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review 2018-03-20 16:45
Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning
Beyond the Highland Mist - Karen Marie Moning

Thanks to a woman's pricked pride, two people from different points in time, find themselves embroiled in the battle of wills...And hearts.

Aoibheal, Queen of the Fae, decides to make her husband, the King, and her jester jealous by talking about the almost mystical prowess (both in the battlefield and the boudoir) of Sidheach James Lyon Douglas, third Earl of Dalkeith. Apparently his appendage and stamina are able to possess a woman's soul. And the Queen claims to have experienced in first hand. Which makes the King and the Fool rather peeved and intent on revenge.

Enter Adrienne de Simone, all the way from 1997, badly burned by a beautiful, deceitful man with a black soul, which makes her hate all beautiful men at large. So what is she to do, when she's thrust back into 1513 Scotland and wed, by proxy, mind you (!) to a devastatingly beautiful (both in and out) man?

This is the first book in Moning's romance Highlander series. I prefer her in the romance author guise myself, because I like my books to actually have a beginning and an end all in one book, but that's just me.

It's obvious, this is the first book, since it sports the many first-book problems. It looks like KMM was still looking for her voice, tempo, and narrative style with this one.

For starters, the conflict dragged on for too long (almost two thirds of the story) and in the end came across as more of a stubbornness issue on the heroine's part than anything else. There was nothing to the conflict really to start with. Sure, she was badly burned, but hating all beautiful men because of the action of one specimen is a bit over the top.

The second problem I have with this story is the fact, the romance doesn't really "register". It's there because it's written, the resolution comes across as plausible, believable and sweet, because of the length of the conflict, so in the end the reader wants the hero and heroine to be together just to end the idiocy of the conflict that's keeping them apart.
Unfortunately, the story is so focused on the conflict and heroine's trust issues that it never lingers overmuch on the characters, leaving the reader slightly bewildered to the fact why these two love each other so much in the end, when the reader barely knows them.

And the third problem is the antagonist, but that's just me, since I loved him in his own book that comes later in this series.

Still, the story is well-written, though slightly underdeveloped, overblown in places and rather plodding in others. It's set in Scotland (my favorite setting of them all no matter the time frame), it features a yummy Scottish, kilt-wearing laird that falls (inexplicably) head over heels for the first woman who resists him (novelty, I guess), and is filled to the brim with wonderful supporting cast.

It could be better. It should be better, but it could also be a lot, lot worse, so it gets three stars.

I like it and I won't mind re-reading it in the future.

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review 2018-03-20 16:36
Montana Born Bachelor Auction series
Bound to the Bachelor - Sarah Mayberry
Bachelor at her Bidding - Kate Hardy
The Bachelor's Baby - Dani Collins
What a Bachelor Needs - Kelly Hunter
In Bed with the Bachelor - Megan Crane
One Night with Her Bachelor - Kat Latham

***copies provided by publisher through NetGalley***


I wasn't expecting a work of art, but at least something that would've kept me engaged. It didn't.

It was filled with clichés, it was predictable, featured bland characters and a very iffy insta-love romance that failed to strike the right notes, but at least it was a quick read.


The hero was a saint, the heroine was a self-righteous bitch filled with self-pity, the plot was rife with clichés and seemed written by a high-school student.


This book was one massive clichéd rip-off of a Harlequin story (just read the blurb to know why).

The characters were poorly (or none at all) developed, the heroine's issues were annoying and the "drama" unnecessary and forced...I ended up skimming the better part of it.


If I had to use a word to describe this story it would be "simple". Too simple, in fact, with a very basic, rehashed and clichéd plot, and a cheesy, ordinary romance.
There was no conflict, no depth, no agency...It was just there, not doing anything.


Poorly written with way too much inner monologues and with even more poorly drafted characters making them difficult to understand, empathize, sympathize and/or like.
Slow, boring and firmly in the "meh" category.


Rather inconsistent (character- and their behavior-wise), and definitely nothing to write home about.
It had potential, but the author failed to bring it to fruition.

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review 2018-02-16 16:31
Wonderful by Jill Barnett
Wonderful - Jill Barnett

***eBook used to be available for free on Kobo***

She's been waiting for him for six years, two more than he promised when he offered for her. And to make matters worse, she's been waiting closed up in a convent!

But now he's back, and it's her turn to make him wait. And if he goes a little mad in the process...Serves him right.

This could've been a great story, a perfect mix of romance, drama, angst, and humor. Unfortunately, the heroine ruined it all for me. I guess she was supposed to be endearing, determined, and a little quirky, but all I saw was a bratty, self-centered, airhead who was too stupid to live.
At first, the antics were humorous, but the more the story progressed, the more the heroine grew annoying and her "antics" cringe-worthy.
I didn't even buy the romance, because Merrick (the hero) sure didn't come across as a moron who would fall for such a brat. Yet, inexplicably, he did, and I still don't know why. Through the story, as I got to read about him, understand him, I got the love from the heroine's side—the guy was protective, tender, caring, a brute when he needed to be...And a saint for putting up with the chit.
Her better qualities only appeared toward the end of the story, when it was already too late. I wanted the Welsh to sacrifice her to the dark gods by then.

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review 2018-02-04 17:20
Untamed by Nora Roberts
Untamed - Nora Roberts
Jovilette "Jo" Wilder has spent her entire life in the circus. She knows no other life, and she wants no other life...Until the new owner shows up after inheriting the circus from the father he's never met.

This story sure didn't age well. The story itself could work in any time setting, but the characters and their actions and reactions don't fare well in this day and age.

First of all, the story is written in third person, but from the heroine's perspective. Since said heroine, despite being twenty-two (or so we're told) comes across as childish, immature and rather self-absorbed, so we don't glean much about the hero or his possible inner workings from the narrator.
Because we're not privy to the hero's inner voice, his character and his intentions remain (mostly) a mystery, and the final revelation about his true feelings doesn't really work and seems rather unbelievable or implausible.
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review 2018-01-26 19:44
Paper Ghosts
Paper Ghosts: A Novel of Suspense - Julia Heaberlin

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I had liked ‘Black-Eyed Susans’ by the same author well enough, and I thought I’d like this one as well, but unfortunately, it wasn’t the case. As evidenced by the time I needed to finish it, that wasn’t because I had too much work and no time to read, but because it kept falling from my hands and I’d reach something else to reach instead.

It started well enough, and I thought that the story would be a game of cat and mouse between the main character and the suspected killer. However, while I kept waiting for said character to reveal her hand—for instance, to show that she had made this or that mistake on purpose, in order to better turn the tables—such moments never happened. I think this is where it went wrong for me, and I believe the first-person narration wasn’t an asset in this case: with a third person POV, I could’ve been fooled into thinking the ‘heroine’ knew what she was doing, since I wouldn’t have been completely ‘in her head; but with first person, it’s more difficult to fool the reader...

So, well, I wasn’t fooled. In spite of all her alluding to her ‘trainer’ and to how she had taught herself to face various difficult situations, she wasn't really one step ahead. Perhaps in the very beginning, but this fell down the train as soon as Carl started coming up with new ‘conditions’ along the way, and she was totally taken aback, and... just relented, or protested weakly. That didn’t fit my idea of someone who had planned carefully, or whose plans were unravelling but who still had the savvy to bounce back.

Also, I wasn’t convinced at all by the twist at the end. Something you can’t see coming because there was never any hint of it throughout the story, is not what I call an actual twist, but cheating the reader. (Now, when I read something and I’m all ‘a-ha! So that’s why she did this in chapter2, and said that in chapter 6, and that character did that in chapter 14’, well, that’s a proper twist.)

Conclusion: 1.5 stars. Too bad.

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