Dare to Take by Carly Phillips

51pXzHA43DLThere is so much to like about the Dare to Love series by the talented Carly Phillips. From well-developed characters to plenty of emotional circumstances, every scene drew me into the complex lives of the Dare family. These close-knit relatives had to live through a huge traumatic incident in the past, and none were more affected than Tyler. What transpired with his dad still greatly influences his decisions to this day, and when he once again comes in contact with a woman who also had an impact on his life, then things become even more challenging. I experienced a vast assortment of emotions while reading about Tyler and Ella, as Carly Phillips causes the reader to feel a deep connection to her romantic couple. Honest reactions and fiery passion make DARE TO TAKE compellingly enjoyable.

As the assistant to a fashion designer, Ella Shaw often gets everything ready for any photo shoots. The latest location is St. Lucia, and she has enjoyed her time in the tropics. But an approaching hurricane has caused flights to be cancelled, and now she is stuck until the storm is gone. When her situation turns even more alarming and her best friend, Avery Dare hears about what just happened, the man whom Ella never wanted to be around again comes to her rescue. It has been years since the fateful night when she and Tyler Dare were intimate, and although she might have long desired him, the evening did not end well for either of them.

When Tyler had been home for Christmas nine years ago, he knew giving in to the yearning for his sister’s friend was wrong. But Ella made it extremely difficult to deny her. Though they have avoided each other since then, Tyler feels he must help her out, and his reasons are not only to make his sister happy. Guilt may have been what motivated him at first, but soon regaining her trust is also very important.

With DARE TO TAKE being the final installment of the Dare to Love series, I am truly sad. However, the way in which Carly Phillips wrapped up many developments that recently arose in the lives of this likable family left me with a big smile. Though the books can be read out of order because of enlightening details, it would be best if this one was last since several events are brought to a close. Tyler and Ella have been featured throughout the series, and I kept hoping they would eventually get together. DARE TO TAKE is an emotional ride packed with joy, heartache, sexual fulfillment and self-discovery.

The relationship of Tyler and Ella is very complicated. While they may have been acquainted for many years, one event changed how they saw each other from then on. Now that they are older and are once again together, both have lots of concerns to work through. Family issues play a big part in what they have to overcome, and Ms. Phillips makes their problems realistic plus very moving at times. I felt for this couple and what they endured when younger, and I eagerly kept reading to see what they would choose to do as adults. Since their craving for one another has only become more consuming, sex between Tyler and Ella is often off-the-charts steamy. Carly Phillips definitely knows how to turn up the heat to scorching. A new series is coming with a connected character, and I cannot wait.

Received copy from publicist

Series:  Dare to Love – Book 6

Publisher:  CP Publishing

Releases:  May 3, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/hmk39ca

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://www.carlyphillips.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

How to Manage a Marquess by Sally MacKenzie

51T4F+cEhSLThe clever premise of the Spinster House series continues with a story where the wishes of one woman and a man are constantly at odds, and growing sexual tension between them only adds more conflict when they are together. Sally MacKenzie is known for creating stories filled with lots of hilarity, and humorous scenes are scattered all throughout the latest Spinster House installment. HOW TO MANAGE A MARQUESS is entertaining with delightful characters and engaging moments.

For many years, it has been the duty of the Marquess of Haywood to keep his cousin from being harmed because of a curse. All of those who have become the Duke of Hart in the past two centuries have died before their heirs were born, just as the curse foretold. Now his cousin is the current duke, and Nate must discourage him from marrying now that he has fallen in love. Having traveled to Loves Bridge, he hopes to keep his family member from making a mistake which may cost his life. But it appears a good friend of the woman with whom his relative is in love is going to make things difficult for him.

Since Anne Davenport does not want to live with her father if he marries a much younger woman, she hopes to be the next person selected to live at Spinster House. It is a place where she could live life without being ruled by a man, and she thinks this would make the days ahead much happier. While two other women would also like to move into the home now that it is vacant, Anne is pushing her good friend toward marriage as it would make one less person trying to be chosen. Yet Nate seems equally determined to make sure his cousin does not marry her friend.

Though at first some of Anne’s behavior was questionable, I quickly came to understand what motivated her when certain reasons became known. Times were much different for women in England during the early 1800’s, and I could see why she might be worried about her future. Anne is rather strong-minded for someone of that era, and her desire for independence kept her pressing for something better in life. Nate is someone who follows the rules of society and is always respectful, yet he can only think about pushing certain forbidden boundaries when around Anne. I really enjoyed his stern talks with himself about staying disciplined when it concerned the woman who tempts him like no other. The relationship of Nate and Anne does have many ups and downs, where several incidents are comical, while other circumstances are surprisingly affecting because of all the emotional honesty.

Several secondary characters really touched me in quite a few ways, especially the two young boys in the story. They could act and speak just like a normal child at times, but then they could turn so serious and their actions often greatly affected me. There is also a very intelligent cat connected to the Spinster House, and her antics definitely caused many smiles. The two main books in the series are taking place at the same time, and though it would probably be best to read the first story before this one, Sally MacKenzie gives plenty of explanations to keep the reader informed of any simultaneous activities. There is laughter and an abundance of emotion in HOW TO MANAGE A MARQUESS.

Received copy from NetGalley

Series:  Spinster House

Publisher:  Zebra

Releases:  April 26, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/hcjgss5

Genre:  Historical

Author website:  http://www.sallymackenzie.net/

Rating:  4 Stars

Her Colton P.I. by Amelia Autin

518MiG4Jk+LIn the fifth book of The Coltons of Texas continuity, danger could happen at any time to one woman, while the murderous rampage by the Alphabet Killer continues. The new case for an experienced private investigator causes him way too many painful memories, but the safety of three individuals means more than not reliving his troubled past. From the very start, my thoughts were completely caught up in what would happen to the compassionate P.I. and the mother who would do anything for her children. Amelia Autin contributes an enthralling installment to The Coltons of Texas series, where one personal issue after another tugs at the heart. The emotional realism in HER COLTON P.I. is truly remarkable.

After hearing the facts of how their daughter-in-law suddenly left and took her twin sons with her, Chris Colton is determined to personally locate the woman who devastated her in-laws. Holly McCay is now the trustee of her late husband’s money, which will go to the two boys when they are older. But the grandparents fear she will misuse the funds, plus they just want to see the toddlers before they get any older. Since Chris was a foster child, he knows the importance of family while growing up.

Though it is not too difficult for Chris to find where Holly is presently living, he decides to learn her side of the story before informing his clients of her whereabouts. When he does confront her and hears what is going on, he realizes the woman that is supposed to be devious is actually in danger from the scheming older couple. Now Chris needs to have evidence which will provide the truth, while also making certain Holly and her sons remain safe.

Every story created by Amelia Autin has particularly true-to-life characters. Regardless of whether they have good intentions or their motives are deceitful, the behavior of each person comes across as completely convincing. Chris has lived through many traumatic incidents, and several still deeply affect his current life. Being the son of a serial killer made it difficult for him to make close friends, and his foster family did not always make things easy either. So I really admired him for doing everything he could to make himself a respectful citizen, despite what others in the community may have thought. While his business may be successful, Chris seldom takes time for any social life.

When he encounters Holly, his gut instinct and careful observations lead him to make correct deductions about her situation. She is refreshingly honest with the clever P.I., and I certainly enjoyed their many enlightening conversations. The danger she is facing is chillingly real, as sometimes greed is a powerful motivator for being ruthless. Her relationship with Chris is also portrayed with lifelike developments, where emotions come into play and cause candid responses. Their relationship is beautifully depicted with much sincerity and plenty of sensual desire. Love for her two boys is evident in numerous ways, and I was often moved by how Holly reacted to a situation that involved all three of them.

New information comes to light about two of the ongoing mysteries in The Coltons of Texas series, and I was definitely shocked by how one dilemma was resolved. Though some answers have been revealed, there are still plenty of problems to work through before everyone in Granite Gulch, Texas can rest easy. HER COLTON P.I. is an emotional adventure filled with compelling discoveries.

Received copy from author

Series:  The Coltons of Texas

Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Releases:  May 1, 2016

Purchase:   http://tinyurl.com/zk83z6k

Genre:  Suspense

Author website:  http://www.ameliaautin.com/

Rating:  5 Stars

Fate and Forever by Sophie Jackson

51SSTcsK6tLThe emotional impact of each A Pound of Flesh story has deeply touched me, and though the fourth book is only a novella, the wide range of feelings depicted drew me into every compelling moment. While more attention is centered on Kat and Carter, there is also some insight into the current lives of Max plus Riley, letting me know what has been going on with these two interesting men. Sophie Jackson manages to always create intriguing circumstances for her characters, and FATE AND FOREVER delivers quite an emotional punch.

Kat Lane and Wesley Carter have just said “I do” to each other, and it is definitely a marriage between two individuals who seem totally opposite. They connected when she was his prison tutor, and now they are planning a rewarding future together. Their honeymoon was absolute perfection, where fantasies were fulfilled with lots of lusty sex. Then Kat brings up the subject of kids, and Carter does not know how he should respond to her comment.

Even though Carter loves Kat with all his heart, he frets over the idea of being a dad someday. His father was not a man that showed love, thus making him wonder how he will treat his own child. After returning from their honeymoon, everything looks to be great for the couple in all ways. But when Kat starts to act strangely, Carter worries if she might be keeping a secret from him.

There are a close-knit group of friends in the A Pound of Flesh series, and several fascinating facts are exposed about these likable people in the latest installment. What is learned about Riley is especially exciting, as I know additional details will be discovered in his upcoming story. Seeing more of Max and Grace is also wonderful.

Although every aspect of Kat and Carter’s marriage appears to be picture-perfect, all it takes is one innocent remark to turn his world upside down. From that moment on, anxiety about what will occur if they have children is never far from his mind. I really enjoyed how Sophie Jackson made every single instant in the story come across as truly realistic, from candid statements to genuine responses, making me feel as though I was actually watching lives unfold with honest reactions. I am very glad the author wrote the very informative FATE AND FOREVER, as it brought me up-to-date on several very important developments.

Series:  A Pound of Flesh – Book 4

Publisher:  Pocket Star

Releases:  April 18, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/j5e434c

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  https://sophiejacksonauthor.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

The Flyboy’s Temptation by Kimberly Van Meter

51O6Ltwn77LAfter a death-defying escapade at the very beginning of THE FLYBOY’S TEMPTATION, perilous threats continue to occur with few breaks. During the periods when danger does let up for a short time, lots of steamy sexual encounters take place because desire between the main couple is often practically uncontrollable. Kimberly Van Meter fills her latest Blaze release about a pilot and a scientist with action, passion and plenty of emotion. I thoroughly enjoyed their thrilling adventurous journey.

Upon getting out of the service, James “J.T.” Carmichael and his brother started Blue Yonder, a charter plane business. Since he was a pilot in the Air Force, he is certainly qualified to fly the company’s aircraft. When a new client requests to be flown to South American as quickly as possible, J.T. has a feeling something about the deal may not be completely legitimate. But after just having his brother inform him of their need to make a profit soon or their business will have to close, he agrees to her terms because the amount she is willing to pay may keep them working for a little longer.

Unfortunately, before J.T. and Dr. Hope Larsen can make it to her destination, they have problems and are forced to crash land in a remote area of Mexico. The jungle poses its own dangers, and with no idea of where they actually are, the couple has to prepare themselves for any number of scenarios or they may not make it out alive. Though Hope does not fully disclose her reason for making the journey, she and J.T. do need to work together without conflict in order to survive. But getting close to each other has its own complications.

There is just something about a situation where two strangers are fighting for their lives that really grabs my attention, and when the attraction between them is sky-high, then it can lead to all kinds of passionate developments and make the story doubly interesting. With J.T. being someone who makes hasty decisions while Hope is a constant planner, their behavior is vastly different and often has them at odds with one another. Their comments are frequently sarcastic, and both can come up with a sharp retort in an instant. I could not keep from laughing at some of their more comical comebacks. The situations J.T. and Hope must face are often life-threatening, and I enjoyed seeing how each would respond to the danger. Though he often appeared laidback, the military training of J.T. would kick in when needed, while the logical thinking of the scientist did not always lead to the right conclusion.

With the huge contrasts in just about everything that concerns J.T. and Hope, it did not seem like a relationship would ever work for this couple. With plenty of highs and lows, Kimberly Van Meter puts these two through a large number of challenges before anything significant can build between them. The threats to them are a possibility in our modern world, and the author makes several of the situations certainly frightening. What J.T. and Hope had to experience often resulted in emotional turmoil, and I eagerly waited to see what they would decide in the end. It appears there will be an upcoming story about the hero’s brother, and I am very glad for this opportunity to discover more about Teagan. THE FLYBOY’S TEMPTATION is hotly sensual plus action-packed.

Copy received from author

Publisher:  Harlequin Blaze

Releases:  April 19, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/z2he3zl

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://kimberlyvanmeter.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

Rogue Belador by Dianna Love

612stNWGUaL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The seventh Belador story begins with a battle, and the many beloved characters in this series are either troubled by emotional complications or find themselves in a dangerous situation on every compelling page. Dianna Love totally captures my full attention with vivid descriptions and constant originality, and the paranormal world to which I am transported comes across as particularly believable. With the large number of characters in the series that I have come to really like, I immediately became involved in the latest personal story being told. Since Tzader Burke may finally get to have the future he has long desired or will lose everything important to him, I was eager to find out what he would have to face, and Dianna Love did not disappoint me. Every emotional conflict in ROGUE BELADOR captivates with deeply affecting realism.

Her position as the Belador queen means Brina is a very significant individual, and she has been under special protection for years. But an enemy’s attack has caused her mind to deteriorate and soon no personal facts will be remembered, causing the man in love with her much worry. Though some only care because of her heritage, Tzader Burke wishes for Brina to be his mate and is willing to do whatever is necessary to make it happen. As time passes with no improvement, he makes a deal that might bring back her memories, but it could come at a great cost to him.

By going to TÅμr Medb and doing the bidding of a being that seems to possess much knowledge, Tzader could possibly get the solution to saving Brina. Yet traveling to the place where the Belador enemy lives is not only dangerous for him, but could be fuel for a new war. As plans are made and answers are sought, hidden truths are discovered about the Beladors and Medb. Tzader receives the unexpected assistance of several close friends, and they each find it hard to obey the vows they have sworn to follow as secrets are exposed.

When it comes to urban fantasy stories, Dianna Love is a master. What takes place in the Belador series is frequently innovative, and the circumstances in the seventh book are sometimes perilous and always emotional. The traits assigned to each of the characters are certainly unique, and I was delighted by how many of the individuals I have come to love that were featured. I really want Casper to have a big part in an upcoming book, as someone with ghost traits fascinates me.

Evalle and her mate Storm plus Quinn all play major parts in ROGUE BELADOR, and it was great catching up with the events in their lives. But the major focus is on Tzader and what will happen to Brina. I have watched these two suffer throughout much of the series, and my heart ached for them each time another difficulty kept them apart. Their story is about not giving up hope, and it was heartwarming to also see the importance of friendship. One new character is definitely intriguing, while several of those who have been met before and only have evil objectives are once again up to their ruthless tricks. I never knew what would be the end result of more than one power struggle, as some abilities came as a surprise. Ms. Love has also created a new interesting creature, and I hope to see more of Oskar in a forthcoming book. ROGUE BELADOR has riveting action, profound emotions and unforeseen twists.

Received copy from author

Series:  Belador – Book 7

Publisher:  Silver Hawk Press LLC

Releases:  April 12, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/gu8vaxu

Genre:  Urban fantasy

Author website:  https://www.authordiannalove.com/

Rating:  5 Stars

Silence of the Lamps by Karen Rose Smith

51b-1oGDeYLThough Caprice De Luca never intends to become entangled in a local murder, there always seems to be a good reason for her involvement. In the fifth book where her concern for others once again puts her in the middle of a police investigation, the amateur sleuth will not quit seeking answers until her sister is no long a suspect in the killing of a man whose list of enemies just keeps growing. Karen Rose Smith scatters crafty clues throughout the story to keep guesses about the murderer’s identity ever-changing. SILENCE OF THE LAMPS is a cozy mystery filled with compelling situations and engaging characters.

Often when a house that home stager Caprice De Luca has decorated is being shown to potential buyers, her sister, Nikki, does the catering. The food is always tasty, and even goes along with the overall theme of the residence. During one showing, another caterer comes by and criticizes everything about her sibling’s business. Though Drew Pierson once worked for Nikki, they are no longer on friendly terms and he seems determined to prove his business is better than her own. He has even sold one of his special creations to a restaurant chain which will make him a big profit.

When Nikki feels her competitor has taken things too far and wants to confront him, the two sisters go to where Drew lives. But upon arriving at the home where his grandmother also lives, they discover him murdered. Afterward, several good reasons for someone to want the scheming caterer dead are exposed. While Caprice may have been a great help in solving a few murders in the area, she is warned to not interfere in this latest case. Concerned that the police might think her sister is somehow linked, the home stager slyly begins asking questions to see where their answers lead.

Reading about Caprice De Luca and her never dull life causes plenty of entertainment, as I find her to be an interesting person. She is very enthusiastic when it comes to her home staging business, and seeing what items she picks out for her themes is certainly fascinating. Karen Rose Smith puts much effort into making her stories come across as realistic, and I enjoy reading about the descriptions of the objects used in particular houses. Caprice is devoted to her family, friends and the many animals in her life, as she makes sure each receives the required amount of attention to let them know they are cherished by her. She is someone willing to go the extra step when she knows her help is needed, and I certainly admired her tenacity to give her all when anything is attempted. But she is human, and her doubts about her relationship with Grant just made her more genuine.

Karen Rose Smith excels when it comes to cozy mysteries. It is easy to become immersed in the lives of the many reoccurring characters, and I am always eager to learn what is presently happening to them. The mysterious homicide in any Caprice De Luca story is cleverly concocted, and the murder in SILENCE OF THE LAMPS is truly cunning. As facts about the victim of the killing are uncovered, my deductions constantly altered. Until all is revealed, I was taken on a journey of surprisingly disclosures. I am already eager to see what occurs in the next Caprice De Luca Mystery.

Copy received from author

Series:  Caprice De Luca Mystery

Publisher:  Kensington

Releases:  April 26, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jlxqy3n

Genre:   Mystery

Author website:  http://www.karenrosesmithmysteries.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Her Werewolf Hero by Michele Hauf

51qU6q5HMdLThe countless paranormal ideas that Michele Hauf thinks up continue to amaze me, and the new story in her Beautiful Creatures world is truly one of most original. When a werewolf is sent to obtain an object, he never thought procuring the item would be so complicated or awaken long buried emotions. The human woman with whom he becomes entangled is very curious about anything supernatural, and the truths she is learning leave her surprisingly thrilled. What happens on the perilous adventure that this couple takes together is a journey filled with fascinating discoveries. HER WEREWOLF HERO captures the imagination on every enthralling page.

Working as a Retriever for Acquisitions is something Bron Everhart thoroughly enjoys, as the werewolf likes the quest of tracking down an object. His latest assignment is an item that many might want, so he plans to find the Purgatory Heart before everyone else. After hearing the piece has special powers and needs to be kept from anyone who would use it for evil purposes, Bron knows he must quickly locate the much desired heart.

Shortly after arriving at the site where it should be found, a woman starts being chased by several supernatural creatures. Though Kizzy Lewis has always believed in the paranormal and wanted proof any beings with special abilities were real, she did not want her first experience to end with her dying. So she is grateful to the stranger who was in the park and kept her safe. Bron is stunned when Kizzy does not seem shocked to see otherworldly creatures, and he is even more astonished to realize the artifact he wants is actually her own heart. It soon becomes apparent a huge group of unsavory beings are also determined to get what he is looking for, and none care if Kizzy dies. Bron is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the human woman from losing her heart, even if it means a trip to Purgatory.

A multitude of emotions are experienced while reading HER WEREWOLF HERO. I laughed, felt anxious and even rejoiced over what occurred to the romantic couple in the story, and my feelings were always completely involved in each compelling predicament they faced. Bron is someone whom I loved from the start, and his actions throughout the story made him a hero with numerous honorable traits. An incident in his past still haunts him, and I wanted to give him a big hug when all is revealed. Kizzy is a delight with her charming personality, and I thought her ability to see the bright side of any situation made her even more appealing. Their conversations are frequently packed with quick wit and plenty of humor, while anything sexual between them includes lots of heat backed by genuine caring. The characters Michele Hauf creates always have unique behavior, and the distinctive natures of Bron plus Kizzy are demonstrated time and again.

When it comes to extraordinary circumstances, Ms. Hauf can be counted on to fill her stories with loads of innovative weirdness, causing her books to be particularly entertaining. The premise of HER WEREWOLF HERO is creepily spine-chilling, where a number of situations cause much fear for the beloved couple. Various supernatural beings make an appearance throughout the story, and I was just as excited to see some of them as Kizzy. The part Purgatory plays is especially interesting and greatly added into the puzzle of what was going on. Another notable novel from Michele Hauf.

Copy received from author

Publisher:   Harlequin Nocturne

Releases:  April 1, 2016

Purchase:   http://tinyurl.com/gm2r3bs

Genre:   Paranormal

Author website:  http://www.michelehauf.com/

Rating:  5 Stars

Darkness by Karen Robards

51NZcJZk8LL._SY346_With each new threatening incident that puts two lives on the line, doubts about whether these individuals will actually survive keep mounting. Staying alive is the main focus of two strangers who find themselves battling against the environment plus countless enemies, where only one wrong decision will be their last. Karen Robards cleverly interweaves suspenseful adventures with an engaging romance to create a thriller that continuously captures every thought. DARKNESS is an adrenaline ride of heart-pumping action and unpredicted peril.

As an ornithologist, Dr. Gina Sullivan has been given the chance to study birds in their natural habitat so facts can be recorded. The current location is an island in Alaska, and she is enjoying the peaceful beauty while getting data. One afternoon, a storm disrupts her observation and forces her to head back to camp. The sudden appearance of a plane dropping too fast leaves her stunned, and before she can maneuver her small boat out of the way, the aircraft falls very near her after exploding. Though frightened by the terrible ordeal, Gina frantically searches for anyone who might have survived, and incredibly does come upon one man.

When James “Cal” Callahan took his latest assignment as a private government contractor, all seemed to go smoothly. But before he can return to the states and complete his mission, he finds himself floating in the water with only Gina to help him. Cal immediately knows what just happened to the plane was intentional, and although they manage to get out of the freezing sea, their troubles are far from over. Between a snowstorm and whoever wants him dead, the plan Cal and Gina had hoped would work quickly falls apart, leaving them struggling for their lives.

Worry over whether Cal and Gina would survive had me not wanting to stop reading until each enthralling detail was learned. Karen Robards imaginatively blends circumstances that trigger intense dread with touching emotional issues, and the result is a realistic story which drew me into every compelling moment. I fretted over the many possible scenarios that could perhaps develop, and the direction several escapades took left me shocked. There is a constant threat of jeopardy in DARKNESS, giving Cal and Gina plus the reader little time to catch a breath before another terrorizing event takes place. Since Attu Island is a real place in Alaska plus its World War II history is also factual, the story comes across as even more convincing. When Gina spots or hears different bird species in the area while they are on the run, her thoughts about them added further enjoyment.

The potent sexual attraction between Cal and Gina increases the stress that they are already feeling because of the challenging situation being faced. At the beginning of their predicament, there is little trust but this slowly changes as they discover more about each other. Mutual respect leads to a connection that causes desire to become almost uncontrollable. While the way in which their lives are led is vastly different, there are still plenty of shared traits to make their bond seem genuine. There is lots of intelligent banter between Gina and Cal, and I particularly liked her sharp-witted comebacks. She has lived through a very tough time in the past, and I admired her gutsy determination to rise above some of the more demanding circumstances. Cal may appear to be an alpha male in every respect, but underneath the hard exterior is a huggable teddy bear when it comes to Gina. DARKNESS does not disappoint, as nerve-racking danger relentlessly escalates.

Copy received from publisher

Publisher:  Gallery Books

Releases:  March 29, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/zzud67h

Genre:  Thriller

Author website:  http://www.karenrobards.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Under the Desert Sky by Sara Luck

51xhxuTLyILMany aspects of UNDER THE DESERT SKY are not commonly found in a historical romance. While the Arizona Territory setting might be the locale of a story taking place in 1900, having a career of raising ostriches is definitely unusual, especially when the owner is a woman. The hero is from South Africa, and his way of thinking is also not the norm for many folks living in the southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Sara Luck vividly interweaves factual details with imaginative circumstances to create a heartwarming romance filled with genuine emotions.

When Phoebe Sloan had traveled to the Arizona Territory seeking employment, she ended up getting married and having a son. But when her husband is accidently killed on their ranch, she is the only one who thinks continuing to raise ostriches will eventually be profitable. With all her money tied up in the risky venture plus having the relatives of her husband make constant threats, Phoebe fears what will happen to her child if she cannot successfully sell the birds’ gorgeous feathers which are in high demand in the states and overseas.

After making sure several ostriches are safely transported from Cape Town to a buyer in Arizona, a South African named Christian de Wet ends up accepting a job offer and will stay in the area for a while. When he sees first-hand what a trying time Phoebe is having on her farm, he offers his assistance in getting things back on track. Though she desperately wants to prove her goal can be reached, if a profit is not made soon, then she may lose everything she cares about. Yet with the help of Christian, she just might have the life she has always wanted.

The predicaments women must face have greatly changed over the years, and Phoebe certainly lived through quite a few that were once all too frequent in her time period. I really liked how she stood up to anyone who tried to take away her choice of freewill, and she definitely did not give in without speaking her mind. She is a very devoted mother, and it was good to see how her son was always in her thoughts. When she meets Christian, she was fascinated but never dreamed they would ever be in a relationship because of so many differences. But sometimes unexpected connections turn into caring and perhaps even love. I enjoyed seeing how Christian and Phoebe would recall values they admire when thinking of another person and not be influenced by the opinions of someone else. Also, their past experiences draw them closer because of all that they have lost over the years, as they cannot help but feel compassion toward each other.

Sara Luck has truly done lots of research for UNDER THE DESERT SKY, where fiction comes across as particularly realistic. Many various factors dealing with the raising of ostriches are accurately depicted, and I found the information to be very interesting. There are also numerous remarks made about actual individuals who are known for making an impact during the timeframe of the story, thus adding convincing realism. From wars to discrimination and the places where decisive events took place, this story left me feeling as though I had traveled back in time and watched history in the making. UNDER THE DESERT SKY entertains with originality.

Copy received from publisher

Publisher:  Pocket

Releases:  March 29, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jtlze7y

Genre:  Historical

Rating:  4 Stars