Saturday, December 24, 2016

Book Review: Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney

Not Always a Saint Cover Action-packed historical romance

Not Always a Saint (The Lost Lords, #7) by Mary Jo Putney

Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Zebra
Pages: 352 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Daniel Herbert lost the love of his life many years ago, a young woman who died before they could marry. He has since lived a life dedicated to service as a doctor and a vicar. As a man with no worldly ambition, he finds it an obnoxious burden when he unexpectedly inherits a barony. He decides the solution to his problem is to enter a marriage of convenience with a very capable woman who will take over his new worldly responsibilities so that he can continue with his true calling as a doctor.

Jezebel (Jessie) Kelham is a young widow who hoped to avoid ever marrying again after terrible past experiences with brutal men, but her late husband's cruel and avaricious nephew threatens to take her daughter from her in order to gain control of her inheritance, and the only way available for her to protect her daughter is to find a man of substance to marry.

These two wounded souls embark on a marriage in which they can both offer each other something practical that they desperately need, but neither has any idea that an utterly impractical, explosive passion will spark between them, undermining everything they thought they knew about themselves and marriage itself.

This is an exciting pairing of two very sympathetic protagonists. As we fans of the talented Ms. Putney have come to expect over the many years of her prolific career, this novel contains a very strong and determined heroine and a compelling hero. In addition, the historical details of the story are woven seamlessly into an exciting plot with lots of "woman in peril" moments from a dark villain.

Though this is the seventh book in the Lost Lords series, and it can be read as a standalone, the rest of the series is highly recommended as well.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5

Hero: 5

Romance Plot: 5

Setting: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Review: Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

Sweep in Peace Cover Absolutely wonderful!!

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: November 13, 2015
Publisher: NYLA
Pages: 315 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

This is the second book in the fabulous, self-published, Innkeeper series. I raced through it in one sitting. I simply could not stand to put it down, and I was left at the end feeling sadness it was over, but complete satisfaction at the resolution of the plot, and a sense of complete awe at the never-ending talent of this amazing writing duo. Fans of Ilona Andrews will be ecstatic at this latest addition to their ever-growing list of urban fantasy books.

Dina DeMille is in her mid-20's, and she runs a excitingly magical Bed and Breakfast which is a way station for interplanetary travel. Her inn resides in a reality beyond Earth's laws of physics, and her cute, fluffy dog can transform into a dangerous monster who rabidly defends her as needed. Her inn is in desperate need of more guests, besides its sole inhabitant, a former Galactic despot responsible for the massacre of millions. This is not only necessary for Dina's bottom line, but the magic within the inn feeds on the magic of its guests to not only thrive but for its very survival. Thus, when an intergalactic Arbitrator shows up at Dina's door with an offer for her to host a peace summit between three warring species from a distant planet, even though all other innkeepers on Earth have refused this disastrous conference, Dina can't afford to pass up this lucrative offer, gambling that she will keep violence from breaking out, which would destroy the reputation of her inn.

This second book in the Innkeeper series, in addition to inserting multiple, familiar, beloved characters from book 1, introduces some new, extremely colorful characters, and reintroduces some beloved characters from another Ilona Andrews series. I won't create a spoiler by saying exactly who the latter characters are, but I will say that, personally, they are some of my most beloved Andrews characters of all time, and I was utterly delighted to run into them here.

The book is filled with laugh-out-loud humor, a great deal of emotional warmth, and lots of action. As always, Andrews creates a highly sympathetic, determined, strong heroine. Dana is simply wonderful, and I can't wait to read more of this series and her continuing adventures.

This book has recently come out in audiobook format, and after reading it in Kindle format, I'm going to turn right around and listen to both this book and book 1 in audio format, as well, because they are narrated by the fabulous Renee Raudman, who narrates all of the Andrews books so far.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Worldbuilding: 5

Action-Adventure Plot: 5

Romantic Subplot: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5