Stalking Season – Book Review

Stalking SeasonStalking Season by Maryann Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Detective Sarah Kingsly’s new partnership with Angel Johnson certainly isn’t a match made in heaven, but the two homicide cops have no choice but to work together when the corpse of a young girl from an upper-class family is found in a sleazy motel. Sarah and Angel have just begun investigating when the killer strikes again, and the two women struggle with their own differences, trying to find a balance of trust for each other and nail the killer before someone else dies.

I read Maryann Miller’s “Stalking Season” knowing it was the second book in a series, and wondering if I should read book one first. I needn’t have worried, Stalking Season caught my interest from the first page. I loved the complex realism of the personal and family issues facing Angel, and Sarah’s determination to come to terms with a past she can’t change and a partner she doesn’t understand.

High stakes, a difficult partnership, and a fight for justice – Stalking Season is an intriguing mystery with a satisfying conclusion, and a crime-fighting pair who achieve a realistic blend of conflict and mutual respect that should keep the series going. I’m looking forward to reading more.

Vanessa

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Reckless Promise – Book Review

Reckless PromiseReckless Promise by Jenny Andersen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being labeled a beautiful bimbo drives Poppy Grayson nuts

Poppy’s a serious scientist, a genetics expert with a Ph.D. and – until recently – a tenure track position at a prestigious Boston university. But Poppy’s also an impulsive redhead, and she’s sick and tired of being the target of other women’s jealousy because of her looks.

Desperate to escape the unfair “Other Woman” crisis that lost her the best job she ever had, Poppy impulsively agrees to help a friend-of-a-friend save his marriage – and ends up stranded on a Montana ranch in an impossible situation when her client’s wife calls for help.

This feel-good romp is set on a wild Montana ranch where some great characters help – and hinder – the course of true love. Take one sexy redhead named Poppy and add a hothead cynic who thinks he’s done with love. Mix with an escalating cluster of suspicions and miscommunications. Result – a fun romance and some great scenery.

I spent an enjoyable evening reading this light romance, with the added bonus that it brought back pleasant memories of my own years living in remote places.

Thanks, Jenny Andersen, for a fun read.

Vanessa

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Seeing Stars – $0.99 sale on Kindle Books and Tips today

SEEING STARS (regularly $3.99) is featured today on Free Kindle Books and Tips for only  $0.99  - check out the posting and be sure to “Like” the page while you’re there.

Seeing Stars 600x900Arizona astronomer Claire Welland is anything but starry-eyed when it comes to romance. She knows her home on an isolated mountaintop observatory makes marriage to most men impossible, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have a little romantic fun. The last thing she expects when she comes home to Port Townsend, Washington, for her high school reunion is to be swept off her feet by blake McKenzie.

Once the town bad boy, Blake is now a prominent shipbuilder dedicated to helping local teens. When he asks Claire to talk to one of his boys about astronomy, he’s only thinking she might give direction to a troubled kid. He certainly never dreamed she’d inspire him – to fall in love. Now Blake is determined to show Claire that their future together is in the stars…if she’ll only open her eyes.

Click here or type in http://smarturl.it/seeingstars into your web browser to pick up your copy of Seeing Stars.

A Man for Grace – book review

A Man for Grace  (Salt Spring Island Friends Trilogy Book 3)A Man for Grace by E. C. Sheedy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

E. C. Sheedy’s latest “Salt Spring Island Friends” book is a winner!

Grace is a lovely heroine, an Island girl and a delicious mix of wholesome sexiness, humor, and straight-forward wisdom. EC Sheedy drops sexy Colin Ross on Grace’s doorstep, the man who vowed he was never going to return to Salt Spring, and stirs up a hot surge of mutual lust and family baggage.

EC Sheedy specializes in blending sympathetic characters, sensuality, and very believable emotional tangles. I loved this book. Colin and his baggage-ridden family pulled at my heartstrings while the positive thread of love – and healthy lust – running through the book kept me turning pages way past my bedtime last night :) .

This brand new book by E. C. Sheedy is set on Salt Spring island, one of my favorite Canadian Pacific Northwest Island destinations. I loved the authentic island setting, and especially enjoyed revisiting some of the characters from this trilogy’s Book 1 California Man, and Book 2 Man for the Morning

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Blazing Nights – book review

Blazing Nights (Night Games #1)Blazing Nights by Linda Barlow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this sexy romance and appreciated the author’s skillful handling of the paranormal elements.

Hero and heroine each begin this story with personal challenges they must overcome to achieve a happy ending. Kate is an actress, and very protective of her psychic mother. Daniel is both sexy and intelligent, but unfortunately for Kate, he’s also a professional psychic debunker determined to expose her mother. I loved Kate’s mother, a gracefully aging psychic with a strong thread of wisdom running through her deceptively innocent and trusting nature.

Blazing Nights is a sweet, sexy romance with a hero who looks like he might not make the grade, until love triumphs over his past baggage and he comes through for both Kate and her family. Blazing Nights is Book One of Linda Barlow’s Night Games series, and includes a free sample of the next book in the series – Wicked Nights.

Vanessa

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Gabriola Island Lovers – 80% off with coupon for ePub version.

Gabriola-Island-Lovers200x300I’ve just released GABRIOLA ISLAND LOVERS, containing two linked romance novels: With Strings Attached and When Love Returns.

I wrote With Strings Attached while living on Gabriola Island, one of the beautiful British Columbia Gulf Islands. Molly, the heroine, came to this picturesque island to rescue a cat – and found the man of her dreams. She also found herself in a mess that her irresponsible father had left behind when he disappeared.

By the time Molly and Patrick had found their happy ending, I’d fallen for Patrick’s widowed brother David, and I knew I had to find a heroine for him. I had a great time finding Julie for David, and bringing her back to the island and into the path of the man she’d proposed to at the age of 12 – a very humiliating childhood memory! Molly and Patrick’s romance was published as When Love Returns

Now both these books are being published in one volume, Gabriola Island Lovers – check out the book’s page for sales links. From now until December 7, you can save 80% on the ePub version of this book. Just follow the link to Smashwords and enter coupon code HR26C  on checkout.

Have a good December :)

Vanessa

My Deja Vu Lover – book review

My Deja Vu LoverMy Deja Vu Lover by Phoebe Matthews

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The first time I saw the accident was on Tuesday afternoon.” So begins MY DEJA VU LOVER, a fascinating blend of paranormal, psychological suspense, and romance.

This story drew me in slowly as hints of darkness provided an enticing foil for the innocent spirit of the heroine, April, and her three closest friends.

Were April’s visions of a woman named Silver and a mysterious man named Lawrence buried memories, or the kind of seductive delusion that led to madness? When April’s present-day life began to echo her waking dreams of Silver and Lawrence, my suspense grew to page-turning compulsion.

In MY DEJA VU LOVER, Phoebe Matthews has created a fascinating multifaceted story in which a hint of Maeve Binchy’s gentleness pulses with a touch of the psychologically dark obsession of a Barbara Vine novel.

All that, and a great ending! I’m thrilled to have discovered Phoebe Matthews, and I’ll definitely be reading more of this talented author.

Vanessa

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The Disappeared – book review

The Disappeared (Retrieval Artist, #1)The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. I thought I’d become jaded about reading Sci-Fi, but Kristine Kathryn Rusch changed my mind with The Disappeared, first in the Retrieval Artist series.

When I spotted this book a few days ago on a promotion and saw it was the first book in Rusch’s Retrieval Artist series, I bought the eBook and started reading right away. Some years ago I’d enjoyed audio versions of one of Rusch’s Retrieval Artist short stories, and was eager to read the first book.

Wow! Rusch is a skilled, highly-readable author who is an expert in bringing characters to life on the page (eScreen?). Immediately, I was entangled in the dilemna of a woman about to Disappear from a life she loved, and the tragedy of a couple whose baby was mysteriously stolen.

I needed to discover the reason for the woman’s disappearance, the fate of the baby. I was fascinated by the world Rusch created, and the moral dilemma of good people wrestling with right and wrong in a world where the law allowed children to be stolen from their parents, where humans could unwittingly cross a line that doomed them to devastating legal consequences meted out under multi-species legal agreements.

Rusch paired a burned-out investigator with a brilliant rookie detective whose personal tragedy forces him to examine everything he believes. The author has created a masterpiece!

Now I’m ready for book 2 of the Retrieval Artist series. It’s waiting for me on my eReader.



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The Truth About Trish – free this weekend

the-truth-about-trish600x900My romance novel The Truth About Trish is enjoying a “free” promotion on Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords this weekend.

It seems a suitable time for this particular title to be on free, as I’m giving a workshop today on character-driven plotting, and pacing to maintain tension – and this story was very much a result of character-driven plotting, because I had to dig deep into the characters of Abby (the heroine) and Ryan (her hero) in writing their story.

So pick up a copy and enjoy - and for those of you with Kindles, although Trish is priced at $.99 on Amazon, you can get your free kindle version at Smashwords.

Vanessa

 

Workshop: Character Driven Plotting, Pacing to Maintain Tension

Writing RomanceThis Saturday I’ll be giving a day-long workshop for the Romance Writers of America’s Vancouver Island Chapter. If you’re in the Nanaimo area, come along and join us in an exploration of character-driven plotting, and pacing your novel to maintain story tension.

Workshop Details

When: November 2, 2013, 9:00 to 4:00 (registration from 9:00 to 9:30)
Where: Vancouver Island University, 900 Fifth Street, Building 255, Room 170, Nanaimo (Campus Parking Map)
Cost: $40.00 if registering after October 19th or at the door. Lunch, coffee, and tea is included.

Session 1—Character-Driven Plotting
In this workshop, Vanessa explores character-driven plotting, and the technique of using the hero and heroine’s personal territory to build a bridge between character and conflict. We all want the magic formula to work: characters + conflict = a great story. Sometimes, we need a little help, and adding a territorial imperative to the mix could be exactly what your story needs.

Session 2—Pacing to Maintain Tension
Pacing a book involves finding the balance between showing and telling, between emotional intensity and distance, between slow and fast. Vanessa makes this complex technical subject clear with graphic examples. Topics include time and the writer: story time, reader time, and writer time; the simple rule that covers it all; and how pacing relates to viewpoint and narrative style.

I’m looking forward to a great day with this group of enthusiastic writers!

Vanessa

Workshop Handout