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Saturday, August 20, 2011

More August Reads

My August reading consisted of three great stories of love, trust, and a dose of suspense. Each of these titles, in my opinion, are well-written with storylines that captures and holds your interest from beginning to end. Each of these wonderfully crafted stories receive a TRRC rating of 4 1/2.

Christina Dodd's, SECRETS OF BELLA TERRA, is the first book in her new Scarlet Deception series which takes place in Bella Valley, California. Several things are triggered after Sarah Di Luca is attacked. One, an old family feud resurfaces, two, Rafe Di Luca is back in town thereby reuniting all three Di Luca brothers, three, Brooke Petersson's heart will never be the same, and four, more secrets lie between the walls of Bella Terra. Readers will enjoy reading this title, as Christina Dodd takes us on an unforgettable journey through betrayal, lies, and love. You will be perched on the edge of your seat as this story unfolds and just as some things become clear, a new twist is added. Book two, REVENGE AT BELLA TERRA, is due out in September.

In Julie Garwood's, IDEAL MAN, Dr. Ellie Sullivan's professional success came with a huge price tag. For years, Ellie has lived away from her family and with her sister's upcoming wedding festivities, she has a big decision ahead of her. After a grueling shift Ellie decides to take a run to unwind, shots are fired and she is caught in the midst of a huge FBI operation. Against her better judgment, she heads home knowing full well that the unknown whereabouts of Evan Patterson could potentially lead to disaster. When word reaches Agent Max Daniels that Ellie's life is in danger, he heads to her hometown. In doing so, he becomes much more than Ellie's protector. Through a well developed plot and character development, Julie Garwood delivers a fantastic read sure to keep readers engaged from page one. As you read more of Ellie's past and what she has endured and the compassion and bravery she displays you will, as I did, love this story.

Lastly, LIE FOR ME by Karen Young is outstanding. This story packs a level of emotion that I had not experienced before in a suspense. Beneath the lies and deceit, there is a strong foundation of faith and morality, that just struck several chords and left me wanting to read more stories like this. After Tucker Kane discovers the body of his ex-wife, he is immediately moved to the top of the suspect list. Proclaiming his innocence, Tucker's fiancee, Lauren Holloway, does everything to prove to him and their town, that she is believes in his innocence. That is until he asks her to do something that goes against her beliefs, lie to the police and provide him with an alibi. Somewhat disappointed that Lauren would not do this for him, Tucker leaves. Leaves behind his daughter, Lauren, and even more questions casting doubt on his proclaimed innocence. LIE FOR ME is not to be missed especially when the pieces of this complicated puzzle comes together.

WOLF TALES 12 - Kate Douglas, the last book in a series comes to an end.

Here we are in August, the weather is hot, and Kate Douglas's WOLF TALES 12, is even hotter! Ms. Douglas has taken us on an amazing journey into the shapeshifting Chanku wolves. From the very first book, our attention was captured. The Chanku are complex, pack oriented, and everything good or bad revolved in and around the pack. With each book written, we were introduced to one more member of the pack, and the sexual tension rises. The WOLF TALES series is not for the faint of heart. There are very explict sex scenes with M/F, M/M, F/F, and group sex. This is the ultimate in erotic romance.

Over the years, the Chanku have learned to survive. They have hidden who they are, as best they can, especially their unique and special abilities. The pack is thriving, they are planning to come together for the birth of Adam and Liana's child. There is an assasination attempt, and the pack is thrown into the lime light. Decisions have to be made, how much should they tell the world? Also, Lily has disappeared, on a quest to help her father. With everything happening at once, the pack must once again band together.

It's a little sad, knowing this will be the last book, in a truly great series. Although some questions were answered, I felt some had been left out. Who is Lily's mate? What happens to Ig and Star? And where does Sunny fit into all this? Over all, WOLF TALES 12 is an Outstanding book, and an excellent ending, to a great series.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August Historical Pick: Sue-Ellen Welfonder's TEMPTATION OF A HIGHLAND SCOUNDREL (Book II, Highland Warriors Trilogy)

This author, who is ‘beyond’ a dedicated medievalist of Scottish descent, offers this next intriguing - highly romantic - story of the Highland Warriors.

In this continuation, readers are still enveloped in the feud going on between three Highland warriors, and the fantastic vow that three women made to marry these heroic and stubborn men in order to bring about absolute peace to the “Glen of Many Legends.” In Sins of a Highland Devil, Book I, James Cameron was highlighted and his attempt to make a pact with the heads of other clans in order to fight a ‘King’s decree.’ He ended up falling fiercely in love with Lady Catriona of the opposing MacDonald clan, and romance blossomed. With this new story, readers move on from the clan of Macdonald to the clan of Mackintosh.

Lady Isobel chooses Kendrew Macintosh because she has had a fascination for the amazing Laird since time began. This gentle woman already loves him, and is hoping that he will ultimately feel the same way about her. Unfortunately, Kendrew shows no desire to marry Isobel; he and his clan would much rather fight. But the Mackintosh ‘world’ is completely unprepared for the quiet Lady Isobel, who has the innate power and strong resolve to seduce Kendrew. Soon Kendrew begins to fall for her, not knowing that she is the sister of Laird James Cameron…who he despises.

The story line consists, for this installment, of the same stunningly ferocious warriors that all women dream of meeting on their trip across the Scottish moors. As these star-crossed lovers bring together yet another clan with their intriguing romance, while still trying to keep their own families happy with their decisions, the Lady and Laird begin to see that love and passion far outweighs the anger they have for their “neighbors.”

As always, this wonderfully talented romance author provides a twist from the first book by allowing Isobel and Kendrew’s story to take a different road than that of the previous couple. This book has everything that a true Historical Romance reader, and Scottish ’lover,’ will enjoy.

Reviewed by Amy Lignor

Rating: 4

August Pick: Jude Deveraux's HEARTWISHES: AN EDILEAN NOVEL

The amazing Jude Deveraux - the author of forty New York Times bestsellers - has ‘hit’ yet another one ‘out of the park!’

Readers go on a journey with Gemma Ranford - a PhD candidate who wants desperately to help a family in rural Virginia to catalog their English history. She is also looking for a good topic for her own dissertation so that she earn PhD status, and get a good job teaching. This will be a very formidable undertaking, as Mrs. Peregrine Frazier has purchased from her husband’s family estate in England several hundred boxes full of documents that date back to the sixteenth century.

This amazing family was made up of the Earls of Rypton, and lived in the estate during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Mrs. Frazier wants to see if her husband has the right to call himself Earl, and she would very much like to have the title of ‘Lady’ Krypton - which is the real reason behind this incredibly large project. The job will take at least two years and there is a beautiful guest house on the property that Gemma will be able to live in. Also, as an extra added incentive, this family has three unmarried sons who are, shall we say, very handsome and very interesting.

Gemma throws herself into her new job with enthusiasm. One of the first things she discovers in the wealth of papers, are references to something called the ‘Heartwishes Stone.’ This legendary ’gem’ is said to grant wishes to anyone named Frazier. Gemma writes it off as legend at first but, as she spends more and more time with the family and begins to have feelings for their oldest son, Colin, it becomes clear that this stone does seem to grant wishes. Indeed, many wishes are coming true.

Unfortunately, Gemma isn’t the only one who surmises that wishes are being asked and answered. In fact, there seems to be a thief in the area who is keeping track of the wishes and is on the hunt for the stone and/or Gemma, herself. Gemma and Colin need to find this stone and make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. And the journey that ensues is a truly fun, exciting, and slightly haunting story.

There are other books in the Edilean series, but the bestselling Deveraux, with her always amazing talent, has made sure that this book stands alone in the plot and characters. The families in the story are very believable and the author’s path joins family history and passion, with a little magic thrown in for good measure. A really unforgettable tale by the ‘mistress of romantic suspense’ that will enchant readers of all genres.

Reviewed by Amy Lignor

Rating: 4 1/2

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Bride Wore Scarlet

Well, to be quite honest, I had a very hard time reading this book. I usually like Liz Carlyle, but this one was so detailed, tedious and tightly written, I had a hard time concentrating on who was who, and who was doing what. This is the second book in her St. James Club series, and has a bit of the paranormal elements to it. I perservered and did finally finish it.
Anais de Rohan has a special gift of seeing into the future. As a child, she is sent to live with her guardian for protection. Years later, she is a smart, tough woman capable of fending for herself and wants to be a part of the all-male club, the Fraternitas Aureae Crucis. Lord Geoffrey Bessett is one of the men of the club, and although they don't want to let her in the group, she is given the opportunity to prove herself by going along with Geoff on a secret mission to rescue a girl.
Needless to say, as they are posing as husband and wife, there is deep attraction between the two that is restrained up to a point. Once this part of the story gets underway, it was easier reading. It's just the beginning has so many names, titles, background information, unless you read the previous book and can keep it all straight in your head, I found it to be confusing at times.
That being said, if you are a lover of Liz Carlyle and have read and remember the previous book, you could read this one and may be able to sort through it all.