Reviews by Noelle Leslie de la Cruz

B
Naughty or Nice

Anthology
As cynical as it may sound, stories tend to become cheesy when they incorporate a Christmas theme. It's therefore refreshing to come across an anthology that manages to be an original paean to the season. Naughty or Nice is, for the most part at least, charming, romantic, and h-h-hot. ...

C
Secret of the Wolf

Though this is the much-awaited next installment in two paranormal series by Susan Krinard, I had a hard time getting through it. Quentin is a uniquely dark hero with unusual demons to slay, but his character is just about the only thing you can look forward to in this slow-moving and clichéd story ...

D+
The Wild Side

One brief foray into The Wild Side is enough for me. With its annoying heroine, mean hero and clinical sex scenes, Harlequin Blaze No. 11 is not the book you should pick up if you're intrigued by all the hype about this new line of "romantica" (or romantic erotica). Built on the ...

B+
The Outlaw and the Lady

I expected The Outlaw and The Lady to be not much different from any other Western romance. After all, how many such books have an outlaw for a hero and a lady for a heroine? He's a bitter fugitive bent on revenge; she's the innocent woman he mistakenly abducts. That they are to fall in love during ...

F
Frontier Woman

It starts off with a bang: a tomboyish ranch owner’s daughter comes across a man bathing in a creek, mistakes him for a horse thief, and summarily makes him march to the family ranch at gunpoint. She lets him put his clothes back on, but not before experiencing a healthy dose of lust at seeing “ ...

B
Kiss of the Highlander

Set during a period that brings to mind impregnable castles, kilted warriors, and rugged mountains, Kiss of the Highlander is actually a cute love story with only a sprinkling of atmosphere. Karen Marie Moning’s latest work is the furthest thing from an impressive, cathartic epic. I almost feel gu ...

B+
16 Lighthouse Road

It's been awhile since I last read a book that made me cry. Although Debbie Macomber's 16 Lighthouse Road follows the scheme of her signature small-town romances (this one is set in Port Orchard, Washington), readers expecting a cushiony read should prepare for some surprises along the way. When a r ...

C+
Season of Storms

The book's title evokes a brooding drama peppered with sinister mysteries and heroic struggle - something that would keep you awake at night, jumping three feet at the slightest noise, but turning the pages despite yourself. But while Susanna Kearsley does apply a generous coating of Gothic atmosphe ...

C-
White Dove

As I finished the latest installment in Susan Edwards' White series, I looked at the fiery cover painting and elegant lettering, thinking that like the book design, White Dove is striking in some ways. And yet I winced as I realized that I was going to have write an ambivalent review, despite the ha ...

C-
The Stolen Years

The Stolen Years is alternately tedious, gripping, terrible, and quite good. It begins with a main character who's easy to hate, follows his evolution in the intense middle chapters, but then tapers off into an unsatisfying and forgettable ending. It's the ambitious - perhaps too ambitious - story o ...