Publisher: Ballantine

Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks

Posted October 31, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya BanksReviewer: Rowena
Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy, #2) by Maya Banks
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: McCabe Trilogy #2
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass, In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1), Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3)
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 323
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Seduction of a Highland Lass, an indomitable Highland warrior is caught between loyalty and forbidden love.

Fiercely loyal to his elder brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put to the test his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires.

An outcast from her own clan, Keeley McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice: Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

Seduction of a Highland Lass is the second book in the McCabe Trilogy by Maya Banks and holy cow, what a freaking romance! There were times when I wanted to punch both Ewan and Caelen in the junk in the beginning of this book but by the end, I was back to loving them so all is well in the McCabe world.

In my opinion, this was a well-written romance. There was a good balance of romance, suspense and a cast of characters that I couldn’t get enough of. I spent a good chunk of this book trying to figure out how Alaric and Keeley were going to end up together. The way that Maya Banks brought them together was magic. I was wrapped up from beginning to end, ask Holly, she has the text messages to prove it.

Alaric McCabe is the middle McCabe brother and when his older brother Ewan married Mairin Stuart, the pending alliance between their clan and the McDonald clan gets thrown in the air so in an effort to keep the peace and bring the alliance together, Alaric steps up to do his duty for his clan. He is to marry Rionna McDonald and align their clans. Alaric will take over as Laird of the McDonald’s after the birth of their first child and join their armies together once they go to war against Duncan Cameron. Alaric doesn’t want to get married but he’ll do his duty for his clan. He meant to keep his word and was on his way to the McDonald clan to handle his business when he’s set upon by the enemy and he’s injured. His horse takes him away and helps him escape and he finds himself at the healing mercy of a young woman.

Keeley McDonald was cast out of her own clan by the Laird’s family and she’s been on her own for quite a long time. She’s a healer so she makes money when people come to her to cure their ails. She lives a lonely existence and is more than a little surprised when an injured warrior shows up on her doorstep being dragged along by his horse. There’s no choice to make, Keeley has to heal this stranger and heal him she does.

By the time that Alaric’s brothers find him, he’s on the mend but not out of the woods and instead of being grateful that Keeley has taken Alaric in and is healing him as best as she can, they light into her like she’s a common criminal and I get that they’re worried about their brother and don’t trust Keeley but dude, fucking relax and find out what happened before jumping down her throat at every turn. It bugged the hell out of me because not only do they treat her like shit, they kidnapped her and forced her to become their clan’s healer without so much as a, please.

The MacCabe men brought nothing but trouble to Keeley’s life but man did I love the protectiveness that the women of the clan showed her and after going for so long without a clan at her back, when Gannon says, “I’m glad you’re here too, Keeley McCabe” I was in tears.

I was kind of anxious, trying to figure out how they could possibly end up together with Alaric not wanting to go back on his word. The angst was real! I kept texting Holly trying to figure out how in the world things were going to work out, and I had hella theories going on but I should have had more faith in Maya Banks because she handled the entire thing in a way that I was completely satisfied with. I cried throughout most of the second half of the book. Seeing both Alaric and Keeley love each other and know that they can’t be together. Keeley trying to keep her distance so that she could walk away from him when the time came. Alaric’s heart breaking when Caelen brought Keeley to him one last time. I was a mess but holy cow did it all come together so nicely.

This book was everything that I wanted it to be and more than I was expecting. Emotionally, this book grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let up. I loved that Keeley found a home for herself with a clan that loved and supported the hell out of her. She got the family she craved and I was so happy for her. Gah, this book was so good and it’s not getting a 5 star rating from me because I had deduct some stars for the asshole behavior of both Ewan and Caelen in the beginning.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

McCabe Trilogy

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Cry No More by Linda Howard

Posted October 4, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Cry No More by Linda HowardReviewer: Casee
Cry No More by Linda Howard
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: April 27, 2004
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 392
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Fueled by an obsession to fill the void in other people’s lives, Milla Edge finds lost children—all the while trying to outrun the brutal emotions stemming from a tragedy in her past. Traveling to a small village in Mexico on a reliable tip, Milla begins to uncover the dire fate of countless children who have disappeared in the labyrinth of a sinister baby-smuggling ring. The key to nailing down the organization may rest with an elusive one-eyed man. As Milla’s search for him intensifies, the mission becomes more treacherous. For the ring is part of something far larger and more dangerous, reaching the highest echelons of power. Racing into peril, Milla suddenly finds herself the hunted—in the crosshairs of an invisible, lethal assassin who aims to silence her permanently.

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on October 2, 2009.

When I first read this book, it was only a year or so after I first discovered Linda Howard. After the Night, Shades of Twilight, Son of the Morning; I loved them. I wanted Gray, Web, and Niall to be real b/c I wanted to marry them. Going from that to Cry No More is not an easy transition. In fact, it’s kind of like the lights going on after you spent two hours in complete darkness. Now it’s clear that Linda Howard evolved as a writer. At RWA a few years back, a friend and I were in LH’s line. My friend had brought her hardcover of Cry No More. LH laughed and said that she didn’t think anyone would be bringing that book to sign. I was silently thinking the same thing. Now I wish I had brought my copy.

This book is the journey of Milla Edge. When her infant son is ripped out of her arms in Mexico, Milla almost dies trying to get him back. Her quest for answers and her relentless search for her son destroyed her marriage. She became a different person after Justin was kidnapped. Going through something that no mother wants to imagine made Milla harder. If she never would have lost her son, the core of her personality would have been the same, but she wouldn’t have gotten the edginess she has now.

After ten years pass, Milla starts losing hope but still won’t give up. When she finally gets a lead, she ruthlessly follows it even knowing that it could lead to her death. Diaz is a name that is whispered throughout Mexico. He’s thought to be an assassin. Milla doesn’t care who he is if he can help her find Justin. And that’s exactly what he does.

This book was an emotional roller coaster. There is little to no humor. The whole thing is very raw. Linda Howard did such an amazing job of writing Milla that I felt that I was Milla. I felt her anguish. I felt her heartache and her regret. I also felt her hope and despair. The whole thing was just very powerful.

Milla’s only goal is to find Justin, however that is not all she finds. Together, she and Diaz uncover an adoption smuggling ring and an organ smuggling ring. The path they travel will lead them to Justin, but it will also lead them somewhere that they weren’t prepared to go.

There is romance between Milla and Diaz, but it took a backseat to telling Milla’s story. Even then, it was still powerful stuff. Pure LH.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks

Posted June 21, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya BanksReviewer: Holly
Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #2
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1), Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy, #2), Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3)
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 323
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars


Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Seduction of a Highland Lass, an indomitable Highland warrior is caught between loyalty and forbidden love.
 Fiercely loyal to his elder brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put to the test his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires.

An outcast from her own clan, Keeley McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice: Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on November 29, 2011.

Where the first book in the series had more external conflict, this one has a lot more internal conflict.

Alaric MacCabeis on his way to a neighboring clan to formally offer marriage to the Laird’s daughter, Rionna MacDonald, to secure an alliance, when he’s attacked. All of his men are killed and he’s gravely wounded. He manages to make it to Keeley MacDonald’s cabin on the outskirts of the clan. She’s a skilled healer and is able to save his life. When his bothers, Ewan and Caelen, show up, they decide to keep Keeley since they need a healer in their clan. Not only is Keeley charged with caring for Alaric, but Ewan wants her to attend the birth of his first child.

Keeley was cast out of her clan as a young girl after the Laird made unwanted advances and his wife cried her a whore. She’s been living alone ever since. The idea of being accepted as a healer in a new clan is appealing, but she’s not happy to have been snatched from her home with no choice. The deciding factor in her not fighting her situation is Alaric. They formed a deep bond while Keeley was caring for him.

The problem is Alaric promised to marry Rionna MacDonald. The MacDonald land lies between the McCabe keep and the new land Ewan McCabe (the laird) inherited when he married his new wife. Without the alliance the clan will be divided, not to mention the other alliances they’re working on might be jeopardized. Alaric knows his duty. As much as he wants Keeley, he knows he can’t have her. Not permanently.

Although Duncan Cameron, the villain from the first book, is still a threat in this novel, but the focus is on the internal conflict of Alaric and Keeley being in love but unable to marry. The story could have become bogged down with angst, but Banks managed a good balance between sexy-times, humor and conflict.

Keeley was a practical woman. Her clan threw her out, but she isn’t so hung up on it she’s willing to cut off her nose to spite her face. When Ewan offers her a place with the McCabe clan, she takes it. Her practicality and levelheadedness worked well with the conflict, too. Yes, she wanted Alaric, but she understood what was at stake and what would happen if they risked everything. Alaric also knew his duty, but my heart broke for him. He knew right away that he wanted Keeley and no other, but he also knew he didn’t have a choice.

I think too often in historical novels the main characters throw convention and duty out the window to the detriment of the story. Yes, it happened, but it was rare. I think for a couple to focus more on duty than on love brought a touch of realism.

The story isn’t perfect. There were times when it was bogged down with useless info. The dialogue ran toward cheesy now and again. I also found myself struggling to connect to Keeley in the beginning. Thankfully that didn’t last long. 

Overall this was a satisfying read. I enjoyed the characters and the conflict. Banks has penned a strong second novel for this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

McCabe Trilogy

four-stars


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Review: The Thief by J.R. Ward

Posted June 15, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Thief by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The Thief by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #16
Also in this series: Lover Unbound, Lover Avenged, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen, Lover Mine
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 454
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

New enemies rise from the shadows in the next novel of the New York Times bestselling paranormal romance series the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Having allied themselves with the Band of Bastards, the Brotherhood is committed now more than ever to eradicating the Lessening Society. Recovering from their most recent battle against the last of the lessers, the Brotherhood comes to realize that the fight against their enemies is far from over.

Throe, Xcor’s former second in command, is using an ancient tome to summon a new army engineered by a force more dangerous and evil than the Omega.

And now the brothers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood will be tested both at home and on the battlefield.

I don’t know where to start with this review. I read this book about six weeks ago. My intent was to let it settle in my mind for a few days, maybe a week, then review it. A week turned into one, then two, then I forgot. So I’m trying to think about what stands out in my mind about Assail and Sola, but nothing really comes to mind. They were kind of blah. Or it might be they were blah because V and Jane were so fucking hot. I mean, like, steaming hot.

After a bunch of stuff went down in The Beast (I think), Sola took her grandmother and went on the run. She ended up in Florida where she is constantly on guard. She has enemies and she is never sure if any of them will find her. She has never forgotten the man that saved her life in Caldwell. She thinks about Assail almost daily, though she hasn’t spoken to him in over a year, nor does she plan to. It is with some dismay that she finds his two cousins on her doorstep with news concerning Assail. He is sick and he needs her. Sola turns down their “invitation” to return to Caldwell. She has her grandmother to protect. They barely made it out of Caldwell alive. Then her grandmother confronts her about returning. There is little she can do after that and she soon finds herself at Assail’s bedside. She can’t believe the difference in the strong forceful man she knows compared to the shell of the man in the hospital bed. Though cancer will do that to a man.

Oh yeah, she doesn’t know vampires exist. That will be a problem.

As for V and Jane…they have big problems. Why? Because relationships aren’t all flowers and puppies. They need to be worked on. V and Jane haven’t worked on their relationship at all. They are barely roommates. V is feeling an itch to return to his old life and Jane has no idea. All she cares about is her patients. They are forced to confront their problems when Jane catches V almost cheat on her. It is so heartbreaking that I almost cried. Almost. Seeing these two find their way back to each other was the best part of this book. I loved it. These two made the book for me. Sola and Assail disappeared. It was all about V and Jane. Jane and V. V. Jane. Love.

Lassiter’s secret came out. The war escalates in a dangerous way. I found the book intriguing. When Sola found out vampires existed, I was rolling my eyes so hard I’m surprised they didn’t roll out of my head. Then I started wondering what I would have done if I found out vampires existed. My reaction probably would have been the same as hers. So I tried not to judge. But seriously, her reaction seemed a little overboard. And annoying.

V and Jane. Sigh.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

three-half-stars


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Review: Devil’s Cut by J.R. Ward

Posted February 26, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Devil’s Cut by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
Devil's Cut by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #3
Also in this series: The Bourbon Kings, The Bourbon Kings, The Angels' Share, The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, #1)
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 418
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

In #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward’s thrilling finale of the Bourbon Kings series, the Bradford family dynasty teeters on the edge of collapse after the murder of their patriarch—and a shocking arrest.

At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. But then his eldest son and sworn enemy, Edward, came forward and confessed to what was, in fact, a murder. Now in police custody, Edward mourns not the disintegration of his family or his loss of freedom . . . but the woman he left behind. His love, Sutton Smythe, is the only person he has ever truly cared about, but as she is the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company’s biggest competitor, any relationship between them is impossible. And then there’s the reality of the jail time that Edward is facing.

Lane Baldwine was supposed to remain in his role of playboy, forever in his big brother Edward’s shadow. Instead he has become the new head of the family and the company. Convinced that Edward is covering for someone else, Lane and his true love, Lizzie King, go on the trail of a killer—only to discover a secret that is as devastating as it is game-changing.

As Lane rushes to discover the truth, and Sutton finds herself irresistibly drawn to Edward in spite of his circumstances, the lives of everyone at Easterly will never be the same again. For some, this is good; for others, it could be a tragedy beyond imagining. Only one thing’s for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder.

I’m sitting here reading my reviews of The Bourbon Kings (which I loved) and Angels’ Share (which I also loved) and wondering what the holy hell happened. This series had so much promise. The biggest promise was that it was only three (three!) books. I don’t know how that could get messed up, especially after the first two were pretty spectacular. And hello? That’s coming from one of JRW’s biggest critics. I didn’t just jump into this book, I dove into it headfirst only to come up gasping for air and wondering what the fuck happened between Angels’ Share and now. Even after a week I still have that WTF look on my face and if I had a paper copy of the book, I would burn it.

Devil’s Cut brings us back to the world of the Bradford Bourbon Company and the Baldwine family. It picks up exactly where Angels’ Share left off. Edward, the eldest Bradford sibling has confessed to murdering their father. He did have motive. His father arranged to have him kidnapped when he was on business in South America and didn’t pay the ransom. Edward never fully recovered. One problem with that scenario is that Edward could never have overpowered his father in a million years. It’s laughable. You will immediately pick up on the fact that he’s covering for someone.

Lane and Lizzie are as solid as ever. Lizzie is getting a little worn out and not just because she’s pregnant. What Lane is going through trying to save the family name and business isn’t anything to sneeze at. Lizzie is trying to help him however she can and do her job at Easterly, but it takes its toll on a person. Though she loves Lane, she does miss the days where she went home to her farm and got a little peace from the Bradford drama. However she doesn’t regret her decision to be with Lane. As for Lane, he adores Lizzie and will do anything she wants. Though her pregnancy throws him for a loop, he will do everything he can so he is nothing like the father he had.

Edward is in the pokey for a crime he didn’t commit. There is evidence, but the blind and ignorant detective has a prejudice against rich people and is convinced that Edward is guilty. It is laughable. I mean it’s admirable what Edward is trying to do, but it’s laughable that anyone would believe it. Just as laughable is the person that actually did the deed.

Gin. Ah, Gin. She changed the most from book one to three. In book one, she was most worried about her comfort. By book three, she realized what a disaster of a person she was. She had a daughter with the man she loved and she denied them both the opportunity to know each other. As punishment to the man no less. She didn’t consider her daughter, had never really considered her daughter until now. She has finally realized what a tragedy of a mother she is and seeks to change that by being there for Amelia. The first mistake she needs to rectify? Introducing SamuelT and Amelia. She knows it will damage her relationship with SamuelT beyond repair, but that is a price she is willing to pay. Gin’s journey was fascinating to read. I really enjoyed reading the growth she made as a character.

So what was my problem with the book? Where do I start? Everything was too pat. Edward got out of jail because the person that killed his father was on their deathbed. Seriously, this person was dying and was able to kill? I am rolling my eyes so hard my eyeballs hurt. Bring in Sutton Smythe who was a BBC competitor…she and Edward always had an attraction, even love, but Edward stopped that when he was rescued from South America. He never really recovered. Now in the space of about 2.75 pages he is miraculously emotionally healed and decides he is in love with Sutton and they are going to live happily ever after. Seriously.

Even the ending with Gin was too pat. Lane and Lizzie? That worked because their story has been told over the course of three books. Even Gin and SamuelT’s story has been going on that long. But they’ve been at odds for the length of three books. They can’t suddenly be okay in the last five pages. That does not work for this reader. It just doesn’t. There are other things I don’t want to spoil, but those things didn’t work for me either. And the BIG MISUNDERSTANDINGS? Nothankyouverymuch.

This book was just rushed. A big disappointment after the first two of the series.

The Bourbon Kings

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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