Genre: Sagas

Review: Highland Groom by Hannah Howell

Posted September 4, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Highland Groom by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
Highland Groom by Hannah Howell
Series: Murray Family #8, McEnroy Family #2
Published by Open Road Media
Publication Date: April 29th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, Scottish, Sagas, General
Pages: 276
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three-half-stars

Sir Diarmot MacEnroy, deciding his illegitimate children need a mother and his keep needs a proper lady, now stands before the altar with a gentle bride he hopes is too shy to disrupt his life or break his heart. The nuptials, however, are interrupted by the appearance of a flame-haired beauty carrying two babies, boldly claiming that she is his wife and mother of his twin infant sons. Armed with her seven large brothers, she has come to demand her dues. Having waited one year for the return of the handsome laird who wed her, bedded her, then disappeared, Ilsa Campbell MacEnroy takes matters into her own hands and sets out to reclaim the man she briefly and passionately loved. Stunned by his denial, her heart softens when she learns of the injury that has ravaged his memory. Now she faces the nearly impossible task of conquering his past—and his fierce reluctance to share his heart. Though desire flares hot and wild between them, it will take more to win his trust. It will take the magic touch of a woman in love.

Howell follows pretty much the same formula for all her novels: tiny heroine with big personality falls for giant hero who is mistrustful because of a past girlfriend/mistress/wife who screwed him over. She decides to fight for his love by being herself and he falls for her in spite of his vow to hate all women, but must hilarity/angst is had first. This one deviates in that the heroine has 14 large brothers and the hero has 6 bastard children he sort of-kind of forgot to mention to the heroine.

Ilsa thought she’d found the man of her dreams in the dashing Dairmot. He isn’t intimidated by her many brothers, professes to care for her and is quick to handfast with her when they’re discovered trysting. He says he has matters to take care of at home and will collect her shortly, then never returns. She’s devastated, but does her best to hide it. Until she turns up pregnant. When Dairmot still hasn’t shown up almost a year later, when the terms of the handfast are about to be annulled, her brothers force her to set out to find him. The last thing she expected was to find him kneeling before the alter with another woman.

Knowing she doesn’t have a choice about her future since she has twin sons with the man, she resigns herself to marriage to the man she gave her heart to. The one, it turns out, she knew not at all.

Dairmot was attacked almost a year ago and lost his memory. When a tiny redhead with 7 hulking brothers interrupts his wedding, he’s skeptical about their claims. He wants to deny them outright, but he can’t since they have papers saying he did, indeed, handfast with Ilsa. But their timeline puts them in the right frame to have had him attacked, so he vows to beware them all. Until his memory returns or he learns who his enemies are, he’s determined to keep Ilsa and her babies at arms length.

Dairmot was a complete ass, which isn’t new for Howell either. I didn’t mind so much, though, because I read her books for the heroines. Ilsa was  pretty awesome. She took a lot of crap from Dairmot, but she had her limits.  She had a redheaded temper, which made for some fun reading (especially when she punched him and knocked him on his butt). Her brothers are hilarious and added a lot of comic relief.

“So, ye decided upon a handfasting.”

“Aye. Got the lovers to tidy themselves up and took them off to the alehouse to find our cousin Liam. Set the groom in a barrel and had my brother Gilbert there,” he nodded toward a very sturdily built young man with flame red hair and blue eyes, “to sit on it whilst we discussed the matter with Liam.”

Diarmot slouched in his chair and drank his ale, wondering if it was possible for this tale to be any more humiliating.

The mystery plot isn’t anything too exciting. The kids were adorable, though, as were Ilsa’s brothers and cousins. They added so much color to the story.

While much of the story is predictable, I was still entertained. There are some truly hilarious scenes and Ilsa is awesome.

3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Reviews: If He’s Sinful and If He’s Wild by Hannah Howell

Posted August 2, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Reviews: If He’s Sinful and If He’s Wild by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
If He's Sinful by Hannah Howell
Series: Wherlocke #1
Published by Zebra Books
Publication Date: December 1st 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, Regency, Sagas, General
Pages: 352
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four-stars

Secrecy and intrigue ignite dangerous passions in New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell's seductive new novel. . .
It is whispered throughout London that the members of the Wherlocke family are possessed of certain unexplainable gifts. But Lord Ashton Radmoor is skeptical--until he finds an innocent beauty lying drugged and helpless in the bedroom of a brothel.
The mystery woman is Penelope Wherlocke, and her special gift of sight is leading her deep into a dangerous world of treachery and betrayal. Ashton knows he should forget her, yet he's drawn deeper into the vortex of her life, determined to keep her safe. But Penelope is no ordinary woman, and she's never met the man strong enough to contend with her unusual abilities.
Until now. . .
Praise for the Novels of Hannah Howell
"Howell offers readers another captivating tale."--Booklist
"Another wonderful story filled with adventure, emotion, and laughter." --Romantic Times

I have reviews up at The Good, The Bad and The Unread for the second two books in Hannah Howell‘s Wherlocke series.

If He’s Sinful (Wherlocke Family, Book 2) by Hannah Howell

I’m really glad to see Howell moving away from her Murray series and into new territory. Though I am concerned that she’s planning to exchange one large, eccentric family for another.
I enjoyed this for the most part. I was annoyed that the characters seemed to act so slowly, for it’s obvious early on who the villain is. Even so, I understood their reasons – they couldn’t act without proof. It just seemed it took them a rather long time to realize they needed to get it.

 

4 out of 5

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

(Wherlocke Family, Book 3) by Hannah Howell

It’s no secret that I’m a total Hannah Howell fangirl. I own every book she’s ever written – and multiple copies of my favorites. I stopped reading the Murray series awhile back because I felt it was becoming very repetitive, but that hasn’t stopped me from buying them.
Because she’s become kind of repetitive, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this new series. I read the second book, If He’s Sinful, and enjoyed it, but the slow pacing bothered me. The first in the series, If He’s Wicked, I can’t seem to recall right now (I think I read it, but the details are hazy). I’m thinking I’ll go back and re-read it now, however. The pacing issues of the second book were cleared up in this one, and I really enjoyed the overall story and the characters.

 

4.25 out of 5

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

four-stars

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Lightning Reviews: The Chesapeake Bay Series by Nora Roberts: Rising Tides, Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Blue

Posted November 19, 2007 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Lightning Reviews: The Chesapeake Bay Series by Nora Roberts: Rising Tides, Inner Harbor and Chesapeake BlueReviewer: Holly
Rising Tides by Nora Roberts
Series: Chesapeake Bay #2
Also in this series: Sea Swept
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 1998
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 339
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four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts presents the second novel in the dramatic trilogy of three men who return home to honor their father's last wish—to care for Seth, a troubled boy in need of a family. Coming home has taught the brothers more than they ever dreamed about the meaning of family and responsibility. Now it is time to learn the meaning of acceptance and love...
Of the three brothers, it was Ethan who shared his father's passion for the Maryland shore. And now with his father gone, Ethan is determined to make the family boatbuilding business a success. But amidst his acheivements lie the most important challenges of his life...
There is young Seth, who needs him more than ever. And a woman he has always loved but never believed he could have. But beneath Ethan's seemingly still waters is a dark and painful past. He must learn to see around the shadows to accept who he is. Because through Ethan's past lies the future—and his one chance at happiness...

I read three books this weekend! THREE! I used to read sometimes upwards of 9 books in a single weekend, but lately that number has dropped to one..or even none depending on what I’ve got going on, so reading three is a huge accomplishment for me.

See my review of the first book in this series, Sea Swept, here.

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blockquote>Rising Tides

Of the four brothers, I think Ethan is my favorite. Calm, cool and collected, but with a well of deep feelings hidden underneath his calm surface, Ethan was a joy to read about. We met his heroine, Grace, in Sea Swept and I was really happy that they ended up together. I really like Grace and her daughter Aubrey and I liked her attitude towards her relationship with Ethan. Though Ethan is slow to act in anything he does, he doesn’t think he’s good enough for Grace because of his background and because he sees her as delicate. Of course we all see that Grace is anything but delicate. Stubborn? yes. Prideful? yes. A hard worker? Yes. But delicate? Not even close.

Once again we’re shown the amazing relationship between the three older brothers and their newest charge, Seth. And once again this was my favorite aspect of the book. I love seeing the family dynamics and adding Anna (Cam’s new bride) into the mix was fabulous. We also saw glimpses of Grace’s painful relationship with her father and the toll that relationship takes on her mother. I truly enjoyed both aspects.

A fabulous read. In Sea Swept, I enjoyed the family dynamics more than the romance, but in this novel it was a pretty even split. Even if I did want to smack Ethan a time or two for acting like a dumbass.

4.5 out of 5

Lightning Reviews: The Chesapeake Bay Series by Nora Roberts: Rising Tides, Inner Harbor and Chesapeake BlueReviewer: Holly
Inner Harbor by Nora Roberts
Series: Chesapeake Bay #3
Also in this series: Sea Swept
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: January 1st 1999
Genres: Fiction, Sagas, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 342
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four-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts presents the final novel in the captivating trilogy of three brothers who have come together in a time of need. They honored their father's wish to raise young Seth as their own. And with all of the brothers home again, the Quinn family has never been so strong. But in the months to come, their strength is testedonce again...
Phillip Quinn had done everything to make his life seem perfect. With his career on the fast track and a condo overlooking the Inner Harbor, his life on the street was firmly in the past. But one look at Seth and he's reminded of the boy he once was...
Phillip has intended to fulfill his father's dying request and considered Seth to be a duty. He never expected he would grow to love Seth, and soon his promise to his father became more than just obligation.
Seth's future as a Quinn seems assureduntil a stranger arrives in town. She claims to be researching St. Christopher's for her new book, but the true objects of study are the Quinns. Her cool reserve intrigues Phillip. He is determined to uncover her motives, but she is holding a secret that has the power to threaten the life the brothers have made for Seth. A secret that could tear the family apart... forever...

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blockquote>Inner Harbor

Of the three older brothers, Phillip was the one I was least interested in. A metro-type who was into fine wine and good suits, he just didn’t suit me as much as the quiet Ethan and bad-boy Cam did. But my opinion of him changed, especially after reading what trials he went through as a child before the Quinn’s took him in and saved his life. Having said that, however, this is still my least favorite of the four books.

I think my biggest issue was Sybill. I truly enjoyed that all four heroines were different, but Sybill just wasn’t my type of girl. I did like that she eventually grew a backbone, but I couldn’t forgive her for not trying to do more to help Seth when he was a baby. Even if she didn’t realize the full extend of her sister’s mental and physical abuse to her young son, she did know he was unhappy, had terrible nightmares and didn’t act like the average 4-year-old normally would. That she didn’t do what she could to find them after they ran from her apartment in NY frustrated me. Even understanding her reasons didn’t help, because she continued to ignore what was right under her nose. That annoys me.

Phillip himself was a good hero, and seeing him battle some of his own demons was lovely, but this is still the least favorite of the series for me.

3.5 out of 5

Lightning Reviews: The Chesapeake Bay Series by Nora Roberts: Rising Tides, Inner Harbor and Chesapeake BlueReviewer: Holly
Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts
Series: Chesapeake Bay #4
Also in this series: Sea Swept
Published by Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: January 27th 2004
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General
Pages: 368
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four-stars

Welcome to Nora Roberts’ captivating saga about the lives and loves of four brothers on the windswept shores of the Chesapeake Bay…
Chesapeake Blue is the fourth novel in a stunning quartet about four men bound by the love of the extraordinary couple who took them in and raised them as brothers. Now, Seth Quinn is finally home…

It’s been a long journey. After a harrowing boyhood with his drug-addicted mother, Seth had been taken in by the Quinn family, growing up with three older brothers who’d watched over him with love.
Now a grown man returning from Europe as a successful painter, Seth is settling down on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, surrounded once again by Cam, Ethan, and Phil, their wives and children, and all the blessed chaos of the extended Quinn clan. Finally, he’s back in the little blue-and-white house where there’s always a boat at the dock, a rocker on the porch, and a dog in the yard.
Still, a lot has changed in St. Christopher’s since he’s been gone—and the most intriguing change of all is the presence of Dru Whitcomb Banks. A city girl who has opened a florist shop in this seaside town, she craves independence and the challenge of establishing herself without the influence of her wealthy connections. In Seth, she sees another kind of challenge—a challenge that she can’t resist.

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blockquote>Chesapeake Blue

After reading the first 3 books in this series, I was anxious to start this one. Watching Seth grow from a scared, abused child into a strong, confident man was wonderful. Once again the relationship between he and his brothers stood out more than his relationship with his heroine, but both were extremely satisfying to read about.

I really liked Dru and felt she was just what Seth needed. Someone who was a bit insecure and yet strong..and only stronger as the story went on. She and Seth complimented each other and worked well for me.

I was very disappointed in the way Seth dealt with his mother in the beginning. Though I understood his need to keep his family (The Quinn’s) safe, I still felt he should have learned from his big brothers and stood up to his mother, rather than feeding her need for hate. But in the end he stood up and did what was right, and I felt it was a satisfying close to the series.

His relationship with Aubrey was hilarious and knowing he could handle whatever life threw at him as long as he had his family’s support was…awesome. I truly enjoyed it.

4.0 out of 5

Overall a wonderful series and something I’d highly recommend. I cried at least once during each novel, and I felt emotionally invested in all the characters and their lives. Do yourselves a favor and pick these up to read over the holiday.

four-half-stars

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