2014 – Book #84

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The eighty-fourth book I read in 2014 was Scandal and the Duchess by Jennifer Ashley. This is book 6.5 in the Highland Pleasures/Mackenzie family series. I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. I finished this book on 9/17/14 (my birthday! :-)). This book tells the story of Steven McBride, brother to Ainsley McBride from book #3 in the series and Elliot McBride from book #5 in the series. Steven is home on leave from the military and spends his first night home getting sloshed in a bar. When he tries to head back to his lodgings, he can’t seem to remember exactly where he’s booked a room for this trip. While trying to figure it out he stumbles (literally) into Rose Barclay, young widow of the Duke of Southdown.

Scandal seems to find Rose wherever she goes, even if most of the supposed scandals are complete falsities made up by the members of the press. When Steven collapses into Rose in the street, she takes him home thinking him a poor homeless veteran. She lets him sleep it off in her guest room and then brings him some breakfast. In return for her kindness, Steven decides to help Rose in her unfortunate situation. It seems that the new Duke (that inherited the title when Rose’s husband died) is contesting the marriage and refuses to pay Rose a widow’s settlement or let her stay in any of the estate’s houses. Steven decides to help her and hires a lawyer to argue her case and also stands up to Albert for her.

Overall I like this book (really more of a short story). I liked the characters a lot, Rose was very compassionate and Steven very alpha male. The plot was interesting if fast paced as one would expect in a novella. I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the next book in the series, Rules for a Proper Governess, due to come out on October 7.

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

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Scandal-Duchess-Mackenzies-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00DGZKJ5C/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411046652&sr=1-1&keywords=scandal+and+the+duchess

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 #43

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The forty-third book I read in 2014 was The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie. I finished this book on 5/26/14. This is the sixth book in the Highland Pleasures (Mackenzie) series by this author. I have read the previous five books but all previously to 2014 so none are featured in this blog. I rated this book 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Daniel Mackenzie, the son of Cameron Mackenzie from the third book in the series, and Violet Bastien, one of the most famous spiritual mediums in England.

Daniel ends up at one of Violet’s reading performances and finds himself enchanted by this strong woman, even if she is fooling all her “clients.” And when Daniel finds all the mechanics inside the walls that Violet uses to make her clients believe in her spiritual abilities, he knows that she is just the person to help him finish his motor car. Violet’s wind machine could be just what Daniel needs to cool down the motor as it runs.

Violet has a traumatic past though and, unaware of Violet’s issues, Daniel pursues her in a romantic way and promptly gets smashed over the head with a vase for his troubles. Thinking him dead, Violet runs to France to start over and hopefully outrun the law when Daniel presses charges. When Daniel wakes up though, he has no interest in pressing charges and every interest in finding the person who engineered the wind machine. Using the help of his uncle Ian, Daniel tracks Violet down to Marseilles where he finds her up to her old tricks.

After Daniel learns of Violet’s past though he realizes that there are a lot of obstacles to overcome, the biggest being Violet’s damaged psyche. With the help of his family though he is able to make Violet see how special she is to him. Overall I thought this was a very nice story, I loved seeing Daniel in his own story as a grown up after first being introduced to him during his Father’s story.

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

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Daniel-Mackenzie-Mackenzies-Series/dp/0425253953/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0