Book Review: Legacy of Lies

review-cover-legacy of liesTitle: Legacy of Lies [Hell’s Valley 1]

Author: Jillian David

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Thriller, Paranormal

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Garrison Taggart doesn’t have time to deal with touchy-feely junk like “trust issues” or “feelings.” His dad’s health is waning and the family’s Wyoming ranch is being sabotaged. Too bad his supernatural ability to tell when someone is lying has been exactly zero help in ferreting out the betrayer so far. So, when sweet schoolteacher Sara Lopez raises concerns about his son being bullied, who can blame a guy for getting a little testy?

The last thing Sara needs is any more attention or gossip after her recent breakup with big-shot rancher Hank Brand. So her attraction to surly but sexy Garrison, Hank’s rival, is entirely unwanted. When she uncovers an insane plot to kidnap the Taggart boy and throws herself in harm’s way to protect him, Garrison must risk his deepest secret and his own life to save the people he cares for the most. But will his heroics cost him everything?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I really enjoyed Legacy of Lies by Jillian David. It was a strange and fresh new concept of a contemporary rancher-romance juxtaposed with elements of paranormal and thriller, which isn’t something I’ve run across in the past.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. There were no obvious or jarring typos. The narrative was clean, flowed easily, and for the most part, the dialogue was believable and natural.

The main characters were flawed, interesting, and adorable in their strained romance—but I also think they were possibly the weakest point of the story. I liked them—I did, but there was this weird back and forth with the two main characters where they loved each other, but kept self-doubting their way out of the relationship. The way they kept backing out of the romance was irritating, frustrating, and honestly, didn’t make a lot of sense at times. It came across as a bit contrived.

That aside, I still greatly enjoyed the book. The plot was new and interesting, I liked the characters and their development. Had it not been for the constant self-doubt of the main characters, this easily would have gotten 5 stars. I was entertained, and I got sucked into the book. There’s not much more I can ask for. If you enjoy rancher-romances or enjoy contemporary paranormal or romantic thrillers, you’ll probably really enjoy this story. I’d suggest giving it a try.

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Book Review: A Conall Christmas

cover-review-a conall christmasTitle: A Conall Christmas [Morna’s Legacy 2.5]

Author: Bethany Claire

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Time Travel, Historical, Novella

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Christmas is quickly approaching, and Adelle is determined to make this Christmas the best one Conall Castle has ever seen, but loneliness haunts her. Love for her daughter sent her into the past, but she’d not expected the isolation she would feel. A former socialite and serial dater, she finds that her current age seems much older in the seventeenth century than it did in the twenty-first. She resigns herself to the fact that she will remain single for the rest of her days. At least until an unexpected visitor arrives at the castle.

Hew Moray has spent the last twenty years all alone, only leaving his isolated home once a year to pay homage to the wife he lost long ago. When a winter storm causes him to seek shelter at the castle where his sister lives, he meets the first lass since his beloved Mae to make his heart flutter in his chest once again. Will he be able to release himself from his past grief to allow another love to enter his life? If he does, will his love be returned?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’m not the type that usually enjoys novellas. I tend to find them rushed, and too short to really enjoy, so when I do pick one up, it’s usually a miracle in and of itself. In this case, it’s a bigger one because I actually enjoyed the novella. I know, I was shocked too.

A Conall Christmas by Bethany Claire was well written, and even paced. I didn’t run into any typos, misplaced punctuation, improper grammar, or awkward sentence structures. The writing was fluid and clear, and the characters were both familiar from the series and endearing. I don’t often find myself reading romance fiction where the couple involved is of an older age, nor do I seek it out, but other than one small mental image I did not need, I didn’t have a problem with the romance between Adelle and Hew. The two were adorable together, and I was cheering them on throughout the story.

That being said, I can’t say that I wasn’t a little throwna by the author’s use of technology in the historical era. It seems almost too easy for things like stereo’s and batteries to be accepted openly by the cast of the Morna’s Legacy series, but I’ll let it slide, because it really was an endearing little story.

Overall, I enjoyed the novella, and it really would be a wonderful read for the holiday season—if I had actually read it during the holidays. If you’re looking for a quick read to enjoy a little closer to Christmas and you enjoy time travel romances, I suggest you pick this one up and give it a try. It has puppies.

Book Review: Love Beyond Hope

cover-review-love beyond hopeTitle: Love Beyond Hope [Morna’s Legacy 3]

Author: Bethany Claire

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Time Travel, Historical

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Baodan McMillan values many things in life: friendship, loyalty, kindness, but certainly not love. After the tragic death of his wife many years ago, he hardened himself to the idea of giving his heart to another. There is but one lass who can thaw his chilly heart, a lass he’s never met nor knows of, a lass whose birth won’t occur until centuries after his death…

Mitsy Fredrickson is in serious need of a distraction. With the ink still drying on her divorce papers, she flies to Scotland determined to forget about her own problems by helping her best friend re-enter reality. She knows Bri’s claims that she is able to travel back in time and is currently living in the year 1647 are a lie but, instead of locating her friend, Mitsy falls prey to the same magic and is quickly forced to believe the impossible.

Modern and sassy, Mitsy finds few who know how to take her fiery personality in the seventeenth century, but she finds her match in Baodan, laird of McMillan Castle. He is her opposite in every way, yet she feels balanced in his presence. The more time she spends with him, the harder she falls. She suspects he feels the same way, but something is holding him back — a dark secret from his past that even Baodan doesn’t fully understand. Mitsy works to uncover what is hidden in the hopes that with resolution Baodan will be free to love her. But the truth is darker than she expects, and it threatens to destroy them both.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I adored this book—much more so than the second in the series. Mitsy was one hell of an intelligent, spitfire of a heroine, and I loved every moment spent with her.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. Other than one misused word (Shuttered should not be the equivalent of Shuddered), the writing was practically flawless. I didn’t run into any typos, awkward sentences, incorrect grammar, or improper punctuation. The writing was clear and fluid and moved at a good pace. I was sucked into the story from the very beginning and didn’t stop until the book was over.

I felt the characters were well characterized, and I especially loved Mitsy, Baodan, and E-o (it’s okay Mitsy, I can’t pronounce or spell his name either). Though Niall was a little too black-hat for my tastes (what I wouldn’t give for a cleverly characterized villain who is neither good nor evil, but a delightful shade of gray), he served his purpose… though I still don’t entirely understand what his motives were.

My only true complaint, once again, is that the romance moved a little too quickly for me to be comfortable. I understand that Mitsy and Baodan fell in lust at first sight. The guy was hot, and she was a quirky redhead. Who wouldn’t love her? But, in what seemed like a few short days, they were ready to tie the knot. There was never any tension between them, no obstacles in their way to drive them together or apart as the book wore on. Their relationship was easy, and never in question. I only wish there’d been more drama between them.

I like the series so far, but I will admit that it seems to be a running theme that the characters all get pretty easy happily ever after’s. For whatever reason, the complications thrown in their way are almost always solved almost before they even cause a problem for the characters, and just about every character is suddenly falling madly in love despite years of not being interested. It doesn’t ring as genuine.  For hardcore romance readers who enjoy formulaic romance, this isn’t going to be a problem… but if you’re more of a fantasy reader who enjoys romance as a subplot, you may find it a little hard to believe—as I do.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I’d recommend it for someone looking for a heartwarming romance with a sassy heroine.

Book Review: Love Beyond Reason

cover-review-love beyond reasonTitle: Love Beyond Reason [Morna’s Legacy 2]

Author: Bethany Claire

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Time Travel, Historical

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

It all started with a spell.

Arran Conall lives with the consequences of his foolishness daily, his mistakes guiding him into darkness. He had no way to know that his beloved would fall prey to the ancient magic that awaited Blaire on the day he’d sent her away to marry his brother. Now, the only woman to ever give pause to his philandering ways lives centuries ahead of him, out of reach while still holding on to his heart. Now, he must try to live a life without her and marries another to save the lass from a greedy suitor who only wants to lay title to her father’s territory.

His love for Blaire haunts him. With every breath, he prays only one thing “” that she will be able to feel his love for her across the chasms of time.

Born in the seventeenth century, Blaire MacChristy lives each day trying to adjust to the challenges of modern-day life. Magic brought her here, but heartbreak keeps her from using the magic to travel back to her home. When visitors from her past arrive asking her to return to the life she’d known before, Blaire takes a chance on love. Once home, she is shocked to learn that the man she loves has married another. Will fate find a way to mend their broken hearts by bringing them together once again? Even if it does, will they be able to stop the darkness that is coming for them both?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Ah, yet another addition to the Morna’s Legacy series. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to discover that the second book in the series revolved around Arran and Blaire, and their complicated and often tragic love story. I fell in love with the two characters during the first installment to the series and was excited to delve into their story.

Technically speaking, the story was well written. The narrative moved along at a steady pace, was easy to read, and engaging. There weren’t any noticeable typo’s or punctuation problems, nor any awkward sentences or grammatical foibles to stumble over. I was sucked into the story right away and felt compelled to find out what would happen to the characters as I read. I couldn’t have asked for more!

Like the first book, however, the story wasn’t without it’s problems. Though a little slower paced that the first book, the plot was far more complicated. Problems seemed to be thrown at the various characters right and left—dire problems that should not have easily been overcome… unfortunately, they were usually fixed with little trouble. Many of the issues that arose for the characters were resolved almost before they knew about the problems to begin with, or very easily thereafter. It seemed like fate and luck were on their side, and because of it, it was hard to believe that there was any real danger of the characters not getting their happy ending. I really wished that the tension had been dragged out a little more, and the almost insurmountable problems hadn’t been so easily solved.

I can’t complain too much, though. Despite the all-too-easy way the plot was handled, I did enjoy the story. The characters have evolved and begun to develop more since the first book in the series, and the author stayed true to their voices. Overall, I’m glad I picked up the book. Despite it’s negatives, I feel the positives far outshine them. I’m interested to see how the series progresses in the next few books.

Book Review: Love Beyond Time

review-cover-love beyond timeTitle: Love Beyond Time [Morna’s Legacy 1]

Author: Bethany Claire

Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Romance, Historical

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

It began nearly four hundred years ago. The Conall clan and all their people were murdered in a surprise attack, their beloved castle and all evidence of who destroyed them burned to the ground with their bodies. In the centuries following, archaeologists searched through the ruins looking for any evidence of what or who had caused the untimely demise of such a powerful Scottish clan. All efforts were fruitless, until a spell put in place by an ancient Conall ancestor finally began to work its magic…

Texas kindergarten teacher, Brielle Montgomery, finds comfort in the mundane routines of her life, but when her archaeologist mother asks her to accompany her on a dig in Scotland, she decides to step out of her comfort zone. Once in Scotland, they discover a secret spell room below the castle ruins, and Bri finds herself transported back in time and suddenly married to the castle’s ill-fated Laird. Now, she must work to change the fate of his people, all while trying to find a way to return to her home and century. But with each passing day, Bri finds herself falling more deeply in love with her new husband. If she can find a spell to bring her home, will she use it? And if she stays, will it ultimately mean her own death as well?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I enjoyed Love Beyond Time by Bethany Claire. Having never read this particular author’s work before, I was curious to pick up the first book in the Morna’s Legacy series to see what all the fuss was about—and I wasn’t disappointed.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. I didn’t stumble across any misspelled words, awkward sentences, incorrect punctuation or grammatical errors. The pace was a bit fast for my liking, but not egregiously so, and I found myself easily slipping into the story from the beginning. The writing was engaging and clean and read like a polished Harlequin romance… for better or worse.

I liked the characters, especially poor Brielle (love her name), who found herself sucked into the past and did her best to make an impossible situation as pleasant as possible—even if she had to delude herself a little to accomplish the feat. However, I’ll admit that there was a certain lack of depth to some of the characters that left me with some doubts.

To be clear, I really enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t without it’s problems. The book was almost a little too formulaic. There was a certain lack of complexity to the characters, a lack of grittiness to the world Brielle was thrust into that made it seem as if things were perhaps going a little too easily for the heroine. Situations arose where the solutions just seemed to pop up on their own before things got too tense, and after awhile, I felt that it sucked some of the interest out of the story for me. The quick pace of the writing contributed to the problem, making it seem as if maybe some of the world building and character development had been left out in lieu of moving the story along as quickly as possible. It wasn’t bad… but I think it could have been better.

Overall, I liked the story, the characters, the plot, even the writing. Was it the best I’ve read? No. I wish there had been a little more to it… but it’s still a good book, and I’m glad to have read it. I think people who read typical formulaic Harlequin-esque romance literature will appreciate the story a lot more than the typical fantasy reader, but I’d urge you to give it a try if you like time travel romances.