Bound to a Spy (All the Queen’s Spies: Book 2) by Sharon Cullen

Bound to a Spy (All the Queen's Spies, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: October 24th, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Number of pages: 258

POV: 3rd person

Series: All the Queen’s Spies

Wed to a Spy – Book 1 (review here)

Bound to a Spy – Book 2

Lost to a Spy – Book 3 (expected publication date March 13th, 2018)

Where you can find Bound to a Spy: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A fierce Highland lass puts her life—and her heart—in the hands of a dashing British spy in this exhilarating romance from the USA Today bestselling author of Wed to a Spy.

Rose Turner’s mother sent her to the court of Mary, Queen of Scots, to give her a better life. Raised with rowdy brothers in a notorious border clan, Rose has plenty of experience fighting and thieving—and practically none when it comes to matters of decorum and discretion. Without a single ally, she has little hope of making a good marriage to salvage her family’s reputation. But after overhearing several influential lords plotting to murder the King of Scotland, Rose meets a man after all: a handsome spy trying to shield her from danger.
 
As one of the Queen Elizabeth’s top agents, Will Sheffield has come up north to keep a close eye on the goings-on at Mary’s court. A consummate professional, Will notices Rose’s presence at the secret meeting . . . and he’s not the only one. The wild, naïve beauty has made a fearsome enemy—and only Will can keep her safe. But after an attempt on Rose’s life pulls them tantalizingly close, Will faces an agonizing choice between professional loyalty or powerful passion.

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Bound to a Spy (All the Queen’s Spies: Book 2) by Sharon Cullen”

Wed to a Spy (An All the Queen’s Spies: Book 1) by Sharon Cullen

Wed to a Spy (An All the Queen's Spies #1)

Title: Wed to a Spy

Author: Sharon Cullen

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: May 23rd, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Number of pages: 259

POV: 3rd person

Series: All the Queen’s Spies

Wed to a Spy – Book 1

Where you can find Wed to a Spy: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Blistering seduction meets international intrigue in the Highlands as a veteran spy infiltrates the court of Mary, Queen of Scots. There he matches wits against a tantalizing enemy: his new wife.

Simon Marcheford wants nothing more than to settle down on the land bestowed upon him by the English crown. Queen Elizabeth, however, is not about to let her best spy retire so easily. Simon will have his reward, she decrees, after he completes one last mission in Scotland. But no sooner has he sussed out a diabolical plot up North than Queen Mary weds him to her cousin—an exquisite beauty with troubled, soulful eyes—and orders Simon to watch her every move.

Aimee de Verris is no spy. But her life may depend on becoming one. Banished from the French court by Catherine de Medici, Aimee finds herself tasked with reporting on Queen Mary’s activities in Scotland, where she’s unnerved by the frigid weather and brutish customs. Worst of all, Aimee’s been married off to a most uncouth lout. But when murder strikes, she learns to appreciate Simon’s talent for shielding her with every inch of his muscular frame. If Aimee desires her husband, perhaps she could trust him—or even love him.

My review:

It has been a long time since I have read/reviewed historical romance. I was a huge historical romance junkie when I was in high school. I always had my nose in one and I was known around school as “the girl who read the bodice-rippers”…..lol. I had a huge library of Harlequin romance novels, along with Teresa Medieros, Jule Garwood, and Judith McNaught. I do not have that library anymore, I lost the library while moving a few years back, but I have very fond memories of sitting at home, reading these book and discussing them with my friends, who read them too.

So when I saw Wed to a Spy’s description pop up on NetGalley, I had to request it. The cover, which is beautiful, took me back to the mid-’90s and being a carefree high schooler with not a worry in the world.

I loved the backdrop of the story. Tudor England and Scotland in all of its glory. I was so happy that the author chose Tudor England instead of Regency or Victorian England. Personally, which I love reading about those eras, I feel that it is overdone. I really haven’t read romances set in Tudor England and like I said above, I was really happy about it. I just wish a tad more world building was involved in the book. I would have loved to have read more background on Mary since the story is mainly set in her court. I also would have loved to see more of how the court worked and to be honest, I would have really liked to have seen more of the uprising that killed Mary’s advisor, David Rizzo.

Aimee wasn’t my favorite character in the book. She just came across as very immature for a good part of the book and she was pining after a Frenchman, Pierre. She was sent to Scotland, by her aunt Catherine de’Medici, after getting caught in a scandalous embrace with Pierre. She was also told to spy on Mary and write back with any information that she, Catherine, could do. If she did that than Catherine would let her back home. She did grow on me during her and Simon’s escape from the castle and then from Scotland but still, not my favorite character.

I did like Simon and felt bad for him when Elizabeth denied his retirement. All he wanted was to take his younger sister and go back to his house to raise her. But Elizabeth had one last mission for him to do before allowing him to retire. It was while he was undercover, doing this mission, where he met Aimee and then Mary decreed for them to marry because, in her words, “They suited each other.” Which made me laugh because they did not, at first, suit each other. Actually, Aimee made it very clear that she didn’t even want to be married to him, that she wanted Pierre. But, in those days, marriage was a sacred bond that was never broken and women were men’s property. So once they were married, they stayed married and Simon had absolute control over Aimee. I wouldn’t have been a good fit in those times.

The romance between Aimee and Simon was a very slow burn. I mean, they didn’t even kiss until almost halfway through the book (not counting their kiss when they got married) and sex happened only a few times during the book. The sex wasn’t explicit but you definitely knew what they were doing.

The intrigue and drama that start happened in the book were the best part of the book. I held my breath during Rizzo’s execution and the madness that happened during the aftermath. The escape from the castle, along with the escape from Scotland was a page turner and kept me glued to the book.

I wasn’t a fan of the ending, though. While it was a HEA, I didn’t like how it came about. Too much happened in a short amount of time and made my head spin.

How many stars will I give Wed to a Spy: 3

Why: While I liked the storylines and the backdrop of Tudor-era England, I just couldn’t get into the story. Which made me sad because I used to love these types of books when I was a teenager.

Will I reread: Maybe

Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe

Age range: Adult

Why: Violence and sex

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

Book Review: Campbell’s Redemption (Highland Pride: Book 3) by Sharon Cullen

Campbell's Redemption (Highland Pride #3)

Title: Campbell’s Redemption

Author: Sharon Cullen

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Loveswept

Date of publication: November 22nd, 2016

Genre: Historical Romance

Number of pages: 256

POV: 3rd person

Series: Highland Pride

Sutherland’s Secret – Book 1

MacLean’s Passion – Book 2

Campbell’s Redemption – Book 3

Can be read out-of-order from series: Kinda sorta. The focus is on the main characters with the MC’s from the other books making brief appearances.

Where you can find this book: Amazon|Barnes and Nobles

Goodreads synopsis:

Like his ancestors, Iain Campbell, the Marquess of Kerr, swears loyalty to whichever government happens to be in power. Privately, however, he despises the British for the slaughter following the Battle of Culloden and finds himself playing a dangerous game of deception. When he defends a fellow Scot under the cloak of darkness, Iain is wounded and must put his life in the hands of a mysterious healer. The prickly, bewitching woman saves him with her touch, though she denies Iain the pleasure of a smile from her sensuous lips—which only makes him want her all the more.
 
Cait Campbell has no fondness for the marquess and his political machinations. Now he makes a treacherous patient since Cait is harboring Jacobite fugitives in her cellar. But with Iain confined to bed rest, Cait sees another side of the fierce warrior. How can she hate a man whose eyes sparkle in candlelight, a man whose voice stirs her soul? She soon discovers that he loves the Scottish people deeply—and, despite her painful intuitions, Cait is tempted to let Iain love her, too.

My review:

Cait Campbell is living on the border of Campbell and Sutherland land, alone. She has lived there for the past 3 years, since the death of her husband and working as the clan healer. She also is part of an underground network that moves Scottish fugitives through safe houses until safe passage to Canada can be obtained for them. She keeps the refugees in a secret room under her cottage, safe from the British and fellow Scots until another safe house is opened up. The only other person that knows about her activities is the leader of the Sutherland clan, Brice. He is the one who brings her the refugees and he is the one who takes them to the next safe house.

Cait lives apart from the clan by choice. She blames Iain, the Laird of the clan, for his death…seeing that John, her husband, was with him and saved Iain from being killed. So, she moved as far away from Iain as she could get and she ended up on the border of the Sutherland and Campbell land. She lives there, making a life for herself by being the clan healer and helping the fugitives. She also mourns the death of her husband and her 3-year-old daughter, who died the year before her husband did.

Iain comes thundering back into her life one night. She had just settled the latest group of refugees into the secret room when he comes up with his commander of the Campbell warriors, who had been shot by rievers while on patrol. Cait does her best to patch him up and orders Iain to leave her house. When he refuses, she tells him to stay in the barn.

Iain, who is still wracked with grief over John’s death, agrees. Shortly after he beds down in the barn, he was woken up by a noise from the outside. He witnesses Cait leading the refugees out of her house, to Sutherland, who then leads them into the woods.

Cait is afraid that Iain will find out about her harboring the refugees. Iain is well-known as an English supporter, much to the disgust of his fellow Scots. He is a friend of the Duke of Cumberland, or as the Scots call him, the Bloody Butcher. She assumes that since he has close ties with the English, that he would put the secret movement, along with herself and Sutherland, in jeopardy.

Adair, the man who was injured, has to stay at her cottage because he is running a fever and she wants to keep a close eye on him if he gets an infection. Which means that Iain will be there and that is the last thing that she wants. So she deals with it and with the memories of her husband and child.

Little does Cait, or actually, all of Scotland, know that Iain is a spy. He is playing a very dangerous game by pretending to befriend the English so he could learn their secrets and use them to make Scotland a better, more peaceful place to live. It is a small price to pay for what he considers the greater good.

While Iain and Adair are staying with her, the redcoats (British) show up at her cottage. She provides care for them if they want it and if they show up at her cottage….even if she doesn’t like it. This group has stopped by her cottage often because one of them, Sergeant Halloway, has a bad back and needs her poultice to help ease the pain. He is also sweet on her, which Cait knows and she isn’t encouraging it.

During dinner that night, Cait, Adair, and Iain are discussing who is stealing his cattle. They think that it is another clan, the MacGregor’s. The MacGregor’s have held a grudge against the Campbell’s for a very long time. It is during dinner that she discovers that Adair has a fever. After putting him to bed, Cait and Iain kinda have it out.

She learns about his promise to John, as John laid dying and his deep guilt over John’s death. Even after Iain telling Cait that he promised John that he would look over her, she still hates him. As they are having it out, they are interrupted by a boy who comes into Cait’s house and cries “Fire”.

It is after the fire that certain things are learned about her. She is the granddaughter of the Laird of the MacGregors and the Grahams. Her mother died giving birth to her and soon after, her father committed suicide. She was raised in both households and both households tried to get her to hate the other. Only thing, it didn’t work. If anything, it pushed her away and into the arms of her husband. When both of her grandfather’s’ found out, they both disowned her.

Cait is reunited with her grandfathers’ after 7 years. One grandfather openly regrets what happens and the other one hides his regrets. Everyone agrees that she shouldn’t be living by the forest alone but she disagrees. That is until the day she is attacked by a redcoat.

Everything after that is full of intrigue and romance.

Will Cait and Iain get past Cait’s bad feelings and fall for each other? Will she get caught harboring fugitives? Will she reconcile with her grandfathers? Will the redcoat make due on his promise of rape? Who is murdering the redcoats and will they be caught?

Want to know these answers? Read the book!!

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Cait was a strong woman who has had a lot thrown at her in her lifetime. The deaths of her mother and father (before she could even meet them), her grandfather’s disowning her, her child dying, her husband dying and her lover dying. So it really didn’t surprise me when she had a small breakdown in the middle of the book. I cried with her when it happened.

Iain, however, I was on the fence with for about 60% of the book. He kept everything on the inside and it drove me absolutely crazy. But, when he finally opened up, he did with a bang. I also think that he was straddling both sides of the fence with the English/Scottish made me kinda “eh” with him. Again, though, my mind was changed once it was explained why he was doing what he was doing.

The sex scenes between Cait and Iain were hot but I had to giggle at the term “his red member”. I just had this image of a severely discolored penis….lmao. Even Cait addressed it as a red member. Made me wonder what those Highlanders were rolling around in previous to sex…haha.

The end of the book did keep me on the edge of my seat with the mystery of who was on the killing spree. It ended up being the last person that I thought it was and totally surprised me.

How many stars will I give Campbell’s Redemption: 4

Why: I really enjoyed reading this book after I got through the first couple of chapters. After that, the story totally took off for me. It wasn’t a light read by any stretch and that is what made it refreshing.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex and mild violence

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