Tag: Historical

Joint Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

Posted December 13, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 12 Comments

Joint Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Casee, Holly and Rowena
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #5
Also in this series: Again The Magic, The Devil in Winter, Scandal in Spring
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: November 2nd 2010
Pages: 224
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas invites you to spend the holidays with the Wallflowers—four young London ladies who finally found the men of their dreams...and will join together once more to help the world's most notorious rogue meet his match.
The magic of Christmas
Rafe Bowman has just arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen...
BEGINS under the mistletoeWinning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic...and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.
"Splendid romance."—Booklist

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: The three of us haven’t done a review together in awhile. I remember how much I loved this series. Getting this novella was such an lovely bonus.

This post was originally published October 14, 2008

 

It’s been awhile since we did a joint review here at Book Binge, but when Rowena, Casee, and I realized we’d all read A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas, we decided to do one. Please note: There will be spoilers below.

Holly: It was great seeing the Wallflowers again, though I’m glad the story wasn’t totally focused on them. I adored Hannah and Rafe both. There was something very real about them and their relationship. I think Hannah’s understanding of her situation was very well done. I really didn’t like Lady Natalie, though. I’m not sure if LK meant for her to be a sympathetic character, but I didn’t buy it. Especially the way she treated Hannah when she didn’t get her way.

Rowena: I KNOW! I am not a fan of Natalie’s. I hated the way that she treated Hannah, especially when she wanted to spend time alone with Rafe. The way she talked down to Hannah in front of Rafe as if that made her cooler to Rafe seriously pissed me off and sealed her fate for me as the tramp I didn’t like at all.

But, I LOVED THIS BOOK! I thought it was such a fast and cute holiday read. I loved how The Wallflowers were all reunited and happily married. It was fun to see them all band together to help Hannah and I loved the whole Cinderella theme as well.

Rafe was a hottie of a hero, loved him! I loved his personality and I loved his hotness and I just effing loved him! The way he was with Hannah and the way that he was with his sisters and the kids. He was an all around great hero.

Hannah was great too! I loved how we saw her change her mind about Rafe. I loved how smart she was and how she wasn’t afraid to show how smart she was and I loved how easy it was for her to befriend the Wallflowers and fit in with them. She was great, great, great.

Casee: I couldn’t stand Lady Natalie. The way she treated Hannah was just awful, especially in front of Rafe. I thought I would like her b/c of how amused she was when Hannah told her about meeting Rafe. But then she just seemed spiteful and petty.

I loved the first meeting between them. The way Hannah was so apalled by Rafe’s manners was freaking funny.

Like Rowena said, it was a fast and cute holiday read. I really enjoyed it.

H: Natalie was very much the spoiled child. I’m still not clear if LK meant for her to be likable or not. I mean, were we supposed to want her to end up happy, just not with Rafe? I certainly didn’t feel that way in the end. I wanted her to get her comeuppance. I loved that the Wallflowers kind of jumped in and took Hannah under their wing. The scene where they find the letter from Rafe and are examining it is hilarious. It starts with one and then another pops her head in and they all said the same thing, “Hannah found a letter. It’s a secret. Come in.” Adorable. I liked Rafe, too. He was very chivalrous. The way he joked and teased them was great. I definitely loved the intimacy he and Hannah established right in the beginning. How they talked to each other about things and really listened to each other. Oh! How about that first kiss? Scorching! One thing that really bothered me was Lilian. Why in the world would she think Westcliff was cheating on her? That really didn’t ring true for me at all. She was always self-assured and confident and having her question herself and Marcus just..didn’t work. Is that just me?

R: I hope she wasn’t meant to be likeable because I didn’t like that little tramp at all. So crosses fingers not meant to be likeable.

Me too. I thought that adding the Wallflowers into the story would kind of take away from my enjoyment of Rafe and Hannah but that wasn’t the case at all. I think LK did a fantastic job of writing them into the story without them stealing the thunder away from Hannah and Rafe. I loved the scene that you mentioned because it showed us just how close each of the Wallflowers are and even after all this time and then all the time spent apart to see them all together again and acting as if they had spent everyday together was great to see and I was glad that they all came together to help Hannah, it was cute, adorable and oh so right.

That first kiss was…wow. I loved it, it was right then that I fell like a rock for Rafe. So confident and cocky and sexy he was and I ate it all up.

One of my favorite scenes was the one where Hannah gets roped into helping the little kid get the toupee back….oh how frickin’ hilarious that was.

As for the whole Lillian thing, she’s never been a favorite of mine but I do agree that her insecurities about Marcus threw me off a bit because of the Lillian we all knew from the other books. I didn’t think anything of it though, it was just a fleeting thought, one I didn’t dwell on at all so all of that was, BLAH.

C: I really thought Natalie was going to end up being a heroine in a novella with one of the Bowman twin brothers. That was at the beginning when she seemed likeable. After reading the book, though, I’m not interested in reading about her at all.

The scene about Rafe’s letter and all the Wallflowers coming in was probably my favorite scene in the whole book. I just really thought that it really highlighted why these four women became the best of friends in the most unlikely of circumstances. Hannah fit right in and I loved how they took her under their collective wing.

I agree to a certain point about the Lillian thing. I think that LK was trying to show that even a woman as strong as Lillian can have insecurities. Lillian was never a favorite of mine, either, but I really felt bad for her. The part for me that was totally un-Lillian like was when she asked Marcus to be discreet. The Lillian we knew would have bashed his head with whatever heavy object was at hand.

H: You know, at first I didn’t realize there was even an outside story involved (when we first heard the title, but had no synopses, I mean). I thought it was just going to be a reunion of the Wallflowers. I’m glad we got a glimpse of each of them (St. Vincent is effing hot!), but you’re right, they balanced the story rather than taking it over. Oh, that scene when she got stuck on the ledge was wonderful! I really liked not only Rafe rescuing her, but also the scene after, where they decorated the tree as a family. The wager they made and the forfeit Rafe had to give up made me all melty inside. I heart him.

R: Oh yes! I know what you mean, I loved the little forfeit thing, I got all gooey inside, it was great. I’m telling you, this story was another fantastic LK book and I really, really enjoyed it.

The only thing that I was miffed about was that I didn’t think we got enough Simon and Annabelle. I feel like after their story, they were done. They’re mentioned and they’re around but we don’t get to see as much of them as we do of the others, the same with Matthew and Daisy. Those two couples are my favorite in the series and we either hear about how they’re doing or they’re in the background whereas Lillian and Marcus are always around and have parts in other books as well as Seb and Evie, and as much as I love them, I want to see more of the others.

Is that too much to ask for? Maybe but it doesn’t stop me from wanting more sexy Simon and magnificent Matthew…=)

C: I wished there was more of Simon and Anabelle, too! Am I the only one that thought it was weird that Anabelle refers to Simon as “Mr. Hunt” to the Wallflowers? I’ve always thought that seemed so impersonal.

I’m re-reading Devil in Winter right now. I loved getting the small glimpse back into St. Vincent and Evie. Those two…sigh

I thought it was just going to be a Wallflower reunion book, too. I’m glad that we got a little of everything. Getting a new love story along w/ reading more about the Wallflowers, what could be better?

H: You know, it’s funny, but I think Lilian and Marcus are the least favorite Wallflowers by pretty much everyone, but they’re the ones that crop up most often. Even Evie and Seb take a backseat to them. Do you think LK is playing favorites? LOL

Overall I’d say this is a total winner. The main romance between Hannah and Rafe is very well done and the Wallflowers really enhanced the story. I had a couple gripes, but it goes in the keeper pile and I know I’ll pick it up again. 4 out of 5 You?

R: I agree, overall the story was completely well done. The romance between Rafe and Hannah was great and easy to fall into. Great characters, great storyline makes for a winner for me and I think LK did a fab job!

4.5 out of 5 for me.

C: I was completely happy when I closed this book. I thought it was a perfect Christmas read. The only thing that would have made it better was an appearance by Derek Craven. Heh.

4.25 out of 5.

Grades:
Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4. out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

The Series:

  

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here.

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase

Posted December 13, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta ChaseReviewer: Tracy
A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes #1
Also in this series: A Duke in Shining Armor (Difficult Dukes, #1)
Published by Avon
Publication Date: November 28th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?

Olympia is a girl who should be quite happy to be marrying a duke.  She knows that she needs to do this because her parents have no idea how to handle money and she wants to make sure that her 5 brothers are cared for.  Unfortunately, on her wedding day, the more she thinks about marrying the Duke of  Ashmont the more she realizes she just can’t do.  Olympia, the bookish girl who nobody thinks will step out of line, does a runner.

The Duke of Ripley, on of the Duke of Ashmont’s best friends, sees Olympia run for it and follows.  He tries to get her to return to her wedding but the farther away they get the more Ripley realizes that he doesn’t want her to return.  He wants her for himself but he knows he can’t betray his best friend like that.  He and Ashmont have been best friends for years and Ripley’s loyal to him.  So how come he can’t get Olympia out of his head.

Loretta Chase does it again!  She’s written a fun, entertaining, humorous romance with a premise I never expected.  The charm that Chase stuffed into ADiSA was amazing.  I was smiling or laughing throughout most of the story and I loved it.

Both Ripley and Olympia were great characters and I loved them together.  I loved that Olympia wasn’t afraid to speak her mind about Their Dis-graces (Ripley, Ashmont and their friend the Duke of Blackwood) and her disdain for them.  Of course the more that Olympia got to know Ripley she realized that there wasn’t just fluff in his head.  She truly didn’t want to hurt Ashmont but she felt he was immature enough to get over it quickly. Lol  Of course Chase wrote some incredible secondary characters as well with Blackwood, Ashmont, and Ripley’s aunt Julia.

The overall story is one that I loved and highly recommend.  If you like fun, irreverent historical romances then this is one you should definitely read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Guest Review: Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted December 4, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Elizabeth HoytReviewer: Tracy
Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane #12.6) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane #12.6
Also in this series: Wicked Intentions, Wicked Intentions, Lord of Darkness, Darling Beast, Dearest Rogue, Sweetest Scoundrel, Duke of Sin, Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane #10.5), Duke of Pleasure, Duke of Desire, Once Upon a Maiden Lane
Published by Forever, Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Adam Rutledge, Viscount d'Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday—and Adam loves his grandmother, so he'll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they're forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he's ever met.

Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she'll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it's the one gift this mismatched pair can't wait to unwrap.

Adam Rutledge and his aged grandmother are traveling to an aunts house for Christmas when their carriage breaks down.  Adam heads to the first house they see and it ends up being the home of Godric St. John’s (Lord of Darkness – ML #5) mother and the family is all there for the holidays along with some friends.  They welcome Adam and his entourage and when they find out his grandmother is quite sick they welcome them for Christmas as well.

Sarah St. John has no desire to interact with Viscount d’Arque or any man who is considered a rake.  However, the more she sees and talks to Adam the more she sees that though he has a reputation he’s actually a good man underneath it all.  He’s soon melting the ice around her heart and a Christmas romance blooms.

This was a cute little novella.  I wish that it had been a full-length story, however, because I felt that I needed to know both Sarah and Adam much more in order to feel all the melty tingles that I should have been feeling.  Yes, the romance was good and of course Hoyt always writes a great story, but I wanted more in-depth info on the H/h!  As much as I liked Sarah and Adam together things were rushed at the end and that bothered me.  I also didn’t really get why Adam had to hate Christmas but I went with it. lol

Overall a quick, fun read and one I’d recommend.  I mean, it’s Elizabeth Hoyt so of course I recommend it! 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Wilde in Love by Eloisa James

Posted December 1, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Wilde in Love by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Tracy
Wilde in Love by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Lord Alaric Wilde, son of the Duke of Lindow, is the most celebrated man in England, revered for his dangerous adventures and rakish good looks. Arriving home from years abroad, he has no idea of his own celebrity until his boat is met by mobs of screaming ladies. Alaric escapes to his father’s castle, but just as he grasps that he’s not only famous but notorious, he encounters the very private, very witty, Miss Willa Ffynche.

Willa presents the façade of a serene young lady to the world. Her love of books and bawdy jokes is purely for the delight of her intimate friends. She wants nothing to do with a man whose private life is splashed over every newspaper.

Alaric has never met a woman he wanted for his own . . . until he meets Willa. He’s never lost a battle.

But a spirited woman like Willa isn’t going to make it easy. . . .

Alaric is shocked when he finds out he’s a celebrity.  He’s returned to England from his many adventures around the globe and finds himself famous.  He has written books that have become best sellers, but he had no idea that a play was the main cause.  The play portrays him as an incredible romantic – something he is definitely not.

Alaric arrives at his family home just in time for a house party in celebration of his brother’s betrothal.  Alaric meets Willa and sees her as someone different.  She doesn’t fawn all over him and states that she’s never read his books.  He’s intrigued, and he makes it a point to spend more time with her.

Willa and her friend are not what they appear to be.  They tell bawdy jokes and have a wicked sense of humor but on the outside they are the perfect ladies.  Willa has turned down no less than 14 marriage proposals this season alone as she has no wish to marry until she finds the perfect man for her.  When someone from Alaric’s past arrives at the party he uses Willa as his fake fiancé.  The thing that surprises the couple is that both of them would like it to be a true engagement.

This was a great book.  It started off with such charm and humor I was instantly invested in the story.  Alaric proved to be a wonderful hero.  He was such a normal guy who did extraordinary things and had written books about his adventures.  Some thought they were fiction, but he had truly lived through it all.  He fell hard and fast for Willa and I loved it.  He was a good man and I liked his character immensely.

Willa was an intelligent woman who wanted nothing to do with adventure. Her parents had died while they were being reckless and Willa just wanted a normal life – husband, children, no adventure.  I liked that she wanted nothing to do with Alaric at first as she thought him a sham.  I loved reading about the two of them falling in love as she was so wrong about Alaric.

This was a fantastic start to a new series and I can’t wait to see what happens next with Alaric’s brother, North.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase

Posted November 30, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta ChaseReviewer: Rowena
A Duke in Shining Armor (Difficult Dukes, #1) by Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes #1
Also in this series: A Duke in Shining Armor
Published by Avon
Publication Date: November 28th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?

A Duke in Shining Armor is the first book in Loretta Chase’s new Difficult Dukes series. It follows runaway bride, Lady Ophelia Hightower as she runs from one wedding and finds herself heading toward a new one with her ex-fiance’s best friend.

The day of her wedding to the Duke of Ashmont, she panics and flees the scene only to be chased down by the best man, Hugh Philemon, the Duke of Ripley. Ripley has always known that Ophelia is not for him. She was everything that was good in the world while he was a Dis-Grace. Now she’s engaged to his best friend and he’s trying his best to keep her in sight so that he can return her to his friend, only she doesn’t want to be returned. No matter how hard he tries, shit keeps happening and his hold on her and his sanity is rapidly disappearing and feelings are creeping up and keeping his distance from her is proving difficult as is staying un-injured.

What an adventure this story was! Loretta Chase pens another wonderfully charming romance between two people who begin a journey to one place and end up in a totally different place…in love with each other.

Ophelia was a riot. I completely adored her personality and how she was so adamant that she was a boring person who was sensible and didn’t do outrageous things and yet every single turn her journey took, she was in one pickle after another. I loved how fiercely she loved her family even though they worked her nerves and the responsibility she felt toward them was understandable. I loved seeing her life spin out of control and watching her fumble her way around until she made sense of her feelings, her future, and her heart. She was a great character and a strong heroine and I seriously loved the romance between her and Ripley.

Ripley, oh Ripley. I loved him. I thought he was so much fun and when he finally jumps all in with Ophelia and is like, “Fuck it. Let’s do this. I’ll handle Ashmont.” I about swooned with delight because gah…they were perfect for each other. Ripley and Ophelia’s bickering kept me mighty entertained and I just could not imagine either of them with other people. There were times when I wanted to wring both of their necks but for the most part, I just flat out liked them.

I’m mighty curious about who is next. I’m not thinking Ashmont since he has a lot of growing up to do and I confess that I’m much more intrigued with Alice and Blackwood. What is their deal? Where the heck is Alice?

Overall, this was a delightful romance with characters that won me the hell over and the book left me wanting more from this world. I can’t wait for the next one. Ripley and Ophelia were an awesome couple that kept the laughs coming and really, you won’t want to miss this one. It’s good.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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