Thursday, November 29, 2018

Review: A Protector in the Highlands by Heather McCollum

A Protector in the Highlands by Heather McCollum
Series: Highland Roses School, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781640637108
Release Date: November 26, 2018
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Entangled

With few other options, Scarlet Worthington flees from her home in England to the wild Highlands of Scotland to help her sister run a school for ladies. There, Scarlet begins to rebuild her own shattered confidence by recruiting a fierce Campbell warrior to teach her and the students how to protect themselves from villains and scoundrels. The intimidating Aiden Campbell both infuriates Scarlet and ignites a fire inside her as she works closely with him to hone her new skills.

Burned in a fierce fire, set by English soldiers, Highland warrior, Aiden Campbell, has finally healed enough to take temporary command of his clan. That's where his focus should be instead of dealing with the feisty, beautiful Sassenach who asks him to teach her students.

When Scarlet's past stalks her up into Scotland, her nightmares come alive, and Aiden's lessons are put to the test. With his own ghosts from the past making him despise English women, Aiden fights the inferno of passion that's grown between them, a different kind of wild fire that could prove just as deadly.

Betrayed, sexually assaulted, and threatened by those of the highest power, Scarlet Worthington does the only thing she can do to protect herself: flee her home. With the help of her brother and sister, Scarlet has found peace, safety, and purpose in Scotland, where she and her sister are running the Highland Roses School. Scarlet is determined to never again be someone’s victim and she wants her students to be able to protect themselves as well. With her new brother-in-law away, the best candidate to teach Scarlet and her students self-defense is the oh-so-handsome (and stubbornly closed-mouthed) warrior Aiden Campbell. Scarlet and Aiden strike sparks off one another immediately, but each has a past that makes them wary of trusting the other. However, some passions are simply impossible to deny…

A Protector in the Highlands grabs your heart and doesn’t let go. Heather McCollum has delivered an emotional, satisfying romance with two incredibly strong leads who are impossible not to root for. Scarlet saved herself from a horrible attack once, but she knows she cannot rely on luck should she be threatened again. I loved her strength, spirit, intelligence, and her determination to learn how to protect herself. She’s clever in coming up with ways for her students to arm and defend themselves and by the end of the book I really wanted a pair of the hair sticks she designed. Her confidence has been badly shaken, but I really enjoyed watching her find herself again. As for Aiden, he’s a fantastic hero. He’s strong, protective, and handsome, to be sure, but what melted my heart was how he acted around Scarlet. He doesn’t even blink when Scarlet asks him to teach her and her students how to defend themselves, even when others are scandalized. He doesn’t know what happened to Scarlet in the past, but he’s always clear that he’ll never make her feel pressured or unsafe and that’s a sexy as hell hero right there. Aiden has ghosts of his own, ones that make him reluctant to trust his heart to Scarlet. But it’s clear that these two are made for each other and I just loved watching them fall madly, passionately in love.

Politics, intrigue, and danger are woven into the story, though to say exactly how would spoil the tale. I liked how these elements rounded out the story, slowly adding intensity until the action-packed climax. All in all, A Protector in the Highlands is a truly satisfying historical romance. Scarlet and Aiden make this story shine and their romance was wonderful to watch unfold. I cannot wait to see what comes next for the brave Highland Roses!


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.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Review: When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Cutler, Sutter & Salinas, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 9780515156355
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

When Charlotte Sawyer is unable to contact her stepsister, Jocelyn, to tell her that one of her closest friends was found dead, she discovers that Jocelyn has vanished.

Beautiful, brilliant—and reckless—Jocelyn has gone off the grid before, but never like this. In a desperate effort to find her, Charlotte joins forces with Max Cutler, a struggling PI who recently moved to Seattle after his previous career as a criminal profiler went down in flames—literally. Burned out, divorced and almost broke, Max needs the job.

After surviving a near-fatal attack, Charlotte and Max turn to Jocelyn’s closest friends, women in a Seattle-based online investment club, for answers. But what they find is chilling…

When her uneasy alliance with Max turns into a full-blown affair, Charlotte has no choice but to trust him with her life. For the shadows of Jocelyn’s past are threatening to consume her—and anyone else who gets in their way…

Charlotte Sawyer isn’t one to take risks. But her calm, orderly life is turned upside down when her stepsister, Jocelyn, disappears and Jocelyn’s best friend turns up dead. Desperate to find her sister, Charlotte teams up with Max Culter, a former profiler turned private investigator. What the two of them don’t know is that they’re about to stir up a hornet’s nest. For there are secrets buried well over a decade that are about to be turned up. Secrets someone will kill to protect.

When All the Girls Have Gone is a fast-paced romantic suspense that keeps me entertained every time I read it. Jayne Ann Krentz deftly twines together multiple players, motives, and storylines and the result is an engaging mystery I loved watching Charlotte and Max put together.

At the center of the book are Charlotte and Max, and they’re the reason I find myself coming back to this book. They’re smart, likeable, and their flaws endeared them to me as much as their strengths. Charlotte isn’t bold and she’s definitely not a risk-taker, but she’ll take on everything thrown at her with aplomb because she’s got a huge heart and won’t let the people she loves get hurt. Max has an equally big heart and he’s working to rebuild his life after his career as a profiler crashed and burned. Circumstances throw Charlotte and Max together, but the two of them make a great team from the start. Though they do fall in love incredibly quickly and their love story is understated, they fit one another so well that their slide into love just worked for me.

When All the Girls Have Gone leans more toward the suspense side of romantic suspense. A murder and a disappearance are only the beginning of the mystery. Murder, drugs, rape, and long-buried secrets all come to light and the result is a truly engaging mystery. I honestly don’t want to say much because it would spoil the fun of putting together the pieces alongside Charlotte and Max. This isn’t a pulse-pounding thriller, but Ms. Krentz definitely keeps things moving at a good pace and even during re-reads when I knew what was coming I would get sucked into the story. All in all, When All the Girls Have Gone is a truly satisfying romantic suspense and a great start to the Cutler, Sutter & Salinas series.


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, November 12, 2018

Review: Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie Bowman

Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides, Book 10
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781250147523
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe in Kiss Me At Christmas by Valerie Bowman.

Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman...

Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?

Lady Regina Haversham has long been holding out for a love match. But as she nears thirty, her uncle is determined to see her wed. Regina knows she cannot put off her uncle’s chosen suitor forever, but she’s determined to at least have control over who she loses her virginity to. And there’s only one man she wants: famous Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf. Though he’s tempted, Daffin turns Regina down. That would be the end of it, except it seems that someone is targeting Regina. With her cousin out of town, Daffin is the one tasked with protecting her. Close quarters have a way of bringing down barriers, but given the difference in their stations, Regina and Daffin will need a Christmas miracle to get their happily ever after.

Kiss Me at Christmas is a warmhearted, sparkling holiday romance. Regina and Daffin absolutely charmed me; they’re both incredibly likeable and they have wonderful chemistry. Regina is open, curious, and kind while Daffin is protective and devilishly handsome. Physically, intellectually, and emotionally Regina and Daffin are a match and their romance builds from flirty and sweet to spicy. Yet while it’s clear they’re meant for each other, class differences aren’t always easy to overcome, even if Daffin is close friends with Regina’s cousin.

The romance in Kiss Me at Christmas makes the pages of the story fly by. But the romance is intertwined with the mystery of who is trying to kill Regina. At first, I enjoyed this subplot and had my theories about who was behind everything. Unfortunately, a mystery needs to have a satisfying – or at least logical – conclusion and this one was both unsatisfying and seemed to come out of left field. It felt manufactured for plot reasons, which was a pity because Daffin and Regina are such entertaining characters that you can’t help but feel they deserved better. This isn’t an insignificant quibble, but I still honestly enjoyed this book anyway. There’s a buoyancy to Valerie Bowman’s writing that just lifts me up whenever I read her books and Kiss Me at Christmas is no exception.


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.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Review: Pirate’s Passion by Lisa Kessler

Pirate’s Passion by Lisa Kessler
Series: Sentinels of Savannah, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 9781640636422
Release Date: November 12, 2018
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Entangled

Samuel Keegan used to man the wheel of the Sea Dog over 200 years ago, but these days he’s the front man of a southern rock band. Rum and women are plentiful, but his world is changing rapidly now that his crew is back together searching for the Holy Grail to break their curse. But the quest leads him to a historian with raven hair and a wicked smile. She holds all the answers, but she could also spell death for them all.

Dr. Charlotte Sinclair works for the Maritime Museum in Savannah, an expert on ancient pirate wrecks. When a government agent requests her help in a top-secret investigation, she discovers not only is the Holy Grail real, but the lead singer of her favorite band is actually the immortal pilot of the Sea Dog crew.

The search for the Grail opens some dark secrets better left hidden, and Charlotte's life might depend on one Pirate's Passion…

An immortal pirate turned rock star, a brilliant historian with a hunger for adventure, a quest for the Holy Grail… How could Pirate’s Passion not be fun? It’s Pirates of the Caribbean meets Indiana Jones with a healthy dose of romance and secret government agencies thrown in.

Samuel Keegan is a charming rogue who enjoys his immortality and an ever-changing stream of women in his bed. The threat of losing his immortality is only dimmed by the panic he feels at risking losing his heart to Dr. Charlotte Sinclair. Keegan has lost a woman he loved once, and he feels no desire to drown in that despair again. Only he can’t seem to help himself from falling for Char. She’s an expert on pirates and knows all about the crew of the Sea Dog who supposedly died over two hundred years ago. Keegan and Char click immediately and I loved their chemistry. How things work out when one is immortal and the other not, I won’t say. But I did enjoy the ride author Lisa Kessler took these two on. Keegan is the perfect fantasy of a pirate turned rock star. He’s a gentleman and a scoundrel, and who can resist that? Not me, and definitely not Char. She’s his match in every way and their romance was sexy one moment, fun the next, and melted my heart the moment after that.

Pirate’s Passion is the second book in the Sentinels of Savannah series but you don’t have to have read Magnolia Mystic to follow along. The ongoing search for the Holy Grail – the cup that gave the Sea Dog pirates their immortality – continues in this story and we also delve further into the world of the mysterious government agency, Department 13. The quest for the cup was exciting and I was completely invested in this storyline. The rest of the world building was where the story hit a bit of a snag for me. It wasn’t quite as exciting, perhaps because it’s explored from the viewpoint of the somewhat bland Agent Bale. There was also a case of a lot being thrown in to spur further stories, which did set up some interesting prospects for future books but also had the side effect of leaving the villains in this one somewhat underdeveloped. Still, I enjoyed Pirate’s Passion overall. Ms. Kessler knows how to deliver sexy pirates heroes and adventurous, interesting heroines. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next in the Sentinels of Savannah series.


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.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Review: Picture Perfect Cowboy by Tiffany Reisz

Picture Perfect Cowboy by Tiffany Reisz
Series: The Original Sinners, Book 10
Publisher: 8th Circle Press
Genre: BDSM Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781984085863
Release Date: November 5, 2018
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Jason “Still” Waters' life looks perfect from the outside—money, fame, and the words “World Champion Bull-Rider” after his name. But Jason has a secret, one he never planned on telling anybody…until he meets Simone. She’s the kinky girl of his dreams…and his conservative family’s worst nightmare.

Jason “Still” Waters is a retired champion bull rider who lives a quiet life on his horse farm in Kentucky. At least it’s a quiet life until he has to sub in for a friend and pose naked for a charity calendar. Jason’s already out of his comfort zone when he meets gorgeous photographer Simone Levine, but then she knocks him for a loop by bringing out the secret that he’s long been trying to hide. Jason’s a dominant, but his ultra conservative upbringing makes him ashamed and afraid to act on his fantasies. But with a little help from Simone, a professional submissive, Jason may just find the courage to embrace his kinky side.

Picture Perfect Cowboy is utterly divine! It’s sexy, sweet, and oh-so-much fun to read. Jason just about melted my heart. He’s not just a drop-dead sexy cowboy (though that doesn’t hurt), he’s kind, sweet, and polite enough to make you swoon. He’s also a man at war with himself. To call his upbringing strict would be an understatement and it isn’t easy for him to overcome that and accept that (1) he’s a dominant and (2) there’s absolutely nothing wrong or bad about what he enjoys. I loved watching Simone help him come into his own, to overcome what was drilled into his head and find joy with someone whose kinks complement his own.

As for Simone, she’s a delight. She’s bright, funny, generous, and open. She’s a vibrant heroine who lit up the page and I adored her from the very first. Simone loves Jason’s brand of dominance and she’s patient, honest, and open with him. She’s a wonderfully sweet and bubbly heroine who has a spine of steel. I loved watching her and Jason explore a master/slave relationship. They’re hot as hell together, but what’s more, they click on every level. They fall in love fast and hard and it’s easy to see why – these two are made for each other.

Picture Perfect Cowboy is part of Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners world, but it easily stands alone. But never fear: Søren and Nora do appear and they are a wonderful addition to this story whether you’re an old fan or are just diving into the Original Sinners. Every book I’ve read by Tiffany Reisz has been nearly impossible to put down and this book continues that streak. Her characters are always compelling and the pages of her books seem to fly by. If you love sexy cowboys, vivacious heroines, and a sweet but kinky romance, Picture Perfect Cowboy is the book for you!


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.