Review: Say No to the Duke

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

Review: Say No to the DukeSay No to the Duke (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #4) by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #4
Published by Avon on June 25, 2019
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384

FINAL DECISION: This book was just amazing. I loved Betsy’s strength and gumption. I adored the deep emotional center of Jeremy. These two were incredible together, and I especially enjoyed that their story was much deeper than the blurb would suggest.

THE STORY: Lady Betsy Wilde lived under the feared approbation of her mother’s infidelity and scandalous behavior. In exchange, she has become the “perfect” lady and has rejected a number of eligible gentlemen’s proposals. Feeling constrained by her “perfect” facade, Betsy wants some adventure and she makes a bet with a family friend to get her chance. Lord Jeremy Roden returned from war in the colonies a changed man and no longer the gentleman he was before. His interactions with Betsy are also changing him, but does he want her for himself or should he convince her to accept a duke who would her perfect match.

OPINION: I’ve really been enjoying the Wildes of Lindow Castle series. The characters are passionate but reasonable and intensely sweet. There is something loving and heartwarming about these characters. The books give me a warm heart and always leaves me with a smile. These Wildes love in a big and full way and I love them back.

Betsy is the oldest daughter in the family and she suffers from the actions of her mother. She knows that others are looking at her to find traces of her mother’s scandalous behavior and Betsy is determined to give others nothing to latch onto. But playing a part has been wearing on Betsy who hasn’t been able to indulge in her “wild” side. What I really loved about Betsy is that in a time of restrictions upon women, Betsy has found a way to be a powerful woman. She has made a place for herself where she won’t accept limitations but finds ways to subvert them.

Jeremy is her brother North’s friend. Returning after war in the colonies, Jeremy suffers from the effects of war. While he thinks himself not a gentleman any longer because of his experiences, his interactions with Betsy are truly the essence of being a gentleman — if a naughty one. I loved his journey in this book. Betsy grounds Jeremy in the world that he felt disconnected to after his war experiences.

Betsy and Jeremy are just perfect together from the beginning. Their banter and bickering was funny and sexy. These two are such a good match that only their fears can keep them apart.

I loved this book. I cared about the characters and they felt like real people with fears and foibles and mistakes. I really like that these are good people and the book allows them to work out their personal issues and find a way to one another.

WORTH MENTIONING: I love this family. I’m hoping for books for more of the siblings.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SAY NO TO THE DUKE is the fourth book in the Wildes of Lindow Castle. The romance here is self-contained and thus it can be read as a standalone, but I think this book is much better if a reader is familiar with the passionate Wilde family and the circumstances which confront Betsy.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

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


Review: Her Last Breath

Review: Her Last BreathHer Last Breath (Kate Burkholder, #5) by Linda Castillo
Series: Kate Burkholder #5
Published by Minotaur Books on June 18, 2013
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 320

Emotional and Deeply Personal Amish Murder Mystery

FINAL DECISION; I loved this book. The book delves deeply into Kate’s emotional world and the personal connection to the murders being investigated bring out all sorts of difficulties for Kate.

THE STORY: Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police, is called to a horrible accident. An Amish father and two of his children are killed when their buggy is struck by a vehicle. This hit and run accident at first appears tragic but accidental. Soon, however, questions arise and it appears that the “accident” may actually have been murder. Kate is left trying to figure out who would want to murder the husband of her childhood friend.

OPINION: This is a murder that deeply wounds Kate. Because of her personal connection to the victims, Kate’s past is churned up. This is a book all about the churning up of the past. The mystery was really good in this one. It kept me guessing until the end, and honestly I didn’t see the ultimate solution coming. Winding through this mystery are two other personal issues with Kate. Her relationship with John is a prominent part of this story as she needs to decide whether she wants a deeper commitment with him. Also, Kate also finds out that secrets don’t stay buried as the crime that touched her life when she was fourteen is uncovered and she fears that her life will fall apart. I think the best part of these books is the personal connection that makes these books so compelling. This story is too strongly entwined with Kate’s life that it gives great insight into her and also into the case itself. I can find a decent mystery anywhere. It is the extra personal connection that makes this book so compelling.

WORTH MENTIONING: Kate and John’s relationship has a significant turn in this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: HER LAST BREATH is the fifth book in the Kate Burkholder series. It can be read as a standalone although a dark mystery from Kate’s past returns here. Readers would be better served by reading at least the first book in the series first.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.


Review: Wolf Rain

Review: Wolf RainWolf Rain (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #3; Psy-Changeling, #18) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on June 4, 2019
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 416

FINAL DECISION: At times painful and sad but ultimately redeeming and powerful, Memory and Alexei take readers back to SnowDancer and many beloved characters, but new things are awakening in the Psy-Changeling world.

THE STORY: Memory has been held by a man who sought to control her psychic abilities. When she is rescued by an ill tempered wolf changeling, he labels her an empath, but Memory knows that she is no empath as her power is dark and dangerous. Alexei has been keeping an emotional distance from his pack, but a tough but vulnerable woman opens him up to emotions that he doesn’t want to have. But his desire to help the vulnerable takes him on a journey to help solve the questions around Memory.

OPINION: This book had a different feel that others in this series. This felt like a suspense or mystery book at times with lots of questions and various suspects sprinkled throughout. Indeed, the book starts out with a mysterious woman and then Alexei meets her and the two are off.

Memory is a woman who discovers herself through the story. She had the possibility of being seriously damaged and allowing herself to be beaten. Instead, she emerges from her trauma as a woman determined to be her own person. I loved her story because she is a testament to strength and will. I found her to be a worthy match for one of those difficult wolves.

Alexei is a man who has been faced with too many shocks and disappointments. He functions, but is pretty broken when this book begins. He feels like he has lost any possibility for a future because of his destiny. Yet he manages to contribute to his pack. And that his the amazing thing about Alexei — he is steady and dependable even in the midst of his personal crisis.

So as the book begins Memory and Alexei are both facing an uncertain future and a past that haunts and perhaps controls them. There is also deep questions about destiny and free will — are these characters destined for unhappy endings or can they control their own fate and make their own futures?

One of the things I love most about Singh’s Psy-Changeling series is that the books always take these characters as part of a bigger world. And these characters sit right in the middle of the original Psy-Changeling world of DarkRiver and SnowDancer. Thus, there are plenty of updates on beloved characters which makes this book a welcome surprise.

Yet things are changing in the Psy-Changeling world. New dangers are appearing and we certainly get to know more about what is happening in the Psy-Changeling world. But the book always tilts towards telling the story of the characters and this book just made me happy. There is sadness and darkness, but I loved that we end up in a place of hope and happiness.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are plenty of appearances by characters from the original series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WOLF RAIN is the eighteenth book in the Psy-Changeling series and the third book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. The romance here is self-contained, but the series has ongoing conflicts and characters which cross the series so I think this is better read as part of the series (at least the Trinity series).

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.