Monday, February 1, 2016

Out of the Blue and into the Black: "Redemption of Shadows" by Cathy M. Conway

It is always fun to discover a new Phantom author and see what journey they have in store for our favorite characters. I recently downloaded "Redemption of Shadows" by Cathy M. Conway and started glancing at it to get an idea of what she was doing... and next thing, I was half way into it! This is a very addictive story!
The story begins with Erik recovering from a drug induced sleep, a ploy for Christine to come back and be with him at his death bed. The Persian left them alone, so, who knows what happened between them? Two days later, Amir is finally getting Erik to return to life. A life without his beloved Christine. Was it really worth it? It would have been easy to just slip into the great beyond.
But, no. Fate has other things in store for him. He returns from an outside excursion to find someone has entered his passage ways. Determined to find the intruder and possibly put an end to their snooping with his ever ready punjab lasso... he finds, instead, a limp bundle that turns out to be an unconscious, bloodied and beaten young woman. He is taken aback. Erik rescues her and nurses this mystery woman in his lair and as she slowly comes round, between doses of morphine, she claims not to know her name or who she is. What she is, to Erik, is a stunning beauty who has been terribly mistreated. How and why, he might never learn. But one thing was for certain, she was keeping him interested and giving him a new reason to live...
If you love Phantom fiction and are looking for an intriguing new take on the classic, then be sure to find your way to a copy of Ms. Conway's "Redemption of Shadows"! You will be very glad you did!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Things We Do For Love: "Wrong Place, Wrong Time" by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs, is one of those books that grabs your attention from the first sentence. In other words, my kind of book! Ms. Jacobs is an exceptional writer. Her style is engaging and conversational, her characters are people you'd want to know, at least Tsara, the star of this story is someone you'd want for your BFF! Tsara is a lovely, smart, 40ish wife and Mom who, one day, receives an engraved invitation for a charity event from her long estranged uncle, Castle Thornlocke. With her husband's encouragement she decides to go and makes the trip to her uncle's estate in the wilds of  Northern NH.
Uncle Cass welcomes her with open arms and a fancy suite of a guest room. It is in this guest room that Tsara's weekend getaway is about to be radically disrupted. After the dinner and dancing, she retreats to her room to slip off her fancy dress and relax, and while checking her new haircut in the mirror notices something odd in the reflection... two men.
The two men tie her up and abduct her (OK, she did use some fancy defense moves and take one of them out, almost). It seems she was in her Uncle's associate's room. They were actually there to abduct Cass's buddy, Hans Friehoffer. She was going to be taken hostage, instead, hostage in exchange for the son of one of her abductors. His six year old son. He claims Hans, with Uncle Cass's knowledge, kidnapped his son and his friends from the friend's house. The parents of those friends owed Uncle Cass some money, with interest, and how better to get them to pay, than by holding their kids ransom. Mike's (the taller (and ruggedly good looking) abductor) son was collateral damage.
Intriguing? Yes! This is an up all night adventure you won't want to put down until you know how Tsara  survives this ordeal not to mention what happened to those missing children? And Mike, is he a bad guy? Or a hero? You'll have to score a copy of Wrong Place, Wrong Time and see for yourself!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Let Me Be Your Shelter: "Unconditional" by Michelle Rodriguez

In this second novella of Manifestations of a Phantom's Soul: A Duet by Michelle Rodriguez (with that dreamy cover by Jessica Elizabeth), Erik has been trying to live with his decision to let Christine go to live a life he thought she wanted, a life with Raoul. But, second thoughts have him trailing leads to finding her. Every time he'd gotten close, it seemed they would disappear...but now he has found her again. Secreting himself inside the house where she and Raoul are holed up, he hides behind the curtains and finally reveals his presence to Christine, his beloved. Will they live happily ever after, now that they are together again? But, wait, something seems to be wrong with this picture. Christine is pregnant. With his nemesis's child, no less. Before he has time to make sense of it all, Raoul enters and Erik disappears back to his hiding place where he  witnesses an encounter between the two. Raoul demanding Christine not sing in his house or anywhere else as singing and music were the devil's tools. Will Christine never sing again? Is this the end for our two star-crossed leads? Or the beginning of a very different future for the two of them. And is there room for a third in Erik's vision of how life should be if, and when, he has Christine back to make beautiful music together. Get a copy of Duet and see where Unconditional will take you.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A New Ghost in Town: "Manifestations of A Phantom's Soul: A Duet: Rib-caged Hearts" by Michelle Rodriguez

I have to say, Michelle Rodriguez writes the swooniest Phantom and Christine stories! As you can see, the Recommender has been very busy doing other things than reading and reviewing, alas, (big garden/illustration jobs) but I had to get this review finished, for part 1 of this two novella collection, because I couldn't put it down! Rib-Caged Hearts revisits that moment when Erik gives up Christine to his rival for her affections, the worlds most famous Vicomte, Raoul de Chagny. This is staged in a way quite differently from most takes on this love triangle, and Ms. Rodriguez creates a heartbreaking moment and one you'll have to read to understand the emotional fall-out a selfless act can generate. Erik wanted to be loved for himself, and it looks like this is something that might actually happen. Christine is on the brink of becoming his, or so it seemed. Then, a shadow from his past appears. Someone who knows Erik's darker side and has watched, enviously, as the Opera Ghost ruled over the Paris Opera House. Someone who reminded Erik that he was a monster, unworthy of love. Damian, a gypsy magician who aided Erik's escape from his caged humiliation and has now tracked him to his lair with a proposal. One Erik seems ready to accept. Can it be the end of Erik and Christine's love story? You will have to get a copy of this collection and see for yourself. The Recommender will review the second story as time allows!
*A fun note: This past August I attended the fabulous PhantomCon in Richmond, VA. and got to spend time with the talented and lovely author, Michelle, and her talented and adorable cover photographer, Jessica Elizabeth. I also got to meet Elaina, the beautiful cover Christine on several of Michelle's books. It's not every day you meet a book cover girl and Jessica's covers capture the spirit of Michelle's words perfectly. See the image above.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Baby, It's Cold Outside: "All the Stars in the Heavens" by Adriana Trigiani

Adriana Trigiani's dishy, addictive new book, All the Stars in the Heavens, is a fictionalized look at one of Golden Age Hollywood's great (and sssshhhh... secretive!) love stories! The story of Loretta Young and Clark Gable. Anyone who grew up on the great films of that era in the movies or on TV or maybe on TCM will find this look into their love and lives fascinating and you can imagine those larger than life figures acting exactly the way Ms. Trigiani captures them. Loretta, actually Gretchen, was one of four beautiful sisters raised by a single Mom who was a star in her own right, an interior designer to the stars. These amazing women lived and worked in the early days of the studios, all having jobs in the industry. Loretta was in film from the age of 4 and had made 50 movies by the time she met Clark and starred opposite him in William Wellman's "Call of the Wild". Loretta has been given a secretary in this story. A young woman from Italy who had been hoping to become a nun. Circumstances lead her to Ms. Young's employ and she acts as a witness to the drama unfolding both on and off camera in the wilds of Washington State on the wintery, snowy Mt. Baker. What happened on Mt. Baker stayed on Mt. Baker... to a degree, but you'll be in on the scoop as you follow the story to its moving conclusion. Highly recommended!

And get yourself a DVD of The Call of the Wild because you'll want to see the magnetism of the two leads in action!
Here's a brief glimpse thanks to Youtube and saxondog2001

Monday, September 7, 2015

Bread and Roses: "Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Cafe" by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs

Emet First, a man in his early 30's, is a natural chef and baker. He is part native American and an upbeat sort of guy. He works at the Serve You Right Café for Eden Rose, a well liked and respected woman who is also good-hearted and always ready with a hand-out to help those that need it. Emet had been one of those that needed it.
He has a past. But then, so does Eden Rose.
As the story begins, Emet is about to meet up with a girl whose breakfast he had chivalrously paid for earlier, when she realized she had forgotten her wallet. He is excited, but worried that opening up to her and letting her in on his secret will scare her away. The girl, Mercey, is a physical therapist. She has a great job and a degree, but there is something she is hiding from Emet, too.
Despite her credentials and career, Mercey has a family she is ashamed of. A father who ran out. A mother with MS... and a twin brother from hell.
Can Emet and Mercey get past their histories and start a new one? That is one of the stories you'll learn as time goes by and customers and friends and the occasional bad check cross the threshold of the delightful Serve You Right Café. The book should come with recipes, or better yet, baked goods, because the descriptions of Emet's creations will have you dying for a taste!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"The Bloody Shoe Affair" by Joy York

These days, with kids wired to a variety of devices and actual face time becoming a thing of the past (unless the face they are interacting with is on a screen), you might forget that not that long ago kids had adventures and hanging with friends was filled with conversation, laughs, surprises...and maybe even solving a mystery or two. Joy York's delightful The Bloody Shoe Affair: a Daring and Thrilling Adventure with the Jailer's Daughter brings back a more innocent, and yet fun time. Set in 1968, Christi and her family are visiting relatives in the small town of Roselyn, Mississippi. It's her grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. Christi is going to be staying with her cousin, Lily, while the rest of the family heads to her grandparent's farm.
Lily is smart, spunky, popular and very pretty. She is also the daughter of the county jailer and the jail is attached to their house. Criminals come and go, deputies guard the entry and Lily's mom makes sure everyone is well fed with home-cooked meals.
Lily is also always up for adventure and not above playing pranks on Christi, though they are best friends. Christi adores her cousin and the experiences they've shared over the years... but on this particular visit she may have more adventure than she bargained for.
The night before Christi arrives, Lily is already trying to figure out why her father and the deputies have been so hush-hush about a new prisoner. And then, there's a bag with a bloody pair of women's shoes! What could be going on? And before she knows it, Christi is caught up in the web of secrets, intrigue and ...well, there are some cute boys in the mix, too, so this has all the makings of the most memorable summer ever! Grab a copy and join  the girls as they track down clues and try to uncover the big secret of the mystery of the bloody shoes!