Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Review: The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron

The Painted Castle (Lost Castle, Book #3)
by Kristy Cambron
Release Date: October 15th 2019
2019 Thomas Nelson
Kindle Edition; 381 Pages
ISBN: 978-0718095529
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary / Historical
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

It was supposed to be a one-week job: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mysteries surrounding the old English manor and the enigmatic art thief who’s employed her stir more questions than answers. Then, Kiera finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin—a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria.

My Thoughts
The Painted Castle is the last book in the Lost Castle Trilogy, and while I haven't read the first two books in this series, I still enjoyed it tremendously and had no problem following along.  

While this was the first for me in this trilogy, I have read other books by this author, and this one follows a similar pattern to her other books; the story was divided into three separate POVs from three separate time periods and eventually they all connect.  The timelines all work rather well together and I enjoyed them all, particularly the one from WWII, maybe because I have a soft spot for that time period.  However, I tend to be a sucker for anything to do with castles and secrets so the contemporary one was interesting as well.  That is the timeline where I felt I missed the most simply because events did carry over from the first two books into this one; it didn't affect what happened in this one too much, but it did raise my curiosity so I went hunting and found the first two books on my shelf. Who knew? So I will be reading them as soon as I have a chance.

So the book was separated into three separate time periods: Keira, sister to Quinn and Cormac (who featured in the first two books), decides to take a job in East Suffolk hoping to heal a broken heart and restart her career as a renowned historian; Amelia, her RAF husband died a few years earlier leaving her with a large estate to run and a broken heart; and Elizabeth, who as a young girl watched her father die in front of her eyes, spending the next few years bent on revenge.  All three of these women were interesting in their own way, and any one could have been a whole book on their own, they were that interesting.  Unfortunately, character development does get a bit lost when you are constantly switching POVs, so while I was definitely sympathetic to their plights, I was not necessarily empathetic, if that makes sense.  

The author has a wonderful writing style that really draws you into her stories and makes you feel like you are really there.  Because I've visited the area, I could visualize myself there, the misty rain, the glorious sunsets, and so on, and really wished I could back.  I really do love her writing style. 

The Painted Castle is a light, wonderful read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in art history, intriguing questions and connections, and some light romance. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Feature & Giveaway: Confessions of a Sheba Queen by Autumn Bardot


Confessions of a Sheba Queen by Autumn Bardot

Publication Date: March 10, 2019
Cleis Press
eBook & Paperback; 384 Pages
Genre: Historical/Erotica
With a host of unforgettable characters and unbridled sensual escapades, Confessions of a Sheba Queen is a triumphantly erotic retelling of an indomitable woman prevailing in a man’s world. During a raging sandstorm along a riverbed in the ancient lands of Saba, a powerful jinni born of smokeless fire gives birth to a half-human daughter. Bilqis does not inherit her mother’s magical abilities, but the fire of her jinni blood does imbue her with other powerful gifts. As she undergoes her rites of womanhood and her insatiable sexual hunger is awakened, it becomes clear—this is the key to her “great destiny” prophesized at her birth. But it could also lead to her total undoing. Bilqis comes to understand that her supernatural talents have the power to make men, and women, and nations prostrate themselves in utter devotion to her. When tragedy strikes, she leaves her home to seek revenge against the tyrannical god-king whose reign is a plague upon his land and people. Armed with only her body, courage, and wits, she quickly masters the art of seduction, all the while resisting the mind-consuming call to stay locked in an endless cycle of carnal passion. Destiny soon intervenes, and what began as a quest for vengeance becomes a mission to heal the land of Saba from a twisted, corrupt regime and to see it become the wealthiest kingdom in all the land. Yet, it is only after meeting the already legendary and wildly attractive King Solomon that Bilqis discovers her greatest battle is not with others, but with herself.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Autumn Bardot writes historical fiction and historical erotica. Her debut historical fiction is THE IMPALER'S WIFE. Her debut historical erotica is LEGENDS OF LUST. Autumn, a pen name, has worked as an educator for more than sixteen years. She teaches literature, writing, and the magic of words. She has a passion for history and a special affinity for the unsung courageous females that history has neglected. Or misunderstood. Autumn lives in Southern California with her husband and ever-growing family. She wishes she was one-tenth as brave as the women she writes about. Historical Fiction ~ The Impaler's Wife ~ Dragon Lady ~ The Emperor's Assassin Historical Erotica ( Cleis Press) ~ Legends of Lust, Erotic Myths from around the World ~ Confessions of a Sheba Queen

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest


Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, March 10 Review at Broken Teepee Wednesday, March 11 Review at Books and Zebras Thursday, March 12 Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Friday, March 13 Review at @bookishbellee Monday, March 16 Review at YA, It's Lit Tuesday, March 17 Feature at Donna's Book Blog Wednesday, March 18 Review at Gwendalyn's Books Friday, March 20 Review at 100 Pages a Day Monday, March 23 Feature at I'm All About Books Wednesday, March 25 Review at Nursebookie Thursday, March 26 Review at Jessica Belmont Friday, March 27 Feature at Curling up by the Fire Monday, March 30 Review at Historical Graffiti Tuesday, March 31 Review at Passages to the Past Wednesday, April 1 Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of Confessions of a Sheba Queen! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.  

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on April 1st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

  Confessions of a Sheba Queen
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Review: In the Shadow of Vesuvius by Tasha Alexander

In the Shadow of Vesuvius (Lady Emily Book #14)
by Tasha Alexander
Release Date: January 7th 2020
2020 Minotaur Books
Kindle Edition; 304 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250164735
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.5 / 5 Stars

Eager to explore ancient sites and modern archaeological digs, Lady Emily jumps at the chance to accompany her dearest childhood friend Ivy Brandon on an excursion to Italy. Soon old friends are joined by new, including the American siblings Benjamin and Calliope Carter (he, a moody painter, and she, a freethinking archaeologist capable of sparring with even the Duke of Bainbridge's most devious flirtations). But when the two women, along with Emily's devoted husband Colin Hargreaves, uncover a corpse and the police dismiss the murder as the work of local gangsters, Lady Emily leaves behind museum tours and villas to investigate.

But an artful murderer is nothing compared to the sudden appearance of a beautiful young woman who claims a shocking relationship to the Hargreaves family. As Colin warms to the girl, Emily must endure an endless stream of slights and snubs. Someone else has it out for Emily, too, someone who keeps sending her threats. Undaunted, Lady Emily's desire to unearth the truth takes her from Pompeii to Naples, to ancient times and back again. But how far below the surface can she dig before she risks burying herself along with the truth?

My Thoughts
In the Shadow of Vesuvius is the fourteenth entry in the Lady Emily series, and although it's been awhile since I've picked up a book in this series, I now remember why I haven't really read any of these books in a long time; I just don't find them all that interesting any more.  Let me explain.

Emily and her husband Colin, a spy for the Crown, travel the world looking for adventures, often finding themselves amongst ruins, doing these very interesting touristy things, and getting involved with local affairs often implying the local police are not capable of looking into matters themselves or are always trying to cover things up.  This book is no exception, as the wealthy are in Pompeii, visiting the excavations that are currently happening there, spouting off history about the place and some of the travesties that have occurred due to unscrupulous archaeologists in the past who were looking for treasure rather than historical knowledge.  They sound so presumptuous it just makes me want to clench my jaw.  Then, voila, you throw in a murder that only they can figure out, implying the local police are idiots and do not want to get involved due to the local 'mafia\, setting Lady Emily up to investigate at her leisure.  Maybe it was just the mood I was in when I read the book, but I was irritated by the lot of them as they swash buckled around the site looking for clues, naturally discovering things that everyone else missed.  

As is par for the course, the story alternates between the present day with Lady Emily and to two thousand years ago just before the famous eruption that destroyed Pompeii. That story revolves around a young slave girl who is used for her poetry by a devious man.  For the life of me though, I couldn't find a connection between her story and the present one, except they both wrap up in Herculaneum.  And the fact they found scrolls which were then gifted to Lady Emily didn't quite sit right with me especially considering her views about excavation and treasure hunting.  Nope, nope, nope!!

Having visited Pompeii however, I did find the descriptions of the city to be interesting and I could picture it in my mind.  I found that to be the most intriguing parts of the book, and while Lady Emily can sound a bit pretentious spouting off her tidbits of history, the research that went into this book is evident and for historians like myself, quite fascinating. I was really glad she mentioned the discovery of the library and the scrolls.

In the Shadow of Vesuvius was not for me. I found the mystery to be somewhat choppy as all Lady Emily did was go around and talk to various people without there being a big investigation, something I found a bit pompous anyways.  I wasn't thrilled about the introduction of Colin's relative to the story as I found her annoying. I did enjoy the descriptions of Pompeii however, which is what drew me back to this series. However, I think it will be a long time before I return to this series myself. 
Monday, March 23, 2020

Review: The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly

The Whispers of War 
by Julia Kelly
Release Date: January 14th 2020
2020 Gallery Books
Kindle Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-1982107796
Genre: Fiction / Historical / WWII
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

In August of 1939, as Britain watches the headlines in fear of another devastating war with Germany, three childhood friends must choose between friendship or country. Erstwhile socialite Nora is determined to find her place in the Home Office’s Air Raid Precautions Department, matchmaker Hazel tries to mask two closely guarded secrets with irrepressible optimism, and German expat Marie worries that she and her family might face imprisonment in an internment camp if war is declared. When Germany invades Poland and tensions on the home front rise, Marie is labeled an enemy alien, and the three friends find themselves fighting together to keep her free at any cost.

My Thoughts
The Whispers of War was very well-written and if you enjoy lighter versions of events around the beginning of WWII, then this one may be perfect for you.   For me however, I had been intrigued by the mention of German internment camps mentioned in the description and wanted to learn more about them, but was considerably disappointment when I learned they were only described in passing as places and none of the settings were actually there.  What you get instead is some mention of blackout curtains, how the Germans lost their jobs in droves, the classification system of Germans living in England, and the plight of women trying to become more independent.  While the was interesting, it was not what I was looking forward to reading.

First of all, I do want to start with the Prologue as I found it completely unnecessary to the story.  Typically, these add mystery and suspense, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why it was included, except to add a bit of romance to a story that didn't really need it?  Can someone please enlighten me as to why every story needs a romance in order to be thought good?  It's why I couldn't stand Lost Girls of Paris.  

The title is actually a good one as it sort of represents what the book was about, talk about the war, and no real mean and bones in between all the 'whispers'. It's not that it wasn't entertaining, it was, but I wanted there to be more and I feel like the author downplayed the fear that was experienced by the Germans and other groups living in England during this time period, especially when war was declared and the people started being rounded up.  I also don't think the story needed to be divided up into three sections; the whole thing could have been written from Marie's perspective and that would have been fine.  In fact, Hazel's section was a bit boring.  Filler, really.  Don't get me wrong, the women had interesting lives and I enjoyed reading about them, but that still doesn't change my opinion about the POV. 

The Whispers of War is one of those books that I would recommend to those who are just venturing into reading this genre. The author's writing style is fabulous, as always, just light on action and events, especially during this time period.  Again, for people who do not like to delve into the horrors of the war, this would be perfect, but for me, I felt like it was way too light for what was really happening.  I wanted the guts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Review: A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd

A Divided Loyalty (Inspector Ian Rutledge, Book #22)
by Charles Todd
Release Date: February 4th 2020
2020 William Morrow / HarperCollins Publishers
Kindle Edition; 368 Pages
ISBN: 978 -0062905550
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Historical
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Chief Inspector Brian Leslie, a respected colleague of Ian Rutledge’s, is sent to Avebury, a village set inside a great prehistoric stone circle not far from Stonehenge.

A young woman has been murdered next to a mysterious, hooded, figure-like stone, but no one recognizes her—or admits to it. And how did she get there? Despite a thorough investigation, it appears that her killer has simply vanished.

Rutledge, returning from the conclusion of a case involving another apparently unknown woman, is asked to take a second look at Leslie’s inquiry, to see if he can identify this victim. But Rutledge is convinced Chief Superintendent Jameson only hopes to tarnish his earlier success once he also fails.

Where to begin? He too finds very little to go on in Avebury, slowly widening his search beyond the village—only to discover that unlikely—possibly even unreliable—clues are pointing him toward an impossible solution, one that will draw the wrath of the Yard down on him, and very likely see him dismissed if he pursues it. But what about the victim—what does he owe this tragic woman? Where must his loyalty lie?

My Thoughts
A Divided Loyalty is the next entry in the Inspector Rutledge series and I have to say, despite all these books in the series, the authors have yet to let me down when it comes to interesting stories and flawed, but interesting, characters.  Occurring during the years after the Great War, many of the stories often deal directly with incidents during the war and their after-effects and I love how the authors intertwine that into their stories, showing the consequences of things despite the war being over and how it affected people so many years later.  So many interesting things to talk about, but such tragic stories as well that need to be out there and told.

Rutledge is such a fascinating character and I have been such a huge fan since the first book.  If you are not familiar with this series, Rutledge served in the Great War, particularly during the Battle of the Somme, where he had to make one of the most difficult decisions of his life.  That decision has affected the rest of his life, resulting in a serious case of shell shock, a condition he tries very hard to hide from his superiors as well as from his friends.  I have grown with Rutledge through all these books and have watched him develop and learn to work through his issues.  Because the authors spend a lot of time discussing the Great War and the consequences, even if you are familiar with many of the events (I teach History, in particular the twentieth century so have a lot of knowledge about this topic), there is still so much to learn from these books, especially from the human interest side, which is what interests me and keeps me coming back to these books as well as to their companion series, the Bess Crawford books.

Rutledge doesn't particularly get along with his superiors who are trying to get rid of him, but because of his success in solving cases, makes it difficult for them to do so.  Rutledge is then tasked with this almost impossible case, but once he begins to piece things together, an unlikely suspect comes to the forefront testing Rutledge's skill.  It is difficult to discuss this further as I don't want to give too much away, but to say I missed some important clues is an understatement.  The authors totally caught me by surprise at the end, and to say I was sad at how it all resolved doesn't go far enough.  I was devastated.  The authors have this way of developing their characters so that you are empathetic towards even the villains.  

A Divided Loyalty is a really good psychological mystery that delves into the consequences of one's actions during the war and how it can affect people's lives afterwards.  It is very well-written, and includes many psychological discussions about a lot of the characters.  I have always thought the authors did a great job developing their characters, and this book is no exception.   You don't need to have read the previous installments in order to enjoy this one, but they do give you a better understanding of the Rutledge's history as well as the politics at Scotland Yard.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Review: Into the Fire by Gregg Hurwitz

Into the Fire (Orphan X, Book #5)
by Gregg Hurwitz
Release Date: January 28th 2020
2020 Minotaur Books
Kindle Edition; 400 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250120458
Genre: Fiction / Suspense
Source: Review copy from publisher

5 / 5 Stars

Max Merriweather is at the end of his rope. Separated from the woman he loves and barely scraping by, Max is a disappointment to everyone in his life. Then his very successful cousin Grant is brutally murdered. Two months before, Grant left Max an envelope with instructions to take it to a reporter if anything happened to him. Now the reporter is missing and Max’s apartment is ransacked. A man at the end of his rope, he calls The Nowhere Man.

With mixed feelings, Evan takes on this mission, easily finding the men who are after Max and executing a plan to keep him safe. But it isn’t as obvious as it seems—and Evan finds himself enmeshed in one of the most challenging missions of his life, one that he can’t survive on his own. With the help of Joey Morales, a genius-level hacker and the last Orphan recruited into the Program, and the brilliant, off-the-books gunsmith, Tommy Stojack, Orphan X once more heads…Into the Fire.

My Thoughts
Into the Fire is the fifth book in the Orphan X series and while it looks to be the final book in the series, the ending gives me hope there is more to come as this has become one of my favourite suspense series out there.  Evan Smoak, known to others as The Nowhere Man, helps those who desperately need help but can't turn to the police for various reasons or just can't find a way out of a really desperate situation.  Once part of a super-secret espionage system, he has broken free and destroyed the system and those hunting him, leaving him to do one last mission before finally retiring and attempting to live a normal life.

I am such a huge fan of Evan, and not just because he can do all of these super cool manoeuvres in some pretty dangerous situations, but because of his struggle with trying to be human.  For such a long time he was just a killing machine, but life had shown him there was more to it and he was woefully unprepared and untrained for living it.  Watching him awkwardly go through social situations is heart-breaking and emotional at the same time, and you just have to root for the guy, hoping he will one day learn how to interact with other people, and feel comfortable doing it.  Perhaps one day he can let down his guard. I have loved going through every step of it with him.

That being said, I also love the hard-core part of Evan, the man who gets things done and knows his job like no one else.  His missions have gotten more complicated throughout the series, but they have also introduced him to some pretty interesting people, like Joey, the computer genius who appears in this book, thank goodness.  And as Evan is thrown into one situation after another, each one proving to be more challenging than he thought, Joey was right there helping him get through the technological side to his espionage.  And what a ride it was!!  I have learned with these books you can not lower your guard for a moment; as soon as one thing ends, there is something else waiting in the wings, but the author also manages to throw in some humour and other interesting tidbits along the way.  I mean, the scene where Evan gets attached to his anti-gravity bed by his boots was priceless and I couldn't stop chuckling; it definitely makes him more human and endears him to the reader as even a perfect fighting machine makes mistakes.  And then the dog.  Oh my, the dog!!!  I won't say any more but thank you for allowing Evan to rescue that fighting pup, and giving it to Joey was perfect.  It made my day!! If I hadn't been  a huge fan of Evan before, that would definitely have done it for me.  

Which brings me to the action in this book. Non-stop.  The action is fast-paced, gripping, and intense. Having read all the previous books in this series, I knew better than to think the job would be simple, but it was definitely a lot more complicated than even I would have thought.  And I have to give this author huge credit for his surprise endings as there were two huge surprises in this one.  One I absolutely did not see coming, but one which gives me hope of another book.  

Into The Fire was another great entry into a fabulous series.  Evan is tested to his limits in this one, especially after he suffers a serious concussion, and the action is intense. However, the author does manage to capture Evan's humanity and there are definitely some humerous moments in here too.  While it's not absolutely necessary to have read the previous books in order to understand this book, I do highly recommend you start with the first one as it definitely gives you a better understanding of the Orphan X program and some of things with which Evan previously dealt.  And it will give you a better understanding of Evan.  Highly, highly recommend this book and series. 
Sunday, March 8, 2020

Review: When You See Me by Lisa Gardner

When You See Me (Detective D.D. Warren, Book #11)
by Lisa Gardner
Release Date: January 28th 2020
2020 Dutton
Kindle Edition; 385 Pages
ISBN: 978-1524745004
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

5 / 5 Stars

FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective DD Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. And when a disturbing piece of evidence comes to light, they decide to bring in Flora Dane who has personal experience of being imprisoned by Ness.

Their investigations take them to a small town deep in the hills of Georgia where something seems to be deeply wrong.

What at first seems like a Gothic eeriness soon hardens into something much more sinister as they discover that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed.

My Thoughts
When you See Me is the eleventh book in the Sergeant Detective Warren series, but also features two of my other favourite characters, FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Flora Dane. To have all three of these characters in the same book is heaven, and I couldn't wait to read it.  I definitely was not disappointed.

I have been a huge fan of this author for years and this book was fantastic.  It is complex, exciting, intense, and emotional; I thought I would be emotional as I learned more about Flora Dane and how she was coping after her traumatic kidnapping, but oh no, the author had to go and throw in another huge twist and another major character for me to become emotional over, someone who will probably be featured in future books.  That being said however, Gardner has such a way of developing her characters that you become invested in them, to the point where I have become fearful that if someone dies I might be traumatized. (Think Angela Marsons and her DI Kim Stone books.) 

The book is told in multiple POV which I loved. Considering it features three very strong female characters, I was hoping she would write it this way as it definitely added to the suspense and the intensity of what was happening.  And this author is masterful at building suspense. At first, the town appears quaint, beautiful, the perfect tourist spot. But as the action progresses, you can feel the tension in the people as the cover-ups are revealed and the horrors are slowly bared open and it was much worse than I originally thought.  I have to admit, the red herrings this authors throws down at you are really good and although I suspected a certain person was involved, I did not figure out the whole thing, which I loved.  

I really enjoy how the author manages to intertwine old cases with new ones almost seamlessly.  Flora was still dealing with her abduction and torture at the hands of Jacob Ness, and in this case she finds out a lot more than she expected which finally gives her an opportunity to maybe lay to rest some ghosts and maybe seize a future that she'd thought she'd lost.  I have followed her story for so long now that I was so happy for her to finally break through her shell and see something more, realizing that life does hold a lot more for her than she thought.  Compelling stuff.  It was refreshing to read about Flora amidst the current case, especially as the body count rose and the reasons became more horrific.

When You See Me was a terrific read and I enjoyed it so much.  I was thrilled to have three of my favourite characters in one book and hope to see them work together again.  The story was intense, with so many red herrings that I didn't figure out the ending, which I loved.  There are definitely some hard-to-read things in here as human trafficking is a major topic as well as torture, but the story is so good.  I don't think you necessarily have to read previous books in order to enjoy this one, but it does help to get the history of the major characters involved.  Highly recommended!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Review: Wild, Wild Rake by Janna MacGregor

Wild, Wild Rake (The Cavensham Heiresses, Book #6)
by Janna MacGregor
Release Date: February 25th 2020
2020 St. Martin's Paperbacks
Kindle Edition; 353 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250296016
ASIN: B07N666Q6Q
Genre: Fiction / Romance / Historical
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

Her first marriage was an epic failure.

Lady Avalon Warwyck never did love her husband. Arrogant, selfish, and cruel, it’s a blessing when she’s widowed and left to raise her son all by herself. Finally, Avalon can live freely and do the work she loves: helping fallen women become businesswomen. She’s lived these past ten years with no desire to remarry―that is, until Mr. Devan Farris comes to town.

Can he convince her to take another chance at happily ever after?

Devan Farris―charming vicar, reputed rake, and the brother of Avalon’s son’s guardian―is reluctantly sent to town to keep tabs on Avalon and her son. Devan wishes he didn’t have to meddle in her affairs; he’s not one to trod on a woman’s independent nature and keen sense of convictions. But she’ll have nothing to do with vicar with a wild reputation―even though he’s never given his heart and body to another. If only he could find a way to show Avalon who he really is on the inside―a good, true soul looking for its other half. But how can prove that he wants to love and care for her. . .until death do they part?

My Thoughts
Wild, Wild Rake is the sixth book in the Cavensham Heiresses series and I was glad to finally have a book that featured Devan Farris.  I wasn't so sure about Avalon Warwyck but there had been enough mention of her in previous books that I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about her; I figured there was something else going on in her life and it was good to finally know what it was.  However, I have never been a fan of insta-love, and although Devan and Avalon have known each other for years, they actually disliked each other, so to fall in love so quickly just made me want to grit my teeth.

First of all, I am a huge Devan fan; he was funny, kind, loving, and kind of innocent in many ways.  I feared that he would be taken advantage of simply because he was so nice and seemed to always be the one bending over backwards whenever there was a disagreement; I do like a man who can stick up for himself and not always appear as if the woman is right simply so he doesn't hurt her feelings.  Backbones, people, backbones.  And, sometimes he seemed this way with Avalon in order to keep pursuing her as he knew she had been deeply hurt in her previous marriage. And while I am all for sensitivity, I am never for putting everyone else first after yourself all of the time.  Luckily, a lot of dialogue later, and I mean A LOT of dialogue later, Avalon and Devan managed to work out their differences and come to a mutual understanding which led to marital bliss.  All without some silly misunderstandings that create huge drama. I was quite happy about this although for it to happen so quickly was unexpected.

There were times though, when I wasn't exactly crazy about Avalon.  I did think she was sweet and lovely and treated others with kindness and understanding, and I definitely loved the charity work she was doing, but her lack of self-confidence did drive me crazy as she kept questioning everyone's motives, particularly Devan's.  Luckily that didn't create too much drama or I don't know if I would have continued with the book.  However, the drama came from another direction entirely and, to be honest, I felt like the author was just tying to come up with something dramatic for the book as it didn't really fit well with what was happening.  Could the author have used any other way to create drama? Yes, I think so.  Now, I did like one thing that happened out of all this and it has to do with Avalon's son.  Wonder if there's another story waiting there?

Wild, Wild Rake was a sweet, romantic novel that moved both a bit slowly and a bit quickly for me.  First of all, I got a bit tired of Avalon's continuous mental dialogue of how she could never let another man rule her or her life, and I was a bit worried that Devan would never grow a backbone.  I did like how both of these characters learned to trust each other over time as they grew to know each other and realized how little they actually knew about each other despite all the years of being thrown together.  And while the pacing was a bit slow, the events actually took place in a short amount of time which I didn't care for.  Overall though, it was an enjoyable read, and I am always happy to see some Cavendish men and women show up at any time.  Always fun to run into a familiar face, so to speak.  Do I recommend this book? Yes, definitely, as well as the whole series.   


Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She is the author of the Cavensham Heiresses series, which begins with The Bad Luck Bride. Janna credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs.

SMP Romance Twitter: @SMPRomance or @heroesnhearts
SMP Romance Website: https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/