First up this week is Catherine Anderson's Only by Your Touch (Signet). Chloe Evans is starting fresh. She and her son have come to the small town in Oregon for a better life. Ben Longtree's had his own difficulties and is still trying to overcome them. With Chloe's help--and love?--maybe he'll finally be able to do so. Ben's a healer, so expect some new-agey-type things. Chloe's resilient--considering some of the things that happen to her during the course of this book, you've got to wonder if she might not be a little too resilient? I liked this one, but I didn't love it. The bad guy in this is just a little too over the top to be believed, which makes some of the other parts of the story a little iffy in my opinion. I'm only borrowing three of Cupid's five arrows for this one.
Next is Deb Stover's Mulligan Magic (Jove Irish Eyes). On this visit to Ballybronagh, Ireland, sexy former cop Nick Desmond is working a security job that will help him finally get revenge on the man who killed his father. Maggie Mulligan just wants to keep the local school open--until Nick gets under her skin. Great story, great secondary characters, and just that little bit of the paranormal that you expect when you pick up a book by Ms. Stover. I'm hoping there are more Mulligan stories coming our way in the future. This one gets four arrows.
Finally, we have Playing with Matches (Signet), an anthology with stories from Karen Harbaugh, Katherine Greyle, Sabeeha Johnson and Cathy Yardley, all based on matchmaking Asian family members. The first story, "Dragon for Dinner" from Ms. Greyle, has a heroine who seemed to wishy-washy to me. She wants the hero, but she doesn't want to upset her family. I didn't like that one much. Ms. Harbaugh's "Love.com" I liked better, with her heroine who thought she'd finally outsmarted her matchmaking mother. The last two, "The Spice Bazaar" from Ms. Johnson, and "Romancing Rose" by Ms. Yardley, were enjoyable, but I didn't love either one. My biggest complaint about all four stories is that they all seem to have stereotyped the role of families in the arranging of marriages. In "The Spice Bazaar," for instance, the heroine meekly went along to her arranged wedding even though she was in love with the groom's friend. I understand that keeping cultural traditions alive is important to many people, but it is the twenty-first century, and I have a hard time believing that women raised in America today wouldn't have a little more backbone. I'm only giving this anthology two arrows. The idea was a good one, but I didn't like the actual stories.
Until next week, happy reading!