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May 29, 2020

4 Books for Fans of Romance

by MK French

Are you looking for a summer romance? If so, try one of these four novels.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Soul Reckoning by Nancy Polin

Soul Reckoning
Nov. 2017; Evernight; 978-1773394787
ebook, print (242 pages); paranormal romance
Rowan O’Herley inherits a tavern from her uncle and sees it as a fresh start. Otherworldly presences begin to appear, so she inherited much more than an old building. Luke Meunier has a tragic past and doesn’t want to get close to Rowan. When he realizes she may be in the same danger that killed her uncle, he can’t help but get involved.

Soul Reckoning is a paranormal romance novel, so we have all the tropes. Beautiful woman unaware of potential danger? Check. Spooky setting in New Orleans? Check. Possible shenanigans with Uncle Jimmy’s death immediately starting the book? Check. Weird handsome guy living in the storage room that Rowan can’t evict? Check. Creepy guy a little too interested in blood? Check. Danger that forces our heroine and hero into close proximity? Check.

We have gorgeous descriptions of New Orleans as Rowan adjusts to moving there from California, and there’s the creepy factor of the green-eyed man appearing and disappearing after telling her that she needs to repay the debt her uncle owed. In addition to the woman getting involved with a new situation, there’s Luke’s grief and the clientele all knowing each others’ stories and being friends with one another. Rowan is lost, emotionally and psychically, and her belief in only one reality is tested. Of course the defenses are tested, and there is still danger, which makes Rowan and Luke realize how much they actually care for each other even though they didn’t want to. That follows the usual romance novel formula, so it’s a comforting one to follow. The paranormal elements have to do with ghosts and voodoo, which was a nice way to bring in the location’s history and superstitions.

Buy Soul Reckoning at Amazon

Scot Under the Covers by Suzanne Enoch

Scot Under the Covers
January 2020; St. Martin;  978-1250296405
ebook, print (352 pages); Regency romance
Miranda Harris is a charming young woman and known throughout Society as a resourceful and proper lady that had rejected many suitors so far. Captain Vale wants to use that cachet and drove her brother deep into debt in order to secure her hand in marriage. Her brother is nearly betrothed to Eloise MacTaggert, so she tries going to her brother Aden for help understanding the mindset of a man like Captain Vale. It soon becomes far more than that for both of them.

This is the second book in the Wicked Highlanders series, following It's Getting Scot in Here (read my review). While it obviously makes more sense to have read the first book before this one, we know all of the salient bits early on. The MacTaggert brothers were essentially summoned to England to get English brides before their younger sister marries her fiance in order to get money released to help their estate in Scotland. Niall is the youngest of the three boys and married their mother's choice in the first novel.

Captain Vale is a callous and narcissistic villain, and it's clear from the outset that we're not meant to like him. There are never any redeeming comments made about him, and over the course of the novel there are even more terrible things we hear about him. In contrast, the more that we learn about Aden, the more we like him. We're greeted to him from the outset betting his brother who can toss a boot into a bucket, and that he can gamble with the best of them. From there, his sense of honor and family come to the fore, and Miranda sees there's far more to him than what she had initially seen of him. I'm not especially enamored of Matthew for how quick he was to throw his sister under the bus to save his reputation with their parents, but he was also gullible and thought that Vale was going to be honorable.

Miranda is no shrinking violet, and she maintains her sense of sarcasm and spunk even in the middle of her despair. She's eager to help Aden however she can with his plans, even though she's terrible at lying and her emotions are generally visible to those that know her well. Aden is more of a cipher to his family, largely because he had been hurt badly by his mother's leaving the family when he was a boy, breaking her promise to go on a trip with him.

Buy Scot Under the Covers at Amazon

Born of Mist and Legend by Kat Bastion

Born of Most and Legend
April 2020; ebook (453 pages); time travel romance
Skorpius has the directive to protect a human female and eventually kill her if she poses a threat to time. Brigid has to leave the only home she's ever known in order to save it and her clan. Her mother had given her the blessing of magic when she was born, and it sparks to life when she turns eighteen. Evil dodges her steps and wants to use her newfound power.

Born of Mist and Legend is the third book in the Highland Legends series, but I hadn't read the first two. I did get the sense that I missed a lot of back story for some of the peripheral characters and the castle, but it didn't stop me from understanding the flow of this novel. It started abruptly, with Brigid coming into her power and not knowing how much she actually has. Skorpius is irritated and enthralled at times, and sees more to her burgeoning magical powers as time goes on.

Chapters told from Brigid's POV tend to include the Scottish accent stand-in of dropped g's and the like, which was annoying to parse. The dangers she had to face pulled me back in every time the language threw me out of the story, but I get little sense of her as a person. She's stubborn and strong-willed, loyal to her family the clan. We're told this over and over, and I would have liked to see this in more than arguments about Skorpius following her in the beginning. I understand her resentment at being followed without her permission, especially when she thought he was the one with evil intentions toward her, but it takes more than a training session or two to really get a sense of a character. By the same token, Skorpius comes across as surly a lot on the beginning himself. I'm not sure how much of their characterization was presented in earlier novels, and I missed it by skipping to this one. Overall, it's a solid adventure story, and I did grow to like the characters in time.

Buy Born of Mist and Legend at Amazon

Kiss and 'Telle? by Nadine Keels

Kiss and 'Telle
April 2020;  979-8641651521
ebook, print (100 pages); religious romance
Chantelle has romantic feelings for Dennis, who has the reputation of being a ladies' man. They've always been friends, but now there's the opportunity for more.

Nadine writes romance that holds reverence for the spiritual, and they tend to not be very steamy. In light of current events, she wanted to release a book that is more lighthearted and fun. This is a short novella at 100 pages, and opens with our pairing discussing relationships, dating friends, and flirting. We see how well they get along from the start, and it's great to see people actually having fun with each other on the page. It's a given that they don't realize the other has a crush on them, given the plot of this book, but it's adorable to read about at the same time. In fact, I laughed out loud when Dennis got called out on the circling they were doing around each other.

Altogether, this is a quick and fun romance novel, just the thing to take your mind off your worries for a bit.

Buy Kiss and 'Telle? at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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