Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Pen Review: A Celtic Lover's Magic & One Touch, One Glance, A Sweet Romance Anthology

Welcome to the next edition of The Pen Review. Today I have some exciting books to tell you all about.

First up ..

A Celtic Lover's Magic by Lisa Alexander Griffin.
Author's Website: www.lisaalexandergriffin.com
Pages:30
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Publisher: Freya's Bower
Price: $1.99
Rating: PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
Purchase: A Celtic Lover's Magic


If you love Ireland, fairies, magic and romance then you are in for a treat! A Celtic Lover's Magic follows the tale of Liam Macauley. Liam inherits a mansion from an uncle he's never met. Suspicious and yet curious Liam makes the journey to claim the mansion. In comes Caileaan, a Sidhe whom wishes to claim a husband and who longs for the lover she waits for. Unknown to Liam there is more to the story of the mansion and his legacy. Somewhere in the darkness lurks an ancient enemy, the Fomhoire. Will they stop Liam from claiming love and his rightful place?

I really loved reading this work. Although short, it was a sweet tale to read. I wanted a bit more because I was enjoying it. (Hint Hint to Lisa, is there more coming?) I enjoyed following Liam's character in finding out more about his family and his legacy. Caileaan's character was lovely. I loved her spirit. The dialogue and scenery was descriptive and rich. Wonderful through and through. Check out A Celtic Lover's Magic excerpt below!

Excerpt:

Liam Macauley stepped onto the dock. The riverboat dipped, and waves lapped against the hull. He gazed at the distant highlands where magical fingers of mist twined and writhed to obscure the Irish landscape of Boyne Valley.

He shouldered the small carry-on bag and wheeled the larger suitcase down the wooden dock. His legs protested each stride. Slowly, he adjusted to solid ground beneath his feet.

Liam tunneled a hand through his hair, scanned the deserted dockyard and spotted the lone taxi. For two days he’d traveled up river to reach this place, and the whole damn trip remained a mystery: an uncle he didn’t know and an inheritance he’d never expected.

A raven screeched and flew low, almost slamming into him. Liam ducked. A sense of unease crept up his spine. The bird cawed, settling in a nearby tree.

Its golden eyes blinked as if mapping his every move. Liam eased the taxi’s door open, his gaze locked on the bird. Dark wings flapped. The raven took to the air as Liam slid into the back seat. Expelling a ragged breath, he glanced at the taxi’s driver.

“I assume you’ll want to go directly to Macaula Mansion?”

Liam scrutinized the man. “Yeah. How did you know?”

The cabby smiled. “Let’s just say I have my orders, sir.” He shifted the taxi into gear and moved down the bumpy lane.

Unsure how to respond, Liam sat back in the seat. The countryside whizzed past. He relaxed, cranked the side window down, and breathed deeply of the fresh air and pungent pine aroma—a drastic change from the smog and congestion of Los Angeles.

The driver glanced in the rearview mirror. “Your first visit to Ireland?”

“Yes.” Liam laughed. “An obvious tourist, eh?”

The cabby’s eyes glinted, and he chuckled. “Not at all.” He veered the taxi down a winding lane, more rutted than the one they had left behind. The elevation rose with each turn, and the cabby slowed his speed. “Macaula Mansion straight ahead, sir,” he said. Moments later, he braked to a stop.

Liam stared out the window. “God in Heaven,” he muttered, disbelief shuddering through him. “What have I gotten myself into?”

The taxi rumbled over a wooden drawbridge and through an arched stone portcullis. “Did no one inform you that the mansion’s an old keep?” The driver laughed.

Liam opened the door, fumbled for his bags and stepped out. “No…err…no, they didn’t.” He loosened a few bills from his money clip and stepped over to the driver’s window.

“Cab fare’s been paid. G’day, sir. Enjoy your stay.” The cabby revved the engine and eased away.

Liam stared at the stone-faced monstrosity. The lawyer who had contacted him had revealed his inheritance over the phone: a thousand acres and a mansion. Not a damned keep. No wonder this Brennan Finney declined further detail. The guy probably feared he’d tuck tail and run.

Liam turned full circle. Damn!

Stone embattlements surrounded the grounds. He backtracked through the portcullis to the moat and searched the water. Did they even have gators in Ireland?

He noted the gate towers, north and south, scratched his head and snorted.

When will this blasted nightmare end?

He wheeled around. Mullioned windows, large and lifeless, stared back at him from a stone exterior. The surrounding grounds, a virtual self-contained island, streams gurgled, cutting a fierce path inward from the Boyne River filled the moat and supplied water to the inside.

Liam meandered up a heather-lined, cobblestone walk and lifted the brass knocker on the Gothic front door. Before he could make himself known, the door swung wide.

“Good day, sir. We’ve been expecting you.”

A woman in a starched white uniform, her gray hair knotted tightly at the base of her skull, escorted him inside.

“Naal, at your service, sir.”

She held out her hand, and he grasped it firmly. “You must be the housekeeper,” he said.

She smiled. “Yes. Your room’s been prepared if you’d like to rest and freshen up before dinner.”

Naal moved to a narrow, circular staircase and paused. “The sleeping apartments are located on the second and third level, sir. The master bedchamber is on the third. If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you to your quarters.”

Liam’s footsteps echoed in the tiled passageway. Ascending the staircase, he glanced upward at roughhewn beams, black with age, that supported the upper floors. The place was a fortress. He followed Naal to the second floor where a hallway led to many miniscule rooms. Stale air invaded Liam’s lungs; he tugged at his collar.

“This way, sir.” She continued up an even narrower staircase to the third floor, and the rooms expanded.

Liam breathed deeply. His mind whirled with an overwhelming sensation he’d been here before. He was certain nothing had changed in over one hundred years.

Naal opened a door to an elegant room with rows of mullioned windows that overlooked the courtyard. A massive fireplace graced an interior wall. His gaze settled on the large, four-poster bed against the opposing wall.

“Extraordinary,” he breathed and raked sweat-dampened hair from his brow.


One Touch, One Glance. A Sweet Romance Anthology

Author's Included: Lisa Alexander Griffin and Kathleen MacIver

Author's Websites: www.lisaalexandergriffin.com,

http://www.KathleenMacIver.com

Pages:200
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Freya's Bower
Price: $6.49
Rating: PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
Purchase: One Touch, One Glance. A Sweet Romance Anthology

One Touch, One Glance. A Sweet Romance Anthology is a collection of heartwarming romances that can be shared with everyone. The Unexpected Gift by Lisa Alexander Griffin is just that, an unexpected story! I absolutely loved this story. It was so heartwarming and sweet. The Unexpected gift follows the story of Elise and Cade. Elise has been through some hard times. First the loss of her husband and then finding out she is pregnant. Determined to be strong she raises her child, the adorable Jaime. While on a trip to the toy store, she meets Santa literally! Who is this Santa? This where Cade comes in. He plays a Santa at the toy store. What's his story? Elise and Jaime are about to find out.

The other story that is one of my favorites in this anthology is the sweet romance by Kathleen MacIver entitled When Time Stood Still. The lovely tale follows Matthew and Rhianna. Matthew is searching for a home to call his own and the skills of a swordman. While in a grocery store he hears a song that calls to him. Then he sees her. Following Rhianna outside of the grocery store he finds her being attacked. After saving her life... she disappears never to be seen again. Working at a sword smith shop in Scottland has it's perks. Befriending the owners, he joins them on a trip to Duncarragh. That's where he finds himself looking at Rhianna, the woman whose song has been haunting his dreams. What will come of Rhianna and Matthew? What secrets will be revealved? This story is surely to find a spot in your heart. I know it found one in mine. Kathleen's work is one to continue to look out for. Read the excerpt and find out more about this amazing tale!

The Unexpected Gift Excerpt:

Multi-colored lights beckoned Elise. Perched on her hip, her daughter, Jamie,
gurgled with delight. Elise pushed through the doors of Willingham’s Toy Store, and the
toddler’s eyes lit with excitement.

They cruised the overstuffed toy aisles. A huge Christmas tree twinkled in the store’s
center. Nearing the tree, Elise spotted Santa with a child on his lap. She looked down at
her daughter, her heart swelling with emotion. I can actually enjoy Christmas now.

Two long years had passed. She hugged her daughter tightly. Thanks to her precious
gift, life moved forward in its never-ending circle.

Elise stepped into the long line and waited. When it came their turn, she moved near
Santa’s chair. Her gaze locked with the bluest eyes she’d ever seen. He smiled and took
Jamie onto his lap.

“What would you like from Santa this year, little lady?” he crooned.

Jamie grinned, jutted out her two tiny lower teeth, and gazed up at him through
innocent brown eyes. Drool spiraled from her mouth, dampening his hands.
“Ba-be,” she babbled.

Elise laughed, and her daughter joined in. Jamie’s tiny arms crossed. She imitated a
mother rocking her child.

“She wants a baby doll,” Elise explained. “Also a couple puzzles and a few fairytales.
Jamie loves it when I read to her.”

Jamie clapped her hands, giggled, and tugged Santa’s beard.

“Be nice, honey,” Elise scolded. She laughed, reaching for her daughter. “Let’s not
disrobe Santa. We wouldn’t want to traumatize the other children.”

The toy store Santa smiled, and Elise’s breath caught in her throat.


When Time Stood Still Excerpt:

Matthew Garlinn sat on a stone wall under a sign that read Alec MacCoinneach,
Swordsmith, and shook his head. Once upon a time, he would have laughed to think
he’d one day find himself sitting in a place like this.

He was, of course, outside the shop because the door was locked and his key inside.
But even that wouldn’t have stopped him a few years ago. As it was, only his
determination not to fall back into his old ways kept him from undoing the very easy-to-
pick lock that guarded the back door.

No, what he found ironic was that he was not in the good old USA, not in a city, and
not using either his wits or his tae kwon do skills to make a living. Instead, he was in the
Scottish Highlands, staying in a village no bigger than one LA neighborhood, and
learning the ancient art of swordsmithing. Definitely not where he thought he’d end up.
But what surprised him most was how he liked the life here. The mountains were
harsh and unyielding, but beautiful. The people were friendly.

And there was her. The woman whose song haunted his dreams. Whose face had
placed her in danger. Who had fled when he’d rescued her.

Maybe tonight, if he hung around the grocery store long enough, she’d come back
and he’d see her again. If his boss would show up so they could get the day’s work done.

He glanced at his watch and wondered what had happened. Alec was the kind of guy
a person could depend on. Not the kind of boss to tell you to be at the shop at eleven to
start work on a new sword, and then leave you sitting outside on a stone wall for an
hour.

5 comments:

  1. Denisse, thank you so much for reviewing my stories. I'm so glad you enjoyed them. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for introducing your work to me. :-) Hope to see more of your work in the future! Keep writing!

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  3. Congrats Lisa on both releases! WTG!!

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  4. Denisse, thanks so much for the nice review of the two stories from the One Touch, One Glance anthology. I really enjoyed both of these stories a lot, but then I have to say I loved them all. It is hard to pick a favorite. Of course I am a bit partial to mine, but I am honored to be in such fine company.

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  5. You are very welcome. I admit it was very hard to choose, but decided on those two. The whole anthology was great as well. :)

    ReplyDelete