Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Guest Review: Highland Crown by May McGoldrick

Posted May 20, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Highland Crown by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Highland Crown by May McGoldrick
Series: Royal Highlander #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 312
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Inverness, 1820Perched on the North Sea, this port town―by turns legendary and mythological―is a place where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.

WANTED: Isabella DrummondA true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mystery―and fury―in a great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the Highlands in search of survival. But a dying ship’s captain will steer her fate into even stormier waters. . .and her heart into flames.

FOUND: Cinaed MackintoshCast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself. . .until Isabella saved his life―and added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep her safe to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice to be together…for eternity?

Isabella Drummond is a surgeon, married to a doctor.  They had lived in Edinburgh for six years and had a stable if unexciting life.  Her husband, Archibald, was a reformer, however and when it came down to a day of strikes, he was killed and Isabella ran for her life with her sister and her step-daughter.  She was now being pursued by soldiers who think that she was part of her husband’s radical dealings, and the people in charge of the group of reformers were after her as well so she won’t tell the authorities any information.

When the book opens Isabella is in northern Scotland at a small cottage with a woman who is none too happy for her to be there.  Isabella was helped by her friend Sir Walter Scott who then implored his solicitor to help.  The woman was the solicitor’s aunt.  Isabella’s sister and step-daughter had gone with the solicitor to book passage on a ship to America.  The small town on the shore where she is staying is a rough one.  The villagers gather any items from ships that wreck on the rocks and shoot any survivors so they can’t argue about it.  Nice.  This happens when Isabella is there and she ends up saving one of the men who is the captain of a ship.  When a villager finds out about the man and Isabella they end out having to leave the cottage and take the aunt with them.

They end up fighting for their lives while staying with a relative of the man they saved, Captain Cinaed Mackintosh, but in order to do so they have to act like man and wife.  After just a short period of time together they fall in love but Isabella is unwilling to bring Cinaed into her troubles even though he’s already knee-deep in them.  The pair have to save themselves as well as Cinaed’s relative and decide if they want to leave for America or stay and fight for their country.

This was a good story that I enjoyed.  I’m not normally a fan of country politics in my romances but I have to say this one was well done.  I did think that the H/h fell in love way too fast for me, but I considered the year and went with it. Lol

I loved the fact that Isabella was a doctor/surgeon.  Everyone looked at her funny when she helped others, but she was so good at what she did. I loved that McGoldrick made her a doctor, rather than just a wife who was running for her life.

Because of the politics I’m not sure I’ll read further in the series. That said, I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good Scottish historical romance with some political intrigue.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin

Posted April 25, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Stone Cold Heart by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers #13
Also in this series: Deep Dark
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When local rock climbers stumble upon abandoned human bones in a remote Texas gorge, Sara Lockhart is the first to get the call. She has a reputation as one of the nation’s top forensic anthropologists, and police detective Nolan Hess knows she is just the expert he needs to help unravel this case. Although evidence is scarce, Nolan suspects the bones belong to a teenage climber who vanished last summer.

But as Sara unearths strange clues, she finds chilling similarities to a case from her past—a case that now threatens to rock Nolan’s community. While Sara digs deep for answers, the stakes rise higher as another young woman disappears without a trace. Investigators work against the clock as Sara races to discover the truth, even if her harrowing search brings her face to face with a stone-cold killer.

In the latest Tracers book from Laura Griffin, we’re back following a Delphi Center employee. This time it’s Sara Lockhart, a forensic anthropologist.

There’s not much to say about the plot of the book that isn’t in the cover copy or that doesn’t spoil some of the mystery. This is a much more twisty, turny mystery than some of the other Tracers books, and I enjoyed that about it. Sara’s expertise and instincts are invaluable to uncovering the extent of the crimes and piecing together who might have done it. It’s a fun ride, but not necessarily a solution you can “guess” (or maybe I’m just not clever enough, haha). I love the nerdy investigation details that Griffin uses in this series, and Sara is a prime example of that.

The romance between Nolan and Sara is a fine little love affair, though not exactly a passion for the ages. Sara is pretty reticent to get involved with Nolan because of a bad past relationship. It’s a bit cliche and does perhaps go on too long, but I did appreciate that she wasn’t whiny or angsty about it. She just wants to focus on her career and not get distracted by a relationship. I like that she’s confident and smart and happy with that. Nolan is fine, too. Pretty stereotypical cop character, although he does totally respect Sara’s expertise and autonomy which is always good to see. There’s no getting around that their relationship is a bit of a slow burn, and I felt like they don’t get much past the beginning embers in this book. I have hope for them in the future, though!

I enjoyed this book and am always happy when we veer back into the smart science nerds at the Delphi Center. I think it would be a fun read for Tracers fans, and even readers new to the series should be able to pick up this book with no trouble.

Grade: 3.5 out of 4

Tracers

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Review: In a Badger Way by Shelly Laurenston

Posted April 24, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: In a Badger Way by Shelly LaurenstonReviewer: Jen
In a Badger Way by Shelly Laurenston, Charlotte Kane
Series: Honey Badger Chronicles #2
Also in this series: Hot and Badgered (Honey Badgers Chronicles #1), Hot and Badgered (Honey Badger Chronicles, #1)
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 410
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Petite, kind, brilliant, and young, Stevie is nothing like the usual women bodyguard Shen Li is interested in. Even more surprising, the youngest of the lethal, ball-busting, and beautiful MacKilligan sisters is terrified of bears. But she’s not terrified of pandas. She loves pandas.

Which means that whether Shen wants her to or not, she simply won’t stop cuddling him. He isn’t some stuffed Giant Panda, ya know! He is a Giant Panda shifter. He deserves respect and personal space. Something that little hybrid is completely ignoring.

But Stevie has a way of finding trouble. Like going undercover to take down a scientist experimenting on other shifters. For what, Shen doesn’t want to know, but they’d better find out. And fast. Stevie might be the least violent of the honey badger sisters, but she’s the most dangerous to Shen’s peace of mind. Because she has absolutely no idea how much trouble they’re in . . . or just how damn adorable she is.

More honey badgers! That should honestly be the tag line for this book, because anyone who glimpsed the MacKilligan sisters in Hot and Badgered should pretty much know what that means: lots of fighting and violent but devoted sisterly love.

This book is about Stevie MacKilligan. Stevie is the genius in the family, the one who is both a world-class scientist and a world-class musician (so far). She also has some pretty severe anxiety problems and turns into a giant raving hybrid monster when provoked. You know, as you do. There are some more fishy things happening to hybrid shifters in the world, and Stevie has to help put a stop to it. Luckily, she has Shen to help her. Shen is a panda shifter who likes his life filled with quiet and all the bamboo he can eat. The more time he spends with Stevie, though, the more he realizes he may be ok with a little disruption.

Stevie isn’t my favorite MacKilligan sister. I wasn’t that interested in her in the first book, and I still wasn’t that interested in her after her own book. It’s not that I didn’t like her, but I did think she was a bit immature. Her romance with Shen didn’t have much substance to it either. Laurenston’s books do share focus between plot and romance in largely equal measures, and this book follows that pattern. The problem was, I didn’t really see a huge connection between Stevie and Shen. Shen seemed too old, too mature for Stevie, and I didn’t really see where they could go by the end.

The plot, though, was fun. The villain is pretty cartoon evil, and it’s always fun to see Laurenston’s villains get their comeuppance. I really enjoyed Stevie’s friendship with Kyle, too. He’s another prodigy, and a very obnoxious one at that, but he actually had some personal growth in this book. He and Stevie were odd friends but they somehow worked, and it was fun to read about. I also loved seeing more of the MacKilligan sisters and glimpses of past couples from Laurenston’s other series.

There is a lot of talk about mental health because Stevie has some serious issues. The book makes a big deal about how she gets treatment, both therapy, and medication. Even her sisters seek some treatment in this book, and that’s not something you normally see in a wacky paranormal romance. It normalizes seeking help, which I like. If those topics are triggering for you, though, you may want to steer clear of the Honey Badger books.

Even my least favorite Laurenston books are always a good time. I’ll just keep waiting anxiously for the next book.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Honey Badger Chronicles

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Review: Anatomy of a Player by Cindi Madsen

Posted April 17, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Anatomy of a Player by Cindi MadsenReviewer: Rowena
Anatomy of a Player by Cindi Madsen
Narrator: Joe Arden, Kristin Watson Heintz
Series: Taking Shots #2
Also in this series: Getting Lucky Number Seven
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled Embrace
Publication Date: January 25, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Length: 9 hours, 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A new adult romance from Entangled's Embrace imprint...

This bad boy is about to get played…

After getting her heart broken by a player again, Whitney Porter is done with men. She's focusing on her future career and her first assignment at the college newspaper: Posing as a sports writer for an exposé on the extra perks jocks receive. But Hudson Decker, the bad boy of the hockey team, is about to test her resolve. To keep herself from breaking her no-sex rule with the temptingly tattooed athlete, she decides to use him for a side project: Anatomy of a Player, to help Whitney—and women everywhere—spot a player, learn what makes him tick, and how to avoid falling for one.

With his life spiraling out of control, Hudson Decker's looking for a distraction. When his teammates bet him that he can't land the gorgeous but prickly new reporter, he accepts the challenge, boasting he'll have her in bed by the end of the semester. But Whitney is so much more than Hudson expected, and soon enough, he's in too deep. The last thing he needs is another complication, but staying away isn't an option. One thing's for certain: this girl totally throws him off his game.

Anatomy of a Player is the second book in Cindi Madsen’s Taking Shots series and it was another quick listen for me. I listened to the entire book in a day and let the drama between Hudson and Whitney take me away for a while. I will say right off the bat that I enjoyed the first book in this series more than I did this one. The best friends trope gets me every time but on top of that, both Hudson and Whitney got on my nerves quite a bit while listening to their story.

After Whitney gets dumped yet again, she swears off boys and promises herself that she’s going to focus on school and get her journalism degree poppin’ by joining the school paper but the only job at the paper that she can get is as the reporter covering the hockey team. She also pitches a story that will expose the athletes at the school, the hockey team in particular, of breezing through school while the rest of the non-athletes bust their asses to stay afloat. Her job is to get as close as she can to the team, develop friendships so that they’ll tell her all of their secrets and she can bust their trust in her wide open when she betrays them all…for the glory of a story. This was my least favorite part of the story. I’m not a fan of journalist heroines and I was prepared to be annoyed as shit over Whitney’s plan but it wasn’t Whitney’s plan that I hated most about her. It was how immature she was that annoyed the snot out of me.

Hudson had his own stuff that he was working through and he annoyed me with the immature way that he handled his problems (he didn’t, he just partied too hard to distract himself) but over the course of the book, you see him grow into his own and when he finally starts to deal with his issues and everything in his life, Whitney included, I really liked the person he became.

The romance between Hudson and Whitney was solid and I did root for them, at the same time that I wanted to strangle them both but I chalked up their immaturity to their age and was able to let a lot of things slide and enjoy the story, them as characters, and just everything. Cindi Madsen’s writing style is easy to follow along with and I appreciated that. Hudson and Whitney did grow on me and I was satisfied with the way that their romance came together in the end. It was believable and I’m definitely interested in continuing the story.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Taking Shots

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Freedom to Love by Susanna Fraser

Posted April 12, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Freedom to Love by Susanna FraserReviewer: Tracy
Freedom to Love by Susanna Fraser
Series: Freedom to Love #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: January 5, 2015
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Louisiana, 1815

Thérèse Bondurant trusted her parents to provide for her and her young half-sister, though they never wed due to laws against mixed-race marriage. But when both die of a fever, Thérèse learns her only inheritance is debt—and her father’s promise that somewhere on his plantation lies a buried treasure, if she can find it before her white cousins take possession of the land.

Then British officer Henry Farlow, dazed from a wound received in battle outside New Orleans, stumbles onto the property. Thérèse insists he stay with them to recover, and he is quickly captivated by her intelligence and beauty. Thanks to her care, he is back to full strength just in time to fend off an attack by her cousin, inadvertently killing the would-be rapist.

Knowing they will find no justice in the law, the trio flees. Henry risks being labeled a deserter, but more than duty compels him to see the sisters to safety, and Thérèse comes to rely on Henry for more than protection. On their journey to freedom, they must navigate another new territory—love. But when they arrive in England, an unexpected inheritance puts their newfound commitment to the test.

Henry Farlow is a British officer who was injured in battle.  He was left there after the battle, everyone presuming he’s dead. He manages to leave the field where the battle took place and finds himself at a plantation.  He comes across a woman and a girl who are digging in the lawn.  They take him to the house and take care of him, but they want him to leave asap.  Unfortunately, despite the fact that the plantation house belonged to their father, it doesn’t belong to them.  Their father has died and left it to a nasty relative.  Unfortunately that relative shows up while the trio is there.  He’s drunk and when he tries to take advantage of Thérèse’s sister, Jeannette – who’s a slave, Henry protects her and accidentally kills him.  Then the three of them are on the run. Henry must make it to a fort to prove he’s not a deserter.

Thérèse’s father was a plantation owner but Thérèse’s mother was his mistress and a seamstress.  She is cuarterona (someone who is ¼ African descent) but she’s also Native American. Though Henry doesn’t care and starts to fall in love with her, she’s not sure what their future looks like.  They decide they’ll make their way to Canada, where slaves are free, and start a life.  With Henry and Thérèse pretending to be married, and Jeannette their slave, it puts them in close quarters.  Henry and Thérèse start to fall in love, but how can they be together when interracial marriages are illegal?

Right when they think things are looking up for the trio, they head to England to deal with Henry’s parents (to prove that he’s alive) and then they’ll head back to Canada to start their life.  Once they get to England, however, they find that Henry’s life will never be the same, which means Thérèse’s won’t either.

I really loved the first part of this story.  I loved Thérèse and Jeannette and their determination to make a better life for themselves.  I really liked Henry and his honor.  The trio’s journey was fraught with danger and I was completely sucked in.

Then they got to England. I wish I could say that even that part was wonderful, but I personally think it got boring.  It was definitely more personalized because of Henry’s family and how they dealt with Thérèse, but I started to dislike Henry a bit and it just wasn’t as good as the first part of the book.

Despite things changing for me in the second half of the book, it was still good.  I’d still definitely recommend this as it was well written and kept my attention.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,