Archive for the 'Freya's Bower' Category

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Honeysuckle & Wild Roses Freya’s Bower

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

REVIEWED BY:

SCORE:

Author: Zinnia Hope
Publisher: Freya’s Bower

REVIEW:

For the past year, a dream lover has visited Honey while she sleeps. After one such dream she wakens to find her brother, Shandy, has come to call her in for the family meal. Not expecting him, as he had not been due back from his visit to the Great Wood for a couple more days, she is happy her older brother is home.

Unfortunately, Honey’s mother, Amberon, has invited Jorgus and his son, Keadric to dinner. Jorgus wants Keadric to marry Honey. Amberon is in agreement. It seems Honey has no say or choice in the matter. Shandy isn’t happy at the prospect of his sister marrying Keadric either and makes his feelings quite clear on the matter.

Dinner with the whole family has an air of tension surrounding it. One of Honey’s sisters explains to Honey that by marrying Keadric it will ensure their family lives a little better. Keadric and Shandy trade snide comments, and after the meal, Shandy is able to express to Keadric exactly what he thinks of him.

When Jorgus and Keadric depart, the whole family gather to listen to one of Amberon’s many tales. This night she relates to them about the Green People. Honey finds out that the Green Man is drawn to the scents of certain flowers…

The 7th daughter of a 7th daughter, Honey is soon to have a birthday. On this birthday her special magical powers will rise within her. The day after her birthday she is due to marry Keadric. On the day of her birthday, Honey and Shandy take a walk into the Great Wood to collect honeysuckle for the special wreaths Amberon wishes to make.

Thus begins a wonderful journey for Honey. A new world is opened up to her (and me as a reader). Honey comes to some startling realisations on her journey, and a crafty twist in the tale caught me off guard.

With lovely wording, great images and a literal fearytale read, Zinnia Hope weaves an un-put-downable story that quite literally transported me to another world, one I can well believe exists/existed at some point in time. After all, myths have got to have some basis, right?

Favourite line:

So is a snake sunning itself on a pretty rock.

Favourite image:

The musty odors of decaying wood, leaves, and pine needles mingled with the heady aroma of blooming berry bushes, and the smell of damp forest earth left a queer taste in Honey’s mouth.

5 champagne flutes.

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The Cost of Loyalty Freya’s Bower

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

REVIEWED BY:

SCORE:

Author: F.Foxx
Publisher: Freya’s Bower

REVIEW:

Rob and Johnny are serving in the Vietnam war. Stuck in a filthy trench with rats for company, the pair discuss Johnny’s girlfriend, Georgie, to take their minds from the harsh reality they have been living.

Thoughts of back home do nothing for Johnny, as Georgie is serving with the Red Cross. They met on camp. Though they haven’t been to the movies or done the conventional courtship, they are a close couple.

A new assignment of soldiers arrives, and Johnny hears news that the place where Georgie works has suffered terrible losses. Unable to stay put, Johnny asks Rob to cover for him and he drives out to check if his girlfriend is okay.

Sad. Utterly sad. I cried my eyes out at one point.

Johnny, while returning back to his camp, has an accident and stumbles to a small house/shack. A woman lets him in… Again, at the end of this scene the tears started again when Johnny gets to go to see a movie… Damn you, Mr. Foxx!

Rob, worried when his friend doesn’t return, finds himself in trouble with the Major. Johnny’s jeep has been found abandoned, and Rob decides he must go and find his friend.

Turning up at the same small shack as Johnny had, Rob finds out just where his friend has gone. His encounter with the woman had me on the edge of my seat. The story ends on a poignant note.

Favourite line:

That was when he cried.

Oh, me too! Pass me the tissues, please!

What an excellent read. I enjoyed this story very much. I learned something new about Vietnam and what it was like. The knowledge/research of this time is very prevalent while reading—an author who has taken the time to get the facts correct is refreshing.

Any more in the works, Mr. Foxx?

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A Taste of Italy Freya’s Bower

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

REVIEWED BY:

SCORE:

So very well deserved: The Whole Bottle of Champagne! 

 

Author: Lucie Simone
Publisher: Freya’s Bower
ISBN: 1-934069-46-9

REVIEW:

A Taste of Italy is a total and utter RIOT. From the first few lines this book had me laughing out loud. With superb wit and perfect delivery, Lucie Simone has created a must-read tale. How pleasing to read something that is so funny, yet at the same time romantic. Stunning 1st person POV, I couldn’t put this one down, reading from cover to cover, literally scoffing down the words. This is one mad-cap ride of thrills!

Carly Simpson sets off abroad in the hopes of snaring a man. Fed up of waiting for Mr. Right to come along, she first tries Paris. Not enamoured of the French city, she moves on to Florence, Italy.

Decidedly unkempt from travelling, with clothes in need of a jolly good wash, one of my favourite lines from A Taste of Italy came along:

I was an exhausted mop of greasy hair in a pair of jeans that had been worn so many times they nearly stood on their own.

Carly visits the local laundromat, where a man flirts with her. He gets told off by his mama, who runs the establishment. This is an amusing scene - trust me!

After a shower and nap at her run-down hotel, Carly visits the city where she buys a scarf from a vendor named Helena. Helena invites her to watch her perform in an opera.

Favourite line in this scene:

It was nice, but not that nice.

You’ll have to read it to ’get it’ but that line gave me a real belly laugh. 

The opera turned out to be full of older people, and Carly didn’t really enjoy herself, although the singing was wonderful. She explains to Helena what she’s doing in Italy, and Helena offers to help.

Funniest line in the whole book:

“You give me name, I find him.”

Meeting Helena later on at a club, Carly finds herself floundering. She feels too old to be there among the younger people, who think nothing of gyrating with one another and displaying their amorous antics in public. Despondent, Carly leaves the club and wonders if she’ll ever find a man…

The next day Carly goes on a tour of Florence with other tourists, mainly couples, and this just enhances her feelings of loneliness. She decides to go and watch a play, only to find it cancelled when she arrives due to the weather.

The poor woman isn’t having much luck at all. Until she meets with David, one of the actors in the play. He offers to show her the real sights of Florence.

Carly and David go out for a meal, comfortable in each others company. Afterwards, they stroll through the city, take in the sights and end up back at Carly’s hotel…

With a very hot erotic scene, Ms. Simone will have your nether regions on fire, and you’ll be more than ready to attack your other half when comes home from work, or, if he’s sitting anywhere in your location after reading, prepare yourself (and him!) for a damn good time!

Phew!

A Taste of Italy ends on a really smile-inducing note. I would definitely recommend this story to anyone, actually, I’m going to gas-bag about it to everyone. Really good, really funny, and really bloody wonderful!

Encore! Encore!

*gets her boppy instrument ready in case any more of Ms. Simone’s works arrive at Cocktails.*

They’re mine, mine I tell you!

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Eye of the Beholder Freya’s Bower

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

REVIEWED BY:

SCORE:

Author: Sara Dennis
Publisher: Freya’s Bower
ISBN: 1-934069-06-4

REVIEW:

Story 1: Eye of the Beholder

Every now and again, an author that has writing short fiction down to a fine art crosses my path. Sara Dennis is one of them.

In Eye of the Beholder, Ms. Dennis has created a kind of virtual world of the future, an entirely believable one. Not usually into sci-fi-ish works, this one held my interest literally from the first sentence.

After a night out, Raine waits on the side of the road for a taxi cab. In this world, taxis have no drivers, you pay for your fare by swiping a credit type card. The taxi cab alone fascinated me and I was able to picture everything.

While in the taxi, Raine drops her earring in between the seat cushions. Reaching for it, she is surprised to find the handle of a mobile telephone. She pulls out the phone. Now, the telephone in Eye of the Beholder is a very good example of how our imaginations as humans can conjure up possible future models of our every day appliances. Ms. Dennis’ phone is a unique (for me anyway, I don’t read sci-fi as a rule) item. I found it intriguing, just like the cab.

Peeking at the one message on the phone, Raine is presented with a picture video involving someone famous in a menage a trois. Unable to look away, she becomes engrossed in the video, and as it comes to an end, the voice of the taxi operator informs her that she has violated laws.

Confused, Raine is deposited a few blocks away from her destination of home.

Once home, she is startled to find that she can’t enter her apartment building. Nelson, the apartment doorman, seemingly doesn’t recognise her and accuses her of stealing her own identity. Police sirens wail in the distance, and Raine runs…

She calls the famous owner of the phone. She tells him she wants to return the phone, and he invites her to his home.

Eye of the Beholder finishes with a good explanation as to why Raine’s world went suddenly strange, and finishes on a note where as a reader I was able to realise exactly what Raine’s future would be, without being told.

I really enjoyed this story. I want to read more from Ms. Dennis.

Story 2: Skin Deep

Detective Maxwell Lincoln has been maimed in an accident. He looks highly unsightly, and with two short paragraphs I am made to feel immense sorrow for the fellow. Candace, his partner, had survived the accident without any major scarring. Due to being seen as a monster, Maxwell pushed her offers of help away. From these two paragraphs, I got the sense of total helplessness Maxwell suffered; loving someone so much it hurts yet willing to set her free from the burden of living and looking after him. Twice I have noted the amounts of paragraphs taken to inspire very strong emotions inside me. With the right amount of wording, evoking such a response from a reader…I would say Ms. Dennis is one of the finer ebook writers I have read.

While getting ready to go to court and testify, Maxwell catches the scent of Candace in his room. He discovers she’s been inside his home and left one of those funky phones on his dresser, and he opens the message. She expresses that she still cares for him, and a vivid scene showing an intimate moment of theirs comes into play–excellent description of his body scars had me wincing in sorrow for him.

Used to people shying away from him, or gasping in horror when they see his facial scars, Maxwell is slightly confused when he turns up in court and no one seems to see him as anything but a regular-looking guy.

With a clever twist and use of futuristic appliances, Ms. Dennis made my mind rattle trying to work out her twist before she showed her hand, yet I couldn’t do it. Excellent!
Two stories set in the future, two stories that gave me an excellent hour of reading.

Watch out for Ms. Dennis. If these two tales are anything to go by, I’m guessing her other books will also be top notch.

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Charade Freya’s Bower

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

REVIEWED BY:

 

SCORE:

Author: M.E Ellis

Publisher: Freya’s Bower 

Shirley Langford is looking forward to nothing more than getting out of her house, getting away from her husband and kids and indulging in a good stiff one! It’s a drink I am alluding to, of course. If you were thinking otherwise, however, Charade will not let you stray too far off the beaten path.  The beaten path you ask? That would be the life Shirley has been wandering since child #4 was born. Then, somewhere between #2 and #3 Shirley forgot who she was and the purpose she had, if there was any to begin with… Her mind has since been kidnapped by Teletubbies and sock eating dryer gremlins. 

 Domestic life is never as blissful as any blushing bride imagines and when it all becomes too much, Shirley simply wants a break. Is that too much to ask? Her only outlet, her only smidgeon of sanity, lay in the hands of her oldest and dearest friend, Kathy, who is having some marital problems but lives miles away… How horrible it is for Shirley to know that such a close and dear friend is having relationship problems. How terrible that Kathy must go through this storm alone, must watch as the cracks that often form in the fibre of a relationship soon turn to sink holes of suspicion… And all without best friend Shirley there to console her. Email, it seems, is the closest the best friend’s can get these days… 

If only best friend Kathy could get away. How wonderful it would be if she brought her anxiety, her melancholy, her restless nerves along for a little visit. Shirley  could console her friend then (she has four kids after all, consoling was her middle name, right after Mummy ‘Can I?’ and Mummy ’She hit me first’). And when Kathy was feeling better (or not) they would celebrate as best friends do with a night on the town dancing while tossing a few back. Shirley even ordered a lovely new outfit off the Internet! Come on, Kathy? Help a stranded housewife out! 

In the midst of domestication, during the struggle to stay sane, to stay calm, to not murder children or spouses, sometimes we forget what it was that gave us such an urge to nest in the first place. That love that once burned like hellfire, now a tiny shimmer of sunlight against a distant airplane in the sky; flying to exotic destinations the average housewife will never get the opportunity to visit. Suspicion of love lost or forgotten can get the best of any woman and her dishpan hands.   Is it possible that all husbands are the same? 

Charade will keep you wondering and cheering for that ever well-meaning woman,  whose curves have turned to lumps, whose long, lush hair has turned to hay, whose half hour bubble bath surrounded by scented candles has turned to a wash cloth under each arm and a dab of toothpaste on the tongue. No time for that now, #3 has missed the school bus again! The sacrifice of a great wife and mother… 

Can love endure the monotony and pressure of day to day life? Is their still humour in her little world? Is there still love? Ask author M.E. Ellis, though she may look at you with a strangely dulled gaze over a pile of laundry the size of Godzilla and answer, “Don’t ask me…I’m not that type of person…” You know the type…  

When I realized I would be reviewing one of M.E. Ellis’ stories I was excited. From what I understand, she has published some pretty dark and spooky reads. I was disappointed to learn this would not be one of them. That certainly did not change the fact that I couldn’t put this quaint story of love down. Don’t go getting all teary-eyed, Voodoo Sunrise! There’s plenty of horror to go around, and some husbands may very well feel that way while reading this as they try hide the lipstick stain on their own collar… 

Charade was indeed a wonderful read. I recommend it to anybody who wants something light, something to let their mind drift away from their own pile of laundry if only for a moment. I suppose I should be honest however… If there is anything wrong with Charade, anything at all… well… it could have used some zombies… 4/5 flute glasses!

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Of Lilies Freya’s Bower

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

REVIEWED BY:

SCORE:

Author: F.R.R Mallory
Publisher: Freya’s Bower
ISBN: 1-934069-45-0

REVIEW:

 

Story One: Of Lilies

I must say the first line of this book had a beauty to it that made me want to read on. Rich, with a literary feel, the words were beautifully placed. I enjoy literary fiction every so often, and this fitted the bill perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, I do like mainstream writing, but to read something so poetically lovely made my day.

Martin senses things. He is able to astrally project. He drifts into his subconscious and the woman his mind creates comes into view. Of course, she is beautiful, everything he has ever dreamed of. She teases, entices, and this short story, though steeped with eroticism, is very nice indeed. There isn’t much I can say about this story without giving the whole plot away. Suffice to say, Of Lilies is a wonderful literary journey, one I’m glad I took.

An especially great line: …ripped away the remains of his cloak of civilization.

Ah, the wonderment of the written word and the images they inspire within.

FABULOUS: She tasted of dark nights, hidden moons, and vapors rising up from still waters.

What a fantastic line! Wow. Hidden moons particularly grabbed me, but that whole line brought so many images and odours. Just fabulous!

Story two: Cherie

Again, first line, another well written hook:

Downtown Santa Rosa had lost some of its luster as the brisk breeze of early spring tore anti-war flyers off staple ridden posts to scatter their bits like giant uneven snowflakes across the lawn and fountains of the central square.

Is that just delicious or what?

The voice of this story isn’t literary as in ‘Of Lilies’. It couldn’t be really, because it’s a totally different story, although the two tales do tie in with one another.

Cherie is a sex columnist. After doing research, she finds out that men who succumb to a Succubus have a penchant for lilies. This ties in with story one. It makes her giggle, as she eyes a man buying such flowers from a vendor.

The story progresses, and Cherie finds herself with the flower buyer in a cafe. He shows her to a room out the back where a psychic healer works. The healer works on Cherie, and she finds out who the flower buyer really is.

A very well written pair of stories. I liked Of Lilies best, purely for the richness of the wording. I also liked the fact that erotica can be written without resorting to ‘those words’ that cheapen the work somewhat.

Lovely. Glad I read this lovely little book.

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She’s Got Legs Freya’s Bower

Monday, February 19th, 2007

REVIEWED BY:

SCORE: 

Author: Amanda Brice

Publisher: Freya’s Bower

ISBN: 1-934069-13-2

 

Two stories that merge as one.

REVIEW:

 

I opened the pdf for this book and saw on the cover the most hideous pair of shoes on the feet of this woman.

What? Who the hell would wear something like that? All becomes clear when I read on. And let me tell you, this is one of the best chick-lit voices! Scrummy!

Daria doesn’t really want to go to her high school reunion. She hated ‘those bitches’ (funny!) while at school, so having to go back and see them all again isn’t exactly her idea of a good night out. She has a think, as we do when going back to face our pasts, of what she’s achieved so far. Good job, good money, nice condo, cool friends. But she hasn’t got married, hasn’t had kids. Has she been doing something wrong to still be young, free and single? She’s only 33, but still, shouldn’t she have bagged a hubby by now?

Plagued by these thoughts, and some of how she ended up agreeing to go to the reunion in the first place (her sister Kara persuaded her to go. After all, the lure of borrowing Kara’s clothes has got to be worth it, and the shoes! Oh, she could pick a pair of wonderful shoes and feel a million dollars in them) Daria gets used to the fact that she’s going to see those cheerleader bitches again.

Selecting a dazzling dress from Kara’s wardrobe, Daria is just about to pick some shoes when the taxi cab toots its horn. Grabbing a pair of shoes from the bottom of the wardrobe, she races out to the waiting cab.

Dressed up, Daria dons the shoes in the back of the cab, and doesn’t see she has an extremely ugly pair of shoes on her feet.

Daria enters the party with a deep breath. Everyone seems to look the same as when she’d last seen them. Two bitches, Jenna Ridgley and Catherine Sinclair waylay Daria. And then they notice the shoes… Great idea, great visuals, and the feelings of female mortification here are very strong. She retreats to a far corner and gulps down a glass of wine.

And out of the speakers blasts the song I wanna sex you up. Ah, Color Me Badd or some such band sang that, didn’t they? Blast from my own past seeing that song in the book, so much so I burst out laughing and went red at the same time. It’s not funny when you’re merrily enjoying a book and something in it reminds you of your former geekiness years! Only joking. I’m not joking about being a geek but what I mean is, I’m not saying this spoiled the read. It’s fine that I’m reduced to a red-faced gimp right now and reaching for the tissues… But it’s fine. Daria feels exactly the same as me so I don’t feel so bad.

Enter lovely looking man. This bit cracked me up, not because anything was particularly funny, but because Daria has on those nasty-assed shoes and a RED dress. What a total cock-up! I suspect there will be a cock-up later on in the book but I haven’t got that far yet. Oh ha @ me. If I get any wittier I’ll start giggling at myself like a baboon on an overdose of whatever it is baboon’s overdose on. Leaves? Bananas?

The man seems vaguely familiar but Daria doesn’t place who he is until he tells her his name. Greg McCauley. She’d had a crush on him in her younger years. Coupled with the shoes, could the errors of the evening get any more embarrassing? So she tells him her name is Elaine Benes. Again, I found this utterly hilarious (I swear I haven’t been drinking!). She’s picked such an un-nice name. Yes. Funny.

The pair have a good flirting session and then Ms. Brice slaps me with another song that yanks the past back into the present. ‘A classic Bryan Adams song’ can only be that terrible Robin Hood melody that stayed at number one for so many weeks I could have pulled out Adams’ eyeballs if I ever got to meet him. Which I haven’t. And am never likely to. So they dance, and Daria decides that if Greg asks her, she’ll go home with him and live out every fantasy she’d never acted on in her youth.

However, Daria is reminded of the time and she has to go. Kara will be home from her own night out soon and the dress and shoes must be returned! Greg is left all on his own and Daria totters out of the reunion on the nasty heels…

Story two shows us Greg’s POV. He wonders if he’ll ever see Daria/Elaine again. The spell of the party has been broken and Greg just wants to go home. He can’t get Daria out of his mind in the following days. Something about her got to him. Plus he finds out she’s really called Daria, and finds himself searching the crowds for her every time he goes out. Haven’t we all done that at some point? Also, has anyone else had phantom conversations with that person we’d so like to see again, acted out what we’d say?

No?

Oh.

Greg is out and about and then he sees the shoes again…

I am revealing no more. If you want to know how it ends you’ll have to buy the book to find out.

This tale is funny, brought many things to mind, and made me connect with the character because we’re round about the same age. I think any woman of any age would connect with Daria though. She’s too likeable not to.

I’m glad I read this book. I liked it very much. It’s put a smile on my face and made my mood lighten. Now, any book that does that will make my partner smile. He’ll come home and think that I’ve either been on the sauce or taken some form of medication. I’m seriously in a crazy mood now.

Thanks, Ms. Brice!

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Sorcha’s Heart Freya’s Bower

Monday, February 19th, 2007

REVIEWED BY:

 

SCORE:

 

Author: Debbie Mumford

Publisher: Freya’s Bower

ISBN: 1-934069-19-1 

REVIEW: 

While making a strengthening potion with her mother, Elspeth, Sorcha voices her intention to seek the Heart of Fire. Elspeth worries that Sorcha isn’t as capable a wizard as she thinks, and doesn’t want Sorcha searching for the Heart.

 

Leofric is stirring up unrest amongst the dragon community. Sorcha is afraid Leofric will push the dragons too far, resulting in them wiping humans from the face of the earth. Elspeth has been trying to convince Leofric to back away from warring with the dragons. The Heart of Fire is needed to end the war, and Sorcha is determined to find it—with or without her mother’s blessing.

 

While visiting a lagoon that evening, I got my first taste of Ms. Mumford’s ability to create beautiful visuals. Having read her short story in the Dreams & Desires anthology, I eagerly pounced on wanting to read Sorcha’s Heart. I would have taken Glass Magic too, but, having opened my big mouth to Sangria about liking Ms. Mumford’s style, she got there first.

 

Apologies for going off topic… 

Lagoon: great visuals, and the added line about the smell of seaweed put me right beside Sorcha. Being a wizard, she sensed company arriving before it came. In the form of a dragon, who landed at the edge the lagoon. He lets Sorcha know that he knows that she seeks the Heart, and explains that more than one witness is needed before the Heart can be claimed.

 

Great line in this scene, bringing awesome imagery to mind: He laid his huge head upon his front feet, reminding Sorcha of her mother’s sleek black tomcat.

 

 

I ‘saw’ huge dragon nostrils, claws the length of human fingers. Large eyes, glinting with moonlight, all without Ms. Mumford having to describe those things, all from that one line above. Fantastic.

 

Sorcha calls to the Heart of Fire, and it comes to her in the form of a necklace, A fire opal in a filigree setting. This then brought the cover work for this story to mind, as I saw the necklace on there. I must say this cover fits the story perfectly.

 

The dragon demands the Heart of Fire, fearing that Sorcha will kill his community if she takes it with her. She slips the chain around her neck and instantly pain assaults her. Her whole body is wracked with spasms, and she collapses down onto the sand. She awakes to new sounds, and enlightenment, for she can hear dragons talking—and understands them. 

Realising the price she had to pay for taking the Heart of Fire was to become a dragon, she frantically searches the human side of her brain for a spell, any spell to reverse this terrible occurrence. The dragon from the lagoon is by her side, and he warns her not to try and change what is done. He is more kindly that when Sorcha first met him, and I loved the way he called her ‘Little One’. I will confess to melting towards the dragon, named Caedyrn, at this point. Is it a little weird to admit to falling in love with a big, scaly beast, complete with triangular pointy tail? You may think me a little odd, but I think you’ll find if you read this book, you’ll love him too…

 

Idly wonders if she’ll call out Caedryrn’s name in her sleep tonight. Husband will wonder what the devil she’s talking about… Titter. 

Caedyrn tenderly (swoon) takes care of Sorcha. On her first ‘flight’ he is there to ensure she doesn’t fall. This scene is amazing. I actually felt as though I were Sorcha (I mean, who wouldn’t? If it means flying in the sky with Caedyrn, then damn it, I’m going to pretend I’m her, right?) and the exhilaration of being airborne comes across very well here. She says, “I am Sorcha and I can fly!”. I’m a soppy thing, and this brought tears to my eyes. The pair then eat, as the transformation into being a dragon and also flying has sapped Sorcha’s strength.

 

I enjoyed the fact that Sorcha was a dragon yet could think like a human. Glimpsing her inner thoughts here as she accepts and comes to terms with her new body is a bonus. I’m not into fantasy usually, but this tale has made me want to try something else in this genre. I mean, how can a human being changed into a dragon be plausible? I don’t know, but Debbie Mumford pulls this off exceptionally well. I am actually amazed that I have been made to believe this can happen. Astounding talent on Ms. Mumford’s part.

 

Caedyrn takes Sorcha to his home. A vast Ice Aerie, a cave with many passages and rooms. This part of the book is fantastic. The description is so wonderful I felt I was actually in those caves. Sorcha is introduced to the other dragons. Her emotions are shown well here—insecurity, being a little scared, excited, unsure. Again, wonderful.

 

It takes a little time for Rex, the head dragon, to accept that Sorcha means the dragon community no harm. She is told by other females that their first ‘mating’ will soon happen. Females fly up into the air, and a male chases her to claim her for himself. The bonding between Sorcha and the other females is well done. It is almost like they are human females having a natter and chatter about the men they fancy. You tend to forget they are dragons—indeed, so steeped was I in this tale (or can I say ‘tail’—ooo, makes me think of Caedyrn…) that even knowing at the back of my mind they are dragons doesn’t seem weird. I can’t explain it, but you’d understand if you read the book.

 

Sorcha feels the pull of the ‘flight’ but Rex doesn’t want her to participate this time round. However, it is Sorcha’s choice if she does so, and of course, she does. I was so happy (and jealous, mind) that Caedryn caught up with Sorcha and made her his lifetime partner. And their coupling—ooh la la! How on EARTH can two dragons having sex be sensual and beautiful? You can’t imagine it until you actually read this book, but it does indeed come across as a wonderful union.

 

Can you tell I am in love with this book yet?

 

I won’t reveal what else happens in Sorcha’s Heart, but just know that the ending doesn’t disappoint in AT ALL. I’m so very glad that I read this story. It has opened up a new genre for me that I had previously ignored and secretly scoffed at as being weird and unreal. To be shown that ‘unreal’ can indeed be made totally ‘real’ was a pleasure. I am a little reticent though, to try other fantasy books for fear that none of them will ever match up to this one. They say your first is always special—and indeed it’s true. My first ‘fantasy’ will, I think, always remain the best. It will always be Sorcha’s Heart.

 

WARNING! Fellow reviewers, please be prepared to be bopped over the head with my boppy instrument if Ms. Mumford submits another book for review. I WANT IT!

 

You hear me?

 

Gasp! Pant!

 

I’m okay…honestly. I’m fine.

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Glass Magic Freya’s Bower

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

 REVIEWED BY:

 

SCORE:

Author: Debbie Mumford

Publisher: Freya’s Bower

ISBN: 1-934069-06-X

 

 

REVIEW:

 

 

Red is trapped in an ancient pane of glass. The glass pane has been packed up and sent to Maureen McBride’s establishment and installed there. The description of the glass being taken out of its packaging, right at the start of this delightful little ebook, let me know that I’d be in for a good read, as the visuals had started inside my head already.

 

Maureen is snooty and reminds Red of the Summer Queen, whom he abhors. He decides that, as he can’t wreak vengeance on the Summer Queen, he will satisfy his urges and play a game with Maureen. Sean Flynn, the man fitting the pane of glass that Red resides in, will do very nicely for what Red has in mind, thank you very much, and Red sets to work.

 

Maureen inspects Sean’s work and unfortunately for Sean, Red’s mischief captures him in a very unique way. As the unique way begins to take ‘shape’ (this is a very funny tale) Red makes the floor buck and Sean and Maureen are thrown together. Ms. Mumford’s dialogue is very amusing, and I laughed out loud with this scene.

 

Red uses his powers to lock the door, and after the couple realise few discoveries, Red ensures that Sean and Maureen are a couple before he releases them.

 

Maureen and Sean are called away on family business when they have a guest arriving. Their neighbour, Kathleen Mallory, agrees to let the guest in and see to his needs while they are away.

 

Maureen had prepared the Rose room for their guest, Maureen’s cousin, Raymond O’Conner. Raymond has other ideas, and chooses to stay in a different room. Kathleen tries to explain that he really would be better off staying in a different room and not ‘Red’s Bower’…

 

Again, Red stirs up mischief and certain things happen. I warmed to Kathleen here, a lonely woman being loved after thinking the rest of her life would be spent by herself. Ms. Mumford then inspired sorrow by Kathleen leaving the room upset. I really felt sorry for Kathleen at this point, and also, to a lesser degree, Ray.

 

Ray is a famous musician, and he thought Kathleen was a star struck fan. Once he realises she isn’t, he begins to think about Kathleen in a different light. Red certainly knows how to weave his magic!

 

Great visual: When Maureen asks Red to show himself in the glass to Ray. I ‘saw’ a rippled effect, much like the top of a lake when a pebble skims it, and then Red’s face appeared. What a great image.

 

Overall, the first story in this set of two is amusing and very witty. The second tale inspires more emotions and with both tales I was left satisfied that love indeed wins the day. A great pair of stories that tie together wonderfully. For a quick read when you’re short on time, I’d recommend buying Glass Magic. Even if you have time in abundance, this ebook is highly satisfying. In more ways than one. Wink!

 


 

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Stripped Freya’s Bower

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

REVIEWED BY: 


SCORE: 

Stripped has won our new award of ‘The Whole Bottle of Champagne’. This score far surpasses 5 flutes.

Author: Rhonda Stapleton
Publisher: Freya’s Bower
ISBN: 1-934069-42-6

REVIEW:

Amanda

Over-looked for a promotion that she thought she had “in the bag”; the story begins with her girlfriends throwing her a party to cheer her up.  (I liked Amanda immediately; I love a book where you get to “read” the thoughts of the characters).  A male stripper had been booked, but had let them down, so a “substitute” had to be found at the last minute.  The substitute is a terrible dancer, but sexy as hell, and certainly cheered Amanda up, but as she was extremely drunk, she didn’t get the full works, if you get me!

She awakes the following day and the events of the previous night come back to haunt her. She is mortified and nursing a hangover, but what the Hey, she’ll never see him again anyhow, right?

Returning to work she is introduced to the man who, as far as she is concerned, got “her” job?

The first time the two meet up again following the party is hysterical, I won’t go into that, it would spoil it for you, but suffice it to say it had me laughing out loud! 

Amanda shares her affections between her widowed, matchmaking, immaculate mother, her feisty grandmother and her beloved sister, and baby nephew. She gets involved in many aspects of their lives with sometimes hilarious, other times heart wrenching results, which only endeared the character to me all the more.

One scene that had me literally wiping away tears of mirth, was when Amanda had been to the dentist, and had to attend a dinner whilst still numb from the anaesthetic. It was as if I was there seeing and hearing it for myself, it is so well written and believable.

Jake

Divorced father of a little girl, Jessica, he has taken a new job and is moving away from his overbearing mother to try and make a new life for himself and his adorable daughter.

He finds himself the reluctant “substitute” stripper at Amanda’s party because he owes one of Amanda’s girlfriends a favour.  There is an instant spark between the two of them, but the effects of alcohol on Amanda conspire against the lust struck pair.

He juggles his work and home life, and inevitably, the two clash forcing Jake to take a leap of faith regarding childcare for his little girl. This links him to Amanda in other ways besides the “strip”.

A fantastic read, a real page-turner that had me engrossed from the first page to the last.  The writing was such that I felt that I knew the characters personally, and when the book was over it left me feeling a little bereft. WONDERFUL.

Would I recommend it? YES absolutely!  I would certainly put Rhonda Stapleton on my list of favourite authors.

Favourite lines –

1.  If I had her body, I’d wear the tiniest clothes possible. Okay, I’d be naked.
 

2. Probably because he’s gorgeous, funny as hell, and his kisses taste like sin.

3. She looks to be about seven or eight, and I briefly wonder if a blind woman with no fingers braided her hair.

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book so much that when I opened the pdf to write my review I read Stripped AGAIN. I felt it far surpassed 5 flutes and I give Stripped the new award of ‘The Whole Bottle of Champagne’.