Site Reviews 2011

How To Breathe Fire
by Shona Husk
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemp, Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Deborah 

Freedom comes with a blistering price…

For as long as she can remember, Camea has longed to explore the world beyond the island kingdom of Adar. It is an impossible dream, especially if she follows tradition and marries the farmer her parents have selected for her. But then, Camea has never been one to follow expectations.

When the village witch announces she has been selected to be the Fire God’s next bride, Camea has no intention of sacrificing her life to appease the volcano. She plans to escape and follow the Stars to her dream.

Matai, once a prince of Adar, now pays a fiery penance for seducing one of the Fire God’s witches. He must take a new bride each year, then kill her—or condemn Adar to the lava. Unlike his past brides Camea doesn’t shed one tear for her fate, nor does she beg for her life.

In the face of death she sees the remnants of the man he used to be—and a way to save them both from the Fire God’s never-ending cycle of wrath. If Matai has the courage to trust his heart.

"In a land where witches exist and dragons roam, on a night like no other the moon grows dark and the selection is made to once again save the lives of many. For one chance at freedom Camea must submit to the will of the Gods with hopes of escaping a life of servitude. Will her fearlessness and determination be enough are will she falter once she’s put to the test?

Shona Husk writes with an intensity and passion that moved me to keep reading. At times I found that the story lingered in places and Camea and Matai were a bit hard to understand, but as I continued reading the story flowed effortlessly and you understand where the author is heading.

Camea is not not your typical islander girl. She has dreams of seeing the world far away from a life of drudgery: "she wanted more, she wanted the stars". She would gladly gamble her life at the hands of the God of fire. Camea’s destiny is not what she would have chosen but she makes the most out of a bad opportunity. I applaud her for getting through her situation with a positive attitude. She has the drive that puts most people to shame; she’s tenacious and has a stubbornness that serves her well for what she must endure. Love is not for her, it's only freedom she seeks. It was nice to see her put anothers desires above her own. From a girl to a woman, she matured before my eyes.

Matai is more than just a mere man. With eyes blazing like molten lava, the fire is the beacon to his soul. He moves with ease on the remnants of a cloud, traveling through the center of the earth that is his home. He’s the savior of the chosen ones. In the blink of an eye he appears as the almighty, just a breath away lingering in the darkness of smoke, hesitant to make his presence known. As I got to know Matai I found that he had a quiet, sexy allure that held me captive. I was totally under his spell. This story is all about Camea and Matai and their goal for independence and their development from foe to friend. As I finished the last page of this book I found myself caring for Matai and Camea and their well-being. The ending pleased me very much.

If you’re looking for a book to stir your imagination then sit down and stay a while for How to Breathe Fire will captivate the senses. Make a space on your shelf for this one."

Review Date: April 22, 2011
You can find this review at The Long and Short of It: 


 Roses For My Lady by Allison Knight
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (78 pg)
Heat Level:  Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Deborah 

Intense, scholarly, big sister Meredith Ward is happy to see her little sister off to a country party until she discovers a Valentine card outlining plans for an elopement between her sister and the brother of an aristocrat. She leaves her cottage to halt their plans only to run into trouble herself.

Baron Gavin Sinclair learns late one evening about his brother's plans to wed a most undesirable young woman. His attempt to stop that union puts Meredith in his arms. Thinking she is the bride-to-be, he holds her hostage never realizing it will be his heart he loses.

"Pretty but shy around people, Meredith “Merry” Ward’s life is ordinary. So a chance to have one night of fun would be the stuff of dreams. In one brief moment Merry’s world changes, altering her life on a collision course with destiny.

A handsome man, incredibly so, known for being a terrible person and a monster to others, Gavin Sinclair is a force to be reckoned with. Merry and Gavin are thrown together by chance and forced into a battle of emotional conflict that awakens a passion that neither can deny.

Merry has her mind set on going home but Gavin’s his touch wipes away all her resolve and struggling to find the strength to leave. Throughout this story Merry and Gavin are at odds with one another, doubtful of each other’s intentions. It’s amazing how they were constantly dancing around each other not admitting what they feel, a quiet sexual tension that heats up whenever they are together, removing their defenses. Merry and Gavin are both alluring characters, and their fresh dialogue makes this story a joy to read. There are touches of humor throughout that keep this story light when it could have come across as somber. The heart of this story is based in one location, but who cares? Both characters kept my interest for the duration.

This is what I call a good old fashioned love story. You get some romance, a little drama with a bit of humor thrown in. You wind up with all the makings of a good book to enjoy. If you’re looking for some classic romance reading then you will love Roses For My Lady. Get ready to be swept away."

Review Date: April 21, 2011
You can find this review at The Long and Short of It: 

Take A Chance On Me
by Kate  Davies
Publisher: Samhain Publishing,Ltd.
Genre:  Contemporary
Length:  (137 pgs)
Heat Level:  Sensual
                                                   Rating: 4.5 Blue Ribbons
                                                   Reviewed by Deborah
Jessica Martin is determined to earn a permanent teaching position at Summit High School. That means hard work, dedication, and even volunteering extra time to direct the school’s Shakespeare play. Which leaves no room for romance—especially with a co-worker. She didn't factor in the school's sexy security officer and the delicious fantasies he inspires.

Former cop Tom Cameron likes his job. Or he did, until the new substitute busted his orderly life right open. Now, he can’t seem to avoid her—deserted hallways, empty theaters, classrooms after dark—but he’s got too many skeletons in his closet to risk his heart again. Asking her out to distract her from the play’s, well, drama is a friendly gesture. Nothing more.

Their chemistry could melt down the science lab, and before long they’re burning up the sheets off-campus. And uncovering raw emotions—a stark reminder that love isn’t in their curricula. When a troubled student goes over the edge, though, the need to stop a tragedy brings them right back where they started—face to face with fate.

"Author Kate Davies makes this story an easy read.  Once I picked it up, I found it hard to put down.  It is wonderful when the characters you are reading are so true to life that you feel as though they’re someone you know personally.  That is the gift that Ms. Davies possesses.  This is not a long drawn out story, so boredom is nonexistent.  This story takes off fast and places you right at the entrance of Jessica and Tom’s world on one memorable journey that is a joy to read.

Jessica Martin is a quick thinker and opinionated.  She’s a substitute teacher at Summit High and has the cute and adorable looks that are more of a hindrance than a compliment.  Her love life is nonexistent only because she chooses to have none, her career is her focus since she has vowed to have a career over a relationship.  She’s good at what she does, although her parents would disagree, claiming she is “wasting her natural ability on a bunch of punks”.  I applaud Jessica for maintaining self determination in sticking with her career choice rather than caving under the constant pressures of her parents.  It was great to see her relax and realize that all work and no play is not living life to the fullest.

Then there’s the ever-present watchdog, Tom Cameron, a security officer for Summit High.  He’s the stuff of women’s fantasies and the object of unwanted flirtatious advances.  He’s the self-proclaimed loner, wrapped up in his job with no need for others or a relationship.  Jessica’s sweetness catches him off guard, removing the fog that has kept him focused on his work.  Both characters are determined to make their jobs the object that will fulfill their needs, but they are both unknowingly searching for the same thing.  I enjoyed them both and the chemistry they have in the underlying sensual current that they tried so hard to contain. There are moments where others are mentioned but the story only comes to life when they are together.  

With a little bit of drama thrown into the mix, TAKE A CHANCE ON ME left me wanting more.  With its realistic characters and familiar settings, it gives you a new perspective on teachers and the people that work there.  If you’re looking for steamy romance with a touch of the humorous then I recommend TAKE A CHANCE ON ME.”  
Review Date: March 23, 2011
You can find this review at Romance Junkies:

Gift of Love by Cynthia Moore
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Blush
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (51 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Deborah 

Lady Rebecca Hastings has lost her sparkle, her intense joy for living, since her intended was killed in the Battle of Waterloo. On the day that Rebecca’s wedding had been scheduled to take place, she is reunited with her childhood friend and neighbor, Adrian Russell, Marquess of Burton.

Rebecca is immediately conscious of new feelings of contentment as she speaks with Adrian about the happy experiences they shared as children. Memories of their past combined with the cheer of the Christmas season—and some alarming visits from the spirit of her intended—eventually bring Rebecca the knowledge of an enduring love for Adrian. But can he ever accept her as more than a friend?
"The iciness of a breeze and pearled trinket are the gateway to reminders of kept promises and lost love. Forever longing for what could have been, can Rebecca Hastings break free of the pain that looms or will the surprise visit of a friend Adrian Russell be the welcoming distraction that may change her life forever?

A soft whisper of love captures the soul that never dies. Rebecca has become noticed by the hereafter, whose mission it is to bring about peace and harmony to her. Rebecca, an easy going, beautiful, and intelligent person who has untimely misfortune befall her and it turns here to a shell of her former self. What we find out about Rebecca is limited, it is only through stories of friends and old acquaintances that we get a glimmer of a girl she was, but not of the woman.

Rebecca and Adam childhood friends who seem more like brother and sister. They are comfortable, communicate well and easy going with one another. Could there be more between them then a family friendship?

James is one character that deserves mention; his only goal is to see to the happiness of Rebecca. His one regret was to leave Rebecca without letting her know how he really felt. There is an abundance of characters that stands out and points this story in a direction of self-awareness and the rehabilitation of Rebecca.

There are numerous times when Rebecca is told to get over herself, be happy, move on, “do not waste your life wishing for something that can never be.” Good advice, but not only is she told this by the people around her but by forces not of this world, seeking to counsel her. How to move forward when you’re told to revisit your past? This was my dilemma with the Gift of Love but in the end it all comes together and you get it.

No time for reading a long drawn out story, but want something that's still satisfying? Then this is a book to pick up. The essence of the story comes in a very short time, so you know its conclusion, but the getting there is the mystery.

The ending brings you back to the remembrance of each character and how their subtle ways played a part in Rebecca’s emotional process. I would like to think that this was all unintentional, but I believe that’s what the author, Cynthia Moore intended. This was a brilliant idea on her part to keep the reader involved in each character and that they were much more than filers for this story but important pieces to Rebecca’s recovery.

Author Cynthia Moore gives all her characters a part in the convalesce of Rebecca with words of encouragement, hope, quiet acknowledgement and thoughts of second chances. I very much enjoyed this book. You might just find yourself opening it up again and revisiting each character. Pick this one up, you won't be disappointed. "

Review Date: March 3, 2011You can find this review at The Long and Short of It:

Dreamscape by Mary Suzanne
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (29 pgs)
Heat Level:  n/a
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Deborah 

Sage Calahan’s psychic predictions are often revered, but when he’s off the mark, some call him a charlatan. On a lonely road in Indiana, Halloween night, he experiences a chilling meet with the unknown as his mind wanders into the dreamscape world. Is this happening real, or something filling his thoughts from his dreamscape ability? What will happen to the four young college students if they enter the deserted house on the hill?

"In another place far from the boredom of everyday life, a sensation comes over Sage Calahan that can’t be ignored. He has been through this before, when a feeling, a presence has captured his attention. Does he take the path of premonition leading him to the road of freedom or succumb to the wheels of chance?

Sage, a likable guy, is always there to help those seeking him, and is in tune to a higher plane of consciousness that most can’t explain. He knows all to the person wanting answers, if you’re a believer.

The feeling of uneasiness that overcomes Sage keeps him alert to any potential dangers, senses that serves him well throughout this story. Along with Sage, there are companions, his friends, Summer, Jason and Tara. They are purposefully placed in this story as mild distractions, around to keep Sage’s sanity intact.

This could have been a tale about Sage in the misadventures he encounters down a lonely road, but the plot takes you on a trip into the realm of second chances, from the big city into the setting of a small town, with appearances by an old gas attendant and the ever curious waitress.

Author Mary Suzanne does a very good job capturing the surreality of it all leaving no doubt that reality is just a state of mind. You will be surprised to find how easy this book is to read--no re-reading to understand anything is necessary.

I was taken on a journey and I enjoyed where I wound up. I recommend this one. I loved it and bet you will too. Go out and get this book! You're in for the trip of a lifetime. "
Review Date: March 2, 2011
You can find this review at The Long and Short of It:

A Wife For A Westmoreland by 
Brenda Jackson                            
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: (187 pgs)
Publisher: Harlequin
Rating: 4.5  Stars
Reviewed by Deborah

A Night to Remember…
For weeks, Derringer Westmoreland was haunted by memories of a woman whose face he could not recall. But he wanted—he needed—to share that intense passion again. Now. When he finally traced his mystery woman, he was met with a surprise. His fantastic one-night stand was Lucia Conyers, his sister-in-law’s best friend. And Lucia wasn’t about to become one of Derringer’s women. For the first time in his charmed life, the ranch owner had some wooing to do. And if he wanted to win Lucia’s heart, he’d better be ready to risk his own…

"The innocence and childlike goodness captures the attention of the catch of a lifetime, in a world-wind of passion filed in denial that unites both Lucia Conyer and Derringer Westmoreland. In a domination of wills, theirs are an awaking of self-discovery that forges a relationship, but is that enough for a love match?

With the backdrop of snow, horses and cowboys wearing tight fittin’ jeans and wide brimmed Stetsons, in the midst, we find Derringer, all male, who oozes sex appeal with just a smile. He enjoys the inviting pleasures of the ladies and can be overly confident to a fault. Lucia is Derringer’s Achilles heel, always waiting, and wanting the one thing she’s been “pinning” for. Can she continue to welcome his advances knowing that a love everlasting is the one invitation he can’t give?

There is a strong sexual connection these two share. Derringer and Lucia are both fun characters with a sizeable amount of sexual dialogue, and four play banter giving this story an erotic flavor that keeps you wanting more. The secondary characters, and there are more than enough, from the protectiveness of Chloe, to the abundance of Westmoreland brother’s, cousin’s and sisters, keep this story light and airy.

The author, Brenda Jackson takes you on a lover’s ride of self-awareness of one’s worth and the happiness you must grab while you can. A Wife For a Westmoreland is a wonderful story that captures your heart and puts a smile on your face. If you’re looking for a touching love story, then you’ve found it. I recommend this one for a place on your shelf."
Review Date: Feb. 21, 2011
You can find this review at Night Owl Romance:


Kate Davies said...

Thank you so much! I'm thrilled you liked it. This made my day!


(author response to my review on her book Take A chance on Me)

Allison Knight said...

Thank you Deborah Warner. This was a fun story to write, especially after I learned the meaning of flowers. And white roses were used to indicate purity, red, love and Ivy marriage.

Thanks again for the reveiw.

April 22, 2011 1:08 PM
"Roses for my Lady"