Tag: Historical

Featured Review: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

Posted February 27, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Featured Review: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Mackenzies & McBrides #1
Also in this series: Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage , , , The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage , The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, The Duke's Perfect Wife , The Seduction Of Elliot McBride , The Untamed Mackenzie, The Untamed Mackenzie , A Mackenzie Clan Gathering
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 26, 2012
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 338
Length: 9 hours, 50 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

A woman is drawn to a dangerously intriguing man in this unique historical romance from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley.

It was whispered all through London Society that Ian Mackenzie was mad, that he’d spent his youth in an asylum, and was not to be trusted—especially with a lady. For the reputation of any woman caught in his presence was instantly ruined.

Yet Beth found herself inexorably drawn to the Scottish lord whose hint of a brogue wrapped around her like silk and whose touch could draw her into a world of ecstasy. Despite his decadence and his intimidating intelligence, she could see that he needed help. Her help. Because suddenly the only thing that made sense to her was…The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.

Rowena: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie kicks off the Mackenzie & McBride’s series by Jennifer Ashley. It features Lord Ian Mackenzie as he pursues, falls head over heels in love with and then marries Mrs. Beth Ackerly. Beth is a widow who inherited a bunch of money and she comes across Ian’s path when he discovers she’s engaged to a good for nothing man and interferes.

This book is a whirlwind romance that captured the hearts of readers everywhere and we finally made Casee read it so that we can review it together here on the blog.

Alright, ladies let’s hear it…what did you guys think?

Casee: I adored this book. Like, was gah gah over it. It was a reread for me, but it was so long ago that reading it again was like reading it for the first time. This was also the first historical I’ve read in maybe four or five years.

I loved Ian. I loved how what you saw was what you got. There was no guessing with him. He said what he thought, without consequence. Ian wanted to save Beth from her fiancé not because he wanted her for himself (not at first), but because he didn’t want to see any woman with a man like what’s his name (what’s his name??). It just so happens that he falls in love with Beth. I just loved their love. Ian was so lovable. The fact that he thought he couldn’t be loved was so sad.

Rowena: Same. I don’t remember loving this book as much as I did this time around but love it, I did. I loved seeing Ian and Beth’s relationship blossom. Ian’s character was compelling and the madness that everyone saw in him, appealed to me. He wasn’t this cookie cutter historical hero. He was interesting and I loved his mind, the way it worked and just everything. He was one of the good ones and I thought Beth was really lucky to get him.

Holly: I agree, this is a fantastic novel. I love how Ian is portrayed. The way his mind worked and his sense of right and wrong. He was wonderful. I loved his his relationship with his brothers, too. For all their gruffness they clearly cared for each other.

Casee: I loved that he wasn’t cookie cutter. There are so many historicals out there where the hero is just misunderstood for some reason or another, but Ian was genuinely misunderstood. Having the stigma of any sort of mental illness hanging over your head during that time was unacceptable. It was even more sad that Ian thought he was mad when he clearly wasn’t. Well, he wasn’t by today’s standards.

Rowena: I thought Beth was pretty great too. I loved the amount of faith she had in Ian and I really liked how she understood him, better than anyone else did. She was loyal and she did what she thought was right. All things that made for a fantastic heroine.

Holly: Beth was perfect for Ian. I, too, liked how she had such faith in him, and saw the good in him even when others couldn’t. I especially liked how she had common sense, and how she was a widow who enjoyed sex and missed it.

Casee: I loved Beth’s love for Ian. She never accepted that he was mad. Not once. She just accepted him as he was. I loved that about her.

Rowena: What did you guys think about all of the drama with Fellows?

Casee: The drama with Fellows was kind of lame. Why did he think they all deserved it when they had nothing to do with it? They were kids. Innocents.

Holly: I understood why Fellows was after them. They may have been kids, but he saw them as having all the things he didn’t. Then, when the murder happened, it just proved what he already knew. I will say, he’s never been my favorite character of the series.

Rowena: I thought the same thing as Casee as far as Fellows was concerned. He was grown, he should have come to realize that he was punishing the wrong people, innocent people who couldn’t control their father any more than he could. I get resenting them for growing up with the riches when he struggled with his Mom but the lengths he was going to in order to get them to pay for crimes they didn’t commit was really dumb to me.

Holly: What did you guys think of the Mackenzie brothers?

Rowena: Other than that, this book was great. Of all of the Mackenzie brothers, I think I’m most curious about Mac and Cam, my least favorite is Hart right now though I don’t hate him and am curious about who he ends up with.

But dude, that’s some serious love for your fam. The whole thing between Hart and Ian? That was crazy and Beth just comes right along pulling the wool off of everyone’s face. Man, she was just great. I give this one a 4.25 out of 5, what about you guys?

Casee: I am most curious about Cam. The relationship between him and his son had me cracking up. I loved how protective everyone ended up being of Beth. I want to read Hart’s book, but man was he an ass.

I give this one a 4.5 out of 5. I loved it.

Holly: Having read all the books, I can say that Mac’s and Hart’s are my favorites behind this one, but all of them are good.

I loved Ian and Beth together and how the family embraced her and stuck together. This was a fabulous re-read.

4 out of 5

Final Grades

Casee: 4.5 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Mackenzies & McBrides

four-half-stars


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Review: The Scoundrel in Her Bed by Lorraine Heath

Posted February 26, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Scoundrel in Her Bed by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Rowena
The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #3
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)
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

The third electrifying romance in Lorraine Heath's USA Today bestselling Sins of all Seasons series.

The bastard son of a nobleman, Finn Trewlove was a shameful secret raised by a stranger. As Finn came of age, he had secrets, too—the clandestine nights spent with an earl's daughter. But her promise of forever ended in betrayal.

Driven by a past that haunts her, Lady Lavinia Kent seeks redemption in London's underworld, engaged in a daring cause inspired by the young man to whom she gave her innocence, and who then proved himself a scoundrel by abandoning her.

When their paths cross again, they can't deny the yearning and desire that still burns. As they discover the truth behind the deceptions that tore them apart, Finn and Lavinia must fight to reclaim what they've lost, no matter how dangerous—because love is worth the risk...

Honestly, Lorraine Heath just keeps right on bringing the heat with this series. I have loved every single book that she’s put out for these characters and with each passing book, I become more and more interested in the whole baby farming thing. In When a Duke Loves a Woman, I was mighty curious to find out what the heck Lady Lavinia was up to running away from her wedding to Thorne and then hiding out in Whitechapel, near where Gillie’s family lived. I knew she was connected to Finn so you’d think that there wouldn’t have been much left for me to be surprised about from them holy cow, there were plot twists all over the damn place and my heart soared and plummeted so many times, I thought I’d have to go to the ER.

In this book, we get two stories. The story of Finn and Lavinia when they were young and falling in love for the first time and the story of Finn and Lavinia as grown adults, years after they were torn apart and falling in love all over again. The young love portion of this book showed us how they met, how they kept meeting until they were so in love with each other that they were planning on doing anything they could to be together forever and then real life crashing in on them. The adult portion of this book showed us just how much chemistry the two of them had despite all of the bad history between them. Their love wasn’t an easy one but man was it a satisfying one. I don’t think I’ve read a couple this year that were as meant to be as these two were.

There is a lot going on in this book. We have the romance between Finn and Lavinia, Lavinia’s new mission in life and trying to piece together everything that happened to both Finn and Lavinia in the years since they parted ways. There’s a lot of resentment, lots of family secrets and then the secret shame between the two of them. I thought that I would be overwhelmed with everything going on but Heath does a fantastic job of making it easy for the reader to be a part of all of it.

I can’t talk about a lot of things that I want to talk about without spoiling the fun for you guys so I’ll just keep this one simple. If you enjoyed the other books in this series, you’re going to love this one. If you enjoy historical romances with compelling characters, you’re going to love this one. If you enjoy emotional reunions and second chance romances, you’re going to love this one so seriously, pick this one up. You’re going to love it. 😉

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

four-half-stars


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Review: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

Posted February 19, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Rowena
Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #5
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3), Devil's Daughter
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas delivers a scintillating tale of a beautiful, young widow who finds passion with the one man she shouldn't...

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he's a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband's life a misery, and she'll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself...as none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire...not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn't bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She's the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?

Only the devil's daughter knows...

This was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of 2019 and I’m SO glad to report that West and Phoebe’s story was just as wonderful as I was hoping. Lisa Kleypas captured West’s humor and Phoebe’s hesitation to move on from her late husband in such a beautiful way that I ate this book up in one sitting. I didn’t want to put this book down, it was that good for me. There were times during the reading of this book that I would pause and just grin like a lovesick school girl because I was just so happy with West and with Phoebe and her little boys.

So the story starts off with Phoebe and her family arriving at West’s home for her brother’s wedding to his cousin, Pandora. West runs his brother’s estate so when he runs into Phoebe and her young son, Justin, he’s intrigued because she’s beautiful and then he’s even more curious because she seems to instantly hate him. Sure, his reputation is complete trash and normally he’d prefer to keep his distance from others but he enjoyed their little introduction and was low key bummed that that’s probably all they’ll get. Of course, that’s not all they get and the more time they spend together, the more Phoebe realizes that there’s more to the bully she remembers from her late husband’s letters, and she really likes the more.

Holy cow, Lisa Kleypas did such a great job of writing this romance. There was humor and characters that melted my heart and older characters that I was thrilled to see and hear about after all this time. A lot of Phoebe’s family are characters that are near and dear to my heart. Hearing about Simon and Annabelle Hunt again, then Matt and Daisy from Scandal in Spring, gah, even Lillian and Markus from It Happened One Autumn made me so happy. I loved that Kleypas captured the closeness of Phoebe and her family. They were a huge part of her life and so they were in the story quite a bit, which is as it should be. I also thought that Kleypas did a great job of including everyone in the story without them stealing the thunder that is the romance between West and Phoebe because though I loved seeing and hearing about everyone, I was there for West, Phoebe and the boys.

I loved that West had finally found his place and his person. After so many books of West working so hard for his family and for the tenants on Devon’s estate, seeing him downplay all of that hard work, it was very fulfilling for me to see his family acknowledge his hard work and acknowledge their love and appreciation for West being in their lives. Then you add Phoebe and her boys and seeing the relationship he develops with them, gah, there was just so much goodness here.

My one and only gripe with this book was that I felt the ending was a bit rushed. Everything wrapped up so quickly that I blinked and we went from West not thinking he deserved Phoebe and the boys to, BOOM, happy ending. I might be a greedy wench that is just thirsty for more but it’s how I felt. I loved the rest of the book too much to harp on about the ending because dude, this book was flat out good. If you’re looking for a romance that will make you laugh, pick this one up. If you’re looking for a romance with a couple who bring the steam and the chemistry, pick this one up. If you’re looking for a romance that is big on family, pick this one up. This has it all so you won’t be disappointed.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

The Ravenels

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: When He was Wicked by Julia Quinn

Posted February 17, 2019 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 3 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. 🙂

Julia Quinn has been writing fabulous historical romances for as long as I can remember. Each book that I read from her delivers a delightful romance that I can’t get enough of and I want to remind you why she’s so great.

Sunday Spotlight: When He was Wicked by Julia QuinnWhen He Was Wicked (Bridgertons, #6) by Julia Quinn
Series: Bridgertons #6
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: June 29, 2004
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Everything was so much simpler... when he was wicked.

In every life there is a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one's life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London's most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton.

After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca's surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer—the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.

But that was then... Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love... until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets...

When I read my first Bridgertons book, I had so much love for this family. They made me laugh, they made me cry and every single one of the first books were so lighthearted and just all around happy books that I easily fell into each of them. Then I read When He was Wicked and it wasn’t the happy go lucky, lighthearted romance that I was used to. It was a darker, more angsty romance and yet it fits perfectly with Francesca Bridgerton’s personality. At least, the way that I saw her. She was a lot more serious than her sisters but man was she just as awesome as they were…and that is why I’m spotlighting her book today.

I remember so much angst in this book. The forbidden love that Michael carried for Francesca all those years. The sadness of Francesca losing her husband and then the angst of falling in love with his cousin? Gah, it gets me every single time.

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Memorable Scenes

Here are some memorable scenes and quotes that hit me right in my feels every time that I read the book or come across these quotes online. These are some of my favorites.

“Tell me something wicked.”

sigh

Yes, be wicked!

“In every life there is a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and clear that one feels as if one’s been hit in the chest, all the breath knocked out, and one knows, absolutely knows without the merest hint of a shadow of a doubt that one’s life will never be the same.”

“Oh, God, Francesca. Now there’s a good one. Why? Why? Why?” He gave each one a different tenor as if he were testing out the word, asking it to different people.

“Why?” he asked again, this time with increased volume as he turned around to face her.

“Why? It’s because I love you, damn me to hell. Because I’ve always loved you. Because I loved you when you were with John, and I loved you when I was in India, and God only knows I don’t deserve you, but I love you, anyway.”

Francesca sagged against the door.

“How’s that for a witty little joke?” he mocked. “I love you. I love you, my cousin’s wife. I love you, the one woman I can never have. I love you, Francesca Bridgerton Stirling.”

If you haven’t read this book, I recommend that you fix that because this book is a forbidden romance that will melt your heart at every turn. Quinn does such a fabulous job of making us feel for these characters and Michael Stirling is one of the best heroes out there. Francesca is one lucky wench!

The Bridgertons

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: February 2019

Do you love Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series as much as we do? Let us know in the comments and let us know what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake

Posted January 29, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia DrakeReviewer: Tracy
The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake
Series: Unlikely Duchesses #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

When two childhood sweethearts find themselves together after years apart, does their romance have a chance to be rekindled now that he’s a duke and she’s a governess? Olivia Drake’s new Unlikely Duchesses series begins with The Duke I Once Knew, where first love is always the sweetest...

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?

Abby and Max were once in love. Abby was 15 and Max just 16 years old.  Unfortunately, after the death of Max’s mother, his father took Max and his sister to live in London.  It’s been 15 years and Max only came back for a very short time to bury his father. Abby though they’d be together forever but since she wrote multiple times and received no reply she got on with her life.

Abby is the youngest of 5 siblings. They were all older and out of the house by the time she was born and it was her pleasure and duty to take care of her aging parents.  She loved them to pieces!  Now that they’re gone, her siblings are all gathered to decide who Abby should live with – basically planning her life.  Abby isn’t having it.  She was happy to take care of her parents but she’s now 30 years old and knows that she’ll never have a husband or family.  It hurts that she can’t control that, but there is something she can control – where she lives.  She heads to the estate next door and applies for the job of governess to Max’s younger sister, Gwen, and gets the position.  She has no fear of Max showing up because he hasn’t been there in 15 years. Of course, he shows up.

Max is on his way to a friends house so that is pugilist champion can have a match with America’s champion.  Unfortunately when they arrive at the friend’s estate they discover that all of the servants have the measles.  Since Max’s estate is so nearby, they decide to stay there.  Max isn’t thrilled to see Abby as he doesn’t have fond memories from 15 years ago. He also wanted to seduce a woman he’d brought with him but he suddenly is only interested in Abby.  The pair soon start to talk and discover a few things about their past.  The question is, can those revelations make a difference for their future?

While I always find Drake’s books enjoyable, this one wasn’t my favorite.  From the moment that the letters are mentioned I knew immediately what had happened.  Despite this misunderstanding there wasn’t much angst except on Max’ part. I felt his reasons for not falling in love again were weak, but maybe that’s just me.  The story was more to the tune of Max and Abby getting to know one another again and rekindling the love they once shared.  It was cute but pretty basic.

Overall a decent read but nothing I haven’t read before.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Unlikely Duchesses

three-stars


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