Review: THE HIGHLAND RENEGADE by Amy Jarecki set to release January 8, 2019

 

renegade

Title:  The Highland Renegade  Lords of the Highlands Book 5
Author: Amy Jarecki
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Published by: Forever
Published Date: January 8, 2019
Sold by: Hachette Book Group
ASIN: B07CWQQ2S7

 Lords of the Highlands series:
The Highland Duke
The Highland Commander
The Highland Guardian
The Highland Chieftain

Publisher’s Summary:

Fans of Hannah Howell and Diana Gabaldon will love this “flirtatious, sensuous…mesmerizing” (Publishers Weekly) Scottish historical romance from the bestselling author of The Highland Chieftain.

She is the daughter of his sworn enemy.

Famed for his fierceness, Laird Robert Grant is above all a loyal Highland clan chief. But when redcoats capture his rival’s daughter, he sets aside their feud and races to her rescue. Aye, Janet Cameron is beautiful, cunning, and so very tempting, but a Cameron lass is the last woman he should ever desire.

He is her one hope of happiness.

Janet refuses to meekly surrender, not even when surrounded by foes. She takes every chance to escape, first from the English soldiers and then from the wickedly handsome Robert. Yet with each day they spend together, his unexpected gallantry chips away at her reserve little by little. As danger and treachery loom, can she trust him enough to choose love over vengeance?

 

My Review:

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  Laird Grant is in an untenable predicament. His clan has been fighting with the Cameron’s for so long it is hard to remember just how the debauchery of whose wife happened.  Equally, it is easy for Grant to accuse the Cameron’s of thieving his yearlings.  They’ve been thieving back and forth each other’s stock like an itch of a mosquito bite, where it is second nature to ‘scratch’.  This time it is extreme – 66 yearlings just gone.  Who could have done it if not the Cameron’s for it would take a large group to organize this?

When Grant is forced to protect the lovely Janet Cameron from the queen’s dragoon he does it because it’s the right thing to do—not for any other reason…maybe.

 Janet’s brother Kennan follows much as his father has in the feud.  It is what he learned as a child and as grown up he doesn’t believe they are trust worthy.  He shows his dislike to Grant, yet Grant again, shows he’s made of better stuff.  As a reader, I took Grant’s side, hands down. 

Bad goes further south when Lieutenant Cummins takes notice, one too many times, to Janet. This finds Janet and Grant both running to stay away from the English prison.  The pursuit is on, the journey is terrifying and edifying.

Janet’s mindset is shifting. She is starting to see Grant is more than the feuding enemy of her father. She sees a kind brother, fair laird who is loved by his people. Passion ends up sizzling underneath the surface.  Each know what they feel can’t go further, because feuding clans have no tolerance for each other.

Grant’s life is on the line and so is Janet’s.  Can there be a coming together of the clans to protect their own from the English? Will their own personal relationship win the day?  Can each clan support is new paradigm?

A note about Janet:  I loved this character.  She is everything I would like to be if I were in her place.  She’s strong-willed, even-tempered with a just and fair spirit, all wrapped in feisty temperament!

Author Jarecki has again created another tale in Lords of the Highlands which will entertain you with dangerous suspenseful scenes in one moment, emotional passionate scenes or tender moments in another.  Her character development and ARC is spot-on.  She is an author I can safely say you will enjoy.

Posted in Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, New Book Release | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Audiobook Review: UNENDING LOVE by Kathryn Le Veque ~ part of the de Lohr Dynasty

Totally worth listening to more than twice.  Great story in production!

unending

Title: Unending Love de Lohr Dynasty
Author: Kathryn Le Veque
Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval
Pages: 293
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc., 3 edition
Published Date: May 7, 2014
ASIN: B00BFJY222

Narrated by: Sean Patrick Hopkins
Length: 10 hours, 39 minutes
Release Date: April 14, 2014
Published by: Kathryn Le Veque Novels

Publisher’s Summary:

1234 A.D. – For as long as she can remember, the Lady Adalind de Aston has loved Sir Maddoc du Bois. Being sent away to foster did nothing to cure her of her unending love for Maddoc, a sentiment he did not return. Years later, Adalind returns from fostering as a cultured and beautiful woman. So beautiful, in fact, that tales of her beauty are legendary and a string of hopeful suitors follow her home. Maddoc, now faced with this exquisite and refined creature, is tasked, as the captain of the army, with chasing the suitors away.

One suitor after another is turned away by Maddoc’s blade. Some go easily; some do not. Meanwhile, Maddoc has come to know Adalind on an adult level and is coming to think he has been very stupid about rejecting this sweet and beautiful woman. In fact, the more suitors that come around, the more Maddoc finds himself succumbing to Adalind’s charms and soon joins the parade of suitors. Adalind is thrilled when the man comes to his senses and offers for her hand. Finally, what she has always dreamed of will soon be hers.

But a new suitor pledges for Adalind’s hand, a cunning and powerful knight who will not be deterred by Maddoc. Maddoc and the knight face off in several fights, each one more brutal than the next, until the knight finally challenges Maddoc to the ultimate battle to the death for Adalind’s hand. A brutal battle ensues and Adalind, in her attempt to help Maddoc, ends up nearly costing the man his life. As Maddoc lays wounded, presumably dying, the challenger knight abducts Adalind and flees.

Adalind’s grandfather is the great David de Lohr, Earl of Canterbury. With Maddoc lingering near death, David gathers some of his oldest and dearest friends to help rescue his granddaughter.

©2012 Kathryn Le Veque (P)2014 Kathryn Le Veque

 

My Review:

Adalind, the heroine, has loved a knight who works for her grandfather, David de Lodhr, since she was five.  She was so sure of it, she asked Maddoc to marry her then. Time changes much except this love she has for Maddoc.  Between fostering and away at court, she hadn’t seen Maddoc for six or seven years.  Her heart tells her the same as when young.  “The heart wants what the heart wants”.  She loves the man more than when he was a boy.  But a female just can’t throw herself on a man when it is obvious, he avoids any entanglement.  His job is to protect the keep and the family within. That’s it.

How many women would wish to have the beauty that Adalind had? Adalind was chased by every man at court, the women were jealous of her beauty and were mean and sometimes cruel to her. Hence, after three years she returns home.

She is with her family when Maddoc who now is captain of the guard for the keep sees her again. She no longer is the girl with the buck teeth, but an exquisite creature, so lovely, he had never seen a woman of such beauty. Worst part – he doesn’t even know how to flirt. With her flirtation, his heart is utterly caught.  She is his to protect—she is his, period.

Adalind has not only beauty from the outside, but she is also sweet, vivacious and unpretentious.  Her woes at court follow her home. Men come knocking at her door, insisting she accepts their suit.  Men battle for her.  It seems rather crazy to see how men grovel at her feet, at first, I was amused by the situation.  But it later became irritating and then just dangerous.  By that time, I had stepped into Adalind’s shoes and found myself escaping across the highlands for safety.

I love the way narrator Sean Patrick Hopkins portrays each of Adalind’s suitors, some are rather simple-minded and obtuse (I found myself feeling sorry for them), others were cunning using position and power in the clans to get what they want, still another will appall you what he would do to get her hand.  Hopkins makes the characters pop from the page.

Le Veque’s writing and Hopkin’s narration make for an exciting read with action-packed, emotional scenes, where men will kill and go to battle over the hand of a woman. Surprises await you. I listened to the book twice and it is absolutely superb. 

 

Posted in Action/Adventure, Audiobook, Audiobook Review, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, Medieval Romance, Romance, Suspense | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Review: EARL OF HEARTS from the Farthingale Series by Meara Platt. Releases January 1, 2019!

 

earl

Title: Earl of Hearts The Farthingale Series Book 6
Author: Meara Platt
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 303
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B07JBDHVB5

 

Publisher’s Summary:

Love comes to those who need it most.
What will happen when an earl determined never to love meets the only woman who can tear down his defenses?

Lady Nicola Emory adored her brother’s best friend, John Randall, Earl of Bainbridge, from the moment she met him. But the handsome earl, a mysterious and tormented agent of the Crown, never gave her any notice until the eve of her betrothal to another man. How was she to know that her intended betrothed was plotting to overthrow the Crown? When Nicola stumbles upon the proof of his treason, she’s suddenly on the run for her life and John is the only one who can protect her. But in saving her life, will he put his heart at risk?

John Randall long ago decided never to allow anyone into his heart. Protecting the royal family and defeating England’s enemies are all he needs in his life. That suddenly changes when he’s forced to go on the run with Nicola Emory, the one girl with the power to steal his heart. With every hour they spend together, he finds his solid wall of protection collapsing. He’s faced death many times before and doesn’t fear it. But admitting his love for Nicola will force him to confront the demons haunting him since childhood. Will digging up those dangerous memories free his heart? Or close it to love forever?

My Review: 

This is a story where love prevails. It’s also a story where childhood events mark a person’s emotions for all time. Can John Randall work through them and be able to live again?

Lady Nicola is an incredibly kind person.  She is also betrothed to a man she finds distasteful—finding him bedding a woman just before her marriage. She seeks out the man in her life she’s been attracted to for comfort and advise, but being a friend of her brother’s, he can’t do more than just comfort her.  John Randall, Earl of Bainbridge.

“She’d gotten into his heart long ago and he hadn’t been able to get her out no matter how hard he’d tried. But she was his best friend’s sister, so it was hands off for him.”

Of which makes a very hurtful position for Lady Nicola and a bit of irritation to John Randall. She couldn’t get him to acknowledge attraction, but his actions showed her. She mattered to him. His heart leads him one way and code states another. But one thing is clear to John. He’ll protect the girl with his life and as the story unfolds, destiny comes to call. Their ‘relationship’ stalls but moves forward when Nicola’s life turns from spurning a nasty man she was betrothed to, to being chased by Somersby and his outlaw ruffians. The beast within John is unleashed and he protects her anyway he can.

Lady Nicola is well suited for John.  She’s intelligent and quick in coming to conclusions. She’d make a good agent for the Crown John thinks. In this story, she does a fair amount of sleuthing.  John doesn’t feel he is good enough for her.  He is also afraid that she’ll buckle under the danger of his job. He cannot lose another loved one.

John whisks Lady Nicola away with a little something she discovers at Somersby’s mansion. Something Somersby wants desperately, and he’s ripe for the killing. Lady Nicola needed proof he is not suitable marriage. But her proof is even more than that.

More is afoot besides Somersby.  Selena, an excellent agent, is somehow involved.  She has always wanted John for herself.  She sees how he looks at Lady Nicola.  Nothing is worse than a woman spurned. This just makes the story juicier.

The tension is palpable with the unfurling of events.  I couldn’t help but be caught up with the deplorable situation Lady Nicola and John find themselves and how they manage to survive.

The story is crafted in a style I enjoy.  Both protagonists grow, John learns he is a worthy person. Lady Nicola finds she has quite the adventurous spirit and a back-bone of steel. There are no slow moments, but fast-paced scenes with emotionally packed moments as John does what he does best as an Agent of the Crown. Of course, Platt has provided added entertainment with the growing romance between the Lady Nicola and John—enough to curl one’s toes.

 

Posted in Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, New Book Release, Romance | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: ONCE UPON A DUKE by Erica Ridley ~ fun holiday reading throughout the year!

Once

Title: Once Upon a Duke   12 Dukes of Christmas, Book 3
Author: Erica Ridley
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 159
Published by: WebMotion
Published Date: November 20, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B07GQJDSSW

Publisher’s Summary: 

Love, Actually…

Rumor has it, charming adventurer Christopher Pringle is finally ready to settle down. He’s searching for a free-spirited bride to join him on his travels. But when the matchmaker he hires turns out to be the woman he had a public spat with the day before, nothing goes as planned!

Miss Gloria Godwin loves exploring the world… from the safety of a book. She detests her dashing client’s attempts to force her from her comfort zone. It should be easy to marry off the handsome heir to a dukedom. But the more she tries to match him to other women, the harder it gets to say goodbye…

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erica Ridley’s newest regency romance series features twelve delightful laugh-out-loud romps… and plenty of delicious dukes!

 

 Four-Stars poinsettiapoinsettiapoinsettiapoinsettia

 

My Review:  Enjoy this light-hearted and rather silly romp as author Erica Ridley takes you through the season of Christmas—in a village which celebrates Christmas all-year-round.

Christopher Pringle is rather a character if I must say so.  He likes things tied up in nice little packages (all puns intended), rather a control freak and definitely a very serious man.  He had one passion—the stars, the night sky and that happened to be the linchpin for a romance and happy ever after ending.

It’s true, he needed to get married.  His betrothed had to fit into his schedule and be a person who would travel with him, for he loved to travel.  Christopher had only two weeks to find a wife in this little village.  It suited him better than searching in London.  He was also noted to never stay more than one month in any one place.  He never broke rules and always stayed on schedule.

But even though he was much of a pill, I liked him.  He was polite, curious, and intrigued with life. Running out of time, he engaged Miss Gloria Godwin, NOT ENGAGED as engaged, but to have her help him with his ‘project’.  Based on his criteria, Miss Godwin provided many candidates, but none intrigued Christopher. But, she intrigued him.

Miss Gloria Godwin loved the stars, passionately love them.  Her father taught her everything about the stars since he sailed the seas and they were his navigator.  She stayed in this little village which celebrated Christmas all-year-round because she is scared to leave it.  She is full of phobias as you’ll see. But she is full of romance and the need to marry for love if she marries at all.

When Christopher and Gloria meet, they clash.  She teaches the tourists about the stars, but in her tour she adds her own take on them.  They are not The Chained Maiden, The Bird of Paradise,  or the Scorpion.  They are something else entirely.  This disturbs Christopher’s sensibilities and the two get off on the wrong foot.  But this very irritation keeps Gloria in his mind and eventually he is hooked!

Love is not an easy path for Christopher and Gloria.  Personalities insist each of their ways is best.  Watch what happens as the story unfolds.

This is an easy read, light and entertaining.  It is also a bit unique which will keep you thinking about it long after you’ve closed the cover.

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Historical Romance, New Book Release, Regency Romance, Romance | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Review: A SULTRY PERFORMANCE by Jessica Lauryn ~ entangle yourself in mystery and suspense within The Rabourn Theater Series

 

Sultry

Title: The Sultry Performance The Rabourn Theater Series Book 3
Author: Jessica Lauryn
Genre: Contemporary Suspense
Pages: 303
Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Published Date: December 4, 2018
ASIN: B07KFM63QW

 

The Rabourn Theater Series:
A Passionate Play       my review https://wp.me/p40XtX-2rz
An Amorous Dance    my review https://wp.me/p40XtX-3I3
The Sultry Performance

 

Publisher’s Summary:

Chris Gordon, stage manager at Rabourn Theater, suspects his late wife’s hit and run was never an accident. He believes the man she was having an affair with, Oakley Sutherland, was responsible and he vows to get Evelyn justice, igniting a plot to ensnare Oakley, working through Oakley’s fiancée, Victoria. 

A well-known exotic dancer by night, Victoria Morrow has been fighting to make a better life for herself, and she won’t be taken advantage of. But when the most handsome man at Rabourn Theater takes an interest in her, she finds herself spiraling down a path she never expected to. Can Victoria resist Chris’s charms? Or will both of them fall prey to the danger that lurks in the wings?

 

My Review:

I’ve enjoyed this unique series by Jessica Lauryn.  Lauryn’s setting involves personalities who are involved in running Rabourn Theater with a past history of dirty dealings and double crossings.  The story deals with revenge and control, and taking, by any means, what you feel is yours.  In the ugly mire of life springs the unexpected—love.

I gravitated to Victoria Morrow, a dancer who dances with her heart, no matter what type of dance.  She is also drop-dead gorgeous. Her soul is pure, and even though her circumstances are not very good, she looks out for the other dancers.

Her dream is to someday own the club she dances in.  She saves as much money as she can.  The owner of the club happens to be her betrothed, although she isn’t interested in the man.  He’s mean, controlling and manipulative.  He only gets meaner when Chris Gordon who works at Rabourn Theater starts seeking her out.

Yes, they are attracted to each other, but if Chris Gordon pursues her, he is asking for a death wish. From Victoria’s perspective he should stay away—but his kiss awakes something in Victoria which has never been tapped. From Chris’s perspective, he wants answers about his wife’s death and thinks Victoria holds the key.

Chris is a great guy, but he has an agenda for this relationship.  He eventually is torn between what his heart feels and what his believes.  Will it blow up in his face?  Will he get himself killed? Suspense coils tighter, while surprising twists and mystery will keep you engaged.

 

Posted in New Book Release, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense, Women's Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: THE HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN by Amy Jarecki ~ part of Lords of the Highlands Series! Next month a new release!

 

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Title: The Highland Chieftain Lords of the Highlands Series, Book 4
Author: Amy Jarecki
Genre: Historical Fiction, Scottish
Setting: 1711, Scotland
Pages: 352
Published by: Forever
Published Date: July 31, 2018
Sold by: Hachette Book Group
ASIN: B0776SGGWZ

Lords of the Highlands series:
The Highland Duke
The Highland Commander
The Highland Guardian
The Highland Chieftain

Synopsis:

Fans of “romance à la Outlander” (RT Book Reviews), will love this sexy, action-packed Scottish historical as a battle-hardened Highlander will fight with all he has to save the woman he loves–even if she can never love him back. 

After being unceremoniously jilted by her betrothed, Lady Mairi MacKenzie is humiliated and heartbroken – but she’s not desperate. As the daughter of an earl, she won’t give her hand to just anyone, and she definitely isn’t swayed by a last-minute proposal from Laird Duncan MacRae. The powerful clan chieftain may be disarmingly handsome and charming, but he’s not a nobleman. Mairi doesn’t want his pity or his charity – even though his dark smoldering gaze makes her melt with desire.

 Dunn may be a battle-hardened clansman, but he’s always had a soft spot for Mairi. For years, she tormented him with flirtation – only to reject him. But he’s not giving up. When Mairi is attacked by redcoats, Dunn goes after the woman he loves. Through brute strength and fierce action, he will protect her life at any cost. But to win her heart, he will have to show her the tenderness in his own.

                                       poinsettiapoinsettiapoinsettiapoinsettiapoinsettia

Review:  Mairi sees her life in shambles.  I see she is her own worst enemy when it comes to self-esteem.

She was betrothed as a young child to a boy child destined to be the earl of Seaforth, and her life was planned for her, which made life pretty easy, and rather suited her. But the unbelievable happens – the groom to-be breaks off the betrothal to marry someone else.  Mairi is beyond humiliated, wishing to stay home and never show her face in society again–from the butterfly of the party to a dismal existence.  

A certain Duncan MacRae, chieftain of Clan MacRae obviously had felt sorry for her because he asked for her hand.  She only became further embarrassed.  She would take no pity from someone who only would pick up the shattered pieces of her existence. Her father made that clear to her – the man only felt sorry for her.

Her father forces her to go with him to a gathering at Urqhart Castle.  He wants her to marry well – perhaps a peer of the peerage.  He will force her hand if necessary!

Duncan MacRae, even though a chieftain, who works to protect Seaforth and family has always been smitten by the spitfire, Mairi.  She is so vivacious. When Seaforth begged off on the marriage, Duncan presented himself to her father to ask for her hand.  Alas, she was not to be his.

Duncan is part of the festivities at Urqhart Castle and can’t keep his eyes off Mairi. While in the middle of the games, redcoats show up itching to make trouble and trouble they bring.

Where is Mairi?  She traipses off into the forest just before they show up.  Duncan notes redcoats take the same path. 

Duncan isn’t in control of his emotions as he chases the men.  He finds Mairi with her skirts up around her waist fighting off three lewd men.

This scene is terribly exciting as danger surrounds Mairi and now Duncan for having killed three men. He wants to keep Mairi’s reputation and honor intact, but as events unfold, it begins more and more difficult to do so.

Author Amy Jarecki keeps the tension coiling as they are chased through the highlands, but a Highlander knows his way better than any Redcoat while a Highland lassie pulls strength from her innerself.  Now Mairi’s father is working against Duncan  The man who saves his daughter is now being hunted with a bounty on his head!

You will simply love this nail-biting tale. I, as a reader,  highly recommend Jarecki’s work.  Don’t miss the rest of the series. She’ll keep you entranced.

Posted in Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Advanced Reader’s Copy Review: TRIAL OF A WARRIOR by Mary Morgan ~ indulge in this fantasy world where Fae and human collide

Trial of a Warrior

Title: Trial of a Warrior  Legends of the Fenian Warriors, Book 3
Author: Mary Morgan
Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Paranormal
Pages: 283
Published by: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Published Date: December 12, 2018
ASIN: B07JGMH8XS

 

Publisher’s Summary:

“You met them in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their legends!”

A warrior sentenced to die.

On trial for breaking a supreme Fae law, Fenian Warrior, Liam MacGregor has no regrets. He is prepared to accept his sentence—even if it means his death. However, freedom comes in an unexpected manner, and brings with it certain dangers as he travels through the Veil of Ages.

A princess honor-bound to remain hidden.

Princess Abela might be a priestess and the daughter of royalty, but that doesn’t prevent her from doing the unimaginable. She sacrifices duty and honor to set free the man who captured her heart so many years ago. No matter the severity of his crimes, she cannot let Liam die.

A rescue that will bring about a war and divide a kingdom!

In their quest to secure a treaty to forestall Liam’s death sentence, they must fight their desires for one another, as well as the Fenian Warriors sent to capture them.

 

This series purchase link:

Legends of the Fenian

 

Order of the Dragon Knights purchase link:

order of the dragon

My Review:

Author Mary Morgan has built a wonderfully real fantasy world where the human and Fae work to keep both worlds safe.  In her previous series, Order of The Dragon Knights where five warriors are on paths of redemption, quests to gain favor again with the Fae, this series, Legends of the Fenian Warriors, continues with quests of the Fenian Warriors, those very Fae who helped the Dragon Knights. The warriors broke laws, so severely wrong, they are facing death. Two of the three have already completed their quests (book 1 & 2).  Liam MacGregor must now face his due punishment.

Liam, imprisoned really has lost hope.  He knows what he did broke Fae laws. One wee princess, Abela, changes all for him.

Princess Abela, sister to Conn, the prince of the Fae and eventually in line to be King, had chosen to be a daughter of Mother Danu. She has lived much of her life in the temple where knowledge of what is happening outside the walls is rarely heard.  She preferred it that way.  She had buried her love for Liam MacGregor in the bosom of the Mother when she did not capture his heart as he had captured hers.  She entered into the priesthood and Liam became a Fenian Warrior. Much time has passed and they both moved forward – or so they thought.

I love this princess because she has so many sides of who she is.  She’s a warrior, innately curious about the human world, simply because Liam spends much of his life protecting and guiding the humans.  She’s courageous and not afraid to do something quite unethical as we experience with her breaking in to where Liam is imprisoned and breaking him out.  Her love for him (which she finally admits to herself) has her saving his life, even when she very likely forfeits her own.

Both Liam and Abela are unwilling to speak of their love for each other for their past together makes them wary.  They plan on changing the timeline, rewrite or amend a law.  They are already slated for death, so why not try to amend the past? Their quest is filled with hardship.  Abela is unschooled in the power she has and this doesn’t make it easy to complete their quest and Liam has none of his powers, taken away when sent to prison.

Liam and Abela have heated discussions which are rather edifying.  If Abela is unable to continue to cloak their whereabouts, their mission will end before it’s begun, and both will be punished by death.

This tale will push all your buttons—highly emotionally charged where much is at stake – including lives.  You will love how Abela is very much a princess, priestess and warrior.  Liam is ever the honorable warrior. He must return her to the Fae Realm for physically she can’t remain long in the human world, not like the Fenian Warriors. Will Liam, faced with all the obstacles they encounter, get her back in time?  Will she, too, face certain death, even though the sister of the prince?

Morgan has created an exciting, nail-biting story, where a surprise awaits the reader.  No spoilers here, but this is jaw-dropping stuff!  If you haven’t read Morgan’s other series, do yourself a favor, you won’t regret the journey and it will give you better insight to Morgan’s world.

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Audiobook Review: WINTER’S FLAME by Elizabeth Rose ~ a comical situation with an edge of disaster

Winter Flame

Title: Winter’s Flame  Seasons of Fortitude, Book 4
Author: Elizabeth Rose
Genre: Historical Romance Medieval
Pages: 256
Published by: RoseScribe Media Inc.
Published Date: November 9, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B075331V4N

Narrated by: Brian J. GillSeasons of Fortitude
Length: 7 hours, 30 minutes
Release Date: December 18, 2017
Published by: RoseScribe Media Inc.

Seasons of Fortitude Series:
Highland SpringBook 1
Summer’s Reign – Book 2
Autumn’s TouchBook 3
Winter’s Flame Book 4 

Also be sure to read the Legendary Bastards of the Crown Series:
Destiny’s KissPrequel
Restless Sea Lord Book 1
Ruthless KnightBook 2
Reckless Highlander – Book 3

 Synopsis:

Passion ignites and the sparks fly when a border lord and a noblewoman skilled at the forge are brought together under unusual circumstances.

Lady Winter has always been curious since childhood and even though she is a noblewoman, she has learned from the best blacksmith to be skilled at the forge. While at her sister’s wedding in Ravenscar, she decides to stay and help the blacksmith who trained her. His eyesight is failing and although he was once the best blacksmith in all England, now he is doomed without Winter’s help. The late lord Ravenscar made a deal with Sir Martin de Grey of Northumberland. The blacksmith is to forge a sword from the finest Damascus steel. But to insure that Lord de Grey collects on his deal, he’s taken the blacksmith’s son in exchange.

Sir Martin de Grey arrives in Ravenscar to collect his sword. He needs it to go up against his enemy – Clan Dunbar in an age-old feud. Martin’s brother is imprisoned and he will do anything to save him. But when he discovers his sword is not ready and the man he made the deal with is dead, he takes drastic measures. He brings the blacksmith and his daughter to Castle Heaton to finish forging the sword. While there, he finds himself immensely attracted to the beautiful commoner’s daughter.

Winter finds herself in a predicament. Sir Martin de Grey has mistaken her for the blacksmith’s daughter since she was working in the forge. Now, to tell him the truth would risk her friend never seeing his son again.

Sparks will fly when the truth is revealed and circumstances turn lovers against each other. But with passion hotter than the fires of the forge between Winter and Martin, can something that started as lust turn into an undying love between them?

(This is the last book of the series. It is best to read the Legendary Bastards of the Crown Series, as well as books 1-3 of the Seasons of Fortitude Series first, however, each book stands alone.)

 

Review:

I’ve enjoyed this series, although I didn’t read any of Legendary Bastards of the Crown Series which the author suggests.  I didn’t find the series lacking because I hadn’t.  Each sister is very different and with great entertainment I followed their difficulties in life while finding their true loves.

Winter is very stubborn and high-spirited.  She is also very protective of people she loves, as we discover when she does something unthinkable for a noble lady—works in the forge to help the blacksmith.  She also discovers she has a passionate streak when she meets Sir Martin de Grey.

The story is quite comical, even though the stakes are high.  As Winter is helping the blacksmith who no longer has good enough eyesight to do his work, Sir Martin de Grey comes to the forge demanding his sword.  Of course, the sword hadn’t been worked on because Sir Martin had taken his son as a hostage, who most recently did the blacksmith’s work.

Now Sir Martin enjoys women, pure and simple — but never touches a virgin.  He sees Winter, thinking her the blacksmith’s daughter, and is immediately interested in the wench. Lady Winter has to pretend to be the daughter and eventually they must both go to Sir Martin’s own forge to work on the sword.

I liked Lady Winter’s curious manner and her desire to learn more about what happens between a man and woman. Her demeanor has Sir Martin thinking she has done this before–which she hasn’t! Her curiosity could just kill the cat! Her no-nonsense approach to life, even at nineteen gives her a maturity other girls don’t have at her age.

When Sir Martin de Grey approaches her, taking her to his chamber, she goes.  That chamber has painted scenes on the ceiling which should make any maiden swoon.  Not Lady Winter.  Like I said it’s all very comical and you will get some laughs from it. Sir Martin almost forgets why he needs the sword to be forged and doesn’t learn of Lady Winter’s true identity until he has done the deed. All this just complicates the situation further.

Another character I find humorous is the nanny.  In fact, the narrator does the personification of this woman to perfection.  Nanny is a seer, but doesn’t see all.  Just glimpses. She’s been Lady Winter’s nurse since she was a bairn and follows her to Sir Martin’s castle. She tries to talk reason into Lady Winter, but Winter is just too curious!

On the whole, his narration was good. It’s pacing and tone was one of levity. It is with some regret I felt the narrator portrayed little emotion from Lady Winter as she is in Sir Martin’s bed or close to.  The tone of the dialogue rang false, feeling too dry and methodical, rather than playful.

Bottom Line:  5 for story , 4 for performance

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Audiobook ABDUCTED AT THE ALTAR by Cynthia Wright ~ beginning of a new series, Brides of Skye

Abducted at the Altar

Title: Abducted at the Altar: A St. Briac Family Novel, Brides of Skye, Book 1
Author: Cynthia Wright
Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval
Pages: 290
Published by: Boxwood Manor Books
Published Date: September 21, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B07GFT77BG

Narrated by: Tim Campbell
Length: 8 hours, 32 minutes
Release Date: October 17, 2018
Published by: Cynthia Challed

Publisher’s Summary

From a New York Times best-selling author comes an irresistible romance of 16th-century Scotland!

When a spirited Scottish lass crosses paths with a charismatic Outlander, sparks fly that threaten to set fire to their separate worlds….

Vibrant Fiona MacLeod has never left the Isle of Skye, except in the pages of cherished books. However, everything changes when her mother makes a deathbed request that Fi travel to Falkland Palace and experience the royal court. It may be her last chance to see the world before she is married off to an overbearing Highland warrior.

Across the ocean in Europe, architect Christophe de St. Briac enjoys a perfectly ordered life. He’s a rising star among the artistic builders of the Renaissance and has his pick of women to warm his bed – until King François I pressures him to accept a project at Scotland’s Falkland Palace.

Although Fiona and Christophe are from different worlds, they soon find their passionate souls have everything in common. But while they seem to be on a collision course with destiny, dark forces are conspiring to keep them apart….

Connecting books:

You and No Other (Thomas and Aimée)
Of One Heart (Andrew and Micheline)
Abducted at the Altar (Christophe and Fiona)

The St. Briac family in the 18th century:

The Secret of Love (Gabriel and Isabella)
His Make-Believe Bride (Justin and Mouette)

©2018 Cynthia Challed (P)2018 Cynthia Challed

 

My Thoughts:  I’ve read or listened to author Cynthia Wright’s books for a long time.  I always start a read knowing I’ll be entertained with fully-developed gentle, honorable characters who end up taking part of my heart when the tale is complete. Her diabolical antagonists are wily and devious — a pleasure to see them fail with their schemes.

This tale is not the exception.  Narrator Tim Campbell makes the listen a page-turner with his fantastic flexibility between French accented English and the Scottish brogue.  He positively takes the characters Wright creates to a higher level!

Fiona MacLeod is a dutiful child, particularly to her family. She loves her mother and father very much.  When her mother dies, she has only her father, who is devastated by her mother’s death. He is a man who can’t seem to let go of his daughter and plays right into the hands of the antagonist. He seems to be a weak man, but with a good heart.

Fiona has her dreams, perhaps more than the average highland lass, thanks to her mother teaching her how to read and write and the hours of reading together.  When she meets St. Briac she is intrigued with him, spending time questioning him about the places he’s lived.

The antagonist whom we find has reasons to do what he does, is misguided with some mistruths. He is quite the unsavory sort, but Fiona’s father doesn’t see his bad character for he hides it with smiles and a lordly demeanor. Her father betrothes her to him without her consent. Should she do as her father wishes?  Afterall, many highland marriages are made for alliances and not love.  But Fiona wishes for more.  She wants to be loved and to love her husband.

Christophe St. Briac is every bit the rogue – women in his bed, but leave them before morning.  His passion is to create beautiful buildings.  As an architect, he had grand plans for Le Louvre and had been given a promise to work on that dream when he’d done a little favor for the King. I enjoyed getting to know the man behind the work-driven one. He is attracted to wee Fiona, and she to him.  But Christophe doesn’t consider himself a marrying man.  Will his love to her be strong enough to keep him from returning to France?

Wright’s tales leave a smile on my face and a light heart. She entertains with conflicted  characters, humor, and passionate, determined heroes and heroines who struggle to reach their happy ever after–all the while cheered on by the reader/listener!

 

Posted in Audiobook, Audiobook Review, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, Medieval Romance, New Book Release, Romance | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: MY ONE AND ONLY DUKE by Grace Burrowes ~ an unusual and titillating read.

my one and onlyTitle: My One and Only Duke  Rogues to Riches Book 1
Author: Grace Burrowes
Genre: Historical Fiction, Regency
Pages: 465
Published by: Forever
Published Date: November 6, 2018
Sold by: Hachette Book Group
ASIN: B07B8F42K2

 

Publisher’s Summary:

From a New York Times bestselling author and one of “the very best in today’s Regency romance” (Elizabeth Hoyt) comes the story of the unconventional Wentworth family in this charming new series with a Cinderella twist.

One minute, London banker Quinn Wentworth is facing execution. The next, he’s declared the long-lost heir to a dukedom. Quinn has fought his way up from the worst slums, and now he’s ready to use every dirty trick he knows to find the enemy who schemed against him.

Jane Winston, the widowed and pregnant, crosses paths with Quinn while her father is preaching to the prisoners. Believing his days are numbered, Quinn offers her marriage as a way to guarantee her independence and provide for her child. Neither thinks they’ll actually have a future together.

He’s a wealthy gutter rat out for vengeance. She’s a minister’s daughter who must turn a marriage of desperation into a proper ducal union. Are they doomed from the start or destined for a happily-ever-after?

Also includes the bonus novella Once Upon a Christmas Eve from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt!

When his carriage wheel snaps in a snowstorm, Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, is forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he’s ever met.

“Skillfully crafted and exquisitely written, Burrowes’ latest is pure gold; a brilliant launch to a promising series.” —Library Journal, starred review

 

My Thoughts:  This happens to be the first book I’ve read from author Grace Burrowes.  It seems I’ve been missing some serious talent!

The story began with death or close to.  The last days of a man, who apparently is rather a good man for he looks out for those who are less fortunate them himself.  Yes, even in Newgate prison. Quinn Wentworth is to be hanged.  We know he didn’t do anything to warrant the hanging.  He was set up.  But Quinn was a man of methodical talent – he took care of those around him first – his sisters, a couple of young boys thrown into Newgate, a couple of prostitutes and then, surprisingly a woman, whose tale you will weep at, Jane Winston. Burrowes paints a dismal picture, smells and all, of Newgate which actually existed and was finally torn down in 1904.

The tale is rather grim and there are many dark moments, but after Quinn’s hanging, events rapidly change.  Quinn is a man to be respected.  He is certainly a man of wealth and as a banker one of some reputation.  However, that being said, there are those who don’t think kindly of him, and the story is one where he must ferret them out.  After all, his family and now the extended family may be in danger.

As the story unfolds, we find that Jane Winston, daughter of a man of ‘God’ (that I must use loosely), is made of stern stuff and certainly one with courage, someone to be admired.  I enjoyed how Burrowes wove her character and wisdom into a character of strength.  A boon to Quinn and much needed to balance out his life.

At the same time, Quinn Wentworth offered much to Jane.  She was malnourished, and thought little of who she was.  Each of them helped to discover the other.

Quinn has a very curious family.  A younger brother who although can walk, prefers to stay in a wheelchair and play the invalid. He also has two sisters who are used to being ostracized in society and have a difficult time when Quinn’s familial circumstances in society change.  I was left with the hope the series will continue giving me a chance to know what is really behind Stephen’s act and what choices Quinn’s sisters will have in gaining a footing in society.

All in all, this intriguing story with its depth of emotion, while exposing societal problems of the time gives much to the reader to contemplate and anticipate coming events, waiting for the next of the sequel to be released.

Bonus Material:  Elizabeth Hoyt’s Once Upon a Christmas Eve novella was a welcome surprise.  This novella is a racey and entertaining read. Adam Rutledge, a viscount gets marooned with his grandmother at a mansion in the county for a couple of weeks while his grandmother’s health improves.  A rake, like no other, his reputation precedes him and Lady Margaret is no easy catch!  A spitfire and them some.

We find that Adam is more than his reputation.  While Lady Margaret comes out with pistols loaded, we find she does have a heart.

 

Posted in Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Victorian Romance | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment