Posts tagged ‘romance’

A well-written page-turner

The Madonna Ghost

Written by Linda Marie Frank

This mystery appeals to me on many levels. Annie embarks on summer vacation with her Aunt Jill to Fire Island, but her aunt is a detective secretly working on a case.

Annie hopes to find some people her age. She is excited to learn that Ty is visiting neighbors. He is close to her age and soon becomes a romantic interest. Soon Annie discovers they are both adventurers. They will team up to solve the mystery of a ghost reported to haunt the island.

At first glance, the reader might guess this is a book for a middle-grade or young adult audience, but this is not the case. I found myself engrossed in the story and every character. Frank has a background in forensics which allows her to describes the smallest detail. She paints a vivid picture of the setting. The dialogue between the characters is so authentic that readers can visualize themselves in every scene.

A bit of romance, an intriguing mystery, a touch of paranormal and fast-moving events combine to make the book an interesting and unique read for ages eight through eighty-eight.

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THREE INTERESTING PERSPECTIVES

What the Valley Knows

Written by Heather Christie

This novel is presented from three separate points of view. Ann, a mother, who moves into the town for a new start, her daughter, Molly, a high school senior, and Wade, the star football quarterback.

It is a coming-of-age story, touched by a budding romance, and the problems of bullying and adjusting to a new home. Each of the characters faces challenges and struggles. Drama is added with a mystery that needs to be solved.

The book will appeal particularly to young adult audiences. It is a pleasant change from the dark fantasy and paranormal often found on young adult reading shelves.

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FINDING HER WAY

In Light of the Summit

Written by Jamie McGillen

A unique blend of genres melded into a young adult adventure series. This is the second book of the series, and while not necessary to read in sequence, readers will better understand the complexity of the main characters if read in sequence.

Anna and her best friend, Emily, are opposites. Anna embodies the traditional values of a woman living in 1890 Seattle, while Emily fights for the rights of an untraditional woman who struggles to fit into nineteenth-century society. Anna has her sights on climbing to the top of Mt. Rainier. Lots of details about the history of the period and the beautiful natural setting of the Pacific Northwest. As one reads about nineteenth-century expectations of women and Anna’s struggles, one is reminded of the struggles women have faced and overcome. Readers can expect elements of outdoor adventure, friendship, and romance weaved into the stories of these two women.

A quick and interesting read for young adults and adult women.

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MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

The Flip: A Haunting on Long Island

Written by Michael Phillip Cash

A fast read with interesting characters and a nice blend of genres. Brad and his wife Julie are house flippers. Julie would love to earn enough money to quit her day job to join her husband, who is a full-time contractor.

What could go wrong when they purchase an old Victorian house named Bedlam in Cold Spring? Plenty. Turns out the original owners, Gerald and Tessa decide to put their ghostly talents to the test by torturing the new owners.

Why were Gerald and Tessa killed? Readers learn about the history and the mystery of the abandoned property as they follow the clues and become absorbed in the lives of its inhabitants, past and present.

Highly recommend this entertaining read for young adult and adult audiences.

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Under the sea adventure

Mermaids and Mayhem: A Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Written by Erin Hayes

I would say this book is more of a novella than a novel. At a little more than 150 pages, it is a good choice for middle grade readers who enjoy romance and paranormal genres. The protagonist is an eighteen-year-old young lady taking a year off before going off to study marine biology in college. Tara gets a summer job working for aquariums across the country. While in Houston, she undergoes a mysterious transformation in the seas.

Tara is transformed into a mermaid and she meets Finn. A romance soon develops. Now, enter the problem. Will Tara remain a sea creature and pursue her romance or will she return to land and resume her human life. Tara has always wanted to be a mermaid, but?????

Recommended as a quick read for readers ages ten and older.

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SHORT AND SWEET

The One That Got Away and other short stories

Written by Margaret Lynette Sharp

Three short and charming stories set in Australia. In the first containing the book’s title, Amanda writes to her sister Sonya from overseas about the love of her life, Thomas, a fisherman who has literally just “got away.” This story is poignant, yet contains humor and an optimistic bent. In the second story, a grandmother struggles with a change of fortunes and the realization that she will have to sell the piano that has given her granddaughter such pleasure. Grandma’s daughter, Angela seems cold and indifferent to her dilemma. The last story brings Caroline back to the beach where she met her true love twenty five years ago. She meets Barry, a young artist, and strikes up a conversation. He reminds her of the man she left behind long ago. A surprise ending brings the story full circle.

The author does a good job of developing her characters and creating the mood for each of these short stories. They are a quick and delightful read. Recommended for anyone age ten and older who enjoys clean well-written short stories.

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SANTA’S HELPER

The Search for South Pole Santa: A South Pole Santa Adventure (Book 1 in a series)

Written by Jingle Belle Jackson

 

This book combines a bit of magic, romance, holiday traditions, and fantasy in a whimsical adventure. There are two main plots: Sandra’s story detailing her life on a tugboat named Mistletoe moored on an island in the South Pacific, and the contest Santa Claus decides to hold to find a second Santa to cope with the world’s exploding population of children.

Sandra’s parents are missing and presumed dead. They had recently enrolled her in the St. Annalise Academy where the students are all gifted, whether they be human or part supernatural. Throughout the story, Sandra learns more about her lineage and special talents. At the same time, readers are introduced to her new friends. When Sandra learns about the contest for a second Santa, she immediately applies. Cappie, her guardian, and her island friends encourage her. Readers are taken on a colorful journey to the North Pole, where they participate in the fun-filled but grueling competition to determine the winner. There are lots of twists and turns, holiday magic and fun, mixed in with a bit of romance and coming of age in both parallel plots.

In the end, what will Sandra’s future hold? Will she learn how to cope with the loss of her parents, her talented friends, and the boy who seems to disdain her? Who will win the Santa competition? Stay tuned for more answers in the next book of the series.

This book was a fun read. It is highly recommended for middle grade and young teen readers. Adults looking for a light holiday read will also enjoy if willing to suspend reality for a few hours.

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FOSTERING A SENSE OF WORTH

Snow Pup: Holiday Heartwarmers Book2)

Written by Mimi Barbour

snowpuppic

This is the second book in Barbour’s holiday series. Well-written plot with realistic characters that has no real connection to the Christmas holiday other than the setting. Deputy Shawna Mallory is a thirty-one year old single cop who lives in the rather sleepy town of Carlton Grove. She has a deep commitment to her job, and moves quickly when she hears an amber alert on the radio for a missing eleven year old boy. Mallory hears a dog barking; she finds the boy under a snow drift being guarded by the pup. The sheriff agrees to take the boy in while he awaits a new foster care family.

Complications arise when the boy’s real father arrives back on the scene from an overseas assignment in Chile. John Reid McCrae appears to have a poor parenting track record, but Shawna’s friend Alice knew him many years ago and offers a different opinion. In the meantime Shawna grows attached to Billy, who is about to be given to a new foster family. Billy runs away once again, but even more puzzling is the strange affect Billy’s dad has upon Shawna. What outcome ensues for Billy, John, and the Deputy Sheriff whose lives have become entangled.

A heartwarming story revolving around coming of age, domestic violence, foster care, romance, pets and peer relationships that will tear at the heart strings of young adult and adult readers. Actually, the book could be a middle grade read if one is willing to look past a few curse words and one or two light romantic scenes. Snow Pup is the kind of story that will put the reader in the mood for the holiday season.

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OF CHRISTMASES PAST AND PRESENT

Christmas Healing (Healing the Regime Book 1)

Written by Morris Fenris and Jasmine Bowen

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A bittersweet holiday novella that combines elements of paranormal, horror and romance within a holiday setting. Eighteen year old Annalise led a carefree life as a pretty, popular teen until she was diagnosed with leukemia. Unable to pay her mounting medical bills, she assumes the unusual post of teaching modern technology and cultural customs to a family of vampires. Dr. Hever, the head of the Hever clan becomes her physician. Her life is turned upside down once more when she is summoned by the King of the Vampires to teach his brother Arthur, who has just awakened from a 1000 year sleep. Annalise is terrified. She slowly falls in love with Arthur, but her illness proceeds rapidly to Stage IV cancer. When she is whisked away to the hospital, both she and Arthur are devastated.

The plot sounds far fetched, but the authors succeed in making it palatable, for the most part. Reader’s emotions rise and fall as the conflict tears the two families apart. Annalise thought she was in love with Tony Hever; her fleeting life has been turned upside down by her deep feelings for Arthur. The ending is a surprise. Wonder what will happen in the second book of the series.

Recommended for young adult and adult audiences looking for an unusual but entertaining short holiday read.

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ARABIAN ADVENTURES

Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask

Written by Darlene Foster

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Amanda is a twelve year old Canadian student who dreams of travel and adventure. Shortly after she blows out her birthday candles, Amanda’s wish comes true when she is invited to spend a month with her Aunt Ella and Uncle Ben in the United Arab Emirates. Soon Amanda immerses herself in the local culture by visiting a market where a local merchant sells her a mysterious perfume flask that purportedly once belonged to a princess. Amanda meets another young English girl living in her aunt’s building. They explore the seashore and a deserted Bedouin village where Amanda meets Princess Shamza who claims to have sold the perfume flask and her camel to get money to survive. Shamza has run away from her parents to avoid an arranged marriage to a wealthy old man. Lots of adventures ensue: camel races, sandstorms, kidnappings, and meeting Princess Shamza’s true love, a boy named Mohammed. How will Amanda’s journey end? Will she remain friends with Leah? Do the princess and Mohammed find happiness?

This is book one of Amanda’s travels. Lots of action and interesting characters, mixed with tidbits of culture and local customs. Middle grade readers become immersed in the action while learning a lot about multicultural characters and customs. Looking forward to seeing where Amanda will land next. I have a feeling that her love of adventure and generous spirit will lead her readers to be eager to join her again in the future.

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