Category Archives: Romance

Bollywood Invasion by Ricardo Alexanders

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Bollywood InvasionAt once engaging and cleverly creative, Ricardo Alexanders’ Bollywood Invasion enrapts readers with a fun and fantastical coming of age story, set in a well posed merging of reality and fiction which surpasses the reaches of time and continents.

Instantly the story draws you in, as initially, we meet John Palmieri living in modern times in Brooklyn; he’s a nerd and Beatles lover in high school and unsatisfied with his lower middle class existence. Things start with him in the throes of a dream, once again being bested by his arch-enemy Frank Castellano. He loathes Frank, who seems to have so much more than John; smarter mouth, bigger house, more friends, better stuff, including, the attention of the girl he secretly loves -Samantha.

The real adventure begins when fate crashes into his life, via an accident, knocking John unconscious. When John awakes, he finds himself in a parallel existence, where he has been transported back in time to late 1950’s, India. He wakes up as eighteen year old Raj Scindia, a prince in the Indian royal family. Naturally, he’s initially confused by his sudden transportation to a completely foreign life and culture with many humorous moments ensuing as he tries to wrap his head around what has happened to him.

The River and the Ravages by J. M. Lawler

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

The River and the RavagesThe River and the Ravages by J.M. Lawler touches on universal themes from a predominantly female perspective. This fiction-romance tells the story of a girl coming to terms with her true self, while being pulled in opposite directions by competing forces.

The core relationship explored by J.M. Lawler seems to be that between mother and daughter. Aaliya only felt truly understood by her mother, of whom’s recent passing threw the world off-balance. Freeing burning emotions is not something that comes naturally to her; instead she keeps the pain to fester inside. In her desperate desire to find a way to cope with a seemingly unbearable loss she recklessly throws herself in different directions, into the arms of a lover or into the hard labor of saddle making. The way to redemption and acceptance is crookedly paved, but this makes the journey all the more interesting and relatable.

Legacy: Book Three of the Fire Chronicles by Susi Wright

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

LegacyThis Young Adult fiction is the 3rd in the Fire Chronicle series. It is very good and thoughtful uplifting even when presenting unsurmountable evil and odds.

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In a fantasy world where races of creatures, usually humanoid, are often fighting each other, order has come to much of civilization. The Alliance was formed in fire with a great battle where Lord Luminor was injured deeply. He leads this group of people beneficently with powers that have been unmatched until now.

There is danger now, a new and fearful evil has begun to invade the Morvians. These people live beyond the Impossible Mountains. Although, this does not affect his domain, Luminor must defend these people from the encroaching menace. He forms his army, the greatest so far, combining many groups into a single fighting force. He heads North leaving hearth and home behind protected by a regent and wise Elders to protect his domain and his family.

This leaves Espira, Essie familiarly, and Ardientor sitting at home and worrying about their father. As hybrids, combining human and Gaian ancestry, they are the first and possibly the only salvation of the domain, but they must overcome sibling rivalry and a confining spell placed by their father. When all seems lost, they find the way, Espira especially, to reconcile the personalities and the powers, first to summon assistance from the Ancient Realm and then to lend its use to the army across the Impossible Mountains.

I’ll Be Looking at the Moon: A novel about finding Home by Lucia Barrett

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

I'll Be Looking at the MoonA fitting book for spring, since it is about rebirth and life, I’ll Be Looking at the Moon by Lucia Barrett will fill your lungs with the fresh smell of wild flowers. While it can easily be cataloged as romance, the novel has deeper layers to it, which surpass the stereotypical love connection between a man and a woman. It is also a story about family and above all about the Self.

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The story kicks off with a strong start. The reader is practically thrown into the inner world of the lead protagonist being exposed to her most personal thoughts. Once we share a glimpse of Elizabeth Parker Morgan’s present, we are torn away from it and sent back to the past, on a journey to discover (alongside her) why and how this present came to be. With a Freudian approach, the focus falls on her childhood and how the relationship with her parents and brother, but especially her mother, helped shape her as a person, and more particularly her capacity to give and receive love. As she matures into a successful businesswoman, she experiences France with all the romantic perils that would make such a cultural experience whole. She meets a man torn from her dreams in which she finds the coveted reciprocity she longed for all her life. But the illusion of a fairy tale love story soon shatters and both parts are left only with shards that will not fit together anymore. It is up to Elisabeth to rebuild herself and integrate this story into her life experience.

While the main focus falls on the love Elisabeth shared with Antonio, there are several other romantic strings that run through the pages of the book. Lucia Barrett takes on an intergenerational love story presenting very different type of relationships. First, there is the accomplished couple represented by Elisabeth’s grandparents, who are best friends for life and still care deeply about each other at their old age. The second pair, Elisabeth’s parents fell in love with each other easily, but they grew apart over the years. Their shared experiences uncovered mainly their differences and widened the gap between them. Finally, the love story of the heroine remains for you to discover in which category should fall, but hold your judgment until the last pages of the book.

I’ll Be Looking at the Moon is a play on perspectives. A surface will materialize before our eyes depending on how the light will cover it. Whoever controls the light source controls what we see. In this case, Lucia Barrett takes the steering wheel and directs your attention to unexpected details.

Tempting Skies: Book Three, Beyond the Wood Series by Michael Roueche

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Tempting SkiesHow would you like to read your ancestors’ journals about their lives while living through the Civil War? Would you be able to understand the perspectives of both sides?

Just recently in the year 2012, while searching through the attic of a mansion in Lexington, Kentucky, scheduled for demolition, a manuscript and letters revealed the history of this estate beginning in the 1820s. These documents are the foundation of the third book of this trilogy.

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Betsy Richman Henderson Gragg appears to have a charmed life. Born as a privileged daughter of a slave-owner and beautiful, she married a Southern gentleman who fought for the Confederacy. When he dies in battle, who quickly remarries. Fortunately, Betsy finds love again and this time marries a Union soldier, Their love quickly has her carrying their child.

Limelight Kisses (Love Behind the Scenes Book 1) by Michelle Segal

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

Limelight KissesIn her romance novel Limelight Kisses: Love Behind the Scenes, author Michelle Segel presents a steamy tale of opposites attracting in modern-day Hollywood. Filled with classic genre twists and sexy bedroom scenes, Limelight Kisses is a tale that comparatively makes real-life Hollywood love-stories look like a box-office flops.

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After a brief prologue set in the present day, Limelight Kisses opens in the early 2000s, in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. Twenty-six-year-old Ryan Lancaster is there working as a production assistant on the set of the historical cinematic drama, Mrs. Woodbridge’s Daughters. After a female lead is forced to drop out of the film, Ryan presides over an open casting call, and in walks in the young and beautiful college coed, Katherine Walker. Although she’s only there to support a friend, Ryan, sunned by her beauty and natural charisma, has her take a screen test. It comes as no surprise that she is perfect, and immediately, despite of her lack of credentials, lands the part. After some initial hesitation, Katherine takes a leave of absence from school, and following heart her and her passion, accepts the part.

Culmination by Holly Smith

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

CulminationThe apocalypse is a rather popular subject when it comes to books and movies. The important thing is to offer a perspective with a tint of freshness to it. Culmination uses this theme as a backdrop to highlight human condition and how people could react in the most difficult of situations.

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While a young couple is enjoying the first moments together as newlyweds, their honeymoon drastically changes due to a total electrical blackout, which they will soon learn was a global phenomenon. But at least they are not alone, as they find more people with whom they soon become close friends. As it turns out, two of their new acquaintances are survivalists who have long prepared for the dawn of civilization. So, the group moves into a high-end cave, equipped with anything they need to survive in luxury. However, even if things should have ran smoothly, since everything was anticipated, it seems that one element was gravely overlooked, human nature, and the cost of this oversight is to be discovered in the pages of the book. Actually, Holly Smith offers a good example of a self fulfilling prophecy, if you believe that something will happen strong enough, you will mold your perception of reality in such a way as to see it realized.

Out of Control (The Kincaid Brides Book #1) by Mary Connealy

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Out of Control“He’d frozen away everything that was beautiful. He’d cared for his brothers, but he hadn’t risked loving them for the fear of how terrible it would be to lose them. He’d never been as kind to his mother as he should have been because his love was locked away. He’d work beside his father and shown him respect but never love.”

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For Julia Gilliland, her life is out of control. Her father told her he owns and runs a general store. In actuality, he is a gambler and runs a low-class saloon. She dreams of being an archaeologist, studying fossils. She does not enjoy her life. Fortunately, she has a close friend in her step-mother, Audra, who is close to delivering another child. Julia does enjoy her company and helping her with the endless chores.

A Question of Power (The Fire Chronicles Book 2) by Susi Wright

Reviewed by Timea Barbaras

A Question of PowerA Question of Power is the second book of the series The Fire Chronicles by Susi Wright. Preceded by Lord of Fire, this Question offers some answers in this volume, but hides several more in a sequel yet to come. If you want to take a trip into a land of fantasy, filled with adventure and romance, embark on the journey of The Fire Chronicles.

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While it is preferable that you read the first volume, the second volume is also strong enough to stand on its own. Before you land on Susi Wright’s fantasy realm she equips you with a map and a crash course of Gaian philosophy, so you have a sense of orientation once you arrive. It is refreshing to notice the abundance of female characters in the book. Some of them are present since the first volume while others are introduced just now. They are quite intriguing and portray different visions of the ideal Woman.

Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan? by Julia Wilmot

Reviewed by Lisa Gilbert-Brown

Where is Emma Butler's Life PlanA sublimely witty and thoroughly entertaining read, Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan? authored by Julia Wilmot,entrances Chick Lit readers from page to page, with its successful combination of humor, spirituality, and the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment by contemporary woman Emma Butler.

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A light hearted, but provocative read, this intriguing narrative stars main character Emma Butler, she’s single, youthful, intelligent, attractive and gainfully employed, but she begins to realize that she is worthy of something more rewarding career-wise, and with no man in her life her biological clock is ticking away as well. Somewhat complacent with her life, and not quite ready to make any big moves to change her life, Emma’s life stays somewhat stagnant.