Review: Three Sisters (Blackberry Island, Book 2) by Susan Mallery

three sistersThis book is not an anthology, but there are three stories intertwined in it. Three Sisters is the nickname for three Victorian houses on a cul-de-sac and with a name like that, it is easy to see that the three women who own it will become as “sisters” in their friendships to one another.

Romantic relationships are at the heart of the novel, but it is not your traditional romance novel. It’s more women’s fiction with romantic elements. I found two of the three stories very depressing for much of their page time and should come with a warning label for some readers. The issues in the novel are not lighthearted ones and could be tough to read emotionally for some women.

One woman deals (or not) with grief over the death of her infant son and it is destroying her marriage. (Her husband isn’t handling it any better and gets drunk to avoid his grief.)

Another woman is struggling in her marriage because she needs order and perfection to counter her childhood abusive relationship with her mother. Her needs, which are silent and never spoken, affect her household and all her children see her as the bad guy. (How could her husband who indicates knowing this tragic past, say/think the things he did and not be more sympathetic or handle his own concerns/needs better/sooner?)

The last woman faces the challenges of new beginnings after her fiancé dumps her at the altar and runs off with his secretary to get hitched in Vegas. I by far, enjoyed her story the most. I liked her, her new fella, and the daughter.

Each of the married women’s struggles is handled with respect, but the story is at times very much a downer. It’s not until over halfway through the book that things start to look up for the two married women on the street, but getting there was painful for me. Their husbands also had to come around and I wasn’t convinced by one of them for a while because it seemed like all the blame was on the wife. Not fair.

The book will tug at your heartstrings, but you have to ask yourself do you want them to be tugged so hard? It ends happy. I give 2 Stars for the married couples’ stories and 4 Stars for the single gal’s story…

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Three Sisters (Blackberry Island)

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Review: Grave Intentions by Lori Sjoberg

Grave IntentionsReview by Lynn Reynolds

David Anderson works for Death. He’s on his way to an appointment with his newest trainee, Adam Javorski. Adam doesn’t quite understand what the job entails but David is there to guide him. Adam seems to be the voice of compassion and David seems to be very cynical. I think Adam is perfect for David. He’s the shot in the arm that David needs and then they meet Sarah.

Sarah Griffith has a very spunky grandmother named Pearl. Pearl feels she has a gift that no one understands and that gets her into constant trouble. Sarah works in a lab and you can tell how she only believes in things that can be seen or proven. Sarah doesn’t believe in the unknown.

I love the first meeting between Sarah and her next door neighbors – can we say big misunderstanding. Then there is a scene where David and Sarah are watching a football game. It’s interesting when I find that I have a connection to the story – do you ever feel the same?

David has a talent that left me wishing that this book came with illustrations. This is where your imagination and mind’s eye need to work overtime. One can always hope that someday the e-reader will evolve into having illustrations/pictures – and in color too.

This book shows that it’s never too late to change our lives. David has a job that he had no choice but to take, he’s made the most of it and then along comes a woman. Love can come when you least expect it but what will you do to keep the person that completes you. Lori also does a great job of building the suspense until its final conclusion. It takes a lot of creativity to come up with the world that David and Adam live in.

I loved this book and I’m looking forward to reading the next book. It’s not a book that is based around sex. It’s about the love that builds between a man and a woman no matter the odds. And the reader also gets their paranormal fix. But it also leaves me hoping to see what happens with Adam.

Make sure that you read to the very end and Lori will give you a sneak peek. There was a secondary character that works with the guys and her name is Ruby. Book two is her story. There was no title listed and I did my best to try to find out what I could for you but with no success – we will just have to wait and see.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Grave Intentions

Review: Touch If You Dare (Soulfire Series, Book #2) by Stephanie Rowe

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

Do you love the self loathing tortured alpha-male warrior that finds his salvation, as well as his soft ooey-gooey center, in a strong, loyal woman? Then what are you waiting for, go read this book! If you need more convincing then read on…

Rowe has a unique voice I found entertaining and refreshing. What I loved most, was her fast paced witty dialogue. It was a virtual snark fest <G>. If I had been in the room with the characters, I would have whip lash trying to keep up with everyone <G>. It was an amazingly fun read. All the characters are well developed and original. The main theme of the story is that fine line between love and hate we all walk.

There are more immortal tortured alpha-males than you can shake a stick at in this story, but it focuses on Jarvis Swain (swoon), one of many warriors, that spent over 100 years as a prisoner of sadistic women. It would be safe to say, he has issues. Jarvis doesn’t think he deserves happiness or love. He is the Guardian of Hate after all. He is the ultimate pessimist.

Reina works for Death (and what a wonderfully obnoxious character he is!) and has to kiss his butt so she can be promoted to a full Reaper. She is a kind and gentle person, who feels the need to help everyone find the happiness she can’t seem to find for herself. Jarvis and Reina end up having to use each other to achieve their own goals and you can guess how *that goes!

I can’t wait to read how all the other deliciously tortured males, including Death, find their HEAs.

Rating: ★★★★★ ooey-gooey tortured stars!

Buy: Touch If You Dare

You can read more about Stephanie Rowe and her other books at http://www.stephanierowe.com/bookshelf.html

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Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Background: Greek mythology is reinvented and romanticized in Aimee Carter’s start to a new young adult trilogy. What if the Hades and Persephone story wasn’t as it appeared to history? Instead of stealing her from her mother, they had an arranged marriage. Hades loved Persephone, but Persephone didn’t love Hades. She falls in love with a mortal and asks Hades to take her immortality away so she could die to be with the mortal in the afterlife, leaving Hades without a wife and co-ruler.

Summary: Kate isn’t ready to say goodbye to her mom, a long time sufferer of cancer. The doctors and her mother feel that there isn’t much time left. At her mother’s behest, Kate moves them back to Eden, the mother’s childhood small town home. Kate isn’t worried about a new school or even making friends. She wants to spend all her time with her mother, but in an effort to please her mother she attends a party which ends with a deadly prank and a deal with a handsome devil.

Henry offers to keep her mother alive (not healed) in exchange for Kate’s agreement to live the winter with him in his home. The catch is that she also has to pass seven tests and it could get deadly. Eleven girls have tried to pass, but most end up dead before they can complete them. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s wife, and a goddess.

Review: I was surprised that the seven tests are hidden within the text. Kate is told she will be tested, but she’s not told how or even what these tests are. They’re designed to test her character. I wonder if you can spy them on your first read through the book. I know I didn’t. I also didn’t recognize the testers, which is the point. We, the readers, are like Kate in the story, clueless to these facts.

I adored how the relationship between Henry and Kate developed. It was slow, it was thorough, and it was delicious. I loved the Beauty and the Beast aspect to it and the Greek mythology reinterpretation. It’s young and fresh. Henry is a fabulous tortured hero. I can’t wait for the sequel, Goddess Interrupted.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Goddess Test (Harlequin Teen)

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Review: Kiss at Your Own Risk by Stephanie Rowe

The Story: Blaine Underhill is a tortured hero like no other. He’s spent a century and a half in the hands of Death’s bat-crazy psychotic grandmother, Angelica. The woman enjoys watching her prisoners torture each other and building them up to be superior warriors while at the same time emasculating the men by cursing them with such feminine pursuits like cross-stitching and knitting. Well no more! Blaine and his fellow inmates are escaping Angelica’s prison, The Den Of Womanly Pursuits, come hell or schnoodemgons.

Trinity Harpswell is a Black Widow, doomed to kill the men she falls in love with and that really sucks. Determined to break the cycle, she has one week left remaining on her curse… that is if she manages to make it through the week without killing another unsuspecting male. This is her last chance. If she slips up she’ll be doomed to be a murderess forever. When Blaine tracks her down and tells about his best friend, Chris, who did not make it out from Angelica’s lair she knows she’s in trouble because helping Blaine just might be murder! Luckily, he’s prepared to help her out too.

Review: It was slow starting for me. There are quite a few POV changes. I had to backtrack a few times during the initial setup. It is chock full of world-building facts and tidbits. I wondered once or twice if I was reading a sequel instead of reading the first book in a new paranormal series.

It’s a good thing Blaine is Trinity’s hero… those mutant near immortal warriors are a Black Widow’s dream and a reader’s too… ;)

Many readers have found it hilarious and overall it’s an extremely silly read with lots of outrageous elements (schnoodemgons aka killer mutant schnoodles).

Expect many twists and turns as the story speeds up to its final conclusion which makes predicting where Rowe will go nigh impossible.

My final thoughts? Very original, just don’t overanalyze it and watch out for that pink dust assassin!

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Kiss at Your Own Risk (Soulfire Series, Book 1)

PS – How hot is this title? Scorching!

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Review: This Time for Keeps by Jenna Mills

Jenna Mills tackles some very hard issues in This Time for Keeps. A miscarriage tore the hero and heroine apart and annihilated their marriage two years prior to the start of the novel. Neither one has really dealt with the fallout of their lost child. At the opening of the book the estranged couple is on the verge of divorce when Megan Montgomery’s husband blows back into town.

He’s there to collect his niece and bring the baby to his folks across the pond. Megan is the baby’s official guardian based on Ainsley’s will. What she doesn’t know is that Russell is there to challenge it, but she’s willing to fight tooth and nail to keep her sister-in-law’s baby, Charlotte.

She blames him for their marriage falling apart. In her eyes Russell acted as a callous man only interested in trying to get some boom-boom and to replace their lost baby. Russell views the failure of the past and sees his wife pulling away, never opening up or talking to him. She retreated so far away that he couldn’t touch her without her flinching, couldn’t be in the same room with her without her running away.

Megan is furious with Russell for leaving his baby sister behind like he left her. Cutting Ainsley out of his life was worse than cutting her out in her mind because his sister had moved to a whole new country to be close to him. When he insists he found out her death only two weeks ago, it doesn’t placate Meg. It only makes it that much sadder.

As the two navigate around the other and rediscover their lost passion Charlotte’s father comes back to town and suddenly the two are a united front. They want to keep Charlotte at all costs… but when do the costs become too high?

In the end this just wasn’t the book for me. There were too many lows giving the book a sad feel.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: This Time for Keeps (Harlequin Superromance)

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