Book Review: The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne

959745Title: The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne
Genre:  Historical Romance
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Page count: 373
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: January 2008
Rating – 3/5 – liked it

She’s braved battlefields, stolen dispatches, played roles from worldly to naive, lady to boy. But Annique Villiers, elusive spy Fox Cub, is thrown in prison with British spymaster Robert Grey, ordered to enter France and bring her back. Their uneasy alliance holds, but passion builds as they flee.

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The Spymaster’s Lady was the pick of the month for the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club read (you can click the name to be linked to the Goodreads forum). This book is a historical romance that takes place during the Napoleonic wars. Our main character Annique Villiers is a pretty badass spy for the the French Army who finds herself captured and sharing a cell with two male prisoners. Managing to escape with her cellmates she finds herself in their custody when she finds out that they are actually her enemies, English spies. She is pretty much a master at role playing and uses her skills to play a dangerous game with her captors until she begins to fall in love (and lust) with one of the most dangerous ones.

I have to first mention that this book cover is legit romance lol. I have seen alot of people complaining about the cover and I’m normally not one to really care about what other people think of the books I’m reading (like if I’m reading in public) but even I was like…I’m keeping this in my purse and not taking it out until I get home or get a book cover. Plus, it literally had zero to do with the plot unless you picture Grey looking like that guy on the cover, which for me was not the case.

I struggled with whether to give this book a three star or a four star rating and finally settled on a three star rating. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, I thought it was super interesting and fast paced. It was awesome to see this really badass female spy as the lead in a romance. She was so powerful and skilled her job, she was literally among the best of the best…everyone seemed to know and fear her. Then it just lost me at the halfway point and I had to really work to get through it. It seemed to slow down a bit and start to lag but I’m a completionist so I held on and it started picking up again towards the end. Although I loved Annique’s character during the first half of the book, I was disappointed at what I would consider a devolution of her character towards the end of it.

There were a few twists in this book that were awesome, although the eyesight twist was far too convenient for my liking but I was glad that it did happen at some point even though I really liked the dynamic between Grey and Annique while she was blind a little more. I really liked the setting of this story…having the Napoleonic Wars and spymastery as a backdrop was SUPER interesting and I would definitely read more books that took place in this type of setting and that dealt with spies.This is a series and I don’t think I’ll be giving the second book a read but I’d recommend this particular book to people who love historical romances. I don’t read too many of them but I did like this one.

Blog Tour Book Review: To Ride a White Horse by Pamela Ford

To Ride a White HorseAbout To Ride a White Horse

• Paperback: 374 pages
• Publisher: Aine Press (January 3, 2015)

“A sweeping historical love story that hits all the marks.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Ireland 1846. The potato crop has failed for the second year in a row and Ireland is in famine. When Kathleen Deacey’s fiancé doesn’t return from a summer working in the Newfoundland fisheries, she faces a devastating choice—leave Ireland to find work or risk dying there. Despising the English for refusing to help Ireland, she crosses the Atlantic, determined to save her family and find her fiancé.

But her journey doesn’t go as planned and she ends up in America, forced to accept the help of an English whaling captain, Jack Montgomery, to survive. As Jack helps her search for her fiancé and fight to save her family and country, she must confront her own prejudices and make another devastating choice—remain loyal to her country or follow her heart.

A love story inspired by actual events, To Ride a White Horse is a historical saga of hope, loyalty, the strength of the human spirit, and the power of love.

Praise for To Ride a White Horse

Publishers Weekly starred review:  “A sweeping historical love story that hits all the marks … Pacing the plot for maximum tension, Ford skillfully conveys the anguish and fury of not only her heroine, but all the struggling Irish both at home and abroad. She delivers genuine heat by teasing out the passion between her protagonists. Ford has made a deeply satisfying foray into new territory.”

Goodreads First Reads Giveaway winner:  “Overwhelming! Six stars! What a stunning story! Pamela Ford’s book To Ride a White Horse made me go through a series of intense emotions, I cried, hoped, laughed! It’s a breathtaking story of love, hope and courage! I have just discovered a little gem!”

Top 500 Amazon Reviewer, Vine Voice:   “(4.5 stars) Good as this book is as a romance, it’s even better as a historical novel. This is a touching story. Realistic, with some very gritty, some very poignant moments… This is an unexpectedly good novel.”

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Purchase Links

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Hello! Thanks for stopping by my review stop on the blog tour for To Ride a White Horse written by Pamela Ford. I’d like to give a big thanks to Pamela Ford and TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!

To Ride a White Horse is a historical fiction novel with a heavy romance storyline in it. I went into my reading of this book thinking it was more of a romance novel than historical fiction but was pleasantly surprised to find that it is pretty equally both. It takes place during the potato famine in Ireland. The daughter of a poor family, Kathleen sets sail to Canada to find work so she can send money back home to support her family. When she is thrown overboard into the ocean, she finds herself saved by a whaling ship whose captain is a handsome, young Englishmen whom Kathleen finds herself falling in love with.

I really struggled with what rating to give this book after I finished reading it and had to reflect on it a bit. I was struggling between giving it a 4 or a 5 and I actually settled on a 5 because hours after I read it, it was still just devastating to me. Devastating in a good way. If you’re an avid reader I’m sure you can totally empathize with that…you know that feeling you get when a book is so good it just leaves you devastated even if there was a completely happy ending. I feel this way about this book. I absolutely loved it. The only reason I considered giving it a 4 is because it was a little slow in the beginning. It was good reading throughout but I didn’t feel very invested in the romance until the latter part of the middle. When it picks up and the romance lines collide, I was captivated. I also loved the little bits of Irish Folklore in the book, I’m a huge fan of early Irish literature so it was great to run into the Tuatha De Danann in this book!

It really surprised me how detailed this book was about the potato famine, it’s historical setting was really strong and detailed. It wasn’t just a minor background that a romance was set to, the romance and the setting were equally important to the story. I don’t think either would have had the same effect without such a large amount of the other. I really loved that. I wouldn’t consider it light reading but it will go by pretty fast because it is hard to put down once you get into it. I think the characters were written really well…I definitely heard Kathleen’s Irish accent and Jack’s English accent in my head as I was reading it which made the story so much more profound for me! And that ending, oh my gosh, I cried. Like I said, I’m devastated but in such a good way! Loved this book…historical fiction or historical romance fans will love this read!

Pamela FordAbout Pamela Ford

Pamela Ford is the award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She grew up watching old movies, blissfully sighing over the romance; and reading sci-fi and adventure novels, vicariously living the action. The combination probably explains why the books she writes are romantic, happily-ever-afters with plenty of fast-paced plot.

After graduating from college with a degree in Advertising, Pam merrily set off to earn a living, searching for that perfect career as she became a graphic designer, print buyer, waitress, pantyhose sales rep, public relations specialist, copywriter, freelance writer – and finally author. Pam has won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best and the Laurel Wreath, and is a two-time Golden Heart Finalist. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children.

Find out more about Pamela at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Book Review: The Fire Lord’s Lover (The Elven Lords #1) by Kathryne Kennedy

Title: The Fire Lord’s Lover (The Elven Lords #1) written by Kathryne Kennedy
Genre: Romance – Historical Romance, Fantasy
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Page count: 245
Format: Ebook (read on Barnes and Nobles HD+)
Rating: 5/5
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #29

Once upon a time, not too removed from the present, seven Elven lords defied the rules of their realm and stole seven magical scepters that opened the gate separating the Elven realm from the mortal. Power hungry they separated England into seven kingdoms and instituted the war games in which their champions and armies duel over which Elven lord will gain control over the King of England and thus rule (or in this case oppress) the English people. Over time the Elves has mixed with the people and their children, half human and half Elven, still possess varying degrees of Elven magic. Tired of oppression and the tyranny of the Fire lord of Firehame, Mor-ded, a rebellion grows in the midst of the country.

Not only does the Fire Lord’s tyranny extend throughout England, but it also has a very real presence in his own home. His Halfling son and Champion Dominic has been battling his father’s tyrannical behavior since he was just a boy and has almost succeeded in banishing all human emotion from within himself in order to gain his father’s approval. Having won for Firehame the claim over the King of England in the war games, Dominic hopes to finally obtain his father’s favor. Little does he know that woman he is about to marry, Lady Cassandra comes not only with her own agenda with regards to his father but also with the ability to make him remember what love is again.

I read this book as the main June pick for Vaginal Fantasy Book Club, I will be reading the alt pick later this month!

I really enjoyed reading The Fire Lord’s Lover. I had never read a Romance novel with Elves in it. That was enough to make me interested in the book since I’m a pretty big fantasy fan. I actually read this book in a day, so needless to say it was really, really good. I actually thought it was pretty awesome. I don’t think I would have liked this book as much if it wasn’t about Elves, that just gives it this extra little kick.

The story itself is really interesting though. The very first page gives us the mythology that the story is based on (in this world) with the whole seven Elven lords breaking apart from the rest in search of power and wealth and coming over to the human realm, etc. I thought this idea was really interesting and I liked that the story, when it takes place in our realm (pretty much the entire book except for the mythology blurb at the beginning) takes place in a real place…England which makes it sort of an alternate history type story.

This book is pretty sexy and romantic which I found to be a really good thing in this story. One thing I hate about some romance novels is that sometimes the romance is just either a really small side portion of the story and really awkwardly thrown into the narrative or is the main focus of the book with little to no actual story. This is NOT the case in the Fire Lord’s Lover, there is this really great story with just the right amount of sexiness and romance thrown in.

I really liked our main characters in the story, Dominic and Lady Cassandra. I thought their relationship was interesting and I’m glad that they end up working things out although I did think the ending was pretty awkward at one point but it works out as well. I’d have to say that I would be interested in reading more of this series. I thought it was really fun to read and the romantic parts were just really breathtaking especially the one where he uses magic on her (if you’ve read it you know which one)! One thing I really liked about this book is that the sexy parts tend to be just really sweet and really amazing; they’re never over the top or awkward which I really liked.

I gave this book a 5/5 because I thought reading it was a really enjoyable experience. The fact that I read it in a day (although it definitely did not take the whole 24 hours) shows you how much I loved it and how I couldn’t put it down! It blends romance and fantasy together which ended with a really great result. It was just one of those books where I find myself not questioning anything because I’m having so much fun reading it and I was just along for a really enjoyable ride. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a romantic type fantasy read!