Always on My Mind by Andrea Downing

Unfortunate circumstances and misunderstandings separate Cooper and Cassie just when they’re on the cusp of admitting their love. Will they ever manage to find their way back to each other?

What’s it About? 

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1972 – Vietnam, the pill, upheaval, hippies. Wyoming rancher Cooper Byrnes, deeply attached to the land and his way of life, surprises everyone when he falls for vagabond hippie Cassie Halliday. Fascinated and baffled, he cannot comprehend his attraction—or say the words she wants to hear.

Cassie finds Coop intriguingly different. As she keeps house for him and warms his bed at night, she admits to herself she loves him but she misinterprets Coop’s inability to express his feelings.

Parted, each continues to think of the other, but how can either of them reach out to say, “You were ‘always on my mind’?”

First Impressions

Typically, one of the most difficult parts of writing any review is the starting point. Where do you want to begin the analysis? How do you want to present the characters? Surprisingly, when it came to this read I encountered a much more difficult dilemma, and that was how to categorize this romance. Primarily, whether or not to tag it as a historical read. The setting of our book is 1972, and I realize a good portion of readers out there probably just gasped at the prospect that I would even contemplate filtering this as a historical read. What can I say? I was born in the last year of the 80’s, anything prior to that seems like history 😉 However, I must say that the question of historical or contemporary also made this one of my favorite aspects of the novel, in that it’s not your typical setting for a romance. If we’re ever presented with a tale of love obviously not set in the present day, we might see a far distant historical, regency, nineteenth century, or prohibition era if we really want to mix things up. But to set something in the early 70’s, and in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on top of it, makes this unique amalgamation of factors completely unexpected and exciting.

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To Be or Not to Be? 

The Vietnam War is raging. The era of the sexual revolution, feminism, and civil rights is well-established. In the midst of all this change, we find a conservative cowboy start to fall for a free-spirited hippie. It’s hard to think of two more unlikely characters in a romance.  While Cooper and Cassie differ in so many ways, from their lifestyles to their political views, it was fascinating to see these two polar opposites manage to push aside their differences to come together into each other’s arms. They’re able to provide a sense of solace and comfort as the rest of the world trespasses around the bubble they’ve built around them. And yet, we see that things aren’t always smooth sailing between them, and eventually their doubts and fears regarding their relationship risk tearing apart these two lovebirds forever.

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I’ll admit, upon first meeting, and for a rather large portion of the time they spent together, I questioned if Cassie and Cooper even liked each other. They obviously come from different backgrounds, and rarely agree on things. More than once Cassie admits to herself that Cooper’s behavior scares her, and yet his ability to turn sweet following an argument keeps her coming back for more. Borderline…mentally abusive in a way. It’s only when she completely misinterprets his commitment to their relationship does she run for the hills. The fact we’re in the period of the early 70’s, when the time of cell phones and emails are nonexistent, do we see it’s practically impossible for Cooper to go after her. We seriously question if they’ll manage to find their happily ever after, and desperately hope they’ll succeed in doing so. There were many times that I wished we could have seen a few more moments of affection and sweetness between Cooper and Cassie, so that I could be convinced these two were meant to be together. However, I could simultaneously appreciate the fact that if we had been presented with more of these moments, Cassie probably never would have doubted Cooper’s affections to flee in the first place.

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

Series: Stand-alone

Final Impressions: The outline of a heart-wrenching romance was definitely there, but I felt some areas could have been fleshed out more fully. Some of the first moments involving Cassie and Cooper’s interactions were somewhat uncomfortable, especially considering how often Cooper resulted to yelling and berating Cassie for the fact she didn’t fit seamlessly into his life. However, I’d have to say that one of the most compelling features of this romance was the fact that we were presented with a love story that was far from perfect. Our characters had flaws, and acted in ways that were often hard to differentiate right from wrong. But that’s what made it real and relatable. The fact our tale was set in the early 70’s, when war raged from afar, birth control was something to be debated/judged, and those who were more conservative clashed with those who were more liberal, we find ourselves confronted with a time that feels simultaneously foreign…yet achingly familiar.

Smut Level: Cassie and Cooper’s first time together in the bedroom actually seemed far from perfect, but practice certainly makes perfect. There’s not too much detail involved in their lovemaking, but we eventually find their awkwardness transform into tenderness.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 252 Pages

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A Model Engagement by Charlotte O’Shay

Alright, after reading this book I have one very important question that must be answered immediately. Is Maryland actually considered to be part of the South?? Our female lead apparently has a southern accent that comes out when she lets her guard down, and she hails from Maryland. The reason I need this question answered is because as someone who lives in Washington, DC, right on the border with Maryland, I need to know if I should start implementing more “y’alls” into my daily vocabulary.

What’s It About? 

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Lacey Reed jumps at the chance for independence with a career in the big city. But her naivety and ambition blind her to the lure of a blackmailer. With her savings gone, she has nowhere to turn when she literally runs into financier Connor Devlin. Though dazzled by Lacey, Connor sees the desperation she tries to hide. His gut tells him to help, and he hires her as his fake fiancée. Now Lacey has a job, and Connor has put a bandage on a family crisis. When the blackmailer ups the ante, Lacey resolves to face him down—no matter what the consequences. Does that mean Lacey will lose the only man who’s ever seen who she truly is?

First Impressions

A passionate romance at a beach house in Montauk? Count me in! This is the second novel in the City of Dreams series, and something I really do appreciate about these tales of fake fiancées is how the author presents us with characters who truly seem to have no other option. I think it’s safe to assume that not many of us could imagine a scenario in which we would enter into a fake engagement with someone who is a near stranger. Surely there must be some other way to get over whatever hurdle is presented, right? However, I was surprised to find that in both of these novels the female leads clearly had no other choice, and in order to look out for themselves and those that they love they have to do something kind of crazy. Heck, I even found myself wanting to yell at them, “What is there to think over? The solution is right in front of you, just take it already!” Who knew I’d be so supportive of fake engagements?!

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A One Day Fiancée 

In this novel, Lacey agrees to become Connor’s fake fiancée in order to help him care for his mother who would otherwise refuse the help of someone hired to be there. She’s willing to enter into such an absurd arrangement because she’s desperate to pay off a blackmailer who has a video tape of her in a rather compromising situation. As I mentioned earlier, I definitely understand how Lacey’s desperation to prevent this tape from ever being released could push her into accepting this completely unorthodox position. Connor on the other hand?

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Connor has known Lacey for basically just one day. In that short amount of time he can clearly identify she’s desperate for money. But to have him trust her enough to take care of his ailing mother, and also suggest they pretend to be engaged? After just one day? I guess I found it easier to believe her motivations rather than his. I did like that later on Connor admits his suggestion that they enter into this ruse so quickly was one of the dumbest ideas he’d ever had, but in that moment where he first tells Lacey she’ll be his fake fiancée I couldn’t help but think, “Woah, that was fast”.

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Past Deeds Impact the Present

Shockingly, I found myself more enthralled with the story of Lacey’s blackmail rather than her romance with Connor. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved ALL the sexual tension going on with her and the hunky gentleman, but it seemed that Lacey’s growth as a character was more linked to this other story going on with her ass of a blackmailer. To summarize, Lacey used to be a model, and when she started coordinating on a new ad campaign with a man who was highly regarded in the industry, he drugged her and filmed the two of them in some non-consensual sexual scenarios. This man then proceeds to blackmail her, demanding payment which reduces all of her life savings to nothing.

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The absolute best part of this book was seeing Lacey transform herself from a victim into a survivor. She was able to stand up for herself on her own two feet, and face the piece of shit who abused and blackmailed her. Lacey had the courage to say, “no more”. What was even better was that she came to this decision completely on her own. Nobody had to convince her of it, or push her into it. I think her budding relationship with Connor did act as a sort of catalyst, showing her how good her life could be if she just gets rid of the dead weight dragging her down. To see a woman who was at the end of her rope decide to rely on herself to escape the torment of her past was truly admirable.

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Mamma Devlin and Communication

There were two aspects of this novel that I felt could have been more fully accentuated. The first was the character of Connor’s mother. In a way, she is one of the primary factors that brings our main characters together. She is slowly going blind, and Connor wants to find someone who can help her through her day-to-day activities. Enter Lacey and the start of their fake engagement. While it is clear that she and Lacey get along, I simply wanted more scenes of the two of them spending time together. Towards the end of the novel we do get a glimpse of how sassy Connor’s mother can be, and if we had seen more of that side of her throughout the novel it might have added an extra layer of depth to Lacey’s interactions with Connor’s family. I think what I enjoyed so much about the first novel was the incorporation of our female lead’s younger brother into the dynamics between her and our male lead to truly cement their relationship. Connor’s mother could have acted as a similarly crucial supplemental character in this second novel, yet in the end it seemed like we never really got to know her.

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The second aspect revolves around the communication between Lacey and Connor. Throughout the book, we are privy to a lot of inner monologues of these two characters which reveal so much about their personalities. With Lacey, we learn all about how she branched out from her small home town in Maryland, and became a model in the big city as a way to rebel against her parents. We also see how she’s going through so much mental anguish over the issue of being blackmailed. With Connor, we uncover how the discovery of his father’s secret gambling life after his death influenced Connor’s relationship with his family. He had to become the protector and the provider. I just wish that Lacey and Connor had shared more of this with each other, rather than having it seemingly reserved for us to know as the audience. So many of these stories are glimpses into the thought processes of our characters. By having more heart-to-heart conversations throughout the novel rather than saving it all for the end could have acted as a real emotional bonding experience for our main couple, and strengthened their link beyond a basic physical connection.

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

Series: City of Dreams, book 2. I have a hunch over who the male lead of book 3 will be, and if I’m right then I just can’t wait!!!

Should you read it? Overall, I think I preferred book 1, mainly due to the more cohesive link between our main couple and supplemental characters. The story arch involving Lacey’s blackmailer was heartbreaking, yet also captivating. I wish there had been more of a resolution to how Lacey’s family responded to the blackmail. Not gonna lie, I kind of want to give her mom a good talking-to. Or maybe a slap. The ending of this novel was so freakin’ adorable though! After how quick their relationship started I really appreciated the patience Connor employed to go at Lacey’s own pace, so that she didn’t feel pressured into doing anything she wasn’t comfortable with.

Smut Level: These two have some intense make-out scenes that will have you fanning yourself! The one in the barn?! Phew!! My oh me oh my!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 210 Pages.

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Beneath the Skin by Zara West

This novel is far from a standard retelling of your classic beast meets beauty. Instead, it’s a much darker romance. Although we do see how true beauty can lie beneath a scarred beast, we also see how an ugly monster can lie within a supposed beauty of a man.

What’s it About?

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Ex-Olympic wrestler and reclusive billionaire artist Aristides Stavros has one mission—to rescue his sister, a popular tattoo artist from the old enemy who has kidnapped her. But at every turn, he is confronted by anthropologist Melissa Dermot. Is she just an innocent girl in over her head, or is she working for the international crime boss holding his sister?

Only one thing is certain–when Ari holds the beautiful Asian-American in his arms, questions of guilt and innocence fade against an undeniable fiery attraction. But can their wild passionate love survive the tangled web of long-buried secrets, intentional deceit, and murderous revenge that lie just beneath the surface?

First Impressions

I really enjoyed uncovering the complexity of Ari’s character throughout the novel. He may be scarred physically, and is also an intimidating beast of a man, but we quickly discover that he has a heart of gold underneath his tough exterior. He tries so hard to present himself as a beast, someone as ugly on the inside as on the outside. However, his caring nature for those people who are important to him, not to mention the passion for his own artistic talent, can’t help but shine through. Unfortunately, I can’t say I was as enamored by the female lead, Melissa.

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Falling for the Beast

Personally, I got pretty frustrated by Melissa’s continued insistence that Ari must be a beast because of his ghastly appearance, even if it was right after they had passionate sex or a deep conversation. She chooses to ignore her apparent connection to Ari, and instead seems gullible to believe the lies and machinations of a man who, for all intents and purposes, is a beauty. Turns out, he’s actually the true beast of the story.

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Melissa mentions multiple times how she doesn’t really trust this beautiful Adonis of a man, and senses something evil in him. Yet, she basically convinces herself that because this man is gorgeous, he must be telling the truth whenever he denounces Ari’s character. Melissa does eventually come to trust Ari in spite of his looks, but this transition to acceptance almost came too late in the story for me.

Suspense and Mystery

This novel is a mystery from start to finish as both Ari and Melissa try to find his missing sister, Bella. There’s an interesting twist at the end which will sort of throw you for a loop, not to mention an unbelievably intense and exciting final confrontation that will have you gripping the edges of your Kindle in anticipation. I will say I think some aspects of the story were kind of confusing though, from Melissa’s troubled relationship with her murdered sister, to Bella’s complex connection to her kidnapper.

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At times I felt there was almost too much focus on Melissa’s trust issues when it came to Ari, and not enough on the fact that Bella was taken by someone she knew. Ari has a very interesting history with all of the members of his family, including Bella, as well as her kidnapper. I wish more of the background to these relationships had been revealed earlier on in the story, rather than waiting until one final climactic reveal at the end. It may have helped to create more of a flow to the suspenseful side of the story.

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

Series: The Skin Quartet, book 1.

Should you read it? This was almost too dark of a romance for my taste, but I know that’s right up some people’s alley. I did love the dynamic nature of who Ari was underneath the scars, but I just wish it hadn’t taken Melissa so long to realize that he had a loving and peaceful side to him. She was seemingly quick to trust others who were mean and cruel to her, it was almost like she didn’t know what to do when someone showed her kindness.

Smut Level: These two are hawt in their sex scenes. The best one was when she models nude for one of his paintings.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 251 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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A Legacy of Love and Murder by Brenda Whiteside

Our female lead, August, makes multiple references throughout this book that Tobias smells like cardamom, and I’m telling ya it’s like a moth to a flame. Unfortunately, my spice rack is lacking in this aphrodisiatic scent, so I have to ask, is it really all that intoxicating?

What’s it About? 

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In Austria to meet her great-grandfather and explore his castle estate filled with priceless art, August Myer arrives to find he’s died suspiciously. As one of the heirs, her life is in danger, turning this fairytale Alpine adventure into a nightmare of unexplained accidents, neo-Nazi threats, and murder.

Inspector Tobias Wolf splits his time between his profession and fighting the spread of neo-Nazism. But when the beautiful, intriguing American crosses his path during a murder investigation, ensuring her safety challenges his priorities…and his heart.

When August learns the handsome inspector’s involvement with a major female Nazi is more than he’s admitted, and the death of her great-grandfather is somehow connected, she takes the investigation into her own hands. The outcome could be the death of both of them.

First Impressions

Alright, so I’m not judging the book by its cover, believe me. I’m just making some observations. This novel revolves around an Austrian castle that’s at the center of a new Nazi uprising. In my small and uneducated opinion, if you’re going to put an Austrian castle on the cover, maybe use one that is situated in Austria? And maybe one that is a little less well-known than the infamous Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany? To be fair, I am slightly biased when it comes to this, having toured the castle myself, and being half German. Just a little observation, seeing as the cover is basically the most initial of first impressions we all have when picking up a book.

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Frankly, I was hoping for a tad more intrigue when it came to the murderous Nazi plot. Which sounds really weird in retrospect, but let me explain. SPOILER ALERT: Basically, August’s great-grandfather was killed because his young wife, Eike, wanted to use Castle Luschin as the headquarters for the new Nazi movement in Austria.

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Couldn’t Eike and her Nazi cohorts just like, pool their resources together and go buy a nice secluded villa somewhere in the Alps? I mean, they go to some extreme lengths and quite a few murder attempts, both successful and failed, for this pile of bricks. Although, these are Nazis we’re dealing with here, so I guess you can’t assume much reasoning would be involved when it comes to their line of thinking.

Backstory 

Eike’s mission to revive the Nazi cause in Austria, and Tobias’s attempts to thwart her made for some very interesting subject matter, especially if you’re a history buff like me. That being said, I would have liked some more backstory surrounding both characters in order to get a really well-rounded view of their motives. In regards to Eike, yes her family took ownership of the castle during WWII, but is that the only reason she’s going to such great lengths to get it back? Why was she the one chosen to lead this Nazi movement?

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Unnecessary Drama? 

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Now, I totally understand the need sometimes to have a sprig of tension pop up between our lovers to create suspense, but even I had to admit that it was a bit of a stretch in this novel. August comes across some old newspaper clippings online with photos of Tobias and Eike attending an event together. It’s all in German, which believe me is a hard ass language in and of itself, and all August can understand from the text are Tobias and Eike’s names.

She assumes through these photos that Tobias was lying all along about how well he knew Eike, that they had a long love affair which is why he isn’t arresting her, and August proceeds to cut off all communication from Tobias. She then goes off sleuthing at Castle Luschin all alone at night. Well…this can only end well! And all because she didn’t stop to get a German newspaper article translated, or ask Tobias about it directly! Hurensohn!

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

Series: The Love and Murder series, book 3. Probably a good idea to at least read book 1 before this one.

Should you read it? Something I really enjoyed in this book was that we got to see the various points of view of the different characters, from August and Tobias, to the villainous Eike. This really helped to follow along with the plot and some of the reasoning behind Eike’s murderous actions, but I still think some more backstory as to why she was so desperate to get this castle back in the first place would have benefited the overall flow of the story.

Smut Level: August and Tobias do have chemistry, and manage to get it on a few times in between the multiple attempts on her life. Will their relationship last forever? I highly doubt it seeing as they barely know each other, but he’s basically an Austrian James Bond. Enjoy it while you can!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 251 Pages.

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Gambler’s Choice  by Linda Nightingale

Who knew people involved in horse training and dressage could lead such complicated lives?!

What’s it About? 

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Becca McQuaid came to England to find the perfect horse but instead met a darkly mysterious challenge in Austen Heath, Baron of Hampton. She’s determined to buy Austen’s stallion Gambler’s Choice. He’s determined not to sell, but the rivals are thrown together by an accident that leaves Austen with a broken leg and the threat he’ll never ride again.

Austen Heath has the title, heritage and manor house…but not the fortune. Becca is wealthy. Her charms are irresistible, but he believes she’s shopping for a Ladyship to go with her money. He has another reason to hold the sexy blonde at arms’ length—the unexplained disappearance of an old friend everyone thinks was his lover. When her body is discovered on his property, he becomes a suspect in her murder. Then the killer begins stalking Becca. Who is the slayer haunting Hampton Hall? Is it the Baron of Hampton himself?

First Impressions

When I first started reading this novel, it sort of seemed like a pretty stereotypical and predictable romance. Becca is in town to buy a horse, and she eyes the perfect specimen with an owner who’s also mighty fine. Unfortunately, he doesn’t intend to sell his most prized possession. I figured she’d try to butter him up, wear down his defenses, and swoop in with her pocketbook. For the most part, everything was going according to plan, but then Austen’s crazy ex shows up, he’s being accused of murdering his childhood friend, and Becca is receiving threatening messages from an apparent stalker. Well, didn’t see that one coming! I guess I should have re-read the synopsis before starting this one. Although, maybe not because the suspenseful plot twist was wonderfully unexpected.

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Come Again? 

I personally really enjoyed this twist from sweet and romantic meet cute to murder mystery. The building of suspense was rather intense, and I found myself holding my breath and gripping my Kindle to the point of leaving fingerprints a few times. That being said, there were 2 plot features that kind of confused me.

Firstly, Becca is intent on buying Austen’s horse, Gambler’s Choice. She’s an extremely wealthy woman, and no price will stand in the way of getting what she wants. Becca needs to find a way to convince Austen to sell, and she eventually finds out that although the dashing Baron has a title, his estate is in dire straights. Rather than get to know him and offer a price that could help with his financial issues, she determines almost immediately that in order to get the prize horse she’ll seduce and sleep with Austen. Ummm, I’m missing something here. Why would he agree to sell you his horse after a quick romp in the hay? Wouldn’t he see through that ruse pretty quickly and kind of resent you for it?

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The second point that confused me a bit surrounded the mystery aspect of the story. Someone is clearly threatening Becca by leaving her written messages telling her to leave England, calling her phone stating that she’ll end up like Austen’s dead friend, setting her friend’s roses on fire, wrecking her car, and even threatening to harm Gambler. And yet, through all of this apparent stalking and harassment, they never mention anything to the police? Ok, I get that to keep the story interesting the police don’t necessarily have to be successful in capturing our criminal, but at least tell them what’s going on for goodness sake!

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

Series: Nope

Should you read it? I did enjoy the transition from a rather light and airy romance novel to an unexpected murder mystery. Kept things interesting! That being said, I pretty much guessed immediately who the stalker/threatener/killer was. It’s funny though, throughout the whole book I kept questioning if other people did it, thinking there’s no way the killer could be that obvious. In my opinion, it was kind of a let down that it was such a predictable villain.

Smut Level: I’ve discovered that 2 horse enthusiasts having sex in a romance novel is hotter than the Kentucky Derby in May! Why you ask? Because hot damn do they know how to ride each other!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 237 Pages.

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Black Orchid by Abigail Owen

The third book in this series threw in one heck of a cliffhanger ending. Black Orchid continues on with that storyline, and brings the entire Svatura series to a dramatic close. I’m sad to see it end, but it sure was one heck of an exciting ride!

What’s it About? 

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Only oblivion can stop her pain. Adelaide Jenner feels nothing…she is completely numb inside. Her fated love abandoned her and joined their enemy. On that day, her sister turned off all Adelaide’s emotions in order to save her from a heartbreak that could push her over the edge of sanity. But the great power she claims, wielded without compassion or love, can only lead to more pain.

Nate Pierce believes Adelaide used her extraordinary powers to deceive him all these years. So he destroyed a relationship he thought to be false and hungers for revenge. Now, Nate serves Maddox, unaware that his new leader is using him as a pawn in a bid to enslave or kill all Svatura. The only hope of finally defeating Maddox is for Adelaide and her sisters to combine their growing powers against him. But the key to a Svatura’s power is the heart, and Adelaide is still missing hers.

First Impressions

I must say, I was kind of hesitant to start this last book. At the close of book 3 we saw the te’sorthene bond break between Nate and Adelaide as he left to fight alongside their sworn enemy. Brainwashing can be such a bitch! I was worried that these two would spend the majority of the book apart, or fighting with each other. However, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter what was probably the most dynamic plot of the series. Although, book 3 was pretty bad ass too. Gah, they were both amazing!

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Broken-Hearted

Adelaide is absolutely heartbroken over Nate’s betrayal, so her sister decides to shut off Adelaide’s emotions completely. This strategy backfires as it makes Adelaide a threat to those around her, so the family makes the fateful decision to wipe away her memory of Nate entirely.  Yes, this does sort of read like an episode/season of The Vampire Diaries, but I don’t even care because that show is freakin’ awesome.

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As Adelaide spends time alone recuperating in the Australian Outback, Nate is sent on a mission from the devious Maddox to approach Adelaide as a lost backpacker, and gain her trust so that she can be used as a pawn in his war against the Svatura. This is when the novel takes a step up from interesting, to “oh crap I should have left for work 10 minutes ago” interesting. Translation: tough to put down!

No Point Denying It

Nate has been brainwashed by Maddox’s minions to believe that Adelaide and her family are his enemies, but as he spends more time alone with her he can’t deny that there is a sense of camaraderie and belonging between them. Adelaide herself is initially wary of this stranger, but she also can’t deny the calming effect he has over her, and their growing bond of friendship. Not to mention a hint of lust! And cue sexy eyebrow waggle.

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Conclusion

The entire book builds to a dramatic climax of one final battle between Maddox’s forces and all of the characters we’ve come to know and love throughout this magical series. There’s a decent amount of combined girl power at the very end that was almost a bit too much for me. Almost. There are also some acts of violence which were almost questionable in their vehemence. Again, almost. But on top of that you also have the sense of family and love that has permeated the whole series, and you can’t help but enjoy seeing all of these characters come together to protect their friends and loved ones from someone who has caused them nothing but pain and heartache. Overall, I’d have to say it was a fantastic conclusion.  

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

Series: Svatura series. Four books in total. I’d have to say book 2 was probably my least favorite, but these last two novels made me late to work on several occasions.

Should you read it? If you’re looking for a romance series that has elements of magic, but not a whole lot of sex, then I’d say it’s perfect for you. The characters are truly what make this series not only unique, but memorable.

Smut Level: There was one steamy make-out session in this book, but Nate and Adelaide spend most of the book trying to deny their underlying feelings of desire for one another. Ha! Try all you want sillies.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 229 Pages.