Tag: Historical

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch

Posted July 11, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne EnochReviewer: Tracy
A Beginner's Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
Series: Scandalous Brides #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

All of London is abuzz with the return of the utterly alluring, recently widowed Diane Benchley. Will she remarry? What will she do with her late husband’s fortune? Society is shocked by her announcement—at the Grand Ball, of all places!—that she plans to open an exclusive gentleman’s gaming club in the family mansion. But no one is more stunned than the Marquis of Haybury, Oliver Warren.

Years ago, Oliver and Diane shared a private indiscretion. Now Diane threatens to reveal Oliver’s most ungentlemanly secrets…unless he agrees to help her. A notorious gambler—and rake—Oliver is overqualified to educate Diane in the ways and means of running her establishment. But striking a deal with Diane might just be the biggest risk Oliver has ever taken. This time, the only thing he has to lose is his heart…

Diane Benchley wants to get back what she feels was taken from her and that was a decent life with a husband who wasn’t a complete ass. Her husband died but left her penniless and in a ton of debt because of his gambling. Diane took up with Oliver very quickly thereafter but he up and ran out on her without a word. Now Diane is back in London and looking to start a Gentleman’s Club that is run strictly by women. Her backer falls dead but she has something on Oliver and blackmails him into helping her with the money she needs.

Oliver isn’t sure what he thinks about this “new” Diane. She knows her mind and isn’t going to put up with anything from Oliver – including suggestions about the club. In fact she hates him. He can understand why but when he realizes that she holds his heart he’s determined to do anything he can to get the woman he loves to see him as a man and not just a bank.

Diane has her hands full getting the club running and keeping her former brother-in-law from taking her to court to prove that the house that the gentleman’s club is in is actually legally his and not hers.

This was a pretty interesting book but I had a couple of issues with it. While I really liked the thought of Diane starting the club I really didn’t get to know Diane all that well. We definitely got more thoughts from Oliver than Diane. Also, because so much of the book was focused on getting the club up and running I thought that the romance suffered for it.

I very much liked Oliver and I thought his part in the book was really good but I just didn’t see Diane falling for him. She did, in the end, but I just didn’t feel like she had completely forgiven her for her part in their past.

Like I said, the setting up of the gentleman’s club was quite well done. With Diane’s former b-i-l making waves the plot to get him to stop was pretty clever and I very much enjoyed watching that unfold.

So while I thought the book was very good it was pretty light on the romance, imho. I did read the excerpt from the next book and it sounds quite good as well – can’t wait to read it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Scandalous Brides

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Highland Deception by Meggan Connors

Posted July 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Highland Deception by Meggan ConnorsReviewer: Tasha and Rowena
Highland Deception by Meggan Connors
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: March 17, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
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three-stars

When Kenneth Mackay, long-banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.

Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth to take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm plans to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess... and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.

Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before their marriage, and she'd long since given up on having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel's heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if they were family. Who, for the first time since their marriage, cares for her as if she is, too.

Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart.

Kenneth MacKay has been living his life on the run ever since he took the fall for his brother’s actions but when he is summoned home because the very same twin brother, is dying, his life is about to take a very interesting turn. Kenneth is going to step into the life of his brother and his life is never going to be the same again….especially when he meets his brother’s wife, Isobel, a woman that if Kenneth isn’t careful, can steal his heart.

Rowena: So who was surprised that my sister chose a historical romance for this month’s book of the month? I’m not. I am, however, surprised that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I hoped I would have. There were too many things that annoyed me but let’s start with what you thought. Did you like it or nah?

Tasha: I wasn’t surprise either with Blanche’s historical pick, hahaha! Actually I expected her to select a historical romance, specifically a highlander romance. This was an okay read for me. I didn’t like it all that much but I didn’t hate it either. Just wish it was better. I know I won’t be doing a re-read of this.

Rowena: Same here. I mean, it was fine but not great or even memorable. Are you surprised that Blanche LOVED this one though? Haha.

Anyway, what did you think about Kenneth and Isobel? Did you like them? Was their romance believable?

Tasha: You know me, I love the whole “happily ever after ending”. I am happy Kenneth got the girl and the lands in the end. I can’t believe how his own twin brother would do him dirty like that. Now did I like them? Kenneth, yes. Isobel, there were moments I didn’t like her so much. Their romance could’ve been better.

Rowena: I agree that this book could have been a lot better. There were far too many things that happened that had me either rolling my eyes or shaking my head. I didn’t get the feeling that this book happened over a good chunk of time. For me, it felt like everything happened at warp speed. I didn’t believe that Isobel could fall in love with Kenneth so quickly after how horrible Malcolm was to her. Malcolm was horrible to her for years but for a few months, Kenneth shows up and shows her a better side to him and it felt like she didn’t question it long enough for me to believe the change of heart from him.

Also? I thought it was pretty gross that Kenneth didn’t come clean with Isobel the moment that he fell in love with her and they started sleeping together. Especially when he finds out that she was a virgin the first time that they slept together.

Tasha: Actually, I understand why Kenneth didn’t come clean. He even said so himself. If she didn’t know the truth, she couldn’t lie. And he really wasn’t sure how she would’ve reacted to the truth. So I get it. And for the longest, she’s had dreams of this man, her husband having a family together and being so happy. She was hopeful and was trying to make this work with Malcolm but when he wouldn’t budge, she’d leave for London. Now imagine coming back to Scotland and your dream man isn’t being mean to you and making you feel like there’s a chance after all, I’m positive that’s what Isobel felt and went for it.

Rowena: The author should have found a better way around that because it was gross. Kenneth was pretending to be someone else and Isobel thought she was falling in love with her husband and I’m not down with those kinds of secrets and the way that Isobel found out was even worst. She may have been a brat but she didn’t deserve that.

Tasha: If anything, I think the part that really bothered me is when she finally figured out that he was Kenneth, she said his name once and said that was the one and only time she would say it aloud. I thought that sucked. Malcolm was the mean husband, who had no regard for her or her feelings. Why couldn’t she address him as Kenneth in the private, when its just the two of them. I wouldn’t have been able to utter the name Malcolm. You’d hear me address him as “my lord”, “my laird” or whatever title he holds, but not Malcolm.

Rowena: Then I spent some time being annoyed with Isobel’s friend and lady’s maid. The way that she wasn’t as supportive to Isobel as I hoped she’d be, considering she worked for Isobel, it bothered me when she jumped down Isobel’s throat for things I’d expect my best friend to be supportive of.

Tasha: I’m glad she wasn’t on board with going back to London when Isobel was ready to leave. She noticed the change in the Laird and she saw how differently he was treating her. Okay yeah, maybe she only wanted to stay because she found herself a man but to me, Isobel was being a brat. And in those moments, it’s your real friends who will set you straight and tell you to get it together. That’s what I saw happen in that part of the book.

Rowena: Nah, the lady’s maid was first and foremost, Isobel’s maid and they were around the same age so she forgot her place and didn’t stay in her lane. There’s a way to make your point without being a total bitch about it and I thought that the maid (what the heck was her name again?) misstepped. I think I was more annoyed with the way that she came at Isobel because a whole lot of her reasoning for not wanting to go back to London was because she wanted that D. It didn’t come off right.

Tasha: I didn’t think Marie was a bitch towards her, just very firm and direct. But I have to agree with the sleeping with somebody when they don’t even know who you really are. That’s gross! And again, I wish it was a better read than what it turned out to be, just meh.

Rowena: There were just too many little things that bothered me but despite all of that, I still didn’t hate the book and I think that a huge part of the reason I didn’t hate this book was because the week that I read this book, I had read so many other bad books that this was a walk in the park compared to them.

Would I re-read this one? Probably not. Would I recommend this one to other readers? I don’t know. There was promise in this book but the author took the story in a different direction than I would have taken it and because of that, my enjoyment wasn’t as great as it could have been.

Tasha: You made some really good points! And some I agree with, like the relationship between Kenneth and Isobel being rushed. And how he didn’t tell Isobel the truth about who he really was before they did the deed or how the book started off really good and then sadly it just it fizzled out.

Rowena: Like I said, there were so many ways that the author could have written this romance and the way that she wrote it, wasn’t my favorite so yeah, I won’t be re-reading this one. Also, I should probably mention that I was one of the few people in book club that didn’t love this book so if you are curious about this one, you should give it a go.

I give this one 2.5 out of 5, what about you?

Tasha: My rating for this is a 3 out of 5. This will not be a re-read and I probably wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve read similar books that were much better reads.

Final Grades

Tasha: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 2.5 out of 5

three-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale

Posted June 27, 2019 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Midsummer Moon by Laura KinsaleReviewer: Kris
Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

An impossible inventor...

Ransom Falconer, Duke of Damerell, is sent to see if Merlin Lambourne, the famous inventor, has created a truly magnificent innovation that can be used in the war against Napoleon. What Ransom doesn't realize is that Merlin is a woman, and not everyone wants to see her invention become a reality...

With dreams of flight...

Merlin Lambourne is a brilliant yet slightly eccentric scientist whose dream is to build a flying machine. Nothing can distract her from her goals, and Ransom offers her refuge at his estate-a safe haven to work on her invention undisturbed. But when Merlin's dream puts them both at risk, Ransom must overcome his own fears and realize her invention may be the answer to saving both their lives...

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on June 2, 2008.

Kris‘ review of Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale, a standalone historical.

This was a cute book. I enjoyed it for the most part. The heroine bugged me a little. She is sooooo naive and innocent it is hard to believe. She was funny in her naiveté but there was no connecting with her because she was so clueless. It is hard to swallow just how sheltered she had been.

She has never left her isolated house in the country. She and her uncle just worked on their experiments and that was their life. She has never seen a child or baby, she has never seen a young man or been courted by one. She knows nothing about titles or that there is a hierarchy in the country besides the king/queen. She knows absolutely nothing about sex or lust or even kissing (never even heard of it). But this book appeals to my love of nerds. I love nerdy characters whether hero or heroine. She is very much the absent-minded professor.

Ransom, the hero, was a protector and very arrogant. Which is funny with a heroine like Merlin. He was a lot more alive to me than Merlin because I could relate to his fear and understand his POV. He is petrified of heights and equates heights with falling and dying. So the thought of Merlin finishing her flying machine and trying it out equals her death, which he is trying to prevent. Especially at this point in history when flying was not a thing that people could do. I don’t think that what he did to it was very nice, but I can understand the reaction.

I thought there would be a little more suspense or action and there was not but that was okay, this was not a romantic suspense. So for me, it dragged in a couple of places. It was a cute fluffy book, and good if you can get past the heroine. I just had a hard time with it. So I would give this one a:

3.75 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Casablanca. But you can buy it here. Read more from Kris at The Reading Spot.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Highland Crown by May McGoldrick

Posted May 20, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Highland Crown by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Highland Crown by May McGoldrick
Series: Royal Highlander #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 312
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Inverness, 1820Perched on the North Sea, this port town―by turns legendary and mythological―is a place where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.

WANTED: Isabella DrummondA true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mystery―and fury―in a great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the Highlands in search of survival. But a dying ship’s captain will steer her fate into even stormier waters. . .and her heart into flames.

FOUND: Cinaed MackintoshCast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself. . .until Isabella saved his life―and added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep her safe to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice to be together…for eternity?

Isabella Drummond is a surgeon, married to a doctor.  They had lived in Edinburgh for six years and had a stable if unexciting life.  Her husband, Archibald, was a reformer, however and when it came down to a day of strikes, he was killed and Isabella ran for her life with her sister and her step-daughter.  She was now being pursued by soldiers who think that she was part of her husband’s radical dealings, and the people in charge of the group of reformers were after her as well so she won’t tell the authorities any information.

When the book opens Isabella is in northern Scotland at a small cottage with a woman who is none too happy for her to be there.  Isabella was helped by her friend Sir Walter Scott who then implored his solicitor to help.  The woman was the solicitor’s aunt.  Isabella’s sister and step-daughter had gone with the solicitor to book passage on a ship to America.  The small town on the shore where she is staying is a rough one.  The villagers gather any items from ships that wreck on the rocks and shoot any survivors so they can’t argue about it.  Nice.  This happens when Isabella is there and she ends up saving one of the men who is the captain of a ship.  When a villager finds out about the man and Isabella they end out having to leave the cottage and take the aunt with them.

They end up fighting for their lives while staying with a relative of the man they saved, Captain Cinaed Mackintosh, but in order to do so they have to act like man and wife.  After just a short period of time together they fall in love but Isabella is unwilling to bring Cinaed into her troubles even though he’s already knee-deep in them.  The pair have to save themselves as well as Cinaed’s relative and decide if they want to leave for America or stay and fight for their country.

This was a good story that I enjoyed.  I’m not normally a fan of country politics in my romances but I have to say this one was well done.  I did think that the H/h fell in love way too fast for me, but I considered the year and went with it. Lol

I loved the fact that Isabella was a doctor/surgeon.  Everyone looked at her funny when she helped others, but she was so good at what she did. I loved that McGoldrick made her a doctor, rather than just a wife who was running for her life.

Because of the politics I’m not sure I’ll read further in the series. That said, I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good Scottish historical romance with some political intrigue.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Scotsman by Kinley MacGregor

Posted May 16, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Scotsman by Kinley MacGregorReviewer: Rowena
Taming the Scotsman by Kinley MacGregor
Series: Brotherhood of the Sword #4, MacAllisters #4
Also in this series: Claiming the Highlander (Brotherhood of the Sword #2/MacAllister, #1)
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 26, 2003
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 374
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

No one can tell the hot-blooded Scottish lass whom to marry! But the much-feared man Nora runs to for protection may be more perilous to her heart than any unwanted groom...

And much more difficult to tame!

Nora is a woman with a mission. Rather than be forced to endure a loveless marriage, she has fled her home, bound for England. There’s one small problem, though; she needs a guide, and the best choice is Ewan MacAllister, the only man both her father and her fiancé fear. Beneath Ewan’s rough and tumble exterior, however, she finds the heart of a loyal friend, and suddenly, more than to be free, she yearns to tame the proud Highlander who protects his wounded heart.

Tormented by his past, Ewan wants only to be left alone. Until the fiery lass forces herself into his remote home and refuses to leave unless he escorts her far away from Scotland. Ewan thinks her mad, especially given her claims to be none other than niece to the Queen of England, but he can’t let her travel about the countryside unescorted. In spite of her unorthodox ways and stubborn nature, she is rather fetching for a bold lass. And to his deepest chagrin, he finds himself wishing for the one thing he never thought to have. A brave Highland lady to call his own…

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

This review was originally posted on May 26, 2008.

Another MacAllister finds true love. This is the third MacAllister brother to find his wife and this book was enjoyable. Not the best of the bunch, but still enjoyable because it added to the mystery of Keiran. The end raised a lot of questions and I read this book for the first time, a long time ago and could not wait for Lochlan’s story, hoping against hope that his story would bring more answers to all of the questions I had about Keiran.

When we first began this series, we learn the story of Keiran, Isobel and Ewan. Isobel hooked up with one brother, forcing him to fall for her charms and then ran away with another brother, which brought on a whole lot of betrayals, regrets and broken hearts….and Ewan has a whole lot of regret going on in this story. He fell for Isobel and ran away with her, knowing about Keiran and Isobel but foolishly believing that Isobel was truly and utterly in love with him. She shows her true colors as soon as they get to London and admits to Ewan that she really only used him to get to her true love, some chap out there.

So Ewan returns home, jilted and feeling like a fool.

He builds a home for himself in a cave and he lives alone, punishing himself for what he did to his brother. Keiran has disappeared and Ewan blames himself. They don’t know where he is, how he’s doing or anything and Ewan lives with the absence of his brother, a daily reminder of everything he regrets in life.

Then Nora comes into his life, a runaway bride and he’s not having any of it. He is not going to repeat the mistakes of yonder years and he’s going to take this runaway bride directly to her father, where she belongs and he’s going to come back to the life he created for himself and continue to punish himself for the mistakes of his past.

This story was a bit on the cheesy side and though I enjoyed the book, it’s nowhere near my favorite. I think what made me jump up and pay attention in this book was all of the Keiran mentions. When the story ends with that big ol’ cliff hanger, I wanted Lochlan’s book something fierce. I wanted to devour it, hoping that there would be more of Keiran.

I believe he’s alive…and dude, I heard some stuff about Lochlan’s story (that I have yet to read) and now that I’m all caught up with these books, I’m going to put in a read of The Warrior next, woo frickin’ hoo!

Ewan was a good hero. He was strong, he loved his family and he had problems that he had to work through and I enjoyed getting to know him.

Nora was funny, she had me laughing quite a bit in this story and she was just a delight to read about again. She fit right in with Ewan and I was rootin’ them on to their happy ending. I enjoyed seeing Sin and Callie and Braden and Maggie in this story, they were a delightful addition to this story and Sin…I can never get enough of Sin, so woo hoo bring on the Sin! =)

Should you read this book? Yeah, because it goes with the other stories and because it’s a good book. Great characters, solid storyline if you can get past the cheese. It’s a good one guys, so keep the happy reading going with this one.

Grade: 4 out of 5

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

Brotherhood of the Sword & MacAllisters

four-stars


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