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review 2018-03-24 10:30
Kiss of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
Kiss of the Highlander (Highlander, #4) - Karen Marie Moning

Gwen Cassidy, virgin extraordinaire, wants to be a virgin no more. That's why she's in Scotland on vacation—she's looking for her cherry popper. Unfortunately, she ends up on a seniors bus tour of Scotland and right when she's quit smoking.

To get away from her travel companions, she goes on a short trek in the hills above Loch Ness only to end up chasing her backpack into a ravine, and ending up in a cave, on top of a male body. A warm, hunky male body. A warm, hunky, hard male body. And he doesn't seem to mind.

Pity, the kilt-clad Highlander isn't entirely sane, trying to convince her he's from the sixteenth century and literally kidnapping her to help him get back to his home.

Unfortunately, this is the second worst book in this series for me (after Beyond the Highland Mist). It's not that it's badly written, slow of pace or that the story is weak. It's the "conflict" and its span that bothers me.
For the first hundred or so pages, she's the stubborn one, refusing to believe him, thinking he's crazy...Then she falls for him (after mere three days of acquaintance), gives him her virginity (because we have to keep the reader engaged; sex is the best way)...And for the next hundred pages or so, the roles are completely reversed, with him being stubborn, refusing to believe her and thinking her crazy, while she takes on the role of "sexual pursuer", determined to seduce him (like he did in the beginning), while he secretly lusts for her (as she did in the beginning).

It went on for too long, this back and forth, not really adding depth or "crunch" to the story. Instead of spending that (unnecessary) time by giving depth and layers to the characters, providing much needed information to the reader as to why these two were in love (personality and personality traits, character etc.), these two hundred plus pages are spent with one of the other trying to change the other's mind, while drooling over the other's body. And in the end, poof, they're just in love.
Why? Because they're just too stubborn to give up? Because they're hot enough for the other to notice? Because they're open-minded enough to accept even the least possible explanations? I don't get it, and it bothers me.

The second thing that really bothered me, was the initial "incarnation" of the heroine. At the beginning, this supposed genius, came across as an air-headed, desperate virgin with only sex on her mind. She was twenty-five, not fifty-five, yet so desperate she was willing to toss her cherry at a complete stranger just to get rid of it.
The third problem was the hero. Sure, he was chivalrous, sexy, smart, tender, etc....Every character trait a hero in a romance novel should have was there, with that added dash of blind hard-headedness toward the end, but he still somehow came across as bland. He was a template, a form filled to perfection, but that was it.

Then there were their antics in the second half of the story, where she tried to pin him down to tell him the story, and he kept eluding her, going so far as jumping out the window, until she finally managed to trap him.
These attempts might've started off as slightly humorous, but quickly turned pathetic and too desperate for comfort.

This book also had its redeeming qualities (luckily). The "magic" elements, the wonderful supporting cast (with Silvan, Nell, and, of course, Dageus, the Dark Highlander, topping the list), and the enchanting setting of Alba. And yes, those pages where all was good between Gwen and Drustan, where they were on the same wavelength, woke up the romantic in me, and I was willing to suspend my disbelief for those moments (we all need those "aww, how cute is that" moments in our lives and our fiction).

Yeah, even on this second read, I had difficulties with this book. It's a wonderful romance story in all, but it could've been so much more.

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review 2018-03-24 09:43
The Pride of the Peacock
The Pride of the Peacock - Victoria Holt

My rating is an attempt at objectivity.  Objectively speaking, this is a very well-written romantic suspense, heavy on the romance.  I believe it to be everything that was beloved of romances in the 60's and 70's.  It was very well plotted and a great deal of care was taken with both atmosphere and characterisations.


Thus ends objectivity.  I disliked this book.  It is the embodiment of everything I find tedious in romances, in spite of wanting to enjoy them.  The whole misunderstanding / lack of communication trope makes me want to set fire to the book as I'm reading it.  It would take an emotionally neglected and abused protagonist to find the romantic interest in this book romantic or heroic in the least.  He was vain, arrogant and stupid.  She was just stupid, although I give her credit for being a smart-ass.


The setting for the first half of the book was England, and the second half in an Australian opal mining town, during a time before combustion engines and electricity were a thing (no specific date is ever named in the book).  I thought at first this would be a saving grace, because I'm moderately interested in opals.  But Holt was apparently obsessed with them, and her characters were mad about them.  There was so much obsessing and evangelising about the damn opals.  Holt was too heavy handed and went too far; by the end she'd almost killed any interest I had in them at the start. 


A true connoisseur of the romance genre might enjoy this for the nostalgia if not for the good story behind it (and it is a good story).  Me, I'm going back to my wheelhouse of murder and mayhem for awhile, before getting back up on this genre-horse.


This book works for the Kill Your Darlings game card Crime Scene: Pemberley.  "Pride" being in the title of the book.

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text 2018-03-24 07:10
Blog Tour - The Marine's Seduction


The Marine’s Seduction


1 MSeduction  


Best friends since childhood, Bristol Abbot and Roan Storm wouldn’t dream of mucking up their relationship with sex, until his deployment going away party and too much tequila drive them together.


Six weeks later, there’s more than just friendship at stake.


Bristol is pregnant while Roan is stationed overseas for six more months, and neither knows what comes next.


As the weeks turn into months, their friendship morphs into a shared devotion to their child and each other. Bristol is determined to honor her promise of including Roan in their child’s life, she just has no assumptions of a deeper relationship no matter how much she wants more.  For Roan, what once seemed impossible, now feels as necessary as breathing, and he comes home with a new set of orders in mind.


This Marine has seduction on the brain…


Buy links: https://lorikingbooks.wordpress.com/books/storm-corps/


Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/Storm-Corps-Series-565188477165130/






“Whose idea was it to get an apartment on the third floor of a building with no fucking elevator?” she groaned, holding her head.

“If I recall, you wanted this place because of the rooftop deck. Said you could watch the sunrise whenever you wanted like you were on top of the world.”

“Yes, the roof!” Bristol nodded and clapped her hands excitedly. “Let’s go up there and look at the stars.”


“You need to get some sleep, B,” he protested as she pulled him through the small apartment to the stairway he knew led above.

“I will, but we can look at the stars now, then when you’re gone, I’ll think of you every time I look up at them. I’ll know you’re looking at the same stars, thinking of me.”

Roan knew she probably didn’t intend her words to be so sentimental, but the alcohol was acting like a truth serum, and it shut down her inhibitions. She rarely allowed anyone to see this side of her. Following her up the tiny flight of stairs, he was soon seated on a wooden lounge chair, with her between his legs, her back against his chest, his arms wrapped around her to keep her warm.

“See, there’s my favorite, Ursa Major, the Big Bear,” she pointed upwards.


“Isn’t that the Big Dipper?”


“Yes and no. The Big Dipper is part of the Big Bear, but they’re still two different constellations,” she explained. “My dad taught me that when I was tiny.”


Her voice was wistful when she spoke of her recently deceased father, and Roan hugged her tighter. Having lost his own mother to uterine cancer when he was eleven, he sympathized with her pain.


“Roan, how much longer do you think you can take doing these missions?” she asked randomly.


Stunned silent, he could only shrug behind her.


“You’ve been gone more than you’ve been home. Don’t you get lonely?”


“Sure, every Marine gets lonely occasionally, but I’m one of the lucky ones because I get constant contact. You and my family send me packages, letters, and cards, and I can use FaceTime on some missions, Skype on others. There are plenty of guys over there who don’t have access to any of that.”


“Would you stay if they gave you the option?”


Roan tensed and frowned down at the top of her head, “What do you mean?”


“I don’t know. I just hate when you’re gone. My world seems off-kilter somehow.” She sat up abruptly. “I’m like Lucy with no Ethel.”


“Excuse me?” He felt his eyebrow arch in question. “I am no Ethel. If anyone here is Lucy, it’s me.”


“Nah, Lucy was always instigating trouble, and Ethel just went along with it.”


“Which is exactly why I’m the Lucy in this relationship,” Roan laughed. She shivered, and he tugged her back against him. Instead of resuming their spooned position, she lay sideways against him, her shoulder on his chest, her hands dangerously close to forbidden territory. “If you’re cold, we should go back downstairs.”


“I don’t want to yet. I like having you all to myself,” she sighed and tipped her face up, the pale moonlight barely lighting her face properly. “Have you ever thought about giving it up? The Marines, I mean?”


“Aw, B, of course, it’s crossed my mind. Every man who’s had to watch a friend die or had to kill someone has second-guessed his career choice, but I was born to be a Marine. Giving it up would be like giving up air. My body just wouldn’t work anymore.”

She nodded, “I figured you would say something like that.” “I always come back.”


Author Bio:


Best-selling author, Lori King, is also a full-time wife and mother of three boys. Although she rarely has time to just enjoy feminine pursuits; at heart she is a hopeless romantic. She spends her days dreaming up Alpha men, and her nights telling their stories. An admitted TV and book junkie, she can be found relaxing with a steamy story, or binging in an entire season of some show online. She gives her parents all the credit for her unique sense of humor and acceptance of all forms of love. There are no two loves alike, but you can love more than one with your whole heart.  


With the motto: Live, Laugh, and Love like today is your only chance, she will continue to write as long as you continue to read. Thank you for taking the time to indulge in a good Happily Ever After with her.    


Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ 

Google+ ~ Pinterest ~ Tumblr ~ Facebook Author Page


Crawley Creek Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/crawleycreek


Surrender Series Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Surrender-by-Lori-King/329805990547333


Fetish & Fantasy Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fetish-Fantasy-by-Lori-King/1520280241559275


The Gray Pack Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/thegraypack


Storm Corps Series Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/StormCorpsSeries



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review 2018-03-23 21:06
What It Looks Like by Matthew J. Metzger Review
What It Looks Like - Matthew J. Metzger

Eli Bell is the only son of a police chief inspector and a forensic scientist. He's grown up wonky in a world that only deals with the straight and narrow -- and his new boyfriend isn't helping.

Rob Hawkes is six feet of muscle, tattoos, and arrest warrants. A career criminal and a former tenant of Her Majesty's Prison Service, he'd rather hit Eli's parents than sit down to dinner with them. One wrong move, and Rob could destroy Eli -- and his family -- without a second thought.

But this isn't what it looks like.

Rob's not in control here -- and Eli's the one to blame.




This book is a bit of a wild ride. Both Rob and Eli have explosive tempers. They fight. With each other and in Eli's case with his family members. 

There are class difference and some star crossed issue to clear up. The BDSM parts were a bit intense for me but I bought into the love between the heroes.

The portions of the book that dealt with transgender identify and family emotionially connected as did the discussion of police and public relations. 

The resolution to the conflicts was a bit over the top but in here is tucked a pretty good love story.

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review 2018-03-23 19:21
The Surprise Bride saved by a Heartbroken Indian, Faith Johnson

I really enjoyed this Western Historical Romance. I voluntarily chose to review this and I gave it a 5* rating. This clean read, has a bit of action in it, some good guys and at least one bad guy. I really liked the dynamics of the story. It wasn't real long but ending with a good feeling.

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