‘The Beast of Clan Kincaid’ by Lily Blackwood

tbock lbSTORY: They call him the Beast—a hardened mercenary whose heart seems as cold as his icy blue gaze. They do not know his true name: Niall Braewick, son of the Laird of Kincaid. It has been years since he escaped into the forest the night his father was murdered. Now he has returned, ablaze with a vengeful hunger. He will gain the MacClaren chief’s trust, gather his clan, and take back his lands. And take the MacClaren’s daughter as well…

Though he pulled her from the river, saving her life, Elspeth has been warned to keep her distance from her father’s hired warrior. He is a barbarian—a shame, as he is far more compelling than the lechers and fools competing for her dowry. Little does she know that, like the castle itself, she is a prize Niall intends to claim…but will he extract blood for blood and possess what is his, or will his enemy’s beautiful, innocent daughter tempt him to forsake his dream of conquest?

REVIEW: This is the first book in the Clan Kincaid series about three brothers who supposedly died in an uprising against their clan. The first story is of the oldest brother and I liked it a lot.

The characters are well developed and the hero is Alpha male to the core. The heroine, who just happens to be the daughter of the hero’s enemy, was such a hoot!

I liked that the story moved fast and the revenge trope was well executed and I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the stories.

If you’re a fan of medieval period, and especially of the Highlanders, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this one.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Enchanted’ by Genevra Thorne

te gtSTORY: Prince Gabriel of Rhyddon is the reluctant heir to the faerie kingdom of Eilithia. It’s said that there is nothing more beautiful than Eilithia and the Tylwyth Teg faeries that live there. Gabriel would disagree. Since being enchanted by the seductive temptress Aneira, a powerful witch who spoke his name four years ago, he has not seen the beauty in anything. Imprisoned by indifference and oblivious to any power but Aneira’s corrupting passion, Prince Gabriel’s mind may no longer be his own, but he will never give her his heart. That was taken from him long ago, and only glimmers of that joyous pledge keep him sane.

Somewhere across the earthly realm of Wales, Taryn of Hamilhawk dreams of a magical forest with music in its trees and a man who holds her heart in his hands. But she’s afraid of magic and, looking out her lonely tower window, prays each night to forget him. She has no idea that soon she will be his wife and that she will somehow save both him and herself from a force that threatens their future. She would never imagine that her path to passionate love will be filled with faeries, a talking tree, and a shape-changing king … and best it not be revealed until Taryn is free to bring her own magnificence and resilience to bear.

All she knows is that he calls out to her in her dreams. “Save me, Taryn.”

And her heart, no matter how she tries to deny it, must answer.

REVIEW: When you are a fan of an author for a long time, and when that author decides to write a book in another genre and under another pseudonym, you naturally hope to God that you’ll love the book.

I truly released a sigh of relief when I was done with the book. No joke!

Genevra Thorne aka Paula Quinn had impressed me so much with her imagination and creation of this enchanting faerie world. I loved everything in that beautiful and magic filled world.

This story is a sort of a mix of historical, paranormal and faerie tale. The heroine was a girl haunted by a dream of a man who is pleading to be saved by her. In hopes to understand the dream and its meaning, poor thing confides in a chaplain thus sealing her fate by being forced into a loveless marriage to a half fairy, a man that is enchanted with another woman.

Our hero was someone your heart went as soon as you meet him. Feeling of hopelessness surrounds this man who is so unhappy to be an heir, to be caught in the enchantment of a woman, to belong to the realm of fairies. And now to be married to someone that doesn’t understand and is afraid of him.

Both characters were well drawn out and very believable as they are fighting the attraction to each other.

I am not a fan of this genre, but reading this story has opened my horizons and introduced me to the world of magic and I hope you’ll give it a go.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘Most Wanted’ by Lisa Scottoline

mw lsSTORY: When a woman and her husband, desperate for a baby, find themselves unable to conceive, they decide to take further steps. Since it is the husband who is infertile, the heroine decides to use a donor. And all seems to be well.

Three months pass and she is happily pregnant. But a shocking revelation occurs when she discovers that a man arrested for a series of brutal murders is her donor – the biological father of the child she is carrying.

Delving deeper to uncover the truth, the heroine must face her worst fears, and confront a terrifying truth.

REVIEW: Christine Nilsson has been a teacher at Nutmeg Hill Elementary School for 8 years and is preparing to leave her job. Now that she is finally pregnant, she wants to be a full-time Mom. She and her husband, Marcus, have tried for 3 years for this to happen. An architectural engineer, he owns his own firm. Finding out that he is infertile and after counseling and lots of thought, they decide to go with a sperm donor with physical traits matching their own. The insemination works and Christine immediately gets pregnant. When selecting a donor, they see his current picture and read some answers to questions that were posed to him. He is known only to them as Donor 3319. But when on a newsflash, she recognizes a newly captured serial killer of nurses as her future baby’s father, she is shocked.

It turns out that sperm donors are not given psychological testing like egg donors are so Christine and Marcus fear that their baby could carry the donor father’s genes with a tendency toward mental health issues. While Marcus sympathizes with Christine, she does not feel he totally understands her worry and so she sets out on a venture to meet the accused killer and see if he actually is Donor 3319.

We follow her and she and her friend, Lauren, travel to the prison where he is being held and by saying they are free-lance writers, get to visit with him. She is convinced he is innocent and then undertakes to prove his innocence.

The story becomes quite involved with all of the people with direct knowledge of the nurse killed. The author has obviously researched this situation in great depth the information she passes along in the novel is fascinating.

I enjoyed the story and especially liked Lauren. She is what one truly calls a best friend. My second favorite character is Griff. What a lovable teddy bear.

I not only enjoyed a great novel that kept me on the edge of my seat right through to the end, but I also learned a lot as well.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘Compromising the Marquess’ by Wendy Soliman

ctm wsSTORY: England, 1814

Leah Elliot sells secrets to survive. Donning boy’s clothes, she uncovers society scandals for a London gossip rag to support herself and her sister, who were left destitute after their father’s death. When she meets the dashing—and perhaps dangerous—Hal Forster, the Marquess of Denby, she learns he may be involved in treason. The rumor is too valuable not to sell, despite her attraction to him…

Hal does have a secret, but he’s no traitor: he’s a spy embroiled in a mystery, seeking the man who killed his contact in France. He sees the alluring woman behind Leah’s disguise at once but is intrigued enough to play along…until he realizes that she’s the source of the rumors interfering with his investigation and forcing him into an unwanted betrothal.

Now, Hal and Leah must work together to draw out the culprit and undo the damage caused by Leah’s gossip. Or will their passion only cause more scandal?

REVIEW: This was a fun and fast pacing read that I liked a lot. I thought the heroine brave and smart, doing what she had in order to survive.

The hero was someone with courage and fortitude to see through who and what our heroine is and does.

Through out the book I just kept hearing the expression “needs must”, which totally applied to Leah. It’s the “necessity” that “compels” her to spy on the ton thus earning her keep, allowing her to survive.

It’s Hal who has to decide if she really had no choice but to do what she did and did the events compel her to do something she would much rather not.

If you like your romance sprinkled with a doze of mystery, this is sure to fill the bill.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Spirit of Grace’ by Terry Lynn Thomas

tsog tltSTORY: Sarah Bennett doesn’t remember the night her mother tumbled down the stairs at Bennett House, despite allegedly witnessing the fatal fall. There was talk of foul play, dark whispers, and sidelong glances, all aimed at Sarah, prompting her family to send her to The Laurels, an exclusive asylum in San Francisco, under a cloud of suspicion.

Now, on the one-year anniversary of her mother’s murder, Sarah has been summoned home. Convinced of her innocence, she returns to Bennett House, hoping to put the broken pieces of her life back together.

But when another murder occurs shortly after her arrival, Sarah once again finds herself a suspect, as she is drawn into a web of suspicion and lies. In order to clear her name, Sarah must remember what happened the fateful night her mother died. But as she works to regain her memory, the real murderer watches, ready to kill again to protect a dark family secret.

REVIEW: San Francisco – Bennett House – 1942

Sarah Bennett spent time in an insane asylum after the death of her mother, Jessica, caused by a fall down the stairs. Unable to remember what happened to cause her mother to fall, it was thought that Sarah had murdered her which resulted in her being sent to the asylum.

When she returns after a year, she finds that her father has married, Grace, a young woman her own age. In addition, he has hired an assistant named Zeke. Grace is cool to Sarah and is quite verbal in thinking Sarah is guilty. Grace has taken over running the house and has changed many things which upsets Sarah. In addition, Sarah’s maternal grandmother does not trust Grace and neither does their long-time housekeeper, Anca. Grace’s money spending has gotten out of hand and her father does not seem to know how to stop her even though he says he is in love with her.

Her father has become a well-known mystery writer who appears to be very happy that Sarah is home even though he never visited her in the year she was away. Zeke is an efficient young man who keeps tracks of Mr. Bennett’s travel, book signings and such.

As it is wartime, there are many soldiers around town and there is worry that there may be spies lurking around as well. Even though Zeke is friendly to Sarah, there are things that occur to make her think he may be a spy.

When a dream that Sarah has results in an injury to herself, some shocking truths begin to reveal themselves. She also learns that she may be in danger and should leave Bennett Hall and start a new life elsewhere. But she does not want to leave until she can find out what or who caused her mother’s death.

When unexplained events begin to occur that are very frightening, suspicions arise about everyone.

This is a fabulous gothic type mystery book like the ones I loved by Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Barbara Michaels. I hope others will read this novel and I bet that like me, you will be on the edge of your seat until the last page when all is revealed. I certainly look forward to reading more by this author.

Complimentary copy provided by the author

Connie for b2b

‘The Plum Tree’ by Ellen Marie Wiseman

tpt emwSTORY: “Bloom where you’re planted,” is the advice Christine Bolz receives from her beloved Oma. But seventeen-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village. It’s a world she’s begun to glimpse through music, books—and through Isaac Bauerman, the cultured son of the wealthy Jewish family she works for.

Yet the future she and Isaac dream of sharing faces greater challenges than their difference in stations. In the fall of 1938, Germany is changing rapidly under Hitler’s regime. Anti-Jewish posters are everywhere, dissenting talk is silenced, and a new law forbids Christine from returning to her job—and from having any relationship with Isaac. In the months and years that follow, Christine will confront the Gestapo’s wrath and the horrors of Dachau, desperate to be with the man she loves, to survive—and finally, to speak out.

Set against the backdrop of the German home front, this is an unforgettable novel of courage and resolve, of the inhumanity of war, and the heartbreak and hope left in its wake.

REVIEW: This is one of those stories that touches ones soul. Everything in this story was vivid and tangible. The prose gives one Goosebumps and has every character come to life while the author has us relive a dark time in history of Germany and the world.

“The air was as crisp and sweet as the crimson apples hanging in the orchards that lined the gentle foothills of the Kocher River valley. The sun was shining in a blue September sky quilted with tall, cottony clouds that swept rolling shadows over the countryside.”

What is touching through out the story, is how the author paints the picture that is so real, so true.

“Christine, I want you to understand something. War makes perpetrators of some, criminals of others, and victims of everyone. Not all of the soldiers on the front are fighting for Hitler and his ideals. Just because a soldier is in the battle, doesn’t mean that he believes in the war.”

***          ***          ***

“It came from the direction of the woods, unmistakable, uninterrupted, and unending. She fell to her knees, stomach twisting, thinking she’d go crazy before it stopped. She pressed her hands over her ears, but the sound of gunfire found its way through her trembling hands, ripping into her brain.”

If you’re looking for a historical fiction set in WWII, a story that shows what one goes through to survive, to love and to hope, you’ve found it in ‘The Plum Tree’.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Woman from Paris’ by Santa Montefiore

twfp smSTORY: They had built their lives in this grand old house, its walls encompassing their family and their secrets. Nestled in the sweeping hills they have always known, the house is part of their history, their heritage. But these four walls also hold a secret.

When Lord Frampton dies in a skiing accident, a beautiful young woman named Phaedra appears at his funeral—claiming to be the lord’s illegitimate daughter. In his will, Lord Frampton has left the priceless Frampton suite of sapphires to this interloper, confirming her claim and outraging his three adult sons and widow. Eventually, however, Phaedra’s sweet nature thaws the frosty relationships. She becomes the daughter that Antoinette Frampton never had and a wise and compassionate granddaughter to the formidable Dowager Lady Frampton. But an attraction grows between Phaedra and the eldest son, David. It seems an impossible love—blocked by their blood connection and by the fury of one family member who is determined to expose Phaedra as a fraud.

Filled with the luscious scenery and enchanting characters her fans adore, Santa Montefiore’s The Woman from Paris confirms the remarkable power of love to heal broken families and tender hearts.

This novel was published under the title The Summer House in the UK.

REVIEW: Lord Frampton has just died in a skiing accident leaving behind his widow, three sons, one granddaughter and his mother. However, at his funeral, Phaedra, a lovely woman appears claiming to be his daughter.

Although the family members are reeling from the loss of Lord Frampton and the shock of the appearance of Phaedra, they are all soon drawn to her magnetic, soothing and loving personality.

I feel that synopsizing this novel further would give out way too many spoilers. Suffice to say that the characters in this novel are so real and the emotions and personalities of each one are perfectly described.

The wise individual that is Phaedra is so strong, intelligent and lovable. This is one of those stories that captures you from the first page all the way to the last. You feel like a part of the family after you read it.

I have not read Santa Montefiore’s other novels, but will I will certainly rectify that very soon. Wonderful novel!

Connie for b2b