Publisher: Lyrical Press

Guest Review: To Seduce a Stranger by Susanna Craig

Posted April 14, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: To Seduce a Stranger by Susanna CraigReviewer: Tracy
To Seduce a Stranger by Susanna Craig
Series: Runaway Desires #3
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation, Lyrical Press
Publication Date: April 11th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-half-stars

After her much older husband dies-leaving her his fortune-Charlotte Blakemore finds herself at the mercy of her stepson, who vows to contest the will and destroy her life. With nowhere to turn and no one to help her, she embarks on an elaborate ruse-only to find herself stranded on the way to London. . .

More than twenty years in the West Indies have hardened Edward Cary, but not enough to abandon a helpless woman at a roadside inn-especially one as disarmingly beautiful as Charlotte. He takes her with him to the Gloucestershire estate he is determined to restore, though he is suspicious of every word that falls from her distractingly lush lips.

As far as Charlotte knows, Edward is nothing more than a steward, and there's no reason to reveal his noble birth until he can right his father's wrongs. Acting as husband and wife will keep people in the village from asking questions that neither Charlotte nor Edward are willing to answer. But the game they're each determined to play has rules that beg to broken, when the passion between them threatens to uncover the truth-for better or worse. . .

Charlotte has spent her life feeling unloved.  She was taken as a baby to her uncle’s house because her mother died and her father took off to parts unknown.  Since she was illegitimate they treated her as the hired help instead of family.  When things started heating up in France (her mother was French, her father an English Earl) she left and stayed with her father’s family in England.  They treated her horribly as well.  When an elderly Duke who was friends with her aunt offers for her she accepts and thinks that maybe she’ll now get the love that she’s been missing.  Unfortunately he doesn’t touch her physically and then dies 6 weeks later.

The will is read and Charlotte receives a huge portion of the Duke’s estate but his son, the new Duke, plans on proving that his father was crazy and getting the will overturned. Charlotte and her maid take off for London to stay in the house that was left to her but Charlotte believes she’s being followed by one of the Duke’s men so she trades places with her maid and stays behind at an inn.  Unfortunately she grabbed the wrong valise and the money she had stashed away is now with her maid.  Fortunately for her a kind man offers to take her with him to his family estate.

Edward Cary is the son of an Earl but his father is a monster.  He beats Edwards mother regularly and Edward would do anything to save her.  When he hears that she’s waiting to leave until Edward is in school he decides at the ripe old age of 9 to runaway so she can get away sooner.  He heads off and takes a job on a ship.  He returns to confront his father 22 years later but runs into Charlotte on his way back.

When Edward and Charlotte reach his family seat he finds it empty and in horrible condition.  He hears his mother died not long after he left home and his father went to London and never returned.  Edward introduces Charlotte as his wife to the “caretaker” of the property which puts them into an awkward position.  It also causes problems when a man claiming to be the new Earl (Edwards father apparently passed) shows up and recognizes Charlotte for the Duchess she is.  Both Charlotte and Edward need to come to terms with who they are and confront those who would keep them from claiming their titles.

To Seduce a Stranger was a good story.  I liked both Edward and Charlotte and while they each had their own issues, they were truly good people.  Charlotte had confidence in herself in some aspects of her life but she’s been told she wasn’t worthy of love and she believed it.  Coming to terms with the fact that she could receive that love from Edward took her a while but she finally saw it for what it was.

Edward had had a horrible life to a point but then a good one after that.  He’d seen horrors both at home and while on the ship but he’d survived and made a good life for himself in the West Indies.  I had to give the guy props, he’d not only done well but tried to help with the slave issue as well.  Just a good guy.  I liked that while Edward helped Charlotte he didn’t completely trust her right off the bat because A) she was someone who needed help and b) she was a woman. Charlotte knew that Edward was keeping secrets as well but she trusted him too quickly imho.  Edward was a smart man and I liked his character.

The book was a good one but was a bit crowded with characters.  There were so many supporting characters that it was hard to keep up.  There were also people who were mentioned or showed up, I assume from previous books in the series, that I was unfamiliar with.  I think the author assumed the reader had read those books so plopped their names in.  Despite that this was a decent standalone novel.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Lord of the Runes by Sabrina Jarema

Posted October 28, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Lord of the Runes by Sabrina JaremaReviewer: Tracy
Lord of the Runes by Sabrina Jarema
Series: Viking Lords #1
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Vikings, Historical, Romance
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four-stars

Following his father’s murder, Eirik Ivarson plunges into a maelstrom of brutal warfare. As outsiders threaten his homeland and all he holds dear, Eirik vows to maintain his focus and avenge the jarl’s death. In his quest for revenge, he will leave everything behind, all he knows, and all he loves.

Asa Sigrundsdottir, a spirited shieldmaiden with warm brown eyes, is wary of the golden-haired warrior discovered half-frozen in a storm. It is clear Eirik is a man of valor, bestowed with the gift of reading runes and destined for greatness. And despite the shadows in her past, he chooses her to help him on his journey. But when their bond is tested, it will take the strength of a hero to keep their love alive . . .

Eirik Ivarson is just back from the raiding season and has been celebrating.  Unfortunately he passes out and doesn’t hear the attack on his village right away.  A group of outcasts have attacked and are taking over the village.  Eirik sees his father die and Eirik almost dies as well when he’s pulled over a cliff.  He survives but knows he needs help.  He tries to go to his cousin’s place which is far away to get assistance but during a blizzard he almost freezes to death.  He is saved by people in a village and given shelter.  He doesn’t tell them who he is as he doesn’t trust them right away.  They don’t trust him either. He ends up having to stay the winter as the storms are too fierce to travel in.  He falls in love with Asa Sigrundsdottir who is a shieldmaiden but Asa has some issues in her past that cause her to shy from men.  Eirik is determined to free her from her fears so that they can be together but there are many more obstacles in their way then just fear and they must conquer all of them in order to be together.

I love a good Viking romance but haven’t read one in a while.  I also have a set of runes (somewhere) that I used to love to play with way back when so when I saw the title of the book I had to grab it.  I’m so happy I did as it was a good one.

Eirik is a good man who is trying to save his village.  His mother and sister are still in the village so he wants to make sure they are safe as well.  He’s frustrated that he can’t get to his cousin’s place but it ends up being a life changer when he falls for Asa.  He’s very calm and quiet with her and as big as he is she still learns to trust him and his touch.  She learns to grow and deal with her issues with Eirik’s help and realizes that she can be the true shieldmaiden she’s always dreamed of being.

Between the fighting, the love story, the rune casting and the magic in this book I couldn’t help but enjoy it.  It’s not a typical romance as Viking love stories never are, imho, but if you like them as much as I do then this one would be one that you shouldn’t miss.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Lions in the Garden by Chelsea Luna

Posted February 29, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Lions in the Garden by Chelsea LunaReviewer: Tracy
Lions in the Garden by Chelsea Luna
Series: The Uprising #1
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: March 1st 2016
Genres: Historical
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three-half-stars

Prague, 1610

Ludmila Novakova--Mila--has barely set foot outside Prague Castle in her seventeen years. But with the choice between braving the bandits and wolves of Bohemia's uneasy roads or being married off to a disgusting old baron, she's taken what she can carry and fled.

Escape won't be easy. Even Mila has heard the rumors of a rebellion coming against the court. The peasants are hungry. The king hasn't been seen in months. Mila's father, the High Chancellor, is well known and well hated.

But Mila can't sit behind a stone wall and let fear force her into a life of silk gowns and certain misery. Her mother's death has taught her that much. She has one ally: Marc, the son of the blacksmith. A commoner, a Protestant--and perhaps a traitor, too. But the farther she gets from the castle, the more lies she uncovers, unraveling everything she thought she knew. And the harder it is to tell friend from enemy--and wrong from right . . .

Mila is a 17-year-old girl who doesn’t want to marry a fat old man but she’s pretty sure that her father, who is High Chancellor to the King of Bohemia is going to make her. She escapes the castle grounds and Prague but is set upon by thieves. She is saved by Marc who one of the sons of the blacksmith in Prague. The pair find an instant bond and once Mila is back in the castle, (and finds out that her father is not going to marry her to a fat old man) her and Marc meet secretly a few times.

Mila invites Marc and his two siblings, Henrik and Jiri, to a revealing of the Holy Roman Emperor’s crown jewels because she wants to see Marc again. She’s shocked when her childhood friend Radek, the Duke of Prucha, has the king announce his engagement…to Mila. She is shocked and actually faints. When she comes to she tries to get away to talk to Marc but runs into Marc’s brother Jiri and two other men who are stealing the crown jewels. They take Mila hostage and manage to get away. Luckily for Mila, Jiri (who is only 16), left a note for his brother telling him what they were doing and Marc comes after them to save Mila.

Mila finds out more about the revolution that is being planned by the commoners and what exactly they’ve been going through because they are Protestants and not Catholics. She learns much information about her fiancé that is stomach-turning and she falls in love with Marc.

Unfortunately when they return to Prague things don’t go the way that Mila expected them to go. The one person Mila thought she could trust betrays her in a heart-breaking way and now Marc might die because of it.

I’ll admit it – I’m a bit of a historical romance location snob. I know it’s horrible and I should be more open but I find that I don’t normally read historical romances that take place outside of England and Scotland. Don’t judge! 🙂 I have read some but they just aren’t my go-to books. I took a chance on this one because I thought it sounded really interesting (and I’m part Czech) and luckily for me – it was!

Mila and Marc were one of those couples that fell for each other just about at first sight. I always give historical romances a bit of leeway when it comes to how fast the couples fall in love because they just did way back when. It was totally common and quite frankly if they were to look at our contemporary ways of dating/engagement/marriage they would probably think we were nuts as well. Anyway, the two fell for each other quite fast but due to the circumstances I enjoyed it. They were sweet together even with all of the turmoil and political unrest.

Mila was an innocent in so many things and having her eyes opened to the way of life of a commoner was shocking. She started to look at her life differently and I loved how she grew throughout the book. Marc was a strong character and his strength throughout the story was seriously engaging.

The book, unfortunately, ended without a true conclusion. The story will continue in the next novel that comes out in September but I found it incredibly frustrating to not know what happens next. While this was a star-crossed lovers story and there is a bit of romance it definitely doesn’t contain an HEA. The fate of both Mila and Marc is up in the air and I have no idea how it’s going to go. I guess I’ll just have to read the next book and see what happens.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: My Lady Faye by Sarah Hegger

Posted September 23, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: My Lady Faye by Sarah HeggerReviewer: Tracy
My Lady Faye by Sarah Hegger
Series: Sir Arthur's Legacy #2
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Genres: Historical
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four-stars

The Lady
The fair Lady Faye has always played the role allotted her. Yet the marriage her family wanted only brought her years of abuse and heartache. Now, finally free of her tyrannical husband, she is able to live her own life for the first time. But someone from the past has returned. Someone she has never been able to forget.

The Warrior
After years of servitude as a warrior for King and Country, Gregory is now free to pursue his own path: to serve God by becoming a monk. The only thing stopping him is Faye. Gregory has loved Faye since the moment he saw her. But their love was not meant to be. How can he serve God when his heart longs for her? He can neither forsake God nor the woman he loves.

The Promise
When Faye’s son is kidnapped, Gregory answers her family’s call for help, only to find that even in the most dangerous of circumstances, neither can fight their forbidden attraction. An attraction that now burns brighter than ever before. And it is only a matter of time until it consumes them both.

 

Tracy’s review of My Lady Faye (Sir Arthur’s Legacy #2) by Sarah Hegger

Faye was promised in marriage to the Earl of Calder but the life she thought she’d have as a wife and mother was not to be. Her husband was an abuser of the worst kind and didn’t hesitate to hit and rape Faye on a regular basis. She learned to never fight back as that’s what her husband seemed to want and it would excite him even more. Once her two sons were born she complied so that it would keep her husband’s attention on her and not her children. She took (platonic) solace from Gregory – the man she loved but couldn’t have.

Gregory had been fostered into the Earl of Calder’s home as a page but did not see what a cruel man Calder was until he married Faye. Gregory loved Faye deeply but had dedicated himself to God and the Church was going to become a monk.

Faye finally decided she’d had enough and escaped her husband. She took her two boys back to live with her father but the Earl of Calder kidnapped her oldest son back and the story begins with that kidnapping and Faye’s decision to go get her son back. Her family gets Gregory from the monastery as he knows the Calder castle better than anyone and Faye and Gregory set off to get Simon back.

While traveling the couple try to keep away from each other but their love runs too deep. Once they have Simon they think they’re home free but Calder is not a man to give up on anything and won’t stop until he has his children and wife right where he wants them.

This historical novel was a surprisingly good story. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it had such a tension to it with all the intrigue that it had me on the edge of my seat. The romance was nicely interwoven into the story but even that had its own sort of tension to it.

Gregory was a good man but was he torn! He had wanted to dedicate himself to the Church but he loved Faye so much that he was just dying inside without her. Faye only wanted Gregory but didn’t feel she could take him away from his true calling which put both of them at a standstill. I really enjoyed both of these characters and thought they were written very well. Both of them grew during the course of the book and I liked that they became better people and stronger-willed. I also loved how much they loved Faye’s children and it was very heartwarming.

My Lady Faye is a very good book with intrigue, romance, family and a little bit of sexy times. It’s a book I enjoyed and would definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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

four-stars

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Guest Review: A Kiss for Lady Mary by Ella Quinn

Posted June 10, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: A Kiss for Lady Mary by Ella QuinnReviewer: Tracy
A Kiss for Lady Mary by Ella Quinn
Series: The Marriage Game #6
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Genres: Historical
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three-stars

 

Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.

Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…

Lady Mary is a quiet, unassuming woman who is being stalked by her cousin, Gawain. Gawain is being prompted by his mother to marry Mary so that he can get her trust fund. Despite attempts by Mary and her brother to contact Gawain’s father, Mary’s uncle, they have been unsuccessful in getting him to explain why he is pushing Gawain on her.

After two years of moving from place to place Mary’s grandmother comes up with a scheme to place her at the home of someone that Gawain doesn’t know so that he can’t find her (why they didn’t place her in some out of the way place before that is beyond me). In order to do this, however, she needs to act like she is married to the man of the house – a Mr. Featherton. Mary knows of a Mr. Featherton but is assured that this particular Featherton is unknown to her. After almost a year by herself Mr. Featherton shows up and is righteously angry that someone would claim to be married to him. Turns out that Mary does know this Mr. Featherton and even had her eye on him during her one and only Season unfortunately he didn’t seem to notice her at all.

Kit Featherton is the epitome of the proper gentleman. He is angry when he finds out that someone is posing as his wife but when he finds out it’s Mary he calms down. He has been looking for her constantly for the past two seasons and has always been enamored with her. He now sees that as so many people believe them married there is nothing to do but marry Mary. Unfortunately Mary is determined to have a Season and to fall in love. She wants the romance, etc. Kit and Mary have misunderstanding after misunderstanding as neither knows how to act around the other. Fortunately fate steps in and the thin veil that had been hiding their feelings finally comes down.

This was a very pleasant book. Mary was kind and giving and Kit was all that was honorable and gentlemanly. Unfortunately that didn’t make for an overly exciting book. While the story was good and well written, it just didn’t make me want to turn page after page. I got frustrated with both the MC’s as they just were so prickly and honor bound with each other. I mean, Kit wouldn’t even think of kissing Mary until they were betrothed. Again, not overly exciting.

Gawain was really in the story peripherally. We read about him several times and his quest to find Mary once he had lost her but other than that he didn’t turn out to be too much of a villain.

There was a secondary love story within the book. It was about a man and a woman who had fallen in love when they were teens but her father had kept them apart. It was a bit complicated with them marrying and then being told it wasn’t legal when it actually was. He also had 2 children he had never seen as he’d left for America. While a sweet story it was a bit odd to be plunked down in the middle of this book. It almost felt like filler as Mary and Kit had already gotten together and got their HEA. Once they declared their love the book should have been over (imho) but we had this extra story to read.

Though the story wasn’t what I typically look for and like in a regency romance novel it was still a decent read.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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