Monday, 28 March 2016

Fear of Falling by Catherine Lanigan - Book Review

Fear of Falling
Shores of Indian Lake, Book 5
By:  Catherine Lanigan
Published:  March 1, 2016 Harlequin
Genre:  Heartwarming Romance Series
Pages:  368 Paperback
Source:  via Bostick Communications/
Author’s Publicist

Was Olivia hearing this right? The one man in Indian Lake she'd found truly intriguing since, well, forever—the hopelessly handsome heir to the region's most successful farming operation, Rafe Barzonni—was involved in horse racing? That made him, and her sudden attraction, downright dangerous. He wasn't just out of her league. He was a gambler. Like her father.

With the shame of her father's racetrack betting addiction still haunting her, Olivia can't be part of that world. Rafe's world. She can't trust him, or his magnetism. But there's something deep in his incredible blue eyes that keeps drawing her closer.
A Harlequin is a bit of a departure for the reviews I do on my blog but I had the opportunity recently to read the next book in Catherine Lanigan’s Shores of Indian Lake series. These are part of Harlequin’s Heartwarming imprint (clean romances with strong family and community values).

I’ve read some Harlequin books in the past but wanted to read a new title from this company that’s been around since 1949! Catherine Lanigan is a best-selling romance author with nearly 40 books published so I’m grateful to receive a Harlequin from a long-time pro!

Olivia is a caterer whose father’s bad horse betting habit traumatized her childhood. Now she’s really attracted to Rafe, the owner, breeder, and to-be racer of a Thoroughbred horse (Rowan), her very antithesis. Rafe is dealing with intense family grief so both characters are coping with difficult emotional stuff at the outset.

All the characters are very intertwined in each other’s lives as Indian Lake is a small community. It’s nice to feel the closeness and supportiveness of the entire community though in reality I’m not sure this would pan out so well. The author brings us through the emotional issues step by step and develops Olivia’s and Rafe’s relationship gradually and naturally, interlaced with local life. Love the food!

The writing style is largely expository or telling (vs showing) with lots of past tense “had” done somethings, and “__ed’s”. In one way it’s great to get all the story fill in, but I prefer more dynamic writing styles where the story fill in comes through an event or dialogue, or even told in first person as many NA/YA books now do. And Olivia is a bit of a wonder as despite her childhood trauma, she rows, is a photographer, ultimately a good tennis player, and helps her mom run a deli (feeling very under-achiever-ish here!).

That said, there are lots of good feels, and a unique story line, all well hashed out. Ultimately, both Olivia and Rafe consciously decide what they want most in their lives.

If you enjoy reading sweet romances, I highly recommend Fear of Falling. Me, I’m in love with the fabulous Rowan… Solid 4.0 Stars!

My thanks to the author’s publicist and Bostick Communications for a free copy for the purposes of an unbiased review. You will find Catherine Lanigan on the internet at these links:

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Fated for Sanchez by Kristin Ravelle

Fated for Sanchez
by Kristin Ravelle
Genre:  Contemporary Romance, International
Published:  March 10, 2016  Amazon
Word Count:  42,213
Lilli Eden has never forgotten the summer she spent in Malaga, Spain, at her friend, Jimena’s. Or Sanchez Varellano, Jimena’s brother. They shared smouldering glances all that summer but nothing more for Sanchez was engaged. Or so she thought.

Four years on Lilli feels she’s finally grown past their searing mutual attraction but upon gaining control of her parents’ trust fund, she discovers her deceased Uncle Jeremy had secretly invested it in a Varellano business expansion. Sanchez now holds the strings to her and her younger sister Lucie’s futures for several years.

Sanchez dares to take fate into his own hands. He can redress both Jeremy’s ill thought out offer and an old Varellano family score at the same time. And Sanchez has a private agenda of his own for the ravishing Lilli.

Lilli must decide whether to tempt fate on a chance with Sanchez for dreamt of futures for her and Lucie as the Edens and Varellano share a painful history that brings Lilli and Sanchez together but also threatens to drive them apart. Will fate be on the side of their love this time?

This is a stand-alone, HEA, sweet/spicy heat romance.
Hi Readers,

I'm excited to release my newest, Fated for Sanchez! This originally began as a Harlequin-style project that got pushed to the side for a while. But then it began to call out to me again when I began self-publishing. I've had the opportunity of staying in Barcelona, Spain for a time and even travelled up to Ripoll, a small mountain town in the Pyrenees mountains. I loved it. I didn't get down to Seville or Malaga in the south so instead made Andalucia a focus for my romantic tale.

Barcelona, Spain
A central theme in the book is the idea of fate.  Sometimes things just seem to happen in our lives without rhyme or reason, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Why? Probably the more important element is how do we respond? Sanchez Varellano is definitely a man who wants to control what fate delivers, in this case the beautiful Lilli Eden. They have an unfinished past and new circumstances open the door for Sanchez. Check out Fated for Sanchez at the links below!

Fated for Sanchez is also available at All Romance eBooks

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Blackheath by Gabriella Lepore - Book Review

Book 1 of The Blackheath Witches
By:  Gabriella Lepore
Published:  December 20, 2015 Of Tomes Publishing
Genre:  Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Pages:   323 Calibre EReader
Source:  Xpresso Book Tours
Seventeen-year-old Maggie Ellmes is dogged by a case of chronic bad luck. She figures that’s just her lot in life—that is, until the psychic at Blackheath’s annual carnival reveals that Maggie’s problems are caused by more than just ordinary misfortune; she’s actually been cursed.

Desperate to shake the hex, Maggie has no choice but to seek out the help of Joel Tomlins, a rebellious classmate who’s descended from Blackheath’s most powerful line of witches. After breaking all of his coven’s conventions to help her, Joel discovers that the curse isn’t as bad as Maggie fears. In fact, it’s much, much worse.
Book 1 of the Blackheath Witches series was written in the two years after Evanescent but luckily I’m reading it just a week after for this Xpresso book tour.

Gabriella Lepore knows how to draw out the development of young teen relationships really well, and write about small town life, qualities that carry over into Blackheath. You feel like you’re really there in a good way.

We get drawn into the lives of the Tomlins, the witch family of Blackheath, who move up to Really Old Aunt Pearl’s crumbling but awesome manor house. Second-oldest son, Joel, figures that Maggie from Blackheath high school, who he’s sweet on, is the target of dark witch practices by other witches.

It's neat that a boy, Joel is the witch here. There’s loads of nice detail on early teen interaction and relationships though I was looking for a little more witch stuff. I would say this is a bit more of an early teen novel than paranormal per se.  I was also a little mystified that Joel didn’t seek family help earlier on (despite family issues) and tried to go it alone protecting Maggie.

The author has a sweet, almost whimsical writing style that just wiggles its way into your heart. And I was laughing that the boys never once thought to maybe repair stuff like broken stairs, but then there’s no female present in the family to prod them on I guess and boys will be boys.

There’s a nice unexpected twist towards the end, and a glimpse of the absent and mysterious matriarch, Evangeline; likely more of her to come in book 2.

If you have early teens in your life who like to read, don’t hesitate to gift them with Blackheath.
As I did for Evanescent, I heartily recommend this charming read for early teens and all young at heart readers. 4.3 Stars!
Grab your copy at Amazon

Check out Gabriella on the web at these links:

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Evanescent by Gabriella Lepore - Book Review

By:  Gabriella Lepore
Published:  March 14, 2013 Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing
Genre:  Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Pages:  302 Calibre EReader
Source:  Xpresso Book Tours

“Then it is settled,” Felix declared. “Come hell or high water, when this is all over, at least one of us here will not make it out alive.”

When Bronwen Snow is pulled from her cottage in the middle of the night, she finds herself seeking the help of three mysterious boys who reside in an abandoned castle deep in the hillside. With only a hasty handwritten note and a vague sense of dread to guide her, Bronwen is forced to put her trust in the eccentric and willful Felix Cavara and his eternal curse – immortality.
Evanescent is a little bit of a younger read than I expected from the cover and blurb but I just loved it all the same!

This is the tale of young Bronwen. One night, her grandmother urgently sends her to the old, abandoned Cynon castle up in the hills to seek the protection of Felix against an unknown and dangerous threat. When Bronwen undertakes the journey, Alistair and Loki, Felix' companions, are there too into the bargain.

How great to have the protection of three dragon-blood, immortal boys against the dangerous Severan! Though these three are a little bit unusual, or illogical, or something funny, sweet; it's hard to say.

Bronwen’s new guardian, Felix, is very unconventional about doing things; he’s not lazy exactly, but chooses to act unexpectedly. He and Bronwen develop an innocent, sweet love for each other that the author grows at a nice pace and naturally through the book while the boys work on dealing with the Severan. They haven’t been out in the public world for quite a long time and it’s great fun how Bronwen isn’t afraid to update them.

I loved all the eccentric touches like the room of clocks, the Piriot B14 weapon, and the pinecones.

There are unknown things that come out into the open eventually that change everything for Bronwen and the boys. Just a heartbreaker ending.

I think early teen readers will just love Evanescent and this would make a great gift for any in your life. This is a wonderful, heart warming read for YA book lovers, as well as the young at heart.
You will be charmed.  4.3 Stars!

Gabriella Lepore writes supernatural teen fiction with a twist. Connect with her on the web at these links:
Please join me next Friday as I review Blackheath, book 1 in Gabriella's newest series!