Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Guest Review: Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick

Posted November 20, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick
Series: The Pennington Family #1
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Hugh Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, hero of the Napoleonic wars—is a grieving widower with a death wish. When he receives an expected crate from the continent, he is shocked to find a nearly dead woman inside. Her identity is unknown, and the handful of American coins and the precious diamond sown into her dress only deepen the mystery.

Grace Ware is an enemy to the English crown. Her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. Her mother, an exiled Scottish Jacobite. When Grace took shelter in a warehouse, running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she never anticipated bad luck to deposit her at the home of an aristocrat in the Scottish Borders. Baronsford is the last place she could expect to find safety, and Grace feigns a loss of memory to buy herself time while she recovers.

Hugh is taken by her beauty, passion, and courage to challenge his beliefs and open his mind. Grace finds in him a wounded man of honor, proud but compassionate. When their duel of wits quickly turns to passion and romance, Grace’s fears begin to dissolve…until danger follows her to the very doors of Baronsford. For, unknown to either of them, Grace has in her possession a secret that will wreak havoc within the British government. Friend and foe are indistinguishable as lethal forces converge to tear the two lovers apart or destroy them both.

Grace and her father are in Antwerp having just gotten off of a ship from the colonies.  When their baggage carriage turns up at their inn without their trunks Grace goes down to see what happened.  When she returns to her room she finds her father dead and people searching her room. She runs and street urchins help to hide her.  After a long run they manage to hide her in a crate with a plan to come back to get her.  Unfortunately the crate is then nailed shut and put on a ship to Scotland. No amount of yelling attracts anyone’s attention.  Grace doesn’t see the light of day for another five days.

Hugh Pennington has taken up ballooning and is anxious to open his new gondola.  When he opens it he is shocked to find a woman who is almost dead inside.  He and his sister take her to their home and nurse her back to health.  Despite being half dead Hugh can’t deny that he’s intrigued by how this woman came to be in his gondola.

When Grace awakens she doesn’t know where she is or who has been taking care of her.  The people seem nice but she’s the daughter of an Irish man who was a colonel in Napoleon’s army – he fought against her hosts!  She pretends to have amnesia and tries to figure out how to leave.  She spends time with Hugh and his sister Jo and the more time Grace and Hugh spend together the more she comes to care for him.  She knows that nothing can come of it, however, as she can never tell him who she is.

I have to say that the more that I read May McGoldrick’s book, the more I like this author.  The premise of this book is very different from what I’ve read in the past.  With Grace being the daughter of someone who fought for the French in the French wars.  It was pretty interesting and I have to say that I found it enthralling.  Throw in the almost-dying-by-being-locked-in-a-crate scenario and this book had my whole attention.

Hugh and Grace’s romance was sweet.  While it seemed to happen pretty quickly there was definitely a bit of time in between Grace waking up and the end of the book, McGoldrick just didn’t show us every minute of it.  I appreciated that as I could still feel the time moving and didn’t feel like the romance was rushed in any way.

Jo, Hugh’s sister, was a lovely woman.  She was a spinster and was supposedly happy with that but I could tell she wanted a family of her own.  I certainly hope that she gets her own book.

I definitely recommend reading this book as it was a good one.  Then be sure to read about Hugh’s brother, Gregory, in the Christmas in Kilts anthology – that was a good one too.

Rating; 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Enchanted by the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

Posted November 14, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Enchanted by the Highlander by Lecia CornwallReviewer: Tracy
Enchanted by the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall
Series: A Highland Fairy Tale #4
Also in this series: Beauty and the Highland Beast, When a Laird Finds a Lass, The Lady and the Highlander
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Gillian MacLeod is shy and quiet, the least likely of all her sisters to seek out excitement and adventure. But on a moonlit night at a masquerade ball, Gillian steals a kiss from a mysterious stranger, knowing she’ll never see him again.

John Erly, disowned by his noble English father, started a new life in Scotland. Most people are suspicious of the foreign mercenary and he does everything is his power to avoid romantic entanglements. But he can’t forget the bewitching beauty who kissed him in the dark, and stole his heart, even though he has no idea who she might be.

A year later, John is given the duty of escorting Gillian to her wedding and immediately recognizes her as the temptress he’s dreamed of for months. There’s not much he can do when she's promised to another man, but fate intervenes and this time, passion—and adventure—can’t be denied. Honor demands he stay away from the MacLeod’s enchanting daughter, but love has a very different ending in mind...

Gillian is fascinated by John Erly, an Englishman and the Captain of her brother-in-law’s army.  Gillian has always been quiet and shy and because of this she has let her family think and speak for her for her whole life.  When Gillian has the opportunity at a masquerade ball to be an unknown she takes the opportunity to seek out John.  He soon is enchanted and takes her into the garden.  They kiss and it’s amazing!  When people start entering the garden Gillian is afraid it will be her family and takes off, leaving only her mask behind.

Gillian leaves with her father the next day and doesn’t return for almost a year.  Though she has never forgotten the amazing kiss with John but she returns now so that her brother-in-law can take her to Edinburgh to get married.  She knows she can never marry John (because he’s English and her father would never allow it) so she has accepted the marriage proposal from a man who’s older than her father.

John has never forgotten the kiss he shared with the mystery woman and it’s haunted him for the many months since.  When he sees Gillian again he figures out she was the one he kissed.  He vows to stay away from her as he knows she’s betrothed.  When circumstances change and John is asked to take Gillian to Edinburgh to be married he can do nothing but agree.  Events cause the two to be together by themselves and they finally admit to themselves they’re in love.  Of course with Gillian getting married John isn’t about to stand in the way of her future but…things have a funny way of working out for the best – it’s a fairy tale after all!

This was another great fairy tale inspired romance in the Highland Fairy Tale series.  This one was loosely (and I do mean loosely) inspired by Cinderella.  Gillian drops her mask after she kisses John and gets back to her room at midnight.  That about covers the similarities.  Despite that it was a great story.

Gillian, as I said before, had let everyone think and talk for her all her life.  I have no idea why as she was smart and funny.  Yes, shy, but her family just drove right over her time and again – even when she did want to talk.  I was happy that when it came down to what she truly wanted (John) she opened her mouth and stood up for herself and their relationship.

John was a good man who had had a rough life but had settled into his duties as Captain in Scotland.  It wasn’t what he had planned for his life, but he did his job well.  He never expected to fall in love with a highland lass but when he did he tried to do the honorable thing. I had to admire the guy and his scruples.  I was also happy when he finally put his and Gillian’s happiness first – that was pretty great.

If you haven’t read this series, and you like fairy tales, then you should definitely pick up one of these great books.

Rating: 4 out of 5 

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake

Posted November 3, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia DrakeReviewer: Tracy
The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake
Series: Cinderella Sisterhood #6
Also in this series: Abducted by a Prince
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars


Scandal begins with just one kiss. . .

Aurora Paxton was once the belle of the ball, the most sought-after debutante of the season―until a scandalous mistake ruined her. Shunned by her family, Rory was banished to the country to live in disgrace. Now she’s been summoned back to London by her stepmother, who is being blackmailed by the least likely person Rory can imagine: Lucas Vale, Marquess of Dashell.

Lucas is someone Rory’s known for years―a man as devastatingly handsome as he is coldly disapproving of her. What in the world could he want from her or her family? Rory intends to find out as soon as she comes face to face with her old foe. What she never expects, however, is that the icy aristocrat has a soft spot for her―and a secret plan to redeem her status. Could it be that Lucas has been in love with Rory all along. . .and has finally found a way to win her heart?

Aurora Paxton had it all.  Beautiful, vivacious – having the time of her life during her first season.  That all came to a crashing halt when she was found in a compromising position with an Italian diplomat, Stefano.  When her father demanded that Stefano marry Rory, Stefano admitted to having a wife back in Italy.  Rory was devastated that the man she thought loved her had lied to her.  Then her father and stepmother banished her from London and off she went to live with her aunt in Norfolk.  That was eight years ago.

When a Lady Milford shows up at her aunt’s house unexpectedly and tells Rory that her stepmother needs her help, Rory is skeptical as her aunt dislikes her intensely.  Then Lady Milford mentions that not only is her stepmother being blackmailed but that Rory’s sister, Celeste, is getting married to a duke in a month – a man that Rory thinks is way too old for her sister.

Rory heads to London and after talking with her stepmonster…uh, I mean stepmother, she heads off to work as a companion to the Marchioness of Dashell, the current Marquesses mother who is bedridden.  Rory’s stepmother believes that the Marquess, Lucas Vale, is the one that stole the letters and is blackmailing her. While working as a companion Rory will be able to search the house for the missing letters. Rory remembers the Marquess as being a stuffy prig and he proves he still is – for a bit. The longer that Rory is in the household the clearer she sees that Lucas isn’t as stuffy as she originally believed.  When Rory determines that Lucas isn’t behind the blackmail he agrees to help her find the true culprit which pushes the pair together.

The Scandalous Flirt is a book inspired by a fairy tale.  Lady Milford has enchanted slippers that supposedly bring the wearer to their true love. When Rory heads back to London Lady Milford hands over the shoes for Rory to wear.  Now, I know that the whole premise of the fairy tale is that the enchanted slippers were supposed to bring Rory to her true love but that was mostly Lady Milford and the stepmother pushing Rory toward Lucas.  Yes, Rory wore the shoes but really, I didn’t feel they had anything to do with it and they were only mentioned a couple of times in the book.  Lucas had been smitten with Rory eight years earlier and with them in close contact constantly they were bound to get closer.  Since this is based on a fairy tale I just wish that it had been more fairy tale-ish.  But that’s me. 🙂

While I liked Lucas by the end of the story, he wasn’t a soft man and for most of the book I was on the shelf as to whether I actually liked him or not.  I did believe he truly loved Rory and was happy they ended up together in the end.

Rory and I had a love hate relationship.  There were things I liked about her, definitely, but sometimes her stubbornness and I-am-woman-hear-me-roar ways drove me a bit batty.  I understand she was a feminist and that was awesome but there were occasions in the book where what she thought of as feminism was her just being reckless and yes, I’ll say it, stupid.

The romance wasn’t typical in this book but it was good.  I liked Rory and Lucas together and they played well off of each other.  I was happy that Lucas went for the poor, scandalous girl in the end.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman

Posted November 2, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie BowmanReviewer: Tracy
The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #8
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Can two star-crossed lovers come together―until death do they part?

Viscount Hart Highgate has decided to put his rakish ways behind him and finally get married. He may adore a good brandy or a high-speed carriage race, but he takes his duties as heir to the earldom seriously. Now all he has to do is find the right kind of woman to be his bride―ideally, one who’s also well-connected and well-funded. . .

Meg Timmons has loved Hart, the brother of her best friend, ever since she was an awkward, blushing schoolgirl. If only she had a large dowry―or anything to her name at all. Instead, she’s from a family that’s been locked in a bitter feud with Hart’s for years. And now she’s approaching her third London season, Meg’s chances with him are slim to none. Unless a surprise encounter on a deep, dark night could be enough to spark a rebellious romance. . .for all time?

Meg has been in love with Hart since she was 16 years old.  She wants nothing more than to be with him but she knows it’s hopeless.  Their parents are enemies and barely tolerate Meg’s friendship with Hart’s sister, Sarah.  Also, Meg is a wallflower with no dowry as her father has gambled it away.  She’s good ton but has no money.

Meg finds out from Sarah that Hart is planning on searching the marriage mart for a wife so Meg enlists her friend, Lucy (a duchess), to help her.  Lucy is ruthless but believes that Meg truly loves Hart so she helps her.   After dressing Meg in stunning gowns Hart can’t help but notice Meg but he knows he can never do more than admire her – although he does steal a kiss or two.  Though Hart likes Meg he knows he can’t be with her and is frustrated that he even thinks about being with her.

When Meg finds out that her family is to move to Spain to try and outrun her father’s creditors Lucy knows she has to step up her game. Unfortunately Hart is only half-thrilled with the outcome and both Hart and Meg may end up miserable in the end.

This was a historical romance that I really enjoyed reading.  Meg was a great heroine and I liked so much about her.  Her parents were horrible people but she had turned out to be such a nice person.  I really couldn’t see how she was friends with the ever-scheming Lucy but their friendship worked.

Hart was more than a bit of a rogue but he was a nice man underneath it all.  I liked how he treated Meg before the shit hit the fan and even after that I knew that his feelings had been hurt.  He came off as angry but I would have been too (no, I can’t tell you what happened ‘cuz that will just ruin it!). Just take it from me – he was a good guy.

This is apparently book 8 in a series but I hadn’t read any of the others in the series and didn’t feel lost at all, which was nice.  It was a decent story and I had fun reading it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

Posted October 19, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: With This Christmas Ring by Manda CollinsReviewer: Tracy
With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: October 3rd 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins.

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever--on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can't let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.

Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.

When Merry’s friend, Charlotte, gives birth she asks Merry to find the father for her right before she dies.  Charlotte had eloped but then her fiancé left her at her parents’ house and never returned.  The father is the cousin of Viscount Wrotham. Merry had been engaged to Viscount Wrotham five years ago but had ended the engagement despite her love for him.  She still loved him and it certainly made her anxious to have to go to his house to find baby Lottie’s father.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, never stopped loving Merry Parks.  The note she’d left him ending their engagement was so vague he never truly figured out why she ended it.  He’s been in Paris but now that he’s back in London he’s determined to find Merry and see if he can win her back. He certainly doesn’t think she’ll knock on his door with a newborn asking for his cousin!  Alex is relieved when he finds out that the baby isn’t Merry’s, that’s for sure.  They determine that the cousin, Will, is at the family estate as it’s right before Christmas and Merry and Alex end up traveling together to deliver the baby.  Merry gets snowed in at Alex’s estate and can’t make it home for Christmas.  Alex is thrilled as this just means he gets to spend more time with Merry and he takes his chances with winning her back.

With This Christmas Ring turned out to be a lovely little Christmas surprise for me.  It was a sweet story that didn’t throw a lot drama into the story just for drama’s sake (although there was once part…).  I enjoyed Merry and her character as well as Alex’s.  The pair truly never stopped loving each other so it wasn’t all that difficult to get back together.  Family interference had sent Merry away once and it looked for a bit like it would happen again but it all turned out well in the end.

The story of Charlotte and Alex’ cousin, Will, was quite sad and made my heart break a little.  The situation was a tad distressing but had Charlotte not died then we wouldn’t have had a story so I had to keep reminding myself of that – despite the tragedy of it all.

In the end the story was a sweet, fast read and one I definitely enjoyed

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,