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.

Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is on point this year with two new series: her New York’s Finest series and the Oxford series, which is a spinoff of the Stilleto stories and features characters from the same world. I said in an earlier post that I had a hard time getting into the glam of the world, but Stiletto must have prepared me well, because I loved this book.


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

One-Sentence Synopsis
Two competing sports writers are thrown together as co-workers, but the close proximity leads them to take their relationship beyond professional boundaries. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
The guy banter in this book is hilarious and witty without getting sexist or douchey. There are a few scenes that definitely push the boundaries of what’s appropriate in the workplace, but there are never any scenes where the guys are threatening or disrespectful to Penelope, and I liked that. I want to hang out with these guys.


Penelope is adorable and nice, but not in an annoying way. She makes a great tomboy, and I loved her quirky ability to remember sports stats.

The Romance Factor
Penelope and Cole teach a very important lesson: if you make a pact not to fall in love in a romance novel, you know there’s going to be angst. Okay, so that’s a bit meta, but that one scene spoke volumes and just heightened the rest of their foreplay and (lack of) communication. 4/5


The Steam Factor
Again with the foreplay. Cole and Penelope trying to stick to a weekends only agreement only made it steamier, and the sex scenes were blush inducing. 4/5

Final Thoughts
Maybe it’s because the Stiletto series warmed me up, but I loved spending time in the Oxford world and can’t wait to see what happens to the rest of the guys. Layne keeps getting better and I can’t wait to see what she brings to 2016.