Genre: Historical

Review: The Girl with the Make Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

Posted June 27, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Girl with the Make Believe Husband by Julia QuinnReviewer: Rowena
The Girl with the Make Believe Husband by Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys Series #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars

While you were sleeping...

With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He's unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier's life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie...

I told everyone I was your wife

When Edward comes to, he's more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out six months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he'd always assumed he'd marry his neighbor back in England.

If only it were true...

Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.

We first hear about Edward Rokesby in the first book, Because of Miss Bridgerton. He’s the Rokesby brother that everyone thought was going to marry Billie Bridgerton. He’s the brother that is fighting in the war and though he doesn’t make an appearance in that book, we still got to know him through his family and I was pretty stoked to hear that we were going to finally meet him in this book so I couldn’t wait to get this book for review.

Edward was everything that I hoped he’d be. He was fun, flirty and a little rough around the edges. He was a good man at heart and he protected those close to him and he considered Cecelia close. He’s never met her in real life before but when he wakes up from an injury and finds out that she has been by his side for days now and that they’re…married, he doesn’t question it. He steps up and does what he can for Cecelia. She’s his best friend’s sister and she’s a good person so if she says they’re married then it must be true.

Only it’s not and the only person that knows that is Cecelia. Sure, she has a legit reason for telling everyone that they’re married and that reason is why she ran away from England but I have a hard time with secret plots and this particular secret messed with my enjoyment of the book as a whole because Cecelia took too long to come clean with Edward. I sympathized with her because she’s pretty much all alone in the world now and with a money hungry cousin sniffing around, I get that she felt like she had no choice but to lie but the longer she kept the lie from Edward is where I started having issues with her. I didn’t care about her lying to everyone else. That was necessary but when it became unnecessary for her to lie to Edward, she should have come clean and she didn’t.

I loved Edward’s character. I could totally see him fitting in perfectly with the rest of his family back home. I loved seeing him fall in love with Cecelia and seeing him keep his distance from her until she was comfortable with him made me laugh because he’d gone without female companionship for a long time and then to have Cecelia so close and not being able to touch her, his wife to boot, poor guy.

Cecelia’s love for her family was something I liked about her. She was a good person at heart and I still liked her as a person. I loved seeing her fall in love with Edward and just be there for him when he needed her was great to witness. She thought of the little things to make his life easier and I loved that she handled all of that stuff for him. When she wrote his family to make sure that they knew that he was okay was great and I loved reading her letters to both Thomas and then later, Edward. They were carrying torches for each other long before they met and I liked that Quinn added that to their romance.

My only real gripe with this story was how long it took Cecelia to come clean with Edward. Everything else was more of the same that I’ve come to love about reading a Julia Quinn book. She has a talent for writing humorous love stories that hit me in the feels and this book was no different. It wasn’t my favorite book by hers but it was still a quality read that I’m sure fans of her books will enjoy.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

Guest Review: A Suitable Affair by Erica Taylor

Posted June 16, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: A Suitable Affair by Erica TaylorReviewer: Tracy
A Suitable Affair by Erica Taylor
Published by Amberjack Publishing
Publication Date: June 6th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 332
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four-stars

Despite being beautiful and wealthy, Lady Susanna Macalister’s marriage prospects are rather lacking. To avoid a life of spinsterhood, she decides a loveless marriage to the dull and unromantic Lord Riverton is better than none at all. But still, Susanna longs for true, passionate love, the kind she grew up hearing stories about.

Enjoying a quiet walk with her insipid suitor one afternoon, Susanna is nearly trampled by the handsome Earl of Westcott as he rides through Hyde Park. Driven by his own guilt and despair, the earl embraces this chance encounter as an opportunity for vengeance, for Lord Riverton is the very man whom Wescott suspects is responsible for the untimely death of his beloved sister. But is his mission of separating Susanna from Lord Riverton simply a desire to save another unsuspecting lady from his sister’s fate, or something deeper?

As Susanna helps Lord Westcott investigate her future fiance, she realizes she might have found what she was looking for all along. Can the pair keep their budding romance a secret from everyone around them until the investigation is over? Or will the unsuspecting Lord Riverton win Susanna’s hand in marriage before the truth comes out?

Susanna “runs into” Lord Ian Wescott in an unconventional manner and is a bit infuriated at the man.  When he approaches her to let her know that her fiancé is not a man she should be spending time with she pretty much blows him off as she thinks he just doesn’t like Lord Riverton.  You see, Lord Riverton had been Ian’s sister’s fiancé at the time of her kidnapping and murder and then refused to pay the ransom.  Not only that but then demanded her dowry for breach of contract when she was killed.  (I could see why he would have concerns about the man’s character.)

While Ian’s and Susanna’s friendship grows so do their feelings for each other.  They say they’re just friends but each knows how the other feels about them and keeps it to themselves. Ian works for the Home Office and does investigations – not that anyone knows that.  Because of that he knows that he can never settle down.  He’s on the go constantly and he can’t be a family man when he’s gone all the time.

When Susanna and Ian are falling in love, Ian is investigating Riverton.  He knows that Riverton is involved in not only his sisters kidnapping and murder but the kidnapping and murders of at least 6 other women – he just has to prove it. Susanna agrees to be bait for Ian’s investigation but when it comes down to it he may not be able to save her.

What a great story.  I loved that Ian and Susanna were friends before they became lovers.  Their friendship and banter made me smile more than a time or two.  I loved reading about them and their antics together.  I think the thing I loved about it was on the outside everything was above board and I could very much believe that it all was happening.  Well done on Taylor’s part.

The suspense part of the story was a good one as well.  I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the way it all went down in the end as it seemed a bit abrupt – as was the general ending of the book.  Those two issues were the only reason this got 4 stars instead of 5.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the story of Susanna’s brother – the cold duke.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Guest Review: Claiming His Highland Bride by Terri Brisbin

Posted June 15, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: Claiming His Highland Bride by Terri BrisbinReviewer: Tracy
Claiming His Highland Bride by Terri Brisbin
Series: A Highland Feuding #4
Also in this series: The Highlander's Runaway Bride
Published by Harlequin Special Releases
Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
Genres: Historical
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three-half-stars

Safe in her Highlander's arms!

After discovering her role in her father's plot to destroy another clan, Sorcha MacMillan risks her life to go into hiding. Her safety relies on her disguise, but she is drawn to a man who could see through her...

Unknown to Sorcha, Alan Cameron has been sent to track her down. He's attracted to the woman in disguise. Even after learning her true identity, he can't overcome his instinct to protect her. No matter the danger, he will keep Sorcha safe...and claim her as his bride!

Sorcha has been told by her father, a clan Chieftan, that she must wed but her soon-to-be fiancé is a horrible man.  The fiancé and her father are planning on ruining another clan by joining theirs and Sorcha wants no part of it.  Her mother has been able to protect Sorcha for years from her father’s machinations but she’s now dying.  The mother knows that Sorcha must escape her fate and tries to help her as best she can by giving her baubles and treasures little by little.  When her mother dies and the time comes for Sorcha and her father to travel to meet the fiancé Sorcha fakes her own death (with help from a friend of her mothers) and runs away.  She plans to run to Skye to become a nun but that plan is interrupted when her mother’s friend dies.  Sorcha is resourceful so she heads to her mother’s people who hide her among the clan.

Alan Cameron is a pawn in his uncle’s games.  His uncle is the man that Sorcha was supposed to marry.  When she disappears his uncle, Gilbert, calls him to find her as he’s the best tracker around.  He can’t find her but it looks like she died.  He’s not positive that was what happened but goes with it anyway.

Alan meets Sorcha, who goes by Saraid, and is instantly attracted to her which is good as she is instantly attracted to him as well.  He’s told that she will join a convent but he’s positive he can change her mind. Sorcha is adamant that she cannot change her mind but love has a funny way of changing people’s minds about the future.

This was a sweet story that had a few twists that I enjoyed.  I really liked Sorcha’s character and was surprised and pleased with her adamancy that she was going to join the convent.  She knew if Gilbert Cameron or her father found that she was alive there would be hell to pay.  I was thrilled she stood her ground for as long as she did but we all know she eventually caved. 🙂  Her actions at the end of the book were quite admirable and I loved the strength she showed.

Alan was a great character as well.  I was surprised that it took him as long as it did to figure out that Saraid was Sorcha.  They said he was a great tracker so why the heck couldn’t he figure it out? Lol  Oh well, it was a better story this way. 😉

Overall it was a good story and one I’d recommend if you’d like a quick historical book to read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

Guest Review: Wed to a Spy by Sharon Cullen

Posted June 2, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Wed to a Spy by Sharon CullenReviewer: Tracy
Wed to a Spy by Sharon Cullen
Series: All the Queen's Spies #1
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
Genres: Historical
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four-stars

Simon Marcheford wants nothing more than to settle down on the land bestowed upon him by the English crown. Queen Elizabeth, however, is not about to let her best spy retire so easily. Simon will have his reward, she decrees, after he completes one last mission in Scotland. But no sooner has he sussed out a diabolical plot up North than Queen Mary weds him to her cousin—an exquisite beauty with troubled, soulful eyes—and orders Simon to watch her every move.

Aimee de Verris is no spy. But her life may depend on becoming one. Banished from the French court by Catherine de Medici, Aimee finds herself tasked with reporting on Queen Mary’s activities in Scotland, where she’s unnerved by the frigid weather and brutish customs. Worst of all, Aimee’s been married off to a most uncouth lout. But when murder strikes, she learns to appreciate Simon’s talent for shielding her with every inch of his muscular frame. If Aimee desires her husband, perhaps she could trust him—or even love him.

Simon is an English spy in Queen Mary’s court in Scotland via his assignment in Spain.  He’s asked by the Queen to keep an eye on Aimee de Verris as Mary believes her to be a spy.  While Simon thinks that Aimee’s beautiful he has no true interest in her – nor her in him.  That doesn’t stop Queen Mary from ordering them to get married.  What?  Yep, the next day they’re married and neither is happy about it.

Aimee was raised by her aunt, Catherine de Medici, in the French court.  She fell in love with a man but when they were caught in an embrace Catherine sent Aimee to Scotland.  Catherine told Aimee that she needed to spy and if she succeeds then Catherine would let Aimee and her man be together.  Of course because Aimee believes herself to be in love with a man in France the last thing she wants to do is marry someone else.  Though she fights it she ends up marrying Simon.  She likes the man but the thought of being married to anyone but her love and an Englishman to boot is horrible.

Aimee and Simon try to deal with their marriage as best they can but when someone is killed in Queen Mary’s court they have to hide and then escape to save their own lives. While in this dire situation they get to know each other and realize that maybe they can learn to love each other.

While this book blurb was based on two spies coming together we soon learned that Aimee wasn’t anywhere near being a spy.  She was just a young girl who had been played by her aunt.  I felt horrible for her for being so used by both Catherine and in the end, Queen Mary.  She had just wanted to be left alone to be with her man, Pierre.  I was happy that she soon realized that what she thought was love with Pierre was just an infatuation and that Simon was a man she could love – and then fell in love with him.

Simon was a great guy who just wanted to be left alone to raise his young sister in the country.  His Queen had tasked him with one last mission and he never imagined where it would lead him – into matrimony.  The more time he spent with Aimee the more he liked her and soon found himself in love.  He was a good man and I was thrilled that he found love with Aimee, even if it was unexpected.

The characters in this book were interesting and intriguing.  The story was well written and sucked me in from the first page.  My one issue with the story is that the falling in love happened really quickly.  I loved that they fell in love I just wish it would have happened a bit slower – a minor issue, really.

Overall I enjoyed the book and definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Review: An Affair with a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine Heath

Posted June 1, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: An Affair with a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Rowena
An Affair with a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine Heath
Series: Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #4
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

The son of a duke and an infamous mother, Alistair Mabry, Marquess of Rexton, fought his way to respectability. Now, the most eligible bachelor in London, marriage-shy Rexton will take only a wife with an impeccable reputation, good breeding, and a penchant for staying out of the gossip sheets. But when he strikes a deal to be seen “courting” a sweet young debutante whose notorious older sister has blemished her chances for marriage, Rexton is unexpectedly drawn to the highly inappropriate, calamitous Tillie, Lady Landsdowne herself.

After a scandalous incident that sent shockwaves throughout society and disgraced her, Tillie refuses to cower in the face of the ton. Instead, she will hold her head high as she serves as a chaperone for her younger sister, but Tillie is convinced Rexton’s courtship is shrouded with secrets—ones she vows to uncover. However, doing so requires getting dangerously close to the devilishly handsome and forbidden marquess…

An Affair with a Notorious Heiress is the fourth book in the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series by Lorraine Heath and it follows Alistair Mabry, Marquess of Rexton. Rexton has a bunch of siblings that we’ve come to know throughout this series. I have enjoyed every single book in this series and that didn’t stop with this one. Lorraine Heath is one of my go to historical romance authors because she writes historical romances that have that old school feel and I fall into each of her stories so very easily.

The Marquess of Rexton is no stranger to scandal. His mother wasn’t born into the aristocracy so when his father married her, she wasn’t really accepted but that didn’t stop his father from loving the hell out of her anyway. Rexton was bullied at school because of his mother. He grew up and had to deal with a scandal that was not his and he swore that when he grew up and took a wife, she would be above reproach. His children will never know the pain he endured when he was a child.

Lady Mathilda Landsdowne is a walking scandal. She’s a divorced woman who was caught kissing her footman and all this time later, she’s still paying for her actions. She has plans to leave England and return to New York to start over but first, she needs to get her younger sister situated and make sure that she marries someone who is worthy of her. Someone that will take care of her and make her happy, because Tillie knows all too well the misery behind marrying the wrong guy.

Rexton was approached by Tillie’s uncle to pay some attention to her younger sister, Gina in hopes that other gentlemen will take notice of her since Tillie’s divorce scandal has kept Gina from having the season she deserved. Rexton has no plans to marry Gina since she’s too young for him but when one of the best racehorses is dangled in front of his nose, he finds himself asking the young girl to dance…and then asking to take her for a ride in the park.

Tillie is suspicious of Rexton and she’s also attracted as hell to him. The attraction she feels for him is definitely returned and their story kind of takes off right when they meet. Rexton is immediately drawn to Tillie, to the strong front she puts up for everyone to the obvious love and support she has for her younger sister, Gina. The more time that Rexton spends with Tillie, the more that he wants her. Tillie is fighting her attraction to the man that is “courting” her sister but it’s a losing battle.

Lorraine Heath did such a great job of pulling my heartstrings with this book. Between Tillie not wanting Rexton to suffer from loving her and Rexton wanting to protect Tillie from everything and everyone around her, I was happy sighing all over the place. I completely connected with both of their characters and their situations. I wished for them to work things out and for them to find a way to be together and in the end, I got my wish.

Tillie was a strong heroine that was hellbent on making sure that her sister didn’t make the same mistakes she did and I really loved the relationship between the two sisters. Gina wanted Tillie’s happiness just as much as Tillie wanted Gina’s and I loved how Team Rexton Gina was. That was just too adorable for words.

Rexton was everything that I hoped he would be and I loved seeing him fall in love with Tillie. I loved seeing how close he was with his family and the way that they all came together to accept Tillie into the fold was just too stinkin’ good. The way that they banded around Rexton and his woman made my heart swell. He was such a good man and my bloodthirsty heart was satisfied with the beat down he gave anyone who dared to touch Tillie.

Heath worked her magic and it paid off because this was a fine romance and I’m super glad that I read it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars