Tag Archives: Madeline Martin

Highland Wrath by Madeline Martin

Highland Wrath (The Mercenary Maidens, #3)Highland Wrath by Madeline Martin

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Mercenary Maidens #3
Publication Date: 7/17/18

Oh! Be still my heart. This book was mesmerizing, poignant, sweet, fulfilling, and the absolute perfect ending to the series. My heart beat faster and faster as Sylvi and Ian along with Percy, Isobel, My Lady and Liv draw nearer and nearer to the mercenaries who murdered Sylvi’s family. Can six stand against dozens? There is non-stop action, an exceptional storyline, a mystery that keeps you guessing right up until the end, wonderful, lovable and relatable characters and I absolutely could not put it down once I read the first word.

Sylvi has intrigued me since the first book in the series. I knew she had an epic tale to tell and I was certainly correct in that. She’s strong, intelligent and determined to avenge the deaths of her entire family. Her family was ruthlessly murdered when she was only eight years old – she was the only one to have survived having her throat cut. She closed down all of her feelings except her desire for revenge and she trained her body to be a killing machine. She had followed and copied the moves of someone she referred to as My Lady until the lady finally noticed her and agreed to teach her. It is seventeen years later and Sylvie is now at her peak – all she has to do is find them. All she knows is that the leader has only half of his left ear.

To keep herself and the other ladies afloat, Sylvi occasionally accepts jobs – even sometimes taking the life of someone else. She has just such a job now. She is to find and kill Ian Campbell and take his body to the people who want him dead. However, Ian isn’t quite as easy to kill as she thought – and when she hears what he has to say while he’s guessing who paid her to kill him – well, she doesn’t want him dead any longer. Together they come up with a plot to make the villains think Ian is dead so Sylvi can follow them when they take his body back to their leader.

Ian Campbell is the oldest son of Laird Campbell, but he’s renounced his position as heir because he has no desire to be the kind of man his father is. His brother Kyle can have the job. Laird Campbell is a harsh laird and rules with a firm hand. When Ian’s father committed an act Ian couldn’t live with, Ian left home and has drifted aimlessly in the year since then. He even spent a few months with a band of mercenaries.

Ian is instantly intrigued and attracted to the lovely lass who has just tried to murder him in his sleep. Yet, somehow, for some reason, he trusts her with his life. So, when she suggests an outrageous plan, he goes along with it.

Once Sylvi gets her revenge, it doesn’t feel quite so sweet. Something is missing and she discovers yet another mystery she has to solve – this was all even more tragic than she originally thought.

Be prepared for a wild ride of revenge, love, betrayal and multiple HEA’s in this tightly plotted, perfectly executed ending to a wonderful series. I highly recommend it. You can read it as a stand-alone, but goodness I don’t know why you’d want to – the first two books in the series are wonderful too!

I almost forgot to mention — there is a to-die-for epilogue. I absolutely think all books need an epilogue, but this one sets the example of what all of the others should be like. All I can say is – Well Done Ms. Martin!

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Ladies of the Stone: A Scottish Romance Anthology by Eliza Knight, Madeline Martin, Cecelia Mecca & Lori Ann Bailey

Ladies of the Stone: A Scottish Romance AnthologyLadies of the Stone: A Scottish Romance Anthology by Eliza Knight
Tracy’s rating: 4.5/5 of 5 stars

Release Date: April 24, 2018

This was a really fun anthology – four novellas centered around the legend of the Heart of Scotland, a mythical stone that holds the soul of Scotland and the ladies chosen to protect it. The basic gist of the stories is that the Heart of Scotland must be protected, if it falls into the wrong hands, Scotland will suffer. Each time a protector dies, the stone returns to the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye and is guarded by the priestess, until the new protector arrives. Every protector has a mark, a small dagger on their hip, they also have a special power, that usually intensifies after they take possession of the stone. For each protector there is a nemesis, who also has a mark on their hip and a power – each protector will have to fight to keep the stone safe – classic good vs evil.

The Highlander’s Quest by Eliza Knight – 4 stars – The daughter of Julianna and Ronan Sutherland, Julia Sutherland, is called to be the new protector of King David II, the boy king of Scotland. She doesn’t want to leave her mother, who is recovering from poisoning, but duty comes first. She goes to Dunfermline Palace to report to the Earl of Moray, the young king’s regent. When she arrives she is stopped by Alistair Campbell, Moray’s personal guard. It is definitely not a case of love at first sight! When the young king is kidnapped, Julia will be drawn to the pools and will have to choose between duty to her king or let the stone fall into the hands of a villain. Julia and Alistair will have to work together to save both the king and the stone. Nice story, lots of action, steamy love scenes and a HEA.

Cassandra by Madeline Martin – 5 stars – Cassandra Thomas is the most recent youngest daughter born to the line of Beaumont women – the youngest daughter of this line is always born with a gift/power, at her birth her grandmother predicts that not only will Cassandra have a powerful connection to the earth, but she will also be called upon as a protector of the stone. Cassandra feels the burden of expectation her entire life and feels like a disappointment to her family, when at the ripe old age of 20 she has shown no real evidence of her gift. But all that changes when the mark of the protector appears on her hip and she is drawn to the pools on Skye. Fergus needs the stone, his king is holding his son captive, a son Fergus has never seen and will not release him until Fergus delivers the Heart of Scotland AND the protector. Cassandra and Fergus meet when they both arrive at the pool – Fergus bests her and takes the stone. Cassandra follows him – which suits his purposes. Along the way to the king, Cassandra will come into her powers and Fergus will help her learn to harness her gift. They will fall in love, but will he be willing to save her at the cost of his son? This was the most “magical” of the novellas, it had some anguish, steamy love scenes, action and a seemingly impossible HEA.

The Protector’s Promise by Cecelia Mecca – 4 stars – William “Court” Thornhurst, an Englishman and seneschal of Camburg Castle is drawn to the pools on Skye and the stone as is Lady Marion of Ormonde. Court get the stone and is pursued by Marion. Marion is the protector, she has anticipated and trained for this her entire life – there is no way she is going to let Court keep the stone. When she confronts him, he takes her captive, he will not give her the stone, he doesn’t know why, but he knows the stone will help him win his heart’s desire. Marion isn’t giving up – she will get the stone. As they travel, they are attracted to one another, but they are enemies and resist the pull. Marion wears down Court and he promises to give her the stone after he completes his mission. Marion must convince him that his mission will destroy the truce between their countries and that he doesn’t need the lands and title he craves to be worthy. This was a sweet story, with steamy love scenes, a bit of angst and very interesting ending.

The Highland Guard and His Lady by Lori Ann Bailey – 4.5 stars – Leslee MacKinnon is the current protector of the stone, she has an unusual gift, she can “read” objects, she can see visions of the past and can feel the objects owners feelings. She is at Holyrood Place to translate an ancient text for the Queen. She meets Duncan Douglas, captain of the guard, when she tries to enter the queen’s apartments. Duncan is immediately drawn to her and feels oddly protective of her. Duncan is the distant cousin to Lord Darnley, the Queen’s consort, the father of the prince and Duncan’s only living family. They both feel the attraction, but she knows nothing will come from it – she will return to Skye and he is needed at the castle. They grow closer and Leslee trusts him with her secrets, which he seems to accept without question. But when Leslee’s nemesis tries to claim the stone, will Duncan choose Leslee or will he choose to stand by the only family he has left? This was a great story, lots of emotion, steamish love scenes and the most original and entertaining fictional interpretation of Lord Darnley’s death that I have ever read.

Overall, this was a wonderful collection, all the novellas follow the same theme, but they are all stand alone stories, they all incorporate true historical figures and events, they are all well written, entertaining, steamish and each have a touch of magic. I am happy to recommend this anthology and would be interested in reading more from all of these authors.

The Earl of Benton by Madeline Martin

Earl of Benton (Wicked Earls' Club, #9)Earl of Benton by Madeline Martin
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Wicked Earls’ Club, #9

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Alistair Johnstone is the reluctant Earl of Benton, raised Scottish, he wants nothing to do with his English heritage, but when his grandfather dies, he has no choice, much to his mother’s dismay (and rage). He is attending a house party hosted by the Wicked Earl’s Club when he learns that his mother is in trouble and he needs to return to Scotland right away. While discussing his mother’s dilemma with his valet, he spies Emma hiding in a stall with his dog Beast.

Emma is running for her life, she is a month away from inheriting her father’s vast fortune and ceasing to be under her uncle’s guardianship. Her uncle has tried to force her to marry his son Conrad, but she refuses, so now it appears that her uncle has a new plan. Emma finds her maid Jenny dead and her servants urge her to go, pointing out that Jenny was wearing one of her dresses and looks like her from the back – Jenny was not the intended victim, Emma was. Emma takes off and knows they are following her, she heads for the nearby estate and lets her horse go, she hides in the stables and overheads Alistair and his valet McKenzie talking. He spots her just as her uncle arrives and he covers for her. After her uncle leaves, he says he will help her, but wants some answers.

Alistair sneaks her into the house and there is a comical scene with Emma trying on disguises, they settle on a shocking gown and will pretend that she is his lover. They leave and successfully fool her uncle before they make their escape. Once in the carriage, Emma tells Alistair to leave her in the next village – he assures her he will not hurt her and goes as far as to give her a dagger to “protect” herself. He offers to take her to Scotland and ensures that he will give her safe passage back to London. Emma agrees. They travel together and let the innkeepers assume that they are married, for the sake of her reputation (and to throw her uncle off her trail). They arrive in Scotland and he sees his cousin Hamish, Hamish sees Emma and makes a comment, but Emma tells him they are married. A statement that Alistair agrees to, but what Emma doesn’t realize is they are in Scotland and by declaring themselves married in front of witnesses – they are in fact married. Alistair decides to keep this from her and figures he will sort it out later. They share a room and finally give into the desire they have both been denying.

They travel to his castle and Alistair is dismayed when he sees that nothing has been repaired. Emma begins to have doubts about Alistair – maybe he is just after her money and all his compliments and sweet words were just a ruse to trick her into falling for him. If this revelation wasn’t bad enough, she then meets Madge, Alistair’s English-hating mother. Madge is livid that Alistair has brought Emma to her home. She spits at Emma’s feet, demands Alistair make her leave and refuses to leave her room until she is gone.

Emma has had enough and asks to be taken to her room. Alistair takes her and explains why Madge is so hateful and he says he will go talk to Madge. As he leaves, Emma realizes that she is falling in love with him. He talks to Madge and learns why the repairs haven’t’ been made, she is still angry, but it is clear she loves him and misses him, which is why she forced him to come home.

Emma spends a restless night and when she hears someone at her door, she thinks it is Alistair – but it is Madge – a raging, screaming Madge who charges at Emma. Emma grabs the dagger Alistair gave her – she is tired of being the victim and will not go down without a fight!

Alistair goes looking for Emma and finds her in the great hall with Madge – they are both drunk. Alistair helps Emma back to her room and she finally explains why she doesn’t believe Alistair’s compliments are sincere. Alistair tells her she is wrong, what she believes are flaws are what he likes best.

The next day, Alistair meets with Hamish, they are preparing to smuggle whisky to England for Madge. This was the great emergency that brought him to Scotland, she made promises to some very shady people and there was no way she could deliver the whisky. Alistair has to save her, but if he is caught smuggling Scots whisky into England, he will be tried for treason. He also doesn’t want Emma to know, because it will only further her belief that men only want her for her money. He makes the final preparations with Hamish and they enter the hall. Emma and Madge are together and Hamish addresses her as Lady Benton. Emma is embarrassed and says it was a lie, but Madge points out that because they declared themselves in front of witnesses, they are in fact married. Emma is stunned and then angry – why didn’t Alistair tell her? And when Madge mentions her fortune, she feels betrayed, she loved him and believed that he was sincere, but now she knows she was a fool.

The next day before she leaves, Madge talks to her and tells her that she thinks that Emma and Alistair can be happy and that Emma is welcome at the castle. Emma is touched, but is not sure Madge is correct about her and Alistair. When they finally set off, he tries to talk to her, but she is not having it. And when she asks about the carriage and the cart, he lies. She calls him on his lie and he finally tells her everything. She is still upset and heartbroken, but even worse – still in love with him. Alistair doesn’t want to lose her, but he has no idea how to right the wrongs he has done.

Can Alistair convince Emma he loves her? What about her uncle? And the whisky? Is there anyway for these two to overcome the hurt and betrayal? You’ll just have to read the book to find out!!

This was a well written, fully fleshed out novella, it has amusing moments, steamy love scenes, lies, betrayals, crazy mothers and evil relatives, a sweet dog and very hard won HEA.

This is the ninth installment of the Wicked Earls’ Club, but like the previous books, it is a stand alone title. I highly recommend this book and the entire series!

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

The Madam’s Highlander by Madeline Martin

The Madam's HighlanderThe Madam’s Highlander by Madeline Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: None
Publication Date: 1/23/18

This novella was first released as part of an anthology. As always, Ms. Martin’s writing is superb. The characters are memorable, the plot is well developed and the romance is swoon-worthy. You will be on pins and needles right up to the last chapter – will they get their HEA or won’t they? Your fingers will be flipping the pages just as quickly as your eyes can devour the words.

Ewan Frasier’s father was hanged as a traitor. Can you imagine how you would feel to see your father dangling at the end of a rope? Ewan joins the Black Watch in order to redeem his and his family’s honor. However, things in the Black Watch have changed since Ewan first joined. Was it always that way and he just didn’t notice or has it changed so negatively? Ewan’s main goal now is to keep his mother safe, but he’s constantly denied leave to go check on her.

Freya is the owner and madam of Molly’s brothel in Edinburgh. She hates the English and the Black Watch – especially the Black Watch because she views them as traitors to Scotland. Freya is very much admired in Edinburgh because she takes in war widows and other women who have found themselves destitute and in need. She hires them for whatever positions they wish – they don’t have to be whores. She also sees that they receive an education so that they can move into other jobs. She also has secrets – she has a family she has to care for and protect. When Ewan approaches her and asks her to see about his mother, she refuses. She has a hard enough time seeing to her own family – and besides – he is a traitor to Scotland.

Ewan is desperate to see if his mother is safe, but what can he do. Well, he cringes and investigates Freya to find out her secrets and when he does, he blackmails her into checking on his mother. Since he threatens her own mother, she has no choice but to agree to his terms.

Upon arrival, Freya finds Ewan’s home burned and his mother in hiding. She rescues his mother and then things get really dicey. I don’t want to tell you a lot and spoil the story for you – but I can tell you that the nail-biting suspense goes right up through the last chapter. WOW! WHEW! Wasn’t sure we were going to get an HEA in this book. Thank goodness for smart and gifted authors!

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Tracy & Barbara’s Mystery, Suspense and Other Favorites for 2017

Yesterday, we shared our favorite Historical Romances published in 2017.  Today, we’d like to share our favorites from other genres and novellas that were published in 2017.  Just click on the picture of the cover to see our review of the book!

Barbara’s Favorite Mystery and Suspense for 2017

Where The Dead LieMurder In MayfairMurder On Black Swan LaneThis Side Of MurderMurder In ShadowMystery At Carlton HouseSecrets In DeathThe Detecting DuchessOnce Upon A SpineEchoes In DeathDeath In St. Petersburg


Tracy’s Favorite Novellas & Subgenre Favorites for 2017

Tracy - A Love To RememberTracy - How to tame a beast in 7 daysTracy - The Mad CountessTracy - So I Married A SorcererTracy - MorganTracy - A Thostly Tale Of Forbidden LoveTracy - With This Christmas RingTracy - Mistletoe And The MajorTracy - A Talent For TemptationTracy - The Proper Way To Stop A Wedding

Tracy & Barbara’s Historical Romance Favorites For 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, we’d like to take a moment to thank each of you for your support of our blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages.  We were so excited to start our blog in April, but we were apprehensive as well.  We wondered if we’d be able to produce content that others would appreciate and if we’d be able to grow our following.  Thanks to you, we have grown, are still growing and look forward to growing even more in 2018.

We have read and reviewed some wonderful books this year and we’d like to share our favorites with you.  So, we’ll be sharing our ‘favorites’ published in 2017 with you, in this post and the next – along with a link to our review (just click on the picture to see the review).   You might notice that some books are on both Tracy and Barbara’s list – smiles – that should let you know it was a REALLY good book.  We hope you will enjoy the list, the reviews – and maybe find a new favorite for yourself.  If you like our blog, please pass us along to your friends so maybe they’ll follow us too.

First up – is a list of our favorite Historical Romances.  They are not listed in any particular order.

Barbara’s List

Traitor In Her ArmsThree Weeks With A PrincessThird Son's A CharmThe Silent DukeThe Highlanders Princess BrideThe Duke Of Her DesireHighland SpyHighland RuseTracy-Duke With BenefitsA Most Unlikely Duke


Tracy’s List

Tracy - Anything but a GentlemanTracy-Duchess DealTracy - Duke of DesireTracy - Earl In Wolf's ClothingTraitor In Her ArmsTracy - The Daring DukeTracy - The DukeTracy - Seducing Mr. SykesTracy - Someone To LoveThe Highlanders Princess Bride

 

 

 

 

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*

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