Monday, November 23, 2020

Shot Through the Heart

Can revenge be on your mind when you’ve been shot through the heart?

 Shiloh Coltrane and Sydney Cantrell could not be more opposite in every aspect of life: He’s a rough, uncultured Westerner while she’s from a wealthy Eastern family who values education. In spite of several roadblocks, Sydney put that education to good use by becoming one of the first female physicians in 1800’s America, much less the Western frontier. She’s got a rough path in front of her, as does Shiloh. He’s given up life as a hired gun and now searches for the killers of his sister and her child—and faces the same obstacles as Sydney: the reluctant townspeople and the truculent local military establishment. Despite the difficulties they encounter, that irresistible attraction draws them closer.

And beneath it all is the unspoken difference: she’s a healer and he’s . . . not.

Our Review:  Author Dowling has painted a vivid picture of life in the Old West, drawing on societal norms as well as the polar differences which beset human nature of any generation and has not disappointed her devote readers. In Shot Through the Heart, she applied the basic rules of writing successful romances:  create well-drawn characters; instill each with believable goals, logical motivations, and strong conflicts both internal and external. Time after time, Shiloh and Sydney are faced with insurmountable barriers, yet they always triumph and do it in clever, inventive ways. This is a joy to read.

 On a scale of 1-5, Shot Through the Heart deserves a 5.

 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Christmas Rekindled

 . . . Tacoma bartender River Lundqvist has a damn good reason for hating Christmas. Working at Bangers Tavern keeps him busy and helps him work through the grief associated with tragic loss. “Get back to living” is the last thing he wants to hear. 

. . . Freelance web designer Charlie Khoury returns to Tacoma for a family emergency—only for the short term—and must brace herself for the suckiest Christmas ever. A temporary job at Bangers gives her a chance to earn the money needed to keep her business afloat, escape her father’s constant criticism, and blow off steam caused by the abrupt desertion of a long-term boyfriend.      

. . . Their unplanned introduction at Bangers stirs up powerful desires—as well as errant thoughts of starting anew. Except the timing is off. After greedy developers threaten to take over Bangers, River and Charlie muster the troops to save the neighborhood symbol of family, comfort and home away from home. Sizzling chemistry might feel like the real thing—but do rebound relationships last?

Our Review:   Once again, author Sadira Stone has not failed her fans with this colorful setting, which she populated with unique characters and even more unique events designed to save the bar. [Gus the Grump in his SpongeBob pajama shirt to celebrate PJ Nite was a particularly fun touch.] As well, her skill for nicely subtle sexual tension, slowly building to a mind-blowing crescendo is well done. For fans of well-drawn plot lines with steamy romance, terrific characters and snappy dialogue, this is the book for you.

On a scale of 1-5, Christmas Rekindled earns a 7.

 Kat Henry Doran, Wild Women Reviews

Thursday, November 12, 2020

A Matter of Pride

                        . . . A matter of pride—a matter of family. . .

A Matter of Pride, Book 3, the Star Smuggler series by T.S. Snow  

           Former smuggler Sinbad sh’en Singh returns to his home planet of Felida with Terran wife Andrea and their children intent on beginning this new phase of their lives. Both Sin and Andi have been tested, often in horrendous ways, to reach this stage; both deserve all good things for their future. Little do they know what the concepts of Family, Pride, Customs, and Beliefs will have in store for them, testing their love, devotion and resilience forever more.

 Our Review:  As always, author T.S, Snow brings a unique talent for snappy dialogue, multi-layered characters, and an inventive imagination when it comes to setting a stage. It is the fine details for describing customs—which might feel foreign to some—that mark Snow’s efforts in this book and throughout the entire Smuggler series. We are better for having read and appreciated this undertaking.    

 On a scale of 1-5, A Matter of Pride deserves a 5.

          Kat Henry Doran, Wild Women Reviews

 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

A Song for Another Day

    In Willow Springs, Broadway dreams and country music collide in A Song for Another Day: the Deerbourne Inn series. 


     Big city tense meets laid-back and laconic when Juilliard trained/Broadway hopeful Giselle Jensen takes time out from between shows to direct a community review in the colorful Mad River region of Vermont. Within minutes of arriving in Willow Springs, she meets up—rather abruptly—with budding singer/song writer  Jason Simmons. Over the course of the next six weeks, each teaches the other important life skills—as well as how to recover from past injuries.

Our Review: Whomever coined the phrase opposites attract had these two in mind—except for the caveat that speaks to oppo-sites whose values and dreams could not be more polar in description. Author Imbalzano brings a sensitivity for the dreams of artists—then plants them seamlessly on the pages of A Song for Another Day. An extra bonus is the color she infuses into small town life and the usual characters who infest them. Fans of the Deerbourne Inn series and Imbalzano will be delighted with this latest testament to her skills.

On a scale of 1-5, A Song for Another Day deserves a 6.

Kat Henry Doran, Wild Women Reviews

Monday, November 9, 2020

By Promise Made

. . . Trained to protect her queen at all costs, Katherine Payne can show no mercy to the handsome messenger, Hugh Cullane, despite the way his stolen kiss unsettles her single-minded sense of duty. Trapped between the English and Scottish armies, she must escape with four-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots. Hugh joins her as they are chased by men determined to murder the young queen in their own quest for power. By promise made they will keep her alive! . . .

 Scotland, under the reign of the child who came to be known as Mary, Queen of Scots, comes to life beneath the clever and imaginative pen of author Susan Leigh Furlong in By Promise Made. Tasked with protecting the child queen, Kit trains to do her best, battling all comers who might bring harm to her charge. Little does she know the fiercest of “all comers” is the Scotsman Hugh Cullane. His skills are many, his attraction irresistible.

Our Review:  As much as we enjoyed Furlong’s earlier historical romance Steadfast Will I Be, this latest endeavor showcases the author’s gift for bringing research to the page, enhancing her diverse, multi-layered characters. Her talent for creating a setting puts the reader in the middle of forests as easily as a castle keep. By Promise Made rings with authenticity and for those reasons deserves a 7.

Kat Henry Doran, Wild Women Reviews

 

 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

A Regency Christmas by Susan Payne

               In A Regency Christmas Story, we meet Penny Cooper, a sensible but naïve young woman who enables her gambler sibling whose gift of gab defies description. Their dead father left them a small trust and, as using/abusing people will, brother Christopher makes the best of a dismal situation—all to his benefit. Enter Daniel, Lord Leighton who, while collecting a sizable debt from Christopher, shows both siblings a better way of life.

The Best Christmas Present treats the reader to an inventive twist on the usual Regency romance: the hero does not choose the young, naïve deb but her mother—a woman he met years ago and was never able to forget. This brilliant take on the usual plotline makes this the strongest and most enjoyable of the three.

As a strong contender for “best in show” we have Sugar Plum Christmas, where the sharp-witted Lord Hedley meets hardworking, French émigré confectioner Micheline. One taste of her eclairs tells him she is the one. As should be with any romance, conflicts arise, and the devil-may-care lord has his work cut out for him when it comes to persuading Michie to trust him with her secrets.

Our Review: Once again, author Susan Payne’s extensive research turns the details of the luscious desserts created by Micheline [Sugar Plum Christmas] and social ills of the day [A Regency Christmas Story] jumping off the page. Readers and loyal fans will not be disappointed.

 On a scale of 1-5, A Regency Christmas deserves a 4.

 Kat Henry Doran, Wild Women Reviews

 

 

 

 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Mountain Blaze by Debby Grahl

Wealthy Diana Thompson falls in love with cowboy Dillon McCoy. Now both must run from a killer while saving the Lazy M ranch.

          Hoping to reach a decision whether or not to marry a man not of her dreams, educator Diana Thompson retreats to a mountain ranch outside colorful Ashville, North Carolina for the Thanksgiving holiday. There she comes face to face with a man who could fulfill her dreams—turning them hotter than any she ever experienced.

Fresh off a marriage gone south, rodeo cowboy Dillon McCoy returns to his family’s ranch, to lick his wounds and decide what he wants to do with the rest of his life. After meeting Diana Thompson he realizes it’s right here, in the arms of this slim, intrepid woman.

But something is wrong. He can’t quite put his finger on it and Dillon knows the odd happenings around the Lazy M can’t all be coincidence. Together, as Diana and he confront past disappointments, they unite to find a killer before someone else dies.

Our Review:  There are many intriguing aspects of Mountain Blaze. First is the author’s ability to create a lush setting that almost jumps off the page. The second is the cast of different, well-drawn characters. Perhaps most important, for fans of romantic suspense, is Ms. Grahl’s talent for building suspense. Mountain Blaze is a page turner. And once you’ve read it, you’ll want to go back and do it all over again. It’s that good.

On a scale of 1-5, Mountain Blaze deserves a 6.

Kat Henry Doran, Wild Women Reviews