NOTE: That title is NOT a name of a book. Unless you decide to name your next book that. But Beastly Second Chances & Slaves is a hodgepodge of three books I’ve recently read that went in my FAV bucket. So put on your flip flops, because I’m taking you wading through books today. (Pretend you’re at the ocean since it’s summer).
Second Chances in Paradise by Jennifer Peel
Peel is one of my favorite go-to authors. Thankfully, she writes quickly and keeps my sweet romance tooth satisfied. This is a first love-second chance trope set in a gorgeous beach setting in Paradise, Alabama.
Holland is a brilliant scientist working on her doctorate degree. She comes from a rough background where she never felt any love from family or those who should have cared for her. She’s always focused on her studies to fill the emptiness within her. Except for a summer she spent working at the Claibourne hotel in Paradise when she was in high school and met Porter, the owner’s son. He taught her how it felt to be loved…before he broke her heart and she fled Paradise forever.
Circumstances (aka, a friend’s wedding) bring her back eight years later…and she meets Porter again for a second shot at love. If she dares take it. The risk to her heart might be more than her scientific brain can allow.
This story made me smile. The characters are fun and lovable, The romantic tension clean, yet steamy. The side characters added great dimension and reality to the plot. The setting is stunning and fun to immerse yourself in. The character growth made this poignant and touching. It’s an all-around solid, good romance that’s perfect for the beach or wherever you might be when you need a heart-lift. I highly recommend it.
He wove his fingers between mine and held on like a covalent bond, tight and strong.
I’m always up for a good science experiment.”
“Mmm.” He made some guttural sound while closing the gap between us. “Well baby, get ready, because I’m going to light your Bunsen burner.”
Porter’s smile said I amused him. “To know even a tiny part of your brain is a beautiful thing.”
“Now that is a line I could fall for.” –Holland
Slave Queen by H.B. Moore
This was a super good historical/modern suspense book. The slave queen is Aleksandra, a village girl in the kingdom of Poland in the 1500’s. When the Turks come through and slaughter her people, she is taken by the sultan Suleiman himself and made a slave to his caravan. So begins her new life as she works her way up to favor in his eyes through bravery, loyalty, and sheer will.
This story also has a contemporary plot that ties in with the historical one. Omar Zagouri is an Israeli agent who is trying to find the person who beat up and hospitalized his mother. Mia, his almost fiancée, helps him on his mission. They run into others, including the son of his bitter enemy who runs Bata Enterprises. Bata has discovered ancient letters from the Slave Queen to the Sultan that could make a difference in modern day Turkish government if a sinister organization has anything to do with it.
The plot was interesting, with tons of twists and lots of great suspense and tension. It’s an action-filled story, with great characters put in scary scenarios. I loved the switch between modern day Turkey and ancient Ottoman Empire. Learning about how a Turkish harem ran, with all the subtleties and intrigues and deceits and power plays was fascinating. Aleksandra, the Slave Queen, was incredible. I loved whenever the story switched back to her and the sultan. Their love story was beautiful.
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Allen Campbell
This one’s my first or second steampunk I’ve read. There’s a book–Third Daughter–that I read a while back and I’m wondering now if it was steampunk. But I’m not sure. This books is historical, set in England kind of in the Regency era, but with steam powered technology that didn’t exist then. It felt sort of science-fiction-y but had a paranormal element as well, with vampires and werewolves as part of normal life.
Lucy Pickett is our heroine. She goes to Lord Blackwell’s manor to take care of her cousin, who has married the earl’s brother. She’s intent on learning the cause of her vibrant cousin’s illness. Lord Blackwell would like her to leave, because he’s attracted to her but cannot act on his desires since he is secretly a werewolf. What?!?
As weird as it sounds, it’s a riveting story with great characters (main and side ones). The story has a good mystery element to it and lots of twists that made it very appealing and easy to read. Overall, I liked it very much and now know more about the steampunk genre. Yea me!
You are not, at your core, as you would have people believe. You’ve been sorely misjudged, and your foster the harsh exterior as a means of self-preservation. You are an enigma, a contradiction.” – Lucy
Blackwell’s expression was flat. “My, but you are a dramatic one.”
That’s all for now. You can go swim or something. Or drink lemonade in the shade…with a book. Happy reading.