Tag : romance

179 posts

Magic FoundWhat would you do if a towel suddenly appeared outside of your shower?  And no one is holding it!

Title:  Magic Found
Series: The Magic of the Heart (book 1)
Author:  Misha McKenzie
Genre:  Paranormal
Published:  January 24, 2015
Source:  NetGalley

Marissa Spencer’s world has been turned upside down since waking up one morning with magical powers. She has no idea where they came from and controlling them has not been easy. To make matters worse, these new abilities seem to have brought with them a mysterious evil force that torments her dreams and tracks her down dark alleys. With the help of her sexy PI boss, Jack Slade—whom Marissa has always had a crush on—she will have to fight a battle for power that began before she was born. Along the way, she’ll discover a family she didn’t know she had, an inheritance she may not want, a strength she never knew was within her, and a love she’d only dreamed of.

The premise of this novel drew me in.  I mean, really, who wouldn’t be just a bit freaked out to find out they suddenly had magical powers?  Especially when you know you hadn’t had a single drink the night before!

Read on for my thoughts on Magic Found.  No true spoilers, promise.

**I received an e-ARC from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of Magic Found.  This in no way changes what I thought of the book.**

Riding the OddsTitle:  Riding The Odds
Series:
Author:  Lynda K. Scott
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: February 2, 2015
Source:  NetGalley

Book Blurb:

Spaceship captain Tara Rowan has her secrets. One is her Rider, Zie. Zie is an organic symbiote—like a living tattoo—that enhances Tara’s physical abilities, including superhuman strength and reflexes. The other is the past she’s tried so hard to leave behind her. But it’s not until oh-so-sexy Trace Munroe decides to blackmail Tara that she realizes her secrets aren’t so secret after all…

Trace is a Holy Knight who does everything by the book. Desperate to find a missing princess, he’ll do whatever it takes to rescue her and bring her kidnappers to justice. Including blackmail. Yet something about the feisty ship captain draws Trace in and stirs his desire—even if she is a wanted criminal. Because the last thing he needs is any complications…especially when he has his own secrets to hide.

**disclaimer:  I received an e-ARC copy of Riding the Odds from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The fact that I did not pay for this novel does not change what I thought of it.**

Riding the Odds is sci-fi at its best.  We have a female spaceship captain (an Independent so she’s on her own out there in the void of space) – a feisty, charming symbiote who steals not only hearts but the story – and a Holy Knight, who is deep undercover in his search for his missing sister, a kidnapped princess.

Read on for my thought on Riding the Odds.  No true spoilers, promise.

The Here and Now A BrasharesI received a copy of The Here and Now from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title:  The Here and Now

Author:  Ann Brashares

Source:  NetGalley

Publication Date:  January 1, 2015

 

Book Blurb:

Thrilling, exhilarating, haunting and heartbreaking, The Here and Now is a twenty-first-century take of an impossible romance.
There are rules.
Never reveal where you’re from. Never be intimate with anyone outside the community. And never interfere with history.
Seventeen-year-old Prenna James emigrated to New York when she was twelve. But Prenna didn’t come from a different country, she came from a different time – a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.
Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth and take the lives of her younger brothers. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan.
She might be able to save the world … if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

My Review:

Our planet’s future is not secure, in fact it is in great danger.  Because of climate changes that raise the water levels around the world mosquitoes have become a menace to mankind.  They carry blood plague and humanity will eventually die off from this pesky insect overpopulation.  People hide in dark homes, sleep under netting and spray toxic fumes around them in an effort to avoid being bit by these miniscule carriers of death.

But nothing can stop the coming destruction.  Then.

Time travelers are sent back in time to assimilate into today’s world.  To escape the future and presumably to stop what is in our future from becoming reality.  Or not.

There are rules for our time travelers.  Strict rules that when disobeyed… well, people tend to die shortly after breaking them.  In perfectly natural conditions, of course.  Or so it would seem to anyone outside of the closed community.

Prenna and Ethan are teenagers, in the same school and friendly.  Ethan has known Prenna longer than she knows at first – but he is her champion, often explaining things that she should know, teaching her ways to fit in with society and eventually bring her to a homeless man who will play a large part in her life and in everyone else’s as well.

Prenna must make a choice to interfere with the history that is or the history that could be.  Doing so could be the most difficult decision of her life.

My Opinion

I really enjoyed Prenna and Ethan’s story.  Putting time travel along with world destruction makes a very interesting and compelling story.

I have a pretty good imagination and I could, often, put myself in a person’s place who came from a very different future and look at the world with both fear and wonderment.  But mostly fear.  Afraid to do the wrong thing at the wrong time to completely change history.  Change one thing here, another thing changes over there where you can’t see.

But at some point Prenna comes to no longer trust the closed community of time travelers.  I was so glad to see that point come to her.

The teenage romance of Prenna and Ethan was presented very believably.  Overall, I enjoyed this novel very much.

I’m hoping for another book.  Time will tell.

 

Yes, this is an Amazon affiliate link.  The cover is different than the one on NetGalley.

UntouchedI received a copy of Untouched from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of the novel. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Untouched

Author:  Lauren Hawkeye

Series:  Florence, Arizona (book 1)

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  e-book

Pub. Date:  December 9, 2014

“Alexa Kendrick has no recollection of the car accident that left her scarred and sent her life careening wildly off course. When the half-sister she thought she’d never meet shows up at her door with an invitation to a new life, Alexa finds herself in Florence, Arizona, a town notorious for being populated with more prison inmates than actual citizens…a town that has done its best to hide its own dark secret.

After Ellie is called out of town, she leaves her sister with the keys to her flower shop and Alexa finds herself swapping lives with her sibling: running Ellie’s business, living in the house left to them both by their absentee father…and forging a smoldering relationship with sexy-as-sin penitentiary officer, Nate Fury—a man with his own demons.

But arranging flowers by day and tangling with the only man who has ever seen her real self by night isn’t enough to silence the mysterious panic that fuels Alexa’s dark dreams. When Nate brings home a book written by an inmate, one describing an unspeakable crime, the shackles binding Alexa’s own lost memories begin to shatter. And as the devastating truth comes to light, she realizes that Nate holds the key to unlocking her past, as well as her heart.”

 

The Review of Untouched

Alexa is ready to take her life back.  It’s been a year since the accident, and while her body had healed her memory was no closer to returning.  Sitting on a hillside ledge, looking down at the beauty and color of the landscape of Arizona below her, she wished for her paintbrushes.  A good sign since she hadn’t taken up her brushes since that night.  The night she lost so much of herself.

The need to express herself through her art was strong again.  The cell call to her agent Jia finalized her decision.  It was time, past time to move forward – to whatever life held.

Two days before her momentous decision was made, a stranger asked for her in the chain restaurant where she put in time, or hid from her mother.  Eleanor Kendrick or Ellie.  Her half-sister.  Unknown half-sister.  While the resemblance was hard to deny, even more questions popped into Alexa’s head.  Ellie explained that she had found Alexa’s birth certificate, among other things in a box in their deceased grandmother’s apartment.  It took awhile to track Alexa down but now that she had – well, Ellie just wanted her to know that she existed and that Florence, Arizona wasn’t too far away for a visit.  Ellie walked out of the diner as quickly as she had appeared.  But she left Alexa with a lot to think about.

Alexa’s mother, Tracy had her own reasons for leaving Florence years ago.  Secrets best left uncovered, best left alone.  While she doesn’t want Alexa to go there, she doesn’t stop her or tell her what she should have been told long ago.

Within an hour of arriving in Florence, Alexa found herself holding the keys to her sister’s flower shop, no clue how to make the most simplest of flower arrangements, a place to stay above the shop and the feeling of having survived a tornado.  The whirlwind that was Ellie and her husband drove off to tend to a family situation – leaving Alexa speechless.

Taking refuge in a diner across the street, Alexa sits trying to figure out what to do next.  Trouble is she’s stuck until Ellie returns.  While pondering her options she picks up a pen, pulls a paper napkin towards her and starts to sketch various people in the diner.  As she draws some of the excitement, the color filled enjoyment of drawing once more fills her.

Seated across the diner from Alexa is a man, probably a prison guard by the look of his uniform. He looks like the world is on his shoulder, as he glances up and nods in her direction Alexa is surprised by the sudden awareness, attraction even between them.  His sadness is worn like a second skin, and Alexa begins to sketch him.  Nate Fury.

Two people broken by circumstances beyond their control.  Together can they become strong, whole again?  With a mystery to solve and secrets to uncover only time will tell.

And from here, you will have to read the book.  I’ve given you enough to whet your curiosity to find out what happens next.  You won’t be disappointed.

My Opinion of Untouched

I’m not usually a big fan of the instantly fall in love within hours type of love story.  I suppose it could happen.  I’d believe lust at first sight more.  But for these two wounded souls it works.  It surprisingly does work.  Because as the story goes on they will need to hold onto each other.

The story is interspaced with Alexa’s color, seeing items, people, scenery through her color filled, color described eyes.  It gave a subtle touch of someone coming out of the darkness into the richness of the world and life once again, as though everything had been shaded and muted, now it bloomed.

While there were a few times I wanted to shake these characters into making different decisions, the story line was right for them.

Overall, I really enjoyed Untouched and am looking forward to the next novel in the series.

Time After Time KH Large

Title:Time After Time

Author: Kay Hooper

Original Publisher: Loveswept

Original Release Date: 1986

 

Book Description:

A tale of ageless love and the power of fate, in which dreams from the distant past imperil one woman’s search for a passion that transcends history …

They first met in a darkened loft, in the middle of a blackout, but the power of attraction supplied all the juice that Alex Bennet and Noah Thorne required. Noah was Alex’s match in every way, while the onetime lion tamer turned world-class interior designer possessed just the air of wildness that Noah preferred in a woman. Inexorably, they found themselves drawn together. So why was each haunted by dreams of the other that seemed to hint at secret lives in bygone times and places–and a relationship fated to end in separation? For Alex, the solution may lie in a Gypsy fortune-teller’s prophecy. To repeat the past is the one thing neither of them wants–but how do you overcome the pull of a destiny that is stronger than time itself?

Time AfterTimeOriginal

This is the original Loveswept#149 cover.  Big difference between that and the reissued release of 2009.  What’s not to love about a former lion tamer turned interior designer who just happens to have a toothless lion as a house pet?

I have loved Kay Hooper’s work for a long time.  I first discovered her through the otherworldly, mystical, magical, always fun romances in the Loveswept line.

When she started Bishop and his paranormal investigators, the light-hearted stories were left behind.  And that’s okay.  Every writer grows and eventually finds their niche, their unique take on the world… but I am grateful to have discovered Kay Hooper much earlier. That just means I got to enjoy her work longer.  🙂

This has been my Thursday Throwback novel to share.  If you ever want some light, funny, mystical romance in your life, check out Kay Hooper’s earlier works.

 

 

Secrets of Bella Terra 2I thrive on a continuing story.  I want to know what happens to the secondary characters – I also want to know what I missed in the first book.   Just a few of the reasons I absolutely love reading a continuing storyline.

Often times a trilogy or series starts off with a blast of excitement – others unfurl like a slowly blooming leaf.  Secrets of Bella Terra was a very slowly opening blossom (one I almost gave up on, except I’ve been trained by a bookaholic mother to read the whole story before reaching a conclusion!).

At its very core, Secrets of Bella Terra is about history – family history, the history of lovers and the history of a lifelong family feud fed by bitterness.

Rafe Di Lucas and Brooke Petersson have a past history.  One forged in childhood and continued throughout early adulthood – unfortunately, Brooke ended up always being the one left behind as Rafe took off around the world.  His reasons were valid – to him.  Her reasons to stay and wait were all that mattered to her, even as she convinced herself that she was not waiting for anything except her next vacation.

Face the Fire

Mia Devlin had always known that she would one day face the evil that threatened her island, her life and all that she loved.  Nell had found her courage and made her stand, Ripley had discovered that justice could be dealt without loss of control.  Now it was up to her.

After staying away for a decade, Sam Logan stepped off the ferry onto Three Sisters Island.  Not that much had changed, it was still the charming New England town that visitors flocked to in summer or to experience the wonder of the fall color changes.  Yet everything had changed.  He returned not as a boy struggling to discover his place in the world, but as a man who knew exactly what he wanted and intended to get it.  The Magick Inn was now his.  It had been a challenge to outwit his father and finally purchase his birthright, but it had been done.

He had come back for Mia.   Perhaps renting the little yellow cottage under one of his many businesses wasn’t the best way to handle his return to her.  Still knowing Mia’s stubbornness she wouldn’t have rented it to him at all.  And he needed the cottage, he wouldn’t live where he worked even if Magick Inn did provide the best hotel rooms on the island.

So, he was back on the island they both loved.  He would simply announce himself, pick up where they left off years ago and break the island curse.   Done deal, shouldn’t take more than a week to set things right again.

Trouble was.. Once Sam knew Mia’s every thought, knew exactly how she felt about him…now he didn’t know her at all.

Heaven and Earth

Earth raged, her anger and grief erupting from her soul.  Her sister had been killed.  Killed by her abusive husband and now Earth only sought what she saw as justice.  A life for a life.  Air had not fought back, she had not used her powers to save her life, but Earth could and would avenge her death.  The pleas of her sister Fire were an annoyance.  Yes, she knew the creed, she knew that harm none was more than simple words but a way of life for them.  A past way of life, for there was power surging towards Earth, power most satisfying and intoxicating and she wanted more..she wanted his death more than she wanted her own life.  She reached willingly for the power tempting her, deaf to the words of her sister, immune to the rational thoughts she was so known for.  Now only revenge would satisfy, and once fed she would lose more then a sister…

 

Deputy Ripley Todd was as down to earth as it was possible to get.  She believed firmly in justice and fairness.  All of this magic mumbo jumbo that Mia Devlin nagged her about was just that…hocus pocus.  No one really believed that three witches had created this island or that according to legend the island would be destroyed if the descendants of the original three sisters did not bind together to save it.

It was great for the tourist trade that the island residents depended upon.  The summer people made it possible to survive through the harsh New England winters.  Save the magical for them, Ripley wanted no further part of it.

Yes, she had stood with Nell and Mia – but that was a one time need, not to be repeated ever again.  Nell was safe and that was all that mattered.  Add magic and hocus pocus to all the news reports and rumors about happened that night when Nell’s abusive, now former husband showed up was bad enough.  To add further insult was the fact that Mia had allowed some super geek ghost hunter or some such nonsense to rent out the cottage that Ripley had her eye on – that just made her day, and gave Mia far too much satisfaction for Ripley’s comfort.

MacAllister Booke or simply “Mac” was the ultimate example of an absent-minded professor.  Most days he barely survived impaling himself on one of his vast number of gadgets and computer parts scattered about.  What he lacked in co-ordination he more than made up for in looks, talent and debunking the shams and charlatan out there that preyed on those that searched for knowledge.  It was true that he disproved more often than he proved, but when he did find the genuine otherworldly event people took notice.

He had heard the stories, had read the police reports of that night when an abusive husband tracked down his runaway wife.  Determined that he would never loose his Helen, Remington would see his wife dead before he would let her go.  Thankfully Nell Channing, no it was Nell Todd now, survived as did her now husband Zack Todd.  Yet enough speculation in addition to Evan Remington’s mad ravings about witches and things crawling beneath his skin had come to light to spark Mac’s interest.  Besides, Mac brought something to the island aside from his knowledge of the paranormal, he had a bargaining chip about the legend should Mia Devlin decide to not be interviewed.

Unfortunately for Mac..he didn’t bargain on Ripley.

Tribute

Settling into a comfortable chair on a Saturday morning, I opened up my hardback copy of Nora Roberts’ novel Tribute, prepared to immerse myself in another excellent escape from one of my favorite authors.  I was not disappointed.

The Little Farm had finally come into Cilla McGowen’s hands.  The rural property that had once been the backdrop for Janet Hardy’s lush summer parties, and a get-away haven when the pressures of being a famous or even an infamous actress became too much.  The place where her grandmother escaped to, and where it was believed she took her own life was finally, completely Cilla’s.   Oh, it didn’t look so glamorous now.  The house itself was falling apart, the barn behind it wasn’t in much better shape.  The once beautiful gardens were clogged with weeds and debris.  The pond where  famous stars often skinny-dipped on starlit nights was full of overgrown lilies and thick with pond scum.  Yet Cilla saw it for what it could become once again with time and a lot of effort, mostly hers.  She’d been flipping houses for years now, she could do the same to The Little Farm – if she stayed beyond that or not, was yet to be seen.

There’s just something about a truly ugly dog named Spock.  Ever see something just so darned ugly that it was kinda cute, that was Spock.  But his master, now that was another thing.   Ford Sawyer looked more like the super heroes he creates for his graphic novels…or comic books for those not familiar with the term, with a good ole boy’s charm and a lazy, devilish grin Ford sets out to learn more about his new neighbor across the road.

I liked the way Cilla and Ford’s romance developed.  Steadily growing, pushed a bit here and there by events yet a constant building that felt to me totally natural for these characters.

As Cilla’s renovation work continues, word spreads quickly that Janet Hardy’s grand-daughter is back and returning The Little Farm to it’s past glory.  The rebuilding requires several contractors to wander about the property so that several characters come naturally into the storyline.  So naturally that not much attention is paid to them…at first.  As the mystery of this story took a stronger focus, I found myself going back and re-reading some parts in the hopes of finding clues that I might have overlooked.

The lighthearted tone of the novel changes when Cilla discovers a packet of letters sent to Janet.  Letters tenderly stacked and tied with ribbon, obvious mementos important to her grandmother.  As she reads the aged letter Cilla is shocked to discover that her grandmother was pregnant when she supposedly took her own life and that her lover appeared to be a married man.  Why would Janet end not only her own life but that of her child’s as well?  Or did she…

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