Audio Review: Thunder and Roses (Fallen Angels, Book 1) by Mary Jo Putney

thunder and rosesHeroine: Methodist schoolteacher Clare Morgan is not noble, but she has noble ideals. Her village is in trouble and she’s determined to do her late father’s memory proud and find a solution. The one that comes to her is to petition the Demon Earl. She remembers him as a young boy when he would meet with her father and she can’t believe the stories the villagers say about him. But when he places a lucrative and impossible price on his aid, she’s not so sure anymore. What kind of man demands a respectable woman give up her reputation and live with him for three months, knowing the villagers will think the worse?

Hero: Nicholas Davies, the Demon Earl, is the legitimate son of a nobleman and a gypsy. His mother gave him to his cruel grandfather, for a bag of gold. His grandfather would have happily seen the estate go to someone else, and worked to ruin it. The betrayal of his youth coupled with his traumatic childhood growing up in his grandfather’s home has made Nicholas the man he is today. So when the little schoolteacher, Clare, comes to him for aid, he puts a devilish price on his intervention and support. He never expects her to agree to it, so while he must care again and fight alongside her to save the community that rejected him in the past, he’s looking forward to stealing his daily kisses… and if Clare can be persuaded, more.

Review: I loved the bet, the stolen kisses, and the chemistry between Nicholas and Clare. The narrator, Peter Bishop, did a good job. It’s always a treat to be read to by a male narrator in this genre.

This book was on a fast track to a 4.5 or 5 Star rating, with great scenes like a summertime dip in the pond with imported penguins. Then, midway through it fell apart for me and if you want to know why, you should note that spoilers and personal opinions lie ahead.

What didn’t work for me was finding out along the way that Clare felt like an impostor in her own skin. Her faith falls short of the face she gives to it around others and that bothered me. I like when a character is true to their faith and I don’t particularly enjoy reading about doubts of God’s existence and if we’re a good Christian if we don’t feel like connect with Him. Clare’s doubts about her faith are the excuse for why she can be with Nicholas, because she never really felt like she belonged and that’s crap. I would have much preferred a line of thought that went more like this… Nicholas is not the Demon Earl he’s been made out to be, I find that each day I am falling more in love with him, and because of this I am willing to be with him. I felt the line of reasoning given in the book, cheapened Clare’s character and the romance between her and Nicholas.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Thunder & Roses

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Review: Dead Again by Tracy Cooper-Posey

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Dead Again is a high adrenaline read. Get ready to run because when the line between right and wrong blurs-you won’t know who to trust.

Recommendations: This is an action-packed read that doesn’t quit. It reminds me of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, of which I’m a big fan of. It will also appeal to readers who generally buy Harlequin Intrigue and Silhouette Romantic Suspense. If you enjoy watching action-packed movies, or more specifically, if you liked Absolute Power with Clint Eastwood then this novel’s for you.

She heard the words, they gave her the news, he was dead. The tall, dark-haired, kind man with a strong spirit. The one who’d helped her survive five days in the Northern Colorado Mountains after the plane crash. Jack Laubreaux, hero, who provided her with food, with hope. Attending her needs, caring for her broken femur, and all the while disregarding his own injuries, and now he’s gone.

Sophie Rosemary Kingston, heroine, has tried to be strong and independent. To forget him, but like a boomerang the memories never fail to return. Almost a decade has gone by. She’s now a single mother of two, with one failed marriage under her belt, and a café to call her own. Life in Montana’s not going to get better; it just is. Well…Sophie has just undergone a severe shock to her system. She’s just seen a vagrant with an uncanny resemblance to Jack, but his name is Martin Stride.

Her meeting with Martin, is about to propel her into a world where those in power corrupt it, and those who uncover it; die. Someone dubbed the Silent Knight is protecting the Irish mafia leader. When all’s said and done, will Sophie and Martin live to tell the tale?

What I loved: This was a fun read for me, since romantic suspense is one of my favorite sub-genres. The announcements at the end were a nice touch; an update of the key players. I also burst out laughing when I read what the hero studied in the University of Chicago. You’ll laugh too! Especially, if you’re following along with the story.

My favorite scene: This scene made my breath hitch. (Sophie walks into a bar, no, that’s not an intro to a joke.) She follows Martin in, unbeknownst to him, of course. Then there’s a moment when their gazes meet in the mirrored wall behind the bar; the scene was nicely written.

What I would’ve changed: I would’ve wanted a different end for the antagonist.

Dead Again was first published as Silent Knight in Nov. 2004, under a different publisher. Now being published as Dead Again by Cerridwen Press, releasing in April 2010. It’s currently unavailable in print, available as an eARC only at this time.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Buy: Dead Again

eARC, Cerridwen Press, Romantic Suspense, 199 Pages. ISBN# 978 141 992 1483.

Review: Now and Forever: A Love Story by Jean C. Joachim

by Isabel G., guest reviewer

Callie Richards moved to Willow Falls to start a new life, however, it’s difficult to let go of the future she once planned to share with her previous fiancé. The pain she felt after he was killed still lingered. Although Callie did not have much money, she used what she had to enroll at Kensington State University to get her master’s degree. Her ultimate goal is to be able to support herself. Callie ends up making a risky decision in order to help the university after a few students overdose on drugs. She volunteers to go undercover to help find the people responsible and ends up putting her own life in danger.

Mac Caldwell is the Dean at Kensington State University. He’s divorced and shares custody of a son. Although he’s lonely, Mac feels it’s inappropriate to date the young woman at the university. He also finds that they aren’t mature enough for a 34-year old man. He starts to fall for Callie when she begins working at the school office.

The romance part of the story is sweet and I would recommend this book to beginners. However, keep in mind that there’s some violence and adult content. If you’re into more passionate love scenes… bypass this book altogether. The sexual encounters are short and not detailed enough for my liking.

Likes: There were a few surprising twists in the story and the fact that there’s real danger for the main characters made the plot more realistic.

Dislikes: Mac saves Callie from possibly getting raped and they have sex that same night. That just doesn’t make sense because I would be too panic-stricken.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Now and Forever, a Love Story (papberback) or Now and Forever, A Love Story (ebook)

Publisher: iUniverse, Inc., ISBN 978-1-4502-4625-5, Copyright 2010,
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 196