What Happens At Christmas (Millworth Manor, #1) by Victoria Alexander

What Happens At Christmas Book Cover What Happens At Christmas
Millworth Manor #1
Victoria Alexander
Historical Romance, Victorian Romance
Kensington Books
October 16, 2012
audiobook
352

You are cordially invited to Christmas at Millworth Manor. . .

Camille, Lady Lydingham, requests the pleasure of your company at a festive house party, as she endeavors to coax a marriage proposal from Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky of Greater Avalonia.

The hostess's relatives will be in attendance--in this case, a troupe of actors hired to impersonate a proper English family in order to fool the Prince.

Gate-crashing, distractingly handsome first loves like Grayson Elliott are most unwelcome.

Games will be played.

Motives will be revealed.

Mayhem may ensue.

And hearts will be won--and lost--in the most romantic, magical season of all.

Please RSVP!

This was a very amusing Christmas story. It was just what I needed like a hot cup of chocolate on a cold winter night.

Camille, Lady Lydingham, wanted the fairy tale life so when she met a prince who was travelling. Camille put a plan into motion designed to charm Prince Nikolai Pruzinksy of Greater Avalonia into proposing to her and making her a princess.

The problem was that she didn’t feel that her family was the “right sort” to endear the prince to her, as they were quite eccentric. So Camille decided to hire a troupe of actors to portray a proper and respectable English family. While Camille and her married twin sister Beryl, Lady Dunwell, put their scheme into motion, Camille’s first love Grayson Elliot came by.

Grayson had decided that Camille was the one that got a way and he came to woo her back. Unfortunately he walks into this grand spectacle of a Christmas holiday with Camille’s faux family. Both Prince Nikolas and Grayson wanted to prove they were the right suitor. Her twin sister just wants her to be happy. The rest is just comedic genius.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this story so much but it was funny. Camille was very likable even though she was a bit of a dreamer. I give her a A for the trying in earnest to pull of a ruse of this magnitude. It required nerves of steel and sheer willpower to remain committed when parts of her story were falling part. Camille and her sister improvised so well, I almost expected them to decide to go into the theater afterwards.

I liked the drama because it felt like watching a live play with the blunders, bloopers and improvisation. The romance was also sweet and heart felt. I was pleased with how the love story was resolved. The audiobook narrator did an awesome job with various voices. I was never bored in this story. If you want an entertaining Christmas story and a second chance romance, I highly recommend this one.

Ezi

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)five-stars
From Sand and Ash Book Cover From Sand and Ash
Amy Harmon
Historical Fiction; Historical Romance
Lake Union Publishing
December 1st, 2016
audibook; e-book
386

Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

This book was a lyrical work of art.

Definitely Amy Harmon’s finest work and I have enjoyed all of her books thus far. There were so many things I loved about this book but writing stands out the most. Amy Harmon’s storytelling was so intense, visceral and poignant. This story was set in Italy starting before the German invasion and lasted for the Nazi occupation of the Italy. It was such a dark and depressing historical period, but the author managed weave a tale of love, hope, faith and loyalty.

Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were childhood best friends despite being her being Jewish and him being Catholic. Despite their affection for each other, Angelo decided that he could best serve God as a priest.

“God makes me strong. He gives me courage. He gives me peace. He gives me purpose.”

As Angelo joined the priesthood, Eva began navigating life in Italy where Jews were stripped of every conceivable right of citizenship despite the Jews “making up 1% of the countries population”. At her darkest hour, Angelo took in Eva and some other family friends to hid them, but it endangered all the priests around.

Angelo was forced to consider what his life would be like if the Nazi’s were to find Eva and the other Jews that the priests were protecting. While Eva struggles to survive, she was also forced to deal with the fact that the man she loved chose to be a priest over a life with her.

This story was both inspiring, enlightening and emotionally POWERFUL. Every time I felt despondent, a gestured or an event occurred that contributed some reason for hope and encouragement.

“Hope is the only thing resistant to the fear, and it is the hope that makes the next breath possible, the next step, the next tiny act of rebellion, even if that rebellion is simply staying alive.”

The author didn’t mislead the readers by painting a rosy picture of war times. But those tendrils of devotion and faithfulness kept me optimistic as I listened to tale. The narrator Cassandra Campbell was excellent in her various accented voices. She was a great choice for this book.

I loved both Eva and Angelo for different reasons. Both were strong characters, loving, honest and altruistic. Eva though just stole my heart. She had a clarity about almost everything. She was decisive and even stubborn. Angelo was so endearing because he truly tried to honor his faith even if he had to sacrifice his own heart. I admired his commitment and his perseverance. The author did an amazing job developing these characters as well as the overall plot. I never felt that the author sacrificed the historical plight of the people in favor of a love story. It made everything feel so much more authentic and genuine. I am always amazed at the blessings that occurred despite immense suffering during the tragedies of war. This story was one of the best written historical fiction novels I have ever read.

 **Special Thanks to Lake Union Publishing via Netgalley for the e-book given in exchange for an honest review.

About Amy Harmon

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in thirteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.

Amy Harmon has written ten novels – including the USA Today Bestsellers, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as The Law of Moses, Infinity + One and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her recent release, The Bird and the Sword, is a Goodreads Choice finalist in Fantasy.

Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt

Notorious Pleasures Book Cover Notorious Pleasures
Maiden Lane #2
Elizabeth Hoyt
Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Vision; Hatchette Audio
February 1st 2011
audiobook
389

Their lives were perfect...
Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn't bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother...

Until they met each other.
Lord Griffin Reading is far from perfect - and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire—desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero's wedding nears, and Griffin's enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?

Ok. I am pleasantly surprised. The first book was somewhat enjoyable but Book 2 was much more passionate.

Hero Batten is the “perfect lady”. She was trained to be a wife of a Duke and now her brother the Duke of Wakefield has made a match for her with the Marquis of Mandeville. The problem came when Lady Hero meet her fiancee younger brother Lord Griffin Reading. It was nice meeting naughty.

I liked that Hero wasn’t so prim and proper and that Griffin wasn’t as degenerate as society believed. Their chemistry leaps off the pages and it was clear that there was almost no choice but to be together. I found implausibly was the lack of guilt or remorse Hero felt with Griffin and vice versa.
I also don’t understand why Griffin let his older brother believe the lies concerning the marquis’ first wife.

But the romance was very engrossing and I was listening with excitement as Griffin tried to woo Hero. Hero’s rational thinking made her personality seem she would be boring but she wasn’t. There was a lot of fire underneath all that facade. Griffin also used a facade of indifference to hide his vulnerability. I like how these opposites pulled the other towards a more balanced middle ground. Definitely a series to continue.

Audiobook Review: The Duke Is Mine (Fairy Tales #3) by Eloisa James

The Duke is Mine Book Cover The Duke is Mine
Fairy Tales #3
Eloisa James
Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Avon
December 27th, 2011
audibook; e-book
10 hrs and 40 mins

He is a duke in search of a perfect bride.

She is a lady—but a long way from perfect.

Tarquin, the powerful Duke of Sconce, knows perfectly well that the decorous and fashionably slender Georgiana Lytton will make him a proper duchess. So why can't he stop thinking about her twin sister, the curvy, headstrong, and altogether unconventional Olivia? Not only is Olivia betrothed to another man, but their improper, albeit intoxicating, flirtation makes her unsuitability all the more clear.

Determined to make a perfect match, he methodically cuts Olivia from his thoughts, allowing logic and duty to triumph over passion…Until, in his darkest hour, Quin begins to question whether perfection has anything to do with love.

To win Olivia's hand he would have to give up all the beliefs he holds most dear, and surrender heart, body and soul…

Unless it's already too late.

I loved this audiobook. The narrator Susan Duerden was entertaining, light, flirtatious and just fun. She brought the authenticity to the English accents and really transported me to the Regency era. She increased my enjoyment of this book.

In this story, twins Olivia & Georgiana Lytton was daughters raised and trained to be duchesses. They loved each other, but they were opposites. Olivia was the “peach”, plumb and round while Georgiana was the celery, tall and lanky.
Olivia learned the crude jokes and Georgiana learned mathematics and science. But they still had each others back.Well, Georgiana took to her lessons, Olivia clearly had a rebellious streak that made her fight against all things proper. Olivia and Georgiana were both characters I enjoyed.
Georgiana ended up betrothed to the Duke of Canterwick, who went off to fighting in the war defending England. Now Olivia is trying to help her twin make a match with Tarquin, The Duke of Scones.

The only problem is that the Tarquin feels an attraction for Olivia and vice versa.

So what’s a girl to do? Should Olivia ignore her heart and push Tarquin towards Georgiana or should Olivia hold on to the passion she has found with Tarquin?

Olivia and Tarquin felt seamless as couple. They fit, they were fun and they had witty banter. I enjoyed the way the author worked them towards each other considering Olivia’s engagement, the mother etc. It made the book a tad angsty which added to the suspense. The sisters still retained her affection and support for each other. I was expecting feelings of betrayal but nope, Georgiana saw and understood that Tarquin didn’t cause butterflies in her stomach nor did he look at her the way he looked at Olivia.

I love historical romances because they are romantic. Eloisa James has a way of interjecting humor, a little history, and great interpersonal relationships. The only reason I am not giving this story a full 5-star is the last few chapters with Olivia’s fiance were superfluous. There could have been less dramatic ways of ending the engagement and Quinn not feeling like stole someone’s woman.

Still their love story made this book an awesome audiobook experience that I will be finishing the series soon.

Virtual Tour – Sideshow by Amy Stilgenbauer

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OMS welcomes author Amy Stilgenbauer to the blog to answer a few questions for us and to celebrate her latest release, Sideshow – Available from Interlude Press, August 25, 2016 – to share an excerpt and offer a giveaway.

* * * * * *

 

OMS:  Hi Amy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

AS: Thanks for having me! I’m a writer and giant history geek from Michigan who grew up in a small festival-obsessed town. That might be why I’m so fascinated by them. Sideshow is my second novel. It tells the story of Abby Amaro, a first generation Sicilian-American young woman in the late 1950s who is struggling with her place in this world, and ends up finding it, and love at a traveling carnival.

OMS:  Tell us something about your character’s friends.

AS:  The great, and also awful, thing about traveling around the country with your coworkers is that you become a family, the kind that has your back and at the same time can get incredibly annoying. The people Abby travels with in the carnival are exactly that. Ruth takes her under her wing and helps her navigate being the new girl. Vinnie does his best to bring her out of her shell. Even Della, antagonistic and bitter as she is, has Abby’s back when it counts.

OMS:  What is your character’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite snack food? Banner300x250

AS: Food actually plays a far more prominent role in Sideshow than I had initially realized. It’s probably because so much of my own memories have specific meals at the center of them. Abby, as we learn, has a fondness for foods that might be a little off palate for most, such as chicken livers and anchovy pizza for dinner and marzipan for dessert. My personal favorite food fact about her is that though she never explicitly said so, her favorite snack food is kettle corn for a very sappy reason.

OMS:  What activity does your character absolutely hate?

AS: While it may seem strange for an aspiring opera singer and carnival talker to say, Abby has an almost debilitating case of stage fright. When she gets in front of people, though she wants to push through and be a good performer, it’s not always that simple. She works on this struggle throughout the novel. She and Suprema are very much alike in this way. Suprema is fine on stage; it’s opening up in real life that she struggles with.

OMS:  What other author’s book do you think your character would be good in?

AS: I could see Abby slipping rather seamlessly into the world of Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event. Not just because it is set in the 1950s and Abby would have heard about the events that take place, but also because the general theme of community struggles and the first blush of independence are things that Abby also deals with. Also, I would really like to see Boleslaw, one of the carnival’s lot managers, in charge of things in Like Water for Elephants. He’s got the sort of calm demeanor that circus sorely needed.

OMS:  What’s your favorite decade and why?

AS: That’s a tough one, being the archivist and life long history nerd that I am. I find that every decade has some really high points, but then there are also so many things to not love, including the one we’re currently living, so it’s really hard to pick. I choose to set Sideshow in the 1950s, because I find that particular decade fascinating to study. The aesthetic is iconic, and I am enthralled by the anxieties, struggles, and changes that were bubbling under the surface of society. Those are exactly the kind of themes that I love to explore.

* * * * * *

RC~EXCERPT~

 

Abby couldn’t remember falling asleep. She only remembered the dark night and how, outside the window of Della’s trailer, the rolling slopes of Eastern Ohio slowly flattened into the farmland of the western side of the state and faded into darkness. She didn’t say much during the trip, but her mind was spinning, unable to process what she had done.

Once, when she had been a little girl, barely older than Annette was now, her mother had taken her and Natale to visit their aunt in Chicago for a week. It had been a nice visit. They had embarked on the train with a great deal of ceremony, and Za Teresa had spoiled the pair rotten, loading them up with peach-shaped marzipan and pizzelle until they were both sick. She hadn’t left Cleveland for any extended period of time since. Oh, sure, she’d talked and dreamt about it. Nonna often wistfully mentioned taking a trip back to her girlhood home one more time now that the war was over and taking Abby along to look after her, and then, if her opera career took off as she had once hoped, she would be visiting all the great cities. In her scrapbook, clippings of Palais Garnier, La Scala, and The Met were decorated with carefully drawn hearts and hopeful stars and the scrawled word: someday. Still, she had never imagined


Sideshow 900px FRONT (Tumblr)Sideshow by Amy Stilgenbauer
Release Date: August 25, 2016
Pages: 224 • Cover Artist: C.B. Messer
Published By: Interlude Press
Purchase Links:
InterludeAmazonARe • B&NSmashwords • IndieboundGoogle 

Abby Amaro wants to sing at La Scala Opera House, but she’s a good girl, and in 1957 good girls get married. Still, when she receives her first marriage proposal, she freezes, knowing the way her suitor makes her feel bodes trouble. When he won’t take no for an answer, she flees, joining up with a traveling carnival.

Thanks to a burlesque trapeze artist and the world’s saddest clown, Abby bides her time and fits in until she can rejoin the world she knows. She doesn’t expect a sideshow strongwoman named Suprema, who captures her imagination. As the carnival makes its way across the Midwest, Abby learns much more than she had ever imagined—about herself, about her identity, and, most importantly, about love.


Follow the Tour!

25-Aug: The Novel Approach, Unquietly Me, Velvet Panic, Bayou Book Junkie

Badge26-Aug: Oh My Shelves, Book Lovers 4Ever, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, A.M. Leibowitz

29-Aug: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Love Bytes

30-Aug: Butterfly-O-Meter, Kirsty Loves Books, MM Good Book Reviews

31-Aug: My Fiction Nook, BFD Book Blog

1-Sep: Prism Book Alliance, Open Skye Book Reviews, Happily Ever Chapter

2-Sep: Foxylutely Book Reviews, Bonkers About Books

5-Sep: Divine Magazine, Havan Fellows

6-Sep: Alpha Book Club, Molly Lolly

7-Sep: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Charley Descoteaux

 

Final

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Amy Stilgenbauer

Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. Her short story, The Fire-Eater’s Daughter, was included in Summer Love, an LGBTQ Young Adult collection published by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.

Fallow by Jordan L. Hawk

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

FallowFallow by Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Whyborne & Griffin, Book Eight
Release Date: August 5, 2016
Pages:  197 • Format: eARC
Published By: Jordan L. Hawk
Purchase Links:
AmazonARe • B&N • Kobo 

When Griffin’s past collides with his present, will it cost the lives of everyone he loves?

Between the threat of a world-ending invasion from the Outside and unwelcome revelations about his own nature, Percival Endicott Whyborne is under a great deal of strain. His husband, Griffin Flaherty, wants to help—but how can he, when Whyborne won’t tell him what’s wrong?

When a man from Griffin’s past murders a sorcerer, the situation grows even more dire. Once a simple farmer from Griffin’s hometown of Fallow, the assassin now bears a terrifying magical corruption, one whose nature even Whyborne can’t explain.

To keep Griffin’s estranged mother safe, they must travel to a dying town in Kansas. But as drought withers the crops of Fallow, a sinister cult sinks its roots deep into the arid soil. And if the cult’s foul harvest isn’t stopped in time, Fallow will be only the first city to fall.

Fallow is the eighth book in the Whyborne & Griffin series, where magic, mystery, and m/m romance collide with Victorian era America.

five-stars

I honestly feel like, after every book JLH finishes she gives herself one of these.

I don’t know what her method is, but keep doing it. Did we really expect anything else from her? This book was so freaking good. The gang is back to help save the inhabitants of Fallow, Kansas this time. Every time I read a JLH book it’s like going on a vivid journey that you never want to end. It’s how I feel after all her books. I always look at the percentage hoping and pleading that it never makes it to 100%

This installment was no different. Still reeling from the catastrophe of book #7, Whyborne is adamant about keeping his revelations to himself. He’s trying to protect the people of Widdershins, and doing it by keeping himself closed off. Of course Griffin notices his Ival’s problems. He wouldn’t be a good husband if he didn’t notice. This was a perfect setup to a story revolving around Griffin’s past. His family issues never were resolved enough for him, and when dastardly things come to play in Kansas the gang makes their way there.

The game is on. As soon as they reach Fallow things take off. As usual Hawk weaves a fabulous tale, I’m excited happy with all the outcomes in this book. It’s book 8 and the magic of Whyborne and Griffin is still new and joyous to me as a reader. I love Hawk’s diversity as usual. Her pen game is amazing, and I don’t think I’ve read a better thought out series then this. I won’t go into the plot and spoil it for people, but this was close on so many levels to breaking my heart. I love seeing the gang turn things up and come to the rescue. I loved this book, and look forward to more from her!

About Jordan L. Hawk

Jordan L. Hawk grew up in North Carolina and forgot to ever leave. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave her a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When she isn’t writing, she brews her own beer and tries to keep her cats from destroying the house. Her best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook at Amazon and other online retailers.

Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

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

HexbreakerHexbreaker: by Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Hexworld, Book One
Release Date: May 6, 2016
Pages: 259 • Format: eARC
Published By:
Purchase Links:
AmazonSmashwordsARe

Will a dark history doom their future together?

New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.

Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.

Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.

But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.

five-stars

Oh My Goodness. This book is everything. Jordan L. Hawk is one of the best authors out here. I haven’t read a bad book yet, and don’t think I will ever!!! Her world building and character building is so thorough. I love all of her characters and her concepts are some of my favorite for paranormal. It’s a subject that I like reading about. This book I felt like the world building was so easily understood and it just flowed easily. I loved the characters, the plot, and the easy feel of it being a Historical Fiction book. I think I was cheesing the entire time reading this. Both characters were fabulous. I enjoyed Tom alot. He did his own thing and his own way. I loved how he thought things through and didn’t rush into anything for anyone, including Cicero. I’m not a cat person at all. Cicero is definitely a cat person. He’s finicky, pampered, loyal, and a tad selfish but I really enjoyed him.

From the novella when he was just Rook’s partner I knew it was something special about the guy who didn’t like water. He needed his outward appearance to stay sharp and always seemed to be spoiled and number #1. I got all of this just off reading about him and hearing what he has to say. Tom and Cicero being thrown together was magical in my eyes. Two completely different guys with different ways but so much in common when it matters. From the very beginning I thought they were attuned with each other. The mystery and clues that popped felt like little snacks t me. I couldn’t figure out where we were going with the story. I enjoyed Tom’s history and seeing his life come full circle. I can’t give away the plot, but we all know Jordan is wonderful with the plot and the coupling because they were hot. On fire almost. I might have needed a fan by these two.

I enjoyed this story alot. Loved the elements of New York and just seeing the history on page. The last 25% I had some issues with, it got a little disjointed in my mind. I might have been confuse but I kept reading. I’m not so sure I know who’s responsible, but that could have been me trying to soak it all up so fast. I can’t wait to see what happens next in this world. I feel like it’s a possible M/M/M pairing, but I don’t want to get my hopes up. Read the book people, this author rocks and is consistently great with her work.

About Jordan L. Hawk

Jordan L. Hawk grew up in North Carolina and forgot to ever leave. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave her a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When she isn’t writing, she brews her own beer and tries to keep her cats from destroying the house. Her best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook at Amazon and other online retailers.

Kill or Be Kilt (Highland Spies #3) by Victoria Roberts @tantoraudio

Kill or Be Kilt (Highland Spies #3) by Victoria Roberts @tantoraudioon 2016-01-05
Pages: 352
AmazonB&N
Lady Elizabeth Walsingham pined after the same man for years. When she finally realizes the brawny Highland laird doesn't return her feelings, she decides to leave for London and start anew. It seems that her prayers are answered when she catches the eye of a charming actor at the Globe Theatre - a man who is the complete opposite of the Highlander she once loved.

Laird Ian Monroe spends his time avoiding the bothersome young girl who dreams of their union. But when he travels to London and discovers that she has a new love interest with a dishonorable agenda, his perspective changes. Ian soon realizes that Elizabeth is no longer a child with a crush, but a beautiful woman in need of his help. He may have what it takes to rescue Elizabeth from her scheming beau, but does he have the courage to reclaim Elizabeth's heart as well?
four-stars

In this third book, Lady Ruairi’s little sister Elizabeth is all grown up and catching the eye of Laird Ian Monroe whom she had a crush on since she was fifteen years old. When Elizabeth’s uncle and surrogate father was murdered, Elizabeth and her sisters returned to England to say goodbye. Ian and his brothers went to protect the Walshingham ladies as the London court was full of discord and conflict. While in London, some suitors began showing interest in Elizabeth. Laird Ian found something wrong with everyone who showed interest in Elizabeth. When an actor becomes the front runner for Elizabeth’s affections, Ian was forced to admit that his feelings for Elizabeth were no longer platonic.
How can Ian get Elizabeth to see that his feelings are genuine?

I liked this story but I definitely would have liked more romance and less historical fiction. The mystery of the murders and the court politics overshadowed Ian and Elizabeth’s journey to love. The characters were likable and the story as well written. I just didn’t care about the power struggle as much as I enjoyed the actualization of a love that had been brewing for a while.

Ian was an amusing hero and I liked his Scottish bravado. It took me a while to warm up to Elizabeth because she was immature at times, but I respect her for making Ian work for it. After all, he did dismiss her as a little girl when she liked him so he had to earn it and it was fun as he tried to undermine Elizabeth’s beaus.

This story was fun and would be a great read for readers who love Highlander romances that are more historical fiction and are lighter on the romance.

*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review

My Tempting Highlander (Highland Hearts #3) by Maeve Greyson

My Tempting Highlander (Highland Hearts #3) by  Maeve Greysonon 2016-02-23
Pages: 294
Amazon
From the author of My Highland Bride—hailed by Sandy Blair as “an entertaining time-travel story packed with spice, humor, fantasy, and nonstop adventure”—comes a sensual novel featuring a wolf-shifting chieftain who travels centuries to modern-day Scotland to tame his one and only.   Cursed to live forever with neither wife nor child, Ronan Sutherland has watched all he cherishes turn to dust—more than once. For hundreds of years, he’s been trapped behind the mists of Loch Ness, hoping to identify the one woman who is prophesied to break the spell. Now, at last, the fates have aligned, and he’s being sent into the future to fetch her. After a single glimpse, Ronan knows he’s been waiting all his life for this passionate woman.   Unlike her time-traveling sisters, Mairi Sinclair is perfectly content to remain in the present. As a hospital nurse in Edinburgh, she cherishes the opportunity to put her gift of healing powers to good use. But everything changes the morning a mysterious wolf darts in front of her car. Touching the wounded creature’s tawny coat, a tingle surges through her. Yet when she returns with aid, Mairi is shocked to find instead a man with broad shoulders and fire in his eyes—a man who tempts her to unleash the animal within.
three-half-stars

Ronan Sutherland and his family have been under a curse to be shapeshifter (wolf) and this curse can only lifted by true love. Ronan sought the help from an old sage Granny Sinclair who prophesied that her granddaughter would be the one to break Ronan’s curse. The Sinclairs were gifted with the power to time travel amongst other powers. The only problem is that Mari Sinclair, the granddaughter, time travelled to the future and refuses to return to 13th century Scotland. Thus Ronan had to time travel to 21st century Edinburgh to bring his fated mate Mairi back to 13th century.

Meanwhile, Mairi was content living a life untethered of her grandmother’s expectations and had no intention of returning despite being summoned repeatedly. While she has difficulty maintaining employment, she does use her healing gifts to aid people. Mairi and her sisters have made a life in the “future” but it didn’t include love yet. On her way to work, Mairi accidentally hits a wolf with her car, so she brings him home to heal him. Thus begins her unwitting introduction to her future love.

I struggled with both characters. At first, Mairi seemed flighty, then after she learned the “dog” she rescued was really a wolf shifter, aka a man, she turned into a harpy. I do understand that Ronan made it difficult to trust him since he chose time and time again to be less than truthful with Mairi. Ronan was a warrior and he was used to people doing what he said without being questioned. Plus, he was afraid that Mairi wouldn’t believe and he would lose his one chance to break this curse that has plagued him for 300 years. It is understandable why Ronan wouldn’t put all his cards on the table. But Mairi made it hard to like her. Mairi and Ronan made a good couple despite the back and forth. They had good chemistry and it was their inner fortitude that made them work well as a couple.

I did find the writing amusing enough that I chuckled sometimes. The characters were quirky, especially the Sinclair women. I enjoyed the plot and the writing more than the main characters. The most entertaining is having 13th century warriors having to deal with independent 20th century heroines. How fun was that! I wish I had started this series in order so I will go back and read book 1.

Special Thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept via Netgalley for the book given in exchange for an honest review.

The Turning Point by Amy Paine

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

516zox256PL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Turning Point by Amy Paine
Series: Traveling Companions
Release Date: March 7, 2016
Pages: 44 • Format: eARC
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links:
NineStar Amazon • ARe

1920s aristocratic feminist, Benita, dreams of heading her own magazine in a male dominated world but needs her lover Terence to help her reach her goals. Millie, a rich socialite and heiress to the Hemsby fortune, is about to be married to James, thus fulfilling her family’s dream of assuring their line.

A chance encounter on a train journey to London throws both women together, and a sensual trap is spun by their mutual desires. By the time they alight on the platform at Waterloo, both are changed and neither wants to say goodbye.

Is Benita strong enough to risk jeopardising her dreams and goals for a woman who captivates her? Can Millie break with tradition to follow her heart? When confronted by opposition and heartbreak Benita and Millie must find a way to be together, yet the world seems set to oppose them.

four-stars

Um… so, what happens on the railway to Waterloo, stays on the railway to Waterloo???

This was so much fun, so fresh and so damn sexy. Not only is this a historical f/f novella featuring a  feminist woman who is a reporter for a travel magazine but said strong woman is also a POC. I can’t stay how thrilled I was to get that bit of information right away as Benita tells us about her parents; her mother being Jamaican and the scandal of her marrying a lord.

…do you make a habit of seducing women on trains?

I loved getting in Benita’s head as Millie boards the railway carriage and has to squish in next to her and I love the boldness in everything Millie does.

This was a lovely exploration of women and sexuality in the 1920’s. It was interesting to get both women’s perspectives on their “relationship” with men; Benita’s boyfriend being one of convenience and Millie’s fiancé being that of familial duty and how they stand as feminist.

This is relatively short story and does not give much exploration to the characters other than what we are told about them. What it does give is a sexy romp in a railway carriage between two women of different social status, age and race and how all of that doesn’t matter when the one next to you, turns you on like never before.

“You’re one of us, aren’t you?”

“One of whom?”

“One who so adores the female sex. But in your case, you don’t dare enough.”

Romance for me can be the small things people do for one another but it is also those explosive beginnings where you know without a doubt, if you don’t get your hands on the person that is turning you inside out, you will lose it. Thank goodness Millie has great ideas on how to rationalize Benita out of her skirt.  Mmm hmm.

While this was sexy and intriguing it left me with a want for more. I would have loved to be in Millie’s head when she first saw Benita and was attracted to her. I would have loved to be in her head when she makes this trip the trip where she will make Benita finally see her and go for what she’s been wanting to do. The end was a bit quick and I hope, as the title of “Traveling Companions” suggests, there will be more in the story as I would love to see how the women navigate this new relationship among their rellality. Also, I would love to see the toys Millie has as I have seen a few pictures from the decade and before of women with the like.

I truly hope the series continues with these characters as they were intriguing and I would love to see how this all works out.

The Turning Point is a wonderful short story of self-exploration of your mind while investigation the sexuality you are told you shouldn’t want. It’s about choosing which part of you shall be free, which part you’ll show to the world to fit and get by and the line you won’t cross to lose one to the other.

 

About Amy Paine

Amy Paine is the LGBT name for a well-known author of contemporary romance. She loves writing about strong women with tantalizing stories to tell, and always likes a happy ending. She writes across a broad spectrum of genres, enjoying penning both historical and contemporary stories.
Right now, she is busy at work on the rest of the Travelling Companions series that sees her two heroines negotiating many twists and turns with their 1920s romance. She also has plenty of other ideas in the pipeline.
When she’s not writing, Amy loves to cook, walk, paint and spend time with friends. She is probably to be found at least one day a week in her favourite café enjoying her preferred tipple—a frothy cappuccino—or indulging in plenty of cakes at afternoon tea.