Review: The Black Sheep’s Inheritance (Dynasties: The Lassiters, Book 1) by Maureen Child

black sheep's inheritanceHeroine: Colleen Falkner receives an unexpected legacy from her client J.D. Lassiter in his will. Three million dollars is more than enough to help her achieve her dreams and fulfill her mother’s too. Colleen wants to be a nurse practitioner for the remote mountain area in Wyoming around Cheyenne. The money will more than enable her to get her license, buy a cabin, and set up a practice. When Sage, J.D.’s son, appears to have an interest in her, she is flattered and excited. She feels like she knows him from all of the stories she’s heard.

Hero: Sage Lassiter wasn’t close with his adoptive father. In fact, the two were loggerheads most of the time they got together after an incident in college. So he’s not surprised when J.D. pulls something crazy in his will. What he is surprised about is that the person who was screwed-over wasn’t himself, but was his sister. The one person who might know about why J.D. did what he did would’ve been his private nurse. And, the woman, just got a three million dollar legacy, so clearly, she’s up to no good.

Review: I’m not sure who the black sheep is supposed to be in this story. I felt the inheritance most in question was the heroine’s (and the hero’s sister’s), but it was the hero who had conflict with his family. The story is adorable and I particularly enjoyed the scenes where Colleen and Sage go to look at houses and she nearly falls into the ravine… which leads to fun sexy times. I also loved how Sage pulled out all the stops to win her over again after making an ass of himself.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Black Sheep’s Inheritance (Dynasties: The Lassiters)

[phpbay]black sheep’s inheritance maureen child, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

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: Highland Hearts by Hannah Howell

bookreview

I had a hard time setting Highland Hearts aside to get some work done once I started it. I ended staying up late last night to finish it. This story is exciting and thrilling and you’ll be sure to love it even if Highlander romance is not your cup of tea.

Contessa Delgado’s journey to love begins the moment she releases Sir Revan Halyard from her Uncle Thurkettle’s dungeon. Footsteps and voices descend the stairwell leading down to where they are and Revan does what any dashing knight would do when life was in danger – hold a girl by sword point and threaten to skewer her if Thurkettle and his men don’t drop their weapons.

Feisty Tess has a wicked tongue and gives him a verbal lashing even as he drags her onto his horse and rides into the woods as if the devil were on their heels. When arrows start to rain down on them without a care to Tess’ safety and some aimed even more deliberately at her the urge to get away is even more dire. What uncle would shoot to kill his niece? An uncle who wanted all the wealth she just inherited from her trust, that’s who.

When they rest at last Tess tells Revan what she thinks of his gratitude for her saving his life and he swears then that he never truly meant to run her through with his sword, the threat just had to look real. Then Revan asks Tess to face some hard facts. Tess acknowledges to Revan that she is aware of at least three other incidences where her uncle’s tried to kill her and make look like accidents. Revan having kidnapped Tess has made it far easier to kill her and lay the blame elsewhere.

Revan guesses it is because of fortune and Tess murmurs her agreement and tells him a paltry version of her inheritance not revealing her full wealth to the handsome knight. She then asks Revan why her uncle had locked him up and he reveals that he is a knight in service to the king. Together they patch what clues Revan was able to gather on his mission to spy for King James II and what Tess can deduce from clues she unwittingly encountered in her uncle’s keep of treason and betrayal her uncle and their neighbor Douglas were cooking up together.

Their knowledge puts them in even more danger as they now have to get their information to the king, avoid her uncle’s men and the Douglas men out to get them, and while they do not fight the growing fires that flare between them their love is not an easy one. This novel is truly about passion on the run as Revan and Tess land in one mess or another.

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: Beauty and the Beast by Hannah Howell

bookreview

Beauty and the Beast by Hannah Howell is not a spectacular read. It is however a pretty solid read. I found several segments to be unnecessary and jumpy and predictable in others. This Highlander romance contains all the elements of the sub-genre including bride stealing, thwarted love, revenge plotting, and battle.

Thayer Saiturn is known as the Red Devil, a knight so fierce and courageous that his name inspires fear in the enemies. The second cousin in line for inheriting a title and land, Thayer knows his place in life is on the battlefield waging war to earn his bread and keep. He wishes for the finer things in life, namely a woman to warm his bed, but he knows his limitations. While men express awe and fear over him, women see nothing but an ugly, very hairy, very red brute covered with many scars (none on his face). He pays for the women in his bed, and does not seek one outside of this arrangement. Betrayed once by a beautiful woman, Thayer vows never to be so weak before another highborn beauty.

Gytha is promised by betrothal contract to the heir of Saiturn Manor. At first it was William, beautiful and strong bodied, but word came that he was dead. So too came word that the second cousin, Thayer was dead. Learning that she is to marry Robert, Gytha expresses disappointment. Robert is weak and his soft looks do nothing for her. She would prefer the knight coming in to witness the wedding – the tall one with flaming red hair, a lithe graceful body, and sweet soft brown eyes.

When she discovers that the red knight is Thayer, the true heir to Saiturn Manor, Gytha is relieved. Robert and his uncle are not but cannot fight the contract. Thayer is dismayed, having thought this to be William’s wedding he was attending, he finds no comfort in learning it is his own. The thought of the inheritance does not soothe him for his bride is the prettiest beauty he has ever seen. He was sure to be cuckold, made a fool of by his marriage to her. Men everywhere were vying for her attentions even as she walked down the aisle. He was doomed, for Gytha could not possibly want him.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review: Thief of Dreams by Mary Balogh

bookreview

Mary Balogh’s Thief of Dreams was a read I couldn’t quite tell if I liked until the end. The ending for me made the whole book worthwhile. I won’t spoil it for those that wish to read it, but I will tell you what made me kind of iffy on the novel.

First, it was how coolly withdrawn the male lead was. I just couldn’t tell if he was interested in her let alone loved her for most of the book. Sure, he respected her and occasionally admired her for her character, but he never let her in or tried to get to know her and her dreams.

Second, Nigel Wetherby, is practically a dandy. His speech, while probably perfectly fine for the time, reads quite ridiculously. I like my men with a little more masculinity. Point in Nigel’s favor is that he can fill out the shoulders of his coats and doesn’t need padding. Of course, he has plenty of scars and a slight limp, which gives him an edge to defy the popinjay vibe.

Third – his name! Nigel? Wetherby? Are you serious? Viscount Wroxley with a toady name… sigh. He sounds like he’s a tour guide with a fake accent and a bushy mustache.

I didn’t really have a lot of issues with Cassandra other than that despite all the horrible things Nigel afflicted on her person, she still found herself loving him. True, Nigel’s intentions were on the vein of being honorable and good, but still inexcusable on a lot of levels. He “steals” her inheritance from her father (her father is dead mind you and she doesn’t know the true situation), makes her fall in love with him and marries her when he doesn’t acknowledge any feeling towards her (not even liking her, she could be anyone), and makes love to her before telling her some of the truth about himself and her real situation.

The side romances were very sweet and enjoyable to read and the sex between the main characters was quite exceptional. The ending however, like I said, really pulled this book together for me.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

[phpbay]thief dreams mary balogh, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Fantasy with a Dash of Romance

“Every age embraces the vampire it needs,” said Mike Deloney. Read on here.

The Top 3 Young Adult Books From 2008:

in no particular order…

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (vamps),

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (dragons),

Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling (wizards).

What this means:

While it’s nearly impossible to be more formulaic than Paolini’s Inheritance Series, the key to big time success is to appeal to the group that rarely picks up a book unless forced… teens. If teens love your book, word of mouth will spread like wildfire.

How do you appeal to teens?

By combining a quest with finding true love. Don’t believe me? Look at the trend, it is obviously fantasy with a dash of romance. The element of fantasy is most needed, something to draw people out of the normal everyday world and into a new world. This is done literally in Paolini’s case and figuratively in Meyer and Rowling’s case because fantasy exists beside the normal world to the ignorance of the masses.

What romance?

Harry/Ginny (very little, confined to mostly book six)

Bella/Edward (the whole series is about them as a couple)

Eragon/Ayra (don’t shoot me I haven’t read the third one but this is where it looked like it was headed)

Now you’ve appealed to teens, but you can’t stop there…

It’s not enough to appeal only to teens. In order to achieve the kind of fame these three authors have had an aspiring author is going to have to appeal to both young and old, male and female. You do this through great inspiring writing by creating characters and a plot to grab our attention. In the end you must give us a lead to get behind, a purpose to support, and someone to fall in love with.

To Do List: Save the World, Win a Contemporary

Sarah from Smart Bitches and Jane from Dear Author are co-hosting another contest. The prizes are pretty sweet and well worth the time to get involved.

First things first, what contemporary romance started this contest?

The answer to that is Victoria Dahl’s debut novel Talk Me Down. The heroine in this novel, Molly Jenkins, is an erotica romance author. She publishes under a pen name, not because she’s ashamed of writing erotica, but because she knows how awkward it would be for family and friends. Molly Jenkins leaves city life to return to her small home town after some unpleasant activity with her law enforcer ex-honey/stalker. A small inheritance makes moving back home easy, but Molly is stuck. She’s not inspired to write again until running into an old high school hunk, Ben Lawson, now chief of police.

Sarah says this about the sexual interactions within this book: “This, folks, is realistic sex. Gritty sex. Passionate pent-up sex. And most of all? FUN sex.” While the Romantic Times reviewer labeled the heroine “as a dog in heat.” In response to the RT comment Jane says, “I’m not going to even try to rebut it because that’s one of the things I liked best about this story.” Based on these different reviews, the conclusion to be drawn from this is that the sex is frank, up front, and enjoyable if you like your sex in romance novels to be frank and up front.

Now contest information:

Review: The Perils of Pursuing a Prince by Julia London

guestreview

Marcia is the first person to respond to the $10 Gift Card Contest! Her review for us this week by Julia London and looks to be a devilishly wild ride across England. The story mixes modern language with historical settings which might turn you off reading, but the the thrill behind the tale should hook you back in easily.

Lady Greer Fairchild is on a journey to find her inheritance in this second novel of the Desperate Debutantes trilogy.  She began her travels in London as the companion of Mrs. Smithington who wanted a little adventure and to see more than just London before she died.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Smithington did die before Greer finishes her journey.  A gentleman by the name of Mr. Percy has been traveling with them and has been a charming and helpful companion during the trip.  After the death of Mrs. Smithington, he suggests that they continue the journey together, since their destination is the same.

Greer is desperate to continue into Wales where she has learned that her inheritance is in the hands of a distant relative of her deceased stepfather.  It is for this reason that she agrees to continue her journey with just the company of Mr. Percy even though she knows that to do so would ruin her reputation.  The distant relative is none other than the Prince of Powys, a man who is known to Mr. Percy as a thief.  Mr. Percy has many a dark tale to tell of this prince, Rhodrick Glendower, Earl of Radnor, and Greer is terrified when they meet him riding a fearsome stallion on the road to the Earl’s castle.

The setting is out of a gothic novel with the wild countryside of Wales, a large oppressive looking castle and a dark brooding prince.  There are also strange dreams, ghosts and mysterious past crimes none of which really add up to a true gothic atmosphere since there is no real mystery or suspense.  The reader knows immediately that Mr. Percy is no gentleman and Rhodrick Glendower is a kind loveable person depicted as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  We also know that Rhodrick could never have committed the mysterious crimes and that they were probably committed by Mr. Percy.  Instead of trying to imitate early 19th century speech, Ms. London has written the dialog a frank, modern style that may or may not appeal to readers.  Even so, this is an enjoyable albeit light story.

Rating: 3 Stars

Thank you Marcia for writing to us! If you’ve just finished reading a romance novel and want to write review but weren’t sure how check out RRN’s submission guidelines for tips and advice to get started.