Hearts Awakened
by Linda Winfree, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-60504-186-6

I have to love a story where the hero's nickname is Cookie. Right? Mark Cook must be really secure in his heterosexuality to let people call him that, I tell you.

Hearts Awakened is the sixth book in Linda Winfree's Heart Of The South series and it shows. This story has so many secondary characters cluttering up the main storyline that I suspect that readers new to the series won't be amused unless these readers are fond of the soap opera feel of the story.

We have Mark Cook who is trying to lose weight a little bit more (don't worry, he's a hunk already as he is) as well as trying not to make his attraction to his friend's sister Tori Calvert too obvious. He has his issues and so does Tori. Meanwhile, Tori works at the crisis center which leads to plenty of drama involved battered wives and such. There are also other characters showing up to interact with our main characters, causing the main storyline to feel really slow-moving as its flow often gets interrupted every time a secondary character intrudes and takes away quiet time from Cookie and Tori.

Hearts Awakened is not a bad read, but it has a pretty thin plot and the story itself feels heavily padded. This is easily the weakest entry in the series so far.

Rating: 69

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