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Love's Road Home by Lisa Lewis

Title:  Love’s Road Home
Author:  Lisa Lewis
Publisher:  Black Lyon Publishing
Publication Date:  2010
ISBN:  978-1-934912-25-6
Genre:  Contemporary romance
Length:  167 pages
Heat Level: Sensual
Reviewer:  S K Fero
Date: 2-17-11

This was a complicated love story that holds the reader’s attention and makes you pull for the struggling couple involved.

Bethany Miller’s life hasn’t been easy, including the complication of serious problems caused by her ex-boyfriend. She isn’t sure she can settle down and find real happiness, even though she desperately wants to with the handsome man in the band she is now a roadie with. But her past keeps her from wanting to take a chance and mess up his life.

Tom Crowley dreams of being a rising star in the rock and roll world. His band is finally on their way.  Then he gets sidetracked by falling in love with the roadie who is interested but resistant at the same time. Her past with a troublesome ex-boyfriend make the road to happily ever after a difficult one.

The Shoe Thief

The Shoe Thief
by Beth

Rixva’s scales brushed the top of the mushroom ceiling. Even as a member of the smallest Demon clan, he was taller than these Trades Elves. Squatting to give himself some head room, he surveyed the workroom. The she-elf had more cunning than he expected.
Set in the center of the table, the shoe-form looked like a tempting bit to swipe.  Too tempting. His forked tongue sampled the air above the table, searching for a trap.
He smacked his lips on the caramel flavor: not a trap but a location spell. Something to lead the caster back to their lost item.  So the she-elf was tired of him stealing her stuff. He grinned. A challenge made the mischief making all the sweeter.
Now what to do?  The impish side of him wanted to steal everything but that shoe-form or better yet…steal the form and leave the beacon on the counter. But he promised to help his elf-friend win the woman.  And she just might be the companion his friend needed.
The first rays of sunlight streamed through the workshop window.  Itchy fingers demanded he make mischief while he waited for the she-elf to arrive. He chanted and a bit of wind lifted the lids off boxes of finished shoes. Another cast to devise a tower out of alternating horizontal and vertical boxes. Next he switched some of the shoes – putting two left shoes together, one red and one green. For the rights he mixed jewel-toned blues with creams. Other boxes, he changed the size on the outside, leaving the shoes alone.
He considered the flats of leather and velvet shoe coverings. From the top shelf, he rubbed a piece of leather between two of his three fingers. A soft buttery texture along with the gentle tingle of a protection shield met his exploration. So he wouldn’t be able to dump dye on it. Good of the she-elf to protect her most valuable items. Once he got lost in the joy of mischief he could not stop.
Rixva touched the material on each shelf until he got to the roughest material on the bottom shelf. The skins were tough, dry, and cracked. Used for making boots, not a commodity usually called for in the Amara-Tierra, the Faery Realm. These would soon be thrown out due to age. Perfect for a bit of coloring. Removing the lids from the powdered dyes, he magicked the sparkling red, orange, yellow, and blue powders into the air. A bit more casting and the colors were rubbed into the animal hide.
The muffled tinkle of the bell above the door followed by dainty footsteps on the wooden floor caught his attention. A last glance around the room and he vanished before the she-elf topped the stairs.
“I’m going to sic a sprite on the elf responsible for this mess.” The she-elf muttered as she unstacked boxes.
Strands of her straight auburn hair lifted from her head. For a moment, he thought her sea green eyes glowed but it had to be a reflection of the sunlight streaming through the windows. Still her bit of temper appealed. It showed there was more to her than her angelic appearance suggested.
            Satisfied with his bit of mischief, Rixva floated down the stairs and regained his appearance to let Stephan in. He placed a Mute spell around the bell so it wouldn’t jingle as the door opened. “It’s done. She’s upstairs cleaning up.” The irony of being quiet was not lost on him.  In Eysteinn, noise was a hallmark of his kind.
Stephan handed him a rust red bottle. His food for the day. A spell kept the magic in the Fae blood fresh enough for him to survive the lower Faery Realm temperature. He made a face as he swallowed the thickened liquid. It kept him alive, but was quite distasteful when compared to the sulfur-rich lava rock he consumed at home.
“Are you sure you want to keep doing this?” He worded his question with care.
A magickal debt would prevent him from returning home. He could question his friend’s actions but never offer the words “Thank You” to show his appreciation for the sacrifice of Stephan’s blood.
The elf shrugged. “We have a deal. You do a bit of work for me and I give you the blood.”
“You! You’re behind these tricks?” the she-elf screeched from behind them.
“Emmalyn.” His friend’s skin turned an even paler white as he faced the woman he loved. “I…I’m not sure what to say.”
“How about I’m sorry for making more work for you? Some of the shoes you spirited away were for private commissions.”
“I’m sorry.” Stephan walked over to the she-elf and took her hand. “I wanted an excuse to spend more time with you.”
The she-elf pulled away, gave them an angry glare, and paced around the small entryway.
Rixva intoned the return of the absconded footwear. “Here are your precious shoes.” The impeccably crafted merchandise hung in the air a moment before he floated them upstairs to their proper placement. “Stephan thought if he showed an appreciation of your work, it would catch your attention. His idea had merit over those dimwitted elves who sent you Lily Bells.” Sharp pointed teeth showed as he gave her a devilish smile. “Hives are never attractive.”
Emmalyn’s expression softened and she turned to Stephan. “You want to spend time with me?” At his nod, she asked, “Will you trust me to deal fairly with the imp?”
His friend gave the she-elf’s hand a squeeze and whispered, “Be nice. He’s had a bad time of it.” Then he left them alone.
“What is your hold over him?”
Women, even tiny ones, could be dangerous when angry. He hopped in place from foot to foot as she regarded him. Trapped by her gaze, he eyed the nearest window as a means to escape.
As she stood there staring at him, he sank to his knees in defeat. He owed it to his friend to answer her. “Nothing. He saved my life. I thought helping him catch your attention would be fun.”
“Why are you here? In Amara-Tierra?”
“My teleportation powers were stripped from me by the new Demon Lord. Then he banished me from Eysteinn.” He bowed his head. “I cannot go home to see my wife. My kidlets.” His voice cracked. Even though it had only been three months, he considered it a lifetime.
The she-elf walked past decorative wall cabinets and brushed the palm of her hand over blank space. She whispered an incantation and the wall glowed yellow before two doors swung open. She pulled out a dark red shoebox before saying a few words to close the hidden vault.
“These Brogue shoes should solve your problem,” the she-elf said as she lifted a pair of glittery reddish-brown dress shoes from the box.
He almost laughed. The she-elf should know it is impossible to cross the Realms with a pair of shoes.
A tendril of magic skated along his scales. It wrapped around him to form a cocoon and drew him closer to the table. Hope and a touch of fear filled him as he stared at the shoes with holes punched in the tops to form delicate flowers.
“Go on. Put them on.” Not just magic but true Power infused the words Emmalyn commanded.
He hesitated. Emmalyn hid enormous magic in that tiny form – she possessed remnants of magick from the Aesir gods. The thought of crossing the Realms with a pair of shoes no longer seemed so absurd.
She stared at him, dared him to deny the gift she offered. He leaned against the table and waited as it creaked and groaned. When it didn’t break, he stuffed his three toes into the confining leather and stood.
“Now, imagine your wife and kids and say ‘I want to go home’ three times while thinking of them. And don’t worry when the shoes disappear after you get there.”
He imagined his wife, her ears poking out with a few stray scales stuck at odd angles. His kidlets with their expressions of innocent child and mischievous wonder at the world at her side. “I want to go home.” Everything around him swirled throwing off his senses. “I want to go home.” His stomach lurched as his body moved through space. “I want to go home.”
“Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home!”
His children threw themselves around his legs as he appeared in the center of their cave. The heat from the rock floor warmed his now bare toes. Last of all, his wife walked into the room. The smile she gave him warmed his cold heart.
Maybe faeries aren’t so bad after all.

Knight Everlasting by Lisa Phillips

Title:   Knight Everlasting
Author:   Lisa Phillips
Publisher:   Black Lyon Publishing
Publication Date:   
ISBN:    1-934912-26-3
Genre:   Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Length:   194 pages
Heat Level:   Steamy
Reviewer:  Suki
Date:   2-12-2011

The World of Dark Secrets Continues ...

Once a medieval knight, Tristan McBreen is now Vampyre. Thriving and hidden in the lush romance of Savannah, Georgia, he has pledged his sword to those of his kind who will not feed on the innocent - though his quiet heart belongs to a fledgling who could well pay the ultimate price for his views. Now he must find a way to restore peace among the Vampyre - without sacrificing a love that could be his only salvation.

... and a New Love is at Stake.

Katie O'Reardon gladly surrendered her mortal soul to the darkness. Now better suited to avenge the deaths of her family, she is eager to aid those who helped her survive. Before facing a monster who hopes to use her as a pawn in his evil game, she must first prove to Tristan that she's prepared for the battlefield - and ready to be the match for this knight's everlasting heart.

Ms Philips weaves a tale of intrigue and beauty that had this reader hooked. I could not put this book down.  I read it not knowing this was the sequel, so at first the mass of individuals that were in the first chapter took me by surprise but once I ironed out who was who, I fell in love which each and every character.  Characters full of depth and richly crafted. Even the jumping in scenes to multiple points of view didn’t faze me in the least. 

Tristan is a hero among ALPHA Heros. He is confidant, gorgeous and knows what he is doing, he was born and breed to be a knight. Katie a couple hundred years younger then Tristan is his fledgling and she is as enchanting and strong as he is… Both are flawed and scared of loving as they have lost so much already.  But the secondary characters add so much life and humor to the book you will love them all equally.

I loved the book and can’t wait to get my hands on her first book and have high hopes there are more in this series.

Torn by Raven Starr

Title:   Torn
Author:   Raven Starr
Publisher:   Red Rose Publishing
Publication Date:   August 2010
ISBN:    978-1-60435-766-0
Genre:   Interracial Romance, Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Length:   56,798
Buy Link   
Author Email - website contact 
Heat Level:   Steamy
Reviewer:  Yasmine
Date:   2/9/2011

“Everybody falls in love and everyone gets hurt. Alyssa Kendall is no different. But what would you do if the love of your life was being held captive by a psychopath?

 How far would you go?

 Alyssa finds out just how far she’ll go for love, revenge and peace of mind. She’s not Torn between two men, but between the two halves of herself.

 Which half will win? Find out in Torn.”
Ms Star’s Torn is a romantic rollercoaster, at times you just are ready for the ride to stop and at others you can’t wait to see what is going to happen next.  Her characters Alyssa and Julian are highly likable and flawed characters; in their flaws we find their humanity. What I like most about Ms Stars writing her ability to write color blind. I know this is an interracial couple yet it didn’t read any different then if they were, white, black, Asian or purple. I was able to loose myself in the heroine and put myself in her shoes.
The story Ms Star has is full of high energy but parts of the novel dragged and others she seemed to skim over. I would have liked the book to focus more on the mending relationship then being chased by a killer crazy man, and secondary characters that though likeable and rich didn’t always add to what essentially is a romance novel.   Although this story was not for me personally I will gladly read more of her work and look forward to giving  her another try. 

To Play or Obey by Abby Wood

Title: Play Or Obey
Author: Abby Wood
Publisher: Breathless Press
Publication Date:
ISBN: 978-1-926771-73-1
Genre: paranormal romance
Length: 162 pages
Heat Level: Erotic
Other:  anal/oral play, BDSM
Reviewer: Gabrielle
Date: 1/29/2011
When romance writer Gabriella takes Mayor Dick up on his invitation to visit the town Peckerwood she finds herself drawn to him like no other. When Dick asks her to make a choice her decision will change her life in more ways than she knows.
I was surprised to find this book a story about true love. After reading the blurb for this book I expected a very tongue and cheek story. What you get is a story about finding love in the last place you think. I enjoyed watching Gabriella find herself and her place in the town but I found it a little unnerving that most of the choices that she makes seemed rushed. When she finds out that Dick wants her to be his submissive so she can research her books it does not take very long for Gabriella to jump right in full throttle. This book has a paranormal twist and when Gabriella finds herself again in need to make a choice it once again seems rushed. I would have enjoyed a bit more in the book on these parts. I understood Gabriella’s reasons but think that showing her putting more thought into these choices would have helped me enjoy the book more.
Not only do we meet Gabriella and Dick in this story but we also get to meet many other interesting characters that live in Peckerwood. To Play or Obey could be a nice start to a series. I certainly hope that many of the other inhabitants of the town will find their happy ever afters.
Although Gabriella and Dick are a nice couple and I enjoyed the banter and developing relationship between the two I found that I did not click as well with these two characters as I have with others in the past. I have enjoyed Abby Wood’s books in the past and even though this one is not a favorite I will be sure to check out more from this author in the future.

Snow Blind by Kara Lynn Russell

Title:   Snow Blind
Author:   Kara Lynn Russell
Publisher:   White Rose Publishing
Publication Date:   2010
ISBN:    978-1-61116-067-3
Genre:   Inspirational Romance
Length:   96 pages
Buy Link   
Author Email     
Heat Level:   Sweet
Reviewer:  Suki
Date:   January 26th 2010

“A woman scarred by the past...
Spurred by obligation, Robin Spencer drives through blizzard conditions to find the one person she never wanted to see again: Shale Anderson. When her trip turns deadly, Robin's only hope is to trust this man who broke her heart. But can she, when he's more like the dark, reclusive hero in the graphic novels he creates than the caring Shale she once knew?

A man in need of forgiveness...
Shale Andersen is poison. When the only woman he's ever loved shows upon his doorstep, he'll do anything to send her away. If he doesn't, he will end up ruining her life, or worse, killing her-just like every other woman who's ever gotten close to him.

A danger so complete, it threatens to consume them both...
Robin's only chance at happiness lies in acceptance. Shale's only chance at freedom lies in forgiveness. Can they weather the storm and begin their lives anew, or will someone with a thirst for revenge destroy their future?”

In Kara Lynn Russell Latest SNOW BLIND, we have all the makings of a great read. The dark brooding Hero, the innocent and strong willed heroine, and a cast around them that you know isn’t exactly what then seem. This book had me wanting to know exactly what was going to happen next. I couldn’t imagine what had happened in that car to change a man life so drastically. As the lies and the mystery unravel, the story grows deeper and deeper.  

My big complaint is that we spend so much time building to a climax and so little dealing with the aftermath. I would have enjoyed having more in-depth and seeing some of the reveal for the great villain.

But, ultimately this is a book about faith and forgiveness and knowing that deep down inside we are all worthy of forgiveness. Ms Russell’s characters have depth and truly come to life, as any good characters do.

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