River Walker

Title: RIVER WALKER
Author: Cate Culpepper
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
ISBN: 9781602821897
Genre: Romance | Supernatural
Rating: 5 Stars

One moonlit midnight, two very different women meet on the banks of the muddy Rio Grande. Grady Wrenn is a cultural anthropologist, enthralled by a local ghost story about a vengeful spirit known as the River Walker. Elena Montalvo, a spiritual healer, is that tortured spirit’s only defender. Together, Grady and Elena must find a way to end the River Walker’s murderous vendetta— and overcome a maze of cultural barriers to find each other.

Halfway through Cate Culpepper’s River Walker I put it down and said, “Damn it. I wish I’d written this.”

There. Having confessed my literary envy I can proceed clean of heart. River Walker deserves no less.

Cultural anthropologist Grady Wrenn relocates from the Pacific Northwest to a little town in New Mexico and straight into a murder spree. Locals blame the killings on ‘La Llorana’, the legendary ghost that haunts the banks of the Rio Grande, and they accuse Elena Montalvo, the town’s healer, or Curandera, of aiding the accursed spirit.

Enthralled with the story of La Llorona, Grady’s anthropology students take on the legend for their summer project. What better place to start their research than with the local Curandera, smoothing the way for a charming relationship between Elena and ‘Professor Gringa’.

Though the women are drawn to each other, and approach the attraction each with their own set of matching baggage, the enchantment of the romance lies in how they take the time to feel each other out. They get irritated with each other then make up, they squabble and are re-charmed. Just like in real life. There’s a lovely ebb and flow to their courtship, a dance that is refreshingly healthy and mature. Of itself, River Walker is a fine romance.

Baxter Clare Trautman

Baxter Clare Trautman works as a biologist on California’s Central Coast, where she lives on a ranch with her longtime companion. She is the author of the L.A. Franco series of novels.

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Travels Through Love And Time

Title: Travels Through Love And Time
Author: Christine Hall Volkoff
Publisher: Night Publishing, 2010
ISBN: 978-1456466114
Genre: Literary Fiction | Romance
Rated: 3 Stars

Love affects us, touches us, and changes us. It can awaken us, make us soar, and give us faith in humanity, in ourselves. No love, no matter how fleeting, is unimportant; we are always transformed by it.

Ms Hall Volkoff’s novel is about how love comes to us, at different stages of our lives when we need it most and how it makes us, more.

Made up of what amounts to three novellas, this novel shows us the evolution of the heroine’s life, through the prisms of three love affairs. In the first the heroine is a young girl on the verge of womanhood awakened to love by a woman older than herself. In the second she is coming out of an unhappy relationship and meets a woman with who she has a passionate affair, in the third she is a mature woman experiencing desire, for a woman much younger than herself.

I was expecting a romance novel, however, that isn’t exactly what I got. I applaud the author’s effort, there is real feeling in this work, fluency and fluidity, but, it felt like a novel in search of an identity. A hybrid: neither romance nor literary fiction. I never had a real sense for the heroine, she felt a little flat; she never felt real. I like romance novels and I like characters I can associate and identify with, but, that’s me. Perhaps if it had been longer then there would have been more character development, and it would have worked better. As it is, it struck me as a novel without a sense of direction.

If you are looking for a different spin on romance and interested in the exploration of form and the ideas behind how love changes us, maybe this is the book for you. It wasn’t for me.

Caroline Filler

Caroline is a Montreal bookseller. Her great love is reading. She claims no expertise as a reviewer other than being a life long avid reader.

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Blind Bet

Title: BLIND BET
Author: Tracey Richardson
Publisher: Bella Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-1594932113
Rating: 3 Stars
Genre: Romance

Blind Bet, is Tracey Richardson’s most recent novel. A good read. A novel about modern women, dealing with the age old problems of relationships, fidelity, and the role that love plays in the quest for success and fulfilment. It’s also about what’s important, really important and not settling for a facsimile of happiness.

This is the second of Ms Richardson’s novels I’ve reviewed. I like her brand of romance. Neither fluffy nor edgy, they strike me as, just right. They are playful and sexy, not silly. I’ve had my problems with romance novels in the past few years, not being a fan of either vampires or werewolves may be a contributing factor. Although I expect escapism to a world of beautiful women who all have buns of steel and good jobs, I also expect characters that have a certain believability, not perfect in every way. Richardson’s characters aren’t perfect, close, but not perfect. That’s what works most for me.

Ellen Turcotte is a Professor of English going through a divorce, her sense of anger and betrayal will find resonance with many readers, it’s hard to pick up the pieces and move on, it’s hard to trust again. She’s a likable, attractive character, and a thinking sensitive woman. Her wife’s infidelity will lead her to question her sense of complacency.

Courtney Langford is a high-powered executive at Microsoft, a workaholic. When she misses a flight to Boston and, as a result, survives a plane crash, she realises that she has no life, where to start again? Life has to be about more that work. Courtney is an appealing soft butch.

While on vacation in Vancouver, they meet. Can a vacation romance survive beyond a vacation? Can you learn to trust again? This romance is well written, and intelligent. The erotic elements are very effective. All in all, this is an enjoyable romance and well worth your time.

Caroline Filler

Caroline is a Montreal bookseller. Her great love is reading. She claims no expertise as a reviewer other than being a life long avid reader.

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The Candidate

Title: THE CANDIDATE
Author: Tracey Richardson
Publisher: Bella Books
ISBN: 978-1594931338
Rating: 3.5-Stars
Genre: Romance

Presidential candidate Jane Kincaid-gorgeous, dynamic and extremely driven- is taking the country by storm, passionately outlining her blueprint for America. Voters quickly fall in love with her…and so, unwittingly, does Secret Service Agent Alexandria Warner.

Their mutual attraction begins to take on a fiery life of it’s own, and soon Jane fears that their intense feelings for each other are a tinder box that could destroy the landscape pf her career…and alter the history of the country.

Jane had always expected the road to the White House would exact a high personal toll.
She just never knew how high…until she’s forced to choose between her heart and her political destiny.

Tracey Richardson’s The Candidate is a winner in it’s genre, a very satisfying romance novel. The Democratic primary race for the American Presidency serves as the backdrop for this love story. If you have an interest in American politics, the place of women and of the GLBTQ community in politics, this novel has a little something extra for you. I’m not saying this is an issues novel, it’s not, it’s a romance but, it does bring up some of those questions, woven into the plot and provides a thoughtful reflection on what society expects and what people are willing to sacrifice for their career and for the greater good.

Caroline Filler

Caroline is a Montreal bookseller. Her great love is reading. She claims no expertise as a reviewer other than being a life long avid reader.

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Armchair Detective

Title: ARMCHAIR DETECTIVE
Author: Kelli Jae Baeli
Publisher: Light Switcher Books
ISBN: 978-0615455211
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: Detective/Romance

A wannabe Private Investigator has to start somewhere. If that means incurring the wrath of her suspects, then so be it. When Jobeth O’Brien awakens from the floor of her kitchen, her battered face and the memory of an angry visitor tells her that she is close to something important in her investigation. She pulls herself together and goes to run her paper route—a job that pays the bills while she pursues her other vocation. Her romps in the backseat of her Falcon with a wealthy socialite, Phoebe, are a welcome distraction from her excursions into the developing facts of the blackmail and prostitution operation.

The most appealing thing about this novel is its narrative voice. Written in first person, this novel is wry and humorous. It’s the first thing that draws you into the story and it’s at once self-depreciating and self-assured, which is an interesting combination. For a while I thought this self-assurance bordered on cocky, but by a few chapters into the book I was captivated. It’s a strong voice and it never falters once in the whole novel.

Kate Genet

I'm a writer, storyteller and an exerciser of a very stretchy mind. I believe in curiosity, wonder and teaching my mind to do back flips.

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