Tag Archives: Madeline Martin

Highland Ruse by Madeline Martin

Highland RuseHighland Ruse by Madeline Martin

Series: Mercenary Maidens, #2

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great follow up to Highland Spy!

Delilah is the middle child of fifteen and was sent to work for a relative in the English court. Soon after arriving and losing her virtue, Delilah is approached by a woman named Sylvi and offered the opportunity of a lifetime. With no options, Delilah agrees to work with Sylvi.

After years of training and working to prove herself, Delilah is finally embarking on her first solo mission. Her job is to act a decoy and apprehend the people who are trying to abduct Lady Elizabeth and to ensure that Lady Elizabeth reaches her betrothed without incident.

All goes according to plan and Delilah is taken captive by Kaid MacLeod, Laird of the MacLeod’s. Kaid mean Elizabeth no harm, but her betrothed, Seamus MacKenzie is another story. Haunted by the savage attack that left many in his village, including his father dead, Kaid needs a bargaining chip. He plans to ransom Elizabeth back to MacKenzie in exchange for his father’s sword and the hope of peace.

Delilah employs several tactics to delay their journey and tries to harden her heart against Kaid. But when one of her plans goes awry and Kaid cares for them and then later she witnesses his nightmares and learns the truth, she begins to have doubts about Elizabeth’s safety. Kaid tries to comfort Delilah and things start to heat up, but Kaid refuses to go any further. Kaid decides to leave the coach and travel on horseback, forcing Delilah to leave most of her possessions.

Worried that they will arrive too soon and ruin the plan, Delilah takes action and turns the tables on Kaid. Delilah tells Kaid who she is and proceeds to take him to Sylvi, but soon they cross onto Kaid’s lands and Delilah realizes she has lost her advantage.

Kaid approaches Delilah with a new plan, asking her to impersonate Lady Elizabeth and help him find the lost MacKenzie heir, Torra. He feels that if Torra is restored to her rightful position, there can be peace between the clans. At first Delilah refuses, but when she meets a young orphan girl named Claire and learns the horrors the MacKenzie brought to the MacLeod’s, she knows what she must do.

When things start to go bad, Kaid rushes to rescue the woman he loves. And Delilah turns to Sylvi for help. Things go from bad to worse and just when it seems all hope is lost, Ms. Martin is able to work a miracle and give Delilah and Kaid the HEA they deserve.

This book was well written, flowed non-stop from the first page until the last, there was action, sword fights, steamy love scenes, secrets, betrayals, heartache and moments when it seemed there was no way this was going to end well. There are cameos with Sylvi, Percy, Liv & Isabel as well as the introduction of several secondary characters that add so much depth to this story. This is the second book in the series, but it could easily be read as a standalone title. I am happy to recommend this book and look forward to the next book in the series Highland Wrath (Sylvi’s book!!!!)

*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an Uncorrected eARC provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

Looking for members!

Author Madeline Martin has started a review team and is looking for members! She will send you books from her backlist in exchange for an honest review posted on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N or wherever you buy/review books – she is not asking for epic reviews, even a few lines is fine.

So if you like hot Highlanders and strong heroines, take a minute to apply to her review group!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/468621526854408/

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*

Historical Hellions – Box Set, Various Authors.

Historical HellionsHistorical Hellions by Elizabeth Essex

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release Date: 4/11/17

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

This was a great set!

The Pursuit of Pleasure – Elizabeth Essex – Full Length Novel – 4 Stars: This is the story of Lizzie and James. They were friends in their youth before James disappeared for 10 years. He is back and offers Lizzie what she has always wanted – to be a widow! The book is good, but feels a little disjointed. I know Lizzie and Jamie are in love, but the story really lacked romance – but that was more about the personalities of Lizzie and Jamie than any flaw in the writing. They simply are not lovey-dovey type of characters.

The Thief Steals Her Earl – Christina McKnight – Full Length Novel – No Rating – I did not read this book.

Secrets In Scarlet – Erica Monroe – Full Length Novel – 5 Stars: This is the story of Poppy and Thaddaeus. Poppy is a single mother trying to do the best she can for her daughter and Thaddaeus is the police sergeant trying to solve a murder. Poppy tries hard to keep Thaddaeus out of her life, but he will not be swayed. When danger threatens and secrets are revealed – I fell in love with Thaddaeus – he was a perfect hero. His love for Poppy was beautiful and unconditional. He made this book for me. Poppy was a good heroine and I understand her need to protect her daughter – but I think she could have trusted Thaddaeus with the truth much sooner than she did.

Sleeping Beau – Lila DiPasqua – Novella – 5 Stars: This book was scorching hot – I a surprised my kindle didn’t melt – HOT! I loved this story – it might be my favorite in the set! This is a very, very loose interpretation of Sleeping Beauty. Adrien and Catherine shared a night of passion years ago – but Adrien never knew who the woman was and she has haunted his dreams since then. Catherine had her reasons for seducing Adrien 5 years ago – but she had no idea who he was. She is now a widow on the cusp of remarriage when she meets Adrien again. They immediately recognize each other, but Catherine steadfastly refuses to acknowledge their prior meeting. When Adrien finally gets the truth, Catherine agrees to be his lover until her betrothed arrives. They spend several HOT nights and days together and when Catherine’s intended shows up early, they are dismayed – neither is ready to say good-bye. Adrien lets Catherine go and it seems that there will be no HEA – but the author throws in a shocking twist that changes everything!

The Art of Seduction – Eileen Richards – Long Novella – 4 Stars: This book was a bit different than I imagined it would be from the blurb. It is about lost loves reuniting, Beth and Michael were in love but lost touch when Michael was called home to attend his dying mother. Five years later they meet again by chance and this time Michael is not going to let Beth slip away. This book really explored the social class differences in the era and the struggles young unmarried women faced. There is a love story, but it seemed downplayed in comparison to the social issues. I really liked Ms. Richards writing style and will definitely read more of her work!

The Madam’s Highlander – Madeline Martin – Long Novella – 5 Stars: This was the lone Scottish offering in the collection and it was fantastic! Ewan Fraser is a member of the Black Watch, he joined in hopes of redeeming his honor after his father was hung as a traitor. Freya is the owner of a brothel and loathes the English and the Black Watch – so when Ewan asks Freya for help – she refuses. Desperate to save his mother he does the only thing he can – he threatens hers! Furious Freya has no choice but to agree. When she goes to his home and finds it burned and his mother hiding from the Redcoats, she takes his mother to her home. When Ewan learns of her fate, he renounces his service to the Black Watch and becomes a fugitive. Freya agrees to take him to his mother. When they arrive at her home they are confronted with an English solider and Freya tells him Ewan is her husband. These two slowly form a bond and fall in love. When Ewan is discovered and all hell breaks loose – he sacrifices his freedom to save the woman he loves. It seems all hope is lost and months pass without word of his fate. I don’t know how she did it – but Ms. Martin turned it all around in the last chapter and accomplished what seemed impossible just a few pages before – a touching and believable HEA!

Reckless Wager – Christy Carlyle – Long Novella – 5 stars: This story was amazing! Set in Victorian England in Whitechapel – it was not your traditional Victorian romance. Kate has been widowed for 10 years and is considering getting married, but the abuse she suffered in her first marriage still haunts her and she doesn’t really want to give up her volunteer work in Whitechapel has her second guessing her decision. She meets Detective Sergeant Benjamin Quinn when a young woman comes into the clinic and claims she was assaulted by Jack the Ripper. The young woman, Rose, refuses to talk to anyone from the police, save Ben. Kate tracks him down at a pub and agrees to go to his flat to talk. Ben is drunk and ends up passing out, when Kate goes to leave, he briefly wakes and they share a heart stopping kiss. Kate leaves never expecting to see him again – but she wants to! These two cross paths again and Kate concocts the “wager” to make Ben include her in the search for Rose. The more time they spend together – the more they want. Ben has been hurt before, by choosing to join the MET, he lost the woman he hoped to marry and the relationship with his family became estranged. He has sworn off women and love, but he is drawn to Kate. I really loved this story, it is well written, well researched and paced perfectly.

I really enjoyed this collection and would highly recommend it!

At the time of this post (4/23/17), this collection was on sale for $0.99 at Amazon.com!

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