Audio Review: The Mischievous Bride (Clearbrook Regency, Book 4) by Teresa McCarthy

mischievous brideSummary: Heiress Millicent Shelby has crushed on Lord Marcus Clearbrook since she was a young girl. Knowing that their age differences could pose a problem, Milli devises a plan to win him. But life doesn’t always go according to plan.

Review: Because Milli comes across so young it’s hard to imagine that she’s ready for love and marriage. She is a tenderhearted girl who gets her feelings bruised by Marcus on more than one occasion. This romance took a long time to get off the ground for me because of the May/December aspect. I usually love it but there was a lot of “He’s thinks of me like a child” and “You’re not my papa!” when he would scold her recklessness. Overall I liked Marcus, had more trouble with Milli the ninny.

Quote: Lord Hughmont and Lord Knightengale kiss better than that!

Narrator: Pearl Hewitt created a very young Millie that was hard to listen to with it’s breathy airhead quality. I think I may have been able to like Milli more if she hadn’t been so flighty sounding.

[Rating:2.5]

Buy: The Mischievous Bride (The Clearbrooks Book 4)

Review: He’s No Prince Charming (Ever After, Book 1) by Elle Daniels

he's no prince charmingSummary: Marcus Bradley, the Marquis of Fleetwood, is angry to find out that his future bride has run off with another man. What’s more he knows the person who helped her elope, a Miss Danielle “Dannie” Strafford, owner of a bookshop called Gretna Green’s Books (which as you might guess helps couples elope to Gretna Green.) If Marcus doesn’t secure a suitably wealthy heiress soon his sister will be forced to wed a horrible man because he hasn’t the funds to break the arrangement. Marcus decides that since Dannie lost him a bride, she’s the perfect person to find him one next.

Review: This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. One of the best scenes is when Marcus forces Dannie to help him kidnap Ginny right out from under her family’s noses and then rush the ill-fated duo to Gretna Green. Dannie of course wishes to sabotage the whole thing and Ginny’s father, the admiral won’t be pleased none if it succeeds! But when Ginny gets kidnapped again, Marcus and Dannie must work together to rescue her. Marcus suffered severely at the hands of his father growing up and has several PTSD symptoms. When he suffers an attack he blacks out. Dannie herself is hiding a secret, she knows even as she falls for Marcus, she’s the heiress he desperately needs. Her dowry would be enough for him to save his sister. Overall, a fun series of madcap antics.

[rating:3]

Buy: He’s No Prince Charming (Ever After series)

Review: Blood Deep (Blackthorn, Book 4) by Lindsay J. Pryor

blood deepReviewed by Sharon S.

Blurb: Blood Deep (Blackthorn #4) by Lindsay J. Pryor

Bad can feel good, Jessie. Bad can feel as good as it can get.

The tattoos covering Eden Reece’s arm tell the tale of a con with an appetite for danger. Even so, arriving at The Circus – the criminal heart of Blackthorn – and demanding an audience with the notorious Pummel, is the sign of a death wish.

Jessie knows that Eden is trouble. Serious trouble. Held captive by Pummel, despite her powers, she also knows how dangerous a game Eden is playing. Yet she can’t ignore a connection far deeper than the physical spark between them – because Jessie has seen Eden before…

Jessie is the only one who can help Eden save those he loves. But as he uncovers her secrets one by one, he can’t ignore the emotions she stirs in him – feelings neither of them dare face. He risks death. If she trusts him, she risks a fate far worse.

As Pummel’s twisted plans become clear, there’s no doubt all hell risks breaking out in Blackthorn. With time running out, together Jessie and Eden might be the only ones that can stop it.

In a thrillingly sensual novel, the stakes in the dark world of Blackthorn just got higher.

I picked this series up at book #3 and was surprised by the emotional intensity and sexual tension, along with some fabulous world building set in a dark world. I was expecting the same type of read with book four Blood Deep. I was disappointed to find the first ¾ of the book was only about the romance between Jessie and Eden. I like a good PNR with a sexy alpha, but it went a little overboard with the back and forth internal lamenting about how they shouldn’t get involved. The last ¼ of the book was exactly what I was looking for, with all the world building and series story arc progress. I was glued to this part.

This book would have been a 4 star read for me if the series story arc had been evenly distributed throughout the whole book instead of crammed into the end. The romance would have been more tolerable for me if it was diluted out a bit. I liked Jessie’s character and the fact her species of “other” was unknown to the reader and hero until near the end. Her presence adds a whole new twist to the world Pryor has created.

I’m torn about how to rate this book because my problem with it was distribution of the story elements. If you are following this series then you will want to read this book for the great story twists. If you love heavy romance in your urban fantasy then you will also enjoy this. I’m going to give this a solid 3 because the ending was strong.

[Rating:3]

Buy: Blood Deep (Blackthorn Book 4)

Review: The Reluctant Elf by Michele Gorman

reluctant elfHeroine: Lottie and her daughter, Mabel, are planning to visit Aunt Kate this Christmas because Aunt Kate is starting a bed and breakfast (B&B) business. When Kate is hospitalized, Lottie and Mabel leave a day early for their Christmas vacation. The B&B is in dire straights, so are Aunt Kate’s finances, and the help just absconded for a break to recuperate. Everything hinges on getting a good rating from the reviewer. But Lottie hasn’t the foggiest clue what to do to run a successful B&B.

Hero: Danny, the taxi driver, is an unlikely but most definitely needed hero. When Lottie offers him enough money to fund a trip to see his young daughter in America, he agrees to aid her in anyway he can. He helps paint, fix, repair, clean, and cook. And along the way the two find they have an affinity for each other.

Review: The B&B reviewer and his family are seriously dysfunctional. I am very glad that the creepy brother/in-law doesn’t barge in on Lottie in the bath. He was a very ignorant self-absorbed cad. His wife was a hypochondriac and couldn’t stand her children. The two kids were terrors. I’d be afraid for Mabel to hang out with them. The only one sane was the reviewer. Are you up for some crazy hijinks involving scolding plumbing, falling down ceilings, holes patched with toothpaste? Then you’re in for a treat with this wifi-less Victorian-themed holiday chick-lit. Happy ending for all. There’s definitely room for continuation.

[Rating:3.25]

Buy: The Reluctant Elf

Audio Review: A Passionate Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson

passionate affairSummary: Charley Lambert wants the perfect life and thinks she has the perfect career. Which is great for her because she is a workaholic who lusts for her boss. He’s hot, they click, and he’s a damn good flirt. But it’s been seven years! So when she breaks her leg, finds out her boss is getting married, and must take time off from perfect job – Charley searches for something to fill the void. Her friends guide her to the perfect hobby – providing online dating help to the luckless women out on the web. She does their flirting for them and they get to meet the guys they think are great. Charley’s friend and roommate, Sam is an actor wannabe who loves women and junk food. They’ve friend-zoned each other long before the story starts. He helps her with her get her business started. It’s fun and smooth-sailing until Charley falls for a guy she’s helping another woman snag.

Review (with spoilers): So it was clear to me from the start of the sequence for the online-dating that Sam was going to be perfect for Charley. They both just didn’t know it. I never liked Charley’s boss (what kind of guy claims to like a woman for seven years and never ask her out and what kind of woman waits seven years to be asked out?) – and his behavior and general smarmy attitude just didn’t work for me. Sam was very immature at the start and grows into a better guy through a series of events in the novel. My favorite sequence was Charley falling in love with Sam and Sam with Charley but both thinking they were falling for a stranger on the internet and ghost-writing for a client. Loved it.

Narrator: Cathleen McCarron’s voice is very distinct and so is the Scottish accent. On one hand she was a great narrator lending Charley some maturity when needed and levity when needed. On the other hand Cathleen was sometimes difficult to listen to as it seemed like she read slower in certain parts.

[Rating:3]

Buy: A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger