Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine Abel

Reviewed by Ronelle

King Eric Thorsen of the Rathlin Islands, known as Bluebeard, has been widowed once more. Though his last wife resisted the lure of the curse for six months, she eventually succumbed and Eric must marry again. Will any woman survive to truly become his queen?

Astrid Halvar will not see her family become destitute, no matter the cost. In defiance of her father’s wishes, she attends the king’s ball with a number of other eligible maidens. She is the least among them in wealth and power, so it is an utter shock when the king chooses her. Will she be able to succeed where so many other women have failed? [Read more…]

Review: Master of Tides by Jennifer Kohout

master of tidesReviewed by Janell

I enjoy a good lady-on-a-ship story. In this case, the lady is actually a pirate captain, and she’s rough and tough and fierce. She is also very aware of her nipples.

Lena’s father raised her on a ship. When she was raped at age ten, Daddy told her to get used to it, since “men would always want her for one thing and it was between her legs.” Lena’s not tortured or haunted by her past, though. She embraces it, as ships are all she’s ever known. She knows that, as captain, it’s her job to pay her men enough to keep them in booze and whores. [Read more…]

Review: Mutiny of the Heart by Jennifer Bray-Weber

mutiny of the heartReview by Janell

I don’t usually read pirate books because they seem filled with alpha males and silly pirate talk and poor hygiene. I chose this book because it had a woman pirate captain, and I was curious if that situation would be believable. I’m here to tell you that I totally bought it, from corsets to cannon balls, and I might be willing to give pirate books another chance. [Read more…]

Review: Bound by Decency

Reviewed by Jen

The pirate Cain is on a mission of vengeance.  After two years of living a respectable life on land, he thought he finally had his disreputable days behind him.  But his friend and business partner turned on him when he refused to allow slavery into their shipping business. He framed Cain for a crime he didn’t commit, then told the world his true identity. He would have hanged if an old sailing mate had not rescued him.

Now Cain wants Richard dead for his deceit and disloyalty. Unfortunately, his prey went on the run as soon as he escaped the gallows. So Cain kidnaps Richard’s fiance, in the hopes she’ll tell him where her intended is hiding.

India is nothing like Cain expects. She is bold and full of spirit.  And she claims she has no idea where Richard is hiding.  While her character is strong, her body isn’t quite so tough. She is quickly plagued by seasickness and ends up with a terrible fever that takes her in and out of consciousness.  Cain has to nurse her back to health and becomes captivated by her beauty.  He gets even more entangled as he listens to her feverish dreams.

It’s Cain who India is dreaming about. Well, actually it’s Teddy, the alter-ego he took on as Richard’s partner. India never wanted Richard, but fantasized about the stalwart gentleman he described Teddy to be.  Once she boarded Cain’s ship and realized the men were one in the same, her fantasies and dreams finally had a face to go with the name.

After India wakes, she and Cain have a connection. But she fights it, insisting she remain true to her betrothal for honor’s sake. This is where the book dragged for me.  It seemed to go round and round for some time, with her fighting her feelings and Cain pushing for them to be together, then the other way around.  In the meantime, India is learning more about the life of a pirate and all the freedoms it entails.  The story follows her and Cain’s adventures on the sea, the push and pull of their affections, and of course the search for Richard.

Once they finally get together, the book really gathers steam.  After all that waiting, in a way, it made the intensity of their emotional connection more believable. And Lord knows, I was ready for the sex. (It delivers, by the way.)  The pacing really picks up here. We meet more pirates. We learn more about Cain’s history.  Our hero and heroine evolve both as individuals and a couple.  In the second half, the book really finds it legs.

I liked India. She was tough and smart… and at the same time, she was human and fallible. She makes mistakes –as does Cain. He was a sexy and good hearted hero, but he did have a bit of emotional baggage.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I just wish it hadn’t taken quite so long to hit its stride.

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Bound by Decency
by Claire Ashgrove
Release Date: August 1, 2012

Review: The Siren’s Song

Reviewed by Jen

Gilly is on the run from the man who murdered her lover.  To get away, she hides aboard a ship.  Her escape plan might have worked if the vessel hadn’t crashed into a reef.  Thankfully, the dashing pirate Thayer Drake saves her before she can drown.

Drake is hard man… a true pirate.  He thinks nothing of grounding other ships to rob them of their cargo.  He looks out for Number One and he’s good at it.  So when Gilly comes aboard, he tells her she must earn her keep by entertaining him.  Fortunately, she is an accomplished singer and he quickly becomes enamored of her talents.

Gilly is attracted to Drake, but she is a woman with many secrets. She lies about why she is running and who she’s running from.  And she tells no one of her of her serious addiction to laudanum.  Gilly is still mourning the death of her lost love, so she fights her growing feelings for the sexy sea captain.  It’s a losing battle, though.  The more time she spends in his company, the harder she falls.  Likewise, he falls for her too. But for their own reasons, each pushes the other away.

Their feelings become impossible to deny once the danger really kicks in.  Between the man hunting Gilly and a villain from Drake’s past, their lives are in real jeopardy.  It’s with the action and danger in the second half that the book picks up steam.  While this is definitely a romance, it’s a little bit of a slow build and not very heavy in bedroom action.

The characters are interesting. I like that we’ve got a heroine who is not a bright and shiny virgin. She has made bad choices in her past and she still struggles with addiction.  Drake has an addiction of his own, drowning himself in rum every night.  The events in his past that shaped him are slowly revealed –which really helps flesh out who he is as a man and makes him much more sympathetic.

The story is the third in the Romancing the Pirate series.  It has some overlapping characters, but works easily as a standalone book.  I liked it well enough, but it didn’t invoke any strong feelings.

Rating: C

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
  The Siren’s Song
by Jennifer Bray-Webber
Release Date: May 14, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press


Review: A Kiss in the Wind

Reviewed by Jen

All Marisol wants is to find and rescue her missing brother Monte. Her father, the pirate captain Alain, believes he is dead. So does her other brother Luc. But Marisol knows Monte is alive. And now she believes he is on the merchant ship Gloria.

When Marisol learns that a messenger travels with word of the Gloria’s location, she heads him off and gets ahold of the missive. Her escape throws her directly in the path of Captain Blade Tyburn, a pirate as well known for his mastery of women as his mastery of the seas. She picks his pocket, having no idea that the cameo she is palming holds great value to him. And through a series of events stemming from her theft, she ends up on his ship, headed straight for the Gloria.

Blade is both drawn to and repulsed by Marisol. She is spirited and bold, but she’s also a liar and a thief. He tries to fight his physical attraction to her, but it’s a losing battle. He does better when he faces her over and over in battles of wit and will.

The story follows the intrigue surrounding the Gloria and a missing shipment of silver. Not everyone is what they seem, which keeps the book interesting and pacing pretty quick. I did get a little confused a couple of times trying to keep all the ships and their crews straight in my head. But really, what matters in the story is the relationship blooming between Blade and Marisol. It’s not exactly an epic love story, but Marisol has had a pretty tough life and she suffers a great deal of betrayal and loss in the story. Blade becomes her first true comfort and the only person she can really count on. Plus, the sex is hot.

Entertaining with a lot of twists and turns.  3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
A Kiss in the Wind
by Jennifer Bray-Webber
Release Date: March 26, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press