Friday, September 30, 2016

TAKE MY MONEY: October 2016

Where I feature new releases that grabbed my attention in the upcoming month.  As always, release dates are subject to change.  All titles link back to Goodreads.

The Danger of Desire (Sinful Suitors, #3)
The Danger of Desire (Sinful Suitors #3) by Sabrina Jeffries (historical romance) -- October 18th
To root out the card cheat responsible for her brother’s death, Miss Delia Trevor spends her evenings dancing her way through high society balls, and her late nights disguised as a young man gambling her way through London’s gaming hells. Then one night, handsome Warren Corry, the Marquess of Knightford, a notorious member of St. George’s Club, recognizes her. When he threatens to reveal her secret, she’s determined to keep him from ruining her plans, even if it means playing a cat-and-mouse game with the enigmatic rakehell.

Warren knows the danger of her game, and he refuses to watch her lose everything while gaining justice for her late brother. But when she starts to delve beneath his carefully crafted façade, can he keep her at arm’s length while still protecting her? Or will their hot desires explode into a love that transcends the secrets of their pasts?
Why I'm Intrigued: Heroine in Disguise, Hero with a Secret, Gambling Hells, Favorite Author


Baron (The Knickerbocker Club, #2)
Baron (Knickerbocker Club #2) by Joanna Shupe (historical romance) -- October 25th
Born into one of New York’s most respected families, William Sloane is a railroad baron who has all the right friends in all the right places. But no matter how much success he achieves, he always wants more. Having secured his place atop the city’s highest echelons of society, he’s now setting his sights on a political run. Nothing can distract him from his next pursuit—except, perhaps, the enchanting con artist he never saw coming . . .

Ava Jones has eked out a living the only way she knows how. As “Madame Zolikoff,” she hoodwinks gullible audiences into believing she can communicate with the spirit world. But her carefully crafted persona is nearly destroyed when Will Sloane walks into her life—and lays bare her latest scheme. The charlatan is certain she can seduce the handsome millionaire into keeping her secret and using her skills for his campaign—unless he’s the one who’s already put a spell on her . . .
Why I'm Intrigued: Criminal Heroine, Hero In Need of Redemption, Fascinating Setting


A Raven's Heart
A Raven's Heart (Secrets & Spies #2) by K.C. Bateman (historical romance) -- October 18th
In the war against France, Heloise Hampden is a high-value asset to the Crown. She's cracked the enemy's most recent communication, and for that, someone is trying to kill her. However, it's the agent assigned to protect Heloise who poses the greatest threat to her heart: William de l'Isle, Viscount Ravenwood. Heloise has quarreled with the man they call Raven since childhood, yet always maintained a chaste distance. She's sure nothing will change, thanks to the disfiguring scar on her face. So why is she so enchanted by the sight of Raven's jet-black hair, rakish smile, and wicked green eyes?

Nothing has changed. Raven still wonders how Hell-cat Hampden's lithe body would feel pressed against his, but for the mission he must remind himself that the woman takes more pleasure in ancient languages than she does in seduction. His imprisonment six years ago broke him in a way that makes the prospect of love impossible. Still, his heart beats like mad whenever he's within ten paces of Heloise, and he'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even if that means taking her to Spain as an unwilling hostage. Protecting her from danger will be a challenge; protecting her from desire will be pure agony.
Why I'm Intrigued: Scarred Heroine, Formerly Imprisoned Hero, Unrequited Love, Spies

A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1)
A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1) by Sherry Thomas (historical mystery) -- October 18th

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind. 
 Why I'm Intrigued: Historical Mystery, Heroine in Disguise, Favorite Author, First in a Series


The Earl (Devil's Duke, #2)
The Earl (Devil's Duke #2) by Katharine Ashe (historical romance) -- October 25th
How does a bookish lady bring an arrogant lord to his knees? Entice him to Scotland, strip him of titles and riches, and make him prove what sort of man he truly is.

Opposites…Handsome, wealthy, and sublimely confident, Colin Gray, the new Earl of Egremoor, has vowed to unmask the rabble-rousing pamphleteer, Lady Justice, the thorn in England’s paw. And he’ll stop at nothing.

Attract.  Smart, big-hearted, and passionately dedicated to her work, Lady Justice longs to teach her nemesis a lesson in humility. But her sister is missing, and a perilous journey with her archrival into unknown territory just might turn fierce enemies into lovers.
 
Why I'm Intrigued: Bookish Heroine, Enemies to Lovers, New to Me Author


My Brown-Eyed Earl (The Wayward Wallflowers, #1)
My Brown-Eyed Earl (The Wayward Wallflowers #1) by Anna Bennett (historical romance) -- October 4th
William Ryder, Earl of Castleton, is at the end of his noble rope. Not only has he broken ties with his longtime mistress, his mother has publicly announced her wish for him to marry a suitable young lady―if only to help him raise the twins left in his care. Hiring a governess should solve some of Will’s problems…but when he meets the candidate in question, he finds himself in an entirely new predicament.

Miss Margaret Lacey is brainy, beautiful, and, once upon a time, Will’s betrothed. But she bowed out of the engagement―and, since then, has never been the same. A tragic accident robbed her of everything, and now, at age twenty-three, her marital prospects are slim to none. Penniless but not without pride, Meg convinces the vexingly handsome Will to hire her for the job. What neither of them could have expected from this arrangement, however, is an attraction that burns stronger than ever. Are these two lost souls finally ready to be schooled in the art of love?

Why I'm Intrigued: Governess Heroine, Second Chance At Love, First in a Series

Beard Science (Winston Brothers, #3)
Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3) by Penny Reid (contemporary romance) -- October 18th 
Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.  Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So... what’s a maniacal mastermind to do? Likely, the last thing you expect.

Why I'm Intrigued: Celebrity Heroine, Romantic Comedy, Favorite Author

While the Duke Was Sleeping (The Rogue Files, #1)
While the Duke Was Sleeping (Rogue Files #1) by Sophie Jordan (historical romance) -- October 25th
Shop girl Poppy Fairchurch knows it’s pointless fantasizing about the Duke of Autenberry. Still, dreams can’t hurt anyone . . . unlike the carriage Poppy spies bearing down upon the unsuspecting duke. After she pulls him to safety, the duke lapses into a coma and Poppy is mistaken for his fiancée. But one person isn’t fooled: his arrogant and much too handsome half-brother, Struan Mackenzie. Soon Poppy isn’t sure what she wants more . . . the fantasy of her duke or the reality of one smoldering Scot who challenges her at every turn.

An illegitimate second son, Struan may have built an empire and established himself as one of the wealthiest men in Britain, but he knows he will always be an outsider among the ton. Just like he knows the infuriating Poppy is a liar. There’s no way the haughty Duke of Autenberry would deign to wed a working class girl. It doesn’t matter how charming she is. Or tempting. Or how much Struan wants her for himself.
 
Why I'm Intrigued: Class Differences, Illegitimate Hero, First in a Series

The Governess Was Wanton (Governess, #2)
The Governess Was Wanton (Governess #2) by Julia Kelly (historical romance) -- October 10th 
Mary Woodward, a young veteran governess, has one job: guiding a young debutante through her first season in high society. And up until now, keeping her focus and avoiding temptation has been easy. But never before has the father of her young charge been as devilishly handsome as the single, wealthy Earl of Asten.... Convinced to risk it all, Mary let's herself enjoy one night of magic at a masked ball in Asten's arms, but will they both regret everything when the Earl learns her true identity?
Why I'm Intrigued: Governess Heroine, Employer/Employee Romance, Masquerade Ball

Thursday, September 29, 2016

MINI-REVIEWS: Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter, #6)
Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6) by Nalini singh
Urban Fantasy
Jove --October 29, 2013

RATING: 4.25 STARS
Angels are falling from the sky in New York, struck down by a vicious, unknown force.

Vampires are dying impossibly of disease.

Guild hunter Elena Deveraux and the Archangel Raphael must discover the source of the wave of death before it engulfs their city and their people, leaving New York a ruin and Raphael’s Tower under siege by enemy archangels.

Yet even as they fight desperately to save the city, an even darker force is stirring, its chill eyes trained on New York…and on Raphael. Rivers of crimson and nightmares given flesh, the world will never again be the same…
Archangel's Legion shifts the series focus back to Elena and Raphael and I loved almost everything about it!  I am not usually into super alpha heroes, but Raphael and his feelings for Elena just do it for me.  I love the respect they have for one another and how their relationship has allowed both to grow as characters.  The plot was action-packed like I expect from this series and the danger felt very real.  Longtime readers will be satisfied by the epic battle at the end that showed how scary Lijuan really can be.  You can't go wrong with this series or this installment for pure paranormal goodness.

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Archangel's Shadows (Guild Hunter, #7)
Archangel's Shadows (Guild Hunter #7) by Nalini Singh
Urban Fantasy
Berkley Sensation -- October 28, 2014

RATING: 4 STARS
In the wake of a brutal war, the archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena, are dealing with the treacherously shifting tides of archangelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot— should not—be walking the streets.

This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves…

Ash is a gifted tracker and a woman cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there’s one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash’s secret, dark and terrible, that threatens to destroy them both.
Ash and Janvier have been circling around each other for most of the Guild Hunter series so it was wonderful to see them finally get their own story.  Their physical attraction is well-known and it also becomes obvious that their emotions are also involved.  The majority of their romance deals with Ash's hesitation to dive into a relationship with Janvier.  She has legitimate reasons that force the couple to really evaluate their feelings.  I do wish that it hadn't taken so long for the truth to come out because it got a bit tedious. Everything takes place with the aftermath of Raphael and Lijuan's battle as the backdrop.  The fight was such a major point of the series that it was fascinating to see how the city and its inhabitants have reacted.  I also have to give a huge shout-out to Naasir, the mysterious animal-like vampire who stole every scene he was in.

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Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8)
Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter #8) by Nalini Singh
Urban Fantasy
Berkley Sensation -- September 1, 2015

RATING: 4 STARS
Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required - those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets is fascinated by his nature - at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it's too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows...and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare... 
Like I mentioned above, Naasir almost took over Archangel's Shadows so I was ecstatic to see him get his own story so fast.  I loved the action/adventure element of Naasir and Andromeda trying to find the sleeping place of Alexander, an Ancient who formerly ruled Persia.  I thought this couple was a fun mix of intelligence and physical strength.  I liked the way that Nalini Singh played with first impressions especially when it came to Andromeda.  They were separated from each other more than I would have liked and I think that made their romance feel slightly underdeveloped.  The overall series storyline is becoming more complicated which I didn't think could happen and I like the way that the other territories are getting involved.  I can't wait for the next book to be released and, like many other Guild Hunter fans, I am dying to see Illium get a story soon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY: My Fall TBR List


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

~Not Yet Released~

Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9)
1. Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy)
I'm all caught up on the Guild Hunter series so now I am, not so patiently, anticipating the next installment in November.

Heartless
2. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (YA fantasy)
I'm so excited to see what Ms. Meyer does with the Queen of Hearts after the fabulousness of the Lunar Chronicles series.

Someone To Love (Westcott #1)
3. Someone to Love by Mary Balogh (historical romance)
I always need more Balogh in my life and the premise of this new series intrigues me.

Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane, #11)
4. Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance)
I'm so happy that Alf is finally getting a story!

Baron (The Knickerbocker Club, #2)
5. Baron by Joanna Shupe (historical romance)
William was a bit of an ass in the first book, but I see definite hero potential in him.  It also doesn't hurt that I love the Gilded Age NYC setting.

~Already Released~ 

Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)
6. Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)
I am trying to be patient and wait for my library's order to come in, but I'm slowly losing the battle.

The Mane Event (Pride, #1)
7. The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston (paranormal romance)
I adore her Call of Crows series and am excited to read more of her writing especially with sexy shapeshifters!

Highland Master (Murray Family, #19)
8. Highland Master by Hannah Howell (historical romance)
I am feeling Highland romances right now so I want to get caught up with this series.

Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay, #1)
9. Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis (contemporary romance)
I received this book from the Avon Addicts program and want to give Jill Shalvis another try.

Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss, #4)
10. Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh (contemporary romance)
I'm not sure why I haven't read this book yet since I love this series/author.

Monday, September 26, 2016

REVIEW: "Do You Want to Start a Scandal" by Tessa Dare


Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5)
TITLE: Do You Want to Start a Scandal
AUTHOR(S): Tessa Dare
SERIES: Spindle Cove #5/Castles Ever After #4

GENRE: Historical Romance -- Regency England
PUBLISHER: Avon
PUBLICATION DATE: September 27, 2016
FORMAT: ARC
SOURCE: Publisher (Avon Addicts Program)
LENGTH: 384 pages
DATE READ: September 2016

READING CHALLENGES: 2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge

THEMES/TROPES: Opposites Attract, House Party, Spies, Scandal, Alpha Hero

RATING: 4 STARS

SUMMARY:

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it.
All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.
But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit . . . and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.
Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?
MY THOUGHTS: 

Do You Want to Start a Scandal bridges the gap between Tessa Dare's two recent series, Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After.  It features Charlotte Highwood, younger sister of Minerva (A Week to Be Wicked) and Diana (Beauty and the Blacksmith), and Piers Brandon, brother of Rafe (Say Yes to the Marquess).  Despite these connections, I feel like this book could easily be read as a stand-alone and is a good example of why Dare is such a popular historical romance writer.

I thought Charlotte was just adorable and a unique heroine.  She has the disadvantage of being the youngest of three daughters and sometimes feel like she could never measure up to Minerva's intellect or Diana's beauty.  But, she has great way with people and that enables her to put them at ease which isn't a quality that should be ignored.  I really liked how determined Charlotte was to make her own life decisions even when it felt like she was being coerced by her mother and Society as a whole.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about Piers as a hero.  He was a decent enough guy in his brother's book, but he just seemed so distant that I couldn't see him really taking the chance on love.  Thankfully, Charlotte's personality won him over and he was forced to re-evaluate what he was doing with his life.  I love it when a character is surprisingly blown over by someone else and how that situation changes their entire worldview.  I was thankful that Piers didn't resort to moping about how he wasn't worthy of Charlotte like some heroes that have similar pasts.

I thought the premise was a little over-the-top, but so much fun!  The whole mystery surrounding the lovers who were actually heard in the library was a great way to make Charlotte and Piers work together and, of course, fall even more in love.  I also appreciated that, while being forced to marry someone when you were completely innocent of scandal isn't ideal, there was a lack of real danger that I found refreshing.

Tessa Dare knows how to provide readers with an interesting plot, likable characters, and plenty of swoonworthy moments.  I had a great watching Charlotte and Piers figure out how much they mean to one another and then deal with those feelings.  Do You Want to Start a Scandal is a must-read for any Tessa Dare fan and would also be a good bet for any readers that likes delightful historical romance.

I received an eARC of this book from Avon via Edelweiss/Avon Addicts Program in exchange for an honest review.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

Spindle Cove


A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1) Once Upon a Winter's Eve (Spindle Cove, #1.5) A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2) A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3) Beauty and the Blacksmith  (Spindle Cove, #3.5) Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4) Lord Dashwood Missed Out (Spindle Cove, #4.5) Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5)

Castles Ever After

Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1) Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After, #2) When a Scot Ties the Knot (Castles Ever After, #3) Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

REVIEW: "No Mistress of Mine" by Laura Lee Guhrke

No Mistress Of Mine (An American Heiress in London, #4)
TITLE: No Mistress of Mine
AUTHOR(S): Laura Lee Guhrke
SERIES: An American Heiress in London #4

GENRE:
Historical Romance -- Victorian England
PUBLISHER: Avon
PUBLICATION DATE: August 30, 2016
FORMAT: eARC
SOURCE: Publisher -- Edelweiss/Avon Addicts
LENGTH: 384 pages
DATE READ: August 2016

READING CHALLENGES:
2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge

THEMES/TROPES:
Big Secret, Class Differences, Second Chance at Love, Actress Heroine

RATING: 4 STARS


SUMMARY: 


After spending his youth as one of the wildest rakes in the ton, Lord Denys Somerton has devoted the past six years to putting his past behind him. He is determined to fulfill his duties, find a suitable wife, and start a family, but that plan changes when Lola Valentine—the red-haired temptress from his past—returns to London, sparking the same irresistible desires that almost ruined his life once before.

Lola is a woman with no romantic illusions. She knew love would never be enough for a British lord and an American girl from the wrong side of the tracks. For Denys’s sake, she walked away from him and the glittering life he offered. But when an unexpected inheritance brings her back to London, Lola discovers the passion between them is as hot as ever. Can they vanquish it, or will it burn out of control again and destroy them both?
MY THOUGHTS:

I adore second chance romances so I was predestined to enjoy Laura Lee Guhrke's No Mistress of Mine.  I also liked the previous books in the American Heiress in London series and, therefore, was super happy to receive a copy through the Avon Addicts program.  While this isn't my favorite LLG book ever (that would be The Secret Desires of a Gentleman), I found this to be engaging and romantic.

Denys has been a side character throughout the series and I was always intrigued by the hints we got about his development.  Once upon a time he embarked on an affair with Lola, an American burlesque dancer with dreams of being a serious actress.  Their relationship was full of passion, but ended when the play Denys financed for Lola to star in bombed and she decided to run off with another man.  Six years later, Lola returns to London and surprises Denys by informing him that she is now a partner in a theater company, thanks to a surprise inheritance.  Now these two former lovers have to figure out how to work together to put on a successful performance while also dealing with their past feelings.

I loved both Denys and Lola.  They are full-realized characters who have grown a lot since they last see each other.  Denys was once a rake who only thought of his immediate pleasures, but now he is a business whiz who has saved his family's finances and is determined to marry a proper debutante.  Lola has used her years in New York improving her acting abilities and gaining the confidence that she lost.  I appreciated how mature these two acted when it came to their interactions especially their obvious chemistry.  It was easy to see how well they worked as a couple and it just took awhile for them to take that chance again.

Besides the growth of Denys and Lola and their romance, I enjoyed the historical details that the author provided about late Victorian London.  The most intriguing aspect was the theater company and how such a place was run at this time period.  There was a lot of talk about the business aspects involved as well as the power of the press in making a play a success.  I also liked that this is a time where the aristocracy is dealing with the Industrial Revolution and having to be involved in more than just landowning.

No Mistress of Mine is a fun story with likable characters and a charming romance.  Readers will be able to easily relate to either Denys or Lola as well as find them easy to root for.  Laura Lee Guhrke has a distinct style which effortlessly mixes the love story with historical elements, character development, and drama.  As always, I look forward to reading whatever she writes next.

I received an eARC of this book from Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

When the Marquess Met His Match (An American Heiress in London, #1) How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress in London, #2) Catch a Falling Heiress (An American Heiress in London, #3) No Mistress Of Mine (An American Heiress in London, #4)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

2016 TBR CHALLENGE REVIEW: "Highland Warrior" by Monica McCarty


Highland Warrior (Campbell Trilogy, #1)
TITLE: Highland Outlaw
AUTHOR(S): Monica McCarty
SERIES: Campbell Trilogy #1

GENRE: Historical Romance -- Medieval Scotland
PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books
PUBLICATION DATE: January 2009
FORMAT: Ebook
SOURCE: Amazon
LENGTH: 359 pages
DATE READ: September 2016

READING CHALLENGES: 2016 TBR Reading Challenge, 2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge

THEMES/TROPES: Enemies to Lovers, Shotgun Wedding, Alpha Hero, Family Issues

RATING: 3.5 STARS

SUMMARY:
The ruthless enforcer of Scotland’s most powerful clan, Jamie Campbell will use any means necessary to vanquish lawlessness and unrest among the feuding Highland clans. Seduction is a game as easily played as subterfuge, but when Jamie poses a as suitor to a rival clan’s daughter in order to expose treason, the line between duty and pleasure is suddenly blurred. Ebony-haired, ruby-lipped Caitrina Lamont defies him, denies him, and arouses him like no other woman.
Caitrina has no intention of forsaking her beloved father and doting brothers for a husband–especially a hated Campbell. But Jamie’s raw, sensual strength and searing kiss melt her resistance. When her idyllic world is shattered, Caitrina’s only hope to save her clan lies in the arms of Jamie Campbell, the enemy she holds accountable for its ruin. Can their tenuous truce, born in the velvet darkness of passionate nights, forge a love as strong as the sword that rules the Highlands?
MY THOUGHTS: 
I read this book for the 2016 TBR Challenge -- September -- Random Pick.  The challenge is hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian.

I love Highland romances so I am always irritated with myself that (before this month) I had only read one Monica McCarty book.  I got Highland Warrior when it was on sale through Amazon a few years ago.  Since this month's TBR theme is open-ended, I decided to just let my reading mood guide me and it became pretty clear that a Highland romance would be perfect for what I needed.

I adored Jamie!  I have a soft spot for heroes who have dark, ruthless reputations, but who end up being so sweet on the inside.  I admired Jamie's loyalty to his cousin despite the fact that his cousin may not always be deserving of such feelings.  I also liked the fact that he was willing to do anything to make Caitrina happy again even if it meant helping her rebuild the clan that he felt betrayed his king.

Caitrina was an interesting character who I simultaneously liked and disliked.  At the beginning of the book, she is spoiled and naive, but also kind and devoted to her family.  Some tragic events occur and she is forced to completely re-evaluate her worldview.  I was impressed by her character's journey.  The main thing that annoyed me was her inability to trust Jamie after he had done everything to show her that he had her best interests at heart.  I understand her irritation at his lack of communication surrounding certain situations, but I thought her reactions were unreasonable and sometimes immature.

Caitrina and Jamie's romance is a good example of "enemies to lovers".  They are two people who come from different political sides in a tumultuous time, but eventually find some common ground together.  I thought it was interesting that the hero was the one who fell in love first and had to convince the heroine that his feelings were true.  There are some communication issues that I think could have been handled better, but I felt like the evolution of their relationship was pretty believable.

While I did have some issues with this book, I enjoyed the writing style and the premise enough to check out more by this author.  I also found myself intrigued by the MacGregor clan who are considered outlaws by the Campbells and, of course, Jamie's exiled older brother who may not be as bad as first thought.  I'm glad I finally picked this book out from my e-reader after all these years.


BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

Highland Warrior (Campbell Trilogy, #1) Highland Outlaw (Campbell Trilogy, #2) Highland Scoundrel (Campbell Trilogy, #3)

Monday, September 19, 2016

REVIEW: "A Scot in the Dark" by Sarah MacLean


A Scot in the Dark (Scandal & Scoundrel #2)
TITLE: A Scot in the Dark
AUTHOR(S): Sarah MacLean
SERIES: Scandal & Scoundrel #2

GENRE: Historical Romance -- Regency England
PUBLISHER: Avon
PUBLICATION DATE: August 30, 2016
FORMAT: Mass Market Paperback
SOURCE: Publisher/Avon Addicts Program
LENGTH: 352 pages
DATE READ: August 2016

READING CHALLENGES: 2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge 

THEMES/TROPES: Guardian/Ward, Big Secret, Beta Hero, Scandalous Heroine, Communication Issues

RATING: 3.5 STARS

SUMMARY:

Lonesome Lily Turned Scandalous Siren
Miss Lillian Hargrove has lived much of her life alone in a gilded cage, longing for love and companionship. When an artist offers her pretty promises and begs her to pose for a scandalous portrait, Lily doesn't hesitate...until the lying libertine leaves her in disgrace. With the painting now public, Lily has no choice but to turn to the one man who might save her from ruin.
Highland Devil turned Halfhearted Duke
The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so than the aristocracy. It does not matter that the imposing Scotsman has inherited one of the most venerable dukedoms in Britain—he wants nothing to do with it, especially when he discovers that the unwanted title comes with a troublesome ward, one who is far too old and far too beautiful to be his problem.
Tartan Comes to Town
Warnick arrives in London with a single goal: get the chit married and see her become someone else's problem, then return to a normal, quiet life in Scotland. It's the perfect plan, until Lily declares she'll only marry for love...and the Scot finds that there is one thing in England he likes far too much...

MY THOUGHTS (in 5 points): 

1. I liked the way that Sarah MacLean took the inspiration of the sex tape scandals of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian and made it into an entertaining Regency plot point.  I felt really bad for Lily, but I admired her strength when it came to reacting to the future reveal of the portrait.

2. Alec is the titular Scot and I liked his character.  I have a huge weakness for Scottish heroes and I found him to be interesting.  He did have a few too many "I'm not worthy" moments for my personal taste though I understand why he had those thoughts.

3. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this book which involved Lily and Alec meeting and trying to reconcile their guardian/ward relationship with their growing attraction.  I think the plot got away from the author towards the end.  There was a lot going on and I felt like it took away from the main romance.

4. I got a little irritated with the lack of communication between Lily and Alec in the latter half.  Alec has this Big Secret that he didn't want to reveal and it took forever for the truth to come out.  There were also instances where some of their issues would have been avoided if they had just talked to one another.

5. I enjoyed the cameos from the Talbot sisters from The Rogue Not Taken with the scandalous Sesily stealing every scene she was in.  I am excited that MacLean will be returning to this family with next year's The Day of the Duchess featuring Seraphina and her estranged husband.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES:


The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel, #1) A Scot in the Dark (Scandal & Scoundrel #2)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY: All-Time Favorites in the Historical Romance Genre


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

Lord of Scoundrels (Scoundrels, #3)
1. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2)
2. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga, #6)
3. Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh

Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3)
4. Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (My Review)

Texas Destiny (Leigh Brothers Texas Trilogy, #1)
5. Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, #1)
6. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister, #3)
7. The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan (My Review)

A Gentleman Undone (Blackshear Family, #2)
8. A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant (My Review)

The Raven Prince (Princes Trilogy, #1)
9. The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

England's Perfect Hero (Lessons in Love, #3)
10. England's Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch