Tag: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Guest Review: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake

Posted January 29, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia DrakeReviewer: Tracy
The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake
Series: Unlikely Duchesses #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 336
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

When two childhood sweethearts find themselves together after years apart, does their romance have a chance to be rekindled now that he’s a duke and she’s a governess? Olivia Drake’s new Unlikely Duchesses series begins with The Duke I Once Knew, where first love is always the sweetest...

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?

Abby and Max were once in love. Abby was 15 and Max just 16 years old.  Unfortunately, after the death of Max’s mother, his father took Max and his sister to live in London.  It’s been 15 years and Max only came back for a very short time to bury his father. Abby though they’d be together forever but since she wrote multiple times and received no reply she got on with her life.

Abby is the youngest of 5 siblings. They were all older and out of the house by the time she was born and it was her pleasure and duty to take care of her aging parents.  She loved them to pieces!  Now that they’re gone, her siblings are all gathered to decide who Abby should live with – basically planning her life.  Abby isn’t having it.  She was happy to take care of her parents but she’s now 30 years old and knows that she’ll never have a husband or family.  It hurts that she can’t control that, but there is something she can control – where she lives.  She heads to the estate next door and applies for the job of governess to Max’s younger sister, Gwen, and gets the position.  She has no fear of Max showing up because he hasn’t been there in 15 years. Of course, he shows up.

Max is on his way to a friends house so that is pugilist champion can have a match with America’s champion.  Unfortunately when they arrive at the friend’s estate they discover that all of the servants have the measles.  Since Max’s estate is so nearby, they decide to stay there.  Max isn’t thrilled to see Abby as he doesn’t have fond memories from 15 years ago. He also wanted to seduce a woman he’d brought with him but he suddenly is only interested in Abby.  The pair soon start to talk and discover a few things about their past.  The question is, can those revelations make a difference for their future?

While I always find Drake’s books enjoyable, this one wasn’t my favorite.  From the moment that the letters are mentioned I knew immediately what had happened.  Despite this misunderstanding there wasn’t much angst except on Max’ part. I felt his reasons for not falling in love again were weak, but maybe that’s just me.  The story was more to the tune of Max and Abby getting to know one another again and rekindling the love they once shared.  It was cute but pretty basic.

Overall a decent read but nothing I haven’t read before.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Unlikely Duchesses

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

Posted July 20, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily BlackwoodReviewer: Tracy
The Warrior of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior #3) by Lily Blackwood
Series: Highland Warrior #3
Also in this series: The Beast of Clan Kincaid, The Rebel of Clan Kincaid
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS

Derryth MacClaren is on the run. Traveling under heavy guard, she has been sent from her castle home to avoid capture by the vicious nobleman known as the Wolf, who has vowed revenge against the Clan Kincaid, and any who support them. When a surprise attack leaves her vulnerable, Derryth ends up in the hands of an enemy warrior who claims her, with the Wolf’s blessing, as his prize. But her captor’s gentle words and touch seduce her heart—and body—completely...and when she discovers the tattoo on his arm that proves him to be the legendary, long-believed dead son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid, Derryth knows she must find a way to alter his fate—and her own.

Cull has no memory of his family or past—all he knows is the life of a warrior, trained to fight on behalf of the Scottish king. If he can help the king’s law officer of the North, the Wolf of Badenoch, defeat a rebellious faction of Highlanders, Cull will be met with untold riches beyond possessing beautiful, innocent Derryth. But now that she has informed him of who he really is—Cullen Braewick, the youngest son of the slain laird—he is torn. If Cull exacts revenge against the Wolf, who executed his father, he stands to lose the precious lass who he has come to love. What is he willing to sacrifice for Derryth to keep her safe...and in his arms?

Derryth McClaren is the sister of the Laird of the Kincaid clan and has been living with the Kincaids for the past two years The Laird fears that they will be attacked so he sends Derryth away temporarily to her own home.  While they travel they are attacked and taken prisoner by the exact men they are trying to get away from.

Derryth is taken by the commander of the army that plans on attacking the Kincaids. At first he thinks that Derryth is a very young girl but once the mud and grime are removed he sees that she’s a very beautiful woman.  Derryth keeps her identity and link to the Kincaid clan a secret.  Despite trying to keep his hands and thoughts off of her, Cull the Nameless can’t do it.

Cull is a warrior and the King’s man.  He is attacking the Kincaid clan as he believes that he has orders from the king to do so.  He was once just a boy on a slavers ship with no memory of how he got there.  He was purchased by the son of the King and that’s how he came to be commander of the army.  When he finds out that Derryth is part of the Kincaid clan Cull starts to have second thoughts about attacking but decides he needs proof of the king’s son’s wrong-doing before he does anything.  He won’t risk the Derryth, the woman he has fallen in love with, or her family if he doesn’t have to.

The third book in the Highland Warrior series was a good one.  If you’ve read the first two book in the series, you know that they revolve around three brothers who were lost or thought dead.  Despite knowing that this third book was about the third brother I was a little disappointed in the blurb as it gave so much away!  Despite the over-sharing, I still enjoyed the way Blackwood unfolded the story.

Derryth was a bit of a pampered miss and was more interested in clothes and her hair than anything else. She was determined to change but it never happened.  Becoming a prisoner made her look at life differently and I think she grew during the book.  Cull was a good man.  He wasn’t evil or under-handed and I liked the honor he had.  When he realized that the king’s son might not have told him the truth about the orders to attack the Kincaid stronghold he sought proof.  I loved that he didn’t kill just for bloodsport.

The romance between the two main characters was good.  It’s a difficult thing, having the heroine fall in love with her captor, but I thought that the author wrote it well and didn’t have Derryth falling too quickly.

Overall a good book filled with action, romance, treachery and love.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Highland Warrior

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

Posted May 11, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregorReviewer: Tracy
The Luck of the Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #3) by Janna MacGregor
Series: The Cavensham Heiresses #3
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 1st 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Family secrets, mistaken identities…love and money make people do crazy things in The Luck of the Bride, the third Cavensham Heiresses novel.

March Lawson has never had much luck, and in a desperate move to save her family, she's been posing as the Marquess of McCalpin. But when she's summoned to a meeting with the Marquess himself, March expects jail time…not to be bewitched by dark hair and sapphire eyes.

Michael Cavensham, the Marquess of McCalpin and heir to the Duke of Langham, finds himself drawn to March despite the judgments from his peers. He isn't sure he can trust March, especially since Michael has a secret that could ruin him and his family.

But society conspires to keep March and Michael apart, and when March is accused of not being who she says she is, will Michael toss her aside or fight for the woman he's come to love?

When is March Lawson is just a teenager both of her parents die.  The estate is left in the hands of a guardian who basically ignores the family – March and her siblings (two sisters and a brother, Bennett, the heir who is only a baby when the parents died).  The keeper of the girls’ dowries went to a friend of March’s father but when he died it passed to his nephew.  March tries to take care of her family the best she can, but now it’s been eight years and with no funds, and everyone ignoring her pleas for help, she takes matters into her own hands.  She works out a scheme to forge the Marquess of McCalpin’s signature and starts taking small amounts out of her own dowry.  She is 25 and not married so that money should have come to her anyway.  When she’s caught things don’t really go how she planned.

Michael Cavensham has a problem with numbers.  I don’t think it could be classified as dyslexia as he apparently has not issue with the written word.  It’s with numbers that things get jumbled up.  His brother helps him out and being a Marquess he can delegate things.  Unfortunately he didn’t catch on to March, his solicitors did so Michael asks to see March.

Despite March’s criminal acts the family is taken in by the Cavensham family and treated as family.  They sponsor the girls in their seasons but March feels she’s too old to be out.  Michael can’t stop thinking about March and wants to be with her but he’s afraid of what will happen when she finds out that he’s and idiot (those are his words, not mine).

This was a really cute book.  It wasn’t action packed or too terribly angsty – although there was some strife towards the end of the book, of course – and I liked that.  I was proud of March for doing such a good job of raising her siblings with little to no help from anyone.  She did what she had to do in order to keep her family fed.  I liked that once Michael found out about the true reason March was forging his signature that he took the family under his wing so that they would suffer no more.

I would have liked to have the truth about March’s age come out.  They said she was 24 while she insisted that she was 25 but it was never resolved in the end.  I guess as she got married it didn’t matter, right?  Ugh.  Lol

The siblings didn’t have too big of a role except for little Bennett.  He was 9 in the book and was feeling his way in the world.  March had done a fine job trying to get him ready for his role in life but having Michael’s father step in and mentor him was fun to see.  Little Bennett was an absolute treat and I loved reading his parts in the book.

Overall I liked the book.  I really didn’t like the issue at the end of the book between the H/h because I didn’t think it was truly realistic, but that’s me.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Cavensham Heiresses Series

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Girl Most Likely To… by Susan Donovan

Posted February 22, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 10 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Girl Most Likely To… by Susan DonovanReviewer: Casee
The Girl Most Likely To... by Susan Donovan
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 30th 2008
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 340
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars

Kat Cavanaugh was sixteen when she hitchhiked out of Persuasion, West Virginia and vowed never to return. Who could blame her? She'd just stumbled upon her father's adulterous affair, found out she was pregnant, got dumped by her boyfriend, and kicked out of her house and school . . . all in a single afternoon. Twenty years have gone by and Kat's back—gorgeous, rich, and looking for an apology from everyone who'd turned their backs on her. First on that list is Riley Bohland, the boy who broke her heart before she could tell him about the baby.

But Kat didn't count on Riley having his own axe to grind, or that he'd be just as delicious as he was at sixteen. She also didn't count on her heart opening at the sight of him. When their anger ignites a passion intense enough to burn through two decades of secrets and lies, Kat must question everything she thought she knew about her past. And what about her future? The only place to find the answers may be in Riley's arms…

***Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on December 29, 2008.

I adore Susan Donovan. She writes some of the best contemporaries I’ve ever read. He Loves Lucy and Take a Chance on Me are a few of my favorite contemps of all time. That’s why I was so disappointed when I read that this would be Susan’s last contemporary. I mean, wtf?

Kat Cavanaugh left home at sixteen, alone and pregnant. When she went to tell her boyfriend that she was going to have a baby, he dumped her before she got the chance. Kat left town that night and has never returned. Until now, twenty years later. After coming into some unexpected money, Kat decides to return Persuasion to show her parents and Riley Bohland that she made it just fine without them. Little did she know what she would find.

Riley never knew that Kat was pregnant that long ago night. Being pressured by his father to break-up with Kat, he only did it to appease his father and fully intended to get back together with her. He had known that Kat was the one for him years ago, but everyone said that they were too young to know that. So when he found out that Kat left town without a word, he was devestated. That’s until he found out her secret a little more than eighteen years later.

Kat is stunned at Riley’s anamosity toward her. What right does he have to act like he was wronged? She was the one that was dumped, pregnant and alone at sixteen. To Kat’s dismay, the explosive attraction between them at sixteen was even more prominent at thirty six. Even with all the unsolved issues between them, Riley and Kat can’t stay away from each other.

While this book wasn’t up there with He Loves Lucy and Take a Chance on Me, it still had Donovan’s trademark humor. There were a few things the book could have gone without, including Kat’s psychotic father. There was already Riley’s stalker ex-girlfriend and the Bed-and-Breakfast owner who decided that she wanted Riley’s brother, even though he was already taken. Any one of these things by itself would have been okay, but all three together was a tad over the top.

Another thing I think Donovan did a great job on was the confrontation between Kat and her son, Aidan. Finding out he had a father after twenty years is not something that Aidan easily accepts. Especially since the mother he has loved so deeply lied to him. The book wouldn’t have been as good if Aidan would have easily accepted that Kat lied to him. Also, the reunion between father and son is “awwww” inducing.

Overall, I loved this book which makes me that much more disappointed that it will be her last contemp. Boo. and am so excited that she’s coming out with a new trilogy next year. w00t!

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

Posted January 29, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne EnochReviewer: Tracy
A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #3
Also in this series: Hero in the Highlands, My One True Highlander
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Format: eARC
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The dawning of desire...

1806, Scotland: Wild, reckless Callum MacCreath is in no hurry to become someone’s husband. But when his responsible, steady older brother Ian announces his engagement to their childhood friend Rebecca, Callum makes a startling discovery: he wants the lovely young lass for himself. But it’s too late, and when Ian banishes him for his duplicity, he’s only too happy to leave Scotland forever…

...is delicious and dangerous.

1816: Marrying Ian was the practical, logical thing for Becca to do. But once Callum sailed away to America, she missed his rakish charm and lust for life. Now, ten years later, Becca is a widow when a much-changed Callum returns to his Scottish homeland. Will he remember their spirited, fiery connection, or does he blame her for his brother’s unexpected death? This time neither of them can deny their scorching attraction, but will their hearts be burned in the blazing heat of scandal?

Callum is a young 20-year-old man and enjoying his drink and his women.  His best friend, besides his brother Ian, is Becca.  When he finds out that she’s agreed to marry Ian, he’s despondent and says some mean things. He also finds out that night that his brother and Becca’s father are going into business with the Duke of Dunncraigh and his son, and Callum warns Ian that it won’t turn out well as he knows that Dunncraigh and Stapp are not good men.  Ian tells Callum to leave and never return.  Callum takes him at his word and leaves not only his home, but Scotland.

Ten years later Callum is a man who is nothing like the youngster he was.  He has grown emotionally and physical and has stayed away from alcohol.  He has his own distillery and it’s becoming well known.  He’s a rich man in his own right and needs nothing from anyone.  When one of his workers comes across a newspaper stating that Ian drowned the previous year, Callum immediately sets sail for Scotland.

Becca is shocked to see Callum and wants him gone.  She is being courted by the Duke of Dunncraigh’s son, Lord Stapp, and has a good life which she doesn’t need interrupted.  She is just coming out of mourning for her husband and her father, who died not long after Ian, and wants nothing to do with Callum.  Of course, that’s what she says but down deep she’s a little bit thrilled that he’s there.  There were always feelings that she harbored for Callum but she knew even ten years earlier that he wasn’t the steady man she needed.  Now Callum is in MacCreath house and making accusations – saying that Dunncraigh and Stapp killed both Ian and her father.  On top of that he has claimed guardianship of Becca’s 6-year-old daughter, Maggie, and refuses to let her leave with Becca.  Not about to leave her daughter, Becca stays.  She must prove to Callum that she had nothing to do with the deaths in her family.  She also starts to believe Callum when he says that the deaths weren’t accidents.

I really love Enoch’s books and this one is another great one.  Callum, when he returns to Scotland, is such a different man than when he left.  Although we only saw him in one scene before the time jump I could tell he was a bit of a rogue.  Ten years later he is a man of action and is not afraid to step on toes to get what he wants. I normally don’t care for men like that, but Enoch wrote Callum in a way that I couldn’t help but like him.  He was so determined to find his brother’s killer. He felt guilty that he had ignored his brother’s letters when he was alive and even had them burned.  It was a bit heartbreaking to see his guilt but I thought he avenged his brother beautifully.

With Becca it took me some time to like her.  I couldn’t get a grasp on her personality in the short scene at the beginning of the book.  When we see her again she’s so determined to get Callum gone that I couldn’t help but think there was something going on with her.  There was – her repressed feelings for him.  As the story moved on I could see the person she had become and I liked her a lot.  She was a great match for Callum and I liked them together.

Overall the story was a good one.  Of course Enoch added the cute when she wrote in Maggie, her dog Reginald and Callum’s wolf, Waya.  Those three had me smiling a bunch of times during the course of the book and I loved it.  If you read the other two books in the series you won’t want to miss this one.  If you haven’t started the series, it’s one I recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

No Ordinary Hero Series

four-stars


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