This page is for books that are defined by the relationship in the book. It could be contemporary, historical, paranormal, futuristic, fantasy, mystery, or anything else, but it is about the relationship between the main characters.
RINGS OF FAOLAN – RUBIES by Kristal Dawn Harris
3 1/2 sparklers
2nd in series Shapeshifter Romance – high heat level
When Michael and Natalie first meet, they know they are mates and are destined to be together, but they fight their attraction. However, when Michael is injured by Hunters who have vowed to eradicate all Lycans, Natalie goes to his ancestral home to help him heal and to help restore his home to its former glory. While there, Natalie discovers Michael’s protection of Lycans includes half-breed orphans, she finds herself falling for him despite herself. His surly exterior hides a noble character.
Good things: This is a moving story with solid world-building, well-crafted, believable characters and well-done fantasy mixed with realism. The end was a satisfying (and fun) HEA for the two main characters—with the surprise wedding being really cute. The way the characters care for the children, especially the half-breeds, is beautifully done.
Issues: I had trouble getting into the story. It was like coming into the story in the middle of it. This is the second book in a series and it shows. It was only after I was into it that I realized this one must take up after the first one ends so unless you’ve read the first one, you may not “get” everything that’s happening. Also, although the end is satisfying, it also leaves an awful lot of threads dangling so you know there’s going to be more. Once I was into the story, I enjoyed it, but honestly, had I not been reading this for a review, I probably wouldn’t have gone past the first chapter. I’m glad I did, but I believe you really need to read the first one (Emeralds) before this one in order to understand what’s going on with the characters.
Recommendation – pick this one up only if you’ve read the Emeralds one first.
HAZELANNE by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Genre: Historical, America, Utah, 1884
Note: this is a novella of 114 pages
Hazelanne is a young woman who has shouldered the responsibility of her large family after her mother takes ill. But finances are meager. To help alleviate them somewhat, she agrees to be a mail-order bride to a rancher in Utah. When she gets there, the man she is to marry comes off as rough, somewhat cruel, and impatient. He hauls her off the stagecoach straight to the judge. When she arrives at the rustic cabin, she sees her life ahead as one of drudgery, similar to what she left. And a husband who refuses to call her anything more than “wife”. Fortunately, her life does change, but not in the way she imagined and thanks to the Wells Fargo guard, Brice, whom she met on her ride.
The plot was good and true to the times and the characters well-developed and believable. I really enjoyed getting into the story. And the ending was perfect. It left me smiling and satisfied. As far as the story went, I would recommend this.
So what didn’t I like? Why didn’t it get a 5 rating? I will be honest, it’s something that is probably only a problem for me. But there were quite a few editorial issues. Oh, they’re minor things. I will grant that. But there were enough of them that it bothered me a little. And again, it may only be because I have twenty years as an editor. So it appears obvious only to me. I will grant that.
So… if you can overlook the minor editorial issues, I definitely recommend this story. It’s a good story with believable characters.
FREEDOM’S PATH by Linda Carroll-Bradd (Historical, American)
This is a short story, historical (1855 Vermont) and concerns the Underground Railroad.
To be honest, this type of story is not my normal go-to read. But, that being said, the author drew me in with her characters, the world-building, the story-line… She grabbed me and didn’t let me go until the end. And when the story ended, I was disappointed that there wasn’t more. I wanted to continue on with Sidonie and Colin’s story. To find out what happens to them. To experience their adventures with them.
Sidonie is a maid at a local inn, but she is also a conductor on the Underground Railroad, helping slaves escape. One of her favorite customers at the inn is Colin, a salesman. Except he’s not just a salesman. He’s an army corporal tasked with upholding the law—the law that says he has to arrest anyone caught helping slaves escape.
You really need to read this story to find out what happens between Sidonie and Colin. And it won’t take long. Like I said, this is a short story so it goes fast (mostly because of the author’s skill in telling the story). If you like historical books set in the colonial US, you’ll love this. If you’re not huge into historicals, you’ll still love it. I did, and that says a lot. Enjoy. I know I did. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JZ2DGB6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i10