Tag: Historical

Review: The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Posted November 19, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia QuinnReviewer: Rowena
The Other Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys, #3) by Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys Series #3
Also in this series: The Girl with the Make Believe Husband
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: November 20, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She was in the wrong place...

Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers' hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain's bed…

He found her at the wrong time...

Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he's stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real—and his duty to the Crown means he's stuck with her.

Can two wrongs make the most perfect right?

When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal—though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew's secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart…?

The Other Miss Bridgerton is the third book in Julia Quinn’s Rokesbys series and we’re finally getting Andrew Rokesbys story. I’ve wanted Andrew’s story since George and Billie’s book and when I found out that we were finally getting it, I was thrilled. I couldn’t request this book fast enough.

So Andrew is the Rokesby brother that has been missing from the other books. He was in the navy but now? Nobody really knows what Andrew does and where Andrew is. Well, he’s the captain of a bunch of ships that delivers goods all over the world and he also happens to be a delivery boy for the government, only nobody knows about that part of his job. If he happens to stash some of his goods in a cave, that’s his business and nobody else’s so when Poppy Bridgerton, Billie Bridgerton’s cousin, happens upon his cave of nobody’s business and goes searching for treasures, Andrew has no choice but to abduct her for the trip that he’s going on and lock her in his cabin until he can figure out what to do with her.

Poppy is visiting her best friend Elizabeth for a spell and while out on her daily walks, comes across a cave of treasure so she investigates and gets caught up in some business that is not hers and has no choice but to let herself be kidnapped or…something else that she doesn’t want to think about. The captain assures her that they’ll only be gone for two weeks so she has to think quickly and make sure that Elizabeth doesn’t come searching for her or she’ll be ruined.

A huge bulk of the book takes place while Poppy and Andrew are out at sea, making their way to Portugal so that Andrew can conduct his business. They slowly but surely fall in love with each other while they spend their hours getting to know each other. Sure, they didn’t plan on things turning out the way that they did but I thought they made the best of the situation before them. I really enjoyed their conversations and seeing them grow closer with each passing day. They were both great characters on their own but I enjoyed their scenes together.

The pacing of the story was a bit on the slow side in the beginning (or actually while they were on the high seas) and then super rushed in the end. I thought it felt like they were out to sea for forever and their relationship progressed super slow and then toward the end of the book, the pacing picked up so quickly that their reunion was a bit of a letdown…not that it was a complete letdown because I enjoyed seeing them come together but I wished there was more time when they returned to England to really come together. I thought that Poppy didn’t spend nearly as much time being pissed off at Andrew like she should have been but in the end, I still enjoyed the heck out of the two of them together that I couldn’t stay mad about that.

Julia Quinn is a pro at writing lighthearted historical romances that has you laughing and sighing at the same time and The Other Miss Bridgerton is proof of that. I laughed and I sighed and I just had a great time with this one so I’m a happy camper.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

The Rokesbys

four-stars


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Review: Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks

Posted November 1, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Never Love a Highlander by Maya BanksReviewer: Rowena
Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3) by Maya Banks
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: McCabe Trilogy #3
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass, In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1), Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy, #2)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 305
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In a tale of strong ties and true love, Maya Banks' trilogy comes to its conclusion, as the youngest McCabe brother uses sword and seduction to save his clan - and seal his heart.

Caelen McCabe’s young, reckless heart nearly destroyed his clan. Now, putting family loyalty above all else, he steps up to marry his older brother’s jilted bride and salvage the uneasy alliance between two clans. While beautiful Rionna McDonald is a fit wife for any man, Caelen trusts no woman, especially not this sweet temptress who torments him with white-hot longing.

As the sacrificial lamb in her father’s power game, Rionna will do her duty but vows to protect her heart and her pride from humiliation. Despite everything, though, the heat in Caelen’s touch melts her defenses, and she craves the sensual delights of a husband who guards his emotions as fiercely as his clan. But when the ultimate battle for the McCabe legacy is upon them, Rionna’s true warrior spirit emerges. She will risk the wrath of her father, the fury of her enemies, and her life to prove to Caelen that his wife’s love is too precious to lose.

Never Love a Highlander is the series finale and boy oh boy, what a finale it was. This book wasn’t as angsty as Seduction of a Highland Lass but it was just as good. I was telling Holly while I was reading this book that Maya Banks did such a great job with this series. This entire series was well written and reading each book just added to my overall enjoyment of these stories. Each story was different and refreshing but one thing that didn’t change through each book was how grumpy Caelen was.

Rionna McDonald has been engaged to all three of the McCabe brothers but it is the youngest of the McCabe’s, Caelen that she will finally marry and his attitude leaves much to be desired. He’s bossy, he’s grumpy and she can’t at all picture a happy future with him. Not that she has much of a choice. With her blessing, Caelen takes over as Laird immediately after they wed and not after their first child is born as originally agreed upon. As you can imagine, Rionna’s father was not happy with that but Caelen doesn’t give a damn and honestly, neither does Rionna. Rionna has grown up knowing that her father was a bad Laird and an even worse father so she can only hope that Caelen is a better Laird and will turn things around for her clan.

When they get back home to the McDonald keep, there is much to be done. Caelen has to earn the respect and loyalty of the McDonald men and Rionna has ideas of how to go about that but Caelen, being the hardheaded asshole that we’ve known throughout this entire series doesn’t listen to her. He’s gotta do it his own way and seeing him work through every defense that the men throw his way went a long way to winning me over to him.

Rionna was such a fantastic heroine. I warmed all the way up toward her character in the last book when we find out how she looked after Keeley and her reasons for her silence on the matter. The amount of love Rionna had for Keeley warmed my heart and seeing her front and center in her own book only served to show me how much more I would come to love her.

The romance between Caelen and Rionna had moments where I was frustrated with how dense Caelen seemed to be about Rionna’s feelings and then he’d explain himself and I couldn’t help but see where he’s coming from. There was a lot of back and forth between them but I was wrapped up in all of their drama. I loved every minute of it.

The entire last half of the book had me shook. From the lengths that Rionna goes to save Caelen, doing what she had to do to make sure that he stayed alive hit me right in my feels and that ending battle? Seeing all of the McCabe brothers fighting side by side to bring the bad guys down? I had pictures of Jon Snow going into battle and coming out victorious running through my head while all of that was going down. I loved it all and when I finished the book, I was a little sad to be done with all of the books. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the McCabes and McDonalds and the way that Banks wrapped up everyone’s stories was so satisfying that she cemented herself on my auto-buy list. This book was good dammit. Go and read this series if you haven’t yet. You won’t be sorry.

4.5 out of 5

McCabe Trilogy

four-half-stars


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Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks

Posted October 31, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya BanksReviewer: Rowena
Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy, #2) by Maya Banks
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: McCabe Trilogy #2
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass, In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1), Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3)
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 323
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: 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?

Seduction of a Highland Lass is the second book in the McCabe Trilogy by Maya Banks and holy cow, what a freaking romance! There were times when I wanted to punch both Ewan and Caelen in the junk in the beginning of this book but by the end, I was back to loving them so all is well in the McCabe world.

In my opinion, this was a well-written romance. There was a good balance of romance, suspense and a cast of characters that I couldn’t get enough of. I spent a good chunk of this book trying to figure out how Alaric and Keeley were going to end up together. The way that Maya Banks brought them together was magic. I was wrapped up from beginning to end, ask Holly, she has the text messages to prove it.

Alaric McCabe is the middle McCabe brother and when his older brother Ewan married Mairin Stuart, the pending alliance between their clan and the McDonald clan gets thrown in the air so in an effort to keep the peace and bring the alliance together, Alaric steps up to do his duty for his clan. He is to marry Rionna McDonald and align their clans. Alaric will take over as Laird of the McDonald’s after the birth of their first child and join their armies together once they go to war against Duncan Cameron. Alaric doesn’t want to get married but he’ll do his duty for his clan. He meant to keep his word and was on his way to the McDonald clan to handle his business when he’s set upon by the enemy and he’s injured. His horse takes him away and helps him escape and he finds himself at the healing mercy of a young woman.

Keeley McDonald was cast out of her own clan by the Laird’s family and she’s been on her own for quite a long time. She’s a healer so she makes money when people come to her to cure their ails. She lives a lonely existence and is more than a little surprised when an injured warrior shows up on her doorstep being dragged along by his horse. There’s no choice to make, Keeley has to heal this stranger and heal him she does.

By the time that Alaric’s brothers find him, he’s on the mend but not out of the woods and instead of being grateful that Keeley has taken Alaric in and is healing him as best as she can, they light into her like she’s a common criminal and I get that they’re worried about their brother and don’t trust Keeley but dude, fucking relax and find out what happened before jumping down her throat at every turn. It bugged the hell out of me because not only do they treat her like shit, they kidnapped her and forced her to become their clan’s healer without so much as a, please.

The MacCabe men brought nothing but trouble to Keeley’s life but man did I love the protectiveness that the women of the clan showed her and after going for so long without a clan at her back, when Gannon says, “I’m glad you’re here too, Keeley McCabe” I was in tears.

I was kind of anxious, trying to figure out how they could possibly end up together with Alaric not wanting to go back on his word. The angst was real! I kept texting Holly trying to figure out how in the world things were going to work out, and I had hella theories going on but I should have had more faith in Maya Banks because she handled the entire thing in a way that I was completely satisfied with. I cried throughout most of the second half of the book. Seeing both Alaric and Keeley love each other and know that they can’t be together. Keeley trying to keep her distance so that she could walk away from him when the time came. Alaric’s heart breaking when Caelen brought Keeley to him one last time. I was a mess but holy cow did it all come together so nicely.

This book was everything that I wanted it to be and more than I was expecting. Emotionally, this book grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let up. I loved that Keeley found a home for herself with a clan that loved and supported the hell out of her. She got the family she craved and I was so happy for her. Gah, this book was so good and it’s not getting a 5 star rating from me because I had deduct some stars for the asshole behavior of both Ewan and Caelen in the beginning.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

McCabe Trilogy

five-stars


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Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Posted October 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa DareReviewer: Rowena
The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke, #2) by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1), The Duchess Deal
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

The Governess Game is the second book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series and it follows Emma’s (the heroine from The Duchess Deal) friend, Alexandra Mountbatten as she falls into a governess job and falls in love with the man that hired her.

Alexandra Mountbatten fixes clocks for a living and when she’s making her rounds around town, in search of new clients and that is when she found herself in the company of him. The man from the bookshop. The man that she couldn’t get out of her head. The man that she made a cake of herself in front of when she ran into him and her books went flying and she couldn’t get over how handsome he was. She was surprised to see him again after all this time and she was sorely disappointed that he didn’t remember who she was or even understand why she was at his house. When she’s offered a job as governess to his two wards, Alex isn’t interested but accepts after a really shitty day.

Chase Reynaud is at his wits end with his two young charges. He has gone through far too many governesses because they have run them out every single time. He wasn’t supposed to inherit a Dukedom but he has and he carries a lot of worries, a lot of guilt and he needs to get a governess to watch over his charges before he sends them away to boarding school. He doesn’t do relationships and for good reason, at least in his eyes but the new governess is getting under his skin and haunting his dreams and before he knows what is what, he goes from not caring for anyone to caring too much about everyone.

Tessa Dare strikes again because I absolutely adored this book. Alex and Chase were such a fabulous couple who brought out the best in each other and I just loved getting to know them. Chase was charming and he was a flirt but he grew the most over the course of this book and I loved seeing it. His feelings for Alex was a lot of back and forth but when he gets it right, he really gets it right so it was hard for me to hold all that other nonsense against him.

I know that this is only the second book in this series but I had a soft spot for Alex in the last book and that soft spot was cemented in love in this book. Alex is my favorite friend in the friend circle and I connected with her character and her circumstances and just loved that despite not having much, she wasn’t afraid of hard work to get what she wanted. She wasn’t bitter at how her life turned out and though she had reservations about being on a boat, she was still strong in my eyes. I just loved her to pieces and don’t even get me started on how much I loved how close she got to both Rosamund and Daisy.

Overall, Tessa Dare wrote a fabulous romance for two characters who had a lot to offer the other if they took that risk and boy am I glad that they did. There was a whole lot of passion, a lot of charm and so much love in this book that I happy sighed my way through each chapter. What a great book. Kudos to Tessa Dare on another job well done.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Devil’s Thief by Samantha Kane

Posted October 8, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Devil’s Thief by Samantha KaneReviewer: Tracy
The Devil's Thief (The Saint's Devils #1) by Samantha Kane
Series: The Saint's Devils #1
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: November 12, 2012
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 297
Add It: Goodreads
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two-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

In Samantha Kane’s sensual tale of wicked passion, a desperate woman must resort to burglary—but the beautiful thief ends up stealing the heart of a rogue. 

The daughter of a reformed jewel thief, Julianna Harte knows a thing or two about stealth. When the foundling home she provides for finds itself in dire financial straits, Julianna is forced to do the unthinkable. In a bit of misguided Robin Hood derring-do, she slips through the window of a wealthy rake to search for a treasure she knows is there: an invaluable pearl. But when the towering and very naked occupant of the moonlit bedroom ambushes her with a bargain—a night in his bed in exchange for the pearl—Julianna doesn’t know if it’s masculine heat or sheer desperation that makes his terms so tempting.

Alasdair Sharpe had no intention of keeping his end of the bargain. Planning to offer his little cat burglar carte blanche instead, he promptly loses himself in the delights of unexpected pleasure. But when he awakes the next morning to find his family heirloom gone, fury quickly replaces sensual languor. Of course, Alasdair is more than willing to use seduction to reclaim his stolen pearl—and find the key to Julianna’s heart.

Julianna started a foundling home in a bad part of London with her father some time ago and it’s now in dire straits.  She hasn’t kept up with the rent, spending what little money they had to buy things for the children, like food and clothing.  Now the building has been sold and the new owner is demanding the back rent or they will be evicted.  Julianna doesn’t want to ask her father and his new wife for the funds fearing that she’ll be told to stop working with the children (she doesn’t really know her new step-mother so she’s unsure of her reaction to Julianna working in such a bad area).  She takes matters into her own hands and turns to thievery.

This may seem like it’s a bit far-fetched, but her father was a thief and she learned the art from him.  Now that he’s married to a respectable woman he has stopped his thieving ways, but Julianna decides she’ll steal this one time to get the money she needs. She decides to steal the Stewart Pearl (a pearl that has been in the Stewart/Stuart family for years)  – owned by the man who lives across the street.  Unfortunately when she’s exiting his room with the pearl in hand, she’s caught by the man himself.

Alasdair Sharp is shocked when he realizes the thief trying to steal his pearl is a woman.  He’s intrigued, however, and though he can’t see her properly he decides that he’ll make a bargain with her.  He tells her that he’ll give her the pearl in the morning if she spends the night in his bed. Even though Julianna already has the pearl she agrees to the night in his bed. Imagine how shocked Alasdair is when he wakes up and the pearl and the girl are both gone.

Julianna hocks the pearl to a very disreputable man.  Since the pearl is so well known, however, it’s her only choice.  When Alasdair starts following her (along with his friends) trying to figure out what she’s done with the pearl, they get to know each other better.  This causes Julianna to have second thoughts about pawning the pearl and now she’s determined to get it back. Of course the only way to do that is to steal it.

This was a book that I requested from NetGalley back in August of 2012.  I remember trying to read it back then and at that time I just couldn’t get into it.  I really liked Kane’s Brothers in Arms series, so I was surprised that this book wasn’t working for me.  I decided to try again and while I got through the book it really didn’t work for me.

The first scene where Julianna is caught and given the bargain was ridiculous.  I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.  Alasdair finds a thief in his room and instead of calling the watch he starts running his finger around her face and collar bone?  Really? I don’t think so. He asks why she wants to pearl and she says she needs it to pay the rent.  When he sleeps with her he gets immediately attached and in his mind is making plans to go shopping with her in the morning and make this woman his mistress. WTF?  He didn’t even know her name yet but he’s making plans for the future? (I mentioned this to Holly and she said he has Captain Save-a-Ho complex. LOL)   I guess he thought that’s his version of compensation as he had no plans to give her the pearl.

The sex scene is one of the most humorous I’ve read in a while.  Yes, she was a virgin and doesn’t tell him, so he thinks she’s experienced.  He doesn’t move gently and when he discovers that he just took her virginity he wants to pull away but can’t make himself do it.  She doesn’t want him to stop so she wraps her legs around him.  What happens then you ask? Well, “he slid farther into her exquisite cavern.”  Cavern?  How big is it in there?  Is there anything less sexy?  Then he immediately thinks about how tight she is. Make up your mind!   Alasdair’s disgruntled because he feels she lied to him about her experience but she never told him she was a virgin, right?.  He says to her that he thought she wanted it and she says to him that she did, indeed, want it.  He then asks her if she only slept with him to get the pearl – like that was really in question.  Duh!  She was stealing it, of course she wants the pearl you stupid man! He is then shocked and says something like you should have told me that you needed it that badly.  What?  I WAS STEALING YOUR FAMILY HEIRLOOM, YOU NUT! How badly did you think I needed it?  I laughed through this whole scene because it was just sheer entertainment – absolutely nothing sexy about it.

Anyway, the story involves Alasdair trying to find out who the thief is so he goes to his friends.  It is mentioned that these friends were Saint’s Devils.  Being book 1 in a series I have no idea who or what those are.  Is this a spin-off from another series?  No idea and nothing was explained about it. The friends play a big roll in the book but it kind of felt like Sherlock Holmes and Watson.

Alasdair was angry for a large portion of the book and then he was claiming he was in love.  I personally didn’t see anything that would have caused these two people to love each other except lust.  Their characters never talked about who they were as people or got to know each other better.  I just didn’t buy the HEA I was given.

Rating: 2 out of 5

The Saint’s Devils

two-stars


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