Review: Smoke and Sin

Review: Smoke and SinSmoke and Sin (The Perfect Gentlemen Book 4) by Lexi Blake, Shayla Black
Series: The Perfect Gentlemen #4
Published by Black Oak Books on September 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 452
Goodreads
five-stars

DO NOT SPOIL THIS BOOK FOR YOURSELF. Avoid spoilers and this book will not disappoint.

“Dealing with any of the Perfect Gentlemen was always an intricate game of chess. Thankfully, she’d had a lifetime to become a master.”

FINAL DECISION: Hot, angst filled, dramatic and full of surprises. This second chance at love story kept me up until 3am and then all I wanted to do was re-read it.

THE STORY: Years ago Roman Calder and Gus Spencer had a hot affair. Things blew up because the passion and intensity of the relationship was something that scared Roman. Yet the two cannot completely avoid one another because Gus is the sister of one of Roman’s best friends. And perhaps they don’t actually want to avoid one another as Gus took a job at the White House where Roman is chief of staff. As the Perfect Gentlemen’s investigation takes them to London, their proximity heats up the lingering passion between them. The question is whether they have a better chance the second time around.

OPINION: This is a difficult book for me to review. Not because I didn’t love it, I certainly did. Not because I’m confused, I’m not. The problem is that almost anything gives away too much in this series now. This book was so good that I started reading it immediately upon it downloading to my Kindle and then just kept reading, without stopping, until I finished at 3am. When I got up in the morning (after only 3 hours sleep), I just kept thinking “I need to re-read _________”. And that is why I give this book 5 stars. The romance, the story, everything worked for me in this book. For me, the only part I hated is that the next book of the series won’t be out until October 2018.

On the plot, readers of the series will be familiar with the Perfect Gentlemen’s quest. Beginning with the death of the sixth of their group, Maddox, in the first book of the series, the conspiracy has expanded to include the deaths of a number of people and a connection to the Russian mafia. As book 3 ended, a number of the PG were on their way to London to investigate another suspicious death. That is the setup for this book which begins just as the prior book ended.

As I warn at the beginning of this review, this is a book that is meant to be experienced as the story unfolds. I encourage you to not read spoilers because this book is packed with secrets and reveals.

I won’t give anything away, but I assure you that the investigation continues, there is more danger and suspense and the plot continues to unfold. AND I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED how the story line continues to be interwoven and reexplained and unraveled. I generally find the plot in romance books to merely be vehicles for the romance, but here the plot is so exciting and well done that I continue to puzzle over the details between books. That continues to be true here as I keep wondering about the details and what they mean. That’s all I’m giving away on the plot. You’ll have to read the rest yourself.

Even as the plot was thrilling, what I really love about these books are the relationships: between the PG, between the heroes and heroines, and the developing friendships between the women. In the prior books, Roman and Gus were the most difficult characters for me. There was something unclear about who they were. That explodes here as the story between these character covers a lot of ground.

Gus is a strong, vibrant woman. She is brash and unapologetic, openly a sexual being, intelligent. She’s put the PGs in their place for years. What I didn’t expect was how I would fall in love with Gus because of all those qualities that I knew but also the softer side of her character that is revealed here. Both Roman and Gus present themselves as impervious and yet there are depths to them that are shown here and which I would never have expected.

Roman was also a surprise for me because he is more unsure of himself than I expected. This book tackles head on the idea that he was threatened by Gus in ways that romance books rarely address. I thought their story was thoughtful and difficult. Lots of angst and pain between these two (but totally different vibe than between Dax and Holland in book 3). By the end of this book, Roman has had to ask himself some fundamental questions about himself and I liked the journey so much.

This book is hot and exciting, but I really felt the pain and desire for connection between these characters. And perhaps that is why I felt the most satisfied with the conclusion of their story — because they had to travel so far and overcome so much to be together and yet they managed to make that journey.

WORTH MENTIONING: Readers of the series won’t be surprised that much of the overarching story isn’t resolved here. In fact, the story goes in a whole new direction.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SMOKE AND SIN is the fourth book in the Perfect Gentlemen series. This series is meant to be read in order and the book really doesn’t stand alone because it depends upon information in the prior books (although the romance is self-contained).

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: Archangel’s Viper

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: Archangel’s ViperArchangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on September 26th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

“They let you drive now?” he said in a wondering tone of voice calibrated to get under her skin. “I leave for a couple of years and miss kitty’s first steps. Did anyone take photos for the baby album I sent you?”

“It’s full of pretty pictures.” Holly bared her teeth at him in a caricature of a smile. “Honor is a little concerned about how I keep drawing you with your head cut off,” she said in a deliberately thoughtful tone, “but an artist must follow her instincts.”

FINAL DECISION: Awesome, I loved this book in a way I never expected. Feeling fresh and young and yes, even a little weird, this book’s tone matched the strange, unique, and fun that make up Holly and Venom.

THE STORY: Four years ago, Holly Chang’s world was fundamentally altered when she and her friends were kidnapped by a blood mad archangel. Her friends were all murdered; Holly survived but ended up changed when the archangel put “something” of himself into Holly. She gained some qualities of vampires but she is neither fully vampire nor human. In the years since her abduction, Holly has been under the observation by various members of Raphael’s Seven.  Now the one who irks Holly the most, Venom, has returned to annoy her some more. Venom is a unique vampire who also possesses viper qualities and eyes. While Venom and Holly have much in common as to their abilities, they seem to rub one another the wrong way — until someone puts a bounty on Holly to kidnap her and the “otherness” inside her seems to be asserting itself. Venom and Holly must work together to discover what actually happened to Holly four years ago.

OPINION: The problem with loving a series is that sometimes a new book doesn’t live up to the hype and excitement. Having just completed a re-read of the Guild Hunter series, I had a worry in my stomach that I was too excited about Venom and Holly’s story (which has its origins in the very first book). I’m so happy to report that this book exceeded all of my excited anticipation. It was so different in its voice and tone and the characters lived up to the strange and mysterious origins. Their funky, weird and quirky natures bored into my heart (ha, ha) and they are definitely one of my favorite couples in the series.

Can I admit something? I often tend to take glances at the end of books as I get distracted during the story. (It’s a way of urging myself forward). This book I read cover to cover without even being tempted to read the ending. If you have similar tendencies or like to read spoilers, I urge you to let this book flow out in front of you instead. The story and relationship builds in such a wonderful fashion that I think that knowing the secrets in the ending will diminish the first-time reader experience.

Story feels young and fresh in a manner that I didn’t expect. One of my all time favorite books is FIRE AND ICE by Anne Stuart. This book has a similar feel in the characters and pacing (although there is really little similarity). The characters are younger than others in the series.

Although Venom is over 350 years old, he is the youngest of the Seven and the one character who has been the most mysterious in the series. This book peels back his layers and gives us his backstory.  He’s got a secret (not a deep dark one but an interesting one) that makes him adorable and perfect for Holly. Sexy and raw in a way that no one else in the Seven is, he has a different personality than I expected once his “gameface” is off.

Holly (who for a time called herself Sorrow) is quirky and funny and incredibly strong. We haven’t seen her progression for a while, and it was especially satisfying to see how she has grown and struggled and managed to reinvent herself after the horror of her “Making”. (I’ll also confess to having a total love for Dmitri and Honor and just adored seeing them with Holly). Holly makes this book for me. Her needling of Venom as the two find the rhythm of a relationship between them. Her strength in facing the reality of what her “making” might actually mean. And her determination to keep true to herself and her humanity put me on her side from the start. Of all the characters in this series, she was the only one from the present day who was 100 percent human and normal until she was forcibly dragged into the immortal world.

The funniest part for me is that I expected the quips and arguments and the humor, but I didn’t expect how heartwarming I would find their relationship. The observation that these two will grow together hit me with so many warm fuzzies. Their story is one of acceptance and appreciation and love for a person “because” of who they are rather than “despite”.

The story is more focused on Holly and Venom than in normal in this series (in many ways this book and ARCHANGEL’S HEART are part of the same story) and as a result, I was simply gutted as the book reached its conclusion as no part of this series has since the very first book.  The romance between these two is uniquely their own. The two seem to find joy in annoying one another, testing one another. There is a similarity to the relationship between Ash and Janvier, but this is no repeat of that romance. Venom and Holly have an acidic sweetness that matches their natures.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book overlaps with the events in ARCHANGEL’S HEART.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ARCHANGEL’S VIPER is the tenth book in the Guild Hunter series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 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.

five-stars

Review: Wicked Scandal

Review: Wicked ScandalWicked Scandal (Regency Sinners, #3) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Regency Sinners #3
Published by Carole Mortimer on August 31st 2017
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: This is really just a little erotic romance rather than focusing on any particular plot. I enjoyed this quick and dirty little story. It is not a deep read, but certainly enjoyable.

THE STORY: Sebastian Trentham, Marquis of Deveril aka Devil, is investigating Alys Newcomb to see if she is a spy. The two have a complicated history as Alys believes that Devil murdered her father as she found him holding a gun and standing over his dead body. Alys says she doesn’t want anything to do with Devil but when her brother invites him to his houseparty, she is forced into close proximity and the intense passion between Alys and Devil explodes.

OPINION: This is really focused on the sexual relationship between Sebastian and Alys. There is a story, but the details are put aside in service to the sexual antics of the hero and heroine. That doesn’t bother me, but a reader should know that this isn’t a historical focused on accurate details and the minutia of social conventions. Instead, the plot, time and place are a stepping off point for the relationship between Sebastian and Alys.

So while there is a story about the murder of Alys’s father and the search for the female spy, the relationship between the characters is the real focus. So don’t be surprised if Alys quickly puts aside her suspicions about Sebastian to engage in various sexual encounters. And don’t look to historical accuracy when the two are running around engaging in erotic adventurers seemingly without any concern about social reputations or mores.

But I did enjoy this story. I know the limitation for these stories and they are shallow, fun reads rather than intense dark ones. The story is hot and these two manage to work through their problems in an efficient manner.

WORTH MENTIONING: I also think we have likely been introduced to the next hero, the Earl of Carlton.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WICKED SCANDAL is the third book in the Regency Sinners series. Each story stands on its own with a loose overarching storyline of each man being sent to investigate one woman in order to discover which of them is the spy the men are looking for.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Nathaniel

Review: NathanielNathaniel (Dragon Hearts #1) by Carole Mortimer
Published by Carole Mortimer on July 28th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: A fun and very hot short novella about a dragon shifter and the woman who might be his mate.

THE STORY:  On a trip to Wales, journalist Chloe Evans discovers a mysterious castle that she suspects is a hub for illegal activities. Determined to investigate, Chloe ends up meeting Nathaniel who is an alpha alpha and who tempts Chloe in ways she never expected. The mystery of Pendragon castle involves centuries of secrets and, as one might expect from the title of the series, dragons.

OPINION: I enjoyed this novella which sets up the series which will be about a bunch of alpha dragon male shifters trying to find their mates before they become feral dragons.

This is a quick and dirty story meaning that there isn’t a tremendous amount of depth to these characters. Lots of insta-love/lust and not a lot of world building for the paranormal genre. That being said, I really liked the characters which are quirky and fun and I especially liked Chloe who is a smart mouthed woman who gives her alpha more grief that respect.

There is a lot to cover in this story as it sets up the mythology of the series, introduces a number of characters, reveals some of the past of the “brothers” and also has to squeeze a romance in for good measure.

A lingering, well constructed paranormal this isn’t, but an enjoyable short novella for those who would like a taste of the paranormal fantasy world without pages of mythology this is a good fun read.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a rawer, sexier book than many of Mortimer’s books.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  NATHANIEL is the first book in the Dragon Hearts series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Voyager

Review: VoyagerVoyager (Outlander, #3) by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #3
Published by Dell on October 26th 2004
Genres: Historical, Time Travel
Pages: 1072
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: Very enjoyable entry in the Outlander series as Claire and Jaime spend their 2 decades apart but find their way back to one another — both physically and emotionally.

THE STORY:  This story begins after the events of DRAGONFLY IN AMBER. Claire returned to the 20th century pregnant with Jaime’s child and resumes her marriage to Frank. Now that twenty years have past, she has learned that Jaime did not die at Culloden as she always thought. Determined to find out what happened to Jaime, Claire and her daughter search the past. In the 18th century, Jaime lives a life without the woman he loves and attempts to build some life for himself.  Claire and Jaime will be reunited before this book ends (not really a spoiler since there are plenty of other books in this series about Claire and Jaime).

OPINION: This book reflects the journeys that Claire and Jaime take.  First the journey of loss where each tries to rebuild their lives after their separation. How do they live their lives where the other half of their soul is gone? Are they supposed to be alone for the rest of their lives? Although the two spend two decades apart and a lot happens for each of them, it is a time of pain for both Jaime and Claire. It does feel like forever as I waited for the inevitable reunion. Of course, Jaime and Claire have no hope for a reunion during those years so each makes the best of those years.

For me, the story really begins when Jaime and Claire are reunited. The journey becomes how do they find one another again emotionally. Because just as the two had to live alone, they have changed from the two people who were in love decades before. Not only have the years changed them, but both have had experiences which bring a challenge to the love they share. Yes, they still feel that love for one another, but the question here becomes how do they deal with the changes and experiences each has had to rediscover one another.  In that way, the physical journey to come together again is only a pale reflection of the emotional journey that challenges them.

This book continues the Outlander tradition with the intriguing mix of history, adventure, time-travel, and romance. Old story threads are picked up as well which makes me wonder if there is an overarching storyline in this series beyond Jaime and Claire’s romance. (I’ve only read to the third book, so I know there is much more to go).

WORTH MENTIONING: There is a long wait in this book until Claire and Jaime are reunited so be prepared.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  VOYAGER is the third book in the Outlander series. As this series tells the ongoing story of one couple (well actually many couples but one main one), the books should be read in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Secrets in Death

Review: Secrets in DeathSecrets in Death (In Death, #45) by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #45
Published by Piatkus Books on September 5th 2017
Genres: Futuristic, Mystery
Pages: 400
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: In a series that balances the story of Eve and the mystery of the day, this one is better for me on the Eve side. It fills in some gaps from previous books and focuses on relationships.

THE STORY:  Eve is present at a murder when one of New York’s biggest gossip reporters walks into the hot nightspot where Eve is having a meeting and dies. Annoyed that someone has committed a murder right under her nose, Eve begins her investigation and discovers that the victim was doing more than gathering gossip for her show and that she had secrets of her own. Eve’s investigation also uncovers secrets that those around her have been keeping — including Eve herself.

OPINION: I prefer the In Death books that focus on Eve and her relationship with Roake and her friends. To me the mystery is secondary. For me, this book was a success.  In a book about a gossip reporter who uses the secrets of others, this book goes about uncovering the secrets that those around Eve are keeping.  Are they huge secrets? Not really, but it does allow some loose ends and questions about the series to be answered.

For fans of the series, this book ticks all the boxes that you might expect. I place it in the middle of the series books. Not part of the superlative books, but certainly fun and satisfying.

I’ve said this before, that I really enjoy seeing Eve discover herself. She is changing and her relationships are changing and for someone who has followed this series since the beginning, I enjoy seeing that she is finding some happiness.

WORTH MENTIONING: Still waiting for find out the identity of the candy thief.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SECRETS IN DEATH is the forty-fifth book in the In Death series. This is a standalone mystery, but there are continuing character arcs that go throughout the series. At this point, I don’t know how a person could read these books without knowing the overarching storyline, but then again, I read the books for those arcs rather than the mystery element.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: The Broken 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 Broken DukeThe Broken Duke (The 1797 Club Book 3) by Jess Michaels
Series: The 1797 Club #3
Published by Passionate Pen on September 12th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 200
Goodreads
four-stars

“Do not mistake me, Mrs. Ford, I absolutely came back here to seduce you.”

FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this story of a man who is angry and grief stricken after the betrayal of his friends, but soon finds a woman (or two women) who make him happy for the betrayal.

THE STORY: Graham Everly, Duke of Northfield has been adrift since one of his best friends stole Graham’s fiancee. Graham’s relationship with the 1797 Club members have been strained; Graham didn’t love his fiancee, but he feels betrayed by his best friends. Graham finally accepts an invitation to attend the theater and there he is entranced by an actress Lynda Ford. For the first time in a while, Graham’s passions are inflamed for the vibrant Lynda. What Graham doesn’t know is that Lynda lives a double life. She is actually Lady Adelaide, a society wallflower. When Lynda and Graham begin an affair, things become sticky as Adelaide begins to fall for Graham even as she is lying about herself.

OPINION: For me, this book is really about Graham. He has a complexity of character and is tormented by so many things and yet is such a good man. He feels broken by the betrayal of his friends and doesn’t know how to navigate his emotions and his relationships with his friends. When he meets Lynda, things begin to change for him. By showing Graham that love and desire can be above all, he begins to open himself up to his life again.

Lynda is a woman who has made the best of her life, accepting her mistakes and finding pleasure and joy where she can. She lives a dual life, neither woman being the whole of who Lynda/Adelaide is.

I thought that the relationship between Graham and Adelaide was sweeter than I expected. Graham always feels like a good guy even as he struggles with his demons. And while this book’s title hints at what could be a dark story, I thought that the story, while touching on the darkness, actually was not angst filled or particularly dark.

Did I buy the central premise that Graham became involved with two women and didn’t realize they were the same person? Not really, but I can suspend my disbelief on such things if the story is otherwise good.  And this one was.

WORTH MENTIONING: Apparently the next book is about the male wallflower in the group 🙂

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE BROKEN DUKE is the third book in the 1797 Club series. While the romance in this book is self-contained, I think part of what makes this book is the relationship between the different heroes, as such, I think this book is so much better read as part of 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 review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Misadventures of a City Girl

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: Misadventures of a City GirlMisadventures of a City Girl (Misadventures, #1) by Chelle Bliss, Meredith Wild
Series: Misadventures #1
Published by Waterhouse Press on September 12th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: A fun and very sexy novella about two people who come from different worlds being challenged out of their comfort zone.

THE STORY: Madison Atwood, newly divorced needs a break from her high paced entertainment world in Los Angeles which is too connected with the star ex-husband. While at a “retreat”, Madison is caught in a personal moment by Luke Dawson. Luke is a “mountain man” who lives alone. His tours in combat as a Navy Seal have left Luke with PTSD and he doesnt’ want to be around people. From the first moment, however, Madison and Luke have a high voltage connection and soon find themselves caught in a snow storm and caught up in a hot affair. The question is there any future for a woman who loves the city and a man who cannot bear to live there.

OPINION: This was a nice break book.  A story which I might not put on my keeper shelf but one that was engaging and entertaining while I read it. It starts from a city mouse/country mouse scenario and demonstrates how to people can compromise and find common ground if they are committed to one another and love one another enough.

These characters start with a hot sexual encounter and they essentially end up with a choice — work to build a bridge between them or leave their relationship as a shallow sexual tension reliever.

I liked these characters who are good and decent people living with the consequences of loving and hurting and living. The story isn’t particularly deep and the characters are not very complex, but I really enjoyed the story which reminded me of the feel good category romances, but with a lot more heat.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book is really focused on the relationship through the sexual encounters of the main characters so be prepared for a lot of sex.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  MISADVENTURES OF A CITY GIRL is the first in a series of novellas that are only connected by the “misadventures”. So far I don’t see any overlapping characters or places.

STAR RATING:  I give this novella 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 write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-half-stars

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