Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: The Mad Morelands Series by Candace Camp

Title: Mesmerized
Author: Candace Camp
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: The Mad Morelands (Book One)
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Format: ebook via Library
Rating: ✺✺✺
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisThe only way to fight a powerful darkness is with a powerful love

Olivia Moreland prides herself on discrediting charlatans, particularly the false mediums that flock to London. But when Lord Stephen St. Leger requests her help in investigating an alleged psychic’s claims, she can’t deny the ominous feeling she has within the walls of his ancient estate—or the intimately familiar connection she has with Stephen himself. 

The last time he’d called Blackhope Hall home, Stephen had watched as his elder brother claimed both the family title and the woman he loved. Now, in the wake of his brother’s murder, Stephen has reluctantly returned to find his family ensconced in scandal. Who is responsible for his brother’s untimely death? And what is it about investigator Olivia Moreland that so thoroughly draws him in, reigniting a passion he hasn’t felt in years?


Two lost souls find each other...and see ghosts!

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I really enjoyed this book. It was creepy and intriguing and romantic, all rolled into one. I definitely do NOT recommend reading this if you are alone, at night, in the dark, or any combination of the above. There were several spooky moments and just the overall tone of the book was enough to keep me on the edge of my seat, jumping at everything little thing that moved. Now you've been warned.

As for the characters, I fell in love with them both from the moment Stephen grabbed Olivia's arm in the seance. Oh, my. This pair had some seriously interesting chemistry right from the start. I was completely entranced by the idea of an entire family defying convention and doing their own thing. Olivia was independent and intelligent, ready to help Stephen reveal the psychic who was swindling his mother. Neither of them were prepared for what really happened.

The plot was interesting and kept me engaged from the first to the last page. There were several characters who were suspected throughout the book and I think I changed my own mind at least twice as new clues were uncovered. Paranormal themes just aren't used enough in historical romances, I think. This whole series is riddled with them and I think this was a great way to start off with ghosts and hidden treasure.

Our couple's chemistry sizzled and continued to grow as they worked together to solve the mystery. When they began to share dreams, I found myself smiling more and more. They couldn't ignore their developing feelings for each other anymore than they could pretend they hadn't just seen a ghost walk across the floor in front of them. There were so many twists and turns here. I was sad to see it end but happy for our lovebirds.

In closing...
A spooky fun historical romance with a great couple. Five suns!




Title: Beyond Compare
Author: Candace Camp
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: The Mad Morelands (Book Two)
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Format: ebook via Purchase
Rating: ✺✺✺✺.5
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisBook 2 in the fan favorite Mad Morelands series from New York Times bestselling author Candace Camp!

Though Kyria Moreland is beautiful enough to earn the sobriquet “The Goddess” and rich enough to attract London’s most sought after gentlemen, she has yet to find love and refuses to marry without it. When she receives a strange package under mysterious circumstances, she is confronted with danger, murder and a handsome American whose destiny is entwined with hers….


Rafe McIntyre has enough charm to seduce any woman, but his smooth facade hides a bitter past. Still, he has seen enough of the world to know Kyria is in danger, and he refuses to let her solve the riddle of this package alone. But even he is mesmerized by the events that unfold as Kyria begins to sort out the mystery put to her by the arrival of a priceless antiquity. Who sent her this treasure steeped in legend? And who is willing to murder to claim its secrets and its glory for themselves?


A feisty lady meets her match in an unpolished American.

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Kyria's sister is a married woman now and her husband's best friend is a menace. Not only is the American too handsome for his own good, but it seems he's already been able to charm everyone in the family. Kyria isn't as impressed as the others and she's determined to ignore the fluttering in her stomach every time he looks her way. She doesn't need a man, especially one as tempting as Rafe.

It wasn't Rafe's intention to stick around after his best bud got hitched. Yet, after he witnesses a man being stabbed while trying to deliver a package to Kyria, Rafe can't stand the thought of leaving the lovely woman to fend for herself. He volunteers to protect her and help as she tries to uncover the truth about the strange new box on her possession. But she's not the only one who wants that box and the others have no problem killing for it either.

These two made for some sizzling romance. I didn't love the mystery side as much in this book as the previous one because I think the couple outshone the underlying plot here. I don't mind that since the pair was so much fun to read about. Rafe's love of weapons is such an American thing that I chuckled about several times. I loved his character and it took a brash man to rival Kyria's hard-headed self. They were a great match.

While I wasn't as big a fan of the plot in this one, it was still interesting enough. Not to mention, it gave our couple a reason to come together and Rafe was so protective over Kyria. He needed to be since threats continued to come at them from so many sides. I wasn't sure who to trust here and really had no idea who the villain was going to be. I didn't really care as long as it gave Rafe another chance to safe Kyria from doom. I just loved watching these two together.

The romance had more steam in this one, mostly because the couple were less worried about propriety since neither of them intended to marry. I enjoyed watching their flirting turn to stolen kisses and then more. This book (and the whole series really) would make for some really awesome movies or a tv show. I would love to see these characters come to life on the big screen.


In closing...
Another Moreland has found her partner. Who is next to fall? 4.5 suns!




Title: Winterset
Author: Candace Camp
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: The Mad Morelands (Book Three)
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Format: ebook via Purchase
Rating: ✺✺✺
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisBook 3 in the fan-favorite Mad Morelands series from New York Times bestselling author Candace Camp!

Ever since Anna Holcombe inexplicably refused his proposal, Reed Moreland has been unable to set foot in the home that was the backdrop to their romance—Winterset.


The eerie beauty of the Gloucestershire mansion and the mystery that surrounds it have always captivated him, and he can neither continue living in the house nor give it up completely despite the painful memories it stirs in his heart.


But when Reed begins having troubling dreams about Anna being in danger, he puts his heartbreak and bitterness aside and directs his carriage back to Winterset, determined to protect the woman he cannot stop loving. Once again passion flares between them, but the murder of a servant girl draws them deep into the foreboding, deadly legends of Winterset…and a destiny neither Anna nor Reed can escape.


A murder mystery with a romance on the side!

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Reed wants nothing more than to forget the woman who turned down his proposal and broke his heart. Yet, his most recent dream has left him shaken. The woman may be in danger and he can't just sit there and pretend he doesn't still care about the woman he thought he would marry. So he finds a good reason to return to his abandoned estate to see how the lady is faring with his own eyes.

Anna doesn't want or need Reed's help. Sure, a string of murders has begun in the area which are eerily similar to those that occurred decades ago. And maybe she has stumbled upon one of those bodies herself. But Reed's presence is just another painful reminder of the life she could never have with any man. And the longer he sticks around, the harder it is becoming to ignore the pull she feels to him.

The third book of this series didn't impress me quite as much as the first two. I think it was probably due to the heroine being entirely against a romance with the hero and so her refusal became dull after a while. I started to get a little frustrated with her, to be honest. While I could understand her reasons for wanting to avoid marriage, I think the hot-and-cold dynamic was a little much at times. Other than that, this book was a pretty good read.

The romance is sort of secondary to the main plot of the story: our murdering villain in disguise. Since the couple's relationship wasn't going anywhere anyway, this didn't bother me very much. It was probably because I found the serial killer plot to be interesting. I couldn't have predicted who the culprit was, even though my suspicions changed from one person to another throughout the book.

Even though the romance was on the weaker side, I still enjoyed this one, overall. I adored Reed and I grew to like Anna. Her brother, Kit, was actually a nice character too. The secrecy about why Anna refused Reed's proposal took a while to come out, but I did root for them to come together quite early on. And Anna's paranormal ability was neat to read about. That's something I love about these books. The plots are entirely different for each one, yet all include some sort of supernatural occurrence. Maybe it's visions or ghosts or even dreams, but they are more than just historical romance stories.


In closing...
I can't wait to see which Moreland falls in love next. Four suns!




Title: An Unexpected Pleasure
Author: Candace Camp
Genre/Age: Historical Paranormal Romance/Adult
Series: The Mad Morelands (Book Four)
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Format: ebook via Purchase
Rating: ✺✺✺✺.5
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisBook 4 in the fan-favorite Mad Morelands series from New York Times bestselling author Candace Camp!

Had Theo Moreland, the Marquess of Raine, killed her brother? And had the treasure the two men sought in South America hastened his descent to an early grave? American journalist Megan Mulcahey has to discover the truth. But to find out, she needs to infiltrate the marquess’s household.

The new American governess intrigues Theo. Wanderlust has always plagued him—until Miss Mulcahey comes to Broughton House to teach his young siblings. Now, the strange pull of their immediate desire both troubles and excites him. He’s seen her beauty once before, in a fever dream his memory cannot escape. So why is this delicious vision now snooping around his mansion like a common thief?



Falling in love with your brother's murderer?

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Megan has hated a man for ten years. One that she's never even met. He's the one who killed her brother and got away with it. The time has come for her to travel to England and bring this lord to justice. When the opportunity to get close to the murderer presents itself, she jumps to impersonate a children's tutor and get inside the home. She just doesn't expect to be so enamored by the man who is supposed to be a cold killer.

Theo is stunned to meet Megan because he realizes he's seen her before. Her face has haunted him for ten years, after the vision of her brought him back from the brink of death. And though he's sure she is hiding something from him and his family, he can't help but be drawn to the mysterious woman. But even if he could convince Megan to trust him, there is a larger conspiracy going on that will take them both by storm.

I was excited to read Theo's story because he's been a bit of a mystery to me in the first few books of the series. He's the heir to the dukedom, yet he hasn't been around much so we don't really know him very well. And when I read the blurb for this book, I was immediately intrigued. A woman falling for her mortal enemy? Sounds like an enemies-to-lovers theme which I absolutely love. I was all in and ready to go.

And this book hit a lot of good spots for me. Theo was a charming hero with a mischievous side that made me smile. Even when he suspected something was amiss, he was just so smooth about it. I liked that about him. And Megan was heroine with a habit of getting caught in awkward situations. I swear I was laughing for the entire scene when they toured the duke's collection. Even when the pair were at odds, they had such a playful relationship.

I only wish that we had gotten to see things from Theo's perspective a bit more. This is a complaint I have about most of these books. We start off with seeing the story from both main characters' POVs and then it seems to shift so that we only really get the woman's side of things. I wanted to know what was going on in Theo's head as the story progressed. We got snippets of his thoughts but nowhere near as much as we saw from Megan.

And my other complaint is the repetition. And I actually mean from book to book. During the naughty scenes, the heroes always say the same thing and the bedroom scenes tend to happen in the same way. If you're reading the books as they come out, with some time in between each one, you may not notice this. But I'm reading the series one right after another so I've noticed the similarities. I hope the author will put more variety in the story in future books so it's less predictable.


In closing...
I'm excited to jump into Alex's story and see what trouble he gets into. 4.5 suns!