Book Review: My Soul To Give

review-cover-my soul to giveTitle: My Soul To Give [A Demon’s Love 1]

Author: Magali A. Frechette

Genre: Dark Romance, Contemporary, Fantasy

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When Celina Leviet escapes the brutal home invasion that kills her husband, she’s left with a bullet in her gut and vengeance in her heart. An alluring demon, Mekaisto, offers an irresistible deal—in exchange for her soul, he’ll let her live long enough to get her revenge, but she must hunt and kill the murderers herself.

After sealing the contract, Celina digs into her husband’s past for clues about his murder, and what she uncovers makes her question everything she thought she knew about him.

His company never existed.

His family history was a lie.

And he was involved with The Lumen, a shadowy religious order whose members know too much about demons. As the life she thought she knew crumbles around her, Mekaisto’s charms become harder to resist. Forced to face a horrible truth, Celina struggles against her late husband’s betrayal and the dark seduction of the devil she knows.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’ll admit it. I have a thing about demons in my romance fiction—I love the danger of the forbidden relationship they represent, and the tension in trying to figure out if they can truly be trusted at their word… so it should be no surprise that I enjoyed My Soul To Give by Magali A. Frechette. There was certainly an aspect of danger and the forbidden to its characters and plotline, even crossing over the line a little too far at times. This was definitely not your conventional romance.

The characters were interesting, complex, and compelling. Their romance was steamy, a bit taboo, and sweet at the same time. The mystery and aspects of the murder plotline kept the story jaunting along, and I couldn’t help but get sucked into the narrative.

I don’t think this story is going to work for everyone though. There are definitely a lot of questionable aspects of the characters and plot that aren’t going to sit well with some readers, especially those who are firmly religious. If you’re one of those people, this book is not going to be for you—and it’s not meant to be.

If you’re into dark fantasy, I highly recommend you pick this one up. It was certainly a captivating read, and the ending was one I didn’t see coming!

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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.

Book Review: Stranded, Stalked, and Finally Sated

 

review-cover-strandedstalkedandfinallysated

Title: Stranded, Stalked and Finally Sated [License To Love 1]

Author: Amelia Rose

Genre: Novella, Romance, Thriller

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Clara Roberts has found herself forced to flee across country, pursued by a madman who seems to have access to every aspect of her life. Consequently, she is off the grid and under the radar when her truck breaks down in a small corner of Southwestern, Oklahoma, and she finds herself at the mercy of a local cowboy. While she knows that she will eventually have to keep running to stay one step ahead of her stalker, she begins to find herself drawn to this man. With his support she decides that her life is something worth fighting for.

Shad Brandt wasn’t sure what to expect when he pulled over to help out the girl on the side of the road, but it isn’t long before he realizes that she was a lot more than he bargained for. He knows that she is running from something, but he can’t quite place his finger on what it is. However, he cannot turn his back on this woman in need and when he opens his home and his heart to her he finds something else entirely. So when danger comes to lay claim to Clara, he finds that he is willing to sacrifice everything to make sure she stays safe.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This was an exceedingly quick read (15-20 minutes), which I’ll admit, I wasn’t prepared for. I won a copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway back in April, and then picked up a free digital copy just a few days ago when it got discounted on Amazon. Not realizing this was a novella, I jumped in. By now, most of my review followers should be aware that I don’t particularly care for Novellas. I tend to prefer longer reads because as a whole, Novellas tend to feel rushed (understandably so—there’s a lot of information being packed into a spectacularly short word count).

As Novellas go, this was actually surprisingly well written. As far as the technical side is concerned: the grammar was spot-on. Word’s weren’t misspelled or redundant. Punctuation was correct, and the narrative moved at a quick jaunt. There was tension, and excellently written dialogue…overall, this was a well-written Novella.

Unfortunately, as with all Novellas, the story was a bit rushed—but even then, I must admit, the author managed to construct the story in such a way that the rushed bits didn’t feel disjointed or skipped over. I’ve found over the years that most Novella’s tend to have really rushed narrative. There’s a lot of “telling” as the characters skip through the story at light speed, sometimes forgoing scenes all together. In this story that isn’t the case. Scenes are played out naturally as if from a longer book. There are a fair share of time jumps; the story takes place over a period of about three days—but the important scenes are all present.

My biggest gripe is probably that the romance seems a bit fake. The characters are making out in the first 24 hours (okay it can happen) and having sex within the first 48 (again, it can happen, but we’re pushing it) by the end of the third day, they’re moving in together permanently (okay, you’d have to be insane to allow this…). It certainly stretches my ability to believe in the story, but considering the short length of the story, I feel I can suspend my disbelief a little.

Overall, the story is cute. It’s well written, and if you can get around the time frame, it’s a good story. There’s a steamy sex scene, and a (somewhat rushed) fight with a stalker—I will say that I wasn’t a huge fan of the stalker. He was creepy and adamant on pursuing the main female lead…but I’m not entirely sure why he was doing it.

Would I recommend this Novella? Yes. If you like steamy romances and have 20 minutes to pick up a book, this wouldn’t be a bad choice. Would I read it again? Sure. Why not? I’m not a huge fan of Novella’s, but this one was good.

In The Mail #14

I tend to post these a little late, trying to get more than one book in my “in the mail” posts, so I’ve had these for awhile now, but here are my recent accumulations.

ImageThe Reason is You by Sharla Lovelace:(Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance) In the small town of Bethany, Texas, Dani never fit in. Being different pushed her to the fringes of society, and even leaving town for two decades didn’t stop the talk. Now she’s back, trying to settle in with her daughter and have a normal life. But the men in her life might not make it that simple. First, there’s her old friend Alex. He’s mischievous, sexy, and still hot enough to melt her shoes. And he’s a ghost—a real one, who’s always been there for her when she most needed him. Of course, there are actual men in Bethany, too. Like Jason with his hard body. Dani seems to have a habit of running into him—literally. Now she must decide between a man who long ago touched her heart and a man she can actually touch.

ImageTo Stand Beside Her by B. Kristin McMichael: (Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance) To be the best courier in the world, eighteen-year-old Benét Leila follows three simple rules: always work alone, never stay in one place too long, and never fall in love. Too bad she didn’t follow her own advice.

Leila is a courier. To the people she takes from, she is seen as a common thief; to the people she helps, she is a savior.

Nalick is your typical king. He’s rich, powerful, and always assumed to be right. When Leila crosses paths with King Nalick, she finds herself trapped. In a rush to save her best friend Kay from a prison sentence for a crime Leila committed, Leila trades her hand in marriage in exchange for Kay’s freedom.

Tomboy Leila does not want to grow up, but in three months’ time, she will be married to King Nalick, if Nalick can keep his end of the bargain. First, Nalick must make Leila fall in love with him, a hard task since Leila is not ready to love again after losing her first love to a greedy king. Second, Nalick must keep her safe. He is not the only king trying to hold onto her. Leila has made many enemies over the years, and even more admirers that want her as a prize. Lastly, Nalick must convince Leila that ten years of love is better than a lifetime without. Unless Leila can trust her destiny, she might not reach her wedding day at all.

ImageStranded, Stalked, and Finally Sated by Amelia Rose: (Western, Romance) Clara Roberts has found herself forced to flee across country, pursued by a madman who seems to have access to every aspect of her life. Consequently, she is off the grid and under the radar when her truck breaks down in a small corner of Southwestern, Oklahoma, and she finds herself at the mercy of a local cowboy. While she knows that she will eventually have to keep running to stay one step ahead of her stalker, she begins to find herself drawn to this man. With his support she decides that her life is something worth fighting for.

Shad Brandt wasn’t sure what to expect when he pulled over to help out the girl on the side of the road, but it isn’t long before he realizes that she was a lot more than he bargained for. He knows that she is running from something, but he can’t quite place his finger on what it is. However, he cannot turn his back on this woman in need and when he opens his home and his heart to her he finds something else entirely. So when danger comes to lay claim to Clara, he finds that he is willing to sacrifice everything to make sure she stays safe.

Book Review: Love at First Sight

ImageTitle: Love at First Sight [A Cupid, Texas Novel]

Author: Lori Wilde

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Adult Fiction

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis: From the author of the Twilight, Texas books comes the first in a dazzling new Cupid, Texas series. Lori Wilde welcomes us to Cupid, where every wish for love comes true…

Natalie McCleary couldn’t believe her eyes-a lean-muscled, darkly tanned, nearly-naked man stood in her path…and then it hit her: love. Everyone always told her it’d hit like a thunderbolt, and she never believed them. But now she knew: practical, sensible Natalie was head over heels in love-with a stranger.

But ex-Navy SEAL Dade Vega wasn’t about to be a stranger for long. He’d ridden into Cupid on his motorcycle, vowing to keep a promise he’d made to a military buddy. But a single glimpse at Natalie-soaking wet and unexpectedly tempting-changed his life forever.
But how can he offer her is love, when he can’t even promise to stay in one place for longer than a week?

WARNING – SPOILERS WILL ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I adore this book. I’ll admit that I was thrilled to get this in the mail only to find it had a cowboy on the cover. I can’t explain my obsession with cowboy-romances. Was this a cowboy romance? No – and I don’t even care. Cover aside, this was a heart-warming story about who individuals, both scarred literally and figuratively by their pasts who find out that true-love at first-sight really does exist. The main couple, Natalie and Dade, fall head over heals for one another despite all their protesting to the contrary, and a steamy, fast-paced relationship ensues.

This book had heart-warming moments, humerus antics, and dire mysteries to solve. I couldn’t put it down! So who cares if the cover has a cowboy on it and there are no cowboys in the story. I could care less. This was awesome, and if you love true romance stories that aren’t all about the sexy-times, but more about the emotional attachment, you’ll love this story. (Not that it didn’t have some steamy moments too!)

The writing was extremely well done: clear and easy to follow, the characters unique and memorable, and the pace was just right. If you’re a big fan of sure-read romances and feel-good afternoon stories, be sure to pick this up in May. It’s 369 pages of loveable goodness.