Monday 15 December 2014

The One by JM Dragon

Rosa Moran was born in China. After the death of her parents she was taken in by her grandfather and educated in England. However, her heart had always remained in China. As soon as she was able, she returned to China as a missionary to help save the many orphans.

Philomena Casters, (Phil) is a pilot. She is tasked to deliver a letter to Rosa at the mission urging her immediate return to England due to a member of her family being ill. Rosa refuses point blank to return.

Phil’s and Rosa’s paths cross again a few months later when Phil flies back to the mission with twins who are in need of the missions help.

Unfortunately, all is not well at the mission and Phil and Rosa flee with the twins and two other children to the idyllic private settlement of Langshow. But, will they be offered the sanctuary they are desperately seeking for Rosa and the children?

Phil and Rosa are caught up with the undercurrents of war. Their lives are merged together and an unbreakable bond formed. Romance is in the air, but there are rocky roads ahead. There are also hidden secrets that when uncovered may scupper any chance the two women have of a life together. Or will they? After all when you’ve found ‘the one’ what else matters?

Another well written winner from the magical pen of JM Dragon. Each of JM Dragon’s books are very different. I never know what to expect, which makes for an exciting read. This is an edge of the seat page turner from the first page and continues through until the last.

Both Rosa and Phil are easy to get to know, multi-faceted characters. There are some fantastic secondary characters, including the Chinese children, even Gilda the plane is a character in her own right. However, one character was so obnoxious, I could have cheerfully throttled him. I’ll leave you all to guess which one I mean.

The story is set mainly in China and goes across to England. It is set before WW2 when the world is on the brink of the war and from the very well penned scenic descriptions, it was easy to visualize the story as it unfolded and feel like I was a part of the action.

Although this story is an adventure, there are also some hot scenes and a sweet romance running through it. So, a little something for most tastes. This story did conclude, but there is ample room for a sequel for these characters. I, for one, would be delighted to see a sequel published.


Monday 1 December 2014

Claire's Song by Sunny Alexander

Claire Hollander and Kathleen Moore had had a very painful and traumatic break up. Fortunately they are now back together again and making up for lost time as they find new and exciting ways to show their love for each other.

Claire and Kathleen are living their lives quite happily in their Queen Anne Victorian home in the idyllic town of Canfield. They are surrounded by their loving friends Gayle and Robert Sutherland, Helen and Sam Hughes and local Sheriff Linc Hathaway. Their lives are almost perfect. But, life is apt to throw some curve balls along the way and a pressing, all consuming problem divides them once again.

Claire is a bit on the whacky side and well known for her childish tantrums when things don’t go her way. Claire wants a baby, badly. She will stop at nothing to achieve her desire to procreate as her biological clock ticks down.  Kathleen however, is not on board with Claire’s latest wishes. She’s carrying a lot of guilt and is haunted by being separated from her siblings years previously. Although Kathleen has tracked down most of her siblings, the twins, Rose and Charlie are still missing. Kathleen digs her heels in and point blank refuses to consider them having a child until they are found.

Claire and Kathleen’s relationship once again is on the rocks. As a last resort, they enter a competition to win six sessions with a couple’s therapist, Doctor Imajean Friend. Her methods are unlike those of other therapists, she seeks to reveal a couple’s hidden secrets. Will she be successful in getting Claire and Kathleen’s relationship back on track? Or will this be the end for them altogether?

This is without a doubt another blockbuster book in this series. I re-read Flowers From Iraq again before starting on this book, but for those who haven’t read it, there is no need to read it first. There is more than enough background to read this as a standalone. But, I urge you to read it, why miss out on another wonderfully well written and poignant story? Sunny Alexander is an excellent storyteller, she shows the reader instead of telling them.

Although this book is titled Claire’s Song, it doesn’t only focus on Claire and Kathleen. In fact, I would say that they and their friends are all main characters. All are essential in more or less equal parts to the dramatic and page turning storylines. The secrets these friends are hiding are dark and consuming. Learning about them and what makes them tick is an eye opener and so real and true to life.

I’m not sure if there will be another book in this series, but there ought to be. It simply begs for more. Kathleen, Claire and their friends have lots more to tell the reader. The story can’t possibly end here. That’s the only complaint I have with this book, I wanted more, much more.


Out Of Whack by Susan X Meagher

Darcy Morgan was a stickler for order. Almost OCD in her outlook. She worked hard at her job as a CPA, planned her life, obeyed the law and sat back hoping to reap the benefits of her hard work.

Unfortunately Darcy’s well ordered life grinds to a halt suddenly and she finds her life spiralling out of control. She’s just been very badly beaten and is now staggering through the streets of Brooklyn trying desperately to hide from her attacker. Darcy must find shelter or she won’t survive.

Darcy has a lucky meeting with Tess, a woman who is about to change her life forever.

Darcy has involved the kind hearted and innocent travel writer in her perilous dilemma. Darcy has done wrong, but in her now torrid disorderly world, the meaning of right and wrong has blurred into oblivion. Darcy’s survival instinct has kicked in and she’s going to stop at nothing to ensure she lives.

This is another winner from master storyteller Susan X Meagher. A fast paced suspenseful intriguing adventure story with a wonderful sweet and tender romance running through it. One minute Darcy’s life is clipping along at a nice pace, busy but uneventful, the next she finds herself on the run from the Russian mob. I don’t want to add in any spoilers, I’ll just say that meeting up with Tess was the one good thing to come out of all the pain and anguish Darcy is suffering.

I really like Darcy and Tess, they are two multidimensional and loveable characters and easy to get to know. They are backed up by some great secondary characters. Some good and some just pure evil. They all enhance the story and enable the reader to enjoy an edge of the seat, page turning experience amongst a backdrop of spectacularly described scenery.

Susan Meagher has done something a little different at the end of this book. Be sure to take full advantage of it. It will add to your enjoyment.


Wicked Things Ed's Jae and Astrid Ohletz

This is an eclectic collection of fourteen stories of things that go bump in the night, supernatural beings and chilling tales to thrill you and keep you awake at night.

1) Spirit Quest, LLC by Andi Marquette

A story of a team of ghost hunters and their quest to find the ghost of a young woman. They get more than they bargain for. Star rating 5/5

2) A Certain Moon by Elaine Burnes

A story of a first date and some unruly fur babies. Star rating 5/5

3) Walking After Midnight by Lois Cloarec Hart

A story of unrequited love and it’s outcome on party night. Star rating 5/5

4) Moon Dance by Bridget Essex

A story of a woman on a camping trip dreaming of her ex lover, or is it a dream? Star rating 5/5

5) The Road Home by May Dawney

A story of a ghostly tale coming true, or does it? Star rating 5/5

6) Hit and Run by Q Kelly

A story of a hit and run on Halloween night five years previously. Star rating 4/5

7) A Lesson In Magic by Cori Kane

A story of a lesbian meeting a man on Halloween night and being attracted to him, but all is not as it seems. Star rating 4/5

8) Strega by R.G Emanuelle

A story of an attraction between a woman fleeing from an abusive marriage and a witch. Star rating 5/5

9) Object Permanence by Steph Gottschalk

A story of a terrible accident and a possible haunting. Star rating 5/5

10) Taylor-Made by Catherine Lane

A story of Taylor stealing a jacket and the magical outcome. Star rating 5/5

11) Ghost Lights by Erzabet Bishop

A story of a supernatural experience in a tea room. Star rating 5/5

12) A Winter Story by S.M Harding

A story of a ceremony to raise the dead. Star rating 4/5

13) That Day by Orhea The Dreamer

A story of a werewolf hunter on Halloween. Star rating 4/5

14) Fresh Blood by Eve Francis

A story of a vampire cop hiding her feeding habit from her girlfriend. Star rating 5/5

It goes without saying that these stories are above average. I enjoyed them all, some more than others, but they are all very well written and edited.  

Some of these authors are well known to me, others are new and I’ll be watching out for more from them in the future.

Primarily this book was published for Halloween, but it can be enjoyed at any time of the year.


Barring Complications by Blythe Rippon

Justice Victoria Willoughby is the newest Justice on the Supreme Court. It’s also an open secret that she’s also a lesbian.

The court is about to hear a case about gay marriage. So Victoria must deal with the press, persuade one of her colleagues to back it and come to terms with her own feelings about coming out of the closet.

Victoria finally finds the courage to face the challenges ahead, only to find that Genevieve Fornier is the lead Counsel on the case.

Victoria hasn’t spoken to Genevieve in over twenty years. She’s dreading the thought of their meeting again.

Genevieve has led an open life as an out lesbian. Quite the opposite of Victoria’s closeted life. When she finds out Victoria is going to be sitting on the bench, she wonders how she will feel after not speaking to her in over twenty years.

This is Blythe Rippon’s debut book. I was a bit wary of whether I would like and be able to understand this political intrigue/romance story as it’s all about DOMA and basically legalizing marriage in America and I’m British. I needn’t have been concerned, it’s an excellent story, very easy to understand and get into whatever country you live in.

The book is well written, well edited and a page turner. There is a delicious romance simmering away in the background in amongst the politics and court appearances. Blythe Rippon has obviously done extensive research too. There is a lot packed into this book, including homophobia, stalking, a touch of violence and heartache.

The two main characters, Victoria and Genevieve are both powerful and strong women, both at the top end of their careers. They have history between them and issues that have to be resolved before they can move forward on the path of being acquaintances, let alone friends or even anything more. It’s their journey that makes this book the page turner it is.

Both Victoria and Genevieve are multidimensional, they are bolstered by a wealth of secondary characters each one playing their own significant part to progress the story forward.

The book goes backwards and forwards between the past and the present, but it is very easy to keep track of the story.

It’s very hard to believe that this is a debut book, it most certainly doesn’t read like one. I’m looking forward to reading more from Blythe Rippon in the near future.


Thursday 13 November 2014

Cowgirl Up by Ali Spooner

Ex army ranger, Coal Bryan, returns to Texas after her lover Tessa and friend Mitch were both killed in Afghanistan. She ends up working and living on the farm belonging to Melissa, the wife of Mitch, Coal had no idea who Melissa was, her arrival on the farm was pure fate. So it was a great shock to see photos she’d taken in Afghanistan of Tessa and Mitch on display in Melissa’s living room.

Coal is still hurting and fighting off the ravages of being at war and the loss of the love of her life and her best friend. She throws herself into the hard work on the farm and fits right in with the rest of the all male crew and soon earns the respect of the men. Coal, Melissa and the crew are as tight knit as any regular family.

When Melissa’s sister, Mary Leah, a cancer survivor, arrives on the farm to stay after a traumatic break up with her lover, sparks begin to ignite between her and Coal. Is it possible for Coal and Mary Leah to move on and find love again with each other? Both women have baggage. Both women have their own demons to overcome.

A beautiful, poignant story about love, survival and second chances. A story that sympathetically and tenderly deals with the aftermath of the devastating  destruction caused by a bomb in Afghanistan, the PTSD Coal suffers afterwards and Mary Leah’s triumphant comeback from her traumatic cancer surgery and subsequent chemotherapy treatments.

Both Coal and Mary Leah have been badly hurt and are desperately trying to overcome their pain. Together they both stand more chance of healing and finding the happiness they both deserve. These two wonderful characters are so realistically  written, I feel that I know them well. The scenery is so perfectly described, I felt like I was actually watching a film. Ali Spooner is a natural for showing the reader rather than telling them. I could almost smell the horses, the scent of the rodeo and feel the Texas heat.

Both Coal and Mary Leah have many sides to them and are backed up by a cast of excellent characters to take the story forward to it’s satisfactory conclusion. Having said that, I feel this could be a great series. These characters have a lot more to tell us and are too nice not to see again.

This book started out as a novella, so anyone who thinks they may have read it would be half right. This is now a full length book with lots more added and a page turner right the way through.

As always when I’ve finished an Ali Spooner book, I eagerly await her next one.


Monday 3 November 2014

Sharpshooter by Leslie Murray

Ex Marine scout sniper, Captain Seven Michelis, is now a top notch black ops sharpshooter with an impressive record. The US government branch she’s currently working for is tasked with putting an end to terrorism. Unfortunately, her current mission to eradicate a financier who has been bank rolling terrorist groups goes horribly wrong. The team are ambushed and Seven is injured and running for her life.

Doctor Jenny MacKenzie is a Peace Corps volunteer. There is a surprise in store for them both when Jenny meets and helps the badly injured Seven. Jenny and Seven end up on the run trying to survive the dangers of Bolivia and a cold blooded killer who will leave no stone unturned to find them both.

With no idea who they can trust, their lives are fraught with danger. Even if they manage to reach home, what awaits them, or who awaits them? The attraction between the two women is intense, but will they survive long enough to see where it leads?

This debut book is without a doubt a blockbuster. The well written story is a mixture of danger, adventure, excitement, intrigue and romance all perfectly portioned out so that one does not overshadow the other. Primarily this is an adventure story, but there is a tender sweet romance integrated in with it. The book was a touch on the slow side to begin with, but it soon picked up pace and clipped along nicely. Once the story picked up pace, it was a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, twists and turns. Although the book is lengthy, I couldn’t put it down until exhaustion overcame me. Even then I was up early to get stuck into to it again. It’s an edge of the seat page turner right the way through.

Both main characters are strong women in different ways. Seven is the tough guy, at the top of her game. Jenny is more feminine, strong and an excellent doctor. Together they make a formidable pair, complementing each other with their different strengths. There is a wealth of secondary characters interspersed throughout, all enhancing the story in their own ways. They are all fully formed, multi-layered and essential to the story. The scenic settings are so vividly described I felt as though I was living the story with the characters. A true sign for me of good penmanship.

I’m looking forward to reading more from Leslie Murray in the future. A sequel would be nice too.