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whiskeyinthejar

WhiskeyintheGraveyard Romance

Romance book talk, reviews, recipes, and dog pictures

Blogger Site: WhiskeyintheJar Romance

Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

Currently reading

Seized By Love
Susan Johnson
Caught
Jami Alden
A Change of Heart
Sonali Dev
The Diabolical Miss Hyde: An Electric Empire Novel (Electric Empire Novels)
Viola Carr
Progress: 5%

Kyraryker’s quotes


"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Kindle Freebies

I have not read these selections but they're free (at the time of my post).
So enjoy and partake at your own risk :)
 
*Click on the book cover to go to Amazon and Get Yourself Some!
 
Mad For Love (Highland Brides Book 1) by [Essex, Elizabeth]  Driven (Southern Alphas Book 1) by [Sjoberg, Lori]  Ride (Bayonet Scars Book 1) by [Emery, JC]
 
The Major's Faux Fiancee (Dukes of War Book 4) by [Ridley, Erica]  Leather & Lace: Trident Security Book 1 by [Cole, Samantha A.]  Remedial Rocket Science: A Romantic Comedy (Chemistry Lessons Book 1) by [Nix, Susannah]
 
More, Please (Homefront: The Sheridans Book 1) by [Aster, Kate]  Heir Untamed (Latvala Royals Book 1) by [Bourdon, Danielle]
 
Hope everyone can find one to enjoy!

Corporate eye-glazing

Paradise - Judith McNaught

My first contemporary by Judith McNaught gave me some of her fun emotional connection and a good amount of eye glazing department and corporate talk. Our leads had an instant connection when they met and I really enjoyed their back and forth tinged with sexual chemistry and sass. Unfortunately, Matt and Meredith don't spend a lot of time together. Their first go at it has them together for a whirlwind six days and then its not until the 60% mark that they get to spend any real time together. 

There was way too much corporate world talk for me and caused me to put off grabbing this back up to read. For having a bit older of a publishing date, this still held up pretty well. There was some high drama, with a lot of it coming from Meredith when she was upset, she was portrayed a pretty dramatic; it seemed to be feeding into this time period's love of overstating the thought that women are high strung emotional beings. 

I would have liked the corporate talk 80% slashed, Matt and Meredith spending more time together, and less of a rushed ending.

Reading Update: 20%

Paradise - Judith McNaught

She finally spoke, her voice quiet, thoughtful, smiling. "Planning to set the world on fire, are you?"

"With a torch," he averred.

Two ghosts for the price of one

Haunted on Bourbon Street - Deanna Chase

 

Ice numbed my hands and moved up my arms, making me shiver. I pointed to a shadow, black as coal, moving across the far wall. We stood, paralyzed, while the image grew larger and moved toward us.

 

This is the first in the series, but I checked twice to makes sure, I felt pretty lost as the author just hurls the reader into the mix of characters and her paranormal world. Jade is an empathy who can sense and read other people's emotions and I guess, has trust issues with witches. When she moves into an new apartment, it turns out to be haunted by ghost that she eventually calls Mr. Sexy, because of the sensual dreams she starts to have starring him.

At the same time, her boss and new friend Pyper is having horrible dreams where a man she calls Mr. Evil is scaring her in her dreams. At first, they think it is the same ghost, kind of a forced story thread to keep the mystery component going as it seems obvious there are two different ghosts. 

Along the way with trying to figure out who is haunting the two women, Jade has a blossoming romance with her apartment's owner, an on the fritz friendship because the friend is now dating her ex (this whole storyline was confusing and not nearly enough flushed out but as this is a series, I think the author plans on addressing this in the next), and Jade finding out about ghosts, angels, and her other powers. 

There was a lot going on, not always laid out or explained the best, or personal relationships fully flushed out but I can see the series getting better as the author settles into her created world and characters. 

New Releases for October

New Releases I'm reviewing and excited to read

 

3rd

 

 

 

Title:  The Scot Beds His Wife

Series:  Victorian Rebels #5

Author:  Kerrigan Byrne

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 416pgs

Published:  October 3, 2017 by St. Martin’s

ASIN: B06XKFVBSK

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster. 

Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne, is a notorious Highlander and an unrelenting Lothario who uses his slightly menacing charm to get what he wants—including too many women married to other men. But now, Gavin wants to put his shady past behind him...more or less. When a fiery lass who is the heiress to the land he wishes to possess drops into his lap, he sees a perfectly delicious opportunity...

A marriage most convenient

Samantha Masters has come back to Scotland, in a pair of trousers, and with a whole world of dangerous secrets from her time spent in the Wild West trailing behind her. Her only hope of protection is to marry—and to do so quickly. Gavin is only too willing to provide that service for someone he finds so disturbingly irresistible. But even as danger approaches, what begins as a scandalous proposition slowly turns into an all-consuming passion. And Gavin discovers that he will do whatever is necessary to keep the woman he has claimed as his own... 

 

 

 

17th

 

 

 

Title:  Duke of Desire

Series:  Maiden Lane #12

Author:  Elizabeth Hoyt

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 352pgs

Published:  October 17, 2017 by Grand Central Publishing

ASIN:  B01MXDBTK3

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

A LADY OF LIGHT

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS

Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER . . . AND DESIRE

Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael's past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael's own demons?
He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her. 

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits. 

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love.

 

 

 

Title:  Most of All You

Author:  Mia Sheridan

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 352 pgs

Published:  October 17, 2017 by Forever

ASIN: B01MUPZ4WW

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

 

A broken woman . . .

Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior, and carries within her a deep mistrust of men who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.

A man in need of help . . .

Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there’s an undeniable goodness about him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.

Only love can mend a shattered heart . . .

Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world that had stolen everything from them would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts. 

 

 

 

31st

 

 

 

 

Title:  The Highlanders Princess Bride

Series:  The Improper Princesses #3

Author:  Vanessa Kelly

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 432pgs

Published:  October 31, 2017 by Zebra

ASIN: B01MZHRAW6

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

In Vanessa Kelly’s enchanting series, three young women descended from royalty overcome their scandalous beginnings to win the hearts of the ton’s most eligible men . . .
  
The illegitimate daughter of the Prince Regent might be expected to pursue various dubious professions. Actress, perhaps, or artist’s model. Even courtesan. Victoria Knight, however, has become a governess—a respectable choice, until she travels to Scotland to meet her new charges. The younger brothers of Nicholas Kendrick, Earl of Arnprior, aren’t children at all. They’re brawny, wild Highland men. As for the Earl, he’s handsome, guarded, and far too compelling . . . especially for a woman hiding a dark secret.
 
Nick needs a proper teacher to transform his unmarriageable brothers—and a sensible, 
straight-laced wife for himself. Miss Knight seems to fit the bill on both counts. But he soon discovers there is more to Victoria than he thought. It’s not just her notorious origins, or the danger that’s followed her all the way to Scotland. It’s the fiery loyalty beneath that sedate façade. This, the real Victoria, is the woman Nick is starting to desire so desperately. And what an earl wants, he’ll use every seductive means to get . . .

 

 

Title:  Totally His

Series:  Opposites Attract  #3

Author:  Erin Nicholas

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 352 pgs

Published:  October 31, 2017 by Forever

ASIN: B01MUJIN3Y

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

Actress Sophie Birch is used to having to look out for herself. So when her theater catches fire and a big guy scoops her up into his arms to save her, she's going to fight every step of the way. Even if he's a cop. And really sexy. And his arms feel oh-so-good.

Finn Kelly can't help but appreciate how good the woman in his arms looks in her sexy pink lingerie. Even if she's currently resisting arrest. 

But as the two get to know each other, they're both surprised by the things Finn is willing to do to get closer to her. And when Sophie's estranged father arrives in town and starts causing trouble, the stage is set for disaster...unless Finn can convince her that, for once in her life, she has someone to lean on.

 

 

Title:  Wilde in Love

Series:  The Wildes of Lindow Castle  #1

Author:  Eloisa James

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 416 pgs

Published:  October 31, 2017 by Avon

ASIN: B01MYDK4ME

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

Lord Alaric Wilde, son of the Duke of Lindow, is the most celebrated man in England, revered for his dangerous adventures and rakish good looks. Arriving home from years abroad, he has no idea of his own celebrity until his boat is met by mobs of screaming ladies. Alaric escapes to his father’s castle, but just as he grasps that he’s not only famous but notorious, he encounters the very private, very witty, Miss Willa Ffynche. 

Willa presents the façade of a serene young lady to the world. Her love of books and bawdy jokes is purely for the delight of her intimate friends. She wants nothing to do with a man whose private life is splashed over every newspaper. 

Alaric has never met a woman he wanted for his own . . . until he meets Willa. He’s never lost a battle.

But a spirited woman like Willa isn’t going to make it easy. . . .

 

 

 

Title:  The Scot’s Bride

Series:  The MacGregors:  Highland Heirs  #6

Author:  Paula Quinn

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 384 pgs

Published:  October 31, 2017 by Forever

ASIN: B01MUSPX6P

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

AN IRRESISTIBLE SCOUNDREL
Highlander Patrick MacGregor likes his life just the way it is. Fighting for his coin, enjoying a woman's charms, and bearing no responsibility at all? Aye, that's the life for him. That is, until Patrick sees her-a raven-haired beauty with eyes as dark as midnight. Patrick swore never to fall in love. Not even with a lass as wild as he...especially when she's from a rival clan.

AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE
Charlotte Cunningham knows Patrick is trouble the moment she sets eyes on him. Her only goal is to escape the possibility of marriage. Any marriage. But as the summer days turn into sultry nights, enticing her beyond reason, Charlie is forced to choose between the freedom she craves and the reckless rogue she can't forget.

In the New York Times bestselling tradition of Lynsay Sands, Hannah Howell, and Karen Hawkins comes a new book in Paula Quinn's new sinfully sexy Scottish romance series.

 

 

Title:  The Bride Who Got Lucky

Series:  The Cavensham Heiresses  #2

Author:  Janna MacGregor

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 368 pgs

Published:  October 31, 2017 by St. Martin’s

ASIN: B06Y5DYVCT

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

He would do anything to protect her. Even marry her… 

The son of a cold-hearted duke, Nicholas St. Mauer isn’t one to involve himself in society…or open his own heart to anyone. But driven by honor, the reclusive Earl of Somerton feels obliged to keep a watchful eye on Lady Emma Cavensham. She possesses a penchant for passions unbecoming a woman that finds Nick in constant peril of losing his well-structured solitude. She even dared kiss Nick once―an utterly unladylike, and delightful, lapse…

Emma can’t deny the appeal of the earl’s attention, and occasional affection, but she has no need for a man. There are worse fates than spinsterhood, as Emma knows too well. She still mourns the loss of her dear friend Lena, and is determined to prove Lena’s husband responsible for her death before he lures another innocent woman into a brutal marriage. But as Emma pursues her prey, a compromising moment upends all her plans. Now, with gossip swirling and her reputation in tatters, Nick may be the only man brave enough to join in Emma’s cause. . .and fight for her heart.

 

 

 

Title:  The Right Kind of Rogue

Series:  The Cavensham Heiresses  #2

Author:  Valerie Bowman

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 320 pgs

Published:  October 31, 2017 by St. Martin’s

ASIN: B06Y5SDVDB

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

Can two star-crossed lovers come together―until death do they part? 

Viscount Hart Highgate has decided to put his rakish ways behind him and finally get married. He may adore a good brandy or a high-speed carriage race, but he takes his duties as heir to the earldom seriously. Now all he has to do is find the right kind of woman to be his bride―ideally, one who’s also well-connected and well-funded. . .

Meg Timmons has loved Hart, the brother of her best friend, ever since she was an awkward, blushing schoolgirl. If only she had a large dowry―or anything to her name at all. Instead, she’s from a family that’s been locked in a bitter feud with Hart’s for years. And now she’s approaching her third London season, Meg’s chances with him are slim to none. Unless a surprise encounter on a deep, dark night could be enough to spark a rebellious romance. . .for all time?

 

Any you're excited about that I missed?

September Roundup

Woooeeee, what a busy September! I must have gotten the arc bug because I accepted a good amount that had me busting my butt to stay ahead of the game. Add those in with my themed month books, trying to catch up on new releases, and Halloween Bingo and I've been reading my tail feather off. I didn't get as many September Singles (Those selection books will be denoted with ***book cover***) read as I would have liked because of all this but alas, those book boxes go back into the closet and out come the October Start a New Series boxes. Can't wait to start a series that will take me years to complete or send me on a binge reading extravaganza!

 

*Click on book cover to be taken to my review or if I didn't write one, the book's Goodreads page

 

5 stars

 

 

 

4 stars

 

***Truly by Mary Balogh***  The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole

 

3.5 stars

 

Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett  The Witch and the Dead by Heather Blake  Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh

 

3.3 stars

 

 

Soulless by Gail Carriger

 

3 stars

 

31475629  The Hunter and the Witch by Rachel Chanticleer  Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt  

 

A Soul to Steal by Rob Blackwell

 

2.5 stars

 

Acting on Impulse by Mia Sosa  ***A Sexy Time Of It by Cara Summers***  Most of All You by Mia Sheridan

 

Slow Burn by Pamela Clare

 

2 stars

 

***The Unexpected Husband by Lindsay Armstrong*** Dare You to Run by Dawn Ryder  *** Bound By Temptation by Lavinia Kent***  

 

***Bought By The Greek Tycoon by Jacqueline Baird***  ***My Immortal Highlander by Hannah Howell***  Discovery of Desire by Susanne Lord  

 

The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman

 

1.5 stars

 

 

 

1 star

 

21 books read this month with 6 being from my themed month pile. One of my 4 star picks, Truly by Mary Balogh, was a themed selection and a shining beacon of why I have themed months. It was a great book and one that would have gotten lost in the mix of the hundreds of other books on my tbr. I may read less new releases now but getting a book like Truly makes it all worth it. Oh, and reading this line "Go to hell, Joe Jordan," she whispered. "And don't expect me to do the dishes!"

 

What were your highs and lows of the month?

The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman

The Right Kind of Rogue (Playful Brides) - Valerie Bowman
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

With her family riddled with debt and on her third season, Meg knows it's her last chance to find a husband. When she hears that her long time crush has decided to finally search for a wife, she knows it's time to make her move. 
With Hart's sister and friends all getting leg shackled, he knows it's time to do the same. His wife must be beautiful, from a good family, and rich. This makes his sudden attraction to his little sister’s best-friend highly inconvenient. 
With family drama, debts, and schemes, Hart and Meg will have quite the journey to get to their happily ever after. 
 
With a gorgeous cover (and a cover dress that appears in the story) The Right Kind of Rogue is the eighth installment in the Playful Brides series. I started off here and had no problems, except for the occasional interest in obvious previous characters that filtered through and curious about their personal stories. 
 
Sarah's older brother, Hart, the heir to the earldom, a viscount in his own right, was clever, handsome, witty, and extremely eligible. He was also entirely off limits to Meg. 
She had loved him for years.
 

 
Our heroine Meg is the wallflower by circumstance who pines for her best-friend's older brother that never fails to capture my attention. She has no dowry because her father gambled it all away and a mother who unloads her disappoint in life onto her. Hart stuck up for her against her mother when they were younger and that cemented her love of him. I understood the hero worship from this moment but it ended up being the only instance provided for Meg and me as a reader to hold onto. Throughout the story Hart remains a man who drinks fairly heavily and doesn't do a whole heck of a lot to demonstrate any maturity; he honestly seemed a bit vacuous to me. 
 
Most of the story is Meg, with help from a friend named Lucy, trying to set-up schemes to get Hart to notice her enough to marry her and later to sleep with her. Surprisingly, with this desire, they don’t spend a lot of time together in the first half which didn't help me understand what Meg saw in this adult version of Hart. Even towards the end when Hart has a chance to shine and go after Meg, he instead stays home and drinks. It made their romance/relationship seem very childish from Meg's stand point and very weak from Harts'. 
 
This was written in a very easy reading style and if you've read the rest in the series, you'd probably enjoy reentering this world with previous characters making appearances. The friend Lucy helping Meg out was a bit annoying at times with her rude obtuse "My way is always right" but the emphasis on female relationships was enjoyable. 
 
With a lack of mature emotional connection and solid reasoning for why Meg and Hart were in love and Hart not stepping up to the plate enough, I ultimately ended up be disappointed in the romance.
 
 

 

Reading Update: 25%

Slow Burn: A Colorado High Country Novel - Pamela Clare

Lexi turned to Vic again. “I saw him carry you to his SUV. Is something going on between you two?”

First Eric’s mother, and now Lexi. “Of course not! I’m done with men.” Vic must have been flustered because her mouth took off without her. “The last thing I want right now is to hook up with some sexy, handsome, strong, single firefighter who carries women with altitude sickness off mountains and mows his mother’s lawn.”

 

May I also just give a quick thank you to this cover. THANK YOU

Jaguar goodness

Visions of Heat - Nalini Singh

 

*Authored by Nalini Singh

 

Blood dripped down pale green walls, soaked into the slightly darker carpet, splattered the comm console. A charnel house she could smell—hints of putrid death hidden in the iron-rich taint of blood. Revolted, she could do nothing as he walked farther into the room, placing his feet in the dark red liquid that had once run in a living being’s veins. The blood in the bathroom had had nothing to soak into. His feet slapped into it with a splash.

 

This is the second book I've read in the series and while its about shapeshifters, a sub-genre I'm not usually about, I can't deny the certain je n'ais se quoi about it. However, I also can't deny that I'm pretty sure there is a solid 30-40% that I don't understand, lol. The PsyNet where all the Psy minds are connected, along with the Web of Stars and now the addition of a separate Being that is the PsyNet??? I'm hanging on my fingernails on this wild ride. 

 

Taking out for a second the sci-fi paranormal stuff I don't always fully get, the world and wide cast of characters are infinitely fascinating, I'm curious about all of them. The serial killer mystery here wasn't explained fully to my satisfaction and for being an important catalyst for our heroine, it was kind of ignored. While the relationship between the hero and heroine was sexily satisfying, I'm not sure I felt the emotional build up; they had chemistry but didn't emotionally draw me in beyond that. 

 

I'll definitely be reading on in the series as the next book looks to be about Judd, the dark Arrow Assassin. 

Needed more adventure

Discovery of Desire - Susanne Lord

A bit too much of a scattered feeling with a hero and his flirty happy-go-lucky attitude who is supposed to be an adventurer but we don't get to see much adventuring. Heroine was a great managing get things done and pragmatic "can't live on love", which also made the story lose a little romance. 
First half seemed to meander pretty slowly as their situations were gone over and over without much advancement. 
The writing is good but the structure and pace needed work

The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne

The Scot Beds His Wife (Victorian Rebels) - Kerrigan Byrne

***Full Review***

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Samantha has always had it rough growing up in America's Wild West but when the man she married to escape a worse fate turns out to be in an outlaw gang with his brothers, she realizes she may have made a mistake. When she makes a fatal decision to save another life, she gets the opportunity to start fresh in a new country. 
Gavin has wanted nothing more than to separate himself from his brutish dead father's name and buying the Ross land gives him that chance. When Alison Ross finally comes back to Scotland from America, he makes it his mission to woo her land from her. 
Samantha and Gavin have tough pasts but also deep feelings developing, their held secrets and lies will have to be overcome if they're to survive.
 
"I don't think I believe in villains. Heroes either. Just people. People with agendas and the things they're willing to do to get what they want." 
 
Fifth in the Victorian Rebels series, Gavin Thorne is the middle brother of villainous Hamish MacKenzie's sons. It's possible to pick this book up without reading the others in the series as the author does a pretty good job of explaining the animosity between him and his brother Liam (hero from #3 The Highlander) and Samantha is a new character not previous mentioned in the other books. Even knowing the background between the two brothers, Gavin's arguing with his brother came off a bit immature as it seemed an adult in his late thirties should have figured out that the blame towards his brother was a bit misplaced. The relationship between Gavin and Liam fell into the pitfall of not feeling fleshed out enough, along with other relationships in the book.
 
She was little better than a banshee with a sidearm. 
 
While Gavin had a tendency to come off a bit immature, his bed hopping and general rogue actions are supposed to be cover for his pain, Samantha was our hard as nails, mouth like a sailor, and stubborn heroine. There is seriously a lot of cursing in this story and most of it done by Samantha. This being a historical, I have to say, it threw me a bit. Obviously, women cursed in the 1800s but the frequency with which Samantha threw out the f word and ease of saying sh*t, couldn't help but give it an awkward modern feel; a personal dislike. I don't want to get into spoilers because this is an ARC review, but the secrets and lies Samantha holds until very close to the end of the story, made it very hard for me to ever warm up to her. In fact, the very bottom heavy feel of this book, was one of the biggest problems I had with it. 
 
"I'm not asking ye to like me, lass, only to marry me." 
 
If you've read the other books in the series, you'll know the author's writing can veer towards almost purple prose. The wordiness, flowery, and waxing poetic descriptive writing needed to be edited down; it kept the story from furthering along while making it drag. It wasn't until around the 70% mark that I felt the author started to get down to business of building a relationship between our hero and heroine; previously felt completely based on lust. The last 30% was full of reasons why I'm a big fan of this author, the hero and heroine engage in conversations that were witty, funny, and moving while all the secondary characters and side plot lines were coming together to create an intriguing and interesting story. Unfortunately, with some pretty heavy secrets not getting revealed until the 90% point, there just wasn't enough time to resolve and build a believable and emotionally satisfying romantic relationship for me. There was a slight secondary romance between the hero's mother and pseudo-father figure that I felt had more emotion and romance than the main couple. 
 
With a heroine that holds onto her secrets for far too long and a hero whose emotions felt based on lust, I was disappointed in the romance. The majority of the story focused on needless over descriptive dreamy writing while ignoring to the very end the building blocks of emotion. I have a feeling the next two heroes are introduced here, Gavin's friend Callum seems to have quite the backstory with the real Alison Ross and our secretive pirate The Rook mentioned in previous books makes an upfront appearance here. The author has created a dark and intriguing world for this series, I'm going to treat this installment as a one off and be back for the next.
 
"Who knew being married was such fun," he panted, pressing a kiss to her temple and swatting her backside simultaneously. 
She pulled back to look at him, one of her rare, reluctant smiles tugging at the corner of her kiss-reddened mouth. "You probably should have done it years ago." 
"Nay, lass," he said suddenly feeling very serious. "Then it wouldna have been ye."
 

Highland vampires

My Immortal Highlander - Hannah Howell, Lynsay Sands

 

She had the oddest, most chilling feeling that it was not the knife that was the true threat to her wellbeing, but those sharp white teeth now clenched in a snarl. 

 

I didn't pick this one out specifically for Halloween Bingo but vampires showed up in it, I have to use it for Bingo. The vampire's square hasn't been called yet so I'm going to use it for the freebie middle square. 

 

This was two stories written by two different authors about twin brothers who are vampires and have to marry "Outsiders" to strengthen their clan. 

I felt a little bit lost as I didn't know they were part of a series. I don't know if this is why the world building didn't feel exactly feel fleshed out. The romance was simplified with quick meet, dislike, and suddenly in love relationships. The mystery and mystique of the twin brothers was interesting with little hints doled out here and there leading the reader to the clue that they belong in the vampire lore family. 

All in all, simplified in both the paranormal and romance. 

Valkyrie!

The Warlord Wants Forever  - Kresley Cole

 

*Authored by Kresley Cole of series Immortals After Dark fame

 

Into the blood-splattered snow, the lone warrior fell to one knee and shuddered with weakness. Still, an arm shot out to raise a sword against the oncoming legion. Her dented breastplate swallowed her small form. Though the winds howled, whipping her hair, she heard the twang of the bowstring unleashed. She screamed in fury when the arrow punctured the center of her armor, the blow sending her flying back.

The arrowhead had pierced through metal, then barely through her breastbone, just enough that her heart met the point with each beat. The beating of her own brave heart was killing her. But her scream had woken two nearby gods sleeping together through a brutal, wintry decade. 

They stirred and looked down upon the maiden, seeing in her eyes courage burning bright. Bravery and will had marked her entire life, but the light ebbed with death and they mourned it.

Freya, the female god, whispered that they should take her courage and preserve it for eternity because it was so precious.

 

The first in the Immortals After Dark series, we get the origins of the Valkyrie and an introduction to the lore. This was also a hot little number with Myst and Wroth rubbing all up on each other. 

It's an introduction novella, so the shorter word count leaves some to be desired with flushed out world but I loved our leads. Myst was kickass and Wroth, for all his confusion, was commanding but tolerant beast. 

The conflict comes from Myst's trust issues with men and Wroth not knowing how to navigate it and some hints as to the series future enemies may be. 

I enjoyed the hotness and excitement of it all.

Most of All You by Mia Sheridan

Most of All You - Mia Sheridan

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kidnapped and locked in a basement for six years, Gabriel managed to physically escape but years later as an adult, he is still somewhat mentally in that dark place.
Ellie lost her mother young and with a disinterested father, she slipped through the cracks. 
Two lonely souls are about to connect. 
 
Gabriel, a boy who hadn't let himself forget what love felt like, and me, a girl who had made sure I did not remember. 
 
With dueling pov chapters, this New Adult story deals with very dark issues but bathed in a very hopeful light. We are given the facts, Gabriel hates to be touched because of the abuse he suffered from his captivity and Ellie feels no personal value because of her father's neglect (she also experienced child abuse but takes awhile to acknowledge it as such). When Gabriel sees her at the strip club, he instantly feels she doesn't belong there and when Ellie hears he wants to hire her to help him grow accustomed to touch, she doesn't feel good enough for him. With a forced to spend time together occurrence happening, we get a lot of pushing and pulling.
 
While the facts and backgrounds given to our two leads are deep and dark, the author coated Gabriel with an almost angelic, optimistic light. He feels deeply for Ellie pretty immediately and without a lot of interaction between them, I wasn't quite sure why he fell so fast. Ellie's feelings for Gabriel were a bit more understandable as it was clear that he was the first man to ever show her respect. This had a very New Adult feel, with a wide-eyed young adult love, that my older (possibly too cynical) self couldn't quite follow. Gabriel's issue of not liking to be touched seemed to be gotten over pretty quickly. The work and meat of their relationship seemed to be left out in favor of a more airy fairy insta-love. Although, I did appreciate how, even kind of rushed towards the end, the author showed Ellie needed to do the personal work on herself, instead of being instantly cured by Gabriel's love. 
 
This story was a bit uneven with its heavy topics but fluffy feel. The secondary characters were worked in well but their relationships with the leads didn't always feel fully flushed out. The author obviously wanted the deep emotions giving her characters such pasts would do but didn't give us the heavy lifting; it ending up feeling insubstantial at times. 
 
This was a little slower moving but the often not seen more sensitive hero and heroine who needs to complete herself was appreciated. The steam factor is there at times but the very few sex scenes are safely glossed over with a more rose petals feel. If you're a New Adult fan, this will probably hit a sweet spot for you.
 
"I'm still not the right girl."
"I still don't agree."
 

Reading Update: 15%

Most of All You - Mia Sheridan

She’s as scared as I am. The thought caused me to frown. I wasn’t sure where it’d come from or why I’d had it at all.

Sneak Peek: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

 

DUKE OF DESIRE by Elizabeth Hoyt (October 17, 2017; Grand Central Publishing Mass Market; The Maiden Lane Series #12)

 

A LADY OF LIGHT

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping.  Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos.  When one of the masked-and-nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him…only to find she may have been atrifle hasty.

 

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS

Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them.  Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans.  But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

 

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER…AND DESIRE

Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involes herself in his life—and bed.  Soon he’s drawn to both to her quick wit and her fiery passion.  But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters.  Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?

 

DUKE OF DESIRE Long Excerpt:

Iris tasted of red wine—the red wine she must have drunk at dinner—and all the reasons he shouldn’t do this fled his mind. A vital chain broke in his psyche and everything he’d held back, everything he’d restrained with all his might, was suddenly set free. He surged into her mouth, desperate for the feel, for the taste of her, his wife, his duchess, his Iris. She was soft and sweet and warm and he wanted to devour her. To seize her and hold her and never let her go. The deep unfathomable well of his urges toward her frightened him, and he knew that if she became aware of them, they would frighten her as well.

But that was the thing—she wasn’t aware of them. She thought she was simply consummating their marriage or some such rot, God help them both.

She gripped his naked arms and the beast within him shuddered and stretched, claws scraping against the ground.

Dear God, he wanted this woman.

But he had to remember—to keep that human part of his mind awake and alive—that he mustn’t seed her.

Must never do as his cursed father had done.

He broke from her mouth, feeling the pulse of his cock against his breeches, and trailed his lips across her cheek to her ear. “Come with me, sweet girl.”

She blinked up at him, wide blue-gray eyes a little dazed.

He covered her mouth again before she could speak—either to consent or decline—and drew her slowly backward, step by step, toward the bed, until he hit it with the backs of his legs. He broke the kiss, looking down at her, her wet ruby lips parted, her cheeks flushed pink.

She looked edible.

“Raphael,” she whispered, his name on her lips like a plea, and something within him broke.

This wasn’t what he wanted. This wasn’t right. But it was the only thing possible and it would have to suffice because it was all he could do.

And trying to resist was killing him.

He traced a hand up her arm, over her shoulder, to her neck, and from there touched her bound golden hair. “Will you take down your hair for me?”

She gasped—a small, quick inhalation—and nodded.

He watched as she raised her arms, her stormy eyes locked on his, and withdrew the pins from her hair one by one until the heavy mass fell like a curtain around her shoulders. He bent then and gathered the locks in his hands, burying his face in her neck, inhaling her.

His woman.

He felt her tremble against him and then her fingers speared through his hair. “Raphael.”

He lifted his head.

Her hands fell away and she began undressing, her head bent down as she unhooked her bodice. He saw that her fingers fumbled and he knew that a better man would turn aside. Would give her privacy to collect herself and disrobe with modesty.

But he wasn’t such a man. He wanted all of her—her mistakes and her private moments, her shame and her worries—everything she held back from the rest of the world. As he wanted this. This moment of fumbling.

This moment of intimacy.

She pulled the bodice from her arms. Untied her skirts and let them pool around her feet before kicking them aside. Glanced up at him and then worked at the laces to her stays.

Her unbound hair fell over her shoulders, nearly to her waist, thick and swaying gently as she moved.

Beautiful.

She was beautiful.

She pulled her loosened stays off over her head and stood in chemise, stockings, and shoes. The tips of her breasts peeked out from beneath the thin cloth.

She began to bend for her shoes, but he stopped her. “No. Let me.”

He grasped her by the waist and lifted her to the bed.

Carefully he drew off her slippers, letting them drop to the hardwood floor before running his hand up her left calf. The room was so quiet he could hear each breath she drew. She watched him as he reached under her chemise, into that warm spot behind her knee, tugging at the ribbon of her garter.

Her breath hitched.

He glanced up at her as he found bare skin. Hot, so hot under her skirt. He could almost imagine he smelled her, standing between her bent legs. He pulled the first stocking off and moved to her other foot, smoothing his thumb over her arch, over that high instep, that sweet, delicate ankle. The curve of her calf—one of the loveliest curves in nature—elegant and perfect. Someday he’d like to draw her nude.

The faint, almost inaudible whisper as he pulled the ribbon off raised the hairs on the back of his neck. His nostrils flared and he couldn’t wait any longer. He lifted her bodily, moving her farther up on the bed, placing her head and shoulders against the pillows, and then pushed up her chemise, crawling between her spread thighs and settling to enjoy what he’d found.

There. There she was, her pretty, pretty pink cunny, all coral lips and wispy dark-blond curls. He hiked her trembling legs over his arms, ignoring her gasp of shocked surprise. He glanced up once and saw wide, wondering eyes gazing back at him. Her gentlemanly first husband had evidently never done this to her.

More fool he.

 

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

 

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