Review: The Deepest Ocean (Eden Series, Book 2) by Marian Perera

the deepest oceanReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Captain Darok Juell is due to set sail into enemy waters and for once in his life he has to wait for a woman, a woman who with her witchcraft can protect his ship as well as send his enemies back into the sea. The woman is called Yerena Fin Caller and she is cold, calculated and hard to read as she keeps her emotions in check in order to use the power of a shark deep in the waters. He doesn’t like the look of her at first as she is colder than he imagined, but will he get under her skin with his manner?

Review: Darok doesn’t like having a woman on board as seasoned sailors know, it is bad luck, but for Darok, if she isn’t on board, it might be worse for him as there are many enemies around who want to see him and his men dead. From the moment he sees Yerena he feels frustrated about having to wait for her and have her on the ship, and this frustration carries on trhough the novel. He hates having to rely on a woman’s witch powers to get him through a dark mission, and doesn’t take lightly that she will be there for the duration. As the story is seen from his perspective, you get to find out what he really thinks about the woman and his other crew men on board.

Good Bits:

  • I like the name Daystrider for the ship – reminds me of Dawntreader.
  • Captain Darok Juell – he’s the sort of captain who will send your heart racing.
  • There’s some great dry humor in this.

Summary: Marian Perera is an author who likes to write romantic fantasy novels with a touch of science, or that is what her biography tells us. Her other books; Before the Storm, and The Farthest Shore are similar. The setting is perfect, you can feel the effects of life on the high seas, the crew’s plight of never seeing their women until the witch comes on board, having next to no food, drink and the stormy seas whipping them around day in day out. It is a wonder Darok doesn’t get more problems from his crew than he does. Something else I liked about this novel is Darok starts out hating Yerena being there as he’s a man’s man who doesn’t like taking advice – or orders from a woman who thinks she knows better than him simmer down later on. He actually starts to like her and later love her for who she is.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Deepest Ocean (Eden Series)

Review: Romance Abroad by Annie Seaton

romance abroadReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Please make sure to read the letter from the author. She reminds us that sometimes we forget that authors started out as readers just like us. She also reminds us how diverse other countries are – which is something I tend to forget. I also love to find out that I have a connection with the person writing the stories I have read. In this case, Annie loves the ocean.

Holiday Affair
ISBN: 9781622669066
Date: March 12, 2012
Pages: 133 pages

Melissa “Lissy” McIntyre is on a sailing adventure – I’d be jealous if I didn’t always get seasick. Right off the bat, Annie puts in some women’s fantasy about being hit upon by a sexy sailor – but then again it is just a fantasy. Dominic “Nick” Richards is a real ladies man. Right here is where Annie had me hooked.

Bad news is that I started to read it on my lunch hour and found I didn’t want to put it down – something I don’t think the boss would understand. Our author puts in a twist that will have you figuring out what’s going to happen to Lissy before she does. I wish I could see it in person but then that’s what’s so great about our imagination.

What a great book to start this bundle off with. The reader is kept guessing about Lissy and Nick almost to the very end. This is a great lead into the second affair. You will also find that all the Richards’ men are brothers. Got to love a series where family connects the stories.

Italian Affair
ISBN: 9781622661374
Date: June 10, 2013
Pages: 142 pages

Brianna Ballantyne has an inheritance with a strange stipulation. Tomas Richards is at the airport waiting for his flight to be called. The first impression I get about Tomas is he’s a real stuffed shirt. And Brianna seems to be a woman who’s a little flighty. And these two polar opposites are lucky enough to be sitting next to each other on a long flight.

This story shows that you don’t necessarily need to know each other a long time in order to fall in love. Sometimes you don’t realize that you’re in love until it’s too late. But our author adds in a couple of twists – you’ll just have to get the bundle, or book, in order to find out what happens when they are revealed. It’s another one that I had a hard time putting down once I got started.

Outback Affair
ISBN: 9781622663217
Date: October 14, 2013
Pages: 172 pages

Jessica Trent is looking to get a job at a magazine. And she’s not off to a good start. Alex Richards is trying to fight the rain so he can finish making his deliveries. The meeting of these two was very interesting and they both have things to hide. They also end up traveling together – I think we need a little traveling music. A movie that comes to mind while reading was “Crocodile Dundee”.

I can almost picture a younger Paul Hogan in the part of Alex – their personalities just seem so similar. Of the three books, this seems to be the funniest. So make sure to pay close attention to the car trip they take. Ending the series on a funny note is perfect. If you need something to make you smile, then make sure to read this one. A place mentioned in this story is Cockatoo Springs and Annie has me wanting to visit. This is one bundle that if I ever went to Australia, I would take this with me.

If you have never read any of Annie’s books before, why not start with this series. You can read all three of these books on the same day. Or maybe you only have a little time each day in which to read, then you could read the books one at a time. If you’ve never been to Australia, this just may give you the push you need to put a trip on your bucket list. It’s also a great series to read in the wintertime, you’ll be warm in no time.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Romance Abroad Bundle

Review: The Hawk (Highland Guard, Book 2) by Monica McCarty

the hawk Monica McCartySeries Overview:

Handpicked by Robert the Bruce to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule, the elite warriors of the Highland Guard face their darkest days. When Bruce is forced to flee, his bid for freedom rests on the shoulders of one extraordinary warrior.

Hero: Erik MacSorley is a ladies man and an excellent seafarer. When he rescues a half drowned woman from the water, he doesn’t expect to want her. Imagine his surprise when his charm and considerable good looks can’t sway her heart! He will have to try harder to win her over.

Heroine: Lady Elyne (Ellie) de Burgh may not be as resistant to Erik’s devil-may-care attitude as she seems. Pretending to be a nursemaid upon capture, she is hiding more than one secret. But then, so is Erik. What will happen when they reveal all?

Review: There’s a lot of background and narrative in this book. It is a stylistic choice and at times can be overwhelming for a casual read, but if you enjoy a bit more substance and meat to a read, this will do the trick. For me, it was more than I wanted and distracted me from the romance of the novel (which is more my meat and potatoes). The slow boil romance is gentle and filled with wit and sass.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Hawk: A Highland Guard Novel

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Review: The Rogue Pirate’s Bride by Shana Galen

Reviewed by Susan S.

Climb aboard The Shadow! And set sail upon the high seas with Shana Galen’s new novel, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride. There’s plenty of adventure (narrowly escaping death by sword, dagger, pistols, and sinking ships), romance (hot cabin sex), and entertainment (whether imprisoned or freed-they’ll hate each other, save each other, and love each other).

Summary: The Conclusion to the Seas of the Revolution Trilogy, Book Three When Raeven Russell (heroine) finds Captain Cutlass (Bastien), she’s going to rip his black heart out! It was his ship The Shadow which battled the HMS Valor. And now, her fiancé is dead. For months, she’s entertained thoughts of avenging Timothy’s death. What Raeven never expected-was to be held captive aboard the privateer’s ship.

Bastien has just kidnapped the daughter of a British admiral; initiating events that’ll surely culminate with his death. Will Raeven find a way to escape her captivity? Can Cutlass outrun the British Navy? More important, will the traitor in their midsts change the course of their lives? Forever.

Review: My first thought was, there is no believable way the hero and heroine will fall in love. After all, the heroine’s always trying to kill the hero. And whenever there’s a respite in their sword fighting- it’s only because they’re battling other adversaries. And yet, Ms. Galen “does” have them fall in love-in a realistic manner. How? By keying in on their commonalities.

What impressed me the most, I think, was the author’s expert use of imagery. The scenes I mentally visualized were an effortless process. And the “reason” this novel earned a five-star review. I could see (in my mind) the ships moving into battle positions. I could envision the damage sustained by the ships. As well as picturing the injuries of the seamen.

Recommendations: My first recommendation is for readers who gravitate toward the enemies-to-lovers tropes. If you like them, then this novel is a must read that’s sure to please. Also for booklovers who enjoy: historical romance novels. And if you revel in stories of handsome buccaneers and fearless heroines-you’ll love Captain Cutlass and Raeven.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Others in the Series:

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Rogue Pirate’s Bride

Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., Copyright February 2012, Historical Regency Romance, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 340. ISBN-13# 9781402265556

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Review: Darcy’s Voyage by Kara Louise

How can you get Lizzy and Darcy to meet each other without prejudice? Take them out of the country of course! By sticking them on a ship bound to the Americas, Kara Louise gives them a chance to see them for themselves… well sort of ;) There’s still some obstacles and misunderstandings.

Two years before the voyage Darcy and Lizzy met on a carriage ride out of London. (Darcy was on this hired carriage because the family one was being repaired.) They have a great conversation which sticks with both of them long after they separate. They just forgot one thing – to get each other’s names!

Darcy’s going to America to retrieve Georgiana after her governess takes ill and can’t return to England. There’s no way he’s letting her go by herself!

But that’s just what Mr. Bennet allows Lizzy to do. She’s traveling to America to be with her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. Jane decided not to go because she gets seriously sea sick.

When Elizabeth falls ill after taking care of the women and children in steerage, Darcy chucks convention overboard and gets on bended knee. Lizzy is too out of it to really see that his “Marry me and you get a nice bed out of steerage, I promise this is totally platonic, you’ll be saving me from marriage minded barracudas, we’ll get it annulled back in England later” really means “I want to marry you, it will save me from marriage minded barracudas, can we please share a bed? I want you and I don’t want an annulment.” :D

Of course he keeps by his vocal promise, which leads to misunderstandings and an angst ridden separation. Poor Lizzy and Darcy. They really need to work on their conversation skills and learn to say what they’re really feeling and not assume the other can read their mind.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Darcy’s Voyage: A tale of uncharted love on the open seas (Pride & Prejudice Continues)

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Review: Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer

Beauvallet is one of my top favorite Georgette Heyer romances. It’s one I would recommend for a guy to read because of how daredevil the hero is and how much action and high jinks take place.

Sir Nicholas Beauvallet is a dashing pirate with a rakish charm. He’s the bane of the Spanish empire and good friends with other famous privateers such as Sir Francis Drake. He’s gallant, courageous to the point of foolhardiness, and full of confidence. His ego is adorable because it’s so over-inflated and lighthearted.

Dona Dominica de Rada y Sylva is a gutsy heroine. When captured she steals Beauvallet’s dagger and waves it at his nose. When forced aboard Beauvallet’s ship she snubs him, flirts outrageously with another officer, and ignores him. Obviously she’s just hiding her true feelings—the instantaneous crush, the deepening attraction, the utter fascination. The more she pushes him the more under his spell she falls.

When he promises to win her hand in marriage, she scoffs. Not likely! When he says he’ll pursue her right to her doorstep in the heart of Spain, she laughs. Impossible! When he says, “Risk not!” she begins to hope. But can it be done?

Some of the funniest scenes are Beauvallet flaunting his presence under the Spanish aristocracy and nobody being the wiser. I’m so happy that Heyer kept it in mostly Beauvallet’s point of view because we got to his side of the story and laugh at the supposedly mystical and magical escapes he managed to execute under Spanish noses.

It’s also an unusual historical I feel because of the monarchs and events happening.

Relative Time Period – Tudor:

  • Spanish Inquisition – 1478 to 1834
  • Henri III – 1551 to 1589
  • Elizabeth I 1533 to 1603
  • Phillip II –  1527 to 1598
  • Sir Francis Drake1577 to 1580 – around world trip

The references to the Spanish Inquisition are just cloying and realistic enough to make you shudder with all the “infinite kindness of the church” and whatnot. I’m not an expert of anything, but the way the dialogue happened almost made one think that King Phillip had no idea what truly happened during the churches inquisition sessions. Does anybody know if he did or not?

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Buy: Beauvallet

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Review: Starlight and Promises by Cat Lindler

Starlight and Promises in short, is fantastic. It has a feel of the older romances with the exotic locations and seafaring travel, but is fresh and fun. I simply loved how the romance developed on the way to where the expedition would start. The romantic timeline is a lengthy one – their romance does not develop over a few days. It takes them a year or so to get to Tasmania.

The heroine’s uncle is the one to discover a Smilodon (saber-tooth tiger) on his journeys with a friend in Tasmania. Just before he’s kidnapped by pirates, Richard Colchester manages to send a letter to his niece in Britain with orders to round up everything they’d need for an expedition. When Samantha exhausted all the people in England who might be able to lead it she gets the idea to find Christian Badia, the American feline biologist.

Our hero, Christian, is a by-choice exiled aristocratic lord. His work in the scientific community had them all knocking on his door with pleas to lead big game hunts until his early retirement. He’s confident, arrogant, and a beast, but not in the literal sense.

Samantha is a tomboy and not afraid of things normal ladies would be. In fact she’s a herpetologist and loves all things amphibian or reptilian. Her pets include iguanas, lizards, and snakes. She can be bratty, stubborn, and not just a little bit foolhardy in her recklessness, but she’s also determined and spirited.

She and Christian get into a lot of fights where he shows his inner caveman off in fine form. In the end he must either lock her up or marry her. He chooses the latter and finds himself probably more infuriated than before but the price of his sanity is well worth it.

Lots of action. Lots of crazy situations. Lots of mistakes and misunderstandings on both the protagonists’ parts. All satisfying and touching. This is going on my favorites shelf.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Starlight & Promises

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Review: His Wicked Kiss by Gaelen Foley


His Wicked Kiss is the seventh installment of Foley’s Knight Miscellany series. The novel was quite exceptional from the steamy romance scenes, the tender moments, and the insecurities that flared between Eden and Jack. His Wicked Kiss flirts with the tried and true plot of what you thought you wanted and what you get.

Dr. Victor Farraday, botantist, scientist, and certified loon resides in the jungle of the Amazon with his daughter, a small contingent of locals, and Connor their hunter and protector. Connor has had his eye on Eden Farraday since she was sixteen, but Eden does not feel the same way about him. She dreams of London and the sparkle of society and balls and handsome town dandies that will court her and dance with her. So when Victor tells her that they’re moving deeper into the jungles, toward certain death, Eden is desperate to make an escape.

Eden meets Jack as he is sailing down the river with a small crew to meet up with his ship, the Winds of Fortune, off the coast out of the Spaniards reach. Jack thinks the creature sitting up in the trees snipping orchids is beguiling and gorgeous with red flaming hair. Her offer of tea is not resisted, but he is bitterly disappointed to learn that she wants him to take her back to England with him.

Successful entrepreneur and black sheep of the family, Jack Knight is the second son of a duke and is more than used to people wanting things from him. He had hoped Eden would be different, but even if he wanted to, Jack could not take Eden along with him due to the nature of his mission helping the rebels. He would not put her life in danger. That doesn’t stop her from putting herself in danger though-Eden sneaks onboard his vessel.

Jack captures his little stowaway and so begins their romance. Being second has shaped Jack and how he approaches business. As his past is revealed Eden and the reader are drawn closer to him. The more trusting Eden is with Jack, the more she slips past his heart’s defenses. Soon Eden is all he can think about.

The one flaw with this novel is that Eden and Jack change from the fabulous characters we get to know while on his ship for most of the duration in England. Luckily, they both find themselves and each other again before they’ve lost each other for good.

Rating: ★★★★½

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