Monday, February 27, 2012

Tina Gallagher, Misguided

Title:  Misguided
Author:  Tina Gallagher
Rating:  Four Siren Stones

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Keywords:  Champagne Rose, Spicy
Page Count:  270     
ISBN E-Book:  1-60154-920-2
Price:  $6.00
ISBN for Print:  978-1601549204
Price: 12.99
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Reviewer:  Ashleigh

Tagline: Coming together over secrets and lies couldn’t have turned out better for these two. If only they could have twenty-twenty vision sooner before it’s too late.

After a vacation fling, a high school sex ed guidance counselor and a single father are forced to face each other in real life.

Having been the honor roll student, good girl in high school who got pregnant at sixteen, Cassie Finnerty knows what can happen if teens aren’t educated about safe sex.  Her job is to counsel the students, answer their questions, and hand out condoms when requested.

Jake Lucas is a divorced, single father raising his almost sixteen-year-old daughter.  When the contents of his daughter’s purse spill and condoms tumble out, he freaks out.  After interrogating his daughter, he finds out she got the condoms at school, so he goes to confront the person who gave them to her and gets the surprise of his life.

Growing up was never easy for Cassie, especially with a baby on her hip far too young.  Having to be an adult before her time didn’t make having a social life too easy for her, but when the opportunity to change all that on a vacation was a gorgeous man named Luke, the ideas were just too delicious to pass up.  When the cold light of day and reality set in, will the adventure be worth it or will Cassie decide that one casual fling was enough to last a lifetime?

For Jack “Luke” Lucas, meeting Cassie was the best thing that could have happened to him.  But when she becomes more than a dream, but a living breathing thorn in his side, can Luke see past everything to the woman that won his heart without even trying?

This heartwarming story was a really great read that showcased the two main characters and the struggles they went through to be together in the end.  Tina Gallagher is a new to me author, but I can definitely say that I will be looking for more of her works in the future since this one was such a hit.  The story held more than just sex and a HEA, but there was an actual background to each character and I have to say that was a nice change of pace.  The only thing I would have liked to see more of would have been the actually make up that happened between the main characters at the end, and the possible budding relationship between the best friends and kids.  Other than that this is a great story if you are looking for a lazy day read that will warm your heart and leave you content.

Meg Bellamy, Homecoming

Title:  Homecoming
Author:  Meg Bellamy
Rating:  Three And A Half Siren Stones

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Keywords:  Champagne Rosebud, Spicy
Word Count:  61,873     
ISBN E-Book:  d6055
Price:  $5.50
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Reviewer:  Ashleigh

Tagline: Being brought home by tragedy, could end up being the best thing that could have happened for Julie.

When a family illness forces Julie Loring to return home to North Carolina from New York, she is determined to avoid her old love, Dan Williams, and make the speediest possible escape. Her hope is dashed the first night back.

Dan doesn’t know why Julie ran off twelve years earlier, but he’s still in love with her. He wants her to be his wife and mother to his child. Though Julie warns she hasn’t changed, neither can deny the sparks that fly between them.

But Julie left with a secret—one she’s certain will destroy any chance they might have of a future together.

For Julie Loring, coming back to North Carolina was never an option for her. After running away from her entire life twelve years ago, being drug back was something akin to torture for her.  But when her mother fell ill, Julie knew that if she didn’t go now than it might just be too late.  When her chance meeting with Dan Williams happened shortly after she arrived, Julie’s entire world turned upside down.  Even after all this time, Dan still had her heart, now Julie had to find a way to leave again without getting even more attached to the one place she was always sure she never needed.  Will finding Dan again, prove more difficult than before to leave behind or will Julie ignore her heart again and give up the perfect second chance at happiness?

Dan Williams has been in love with Julie since he first saw her in the second grade.  Being four years older than her didn’t stop the feelings from coming to fruition like a freight train after college.  When Julie left him without a reason why, Dan’s love for Julie grew even more, and while he was angry at her for leaving, Dan knew that his life would never be the same without Julie in it.  After twelve long years, and a tragic reason for coming home, can Dan convince Julie to give him another chance or will he have to bear the pain of losing his first love all over again?    

The story of Dan and Julie was really well written and came across as a great coming together after so many years.  Having never read anything by Meg Bellamy before I was a little disappointed by the story overall.  While the characters seemed to have great potential, the story line just seemed a bit understated to the idea behind it.  Not once did any great passion overcome me while reading this, but then it was an easy read.  I can’t really put my finger on what went wrong in this story for me, but just something seemed off throughout the entire piece, while I won’t stop reading other books by Meg Bellamy, I would hope that her other works give me greater feelings than lukewarm.

Robin Leigh Miller, Spliced

Title:  Spliced
Author:  Robin Leigh Miller
Rating:  Four And A Half Siren Stones

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Keywords:  Paranormal Elements
Length:  Super Plus-Size Novel     
ISBN E-Book:  978-1419938016
Price:  $7.99
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Reviewer:  Nikki

For ten years, Avery Easton has quietly lusted after her twin brother’s best friend, Ridge Gates. When the cruel, cold hand of fate takes her brother’s life, Avery and Ridge turn to each other in grief and share a night of ecstasy. But mind-blowing sex with the man of her dreams can’t push away Avery’s reality.

Violent and terrifying events have followed her brother’s body home and introduced Avery to another man…one who’s willing to give her everything she needs. And then there’s the secret she harbors that could tear her and Ridge apart even as it connects them for the rest of their lives.

A promise on the battlefield led Ridge straight into the arms of the woman he knows he has no business being with, but can’t stay away from. If he fails to come to terms with his broken body and Avery’s revelations, he could lose her forever—if not to another man, then to the violence that brought Ridge and Avery together.

The most unexpected and sad fates can draw to people together.  That's truth for Avery and Ridge.  The two had secret feelings for one another, brought together by her brother and his best friend after his life ends sadly.  The emotional element of this book will have you in tears, good and bad.  It's written so well, the story grabs your attention and if you're an emotional reader, you might want to have a tissue handy.  I found myself so involved in the story that the outside world just had to wait.  I just had to know how things would work.  The tension builds and builds until it all explodes with one captivating climax.

Spliced is a contemporary read that delivers, hands down. 

Claire Dalton, New Beginnings

Title:  New Beginnings
Author:  Claire Dalton
Rating:  Four And A Half Siren Stones

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Keywords:  Sweetheart Rosebud, Sweet
Word Count:  56,000     
ISBN E-Book:  d5765
Price:  $5.50
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Reviewer:  Nikki

Dan never wanted a tenant for the rundown cottage near his isolated home in wild and wonderful Cornwall. So how come he finds himself living next door to a beautiful young woman who stirs feelings in him he thought he’d buried years ago...

Rowena simply wants somewhere safe for herself and her young son to start a new life. Her handsome new neighbor can be as aloof as he wants – she doesn’t need anyone’s help, and she has no intention of allowing a man to hurt her again. Ever.

But as spring turns into summer, Rowena finds herself drawn to her self-contained but completely gorgeous landlord. Can she and little Jamie melt the ice around Dan’s wounded heart, or will the past always haunt two people almost too afraid to love again?

Sometimes all is takes to find love is a new beginning.  Even when that fresh start DOESN'T involve finding love.

Rowena has had her share of hurts.  But it's time to get away from the past and create better for herself and her child.  Though she is fiercely scared and independent, there is a part of her, even if it's just a small part that yearns for her neighbor.

Dan has his own problems, and despite Rowena's chill, he's drawn to her.  Every push makes him push harder, and both have a long way before they give into temptation and let their walls down.

Claire Dalton weaves a beautiful story about starting over, new chances, and that long lasting love everyone looks for.  The author has created characters that are likable and a plot that pulls the reader into the story.  If you're a fan of contemporaries, then don't miss New Beginnings

Elle Hill, Hunted Past

Title:  Hunted Past
Author:  Elle Hill
Rating:  Four Siren Stones

Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Keywords:  Black Rose, Vampire, Spice, Graphic Language, Violence
Word Count:  74,375     
ISBN E-Book:  1-60154-983-0
Price:  $6.25
ISBN for Print:  978-1601549839
Price:  $13.99
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Reviewer:  Nikki

Serena O’Donnell, a healer, copes with depressed and suicidal patients dealing with past tragedies. She lives a quiet and safe life, comfortable in the thought she is free to define her own path. Suddenly a random phone call tumbles her existence into a fantasy realm peopled with warring superhuman beings who seem to know more about her than she does.

Gabriel, a Field Psychic, is committed to protecting Serena but in the process discovers he wants to be more than her bodyguard. Serena and Gabriel team up to discover why she has earned the secret warriors' attention and explore Serena’s past for clues.

Their journey becomes one of self-discovery, healing, and the slow burn of unexpected passion. The answers they find could bond them in love or forever tear them apart.

Fast paced, dark and riveting, Hunted Past delves into a world of paranormal that is sure to delight readers of the genre.  Serena and Gabriel make a strong leading couple, and their path to a HEA is filled with plenty of action, angst, and emotion.

Elle Hill has created an enchanting world that captivated me from the start.  The story doesn't have a lagging moment in it, and the twists and turns within the plot kept the pages turning.  While this book has some graphic language and violence in it, it's nothing that's over the top.  I enjoyed reading it and would look for more from Elle Hill in the future. 

MK Mancos, Echoes In Stone

Title:  Echoes In Stone
Author:  MK Mancos
Rating: Four Siren Stones

Genre:  Fantasy
Sub-Genre:  Time Travel
Keywords:  Faery Rose
Length, Word Count, Page Count:     
ISBN E-Book:  1-60154-988-1
Price:  $5.99
ISBN for Print:  978-1601549884
Price:  $15.99
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Reviewer:  Nikki


Echoes of tragedy fill the walls of Campbell’s Folly.

Contractor Noah Chase heard mournful cries inside the castle when he was a boy. Now he’s returned to Sussex-On-Delaware to restore the castle and set the spirits free. To succeed, he must face his past, gain the town's cooperation, and come to terms with the emotions the sexy photographer he hires inspires inside his heart.

Lilly Briton has ghosts of her own. After a bitter divorce and estrangement from her family, the last thing she wants is to return to Sussex-On-Delaware. Hired as a photographer to chronicle the castle's restoration, she unwillingly finds herself falling for Noah.

Together they attempt to uncover the mystery surrounding Campbell's Folly and its curse. Yet before they can help the spirits of star-crossed lovers, they must deal with the past and the presence of an evil entity set on destroying them all.

Ghosts, a mystery and love. What could be better?

Echoes In Stone is a mixture of the above and so much more.  MK Mancos writes one heck of a tale that kept me up into the odd hours of the night, just to finish.  Noah and Lilly have a long way to go for their chance at happiness, but the path taken leads them down an exciting road.  The great description and fun dialogue keep the book fresh.  I enjoy this author's writing style very much.  It's easy to follow along and easy to get lost, shutting out everything else around.

If you pick up this book, clear your calendar.  It's a read in one sitting type of story! 

Kaylie Newell, A Death That Lingers

Title:  A Death That Lingers
Author:  Kaylie Newell
Rating:  Four Siren Stones

Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Sub-Genre:  Paranormal
Keywords:  Ghost, Domestic Violence, Sensual Sex, Explicit Language
Word Count:  75,000     
ISBN E-Book:  978-1937325107
Price:  $4.12
Publisher:  Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Reviewer:  Nikki

Tagline:  Tagline: A wife leaves her abusive husband, but soon realizes nothing will keep him away. Not even death.

Josie Collins is the wife of a world famous rock star and the envy of nearly every woman in the country. But the horrific truth is her husband wants nothing more than to see her dead. Josie finally summons the courage to leave her famous, abusive husband and returns to her hometown among the winter wheat of Kansas. When her husband is killed in a fiery car accident while on his way to find her, she thinks she has escaped him at last, but she’s wrong. It quickly becomes clear that even in death he has no intention of letting her go. As Josie develops a rapport with sexy police chief, Paul Stark, trouble begins to brew. There’s something special about the tall, mysterious officer with the long jagged scar down his face. But Josie soon learns that he’s haunted by a nightmarish past. Sparks fly in their small, Midwestern town, and as their attraction grows, so does a dead husband’s fury. In order to smother this dark, sinister spirit, and perhaps find true and lasting happiness with each other, the living must learn to let go, give in, and leave their ghosts in the past.

Content Warning: Contains sensual sex and some explicit language

It's not over until the rock star dies...No, that's definitely not the case.  This isn't a rock and roll fantasy, it's hell.  And when it's time to break free, the hell only gets worse.

You can envy Josie all you want, but if anyone knew the truth, the heartbreaking secret she bears, one would know that being the wife of a famous star isn't all it's cracked up to be.  But Josie is strong enough now, she's ready to go.  But that won't stop her husband.

A Death That Lingers thrills.  The plot was crafted to keep readers begging for more.  A little dark, a little paranormal, the author has created a story that keeps us on our toes.  You won't know what to expect next.  If you enjoy a well written story, A Death That Lingers is one you should add to your list. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Leanne Tyler, It's Always Been You

Title:  It's Always Been You
Author:  Leanne Tyler
Rating:  Three Siren Stones

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Keywords:  Last Rose Of Summer Rosette, Sweet, Class of 85
Word Count:  13,900     
ISBN E-Book:  d6262
Price:  $2.50
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Reviewer:  Ashleigh

Tagline: Coming back after over 20 years, can the hurt from the past be over looked when your one and only is standing in front of you?

Class of 85

Retired Staff Sergeant Seth Roberts returns to Summerville to begin the next chapter of his life. To do that, he needs to find out why his girlfriend married another man more than twenty years ago while he served in the Persian Gulf. Their high school reunion is the perfect place to confront Elyse Jordan.

Determined to be a strong role model for her daughters, Professor of Feminist Theory Elyse Jordan never talks about the loss of her only love twenty years ago. Caring for her mother during cancer treatment brings Elyse back to Summerville, the one place she avoided after Seth’s death. When an invitation to her twenty-fifth reunion arrives, she decides to go and reconnect with lost friends. She never imagines she’ll come face-to-face with Seth instead.

Can Seth and Elyse find the thread of love that bound them together or will past tragedies and misunderstandings keep them apart?

Reading the Class of ’85 series both for fun and review has been a joy to get to read, but something about this one just fell a little short for me.  The situation surrounding both Seth and Elyse is a unique one but not completing uncommon. I was shocked to see that if the feelings they had all those years ago, then how they allowed themselves to be kept apart was odd.  But the coming together at the reunion left me wanting more of something, possibly drama, over the lost time together.  The characters of both Elyse and Seth didn’t readily come to life for me, but took some imagining to really see what the author was wanting them to look like, which in turn I think made the story a little harder to enjoy.

Thinking of the other books in this series, I think if this story would have had more build up to the climax it would have been a much more enjoyable read.  This one will not deter me from finding others in this series to read, but I might hesitate to read other works from Leanne Tyler in the future.  I just thought this book could have had a lot more happening with the potential that it started out with.

Lora Leigh, The One

Title:  The One
Author:  Lora Leigh
Rating:  Four And A Half Siren Stones

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Keywords:  Texan
Length:  Novella     
ISBN E-Book:  978-1419934414
Price:  $4.45
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Reviewer:  Ashleigh

Tagline: Loving hard is something Brenna has done towards Jase since the beginning, but can he open his heart to her like she has since the beginning?

Brenna’s love for Jase has grown from a crush to a soul-searing need, a painful hunger…and an unrequited ache, because the savagely sexy Texan doesn’t feel the same. A bequest and stipulation in his father’s will have hardened Jase, it seems. Now she must endure three months of living under his roof. Three torturous, tension-filled months and Brenna will have fulfilled the stipulation; will be free to attempt to regain the heart lost to Jase so long ago.

Since the age of eighteen, Jase has protected Brenna—from himself, as much as anyone else. Living with her proves too rousing even for his iron will. He’ll claim what’s his, take Brenna in ways he’d previously only dreamed, sink so deeply inside her luscious body he’ll never find his way out. And be damned if he’ll let her go.

A scorching Texas summer can’t compete with blazing lust as Brenna gives in, gives over, gives all that she is to Jase, to the only man she’s every loved…to the one.

Being a long-time fan of Lora Leigh’s work it was a real treat to get to review the story of Brenna and Jace.  The emotional turmoil that surrounds Brenna tugged at my heart strings and even brought a few tears to my eyes as the book went along.  While the tears were flowing for the broken heart she harbored, somehow she kept letting Jace back in, even though more pain was sure to come her way. There were points when I was almost angry at her way of bending to his will too much, but as the story went along everything made sense and the pain in the beginning was worth the pleasure in the end.  The characters of both Jace and Brenna literally came to life in my mind as the story began, being able to see the story unfold in my mind, just made this story that much better.

Having read several other works by Lora Leigh, the HEA in this story was along the same caliber as her other works and left me with a sense of completion that all the loose ends had been tied up.  The romance genre is one where I can tell Ms. Leigh is quite comfortable, and while I have read several of her more erotic works it’s her contemporary romances that really keep me drawn in.  Getting an opportunity to read her works for reviewing has been a pleasure and would not disappoint anyone who picked up this great read.

Mari Carr, Three Reasons Why

Title:  Three Reasons Why
Author:  Mari Carr
Rating:  Four And A Half Siren Stones

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Keywords:  Handyman 
Length:  Short Novel     
ISBN E-Book:  978-1419933752
Price:  $5.20
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Reviewer:  Ashleigh

Tagline: When your only reasons for staying apart get blown to pieces, just what are you supposed to do to protect your heart from the man who has had it all along?

Three Reasons Why is a sequel to Kiss Me, Kate.

Wes wants Jill Harper in every possible way a man can want a woman. But she’s resisting. Hard. When he learns she needs a handyman for her diner, he decides fate is smiling upon him—until Jill offers three reasons why they can’t be together. Always up for a challenge, Wes decides to prove her ridiculous reasons unsound, one by one.

Jill knows her reasons are total bull, but she’s sticking by them, come hell or high water. Unfortunately, Wes Robson is extremely persuasive. Especially in bed. If the sex gets any hotter they’ll likely burn down the town. Before long, Jill’s reasons begin falling away as fast as her clothing whenever Wes is around.

But Jill knows exactly what Wes wants for his future, and she’s just prolonging the inevitable heartbreak. The real reason she can’t give herself to Wes, can’t allow herself to love him, can only lead to pain—the kind from which neither may ever recover.

The story of Jill and Wes is a continuation from Kiss Me, Kate with guest appearances of Both Rick and Kate, and with the first story Mari Carr knocked this one out of the park.  The main characters, Wes and Jill, were so well written that they came alive on the page which really made reading this story such a pleasure to read.  Having read several other works by Ms. Carr in the past I hoped that this story lived up to the high standards that I had gained from her previous books, and she has once again made another hit.

The emotions in this book were so raw that as a reader, I truly was taken on the same roller coaster ride that Jill was experiencing every time she got close to Wes. Mari really made these characters so 3-D that everything they did came to life from the pages for me.  While this book sits comfortably in the contemporary romance genre, it could easy pass into the suspense or slight erotica as well.

The cover art was really something that drew me to this book, not only because of the sexy cover models, but that it really didn’t give too much of the story away and made me want to know more about the characters after reading the blurb on the back.  This book would make a great addition to anyone’s reading collection and I can’t wait to see what else it is that she comes up with in the future.