Publisher: Lyrical Press

Guest Review: My Fair Lord by Wilma Counts

Posted October 17, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: My Fair Lord by Wilma CountsReviewer: Tracy
My Fair Lord by Wilma Counts
Series: Once Upon a Bride #1
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
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three-stars

Well-bred, well-dressed, and well-read, Henrietta, Harriet, and Hero are best friends who have bonded over good books since their schooldays. Now these cultured ladies are ready to make their own happy endings—each in her own way . . .

Lady Henrietta Parker, daughter of the Earl of Blakemoor, has turned down many a suitor for fear that the ton’s bachelors are only interested in her wealth. But despite the warnings of her dearest friends, Harriet and Hero, she can’t resist the challenge rudely posed by her stepsister: transform an ordinary London dockworker into a society gentleman suitable for the “marriage mart.” Only after a handshake seals the deal does Retta fear she may have gone too far . . .

When Jake Bolton is swept from the grime of the seaport into the elegance of Blakemoor House, he appears every inch the rough, cockney working man who is to undergo Retta’s training in etiquette, wardrobe, and elocution. But Jake himself is a master of deception—with much more at stake than a drawing room wager. But will his clandestine mission take second place to his irresistible tutor, her intriguing proposal . . . and true love?

Henrietta, in a disagreement with her half-sister, agrees to let her pick out a man from the docks so that Henrietta can turn him into a gentleman.  The stakes are high as if she loses Henrietta, or Retta as she’s known to her family, has to hand over her favorite horse.

The man that Retta’s sister picks ends up being the third son of Duke who is undercover.  Since Retta’s household is under suspicion of handing sensitive information over to the French, Jake takes the chance to get inside the Parker house.  Retta knows that something is not quite right with Jake as he learns extremely quickly, plays the piano and states quotes from philosophers.  She wants to win the bet so she brushes off her misgivings.  Jake is enthralled with Retta from the start but knows that he has to play his part til the end.  He just didn’t plan on falling in love with his teacher.

This was a take on the old the My Fair Lady story.  Teach a lower class person to be one of the nobility and fool the masses.  Only Jake was fooling the Parker’s all along as he was actually nobility already.

The story was cute and I liked Jake but I never felt a connection with either Retta or Jake and didn’t see the connection between the two of them either, I’m sorry to say.

The spy part of the book was more than a bit confusing but in the end was very simple.  I think the author added things in to make things exciting but it felt like filler and, imho, was unnecessary.  It dragged in places and I found that frustrating.  Overall a decent read but not wonderful for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: So Bad It Must Be Good by Nicole Helm

Posted August 17, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: So Bad It Must Be Good by Nicole HelmReviewer: Tracy
So Bad It Must Be Good by Nicole Helm
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp., Lyrical Press
Publication Date: August 22nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

Wrong guy. Wrong situation. Might be right.

Free of her overbearing family and their dreams, not hers, Kayla Gallagher is living for herself instead of for her clan's successful restaurant. Step One: finally make her move on Aiden Patrick, the bad-boy son of Gallagher's long-time repairman. Too bad Aidan’s taciturn older brother shows up instead . . .

As the “responsible Patrick,” Liam has always made a conscious choice to do the right thing. He likes fixing things for people—whether it be a broken appliance or a bad situation. Which means he can’t just brush off the quiet Gallagher. Clearly, she needs a shoulder to lean on. But suddenly a shoulder becomes so much more, and Kayla isn’t the quiet little girl she used to be. She’s a vivid, down-for-anything woman showing Liam several sizzling ways to put passion first . . .

As things heat up between them, Liam’s family threatens to come apart for good. The only way Liam can set things right means giving up Kayla. But she’s not about to take no for an answer—or let their chance for something sweeter than desire crash-and burn without a fight.

Kayla has always worked for her family but she decided she’d been treated badly one too many times and quit.  Unfortunately she’d not really done anything since then.  She sees her old crush Aiden Patrick one day and he’s excited to see her.  Aiden asks Kayla out but when it comes time for the date Aiden isn’t around – is supposedly dealing with something – and asks his stoic brother, Liam, to go tell Kayla that he can’t make it.

Liam heads to the bar and ends up talking to Kayla (who’s pissed about Aiden) and even though they don’t touch each other that night they eventually start a relationship.  They’re so good together but Aiden is pissed at his brother for taking “his girl” and complains to mommy – who asks Liam to give Kayla up to keep the peace in the family.  Liam has to decide if he will go with his family’s wishes or stay with the woman he loves.

This was a pretty cute book.  It seemed to be a pretty fast read as Liam and Kayla get together and things move along at a pretty fast clip.  I liked Liam and Kayla together so reading their romance was a treat.

I hated the way that Liam’s family treated him – mostly his mother and brother.  Kayla hated it too and it was really the only thing they got into arguments about.  When Liam’s mom asks Liam to give her up because of Aiden, I was madder than a hornet! What mother does that?  Ugh!

Anyway, the romance was cute and I liked the characters in the story.  It was a pleasant read and I definitely liked it better than book one in this series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Lord of the Seas by Sabrina Jarema

Posted August 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Lord of the Seas by Sabrina JaremaReviewer: Tracy
Lord of the Seas by Sabrina Jarema
Series: Viking Lords #3
Also in this series: Lord of the Runes
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: August 8th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
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four-stars

He stood with the other men, glittering with the gold jewelry he’d had her polish, and wearing the fine clothing she’d cleaned and laid out for him. He’d washed with the water she’d drawn and would sit down to a meal she’d serve him.

Yet here she was, watching him. And she would fall under his spell a little more, like so many other women had.

She’d thought to hate him, and perhaps she did. Her mother had once said she hated Edward for being so handsome, and desirable, and unattainable. Yet, she’d also said she loved him. The two weren’t so different when love went unanswered. Perhaps she was more like her mother than she realized.

Her mother might have pined her life away, but she wouldn’t. She’d keep fighting and weaving until she was free of Rorik forever. They said the Norns, as well as the Valkyries, wove men’s fates in their magical looms. Her loom wasn’t magical and she was no Valkyrie, so let them tangle the destinies of men in the threads of the wyrd.

She would weave her own fate.

Elfwynn is the bastard daughter of a Northumbrian Lord.  Her father has shown her in every way he can that he loves her – even acknowledging her birth which will give her a third of his estate should he die.  His wife is a complete bitch and hates Elfwynn because she wants her two kids to inherit everything and wants Elfwynn to get nothing.

Elfwynn’s father, Edward, is almost attacked by Rorik but tried to talk with him and make a deal/payment rather than be raided.  In the midst of their talks one of Rorik’s ships is set on fire.  As repayment for burning his ship Rorik seeks to get payment by kidnapping one of Edward’s daughters. Rorik takes Elfwynn but when a ransom demand is sent, the reply comes back that she’s a bastard and not worth Edward paying for her.  Elfwynn is devastated at the betrayal and Rorik is a bit shocked.  He has no choice but to take her with him when his crew returns home.  Elfwynn tells Rorik that the Northumbrian churches pay for hostages and that he should take her to a town where that could happen. He plans to, but he needs to get home first to deal with things there.

Elfwynn is treated as a guest in Vargfjell, Rorik’s home.  The people are nicer to her there than they are at home and as much as she wants to go home she actually likes it there.  She is surprised that all of the stories that she heard of the Norse were almost all wrong.

Rorik is both frustrated by and attracted to Elfwynn and her smart mouth.  He finds peace in her presence but knows that he can’t keep her forever.  He is not a man to settle down anyway so that thought should be ridiculous, right?  Of course, as they spend more time in each other’s company they start to have stronger feelings for each other and fall in love.  Elfwynn still wants to go home, however, and Rorik’s not sure how to take that.  With their people fighting each other and their different religious beliefs could they ever be together?

When I read books one and two in the Viking Lords series I didn’t care for Rorik all that much.  He seemed like an ok guy but when they talked of his raiding and his many women he seemed like a bit of a bastard.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book and I can say I was pleasantly surprised.

Rorik is a guy who isn’t a king or a jarl but acts the part.  He doesn’t want a title – he just takes care of his people with his wealth.  He thinks he doesn’t want the responsibility because his father abused his power before he died.  He has temper issues and knows that he could never have just one woman as he might pass on his temper as well as his father’s craziness.  Elfwynn helps him see that his father was just a bastard and Rorik’s anger at it all was situational – not genetic.  This helps Rorik deal with his issues and makes him see his future in a whole new light.  I loved that Elfwynn could be the one that shined the light on his past.  He needed that and because it was her it brought the two closer together.

Elfwynn was a great character.  I loved her strength and perseverance with both her mother/father issues and her dealings with Rorik.  She wasn’t about to be bossed around by him and I loved that she stood up to him time and time again.  She was tough while still being soft and feminine and it was a great combination.

The series so far has been great and I’m happy to say that I really liked Rorik by the end of this book – shocker! Lol  If you like books about Vikings this is a great series to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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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, Lyrical Press
Publication Date: April 11th 2017
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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
Also in this series: Lord of the Seas
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 11th 2016
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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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