Review: Making a Play by Victoria Denault

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Making a Play by Victoria Denault
Series: Hometown Players, Book 2
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary Romance Making a Play Cover
ISBN: 9781455564040
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

He’ll do whatever it takes to win–on and off the ice.

Luc Richard is the hottest player in the NHL–and it has nothing to do with hockey. His racy relationship with his supermodel ex set the tabloids on fire but nearly put his career on ice. To avoid being traded, Luc agrees to take a break from the spotlight–and from women–and spend the off-season at home in Silver Bay, Maine. It's the perfect plan… until he reconnects with Rose.

Rose Caplan is tired of being shy, sweet, and safe. She’s ready for passion, romance–and Luc. Having loved him longer than she can remember, she’s finally ready to prove she’s not the same innocent little girl he once knew. Off the ice Luc doesn’t do games, but this new Rose makes him feel like playing a little dirty. If he’s really got a shot at her heart then he’s not just playing to win. He's playing for keeps.

I love a good friends-to-lovers romance and I’m a sucker for a hockey player hero, so of course I snatched up Making a Play. Victoria Denault’s second Hometown Players story is a sultry tale with a healthy dose of angst and it moves at a satisfyingly fast pace.

Rose is the classic good girl who’s loved her lifelong friend from afar. Now, with Luc single and home for the summer, she’s finally ready for him to see her as a woman he would desire. What Rose doesn’t know is that her attraction has never been one-sided. But Luc doesn’t want romance, commitment, or a real relationship – all the things he knows Rose wants. Thinking it’s for her own good, Luc keeps her in the friendzone until the temptation of her gets to be too much for him to resist. From there Making a Play heats up and Ms. Denault does a good job of keeping things sensual and emotional.

There is genuine affection and love (in the non-romantic sense) between Rose and Luc from the very beginning, which is what kept me invested in the story, even when I grew frustrated with both hero and heroine. Rose is 21/22 and Luc 24/25, and because the do act their age, the story feels like something between new adult and adult romance. This isn’t a mark against the book, merely an observation. There’s a lack of maturity on Rose and Luc’s parts that would have been more logical in a new adult romance, but the story is written as a straight contemporary romance. It’s an awkward in-between which drew me out of the story and may or may not do the same for other readers. A lot of Rose and Luc’s problems would have been solved had they been open with each other from the start and had taken responsibility for their actions. They don’t seem to truly take control of their destiny until the very end, which serves the plot but not the characters.

There are a lot of romance formulas at play in the story, and though they don’t feel fresh or new, the formulas work. And though I had some issues with Rose and Luc, I did like them both overall. Rose is sweet and charming, and Luc is sensual and protective. Their shared history carries them through and makes the ending mostly satisfying (things were wrapped up quickly enough that I still had a few questions). The familial relationships with secondary characters added depth to the story and made me want to learn more. So while Making a Play was hit-or-miss for me at times, I’m still interested in reading more of Ms. Denault’s work. And with Callie’s story on the horizon, there’s no way I’ll be missing out on the next Hometown Players book, The Final Move.

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

Monday in Review

Monday, August 31, 2015

It’s update time again :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written for Wit and Sin and Joyfully Reviewed. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- The Scandalous Mackenzies (Mackenzies & McBrides, Books 5.5 and 6.5) by Jennifer Ashley (available 9/1/15)
- Begging for It (Asking for It, Book 2) by Lilah Pace (available 9/1/15)
- Archangel’s Enigma (Guild Hunter, Book 8) by Nalini Singh (available 9/1/15)
- Sleeping with the Enemy (Out of Bounds, Book 4) by Tracy Solheim (available 9/1/15)

All other new reviews:
- The Untamed Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 5.5) by Jennifer Ashley
- Archangel’s Legion (Guild Hunter, Book 6) by Nalini Singh
- Archangel’s Shadows (Guild Hunter, Book 7) by Nalini Singh
- Wanted (Deadly Secrets, Book 2) by Dee Tenorio

Upcoming reviews:
- The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key, Book 3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- Down the Rabbit Hole by J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas, and R.C. Ryan
- Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoƫ Archer
- The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6) by Jennifer Ashley
- The Stolen Mackenzie Bride (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 8) by Jennifer Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker
- Down for the Count (Dare Me, Book 1) by Christine Bell
- Down and Dirty (Dare Me, Book 2) by Christine Bell
- The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
- Unnatural by Joanna Chambers
- The Professional: Part 2 by Kresley Cole
- The Professional: Part 3 by Kresley Cole
- Making a Play (Hometown Players, Book 2) by Victoria Denault
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- Hot Under Pressure (Rising Star Chef, Book 3) by Louisa Edwards
- Air Bound (Sea Haven, Book 3) by Christine Feehan
- Earth Bound (Sea Haven, Book 4) by Christine Feehan
- His Game, Her Rules by Charlene Groome
- Captured (Fallen Siren, Book 0.5) by S.J. Harper
- Reckoning (Fallen Siren, Book 2) by S.J. Harper
- One Taste of Scandal (Redcakes, Book 2) by Heather Hiestand
- The Volatile Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 4) by Sandy James
- Breathe (In Vino Veritas, Book 2) by Lauren Jameson
- Linger (In Vino Veritas, Book 3) by Lauren Jameson
- When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries
- How the Scoundrel Seduces (The Duke’s Men, Book 3) by Sabrina Jeffries
- If the Viscount Falls (The Duke’s Men, Book 4) by Sabrina Jeffries
- The Art of Sinning (Sinful Suitors, Book 1) by Sabrina Jeffries
- A Talent for Trickery (The Thief-Takers, Book 1) by Alissa Johnson
- When Somebody Loves You (The Southern Belle Book Club, Book 1) by Shirley Jump
- Archer (Hard Body, Book 1) by Debra Kayn
- Claimed (Outlaws, Book 1) by Elle Kennedy
- Before You Break (Between Breaths, Book 2) by Christina Lee
- There You Stand (Between Breaths, Book 5) by Christina Lee
- Caught Up in You (Loving on the Edge, Book 4) by Roni Loren
- Yours All Along (Loving on the Edge, Book 6.5) by Roni Loren
- Written in the Stars (Cricket Creek, Book 9) by LuAnn McLane
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- Keeping Secrets in Seattle by Brooke Moss
- Against the Ropes (First to Fight, Book 2) by Jeanette Murray
- While You Were Writing (Watkins Pond, Book 2) by Virginia Nelson
- Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince, Book 2) by C.S. Pacat
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Laugh (Burnside, Book 2) by Mary Ann Rivers
- Festive in Death (In Death, Book 39) by J.D. Robb
- Devoted in Death (In Death, Book 41) by J.D. Robb
- Blood Magick (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 3) by Nora Roberts
- Beauty’s Kingdom (Sleeping Beauty, Book 4) by A. N. Roquelaure
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- All I Want (Animal Magnetism, Book 7) by Jill Shalvis
- Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
- The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, Book 1) by J.R. Ward
- This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver
- Takeover by Anna Zabo

Review: Archangel's Enigma by Nalini Singh

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter, Book 8
Publisher: Jove
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Archangels Enigma Cover
ISBN: 9780425251263
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Nalini Singh Reading Order

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required - those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets is fascinated by his nature - at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it's too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows...and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare…

Archangel’s Enigma is as utterly captivating and wildly exciting as its hero! Nalini Singh has outdone herself in this eighth Guild Hunter novel. Naasir and Andromeda are complex, fascinating characters and their love story shines bright against the dark, dangerous, and equally intriguing backdrop of the Guild Hunter world.

As the title suggests, Naasir is the most enigmatic of Raphael’s Seven. His past is shrouded in secret that precious few know, and it was fantastic watching the pieces fall together as we learn about Naasir alongside Andromeda. Whatever his past may be, the man Naasir is today is utterly irresistible. He’s so fun and playful that you almost forget the predator underneath. Naasir is truly unique not just in terms of what he is, but in personality. I can’t count the number of times he made me grin because his thought patterns are different and this charmed the hell out of me. Like Andromeda, I was drawn to Naasir’s wildness and unique perspective… and of course his innate sensuality, deep sense of loyalty and family, and refreshingly honest nature didn’t hurt either. Over the years Ms. Singh has created a variety of memorable, intriguing, swoon-worthy heroes, each one as appealing as the next, yet Naasir stands out from the pack and that thrilled me.

It takes a strong heroine to match such a complex hero and Andromeda is up to the task. She’s a brilliant scholar with excellent sword skills and secrets of her own. Her warrior-scholar nature made her interesting, but it’s her innate curiosity and hidden wildness that ultimately endeared her to me. Andromeda also bears scars from her past and fears the future that seems to be set for her in her sadistic grandfather’s court. She’s torn between wanting to give her heart to Naasir and not wanting to break his when he learns what will inevitably tear them apart. Through all this intensity, Andromeda and Naasir’s love story is one that is both wildly sensual and surprisingly sweet, with humor, heart, and hope woven into it.

Andromeda and Naasir’s romance takes place during their hunt to find the Sleeping Archangel of Persia, Alexander (previously mentioned in the novella “Angels’ Dance”). They must outwit the “big bad” of the series, Lijuan, in their quest – not an easy feat by any means. I won’t spoil what happens, but I will say there is action, danger, and horror aplenty that Naasir and Andromeda must face as tensions between good and evil rise. Ms. Singh’s gift for intricate and flawless worldbuilding continues to fascinate me. I cannot begin to say how exciting each new piece of information is and I love that there is no easy answer, no magic wand to wave in the world of the Guild Hunter series.

Naasir and Andromeda are the heart and soul of Archangel’s Enigma, but that doesn’t mean Ms. Singh forgets the other major Guild Hunter players. I absolutely loved seeing bits and pieces of Naasir’s relationships with his family, particularly Raphael and Dmitri. And as always (for me anyway), the scenes with Illium and Aodhan threaten to steal the show (and I meant that in the best way) and have me begging for more. Each member of Raphael and Elena’s chosen family is near and dear to my heart, and as the Cascade heats up the threats to each member of that family mount. In Archangel’s Enigma our beloved characters get one heck of a shock, and it is sure to have readers practically begging and crying for the next book.

Archangel’s Enigma is the eighth full-length Guild Hunter book and I highly recommend reading the series in order. Trust me, you won’t regret it, for Ms. Singh is a singular talent. Every book in the Guild Hunter series is brilliantly crafted and endlessly entertaining and Archangel’s Enigma is a shining example of this. I absolutely loved Naasir and Andromeda and I cannot wait to see where Ms. Singh takes readers next!

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

Review: Archangel's Shadows by Nalini Singh

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter, Book 7
Publisher: Jove
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Archangels Shadows Cover
ISBN: 9780425251171
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Nalini Singh Reading Order

In the wake of a brutal war, the archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena, are dealing with the treacherously shifting tides of archangelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot—should not—be walking the streets.

This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves…

Ash is a gifted tracker and a woman cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there’s one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash’s secret, dark and terrible, that threatens to destroy them both.

Archangel’s Shadows goes from fun and flirty one moment to dark and dangerous the next, all without losing that smooth rhythm that is inherent in Nalini Singh’s writing. This seventh Guild Hunter novel keeps the action hot, the sexual tension high, and the intensity fully charged. There isn’t a dull moment in Ashwini and Janvier’s story, and readers are sure to be entranced until they reach the end and are begging for more.

Ash and Janvier have been circling each other for years, but their dance reaches its climax in Archangel’s Shadows. The sense of history imbued in a relationship already begun at the beginning of the book adds depth to their romance from the start, even as the two of them flirt and tease one another. Every couple in the Guild Hunter series has been unique so far, and Janvier and Ash are no exception. I loved how absolutely head over heels Janvier is for Ash. The sexy, smooth-talking Cajun vampire is lethal, but his devotion to Ashwini is both sweet and heartbreaking. Ash is a Guild Hunter with a talent that may cost her everything, so she keeps part of herself held back from Janvier. But after they team up during the battle in Archangel’s Legion (the previous book), it’s impossible for Ash to keep her distance from Janvier. When a shared assignment involving unusual deaths puts them in close contact once again, Janvier begins to break through the walls Ash has put up. There’s a quiet intensity to their romance that I adored, and I was rooting for these two every step of the way.

The mystery of who is killing humans in a way reminiscent of the series’ big bad means there is danger lurking around every corner. I loved watching this storyline unfold and Ms. Singh wraps this part of the book into the overarching series plotlines extremely well. Though Ash and Janvier’s story is the center of the book, the overall world of the Guild Hunter series continues to develop in the background of Archangel’s Shadows. I absolutely loved this, and truly the only (small) issue I had is that the supporting characters – from Raphael and Elena to Illium to Naasir and beyond – often stole the show from Janvier and Ash by virtue of being such bright and powerful presences on the page. This is by no means a bad thing, but it niggled a bit that I was so taken with all the other characters that at times I’d forget this was Janvier and Ash’s book.

Archangel’s Shadows is an exciting and beautifully written story. There’s heartbreak, humor, hope, and endlessly fascinating worldbuilding. I cannot wait to see where Ms. Singh takes our beloved angels, vampires, and Guild Hunters next when the utterly irresistible Naasir meets his match in Archangel’s Enigma.

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

Review: Sleeping with the Enemy by Tracy Solheim

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sleeping with the Enemy by Tracy Solheim
Series: Out of Bounds, Book 4
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance Sleeping with the Enemy Cover
ISBN: 9780425281024
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Dot-com millionaire Jay McManus is discovering that owning a pro football team like the Baltimore Blaze isn’t easy. An anonymous blogger is out to destroy his reputation, and now his team is being sued by its own cheerleaders. If Jay’s not careful, he could lose big—and not just financially.

Bridgett Janik’s brother may play for the Baltimore Blaze, but she’s not thrilled to be defending Jay McManus, the man who broke her heart. It’s bad enough she has to mingle with Jay during games, but working beside her former lover may be too much for her body—and her heart—to resist.

Jay’s determined not to let Bridgett slip away from him a second time. But, as the two follow the mysterious blogger’s trail, secrets—both past and present—are revealed, and Jay and Bridgett must decide if their relationship can be something more than just sleeping with the enemy.

Tracy Solheim keeps the tension – sexual and otherwise – running high in Sleeping with the Enemy. Bridgett and Jay’s shared past is bittersweet and clearly ended badly, making their reunion romance anything but sweet. Though there aren’t tender feelings between them at the beginning of the book, what they definitely don’t lack is passion, and this keeps the story moving at a fast pace.

I adored Bridgett. She’s smart, caring, and under the confidence she wears like armor lies a woman with deep scars. Bridgett is easy to root for and it’s clear her feelings for Jay have never died, even though she hates him at the beginning of the book. As for Jay, I’m sorry to say I didn’t like him for most of the story. He’s a domineering alpha male, and also a selfish one, a man who looks to take what he wants from Bridgett and doesn’t seem to care what their troubled connection does to her. Though Ms. Solheim shows his reasoning, I was turned off by his continued callousness. And while the sexual tension between Bridgett and Jay made the story interesting, there were times that the overused “heroine hating the hero but turning to mush the minute he kisses her” bothered me. Because they don’t simply sit down and talk about what went wrong in the past (clearing up the big misunderstanding), Jay and Bridgett require some strong outside help to get together, and whether or not this bothers you is something I chalk up to reader preference. Yet even taking into consideration the issues I had with the romance, I was still engaged with the story.

Sleeping with the Enemy is the fourth Out of Bounds novel, and though it features the Baltimore Blaze’s owner rather than one of the team’s star players, that doesn’t mean the story is lacking in behind-the-scenes NFL action. The overarching series plotline of the blogger targeting the Baltimore Blaze reaches its climax in this book. I absolutely loved seeing this storyline finally play out in full and I was as invested in this part of the book as I was the romance.

Highly entertaining secondary characters round out the story. While Sleeping with the Enemy can be read as a standalone, fans of the series will likely enjoy seeing past Out of Bounds characters. As much fun as it was revisiting the Blaze team and staff, I was most intrigued by Jay’s sister, Charlie, and his best friend, Blake. So while Sleeping with the Enemy had its ups and downs for me, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more of Ms. Solheim’s work.

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

Waiting on Wednesday: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I first heard of this One Thousand and One nights retelling through WOW, so it's only fitting that it's my pick this week. A Thousand Nights sounds imaginative and fascinating - I can't wait to read it!

A Thousand Nights Cover Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K. Johnston
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 6, 2015

Book Description (from Goodreads):

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

Review: The Scandalous Mackenzies by Jennifer Ashley

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Scandalous Mackenzies by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Mackenzies & McBrides, Books 5.5 and 6.5
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Historical Romance The Scandalous Mackenzies Cover
ISBN: 9780425266274
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jennifer Ashley Reading Order

The Untamed Mackenzie
When Lady Louisa Scranton of the decadent Scottish Mackenzie family is accused of murder, Detective Inspector Lloyd Fellows of Scotland Yard, vows to clear her name. He’s already shared kisses with Lady Louisa, and not only is he convinced of her innocence, he’s falling for her. And while he may be the only hope of restoring her family’s honor, he intrigues Louisa in a way that may be even more scandalous than murder.

Scandal and the Duchess
Scandal follows Rose Barclay, young widow of the Duke of Southdown, wherever she goes. And now she’s been kicked out of her rightful home. But the dashing Scot Steven McBride—a decorated soldier who is notorious for heavy gambling and womanizing during his leave time—comes up with a ruse to foil the journalists and save Rose’s inheritance. But Rose will have to go along with his very scandalous proposal.

“The Untamed Mackenzie”
“The Untamed Mackenzie” starts off with a bang, or rather a drop, as an unwanted suitor falls dead at our illustrious heroine’s feet mere pages into the story. This rather unusual beginning fits the Mackenzies & McBrides series, as none of the assorted family members (related by blood or marriage) can be described as anything but unique. Fellows and Louisa are no exception, and their romance is a sensual tale with a healthy dose of mystery that keeps the story moving at a quick clip.

Fellows may seem a bit uptight in comparison to his scandalous half-brothers, but that anything but the case. His hardened exterior hides a man bursting with emotion. Though we have seen his thirst for justice at play in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, his dedication and determination to his job comes in second to his passion for Louisa. I love that he was so completely taken with her, that he sees Louisa for the woman she is, not the woman society wants her to be. Louisa, in turn, is every bit as taken with Fellows. Though she begins the story wanting to make an aristocratic match that will repair some of the damage to her family’s name, Louisa can’t get Fellows out of her mind, nor can she forget the two kisses they shared. Their difference in class and the circumstances of his birth don’t matter to her, not when it’s Fellows who is her match in every way. The two of them are a dynamic couple and their chemistry makes the pages of “The Untamed Mackenzie” fly by.

The search to uncover who really killed the Bishop of Hargate is almost as entertaining as the romance. Of course, Louisa and Fellows aren’t on their own when it comes to tracking down the murderer – the entire Mackenzie clan is determined to stick their noses into both the investigation and Fellows and Louisa’s burgeoning romance. As a fan of the series, I couldn’t be more delighted to see my favorite past heroes and heroines steal a scene or two. Ms. Ashley never loses focus on her protagonists, but the Mackenzies are all about family first and foremost. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the Mackenzies & McBrides series or are just getting your first taste with “The Untamed Mackenzie,” Fellows and Louisa are sure to charm you and make you hunger for more Mackenzies & McBrides stories.

“Scandal and the Duchess”
“Scandal and the Duchess” is bright and bubbly like good champagne. Jennifer Ashley has delivered a fast-paced tale that is wonderfully entertaining, thanks to her two irresistibly charming protagonists, Rose and Steven.

Steven is a soldier with an easy smile that hides regret. Rose is a kind-hearted young widow who’s down on her luck thanks to a bitter, grasping stepson. Pursued by reporters and with no place to go, Rose is definitely in need of a hero. A chance meeting has Steven practically falling into her lap, and the handsome Scotsman is eager to jump into the role of knight in slightly tarnished armor. Their whirlwind love story requires a touch of suspending disbelief, but both of them are so genuinely good and exactly the kind of people you’d love to be friends with that there’s no way you could not root for their romance. Though the obstacles they face are overcome fairly easily thanks to Steven’s family (and beloved series scene-stealer Ian Mackenzie in particular), I was still glued to my seat as I read “Scandal and the Duchess.”

Ms. Ashley’s Mackenzies & McBrides stories never fail to entertain, and “Scandal and the Duchess” is no exception. Rose and Steven’s story is sure to sweep you away for a few hours and I dare you not to smile as these two endearing characters find happily ever after.

The Scandalous Mackenzies pairs together two excellent Mackenzies & McBrides novellas for the first time. Each story has something unique to the series to offer, but what they have in common is that they will sweep you away for a few hours and leave you a well-satisfied reader. With the simmering passion of Louisa and Fellows in “The Untamed Mackenzie” and the sprightliness of Steven and Rose in “Scandal and the Duchess,” The Scandalous Mackenzies is a book that is sure to delight any historical romance fan.

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