Tag: Harlequin

Guest Review: Claiming His Highland Bride by Terri Brisbin

Posted June 15, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: Claiming His Highland Bride by Terri BrisbinReviewer: Tracy
Claiming His Highland Bride by Terri Brisbin
Series: A Highland Feuding #4
Also in this series: The Highlander's Runaway Bride

Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
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three-half-stars

Safe in her Highlander's arms!

After discovering her role in her father's plot to destroy another clan, Sorcha MacMillan risks her life to go into hiding. Her safety relies on her disguise, but she is drawn to a man who could see through her...

Unknown to Sorcha, Alan Cameron has been sent to track her down. He's attracted to the woman in disguise. Even after learning her true identity, he can't overcome his instinct to protect her. No matter the danger, he will keep Sorcha safe...and claim her as his bride!

Sorcha has been told by her father, a clan Chieftan, that she must wed but her soon-to-be fiancé is a horrible man.  The fiancé and her father are planning on ruining another clan by joining theirs and Sorcha wants no part of it.  Her mother has been able to protect Sorcha for years from her father’s machinations but she’s now dying.  The mother knows that Sorcha must escape her fate and tries to help her as best she can by giving her baubles and treasures little by little.  When her mother dies and the time comes for Sorcha and her father to travel to meet the fiancé Sorcha fakes her own death (with help from a friend of her mothers) and runs away.  She plans to run to Skye to become a nun but that plan is interrupted when her mother’s friend dies.  Sorcha is resourceful so she heads to her mother’s people who hide her among the clan.

Alan Cameron is a pawn in his uncle’s games.  His uncle is the man that Sorcha was supposed to marry.  When she disappears his uncle, Gilbert, calls him to find her as he’s the best tracker around.  He can’t find her but it looks like she died.  He’s not positive that was what happened but goes with it anyway.

Alan meets Sorcha, who goes by Saraid, and is instantly attracted to her which is good as she is instantly attracted to him as well.  He’s told that she will join a convent but he’s positive he can change her mind. Sorcha is adamant that she cannot change her mind but love has a funny way of changing people’s minds about the future.

This was a sweet story that had a few twists that I enjoyed.  I really liked Sorcha’s character and was surprised and pleased with her adamancy that she was going to join the convent.  She knew if Gilbert Cameron or her father found that she was alive there would be hell to pay.  I was thrilled she stood her ground for as long as she did but we all know she eventually caved. 🙂  Her actions at the end of the book were quite admirable and I loved the strength she showed.

Alan was a great character as well.  I was surprised that it took him as long as it did to figure out that Saraid was Sorcha.  They said he was a great tracker so why the heck couldn’t he figure it out? Lol  Oh well, it was a better story this way. 😉

Overall it was a good story and one I’d recommend if you’d like a quick historical book to read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Retro Review: Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard

Posted May 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro Review: Raintree: Inferno by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
Series: Raintree #1
Also in this series: Raintree: Sanctuary
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: May 1st 2007
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 288
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three-half-stars

Two hundred years after the Raintree clan defeated and abandoned them on a small Caribbean Island, the Ansara wizards are rising again to take on their bitterest foes. Despite their extraordinary powers and supernatural origin, the Raintree have largely blended into the modern world. They are bankers, cops, husbands, wives and lovers in the society of humankind.

But now, from Nevada to North Carolina, the rejoined battle will measure the endurance of their people. It will test their loyalties and relationships. And it will force upon them all new lives they could barely have imagined before.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I think about this series every now and again. I may have to go back and re-read it at some point. Just to see if my opinion of it still stands. 

This review was originally published May 14, 2007

I’ve been hearing a lot about this book the last few weeks, most of it not so good. Jane at Dear Author and Rosie both reviewed it and neither had very good things to say about it. I’ve been a LH fangirl for years now, but her last few releases, with the exception of her Blair Mallory books have left a lot to be desired, so I wasn’t too keen on reading this before I read the bad reviews. After? Yeah, so wasn’t going to touch it.

But then last week I read Tara Marie’s review and changed my mind. You see, there are some things I find I can’t stomach in a novel, and brain rape is one of them. From what Rosie and Jane said, I was under the impression there was quite a bit of that in this novel. But Tara Marie shed a bit more light on the subject and I decided to see for myself how bad it truly was.

Side Note: Spoilers below. I don’t think I can say what I truly felt about this book without them. :End Side Note

Lorna Clay has been spending a good amount of time in Dante Raintree’s casino. Normally that wouldn’t be cause for concern – quite the opposite in fact – but she never loses. Never. She’s not winning massive amounts of money at one time, but she’s walking away with enough to make Dante and his main casino dude a bit skeptical. They can’t seem to spot how she’s cheating via video, but they’re sure she is. So they drag her upstairs to “question” her and both she and Dante seem to have a rather…electric connection to one another.

Now, Dante is a Raintree, which is a psychic type of people that have been around for hundreds of years. They have a feud going on with the Ansara clan that’s lasted for centuries, and as soon as Dante figures out that Lorna has psychic abilities, he starts to wonder if she’s Ansara.

To quote Lorna about the Raintree/Ansara situation:

“You’re the weirdo equivalent of the Hatfields and the McCoys?”

She’s not. Lorna doesn’t even realize she has powers. She just thinks she’s really lucky. While in Dante’s office, a fire breaks loose in the main part of the casino, 19 floors below them. As one of Dante’s powers is the ability to control fire, he immediately heads down to help fight it, dragging Lorna along with him.

Now, this is where Jane and Rosie seemed to start having major issues with the book. I’m just going to tell you what happened. This is still relatively early in the book (the 2nd or 3rd chapter, I think) so you probably won’t be hurting yourselves if you read this part, but beware, major spoilers below:

Dante goes down to the main part of the casino to fight the fire and he can’t. He isn’t sure why – if it’s because his powers have been depleted trying to help the guests get out, or if it’s the fire itself – but he can’t get it under control. At this point, he and Lorna are pretty much surrounded by the fire. There’s no way for them to get out alive. He’s placed a protective “bubble” around them, but it’s starting to crack and he knows they don’t have much time left. Plus, the hotel that’s attached to the casino is at full capacity and he’s afraid of how many lives will be lost if the fire spreads that far.

He knows if he had another Raintree there to connect minds with he’d be able to pool their power and contain the inferno, but there’s no one but him and Lorna. That’s when he realizes – duh – she has powers and he could use them to boost his own. That’s when he “brain rapes” her by pushing himself into her mind and combining her powers with his.

I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. When weighing a situation like that, your death along with possibly hundreds of others, or forcing yourself into the mind of another for the greater good, well…I just can’t say I blame the guy. No, it wasn’t pleasant for Lorna and yes it was a gross invasion of her privacy, but he didn’t do it to find out if she was Ansara, or to purposely cause her pain. He did it to save her life. And his. And possibly hundreds of others. No big deal.

What comes next is a bit harder to swallow. He uses a mind “compulsion” to keep her from running once the fire is under control and they’re out of the building. Basically, if he tells her “Don’t move” she’s literally stuck in one spot. Because he’s not convinced of her innocence – in either the gambling or the fire – he binds her to him and forces her to remain against her will. At one point he even orders her to silence.

I had a hard time with this. Perhaps it’s because I’m a fairly independent woman and I would hate to have all control of myself taken away. Or perhaps that has nothing to do with being independent or a woman, but simply a human being. In any case, the next chapter or so was hard for me to get through. The way Dante pretty much forced her home with him and then checked her out to see if she was Ansara left a bad taste in my mouth.

But I persisted and you know…I ended up really liking the book. Really liking it. I can’t say it’s LH’s best work, but it more closely resembled the classic LH I fell in love with than anything else she’s produced in recent years.

Lorna was a fabulous heroine. She suffered numerous shocks in a short period of time, but rather than bowing under them, she kept her chin up and her sense of humor. She was sassy and sarcastic, and though I thought she forgave Dante a little too soon for his mind control of her, her reasons for doing so made a lot of sense.

As for Dante, he was a typical Howard Alpha and I thought he was great for what he was. For those of you who enjoyed some of her earlier category type books and works like Dream Man, you should enjoy him.

The ending was a major cliffhanger, but the relationship aspect of the story was all wrapped up. Since this is the first of a trilogy, I wasn’t too upset with the ending. I am annoyed that I have to wait for the next 2 installments, but otherwise? I highly enjoyed it. Well, once I got over being pissed at Dante, that is.

I’m giving this a 3.5 out of 5.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole 3 author trilogy, though. Having never read the other 2 authors, I can’t say for sure how excited I am to read them. On the other hand, I am anxious to see what happens next, so I’m sure I’ll purchase them.

The series is as follows:

Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
Raintree: Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones (to be released June 1, 2007)
Raintree: Sanctuary by Beverly Barton (to be released July 1, 2007)

This book is available from Silhouette Nocturne. You can purchase it here.

three-half-stars


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Retro Review: Craving Beauty by Nalini Singh

Posted May 3, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro Review: Craving Beauty by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Craving Beauty by Nalini Singh
Series: Zulheina #2
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: July 1st 2005
Pages: 184
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four-half-stars

Marc was dangerous to her in the way that only a strong, sexy male could be to a woman. Even knowing that, she'd agreed to marry him.

Hope blossomed in Hira's heart. Perhaps she'd married a man with whom it might be worth building a life. Her mother had worried that he was scarred, but the lines on his face did nothing to lessen his raw masculine appeal. If anything, they gave him an even more dangerous male air, enticing the feminine core of her to thoughts that shocked her.

What did a man's face matter anyway? She had no use for handsome men.

But for a man with a heart? For such a man...she might risk everything.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on October 5, 2007.

Harlequins are one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I love how I can pick up a book that is less than 200 pages long and be completely immersed in the story almost immediately.

Though I’m a huge Nalini Singh fan, this is only the 2nd series romance I’ve read by her. This book makes me want to run out and hunt down the rest of her OOP Silhouettes.

When Marc went to Zulheil on business, he never expected to return home w/ a foreign bride. From the first moment he laid eyes on Hira, he was captivated not only by her flawless beauty, but also her smile. When given a choice between being married and having her as his own or not having her at all, Marc did not hesitate.

Hira was used to being looked at as nothing more than a pretty face. When she first saw Marc, she hoped that he was different and would see her as the intelligent and capable woman that she was. Unfortunately that was not to be and Hira soon found herself married to Marc and leaving the only home she’d ever known.

It sounds like a simple enough plot, no? In a way, it was. There was no BIG MISUNDERSTANDING in this book. Both Hira and Marc agreed to the marriage for reasons that were not at first clear to them. Marc soon learns that his wife is far from the icy beauty he first assumed her to be. However, having been burned once by a beautiful woman, Marc has no desire to repeat the experience. Under Marc’s loving care (doesn’t that sound all Harlequin-ey?), Hira realizes that not all men are controlling tyrants like her father. Given freedom to pursue her own desires, Hira finds herself falling in love with her husband more as each day passes.

As in every romance novel, there is conflict between the characters. These are two very strong willed people who have been hurt in the past. Marc by a woman and Hira by watching how her father treated her mother. This is a classic story of the Beast trying to tame his Beauty, soon learning that taming is the last thing he wants of his wife. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that can find it.

4.5 out of 5.

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Playing Dirty by Taryn Leigh Taylor

Posted April 27, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Playing Dirty by Taryn Leigh TaylorReviewer: Tracy
Playing Dirty by Taryn Leigh Taylor
Published by Harlequin, Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
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four-stars


A game they both want to win

Lainey Harper has never been a puck bunny. She wants nothing to do with hockey or hockey players--not after what she's been through. So why can't she resist Cooper Mead?

Portland's newest hockey star, Cooper, is all muscle and charisma. And he's Lainey's worst nightmare. Hooking up with him would bring back memories that Lainey needs to keep buried. And risk the hard-earned anonymity she's sacrificed everything to protect.

When Lainey finally gives in to Cooper's sexy charm, the chemistry's intense--but so is the media exposure. And now Lainey's got even more to lose than her secret--she's got Cooper.

Lainey Harper grew up in a hockey family and loved it.  That is until her father walked out the door when she was 10 and never came back.  She did end up playing hockey, however, but ended her career scoring on her own net and never living it down.  Now she’s back in Portland, OR trying to sell the bar that her father left her when he died.  She wants nothing more than to sell it and get back to her life.

She meets professional hockey player Cooper Mead when her half-brother, Brett, brings him into the bar.   Cooper tries to get her number time and again but she doesn’t fall for his lines.  Despite that they end up hot and heavy after hours.  Lainey decides it was just sex and tries to move on.  Cooper, however, can’t get Lainey out of his mind and keeps showing up wherever Lainey is.  When she’s photographed with Cooper her past comes back to haunt her and she pushes him away. Lainey has to decide what she wants with Cooper, if anything, and what that means for her future.

Lainey was a wonderful character.  She was down to earth and realistic about life.  Yes, she had issues but she was open to change and that made a huge difference in the way I saw her.  Cooper was just a sexy as hell hockey player and I really liked him.  He was kind yet rough and tumble.  He has his own issues and secrets and because of them he tries to act, at times, like someone he’s not.  I loved how he dealt with everything in the book (I don’t want to give it all away) and how he came to tell Lainey, and others, about his issues.

The romance and sex was extremely hot and well written.  Taylor didn’t overdo it and throw too may sex scenes in when they didn’t further the story along, and I appreciated that.

This was a great little book.  Lainey really had a chip on her shoulder when the story first started but throughout the book she came to realize many things about herself and the way she saw life, her father, her brother, and love.

Rating: 4 out of 5

FYI – This kind of looks like it’s the second book in a series but the life of me I couldn’t find a series name.  The first book is Playing to Win.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Otherworld Challenger by Jane Godman

Posted April 6, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Otherworld Challenger by Jane GodmanReviewer: Jen
Otherworld Challenger by Jane Godman
Series: Otherworld Series #3
Also in this series: Otherworld Renegade
Published by Harlequin, Harlequin Nocturne
Publication Date: September 1st 2016
Pages: 304
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three-half-stars

KING OF THE OTHERWORLD

The race is on to find the true heir to the faerie crown before the evil king Moncoya returns from exile. Mercenary necromancer Jethro de Loix will find the challenger to Moncoya's crown...for a price. One million mortal dollars. Outraged at Jethro's audacity, Princess Vashti, Moncoya's daughter, arranges to accompany him on his mission.

Jethro doesn't want company, especially not from Moncoya's belligerent, pampered daughter. But as their journey pits them against evil forces, their animosity soon gives way to an overwhelming physical attraction. When the trail ends on the legendary Isle of Avalon, can the pair face down the evil sorceress Morgan le Fay to claim a future they'd long denied themselves?

Otherworld Challenger is the final book in the Otherworld series. While it had some pretty disappointing flaws, overall I was happy I read it.

Note: There are a few tiny spoilers for books 1 and 2 here. I’ve kept them to a minimum but if you haven’t read the other books and really don’t want to know anything, skip this review!

This time, our heroine is Vashti, Moncoya’s other daughter. She’s now the faerie representative in the new Otherworld Council, a role she takes really seriously. In book 2, we learned that someone from the faerie royal bloodline is still around. (Moncoya stole the crown but wasn’t part of the line.) The Council wants a democratic election, and they decide the best chance to get the faeries to vote for someone other than Moncoya is to find the legitimate heir. Jethro de Loix, the mercenary necromancer we met earlier in the series, offers to find the challenger, and the Council decides Vashti should accompany him to confirm that he gets the right person. The problem is, Jethro and Vashti can’t stand each other, and now they have to undertake an incredibly dangerous journey together. Doing so will take them deeper into Jethro’s past and force them to rely on someone else in a way neither has ever done before.

I totally loved Vashti. While Tanzi was the feminine fashion icon, Vashti was the fierce tomboy her father always wished was a boy. In book 2, she was still holding some loyalty towards her dad, but when he tricks her into helping him escape at the end of that book, she finally realizes he doesn’t care about her at all. Moncoya often pitted the girls against each other, discouraged them from using their fae senses of intuition and healing, and ruthlessly suppressed their emotions. Once Vashti is free of her father’s influence, though, she discovers she has deep emotions and powers, and I really enjoyed seeing her discover more about herself.

Really, though, this is kind of Jethro’s story. Vashti doesn’t say much about herself, largely because her own past was detailed in Tanzi’s story. It’s a little frustrating because of course Jethro wasn’t there for that, but I could understand not wanting to just rehash what we already know. Jethro’s story is pretty compelling, too, and even though it’s clear from the start what the big secret is going to be, it’s still interesting to read about. I thought Jethro was an excellent match for Vashti, too. He’s kind of a dick, and he’s hard on Vashti at first, but she’s equally prickly and obnoxious at first, too. Once he gets to know her better, he displays a lot of sensitivity and caring, and as you learn about his life you see he’s not quite the heartless mercenary he appears to be.

The first half of this book was so great. We learn more about Jethro, and Vashti gets used to the human world and her own true self. We also find out that Vashti and Jethro have an almost supernatural connection that seems to strengthen both. They have some great sexual tension too, and all of this awakens Vashti to the possibilities inside her. There’s also a big adventure component as they travel around, escaping the evil sorcerer who’s after them. Vashti starts to protect Jethro, physically and emotionally, and I loved the dynamic that was developing. But then, the second part of the book kind of loses that momentum. They go to the mythical island of Avalon, which is where they’re supposed to be, but things slow down once they get there. Even worse, though, all the build up about the mystical connection and this idea that they make the other one stronger kind of just disappears. In the end, Jethro basically does it all on his own while Vashti kind of hangs back instead of being his partner like she was earlier. It was super disappointing and, frankly, a disservice to Vashti.

When I looked back and cataloged all my thoughts about the book it sounds a little frustrating, but while reading it I Could. Not. Put. It. Down. I gasped at the surprising parts, bit my lip when things got hairy, and sweetly sighed at the romantic parts. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed the hell out of it anyway. This series was unexpectedly fun for me, even if it was a bit crazy. If you’re looking for a paranormal romance you can read in a few short hours, and you don’t need to overanalyze the details, this series might hit the spot for you, too.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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