Friday 24 October 2014

The Golden Key Chronicles: Caedmon's Curse by AJ Nuest

Title: Caedmon's Curse
Author: AJ Nuest
Series: The Golden Key Chronicles 03
Read Type: ARC for HarperImpulse
Stars: StarStarStarStarStar

You can purchase a copy of this instalment of the series from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Alternatively you can purchase the entire Golden Key Chronicles on Amazon UK and Amazon US
You can find out more about the author on her Website, Blog, Facebook, Author Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

Series Synopsis
The key would unlock his future and the safety of his kingdom, but he never imagined the sorceress would unlock his heart…

Antiques restorer, Rowena Lindstrom, finds herself the owner of an ancestral armoire containing a hidden key and a magic mirror leading to another realm!

But the handsome warrior prince waiting on the other side is truly the final straw. This must be an elaborate joke, right? As she struggles to discover the truth, Rowena learns Prince Caedmon Austiere needs the key to save his kingdom. In the end, she cannot deny him anything. Including her heart.


Lost in a world she doesn't recognize, Rowena struggles to find her place.

Yet her abilities with a blade and the loyalty of a fierce falcon don't discourage the heated advances of the handsome Prince Caedmon, and the connection between them seems much deeper than her troubled heart can recall.

Book Blurb

For two years Prince Caedmon suffered in the dungeons of Seviere’s keep, leaving him with more than just lash marks lacing his back. He now retains the secret behind the key, and is the only one who understands its grim connection to his beloved Rowena.

Torn between telling her the truth and risking their future, he agrees to join her perilous quest. But their enemies to the north are not the only menace determined to see them fail and, to prove his love, he must conquer the demons of his past.

Author Bio

I am a multi-published, award-winning author who lives in the middle of a cornfield in NW Indiana. My loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy of spoiled pets have agreed to stay and, in exchange for three rations per day and laundry service, tolerate my lunacy.

While I spend most days happily ensconced in crafting romance across a multitude of genres, an underground coup has been percolating. The dogs just informed me the cat is secretly vying for dictatorship. 

My previous reviews for this series can be seen below:
Rowena's Key
Candra's Freedom

I received a copy of The Golden Key Chronicles from the author in return for an unbiased review. At the author's request I will read and review each novella separately, followed by an overview.

Strong language: Yes
Drugs: No
Violence: Yes
Sexual content: Yes

Caedmon's curse starts two days after the last book ended, with Rowena showing off her survival skills as she seems in her element, finally away from the aristocracy that held her down so long. Soon however we hear the thunder of hooves approaching her secluded hideaway. Why can't they just leave her alone!

Caedmon crashes into the camp, with Rowena already in hiding, and like the typical man makes a mess. But why is he here? That is the real question. He fights her, but also corrects her mistakes, making her a better warrior. Is he here to drag her back to the castle or to free her?

The tenderness shown by Caedmon in these scenes, particularly when he ignored his own desires to make sure Rowena felt safe, above anything else with him were so touching and perfectly aimed. Who could not fall in love with a prince who puts you first and treats you like his queen? Yet Rowena's anger is still palpable, if, I felt, misdirected. It was interesting to see the change in her as she had to reassess everything she had learnt in the last two years of her life in the castle.

Soon however things take a turn for the worse and Rowena finds herself fleeing, this time not from Caedmon, but to save is life. This was action packed and a full on adventure with dangerous martial artist soldiers on her tail, and a forbidden forest of terror to everyone in front, the pages just kept flipping. What she found was astounding, an unforeseen event for me, one I was very happy with.

There was a fantastic mix of tender moments and action mixed into this book, making it a read I couldn't put down. It was non stop and switched effortlessly between the two themes. I loved the ending, a real surprise and left a big cliff hanger.

Bring on the last book... but I don't want this to end!

The 411

Without a doubt the strongest of the series to date, I loved reading their adventures, both when they were foiled and when they succeeded. A real all rounder that I feel will appeal to both men and women who enjoy action, adventure, romance or fantasy.

The easiest 5 I've given in a while

Wednesday 15 October 2014

The Shucker’s Booktique (Lobster Cove Series) by J.C. McKenzie

Title: The Shucker’s Booktique
Author: J.C. McKenzie
Series: Lobster Cove
Read Type: eARC
Stars: StarStarStarStar

You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon UK | Amazon US | Chapters | iTunes | Kobo | The Wild Rose Press
You can find out more about the author on J.C. McKenzie’s Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | The Wild Rose Press | Amazon
Series Blurb
Lobster Cove is a fictional small town on the coast of Maine, near Bar Harbor. It is quaint and quirky with a colorful history, a friendly population of charming residents, and a vibrant tourist business. It is home to research scientists and small shop owners, grumpy cops and sassy chefs. Back in the day, it was a bustling fishing town and home to many immigrants, from both the state cabins and the lowest decks.

These are unordered stories by various authors. You can find a list of the current stories here

Book Blurb
After her fiancé dumps her and her beloved Aunt Jenny goes missing, Willa Eklund travels to Lobster Cove with a broken heart to search for Jenny while running her bookstore. When a mysterious man visits the Shucker's Booktique on a stormy night drenched in rain and covered in mud, Willa's heart melts under his stormy gaze. She wants Lon and the answers he may have, but he also has a secret. Can Willa trust him?

Lon Devlin is a Tempest, a water sprite who can only take a human form during stormy nights. He rides the waves, lives by the tides, and nothing can hold him down, not even a beautiful woman. When he visits his mortal friend, he discovers she's missing and her intriguing niece has taken her place. He wants Willa, but he also wants answers. What happened to Jenny?

Author Bio

Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Dearest Darling by Andrea Downing

Title: Dearest Darling
Author: Andrea Downing
Read Type: eARC from Wild Rose Press
Stars: StarStarStarStarStar

You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Wild Rose Press
You can find out more about the author on her Website/blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Linkedin and Amazon Author Page
 photo DearestDarling_w8647_300_zpsc0c5959c.jpg
Book Blurb
Stuck in a life of servitude to her penny-pinching brother, Emily Darling longs for a more exciting existence. When a packet with travel tickets, meant for one Ethel Darton, accidentally lands on her doormat, Emily sees a chance for escape. Having turned down the dreary suitors that have come her way, is it possible a new existence also offers a different kind of man?

Daniel Saunders has carved out a life for himself in Wyoming—a life missing one thing: a wife. Having scrimped and saved to bring his mail-order bride from New York, he is outraged to find in her stead a runaway fraud. Even worse, the impostor is the sister of his old enemy.

But people are not always as they seem, and sometimes the heart knows more than the head.

Author Bio
Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born,  instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK.   She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit.  Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC.  She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming.  Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west.  Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards.  Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards.   Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and comes (came?) out Oct. 8th and Dances of the Heart, another full length novel, comes out in the next few months.


Strong language: Some, mild
Drugs: None
Violence: None
Sexual content: Yes

I received a copy of this novella in return for an unbiased review.

What would you do if your brother had been keeping you as a servant in your own house for years, then one day a rail ticket arrived to sweep you away to be a man's bride, along with a sensuous love letter? There's the mild problem that the letter isn't addressed to you… but the address is smeared beyond legibility by the rain. After all, what's the difference between one mail order bride and another? He would even be grateful when he discovered you have been keeping house before and can help him tend his life in the west… right?

Emily Darling finds herself in that very predicament, and after deliberating at length she takes off, without the knowledge of her brother to travel the width of the country. The welcome she receives is less than she'd hoped, now she just has to decide if she wants to win his heart over to her, or try to make her own way in the world.

This novel is written in clear, precise writing, letting the emotion and story flow without an abundance of adverbs, adjective, metaphors and other flowery language that can smother some romance novels. I was also pleased to find that despite it being based in the historic America West, and me in England, it was easy to understand the terminology (there was one minor incident where my kindle dictionary tried to suggest the characters were going to have one of the horses curried for tea, but I quickly got that definition cleared up with the author! For anybody wondering this is a type of stiff comb for grooming.)

Daniel Saunders, the gentleman she'd hoped would accept her, is a quiet man, both in contemplation and anger. Having saved for a long time for that ticket he is distraught that somebody else has taken the place of his bride; especially when they expect him to marry them instead. He's fiercely independent, doing household chores himself, often seeming to do it just to make poor Emily feel unwanted. Yet he had a softer side that shone through, drawing both Emily and the reader to feel for him. He felt like a lost man, needing something in his life to come home to after a hard day on the ranch.

The romance was pitched perfectly, lots of "do I, don't I" moments, subtle looks and indecision that had me wanting to lock them in the bedroom until the sorted things out!

I loved the twists that appeared, they weren't obvious or expected. These led to a fantastic ending that left me satisfied with the story. That takes a lot of skill to pull of in just 26,000 words.

The 411
Overall I found this novella to be an adorable story and get away from life for a little while. It was an easy read to boot, allowing the reader to get straight to the story. Despite its short length, Dearest Darling had well drawn characters and a plot that felt complete and finished.

I give this a 5 for being a good all rounder.