Masters’ Promise (Angel Eyes: Book 3) by Jamie Schulz

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Book Cover

Publisher: Jamie Schulz

Date of publication: December 14th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Dystopia

Series: Angel Eyes

Jake’s Redemption—Book 0 (review here)

Masters’ Mistress—Book 1

Masters’ Escape—Book 2

Masters’ Promise—Book 3

Masters’ Rebellion—Book 4

Masters’ Betrayal—Book 5

Masters’ Freedom—Book 6 (expected publication date: January 1st, 2022)

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

He swore he’d protect her.
But can they ever trust each other enough to fall in love?

Bret Masters is as good as his word. Following through on his pledge to nurse back to health the woman who owns him, the rugged ranch-hand showers her with care while still guarding his heart. But as he spends hour after hour by her side, the stubborn cowboy feels his resistance crumbling.

Angel Aldridge fears she won’t recover. Seized by the horrors of her past, her handsome foreman is the only comfort she knows. But when a frightening incident results in an intimate confession, the curvy rancher worries she’s pushed him away for good.

Stung by Angel’s words, Bret struggles to believe love could ever be possible in this broken world. And with Angel’s enemy returning to exact revenge, she’s frightened she’ll never again feel her hero’s embrace.

With danger on its inevitable way, is this the end for the star-crossed couple?

Masters’ Promise is the steamy third book in The Angel Eyes futuristic dystopian cowboy romance series. If you like captivating characters, forbidden desire, and dark twists, then you’ll adore Jamie Schulz’s riveting read.

This book has a HFN ending with a slight cliffhanger that leads into Book 4 of the series. The books in this series must be read in order as the story builds with each book.

Please note: Intended for mature audiences. Trigger warning. Reader discretion is advised.


First Line:

Angel Aldridge lay on her back, staring at her oversized, four-poster bed canopy, waiting for the man who’d been a pain in the rear ever since he’d come to live on her ranch.

masters’ promise by jamie schulz

When I got the invite to review Masters’ Promise from the author’s publicist, I was on the fence about reading it. I had read Jake’s Redemption and Masters’ Mistress (never reviewed), but there was a gap between those reviews and now. So, I was worried that I would be lost. I ultimately decided to review this book, hoping that I wouldn’t be too lost while reading it. Thankfully, that was the case, and once again, The author pulled me into this complex dystopian society that I had enjoyed pre-pandemic.

Masters’ Promise is the 3rd book in the Angel Eyes series. It is technically the 4th book, but Jake’s Redemption is considered a prequel to this series. I cannot stress this enough; you need to read the previous books before starting on this one. If you read Masters’ Promise without doing that, you will be confused. I am not over exaggerating this. I was a bit lost after skipping one book, so imagine what it would be like going into this series cold at book 4.

Masters’ Promise is the continuing story of Bret and Angel’s budding romance, as well as the threat that Carrie and Darla hold over their lives and the lives of their allies. Angel and Bret need to overcome jealousy, anger, and trauma to present a united front to those witches. They also need to learn to trust each other, which is challenging in a society where all males are slaves, with the women being their masters.

I was surprised at how well Masters’ Promise flowed. Why was I surprised? Well, typically, a book with more than two POVs has problems with keeping the plotline flowing well. But in this case, there was no problem, and I enjoyed that. I also felt that the book’s pacing had much to do with it. It was a medium-paced book that picked up in parts. There was a slight lag in the middle of the book, but it didn’t throw the pacing off or affect my reading.

While I like Angel, I was not a big fan of her for 85% of the book. She was such a strong woman in the previous books, but she came across as weak in this one. I know that is a harsh thing to say, but I didn’t particularly appreciate seeing her like that. I get why the author wrote her the way she did for this book. She was highlighting PTSD and its long-term effects. But still, I wanted to see more of the kick-butt woman who would do anything to protect her people. There were glimpses of that when Carrie’s henchwoman was beating Bret with a barbed whip and Angel beat the crap out of her with it, but it was few and far between.

Bret got on my nerves big time while reading the book. He was such a jerk to Angel during crucial scenes that I wanted to reach through the book and smack him. There were certain situations that I could understand why he was so grumpy. Angel called him Michael after they had sex, and when he thought that Angel didn’t do anything, Carrie started whipping him. I also got why he’d get grumpy when Angel refused to talk about Michael or what caused her PTSD. But, it was also draining to read. I hope that in the next book, he calms down some.

Carrie was the ultimate villain in Masters’ Promise. She got so much pleasure from torturing her male slaves that my skin crawled in certain parts of the book. She does have a backstory that explains why she’s the way she is but still. I hope that she gets what’s coming to her in the next book.

The romance angle was well written. I liked seeing both Bret and Angel acknowledge their feelings (to themselves) and eventually each other. But I was sad that they had to keep it to themselves. Carrie would have had a field day if she found out about that (another black mark against her in my book).

There is sex in Masters’ Promise, and it is explicit. Surprisingly, I can count on one hand how many times Bret and Angel have explicit sex. Because the author did that, she was able to keep their chemistry going. I enjoyed that.

The dystopian angle was well written also. A world that has been ravaged by war and the females gained the upper hand? Fine by me!! But I am not a big fan of the slavery angle, but I understand why the author wrote it the way she did.

There are a few trigger warnings in Masters’ Promise. There is rape, and there is explicit abuse of the slaves. I was a little disturbed by some of the things I read, and I have thick skin. So, if you are triggered easily, don’t read the book.

The end of Masters’ Promise drove me insane. What Angel said to Bret broke my heart. I understood why she said it. I also am beginning to think that the rebels will become a bigger problem for the homesteaders. The author didn’t wrap up any of the storylines. Instead, she left it with an understanding of what will happen in the next book (which I want to read).

I would recommend Masters’ Promise to anyone over the age of 21. There is explicit sex, explicit violence, and language.

Hexes & Hairballs (The Faerie Files: Book 3) by Emigh Cannaday

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Publisher: Black Feather Publishing

Date of publication: October 9th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Paranormal

Series: The Faerie Files

Wiretaps & Whispers—Book 1 (review here)

Catnip & Curses—Book 2 (review here)

Hexes & Hairballs—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

I can’t believe Logan’s been my partner for over a year. Actually, he’s been more than that for half as long.
I know he’ll always have my back.

But when a routine monster eviction goes horribly wrong, he’s furious that I didn’t run when I had the chance.
What’s his deal? The way I see it, the FBI didn’t hire me to run away.

They hired me to get the job done.

Plus, I’m not the type to run from anything. I did it once when I was a kid and I’ve regretted it to this very day.
I suppose that explains why I’m taking this latest case so personally.

Funny how some things come around full circle…especially when you least expect it.


First Line:

“Carl, you got a spare flashlight? The batteries keep going dead in mine.”

Hexes & Hairballs by Emigh Cannaday

I was very excited when I opened my email and saw the ARC for Hexes & Hairballs. I have read the first two books in the series and couldn’t wait for book 3. So, yes, I fangirled out a little bit. I believe there was dancing around the living room and some booty shaking before I sat back down to download it. Unfortunately, though, life got in the way, and I couldn’t read Hexes & Hairballs right away. It got pushed to the back burner while I did Mom things and collapsed in an exhausted puddle at night. Then my schedule cleared, and I was finally able to sit down and read this book. And let me tell you, it was definitely worth the wait.

Hexes & Hairballs is a fast-paced book. The author starts fast and doesn’t let up the pace for the entire book. There was no lag which is always a plus, and the flow of the book was fantastic!!

Hexes & Hairballs is told from Logan and Elena’s POV. It is also written in the first person. I had no issues with telling whose POV I was reading. The author put either Elena’s or Logan’s names at the beginning of the chapter.

The plotline for Hexes & Hairballs was simple. After defeating a supernatural entity under New York City (and yes, the author got everything right, including the rats), Elena, Logan, and the rest of their team head back home. But they don’t get to rest. Instead, they are sent to England to investigate why a child reappeared after 40 years and hasn’t aged. What they find over in England is something that they weren’t expecting. Also, there is an old enemy who is waiting in the shadows to strike. Will Logan and Elena make it through? Will they have their happily ever after?

Elena was her typical bundle of fire during this book. She took charge of the situations and did her best to resolve them. I disagreed with what she did when she was in the hospital with the boy. It should have been left to the professionals. But in the end, it did work in her favor. I did feel bad for her during the last few scenes of the book. What was revealed was a huge shock. I put my Kindle down and said, “No, effing way.”

I liked Logan in Hexes & Hairballs. Like in the previous books, he tended to get himself into situations that were a little dicey. I can’t go into what was dicey in this book, but he bore the brunt of everything.

Logan and Elena had insane chemistry in Hexes & Hairballs. That chemistry didn’t fade during the book. Instead, the author was able to build it back up after they were doing the nasty.

What surprised me the most about Hexes & Hairballs was the depth of the secondary characters. I felt that I got to know Solana a lot better and, in turn, understood why she was the way she was. I pitied her. The same with Sluagh. He showed a more human side when he was telling Solana’s story, and I got the feeling he disagreed with the kidnapping of human children.

The paranormal angle of the book was well written. The author took the stories of changelings and Fae abductions and made them her own. What I enjoyed the most about it was portrayed in a way that made it feel realistic. The emotions that the little boy went through came off the pages. I was in tears when he asked for his “mum” and when Elena told him what had happened.

The end of Hexes & Hairballs was well written and action-packed. But I did get the impression that maybe this wasn’t the last book in the series. I hope that it is the case because I would love to see what Elena and Logan do next!! How the author wrote the ending made me wonder that.

Three Sisters (The Tattooist of Auschwitz: Book 3) by Heather Morris

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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: October 5th, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction

Series: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz—Book 1 (review here)

Cilka’s Journey—Book 2 (review here)

Three Sisters—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible |B&N |WorldCat


Goodreads Synopsis:

A promise to stay together.
An unbreakable bond.
A fierce will to survive.


From international bestselling author Heather Morris comes the breathtaking conclusion to The Tattooist of Auschwitz trilogy.

When they are girls, Cibi, Magda and Livia make a promise to their father – that they will stay together, no matter what.

Years later, at just 15 years old, Livia is ordered to Auschwitz by the Nazis. Cibi, only 19 herself, remembers their promise and follows Livia, determined to protect her sister, or die with her.

In their hometown in Slovakia, 17-year-old Magda hides, desperate to evade the barbaric Nazi forces. But it is not long before she is captured and condemned to Auschwitz.

In the horror of the death camp, these three beautiful sisters are reunited. Though traumatised by their experiences, they are together.

They make another promise: that they will live. Their fight for survival takes them from the hell of Auschwitz, to a death march across war-torn Europe and eventually home to Slovakia, now under iron Communist rule. Determined to begin again, they embark on a voyage of renewal, to the new Jewish homeland, Israel.

Rich in vivid detail, and beautifully told, Three Sisters will break your heart, but leave you amazed and uplifted by the courage and fierce love of three sisters, whose promise to each other kept them alive. Two of the sisters are in Israel today, surrounded by family and friends. They have chosen Heather Morris to reimagine their story in her astonishing new novel, Three Sisters.


First Line:

The three sisters, Cibi, Magda, and Livi, sit a in tight circle with their father in the small backyard of their home.

three sisters by heather morris

When I agreed to read and review Three Sisters, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I had read/reviewed numerous books on the Holocaust and didn’t think that I could be affected by what was done to millions of people. But then I read Three Sisters, and my heart was broken by what I read. I don’t think that I will ever read a book about the Holocaust without crying my eyes out.

Three Sisters is a book that details Cibi, Magda, and Livi’s time in Auschwitz. Well, to be clear, the book mainly follows Cibi and Livi in Auschwitz. Magda was able to stay at home with her mother and grandfather until the Nazis rounded everyone up towards the end of the war.

I thought I was prepared for the horrors that I had read about Auschwitz in previous books. But, whatever preparedness I had was thrown out the window. The trauma that the girls went through touched me deeply, and I just wanted to reach through the book, hug them, and say, “It’s going to be alright.Cibi, Livi (most of all Livi), and Magda were all survivors.

Three Sisters went into what life was like after the Nazis were deposed. Cibi, Livi, and Magda were forced to rob their own childhood home for pictures Magda and her mother hid away. The bigotry and hatred that people showed them were horrifying to read but not unexpected.

The end of Three Sisters made me smile. The girls found their HEAs and were committed to never forgetting what happened to them. The afterward (with the different children and grandchildren) made me smile because they did have a “normal” life.

Her Renegade Cowboy (Moving Violations: Book 3) by Lora Leigh

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First Line:

The song “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” popped into Lily Donovan’s head as she leaned over the rail fence, her gaze fastened on a perfect male ass, hugged by a pair of Wranglers.

I will be honest here, but I was left with a “meh” feeling when I finished reading her Renegade Cowboy. Lora Leigh is a hit-or-miss author for me to read. Either I love her books, or I don’t. There is no middle ground. Well, there was no middle ground until I read Her Renegade Cowboy. I loved parts of the book, but I was not too fond of parts of the book also. I will explain, I promise. Just keep reading.

Her Renegade Cowboy is the 3rd book in the Moving Violations series. Readers can read this book as a stand-alone, which surprised me. In my experience, books that are part of a series need to be read together (even if they say they don’t have to). This one doesn’t. While the characters from the previous books are in Her Renegade Cowboy, they are kept in the background and do not overshadow Lily and Levi’s romance.

The plotline for Her Renegade Cowboy is fast-moving. This book takes place within a week of Lily’s attacker escaping from jail (which made the romance a little uggh for me). So, it had to have a fast storyline. There was lag in the middle of the book, but the author was able to get past it, and the storyline was able to keep up the blistering pace.

I wouldn’t say I liked Lily. Did I feel bad, and was I horrified by what happened to her? Absolutely. My heart broke for her. It also broke because instead of getting help, she went home and tried to bury it. But, she had a sucky attitude and was generally unpleasant. That is why I couldn’t stand her.

I liked Levi, but man, I questioned his professionalism a lot while reading Her Renegade Cowboy. His boss warned him numerous times to keep his relationship with Lily professional, but he ignored it. I also wondered why he was so attracted to her. She was nasty to him from day one, and he was like, “I need her now.” I kept thinking to myself, “Is this his kink? Does he like to be strung along and verbally abused?” I did applaud his patience with Lily, though. I know I would have noped out the first time she opened her mouth, and something nasty came out.

As much I was not too fond of Levi and Lily together, they did have sizzling chemistry. And when they had sex, it was one of the best sex scenes that I have read to date. And, the author was able to repeat that throughout the book.

There is Instalove and a hint of a love triangle in Her Renegade Cowboy. I am not a fan of Instalove and think that it takes away from the storyline. But in this case, it didn’t. With everything that was going on, the Instalove was a blip on the radar. Same with the almost love triangle. It was between Levi, Lily, and Justice (who I hope gets his own book). I did get pissed at Justice for what he set in motion towards the end of the book. If his jealous ass kept his mouth shut, people wouldn’t have gotten hurt.

The storyline with Lily and her attacker was one of the sadder ones that I have read. Lily was an influential person to testify against him. And she was even stronger not to run when the marshalls told her that he had escaped. And Lily was at her strongest when she met him (he had taken her sister hostage). I wish she were more likable because she rocked during those scenes.

The book ended very typically (HEA). I couldn’t figure out who would be the next couple. I am hoping Justice and maybe Lily’s sister? But who knows!!


I would recommend Her Renegade Cowboy to anyone over the age of 21. There is explicit sex, language, and violence.

Windy City Ruins (The Talisman Series: Book 3) by Brett Salter

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First Line:

Rome could feel his stomach jumping around as the plane touched down at La Guardia airport in New York City.

windy city ruins by brett salter

Windy City Ruins is the 3rd book in The Talisman Series. While the author gives a quick rundown of the previous books at the beginning of this one, I would strongly recommend reading the previous books first.

Windy City Ruins takes place immediately after the events of Riders of Fire and Ice. Rome, Julian, and Mr. Jones are in New York City to meet with Mr. Jones’s mysterious friend, Beacon. Beacon has some intel, but they are not easy to find. Beacon tasks the boys (and Mrs. Case and Mr. Jones) with a riddle and a time to meet them. Their journey takes them to the closed-off torch of The Statue of Liberty and a big surprise. But, Beacon’s identity is the least of their problems. Something dangerous is stalking them, and it will take everyone (Beacon, Camela, Krysta, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Case, and the boys) to face the danger. Will they be able to beat that threat, and what will it cost them??

I was very excited to read Windy City Ruins. Why? Well, I have become invested in the series. I need to know what will happen to Rome, Julian, and their allies/friends. Plus, I find the worldbuilding and lore fascinating in this book. The author mixes different mythologies seamlessly.

Rome and Julian are still learning about their bonding. But, since they didn’t perform the Synergy correctly, they can’t use their bond to their advantage. I found that fascinating. Seeing Camela and Krysta’s bond (as well as the mark that it left on Krysta) made me wonder how the boys would be if/when they bond correctly.

As in the other books, dragons and talismans figure hugely in the plot. Wind dragons and earth dragons are discovered. I will admit that I wasn’t sure about the wind dragons. But as the book went on, they proved just how loyal and brave they were. The earth dragon scared me. Nothing could shake that thing. It was a freaking tank!

I liked that the author gave the Darkfiends more exposure in the book. I play ESO, and while I was reading this book, I was in Blackwood. One boss fight was a minotaur with firepower (it was more of a shaman, but still). That is how I imagined the minotaur from the main battle scene. I called my SO over to show/tell him about the minotaur that came out of the portal and how it looked like the one in my game. He could have cared less….lol.

I was a little irritated with Julian’s father. Especially when certain things came out at the end of the book (with the fight between the boys and Jericho/Clay). I was very frustrated with him. He caused too much harm that has reverberated throughout the book, and I feel that it will continue into the next one.

I was shocked at the events at the end of the book. Mainly by what happened with Nocturne and the boys. I was not expecting what happened to happen. But in a way, I was also happy that it did. It meant that the boys could do things right and hopefully take down the Tyrant King.


I would recommend Windy City Ruins to anyone over the age of 13. It is a clean book (no sex, no kissing). There is mild violence and very mild language.

When a Duke Loves a Governess (Unlikely Duchesses: Book 3) by Olivia Drake

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When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: July 27th 2021

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction

Series: Unlikely Duchesses

The Duke I Once Knew—Book 1

Forever My Duke—Book 2 (review here)

When a Duke Loves a Governess—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.

Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?


First Line:

“Wait until you hear the news,” Lady Farnsworth said to a friend who had just entered the millinery shop.

When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake

When I read the blurb for When a Duke Loves a Governess, I knew that I needed to read it. I have read the previous two books in the series and was curious to see what this book would be like. I wasn’t disappointed. It was a fantastic romance.

When a Duke Loves A Governess is the 3rd book of the Unlikely Duchesses series. It can be read as a standalone. But, I would highly suggest that you read the previous two books to get backgrounds on characters that pop up in this book.

When a Duke Loves a Governess has a fast-moving storyline. There was a tiny bit of lag right before the reveal of the bad guy. Other than that, the book flowed amazingly.

I loved Tessa, but I didn’t agree with some of her actions. She was raised by a single mother who was killed when Tessa was 6. After that, she grew up in a foundling home until she was 14 (there was a sad reason why she left). At 14, Tessa became an apprentice to a millinery shop but left there to fake her way into being Guy’s governess. She was a spirited woman who lived life on her terms. Her spirit showcased that over and over in the book, and I loved it. The author didn’t attempt to have Tessa change when she found out about her lineage (a huge substory about that). It made for a refreshing read.

I liked Guy, but I found him a little “meh” while reading. He didn’t scream hero to me during the first half of the book. He was too involved in his studies. But, during the second half of the book, he more than made up for his “meh-ness.” His studies took a backseat to raise Sophy, wooing Tessa, and trying to figure out who stole from him (which lead to who killed 5 “heirs”). I loved it!!

I wasn’t surprised by how the storyline with Tessa and her father was resolved. It was typical, and I called it right from the beginning. But, I was surprised that the author added a whole new element to that storyline.

The storyline with Sophy was sad. The pain and confusion just poured off the page during her scenes. I don’t blame her for acting the way she did. When it came out what Sophy was being told about Guy, I was furious. No wonder she was so afraid of him!!!

The storyline involving Guy, his missing research, and eventually the deaths of the previous heirs was indeed a mystery. This storyline didn’t gain traction until the middle of the book when Guy’s research went missing. Then it snowballed into this huge mystery. The author did a great job at keeping the bad guy in the shadows. So when the big reveal came, I was a little shocked. I honestly thought it was the other person mentioned. Of course, I did pity that person once the story was told.

The romance angle of the book was well written. I liked seeing Tess and Guy falling in love. I did think it was cute. I loved the sex scenes. They were very steamy!!

The end of When a Duke Loves a Governess was interesting. Everyone had their version of a HEA (except the bad guy….lol). The author did a fantastic job of wrapping up all the plotlines. She also left hints for book 4, which I can’t wait to read.


I would recommend When a Duke Loves a Governess to anyone over the age of 21. There is mild violence. There is somewhat graphic sex.

Fool Me Once (Blackhawk Security: Book 3) by Margaret Watson

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Fool Me Once by Margaret Watson

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: May 15th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Suspense, Contemporary

Series: Blackhawk Security Series

Once Removed—Book 1 (review here)

Once Burned—Book 2 (review here)

Fool Me Once—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Google Play

Format Read: Published Book

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

When attorney Alexandra comes home early and overhears her husband Jerry hiring a hitman to kill her, she runs. Heads toward Seattle. After being a street kid there, she knows how to disappear.

But a man is following her. After she finds a tracking device, she wonders if tall, compelling Gideon is Jerry’s hired killer.

Alex and Gideon become stranded in a massive snowstorm. Snowed in at a tiny hotel, Alex isn’t sure which is more dangerous – her husband, who is likely coming after her? Or the dark stranger she’s trapped with? A man who’s clearly hiding secrets.


First Line:

Alex curled her fingers around the stem of the shallow glass as the loud, happy voices of her staff bounced off the restaurant’s walls.

Fool Me Once by Margaret Watson

I know that I have said this several times, but I love the romantic suspense genre. There is something about seeing a romance blossom while the main characters either fight for their lives or try to uncover a plot (or sometimes both) that makes me happy. So, it was a no-brainer for me when Margaret emailed me to let me know that book three was available for review.

Fool Me Once is the 3rd book in the Blackhawk Security series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. The characters from the previous books do make appearances, but they don’t take over the storyline, which I liked.

As with the previous two books, Fool Me Once is a fast-paced book. Right from the beginning, when Alex overhears her husband hiring a hitman to kill her, it was super fast. There was a small amount of lag once Gideon and Alex get to the Blackhawk Security compound, but the author could get the book back on track and keep the fast pace up until the end of the book.

Alex was a tough cookie with a backstory that broke my heart. At times, she came across as abrasive, and there were a few times where she was unlikable. But, in the end, I did like her and was rooting for her.

I wasn’t too sure what to think about Gideon. He came across as a bit stalkerish at the beginning of the book. His backstory wasn’t fully explained until they got stuck in the motel. Gideon’s backstory wasn’t as heartbreaking as Alex’s, but it was still sad.

The suspense angle of the book was well written. I liked that the author decided to go the Russian mafia/corrupt federal agent route. It made the book so much more interesting to read.

The romance angle of the book was well written also. I liked that the author didn’t have the characters jump right into bed with each other. Instead, there was a wait. There was InstaLove, but I did expect it.

I loved the end of Fool Me Once. I am not going to get into it, but there is a HEA. Plus, Alex’s ex-husband got what he deserved.


I enjoyed reading Fool Me Once. It was a fast-paced book with memorable characters. Plus, the romance was enjoyable to read.

I would recommend Fool Me Once to anyone over the age of 21. There is non-graphic violence, sex, and some mild language.

How To Train Your Earl (First Comes Love: Book 3) by Amelia Grey

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How To Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: April 27th, 2021

Genre: Romance

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo

Format read: Unedited ARC

Got book from: Saint Martin’s Press

Trigger Warnings: Grief


Goodreads Synopsis:

A roguish earl must fight using his honor and not his sword to win his lady’s hand in How To Train Your Earl, the third book in the First Comes Love trilogy from bestseller Amelia Grey.

Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true? 


First Line:

Brina Feld should have known a lady wasn’t safe from rakes, rogues, and scoundrels at a masked ball in Paris.

How to train your earl by amelia grey

Review:

I was excited to read How to Train Your Earl. I had read the first book in the series and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I did miss the second book but figured that I didn’t need to read it (I was right). So, I jumped right into reading this book.

From the beginning, the flow of How to Train Your Earl was great. The chapters were well organized, and I could tell when the author shifted from one person to another (mainly Zane and Brina). That made it pleasurable to read the book.

The plotline for How to Train Your Earl was medium paced. There was some build-up at the beginning of the book, plateauing in the middle and then having a gradual wrap up towards the end of the book. Again, it was perfect for the book.

I wasn’t a massive fan of the storyline. Something about a woman forcing a man to do what she wanted (and vice versa) made me go, “eh. “ I did like the secondary plotlines with Brina’s cousin/Zane’s cousin and the gambling. It added a bit of zip to the plotline.

I was not too fond of Brina. During various points in the book, I found her to be controlling, immature, unwilling to bend, and naive. She was passive-aggressive too. Looking back on the book, I still don’t know what Zane saw in her, other than she saved him and he needed a wife. She was also almost too independent for the era. Some of the things she did with Zane were appropriate for the period. But others (having him in her house alone, hosting a dinner at his home were two) were borderline “eh. “ I also wish that there were some flashback to when she was grieving over her husband’s death. She kept saying how badly she hurt and how long it took for her to recover.

I felt terrible for Zane. He inherited the earldom when his cousins died. On top of that, his family had treated him terribly growing up, and they expected him to be OK with them acting like he was the best thing since sliced bread. So, I understood why he latched onto Brina when he saw her, and I understood why he agreed to her ridiculous rules. It was nice to see his character grow throughout the book. I liked who he became.

As much as I didn’t like Zane and Brina together, they had chemistry. Their attraction zinged off the pages, and when they finally ended up in bed, it was terrific.

The secondary storyline involving Brina and Zane’s cousins was interesting. It added a little extra oomph to the story. It also set up, I think, for the next book in the series.

The end of How to Train Your Earl was interesting. Mainly because of how Brina acted. I won’t get into it, but I had my mouth opened the entire time during that scene with Zane. She didn’t let him get a word in edgewise. Of course, this being a romance, there is a HEA, but man, I don’t know. I don’t think that they could have a HEA in real life.


How to Train Your Earl was an OK romance. The plotline and pacing of the book were good. The flow of the book was fantastic. But there were things that I didn’t like. I was not too fond of the characters, which is a massive thing for me. The characters make or break a book. There was great sexual chemistry up to when they had sex. Then it went away.

I would recommend How to Train Your Earl to anyone over 21. There are sexual situations in the book with slightly graphic sex. There is some mild violence along with some gambling scenes.

Blog Tour: Fearless (Less Than Zero: Book 3) by Kaylene Winter

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Publisher: Rockstar Romance LLC

Date of Publication: March 17th, 2021

Genre: Romance

Series: Less Than Zero

Restless—Book 0.5

Endless: Ty & Zoey—Book 1

Limitless: Jace & Alex—Book 2

Fearless: Connor & Ronni—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received: For Blog Tour from coordinator

Trigger Warning: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault (implied in one case), Alcoholism, Drug Use (talked about)


Goodreads Synopsis:

Family is everything, I protect mine with my life..

Connor McGloughlin had it all, a great family, a college scholarship and music.
Tragedy forced him to grow up too fast.
When his life finally is on track, Ronni Miller appears like a dream.
Kindred spirits in the most unlikely of circumstances.
There’s only one thing in the way—
Her dark past he’s determined to protect her from.

When your innocence is stolen, trust is a precious gift..

Actress Ronni Miller tasted fame at a young age.
But her path to stardom was riddled with tragedy.
She never imagined falling for Connor McGloughlin, a rogue, Irish rock star.
The thing is? Ronni’s got revenge on her mind.
Regardless of the risk or the consequences—
Or losing the one thing in her life that makes her feel alive.

Connor has only ever asked Ronni for one thing: her heart.
But when her bravery is couched in lies?
She risks losing the man who would do anything for her.
Will she realize being fearless means trusting true love?


First Line:

“Fuck my life!” Byron Angel, the pampered second-bit actor screeched just before shoving his chips over to me.

Fearless by Kaylene Winters

Review

When I read the blurb for Fearless, I knew that this was a book that I wanted to read. I decided that I would look past that it was book 3 in the Less Than Zero series. That is how much the blurb hooked me into reading the book. I figured that if I liked Fearless, I can go back and read the first two books (actually three because of the prequel). And I was right on all counts!!

Fearless is a medium-paced book in both storyline and pacing. With these types of books, I have come to expect a fast-paced plotline/storyline. So, I was surprised when Fearless started at a medium pace and kept it up for the entire book. I enjoyed it. It allowed me to digest what was going on (and a lot was going on initially).

Fearless has dual storylines (Connor and Ronni’s). Usually, I’m not too fond of it when there is more than one storyline. But in this case, and considering what Ronni was doing/had gone through, it was needed. To try and condense everything to one storyline wouldn’t have had the impact it did.

I thought the author did a fantastic job showing how toxic Hollywood was (and still is). I got chills when I read about Ronni’s time on the TV show and how it affected her. I also liked that the author showed that men could be forced into the same #MeToo situations as women. I never gave that much thought until I read this book. Then I remembered Corey Feldman and his claims about the same things happening in Fearless, and I began to wonder. How many times is the “casting couch” used for men and women to get parts? How many times are teenagers (and adults) forced to do things they usually wouldn’t do with producers/directors to get juicier parts? And how many of those people are forced out of the business/blackballed/labeled difficult because they refused or had parents that said: “No Fucking Way?” (like Ronni’s mom). Just food for thought.

The author also highlighted something else that I have rarely heard of—being a beard. Being a beard means that a straight woman will date a closeted gay man to convince people/keep up the appearance that the man is straight. Ronni was a beard, and she was a beard with a mission. She was collecting evidence against one of the TV producers whose show she was in when she was a teenager. The men she dated were victims of him. It was very compelling to read.

Connor’s backstory wasn’t as traumatic as Ronni’s, but it was pretty sad. His father had a horrible car crash when Connor was in high school and soon spiraled into alcoholism with a side of gambling addiction. Connor ended up dropping out of high school to run the family business. He also learned how to play poker to recover the money his father lost. His outlet was the band. The road to fame was gradual for him (it was several years before the band hit it big), and he dealt with a lot of verbal abuse from his father. It was sad to read, and I could emphasize Connor’s frustration.

Connor and Ronni’s love story didn’t get off to a great start. They met at a concert, there were sparks, and then he took off (thinking she would follow). She didn’t and thought he was a player. It wasn’t until she and her friend hitched a ride to Australia with the band that they got to know each other. That is where their relationship began. The author didn’t end the book after their initial hook-up. Nope, instead, the book kept going for several years before everything blew up. Ronni and Connor were together for 3-4 (maybe more) years by the time things went down.

For those of you who like hot sex scenes, Connor and Ronni’s were insanely hot. I loved it!! They were like bunnies every time they got together—days and days of sex. My only complaint was that Connor and Ronni were going bareback very soon into their relationship. And they didn’t get tested. Why would I be bothered? Because Connor turned into a man whore after his longtime girlfriend dumped him. He slept his way across Europe (implied). Other than that, I was all in!!

The author wonderfully wrote the main storyline (see above). Saying that I wouldn’t have been as patient as Connor was with Ronni while she was bearding. I also understood why he did what he did. But, saying that, I was surprised at the turn that the storyline took.

I will say that the secondary characters were terrific in Fearless. Ronni had such a great support group, and Connor’s bandmates were incredible. They made this book so much more interesting to read.

Fearless can be read as a stand-alone book, even though it is book 3 in the series. There are references to previous books and characters, but nothing made me go “Uh” or “WTF.” It made me want to read the previous books and see what their stories were.

There were a couple of things that I didn’t like about Fearless. First, I wouldn’t say I liked how the book began. I was left lost in the first couple of chapters. It isn’t until almost the end of the book that the first couple of chapters make sense. Secondly, I thought the ending was typical, which was disappointing. Ronni and Connor were anything but ordinary and to have that sort of conclusion was “eh.


Fearless was an emotional, well-written romance. The romance was excellent, and I loved that the author jumped into current events. The medium-paced storyline complemented the story.

I would recommend Fearless for anyone over the age of 21. There is graphic sex. There is violence. There are scenes of the aftermath of sexual abuse. There is talk of a suicide. There is talk of drug use. There are graphic examples of alcohol abuse.


AUTHOR BIO:

When she was only 15, Kaylene Winter wrote her first rocker romance novel starring a fictionalized version of herself, her friends and their gorgeous rocker boyfriends. After living her own rockstar life as a band manager, music promoter and mover and shaker in Seattle during the early 1990’s, Kaylene became a digital media legal strategist helping bring movies, television and music online. Throughout her busy career, Kaylene lost herself in romance novels across all genres inspiring her to realize her life-long dream to be a published author. She lives in Seattle with her amazing husband and dog. She loves to travel, throw lavish dinner parties and support charitable causes supporting arts and animals.


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Hawthorn Book Reviews  >> Review
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Highland Sword (Royal Highlander: Book 3) by May McGoldrick

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3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: March 31st, 2020

Genre: Romance

Series: Royal Highlander

Highland Crown—Book 1 (Review Here)

Highland Jewel—Book 2 (Review Here)

Highland Sword—Book 3

Where you can find Highland Sword: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A VOW FOR VENGEANCE
Fleeing to the Highlands after her father’s murder, fiery Morrigan Drummond has a score to settle with Sir Rupert Burney, the English spymaster responsible for his death. Trained to fight alongside the other rebels determined to break Britain’s hold on Scotland, she swears to avenge her father’s death—until a chance encounter with a barrister as proud and principled as she is presents her with a hard choice…and a bittersweet temptation.

A PLEA FOR PASSION
Aidan Grant has never encountered another woman like dangerous beauty Morrigan—and he has the bruises to prove it. Yet she could be the key to defending two innocent men, as well as striking a death blow to the reprehensible Burney. Convincing Morrigan to help him will take time, but Aidan is willing to wait if it means victory over corrupt government forces and freedom for his people…and Morrigan’s hand in marriage. Can two warriors committed to a cause stand down long enough to open their hearts to a love fierce enough to last…forever?


First Line:

The afternoon sun cast a golden glow over the high walled garden beside the keep.

Highland Sword by May McGoldrick

My Review:

I was excited to read Highland Sword. I was excited because this is Morrigan’s book. I wanted to see who would be brave enough to tame her. I also wanted to know more about her. She was rarely mentioned in Highland Crown. In Highland Jewel, she was mentioned, and she did have a couple of scenes that showed how strong she was. Highland Sword more than delivered on that.

Highland Sword is the 3rd book in the Royal Highlander series. It cannot be read as a stand-alone book. You do need to read Highland Crown and Highland Jewel to understand the different backstories in the book. Also, Cinead’s story is fully explained in the first book. The author does explain it here, but it goes more into depth in Highland Crown.

Highland Sword has two, sometimes 3, POVs’. The book is split between Morrigan and Aidan, with Cinead and sometimes his mother’s POV thrown in. The transition between Morrigan and Aidan’s POV’s was wonderfully written. I had no issue following the book went it went back and forth between them.

I loved Morrigan, but I did wonder why she was so standoffish with people. I liked that she didn’t care about going against what was considered the norm for that era. She was independent, and she was handy with just about any weapons, including her fists. I wondered what made her that way. I got my answer and I was horrified. It was then that I understood why she was the way she was.

I liked Aidan. I wished there was more focus on him being a barrister. Seeing how the law worked back then fascinated me. I wanted to know more!! There were points in the book where I thought he was a pushover, but, in hindsight, he wasn’t. He allowed Morrigan to do what she wanted (well, except the last thing she did), and he made sure she was safe.

I wasn’t a fan of how Aidan and Morrigan met. But I wouldn’t say I liked how it was escalated. A knockdown fight between a man and a woman? Nope, not my cup of tea. The romance angle of the book was super slow in getting started. And even after that, I was left halfway wondering if they would break out into a fight again.

I was disappointed to read that Highland Sword was going to be the last book in the Royal Highlander series. There were a few people who I wanted to see get their happy ever afters. But, in the author’s note, there was a hint about more books in that world. I will be anxiously awaiting those.

The end of Highland Sword was sweet. I liked that Aidan and Morrigan got their happily ever after. The epilogue also saddened me.


I would give Highland Sword an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Highland Sword. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**