Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seducing A Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Posted July 30, 2020 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Features, Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seducing A Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen WelfonderReviewer: Tracy
Seducing a Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Series: MacKenzie #6
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 366
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Gelis MacKenzie is one of the most desirable heiresses in all the Western Highlands. She is the youngest and much adored daughter of the indomitable Black Stag of Kintail, Duncan MacKenzie, who was the hero of Welfonder's novel DEVIL IN A KILT. Unfortunately, Gelis has been branded unmarriageable, but not for lack of masculine interest. No matter how lofty the ancestry, how deep the purse, or how mighty the sword arm, nary a one of her suitors is good enough for her father. Although he loves Gelis fiercely and knows he must someday see her settled and wed, Duncan isn't quite ready to let her go.

But now Duncan has received an offer for Gelis's hand in marriage that he is honor-bound to accept-and it comes from the worst possible quarter. The suitor, Ronan MacRuari of Castle Dare, is the last man Duncan MacKenzie would wish for a son-in-law. Known as the Raven, Ronan is the scion of a dark clan that has been marked by a deadly curse.

Ronan and Gelis are instantly attracted to one another, but they are immediately estranged. Ronan's last two wives have died abruptly and he doesn't want to see his vivacious newly-wed Gelis suffer the same fate, so he distances himself from her as much as possible. In the meantime, Ronan searches for the Raven Stone, a fabled treasure that he believes holds the power of the curse over his clan. But Gelis has fallen in love with her new husband, and she's determined to help him. Though Ronan doesn't know it, Gelis also has the gift of second-sight, and she has seen a future in which she is destined to help redeem her cursed husband.

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

This review was originally posted on March 5, 2009.

After Gelis’s vision of the man she is to marry she is very excited about the match. She knows nothing about the curse on the MacRuari clan at first but when she hears of it is bound and determined that she call aid in the breaking of it.

Ronan MacRuari is dead set against this arranged marriage – arranged by his grandfather. He is certain that he is cursed to the point of thinking bad things and having them come true. He doesn’t want to have yet another wife, his 3rd, die as the other two have.

This book was a little confusing for me. The curse was explained but until the end you didn’t know exactly what the curse was and even then it was sketchy. The Holders, who were the ancient Druids that were the ones who cursed the MacRuari clan were talked about but it was never definitely stated exactly who they were or where they came from. Now, this appears to be the 6th book in the series so these items may have been spoken about previously but as a newcomer to Ms. Welfonder’s work I was a tad baffled by things occasionally.

It was a cute book though. I normally like my romances to have a little more depth in them when it comes to the relationship between the hero and heroine but for a historical book with an arranged marriage it was nice. I also thought the book had a good mixture of reality and magic so if you like a tad bit of paranormal in your historical this would be a great book for you.

And can I just say I love the cover of this book! There’s just something about it. Maybe because we see so many “fronts” of people these days that it’s a nice change to see the back! lol

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley

Posted May 21, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Dream Maker by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Tracy
Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream #1
Also in this series: Quiet Man
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating 1st and 3rd person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Dream Man and Rock Chick series comes a brand new story about love, friendship, and the bonds of sisterhood.

Evie is a bonafide nerd and a hyper-intelligent chick who has worked her whole life to get what she wants. Growing up, she had no support from her family and has only ever been able to rely on herself. So when Evie decides she wants to earn her engineering degree, she realizes she needs to take an alternative path to get there. She takes a job dancing at Smithie's club thinking this would be a quick side gig, where she can make the money she needs. But with her lack of dancing skills and an alpha bad boy who becomes overly protective, Evie realizes this might not be as easy as she thought.

Daniel "Mag" Magnusson knows a thing or two about pain, but the mask he wears is excellent. No one can tell that this good-looking, quick-witted, and roguish guy has deep-seated issues. Mag puts on a funny-guy routine so he can hide his broken heart and PTSD. But when Evie dances her way into Mag's life, he realizes that he needs to come face-to-face with the demons of his past if he wants a future with her.

Evan is a 27-year-old genius who just wants to finish school and make something of herself.  Unfortunately, her family is constantly holding her back.  She works as a computer repair person part time and strips the rest of the time.  When she finally makes enough money to work on her degree further, her family calls and someone always needs some money for something.  She’s under-appreciated by them, to say the least.

When her brother, Mick, gets arrested once again she heads to see him assuming he’ll ask for bail money – but that’s not the case.  This time he asks her to meet someone and do what he says – all very sketchy, scary and shady but she’ll do what he asks because that’s what family does, right?  That same night she has a blind date with someone her friend Lottie set her up with.  She’s not excited about it at all. When she opens the door to Daniel “Mag” Magnusson she’s loving the eye candy, but still isn’t into him.  Things go awry with their date almost immediately and Mag ends up discovering the “meet” she’s supposed to go to for her brother.  He protects her that night and even calls in his friends to help protect her when the shit hits the fan later in the book.

Through a series of events Evie ends up staying at Mag’s condo, but she plans on moving out quickly.  Evie doesn’t count on liking Mag more and more each day, but she does.  Fortunately for her, Mag seems to like everything about her as well.

While I never read the Rock Chicks series that didn’t impeded my enjoyment of this story.  I was introduced to characters I’d read about in other series, and also the RC’s in all their glory.

Evan was such a good person.  I liked her so much and just wanted her to get everything she wanted in life.  In this story we watch her blossom into the person she should have been year earlier if her family hadn’t been holding her back and down her whole life.  Watching her come into her own was awesome.

Danny aka Mag was a good guy who had some issues.  He was obviously an Alpha male (of course he was, this is a KA novel!) but also had some problems with anger.  He only really let loose of that anger a couple of times, but I appreciated KA showing us instead of just telling us. Despite the anger he was a kind and giving man.  I thought he was perfect for Evan.

Overall this was a good story.  I stayed up late to finish this one and I’m glad I did.  This one is definitely worth reading – even if you didn’t read the Rock Chick series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb

Posted December 16, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy WebbReviewer: Holly
The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb
Narrator: Kirsten Potter

Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Escape, Library
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Gothic, Mystery
Pages: 344
Length: 8 hours and 53 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

From award-winning novelist Wendy Webb comes a spine-tingling mystery about family secrets set in a big, old haunted house on Lake Superior.
Grace Alban has spent twenty years away from her childhood home, the stately Alban House, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother's unexpected death brings Grace and her teen-age daughter home, she finds more haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.
Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House, when a world-famous author took his own life and Grace's aunt disappeared without a trace. The night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years, and Grace realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the secret passages of Alban House. Her mother was intending to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died - could it have been murder? Or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? With the help of the disarmingly kind--and attractive—Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims.

The Fate of Mercy Alban came up in my recommended reads in Audible Escape so I decided to give it a try. This is my first book by Wendy Webb. The beginning really grabbed me and I found myself at the library requesting the ebook so I could finish it faster.

Grace Alban hasn’t been home to Alban House in twenty years, since her younger brothers and father died. When her mother passes away, she and her daughter Amity, return for the funeral and to take care of things at the estate. Almost from the moment they return home strange things begin happening. There’s something going on at Alban House, something related to the death of a famous writer there some fifty years ago, and Grace is determined to get to the bottom of what it is. With the help of the local Reverend and the long-time employees of the manor, Grace and her daughter will need to figure it out quickly…before it’s too late to save any of them.

As I said, the beginning of this book was fabulous. About 1/4 of the way through the book, things slowed down. Grace started making some questionable decisions that really pulled me out of the story, and the story moved kind of slow. Grace would ask questions and demand answers, then just shrug when no one was forthcoming. Things like that. I actually did better with the audiobook. The narrator, Kirsten Potter, did an excellent job of keeping Grace from edging too far over the “WTAF ARE YOU DOING” line for me.

In the end the mystery portion was fairly predicable and I wasn’t surprised at all with how things turned out. I did enjoy Alban House itself. The manor really came to life for me, and that’s what prompted me to keep going.

Other reviews mention this not being Webb’s best effort, so I may pick up another soon.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Death Knell by Hailey Edwards

Posted November 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Death Knell by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
Death Knell by Hailey Edwards
Narrator: Laurence Bouvard
Series: Foundling #3
Also in this series: Bayou Born
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 320
Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

War burned her. Famine nearly killed her. Now Death is at her heels.

After her two worlds clashed apocalyptically, Luce Boudreau needed some time out. But Destiny had other ideas. When bodies begin washing ashore down the Mississippi River, Luce discovers they are part of a gruesome, lethal message. Her final sister, Death, is trying to break through.

Every sign is clear: the end is coming, but earth will be destroyed - quite literally - over Luce's dead body, even if that means she'll be battling her own nature. And her coterie will stand with her, though Cole keeps standing one step too goddamn far away. Her mysterious new partner, Adam Wu, on the other hand, seems determined to keep her close at all times. And the more Luce learns about the new world she's part of, the deeper the secrets go. Who - if anyone - can she really trust?

As the final pieces of an ancient war come together, Luce's chance to fight back comes sooner than she expected. Death can come at her . . . she's eager to return the favour.


Death Knell is the third book in the Foundling series by Hailey EdwardsIt’s difficult to review this series without spoilers, but I hate to include them because much of what happens is a surprise. I’m going to try to avoid them completely, which means a shorter review. I expected a sort of light paranormal, filled with voodoo and witchcraft, but this series is filled with so much more than that. For the first time in a very long time, I haven’t been able to figure out where things are heading.

Luce Boudreau has come a long way in a very short time. From a small child found wandering the bayou to a woman with strong family ties and a deep sense of right and wrong, to someone she barely recognizes. She’s determined to overcome the revelations of her past and rise above her previous actions, but holding onto herself is difficult as she gains more power and more of her memories. Cole, the chief of White Horse Security, and his team have become strong allies and anchor her to the here and now, but every step she takes seems to lead to a cold, dark place within her.

The world is very interesting and I love how things are progressing with Luce as her past is slowly revealed and she learns more about herself, her coterie and her family. I am struggling quite a bit with how slowly information is parsed out. Luce isn’t in a big hurry to learn everything there is to know about herself and her past, but I am. I decided to take a break after this book and wait until book 5 is available before continuing, because the slow drip of info is driving me mad.

Still, it’s a lovely series and I like how things are shaping up. There are unexpected twists and turns, a whole cast of intriguing characters and enough emotion and depth to keep me glued to the pages, despite some annoyances. If you’re looking for something fresh, this is the series for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Foundling

four-stars


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Review: Bone Driven by Hailey Edwards

Posted November 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Bone Driven by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
Bone Driven by Hailey Edwards
Narrator: Laurence Bouvard
Series: Foundling #2
Also in this series: Bayou Born , Death Knell
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication Date: May 31, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Length: 11 hours and 15 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The bayou is burning, the battle is just beginning - and Luce Boudreau is smack in the middle of no-man's land . . .

Life as a cop in Canton Town, Mississippi, is never dull - particularly when hiding deep within you is a demon bent on the apocalypse. Luce is doing her best to pretend her two worlds aren't crashing into each other, but what should be a routine arson investigation takes a shocking turn when Luce discovers a link between the suspects and her own dark secrets. There's no turning back, even though her search for the truth threatens to burn her old life down around her.

Lines are being drawn in a war Luce barely understands, and she just might be on the wrong side of them. Now she must embrace her powerful destiny, or the ones she loves most will pay the ultimate price.


Bone Driven is the second book in the Foundling series by Hailey Edwards. I started it as soon as I finished the first because I wasn’t ready to let the story go, and because there were a lot of unanswered questions left at the end of Bayou Born. It picks up just where Bayou Born left off. I believe these need to be read in order.

Luce was found in the bayou as a child with strange markings on her arms and no memory of her past. She’s just discovered who she is and where she comes from, and who the men of White Horse Security are to her. Trying to deal with all the changes in her life and adjust to the reality of her past is very difficult, but she’s determined to hold on to her current self, and not let her inner demon take over.

I really enjoy Edwards’ writing style, and I like the way the story is shaping up. Luce is an interesting character and I really like her interactions with those she cares about. I can’t imagine dealing with the guilt and trauma her past brings, and I think in this regard Luce handles things extremely well. Luce’s relationship with Cole, the head of White Horse Security, and the other members of his team, is really intriguing. I love how things are shaping up and how we’re learning more about her – and them – as things progress. I can’t say a lot without including a lot of spoilers, but suffice it to say, I was anxious to see where things would go.

I did get frustrated with Luce as the story wore on, however, because she ignored so many things. She had a head in the sand mentality that really grated on me after awhile. Plus, these books are lengthy and move pretty slow in between all the action.

This moved slower than the first book, but I’m told it picks up steam in books 3 and 4, so I’m going to immediately start the next book, Death Knell. While parts of it frustrated me, I can’t deny I’m hooked on what’s going to happen next.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Foundling

three-half-stars


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