Genre: Historical Romance

Guest Review: The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath

Posted March 31, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Tracy
The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #5
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire, When a Duke Loves a Woman, When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2), The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3), The Duchess in His Bed
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She’s looking for a nobleman to wed…

Though born out of wedlock, Fancy Trewlove is determined to fulfill her mother’s wish that she marry into nobility. Fancy’s keen intellect and finishing school manners make her the perfect wife for any gentleman—if he’s willing to overlook her scandalous lineage. But Fancy’s plans are thrown into chaos when an intriguing commoner begins visiting her bookshop—and she finds herself unable to stop thinking about him.

He’s looking to escape his title…

Widowed just a year ago, the reclusive Matthew Sommersby, Earl of Rosemont, has been besieged by women hoping to become his next wife. Desperate for anonymity, he sheds Society life to search for the peace that eludes him. Fancy’s shop is his one refuge, until the night their passion erupts into a kiss that nearly leads to her ruin—and leaves both longing for much more.

Together, they discover an unlikely love…

As Fancy finds herself torn between her family’s expectations and her growing feelings for Matthew, secrets are exposed—secrets that force Fancy to question if she can trust her heart’s desire...

Matthew Sommersby, the Earl of Rosemont wants to kill his dead wife.  Ok, she’s already dead, but he’s just that mad at her. Matthew wakes one morning to find a letter from his dead wife in the paper. It’s written to all of the women seeking husbands and it says what a kind man he is and that he was an awesome husband. It tells of all the wonderful things he did during their marriage and that if any single woman would like that in their lives, then they should call on him. After all, she’s dead and he’s grieved for her long enough – he needs to be happy now. Wow.

There are two reasons that Matthew would like to throttle his deceased spouse.  First, for writing and having someone publish the letter which brings droves of women to his home which he hates.  Second, the rubbish she put into the letter didn’t happen at all.  Their marriage was on the rocks from practically day one and none of what she printed was true.  In order to escape the hoards of women and marriage-minded mamas, he seeks out a simpler life in a part of London that no one will thing to look for him.  This location happens to be right next to Fancy Trewlove’s bookstore, so of course he must check it out.

Fancy and Matthew become friends and they each have a tendre for the other, but Fancy is about to make her debut in London.  She’s been told her entire life that she is to marry a man of the aristocracy and this is what she believes she should do. Except…then there’s Matthew and she truly cares about him.  Too bad he’s not a Lord. She truly doesn’t care if she marries a Lord, but she wants to make her family happy and do what they want her to do.

This story was a complete surprise to me.  I knew from previous books in the series that Fancy had been spoiled by her siblings, as she was the youngest of them.  This went as far as her brother building her a bookstore and outfitting it for her. Yes, she ran her own shop, but we’re given to believe that she’s not really romance book material.  Wrong. Though cosseted by her family, she is just as strong as her sister and mother, which is saying something.  Her kindness and love for her fellow human beings knows no bounds. She was truly a joy to read and I’m so glad I didn’t skip her book.

Fancy knows what she wants, to stay with her books forever, but she also loves her family beyond reason and doesn’t want to upset them, even thought it might make her unhappy. She goes along with their wishes and has a coming out ball, but her heart is with her new friend Matthew. Their romance was both sweet and touching. I loved them, both individually and as a couple. Their love of books stole my heart as well.

One of the conflicts in the story was about Matthew and the revelation of his true identity. Yes, I can see how this would upset Fancy, but if it wasn’t for the deception and his dead wife writing that letter, would they have ever met? Who’s to say?

There was also another part that had to do with Fancy and the truth about who her father was.  There’s the truth and then there’s the story that her mother told her. My heart broke for Fancy when she found out the truth, but I can say she handled it so well – like the lady she was.

I really liked this book a lot and definitely recommend you read it. If you had any reservations about Fancy, just put them aside, I don’t think you’ll be sorry you did.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Posted March 19, 2020 by Rowena in Giveaways, Reviews | 7 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love By Numbers #1
Also in this series: Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 422
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.

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

This review was originally posted on March 31, 2010.

I am a sucker for the unrequited love story. The longing and the pining never cease to make my heart race as I wonder how the author is going to bring these two people together. Whether they’re best friends turned lovers or a woman with a longstanding crush, the excitement of that kind of story never fails to make my heart sigh as I’m reading the book. That was the case with this book.

I adored it.

It took me no time at all to read this book because every spare moment I had, I had my nose buried in this book. It’s funny because my sister was visiting from Colorado when I started this book and her 4-year-old son took to teasing me about all the reading I did with. He would sit on the couch and put his hands in the shape of a book in front of his face, pretending to read and ask me, “Who am I, Aunty Wena?”

Haha, Kainoa…very funny but I couldn’t help it. This book was so good. It wasn’t anything new, the storyline isn’t a storyline that was fresh but the dialogue and the characters were refreshing and unbelievably bewitching. My favorite part of this book is surprising, the heroine, Lady Calpurnia Hartwell. She’s a wallflower, a spinster. She’s on the shelf and after a conversation, she overheard between her younger sister and her sister’s fiance about her and another conversation with her brother, the Earl of Allendale, Callie sets about having adventures. She goes about learning how to fence, smoking cheroots, kissing men in the middle of the night and all sorts of other adventures that had me laughing, holding my breath and laughing all over again.

As great as Gabriel was, it was Callie that made this story for me. I loved seeing her interact with her family, most especially her brother and sister. You can tell that there was a wealth of love between the siblings and I loved the scene between Callie and Benny when Callie comes home late and Benny’s waiting up for her and she confesses all about her adventures and then asks him to let her smoke a cheroot and he finally caves. That scene was such a sweet and funny scene, one that I absolutely adored.

I seriously adored this book. I can’t recommend it enough because it was a great book with fantastic characters and a storyline that kept me entertained from the beginning to the end. I will definitely be checking out more books by Sarah McLean and I’m very anxious to do so. If you’re looking for a fantastic historical that will make you laugh, this is definitely the book for you.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Love By Numbers

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands

Posted March 12, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands
Series: Devil of the Highlands #2
Also in this series: Taming the Highland Bride
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 371
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She was ready to let her heart run wild . . .Merry Stewart has had enough! Enough of her brothers, whose behavior would make even the most improper lady blush. Enough of their Highland home, which would surely have fallen to ruin were it not for her. She dreams of escaping into the arms of her betrothed, Alexander d'Aumesbery, even though they haven't yet met. But when they do, Merry is devastated. It seems he's no better than the men in her family.

So beautiful, so brazen . . . From the moment he meets Merry, Alexander is determined to make her his. Desperate to convince her he's nothing like the members of her roguish clan, he will prove he is every bit the well-mannered gentleman. Yet, beneath it all beats a heart as intense and uncontrollable as hers. And finally, when his life is threatened, Merry realizes he's the husband she's been waiting for . . . and their passion becomes the one thing that cannot be tamed.

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

This review was originally posted on March 24, 2010.

I only just discovered Sands’ historicals last year. Prior to that I though she wrote only paranormals. Since discovering her medievals I’ve gone on a buying binge, gobbling up her backlist. I’ve found her novels to be quick, light reads. While this was more of the same, I wasn’t quite as satisfied with it.

I think many of the actions of the heroine were supposed to be kind of cutesy but they were kind of dry instead. I wasn’t laughing or smiling over her antics as much as I have in the past. I’m not sure if it was my mood while reading or a reflection of the book but there you go. I think the problem might have been that they just went on too long. There were a ton of instances where she had to be clever and find solutions to problems (carting her husband around after he’d been bashed in the head or drugged) and that didn’t leave a lot of time for the romance.

I really liked the way Alex tried to make Merry understand he wasn’t like her father and brothers. Because of a series of misunderstandings and the actions of outside forces, Merry thinks he’s a drunkard like her family. His disappointment over her feelings for him and the way he tries to fix it were sweet. It did bother me that Merry was so much in charge during the book, though. I like my medieval warriors to be just that..warriors. Because Alex was hurt so much Merry was mostly left in charge of running the keep and training the men. This bothered Alex quite a bit, but he wasn’t able to do much about it since he was always drugged or recovering from beatings.

The mystery plot annoyed me only because no one seemed to take the threats seriously. Every time something happened to Alex it was explained away or considered an accident. I wasn’t surprised at who the villain was, though the reasons behind it were interesting.

Something that really bothered me, and I’m sure this will prove just how shallow I am: the first time Merry sees Alex he’s falling down drunk. He isn’t normally a drinker, but he had a bad tooth that was causing him pain so he drank whiskey to dull the pain of having it removed. But..it was never mentioned why it had to be removed, or what tooth it was. Was it one of his front teeth, so now when he smiles he’s gap-toothed? Was it infected because he doesn’t believe in personal hygiene? I wondered about it all throughout the book. I guess it was just a little bit too much reality in my fiction.

Still, it was readable and I enjoyed the main story. I’m also looking forward to reading The Hellion and the Highlander, Merry’s oldest brother’s book.

3.75 out of 5

Devil of the Highlands

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer Ashley

Posted March 5, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Tracy
A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer Ashley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

Celebrate the holidays with New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley's Mackenzie clan in two heartwarming novellas.

Includes A Mackenzie Yuletide, a never before published Mackenzie Christmas novella!

When the Mackenzie family gathers in Scotland to celebrate the holidays, the love and joy of the Christmas spirit captures everyone's hearts.

And a reader favorite...A Mackenzie Clan Gathering

The Mackenzie clan has gathered for Hart's birthday at the sprawling family estate in Scotland. But before the festivities can start, the house is robbed, and thieves make off with an untold fortune in rare art.

Ian Mackenzie and his brothers must do what they can to retrieve the family treasure, but Ian is distracted by a family friend who claims he might have the power to "cure" Ian of his madness forever. All the Mackenzies must draw together as courage, love, and a tantalizing mystery serve to strengthen their bond, and redefine the meaning of family.

A Makenzie Yuletide

The Mackenzie clan is gathering for Christmas at Kilmorgan Castle. Not everyone has arrived but there is about half of the family in residence when Mac Mackenzie thinks he sees a ghost.  Some think he’s just tired but other, mostly the children, want to find the ghost and figure out who it is and where it goes.  Loving chaos ensues and the fun, funny and loving family joins together to figure out the mystery.

Then there’s Ian who has found the perfect gift for his wife, but discovers that the necklace has been stolen and is now missing.  He’s determined to find it – as are his children which makes things a bit crazy.

I liked this novella a lot but wanted it to be longer. This family always makes me smile, especially Ian, and I wanted more.  The original brothers feature in this story, but their kids put in an appearance as well and I loved seeing how they’ve all turned out.  Seeing their parent’s influence on their personalities was a thing of beauty as well. 😊

Overall a great story. Even if you’ve read the second novella in this book I think it’s worth getting just to read this story.

4 out of 5

I read A Mackenzie Clan Gathering back in 2015 and really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think it really held up over time.  Still good, but apparently not the type of novella that can be read multiple times.  You can read my original review here.

This time I’d give it a 3.25 out of 5

 

This brings the overall book total to somewhere around a 3.5.

three-half-stars


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Featured Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

Posted February 27, 2020 by Casee in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

Featured Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Casee, Holly & Rowena
Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #6
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3), Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5), Devil's Daughter
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Everything has a price...
Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.
Everything except her...
Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.
When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:
Never underestimate a Ravenel.
The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun...

Casee: Let’s get this party started.

I’ve only read two historicals in the last few years and they were both in the Ravenels series. I knew I would like this book, but really dragged my feet about reading it. I’m so glad that I read it because I loved it. I loved Cassandra and Tom. I loved Bazzle. I loved the Ravenels. Tom is more of a memorable hero than most because he is so analytical and leads his life based on logic, not feelings. The pairing with Cassandra was an interesting one as they are completely different.

What did you two think?

Holly: I always love Kleypas’ novels, so I had high expectations going in. I thought the early chapters were a bit slow, but I really fell into the story at about the 1/4 mark. I loved Tom and Cassandra, and how they supported each other. Every time Tom encouraged Cassandra to be herself, or pursue her dreams, I got a little melty on the inside.

Rowena: I’m SO glad that you guys have finished the book and I’m even more glad that you both enjoyed it. I loved this book so much! I loved Tom, I loved Cassandra, and I really loved Bazzle.

I didn’t have any trouble getting into this story, and that surprised me because when I first found out that we were getting Tom Severin’s story, I was like, meh…cause I was still mad at him from the whole railroad thing. I’m glad that I didn’t let that get in the way of me reading this because, as I said, I loved it!

Holly: Speaking of that whole railway thing…do you think he honestly would have given the rights back after the negotiations were done? I’m not sure if that was in keeping with his character.

Casee: This is the first time I’ve ever read about him, so the railway thing didn’t bother me.

Rowena: Yeah, I think he would have. Mostly because everyone was mad at him and not because he felt honor-bound to do so. I did see him grow to understand where everyone was coming from.

Holly: I’m not sure I believe that. The Tom at the end of this book? Yes. He learned a lot over the course of the novel. But the Tom at the beginning? Eh..I’m not sure I buy that. Still, it was a minor quibble and didn’t take away from the story for me.

Casee: What did you think about Bazzle? I loved him. He was a real delight. I liked how Tom just couldn’t let it go with him. He obviously saw himself in Bazzle. I found it amusing that for as smart as Tom was, he was so clueless about some things. Including why he was helping Bazzle.

Holly: I loved Bazzle. I thought he was adorable. Tom was great with him, and you’re right, it was funny how Tom was such a genius at so many things, but was really clueless about others.

Rowena: When they take him to Dr. Gibson for lice treatment, I laughed so much. Lisa Kleypas writes such fantastic historicals and I’m glad that she’s still writing them.

Casee: What about the negotiations? I died laughing, especially about the dog. Then this:

“Are the negotiations almost finished?” he asked in a husky voice. “Are there any important questions left? I’ve already spent too many days of my life without you, Cassandra.”

AWWWW.

Rowena: I liked the influence that Cassandra had over him. She was a good one for him to have around because he didn’t see the world the way that everyone else did and she helped him understand the world that everyone lives in.

Can you imagine being so rich that you can buy a whole ass newspaper company, just because they wrote something that pissed you off? I can’t even imagine that. I guess this is a historical billionaire romance, huh? Haha.

Holly: I loved how Tom decided he only had 5 emotions. Hilarious.

Casee: Where does it rate in the series for you two? It’s my favorite book so far. Lol

Rowena: LOL, it’s not my favorite of the bunch but it’s not my least favorite either. My favorite is still Devil’s Daughter and this is probably my second or third favorite or it’s tied with Devil in Spring. You should read them all. 🙂

Casee: I’m planning on reading Marrying Winterborne after I finish my current book. I’m about to have a lot of reading time!

Holly: The whole time we were reading this and discussing the series, I’ve completely forgotten about Devil’s Daughter. West! I loved that book. SO MUCH. I think Devil in Spring is still my favorite because PANDORA, but man do I love me some West.

I was cracking up over the “Ask me what I did today” thing and then Pandora being like “WHAT DID YOU DO TODAY?!” hahaha. It’s good to be king.

Rowena: I loved the way that they were with each other. There was so much that had me laughing, tearing up and just in love with everything going on. Seeing Tom come to love both Bazzle and then Cassandra, the way that Cassandra wanted more for Bazzle then what Tom had planned, their negotiations over their contract, gah, I really enjoyed everything. Tom may have not been my favorite character before this book but boy did he win me over to his side from early on in this book.

Casee: I give this book a 4.25. What about you guys?

Rowena: I give this book a 4.25 out of 5 too.

Holly: I agree, I loved how Tom came to love both Bazzle and Cassandra, and I absolutely adored how supportive he was of her. Tom was Cassandra’s champion from day one.

4.25 out of 5.

Rating

Casee: 4.25 out of 5.
Holly: 4.25 out of 5.
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5.

Overall: 4.25 out of 5.

The Ravenels


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