Genre: Historical Romance

Review Round Up #5

Posted April 24, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review Round Up #5The Highland Chieftain by Amy Jarecki
Series: Lords of the Highlands, #4, #4
Published by Forever on July 31, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

He is the last man she would ever marry…After being unceremoniously jilted by her betrothed, Lady Mairi MacKenzie is humiliated and heartbroken – but she’s not desperate. As the daughter of an earl, she won’t give her hand to just anyone, and she definitely isn’t swayed by a last-minute proposal from Laird Duncan MacRae. The powerful clan chieftain may be disarmingly handsome and charming, but he’s not a nobleman. Mairi doesn’t want his pity or his charity – even though his dark smoldering gaze makes her melt with desire.
She is the only woman he could ever love…Dunn may be a battle-hardened clansman, but he’s always had a soft spot for Mairi. For years, she tormented him with flirtation – only to reject him. But he’s not giving up. When Mairi is attacked by redcoats, Dunn goes after the woman he loves. Through brute strength and fierce action, he will protect her life at any cost. But to win her heart, he will have to show her the tenderness in his own.

Lady Mairi MacKenzie has been left humiliated and heartbroken when she is jilted by her betrothed, but she is not desperate enough to accept a last-minute proposal from Laird Duncan MacRae. When Mairi is attacked by redcoats in the forest, Dunn rides to her rescue. But rescuing Lady Mairi seemed to come with a cost because now her father wants Dunns head for “kidnapping” his daughter.

This was a good Highlander read. I really enjoyed Amy Jarecki writing, I think she is a really good author. Although I liked Mairi and Dunn well enough, I found the plot to be a little lacking. I did enjoy the two characters together, the romance was really sweet. I found Mairi’s father to be completely unreasonable in his assumptions and what he did to Dunn. I am still interested in the next book in this series, because it features what looks like a forbidden romance.

Review Round Up #5Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane,
Published by Grand Central Publishing on October 17, 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 308
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A LADY OF LIGHT
Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.
A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS
Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.
CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER . . . AND DESIRE
Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael's past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael's own demons?

Elizabeth Hoyt reminds me time and time again, how much I enjoy her writing and how easy it is to immerse yourself in her world. This book was no different. I love her witty writing style, I also love the humor she weaves into her stories that can at times be a bit on the dark side.

Duke of Desire, thought was an interesting read, wasn’t always an easy read for me. I loved Raphael and Lady Iris. I love how the characters were crafted. How much depth she bought into Raphael’s character through his past. He was such a damaged character and it took him a while to come out as Iris continue to try and break down his barriers.

I really loved these two characters, I thought they were really well crafted. That being said, this wasn’t my favorite background storyline. The chapters with Lords of Chaos went to some disturbing areas and sometimes were a bit hard to read. Despite that, I really enjoyed most of this book and it’s making me want to revisit the books I’ve missed. I really adore her writing.

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Review Round Up #3

Posted April 3, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review Round Up #3River Queen Rose by Shirley Kennedy
Series: In Old California, #1, #1
Published by Lyrical Press on December 26, 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 210
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat:two-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The ramshackle River Queen Hotel is home to vagabonds, gamblers, and heathens—and now, to new widow Rose Peterson. The rundown Gold Rush establishment is the only thing her late husband, Emmet, left her. Despite its raucous saloon and ladies of the evening, Rose can see the hotel’s potential. Her late husband’s family claim that sheltered Rose isn’t capable of running the Sacramento inn herself. But she is determined to make a new life for herself and her young daughter, even if it means flying in the face of custom and propriety. She feels as if she hasn’t a friend in the world.
Except, perhaps, one. Decatur “Deke” Fleming, a tall, lanky Australian who once served as Emmet’s farmhand. Pride prevents Deke from revealing his moneyed past; conscience keeps him from confessing his feelings for the still grieving widow. But when Rose is tempted by wealthy civic leader and hotel owner Mason Talbot, Deke may be the only person who can save her—and the one man capable of reviving her bruised and battered heart.

Rose Peterson finally arrives in California after a long journey only to discover her husband Emmet is dead, shot in an illegal duel. He left her behind his hotel the River Queen, home to the vagabond, gamblers, and ladies of the night. The man who dueled her husband desperately wants to buy it, but to prove herself Rose decides to keep the hotel because no one outside of Deke believes she is capable of handling it.

I liked the setting. I liked that it took around the time of the gold rush. I liked the storyline enough, it kept me interested.

I hated the characters. None of them outside of Deke were really all that likable.

Rose was annoying. She ends up, allowing her husband’s killer to try to swoon her despite having some reservations about him and not understanding some of his anger when she mentions the hotel. She also allowed her in-laws to push her around way too much even when she ended with some power to throw them out.

Deke is on crutches at the beginning of the book so Rose treats him as if he is missing his leg forever and that just downright bothered me. She keeps calling him a cripple like he is no longer a man.

The romance was okay. It was okay. Went by quickly.

Review Round Up #3When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Series: Standalone
Published by Vintage on January 5, 2017
Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Pages: 225
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.
When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.
--back cover

Beautiful, heartbreaking, powerful. Is a few words that I feel do sum up this book as a whole.

When I first heard about this book. I knew I wanted to read it. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to read it.

Written by Paul Kalanithi himself, this memoir covers his story. About how he found out at the age of 36 that he has inoperable lung cancer while being on the verge of a turning point in his career as a neurosurgeon. How he went from being a doctor himself to a patient and how ultimately he came to face the reality of impending death. His decisions and his family.

This book was hard to rate. The writing was wonderful. The loss of such a life full of potential was devastating. The ending written by his wife was moving, emotional, heartbreaking and brought me to tears.

The honesty of his words and how he viewed life and death as a surgeon working with patients versus how he is viewed as a patient was both poignant and real.

This was his journey. His story to tell. Finding light in moments of bleakness and living your life to the fullest, as to what that fullest means to you as a person.

I’m glad I read this book.

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Sophia Rose: Seasons in Time by Cat Gardiner

Posted March 30, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Sophia Rose: Seasons in Time by Cat GardinerSeasons in Time by Cat Gardiner
Series: Time & Again Antique Shop Books #1 #2 #3 #4
Published by Vanity & Pride Press on February 9, 2019
Genres: Historical Romance, Time-Travel
Pages: 230
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

All four Time & Again Antique Shop Series in one fabulous paperback where the 1940s meet the present through a time-slip wormhole. Share the romantic and exciting journey with history's favorite literary couple from Pride and Prejudice.Romance, history, and memories of old are only part of what makes the 130 year old Time & Again antique shop so special.For Lizzy Bennet, what begins as a simple visit to Time & Again turns into so much more than discovering trinkets from the past. An unlikely friendship forms with the elderly shopkeeper who sends her on a journey of a lifetime─through a time portal. Love and lessons await her when she leaves her mobile device behind and finally looks up. Travel with Lizzy back to wartime 1940s─where her heart opens and future changes thanks to one dashing G.I: William Darcy and the magic of an antique shop.

A modern woman, cynical about love, finds herself outside a quaint antique shop when left alone on Valentine’s Day. The magic begins when she enters the shop and discovers the plastic red heart pin in the 1940’s display that whisks her back to a time of warbonds, ration cards, USO dances, and a nation at war for an unforgettable Valentine’s Dance and Kiss.

Seasons in Time is the compilation of the Time and Again Antique Shop novellas. Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, All Hallow’s Eve, and New Year’s Eve are the holiday settings for the ongoing tale of a fated romance, family antics, and the revitalization of a little antique shop and the rundown east end of town.

It had a lovely nostalgic, sweet, and sassy feel. The time travel aspect was magical rather than sci-fi and the Antique Shop setting was fun and whimsical. Doris, the shop keeper, is a lady of mystery and the reader and Lizzy are aware that she knows more than she’s telling as events unfold. She guides Lizzy and Will, Jane and Charles and many others to find their true path in life in a kind, grandmothery way. Her story reveals itself in the background of the stronger story of Lizzy and Will.

Lizzy is the primary character though Will and Doris get their moments of telling the story, too. Lizzy is a vulnerable person who hides a good amount of pain and fear behind the face she shows the world. Her life hasn’t been horrific, but there is a quiet pain that comes from a father who neglects his family and a mother who picks favorites followed by a scumbag ex who cheated on her with her twit of a baby sister. This all starts to change when she enters Doris’ shop and steps back in time to have her eyes opened to the possibility of love and a confidence to reach for it.

Will is a dashing soldier hero who comes from a prestigious wealthy family, but he is no snob and is a natural caregiver and protector. He takes one look at Lizzy and he feels the connection. He is patient with her fears and her vulnerability and he is more than patient with her obnoxious family. He’s a bit wartorn from his tours overseas as an Army Ranger. He has his own vulnerability and it is Lizzy who anchors him. He needs her and it was good to see.

The author did her homework when it came to the 1940’s and war backdrop. The slang was fun as were all the little ways that the scene was drawn behind the characters. The Big Band Era was well repped in songs and dances.

All in all, it was heartwarming and sweet with a pinch of spice. Fans of Jane Austen will spot the tribute to Pride & Prejudice in this engaging, uncomplicated time travel romance that I can see being a pleasure for many readers.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Guest Review: Son of a Preacher Man by Karen M Cox + Interview

Posted July 3, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Interview / 17 Comments

Guest Review: Son of a Preacher Man by Karen M Cox + InterviewSon of a Preacher Man by Karen M. Cox
Series: standalone
Published by Adalia Street Press on July 1, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 274
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Love has power we disregard at our peril...”
It’s 1959 — and although the country is poised at the edge of a tidal wave of social change, Billy Ray Davenport anticipates living a traditional, predictable life. Handsome, principled, and keenly observant, he arrives in town to lodge with the Millers, the local doctor’s family. Billy Ray has visited the small Southern town of Orchard Hill several times when he accompanied his father, a widowed traveling minister. But he never bargained for Lizzie Quinlan—a complex, kindred spirit who is beautiful and compassionate, yet scorned by the townsfolk. Could a girl with a reputation be different than she seems? With her quirky wisdom and a spine of steel hidden beneath an effortless sensuality, Lizzie is about to change Billy Ray’s life—and his heart—forever.A realistic look at first love, told by an idealistic young man, Son of a Preacher Man is a heartwarming coming of age tale set in a simpler time.

“He was the only son of a Preacher Man… the only one who could ever move me…”
Yep, it is connected to the old song written by John Hurley and Ronnie Walkins and sung by Dusty Springfield among others. And, it’s also equally influenced by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I love that the author set this one in the late fifties in a rural community area and then moved things to the city as a pair of young star-crossed lovers head out into the big wide world.

This was a tender story of first love, but so much more. There is a coming of age story all told through Billy Ray’s eyes. He’s had to grow up quickly and be responsible because of his mom’s death and knocking about with his dad, but because he’s preacher’s son, he’s also somewhat sheltered and innocent. Lizzy has been limited in her education and knowledge of the world outside her town, but she is wise to worldliness and hard-living with her family on the grub farm. My heart went out for this girl and I teared up at one point as her past was fully revealed. I got quite angry at a few people just like Billy Ray.

This story has one of my favorite settings- small town. But, instead of the romantic nostalgia that can paint a picture of the best side, this shows the uglier side, too. We have a small community set on believing the worst in one of their own even without evidence, what trouble a malice-filled girl can stir up, and Lizzy’s pain and strength needed to make it even years under a bad reputation before getting out to make good on her dreams.

The historical era was there and gave a nice layer of verisimilitude without taking over the engaging, gently-paced story.

The book has a strong faith element because of Billy Ray’s Christian outlook and he leans on his faith to try to help Lizzy through her pain and as his own guidepost, but it isn’t an inspirational fiction and there are no attempts to push his faith on others or on the reader, for that matter. Not that he needs to because it was still an era when the average person in rural America made nominal claims to Christianity. I respect that he lived out what he believed and that part of his struggle was how to reconcile his attraction for Lizzy with his dad’s concerns about falling for ‘that kind of girl’, respecting her need to pursue her own career when he’d been taught that women were to be the homemakers, and his acceptance that Lizzy is his equal not lesser because she is female.

All in all, this was a heartwarming story that had a strong flavor of nostalgia that was tempered with bittersweet reality. The pains and joys of coming of age and first love along with figuring out life while pursuing education. It was a well-written, well-developed story with engaging characters and elements. It had me smiling, laughing, crying, and swooning. Those who enjoy slightly sweet with a little spice, modern historical, and influences from an old song and an even older story should give it a look-see.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Interview with Karen M. Cox

Howdy, Readers!
Today, I get the privilege of hosting an author who I’ve had the pleasure of reading her books over the last few years. Her books have taken me into the near past of America’s South and all the way to Cold War Europe for heartwarming romance and engaging characters. In honor of her latest release, Son of a Preacher Man (which makes a great summer beach ride, by the by), Karen Cox is joining us today.

Hey, Karen!
Hey there! Thanks so much for letting me stop in!
How is your summer treating you?
It has been fabulous so far. I’m a public school speech pathologist in real life, so I have some time to myself in the summers. I’ve just finished a trip to the Pacific Northwest to see some friends, which was fabulous, and I’ll be attending my first Romance Writers of America conference in July. Put that together with swimming, playing with my son’s 3 year-old daughter, going to lunch with my college-aged daughter, and Life Is Good!

Just so you know, I have had that old song stuck in my head off and on for a few months now.
Mua-ha-ha!
Fortunately for you, I happen to like the song. *gives her guest a narrow-eyed look*

I’m going to go out on a limb that the story was inspired by the song, but I’m always curious. How did it come about?
Well, it initially grew out of a discussion with some Jane Austen fans about what would be an analogous Darcy/Lizzy social divide in various times and places. I laughingly proposed that there would be no greater divide than between a girl with a reputation and a minister’s son in a small, Southern town before the Sexual Revolution of the 60s. The “Son of a Preacher Man” song was mentioned by someone, and since “FitzWILLIAM Darcy” was kind of like “BILLY Ray”, that suggested the hero’s name. It just evolved from there until it turned into an original story inspired by Pride and Prejudice.

What are some details you can share to entice our readers? Are we looking at a ‘wrong side of the tracks’ romance plot? I love those.
Yes, I would say that in the book’s time and place, Lizzy would be considered a girl from the “wrong side of the tracks.” But the story has its surprises too. Billy Ray is an unusual young man. He’s naïve and traditional in some ways, but he’s observant and open-minded in others. He has his old-fashioned side, but he thinks his way through his dilemmas and comes to his own conclusions. Lizzie is, to my mind, just delightful—beautiful and sensual, but with a child-like curiosity about the world; wounded but willing to open her heart; and always, always seeking knowledge and answers. (Yeah. I love them. A lot.)

Now, I understand that Son of a Preacher Man is a remake of At the Edge of the Sea. What instigated the re-write and can you share what sort of changes were involved?
I had been considering a rerelease of At the Edge of the Sea for its 5th birthday for a long time. One major change was that I went back to the story’s original title, Son of a Preacher Man. I had changed the title because I wanted to distinguish the story from what might have been considered traditional Christian fiction at that time. Son of a Preacher Man definitely has inspirational themes—that’s somewhat necessary, given who the hero is—but it also has an…I don’t know, an “edgy” side to it too. It’s not a tale that slides neatly into a genre. Over time, I grew to realize that Son of a Preacher Man is the title that represents the story best. So, I retitled, re-edited, and had a new cover designed (shout out to MadHat Books and Joshua Hollis.) And here ya go!

Should those who already read At the Edge of the Sea grab up this latest translation of the story? Maybe treat it as a good opportunity for a re-read?
I would be thrilled if readers wanted to treat themselves to Billy Ray and Lizzie’s story again! The changes I made were minor—a polishing, tightening of the prose, the cover, the title.
In spite of a glowing review from Publishers’ Weekly, winning two categories (Romance and Chick Lit) of the Next Generation Independent Book Awards, and over 4 star rating at Amazon and GoodReads, At the Edge of the Sea wasn’t widely known, either by fans of Austenesque literature or those outside that fanbase. The re-release is my hopeful attempt to share the story with more readers who would enjoy it. Which, for me, is what writing is all about.

Your characters, Billy Ray and Lizzy, are young. Would you describe your story as a Coming of Age? Or does the story stay with them into their adult years?
Yes, I would definitely consider this a coming-of-age story. I think it has a lot to say to young people trying to figure out who they are and how to reconcile their pasts with their futures. But I also think it strikes a nostalgic chord for readers who might remember the 1950s-60s time frame (or heard stories about it from parents, grandparents, etc.), or really, for anyone who likes laid-back stories of small towns and first loves that endure.

I have noted this in the past, but I love how you have focused your stories on what I’ll dub the modern historical eras in America. What appeals to you about writing in this time frame?
I’ll be honest—I don’t know what draws me to 20th Century time periods in my writing. Perhaps it’s that they aren’t usually popular settings for romantic fiction, although I have seen more World War 2 era books recently. I like that the 20th Century isn’t far enough removed to be trendy or cool, but yet it’s a fascinating time. Think how rapidly the world changed in those 100 years. So much happened—why not tell stories with that change as a backdrop?

What do you consider the challenge of writing more modern historicals?
Actually, it’s not that difficult because the historical information is, for the most part, readily accessible. Also, I lived through some of that time and have some personal experience to draw from. I do have an unfortunate tendency to go down a “rabbit hole” when doing 20th Century research. I have to remember to pull myself out and go write periodically!

Do you have a favorite scene you can share with us?
Oh, it would give too much away if I shared my favorite! But how about this one? Billy Ray and Lizzie are both at the small town’s laundromat. I love the interaction between them in this scene:

The door to the laundromat was propped open with a cement block. The dank, soap-perfumed heat of clothes’ dryers poured out into the evening air.
A heavyset woman sat at the counter reading a magazine.
“Need some change, honey?”
“Yes, ma’am. Enough for two loads.” I handed her some bills. “And I need some soap too.” I took a quick look around, but there was no sign of Lizzie. I hoped I hadn’t missed her after all. I wanted to make up for not speaking to her at the library the other day—even though she had no idea I was there. I wanted to prove something to myself.
“Here you go.” The laundry attendant pushed the coins toward me, followed by a small box. I put my clothes in two side-by-side washers, read the directions on the lid, added soap and coins, pushed the button—and just about jumped out of my skin when I heard a blood-curdling shriek behind me. A blur of brown curls and a faded cotton dress raced from the back room toward the front door.
The attendant looked up from her magazine and frowned, grumpy but not irate. “Get that hellion out of here! She’s a menace.”
“Sorry, Miz Turner.”
I knew that voice. It set my stomach to flipping about like a trout on a fishing line. Lizzie Quinlan seemed unsurprised to see me, though.
“Oh hey, Billy Ray. I thought I heard you talking. Fancy meeting you here. Hold on a second.”
She blew by me and rounded the row of washers near the door. “All right, Lily, you little imp! I counted to fifty, and I found you fair and square.”
“Only if you catch me before I get back to base!” A little voice emerged from behind the washers on the next row. Lizzie pointed to the other end near the doorway to the next room and silently mouthed at me. “Head her off down there.”
I walked to the end of the row and stood in the door frame, arms folded, my best scowl in place. Lily came barreling down the aisle, squealing and laughing, looking behind her so she couldn’t see where she was going—and ran right into me.
“Hey you!” I tried to frown, but the shock on her face was so funny, I couldn’t keep it up. She looked up at me with big, brown eyes, her face drained of all color.
Lizzie swept in from behind, put her arms around her sister and twirled her about, laughing. “I got you! I got you! Now you’re It, Lily Lou!”
“No fair!” But now Lily was laughing too.
“Go back and check on our clothes, squirt,” Lizzie said.
Lily ran into the back room, and Lizzie turned to me. “So, Mr. Davenport does his own laundry. Couldn’t get Marlene to wash your undies for ya?” She grinned.
“She offered. I refused—as you see.”
Lizzie looked at me with a thoughtful expression. “Hey, c’mere a sec.” She started walking back to the room where her sister and their clothes were. “You been to college. I wanna ask you something.”
I followed her, my eyes dropping to her blue jean-clad bottom, bouncing up to her ponytail and then down again. She had a man’s shirt tied around her waist, and I wondered how a girl wearing men’s clothes could be so appealing. She stopped beside a couple of brassieres hanging over the side of a basket, feeling of them to see if they were dry.
“I, ah…” Swallowing nervously, I gazed up, down, anywhere but at her underthings.
“Your prissiness tickles me.” Her lighthearted laugh rang out. “No, I didn’t want to ask you about my underwear, College Man.”
I breathed a sigh of relief.
She picked up an old, thick textbook, and flipped back a couple of pages. “There.” She pointed. “How do you say that one?”
“Tanacetum parthenium. It’s feverfew—see here?” I pointed to the next line. “There’s the common name.”
“Then why don’t they just call it ‘feverfew’?” she asked with a touch of exasperation.
I tried to hide my smile. “It’s Latin. All the plants are organized into categories. The first name is called the genus, the group name. The second is the species, the group within the group. Like with animals—all cats belong to one genus, but bobcats are a specific type.”
She was watching me with wide-eyed interest, and it was strangely gratifying to have her hang on my every word.
“I didn’t know you were interested in botany.”
“Oh yes! I like to learn about plants. Mrs. Gardener got me started, but now I read on my own too.”
“Don’t they teach botany at the high school here?”
She shook her head. “Just chemistry and Earth science—not enough teachers.”
“Did you get the book from Mrs. Gardener?” I picked up the thick volume and turned it over in my hands, looking at the spine.
“Nope—the library. It’s an old book, but you gotta start somewhere, right?”
I grinned and handed it back to her. “Right. Botany doesn’t change that much anyway.”
“Plants fascinate me.” She thumbed through the book and shrugged her shoulders. “They seem so common, just your run-of-the-mill greenery growing in the field or beside the road. But hidden inside them is this amazing power. Some of them nourish or heal, but some of them can kill. The deadliest plants can appear so ordinary.”
“See? I’m not the only one that thinks about things real deeply—or looks to find answers in an old book.” I tapped the cover to illustrate my point.

Okay, I’ll wrap things up with my usual ‘what is next from the pen of Karen Cox?’
Well, my next published work is a short story in the Quill Collective’s Rational Creatures anthology. The collection is chock full of Regency-era stories about Austen’s female characters, all with an emphasis on how they were ahead of their time. My story is about the kind and elegant Eleanor Tilney, whose brother is the hero of Northanger Abbey.
After that, I’m torn. I’ve got several projects in my head: a Regency novel, an early 20th Century Western, another coming of age piece from the 1980s, and a women’s fiction piece about a young (late 40s) widow rebuilding her life. What to choose, what to choose? I guess I’ll figure it out along the way!
Glad to have you stop by today, Karen! I’ll just be slipping off now to torture my family while I sing the same lyrics over and over to the chorus of ‘Son of the Preacher Man’ …
“Bein’ good isn’t always easy, no matter how hard I try…”

Book Description:
“I forget that you’re a fella sometimes.”
“Gee, thanks.”
I never forgot that she was a girl. Not for one second…

1959. The long, hot Southern summer bakes the sleepy town of Orchard Hill. Billy Ray Davenport, an aspiring physician and only son of an indomitable traveling minister, is a young man with a plan that starts with working in a small-town doctor’s office before he begins medical school in the fall. Handsome, principled, and keenly observant, he arrives in town to lodge with the Millers, the local doctor’s family. He never bargained for Lizzie Quinlan—a complex, kindred spirit who is beautiful and compassionate, yet scorned by the townsfolk. Could a girl with a reputation be different than she seems? With her quirky wisdom and a spine of steel hidden beneath an effortless sensuality, Lizzie is about to change Billy Ray’s life—and his heart—forever.

A realistic look at first love, told by an idealistic young man, Son of a Preacher Man is a heartwarming coming of age tale set in a simpler time.
Available on Amazon and iBooks, Kobo, Barnes&Noble

Connect with Karen:
www.karenmcox.com
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About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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3 Quick-Ish Book Reviews

Posted September 30, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

I hope you guys don’t mind these. I have read more books than I can review and not all of them I have much to say about, but this is the easiest way for me to catch up and I still want to review what I read and how I felt.

3 Quick-Ish Book ReviewsThe Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb
Series: standalone
Published by Hachette Books on February 5th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 344
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

From award-winning novelist Wendy Webb comes a spine-tingling mystery about family secrets set in a big, old haunted house on Lake Superior.
Grace Alban has spent twenty years away from her childhood home, the stately Alban House, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother's unexpected death brings Grace and her teen-age daughter home, she finds more haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.
Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House, when a world-famous author took his own life and Grace's aunt disappeared without a trace. The night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years, and Grace realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the secret passages of Alban House. Her mother was intending to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died - could it have been murder? Or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? With the help of the disarmingly kind--and attractive—Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims.

This honestly would be perfect for fall, but I found the book fell a little short for me.

Grace Alban moves back into her childhood home after her mother dies and a strange woman that might be related to her shows up at the funeral. Grace thinks it’s her aunt who disappeared from Alban House years ago. Lot’s of town people think the family is cursed due to all the tragedies that happened at the house that is now a historical place.

The mystery was interesting if not frustrating. It’s obvious the caretakers of the house know what is going on, but every time they are about to tell Grace what happened, they are like “Oh Miss Grace I will tell you everything, but first I must feed you” and then they forget to tell her. It just felt annoying and like everything could have been avoided, all the danger, if people would just tell her what’s up. Especially since all of them were obviously in danger.

There is a missing book manuscript.

At one point you are reading a book about a man who was writing a book, in a book.

Oh, and the awkward relationship between Grace and her pastor, who she apparently beds after only knowing for a little while. Not very realistic.

Good concept, but poorly executed. I still do recommend it for a fall read because the concept was interesting enough.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
3 Quick-Ish Book ReviewsThe Untouchable Earl by Amy Sandas
Series: Fallen Ladies #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on November 1st 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

He's a reclusive Earl with a painful secret that's kept him from knowing a lover's touch. She's a sheltered debutante tired of living by society's rules. But when she's forced from the ballroom to the brothel, Lily discovers the dark thrill of falling from grace...and into the arms of a man who could destroy her as easily as he saved her.
Lily Chadwick has spent her life playing the respectable debutante. But when an unscrupulous moneylender snatches her off the street and puts her up for auction at a pleasure house, she finds herself in the possession of a man who fills her with breathless terror and impossible yearning.
Though the Earl of Harte claimed Lily with the highest bid, he hides a painful secret―one that has kept him from knowing the pleasure of a lover's touch. Even the barest brush of skin brings him physical pain, and he's spent his life keeping the world at arm's length. But there's something about Lily that maddens him, bewitches him, compels him...and drives him toward the one woman brave and kind enough to heal his troubled heart.

When Lily get’s kidnapped and sold to the brothel in order for her family debt to get paid off, she is rescued by the cold and brooding Earl of Harte. Not wanting to marry off just anyone, Lily asks the Earl if she can be his mistress as soon as he rescues her, but the Earl holds a secret, one that might not allow her to get too close to him.

Okay, I loved the first book of the series, but this one felt like it was written by a completely different person.

The first one actually had a story, depth and focus on character building and relationship. This was one sex and… sex.

Which was fine… If that is all you are prepared to read despite such a strong first book. I wasn’t. I definitely did not see the shy, sweet Lily as anyone who would want to be involved in being a mistress, especially since she felt so innocent. I mean, for freaks sake the woman was just kidnapped and was being sold as a virgin in a brothel and all the sudden she is like oh, I want to sleep with you. How could you not have any sort of bad reaction?

I did like the Earl of Harte, his condition was interesting, but that is about it.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
3 Quick-Ish Book ReviewsWild Ride Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Series: Copper Ridge #9
Published by Harlequin Books on August 29th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2 Stars
Heat:three-flames

He's come back to Copper Ridge, Oregon, to keep a promise—even if it means losing his heart…
Putting down roots in Copper Ridge was never Alex Donnelly's intention. But if there's one thing the ex-military man knows, it's that life rarely unfolds as expected. If it did, his best friend and brother-in-arms would still be alive. And Alex wouldn't have inherited a ranch or responsibility for his late comrade's sister—a woman who, despite her inexperience, can bring tough-as-iron Alex to his knees.
Clara Campbell didn't ask for a hero to ride in and fix her ranch and her life. All she wants is the one thing stubborn, honorable Alex is reluctant to give: a chance to explore their intense chemistry. But Clara has a few lessons to teach him, too…about trusting his heart and his instincts, and letting love take him on the wildest adventure of all.

My first Yates book. I love cowboys and really wanted to give her a shot, but it just did not work for me.

I love that there were characters with an age difference. Alex was Clara’s brother’s friend in the service and her brother died in service and gave the ranch for a year to Alex so he can get Clara on track and then leave the rest to her.

Clara ends up attracted to Alex so they start a physical relationship.

I loved that these two were both kind of damaged characters and needed each other.

Not much happens. I was BORED for 90% of the book. Also, they had these lengthy monologue conversations pointing out each others problems that felt like just one bad therapy session that really numbed my brain cells.

I started skimming through the sex scenes. I wanted more tension and relationship building.

Alex just felt years mature over Clara, who despite claiming that she is not a child, felt too childish.

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Guest Review: The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig

Posted July 17, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 20 Comments

Good Morning guys! I hope you all are doing well and enjoying your July. I myself cannot believe how fast this summer is flying. Before you know it, we are going to be in the fall and than the year will come to a close. I miss you guys. It’s been super busy around here but I have managed to keep on reading, so I have a bunch of books to review for you and hopefully be back in full swing soon. Until than, the lovely Sophia has another review for you. Enjoy her take on how she felt about book twelve in the Pink Carnation series. I’ve been eyeing this series what feels like forever, it sounds like a great read with interesting characters.

Guest Review: The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren WilligThe Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig
Series: Pink Carnation #12
Published by NAL on August 4th 2015
Genres: Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 528
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In the final Pink Carnation novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, Napoleon has occupied Lisbon, and Jane Wooliston, aka the Pink Carnation, teams up with a rogue agent to protect the escaped Queen of Portugal.  Portugal, December 1807. Jack Reid, the British agent known as the Moonflower (formerly the French agent known as the Moonflower), has been stationed in Portugal and is awaiting his new contact. He does not expect to be paired with a woman—especially not the legendary Pink Carnation.   All of Portugal believes that the royal family departed for Brazil just before the French troops marched into Lisbon. Only the English government knows that mad seventy-three-year-old Queen Maria was spirited away by a group of loyalists determined to rally a resistance. But as the French garrison scours the countryside, it’s only a matter of time before she’s found and taken.   It’s up to Jane to find her first and ensure her safety. But she has no knowledge of Portugal or the language. Though she is loath to admit it, she needs the Moonflower. Operating alone has taught her to respect her own limitations. But she knows better than to show weakness around the Moonflower—an agent with a reputation for brilliance, a tendency toward insubordination, and a history of going rogue.
READERS GUIDE INCLUDED

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for espionage stories particularly from the past so the Pink Carnation series has been right up my alley. The Lure of the Moonflower is the twelfth and final book of the series and brings things full circle with a mission for the Pink Carnation herself.

For those not in the know, this series is told split story- present story framing a past story. In the present, Eloise and Collin have their adventures as Eloise lives at the old Selwick country estate to do research for her grad dissertation on the enigmatic shadowy lady spy of the past during the wars with France, The Pink Carnation. And in the past, the stories follow the missions of the members in the Pink Carnation’s league of spies. There is suspense and romance to be had- heavier on the romance much of the time.

The missions can get quite twisty so that sometimes it comes down to the end before secrets are revealed. These are exciting stories, but don’t slip into gritty thriller territory. I confess that the split stories don’t hold my attention equally. I enjoy Eloise, Collin and their families, but I get more engaged with the stories in the past. That said, with this last one, I found both stories engaging and I loved how this last story ended up. And I really hope a few of those possible future threads get addressed.

What I enjoyed about this one was not the actual spy mission itself- Jane, the Pink Carnation, recruiting a dubious Jack to help remove the queen of Portugal from French hands. No, I enjoyed the interplay between stiff, prejudiced, and know it all Jane against a man of equal intellect who is not what she thought he was. The Pink Carnation never errs and never is taken by surprise, but from the outset, she thinks she knows all about him and lets these preconceived notions guide her into making mistakes.

I was so afraid that there would be an imbalance and that the hero would never live up to who was needed to pair with Jane because she is such a strong and highly skilled agent and woman, but that was not the case. Jack was a brilliant complex character- strong enough to stand beside Jane and let her do her thing, but also have her respect because he was strong in his own right. Their chemistry was smoldering at first as they battled wits and figured out how best to get along, but then it was sizzling. Loved how their relationship was brought along.

Incidentally, my paper copy came with some extras at the back- historical notes, author q&a, extended and deleted scenes, and reader discussions.

So this was a great end to the series, but I do hope there are a few more to come someday. These will be for those who can appreciate a split story, gentle suspense that is more focused on romance and character parts of the plot.

 

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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3 Mini Book Reviews

Posted June 20, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

3 Mini Book ReviewsAt Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Huntress #3
Published by Avon on January 1st 2009
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 342
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-half-flames

Some things won't stay buried . . . at grave's end
Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and vampire lover Bones are caught by Patra, the wife of his sire Menchares, skilled in black magic and thousands of years old. Her name honors her mother Cleopatra. Patra unleashes a storm against their allies and families, ghouls and vampires. But Menchares still loves her.

I was in such a reading slump that I decided to pick up an oldie but a goodie. I missed Cat and Bones so much and this was a book I started two years ago and was finally able to finish it.

I am glad I picked it back up. I almost forgot how much I was enjoying this series when I first started it.

Cat and Bones are one of my favorite couple and they continue to prove why that is. I love their connection, and how they interact with each other.

At Grave’s End was such a fun read I had a hard time putting it down. Lot’s going on, lots of action, lots of excitement that had me hooked on the edge of my seat. If you have not given this series a try I strongly suggest it.

I adored the plot and how everything is starting to unfold and progress. I want to say there was some character growth, but I did find Cat to be on the immature side of the tracks even in book 3. I do also have to remember that Bones has been alive for a couple of hundred of years and has a lot more experience and growth under his belt.

Anyway, this book made me lose a lot of sleep, but I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

3 Mini Book ReviewsSeven Years by Dannika Dark
Series: Seven #1
Published by Dannika Dark on October 20th 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 332
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Borrowed
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat:three-flames

Seven years ago, my world ended.Seven years later, my new life began.
It's been seven years since Lexi Knight lost her brother in a tragic accident. On the anniversary of his death, her brother's best friend shows up unexpectedly - a man she hasn't seen since the funeral. He is no longer the boy Lexi once knew, but a dangerous-looking man with tattoos and dark secrets. He broke her trust and abandoned her family, yet what he reveals makes it impossible to stay angry. Lexi has been secretly infatuated with Austin since childhood, so finding out he's a Shifter just makes him sexier. Dammit.
Austin Cole has returned to the city where he grew up, and just in time. He's lived a hard life these past seven years, and the shadows of his past are threatening to destroy Lexi's family. It's time that she learned the truth about her brother, but there is a shocking twist that Austin never saw coming. Now he must protect her family when her mother and sister wind up in mortal danger. Will Lexi learn to accept the truth about who he is, and can Austin salvage a relationship from the ruins of their past?
Destiny will find you.------------------------------------------------------------A romance series that will sweep you off your feet.
Cliffhanger-freeHEA

I picked this one up because I was on a paranormal kick and wanted something fun and exciting. Well, this was definitely fun, but I did find myself struggling with the book.

The first book in the series follows Austin and Lexi. Austin has been a family friend for a really long time until he disappeared shortly after Lexi’s brother’s death. He is now back in town and things getting awkward, especially since the Lexi’s mother still does not forgive him for walking away from them.

Lexi works at a candy store and has a hard time with her cheating ex boyfriend who keeps coming, back, on top of it all a lot of strange men are showing up in her life and can’t seem to keep their hands off her.

Okay, this was totally weird. The book was a giant wild ride but I found I didn’t always enjoy it. Why?

SO much stuff happens.. Like, a lot.. Like everything just keeps piling up that my head just never really stops spinning. Seriously the amount of stuff the woman went through in this book would have her in a straight jacket, but instead she is all like oh okay, well what’s next? Like no dealing with emotions at all.

Some stuff was also just so random. It felt like the author was trying to pack too many things into one book to keep it interesting.

Also… I have read werewolf books before, but recently authors started adding ‘heat’ into books and its just awkward cause now like EVERYONE wants to practically rape this girl and it was just..blah

The hardest part was buying into the romance since they felt like these two people never really wanted to be together. It almost felt forced.

3 Mini Book ReviewsLuck Is No Lady by Amy Sandas
Series: Fallen Ladies #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on April 5th 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

"You should not have kissed me," she replied breathlessly."I do a lot of things I shouldn't. It does not mean I won't do them again."
Gently bred Emma Chadwick always assumed she'd live and die the daughter of a gentleman. But when her father's death reveals a world of staggering debt and dangerous moneylenders, she must risk her good name and put her talent for mathematics to use, taking a position as bookkeeper at London's most notorious gambling hell. Surrounded by vice and corruption on all sides, it is imperative no one discovers Emma's shameful secret or her reputation-and her life-will be ruined.
But Roderick Bentley, the hell's sinfully wealthy owner, awakens a hunger Emma cannot deny. Drawn deep into an underworld of high stakes gambling and reckless overindulgence, she soon discovers that in order to win the love of a ruthless scoundrel, she will have to play the game...and give in to the pleasure of falling from grace.

Another book I am super glad I picked up. I found myself absolutely adoring Luck is No Lady and chewing up the pages.

The story follows Emma a spinster who is looking out after two younger sisters after both of their parents had passed. Their father happened to leave them in a major debt and she is now being hounded by the mysterious loner who wants the money and is willing to go far to get it from them.

Emma meets Roderick Bentley a bastard son of an earl that society seems to have an issue with. Roderick is wealthy and own a gambling hell with questionable acts that might ensue behind closed doors. He is also the man hiding behind the curtain that she slips behind to get away from another lord and steals a kiss.

Since Emma needs money, she applies as a bookkeeper named Ms Adams at the gambling hell without knowing that Roderick is the owner, that he knows exactly who she is and what they share.

Sparks fly, the attraction is real and the romance is so swoon worthy I had a hard time putting this one down. I adored every minute of this and I loved Emma and Roderick. I could not help but root for them, especially after everything he himself has gone through.

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Review: When to Engage an Earl by Sally MacKenzie

Posted June 7, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review:  When to Engage an Earl by Sally MacKenzieWhen to Engage an Earl by Sally MacKenzie
Series: Spinster House #3
Published by Kensington Publishing on May 30th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat:two-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If love is a malady, the Spinster House ladies have caught it, one by one. Miss Jane Wilkinson couldn t be more delighted when her two best friends marry, creating a much-desired vacancy at the Spinster House. For the first time in her twenty-eight years, Jane can be free of her annoying older brother and enjoy complete solitude with the exception of the Spinster House cat, Poppy. If only Jane s unruly thoughts didn t keep drifting to handsome Alex, Earl of Evans, in the most un-spinster like ways Though jilted once, Alex has always intended to marry and raise a family. Now that his two closest friends have tied the knot, he is more determined than ever to find a wife. If only it wasn t the intriguing Miss Jane Wilkinson that his heart as well as the rest of him desired. Not only does she appear uninterested in marriage, it s clear she s the managing sort. And yet, despite Alex s fiercely independent spirit, the idea of being managed by her is quite appealing. Now if he can only convince her to give up her beloved Spinster House in favor of a far more pleasurable home in his arms Sally MacKenzie s novels are Naked, noble, and irresistible! Eloisa James Perfect. RT Book Reviews Great fun. Publishers Weekly Always a delight to read. Booklist, Starred Review"

This will be a quick review.

When to Engage an Earl is the third book in the Spinster House Series and this one follows Miss Jane Wilkinson and Alex, the Earl of Evans. Jane is a self proclaimed spinster. She has been eyeing the Spinster House for a really long time, but kept loosing the lottery so she deviously won the house by making sure the two women before her, fell in love and got married. Now Jane lives in the house alone with Poppy the cat and has no plans on getting married.

Alex is the Earl of Evans and he is looking for a wife because he needs an heir. Alex is a bit wary, especially since he was recently jilted at the altar by the woman he thought he loved. He knows Jane is out of the question as the woman is a proclaimed spinster who is uninterested in marriage and fiercely independent. Yet, Alex can’t seem to stop being drawn to her and often shows up with no reason in her town just to see her.
This was super cute and a quick read. The romance was easy, albeit a bit frustrating in the end there until Jane’s wants and needs get resolved. I enjoyed Alex and Jane together and the secondary characters had me chuckling. I especially love Alex’s mom and sister’s involvement in trying to get the two together. Their meddling at times has led to some interesting scenes between Jane and Alex.

This book was definitely on the lighter side and what kept me on reading. I enjoyed how the romances unfolded and I did adore the secondary characters. Jane and Alex were so easy to live and overall I found it to be a very solid read.

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Review: My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

Posted April 9, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  My One True Highlander by Suzanne EnochMy One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #2
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 4th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Scotland
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rugged highlander Graeme has one thing on his mind—take a stand against the horrible Englishman Lattimer and he will be rewarded with enough money to be set for life. But when his reckless younger brothers take it one step too far and kidnaps a young woman on her way to see Lattimer, Graeme has to intervene. He cannot send the lady back without his kin getting in trouble. And when a damsel this beautiful is dropped into your lap, it’s hard to let her go...
Marjorie should be terrified she’s been captured by highland scoundrels, but it’s hard to live in terror when your captor is a devilishly handsome and sinfully tempting as Graeme is. She cannot stay by his side forever—no matter how her heart may pound at the thought—but Graeme seems to have other plans. This wicked highlander is out to seduce her and doesn’t plan to stop until she’s in his arms...forever...

Lady Marjorie is on her way to the Highlands in order to surprise her older brother and his soon to be wife. What Marjorie did not know was that she was stumbling right into the middle of a clan war, and her brother is involved.

Graeme is a chieftain of clan Maxton. When his chief of Clan Maxton asks him to stand against Lattimer and be rewarded. Graeme finds a lot of trouble on his hands. First, he is unsure if he wants to kill the new Duke, but he is also aware that their money is running low and he has a lot of people relying on him.

Well, when his younger brothers overhear the conversation, they step up in an attempt to help. But, when they kidnap the duke’s sister and dump her under Graeme’s roof, the trio instead, end up causing more trouble for Graeme then good.

This was so much fun. It’s my first book by Enoch and I am super glad I read it. I enjoyed it so much, I really want to go back and read the first book, since the first book kind of sets up the conflict between Lattimer and Maxton.

Graeme and Marjorie were delightful. I love the slow romance that builds between them, despite the conflict that Graeme’s brother’s have caused. But, Graeme was not the one who kidnapped her, nor did he ever intend on doing so. Still, watching the two butt heads was super fun and amusing.

I especially had a fun time when Graeme dug himself such a hole that he had to go out of his way and commit a similar crime by kidnapping Marjorie’s lady companion.

I also loved the family dynamics happening there. Graeme has been taking care of his younger brothers for a long time, on top of taking care of people who live on his land. He is hard working and loyal to a fault. Definitely someone that Marjorie needed by her side, considering his Chief of the clan would love to see her dead in order to get back at her brother.

Gah this was fabulous. It reminds me how much I love historical romances set in Scotland and feel the need to read more. The book started a bit slow for me, as it took me a few pages to get used to the dialect again. But once I was set, it took off and never really let me go. I really, really enjoyed everything about this – including the writing.

I did feel bad for Graeme. He was put in a bad predicament. He didn’t want to give Marjorie up to his Chief because he knew she would get hurt, but he also couldn’t let her go because he had his brothers to worry about.

I think the only thing I did not like about this was Marjorie being so hung up on London and her belonging there even if she never really did. She is a new heiress and is having trouble fitting in. She is lonely and would need to spend a lot of money and a lot of years trying to get people in that society to care and would likely marry a fortune hunter.

She fits right into Graeme’s household and grew on everyone around here and there, people cared.

Also, the ending felt like it wrapped up a little too perfectly.

But, overall, this was a fun read and I really enjoyed this.

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Review: Highland Vixen by Mary Wine

Posted February 13, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  Highland Vixen by Mary WineHighland Vixen by Mary Wine
Series: Highland Weddings #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on February 7th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Scotland
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fierce Highland war chief seeks comely lass for fun, frolic, and marriage
Marcus MacPherson is every inch the fearsome Highlander. He's used to men averting their eyes and women cowering before him. He thinks he'll eventually settle down with a nice, obedient bride. Instead, he gets Helen Grant... Stubborn as the day is long, fearless and dedicated to raising as much hell as possible, Helen is definitely going to challenge Marcus. And challenge him some more. And then some.
It's anyone's guess who'll win this battle of the heart...

I didn’t actually know what to expect from this book. I wanted something Highlander, and Mary Wine’s book jumped out at me. I have not read her before, and she is a new to me author who has pleasantly surprised me.

Highland Vixen jumped into a story leading from book one, so if you haven’t read book one, like me, I strongly suggest starting from there so you don’t have to face the same confusion.

The book opens up with Helen and Brenda Grant escaping the MacPherson Castle and looking for shelter at Court. Helen was a captive in the MacPherson castle because Marcus took her as a prize, but her life wasn’t bad by any means. The last thing Helen wants to do is sit around and wait for the Laird to marry her off.

Helen and Brenda end up at court, where they are immediately called to Earl of Morton’s attention. Morton is a regent of Scotland, and seems to think he can wield power over the Highlanders. So when Marcus shows up at Court in order to bring Helen back, he is stuck under Morton’s claws, who wants Marcus to marry a girl barely 14 to strengthen alliances. Disturbed by the prospect of sleeping with a 14 year old girl, Marcus refuses, ends up in chains and Helen comes to his rescue with the prospect of marriage to her in order to save them.

This was an interesting read. Once I was able to get used to the writing and the dialect, I found myself fully immersed in the story. It did take some time to put the pieces together, since I have not read the first book, but other reviews helped with that.

I really enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t just a romance novel, there was a lot going on, there was a full storyline with the Earl of Morton trying to cause trouble for Helen and Marcus, bringing in other clans into the fold to try and get in their way.

I was confused about why Helen and Brenda went to look for safety in Court, mainly since the two seem to be aware of Earl of Morton and just how despicable and awful the man is. It seems to me the entire situation could have been avoided. I also still am not entirely sure who Brenda is to Helen and how Helen did not come to help her friend after the escape. Especially now that they know what Morton is capable off as he tried to derail Marcus and Helen at every turn.

The romance itself was actually pretty good. I loved that there was some resistance from Helen at first considering the rocky start the two had, but I loved Marcus and his patience. He wasn’t really good at charming his new bride by any means, considering he is the War Chief of clan MacPherson and his wooing skills are zilch next to nothing. The bickering and the growing attraction were a major plus in this book amidst all the danger and excitement thrown their way.

I liked the secondary characters and their storylines and wonder how this series will progress. Well, now I am finding myself invested and hope to learn what will become of them in the future and how it will play out. Especially since the issues with the Earl of Morton have still been unresolved.

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