Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Guest Review: Nobody’s Lady by Annabelle Anders

Posted May 15, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Nobody’s Lady by Annabelle AndersReviewer: Tracy
Nobody's Lady by Annabelle Anders
Series: Lord Love a Lady #1
Published by The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: May 2, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
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three-half-stars

Dukes don’t need help, or do they?

Michael Redmond, the Duke of Cortland, needs to be in London—most expeditiously—but a band of highway robbers have thwarted his plans. Purse-pinched, coachless, and mired in mud, he stumbles on Lilly Beauchamp, the woman who betrayed him years ago.

Ladies can’t be heroes, or can they?

Michael was her first love, her first lover, but he abandoned her when she needed him most. She’d trusted him, and then he failed to meet with her father as promised. A widowed stepmother now, Lilly loves her country and will do her part for the Good of England—even if that means aiding this hobbled and pathetic duke.

They lost their chance at love, or did they?

A betrothal, a scandal, and a kidnapping stand between them now. Can honor emerge from the ashes of their love?

Michael, the Duke of Cortland, is set upon by highwaymen while on his way to London.  He and his coachman and outriders set out, barefoot, for the nearest inn but that takes most of the day.  When they finally arrive at an inn, they are soaked from the rain and covered in mud.  Of course the innkeeper doesn’t believe Michael’s a duke, but a voice from Michael’s past pipes up and vouches for him.  The voice belongs to Lilly Bridge, the woman he fell in love with and the woman who left him to marry another man.  He tells himself he’s over her but he’s not sure that’s true.  He’s engaged to another woman, however, and despite what his deep-down feelings for Lilly are, he can do nothing about them.

Lilly hasn’t had a great life since leaving Michael at the house party.  She felt betrayed by him and felt that he didn’t truly love her – he just abandoned her after they had made love!  Lilly had spent years married to Baron Beauchamp – her dead sister’s widower – and he’d made her life miserable.  Now he’s dead and Lilly is trying to secure a good match for her niece/step-daughter, Glenda.  They are on their way to London for the Season when they run into Michael.  Lilly never got over the man but when she finds out he’s engaged she determines that she’ll stay as far away from him as she can.  Things don’t always work as planned.

Lilly and Michel, despite the extended separation, never stopped being in love.  Now Michael is trying to do the honorable thing by keeping his promise to marry Lady Natalie but he wants no one but Lilly.  Lilly just wants to be free from the pain of her life and figures once she marries Glenda off she’ll get a small cottage and live in peace, on her own terms.  Of course life has its ups and downs and, as Lilly knows, life doesn’t always work out the way you plan it.

This was a sweet story that I enjoyed reading.  I loved reading about Michael and Lilly when they were younger. For about half of the book it has alternating chapters in the present and the past.  This did get a little old but once the whole past story was out the book stayed firmly in the present.

Both Lilly and Michael felt betrayed by the other but neither had the full story about what happened.  Michael had a very good reason for not contacting Lilly but I also understood Lilly capitulating to her father as he insisted that she be well taken care of.  He was dying and wanted her secure – too bad he didn’t know what a bastard Baron Beauchamp would be to his daughter.

While I loved reading this story and about how much Michael and Lilly loved each other, there were times when their declarations of love got a little too cheesy for my liking.  It was heart-warming, but I found myself laughing as well when it got to be a bit too much. When the “villain” in the book does something near the end of the story it was a little over the top and contrived.  The villain had been mostly silent during the book so for him to make the move he did made me roll my eyes a little.

Overall it was a nice historical romance.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Posted May 9, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda HowardReviewer: Jen
The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2) by Linda Howard
Series: GO-Team #2
Also in this series: Troublemaker, Troublemaker, Troublemaker, The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2)
Published by William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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three-stars

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun...or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina—who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice—making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

Jina Modell works for an off-the-books paramilitary agency, doing something related to communications. When she’s reassigned to a field unit, she joins Levi “Ace” Butcher’s team. Jina is not prepared for the physical demands of being in the field. Levi is determined to train her harder than the other recruits because he doesn’t want to put his team’s safety in jeopardy for an unprepared teammate. Jina keeps surprising him, and herself, by overcoming each new challenge through sheer grit and determination. As she gets more comfortable with the team, though, it becomes harder to ignore the white-hot attraction between her and Levi. When a dangerous mission goes sideways, Levi and Jina have to make some difficult choices, and it changes them both.

I thought Jina was completely excellent–funny, tough, and so practical. She absolutely made the book for me. I enjoyed reading about her training, even the mundane aspects, because she was just such a great character. She knew how to put the guys in their place without coming across as shrill or unyielding, and I adored that. I really loved Levi too and thought he was a great match for Jina because he cared about her but still respected her abilities. The side characters were excellent too. All the guys on the team were a hoot, and it was fun to read about their dynamic.

But then, nothing much happens. The training goes on and on…and on. Like, literally the whole book was Jina’s training. There are a few smoldering moments between Jina and Levi, but they are few and far between. Of COURSE it wasn’t a good idea for them to get busy. He was her boss and responsible for the cohesiveness of the team. I get that. But it made for a romance very light on the romance. Jina and Levi have almost no one-on-one conversations the entire book–time is mostly spent in Jina’s head (with some glimpses of Levi’s perspective) or with the whole team interacting. When they do finally get down to business it was sexy and great, but that didn’t happen until the book was over.

My biggest problem with the book is indeed the ending. I won’t spoil it (even though I really want to discuss it more!), but I’ll just say I disliked Jina’s behavior at the end. I was ok with her choices but not her reasons. It made her seem wishy washy and didn’t seem to match her behavior throughout the rest of the book. Also, the book tries to squeeze a thousand pounds of plot and a bunch of sex into the last 40 pages. Seriously, little happens for chapter upon chapter, and then suddenly a whole ton of shit goes down in quick succession and boom, the end. We saw glimpses from the perspective of the Congresswoman villain (not a spoiler, it’s in the cover copy) throughout the whole book so you’d think it would have made me more invested in her, but it didn’t. I didn’t understand what her plan was, and when she is taken down at the end I didn’t feel much satisfaction.

I liked the characters in this story and enjoyed reading it, but based on the cover copy I was expecting more action and more survival. That’s not what I got, and I wanted a bit more from the book.

Grade: 3 out of 5

GO-Team Series

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Hookup by Erin McCarthy

Posted May 7, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Hookup by Erin McCarthyReviewer: Tracy
The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers #1) by Erin McCarthy
Series: The Jordan Brothers #1
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: May 8th 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 255
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three-half-stars

Is there an equation for the perfect hookup? Turns out it’s a lot more complicated than one plus one. . . .

Sophie:
Numbers are my comfort zone, which explains why my sex life is a big fat zero. Then again, if I’m smart enough to earn a PhD, why can’t I calculate a way to get a guy into bed, just to see what all the fuss is about? With my prima donna sister, Bella, getting married in Maine, I figure her wedding is the perfect opportunity for my little experiment. And Cain Jordan seems hot enough—he’s certainly drunk enough—to show me what I’ve been missing. Judging by the body of evidence, it’s a lot. . . .

Cain:
Being stuck in the same town as my lying SOB twin brother, Christian—who may or may not be the father of the son I’m not allowed to see—is a hell of a reason to drink myself silly after the lobster boat docks each day. Any port in a storm. . . . But Sophie’s different. She doesn’t play around. And she’s becoming a habit I don’t want to break. Because the smartest woman I’ve ever met is also the sexiest—and the only one who makes me want to change.

Cain was betrayed by his twin brother and girlfriend at one point.  Since that time he’s been drinking his life away the minute he gets off the lobster boat he works on.  He doesn’t stop until he’s good and drunk.  He’s on his way to tying one on when Sophie and her sister Bella walk into the bar.  He is immediately attracted to Bella but the more he talks to Sophie the more he likes her and thinks she’s way prettier than Bella.  They have a one-night stand and that was supposed to be it.  But Sophie gets under Cain’s skin and soon he’s finding he can’t get through the day without her.

Sophie is a nerd, plain and simple.  She’s working on her master’s degree at Harvard and wouldn’t have left school if it wasn’t for her sister Bella’s wedding.  She’s off for a week and then she’s back to the numbers game.  Sophie is determined to get rid of her virginity.  When she sees Cain she knows he’s the one that she’ll sleep with.  She never imagined that she’d like the guy and want to spend more time with him. They each figure they’ll spend the week together and then go their separate ways.  Things don’t always work out the way we plan, however.

This was a cute book.  I liked Sophie and her nerdishness so much.  She cracked me up throughout the book.  Cain took a bit of time for me to like as he was an alcoholic.  I realized that he’d been betrayed but instead of fighting for the son that may or not be his, he chose to drink himself to death.  I can’t really respect that, ya know? (I’m also aware that there is a way to tell if the boy is Cain’s son, they just have to delve deeper into the DNA. It irritated me that it was never mentioned. but that’s just me :)) However, he did grow on me and he did try to be a better man for Sophie during the week they were together and I had to admire him for trying.

The book gets a bit darker as the story moves on and it’s not so light-hearted which was a bit strange, but it was what it was.  The alcoholism became a huge issues, obviously, and I was happy with what happened at the very end of the book, even though it felt rushed.  There is an HEA in the book, so don’t worry about that, it just takes some time to get there.

Overall I liked the book and will read book 2 when it comes out, despite not really liking Christian (the twin) all that much.  I have to admit that McCarthy got me curious about him so there’s that.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Jordan Brothers

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: It Happened in the Highlands by May McGoldrick

Posted April 27, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: It Happened in the Highlands by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
It Happened in the Highlands by May McGoldrick
Series: The Pennington Family #2
Also in this series: Romancing the Scot
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: March 27th 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
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three-half-stars

Lady Josephine Pennington was jilted by her fiancé once rumors spread about her questionable origins. Her adoptive parents have always provided her with the love and protection she’s needed to feel secure, and over the last sixteen years she’s molded herself to meet the expectations of others. When she receives a package containing sketches where the subject is eerily familiar, Jo believes she might have found a clue to the identity of her birth mother.

When Captain Wynne Melfort ended his engagement to Jo Pennington sixteen years ago, he never imagined he would see her again. But after he uncovers information that could reveal the truth about Jo’s parentage, Wynne feels bound by duty to right an old wrong and inform her of his find. He didn’t expect for feelings long thought dead to resurface, for in his mind a love departed was gone forever.

As they strive to unravel the mystery of her birth, Jo must learn how to trust the man who’d once rejected her, and Wynne must reconcile his head with his heart. But as secrets of the past begin to surface, evil forces will stop at nothing to keep Jo from uncovering the truth and reclaiming her legacy. Together, Jo and Wynne must fight the deadly menace lurking deep in the Highland mists.

Josephine was raised by the Pennington’s, a prominent family in Scotland, but her mother was unknown.  Just a woman who Lady Pennington had helped give birth on the side of the road named Jo. Raised as one of the Pennington children, Josephine never felt any different until she went to London for a season.  There she met the love of her life, Captain Wynne Melfort, but everyone else whispered and publicly ridiculed her.  She figured she could endure it because of Wynne, but when he breaks their engagement, Jo is devastated.

Now it’s sixteen years later and Josephine is quite happy with her life. She takes take of her family and loves her nieces and nephews.  When she gets a note from a mental institution she’s intrigued enough to stop by on her way to her brother’s house.

Wynne didn’t want to break off his engagement to Josephine but he was shipping out and he felt since he couldn’t be there to protect her from the ton it was better for everyone.  He never stopped loving Jo, however.  He is now back in Scotland helping to run a mental institution with her best friend and he has taken custody of his 10 year old son who had previously been living in Jamaica.  When one of the non-verbal patients sketches out picture after picture of a woman that looks like Josephine he’s not sure what to make of it.

When she arrives neither are ready for their feelings to bubble back to the surface but they are ready to find out if the non-verbal man has a connection to Josephine and if so, what it is.

McGoldrick has once again written a lovely romance that had me completely invested.  In book one I was curious about Josephine and what exactly her story was so I was quite happy when I found out that I wasn’t going to have to wait to find out.

Josephine was a wonderful person inside and out.  She was just a gem and while she had her faults, there weren’t many.  I was intrigued by the hunt for her true history and to find out where she came from, although I knew no matter what the Pennington’s wouldn’t let her feel like she wasn’t always part of the family.  That family was perfect for Jo to grow up in and I loved them to death.

Wynne was a little harder for me to get to like.  He had been on the high seas and though he had a son in Jamaica he left the child’s grandmother to raise him until she feared for his life because of the country’s upset.  I hated that he had left his son, Cuffe, for so long and this was also a point of contention with Cuffe and Wynne.  Cuffe wanted to be back taking care of his grandmother and resented his father for taking him away.  It was a great part of the book, Cuffe and Wynne coming together.  I was happy that McGoldrick decided to add this element to the story.

I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more romance between Wynne and Josephine. Since neither had ever stopped loving the other, once they confessed their continued feelings…they were kind of together. I liked that they got their HEA but A) I wanted a little bit more romance and B) I wanted Wynne to have to work for it a little harder. Lol

In the end it was a good story and I really enjoyed reading it.

Rating: 3.5/4 out of 5

The Pennington Family Series

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: A Lady’s Honor by A.S. Fenichel

Posted April 18, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Lady’s Honor by A.S. FenichelA Lady's Honor by A.S. Fenichel
Series: The Everton Domestic Society #1
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: April 3rd 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
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three-half-stars

Not every match is made at the marriage mart…

After a disastrous, short-lived engagement and years of caring for her ailing grandmother, Phoebe Hallsmith is resigned to spinsterhood. But if she must be unmarried, far better to be of use than languishing at home, disappointing her parents. As an employee of the Everton Domestic Society of London, Phoebe accepts a position at the country home of an old friend and discovers an estate—and a lord of the manor—in a state of complete chaos.

Losing himself in the bottle has done nothing to ease Markus Flammel’s grief over losing his wife. Not even his toddler daughter can bring him back from the brink. Now this fiery, strong-minded redhead has taken over his home, firing and hiring servants at will and arousing unexpected desire. As not one, but two, suitors suddenly vie for Phoebe’s hand, can Markus move past loss and fight for a future with the woman who has transformed his world?

Phoebe spent the years between age 18 and 23 in the Highlands with her grandmother.  She loved every minute of it and wouldn’t have changed a minute of the time she had with her Grand.  Of course those were her best “courting” years and now she’s considered on the shelf.  She was engaged in Scotland but the man broke it off stating that Phoebe was a “cold fish.”  When she returned home rather than try to find a husband she decides to continue helping people and takes a job at the Everton Domestic Society.  Her family is outraged and her oldest brother, a viscount and head of the family, disowns her.  She’s fine with that.

She is assigned to a job helping the Viscount of Devonrose get his house and family back in order.  Normally Everton ladies don’t take jobs that involve anyone they know but she is specifically requested.  She knows the family because she was very good friends with the now deceased Viscountess of Devonrose.  When she arrives at the country estate she realizes she has her work cut out for her.  When her friend Emma died in childbirth her husband, Markus, chose to kill himself with drinking. He was stuck in his grief and has been drinking practically non-stop for the past two years.  His daughter Elizabeth is being raised by what little staff hasn’t been fired when Markus goes into a temper.  The staff as well as Elizabeth is frightened of Markus and Phoebe isn’t having it.

When Phoebe arrives. Markus wants nothing more than for her to be gone.  He does promise her that he will stop drinking and the longer he goes without a drink he realizes the kind of man he’s become.  Instead of helping his grief, it was only worsening it.  He also realizes he had ignored his holdings and most importantly, his daughter.  He tries to put this to rights the damage he has done and in doing so he starts to notice Phoebe.  He doesn’t want to be he knows that what he’s feeling isn’t just gratitude for her help, but appreciation for the woman herself.  Though they both try to fight it they fall in love.  Unfortunately Phoebe’s circumstances and her brother’s meddling may keep them apart.

This was a cute story.  I really liked Phoebe and loved that she said whatever was on her mind (most of the time).  She was bossy, but the situation called for that.  I wish she had been a little bossier with her family – they were nuts.  Her brother Miles was fine but the rest?  Wow.  Just wow.

Markus was fine after he finally pulled himself out of the bottle.  He tried to make amends and was actually doing a bang-up job of it. Little Elizabeth needed her father and he was finally there for her in a big way.

The parts of the story I didn’t really care for had to do with Phoebe’s suitors.  Markus was having problems coming to terms with his feelings and his thoughts on how he could never love another woman that would replace Emma.  That didn’t make it any easier to see both his secretary and the man who had once jilted her come around to court her.  I think this part annoyed me because Phoebe was so straightforward with everything else and it almost felt like she was leading these two on instead of telling them to take a giant leap.  Yes, she said it a round about way but it bothered me that the author had her personality changing in those instances.  It just was consistent.

Despite my issues it was a good story and I’ll be looking to read more in this series in the future.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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