Posts tagged “cover art

The Witch of Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney: A Review Post

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book will not be released until April 29th, 2014 and there may be some spoilers in this post. 

The Blurb: 

Logan Harrison is looking for a wife. As the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, he needs a conventional and diplomatic woman who will stand by his side and help further his political ambitions. He most certainly does not need Mairi Sinclair, the fiery, passionate, fiercely beautiful woman who tries to thwart him at every turn. But if she’s so wrong for him, why can’t he stop kissing her? He is completely bewitched.

Mairi Sinclair has never met anyone like Logan Harrison, the perfect example of everything she finds wrong with the world. He’s also incredibly handsome, immensely popular, and impossible to resist. His kisses inflame her and awaken a passion she can barely control.

Can two people who are at such odds admit to a love that would bind them together for life?

The Review: 

I requested a copy of this book from Avon, after a friend of mine raved about how much she loved Karen Ranney’s novel. I’d never read anything by this author, so when I was given the chance I asked for a copy of The Witch of Clan Sinclair. This is the second book of a series that started with The Devil of Clan Sinclair.

The story is set in 1872, but I don’t think it can be defined as a Victorian romance, because it takes place in Edinburgh. The novel’s heroine, Mairi, is a very strong-willed character and a strong advocate of women’s rights. She meets the hero, Logan, when she is refused entry to a lecture she wants to attend. Why? Because she is a woman. Saying she was happy is an understatement, and she’s only more outraged when Logan also refuses to let her enter.

Logan has never thought much about women’s rights before – and, really, why would he? This story is pre-women’s lib and he’s a man. But he is fascinated by Mairi and her strong opinions on the subject. Plus, he’s in a great position to be an advocate of the movement as both Lord Provost and a politician. He is also a proven supporter of reform, so he is open to the idea of women’s rights – which in a romance hero, is a great quality.

And, our hero is not willing to lose his chance at love despite his earlier desire for a more conventional wife. Logan’s pursuit of Mairi, which leads to plenty of verbal sparring matches, also proves how well suited they are to one another. Although, Mairi is reluctant to trust Logan with her heart – especially after a bad experience with a former suitor – she slowly comes to understand Logan. Logan, for his part, remains steadfast and charming throughout the novel. Ranney embodies character chemistry in the relationship between Mairi and Logan.

Both Logan and Mairi are strong, like-able characters and their story is told with a poignancy that I have read in the works of very few authors before and I give The Witch of Clan Sinclair a rating of 4 out of 5.

RATING - 4

Rika Ashton

(aka Book Critic)

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Cover Lover: Historical Edition

2014 means more reading for me. Only this year, I don’t have to read theoretical papers on the importance of intrinsic motivation – or at least, this year I will have the choice of whether or not I want to read them.

That said, I’m looking forward to the line of historical romances coming out this year. Here are a few of the HR books I know I’ll adore!

The third deliciously sexy novel in the New York Times bestselling Duke’s Men historical romance series, featuring an investigator who sets out to find gypsies—and unexpectedly finds love.

Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life—to make sure that his half-brother George can’t ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke’s Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn’t expect to uncover Lady Zoe’s family secrets, as well…or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth.

New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands returns to the Highlands of Scotland in her hottest new historical romance yet!

Highlander Campbell Sinclair is no stranger to battle, so when he sees a lad attacked by bandits, he jumps into the fray. He didn’t count on being stabbed. Grateful to the boy for nursing him back to health, Cam offers to accompany Jo safely to his destination. But when he accidentally comes across the lad bathing in the river, Cam discovers that Jo is actually Joan . . . with the most sinful of curves.

Joan promised her mother that she would deliver a scroll to the clan MacKay. But traveling alone is dangerous, even disguised as a boy. When a Scottish warrior lends his aid, she is more than relieved . . . until he surprises her with lingering kisses and caresses that prove her disguise hasn’t fooled him. As their passion ignites, will the secrets of the scroll force a wedding . . . and lead to a love she’s never known?

(UK Cover)

Miss Amity Doncaster, world traveler, is accustomed to adventure and risk. Benedict Stanbridge, a man of science and a spy for the Crown, has faced danger in the darker corners of foreign lands.

Now they are about to face a threat that is shockingly close to home . . .

One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. Yet Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear. Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon, save her – for now.

But the monster known in the press as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds she inflicts and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge -gossip about their hours alone in a ship’s stateroom seems to have crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could. Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him – as tenuous as it may be.

For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, so at home in the exotic reaches of the globe, escape is always an option. But each intends to end the Bridegroom’s reign of terror in London, and they will join forces to do so. And as they prepare to confront an unbalanced criminal in the heart of the city they love, they must also face feelings neither of them can run away from . . .

And that is my list so far – although there are other authors, such as Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, and Johanna Lindsey (previously posted here) among others, whose novels I can’t wait to get my hands on as well.

Rika Ashton

(aka The Historian)


Cover and Blurb Reveal: When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries

I squealed – yeah, squealed – like a piglet when I saw the cover for Sabrina Jeffries, When the Rogue Returns, the second installment in the Duke’s Men series.

Though this isn’t the fully edited version of the cover, it’s still gorgeous, no?

But for a special bonus treat, Ms. Jeffries revealed that the second novel features a heroine who is a jewellery designer.

“The new cover of When the Rogue Returns, which is coming out late January 2014! She’s a diamond cutter/jeweler, hence the necklace.” (Sabrina Jeffries via Facebook.)

And then I found an official blurb on a UK bookstore website which revealed a little more…

It had been a decade since Victor Cale, first cousin to the Duke of Lyons, had seen his wife. After some royal jewellery went missing from the jeweller’s shop where they worked, Isabel Mertens disappeared. When Victor gets word of a woman who fits his wife’s description, he sets out to confront her. But he discovers that nothing is as it seems-and revenge is never as sweet as true love.

EDITTED TO ADD: Sabrina Jeffries visited by blog – excuse me while I take a moment to let that sink in – and read the blurb I’d posted. She then shared an even more comprehensive blurb with me that I could post, so here it is!

Victor Cale never imagined his sweet, shy wife, Isabella, would use her talent for creating exquisite imitation jewels for criminal pursuits. But there’s no denying it was Isa’s handiwork that turned up in the scandalous and brazen heist of the Dutch royal family’s diamonds after she disappeared into the night.

Ten years later, still reeling from her betrayal and enraged that her duplicitous side was all but undetectable, the sexy investigator heads to Edinburgh, where his cousin Maximilian has landed him a job tailing a wealthy baron’s bride-to-be. Simple enough—until the “fiancée” in question proves to be Isa, masquerading as an alluringly eligible young widow.

No longer the meek and mild newlywed he once knew, the daring woman vehemently asserts that it was Victor who abandoned her. Piecing together the past to prove Isa’s innocence reawakens a volatile passion, hotter than ever. With a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other in order to bring the scheming thieves to justice without getting burned themselves.

The first blurb is the one from the UK site and the second is the official -maybe – North American blurb that Ms. Jeffries was given with her cover flat.

I don’t know about you, but I am very excited for this novel!

Rika Ashton

(aka The Sabrina Jeffries Insider)


Covers Done Right: Showalter’s “Otherworld Assassins” Series

When I first saw Gena Showalter’s Last Kiss Goodnight resting on the bookshelf at Chapters, it was coverlust at first sight! In a flash, I grabbed the book and ran with it to the clerks desk – this is hard to do when you take a shortcut through the children’s section, where toddlers cling to you like leeches. (Really, whatever happened to “stranger danger”? These kids have no trouble grabbing an arm or leg and plastering themselves like barnacles on a rock.)

Anyways, back to the point at hand. Saving myself from clinging kids made me forget that how much I wanted – nay, needed – to rave about the cover for Last Kiss Goodnight! The model’s flowing red dress that turns into tendrils of smoke is genius! And the man in the cage, plus the trees and moon in the background is gorgeous. It’s an interesting cover for a romance because it breaks tradition. We get a hint of male abs, but the cover artist isn’t relying on echanting male flesh to get the reader’s attention. Plus, the cover clearly puts the female in the position of power – she’s not the one in a cage.

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin, #1)

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter ignites a thrilling new paranormal series with this breathtaking tale of a warrior enslaved by desire, and the woman who frees his soul.

The sweetest temptation…

Black ops agent Solomon Judah awakens caged and bound in a twisted zoo where otherworlders are the main attraction. Vika Lukas, the owner’s daughter, is tasked with Solo’s care and feeding. The monster inside him yearns to kill her on sight, even though she holds the key to his escape. But the human side of him realizes the beautiful deaf girl is more than she seems—she’s his.

The ultimate price…

Vika endures the captives’ taunts and loathing, hoping to keep them alive even if she can’t free them. Only, Solo is different— he protects her. But as hostility turns to forbidden romance, his feelings for her will be used against him…and he’ll be put to a killer test.

The story inside the cover was also a great read. Fast-paced, with action and characters that hold your interest. The heroine, Vika, who loses her hearing after recieving a brutal beating from her father, takes care of the hero – who’s imprisoned in her father’s circus of otherworldly creature, or “freakshow.” Vika’s also the primary caretaker of the other creatures, but knowing what it’s like to be imprisoned she secretly empathizes with them. Vika can’t leave the circus, she tried once – was found and returned to her father, hence the beating.

Solo, the hero, is bitter about being locked up and doesn’t trust Vika – so expect a few misunderstandings between the two. But Solo’s a classic alpha male who can’t resist “his woman” for long and so also expect explosive sex. 😉

The villain is Vika’s father, though he wasn’t always an evil man – was actually a good father once – so there’s more to his story as well. (Is it what you’ll expect? Maybe. Does he get what he deserved? Depends on who you ask.)

The fact that I immensely enjoyed the first novel had me anticipated the next, so when I saw the cover for Black and Blue it was a case of intense coverlust combined with wanted to know everything that was going to happen in the book – in other words, BOOKLOVE!

The sizzling second book in New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter’s Otherworld Assassin paranormal romance series.

He is every woman’s fantasy…

Corbin Blue is a man of many talents. One of the most powerful otherworlders ever born, he is wealthy, a professional football star, and a legend in the bedroom. But only a select few know he is also a black ops agent…and there is no better killer. When he and his crew are attacked and separated, he’s forced to turn to his boss’s daughter for help?a woman with even more secrets than Blue.

She becomes his only obsession…

Evangaline Black has always been wary, guarded. No man has ever breeched her walls. Until Blue. He has never been denied something he wants, and now, he’s decided he wants her. As he sweeps her into his double life of seduction, intrigue, and danger, he helps her see beyond the darkness of her own past. But as an enemy closes in, Blue will have to let Evie go to keep her safe – even though he’d rather die than live without her.

And this was the original art:

The cover artist for this series deserves a reward! I love the water motif in this one and, once again, the dress is beautiful! Can’t wait to get my hands on this book. 🙂

Black and Blue hits bookstores in October 2013.

What do you think of these cover? Am I the only one suffering from coverlust or have you fallen as well?

Rika Ashton

(aka Book Lover)

P.S: To see more work by the cover artist, Nathalia Suellen, visit her on Deviantart.


Endless Knight: Part 2

Okay, so I mentioned earlier (Endless Knight: Part 1 post) that I wasn’t over the moon about the cover for Endless Knight by Kresley Cole, but I recently had a chance to look at the cover flat and I have to admit, it looks a little better.

See for yourself and decide…

endless knight coverflat

So, what’s the consensus do we love it, hate it or are we still unsure?

Rika Ashton

(aka, “I feel a little better…”)

P.S: Is Jack HOT or what?!! (Maybe he’s the reason the cover suddenly looks better to me…)


Endless Knight

Hello fellow book cover enthusiasts,

So I have yet to finish reading Kresley Cole’s, “The Arcana Chronicles” – her YA series. But I did adore the cover for the first novel, Poison Princess.

However, the cover for the second novel, Endless Knight, which Kresley Cole revealed yesterday on her Facebook fanpage is…well, it’s less exciting.

The cover follows the same rules as the first novel, such as the boy and girl on the cover, but this time with a background landscape covered in snow instead of fire.

But it somehow falls short of the first one…

It could be because the male model’s hair colour blends with the background, so you think he has an oddly-shaped, bald head at first glance – not that there’s anything wrong with being bald, but you would think that the cover artist would have thought of this, especially after seeing the first copy of the print.

Perhaps, the picture will “pop” on the actual, physical copy of the book – afterall, metallics can work wonders.

If you LOVE this cover, if you HATE it or are somewhere in between, let me know by leaving a comment below. (You are free to rant about your feelings, I promise.)

Rika Ashton

(aka The Slightly Disappointed)

P.S: If you’re the cover artist, you are free to defend your choice. Perhaps, I just don’t have the artistic eye to appreciate the genius that is the cover of Endless Knight.