Publisher: Kensington Books

Guest Review: Cinderella and the Ghost by Marina Myles

Posted February 20, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Cinderella and the Ghost by Marina MylesReviewer: Tracy
Cinderella and the Ghost by Marina Myles
Series: The Cursed Princes #4
Published by Kensington Books
Publication Date: February 17th 2015
Genres: Historical, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Time Travel
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three-stars

A DANGEROUS ATTRACTION
When her demanding stepmother died, Ella Benoit knew just how far their fortunes had fallen, unlike her spoiled stepsisters. So she never expected the bequest from her late father. A chateau in France and the freedom to live her own life, all at once!
The chateau has seen better days, but Ella knows she can put the ruined house to rights. The life-size portrait of its first owner, Jean-Daniel Girard, seems to watch her work with approval, even pleasure. With bright blue eyes, strong features, and an athlete’s body, the viscount is a tempting sight even now, more than three hundred years after his tragic death. But the more she looks at the portrait, the more convinced Ella is that she’s met Jean-Daniel before. In another life, perhaps—or maybe, as the form who haunts the halls at night, invading Ella’s dreams…

Tracy’s review of Cinderella and the Ghost (The Cursed Princes #4) by Marina Myles

Ella has been badgered, beaten down and treated like a slave by her stepmother and 2 stepsisters. She promised her father that she would look after her stepmother but it was darned difficult. Once her stepmother dies she finds that her father bought a French chateau for her and left money for her to restore it to its former beauty. She’s excited about the adventure and excited to be away from her horrible stepsisters.

Once in France she finds that the house is supposedly haunted. She does have some rather strange things happening but while scared she honestly believes that the ghost – who she believes is the Vicomte in the painting, Jean-Daniel Girard – is trying to tell her something. She figures out that he wants her to return to him somehow but she has no clue what to do to time-travel. When she finds a magical amulet it manages to propel her into the past.

Once in the past Ella finds many things. First she meets Jean-Daniel who she instantly likes and soon grows to love. She also finds that there are many people in her 21st Century who were surely reincarnated from the people she meets in the past – namely her friend Mimi and of course her evil stepmother and 2 evil stepsisters. Can she not get away from them? She has to find a way that she and Jean-Daniel can be together but also find a way to save his life as she knows exactly when he died.

This was a cute little book and I liked the story, to a point, but sometimes found it to drag in places and go on unnecessarily in others. I think it could have been tighter and the story would have flowed better. The second half of the book seemed to fly by but the first half was slow going. I also wasn’t a fan of the Vicomte playing with a rubber ball with his dog in 1703 as rubber wasn’t invented until the 19th century

This is a twist on the typical Cinderella story and I really liked that. It had some good ideas going for it and I was happy that the couple found love. That is, until that HEA was trashed completely at the end. I ended the book and was ranting to my husband. How could the author dangle that HEA out there and make us think that all was well and then pull the rug out from under us??? The ending, which was supposed to make us happy, I believe, and make us think that Ella found her HEA (again pushing the reincarnation idea) was harsh and completely angered me. I wish that things hadn’t worked out for Ella and Jean-Daniel in 1703 as I would have been much happier with the conclusion in 2015.

Overall the book was ok but unfortunately I can’t say I completely enjoyed it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

This title is available from Kensington. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-stars

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Guest Review: Once Upon a Plaid by Mia Marlowe

Posted November 8, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Once Upon a Plaid by Mia MarloweReviewer: Tracy
Once Upon a Plaid by Mia Marlowe
Series: Spirit of the Highlands #2
Published by Kensington Books
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Genres: Romance, Historical, Scottish
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three-stars

A wife may be courted, too. . .

Many would count Katherine Douglas fortunate indeed. Laird William Douglas is broad-shouldered, gentle-handed, everything a lass could dream. But after four years of marriage, Katherine still knows little of what goes on in his heart. And she has yet to bear him an heir. The distance between them is too great--and so she flees over the snowy highlands to Glengarry Castle, home of her childhood, to set her husband free.

But William won't let his wife slip away without a fight. Before long, he's at her father's threshold himself, witness to the rumbles of discontent in Glengarry, the bright joy of Yuletide at a family hearth, and the hidden needs of his own beloved. . .

 

Tracy’s review of Once Upon a Plaid (Spirit of the Highlands #2) by Mia Marlowe

Kat Douglas flees her husband’s home at Christmastime to seek shelter at her father’s keep. She uses the excuse that she’s there to help with the birthing of her sister-in-law’s baby but the real reason is that she’s ashamed and can’t face her husband.

William Douglas shows up not long after Kat and though Kat won’t tell him exactly what’s wrong she does tell him that after Epiphany she plans on writing to Rome for an annulment. They’ve been married for 4 years but Kat plans to become a nun after the marriage is dissolved. William decides he needs to woo his wife in order to win her back. He loves her so much and would be nothing without her in his life. He’s not really that great at wooing, when it comes down to it, but his heart is in the right place.

Kat loves her husband dearly but she knows she must let him go. He is a Laird and he needs an heir. She was pregnant once but it was a stillbirth and the 4 times she’s been pregnant after that have never come to term. She can’t stand that she’s barren and can’t provide the son she knows her husband wants and needs. Part of her just wants William to show he cared for their son, Stephan, even though he died, but William’s just not a man who wears his emotions on his sleeve.

While Kat and William try to work on their relationship are other things going on in the keep. Margaret, Kat’s sister-in-law, is having physical problems now that she’s at the end of her pregnancy and because of that wants her husband, Donald, home. He’s at court as he always is and she’s a bit peeved. She loves her husband but he’s only home to pat a new baby on the head and get Margaret pregnant again. This will be her sixth child and he’s not been in attendance for any of the births.

Then there’s Ranulf McNaught who is Kat’s cousin. He’s been in residence with his cronies and his mind is whirling with possibilities. He knows that Donald, who is the heir to Glengarry, is at court all the time and he feels it’s his right to take the Lairdship of Glengarry. The current Laird, Kat and Donald’s father, isn’t dying as fast as he would like so he decides to take the keep by force.

This story was mainly focused on Kat and William and her inability to conceive. The shame that it brought Kat was almost enough to have her dissolve her marriage and she was obsessed with conceiving. It took a lot for William to get Kat to see that he considered her his family and that even if they never had a son or daughter he would still love her. I can understand her wanting a child, believe me, and of course medieval men put a lot of importance on bearing heirs so I got that but I didn’t particularly care for how Kat went about dealing with her husband and her constant get closer/push away stance with William. He was a good man and just wanted his wife. He was more than willing to use one of his nephews as an heir if they never had a baby but that wasn’t enough for Kat. As much as I liked William there was one part where he was verbally mean and cruel to Kat and that just did not fit with his personality. I have no idea why that was thrown in there except to show that he’s reached his patience limit but still…not cool.

There was also a part of the book where William had a conversation with Kat’s father where the father explained that Kat’s mother had been the same as Kat – conceiving and losing the children countless times before she ended up having 2 healthy babies. I expected William to tell Kat to placate her and to show her there was hope for the future but he never even brought it up – why the heck not? I have no idea, truly.

While the story was a bit slow and repetitive during the first half of the book, it picked up during the last half. Overall a decent story.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This title is available from Zebra Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-stars

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Review: Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston

Posted March 21, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Bite Me by Shelly LaurenstonReviewer: Tracy
Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston
Series: Pride series #9
Published by Kensington Books
Publication Date: March 25th 2014
Genres: Humorous, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy
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four-stars

Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life's irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad's untimely and unexplained demise.

That's where Vic Barinov comes in--or his house does. Vic can't step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he'll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge. . .

Vic Barinov – tiger/bear hybrid shifter – has been given an assignment to help find a man by the name of Frankie Whitlan. He is wanted for a ton of crimes but the shifter protection agencies have been told to back off finding this man. As Vic works freelance he doesn’t have to follow those dictates. He uses his friend, Livy, who is a Honey Badger shifter, and comes from a family of thieves, to get into Whitlan’s daughters apartment to see if they can find a lead on Whitlan. What Livy finds is her father, shifted into his honey badger form, stuffed.

Livy is livid and determined to take down the man who did this to her father. She recruits her entire family and Vic and they go after Whitlan. While all of that is going on Vic and Livy, who have been friends for a while, get closer…start sleeping together…and then fall in love.

That seems like such a basic description of the book but the real story is Livy, Vic and her family. They’re so crazy it’s amusing to read about them. Livy is kind of what you would think of as an anti-heroine when you imagine a romance novel. She’s brash, rough, tough, foul-mouthed, doesn’t like to be touched randomly, and hates to be nice to people. She’s an independent soul and an artist. Vic is kind and caring, soft spoken (for the most part) and a really good guy. Put these two together, let Vic’s tiger side come out and they’re hot, sexy and explosive together. They’re so opposite but they get along so well and I loved the pairing. You truly have to appreciate Laurenston’s humor in this one as it’s definitely sarcasm at its best.

Livy and Vic are really just part of the books equation. Add in her crazy (and I do mean CRAZY) family, Vic’s friend Shen, characters from previous books and it all adds up to one hell of an entertaining story.

This is one I’m very happy that I didn’t miss out on and one I definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Shelly Laurenston

four-stars

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Review: and Able by Lucy Monroe

Posted June 26, 2013 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: and Able by Lucy MonroeReviewer: Holly
And Able by Lucy Monroe
Series: Mercenary Trilogy #3
Also in this series: Willing
Published by Kensington Books
Publication Date: 2006
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 342
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four-stars

Claire Sharp suddenly finds herself involved in the fight for her life. She enlists the help of Brett Adams and the attraction is immediate. Claire struggles with her undeniable attraction to Brett though her logic warns her to stay away. Meanwhile, Brett is determined to not only to help Claire but to seduce her into a passion she has never known before.

And Able is the final book in Lucy Monroe’s Mercenary Trilogy.

Brett “Hotwire” Adams is a former merc turned security expert who’s not too keen on the commitment thing, but is very keen on getting into Claire Sharp’s bed. He’s been avoiding her, but when she’s attacked in her home, he’s forced into her company. Which isn’t very good for his self control. Aside from his attraction to her, the protective alpha-male needs her to be safe. Trying to discover who’s after her isn’t easy when he’s always got sex on the brain.

As for Claire, she can’t figure out what an ex-merc with the body of a Greek god wants with her. She understands that they have a love of all things computer in common, but as far as she can tell, that’s the only thing they have in common. She certainly doesn’t understand why he’d be attracted to her. She does know, however, that she trusts him to keep her safe. So when he informs her that he’ll be staying with her until things are resolved, she reluctantly agrees. She’s not sure she can handle being in close proximity to him all the time, but she doesn’t doubt he’ll keep her alive. As the story unfolds, and certain truths come to light, Claire leans on Hotwire more and more, both emotionally and for safety.

I think this was a great end to Monroe’s trilogy. Hotwire was everything I expected him to be: Charming, amazing to look at, an excellent lover and lethal when protecting Claire. I thought he was a bit of a moron for taking so long to realize his true feelings for Claire, but I didn’t begrudge him his thick-headedness. How could I, when he was putting another thick head to use so well? (har har)

Claire was a great heroine, too. One of the things I love best about Monroe’s heroines are how grounded they are. Claire knew she wasn’t qualified to handle the threats to her life alone, so she trusted Hotwire to do it for her. That isn’t to say she just turned a blind eye and didn’t help where she could, but she didn’t rush head first into danger to prove she was tough, either. She kept a level head and did what she could to help, but stood back and let Hotwire handle the things he knew how to handle best.

Their arguments over her being a Pacifist had me snickering. The suspense plot took a backseat to the romance, which worked here.

I found myself irritated with Hotwire several times, like when he refused to see what he really felt for Claire and hid behind a promise he made to a dead woman, but he was redeemed in the end. I just love how once he made a commitment, that was the end of it. There was no going back and forth, wondering if things were right or not. He realized his feelings and that was that.

I was very disappointed that we didn’t hear anything about Wolf’s sister Daisy, or any of the other characters from her Three Brides for Three Bad Boys anthology. I realize that this series was simply a spin off of that one, but I would still have loved to hear about how things were with them.

The series isn’t without its flaws, but I enjoyed it.

4 out of 5
Book CoverBook CoverBook Cover

This book is available from Kensington. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

*This review was originally published at Sanctuary’s Finest

four-stars

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