Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Bandit's Stolen Heart by Michelle McLean + Featured Freebie

A Bandit's Stolen Heart
It’s 1856 and prospectors have mostly abandoned the once prosperous gold mining town of Bethany Ridge, California. Now the town is under siege by a crooked sheriff and his posse. With little justice in their neck of the wild west, Cilla Richardson becomes the notorious bandit Blood Blade to rob from the corrupt lawmen and set things right by the townspeople.When handsome Leo Forrester comes looking for Blood Blade's help, he ends up on the wrong side of Blood Blade's pistol. But when he discovers the renegade is really the feisty Cilla, he decides to do what he can to aid her cause. The more time he spends with Cilla, the more determined Leo is to steal her stubborn bandit's heart.Then innocent people are murdered and the sheriff fixes to pin the deaths on Blood Blade. Leo must convince Cilla of his love and the town of her innocence or the jig will be up and she’ll be swinging from a hangman's noose come dawn.

My Rating: 3 Roses
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An okay read. A Bandit's Stolen Heart was a good read, but it didn't quite get all the way there for me.

One great thing about this book, though, was the level of thrills that we get. I like old west romances because of all the thrills and action they have and this book delivered. Chases, shootouts, daring escapes. This book had plenty to keep me on my toes.

The problem for me was that I didn't really connect with the characters.

Cilla was a good heroine, but I didn't totally get her. For one thing, it was a little odd to me that she was willing to steal from others (though it was for good reason) but she martyred herself when it came to Leo. She got it into her head that the sham marriage between Leo and her sister, which was only for show considering her sister was still in love with Leo's brother, meant that she couldn't have a relationship with Leo. Even though she had her sister's blessing. Then, when all the clues pointed to Jake being dead, she decided that Leo and Brynne had to stay married. But, neither of them wanted to. I just felt like she was intentionally making things difficult for herself. Things were never as complicated as she was determined to make them out to be. Now, this doesn't mean that I didn't like her. She was fine, an admirably strong woman who was intensely loyal to her family. I just got frustrated with her a few times.

Leo was a better character for me. He was determined to find his brother, while helping his new sister-in-law as best he could. I thought it was very sweet how he was intent on helping the sisters. And I liked that he saw things as they were and didn't try to over complicate them (I'm looking at you, Cilla). He was a great, easily-to-like hero.

The romance was not the best part of the book. Because Cilla refused to allow any relationship to take hold, the romance was slow going. For the first 3/4 of the book, there was no relationship to speak of, though there was a ton of longing to go around. When they finally did get together, they were a sweet couple. And the spice level between them was very minimal.

The plot was okay. It wasn't fast paced, but it didn't bore me. I was kept interested the entire way through. And the ending was great.

*Thanks to Netgalley and Entangled: Scandalous for a copy!
Featured Freebie:
Today, I have a historical romance that sounds great: Twice a Rake by Catherine Gayle. Go forth and get it for free!

Some scandals are meant to be . . .

When Aurora Hyatt loses her journal in Hyde Park, her ruin is a foregone conclusion. After all, if anyone discovers her writings, they'll find scandalous fantasies involving the newest rake in Town alongside entirely-too-candid thoughts about her typical dreary suitors. Aurora will either be forced into a loveless marriage with the first nodcock to make an offer, or she'll be assigned a permanent position on the shelf. Oh, dear good Lord. What catastrophe will God smote down upon her next?

If Niles Thornton, Baron Quinton, desires to maintain any semblance of his current lifestyle, he must fulfill the requirements his grandfather, Lord Rotheby, has set for him. First and foremost: he must marry and begin filling his nursery within the year. When he is nearly barreled over by a racing curricle and a journal flies out to land at his feet, his troubles are over. Inside the journals pages, Quin discovers a scandal waiting to happen. Surely a young lady who would write such brazen things in a journal (and then dare to lose it) must recognize the necessity of a hasty marriage, even if the gentleman making the offer is rather less-than-honorable.

In a drunken haze, Quin kisses Aurora on a crowded ballroom floor, necessitating their immediate marriage. Quin's troubles are only beginning, however, as Aurora's writings are soon the focus of both gossip rags and drawing room conversation. When word arrives of an even greater scandal following in his wife's wake, will he prove himself a drunken abuser like his father, or will he become the loving husband of Aurora's fantasies?

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