Review: Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap

Review: Dirty Dancing at Devil’s LeapDirty Dancing at Devil's Leap by Julie Anne Long
Series: Hellcat Canyon #3
Published by Avon on August 29th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“He’d had nothing but good-natured scorn when she’d told him about her fantasy of slow dancing on Devil’s Leap to what she thought of as her namesake song, Roxy Music’s ‘Avalon’, ‘Of, Avalon. That’s just ridiculous. No one actually does that kind of thing in real life.'”

FINAL DECISION: Another simply lovely addition to the Hellcat Canyon series. Long has such a lyrical and beautifully emotional way of depicting characters who have come to Hellcat Canyon with their world ripped apart. A second chance at love romance filled with humor and deeply emotional moments, Avalon and Mac’s story is a welcome addition.

THE STORY:  Avalon Harwood has (temporarily) returned to Hellcat Canyon after her perfect relationship and business partnership has blown up and she needs time to make decisions. She comes home and finds an opportunity in purchasing the Coltrane estate. She intends on flipping the house as part of her dealing with her heartbreak. The estate has memories for Avalon. Her younger self worshiped the rich son Mac Coltrane until he broke her heart. After his father was convicted of fraud, the family fell apart. Mac has returned and when Avalon snaps up the house under his nose, he is determined to convince her to change her mind.

OPINION:  I can hardly express how much I love the Hellcat Canyon series. Each of the books has such a different romance. This book is a second chance at love story. Avalon and Mac had a chance together when they were younger, but Mac was spoiled and insecure and unable to recognize the value of what he had.

But he has recognized it in the intervening years.

“It took him a long time to adjust to her absence. He hadn’t realized that she was the lens he’d begun to see nearly everything through. That even though she was kind of a secret, she was also, in a way, his center of gravity. And when it was clear he was just never going to see her again, life had taken on a peculiar, almost dreamlike quality. What he did had ceased to matter because nothing had consequences in a dream.”

Both Avalon and Mac in this story have lived a non-consequential “dream” world in the intervening years. Life has happened to them. When they reunite, it is like they wake up and rediscover a life of meaning and value.

The story really revolves around the idea of living a life of active participation.  Avalon sees her “perfect” world fall apart and finds herself yearning for a life that reflects what decisions she makes — what she actually decides she wants rather than what happens to her.

Mac, too, has had to confront the absence of meaning in life. Growing up privileged, Mac accepted everything that his privilege entailed and tossed away those things that could bring meaning. Losing everything has forced him to figure out how to start from the bottom and create a life that he wants. He has done this in the financial world and in his business life, but it takes the reappearance of Avalon for him to find out what actually has meaning in life.

I loved these characters and I loved their interaction. A book that is almost entirely centered on the estate, the “claustrophobia” of Mac and Avalon’s interaction allows them to have some of the funniest banter and one-ups-man-ship that I have read. These two are completely competitive with one another and they know one another so well (and yet they have so many secrets and mysteries from the intervening years), that they can needle one another. I laughed and snickered at Avalon and Mac’s antics.

In a wonderful manner, the humor and lightness turns into deeply emotional and revealing events. Mac and Avalon not only know one another, but they have hurts which can only be healed by one another.

As the title itself expresses, this book is about finding meaning. As we learn, Mac has mocked Avalon’s dream of dancing on Devil’s Leap seeing it as hokey and silly. One might guess that through his examination and refocusing on his life and encountering true relationship with Avalon, he invests Avalon’s dream with intense meaning and significance on a personal level between them.

The worst part of this series is having to wait to read the next book.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I really missed the Eternity Oak in this story along with the quirky town characters since this book is really focused on the Coltrane estate.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  DIRTY DANCING AT DEVIL’S LEAP is the third book in the Hellcat Canyon series. The series has continuing characters, but this romance is completely self contained. In fact, this book is only tangentially related to the rest of the series and most of the continuing characters don’t make any appearances so this book can be read completely on its own.  (But this series is so good, go ahead and read the others as well).

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Edelweiss in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: So I Married a Sorcerer

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: So I Married a SorcererSo I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced, #2) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on August 29th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 496
Goodreads
four-stars

“He would regret kidnapping her, she’s make sure of that. For he would soon discover that she was not a willing captive.”

FINAL DECISION: Filled with fun and adventure, I really enjoyed this second book in the Embraced series. The story of Brigitta and Rupert added to the legend in the world of Aerthlan. A paranormal with a historical feel, the book read like an old fashioned serial — in a good way.

THE STORY:  In the world where those born when the moons eclipse have magical powers but are hunted and in danger, some of these Embraced have found refuge on the Isle of Moon.  Brigitta has spent most of her life hidden in the convent on the Isle of Moon; she is Embraced. On her way to join her sister of the heart, Brigitta finds out that she is a princess whose evil half-brother wants her back to help secure his bloodline to the throne. Just about to be taken by his troops, Brigitta is kidnapped by the pirate Rupert who is Embraced and has the power to harness the winds. Rupert has plans to use her against her half-brother, but has many secrets of his own. Including one which involves Brigitta herself.

OPINION:  This book is one adventure after another as Rupert and Brigitta meet, deal with Rupert’s abduction of Brigitta and then also confront her half-brother. There are sea battles, dangers and, of course, love aplenty. Secret identities, lies, hidden motives, abound along with varying paranormal gifts.

Brigitta, along with her “sisters”, have been awakened by the events of the first book in the series. They are now aware that they may not be orphans but may have some secret unknown pasts. As the series progresses, I expect that we will learn their stories. Here, we learn that Brigitta comes from a family of usurpers of the throne. There is no happy family ending waiting for her. Brigitta is an interesting mix of naivete and practicality. She has an innocent heart, but at the same time, she has strength and a determination to chart her own destiny. Having a hidden past, Brigitta is just finding out who she is. This is her time to create herself after finally reclaiming her true identity.

Rupert has a different journey. He knows too much about the past and it haunts him. His story is not reclaiming the past, but rather his finding freedom from the past that at times overwhelms and smothers him. He also happens to be a sexy, powerful sorcerer who rules the seas. His story here is also a discovery story. Rupert is rediscovering who he should be. In a real way, he is rediscovering himself as well. A man who has kept himself hidden, he might have more knowledge than Brigitta, but he has also been unable to claim his true self.

A swashbuckling adventure, the story barely has time to take a breath before a new dilemma arises. It truly feels like an old time serial where the hero and heroine just solve one problem before a new adventure presents itself. I really enjoyed the pacing of this book which felt exciting and fun. I somewhat expected the ultimate twists and turns of this story, but the frantic pace kept the story moving.

I thought that this book picked up the ball from the first book in the series and moved the story forward. I get some sense that there is a larger narrative at work. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think these individual stories might be building towards a bigger conflict or solution.

Onto the next book of the series — next year, unfortunately.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Special bonus for fans who read the first book — twins!

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SO I MARRIED A SORCERER is the second book in the Embraced series. While this book can be read as a standalone, there are overlapping characters so if that bothers you, read the series in order. The romance in this book starts and is completed in this book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: A Love to Remember

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Love to RememberA Love to Remember (The Disgraced Lords, #7) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #7
Published by Loveswept on August 29th 2017
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: The tale of longtime lovers who have reached a turning point in their relationship, this novella is very sexy. I enjoyed the connection between Rose and Philip but was a bit annoyed with Philip’s motivations.

THE STORY: For Rose Deverill, Duchess of Roxborough, one marriage was more than enough. She never intends on marrying again and indeed she is enjoying her widowhood so much that she is known as the “Wicked Widow”. She is satisfied with her lovers and raising her young son, but her relationship with Philip Flagstaff, Earl of Cumberland, is challenging her intentions. The two have been lovers for several years and recently, Rose’s thoughts have turned toward the possibility of a future with Philip — perhaps even marriage. But Philip is also against the idea of marriage. Having gained the title after his older brother sacrificed his own life for Philip’s, Philip is wracked with guilt and intends on making sure the title eventually goes to someone more worthy than he. So he intends never to marry or have children. When threats arise toward Rose and her son, Philip has to decide what Rose means to him.

OPINION: For me, one of the highlights of this book is how Rose accepts and relishes her own sexual nature. She regrets her past only because she fears that Philips doesn’t want to marry her because of it. But she truly doesn’t regret her lovers or her past. She enjoys sex and recognizes that she is not willing to live a celibate life even if Philip cannot be part of her future. In a genre filled with wide-eyed virgins, this fully realized woman was a definite positive.

Indeed, Philip’s own response to Rose’s past was also welcome. He has some jealous moments, but doesn’t judge Rose for her past lovers. His acceptance of her on all levels is one thing that makes him special. Even if he is annoyingly guilt ridden and thus making stupid irrational decisions.

I liked that Rose and Philip are longtime lovers by the time this book really starts. This isn’t a relationship often depicted in historical romances. What the story shows is that a story can start mid-relationship and still have something to show about how their relationship progresses and changes.

I enjoyed this book even though Philip’s determination to reject happiness annoyed me for quite a while in this book.

WORTH MENTIONING: Which looked to be an ending to the series is not. There are more Disgraced Lords books coming.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A LOVE TO REMEMBER is the seventh book in the Disgraced Lords series. This novella can be read on its own. I have read some, but not all of the previous books in the series, and while this book does have references to other characters, the romance is self-contained (but fans of the series will get some treats).

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-half-stars

Review: Once a Rebel

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Once a RebelOnce a Rebel (Rogues Redeemed #2) by Mary Jo Putney
Series: Rogues Redeemed #2
Published by Zebra on August 29th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 368
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Childhood friends who become lovers, this story takes place in an under-represented time period which makes the events interesting. The story is a slow burn and the romance develops more slowly than I would like.

THE STORY: Callista Brooke is in the middle of the burning of Washington in the War of 1812. Widowed from the man her father forced her to marry, Callista is now raising her husband’s illegitimate children. In danger, a man rides up to save her. Lord George Gordon Audley has taken the job of bringing Callista back to England. What Gordon didn’t know is that Callista is his childhood friend. Callista is shocked by the appearance of her friend Richard who she believed died after being transported for “kidnapping” her. What had actually happened was the Richard had attempted to rescue Callista from her forced marriage, but the two had been caught by their fathers. Now Richard and Callista must make their way to safety during a war.

OPINION:  I enjoyed the relationship between the hero and heroine here, but the actual ending seemed a bit wanting for me. This is a story of two people who are friends, are apart for almost half their lives and then find one another again. For Richard and Callista, there isn’t a “wow, my friend is now a hottie that I want and love” moment. That was not only okay for me but felt natural. The two begin a relationship based on respect and friendship as they navigate the dangers that surround them both from the war and also the personal problems. But I really wanted something to click with them sooner than it did and something more passionate and exciting to happen between them personally.  Instead, this is a “we gradually realize that we must be in love” story.

I was a bit disappointed by this, because I liked there characters. They both have had difficult lives since they parted, but have made themselves survivors. This is an opportunity for them to finally find something joyous with one another.

I especially liked the time and place of this book as it begins because not many romances are set in America during the War of 1812. This book gives a glimpse into a different time period. The characters also manage to move back to more familiar England and a whole new set of issues arise.

Although the action in the last portion of the book happens really quickly, I ended up loving the relationship between Richard and Callista at that point. The two have found some joy and peace with one another and the drama is the catalyst that brings them finally to the realization that they truly love one another. (But the relationship never seems like a deeply passionate one).

WORTH MENTIONING: One thing that bothered me about this story is how Callista’s step-children are so important to her but they characters are jettisoned part way through the book. I felt the story should have committed to them or excised them completely.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ONCE A REBEL is the second book in the Rogues Redeemed series. While there are overlapping characters, this book can be read as a standalone without missing anything at all.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-stars

Review: The Duchess Deal

Review: The Duchess DealThe Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1) by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Published by Avon Impulse on August 22nd 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Enjoyable and very, very funny historical.  A book that rifts on Beauty and the Beast with a heroine who doesn’t take any gruff from the hero but instead challenges him out of his moody self-absorption.

THE STORY:  Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter ruined and come to London as a seamstress comes to the home of the Duke of Ashbury to get payment for a wedding dress she created for his cancelled betrothal.  Ash returned from war horribly scarred, but he decides that Emma meets all his requirements for a wife.  Ash has some requirements for their marriage of convenience.  He will bed her every night until she conceives, with no kissing, and then she will leave and raise their child in the country.  Emma, however, is determined to bring Ash back into the world and has her own demands — which begin with nightly dinner and conversation.

OPINION:  I enjoyed this book because Emma refused to allow Ash to wallow in his pity party. From the beginning, she sees herself as an equal and pulls him into relationship.  While having her own fears and past pain, she almost immediately sees Ash as someone of worth. I admire a woman who has her own internal scars but lives her life with purpose and without complaint.  And she is an optimist with hope who teases her husband with silly nicknames and her refusal to just leave him alone.

Ash is a man with horrible scars, but his deepest scars are emotional.  Born and raised in his privileged position as rich and handsome, he doesn’t quite know how to function in a world where people look at his face and are horrified.  Instead of trying to change people’s minds, he has instead embraced the worst of his fears to cope.  Better that he call himself a monster, be a monster, act like a monster.  That way he can avoid the pain of rejection.

I thought the story was well done.  Many would rate this book higher. The reason I gave it a very good 4 is that I think that the humor at times deflected the serious notes in the story.  I think I just prefer a darker more serious story.  I like humorous stories and I really liked this one, but I sometimes felt that the story could have gone deeper than it really wanted to.  That being said, I thought this book was very enjoyable and recommend it especially for those who like humorous historicals.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Emma meets three “original” women who might just be the heroines of future stories.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE DUCHESS DEAL is the first book in the Girl Meets Duke series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Gentlemen Prefer Heiresses

Review: Gentlemen Prefer HeiressesGentlemen Prefer Heiresses (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #4.5) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #4.5
Published by Avon Impulse on August 22nd 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 112
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A lovely gem of a coda to the amazing Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series.  Gina and Andrew are such a fun and sweet couple that I smiled and sighed through the whole story.

THE STORY:  Miss Virginia “Gina” Hammersley was supposed to be the sister making an advantageous marriage this season.  But her scandalous older sister and the Marquess of Rexton fell in love.  Now with her sister making a proper marriage, Gina knows that her own options have expanded as well.  Lord Andrew Mabry, the younger brother of Rexton, intends never to marry.  As the “spare”, Andrew knows that he doesn’t have the title that Gina wants. Yet neither his determination to remain a bachelor nor Gina’s expectations can keep Andrew from wanting to be with the woman he cannot take his eyes off.

OPINION:  This story was so well done that I truly forgot that it was a novella.  By focusing intensely on the characters and their relationship, the novella felt complete and satisfying.

Andrew is the second son who hasn’t found a purpose in his life. It is always a challenge for an author to write the story of a child born of a happy marriage (which is one reason we don’t see as many books about the children of prior characters).  The best characters are often found in torment from their lives.  Andrew had a happy childhood, but Heath does a good job of giving him his own pain that has made him more convinced to stay unmarried.  A man who has an example of the wonderful marriage of his parents can only be determined to stay unmarried if he fears inside that he will never be able to duplicate that effort.  I loved his character which is fun and sweet (even though he sees himself as rakish).  He is immensely likeable and this book shows him finding who he really can be.

Gina is a woman who has an American’s brashness and desires to be her own person.  When she recognizes that she wants Andrew, she is determined to take every opportunity open to her for adventure and happiness.  I love that she is unconventional and yet has her limits. I also really admire a woman who is willing to suffer for love, is willing to put happiness over reputation and I liked her strength and joy in life.

I just loved the relationship between Gina and Andrew.  Sweet and sexy and fun.

I’m a big sucker for these types of stories where we get to see more of characters from prior books.  I love having a few moments more with characters that I already fell in love with and I admit that I have a hard time letting go of their stories.  There are glimpses throughout this story which just made me happy.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a novella.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  GENTLEMEN PREFER HEIRESSES is book 4.5 of the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series (which itself is a spin-off of the Scoundrels of St. James series).  This book is a closer for book 4 of that series, AN AFFAIR WITH A NOTORIOUS HEIRESS.  I recommend reading that book first because this one flows directly from that book — although the story itself is separate.  It is not necessary to read any of the prior books in the series to read this one, but with all the connecting characters, this book just works better as part of the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Edelweiss in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a review or write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Forget Me Not

Review: Forget Me NotForget Me Not (Blackbird Series Novella) by Em Shotwell
Series: Blackbird Series #.5
Published by City Owl Press on August 8th 2017
Genres: Historical, Paranormal
Pages: 203
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Sweet and sad and ultimately bringing a happy ending.  This is a small town, Vietnam era historical with a touch of magic.  I thought it was well done and apart from any series, this is a sweet read.

THE STORY:  Evelyn Cadeau is being set up by her family matchmaker with Rex Somersby. Evelyn has no interest in her match and already has someone picked out for herself — against her family’s wishes.  Their arranged date, however, goes differently than Evelyn expected and moves her in a different direction.  Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War this novel has magic and young adult love and small town romance along with historical drama.

OPINION:  Oh, how incredibly sweet and sad (but ultimately happy) this story is.  I loved Rex from the moment he appeared in the story.  Young and unsure and such a sweet gentleman.  Evelyn is determined to not like him from the start, but Rex wins her over.  He is a young man who is taken with Evelyn from the moment he sees her and the story goes in a different way than Evelyn expects when they go on their date.

Evelyn is stubborn and her youth shows in her determination that she is right.  I was the most frustrated with her in the beginning, but she comes to her senses eventually (smile).  I also really liked how the magic in the story was quietly woven into the story.

Their story felt sweet and organic and I enjoyed it very much.  The story does take a serious turn and uses the sweetness in the beginning of the story to good effect.  Although there is some magic involved in this story, it still says a lot about the era.  The painful middle of the story pays off in a wonderful way by the end.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The Blackbird series takes place among people who are Gifted.  Evelyn, for example, brings life and vitality and Rex never forgets what he sees.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  FORGET ME NOT is a prequel novella to BLACKBIRD SUMMER.  It is about the grandmother of the heroine in BLACKBIRD SUMMER.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via the author in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a review or write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

For 100 Reasons

For 100 ReasonsFor 100 Reasons (100 Series, #3) by Lara Adrian
Series: 100 Series #3
Published by Lara Adrian, LLC on July 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I really wanted to love this book, but I found too many things that just bothered me about this couple and the story.  I’m willing to give it another chance by reading the trilogy as a whole, but the construction of the series with its multiple dramatic cliffhangers, just felt like too much running in place even as I enjoyed the overall arch of the story.

THE STORY:  In this third book in the trilogy about Nick and Avery, the two are apart after Avery finds out about Nick’s deceptions.  Yet these two damaged people are drawn back together just as Avery is beginning to rebuild her life. Now there are even more secrets from the past that come back.  All must be resolved if these two have any possibility of moving forward.

OPINION:  This was a good ending to the series, but honestly, by the time these two get back together, I think I had had enough of their drama.  After all the drama and “betrayal” and anger that keeps the two apart for a year, they seem to get back together without much having been done.

I’m wondering if this series would feel better for me if I re-read it all at once.  Knowing that the cliffhangers between the books will happen, knowing that Nick and Avery will have a angsty, drama-filled, off and on, hot and cold relationship, I might like the entirety of the drama better.  I think the wait between the segments tired me somewhat of the drama (although I’m usually a great fan of angst filled, over the top stories).  For some reason, little things bugged me in this story.  “Enough already” I said a couple of times.  I don’t believe you are really going to stay away and I don’t really understand why a year had to pass before the action picks up here.

I liked so much of this story overall, but those little things just kept itching me, until I found that it was good, but not great.  I think the last half of this book is better than the first half, but one thing that kept bothering me is that it seemed that Avery becomes demanding that everything be done her way.  In some ways, it felt like Nick wasn’t so much changed as neutered in parts of this book as he desperately tries to do what he can to hang onto Avery.  I do like men who have done wrong to grovel, but I still want them to be the strong, dominate men they are.  Just something about the formulation here bothered me.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has discussions of sexual abuse.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  For 100 Reasons is the third and final book in the 100 Reasons Trilogy.  This book should only be read as part of the trilogy since the books follow the relationship of one couple and thus depend upon the information in the prior books.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Devil’s Cut

Review: Devil’s CutDevil's Cut (The Bourbon Kings, #3) by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #3
Published by Ballantine on August 1st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 418
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Loved, loved, loved this conclusion to the Bourbon Kings trilogy.  A very soap-ish over the top story, this one finished in grand style. I’m pleased with the scope of the story and an only sorry that the whole series was so short.

THE STORY:  As we resume our story…The patriarch of the family has been murdered and the eldest son, Edward, has been arrested and confessed to his murder. Edward sits in jail mourning the loss of the woman he loves Sutton.  The middle son, Lane has taken over the family bourbon business which is deeply in debt due to his father’s embezzlement.  While Lane has reunited with the love of his life, Lizzie, their happiness is threatened by the lies and deceit in the family.  Finally, the sister, Gin has married a man her father picked out for her who is already abusing her. Gin is determined to take everything she can from her marriage especially to finally be a mother to her teenage daughter (who is the daughter of her longtime lover, friend and enemy Samuel unbeknownst to both daughter and Samuel).  And thus the story begins its conclusion…

OPINION:  I’ve been a fan of the Bourbon King series since the first book.  I loved the big, overly dramatic tales of the rich that reminded me fondly of the 1980s nighttime soap operas and Danielle Steele novels that where unofficially the mandatory reading for girls in my high school.  Together the three books in this trilogy make a wonderful, decadent mini-series reminiscent of the best of that genre.

As the mystery surrounding the murder of the family patriarch deepens, dark secrets of the family continue to be revealed.  There are far more twists and turns left to be explored in this book — and thankfully, the resolution path is not obvious or expected.

These characters are complex and not always nice or good.  Although there is much sudsy drama, the characters remain the central part of the book.  This book travels into the darkest and most dangerous territory of the story as all the characters face serious danger — both physical and emotional.  I liked the characters in this book from the beginning — not because they are nice people (many are not, but because there is the possibility for redemption for many of them).  This book reveals who might end up with a happy ending and who won’t.

There isn’t much I can give for the plot because that would give away the fun of the twists in the plot.  I can say that if you started this series, this book will provide the closure one would have hoped for.  It is a fun, over the top book, but enjoyable especially as a summer beach read.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book resolves neatly (sometimes it felt too neatly) all the storylines in the trilogy.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  DEVIL’S CUT is the third and final book in the Bourbon Kings series.  The book really does complete the continuing story and should be read as part of the trilogy.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: Royally Endowed

Review: Royally EndowedRoyally Endowed (Royally, #3) by Emma Chase
Series: Royally #3
Published by Emma Chase, LLC on August 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 275
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Sweet and enjoyable, this is the story of two people who have known one another for years until the time for their passion to be brought out into the open.  I found the characters likeable and I found the book a fun read.

THE STORY:  Logan St. James and Ellie Hammond met when her sister became involved with one of the royals that Logan is sworn to protect.  Set as part of a security detail to protect Ellie, Logan takes his job seriously, but over the years he has taken to liking Ellie — perhaps too much.  Now that Ellie has graduated college, she is looking to find someone and wonders if it is time to put aside her crush on her bodyguard.  Although Logan feels something for Ellie, he knows that the sister of a member of the royal family is not right for a boy from the wrong side of the tracks — especially a woman he is supposed to work to protect.

OPINION: For me, the highlight of this book were the episodes between Logan and Ellie which occurred over the years.  There was such a gentleness and sweetness that existed between the two from the first.  Unlike other books where the entire sequence of events occur within days, I completely fell into the relationship between these two which happens over the course of years.  For me, that made their eventual passionate relationship both more realistic and more satisfying.

I loved Ellie as a character.  Spunky and determined, I knew that Logan was doomed once she decided to make her move. Their relationship always felt destined — but like they were always waiting for Ellie to make her move.  I liked that both characters were good people who just trying to do the right thing.

Chase has a wonderful ability to present the male point of view. Logan’s narrative felt different than Ellie’s and I appreciated how their alternating points of view still felt cohesive and drove the story forward without feeling duplicative or conflicting.

This book also rewards fans of the series since there are lots of updates on the couples from the previous two books of the series.  I finished this book was a heartwarming feeling about the entire series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This story is told in alternating first person points of view.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ROYALLY ENDOWED is the third book in the Royally series.  This romance is independent of those books, but characters are overlapping and this story might be better if you have read the other books first just to be familiar with them.  In fact, the beginning of this story happens in the gaps of the first story in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars