Wildfire in His Arms

Wildfire in His ArmsWildfire In His Arms (Callahan-Warren, #2) by Johanna Lindsey
Series: Callahan-Warren #2
Published by Gallery Books on June 16, 2015
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400

A Slow Start But Great Middle and End

THE STORY: Degan Grant is a gun for hire. When he agrees to do a favor for the US Marshall who saved his life, he finds himself searching out three wanted outlaws. When he starts his search looking for Max Dawson, wanted for murder and bank robbery, he is surprised to discover that Max is actually Maxine and that she claims to be innocent. He also discovers that his heart, that he believed immune, is taken by the sweet outlaw.

OPINION: I didn’t believe that I would like this book when I began it. I thought the story was slow to develop and I didn’t feel engaged with Degan, who felt distant and aloof. That changed once Max and Degan encounter one another. Their romance is sparkling and their journey funny and sweet and completely engaging.

Max is strong and yet intensely vulnerable. She is not damsel in distress. She has been taking care of herself in dangerous circumstances for years and yet has not become hard and jaded. She is smart and sneaky and a good match for Degan.

Degan was distant and difficult to like in the beginning…but that is precisely who he is. He has built walls around himself to protect himself from pain. A quiet man who does what needs to be done and is fair and honorable, Degan is not effusive about his emotions or his thoughts. He is a good man and I ended up liking him tremendously as the book progressed.

Once the story really started flowing, I was enthralled. The plot worked and everything felt balanced and proper. I especially liked how the romance was slowly developed and these two wary characters got to know one another and found out by the end that they were meant to be together.

WORTH MENTIONING: I am hoping for more stories about the Callaghan brothers.

FINAL DECISION: I ultimately really liked this book because I liked Degan who I found to be quiet and responsible and a good man. I also really liked how the relationship between Degan and Max developed. It felt natural and sweet.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WILDFIRE IN HIS ARMS is connected with ONE HEART TO WIN although it can be easily read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.


Review: One Heart to Win

Review: One Heart to WinOne Heart to Win by Johanna Lindsey
Series: Callahan-Warren #1
Published by Gallery Books on June 11, 2013
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384

One of the Least Angsty Heroes Ever

THE STORY: Tiffany Warren is being sent to the father that she doesn’t remember in order to marry her family’s enemies to finalize the peace between them. She doesn’t want to leave civilized New York for the wilds of the west. When she arrives in town, she is mistaken as the housekeeper coming to work for her family. As a result of the mistaken identity, Tiffany ends up working in the house of her fiance, Hunter Callahan. Tiffany believes that impersonating the housekeeper will allow her to find out the truth about her fiance’s character. Tiffany doesn’t intend on staying in the west, but she ends up liking Hunter more than she expected.

OPINION: This story was not what I expected primarily because the hero was so incredibly fully of humor and cheer and is a nice guy. Hunter is one of the nicest heroes I have ever read about. In the beginning, Tiffany was rather annoying. She appeared spoiled and self-centered. When she arrives at the Callahan ranch, however, and takes on being the housekeeper, she redeemed herself by working hard, being creative and open minded. Because everyone ended up being so nice, there was little drama between the couple and thus I didn’t feel that the romance worked as well here as I would have expected.

WORTH MENTIONING: I tend to prefer angsty heroes and therefore was initially attracted more to Degan Grant, the gunslinger, than to Hunter, the hero. Hunter, however, is such a nice guy that it is hard to hold out against him.

FINAL DECISION: What made this story for me was the smiling, friendly, nice hero who doesn’t really have problems and issues.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ONE HEART TO WIN is followed by WILDFIRE IN HIS ARMS but the books can be read independent of one another.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.


Review: Murder Most Historical

Review: Murder Most HistoricalMurder Most Historical by Ashley Gardner, Jennifer Ashley
Published by JA / AG Publishing on June 9th 2015
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 250

MURDER MOST HISTORICAL is a trio of unrelated short mystery stories with a historical bent.

THE BISHOP’S LADY is the story of Emilie d’Armand and takes place in seventeenth century France. Emilie has been left destitute by her deceased husband and exists on the edges of the French court. While visiting, she is mistaken for Angel who died under mysterious circumstances. Emilie discovers that three men had a range of feelings for Angel and that one of them is a murderer. I liked this story because Emilie is a bright interesting character. The story is short but the lively characters keep the action interesting. Rating: 3.5 stars.

A SOUPCAN OF POISON: Kat Holloway is a cook in nineteen century London. She works for a miserable lecherous employer who is found murdered with one of Kat’s knives in his back. Kat is immediately a suspect and she ends up working with the mysterious Daniel McAdam to discover who the true murderer is. This was my favorite of the collection. It is clearly intended to be first in the series and I really hope that there is more to come. Kat is fascinating: professional and practical, she is beginning to fall for Daniel when she realizes that he may be hiding numerous dark secrets. I thought that their relationship was very intriguing and would be interested in finding out more of what happens between them. Rating: 4 stars.

A MATTER OF HONOR is more a paranormal historical than a mystery although it deals with the theft of a family heirloom. Robert Archer is the younger son and is wasting his life in drink and women. He ends up encountering a night walker (aka vampire) woman who he worries might be out to kill him. I thought this story was the weakest of the bunch. I didn’t like Robert and I didn’t really sympathize with his situation. I did like the idea of historical vampires but this one was not interesting enough to keep my interest despite its short length. Rating: 2 stars.