Thursday, January 5, 2012

His Fifth Avenue Thief by Abbey MacInnis

Published synopsis:

Two years prior, Irishman Aaron O'Connel took his life from rags to riches. Chance and wits have kept him alive in 1850'S New York City. But no amount of money or success can bring his love Cathlene back from the dead. When a thief sneaks her way into his mansion, the last woman he expects to find absconding with his belongings is his long lost wife.

Abandoned on New York's shores, a widowed, penniless, and ruined Cathlene O'Connel was left to fend for herself in an unfamiliar world. Fear and circumstance drove her to a life of thieving in order to survive, but her heart risks the biggest danger of all when Aaron hands her a scandalous proposition: A son in exchange for her freedom.

Now that he has her back, Aaron doesn't intend to let Cathlene slip between his fingers. He'll do whatever it takes to regain her trust and love. But when an enemy from Cathlene's past resurfaces, Aaron not only faces battling for Cathlene's heart, but also her life.


Abandoned by a husband who jumped ship, one who convinced her to give up her society life in Ireland and travel to this new land, Cathlene O’Connel has had to shed her life as a lady and become someone she hardly even recognizes. Desperate to save herself from the life that most destitute women fall into, she takes to thieving to keep herself off the streets.

Aaron O’Connel lost the love of his life, his wife Cathlene, two years ago. He has searched desperately for her to no avail. When chance brings her to him in the form of a thief, he knows that fate has given him a second chance with her. If only he can convince her that he did not abandon her. It breaks his heart to see the hardened shell she has put around herself to survive, and he is determined to find a way to make her stay. Even if he has to create a fantastical compromise to make it happen. He needs time to figure out what she is hiding from him, and how to make her love him again.

His Fifth Avenue Thief by Abbey MacInnis is a novella about love, betrayal and sacrifice. These two characters, so much in love at one time until fate intervened, wrenching them apart, desperately want to be on the same path again. But learning to trust once more is not easy. Love is a fragile thing, easily bruised and destroyed, regardless if it was a series of misunderstandings and the intervention of others that caused its demised. Abbey MacInnis’s characters are strong, determined and not easy to trust. Perfectly understandable considering their recent past. She has given them a depth that many romance characters lack. They do not rush back into each other arms right away, they think and reason, and try to lead with their minds instead of their feelings.

Readers are brought on an emotional journey that has you wanting desperately to let them find a way to be together again, yet appreciating their reluctance. Even though the rags to riches aspect of the novel seems a little much, the interactions between Cathlene and Aaron make this novella an excellent story of hope and forgiveness. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book four and a half stars.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Savannah Storm by Corin Castro

Published synopsis:

SAVANNAH STORM is the first of a trilogy set in this fabled city of romance and adventure right here on our own southern doorstep. Greed, lust and the struggle with nature as much as historic charm and the scent of gardenias is still alive and waiting for those who choose to seek them.

Savannah is an old city, a city of secrets and shadows. Nearly three hundred years of storms and wars have left her scarred but still standing. When a modern pirate sails into her harbor and McGuire Knight's successful life will he bring the same destruction and pain his ancestors did when the city was young? Can McGuire overcome her own past and its shattering secret to meet this dangerous Spanish sailor with the passion neither can deny? Will her hard won courage be enough to help her break her ties with a second man who isn't at all what he seems and has the power to destroy her world in a different way? In the quest they share to guard the past McGuire and Juan will need more than history to protect them from the danger to their hearts and their lives in today's Savannah.


McGuire Knight didn’t expect Juan to walk into her life. She had a plan. Settle down with a nice man, who would be a good father, and have kids. Not willing to risk her heart again, she feels this is the only way to go. Until he showed up. Now, she is discovering that passion and love are too important to live without.

Juan has been a shadow of himself since his wife died giving birth two years ago. Losing everything in one day, he merely goes through the motions of living, sure he will never again feel the way he felt about her. Then he walks into an animal shelter and meets McGuire. Everything changes. His soul wakes up again, and maybe he love does still exist for him.

Circumstances bring them together again and again, and it takes neither of them long to realize love at first sight is a strong thing. Life is not always accommodating for it, though. Major obstacles in their lives are trying hard to make their budding romance fizzle before it really gets started.

With good friends willing to intervene when needed, and shady characters trying to accomplish their own ends, this book makes for a good read. A sucker for love at first sight, Corin Castro’s Savannah Storm caught me right away. McGuire is a likeable character who deserves to find true love. Juan is sexy and intense. A strong combination in any romance novel. The secondary characters are interesting, if sometimes a bit stereotypical or obvious, and have been set up nicely for the next books in the series.

There was a drawback for me, though. Throughout the interactions between McGuire and Juan, there is an undercurrent of violence and dominance in their lovemaking. It is subtle; just prominent enough to rub me the wrong way. Passion should be intense, it should take the characters where they have not been before, but for me, that doesn’t include the edge of pain. Well written, Savannah Storm is still a romance worth picking up and it will leave you curious to learn what happens to the other characters in future books. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book three and a half stars.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Stone Cold: A Vampire Novel by Mike Denault

Published Synopsis:

Damien Magneson's life is anything but normal. He is part of an innocent vampire family, helping to promote peace, all while secretly working alongside the local government to track and eliminate supernatural threats that may harm society. However, when Damien meets target Aderra Fayre, who is part of a potentially sought-out and labeled family of serial killers, he feels he must protect her. Damien's life changes dramatically, now living in a world filled with constant drama, violence and sacrifice.


Damien and his family are not ordinary vampires. They are assassin vampires working with the government to keep humans safe from supernatural threats. Until now, Damien has had to sit on the sidelines while his parents, brother and sister tracked down, and often killed, the bad guys. Now, his training is complete and it’s time for him to step up and stand next to his family in this fight against evil.

Unfortunately, things don’t work out according to plan. His very first target gets the better of him and his sister ends up badly hurt. He falls for his next target, Aderra, a suspected serial killer who also happens to be a vampire. Strange, since the government had led him to believe that his family was the last line of vampires in existence. Now, he has to figure out who he can trust, and how to save the day, all while avoiding a certain pesky reporter determined to take them all down.

In Stone Cold: A Vampire Novel by Mike Denault, readers are drawn into a world where the government not only knows about the supernatural world, but also sanctions kills against any creature who proves to be a threat to humans. I always enjoy the premise of vampires being the good guys ridding the world of evil, and I believe the story has a solid foundation to build from.

There were a few things that would have made me enjoy the story a little more, though. There wasn’t a lot of information about the vampires that made me relate to them as individuals, or as a group. I did not know enough of the history of each individual to make me feel as if I knew him or her on a personal level, allowing me to get truly involved in the story. I wanted to know more about what they did from day to day, what they ate, how they managed bloodlust, or all the ways that they were different from humans. Also, Damien’s character seemed a bit immature to be an assassin. Often, his interactions with his parents felt as if he was a petulant child who needed to be watched more closely, rather than be sent out as a trained killer. This said, I would enjoy watching his character grow and mature through a series.

I also found the dialogue to be a troubling area, at times. It tended to bounce back and forth between being a bit long, and at other times, I felt things moved along faster than they should. For example, there was very little dialogue before Damien is convinced to trust Aderra and her family of admittedly evil vampires.

I did enjoy the overall story and feel that the foundation is one that could move in many positive directions. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book three stars.

Purchase Stone Cold: A Vampire Novel by Mike Denault

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Wrong Brother by Nancy Brophy

Published synopsis:

Navy SEAL Zack Pritchard is home on leave determined to avoid his brother’s girlfriend, Chloe La Ruse, the object of some pretty erotic fantasies. If he can just avoid her, then walk his sister down the aisle everything will be great or so he thinks.

Unbeknownst to him, his brother, Gordy’s life is in the toilet. He’s dropped out of college, is broke and frustrated. All he wants to do is drive for NASCAR, but in the meantime he’s picked up a gig that promises quick money and is only a little illegal.

Chloe La Ruse’s life revolves around graduate school. Every so often she raises her nose out of a book to notice that her boyfriend hasn’t been around in months, his family hates her, her thesis is incomplete and men only ask her out for one reason. She teaches sex education. She’s counting the days until she can leave.

Many love triangles involving thwarted ambitions, fraternal competition, drugs and racecars work out well. Unfortunately this one has some problems.


Zack likes being a Navy SEAL. Strange as it seems, his life is uncomplicated. He gets to go to exciting locales and take dangerous risks that get his adrenalin pumping, as well as help keep the country safe. This may leave him as a bad candidate for boyfriend or husband, because SEALS always leave, but that’s okay. He’s not looking. The only downside – the Navy keeps threatening to promote him. Which would take him out of the field and behind a desk, spending his days doing paperwork and training recruits.

Chloe hates her life in Riggers, Texas. Other than Gordy, her almost non-existent boyfriend, sometime boyfriend anyway, she is alone. His family hates her, she’s too busy with graduate school to make friends, and dating has been hell. Men see her body and hear that her major is human sexuality, and they think they have a green light to take her to bed. Who cares if she has a brain and genuinely wants to help people. Basically, her life sucks.

When Zack and Chloe are brought together because Zack’s sister is getting married, both are taken by surprise at their reaction to each other. Zack, because there’s no way he can have a long term relationship while a SEAL, and Chloe, because she’s sure he’s just like his brother and all the other guys she’s dated. Love ‘em and leave ‘em. Without the love part. And, as if their attraction to each other isn’t bad enough, they’re thrown even closer together when a mysterious death affects both of their lives.

People can only hide their feelings for so long, but can people change their whole lives for love? In Nancy Brophy’s The Wrong Brother, the reader is brought on a roller coaster ride to test out this theory. Along the way, there’s humor, family dynamics that don’t sugarcoat how things are instead of should be, and bad guys that want to ruin everything.

About half way through, this romance turns into a murder mystery; and that half is just as good as the first. Nancy Brophy has the ability to turn a whirlwind romance into a refreshing, can’t put it down, do they really have to find the murderer because then the book will end kind of romance. Both Zack and Chloe are realistic characters who are portrayed as smart, independent people who happen to stumble into love. The secondary characters are realistic and interesting, if not always nice. The family issues are far from the typical nuclear family, but they are dealt with as many families deal with them – sometimes with denial, sometimes with frustration, and sometimes, with love. I’m ready to read Nancy Brophy’s next book to see what other characters she has to draw me in like this romance did. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book five stars.

Purchase The Wrong Brother by Nancy Brophy

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vampires Revealed by Rebekah Harrington

Published Synopsis:

Leave behind your preconceived ideas, forget the horror stories and disregard everything you think you know about vampires.

For centuries the debate has raged; are vampires real? There has been plenty of myth and superstition regarding vampires but not a lot of truth or answers. In a unique piece of work, Bektamun a 3000 year old vampire, puts to rest all the myth and finally reveals the truth about the legendary creatures known across the globe as vampires.

Vampires Revealed is a journey of discovery. Never before have humans had and an opportunity such as this. To know the unadulterated truth, for every question you may have ever had about vampires to be answered.


Bektamun knows more about vampires than most because she’s been around almost since the very beginning. And now, she wants to share her knowledge, and dispel some myths along the way, with us humans. Told from her point of view, Vampires Revealed is part journal, part instructional manual, and part vampire encyclopedia. All three parts come together to make a fun and enjoyable read.

In Vampires Revealed, Rebekah Harrington has put together quite a combination of folk lore history and fiction. Obviously well researched, her take on vampire society may not always be original, but the reader will come away feeling as if he or she learned some things along the way. Written as a faux informational text, with a healthy amount of anecdotes along the way to keep the reader’s interest, the book is at times fascinating, definitely thought-provoking, and on occasion, humorous. There were instances where I found the text to be repetitive, which caused a couple of parts to drag a little bit, but overall, I found myself enjoying an interesting, and sometimes refreshing, look at vampire mythology. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book four stars.

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