Punya Reviews...

An avid Romance lover and her reviews...

This is a blog for the readers, especially of Romance novels. I'm an avid reader. I try reading whatever interests me, from Classics to Romances. Right now, it's Romance novels- HRs, Medievals, Fantasy, Erotica, even a little PNR and Contemporary. I do reviews of the books I read. I believe, for reading, there are no limitations. - See more at: http://punyareviews.blogspot.com/?zx=f8d4c4c2346fb44#sthash.wQbPalwK.d
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SPOILER ALERT!

Once A Gunslinger

Once A Gunslinger - Diana Bold

3 stars. There'll be no full review... so here's what I thought in a nutshell:

I liked another one of this author's books so I decided to give Once a Gunslinger a go. I do love western historical romances, and an outlaw hero can be very appealing for sure. However, this one disappointed me. I didn't like the hero, and didn't care much for the heroine either.

The H and the h had a past of some sort when they were young, and there were consequences of their relationship. The H went to war (Civil war I believe) and fought for the enemy side, leaving the h behind and his own family in peril. He has been sort of an outlaw ever since. There were other things too, but I won't mention them.

H and h met again years later, and that is where the actual story begins. Unfortunately, he was an a$$ who decided he liked being a jerk to the heroine for what she did to save her reputation so long ago. He wanted to make her suffer because 'he was suffering as well'. His grudge, she married his now deceased brother and didn't wait for him. -_- However, if you read you will see that the fault wasn't hers at all. She had to do what she had to do, and she wasn't even a good wife to the brother who obviously cared for her because she still loved the H. The H even realizes that at one point but keeps on being a jerk until the last couple of pages of the book. The h, I wanted her to ditch this a$$ and look for a better man. But she was still so enamored of him that she continued being a doormat and took what he dished out almost without any argument at all. I could NOT understand exactly why? WHY?! :/

Their romance was not convincing to say the least. Believe me, I tried but I failed to see any HEA with such a hotheaded, impetuous a$$ for a hero. In the end, the argument that he was being a jerk cause he was afraid to acknowledge his feelings didn't float my boat either. Not my cup of tea, sorry. 3 stars because otherwise, the writing was very good and I thought this could've been better. Also, I really liked some of the secondary characters such as the heroine's brothers. I'd be more interested in their stories!

Note that this is a reissue of the author's earlier work, Savannah's Hero.

SPOILER ALERT!

Marriage of Mercy

Marriage of Mercy - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Another Carla Kelly book I picked up cause I was intrigued by the blurb. I generally don’t read reviews of her books before reading, where in most cases I wanna check the reviews first before picking up a book. Marriage of Mercy was no different. I like to enjoy Ms. Kelly’s books as it is, then decide whether I liked it or not.

Marriage of Mercy is another sweet story between a baker and an American prisoner of war. Even though for the first 60% the book was rather ho hum, the story picked up after that and the twist at the end pretty much had me there. I was wondering what the hell was happening, cause I didn’t expect any of that!

Grace or as everyone calls her, Gracie, has fallen far. From a Baronet’s daughter to a baker, not a good thing for someone whose father was once considered a peer of the realm, even if a penniless peer. Grace’s father didn’t like to bother with finances and never cared to manage however small a fortune he had, hence, when he passed away, he left his only child under a huge debt and no one to help her out of that. Her mother passed on long ago, so Grace finds herself without any money, any help, and pretty much out of her mansion only with the clothes on her back when the mansion, and everything else were sold out to clear the debt. But she isn’t the type to whine and cry. Gracie knew early on that she doesn’t have a shining future because of what a spendthrift her father was. And she hated it! She tried to make him understand and work with her so they can save some for the future, HER future. But Henry Curtis was baffled as to why she’d even bother to think of money, or earning money TBH, when they’re peers of the realm! And working to earn is so crass a thought! *eyeroll*

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SPOILER ALERT!

Once A Pirate

Once A Pirate - Diana Bold

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

 

I picked up Once a Pirate pretty much on a whimsy. I liked the cover and was quite intrigued by the blurb. I thought it was going to be a darker-toned historical romance and I wanted to find out more. Even though this didn’t quite turn out to be what I was expecting for, I’m not disappointed at all. On the contrary, I enjoyed the story a lot.

As the blurb mentions, the current Earl of Sutcliffe was going nuts to have an heir. His own son, the heir to earldom, Daniel, isn’t up to the task. He’s not interested in women. Even though the Earl had married him rather forcefully to a pretty, young and well-bred girl, his worthless son has not shown one ounce of interest in her. And it was pretty much killing the Earl that he couldn’t get his much coveted heir to the earldom, to extend the Sutcliffe name to another generation. But that can really go on forever! To get what he wanted, the Earl makes a plan and promptly puts the wheel of this into motion. This is where our actual story begins...

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SPOILER ALERT!

Moss Rose

Moss Rose - Scottie Barrett

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Moss Rose would be my 4th Scottie Barrett book in a row and I have to admit, I’m absolutely enjoying this ride. Or I was, until I realized that ends my foray into her backlist. :( At least her historical romance backlist. *sigh* I remember, years ago I read 2 of her books that I didn’t like, which put me off her books but boy oh boy, I had missed out on some good stuff!

Moss Rose is based in Virginia, where our H Levi North owns a tobacco plantation. I’m a little confused over the timeframe of this story but Levi was a soldier who fought against French so I’m assuming it maybe around the revolutionary era? I maybe wrong so please don’t fry me over it. LOL I don’t like having the timeframe wrong but at this point, I’m gonna let it go and start writing my review........ After Levi returned from war, he took the responsibility of the tobacco plantation cause his younger brother, Matthias is anything but responsible. His looks and temperament was exact opposite to Levi. Though both brothers were tall and good looking, Matthias was blonde and rather a jolly fellow, while Levi dark with an intense stare. But Levi proved to be a very worthy plantation owner, freeing his slaves then hiring them back again. He was trying hard to make the plantation thrive. He also took care of his workers well. When he suddenly found himself in urgent need of a good stable master, he put an ad on the newspaper, which is how our h, Jensen found herself applying for it, though I have no idea how she found that ad sitting in London.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Claiming Mr. Kemp

Claiming Mister Kemp - Emily Larkin

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Claiming Mr. Kemp is the book 4 of Emily Larkin’s Baleful Godmother series. The theme of the story is a bit different than the author’s usual style because this is a M/M romance. Her first one as far as I know, but it was well-written no doubt about it.

The Baleful Godmother is a Regency-set series based on female characters who have special “gifts” or powers. But if you want to start from the very beginning, you can with The Fey Quartet. These are a set of novellas listed as “prologue” to this series. Set in Medieval-era England, this series explains exactly how our unique heroines came to inherit their “gifts”. Books 1 and 2, Unmasking Miss Appleby and Resisting Miss Merryweather had something common in them apart from Bale Tongue, our dubious Fairy Godmother. Heroines of both of these books, Charlotte and Merry 1. Were bestowed their gifts at the age of 25, which I thought was THE age they were supposed to have their wish fulfilled and 2. They were cousins so the stories were linked that way. But that changed in book 3, Trusting Miss Trentham. Tish, the h, had her wish fulfilled at 21 instead of 25. She’s also a distant cousin to the previous heroines but they didn’t know until later in the story so the book could be technically read as a standalone.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Unrelenting Love

Unrelenting Love - Ramona Flightner

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

After three years and 5 installments later, I’m so glad that the Banished Saga by Ramona Flightner is continuing on quite strong. Though the Saga is told from many characters who were introduced throughout, it all started with the original couple, Gabriel and Clarissa and their journey for a love that seemed impossible to fulfill at first.

As the name of the series suggests, it indeed, is a saga of the McLeod/Sullivan family which sort of reminds me of Downton Abbey. Don’t get me wrong; even though DA is set almost at the same time as Banished Saga, the storyline, setting and the characters aren’t the same. What in Banished Saga reminds me of Downton Abbey is that this too shows the growth and continuation of one family into future generation. You start from one family then you get to learn more and more of this family, their relatives, friends and well-wishers, who also become a part of this journey just as much as you are. You see new faces, romance, marriage, children etc. And it’s an ongoing process.

Clarissa and Gabriel met on the onset of the suffragist movement in Boston of 1901 in the first book, Banished Love. Clarissa, a budding suffragist at that time, has suffered more in her life than she ever should’ve. She had a well-educated background so her romance with a “lowly and poor carpenter” Gabriel had all the thorns provided by the judgmental society. They both suffered and conquered hardship and after 2 long years when they finally marry, life has changed drastically for both. But their love for each-other kept them going.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Duke of Pleasure

Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane) - Elizabeth Hoyt

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

So happy to say that I’ve been following the long running, much loved Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt almost since the beginning! I discovered Ms. Hoyt’s books back in 2011 and haven’t looked back ever since. And we’ve certainly come a long way with this one! Duke of Pleasure is the 11th installment and I have to say it was, uhh, not what I was hoping for. Actually not sure what I was looking for since Alf, the h of this story, was not a character I thought would have a book of her own, let alone a full-length one. I mean she’s ‘Alf’, the little urchin who masqueraded as a beggar boy to live in the dark and filthy St. Giles where she grew up. No one knew who she was, or even, that she was a girl. She had no family to speak of. Had no life beyond St. Giles... she didn’t even have a full name FGS! I totally thought that Hippolyta Royle, the richest heiress of England, was going to have a full-length novel; instead she got a novella. :/

Anyway, now that that’s outta my chest.......... Personally, this is probably the only long-running series of which I’ve been a part of almost since the beginning, so I’m a little overwhelmed here. I don’t think a recap of all the other 10 installments is possible so I’d ask that you start from the beginning, Wicked Intentions. Besides, if you haven’t read the series from the beginning, you really shouldn’t be reading this review. The installments connect each-other with ongoing events, or characters, or an event that was hinted at on one installment and you will find it taking shape in another. So yes, true to Ms. Hoyt’s style, it’s a very interconnected series and you may find information confusing at times.

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me - Mariana Zapata

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

It’s been quite a long time since I read a Mariana Zapata book. The last one I read was one of her early releases. It burned me so bad I had to take a step back and reconsider ever reading any of her books. But I’m glad I finally decided to read The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. It was more like the typical Mariana Zapata stories that I’m used to with. Long storyline, kinda slow but great read with interesting characters to go with it. The romance more of a slow burn than anything rushed.

It seems that The Wall of Winnipeg and Me is related to Kulti, which was a sports romance (of sort) because the H Kulti was an ex-footballer who once used to be extremely famous. The h, Sal, was a budding footballer with a bright future, who also happen to had a HUGE crush of Kulti when he was still playing. When Coach Kulti came to town, it seemed like it was a dream come true for Sal. Best of all, coach Kulti was the coach of HER own team. Oh boy! I really enjoyed Kulti but I don’t really remember if the h of this book, Vanessa, was featured there or not. But I do know Diana, who is a secondary character here and Vanessa’s best friend, is Sal’s cousin. She was seen or mentioned in Kulti a few times.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Trusting Miss Trentham

Trusting Miss Trentham - Emily Larkin

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Trusting Miss Trentham marked book 3 of Emily Larkin’s Baleful Godmother series and I must admit, this series is getting better with each installment! From the storyline to the characters, there’s always something new to expect!!

The Baleful Godmother is a Regency-set series based on female characters who have special “gifts” or powers. But if you want to start from the very  beginning, you can with The Fey Quartet. These are a set of novellas listed as “prologue” to this series. Set in Medieval-era England, this series explains exactly how our unique heroines come to inherit their “gifts”. I found The Fey Quartet absolutely delightful, couldn’t wait to find out how the protagonists’ descendants deal with their gifts, bestowed by a Fey in exchange of a favor done to her.

Books  1 and 2, Unmasking Miss Appleby and Resisting Miss Merryweather had something common in them apart from Bale Tongue, our dubious Fairy Godmother. Heroines of both of these books, Charlotte and Anne AKA Merry (respectively), 1. Were bestowed their gifts at the age of 25, which I thought was THE age they were supposed to have their wish fulfilled and 2. They were cousins so the stories were linked that way.

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SPOILER ALERT!

To Love a Texas Ranger

To Love a Texas Ranger (Men of Legend Book 1) - Linda Broday

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Linda Broday’s To Love a Texas Ranger is a brand new western historical romance and book 1 of her Men of Legend series. I’ve been waiting for this one because I read and loved other western historical series, Bachelors of Battle Creek.

Much like Bachelors of Battle Creek, Men of Legend will focus on a family or a ‘band of brothers’ if you can call them. Even though, the brothers of Bachelors of Battle Creek series weren’t brothers by blood, these Legends brothers certainly are! The first book focuses on Sam Legend, a Texas Ranger, estranged from his family for a while because of his job.

Sam Legend always knew he had a wanderer’s soul and the job of a Texas Ranger suited him just fine. Even though his father, Stoker, is one of the richest Ranchers living out there with miles and miles worth of lands and kettle, Sam knew ranching isn’t his call. His elder brother, Houston, was doing great on that regard. However, things weren’t as it seemed. The bond between the father and the brothers were thin, something deteriorated since their mother’s passing some 17yrs. ago. It’s then their father started drinking, becoming way too focused on acquiring more lands and kettle, making more money than caring for his sons. Everyone knew that grief did it to him but that was no excuse. Sam wanted out and even with his father’s protests he got out as soon as he could. Stoker let him, knowing he can’t stop him. After all, he’s a Legend and they are a stubborn lot.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Branded

Branded - Scottie Barrett

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

This is gonna be a tough one. I’ve been on a roll, devouring the leftover Scottie Barrett books, and Branded was the latest on my list. I just wanted to read it cause I love me some good western historical; if it’s steamy, all the better! Branded was all that and more. So much more, it left me quite a bit hot and bothered. But then, Slade Dalton has that effect on most women. ;)

TBH, I’ve been on a reading slump for a long while. Of course, there have been some good books but nothing quite held me glued like Branded. From writing to the storytelling, the chemistry between the H and the h, which was undoubtedly sizzling from the moment they met, to their banters (both hot and cold), there was no shortage of entertainment in this book. I’m only sorry it ended cause I would’ve loved for it to go on. Slade Dalton can never be boring. I feel exactly how Lacey felt about him so I can totally understand! :o

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SPOILER ALERT!

To Find a Viking Treasure

To Find a Viking Treasure (Norse Series Book 2) - Gina Conkle

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

I read Norse Jewel, Gina Conkle’s debut novel and thought it was a wonderful read. At that time, I didn’t know it was going to be a series. But the story ended in a way that left some confusions, felt like there were “more”. A year or two later, when the author told me she was going to develop this story into a series, I was super excited. To Find a Viking Treasure is the book 2 of Norse series.

Now, let me tell you that I read book 1 in 2013 so my memory is a bit vague. I do remember the initial storyline, and the characters, H Hakan, a Viking lord and his newly bought Frankish slave, Helena who was the h of the story. Hakan was returning home and bought Helena from a slave trader on the way. Actually he bought some slaves, Helena and her friend Sestra were among them. I remember that Helena came from a good family, but circumstances brought her where she was, while Sestra, in true sense, have always been a thrall.

Hakan was married before but that was over with his nutcase first wife. He had the need of womanly touch in his longhouse. He had a little boy named Erik, whom Astrid won’t even let him visit. But the boy would always find a way to steal away to meet his father when he was back from one conquest or the other. The father-son bond was much stronger than what Astrid could do. Soon Hakan also begins noticing Helena for who she was— a loyal, kind-hearted woman who was also a hard-worker. She was the polar opposite of Astrid; both in looks and in temperament. For Helena, she was apprehensive at first about her treatment, but soon she finds that Hakan is a kind, fair as well as a generous master. She soon begins having feelings for Hakan, though she knew the only thing she can ever be to him is a mistress if there’s anything. But Hakan even wasn’t like that, take pleasure from his slaves or thralls then discard them.

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Pennies for Elephants

Pennies for Elephants (A Banished Saga Short Story) - Ramona Flightner

Pennies for Elephants just reached my email and I can’t tell you how excited I was to read it because I knew Ramona was going to write a short story for Richard and Florence’s family. I needed that while I wait for the 5th book of Banished Saga, out sometimes next month. Once again, Ramona does an excellent job of not only giving us a glimpse of some of our favorite characters from the Saga but also incorporating a historical event with the storyline of the Saga quite seamlessly. Then again, because I’ve been a part of this journey since the beginning, I know she’s capable to doing just that. :D

 

Richard, the second (and the handsomest if I might add ;) ) McLeod brother had married the love of his life Florence Butler long before his brothers Gabriel or Jeremy could marry theirs. It seemed like these two had their HEA and that was all there is to it. They were seen on and off in the installments but never really been the focal point of any of the stories. Pennies for Elephants tells us all that and much more.

 

Richard and Florence have been very happy with their big, beautiful family. Their 5 rambunctious boys, Ian, Victor, Thomas, Gideon and Calvin are their world. But all wasn’t as it seemed; there indeed have been some tragedies that had cast a pall in the recent years. Even though life had thrown challenges at them, Richard and Florence knew they could weather anything as long as they stick together. Love and support each-other. So when their boys wanted to raise some funds for welcoming the first ever Elephants for the Franklin Park Zoo, Richard and Florence not only encouraged them, but also helped them to the best of their abilities.

 

Ramona, in the beginning of the story, explains how and why the idea of this story came to her so I will refrain from repeating it. It takes place in 1914, after book 4 Tenacious Love, so I’d suggest reading all the books from 1 through 4 to avoid any confusion and spoilers because this story is not a standalone. And if you’re already a fan of the Banished Saga, you should really read it ASAP!!

 

Interested in meeting the REAL Mollie, Waddy and Tony? Here they are!

 

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SPOILER ALERT!

Resisting Miss Merryweather

Resisting Miss Merryweather (Baleful Godmother Historical Romance Series ~ Book 2) - Emily Larkin

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

With Resisting Miss Merryweather, Emily Larkin’s Baleful Godmother series continues to its second installment. I found this one much better than book 1, which wasn’t up to my expectation where romance was concerned.

The Baleful Godmother is a Regency-set series based on female characters who have special “gifts” or powers. But if you want to start from the very beginning, you can with The Fey Quartet. These are a set of novellas listed as “prologue” to this series. Set in Medieval-era England, this series explains exactly how our unique heroines come to inherit their “gifts”. I found The Fey Quartet absolutely delightful, couldn’t wait to find out how the protagonists’ descendants deal with their gifts, bestowed by a Fey in exchange of a favor done to her. Their female descendents were to have a ‘wish’ granted on their 25th birthday; wishes that’ll grant them to have some type of special power of their own.

In book 1, Unmasking Miss Appleby, we meet Charlotte Appleby; orphaned, confirmed spinster, living on the charity of her horrible uncle. She didn’t even know about her special gift because her mother never had the chance to explain anything before she passed away. But then our very own Bale Tongue (the Fey who grants the wish) drops by suddenly. Prior to that, Charlotte was desperate to escape this horrible family she was living with but with no prospect to speak of, she couldn’t think of a way. Bale Tongue’s appearance gave her opportunity she was looking for.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Ghost Lover

Ghost Lover  -  Vanessa Devereaux

Weeeeell, that was weird. :/

I can't help but wonder how she's going to spend the rest of life with a ghost because there's no way she can have another "healthy" relationship ever in her life. :o

Better not to think at all. Heeh. 3.5 stars. I seriously do wonder what's up for them next. LOL

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