Blog Archives

Strong Will

Strong Will by [Patricia Crumpler]

Strong Will by Patricia Crumpler follows Emma Whitstone, who is a reserved and quiet teacher that works with children. Charles Strong Manning is an outgoing, self-assured attorney. The two are completely opposite of each other but end up falling in love, getting married, and starting a family. What Emma doesn’t know is that Strong is the leader of an undercover rescue operation. One of his assignments go wrong and Emma learns several truths and lies about the man she thought she knew. Feeling frightened and hurt, Emma takes her kids and goes into hiding. Will Charles be able to save his family and the love of his life?

Author Patricia Crumpler has written a thrilling romantic action novel. This is an emotionally charged story, something I didn’t expect in an action novel but was pleasantly surprised by. Crumpler’s character development is strong and I enjoyed watching Emma evolve as the story weaved through several unexpected twists and intriguing turns. The author’s writing style is clever as she seamlessly intertwined the double life that Charles lived in a way that was compelling, if not believable. The reader is definitely taken on an emotional rollercoaster wondering if Emma will find out who Charles really is. But the question I was asking myself was, will she stay by his side? You are rooting for the two but the book consistently has readers wondering, who is Charles Strong?

I would have liked to have seen Strong’s character develop a little more because what we’re given is so compelling and I desperately wanted to know more, and to feel as connected to him as I did with Emma. Because he was living two lives it was a little difficult to get to know him. Emma was an open book and the reader knew everything about her. Juxtapose this great character development with intense action scenes and you get a completely riveting read.

Strong Will is a thrilling romantic action novel that surprised me many times and was consistently entertaining.

Pages: 255 | ASIN: B08TSWW5ZQ

Buy Now From B&N.com

 

Resistance, Revolution and Other Love Stories

Resistance, Revolution and Other Love Stories by [K.]

Resistance, Revolution & Other Love Stories by K is a compilation of twelve romantic short stories ranging from fiction to futuristic sci-fi.

This extraordinary collection of stories takes us into the worlds of character, each with a completely different perspective on what love is and how to demonstrate it. These characters offer glimpses of what love means to different cultures around the world, written in a way that allows you to really meditate about life on a greater scale, as well as ponder on the importance of stolen glances, sacred touches and the smallest of details.

Each plot is a masterpiece in its own, with such compelling storylines that you are forced to follow them until the end, and to uncover the secret message hidden within. Some feature happy endings, others vague cliffhangers that will leave you yearning for more. Each story is written in a different setting, from London to Yugoslavia to Iraq, there is a never ending range of possibilities that will never leave you unsatisfied.

One of my favorite stories was “Head Down”. It’s about a married man who goes off on a business trip to take a couple of seminars. He meets Shannon, who completely transforms his view on what love should feel like. He struggles between succumbing to this new feeling of love and familiarity of staying true to his sense of duty for his current family. In the end both characters make a choice that will most likely impact the rest of their lives, and the reader is left guessing what will happen next. This story, as do the others, depict the complexities of love; which isn’t black and white as many people would have us believe. It navigates the intricate human connections which have the power to limit or free a person, depending on the nature and dynamic of the relationship.

Resistance, Revolution & Other Love Stories contains a wonderful compilation of stories with beautifully written worlds, relatable and real characters, and descriptive narration.

Pages: 183 | ASIN: B08NV1BT2K

Buy Now From B&N.com

The Canon City Chronicles

Davalynn Spencer
Davalynn Spencer Author Interview

A Change of Scenery follows a woman trying to reclaim her life by moving and finds a cowboy’s who challenges her in more ways than one. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

A Change of Scenery is Book 4 in The Canon City Chronicles series, and deals with the lives of twin little boys, Cale and Hugh Hutton, from Book 3, Romancing the Widow. In continuing the family saga, time passes until the boys are old enough to tell their story, which takes us to the silent-picture days of filming Westerns in Canon City, Colorado. Canon City was an early “Hollywood” before Hollywood, with actors such as Tom Mix filming many pictures here. Local ranchers and cowboys were often used as extras in the films.

Ella is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

Ella Canaday feels robbed of the two most important things in her life, but she refuses to remain in her prominent father’s home as an invalid. She sets out to make her own life, yet with no hopes of regaining her losses. However, when faced with the “impossible,” she does not shrink away from the risks and rises to the task — with common-sense encouragement from a local rancher, Cale Hutton.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Important themes for this book are second changes, forgiveness, and courage.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on Book 5 in the series featuring Cale’s widowed brother Hugh. However, on June 1 Barbour Publishing is releasing a contemporary romance collection titled Always A Wedding Planner. My novella in the collection is “Taste and See.” And of course, my hero is a cowboy.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Inspirational Historical Western Romance

A hidden fear. A daring challenge. A liberating love.
A motorcar accident on a rainy Chicago night steals Ella Canaday’s fiancé as well as her ability to ride. Clinging to the remnants of her independence, she cuts her hair and her ties with her wealthy father and takes a train west as the seamstress with a moving-picture company. Colorado offers the change of scenery she needs. But she doesn’t expect the bold cowboy who challenges her to reclaim both the loves she thought she’d lost forever.

Cale Hutton needs the money the moving-picture company is paying for use of his cattle and horses, but he’s not keen on some city gal gettin’ in the way out at the ranch. Between the filming crew by day and a rogue cattle-killing bear by night, his attention snags on the little bob-haired seamstress. Something about her easy manner around his horse sets his mind to find out what she’s hiding and why she has such a pull on his heart.

American Fries: A Queer Farce

American Fries: A Queer Farce by [Tom Beattie]

American Fries: A Queer Farce is Tom Beattie’s fun play where he explores how Molière’s playwright style could have been if it had included some queerness in it. Marriage equality and same-sex love are the main aspects dealt with in his play, all done in a fun and hilarious way that will leave its readers constantly smiling and giggling at every turn of the page.

The book includes two different plays. The first one, American Fries, based in seventeenth-century Paris, follows the friends Bayonet and Heavyset as they conspire to find a way to pair and marry each other’s kids. However, the girls Crepsuzette and Anisette, and the boys Pirouette and Leatherette, may have some different plans of their own. Although it is a period play, it is told in a modern way with modern humor, making it very enjoyable to read. The second play included in the book, Once Married, goes back to modern day to follow the lives of Tom and David, a gay couple from the United States in their early sixties, with the deep wish of having the freedom to marry each other without fear.

The plays included in the book were fun and easy to read. Even though the book deals with serious themes such as same-sex marriage, the author expresses his story and his feelings in an entertaining and natural way. I was constantly smiling throughout the different plays, highly appreciating Tom Beattie’s humor. Even the names of the characters made me laugh every time that they appeared on the page, they had such an unique and creative touch to them. The stories told were not only funny but also endearing, being able to portray by the end the significance of companionship and love regardless of gender, a very powerful message in this day and age.

I found the first play, American Fries, to be unique and would love to see a longer one in the future with the same style of writing and humoristic attitude. The deep feelings of love are portrayed in a simple, yet powerful manner, allowing the reader to feel connected to the characters and understanding the depth of their emotions. I only wish that the plays had been longer, there is still some potential that can be explored further with the characters that were introduced throughout the story.

American Fries: A Queer Farce is a fast paced and easy read with entertaining humor and an overall imaginative and creative style. Author Tom Beattie gives readers such an endearing and enjoyable reading experience.

Pages: 143 | ASIN:

Buy Now From B&N.com

White Knuckle Dance

White Knuckle Dance by [Andrew Cockburn]

White Knuckle Dance by Andrew Cockburn is a romantic novel filled with suspense, drama, and secrets. Dan sees himself as a regular guy working a regular day job, with no importance of any kind. He and Mary meet at a work function where they hit it off and his once normal, uninteresting life is turned upside down. While the two have a relationship, Dan discovers more things about himself that he didn’t know about before. He suspects there is more to Mary than what she allows other people to see and the more secrets he learns about her, and her about him, emotions are explored and vulnerability exhibited. Games begin and stakes are raised even higher and this leads to the white-knuckle dance around discovery, risks, and power in which we are not certain who will end up as the winner in this deadly game.

Andrew Cockburn incorporates local dialect within the book that gives the reader a connection with the native region in which the story is set. Direct speech has been richly used in the book to personalize the connection between the reader and the characters. The vivid description of events helps create imagery that is fully realized and helps fuel the reader’s imagination.

This is an emotionally charged story that focuses on the main characters riveting relationship, and this is the true gem of this story. I love how the chemistry between Dan and Mary develops and evolves over time. Guilt consumes Dan and this is what pushes him to seek therapy years later since he lost his mother. Introducing Mary in the book plays a major role in helping Dan finally open up and let go of some of the guilt he has been feeling for a long time. Their relationship serves to assure Dan that he is not the cause of his previous failed relationship. This is an impassioned story, that is beautifully written, and places compelling characters in various emotionally precarious situations.

White Knuckle Dance expertly balances mystery, chemistry, and suspense in a way that in an eloquent and fascinating way. This is a romantic suspense novel that surprised me on many levels, and stayed with me long after I put the book down.

Pages: 201 | ASIN: B08XY6VC2D

Buy Now From B&N.com

A Change of Scenery: The Canon City Chronicles

A Change of Scenery: The Canon City Chronicles - Book 4 Sweet Historical Western Romance (The Cañon City Chronicles) by [Davalynn Spencer]

Change of Scenery by Davalynn Spencer follows the life of Ella as she tries to reclaim her life by moving to Colorado. And while she has made peace with the fact that her love for riding and romance had been permanently taken away from her by a tragic accident, a chance meeting with Cale changes everything.

Throughout the story, we get insight into both Cale and Ella’s lives and the tragic events that have shaped who they are. Although the story is based in the 1900s, many of their problems are quite relatable, especially their grief.

The main themes of this emotionally-charged novel are; love, family, healing and second chances. And the author does a splendid job at bringing them to life. Davalynn Spencer brings us into Ella’s pain, making it relatable and easy to empathize with. We are also given details into the life of Cale’s grief-stricken brother, Hugh as he struggles to move on in the wake of his wife’s death.

Another important character is Hellen, a mother figure to both Cale and Hugh who takes up the care of the latter’s young children, eventually filling a big hole in their family. Ultimately, this story is as tender as it is personal. The plot is solid though somewhat predictable and the characters are well developed. The author has really excelled in bringing the 1900s to life, successfully building a narrative that combines both the age of horses and that of the automobile.

The one thing that I did not expect was how Cale behaves towards Ella – he pushes her to be better and not settle for less. Otherwise, most of the narrative tallies with what I expect from a western romance novel. The writing style used matches the typical style of historical fiction, perfect for fans of the genre looking to be immersed. When it comes to catering to historical romance audience, the author has truly excelled.

If you love elegant and heartfelt historical romances, filled with intriguing characters, and set in the western frontier, then Change of Scenery by Davalynn Spencer is the book for you. This was a western that was hard for me to put down, and stayed with me long after the last page.

Pages: 254 | ASIN: B08RWJBTWG

Buy Now From B&N.com

Nantucket Summer

Nantucket Summer by [Gerard Shirar]

Nantucket Summer follows Greg Williamson, a seventy-one year old man, who has recently lost his wife. He decides to visit his younger sister in Clearwater Florida. While he is packing for the trip, he comes across a box filled with some items from his past and he remembers the summer he spent on Nantucket Island when he was a young man in 1946, before he started attending Purdue University. During that summer, he worked as a night watchman at a hotel where he meets a woman named Sydney MacKluskie. They fall in love, but ultimately part ways and lead different lives, until a chance encounter in a hospital. Was it Sydney that saves Greg’s life in the hospital? Greg must find out.

Author Gerard Shirar provides readers with an impassioned romance story following two intriguing characters that are easy to empathize with. I found the author’s writing style engaging and the story kept my interest all the way to the end. This sentimental novel reads very much like a real-life account, and there were times when I forgot that I was reading a fictional story. I liked the setting of the holiday atmosphere at the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the descriptions of the quaint shops and cottages in the villages on Nantucket Island. The author has a knack for creating a scene and letting the readers live in it. The same is true for the historical time period the novel is placed in. The story always felt authentic and realistic, keeping the story grounded and focused on the emotional obstacles Greg faces. A small portion of the book takes place during Greg’s time fighting in the Korean War, and this section of the story makes a striking contrast to the carefree days Greg spent while working in Nantucket.

This is a character driven story that successfully pulls you along with emotionally charged plot developments that rely on your connection to the characters. I was not a fan of Sydney’s character when she was first introduced, but learning about the tragedy in her past helped me to understand her actions and attitude.

Nantucket Summer is a historical romance novel filled with wonderfully detailed observations and characters that you will love following.

Pages: 170 | ASIN: B0791M6Q2Y

Buy Now From B&N.com

Awakening

Awakening by [Jennifer Leigh Pezzano]

Jezebel is used to being alone. It might not be ideal, but she has grown accustomed to keeping her thoughts to herself, staying busy when she isn’t working, and distancing herself from others. It’s a life she wouldn’t necessarily choose, but it’s what she knows. And then came August. An innocent meeting on the beach leads to what Jezebel believes is the opportunity to work for a wealthy local. When she can’t help but be mesmerized by the very thought of his attention, she quickly begins to realize there is much more to August than meets the eye and much more to the relationship he desires.

Awakening, by Jennifer Leigh Pezzano, is a supernatural romance novel for the ages. Jezebel, the book’s main character is the perfect mix of an unlikely heroine lacking a certain amount of self-confidence and a woman ready to take on the world. Her encounter with the mysterious but incredibly desirable August is one that takes even the reader by surprise.

From the first chapter, Pezzano’s writing is striking and flows beautifully across the page. Whether it’s her main character’s inner voice or the narrative that fills the space between the unique encounters between Pezzano and August, her words are simply breathtaking. The more intimate moments between the two characters are touching without being overtly sexual and explicit.

There is a profound sadness to August’s story, and I loved the bits of history Pezzano includes in her work. These elements of reality only serve to deepen the reader’s involvement in the plot. Pezzano knows how to engage readers, pull them into her characters’ dilemmas, and feed them just enough reality to make them question whether her story is born of real events–she is just that good–she makes the reader feel like a meeting De Sanguine might be a distinct possibility.

I encourage any fan of vampire romances to give Pezzano’s work a try. It does not fit the mold. It does, however, offer readers a new and fresh take on an old genre. I was thoroughly impressed with the depth Pezzano is able to give her characters and the extent to which she is able to take a story set in recent years and make it feel so refined, so detailed, and so stunningly beautiful.

Pages: 344 | ASIN: B08P5SMG3M

Buy Now From B&N.com

%d bloggers like this: