The White Magic Five & Dime (A Tarot Mystery) by Steve Hockensmith with Lisa Falco

August 1, 2014

Alanis McLachlands travels to a small town in Arizona after finding out that her estranged mother has died under mysterious circumstances. When she gets there she finds out she has inherited a shop called The White Magic Five & Dime. She decides to stay in town and run the shop while she attempts to figure out who killed her mother. She meets a handful of suspicious characters and one hunky cop who waffles between telling her to stop and helping her out with her investigation, all the while seemingly showing more interest in building a relationship with her.

I found this book to be enjoyable and can see the possibility of it becoming a series. It kept my interest and the killer actually turned out to be a surprise I didn’t see coming. If you enjoy light series mysteries, give this new series a try.

The Longest Night by Kara Braden

August 1, 2014

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book directly from the publisher SourceBooks. At first I set it aside thinking it was another “two people stuck in a remote cabin in the winter” type of romance book. Then I began hearing some buzz about it. I was even asked directly if I had read it. So I gave it a second look and found out my first impression of it was wrong.

Ian and Cecily do not end up stuck together by chance. Ian is recovering from an addiction to painkillers following a car accident. Cecily is a former Marine who finds herself uncomfortable around large numbers of people and so lives in a very remote cabin, relying only on herself. Cecily agrees to let Ian stay with her for a few months because she owes a huge debt to Ian’s brother who saved her life. Ian, a big city lawyer is at first taken aback about where he has ended up to avoid the temptations of the big city, but he is very intrigued by Cecily. Cecily begins to question her wanting to be totally alone. The two slowly form a bond and must work through both of their issues to make their relationship work.

When I read, I read for pleasure and escapism. As such, I usually shy away from characters that have certain flaws like drug addiction. And I’m usually not big on characters with military backgrounds in the romances that I read (though I have tremendous respect and admiration for those who have served our country). But I have to say that I really liked both of the main characters in this book. They were written so that they seemed “real” – their words and actions and slowly building feelings and relationship did not seem forced. In the end, I even wanted a little more since we don’t really know how well they adjusted to their decision, but it felt like they would be able to survive and adjust together. Overall I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would and would recommend it.

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

August 1, 2014

This is one of the books that I was most looking forward to this year and it didn’t disappoint. The Book of Life is the third book in the Discovery of Witches trilogy. This trilogy has everything – good writing and strong characters, vampires and witches, science and magic, romance and adventure, even some time travel. The Book of Life does a good job of tying up all the loose ends and storylines from the two previous books. Diana and Matthew make it back safely from the past. Diana must deal with the death of her beloved aunt. Matthew must deal with his family issues. Both must deal with Diana’s pregnancy and the Congregation. All in all it was a very satisfying story and this is a trilogy I would highly recommend.

Black Knights, Inc. series by Julie Ann Walker

March 10, 2014

My favorite hero is not usually the ex-military tattooed biker type.  I lean more towards the millionaire playboy.  Or Scottish laird in a kilt.  Or vampire.  But there is just something about this series that I really love.  Part of it is that it’s set in Chicago.   Part of it is that it’s just well-written and enjoyable and there is great chemistry between the main characters in each book.  Plus there is always enough written about the characters that will be starring in the next book that you feel like you already know them and want to see what happens to them to keep you reading the series.

The series takes place in Chicago in a motorcycle shop that is actually a cover for a covert government agency.  The guys who work there are a secret special ops team masquerading as workers in the shop.  Each book stars a different couple and the series forms a continuous story which makes the most sense when read in order.  Characters who will star in the next book in the series seem to play a larger secondary role in the current book.

I had previously read the fourth book in this series when I got a free advance copy.  I passed it along to someone in our romance book discussion group and she mentioned last month how much she enjoyed it.  I had picked up the first three books in the series over the summer and had advance copies of books five and six, so I decided to read them this month so that I could pass them all along to her at tonight’s meeting.

The series (in order):

hell on wheelsHell on Wheels – Nate “Ghost” Weller and Ali Morgan’s story.  Ali is Nate’s best friend’s sister so he sees her as off limits.  But when she’s targeted and in danger, he makes it his special mission to keep her safe.  The more time they spend together, the less able they are to deny their attractions to one another.



in rides troubleIn Rides Trouble – Frank “Boss” Knight, the leader of the Black Knights, Inc. is using Becky Reichert’s motorcycle shop as the cover for the secret government organization he heads.  He feels he is too old for her but cannot help being attracted to Becky.  When she ends up as a hostage, he is willing to do anything he can to save her.



rev it upRev it Up – Jake “The Snake” Sommers and Michelle Carter’s story.  Michelle is Frank Knight’s sister.  Jake and Michelle previously had a relationship, but now Jake has to keep her and her son safe from danger and prove to her that he can be a different man from the one who broke her heart.




thrill rideThrill Ride (previously reviewed on this blog back in April: (




born wildBorn Wild – Bill “Wild Bill” Reichert, Becky’s brother, and Eve Edens’ story.  Eve finds herself turning to Bill and the Black Knights after repeated attempts on her life that the Chicago police chalk up to being accidents.  She needs protecting and Bill is willing to protect her when she asks.




hell for leatherHell for Leather – this book will be out in May but I got an advance copy – Bryan “Mac” McMillan and Delilah Fairchild’s story.  Delilah runs the Knights’ favorite biker bar hangout.  When her uncle is in trouble, she enlists their help to find him.  Delilah has been propositioning Mac for as long as he’s been coming to her bar, but he feels like he needs to stay away from the type of woman he perceives her to be even though he is very attracted to her.  Delilah’s missing uncle leads to terrorists and missing nuclear bombs, but even though there is danger all around them, Delilah and Mac find they cannot fight their attraction to one another.

Night Walker by Lisa Kessler

October 14, 2013

night walkerIf you haven’t figured it out by now, I love paranormal romances. This is a vampire series I hadn’t come across before, until I won a prize package from the author.

In this series, the vampires are referred to as Night Walkers. Calisto has waited centuries for his true love Tala to be reborn. Kate doesn’t remember her previous life as Tala, but has continuing nightmares of the events leading up to Tala’s death. When Calisto and Kate cross paths, he recognizes her instantly, the woman who he became immortal to love again. She feels drawn to him, but doesn’t immediately make the connection. As they spend time together, she begins to have good dreams of their time together and eventually remembers her previous life. This couple experiences many obstacles along their way, including a jealous assistant, an unexpected pregnancy (no spoiler there, I knew a long time before Kate figures it out), a group out to get Calisto, and a crazed monk who wants to be a god. In the end, they get their HEA, and you are happy to see them get it.

But there is a little hook at the end to make you want to read the next book, which I will be starting as soon as I finish this. . .

All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry

September 24, 2013

all the truthAt a recent book discussion I attended, one of the members was raving about this book, though it is unusual and quite different from what she regularly reads.  I received an advance reading copy of the book and decided to give it a try.  The book is written as if it is the journal of the main character.  We get to know her thoughts and her perspective on what is happening around her.  She writes it as if writing a letter to the boy she pines after.  The story starts off to be almost a little confusing.  You don’t know exactly what happened to her, or where the story is set or even the time period it is set in.  Though you do eventually find out what happened to her, you never really do find out the where or when of the story.  It could be in the past, possibly in colonial times in America, or it could be some type of alternate reality or post-apocalyptic time.   Not knowing doesn’t really hurt the story.  The book is a very compelling read, hard to put down once you have begun, as you really want to know what happened to Judith and if she will ever get together with Lucas.  I don’t really want to give away much of the plot, so I will just say that she got abducted and mutilated, is now assumed to be mute, she is looked upon with much suspicion, and eventually needs to find her “voice” to save herself and the one she loves.  This book is a must-read that I would recommend for both YA and adult readers.  There is a small element of romance to it, but I would not categorize it as a romance; it is actually hard to categorize.  There is also a good dose of mystery to it to.  If you are looking for something a little “different”, make sure you give this one a try.

Afterburn by Sylvia Day

September 9, 2013

afterburnI loved Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, and so had high hopes for Afterburn (and its sequel Aftershock); I was a little disappointed by this book.  I didn’t really find that I cared a whole lot for the main characters Gia Rossi and Jackson Rutledge.  They had a previous relationship that they end up rekindling after Jackson gets involved in her business dealings.  I didn’t really understand his involvement, I didn’t understand why she gets so upset with him at the end of the book, and I really don’t understand why this story is in two parts instead of one whole book.  Not really sure it was worth the money or the time it took to read, but I have the sequel pre-ordered so I guess I’ll read the second part anyway.

One Night Heir by Lucy Monroe

September 9, 2013

one night heirI hadn’t read a Harlequin paperback in a long time, but I picked this one up at the ALA Conference and didn’t feel like bringing my Kindle out by the pool, so I picked it up off the pile and read it.  Reading it reminded me of being a pre-teen or teenager getting that first taste of reading romances.  Average girl dating a prince, something comes between them (in this case, her infertility so she can’t provide an heir), an unexpected preganancy, and the question of whether they will end up with a loveless marriage to give the baby a name or if they are really in love and she can get past his original rejection.  It was a quick read that I enjoyed for what it was – a Harlequin Romance.

Elizabeth’s Bondage by Nikki Sex

August 12, 2013

elizabeth's bondageAfter reading Amy’s Forbidden Fantasy, I decided to try another book by the same author.  I got this book for free and then bought the rest of this set.  Elizabeth and her husband Mark come to Las Vegas to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.  Elizabeth wakes up tied to a bed, naked and blindfolded.  She finds out that her captor also has her husband captured nearby.  What she doesn’t know is that her husband arranged the whole thing with a nontraditional “sex therapist”  to restart their sexual relationship which had gone flat.  Elizabeth’s captor awakens in Elizabeth the knowledge that though she is a kick-ass take-charge woman in her career as a lawyer, she really wants a man to take charge in the bedroom, and that neither she nor her husband were expressing what they truly wanted out of their sexual relationship.  In the end, even when Elizabeth finds out that Mark arranged it, this encounter is good for their relationship.

Amy’s Forbidden Fantasy by Nikki Sex

August 12, 2013

amy's forbidden fantasyAmy’s Forbidden Fantasy was a book that was free on Amazon when I bought it.  I was undecided as to what to read last week and the cover intrigued me, so I chose to read it.  There is not much story here so it is a very quick, but pretty well-written, read.  Basically Amy wants to participate in a gang-bang and her lover decides that will be her birthday present, even though he is hesitant to let her do it or to participate in it.  It happens and when it is over, she has gotten it out of her system and they go on with their relationship.  Not much here in the way of story, but not a total waste of time to read.  I actually liked the writing enough to try another book by this author.