The Gifts by Linda S Prather

(I actually read and reviewed this some time ago on another blog, but since I am de-cluttering, I wanted to move it here.)

All small towns have secrets, so when Gavin McAllister, a man who’s reputed to be good at uncovering those secrets, shows up, few are happy to see him. But not everyone wants him to leave. The parents of a dead teenager want his help and, though she doesn’t know it yet, Sarah, the town’s Sheriff, needs him to stay.

But, will his presence only make things worse? Or will he be able to silence the voices and finally put to rest a case that has dragged on for far too long and cost him far too much?

Well written and fast paced, this is a great mystery that kept me guessing! Just when I thought I’d solved it, Ms. Prather would throw in a new twist. i could say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything!

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The Gift of Joy by Valerie Maarten

(I actually read and reviewed this some time ago on another blog, but since I am de-cluttering, I wanted to move it here.)

Joy lived a life of repression and fear until one Christmas when her father snaps and murders her mother. Now a grown woman, Joy blames herself because that Christmas when she told her Santa her wish she didn’t wish for her mother’s happiness, but her own. Only, the wish never came true.

What Joy wanted more than anything was the protection of Gabe, the boy across the street. but as the years have passed they’ve exchanged no more than a handful of words. However, that’s all about to change.

Back for the holidays, Gabe summons up the courage to approach Joy, who still lives across the street from his parents. Though she;s now a grown woman, he still sees her as the innocent girl who needs taken care of – and though he’s long denied it, he wants to be the one to take care of her!

But, can they both let go of their pasts or will they let their own guilt destroy their relationship before it even starts?

This was a good book that reads very fast. I intended to sit down and read for only half and hour and two hours later I was suddenly looking at the clock in surprise. The story weaves between tragedy and magic, and back again, but the ending will leave you with a smile.

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Eye of the Beholder by Ruth Ann Nordin

 

(I actually read and reviewed this some time ago on another blog, but since I am de-cluttering, I wanted to move it here.)

Mary Peters live in Maine in the late 1800’s. A nineteen year old girl with a “too big” nose, “too thin” lips and freckles, she’s left behind without so much as a suitor while all of her sisters have left the house to be married. With an eye to the papers, she stumbles across an ad from Neil Craftsman, a Nebraska farmer seeking a bride. He asks for a woman who is hardworking, dependable and capable of bearing children, yet he never mentions the word pretty.

It fits Mary to a t.

Despite her parents’ objections, she boards the train and spends a week traveling to the prairies of Nebraska. Only, when she gets there, she discovers that Neil did want something pretty after all, and Mary is just too plain!

A lesser woman would have run crying, but Mary is a strong woman who refuses to go cringing back home. It’s this exact resilience that impresses Dave Larson and leads him to ask her to marry him instead. Though reluctant to accept, he manages to convince her and, by the end of the day, Mary Peters is a married woman.

But, her mother never taught her about marriage, and certainly no one instructed her in the ways of farming back in her hometown in Maine. The next several months are a learning experience for her, in more ways than one, the question is can she learn to trust Dave’s feelings and see herself through his eyes?

When I started this book I only intended to read a couple of chapters; I ended up reading the whole book in one setting. Mary is a character that I could quickly identify with, from her desire to please, to the rejection she has so often gotten from men, who see only what’s on the outside, not what’s inside.

But this isn’t just Mary’s story, it is also Dave’s who, after tragedy strikes, has to learn how to cope. Interwoven between the lines is the story of Neil Craftsman who finally gets what he wants; a beautiful east coast bride, but is she really as fantastic as everyone thinks?

More than just a historical romance, this is a story about looking under the surface, least we forget that there’s more to people than what they look like and that, while a pretty face may appeal at first, there has to be something underneath it. But most importantly, it’s a reminder the beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

 

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Substitute Bride by Kate Page

(I actually read and reviewed this some time ago on another blog, but since I am de-cluttering, I wanted to move it here.)

Kevin stands to inherit a million dollars – but only if he can find a wife. when he tells his best friend, Alexandra, she tries to help him, but none of her suggestions are any good. And then he hits on the perfect wife; the attractive Tammy Vance.

Alex knows that Tammy will try to ruin their friendship, but Kevin won’t listen. What starts as a bid to save their friendship turns into something more, and soon Alex wants him to marry her – not just to save their friendship, but because she WANTS him. The question is, does he want her? Or does he just want the money?

This was an enjoyable read with plenty of steamy scenes and also a lot of humor. Tammy is the perfect catty villain, and you can’t help but cheer for Alex as she bests her time and again. The only complaint I have is that I’d like to see some more of Trent 😉 *hint*hint*

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Shades of Plaid by Jonathan Harvey

(I actually read and reviewed this some time ago on another blog, but since I am de-cluttering, I wanted to move it here.)

I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for awhile, so I was happy to finally get it!

Shades of Plaid is a weekly devotional but, as the title implies, this is not your average devotional. Instead of the usually serious, inspiring, tear inducing stories, Shades of Plaid has fifty-two humorous short stories, followed up by serious, inspiring lessons that can be applied to most any Christian faith, whether you’re Episcopalian, Baptist, or a denomination in between.

In Shades of Plaid, Jonathan Harvey has shown that being a Christian not only can be fun, but is fun! And even if you’re not interested in the devotional aspect, the short stories are funny by themselves. In fact, you don’t even have to take a whole year to read it. I devoured it in two days, despite the fact that I had already done extensive editing on it before. It just shows it was good enough to read more than once!

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My Lord Hades by Stephannie Beman

(I actually read and reviewed this some time ago on another blog, but since I am de-cluttering, I wanted to move it here.)

Hades and Persephone have always been my favorite of the Greek myths, so I wasn’t sure whether I would love this book or hate it.

I loved it.

When the book opens, we find Hades as a prisoner in Tartarus, tortured by specters of his past. Zeus and Poseidon appear and offer both Kingdom and bride to Hades if he will help them finish the ongoing war with the Titans. It’s a simple choice between agony and revenge.

Meanwhile, Persephone is living with her mother Demeter. She’s lost all of her powers, but even worse, she’s lost her memories as well. Unhappily sheltered, Persephone knows there is something more; something she is missing. And, when she meets the dark, mysterious Hades one day, she discovers what it is.

Stephannie Beman takes the story of Persephone and Hades and adds enough twists to make it new and bring out the underlying passion I always felt was hiding beneath the myth. Her representation of Hades as the smoldering bad boy with a dark, regretful past and a desperate need for the salvation only love can bring is dead on. Meanwhile, Persephone slowly changes before the reader’s eyes from a very timid creature to a woman who is more than capable of holding her own.

There were several surprising plot twists (The underworld’s first ruler, for instance!) and even some humor in the form of the Nymphs.

In short, all I have to say is that if Hades came thundering towards me on a chariot, I most certainly wouldn’t argue

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Let’s Do Lunch by KA Jordan

(I actually read and reviewed this some time ago on another blog, but since I am de-cluttering, I wanted to move it here.)

9/11 effected Lindsey’s family in many ways and now her restaurant is what keeps the family going; her father grows the produce and even her scatter brained sister helps out now and then – though she usually does more harm than good. Even so, things are going good until her long time cook has to quit to keep an eye on her grandsons.

Lindsey hires Brandon, a good looking, charming, fun guy. But there’s something about him just crawling beneath the surface. When Lindsey’s mother gets hurt, Lindsey has to leave the restaurant in his hands while she helps her recuperate.A new waitress, lost invoices, and mixed up orders are just the beginning of too many problems.

Enter Tag, an ex soldier that her father hires to help around the garden. With more than his share of old wounds,  Lindsey doesn’t want to trust him. Still, she finds herself getting closer to him – maybe too close. Can he really help her with not only the disaster her restaurant is becoming, but also with the shambles her heart is in? Or is it all doomed to catastrophic failure?

This was a well written book that kept me turning the pages. Without giving away too many spoilers, I found the portrayal of most of the characters delightfully realistic – even the “bad guy” was still likable at the same time that he wasn’t, just like real people. Also, I’m not usually a fan of the ex-soldier romances, but I have to say that I found Tag incredibly sexy and I’d go for him

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Jeremy (The Night Touched Chronicle) – Maegan Provan

The second in the Night Touched series bounces back and forth between the Night Touched Harper – a vampire who was turned by the Firs Born, Jeremy – the newest Night Touched, and Silas – a slayer sworn to destroy them both.
After Silas and Harper’s disastrous relationship in New York, they are both determined to move on. Harper and her family of vampires head to New Orleans to find the newest night touched. Meanwhile, Silas tries to win back the trust of his organization by hunting her and her friends – and using the priest Jeremy to do it. Little do they know they’re both being played.
In this book we get to see and hear more from Silas and begin to understand what made him who he is. Flashbacks reveal a new side; a vulnerable kind side that he has tried to suppress in an effort to uphold his family name.We also see more of Harper’s past, and understand what was taken away from her when she was made a Night Touched.
The newest character Jeremy may be the most intriguing. As a priest, his religion should be at odds with his new status, but he is determined to hold on to it even in his darkest moments. The contrast is fascinating, and shows that one doesn’t have to fit a cookie cutter mold to believe in something. Though I doubt she meant it as commentary on Christianity, I find it a positive note in a society who is quick to tell you what you have to be, do, and think in order to belong to their “exclusive groups”. Jeremy doesn’t follow any of the rules, and yet there he is, and he will only get stronger as he learns to adapt to his new life.
This series has a fantastic mythology – I love the idea of the night touched – and in this book we get to see more of the slayers and their organization, which is so creative! The world building is awesome, and like that it’s not the same old, same old glittering vampires that have gotten popular. I am looking forward to learning even more about the characters in the supplemental short stories. And, of course, I can’t wait for the next book!

 

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Unbound – Tricia Drammeh

The third book in the Spellbringer series sees graduation looming. Alisa has her life figured out – finish high school, marry Bryce, and live happily ever after. Then she is attacked by hunters. As a human, there’s no reason that the magic devouring creatures would be after her unless…she’s pregnant. feeling like a statistic, Alisa has to find a way to tell her parents and overcome the societal norms she’s been raised with to step into the Spellbringer’s world – a place where she and Bryce are already considered man and wife.
meanwhile, all the lies and procrastinated decisions come to a head for Rachel. It’s time she choose between the boy who was her first love – a boy who feels betrayed by her continued association with the demon Re’Vel – and the her smexy protector who is willing to accept her, baggage and all. The choice will have explosive consequences that will force her to finally accept who – and what – she is.
Okay. I LOVE this series. I often want to slap Rachel upside the head, but her reactions are realistic for a child brought up under the thumb of an overbearing parent, and as for Re’Vel, I don’t know if I could have told him no. (I’d probably be living on the beach with him already and under mind control! ha!) I enjoyed getting to see more of Rachel’s cousin Mordecai, and of course I love Bryce and Alisa.
Tricia’s writing is as amazing as ever, and just as with the other books I couldn’t turn the electronic pages fast enough. I can;t wait for book 4

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Firebound – Tricia Drammeh

I love this series! It just keeps getting better!
The second installment starts with a bang – literally – when Re’Vel tries to kidnap Rachel. Though his plans are thwarted he takes something with him that will strengthen his connection to her, a connection she’s not willing to let go of yet. She allows him to communicate with her, even though the Alexanders have warned her against it. Concern for her brother, whose magic has been sealed away, and curiosity about a father she didn’t really know fuel her, but thanks to her religious upbringing she has still not accepted herself or her magic. Nor has she told her mother the truth, which makes it hard for her protector, Mikael, to protect her.
Now that Bryce has spoken the claiming words to Alisa, pledging his soul to hers, nothing can tear them apart – except his sudden, unreasonable possessive jealousy. As a human, Alisa doesn’t understand doesn’t understand the intense magic of the claiming words of the desperate need to complete the bond. Will she come to terms with it before it is too late and Bryce is lost to darkness?
As I said, I love this series! As with the first, the writing is fantastic, the pacing is great, and the world building keeps getting better as we learn more about the Spellbringers world. Oh, and Bryce is hot. Rachel’s relationship with Re’Vel leaves me torn. I want to hate him, but like her I find myself falling under his spell again and again, so I can’t blame her. If I were her I’d have probably already run off with him and been in a lot more trouble!

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