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Category: romance (Page 1 of 8)

The Art of Healing – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Jeanne Felfe

In Jeanne Felfe’s The Art of Healing, Julianne is devastated by her husband’s infidelity and the eventual demise of their marriage. Meanwhile, photographer Jokob is still reeling from his wife’s tragic death, turning only to his art for comfort. When the two meet at a gallery of Jokob’s work, sparks fly, giving them both an opportunity to heal themselves and each other with new love.


Despite being an excellent story, The Art of Healing seems to be quite disorganized. The plot jumps between characters’ perspectives haphazardly and without reason, and the large skips in the timeline seem nonsensical and almost confusing. Granted, the plot is still interesting enough to carry the reader through to the end regardless, but more careful organization would benefit this novel greatly. Aside from that, there’s no denying that The Art of Healing is a truly fantastic romance novel in every way.


Jeanne Felfe has quite the talent for writing a believable romance with substance; The Art of Healing is not a “love at first sight” story, nor is it superficial or overly cliché. Rather, the characters are well-written and wholly human, making them relatable and interesting in the way a dear friend or beloved family member would be. Their romance is wholesome and genuine, resulting in a romance novel that is truly captivating and a pleasure to read. The Art of Healing is wonderfully real, guaranteed to tug at readers’ heartstrings and give them a romance worth rooting for.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Kindred Spirits – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Whitney Dineen

Whitney Dineen’s delightful romantic and comedic tale, Kindred Spirits, has a fun paranormal twist to it. Philippa or Pip is a wealthy woman with a strange ability to speak to the dead. She must give the messages she receives to the intended persons or suffer weird and potentially embarrassing consequences. Richard is also wealthy, and he’s tired of the New York City dating scene. He’s so ready to find the love of his life that he hires a matchmaker. Pip’s spiritual contacts take measures to ensure she and Richard meet -in a very peculiar way. Whether or not the two can overcome Pip’s secrets and whether or not Pip can save her latest spiritual contact from being in trouble keeps readers turning pages.

Kindred Spirits is meant to be a romantic comedy, but it isn’t fall-off-your-chair funny. However, it is humorous with a cute love story. The minor proofreading mistakes don’t detract from the story though they are a tad bit annoying. Whitney Dineen has written a sweet and fun story all while blending in ghosts and spiritual mediumship in an unexpected way. It’s much easier to get a grasp on Pip than it is Richard, as Dineen doesn’t really give any insight into what Richard really does. However, readers can easily grow fond of both characters rather quickly.

Whitney Dineen’s Kindred Spirits: A Romantic Comedy About Love, Life and the Afterlife is a breath of fresh air in the world of romance novels. It’s fun and playful in an eccentric sort of way all while giving readers plenty of time to fall head-over-heels for both Pip and Richard. There are a number of supporting characters, but just the right amount to give the plot more depth and deepen the reader’s experience. For those looking for a wholesome and sweet romance with a dash of humor, Whitney Dineen’s Kindred Spirits should be on their list.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Epiphany – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Sonya Deanna Terry


Epiphany is the collection of two books in Sonya Deanna Terry’s Epiphany series, The Golding and The Silvering. When Rosetta begins reading Our True Ancient History by Edward Lillibridge, she wonders what it would be like if the events of the book were real—and finds far more than she bargained for.


Though Epiphany’s rich complexity is wonderful to read, it does tend to be slightly confusing at times. The pacing is a bit off sometimes, and there are other times where the two fictional worlds in the story—one based in fantasy, the other in modern reality—don’t quite mesh as well as they could. Also, perhaps there is just a bit too much going on in this pairing of stories; the self-proclaimed “story within a story” is certainly that, but it may not always be an effective approach. Epiphany is certainly not a read for the faint-hearted, nor for those who are expecting a quick and easy beach read.


With that being said, it is abundantly clear that seasoned fans of the fantasy genre are going to find a lot to love in this quirky series. The plots of both The Golding and The Silvering are unique, colorful, and riveting, keeping the reader actively engaged and turning pages. Sonya Deanna Terry is a brilliant fantasy writer, incorporating vivid imagery and imaginative characters into a pure knock-out of a story. Epiphany is unlike any other fantasy series, but in the best ways; this is a fantastic, immersive, truly wonderful series that is sure to capture attention and leave a memorable impression on its readers.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Ulfbehrt’s Legacy – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Holly Bargo

In Holly Bargo’s Ulfbehrt’s Legacy, Lars and Zoe find each other when they are both in need of healing. Lars suffered numerous wounds from a fierce battle as he’s in the Royal Norwegian Navy, and Zoe, along with her history of deep and traumatic wounds, is searching for a new place to live and a new job so she can finish her graduate degree at a Norwegian university. They experience what seems to be love-at-first-sight or “pow” as Lars’ father calls it, but both of their pasts come back to haunt them and threaten to tear them apart.


Ulfbehrt’s Legacy is a stereotypical romance novel. Guy meets girl through his sister. Girl has dark and traumatic past. Guy is a tough guy and believes he needs to protect her. The pace set early on was a bit slow moving, but if readers are patient they’ll discover a real page-turner in the last two-thirds of the story. Unfortunately for Bargo, the tone is set for Ulfbehrt’s Legacy by misspelling “Ulfberht” and by entitling the story as though the sword and the legacy is a major focus -it is not. As long as readers can move past that, they can find a sexy romance inside the pages of Bargo’s story though.


Sexy scenes throughout, danger near the end, and evidence of a strong woman save Ulfbehrt’s Legacy just as Lars believes he needs to save Zoe. For readers who crave women that need strong alpha males to come to their aid to make them feel safe and to keep them safe, this story will likely light their fire. The last third of the story really shines a light on Holly Bargo’s potential skills as a wonderful writer, who can keep readers enthralled. If more attention is given to details, Holly Bargo has great potential as a romance author and thought there are some issues with Ulfbehrt’s Legacy it’s a romantic and sexy example of her potential.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Everything For Love – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Marilyn Vix

Marilyn Vix has created a very unique new series in her Time Rogue Series. Kicking off the series with Everything For Love, Vix introduces readers to Deidre, Max and even James. They are “timeanauts”. Deidre’s job is to travel back in time to research artists and gain understanding of their methods, but “timeanauts” mustn’t change history. When Deidre unexpectedly does, her life is threatened. Max appears and helps to save her. The attraction she feels towards him is instant, but is marred by the various other men she seems to feel something for, and her heart still aches for James. However, Vix does an exceptional job of bringing a titillating climax to their story all while creating a cliffhanger that will leave readers waiting to read the next book with bated breath.

Everything For Love is an interesting mix as it’s sweet, gentle, hot and sexy, relaxed and tension-filled. Though the story drags a bit in the earlier stages, it picks up about mid-way through. Deidre’s innate tendency to fall for numerous different male characters takes away from the possibility that she is capable of experiencing really being in love, but it also suggests she’s just a hot-blooded, sensual woman. After all, the “timeanauts” have to charge their energy bracelets, so they can time travel, with sexual energy. One major drawback is the large amount of grammatical errors, but solid proofreading could correct that.

Readers shouldn’t let the need for grammatical errors take away from the absolutely fascinating delight that Marilyn Vix’s Everything For Love holds. The Time Rogue Series has been set up to suck readers in and create raving fans with a unique blend of different genres, including paranormal, sci-fi, and steamy romance. Vix’s skill at writing an ending that is surprising, atypical, sexy and a cliffhanger is a skill few authors have. This type of writing ability displayed in Everything For Love, by Marilyn Vix, will have many readers coming back for more.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Catching the Last Tram – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Susan Holt

Catching the Last Tram, written by Susan Holt, is a highly unique take on a romance novel. The female protaganist, Beth, is living in a new city and taking on a new job as a librarian. In her attempt to catch the bus to her job, she ends up riding a quaint tram. Day-in and day-out, she rides the tram to and from work. Not only does she meet a handsome man, Isaac, who becomes a love interest, but a number of other new friends. Eventually, she comes to realize something is off about the passengers though and the tram vanishes. With a paranormal twist to this charming love story, Beth grows stronger as a woman -for herself, her friends and her love, and Holt does a good job of keeping readers guessing until the very end.

Susan Holt’s Catching the Last Tram is certainly not like the typical romance novel, which makes it unforgettable. However, the story was a bit slow to start though there are enough hints expertly woven in to get readers curious from those first few pages. The only other drawback might be that a time or two Holt added in pieces that didn’t really seem to be necessary, such as how Beth had to save for a long time just to buy a coat. Then, there was an entire scene written around buying the coat, but it didn’t truly support the story -a bit, but not only mildly. It seemed a bit forced.

Of course, that minor issue is just that, minor. Throughout the entire captivating tale of Catching the Last Tram readers will wonder what’s real and what’s not real, which will keep them turning pages. With almost the entire story being set within the antique tram readers can easily imagine themselves boarding the tram and meeting Holt’s characters themselves. Susan Holt’s Catching the Last Tram has a unique flavor throughout and includes a surprise ending that is likely to leave readers salivating for a sequel.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Carved Wooden Heart – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Elizabeth Horton-Newton & Starla Hartless

Readers will find a unique romance within the pages of Elizabeth Horton-Newton’s and Starla Hartless’ novel, Carved Wooden Heart. Dani Stone interviews drop-dead-sexy artist, Jesse Wolf Carver for a series of articles she was writing on the arts of indigenous people. At first, he wanted nothing to do with her, but it didn’t take long before he gave her far more than an interview. The two fell into a very brief, wild love affair. What Dani came away with was more than she’d bargained for. Therefore, when a fellow student, Doug, began to court her and offered to marry her, she finally took him up on his offer of love and marriage. Yet, her chance at long-lasting happiness was still a long way off.

Carved Wooden Heart has a very unique concept, but it is marred by a few minor things. There are times when it feels like a contradiction between the strength of Dani and the way she actually behaves. Jesse is an enigma from the beginning showing exceptionall y rude behavior, then drastically shifting to being flirtatious and seductive. Furthermore, his aggressive behavior pops up out of the blue, and while Dani isn’t fully accepting of it, she also allows him to get by with some of it. She’s a tough young woman; therefore, that strength within her would’ve better been displayed more consistently. Weakness is natural, but this is an important piece of the female protagonist that could be more fully developed.

Though the storyline was a bit dry and slow at times, Horton-Newton and Hartless did a wonderful job of writing a life for Dani that is believable and seems actually possible for readers. Few women only experience one relationship during their lifetimes, and Carved Wooden Heart dives into not just two major romances for Dani, but the fringes of a third. The ending is somewhat stereotypical, yet it’s just what the reader is rooting for. Yet, there are surprises and conflicts until the end. Elizabeth Horton-Newton and Starla Hartless wrote a fabulous romance filled with sexy scenes, sweet romance and deeply emotional challenges. Carved Wooden Heart is a work of art in its own right. Well done.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Darlings – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Nick Rester

In Nick Rester’s Darlings, young adults called Irises are afflicted with a disease that causes them to die on their twenty-second birthday. One of these is Fey Davis, the youngest of them all. He falls in love with the leader of their group, Marcy Darling. Their love is destined for tragedy, though, as their deaths creep closer and closer.

Darlings’ plot is a bit unclear in the beginning, leading to a fair bit of confusion surrounding the Irises and what is going on with them. There isn’t nearly as much detail about their disease as there could be, either; it’s a fascinating and unique concept that certainly could have delved into deeper detail about it all. Most unfortunate of all, perhaps, is Darlings’ dire need of editing. There are many mistakes that distract from the story, and this is not a story that readers should be distracted from.

Darlings is an intriguing and poignant novel, full of excellent imagery and heart-wrenching emotional scenes. It expertly blends romance, science fiction, young adult themes, and mature social commentary in an exhilarating roller coaster of a reading experience. Nick Rester writes with a creative, down-to-earth style that draws the reader in and keeps them hooked from beginning to end. The world and characters he’s created are realistic and believable, inspiring emotional attachment to and pure devastation for each character throughout the book. Darlings is an incredible, exciting journey that will stick in your mind long after you’ve read it – in all the best ways.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Heaven Scent – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Virginia Alison

A highly unique romance novel, Virginia Alison’s Heaven Scent is sure to stir readers in one way or another. Sexy Texas cowboy, Evan falls for blonde, blue-eyed author, Ginny. Their steamy love affair and out-of-this-world attraction for one another drives the two of them to extreme measures to not only find one another but to have a chance at a life-time of love. The two experience surprises and shocks from start to finish.

Though based in modern-day Texas, Heaven Scent kicks off in a confusing way, which may lead readers to believe it is in a time in the past. The confusion continues for a chapter or two before it becomes more clear. Often times, the story has gaps that add another layer of confusion to the mix. More depth to the supporting characters could’ve been beneficial. Alison does display a quick temper in Evan and a some levels of reckless abandon as well as strength in Ginny -all of this done through their actions and words. There are numerous instances of grammatical errors and occasionally missed words, but Ginny and Evan’s sexy scenes may override those potentially annoying mistakes.

Heaven Scent is the first book in a trilogy of steamy romance novels, and with the way this story ends it will certainly leave readers wondering what will happen next. They’ll be anxiously awaiting to learn more about the other characters that Viriginia Alison may bring forward. There is no question that Heaven Scent is hot and sexy almost from the very beginning. Alison created two headstrong and inviting characters in this steamy romance while weaving in a sprinkling of the paranormal. This fascinating blending of love, romance, sex and hint of the metaphysical encourages readers to keep turning pages until the very end -an ending they absolutely won’t expect.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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A Tear for Eternity.com – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Virginia Alison

Virginia Alison’s A Tear For Eternity.com is a comedic, romantic novel surrounding an attractive female erotic author in her fifties. Divorced and single, Mia has, for the past six years, participated in a romantic and sexual relationship -all online with Kip, a man she’s never met. In between trying to tidy up her yard that her grumpy older neighbor nags her about and writing her next chapter, she allows her mind to wonder through fantasies, toys with her online relationship and occasionally engages in face-to-face dating and pleasurable experiences. Her ultimate dream is to meet Kip in person, but whether or not that will ever come to fruition seems to hang tauntingly in the ether just as their chat box messages.

A Tear For Eternity.com is not a typical romance novel. On a number of levels that’s a positive, but there are drawbacks, too. Alison mentions a large cast of characters as she runs through some of Mia’s memories of her online and offline escapades with the male persuasion. Yet, none of these characters are fleshed out. There was potential in the neighbor’s adult grandson, but he turned out to just be a super sexy diversion and readers are left to wonder who he really is. Clearly, the whole of the story focuses primarily on Mia, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, some readers may enjoy knowing more about the other characters.

With snippets of steamy sex scenes, those who enjoy erotic stories that aren’t over-the-top will most likely enjoy Virginia Alison’s A Tear For Eternity.com. She offers a number of those steamy scenes mixed in with her almost poetic writing style. Women, especially those in their middle years, will enjoy settling in with Mia and exploring her somewhat lonely, but sexy tale. As the question of what will happen between Mia and Kip hangs in the balance Virginia Alison gives readers a choice and a chance to control the character’s. In the end, it’s up to the reader. Therefore, Alison’s A Tear For Eternity.com will entertain until the very end.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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