Publisher: Forever

Guest Review: Laird of the Black Isle by Paula Quinn

Posted May 22, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Laird of the Black Isle by Paula QuinnReviewer: Tracy
Laird of the Black Isle (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #7) by Paula Quinn
Series: The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #7
Also in this series: The Taming of Malcolm Grant, A Highlander's Christmas Kiss, The Scot's Bride
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

This Highlander will risk everything to find his daughter...

Lachlan MacKenzie has nothing left to lose since his wife and daughter were killed. But when a shadowy figure reveals his little girl might still be alive, Lachlan will do whatever it takes to find her—even abduct a lass from the MacGregor clan for an exchange. Being caught would mean certain death. But the laird of the Black Isle won't let anything—or anyone—interfere with his mission...not even his beautiful, stubborn captive.

Even his heart

All Mailie MacGregor wants is to return home to her family. And the Highland beast who captured her can go to the devil. Her plan: to thwart him at any cost and win her freedom. But she never expected to be so drawn to the fierce warrior and the desire in his eyes.

Two years ago Lachlan wasn’t home when someone set his house on fire and his wife, small daughter and staff were all burned to death.  He searched and killed the men who were responsible. He’s lived a solitary and quiet life since that time, secretly taking care of his clan.  He’s minding his own business when an emissary for Ranald Sinclair shows up on his doorstep.  He tells Lachlan that his daughter isn’t dead and that Ranald Sinclair has information about where she is.  He’ll give it to Lachlan if he kidnaps Mailie MacGregor.  Sinclair says that Mailie is in love with him but her father won’t allow the match.  Lachland kicks the emissary out but he can’t stop thinking about the possibility of his little Annabel being alive.

Lachlan kidnaps Mailie and while she tries to get away at first she soon stops trying. When she finds out why he kidnapped her, she understands he had no choice and she starts to see life from Lachlan’s point of view.  When she finds out more about the Dragon Laird of the Black Isle she starts to fall in love with him.  Soon, he’s just as in love with her – but how can they be together with the possibility that Annabel is out there, hoping for her papa to rescue her?

Paula Quinn has a great mind. Seriously.  She comes up with some incredible scenarios and makes them work.  This could have easily turned into an eye-rolling Stockholm Syndrome “love” story, but it was so well done that thought never crossed my mind.  Once Mailie knew that Lachlan had no choice, she softened toward him.  (Ok, he could have gone to the MacGregor’s, explained Sinclair’s plot and then ask for their help in getting his daughter back but then that wouldn’t have been as good of a story, would it?) I’m not usually a huge fan of the abductee falling for the abductor but in this case, it really worked for me.

Lachlan made my heart hurt.  He was so despondent over the deaths of his family and everything he’d been through almost made me cry.  He proved himself a good man, however, during the course of the book and a perfect match for Mailie.  He had a good heart.

I truly enjoyed this romance and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The MacGregors: Highland Heirs

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Last King by Katee Robert

Posted April 30, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 5 Comments

Guest Review: The Last King by Katee RobertReviewer: Jen
The Last King by Katee Robert
Series: The Kings #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: April 3rd 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Ultra wealthy and super powerful, the King family is like royalty in Texas. But who will keep the throne? New York Times bestselling author Katee Robert introduces a red-hot new series.

THE MAN SHE HATES TO LOVE

Beckett King just inherited his father's fortune, his company-and all his enemies. If he's going to stay on top, he needs someone he can trust beside him. And though they've been rivals for years, there's no one he trusts more than Samara Mallick.

The rebel. That's how Samara has always thought of Beckett. And he's absolutely living up to his unpredictable ways when he strides into her office and asks for help. She can't help wondering if it's a legit request or just a ploy to get her into bed. Not that she'd mind either one. After all, she likes to live on the edge too.

But soon the threats to the King empire are mounting, and the two find family secrets darker than they ever imagined and dangerous enough to get them both killed.

Beckett King is the heir to Texas’s number one oil company and member of the infamous and dysfunctional King family. His company’s top rival is run by his estranged aunt Lydia, and his nemesis at that company is Samara Mallick, his aunt’s number two. Beckett and Samara are in a constant war to outmaneuver each other when battling for contracts, as well fighting the sizzling attraction they feel for each other. When Beckett’s father dies suddenly, it leaves Beckett with no other family and majorly set adrift. Lydia clearly intends to take advantage of Beckett’s situation, and she plans to use Samara to attack Beckett’s weaknesses. Samara can’t throw away all the hard work she’s put in to get where she is, but neither can she fight the pull she feels for Beckett. As Beckett learns more about his dad’s death and his family secrets, both he and Samara have to decide what is worth fighting for.

Holy shit, did I love this book! I loved (just about) everything, starting with Samara and Beckett. Samara is amazingly good at her job, very competitive, and determined to succeed in whatever she does. She takes no shit from Beckett, and she makes no apologies for her ambition. Her banter with Beckett is so good! She’s not intentionally cruel, however, and clearly does not share her boss’s ruthlessness. I also appreciated that she doesn’t immediately roll over and give up her rivalry with Beckett just because he’s giving her awesome orgasms. She cares about her career, just as she understands Beckett cares about his. While she tries not to play dirty if she can help it, she didn’t get good at her job by being soft. Beckett has to earn softness from her, and I really enjoyed that.

And Beckett…ah Beckett is just the best. He certainly grows up in a life of privilege, but he isn’t the lazy rich playboy his aunt seems to think he is. He works hard, and while he doesn’t exactly have a passion for the oil industry he cares about his family’s legacy and, more importantly, the people who work for the company. There’s no whining about how he has to take over the company; he simply does what has to be done. Unlike some of his family, though, he has a strong sense of ethics. Best of all, he is so, so sweet and loving to those he cares about. His mom died when he was young, and after that his relationship with his dad fell apart. Since his dad was estranged from his sister and her children, Beckett basically grew up alone, and when his dad dies he feels the loss keenly despite their problematic relationship. He’s basically just a little boy who’s realized it’s too late to ever get his dad’s love, and it’s heartbreaking. (The book doesn’t wallow too much in the angst, however.) As he gets to know Samara he wants so desperately for her to love him the way he comes to love her, and it was damn adorable.

This book is really sexy in a great way. It’s not at all erotica, but there are plenty of both hot and sweet sex scenes to keep you reading. There is tons of sexy consent talk as well, which is always my jam. I love they way the sexual attraction between Beckett and Samara draws them together despite all the very, very good reasons they should stay away. The sex doesn’t sustain the relationship for long, though. Pretty quickly they realize they genuinely LIKE the other person and are attracted to their personalities, not just their bodies. It was awesome.

One big theme in the book is power–who holds it and what they do with it. Beckett and Samara explore this a bit in the sex scenes, although I think more could have been done there. More compelling, I thought, was the power dynamics elsewhere. Samara is extremely aware that Beckett holds more power in their relationship than she does at the start. Her own father was a rich man who abandoned her mom before she was even born, so Samara is understandably hyper-sensitive that on the surface, her relationship with Beckett has a similar power imbalance. She knows Beckett can’t lose his job or his livelihood like she can, and for that reason she bears the brunt of the risk if they start a relationship. I loved that Beckett understands Samara’s hesitation once he knows her story, but I would have liked a discussion about the very tidy ending and what it means for Samara. Still, I enjoyed the “forbidden love” aspect and appreciated that they also acted like grown ups who were free to make their own choices.

For me, this book was darn close to perfect. The suspense plot was a little bit of a stretch at times, but not egregiously so. This book definitely focuses more on the relationship between Beckett and Samara as well as Beckett and his family, and it totally worked for me. This is the start of a new series, and the characters I presume will be the future heroes and heroines already piqued my interest. The Last King is my favorite book of 2018 so far, and if you like enemies-to-lovers with some light suspense thrown in, I think you’d like this book, too.

Grade: 5 out of 5

The Kings

five-stars


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Guest Review: Twisted Truths by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted March 30, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Twisted Truths by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Jen
Twisted Truths (Blood Brothers, #3) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers #3
Also in this series: Deadly Silence, Deadly Silence, Lethal Lies, Lethal Lies
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 432
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

You can't escape the past . . .

Noni is desperate. Her infant niece has been kidnapped, and the only person who can save her is a private detective with too many secrets to count--and more enemies than he can name. A man who walked away from Noni without any warning a year ago, a man who broke her heart. But with Talia's life on the line, Noni needs his help now more than ever--and this time, she won't take no for an answer . . .

The moment Denver Jones sees Noni, the memories come rushing back. The fire in her eyes. The determination in her voice. The danger of having her in his life. Denver had to push her away once, but now with vicious criminals threatening Noni and her niece, he'll do whatever it takes to protect them. But enemies from his past are circling, and they'll use anything--and anyone--to get to Denver.

With twists and turns that will blow you away, TWISTED TRUTHS is sexy, action-packed suspense at its very best from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti.

We finally got the conclusion to the Blood Brothers trilogy and really, to the Sin Brothers trilogy as well. We knew Denver was pining for the one who got away basically since Book 1, and when he finds out that woman has plastered his picture all over the internet in an attempt to find him, he has no choice but to go to her. He still has feelings for her, but even more urgently she’s endangered him and his brothers. Noni only put the picture up because she was desperate. Her niece was kidnapped, and with the child’s mother dead Noni, and Denver, are the baby’s only hope. Denver and Noni have to get the baby back from the gang who is holding her as well as avoid getting trapped by Sheriff Cobb and Dr. Madison.

I still love the brother dynamic. The absolute best parts of this book are Ryker and Heath watching out for Denver and showing him that they love him no matter what. And this book has some really lovely scenes with the Gray brothers (I am now and forever Team Jory!), who consider everyone they love to be part of their extended family. I just adore that aspect of these books. I also liked the fast-paced action. This story is seriously nonstop, and it made me want to keep turning pages.

I definitely feel like this series ran out of momentum a bit with each book, though. The pattern just didn’t change. Denver makes The Rules for Safety. Noni refuses to follow Denver’s rules. There’s an attack by the bad guys (probably because of Noni’s reckless flaunting of the rules) and superhero antics by Denver. They have sex so emotionally stunted Denver can express how he feels with his penis. Then the cycle repeats. It’s the same pattern that was in the other books, too. I also didn’t feel like I understood Noni. She never really talks about herself–she’s just there to be the desperate caregiver searching for the baby and to be a source of angst and boners for Denver. What does Noni care about or want besides the baby and Denver? Why are she and Denver in love? None of that is filled out, just assumed.

I’m happy the story arcs are resolved, and I’m glad the villains got their comeuppance, but even there I was left a bit disappointed. Dr. Madison and Sheriff Cobb were more nuanced in past books, but here I felt they were pretty one-dimensionally “crazy.” It was fine I guess, just a missed opportunity to add some depth. (Plus, what happened to the young brothers we met at the end of the Sin Brothers series? We didn’t heard a peep from them here. Even though I didn’t exactly love this book, I’m kind of curious to see if Zanetti might continue their thread in the future.)

If you’ve read other books in the Sin Brothers or Blood Brothers series, you could certainly jump in with this book, but don’t bother with this one if you’re new to the world or if you didn’t enjoy any of the other books.

Blood Brothers Series

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Scot’s Bride by Paula Quinn

Posted February 9, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Scot’s Bride by Paula QuinnReviewer: Tracy
The Scot's Bride by Paula Quinn
Series: The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #6
Also in this series: The Taming of Malcolm Grant, A Highlander's Christmas Kiss, Laird of the Black Isle (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #7)
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

AN IRRESISTIBLE SCOUNDREL

Highlander Patrick MacGregor likes his life just the way it is. Fighting for his coin, enjoying a woman's charms, and bearing no responsibility at all. Aye, that's the life for him. That is, until Patrick sees her-a raven-haired beauty with eyes as dark as midnight. Patrick swore never to fall in love. Not even with a lass as wild as he...especially when she's from a rival clan.

AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE

Charlotte Cunningham knows Patrick is trouble the moment she sets eyes on him. Her only goal is to escape the possibility of marriage. Any marriage. But as the summer days turn into sultry nights, enticing her beyond reason, Charlie is forced to choose between the freedom she craves and the reckless rogue she can't forget.

Patrick MacGregor is a man who’s a bit bored with life.  He sees beautiful, available women and can’t seem to find interest in them.  He thinks there might be something wrong with him. Lol  He sees Charlotte, however, and his interest is piqued.  He follows her and ends up being captured by her father and brothers while on their land.  Charlotte secretly warns Patrick to say that he’s not a Ferguson as her family has a feud with them.  Patrick isn’t a Ferguson but he’s related to them through his mother.  He decides to make himself a Campbell as the MacGregor name is proscribed and being a Campbell, the Cunningham’s welcome him in.  Especially as Charlotte’s father sees a marriage between Charlotte and a Campbell a very good thing.

Patrick is more and more enamored with Charlotte aka Charlie every day.  The more he gets to know her the more besotted he becomes.  Unfortunately when he finds out that her brothers killed his cousin he wants nothing more than revenge.  He has to play his cards right, however, and find out exactly what happened to his cousin Kendrick.

Charlie is a woman on a mission.  She wants out of her father’s house, away from his rule and her brother’s high-handedness.  She‘s trying to find a cure/relief  for her sister’s asthma and as soon as she does she’ll leave town.  She had been in love with her neighbor, Kendrick Ferguson, but her father had ordered her brothers to kill him when he was 15-years-old  just to keep him away from Charlie – she had never forgiven any of them.  She still loves Kendrick and had never looked at another man until Patrick showed up.

Charlie knows that Patrick can change her whole life and she’s not sure she wants that.  As much as Charlie tries to stay away from Patrick his love for her soon has her thinking of a very different future for herself.

This was a good Scottish romance.  I liked Patrick and Charlie a great deal and the story was definitely one that kept my interest throughout.

Patrick fell hard and fast for Charlie which was nice (even though he kept denying it to himself).  Charlie took a bit longer to admit her feelings for Patrick since she’d loved no one but Kendrick for so long.  Of course when true decisions needed to be made I was a bit surprised that Charlie chose Patrick.  Quinn almost did too good of a job telling us of Charlie’s love for Kendrick and it made me doubt her fast-growing feelings for Patrick.

The story had a few plot holes in it but overall it was a decent read.  It wasn’t overly exciting but sometimes that’s a good thing.

The MacGregor’s: Highland Heirs


Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes

Posted December 20, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: No Other Duke Will Do by Grace BurrowesReviewer: Tracy
No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes
Series: Windham Brides #3
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: November 7th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Julian St. David, Duke of Haverford, is barely keeping his head above water in a sea of inherited debts. Though he has a long-term plan to restore the family finances, his sister has a much faster solution: host a house party for London's single young ladies and find Julian a wealthy bride.

Elizabeth Windham has no interest in marriage, but a recent scandal has forced her hand. As much as she'd rather be reading Shakespeare than husband-hunting, she has to admit she's impressed by Julian's protective instincts, broad shoulders, and, of course, his vast library.

As the two spend more time together, their attraction is overwhelming, unexpected... and absolutely impossible. With meddling siblings, the threat of financial ruin, and gossips lurking behind every potted palm, will they find true love or true disaster?

Julian is a duke but poor as a church mouse.  His father, grand-father and great-grandfather had spent the family fortunes on books.  Books!  He finds himself hating books and all the many libraries in his home!  He just wishes they would have invested in something that would have brought in an income instead of throwing them into possible poverty.  He is barely hanging on financially and has been cutting costs whenever possible.  His sister, not realizing how much a house party costs, nor how dire the family’s financial problem are, plans one and invites a ton of eligible ladies and their chaperones.  Of course Julian doesn’t want the house party but if his sister’s going to invite eligible ladies then Julian is going to invite eligible bachelors for his sister.  In the end the amount of people who show up at Julian’s is astounding.  Not only that but the party is three weeks long!

Elizabeth is a spinster who is there for her sister.  She never imagines that she’ll meet the duke and actually like him.  She does, though, and loves his incredibly stocked libraries as well.  Elizabeth has a bit of money in her dowry, but nothing like what Julian needs to save his family.  While Julian becomes more entranced by Elizabeth every day, and they soon begin a physical relationship, they both know that Julian must marry for money.  It breaks their hearts but those are the facts.  They decide to enjoy the time they have together and try to ignore their breaking hearts.

This was a wonderful story.  I very much enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and Julian and their relationship.  How they got together, where it went, the ease of their friendship – it was lovely.  I also thought that the whole book situation with Julian was quite novel (snort) and I enjoyed the premise of the book.

The secondary characters were almost as intriguing as the H/h.  The villain, Radnor, was a bit of a bastard and needed someone to teach him some honor.  Elizabeth’s sister, Glenys, was a crack up and made me laugh.  And then there was Julian’s brother, Griffin, who almost stole the show.  He was developmentally delayed but his interactions with Elizabeth as well as those in his household warmed my heart. He was such a good person. Burrowes did a great job writing him.

Overall this was a great book and one I’d recommend.  I haven’t read the first two books in this series but this one stands alone so don’t feel you need to read those in order to pick this one up.

Windham Brides

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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