Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Blog Tour: Knight in Highland Armor by Amy Jarecki

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Knight in Highland Armor -  Highland Dynasty # 1 by Amy Jarecki
Audience: Adult / Genre: Scottish Historical Romance / Formats: E-book and Paperback /Publisher: Rapture Books / Cover by: Kim Killion / Editor: Arran McNichol / Pages: 380 pages / ISBN: 978-1502390295 / ASIN: B00OQT919M / Date Published: Jan1, 2015.


blurb
Grieving from the death of his wife, Lord Colin Campbell listens to the cries of his newborn son whilst penning a missive to the king. With no marriage prospects, Colin petitions his majesty for help in finding a stepmother. Never again will he fall in love—the death of a woman brings more pain than losing a whole contingent of men on the battlefield. Feisty, quick tongued and smart, Margaret Robinson is delighted when her father receives a messenger from the king…until she discovers what news he brings. In a sennight, she will wed the notorious Black Knight—her life is about to end. Tension builds during the wedding and deteriorates from there…until an accident draws them together. Just when their love begins to blossom, a dire request arrives from the Pope. Colin must join the Crusades at once. Their fragile love is forced to withstand the seductions of hell—Margaret tempted by a scoundrel laird—Colin courted by Satan himself. Aye, the war for Christendom could very well ruin their dreams forever.

Review



Going into this novel I didn't really know what I would think of it. And to be honest I was surprised that I signed up for this tour because I very, very rarely enjoy period pieces but I absolutely loved Knight in Highland Armor. At some times it did feel a little long and drawn out but, for the most part, I think the action and romance were combined beautifully to make a great novel.

Margaret and Colin are an amazing couple that had me rooting for them from the beginning even when they were not sure of each other. The two are only married because of Colin's request to the King for a mother for his newborn son. The woman that he gets is not the older, matronly woman he was expecting but a young, feisty woman who is not interested in becoming Colin's doormat.

I instantly liked Margaret because of her intelligence and attitude. So many books that I've read lately have involved the heroine who is much more submissive than the hero to the point that they pretty much become flat background characters even though they are supposed to be the main character. Margaret pushes back against Colin when his grief, anger, or guilt gets the better of him and he lashes out. I especially liked when she started handling some of his business ventures and she shows him that she can handle things other than what is typical for a woman.

I was upset when Colin went off to war because I was terrified that something bad would happen to him. I won't reveal any spoilers but things happen and devious people plot against the couple to try and keep them apart.

Knights in Highland Armor is a fantastic book that I very much enjoyed reading. I was apprehensive about the fact that it was a period piece but the Scottish culture drew me in and Margaret and Colin kept me captivated. The couple are a great mix because it's not expected that their relationship would survive. This was a great book to start of 2015. I give this novel 4.5 stakes and I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

book links
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excerpt

Margaret reached into her purse to pluck a farthing when horse hooves pummeled the ground. Looking up, she scarcely had the chance to dash aside. Two riders thundered through the fete at a brisk canter. She tripped over her gown. The fruit flung from her basket as the horses sped past. Margaret crashed into something sturdy and hard. Her hands whipped around it, saving herself from falling. Her hood flew from her head and dropped to her back. It wasn’t until a pair of massive arms encircled her that she realized she’d fallen into a man—a very large, very strong man. She inhaled. The heady and exotic fragrance of cloves laced with a hint of ginger and male toyed with her insides. Struggling to drag her feet beneath her, Margaret made the mistake of grasping him tighter. His back muscles bulged beneath his quilted doublet. Her heart fluttered. “Forgive me,” she uttered breathlessly. His enormous hands held her shoulders firmly and helped her gain her balance. “Are you all right, m’lady?” Flustered, Margaret pushed away and smoothed her fingers over the white ribbon encircling her crown. She brushed her fingers down the length of her exposed tresses, cascading over her shoulder to her waist. First, her gaze leveled on his red tunic, with a white cross emblazoned on the center of his very broad chest. Then her eyes drifted to his face, framed by dun-colored curls. Beneath his cap, they shone like silk in the sun, and she wanted to reach up and touch them to see if his hair was actually as soft as it looked. Dark brown, wide-set eyes gazed upon her with a glint of humor. They were so friendly, her tension immediately eased. His features were undeniably masculine; his bold nose slightly bent toward full lips that grinned, revealing a row of healthy white teeth. “I…I am unscathed, thank you.” Margaret inhaled a stuttered breath and hoped to heaven she wasn’t blushing. “Please forgive me.” “There is nothing to forgive. Those lads had no business riding through the fair at full tilt. I shall have a firm word with them.” “I’m sure they are long gone…” Margaret peered up at his feathered ermine cap—a fur only worn by Scottish barons like her father. “…m’lord.” She stepped back, taking in the whole picture. She’d seen the square white cross on his tunic somewhere before—it definitely identified him as a knight, though she could not place the order. Unusually tall, he had to be at least eighteen hands—six feet was enormous, especially compared to her five. He wore a stylish doublet of black beneath the sleeveless tunic. His woolen hose were also black, and they clung to his thighs like a second skin. His muscles bulged when he stepped toward her with fashionably pointed shoes. Mmm. ’Tis said clothes maketh the man. He bent down and retrieved her basket. “I believe this is yours.” “Thank you.” Margaret spotted apples and pears scattered everywhere. “But I’m afraid the fruit I’ve purchased is ruined.” He frowned and stroked his bold chin. “Most unfortunate. Please allow me to replace it.” “That should not be necessary. I only wished to help a poor man feed his family.” “Most charitable of you, m’lady.” He offered a polite bow. “If you no longer require my assistance, I shall be on my way.” “Very well. Should I fall again, I shall simply find another gallant knight to keep me from dousing myself in the mud.” “A lucky man indeed to rescue a lady as bonny as you.” He bowed again and tapped his fingers to his hat. “Good day, m’lady.” Margaret swooned, watching him walk away. Broad shoulders supported by a sturdy waist. To her delight, the knight’s doublet was short enough to give her a peek at his muscular buttocks. With a sigh, she smacked her lips while the crowd swallowed up the magnificent warrior’s form. If only her betrothed could be half as handsome. “Margaret,” Mother called from across the aisle. “Come, I have something to show you.” This time, she looked for racing horses before she set out. God forbid she fall into another knight. And heaven help her. On the morrow, she’d have to look upon such magnificent specimens with disinterested eyes. How on earth would she do that?  


soundtrack
1. Opening scene with Colin Campbell, Lord of Glenorchy: MOONLIGHT SONATA by Ludwig van Beethoven
2. Introduction to Lady Margaret: FUR ELISE by Ludwig van Beethoven
5. Traveling to Kilchurn Castle: BRANDENBERG CONCERTO by J.S. Bach
6. Margaret Plays her Lute: BANCHETTO MUSICAL SUITE NO. 3: Pavane
7. First Passionate Love Scene: NOCTURE IN C# MINOR by Frederic Chopin
8. Margaret realizes she must be strong: THE SELKIE, Celtic Harp Album, Aryeh Frankfurter
10. Margaret alone and pregnant at Christmas: MARY DID YOU KNOW, Pentatonix (yay, a modern performance!)
11. Colin’s final battle on Rhodes: BETRAYAL AND DESOLATION, Braveheart Movie Soundtrack
12. The dark moment: ADHAN by Kevin Keller
13. Reunited: DAWN from the Pride and Prejudice 2005 Movie Soundtrack

 


character
Colin

Colin Campbell, 1st Lord of Glenorchy:
Philosophy on life: Never settle with words what can be accomplished with a broadsword.
Born: 1428. On 1st October, 1432, at the age of fourteen he received the title, Lord of Glenorchy.
Height: 6’
Weight: 210
Build: Muscular in peak condition
Distinctive features: Dun (dark blond) hair with a darker beard, brown, wide set eyes, bold, angular nose, full lips.
Positive Characteristics: Confident, energetic, truthful, decisive, direct, loyal, protective, supportive, brave. Colin is an exceptional warrior.
Negative Characteristics (at times): Insensitive, domineering, demanding, uncompromising.
A Knight in the Order of St. John (Knight Hospitallers). He went on three crusades and was fabled as The Black Knight of Rome.
Colin is an asserter, and feels in control when he can sit where he can observe everything going on in a room. He has a hard outer shell; he’s tough driving, and an introvert. After losing two wives, Colin proves he has a soul, but will Margaret discover he also has a heart?
~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Margaret

Margaret Robinson of Struan, Daughter of Baron and 4th Chieftain of Struan. Raised at Dunalasdair Castle on Loch Rannoch.
Philosophy on life: Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and you might survive.
Born: 1433
Height: 5’
Build: Slender
Distinctive features: Green, almond shaped eyes, long chestnut hair, beautiful skin.
Positive Characteristics: Energetic, efficient, optimistic, industrious, self-propelled, practical, empowering, competent, responsible.
Negative Characteristics (at times): Self-centered, pretentious, overly competitive, defensive.
Margaret can withdraw when angry, but otherwise, she has a delightfully magnetic personality. She’s well educated for the times, and very sharp. She’s always setting new goals for herself, but prefers to avoid confrontation when possible. Youthful, Margaret is full of ideals, and loves visiting court where she can observe gentlemen in their finery—especially when wearing fashionably short doublets.


giveaway


about the author
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Amy adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she is now focused on the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy loves to write steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.



media links
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follow the tour
Tour Schedule - One Month Blog Tour for Knight in Highland Armor by Amy Jarecki from Jan 5 to Jan 31, 2015.
Jan 5
Books, Authors, Blogs - Author Interview
Cherry Mischievous - Promo
Bound 2 Escape - Promo
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Promo
Jan 6
Coffee Books & Art - Promo & Guest Post
Babu's Bookshelf - Review
Once Upon a Coffin – Promo & Review
Jan 7
Imagine a World - Review
Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog - Promo
Jan 8
Cover Reveals - Promo
Rustys Reading - Promo
Jan 9
A One-Click Addict's Book Blog - Review
The Bookish & The Romantic - Promo
Dalene's Book Reviews - Promo
Jan 12
Sweet Treat Reading Reviews - Promo
Jan 13
Girlygirlbookreviews - Promo, Review, Playlist & Character Bio's
Jan 14
Kelly P's Blog - Promo
Jan 15
Deal Sharing Aunt - Promo
Eclipse Reviews - Promo, Review, Character Interview, Playlist & Character Bio’s
Jan 16
Stories and Swag - Promo & Review
Room With Books - Promo
Jan 19
A Cauldron of Books - Promo, Top Ten, Playlist & Character Bio’s
Ramblings From A Chaotic Mind - Review
Jan 20
Angels with Attitude Book Reviews - Promo & Author Interview
Jan 21
The Avid Reader - Promo & Author Interview
Jan 22
The Idle Musings of a Writer's Mind - Promo, Top Ten, Playlist & Book Soundtrack
Jan 23
Night Owl Reviews - Promo
Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog - Promo
Jan 26
The Phantom Paragrapher - Promo, Playlist & Book Soundtrack
Jan 27
Patricia D. Eddy - Promo
Portals to New Worlds - Promo, Author Interview, Playlist & Character Bio’s
Jan 28
Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom - Promo & Top Ten
Jan 29
Movies, Shows & Books - Promo & Review
Bound 2 Escape - Promo, Review, playlist & Character Bio ‘s
Jan 30
Indy Book Fairy - Promo, Playlist & Book Soundtrack
Darkest Cravings - Promo, Top Ten, Playlist & Character Bio’s

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Book Review: The Basilisk's Creed, Omnibus



Title: The Basilisk's Creed
Author: Eme Strife
Publication Date: September 18, 2014
This book includes all 3 volumes
Book Links:  Amazon


Description (from Amazon.com):
Moving to San Francisco was a decision twenty-three year old Elisheva Tilton thought would change her hard life in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the better. Yet, Eli still finds herself living in shambles and being constantly stressed out just to make ends meet in the Big Bad Bay. 

And the stress only piles on when the most unusual of things begin to happen around her—including the mysterious disappearance of the Atlantic Ocean—and even more so when she strangely meets the unlikely individual who would irrevocably change her life forever; a gorgeous, unbelievably sexy, and sophisticated high-ranking soul reaper. 

Rated 17+ 
This series contains graphic sexual content, violence, and strong language. Because of its explicit nature, it is intended for mature audiences only. Reader discretion is advised.

Review:

I would give The Basilisk's Creed Omnibus a solid 4 stakes.

A tagline associated to the book on Amazon said that this book is something that I have never read before and I agree. I think this book is incredibly unique and as soon as I turned the last page I wanted to read more.

Matt, an immortal being [soul reaper I think] is swamped at work [aren't we all] when he notices a lot of strange occurrences that he eventually connects to Eli who he happened to meet earlier in a dream. I really liked the dream scene because it was just the right mix in the beginning to inform you as to what is happening in the story and to confuse you enough to want to read more. So, Matt connects the strange happenings like the Atlantic Ocean disappearing and becomes concerned for Eli. Meanwhile, Eli is concerned for her sanity as she feels that she is responsible for what is happening.

I really liked this story because of how unlike anything else it is. The two main characters are well developed and I actually care about what happens to them. Matt and Eli had an instant connection in the dream scene and I want to know more about them on their own and if they will interact further. 

Now, this book does end in a cliffhanger and while I hate those I didn't mind it so much in this case because of how much I liked it. I think there is an air of mystery around the story that when you get to the cliffhanger it's just like "of course. Now I have to wait." 

I definitely want to read more of this series and I cannot wait to find out more about Eli and Matt and the crazy things happening on Earth and in the reaping world.

Author Bio (from Amazon.com):

Eme is an unconventional New Adult Paranormal-slash-Urban Fantasy and Contemporary Romance writer (and a bit of a sarcastic smart-ass) who might be going through a quarter-life crisis even though she is in denial of it.
Lucky for her, she has several sarcastic, upbeat, and severely vulgar imaginary friends to give her some semblance of normalcy.

She loves writing about said imaginary friends--although she does so mostly because they never seem to shut the hell up.
She's also addicted to Family Guy, American Dad, and Pandora (the online radio site, not the evil box), drinks an ungodly amount of Red Bull at any given time, wants to marry Seth MacFarlane at some point, and occasionally eats bacon and popcorn together (^_^).

You can keep up to speed with Eme, her books, future publications, updates, and her unconventional life at www.emendedscribbles.com, chat with her on Facebook, chirp away on Twitter, or just shoot her good old fashioned email at emestrife@gmail.com. She's always eager to hear from you, so don't be shy. Drop a line!


Let me know what you think of The Basilisk's Creed Omnibus. :3

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Review: Bigger Than Sky by Harper Bentley


Title: Bigger Than the Sky (Serenity Point #1)
Author: Harper Bentley
Release Date: Sept 30, 2014
Find on Goodreads

Synopsis:

Five years ago, I left my fiancĂ©, hotter than hot Navy SEAL Kade Kelly, at the altar. 
No, I’m not an idiot.
Yes, I had my reasons. 
Now I’ve made a new life for myself working at a large firm in Richmond and I’ve left the past behind. Or so I thought.
Upon returning to my hometown of Serenity Point, Virginia, to take care of some business, I find that Kade’s now home for good and he’s none too happy about my being here. 
Two months. That’s all I’m staying then I’m out of here. Unless I believe the town’s pink-haired psychic’s prediction. Or embrace the sense of belonging I feel at being back home. Or give in to the emotions stirring inside when Kade's attention is suddenly on me. 
He scares the crap out of me. 
He thrills me. 
He used to tell me our love was bigger than the sky.
I always knew ours was a once-in-a-lifetime love. So how can he be so sure it can happen again?

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Review: 

First off, I think that Bigger Than the Sky had potential to be a great story. The synopsis sounded good and I think up to a point it was good. I usually like stories about couples getting back together after some time. However, I just did not like Kade.

I appreciated that Mill came back to Serenity Point and decided to try another relationship with Kade but I feel like in her desperation to get him back, she let a lot of things go that she really shouldn't have. Kade constantly had excuses or avoided Mill's questions and made it really hard to trust him. And then when Mill questioned whether she could trust him, he turned it back around on her. To me, that just had the markings of a very controlling and one sided relationship. I think the biggest thing that made me not like Kade was the fact that he just couldn't be honest with Mill. He wouldn't tell her what his relationship with the woman was (I forget her name and frankly she isn't worth remembering) and that really bothered me. He claims to love Mill but he can't answer simple questions and just expects her to blindly trust him.

Another thing is his speech. Kade does not use personal pronouns. I don't think NOT ONCE in the ENTIRE novel. It seems like his sentences are missing the entire beginning part. This just really irritated me and made me have to push myself to finish the book.

I guess because of the author's attempt to make Kade this mega-Alpha male, Mill is a doormat in comparison. She never really stands up for herself and the time that she does, Kade comes and rescues her. I don't believe their relationship and their love simply because I do not like them as characters. They seem flat and not believable. 

I think this story had great potential but the execution was not there. At times, it was nice story but is not memorable overall. I give Bigger Than the Sky 2 - 2.5 stakes because I feel like it wasn't completely horrible but it could have been a lot better. 


Author Info:

Harper Bentley has taught high school English for 22 years. Although she’s managed to maintain her sanity regardless of her career choice, jumping into the world of publishing her own books goes to show that she might be closer to the ledge than was previously thought.
After traveling the nation in her younger years as a military brat, having lived in Alaska, Washington State and California, she now resides in Oklahoma with her teenage daughter, two dogs and one cat, happily writing stories that she hopes her readers will enjoy.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review: H.I.S. Desire by Sheila Kell

*This is being posted a little after the blog tour because of a very busy schedule


How long would it take for him to turn into an ass again? She caught Jesse’s gaze and found herself momentarily mesmerized by his golden-brown eyes. What the hell?


HIS Desire (An H.I.S. novel) is a romantic suspense, stand-alone novel in the H.I.S. series releasing Nov 5th.


Can Jesse Hamilton, the head of H.I.S., protect his client when his past and his heart have put them both in jeopardy?

Synopsis

When FBI Special Agent Kate Ross is injured in a drive-by shooting, Hamilton Investigation and Security, Inc. (H.I.S.) leader Jesse Hamilton, believing she is the target of a killer seeking revenge against him, pulls the full force of H.I.S. into action to protect her.

Kate doesn’t believe Jesse, the only man to make her seethe one minute and lust after him the next, when he approaches her with a note from the Facilitator stating someone he loved would die shortly, and he knows in his gut it’s Kate. After a second attempt on her life, she can no longer fight his protection or her attraction to him.

After making a mistake that cost his wife her life, Jesse vowed to never love again, but Kate stirs something in him that puts his protective instincts into overdrive. Keeping her alive and out of his heart is more difficult than he expected. Then he makes a decision that could cost Kate her life. Is history due to repeat itself?





I absolutely loved H.I.S. Desire. I really like books that are considered to be romantic suspense or have some element of suspense in them. Especially stalker type ones whether they be secret admirers or people trying to kill the main couple as is the case in this novel. 

Kate and Jesse are great together in my opinion. I liked Jesse's overbearing protectiveness because I didn't feel that it went over the line into controlling like so many heroes in recent books I've read tend to do. He was concerned for her well-being in the beginning because he was simply attracted to her and doing his job but then because he loved her. I loved his interaction with his daughter and sister, and how he ran his company. I think the author did a good job showing the different sides of Jesse.

I liked Kate because she wasn't a doormat like a lot of heroines are nowadays. She doesn't sit back and allow everyone else to run her life and disrupt her even though someone is trying to kill her. Just because she has a strong, protective man in her life Kate didn't become a docile character because of it.

The ending was an initial surprise but looking back I can see how it would have been predictable. Nonetheless, I think the author presented several people who could have potentially been the person hiring the Facilitator. I liked the resolution of the novel because I think it was sweet and a generally nice HEA. I'm glad that it is the first in a series because I would definitely read more, maybe about Jesse's brothers. 

I give H.I.S. Desire 5 stakes and I would love to read more from H.I.S.













Sheila has been an avid reader since she was young, believing in fantasy worlds, women sleuths and happily-ever-after. Instead of writing as a career, she followed in her father’s footsteps and joined the U.S. Air Force. After 12 years, she left the military as a disabled veteran then spent 12 year in higher education executive leadership. After reading her first romantic suspense novel, Sheila finally knew what she wanted to write. She has since retired to fulfill that dream. When not writing, she reads or spends time with her family. She lives in Batesville, Mississippi with three rescue cats.





2 signed HIS Desire paperbacks
5 ebooks of HIS Desire
2 swag packs
2 keychains
2 purse clips
5 bookmarks

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZWE4MGE2ZWQzYTFlNmJhZTE5ZjI0OWMyMmY2YzAyOjEz/


Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: What's Left of Us by Amanda Maxlyn

What’s Left of Us

Author: Amanda Maxlyn




The heartwarming conclusion to What's Left of Me.
Love found me three years ago.
I’m cancer free, happily married to the love of my life, and working toward my dream career.
Our life is complete. Perfect, really.
Or is it?
I’ve always wanted a family of my own, but never dreamed I could have one. Now Parker’s ready to make my dream our reality.
But sometimes our dreams are haunted by our deepest fears. Fears of failure, having a child, and in our case … death. How do I help the person I love get over his fear when I’m still trying to overcome that same fear myself?
Together we must learn What’s Left of Us.

My Review:

This book was shorter than I thought it would be but I loved it nonetheless.

What's Left of Us begins with Aundrea and Parker now married and living their lives. Aundrea will be graduating college soon and looking towards the future of working with NASA when Parker brings up the topic of children. Because of her cancer, Aundrea cannot carry children herself but the two look into getting a surrogate. They quickly find one and Aundrea and Parker soon begin life as parents. 

I think that this book was very sweet and I was glad to see a continuation of What's Left of Me. I absolutely loved that novel so I was happy to see where the couple ended up. The novel, to me, seemed a bit short and maybe rushed because of it. Also, this may be because Aundrea wasn't actually carrying the baby so not much of the pregnancy could be talked about from her point of view. In fact, the baby doesn't even come until the epilogue. Although, I loved seeing the little tender moments with Parker and Aundrea. They seem like a great couple.

Like the first book, there are many emotional parts of the story with the loss of a friend, Parker's fear of Aundrea dying, and the happiness of having a baby. I really liked the alternating POV from Aundrea and Parker because you get to see what each are thinking and feeling in the moment.

Overall, I really loved this book just like the first one. I think it could have been longer, maybe some parts about the baby could have been added to the end. I liked seeing how Parker and Aundrea interacted with each other, especially how sweet they are with one another, and I feel like they would be great parents so it would have been interesting to see a little of that. 

I give What's Left of Us 4.5 stakes.



To Read the Prologue and First Chapter - CLICK HERE





Life works in mysterious ways.

Four years ago I became known as the girl with cancer.
I refuse to cry.
And I refuse to give in.
A relationship with a man is the last thing I’m looking for right now, but one night with Parker changes everything. He is persistent, and he knows what he wants. Me.
He doesn’t treat me like I’m fragile.
But he doesn’t know, and I’m not ready to tell him.

What if it changes everything?
Tragedy found me when I was seventeen.
Love found me when I was twenty-one.
My name is Aundrea McCall, and this is my journey.






I am the mother of two little boys, married to the love of my life, and living in one of the smallest towns in Minnesota. When I’m not chasing or cleaning up after my boys (yes, all three), I can be found writing or snuggled up with my kindle, a glass of wine, and spending time with my fictional friends and family.
I am first and foremost an avid reader! I love to read anything romance from paranormal, young/new adult, contemporary, and even yes, (wide eyes) erotic/BDSM.