Audiobook and Book Review: A VIKING FOR THE VISCOUNTESS by Michelle Willingham ~ a Regency time travel

A Viking warrior lives only for honor to please his gods. A Viscountess denies all pleasure waiting for a husband six-years missing. There is much we don’t understand and much we wish we could.

Title: A Viking for the Viscountess, A Most Peculiar Season, book 1
A Viking for the Viscountess AudiobookAuthor: Michelle Willingham
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: East Anglia, 811; Norfolk, England, 1,000 years later
Published by: Michelle Willingham
Publish Date: November 13, 2014
Pages: 250
ISBN-10: 0990634515
ISBN-13: 978-0990634515

Narrated by: Brad Wills
Length: 6 hours, 46 minutes
Release Date: January 12, 2017
Published by: Michelle Willingham
Publisher’s Summary:

Juliana Arthur, the Viscountess Hawthorne, has been thrown out of her husband’s estate and her marriage declared invalid. With a small son to care for, she desperately needs a strong hero to rescue them from poverty and suffering.

A Viking wasn’t quite what she had in mind.

Arik Thorgrim is caught between worlds. After dying from a battle wound, he expects to find the glory of Valhalla, where he can dwell among the gods. Instead he’s brought forward 1,000 years in time, to a beautiful woman who tempts him beyond reason. Juliana doesn’t know what to do with this sinfully handsome Viking warrior who brings weapons into a ballroom and refuses to be tamed. Yet beneath his barbaric ways is a man of honor, a man who vows to face down her enemies and fight for her son’s future.

But as Arik wages a battle against her heart, Juliana is afraid of loving a man whose time has already run out.

©2014 Michelle Willingham (P)2017 Michelle Willingham

 

My Thoughts: My dear reader, be careful what you wish, for you know not what forces will be in play to make it happen! And once it is realized, are you strong enough to hold on?

I love time travel. That’s a fact. I was pulled into the story from the first scene by Michelle Willingham’s talent.  Her story is so unique you won’t forget it.  I actually read this book two years ago and once I started listening to it, it all came back!  Her tale is like no other. For example, both the hero and heroine die at the beginning of the story.  One is stabbed in the back, the other drowned.  How miserable is that?

Before I get carried away about the story, I have to say something about the narrator, Brad Wills.  Remember this book is about a Viking who time travels 1,000 years into the future by the generosity of the gods.  He’s a Viking, unrefined, nothing is insurmountable nor makes him raise his voice – even when determined to use a battleaxe, kept tucked into his clothes. He’s rough around the edges and muscular like no other man Juliana Arthur has ever seen. Wills’s voice depicts this kind of man to perfection. He and the author expose the vast differences between their worlds by the very words and way they talk.

Wills also uses admirable falsetto voices for both Julianna’s maid servant and Julianna’s son.  Where Arik’s dialog and demeanor is uncivilized, Julianna’s tone and manner show through Will’s polished English accent.  Another player as this story unfolds scorns and belittles Juliana.  I can see his face through Will’s sneering tone.

Now about the story:

Juliana Arthur, a Regency woman, married to a Viscount, comes upon hard times when she loses her home of six years. Her husband has been missing, presumed dead, but Juliana remains chaste and waits for his return.  She’s a proud woman with dignity even when reduced to living in her father’s old cottage along the sea.  The cottage is more a hovel, full of holes and cold as winter begins setting in.  She needs to protect her son, Harry, just five, the love of her life. She wishes a strong hero could rescue her before they starve or freeze to death.

Taking a walk in the evening and thinking of her father, she climbs into his boat to contemplate her future, but suddenly, the sails unfurl, and she is pulled out to sea.  Knowing if she doesn’t jump the boat, no one will find her, and she’ll be lost.  That night she almost loses her life. The gods protect her in the person of Arik, the Viking.

Arik realizes all is not right and yet very right, as he takes the cold, half-dead woman into his arms, warming her skin-to-skin. The woman speaks Norwegian, his mother tongue, but doesn’t act, dress or look like any woman from his time. What kind of trick has the gods played on him? He died, of that he is sure, but where is he? He comes to the conclusion the gods are testing him to see if he is honorable enough to join other fallen warriors in Valhalla and the god Odin. By saving this woman, protecting her as she should be protected, he hopes the gods will find him not wanting.

Arik, a warrior, learns the truth of love, family, second chances, perhaps a third in this sweet, sensual story of two people from two times.  Each find what they need.  Each lose what they want. Will the gods acknowledge their hearts and desires?

Posted in Audiobook, Audiobook Review, Paranormal Romance, Regency Romance, Romance, Time Travel | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Review: DARK BLOOD by Christine Feehan ~ I am one of the author’s virtual groupies — can’t get enough of her Carpathian community

17412109Title: Dark Blood  A Carpathian Novel, Book 26
Author: Christine Feehan
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Story Setting: The Carpathian Mountains, present day
Published by: Jove, reprint edition
Published Date: September 29, 2015
ISBN-10: 0515154687
ISBN-13: 978-0515154689

 

Publisher’s Summary:

“The erotic, gripping series that has defined an entire genre” (J. R. Ward) continues as the fates of a warrior reborn and a seductive Dragonseeker are irrevocably united by dark blood…

Zev Hunter was an elite warrior, a dark-blood dealer of death to Lycans who preyed on mankind. But he begins to question his past when he awakens in the sacred cave of warriors—and is soothed back to consciousness by the sensuously familiar voice of the woman who has haunted his fantasies for centuries: Branislava, member of the Dragonseeker clan.

Now, with a blood-sworn vow of honor, mercy and endurance, and under the influence of a siren as bewitching as Branislava, Zev begins to wonder what his purpose is, what it means for the future of the Carpathians and what it is about his rebirth that he has to fear…

Includes Never-Before-Published Original Bonus Material
 

My Thoughts: Christine Feehan, often spoken about as the queen of paranormal, has a HUGE fan club, even a page of groupies on Facebook.  Read book one in the series, Dark Prince (usually found in libraries) and you’ll be hooked, that is, if you love the paranormal, stories where good usually conquers evil, stories where women are revered, and best of all stories where your heart is totally, absolutely, and irrevocably engaged with a community desperate to survive extinction.

I don’t read many erotic books, they aren’t for me.  This series, however, has so much more to it than some extremely hot passionate scenes which can last for several pages. Don’t tell anyone, I skim read those!

The community of Carpathian people, created by Feehan, presently spans over 30 books.  Feehan superbly ratchets up suspense and fear truly taking you over the edge when the it-can’t-possibly-be-happening happens! Consequently, it makes a very edgy read. Frankly, I cannot finish the book fast enough (burning up the pages), yet not want it to finish!  Through this series, the characters have become so real, many of them return in each book–making you feel like you’ve just made contact with a good friend.  Feehan writes her characters with memorable personalities making me really care about what happens to them.

The Carpathian people are evolving since they are marrying into the Jaguar and Lycan communities and with this they have saved their own species.  Carpathians live for more than a thousand years. Unless they find their true lifemate, they become more susceptible to giving up their souls, hence becoming vampires.  Vampires in some books we read are wimps, but Carpathian vampires are your worst nightmare!

Dark Blood is an exciting read.  No vampires in this one, but perhaps something far worse await you! Dragonseekers, an ancient bloodline of the Carpathians, are known for fighting skills.  They shape-shift to dragons.  An ancient bloodline, Dark Blood, thought to be extinct is discovered to yet survive.  This story introduces us to the last surviving Carpathians of this lineage.

I recommend the Dark series and loved this read.  I’ve read many of the first 18 books three times.  It’s a fascinating world and one I love to return to, over and over.

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Suspense | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Released today GARDEN OF LIGHT by Meara Platt ~ step among the bluebell flowers to seep yourself in fairy lore!

34094261Title: Garden of Light Dark Garden Series, Book 2
Author: Meara Platt
Genre: Historical Romance Fantasy
Story Setting: Borrowdale, England, St. Lodore’s Vicarage, 1817
Pages: 283
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc., 1 edition
Published Date: February 1, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B01NAV9MPK

 

Dark Garden Series (ecopy purchase):

Garden of Shadows (my review –http://wp.me/p40XtX-27Z )

Garden of Light

Garden of Dragons — coming soon

 

Publisher’s Summary:

As battle looms between the Fae kingdoms and the powerful underworld demons known as Dragon Lords in England’s quiet Lake District, the Fae king, Cadeyrn, returns to the vicarage of St. Lodore’s where magical bluebell gardens serve as portals to the faerie world and the ominous red mountain known as Friar’s Crag becomes the battleground for Fae, Dragon Lords and mortals. Cadeyrn is desperate to find the right mortal girl who will save the Fae, for she is destined to love him and die a fiery death for that love, as foretold in the ancient Draloch prophecy. All seems lost, for the only girl who can see him is Melody Hargreaves, a very unwarrior-like young woman who has never fought dragons. How can she possibly be The One?

Melody is being courted by a wealthy lord who seems to adore her and is about to propose marriage, but she feels the powerful magic of her surroundings and is drawn to the world of the Fae and its handsome king. As Bloodaxe, one of the evil Dragon Lords, advances with his demon army, Melody must decide between a safe, comfortable life with the wealthy lord or dying a fiery death at the hands of the Dragon Lords. Melody’s heart belongs to Cadeyrn, and choosing wealth and comfort no longer seems the obvious choice. Cadeyrn has also fallen in love with Melody. How can he change the course of destiny and save her as well as his Fae subjects?

5-star-review

My Thoughts: The story left me extremely gratified after experiencing the Fae king’s tumultuous inner battles understanding what feelings are, since Fae had long ago lost that part of them.  Some humans are connected to the Fae, sensitive to their presence.  King Cadyrn needs to find his mortal queen, a queen who knows how to fight dragons and save his people. The Prophecy must be fulfilled.

This time the king decides not to jump to conclusions as he did with Julia (her story is book 1), nor force himself upon a human, thinking she were a possible candidate to be his queen.  Yes, Melody Hargreaves sees him as she stumbles upon him sleeping among the bluebell flowers in her yard. Yes, when he touches her she feels no pain, as mortals would. But would kissing her have her meet her death? But Cadeyrn is cautious, he doesn’t want to scare her off, nor kill an innocent.  He very carefully decides to seduce her as his council recommends he do.  He is also a very nice Fae king, not like in some stories I’ve read.  He has my heart, right away!

He explains very matter of fact to Melody, his predicament for his Fae realm, hoping to convince her she may be the One.  Melody things him insane, but manages to put him off, gently, of course, because she is that sort of person.  However, soon enough she believes he is Fae.  Her fears are set in motion.

Young, innocent Melody Hargreaves, too, doesn’t understand her feelings toward Cadeyrn.  If you are following the series, you may recall in book one he thought the vicar’s daughter, Julia Marsden, was his queen to be.  She, too, saw him, but only after she started believing.  Being fae, he little understands the feelings of humans, and very methodically works for a solution, without engaging his feelings. After a dismal failure with his wrongly-chosen queen, he once again hopes to find his queen.  His very realm is in danger.

The author, with her delightful descriptive scenes, takes us to the Fae kings home,  where we get to visit those he protects. We learn he’s been fighting a battle with Dragon Lords for 5000 years.  We see the damage done to his kingdom by these evil demons. We drop into the underworld and smell the stench of the wicked and see the oozing green slime. Yes, this is a most satisfying read, for those who love Fae, the unbelievable made real, where a young maiden has the power within her to fight and above all for those who believe what magic the power of love can work.

I received this ARC copy from the publisher for an unbiased review.  These are my opinions and in no way are influenced by anyone except the talent of the author. I highly recommend the series.

 

Posted in Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, New Book Release, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Regency Romance, Romance | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Releases Today! TO TAME A WILD LADY by Macnamara

30367049Title: To Tame a Wild Lady  A Duke-Defying Daughters Novel, Book 2
Author: Ashlyn Macnamara Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Pages: 278
Story Setting: Suffolk, England, 1822
Published by: Loveswept
Published Date: January 31, 2017
Sold by: Random House LLC
ASIN: B01F2IU658

 

The Duke-Defying Daughters Trilogy
To Lure a Proper Lady
To Tame a Wild Lady

Publisher’s Summary:

He’s a roughhewn bastard. She’s a rebellious noblewoman. Their passion bridges the class divide in a scintillating novel of forbidden desire and raw sensuality from the USA Today bestselling author of To Lure a Proper Lady.  

Lady Caroline Wilde is expected to ride sidesaddle, but she’s not about to embrace convention. She’s also expected to keep a chaste distance from men like Adrian Crosby, the new estate agent, yet she cannot cease her ogling—which is especially irksome considering their ongoing feud. Adrian insists that the fields must be planted; Caro needs those same fields to train her horses. But whenever she tries to put him in his place, Caro looks into his steely gaze and her words simply . . . disappear.

A bastard son who grew up on the Wyvern estate, Adrian was lucky enough to receive an education at the behest of the late marchioness. Now that he has set out on his own, Adrian knows better than to fall for Lady Caroline, the Duke of Sherrington’s daughter. Caroline is at once a thorn in his side and an exquisite temptation, especially when she’s playing the feisty daredevil. Adrian would give anything for a chance to tame her—and with Caro in the saddle, he just might get his wish.

My Thoughts: Any time I pick up one of author Ashlyn Macnamara’s books, I can be assured of an interesting, hot and spicy read.  By the very title of this book, To Tame a Wild Lady, gives you an idea of the spirit of this book.

Lady Caroline Wilde (I’m sure her last name is intentional!) is the second daughter of a duke. Her father has closeted himself away for close on ten years, since the death of his beloved wife.  Therefore, allowing his daughter to be quite the wild thing without his censure. She loves the country life, the freedom it provides her, and horses.  More than not, you will find her in breeches riding astride over her father’s lands.

Lady Caroline chafes at being a duke’s daughter.  Why should the ton have anything to do with how she wants to live her life? Her biggest dream is to ride her beloved champion horse in Earl Bellingham’s fox hunt.  Unfortunately, they don’t allow women to hunt with them.  Her logic is why shouldn’t be allowed if she proves her expertise with a horse? After all, aren’t mares allowed to hunt and female hounds?  Why should her gender prevent her when she can outhorse any man in the county? Such is the fighting spirit of Caro.

Adrian Crosby, the new estate agent, meets Caro at her very worst, as society would measure her.  She’s in boy’s breeches and covered with mud.  She’s just located Gus, an eleven-year-old, who doesn’t understand the word ‘no’.  He had decided to go our riding, even though he does not seat a horse well.  Mimicking Caro’s hedge and wall jumping, he tries to jump a trench, his horse slips, he’s thrown and Gus falls and is unconscious. Caro finds him but is unable to pick him up.  Along Adrian comes, on his way to the manor for a job interview, and gets everyone back to the manor, the very one he will be working.

Adrian Crosby is running from past problems in his previous work, and never feels he measures up.  He was educated somewhat by the marchioness of Wyvern and had worked alongside its estate agent.  From outward appearances, his manner bespeaks a gentleman. His clothes set him apart, however.  This inconsistency peaks Caro’s curiosity and eventually sparks fly. Caro is both stubborn and spoiled, giving her the mindset she shouldn’t be denied what she wants. Adrian would have his woman no other way.

Major Obstacles:

  • Lady Caroline can’t chase a man, especially when she must marry someone of her station.
  • Adrian can’t possibly reach above his station to consider Lady Caro. He would only ruin her.

Their attraction must be denied.  In this, they are both in cages; Lady Caro’s is gilded, Adrian’s is being born on the wrong side of the blanket.

Snowley Wild, the duke’s nephew, who provides comic relief to this tale, is to inherit the estate and spends much of his time at the manor.  He’s something of a dimwit, at least it appears that way, is socially incompetent, and generally is just tolerated because of his future dukedom. He is seen often posing for Pippa, Caro’s younger sister, who has a passion for sketching.

A story of strong emotions where two people from different stations in life can find true love when so many forces are against them.  Can Lady Caroline fight for what she wants?  Can Adrian let this woman go, knowing he loves her, but he is only a curiosity to her?  You will not want to miss this series. Engagingly written, with a sensual and demanding heroine, who finds her match in Adrian.

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Review: THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden

Fear, a very powerful and ultimately destroying force.  Will it be stopped?

25489134Title:  The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fantasy
Story Setting: Deep in the north of Russia, Moscow—a time when sprites and legends lived
Pages: 336
Published by: Del Rey
Published Date: January 10, 2017
ISBN-10: 1101885939
ISBN-13: 978-1101885932

Publisher’s Summary:

A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

My Thoughts:  This is one of those books whose tale you can’t possible confuse with another. The good news is the author is working on the second of the series, with a third sequel to follow.

It is set deep in the forests of Russia and the city of Moscow, a time in ages past where people still lived and believed in the old ways, seeped with mythological stories, even though Christianity had been introduced 500 years previous.  But ways change slowly, even more so in the isolated north.

This debut author, Katherine Arden, simply writes so spellbindingly, it is not one I could put down. She wraps her world in spirits, sprites and demons from mythology. Her story is easily understood and highly entertaining as well as educative for she goes into some depth about these legends.  I imagine she had to do a lot of research and she must be equally fascinated with it. Her style of writing fits these times of old, with its detail of dress, housing, rhythm of day activities, harshness of nature and legends of the people, to produce a rich, poignant and realistic journey.

Vasilisa, nicknamed Vasya, is Marina’s last born. She is a special child with special power and were people to know her as she is, they would shun her, calling her witch. She loves nature, spends much of her time out near the water, in the forest, with the animals in the stable and talking to the wood-sprites, rusalka, the water-sprite of the lake, the house domovoi, who does mending and protects the house, the vodyanoy in the river, the polevik in the trees and so many more.

Pyotr Vladimirovich’s five children, Sasha, Kolya, Olga, Alyosha, and Vasya grow up with the legends of Russia as told by their nurse maid, Dunyashka. At the beginning of the tale, Dunyashka tells the story of Morosko, the demon of winter, the one who is there when someone dies in winter.

Lost in the woods when quite young, Vasya finds an old disfigured man sleeping under a gnarled, black, old oak tree.  The old man tries to encourage her to come closer, but suddenly a man garbed in rich robes of fur on a white mare, prevents the old man from touching her and commands him to sleep, for it is yet winter.

This scene is pivotal in the direction the story heads and instantly I knew these two men are to play a part in the telling. But certainly, I had no clue how.

Vasya’s father feels his youngest daughter very spirited, too free, she doesn’t listen to his words and he wearies of her. But he had promised his Marina, he would take care of her. It is time to take a second wife, hoping this will settle the girl. He still has connections in Moscow, his wife’s family. Ivan Ivanovich, his dear wife’s half-brother, is Grand Prince.

Pyotr, while in Moscow, is given a gift for his youngest daughter. She is to wear the necklace or have it near all the time. Pyotr, being an honorable man and obliged through his promise gives the necklace to Dunya, the old nursemaid, later to give to Vasya when she is older.

He marries, Anna, the Grand Prince’s sister, a mousey woman, scared of her own shadow.  She is to be Vasya and Alyosha’s mother. This is a gift Pyotr can’t refuse, even if he has doubts about this woman.  It would be insulting the throne.

Once back at Pyotr’s home, Anna, his new wife, seems slightly unhinged. She sees demons. The only place she doesn’t see them is in the church.  Therefore, she spends much time there. When Konstantin Nidonovich, a man of God, comes to Lesnaya Zemlya, life for the villagers and certainly for the Vladimirovich family changes. This man of God speaks with a silver tongue, putting fear into the people’s hearts, they must repent and worship the one true God.

I love it when a debut author connects with readers and she most certainly has.  I look forward to book 2!   Arden  doesn’t leave the reader not understanding the many Russian words for she includes a glossary.

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Audiobook Review: DEADLY PERIL by Lucinda Brant ~ a richly detailed and entrancing Georgian mystery

Deadly Peril AudiobookTitle: Deadly Peril Alec Halsey Mystery, Book 3
Author: Lucinda Brant
Genre: Georgian Historical Mystery
Story Setting: Midanich, East Fresia, 1763
Pages: 410
Published by: Sprigleaf; 1 edition
Published Date: November 6, 2015
ASIN: B015A5TLV8

Narrated by: Alex Wyndham
Length: 11 hours, 44 minutes
Release Date: January 11, 2016

The Alec Haley Mystery Series: (ecopy link purchase)

Deadly Engagement
Deadly Affair
Deadly Peril

Publisher’s Summary:

Winter 1763. Alec, Lord Halsey, is sent on a diplomatic mission to Midanich, imperial outpost of the Holy Roman Empire, to bargain for the freedom of imprisoned friends. Midanich is a place of great danger and dark secrets – a country at civil war, ruled by a family with madness in its veins. For Alec it is a place of unspeakable memories from which he barely escaped and vowed never to return. But return he must if he is to save the lives of Emily St. Neots and Sir Cosmo Mahon.

In a race against time, Alec and the English delegation journey across the icy wasteland for the castle fortress where Emily and Cosmo are imprisoned. The severe weather is as much an enemy as the soldiers of the opposing armies encamped along the way. Awaiting him at his destination is the Margrave and his sister, demanding nothing less than Alec’s head on a pike.

©2015 Lucinda Brant (P)2016 Lucinda Brant

My Thoughts:  Lucinda Brant drops us into a scene, so described with her evoking words, as reader, I am there among the throng, mingling and hearing the thoughts of the participants in the room, smelling death connected to the beginnings of intrigue and a mystery evolving. Brant, from the outset, has me asking questions, questioning what my eyes are seeing…and so begins another marvelous mystery from an author I greatly admire.

This particular series I’ve followed by audiobook from the beginning.  With Alex Wyndham’s narration, the story is no longer just a story, it’s real, with the pomp and circumstance of the Georgian era in and amongst royalty, with characters’ voices, emotions, and carriage stamped into my mind. A top performance if there ever was one!

Alec has a past he would sooner bury than remember.  In fact, no one in England had any idea how involved he was some ten years past with the Margrave and his children.  Although Alec would sooner forget, apparently, the new Margrave Ernst has not.

During unstable times of civil war of this kingdom, Cosmo and Emily, both dear friends to Alec, have taken a short stop to the kingdom to deliver some documents.  The Margrave uses these two to lure Alec back to Midanich. Alec takes the journey, not knowing if he could get into the kingdom again, since his exist was rather…unusual.  His godmother, uncle and Selena accompany him, much to his chagrin.

Cosmo is an arresting figure.  In his present circumstances, I can see why he is Alec’s best friend. He suffers much in this story, helping the reader to understand the evil which permeates the Margrave’s castle.

The Duchess, Alec’s godmother, is particularly entertaining.  Again, Wyndham captures whom she is, her hysteria, her age and her complete determination to save Emily and Cosmo, Emily being her niece and Cosmo her grandson.  She even pulls, Selena, her other niece into her plans of saving all three, Emily, Cosmo and Alec. The Duchess comments with asperity that she seems to be related to everyone, appearing irksome, although it also has its benefits as she would grudgingly admit.

Alec Halsey has played a central role in this series, extremely engaging with a will of steel, quick wit, and just plain luck. Brant has done her homework detailing with superb description a historically accurate setting.

I love reading this series, the way enough romance and the softer feelings of man play a role, yet the story is not centered on that exclusively.   With many layers of intrigue, the suspense is greater, the reality of the situation more intriguing, which kept me completely at the mercy of Brant’s pen.

 

Posted in Audiobook, Audiobook Review, Georgian Historical Mystery, Mystery, Women's Fiction | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Kick up some dust in the Wild West with Eliza Knight and Annabelle Weston in HER DESPERATE GAMBLE Released today!

33640737Title:  Her Desperate Gamble Wicked Women, Book 1
Authors: Eliza Knight & Annabelle Weston
Genre: Western Romance
Story Setting: Arizona Territory, 1880
Pages: 279
Published by: Knight Media, LLC
Published Date: January 24, 2017
ASIN: B01MQTLQHZ

 

Publisher’s Summary:

Revenge is best served with a sweet, hot kiss…

Nathan Bender is on a quest for vengeance. What he finds instead is a sexy saloon-dolly named O’Dell Murphy. She holds information he needs—and becomes a temptation he can’t resist.

O’Dell longs for a respectable life outside the saloon. When the fellow Nathan is searching for steals O’Dell’s savings, she has no choice but to go after him, or risk losing everything.

Torn between passion and revenge, Nathan reluctantly accompanies O’Dell through the Sonoran Desert.

There are some things a man can’t walk away from—and Nathan is finding it’s not revenge that binds him. It’s O’Dell, and the wicked, sinful pleasures she provides.

My Thoughts:  In this rather face-fanning, steamy read, you’ll experience the obvious–hot passion, not easily quenched in the blazing sun of Arizona!  However, more than that, you’ll experience the rough-tumble environment awaiting those seeking a more promising life, the adventurous and then the foolhardy.

O’Dell, an Irish woman, had been on her own for a long time.  Women who had only themselves to rely on were prey to a woman-starved man and usually landed in a saloon,  Not a nice, tidy brothel you’d fine in Europe.  In the territories there were few women, life hard to etch out, Indians to avoid and in the Arizona desert rattlesnakes among other vicious animals such as bobcats.

When men travelled through the desert, they were reminded of their mortality over and over.  Nathan Bender is a seasoned man, knowing who to befriend and who not to.  When his family were killed days before he showed up at the ranch, he is devastated.  He is madder than heck and promises his dead brother revenge.

O’Dell Murphy also finds herself madder than heck and with the same man Nathan is, and she intends to get her money back from the slick smooth-talking son-of-a-bitch.  She’s about as angry at herself as him.  She shouldn’t have been duped. She heads out on Pearl, a horse gifted to her, in the direction of Yuma, the major town she knew the scoundrel Carleton Blakely is heading. She has no idea what she’s heading into, but meets up with Nathan Bender on the way.

Nathan Bender is honorable, he also has manners of a gentleman, but he is a drover, driving steer from pasture to market. He wants revenge for his family, and he wants to do it, not some Marshall or sheriff.  It’s his revenge. And frankly, O’Dell Murphy will only get in the way, but he can’t let her face the elements alone. She would be dead by nightfall.

Trouble is, men are trying to civilize the territories by providing sheriffs, marshalls and deputies and taking the law into your own hands is frowned upon and could very likely have you hanging from a rope.  Unfortunately, anyone who wants a gun has one (even O’Dell), and angry situations are usually settled by gunfire. To live so far west, there has to be plenty of reasons and a powerful determination to be there in the first place.

O’Dell is the fascinating character of the story.  She’s the one who discovers who she is, by jumping from the frying pan into the fire, and grows the most.  You’ll see the Arizona territory through her eyes, and it ain’t pretty. Her experience with men has her painting them with the same brush – they all want something and give nothing.  She’s adorable to watch in action, providing a lot of entertainment and surprises by her unusual means of getting the job done.  Did I not mention she is a brazen, hot-tempered woman with a curvaceous body hard to turn down? She finds her feelings toward Nathan are suspect.  She surely must just be grateful for his protection.  But her body is singing a different tune.

Ladies, get your sombreros out to cover your face from the scorching sun and hide those blushes!  Here’s to the Wild West! Cheers!

I was given an ARC by the publisher for review.  My opinions and views are solely my own.

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