by Sydney Somers
Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Hockey star Jackson Knight has a hundred reasons not to return to Promise Harbor, but none of them are good enough to get him out of attending his best friend’s wedding. Even with a career-ending knee injury, every puck-bunny in town will be gunning for him.
Worse, getting a pair of cuffs slapped on him at the bachelor party could ruin any chance of getting back in the game, even as a coach. Unless he can convince the arresting officer to smooth things over—by going to the wedding as his date.
Hayley Stone figures posing as Jackson’s girlfriend is the least she can do to salvage his reputation. Plus, having a man with a toe-curling smile on her arm will keep her ex off her back.
What starts as a simple plan to deflect small-town pot-shots unexpectedly becomes a sizzling night that hits Jackson like a full-body-check to the heart. Now he’s determined to prove that she’s the best reason of all to come home—for good.
Third in this series, and my favourite so far. Jackson and Hayley do a good job of acting like real people rather than players in a romance set-up, and mostly react according to their characters as opposed to fulfil a plot need. One slight niggle occurred where a discussion turned into a summing up of what's happened in the series so far, but this was generally a fun read that went slightly over and above the level I expect from the genre.
A Cornish Affair
by Liz Fenwick
Published by Orion
Running out on your wedding day never goes down well. When the pressure of her forthcoming marriage becomes too much, Jude bolts from the church, leaving a good man at the altar, her mother in a fury, and the guests with enough gossip to last a year. Guilty and ashamed, Jude flees to Pengarrock, a crumbling cliff-top mansion in Cornwall, where she takes a job cataloguing the Trevillion family's extensive library. The house is a welcome escape for Jude, full of history and secrets, but when its new owner arrives, it's clear that Pengarrock is not beloved by everyone. As Jude falls under the spell of the house, she learns of a family riddle stemming from a terrible tragedy centuries before, hinting at a lost treasure. And when Pengarrock is put up for sale, it seems that time is running out for the house and for Jude.
I really wanted to like this book, and on the face of it I really ought to have done. It's set in Cornwall and touches on lots of themes I've written about in my own stories. Sadly, the setting never really came to life for me; I felt that there were too many stretches of dialogue and not enough description. At times the dialogue was so stripped of any identifiers I had to reread it to figure out who was speaking. The one interesting character was killed off early on, and while the rest of the book touches on his character and life's work, I really didn't warm to any of the other male characters in the story. Nor did I get along with the protagonist. The story did pick up towards the end, and I finished the book in spite of my reservations, but I won't be bothering with its predecessor.
A Lady Risks All
by Bronwyn Scott
Published by Mills & Boon
SEDUCING THE CAPTAIN It would be unwise to mistake me for an innocent debutante - for years I have graced the smoky gloom of many a billiards club and honed my skills at my father's side. But now he has a new protege - a Captain Greer Barrington - and while my father would see me attract the attentions of an eligible lord I, Mercedes Lockhart, have other ambitions... Even if that means seducing the Captain to earn back my father's favour! I know I must avoid falling for Greer's charming smile... but his sensual kisses could be worth the risk... Ladies of Impropriety Breaking society's rules.
Mercedes has been brought up on the billiards circuit by her father, a self-made man who with his business partner won enough playing for money to set up his own club in Brighton. Now he wants to attract more people to his upcoming billiards championship, both as competitors and as spectators. Taking on Greer as their aristocratic protege, Mercedes and her father travel England, setting up games and generating publicity for the championship and their prospective champion.
While drawn to Greer, Mercedes' real ambition is to play in the championship herself, and then use her winnings to set up her own billiards establishment.
A fun and rather different read, although I would have liked more detail of how the game at that point in its evolution compares to the modern game.
The Rarest Rose
by I. Beacham
Published by Bold Strokes Books
Beautiful Eleanor Teal has accepted the tragedy in her life and gradually become reclusive, living alone in her Georgian home in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, a place she once shared with the woman she loved and lost, and a place where she feels safe and cocooned with her memories. But suddenly the house doesn’t feel safe anymore. Things start to happen there, things distinctly paranormal. She finds her life being haunted by the presence of a ghost who is desperately trying to tell her something. Help comes to Eleanor in the unexpected form of Kiernan Foyle, a freelance photographer with an abundance of Irish charm and wit but who hides a secret that makes her recoil from love. Brought together by the haunting, they soon discover the power of true love, but are they willing to risk loving again?
Full review now up on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread.
A Spy to Die For
by Kris DeLake
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Jack Hunter is a double agent.
Skye Jones is a pirate...or is that just a cover?
One thing is for sure—neither of them are competent assasins. Thrown together on the Krell space station during an important Assassins Guild meeting, each is determined to get to the truth and prevent catastrophe.
But when Jack and Skye are matched against two master killers, they find themselves caught in the crosshairs between their willingness to trust each other and the undeniable attraction coursing through them. Both knows that a long-term relationship is tough in their profession, but the chemistry they've got is too good to deny.
Now all they have to do is stay alive...
Full review now up on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread.
The Case of the Missing Dinosaur Egg
by June Whyte
Published by Untreed Reads
Chiana Ryan, PI (sort of) is deep in the middle of an exciting mystery, and everything is coming up eggs. First there’s the 120-million-year-old dinosaur egg that disappears from its stand at the museum. Then there’s the shed full of eggs she stumbles across while investigating crazy Professor T. Goodenough’s scary signs.
What do these eggs have in common? What are the strange creatures hatching from the eggs in Professor Goodenough’s shed? And how can Chiana find time to follow clues when the owner of Treehaven Riding School keeps her busy riding and looking after the horses?
Chiana and her friends are determined to crack the case, even when the clues bring them to the egg thieves themselves. Suddenly, it’s horses against motor bikes in a desperate race for survival…
A fun pre-teen read, set in Australia and the follow-up to one I'm yet to get hold of (although the hints at what's gone before make me keen to track it down). Lots of entertaining red herrings and fun character descriptions. Some of it is a little over the top, but within the expected boundaries for the genre.
by M. R. Hall
Published by Pan Books
Coroner Jenny Cooper investigates ...A mystery from the past. A deadly secret in the present. The body of a dead man is discovered in an overgrown cemetery in Bristol, the sign of the cross gouged into his flesh. At first it seems to coroner Jenny Cooper that all the evidence points to a horrific, if routine, suicide. Then an enigmatic young priest, Father Lucas Starr, arrives on Jenny's doorstep, entreating her to hold an inquest into the death of Eva Donaldson, a high profile political campaigner whose past life continued to haunt her. A young man, Paul Craven, has recently been sentenced for Eva's brutal murder. But despite Craven's conviction and the evidence against him, Father Lucas is convinced of the man's innocence. Jenny's lone quest for justice will take her to the dark heart of an establishment who wish to silence her, and on an inner journey to confront ghosts that have haunted her for a lifetime. For Jenny Cooper answers to no one but the dead ...
I'm finding it hard to believe just how many cover-ups take place in the Bristol area, but I'm still enjoying this series. Jenny has her flaws, and they keep almost tripping her up, but somehow she always survives to uncover the truth and keep her job until the next scandal unfolds.