Books are my sanctuary.

Finally a genuinely good book with a solid story

Lady In Disguise (The Langley Sisters) - Wendy Vella

"...Let me sleep with you in my arms and wake you with my kisses. Only with you can I truly be the man I want to be. You fill all the places inside me that have been empty for so long and you take away the pain of who I once was and the people I hurt.”" - Lord William Ryder

Short summary:

Olivia Langley is the eldest of three sisters who have lost both of their parents in a short span of time and were left penniless and alone. Olivia shoulders most of the responsibilities now although her sisters help in everything and are equally involved in the house affairs. She has accepted the fact that she will never have a season in London and therefore will remain unwed just so all of the funds could be given to her second sister Phoebe's season and her third sister Bella's health requirements.

The funds that they don't have at the moment. So they turn to highwaymen robberies. And as luck would have it, the first person to fall as a victim to them is Olivia's first love, Lord William Ryder, a man who left 5 years ago without telling anyone and hasn't contacted anyone since then.

Atop of all of that, there is a looming threat of the sisters' being evicted from their home by their cousin, the new Lord Langley, who doesn't want to support them at all but he does have a more sinister plot in mind for all of the sisters.

“Only a strong woman could have done what you did, love, and no matter how I feel about the choices you’ve made, I cannot blame you for them. You did what you thought was necessary to keep your family safe.” - Lord William Ryder



Olivia Langley is a strong heroine for her time. She stepped up to being in charge of the household, of her sisters' affairs, of preserving the fake facade in front of the rest of the town and of sacrificing her own happiness for her sisters'. She also rides in a Derby and robs people with her sister Phoebe, holding people at gunpoint and taking their money which is an offence punishable by death. But she isn't portrayed like a 'mary sue', a flawless super heroine that nothing can get to, no, she is portrayed as a multi-layered person who has her moments of weakness but does her best for her sisters' sake.

"Yet, how could you prepare yourself to see the man you loved while pointing a gun at his head?"

" my mind, anyone who buys me a cinnamon bun is someone worth my time.”" - Olivia Langley


Lord William Ryder is a man who was born with a title and into huge wealth. He, as the second son, did not bear the weight of responsibility from an early age as his brother did so he grew up spoiled. William was one of those men who knew they had money for life and little responsibility and so they went around living in debauchery and only cared about their bad company and their appearances. He was arrogant and irresponsible. That is why his brother could not stand him and they continuously clashed. In a moment of clarity, William saw that his life will not improve with the current circumstances so he left. He left without one word. He left to build his own life and himself in his own way and on his own terms. And for that I have huge respect for this character. And yes, not even sending one letter later was not good but I can understand it. He wanted to achieve something on his own before he comes back to this life he left behind.

"“I couldn’t possibly leave without going into the church; after all, I could walk out a better man.” “To the best of my knowledge, my lord, the last miracle performed here was two hundred years ago,” Olivia muttered." - William and Olivia

"I do not tolerate men who threaten women, especially not a woman whom I count as my friend.” - Lord William Ryder



Writing is extremely smart if I can put it like that. The author is very skilled with her words. There is subtle foreshadowing presented, an interesting story, multi-layered characters that we immediately connect with, plenty of witty humour, nicely presented era, slow building emotions and tension... almost everything I deem perfect in a book like this one.

“There are plenty who will say they are your friend but only a few who actually mean it.” - Lord William Ryder


What didn't work for me.

I would have to go into spoiler territory to fully explain but I won't do that. I'll just keep it simple. Sisters have lost their parents and were left with no money. The youngest sister needs medical remedies. They need money to keep appearances so they will have at least some prospect of marriage, or at least one of them. All of that is pressuring them into desperate actions to get the money. And here is where it doesn't fully work for me.

So, the sisters would rather risk highway robbery and being sentenced to death if found out or even risking death at the robbery itself rather than ask for help. Especially from the Duke. I understand one has pride. And ego. And doesn't want to spoil the good name of their family. But you cannot tell me you'd rather risk death and hold people at gunpoint (people who could be struggling for money themselves) rather than explain the situation to the Duke whose family has always had connections with their family and all of them grew up together and they knew the Duke's character. And since this is a very big part of the story, it always ate at me because I could not understand it.

The author could have made it more difficult for them to ask the Duke for help, like for instance their late father offending him or them already owing money to him or a refusal of some sort in his youth from one of the sisters... anything that would explain it better.


All in all.

Wonderful read in almost all aspects. It is truly a page turner. You want desperately to see what happens next and what other things will surface and make everything extra complicated.

Absolutely recommended.


"...“You love me, Olivia Langley, otherwise last night would never have happened.” “No, you are mistaken, my lord, I—I love no one.” “Your eyes say the opposite to your lips, my love. When I return to Willow Hall tomorrow we will talk, Livvy, and you will tell me what troubles you. And while you lay in your cold bed tonight remember one thing. You are mine now and I will never let you go.”" - Lord William Ryder

Can you say 'Stockholm Syndrome' boys and girls?!

Puma's Captive - Jade Carr


Stockholm syndrome: noun
'feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor.'

I will present you all with a few quotes from the book and then I will try to give my hopefully short opinion because my brain is already bleeding enough.

"He'd opened his mouth before acknowledging that he didn't want to talk to her. She was female and he male. Nothing else mattered."

"He'd force her down, envelope her, show her who her master was."

"She was his to punish or not, depending on his mood, and at this moment the only thing he wanted was for her to understand he was in charge."

""You will do what I command," he said. "What happens between us is for my pleasure, not yours. And if you can’t comprehend that—" He crouched so he could more easily strike her defenseless buttocks. "I’ll punish you until you do.""

"Besides, she was a piece of merchandise, gift wrapped for him."

"He only wanted a resting place for his cock. A willing one, his human half insisted. It doesn't matter, Puma returned."

"He’d take advantage of that, bring her down to his level. Going by instinct, he struck her ass as hard as he could do given the awkward angle. She shuddered and struggled to get free."

"The possibility stopped him from massaging her surely sore ass. No way would he allow her to think she was in control. He was! Even though he wasn’t sure what had prompted his anger, he started punishing her again and again. His breathing quickened and deepened with the renewed blows. This was good, perfect, a helpless creature delivered to him."

""You brought this on yourself," he said. "Maybe it’s what you want." The first blow to her too-accessible ass forced a curse from her lips. One thing she’d learned from previous spankings—the more she resisted, the longer the punishment lasted. Teeth clenched and eyes tightly closes, she silently counted as he struck her. Five swats were manageable, but ten had her wincing with every blow. By the time he reached fifteen, her head roared and her ass was on fire. This was their relationship, not all of it and thankfully not all the time, but at the core he disciplined and she endured."

My opinion:


There is not much to say about them really. They are one sided as it gets.
Female lead Kai is a psychic that can talk to animals and that is why she is at some archeological find (there is a very loose connection there, just go with it) and there she wanders around and happens to encounter a puma that is half man half puma, imagine the coincidence. She gets subdued, forced, tied up, kidnapped and sexually molested but it's fine because after the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in she retroactively decides she actually wanted it all along (forget the crying, kicking, screaming, fearing, trying to run away etc).

Puma is well, half human half beast. Male lead - Hok'ee is his human side and Puma is his, you get it, puma side. Apparently he got turned into one of these because he did not accept his Native American heritage, that is so vaguely explained that I just cannot be bothered with it. Something about him being a man and young and able to reproduce a lot or something and that is why he is punished along with other 4 or 5 and the rest are not. Just go with it, it doesn't matter anyway.


Hahahaha, what story damn... woman gets into the area where pumas live, one puma stalks this woman then violently ties her with big thick rope first putting in her mouth then behind her to tie her hands behind her back and in the end her legs and kidnaps her tied like that and sexually molests her while she is scared crying fearing him. Then she realises she cannot escape him so she doesn't resist as much and he forces himself on her and then after some time of abusing this woman and punishing her she suddenly has an epiphany! Hallelujah! She actually does want this savage chauvinist rapist after all. She didn't immediately realise but after being hit enough times it got beaten into her. She is mad about this monster now. Everyone rejoice.

In the very last chapter of this overly long book the author is trying to fix all of this crap happening throughout the book by having the monster be gentle to her for the first time ever. It doesn't work because she is already brainwashed, how he now behaves is a moot point because he knows she will never leave. Give me a break.

Unintentionally funny part.

At some point in the story this main male character is talking to another puma and that other one says how he came (ejaculated) by listening to Hok'ee raping the woman and he is currently stroking his co&k when this happens:

"Nodding, Anaba released his co&k and patted Hok'ee's knee. Occasionally, when solitude and the need for sex became too much for them, they pleasured each other. They just didn't talk about this aspect of their relationship."

Because why not. Imagine now those five pumas turning into men and all just having an all male orgy. But let's not talk about it too much.

Also, just to point out, saying when solitude becomes too much and he hasn't been a puma that long, it's somewhere between a couple of months and a year you really start to understand the author's thinking. Yes, men just cannot help it. They cannot service themselves occasionally, no no, a couple of months is too long for just your hand or nothing, when push comes to shove and there are no women to kidnap and rape, just call your best mate and let him handle it. Cause that is what your best friend is for.

All in all.

I have zero respect towards this book. Since this is the only book I have read from this author I won't say the same about the author but I also certainly won't read any of the other works. I am not into self-torture up to that degree.

If you want to read about how NOT to get a woman, how NOT to respond to your kidnapping and rape, how NOT to have a toxic and abusive relationship, this book will provide you with perfect guidelines and examples about it.

This is porn. Nothing else. Pure porn.

An Indecent Wager - Georgette Brown

How can this ever fall into a romance category? There is nothing here but a sexual encounter between a woman who lost in gambling to a man who would trade 50 pounds of her debt for a night of pure fu&king. That's all this is. Nothing after that. It stays on that one night of se%.

I purchased this book because I was under the false impression (thanks to the very wrongly category of steamy regency romance on Amazon) that I will actually read a story. Not read about two people boinking each other as the main focus with absolutely nothing else to follow.

I am beyond mad that this can fall into historical romance and steamy regency romance categories because it doesn't deserve to be there with the rest. This has as much of a plot as a porn video "with a story" where a guy comes to deliver pizza to some woman and then they boink and then he leaves, the end.

If you are looking for a se% scene, sure go ahead but even in that it is really below mediocre but if you are looking for something to actually read, for some actual characters and storyline, you are certainly not going to find it here.

A tiny bit better than the previous book but I will not continue the series

Strategic Vulnerability - Mandy M. Roth


"I'm... fine.
"You don't sound fine.
Because my d!ck is hard enough to hammer nails. All I want to do is sink to the floor and bury myself deep in you."



And that is pretty much what you get with the fourth book in the series. Lots of restraining himself from the male lead and lots of not running away but actually goading him from the female lead.


The main couple consists of:


Wilson, the resident joker of the I-Ops and a wererat. He is the reason I am giving this book half a star more than the third book. Wilson is much more fleshed out as a character and I felt extremely bad for him in the previous books because honestly no one deserves constant bashing like he got. He got captured and was imprisoned in some facility where he is being tortured and experimented on. The I-Ops practically gave up on him (I bet they wouldn't have given up that quickly if any of the other guys went missing but okay, whatever) and if not for the three hormonal ladies that insisted on still searching they might not have found him in the end, which might also have been for the best when I think about it because they were much safer before they were discovered (but I do not wish to get into spoilers, just saying poor Kim).


One more thing that really annoyed me was what has been done with Wilson's character or rather hasn't been done is the shifting itself. All other male leads have shifted or partially shifted in front of their mates. For heaven's sake, even Lance who had minimal time in the first book shifted while banging Melanie. But Wilson doesn't shift in this book, nope, because Wilson is a rat so it might not be a pleasant thought for the readers or something. I, on the other hand, think that is discriminatory and wish it would have been done. Wilson is just as much of a shifter and a good guy as the rest but the author keeps putting him down. It is really aggravating.


And Kimberly or Kim, some sort of Fae. She is a grad student apparently researching some indigenous plants in the rainforest and gets captured by her professor and gets locked up in the same facility as Wilson. She is as well being experimented on and ends up in Wilson's cell. He protects her, she protects him and that's how the story plays out. Her character isn't really that fleshed out as Wilson's but it also isn't all that confusing like Melinda's from the previous book. I do have a thing I am not fully clear on and that is her powers. Kim is at least part Fae and she knows she has strong powers but in several instances she is afraid of using them not to hurt Wilson which didn't sit well with me. It wasn't really explained on why that would happen and if she ever had any previous bad experiences. It was just a plot device to keep them imprisoned for a longer period of time.


Wilson and Kim as a couple work better than I would have thought. Kim actually questions this instant love mate thing and wonders how can she marry someone she only knows for a number of days. Which is definitely a valid point with all of them. They have a good enough chemistry and I wasn't as annoyed this book around because Wilson was the main character.


The problems I have with this book and consequently with the entire series is just the basic premise it seems. In the first and second book it was okay because it was when I encountered it first so it didn't bother me but now it is starting to get on my nerves.



Formula goes:


Female in trouble, male come rescue this woman that we pretend is strong but is nothing without your sexy abs and now we are immediately married because mate means it is fated and you cannot choose whom you love and yeah, bam, instant pregnancy as well.



All heroines are now pregnant, they have all moved in with their well, husbands as it stands, despite knowing them for a couple of days before doing the rest. Like I said, it was fine in book 1 and book 2 but the exact same thing has been repeated now in 4 books in a row without any deviation and I feel like I have read one book four times over.


I will not continue with this series because it seems it has no variety to offer. Female in danger, male saves, insta love, boom baby here, move on to the next couple. Do all female leads have to immediately get pregnant? If the sperm is that potent from all the shifters, how many kids will they have until they die of exhaustion of having too many kids? It's just... a bit too much for my taste.


If you like reading the exact same thing over and over knowing exactly what will happen next, be my guest, there are plenty left but I know when to start something different.

Third book showing a gradual decline in the series

Radar Deception - Mandy M. Roth

You know that feeling when you read something and you just cannot connect with it on any level? That's how this was for me. I could not understand the characters and their changes, and yes yes, I did try, I happen to really enjoy Mandy M. Roth's writing.


Here's what didn't click for me in this book.


The characters. Simple as that. I do not understand them.


Green is a werepanther and for the first two books he was shown as a more of a cold, distant, trying-to-please-everyone, convert-everything-into-science talk and a reserved person who doesn't approach women. He had a wife who died in childbirth 60 years ago and he didn't have anyone since. All clicks so far. He meets the main female character in the beginning of the first book and lets his friend Lance have se# with her (because he is just a stand-up guy overall right) and before Lance dies Green promises Lance to look after Melanie (again, didn't make sense even then because how could Lance know he is going to die, but nevermind). In the second book Green occasionally asks about Melanie and how she is but nothing really serious all in all. And now in the third book he suddenly knows she is his mate and they were always destined for each other and he gets extremely jealous at men she used to bang (and let's face it, she banged everything that moves). I wouldn't have a problem with all of this if not for this sudden shift.


So, Green spent two books literally seeing her being fu$ked by Lance, her going through this withdrawal thing and being very ill, her trying to get it on with some of her former fu$ks... and now he suddenly had this revelation that she is his and no one will touch her and how he always knew and no one may touch her now but him.... you know, for a super smart intelligent geeky scientist guy, you are extremely slow on realising she is your mate and no one should touch her but you... how am I supposed to take this seriously? Well, in a paranormal erotic romance kind of seriously.


And then there's the female lead, Melanie, a Fae. She is even more confusing. This book is not very long and there are a lot of things cramped in there. Along with everything, there's also the fact she has another person inside of her. I am not going to go into actual spoilers here but I can say that much to explain how all of this is very confusing. So, that other person died but some of the essence was somehow preserved and was born with Melanie. That other person is like a separate personality and comes out saying things to Melanie here and there informing her about the paranormal. Okay, fine, I can somehow deal with that. But then it goes into absurd territory where a potential merger of two people might happen and everyone acts like Melanie is going to die which then means it is not a merger but taking over of that other person and killing Melanie's personality. Then that is put aside for a bit only to have that other person be somehow contaminated with evil and Melanie actually kicks her out of herself, and I mean flesh blood personality everything... how??? Suspension of disbelief only goes so far.


Plus there's a bunch of other stuff with Melanie's powers that is not explained adequately and she has powers only in what needs to serve the plot at the moment. Like how many times she was in danger and threatened (since she was a child) and then you realise she can literally call forth her father and brother whenever she wishes and her daddy seems to be kicking everyone's ass. Then when you think about it it is best you do not think about it too much.


Also, one more thing. I absolutely despised how everyone treats Wilson, the wererat. I kind of went along with it in the first book, like he is the team's joker, then they all joke about killing him all the time haha, super funny right, in the second book it started getting on my nerves because Wilson wasn't portrayed like an as&hole to deserve that treatment from everyone all the time, and I mean every single mutual I-Ops scene... and then we get to this book and it escalates out of control. Wilson is being hated by everyone for seemingly no reason, he likes to joke around apparently, even in the bad situations, and that gives everyone a reason to keep saying how they want to kill him, and stuff like oh no don't hurt him hurt Wilson instead, no, don't do that, let's throw Wilson out of the plane instead... are you kidding me? How awful do you all have to be? Some friends you are.


All in all, this book was for me, mediocre. It served a purpose and it had some strong elements like good writing of a dialogue, good humor scenes, good portrayal of the rest of the I-Ops characters (well, apart from the Wilson thing), good naughty scenes and decent action that keeps you entertained.


There are also weak elements. Characters were doing 180 turns a lot, they were confusing to me and I did not really enjoy the romance part this time around (also, that not taking her as a wife/claiming because of such a silly thing and then that long misunderstanding later was just too much).

On par with the first book in the series

Critical Intelligence - Mandy M. Roth

Critical Intelligence, as a second book in the Immortal Ops series, has done a few things better than the first book but then again a few things not as good so the rating is the same as for the first book which is 4*. 4* because in the paranormal erotic romance genre this book is almost as good as it gets with a few things that can be improved upon, at least in my humble opinion.

In the second book our lucky main couple constitutes of: Missy, the shadow PSI agent badass kickass strong heroine and Roi, our resident Immortal Ops womaniser and the brother of Lukhian, the leader of the Immortal Ops.


Missy is truly a strong heroine in all meanings of that phrase, she can look after herself, she doesn't just rely on her powers, she can kick ass in the most physical sense possible and still sarcastically engages everyone involved. I have been looking forward to reading about her because she represents a self sufficient independent woman who can rely on her resourcefulness, wit and physical ability, relies on herself to make it through, but she has friends to also share her hardships with (although not all) and she, later on, starts relying on her partner as well.
Missy definitely grows as a character, especially emotionally, she learns how to trust others and how to ask for help when needed. She, in that regard, is a bit better in the strong heroine department than Peren from the first book. Peren didn't have a more gradual progress, she just did 180 and got to her powers and abilities. Missy is the easiest one to relate to because I believe she puts the most effort in her abilities and her gradual growth.


Roi... what to say about Roi. He is the right hand man and a brother to the leader of the Immortal Ops, his quirk is that he is a terrible womaniser and that (in the first book) has even started to affect his work. He bangs everything that moves and doesn't even ask for a name. But on the other hand, he is a good warrior with a good heart and would do anything for his teammates so he has that going for him. And his looks of course. That is pretty much as far as it goes with him. In this regard, I feel like the hero of the first book was more established than this one. It's like this hero here is just here to put emphasis on the strong badass heroine. So I felt his character lacking something. Some more depth.



My thoughts

Missy and Roi as a couple are indeed a good match and Missy's backstory is truly heartbreaking. They had some wonderful scenes and the action was just as good as in the first book. The writing is still excellent and the sarcasm just oozes from Missy which is 50 extra points for this book haha.


My main complaint here is again how everything happens in the span of another two weeks. So, the first book happened in the span of two weeks and now this one happens in the span of two weeks after that. It is an extremely short amount of time and I wish this would have been differently.


For the first book I understand somewhat, it happened quickly, the main couple got the instant mates vibes upon meeting and all of the action happened after the Ops were hired to take her out, so it goes to show that someone else will be doing it when they didn't. In the second book, however, regardless of the fact that someone is now after Missy too, we have certain characters established, we have the world building, it would have been nice to give more time to characters to actually develop. To give time to resolving problems and not having it come to a huge obstacle that immediately gets solved. The action propels you forward but this then doesn't have you maniacally turning the pages to see what happens because you already know.


And in the end I will mention one more thing that I see being written often about. The insta-love mates thing. I do not like it that much, no. I prefer characters being able to choose whom they love and marry without having it being a fate you-must-do-it or you won't have another love, you won't have children, you will suffer and you might die kind of thing. That isn't sitting well with me.
I do take it as being a central premise to shifters in this universe the author created so I am not taking down stars because of it. It is a personal preference and the author cannot please everyone. I have taken it as a part of this universe and simply judge based on how it plays out, not the fact that it even exists. If you cannot go past that then it is better not to even read this series. Because everything revolves around it. If you do choose to read it even when you know this fact then don't give this book 2* rating or similar simply based on 'I hate the mates thing, the no choice, insta-love pull the characters have'. It isn't fair to the books and to the author.


All in all, another thrill ride with a better heroine than hero this time around. If the book would be longer and gave more time to the characters and actually develop the main hero without just saying how his d$ck hurts because he needs to be inside that petit badass heroine it would have been a perfect paranormal erotic romance read. Like this, it sits at a 4* rating for me.

The good kind of a shifter paranormal romance

Immortal Ops -  Mandy M. Roth

When someone says shifter paranormal romance you get a pretty good idea of what you are going to get and that is what you get here, you get it in a good kind of a way. All of the elements of a paranormal romance are present, along with some cliches, but you get a story that is capably written, a story with well rounded characters you care about and a story that makes you keep on reading until you're done...


... and then you immediately hop on Amazon and purchase the rest of the series.


Yes, I am serious, I was that engrossed in this book and mind you I have been reading this genre for some two decades now so I have been through all of the ups and downs and still found so many positive things about this book. So let's start.



The story


The summary is already provided so I will just add onto that. Even though the story is about Lukian and Peren, it is actually far more than that. This story includes two of Peren's best friends that are major characters in their own right, and it involves Lukian's team, five other well developed individuals who I am sure will all get their own book and their own story. This is a good book for the worldbuilding and for introducing the readers into this shifter & the rest of the paranormal creatures universe that works logically and so far I can buy into it. I wasn't taken out of the world at any point, all of the paranormal stuff made sense in this universe and the characters reacted like they should according to their personalities, abilities and their position in this universe.
The story flows great, there is no point where the story is dragging, it all goes as it should to keep us fully invested. The dialogue is smart and funny and at times I see a lot of my own way of talking when it came to sarcastic remarks so that made me laugh extra hard.


The characters


The characters are well developed, well rounded and act based on reason and logic, just like proper characters should act. Every of the almost dozen characters (including the villains) got a good introduction and enough time to stand on their own and not just be 'the main character's best friend who exists solely for the main character'. They all had their own pasts, their own lives, their own experiences and their own aspirations and fears. They feel real and that is why we get so invested into their lives and into this story.


The main characters, Lukian and Peren are the main couple of the story and I like how strong they both are and how well they fit together. Lukian is a leader and a hardass and a tough leader but also realises the importance of his feelings and accepts them and acts upon them even though the circumstances are far from ideal. Peren has a very complicated story about how she was conceived and what happened to her other mother later on and what exactly she is that I believe we will read more about it in other stories because it just didn't fit in this story fully, which is understandable, these things take setup and time.


I loved the first best friend character who is Missy and I am looking forward to it reading about her in the second book. Her sarcasm is so similar to mine that I feel a kindred soul there.




There are only two things I consider as faults in this book.


The first one being the short amount of time it all happens in. Not just that the whole book takes place in a short amount of time but the fact that the two main characters go from never knowing each other to proposing in the span of two weeks. And yes, I understand that they marked each other and that are essentially already forever together but they could have at least taken time to get to know each other more and so their friends and family have time to get to know each other as well before they put a ring on it.


The other thing is Lance (if I am not remembering the name wrong), the Nordic God as he was called. I do not understand his character at all. It was hinted that he was a troubled soul. He slept with the third best friend and turned whilst doing it and then did not even try to talk to that woman about it. Then he was somehow foreseeing his death without any logic behind it and asked a friend to look after that woman he seemingly had no other interest in than a one night stand. I wish he was the one who was developed more so that his actions made sense and more of an impact to the story.




One of the better shifter paranormal romances I have read, especially in the last few years. It has great action, suspense, mystery, plotting, romance and sex. The story goes fast so you enjoy every single page, the characters are well developed and believable and I absolutely enjoyed every single moment and was left craving for more of this universe. Definitely recommended to all of the paranormal romance lovers.

Mediocre regency novel

The Devil's Gift - Laura Landon

This book is intended for some people but I do not think I am one of them. I love regency historical romances so that is not the issue. The issue is in the worldbuilding and plenty of plot holes and loose ends that just leave me feeling slightly disappointed. If you can look past those issues then there is a good enough story there to at least finish the book.

I am not going to dwell too much upon this book because it didn't make me happy and it didn't make me angry, it was that middle mediocre feeling with which you know you are not going to remember this book for long and you really won't have any feelings about it few days later when it just evaporates from your mind.

The beginning is promising, there is a mystery there with the lady training some street girls to give them a chance at a better life, there is an assassination which then leads to a private investigation by the dead person's brother, there is an intrigue surrounding the household of the main female character and there is definitely enough to build the story upon. Those are all great points but from there onwards it somehow drags in certain places like the main male character's silly training in household chores and then it goes too fast skipping important details that we then just have to imagine have been explained like how her father was discovered because there was never an indication that that might happen, it happened just to propel the plot forwards and not because logic and reason were behind the event.

The writing is capable, the story is at least interesting enough for me to read to the end, the characters are just fine, nothing great but also nothing too bad. Everything feels like that honestly, everything is just fine enough to be read through but nothing stands out to make it memorable or entertaining enough to recommend to someone.

I have many issues with the plot and the missing pieces and the overall conspiracy is just too silly to be believable, also if the main villain was that easily triggered as we see in the end then there is no way he could have masterminded that ridiculous conspiracy. The characters also not fully developed. Main female lead starts off as different than other ladies because she cares about the common folk and helps the girls out but then that just disappears when it served the plot of getting the main male lead into the household in that way. There is no mention of the girls after that, it doesn't serve anything, it doesn't come back later... it's just there to give entrance to the main male lead. Speaking of him, it is also unreasonable that he as the new earl wouldn't have more people to help him with his investigation, that he would have that much time to spend playing house with the lady whilst all of his obligations are on hold and that no other woman would be interested in him and come to play as a misunderstanding or an obstacle at some point. Things seem to happen to serve the plot and are totally forgotten.

All of what I have mentioned just left me feeling meh, like shrugging my shoulders and saying ah, it was okayish enough to not consider it a waste of time. Which is not a compliment but also not the worst thing ever.

If you have the time and you just want to read a simple regency romance story then this can kill some time, but don't think too hard about the plot and the conspiracy and the female lead's father and his circumstances because the story will immediately crumble and you won't be able to immerse yourself into this world anymore.

It's good if you just don't think about it.

The elements are there but nothing connects them in any reasonable sense

Her Highland Devil - Barbara Bard


I like Barbara Bard, I really do but this book is as dry as the Sahara desert, definitely one of her worst that I have read.

There is nothing to connect to and no characters to really care about, motives make no sense and people change just because the plot needs them to, without any growth or logic behind it.


(*examples given below might be SPOILERS*)

The storyline. If I just write it in a few short points, nothing looks amiss but then you read the book and you see nothing actually connects the plot threads and there is no logic behind things happening and everything happens just to connect one point to another disregarding any common sense known to humans.
Example: So this kidnapped woman who was taken deep into Scotland allegedly writes home to telltale about the weakness in the defence of this estate and her father receives the letter and rides of to see the king to get support and gets back home with it and manages to go rescue his daughter in the span of three days and he somehow manages this great feat and since the highlanders were surprised and unprepared they weren't really defending and instead of the English (remember, the King's troops are also there) invading and fully defeating them after their Laird has been beaten to a bloody pulp in front of everyone (and they don't kill him for some reason), no, they just get this insignificant woman and leave. Ah, yes, makes sense (notice the irony).



The characters. What a bunch of dry stale cookie cutter characters. They are not believable, they are not like real humans, we do not connect to them, they are just cardboard printouts to stand there as the so called plot happens around them. I have no idea how this good author have managed to spit out such bland idiotic pieces of s... *coughs... let's be civil here. How she managed to produce these, these ehm... characters in name only. There is nothing about them that makes them believable, it's horrible. They are awful people and only act a certain way when the plot needs them to.
Example 1: Gabby, the main female character, is supposed to be some kind of a progressive thinker in the area where she lives but then people tell her that Highlanders drink blood and eat human flesh and she believes it fully without a second thought. Or she is supposed to be a strong woman who was kidnapped and forced into marriage but then resists and all we see how upset she is that the husband doesn't immediately boink her right there and then.
Example 2: Callum, the main male character, is supposed to be this scarred wounded Highlander whose love died some years back and his world crushed then and he was left a shell of a man and then we see he immediately boinked the dead woman's best friend and kept on boinking her until this English woman disrupted his life somewhat. Such an upstanding good man that is. Totally don't want him to die a horrible death, nope, totally not.
Example 3: Callum's father needs his son to marry so he will secure his future Laird position and it has to be done immediately for some inexplicable reason and so instead of him trying to find him a Highlander woman and takes a bit more time, he just raids an English estate and kidnaps a woman there and thinks that is a good idea. How is that logical to begin with? When bunch of things just make no sense to begin with, how am I supposed to care about any of it?



Characters continuously do a 180 turn whenever the plot calls for it and it's painfully aggravating.
Example 1: Gabby's fiance whom she was supposed to marry (forcefully as well) was her childhood friend whom she saw as a brother. He wanted her and pushed himself on her much worse than the Highlander later on. He did not want to listen to one word she said, no objection or complaint. When Gabby is kidnapped and taken he told her she must be glad she is being kidnapped to get her adventure and laughs evilly. When she is mistakenly brought back, he pushes himself on her again and basically forces her to marry him, again. And then on the wedding day when she is already there somewhat willing, he does a 180 and just says that there are people outside who will escort her back to Scotland. What the actual f*ck? He did not develop as a character in the meantime and nothing happened to him to change his awful almost-rapey behaviour from before. He just becomes a saint so she can be delivered back to her husband.
Example 2: Callum does not give two s$its about Gabby when she is married to him, he even goes to be with his mistress (the dead fiancees best friend if you remember), and tells to Gabby that it is normal for men to have mistresses and he can do as he pleases, then he suddenly loves her a chapter later. Ah yes... love at a hundredth sight that must be.



I could go on and on like this for the whole night. Characters do things just because the plot needs them to. There is nothing to them, they are hollow, empty, non-existent.

There are so many plot points that lead to nothing and waste time that keep coming back to me as I write that I still don't understand how is this possible coming from the great Barbara Bard. Absolutely dumbfounding.


Skip if you can, if you must read it then be prepared to be extremely annoyed. I am not giving it a 1* because it is still written better than some other things I have read, looking more from a technical standpoint but there are really no good points I could now think of and point out. I am just so disappointed and... well... unhappy.

A wonderful discovery in the form of a web novel

Mr. Tycoon's Daring Wife - Xincerely


If you love a good love story, with a dark past and plenty of hardships to overcome and a thoroughly satisfying ending then this one is a must.


What happens when you live through a horrific trauma? It changes you. There is no other way. You either succumb and die or you get stronger and you live, but you are a different you. And that is what our strong heroine is, she is a changed person who changed for the better, for the stronger and for the smarter. And she kicks as$ (quite literally).


Zhao Lifei has never had a good emotional upbringing but she was raised in wealth and that is what made her conceited and arrogant. When she survived something terrible and managed to work through her trauma and her mistakes, she was built up as a new, improved version of herself. With this still struggling version of herself she meets her destiny in the form of an amazingly hunky and dangerous CEO Yang Feng, oh and by the way, he also rules the shady part of town. When they meet they grow as people - into people whom they are then proud to present to the world. All of that happens with a world of suffering, torture, deaths, humiliation, struggle, kidnappings, resolving their pasts etc. It is a struggle worth going through because it is written in a very compelling and smart way with a dark undertone.


The characters are flawed, as well as they should be. I hate characters that are cookie cutter characters lacking any realism. These characters are flawed, yes.

Zhao Lifei is too stubborn, bottles up her feelings, builds walls around herself and projects things from her past into current situations.

Yang Feng is a bit obsessive and possessive and stubborn as all hell when it comes to things and people he loves.

They both have a dark past and are dealing with their demons. What matters is that they grow, they mature, they lessen their bad characteristics as they spend more time with each other. They help each other. I see plenty of reviews saying the male lead character is too possessive, he is like this and like that but what they fail to mention is that his first thought is like that yes, but then he is actually much more considerate in his actions albeit still a bit too possessive and then he gets burned by our kickas$ female lead and he learns, and he adapts and he realises he can do better and he does. Isn't that the point? Going through hardships and misunderstandings to actually accomplish something, realise something, grow and mature? I certainly think it is.


The storyline is great, the plot keeps getting more and more complicated and the mystery is compelling and you just want to keep reading and discovering and enjoying the process of getting to that sweet wonderful ending.

The characters are wonderful, flawed and full of battle scars and you care for them every step of the way.

The pacing is also done well, there weren't any long scenes that you'd feel like you wanted to skip or that you'd look later at and say that was completely unnecessary. It all has a meaning, gives clues and ties the loose ends in the end.


One thing that I found quite amusing was the ending itself and no, I won't spoil it. I'll just say that it has more endings than The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King XD I kept thinking my goodness, that is amazing, ah this was so good, so that is how it ends and then you turn another chapter and then there is more, and then another and another and another and in the end I might as well say that no stone was left unturned, everyone's story had a proper ending and kudos to the writer for managing it. Well done.


All in all, it was a wonderful experience and a journey I'd sign myself up for at any time.

Romantic, funny, amazing

Psychic Princess (Tong Ling Fei) - Tencent Animation & Comics

If you love an easygoing, full of humour, historical but also with some supernatural elements and a romance to die for manga/manhwa/manhua then this is the right one to pick up.

Short summary in my own words:

The female protagonist, Qian Yunxi, was raised on a Mt. Lin Yun because she has the ability to see the supernatural which is deemed bad and that it brings bad luck. She is the prime minister's daughter and although she is the older sister she is a concubine's daughter so she is not held up to such high standards as the second sister who is the legitimate wife's child. Prime minister wants more power so he is not on great terms with the royal family so when the order comes that his daughter must marry one of the princes he sends the daughter he doesn't care about. Qian Yunxi accepts this proposal because she wants to get off the mountain. Marriage goes through and on the first night the prince tells her she is not wanted and there is one other he considers to be good enough to be his wife. Qian is sent to the worst rundown part of the palace. But for Qian, this is not so bad. She, as a wife, has enough freedom and yet, she doesn't need to do her marital duties. She takes this situation as a positive and with a positive attitude and extreme bravery slowly changes the lives of everyone around here, as well as the cold prince's heart.


My thoughts:

In my opinion, this is almost as good as it gets in this genre of manga or if you will, manhua or manhwa (manga not produced in Japan). It is on point of everything it presents itself to be. It is very funny (I laughed my heart out in the scene where she throws a chicken she purchased at the market, just trust me on this one, go read please), it is very romantic, it is serious when it needs to be, the supernatural element enriches the whole plot, it doesn't shy away from the political discussions and we come to the most important part perhaps - the heroine - she is amazing.

The heroine is truly a heroine. She is independent, she is extremely intelligent and capable, she knows how to handle herself in most situations, she is not a damsel in distress, she is the one who often saves those around her, she kicks as% and she has a pure heart. I have not come across such a capable and well written heroine in a very long time.
The prince starts off as an unlikable tyrant-like-bastard who is cold, ruthless and cunning but unwilling to deal with anything that doesn't personally benefit him. As the story develops we actually see that that is just a front. He has much more layers and a lot of the things he has done can be interpreted differently with the right context. He grows significantly when around our capable heroine. He has a great aura about him and the way he handles situations makes me giggle and blush like a little girl. But he has his vulnerable side too and later on we learn that he is actually much more innocent than we could ever have imagined. Now that is great character writing, totally takes you by surprise.
There are many more other characters who are more or less important, and more or less developed but I believe it is better left for the actual reading experience now that the basics have been laid out.

The romance is the type that makes your heart skip a beat, you blush and you also wish you were the heroine. Prince is the possessive type and I really honestly love that. I know some people don't and that is okay. We are all different. I respect people who say they don't like even a little jealousy or possessiveness but for me that is absolutely amazing. The prince takes care of our heroine and he would go to the depths of hell for her. Since this is a fictional story I think it is safe to enjoy it and savour it. Boy, is this romance delightful.

The Chinese setting and the animation style is absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed every single page, every single image. It is different, it is unique and it is definitely worthy of reading and admiring.

For the final note. The anime that was made based on this manga is pretty much faithful to the manga, although there are differences. As always, manga has much more details, much more characters, a lot of the special moments between our hero and heroine that anime just cannot condense the same in a dozen episodes. If you are interested in this story I would definitely say go first with the manga and then enjoy the anime rendition.

Simplistic read about the four types of personality

Surrounded by Idiots - Thomas Erikson

I am giving a short review in English and Croatian / Kratak osvrt napisan je na engleskom i hrvatskom jeziku


Short review in English:


I happened to stumble upon this book in my local library (yes, I still go to one and I love it) and the title itself caught my eye. Since lately I have been thinking that quite a bit myself ('there are so many idiots around me') this title just resonated with me and I had to read it immediately. I had different expectations about what this book is about but this turned out to be quite an entertaining read even though I expected a more humorous read.


This book is about the four types of personalities, red - yellow - green - blue. It corresponds with the four temperament theory by Hippocrates. Red ones are dominant ones rushing to the goal, yellow ones are quick to act dreamers and talkers who don't see things through, green ones are reluctant to speak out and get noticed and they hate change, they prefer stability and known and then there are the blue ones, the calculated quiet stoic perfectionist types who might not get the job done but the process which they have undergone to get it done will be perfect.


After each title and an explanation of the chapter we have each type listed and it is explained how they see it or how others see them in this or that situation and how best to approach them or resolve an issue with that particular type. Some individual amusing stories might be involved in the process but not always.


This book is very simplistic and will bring nothing new to the table if you are already familiar with personality types and studies. If you are not, this might be a good introduction to them. But if you are you will keep reading thinking: "...okay, when will the revolutionary part come on". Meaning, you will be hoping for something more than the basic general knowledge. And you won't get it. Because this is bare minimum that you need to know about personality types. Also, I did not much care for those amusing stories being made up stereotypes about each colour. I wish the stories showed more diversity and how most people are a mix of more colours which makes all of us unique and intriguing and much more complicated than the author would have you believe.


I will say this though, reading about the author's education and work experience, I definitely admire his work results and his skills. But he emphasises his greatness in almost every chapter of this book which definitely makes him seem like a big show-off. And I am not sure he has that much to show off in this book because it is so simplistic and repetitive with clearly made up examples to serve the purpose that you cannot help but feel like you knew all of that already and that you have just wasted some of your time even though he does write in an easy to read and understand style so it is not a hard sit.


With that being said, I do not hate this book, I enjoyed some parts and by some parts I was thoroughly bored by. Plus, I could not figure out in which stereotype category to force myself in. I displayed characteristics of all four colours and the author states that in his 20 years of work he has never met someone with all four characteristics and that people just lack in self-reflection so I must just seriously lack in self-reflection. Or I am just a complicated human being whom he cannot so simply throw in one category and move on.


Kratak osvrt na hrvatskom jeziku:


Na ovu sam knjigu naišla posve slučajno u mojoj lokalnoj knjižnici (da, dobro ste pročitali, još uvijek odlazim u knjižnicu i zaista je volim), a njen naslov je bio taj koji mi je odmah privukao pozornost. Pošto u zadnje vrijeme često mislim kako sam okružena idiotima, u tom sam naslovu i autoru prepoznala istomišljenika. Smatrala sam da će to biti lako ljetno štivo prožeto humorom i anegdotama no ispalo je ponešto drugačije što nije nužno loše no nije niti ono čemu sam se nadala.


U ovoj se knjizi predstavljaju i objašnjavaju četiri tipa osobnosti koje su predstavljene kao crvena - žuta - zelena - plava. One odgovaraju četiri tipa temperamenta koja je predstavio Hipokrat. Crveni su dominantni i žure ispunjenju svog cilja nauštrb pogreškama, žuti su također brzi u poduzimanju nečeg, osmišljavanju i kovanju velikih planova no često ih ne završe već radije započnu novi veliki plan jer im je bitno da je nov, kreativni su i obožavaju pričati, zeleni su oni koji izbjegavaju sukobe, pokušavaju svima ugoditi, teško im je reći ne i ispuniti će svoje obaveze no nikad neće preuzeti inicijativu ili žuriti ili učiniti nešto spontano i kreativno, oni vole stabilnost i stagnaciju, plavi su hladni i proračunati, šute i kalkuliraju, uvijek provjeravaju sve činjenice više puta što ih čini sporima, ali točnima, ne vole se oslanjati na osjećaje i rade sve po pravilima.


Knjiga je podijeljena na poglavlja koja se orijentiraju na određene situacije te iza svakog kratkog uvoda imamo zastupljena sva četiri tipa osobnosti i njihovo reagiranje u danim situacijama ili objašnjenjem kako drugi te tipove vide ili kako bi se mi kao suprotne ili iste boje trebali odnositi prema toj konkretnoj boji. Ponekad su uz boje navedene i šaljive priče koje bi trebale demonstrirati tu boju u stvarnom životu.


Ova je knjiga vrlo jednostavna te ne zahtijeva nikakvo predznanje o ovoj temi. Toliko je jednostavno napisana da se ponekad čini prejednostavnim. Autor želi dočarati ovu temu svim čitateljima pa polazi od činjenice da većina neće imati mnogo predznanja o ljudskom ponašanju i tipovima ličnosti što može dovesti do toga kako neki od čitatelja mogu osjećati da im se autor obraća svisoka odnosno smatra ih manje inteligentnima. U nekoliko sam se primjera i ja tako osjećala kad sam čitala njegove izmišljene priče koje je dao kao primjer u određenim situacijama jer su izmišljeni ljudi u tim pričama bili toliki stereotipi neke ljudske karakteristike da bi bilo pravilno usporediti ih sa shvaćanjem 'viceva o plavušama' potpuno istinitim i neupitnim. I to ne samo za tu jednu 'plavušu' u pitanju već o svim ženama rođenima s plavom bojom kose. Ljudi nisu primjer samo jedne te boje, ljudi su komplicirana bića koja su kombinacija tih boja i svaka od boja dolazi do izražaja u nekoj situaciji.


Autor ove knjige, Thomas Erikson, ima impresivan život iza sebe, visoko obrazovana osoba sa raznolikim radnim i životnim iskustvom i nadasve iskustvom rada sa mnoštvom različitih ljudi što je nešto zbog čega ga cijenim i vrednujem njegovo znanje. No, imam osjećaj kako u ovoj knjizi često i on sam to napominje i to malko previše jer ispada poprilično egoističan i sveznalica.


Nakon detaljnog čitanja ove knjige i istraživanja ove teme te samog autora ja još uvijek ne znam u koju bi boju trebala strpati sebe. U različitim životnim situacijama pokazujem karakteristike sve četiri boje i ni jedna po ovim stereotipima koje je on prikazao mi nije dominantna. To me poprilično razočaralo. Posebice zato što je autor napomenuo kako ni jednom nije sreo osobu sa sve četiri boje i kako smatra da nije vjerojatno da one postoje. Vjerojatno je onda stvar u činjenici da nisam dovoljno osviještena o samoj sebi, mom karakteru i mojim osobinama. Bilo bi mi drago kad bi autor koji tvrdi da toliko zna i da u jednom razgovoru može raspoznati kojim bojama osoba pripada, malo približi i nama samima kako da to otkrijemo za sami sebe, a ne samo za ljude koji nas okružuju. No, to bi bilo očekivati nešto više od ove pojednostavljene verzije već postojećih tipova osobnosti.

Good but lack of suspense and mystery

Drew (Highlanders Warriors Clan McClair #1) - Barbara Bard

Good historical romance but foreshadowing was too blatantly obvious so there was no suspense and you could see everything unfolding as it did a mile away.


Short summary:


An English noblewoman was on her way to her future husband and their wedding but one night she witnessed his soldiers carrying out his cruel commands and decided to run away which left her handmaiden and her male servant in a rather stranded situation (pun intended). Servant claimed that the handmaiden was actually the noblewoman so she would be left unharmed and that's how Sarah the handmaiden's troubles began. She had to pretend for a few days to be Rosemary, the noblewoman and that went well at the very start but then she began to witness her future husband's not to be cruelty and craziness and decided she needed to run away.


An opportunity presented itself when he took her with him and his sister along with the soldiers to the battlefield because he was so convinced he was going to win that he wanted to marry Sarah right after winning, on the very bloody battlefield itself. There, she saw on opportunity and ran into the forest where she encountered Drew, wounded Scottish warrior, and she helped him recover and on the first glance they fell for each other and the rest you can pretty much figure out from there on.

My thoughts:


I first read this author's latest novel and that swept me off my feet. So I decided to go ahead and read the rest of her work. I can now see that in this book she was still honing her craft. Although this book is very well written, it has all the elements a historical romance should have and the characters are intriguing... there is still a lot missing, or better said, everything is handed to us so that we don't really have to think or worry which is not good for keeping us tied to the story.


One of the things that immediately surprised me was the whole story missing about the English noblewoman Rosemary's disappearance. I felt like I was missing crucial information about what happened and got thrown in the middle of the story so I went to research online and found out that there is a 0.5 book in this series called Blair and I did not have that on my Amazon Kindle which contains the Rosemary story. I wish there would have been a notice or a remark about this story being directly involved with the previous one so I would first go to that one. I would recommend doing that to people reading this before getting to this series.


My greatest remark of them all is the lack of suspense and mystery. Like I mentioned before, author does not really foreshadow the events here, she puts them on a big freakin' billboard surrounded by flashing lights and puts you right in front of it. Within first two chapters, I knew exactly how the book will play out. One event let me down completely (heroes meeting for the first time) even though I knew how things will go from there on. I won't go into spoilers on every event that failed to be a surprise but suffice it to say that I knew how things will end with the cruel Lord's sister even though it was the last chapter or second last where her fate is resolved.


With all the critique I have given you might think I did not really like the book or that I would not recommend it. That is not true. I did like how it was written, the style used, the elements it possessed, I was just a bit disappointed with the execution itself. I would recommend it to historical romance lovers but as a happy light read, not as a gripping hold onto your chair and read till wee hours of the morning kind of story. As long as you know what you are getting into, you won't be disappointed.


I like Barbara Bard, I think she has huge potential and I will continue reading her books. I hope you also give her a chance, if with nothing else then with her latest novel Highlander's Honor: A Historical Scottish Highlander Romance Novel, now that is amazing. Her true colours shining through. All the best, dear author, keep them coming.

Everything you would ever want from a historical romance !

Highlander's Honor - Barbara Bard

This book has everything... love, betrayal, backstabbing, conspiracy, kidnapping, looming threat of a great war, great heroes, action, great twists and turns and an amazing ending for all of us romantic saps out there. What more can I actually say about it, go and read and enjoy !


Well, there is a little bit more I can say about this book without really spoiling the plot or ruining some twists.


Catrin is an amazingly written character. She is depicted as a strong heroine because even though she happens to get kidnapped and imprisoned and goes through a lot of tough situations, she actually doesn't just stand around wailing about the situation, she fights, oh boy does she fight good. And for a woman in that time period, that is exceptional and rare but not non-existent. So for anyone out there saying she just gets kidnapped like any other damsel in distress, that is not true. That person clearly did not read this book. Catrin is strong and capable and smart and very relatable. One of the best heroines in the historical romance genre I had a pleasure of getting to know well.


Ranulf is also an amazingly written character which is why this book works so well. He is a strong warrior and a laird but he is down to earth. Also, he isn't invulnerable like most of the heroes in this genre. He gets hurt, physically and emotionally. He is compassionate but also ruthless when the situation demands for it. He is... human. And that makes him all the more delicious, especially when placing him next to a character such as Catrin.


One of the most important things for me in a book is that I can see how heroes grow and mature. If a hero is constantly unchanging then all of the hardships he goes through are meaningless. You are left wondering why did you even read this book and why it exists. But when you see the growth, maturing, changing then you can say yes, it was worth it. And Ranulf and Catrin certainly grow. They both have preconceptions about the other's nation and its people (English/Scottish). With experience and time they begin to realise how mistaken they were and how people are just people. Something similar happens with the memory of their lost family members, they learn things about them that paint them in a different light and with some struggles they need to learn how to accept it as the truth and reconcile their feelings accordingly.


I have not enjoyed a good book like this in a long time so I am giving it the best rating there is. It has everything a book in this genre should have, it is written well, grammar is superb, characters are enchanting and even though I stayed up until 04:30 in the morning reading this book I wouldn't change a thing.


Absolutely recommended to everyone, especially people who appreciate a well written story.

Lovecraft inspired horror set in India

City of the Shrieking Tomb - Patrick Rogers

City of the Shrieking Tomb is a wonderful suspense filled tale which will leave you with that cold shivering feel which all good tales must when coming from this genre. 


First of all, let me just say that the title of the book is amazing. First time that I heard about it, I simply knew it will be on my to-read list and I was amazingly lucky to get this book in an ebook format in an exchange for a fair and honest review (thank you Patrick A Rogers). 


This is my first peak into a fully Indian setting and the city of Humayunpur which will intrigue even the most demanding of readers with its history and the secrets it holds. For this review I will mostly focus on my thoughts about the book rather than going into deep explanations because I honestly think that it would take away the freshness and uniqueness of the story itself if I would spoil anything for (I hope) a lot of new readers.


In short, the story revolves around a photographer called Rick who unintentionally winds up stranded in Humayunpur and becomes a guest of Awaz who is an even more interesting character than the protagonist on occasions. In this city foreigners are not warmly welcomed and they do not look kindly upon others intruding on their history and their customs so Rick who is photographer is forbidden to take photographs of the most intriguing of places, Humayun Ka Maqbara, an ancient mosque in ruins. He is drawn to this place and to the city itself all the more as time goes on. It seems to be a supernatural pull or an otherworldly link that is stronger than him and so he remains stuck in this irrational strange world. 



This horror is unlike most horror stories today, it is more eerie and unsettling rather than gory and flashy. The best way I can describe it is by comparing it with the original Halloween movie to modern horror movies today like The Bye Bye Man. Original Halloween built up the atmosphere on suspense and creeping unsettling darkness that made you uncomfortable in your own skin just like this book does. Modern horror movies today are mostly flashy loud jump scares that do nothing but make you jump in your seat because of the loudness of the noise and when that is over you forget about the movie because there was nothing worth remembering about it, like many horror books today which just want you to feel revolted by some gruesome image where there is no quality to it and you will soon forget about their existence. 


This book will stay in your memory. Eerie is the best way I can describe this book like. And it is very difficult to write a review worthy of that feeling. 


What I can put as a downside and the reason this didn't make it to 5* for me is some lacking editing but that is quite understandable given the circumstances. Also, there's a lot of talking and explaining things in this book and for some people that might be a big drawback but for me it wasn't that much of an issue, at times I welcomed it, at times it did seem to go on for a bit too long but since I am absolutely new to the Indian setting I think it was mostly okay. 


If you enjoy creepy and eerie, please do give this book a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised by something different, something new and something original.

From where do all those 5* ratings come from I will never understand

A Scoundrel by Moonlight - Anna Campbell

"Dear God, wait until she saw his cock. If his chest made her nervous, she’d run screaming once she caught sight of it. He wasn’t a monster. He knew he was in proportion. But his proportions were notably generous. He’d managed previous encounters without injuring his partners, but Eleanor was a virgin. Perhaps he should ask her to close her eyes when he removed his breeches."



What a load of bollocks. 


Yeah, I've said it. This is hands down the worst book of this series and it just had to come at the very end so it left such a vile taste in my mouth. All those people leaving 5* reviews have clearly: 1. never read a good book, 2. have been hit in the head, 3. are taking some kind of drugs, 4. have amnesia of everything that is good and right about this world. 5. have never encountered the word love or romance in their lives, 6. are personally associated with the author and/or were given books in exchange for better reviews or for some reason 7. like everything that is wrong about historical romance genre.


Right, so I got that out of my system, wonderful. First of all, the title doesn't suit this book at all. Who exactly is this scoundrel in the title... the righteous honourable selfless Lord Leath or very prim and proper Miss Trim... they are both so very scoundrelish that I simply cannot decide. Secondly, dear author, if you had no idea what to do next, you didn't have to force this quick cash grab just to have something published. Because this is exactly what I have said, a quick cash grab, adding one more character to the Sons of Sin series (that only had bastards of the ton originally which is why it is called The Sons of Sin... explain to me how exactly is Lord Leath, a legitimate child of a famous honourable praised influential family a son of sin exactly??? ).


I won't dawdle on this too much, it's clear that my opinion is in the minority here but it just irks me so to have my time wasted intentionally. I read this book only because I have read the previous ones, I like the sons of sin idea, but how the hell does Leath fit into this at all??? I am so tired and exhausted after dragging this read throughout this week.


This book is so dry, there is not one original thought in it, there is nothing that would make me find it at least a bit redeemable, even the godforsaken sex scenes were so dry I am surprised they didn't turn into dust and got blown away with the wind. This just follows the same formula, get two people who are not society's ideal couple into a perilous situation and they will eventually get together, and I mean eventually, like after a thousand years it seemed, if I would have to read one more line of inner thoughts about how I love him so much but I would just be a burden to him and would tarnish his reputation I would stab my eyes with a fork. Hopefully a very dull fork. Pain would be such a relief at that point.


Everything in this book is wrong, it is so CONTRIVED it honestly leaves me lost for words at times. If this just so conveniently didn't happen in this convenient accidental place because of that totally convenient not at all contrived reason with the help of that convenience and simply pissing on reader's intelligence this oh so convenient love might not turn out to be so convenient after all.


First half of the book Eleanor Trim so wants to marry Lord Leath but he can just have her as his mistress. The second part of the book Lord Leath begs Eleanor Trim to marry him but she keeps on refusing saying it is for his own good. Honestly... *sigh. And their so well thought out reasons and feelings shift in less than a second. Without any explanation. Just ah, yes, for two hundred fucking pages I have been saying no to marrying you because I am a poor nobody and I would ruin your career and your mother would hate you and you would no longer have a place in society but now that I was in one stupid perilous situation I totally want to marry you and all the reasons against it just simply vanish. Why would we mention such silly things as me ending your political career or me hurting the health of your frail mother even more or me making you a laughingstock of the ton... what reasons? This is fiction, people, reasons have no place in historical romance genres you know. Yeah, I am being sarcastic and after everything this book has put me through I think I have a right to be.


Did I mention that the awkward dry scene of him taking her virginity lasts for 21 pages? I didn't? Oh, well, let me correct that. So yes, their first sex scene together, without the flirtation before that mind you, takes 21 pages of the book, and I will add to that that immediately after this sex scene finishes, another one starts as soon as they wake up and it lasts for another 6 pages. 27 pages of the awkward humping. Lord give me strength, and no, I do not mean Lord Leath in this instance.


The worst thing is that the one thing that keeps them together, this misunderstanding without which they would never have stayed together, is the most contrived thing in the history of contrived things. Lord Neville's henchman, Greengrass, fellow from one of the previous books, has kept the diary of Lord Neville's detailed deflowering and consequent sex encounters with many women across England. He goes through the list and keeps on having sex with those same women and he also blackmails them into giving him money. Eleanor initially thought Leath was the one who did all those deflowerings because apparently Neville used his nephew's name in his evil wrongdoings and it is never explained why really. He was his family, if anyone found out his name would be tainted too, it doesn't matter that he might have thought Leath was acting all too good and proper. Makes no freaking sense. And now this Greengrass wants Leath to pay up for not making the diary public. And they arrange to meet at some tavern or whatever and Leath has all of the 'bastards' with him when they thoroughly inspect the place one day in advance and make note of all the exists and surroundings. And what do you think happens? CONTRIVANCE, that's what. They missed to notice a third exit and a whole freaking back alley where it leads to, not to mention the escape and tunnels from the cellar... where were they looking? Alternate universe??? And they clearly say this:


"...sidling to bring the end of the alley into view. It was ominously empty. How the hell had they missed this exit? Last night, he and the others had thoroughly checked the inn. He’d have laid money that they’d counted every door and window." - p.244 look it up if you don't believe me. Most intelligent, cunning, brave, influential men of the Society and they missed an entire back ally of the establishment. I have to say that is an achievement in itself truly.



I will stop now. My head hurts so much from all this nonsense. My suggestion? Read the other books in the series (my favourite is about the Hillbrooks), pretend this one doesn't exist. If anyone happens to wonder why I still haven't left reviews of the other books in the series, the reason is that I wanted to read all of the books before leaving reviews and since I ended with this one and this one made me so angry I wanted to start with this one whereas reviews are concerned and put it out of mind as quickly as possible.


And if you wonder why after all that I ranted about I am still giving this book 2*? The answer to that is simple and will always remain the same. Because it is still better than Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey.