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Monday, 29 September 2014

Review: The Highlander's Bargain by Barbara Longley ★★★★

The Highlander's Bargain (Loch Moigh, #2)The Highlander's Bargain by Barbara Longley
Genre: Time Travel Highland Romance
Series: Loch Moigh #2
Publication Date: July 8th 2014
ISBN: 9781477823927
Page Count: 316
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey

   

Synopsis: Before he can settle down, blond-haired, blue-eyed Robley of clan MacKintosh needs to taste true adventure. So when the faerie Madame Giselle asks him to retrieve her stolen property in exchange for two enchanted tokens that will whisk him across the centuries, he jumps at the chance.

Nurse and future midwife Erin Durie is broke and alone, thanks to a roommate who skipped town and the psychic gifts that make relationships too intense and painful to bear. Then a kilted man magically drops into her arms, looking for a guide to the twenty-first century, and she can't deny the attraction. But magical treachery soon throws open time's portal once more and puts a blade to Robley's throat. Now Erin must decide where or when her healing powers can do the most good and whether she can live without her handsome Highlander.

In the second thrilling Novel of Loch Moigh, award-winning author Barbara Longley delivers more of the action, adventure, and romance that began in the pulse-pounding True to the Highlander.



The first instalment of this series, True to the Highlander, was such a standout book for me this year, it's been a long time since I've enjoyed a time travel romance so well. They're quite often disappointing and amusing for all the wrong reasons, but not so in this case. The Loch Moigh series has all of the good parts of time travel romance; the cute moments as opposites attract, the language barrier funnies, and the many differences and similarities they share across the centuries.

Particularly enjoyable this time in The Highlander's Bargain was the fact that the hero traveled to the future as opposed to vice versa. His enthusiasm and desire to soak in everything he could in his short "holiday" was adorable, as well as the fact that they - Robley and Erin - became such sweet friends before anything romantic happened. Awww.

As with the last romantic pairing, Erin and Rob are absolutely perfect for each other. Erin is training to be a midwife and takes part in the Renaissance Fair to earn a few extra pennies, giving her a much-needed ability and a clear enjoyment of all things medieval. Robley is a man of his time, yes, but also forward-thinking enough to suit our modern-day lass. He also sees straight away how much of an asset Erin, with her medical training, would be back in his own time, and only hopes he can convince her to come back with him once his vacay is over. The romance they share is just exactly the right balance of sweet but not sickly, sensual but not explicit. It sweeps you along for the ride, gives you a few hairy moments, a few teary moments, and plenty of sh*t-eating grin moments.

Lovely!

4 Stars ★★★★

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:

Review: Bride of a Scottish Warrior by Adrienne Basso ★★★1/2

Bride Of A Scottish WarriorBride of a Scottish Warrior by Adrienne Basso
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: n/a
Publication Date: July 1st 2014
ISBN: 9781420129045
Page Count: 352
Rating: ★★★1/2
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey   

Synopsis: A union born of duty...

Newly knighted Sir Ewan Gilroy needs a dowry and a wife, in that order. Though the widowed Lady Grace plans to enter a convent, squandering so much lush beauty - and such a fortune - would surely be its own sin. Grace will not be easily wooed, despite her family's urging and Ewan's famed charm. She challenges him as no woman ever dared, proving his equal in spirit and in passions...

Forged by desire...

To atone for her past, Grace vows to never remarry - least of all a brash and reckless warrior. Yet whether defending her honor or stoking desires she hardly knew she possessed, Ewan is a man beyond compare. And as their fragile trust is threatened by treachery, Grace must decide whether to reach for the happiness within her grasp - and fight for the love of her bold Highlander...



I mostly enjoyed this sweet sensual romance, although it has to be said that I don't enjoy second chance relationships - divorcees, widows and the like -  nearly as much as I do a traditional blushing bride.

Hey, it's my escapism - don't judge me!

That said, in this instance, the heroine, Grace, could hardly be described as experienced in matters of lurve since her late husband was very standoffish and often away travelling with the Bruce. After his death, and despite still being very young and appealing, Grace is convinced that the convent is the only place for her, and she makes it known to her brother she wishes to give the rest of her life to the service of the Lord.

Our hero, Ewan, has other ideas. He's determined to bring home a noble bride and has decided that lady grace is the one or he'll have no one. His determination to change her mind is aided by the fierce desire that sparks between them. But is his rugged charm enough to convince her to give up on her future as a nun? Time alone on the journey will certainly put that to the test!

I found the plotting to Bride of a Scottish Warrior to be a little slow, in places and the antagonist rather weak. Were it not for the likeable hero and heroine I may not have rated this as high as I have overall it was enjoyable but quickly forgettable.

3.5 Stars ★★★1/2

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper ★★★★

Better Homes and HauntingsBetter Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: n/a
Publication Date: June 24th 2014
ISBN: 9781476706009
Page Count: 318
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.


Hopefully, like me, you're already familiar with Molly Harper's special brand of humour, supernatural awesomeness and romantical epicness having read her Naked Werewolf series and/or her Jane Jameson series - both of which are fabulous and not to be missed! Here in Better Homes and Hauntings Harper brings us a tale with all of those same ingredients, although this time I found her heroine to be quite different. Harper's prior leading ladies have all been very snarky, sassy and fun, but this time Nina was more reserved, quiet and even a little unsure of herself - but still fun! The reason for her being this way was explained fully in her back story, which I won't spoil for you other than to say you will be incredibly indignant on her behalf when you read it!

Despite this slight change from the normal formula, I really enjoyed Nina's character. I also found the love interest to be much changed from Harper's normal style. Gone is the fierce and protective werewolf alpha male, and gone is the suave and sophisticated yet domineering vampire master, and in their place is billionaire techno-nerd Deacon Whitney. Or perhaps techno-geek is a better word... Which word best describes someone with incredible intelligence but hugely lacking social skills? Whichever it is, that is what he was, and he was delicious!

The story centers around the renovation of an old and supposedly haunted estate on Whitney island. The legend of the ghosts of Whitney Island have been passed from generation to generation in the Whitney family, and because of the rumours of a curse and the family's subsequent lack of good fortune, it's been many decades since any member has had the funds to renovate the old house and restore it to its former glory. Deacon Whitney, with his social networking millions and youthful exuberance, is just the man for the job. And hired to be his landscaper is Nina Linden. Nina is trying to build a business and thinks the Whitney island project will be the one to set her on the map. No sooner does she set foot on the island, however, than ghostly sightings and mysterious happenings start occurring.

With an abundance of flashbacks, dream sequences and an enticing budding romance, readers will be turning pages faster you can say, "wooooooo!" with this one.

4 Stars ★★★★
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




Reviewed by:


Friday, 29 August 2014

Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin ★★★★

Deadly Curiosities (Deadly Curiosities, #1)Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Deadly Curiosities #1
Publication Date: June 24th 2014
ISBN: 9781781082331
Page Count: 456
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey

   

Synopsis: Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.



Deadly Curiosities was a really enjoyable urban fantasy and one that, unbelievably, I even forgive for having absolutely no romance. This is positively unheard of for me as I usually insist on at least a sprinkle of romance in any book that I read, but most especially in my urban fantasies as I love the slow burn of a romance that evolves over several books (think Kate and Curran!). And who knows? Maybe that will be the case with this series too, eventually, but I was struggling to find any hint of where it might come from in this first instalment.

That said, I'm doing it a disservice even dwelling on that aspect for a second since the plot was so strong that I barely even registered its lack, in truth.

The story revolves around Cassidy, a twenty-something antique store owner with psychometric talents. Cassidy was quite a passive heroine if you ask me - particularly as UF ones tend to go. Definitely not one I would describe as badass, which may count as a negative for some readers. Her strength, in my opinion, comes from her intelligence and bravery, despite lacking any obvious or traditional UF heroine-type mad skillz or even a particularly outlandish personality. I see her as the kind of quiet, steadfast heroine that grows on you slowly. Only time will tell though, of course.

The story arc for Deadly Curiosities picks up when Cassidy's gift starts acting more like a curse. Intensifying and sometimes even rendering her completely incapacitated. The quest to discover why leads her, and her colourful crew of friends, on a hunt for the source, with plenty of action scenes along the way to keep readers skipping along nicely.

In sum, if you love a good paranormal mystery with a great ensemble cast, you should absolutely pick this one up!

4 Stars ★★★★
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by: