Review: Killer Heels by Tracy Tegan

killer heelsReviewed by Cara Lynn

This was a short book compared to some.

Devlin Manning is a Hollywood actor. He has more girls throw themselves at him than he cares to think about.

And then he meets a girl that draws his attention who waits on him in a local coffee shop — and she disappears. All efforts to find her, to see her again, are in vain.

Then he sees her at the party of one of Hollywood’s most influential producers. Unfortunately Ray is connected to the mafia, and when Devlin returns later that night for his cell phone, he is mercilessly beaten. And how does it all connect with the woman who disappears again?

Later her friend tells Devlin that she has said (on a burner phone) that he is the only one that can find her. She is as enamored of him as he is with her, but she needs to be safe. So he begins the search in earnest.

I would call this romantic suspense, but there is really no sex in the book. If it’s going to be a gentle, almost unrequited love story, I was put off by him calling his member a c&*k. It didn’t seem like it fit.


Buy: Killer Heels

Audio Review: Love in the Afternoon by Alison Packard

love in the afternoonHero: Sean Barrett is the sexiest soap star on TV. His father — an amazing actor in his own right — is embarrassed that Sean spent ten years of his life acting for a lowbrow soap, and tries to get him to audition for Hollywood hits. Sean refuses to use his father’s connections in the industry to get ahead and purposefully avoids leaving the soap for greener pastures. He and his father do not get along. Sean sees every attempt to reconnect as an attempt to manipulate him. His father’s pull is so strong others have tried to get close to Sean in order to get close to his father, something Sean finds distasteful. His fame-seeking ex-girlfriend has left a bad taste in his mouth and he’s determined to avoid his sexy new costar at all costs… until he realizes she wasn’t hired for her pretty face but for her acting skills. Then all bets are off.

Heroine: Kayla Maxwell’s biggest career move in seven years has been to accept a contract with daytime’s most popular soap, A New Dawn. It will give her the chance to show her acting chops and perhaps prove to her manipulative ex-boyfriend – also an actor — that she’s more than a bimbo in some B-rated slashers. Things seem to be going well, because the producers are expanding her role and slotting her character as Sean’s character’s newest love interest. But when real terror comes to the set, Kayla doesn’t know what to do. A hateful fan leaving threatening notes for her to quit the show and get out of town has escalated into vandalism and hints at more. Her handsome costar wants to keep her safe and Kayla is inclined to let him.

Review: Found this treasure on Audible for free one day and snagged it. I’m glad I did. I very much enjoyed the narrator. Gia St. Claire did an excellent job and I would listen to another book read by her.

I liked how the lines of dialogue at the top of each chapter reflect the growing attraction and love the two shared as both the main characters and their on-screen personas. I would classify this romance as sweet, despite the crazy fan mystery. I thought Sean and Kayla were great together on and off the stage. I liked the behind-the-scenes-look at filming day time soap operas with new tapings each day and the two’s interactions in the evening studying their lines.

The mystery is pretty good at keeping you guessing who is behind the threats. I won’t give you the choices, but I know I kept bouncing back and forth on it for a good portion of the novel. There’s a significant portion of page time devoted to Sean’s friend, Matt, a baseball player with some serious issues involving the death of somebody (wife, child?). It’s a clear setup for the next book in the series. Perhaps with Kelly, Kayla’s sister?


Buy: Love in the Afternoon (Feeling the Heat)

Review: Dark Secret by Marina Anderson

dark secretReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: After ending her engagement with her lover James, Harriet Radcliffe finds there is more to life than her busy job and even her boring boyfriend, so, after a chat with her friend, Ella, she suggests it’s time to change her career prospects seeing as she has nothing to lose. It’s not that James was inconsiderate in bed, he made sure she was satisfied but the monotony of her relationship made her scream – eventually, and that’s not a bad thing. She thinks if she an advert for a PR job with a famous actress who is living in London, things might get better.

Review: In the same vein as the Fifty Shades of Gray books, Rowena and Lewis take on the beautiful Miss Radcliffe, and it starts to sound like the perfect little arrangement for her, but is it, and is Rowena the sort of woman who likes to have a pretty girl around her when she is already getting older and less desirable.

Marina Anderson has given us her steamiest romp since Haven of Obedience and Forbidden Desires. Harriet is unsure of what she wants to do with her life until she really thinks hard on what her life would be like if she became a live-in PR for a famous actress. The main characters are introduced easily, the plot eases us into their fast paced life and risks and doesn’t disappoint. Ella sounds like the sort of friend you would want to have around as she is great to talk to, while Harriet is the sort of girl who needs help as she reflects an ordinary women’s need to change her life from the humdrum one she has been used to for too long. For all her naïveté, Harriet could be no more clueless while we find out what she plans for her, and it isn’t PR in the normal sense, it’s much more than that.

The intriguing thing about this story is the distinction made by people outside Rowena’s relationship with her husband. Lewis is handsome, and without doubt a real catch, but she seems to need more than just him to fulfil her sexually, just as Harriet needs a man different to her former boyfriend. Rowena in turn moans about her sexual needs not being “novel.” The feeling is that Harriet is about to be set up in some way, and as the story develops, so does her interest in Lewis.

Saucy bits:

  • There is plenty of sex and sexual tension in this novel – be prepared.
  • Rowena’s relationship with Lewis isn’t enough for Rowena even though he is considered a hunk by other women including Ella.
  • Harriet has no idea what to expect from her new job, but what Rowena has in mind will amaze her.
  • Lewis is making a film and as the story unfolds so does Rowena’s terrible secret, as it is one that could tear them apart.

Marina’s writing is part serious, thrilling and part comedic. It’s a honest portrayal of life both in private and in the public eye as part of the movie industry today. Though this is an original idea, there are some similarities to Jackie Collins that have to be savoured.


Buy: Dark Secret

Review: Sloane Hall by Libby Sternberg

Reviewed by Carla F.

Libby Sternberg takes Jane Eyre and turns it on its head in this imaginative tale of Hollywood in the 1920’s.

Summary: Young John Doyle spent time in reform school after killing his abusive stepfather, and stayed on to work there after his time was done. Fascinated with motion pictures, he decides to head to Hollywood. However, he wants to be a cameraman instead of an actor. He gets a job as a low-level assistant on the set of a movie. One day he is upset at being thrown out of his apartment and accidentally causes an afternoon’s worth of film to be destroyed. Now with no job and no place to stay he is relieved when his older friend Leo says that the silent film star, Pauline Sloane (soon to do her first talkie), needs a chauffeur.

Review: I loved how Jane turned into John in this book, and how the author works in elements of Jane Eyre in unique ways. I also enjoyed the mentions of Hollywood actors/actresses and directors during that time (there is an interesting encounter with Howard Hughes) and the detail of how both silent films and ones with sound were made in those early days. Leo’s long talks with John about how talkies are so inferior to silent movies and how they won’t last long are amusing.

The wonderful mystery of Jane Eyre is maintained. What is Pauline’s real relationship to her agent Robbie Morgan? What is the deal with the French chef who isn’t worried about losing her job because she “knows things”? What are those eerie sounds in Sloane Hall that John hears from his bed in the room over the garage? Is there something in the attic?

Recommended: For lovers of Jane Eyre and readers who love stories of Hollywood as it was.


Buy: SLOANE HALL (A Tale of Old Hollywood)

Get into Bed with Belinda Jones (Author Interview)

This interview is with author Belinda Jones on her newest book California Dreamers

Keira: If Stella, your heroine from California Dreamers, were to give women advice on love, what would she say? Would she share it in make-up terms?

Belinda Jones: The Stella at the end of the book would probably say that sometimes you have to set aside your ego and really try to put yourself in your man’s shoes and think of the situation from his point of view. It’s so easy to get hurt and reactionary when a man doesn’t meet your romantic ideals but sometimes a tantrum of emotions can obscure a deeper truth. Also, I think she would say, ‘Never give up hope. Life can always surprise you. Especially when it comes to love.’

In make-up terms… Hmmm. I don’t know about metaphors but I think she would dare you to share your make-up free face with your guy asap. It’s nice to be complimented when you are all glammed up but there is nothing better than feeling accepted and adored just as you are, flaws and all. It helps ease the crazy shame we feel for not being perfect.

Keira: Why does Stella want to transform herself?

Belinda: I think physical transformations are sometimes less about beautification and more about seeing yourself in a different light. If you can look different, you can be different – make different choices and have a different life. Stella needs a break from the lackluster person she has become. She wants to experiment with taking on the appearance of someone bolder and more daring. The kind of person a certain movie star might find attractive…

Keira: Good friends are important. What makes Marina such a good friend?

Belinda: I think fundamentally her word is good – if she says she’ll do something or promises something, however far-fetched or fanciful, she’ll find a way to make it happen. She’s definitely generous and open-hearted and pretty down-to-earth for a movie star! She may be hot-headed, even a little scheming, in her matchmaking but it is well-intentioned. I hadn’t thought of this until now but I would like her as a friend – I admire her appetite for life!

Keira: In a sentence or two tell us about the men in their lives!

Belinda: Well, the two women in the book have something in common in that they have both fallen head over heels in love with military men – sailors in the US Navy to be precise. The book takes a look at the other side to the Officer & A Gentleman fantasy though I shall never be able to deny the appeal of that immaculate white uniform! Plus there’s also actor/bon vivant Milo, offering rather decadent temptation…

Keira: What is your favorite scene in California Dreamers? Did you have to cut anything out you wish you could have kept?

Belinda: I think my favourite scene is when Stella first meets Milo in the lavender field in Ojai. There’s just something so dreamy about that purple haze! (Yet all decorum is lost thanks to those impertinent bees!) I also liked their banter – I didn’t expect the conversation to go that way but it took on a life of its own, which is really the most fun aspect of writing!

I don’t think I had to cut anything major this time. Sometimes I get carried away with ‘fascinating’ facts during my research and I did have to pare back an excess of Navy regulations on physical appearance. But it was nothing compared to the whole chapters I had to drop for On The Road To Mr Right – fortunately I could just paste them on my website as bonus material! (That said, I just checked my for them and they are no longer there. Jeez! I have to get more techno-savvy.)

Keira: What is your California dream?

Belinda: It’s actually very close to the book – that stretch of California coast from Los Angeles to San Simeon is just so magnificently uplifting, I’d love to be cruising along it right now with the real-life Jonathan and Bodie (the dog!), stopping off for romps on the beach at Santa Barbara and then ollalieberry pie at Linn’s of Cambria. The reach-for-the-stars dream would be to swim in the Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle. I wish I could have a book launch there and invite all my lovely readers, all dressed in Forties finery sipping vintage champagne!

Keira: What’s next for you?

Belinda: Good question! It looks like the next novel will be set in the ski resort of Cortina in the Italian Dolomites but I’m looking into a few fabulous twists!

Buy: California Dreamers (UK)