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review 2017-02-22 17:02
Review: Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London
Sinful Scottish Laird (The Highland Grooms) - Julia London

The widowed Lady Chatwick, Daisy, while more than capable of taking care of herself and son, lives in a time where men rule. Upon his deathbed, her late husband, Clive stipulated that she must find a suitable man and remarry within three years of his death, or she forfeits her son’s inheritance, because he felt Daisy (a woman) would be unable to raise their son alone. With less than a year left to remarry and a long line of greedy suitors, Daisy finds hope in a letter from her childhood love that he will be returning to London soon and wishes to marry her.

 

In an effort to stave off the Bishop and his match-making, Daisy heads to the Scottish Highlands to her late husband’s neglected hunting lodge. As a member of London’s society, Daisy is looked down upon by the Highlanders, although once they hear of her fortune, she finds more suitors at her doorstep. Everyone seems interested in Daisy, except her handsome neighbor, Cairlean, the Laird of Auchenard.

 

Sinful Scottish Laird is a delightful historical romance that hits all the right notes for me. I love Daisy: a strong, well-educated woman who demands life be lived on her terms. Even though she is still tied to her late-husband’s commands, she takes her time to find a man that will be a good match for both her son and her. I love that she takes life by the reigns and isn’t afraid to play games or speak her mind. She’s not ignorant, but will play the part if it gets her what she wants. Coy and beautiful, she lives life to its fullest during the time she has. She’s not afraid to take risks to be happy.

 

On the other hand, Cailean has been burned by life and is afraid to take chances. He doesn’t trust outsiders and won’t play Daisy’s games. At first, he seems to be the wrong match for Daisy. Yet the enigma that is Daisy draws in Cailean until he cannot withstand the force of their mutual desire. He begins to see and appreciate Daisy for who she truly is, even if she drives him mad. Yet, he won’t risk his heart, or Daisy’s standing, so he allows himself to continually walk away. It’s heartbreaking, yet makes each “reunion” so passionate.

 

Although I know very little of the Scottish/English history, the author uses the political atmosphere to create a setting that forces hard choices, making for an exciting read. It enhances the romance by producing a solid conflict that draws the pair apart, despite their attraction and emotions.

 

In the end, I completely enjoyed getting lost in the Scottish Highlands with Cailean and Daisy. Sinful Scottish Laird is an engrossing, enjoyable read, filled with conflict, desire, and romance. I look forward to taking another tour of the Highlands with the next Highland Grooms title out in May.

 

My Rating: A- Enjoyed a lot

Review copy provided by NetGalley

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review 2017-02-21 23:28
Hero loves dogs
Wild Wicked Scot - Julia London

I read this for the Man in a Kilt square for Romance Bingo.

She was afraid of him, disgusted by him, attracted to him.

Without the sweeping epic saga war components, this reminded me of Pride of Lions by Marsha Canham. As with the heroine in that one, Margot grew up extremely spoiled, sheltered, and is incredibly naïve. I personally am not the biggest fan of reading about perfect people, I love growth and journey. When Margot first meets Arran she is only 16 and after only two more meetings they are married after she turns 18. She is then immediately taken out of her home in England and brought to Arran's home in Scotland. Margot is an extreme fish out of water and her elitist ways and attitude definitely don't jive with the clan structure. She tries to help in her known English ways, but it only works to distance her more from Arran's people. Now, Arran may be completely different from the fops she grew up around and liked but we still she her attracted to him but she doesn't quite know what to do with it because she doesn't know him. I liked the fact that Margot wasn't blinded by insta-lust and just because she found Arran attractive she didn’t instantly trust him and it didn’t solve all their problems. Margot's just too young, too scared, and too bitter about not being able to marry someone remotely of her choosing and she ends up leaving Arran after only a couple months of marriage.

"I remember that your list of complaints was quite long."
She could feel the skin of her chest heating beneath his study of her. She had to look away or be devoured by that penetrating gaze. "Were they complaints? I always rather thought them pleas to help me reconcile to my new surroundings."
"Ah, is that what they were, then?" he mused.


Arran is more instantly likeable but while he has about 9 years on Margot, he was almost as clueless to marriage. He's the one who is struck by first sight and he knows as soon as he sees Margot he wants to marry her. He doesn't think about anything else except having her as wife, and doesn't think about how truly different they are. He's extremely caring to her in the bedroom, the one place they do connect, but baffled by her in every other measure. When he brings her to his home he doesn't help or explain to her how she can connect with his people and disappears for most the day doing work or traveling; he lives his life exactly the same way he did before marrying. Later on in the story there is a great conversation between the two where we learn that his parent's both died when he was young and Margot's mother died young also. We see that these two weren't modeled or taught how marriages work in a basic sense. In the beginning, Arran does do more little things to try and make it work but Margot's youth, fear, loneliness, and other issues I talked about cloud and create misunderstandings with their communication. These two simply married too soon and too young.

I'm usually a linear person but the switching chapters from past to present so worked for me. I loved how it set the tone and gave a clear understanding of how and why Arran and Margot felt the way they did, while also adding some drama. This was mostly a character driven story and our couple had the major chops to carry it; I devoured the first half of this absorbed into their story. I think it was around the 56% mark that the Reason I Read Romance conversation between the two happened. A couple lines, I refuse to spoil by putting them here, are spoken by Arran and let's just say I made sounds that probably only happen at the Cheesecake Factory when they bring me my red velvet cheesecake. They're crosses between gasps, sobs, happiness, and heart palpitations.

The second half and ending involving family and Jacobite drama didn't fully work for me, it wasn't flushed out enough. Especially, the quick and off screen way it was wrapped up, ended up feeling unneeded to me because of its lack of substance. Some secondary characters could have been fleshed out more like Arran's friend Jock and Margot's brother Knox. I guess I'm saying I wanted this book to be 200 pages of more because I loved the story so much.

I also felt the ending bringing together between Arran and Margot felt a little off. Arran had a quick to anger moment over something Margot did and then was just as quick to forgiveness, making it feel angst for angst sake. Then at the end when they have time to really have it out and come together, there was this kind of awkward lingering distrustfulness from Arran and unsure from Margot that felt overdone. At this point in the story and after certain things had been done, they should have had a united front.

Still, I gobbled this story up. Margot's growth was evident and I enjoyed how she went from a spoiled, scared, and naïve girl to a woman finding and testing her own strength and mind. Arran matured into a man who learned to open his clueless eyes and pay attention to his wife, while not trying to mold her into what he thought she should be instead of who she truly was. I'd read about this couple all day.

Bonus:
Arran loves dogs and my crazy dog lady feelings couldn't handle it.

She was suddenly reminded of a young dog here at Balhaire who'd been badly injured by a trap that had been set illegaly. When the gamekeeper determined the poor dog could not be saved and, futhermore, would suffer in his last hours, she had watched Arran scoop the dog up in his arms and carry him from this very hall with tears on his face. He'd taken the dog into the woods and mercifully put it out of its misery. She shivered at the painful recollection of how he'd grieved for the dog.

Not going to lie, reading this and then how three gray muzzled dogs sleep on the bed, the only thought running through my head was Shut it Down, Shut it all Down. Any Romanices Hero of 2017 talk is over.

 

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text 2017-02-21 04:24
Reading Update: 30%
Wild Wicked Scot - Julia London

Ah, what silly, romantic notions lived in the minds of girls who were not yet women.

I'm obsessed with this story! The emotion, hurt, vulnerability, wanting, and needing brought on by a forced marriage (well one sided).
Gah! I know I'm not even halfway yet, but let it be know, I'M ABOUT THIS.

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review 2017-02-16 03:53
Good Story and Characters
Tangling with the London Tycoon - Suzi Jennings

Kitty couldn’t afford to let the opportunity of Rosco Redmond pass by. Kitty had never walked away from a challenge since she was sixteen. Then her mother had died and left her alone. Rosco was CEO of his family’s Investment And Publishing Groups. Kitty only had two hours to get things together and get to Rosco’s home for the photography assignment. He wanted Kitty to photograph his sister’s wedding but his way. He would make sure of the pictures she took and oversee them. Amanda was happy to be all over the social media but Rosco was in negotiations to win the contract for the pictorial history of the Duke of Sandford’s private palace that were almost over and Rosco wanted nothing to come between him getting this project. Rosco felt attraction to kitty but he didn’t get personal with employees.  The media was trying to link Rosco with Titania who was a pop star and on the wild side and Rosco definitely wanted to stop that rumor even though Titania was part of  the bridal party. Eighteen months earlier Kitty had found out she had four half sisters now they all lived together and had businesses in the warehouse they had refurbished. Kitty had agreed to run interference with the Titania situation as well as his aunts if Rosco would let her give him a presentation of her Bedouin project. Rosco ended up kissing kitty while hiding out from his aunts. Then Rosco shows up at Kitty’s sister restaurant and offers them a project they could work on together for him. But there is also still the attraction.

I liked this book a lot. It was a fun read but also pulled at your heartstrings how both Rosco and Kitty didn’t have a loving upbringing. I liked how Kitty found a room for her and Rosco to hide and almost get found out. I laughed out loud and choke up while reading this story and that is a good thing I felt like I was there.I like how Rosco and Kitty opened up to each other it added to the story that they trusted each other with a very painful part of their lives. It was a good plot and an enjoyable read. I loved the characters and the ins and outs and I recommend.

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review 2017-02-14 03:44
Review: Rake to Riches (The London Lords #2) by Nicola Davidson
Rake to Riches (The London Lords Book 2) - Nicola Davidson
Rake to riches is the second in the series but can be totally be read as a standalone.
Set in regency England, Louisa’s heart is more into the perils of science and experimentation (all kinds of it) than in fulfilling her parents’ wish of marrying a man of title if not money. Unfortunately the only man that could have at one time changed her mind about marriage holds no title and little can be said about his financial situation. Apparently something happened in the past that drew an edge between the two and made them become some sort of enemies after they had been good friends since childhood. Now Louisa wants nothing to do with the man but fate puts him again in her life and neither one of them have a choice but to learn to trust one another as they once did.

I adored the voice of this author, it just held my interest from page one. The dialogue was funny and engaging. The way she gave life to the characters was different from what I have read in the past. Each character was unique in their own way and not one of them tried to hide that uniqueness. For instance, George could have very well been the typical rake that sought pleasure because other things were denied from him but instead he simply rolled with the punches. Yes, he resented many things but he looked for solutions and not culprits. Another favorite of mine here was that Louisa was more concerned with being catalogued as a renowned scientist than a refined lady of the ton. She had her silly moments but she was at least trying to better herself. The romance was sweet yet passionate. The way George managed to keep Louisa to task with science was both endearing and entertaining. To me that said how much he knew her and that he truly care about her.
The rake to riches arc was interesting as well. If anything I would have loved to see what would have happened if George’s social circumstances had not changed at all or perhaps not so drastically. Either way the story ended in a satisfactory way and of course I will continue reading the series and anything else written by this author.

*** I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***
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