Once Upon A Romance

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Halloween Treasures an Anthology


Cover art: Halloween Treasures Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Halloween Treasures
Author: Barbara Raffin, Dee Lloyd, Karen Wiesner, Jane Toombs, and Margaret L. Carter
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
ISBN-13: 978-1-60313-569-6
Release Date: October 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Paranormal Romance
Year/Setting: Various present day locations
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle/Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal/Some Moderate
Jewels of the Quill Website/Blog: www.JewelsoftheQuill.com

The Scarecrow and Ms. Moon by Barbara Raffin
Jessie Moon is a novice witch who accidentally—in a fit of anger—turned her boyfriend into a scarecrow. (By the way, it was really all his fault!) Now on Halloween Eve, the coven is coming to help her change him back and to dole out her punishment for her spell cast in anger. She learns she must love him enough to let him go…or he will once again become a scarecrow—this time, forever.

Jessie is a girl who never fit in anywhere. This loner attitude shows up in force as she learns of the punishment that will be meted out to her (and to her boyfriend, Jackson). It feels like her new friends in the coven are rejecting her by putting forth an impossible goal, which will punish Jackson more than her. As she works feverishly during the 24 hours she has to let him go, she learns a thing or two about unconditional love.

A very sweet story that kept me guessing until the end. I honestly didn’t see that coming.

Cuddly by Dee Lloyd
After a harrowing night in the hospital ER, Sam Farber takes a break from the world on his way home. He stops into his favorite bar, which is under new management, and meets the woman of his wishes. He was wishing for a beautiful woman to whisk him away from all the trauma of the night and gets the sensual haze he was looking for. But, is his wish come true really what he wished for??

This very short story packs a lot of wallop in a brief time. Sam’s wishes seem to be coming true before his eyes. But by the time we realize what is really happening, it may be too late. This story reminded me of many of The Twilight Zone episodes I watched.

Paper Tiger (Kaleidoscope Series, Book 5) by Karen Wiesner
Roni Spencer is living a lie. Trying to protect everyone she knows and loves, including long-time boyfriend Billy LaPointe, she won’t spend the night with him and she won’t consider marriage. She refuses to tell him about her tortured and less-than perfect past and has managed to keep his questions at bay for years.

But when things start to happen the week before Halloween, Roni fears her past is catching up with her. She knows she must sever all ties to Billy and his teenage son, Damian, or risk both of their lives. Is it already too late for all of them? What evil lurks around the corner this Halloween?

I’d say this story has enough suspense in it to keep you up at night. It surely haunted my dreams. If you love a story that will scare your socks off, this one is for you. If you prefer a milder thrill, I’d suggest skipping this one over. I had to keep putting it down because it was too intense and too close to a horror story for my personal tastes. Karen Wiesner is a master storywriter and storyteller, even if it was too intense for me. I don’t like to have my socks scared off. Even though this isn’t my favorite story by Karen Wiesner, I cannot deny her masterful ability to spin a story and reel the reader into that story. It was very realistic and totally believable. If you love a scary thrill, this story is perfect for you.

The Charmer (North of Nonesuch Series, Book 9) by Jane Toombs
Will Pasanen’s spirit dream was a warning from the Great Eagle. He pretty much dismissed his spirit dream as a hallucination of a young teen. So as an adult, he doesn’t have a problem hooking up with Lily Fowler when he meets her on the job. He was out looking for lost hitchhikers when he came across Lily—stuck on a branch of a tree in the swamps. He’s works for Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources.

He knows Lily is very secretive, but doesn’t really concern himself with it until both his mother and his sister have ‘spirit guide’ interventions with him. When he goes to confront Lily, he finds himself in a bigger mess than he thought possible and the woman he’s falling for might be a murderer.

Will and Lily’s story is intense and ‘charming’ from the get-go. She seems like such a nice person, even though we know she’s hiding things in her past and lying about other things. Will is such an honest guy—he’s the perfect Boy Scout next door. He’s kind and helpful and willing to help anyone in need.

While this story stands alone—I’ve never read any of the stories in the series and I was never lost—I’d like the opportunity to read more of Jane Toombs’ writing. She writes a fascinating story and kept me guessing and jumping to conclusions throughout the story. I’d like to read more about the other members of Will’s family and see how things played out for them. We got some tantalizing snippets of their pasts and I would like to learn more.

Mistress of the Shadow Hounds by Margaret L. Carter
When Enid Kelly discovers a burglar stealing books from her late Uncle Evan’s valuable private collection, she sees red…and possibly objects swirling around her…and maybe a lamp and a table fly by…but there’s nothing wrong with that, right? So when her uncle’s assistant, Greg, happens on the scene, she’s not sure he is any trustworthier than the burglar. When Greg starts telling her that she’s the mistress of the Shadow Hounds, she thinks he’s lost his mind. But as he tells her secrets about herself that she never knew, she thinks he could be right.

Greg and Enid need to get to his hometown and try to stop beings from another world from coming through the portal into ours. If they are not successful, then earth, as we know it may cease to exist. Can she believe Greg’s ridiculous claims? And if he’s right—can she help stop a lunatic from ending the world?

An incredibly fast read. It kept me on my toes from the first page to the last. Margaret Carter gives us an incredible otherworld story that includes mystery and romance. This was a great way to end this anthology.


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