Announcement

Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews is currently on hiatus. I hope to return to blogging sooner rather than later.

I will still be posting mini book reviews on Goodreads and talking books on Twitter so feel free to find me there.

Thank you and happy reading1


Monday, March 31, 2014

REVIEW: "Never Seduce a Scot" by Maya Banks


Never Seduce a Scot (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs, #1)
Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
(Montgomerys and Armstrongs #1)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality, Violence)
Historical Romance -- Medieval Scotland

Ballantine Books -- September 25, 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 372 pages
Purchased from Book Depository

THEMES
Highlands, Unique Heroine, Tearjerker

SUMMARY
Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but outsiders consider her “touched.” Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn’t speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Content with her life of seclusion, Eveline has taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft. But when an arranged marriage into a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, Eveline accepts her duty—unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful that his new bride can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled that he stirs her deepest passions.

Graeme is intrigued by the mysterious Eveline, whose silent lips are ripe with temptation and whose bright, intelligent eyes can see into his soul. As intimacy deepens, he learns her secret. But when clan rivalries and dark deeds threaten the wife he has only begun to cherish, the Scottish warrior will move heaven and earth to save the woman who has awakened his heart to the beautiful song of a rare and magical love.



FIRST LINE
"Peace had come to the highlands."

MY THOUGHTS
Highland romances are some of my favorites and Maya Banks is definitely establishing herself as one of my favorites in the genre along with the queen, Hannah Howell.  I adored Banks's McCabe trilogy and was really excited to read more with the Montgomerys and Armstrongs series.  And I was not disappointed with Graeme and Eveline's story which is powerful, romantic, and full of drama.

In this series, the Montgomery clan and the Armstrong clan are fierce rivals who have a long, violent history and it doesn't seem like they will ever be able to resolve their differences without external help.  The king is obviously sick of this rivalry and decides to decree a marriage between an Armstrong lady and the Montgomery lord to speed up the process.  Obviously, neither clan is happy about the request especially since it is a known fact that Eveline Armstrong's mind was damaged in an accident years before and it is thought that she will never recover.

I adored both Eveline and Graeme's characters and found myself heavily invested in their journey.  Eveline was very admirable with the way that she adjusted to her deafness and how determined she was to be a good wife to Graeme despite her family's hesitation.  There is a very good reason why she has hidden the fact that she is not daft, but only deaf and I applaud her for being so resourceful.  Graeme was a sensitive and loyal hero who was such a teddy bear when it came to his feelings for Eveline.  I loved every moment that these two spent together and how they were both determined to do anything to make the other person happy.

Readers also get to know members of both the Montgomery and Armstrong clans.  There is more time spent with the Montgomerys, but I still came away intrigued by Eveline's brothers who were so protective of her after her accident.  In terms of the Montgomery clan, I am definitely excited to read more about Graeme's brothers, and his little sister.

The plot of Never Seduce a Scot primarily deals with the adjustments that Eveline and Graeme have to make after their marriage.  Graeme spends his time questioning how 'touched' his new bride is and, once he learns her secret, tries to figure out a way to keep her safe.  Eveline's journey is sometimes hard to read as she faces a lot of difficulties when she arrives at the Montgomery keep.  The rest of the clan (besides Graeme and his siblings) have deep hatred for the Armstrongs and do everything in their power to make her feel unwelcome.  There were definitely moments that made me tear up as I watched Eveline try to prove her loyalty only to have it constantly thrown back at her face.

Besides the main story line, there is also a subplot that focuses on a mysterious danger that is lurking in the background.  This mystery relates back to Eveline's deception after her accident and provides decent external drama to balance with the romance.  While I enjoyed the suspense story line, I found myself wishing that there had been more to it.  I found the whole premise intriguing and wanted it to be incorporated more into the overall story since it seemed a little tacked on in the later third of the book.

Never Seduce a Scot is not a perfect book, but it kept my attention from beginning to end and gave me to admirable characters to care about.  I love Banks's writing style when it comes to her historicals and I am excited to read more.


4 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.


 FAVORITE QUOTE
"I love you, Eveline," he whispered, though he knew she could not hear him. "Somehow, I'll make you hear me and you'll know that I love you as fiercely as it's possible for a man to love a woman."


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Never Seduce a Scot
2. Highlander Most Wanted
3. Highland Ever After (Coming 2015)

CHALLENGES READ FOR

  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (31)

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A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~
Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses, #7)
Three Weeks With Lady X by Eloisa James

What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr, #1)
What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~
The Escape (The Survivor's Club, #3)
The Escape by Mary Balogh

***********

WEEKLY RECAP

I READ... 
Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
Love Hacked by Penny Reid

Friday, March 28, 2014

REVIEW: "If It Drives" by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

If It Drives (Market Garden, #7)
If It Drives by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov
(Market Garden #7)

Goodreads -- Amazon


For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Male/Male Romance -- Contemporary
Riptide Publishing -- March 31, 2014
Ebook, 222 pages
Received thru Netgalley

THEMES
Erotica, BDSM

SUMMARY
If it flies, drives, or fornicates, it's cheaper to rent it.

After driving James Harcourt, his wealthy banker boss, around for a year and a half, Cal isn’t surprised by much anymore. Not even James’s regular trips to Market Garden, London’s most elite gay brothel.

But when James leaves the Garden alone one night and turns to Cal instead, Cal’s floored. After crushing on his boss for ages, it’s his wet dream come true . . . until the awkward morning after. Cal still has a job to do, but he wants to offer more. Yet James doesn’t take him up on it; he keeps Cal at arm’s length and continues his chauffeured jaunts to Market Garden.

As Cal learns what James needs from the rentboys, he tries to fill that need himself. But there’s more to James’s penchant for rentboys than Cal realizes, and it may be one role that Cal can’t fill without overstepping his duty.

FIRST LINE
"That was a first."

MY THOUGHTS
Witt and Voinov really know how to write a hot, but powerful love story.  If It Drives belongs in the wonderful Market Garden universe, but could easily be read as a stand-alone.  James Harcourt first appears in If It Fornicates, but is only identified by his red tie and readers don't learn much more about him.  Well, these authors have taken care of that!

I love it when side characters get to step into the spotlight especially when they are as developed as James. Readers quickly learn that he is a man who is hurting and searching for something through the background about his trips to Market Garden. And the one person who is present for everything that James goes through and does to himself is his driver, Cal, who is battling inconvenient feelings for his employer. 

I love heroes that are writers and seeing Cal's method was fascinating for me.  I especially liked how his mood was depicted through which manuscript he was working on: the space opera or the literary fiction.  In terms of James's character, I do wish we had gotten a bit more about him beyond his sexual needs and his family issues though I liked seeing him through Cal's eyes. 

I thought the driver/employer aspect was a different one for this series, but one that I appreciated especially when the tone switched to BDSM.  As one should expect from a Market Garden book, there is plenty of steam though the authors make a conscious effort to never get away from the emotions in the sex scenes which is important for both James and Cal's growth.

It was also wonderful to see Nick and Spencer and how happy they are together.  Nick obviously made an impact on James's personal tastes.  It was fun to see him teach Cal how to be what James needed and to give more explanation to the whys of the BDSM world.

I received a free copy of this book from Riptide Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

4 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Rapture -- Very explicit (sometimes kinky) descriptions with focus on the physical desires.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Quid Pro Quo
2. Take It Off
3. If It Flies
4. If It Fornicates
5. Capture & Surrender
6. Payoff
7. If It Drives

CHALLENGES READ FOR 

 
 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (20)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.


THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

Simply Love (Simply Quartet #2) 
Simply Love
by Mary Balogh
Originally Published in January 2006

Anne first spied him in the deepening dusk of a Wales evening --- a lone figure of breathtaking strength, his handsome face branded by a secret pain. For teacher and single mother Anne Jewell, Sydnam Butler is a man whose sorrows --- and passions --- run deeper than she could have ever imagined. As steward of a remote seaside manor, Sydnam lives a reclusive existence. Yet he senses in Anne a kindred soul, and between these two wary hearts, desire stirs. Unable to resist the passion that has rescued them both, Anne and Sydnam share an afternoon of exquisite lovemaking. As scandal looms, suddenly the unwed mother and the war-scarred veteran must make a decision that could forever alter their lives.

**********
This is a great example how powerful Mary Balogh's writing is.  I think this book made me cry more than any other historical romance and then made me sigh with happiness by the ending.  Anne is a brave, determined woman who doesn't let her tragic past define her future and Sydnam is such an inspiration as he deals with his own demons.  I love reading about two tortured souls who find solace with each other and Simply Love is one of the best I've read with that theme.  While this book is connected to Balogh's Bedwyn family, the prequels, and the rest of the Simply trilogy, I think it stands pretty well on its own.  Though if you really want to see the evolution of Sydnam's character, I suggest you read A Summer To Remember first which isn't much of a struggle because it is amazing in its own right.
 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (76): April 2014 Releases


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting.  I am only going to be participating on a monthly basis where I will showcase the books that I am most intrigued by for the month.

APRIL 2014 RELEASES I'M WAITING FOR...

Sweet Reckoning (The Sweet Trilogy, #3)
Sweet Reckoning (Sweet Trilogy #3) by Wendy Higgins
YA Paranormal
APRIL 29TH

 
A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, #2)
The World Without Princes (School for Good and Evil #2) by Soman Chainani
MG Fantasy
APRIL 15TH

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #12)
The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12) by JR Ward
Urban Fantasy
APRIL 1ST

Burning Dawn (Angels of the Dark, #3)
Burning Dawn (Angels of the Dark #3) by Gena Showalter
Paranormal Romance
APRIL 29TH

Never Entice an Earl (One Scandalous Season, #2)
Never Entice An Earl (One Scandalous Season #2) by Lily Dalton
Historical Romance
APRIL 29TH

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress in London, #2)
How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress in London #2) by Laura Lee Guhrke
Historical Romance
APRIL 29TH

The Last Best Kiss
The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik
YA Contemporary
APRIL 22ND

The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, #1)
The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides #1) by Valerie Bowman
Historical Romance
APRIL 29TH

What I Thought Was True
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
YA Contemporary
APRIL 15TH

The Geography of You and Me
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
YA Contemporary
APRIL 15TH

Don't Look Back
Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
YA Contemporary
APRIL 15TH

Red at Night
Red at Night by Katie McGarry
YA Paranormal
APRIL 1ST

 Rebel Belle
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
YA Paranormal
APRIL 8TH


Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #1)
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
YA Fantasy
APRIL 1ST

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: My Bookish Bucket List


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List~


1. Attend a book convention like ALA, BEA, or RT.
I attended NY Comic-Con two years ago and had a blast with all the book-related fun.  That inspired me to dream about going to a book-centric convention, particularly RT and BEA.

2. Meet JK Rowling.
I would be happy to meet any author that I read, but I decided to go with my ultimate dream meet.

3. Visit Harry Potter World.
Something that is attainable and I will probably be able to cross off in the next few years.

4. Read 300+ books in a year.
This is a dream that probably won't be realized until I win the lottery and don't have to work, but it is there!

5. Get a literature-inspired tattoo.
I have had the design in my head since I was in high school and just need to get up the nerve to do it.  It is the HP lightning bolt on the inside of my left wrist with the words "All Was Well" written below.

6. Publish a book review in a professional publication/review website.
I absolutely adore writing reviews and would love to get one published on something besides my personal blog.

7. Visit England.
This could translate to "visit Europe", but I decided to go specific with the main country I want to see.  Some of the sights I want to visit are King's Cross Station, Stratford upon Avon, and the Tower of London.

8. Read all of Shakespeare's plays.
 I love Shakespeare and have a beautiful hardback collection of all his plays.  So one of my goals is to read the entire collection even the histories.

9. Create a Little Free Library in my neighborhood.
I love the concept of these and have always wanted to see one in real life.

10. Publish a children/YA book.
I haven't been writing as much since I started my current job, but publishing a YA or children's book has always been a dream of mine.

Monday, March 24, 2014

REVIEW: "Ball & Chain" by Abigail Roux


Ball & Chain (Cut & Run, #8)
Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux
For Ages 18+
Male/Male Romance -- Contemporary

Riptide Publishing -- March 17, 2014
Ebook, 306 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Murder Mystery, Secondary Romance

SUMMARY
Home from their unexpected deployment, the former members of Marine Force Recon team Sidewinder rejoin their loved ones and try to pick up the pieces of the lives they were forced to leave behind. Ty Grady comes home to Zane Garrett, only to find that everything around him has changed—even the men he went to war with. He barely has time to adjust before his brother, Deuce, asks Ty to be his best man. But that isn’t all Deuce asks Ty to do, and Ty must call for backup to deal with the business issues of Deuce’s future father-in-law.

Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott join Ty and Zane at the wedding on an island in Scotland, thinking they’re there to assuage Deuce’s paranoia. But when bodies start dropping and boats start sinking, the four men get more involved with the festivities than they’d ever planned to.

With the clock ticking and the killer just as stuck on the isolated island as they are, Ty and Zane must navigate a veritable minefield of family, friends, and foes to stop the whole island from being destroyed.



FIRST LINE
"Kelly stood at Zane's side behind a barrier at the bus depot of Camp Lejeune."

MY THOUGHTS
Warning!  This review will contain minor spoilers for earlier books in the Cut & Run series as well as the first book in the Sidewinder series.

The last time we saw m/m power couple, Ty and Zane, they were dealing with the backlash from their trip to New Orleans and the fact that they were going to be separated by Ty's surprise deployment.  Ball & Chain takes place after the guys return and are trying to acclimate to normal life again.  Ty's brother, Deuce, is getting married on a small island off the coast of Scotland with Ty, Zane, Nick, and Kelly coming along to provide family support and security.  Things take a turn for the worst when bodies start piling up and it is up to the Sidewinders and Zane to figure out the truth.

I love Ty and Zane so I am pretty much destined to enjoy every book that they are in, but I thought it was one of the weakest of the series, coming in a close second to Sticks & Stones.  The plot kept my attention through the beginning and the middle.  For me, the wheels started to come off as the body count rose and the wedding guests just started taking it as a given.  I understand shock, but I like to think I'd be freaking out a bit more than these people.  Also, while the whole story line eventually turned out to have an interesting connection to Zane's past, it seemed too convoluted and the "big reveal" felt melodramatic.  All that being said, it was interesting to how the guys work together and how the stress of the situation effected their already fragile psyches especially with Nick and Ty.

While Ty and Zane were still the main focus of the book, Abigail Roux also continues telling the story of Ty's best friend, Nick, and his doctor lover, Kelly.  They are prominent side characters throughout the Cut & Run series and took center stage in the first book in a spin-off series, Shock & Awe.  I really like Nick and Kelly and how different their relationship is from Ty and Zane.  I just wish Roux had spent more time on the main couple rather than this side couple that is part of their own series.

But, Ball & Chain is, first and foremost, a Ty and Zane book and it was a joy to read.  I love the place that these two are in right now with their relationship out in the open  with their families and their colleagues.  The comfort level is refreshing especially after so many books where one or the other had trust issues and internal drama.  My favorite parts were the scenes where Ty was trying to propose to Zane.  I have to admire his determination and his creativity.  That ending made me sigh with happiness and just hug both of them!

I know I sound really picky when mentioning the issues I had with this book, but I think that is because I have such high expectations for the series.  Ty and Zane are very close to my heart so I want to love every book they are involved in.  So it is slightly disappointing to me when my expectations aren't met though I am definitely not giving up on this series.  The ending seems to indicate that Ty and Zane are very close to their permanent HEA so I'm hoping they go out with a bang!


3.5 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Fever -- Definitely graphic, but still emotional descriptions.

FAVORITE QUOTE
Zane hurried to catch up. “Wait, Ty, you want to do that with her with us?"
“She’s a year old. She won’t understand death and destruction for at least another year.”
“If we ever decide to adopt, you’re a mute in any interviews.”
“Understood."

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
Cut & Run series
1. Cut & Run
2. Sticks & Stones
3. Fish & Chips
4. Divide & Conquer
5. Armed & Dangerous
6. Stars & Stripes
7. Touch & Geaux
8. Ball & Chain

Sidewinder series
1. Shock & Awe
2. Cross & Crown (Coming June 2014)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (30)

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A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
This has been on my wishlist forever and I finally bought it!

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
I semi-enjoyed the first in the MI series and decided to give the prequel series a try as well.

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1)
Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Found this at a used bookstore and just thought it sounded amusing.

On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1)
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
I've read some of Young's other NA romances and I know this one is very popular.

Ball & Chain (Cut & Run, #8)
Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux
Ty and Zane!  Reading this now.

~RECEIVED FROM PAPERBACK SWAP~

On the Edge (The Edge, #1)
On the Edge by Ilona Andrews
UF series by the writing duo that brought Kate Daniels to the literary world.

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~

House of the Rising Sun (Crescent City, #1)
House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter
I've heard great things about Painter's writing and was excited to get an ARC of the first book in her newest series from Netgalley.

Still Life with Strings
Still Life with Strings by L.H. Cosway
An author who specializes in unique romances.  This one features a living statue artist and a famous violinist.  I received this ARC from Netgalley.

***********
WEEKLY RECAP

I READ...
Kiss of Lies by Bronwen Evans
Color of Grace by A.M. Arthur