Book Review: MacLean’s Passion by Sharon Cullen

A feisty tomboy heroine and an escaped prisoner who doesn’t want to be an adult? I was totally feeling this premise from the start.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
After escaping from a British prison, a smuggler finds that the boy who escaped with him is actually a young woman who he decides to return to her family. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

That’s Not a Boy
It’s pretty much a given that if a young boy turns up in the vicinity of the hero in any historical romance, 9 times out of 10, the boy is actually the heroine in disguise. And so starts this story, where Colin MacLean is imprisoned with a lad who turns out to be Maggie Sinclair, a young woman who’s grown up wanting to fight and be more of a man than a lady. Colin’s smuggling antics (and his stepping up to save someone else) landed him in jail. Maggie fought at the Battle of Culloden, which is why she’s there. So when Colin is freed by a man he’s never trusted for reasons he doesn’t know, he takes Maggie with him.

Warrior Woman
Maggie’s failure to plan gives her identity away when Colin finds her bathing in the river while they make their getaway and realizes the truth. Trigger the hormones. Colin finds himself attracted to Maggie but also intrigued that a lady would prefer fighting and adventuring to running a home and finding a husband. Unlike other men in Maggie’s life, like her brother, Colin ends up liking Maggie for who she is. Their relationship is definitely one of attraction, but Maggie wants to be a warrior at Colin’s side…an equal to help protect him as he protects her.


I’m Not Worthy
Colin, however, feels he needs to take her home to a brother who’s betrothed her to a vile man, something that doesn’t sit well with Maggie at all. And though he wants to help her, Colin feels that based on his past and the fact that he’s never been worth anything according to his father and brothers (now deceased), he has nothing to offer her and can’t take her with him.

I Do What I Want
I love a feisty female who wants to be seen as an equal to her man, so for the most part, I really liked Maggie. I liked that she had the fight and heart of a warrior, but at one point, she actually starting feeling some of her feminine side. However, I did have some issues with her. There were times when she’d show her youth and throw somewhat of a temper tantrum. Her reasoning was sound, but her execution of emotion was a little irritating.


Predominantly Not Dominant
Colin is your typical hero who feels he can’t be what his woman needs, despite how many times she’s told him otherwise. He also does that whole thing where he fights his feelings until he’s faced with losing her. And when that happens, it’s feels all over the place. I just wanted to give the guy a hug. Also, he was more of a beta male than an alpha male though he had his alpha male tendencies. Kind of the best of both worlds.

The Romance Factor
Their relationship moved quickly, but I loved the feel of it. Most of the time I felt that Colin and Maggie were on equal footing and that they protected each other rather than him protecting her all the time. The emotions were real and high, and the romance was strong with a lot of good chemistry and dialogue between the two characters. 4/5

The Steam Factor
The sexy times were highly sensual, though not as graphic as some books. You definitely know what’s going on, though, and some might get their blush on. 4/5

Final Thoughts
I like this author’s style and her characters. Things don’t drag on, even though there’s a lot of fighting and politics that are touched upon. There are mysterious side characters as well, and I’m thinking we’ll get to them in a future novel. A fun story with a little bit of edge of your seat danger vibe and one I definitely recommend.

Book Review: Sutherland’s Secret by Sharon Cullen

Sometimes you get those books that are like an emotional roller coaster that completely exhaust your feels. Then sometimes you get a book that just plays quietly with your emotions and rocks you gently…not to sleep, because I’m not talking “boring,”…but just into a very pleasant state of entertaining reading. This was one of those books.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
An English lady is found passed out in the middle of the road by a Scottish earl who takes her home, despite bad relations with the English, only to find she’s running in fear from someone. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Let Me Be Your Hero
Brice is definitely the traditional heroic hero…alpha when it’s called for, savior of the damsel in distress, and loved by his people. When Brice finds Eleanor, he saves her against the wishes of his men, who don’t trust the English and think that keeping her with them is going to bring trouble. But Brice isn’t going to leave her there, especially when it’s clear that she’s near death. He revives her, only to find that she has no voice, so she remains a mystery, at least at the beginning.

Save Me
If Brice is the traditional hero, Eleanor is the typical damsel in distress. Her distress levels get even higher when the person she’s running from visits Brice’s castle. Of course, in her state of distress, she doesn’t listen when she’s told to lay low, going against Brice’s wishes to sneak down and see the man who’s looking for her. Which is one of the issues I took with her character: she was scared, but not scared enough to keep her butt planted firmly behind a locked door.

Romance Nostalgia
Even though I wanted to handcuff Eleanor to a radiator, I actually liked both characters, and I liked the very traditional feel of their romance. When I say traditional, I mean this novel reminded me of the ones I started reading when I was young, minus all the “pretend it’s not rape for the sake of romance” stuff. Because Brice treated Eleanor well, and I particularly enjoyed the theme that Brice and his men (and Scottish men in general) revered their women and treated them with the utmost respect. And even though Eleanor was questionable at the beginning, I thought it was great how living in Scotland among this type of mindset kind of made her fierce. And when she went fierce (and I won’t spoil anything), it was one of my favorite scenes in the book. Seriously, it needed a mic drop.


The Villain
A few of the scenes were told from the villain’s point of view, which I thought added a little flavor to the book but didn’t make the villain sympathetic. He was still a douche with no redeeming qualities…which is exactly how I like my romance villains.

The Romance Factor
There was a slight feel of insta-love to this story, but it wasn’t horrible, nor did it detract from the story. It was portrayed as Brice’s fascination of Eleanor and his need to keep her safe, and her looking to him as her savior and protector. There are several scenes where she’s having nightmares and of course he hears her and goes in to calm her nightmares with his hot body and strong arms (no sexy times though…all respect). And even though it’s a little cheesy, it’s that perfect cheese blend that’s still entertaining in this genre. 4/5
The Steam Factor
Though not numerous, the sex scenes were fairly steamy and descriptive enough to get a good visual of what was going on. 4/5


Final Thoughts
Overall, this was kind of a mellow read, but there was still enough intrigue to keep it interesting and enough angst to make it romance-worthy. A perfect chill read for a relaxing  afternoon.