Category Archives: Romance

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.

A Lady for the Lawman by Jewell Tweedt

A Lady for the Lawman

Reviewed by Teri Davis

“Arianna sputtered then stomped her foot and narrowed her eyes, her gumption returning full strength. Oh, he was irritating, and no kind of a gentleman whatsoever.”

Life for a single female living in Omaha during 1870 could not have been easy. Arianna Quincy had a plan as she entered Weikert-Second Mercantile, she needed to buy a few things, find a job to support herself, and unquestionably begin to live a new life. She needs to no longer be a burden to her family who has many mouths to feed. She knows that this her chance to be independent earning money of her own and had hopes for a job at the store. With her cousin already working there, this connection could be her first step.

Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon

Come Rain or Come Shine

Reviewed by Teri Davis

“I’m gonna love like nobody loved you, Come Rain or Come Shine.”

These famous song lyrics are the center of Jan Karon’s latest Mitford book featuring the wedding of Dooley and Lace.

Dooley Kavanaugh has graduated and is beginning his veterinarian practice back at his home in Mitford. He is choosing to marry his long-time love, Lace Harper in a simple, down-home ceremony. The couple wants simplicity so instead of caterers, they are having a potluck and a friend in providing the music.

Mile Marker 59 by B.J. Betts

Mile Marker 59

Reviewed by Teri Davis

“Now, he believed there was something out here. He just didn’t know what. A feeling of dread washed over him whenever he stepped from the cruiser in response to automobile accidents here. Something tangible filled the air; he could feel it. Something dark – – and evil.”

Marissa Daniels has everything many people desire. She is successful with her career as a pediatric surgical nurse and would soon be marrying the love of her life who happens to be a handsome orthopedic surgeon. With their best friends, the four are returning from a relaxing outing in Sturgis and looking forward to her upcoming wedding.

What seemed a certainly changed instantly. Brody James is driving home along Interstate 29 with Marissa in the front seats and their, Evie and Tyler Brooks snoozing in back. Brody asks for something cool to drink so Marissa twists around in the seat to reach the cooler. She just needs another inch or two so she temporarily releases her seatbelt.

As she is reaching, turning and stretching into the back seat, a wolf bounds onto the hood of the car. Naturally, Brody swerves in an attempt to throw the beast.

Seconds later, the car is overturned with Marissa being thrown from the vehicle. The wolf seems to view her as prey and runs to her, immediately pinning her to the ground with its paws. The creature tears into her side causing Marissa to scream as she hears her friends also screaming and smelling gasoline. She is helpless and isn’t able to save them before the car burst into flames.

Marissa survives however she is still haunted by her friends’ screams and the wolf who changed her life.

Slowly she physically heals and returns to her career, heavily carrying the burden of the guilt by being alive. Every night is filled with the nightmares of those few seconds. What really happened? Certainly wolves do not attack cars on the interstate in western Iowa. What can explain this, logically? She doesn’t believe in ghosts, but was that really a wolf?

Marissa decides that she need answers so she returns to the town near where the accident happened at Mile Marker 59 near Cutter’s Bend, Iowa. She quickly learns that this wolf has appeared to others and has caused many accidents becoming a local legend. With the help of the local sheriff, Michael Morris and another accident victim, the three hope to put an end to their nightmares and to stop this creature, whether supernatural or real from hurting anyone else.

Council Bluffs’ native, B. J. Betts married her high school sweetheart while raising their children. Previously she has written Saigon Moon and Echoes in the Night which are both set in the Vietnam War and inspired by her grandson who served in Iraq. She in a member of Romance Writers of America and Romance Authors of the Heartland.

Who would most enjoy this novel? Even though it involves the supernatural, Mile Marker 59 is still a romance book with an intended audience of middle-aged women.

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Making It by Amanda Gibbs

Making It

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Love has many faces and Amanda Gibbs invites you to discover one of these through her book Making It. Her stories are not restricted to a single literary form, but take on whatever serves them best, so you can expect anything from prose and poetry to vignettes.

Actually, Making It is like a written photo album of a couple’s life. The chapters are like HD snapshots of adventures these two shared from the day they met to their 30th anniversary. The high-resolution imagery allows you to witness the smallest of details and the most intimate thoughts. What the reader sees about this couple is not restricted only to the material dimension, but it goes beyond that, to the magical and still largely unmapped minds of a woman and a man. The two main characters bare the burden of representing their gender, and they are both, in a sense the archetypal male and female. However, they bare the mark of our modern times. There is an interesting dynamic between what both of them think, say, and do. Their actions (just like ours) are not always smoothly linked to their thoughts and words. It takes time and dedication to get to truly know a person, sometimes it takes 30 years, and sometimes a lifetime is still not enough.

Stay Another Night by P.S. Meronek

Stay Another Night

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Perhaps one of the strangest books that I have ever read or at least in a long time. Coco Stevens, a young seventeen year old, gets busted while dancing in a strip club. Because of her age the club gets shut down but a side effect of the whole shutdown is that Coco gets to meet Sam Spielman, the owner of the club.

Not only does he own the club but he has many other businesses, some of which are legal but the majority are probably not. He is in fact a true Mafia boss.
However he is, although more than twice her age, struck with the beauty of this young girl and as they grow closer over time he is even more struck with her knowledge and charisma.

Love’s Sweet Sorrow by Richard Brawer

Love's Sweet Sorrow

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Jason Sorren has put his murky past behind him and has landed on his feet in a big way. He’s changed his name to hide his past, has an impressive career and enjoys the best of everything. He has had many a girlfriend but none that caught is fancy as much as the ever elusive Ariel Hammond. But when Jason discovers a note that reveals a connection between two people involved in diverted arms shipments, he puts himself and Ariel in danger. After that the book becomes basically a cat and mouse chase between Jason, seeking the truth and gathering evidence, and the people trying to eliminate everyone with knowledge of the conspiracy. Oh, and there is a love story of sorts between Jason and Ariel.