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New Release & Review: Destiny’s Flame, by D.S. Schmeckpeper

DestAmazon US

Amazon UK



What happens after the battle is done? Do you think everyone lives happily ever after?

Lumernia has been left divided, leaderless. The ensuing power struggle cost the city more than just the knightly order, leaving the land and its people unguarded. Is the conquering army content with their prize, or do they have their sights set on more?

Celeste, Tarnelius, Arcus and Siobhan are back. After saving the land of Altierra from the threat of the ultimate evil, they expected life to return to normal and made plans to pay respects to a fallen friend. No good deed ever goes unpunished, though, and their actions have many consequences. Kuunkierto was defeated, but an ancient pact was broken and the first calls of war have sounded. Will they be able to right the wrongs of the world once more? Will they be strong enough to face what is coming?

Through the flames of war, new destinies arise.

My review: 

I couldn’t wait to see what the cast of characters we got to know and love in Destiny’s Wings would be up to now. Who could have foreseen the disastrous consequences of saving the world from the darkest evil?

Siobhan, Arcus, Celeste and Tarnelius return in force, and their challenges are even more testing than ever before. Their enemies are more formidable, but what hits hardest, at least for some (read it and see who I’m talking about), is the nemesis of your own blood. Standing up to such evil is never an easy decision, and the repercussions of your actions can scar you for life. Dark times, well handled. Ethical beliefs and traditional values are unquestionably challenged in this nail-biting adrenaline rush.

The real monsters are not always the ones you can see in front of your eyes, and that notion is an eye-opener for more than one of the band of heroes who, once more, protect what is valuable. What is good without evil, light without darkness, peace without the struggle to make it so – these are questions that were dancing in my mind all through reading this book.

Yes, at its core this is an epic fantasy novel, but to me it was so much more.

Beautiful prose, an incredible plot delivered flawlessly, and clearly the promise of more adventures to come are only a few of the gems that make this exquisite novel shine. An exceedingly satisfying read, wholeheartedly recommended. You won’t be disappointed. I would love to see this series made into film.

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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in Book Reviews, Guest Posts


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New Release and Review: Sunstone, by Holly Barbo




Sunstone on Amazon

Before there was a history, the sun goddess Navora visited a moon within her realm that held primitive ocean life. She dipped her staff of power into the primordial sea and stirred. Pleased with what she had wrought, she departed, not at all troubled that a divine spark had touched two small dying sea creatures. As centuries pass, life on the moon develops into a geothermal steam-powered industrial age. A triumvirate of politicians, banks and corporations bring strain and suffering to the masses they rule over. Unbeknownst to the people of the moon, there may be help. With the gears of time evermoving and trouble spiraling to a crisis point, can three individuals and a handful of fossils prevent a violent revolution?



My review: I don’t often read steampunk novels. It is a difficult genre to master without getting lost into gadgetry details at the expense of the plot, and I am picky. You won’t have that problem with Sunstone. The stakes laid out right at the very beginning are high, and they rise higher and higher as this world spirals fast into its own destruction. There is plenty of mystery shrouding this society, secrets which must be unraveled before all is lost, and the steampunk classic elements are there to enrich the story beautifully. It took root in my mind and I could not get it out of my head for days on end. I still think of parallels between the Sunstone society and ours. Sunstone is a very well-written steampunk thriller, a perfect example of the genre, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.



HollyHolly Barbo’s world is shaped by her love of her family, the beauty of the natural world in Northwest Washington State and an irrepressible creative drive.

Living where the scenery is incredible with a rich abundance of wildlife “is so special and soothing that it feels like a quiet kind of magic,” according to Barbo. She is drawn to creating stories where there is just a bit of something unworldly, perhaps it is magic or psychic skills. Her stories are mostly in non-urban settings and usually have some focus on nature, building a discordant drama inside the peaceful frame.

The above is the official author statement that I didn’t actually write. I’ve kept it as it is an accurate summation but here is the rest of the story:

You see, I never intended to write or to be an author though I have always written and told stories. I just never connected the two. I was working in my store.. actually nothing much was happening in the store. It was tax week of 2009 and things were very q.u.i.e.t. I was sitting at the computer and this story came out of my fingertips.

It probably started with me thinking of my Grandmother Chérie and how I would walk down the hill to see her at her cabin at the bend of the river. Throw in my love of raptors, the science/fantasy I enjoy reading and thoughts of the innocence we lose as we leave childhood. Sprinkle in characteristics of people I have known and places I have been. Add a dash of the only pet I ever had, even for a short time, my little skunk Thumper. (Yes, she had had her spray gland removed and I do still miss her.) Then finish with touches of my core beliefs and concerns about what is happening in our world.

These things were elements, colorful threads (“gems” as my cousin David would call them) that were woven into what ended up being a series of several books. The story was something that grew all by itself. Seriously! I don’t know where it came from. The first book was a little disconcerting as it was happening without my control. It was two years later, as I was querying for an agent, that I learned that I should have written a synopsis prior to starting the book. Oh. I missed that point.

I suppose all authors get attached to their characters. I have. I hope you do, too. There are currently five completed books in the Sage Seed Chronicles. I am working on an unrelated story called: Sunstone.

Follow Holly Barbo’s releases on Amazon. Connect with her here.


Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Book Reviews, Guest Posts


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New Release, Review and Giveaway: Fire Lust, by R.E. Hargrave

Title: Fire Lust by R.E. Hargrave
Cover Design by: J.C. Clarke (c) Grafix Momma
Genre: Fantasy / Bi-Sexual Erotica / Short Story
Length: 86 pages (~13k words)
Price on Amazon: Kindle $0.99 , Paperback $5.50 , FREE with Kindle Unlimited
***Contains explicit adult content meant for mature readers 18+,
including graphic sexual situations and recreational drug use.***
Heather Marsden and Cody Stevens have been an item since their first year of high school. With their future planned and their college graduation within reach, Cody gets devastating news from his doctor. Heather must now cope with the knowledge that she might lose the man who was supposed to be her forever.
While trying to come up with a grand final birthday surprise for him, Heather ends up befriending the new girl in town. Suzanne Cross lives a hippie life full of color and extravagance, seemingly without a care in the world. In truth, she’s all alone and hides a secret.
Heather’s new friend is something more than human, but how far will she be willing to go to save Cody? Just how much faith in “love” can she muster?
A few minutes into class, the door opened and a tall, dark-haired beauty rushed in, apologizing to the teacher with an innocent smile. The girl rushed across the room and slid into the seat right in front of Suzanne, who found herself staring and not caring one bit that she was. The purple aura around the newcomer was comforting . . . welcoming.
With a soft sigh, the girl dropped her bag before rummaging around in it for something. She finally found what she’d been after—a hairpiece—and as she straightened up and twisted the satiny lengths of her onyx hair into a messy bun, Suzanne was hit with a wave of sweet scent.
The smell reminded her of the beach—coconuts and limes. Surprisingly, she found herself leaning forward to try and sniff the girl who chose that moment to turn around, her pretty brown eyes widening at Suzanne’s proximity.
“Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you,” she whispered and though her voice shook, she pressed on. “Hi, I’m Suzanne Cross. I just transferred here and well, I’m having a party on Friday to try to get to know some people . . .” The words rambled out while she pushed a flyer toward the girl, trying to cover her inappropriate sniffing. What the hell? Suzanne didn’t do girls, but something about this girl was calling to her.
The girl didn’t grunt. She didn’t give Suzanne a noncommittal nod either. Instead, she took the flyer, looked it over, and then looked up at Suzanne with a brilliant smile.
She couldn’t help thinking how very beautiful the girl was and her head was having a hard time wrapping around that.
“Nice to meet you, Suzanne,” she whispered back. Her breath was tinted with a minty scent. “I’m Heather. This sounds great, but I need to check my calendar. I might have something going on,” she said politely before turning back around to pay attention to the history professor.
Suzanne had to give the girl credit for at least being amiable. She was the first person to speak to her all day—even if it had been a tactful dismissal. It hadn’t escaped Suzanne’s notice that most of the invitations she’d distributed throughout the day were left behind on seats, or even blatantly wadded up and tossed in the trash when people left the classrooms.
Class ended an hour later, and Suzanne was beyond ready to get home and light up. There was a shitload of homework to tackle, but it could wait a little bit until she’d mellowed. She was gathering her things when Suzanne felt a tap on her shoulder. Looking up, she was met with Heather’s sweet face.
“Hey, Suzanne, I just wanted to ask, if I can make it, is it okay if I bring my boyfriend? Friday’s his birthday and it would be awful of me to ditch him.” Heather let out a cute giggle, and she found herself smiling despite the absurdity of her reaction.
R.E. Hargrave lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX where she prides herself on being a domestic engineer. Married to her high school sweetheart, together they are raising three children. She is an avid reader, a sometimes quilter, and now, a writer. Other hobbies include gardening and a love of music. A native ‘mutt,’ Hargrave has lived in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and California. She is fond of setting her stories—which range from the sweet to the paranormal to the erotic—on location in South Carolina and Texas, but it’s anybody’s guess as to what the genre will be!
Current titles on Amazon:
The Crazy Lady Authors Present: Treasured Moments
Sugar & Spice
Haunted Raine
Unchained Melody (ebook only)
The Food Critic
Fire Lust
To Serve is Divine (Bk 1 of The Divine Trilogy)
A Divine Life (Bk 2 of The Divine Trilogy)
Surreal (Bk 3 of The Divine Trilogy) — 2015 Golden Flogger Award Nominee
Coming Soon
My Review
The last birthday present he will ever receive is life itself. What a wonderful twist on a paranormal theme while keeping the storyline smooth and real! I’m coming to think R.E. Hargrave can write nothing wrong. Highly recommended.

Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Book Reviews, Guest Posts


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R.E. Hargrave – An Author Divine…

You must remember the discussion, a couple of weeks back… or maybe more than that, I forget. We were talking about decent, well-written books, and how rare it was to find quality erotica that not only didn’t make you cringe, but it actually made you want to read more.

Well, I’ve found that author, and now I am addicted!

Read on.

TFC Kindle Cover


Amazon US    Amazon UK

The first thing that caught my attention was this novella, The Food Critic. R.E. gifted it to me, and what a lovely gift it turned out to be! It warmed my heart and made me smile. Written in an easy style, it is fun and oh-so-tasty! The plot idea is simple – food critic falls in love with restaurant owner – but the characters are what really brings the story to life. There is depth and emotion, a back story and even the right sort of pecans… I read it all in one go, and I wish there was a second and third book in the series.

Hint, hint, R.E.


I jumped at the chance to dive into her Divine Trilogy. So far, I read the first and bought the second and third. I hate that there are only three books in this series.

Again, what happened was that I was hooked – pulled right in and drowned in emotion. Whether Catherine and Master, or Erin and Jayden, the characters behaved like normal people, people with history, own thoughts and passions. Yes, there is sex, and yes, there is that sub-dom relationship which is uncomfortable to some readers, but believe me when I say it is tastefully done, easy to understand and follow, and a pleasure to read. This book is not about the sex, it is about two people who overcome their limitations because they found each other, and together they found love.

And that is what sets R.E. Hargrave’s writing apart. Her erotica is about the people, about love and emotion, and ultimately, about life.


Amazon US Amazon UK


R.E. Hargrave’s site   R.E. on Facebook   The Divine Trilogy


Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Book Reviews


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Author Spotlight: Cherime MacFarlane

Hello, my friends, and welcome.

Today I want to introduce to you one amazing author from Alaska: Cherime MacFarlane. I have discovered Cherime lurking on facebook, and read one of her books. It was full of local color, and you know me – I’m a sucker for real-life-inspired stories. Recently, I’ve bought another of her books, The Twisted Laird, and that is what drove me to write this post. Listen carefully: That book is amazing!

I’ve written a review, of course, but I’ve also twisted Cherime’s arm and sat her down for a chat. Here’s what she has to say.

Q & A with Cherime MacFarlane

I was surprised at the amount of detail in The Twisted Laird. All the strands of the story – the family life, relationships and customs, even the way of thinking and the speech – everything weaves together beautifully into a fascinating book. How did you manage to research all these and get it so right, being so far away from the actual setting? It seems an enormous amount of work for just one book.

I have been storing the information in my mind for years. I have been blessed with a nearly photographic memory and if I don’t recall something exactly, I know where to go to find the answer.

My father was part American Indian, Scots and Swede. But, the MacGregor part was always at the fore. All his life he refused to eat Campbell soup because of the connection between the MacGregors and the Campbells.

Then along came Allan MacFarlane. We were friends before anything else as he was married to a young woman who once babysat my kids. She came to visit and brought Allan and her daughter with her. He was a very well mannered, nice young man, six years younger than me.

Those two separated and she left Alaska. Allan stayed. My own marriage was falling apart due to my ex’s problems with alcohol. I finally determined some woman was going to realize what a catch Allan was and took steps to make sure that didn’t happen.

Allan’s mechanic shop was across the street from the newspaper which we ran. I told my ex it was over, walked across the street and told Allan I was all his. Now, what was he going to do with me? He figured out the answer fairly quickly.

He had immigrated to Canada with his family at a young age and did not get as much of his history as he wanted. Allan did not leave Scotland willingly. He put up a horrid fuss about it. So we researched together.

The two of us travelled to Scotland several times. I met his relatives while there. I listened and learned. I seem to have a gift for being able to put myself into other people’s skins, no matter the time period.

As an interesting side note to the research, a Patrick MacFarlane in the 1800 put together a comprehensive dictionary of Scots to English and English to Scots which is online in Google. I used it extensively.


Why the MacGroughs? Why not the MacFarlanes? What is so special to you about the Highlands?

Why the MacGroughs? Because I wanted a small clan, caught between the larger entities of the time. Being in that situation would lead to a tighter knit, more closely aligned group of people. Why not the MacFarlanes? Their history is too well known, too documented. Why the Highlands? That is Allan speaking through me. He was in love with them and hated leaving Scotland. If not for the children, he would have talked me into staying. But our children, his and mine, needed us. He was a wonderful father and step-father.


I’m reading Highland Light – thank you for gifting it to me, by the way – and find the same pull to keep reading. I seriously have no wish to do my work because the story is far more important to me. It takes a lot of imagination to build up a relationship between people who might have existed hundreds of years ago, giving them thoughts and emotions, and a certain way of looking at life. How much of it is guesswork, and how much is based on fact?

When you read old documents you get a feel for the times. The old stories carry a feel for the way people were. I have always listened to elders’ talk. Living in the French Quarter in New Orleans as a child, I was the one who hid in the shadows when the old folk were talking. I wanted to know what they did. I was a sneak and a half, often hiding under the furniture in the Old Colonial Antique store owned by my grandfather, and eavesdropped. Much of the old ways are ingrained inside me.


History and I are not best friends, but that is only because I hate learning text-book strings of facts and figures, with no logic or explanation. Showing historical events through the eyes of fictional (or real) characters is a genius way to entice a reader to satisfy their thirst for knowledge without coming across as a lecturing know-it-all. How did you settle on this method? Did you always plan it as a fiction novel, or rather a series of novels?

I told my children stories of how things were. I knew how to keep their interest and the same method works for most people. There are some who do not appreciate the detail I put in about how people lived in those times, but I know others do. It is a fine line to walk between enough and too much. I told the story as I would to my children.

Funny thing about this series. It actually started with the book about Hamish MacGrough, the heavy metal keyboard player for the band Bushmaster set in 1988. The basis for that story began as an exercise in payback. My son was playing with a guy, bass actually, doing a gig about 200 miles away. The lead guitar player and singer had an alcohol-fuelled meltdown and tried to trash on my son, in the middle twenties at the time. 

When my son came home, Sean, Allan and I sat around one evening over a few beers and figured out how to murder the guy. Wired For Sound was born. I fleshed it out and the first draft was written in the late 1980s.

I saw the first scene in Highland Light. I either dreamed it or it was a vision, not quite sure which. Then I went for it and it just flowed out onto the page. I understand both Gideon and Ailene quite well. No, the characters do not talk to me in my head, but I often dream scenes and have to rise and get it all down while the vision is still fresh.


You’re obviously passionate about the events that took place in the 1700s, but passion doesn’t come without a strong emotion. What made you so interested in the Knights Templar and their possible retreat to Scotland, of all places?

The Knights Templar were an amazing group of men. All seasoned warriors, those who joined the order were usually widowers with sons or other male relations ready to take over the estates they left. They swore a vow of chastity and were the protectors of the faithful making the pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

They were the very first international bankers and the order was quite wealthy.  One could deposit funds in any temple, get a chit and cash it in at any other temple and get your funds.

When Phillip the Fair of France decided to bring them down, he convinced a very weak pope to order them branded as heretics and for immoral actions. The pope controlled most of the western, catholic world at the time. The Swiss might have balked at a mass burning of people at the stake, but perhaps not. On the other hand, Robert The Bruce has already been excommunicated by the pope. But the bishops in Scotland stood with The Bruce and eventually he was brought back into the fold on a limited basis.

At the time I set the story Highland Light, there was no communication between the pope and the house of Bruce. There is also speculation regarding Rosslyn Chapel which I have known of for quite some time, which hints at a Templar connection. The Da Vinci Code made a bit of use of that as well.

And some have speculated as to a connection between Freemasonary and the Templars. It is all a wonderful puzzle to speculate on. There are mysteries out there which will never be solved.


Tell me more about this series. Are there any more books I should be looking out for?

The series starts with Highland Light then, a bit confusingly, jumps to a descendant of Gideon and Ailene, Hamish MacGough in Wired For Sound. Hamish’s adventures and the growth of his family and marriage are documented in North By Northeast, Rhythm And Blues and Family Knots. In those books more of his children’s paranormal abilities come to light. In The Templar’s Treasure, set in 2014, Hamish and his wife, Lori, celebrate their 28 year anniversary and all hell breaks loose. But, there is an anniversary present which turns up that leads a daughter in law to some discoveries and ultimately to Edan Campbell MacGrough who lived in 1746.

The paranormal connection is not something I just stuck in to appeal to a wider audience. My mother made spare change as a young girl reading tea leaves. What she didn’t tell people was that she could read them when she took their hands. She could hold something belonging to another person and tell you all about them.

Some of that, but in a different form, came to me, but skipped my sister entirely. I’m not sure, but think it has gone into the next generation in another manner which I will not go into here.


Besides the MacGroughs, I know you’ve written other books set in Alaska. I read one of them, and loved the genuine feel of the locations, characters and culture in general. What compels you to write about atypical situations and little-known nations or communities – unconventional, unpredictable, non-mainstream stories, so to speak?

I have lived in the Copper Basin, we hauled water and used an outhouse. It was interesting learning about the people and how they coped. Also, I have a mix in my DNA of other cultures and I enjoy learning how other people think and react to different situations.

In every generation you have those who are fairly sure they should have been born into a different time. What those people really possess is a pioneer spirit. It is the same spirit which caused the first man to explore. It is more than finding new sources of food, it is a great need to know. What really does lie on the other side of the hill?

It is a drive which cannot be tamped down or dismissed. It is a hunger, and there will always be those who feel the pull in their blood. I know them and understand their kind, being one myself. It is the reason Allan and I travelled as much as we could afford on a very limited budget. It is the reason I travel as often as I can now. I need to see what lies over the next ridge.


What an amazing woman! Don’t you agree? Let me show you the books I’m talking about. If you’re interested in the events surrounding Scotland of the 1700s, you will love them.



Amazon US

Amazon UK

The story of the MacGrough clan begins in “Highland Light”.
Not pretty, Ailene knows her suitors only want the glen. She refuses them all. Her father knows she must have a husband, a laird for the small clan. The 18 Knights Templar who secretly negotiate with Robert Bruce must quietly marry into the clans loyal to him. Among the Knights is Gideon. A ward of the Master, barely a man, the warrior knows nothing else. He is as unprepared as she is ready.
Ailene has seen the young man she wants. She will have him and no other. Gideon has honored the vows of chastity. He has no knowledge of women. He and Ailene must learn together.
But Gideon owes his new King service. No matter how much he wishes to stay with his wife, he has a duty. Scotland is fighting for its life against England. At the same time, Gideon’s new home is locked in a vicious internal struggle for power. Enemies are everywhere. The clan is in danger from all sides. The small bedroom they share is the only place where the young couple can find peace.



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Edan Campbell MacGrough is the only MacGrough male to return home from Culloden. They must leave their beloved glen. His half-brother sent him home to care for the women and children who are left. Daracha is happy to see her man return, but others are not so fortunate. He must hide behind his infirmity, a thing he detests. How will they survive in Glasgow? Aili Lara, wife of Birk MacGrough has seen Edan’s story by paranormal means and is telling the tale to the MacGrough’s of 2015.





Let me tell you first about The Twisted Laird, as that is the first book (in this series) I read.

The story begins with the aftermath of the battle of Culloden. Every male from the clan MacGrough went to stand by their King’s side, knowing full well they would not survive the massacre. The laird, whose responsibilities stretched further than present events, ensured the survival of his clan by ingenious means. I will not reveal what he did – suffice it to say it was very effective. From then on, a battle for survival ensues.

The only survivor and new laird, Edan, steers his people through the mire of dangers and prejudice rife at the time, and while their lives are not easy, the incredibly strong bond between these people enables them to prosper and move forward.

The author employs a great deal of Scottish vernacular in dialogue, in an attempt to give a better flavor of the time and place, and in this, she succeeded. At first, I resisted having what to me is an odd accent slow me down, but soon I settled into the rhythm of the characters’ speech, and loved my time there. I found I needed to get back to the book as soon as I could make time in my busy schedule. I missed reading about the MacGroughs whenever I was doing something else.

There is an enormous amount of detail in this book. I’m sure it’s taken days and even weeks of research, and for that I am grateful. I loved being immersed into the clan, and the atmosphere, and as soon I as I was finished with the book, I contacted the author and asked if there were any more. That is the sign of a good book. I loved that world, and I hated to have to leave it. I wanted back in.

And Cherime gifted me the first book in the series, Highland Light, because she is such an amazing person!

Despite the fact that I have read these books out of sequence, I feel the same pull to stay in the story, stay with the MacGroughs. Again, I love the characters, love the storyline, love the detailed descriptions – from customs to the work ethos, from cooking to the methods employed for building walls. These are not mere characters to me. They’re family. And I love them all.

The detail, vernacular, descriptions and reactions are all so perfectly woven, I hate having to turn the pages. I know I will finish reading this book in minutes, and I dread the end. There is no way I can give these books less than 5 stars. I wholeheartedly recommend them.


CherimeAlthough born in New Orleans, I am proud to call myself an Alaskan. I have lived here since 1977. I have seen -40 degrees, hauled water, made bear bacon and I live in a cabin. I have used a fishwheel to catch salmon coming up the Copper River. I was my second husband’s chief mechanic’s helper and roadie. I have cut firewood on shares. I worked as a cocktail waitress during pipeline days in a small lodge on the Richardson Highway.
My second husband, a Scot from Glasgow, was the love of my life. When I write Scots dialect, I personally experienced hearing it from my in laws. When my husband got on the phone to Scotland, after 5 seconds I could barely understand a word.
We moved to Wasilla to get warm. It barely drops past -25 degrees here in the winter. I became a paralegal and worked for over 26 years for the same firm.
Alaska is my home. I never thought I would love it so much, I never want to leave. The beauty of Alaska is a draw I cannot resist. I love the people and the history. I have been captured by a place I came to under duress. Life does play some interesting tricks on one. My love and I were not apart more than 24 hours for 20 plus years. I never wanted to be anywhere but with him. He was a man to run the river with and was my biggest fan. You can find me on FaceBook at I also blog at


Posted by on January 21, 2015 in Author Interviews, Book Reviews, Guest Posts


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Review: One Night in Edinburgh, by Charlotte Howard

one nightAmazon US

Amazon UK


I need an Ethan. NOW!

If you’re looking for a high-end erotic short read, something with substance, a decent plot, and technically perfect, you will enjoy this. I’ve read several books by the same author, and I’ve found in every case her writing style to be fresh and clean; no frills, no flowers – just right. One Night in Edinburgh is just that, only with an additional layer of heat. You may need a fan. Or an Ethan equivalent. I don’t own a fan.

The protagonists are not away from each other for long, and that is a good thing in my opinion. There is good chemistry between them, and while they fall for each other incredibly fast, the situations and reactions seem real. I liked the fact that they acted like the adults they were.

Did I enjoy the read? Yes, very much so. I’m wondering whether there will be a night (or several) in London next. I wouldn’t mind it in the slightest.


Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Book Reviews


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Review: Gideon Lee, by Lisa Orchard

Gideon LeeAmazon US

Amazon UK

What a wonderful breath of fresh air from the author of the Super Spies! I’ve read other books of Lisa Orchard’s, so I feel confident in saying this is by far the best piece of writing I’ve read from her. The quality and strength of this new voice is such a great leap forward, I forgot all about the author and concentrated solely on the story. This is talent. This is an author who has fallen into the right groove.

Gideon Lee is a mystery, just like other stories by this author, and in this this first book of the series we don’t figure out the puzzle, not entirely. Lark, the protagonist, is a character with whom I could identify easily, someone who felt every knock of her hard life, someone whose existence could be real. She has been beautifully portrayed. Lark’s struggle to understand the world around her, her anger at the realities of life, and general treatment of teenage angst are done with a light hand, intuitive appreciation, and high mastery of the writing craft. To me, Lisa Orchard has arrived.

Just like other commenters, I did find the ending of this instalment a little abrupt, but I don’t mind it, somehow. I do feel the hope that’s filling Lark’s heart fill mine too. I can wait – just about – for the next one in the series.

So difficult to find, these days, a no-nonsense book for teens, about teens, written in their language, and one that doesn’t sugar-coat the more offensive aspects of life. There’s no profanity in these pages, and yet the message is clear-cut and positive. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for teens and those who love them. Unquestionably, a five-star performance.


Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Book Reviews


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