Saturday, February 16, 2019

ARC Review: Love's Call by C.A. Szarek

Love's Call is the second book to C.A. Szarek's The King's Riders series and the first book I've read of Szarek's. I was hopeful that coming into the series having not read the first book, that I wouldn't be lost, and I wasn't. I believe whenever they referenced the first book, they explained very well what happened. While this was a good thing since I didn't get lost in the story, it did make me wish I was reading that book instead of this one.

Ansley (I LOVE that name) is a Senior King's Rider. Basically she is a messenger for the king. The King gives her a message that needs to go to one of his Duke's with all possible haste. She leaves immediately with her "bonded" wolf companion, Ali, and she pushes her horse hard. Along the way Ali brings her to a stop because there is a girl in bad shape lying on the ground gasping for help. While she starts to try to figure how she was going to get the girl on her horse to safety, a large group of armored men show up. So far this story has really gotten me interested.

Leargan, the man leading the group of armored men, is the captain of the Duke's personal guard. They were out on patrol when they came across the two women. After cautious introductions, the men help Ansley get the girl back the the Duke's town. One of the personal guard, Roduch, seems intensely drawn to the hurt woman, and immediately considers it his duty to take care of her. He recognizes her as a woman he has seen in dreams and visions. Leargan is also immediately taken with Ansley, and Ansley is amazed to discover Leargan there, as she has been half in love with him for years. At this point I am still very intrigued to see where everything is going.

Upon getting to the Duke's home, they immediately get a healer to work on the poor unknown girl who is in such a rough state. After she has been seen to Ansley is able to deliver her message and find sleeping quarters. The next morning, the Duke shows the message to Leargan, and it says that the king and Ansley's father want Leargan and Ansley to get married. While Leargan admits being attracted to Ansley and a willingness to obey his king he isn't sure how she will take being ordered to marry him. He doesn't let her know about it for the time being. Also, that same morning, the mysterious hurt woman wakes up and tells them all her name is Avril, and starts to tell them the abuses that happened to her. It enrages everyone, and they all want vengeance on the man responsible.

This is where the book starts to die down. It focuses mainly on the romance between Ansley and Leargan while Avril gets more and more comfortable to share what she can of her situation. Ansley is annoying. Her thoughts and actions reminded me of a 13 year old girl in a 22ish year old's body. I also later learned how much of a hypocrite she is. Leargan seemed a pretty good guy, but he makes some bad decisions. The two struggle to communicate. And they go from 0 to 60 with the beginning of a kiss to almost being intimate every time they're together. Roduch and Avril's patient and slow time of learning each other and gaining trust grabbed my attention so much more.

As for the magic, there really isn't very much explaining and it seems used in odd ways not really helping the story as much as it could. No one seems worried about being hurt because the healer will have you back to normal in no time at all, and he even can manipulate your body's functions how he wants. I saw great potential in the bonding some characters had with wolves, but that really never amounted to much after the beginning when Ali found Avril. They just acted mostly like domesticated dogs in every other scene. 

With how much the characters talked about the adventures of the first book, all the action in this book was so anticlimactic. Nothing really was any sort of struggle, and I never felt once that I didn't know how the story would go. It was very disappointing. I do hope that the aversion I have to this book is a fluke in comparison to the rest of Szarek's work, because this story had amazing potential at the first. I am very interested to read the first book in the series after hearing about it from this one. I think I might someday try it out.

**ARC provided by NetGalley**

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Feature and Giveaway: In the Dog House by Traci Hall

Ten years ago, Jackson Hardy joined the Marines, leaving behind a woman he still dreams about. When he's called home to care for his ten-year-old nephew, no one is more shocked than he to run into Emma again. Or to still have those same feelings. But Jackson isn't looking for love, and neither is Emma, especially not with him. His precocious nephew, though, and a retriever named Bandit, are about to change that.

So what if Emma Mercer is an overachiever? She has plans to get her doctorate in psychology and create a no-kill shelter for the EST dogs she trains. Which leaves absolutely no time for romance. She's fine with a furry family—dogs don't teach you to love and then rip your heart to shreds. But young Matty's situation tugs at her heartstrings and there's no way she can't help him…and Jackson.

She may have hotter-than-ever chemistry with the soldier, but forgetting the past isn't easy.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Sealed with a Kiss Event with Erica Ridley

Erica Ridley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical romance novels. Her two most popular series, the Dukes of War and Rogues to Riches, feature roguish peers and dashing war heroes who find love amongst the splendor and madness of Regency England. When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sealed With a Kiss Event with Lenora Bell

Lenora Bell is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of historical romances. A teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has lived and worked on five continents. She currently lives in New Zealand with her carpenter husband and two tiger-striped rescue kitties. She loves to hear from readers! Sign up for her mailing list to hear about new books, sales, and giveaways!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Sealed with a Kiss Event with Janna MacGreggor

Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs. She loves to hear from readers.

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sealed with a Kiss Event with Michelle McClean

Romance and non-fiction author Michelle McLean is a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who is addicted to chocolate and Goldfish crackers and spent most of her formative years with her nose in a book. She has a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, loves history and romance and enjoys spending her time combining the two in her novels.

When Michelle's not editing, reading, or chasing her kids around, she can usually be found in a quiet corner working on her next book. She resides in PA with her husband and two children, an insanely hyper dog, and three very spoiled cats. She also writes contemporary romance as USA Today bestselling author Kira Archer.