2014 – Book #44

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The forty-fourth book(s) I read in 2014 were Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift and The Untamed Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley. These were both short stories connected to the Highland Pleasures (Mackenzie family) series by this author so I counted the 2 short stories as 1 book. Together the 2 short stories were 396 pages, which is about the size of a normal novel.

Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift is book 4.5 in the Highland Pleasures (Mackenzie family) series by Jennifer Ashley. This short story therefore takes place between books 4 (The Duke’s Perfect Wife) and 5 (The Seduction of Elliott McBride). I finished this book on 5/27/14. I rated this story 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This story was fun because it was about all the Mackenzies! The family has gathered for Christmas and all 4 brothers and their wives and children and relatives, plus the Mackenzies’ half brother Inspector Fellows. It was interesting to revisit many of the characters from the previous books. You hardly ever get to read about how well your favorite characters are doing in their marriages after you read their books. They might show up in books on their relatives but usually they play only a small part in those books. This book featured each of the couples from the previous 4 books in different scenes. It was great! What a lovely addition to the series.

The Untamed Mackenzie is book 5.5 in the Highland Pleasures (Mackenzie family) series by Jennifer Ashley. This short story therefore takes place between books 5 ( The Seduction of Elliott McBride) and 6 (The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie). I finished this book on 5/28/14. Unfortunately, this book was only available in e-book format. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This tells the story of the Mackenzies’ half brother Lloyd Fellows, Chief Inspector for Scotland Yard. He has run into Isabella’s sister Louisa Scranton at a few family functions and each time he is drawn to her. They have kissed twice and neither can deny the sparks that fly between them. Louisa has been hurt by her scandalous family though and wants to find a respectable man to marry so that her family’s name might be drawn from the mud. When a respectable man proposes to her and promptly perishes however, Inspector Fellows is called to investigate the crime. Everyone seems to think Louisa killed the man (which if you ask me is a little ridiculous) but Lloyd knows she’s innocent.  I thought this short story was great because it didn’t even feel like a short story. It felt like a regular novel with its plot and story line. And I have been wanting to hear Lloyd’s story so overall I thought this was great!

Link to author website: http://www.jennifersromances.com/

Link to Mackenzie family series website: http://www.jennifersromances.com/NewSite/Mackenzies/mackenzie_main.html

Link to Amazon – Mackenzie Family Christmas: http://www.amazon.com/Mackenzie-Family-Christmas-Highland-Pleasures/dp/1481268007/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1401372840&sr=8-1

Link to Amazon – The Untamed Mackenzie: http://www.amazon.com/The-Untamed-Mackenzie-Mackenzies-Series-ebook/dp/B00AEDDSMA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401372873&sr=8-1&keywords=the+untamed+mackenzie

2014 – Book #40

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The fortieth book I read in 2014 was Temptation and Surrender by Stephanie Laurens. I finished this book on 5/21/14. This is the 15th book in the Cynster family series by this author. Previous books in the series were discussed in earlier blog posts this year, specifically 2014 – Book #23, 2014 – Book #21, 2014 – Book #13, 2014 – Book #12, 2014 – Book #10, 2014 – Book #6, and 2014 – Book #4 (I know that’s quite a few!). I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells that story of Jonas Tallent and Emily Colyton. Jonas is the brother of Phyllida, who married Lucifer (Alasdair) Cynster in the 6th book in the series, All About Love. As I’ve said in previous posts about this series, I like meeting the characters in previous books and then seeing them and learning about their characters further when they feature in their own books.

Emily is willing to do whatever is necessary to get herself and her siblings out of their horrible Uncle’s house, even if that means taking a position as an innkeeper to earn money to support her family. So they take up residence in the town of Colyton, hoping to find a treasure that their ancestors supposedly left behind for future generations while Emily also manages the inn. Jonas Tallent’s father owns the inn that Emily now manages, giving him a perfectly good excuse to talk to her whenever he wishes. Their relationship develops and Jonas realizes that he wants to protect Emily and take care of her for the rest of her life, which is nice.

I thought this book was ok. I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I have in previous books by this author but the plot was interesting enough and the main characters seemed like decent people. The hero was a little too pushy for my taste but he was a nice enough guy. I felt like the ending was a bit of a stretch, the villain’s identity I saw coming in a sense but the explanation behind it was weak and not well developed through the rest of the story I thought. Overall this wasn’t my favorite book by this author but was a decent addition to the series.

Link to author website: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Temptation-Surrender-Cynster-Stephanie-Laurens-ebook/dp/B001NLL932/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400770991&sr=8-1&keywords=temptation+and+surrender

Link to first blog post in 2014 about Cynster family series (includes family tree picture): https://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/2014-book-4/