Dragon Knight’s Ring by Mary Morgan

There were many moments in this novel where different characters would be in some kind of open field, tilt their head back, spread their arms out wide, and scream their frustrations about life to any Fae listening. Not gonna lie, kind of jealous! Must be a cathartic experience. I wonder where the nearest open field is near me.

What’s it About?

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Crusader, Adam MacFhearguis is on one last quest to the standing stones in Scotland where he seeks to bury the past. However, a silent prayer sends him to an unknown future and to his beloved Meggie. When he uncovers a shocking revelation, Adam questions everything about the woman he thought he knew and loved. He may have traveled the veil of ages, but time is now his enemy.

Margaret MacKay lives a life in the future without the memories of her past—her death. When Adam arrives at her door confessing he knows her, she is confused and wary. With each passing day, she yearns to learn more from this stranger. Yet, when a truth is revealed, can she trust the man to unlock the chains from her mind and heart? Will love free the bonds to unite the two lovers who were doomed centuries ago? Or will evil finally claim victory over the Dragon Knights?

First Impressions

At the start of the novel, we see Adam continuing to mourn the death of his beloved, Meggie, at the hand of her brother years before who disapproved of their union. We see a broken man, who struggles to move on in life. I assumed this novel would focus on him meeting a new woman who could help him live again, and find a new romance. Imagine my surprise when, instead of meeting a new woman, we find him being sent forward in time to reunite with the love of his life. Even more surprising is the fact that she has no recollection of who he is.

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The Mysteries of the Future

So many romance novels involving time travel focus on someone having to adjust to traveling back in time, whereas in this one we see someone travel to the future instead. I must say, I absolutely loved this feature of the book! It was quite humorous to see Adam’s reactions to the strangeness of the future. From the flying beast of an airplane, to the glowing embers of light-bulbs, and the ultimate sorcery of running tap water.

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On top of Adam’s adjustments to the future, another struggle was his attempt to help Meggie regain her memories. Although she doesn’t remember him per se, she can’t deny the connection she feels to him, or how her body yearns for him. It’s only a matter of time before they succumb to their bodily urges. And once they do, Meggie has a moment of remembrance. That can only mean one thing! Maybe one more tumble will bring her memory back fast. Or maybe not. But one must try and try again!

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Blast from the Past

This is the fifth book in the series, and we see all the Dragon Knights from the previous novels come together for one final battle against the forces of evil. I’ve only read one previous novel in this series, and in hindsight I wish I had read all of them before opening this one. I think I would have connected more with the characters and the story-line if I had more background. There are so many knights, with their wives and children it was kind of hard to keep them all straight at times! Not to mention all their magical powers. That being said, definitely an interesting and suspenseful final battle!

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Order of the Dragon Knights, book 5. There’s still more to come from this series.

Should you read it? It’s kind of hard to rank this one. Definitely a good build-up of suspense, and an enchanting tale of true love lasting through any obstacle, whether death, or time. However, I did feel confused for a large portion of the book, as I wasn’t too familiar with all the different rules of magic involved, or the connections between so many characters.

Smut Level: Thinking she’s been dead for years, he’s not gonna let this moment pass them by without showing all the passion he has for her burst free.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 281 Pages.

 

 

Clingstone by Marti Ziegler

A Civil War romance unlike any other you may have read before.

What’s it About? 

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What if you were counted among hundreds of civilians wrongly charged with treason? Creighton Branagan is one of the few men still residing in the mill village of Roswell, Georgia, at the closing stages of the American Civil War. His deafness excludes him from military service and condemns him as an outcast.

Mae Parrish’s dissatisfaction extends to a life of too much work and too little joy. She forms a wary alliance with Creighton when they are included among hundreds of southern textile workers arrested for treason and deported to northern prisons under Federal guard. Their crime: manufacturing Confederate uniforms.

Clingstone chronicles their arduous journey by wagon and train, followed by an emotional internment rife with privations and disease. It is during the course of these hardships that their resilience is repeatedly tested, and their pact of survival deepens into a steadfast love that withstands even the deepest self-inflicted wounds of war.

First Impressions

When it comes to Civil War romances, you can’t help but draw to mind one of the most well-known of all time, Gone with the Wind. What I absolutely loved about this novel was that it’s about as far removed from Gone with the Wind as you can get. Instead of a high-class lady for a heroine, we have a lowly mill worker who isn’t a virgin, or afraid to speak her mind. Instead of a suave and debonair male lead, we have a deaf man who cares for his ill-mannered nephew as his ward. And yet, our characters are unbelievably dynamic, and like Gone with the Wind, we see how all their lives are affected and worsened by the ravages of war. However, in the end it also this terrible war that brings them all together.

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Travels and Travails

This novel takes us on an unbelievable journey, where we see our lead characters start off as enemies in a southern mill, but grow closer as they are sent north with their fellow mill workers to a prison for producing Confederate uniforms. It was amazing to see these characters start to rely on one another throughout all of their difficulties. No matter what troubles they encountered, they could always find their way to each other again.

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I personally found Mae to be an extremely unique, yet complicated female lead. I’m not gonna lie, when the novel begins, you kind of dislike her. In a word, she’s basically a brat. She joins a friend of hers to pull an unkind prank on the deaf Creighton. She whines and complains, yet we quickly discover that she’s a strong character who’s had to adapt because she’s been on her own for so long. Mae has built up a tough exterior to survive, but it is Creighton and his unruly nephew, Owen, who let her connect and trust others again.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Stand-alone

Should you read it? Yes! I absolutely love Mae’s relationship with both Creighton and his nephew. They all have this bickering and bantering exchange on the surface, yet underneath you can see how much they all care about each other. They are an unlikely, yet loving family.

Smut Level: Their banter turns into flirtation, which eventually turns into something more intimate. A few scenes in particular are utterly delectable.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 383 Pages.

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Seize the Flame by Lynda J. Cox

Alright, I’m gonna try my best to stay reserved with this review, and keep my emotions in check. I loved it, I loved it, I LOVED IT!!! Wow. Didn’t really succeed in that attempt, did I?

What’s it About?

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Jessica Depre’s life is in tatters. She’s on the run, thanks to her abusive husband Robert, who needs to silence her about his criminal escapades and the part he forced her to play in them. When bounty hunter Drake Adams walks into the boarding house where she works, Jessica slips away into the night. Her only hope of surviving and protecting those she loves from her husband’s rage is to vanish forever.

Unable to accept that the only woman he ever loved left him standing at the altar and married another, Drake Adams has given up a good law practice in the Wyoming Territory. If he’s not hunting down bounties, he’s pursuing the bottom of a bottle of bourbon. When Drake learns his former fiancée, Jessica Majors-Depre, has a price on her head, he decides he will collect the reward.

Can the bounty hunter and the bank robber ignite a future from the ashes of their past when they are trapped by a blizzard in a mountain shack or will playing with fire burn them both?

First Impressions

In case you didn’t catch on earlier, I absolutely loved this book. From start to finish, prologue to epilogue, the entire book comes full circle and holds your interest throughout. It has everything you could possibly hope for in an exciting western romance: a brooding bounty hunter, a brave woman on the run from an abusive husband, and the two of them trapped together in an isolated cabin during a snow storm. Well hello sexual temptation, so nice to see you again!

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A Connection Through History

Good God the connection between these two characters is phenomenal. They have a history together, one that met with an unfortunate end due to a devastating misunderstanding. When Drake discovers that Jessie is wanted for murder, he is determined to bring in the woman who ran away from him on their wedding day. But when he hears her own telling of events, he realizes that things might not be as simple as they seem, and that the two of them have some unfinished business to attend to. And clothing to remove.

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A Hateful Villain

Another great aspect of this novel is that it contains a villain you’ll hate with every fiber of your being. Jessica’s husband is a disgusting piece of work who is just pure evil. The author does an amazing job at creating such a despicable character with absolutely zero redeeming qualities. We know it’s just a matter of time before this scum bucket catches up with our lead characters, and when he does the novel is thrust into a whole new level of intensity! You just don’t know who will come out of it alive.

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Nope

Should you read it? If you’re looking for an engaging historical romance with a great blend of intrigue and sexiness, then you should definitely pick it up.

Smut Level: A fire isn’t the only thing keeping these two warm during a Wyoming snow storm.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 182 Pages.

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Midnight Serenade by Alli Sinclair

This book makes me want to learn to tango. And re-watch Evita for about the fiftieth time. And find an amazingly artistic male lover to do a little tango beneath the sheets. Unfortunately, none of those are going to happen because I essentially have two left feet, Evita isn’t currently streaming on Netflix, and well…who are we kidding? That last one was never gonna happen!

What’s it About?

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After twenty years of wondering why her mother chose the tango over her, Dani McKenna finally travels to Argentina. What was it about this beautiful, mysterious land that enticed one woman away from her own child—and broke another’s heart? As a journalist, Dani may have the opportunity to find out. And an enigmatic tango dancer may hold the key to her quest—if she can break down his defensive walls.

Carlos Escudero had been Dani’s mother’s protégé. Tragedy ended his career and he refuses to be interviewed. But he will give Dani some insights, on one condition: she must agree to his tango lessons. As the two begin the intricate dance of passion, Dani’s quiet, logical world is exchanged for one of music, motion—and mystery. For the clues to a tango legend’s murder may lead Dani to the truth about the past and its impact on her family—and free her to move toward a future she can claim as her own at last…

First Impressions

Honestly, it takes a few chapters before this book finally finds it’s direction. There’s a lot going on in this novel, and although this helps to constantly keep you on your toes, it also makes it seem a tad unfocused at times. I think the main contributing factor to this is the fact that we’re dealing with a multi-generational novel. Dani might initially seem to be the lead of the novel with her journey to Argentina and flirtations with a handsome tango dancer, but then we find out the book is just as much about her mother and grandmother as it is about her. Not to mention a few other dashing characters who get thrown into the mix.

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From Dani’s search for her estranged mother, to her tango lessons with a devastatingly strict teacher, and even a 1950s murder mystery, I questioned whether or not the multitude of story lines presented in this novel could come together and form one cohesive plot. Happy to announce I was pleasantly surprised, as well as emotionally floored at the way all of these stories converge into one beautiful ending that will have you reaching for the tissues.

 

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The Tango of Life

Throughout the novel, there are many references and equivalencies to how tango is just like life and love. In my opinion, there may have been a few too many comparisons at how they all contain overwhelming joy, sadness, heartache, passion and melancholy. However, in the end you can’t deny that tango has a supreme impact on every single character presented in this novel. At times it might seem like a curse, but it can also result in a deep connection with your perfect partner.

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From 1953 to Today

While Dani is the main focus of the present day story line, we are also concurrently reading about the tumultuous tale of Louisa Gilchrest in 1953 Argentina, and her love affair with a talented musician who is pretty much off limits. I almost thought this historical romance could have been a book in and of itself. It was this story that had the bulk of the mystery, intrigue, political upheaval, and tragedy. It also made me slightly antsy, as there’s nothing that makes me squirm more with discomfort than someone who is accused of a murder they didn’t commit.

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Eventually we do see how these two stories are connected through something much more than tango. As these two tales start to merge together at the end it almost becomes a race against time for all of the puzzle pieces to fall into place. But when they do? Oh…my…God.  Devastatingly beautiful. It might not be the happiest of happy endings with prancing unicorns and bunny rabbits, but it will make you realize that life is always full of unexpected surprises.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: The Dance Card Series

Should you read it? The multi-generational aspect of this novel is definitely one of it’s most unique features. However, at the beginning this is also one of the main detriments of the novel, as it’s almost too many stories going on at once. Definitely worth sticking around though for the ending. You’ll also learn a bit about the history of tango, which is pretty interesting.

Smut Level: The characters of this novel insist that one of the main misconceptions about tango is that it’s all about sex. Though love and passion are a main feature of this novel, sex isn’t too much of a focus.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Lyrical Press. 326 Pages.

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The Scoundrel and the Debutante by Julia London

For a historical romance this book is red hot! These two lovebirds go at it multiple times. Even in a bathtub!

What’s it About? 

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The dust of the Cabot sisters’ shocking plans to rescue their family from certain ruin may have settled, but Prudence Cabot is left standing in the rubble of scandal. Now regarded as an unsuitable bride, she’s tainted among the ton. Yet this unwilling wallflower is ripe for her own adventure. And when an irresistibly sexy American stranger on a desperate mission enlists her help, she simply can’t deny the temptation.

The fate of Roan Matheson’s family depends on how quickly he can find his runaway sister and persuade her to return to her betrothed. Scouring the rustic English countryside with the sensually wicked Prudence at his side—and in his bed—he’s out of his element. But once Roan has a taste of the sizzling passion that can lead to forever, he must choose between his heart’s obligations and its forbidden desires.

First Impressions

Prudence believes she is doomed to never find a good marriage match due to her frivolous sisters who landed their husbands in rather unconventional ways. This book made me realize that, according to Victorian England era principles, I am a full on spinster. Prudence thought that being 22 and single was bad? I’ve got a few years on ya sista! Anywho, Prudence manages to meet a dashing American, and decides to accompany him in a stagecoach whilst he searches for his sister. They encounter many a misadventure together, and what with all the bouncing and wheel breaking going on, a romance quickly develops between the two travelers.

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Stand-Alone? 

This is the third book in the Cabot Sisters series, and I hadn’t read the other two before starting this one. For the majority of the novel, I really thought this could be read as a stand-alone. I had read the synopses of the first two novels, and thought I had a pretty good idea of who was who.

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However, I must say I was slightly confused when Prudence is reunited with her sisters at the end of the book. They’re astonished at her lack of propriety in traveling alone with a single man, without a chaperone in sight. Not to mention some of the other sexy antics the two got involved in, even though it was all done in the name of love. But it sounded like her sisters haven’t exactly played by the rules when it comes to “landing” a husband, so their shock and disapproval sort of seemed a bit hypocritical to me. That being said, having not read the other books in the series I feel hesitant to call them out completely.

Series: Cabot Sisters, book 3. I’d probably recommend reading them in order.

Should you read it? It was a decent historical read. Prudence and Roan are certain of their love for each other, but once they are reunited with her family, they start to question the difference between love and infatuation. Will their love fade once things settle back to normal after the excitement from the road? You’ll just have to read to find out!

Smut Level: I’m used to historical romances being on the tamer side, but my eyes definitely got wide in a few places. This is no Jane Austen romance!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $6.49 Kindle Price. HQN Books. 346 Pages

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Wilder Hearts by Lilly Gayle

Phew! I feel like I can finally take a breath after finishing this book. What with all the murder, mystery, and sexual awakening going on here.

What’s it About?

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Writing about the outlaw, Jake the Snake, could be the opportunity of a lifetime—if it doesn’t get her killed.

When Ellie Wilder takes her sister from their grandfather’s home, she’s determined to put her family back together and write of their adventures. Then she runs into Jacob Harper, a man who resembles Jake the Snake, a notorious outlaw who once rode with Billy the Kid. Is it possible the outlaw who escaped justice has mended his ways? Or is the handsome Mr. Harper now murdering servant girls in Austin? Finding out the truth could be the journalistic opportunity of a lifetime.

Former Texas Ranger Jake Harper has returned to Texas to help solve the Servant Girl Annihilator murders. But when a similar murder occurs in Harmony, Texas, Jake goes undercover as Jake the Snake to find a connection between the series of brutal murders. Then Ellie Wilder shows up. Her snooping could blow his cover and get her killed, but Ellie soon becomes a bigger threat to his heart than his investigation.

First Impressions

Mkay, so I have to admit I had a slight history nerd-out moment with this book. And by slight, of course, I mean I squealed like an idiot, and was incredibly happy nobody was around to witness my silliness. A few weeks ago I was watching one of my fav TV shows ever, Mysteries at the Museum, and they featured a segment on the Servant Girl Annihilator in Austin, TX during 1885. Lo and behold my surprise when I start reading this book and it revolves around that same set of murders. I flipped out! I was like, OMG are they gonna mention the cook as a suspect? They’re after Maurice! Are they gonna make the link between the Annihilator and Jack the Ripper?! Gah, they totally do!! Sorry, I’m done.

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Murder, Oil, Undercover

Now I’ll admit that at first there was almost too much going on story-wise with this book. Ellie and her sister, Ida, leave their grandfather in Philadelphia to live with their father in Texas. Once they arrive you’ve got the Austin murders that Jake is trying to solve, but Ellie thinks he may also be an outlaw that ran with Billy the Kid, so she does some sleuthing of her own. Ellie’s dad is searching for oil in a small town, and murders start happening there too, so Jake goes undercover to try and find the killer. All we’re missing is a partridge in a pear tree.

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However, I will say that the story really got good and going once they all arrive in the small town of Harmony. This is where everything starts to focus on one particular set of murders, and the suspect list starts growing. Who in this small town could be responsible for such grisly murders? There’s also an added level of suspense because, let’s face it, we know it’s just a matter of time before Ellie and her family get mixed up in all the murdery mayhem. Will they manage to escape the clutches of the Annihilator, or become his next victims?

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: A Western Hearts Novel, Book 2.

Should you read it? For all you history buffs out there who might have an interest in true crime, you’ll prolly like this one! That being said, consider yourself warned it’s a pretty gruesome tale. For those of you who know the real story of the Annihilator and Jack the Ripper, you’ll know that a lot of innocent people end up butchered. Kind of depressing. Gotta love the simmering sexual tension between Jake and Ellie though.

Smut Level: OMG Jake and Ellie!! Love ’em! And their first time together was just oh so wonderful. Ellie gets caught in the rain, stumbles across a cabin, and oh, whose cabin should it be but Jake’s? Oh my, I wonder what could ever happen as they wait for their clothes to dry as the storm passes? It’s like the Notebook rain scene, but in late 19th century Texas.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Glass Slipper Press. 254 Pages.

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Free Books Anyone?

OMG you guys, I have a new addiction in life, and I wanted to share it with all of you. After all, who doesn’t love free books?

So a couple of weeks ago I was reading some international relations related article on foreignpolicy.com, when I saw a link to another article called “Librarians Love this Website”. I immediately thought, mkay what the hell kind of click-bait scam article is this gonna be? This, ladies and gents, is how I was introduced to the wonderful world of BookBub, and life will never be the same again!

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with the site, it’s something you might want to try out. Basically, you sign up using your preferred e-mail address, indicate your favorite authors and genres, and then you let the free digital books come to you. Every day you get an e-mail from BookBub with a list of free and discounted books based on your individual preferences, which you can then purchase from Amazon, B & N, Apple, Google, or Kobo.

Now let’s get down to the pros and cons here.

  • You only receive notifications on free books or discounted books based on your preferences. When I signed up I was able to indicate which romance categories I preferred, and those are the only ones I get an e-mail about. So, I get all my juicy contemporary, new adult, and historical romances without having to weed through those with vampires and werewolves. You can also visit bookbub.com at any time and look at a ton of other genres for daily deals and free books.

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  • I personally thought getting a daily e-mail would get really old, really fast. However, I’ve actually managed to keep up with it, and there’s an unsubscribe button if you get overwhelmed. Each e-mail only has about 5-6 book blurbs listed, and honestly I ignore all the ones that cost money. Therefore, I’m really only looking at about 3 free book options a day, and it’s a great way to take a break in the middle of a busy work day. You can also change your e-mail preferences so that you only get one e-mail a week, or so you never receive e-mails at all.
  • Although I personally don’t look at the books that cost money (because I am the cheapest person ever!), I think the highest cost of a book I’ve seen so far is $2.99. You really can be notified of some great book deals, but I could also see this as a con in that by spending $0.99 here, and $1.99 there, it could probably build up cost-wise if you weren’t careful. I’ve also tried to ignore the fact that so many of these free books have an audible add-on option for only $1.99. Just look the other way!

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  • Since signing up for BookBub I’ve finished reading 4 of the free books I’ve purchased. I really enjoyed 2 of them, and disliked the other 2. Therefore, when it comes to quality I wouldn’t say you’re guaranteed an amazing read every time, although there are a lot of bestsellers on there. Then again, I literally paid zero dollars for any of these books, so I’m not gonna complain.
  • And now, for the biggest con of all. I would say I’m averaging about 1-2 free book “purchases” a day. A total of 29 books in the last 2 weeks. At this rate, I’m gonna need to buy a new Kindle sooner rather than later just to store them all.

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