Genre: Historical

Guest Review: Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara Gill

Posted February 17, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara GillReviewer: Tracy
Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara Gill
Series: To Marry a Rogue #2
Published by Entangled: Select Historical
Publication Date: February 20th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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four-stars

Without a Season, Lady Isolde Worthingham captured the Duke of Moore’s heart at a country dance. But on the eve of her wedding, a scandal that rocked the ton and sent her fleeing to Scotland alone and unwed, leaves her perfectly planned future in a tangle of disgrace and heartbreak.

Merrick Mountshaw, the Duke of Moore, loathes the pitiful existence he portrays to the ton. With a scandalous wife he never wanted, who flaunts her many indiscretions, life is a never-ending parade of hell. When the one woman he loved and lost returns to London, he knows he can no longer live without her.

But vows and past hurts are not easily forgotten. Love may not win against the ton when a too proper lord and lady play by the rules.

Isolde and Merrick are so excited to get married.  He saw her on the dance floor at a country dance a year ago and knew that she was the one for him.  He wants nothing more than to get married to Isolde and start their life together.  Unfortunately Isolde’s friend is a jealous bitch and finds a way to drug Merrick and make sure that Isolde finds her in his bed.  The little bitch then goes on to force Isolde and her family to watcher her marry Merrick the next day while Isolde’s heart breaking.

Five years have passed and Isolde, who has been living in Scotland at a family property, decides that it’s time to face life again.  She knows that she may run into Merrick and her bitch of a friend who’s now his wife, but she decides that she wants to get married and have a family.  She knows that she can never love a man like she loves (yes, she still loves him) Merrick but she can be comfortable with a man and will be happy to have children.

Isolde doesn’t plan on having such strong feelings about seeing Merrick again but she’s determined to ignore her feelings and move on.  Many men are interested in Isolde, including Merrick’s best friend.  Merrick and Isolde obviously still love each other very much and both were betrayed horribly but as much as they love each other how can they ever be together when he’s still married to the evil bitch duchess.

This was a great story of love and betrayal.  The sadness and angst was heart-wrenching and I totally understood the pain that both Isolde and Merrick felt.  We only got to see Isolde and Merrick as a couple for a very short time at the beginning of the book before it all went to shit but in that short amount of time the author did a great job of showing us how much the couple loved each other. It was so sad to see them separated.

Merrick was a great character.  I really liked him.  He had been wronged so badly but despite that he was a great father to his son.  His wife was, of course, an evil witch but he couldn’t leave her because she threatened to spread rumors about their son.  He wouldn’t allow that to happen so he stayed miserable.  I had to give him props for his love for his child and putting him first.  He was a strong man and I really liked him.

Isolde was pretty damned strong as well.  To have to live with the betrayal of her best friend and then the man she loved.  Not fun.  Despite it all she wasn’t too, too bitter and I liked her a lot as well.

Overall the book was really good and one I recommend.  If you don’t like highly angsty books then you might not like this one but if you do then this will be right up your alley.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

Posted February 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Duke by Kerrigan ByrneReviewer: Tracy
The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels series #4
Also in this series: The Highlander
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-half-stars

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners...

They say that now His Grace, Collin Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth has only one hand, he might finally be a mere mortal, but no one seems willing to test the theory. Rich as Midas, big as a Viking, beautiful as Adonis, and lethal as a feral wolf, he is the English Empire’s golden son. But now he’s lost everything. Most of his family died in a terrible accident, his protégé and closest friend betrayed him on the battlefield, and his left hand was cut off while he was a prisoner of war. The only thing that’s kept him going until now is the memory of a night spent in the arms of a mysterious raven-haired woman almost a year ago…

Imogen Pritchard is a nurse by day, but a fallen woman by night. Seduced on the job years ago by a Duke who mourned for the loss of his family, Imogen has never shaken the memory of the man’s despair—or the fathomless depths of pleasure he brought to her. But as the threat of betrayals, blackmail, and secrets abound, Imogen and Collin are thrown back together in a dizzying swirl of dangerous games and earth-shattering desire. But can their love overcome the everything that threatens to tear them apart?

Imogen is a nurse who works at a hospital by day and then by night works as a serving girl at the Bare Kitten trying to pay off the debts that her father left when he died.  She’s just a serving girl and worked out with the owner that she would never be required to prostitute herself out as he had plenty of girls for that.

On a night that Imogen in working she services a group of soldiers.  When one gets a bit rowdy she’s saved by the new Duke of Trenwyth.  After a long night of him drinking and her sitting on his lap he pays the proprietor 10 pounds to spend the night with “Ginny” as she’s known there.  As it will wipe out about a 1/3 of her debt she agrees. She’s intrigued by and attracted to the new duke whose family had just died in a train crash.  She wants to comfort him and they share a beautiful night together.

One year later Imogen is working when she’s told that the missing Duke of Trenwyth is in the hospital with typhus.  Since she had it at one point she was immune so was assigned to him.  She takes care of him and soon figures out that he doesn’t have typhus and correctly diagnoses him.  When he awakens, however he doesn’t recognize her as she had worn a black wig when she was Ginny but really has blonde hair.  After a series of events where Imogen is let go from the hospital and then attacked the same night she is desperate and almost ends up a thief but for a kind patient who offers his help.

Fast forward to two years later and Cole, the Duke of Trenwyth has recovered and is still looking for Ginny.  He can’t forget her but can’t find her anywhere. On top of his frustrations is the woman next door who seems to be opening her home to criminals and prostitutes that she is attempting to reform but according to him it’s bringing down the whole neighborhood. He also believes that since she is young and her deceased husband was quite old that she took advantage of him.  Despite his annoyance with Lady Anstruther, his neighbor, he finds himself attracted to her and unable to do anything about it.

I’ve really liked the Kerrigan Byrne books I’ve read so far.  They seem to have interesting premise’s and intriguing characters – The Duke was one that had both.  First Imogen’s circumstances when the book first opens.  Not so unusual to see a woman working off her father’s debts but I liked how the author kept her relatively innocent until the duke came along.  Imogen ended up being an incredibly strong character who could give as well as she got – especially with Cole – and I admired her and the work she was doing to help the less fortunate.  She knew what it was like to be in a desperate place and she wanted to help those that found themselves in like circumstances.

Cole was a hard man to like.  He had serious anger issues after his capture and captivity and they manifested in strange ways at strange times.  I liked his possessiveness of Imogen but not so much his condescension toward her.  Imogen never let him get away with it and that I was happy about.  He was so set on finding Ginny that he couldn’t see what was right in front of his face.  Because he had changed so much Imogen didn’t feel that he was the same person he was before so kept her identity to herself.  It was a good push and pull romance, that’s for sure.

Now, that being said I did think that the book, at times, tilted toward the side of melodramatic and that was something I didn’t care for at all.  There was a lot going on in the book and there was a lot of introspection as well.  With all of that the drama got to be too much at times and I admit I found myself rolling my eyes a bit.

Overall it was a good read, and a good romance that I just had a few issues with.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James

Posted February 8, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Rowena
Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James
Series: Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers #3
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

All of Eugenia Snowe’s problems start when Edward Reeve, an arrogant bastard son of an earl, bursts into her registry office. He wants a governess and he wants her. She gives him the governess he demands, but she refuses to give herself.

No question that Eugenia enjoys crossing wits with the brilliant inventor, but she will never tarnish her reputation with an affaire, particularly with a man who doesn’t realize she’s a lady!

She holds her ground…until he kidnaps her.

Ward will stop at nothing to convince Eugenia that they’re meant to be together. He promises her heaven.

She gives him seven minutes.

Seven Minutes in Heaven is the third book in the Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers series by Eloisa James and it was a romance that was so easy to fall into and love.

Mrs. Eugenia Snow is a widow who owns a registry. That registry pairs up governesses with families that need good governesses. She’s good at her job but when Edward Reeve, the bastard son of an earl comes to her office and kind of bulldozes his way into her life, she’s taken by surprise. She knows that she’s lucky to have found love once before so she wasn’t expecting Ward. She wasn’t expecting to fall in love with not only Ward but with his young siblings.

Ward is desperate. He needs to find a governess for his two young siblings that he just found out about before their grandmother gets her way and takes them away from him. These two young children have been through a lot in their short lives and they need someone in their corner. They need stability and they need someone to take care of them. Ward isn’t the best choice for them but they’re his to take care of and he doesn’t care what he has to do to keep them away from their grandmother, he was going to fight to keep them and that is why he needs Mrs. Snow so much. He needs her to send one of her governesses to teach his siblings how to act, teach them life lessons and all the stuff they need to learn to prove that he’s a good choice as guardian.

When his siblings run off one more governess from Mrs. Snows Registry, Ward becomes even more desperate. He goes right off the crazy train and before we know what’s what, Mrs. Snow herself is staying at his place, acting as governess to his siblings and things are turning around. She’s good with kids and even though his siblings grew up in a colorful environment, thanks to their mother’s colorful life (his mother ran away from the aristocracy with a much younger man causing a giant scandal), if he has any prayer of keeping his siblings, he has to live a life on the up and up. It doesn’t matter that he’s the only person that wants the best for his brother and sister. It doesn’t matter that they want to live with him. What matters is the case coming up. What matters is sacrificing his own happiness for them.

Ward’s happiness is wrapped up in Eugenia Snow. Their relationship has grown by heaps and bounds ever since she came to stay with them. In such a short amount of time, she’s become important to him and the same can be said for her. The chemistry between them was sweet and it was strong but it doesn’t last as long as I was hoping because Ward doesn’t know who Eugenia is. He’s the bastard child of an earl so it made sense to me that he wouldn’t know who she is. How connected she is. He gave her up because he felt he had to and my heart hurt for the both of them.

Eugenia’s love for Ward and the kids really shines in this book. The way that she stood up for herself when she finds out why Ward turns her away. The way that she stood firm in what she thought was right, really worked for me. Eloisa James wrote a wonderfully romantic historical romance that hit me in the feels, made me laugh, sigh and cry a little bit. This book was great and I’m so glad that I read it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh

Posted February 6, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Someone to Hold by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott series #2
Also in this series: Someone to Love
Published by Jove Books
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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four-half-stars

Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery...

With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.

An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead...

Camille Westcott was once Lady Camille Westcott but now that her father has died and it’s been discovered that his marriage was bigamous, Camille is just Miss Camille Westcott.  Everything that she has striven for her entire life is now…gone.  She’s at loose ends to say the least and after leaving London and hiding in her maternal grandmother’s house for a while she finally decides that she needs to do something.  She decides to take a teaching position at the orphanage where her half-sister, Anna, grew up and taught as well.  She also takes Anna’s old room at the orphanage even though her grandmother lives not that far away.  She needs to do this on her own – be independent and learn how to live without all the comforts. Yes, it’s about changing from who she was but it’s also a bit of a punishment – at least that’s the way she thinks of it.

Joel Cunningham is a portrait artist that volunteers at the orphanage where he grew up.  He comes in and teaches art a couple of times a week.  When he sees that Camille is to be the new teacher he’s not happy at all.  Anna was his best friend and he even offered her marriage at one point and to see the sister that spurned Anna now taking her place makes him mad.  She’s all tied up and military efficient and after just having a teacher that wouldn’t let the kids be kids he thinks she’ll fail as a teacher.  Except when he first comes in he sees the kids engaged and happy and Joel starts to see Camille in a different light.  He is also commissioned by Camille’s grandmother to paint portraits of both Camille and her sister Abby so he is constantly observing Camille to find out who she truly is.  He finds that she’s so many different people all rolled into one and even she’s not sure who she is.

Joel and Camille start a friendship that soon turns to more but neither one of them is sure where it’s going, if anywhere.  When Camille’s large family descends upon Bath she gets an earful from a couple of different family members that give her a lot to think about.  Likewise, Joel, who grew up an orphan finds out who his family is which ends up changing his life forever.  The lives of both Camille and Joel are in such flux that neither one is sure where they’re going but they each know who they want with them as they go.

This was a wonderful romance that I very much enjoyed reading.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Camille’s in the last book as she was, let’s face it, a total bitch to Anna.  I can understand why that was but it didn’t endear me to her at all.  Despite that I knew that Balogh would show us another side of Camille and make me like her so I was excited to read her book.  I’m so glad I did.  It was an unusual romance but it was oh, so satisfying.

To say that Camille had no idea who she was after the big reveal of her illegitimacy would be putting it mildly.  She was at such loose ends but was determined to be independent.  She had turned down her half-sister’s offer of a quarter of her fortune but her grandmother had given her a large allowance.  Camille wanted none of it because she didn’t feel she deserved it.  She had tried her whole life to be perfect.  The perfect daughter, the perfect lady, the perfect everything.  Part of this was because of her father.  She wanted his love and figured if she did no wrong he would love her and forgive her for not being a boy (she was the oldest).  That didn’t end up happening and it certainly didn’t help her when her fiancé found out she was illegitimate.  He dumped her as well.  She needed to find out if she could be imperfect and still lead a good life.  With Joel she found a friend and confidante but it was still hard for her to let herself go and just…be.  He was also confusing in his affections so that turned her round and round.  I loved reading Camille’s transformation.  The realizations she came to and decisions she made about herself and her life were sometimes harsh but that made the end result so much more satisfying.  I ended up really liking her and who she had become by the end of the book.

Joel thought he knew exactly who he was – until the information about his family came to him.  He was then at loose ends himself because he thought he never cared to know about them but when he did he found he wanted more and more.  Unfortunately he didn’t have the opportunity to learn more after a while and that depressed him.  He found that he loved being with Camille despite his first impressions of her but he didn’t know how to handle his feelings towards her and made a mess of things.  Luckily he recovered in the end and got his HEA with Camille.  He took a little long, yes, but I thought he made up for it in the end.  He was in a state of flux too so I could cut him some slack.

The book told a lovely story about Joel and Camille finding themselves.  I loved the way Balogh brought them together and had them figuring it all out while falling in love.  It was an emotional book that I found to be sweet, tender, touching, funny and romantic – all the things I love. I can’t wait to see what Balogh brings us next in the Westcott series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Review: Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James

Posted January 23, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Rowena
Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James
Series: Fairy Tales #2.5
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: December 6th 2011
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

It could only happen in a fairy tale.

Lady Lucy Towerton:Plain and tall. (According to the lady herself.) Titled and irreproachably proper. (According to her fiancé.)

Until, overnight, she becomes

Lady Lucy Towerton:Heiress. (Thanks to an aged aunt’s bequest.)Belle of the ball. (So say the fortune hunters of the ton.)

In charge of her own destiny (finally!), Lucy breaks her engagement and makes up her mind never to be proper again…

NOTE: This novella is related to "The Duke Is Mine" and includes Olivia Lytton.

I’m so fired.

I decided last month that I was going to make a noticeable dent in my TBR pile and participate in the book blogging community more so I signed up for the TBR Challenge hosted by Super Librarian Wendy. I picked out my books, I made sure that my January book was downloaded onto my kindle and then I made sure that I read the book in plenty of time to get it reviewed and scheduled.

I read the book. I wrote the review and then I forgot to schedule the review so you’re getting this month’s entry late. Sorry, I swear that I’ll do better next month. 🙂

Anyway, on with the review…

So January’s entry is all about the short story and I chose a book that I’ve been wanting to read for a long ass time. Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James. Eloisa James write fabulous historical romances and I knew that I was going to like this one because Ames liked it. We have similar reading tastes so I went into this one with high hopes and those hopes definitely played out well for me.

Lucy is a wallflower. She’s always overlooked and partying in the corner with the other wallflowers at every ball. When Cyrus asks for her hand in marriage, her parents grudgingly accept. They don’t want Cyrus in the family because his mother is a disgraced daughter of a lord of the ton, a woman who ran away and married a commoner. Cyrus is determined to turn things around for his family so that his sisters will get their shot at a season. He needs to marry someone above reproach and he finds all of that in Lucy.

Lucy knows that her marriage to Cyrus is not a love match but when she realizes how little Cyrus knows her and how much he doesn’t want to get to know her, she decides that she wants more than a marriage of convenience. She can afford to be picky because she came into an inheritance from her dead Aunt so she breaks things off with Cyrus and is surprised when Cyrus takes a genuine interest in her and pursues her in earnest.

Watching these two get to know each other and fall slowly in love with one another was a treat. Eloisa James is a pro at wrapping me up in feels and this short story was no different. It was fun to see Cyrus jump through hoops to win Lucy’s heart and I was so satisfied in the end. Cute and fun, you won’t regret reading this.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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