#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.
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#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.
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#Review of The Wedding March (The Business of Weddings #4) by Tara Randal w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @TaraRandal @HarlequinHeartwarmingAuthors

The Wedding March
(The Business of Weddings #4)
Tara Randel
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
March 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

The help only he can offer…

Cypress Pointe, Florida, is a long way from LA, where pop singer Cassie Branford needs a hit to prove she’s not a two album wonder. But her case of writer’s block could be over when the struggling songwriter meets Luke Hastings at a family wedding.

The legendary musician walked away from success at the height of his career. Yet Luke is already inspiring Cassie with his dedication to building a permanent community outreach center for troubled teens. Volunteering to help bring music into these kids’ lives is also bringing her and Luke closer. Maybe they’re not as different as he thinks…

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

Other Books in the Series

  

Why do I feel like I’m rubber-stamping my reviews for this line?  I don’t mean too.  Really.  But I can not say enough good things about the line.  If you like sweet romance with depth, characters that you instantly fall in love with and when you finish the book, your heart is happy…then this is the line for you.  Harlequin Heartwarming just gets it.  Truly they do.  I haven’t read a bad book from this line at all.  In fact, this is my second book from Ms. Randel and I loved it just as much.

What really stood out for me in this one though was the depth that Cassie really felt for one of the kids at the club.  She didn’t have too but she did.  It showed great character depth for her and also showed Luke that she wasn’t fluff but really solid as a person.  In fact, the kids at the club play a huge part in the romance.  I know, kids can be plot devices but Ms. Randal shows us that teenagers have feelings, too and that sometimes they just need to find that one adult that will truly listen to them and understand.  (Trust me, I sub at our high school enough.  I see it all the time.  Plus, I have a few that single me out every time I’m on campus.  Just to say Hello and that they miss me in class.)  Luke understands the kids, too but somehow, he let the kids rule his so called life and he forgot how to live again.  Sure, his ex-wife did a MAJOR number on him but it wasn’t until Cassie showed up that he really understood how to live again and maybe (?) write music again.

The music portions of the book were good, too.  I liked how Cassie had writer’s block.  I have writer’s block all the time.  I have 4 books on my computer that are not finished because I can’t get past it.  Preach sister!  But what struck me was when Luke and Cassie finally decided to collaborate together and it just clicked.  *NOTE*  I would have liked an epilogue to see if “the” song was ever recorded.  But that’s just me.  Luke is such a great hero.  Loving but so alone.  Again, it wasn’t until Cassie came into his life that he realized how alone he really was.

I wish that I could have nice things to say about Cassie’s dad.  He’s one of the worst dad’s out there.  I just wish that Lauren didn’t have to get hurt in the process but Cassie has warned her too many times.  But with that in mind, Cassie knew it all along.

By the end of the book, I was sad.  I didn’t want it to end but alas, it had too.  I will miss the colored streak in Cassie’s hair, Luke’s kisses (Oh my), Denny and Erin and the goings on in Cypress Pointe.  Great character growth and depth from Cassie and Luke.  And yes, Ms. Randal gets it too.  She writes a beautiful love story that everyone can read and have a happy heart in the end.  Hopefully she will visit this town again.  I must come to the wedding of Nealy and Dane.  😉

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn’t come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

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Tour Schedule

March 12th: Launch
March 13th: Falling Leaves
March 14th: Reading Is My SuperPower & Book Lover in Florida
March 15th: Hearts & Scribbles
March 16th: Christy’s Cozy Corners & Rainy Day Reviews
March 17th: The Silver Dagger Scriptorium & Bookworm Lisa
March 19th: Heidi Reads…
March 20th: Katie’s Clean Book CollectionMel’s Shelves & Rockin’ Book Reviews
March 21st: Wishful Endings & Getting Your Read On
March 22nd: underneath the covers & Hardcover Feedback
March 23rd: Harlie’s Books & Becky on Books
March 24th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

– US PRIZE PACK: Signed copies of the first three books in The Business of Weddings series by Tara Randel, a $25 gift card for Dunkin’ Donuts, a coffee mug with an inspirational message: “Something beautiful is on the horizon,” and a Harlequin Heartwarming tote bag. (US only)
– $25 Amazon eCard (open internationally)
 Ends March 28th

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