Author: Book Binge Guest Blogger

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle

Posted January 30, 2020 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth BoyleReviewer: Judith
How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 342
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars

Lucy Ellyson, the improper daughter of an infamous spy, saves the life of the Earl of Clifton. He intends to make her his countess after the war ends, but when he finally is able to return to her, he finds that she′s vanished.

Meanwhile, Lucy is living a new life in the heart of Mayfair. But she′s as scandalous as ever, and when Clifton finally happens upon her, she′s landed in the sort of trouble that only a hasty marriage can solve. He′s more than willing to step in, but their future is all too quickly threatened by secrets from the past.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on January 29, 2010.

Author Elizabeth Boyle most assuredly has a flair for historical romance. This book is evidence that she knows her craft and does her research. Set in the time during and following the Napoleonic War, the story of the Earl of Clifton, Lucy & Mariana Ellyson, and Clifton’s brother Malcolm is spread over a period of seven years. I don’t really like flashbacks very well but in this case, Boyle has used that technique to tell the story of Clifton, Malcolm, and the Ellyson sisters and to provide the foundational facts of their relationships. It is an insight into the workings of the British Foreign Office and its undercover work in the service of His Majesty and Wellington’s forces. Now, seven years later, Clifton finds Lucy as she is moving into a house in London which she is sharing with all the dowager Ladies Standon, all widows of Standon cousins. In so many ways this is a complicated story but throughout the twists and turns flows the love story between Lucy and Clifton, both of whom have never set aside their love for one another that bloomed during those months of training at Hampstead Heath. As is so often true in affairs of the heart, there are misunderstandings, missed communications, tangled relationships that aren’t what they seem, betrayal and criminal machinations that put Lucy’s future in jeopardy as well as nearly cause her once again to miss Clifton’s arrival in London. Her undercover skills come into play late in the story once again and bring these two very interesting characters together once again, causing their passion to flame anew.

This was an interesting and really enjoyable book! I have always enjoyed this particular historical period because war as a backdrop seems to bring out the deeper reserves of human feeling—love, loss, grief, cynicism, and hope which endures under inhuman circumstances. The social realities of society are also a part of the story—three widows, two of whom were born into the ton and have made the head of their family ill with their complaining, and Lucy who married out of desperation when her father died and she had no one left in her family or any honest means of support. The definition of poverty is considerably different for the upper levels of British Society, and it may be difficult for contemporary Americans to “get their heads around” the perspectives of life which drove the activities of the British Aristocracy. Boyle does an excellent job in helping today’s readers gain some understanding of the stresses present for those who held titles and lands and responsibilities to renters and farmers and villagers. Add to this the strain on the British economy from bad weather, the cost of war, absentee landlords and such, and you have a fertile background against which to craft a wonderful love story.

I really like these characters. The Ellyson sisters are cagey, independent, good at what they do, work as a team with their father in his training of British spies, feel deeply and are loyal to a tee. They love each other—a love that is built on an unfailing friendship between sisters and between parents and children. Clifton and his brother are wonderful men who have chosen to take up the challenge to put aside their aristocratic lives and serve their country in unsavory and hidden ways. The unsavory characters Papa Ellyson brings into the training are colorful and quite humorous. All in all, this is a delightful story and a great read.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5.

The Bachelor Chronicles

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale

Posted June 27, 2019 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Midsummer Moon by Laura KinsaleReviewer: Kris
Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

An impossible inventor...

Ransom Falconer, Duke of Damerell, is sent to see if Merlin Lambourne, the famous inventor, has created a truly magnificent innovation that can be used in the war against Napoleon. What Ransom doesn't realize is that Merlin is a woman, and not everyone wants to see her invention become a reality...

With dreams of flight...

Merlin Lambourne is a brilliant yet slightly eccentric scientist whose dream is to build a flying machine. Nothing can distract her from her goals, and Ransom offers her refuge at his estate-a safe haven to work on her invention undisturbed. But when Merlin's dream puts them both at risk, Ransom must overcome his own fears and realize her invention may be the answer to saving both their lives...

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on June 2, 2008.

Kris‘ review of Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale, a standalone historical.

This was a cute book. I enjoyed it for the most part. The heroine bugged me a little. She is sooooo naive and innocent it is hard to believe. She was funny in her naiveté but there was no connecting with her because she was so clueless. It is hard to swallow just how sheltered she had been.

She has never left her isolated house in the country. She and her uncle just worked on their experiments and that was their life. She has never seen a child or baby, she has never seen a young man or been courted by one. She knows nothing about titles or that there is a hierarchy in the country besides the king/queen. She knows absolutely nothing about sex or lust or even kissing (never even heard of it). But this book appeals to my love of nerds. I love nerdy characters whether hero or heroine. She is very much the absent-minded professor.

Ransom, the hero, was a protector and very arrogant. Which is funny with a heroine like Merlin. He was a lot more alive to me than Merlin because I could relate to his fear and understand his POV. He is petrified of heights and equates heights with falling and dying. So the thought of Merlin finishing her flying machine and trying it out equals her death, which he is trying to prevent. Especially at this point in history when flying was not a thing that people could do. I don’t think that what he did to it was very nice, but I can understand the reaction.

I thought there would be a little more suspense or action and there was not but that was okay, this was not a romantic suspense. So for me, it dragged in a couple of places. It was a cute fluffy book, and good if you can get past the heroine. I just had a hard time with it. So I would give this one a:

3.75 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Casablanca. But you can buy it here. Read more from Kris at The Reading Spot.

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton

Posted May 30, 2019 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Features, Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Killing Dance by Laurell K. HamiltonReviewer: Melissa
The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake #6
Also in this series: Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: April 4, 2006
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Dating both a vampire and a werewolf isn't easy. But just to complicate Anita's already messy life, someone has put a price on her head. Love cannot save her this time, so she turns to Edward, hitman extraordinaire, for help. But finding the person behind the threat won't be easy, because as both a vampire hunter and zombie reanimator, Anita has made a lot of enemies-both human and otherwise.

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on May 14, 2008.

Melissa‘s review of The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton.

So, I saw the new LKH book at a bookstore. It interested me. I started the series from the beginning. I’m now up to the 6th book in the Anita Blake series. I love them all.

One reason why I love Anita is that she has a hitman/hitmen after her and she is still making threats to monsters. She just can’t seem to keep her mouth shut and doesn’t give f*** who she pisses off. There are a couple of different bad guys in this book.

The bad guys caught me off guard. One, I totally didn’t see coming, I just thought it was beneath him/her to hire a hit man. The other, well traitors are among us. Good old Edward appears in this book. He is such a mystery to me, he just pops in and out of books, but we really don’t know too much about him. Anita’s love triangle is getting complicated. She knows she can’t date both of her monsters indefinitely, but can’t choose either. What’s a girls gonna do.

All 3 of them are powerful. More powerful together than apart. Richard is her ideal man, except he has one flaw, he is a werewolf that won’t kill. His morals are starting to make Anita think less of him, cause trouble in the pack for him, and piss him off. Jean-Claude is a vampire and although he turns her on, she can’t get down with it, because he is the undead. I will tell you that she makes some sort of decision in this book. But, was it the right one??? And how will it affect their combined power?

Now for the part, I didn’t like..there wasn’t one. I liked the whole book.

Favorite quote:

“Gag me with a spoon”

(you gotta admit, that’s just funny)

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Jove. You can buy it here or here in eBook format.

Anita Blake


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Throwback Thursday Review: How to Abduct a Highland Lord by Karen Hawkins

Posted July 26, 2018 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: How to Abduct a Highland Lord by Karen HawkinsReviewer: Isabel
How to Abduct a Highland Lord (MacLean Curse, #1) by Karen Hawkins
Series: MacLean Curse #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 30, 2007
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 313
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

It's hardly the type of wedding Fiona MacLean dreamed of. No family, no guests, just a groom who's been dragged -- literally -- to the altar. But if marriage to Black Jack Kincaid, the handsome wastrel she'd sworn never to see again, will avert a bloody war between their clans, so be it. Surely she can share his bed without losing her heart....

Known throughout Scotland and London as a wild rogue, Jack is accustomed to waking in dire situations, but...married? Long ago, he and Fiona reveled in a youthful passion. Now, the fiery, sensual lass is his once more. And though their marriage is in name only, Jack is determined to win her forever -- body and soul....

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

Rowena: Man, it’s crazy how long we’ve been blogging. I forget that it wasn’t always just Holly, myself and Casee. We’ve had a whole team here that has changed over the years and when I came across this review from our old friend, Isabel, I knew that I had to post it up again. Man, I miss our old friends!

This review was originally posted on July 27, 2007.

The Plot: Hoping to end the feud between their families, Fiona kidnaps Jack Kincaid and marries him while he is drunk. Will Fiona be able to tame his wild ways?

What I Liked: Fiona’s family is cursed. They can control the weather. Actually, they can make it stormy and rain. Kind of like Storm from the X-Men however, it only turns to bad weather when they are upset/mad/annoyed. So if someone is annoyed, there might be a little wind. If someone is downright pissed, you get a full-blown storm. When Fiona is upset, her stormy weather bears the faint smell of lilacs.

There is one scene where Jack’s former mistress confronts Fiona. Fiona tries to control her anger but to no avail. She doesn’t make it completely storm but jack remarks he thought he heard thunder and smelled lilacs. She ends up pouring a vase full of water on the mistress’s head. The next day, Jack learns there is a storm cloud over his former mistress’s residence.

I also like when Fiona gave Jack a dose of his own medicine. Jack was very upset with how Fiona married him. He made it clear he would not give up his freedom. He would continue to go out and have fun. Minus the mistresses. Well to teach him a lesson, Fiona decides to do the same thing which Jack doesn’t like.

What I Disliked: The ending was just too fast. I was reading along expecting more and it was done.

I’m guessing the brother’s will have a book and the last book will be the one where they break the curse. (To break the curse Fiona and her brothers have to do a good deed.) The brothers wonder if Fiona marrying Jack to end the feud between their families is her good deed.

I thought this book was set in Scotland. It’s not. They get married in Scotland and then they move to England. Towards the end of the book, Jack decides to move back to Scotland. Bummer, I wanted a Scottish highland story.

Would I recommend it: If you have nothing else to read. It does look like a promising series so I plan on reading the others later. Maybe the rest of books will be better.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

MacLean Curse

three-half-stars


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Retro-Guest Review: When A Stranger Loves me by Julianne MacLean

Posted September 27, 2017 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Retro-Guest Review: When A Stranger Loves me by Julianne MacLeanReviewer: Brie
When a Stranger Loves Me (Pembroke Palace, #3) by Julianne MacLean
Series: Pembroke Palace #3
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 27th 2009
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I saved his life . . . and I had much to demand in return.

When he washed up on shore, I knew my prayers had been answered, and that I, Lady Chelsea Campion, need no longer fear poverty and heartbreak. To secure my family's estate, all I needed was a child. Handsome, clearly noble-born, and with no memory of his previous life, the mysterious man was perfect. All I had to do was visit his bedchamber and seduce him. I had expected him to be a skillful, scandalously wonderful lover, but once in his arms I was overcome by something more than mere passion. I had fallen hopelessly, desperately in love.

My plan has gone shockingly awry. But I will not give up a man who makes me feel such wicked ecstasy. No matter his true identity, no matter the secrets he struggles to remember, I will do anything in this world to make this stranger love me.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Holly: We’ve been blessed to have some pretty amazing guest reviewers over the years. From readers to other bloggers to authors and industry professionals, we’ve seen some lovely talent here.

This review was originally published on May 7, 2009

Scandalized years prior, Lady Chelsea Campion lives a life of exile on the Jersey Isles with her family. Since her brother and sister in law have been unable to create an heir to save the Earldom, Chelsea’s overbearing mother is eager to have her married off to a distant and cousin whom Chelsea does not want, but is the only man who will have a “ruined” woman. One day while walking along the beach, Chelsea comes across an injured man lying lifeless in a cave. She goes for help and the man is brought back to the family’s estate where the stranger is nursed back to health. When the stranger comes to, he has no memory of who he is, therefore, Chelsea has no way to return him back to his family.

The stranger’s extended stay does open up an opportunity for Chelsea. Not only does he incite her passion, but he seems to be the answer to her families biggest problem. Chelsea devises a plan with her brother and his wife to become pregnant by the stranger, whom she calls Jack, and then let them pass the baby off as their own. That way, Chelsea is saved from marriage to a man she doesn’t want and the Earldom remains in the family. Jack and Chelsea embark on a passionate affair until she realizes that she’s falling for him and no longer wants to keep up the charade. But before Chelsea can reveal the truth to Jack, he finds out on his own about Chelsea’s plans and in enraged. Then his brother arrives, sharing the news that “Jack” is really Blake and he is from a family of nobility and must go back to England at once.

By this point, Blake has become attached to Chelsea and even though he is beyond angry with her devious plans, he knows that she might be carrying his child so he demands that she come along. Chelsea goes, because she is in love with Blake even though he has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with her further than the child that she might be carrying. Still, all of Blake’s posturing can’t keep him from longing for Chelsea and what they shared on the Isles. But they soon find out that neither of their feelings for the other really matter because their is something from Blake’s past that promises to keep them apart, no matter how bad they want to be together.

I can’t say that I enjoyed When a Stranger Loves Me. The plot is more than a little outlandish and because of that I had a hard time getting into the story. Chelsea’s plan that she comes up with her brother and sister in law, was just plain silly. I had to wonder what kind of brother that claims to care for his sister would agree to letting her sleep with a man just so that he can pass the baby off as his. The relationship that Chelsea had with her mother was another low point. It was clear that her mother cared more about herself than anyone else, and even the so called “resolution” that they came to in the end rang false. The first half of the book was very unengaging, and the only saving grace was the second half, after Blake’s family finds him, and that was only because Chelsea took a back seat and Blake was able to shine. For my first Julianne MacLean book, this was a disappointment, but there is always next time.

3.5 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here.

three-half-stars


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