Tag: Cathy Maxwell

Guest Review: The Fairest of Them All by Cathy Maxwell

Posted May 27, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Fairest of Them All by Cathy MaxwellReviewer: Tracy
The Fairest of Them All by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Marrying the Duke #2
Published by HarperCollins, Avon Romance
Publication Date: May 31st 2016
Genres: Romance, Historical
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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three-half-stars

The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs. All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!

Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .

The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs. All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!

Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .

Charlene is an orphan who lives with her aunt Sarah.  Sarah is an actress and takes as many jobs as possible to make ends meet.  Charlene’s uncle (not related to Sarah) had been paying Charlene’s expenses until a few months prior and then all money just stopped coming.  One of Charlene’s good friends (her deceased mother’s godmother) taught her how to pick pockets and Charlene had been doing that and telling Sarah that the money had come from her uncle.  On one of the days she is out picking pockets she decides on a gentleman to rob but doesn’t plan on his friend chasing her when he sees she’s escaping.

Charlene gets away from her pursuer but not before they get a good look at each other.  Though Charlene is dressed as a boy the man, Jack Whitridge, sees that she is a woman and from that point on cannot get her out of his head.

Charlene, though penniless, has impeccable bloodlines and her aunt arranges for her to attend a ball where she can meet the Duke of Baynton who is looking for a wife.  She doesn’t believe anything will come of it but she attends anyway and the duke is completely taken with her.  Unfortunately, the ball is interrupted when the duke’s long lost brother, Jack, shows up.  Charlene manages to hide from him but soon he discovers that his twin is courting her.

Jack left England when he was press-ganged into service.  He managed to leave the ship eventually and landed in America where he has lived and worked since that time.  He’s now a lawyer and is back in England to try to talk to the powers-that-be to try to stop a war between England and America (which would eventually become the War of 1812) but no one wants to talk.  No one takes the American’s seriously and they even look at Jack as a bit of a turncoat as it seems he’s turning his back on England by defending America. Jack knows that he must do his best for his adopted country but his duties don’t stop him from confronting Charlene and then falling for her.  Despite how much he likes her, however, he can’t take her from his twin – or can he?

This was a sweet story that was a bit different.  At first I wasn’t sure who I wanted to win Charlene – Jack or his twin, Gavin the duke. I liked them both at first but Gavin proved to be a stick in the mud, which I didn’t really care fore.  Also, once he found out about Charlene and Jack he did some pretty rotten things to his twin and I really didn’t like that.

Charlene was a great heroine.  She was very responsible and though she went about finding fund for their household the wrong way I had to admire her for trying.  She really did want to make her family happy and if that meant marrying the duke then she would do it.  Unfortunately, she had had met Jack before the duke and had already started liking him and that put the big kibosh on any feelings she might have had for Gavin in the future.

I very much liked Jack’s character.  He was trying to do the right thing for his adopted country and though I could see how he was troubled by people thinking of him as a traitor I was happy that he stood his ground and continued on his original goal.  He was a good man and I liked that he stood up for what he believed in.

I have to say that I would have liked to have seen more of a romance between Charlene and Jack.  It seemed like there was infatuation and that it was starting to turn into more and then boom!  They were in love and nothing could tear them apart.  I was more than a bit surprised by the progression of the relationship as it just didn’t seem like the pair had spent enough time in each others company to feel the way they did.  IDK, maybe it’s just me, but I really needed more in the build-up between the two of them.

The story overall is romantic and a good read but was lacking a bit in that relationship build-up that I needed.  Even though Gavin was a bit of an ass in this story I’m curious to see what happens with this conservative fuddy-duddy when it’s time for his romance.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

Review: The Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwell

Posted May 9, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Rowena’s review of The Bride Says No (Brides of Wishmore #1) by Cathy Maxwell.

Lady Aileen never thought she’d be in this position—falling in love with her sister’s betrothed! Of course, her sister did run away rather than marry him, and he doesn’t seem to be all that interested in her sister either, but even so, such a match is impossible…isn’t it?

Aileen is certain she must turn away from the man she loves in order to protect her sister’s reputation. However, he’s not one to give up without a fight, and now that he’s met a woman he wants to marry, nothing on earth could convince him to let Aileen go.

This is the first book in the Brides of Wishmore series by Cathy Maxwell.  I’ve enjoyed Maxwell’s books in the past so I was pretty stoked to get this book for review.

The story starts off with Lady Aileen leaving home to get married.  She’s naive in the way that she is adamant that her life is going to be full of hearts and roses, and love.  She’s going to have a fairy tale ending and when that doesn’t seem to be the case, she comes back home as a divorced woman.  She left behind her younger sister, Lady Tara who grows up to be quite the beauty.

Now that’s back at home, she’s got time to reflect on her life and she’s a whole lot of regretful for a lot of things.  One of those regrets is becoming a virtual stranger to her sister.  Now, her sister is engaged to be married to the bastard son of a Duke and she wasn’t invited to the wedding.  While she’s trying to come to terms with her new life (the scandal of being a divorced woman), her sister returns home dressed as a boy with no intention of marrying her fiance.

The fiance’ shows up and things really pick up.

There was a lot going on in this book and thought it was an enjoyable story but there were some things that disappointed me.  One of my main gripes was that there was far too much page time dedicated to Aileen’s sister, Tara.  She was not a likable person and the more page time she got, the more I wanted to punch her freaking throat in.  I wasn’t a fan of hers at all, so much so that I’m not sure I can pick up the next book, considering it’s her story.  I felt like Aileen and Blake’s story (which this story was supposed to be) took a back seat (in the third row of the SUV, back seat) to freaking Tara.

Their story was an interesting one though.  Aileen left home once before, with thoughts of rainbows and butterflies and instead got a mean husband who put his hands on her.  After escaping his clutches, she now has to live with the fact that she’ll probably never marry again with the scandal from her divorce on the tongue of everyone in town.  But none of that matters because she’s free.  She’s free from the abuse and when Blake comes storming into her life, he brings on a whole new set of drama into her life.  He’s engaged to her sister.  But the heart wants what it wants and hers wants Blake.

What I liked about this book was that the romance between Blake and Aileen wasn’t this drawn out affair.  It happens and it blossoms into something so completely out of what either of them were expecting and I ate that part up.  I just wished we got more for them.  A part of me feels a bit cheated from all the page time that Tara got.

Overall, the set up for this series was pretty solid.  Despite the things that I wasn’t too much a fan of, the story itself was still good.  Though, I’m up in the air about reading the next book, I’m not mad that I read this one.

Grade: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Fire.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwell

Posted January 23, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Lady Aileen never thought she’d be in this position—falling in love with her sister’s betrothed! Of course, her sister did run away rather than marry him, and he doesn’t seem to be all that interested in her sister either, but even so, such a match is impossible…isn’t it?

Aileen is certain she must turn away from the man she loves in order to protect her sister’s reputation. However, he’s not one to give up without a fight, and now that he’s met a woman he wants to marry, nothing on earth could convince him to let Aileen go.
 
Lady Tara fell in love with the Horse Master when she was younger. She left him, however, to go to London to see the greater world and have a season, leaving her love, Ruary, devastated. Now it’s 3 years later and Tara is engaged to marry the bastard son of a duke. She decides 3 days before the wedding that it’s really Ruary she wants and escapes London to head to her hometown in Scotland. Unfortunately things don’t work out like she planned. She gets home only to find Ruary engaged to another woman but she feels sure that he will choose her over the other woman. Then there’s her fiance, Blake Stephens, who follows her to Scotland along with her father. The father insists on the marriage taking place but Tara just wants Ruary.

Her sister, Aileen, is a divorced woman who lives at home. She’s happy she’s divorced as her husband was a angry man and beat her regularly. When Tara shows up at home she’s upset but determined to force their father to to let Tara be and get her out of the marriage contract. Unfortunately Tara changes her mind suddenly and now the wedding’s on again. Another unfortunate is Blake and Aileen falling in love and Tara not willing to let Blake off the hook. Yowza.

I’ve only read a few of Maxwell’s books but I’ve liked what I’ve read so far. This one was on par with the others but I did have some issues with it.

First what I liked: I really liked the characters. They were well written and I enjoyed reading about almost all of them. The story about Ruary and his fiance, Jane Sawyer was a good addition to the overall story and I very much liked that portion of the book.

What I didn’t like: Tara I really didn’t like. The next book is hers and I’m not sure that I liked her enough by the end of this book to read her story. I also didn’t really care for the romance between Aileen and Blake. While it was great that they fell in love it almost took a back seat to everything that was going on with Ruary and Tara. I didn’t feel like we got enough of their falling in love to feel the true emotion of their predicament. This felt more like Tara’s book than Aileen’s.

Despite my issues with the book I thought it was a good read overall. I’ll have to see how about Tara when it comes time for her romance.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Cathy Maxwell

What I Read Last Week

Posted January 14, 2014 by Tracy in Features | 2 Comments

Hey there!  Hope your week started off well.  

Nothing much happened this past week except a lot of reading so I’ll get right to the books I read:

First I read The Experts Guide to Driving a Man Wild by Jessica Clare.  The story focuses on Grant and Brenna who have worked together for years and constantly bicker.  When Grants family comes to visit and his mother starts harping him about dating Brenna steps in and pretends to be his girlfriend.  Relationship ensues.  A great story about opposites attracting and trusting in the one you love.  Good story.  You can read my review here.  4 out of 5

Next up was Forged in Steele by Maya Banks.  This is book 7 in the KGI series and focused on Steele who works for KGI and his falling for a doctor named Maren.  They hook up but she’s then kidnapped and Steele has to find her and then never let her go.  It was a decent book but I didn’t think there was enough background on the love story.  We were brought in when he already had feelings for her – which was good and bad.  3.75 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

My next read was a paranormal story called Scared of Spiders by Eve Langlais.  It’s about a woman who has nightmares about spiders and hates them with a passion.  She goes to work for werewolves who find that she’s their mate.  Unfortunately there really is a giant spider after her and he’s psycho.  This wasn’t a bad story – just pretty predictable.  3 out of 5

After the Storm by Maya Banks is book 8 in the KGI series and this one, while parts were really good the romance was rushed completely.  Donovan fell in love in 2 days and became a bit of an overbearing jerk.  If the romance had been drawn out more this could have really been a great book.  You can read my review here. 3 out of 5

Simple Perfection by Abbi Glines.  This book has Woods’ father dying and him inheriting all.  He turns into a complete jerk who was on overly possessive ass with Della.  I couldn’t read that much before I just had to stop. DNF

Hope Flames by Jaci Burton was my next read.  The story is about Emma who is a vet and opens a veterinary clinic in her hometown.  She has no plans on dating anyone after her past with a controlling idiot until Luke McCormack, hot and sexy cop, comes into the clinic with his dog Boomer.  The story was sweet and fun and I really liked this one.  4 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is a YA book that I read about on Leslie’s blog and had to read.  The story follow Echo who is senior in high school who is dealing with a memory loss.  Her mother tried to kill her but she’s blocked out that entire day and the docs think that her mind needs to remember on its own so no one will tell her what happened exactly.  She meets Noah who is a foster kid and they strike up a friendship and then so much more.  This was a really great book. The emotion in this one was wonderful and I couldn’t wait to read the next book.  I did think that things were wrapped up a tad bit too pat with her father at the end but it still all worked for me.  4.5 out of 5

Crossing the Line by Katie McGarry is a novella in the above series.  Lila was Echo’s best friend in the previous book and has been writing letters to Lincoln, a guy she met only once in her life. When she finds out he lied to her she’s ready to call it quits until he shows up on her doorstep.  Good story.  Pretty short but still emotionally charged. 3.75 out of 5

Last for the week was The Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwell.  Tara is to marry in London but decides that the love she left behind in her hometown in Scotland is the man she really wants.  She escapes London 3 days before her out of his marriage contract?  This was a decent read that I had some issues with.  I post my review later this month.  3.5 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
crickets

Happy Reading!



Review: The Devil’s Heart by Cathy Maxwell

Posted April 26, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

They call her the Unattainable. Lady Margaret Chattan spurned every suitor for her hand, vowing never to marry. The only way to break the curse plaguing her family for two centuries is this ultimate sacrifice. But now her brothers’ lives are in danger. Determined to save them, she risks her very soul by traveling into the heart of the highlands to battle a force that has transcended time.

Heath Macnachtan is not superstitious. Laird of the most independent, nonconforming, madly infuriating clan ever to grace Scotland, he believes he has his hands full. And then, a woman lauded as one of the most beautiful in England, arrives on his doorstep with wild accusations and a mystical quest . . . one that just might help him discover who murdered his own brother.

But the real danger for Heath and Margaret is not a supernatural foe, but a very real love that could destroy them both.

Margaret Chattan is on her way to Scotland to deal with her family’s curse. You see long ago the Chattan family was curse by a member of the Macnachtan family to die whenever they fall in love. Margaret is the first female born into the Chattan family since that curse was voiced and both her and her brother are convinced that she’s the one who can stop the curse.

When Margaret is almost to her destination her carriage is knocked off the road during a storm and almost everyone in her party is killed. Laird Macnachtan happens to find her and takes her back to his home. From the moment that Margaret wakes up Heath Macnachtan wants Margaret to himself. He thinks she’s a bit barmy to think that there actually is a curse but he hasn’t experienced the deaths like she has and her two brothers are failing fast.

Margaret does everything she can think of to find out the details of the curse and exactly how she can break it and Heath is right there with her every step of the way.

In the meantime Heath is dealing with his own issues as his brother died a year before, left him Laird and also left him with a pile of debts. Nothing due to crazy spending, but debts due to regular every day living. Heath worries about the lack of money and also about who killed his brother in the first place.

There’s a lot going on in the story but the romance runs through it pretty clearly. Heath is attached to Margaret from the get go and though he thinks she’s a bit off that doesn’t stop him from wanting her around.

The paranormal part of this story includes a cat that only a couple people have seen that seems to lead Margaret where she needs to go, crazy storms that come out of nowhere and apparitions. While I liked the idea of the curse the actual manifestation of it coming to life wasn’t particularly to my liking.(FYI – I didn’t read the first 2 books in this series so this was my first experience with the Chattan curse.) I thought it went a bit too far and I would have liked it better had it been toned down a bit, but that’s just me, of course.

Overall it was a nice love story and a decent read. I like what I’ve read from Maxwell so far but I think I’ll stick to her non-paranormal historical books in the future.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Cathy Maxwell