Author: Holly

Books to Binge On: April 2020

Posted April 6, 2020 by Holly in Features | 3 Comments

Books to Binge On

Our Books to Binge On feature is pretty simple in its purpose. Every month, we put together a monthly new releases list of books that we’re all looking forward to. These are the books that we can’t wait to read and want everyone to add to their monthly binge-reading lists. Here are the books that we plan to binge on in April of 2020.


Sin & Lightning (Demigod of San Francisco #5) by K.F. Breene

One thing has become incredibly clear to Alexis and Kieran, if they hope to last in the arena of Demigods, they’ll need a more robust defense team.

They must take two incredibly dangerous journeys, seeking the prized talents other Demigods would kill for. Except, there is a reason other Demigods don’t have these magical workers–they are as ruthless as they are dangerous, and the last thing they want is to be on a Demigod’s team.

If that isn’t enough, Alexis has received an invitation from Demigod Lydia, the only Hades Demigod who hasn’t openly declared war. She’s talking like they could be allies, but those of Hades cannot be trusted. A trap is just as likely as a handshake. Still, it’s a chance they must take.

Any one of these trips could be their last, but to back down would be the most dangerous of all.

Holly: I’m so glad this next book is coming out soon. I need my fix.


When He’s Dark (The Olympus Pride #1) by Suzanne Wright

The Olympus Pride series centres around the ex-pride of Dominic’s mate, Mila. The first novel is her twin brother Alex’s story—he’s not a pallas cat like her or their father, though, he’s a wolverine like their mother. The heroine in the book, Bree, is a pallas cat; she’s also an omega.

Holly: A Phoenix Pack spin-off? YES PLEASE!

 
 
 
 


First Comes Scandal (The Rokesbys #4) by Julia Quinn

She was given two choices…

Georgiana Bridgerton isn’t against the idea of marriage. She’d just thought she’d have some say in the matter. But with her reputation hanging by a thread after she’s abducted for her dowry, Georgie is given two options: live out her life as a spinster or marry the rogue who has ruined her life.

Enter Option #3

As the fourth son of an earl, Nicholas Rokesby is prepared to chart his own course. He has a life in Edinburgh, where he’s close to completing his medical studies, and he has no time—or interest—to find a wife. But when he discovers that Georgie Bridgerton—his literal girl-next-door—is facing ruin, he knows what he must do.

A Marriage of Convenience

It might not have been the most romantic of proposals, but Nicholas never thought she’d say no. Georgie doesn’t want to be anyone’s sacrifice, and besides, they could never think of each other as anything more than childhood friends… or could they?

But as they embark upon their unorthodox courtship, they discover a new twist to the age-old rhyme. First comes scandal, then comes marriage. But after that comes love…

Rowena: We’re finally getting Nicholas’ book so I’m excited and dude, there are a lot of Bridgertons in the world. Haha.


Island Affair (Keys to Love #1) by Priscilla Oliveras

Sought-after social media influencer Sara Vance, in recovery from an eating disorder, is coming into her own, with a potential career expansion on the horizon. Despite the good news, her successful siblings (and their perfect spouses) have a way of making her feel like the odd one out. So, when her unreliable boyfriend is a no-show for a Florida family vacation, Sara recruits Luis Navarro—a firefighter paramedic and dive captain willing to play the part of her smitten fiancé . . .

Luis’s big Cuban familia has been in Key West for generations, and his quiet strength feeds off the island’s laidback style. Though guarded after a deep betrayal, he’ll always help someone in need—especially a spunky beauty with a surprising knowledge of Spanish curse words. Soon, he and Sara have memorized their “how we met” story and are immersed in family dinners, bike tours, private snorkeling trips . . . sharing secrets, and slow, melting kisses. But when it’s time for Sara to return home, will their island romance last or fade with the stunning sunset?

Rowena: I’ve seen this book cover around but I haven’t really been paying attention to new releases the last little while so I never read the blurb before now. I’m definitely interested in this one so on my wishlist it goes.


(Im)perfectly Happy by Sharina Harris

When four college friends formed the Brown Sugarettes Mastermind Group, they had very different goals–but matched each other in ambition. Yet ten years later they can’t help wondering what happened to the hopeful, confident, driven women they used to be–and how to get
them back . . .

Radio personality Raina, known as “the black Delilah,” hates the wholesome persona that’s made her a success. Doling out syrupy versions of her grandma’s wisdom feels worlds away from the sarcastic,
tell-it-like-it-is woman Raina really is.

Kara Jones was sure she’d be a master sommelier by thirty. Life and loss interfered with that plan. Now she has one more chance–but it’s taking a toll on her self-esteem and her marriage.

Nikki Grayson hardly recognizes the stay-at-home mom she’s become. When her band signed a record deal, she swapped the limelight for a minivan and a sensible ‘do. Now she’s wishing she had followed her heart. Instead, she’s drowning her regret in alcohol.

Public defender Sienna Njeri willingly put her city council aspirations aside to support her fiance’s bid for office–and now she’s wondering if her loyalty is misplaced.

Longing for the support, advice, and tough love they once shared, all four resolve to start meeting up again. After all, their dreams may still be within reach. But are they worth the price they’ll pay to achieve them?

Rowena: I came across this book a couple of months ago and it sounds like a good time so I’m all in. This one is definitely on my reading list for this month.


Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love #2) by Alisha Rai

In Alisha Rai’s second novel in her Modern Love series, a live-tweet event goes viral for a camera-shy ex-model, shoving her into the spotlight—and into the arms of the bodyguard she’d been pining for.

OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???

I don’t see any wedding rings [eyes emoji]

Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for.

He’s got a [peach emoji] to die for.

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard…

Rowena: I didn’t enjoy the previous book in this series as much as I hoped I would have but I was mighty interested in the heroine of this book so I’m still looking forward to reading this one.


The Rakess (Society of Sirens #1) by Scarlett Peckham

Meet the SOCIETY OF SIRENS—three radical, libertine ladies determined to weaponize their scandalous reputations to fight for justice and the love they deserve…

She’s a Rakess on a quest for women’s rights…

Seraphina Arden’s passions include equality, amorous affairs, and wild, wine-soaked nights. To raise funds for her cause, she’s set to publish explosive memoirs exposing the powerful man who ruined her. Her ideals are her purpose, her friends are her family, and her paramours are forbidden to linger in the morning.

He’s not looking for a summer lover…

Adam Anderson is a wholesome, handsome, widowed Scottish architect, with two young children, a business to protect, and an aversion to scandal. He could never, ever afford to fall for Seraphina. But her indecent proposal—one month, no strings, no future—proves too tempting for a man who strains to keep his passions buried with the losses of his past.

But one night changes everything…

What began as a fling soon forces them to confront painful secrets—and yearnings they thought they’d never have again. But when Seraphina discovers Adam’s future depends on the man she’s about to destroy, she must decide what to protect…her desire for justice, or her heart.

Rowena: I’ve been seeing good things about this book around online so my interest and curiosity are definitely piqued. This one is on my wishlist for sure.

What books are you looking forward to reading this month? Share in the comments!


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Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Posted April 2, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 318
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper is a stand-alone paranormal romance. I started this book months ago and quit about halfway through. I was mostly just bored with the story. I was recently on a flight and forgot to download a new audiobook, so I turned this one on since it was already on my device. The second half was much better than the first.

Nina Linden is struggling to keep her landscape business afloat since her former business partner and ex started sabotaging her. Though the place is said to be haunted and/or cursed, she takes a job to bring an abandoned private island back to life. Billionaire Deacon Whitney wants to revive the Whitney Estate, the family’s private island that’s rumored to be cursed. He doesn’t believe in ghosts or curses, but he knows others do so he’s paying double the rates. Nina doesn’t expect to be attracted to Deacon..or to be having strange visions of herself as a maid in a gothic mystery.

Deacon’s flighty cousin, interior decorator ex-girlfriend and architect best friend are there helping, along with a cleaning service. The novel jumps around a lot, and in the beginning I had trouble following everyone and everything. I came to really like the cast of characters and the way the novel flashed back and forth between the developing romance of Deacon and Nina and Jeff, the architect, and Cindy, the owner of the cleaning service, but the second half didn’t make up for the first.

I enjoyed the setting and the romance. Harper is generally good for a laugh, and I found myself smiling several times over the antics of the characters. The mystery plot was kind of a dud, but I enjoyed the paranormal/ghost aspects. Not my favorite of Harper’s novels.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh x2

Posted March 29, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Casee and I were discussing the Psy/Changeling series the other day and it reminded me how much I love this book Featured this as a group some time ago, but I’m bringing it back today because I love it so much.

Sunday Spotlight: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh x2Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling #12
Also in this series: Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat , Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation , Wild Invitation, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Heart of Obsidian, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Allegiance of Honor, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Tangle of Need, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Caressed By Ice, Wolf Rain
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 360
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world…
A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.

Excerpt

Kaleb’s priorities and goals were murky in the beginnng of the series, but as time when on we saw there was more to him than we previously thought.

It was the greatest of ironies that the only person who had ever held him as if he mattered was the one person who did not need to hold him at all. If Sahara called, he would come. Always.

Sahara was the most important thing in the world to him, and he never faltered when it came to her.

[..]He rose to his feet and, placing his hands on the table, leaned toward her until she could’ve reached out and run her fingers along his freshly shaven jaw. “You are here,” he said in a tone that made her heart thump wildly against her ribs, “because you belong to me.”

They were both broken, and had issues.

[..]He sat on the edge with his back to her and his arms braced on his knees . . . and he remembered the seven years he had waited for her to come back, the countless days he’d stood on this terrace staring down at the gorge as the rational part of his mind tried to convince the obsessive madness that lived in him of her likely death.

The gorge, deep and without end, hadn’t existed until the first time he’d imagined her erased from existence.

I love how strong Kaleb’s determination to find Sahara was. How he continued to build a life for her, even though she’d been gone for so long.

“Who are you?”

“A caretaker,” he said, and it was a truth, if not everything.

Frown lines on her brow, her fingers flexing and clenching against his chest in a way that challenged his already unsteady control.

“Of this house?”

“Yes.” It was an anchor, a physical symbol of his search, of her.

“Who owns it?”

“You do.” He’d had it built according to specifications she’d outlined at fifteen, watched over it all the years of her captivity, using

On the surface, Kaleb seems to live in perfect Silence, but things are more complex than that.

“That,” Tatiana said, putting down the stylus, “is why we’d make an unbeatable team. Neither one of us has any flaws in our Silence.”

Kaleb thought of the woman who slept in the house he’d built for her, of the man with a broken neck who had burned to ash in a crematorium incinerator hours ago, and knew his Silence was far more complex than Tatiana could imagine.

Psy-Changeling

Psy-Changeling Trinity

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: March 2020

Have you read this series? What’s your favorite novel from the series to date? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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Joint Review: Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs

Posted March 26, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Smoke Bitten by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #12
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned, Storm Cursed , Night Broken, Fire Touched, Storm Cursed
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman. My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.

Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.

Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.

It won’t, can’t, remain.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

Smoke Bitten is the 12th book in the Mercy Thompson series.

Since Mercy claimed the Tri-Cities as Pack territory, and the Fae and Vampires called a truce with them, things have gotten interesting. Since fighting a coven of black witches, things have been strange between Mercy and Adam. Things come to a head when his ex-wife causes trouble for them, so of course, that’s when they discover something has escaped from Underhill- the magical lands the Fae used to inhabit before she kicked them out – and it’s causing havoc for Mercy and the pack. Now Mercy needs to figure out how to kill the Smoke Demon, and how to fix what’s wrong between her and Adam…before it’s too late.

Holly: Another stellar novel in the Mercy Thompson series. I love how the relationships she has with Adam and Bran continue to evolve as the series progresses. Mercy’s relationship with the members of the pack is interesting. Sometimes I want to beat them over the head, and yet I love them all. I’m really looking forward to seeing how things change in the future with them.

Rowena: I agree that this was another stellar novel. I just keep right on adoring Mercy with each and every single book. I love that she’s not a dramatic person but she doesn’t shy away from the drama that finds itself at her doorstep. She’s such a laid back, mellow person but whoa boy if you come for her or anyone she loves. She’s much different than Kate Daniels but no less kick-ass, IMO.

I was all over the place, emotionally, in this book. I was pissed off for Ben, pissed off at Adam for being a raggedy ol’ bitch ass and then hurt for both Mercy and Adam once I realized that he wasn’t being a raggedy ol’ bitch ass on purpose. Haha. Hell, I even hurt for Stefan but I was also super happy to get some Bran and everyone. This book just made me happy for the most part. I freaking love this world.

Holly: I was so angry at Adam at first, and the pack, too. Like, “really, this again? Ugh!” Like you, I ended up hurting for them all once I realized why they were acting the way they were.

Rowena: I love that Mercy never gives up on anybody in the pack, Adam included.

Holly: What did you think of Aurielle? I never really liked her in the previous books, but she grew on me here.

Rowena: At the beginning of this book, I wanted to karate chop Aurielle into next week. I could not stand that she takes Christy’s side each and every single time. I’m glad that she got over herself and did what was right in the end because if she continued to treat Mercy the way that she did, I would hate her and hold a grudge against her, no matter how much she was redeemed. I loved that Jesse enjoyed making her squirm. And I love how loyal Jesse is to Mercy.

Holly: I love how loyal and strong-willed Mercy is, too. I’m wondering more about Aurielle’s reason for freaking out. Do you feel for her nah?

Rowena: To be honest, no. I’m not feeling for her because I cannot stand it when teenagers lash out at others when they’re hurting and I hate it even more in grown-ass adults. Aurielle annoys the shit out of me and the way that she handled all of this shit at the beginning of this book pissed me off so I’m pretty meh toward her right now. I don’t hate her because she did eventually come around but other than that? Meh. She not only put herself at risk, but she also put Daryl at risk, against his wishes and that pisses me off too.

Holly: I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Aurielle, either, because she’s been pretty awful to Mercy from the beginning. Her extreme protectiveness toward Christy is not only misplaced but makes her a liability to the pack, IMO. It’s not that I don’t feel for the overall plight of the female wolves, but Aurielle just makes me angry. Still, by the end of the book I was less mad at her. She grew on me over the course of the novel.

Rowena: I’m really liking the lengths that Mercy and Adam are taking to make Aiden a part of the family. When Mercy called him, her son, I smiled and enjoyed seeing Aiden’s reaction to it. Ahhh, have I told you how much I love this book?

Holly: I love how Aiden has become part of the family. I just love how Mercy continues to collect people. Joel, Aiden, etc.

Rowena: Am I missing something with Wulfe? I still don’t understand what he’s doing with Mercy?

Holly: I’m not sure yet what’s going on with Wulfe. I have a feeling this will turn into something in the future.

What do you think of Underhill?

Rowena: Underhill is smart as hell, and the lengths she went to get what she wanted in this book show us how dangerous she is. I’m curious if we’ll see more from her in future books.

Holly: I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of Underhill in the future. There are obviously things working with the Fae and I’m sure that will come up later.

Rowena: The villains continue to be interesting in me. There are so many different monsters to take out with every book and they’re all so different. They all have different motives and different backgrounds and I’ve been interested in every single book so I think Briggs is doing a great job with keeping me invested in what goes on with her characters…even when they piss me the hell off.

Holly: I love how wide and varied all the villains are, and how fresh the series is even after all these books. I’m excited to see where things go from here.

Rowena: Tad and Jessie, huh? Thoughts on that?

Holly: I don’t think Tad and Jesse are a thing. They’re more like siblings than anything else. I’m curious what Gabriel’s note to Jesse said.

Rowena: I read somewhere that people were shipping them and I didn’t really see why everyone was doing that while reading this book so I was curious if I was the only one or not.

Holly: I don’t ship them. They’ve always been more like siblings to me. Plus Tad feels too old for Jesse. She’s just out of high school and he’s in his mid-20s in age, but his life experience makes him seem a lot older. Maybe in a few years I would buy it, but not right now.

Rowena: Overall, this book was another great addition to this series and after 12 books, I’m STILL hyped for this series so I’d say this was a good one. I give it 4.25 out of 5 stars. You?

Holly: Like you, I’m still invested in this series after 12 books, so Briggs is obviously doing something right. I’m going to give it 4.25 out of 5 as well.

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands

Posted March 12, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands
Series: Devil of the Highlands #2
Also in this series: Taming the Highland Bride
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 371
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She was ready to let her heart run wild . . .Merry Stewart has had enough! Enough of her brothers, whose behavior would make even the most improper lady blush. Enough of their Highland home, which would surely have fallen to ruin were it not for her. She dreams of escaping into the arms of her betrothed, Alexander d'Aumesbery, even though they haven't yet met. But when they do, Merry is devastated. It seems he's no better than the men in her family.

So beautiful, so brazen . . . From the moment he meets Merry, Alexander is determined to make her his. Desperate to convince her he's nothing like the members of her roguish clan, he will prove he is every bit the well-mannered gentleman. Yet, beneath it all beats a heart as intense and uncontrollable as hers. And finally, when his life is threatened, Merry realizes he's the husband she's been waiting for . . . and their passion becomes the one thing that cannot be tamed.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on March 24, 2010.

I only just discovered Sands’ historicals last year. Prior to that I though she wrote only paranormals. Since discovering her medievals I’ve gone on a buying binge, gobbling up her backlist. I’ve found her novels to be quick, light reads. While this was more of the same, I wasn’t quite as satisfied with it.

I think many of the actions of the heroine were supposed to be kind of cutesy but they were kind of dry instead. I wasn’t laughing or smiling over her antics as much as I have in the past. I’m not sure if it was my mood while reading or a reflection of the book but there you go. I think the problem might have been that they just went on too long. There were a ton of instances where she had to be clever and find solutions to problems (carting her husband around after he’d been bashed in the head or drugged) and that didn’t leave a lot of time for the romance.

I really liked the way Alex tried to make Merry understand he wasn’t like her father and brothers. Because of a series of misunderstandings and the actions of outside forces, Merry thinks he’s a drunkard like her family. His disappointment over her feelings for him and the way he tries to fix it were sweet. It did bother me that Merry was so much in charge during the book, though. I like my medieval warriors to be just that..warriors. Because Alex was hurt so much Merry was mostly left in charge of running the keep and training the men. This bothered Alex quite a bit, but he wasn’t able to do much about it since he was always drugged or recovering from beatings.

The mystery plot annoyed me only because no one seemed to take the threats seriously. Every time something happened to Alex it was explained away or considered an accident. I wasn’t surprised at who the villain was, though the reasons behind it were interesting.

Something that really bothered me, and I’m sure this will prove just how shallow I am: the first time Merry sees Alex he’s falling down drunk. He isn’t normally a drinker, but he had a bad tooth that was causing him pain so he drank whiskey to dull the pain of having it removed. But..it was never mentioned why it had to be removed, or what tooth it was. Was it one of his front teeth, so now when he smiles he’s gap-toothed? Was it infected because he doesn’t believe in personal hygiene? I wondered about it all throughout the book. I guess it was just a little bit too much reality in my fiction.

Still, it was readable and I enjoyed the main story. I’m also looking forward to reading The Hellion and the Highlander, Merry’s oldest brother’s book.

3.75 out of 5

Devil of the Highlands

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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