Book Review: A Raven’s Heart (Secrets and Spies: Book 2) by K.C. Bateman

A Raven's Heart

Title: A Raven’s Heart

Author: K.C. Bateman

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: October 18th, 2016

Number of pages: 266

Part of a series: Yes

What series: Secrets and Spies

To Steal a Heart – Book 1

A Raven’s Heart – Book 2

Standalone: Yes

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

August 1815. The war with France is officially over, Napoleon’s an exile on St Helena, but Europe is still a very dangerous place to be.

Kidnapped and held for ransom at nineteen, ducal heir William Ravenwood knows the only person he can rely on is himself. Now part of a spy ring that includes his friends Nicolas and Richard Hampden, he’s the smuggler known as The Raven, a ruthless agent who specializes in rescuing hostages and prisoners of war from captivity.

Raven longs to discover the fate of his colleague, Christopher ‘Kit’ Carlisle, who’s been missing, presumed dead, for over two years. He’s also equally determined to stay away from the one thing he knows is dangerous to his health – the bane of his life, his best friends’ infuriating and provocative little sister, Heloise.

Heloise is a brilliant code breaker, one of the English government’s most valuable assets. She’s also loved Raven for years, but considering that he rejected her at sixteen before her face was scarred rescuing her brother from an icy river, she’s certain he doesn’t want her now, despite his outrageous flirting.

But when Heloise decodes a message that proves Kit is alive and a prisoner in Spain, Raven realizes she’s in grave danger. With French agents determined to silence her, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe – even if that means taking her to Spain with him as an unwilling hostage.

As they face French deserters and Spanish freedom fighters, Raven and Heloise try to ignore the simmering attraction that’s been building between them for eight long years. The differences between them are striking but they’ve always had a strange underlying bond. Heloise might be scarred outwardly, but Raven’s wounds are all on the inside. He knows he’s not worthy of her love—a shadowed Hades pining for sun-kissed Persephone—but he’s not above showing her passion for the short time they’re together.

A master at decoding complex messages, Heloise finds Raven frustratingly hard to read, but as their lives hang in the balance she’s determined to unravel his secrets and unlock his dark, elusive heart…

My review:

I love to read historical romance and have been reading them since I picked up a Harlequin Historical romance novel at CVS as a whim when I was 14. Something about the time period (anywhere from 1780-1850, give or take a couple of decades) really sparked my interest and fueled my obsession with historical romances. But, weirdly, if I read any historical romance that takes place out of England, during that time period, I can’t keep my attention on the book.

So saying that, when I got the email that I was accepted (through NetGalley) to read this book, I was really excited. It sounded perfect. Regency Era romance plus spies….the perfect read!!

It was, for the most part.

Now, I really liked the book and am interested in reading not only the 1st book but any afterward. But (and isn’t there always a but), Heloise got on my nerves….big time. Here Raven is, trying to protect her because, you know, the French are trying to kill her…nothing to worry about :P,  and she is going out of her way to not follow his orders. Let’s see, the Altamira Caves was a huge one. Raven tells her to stay put and she goes, with an armed escort, anyways. At that point in the book, I was kinda sick of her headstrongness and wanted to smack her and say “Listen to him, you idiot”.

I did like her, though. She had a bucket list that was fantastic. I loved it when Raven took her diary, was reading them out loud and then rewriting them. I cracked up laughing. I also cracked up laughing at all the mentions of her fancy undergarments. I really think that Heloise surprised Raven but having such decadent things….lol.

Raven drove me nuts too. All of his inner dialogue was about Heloise. How she was perfect and how he wasn’t. How he didn’t deserve her because of what he went through when he was kidnapped. How, when he was kidnapped, thoughts of her kept him sane. How he wrote her name, her name with his last name (like they were married), his crest of arms, her crest of arms and what he thought a combined crest of arms would be. Then he killed one of the kidnappers with the nail he used to draw them with. And there are more examples but I won’t bore you guys with them. After a while it got tedious and at one point (and this got me a look from BK) I said out loud “Just tell her how you feel, ding-dong”.

Other than that, the book was great. Heloise and Raven had a good, if not rocky, relationship together at the beginning of the book that turned into a great friendship by the end. They also had fantastic chemistry together and the pages sizzled with looks and Heloise’s tongue continuously wetting her lips (that drove Raven crazy). When they ended up having relations (not sex, relations….for the sake of keeping it clean), it was off the page hot. And when intercourse happened…..all I had to say is OH BOY!!!

The end of the book was a little bit of a surprise and there was a lot of action. Let’s just say people die, people makeup and people do things that even they didn’t think they were going to do. The epilogue was perfect!!!

How many stars will I give A Raven’s Heart? 3.5/4

Why? Great romance with steamy sex scenes but Heloise was too headstrong and Raven was stuck in the past. Once he moved past his self-doubts, the book became fantastic.

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex and violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance copy**