Genre: Historical Romance

Throwback Thursday Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks

Posted June 21, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya BanksReviewer: Holly
Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #2
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander
Published by Ballantine
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 323
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four-stars


Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Seduction of a Highland Lass, an indomitable Highland warrior is caught between loyalty and forbidden love.
 Fiercely loyal to his elder brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put to the test his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires.

An outcast from her own clan, Keeley McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice: Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on November 29, 2011.

Where the first book in the series had more external conflict, this one has a lot more internal conflict.

Alaric MacCabeis on his way to a neighboring clan to formally offer marriage to the Laird’s daughter, Rionna MacDonald, to secure an alliance, when he’s attacked. All of his men are killed and he’s gravely wounded. He manages to make it to Keeley MacDonald’s cabin on the outskirts of the clan. She’s a skilled healer and is able to save his life. When his bothers, Ewan and Caelen, show up, they decide to keep Keeley since they need a healer in their clan. Not only is Keeley charged with caring for Alaric, but Ewan wants her to attend the birth of his first child.

Keeley was cast out of her clan as a young girl after the Laird made unwanted advances and his wife cried her a whore. She’s been living alone ever since. The idea of being accepted as a healer in a new clan is appealing, but she’s not happy to have been snatched from her home with no choice. The deciding factor in her not fighting her situation is Alaric. They formed a deep bond while Keeley was caring for him.

The problem is Alaric promised to marry Rionna MacDonald. The MacDonald land lies between the McCabe keep and the new land Ewan McCabe (the laird) inherited when he married his new wife. Without the alliance the clan will be divided, not to mention the other alliances they’re working on might be jeopardized. Alaric knows his duty. As much as he wants Keeley, he knows he can’t have her. Not permanently.

Although Duncan Cameron, the villain from the first book, is still a threat in this novel, but the focus is on the internal conflict of Alaric and Keeley being in love but unable to marry. The story could have become bogged down with angst, but Banks managed a good balance between sexy-times, humor and conflict.

Keeley was a practical woman. Her clan threw her out, but she isn’t so hung up on it she’s willing to cut off her nose to spite her face. When Ewan offers her a place with the McCabe clan, she takes it. Her practicality and levelheadedness worked well with the conflict, too. Yes, she wanted Alaric, but she understood what was at stake and what would happen if they risked everything. Alaric also knew his duty, but my heart broke for him. He knew right away that he wanted Keeley and no other, but he also knew he didn’t have a choice.

I think too often in historical novels the main characters throw convention and duty out the window to the detriment of the story. Yes, it happened, but it was rare. I think for a couple to focus more on duty than on love brought a touch of realism.

The story isn’t perfect. There were times when it was bogged down with useless info. The dialogue ran toward cheesy now and again. I also found myself struggling to connect to Keeley in the beginning. Thankfully that didn’t last long. 

Overall this was a satisfying read. I enjoyed the characters and the conflict. Banks has penned a strong second novel for this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

McCabe Trilogy

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Posted June 17, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 9 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Sarah MacLean is an auto-buy author for me. I really love her stuff and am super excited for the release of this book. The last book of hers that I read got 5 stars so I’m really looking forward to digging into this new series. I have every faith that I’m going to love it just as much as her other series.

Sunday Spotlight: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLeanWicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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When Wicked Comes Calling...

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain...

Bastard son of a duke and king of London's dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion...

But there's nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she'd rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil's carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted...and the only thing he's ever desired.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

His scar went white and a muscle pounded in his cheek. “He touched you. Your hair.” His gaze was locked on it where it fell around her shoulders, unpinned.

She shook her head. “Yes, but not much. It’s only down because I gave the women my hairpins.”

“Not much?” he said, drawing closer to her. “I saw him with a lock of it in his filthy paw. I heard him describe it. Like silk. And I heard you cry out when he pulled it.” He paused, his throat working to keep words back. Words that came anyway. “He touched it. And I haven’t.”

An echo came from earlier, from inside his bedchamber, the words he used to describe her hair. Hair that I imagine falls in rich, mahogany waves when it is pulled from its severe moorings.

Her eyes went wide. “I didn’t know you wished to—”

He lifted his hand, then, and for a moment, she thought he would do it. Touch her. For a moment, she imagined what it would be like for him to slide his strong fingers into her hair and run them along her scalp, now free from the tight binds of hairpins and coifs. She imagined leaning into that touch. Leaning up to him.

Him leaning down to her.

“I should take it,” he whispered. “My payment. I should touch it.”

She blinked up at him. “Yes.”

The decision warred in him. She could see it. And she saw him make it, too, saw him give in to the desire and reach for her. Thank God.

His touch was barely there, and the most powerful thing she’d ever experienced. Her breath caught in her throat as he sifted her hair through his fingers. Would his hand be warm? Would he let himself touch her? Would he kiss her?

“I should have killed him for touching it,” he said, softly. “It wasn’t . . .” She hesitated, then whispered, “It wasn’t like this.”

His gaze found hers in the darkness. “What does that mean?”

“I won’t remember him,” she said. “Not when you are here now.”

He shook his head. “Felicity Faircloth, you are very dan- gerous.” Devil’s fingers—work-rough and warm—moved to her cheek, traced down the curve of it, to her jaw. Lin- gered there.

She shivered. “Being here . . . with you . . . it makes me feel like I could be dangerous.”

He tilted her face up to his glittering eyes, to the Covent Garden mist. “And if you were? What would you do?”

I would stay, she thought, madly. I would explore this terrifying, magnificent world. She didn’t say those things, however. Instead, she focused on the third answer—the shocking one. The one that came on a flood of want. “I would kiss you.”

For a moment he did not move, and then he took a deep breath and raised his other hand, cradling her face in his warm grasp before repeating, “You are very dangerous.”

She did not know where the words came from when she said, softly, “Would you let me?”

He shook his head once, his gaze on hers. “I wouldn’t be able to resist.”

Later, she would blame the darkness for her actions. The rain on the cobblestone streets. The fear and the wonder. She would blame his warm hands and his beautiful lips and that scar on the side of his face that made him somehow impossibly handsome. She had to blame something for it, you see, as Felicity Faircloth, aging spinster wallflower, did not kiss men.

What’s more, she absolutely did not kiss men who lived in Covent Garden and carried cane swords and were named Devil.

Except in that moment, when she rose up on her toes and did just that, pressing her lips to his full, soft ones. He was so warm, the heat of him coming through his linen shirt and waistcoat—the waistcoat she grabbed instantly and without thought, as though he might be able to keep her steady in the wild moment.

As though he weren’t the reason it felt so wild, with the way he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tight against him, the movement making her gasp her surprise. He growled—a deep, delicious sound, and his teeth nipped at her lower lip before he whispered, like darkness, “Take it then. Like you mean it.”

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Gleam widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: June 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Sarah MacLean

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

“Romance novelist Sarah MacLean has reignited the genre with a bolder edge.” – The New Yorker

New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

A columnist for The Washington Post, Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. Her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com’s Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “gracefully furious.” A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.


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What Are You Reading? (+ Historical Giveaway)

Posted June 15, 2018 by Holly in Features | 11 Comments

WAYR-New

Casee: I haven’t read a word since I finished Ocean Light a few days ago. I am so relieved that I finished that book. Which upsets me because it’s Nalini Singh. I’m heading back to the world of the Dark Protectors. I have Consumed by Rebecca Zanetti waiting for me. I can’t wait to start it.

Holly: I’m still finishing my Kate Daniels re-read. This week I read Magic Rises, Dabwaha, Curran Twitter (free), Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Shifts, Magic Stars, and I just started Iron and Magic. Magic Binds is up next.

I also read Hot Single Dad and Her Best Friend by Claire Kingsley (Free if you subscribe to her newsletter). Her Best Friend is a short story that follows Hot Single Dad and features the kids of the h/h. I really liked both stories. They were cute.

I’m going to start The Kiss Quotient today. Rowena has been raving about it.

Rowena: It’s been a great reading week for me and I’m still going strong so that makes me one happy camper. I’ve had too many suck reading weeks lately so this is a welcome change. I started the week off finishing up Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka. It was a cute story but ran a little on the slow side. It felt like I was waiting too long for something to happen but I’m glad that I finished it because it did end up being cute and I adored the love interest. After that, Holly and I were talking about single dads and looking for books featuring them and came across Hot Single Dad by Claire Kingsley so I read that. It was super cute so after I read that, I read Her Best Friend by Claire Kingsley, which was the kid from Hot Single Dad’s story and that was super cute too.

Right now, I’m reading The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and everything that I’ve read so far online has been true for me too. This book is awesome and I’m so looking forward to lunchtime so that I can finish it. I really want a Michael Phan. He’s so yummy. After this book, I’ll be jumping into a quick re-read of Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews for book club and then after that, I’ll be reading Ocean Light by Nalini Singh.

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Historical Giveaway)Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #1
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1)
Published by Avon
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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Goodreads

At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .

Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .

As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.

What Are You Reading: Beyond Scandal and Desire

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!


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Guest Review: How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne Lorret

Posted June 13, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne LorretReviewer: Tracy
How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne Lorret
Series: Misadventures in Matchmaking #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
three-stars

The Bourne Matrimonial Agency has one rule: Never fall in love with the client. A simple thing to remember...unless you’re a matchmaker with amnesia.

The Duke of Rydstrom needs a wife. Preferably one with a large fortune and a complete lack of curiosity. The last thing he needs is a meddling matchmaker determined to dig up his dark family secrets.

All Jacinda wants is to find a bride for a duke. How hard could that be? He’s handsome, enigmatic...and hiding something. She’s sure of it. Determined to discover what it is, she travels to his crumbling cliffside estate. Yet, by the time she washes up on his beach, she can no longer remember who she is or why the duke is so familiar to her. All she knows is that his kisses are unforgettable—and she intends to use every skill she can to discover what’s in his heart.

When Miss Bourne can’t remember what brought her to his ancestral home, Rydstrom intends to keep it that way. Yet as the days pass, his true challenge will be safeguarding his secret while resisting this woman who—confound it all—may well be his perfect match.

The Bourne Matrimonial Agency is where the Crispin Montague, the Duke of Rydstrom goes when he decides he needs a wife.  The agency is run by three sisters, Jacinda, Ainsley and Briar Bourne, along with their uncle.  The uncle is the figurehead for the agency as the girls do all the work, but of course that wouldn’t be proper so everyone thinks that the uncle runs it all.

Jacinda is incredibly devoted to finding matches for the subscribers of TBMA and when someone comes in looking for a match she wants all of the information she can get about them so that she can make a perfect match.  When the Duke of Rydstrom enters and states he wants a wife, the sisters are thrilled because finding this man a match will be a feather in their fledgling business’s cap. Unfortunately for Jacinda, the duke isn’t too forthcoming about himself.  This leads Jacinda to believe that she needs to do more digging.  She decides to dress as a maid in his home and investigate him, but she’s caught by the duke himself before she can find out too much.  She does get a clue about something going on in his family home, so she decides to head there.

The duke realizes that the secret he’s trying to keep may be discovered by the nosey Jacinda Bourne so he heads to his family seat to stop her. What he finds is Jacinda, washed up on shore near the village, with amnesia.  The doctor tells him that no one can tell her information about herself because then she might get false memories, so the duke is stuck taking care of Jacinda in his home and trying to keep her and his secret – his illegitimate sister – away from each other.

While Jacinda is in his home the duke sees another side of Jacinda – not just the nosy busy-body he thought her before.  He sees a bright, intelligent, kind woman who is definitely curious, but in a way he can accept.  Jacinda and Crispin actually become friends and their feelings start to grow deeper from there.  Crispin would love to have Jacinda as his wife but his estate is broke and he needs money in order to keep his home up and running and secure a future for his sister. How can he love one woman yet bring himself to marry another?

This was a cute story.  I like the premise of the book and many of the characters.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like Jacinda all that much.  Ok, I disliked her intensely.  She annoyed the hell out of me with her attitude from page one of the book.  She was constantly into things that didn’t concern her and snooping where she shouldn’t – then making excuses for it all.  She improved a tad bit when she had amnesia but she was still annoying even then.

Crispin was a great character as was his sister, Jacinda’s sisters and uncle, the servants and even the villagers.  I liked them all.  Unfortunately because I didn’t like Jacinda I couldn’t fully get into the romance because I wanted Crispin with someone else.

So, while I like the writing and writing style, as well as many of the characters and the premise, this book fell short for me because of the heroine.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Maulever Hall by Jane Aiken Hodge

Posted June 7, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Maulever Hall by Jane Aiken HodgeReviewer: Tracy
Maulever Hall by Jane Aiken Hodge
Published by Ipso Books
Publication Date: May 17, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 256
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

After a violent coach accident, Marianne wakes with no memory and no idea who she is or where she was going — a name on her brooch the single clue to her identity.

Accompanied only by a young boy, Marianne finds herself lost, afraid, and penniless. Convinced she’s being followed, she pleads for help at the nearest village and is offered refuge by a lonely widow at her grand country home, Maulever Hall.

Marianne settles into life at the Hall, finding fast companionship with Mrs Mauleverer. The days pass and no hint of memory returns, but Marianne’s need for answers is growing urgent. An unexpected visit from Mrs Mauleverer’s aloof son, Mark and his soon-to-be-betrothed, Lady Heverdon has thrown life at the Hall into disarray. They suspect Marianne has come into their lives under false pretences. But the longer she spends with Lady Heverdon, the more Marianne becomes convinced the opposite may be true.

As tensions within the family rise, and Marianne finds herself growing closer to Mark, she begins to wonder whether her arrival at Maulever Hall may have more to do with fate than chance.

Marianne has amnesia.  She woke up riding in a mail coach and was told by the other passengers that there had been an accident.  Not only does she not remember the accident, she doesn’t remember who she is or who the little boy is who is next to her.  The brooch on her dress says “Marianne” so she assumes that’s her name.  She had originally instructed the coachman to leave her and the boy (who the passengers say is named Thomas) off at a crossroads where they don’t normally stop.  When they are let out, she has no idea why she’s there or if anyone was to meet her.  She walks miles before coming to a small village. She decides to head to the vicarage, hoping that the vicar will take her and the boy in as it’s pouring rain.  The vicar is anything but welcoming and is affronted that she has the gall to ask for help. (How did this guy become a priest?) Luckily for Marianne there is a woman visiting the vicar who is far nicer and states she’ll take her and the boy in.  Marianne and Thomas settle in to Maulever Hall and Marianne becomes a sort of companion to Mrs. Mauleverer, the woman who took her in.  Marianne still has no clue who she is and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t remember.  Determined to discover who she is, Marianne combs the countryside for clues but only finds a new friend in an older woman.

Mrs. Mauleverer’s son, Mark, shows up with a woman who was married to his cousin.  The cousin and her step-son have just died and she’s trying to find her way.  Mark seems smitten with Lady Heverdon and not so much with Marianne.  He doesn’t treat Marianne all that well and is suspicious of the reasons she’s there.

While I found the blurb of this book incredibly intriguing, unfortunately I didn’t find the story to be all that good.  There are large portions of the book where nothing much happens and the story dragged.   Marianne was not my type of heroine.  She made unwise decisions over and over but the author tried to make her seem like she was the key that held everything together. I didn’t see that – I found her incredibly gullible and easily swayed to the point of view of whoever she was talking to.  It was a bit frustrating, I must say.  She did have her own thoughts at times, but I found those to be few and far between.

Mark is the “hero” of the story but he was an ass.  He treated Marianne like dirt but then suddenly they were professing their undying love for each other. What?  There was no romance, no build up, nothing – just sudden undying love.  Made me crazy.

When Marianne finally gets clues to who she is does she trust the man she just professed her love to?  No!  She run,s and then it’s almost like a whole other small book was inserted in – I just didn’t like it.  Then there’s the boy who she pretty much fobbed off on one of the Maulever Hall maids.  Thomas is hardly mentioned at all and until later in the book couldn’t quite figure out why he was included at all since Marianne had nothing to do with him.

In the end I found I didn’t care for the book all that much and can’t say I recommend it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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