#Review of the Adventures of Grant Scotland (Books 1-4) by Dan McClure w/a rafflecopter giveaway!

The Adventures of Grant Scotland

by Dan McClure

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GENRE:  Fantasy

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Harlie here:  I read all four books.  Yes, all four and I admit that I don’t read fantasy.  I will briefly give my impression of each book below.  Overall, I really enjoyed the series.  Grant is like James Bond/Peter Quill/Indiana Jones all rolled into one character.  I loved that books have an overall arc to them.  Each stands alone (somewhat) but it is best to read in order.  If you are looking for romance, stop.  There are like two women in the whole series that have anything substantial to do or say in the book (other than being underused secondary characters).  That said, I fall in love with Grant.  He’s a good guy that is mixed up in some weird stuff that had this reader entranced and thrilled.  There are plenty of thrills, adventures, and humor to keep you reading.  Oh yes, I couldn’t put the series down.  I HAD to know what was going to happen next and you will, too.

Overall for the series

For the series

 

The Unlikely Spy (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Volume One)

 

The Adventures of Grant Scotland series is an entertaining mix of fantasy, mystery and espionage featuring a hero whose many faults provide almost as much challenge to him as the formidable obstacles he must face as he attempts to impose sanity upon a world rapidly descending into chaos. Collected in this volume are the first three books in the series: Spy for a Dead Empire, Spy for a Troubled King and Spy for a Wayward Daughter.

BLURBS:

Spy for a Dead Empire (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book One)

AELFA, THE GRAND CAPITAL of the once mighty Aelfan Empire, has fallen. Barbarian war parties and nomadic tribes harass the retreating and broken legions that once overawed them. All that stands against them now is the city of Zyren, the last bastion of Aelfan rule.

Acting as a spy for Zyren is Grant Scotland, a man leading a double life because his own had been taken away from him by the very people he serves. An unwilling recruit into the business of clandestine missions and deceit, he searches for anything real to cling to as the world around him devolves into insanity. And when an old friend shows up asking him to help save his family by delivering a mysterious book to a shadowy figure, Grant’s two lives collide and he is thrust into an even stranger world than he had known; one where ancient magic is wielded by deadly players who compete against one another for a prize greater than simply the rotting carcass of a dead empire.

Like I said above, the reviews now will be my overall impressions of each book.  I loved Grant.  At times, I felt like he just wanted to chuck it all and just forget about what he needed to do.  He had been betrayed and I could definitely see him doing that but not Grant.  He’s a good guy with an even bigger heart and knew that he had to finish what was started.  I will caution you though, the book has lots of world building and back story.  At times I felt like Mr. McClure could have spread out Grant’s back story through the series but that’s just me.  Overall, I really liked the set up of Grant Scotland.  😉

 

Spy for a Troubled King (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book Two)

AMONG THE ASHES of the mighty Aelfan Empire, the House of Gregyan seeks to forge a new kingdom—one where both Huthan and Aelfan alike can prosper. But old prejudices and ancient traditions and an exiled enemy threaten the peace. Caught between compassion for his home and allegiance to his fallen empire, Grant Scotland finds himself trapped in the turbulent machinations of enemies and friends. As he works to uncover mysteries about his father’s treachery and confront new threats to his future, he moves perilously close to revealing his identity and losing everything.

 

 

Spy work is never done for Grant.  In this installment, he gets beat up, the secondary characters take hold and the political intrigue is ratcheted up a couple of notches.  The book never stops.  I swear I needed a nap after reading it.  I was spent, excited and tired.  Tired?  Oh yes, this series is like the medieval version of a James Bond movie and/or Indiana Jones, with the dry sense of humor.  This installment is grittier, rawer than the first one.  Very noir.  Loved it.

 

Spy for a Wayward Daughter (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book Three)

AS THE GREGYANS MARCH TO WAR and his handler takes a trip to Zyren, Grant Scotland, spy errant of the Aelfan Empire, gets ready to pursue a lead on finding a man who might be able to tell him the truth about his father’s treason. Old friends, new enemies and hidden dangers soon confront him on his quest, but when he enters the dark world of another family’s intrigue, he finds that not even the frontiers of the Aelfan Empire are far enough away to escape the dangers of fortune and fate.

 

 

Okay, this book is a bit slower than the second.  I could actually catch my breath.  Grant doesn’t have much harm coming to him and he just keeps on spying while trying to figure out about dear old dad.  Again…you just have to read the books.  There is adventure, intrigue, a main character that I fell in love with, enough dry humor to keep you going, and the fantasy element?  I’m there and I don’t read the genre.  🙂

 

 

Spy for a Greedy Villain (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book Four)

RACIAL TENSIONS IN AELFA simmer and threaten to boil over when the harbormaster is found dead and the Huthan oppressors threaten to crack down in the Lower Docks. As Grant Scotland finds more questions than answers in the journals of Berthul Magnussen about his father’s treachery, he is drawn into a murder investigation, a kidnapping plot and the nefarious machinations of the city’s biggest crime lord—Mr. Quinn. In order to stop Quinn’s plans and save the city from being thrown into open revolt, Grant prepares to take his biggest gamble yet.

 

 

 

Okay.  Caught my breath…finally.  This installment is much slower that all the previous ones.  Now we are dealing with murder and a crime lord…fantasy style.  Oooo, this one had to be my favorite.  I liked how Mr. McClure is finally putting all the pieces of the puzzle together now.  Like I said above, there is an overall plot arc to the series and I’m beginning to see the bigger picture.  Again, fantasy is not my thing but I will keep reading about Grant Scotland until the end and be sad when that happens.

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Excerpt One:

Spy for a Dead Empire (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book One)

Everything that ever happened to me since I was a kid played out in my mind and I was eagerly explaining every moment and why it was important to the foot of the table near my head as I regained consciousness. Unfortunately, my mouth wasn’t cooperating, so I’m fairly sure the only sound that came out was “Mmurfermumf?” The foot of the table had no response. I didn’t blame it. I’m the same way. I get embarrassed when I’m around people who talk about themselves too much, too.

I tried to get my hands up under me and push to get up, but I didn’t even get half of that done before I decided to knock off and maybe try again tomorrow. My head felt like a lead weight and a constant ringing was filling my ears. After a few minutes passed I decided I could maybe twist around a bit and get on my back, which I managed to do with all the speed of a garden slug.

My vision was slowly clearing and sharpening and I could tell I was in a dark room somewhere with dim light coming from partially shuttered windows. Suddenly I remembered the horse and the rain and the door and looked around quickly to see if my assailant was nearby.

I deeply regretted that action as blood roared in my ears and a wave of nausea almost overwhelmed me. I choked and screwed my eyes shut and stayed perfectly still and after a time I was able to breathe and open my eyes again. Good thing whoever hit me wasn’t still around. If they were, I’d have given them what for by throwing up all over their shoes.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Writing stories infused with the smoky charisma of classic film noir mixed with the pulse-pounding excitement of adventure fantasy and the cagey class of suspenseful espionage, Dan McClure brought the best parts of all of our most cherished pulp together and added his own signature brand of wit. He currently lives, writes and works in and around beautiful and historic Arlington, Massachusetts.

I can be reached at

dmcclure17@hotmail.com.

Follow me on Twitter at

https://twitter.com/DMcClure17

Like Grant Scotland on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/grantscotlandseries

Sign up for my newsletter on my blog at

https://dmcclure17.wordpress.com/

Visit my Amazon Author page at

http://www.amazon.com/Dan-McClure/e/B00JUNYTZA

Buy Link: Amazon – See below for sale dates on the books

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Grant-Scotland-Book/dp/B01M5JG2W9/ref=sr_1_3

KINDLE COUNTDOWN SALE DATES:

Spy for a Greedy Villain (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book Four):

Kindle Countdown Deal

1/4 – 1/7 @ $0.99

1/7 – 1/11 @ $1.99

 

Spy for a Dead Empire (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book One):

Kindle Countdown Deal

1/11 – 1/14 @ $0.99

1/14 – 1/18 @ $1.99

 

Spy for a Troubled King (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book Two):

Kindle Countdown Deal

1/18 – 1/21 @ $0.99

1/21 – 1/25 @ $1.99

 

Spy for a Wayward Daughter (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book Three):

Kindle Countdown Deal

1/25 – 1/28 @ $0.99

1/28 – 2/1 @ $1.99

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spotlight featuring Purr M for Murder by T.C. Lotempio w/a rafflecopter giveaway!

Purr M for Murder

by T.C. Lotempio

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GENRE:  Cozy Mystery

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BLURB:

Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.

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Excerpt Two:

Will glanced up.  “Pretty observant of you, Syd. The ME will determine the cause of death.”  He tapped on his notebook with the edge of his pen.   “Why don’t you walk me through what happened.  How did the two of you come to be in Littleton’s shop so early?”

“We had something we wanted to discuss with Mr. Littleton, and we thought the earlier the better,” I said.

“I see.  And just what was the nature of this discussion?”

I shifted my weight to my other foot. “Friendly Paws has teamed with Dayna’s Treats & Sweets for a cat café event to benefit the shelter. For a nominal fee, people can have their coffee and goodies in a room with shelter cats that are available for adoption.”

Will glanced up, and I could see a light of interest in his eyes. “I’ve heard of those cafes. They’re mostly in Europe.”

“There are a few in the States, big cities mostly.  This will be the first event of it’s kind  in North Carolina. We’re hoping to increase revenue for both the café and the shelter.”

“Let me guess. That idea didn’t sit well with Littleton?”

Kat and I both shook our heads in unison and Kat exclaimed, “I should say not! He was in the shop yesterday, and he made his feelings pretty darn clear.  He thought having the cats around would be detrimental to business. Heck, he thinks-thought-the shelter in general was a detriment to the town.”

“A sentiment you two didn’t agree with,” he said slowly.

“I should say not!” Kat returned, her cheeks starting to flame.  “Syd and I tried to reason with him yesterday but he dind’t want to hear it.”

“And that’s why you decided to come here this morning?”

I nodded. “Yes.  I put together a pretty good argument of pros for the event.  I was hoping to appeal to his sense of business acumen.”

“Why did you feel this was necessary? Had he threatened you?”

“Not in so many words,” I said carefully. “But he did say yesterday that he was determined to put a stop to the proceedings, and we hadn’t heard the last from him.”

“Um-hm.” Will murmured, scribbling some more.

“And Leila Addams – do you remember her, Will?  She’s a reporter for the Deer Park Herald now,” Kat chimed in.  “Leila said that she thought Littleton was inquiring about starting a petition against showing the shelter cats – and the shelter in general.”

Will made another notation in his book. “So when was the last time you saw Littleton?”

“Yesterday around one-thirty.” I cleared my throat.  “If that’s all the questions you have, we need to get going.”

 He snapped his notebook shut.  “You’re free to go for now,” he said, “but I will probably need to talk to you some more later on.”

“That’s fine,” I said.  “We’ll be here.”

The corners of Will’s lips twitched slightly. “Good to know.”  

Once we were back out on the street, Kat hauled off and punched  me in the arm – hard.

“Yow!” I cried. “What was that for?”

“For thinking that you could come here and face Littleton without me, for one,” Kat said.  “I knew you had your fingers crossed last night.”

I rubbed at my arm. “Can’t put anything over on you, can I?”

She gave me a shrewd look.  “So, how did it feel, seeing Will Worthington again after all these years!  I heard he was back in town, but I had no idea he’d become a detective – homicide, no less.”  She cut me a sidelong glance. “Funny, isn’t it, how you two came back to Deer Park almost at the same time.  Like Karma, or something.”

“Well, I’d rather deal with Will than his partner, Colombo Junior,” I said. “Come on, let’s get my car and get to the shelter. I hope Maggie isn’t too worried.”

We walked through the alleyway and when we were almost at  the spot where I’d parked, I suddenly stopped short.  “Hey,” Kat cried as she ran full tilt into my back. “What’s wrong?”

I pointed to the empty space beside my car. “There was a white Lincoln there when I came, parked pretty badly.  The license plate read TLITTLE.  I thought for sure it was Littleton’s car, but if it’s gone…”

“A white Lincoln?  That’s his wife Petra’s car,” Kat said.  She glanced around, then pointed to the gym. “She must have parked it here instead of the gym parking lot, like she usually does. I wonder why.”

Another disturbing thought occurred to me as I slid behind the wheel.  It would have been impossible for Littleton’s wife not to have seen the ambulance and police cars parked in front of her husband’s shop.  Why hadn’t she come to see what was wrong?

Unless, of course…she didn’t have to. Because she already knew.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, is out this December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Where to find them:

ROCCO’s blog:

www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Website:

WWW.tclotempio.com

Amazon- Purr M for Murder

https://www.amazon.com/Purr-Murder-Cat-Rescue-Mystery/dp/1683310926/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474130829&sr=1-3

Amazon: All Books Page

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=T.C.+LoTempio&search-alias=books&text=T.C.+LoTempio&sort=relevancerank

facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Toni-LoTempio-125764404163823Twitter:

@RoccoBlogger

Purchase Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/purr-m-for-murder-t-c-lotempio/1124519401

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

The author will be awarding autographed copy of <i>PURR M FOR MURDER</i> (hardcover – US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Review of It Started With a Kiss (The Worthingtons) by Ella Quinn w/a rafflecopter giveaway!

It Started With a Kiss

by Ella Quinn

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GENRE: Historical Romance

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BLURB:

What is a young Worthington woman to do when the man of her dreams is not who she thinks he is?

This season, all eyes are on the Earl of Worthington’s spirited, beautiful sister, Lady Louisa Vivers. Many gentlemen are vying for her attention in and around the ton. Yet, Louisa longs for someone who can take her beyond the ballroom—a man who is worldly, adventurous, and passionate. She won’t settle for just any suitor. She wants her true soul mate—and she’ll know him when she sees him.

Is Gideon, the Duke of Rothwell, him? The moment he and Louisa meet, they share a powerful attraction. Rides at sunrise and waltzes at dusk follow. Finally, Gideon can no longer resist the urge to embrace her, and Louisa is sure he will ask for her hand. But Gideon believes he is in no position to marry. The Rothwell estate has gone bankrupt, a scandal simmers in its wake, and he has nothing left to offer. Now, he must decide if he will let pride stand in the way of true love—or if he will risk everything, and let the lady decide for herself…

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Excerpt One:

Early morning, Hyde Park, May 1815

Dawn had broken only a few minutes before, but a light fog clouded the air making the sun look like a small yellow ball. Gideon, Duke of Rothwell, was certain he was the only rider at this hour of the morning. Needing the calm a hard ride gave him, he thundered down the empty carriage way. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a dark bay burst through the mist, disturbing his solitude. Yet it was the massive dog, almost the size of a pony, keeping pace with the horse that caught his notice.

What the devil?

Faisu, his black Murgese stallion, pranced nervously as Gideon brought him to a halt. “Easy, boy. We don’t need that beast tangling with you. He could sever your hamstrings in an instant.”

A moment later, a twist of long, dark hair pulled loose from under the rider’s hat, riveting his attention on the woman. By the time she was even with him, he’d taken in the neat figure encased in a dark blue riding habit, and her excellent seat.

She glanced over, slowing her horse for a bare moment as she passed him. Her cheeks were pink from the cool air and a smile graced her lush rose lips. Their gazes collided and held. As if they were the only two people on earth. In that second, Gideon felt as if he would tumble into the vivid blue of the rider’s eyes that reminded him of lapis.

She cannot be real.

He blinked and she was gone. He might have dreamed her except that a few seconds later, a groom raced by, clearly attempting to catch up with his mistress.

For a moment he was tempted to follow as well, but it wouldn’t do him any good. She was obviously a lady, and even if he could obtain an introduction, and their relations proceeded satisfactorily, he was not yet in a position to wed.

It was pure fantasy to think of marriage in conjunction with a woman he’d seen in passing. Still, he would have liked to have been able to dream.

Blast Father! If he were still alive, I’d shake some sense back into him.

But the old duke had been in the ground for over three months when Gideon had returned from Canada. Now all he could do was pick up the pieces his father had left behind.

This is my first book by Ms. Quinn.  I know, a lot of people kept telling me to read her books.  Since I’ve been on a historical kick of late, I decided to read one.  Boy, was I surprised.  I knew that Ms. Quinn does a lot of research for her books but what surprised me that she gave details but didn’t muddy it up with too many details.  In other words, she left all of the “ton” stuff out and put in the intrigue and some health issues that I’ve never read in a historical romance.  The set up from Gideon’s late father is brilliant but sad.  It did, however, let itself be not the plot, what the reason why Gideon treats Louisa at times.

Oh, I loved Gideon and Louisa.  They were perfectly matched from the beginning.  I also liked Matt and Grace.  And I can’t forget Edmond, Gideon’s cousin.  He is hilarious at times but other times, I found him to be a sad sap.  I’m glad that Louisa and Charlotte were able to fix him up with someone else.  Yes, I’m being vague but the scenes with Louisa and Edmond were actually funny but sad.  Overall, I’m glad that plot point turned out the way it did and it wasn’t dragged out forever in the book.

That brings me to another point that I loved about Ms. Quinn’s writing.  She doesn’t drag the different plot points out throughout the book.  They are wrapped up nicely and to the point.  Keep in mind that there is an overall arc to the book and the ending was just a shock to me but a good one, too.  Gideon finally (silly man) that Louisa was truly his equal and he should have told her about the “loose end” that threatened to destroy his relationship with Louisa.

Overall, I really liked the book.  If I had complaint was that the smexy times were too short.  I know.  Most people either complain about too much or too little.  Don’t get me wrong, they had plenty of smexy times but I would have liked to have seen Louisa really come into her own when it came to the bedchamber.  He He!  Gideon said that he would teach her but we never got there.

I need to go back and read about Matt and Grace.  I was given snippets of their courtship and deals with the ladies of ill repute and such.  Delicious.  😉

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series, The Worthingtons, began in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next!

  

Website: www.ellaquinnauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor

Twitter www.twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor

Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Started-Kiss-Worthingtons-Book-ebook/dp/B01HWKM60W/ref=sr_1_1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/it-started-with-a-kiss-ella-quinn/1124063901?ean=9781420139594

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Ella will be awarding an Autographed ARC of <i>IT STARTED WITH A KISS</i> (US Only) to 5 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway