The Lass Initiated the Laird (Lisa Torquay)

Note: I received this novella from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Overall

So I actually hate reading things out of order. When I find a series, I try to never start in the middle, and I really don't do it when it's my first book by an author. So this novella is set after the third book in aseries called Explosive Highlanders, and it really convinced me that I was right to avoid novellas in the middle of series by authors I've never read before.

That's not to say I didn't like it, but I just kind of think it suffers from me not knowing anything about the world that Lisa Torquay has created if that makes sense. For example, I'm pretty sure Aileen and Taran, Sam's father and stepmother, are in Book 1 or 2 -- but now I don't want to read their story because Taran's a jackass.  This novella does not stand on its own.

Another drawback is the pacing. It's a short novella--about 90 pages--and most of the book is building up the seduction between Sam and Harriet. That part is mostly fine. There are some tropes and purple prose, but whatever. And then the book gallops over weeks and months, and there's a trip to Scotland that makes little narrative sense except we want to to see Aileen and Taran--the pacing is all over the place.

Sam and Harriet don't really stand alone as interesting characters either, though I imagine I'd feel differently having read the first two books. If you're looking for a short story with a lot of sex, then this is probably a good book for you. If you're looking for a little bit more development in your romance and a more traditional narrative, I wouldn't recommend it.

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The Highlander’s Promise (Lynsay Sands)

Overall Response

This one is being reviewed out of order because it was only just released on Tuesday, June 26, and I didn't wait to wait to read it. I've been hoping for a good story for Aulay since we met him in The Highlander Takes a Bride and he showed up in subsequent books.

I was happy with this story for the most part. There were some...secrets being kept that I think bordered on problematic with the hero not telling the heroine the truth. Had Jetta known from the start what the deal was, things would have been different. Still, points for it never being Aulay's idea to lie to her, and for having a relatively decent reason for continuing it. (Better than most books).

I think this probably the last book in the series only because we're out of the women from To Marry a Scottish Laird and the Buchanan brothers didn't strike me as romantic leads, but I guess we'll find out. A solid entry in the series.

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After the Wedding (The Worth Saga #2)

Note: Received as ARC in exchange for a review. For order links, see Courtney Milan's website.

Initial Thoughts & Hot Take

I thought the book got off to a slow start. The first few chapters threw a lot of information at me about Adrian's background and family, so it took me a minute to get into the story. That being said, once it got going, I couldn't put it down and I finished it in a few hours. We'd waited a while for the follow-up to the cliffhanger ending at the end of the first book, Once Upon a Marquess, and I definitely felt like After the Wedding delivered.

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The Pursuit Of… (Courtney Milan)

Note: This book was originally released as part of an anthology, Hamilton's Battalion, and will be released as a standalone novella on June 26, 2018. This book was provided as an ARC in exchange for a review.

Overall Response

I'm still very much dipping my toes into the m/m romance subgenre. This is not really a matter of preference, only that I tend to follow the same authors who tend to only use LGBTQ characters and romances as subplots and supporting characters. This is my third novel in this category, and the second in the m/m tradition. So that being said, I'm happy to have read this. The leads are engaging, the banter is lovely and swift and as always, Courtney Milan tackles the larger issues so deftly you don't even notice what she's doing.  There's always something deeper at work in Milan books, and her hero and heroines are always just left of conventional, which is my favorite thing about her work. I love knowing when I pick up a book from Courtney Milan, I'm about to be taken on a journey that no other author could have done.
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