Monday, April 29, 2019

Book Review: Not Your Average Earl by Eliza Lloyd

Not Your Average Earl by Eliza Lloyd

Publisher & Release: Self-Published, March 27, 2019

Time and setting:  Regency England

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:  238 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

A disturbing letter from India. A child not his own. Leo Bennett is bound to accept the child, as she is legally his. He didn't believe in love at first sight, but Celeste has become his reason for living. And the governess has become a thorn in his side. 

Rose Stewart has an unnatural attachment to the child. And she has a valise full of secrets. Like being the duke of Murton's estranged granddaughter. It's not as if she lies, she just omits telling the truth.

Her troubles entangled Leo in a battle of wills, a determination to return her to her rightful place in society and the silent struggle of denied feelings.

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Vikki’s Musings

It’s been quite some time since I’ve read one of Eliza Lloyd’s books, and I thoroughly enjoyed Not Your Average Earl. I clearly remember why I loved her books! Thanks goes to the author for reaching out to me and offering a chance to read and review this excellent story. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Not Your Average Earlis an emotionally-charged love story who come together through a young toddler. I loved Celeste, what a darling little girl! This Regency romance kept me enmeshed from the first page to the last. The pacing is perfect, the dialogue is realistic, and all the characters are amazing. The plot is unique and heartfelt. 

Rose Stewart’s character captured my heart from the first page. Her fierce love for Celeste is so admirable. I loved her determination to stay with the little girl, even if she had to lie and keep her secrets close. Rose experiences a lot of shame over her family’s poor decisions, especially her mother and brother. Craving excitement from a lack luster marriage, she came close to making a poor decision as well. When she meets Leo, she tried to resist her growing attraction for him. Not only is he physically appealing, his kindness and acceptance of Celeste, melts her heart.

Leo Bennet is a great hero. When he learns his late wife is dead, and a little girl is on her way to him, he does the honorable thing and accepts little Celeste as his own, although he is not her biological father. At first, he tries to send the governess away, but Rose Stewart is having none of that. He quickly grows to admire her tenacity and desperately falls in love with her, although, he has every reason to distrust women after his late wife’s betrayal.

One of the aspects of historical romance I dearly love most is that sexual tension, and Ms. Lloyd certainly knows how to create it! The chemistry between Rose and Leo grows stronger until it bursts into flames. I really wanted them to find their happy ending.

If you love Regency romance with plenty of heart and deep emotion, along with amazing characters, then you will love Not Your Average Earlas much as I. I will definitely be reading the other books in this great series. I highly recommend this book and this talented author. Happy reading!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Book Review: Hide and Seek by Mary Burton

Hide and Seek by Mary Burton

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, April 23, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Virginia

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Book Length:  344 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

She’s hunting. He’s watching.
Special Agent Macy Crow is a survivor. After a vicious hit-and-run nearly kills her, she gets right back to work, and now she’s gunning for a spot on the FBI’s elite profiling team. As an audition, she offers to investigate the recently discovered bones of Tobi Turner, a high school girl who disappeared fifteen years ago.
While investigating with local sheriff Mike Nevada, a former colleague and onetime lover, Macy discovers a link between Tobi’s case and several others that occurred around the same time as her disappearance. As Macy interviews victims and examines old cases, she uncovers a sinister picture of a stalker who graduated to sexual assault—and then murder.
Macy and Nevada race to put this monster behind bars before he can come out of hiding. But the murderer’s had years to hone his skills, and soon Macy herself becomes a target. She’s no stranger to pain and terror, but will Macy’s first profiling case be her last?

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Hide and Seek is another spine-chilling romantic thriller from Mary Burton. I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review this book prior to publication, and could not wait to read it. My opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.

This is a fast-paced novel with plenty of suspense and intrigue. It kept me enmeshed from the first page to the last. The writing is amazing, the plot is brilliant, the main characters are dynamic, and the villain is truly evil. While I suspected who the villain might be, it did not take away from the excitement at all.

I met Macy Crow in Cut and Run, and I hoped I would see more of her. I’m so pleased to have her story in Hide and Seek. She is intriguing with so many facets to her character. Her determination to solve the case is amazing. She’s like a dog with a bone who will not give it up! While her character is gritty, she has a vulnerable side as well. After recovering from her near-death experience, she wants to prove she still has it as a profiler for the FBI.

Mike Nevada’s character is her ex-lover and the sheriff of Deer Run. He’s connects the bones found recently, to several cold cases from 2004. Using DNA, he confirms his suspicions. He involves the FBI, and is glad when they send Macy, the woman he never should have let slip through his fingers. His feelings for Macy are strong from the beginning, and while they work to solve the case, he falls even harder for her.

As with most romantic Thrillers, the romance is not as strong as the suspense, but no less fulfilling. The attraction between Mike and Macy is blistering. I enjoyed that aspect of the story a great deal and wanted them to find their happy ending. 

If you are looking for a novel that’s hard to put down with plenty of suspense and a “who done it” mystery to solve, then you will enjoy Hide and Seek. I certainly look forward to reading other releases by this amazing author in the future. She’s fast becoming one of my favorite Romantic Thriller authors. Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Book Blitz: Duncan by Dennis McCort

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Date Published: February 2019
Publisher: Gatekeeper Press

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A cunning pederastic serial killer nicknamed “Santa” is making his way up the East Coast from New Orleans to Boston, leaving a trail of young bodies in his wake. Santa covers his tracks along the way by working as an itinerant bass player in a series of jazz combos. At the same time, the Driscoll family – Mark, Julie and their nine-year-old son Nate – who live in an upstate suburb of Syracuse, New York, struggle to come to grips with Mom’s quadriplegia following a horrific auto accident. The suspense builds to a fever pitch as these two plot strands approach each other for the inevitable confrontation. All this tension is heightened by the mystery of Duncan, Nate’s stuffed-toy gorilla, who is not only the boy’s beloved companion but becomes a kind of family totem, and, later on in the story, so much more.

This is a novel not only for readers addicted to thrill rides and maddening suspense, but also those who are curious about the abnormal psychology of the pedophiliac killer. The book gives food for thought as well as a kind of perverse satisfaction for the imagination and senses. It is a thinking reader’s thriller.

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It was the best cut at the ball little Joey Simmons had ever taken, but he fouled it back over the chain-link fence. As catcher, Zach Moss had the job of retrieving it. He slipped down through the hollowed-out area under the fence, looked both ways before crossing the empty street lined with warehouses and loading docks, and darted across to where the ball lay nestled against the curb—just a few feet in front of the charcoal van. It was Sunday afternoon and the area was deserted. As Zach reached down, out of the corner of his eye he spotted the tall man in the black polo shirt leaning casually against the van’s open sliding door, kicking a crushed paper cup to the curb.

                “Whatcha got there, pal?”

                “A baseball,” Zach answered shyly, noticing the van was empty.

                “Wow, that looks like a Phillies ball. I’ll bet you caught it off the bat of Ryan Howard or some big slugger like that, huh? Could I have a look?”

                Zach hesitated, torn between advancing and retreating, politeness and caution. That hesitation sealed the boy’s doom. The man made as if to reach for the ball, but grabbed the little wrist holding it instead. It was a deft move, a practiced move, and lightning fast, carried out with the larcenous dexterity of a seasoned pickpocket. The boy was so stunned that he forgot to scream.

                The sliding door slammed shut and the man was behind the wheel pressing the accelerator before the boys on the ball field knew what was happening. He had kept himself on the sidewalk side of the van during the entire abduction, carefully hidden from their view. Zach knew he’d done something very wrong, even though he hadn’t meant to. All those endlessly repeated parental warnings raced across his mind, all the “Don’t ever listen’s” and “Always avoid’s” and “Run screaming from’s.” Could he have another chance? Please! He’d do it right this time. He splayed his fingers against the window, crying out—too late—to his friends as the van pulled away. He hadn’t noticed that its windows were dark-tinted, transparent only from the inside.

                Passing through the industrial outskirts of the city, the van headed up Old York Road into the northern suburbs. It neither sped nor lagged and it obeyed all traffic laws. The man at the wheel enjoyed a supreme confidence in his trapping skills. It was a craft, an art even, and he had mastered it. Soon there was more wilderness than houses, until at some point the van turned left off the main road onto a poorly marked crossroad that, in short order, forked at a dirt road. The van took the dirt road across a tiny rustic bridge spanning a creek, continuing then across a cleared, open field on the right, at the end of which stood a modest white colonial house atop a gently sloping lawn. Potted plants overhung the small porch with its two rockers diagonally facing each other on either side of the front door. The place stood in the open, yet was well hidden by hilly wilderness beyond property boundaries. The dirt road saw little traffic.

                The van pulled off the road and circled around to the rear of the house, stopping next to the angled steel cellar doors. The man got out, looked around and inhaled deeply, basking in the mellow sunlight of late afternoon. He was alone, the only sound that of the gently rustling trees. He slid open the van’s side door and leaned in, hands braced against the roof, ogling his prey with satisfaction. And lust.

                Terror widened the boy’s eyes, making them—and him—all the more alluring to his captor. He cowered, pressed against the corner of his seat, his body balled up in futile self-protection.

                “What do you want, mister? Why am I here?” he asked tentatively, knowing full well the man knew he knew why he was there.

                “All in good time, Zach, all in good time,” the man chuckled. He’d heard the other kids call the boy by name weeks ago when he first began scouting him. He always made sure, if at all possible, to get a kid’s name before taking him. The process went much smoother that way. Strategic use of a boy’s name soothed the boy with the delusion that, despite appearances, his captor was well disposed towards him. A tactic that would make an adult instantly wary tended to pacify an eight-year-old. He’d learned that the hard way many years ago from the debacle in Austin when the words, “Whaddaya say, kid, let’s hang out,” triggered a shrieking that forced him to start, rather than end, the process with lethal violence. After that, from Atlanta through Nashville and Blacksburg and on up the east coast—it was his first “tour”—he made sure to get the name up front and learned to soften his diction. It was part of his evolution from a seat-of-the-pants amateur predator to a serial pedophile of deadly proficiency.   

                “Why don’t you climb out of there and come in for a cold drink, Zach? You must be thirsty. Catchers eat a lot of dust. They need to rehydrate all the time.”

                “No! I don’t want to! I wanna go home!”

                “I’d like you to think you are home—for now.”

                “No, I’m not!” the boy cried with mounting panic. He began to whimper.

                “Come on now,” the man said, mildly irritated. He extended his powerful right arm inside, like reaching for a prize in a grab bag, and gently but firmly pulled Zach out of the van. Then, bending over slightly while holding onto the boy, he pulled open the already unlocked cellar doors with his free arm.

                Instinctively, Zach began to buck. He tried to pull away and squirmed furiously—to no avail. He had never felt such physical strength before. It was like trying to jerk a piece of wood loose from the vice in his father’s basement tool shop. Even when, not so long ago, his father would playfully toss him up in the air and catch him coming down like a medicine ball, it was nothing like the sheer physical resistance, the total control by another, he was feeling now.

                The man carried the boy down the steps, bracing him on his hip like a surfboard. They entered a finished basement, though one that had the same dank, musty air all basements have, with or without dehumidifiers. The smell of the air caused a new spike in the boy’s panic, suggesting as it did the mold of the grave. Even at eight Zach was aware of the connotations of mold. The man cuffed him, as if scolding a pet, and got off on it. It was all part of the one-way foreplay.

                The man carried him to the far end of the dark basement, which was largely uncluttered by the usual piles of stored junk, as if the house hadn’t been occupied long enough to accumulate much to store. There, well behind the furnace and hot-water heater, was a small, inconspicuous room, walled off from the rest, no doubt originally intended as a study or office. But the man had converted it to a kind of private pleasure cave. Richly paneled and lushly carpeted, hung with lurid pornographic images, both paintings and photographs, of naked children, many interacting with “erect” naked men, the windowless room was the sick expression of what had become the man’s sole reason for being. He had left the door unlocked and ajar for quick and easy sequestering of his latest prey. Lowering the boy onto the quilt-covered king-size bed that occupied more than half the room’s space, he raised an index finger to his smiling lips to shush the signs of panic contorting the boy’s face and body language. Then he leaned forward and switched on the portable CD-player on the nightstand. The soft strains of “So What” filled the room, the opening track of Miles Davis’s cool-jazz masterpiece, Kind of Blue, with the insouciant opening base sequence introducing Davis’s smokey trumpet. It was always the same music, always “So What,” setting the same naughty jazzy mood— anything else would have been unthinkable to him.

                As the man pulled his shirt over his head and began unbuckling his jeans, the boy’s whimpering swelled into alternating sobs and shrieks. He had no idea he was playing right into his predator’s game plan, for the man’s lust was spiked above all else by another creature’s helplessness. He wanted the boy to beg for his innocence, his bodily integrity—his life. He craved the dark bliss of godlike power over the destiny of another, especially when that other was fully aware of his own utter dependency. This was his drug, his elixir, immeasurably more potent than the heroin he had tried so many times, which, while bestowing bliss, had also dulled his senses, and he lived for the sharpening of his senses. This got him out of bed in the morning.

                “Zach, Zach. It’s all right. We’re just gonna cuddle for a while. Okay? Just lie together and hold each other and make each other feel good, you know?”

                “I wanna go home!” the boy bawled in tearful protest, apparently shocked by the urgency of his own voice, for his sobbing escalated, opening up to a pathetic wail fueled by panic.

                Its only effect was a quickening of the man’s desire. Stimulus … response. No one could hear them there, and it was all just becoming so delicious. As the man slipped out of his jeans, Zach’s eyes were riveted on the bulge in the crotch of his briefs. At eight, he had just enough sexual awareness to know what that bulge meant. Still, it was his dim but nightmarish sense of what might come afterward that intensified the stabs of panic.

                The man lay down on the bed and snuggled up to his prey, whose flinching reflex merely spiked his lust once again. The man was lost within the dark caverns of his desire, the boy trapped within those same caverns.

                “This is so nice,” the man breathed dreamily, reaching down deftly to their mutual nether regions while pressing the sobbing boy to him with unnatural strength …

The sun was down and a purplish twilight graced the overgrown area behind the house as a dark figure strode purposefully from the cellar doors in the rear into a little copse of oak and cedar about a stone’s throw away. He was carrying a base fiddle case. But his firm grip and taut right arm left no doubt that the case’s contents were heavier than any fiddle.  

                After a while, the only sound to pierce the darkening stillness was the rhythmic thrusting of the spade into the soft earth. Far from being drained by the effort of the

cleanup, the man felt juiced, energized, expansive, and, at the same time, utterly relaxed. He reveled in the digging, each thrust of the shovel a little aftershock of that explosion of pleasure for which he lived. Finally, dropping the shovel behind him, he sank to his knees, opened the case and stared for a while at the olive-hued double-strength trash bag that served as a shroud for the lifeless body. Gently lifting the body from the case, he lowered it into its shallow grave, again staring and carefully straightening out both the bag and the body it contained, though without attempting to pose the body in any way. No tableaus, no “necro-symbolism” to titillate the profilers. Just putting it where it belonged.

About the Author

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Author Dennis McCort (1941-) was born and raised in Hoboken, New Jersey, the „mile square city“ on the Hudson, in the shadow of Manhattan. He writes of his experiences growing up there in the postwar industrial era before gentrification in his book, A Kafkaesque Memoir: Confessions from the Analytic Couch (PalmArt Press). McCort is now retired from Syracuse University in upstate New York where he taught German language and literature over a long career. He has authored literary studies on German and Swiss writers and on the influence of Zen Buddhism on such Western writers as J.D. Salinger, R.M. Rilke and Thomas Merton. His understanding of Zen, both as scholar and practitioner, i.e., from both outside and inside, helped him to add layers of complexity to the fascinating personality of the pedophiliac protagonist of Duncan. McCort has also written a comic novel, titled The Man Who Loved Doughnuts, about a young professor who fails to get tenure at his upstate university and spends a lost weekend in lower Manhattan. It is available as an Amazon Kindle eBook. Duncan is his novelization of a macabre seed-concept coming from his wife Dorothy: that of a serial pedophiliac murderer on a collision course with a young boy whose only defense is his stuffed toy gorilla. Both McCort and wife describe the book as a “thinking man’s thriller.”

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Book Blitz: Vicious by L. J. Shen

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Sinners of Saint, Book One
Contemporary Romance

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They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.

The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares.

He is a brilliant lawyer.

A skilled criminal.

A beautiful liar.

A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.

Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.


She is a starving artist.

Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom.

Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down.

She paid the price.

Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate.

That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t.

So she hates me. Big fucking deal.

She better get used to me.

Vicious a complete standalone and a part of the Sinners of Saint series

Other Books in The Sinners Of Saint Contemporary Romance Series:

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Sinners of Saint, Book Two

ISBN: 978-0996135672


Sinners of Saint. Book Three

ISBN: 978-1546904465


Sinners of Saint, Book Four

ISBN: 978-1977569189


Sinners of Saint, Book 5

ISBN: 978-1717110985

About the Author

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LJ Shen is a USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author of over ten books. She lives in California with her husband, son, and cat.

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Book Review: Forgotten Legacy by Robin Perini

Forgotten Legacy by Robin Perini

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, April 16, 2019

Time and setting:  Present day, Wyoming

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Book Length:  313 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Forgotten secrets. Forgotten lies. A family legacy…A determined killer.
On the outskirts of Singing River, Wyoming, a couple dies in a fire that ravages their remote mountain home. Everyone believes it’s a tragic accident—except FBI profiler Riley Lambert. She isn’t convinced, and neither is her fiancĂ©, ex–Navy SEAL turned sheriff Thayne Blackwood. When they discover that the couple’s daughter is missing, Riley’s dark memories of her own sister’s kidnapping ratchet up the urgency to find the girl—before it’s too late.
Racing through a maze of deceit and a buried past, the pair find themselves under attack from an unknown assailant. Dodging danger, they follow a tangled web of clues pointing to a forgotten secret that Thayne’s Alzheimer’s-stricken grandmother holds dear. But when their deadly investigation veers too close to home and brings a twisted killer to Riley’s and Thayne’s doorsteps, can they save those they love and stop the murderer before time runs out?

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Vikki’s Musings

Forgotten Legacy is the second book in Singing River Legacy series. I read the first one in this series a while ago and loved it. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review, I eagerly accepted. My opinions are my own and are not influence in any way.

Robin Perini’s writing is thrilling, gritty and graphic at times. Forgotten Legacy exhibits all those characteristics, making it fast-paced, keeping me riveted throughout the entire book. I could not read fast enough!

Riley Lambert is an intriguing character. Her motivations are clear when it comes to her career goals, but cloudy regarding her romance. She’d torn between the driving force of her job with the FBI and her love for Thayne. She cares for her sister and feels a great deal of guilt regarding that sister’s kidnapping, which is what lead her to her career choice. Most of this is revealed in Forgotten Secrets, and while Forgotten Legacy can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading the first book if you want to understand all the dynamics of her relationship with Thayne and why she’s so torn.

Thayne Blackwood is a fantastic hero. He’s an ex-Navy SEAL who has given that career path up to become the sheriff in Singing River, when his father becomes too ill to handle the job, and for his Alzheimer’s-stricken grandmother who loses more of her faculties each day. His loyalty to his family is commendable. His grandmother’s character is engaging, and a huge asset to this series. His love for Riley is strong, and while he understands her conflict, his pain for what he fears will ultimately separate them, is gut-wrenching.

While Forgotten Legacy is heavy on the thriller aspect, the love story between Riley and Thayne is excellent. I truly ached for Thayne and wanted Riley to realize he is more important than her job. That part of the story is emotionally-charged and come through strongly.

If you enjoy novels with plenty of suspenseful scenes interwoven with a great love story, then you will love Forgotten Legacy. Hold onto your seat because it’s a thrilling ride! I hope this series continues because the characters are all amazing. Happy reading!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Book Review: Sins of the Sire by Emily Royal

Sins of the Sire by Emily Royal

Publisher & Release: Tirgearr Publishing, March 13, 2019

Time and setting:  Medieval Scotland

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:  283 Pages

Heat Level: 2 Flame

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Two years ago, English noblewoman, Elyssia De Montford, risked her life to free the Highlander held prisoner by her sadistic fiancĂ©. She cannot forget the man who first stirred her heart–a memory that burns anew when she finds herself once more on the road to Scotland.

Tavish MacLean has sworn vengeance. It’s been six years since his beloved sister was raped and murdered by an English lord, a tragedy which almost destroyed his family. On his deathbed, his father demanded retribution and Tavish pledged before his clan to enslave the lord’s daughter then send her back to her father, pregnant with a Scottish bastard. When he learns that she is travelling north, he seizes his opportunity and orders her abduction.

But when his men fling the prisoner before him, Tavish recognises Elyssia, the woman who once saved his life. Loyalty to his clan trumps the debt he owes her and he claims Elyssia as his captive. Though she’s one of the hated English, her willing body ignites passion in him at night, though she fights him at every turn during the day. As time passes, he questions his loyalty, finding himself increasingly enthralled by his fiery captive.

Treachery surrounds Clan MacLean. When long-buried secrets come to light, Tavish must risk his life and his clan, or all that he holds dear will be destroyed.

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the debut novel by Emily Royal. I received an invitation from the author to read and review Sins of the Sire, and since the book description intrigued me, I accepted. My opinions are my own are not influenced in any way.

Whew, what an emotional rollercoaster. Sins of the Sire is a dark, twisted story, reminiscent of the bodice rippers from the seventies and eighties. It stays true to the brutality of this period of history, making it difficult to read at times. There is rape, and a great deal of violence throughout the entire book, making it a page turner.

I have mixed feelings regarding Elyssia De Montford’s character. While I liked her, she went from being a strong woman, to being too accepting of her fate. She’s fiercely determined to save her slow-witted sister from her own ordeal, and an ordeal it is! I could understand why she wanted to protect Grace, but the manner she used did not sit well with me. While I admired her for her loyalty, I wanted her to fight her situation with greater determination.

Tavish MacLean is not a hero to admire. He’s brutal and treats Elyssia with great cruelty throughout most of the book. Even when he learns she’s the woman who saved his life, he’s hell-bent on exacting revenge for what Elyssia’s father did to his sister. He is determined to plant his seed, then return her to her father carrying his bastard. I tried to take into account, the historical times this novel is set in, but I believe the author could have given the hero more integrity.

For me, this is not a romance. It’s historical fiction, masterfully written. If I had understood that, I could have been more accepting of the content. Unfortunately, it is categorized as a romance. There is nothing remotely romantic about the relationship between the hero and heroine. The sexual scenes show no tenderness or care. Even at the end, when he is supposed to love her, he takes her too forcefully. If the author had given him even a little remorse for what he’d put her through, I would have felt differently.

As a romance, it deserves 1 star, but as historical fiction, I would give it five. The author is true to the historical times, which were indeed brutal and dark. The suspenseful scenes are brilliantly written, and while difficult to read, are spellbinding, so much so, that I gave it an overall 3.5 stars. The publisher should consider revising the category for this novel.

If you enjoy dark, gritty novels of great historical accuracy, then you will love Sins of the Sire. If you’re looking for a romance, I would not suggest reading this book. Now that I understand Ms. Royal’s writing style, I will read the next book, knowing in advance, it will be a tale of the brutality of medieval times. Her writing is exciting and compelling. I will not expect romance. Happy reading!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Book Review: The Claiming of the Shrew by Shana Galen

The Claiming of the Shrew by Shana Galen

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, April 16, 2019

Time and setting:  Regency England

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:  227 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

What happens when a marriage of convenience isn’t so convenient?

Lieutenant Colonel Benedict Draven has retired from the army and spends most of his days either consulting for the Foreign Office or whiling away the hours at his club with his former comrades-in-arms. He rarely thinks about the fiery Portuguese woman he saved from an abusive marriage by wedding her himself. It was supposed to be a marriage in name only, but even five years later and a world away, he can’t seem to forget her.

Catarina Neves never forgot what it felt like to be scared, desperate, and subject to the whims of her cruel father. Thanks to a marriage of convenience and her incredible skill as a lacemaker, she’s become an independent and wealthy woman. But when she’s once again thrust into a dangerous situation, she finds herself in London and knocking on the door of the husband she hasn’t seen since those war-torn years in Portugal. Catarina tells Benedict she wants an annulment, but when he argues against it, can she trust him enough to ask for what she really needs?

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Vikki’s Musings

As with all of Shana Galen’s historical romances, she has again delivered a tale with sparkling dialogue and an adventure-packed plot. I’m so glad I accepted an invitation from the author, to read and review The Claiming of the Shrew, the fifth book in her Survivors series. My opinions are my own and are not influence in any way.

The Claiming of the Shrew is another fine example of Shana Galen’s talent as an author. Her characters are vibrant and fully fleshed out. The story flows smoothly, and the plot is unique. The pacing is excellent keeping me engaged from the first page to the last.

Catarina Neves’s character appealed to me from the start. I could feel her desperation as a frightened young girl when she petitions the colonel to save her from the machinations of her father. Then when she returns to him after five years apart, she again needs him even more than she realizes. She‘s become an independent woman through her skills as a lacemaker, and is now, quite wealthy. She thinks she only needs an annulment, but although she fights her feelings for Benedict, she cannot lock them away.

Colonel Benedict Draven is not the typical romantic hero. He’s older than most in historical romance, but nonetheless, he has all the characteristics I most love in a hero. He’s honorable and steadfast with a bit of mystic surrounding him. In the previous books, he’s depicted as a confirmed bachelor, dedicated to his career, but it turns out he has a huge secret. His past comes to lit, when he finds Catarina in his rooms. That she’s his wife, was a complete surprise. I could feel his desire to make Catarina his own immediately, even though, she’s twenty years younger. The pull is fierce, and he tries to dismiss it, since the age difference bothers him greatly.

The romance between Catarina and Benefit simmers beneath the surface. They both fight their burning attraction, but neither can resist the passion that exists in both their hearts. Ms. Galen has a masterful hand at creating sexual tension until it can no longer be contained. When it climaxes, it practically burns up the pages.

If you are a fan of Regency romances with plenty of action and heart-warming characters, then you will love The Claiming of the Shrew as much as I did. I highly recommend this book and this very talented author. Happy reading!