2017 Book #34 – The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

51Xw01CMWjLTitle: The Lady and the Highlander
Author: Lecia Cornwall
Date finished: 4/18/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Pages in book: 277
Stand alone or series: Highland Fairy Tales series #3
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Laire MacLeod’s father has married a mysterious widow who is a vain beauty that deals with potions and spells. Laire does not drink them with the rest of her family and is the only one who could see through her stepmother’s games. When Laire flees to find help from her Uncle, the Lady’s huntsman follows her with orders to kill. Laire must survive in a dangerous new city and find the antidote to a poisonous potion before it is too late.
Iain Lindsay is cursed. He is bound for seven years to be the hunter of a Lady who uses him to bring back birds to use in her potions. When Laire MacLeod escapes the Lady’s nets, Iain tracks her to Edinburgh, where she’s found shelter with an unusual band of thieves, but he cannot bring himself to harm her. Instead, he finds himself falling in love with the MacLeod beauty.
But a Highlander’s oath is his bond, and the price for helping her is death, both his own, and of those he loves.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Laire MacLeod, sister to the other MacLeod girls from the first two books in the series. Laire is one of twelve sisters, and one of the ten that still live at home. It is this plethora of innocence and beauty that draws in an evil witch disguised as a stepmother, Bibiana. Bibiana puts everyone in the castle under a spell by dosing their wine. Laire is the only one who is able to keep her wits about her, solely because of a traumatic experience in her youth that left her with a fear of drinking anything but water. And after a dangerous encounter with Bibiana, Laire flees for her life with the unexpected help of Bibiana’s hunter, Iain. Iain has his own scars from the past and serving Bibiana in her evil endeavors has not helped in the least. But when he meets Laire he knows he can’t turn a blind eye to this young woman’s fate as he has done so often already. He knows he must do everything in his power to save her or be lost in the process.
Overall I really liked this book! It was interesting and intriguing and scary. It was a great take on the classic Snow White tale. There were pieces that did get a bit repetitive, it seemed like every one and their mothers were out to do harm to Laire, but that was probably realistic for a beautiful young woman traveling entirely alone. Iain’s character was pretty dark, but as his character develops you can see the softer sides to him. And the relationship between Iain and Laire, while complicated, was touching and heart-felt. I felt so bad for Laire through the story, to be so powerless against this daunting evil force. It made her character seem even more strong and resilient though which was an important piece of the story. I especially liked the ending of this one, I thought that it was a creative/neat way to resolve the last issue of the plot line.

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot, it was a good story and I liked the Snow White based story line. A couple frustrating parts but overall I liked it. I like this series as a whole so far and I’m interested to learn more about the other sisters. I would love to have a documented list though so I could keep track of which ones share which mothers and the order they were born in!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #32 – Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt

51bRO8XaIOLTitle: Hannah’s Moon
Author: John A. Heldt
Date finished: 4/12/17
Genre: Fiction, Time travel
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: February 8, 2017
Pages in book: 298
Stand alone or series: #5 in American Journey series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

After struggling for years to have a child, Claire Rasmussen, 34, turns to adoption, only to find new obstacles on the path to motherhood. Then she gets an unlikely phone call and soon learns that a distant uncle possesses the secrets of time travel. Within weeks, Claire, husband Ron, and brother David find themselves on a train to Tennessee and 1945, where adoptable infants are plentiful and red tape is short. For a time, they find what they seek. Then a beautiful stranger enters their lives, the Navy calls, and a simple, straightforward mission becomes a race for survival. Filled with suspense, romance, and heartbreak, HANNAH’S MOON, the epic conclusion of the American Journey series, follows the lives of four spirited adults as they confront danger, choices, and change in the tense final months of World War II.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Claire Rasmussen, who along with her husband, Ron, and brother, David, travel back in time to 1945 in order to adopt a baby. Claire and David’s uncle, Geoffrey Bell, guides them through the process and then, with his wife Jeanette, leaves them to their mission in 1945 while they go off to South America. Ron and Claire easily find a daughter available for adoption but they have to wait 3 months for the adoption to be final. During that time they befriend the woman living across the street, Margaret. David develops a particular attachment to her even though she is engaged to a Navy man. The plan is for Claire, Ron, their daughter Hannah, and David to head back through the portal as soon as the adoption goes through. But unfortunately fate is not that kind and there are not one but three major kinks thrown into their plans, all of which could keep them from returning at all.
Overall I liked this book. The plot line was really interesting for this one and had multiple things going on at once, which I liked. There were many points in this book that were moving and I thought the author did a great job of capturing the characters’ strength of emotions in those moments. Especially the pieces about Ron towards the end, there was a lot of tension and emotion in those moments that jumped out at me. The ending was interesting too because although it is the “finale” of the series I feel like it opens the door for a related series for future time travelers.

The bottom line: Overall I have enjoyed this series, and the time travel aspect in general is very interesting. There was some really good tension in this plot line, and there were some very emotionally touching parts as well. I would recommend, especially if you’ve enjoyed the other books in the series.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

COVER REVEAL – The Duke of Defiance by Darcy Burke

DoD Cover Reveal.jpg

We are so excited to bring you the cover reveal for Darcy Burke’s The Duke of Defiance, book 5 in The Untouchables series. We hope you love the cover as much as we do!

Release date: June 27, 2017

Difficult and defiant as a child, Bran Crowther, Earl of Knighton left England as a young man to pursue independence and adventure. He never expected to inherit the title and when duty calls him home, he still finds Society’s codes constricting and others’ expectations oppressive. Nevertheless, he needs a wife to be a mother to his young daughter, preferably a woman of intelligence and warmth who is, above all, immune to his idiosyncrasies—and to falling in love.
Widow Joanna Shaw isn’t interested in a second marriage, not after the loveless, passionless union she endured. She’d much rather dote on her young niece and nephew since they will likely be the only children in her life…until she meets a precocious girl, in desperate need of a mother. But her father, the so-called Duke of Defiance, is as peculiar as he is handsome, and Jo won’t take another risk with her heart. Their rules, however, are made to be broken, even when the consequences could destroy them both.

Pre-Order: AmazonBarnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

 

Meet the Author:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.
Connect with Darcy: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway:

  • $10 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2017 Book #31 – Geekerella by Ashley Poston

41vbwsnJrILTitle: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Date finished: 4/9/17
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale. 
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Danielle Wittimer, a girl with a positively awful stepmother and two equally awful step sisters. Ever since her father died Elle has felt alone in the world, just trying to sludge through the days and save up enough money to move to LA. Her only outlet for her frustrations is her blog where she writes about Starfield, a show that her and her Dad would watch together. Her Dad even started a convention nearby in Atlanta years ago, a convention that Elle hasn’t been to in years. This year though there is a contest and the winner gets $500 and a chance to meet the new star of the upcoming Starfield movie, Darien Freedman. Elle could care less about meeting the previously unknown actor, she wants to win the cash prize to help her on her way to her dream. But she also wants to meet the boy that she’s been talking to for weeks, her own Prince Carmindor. But he turns out to be who she least expects.
Overall I really liked this book. It was an interesting and modern retelling of the Cinderella tale. The cast of characters in this book was awesome, I loved each of the characters and what they added to the story. There were a couple of frustrating points in the book for me and one of them was that I felt the villainous characters in the book, specifically Chloe, should’ve gotten a bit more punishment for their wrongs. At one point Chloe steals Elle’s life-savings (which is about $700) and NOTHING HAPPENS. If someone stole $700 from me I would call the cops and have her ass arrested. So there were certain points that I thought Elle (and Darien really) should’ve fought back a little more. But the parts about Elle’s Mom and Dad and keeping their memories alive were truly touching. And I loved the ending, how Darien came riding in on his “white horse” (LOL) to save the day. This was a really cute retelling of Cinderella’s tale with all the modern twists that will attract a fandom of its own.

The bottom line: I thought this was a cute novel with an interesting twist on the Cinderella tale. There were a couple of frustrating points for me but other than that was a great book.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #29 – Windswept by Sabrina Jeffries

51EBNNsn5ZLTitle: Windswept
Author: Sabrina Jeffries (Originally published under pen name Deborah Martin)
Date finished: 4/3/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: February 28, 2017 (Reprint, originally published April 1996)
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: #2 in (Reworked) Wales series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Originally written under the pseudonym Deborah Martin, this unforgettable tale of mystery, treasure, and passion is back in print at last and newly revised for today’s audience—and available as an ebook!
Welsh widow Catrin Price is haunted by a family death curse. Any man whom she marries without first drinking from an ancient Druid chalice sold by her ancestor long ago is unquestionably doomed. But when she hunts it down to purchase it, the chalice’s former owner ends up dead. Who will believe her innocent with the man’s treasure in her hands? Now she lives in fear of discovery, afraid to trust, afraid to give away her heart…
Even Newcome, a scholar struggling to overcome a difficult past, travels to Wales to find the mysterious woman last seen with his murdered friend. So when the lady proves to be a beautiful yet shy creature who shares his love of Welsh mythology, he’s torn between believing her guilty and trusting the passion blazing between them. But as unscrupulous men seek the chalice for their own devious purposes, will Catrin and Evan let their wall of mistrust stand between them? Or will they defeat their enemies together and embrace the love intended for them since time immemorial?

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Catrin Price, a widow who is a direct descendant of The Lady of the Mists and believed to be a witch. While having no supernatural powers, Catrin does believe that her family is under a curse from hundreds of years ago when The Lady of the Mist’s daughter wanted to marry an English merchant. Over the years Catrin’s family lost an important family heirloom, and when Catrin tries to get it back, Evan Newsome’s best friend is somehow murdered in the process. We met Evan in the last book, Stormswept, when he was a younger lad. Now Evan is all grown up and is determined to find out what happened to his friend that night. And so he hunts down The Lady of the Mists, only to discover that she is a beautiful and shy young woman. Determined to get answers without scaring her off, Evan decides to deceive her and gain her trust until he gets the truth out of her.
Overall I liked this book ok. Evan was kind of an ass in the first half of the book. And you can definitely tell that this book was from a different time period (it was originally printed in the mid-90’s) because Evan was not very good at respecting Catrin’s wishes when she said no. As the reader and knowing Catrin’s internal monologue as well its easy for the reader to see that she liked Evan and did actually want to, you know, kiss him and stuff but even still it got a little creepy at a couple points. Other than that though I liked the book a lot. The supernatural element always draws me in and the way the book ended was really great. This was a good book but it was a little outdated I think.

The bottom line: I liked this book. Catrin, like Julianna from book #1 in the series, was an immensely sweet, patient, and generous heroine. I liked Evan a lot, especially since we meet him as a young boy in book #1, Stormswept. You can tell this book is from a different era though, as Evan was a bit heavy-handed and heard “yes” a lot of the time when Catrin was saying “no.” Other than that issue, I found the book to be engaging and heartfelt. I would recommend it but with a caution that you will be annoyed by certain points in the book.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #27 – The Bridge of the Golden Wood by Karl Beckstrand

61sHHHPZy5L._SX260_Title: The Bridge of the Golden Wood
Author: Karl Beckstrand
Date finished: 3/27/17
Genre: Fiction, children’s fiction
Publisher: Premio Publishing
Publication Date: January 25, 2017
Pages in book: 26
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Author/Publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A child with a knack for solving problems helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure. Illustrated folk tale teaches how to spot opportunities to help others and make money; comes with ideas for businesses; money-making activities; and online resources on finding customers, managing money, job ideas and moving up in an organization (for ages 5 and up). Young children will be captivated by the story; older ones will want to apply the things they learn. Teach someone to fish: a how-to book on careers, small business, and learning how to serve/earn money.

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is a children’s book that teaches a lesson about earning money. More than that though, it really is about teaching children to take a step back and think creatively about how situations they are presented with could not only benefit themselves but also allow them to help other people. I thought the illustrations in this book were beautifully done and I think it would be an interesting addition to a child’s library.

 

The bottom line: This was a cute book and an interesting approach to teaching kids a particular lesson. Obviously not my usual type of read. I really loved the illustrations.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #26 – If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

51jEpw+Dl0L._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_Title: If We Were Villains
Author: M.L. Rio
Date finished: 3/26/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Pages in book: 354
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE:I received this book for free from BookBrowse in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.
As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
Intelligent, thrilling, and richly detailed, If We Were Villains is a captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of a group of fourth year theater students attending Dellecher Classical Conservatory, an elite college for the arts that has a slightly unorthodox approach to advancement. Each year only certain students are allowed to advance to the next year’s level, which for this particular story resulted in a group of 7 unusually close senior year theater students. In this particular group, the line between friend and enemy is continually blurred and tensions reach new heights. The story is narrated by one of these seven students, Oliver Marks, who when we first meet him is at the end of his 10 year prison sentence. We meet him as he begins to tell the story of what actually happened a decade ago to Detective Colborne, his arresting officer. Colborne has been haunted by this case the past ten years because he never believed that Oliver was actually the killer. And as the story of that year unfolds, there are many layers to be peeled back before the truth can be uncovered. There are heroes and damsels, tragedy and comedy, lovers and friends. And in the end, there is more than one villain.
Overall I really liked this book a lot. I thought it was so different and so interesting. As the theater student’s curriculum centers mostly around Shakespeare, there were many different passages from his various works woven into the story line and the conversations, and I just loved it. You could feel how young the group of them were, even though they were dealing with such intense adult problems. And Oliver was perhaps the most innocent of them all, and seeing the story through his eyes added that extra layer of naivete. After the murder Oliver and his remaining friends fall to pieces, each of them dealing with their own feelings of guilt and responsibility in different ways. Centered within Oliver’s story is his best friend, James, and his love interest, Meredith. The roles here even are oftentimes blurred, as Oliver’s feelings for James are not so easily categorized into the label of “friends.” That was one of the things I loved most about this book was how well it portrayed that love and hate are on the same spectrum of emotion, and if you feel one it is very easily turned to the other side of the spectrum when a person is pushed to their limit. I also thought the character development in this novel was really well done, I could feel everything that Oliver felt with such strength that I felt sucked into the story itself. The story was heart-warming and heart-breaking all in one and while I was a little surprised at the ending I really just enjoyed this book so much. I would most definitely recommend and I can’t wait to see more from this author in the future!

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This is the coat of arms for Dellecher Classical Conservatory mentioned in the novel. I found this picture on the author’s website and thought it was a neat addition!!

The bottom line: I really liked this book a lot. I loved that quotes from Shakespeare’s plays were interwoven so skillfully throughout the text and I loved the strength of emotions portrayed by all the characters in the book.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page