Review: Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick

Romancing the Scot

Kindle Edition, 284 pages                                           ASIN  B0746MLYFZ

Published November 14th 2017 by Swerve           Series   The Pennington Family #1

Rating:  5*

Grace Ware is an enemy of the English crown along with her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. On top of that, her mother, was an exiled Scottish Jacobite. On a the way to deliver a new message to the wife of Napolean’s brother things went terribly wrong.  Her father and his footmen slain and Grace was in the run for her life. While running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she hid in a crate never realizing that said crate would then be sealed moved aboard a ship.Grace’s luck went from bad to worse when the crate was delivered to 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 Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, and a hero of the Napoleonic wars—is also 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 her mystery.

***  This was an absolutely terrific read with an amazing adventure and truly sensual romance.  Grace had spent her entire life caring for her father after her mother’s passing.  Bad enough to have seen her father’s murdered bloody body but when trying to escape she had the misfits to hide in a crate, which was then sealed and loaded onto a ship without food or water for five days.  When Hugh Pennington discovered her half dead body it was no wonder she wasn’t forthcoming with information about herself.  After the many days it took for her to recover, she discovered she was in the home of a man who had every reason to detest her for her father’s actions during the war.

However, there was even more hurdles to overcome when both began to feel the passion that seemed to be brewing in each others hearts and to realize someone  out there was still looking to capture and/or kill Grace for the secrets she was carrying without knowing herself what they were.

Truly a great read and one I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed

Series:  Westcott #3            Rating: 5*                          Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages

Publish:  November 7th 2017 by Berkley                   ISBN13: 9780399586064

Wren!  What a refreshing and delightful protagonist she turned out to be!  Wren had literally been a recluse for letting a purple birthmark on the left side of her face dictate her future.   But a year after her beloved adoptive parents passed,  Wren decided she wanted more out of her life and being fabulously wealthy and independent decide she would ‘buy’ herself a husband. Doing her homework, to find a man who would wed her and let her continue on as before she made a list of four prospective men she would interview.

When Alexander Westcott became the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. However, he dutifully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life knowing it would take years to bring the estate back to life.

Being a business woman who ran a highly successful glassworks factory, Wren initially began in a very brusque manner stating the obvious to Alexander of his lack of coin in his circumstances of inheriting a pile of stones and estate he couldn’t possibly afford.  Then went on to explain that he might consider wedding her whereby, she could “with her ample supply of cash” help him refurbish the estate.  Alas, Alex was astounded at her bad taste in bringing up such a personal matter which was in bad taste to ever discuss upon just meeting someone.

***  The first thing I must say is when I start a novel by Mary Balogh, I get that “Ahhhhhh….” feeling just knowing that when I get to the last page, I will experience that very same feeling of contentment and relaxation.  In SOMEONE TO WED I had already read the first two books in this series so was more than ready in anticipating this third book, though I hadn’t  come across anyone like Wren before.

Obviously, both protagonists had a lot to work out between them before any romance could ever be developed.  Both had issues – Wren with letting her birthmark define her life; and Alex with his abject horror to discover that he just might be the type of person who would marry for money?    Alex finally agreed to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. Naturally, neither was prepared for the desire that overwhelmed them both when Wren finally lifted the veils that hid the secrets of her past.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Sadie’s Highlander by Maeve Greyson

Sadies Highlander

Published: September 12th 2017 by Loveswept                           Rating:   5*

ASIN:    B01MZ18FVS          Series:   Highland Protector #1

I have loved Maeve Greyson’s Highland books since I first discovered her Highland Hearts series and now, I am so lucky to starting Book #1 of her Highland Hearts series and just by reading the first book SADIE’S HIGHLANDER – I can tell that this is going to be just as engaging, funny and sensual as her prior series.

Alec MacDara and his brothers and family traveled forward in time to be the protectors of the sacred Heartstone.  They are now owners and operators of a theme park called Highland Life and Legends.  As the chairman of this enterprise, Alec has been keeping the real castle and it’s treasures separate, while fending off a plethora of requests to film on the grounds.  However after some very charming letters from a production assistant, he agrees to a meeting.  At first, the minute he meets the CEO of the company he realizes what a mistake he’s made, but then he notices her assistant.  The woman with lush curves who is so down to earth he almost forgets his name!

Sadie Williams is the sister to the owner of the motion picture company who has for years kept Sadie in the lowliest of positions while Sadie waits for her sisters promise of one day becoming a writer.   However Sadie was shocked when Alec agreed to allow the picture company upon one condition! Sadie would have to live in the castle and report to Alec every day of the company’s progress. Sadie agrees but wonders why Alec looks at her as if he was waiting to gobble her up!  Knowing she was a bit on the chubby side and having always been told by her sister she was ugly, Sadie didn’t know what to think of the hunky Highlander who thought she was beautiful!

Fabulous, funny and sexy – couldn’t ask for more and Maeve Greyson delivers in spades!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

Review: The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

Stolen Marriage

NET GALLEY – October 3, 2017

Date: October 3, 2017                           Print Length: 384 pages

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press            Rating: 5*

I have read many books by Diane Chamberlain and have been moved by each and every one.  In THE STOLEN MARRIAGE she has written a very compelling and, for me, and emotional story set during the 1940’s polio epidemic and the discrimination still held in the South between the whites and folks of color.

The setting for the majority of the book is in Hickory, NC when a young engaged Italian woman made a mistake that changed her life.  Tess DeMillo’s life had been mapped out for years, she was on her way to becoming a nurse and her fiancé, the boy next door, was on his way to becoming a doctor.  Unfortunately, a brief trip to Washington DC, and too many cocktails led Tess to sacrifice the virginity she was saving.

Pregnant with nowhere to go, Tess knew she needed financial help and approached the man who was the father of her child.  Instead of monetary help he asked her to marry him but Tess discovered the handsome man, with a gorgeous home and wealthy beyond her wildest dreams was kind but had no interest in consummation of the marriage.   In a difficult situation and wanting something for herself, Tess finishes her nursing degree and goes on to become a nurse for the NC’s Emergency Infantile Hospital, which was built and staffed in just 3 days.

Even though I am late in writing the review, I finished this book in record time as the story was not something one could let go of.  Ms. Chamberlain continues to write the books that take you away to another place and time – just what I look for and another WOW book others must discover!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: When Time is A River by Susan Clayton-Goldener

WhenTimIsaRiver

Published September 6th 2017 by Tirgearr Publishing

ASIN:  B0741DSKCK Rating:  5*

Because I’ve read the National Writers Award Winner Book  A BEND IN THE WILLOW by Susan Clayton-Goldener I was more than happy to be able to read and review her newest book WHEN TIME IS A RIVER.    Now that I have read both, I know that with this author, who writes with heart and emotion and a very fresh and eloquent voice, she is an author who must be placed on an auto-buy list.

The dynamics of the family that had Emily their 3 year old child kidnapped from a park, while her much older step-sister Brandy was in charge of  watching her certainly played a huge part in the intense emotional play of the story.   Yes, Brandy was not on the best of terms with her new step-mother who was once her professor father’s student and only 4-5 years older than Brandy, but that was never a factor in what Brandy felt for her baby sister.  Brandy was probably more of a mother to Emily than Christine (the mother) was.

Unbeknownst to Brandy, was that she and Emily had been stalked for weeks by someone who wanted Emily – the perfect child.   Brandy was quite beautiful and talented but for a noticeable scar on her cheek which she’d received when she fell out of her stroller at age 3 and was caught in the escalator at a department store.    The trauma was intense for Brandy because all her life she wanted to be an actress and singer.  But when Emily disappeared from her stroller while Brandy was in a restroom keeping an eye on the stroller wheels and talking to Emily, the stalker came in and took Emily right out of the stroller without Brandy ever knowing she was gone.    This incident trounced any kind of trauma Brandy had ever had over her scars.  Enter Detective Radhauser who is brought in on the case, and insists Brandy stay out of the investigation – however, Brandy’s tortured soul and guilt wouldn’t allow her to just sit around.

With the story set, be aware that the pages will fly by as Brandy chases down every clue she gives to Radhauser.   Radhauser insists Brandy stay safe and away from the investigation but Brandy wouldn’t listen and when she discovers more than she ever wanted to know, she must race before it was too late to save Emily.

Bottom line:   Top notch story and deserving of another award!  Highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Once A Rebel by Mary Jo Putney

Once a Rebel

September 27th 2017 by Zebra Historical (first published May 30th 2017)

Series  Rogues Redeemed #2                  Rating:  5*

This was truly a fully fleshed out and wonderful read.   To summarize the plot, Callie and Lord George are childhood best friends and neighbors with horrid fathers.  Callie’s father decides to rid himself of her and announces he has found her a husband.  He’s three times her age, a man she’s never met and will take her away to Jamaica to live.  Callie runs to Lord George and they decide to run to Gretna Green; they stop to rest and the father’s alerted by one of Callie’s sisters, found them.   In trying to save Lord Georges life who was being beaten to death by her father she promised she would marry the man and be a good and dutiful wife.  Later Callie was told that George had been killed on his way to Botany Bay.

It’s fifteen years later, and Callie is widowed with two step-children and living in Washington, as the British are invading and trying to burn it down.   She sends her family and retainers off to Baltimore fearing for their safety, while she remains behind to keep her home and dressmaking business safe from looters and approaching British soldiers.  Unfortunately, unbeknownst to her some rebel snipers had such into her home and used the upper floors to try and assassinate the top British officer as he rode through town.   The soldiers blamed Callie and just as she was about to be raped or worse, a hero came to her rescue.

The hero turned out to be Lord George, now calling himself Gordon who had survived and was sent on a mission by relatives to try to discover and save the missing widow, and/or provide for her if she wouldn’t come back to England.  They both recognized one another and the friendship they once had allowed Callie to trust Gordon to see her to her step – family and decide whether to remain in America or go back to England.

This was a real adventure, packed with an enormous amount of American history and a wonderfully sensual romance.   I can’t say much more about it other than it was on those hard-pout-down reads!

Highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Lullaby for My Sister by Nancy Barone

LullabyForMySisterbyNancyBarone200

Talk about dysfunctional family and mystery melding into one thrilling page-turner then you really must pick up LULLABY FOR MY SISTER.  One hears about atrocities like this but in our society, one assumes the bad step-mother would be more like the one  found in Cinderella.

Since the death of their mother Valentina Mancino, age 9,  had been her little sister Lucy’s protector and guardian since her father had taken to drink and left all responsibility on Valentina’s small shoulders.  Fifteen years later Valentina has achieved her goals of a rising career.   Valentina still watches over Lucy, who has issues and no goals in life.

In an attempt to help Lucy become a bit more self-sufficient Valentina hires a carpenter to remodel their childhood home into a profitable multi-family whereby Lucy could live off of the income, or at best sell the property and get a great price due to it’s location.

When the remodeling began, Valentina comes across an old suitcase containing a blood- stained childs dress leading to a trail of secrets that will have the reader pretty much shocked with the twists that come up once the secrets are exposed.

Written in flashback mode one can follow the story and get some idea of the horrors Valentina lived through during her childhood all the while doing her best to protect her little sister.   All in all this was a deeply moving story, with a final twist that I never saw coming.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Beauty Like the Night by Joanna Bourne

BeautyLikeNight

Orphan of the French revolution and sometime British intelligence agent, Severine de Cabrillac has attempted to leave her life of spying behind her.  Now she devotes herself to investigating crimes in London and finding justice for the wrongly accused.

Raoul Deverney, an enigmatic half-Spaniard with enough secrets to earn even a spy’s respect, is at her door demanding help. She’s the only one who can find the killer of his long-estranged wife and rescue her missing fourteen-year-old daughter.  After much debate Severine reluctantly agrees to aid him, even though she feels the growing attraction between them makes it quite unwise. Their desperate search for the girl unleashes treason and murder. . . and offers a last chance for two strong, wounded people to find love.

*** I have been a long-time fan of Ms. Bourne’s Spymasters series and have quite enjoyed each and every one!   Obviously BEAUTY LIKE THE NIGHT ended up in a class by itself!  The two main protagonists while attracted to one another, started out terribly opposed to working together, in fact not quite trusting one another.

Raoul was a tough character to embrace, caustic and arrogant, it was hard to embrace him even as later he did seem a bit more likable.  Not that Severine was easy to get close to as her life had been unusual and she had learned not to give her trust to just anyone!   Although once they did agree to combine their intelligence, they did work well together.    What made the story even better was the search for Raoul’s missing daughter (whom he denied vehemently that he was not the father).   In trying to discover what was going on once they discovered that they needed to stop an assassination, the action deepened and it was edge of the seat reading while they tried to catch the assassin.

Bottom line:  The story was totally engaging and the ending was wonderful if not surprising.  Highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: My Fair Lover by Nicole Jordan

My Fair Lover

Lady Katherine Wilde believes she has overcome any romantic feelings toward Brandon Deverill, who rejected her six years ago. Now that the rogue needs polishing to claim his title and inheritance, she’s willing to strike a practical bargain: Kate will mold the brash privateer into an acceptable English nobleman if Deverill will safeguard her from brigands on a voyage to recover lost family treasure.

Brandon had often thought of the day he turned Kate away from his bed all those years ago. Even a rake such as he couldn’t seduce an innocent beauty before sailing into battle. But now that he’s inherited a title and must take a suitable bride, it is Kate he sets his sights on.  Brandon never grew up in a home with love and the notion of love was something he’d never before experienced.  However, Brandon soon realizes he’d gladly trade his life to save a woman who has captured his heart.

***  Nicole Jordan and her ongoing series of Legendary Lovers has been both a success for her and brought extreme enjoyment to me.  While I appreciated the banter and the seductions I did feel something missing and that would be just a bit of suspense with something more to overcome than just Brandon not realizing his feelings for Kate as love.

The contretemps with the pirate Louvel was and should have been expanded to a much higher level rather than the small tiff it seemed to represent.  Other than that the seduction was sublime and and sensuality irresistible.

Marilyn Rondeau