Tag Archives: Claire Delacroix

Book Review: ‘The Beauty Bride’ by Claire Delacroix

Title: The Beauty Bride (The Jewels of Kinfairlie Book 1)

Published: 8th November 2014

Author: Claire Delacroix pseudonym for Deborah Cooke

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix

Twitter: @cooke_delacroix

 

Synopsis:

More cherished than gold are the Jewels of Kinfairlie, and only the worthiest may fight for their love…The Laird of Kinfairlie has unmarried sisters, each a gem in her own right. And he has no choice but to see them all wed in haste.

Lady Madeline’s heart is not for sale…especially not to a notorious outlaw like Rhys FitzHenry. Yet Madeline’s hand has been sold, to none other than this battle-weary warrior with a price on his head. A more dutiful maiden might cede to the Laird’s command and meekly accept her fate, but Madeline has never been obedient. She decides to run away, though she never dreams that Rhys will pursue her. She does not expect this taciturn man to woo her with fanciful stories, much less that each of his enthralling tales will reveal a scar upon his shielded soul. She never imagines that a man like Rhys could imperil her own heart while revealing so little of his own feelings. When Rhys’s past threatens his future, Madeline takes a leap of faith. She dares to believe him innocent — and risks her own life to pursue a passion more priceless than the rarest gem.

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A highlanders romance. Be wary of fairies that like to cause trouble. Best to keep them on your side for they may lend a hand – or perhaps a foot – at just the right moment. Seems Darg has her uses after being disturbed from her slumber with her treasure trove. Only handy to those that can see her though. A younger set of eyes needed in the form of Madeline’s sister Elizabeth.

Alexander has had the role of Laird of Kinfairlie thrust on him sooner than he would have hoped with the loss of his parents. Running the keep is one thing but his family is another. Five sisters he needs wed but none will help his quest until the eldest, Madeline, weds first and she holds fast to her first love returning to claim her. Though lost to her he may be after going off to battle. The keep is in need of funds and won’t feed everyone that winter so he needs to think of ways to help the load. Seems with his Uncles timely auction of some old relics he too might be able to gain some coin after Rosamunde, his Aunt, suggests he auction the finest jewel of Kinfairlie – Madeline. Seems he just needs to be dared to take the plunge to set a whole lot of adventure in motion.

Madeline and her sisters are happy to go to their Uncles auction but are sure to get a surprise. The moment Madeline arrives she feels the eyes of all the men on her. She just can’t put her finger on what is making her feel uneasy to begin with. Doesn’t help that a mysterious stranger in the shadows keeps drawing her eye. The moment of reveal happens and she can’t but think it a cruel prank. Cruel it may be but prank it is not. With the bidding increasing she fears for whom will claim her – spoilt brat with daddies money to name but one. It seems the mysterious stranger is to claim the prize at any price. Seeing no way out from what her brother has done to her she knows she has to escape on her own when the coast is clear. Namely while everyone is planning the wedding for the next day. Seems she should have taken more note of her husband to be, as he doesn’t look like he’s willing to give up his jewel for anything.

Seems Rhys thinks Madeline may the key to claiming his homeland keep, or more a way to bind it to him through her if she is who he thinks she is. He knows she will make a run for it but isn’t too far behind. He should have got a little closer though as dangers are too clear on an open road no matter how much you may think you know who you travel with. Saving the life of his wife to be is one way to get in her good books but his manners in general are going to do nothing but constancy piss her off.

Seeking sanctuary with an old friend may keep them safe but a night. Though as long as they have time to wed and bed first he’ll be happy. Now who would have thought he could go from showing her the heated highs of passion to heated lows of anger so fast. He really needs to watch what he says if he wants to keep his wife with him. One thing that is always on his mind, and now hers, is that he is a wanted man from the English. Seems to get home the road will be filled with danger and angst. Though as long as a bit of passion continues the nights will be warm. They soon find themselves on the run, back to his home but on the run from others nonetheless. Seems our Rhys can be a bit wily when needed but Madeline’s not short of a task or two. Staying close is what’s needed to stay alive but it may also be what keeps them apart if they don’t communicate better. More him than her mind you.

Madeline has a little magic help from a teardrop stone given to her by her Aunt that was once her mothers. Turning black is bad so she needs to learn what she is truly doing to see how and when it turns white and glowing. Their ribbons are tied for souls entwined but only Darg and Elizabeth can see. Are they going to get tangled tighter or wither apart? Dangers that follow are only the first trouble and others may be closer to home.

Great back and forth banter and confrontations between Rhys and Madeline. You can clearly see they both have met their match. Not the way they would have chosen to meet but seems fate has other ideas for these two. Well fate with a little help – or hinder at times – from the troublesome Darg. Though in her defence she was disturbed from her sleep and her treasure – well she saw it as hers as it had been left for so long – was being taken away. What better way than to cause a bit of mischief. Lets see what she can get up to next. Elizabeth will soon be there to follow her new friend.

Side characters were good too, thought Thomas and Rosemunde were funny. They seemed to know all would work out as it was meant to. Great start to the series and can be read as a standalone from reading The Rogues series.

5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ by Claire Delacroix

Title: Once Upon a Kiss

Published: 16th November 2014

Author: Claire Delacroix pseudonym for Deborah Cooke

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix

Twitter: @cooke_delacroix

 

Synopsis:

For over a thousand years – so legend has it – the brambles have grown wild over the ruins of Dunhelm Castle. Many believed that the thorns were a sign that the castle was cursed, so no one dared to trespass, and the secrets that they protected and concealed have remained hidden – until now…

Armed with a pair of gardening shears, Baird Beauforte is determined to clear away the brambles that hinder the development of his resort, and he won’t let local superstition deter him. Dunhelm Castle is supposed to be the latest jewel in the Beauforte Resort chain, but the renovations can’t be finished if the workmen are frightened of a so-called curse. To dispel any lingering fears, Baird decides to vanquish the briars himself. What he never expects is to find a mysterious slumbering beauty…

Aurelia is like no one he has ever met before. Upon awakening, she demands to know his identity and why he is in her father’s castle! Bemused by her claim of being a king’s daughter, he is certain he has never met this “princess” before, although something about her rouses a haunting sense of familiarity. Soon, dreams plague this by-the-book businessman…dreams that feel more like memories. And Baird begins to wonder if he can claim his heart’s princess – now and forever – with a kiss…

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book that has a castle in it. One that has a very interesting tale attached to it. Time and fate will always bring the souls of the past back to where they began so they can truly end happily ever after in this present day look on the tale of Sleeping Beauty.

Dunhelm castle A.D. 800 is where our princess Aurelia falls into a slumber only to awaken 1200 years later with true loves kiss. Her father Hekod’s castle is under siege by the evil Bard, son or Erc. The man who killed her brother and now wishes to claim her and the castle. Aurelia wants to help her father and knows her skills are the best with a bow. But on a second shot she pricks her finger and soon feels herself being pulled away and under into a deep sleep. It seems the stories and curse she never took much faith in were true. Now she just has to wait to see how the story ends.

Baird is at the location of the new holiday development for his company. Something drew him to purchase Dunhelm castle and calls to him to stay. The renovations are under way but there is one area the builders are reluctant to go near. A place full of vines in a dark shadowed area that appears to have superstitions and curses attached to it. With a pair of shears and a lot of determination he manages to uncover a set of stairs leading down to a chamber. This is when Julian, his lawyer and friend, makes an appearance, comically complaining as he goes, just wanting them to hurry up and get back to the States. He might not want to be there but seems was needed as he finds a release to open a door to reveal a hidden crypt. One that just so happens to have a beautiful women sleeping in the centre of on a stone bed. Baird feels compelled to get closer to her and almost loses control with his need and desire to wake her up. A kiss comes to mind and when her head slowly turns towards him he knows there is no holding back. A kiss to wake and connect with a stranger, one that has some very strange ideas on what’s going on and who everyone might really be.

Waking up Aurelia doesn’t think any time has passed at all. Or if it has, well then maybe a few days or week at most to start with. The last thing she remembers is the castle being under siege and her father being in danger. When the stranger in front of her – handsome one mind you – says his name is Baird she just automatically thinks he is Bard, son of Erc. Means she has an automatic dislike to him, well tries to anyway. She never met the real Bard so has nothing to go on. Just that the castle belongs to her father so is dismayed when Baird says he owns it now. She just thinks that he must have staked a claim to it and now fears for the lives of her people. She doesn’t think she can trust Baird at all but has a strange pull towards him. Same goes with his friend Julian who, because of his lack of hair, she thinks is a monk, one that uses a lot of powerful magic. Seems neither of them really took much notice when she first spoke as they didn’t have a clue what she was saying but after hearing them speak she managed to pick up their language in no time. She was gifted with the use of tongues so can speak any language needed. You would think that the moment she gets outside and sees the changes to the castle she would know a lot of time had passed but she just keeps putting this down to magic. She just wants to find her father and figure out what happened to her home. Something Baird feels compelled to help her with.

Baird can’t believe his luck with how he feels about Aurelia from the moment she woke up. Shame he now thinks she has lost a few marbles as she thinks she is a Viking princess and that her father owns the castle. He just thinks that something bad must have happened to her or her father to make her regress into a fantasy world to protect memories she isn’t ready to remember. Little does he know that she speaks the truth and that danger could fall upon them all if they do not remember their past lives that are about the effect their present ones.

I found it a bit amusing that Aurelia thought that Julian’s power of magic was so advanced that she wrote off seeing a car, helicopter and then electricity as nothing short of magical. The part where her and Baird butt heads about her having a bath and not understanding how the taps worked made me laugh a lot. Also laughed with how Aurelia sees Baird’s interior designer Marissa. The way she sees things are from a Viking perspective so for someone to dress as Marissa does and act around Baird that she must be a mistress who has his ear. Now Marissa in general was just a right pain throughout, so annoying with most of the things she says. For some reason, maybe something to do with the past, she thinks that her and Baird and meant to be. She gets a reality shock when it becomes clear that the only woman for him is Aurelia. Well if they can all figure out what is really happening around them that is. They might have a connection building between them but neither can be sure what the other is really thinking. They need to believe in each other and the past to be able to see their future.

Superstitions hold truths and if they want to be able to close the past and finally live they need to look back and finish what they started. Seems Ursilla might have a little helping hand to do with this, or more like talking riddles with a twinkle in her eye and a tale to tell. One they all need to listen to if they want to get their happily ever after. Fun read with lots of laughs along the way and an interesting look at how the story could be told in a present day setting.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘The Rogue’ by Claire Delacroix

Title: The Rogue (The Rogues of Ravensmuir Book 1)

Published: 16th December 2014

Author: Claire Delacroix pseudonym for Deborah Cooke

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix and www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahCookeFanPage

Twitter: @cooke_delacroix

 

Synopsis:

Dear Reader:

Seductive and mysterious, Merlyn was the laird of Ravensmuir — never had a man so stirred my body and soul. I gave myself to him — willingly, trustingly, passionately — and we soon wed. Then a horrible revelation emerged, shattering my innocence and my marriage…

Five years later, Merlyn returned to my doorstep, desperate for my help. The scoundrel swore he was haunted by memories of me, that a treasure locked in Ravensmuir could clear his name. Yet I could not surrender to his will again. Now he is said to be murdered and Ravensmuir has fallen into my hands.

But even as I cross the threshold of this cursed keep, I hear his whisper in the darkness, feel his caress in the night, and I know that Merlyn has told me but part of his tale. Should I do as is right and expose his lair? Or dare I trust my alluring but deceptive spouse – the rogue who destroyed my heart?

— Ysabella

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book from a series new to you. A lot can happen over the Christmas tidings, as Ysabella and Merlyn are about to find out.

Kinfairlie is a small village where a tale surrounds it of the demise of Laird and Lady Kinfairlie and their family. Burned to the ground waiting to be reclaimed by its rightful heir. It’s the sister keep of Ravensmuir which was taken over by Merlyn’s father Avery Lammergeier. One whose idea of trade was tainted by how greedy he got and how easily the lies started to unfurl.

Merlyn is a rogue of a man who needs to find out who tried to kill him and why, but not before trying to woo his wayward wife back where she belongs. It’s time she heard the truth, this time from him and not twisted by another. It seems Ysabella detests lies but is now holding on to a few herself. Classic communication issues arise between these two that need a swift fix it they are to outwit those that would harm them.

Seductive and mysterious are two very good words to describe Merlyn. He tempts Ysabella still no matter her reasons for leaving in the first place and his lure to get her back is risky. She knows he plays games but seeks truth, not just passion, from the moment she is back in his presence. Can she truly let herself be pulled back into his world or will she need to flee again?

Whirlwind romance, passion galore or love at first sight? Either way their lives were entwined the moment Merlyn set eyes on Ysabella at the Kinfairlie market. She had such quick wit and sharp responses that he knew he had met his match, one he very much wanted to keep. She might have willingly gone with him to wed, and then to bed, but knew very little of his nature. So-called truths told from another and her fears of it made her, and in turn her family, run back to the village.

I’m not sure if she wished he’d tracked her down sooner but five years is a long time so when he comes calling seeking her aid she doesn’t want to trust him. Could her decision be too hasty though as word later the next night from his right-hand man Fitz brings news to turn her soul cold? She has a chance of a better life for her brother Tynan (though I think we know from the start there’s more to it) and her sister Mavella when the estate in name passes to her and wastes no time in taking it for their sakes. But has the one man who stirs her soul tricked her? Danger falls within the Ravensmuir keep and Ysabella might have need of a few tricks herself to outwit those that might harm her. Also to try to figure out what her husband has need of her for. Could she get what she’s always wanted from him? Love can be fickle if never spoken aloud. Maybe it should be, among other things, so the air can clear and they can start anew. Well if the troubles of the past will let them that is.

Interesting characters throughout but Ada is just a woman scorned who wishes to blame her misfortune on others and not herself. Also by the end she’s just a bit batshit crazy that you long for her own downfall. Her brother Arnulf is a calm, loyal servant to his master Merlyn and someone you would always want watching your back.

Passionate rogue found a way to get his wayward wife back, whether he can convince her to stay is something else entirely. Fun, intriguing read from start to finish. Some secrets and twists easy to spot, others came up to surprise you that I liked.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘The Crusader’s Bride’ by Claire Delacroix

The Crusader's Bride

Title: The Crusader’s Bride (The Champions of Saint Eupemia Book 1)

Published: 28th July 2015

Author: Claire Delacroix pseudonym for Deborah Cooke

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahCookeFanPage

Twitter: @cooke_delacroix

Synopsis:

Gaston battled for duty and honor—until his new wife tempted him to fight for her love.

Gaston has had his fill of war and the Latin Kingdoms when he learns that he has inherited his father’s estate in France. He accepts one last quest for the Templars, the order he has served for fifteen years, and agrees to deliver a package to Paris on his way home. A practical man, Gaston knows he now has need of a wife and an heir, so when a lovely widowed noblewoman on pilgrimage catches his eye, he believes he can see matters solved to their mutual convenience.

But Ysmaine is more than a pilgrim enduring bad luck. She has buried two husbands in rapid succession, both of whom died on her nuptial night, and believes herself cursed. Accepting the offer of this gruff knight seems doomed to result in his demise, but Gaston is dismissive of her warnings and Ysmaine finds herself quickly wed again—this time to a man who is not only vital, but determined to remain alive.

Neither of them realize that Gaston’s errand is one of peril, for the package contains the treasure of the Templars—and some soul, either in their party or pursuing it, is intent upon claiming the prize for his or her own, regardless of the cost. In a company of strangers with secrets, do they dare to trust each other and the love that dawns between them?

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2016 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A historical romance. I do love a good historical romance and this one was great. A lot of information is thrown at you from the get go, almost too much to keep track of, but soon you find yourselves on a intriguing crusade along with the characters so just go with the flow.

Gaston has been a fighter and protector for the Templars for most of his life and thought he would continue to do so. A letter from back home informing him of his brothers passing and telling him that his fathers estate in France would then be passed to him changes all that. Knowing he will now be Baron de Chamont-sur-Maine he knows he is bound by duty to father a son to continue the family name due to his brother having only daughters and for that he seeks a wife. Lucky for him he has seen the perfect choice and if her character is anything to go by feels it would be a well-suited match.

Ysmaine has come on a pilgrimage to try and find penance for what she sees as her curse. Twice widowed she has buried two husbands before the wedding night can proceed. She fears herself cursed and has come seeking answers from the holy mother. What she didn’t expect was another proposal of marriage. She can see Gaston would be a kind sole to her but can’t stop her mind from thinking the worse might befall him if they did wed. Gaston becomes very convincing and soon she finds herself wed again – well third times the charm they always say! This new husband of hers seems more determined than most to stay alive, which is good because its not just the wedding night he should be concerned about.

Before Gaston is to leave, new wife in toe, he is given one last task. He must deliver a letter and some secret treasure of sorts to Paris while on his way home in the guise of just being a member of a travelling party. The only reason they would let such a treasure leave is fear that they will fall in the battle to come. They clearly don’t want whatever it is to fall into the enemy’s hands. What neither of them realises though is the danger that follows them; it might be closer than they think. There are a lot of players within their travelling group, so it is not always easy to see the truth between the lies. Not knowing who can be trusted is a sure way of creating divides and distrust between them all. This would be simple journey turns into something a lot bigger with more danger than anyone first thought.

Trust is the one thing Gaston asks of Ysmaine but trust is earned not always freely given. This trust for one another slowly turns into something more. After the wedding night goes off without her husband dying Ysmaine can’t help but think something was missing. When the act was nearing its end for him she felt the start of something she didn’t know how to explain. Lets just say he got his rocks off but she was left hanging on the edge. Knowing there is something more she could get she becomes bolder in her actions but its not until they both see shadows of another couple in the throws of passion that they really let lose on each other. Wouldn’t say this one is focusing too much on the bedroom department of this pair but more on the journey they find themselves on. In a short time Ysmaine knows she has fallen for him and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure his task is completed, no matter the cost to her reputation and maybe even her life. Takes Gaston a little longer to catch up on the feelings department but once there you can see he too would stop at nothing to keep her safe. Once his sole purpose was to be a knight for the Templar but now he must learn to be the best husband he can be.

Lots of other characters help drive the story through and you are trying to guess who the traitor truly is. There are a few options so get your thinking caps on; who seems out of place and character. The crusade is clearly the starting point for the series as a whole so is showing the key male leads that will go off into their own books. Lots of information about the warring parties and land layouts can get a bit confusing but stay with it as it soon comes back to focus more on the group and what they are going through first hand; with an overview of what is happening in the world around them.

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4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘The Renegade’s Heart’ by Claire Delacroix

The Renegade's Heart

Title: The Renegade’s Heart (The True Love Brides Book 1)

Published: 12th January 2014

Author: Claire Delacroix pseudonym for Deborah Cooke

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahCookeFanPage

Twitter: @cooke_delacroix

Synopsis:

Released from the captivity of the Fae, Murdoch Seton wants nothing more than to forget his lost years. Undertaking a quest to recover treasure stolen from his family seems the perfect solution – but Murdoch is not counting upon a curious maiden who holds both the secret to the theft and his sole redemption.

Isabella is outraged to find her brother’s keep besieged by a renegade knight – especially one who is too handsome for his own good or hers. After a single encounter, she becomes convinced that his cause is just and decides to unveil the true thief, never imagining that their single shared kiss has launched a battle for Murdoch’s very soul.

As the treacherous Fae move to claim Murdoch forever, Isabella seeks to heal the knight who has stolen her heart. But will Murdoch allow her to take a risk and endanger herself? Or will he sacrifice himself to ensure Isabella’s future?

This edition includes excerpts from THE HIGHLANDER’S CURSE and KISS OF FIRE.

Review:

2016 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book about a curse or prophecy. Historical highland romance with a paranormal twist – loved it! There is a good balance between the historical world and the fae world. I don’t think it really matters if you have read the others in series or not as feel that this could be read as a standalone. Does make me want to check out the rest of them though.

Murdoch has been set free from the fae world so he can return to his homeland. He should have known though that the fae Queen wouldn’t give him up so freely. There is always a catch it seems with the fae, nothing is quite as it seems. The Queen wants him to stay with her so plants a curse on him that will slowly turn his heart black making his only choice to stay alive to go back to her – or is it? On route home he meets an old friend, Stewart, who informs him it has been three years since he was last seen. What felt like weeks held captive in the illusion of paradise with the fae was really a lot longer. When he gets within the keep he learns that his father has passed and brother is now the laird. He also finds out that their sacred relic has been stolen. So he, along with Stewart and two squires, set out on a quest to return the relic in hope it will bring prosperity back to his lands. First point of call is to go back to the people who sold the relic in the first place. If past stories are to be believed then they have gone back to their old habits of stealing. He will find the truth and the relic no matter what; he just wasn’t expecting to find something worth a whole lot more in the process.

Isabella is intrigued by Murdoch the first moment she sees him through her window. He appears so bold in his actions with wanting to speak to her brother no matter what. When he gets inside he stumbles across her in the corridor outside her bedroom. Just this brief meeting has her curious so after he follows a servant up to her brother she follows to listen outside the room. She can hear the whole exchange where Murdoch is almost accusing her brother, or their family, of stealing a relic that belonged to his family now. She believes her brother has nothing to do with the theft but something in his voice makes her think he does know something about who might be involved. When the door opens, fearing being caught she rushes back to her room but not before Murdoch catches up to her. He forces her into her room where he confronts her about what she heard. After hearing his story she has this need to help him. Believing in him when it may appear he does not. Murdoch is just seeing this situation as something he can use to his advantage. He thinks to seduce her into finding out information. One stolen kiss though is enough to make both start to feel more than they first thought.

With the fae not playing fair and confrontation from all sides it will be a race against time for them to find the relic and figure out a way to save Murdoch. They may end up getting some help from unusual sources. If Murdoch can just be the real man he has always been, someone Isabella has seen from the start, then he may just find a way out and get everything he has always wanted.

Intrigue, danger, passion and romance make for an interesting read. Setting the scene for what’s to come in the rest of the series and I can’t wait to check them all out.

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4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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