimee moved in next door to him and it was love at first sight. Three weeks later, they were married.

David was raised on the Navajo Indian Reservation and left Shiprock to complete his education at the University of New Mexico.

Aimee, born in Havana, Cuba, has lived in New Mexico for forty-two years. Their popular Ella Clah mystery series, featuring a Navajo woman police officer, won a New Mexico Book Award. Their Lee Nez vampire novels are currently under option to Red Nation Films in Hollywood. They also write romantic suspense novels for Harlequin and have sold more than a million copies worldwide.

Buy: Secrets of the Lynx (Copper Canyon)