Tag: Grace Burrowes

Guest Post: Whitley’s DNF Roundup

Posted December 21, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 3 Comments

Published by Avon, Harper Collins

So, in the first week of my self-professed “month of only reading Christmas romances” I have read…one Christmas romance.  And I DNFed before I got to the Christmas part. Oops.

In fact I DNFed most of these, but that’s par for the course with me and romances.  I’ll drop them with relative ease because so many things in romance bug me, but at least I think it’s fun to dig through stacks of these things looking for the gems. 😀

Against the Sky
1. Against the Sky by Kat Martin

ALASKA
In America’s last wilderness, there are no limits to what a man can do.

For detective Nick Brodie, that means keeping the perps off the streets of Anchorage 24/7. Nick has never backed down from danger, but after the horrors he’s seen, he’s definitely in need of a break.

Samantha Hollis never thought she’d meet anyone like Nick, especially in a place like Las Vegas. But after one reckless, passionate night, she discovers the charismatic stranger is everything she wants in a man. But can he ever be anything more than a one-night stand?

When Nick invites her to Alaska, Samantha decides to find out, never guessing the depths she’ll discover in him or the tangle of murder, kidnapping, and danger about to engulf them both…

So, right off the bat, I wish the summary for this book had included the KIND OF MAJOR BABY PLOT.  I mean, really, the heroine’s unplanned pregnancy is the catalyst for most of the plot going on, and yet it’s completely missing from the jacket copy.  The murder mystery had promise, but the writing was a bit annoying and the sex was brief and vague.  (Come on, my interest in this genre is not exactly respectable, give me some steamy goodness!)  I quit when the hero decided to go condomless without asking permission first.  (Dude, I know she’s already knocked up, but that doesn’t mean you get to make that call solo!)

Tremain's True Love
2. Tremain’s True Love by Grace Burrows.

Tremaine St. Michael is firmly in trade and seeks only to negotiate the sale of some fancy sheep with the Earl of Haddonfield. The earl’s sister, Lady Nita, is pragmatic, hard-working, and selfless, though Tremaine senses she’s also tired of her charitable obligations and envious of her siblings’ marital bliss. Tremaine, having been raised among shepherds, can spot another lonely soul, no matter how easily she fools her own family. Neither Tremaine nor Nita is looking for love, but love comes looking for them.

Technically I finished this one, but eh.  I don’t know why I picked this book up; I find Burrows’ writing to be very hard to follow.  It’s 95% dialogue and soliloquies, so very little normal narration, so I can’t keep track of where people are in a scene or what they’re doing.  You can be two pages into a scene and not know a character is present until they start talking. But this one in particular irritated me because the ending had the heroine giving up her “passionate” work of being a healer.  And way too easily.  And I’m just not here for that.  I want my historical romances to be full of ladies defying society and doing their thang and gentlemen who gasp at first and then by the end love them for it anyway.  What is this whole stay home and conform to gender bullshit stuff?

The Earl Claims a Bride
3. The Earl Claims a Bride by Amelia Grey.

Harrison Thornwick thought he was safe. The fourth son to the Earl of Thornwick, there was no reason he couldn’t lounge his life away, drinking and carousing in the notorious Heirs’ Club. But when the sudden deaths of his father and brothers leave Harrison holding the bag, he needs a wife in haste, unless he’s to defy the rule of the prince. Unluckily for Harrison, the prince has an entirely different rule for him—his wife-to-be, Miss Angelina Rule. But when he sees the lady in the flesh, Harrison finds her too beautiful and fascinating to resist…Princely command or not, Angelina has no desire to marry Thornwick. Waiting for her sweetheart to return from the army, she’s not about to be paired up with an Earl—especially with an infamous scoundrel like Harrison. But with Thornwick determined to make her his wife in more ways than one, Angelina will have to put up all her defenses if she is to resist being seduced…

I loved the premise of this one, but the hero was just a little too…um, enthusiastic about the heroine’s youth.  (Also, first one of these I’ve read where the girl is legit having her coming out and isn’t a spinster.  Turns out I like spinsters.  I do not have a problem with this.)

Deadly Christmas Secrets
4. Deadly Christmas Secrets by Shirlee McCoy.

THE CHRISTMAS TARGET

When new evidence surfaces that Harper Shelby’s niece is possibly alive, Harper doesn’t expect it to endanger her life. For her protection, she has to put her much-guarded trust in Logan Fitzgerald, the man who unknowingly led a killer to her doorstep. Hired to track Harper down, security and rescue expert Logan doesn’t like that he’s been used to find a woman who someone apparently wants dead. Now he won’t leave Harper’s side until he can guarantee her safety and untangle the truth from the lies regarding her sister’s and niece’s murders. The closer they get to finding answers, the more intent the killer becomes on making sure that there won’t be a family reunion—or happily-ever-after—for Harper this Christmas.

Mission: Rescue—No job is too dangerous for these fearless heroes.

Got this one from Walmart about 75% because I just love the feel of those short slick paperbacks, and 25% because serial killer at Christmas!  I neglected to realize that it was from the “Inspirational” imprint, and I pretty much lost interest when I realized there wasn’t going to be hanky panky.  (I am terrible, I know.)  Shame, since the guy was the most respectful gun-slinger I’ve ever read in a romance.

Facing Fire
5. Facing Fire by HelenKay Dimon.

When his uncle is brutally murdered, Josiah King knows that business just got personal. His uncle’s ties to the Alliance can mean only one thing: Josiah and his black ops team are targets, along with everyone they love. Primed for vengeance, Josiah is determined to unravel the plot–until long-legged redhead Sutton Dahl becomes a dangerous distraction.

Sutton is very good at uncovering other people’s secrets—and protecting her own. When Josiah bursts into her life she’s torn between pushing him away and asking for his help. Mysterious, strong, and much too sexy, he’s a puzzle she longs to solve, and a temptation she can’t ignore.

Thrown together in the face of Alliance’s most lethal threat, Josiah and Sutton become unlikely partners, fighting for their lives even as the attraction between them flares into real passion. Torn between his team and the woman who means everything to him, Josiah will risk it all to save Sutton, even if that decision is his last.

It was a good premise, it really was.  I loved the set-up for getting the hero and heroine together.  He’s chasing a bad guy, she’s chasing the bad guy’s alias.  Her investigation makes her look suspicious, so he swings round to question her.  But it fell into that trap of just being WAY TOO MUCH right off the bat.  He burst into her room with a gun drawn on her, screaming about killing her if she does anything wrong, then asking vague questions, followed by more death threats.  JFC, dude, dial it down.  What even is with all this death talk; do you not realize you can’t interrogate a corpse?  (Which, really, is a big point here if you’re actually trying to catch said bad guy.)  And no further interaction from these two felt real after that.  How do you honestly have a romance after the “hero” makes you shit your pants?  (Didn’t actually happen, but realistically probably should have with that intro.)


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Guest Post: The Captive by Grace Burrowes

Posted October 29, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Post: The Captive by Grace BurrowesReviewer: Whitley
The Captive by Grace Burrowes
Series: Captive Hearts #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-stars

As a young boy, British-born Sebastian St. Clair was abandoned in France and forced to join the French army in order to survive.

Now that the war is over, he has returned home to his beloved England, and is determined to live a quiet life as a country gentleman. He believes that his wish is about to come true when he begins to fall for his elderly aunt’s lovely companion, Miss Millicent Danforth.

But the French are not quite ready to let him go, and they’ve devised a devious plot that could destroy everything that Sebastian holds dear. He will have to use all of his wits if he plans on escaping this scheme with his life…and his love.

Whitley’s review of The Captive by Grace Burrowes.

This was my first Grace Burrowes book, and I’m not sure if it’ll be my last or not. I really didn’t like the writing style of it, but she comes up with such enticing premises that I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay away. (Then again, nothing bad happens if I give in, so it’s not much of a problem.)

Still, if you’re like me and prefer your romances easy to read, this one might not be for you. I had to slog through a narration that was so dense with compound-nouns and modifiers and convoluted sentences that it felt like a chore. Some of her turns of phrase were pretty enough, but most of the time it just felt like trying too hard to sound…old. It wasn’t particularly difficult to understand, just dense in a way that didn’t really add anything to the experience. I’ve read plenty other historical romances that kept that toff tone to the narration without stuffing the word count quite that much.

Still, even though it wasn’t to my taste, the writing was smooth enough and the premise was engrossing. Sebastian was a nice tortured hero with just the right balance of angst and hope to keep me rooting for him. He was sweet to his lady, distinctly non-ass-ish, though I liked his interactions with his former captives a lot more than his interactions with Milly. There were a lot of layers and nuance and angst in there that I really appreciated and enjoyed reading about.

The romance was rather lacking in this book. I appreciated that they got married halfway through and didn’t let the wedding bells stand in for “all our problems are over now!” On the other hand, they didn’t seem to have much impediment to their feelings. It was pretty straight forward. “I think you’re hot. You think I’m hot. We got caught kissing. Time to get married!” They put up a nominal resistance at first, which only served to make their coming together feel abrupt. Weak circumstances kept them apart, and equally weak circumstances brought them together. If a couple is kept apart by circumstance, it really should be personal perseverance that overcomes that, not another coincidence, or else the couple’s feelings get left right out of the equation. I just didn’t get any feelings of longing from Milly and Sebastian before the wedding, and then an overabundance of that immediately after.

And I know not everyone reads romance for the sex, but I do, so a comment on that: it’s very vague, thanks to the meandering language. They would kiss, then the narration would hare off for several lines about a metaphor, to the point where I wasn’t sure if they were even still kissing or just had a little peck on the lips. Very little in the way of visceral descriptions.

Overall, a good premise and an interesting hero and side characters, but lacking in real warmth or connection. Definitely one more for the mind than the heart.

Rating: 2 out of 5

two-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Ethan by Grace Burrowes

Posted June 5, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Ethan by Grace BurrowesReviewer: Tracy
Ethan by Grace Burrowes
Series: The Lonely Lords #3
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: September 1, 2013
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

 

Estranged from his family, widowed after an unhappy marriage, and weary from fighting his troubled past, Ethan Grey now has a chance for redemption. His son’s beautiful and remarkable governess might help him battle his ghosts, but it’s been a long time since he let himself get close to anyone.

Alice Portman has more in common with Ethan than she can comfortably admit. For now, she’s satisfied with helping him rebuild his life and family. But the dangerous past is about to catch up with them both.

Ethan Grey is a man who has put himself both emotionally and physically trying to forget the way his father treated him (he was born a bastard) and another incident from school when he was 14 years old. He is at his half brothers house when he meets governess Alice Portman who is leaving a post as a governess for another family that Ethan knows. He talks her into accepting the post despite her various misgivings.

Almost immediately Ethan and Alice are strolling together and talking like old friends. Ethan helps Alice deal with her anxiety and Alice helps Ethan become a better man all the way around.

This story is very sweet, let me tell you. Ethan has had such a hard life. He is the eldest son but is a bastard. His father is raising him with his siblings until one day he starts to believe that Ethan and his brother – who are inseparable – have an “unhealthy” relationship. Basically he thinks that Ethan might have his sexual sights set on Nick. Not a chance but the dad sends them off to separate schools and universities. Dealing with the emotions that that incites Ethan is set upon at school by a gang of boys and hurt terribly. Ethan deals with these events by immersing himself in properties and businesses and making himself a wealthy man. He eventually hurts himself further by marrying his mistress when she becomes pregnant with his child. There was yet another huge emotional secret that Ethan had been living with that doesn’t come out until near the end of the book and it just made my heart hurt for him all the more.

Ethan put up with so very much crap in his life and frankly didn’t know how to deal with half of it. Despite all the junk, once he started coming out of his shell he was kind, attentive, loving and downright playful. I loved seeing him get closer to his 2 boys! He had been through so much and survived and I adored his inner strength

Alice has her own set of issues stemming from a scandal when she was 14. We don’t get to hear about that scandal until almost the end which was a bit frustrating, but it didn’t seem to effect the story all that much by not knowing. She was quite a woman in that she saw what needed to be mended between Ethan and his boys and fixed it. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fast but it was very well done.

I did have a few issues with the story. The author had the 2 main characters using their first and last names when talking to each other throughout the book and frankly it projected a lack of intimacy to me that I found a bit disconcerting because the pair were very close. Ethan was constantly calling her Alice Portman and she was calling him Ethan Grey instead of just using their first names. I got WHY it was done, I just didn’t care for it all that much. Another issues was the villain in the story. Again, I understood the reasoning behind having him in there but frankly his part was so small that it almost wasn’t worth having it, imho. Lastly, as much as I lived the story it was a slower paced read which wasn’t all bad but it did drag a bit in the middle.

Overall it was a good story – as are all the stories I’ve read from Burrowes so far. I may even go back and read books 1 & 2 in this series. 🙂

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

What I Read Last Week

Posted May 29, 2013 by Tracy in Features | 2 Comments

I’m just a couple of days late this week in getting this post written. Sorry about that. We were at yet another dance competition this past Saturday and my youngest had a stomach bug but wanted to do it anyway. She did well again and her team got another 1st. Yay. 🙂 Just a recital on Saturday and then we’re done. Thank. God. lol

This is the last week of school for my oldest. She’s taking finals today, tomorrow and Friday and then she’s done. (I’m liking the done word today, aren’t I?) My youngest doesn’t get out of school for another week and a half – which she hates, but she did get more time off during the year so it makes sense. I still haven’t figured out what to do with them over the summer. Any suggestions?

On to what I read this past week: 

First up for the week was A Little Night Mischief by Emily Greenwood. This is about a woman, Felicity, who is righteously upset that her uncle gambled off their family home. The uncle dies but now Felicity and her father are in the dowager house (that belonged to her mother, I think so it couldn’t be given away). She wants to new owner gone, gone, gone but James is determined to flip the home and make some much needed money. This was a very sweet book and the romance was well done. Felicity did drive me batty with her completely hair-brained schemes to get James to go away but it all worked out in the end. 3.75 out of 5 

Next up was Connected by Kim Karr. The story follows Dahlia as she goes through college and beyond. She is with Ben and has been for years but one night she meets a guy, River, who rocks her world and they share a connection that is darned near magical in its intensity. They just talk at a bar and she doesn’t stick around because she’s with Ben. Years go by and Ben gets killed right in front of Dahlia. A couple of years after Ben’s death she meets River again and the connection is still alive. They become darned near inseparable but they have their issues – as well as Dahlia having her house broken in to and she’s attacked. I liked the book and the premise of the story but there was too much gratuitous sex for my liking. The middle of the book was a great big love-in between River and Dahlia and it just didn’t further the story, imho. It was definitely not a fast read and the end is a cliffhanger – just fyi. 🙂 3 out of 5 (My review for this is posting on The Book Binge tomorrow 5/30 if you want to read more info.) 

Next up was Wedding Flirts! 5 Romantic Short Stories by Lisa Scott. I liked her Flirts! short stories so I thought I’d try her Wedding Flirts. I liked a couple more than the others but overall it was pretty cute. 3.5 out of 5 

The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall by Tam Ames is the story of 6 ft something Spence who faints at the sight of blood but wants a tattoo so badly. He finally ventures into a tattoo parlor and ends up meeting Vander who lets him watch him get a tattoo…that doesn’t end so well for Spence but going out with Vander does. Very cute short story! 3.5 out of 5 

How the Other Half Lives by Clare London is the story of an uptight, OCD clean freak who decides to join the apartment building’s flat sitting co-op just to get his friend off his back. Russ is a guy who can’t be bothered to unpack boxes cuz he already knows what’s in there and joins the same co-op to get HIS friend off his back. Russ and Martin “meet” through their apartments and start to like each other despite their differences. When they meet in person it’s not love at first sight, but close. I really liked how Clare showed us the two men prior to meeting and exactly how they thought of themselves. The transformations they make after “meeting” the other man was slow, but just lovely. Well done. 4 out of 5

Agave Kiss by Ann Aguirre is the last book in the Corine Solomon series and it was a good one. She’s trying to go on after losing her man but is determined to find a way to bring him back from the dead. She also helps her friend Booke in England – a man she’s never met and might be dying a quick death. The book is more or less a complete wrap up but well done. 4 out of 5 You can read my review on The Book Binge here.

Ethan by Grace Burrowes is book 3 in the Lonely Lords series. I didn’t read books 1 & 2 but it didn’t seem to have too much effect on this book. The story is about Ethan who is the bastard son of an Earl. The earl was raising him with his half siblings until he was 14 and then sent him away. His life after that was one tragedy after another and doesn’t improve until he hires Alice Portman to be governess to his two sons. They each have their issues but find peace together. A slower read but well done. 3.75 out of 5 

Last for the week was a novella called A Longtime (and at one point illegal) Crush by Janette Rallison. The story is about a girl who has been in love with her brother’s best friend since she was 8 years old. He’s older and at one point becomes her teacher. She feels rejected and just wants to stay away. Now she’s in college and back in town for her brother’s wedding and gets stuck on his property. The story is told mostly in flashback. As cute as it was the girl, Elsie, was a bit annoying in her self pity when she thought Kye was rejecting her. I guess it was typical high school drama but that didn’t mean I liked it. lol 3 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
crickets 

Happy Reading!


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Bridegroom Wore Plaid by Grace Burrowes

Posted December 3, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Tracy’s review of The Bridegroom Wore Plaid (MacGregor Trilogy #1) by Grace Burrowes

In an effort to preserve the family estate, Ian MacGregor, the Earl of Balfour, must marry for money. When a promising match emerges in the form of Genie Daniels, a rich English heiress, Ian begins devising a strategy to woo her. When he meets Genie’s poor cousin Augusta, he discovers a new avenue to Genie’s heart. But after spending time with Augusta and falling for her charms, Ian begins to question whether or not he’s willing to forfeit his heart to save the family name…

Ian MacGregor is trying to keep his clan fed and in order to do that on a regular basis he needs to marry a woman with money. He and his family – brothers Gilgallon, Connor and sister Mary Frances – rent out their family seat in Aberdeenshire in the summer to get extra money. In this particular summer their renting it out to a Baron and his family with the thought that Ian and the Barron’s daughter, Genie, will make a match.

The Daniels family arrives and they’re an odd bunch. There’s the Baron, his son Matthew, his two daughters Genie and Hester and then two chaperone’s Julia (Baron’s sister-in-law) and Augusta (Baron’s niece). From the moment that Ian meets Augusta he sees a poor, shy, retiring woman…who has beautiful gentian violet eyes. When he happens to meet her in the garden he realizes that she’s a smart, kind and attractive woman. Too bad for him he’s going for Genie’s money. Unfortunately Genie has absolutely no desire to marry Ian and makes it almost impossible for him to get to know her. The Baron is forcing the issue but the more he forces the wedding, the more Ian thinks that there’s something the Baron is trying to hide. Why else would he be in such a rush?

Ian knows that he has to marry money – it doesn’t matter how he feels about Augusta the more he’s around her and gets to truly know her. He starts to fall in love, as does Augusta, but even though they know they can’t be together, they can’t seem to stay apart.

Then there’s the Baron who wants Augusta out of the picture permanently and isn’t afraid to kill her himself in order to see that done. While he’s planning his niece’s demise his daughter Genie is getting closer to the wrong brother and is confiding in Gilgallon. Julia who is thought to be an old widow, but is not yet 30, has her eye on Connor and surprisingly he’s got his eye on her too. Lots of clandestine meetings were taking place.

The story, while really good, was lacking a little something for me. I absolutely loved Augusta and Ian together and they were just so achingly in love I wanted nothing more than for Ian to say screw it, I’m marrying the poor relation! He was very loyal to the MacGregor clan though and knew that he just couldn’t do it. Now, even after his financial woes were taken care of in a roundabout way he was still not completely falling at her feet and that annoyed me a bit because I knew he loved her. Why not go for it? IDK.

Genie and Gilgallon, Julia and Connor and Mary Frances and Matthew all had their parts of the book as well. Well, we got to see a bit of Genie and Gilgallon and Julia and Connor but were only told about Mary Fran and Matthew. While this was very sweet and everyone was quite happy I just felt that those parts should have had more to them. Their love seemed so sweet (yes, all of them) I just felt they deserved more page time. The Baron and his evil machinations fell a bit short for me – needing a bit more page time. We never heard much about the Baron unless he was planning something – where was he the rest of the time? He was talked about a lot but he was in the book very little.

Overall I liked the book. As I said, Augusta and Ian’s love story was incredibly sweet and I loved them together, I just wanted more – from them and from the other couples. This was a good start to the series though and I’m looking forward to reading what will be next for the MacGregor Clan.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place.

This book is available from Sourcebooks Casablanca. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,