2018 Book #62 – The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

51kng3DPeqLTitle: The Warrior of Clan Kincaid
Author: Lily Blackwood
Date finished: 7/23/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series:  Highland Warrior 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:

The stunning and dramatic final book in the Kincaid brothers’ trilogy set in the wilds of Scotland.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS

Derryth MacClaren is on the run—having been sent from her castle home to avoid capture by the vicious nobleman known as the Wolf, who has vowed revenge against the Clan Kincaid. When a surprise attack leaves her vulnerable, Derryth ends up in the hands of an enemy warrior who claims her, with the Wolf’s blessing, as his prize. But her captor’s gentle words and touch seduce her heart—and body—completely. . . and when she discovers the tattoo on his arm that proves him to be the legendary, long-believed dead son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid, Derryth knows she must find a way to alter his fate—and her own. . .

Cull has no memory of his family or past—all he knows is the life of a warrior, trained to fight on behalf of the Scottish king. But now that Derryth has informed him of who he really is—Cullen Braewick, the youngest son of the slain laird—he is torn. If Cull exacts revenge against the Wolf, who executed his father, he stands to lose the precious lass who he has come to love. What is he willing to sacrifice for Derryth to keep her safe. . .and in his arms?

The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood is not one to miss!

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.

I had read the first two books in this serious previously and really enjoyed them. I’ve waited awhile for the conclusion of this series and I’m so glad I finally got to read it! The premise behind this book series is one that fascinated me, three brothers torn apart by fate from each other and their home, only to be reunited at last. Cull (the last missing brother, Cullen) believes himself an orphan, purchased years ago from a slave ship by the evil Buchan. I found the plot of this one to be especially interesting as I knew who Cull really was and I was eager for the rest of the characters to figure it out. I also really loved the development of the two main characters of this book – Cull and Derryth were both great, fierce, and loyal characters. And the build up of their relationship and the emotional tension between their two characters was really well done also, I was on the edge of my seat to find out what was going to happen next. I honestly didn’t want to put this one down. I really enjoyed this series overall (all three books) and I’d definitely recommend it. I can’t wait to see what this author comes out with next!

Link to author website

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2017 Book #94 – Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick

51HC8Rw+H2LTitle: Romancing the Scot
Author: May McGoldrick
Date finished: 11/16/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Pages in book: 284
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Penningtons 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:

Hugh Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, hero of the Napoleonic wars—is a grieving widower with a death wish. When he receives an expected crate from the continent, he is shocked to find a nearly dead woman inside. Her identity is unknown, and the handful of American coins and the precious diamond sown into her dress only deepen the mystery.

Grace Ware is an enemy to the English crown. Her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. Her mother, an exiled Scottish Jacobite. When Grace took shelter in a warehouse, running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she never anticipated bad luck to deposit her at the home of an aristocrat in the Scottish Borders. Baronsford is the last place she could expect to find safety, and Grace feigns a loss of memory to buy herself time while she recovers.

Hugh is taken by her beauty, passion, and courage to challenge his beliefs and open his mind. Grace finds in him a wounded man of honor, proud but compassionate. When their duel of wits quickly turns to passion and romance, Grace’s fears begin to dissolve…until danger follows her to the very doors of Baronsford. For, unknown to either of them, Grace has in her possession a secret that will wreak havoc within the British government. Friend and foe are indistinguishable as lethal forces converge to tear the two lovers apart or destroy them both.

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. I also participated in the Blog Tour for this book, you can see the post here. This book tells the story of Grace Ware, the daughter of one of Napoleon’s most trusted military men. Grace’s only family is her father and she has traveled with him throughout her life, even as far as the battlefields. Grace’s amazingly perfect memory has made her a valuable asset to her father as well, she can remember literally everything – everything she reads, sees, and hears and exactly where it originated and can even sort these items chronologically. Its quite amazing. Anyways after her father is murdered, Grace ends up hiding in a crate and ends up being shipped to Scotland, where she arrives 5 days later almost dead. She’s been shipped to Hugh Pennington, a decorated war veteran himself only on the British side. After nursing Grace back to health, Hugh begins to have feelings for her without knowing who she is. But can they overcome their differences and find happiness together?

Overall I thought this was an ok book. The plot like was fairly interesting and I liked both the main characters. There was a little bit too much mush-y stuff for me, the hero and heroine profess their undying love, multiple times. Which is fine but just not something I usually go for. Other than that though it was a sweet story and I found it interesting. It was a fairly quick read and I would recommend giving it a try!

The bottom line: I liked this one, I thought it was a good and quick read. It got to be a little too cheesy for me but if you’re looking for over the top ooey gooey love this one definitely has it. I would still recommend it though, it was a sweet story!

Link to author website

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2016 Book #120 – The Trouble With Dukes by Grace Burrowes

51xfvjslerl-_sx305_bo1204203200_Title: The Trouble with Dukes
Author: Grace Burrowes
Date finished: 12/21/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 20, 2016
Pages in book: 339
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Windham Brides series
Where I got the book from: Publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the 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:

THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER…
The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse–a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge–even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

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. Also make sure to check out my Blog Tour post for this book, you can find it here! This book tells the story of Megan Windham, niece to the Duke of Moreland. Her cousins featured in books in a related series by this author (Windham series) but I hadn’t read any of them. So although this book can be read as a stand alone, there are other books connected to this novel and many of the characters from those other books are mentioned in this one. So Megan is being courted by the despicable Sir Fletcher, who is basically blackmailing her into marrying him because he needs more money. Megan has come to accept this awful fate, that is until she meets Hamish MacHugh, the newly titled Duke of Murdoch. A Scottish soldier who recently served in the war, he has been nicknamed the “Duke of Murder” for his sheer size and alleged brutality on the battlefield. Despite the rumors though, Megan gets to know Hamish better and all she can see is the kind and generous heart that lies underneath his intimidating size. But is there really any way that Megan and Hamish can fix their situation and overcome all the obstacles in their way so that they can be together forever?
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was an emotionally romantic read with poetic language and some nice sentiments about the healing powers of love. I loved how well the hero and heroine communicated with each other and how comfortable they were with one another while also being obviously attracted to each other. Megan’s family was also a great cast of characters and I’d be very interested to read some of their stories, especially the next book in this series about Anwen (Megan’s sister) and Colin (Hamish’s brother). This was a sweet and touching read and I would recommend reading it for those who enjoy historical romance.

The bottom line: This was a sweet read. Lots of poetic/flowery language so if you’re looking for swoon-worthy romance I would definitely recommend this one.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #86 – Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney

51iakkbtmxl-_sx302_bo1204203200_Title: Once a Soldier
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Date finished: 9/18/16
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Pages in book: 368
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:

Rogues Redeemed
As heir to a title and great wealth, Will Masterson should have stayed home and tended his responsibilities. Instead he went to war. Now, after perilous years fighting the French, he intends his current mission to be his last. But all his plans are forgotten when he arrives in the small mountain stronghold of San Gabriel and meets her.
Knowing herself to be too tall, strong, and unconventional to appeal to a man, Athena Markham has always gloried in her independence. But for the first time in her life, she finds a man who might be her match.
Two of a kind, too brave for their own good, Athena and Will vow to do whatever it takes to vanquish San Gabriel’s enemies. For neither will back down from death, and only together can they find happiness and a love deeper than any they’d dared imagine. . .

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 tells the story of Will Masterson, who had been previously mentioned in other books from Putney’s Lost Lords series. Will lost his wife early on in their marriage and so decided to devote himself to the Army to give himself something to live (or die) for. He makes it through the war unscathed and is tasked with returning a squadron of soldiers back to their home, San Gabriel. When he arrives there though he meets Athena Markham, an illegitimate daughter of Lady Delilah, who is good friends with the rulers of San Gabriel. Athena has been acting as governess to the young princess Sofia and also acting as an adviser in protecting the country of San Gabriel from the French army.
Overall I thought this book was ok. The story line just didn’t really click with me and I found the characters to be flat, more two-dimensional than a living, breathing character with heart-felt emotions. I enjoyed reading a lot of other books from Putney’s Lost Lords series, which is connected to this series. I just couldn’t connect with the characters in this story line.

The bottom line: This book didn’t quite hit the mark for me. The characters felt two-dimensional and the story fell flat. It was an easy read with a happy ending but just didn’t click with me. I am a fan of this author though so I would still recommend trying it!

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #43 – Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

51jZGbaKlpL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
Author: Chris Cleave
Date finished: 5/7/16
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Pages in book: 432
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:

London, 1939.
The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.
Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided.
Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.
Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.
And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.
Set in London during the years of 1939–1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave’s grandparents. This dazzling novel dares us to understand that, against the great theater of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs that change us most.

My rating:  2.75 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 was about a group of young people and how their lives were affected by World War II. Mary North was born into a life of privilege, but when England declares war on Germany, she decides to sign up with the War Office to be put to good use. They assign her a teaching position, where she befriends a black student. It is through this teaching position that she meets Tom Shaw, who is an administrator for a school district. She falls in love with Tom but then she meets Tom’s friend Alistair while he is home on leave from the military for one night. Alistair stirs feelings in Mary that Tom doesn’t necessarily stir. But Mary is pretty sure that Tom is the one so she ignores her feelings for Alistair.
As we all know, war tends to bring many casualties and these young people’s story is no different. Mary and her friends both face many traumatic events, and Mary even has a sad morphine situation for a while. There were a lot of different story lines merging in this book, including the treatment of colored people in England during this time period and drug addiction and the effects of war. There was a lot going on and all of the story lines were really interesting but it almost felt for me like there was too much going on. I couldn’t really connect with the characters personally and it was just hard for me to get into. The description of Alistair’s experience during war time seemed very real and I thought that was one of the most interesting pieces of the book.

The bottom line: I found this book a little wordy but the story line was interesting. The book just wasn’t really for me, but it would definitely appeal to people who like historical fiction centered around World War II.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #24 – Little Bee by Chris Cleave

51pWGanuqjLTitle: Little Bee
Author: Chris Cleave
Date finished: 3/20/16
Genre: Fiction, literary ficiton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: Reprint edition 2008
Pages in book: 266
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Purchased from Book Outlet.com

Blurb from the cover:

We don’t want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn’t. And it’s what happens afterward that is most important. Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (March). I have to say I agree with many of the other reviews I read on Amazon that mentioned the blurb from the cover, its dead wrong. This book was not what I would call a funny book. There may have been a few comical jibes here and there but overall this book I would describe as powerful, sad, moving, heart-wrenching. There are a lot of things you can use to describe this book and none of them are really funny. That being said, its hard for me to say I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a powerful story and I’m glad that I read it but this isn’t the kind of book that brings enjoyment to the reader. There are a lot of dark events that the characters in this book have to deal with, and it is a hard thing indeed for the reader to experience as well.

The bottom line: I thought that this was a moving story though it was quite sad. In the US many of us are sheltered from the horrors that people face in other countries, and it is sad to read about what some of those women had to endure. I think this was a powerful story though it might be tough for some to read, I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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

2015 Book #119 – The Light of Hidden Flowers by Jennifer Handford

91o9NNG2zcLTitle: The Light of Hidden Flowers
Author: Jennifer Handford
Date finished: 11/27/15
Genre: Women’s fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Pages in book: 369
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:

Book-smart Melissa Fletcher lives a predictable life in her hometown, working behind the scenes for her charismatic father in a financial career that makes perfect sense. But when her dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Missy is forced to step up and take over as his primary caregiver and the principal of the firm.
After her father’s death, Missy finds a letter from him in which he praises her for being a dutiful daughter but admonishes her for not taking any risks in life.
Devastated, Missy packs her suitcase and heads for Italy. There she meets a new friend who proposes a radical idea. Soon, Missy finds herself in impoverished India, signing away her inheritance and betting on a risky plan while rekindling a lost love.
The Light of Hidden Flowers is a deeply felt story of accepting who we are while pushing our boundaries to see how much more we can become. It’s a reminder that it’s never too late to pursue our dreams.

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 Melissa Fletcher, who had bigger dreams when she was younger but is perfectly content at 35 years old to work as a partner in her father’s finance firm and not do much traveling. Her fear of flying has pretty much cancelled out most of the places she’d like to visit at this point, and while someday she’d like to overcome her fears, there is no reason that day needs to be TO-day. After finding out her father has Alzheimer’s though leads Missy’s life into somewhat of a downward spiral. Though she loves caring for her father and being close to him, her father’s illness has changed who he was and the energetic, carefree, optimistic father she once knew has a tendency to be a little to harsh and lashes out at her due to his lack of independence (not her fault but sometimes you lash out at the ones closest to you simply because they’re readily available.
After Missy’s father passes, she finally ends up going on a journey. And after a couple twists of fate she ends up in India and becomes one of the founding organizers of a school for under privileged girls. And so leads the uphill path that Melissa travels on to find out who she is as a person. Along the way she helps a young girl find herself as well, a girl that Melissa relates to extremely well since she is currently going through the hell that Melissa went through in middle school. I have to be honest in that my favorite part of this book was seeing Melissa’s character grow as a person. Melissa starts out in the book not having any idea who she is as a person standing on her own. The only things she feels define her are her involvement in her father’s firm and her certificates and degrees. But through the book we find out there is so much more to Melissa as a person and it was truly fantastic to see her grow in confidence and in self-love/assurance over the course of the story.
Overall I really liked this book. The topic matter was interesting and I was kept engaged throughout the story. The story was well-paced and the characters were interesting and came alive for me. This book really gripped my emotional heart strings and tugged, hard. I got so wrapped up in the characters and the story and just the overwhelming joy of not only finding out who you are as a person and also loving yourself that the story just came alive for me. I think this is a great book and everyone should definitely consider reading it!

The bottom line: I would definitely recommend this book, it was an emotionally gripping and uplifting read. I absolutely loved it!

Link to author website

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