The Highland Chieftain by Amy Jarecki

chieftain
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.
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.

Look folks, I can’t say how happy I was to have found this author. Show me a Laird with some integrity, and I’ll show you all of my Kindle money. Seriously. And, ya wanna know the cool thing? Amy Jarecki has more books out there. So, I’m broke now.

This particular book is exactly as the blurb says. There is nothing in advertisement that isn’t delivered within the pages of the story. You get what you ask for and you get it in a way that holds you for as long as it takes to read the entire story.

Starting with the main character, Mairi MacKenzie, I’ll say that she is someone I would want to be my friend. Her range of feelings throughout the book are very human, which a reader tends to appreciate. Though she is a strong character, she isn’t out of touch with reality (her own reality, that is). Maybe the author knew someone like her and that’s why Mairi turned out to be a character I felt I knew.

Dunn, on the other hand, was just as real, but somewhat of a different sort–and that’s not a bad thing. Who doesn’t love a highlander with a heart of gold? He was very well written and a very realistic match for Mairi MacKenzie.

The KINDLE copy of The Highland Chieftain is only $3.99 and has 100% earned my stamp of approval and a full recommendation. Go buy it and read it today. TODAY, folks. You’re welcome.

 

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A Summer Scandal by Kat French

scandalWhen Violet moves to Swallow Beach, she inherits a small Victorian pier with an empty arcade perched on the end of it, and falls in love immediately. She wants nothing more than to rejuvenate it and make it grand again – but how?

When she meets hunky Calvin, inspiration strikes. What if she turned the arcade into an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops?

Not everyone in the town is happy with the idea, but Violet loves her arcade and business begins to boom. But as tensions worsen and the heat between her and Calvin begins to grow, life at Swallow Beach becomes tricky. Is it worth staying to ride out the storm? And can Violet find her own happy ending before the swallows fly south for the winter?

Well, I’m going to start this review off by saying that there is absolutely nothing within the pages I’d call scandalous. Not one thing. It’s a very vanilla romance with very vanilla characters who have very vanilla problems. That doesn’t make it a bad book, however. Even though the title is somewhat misleading, it’s a decent read, if not somewhat dull through the majority of it.

But, since the word scandalous is right in the title, I will say that I had higher hopes for the story and the characters–particularly the main character and her love interest. Yes, I know that a scandal could be described in ways that are debatable–one gal’s scandal is certainly not the next, so take this with a grain of salt.

There is a bit of comedy within the story, which some of my blog readers know I love. So, it has that going for it. I may give this author another shot one day, but honestly I won’t go out of my way. I’ll recommend this book to some of my friends who read this sort of thing, though! Happily, too. It’s well written and the story is well formed–no big issues with anything other than that it just simply wasn’t for me.

Get a KINDLE copy of A Summer Scandal by Kat French for $5.99 if you’re interested. 

Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay by Bella Osborne

bayDaisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

If I’m being honest, not all books are going to work for me all the time. This is one of those fair weather books. If I’d read it in a certain mood, I may not have liked it at all. But, to be fair, I read while I was in a whimsical mood, so I actually did like it. I am mentioning this because I know there are other readers like me–what works one minute, may not the next.

I did enjoy this book. It’s a fantastic summer read and would make a fantastic early fall read, too, because once you’re in a whimsical reading mood, it enchants. Somewhat reminiscent of a Hallmark movie, it’s gripping in a light way–the main character, Daisy, and the ways in which she maneuvers her life–running away from problems (or people and familial situations) instead of facing them and dealing with them–is almost a novel (and Hallmark film) cliche, but as long as I tried not to think about it, it didn’t bother me as much as it may have. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

My one gripe was I thought Daisy might have been a stronger character when I chose to read this book. I really hoped for more for her, but the novel just didn’t deliver. I wanted a stronger, more intelligent lead character and I really didn’t get that with Ottercombe Bay. I don’t know that I’ll read more by this author, so if you’re waiting on anything else from her, you may want to check it out yourself rather than waiting on another one of my reviews.

For my blog readers, please do note that other people are really loving the book, so you might, too. Most of you, I believe, are looking for something more, though, and with that in mind, I beg that you hold your horses and wait on the reviews for some of the other books I’ve read over the last few months. There were some really great titles in there, lacking the indecisive, running-from-everything lead character. 

 

Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

***WARNING***
This book is the Heirs Of Chicagoland No. 1, meaning there will soon be an Heirs Of Chicagoland No. 2. However, if you are unfamiliar with this author, please note that she has another series called the Chicagoland Vampires Novels that I feel maybe you should read first. It is NOT necessary because I didn’t start with the Chicagoland Vampires Novels and I felt Wild Hunger stood alone fine. But, I wish I had started with the Chicagoland Vampires Novels. If you, like me, like things to go perfectly in order, maybe start with Some Girls Bite

Wild-Hunger-Final.jpg

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 14, 2018
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON.COM

I loved this book. It was one of those I couldn’t put down and I felt like I knew each character personally. I have never read anything else by this author, but I’ve already looked her up and I think I’m going to have to look into some of her other series (Devil’s Isle Series, I’m looking at you).  I never once got lost through reading details, lengthy dialogs, or descriptions and I felt the plot pretty much carried itself.

I did expect there to be more interaction between Connor Stupid Keane and Elisa Sullivan, but after I read the entire novel I realize there is probably a good reason why there wasn’t. Their story is building over a few books, obviously, and there is very little in entertainment value lost by not hearing from Connor in every single chapter. Somehow, it works quite well.

The only regret I have is that I didn’t wait until closer to the release date to read the book because now I am ready for the second book, which hasn’t even been announced, much less given a release date. And, the anticipation is really driving me bananas! That being said, I’ll be singing Chloe Neill’s praises all summer long, at every opportunity. And, I’ll be (not so) patiently awaiting the announcement of a second Heirs Of Chicagoland novel.

Bravo, Chloe Neill.
Now, about that second Heirs Of Chicagoland novel…

 

The Howling by Erin McCarthy

howlingRELEASE DATE: 6/26/18
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER AT AMAZON NOW!

Beneath the silver moon . . .

For six months the nightmares have been chasing Liv Lugaru out of her sleep. The same terrifying dream, the same fevered wolves panting after her, their hot breath getting closer and closer as a full moon hangs heavy in the night sky—until she wakes up drenched in sweat, with her fiancé, the brother of the man who broke her heart, gazing down at her . . .

Six months ago, Sebastian was almost killed by his brother in a power struggle within their werewolf pack. His disappearance opened the way for his brother to console Liv, win her trust . . . without ever telling her of their true heritage. Now Sebastian is ready to reclaim his rightful place—to rise up with the moon and claim the only woman he’s ever loved . . .

WARNING:
This was a short read, one I’d classify as a novelette. A bedtime story for grown ups, perhaps, which I wasn’t expecting. I fully expected a full length novel because I didn’t bother to check Amazon or anywhere else for a length. Had I checked, I don’t think a length would have been listed anyway. And if any of my readers find one, please let me know because I saw nothing helpful. 

Can you tell I’m a bit bitter?

The issue is this–if you’re expecting a  novel about these werewolves and their lives together, look elsewhere. The description really does set up for a great, full length story. The problem is that there isn’t one. All you get is the basics with sex thrown in. The love scenes are great–sizzlin’ even–and, it read well, but I still really wanted more out of it. I believe a novel should have come from this. 

*****

Erin McCarthy’s writing isn’t an issue. She’s great, actually. The characters were surprisingly well fleshed for such a short story. You get the gist of their personalities and backgrounds without an info dump, which is difficult when you’re working in shorter projects. I felt like I could get to know these characters and I felt like there weren’t too many to keep up with for the length of the story, which can also be an issue for shorter works.

An issue I had was that I wasn’t sure I liked (or disliked, if you will) the antagonist enough. Yeah, he was a bad boy. He tried to kill his brother. Blah blah blah, insert werewolf howl here. This is where a longer story would have come in handy. There was plenty of room for this to have become a novel so that a reader could have felt the full wrath of this guy–someone who tries to kill their flesh and blood (particularly a pack animal) has to have a good, solid reason for it. And that reason has to be something more than just a simple power struggle over who gets to be married to the girl or who gets to be the alpha. Sebastian’s brother had the potential to be one of the best bad guys in (erotic) romance, but the feelings of hate (or disdain, perhaps) that a reader should feel for the antagonist just didn’t come through strongly enough for me, which impacted my ability to enjoy the story as much as I would have had it been longer.

To clear up a few things, I am not a novelette hater. On the contrary, I quite enjoy them. But, putting forth the right amounts of this and that is almost a science where fiction lengths are concerned. In this area, I feel the mark was missed by a hair.

But, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. If the only thing a person finds wrong with a piece of literature is that there wasn’t enough of it, well, that’s not a horrible thing. It’s unfortunate, but certainly not enough for me to skip future works by this author. I did enjoy the characters and the plot and the saucier scenes were, um, saucy.

As far as a star rating, I’m going to go with a 3.5.

 

 

 

 

A Demon In Silver by R.S. Ford

20180619_192455.jpgReleased June 12, 2018
Titan Books

In a world where magic has vanished, rival nations vie for power in a continent devastated by war. When a young farm girl, Livia, demonstrates magical powers for the first time in a century there are many across the land that will kill to obtain her power. The Duke of Gothelm’s tallymen, the blood-soaked Qeltine Brotherhood, and cynical mercenary Josten Cade; all are searching for Livia and the power she wields.

But, Livia finds that guardians can come from the most unlikely places… and that the old gods are returning to a world they abandoned.

I thought this book was incredible. It lacked very little and the premise is captivating. This is the first in a series, if I’ve understood correctly. I certainly hope I manage to get the next book on pre-order so that I don’t have to wait for it. I dislike waiting and this is one story I would like to hang with until the very end.

I don’t want to go into too many details of my thoughts, though. I feel like in doing so I will be giving my blog readers too many spoilers. I can divulge that there are a few surprises that remain surprising, twists that remain twisty, and turns that lead places incredibly fun to imagine.

Four stars.

**********

REVIEWS COMING SOON!

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Review to post 6.21.18
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Review to post 6.20.18

The Earl, the Vow, and the Plain Jane by Cheryl Bolen–Review

BolenRelease date: June 12, 2018
Available for pre-order NOW!

Bereft of beauty as well as fortune, the exceedingly plain Miss Jane Featherstone has failed to attract any suitor during her three Seasons. Rather than be a burden to her brother and his obnoxious wife, Miss Featherstone vows to accept the first man who asks—even though she’s always worshipped a lord who’s far above her touch. . .

Lord Slade must marry an heiress in order to honor the deathbed vow he made to his father, and he needs Miss Featherstone’s help in wooing her beautiful cousin. After her initial anger, Miss Featherstone agrees to his scheme, telling him she’s doing so because she admires his Parliamentary record of humanitarian legislation and his reverence for truth. But the more he’s with the two cousins, the more attracted he becomes to Miss Featherstone. What’s a man of his word to do? Break a vow to a beloved father—or follow his heart with Miss Featherstone?

*******

It didn’t take me long to read this book, probably only two sittings. I liked the story. I loved the premise behind it. The characters were okay, too. But, that was it. They were just okay. Not spectacular, not extraordinary, and I would not call Lord Slade an alpha male at any turn, for any reason. Obviously a vow to a dying father was important, but a man caring for three sisters should have realized (way before he did) that those left alive are far more important than any vow, particularly minors in his care. He was only a man and Jane was only an average woman–the Plain Jane, I suppose. I expected much more from these characters. By their descriptions, I envisioned totally different people.

I really felt like the book was missing some umph.

Regardless, there were a lot of things within the story I liked, otherwise I would have taken much longer to read it. There were also things (and characters) I really hated, which, to a certain degree, was the reason I stuck around to finish the story.

I really hated the younger cousin, Sarah, and I desperately wanted somebody to shove a pie in her face–unfortunately, no pies landed. Major bummer, right? She was a bit sure of herself and, even though she was young, I really think she could have taken better care of her words regarding beauty and Miss Featherstone.

Some people, amirite?

This was a very sweet romance, too, so not really the sort of book I’m used to picking up. I tend to read racier, edgier, faster paced books. When I, on purpose, pick up a sweet romance, I expect for there to be some sort of major conflict or, at the very least, some really warm scenes. In this book, a lot of that was really lost. To add insult to injury, so to say, the ending unfolded too quickly for the amount of build up behind it. I’m okay with knowing what’s going to happen before it does (and any reader can tell you this is very common), but I really dislike being let down in the delivery of these happenings.

I can’t say that I can give a recommendation for this book to anyone unless I give them a full report of the letdowns as well as the good points, so you have all been warned. Three stars.