Disclaimer:

Due to FTC regulations, any book reviewed on this site was sent for free by the author/publisher to The Pagan & The Pen Book Reviews. We are not paid to give reviews by Author or Publisher. Once review has been made, said books are deleted.

Oct 31, 2011

Moonlight & Illusions by Diane Wylie

Title: Moonlight & Illusions
Author: Diane Wylie
Author Website
Publisher:
Buy Link:
Genre: Romance/Paranormal
Reviewer: Rie McGaha



RATINGS FOR:
Cover: 5
Presentation: 5
Editing: 5
Story: 5
Writing Ability: 5

Overall Card Rating: 5 & RTP


The Book:
In 1889, Stephen Elliott is an illusionist on tour around the world, and makes his final stop in Mexico City. He's accompanied by his wife, Ruby, and their son, Calvin, and the family is looking forward to the final act that will end the two year tour, and allow them to travel back home to Boston. Stephen performs flawlessly but the finale is so convincing, he is arrested as a sorcerer and tossed into a Mexican jail. While trying to figure out what happened, Stephen withdraws a piece of candy from his pocket along with a small stone given to him by a strange old lady in the market. His Spanish is almost non-existent but he understood enough to know she said the Mayan stone was to never be in moonlight. Stephen should have listened.

The story moves forward to WWII where we learn Stephen has outlived his wife and son, and is wallowing in grief, drowning his sorrows in liquor. He then decides to join the Army and winds up gravel injured in battle, and wakes up on a hospital ship being cared for by 28-year-old nurse, Anabel Bernier, and the attraction is obvious. Anabel has been hurt by a boyfriend who left her for another woman, and Stephen feels guilty for the death of his son and wife. Even so, they strike up a conversation as Anabel has a cigarette on the ship's deck one moonlit night. Spying the watch on a chain around Stephen's neck, Anabel asks to hold it because it looks like a watch her father once owned. But before Stephen can stop her, she opens the watch and the small stone is exposed to the moonlight yet again, and causes Anabel to faint.

New York City 1966 – Stephen is know only as The Illusionist as he performs amazing feats of magic while traveling around the country. Anabel is visiting her friend on the occasion of her 50th birthday and winds up at a magic show. It's been a long time, but Anabel recognizes Stephen, and from there the plot thickens. Stephen is nearly killed during a dangerous illusion and Anabel rushes to his side. Unable to deny they have more than mere attraction in common, they realize the Mayan stone holds the key to their future and perhaps, their very lives.


The Review:
Diane Wylie has written another winner. From the first page Moonlight & Illusions held me riveted. I simply could not put the book down until I had devoured every word. I literally had to force myself to stop reading long enough to take a shower! Although I wasn't sure where this story was going to take me, I had no idea the trip would be so fraught with danger, adventure, and passion. Ms. Wylie's characters are not only believable, but so real you soon find yourself completely wrapped up in their lives, rooting for them throughout the book.

Ms. Wylie has obviously done her research into Mayan myths and legends. She takes a small stone and turns it into a magical object that holds secrets no one can quite figure out. Not only has she brought rich details to this story that will make you hold your breath as you wait to find out what will happen next, she puts the reader right into the surroundings with the colorful descriptions of the people and places. With brilliant dialogue, a storyline that will leave you breathless, and two people who have much more in common than they know, will make you swoon with every glance.

This is a definite must read and will go on the keeper shelf to be read again and again. Dian Wylie is one of the finest writer's I've ever read and you will not want to miss Moonlight & Illusions.                       

Aug 5, 2011

A Librarian’s Desire by Ava Delany



Title: A Librarian’s Desire
Author: Ava Delany
Publisher: Breathless Press
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Length: 28 pgs.
Reviewed by: yadkny

RATINGS FOR:
Cover: 4
Presentation: 4
Editing: 5
Story: 3
Writing Ability: 3.5

Overall Card Rating:
                                                            

About The Book: When an innocent preppy girl gets too drunk at his frat party, Daniel knows he has to keep her safe. Prequel to Librarian's Love.

Erica loves her studies. Library Science, the smell of history…it intoxicates her. But when she gets drunk at a frat party and reveals a bit more than she intends to in a game of Never Have I Ever, she finds her life of books and card catalogues not quite as satisfying as the handsome man whose attention she attracts.

The mousy librarian doing drunken keg stands grabs Daniel's attention from across the room. What a fascinating study in contrasts—one he can't wait to discover what mysteries her drab blouse and glasses may hide. And after hearing her sexy answers during Never Have I Ever, he's more determined than ever to know her secrets before the game is done.



The Review:
A fun celebratory night out was what Erica wanted, but a night she couldn’t remember the next morning was what she got instead.
Daniel knew there was more to the little librarian than met the eye. So many guises for one woman has him utterly fascinated, and wanting to learn more about her. What could possibly be better than finding a sexy enigmatic woman with a kinky side dressed as a librarian?
So short but still so good. The story is quick-paced, humorous, exciting, but most of all, very sexy. Erica is a relatable, hard-working character with layers to her personality. Daniel is handsome and confident but in a laid-back sort of way with a bit of dominance to his personality. I very much enjoyed Ms. Delany’s writing style and would definitely recommend this story to readers looking for an erotic short.
Readers should be aware that this story is a prequel to The Librarian’s Love, also by Ava Delany, which carries on with a bit more of Erica and Daniel’s story.

Loving The Beast by Naima Simone



Title: Loving The Beast
Author: Naima Simone
Buy Link
Publisher: Breathless Press
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Length: 113 pgs.
Reviewed by: Gabrielle

RATINGS FOR:
Cover: 3.5
Presentation: 4
Editing: 4
Story: 4.5
Writing Ability: 4.5

Overall Card Rating
                                            

About The Book:
Gwendolyn Sinclair needs help. And the one person who can give her the aid she urgently requires is exacting a high price.

Desperate to keep the neighborhood community center open, Gwendolyn seeks out Xavier St. James, her childhood friend and the brother of her dead fiance. Xavier’s family foundation possesses the funds necessary to keep the center open, but instead he offers a bargain—a devil’s bargain: submit her body for his pleasure for seven days, and the building doesn’t close its doors.

Left scarred from an accident, Xavier is bitter, resentful, and alone. When Gwendolyn reappears in his life, need and loneliness override conscience, and he proposes an arrangement she can’t afford to refuse. With the woman he has always wanted but could never have finally in his bed, he hungers for more. Her heart. But could she come to love a beast?


The Review:
There are not many books out there that touch your heart as this one did. This was definitely a fairy tale come true; a beautiful love story with great characters that reaffirms the power of love.
I adored Gwendolyn and her courage and strength. She has loved and lost in her life and has always longed for what she thought she could not have. When she gets a chance at tasting what she has longed for all these years, it is too much for her to pass up. Xavier is a man who had everything and in one quick moment, he lost it all. He has given up on the world and closed his heart to everyone. Yet it seems Gwendolyn finds her way into his heart with her love and acceptance. Watching the relationship bloom between these two was beautiful to read.  They each must find their way past pain and anger to find love and each other.
The author does a wonderful job of immersing the reader into a wondrous world with characters so full of emotions and depth. I truly enjoyed this book and will be sure to look for more from this author in the future.

Belonging by Nancy Henderson



Title: Belonging
Author: Nancy Henderson
Buy Link
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 181 pgs.
Reviewed by: Lana Sullivan

RATINGS FOR:
Cover: 4
Presentation: 4
Editing: 4
Story: 4
Writing Ability: 4

Overall Card Rating
                                           

About The Book:
When she finds herself unwed and pregnant, Nan answers an ad for a cook at a logging camp. Claiming to be a widow, she travels to North Creek, determined to learn how to cook before anyone notices her lack of skill.


Butler Cross expects an older woman, not the young and beautiful woman who brings out the wolf in all two hundred lumberjacks. Butler is determined to send her packing, but can’t help trying to discover the secret she’s hiding.


The Review:
Paige had no idea what she was in for, taking the job as camp cook for so many unmannered and uncouth men. Yet she’s determined to learn the skills needed in order to provide a home for her unborn child. An orphan boy, Danny and young worker, Billy are two of the many rich secondary characters in the story, aid her.

Butler is stubborn and ornery at first, two of the qualities needed to keep control over the worst of the loggers. Yet his patience with Paige will endear him to the reader even before he softens.

All in all, Belonging has the sweet romance, conflict, and a satisfying ending sure to please any historical romance fan.

Haunted by Debra Glass


Title: Haunted
Author: Debra Glass
Buy Link
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: YA Romance
Length: 192 pgs.
Reviewed by: BettyJean Pryor

RATINGS FOR:
Cover: 4
Presentation: 4
Editing: 5
Story: 5
Writing Ability: 5

Overall Card Rating
                                        

About The Book:  Can a heart still love once it stops beating?
My hopes of having a normal life died when I did. Especially since my near death experience turned me into a clairvoyant with a disfiguring scar. Not exactly most-popular material.

Now, because of me, my whole family has been forced to move to some small town in Tennessee. My parents think a quiet new school and a new set of friends will heal me of the scars I carry both inside and out.

There’s just one problem. Jeremiah Ransom, the charming ghost of a Civil War soldier who lived and died in my house, is haunting me. His presence makes me feel perfect. As if there’d never been a wound in the first place.  But I’m afraid that loving him will result in my death all over again.

The Review: This is a wonderful story about tragedy, young love, and possibilities.  Wren is a character that anyone can relate to in many ways.  The idea of falling in love with a ghost is explored in every way.  This book grabs you from the beginning.  The author really brings her characters to life with the vivid descriptions of their feelings and activities.  Young adults are sure to enjoy this book and be able to relate to the characters.
Pagan Elements: None

Dane (The MacKenzie Brothers Quartet, #1) by Liliana Hart



Title: Dane (The MacKenzie Brothers Quartet, #1)
Author: Liliana Hart
Buy Link
Publisher: Bodysways Publishing
Genre: Erotic Romance
Length: 63 pgs.
Reviewed by: yadkny

RATINGS FOR:
Cover: 4.5
Presentation: 4.5
Editing: 3.5
Story: 3.5
Writing Ability: 3.5

Overall Card Rating
                                          
                                           


About The Book: Bad boy, Dane MacKenzie, is coming home to Surrender, Montana. It’s been ten years since he left the woman he loved behind to make a name for himself, and now he’s bound and determined to claim her once and for all.

Charlotte Munroe has no desire to welcome home the Prodigal Son with a fatted calf. The bitterness of Dane’s betrayal runs deep, and she has no plans of letting him back into her life. Especially since she’s trying to protect the son Dane isn’t aware exists. from heartbreak, since she’s sure he’s only going to walk out of their lives again.

The Review:
Dane never thought he’d step foot back in Surrender again. Nevertheless, here he is back where it all happened. A place where he experienced some of the greatest highs and lows in his life… where nothing ever changes and life moves at a slow pace… where his mother passed away and the love of his life was left behind. Now he’s back to face the small town that held so much, but one thing's for certain – he didn’t expect to see Charlotte or the wrench she threw at him.
Charlotte (Charlie) has made a decent life for both her and Jayden. Given the hand she was dealt at a very young age, she’s managed to keep it together. Her arrival back in Surrender wasn’t due to happy circumstance, but after coming home to the place she grew up, she decided to stay. It isn’t until she sees Dane that things start to fall apart. The man standing before her looks and feels familiar, but the day he walked away is still fresh. She risked her heart before on Dane and lost, but that was before someone else depended on her.
Reunited lovers are one of my favorite storylines in romance. Everything is old and familiar, yet young and new at the same time, since absence does make the heart grow fonder. Dane and Charlie are no exception, but the storyline seemed a bit heavy for so short of pages. The events and characters in the story would have been more believable had there been room for further development. I wanted to be more emotionally invested in the characters before their ultimate HEA. For a woman scorned and left to raise a child on her own for the last ten years, I would think Charlie would have had more anger and resentment toward Dane. However, the lust between them was not a problem at all, which was almost palpable from the start, so I very much enjoyed Charlie and Dane’s physical reunion.
This is the first in a quartet of books the author plans for the brothers introduced in the story. The dynamics between them was interesting and entertaining, so I look forward to seeing where each of their storylines is taken. Contemporary erotic romance readers will come for the delicious eye candy found on the cover, but be pulled in by the story.

Cross-Stitch and Brimstone by Stephanie Beck



Title: Cross-Stitch and Brimstone
Author: Stephanie Beck
Publisher: Breathless Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Length: 20 pgs.
Reviewed By: Madeline Smoot

Ratings For:
Cover: 5
Presentation: 4
Editing: 4 
Story: 3
Writing Ability: 4
Overall Card Rating: 
                                                  

About the Book:
Marc kills demons. While he doesn’t love it, he’s happy to do his job, keeping people safe and destroying the brethren of the demons who stole his human life.

Beth lives quietly, content to stitch her samplers and fancywork in an era she wasn’t born to but is magically destined to live through.

A late night visit changes both Marc and Beth’s worlds, reuniting them after over a hundred years, long after their love affair ended tragically during the Civil War. Back together, the two must decide what their future holds as they battle the real threat—a demon with a bad case of rose envy.

The Review:
A delightful story of lost love reunites with a paranormal twist is the best way to describe the novella, Cross-Stitch and Brimstone. With well thought out characters, this book comes to life with the story of Beth and Marc. The love scene fits the story perfectly while the two reunite after 150 years of separation. The only real flaw that I found in this heartwarming story is that it seemed a bit rushed. I would love to see the heart of the story expanded into a full-length novel and the character described in more detail.

This heartwarming story of love rekindled is both a classic and a refreshing look at the paranormal genre. This is definitely an author to watch and to enjoy for years to come.