Review – Carrying the King’s Pride by Jennifer Hayward (@jenhayward_ #harlequinpresents)

Carrying The King's Pride (Kingdoms & Crowns #1)Carrying The King’s Pride by Jennifer Hayward
My rating: 4 of 5 gargoyles

This was yet another great book from Ms. Hayward.

I loved Sofia. She was strong and dedicated to making her career work, both before she got pregnant and after. She was driven and Ms. Hayward definitely made it clear just why she was so determined to succeed in her life. I liked her chosen career as a designer and how it worked into the life she tried making it after Nik drags her off to his island kingdom.

Nik – a bit of a jerk, but what self-respecting HP hero isn’t? Add in he’s a prince (king), and yeah – there’s a recipe for arrogance right there. I enjoyed watching him grow over the course of the book. I didn’t hold his suspicion against Sofia against him at all. He had very good reason for believing what he did and in the same situation (yeah, I wish), I’d probably have had the same situation, which plays into my reason (below) for not giving this book 5 stars.

There was no super bad-guy, just an ongoing feud with a neighboring island, and that worked for me. Yeah, there was some conflict from it, buuuut hey, it gave Nik the room he needed to grow, so yay conflict!

Overall, a solid entry by Ms. Hayward and I look forward to reading other books in this mini-series. See below for my spoiler-ish issue with the book.

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Review – By Break of Day by ML Buchman (@sourcebookscasa, @mlbuchman)

By Break of Day (The Night Stalkers, #7)By Break of Day by M.L. Buchman
My rating: 5 of 5 gargoyles

I shall, as I all too often do, admit I am a ‘major’ ML Buchman fan. I have been since I read my first SOAR novel (which was, sadly, not the first one in the series – I had to go find that one on my own). I like all of those books, including this one, because there is a certain familiarity to it. The rhythm doesn’t change from book to book. You get to see old familiar faces, get deeper stories on newer faces, and so on. The wonderful insight into military life and technology is simply icing on the cake.

Let’s look at this book (duh). In the past few books, there have been multiple references to the drones SOAR (and the firefighting company that Emily and her man went off to run). This book features Kara Moretti, the actual drone pilot for SOAR. She’s not in a helicopter, but she’s right there along with the helicopters in spirit and vision. Without her drones, their missions don’t go nearly as smoothly, and I LOVED seeing that. I loved that she was blunt and honest. I adored her slow fall for Justin. She didn’t want to be in love with him, wanted to sleep with him sure, but she was just so…New Yorky…I loved seeing the mix of Big City Girl (and Italian to boot) with Big Sky Cowboy.

Justin, a helicopter pilot of the Chinook, not the DAPs we’re so familiar with from other books, was just about as good ol’ boy as you could get. I loved the way Buchman characterized him with his words. I could just hear the country-boy ooze out of him (in my head) as I read.

As I intimated above, there’s a certain rhythm. Hero/heroine dance around getting together, start on it, then at approximately 60-75% through, you have the emergency mission crisis. This book was no different. I knew the crisis was coming, but wow, when it did…I just couldn’t read through it fast enough. It was heartbreaking when Kara had to make a very specific decision and live with the aftermath of it.

Of course everything works out (it’s not a romance if it doesn’t), and Justin and Kara get their HEA. But I wouldn’t trade a single minute reading this book for a more “traditionally” (read here sex, hot and heavy fun and games) flowing romance. ML Buchman is (to me) a god among romance authors.

Please – check this book out. You won’t regret it.

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