Review: My One True Highlander

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: My One True HighlanderMy One True Highlander (No Ordinary Hero, #2) by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #2
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 4th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars

“My continued well-being would seem to be at your whim, sir,” she returned. “I wouldn’t call that level ground for an argument.”

A slight smile curved his mouth. “Ye do have a point.”

Arrogant man. Smiling at her as if he knew exactly how handsome he was and meant to use that to sway her weak little feminine brain into thinking him charming. Ha. And ha again. “I know I do.”

FINAL DECISION:  My enjoyment of this book grew as the story continued.  By the end, the relationship between Graeme and Ree was so sweet and romantic that I would highly recommend this book especially for lovers of men in kilts!

THE STORY:  Graeme, Viscount Maxton, is in a difficult position.  The Highlander is offered wealth and status if he helps the head of the clan defeat his enemy, the new Duke of Lattimer. Hearing the offer, Graeme’s three young brothers decide the kidnap the sister of the duke, who happens to be passing by.  Now Graeme has to decide what to do with the woman without implicating his brothers.  Lady Marjorie Forrester has recently been raised from a lady’s companion to a lady herself with her brother’s taking of the title.  Ignored in London, she desperately wants respectability but finds herself captivated by the wild land and the Laird of the castle.

OPINION:  This story built page by page until I was entirely enthralled when Graeme finally declares his love to Ree.  One of the best parts of this book is that both characters are so eminently likeable.

Ree is a woman who expected a life of service until the fortunes of her brother changed (he unexpectedly inherited a dukedom) and thus her life changed as well.  Determined to finally gain acceptance from society which had looked down on her despite her having the same education, Ree has lived a lonely life in London in the months since she became Lady Marjorie.  The story really pulls out the tension of Ree wanting to belong and being determined that those who dismissed her will acknowledge her while at the same time making herself miserable.  She isn’t able to accept the idea that she might actually belong in Scotland because it isn’t the future she imagined.

Graeme also has a blindness when it comes to Ree.  He doesn’t see her as a woman he could love — because Graeme is determined never to fall in love.  He has seen a destructive side to love which has made him shy away from that possibility.  Instead, he has been a wonderful brother and substitute father in raising his three younger brothers.  I loved that Graeme is such a responsible and caring man.

The relationship between Graeme and Ree develops with such a wonderful progression.  They start out as combatants as Ree is kidnapped by Graeme’s brothers and she is being held against her will.  The two argue and fight and have all types of their passion raised in the process.  While both have personal reasons for not giving in completely to their passionate attraction, the real issue keeping them apart is external rather than their own demons.  When they both acknowledge their feelings for one another, I really felt the walls coming down between them.  The scenes and language was so romantic and sweet that I could read them again and again.

The resolution satisfied, the characters are truly partners, and there are all kinds of possibilities for future books.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Marjorie’s brother makes a significant appearance for those who have read the first book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  MY ONE TRUE HIGHLANDER is the second book in the No Ordinary Hero series.  This book can be read as a standalone, but is much better with the background from the first book in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

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

four-stars

Review: Hurricane

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: HurricaneHurricane (Cutter Cay #5) by Cherry Adair
Series: Cutter Cay #5
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A story that perfectly balanced angst, drama, adventure and good old fashioned sexiness.  Two people who haven’t recovered from the failure of their marriage discover that what they really need is one another.

THE STORY:  Rydell Case’s life fell apart just over a year ago when he lost a big salvage to his business enemies the Cutters, his wife left him and things just kept falling apart as his ship was hijacked.  Now, Rydell is determined to salvage silver from another wreck but he needs the boat his wife got in the divorce to do it.  And he intends to get the boat no matter what he needs to do.  Addison D’Marco can’t believe the nerve of Ry to come and take over her ship when he hasn’t spoken to her in over a year.  She is determined to move on perhaps with the man who has asked her to marry him – but how can she do that when Ry is here and sexier than ever.

OPINION:  This book was an exciting ride from the start with a great deal of heart and angst. I really loved it!  Ry and Addy are so perfect for one another from the start that readers are taken on a journey to discovery what destroyed their marriage.  The story is so sad and emotional that it gives this story depth and drama.

Ry is a man who has almost hit bottom. His entire world is falling apart around him and he is determined to stop the slide and recover.  His taking of Addy’s ship allows him to both search for his underwater treasure and also have the possibility of confronting Addison.  Ry was the villain in the prior book but this book gives his side of the story which is more sympathetic than I expected.  In fact, I found his story so persuasive, that I thought that Addy had the wrong side in this one.

Addy begins the book believing that she was the injured party. My one complaint about this book is that she doesn’t really ever acknowledge her part in the disintegration of her marriage.  Honestly, I thought that she was wrong at least as much as Ry was.  While she is angry at him, she really needed to accept that she was the accessory to everything that happened.

At the same time, this book doesn’t wallow in its emotional drama.  There is good dose of actual adventure drama to keep the story hopping.  Just when it seems that the story between Ry and Addison might be resolved, the plot picks up and there is much going on.  Murders, hijackings, danger, shoot outs.  There is plenty here for anyone who wants either emotional drama and depth or action and adventure.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Content warning SPOILER!!

This book deals with SIDS and the death of a child.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  HURRICANE is the fifth book in the Cutter Cay series.  While there are overlapping characters, this book can be read as a complete standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

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

four-half-stars

Review: Beauty of the Beast

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: Beauty of the BeastBeauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings #1) by Rachel L. Demeter
Series: Fairy Tale Retellings #1
on March 15th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 342
Goodreads
one-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I really wanted to like this one, but I just didn’t.  I found the story too wordy, the characters not interesting enough and I just had to force myself to even finish the book.

THE STORY:  A retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Prince Adam Delacroix has remained secluded since the death of his family.  Scarred both emotionally and physically, Adam rules his castle until a beauty, Isabelle Rose, comes to his castle and offers herself in exchange for her father.  Together the two must overcome the past and the dangers of the present.

OPINION:  A am a huge lover of Beauty and the Beast type stories.  I expected this book to be much better than it was.  I got bored almost immediately and it took far too long for things to happen and too many words to describe just about everything.  As a result, I felt very disconnected from the characters and the story.  If I had gotten this book in another manner (purchase or gift) I would have DNF’d it and moved on.  Because I got it for review purposes, I felt necessary to write a review indicating that I just was not impressed by the book.

The characters did not feel real to me nor did they feel part of a dreamy fairy tale style book.  Instead, the characters felt distant and not particularly intriguing.

The book promises a more sexual, dark telling, I think I expected too much.  In fact, this book wasn’t particularly dark compared to other available romance books and certainly did not have sexual content as explicit as many books these days.  I think that the warning is only in comparison to the Disney fairy tale.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The book contains a sexual assault by the villain.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This book is the first book in the Fairy Tale Retellings series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 1.5 stars.

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

one-half-stars

Review: Enticing Ian

Review: Enticing IanEnticing Ian (Knight Security 5) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Knight Security #5
Published by Carole Mortimer on March 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I enjoyed this book a great deal.  There was a lot of mystery about what happened between Eve and Ian three years ago.  This was matched with a good plot about Eve wanting to help her brother.  This is more novella length, but felt complete and well paced.

THE STORY:  Three years ago, Ian Knight met, had a relationship with and left a woman he has never forgotten.  When Eve Bishop walks into the casino nightclub where he is acting head of security, he knows that the librarian should not be there.  Eve has come looking for Gregori Markovic, the head of the Russian mafia in London, in order to help her twin brother who has gotten deep into debt with Markovic.  Ian is determined to keep Eve from venturing into dangerous territory while looking for her brother, even if it means confronting what send him running from her three years ago.

OPINION:  I really enjoyed this one.  I thought the pacing of the book was wonderful.  Even with the shorter length, the story did not feel rushed and I felt there was a good balance between the romance and the plot.

The characters in this book were better developed than I expect in a shorter story.  The characters already had a history which helped tremendously with the quick turnaround until these characters got serious.  It was much easier to believe that these characters could be so comfortable with one another immediately.

This story just hit the right spot with me.  It was very sexy and had some drama over the end of the couple’s relationship three years ago.  The way that answer is slowly revealed to the readers worked really well to build tension in the story.  I especially liked that the real focus of this story was the couple — even though the brother’s fate gives some motivation for the characters to interact with one another.

I also really liked Ian and Eve as characters and as a couple.  They were just the right balance between really attracted to one another and fighting that attraction.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Some significant appearances from characters from the ALPHA series were a nice addition.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ENTICING IAN is the fifth book in the Knight Security series but can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: The Truth About Love and Dukes

Review: The Truth About Love and DukesThe Truth About Love and Dukes (Dear Lady Truelove, #1) by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: Dear Lady Truelove #1
Published by Avon on March 28th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“We love who we love, Henry. Love can’t bend to one’s will.”

FINAL DECISION:  A cold, old-fashioned man and a woman who works publishing a newspaper.  These two should be complete opposites, but instead is an unveiling of the true nature of the selves.

THE STORY:  Henry, Duke of Torquil is determined to make “Lady Truelove” pay for advising his mother to go with her heart and marry a penniless artist.  When he goes to confront the writer at the paper, he meets Irene Deverill, the publisher (and secretly Lady Truelove herself).  When he demands that Irene fix the problem that she caused, the two are put into close contact.  An attraction turns into an affair that threatens the lives each is seeking to lead.

OPINION:  Can I be honest?  Henry starts out the book being pretty much an arse about everything.  Determined that his life go smoothly, he is arrogant, self-absorbed and a definite snob.  Jerk is another name for him.  But isn’t it good when he gets his comeuppance?  Just you wait till the end of the book.

I am always impressed when an author can draw readers into a character such that an unsympathetic character can be understood and ultimately become a hero.  Gurhke does such a good job here.  Henry hides a sensitive soul under old-fashioned, rigid behavior.

Just what he needs is the unconventional vibrant Irene.  A woman who has expanded her horizons (somewhat from necessity until she decided she liked it), Irene is a suffragist and a businesswoman.  She is unconventional and believes deeply in love.

The romance between these two starts out slowly and it appears that they are doomed to be a mismatched.  But as we get to know these two, we find out that they both are the caretakers of their families.  As the superficial layers of the two are peeled away, it becomes clear that the two have more in common than they expected.  That combined with an intense passion leaves them both with the question — what will they give up for love?

Another part of this book that I really like is that it sits on the edge between traditional and modern society.  Taking place in the age of indoor plumbing and telephones, there is a real tension between the old ways and the new ones.  The characters have to confront this reality again and again.  It is a refreshing spot for a romance and I really enjoyed it.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I wish we had learned more about Henry’s mother and her lover.  Their story fascinated me as well.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE TRUTH ABOUT DUKES is the first book in the Dear Lady Truelove series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Shadow’s Seduction

Review: Shadow’s SeductionShadow's Seduction (Immortals After Dark, #17; The Dacians, #2) by Kresley Cole
Series: Immortals After Dark #17, Dacians #2
Published by Valkyrie Press on February 28th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 248
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I loved this book which is funny, angsty in the Immortals After Dark fashion, and so intensely focused on the couple that I could forget that this is part of a series.  Loved these two and their path to their HEA.

THE STORY:  Prince Mirceo Daciano, a vampire from the semi-mythical Dacia, meets Caspion the Tracker, a demon.  Mirceo wants to be more than friends with the demon, but instead settles for friendship until the two are dared to kiss by the three nymphs they had brought to their bed.  The kiss opens up a whole new problem for the two.  Caspion is determined to deny their attraction — especially because he knows what a fickle creature Mirceo is.  The possibility that the two are fated mates thrills Mirceo but he has to convince Caspion to give him a chance.

OPINION:  The romance between Caspion and Mirceo takes so many twists and turns and has as much drama as I expect from an Immortals After Dark book.

Mirceo starts the book looking to score with Caspion. He is charming and funny and irreverent.  He drives Caspion crazy with his determination, his humor and his willingness to do anything to prove the two belong together.  Mirceo, however, has his own troubles that he hides under his charming facade.

Caspion is darker and more troubled on the surface than Mirceo.  As he begins the book, he is entirely resistant to the possibility of having a sexual relationship with Mirceo insisting that he is only interested in females — even though he is attracted to Mirceo from the beginning.

These two begin with friendship that bonds them (even though Mirceo wants more) and the two begin with very sexy encounters that draw them both into more emotional and deeper connections than either expects.  This is the story of confounding expectations.  The two are truly more together — both as friends and partners — than either expects.

I especially liked the intense focus on the relationship between these two.  There is a nice dynamic of Mirceo being so open and insistent and Caspion being so resistant.  When the two finally reach and accord, it really feels that the two have journeyed together, arguing and debating and considering.

I would have given this book 5 stars, but I thought the resolution of the story was a little rushed at the end.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a m/m romance.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SHADOW’S SEDUCTION is the seventeenth book in the Immortals After Dark series and the second book in the sub-series The Dacians.  This book is closest to a standalone as you will find in this series.  It is completely possible to enjoy this book without reading other books or you can read the first in the Dacians SHADOW’S CLAIM.  Of course, readers of the Immortals After Dark series

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

The Highland Duke Release Day Blitz

The Highland Duke Release Day Blitz

Today we are part of the Release Day Blitz for the first book in Amy Jarecki’s new series.  The Highland Duke releases today and we gave it 4 stars in our latest review.  For all of you who love Scottish romances and wild adventures, this book is for you.

Continue reading to find out more, read an excerpt and enter a giveaway for one of 10 copies of the book!

Title: THE HIGHLAND DUKE
Author: Amy Jarecki
Series: Lords of the Highlands, #1
On Sale: March 28, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $3.99 USD

Add to Goodreads

 

Indie author Amy Jarecki makes her print debut with a brand-new series about rugged Highland lords.

She’ll put her life on the line for him . . .

When Akira Ayres finds the brawny Scot with a musket ball in his thigh, the healer has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save his life. Even if it means fleeing with him across the Highlands to tend to his wounds while English redcoats are closing in. Though Akira is as fierce and brave as any of her clansmen, even she’s intimidated by the fearsome, brutally handsome Highlander who refuses to reveal his name.

Yet she can never learn his true identity.

Geordie knows if Akira ever discovers he’s the Duke of Gordon, both her life and his will be forfeit in a heartbeat. The only way to keep the lass safe is to ensure she’s by his side day and night. But the longer he’s with her, the harder it becomes to think of letting her go. Despite all their differences, despite the danger-he will face death itself to make her his . . .

Read an excerpt here!

BUY THE BOOK HERE

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THE LORDS OF THE HIGHLANDS SERIES

THE HIGHLAND DUKE, #1

THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER, #2

Series Page on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.

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Review: The Highland Duke

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: The Highland DukeThe Highland Duke (Lords of the Highlands #1) by Amy Jarecki
Series: Lords of the Highlands #1
Published by Forever on March 28th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  An action packed adventure combined with a romance where the hero is a jerk for most of the story, but redeems himself by the end. I especially loved the heroine who is strong but sweet and genuine.

THE STORY:  Akira Ayes, a healer from a Gypsy family finds an injured Scot after a battle with English troops during the Jacobite Rebellion.  Akira can’t bear to leave the Highlander to fend for himself and ends up embroiled in his danger.  Geordie aka George Gordon aka Duke of Gordon keeps his identity a secret from Akira.  He needs to make his way home to hide his participation in the battle because otherwise his life and lands would be forfeit.  As the two travel together fleeing the English, Geordie finds he likes how Akira treats him as a man — not as a duke.

OPINION:  I found this book to be a rousing adventure story as Akira and Geordie race across Scotland evading the English.  That portion of the book was excellent. Geordie and Akira argue, work together, find commonality and care for one another as they race through the countryside.  The book had an exciting beginning and didn’t leave off until the two reached Georgie’s home.

For me, the book slowed down a bit when that happened and I think the book lost a bit of focus.  As the two fall in love but have to confront the impossibility of them marrying, I thought the book meandered a bit and I was not as interested in the ending of the book as I was in the beginning.  Ultimately, however, I thought that the story overall was a success.

Akira is a wonderful character.  She has been treated poorly by many people because of her Gypsy heritage.  (In the book Gypsies are called Tinkers and are thought of as mere thieves and beggars, reflecting the prejudices of the time).  Despite the discrimination and intense poverty she has faced, Akira is a healer.  A kind and generous woman. A woman willing to risk herself to save a stranger’s life.  She has a progression in this book.  Akira begins with fixed ideas of sexual morality, but finds herself having to think about what is important in her life as she and Geordie fall in love but are unable to marry.  She is also a woman who can make a duke appreciate being a man.

Geordie is a man who has two sides…the distant duke and the man he finds himself being with Akira.  Akira challenges Geordie’s assumptions about his world and about his obligations in it.  Akira demands that Geordie consider the common folk and he realizes that she is right and he is ashamed of his prior self-absorption.  In order to be with Akira, Geordie must change himself and prove himself worthy of her.  I like that he is willing to acknowledge his mistakes.

This is a good start to the new series and I look forward to the next book.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Some parts of this book had vague echoes to OUTLANDER but perhaps that is only because I have been reading those book recently.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE HIGHLAND DUKE is the first book in the Lords of the Highlands series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

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

four-stars

Review: The Lady by his Side

Review: The Lady by his SideThe Lady By His Side by Stephanie Laurens
Published by Savdek Management Pty Ltd on March 9th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 350
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Good story, good romance, but I wish there was more on the romance and less on the mystery.  These were highly anticipated characters and I wish there was more about their journey.  That being said, I understand it is more difficult to write stories about well-adjusted happy characters so I appreciate that their story needed more.

THE STORY:  Sebastian Cynster knows that it is time for him to find a wife because the women in his family are never patient about helping the men along if they need it.  Just when Sebastian comes to that realization, he is asked by one of his friends, the heir to the Duke of Wolverstone, to help make contact with a peer who might have information about a plot against the country.  Sebastian, however, needs a cover for attending the house party where he is to make contact.  For that, he approaches another family friend, Antonia Rawlings to help provide a cover.  Although the two grew up together, Sebastian has not had much contact with Antonia for years.  He finds himself unexpectedly attracted to her.  As to two work together to investigate the plot, they find themselves drawing closer.

OPINION:  I enjoyed this one but the mystery story was predominate here and by necessity there was a lot of backstory to set up in order to begin the trilogy.  As a result, I didn’t see much conflict in the relationship between Sebastian and Antonia. Everything was nice between them (as might be expected between two family friends where the relationships are so intertwined) and I liked them as a couple, but there wasn’t much tension between them.

There was also less hot sexiness between them — probably because Sebastian wasn’t going to act the rake with Antonia. I did like the book however, and I thought the mystery was filled with interest and tension. I thought this one is working out better than many of the other series with the same overarching mystery format.  Plus, what is not to love about having two characters infused with so much history find love together.  My only real negative is that I wish we had seen Devil and Honoria in the book.  Missed them greatly.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has a plot that is not resolved in this book. Although the romance is completed, there is an ongoing storyline that will be pursued by the next couple in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE LADY BY HIS SIDE is the first book in the Devil’s Brood Trilogy.  It is also intimately connected with the long running Cynsters series.  This book however, can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: American Queen

Review: American QueenAmerican Queen (American Queen Trilogy, #1) by Sierra Simone
Series: American Queen Trilogy #1
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on October 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 392
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Blistering hot, crazy as can be, I absolutely was obsessed with this book.  Don’t look for reality here, but intense fantasy, oh, oh, yes.

THE STORY:  Greer Galloway, born into a political family, met and fell for a war hero at the age of sixteen.  Their relationship was highly charged and completely inappropriate.  The ten years since haven’t diminished her feelings for Ash, but they have been complicated by betrayal and life and her deepening and darkening desires.  Five years ago, Greer met Embry, Ash’s best friend. Now as Ash, now President of the United States, has sent Embry to bring Greer to Ash’s side, Greer has complicated feelings for both men.

OPINION:  This book is sexy bonkers at times.  The President, Vice-President and the First Lady all together. Crazy stuff and yet completely appealing because the emotions between these characters are so well expressed and so raw.  The book acknowledges everything: lust, love, pain, jealous, anger, desire, caring.  I loved how these three interact with one another and the struggle between them to find a way forward.  This is one of those books that I read and kept thinking about. The story of these three has just begun as each book appears to focus on one particular character in the trio.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book contains are complex menage.  The menage is definitely emotional as well as sexual as each of them has to deal with a range of emotions for and about one another.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  AMERICAN QUEEN is the first book in the American Queen Trilogy.  This series is meant to be read together and this book ends on a cliffhanger.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars