2018 Book #62 – The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

51kng3DPeqLTitle: The Warrior of Clan Kincaid
Author: Lily Blackwood
Date finished: 7/23/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series:  Highland Warrior series #3
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The stunning and dramatic final book in the Kincaid brothers’ trilogy set in the wilds of Scotland.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS

Derryth MacClaren is on the run—having been sent from her castle home to avoid capture by the vicious nobleman known as the Wolf, who has vowed revenge against the Clan Kincaid. When a surprise attack leaves her vulnerable, Derryth ends up in the hands of an enemy warrior who claims her, with the Wolf’s blessing, as his prize. But her captor’s gentle words and touch seduce her heart—and body—completely. . . and when she discovers the tattoo on his arm that proves him to be the legendary, long-believed dead son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid, Derryth knows she must find a way to alter his fate—and her own. . .

Cull has no memory of his family or past—all he knows is the life of a warrior, trained to fight on behalf of the Scottish king. But now that Derryth has informed him of who he really is—Cullen Braewick, the youngest son of the slain laird—he is torn. If Cull exacts revenge against the Wolf, who executed his father, he stands to lose the precious lass who he has come to love. What is he willing to sacrifice for Derryth to keep her safe. . .and in his arms?

The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood is not one to miss!

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had read the first two books in this serious previously and really enjoyed them. I’ve waited awhile for the conclusion of this series and I’m so glad I finally got to read it! The premise behind this book series is one that fascinated me, three brothers torn apart by fate from each other and their home, only to be reunited at last. Cull (the last missing brother, Cullen) believes himself an orphan, purchased years ago from a slave ship by the evil Buchan. I found the plot of this one to be especially interesting as I knew who Cull really was and I was eager for the rest of the characters to figure it out. I also really loved the development of the two main characters of this book – Cull and Derryth were both great, fierce, and loyal characters. And the build up of their relationship and the emotional tension between their two characters was really well done also, I was on the edge of my seat to find out what was going to happen next. I honestly didn’t want to put this one down. I really enjoyed this series overall (all three books) and I’d definitely recommend it. I can’t wait to see what this author comes out with next!

Link to author website

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2017 Book #50 – Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

517zceaBMWLTitle: Before We Were Yours
Author: Lisa Wingate
Date finished: 6/6/17
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge–until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents–but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.
Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.
Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals–in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country–Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review:

This book tells the story of two women, separated by many decades but both affected by one same event in history. Avery Stafford is the daughter of a prominent politician, and she is being groom to take his place should the need arise due to his health. While at an event, Avery meats May Weathers, an elderly woman who just began her stay at a residential care facility. When Avery sees an old photograph of May’s with a woman who looks really similar to her grandmother, she can’t help but be curious. And when she asks her grandmother about it, her reaction is odd. Decades ago, when May Weathers was a young girl, something awful happened to her. At a dark time in Tennessee’s history, poor parents with young children had their families torn apart; their children kidnapped and sold off to the highest bidder like cattle. Organized by a woman who could only be described as truly evil, these “adoptions” were never overturned and these poor children were ripped from their families. Based on true events, this heart wrenching story is a fictionalized version of what most likely happened to many families in Tennessee’s history. And from Avery’s point of view the author depicts the ripple effect over the generations.

Overall I ended up really liking this book. Towards the middle it was starting to get hard to get through for me because the subject matter is just so overwhelmingly traumatic. Reading about how this young girl was ripped from a family, that while poor still loved her, to be placed in a home where she was abused and tormented and separated from her younger brothers and sisters was awful. I was starting to think that the book was going to be too emotionally traumatic for me. However I persevered and I am so glad that I did. While this was still an extremely difficult subject matter, I think it is definitely worth the read. Hearing about how May did everything she could do to protect her family, and the heartache and struggles that she went through in her young life was so inspiring. This is definitely a book that you should keep a box of Kleenex handy for because while May’s young life was overwhelmingly sad, her life didn’t end there. The author was able to turn the trauma into a hopeful and touching story that I just loved. And generations later as Avery finds out things she never knew about her family, the reader can see through both her struggles and May’s that there is still goodness in the world. Told between alternating chapters set in 1939 and the present day, this is a story that will truly reach in and twist you up inside, but you your heart real will feel full in the end. I would highly recommend reading this one.

The bottom line: This was a great book! It was so moving and while sad also somehow hopeful, I loved it. I would definitely recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #39 – Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

511YXgsLkWLTitle: Almost Missed You
Author: Jessica Strawser
Date finished: 4/26/17
Genre: Fiction, thriller
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Pages in book: 319
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.
So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Violet, her husband Finn, and their 3 year old son Bear. Violet and Finn had a short courtship compared to most, but Violet has never doubted that fate brought them together. Their story seems like a real life fairy tale and she is beyond happy with their family and their life together. And so she is blindsided when Finn disappears from their Florida vacation without a word, taking Bear with him. And after the FBI gets involved with trying to find Bear, Violet learns about the secrets that Finn has kept from her about his past and begins to wonder how well she really knew her husband. Meanwhile, Finn and Violet’s best friends Caitlin and George each have secrets of their own in their marriage and the most recent one added to the list is that Caitlin is allowing Finn and Bear to hide out in their family cabin at the lake. When Caitlin decides enough is enough though and that Bear must be returned to his mother, the secrets start to unravel with explosive consequences. And once everything is out in the open, we’ll see who’s left standing at the end.
Overall I liked this book a lot. To be honest the main topic (a mother having her son ripped away from her without a word or a clue) made me a bit sick to my stomach. I can’t even imagine the hopelessness and the pain that must have been unbearable for Violet’s character. The author did a great job of capturing this I thought but that piece of it is difficult for the reader to live through Violet’s eyes but necessary to the story. This was an incredibly intense novel that had my heart pounding for most of the novel. The author did an amazing job of building tension and creating drama, revealing secrets at just the right time and adding in perfect plot twists. At the end I still felt so bad for everyone involved but man it was a wild ride. I would definitely recommend this book, this one is going to be a must read for the summer!

The bottom line: Wow this was definitely an intense book. I liked it a lot but at the same time I hated how sad it was. This one is definitely a must-read though!!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #30 – My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

51EzZN-jfOLTitle: My One True Highlander
Author: Suzanne Enoch
Date finished: 4/4/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Pages in book: 319
Stand alone or series: #2 in the No Ordinary Hero series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

DARE TO FALL IN LOVE
Scotland, 1812—Rugged Highlander Graeme’s loyalty to his clan means that their enemies are his own—even when that includes his neighbor, the Duke of Lattimer. It’s a fight he doesn’t relish, but when Graeme’s reckless younger brothers foolishly kidnap Lattimer’s younger sister, all bets are off…
Lady Marjorie Forrester may be aligned with the enemy, but capturing her puts Graeme squarely in the middle of a war. If he turns Marjorie over to his clan chief, she could be killed. If he lets her go, his brothers could face prison. In addition, the woman can’t stop trying to civilize the lot of them! What’s a Highlander to do, then, but keep the stubborn lass close…and explore the unexpected passion that develops between them? But how can Graeme protect Marjorie and his brothers when both Lattimer and his own clan are on the warpath—and will do whatever it takes to tear these two star-crossed lovers apart, in My One True Highlander, the next No Ordinary Hero Scottish romance from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Enoch.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Lady Marjorie Forrester, sister to Gabriel Forrester from Book 1 in the series, No Ordinary Highlander. Lady Marjorie receives a letter from her brother informing her of his upcoming marriage, which he plans to celebrate with her in the spring when the weather has improved for traveling. Having missed out on most of their lives though with her brother being in the army and her being in boarding school, Marjorie decides this is one event she won’t be missing and immediately departs for the north. Unknown to her, she’s walking right into the middle of a clan war between the Maxwell clan and her brother’s newly established clan. Graeme Maxton is a laird who lives about 6 hours south of Gabriel. After his parents died when he was 20, he was left to raise his 3 younger brothers and also care for a whole herd of people. Maxwell usually ignores his existence, however his proximity to Gabriel has brought Graeme right into the crossfire of this clan war. And when his younger brothers kidnap Marjorie to try and “help,” Graeme then has to figure out what to do with her. And as Lady Marjorie spends more and more time with Graeme and his family, she finds herself fitting into this wild Highland place in a way she never expected.
Overall I really liked this book. I thought that Graeme was a really interesting character and he was so generous and thoughtful and just a great hero for this novel. And his youngest brother is just adorable and I loved the farm yard of pets that they have adopted into their household. While for some authors this plot line might have been unrealistic or unromantic or both, this author does a great job of making the whole thing seem less like Stockholm Syndrome and more like.. fate. The tension and the romance between the two main characters was just perfect. The book also had great supporting characters and plenty of drama with the clan war goings-on.

The bottom line: I really enjoyed this book, I always like a good historical romance novel! I would definitely recommend, especially if you enjoy Highlander novels.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page