Review: His Chosen Bride by Sherry Gloag

His Chosen Bride by Sherry Gloag

Title: His Chosen Bride (Gasquet Princes #2)

Author: Sherry Gloag

Publisher: Astraea Press

Release Date: February 14, 2012

Pages: 98 pages

Format: ebook ($1.99)

Summary: Prince Henri is too busy running a country to worry about minor details like marriage. His father has been sick, and he has taken the reins in his more than capable hands. But his family is worried about him, and they all but force him to take a vacation.

Having no choice in the matter, Henri travels to his brother’s quiet country horse ranch. It’s there he sees Monica again.

He had met her before…at his brother’s wedding. And he knew then she would be trouble for him if he let her get too close. Now, thrown together by his well-meaning family, Henri has to fight his growing feelings for the mysterious, beautiful woman.

So much for letting his father choose his bride.

Review: This is a novella, so a pretty quick read. Henri is your typical work-a-holic with a twist. He’s the crown prince in line to inherit the throne. He acts the way you would expect him to when he finds out that he is being relieved of his royal duties and forced into taking a much needed vacation. He’s upset and takes it out on any likely scapegoat, in this case Monica.

Both characters are likable and well-written. The reader wants them to end up together from the beginning. There is good chemistry between the two main characters and the sense of duty on Henri’s side versus the sense Monica has of not fitting in anywhere provides a solid conflict they both believe to be insurmountable. It’ll keep you reading to the end.

There are a lot of flashbacks that can cause confusion if you’re not paying attention. Pair that with a few places near the end where significant time lapses occur, and the storyline can be a bit difficult to follow in certain parts. Not impossible, but challenging.

Recommendation: This is a sweet romance, so suitable for romance readers of all ages. It is the second book in a series, and it mentions characters and plot points from the first book, and I hadn’t read the first book. It is possible to read it out of sequence without feeling like you are missing critical pieces of the story, but I found that it made me want to read the first book to get in on the story of the secondary characters. I have added From Now Until Forever to my TBR list. Can’t wait to find out how Liam and Melanie got together. I give this one  three quills: Three Quills

Summer Lovin’ Giveaway Hop

Summer Lovin' Giveaway Hop

For this Summer Lovin’ Giveaway, a fun, light beach read:

Every Girl Does It by Rachel Van DykenEvery Girl Does It by Rachel Van Dyken

COVER BLURB:

Amanda turned down Preston’s prom invitation in front of her entire high school, but that was eight years ago.

Somehow, her past mistakes always have a way of catching up with her, and making her pay. Amanda’s sarcastic wit mixed with Preston’s insufferable ego make sparks fly in more than one way.

Preston, against his better judgment can’t fight the desire to get under Amanda’s skin and mercilessly tease her, but when that teasing becomes flirting, and flirting becomes something dangerously more, neither of them are prepared for the adventure that follows.

(This is classified as Christian romance)

~OR~

You might prefer the contemporary Regency-styled romance,

Compromising Kessen also by Rachel Van Dyken

COVER BLURB:

Compromising KessenThe last thing career-driven Kessen Newberry wants is to leave her home in Colorado to spend a Season in London, far away from her job, her friends and the memories of her mother. However, her father, the Earl of Newberry, threatens to disinherit her unless she gets in touch with her British roots. She complies, but has no intention of enjoying the experience.

That is until she meets Christian Vandenbrook, the arrogant and irritatingly handsome future Duke of Albany and her father’s business partner. Unfortunately, Christian hates Americans. And coffee. And apparently, Kessen.

A hatred this passionate can only lead to one thing… marriage.

Caught in the middle of a Regency-inspired nightmare, Kessen and Christian are forced to marry in only one week’s time. Resigned to their fate, the two resolve to give the relationship a chance—which would be much easier if everyone would stop interrupting them every time they found a moment alone.

The winner of this giveaway will receive her or his choice between these two ebooks. All you have to do to enter is FOLLOW my blog (upper left corner in the dashboard line) and then leave your following name and email in the comments. One winner will be chosen at random, notified and posted on July 18th.

THANKS FOR PARTICIPATING! Back to the linky list.

Review: Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux

Life On the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux

Title: Life on the Edge

Author: Jennifer Comeaux

Publisher: Astraea Press

Format: ebook ($2.99) Paperback ($12.99)

Length:  435 pages

Release Date: January 3, 2012

Genre: contemporary romance, sports fiction

Available at: AmazonBarnes & Noble, Astraea Press

Summary: Emily Butler is a pairs figure skater with Olympic aspirations. It’s a life that revolves around the rink. Training all day every day to become the best of the best. With so little time to spend socially with anyone outside of the skating world, it is natural that her circle of friends consists of only other skaters. When Emily starts to spend time outside the rink with her coach, a young Russian man who used to be a champion pairs skater in his own right, she finds she has a lot more in common with him than just skating.

The two struggle with their growing feelings for one another. Relationships between coaches and skaters are frowned upon and can cause Emily’s Olympic dreams to grind to a screeching halt. And not just hers. Crossing that line can do more damage than any of them are willing to admit.

Review: I love the level-headed yet innocent Emily, who tries to fight her feelings for Sergei. A losing battle, of course. And Sergei, a man with integrity, though still mysterious, is willing to risk everything for Emily. Two well-developed characters the reader can fall in love with. The life of a skater was shown in living color. All the work that goes into preparing for the Olympics. How one wrong move in a competition can crush those dreams and the emotional roller coaster of the competitors. Jennifer Comeaux is a talented writer with true voice.

Recommendation: Though I’m not necessarily a fan of figure skating, this book was a wonderful love story and well worth the time and money spent. Clean with strong values exhibited. Good for anyone who loves a good clean romance. Loved it! I give it five quills.

Five Quills

Looking forward to the sequel!

Review: Shawnee’s Creek by Stephy Smith

Shawnee's Creek by Stephy Smith

Title: Shawnee’s Creek

Author: Stephy Smith

Publisher: Astraea Press

Format: ebook ($1.99)

Pages: @77 pages

Release Date: August 9, 2011

Genre: Romance – Contemporary/Western

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Astraea Press, Smashwords

Summary: Shawnee and Cheyenne Turner have endured their fair share of suffering, but now their lives are finally on the right track: brand new jobs they love and intriguing new men in their lives. And while Cheyenne seems to change from her previous depression almost overnight, Shawnee struggles to accept the affection of Emory Creek. Though she is magnetically drawn to him, she is apprehensive about rumors of his past and inability to commit.

Finally unable to stand the situation no longer, she leaves town and finds a new job in Colorado. But when the owner of that ranch sells out, she has no other recourse but to return to her home town and take her old job back. And Emory is there waiting for her, eager to prove that she is the only woman for him.

Review:  This book starts out really strong, involving the reader immediately in the lives of the main characters. Can’t help but want to keep reading, and there are many powerful and amazing scenes in this story. There were several places I wanted to read again and again. The frustrating part for me was the gaps left in the plot line. Stuff that helps to develop the relationship between the characters. I was so sucked in the beginning, I felt a little disappointed when it seemed I was missing out on key points.

Recommendation:  I realize it’s a novella, and so there isn’t as much room for expanding all the details, but with a story this good, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to add those in and make it into a full length novel. I want to know what I missed! For this reason, I give three quills to Shawnee’s Creek:

Three Quills

I do like Stephy Smith’s style and would happily read more of her books. The uniquely Texas ranch flavor is a great trademark!

Review: Aegean Intrigue by Patricia Kiyono

Aegean Intrigue by Patricia Kiyono

Title: Aegean Intrigue

Author: Patricia Kiyono

Publisher: Astraea Press

Format: E-book ($1.99)

Pages: ? (Short story/Novella)

Release Date: February 1, 2012

Genre: Romance – Mystery

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Astraea Press, Smashwords

Summary: Francie Vasileiou is a graduate student working on her PhD in archaeology in beautiful, culture-rich Greece. Raised by a famous archaeologist father and a famous actress mother, her life was anything but average. In spite of her mother’s plans for her future, she chose a life as an archaeologist– her true passion. Unfortunately, on every dig she is involved with, priceless artifacts have disappeared without explanation, leaving a dark cloud of suspicion on her integrity.

Enter Alex Leonidis, a tall handsome private investigator, hired by a wealthy man with interests in the latest dig site. His objective: to observe Francie closely in order to prove her involvement in the missing artifacts. His plan: to go undercover as a Project Director of the dig site. Alex observed her closely all right — drawn inexplicably to her beauty, her passion and her work ethic. He has a difficult time keeping his mind on his primary objective.

But artifacts are still disappearing. Is Francie the culprit? Or is it one of the other crew members — the old, absent-minded professor, the seemingly inept newbie who is always checking his phone, the crew cook? And what will happen when she finds out he’s been lying to her about who he really is?

Review: This story is one of those whose plot is so engaging you are drawn immediately in. It’s difficult not to want more when it’s so good but it ends so soon. As a short story, it can’t be judged by the same criteria as a full-length novel (though a longer format would have given the room to flesh out all the details of this amazing story).

I would have liked to see more development in the relationship between the two main characters, as most of it is brought about through the internal dialogue of the respective character and not as much through their interaction with one another. But overall, a very enjoyable read. As it is, there is romance, mystery, twists and turns, betrayal, reconciliation, and much more. It’s incredible how the author can pack so much into this story.

Recommendation: This a great book for an afternoon or evening read. You can read it in one sitting, and it keeps you intrigued from start to finish. I give Aegean Intrigue four quills.

four quills

I have The Legacy waiting on my Kindle to read. And I also recommend The Christmas Phoenix — a great Christmas novella.

Review: The Picture by Stephanie Taylor

The Picture by Stephanie Taylor

Title: The Picture

Author: Stephanie Taylor

Publisher: Astraea Press

Format: E-book ($1.99) and paperback ($11.99)

Pages: 205 pages

Release Date: May 23, 2011

Genre: Romance – Contemporary

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Astraea Press

Summary: Sophie is a hospice nurse who usually doesn’t get involved with her patients past a certain point. Don’t get me wrong, she is very good at what she does and she has pure motives — she genuinely wants to help them to deal with every aspect of what they’re going through. But when she meets Emily, she breaks her own rules. Emily’s always up-beat, always smiling outlook on life draws Sophie like an irresistible force. So, it is understandable that when Emily’s time comes, Sophie reels emotionally and has to go through the grieving process of losing a close friend.

But she also made a promise to Emily. A promise to deliver a picture to Nicholas, a disenchanted rock star struggling to make sense of Emily’s death and deal with his own grief over the loss. She does deliver the picture, but not before she finds more than she bargained for in Nicholas’s company. Nicholas is understandably upset about the photograph, and Sophie leaves, certain she’ll never see him again. But she was wrong, and a snowstorm finds them snowed in at her apartment for several days.

Just when she starts to think love is possible, his track record with women and her hidden past threaten to destroy what might have been.

Review: Warning: You’re gonna cry. I teared up in three different parts and I can usually control my emotions like an ice queen. 😉 This story was amazing. I loved the characters and could feel Sophie’s roller coaster of emotions throughout. Her love and grief, her confusion and her anger. She is the epitome of a woman trying to hide all her pain from the world around her, but finds it all spills over at the most inopportune moments.

Nicholas was a gentleman and not arrogant or possessing of a sense of entitlement. Nothing like what you’d expect a rock star to be. Which I loved, because I’m not particularly fond of vanity in a hero.

I don’t want to ruin the story for you, so I won’t reveal too much, but there were several surprises in the plot that I was definitely NOT expecting, making it all the more enjoyable for me.

At this point in the review I usually say, “With that said,…” and tell you about something that could have been improved. But, honestly, although it wasn’t perfect, I have NO complaints. I loved every bit of the story. The author thoroughly developed the plot from beginning to end. I’m amazed.

Recommendation: I read the whole thing in one sitting. I could NOT put it down. And I don’t say this lightly. I’m not a particularly fast reader, but this was worth my time and made me want to check out all of Stephanie Taylor’s other titles. If I thought I could get away with it, I’d call in sick the rest of the week and just read her books. There is really no other choice but to give The Picture my highest rating:

Five Quills

I have read three books from this author so far, and I can tell you I have yet to be disappointed. If you’re looking for a satisfying and inspiring read you can’t go wrong with The Picture. And I also recommend Lucky for Her and My One True Love by Stephanie Taylor.