Category: Romance Reviews

Contemporary Author Melissa Klein talks about her new release OUT OF SIGHT

Klein13024-12-8x10[1]Melissa Klein writes contemporary romance about everyday heroes fighting extraordinary battles. Whether facing the demands of caring for a child with special needs or the struggles of a soldier returning home, her characters take on the challenges life throws at them with perseverance, courage, and humor. Melissa won Georgia Romance Writers Unpublished Maggie award in 2013 and Rose City Romance Writers Golden Rose award in 2012. She lives in Atlanta with her family and can be found at www.MelissaKleinRomance.com

 

 

OutofSight_w11613_750What led you to write this book? Three years ago, a skiing accident left my daughter with a traumatic brain injury. She experienced the same memory loss and aphasia as Mia Jones, the heroine in Out of Sight. My daughter’s tenacity and willingness to work hard inspired me to write about a woman who triumphed over a similar life-changing event. I dedicated Out of Sight to Laura and the medical professionals at the trauma center where she was Life Flighted. Without their skill, Laura wouldn’t have gone on to lead an independent and happy life, just like Mia.

What do you hope readers take away from your work? In Out of Sight, Hank Taggart also faces life-changing events and struggles. I want readers to rethink what it means to be a hero. Everyone deserves their own version of happily ever after, even former naval pilots who must trade dog fighting in the skies for AA meetings.

Do you have a reoccurring theme to your books? I find myself repeating the theme of second chances in my books. I believe everyone deserves another chance to correct past mistakes and a second chance at love.

What do you do when you are not writing? When I’m not writing, I like to garden and travel. I have a small yard where I enjoy planting southern perennials I remember seeing in my grandparents’ gardens. This year my gardenias and hydrangeas are especially beautiful. I recently returned from visiting my daughter and was able to add Rhode Island to the list of states I’ve visited. Only 9 more to go.

What’s next for you? Out of Time, the third book in the Out of Uniform series will release sometime in August. I’m also completing another book in my Magnolia Springs series. My current work is progress is a departure from my usual military romance. It’s a humorous contemporary romance that starts when the hero and heroine attempt to stop their respective parents from marrying.

Social media: 

https://www.facebook.com/Melissa.Klein.Romance .

@klein_klein344

www.pinterest.com/gryphonmoonston/

Donna’s favorite reads in 2015

The December column is always my favorite because I get to look back at my favorite reads from the year.

Duke City Desperado2015 saw the third book in the Duke City series by Max Austin released in June. DUKE CITY DESPERADO was a fun frolic through the misadventures of Dylan James and his buddy Doc who tried to rob a bank through the drive-up window.

Yeah, most of us would see the folly in this right from theDuke City Hit start but Doc, well, his perspective was skewed. It comes as no surprse that Doc was immediately captured but Dylan manages to stay about a half-step away from the law through a crazy set of circumstances that only Max Austin can deliver.

517UBdb43dL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Each book in the series stands alone with one common element: Alburburque, New Mexico. If you like crime from a slightly tweeked angle you’ve got to give the Duke City series a go.

 

 

The Jamie Sinclair series by Nichole Christoff is a hit for me. The debut 51U7daFZDcL._AC_UL320_SR242,320_was THE KILL LIST where Jamie and the baggage she calls “ex-husband” try to rescue his three-year-old daughter from kidnappers. In the course of her investigation she meets her love interest Adam Barrett who feeds stray dogs. Ladies, can I get a collective *sigh* on this?

51JHDkkSCwL._AC_UL320_SR240,320_THE KILL SHOT  goes international as Jamie tries to understand what send Adam rogue.

THE KILL BOX dives into Adam’s past when he returns 515VW7PtWhL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_home unexpectedly and Jamie is hired by his grandmother to investigate his bizarre behavior.

Tightly written, with great insight to military life, Christoff delivers a fast-paced series for the romantic suspense crowd. I definitely recommend you grab all three.

41nV2oVnGZL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Another series that grabbed me was the urban fantasy series HIDDEN by Colleen Vanderlinden. I stumbled onto the books from a free give-away on FB and didn’t stop reading until the last book.

The first book, LOST GIRL, introduces us to Molly Brooks, a telepathic vigilante with a passion for finding lost girls. 519utj1FxaL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Fast paced, funny and heartwrenching this series delivers a host of fascinating supernatural characters in a highly imaginative world.

From the first page to the last this series is gold. I haven’t delved into Ms. Vanderlinden’s other series but they are certainly on my TBR pile.

 

Up From the GraveUP FROM THE GRAVE was the exit in the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. I enjoyed the strong willed vampire killing Kat and her teacher/husband Bones escapades and all the characters from that world, many have found series of their own.

While this wasn’t the best book in the series it is still a must read once you’ve dived into the tale and I do recommend that you enter their world.

 

Bronze FoxThe paranormal adventure BRONZE FOX by Diana Green was a delight. Tobias is a fox-shifter and Etty a street-wise ball of fire are teamed up in an adventure that is part Stargate, part steampunk and all adventure. Author of the Dragon Clan series, Ms. Green has written a wonderful tale. The only complaint I had was that I would have like the romance to take a little longer, I was enjoying the dance. BTW, Ms. Green also designed the gorgeous cover.

51CRFtWro3L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This year saw the final installment in the Unknown Assassin series by Allen Zadoff. The first book I AM THE WEAPON introduced us to Boy Nobody. Taken at an early age and transformed into a teenage assassin, Boy Nobody was always the new kid in school, becoming who ever he needed to in order to get the job done. All went well until he started asking questions.

I loved the series and the final book, I AM THE TRAITOR gave a satisfying I am the Traitorending to these fast paced and intriguing books. This award winning series has been translated into over a dozen languages and has been optioned by Sony Pictures. Great for teens and adults.

 

An Untamed StateRoxane Gay delivers the powerful tale of Mireille Duval Jameson in AN UNTAMED STATE. While visiting family in Haiti Mireille was ripped from her fairy tale life and held for ransom. Knowing her father would never pay, this strong-willed woman fought to survive the horrific abuses inflicted on her by her captors.

The true power of this story comes in the second half of the book, after Mireille has been released by the kidnappers. Her journey back from the trauma was something I could not stop reading.

 

51HRGdMz39L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I requested a review copy of this book because Barney Teegarden just seemed like the kind of guy whose company I would enjoy. I was right. COMING BACK by John Inman was a wonderful tale of people who look out for each other with tenderness and humor. I look forward to grabbing the first two books in this series.

 

51sUwrukhPL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_This last book in my list of 2015 favorites is THE SOUND OF GLASS by New York bestselling author Karen White.

The generational effects of domestic violence are at the heart of this story. The story opens with a tragic plane crash in 1955 near the home of Edith Heyward in Beauford, South Carolina that deposits a suitcase in Edith’s yard and leaves the reader with a mystery.

Fast forward to 2014, Merritt Heyward loses her firefighter husband but inherits his family home in Beaufort where she meets the brother-in-law she didn’t know she had. Arriving in Beaufort on Merritt’s heel is her too-young stepmother, Loralee, and her half brother, Owen.

White brilliantly guides us through the awkward interactions of four people who seemingly have little in common as they grow to become a family. Rich details, compelling characters and numerous secrets keep you engaged until the last page. I loved this book.

Donna writes the review column The Eclectic Express for the Book Breeze.

Review: VIRGO’S VICE by Trish Jackson

Virgo's ViceVIRGO’S VICE by Trish Jackson

Soul Mate Publishing (October 21, 2015) Romantic Suspense/Thriller

Lexie King lands a job on the film crew for a reality survival show. She’s spent her whole life dealing with the symptoms of PTSD due to abuse. When her abuser ends up as one of the contestants on the survival show, it’s too late for Lexie to turn back. The contestants and the film crew are air-dropped into a remote area of Africa. When they realize the director and the rest of their supplies are not coming, they scramble to make a shelter and find food. When fellow contestants start turning up dead, they literally scramble to stay alive.

This story is unusual in that the story is told from several points of view, and even though the main characters voices are the dominant voices, I found it unnecessary to have every contestant speak in their voice. In my opinion, the story would have been stronger by using only first person.

I did like the structure of the plot and the twists and turns one expects in a suspense. The author’s take on what could happen in a remote place was interesting, especially given the fact the contestants come for a survival reality show and end up fighting for their lives.

I recommend this story to readers who enjoy survival shows.

Review provided by Jackie McMurry for her column Jackie’s Jargon in the November 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.

Review: SAVE MY PLACE by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Save My PlaceSAVE MY PLACE by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Mercer University Press (September 10, 2014) Historical Romance

Olivia deBelle Byrd takes the reader on an emotional ride with the ever hopeful heroine, Elisabeth Belle Sterling, a Southern woman through and through. The book is based on the real life events of a friend of the author and told from Elisabeth’s point of view. The book starts with Elisabeth’s proclamation that she will be a spinster. She’s only twenty-two, but she’s determined to stay a spinster after her college boyfriend dumps her right after graduation. She believes nothing can sway her, that is, until she meets Kincaid Patterson on a blind date.

Kincaid is a West Point graduate with a dark past, but he’s attentive towards Elisabeth and she soon discovers love can be hers again. When they married half-way through the book, I wondered what conflicts the couple would have to face and then the news came that Kincaid was being sent to Vietnam.

This seems like enough of a conflict—Elisabeth is naturally lonely and misses him like crazy. And then the author layers in some great news (I don’t want to spoil the plot) only to lead into the most difficult tragedy Elisabeth will have to face. Save My Place is a story of faith, hope, and unconditional love. The narrator’s voice is compelling and leads the reader through a maze of highs and lows in a manner that had me feeling what she felt—laughter, relief, frustration, anger, love and loss.

Review provided by Jackie McMurray for her column Jackie’s Jargon in the November 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.

Review: INTO THE SUNSET by Carolyn Haley

Into the SunriseInto the Sunrise by Carolyn Haley

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (Vintage Rose), May 8, 2015 Genre: Cowboy Romance

Carolyn Haley brings the reader a realistic story of Linny Eagan’s recovery from both physical and emotional trauma. After Linny finds her fiancé with another woman, she loses her concentration while competing in an equestrian event and is thrown from her horse. Her family decides she should spend the summer recovering. She and her sister, Jona, are invited to stay in a house on Cape Cod with Jona’s fiancé and the host and owner of the house, Con Winston.

Con is on his own emotional roller coaster. He stands to inherit a fortune if he does what his father demands. In the meantime, he’s earning a living by working as a trail leader on a horse ranch and isolating himself in his room to paint. He’s just trying to make it to his twenty-fifth birthday so he can settle down on a Montana ranch and paint for one of the local galleries.

Linny and Con live in the same house and they’re just friends—at least that’s what they tell everyone. They both fight the urge to be more than that. Linny wants to get back to a place where she can fulfill her dream of being an equestrian champion and Con has his own plan to work on if he intends to receive his inheritance. Neither one wants the complication of a partner, so they go their separate ways for a while.

Into the Sunrise deals with some real life issues—learning to trust and making some tough life choices. Haley developed characters who are thoughtful, believable and likeable.

For me, the only downfall of the book was the setting of 1975. This book reads like a contemporary except for a few references to appliances (typewriter and landline phones). Although the year was stated at the beginning of the first chapter and the book was published in the Vintage Rose collection from The Wild Rose Press, I found each time a typewriter or landline phone was mentioned, it took me out of the story. Perhaps if more references to the year were employed, it would have felt more like a 1970s story. Overall, Haley delivered a story I can recommend to readers who enjoy a good romance.

Review provided by Jackie McMurray for her column Jackie’s Jargon for the october 12015 edition of The Book Breeze.

Review: COWBOY, CONVINCE ME by Danita Cahill

51dWKH7G5NL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_COWBOY, CONVINCE ME: A Bellham Romance Danita Cahill Publisher: Ridge Publishing (June 17, 2015) Genre: Christian western romance

Convince Me Cowboy starts with all the reasons Shay Monahan will not fall for a cowboy again—especially not a rodeo cowboy. Her heart was already broken when she discovered the rodeo cowboy she married was sowing his oats across the rodeo circuit. Now that she is divorced, she dismisses the notion of ever dating a cowboy again.

Shay has her own successful career training horses with a real knack for matching buyers with suitable horses. If only she was as good at matching herself with a man.

When it’s rodeo time in her hometown of Pine Creek, Montana, she’s determined to keep her distance from the cowboys—especially the one called Denver. One look at him and she feels stirrings she doesn’t want to deal with.

Denver Campbell has no intention of getting sidetracked with a woman. He’s in town to win some cash in the rodeo circuit. So why does he get all twisted up every time he’s around Shay Monahan? He’s already been in a serious relationship with a cowgirl who managed to make him feel like a fool. His goal is to stay clear of romance and win the rodeo championship before he retires. So why does Shay make him feel so uncertain about his goals? He is solid on his plans, isn’t he?

Cahill does a fine job of giving the reader both points of view of the main characters. Both Shay and Denver do a great deal of trying to talk themselves out of falling for the other while being thrown together into some intimate moments.

This book also follows the budding romance between Shay’s friend and Denver’s friend which gives the reader a chance to see how easy it could be for Shay and Denver if they’d only let go of past hurts.

I loved the setting. I could feel the grit on my teeth at the rodeo grounds and visualize the horses and the ranches.

Cowboy, Convince Me is a clean romance that kept my attention while I waited for the heroine to sort through her trepidation. There’s just something about cowboys, isn’t there?

Review provided by Jackie McMurray for her column Jackie’s Jargon in the September 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.

Review: THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME by Peggy Jaeger

There's No Place Like HomeThere’s No Place Like Home by Peggy Jaeger

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (Champagne Rose) – April 24, 2015 Genre: Contemporary Romance

After touring as a symphony pianist for four long years, Moira Cleary returns home with a secret so disturbing she feels taxed both physically and emotionally. Moira’s family and closest friend are concerned about her weight loss, lack of appetite and stomach pains. As she settles into a routine of assisting her best friend, Quentin Stapleton, at the veterinarian clinic she begins to feel more comfortable and secure but still is haunted by the abuse she experienced.

Quentin knows one thing—he’d give anything to have Moira stay home. He’s waited a very long time for her return and wants to help her feel healthy again. After Moira sees a doctor for her stomach pains, Quentin suspects there is an emotional reason behind some of her symptoms. When Moira finally decides to confide in him he must help her deal with the backlash.

Ms. Jaeger tells this story from the point of view of both heroine and hero which helps the reader to better understand the conflicts both experience. The minor characters help balance the story and help the reader envision the reason Moira felt compelled to come home in the first place. I can easily see another book about her twin brother and the woman he admires from afar.

There’s No Place Like Home is a thoughtfully constructed story of one woman’s journey to come to terms with her past and finally discover where she can find happiness and the man who patiently waits for her.

Review provided by Jackie McMurray for her column Jackie’s Jargon for the October 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.