Something to Howl About by Christine Warren

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Something to Howl About by Christine WarrenSomething To Howl About by Christine Warren
Series: Alphaville #0.5
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 2, 2018
Pages: 75 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

Dr. Annie Cryer has been called many things: Genius. Child prodigy. Scientific wonder.

Wolf Shifter.

Banished from her pack years ago, Annie’s lone wolf wandering has brought her to Alpha, Washington, home to all shifters who don't quite fit in in the "normal" shifter word. Now Annie has the chance to go back home...if only she can make good on a favor her alpha owes the mayor of “Alphaville.” But it's not much of a favor when you're helping the hottest shifter in town...

Grizzly shifter Jonas Browning has a clan in trouble. They haven't had a child born in over a hundred years...and their clan faces going completely extinct. Genetic scientist Anne Cryer has been sent to help save them. But what Jonas doesn't count on is being irresistibly drawn to the small wolf shifter, and his bear isn't about to let her go...

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been in one of Christine Warren’s Other series. Now don’t freak out, Something to Howl About is not an actual installment of Warren’s Other series, but it is part some sort of a spin-off to the Others series, Alphaville.

Something to Howl About was so different from what I remember of Warren’s Others series that I immediately got excited reading something that was from her pen, was a paranormal romance, and was completely different from anything I’ve read from her before. The heroine, Annie, really sold me to Something to Howl About’s story simply because the main mystery and struggle came from her half of the storyline. It also didn’t hurt that with Annie’s character came Graham’s – alpha of Annie’s former pack – as well. (I love me some Graham, his story was one my all-time favorites from Warren’s Others series).

Jonas on the other hand provided the comic relief in some parts. Although I love fated mate stories, especially if they are paranormal, I’m sort of glad that he went against the formulated plan that seems to be the norm for these tropes within the genre. But because Something to Howl About is a novella, or prequel, to Warren’s Alphaville series, we aren’t able to really get a lot of the history and an in-depth look into each of the character’s personal lives and backgrounds. I would’ve really liked to have read more about Jonas’ parents, especially when they would’ve come back from Germany, and I also would’ve liked to see if Annie ever got in contact with her parents.

Overall, Something to Howl About was a solid introduction to Warren’s Alphaville series. From the sneak peek that we received at the end of this installment, I hope that Baby I’m Howling For You is as appealing because one thing I do remember about Warren’s Others series is that there was only a handful of the books in the series that I really love or even liked.

The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan ByrneThe Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels #5
Published by St. Martin's Press Format: Kindle
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

So I didn’t really mince words about how I felt about The Duke, but when I read the synopsis for The Scot Beds His Wife I was so on board with its story.

Other than Gavin’s unattractive attitude towards the Demon Highlander, aka Liam, and anyone who mentioned the Mackenzie name, he quickly entered my favorites along with Dorian, Christopher, and Liam. Don’t get me wrong, I understood what his issue was with his brothers, and the bad blood that comes from the Mackenzie name, I just wished that he was able to rise above it and not allow it to become a hinderance to him. Heck, Kerrigan Byrne went into detail in the prologue, but because she went into the same detail for Liam’s story your view of Liam won’t change but you will lament about the gap that was placed between Gavin and him.

Samantha was the type of heroine I love to read about. Her inner strength and no nonsense attitude made her the perfect match for Gavin. Their interactions are some of the best I’ve encountered, that I can remember, in all my reading life.

When things came to a head between Gavin’s background, or present response to his background, and Samatha’s past, I found myself getting choked up. I knew things were going to get so bad that something drastic would have to take place in order to work all the kinks out.

The Scot Beds His Wife was so good that I’m entertaining thoughts of a re-read becasue it’s been a minute since I’ve enjoyed a historical romance story in its entirety.

About Kerrigan Byrne

Kerrigan has done many things to pay the bills, from law enforcement to belly dance instructor. Now she’s finally able to have the career she’d decided upon at thirteen when she announced to her very skeptical family that she was going to “grow up to be a romance novelist.” Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, Kerrigan uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in almost every story.

So I Married A Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

So I Married A Sorcerer by Kerrelyn SparksSo I Married A Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #2
Published by St. Martin's Press Format: Kindle
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars

What I’m about to say doesn’t say much about So I Married A Sorcerer and yet it still applies.

I never really have an issue with jumping into new historical romance, or even fantasy/paranormal historical romance, reads that grab my attention, but it’s always the second installments that makes me hesitant about diving in. I only bought this up because I was hesistant in diving into So I Married A Sorcerer because I’ve been burned more than once by both the first and second installment of quite a few series. The stories that prove me wrong and turn out to be better than expected end up sticking with me more than the initial finishing of said story. This scenario was what happened, to a certain extent, with So I Married A Sorcerer.

While I was hoping for another of the supporting characters from How To Tame A Beast in Seven Days to be featured in So I Married A Sorcerer, everything that happened in its story has me seriously loving the genuis behind the planning of this series.

Brigitta was just the right mix of innocence and maturity that as she battled with Rupert’s stubbornness, seriously appealing form, and mysteriousness you really begin to believe in Brigitta. Usually a heroine who is innocent in a lot of ways feeds off the sometimes solid mature stance of the hero or dominant character within their circle. Or maybe conform is a better word, or maybe adapt to certain qualities is more accurate. But because Brigitta knew who she was – not her birth circumstances or background – to the core she was never in danger of this adaptation which Kerrelyn Sparks established very early on in So I Married A Sorcerer.

Because Rupert was unike any man within this world Sparks created, there’s hardly any predictable behavior or responses to come from him. He even stands out from Leofric although they are both Embraced.

Since both of the main characters were far from predictable, my only issue came from the sequence of events close to the end of So I Married A Sorcerer. Of course there needed to be conflict between Rupert and Brigitta but I felt that the conflict was sort of predictable and a cop out. The Chameleon would’ve been a great villain for the cursed Embraced instead of causing issues in So I Married A Sorcerer and then to escape cature…again.

Out of the two installments in this series I will have to say that So I Married A Sorcerer was the weaker of the two, but only slightly because of the dragons that were introduced. I mean dragons!!

Despite the tug of war between these two stories I believe that Eight Simple Rules For Dating a Dragon, book three in Spark’s Embraced series, will be my favorite out of this series. It won’t take a genius to know why lol.

How To Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

How To Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn SparksHow To Tame A Beast In Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 7, 2017
Pages: 416 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Publisher
four-half-stars

As one of the Embraced—one born with magical powers—the beautiful, innocent Luciana escaped certain death after her father hid her away on the Isle of Moon. Now, nineteen years later, her father has returned with a frightening request. He will be executed unless Luciana returns to the mainland and marries a man feared throughout the land: a terrifying brute known as the Beast.

Luciana accepts her fate and agrees to wed the Beast—Lord Leo—in order to save her father. Soon she learns that her betrothed is also one of the Embraced. With the ability to wield lightning, Leo’s immense power strikes fear into the hearts of men. . .and his mere touch can put an end to a woman’s life. But Luciana cannot deny the passion that burns between them. How can she resist the man who scorches her soul and makes her feel intoxicated with desire—even if surrendering to him could destroy them both?

How To Tame A Best In Seven Days was a very solid, attention grabbing, and heart pounding start to Kerrelyn Sparks’ newest series. I am still a newbie Sparks reader so I can’t really comment or compare this series to the others she has under her belt but, just off of the amazing storytelling of How To Tame A Beast In Seven Days I need to rectify that ASAP.

When the world that Sparks created is first explained you start to fear that it would be too complex to understand seeing as How To Tame A Beast in Seven Days is the first installment. It was in taking us along its story both through Leo and Luciana’s perspective that all the immediate questions and concerns are readily answered.

Usually I would’ve either been overloaded or desensitized to the rest of the story with all that went on in just the first half of How To Tame A Best In Seven Days. Learning the ins and outs of Leo’s ability and Luciana’s delicate situation could’ve probably filled an entire book but oddly enough Sparks weaves these necessary details so flawless within their story that you don’t even notice the influx of information. The authenticity of all the characters that make up How To Tame A Beast In Seven Days does its job of engaging your emotions with the ups and downs that these characters experience, you’ll find it so easy to be transported into the world that Sparks has created.

Let’s speak on the romance now…

I adored how awkward and comfortable – contradictions for sure but in the case of Leo and Luciana there’s no other words to describe them – Leo and Luciana were when they were around each other. In reading about their struggles and past you heart bleeds for them and your desire for all to be right in their world manifests itself in your inability to put How To Tame A Beast In Seven Days down.

Seriously seeing these two together throughout the pages of How To Tame A Beast In Seven Days personified the romance genre. It’s been a while since I’ve rooted for a couple so hard and cheered in my soul when their love was made true.

My only gripe with How To Tame A Beast In Seven Days comes from the sometimes missed scenes that I needed in between the chaos. For example, the parent/daughter sit down or moment between Luciana and her mother and father after her marriage to Leo took place. Another would’ve been when it was confirmed about Luciana’s condition close to the end between Leo, Luciana, and Mother Ginessa. I know these scenes probably weren’t even thought of because more pressing matters were taking place, but to the last page of How To Tame A Beast In Seven Days it was still Leo and Luciana’s story and I wanted all the goodness those two should’ve had.

Alas, when I turned (pressed) to that last page I was very satisfied. I don’t know what could possibly be in store for Brigitta, even though I think we already have gotten a sneak peek into Mauve’s story, but I am super excited to find out.

HOW TO TAME A BEAST IN SEVEN DAYS EXCERPT:

– Chapter Four –

As Leo and his companions rode north, the rain began, and the rolling green landscape gave way to increasingly taller hills. Their horses went at full gallop, eating up the miles before the rain could turn the dirt road into a sea of mud.

By the time they passed the second beacon, the rain was pounding on them. Their uniforms were drenched, their hair plastered to their heads. The hills had become mountains, and flocks of sheep huddled in the narrow glens where a few trees could give them shelter.

Thunder clapped overhead, and Leo spotted the first flash of lightning to the west. Good. He was going to need all the power he could get. Normal people didn’t stand a
chance against the winged creatures that breathed fire. People like his father.

Leo had heard the story many times over a campfire. His father’s last battle had been against the Norveshki. Cedric had plowed through a dozen of their fierce warriors, but
when a dragon had attacked, all his bravery and expertise had been in vain.

Another flash of lightning, this one a little closer. Leo would need to break off from the group soon. As they neared the village, a mountain loomed to the right, topped with craggy cliffs and a beacon tower. It was Mount Baedan, which the village was named after. He spotted a cliff that overlooked the village. That was the perfect place.

“My lord.” Nevis drew his attention to a horse man charging toward them. A scout.

Leo and his companions slowed to a stop. “Report,” he said, loud enough to be heard over the pouring rain.

The scout bowed his head, causing a puddle of rain to slosh off the brim of his cap onto his chest. “Four dragons from Norveshka have attacked the village of Mount Baedan.”

“No warriors?” Leo asked.

“None, my lord. Just the dragons. They swooped into the valley and set the village ablaze to force the people from their homes. While the villagers ran to a nearby cave, two of the dragons captured two small children and flew away.”

Leo stiffened, his hands tightening on the reins, as the men around him cursed under their breaths. Ten years ago, the dragons had started snatching sheep. Now they were nabbing small children.

He glanced westward, hoping to see another flash of lightning streak across the sky. He needed the power now. “The rain put out the fires,” the scout continued. “The villagers are starting to leave the cave. A group of men rode out, hoping to rescue the two children.”

Leo swallowed hard as bile rose up his throat. The rescue attempt would be in vain. Men on horse back could not cross the mountains as fast as a dragon could fly.

Thunder cracked overhead so loud, the men flinched.

“Ride on to the village,” Leo shouted at them. “The last two dragons could still be close by. I’ll take care of them. You protect the people.” He turned his horse and started up the slope of Mount Baedan.

Higher and higher his horse climbed, but eventually the path became too muddy. Leo dismounted and patted the horse, the quilted material now drenched through. “Go join the others.” He gave the horse a slap on the rump, and it started down the mountain.

Leo abandoned the muddy path that snaked back and forth up the mountainside. Instead, he scrambled straight up the rocky slope. He was halfway up when a bolt of lightning shot from the sky and struck the ground thirty yards away, blasting a boulder into bits.

Yes! The lightning had found him and was zeroing in. Energy from the blast rolled toward him, seeking him out in waves he couldn’t see, but could feel. His skin tingled. His hair, which had been plastered to his head, now crackled as it lifted into the air.

Thunder boomed overhead, sending another wave of energy toward him. It slithered under his damp clothes, giving him a slight shock. Then an increase in power. And speed. He charged up the mountainside faster than any human could go.

Anticipation swelled inside him as he reached the first set of cliffs. Another lightning bolt ripped through the sky, this one hitting only fifteen yards away. It blasted through the rocks, causing the cliff to crumble away. As the ledge beneath his feet trembled, he ran and leaped.

He landed on the next cliff six feet away as thunder cracked and the first cliff tumbled down the mountainside. More energy surged into him, and he scrambled higher up the mountain. Faster. In a race against the next strike.

He reached the highest cliff. Nearby on the mountain summit, the beacon tower stood, deserted in the storm, its flame long smothered by the rain. The village lay nestled in the valley far below. He spotted houses built of stone with their thatched roofs burned away. The chapel of Enlightenment partially destroyed. The village lookout tower stood as high as the chapel bell tower and was manned by a lone villager. No doubt, he was keeping an eye out for the last two dragons.

Nevis and his troop arrived, and the villagers poured from their homes to welcome them. Leo winced at the sight of small children running about. Dammit, Nevis, get them back into the cave.

A rumbling noise echoed through the valley, sounding much like thunder, but Leo knew better. It was the beating of dragon wings. The last two dragons had waited for the people to reappear.

Leo ripped off his gloves and threw them down, along with his bow and quiver. Then he drew his sword and pointed it to the sky. “Now!”

Lightning broke through the dark clouds, racing toward him. He widened his stance and braced for impact. It struck his sword, fracturing so that a dozen smaller streaks shot off in a circle around him.

The major portion of the lightning sizzled down his sword, eager to reach his flesh. It hit his bare hand and jolted him so hard he fell to his knees and dropped the sword. The dozen fractured shards rebounded, drawn to him like a magnet. They pounded into him, jerking him back and forth. Thunder cracked over him so loud his ears rang.

Power surged through him, so fierce and scorching he thought his skin would melt, his guts would boil, and his head burst like a kernel of corn dropped into a fi re. Pain and power, power and pain, he could no longer tell the difference. He only knew he wanted it, wanted to drink it in, soak it up, and claim it all.

The fiery torture eased to a warm, buzzing sensation, and he found himself on all fours, gasping for air. How many times had he endured this? And it still hurt like hell. He rested back on his knees and splayed his hands in front of him. Sparks skittered around his fingers like a host of fireflies.

Good, but not enough. The Beast wanted more. He grabbed his sword and hefted himself to his feet. “More, dammit!” He lifted his sword in the air.

Lightning struck again, driving him to his knees and knocking the sword from his grip. He cried out as both pain and power ripped through him. Nevis was right. Someday he would explode.

Thunder cracked around him as if he’d become the center of the storm. His ears grew numb, only hearing the buzz of energy pulsing around him. This time, when he examined his hands, streaks shot out a few yards. Not enough to kill a dragon.

He fumbled for his sword once again. Nevis’s question reverberated in his head, bouncing off the inside of his skull. Do you enjoy courting death? Over the years, he’d found he could take in more power each time, but what was the limit? How would he know when it was too much? He stumbled to his feet and slowly lifted the sword. When he had the weapon only waist- high, the lightning streaked toward him. Like a desperate lover, it pounced, not even waiting till he was fully cocked. It struck hard, flinging him through the air into the wall behind him. His head cracked against stone, and he crumpled into a heap.

Rain splattered on his face, keeping him conscious. The pain was merely the price he paid for the ability to protect his people. The pain would be fleeting.

The power he could keep for months.

He rose to his feet. If he were normal, he’d have suffered a concussion and some broken bones. Hell, if he were normal, he’d be dead. But instead, he swelled with strength and power. Tiny streaks of lightning swirled around him so fast, he appeared to glow.

He strode to the edge of the cliff to see what was happening. The dragons were flying low, prob ably to avoid the lightning. They swooped down at the screaming villagers, herding them away from the cave. Making them easy to prey upon.

With the super fast speed he now possessed, Leo pulled a length of coiled rope from his sword belt and tied one end loosely to a tree deeply rooted in the rock wall of the cliff. The other end, he tied to one of his metal arrows. He grabbed his metal bow, nocked the arrow, and imbued them with some of his energy. Now, when he shot the arrow, it would fly faster and farther.

He aimed for the lookout tower and let the arrow fly. It whistled through the air and struck the top wooden beam of the tower, embedded deep. Continuing at his fast speed, Leo tightened the rope, tossed his bow and quiver over his shoulder, sheathed his sword, then looped the sword belt over the rope. He ran to the cliff’s edge and pushed off. Hanging on to the belt, he careened down the length of the rope. Just before crashing into the tower, he swung his legs up and over the top beam and landed on the top platform. The lone villager gaped at him.

“Go!” he shouted. With lightning sizzling around him like a golden nimbus, he didn’t need to speak twice. The villager scrambled down the ladder, yelling that the Beast had arrived.

After dropping his sword belt on the platform, Leo quickly readied another arrow and pivoted, searching for the dragons. Even though it was possible for him to simply shoot a lightning bolt from his hand, he’d learned from experience that raw power didn’t always go exactly where he wanted it to go. Since there was a chance of hitting innocent bystanders or setting their homes on fi re, he preferred to use a metal arrow imbued with his power so he could control the force and trajectory.

There, through a steady sheet of rain, a pair of red, glowing eyes was glaring at him. The dragon was perched on the bell tower of the chapel. It sat up, expanding its chest, a sure sign it was about to breathe fire. Leo released enough energy to make sparks pop and crackle around the metal arrow. When he shot it, the arrow would fly with enough speed and power that it would actually pierce the dragon’s scaly skin and release an electric shock wave through the creature’s body.

He aimed for the dragon’s chest, but just as he let the arrow fly, the dragon pushed off, flying straight at him. Fire erupted from the dragon’s mouth, forcing him to drop flat onto the platform. Flames shot over him, missing him by a few inches. Meanwhile, the arrow hit the dragon’s hip. Sparks spread from the arrow, jerking the dragon around in midair. It shrieked, then shot up into the sky and turned north toward Norveshka. Leo notched an arrow to shoot again, but screams below made him look down. The second dragon had grabbed a child.

“Nevis!” Leo shouted. “Catch it!”

Nevis spurred his horse and galloped after the dragon. It was gaining altitude, now higher than the rooftops of the houses.

Leo sent a surge of energy into his bow and arrow and aimed, trying to keep a safe distance from the child. The arrow zipped through the air. Direct hit to the dragon’s tail. Sparks exploded around the wound, racing up the dragon’s body, and it jolted, bellowing in pain and dropping the child. A dress flapped in the wind. It was a little girl. Nevis charged onward as she tumbled from the sky. Villagers screamed, then let loose a round of cheers as Nevis managed to catch her.

The dragon flew away, filling the sky with an angry roar.

Leo lowered his bow and arrow and watched through the rain as the villagers crowded around Nevis. The little girl was safely deposited in the arms of her crying mother. Nevis glanced back at Leo and gave him a thumbs up before being dragged off his horse by a swarm of happy villagers.

With a cheer, the villagers led Nevis and his men into the cave. Boys led the horses, including Leo’s horse, to the stables. Women dashed into their homes to gather cups and jugs of beer and wine. A few men rushed into a nearby pen to slaughter a lamb. Leo wasn’t sure if the village was celebrating the rescue of one child or drowning their sorrows for the two who were lost, but clearly they intended to partake of food and drink. And even more clearly, it was a celebration he could not attend.

He glanced at his hands. Sparks still shimmered around his fingers. One false move, and lightning would streak from his fingertips, possibly killing someone. He’d been in such a hurry he’d left his gloves on the cliff. With a sigh, he picked up his sword belt, then buckled it on.

The rain was still pelting him, so he climbed down the ladder to a second platform just below. Drops of rain leaked between the wooden planks overhead, and the wind blew more rain at him, but it was an improvement. He sat in the driest corner and rested his back against a wooden pillar. For a short while, because he had released so much energy, he would feel all right. But soon the pain would start again.

He spotted two men rolling a cask toward the cave. The villagers must have run out of beer. Sounds of laughter emanated from the cave. Soon he could smell the scent of a lamb roasting over a fi re. His stomach grumbled. A quick search of his pockets came up empty.

With a sigh, he leaned his head against the pillar. Alone again. It was always this way. He was too damned dangerous to be near anyone. Even Nevis had learned to stay away from him when he had this much power.

He closed his eyes as a memory flitted across his mind. The first time lightning had found him, he’d been only five years old. One strike had sent him flying, and he’d crumpled onto the ground, twitching uncontrollably. His nanny had run to him. Calling out to him, she’d touched his face. Then a surge of energy had shot through her, and she’d collapsed beside him dead.

His first victim. Someone he’d dearly loved.

“I didn’t mean to . . .” Leo whispered, the sound whisked away with the wind. “Forgive me.”

Since then, every one had known to keep their distance. And if a stranger didn’t know, he soon learned when he heard the new name Leo had been given.

Never touch the Beast.

Never let the Beast touch you.

The rain continued to fall. The energy inside him spread throughout his body, expanding, rebelling against the narrow confines of his human shell, demanding to be released and used. Not now. He had to keep as much power as possible so it would be available whenever he needed it.

The sun lowered in the sky, and the wind became more chilled against his wet clothes. He welcomed the cold. It made it easier to deal with the energy boiling inside him, threatening to escape like steam from a kettle.

The strains of a pipe and fiddle came from the cave. The people were dancing, their music accentuating the thudding rhythm in his head. The energy kept expanding, pushing against the inner walls of his skull, pushing so hard he expected to hear the sound of bone cracking. He squeezed his eyes shut, gritting his teeth against the pain. Sometimes he thought this was the worst part about his gift. The headaches would torture him until either he released some power or it managed to escape on its own.

“My lord?” a female voice spoke below.

He opened his eyes. On the ground by the ladder, a…

The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Duke by Kerrigan ByrneThe Duke by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels #4
Published by St. Martin's Press on February 7, 2017
Pages: 384 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Publisher
three-half-stars

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners...

Strong as a Viking. Handsome as Adonis. Rich as Midas. Collin "Cole" Talmage, Duke of Trewyth, is the stuff that legends are made of. He's the English Empire's golden son--until fate has its way with him. Cole's family is killed and his closest comrade betrays him on the battlefield, leaving him gravely injured. But Cole is not one to dwell on misfortune. He is a man of duty, honor--and desire. And now he's ready for the fight of his lifetime...

Imogen Pritchard is a beautiful lass who works in a hospital by day and as a serving maid at night. Years ago, when she was young and penniless, she ended up spending a scandalous night with Cole, whose tormented soul was matched only by his earth-shattering passion. Imogen entered a marriage of convenience--one that left her a wealthy widow--but she never forgot Cole. Now that her long-lost lover has turned up in her hospital, injured and with no memory of her, Imogen is torn: Is it a blessing or a curse that their past remains a secret to Cole, even as his new passion for her leaves him wanting to protect and possess her...at all costs?

The beginning of The Duke set off something that I thought was going to be spectacular, but somewhere along the way it lost its luster.

On the heels of The Highlander I was chomping at the big to get my hands on the story of the Duke of Trenwyth. I was surprised when there wasn’t a heart breaking, gut wrenching prologue to give us the background to both Cole and Imogen, but I was pleased at the different direction the author wanted to go in. It was early on when my excitement and feel good feelings started to wane, and I believe it started when Cole didn’t recognize Imogen and turned mean, borderline cruel towards her.

From that moment on the story of The Duke just didn’t feel the same. I understood the misunderstanding that was practically another storyline in and of itself swimming below the main story, but his actions and words were so hard to get past. Sadly it ended up being the past character from this series (The Highlander, The Hunter, and The Highwayman), Imogen’s character, and the mystery surrounding the serial murders that captured and held my attention. I also felt that Morley received just a tad too much attention, it was like his name was being put in big flashing lights so that we knew that his story was going to be next.

Another saving grace was that even though the ending was somewhat predictable, though there was no way I saw the villain being who it ended up being, I thoroughly enjoyed how Kerrigan Byrne wrapped up the story.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I would’ve loved to have read more about Imogen’s sister and mother. We were only told about them from Imogen but when things took a turn for the better I was somewhat expecting more of their storyline to open up and we would get to know them better. The one glimpse we got of Isobel’s fragile and innocent state compared to Imogen was so brief I felt kind of robbed. I’m a sucker for familial stories and a secret hope I had while reading The Duke was that Imogen’s family would play a role in softening up Cole’s heart towards Imogen helping him to get over his desire to find the ever illusive ‘Ginny.’

I am interested in the next story in the Victorian Rebels series, but I am also unsure of what more it could bring to this seemingly complete series.

About Kerrigan Byrne

Kerrigan has done many things to pay the bills, from law enforcement to belly dance instructor. Now she’s finally able to have the career she’d decided upon at thirteen when she announced to her very skeptical family that she was going to “grow up to be a romance novelist.” Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, Kerrigan uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in almost every story.