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Tag: series

Author Spotlight: Cassie Edwards

cassie edwards spotlight

Written by Blue Falcon

Cassie Edwards

For my first author spotlight for Sweet Savage Flame, I want to focus on the prolific, but controversial author Cassie Edwards

The Rise

Biographical information for Mrs. Edwards is fairly limited. She says on the back cover of her book Savage Surrender that she became interested in writing romance novels after reading books her friends gave her.

Mrs. Edwards’s first book, Portrait of Desire, a traditional historical romance, was published by Kensington’s Zebra imprint in June 1982.

Portrait of Desire, Cassie Edwards, Zebra, 1982, cover art Walter Popp

Over the course of the next 27 years, Mrs. Edwards would author 108 books in total, which were published by four different publishing houses: Dorchester, Harlequin, Kensington, and Signet. In total, Mrs. Edwards wrote:

  • 3 novellas appearing in anthologies.
  •  6 series: 
    • Chippewa: 5 books.
    •  Dreamcatcher Indian: 3 books.
    •  Savage: 35 books. 
    •  Savage Secrets: 12 books.
    • Wild Arizona: 6 books.
    • Wild Tribes: 4 books. (Note: the 6 Wild Arizona and two of the Wild Tribes books are published under two different names by two different publishers.)
  • Approximately 41 standalone books. (It was hard to count them all). 
... Read more “Author Spotlight: Cassie Edwards”

Historical Romance Review: Through the Storm by Beverly Jenkins

Through the Storm, Beverly Jenkins, Avon, 1998, cover artist TBD

VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉

3 stars

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Book And The Set Up

Beverly Jenkins’ Through the Storm is a romance about a former slave finding love during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era with a man from a proud and established Louisiana family of Haitian descent. I’ve only read one Beverly Jenkins romance, her first outing, Night Song, almost thirty years ago. I liked it but never picked up another book by this author and wanted to remedy that. Through the Storm has gained high marks and positive reviews. For my part, I found it engaging, although I couldn’t help but think it needed tightening up in some areas.

Sable Fontaine is a slave of mixed European and African ancestry. At the beginning of the book, she is 29 years old when an elderly aunt reveals her bloodline secret. Sable is told that she is the descendent of African queens and two generations of slave owners. Her current owner–and father–plans to sell her to a depraved man, known to be extremely brutal with slaves. Her aunt will not allow this.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Through the Storm by Beverly Jenkins”

Category Romance Review: The Lady in the Mirror by Judith Arnold

lady in the mirror
The Lady in the Mirror, Judith Arnold, Harlequin, 1995, cover artist unknown

Harlequin Temptation #561

MILD SPOILERS 😉

3 Stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

The Book & Characters

This review is of The Lady in the Mirror, book #10 in the “Bachelor Arms series, and the first of two books in the series written by Judith Arnold, a pseudonym for Barbara Keiler. (Harlequin Temptation #561, November 1995).

Heroine: Jessica (Jessie) Gale, 27. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Social worker and owner-operator of Rainbow House, a social service center for runaways.

Hero: Clint McCreary, 30. Black hair, gray eyes. Former New York City police officer. Recent law school graduate. Clint has a job with the Bronx County DA’s office when he goes back east. (He doesn’t).

The Plot

The book begins with John Clinton “Clint” McCreary, former New York City police officer and the book’s hero, having just arrived in Los Angeles from New York in search of his missing half-sister, Diana. The first person he meets in Los Angeles is Jessie Gale, the heroine of the book. Jessie is a social worker who owns and runs a social services center for teenage runaways.... Read more “Category Romance Review: The Lady in the Mirror by Judith Arnold”

Historical Romance Review: Texas Fire by Caroline Bourne

texas fire
Texas Fire, Caroline Bourne, Zebra, 1989 Melissa Duillo-Gallo art, Fabio cover model

MILD SPOILERS 😉

2 1/2 Stars

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

Heroine: Laureli Cade, 23, Auburn hair, blue eyes. Heiress to the Wildwood ranch empire.

Hero: Court McKennon, 35. Black hair. Gray eyes. Former detective at Scotland Yard, later Texas Rancher.

This review is of Texas Fire by Caroline Bourne. This book, published by Zebra/Kensington in March 1989, is the sequel to her book Texas Conquest.

The Plot

Part I

The book begins in London, 1850, and will span 17 years. A woman is raped, and while trying to escape her attacker, falls and suffers serious injuries. This will set the tone for the rest of the book.

The scene then shifts to Brazoria, Texas, where Laureli Cade, the heroine of the book, lives on a sprawling ranch. Laureli is the only member of her immediate family in Texas right now; her father, Matthew, and mother, Mariah (the hero and heroine of Texas Conquest are in Europe, and Laureli’s younger brother, Timothy, is at West Point.

As she is introduced, Laureli is trying to catch a wild stallion.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Texas Fire by Caroline Bourne”

Historical Romance Review: Texas Conquest by Caroline Bourne

texas conquest
Texas Conquest, Caroline Bourne, Zebra, 1988, Robert Sabin cover art

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

2 Stars

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

This review is of Texas Conquest by Caroline Bourne. This historical romance is a Zebra Lovegram, published in 1988.

The Plot

Part II

The book starts in London, England, in 1810. Elsa Palmer is searching for her sister, Claretta, who became a prostitute after the death of her husband. He was a man their father didn’t approve of. Elsa convinces Claretta to travel to America with her and Elsa’s husband, William.

Fast forward 22 years. In Texas, on the Brazos River lives Mariah Palmer, 22, Elsa and William’s daughter and the heroine of the book. Mariah lives with Elsa (William has now passed away) and a younger brother, Jessie, who is away but coming home.

Mariah is a steadfast supporter of Texas independence from Mexico, which will place her squarely at odds with her new neighbor, Matthew Cade, the book’s hero. Even though he is an American, Matthew is the right-hand man for General Antonio Lopez y Santa Anna. Santa Anna has ordered Matthew to buy the home of Mariah’s neighbor, Francisco Gomez.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Texas Conquest by Caroline Bourne”

Historical Romance Review: Dark Before the Rising Sun by Laurie McBain

Dark Before the Rising Sun
Dark Before the Rising Sun, Laurie McBain, Avon, 1980, Tom Hall cover art

SNOOZE ALERT ⚠

1 1/2 Stars

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Great Title, Beautiful Cover, Too Bad About the Book

Dark Before the Rising Sun is the last installment in Laurie McBain‘s trilogy that began with Moonstruck Madness. This is a direct continuation of that book’s sequel, Chance the Winds of Fortune. I am breaking my rule for reviewing books that I have didn’t fully read, as I made it fairly far into this book and then skimmed to the end. Yes, it was that bad.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed this book more if it had been combined with the first book, and halved by length.

As I said in my review of Chance the Winds of Fortune, the second and third books combine for over 1000 pages. In the previous installment, the pride and joy of the Dominic family, the eldest daughter Rhea Claire was kidnapped. Events led her to be an unwilling passenger on a ship sailing the Caribbean, captained by Dante Leighton, former English Marquis turned pirate. Rhea charmed the pants off of the ship’s men, metaphorically speaking for the crew, but literally speaking of Captain Dante.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Dark Before the Rising Sun by Laurie McBain”

Category Romance Review: Seduced and Betrayed by Candace Schuler

seduced and betrayed
Seduced and Betrayed, Candace Schuler, Harlequin, 1995, cover artist TBD

Harlequin Temptation #553

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 🙂

4 1/2 Stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

Series Overview

This review is of Seduced and Betrayed, #8 in the `Bachelor Arms” series, and book #2 of 3 in the series written by Candace Schuler. (Harlequin Temptation, September 1995).

Plot

The book begins in 1970. A woman finds her boyfriend, naked, in bed with another woman, who is also naked. Their relationship isn’t the only thing that ends that night. 

Fast forward 25 years. Ezekiel “Zeke” Blackstone, 47, the book’s hero, is heading to a planning meeting for his daughter Cameron’s upcoming wedding. He is a famous actor turned producer/director and a major player in Hollywood. Zeke is nervous, however, because this meeting will bring him face-to-face with Ariel Cameron, 43, the heroine of the book, Cameron’s mother, and Zeke’s ex-wife. (They were the couple who broke up in the first paragraph!). Ariel, a successful actress turned model, has been estranged from Zeke for 25 years.

As Zeke takes an apartment–ironically the same one he lived in before at the “Bachelor Arms”–we learn how he and Ariel met, became lovers, married, and the circumstances that led to their divorce.... Read more “Category Romance Review: Seduced and Betrayed by Candace Schuler”

Historical Romance Review: Hearts of Fire by Anita Mills

hearts of fire
hearts of fire
Hearts of Fire, Anita Mills, Onyx, 1989 Gregg Gulbronson cover art

CONTENT & SPOILER ALERT ⚠

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

A Fitting Sequel to a Masterpiece Romance

Hearts of Fire is a more satisfying sequel to the first installment of Anita Mills‘ medieval romance series, Lady of Fire, than its second outing, Fire and Steel was. Fire and Steel saw Catherine de Brione, the beloved daughter of Lady of Fire‘s Roger and Eleonor, find love with Guy of Rivaux. Guy was the pure-hearted bastard son of the demonic Robert of Bellesme. Bellesme was the unforgettable charismatic villain of the first two books who had an obsessive but somehow noble love for Eleonor. Bellesme stole the show in those novels, so magnetic was his character.

In Hearts of Fire, the male protagonist is Richard of Rivaux, grandson of Robert Bellesme and his beloved Eleonor. Richard is a fascinating and complicated hero. He has his grandfather’s darkness but is not consumed totally by evil. He kills for his woman, yet he’s a tender lover. In another book, Richard could have been a villain. In this story, he’s the hero and a wonderful one at that.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Hearts of Fire by Anita Mills”

Category Romance Review: The Strong, Silent Type by Kate Hoffmann

The Strong, Silent Type, Kate Hoffmann, Harlequin, 1995, cover artist TBD (Canille?)

Harlequin Temptation #529

MILD SPOILERS 😉

3 1/2 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This review is of The Strong, Silent Type,  book #2 in the Bachelor Arms series and the 2nd of 3 books in the series written by Kate Hoffmann.

Wild One

The book begins with Josh Banks, the hero of the book and a tax accountant (yes, you read that correctly), meeting with one of his clients, actress Olivia Wilde (NOT the current actress using the stage name, this Olivia Wilde is a 75-year-old octogenarian actress). Olivia asks Josh for a favor; to keep her granddaughter, Taryn, out of Los Angeles for a few weeks (Olivia is up for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and feels that Taryn–a tabloid darling–might scupper her chances for the award with her behavior). 

When Josh meets Taryn, the heroine, he offers her money to leave L.A. She refuses. She’ll only agree to behave if Josh does something for her, which he is not willing to do at first. (He does agree, eventually, to pose for her).

Take Me as I Am

As the book goes on, Taryn gets into some mishaps which Josh has to extricate her from.... Read more “Category Romance Review: The Strong, Silent Type by Kate Hoffmann”

Category Romance Review: Bachelor Husband by Kate Hoffmann

bachelor husband
Bachelor Husband
Bachelor Husband, Kate Hoffmann, Harlequin, 1995, Cover Artist unknown

Harlequin Temptation #525

MILD SPOILERS 😉

4 1/2 Stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This review is of Bachelor Husband, book #1 of 11 in the Bachelor Arms” Harlequin Temptation series from February 1995 by Kate Hoffmann.

“Bachelor Arms” Series Overview

This 11 book continuity series takes place in/around the Los Angeles apartment complex the “Bachelor Arms”. Why there are only 11 books in the series instead of 12 is an unsolved mystery. The books are written by four different authors: books 1-3 are written by Kate Hoffmann;  4-6 by JoAnn Ross; 7-9 by Candace Schuler; and 10-11 by Judith Arnold. Although the series has four different authors, there is a subplot running through each book of the series. 

Private Eyes…They’re Watching You

Bachelor Husband begins with Harry Truman “Tru” Hallihan, the hero of the book and a private investigator, working a case. He has been hired by multi-millionaire Simon Marshall to find out if his son-in-law, Hollywood producer Ellis Stone, is cheating on Marshall’s daughter, Marianne. Although Stone has had three after-hours meetings with a woman, Tru hasn’t found any really incriminating evidence. ... Read more “Category Romance Review: Bachelor Husband by Kate Hoffmann”

Historical Romance Review: Highland Fire by Ruth Langan

highland fire
Highland Fire, Ruth Langan, Harlequin, 1991, George Jones cover art

Harlequin Historical #91

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 🙂

3 1/2 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Highland Sisters

Highland Fire is the third of Ruth Langan’s MacAlpin clan Highland series originally published as Harlequin Historicals. The first novel was Highland Barbarian about sister Meredith finding love. Next was Highland Heather, the tale of middle sister Brenna and her English lord. Highland Fire tells the story of the youngest MacAlpin sister, Megan, and her romance with an Irish renegade, Kieran O’Mara.

Now that Megan’s two older sisters are off and married, the title of clan leader falls upon her dainty soldiers. Despite her delicate appearance, Megan is not a woman who shies from violence. She can wield a sword with the best of them.

Despite its title, this romance is not really set in the Scottish Highlands but the green land of Ireland. Megan finds herself away from her home in a treacherous situation. Fortunately, Kieran O’Mara, a fierce Irish warrior, is there to save her life. Megan and Kieran form a strong relationship that turns into love. Unfortunately, a blow to the head has given Megan amnesia.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Highland Fire by Ruth Langan”

Historical Romance Review: Virginia Vixen by Kay McMahon

Virginia Vixen
Virginia Vixen, Kay McMahon, Zebra, 1986, John Ennis cover art

MILD SPOILERS 😉

2 1/2 Stars

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Virgina Vixen by Kay McMahon

This review is of Virginia Vixen by Kay McMahon. Published in May 1989, this book is part of a series connected to four other books by Ms. McMahon.

The Plot

The book begins in Williamsburg, Virginia, circa 1774. Rebecca Wilde, a reporter for the Virginia Gazette and the heroine of the book, is investigating the murder of a slave who was a childhood friend of hers. Arriving at the same time is Alec Stone, the hero of the book, who has come to Virginia from England for two purposes; to find his father’s identity and to investigate the disappearance of one of his employees.

Rebecca and Alec meet for the first time when they end up in the same bed together and they have sex. Soon after this encounter, Rebecca writes an article all but calling Alec a murderer (based on flimsy, circumstantial evidence). This leads to several angry interactions between her and others, and other forms of trouble.

Despite their tempestuous relationship, Rebecca and Alec call a truce and decide to work together.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Virginia Vixen by Kay McMahon”

Historical Romance Review: Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas

then came you lisa kleypas
then came you lisa kleypas
Then Came You, Lisa Kleypas, Avon, 1993, cover artist Max Ginsburg, cover model Steve Sandalis

MILD SPOILERS 😉

5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Heroine to Remember

The heroine of Lisa KleypasThen Came You was, at the time of the book’s initial release, a unique female protagonist. Today, Romancelandia is replete with hoydenish, unmarried non-virgins who thumb their noses at conventional rules. Back in 1993, the wild Lily Lawson was most unusual for a historical romance heroine.

The novel begins with Lily aboard a fancy sea vessel for a daytime event that bores her senseless. She allows her hat to fly off into the waters of the Thames in an attempt to prod her male admirers into fetching it for her. The reserved Lord Alex Raiford looks on, disgusted by her antics.

Lily is on the fringes of polite society as she is estranged from her family for her shocking behavior. Many years ago, she was involved in a love affair with an Italian gentleman who turned out to be a cad. Now, she takes pleasure in shocking the ton. Upon hearing that her dear sister cannot marry the man she loves, “Lawless” Lily Lawson–as she is called–is determined to break her sister’s engagement with the stuffed-shirt Lord Raiford.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas”

Historical Romance Review: Texas Storm by Deana James

texas storm
Texas Storm, Deana James, Zebra, 1986, Pino cover art

MILD SPOILERS 😉

3 1/2 stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Plot

It’s the mid-1830’s and Scottish immigrant Reiver MacPherson has been granted lands by the new Texas government. The dilapidated property he acquired belonged to an old Spanish family, but the place is now abandoned. Or at least Reiver thinks it is, because to his surprise, there he finds an emaciated young wisp of a girl, Mercedes-Maria, whose family once owned the lands but has fled to Mexico, leaving her behind. So begins Deana James’ Texas Storm.

Mercedes is a bit of a wild child, and Reiver has no patience for her at first. She insists the land is hers; he claims it’s is. The two butt heads but eventually agree to work together. Slowly, a romance unfolds as the pair get to know one another—sexual attraction forms. With James’ trademark earthy sensuality describing the passages, their passion results in vivid lovemaking sessions.

Mercedes & Reiver get married more out of convenience than love. However, their love grows as they experience adventure after adventure.

They tame wild horses across the Llano Estacado (The Staked Plains) & amass a substantial sum of money, turning Reiver into a respected patron.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Texas Storm by Deana James”

Historical Romance Review: The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux

the black lyon
The Black Lyon, Avon, 1980, George Ziel cover art

VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉

4 1/2 stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Black Lyon

The Black Lyon was my first Jude Deveraux read. I loved the first half, but the second half faltered a bit as a devious woman’s scheming separates the two protagonists.

Lady Lyonene is young, free-spirited, and really quite charming, while Ranulf de Warbrooke is a powerful and gruff knight. They meet and Lyonene instantly falls for the much older Ranulf. Lyonene has no idea what she’s getting herself into when she agrees to marry him so impetuously. A cruel monster of a man soon replaces the gentle man he seemed to be when they first met.

I loved how Lyonene makes her home on Ranulf’s fortress island, Malvoisin (it means “bad neighbor”), charming his retinue of black-haired knights while Ranulf is his grumpy self. He and Lyonene struggle to make their marriage work due to Ranulf’s turbulent nature. However, when the two are separated due to Amicia, a jealous evil Frankish woman who tries to comes between them, the story takes a bit of a downturn.

We do get to find out how the Montgomery family started, as Ranulf & Lyonene’s son is named Montgomery.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux”

Historical Romance Review: Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey

Gentle Rogue
Gentle Rogue
Gentle Rogue, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1990, Elaine Duillo cover artist, Fabio cover model

MILD SPOILERS 😉

5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Johanna Lindsey Mania

I first read this book eons ago, when Johanna Lindsey was the greatest writer on earth. At 12 years old, what did I know? I recall anxiously walking to Woolworth’s daily in November 1990, freaking out for her latest release. Boy, did I annoy the clerks by repeatedly asking when it was coming in!

The day I saw the clerk stocking the shelves, I grabbed the first book from the top of the box, not caring that it had a tiny slit in the cover. I was a bit disheartened, because for a DuilloFabioLindsey cover, save for Georgina’s lovely rose-trimmed gown, to me, it was ugly. With its drab green tones and bird-bats flying in front of a huge moon, I was less than impressed. When I saw the cover for Lindsey’s next book, Once a Princess, I was disappointed in the artwork. No more Fabio (although he’d make a comeback for a few more Lindseys). Plus, Once a Princess had a step-back cover with flowery font on the front.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey”

Historical Romance Review: The Taming by Jude Deveraux

The Taming, Pocket Books,1989, cover artist unkown
From the back of the book:

England’s most valiant knights paid court to wealthy Liana Neville, but only the infamous warrior Rogan Peregrine made no secret of his powerful desires. His very caress melted Liana into liquid fire, and she vowed to capture this magnificent, wild man. Boldly the delicate beauty gave him her hand — and Britain’s richest dower. Yet he was bound to a bitter feud: for love betrayed, brothers killed, and ancestral land usurped. In Rogan’s war-ravaged castle, Liana would lay her tender seige…to redeem his embattled spirit and win his untamed heart!

2 stars

Rating: 2 out of 5.

As a teen, I loved Jude Deveraux’s romances and devoured them like candy. I loved the spicy dynamic between her heroes and heroines. However, the one hero I HATED more than any was Rogan in The Taming (even more than Gavin in The Velvet Promise)! This book was the opposite of Highland Velvet, where the hero works his butt off to make his wife happy. Here, the wife works her fingers to the bone to help her lazy husband and his annoying siblings.

Rogan was such a lazy jerk with mistresses aplenty.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: The Taming by Jude Deveraux”

Historical Romance Review: Across a Starlit Sea by Rebecca Brandewyne

Across a Starlit Sea, Rebecca Brandewyne, Warner Books, 1989, cover artist Melissa Duillo-Gallo

For the heart is not a candle that, once lit, can be extinguished at will, but a fragile, foolish thing, all too easily wounded, all too slow to heal.

ACROSS A STARLIT SEA

4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Across a Starlit Sea was a tempestuous romance written by Rebecca Brandewyne. This was a sequel to one of my all-time beloved love stories, Upon a Moon-Dark Moor, and this was one of the rare Brandewyne novels with Warner Books that was not illustrated by Elaine Duillo. Instead, her daughter Melissa Duillo-Gallo painted the cover.

The Plot

The Cornish coast setting made for a dark, gothic feel to this historical romance. I enjoyed the first-person narrative in both books as the heroines told their life stories from youth to their first love to true love to married life with children and into old age. Expect to see here Brandewyne’s standard purple-prose writing and in-depth descriptions of history.

Laura was betrothed at birth to Jarrett, the eldest son of Maggie & Draco, the protagonist couple from Upon a Moon-Dark Moor, although she’s been in love with his younger brother, Nicholas, all her life.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Across a Starlit Sea by Rebecca Brandewyne”