Tag: Historical

Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Posted July 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 396
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Goodreads
four-stars

When Wicked Comes Calling...

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain...

Bastard son of a duke and king of London's dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion...

But there's nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she'd rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil's carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted...and the only thing he's ever desired.

Sarah MacLean has a new series out and Wicked and the Wallflower is the first book from the The Bareknuckled Bastards series. The series follows a family of siblings that have one thing in common. They’re all linked to a Duke and they’re all bastards. Devon, aka Devil is the eldest of the bunch and this story features him and Felicity Faircloth.

If you read The Day of the Duchess, you’ll remember Felicity as one of the debutantes who was competing to become the next Duchess of Haven. I was hoping that she’d get her story told and I was thrilled to hear that she was the heroine in this book. She was just as wonderful as I hoped she’d be and her hero was one for the books. Their story was a memorable one and I’ll be thinking of that scene where Devil puts everyone on Covent Garden on notice where Felicity Faircloth is concerned. The way that he clicks his cane on the ground and just announces how things are to the dark and everyone in the dark was thrilling at the same time that it was freaking sexy.

Sarah MacLean worked her magic on me with this book because I thought the entire thing was engaging, the characters were compelling and I was thoroughly charmed throughout the entire book. I’m mighty intrigued with Whit but I’m also looking forward to more Ewan and Grace…because damn, drama much? I’m so here for it.

There were a few times when I wanted to junk punch Devil because the lengths that he went through to stop Ewan put Felicity in harm’s way and even though it all ends well, that left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth but still, this book was great. Felicity’s family was something else but I remember the Mom from Sera and Malcolm’s book so I wasn’t that surprised that the rest of her family were low key shady to her.

Overall, I really enjoyed getting to know both Devil and Felicity. I loved seeing Devil fall deeper and deeper in love with Felicity as the story wore on, much to his chagrin because he couldn’t do what he needed to do to keep his promises from the past if he cared so much about Felicity but dude, how can you not care about Felicity? She freaking rocks. I loved that they loved each other exactly how they are and I adored how good Felicity was at picking locks and how Devil just seemed to roll with whatever Felicity threw his way.

This was a great book with great characters and a story that you’ll fall in love with. I’m sure of it. There is so much goodness in this one that you won’t want to miss it. I promise.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Bareknuckle Bastards

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Highlander’s Promise by Lynsay Sands

Posted July 3, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Highlander’s Promise by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Tracy
The Highlander's Promise (Highlanders Series #6) by Lynsay Sands
Series: Highlanders Series #6
Also in this series: Spell of the Highlander (Highlanders #7), An English Bride In Scotland, An English Bride In Scotland (Highlanders, #1), The Highlander Takes a Bride, Falling for the Highlander, An English Bride In Scotland (Highlanders, #1), Surrender to the Highlander
Published by Avon
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
four-stars

Aulay Buchanan has retreated to his clan’s hunting lodge for a few days of relaxation. But the raven-haired beauty he pulls from the ocean puts an end to any chance of rest. Though he christens her Jetta, she knows nothing of her real identity, save that someone is trying to kill her. As she recovers, it will not be easy for Aulay to protect her and keep her honor intact when she mistakenly believes they are man and wife.

Jetta sees beyond Aulay’s scars to the brave, loyal warrior she’s proud to call her own. But as the attempts on her life grow more brazen, Jetta realizes that not all is as she believes. And if Aulay is not her husband, can she trust the desire flaring in his eyes, or his promise to defend her with his life?

Aulay Buchanan was wounded in battle and his face severely scarred – the same battle that killed his twin brother.  Aulay’s betrothed at the time screamed in horror after looking at him and his facial scar and refused to marry him.  It’s been years since then, but Aulay is still effected by the thought of his ex-betrothed and the averted eyes he sees in his own keep from the female servants.

Aulay goes away for a couple of weeks each year to his hunting lodge because his mood gets black around the time his brother died.  This year his brother Alick goes with him, despite his wishes, and they go out fishing in the ocean.  They quickly come across a mast from a ship and there’s actually a woman tied to it!  She’s alive and they take her back and try to heal her with help from others.  She’s out for about three weeks but when she awakens she doesn’t know who she is.  She sees Aulay beside her bed and when she asks if he’s her brother, he tells her no.  She surmises that the only other people who would be in her room would be a father and a husband and since he was too young to be her father, he was her husband!  Aulay’s brother, Rory tells Aulay that it’s better for him to let her think that she’s married to him as it will ease her mind.

When Jetta (the name they give the mysterious woman because she has jet black hair) had awoken when first found she mentioned that someone was trying to kill her.  Because of this Aulay makes it his duty to protect her, but when she doesn’t cringe from him and tells him how handsome he is, Aulay starts falling hard and fast for the unknown woman.

We read about Aulay in the previous books with the Buchanan’s and my heart always went out to him because of his scar and his feelings about the way he looked.  It had to be hard on him, but the scar had improved over the years and by the time Jetta “meets” him, it’s much improved. She looks beyond the scar to the man inside and she likes what she sees.  I loved that Sands paired Aulay with a woman who didn’t just put up with his scar but found the beauty in him as well.  I had no doubt that’s what she’d do, but she did it in a really great way and I found myself liking Jetta’s a lot.

The romance was good and the small suspense plot had me guessing, which was good.  I enjoyed getting to meet all the Buchanans again and seeing what they were up to.

Overall this was a great book and one I really enjoyed reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Highlanders

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks

Posted June 21, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya BanksReviewer: Holly
Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #2
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander
Published by Ballantine
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 323
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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?

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on November 29, 2011.

Where the first book in the series had more external conflict, this one has a lot more internal conflict.

Alaric MacCabeis on his way to a neighboring clan to formally offer marriage to the Laird’s daughter, Rionna MacDonald, to secure an alliance, when he’s attacked. All of his men are killed and he’s gravely wounded. He manages to make it to Keeley MacDonald’s cabin on the outskirts of the clan. She’s a skilled healer and is able to save his life. When his bothers, Ewan and Caelen, show up, they decide to keep Keeley since they need a healer in their clan. Not only is Keeley charged with caring for Alaric, but Ewan wants her to attend the birth of his first child.

Keeley was cast out of her clan as a young girl after the Laird made unwanted advances and his wife cried her a whore. She’s been living alone ever since. The idea of being accepted as a healer in a new clan is appealing, but she’s not happy to have been snatched from her home with no choice. The deciding factor in her not fighting her situation is Alaric. They formed a deep bond while Keeley was caring for him.

The problem is Alaric promised to marry Rionna MacDonald. The MacDonald land lies between the McCabe keep and the new land Ewan McCabe (the laird) inherited when he married his new wife. Without the alliance the clan will be divided, not to mention the other alliances they’re working on might be jeopardized. Alaric knows his duty. As much as he wants Keeley, he knows he can’t have her. Not permanently.

Although Duncan Cameron, the villain from the first book, is still a threat in this novel, but the focus is on the internal conflict of Alaric and Keeley being in love but unable to marry. The story could have become bogged down with angst, but Banks managed a good balance between sexy-times, humor and conflict.

Keeley was a practical woman. Her clan threw her out, but she isn’t so hung up on it she’s willing to cut off her nose to spite her face. When Ewan offers her a place with the McCabe clan, she takes it. Her practicality and levelheadedness worked well with the conflict, too. Yes, she wanted Alaric, but she understood what was at stake and what would happen if they risked everything. Alaric also knew his duty, but my heart broke for him. He knew right away that he wanted Keeley and no other, but he also knew he didn’t have a choice.

I think too often in historical novels the main characters throw convention and duty out the window to the detriment of the story. Yes, it happened, but it was rare. I think for a couple to focus more on duty than on love brought a touch of realism.

The story isn’t perfect. There were times when it was bogged down with useless info. The dialogue ran toward cheesy now and again. I also found myself struggling to connect to Keeley in the beginning. Thankfully that didn’t last long. 

Overall this was a satisfying read. I enjoyed the characters and the conflict. Banks has penned a strong second novel for this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

McCabe Trilogy

four-stars


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Guest Review: How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne Lorret

Posted June 13, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne LorretReviewer: Tracy
How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne Lorret
Series: Misadventures in Matchmaking #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
three-stars

The Bourne Matrimonial Agency has one rule: Never fall in love with the client. A simple thing to remember...unless you’re a matchmaker with amnesia.

The Duke of Rydstrom needs a wife. Preferably one with a large fortune and a complete lack of curiosity. The last thing he needs is a meddling matchmaker determined to dig up his dark family secrets.

All Jacinda wants is to find a bride for a duke. How hard could that be? He’s handsome, enigmatic...and hiding something. She’s sure of it. Determined to discover what it is, she travels to his crumbling cliffside estate. Yet, by the time she washes up on his beach, she can no longer remember who she is or why the duke is so familiar to her. All she knows is that his kisses are unforgettable—and she intends to use every skill she can to discover what’s in his heart.

When Miss Bourne can’t remember what brought her to his ancestral home, Rydstrom intends to keep it that way. Yet as the days pass, his true challenge will be safeguarding his secret while resisting this woman who—confound it all—may well be his perfect match.

The Bourne Matrimonial Agency is where the Crispin Montague, the Duke of Rydstrom goes when he decides he needs a wife.  The agency is run by three sisters, Jacinda, Ainsley and Briar Bourne, along with their uncle.  The uncle is the figurehead for the agency as the girls do all the work, but of course that wouldn’t be proper so everyone thinks that the uncle runs it all.

Jacinda is incredibly devoted to finding matches for the subscribers of TBMA and when someone comes in looking for a match she wants all of the information she can get about them so that she can make a perfect match.  When the Duke of Rydstrom enters and states he wants a wife, the sisters are thrilled because finding this man a match will be a feather in their fledgling business’s cap. Unfortunately for Jacinda, the duke isn’t too forthcoming about himself.  This leads Jacinda to believe that she needs to do more digging.  She decides to dress as a maid in his home and investigate him, but she’s caught by the duke himself before she can find out too much.  She does get a clue about something going on in his family home, so she decides to head there.

The duke realizes that the secret he’s trying to keep may be discovered by the nosey Jacinda Bourne so he heads to his family seat to stop her. What he finds is Jacinda, washed up on shore near the village, with amnesia.  The doctor tells him that no one can tell her information about herself because then she might get false memories, so the duke is stuck taking care of Jacinda in his home and trying to keep her and his secret – his illegitimate sister – away from each other.

While Jacinda is in his home the duke sees another side of Jacinda – not just the nosy busy-body he thought her before.  He sees a bright, intelligent, kind woman who is definitely curious, but in a way he can accept.  Jacinda and Crispin actually become friends and their feelings start to grow deeper from there.  Crispin would love to have Jacinda as his wife but his estate is broke and he needs money in order to keep his home up and running and secure a future for his sister. How can he love one woman yet bring himself to marry another?

This was a cute story.  I like the premise of the book and many of the characters.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like Jacinda all that much.  Ok, I disliked her intensely.  She annoyed the hell out of me with her attitude from page one of the book.  She was constantly into things that didn’t concern her and snooping where she shouldn’t – then making excuses for it all.  She improved a tad bit when she had amnesia but she was still annoying even then.

Crispin was a great character as was his sister, Jacinda’s sisters and uncle, the servants and even the villagers.  I liked them all.  Unfortunately because I didn’t like Jacinda I couldn’t fully get into the romance because I wanted Crispin with someone else.

So, while I like the writing and writing style, as well as many of the characters and the premise, this book fell short for me because of the heroine.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Maulever Hall by Jane Aiken Hodge

Posted June 7, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Maulever Hall by Jane Aiken HodgeReviewer: Tracy
Maulever Hall by Jane Aiken Hodge
Published by Ipso Books
Publication Date: May 17, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 256
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two-half-stars

After a violent coach accident, Marianne wakes with no memory and no idea who she is or where she was going — a name on her brooch the single clue to her identity.

Accompanied only by a young boy, Marianne finds herself lost, afraid, and penniless. Convinced she’s being followed, she pleads for help at the nearest village and is offered refuge by a lonely widow at her grand country home, Maulever Hall.

Marianne settles into life at the Hall, finding fast companionship with Mrs Mauleverer. The days pass and no hint of memory returns, but Marianne’s need for answers is growing urgent. An unexpected visit from Mrs Mauleverer’s aloof son, Mark and his soon-to-be-betrothed, Lady Heverdon has thrown life at the Hall into disarray. They suspect Marianne has come into their lives under false pretences. But the longer she spends with Lady Heverdon, the more Marianne becomes convinced the opposite may be true.

As tensions within the family rise, and Marianne finds herself growing closer to Mark, she begins to wonder whether her arrival at Maulever Hall may have more to do with fate than chance.

Marianne has amnesia.  She woke up riding in a mail coach and was told by the other passengers that there had been an accident.  Not only does she not remember the accident, she doesn’t remember who she is or who the little boy is who is next to her.  The brooch on her dress says “Marianne” so she assumes that’s her name.  She had originally instructed the coachman to leave her and the boy (who the passengers say is named Thomas) off at a crossroads where they don’t normally stop.  When they are let out, she has no idea why she’s there or if anyone was to meet her.  She walks miles before coming to a small village. She decides to head to the vicarage, hoping that the vicar will take her and the boy in as it’s pouring rain.  The vicar is anything but welcoming and is affronted that she has the gall to ask for help. (How did this guy become a priest?) Luckily for Marianne there is a woman visiting the vicar who is far nicer and states she’ll take her and the boy in.  Marianne and Thomas settle in to Maulever Hall and Marianne becomes a sort of companion to Mrs. Mauleverer, the woman who took her in.  Marianne still has no clue who she is and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t remember.  Determined to discover who she is, Marianne combs the countryside for clues but only finds a new friend in an older woman.

Mrs. Mauleverer’s son, Mark, shows up with a woman who was married to his cousin.  The cousin and her step-son have just died and she’s trying to find her way.  Mark seems smitten with Lady Heverdon and not so much with Marianne.  He doesn’t treat Marianne all that well and is suspicious of the reasons she’s there.

While I found the blurb of this book incredibly intriguing, unfortunately I didn’t find the story to be all that good.  There are large portions of the book where nothing much happens and the story dragged.   Marianne was not my type of heroine.  She made unwise decisions over and over but the author tried to make her seem like she was the key that held everything together. I didn’t see that – I found her incredibly gullible and easily swayed to the point of view of whoever she was talking to.  It was a bit frustrating, I must say.  She did have her own thoughts at times, but I found those to be few and far between.

Mark is the “hero” of the story but he was an ass.  He treated Marianne like dirt but then suddenly they were professing their undying love for each other. What?  There was no romance, no build up, nothing – just sudden undying love.  Made me crazy.

When Marianne finally gets clues to who she is does she trust the man she just professed her love to?  No!  She run,s and then it’s almost like a whole other small book was inserted in – I just didn’t like it.  Then there’s the boy who she pretty much fobbed off on one of the Maulever Hall maids.  Thomas is hardly mentioned at all and until later in the book couldn’t quite figure out why he was included at all since Marianne had nothing to do with him.

In the end I found I didn’t care for the book all that much and can’t say I recommend it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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