Tag: Forever Publishing

Guest Review: The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki

Posted March 27, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: The Highland Duke by Amy JareckiReviewer: Tracy
The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki
Series: Lords of the Highlands #1
Published by Forever
Publication Date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance, Scottish
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars

She'll put her life on the line for him . . .

When Akira Ayres finds the brawny Scot with a musket ball in his thigh, the healer has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save his life. Even if it means fleeing with him across the Highlands to tend to his wounds while English redcoats are closing in. Though Akira is as fierce and brave as any of her clansmen, even she's intimidated by the fearsome, brutally handsome Highlander who refuses to reveal his name.

Yet she can never learn his true identity.

Geordie knows if Akira ever discovers he's the Duke of Gordon, both her life and his will be forfeit in a heartbeat. The only way to keep the lass safe is to ensure she's by his side day and night. But the longer he's with her, the harder it becomes to think of letting her go. Despite all their differences, despite the danger-he will face death itself to make her his . . .

Akira is a healer in the small town of Dunkeld.  After the battle of Hoord Moor she heads to battlefield to see if she can help any of the wounded.  She finds a man who has been shot in the thigh and tries to help him.  When they hear people coming he quickly sends her to find a horse and they head out.  You see, the man is a Duke and if he is found to be fighting on the side of the Jacobites he will be imprisoned or killed and have his lands taken from him.  Geordie and Akira take off and hide from the dragoons that are never far behind.  Geordie dropped his flask with his family’s crest on it so the dragoons know who to look for.

Akira and Geordie avoid the red coats and make it to Geordie’s lands but not before they fall in love with each other.  Akira, who’s very proper gives in to Geordie’s advances when he says he’ll take care of her thinking that he’s going to marry her. When he offers to make her his mistress instead she’s heart-broken. She had no idea he was a duke until they got to his castle but that played no part in her feelings for him. He is divorced and he knows that Queen Anne and the bishop will never approve the marriage.  He loves her but he doesn’t know what else to do.

The dragoons haven’t given up and they are determined to get Geordie to admit he’s a traitor.  They’ll even use Akira to get to him and it may actually work.

I really liked the premise of this book and there was a whole lot about it that I liked.  I really loved Akira and her strength.  She’d been the sole caretaker of her mother and 3 sisters for the past 10 years and she was happy to do it.  She was an amazing woman and I truly admired her.  She also stood up to Geordie when she needed to and that was awesome as well.

The first part of the book, while they’re on the run from the dragoons before they hit the duke’s lands, was pretty slow, imho.  It was decent but I had to stop myself from skimming ahead on more than one occasion.  I know this was meant to be a time when Geordie and Akira get to know each other but there was so much internal thought I found it quite sluggish.  I thought that once the pair hit Gordon land things would pick up a bit but it was only a little.

Things really came to a head when Akira headed home and the dragoon who had been after Geordie made his move.  I really liked the last ¾ of the book but unfortunately it didn’t make up for the other parts.  This got higher marks because I really loved that Jarecki wasn’t afraid to match up a Romany woman with a Duke and made it work.  Of course I wasn’t quite convinced at the end of the book that those who were after Geordie were going to give up, but maybe that’s just me.

Geordie grew on me.  At the first part of the book I didn’t care for him at all but he showed his true worth throughout the story and I really liked him by the end.  He was a good man who had lost his way but had finally found the right path.

Overall I liked the story I just had issues with tempo.  Hopefully the next book in the series will be more evenly paced.

Rating 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: If the Duke Demands by Anna Harrington

Posted March 1, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: If the Duke Demands by Anna HarringtonReviewer: Tracy
If the Duke Demands by Anna Harrington
Series: Capturing the Carlisles #1
Published by Forever
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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four-stars

A LESSON IN SEDUCTION . . .

Miranda Hodgkins has only ever wanted one thing: to marry Robert Carlisle. And she simply can't wait a moment longer. During the Carlisle family masquerade ball, Miranda boldly sneaks into his bedchamber with seduction on her mind. Soon she's swept into rock-hard arms for the most breathtaking kiss of her life. But when the masks come off, she's horrified to find herself face-to-face with Sebastian, the Duke of Trent-Robert's formidable older brother.

Shocked to find Miranda in his bed, Sebastian quickly offers her a deal to avoid scandal: He'll help her win his brother's heart if she'll find him the perfect wife. But what begins as a simple negotiation soon spirals out of control. For the longer this reformed rake tries to make a match for Miranda, the more he wants to keep her all to himself.

Miranda believes herself in love with Robert Carlisle.  He kissed her when she was 14 years old and she’s been completely infatuated with him ever since.  The night of a masquerade ball at the Carlisle home she asks a footman to tell her which room belongs to the man dressed as a panther.  She heads to his room when the ball is over and when he comes in it’s all she dreamed it would be – until she finds out that the masked man isn’t Robert but his older brother, Sebastian. She’s mortified and can’t figure out how she could have made a mistake until she realizes that by a twist of fate Sebastian and Robert had decided to switch costumes.

The Carlisle family decides to sponsor Miranda for a season.  When Sebastian’s father died 2 years prior she had been such a great help and had continued to that day.  Despite Sebastian’s misgivings he agrees but when he tells Miranda this info she comes up with a plan (not Sebastian as it says in the blurb).  She can help Sebastian find a wife (as she’s privy to info in the retiring rooms) and he can help put her close to Robert so that she can finally get him to notice her as a woman, and not just a pesky neighbor girl.

The plan woks to a point but unfortunately Robert doesn’t notice her at all and she finally realizes that he probably never will.  Sebastian has a list of women that are proper but try as he might he can’t quite get excited about any of them.  He finds himself thinking about Miranda much too often and when he finally lets himself act on his desires he finds himself a happy, happy man.  Unfortunately no matter how he thinks and feels about Miranda he can never marry her as he promised his father before he died that he’d find a proper wife and a farm girl doesn’t qualify.

This was my first time reading one of Anna Harrington’s books and I’m glad I took the chance.  I found If the Duke Demands to be fun, touching, emotional and sexy.

Miranda’s character was written so that we were led to believe that she was a bit of a clutz.  A person who gets herself into trouble – mostly unwittingly – but trouble nonetheless.  Despite being told these things I didn’t actually find her to be either trouble or a clutz.  She was a woman who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it.  She’d had a crush on Robert and when she realized that he might offer for another woman took it upon herself to prove to him that she was all woman.  It really wasn’t her fault that Sebastian and Robert changed costumes and she pointed out the wrong man.  Miranda proved to have a strength of character that I admired.  She spoke her mind and had fun with life which was awesome and obviously attracted Sebastian.

Sebastian was a good man who was stuck in what he thought was a horrible quandary.  He fell in love with Miranda, body and soul, but no matter how much he wanted her he couldn’t let his father down and marry someone that wasn’t a member of the ton.  I thought he was a bit of a bastard at times – mostly when he was acting the part of the stuffy Duke – but he was always honest with Miranda – it was she who seemed to read things into his comments and actions and I couldn’t fault Sebastian for that.  I was happy that someone finally sat down and made him see that his thinking was a bit skewed so that the H/h got their HEA.

I very much enjoyed Harrington’s writing.  She pulled me and had me turning page after page wanting to know what was going to happen next.  I didn’t particularly care for the other Carlisle brothers, Robert and Quinton but as this book was so good I’ll definitely pick their books up when they are released.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Christmas Come to Main Street by Olivia Miles

Posted October 10, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Christmas Come to Main Street by Olivia MilesReviewer: Tracy
Christmas Comes to Main Street by Olivia Miles
Series: Briar Creek #5
Also in this series: Mistletoe on Main Street, Love Blooms on Main Street
Published by Forever
Publication Date: September 27th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

The mistletoe is out, and the gloves are off . . .

'Tis the worst season to be single, but Kara Hastings won't let a little Christmas funk spoil the festive season. Sure, running her own bakery is a little harder than she expected, but she can handle it. And she'll prove it to a certain infuriatingly handsome, bossy Big City guy. She may be sugar and spice, but she can kick his butt twice.

Nate Griffin is in Briar Creek only for the holidays, and he refuses to fall for the whole "small town, candy cane-scented Christmas Wonderland" thing. He's more interested in the fresh-faced cookie chef who always knows exactly how to get under his skin. So when Nate challenges Kara in the town's big holiday contest, it's not just the competition that starts to heat up. If he's not careful, Kara won't just melt his icy resolve against a small-town Christmas . . . she'll melt his heart too.

Nate is a management consultant in Boston and isn’t thrilled to be in the small town of Briar Creek for the holidays.  He sent his parents on a cruise for Christmas and now he’s in town to help his aunt out at her B & B. The town is idyllic but he can’t wait to get back to Boston, his job, and making money.  He came from nothing and never running out of money is important to him.

Kara is working herself silly trying to keep up with the business at her recently opened cookie shop.  She’s happy that she’s busy but for some reason she’s not sure that the shop will stick.  She’s intrigued by Nate when she first meets him – well, more like pissed at him for running into her and breaking her cookies – literally.  Once she gets over her mad though she starts to really like the guy behind the cool career façade.  Once Nate lets the city slide off of him and starts to enjoy the town and the spirit of Christmas he becomes someone that Kara can see herself with forever.  Nate, however, won’t let himself wonder what it would be like to stay in town after the holidays.  He knows who he is and two weeks in a small town won’t change that.

This was a wonderful little Christmas story.  I really enjoyed all the different parts of the book.

Kara was overworked and edgy because she feels that everyone is judging her.  She had gone from job to job and she thinks they feel as if she’ll give up sooner rather than later.  Kara, however, is determined to make this work and won’t let anyone stand in her way.

Nate was a good man and I liked him.  Even when he was acting like a businessman and giving Kara suggestions for her business (which she wasn’t taking well) I thought he only had the best of intentions.  I liked seeing the relationship between him and his aunt as well as the relationship between him and Kara grow.  The story had a wonderful family atmosphere and I really liked that about it.

Overall it was a sweet Christmas story.

Rating: 3.75/4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: A Highlander’s Christmas Kiss by Paula Quinn

Posted October 6, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Highlander’s Christmas Kiss by Paula QuinnReviewer: Tracy
A Highlander's Christmas Kiss by Paula Quinn
Series: The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #5
Also in this series: The Taming of Malcolm Grant
Published by Forever
Publication Date: September 27th 2016
Genres: Scottish, Historical
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four-stars

A STRANGER'S SMILE

Christmas may be coming to Linavar, but Temperance Menzie is far from joyful. Grief-stricken over the death of her father at the hands of the Black Riders, she almost didn't see the wounded stranger in the woods. And now she's determined to give this braw, brooding Highlander the help she couldn't give her father. But there's a secret lurking in the depths of his blue-gray eyes. And Temperance won't rest until she uncovers it . . .

A LOVER'S KISS

A killer for hire. It's the last thing Cailean Grant ever thought he'd become, but being part of the Black Riders was his only way to survive. Now, his guilt grows day by day, along with his desire for the beautiful, brave lass nursing him back to health. As Christmas, the season of miracles, draws near and the truth of his identity threatens to come out, Cailean must risk the only thing he has left to lose-his heart.

Cailean Grant has hardened his heart and has cut himself off from feeling.  He has become a Black Rider – a mercenary.  His cousin Patrick has traveled with him and has stayed with him constantly trying to talk Cailean into leaving the Black Riders but Cailean refuses.  When Cailean and Patrick are on their way back to the castle that houses the Black Riders Patrick is shot with an arrow and Cailean is out for blood.  When he gets back to the castle the Lord’s son, Duncan, states that it was the Seth Menzie.  When Cailean hears this he believes it as the Grants and Menzies have always been at war.  That night Seth Menzie dies.

After Seth Menzie dies, Cailean goes back to Linavar hoping to catch a glimpse of Temperance Menzie, Seth’s daughter.  He knows he should get nowhere near her but he can’t help himself.  She’s a light in the darkness for him.  When he’s stabbed in the back and Temperance finds him she nurses him back to health.  Cailean falls in love with Temperance day by day.  She makes him see that all is not lost and helps him open his heart to love and life.  Unfortunately he has guilt to deal with.  When Temperance finds out he’s a Black Rider he knows she’ll never forgive him for the death of her father.

This was a great historical Christmas romance.  It was certainly a different kind of romance because of Cailean’s part in the death of Temperance’s father.  I can’t say that I would forgive a man that played a part in my father’s death, that’s for sure.

Despite my doubts of Temperance ever forgiving him I really liked the story.  It was wonderful to see Cailean brought out of that dark and horrible place he had been living in because of the deaths of those he loved.  He found something worth living for and though it happened slowly it was well worth it in the end.

Temperance was an amazingly strong woman.  She was just 19 (I think) and yet did much for her home, her father, her grandmother, her village.  I really enjoyed reading about her and was happy when she fell for Cailean.

The Black Rider issue was a nasty one and Duncan in particular was a right bastard.  I disliked him from the first moment he was on the page and that didn’t change throughout the book.  I was quite happy to see that he did not prevail in the end.

Overall this was quite a good love story and one I very much enjoyed reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Deadly Silence by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted October 3, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Deadly Silence by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Jen
Deadly Silence by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers #1
Also in this series: Deadly Silence
Published by Forever
Publication Date: October 4th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

DON'T LOOK BACK

Under siege. That's how Ryker Jones feels. The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency he opened up with his blood brothers has lost a client in a brutal way. The past he can't outrun is resurfacing, threatening to drag him down in the undertow. And the beautiful woman he's been trying to keep at arm's length is in danger...and he'll destroy anything and anyone to keep her safe.

Paralegal Zara Remington is in over her head. She's making risky moves at work by day and indulging in an affair with a darkly dangerous PI by night. There's a lot Ryker isn't telling her and the more she uncovers, the less she wants to know. But when all hell breaks loose, Ryker may be the only one to save her. If his past doesn't catch up to them first...

Full of twists and turns you won't see coming, DEADLY SILENCE is New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti at her suspenseful best...

A Blood Brothers Novel

Did you love Rebecca Zanetti’s Sin Brothers series as much as I did? If not, there’s nothing in this book that’s going to convert you. If you enjoyed the previous series too, though, this spin off is more of the same, which might be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.

The Blood Brothers series focuses on yet another set of brothers, private investigators Ryker, Heath, and Denver. Once again, these brothers have unusually sharp abilities, and once again they are very manly and full of all the broody, brotherly feels. This is Ryker’s book, and he’s the oldest of these brothers of circumstance, not biology. He’s got a fuck buddy, Zara, who he visits whenever he’s in town. They’re both pretty clear about the no-strings part, but when Ryker sees a bruise on Zara’s face during a visit, he starts getting all protective and wanting to know what’s going on in her life. Ryker’s life too is getting complicated, with a frustrating serial killer that keeps eluding him and his brothers and a very strange kid wanting them to find someone from their past. Ryker and Zara can’t help but be drawn together as they try to untangle all the threads.

These books are definitely my particular crack. I usually am not a huge fan of the overbearing alphahole, at least for more than one book in a row, but Zanetti’s brand of alphahole works for me. Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say that the larger story lines grab my attention enough to lessen my usual frustrations with this type of hero. The plot is fast paced and has lots of twisty details (albeit with too many convoluted storylines happening simultaneously). Plus the relationship between the brothers is touching and adds humanity to their backgrounds. There’s no way around it though–Ryker is an arrogant jerk. He’s bossy and pushy to everyone, especially Zara, and several times he deserved a swift kick in the junk. Despite all that, what did redeem him a touch for me was that he does it all in an attempt to keep those he loves safe. As the oldest of the brothers, he was the protector from an early age and takes that responsibility seriously. He is so determined at the start to stay away from Zara because he just can’t handle the immense responsibility of one more person, but of course he can’t help himself and realizes he doesn’t want to live in a world where he doesn’t get to protect Zara.

I could at least understand where Ryker was coming from, but Zara was a little more confusing to me. I desperately wanted her to stand up to Ryker more, but she likes being bossed around. At first it’s a sex thing–she likes Ryker because he’ll take charge in bed and it makes for some hot scenes–but it quickly extends to other areas of life, too. They have a weird antagonistic relationship, and Zara will deliberately pick fights and piss Ryker off. She says things like “you can’t tell me what to do” but then she’ll let him tell her what to do. She really needed a bit more backbone and agency.

If this all sounds like something you’ve read in the Sin Brothers books…you’d be spot on. It certainly felt like same story we’ve already had. Domineering alpha afraid to get involved, heroine in need of protecting, strong brotherly love, secrets and mysteries from the past that have to be uncovered, etc. There’s even a lovable senior citizen, a secret bad-guy base, and the same villain from the other series! I liked all that in the other four books and I liked it here as well, but my enjoyment did dim just slightly as the book went on and it was feeling so familiar. I’m still hooked by the larger storyline and I will happily read the rest of the series, but I’m hoping for some new ground in later books. (Number one on my wish list? Another spin off series about 3 amazing sisters! That would rock my world.)

If you’re new to the Sin Brothers, I wouldn’t start with Deadly Silence or you’ll miss the larger world building. However, if you read the Sin Brothers books and want to revisit the world (and get a small glimpse of my absolute favorite brother Jory, sigh), I think Deadly Silence is a fun, if not exactly unique, addition to that universe.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

 

three-half-stars

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