Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lachlan's Bride (Highlands Lairds Trilogy #2) by Kathleen Harrington

I use to read historical romances like potato chips, happily devouring one after another, and never finding my fill. Unfortunately over the years I began to read less and less historical romances and more and more history when my college years approached. I found myself missing the historical romances, where I can enjoy mixture of history and a good love story combined. I was given an arc copy of the Lachlan's Bride in exchange for an honest review, this is the 2nd in a series by Kathleen Harrington. I've not read the first book in the series and I found the 2nd book is a good stand alone novel. I did not feel I was lost as a reader without having any knowledge of the prior book.

What I liked about this book is it mixed one of my favorite times in history, the Tudor England and Scotland together. It had a little bit of real history and a lot of interesting characters and plot. One of the things I appreciated most about this novel was the fact that the heroine had some wit, humor, and back bone to her. I detest romance novels where the main woman is a simpering dolt who needs a man to save her. The author was able to develop characters who felt real and not stereotypical romance archetypes. Francine was clever and strong willed. She did not just bend to men around her and was able to out wit a lot of them without them realizing it. I liked that she fought when the need arose, and was just as brave as the warriors around her.

The exchanges between Lachlan and Francine were filled with humor, tenderness and real emotions. I enjoy that the author was able to bring to life the people on the page, they stopped being mere typed words but became flesh and blood with each glance between them. I like being drawn into two people's story and feeling that I am seeing a real romance and love story unfold, rather than just the same old rhetoric told a thousand times before, boy meets girl, blah, blah blah. To find a novel that actually shows how romance evolves over time with each conversation spoken, each glance stolen, each little exchange, and not just wham bam thank you ma'am is a breath of fresh air.

Not only does this novel have romance it also has intrigue and action too. The pace of the story was quick and kept me entertained until the last page was turned. I liked that the Machiavellian politics were touched upon in the book. The reader was kept on the edge of their seat waiting to see just what would happen and how would the main hero and heroine be able to maneuver through the protocol and different kingdoms. All in all I enjoyed reading this author's works and would like to read more from her. I look forward to the third installment in this series and I plan to find the first book since the 2nd was a delightful 'magical' read.

~ Darkling

A Laird for All Time by Angeline Fortin

This book is about Dr. Emmy MacKenzie, an obgyn, who finds herself hurled back into time and comes into contact with Connor MacLean who swears that Emmy is his long, lost wife Heather. The author did a great job of transporting the reader back in time, where men wear kilts and woman are slowly coming into a greater role in society. I normally have issues with historical books as one of my majors in colleges was history and I hate when inaccuracies abound. A lot of times historicals end up feeling like modern characters with dialogue in historical garb. I end up wanting to punch something and cannot finish the books. But this author really was able to bring the past to life in a believable and accurate way. I found myself enjoying the past she brought to life on the pages for the readers.

The main characters had a great interaction between the two. I loved how the plot unfolded, there are plenty of twists and turns that leave the reader anxious to see how everything comes to fruition. I really loved that the plot wasn't a normal cookie cutter time traveling book. It had a creative spin that really was enjoyable and I had a difficult time putting the book down. This is the first book I've read from this author and I hope to read many more. I had such a great time getting to see how Emmy's and Connor's love story played out and to see how they came to discover the heart does not know the bounds of time or place. It is always great to see a strong woman character who can appreciate a hot guy in a kilt but also stand her own ground as well. This is truly a 'magical' book for time traveling and historical readers.

~ Darkling

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Dinne by Robyn Neeley

The book is about two news anchors Amanda Turner and Tate Ryan, who have been working together for about a year. When the Christmas season comes around Amanda finds herself having to go home to deal with some personal demons from her past with Tate helping her by her side by pretending to be her boyfriend.

I liked how the two main characters had a ying and yang working and personal relationship. Where Amanda is not a think on the feet type of person, Tate is there to help step in. Where Tate is not the best organizer, Amanda is the one who thrives on it. It was nice to see a guy struggling to find a way to find the right words and emotions. Most guys stumble over their emotions and are just unsure when their heart can be broken and I think the author did a wonderful job in showing that inner and outwards struggle Tate had.

The one thing I didn't like so much was just how much Amanda was clueless about everything. I found it almost wanting to slap her more than once in the book, as for a professional and ambitious woman it was grating to see her so self-absorbed all the time and down right mean at times. I found that Tate really deserved better than someone who wasn't even an ounce curious about him and what made him ticked. It was too much about her and not enough about the world around her, that the character flaw was really hard to over look and to enjoy her at times.

All in all it was a short, fun, 'magical' read. I would highly recommend this Christmas story and I look forward to seeing what other books the author has done.

~ Darkling

Change My Mind By Elley Arden Book Review

This book is about a real estate agent Nel Parker that is trying to establish her company after a messy breakup with her previous real estate broker boyfriend, and baseball center-fielder Grey Kemmons for Nashville. Grey is trying to fix up a house left to him in his father's will for a quick sale, and Nel is trying to convince Grey to let her list the house and help with the renovation process.

I've not read anything by this author before and I was not sure what to expect. But from the first word the last word I was hooked and I'm a bit bereft now that I've finished the book. I honestly laughed, cried, hoped and worried about each to the characters that the author introduced to the readers. I loved Grey and Nel as they were older, not the typical young 20 something hotties who met and fall in love and everything is rosy. There were hardships, there was baggage of the past, and there was messy, quirky flaws that each one had to figure out.

What made the story great was it was real and showed how love actually works. Love blossoms and is based not only on chemistry but respect and the a foundation of mutual admiration for each other. Where Nel was weak Grey was strong, and where Grey was weak Nel was strong. It was great to see a woman who was independent, a business owner and knew what she wanted and went after for it. Finally a book where there heroine is not dreaming about her magical white wedding and how that will complete her finally, but here is a woman who wants to make her mark in the business world and knows how to go after that business dream for herself.

This 'magical' book is one I highly enjoyed and I cannot wait to see what other books the author was written. This book is a series of the Kemmons brothers and I cannot wait to read the rest of the Kemmons brothers stories to find love and happiness.

~ Darkling