The Bastard’s Blade, by Luca Thrace

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The_Bastards_BladeWhat makes a good romance? Dashing heroes, beautiful heroines, exciting plot twists? Yes, but it takes more. It takes characters who you get to know deeply, who change and grow over the course of the novel and become better people. This novel delivers all of that and more.

The author paints a tapestry with words, that bring to life a time gone by in vibrant colors, tastes, scents and flavors. The hero and heroine are typical, a widowed lady fair and a bastard commoner with a nefarious intent. Fate and lust may bring them together, but love develops and takes over the course of their life. Of course, their pathways in life may also be influenced by a cast of characters who help fate along a bit or perhaps its magic spells and incantations that sway their journeys.

No matter what the cause, they take a more than circuitous route to find true happiness, hindered by a black-hearted menace who means to steal her wealth and power and a half-hearted fool who tries to trick his way into a life of ease. There’s bloodshed, murder, intrigue and secret passages that wind their way into an obligatory HEA. That’s the way romances are supposed to end. I highly recommend this as a well-written, delightful romance with everything you’d ever ask for.

The Dionysis Connection, by Liz Cowan

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lizcowanThe Dionysus Connection was a fun read from the first sentence to the very end. Liz Cowan has woven a tale of a strong, spirited and, yes, feisty independent woman who really has no business also being stable and grounded. That is, of course, except for the love of her aunt and uncle, who just happens to be the Chief of Police in Dallas. When she meets with an equally strong-spirited detective, the sparks fly. That’s when the good parts just keep coming as one thing leads to another.

The author has written a tale with a thoroughly researched exciting plotline with well-rounded characters that involves a ladies club. How could you go wrong? She gets to know the detective, who is stripping “under cover”. How about that for an oxymoron? Though the heroine gets to know him from the outside in, she still grows into someone to be proud of my favorite kind of romantic HEA ending.

An enjoyable read from start to finish, download this book for a relaxing and entertaining dip into the seedy world of strip clubs and mayhem without ever leaving home. Can’t wait to read Liz Cowan’s next romantic adventure.

Deception by Bill Ward

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deceptionYou’re not paranoid if everyone is truly out to get you. Lara comes to Powell, her old friend, and ex-lover, with a big problem. She’s ruthless and will do anything for her work as an agent for MI6 in Saudi. After having rescued several children from life in a lost world, returning them to their mother, she finds herself hunted like an animal by her government and, worse yet, her boss. And why? Because she’s seen too much? Could that be the only reason?

So starts the exciting and thrill-packed plot of Bill Ward’s third in a series, Deception. Having not read the first of the series, I found this fast-paced easy to read novel able to stand on its own, filled with a host of characters I felt as if I knew. The action is set in Brighton, based out of Powell’s bar; however, you travel through England’s hot spots seeking both Middle Eastern bombers, but more deadly, British and American intelligence personnel. Both current and former spies are bombing strategic locales with deadly results, bolstering national sentiment for more anti-terrorist funding.

Admittedly I found the reasoning behind the plot a tad bit far-fetched but that’s what suspension of disbelief is all about. Once you buy the premise, the action and detailed explanations of each motivating plot point are well written and bring the action to life. The characters of Powell and Afina are well conceived and obviously, have a history that both of them try to deny. Through sacrifice on both sides, the planets do align and the world, which has been tilted on its axis, does become righted again. Powell proves himself to be the consummate hero. Deception was a light and airy, enjoyable read which I highly recommend. Bill Ward proves himself an excellent writer who knows how to deliver an exciting thriller.

“If Only There Was Music…” The Poetry of Forbidden Love by Nonnie Jules and Giani Jordan

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if onlyThis book of poetry is a real treat for romantics. It is what the title suggests: lyrical. These poems of unbidden and forbidden love are begging to be put to music and, in a quieter and more peaceful place and time, I just might try my hand at doing just that. They are exactly what two lovers express in that gentlest of passion, unique to themselves yet longingly similar in content and texture. You can imagine the two lovers feeling the emotions in the verse, sitting to write wistfully as they yearn for one another, testing out all the feelings that are burning from within.

Let me say, I am not a poetry fan, but I ran through these poems at a frantic pace, desperate to hear the next melody of words. I had spent my evening watching a tribute to the incomparable Ray Charles at the White House, with songs of love and longing, hot beats and erotic twists that had The First Lady fanning herself from time to time. As I sat down to read these verses, those tunes and melodies were still lofting through my mind, and I could feel the gentle sway of the music of these words. They do need to have the accompanying tunes, melodies and harmonies attached, with that same lovely blend of jazz, country, rock and soul. That’s what these poems hold in store for the readers: soul. As someone said at the concert, soul is what music should be when you just leave people alone. This poetry has that same kind of soul.

A performance well done by the authors. Your blending of poems sounded a lot like a perfect duet to me!

Haunting Megan by Rebecca Reilly

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haunting meganThis romantic suspense takes you on a roller coaster ride that’s unpredictable. You follow Megan, from a young girl living in unimaginable circumstances through an extraordinarily tragic event that leaves her deeply scarred. Unexpected events unfold around her and she finds a relationship she didn’t expect in the midst of the craziness surrounding her. At one point she even winds up accused as a serial killer. All throughout this, her make-shift family stands behind her and eventually she realizes she has the kind of support she’d always lacked in her life. But the twists keep coming and you don’t know when they’ll stop. A frequently visiting ghost lets her know she has to take responsibility or she’ll lose out on the romantic love she desires deep down. It’s in jeopardy, but you don’t know when the next struggle will come or who is behind the evil that keeps touching her life. There are many suspects, but which one is the harbinger of evil?

The author has created a nicely-developed cast of characters and does a great job of keeping you guessing, never really knowing which way the story will turn next. You’ll need to stay on your toes to finish this suspenseful read and pay attention. You never know what’s going to happen next!