Dear Philomena, by M S Spencer

Dagne, an advice columnist intent on writing a novel.
A former lover who can be a louse. ACover of Dear Philomena parent with a dodgy background. A hero figure who promises romance. A white pickup too often on the scene. Three cousins who are really brothers. The full gamut of emotion from rage to ecstasy.

These components fit in Spencer’s romance cum crime novel in which the action is as well written as any crime or thriller. The descriptive passages of the environment on Chincoteague Island enable the reader to easily visualise a place they may never visit.

The closeness of the community allows the characters to know each other’s lives and family histories, and thus the picture of the motive for crime becomes clearer. Some characters are amusing: Alex, owning many small businesses named after himself, who sees all; Starlyn, desperate to keep her wandering husband on a leash; Bert, snooping to check the neighbourhood, as all elderly citizens feel they should; and more. Others are…worrying, to say the least: jealous, inadequate, confrontational, suspicious, lecherous–not atypical of a small town community.

There are worse traits to emerge from under the veneer of polite, or romantic, interactions. Spencer reveals them all as Dagne tries to write her novel as well as continuing her advice column, while unknowingly being involved in a murder investigation–and nearly a victim. The closure is convincing, and this has been one of the very few romance novels I have enjoyed

Publisher: I Heart Publishing

Published (Print): October 2015
1st ed’n E-book published July 2011
2nd Edition E-book published October 2015 with ISBN: 978-1517770464


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Roane Publishing is giving away THREE ARCs of “Soul of Dust” by Adam Millard

Roane Publishing is giving away THREE ecopies of 
Soul of Dust!

Soul of Dust
By Adam Millard
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: December 7, 2015
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Keywords: Urban Fantasy, Sleuth, Paranormal, Investigator, Wizard, Demons, magic, Gritty

Jack Bridge is having a very bad day.

Life as a private investigator is tough, but it’s even worse when you’re a semi-immortal wizard private investigator whose tolerance for humans grows thinner by the day. Just when he thinks things can’t get worse, in she walks.
Kate West, beautiful and complex in equal measure, with a problem only Jack can solve. Daemons, magic, voodoo, and vamps; it’s all very real, and Jack Bridge is the last line of defense against the creatures of Elsewhere.

Sometimes being semi-immortal just isn’t enough.


Roane Publishing is giving away THREE ARC copies to three lucky winners!

You don’t even have to be a blogger.

If you are willing to leave an honest review before December 19th, you are eligible to enter.

How? Simply fill out the form!

You have until Midnight of October 17th when three winners will be chosen by random drawing.

Honeyville by Daisy WAUGH

Honeyville Cover

Publisher:Harper Collins UK, 2014

For Pete’s sake – all I have to do for a review is read the book. That’s what I do.
But Daisy Waugh’s clever intertwining snippets of history among her fiction had me in a non-fiction fanaticism – reading parallel research of the actual events and characters and following the interplay between fact and her fiction with fascination.
Of course I fully read the book before hitting the Internet – and then I read it again. And again. Four times in all, so fascinated was I both by the plot, and Waugh’s craft of building an historical event into a fictional tale. Her inclusion of historical realia (‘The Nice People of Trinidad’ as written by Max Eastman and published in The Masses, July 1914) hits home the significance of the events in the period in which the novel is set.
She brings together a seemingly disparate group of people (Dora the hooker, Max Eastman the journalist, Inez the näive librarian and Xavier her homosexual brother, and Laurence the double-dealing mercenary) and lets us follow their social and sexual interplay as they deal with the famed Ludlow massacre in Colorado.
It is against this factual background that Waugh’s characters play out their parts; Dora (herself in near slavery to the madam, Phoebe) meets and makes an unlikely but lasting friendship with Inez, who bursts with often short-lived enthusiasm for schemes to “improve” someone’s lot in life – Dora’s, the mother of a young union clerk, the miners and Unionists. Her schemes bubble to nothing, her mind is a-bulge with fantasised versions of reality, she is both duplicitous and gullible. Her enthusiasm sweeps her into romance, misadventure, foolishness – and all the while Dora, her brother, and her potential mentor try to keep up with Inez’s version of reality.
Twenty-odd years later, these three meet again in California, with the chance to finally deliver to Max Inez’s final letter, the content of which Dora and Xavier have for years believed they knew. In a delightfully crafted twist, the letter reveals more information than any need to know.
This, my first encounter with WAUGH’s work, most certainly will not be my last. A diamond among the dross of historical fiction.
. . . . . . . . .
 (For those of you not yet familiar with US history of late 1800-early 1900s–some background:
Trade Unions were unwelcome in industry – any industry – which used back-breaking, soul-breaking labour to produce wealth for the investor. Workers in many industries – including the coal mining of Colorado – were so near to being enslaved by their employers as to never mind the difference. Housed meanly, forced to pay for provisions from the company stores at inflated prices, no schooling, medical treatment available at exorbitant prices only while the miner of the family was fit enough to mine, and if not all thrown out without redress.
The socialism movement aim was to create trade unions, as the only channel through which employment conditions and wages were to be negotiated, setting minimum wage and safety conditions among other factors. Leading figureheads travelled America, speaking in industry towns to encourage the workers to strike until better conditions were achieved and or trade unionism was permitted. Popular among the workers, these speakers were regarded by the companies as sedition in the making, and the companies brought in not only “scab” workers to continue production but also armed private armies (detective or security agencies, or simply eager firearms handlers) to both protect the scabs from the strikers but to also make pre-emptive attacks on the strikers’ rough camps to force them back onto near-slavery.)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    • ISBN: 9780007543861
    • ISBN 10: 0007543867
    • Imprint: Harper Collins
    • On Sale: 20/11/2014
    • Format: Audiobook
    • Pages: 689
    • List Prices:
    • PaperBack £7.99; from HarperCollins, and from Amazon 
    • eBook £3.99 from Harper Collins
    • AudioBook £13.99; from your usual AudioBook outlets


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A Perfect Match by Daisy BANKS

   In a futuristic, sci-fi world, in which the “have water” Astans and the “have no water” Netherlings peoples are separated by strict social mores, the pervading elitist element controlling the government Carnag is led by Lord Chardel.
   When Commander Varon once more returns to the planet having sourced more fresh water, he is awarded a young bride from the temple – an adept, Anwell Nastor – which breaks the Astan religion’s rules. The “reward” is Chardel’s way of keeping Varon out of political action for the two month nuptial retreat.
   Anwell is terrified – she will have no opportunity to meet her future husband, to decide ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the marriage, nor to complete an adepts individual ceremonies of farewelling the Temple gods. And she knows nothing of how the open Astan society works, what is considered proper, what is not. She is to be now a social novice, starting a new and foreign life. Raisa, her lifelong nursemaid and attendant, is her only means of learning the usual free Astan ways.
    When the marriage takes place, Varon is smitten with his bride – but holds back from telling her so. Anwell spends a long time wondering whether Varon still has feelings for his former Netherling pleasure slave and the child she bore him – against accepted practice among Astans.Under Raisa’s subtle tutelage and blessed by Varon’s patience, Anwell gradually accepts her role, and learns to love and enjoy being with Varon.
   Trouble brews, however. Varon is known to hold strong doubts about the manner of Lord Chardel and his suitability for leading them. He uses a friend with freelance connections with the news media to feed snippets of information to the public about his wife, her prowess in speaking at the Carnag. Other friends support him in his agenda to allow the Netherlings more rights, and to change the government of their world.
   When Lord Chardel makes his move against Varon and his colleague, we learn who is the “doctor” heading the Precinct Seventeen – a penitentiary under the guise of a clinic, using chemical and bio-tech chip technology to “reform” those who oppose Chardel. It is his own mother!
A revolution arises, and a new life comes to their world – and throughout the novel are interlaced wonderfully crafted scenes of romance and erotica which snugly fit the plot line.
   This is a well-crafted story, a ripping romance, a definite must for the romance fan.
Published By: Taliesin Publishing, LLC,
400 Gilead Road, #1617, Huntersville, NC 28070
Copyright © 2014 by Daisy Banks
Digital Release: July 2014
ISBN: 978-1-62916-042-9
Cover Artist: Georgia Woods
Buy a copy at one of these sites
Taliesin Publishing:

All feedback welcome – thank you

Hate To Love You – Elise Alden

0befd-carina_0614_9781426898433_hatetoloveyouWhat can I say – followers will know how much I do enjoy reading and reviewing in the crime genres. Only recently have I entered the realm of romance. Wow, have I read me some great tales. Well, this isn’t a great tale – it’s a flaming FAN-TASTIC tale!
Alden’s characters are so real, one feels one has met them – the schemer, the sleaze-bag, the jealousy-tainted, the obsessed, the traitor… or wants to  – the best friend, the dreamer, the lover. Especially, the lover! Paisley tells her own story during both sections – that which happens when eighteen and that which happens seven years later. She has a most unusual characteristic – mind-reading.
Eighteen year old Paisley is back home after years living on the streets to avoid the ire of her unsympathetic family. She has attended rehab to break the cycle of drugs and alcohol (although she still partakes, unbeknown to her hard-hearted parents). She is terrified by a positive pregnancy test result, not knowing it is a faulty result.
After a night spent with her sister’s drunk fiancé she creates havoc at her elder sister’s wedding, by announcing not only what she and James (the groom) have done, but also adding a rather nasty little bonus lie – “because it felt good” – thus opening her life up to further misery.
Having been abused, manipulated, lied to, lied about, beaten, cheated of her self esteem and thrown out of the family home, she disappears for seven years, making a turnaround of her life as much as she can. At twenty-five, she returns from overseas, with a qualification and steady work experience.
How she uses these new skills in the second part of her story, along with her street smarts – once learned never forgotten – to try to make up for what she has missed and gain back what she has lost, is a gripping tale in itself. Add in Alden’s mastery of the hot and steamy bedroom scenes, and you have a gripping read.
Every character is revealed to us complete with flaws and the background, so I at times wanted to head-butt this man, cuddle that woman, slap this b**ch, castrate that man – and slap some common sense into James. His caution when Paisley re-enters his life by joining his work-life is totally understandable, his overbearing formality is puzzlingly frustrating – a cover for his real fears and feelings.
I felt such empathy for Paisley as she worked through her life problems and turmoils I stuck with the book and read it in one session, so much did I want it all to work out well for her.
Definitely a must-own!
Carina Press, Harlequin Limited
ISBN: 9781426898433
Available as:
Kindle eBook, from Amazon at…
Nook eBook, from Barnes & Noble at …

Romancing the Memory Collector, by Virginnia de Parté

Romancing the Memory Collector,
Fifth in the series of g-altered characters’ romances
by author Virginnia de Parté
We who have read De Parté’s fourth book in the series, A Stella Affair, have already met and liked Thomas. He is a Customs Inspector who works with a partner “Buster”, a sniffing dog whose abilities are well out-stripped by those of Thomas with his g-altered senses. This is his story, of how he hopes to develop a relationship with Kate after she literally falls at his feet in the airport, and he comes to her rescue.
Kate Bentley, myopic yet able to see the bubbles of people’s lost memories, tries to catch and return them to their owners. Working at a retirement village, she is sometimes overwhelmed by seeing so many lost memories drifting away, beyond her reach. Her absorption in looking after her father and a lifetime of difficulty socialising (due to her myopia) cause difficulties for Thomas.
Thomas  sends flowers, meets Kate’s father and begins an old-fashioned, tender courtship. But intervening events and misunderstandings cause glitches and hitches in communication and understanding.
Thomas, while watching the close and caring relationship between Kate and her father, Colin, in the early stages of Alzheimers, realises he has missed out on having a loving family life of his own. He consults Wills Corban (a character we met in A Talent For Loving) as to the wisdom and possibility of a single man adopting a child. He returns to The Nursery to find a boy to rescue from the mean (as in ‘bare essentials’) existence, to nurture as a son. He leaves with a daughter*.
Regrettably, Thomas forgets to let Kate know. When Kate finds out about his daughter, she becomes distrustful, and almost cuts off the relationship completely. However, when a resident wanders off from the retirement village, Thomas, and his daughter come to help—Thomas to track him, Suzie to sing for the residents—he is able to explain his situation fully.
When Kate’s own father goes missing, she calls Thomas, but they lose Colin’s trail at a bus stop. Wills calls on another g-altered person to help locate Colin. Once his location is known, he “jumps” Thomas and Kate to the city park where Colin has been seen. They hurry  to the nearby pier—on the edge of which Colin is standing, as if waiting for something. Kate discovers the thrilling “jump” has somehow changed her.
Between these and other events in the development of the romance, De Parté weaves in more touches of the background of the family, and other significant back-story elements of the characters. Finally, the way is obviously clear for the tender romance to continue, in Thomas’s old-fashioned courtesy’s way. Virginnia De Parté continues this fascinating futuristic world of the affairs of genetically altered people in her own unique and enjoyable style with this sweet romance.
*Only by reading the book will you learn the daughter’s g-altered talent—no spoilers here—move along. 

You can buy this warm-hearted romance at these locations:

Secret Cravings:

© Lynne R McAnulty-Street, Rotorua NZ, 2014 May

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A Stellar Affair – by Virginnia de Parté

A Stellar Affair

the fourth in the series of  futuristic romances
by Virginnia de Part

Stellar (Siobhan and James Corban’s daughter with the g-altered ability to ‘jump’ to other locations) comes across Matt Saunders in the desert – his truck stuck deeply in the sand alongside the road. The four Corban’s (Stellar, James and her two twin brothers) conspire to use their varying g-alter talents to get the vehicle back on the road, and away from the scene so Matt cannot review the place in which the truck was stuck and discover his rescue would normally have been impossible.
Stellar’s two younger brothers have suspicions about Matt, but somehow they can’t stop Stellar from feeling an attraction to him – especially as she senses he is equally attracted to her. Eventually Matt tracks Stellar down again and their first date leaves them both with stronger feelings than before, in spite of the Minister of Defence appearing as one with whom Matt often has to work. Knowing the danger to herself and the family, Stellar tries to distance herself from Matt.
Her grandfather, realizing she is torn between the need for the safety of all g-alters and her desire to see Matt again, drafts her into G.A.S.A.R (Genetically Altered Search And Rescue) as her talents will complement those of the rest of the team. Stellar assists in the rescue of a little girl lost in the bush, and feels akin with other team members.
After a formal function at which both sides of an environmental issue are presented, the Minister of Defence speaks of the government taking back land for Defence purposes. As Matt and Stella leave Matt is confronted by belligerent protestors, three of whom chase him with intention of beating him. Stella is so fearful for their safety she ‘jumps’ with Matt to her apartment. She realises she has risked her family’s safety.
Later, however, Matt brings good news to her – he has realised she is of g-altered descent, and from the Minister of Defence has learned the family’s next generation will not be monitored, providing they continue to not let their talents be discovered.
Stellar’s brothers are taken captive by people wanting their gems. Stellar has to leave Matt and jump home, and drive over the boys’ area using her senses to find the boys. Later when the boys manage to retrieve their gems, Matt is amazed to discover they have found diamonds in an area previously never known for them. Further still, one of the twins discovers an amazingly rare mineral deposit, making Matt’s prospecting area safe from Defence Department grasps.
Matt finally faces Stellar’s family, reassuring them he will keep their secret, and reunites with Stellar in the best possible way.
Another excellent read from this new and interesting romance author. 

EBook ISBN: 978-1-61885-842-9

Amazon buy link:                     

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A Talent for Loving, by Virginnia De PARTÉ

Virginnia de PARTÉ’s

A Talent for Loving  –

the third in her futuristic romantic series about g-altered people, set in Australia, is a most loving tale.

William and Belinda had reached the age of seven, managing to hide their talent from the Defence Department in order to ensure they would be released to an adopting family. Years later as adults, William seeks Belinda out, with a proposal to use his I.T. skills and position to ensure she would drop from sight within the database of the “orphans” who were checked for signs of having changed and developed a g-altered trait.

Their talents are completely different, but complement each other’s, as we watch the events which embroil their involvement in one way or another. Belinda is unsure of William – he seems to her to be secretive; he has to be, as she comes to realise. William is watchful over Belinda, knowing how little she knows of her own talents, and realising she is not always comfortable sharing his talent for “jumping” from on location to another.

Throughout the story, the tone is warm and loving, the romance is gentle and tenderly described. When the loving results in the creation of their baby, they realise the baby is the result of their talent for loving.

A beautiful read of circa ninety pages, and a wonderful addition to the series.

Available at


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LOVE’S RED HEART, by Virginnia de Parté

Red Heart

Now six years on from where Love’s Bright Star left us, we are on a small holding in the Australian desert. Siobhan and James have raised Stella far from where snooping agents charged with locating all g-altered people are likely to easily discover Stella’s secret ability, nor her parents and family’s..

James’ sister Jill has joined Siobhan on the farm, enjoying a break from Melbourne’s bustle and the opportunity to be with her niece – exasperating as Stella’s talent can make things.

The author has a delightful ability to write of these g-altered people’s lives and domesticity in a way that makes them seem completely unsurprisingly ordinary. These characters’ Sci-Fi element never intrudes on the storyline of  a family with a secret which sometimes becomes a problem. It’s all perfectly naturallly handled, making for a comfortable read throughout.

Stella, born in Wellington New Zealand, has a visit routinely from her personal physician, Dr. Michael Scott, who is well aware of the particular factor in the family and Stella, and does what he can to ensure she develops well. He flies in for a customary visit, and also to travel parts of the desert, treating the aboriginal children – his offical excuse for the trip and its funding.

An almost-romance begins to develop between Michael and Jill – but something disrupts their relationship, neither fullyl understanding why, nor each other’s reasonings. Michael leaves the station abruptly, to travel to the far flung settlements of aboriginal peoples, to vaccinate and gather data on health and diet conditions. After too long a period of no one hearing from him, the family decide to track him and Charlie (his aboriginal tracker), rather than call the police. While considering their options, Stella forces their hand by announcing where she has seen Doctor Mike.

Stellla now becomes an integral part of the action, as her g-altered powers assist those who need to locate and rescue Doctor Mike and Charlie. The author’s ability to so delightfully and accurately convey the mannerisms of a talented but unprecocious six-year old girl allow Stella’s role to remain utterly believable, as James and Jill set off on their rescue mission.

The villains of the piece are unscrupulously callous of their mining workers’ conditions, and when James and Jill drive away with Doctor Mike and Charlie they follow in pursuit, hoping to protect their mine from being closed down. But our family gives them the slip, and Dr Mike wants to carry on serving the small communities, using Jill’s g-altered talent to help reach the peoples’ belief system, and undo the damage caused years ago by an anti-vaccination campaigner.

Jill’s talent, once revealed to the people in the settlements, causes them to believe something spiritual has come among them and they accept Mike’s vaccinations of their childen without further hesitation. Jill is determined to retain a friendly relationship with Mike – we learn better.

Nearly discovered by Defence Department agents, Mike and helper Willie clear out of the settlement, leaving Jill undiscovered and safe, under the care of the aboriginal people of the settlement. Mike has to continue his work, for appearance’s sake, but his moments of worry about Jill reveal more of his feelings than he has shared with other characters. Jill too worries about Mike and his safety, as she travels overland in Charlie’s truck back to the homestead. Stella is now being their courier, using her skill to bring messages and small items of news.

When finally reunited, Mike and Jill come to an inevitable understanding – the heart’s needs outweigh old promises, and the romance is free to progress at its own pace – complete with words of wisdom from a six-year old.

Within the final chapter, de Parté once again shows her skill in creating romance scenes of pleasure and delight, and will win fans eager for the third in the series. Be on the watch in April for the prequel of this series, A Talent for Loving

A Secret Cravings Publishing Book
Love’s Red Heart

Copyright © 2013 Virginnia de Parté
Cover design by Dawne Dominique
All cover art and logo copyright © 2013 by Secret Cravings Publishing

First E-book Publication: January 2013

E-book ISBN: 978-1-61885-519-0

Links to buy: Available at

Barnes and Noble,

Secretcravings Publishing

 Follow Virginnia de Parté at facebook, and/or on blogspot

Writing as Virginnia De Parte:
Love’s Bright Star (pub.July 2012),
Love’s Red Heart (pub. Jan. 2013),
A Talent for Loving (release date April 2013

Read the writer’s poems at:
Do Comment about this entry or about the author, or the book. If you have read the book itself, then Rate the Book (not this post, please). Thank you

Love’s Bright Star – Virginnia de PARTÉ


Copyright © 2012 Virginnia de Parté

An erotic fantasy, under Secret Cravings Publishing

E-book ISBN: 978-1-61885-365-3

There’s an element of futuristic science fiction within the text, (set in 2079) which establishes  the drama and action – some characters are the offspring of trialled melding of human and animal genes, and have the animal characteristics to some degree or other, under some degree of control or other. They are referred to as “g-altered”. In this world, g-altered people are regarded as freaks, yet by some creeps as desirable as a sexual conquest. Defence Department authorities are interested of course in locating them all and “studying” them for possible military or espionage use.

The heroine (Siobhan) is a photographer by career, and of cat/human descent, complete with a cat’s natural defences – fangs and claws – and features like the third eyelid. As all g-alters must, she strives to keep control of her altered traits.
She is rescued from showing her cat defences by another g-alter person – James – a man whose genetic modification allows him to stop time for his own purposes. In his ordinary career he lectures in physics and fourth dimensional mathematics. Relax; as a reader you won’t be expected to attend a lecture – just to suspend disbelief.

As the novel passes beyond the point of their meeting, some of the Siobhan’s more amusing characteristics of a cat g-altered woman are revealed – delightfully freaky and you can read for yourself!

The author has a way of showing the increasing emotional arousal of Siobhan as she gets to know James more, without being too obvious – and nicely done too.  But Siobhan develops a yearning of her own – one which, she knows, would make James unhappy – angry even. She keeps the idea to itself, even after she has caused it to happen.

On realising what she has done, James departs in fury, leaving Siobhan and her friend Anna to create a cover story to keep Siobhan’s secret. She has tricked James into creating a next generation – and increased their danger from the Defence Department.

During what should have been a routine pregnancy scan, the foetus momentarily disappears. This event causes further complications for Siobhan with agents from the Defence Department.
James in the meantime makes plans for a safe future for Siobhan, Stella their daughter and himself .

Through frights, surprises, unpleasant encounters, the story closes in on a beautifully satisfying dénouement. Not usually a fan of the genre, I expect  Virginnia de Parté to produce more of this quality.

Footnote – Yes! A second novel by de Parté is due for publication.

Do Comment about this entry or about the author, or the book. If you have read the book itself, then Rate the Book (not this post, please). Thank you