Punya Reviews...

An avid reader of Romance novels and her reviews...

Happy New Year!

A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my booklikes friends. Hope you all had a lovely time with friends and family.

 

The end to the year 2019 hasn't been the best for me as my mom has been ill. She's just gone through a major surgery and still at the hospital. Despite your plans, life gets in the way I suppose.

 

Here's to hoping things will be better for us in 2020.

 

SPOILER ALERT!

The Luckiest Lady in London

The Luckiest Lady in London - Sherry Thomas

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:

 

It’s been 6 long years since I’ve read a Sherry Thomas book. She has had quite a few out but I was burned by one particular book SO BAD that I was scared to pick up anything else. This one, The Luckiest Lady in London, isn’t even from the same series as that other book but I had issues why, though I bought it, I never read it.

 

The Luckiest Lady in London is the book 1 of London Trilogy. Usually I’m a stickler for following series in order but then, this series is quite different. First of all, when I read books 2 and 3, Private Arrangements and His At Night back in 2011/12 they had no series title. Just books that were connected by characters. The Luckiest Lady in London wasn’t even published. And even though I like to recap series info on my reviews, this one will have no recap of the other 2 books. Maybe snippets if I remember anything but that’ll be all.

 

Private Arrangements was the first book I read by Sherry Thomas, that kind of changed my opinion of a ‘cheating romance’. It’s a theme I avoid at all cost if I know the h or the H of the book has cheated even once. But in here, the author handled the whole thing in such a way that you just feel for the characters. Cheating was kind of technical since the H and h, Camden and Gigi, were separated by a big misunderstanding that pretty much ruined both of their lives. So they tried to move on, even if they were still married and totally in love with one-another, though that takes them a while to discover. His At Night isn’t really directly connected to book 1, though you’ll see references of the H Lord Vere a few times. I have fond memories book 3 and highly recommend that you read both because they’re just so good!

 

Now Felix Riverdale, the hero of The Luckiest Lady in London, was briefly introduced in Private Arrangements as Gigi’s ex-lover. They had this brief affair that ended as fast it began because they decided that wasn’t the right direction for their relationship. They were still good friends. Frankly speaking, at that time, I wasn’t interested in reading about h or H’s lovers appearing as the hero or heroine of another installment of the series. That seemed to muddy the whole thing for me. I was even annoyed that the author thought Felix even needed a book! So I avoided this book like a plague.

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Irrepressible Love

Irrepressible Love (A Banished Saga Short Story) - Ramona Flightner

If you’re a fan of Banished Saga by Ramona Flightner as I am, and have read the series so far, you’ll probably know that this series is coming to an end next month with it’s 9th installment. And although it makes me really emotional, and extremely sad, I know all the good things have to come to an end at one point or the other. I’ve been really enjoying these short snippets of the lives of our favorite characters from the series since Ramona had taken to deliver them to her newsletter subscribers as Christmas gifts for the past few years. Irrepressible Love, being the one before the last installment, makes it even more precious to me.

 

Irrepressible Love is a short story that focuses on once uppity librarian Hester Loken who has been a recurring character in the Saga for the past few installments. Everybody around her thought she was firmly on the shelf, that she’ll live out her life as a spinster. Even Hester convinced herself that something so magical as the love of a good man is too good to be true for her. She’s not one of those lucky women and never will be, even having friends like Clarissa MacLeod or Araminta Sullivan who have found love in the previous installments of the series. Enter Jim Bailey, a blacksmith who was working for Colin Sullivan, husband to Araminta and brother of Clarissa, and Hester’s life’s plan goes out the window. Only she has no idea whether for better or for worse. Hester longs for this to be a reality, but afraid to hope too much. What will she do?

 

TBH, I had a hard time remembering Jim from any previous installments so I was a little taken a back with all that has been happening. But it didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all. Hester deserved love and she found someone who adored her back exactly the same, if not more. I couldn’t have been happier for the two.

 

Irrepressible Love sets the tone for the final installment of the series, Triumphant Love, coming January 2020. I’ll also suggest not reading this story before reading the previous installments because it contains spoilers you may not expect or even like. But highly recommended for the fans of the series.

 

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SPOILER ALERT!

Minotaur: Prayer

Minotaur: Prayer (The Bestial Tribe Book 2) - Naomi Lucas

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:

 

Minotaur: Prayer is the book 2 of Naomi Lucas’s fantastic dark fantasy series, The Bestial Tribe. I discovered this series last year and haven’t looked back ever since. It’s definitely not my usual fare where reading is concerned but damn, I really love all the nitty-gritty of this series! Down the big, uh...Minotaurs who are the H’s of this series. :P

 

Being true to its genre, The Bestial Tribe series features many mythical creatures. Some I heard of, others I had no idea bout until I googled. If you talk about fantasy/paranormal romances, I’m someone who prefers stories about ghosts and haunting. I’ve read stories about incubus and Fae (fairies) and enjoyed those too. Yet, mythology is a subject I’ve always been intrigued about. In the past, I’ve read rewritten romances based on one mythology or the other. It was one of the reasons why I was interested in this series. Also, Minotaur, as a whole, wasn’t a mythological character (or creature?) that I was vastly knowledgeable about. Googling about them didn’t help much since they look kinda scary. I think, it should be a challenge in itself to make a hero out of a Minotaur (in this case half-human, half-Minotaur) but Naomi Lucas tried just that, and TBH, succeeded marvelously.

 

The whole setting of this series is quite fantastical. I had a difficult time imagining some of the places she described but it wasn’t because I was lacking in ideas. I did have my own vision of those places but I also wished I could actually see what the author imagined when she was writing the books. I also think it totally surpasses any era or time-frame that can be humanely measured.

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Unlikely Spy Catchers

Unlikely Spy Catchers (St. Brendan Book 2)  - Carla Kelly

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The Unlikely Spy Catchers is the book 2 of Carla Kelly’s ongoing historical romance series, St. Brendan. My love for this series began with a short novella that you can also call a prequel to the series, which was featured in an anthology. It was titled ‘The Christmas Angle’. Even though I’d bought book 1 first, I read in a few reviews that Able and Meridee’s love story began in that novella. I was really glad to have that nugget of information because I absolutely adored that story. It was just...... So good. :) Our hero is a nerdy genius but he’s also super hot and attractive. And our heroine is just the perfect match for him.

 

Born in a street behind a church in Scotland, where his supposed mother died right after his birth without even giving him a name, Durable Six has come a long way. The name he’s got is the aftermath of becoming a nameless orphan left unclaimed in a workhouse of Dumfries, where his life was everything that was never nice, loving or pleasant. He’d shortened the silly name to Able later in life to give it some semblance of normalcy. After his initial resistance to death–hence he surpassed the first 5 ‘Durables’ and became number Six that lived—Able fought to survive. He fought hunger, abuse at the hand of his so-called teachers but most of all, he fought death to stay alive.

 

Able joined Navy to escape the appalling workhouse so I doubt he had any big ambition but as Sailing Master Able Six at 26 he’d already climbed the ladder of success when it comes to HRM Navy. At least as far as success is concerned for a total nobody like him. No one ever heard a person becoming a sailing master at the age of 22 but Able had become what no one has been before. Hell, he’s someone so unique that no one probably had seen anyone like him in the past decades, maybe more, and likely won’t see another for a long time to come. Able Six, what you can describe in the simplest terms possible, is a genius. A polymath; Someone with photographic memory. He’d basically experience anything and remember every single crisp detail. His mind is always whirring. It never stops.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Diamond in the Rogue

Diamond in the Rogue - Wendy LaCapra

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Diamond In the Rogue by Wendy LaCapra is the third installment of her Lords of Chance series and it was amazing! Yes I’ll go ahead and say it the first thing. I’ve been going through some rough patches in my personal life for the past few months and needed a distraction badly. This book gave me that and more. I’ve been a fan of this series since it began and the installments never ceased to amaze me in the least. I always applaud Wendy’s writing style and her lovely narratives that hook you right into the story. But this book was just chock full of surprises I didn’t see coming. In retrospect, I should’ve expected at least some of them.

 

Lords of Chance is a Regency set series with 3 peers of the realm, who are also old friends, as the center of the storyline. They go by sobriquet taken from the game of card—Spades, Clubs and Diamonds. Lord Markham came as the extra addition to the group; as Hearts to complete the circle. He’s also the youngest and often jokingly called as the ‘pup’. But unknowing to him, in the beginning of the series he was being groomed by our Spades for an ultimate purpose. No, nothing nefarious but that didn’t mean it was any less important to Spades’ own existence.

 

In his story, in book 1 Scandal in Spades, we found Giles Langley the Marquess of Bromton, in a dilemma. A big one TBH. He had a very serious family issue that he needed to take care of. It involved the survival of the Bromley bloodline and Giles was ‘trained’ to become someone who’d do anything in his power to keep that bloodline flowing to the next generation. But there was a dark twist in his story which led him to find a proper (or improper, didn’t matter) solution to his aforementioned dilemma. And that’s how Markham came into the picture. Help came in the form of Markham’s elder sister Katherine, the scandalous spinster who made the Regency ‘headlines’ a few times in her life; not because she wanted to make any headline, but because she seemed to had bad lucks where Beaus and fiancés were concerned. But her meeting to Giles was the thing of magic; full of spark and chemistry that both felt and were unable to deny. Both were scared to fall but fall they did despite everything. I love LOVED that book.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Unbridled Montana Passion

Unbridled Montana Passion (Bear Grass Springs Book 7) - Ramona Flightner

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Unbridled Montana Passion is the book 6 of Ramona Flightner’s ongoing Bear Grass Springs series. I’ve had quite an ambivalent feeling towards this series since it began, quite unlike Ramona’s Banished Saga. But I think it’s growing on me and I feel like I’m quite invested in the lives of these characters right now to continue on with it. So kudos to her!

 

Bear Grass Springs is set in 1880s Montana. I’m a big fan of Ramona’s Banished Saga, soon to end after a long run and always recommended from me. Bear Grass Springs is quite different than this series in the sense that the former is more of a family saga spanning generations, rather than your typical story and HEA for one couple per installment. Though Bear Grass Springs does have HEA in each installment for each H and h featured, you still get the vibe of being with a family and getting to know them better while reading about the MacKinnons.

 

Bear Grass Springs began with the stories of the 3 MacKinnon brothers Cailean, Alistair and Ewan, in the first 3 installments respectively titled Montana Untamed, Montana Grit and Montana Maverick. They also have a younger sister called Sorcha who got her story told in book 5 titled Montana Wrangler. They hailed from Scotland, but have settled in the Bear Grass Springs Montana in search of a better life. Cailean and Alistair own the only livery in town, which they’ve managed to make a successful business out of. Ewan is a carpenter and his business is thriving as well. The brothers were much sought after bachelors until they settled down with the love of their lives, Cailean with the town baker Annabelle, Alistair with Leticia who was a school teacher before she began helping Annabelle with her rapidly growing bakery business. Ewan finally found someone to love in Jessamine, a news reporter at that time newly arrived in Bear Grass Springs. Sorcha had been at odds with Frederick, a recurring character, for much of the series. Then it was revealed that they actually harbored feelings for one another.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Ropin' the Moon

Ropin' the Moon - Deborah Camp

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I’m a big fan of Western Historical Romances and fell in love with Deborah Camp’s writing when I first read one of her books back in 2017. It was a sudden thing. I felt curious and wanted to give it a try. Needless to say, I haven’t looked back ever since. So when I heard that she’s writing a new western historical, of course I had to read it. Honestly, I’m glad that I did!

 

Ropin’ the Moon is a completely stand alone read so you can read it as such. The story is set a few years after the Civil War in a small town of Kansas called Far Creek. Far Creek wasn’t a bustling town by any stretch of the word but the people here were getting by somehow. They had almost all they needed, including a moderately built hotel to accommodate visitors, a town mercantile, saloons etc. What the town didn’t have, however, was strong law enforcement. Well, there was a Marshall but he didn’t have the courage to stand ground with the owner of the neighboring ranch, the Pullman’s. Junior Pullman, a wealthy rancher, a dictator and an overall a$$hole, viewed Far Creek as one of the his ‘things’ to control and his equally sh!ta$$ ranch-hands would ride the town roughshod whenever it suited them. There was no one to leash them in and make them pay for their misbehavior. No one to say anything to be precise cause the so-called Marshall and most everyone thought that catering to Pullman’s whims was the best way to go, seeing how whoever declined to obey him would more often than not be visited by ‘bad luck’ where their home and livelihood would be completely ruined. Sometimes they paid with their lives as well.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Her Viking Warrior

Her Viking Warrior (Forgotten Sons Book 2) - Gina Conkle

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I’ve loved Gina Conkle’s books ever since I read her first book back in 2014. She writes well-researched Viking romance that has everything from hot romance, actions and a healthy dose of what you’d call the ancient Viking lifestyle. Book 2 of her newest Viking series Forgotten Sons wasn’t any different. Her Viking Warrior had everything that you can expect in a romance novel.

 

The series titled Forgotten Sons is based on a band of Viking brothers where they’re mainly connected by circumstances, rather than bloodline. Book 1, Kept by the Viking largely focused on the H and h’s relationship and everything surrounding it, rather than building up a backstory for the heroes of the Forgotten Sons, as they call themselves. Then again, with 6 of them in total, I’m sure the author will reveal their stories one by one in their own books. This, I’d say, works as an element of surprise since right now you don’t know much about the Sons except for the 2 who had already had their stories told. These 6 Viking warriors had known each-other since childhood. They share a very strong bond and would do anything for one another. They’re called Forgotten Sons because of some circumstances or the other has made them leave their own home in search of glory, financial stability and, if possible, a home of their own where they can settle.

 

In Kept by The Viking, we’re introduced to the leader of the Sons, Rurik and a Frankish slave girl called Safira. They weren’t meant to be together though Safira needed Rurik’s help in getting away from a sh!tty household. In the end it was discovered that Safira was abducted from her wealthy merchant father’s household and sold into slavery. She wanted to get away and return to her family. Little did she know while she was planning that, that a handsome Viking would escort her. She wasn’t expecting much, but got more than what she bargained for. The story had actions and suspense, as Rurik was fighting for a land to settle down, but in a twist of fate he would have to fight someone with whom he shares his bloodline, even though no love was lost between the two. Someone who he’d hated all his life and tried his best to avoid. One of the reasons why he left his home and became a mercenary. Thankfully, with Safira by her side, Rurik would find the strength to claim what he can then rightfully call his own.

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Mrs. Sartin's Secretary

Mrs. Sartin's Secretary (Lords of Chance #2.5) - Wendy LaCapra

Read this short story as a part of the Second Chance Love anthology. My review can be found below:

 

http://punya.booklikes.com/post/1879377/second-chance-love-review-of-mrs-sartin-s-secretary

 

(As usual **spoiler alert**!! on the review above)

 

This story is connected to Wendy's Lords of Chance series.

 

It's also currently a freebie (at the time of writing this review on August 31, 2019) for those of you who maybe interested in it : https://amzn.to/2LaLcxo

SPOILER ALERT!

The Outlaw's Mail Order Bride

The Outlaw's Mail Order Bride (Outlaw Mail Order Brides Book 1) - Linda Broday

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The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride is the first book in Linda Broday’s newest western historical romance series, Outlaw Mail Order Brides. I’m a big fan of western historical romances and read a few of Ms. Broday’s previous series. Been a fan of her writing style and storytelling since I read the series Bachelors of Battle Creek. This new book was no different. A story in general full of a lot of heart and warmth.

 

Outlaw Mail Order Brides series is connected to the author’s previous series, Men of Legend. Some were played important secondary characters, while others were just featured for a spell. In Men of Legend series, former outlaw Luke Weston Legend, one of the sons of well-known rancher Stoker Legend, had introduced us to some of the characters in this new series; whom he met while living the life of an outlaw. These men were outlaws like him who wanted to leave that life for good. Motivated by that need, former outlaw—who also worked in Stoker’s ranch briefly— Clay Colby, alongside a few of his former outlaw buddies, has been trying to build a town. Something to call their own where they can finally settle down and call it a home. But easier said than done. Interested females are hard to come by and Clay and his comrades have been having a difficult time trying to make Devil’s Crossing a habitable place. Located in Texas Panhandle, not only the place was middle of pretty much nowhere, it was a rough terrain still. Though the place was hidden enough with canyons around it, which would make it safer from unwanted snooping, it was also a far cry from the town that Clay wanted to make it. TBH, he had big dreams but by the looks of how things were going for him, he had no idea whether he can actually make it.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Legacy of Hunger

Legacy of Hunger: Druid's Brooch Series: #1 - Christy Nicholas

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Legacy of Hunger book 1 of Druid’s Brooch is the first book I read by Christy Nicholas. I came to know about the author from a few blog tours I hosted of her books in this series and have always been rather intrigued by the covers... then I read the blurb of book 1 and found it to be a freebie so I grabbed it. TBH it was quite an unexpected journey!

 

Legacy of Hunger is an odd book. Slow and kind of gloomy but not at all unpleasant. The writing and the research was pretty fair and I enjoyed the pace. But the story was slow-moving and dark because of the subject matter which it centered around. The story is set in 1846, begins in America and ends in Ireland. The heroine (I’m not even sure if I should call her as such… she definitely was the only main character) Valentia had always been moved by the stories her Irish maternal grandmother had told her when she was young. She was fascinated by everything it entailed; the magic, the myth and everything in between. But what Valentia found the most intriguing was the story of an abandoned brooch—a family heirloom—that was left behind when she left Ireland many years ago. Now there was no saying if the brooch even existed or not. What I could gather from the vague recollection of Valentia of her now deceased grandmother, is that she may have encouraged her to look for it. But whatever the reason was, Valentia, now at 23 or 24, wanted to go visit Ireland. If only her ancestral land was her only interest here, that would’ve sufficed. However, Valentia was so obsessed with a drawing of the brooch she was given that she was totally ready to go on a wild goose chase in a land completely unknown to her.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Devil's Daughter

Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5) - Lisa Kleypas

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Devil’s Daughter is the book 5 of Lisa Kleypas’s ongoing historical romance series, The Ravenels. Though I’ve had quite the ambivalent feeling towards a few of the installments, I’ve largely enjoyed her return to the world of historical romance since this series debuted in 2015. It was given, that Weston Ravenel, one of the prominent secondary characters of the series, would have his own book. But was I really anticipating the release of his book? Did it meet my expectations?? Let’s see if I can elaborate.

 

As usual, I’ll begin with a bit of background to connect the dots. So the series is set in the Victorian England. Two brothers, Devon and Weston, two of the very few remaining Ravenels, suddenly come to an inheritance that they never thought of gaining. Devon becomes an Earl when the direct heir to the Treanor earldom suddenly died in a riding accident without leaving any heir. The circumstance of Theo’s death was an example of how wild and unpredictable a bunch the Ravenels are. Having a self-destructive bend is how they’ve always been, probably since the beginning of their line. They were known for wild and fast living and many of their ancestors died young too maintaining that lifestyle. Devon and Weston were most probably heading to that direction, though they had none of the burdens of money and properties… until they were burdened. In fact, Devon and Weston were poor enough to not have any prospects. Both were known rakes, sometimes bullies and had a very debauched lifestyle of a true Ravenel. They’d probably planned on dying young (at least Weston had thought so…). But owning the legacy that was never meant to be theirs changed everything for them. And boy with that legacy came burdens! Not only Devon was now responsible for a dilapidated, debt-ridden mansion that he ardently wanted to raze down and wash his hands off of, but also he had to take care of Theo’s young widow, Kathleen and his 3 sisters; Helen, and the twins, Pandora and Cassandra.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Heart's Desire

Heart's Desire (Lords of Chance #2) - Wendy LaCapra

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Must say, I’m quite surprised by this new installment of Lords of Chance series by Wendy LaCapra. No, it wasn’t Wendy's beautiful storytelling that always hooks me right into the story. I already knew of it. It’s because on one hand, Markham wasn’t the hero I was expecting to see getting his book so early. On the other, I didn’t think he had quite the depth of character he’d shown throughout Heart’s Desire.

 

Lords of Chance is a Regency set series with 3 peers of the realm, who are also old friends, as the center of the storyline. They go by sobriquet taken from the game of card—Spades, Clubs and Diamonds. The latest, a new addition to that small group came in the form of Lord Markham; Hearts to complete the circle. He’s also the youngest in the group at 24 and often jokingly called as the ‘pup’. But unknowing to him, he was being groomed by our Spades for an ultimate purpose. No, nothing nefarious but that didn’t mean it was any less important to Spades’ own existence.

 

In his story, in book 1 Scandal in Spades, we found Giles Langley the Marquess of Bromton, in a dilemma. A big one TBH. He had a very serious family issue that he needed to take care of. It involved the survival of the Bromley bloodline and Giles was ‘trained’ to become someone who’d do anything in his power to keep that bloodline flowing to the next generation. But there was a dark twist in his story which led him to find a proper (or improper, didn’t matter) solution to his aforementioned dilemma. And that’s how Markham came into the picture. There was a card game, naturally. An already set-up game ‘won’ by him which led Giles in search of a bride. Help came in the form of Markham’s elder sister Katherine, the scandalous spinster who made the Regency ‘headlines’ a few times in her life; not because she wanted to make any headline, but because she seemed to had a singularly bad luck where Beaus and fiancés were concerned. But her meeting to Giles was the thing of magic. Full of spark and chemistry that both felt and were unable to deny. Both were scared to fall but fall they did despite everything. I love LOVED that book and highly recommend that you read it first.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Montana Wrangler

Montana Wrangler (Bear Grass Springs #6) - Ramona Flightner

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Montana Wrangler is the book 5 in Ramona Flightner’s Bear Grass Springs series. I’ve had quite a love-hate relationship with this series, yet I can’t help but being curious about what the characters are up to, all credit is to the author! I’ve enjoyed this series enough to keep coming back to it.

 

I keep saying it because it’s the truth. I’m a big fan of Ramona’s Banished Saga series, which will end pretty soon. Bear Grass Springs is quite different than Banished Saga in the sense that the latter is more of a family saga spanning generations, rather than your typical story and HEA for one couple per installment. The Saga always comes highly recommended from me. Though Bear Grass Springs does have HEA in each installment for each H and h featured, you still get the vibe of being with a family and getting to know them better while reading about the MacKinnons.

 

Bear Grass Springs began with the stories of the 3 MacKinnon brothers Cailean, Alistair and Ewan, in the first 3 installments respectively titled Montana Untamed, Montana Grit and Montana Maverick. They also have a younger sister called Sorcha. They’re from Scotland, but have settled in the Bear Grass Springs Montana in search of a better life. Cailean and Alistair own the only livery in town, which they’ve managed to make a successful business out of. Ewan is a carpenter and his business is thriving as well. The brothers were much sought after bachelors until they settled down with the love of their lives, Cailean with the town baker Annabelle, Alistair with Leticia who was a school teacher before she began helping Annabelle with her rapidly growing bakery business. Ewan finally found someone to love in Jessamine, a news reporter at that time newly arrived in Bear Grass Springs. The backgrounds of all 3 of heroines are told in their books. However my feelings for all 3 books were pretty ambivalent. The first two, the brothers were being obtuse and in turn, there were loads of misunderstanding and frustration that made me wanna kick their a$$. And for book 3, I didn’t like the heroine AT ALL.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Second Chance Love (Review of Mrs. Sartin’s Secretary)

Second Chance Love: A Regency Romance Set - Cynthia Sterling, Jenna Jaxon, Wendy LaCapra, Catherine Tinley, Annabelle Anders

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, visit:

 

3.5 stars. This rating and review is ONLY for “Mrs. Sartin’s Secretary” by Wendy LaCapra. If I read the other stories later, I’ll try to review them. Of course, the rating may change too.
****

Mrs. Sartin’s Secretary by Wendy LaCapra

 

When I read book 1 of Wendy LaCapra’s Lords of Chance series titled Scandal in Spades last year, I was blown away not only by Wendy’s beautiful writing but also the story and its protagonists. The H and h shared amazing chemistry that was palpable right from the moment they met. It was a straight winner so I was eagerly waiting for book 2...which turned out to be Heart’s Desire.

 

While I waited, I heard about Wendy writing a short story in between these two books, somehow connecting to book 2 through its hero, Lord Markham or Heart. But why is Markham called ‘Heart’? I talked about it a bit more elaborately in my review of book 1. In a nutshell, the other heroes of this series formed a group of sort where Markham joins later, and they called each other by sobriquets taken from the cards. The hero of book 1, the Marquess of Bromton Giles went by as Spades. Two of his close friends that will have the next books in the series, Lord Farring and Lord Rayne, are known as Club and Diamond. In that order.

 

In book 1 I had the hint that Markham, the youngest of them all, was a bit of a rake, hence he was the Hearts. It was said that he never left his lovers wanting. Just how much of a rake, you get a glimpse of it in this really short story here. From the beginning though, I had issues. I had a difficult time connecting this story with the series. For one, Mrs. Sartin or her secretary, the two protagonists were never even introduced in book 1 so I had no earthly idea who they were and why they even had a story to begin with?! Well apart from the fact that it becomes clear very early on that Mrs. Sartin is Markham’s lover. (note here that Mrs. Sartin may well have been briefly introduced in book 1 but I don’t remember her at all so my point stands)

 

In the end though, Wendy’s note explains that we’ll be seeing more of Mrs. Sartin in Markham’s book, Heart’s Desire. She wanted the lonely widow to have a story so she gave her one.

 

Fair enough.

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