Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Soldier’s Vow (Aster Ridge Ranch #7) by Kate Condie

Rating: ★★☆
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Length: 244 pages
Author: Kate Condie
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: October 7th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Three years ago, he destroyed her family.

He’s been wrestling with himself ever since.

The war is over, but the battle has just begun.

Fay Morris’ life has taught her one thing: marry rich. And her plan is about to work, until her family’s one enemy decides to play the hero.

Three years ago, soldier Garrick Hampton made a mistake. He’s done running, but when he returns to Aster Ridge, nothing is as he expected. From the now grown Fay, to the unfamiliar feeling of home that makes his chest ache.

When Fay’s brother goes missing in a winter storm, Garrick is glad to help, and hopes for a sliver of forgiveness from Fay’s family. But Fay is no damsel and she doesn’t need help from a greenhorn. When a stormy search for her brother means the lines between friends and enemies are blurred and a fake marriage is required to keep them alive, will they learn what it is each of them really needs?

Thank you to the author for an eARC.

WHAT YEAR IS IT?

This missed big time for me. One of my grievance would definitely have to be not knowing what year it is. This is a western historical romance and I couldn’t pinpoint what exact year we were going for? Confused and bothered me.

There’s aspects of a lot of things I should love and some of those were well enough. I liked the enemies to lovers (though, because I didn’t read the previous books was confused about why they were enemies) banter and the forced proximity moments that brought them closer together.

Writing style wise we did not click. There were explanations of things that didn’t need explained in convoluted ways. And that continually took me out of the story.

I know this book may be a hit for others so if it sounds interesting I’d still say give it a go. I had other friends love it, and that’s why there’s many books out there for all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Western Historical Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gun violence

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Book Review

Book Review: Romancing the Rake (Brotherhood of the Black Tartan #2) by Nichole Van

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 375 pages
Author: Nichole Van
Publisher: Fiorenza Publishing
Release Date: February 18th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Lady Sophronia Sorrow considers herself an unlikely heroine. Why, just her name alone proves this. Sophronia Sorrow sounds like a girl from a gothic penny novel—the foolish miss who falls prey to a rake and becomes an object lesson for the true heroine to avoid. No, despite her mawkish name, Sophie refuses to spend her life invisible and unwanted, relegated to the margin of the text. Despite her eccentric, bluestocking ways, there must be a place where she is wanted. If only she could uncover the identity of her natural father, perhaps she would belong there?

But one thing Sophie knows for sure—unlike that foolhardy miss in a novel, she will not succumb to a rake. No matter how thoroughly the rakish Lord Rafe Gilbert may tempt her.

Lord Rafe Gilbert longs for freedom—freedom from his controlling father, freedom to live his life as he chooses. He knows playing the rake keeps his autocratic father in check, but Rafe longs to determine his own destiny. Case in point, he fell in love with Lady Sophie years ago, but his father’s threats and his mother’s health prevent him from pursuing Lady Sophie in earnest. So when Fate thrusts Sophie into his path, Rafe knows he must turn her away and distance himself. But doing the right thing has never been so impossibly difficult.

Sophie and Rafe soon find themselves on a journey together from London to a castle in the Scottish Highlands. Along the way, can two kindred souls heal from past hurts and seize a second chance to write a love story of their own?

NEW HISTORICAL FAV.

Wowwww goodness me, I LOVED THIS. This had all the tropes I love y’all. All the romance I love and more.

This was a combination of a bit of second chance, IT WAS ALWAYS YOU, major forced proximity and more. I loved the vibes between a supposed rake and an incredibly intelligent bluestocking. Their chemistry was heated from the moment the banter began and I was here for every dang moment between them. I loved forced proximity because it allows so much more conversation and interactions that give me all the feels.

Not to mention what had me up in my feels was the passionate arguments leading to my favorite kind of confessions. It was just all so good. SO GOOD. Rafe is a wonderful love interest and I loooooove that this series is dual POV. A treasured must have for romances.

The plot was thickening between the Brotherhood and I like that this subtle mystery plays out in the background of the larger story between the two main characters. I liked the reveals and how the conflict and closing scenes were accomplished. The writing is amazing and I will without a doubt be continuing this series.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gaslighting, extortion, a mother with depression (and on page depictions), emotional abuse

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Book Review

Book Review: Remembering Jamie (Brotherhood of the Black Tartan #5) by Nichole Van

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 382 pages
Author: Nichole Van
Publisher: Fiorenza Publishing
Release Date: September 8th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Miss Eilidh Fyffe always assumed her life would follow a predictable pattern—meet a charming man, fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after. But when an accident damages her memory, she is left with only questions. Has she already fallen in love and married? If only she could remember…

Master Kieran MacTavish has spent six years searching for his lost wife. But, turns out, finding Eilidh alive is only the beginning of the battle. She has no memory of him—no recollection of their courtship, love, or handfasting. Refusing to be discouraged, Kieran relishes the chance to make Eilidh fall for him all over again. Surely he can rekindle the flame of their love.

But the intervening years have changed them both. Eilidh is crippled by grief—the deaths of her father, her younger brother, Jamie, and others overwhelm her. And the more Kieran comes to know this new Eilidh, the more he is haunted by the woman she once was.

Throughout it all, one question looms large—
Is your love still your love if the person they once were no longer exists?

UTTER ROMANTIC PERFECTION.

Yes, I said it. PERFECTION. ALL THE DANG STARS. BEST BOOK OF THE SERIES.

You name it, I probably shouted about it. Oh my gosh this was a stunning read. All of the previous four books have been leading up to this moment. This second chance romance + amnesia plot was built up to the desperate need to know what would happen between Kieran and Eilidh.

This was full of swoony moments. Full of blushes and recovering memories. Full of down right sob worthy scenes and cheers at final reveals. I felt all of the emotions and teared up more than once because the PAIN, the LOVE, the beautiful HOPE will send you to your knees. The kind of love here is timeless. It is everything wonderful about romance books.

I’m trying to stay vague because it is the last book and I don’t want to spoil things throughout. So PLEASE TRUST ME AND READ THIS SERIES!!! It’s one of my new favorite historical romance series ever. There’s many different tropes, connections, character backgrounds and more. Van did an incredible job crafting this from start to finish and I am in complete awe.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: closed door (between married couple)
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: prior substance abuse (specifically alcohol), miscarriage (flashback chapters, on page, descriptive, please read with care), childbirth, ship explosion and loss of life (flashback), PTSD, depictions of grief, suicide ideation

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Adjacent But Only Just (The Penn-Leiths of Thistle Muir #2) by Nichole Van

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Nichole Van
Publisher: Fiorenza Publishing
Release Date: September 14th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Viola Brodure, gentlewoman and celebrated authoress, faces a personal dilemma suited for a novel—everyone wishes for her to make a love match with Ethan Penn-Leith, the famous Highland Poet. And by everyone, she means everyone—her father, her adoring readers, the gossip columnists, and her patron, the overbearing Duke of Kendall. Why, even Queen Victoria herself has given a nod of approval to the match. After all, the popular novelist and the famous poet are the perfect heroine and hero for their own love story. A literary dynasty waiting to be born.

The problem, of course, is that Viola has never met Ethan, not in the flesh, at least. She has read about him and devoured his poetic writings, but does the man himself live up to his dashing reputation?

Malcolm Penn-Leith exists in twilight. He manages his farm, Thistle Muir, in the shadow of the Scottish Highlands. As the older brother of the renowned Ethan Penn-Leith, Malcolm tends to his prized cows while Ethan basks in the limelight. Harder still, Malcolm lives under a cloud of grief after the death of his wife five years ago.

But then Miss Viola Brodure arrives in Malcolm’s wee village, intent on meeting Ethan and beginning a courtship. Viola—petite, blond, shy, and English—is nothing like Malcolm’s late wife. And yet, Viola awakens a piece of his heart that he thought lost in the abyss of his grief.

For her part, Viola is surprised to find herself more attracted to the stoic Malcolm than the charming Ethan. So now what? She isn’t meant to fall in love with the man adjacent to Ethan Penn-Leith. That’s not the plot she had outlined. After all, Malcolm and Viola are not the match made in heaven that everyone wishes to see. As social pressures mount, can Malcolm and Viola overcome the weight of his past and the expectations of her future to forge a new path together?

Please note that the basic elements of this story first appeared in a novella entitled A Ring of Gold. This current novel is a greatly-expanded adaptation of that novella.

Thank you to Nichole Van for the eARC.

ALL THE DANG FEELS.

OHMYGOSHILOVEDTHISBOOKSOMUCH.

I don’t even know how coherent this will be because I am fully obsessed with all things Nichole Van and this book was another five star read from one of my favorite historical romance authors.

This book holds one of my biggest triggers: a widow/widower. I loved the way Van handled Malcom and his tender heart. The heart that missed his wife but also was starting to beat for someone new. I can’t count how many scenes and conversations had my eyes going misty. There were profound sentiments towards grief that I think would resonate with anyone who’s experienced a loss in their life.

AND VIOLA. She is my new favorite female main character. Because guess what? Being shy does NOT mean you are not also fierce and tenacious. It does not mean you’ll stand to be walked all over. I LOOOOOOVE that I got to read about a shy (hi, it’s me) woman who was a force and showing all that it’s not a weakness.

THE ROMANCE??? Holy heck. The fire between these two was off the charts. I loved the slow build. The nuanced looks and casual run-ins that turned to deep conversations. And when Viola went after what she wanted? I was squealing with joy at how an entire scene played out.

There’s even some cameos from some of the best men of The Brotherhood of the Black Tartan series. The epilogue is EVERYTHING. And I am in desperate need of Ethan’s book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: blackmail, loss of a spouse (recounted), depictions of grief, asthmatic attacks

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