Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Month in Review by More Romance Please

The Month in Review
More Romance Please

We have begun a new segment at MRP. On the last Saturday of each month we will re-post 4-5 heart reviews given during the month, plus review that have not yet posted.
We hope you enjoy!

Our Five Heart Reviews

Through His EyesHoly Freakin’ Moly, Batman! I just finished Through His Eyes and I’m scrambling – scrambling! to get onto Amazon to buy the sequel. Wake up, computer, wake up!!! I am stunned. The hairs on the back of my neck are at attention. I’m breathing hard. What? No sequel yet?? I’m floored.
Deborah Camp writes a compelling story with vividly drawn and compelling characters. Psychics Levi and Trudy, are working together to bring in a serial killer who’s hunting in Key West. One of them can contact the dead. The other can’t help but connect with the killer as he kills. This story is dark, very dark, at times, but it’s done for a purpose, not for sensationalism. Parts of the story are light and funny, too, which provides a nice balance.
Early on, I was fairly certain I had things figured out. I wondered why, if the answer is that obvious to me, wasn’t it that obvious to the psychics? Never mind, the story and the writing are good and kept me involved. However, in spite of my ‘certainties’ about where the story would end up, it turned out I was only partially right, and the part I got wrong left my eyes wide with shock and my mouth, literally, hanging open.
But for the ending I was prepared to give the book a solid 4-4+ rating, but I’m still breathing hard, so it’s a no-holds-barred 5Hearts now. Fasten your seat belts and enjoy!
Very well done.

In Love and WarI might be called stingy in doling out five stars, but that is because I believe a story needs to knock my socks off to get all five, and it needs to earn them on all levels. The story itself needs to make me sit up and take notice; the author needs to have the ability to deliver clear, concise and compelling material, and there can’t be any shortcuts (no deus ex machina) in delivering any of it.
Well, OMG, then one comes along that demands six stars…or maybe seven, and In Love and War is one such. Tara Mills has outdone herself. She had me in tears at times, laughing my head off at times, and just plain not wanting the story to end, ever, all the time. There is darkness in here, and grit, but such, unfortunately, are the stuff of life. However, while delivering ‘real life’ Ms. Mills is careful to bring us back, to recall those beautiful moments that make the dark parts bearable for all of us. Not only do I give this book and it’s author five (6? 7?), well-deserved stars, I’m also cheering her on, because she is an excellent author. Very well done!

Mostly MagicDonna June Cooper has done it again. More than Magic captured my heart and my imagination when I reviewed a few months ago, and now the second in the Books of the Kindling series, Mostly Magic, meets the very high bar this author sets for herself. O, how I would love to find this very special mountain and spend time with the folks who know it best.
This story picks up with sibling #2, Dr. Daniel Woodruff, only months after the close of MtM. We find ourselves in Italy, which is never a bad thing, but terrifying visions are unrelenting, and Daniel must risk his reputation, and perhaps his life, in order to ensure the safety of those around him.
Mel Noblett is an environmental reporter who senses there is more to Daniel’s bizarre behavior than a personality quirk, and together they must find out why he is having these visions, and what, if anything, they can do to alter their outcome.
Once again, the story captivates with lyric beauty, humor, tension, mystery and love – of family, of friendship, of life, and of the environment. And may I say ~ Long Live the Bees! Very well done.

More than MagicI was thoroughly delighted by this book and recommend it for anyone who likes mystery, drama, humor, a great love story, and yes, magic. The opening, scene-setting chapter for physician Grace is both captivating and mysterious, and her very ill patient, young ‘Tink,’ absolutely charming. But what becomes of either of them? We are left to wonder.
With the opening chapter for Nick, we are introduced to a man who seems nice, affable, and certainly has friends who care about his well-being, but this intro is equally mysterious. What is he all about, what is he being sent to find out, and what is the underlying health issue alluded to?
When Grace and Nick finally meet, way back in a Southern mountain holler, the story unwinds with charismatic characters, fun writing, and rich scene-setting. However, this is not a RomCom – far from it. There is something dark, perhaps even evil going on, and Grace and Nick, along with beautifully precocious child, Jamie, must work together to uncover what that is, in order to ‘cure’ the mountain of its disease.
The writing is captivating, and one sign of a true storyteller is when I find myself so ‘inside’ the story I come out surprised I don’t actually know any of the characters personally, or have never visited the region portrayed. More than Magic is one of those, and I applaud Donna June Cooper on her first book. I look forward to many more. Very well done.

Wilde RidersThis story is a charmer, and funny, and chock full of hunky males. It is also well worth the read. Not only is small town charm lost on Wall Street up-and-comer Riley Smith, it represents the epitome of all that is dull and backward in the world. She can’t believe her bad luck when she has to venture into the backwoods of New Jersey to investigate a possible case of insurance fraud. Another Wall Street mover, Cooper Wilde, couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, and despite his efforts to hide the fact, this particular small town is his home town. When they run into each other, the attraction is immediate, but too little truth and too much snobbery risk to derail their future.
I enjoyed this story right from the start, and it just got better and better, and more and more fun.
Very well done.

Lady BrokeThis story had me hooked from the beginning. I worried I would find endless clich├ęs and Wild West ‘jargon,’ but I needn’t have worried.
When the very proper East Coast socialite, Christie Wallace is able to identify a notorious criminal seen in a dusty Nevada backwater, her unbending principles won’t allow her not to bear witness – even though other witnesses have come to untimely ends before convictions could be had. Much to the consternation of bounty hunter, Nat Randall, the beautiful and very annoying miss Christie just keeps getting in his way. Doesn’t she understand the danger she’s put herself, and everyone else in, or does she refuse understand?
There are ups and downs, grit and sorrow, and plenty of tension…of all sorts. I had a great time reading this story. Very well done.

The Road to ComfortOh, am I ever happy I read this book. It is sweet, funny, poignant, and very, very worth picking up – and then not putting down again until you’ve turned the last page. 
On a whim, college Prof Juliette St. James takes off on a cross-country trek after her only child leaves the nest for good. When she becomes stranded, just as violent storms threatens, farmer Cy, her handsome knight in chaps and Stetson shows up, literally on horseback, and carries her off to safety. Grand as all that sounds, and as you might imagine, there are bumpy roads and battered hearts ahead.
The rest of the world faded away as I passed some lovely hours in Comfort, NB. I must say, I’ve driven through NB several times, usually spend the night in Kearney, and have found the people and landscape to be every bit as beautiful and ‘real’ as they are portrayed in this story – pity I didn’t find a cowboy like Cy while there, or I would’ve stayed, too.
It was my delight and pleasure to ride along with Cy and Juliette, and discover just how they go about falling in love and making a future together, out of two very different lives. Very well done.

SEALed with a KissThis anthology made me want to hug a SEAL out of pure patriotic joy, and then hug him again – for more personal reasons.  Each story made me glad for rainy days, which are perfect for tea, yummy guys, and great reading. Buy it. Love it. Keep it under your pillow and make a wish a SEAL might come your way.
Very well done.

SidekickPure Delight! Socialite-Without-A-Care Bremy St. James doesn’t clutter up her life with anything  more trying than assessing the latest fashion or nightclub trends, until reality smacks her upside the head and she must leave that life behind – which is where the reader comes in. After a month on her own, she’s forced to admit her survival skills suck, and fate is allied against her. Then her life goes from harsh, to out-and-out bizarre. By turns funny, sweet, diabolical, and eye-popping, with a fare dose of evil sprinkled over all, the ride Auralee Wallace takes us on reads like a superhero storybook that straddles the line between fantasy and (sort of) reality. Happily, it will have you cheering and laughing all along the way. I can hardly wait for the sequel. Wait, there will be one….right? Fingers crossed.
Very well done.

Our Four Heart Reviews 

Like HoneyHot! Would you like to take a wild ride to Scotland? Silly question. This particular hot and wild ride revolves around a pair of ex-pat Americans, so the reader doesn’t have to put up with Scots-speak writing, which can make for stop-and-go reading at best. Auch-aye!
Happily, Liz Everly still gives the reader a rich sense of the rugged beauty that is Scotland, as her heroine, Jennifer D’Amico, tries to save the honey business build by her late husband’s family. But there is something odd going on, and when bee expert and undercover Homeland Security agent, Grayson McGhilly shows up and offers to help her out, she is forced to trust a man she knows nothing about. Mystery, murder and danger lurk around every corner, and the story will keep you pinned to your reading perch until the final page is turned. Well done.

White Collar CowboyHot!… and a good story, too! Lauren is a high-powered NYC business exec who just saw her job disappear without warning. All these years, and all she leaves her office with is one cardboard box? Stunned hardly captures her mood when her secret heartthrob and London counterpart, Gavin, suddenly appears and offers his condolences. His advice? She should take some time for herself to sort things out. She should take the key to his empty seaside Texas vacation home for a few days, just to get her head together. Oddly, and against her normal judgment, she takes him up on his offer and heads south. And that is where the fun, the heat, and her future begin.
I enjoyed this book very much.
Well done.

Penelope's GhostThis story is delightful…and mysterious…and a wonderful Australian vacation in book form. I learned so many Aussy-isms! When Lisa loses her husband to another man, she is forced to regroup, reassess, and rebuild her life. Money is short and good jobs seem to be non-existent, so she takes a temporary job as a live-in nanny. She finds herself in the middle of a sad and dysfunctional family, and, being sensitive to ghosts, she can’t help but wonder who is haunting handsome Mr. Prescott’s ancient manor home. Well, wouldn’t you wonder, too? Lives are changed, both past and present, and in the end, the changes are all good, very good.
Well done.

The Darkness of GlengowynDifferent. Intriguing. Imaginative. A world of Elves, war, powerful magic, love that spans the ages and will not be denied. The writing is as rich and strong as the scene setting. Beautiful and romantic by turns, it also has moments of terror, suspense, and dread. I enjoyed this story and look forward to the series continuing.
Well done.

Intimate StrangersThis novella has surprises around every corner. And then some! Young and in love, Kate and Mac head out for a beautiful day of deep sea fishing. Okay, so maybe the boat’s captain is HOT, but hey, so is Mac. Who could possibly predict that such a pleasant adventure would turn everyone’s lives upside down? While it is well written, I was taken very much by surprise at one point (no spoilers here - you’ll know where) and found myself having to regroup a bit before moving on. With all that happens, it is perhaps better suited for a longer story (would have loved to spend more time with this!), nevertheless, it is a good read and leaves a positive lasting impression.
Well done.

Secondhand RomanceDelightful! Secondhand bookstore owner Annie O’Malley is cheerful on the outside, hurting on the inside, and nothing short of belligerent when it comes to Tony Iuliano, the hottest confirmed bachelor in the seaside town she’s recently made her home. But, as a bookish mystery unfolds and lays claim to both of them, their chemistry becomes hard to ignore as they struggle over following the clues, and unraveling mysteries about each other.
Well written, this story flows easily, heats nicely, and delights often. It is well worth the read, and will put a smile on your face as it warms your heart.
Well done.

EssenceEssence is a delightful read, and delightfully steamy read from beginning to end. The lovely and lonely widow, Haven Jameson, has worked hard to create a spa without rival, but her world is turned upside down when the land owner of the adjacent property suddenly turns vindictive, and the buyer of that property, Pace Daniels, threatens both her heart, and the financial stability of her spa. 
The writing is good, the scene-setting luscious, the characters well-drawn and vividly portrayed (and hot!!). There is more inner thought on subjects oft repeated than I would like, and more tell vs. show for my taste, but this is not critical enough to lessen the star count. PS. I want to move to Florida and take yoga…
Well done.

All reviews by Cary Morgan Frates: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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