Tracy’s Reviews

Mists and Moonrise by Various Authors

Mists and Moonrise: The Reluctant Brides CollectionMists and Moonrise: The Reluctant Brides Collection by Kathryn Le Veque, Eliza Knight, Madeline Martin, Laurel O’Donnell, Catherine Kean and Elizabeth Rose

Release Date: 06/20/17

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a nice collection of never before published novellas, they are all based on the legend of the ill-fated lovers Kael & Aelwen. While all the stories are rooted in the legend, they are not connected and are all easily read as stand alone titles.

Lady of the Moon, Kathryn Le Veque – 4.5 stars. This is the story of Samarra & Rhodes. When Rhodes refuses to marry the woman his father has chosen for him, his father hires Samarra to abduct him and deliver him to the cave in St. Agnes. His father believes that if Rhodes touches the wall with his betrothed, he will fall in love with her and willingly marry. This was a story of “insta-love”, but it is very well done and surprisingly believable. The story moves at a fast pace, has a lot of action, a little steam and an ironic twist.

Laird of Darkness, Eliza Knight – 5 stars. This is the story of Rosamond and Tierney. Rosamond’s father has abandoned her in the cave at St. Agnes to punish her for rumors at court (which are actually about her twin sister). Tierney has been held prisoner at the tower of London for the last ten years, he was branded a traitor when he saved the Bruce’s life in battle. He has finally been released and is returning to Scotland to reclaim his lands and title when he finds Rosamond in the cave. Tierney rescues Rosamond and on the journey back to Scotland, they share a kiss that leads to a misunderstanding. Once resolved, the decide to marry. They return to Scotland, marry and declare their love before Tierney must leave on a mission for the Bruce. This was one of my favorite novellas in the book, it is fast paced, well written, very steamy, had a believable love story and best of all – Eliza Knight says that this is just the beginning of their story, that she will be following this up with a full length novel later this year (Yay!!)

The Highlander’s Untamed Lady, Madeline Martin – 5 Stars. This is the story of Diana & Evander. Evander’s people are starving so he accepts a bride from England sight unseen as her father has offered him an outrageous dowry to marry her. Diana has been imprisoned by her father for refusing to marry, she manages to escape only to be chased by Evander. He catches up with her in the cave at St. Agnes and tells her that they are to marry and return to Scotland. She of course refuses, leaving Evander no choice but to drug her (and her two pet wolves). They travel back to Scotland and Diana begins to realize how wrong she was about Evander. They marry as soon as they reach his castle, but Diana is not ready to share all her secrets with Evander and tries to keep him at arms length, but the more she gets to know him, the more she admires him. Once Diana admits to herself, that she is in love with him, she takes the ultimate leap of faith and shares her darkest secret. Evander is all you could want in a hero – I loved him! It seems like these two are destined for a HEA, when an unexpected twist threatens to tear them apart. This was my favorite novella – it is well written, emotional, steamy and has a really sweet ending.

Bravest of them All, Laurel O’Donnell – 3.5 Stars. This is the story of Luke and Nessa. Luke has known Nessa for most of her life, they grew up together and Luke is betrothed to Nessa’s older (spoiled/vain) sister Melwyn. Luke has been in France with the girls father for years fighting in the war, their father was struck down and Luke is returning with him to England. They arrive to find that Nessa has been abducted – the villain mistook her for her sister. Luke immediately sets out to rescue her, but his party is betrayed and ambushed. He manages to escape with Nessa, but their story is far from over. Luke is injured when the traitor catches up to them and they must run for their lives. The more time they spend together, the more they realize that they love each other. Once they reach her father’s castle, Nessa has decided that she cannot betray her sister and tells her father that she does not love Luke. This leads to a misunderstanding that almost costs them the love of a lifetime. While I found the story entertaining and well rounded, it did wrap up a bit too quickly and ended abruptly. It was well written and had a lot of action, but there was no steam at all and the heroine comes across as a martyr.

That Knight by the Sea, Catherine Kean – 3.5 stars. This is the story of Garret and Adaline (Addy). Six years ago Garret and Addy were in love, but Garret was sent away. Six years later, Addy believes Garret is dead and is on the verge of being married to a man she detests. Garret is a mercenary and has survived the last 6 years by his sword, when the man who helped him gain his knighthood requests that he abduct Addy, he immediately refuses, the lord then blackmails Garret into compliance. Garret still loves Addy, but he does not believe he is worthy of her because of his part. When he abducts her, she does not recognize him, but it does not take her long to figure out who he is. She begs him to release her, but he refuses – until he learns that he has been double crossed. He tries to get Addy away, but she escapes him and all hell breaks loose. It doesn’t look good for our lovers, but help comes from an unexpected source. This novella had a lot of potential, but there were a lot of typos and some inconsistencies that dimished the story for me.

Pirate in the Mist Elizabeth Rose – 2.5 stars. This is the story of Brody and Gwen. Brody is the captain of a pirate ship, his crew has mutinied and forced him overboard. He swims to a deserted island and spends a week building a raft. He is picked up by a passing fishing boat, only to go overboard again while rescuing the captain’s daughter, Gwen. They find the raft (?) and make it to shore, where they enter the cave in St. Agnes. They touch the wall and immediately fall in love – at least Gwen does. They leave the cave and head to an inn, where miraculously Brody’s long lost friend is the owner. Gwen learns some awful truths about her family and Brody wants to protect her. He decides that he is also falling in love with her and wants them to marry. This story was just too short to do it justice – it seemed rushed and totally unbelievable. If it was longer and the author had time to build up the story and develop a stronger relationship between Gwen and Brody, I think it could have been at 4 star read.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read and for the price, you can’t go wrong – I happily recommend this book

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an ARC provided to by the author*

The Danger of Desire by Elizabeth Essex

The Danger of Desire (Dartmouth Brides #3)The Danger of Desire by Elizabeth Essex

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Dartmouth Brides #3
Release Date: 04/04/17 (Revised edition)

Please Note: This review is for the 2017 revised/reissued version.

I read the original version of this book years ago and I loved it – the changes in this new version are slight, but for all those who were upset that the hero was not a virgin in the original – you will be very happy with the revisions!

Captain Hugh McAlden has been recuperating from an injury that almost cost him his leg and is at loose ends. He has been asked by the admiralty to look into a delicate matter. His reward for a successful mission will be a knighthood and reinstatement of his command. Eager to get back on his ship, he accepts the mission and finds the perfect person to help him as he is leaving the admiralty building.

Meggs is a thief, she has been working the streets as a pickpocket for years to support herself and her younger brother. She is “working” outside the admiralty when she catches Hugh’s eye – shocked that she has been caught, she runs without hearing Hugh’s proposition. Hugh chases her through the streets and alleys of London and finally corners her. He tells Meggs what he needs her to do. Meggs takes his watch and manages to escape – but in the process, badly injuries her hand.

Intrigued by Hugh and worried for her brother, Meggs seeks Hugh out by taking his watch to the watchmaker and pretends to be trying to return it the owner. The watchmaker sends a note to Hugh
and when he comes to claim the watch, he meets with Meggs again. This time he gives her more information about what he wants to hire her for and gives her his direction.

Meggs decides that if Hugh is really willing to pay her, it would mean security for her and her brother, so she seeks out Hugh to make a deal and then collapses from complications of her injury.

Hugh nurses Meggs back to health and brings her brother to his house as well. When Meggs wakes, he tells her what he needs her to do and puts her to work in his house. As the days pass, the attraction between them grows and they dance around each other. Meggs is confused by her feelings for Hugh and can’t imagine a future with him, so when she is finally healed enough to go on the mission, she sets out determined to succeed and then set out on her new life.

When Meggs is nearly caught, Hugh realizes that Meggs means more to him than the mission and doesn’t want things to end between them. He enlists his mother to help him acclimate Meggs to society and makes provisions for her brother to train for the navy with his friend James Marlowe. At this point it appears that it will be smooth sailing to a HEA, but a surprising twist that leads to the truth about Meggs identity threatens to tear our lovers apart.

This book is well written, has funny moments, some very steamy love scenes, some intrigue, a lot of twists and turns and finally a very hard earned HEA. The book is the third in the trilogy, but it is loosely connected and could easily be read as a stand alone title.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for a Revised copy of this book that was provided to me by the author*

Confessions of a Dangerous Lord by Elisa Braden

Confessions of a Dangerous Lord (Rescued from Ruin Book 7)Confessions of a Dangerous Lord by Elisa Braden
Release Date:06/20/17
Series: Rescued from Ruin,#7

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of all the books in this series, this book is my favorite (to date) and I would give it 10 stars if I could!

Lady Maureen Huxley has been in love with Henry Thorpe, the Earl of Dunston for years and considers him her dearest friend, there was a time when she thought that he might be more than a friend, but Henry made it clear that friendship was all he would offer.

Henry Thorpe has been in love with Maureen for years and would love nothing more than to marry her, he has been dissuading her suitors for years and keeping his true feelings for her hidden. Because Henry loves Maureen, he cannot bring her into his life right now, he has spent years hunting the ruthless villain that murdered his father and he fears that Maureen would become a target if he married her.

Maureen makes a final attempt to declare herself to Henry, but when he tells her he can not be the man she wants, she says goodbye and tells him she must move on with her life.

Henry is beside himself at the prospect of losing his love and frantically tries to find a way to keep her in his life. When Maureen is courted by the Earl of Holstoke, Henry seethes, when Holstoke asks her to marry him, Henry makes a decision and chooses love over his quest for vengeance. Now all he has to do is convince Maureen to forget everything he said before and agree to marry him.

Henry turns over all his information about the villain to Reaver, assures Maureen’s father that he is done with his quest, makes plans to marry Maureen and then hunts down his bride to be. Maureen has decided that she will marry Henry, but wants to turn down Holstoke’s proposal in person before she accepts Henry, she feels that that is the right thing to do, because even though she doesn’t love him, she does like him and would like to continue being friends. Unfortunately, Henry shows up and that plan is shot – he reacts badly to seeing Maureen with Holstoke and it takes a bit of doing to calm him down.

Henry and Maureen marry and on their wedding night all hell breaks loose and Henry becomes a man that Maureen doesn’t recognize. He whisks them away from town and barely speaks to her. It isn’t until they reach Colin and Sarah’s house that Maureen learns the truth of why Henry kept her at arms length for years. When she finds out the entire truth, she is shocked, hurt and very angry.

Henry and Maureen have a long road to reach their HEA, but thankfully, the argument between them regarding Henry’s deception does not drag on and on. They talk and Maureen is very forgiving and Henry is very sincere. But the villain is not done with our lovers and when Henry must return to London to hopefully end this once and for all – an unexpected twist puts Maureen in danger and threatens to destroy their dreams of a life together.

This book is well written, has very likable characters, some laugh out loud moments, some heartbreaking moments, some suspense, steamy love scenes, cameos from Harrison, Jane, Colin and Sarah and a very hard won HEA.

This is the seventh book in the series and it would probably be helpful to the reader to have read at least the second and third books, but the author does give enough backstory to make this enjoyable as a stand alone title.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by the author.*

Addicted to the Duke by Bronwen Evans

Addicted to the Duke (Imperfect Lords, #1)Addicted to the Duke by Bronwen Evans
Release Date: 06/13/17
Series: Imperfect Lords, #1

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by Netgalley and the publisher*

4.5 stars

This book opens with Alex, the Duke of Bedford rescuing Lady Hestia Cary. Hestia has been captured by pirates and is about to be handed over to Sultan Murad Bayezid – the very man who captured and enslaved Alex years before.

Fast forward four years – Alex is a recovering opium addict who uses alcohol and sex to quiet his demons. He has been summoned by Hestia on a matter of urgency and as much as he wants to refuse her, he can’t. Hestia is not for him and as much as he wishes that wasn’t the case, he knows that he will never be worthy of her. For the past few years, Alex has avoided Hestia, he knows she has feelings for him, but believes that it is just hero worship and she will eventually move on. Hestia has loved Alex for years, but has come to accept that he is not interested in her. But right now Alex is the only person she can turn to. Her cousin Fredrick is claiming that her father the Earl of Pembroke is dead and that he is the new earl. Hestia knows that her father is not dead but will soon be if she cannot reach him before Fredrick. Alex is the only man familiar enough with both her father and Mediterranean to save him.

When Alex first hears the problem, he feels bound to help, her father is the man that saved him from Murad all those years ago. But when he realizes that he will have to take Hestia with him, he is not sure he can withstand the temptation.

The story that follows is intense, there is action, adventure, steamy love scenes, betrayals, a hero with demons to fight, great secondary characters, pirates and finally a very hard earned HEA.

I thought this book was great, it is a very emotional book and treads more on the dark side than the usual historical romance. I would never consider Alex a lovable hero, he is too fierce and damaged to be lovable, but he is unforgettable, intense, dark and delicious! Hestia is a wonderful heroine, brave, loyal, loving and can hold her own. She is the light to his dark.

I would happily recommend this book and am looking forward to the next installment!

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

Someone to Love (Westcott, #1)Someone to Love by Mary Balogh
Release Date: 11/08/16
Series: Westcott, #1

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was hands down one of the best Mary Balogh books I have ever read. I loved it and I didn’t want it to end.

Anna Snow is an orphan, but it was not until the death of her father that she learned that she was not who she always thought she was. She has lived almost her entire life at an orphanage in Bath – never knowing who her family was or how she came to be there. All she knows is that she has a benefactor who has been paying to support her and will continue to do so, until she leaves the orphanage. Her life changes the day she receives a letter with a summons to London.

The Earl of Riverdale has died and Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby has been named guardian of Harry Westcott, the new earl until he reaches his majority. The old earl left no will, but all seems in order, so Avery is a bit surprised when the Countess of Riverdale asks him to meet with her and the solicitor without the new earl. Turns out the Countess would like the solicitor to find her late husband’s illegitimate daughter and settle a sum of money on her as long as she agrees to never contact the family or make any future claims. She is adamant that she does not want anyone especially her two daughters, Lady Camille, Lady Abigail or her son Harry, the Earl of Riverdale to know about the girl and wants to know nothing about her herself. She asks Avery to oversee this and he reluctantly agrees.

Avery comes across as an indolent, selfish fop – but he is anything but. He seems disinterested and uncaring, but he isn’t – he is unknown and unknowable – or is he?

Anna comes to London and is given the shock of her life – she is not alone – she has a large family that she never knew and never knew of her. She is also the sole legitimate child of the late earl. It seems the late earl married Anna’s mother and when her mother got ill and return with Anna to her parent’s home – the earl returned to his former life and remarried, but the problem is he remarried 4 months before his first wife died! Suddenly the table have turned and the bastard child is the lady and has inherited the family fortune! But she loses what she wants most – the brother and sisters that she always wanted.

Anna tries to make peace with her siblings, but they want nothing to do with her and refuse to take anything from her. Her extended family of Aunts and cousins, step in and begin the transformation of Anna from orphan to Lady Anastasia Westcott. Avery watches from the sidelines and steps in to rescue Anna more than once when she seems overwhelmed.

Avery’s reaction to Anna mystifies him – she is nothing like any woman he has ever met and he is sure that he cannot be attracted to her. But attracted he is and when Anna’s family suggests she marry Alexander, the new earl – Avery steps in and tells her she could marry him.

For her part, Anna is just as confused about her feelings toward Avery as he is to her. But with Avery she feels safe and she agrees to marry him. Once they marry, he takes her to find her maternal grandparents and then back to Bath to visit her sisters and the orphanage. They seem like they are off to a great start and very happy – but all that changes when they return to London.

Once back in London, they start to drift apart and they both long to recapture the closeness they had on their honeymoon, but neither really knows how. It isn’t until Avery is ready to open up and let Anna know him that they find their HEA.

This book was well written, flows nicely, has a bit of drama, a lot of laughter, some mild love scenes and an absolutely beautiful declaration scene. The book does set up the series, but I never felt like Anna and Avery got lost in the process. I would happily recommend this book and am eagerly awaiting the rest of the series!

Forbidden Knight by Diana Cosby

Forbidden Knight (Forbidden #2)Forbidden Knight by Diana Cosby
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release Date 06/06/17
Series: Forbidden, #2

I really liked this book. It is an emotionally charged book that is centered more on the hero than the heroine. It is a little light in the romance department, but it is a beautiful story nonetheless.

Alesone is a woman on the run, she is trying to escape her father, Lord Comyn, who plans to use her as a pawn to over throw King Robert. Alesone is loyal to Robert and wants nothing to do with Lord Comyn.

Sir Thomas is a displaced Templar Knight, who is on his way to join King Robert, when he comes across Alesone, who shoots an arrow at him, narrowly missing his heart. She claims to be the king’s healer but Thomas doesn’t believe her. He thinks she is a spy assassin and thinks she is just bluffing about her relationship with the king.

When the plot Alesone’s father has concocted is revealed, the king charges Thomas with seeing Alesone to safety. Thomas is not pleased about this turn of events, but does as the king bids. When he is injured, Alesone saves him and finds them shelter. When Thomas wakes, he recognizes the owner of the cottage they are in and discovers he is near his childhood home.

Sir John, the owner of the cottage, has Thomas and Alesone taken to the nearby monastery for further help. Once there Thomas’ past comes rushing back and he is confronted with old friends, family and heartache that he has spent years running from.

Thomas’ father comes to claim his son and Thomas is reluctant to go home, but knowing that Alesone’s safety is paramount, he agrees. Alesone has tended Thomas and they have grown close, she doesn’t expect anything will come from their time together, but she is beginning to fall in love with him and wants to help him heal, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. Alesone has been alone most of her life and has recently lost the only person she had ever considered family. She blames herself for Grisel’s death and can understand Thomas’ grief – but she can’t understand his refusal to rejoin his family.

Alesone is a beautiful person, both inside and out and my heart broke for her, she has lost so much and when she begins to open herself up to Thomas, he repeatedly shuts her out. I understood his reasons, but he was really awful to her, maybe not on purpose, but he hurts her again and again. The healing of Thomas takes time and he doesn’t make it easy – he has judged himself unworthy of forgiveness or of love and no matter what anyone says, he won’t change his mind. Alesone along with his friends and his father really have their work cut out for them convincing Thomas to accept their love.

I thought the book was well written, but it did drag a little bit in the middle and Thomas’ reasons for not acknowledging his feelings for Alesone started to get old and tired. But once he begins to forgive himself and accept that he deserves happiness, the story picks up. I enjoyed his bumbling attempts to explain himself to Alesone. The heat factor in this book is rather low, there are some love scenes and they are well done, but not steamy. There are a few battle scenes, but nothing horrifically violent or gory. There is also a twist at the end, that I never saw coming, but was delighted by on Alesone’s behalf.

In the end, I really liked this book and I would be happy to recommend it. It is the second book in the Forbidden Series, but it could be read as a stand alone title with no problems.

* I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by Netgalley and the publisher*

The Traitor’s Club: Ford by Laura Landon

traitors club - ford
The Traitor’s Club: Ford by Laura Landon

Release Date: 05/30/17
Series: The Traitor’s Club, #1

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lady Calinda aka Callie was burned years ago by her betrothed and has decided that men cannot be trusted and wants no part of marriage. She is content to help her grandfather run the Crown’s shipping company.

Captain Ford Remington is one of the “Queen’s Scoundrels”, he has returned from the war and is at loose ends, he feels a bit of survivor’s guilt and desperately wishes there was something he could do for all the wound/crippled soldiers that were not as fortunate as he and his friends were. His chance arises when the Queen requests his assistance with the Crown’s Shipping Company. Profits have been declining for years and she wants Ford to go undercover and find out why. His reward will be half interest in the company. The money will enable Ford to help those soldiers, so while he has no desire to spy again, he can’t turn away this opportunity.

Ford meets Callie at a ball and befriends her – he feels badly about deceiving her, but he has a mission and until he learns more, she is a suspect. Callie is shocked at her reaction to Ford, she hasn’t had any interest in a man since her ill fated betrothal. Even though she tries to keep Ford at a distance, she feels a connection to him and begins to share her worries about the company with him.

As they work together to figure out who is stealing from the company and how, they fall in love. Ford can never seem to find the right time to tell Callie about his mission and knows the longer he waits, the harder it will be for her to forgive him.

Things come to a head and when Callie finds out the truth, she shuts him out. She refuses to talk to him, listen to him or read his letters. Up until this point, I though this was a 5 star read – but the way she acted turned me off and I had a hard time liking her after that. She came across as a hypocrite since she was also keeping secrets from her family and especially from her grandfather. She assumed the worst about Ford and steadfastly refused to believe she might be mistaken.

She does redeem herself (sort of) but for me, it was too little, too late.

The book is well written, interesting, moves at a steady pace, has very mild love scenes (kissing only), great secondary characters and a decent mystery. I loved Ford, from the first page to the last and I look forward to reading the other “traitors” stories.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

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