Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks

Guest Review: My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

Posted April 4, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: My One True Highlander by Suzanne EnochReviewer: Tracy
My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #2
Also in this series: Hero in the Highlands
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Historical, Scottish
Pages: 320
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four-stars

Rugged highlander Graeme has one thing on his mind—take a stand against the horrible Englishman Lattimer and he will be rewarded with enough money to be set for life. But when his reckless younger brothers take it one step too far and kidnaps a young woman on her way to see Lattimer, Graeme has to intervene. He cannot send the lady back without his kin getting in trouble. And when a damsel this beautiful is dropped into your lap, it’s hard to let her go...

Marjorie should be terrified she’s been captured by highland scoundrels, but it’s hard to live in terror when your captor is a devilishly handsome and sinfully tempting as Graeme is. She cannot stay by his side forever—no matter how her heart may pound at the thought—but Graeme seems to have other plans. This wicked highlander is out to seduce her and doesn’t plan to stop until she’s in his arms...forever...

Graeme, Viscount Maxton, is an impoverished Chieftan in the Maxwell clan.  He doesn’t see eye to eye with the Maxwell Laird but he stays out of his way and it works.  That is until the Laird comes to visit and basically tells Graeme that if he kills the Duke of Lattimer the Maxwell Laird would give him money and forgive the tithes that he’s late on.  Graeme is disgusted with the Laird but just shrugs it off.  He wants nothing to do with Dunncraigh and his issues with Lattimer.

Marjorie is headed to the highlands for her brother’s wedding.  He doesn’t know she’s coming but she decided to attend because A) She loves her brother and wants to meet his betrothed and B) London is frustrating the hell out of her.  She thought that now that she was a Duke’s sister (and not a ladies companion) and had money that she’d have it all but no one in London even acknowledges her being much less accepts her.  In fact people were nicer to her when she was a companion!  Once in the Highlands she stops with her companion and ends up getting kidnapped.

Graeme’s brothers, Brendan – 16, Dùghlas – 14 and Connell – 8, kidnapped Marjorie when they overheard her companion talking about how she’s the Duke of Lattimer’s sister.  Brendan gets the idea that they can ship her off as a bargaining tool to Dunncraigh and all will then be right with their world. Graeme, however, doesn’t see it that way, but he’s not sure what to do with the lass now that she’s there.  He eventually decides he needs to marry her but Marjorie aka Ree fights that.  Once she gets herself free she decides not to escape.  She doesn’t want anything bad to happen to the boys and she actually has kind of started to like Graeme.  Once she falls in love with him, however, she has to decide if she loves him more than she loves the dream she’s always had of being the belle of the ball in London.

This was a cute book.  Yes, it’s a story with a bit of Stockholm syndrome going on but I thought the way that Enoch wrote it all made it seem ok.  Also, let’s face it, this is a romance and fiction so…it is what it is. 😊

I loved the characters in this book.  Graeme was an honorable guy and despite the crazy thing his brothers did he was trying to make the best of it.  His parents had died and he had taken over the title, the lands, the cotters and the raising of his brothers when he was 20 years old and Connell was just 2 days old.  He’s had a lot of responsibility and has always done the right thing.  He was confused about his feelings for Marjorie at first but he soon embraced them and I loved that he did.  His brothers were cute – especially Connell.  He about made the whole book for me because he was so precocious. He also had a very large heart when it came to animals who needed a home. Loved. Him. Brendan was a typical surly teen and Dùghlas was just following along with his older brother.  They both ended up having a good side to them and I loved how they stood up for Marjorie in the end.

Overall it was a sweet romance and one I really enjoyed reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Retro Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Posted March 1, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 9 Comments

Retro Review: Bet Me by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Casee
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 31st 2004
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 391
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five-stars

Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes and keeps him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it's not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they're dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all—true love.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on June 2, 2008.

This wasn’t my first Crusie book. Years ago I read Charlie Something-or-Other. I didn’t really care for it. In fact, I had no idea why everyone was so crazy about this author. Yes, the book I read was an early Crusie novel. That’s why I wasn’t in any hurry to give her another try. Look at Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught…all authors whose earlier works are more loved than their more recent books. That’s my excuse for waiting so long to read Bet Me. I guess I have to thank Holly b/c I would have most likely not tried to read it again if she wouldn’t have coerced pressured bullied suggested it in such a wonderful way. (Holly: Am I good like that, or what? It’s ok, you don’t have to bow down to my greatness..we know. We know. LOL)

That being said, I’m so glad that she persevered b/c I loved this book.

Min Dobbs decides to teach Cal Morrisey a lesson when she overhears him making a bet that he can get her into bed. Deciding that she will string him along for three weeks until her sister’s wedding, Min accepts his invitation for dinner. It only takes one dinner for Min to admit that she doesn’t have it in her to string someone like Cal along. At the end of the night, they part ways, both satisfied that they will never see the other again.

Fate definitely had a way of laughing in their faces. Again and again Min and Cal ran into each other. Yet each time they parted, that was it. They were never going to see each other again.

There is really no easy way to review this book other than to say if you haven’t read it, you’re missing out. Crusie has some of the best dialogue that I’ve ever read. The relationship between Min and Cal was far from an easy one. Though they both had admitted to themselves that the other is “the one”, they both had hangups that wouldn’t let them admit it out loud. Add in Min’s jealous ex-boyfriend and Cal’s rational ex-girlfriend and you have a book that you can’t put down.

I loved everything about this book from how it began, to the continuing conflict, to both Min and Cal’s parents, to the ending. Everything about it just hooked me from page 1.

5 out of 5.

five-stars

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Guest Review: The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

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

Guest Review: The Duke by Kerrigan ByrneReviewer: Tracy
The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels series #4
Also in this series: The Highlander
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-half-stars

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners...

They say that now His Grace, Collin Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth has only one hand, he might finally be a mere mortal, but no one seems willing to test the theory. Rich as Midas, big as a Viking, beautiful as Adonis, and lethal as a feral wolf, he is the English Empire’s golden son. But now he’s lost everything. Most of his family died in a terrible accident, his protégé and closest friend betrayed him on the battlefield, and his left hand was cut off while he was a prisoner of war. The only thing that’s kept him going until now is the memory of a night spent in the arms of a mysterious raven-haired woman almost a year ago…

Imogen Pritchard is a nurse by day, but a fallen woman by night. Seduced on the job years ago by a Duke who mourned for the loss of his family, Imogen has never shaken the memory of the man’s despair—or the fathomless depths of pleasure he brought to her. But as the threat of betrayals, blackmail, and secrets abound, Imogen and Collin are thrown back together in a dizzying swirl of dangerous games and earth-shattering desire. But can their love overcome the everything that threatens to tear them apart?

Imogen is a nurse who works at a hospital by day and then by night works as a serving girl at the Bare Kitten trying to pay off the debts that her father left when he died.  She’s just a serving girl and worked out with the owner that she would never be required to prostitute herself out as he had plenty of girls for that.

On a night that Imogen in working she services a group of soldiers.  When one gets a bit rowdy she’s saved by the new Duke of Trenwyth.  After a long night of him drinking and her sitting on his lap he pays the proprietor 10 pounds to spend the night with “Ginny” as she’s known there.  As it will wipe out about a 1/3 of her debt she agrees. She’s intrigued by and attracted to the new duke whose family had just died in a train crash.  She wants to comfort him and they share a beautiful night together.

One year later Imogen is working when she’s told that the missing Duke of Trenwyth is in the hospital with typhus.  Since she had it at one point she was immune so was assigned to him.  She takes care of him and soon figures out that he doesn’t have typhus and correctly diagnoses him.  When he awakens, however he doesn’t recognize her as she had worn a black wig when she was Ginny but really has blonde hair.  After a series of events where Imogen is let go from the hospital and then attacked the same night she is desperate and almost ends up a thief but for a kind patient who offers his help.

Fast forward to two years later and Cole, the Duke of Trenwyth has recovered and is still looking for Ginny.  He can’t forget her but can’t find her anywhere. On top of his frustrations is the woman next door who seems to be opening her home to criminals and prostitutes that she is attempting to reform but according to him it’s bringing down the whole neighborhood. He also believes that since she is young and her deceased husband was quite old that she took advantage of him.  Despite his annoyance with Lady Anstruther, his neighbor, he finds himself attracted to her and unable to do anything about it.

I’ve really liked the Kerrigan Byrne books I’ve read so far.  They seem to have interesting premise’s and intriguing characters – The Duke was one that had both.  First Imogen’s circumstances when the book first opens.  Not so unusual to see a woman working off her father’s debts but I liked how the author kept her relatively innocent until the duke came along.  Imogen ended up being an incredibly strong character who could give as well as she got – especially with Cole – and I admired her and the work she was doing to help the less fortunate.  She knew what it was like to be in a desperate place and she wanted to help those that found themselves in like circumstances.

Cole was a hard man to like.  He had serious anger issues after his capture and captivity and they manifested in strange ways at strange times.  I liked his possessiveness of Imogen but not so much his condescension toward her.  Imogen never let him get away with it and that I was happy about.  He was so set on finding Ginny that he couldn’t see what was right in front of his face.  Because he had changed so much Imogen didn’t feel that he was the same person he was before so kept her identity to herself.  It was a good push and pull romance, that’s for sure.

Now, that being said I did think that the book, at times, tilted toward the side of melodramatic and that was something I didn’t care for at all.  There was a lot going on in the book and there was a lot of introspection as well.  With all of that the drama got to be too much at times and I admit I found myself rolling my eyes a bit.

Overall it was a good read, and a good romance that I just had a few issues with.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Waiting For an Earl Like You by Alexandra Hawkins

Posted January 6, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Waiting For an Earl Like You by Alexandra HawkinsReviewer: Tracy
Waiting For an Earl Like You by Alexandra Hawkins
Series: Masters of Seduction #3
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-half-stars

LOVE ISN’T ALWAYS WHAT IT SEEMS.

Justin Reeve Netherwood, Earl of Kempthorn—a.k.a. Thorn—has never cared much for his neighbor’s daughter. But his twin brother, Gideon, befriended the wild, reckless, and wholly inappropriate Miss Olivia Lydall in youth, and two have been close ever since. So when Olivia finds herself in a state of romantic conflict and seeks out Gideon for advice, he’s only too pleased to oblige. Only problem: The man Olivia is speaking to is Thorn. And now it’s too late for him to tell Olivia the truth…

Thorn always believed that Olivia was too smitten with Gideon for her own good. So what’s the harm in steering her away from him? But Thorn’s charade turns out to be anything but harmless once he begins to see Olivia for who she really is: A woman full of spirit and passion…and someone he can’t live without. But how can Thorn claim Olivia’s heart when their deepening connection—and burning desire—is built on lies and deceit?

The Netherwood twins are virtually identical.  Very few people can tell them apart and Olivia Lydall, their neighbor, isn’t one of them. Thorn and Gideon were pretty inseparable when they were kids but Gideon always got along well with Olivia where Thorn didn’t.  Now they’re all grown up and Gideon is back from his travels and Thorn now sees Olivia all grown up.  He’s intrigued by her but doesn’t want to admit it.  She sees Thorn as judgmental and aloof, where she sees Gideon as a kind, charming man.

When they all head to London Olivia seeks out Gideon’s advice but he ends up kissing her.  Olivia is shocked as she’s never thought of Gideon as more than a friend but the kiss brought definite feelings that were nowhere near friendship to the surface. Every time they meet Gideon kisses her and she gets more confused.  Thorn is trying to steer Olivia away from Gideon by pretending to be him but the more time he spends with Olivia he actually starts to like her more and more and starts to fall for her.  Only problem?  Olivia thinks he’s Gideon!

This was an entertaining book for the most part although I did have some issues with it.  I can’t say that I’m generally a fan of the twin switching when it comes to intimacy.  That’s kind of a no-no with me but I dealt with it as it didn’t get too out of hand.  I did like Thorn a lot so forgave him more than a few times when he screwed up – like when he was kissing and touching Olivia and she was saying no and he didn’t stop until she gave in.  Um, no!  That’s so not ok!

That being said I thought the pair were good together.  I couldn’t see Olivia with Gideon as she would have run right over him.  He was obviously having his own problems in the book although those issues are never brought to light.  In fact the whole problem with Thorn and Gideon not really getting along now that Gideon is back from his travels bothered me.  Thorn had no idea why he felt he should leave as he thought they were close.  The true reason is never explained and that was annoying.

The ending was a bit rushed and a villain was stuck in there that was completely unnecessary but in the end I found the book enjoyable.  Yes, it had issues but the writing and general story made up for those flaws in the end.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5  

three-half-stars

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Review: The Hero by Donna Grant

Posted December 28, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Hero by Donna GrantReviewer: Rowena
The Hero by Donna Grant
Series: Sons of Texas #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 320
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two-stars

THE HERO’S HOMECOMING

Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget – his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After over a decade away, Owen is returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that puts him face-to-face with Natalie and an outside menace that threatens everything he holds dear. He’ll risk it all to keep Natalie safe – and win her heart. . . .

Natalie Dixon has had a lifetime of heartache since Owen was deployed. Fourteen years and one bad marriage later, she finds herself mixed up with the Loughman’s again. With her life on the line against an enemy she can’t fight alone, it’s Owen’s strong shoulders, smoldering eyes, and sensuous smile that she turns to. When danger closes in, she holds close to the only man she’s ever loved…

The Hero is the first book in the Sons of Texas series and it’s the first book by Donna Grant that I’ve ever read. I just finished watching 13 Hours when I requested this book for review on Netgalley so I went into this book, not really knowing what to expect but hoping for a good story. The story started out great. Owen Loughman’s a Navy SEAL who gets taken off a job and flown home, where he finds his Aunt and Uncle were murdered and his Dad is missing. He also finds his ex-girlfriend on the premises and has a whole bunch of questions.

Natalie works at the Russian Embassy. She is thrown into the mix when she was approached by Owen’s father for information on a super secret project that Natalie has no idea about but when the code word comes across her desk at work, later on, she’s really thrown into the thick of things and seeing Owen again after all of these years, doesn’t help matters.

There have been a lot of years that separated Owen and Natalie. They’re not the same people they were when they were in high school but that doesn’t seem to stop them from wanting the hell out of each other and while that would have been fine and dandy, this book suffered from the inappropriate lusting. I’ve spoken about it before after reviewing some other romantic suspense books and I just can’t get on board with danger being a turn on because I don’t understand it. The last thing on my mind is sex when I’m covered in blood but hey, that’s just me. There was a lot of stuff that didn’t make sense to me as I continued on with the book and in the end, I just don’t know if I’ll be continuing this series because shock of all shockers, this book ended on a cliffhanger. Ehh. I’m not a fan of that either so while the book started off well, it didn’t really end well and too much happened that had me rolling my eyes down the street so I’m giving this one a 2. That’s a bummer.

Grade: 2 out of 5

two-stars

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