Review: Shelter in Place

Review: Shelter in PlaceShelter in Place by Nora Roberts
Published by St. Martin's Press on May 29, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 439
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: A difficult and timely subject. A mass shooting alters the lives of everyone connected to the events. Simone and Reed alter and rebuild their lives and eventually find one another. A nice romance combined with the suspense of someone who wants to continue the body count.

THE STORY: On a summer’s evening, three young men execute a horrible crime in a mall and theater in Maine. Simone Knox, a teenager, ends up hiding in the bathroom at the theater calling 911. Reed Quartermaine, a college student, is in the mall when the shooting takes place. That event changes both of their lives. Their struggles eventually bring them in orbit of one another while someone else is eliminating survivors.

OPINION: I generally prefer my books heavy on the romance with some suspense thrown in. This book is much more a suspense and story of rebirth after a tragedy, but the story works so well in bringing Reed and Simone together that I really enjoyed this one.

I enjoyed seeing these characters build their lives and find one another. The story between them was sweet and sexy (even if they don’t meet until well into the story), and I was intrigued for every page and turn of their story.

The characters were well drawn. The varying reactions to the tragedy not only for Reed and Simone but also for their friends, family and even strangers kept the story grounded and compelling.

The suspense story worked well for me but I really appreciated that while it was important, it did not overshadow for me the relationships of the characters. The book ends up being about hope, about overcoming tragedy. The violence ends up being a part of the story, but not the most important part.

It’s been a long time since one of Roberts’ standalone books has interested me so much. This one will be on my keeper shelf.

WORTH MENTIONING: Although the book deals with a violent subject, I thought the depiction of violence was not gratuitous or overly graphic.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SHELTER IN PLACE is a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

 

five-stars

Review: Collision Point

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: Collision PointCollision Point (Brute Force, #1) by Lora Leigh
Series: Brute Force #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on February 27th 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: The suspense and mystery really worked for most of the story, but the solution was a bit of a disappointment. I also wanted the connection between Amara and Riordan to be stronger but since they had a past, their relationship did not feel as immediate.

THE STORY: Amara Resnova has been having dreams and nightmares. Six months ago she was kidnapped by enemies of her father but she cannot remember anything that happened in the last year. But she dreams about Riordan Malone and knows that he was her bodyguard and her lover. Now fearing that someone is trying to kill her again, Amara turns to Riordan for help.

OPINION: This was a decent book that had the possibility to be much more. I really enjoyed the suspense in the story as Amara doesn’t remember what has happened and she has much of the solution in her mind.

For about eighty-five percent of the story, I really was engaged in the suspense of the story, but the resolution disappointed me because there was no way to guess what had happened. While the resolution made sense and was in keeping with the rest of the story, I had thought there would be something more interesting or dramatic to explain Amara’s abduction.

While I am perfectly willing to accept a less exciting personal story with a great suspense story, my disappointment with the suspense story also reflected a romance that was okay but not fantastic. The story had plenty of sex scenes, but lacked some of the excitement between Amara and Riordan. While I thought that everything was worked up well for most of the book, the ending was merely okay.

I would read the next book in the series because this book was okay even if it wasn’t superlative.

WORTH MENTIONING: Nathan Malone from WILD CARD makes a significant appearance here.

CONNECTED BOOKS: COLLISION POINT is the first book in the Brute Force series. This series is a spin-off from Leigh’s Elite Ops series and there are overlapping characters.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare this 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: Dark in Death

Review: Dark in DeathDark in Death (In Death, #46) by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #46
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 30th 2018
Genres: Futuristic, Mystery
Pages: 384
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: This is on the lower end of the series’ books for me. The book felt more self-indulgent (since it too is about a series of mystery books) and the pace was really slow. A decent entry, but not among the best.

THE STORY: A woman is murdered during a showing of Psycho in a way that recalls the murder in a detective series. When it turns out that it is not the first murder replicated from the series, Eve must figure out who is obsessed with the thriller series and who is the next target.

OPINION: I wanted to like this book, but it took forever for me to get into the story even though the concept sounded great in the blurb. I still think the more recent books suffer because of the movement away from the personal journey of Eve to more a standard mystery format.

I just started re-reading the series and having just read the first couple books in the series, it is quite obvious that this book lacks something compelling pushing it forward. For that reason, I was able to continually walk away from this book and it took me several days to read when I usually finish the book in a day.

I’m not sure what exactly struck me wrong about this book. I think there really didn’t feel like an urgency to the story even though there were the possibilities for continuing murders. Also because the mystery series is made up, there is no way to feel connected with the possible murders coming up. There is also a distance between Eve and the killer which means that the crime is a bit more intellectual.

I did really like several elements of the story. Eve and Rourke are alone as Summerset takes his vacation and the two have a different vibe when it is just the two of them living in that big house. Their relationship has grown and deepened and I appreciate that the author allows her characters to grow and change as their relationship deepens.

I also thought that the last few chapters really were a good resolution to the story and I’m glad that I persevered through the book.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are also some wonderful moments with Eve and the secondary characters especially Feeney. I keep hoping that we will get some stories with the secondary characters which might increase the personal interest in the stories.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DARK IN DEATH is the forty-sixth book in the In Death series. As the series has continued, there has been movement away from the overarching storylines so this book can pretty much be read as a standalone although it doesn’t really introduce the characters if you haven’t read about them before.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: A Devil in Scotland

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: A Devil in ScotlandA Devil in Scotland (No Ordinary Hero, #3) by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #3
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 30th 2018
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: Solid romance with an good danger/suspense/mystery story. I felt the romance was missing some real resolution of the past, but I enjoyed the book.

THE STORY: Callum MacCreath left Scotland ten years ago when his childhood friend agreed to marry his older brother. Now his brother has died (and Callum believes that foul play is involved) and Callum has returned as heir. Callum will do anything to punish those involved in his brother’s death — even if, and especially, if it is Rebecca.

OPINION: This is a cross between a second chance at love story and a former friends to lovers story. Callum and Rebecca had a closer and adventurous childhood together. When Rebecca grew up and chose a settled and responsible husband (who happened to be Callum’s older brother), Callum realized that his expectations regarding Rebecca would not be realized. Callum was disreputable — he spent his time drinking and wenching and his feeble attempts to pull Rebecca away from his brother resulted in Callum being banished from his family.

Callum was devastated by Rebecca’s acidic words which said that he was not a worthy man in any respect. For ten years, he used her words to fuel his transformation into a successful businessman in America. But losing her haunted him despite his attempts to hate her.

After discovering that his brother has died, Callum returns to Scotland in order prove that he was murdered. His plans change when he encounters Rebecca again and meets his niece for the first time.

The plot of this book is centered on the death of Callum’s brother. Callum believes he knows who is responsible and is determined to get revenge.

My favorite part of this book is how Callum and Rebecca deal with one another. Their relationship is wonderful because Callum cares about what Rebecca thinks and wants. He is willing to listen to her and change his opinion based on her opinions. Callum is also a darling sweetheart about Rebecca’s daughter. The child is not merely a plot device, but a character that shows what a good man Callum is.

What I wasn’t convinced by was the resolution of the past. I just didn’t buy that these two characters could resolve the scene and events of two years ago in such a simple manner. Their relationship progressed too fast and the two didn’t really deal with Rebecca’s choice to marry Callum’s brother. Yes, there were some minor discussions, but they almost made it more difficult for me to believe because Rebecca confessed that she had romantic feelings for Callum before and after marrying her husband. While she might have been right that Callum was immature, he was also right and Rebecca never really acknowledges that. Instead, there is the constant refrain that sometime they will have to deal with the past — but they never really do.

But that is a minor criticism. The relationship now between Callum and Rebecca works and I liked seeing them deal with the current drama.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book resolves the villain’s story from the first two books in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A DEVIL IN SCOTLAND is the third book in the No Ordinary Hero series. This book operates as a standalone although characters from the prior books make small but significant appearances.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare 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: Rugged Texas Cowboy

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: Rugged Texas CowboyRugged Texas Cowboy (Cowboys and Captives, #1-2) by Lora Leigh
Published by St. Martin's Press on December 5th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
three-stars

This is an anthology of two separate novellas that have overlapping characters although the stories are separate.

COWBOY AND THE CAPTIVE: Melina is the “good” twin who is constantly seeking her parents approval in the face of their preference for the “bad” twin who is always in trouble. Now Melina has been kidnapped by Luc Jardin who is seeking revenge against Melina’s twin — and doesn’t realize that Melina is not her.

This is a very sexy story. I enjoyed the relationship between the main characters, but I have to admit the story of Melina being intimidated to taking punishment in place of her sister is a thin story in a modern context. I also was a bit annoyed with Luc in his continued willful ignorance of Melina’s identity.  I wish he had had to grovel more for his treatment of Melina. But this was a quick and easy read.

Rating: 3.5 stars.

COWBOY AND THE THIEF

Angel Manning is furious when the family heirloom that is supposed to lead her to the man for her is sold by her father to Jack Riley. She is determined to get back what is her destiny and certainly has no intention on becoming attached to a playboy like Jack. She’s been that way before and knows to protect her heart.

This story felt a bit disjointed and I never really became attached to the characters. For me, I felt there was something missing in their interaction and not enough drama. I didn’t feel the emotional connection and even the sexual tension wasn’t that exciting. I certainly didn’t think that this book was as good as the first in this anthology.

Rating: 2 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: Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor

Review: Christmas Eve at Friday HarborChristmas Eve at Friday Harbor (Friday Harbor, #1) by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Friday Harbor #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 26th 2010
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 221
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: A good Christmas story if a bit simplistic and lacking the emotional depth and humor of other Kleypas books. I enjoyed this book but I’ll keep it in my holiday reads rather than my keepers.

THE STORY: The last thing Mark Nolan expects is to take on raising his niece Holly, but when his sister dies in an accident, Mark realizes that no one else will do it. Even as he and his brother take on caring for Holly, Mark realizes that Holly wants and needs a woman’s presence so he thinks about getting engaged to the woman he is dating, but he can’t stop thinking about Maggie Collins. Maggie has come to Friday Harbor after the death of her husband and she plans never to love so much again because it almost destroyed her before. But the sweet Holly and her uncle are something she can’t resist.

OPINION: I enjoyed this book, but it certainly reads more like a shorter holiday novel than the complex romance I expect from Kleypas. This story started out incredibly well but just at the time that Mark and Maggie recognize their feelings for one another, the remained of the story becomes simple and easily resolved.  The truth is that there is not enough conflict between these characters or the situation in the beginning. So when the situation with Mark’s current girlfriend is resolved, there is really nothing keeping them apart and all that is required is the happy ending.

I thought the book was well written and enjoyable as a simple holiday read. The characters are well constructed and I enjoyed seeing Mark become a father to Holly. There was nothing that I didn’t like about this book, it just wasn’t a particularly deep or complex story.

WORTH MENTIONING: There was a television movie made of this book entitled CHRISTMAS WITH HOLLY.

CONNECTED BOOKS: CHRISTMAS EVE AT FRIDAY HARBOR is the first book in the Friday Harbor series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: The Right Kind of Rogue

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: The Right Kind of RogueThe Right Kind of Rogue (Playful Brides, #8) by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #8
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 31st 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars

“He’s a rogue, an unrepentant charmer.”

FINAL DECISION: A Romeo and Juliet type romance between two warring families (with humor and less death). A wallflower finally being noticed by the man she has loved for years, this is a story where I liked the characters quite a bit.

THE STORY: Viscount Hart Highgate is searching for a wife who is well-connected socially and brings her own funds with her. Meg Timmons has loved the raking Hart for years but as a wallflower not only doesn’t she fit the requirements that Hart has set down, but she comes from a family that is involved in a feud with Hart’s family. Meg is taken under the wing of a matchmaker who transforms her into the belle of the ball who knows she desperately needs to marry someone to save her family from ruin — even as she only wants the one man she knows she cannot have.

OPINION: I like the combination of humor and drama that is part of this book. There is also a fairy tale aspect (Cinderella) combined with a bit of Romeo and Juliet (without the teenage death).

There is a sweetness to this story as Hart and Meg get to know one another as he is supposed to be helping her find a husband. After first noticing that she is a beautiful woman, he actually gets to know her as a person. At the same time, Meg had a crush on Hart that becomes love as the two dance and laugh and get to know one another.

I really liked Meg who is a genuinely nice person who cares about those around her. But she also makes mistakes as the story demonstrates. Hart is described as a rogue and a rake, but we actually don’t get to see much of that but rather he shows a very nice and gentle side for most of the story.

In other hands this might have been a light and fluffy romance, but the darkness and dysfunctional parents of the hero and heroine and Hart’s own history brings some hard moments into this story, but things stay on the lighter side. This story is not dark so those that prefer their historical romance a bit lighter will enjoy this one. There were scenes where I laughed out loud at the interactions.

My only complaint about the book is that I thought that the resolution of the story demanded a little more than what we got. The conflict was so acute at that point that I expected a more dramatic resolution — or perhaps the break seemed to demand something more. Despite this, I enjoyed this book and I especially liked seeing characters from the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: Hiccups.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE RIGHT KIND OF ROGUE is the eighth book in the Playful Brides series. This book can be read on its own, but there are a number of cross-over characters (especially from THE LEGENDARY LORD) so I think the book is more enjoyable 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: The Scot Beds His Wife

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: The Scot Beds His WifeThe Scot Beds His Wife (Victorian Rebels, #5) by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels #5
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 394
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“He was no barbarian. And certainly no gentleman. He had to be a Celtic god.”

FINAL DECISION: Kerrigan Byrne, who is a master at depicting broken and flawed people gives an unflinching story of two people who think themselves too broken for love but who find that the broken jagged parts of each fit together.

THE STORY: The Highlander Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne, has a plan. He intends to buy the Ross cattle ranch and finally separate himself from the Mackenzies who have never brought anything but pain to him and his mother. The son of the evil and depraved former Laird of the Mackenzies, Gavin will do anything to get control of the Ross property even if it means engaging with the most difficult woman he has ever met. Samantha Masters has come to the Scotland running from her past filled with dangerous secrets. The passionate arguments between Gavin and Samantha turn into another kind of passion and when her past threatens her once again, Sam agrees to marry. But the secrets she is keeping might destroy everything she is building.

OPINION: This book is a good example to me of why I should stay away from spoilers. I happened to read one of the central secrets in this book and really wish I hadn’t. It happens to be one of my least favorite tropes in romance novels and it made me delay reading this book because I love this series so much and I didn’t want to hate this book.

Despite this fact, I ended up loving this book and I think I might have enjoyed it even more if I didn’t create a negative expectation for myself. (As a review style point, that is why I try so hard not to give away secrets in books without really good reasons and certainly not without warnings).

Throughout this series, Kerrigan Bryne has taken characters with painful destructive pasts and given them their happy endings. Characters that in less skillful hands would be irredeemable and unsympathetic become understandable and shown to be worthy of their own redemption through love. The beauty of this book is that the jagged lives of Sam and Gavin manage to make them fit together in a way that completes each of them and soothes their wounded souls.

Gavin is a man who, like his brothers, is haunted by the monstrous actions of his father. Rather than the physical violence which follows his brother Liam (hero of THE HIGHLANDER), Gavin has been been tilted towards the sexual excesses (certainly not the rape and sexual violence of his father). A charming “ladies man” Gavin is known for seducing his own brother’s wife and plenty of other women. Gavin’s charming handsome facade hides the same darkness that follows the other men in his family. (Readers of the series will recall that he is not only Liam’s younger half brother but also the half brother of Dorian). I especially enjoyed how his softer qualities do not negate his darker ones. The balance works here.

Samantha is brash and bold and foul mouthed and insecure. An American from the west, she is a survivor. Used to taking care of herself, she does what is necessary to get through the next crisis on her life on her own terms. Even worse, she has trusted unwisely before and thus is gun shy for trying again. She challenges Gavin and doesn’t back down from him.

The combination of the richly combative exchanges and the sweet understanding between Samantha and Gavin made this a gentler story than I expected in some ways. There are quite a few secrets and deceptions and violence and darkness in this story, but as is true with every book in this series there is also hope and redemption. For readers who have read the prior books in this series, this book is not as dark as the prior book, but for me, the heroine’s actions were more difficult to understand. But understand I did.

There is a lot going on in this book. Various characters and motives are interwoven in the story. Some side romance, some ongoing stories, some appearances by prior characters. This book covers a lot of territory.

One of my favorite things about this book is that it makes me look at and question my own assumptions and prejudices. Irredeemable people and actions might be understandable and capable of being forgiven.

Now that I’ve read it and enjoyed it, I look forward to reading it again without my preconceived fears and prejudices. It will give me something to do until the next book in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: The Rook.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE SCOT BEDS HIS WIFE is the fifth book in the Victorian Rebels series. While the romance in this book is self-contained, there are complicated relationships that only make sense within the context of the whole series. If you want to start here to try out the series, go ahead, but you will want to go back and start from the beginning.

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 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 order to prepare 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: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days

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: How to Tame a Beast in Seven DaysHow to Tame a Beast in Seven Days (The Embraced, #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 7th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 416
Goodreads
four-stars

“Never touch the Beast.

“Never let the Beast touch you.”

FINAL DECISION:  Very enjoyable first book in a news series, and I can’t wait to read more. The story of two people whose supernatural gifts haunt them both. They manage to find love in an arranged marriage where danger and death surround them.

THE STORY:  Raised on the Isle of Moon and believing herself an orphan, Luciana was aware that she is one of the Embraced (those born on a night of eclipsing moons who have supernatural powers) but did not know her true lineage.  When her father appears in her life, she discovers that if she doesn’t marry the Beast of Benwick, her father will be killed. However, if it is discovered that Luciana is actually impersonating her dead sister, both she and her father will be killed. Lord Leofric, aka the Beast, is also Embraced.  He has the power to use lightning, but that gift comes with the cost that he can kill people with his touch.  Ordered to marry by his uncle the king (who also happens to want Leo dead), Leo expects a loveless marriage of circumstances, until he meets Luciana who is far more than he expected.

OPINION:  A new series kicks off with a bang with the introduction of a world in conflict. A man who hasn’t been touched since he was a child because of his “gift” and a woman who is forced to impersonate her dead twin and hide every facet of herself.  When the two marry, their gifts complicate their lives.

A new series, especially in the paranormal/fantasy romance arena can involve a lot of explanations and worldbuilding which impedes the progression of the plot.  While this book is the first book in the new series, it largely avoids the extended explanations which can slow down the story.

Instead, the story has a most intriguing hero.  A man who is tormented by his own gift.  Leo is a man who cares enough about the people of his uncle’s realm that he wants to protect them even as they fear him.  A warrior, Leo has sacrificed much and his fits has separated him from others.  Immediately he sees something in Luciana and as the two navigate their marriage, there is humor along with the political intrigue and danger.

Luciana is sweet and being convent raised, she is a bit naive.  This leads to some amusing situations with her new husband. One thing is that Luciana is almost too sweet, but she is never annoying.  Her generosity and genuine caring for other people gives her depth and while innocent in many ways, she is not ignorant of the world.

I loved the humor and sweetness between Luciana and Leo even as the story dips into political intrigue and death. The story has a nice balance to it and I really look forward to reading more about this world as the series unfolds.

WORTH MENTIONING:  There are all types of supernatural powers in this world.  Elves and shifters, witches, those who harness the elements, and those who see the dead.  Because being one of the Embraced is such a danger, there is much still to discover about these people.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  HOW TO TAME A BEAST IN SEVEN DAYS is the first book of The Embraced 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