Thursday, March 28, 2013

Alaina Claiborne by MK McClintock - Review tour and giveaway

(Full length historical romantic suspense)

This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions.

MK will be awarding a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win an awesome prize!

How far would you go to avenge your family and save the one you love?

In nineteenth-century England, Alaina Claiborne had a loving family, a cherished friend, and devoted servants. She spent her days riding across the grassy hills of the English countryside, joyful and at peace.

Then tragedy strikes and her world is forever changed. Searching for those responsible is her only focus . . . until she meets Tristan.

Tristan Sheffield, a man of many talents, searches out those who don’t want to be found. His past is filled with secrets and deeds he would rather leave deeply buried. However, when his life unexpectedly entwines with Alaina's, he soon discovers they share more than a mutual desire to catch a murderer.

On their hunt for a man driven by greed, Tristan and Alaina find that love is the greatest weapon against evil, and they'll stop at nothing to survive.

With a clever mix of mystery, history and romance, MK McClintock has forged a very good beginning to what promises to be an entertaining series.

Tristan and Alaina have similar goals:  find out who killed her parents and best friend and his father.  Presumably the same perpetrator.  To this end, Tristan befriends Alaina, and so is there when things begin to happen again in an apparent effort to silence her before she can recall the events the day her family was murdered.

With a great cast of characters, from Alaina's guardians (her aunt and uncle) to Tristan's friends (and co-spies), Alaina Claiborne certainly got me invested and kept me turning pages to make sure Alaina and Tristan would come through their adventures unscathed.

There were some things that were annoyances.  When I read a mystery, I like there to be enough clues that, should I be clever and observant enough, I can figure out whodunnit.  While here we're able to eventually deduce the minor "bad guys", the big bad is someone we don't know about until he's revealed and that frustrated me (and surprised Alaina).

And occasionally Alaina or Tristan acted in ways contrary to their obvious intelligence (especially considering Tristan was a trained spy for the British government, his behavior now and then made me scratch my head -- I suppose I can attribute it to being love blinded).

The romance is touching, tender and sweet. Do not read this book expecting scorching heat and graphic love scenes.  I don't say this in a negative way -- it's refreshing to read a story that doesn't rely on sex to build the love relationship.  Tristan and Alaina like each other long before they love each other, which was very realistic and made my heart sigh a bit.

While perhaps not "edge of your seat" thrilling, Alaina Claiborne certainly intrigued me enough to want to pick up the next book in the series.  I'd like to know how they're doing as well as follow up with Tristan's buddies. They have their own mysteries to solve and I enjoyed them enough to want to go along for the ride.

3.5 Flowers - This was a good book. I liked it.

Across the acres, darkness enveloped another, her surroundings illuminated by the flickering flame of a lamp. Alaina moved around in the attic, searching through trunks of the items that had come from her mother’s cottage in Ireland. It was difficult to see so many memories that reminded her of her parents, but she also found it calmed her. She had avoided these things since they had been delivered years ago, but now her fears became secondary. She hoped that something from her parents’ past would shed light on what was happening in the present.

Alaina rummaged through a trunk of some of her mother’s clothes, pulling them out and smelling them, hoping for a faint whiff of the soft rose scent her mother used to wear. There was something lingering around the old clothes, and it took Alaina back to a time when she was a little girl. Nevertheless, the memory ended there. She paused for a moment, as if the scent reminded her of something else besides her mother. She subsequently released the memory when she saw the bottom of the trunk was not as deep as it should have been. She pulled out the remaining dress and ran her fingers along the bottom and edges. She next looked on the outside of the trunk. Nearly six inches of extra space remained near the bottom on the inside. Alaina felt along the inside edges and became excited when she found a gap. Slowly reaching her fingers into the hole, she simultaneously pushed down on the other edge for leverage and surprised herself when the bottom tilted to reveal the extra space beneath. Removing the thin board, she set it aside and gasped when she turned back to the trunk. “Oh, Mother. What did you do?”

McClintock is an over-worked entrepreneur, baker of decadent desserts and all things chocolate, photographer of beautiful places, and most importantly, a writer.

She dreams of a time when life was simpler, the land rougher, and the journey more rewarding. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, McClintock will always call Montana home.

McClintock is a member of Romance Writers of America, Montana Romance Writers, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Women Writing the West.

MK McClintock Website:

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  1. Thank you for hosting during my tour.

  2. What a great review and excerpt. Sounds like a really awesome start to a great series.

  3. MJ...As a reader (and a librarian), I appreciate a thoughtful, honest review. Thank you.

    MK...The cover is beautiful. What prompted you to choose the heroine's name for the title? That's not the norm these days.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    1. Thank you for visiting today Catherine! I second your sentiment about thoughtful and honest reviews. They not only help readers, but the authors appreciate them.

      As for the title, you're correct that it's not the norm, and that is perhaps one of the reasons why I did it. The book, back to the beginning of the idea, had a different title. I don't recall the moment it changed--it just felt right for the story.

  4. Thank you for the review, I'm going to love the book.


  5. How do you choose the names for your characters?

    lyra.lucky7 at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Lyra! Sometimes I know someone with a first name I like, and sometimes the name is just there. Most of the time I scour through baby name books or baby name websites until I find a name that feels right.

  6. Do you have a favorite secondary character?

    moonsurfer123 AT gmail DOTcom

    1. In this story? I like Charles and Devon, the other two agents. In fact, I like them so much that when this book was near completion, I decided they would have books of their own.

  7. Congratulations on the release of your new book! The cover is beautiful. Enjoyed the excerpt and review. Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. Great review

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  9. I must admit I always love clues trickled throughout to see if I can work things out before the big reveal.


  10. I can't decide if I like to be surprised or figure it out on my own Thanks for the review!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  11. Wonderful thoughts! I like the sounds of this one! Thanks for the chance to win!


    hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu

  12. thank you for this giveaway!!!!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com


So... inquiring minds want to know: what do you think?