Publisher: Kensington

Guest Review: Highland Wolf by Hannah Howell

Posted April 15, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Highland Wolf by Hannah HowellReviewer: Tracy
Highland Wolf by Hannah Howell
Series: Murray Family #15
Also in this series: Highland Groom, Highland Devil (Murray Family #22)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
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two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Annora MacKay senses a disturbing evil in Dunncraig Keep, the estate acquired by her cousin, a cruel and ruthless man. Only her affection for the tiny girl he claims is his daughter stops her from fleeing. Then a mysterious woodcarver arrives at the castle, and she cannot stop thinking--or longing--for him . . .

James Drummond, once a laird, now an outcast, wants what was stolen from him--his good name, his lands, and his child. His disguise for getting into Dunncraig is step one of his plan, but the enticing raven-haired woman who cares for his daughter is an unwelcome surprise. For he has come seeking justice, not love . . .

Laird James Drummond was accused of murdering his wife three years ago.  He’s been on the run since then and he’s decided that enough is enough.  He needs to get into his keep and find out what really happened.  The man who took his keep from him is Donnell McKay and he’s evil. His cousin, Annora MacKay, is there to take care of Donnell’s child, but she has a feeling that all is not right in what her cousin says about the child being his.

James disguises himself as a black-haired Frenchman who does woodworking.  He wants to do such a good job that Donnell will invite him to stay in the keep and that way James will be able to be near his daughter and find out the info he needs.  He didn’t plan on falling for Annora, but he does.  James has to eventually come clean to Annora about who he is, and when he does, she agrees to help him bring Donnell down.

I really liked this book when I read it back in 2014.  This re-read was not quite as enchanting.  In fact, I thought it was just ok.  There were so many times that I rolled my eyes about things, it got a little old.

First James’s disguise was ridiculous.  How did he ever think this was a good idea?  He was only gone for three years – even with a black wig, how would no one recognize him?  I find that hard to believe.  Then there’s how easy he got into the castle.  Look, I understand that Donnell was completely full of himself and absolutely sure that he could take all comers, but he knew the new woodworker for about a minute and a half and invited him in.  Annora’s “ability” was another issue.  I seriously had to go back to figure out when they’d mentioned it.  It was so very small and not at all like the rest of the Murray clan’s abilities.  I thought it was just a stretch.

The daughter was cute and I liked her a lot but that couldn’t hold the story for me.  I wasn’t engaged in the book, or the romance and I struggled to finish it.  The story dragged and I couldn’t find the my happy place while reading.  I know everyone is different, so you should probably read this one for yourself.  Like I said, I really liked it the first time around so you might too.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Murray Family

two-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Get a Clue by Jill Shalvis

Posted April 11, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Get a Clue by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Casee
Get a Clue by Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: 2015-04
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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four-stars

And You Think You've Had A Bad Day

City girl Breanne Mooreland gets left at the altar, takes the flight from hell to her honeymoon--alone--loses her luggage, and ends up snowed in at a Sierra mountains lodge run by the kookiest staff this side of the Addams Family. Oh, and there's a gorgeous naked man taking a shower in her suite who says he isn't going anywhere. That's just the first 24 hours. . .

Burned-out vice cop Cooper Scott is in serious need of this vacation, and he's not about to give up the only available room because an upset--okay, make that insane--woman is having a conniption fit. They'll just have to make the best of it--her side of the bed versus his. But when Cooper wakes up kissing the long, leggy Breanne, he wants to show her exactly what the honeymoon suite is intended for. But that will have to wait, because a screaming Breanne has just stumbled on a very dead body. So much for vacation. . .

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

This review was originally posted on Apil 1, 2008.

This was a really fast read for me. I read it over the 6-hour flight to warm Hawaii. Have I mentioned that it’s butt-ass cold in Boise?

I’ve read a few books by Jill Shalvis. I want to say that most of them were Harlequin’s, but I can’t say for sure.

Breanne was left at the altar but still determined to go on her honeymoon to lick her wounds. Arriving in the Sierra Nevada mountains at the beginning of a storm that would strand her, Breanne gets quite a surprise when she finds a naked man in the shower of her room. If that wasn’t bad enough, she finds herself attracted to Cooper Scott…after she’s sworn off men.

A burnt-out Vice cop, Cooper Scott has come to the mountains at the urging of his brother. Trying to do nothing more recharge, Cooper refuses to give his room up to Breanne. Wanting nothing more than a relaxing vacation, it doesn’t take Cooper long to figure out that relaxing around Breanne is pretty much impossible.

When Breanne literally stumbles upon a dead body, Cooper instantly goes into “cop mode”. Unfortunately he’s snowed in with a woman who is scared of the dark and hears strange noises, a butler who looks like he belongs in one of L.A.’s most dangerous gangs, a knife-wielding chef who looks like someone’s little sister, a handyman that can’t fix anything, and a housekeeper who looks like she stepped off the pages of Playboy. Which basically means that everyone is a suspect.

I really enjoyed this book. At the beginning of each chapter, there were short entries from Breanne’s journal, which she took everywhere with her. I read each one to my husband. He was suitably impressed. These are a few of my favorites:

I’ve heard that men are like fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it’s up to women to stomp the shit out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with. Me, I just want to do the stomping.

And…

Men exist because a vibrator can’t change a flat tire. On second thought, I should just buy a AAA card.

Last one…

Life is like a boner: long and hard.

Before you think that Breanne is a man-hating shrew, let me say that she’s not. She’s a woman that has had several hard knocks in life and still manages to find humor in them. Now she finally has a man that sees the real her. The problem is convincing herself that she’s finally found a good one.

This is a funny and enjoyable read. I recommend it to anyone that wants to read anything light.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: It Only Takes a Kiss by Wilma Counts

Posted April 4, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: It Only Takes a Kiss by Wilma CountsReviewer: Tracy
It Only Takes a Kiss by Wilma Counts
Series: Once Upon a Bride #2
Also in this series: My Fair Lord (Once Upon a Bride #1)
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Best friends since their schooldays, Henrietta, Harriet, and Hero are wise and witty young ladies, embarking on the sometimes bumpy road to happily-ever-after, each in her own brilliant way...

Hero Whitby has harbored long-buried fears since a devastating attack by two young men of the privileged class. Now, while her peers aspire to husband-hunting, Hero pursues her passion to be a doctor, working alongside her father, a respected Devonshire physician. But when a badly beaten stranger is carried in to his practice, Hero is stunned by her reaction. Over three days of tending to the man, along with her instinct to heal, she finds herself intensely drawn to him.

Robbed and left for dead for highwaymen, Alexander Sterne has no memory of his past as a soldier in Wellington's army—or as a carousing playboy. But as he becomes aware of his surroundings and the plight of the locals, Alex realizes only he can break the corrupt hold of an evil land steward. And when Hero's tender kiss awakens him from sleep—and restores his identity—he knows that he must regain not only his strength but a newfound compassion...which can only be ignited by Hero and a meeting of hearts that may heal them both.

Hero is considered on the shelf and as such is living with her doctor father in his place in Cornwall.  She wants to be a doctor herself and has learned almost everything she needs to know from her father.  She’s woken up one night by locals who found a beaten man by the side of the road.  He is completely built, and Hero can’t help from noticing how beautiful his body is (how unprofessional, Hero!).

The man eventually wakes up and doesn’t remember his past.  When he returned from the war he had pretty bad PTSD so that might be a good thing.  He eventually remembers and figures out that he is the third son of a duke and was arriving in Cornwall incognito.  He was to check the books of the land steward of his very own holdings.  Because the land steward isn’t on the up and up, they attacked the “bookkeeper” and left him for dead.

The land steward turned out to be a very bad guy and was threatening to evict people from the land if they didn’t help him with his smuggling ring – this included part of Hero’s family.

I liked this story. I found the whole smuggling/land steward/amnesia story really worked for me.  I thought that Counts did a great job with all of that. She wrote a story that kept my attention and I wanted to keep reading.

Unfortunately I didn’t feel as strongly about the romance in the story.  While I liked both Hero and Alex, I wasn’t feeling it between them.  Hero knew Alex by reputation, since he’d never actually been to that particular holding since he’d inherited it.  She knew the owner was a drunkard and a rake, and thought him the lowest of lows.  When she found out that Alex was the owner, she was pissed.  Of course, Alex had lied to her, but still, she should have listened when he’d said he’d changed.

In the end I found the book to be satisfying, but not as satisfying as I thought it would be at the beginning.  I was disappointed that the second half of the book wasn’t as good as the first half.  I still think it’s worth reading if you like smuggling stories.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Once Upon a Bride

three-half-stars


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Review: If He’s Dangerous by Hannah Howell

Posted February 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: If He’s Dangerous by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
If He's Dangerous (Wherlocke, #4) by Hannah Howell
Series: Wherlocke #4
Also in this series: If He's Sinful
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 345
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

"New York Times" bestseller Hannah Howell's extraordinary Wherlocke family returns with the story of a passion that will heed no resistance, no matter how deadly...

When Lorelei Sundun first finds Sir Argus Wherlocke in her garden, she's never heard of the mysterious Wherlocke clan-or their otherworldly abilities. That changes the moment she watches Argus-the most tantalizing man she's ever seen-disappear before her very eyes. What she's witnessed should be impossible. But so should falling in love with a man she's only just met...

Pursued by a madman intent on harnessing the Wherlockes' talents as weapons, Argus meant to seek help from his family, not to involve a duke's lovely daughter in the struggle. But now, the enchanting Lorelei is his only hope for salvation-and the greatest temptation he's ever faced...

If He’s Dangerous is the 4th book in Hannah Howell’s Wherelocke series, featuring a titled family who has special “gifts” (or curses, depending on your view point). Though I’ve read all the previous books, I don’t believe it’s necessary to read the series in order.

Lorelei Sundown is the daughter of a duke. She’s never heard of the infamous Wherelocke family, until the day Argus Wherelocke appears naked in her garden..then disappears before her eyes. Argus is on the run from a madman who wants to capture him to harness his abilities. He believes his family is cursed and therefore won’t consider marriage, but he can’t deny his attraction to the lovely Lorelei. As they go on the run to discover why his enemy wants him, Argus fights his attraction in vain. As the daughter of a nobleman she should be off limits, but he can’t seem to keep his hands off her. Lorelei knows Argus is the one for her, but convincing him is another thing entirely.

I am a long time fan of Hannah Howell. She was the first romance author I discovered on my own when I became an avid fan of the genre. I had been reading Julie Garwood historicals and wanted something new. I was in Walmart and saw His Bonnie Bride on the shelf. That was the beginning of the end for me. I glommed everything of hers I could find. Around the 50th-or-so Murray book, I burned out. But I still kept buying. And buying. And buying. When the mood would strike and I’d pick up a new release, I was always left disappointed. These books aren’t from the Howell I fell in love with all those years ago. If He’s Dangerous is yet another disappointment. I’m afraid each new book is just a repeat of the one prior to it.

Argus was frustrating in that he kept insisting marriage in his family was cursed and therefore he could never marry Lorelei. If that were the case, why did he continue to bed her? Not only that, but he had bastard children he neglected to mention. She found out when they showed up at her place looking for him. Not the actions of an honorable guy. I liked Lorelei and the boys, but Argus kind of ruined the book for me.

2.5 out of 5

Wherlocke


two-half-stars


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Review: If He’s Daring by Hannah Howell

Posted January 23, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: If He’s Daring by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
If He's Daring (Wherlocke, #6) by Hannah Howell
Narrator: Polly Lee
Series: Wherelocke #6
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Length: 10 hours and 16 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In a dazzling new novel in the Wherlocke family saga, New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell creates an unforgettable story of intrigue, jeopardy, and desire...

Stealing a stranger's carriage is the second most reckless thing Lady Catrin Gryffin de Warrene has ever done. The first is succumbing to her powerful attraction to the carriage's owner. Catrin has heard the rumors about Sir Orion Wherlocke's family and their otherworldly gifts. He's the one person who can keep her son and his inheritance safe from her late husband's ruthless brother. As for how to protect herself...it may be too late for that.

Orion is facing the worst danger a man of his ilk can find: a woman he can't walk away from. Catrin is an intoxicating blend of innocence and sensuality, and for the first time, seduction is far more than a game. But her beauty and fortune have made her a target--one that will dare him to risk everything he's known--in pursuit of everything he's ever longed for...

If He’s Daring has been languishing in my TBR for years. I absolutely adored Hannah Howell back in the day, but I’m afraid some of her magic has worn off. Still, I was in the mood and figured I’d give this one a try.

Lady Catrin Gryffin de Warrene is a widow whose brother-in-law is trying to steal her son’s inheritance. He went through the courts and, when that failed, kidnapped her son. As she’s chasing after his carriage, her horse comes up lame so she..borrows…a carriage she sees on the street. Only she doesn’t realize there’s already someone inside. Sir Orion Wherlocke’s young son. Sir Orion would have gone after his carriage regardless, but the fact that his son is inside only makes him chase harder. When he realizes what Catrin is wrapped up in, and that she only means to rescue and protect her own son, he agrees to help her. The Wherelocke clan has special gifts that may help her track her son down and keep him safe, so he can’t really turn her away. The problem? Orion isn’t looking for a relationship, but Catrin really heats his blood.

Catrin just wants to get her son safe and protect his inheritance. Having Sir Orion’s help would be beneficial, but her attraction to him is rather inconvenience, considering the circumstances. As they chase after her son and try to find a way to discredit her late husband’s brother, the bond between them grows. It isn’t long before they’re both in deep. But Sir Orion is determined to remain a bachelor…or is he?

At times Orion’s back-and-forthing “Should I commit or Shouldn’t I” got tiresome, but I can’t deny I enjoyed the adventure of them trying to discover why her son was in danger. I also enjoyed the romance. Orion’s son and Catrin’s were both great, and really made the book for me. I also loved how it started, with Catrin after her former brother-in-law, stealing Orion’s carriage.

The end was a bit strange. I saw it coming, of course, but I was hoping HH would go in a different direction. I’d also hoped to see a stronger emotional reaction from Catrin once she learned the depth of her husband’s treachery. I’m not sure if it was the narrator, or just the way it was written, but that wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be.

Still, I can’t deny this was a fun read. I really loved how Catrin and her young son dealt with each other, and the romance was believable and satisfying. It’s always a treat returning to the Wherelocke world.

3.25 out of 5

Wherelocke

three-half-stars


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