Tag: Historical

High Country Bride by Linda Lael Miller

Posted October 15, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Book description:

One ranch. Three sons. Only one will inherit…and on one condition. Tired of waiting for his sons to settle down, Arizona-territory rancher Angus McKettrick announces a competition: the first son to marry and produce a grandchild will inherit Triple M ranch. Now, three distinctly different, equally determined cowboys are searching high and low for brides.

If Emmeline Harding knows one thing, it’s that she can’t hold her liquor. And though she’s not sure how she came to wake up next to a stack of gold coins in a brothel, she fears the worst. Fleeing town as a mail-order bride, she wonders: how will she ever confess her past to her handsome new husband?

Freedom-loving Rafe McKettrick is a man of strong beliefs and stronger passions and he’ll do anything to win the Triple M — even marry a stranger. To his surprise, Emmeline’s charms beguile him even as the secrets he senses she’s hiding ignite jealousy and suspicion. But when a visitor from the past enters the high country, the newlyweds have no choice but to give up on a marriage in name only and seek a union that satisfies them body and soul.

When I first started reading romance, I read a lot of Linda Lael Miller. I soon learned that I really don’t like her heroines. They are too bossy, too spinster-ish, too obnoxious. I could see almost every one of them organizing feminist rallies and turning their husbands into cute little lapdogs. So why did I read High Country Bride? Because it’s a Western. I also read the trilogy with the contemporary McKettrick brothers and was curious about the historical ones.

After Angus McKettrick tells his three sons that he will leave everything to the son who marries and has children first, Rafe knows exactly how he’ll get ahead of his brothers. He’ll send away for a bride. The problem with that is that it takes longer than he hopes for his bride to actually arrive. By the time she does arrive, he’s forgotten all about sending for her.

Emmeline Harding left Kansas City in shame. Growing up in a boarding house (read: brothel) and being raised by her aunt was unconventional to say the least. Her aunt was always determined to raise Emmeline to be respectable, sheltering her as much as possible. That all changes on the night that Emma decides to pretend to be one of her aunts “girls”. After drinking too much while talking to a stranger, the last thing Emmeline remembers is kissing him in the hallway. The next morning, she finds herself almost naked in bed with a stack of coins on the table beside the bed. She is horrified, but that is nothing compared to what her aunt feels after seeing what Emmeline has done. So Emmeline decides to register with Happy Home Matrimonial and soon finds herself married by proxy to Rafe McKettrick.

After meeting her husband, Emmeline has hopes that her marriage will be more that a marriage of convenience. As she finds herself falling for her husband, she struggles with her secret, not knowing how much longer she can keep it to herself. That choice is soon taken out of her hands when the man from the brothel arrives at the ranch, looking for work. Any hope Emmeline has that she won’t be recognized is put to rest the very day he arrives. It’s clear that he remembers exactly who Emmeline is and that night that she’s trying to forget.

This book wasn’t exactly bad, there were just some things I didn’t like about it. I don’t like when men are portrayed as “manly-men” and then when they speak, the are “shy”. That bugs me. Every time Rafe said something to Emmeline “shyly”, I was like WTF??? Emmeline herself kind of grated on my nerves, too. I understood her internal struggle to keep a secret that could ruin her marriage and the new life she was trying to make, but geez. Make a decision already.

When she finally did tell Rafe, I was really disappointed with Rafe’s response. “You were a whore?” is what he asked her. Pul-lease. Talk about double standard. And it wasn’t like she actually meant to do it. What makes it worse for Rafe (and this is totally understandable) is the man that Emmeline was “with” that night, is actually his half-brother. So I could understand his anger there. When he found out what really happened that night, he couldn’t swallow his pride enough to go to his wife.

The shit really hits the fan when they find out that something was wrong with the proxy and they’re actually not married. Fun times after that.

There are three more books in the series. I picked them up at the ubs and will read them…eventually.

3.5 out of 5.

To Find You Again by Maureen McKade

Posted October 12, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 5 Comments

Book description:

It has been seven years since Emma Hartwell’s capture by a tribe of the Lakota Sioux. But her recent rescue by the US Cavalry feels like anything but salvation. She has been forced to leave behind her beloved child, and return to the family who can’t accept her, only to be shunned by the townspeople as an outcast. Emma is haunted by her life with the Elk tribe. She sets off on a dangerous journey, fueled by a fierce love of her son and fears for his safety, in an effort to find the tribe and reclaim him.

Only Ridge Madoc stands in her way. A former army scout with a keen tracking sense and a keener sense of justice, Ridge has been sent by Emma’s father to bring her back–a task that will give him the chance of reclaiming some of the land that was rightfully his. But, he never expected a woman as determined and courageous as Emma. Now, Emma must appeal to Ridge to help her with her desperate quest, and Ridge must struggle with his desire for a woman who no longer has a place in his world…

I really hate getting in reading ruts. It really effects me in unpleasant ways. When nothing sounds good, what do you do? I start going through my different piles of TBR books (they’re semi-organized). I look at different books and remember when and where I bought them, but for the life of me can’t remember why I bought them. Since I’m in a (sort of) rut, I decided to try to get back into historicals. I have so many good historicals, but I just haven’t been in the mood for them. I’m really glad I picked up this book by Maureen McKade b/c it was a very good read.

When Emma Hartwell was “rescued” from the Lakota tribe she had lived with for 7 years, she was gravely wounded and had a vague feeling that something was missing. It wasn’t until she was recovering from a life threatening saber wound that she realized what she was missing…her son, Chayton. Not daring to breathe a word of her son’s existence to anyone, Emma quietly went through her days trying to remain unobtrusive. That was hard b/c even though the town believed that Emma was in the Lakota camp against her will, they still referred to her as a “Squaw woman”. They looked at her as a fallen and soiled woman. They didn’t even know the full truth, that she had willingly married and had a child with one of the Lakota warriors.

Though her mother and father decide to send her to her Aunt Alice’s back east, Emma knows that they mean well. After vivid nightmares that make her believe that harm will come to her son, she also knows that she won’t leave without him. The day before she’s to leave, she sneaks out and begins the long process of following the tribe.

When John Hartwell comes to Ridge Madoc trying to hire him to find Emma, Ridge is dubious. This is the same man that basically stole land that had been in Ridge’s family for generations. It didn’t matter that he obtained it legally…buying it from his drunken stepfather was the same as taking it for free as far as Ridge was concerned. Hartwell also refused to hire him as a ranch hand when Ridge went looking for work. Nonetheless, Ridge can’t pass up the opportunity to make the kind of money that Hartwell is offering.

Ridge soon learns that there is more to Emma that anyone realizes. Finding first her trail, then Emma herself, Ridge is satisfied that he can have Emma back in 2-3 days. He didn’t plan on having his tea drugged and getting his horse stolen. Now it’s a matter of pride and Ridge doggedly follows Emma’s trail. When he once again finds her, they strike a deal. Ridge will accompany Emma to the Lakota camp in return for doubling the money her father is offering. Ridge accepts.

I really found this book fascinating. Emma was a woman caught in two separate worlds during a time that you had to be in one or the other. Though she lived with the Lakota’s for 7 years, she was no longer fully accepted in their midst. In the white world, she was looked upon as an Indian. The only person that didn’t look upon her with disdain was Ridge. Even then, she knew that they had no future. Not only did she think he couldn’t accept that she married a Lakota (incorrectly, I might add), but she also knew how hard it would be for him when she brought her son back.

As a mother, I could completely understand Emma’s dilemma. On one hand, she wanted her son. She wanted the baby she she carried all those months. But she also knew that he would be better being raised by people that accepted him. The scene where her and Ridge rode away from the Lakota camp, leaving Chayton behind was heart breaking.

It was a mother’s instinct that made her go back to the camp. It was there they saw the carnage brought upon the tribe by the Confederate Army. Though she feared she was too late, Emma found Chayton scared, but unharmed. It was then she vowed that she would not be separated with him again. Taking him back to her parents house laid the grown work for the next section and the ending of this book.

Though this is a time long past, I felt Emma’s heartbreak that people wouldn’t accept an innocent three year old boy without slurring him or his mother. When Emma’s mom and sister embraced Chayton as part of the family, I rejoiced with Emma. When Ridge offered to marry Emma and happiness was within her grasp, a bitter enemy from the tribe comes to take Chayton away from her forever.

This is not a book that will give you the warm fuzzies. This is a book that will engage your emotions and maybe even make you a little teary.

4 out of 5.

Unmasqued: An Erotic Novel of the Phantom of the Opera by Colette Gale

Posted October 2, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 3 Comments

One of the world’s most beloved stories as it has never been told before, Unmasqued is a novel of breathtaking historical erotica.

His exquisite obsession…
Christine Daae heard rumors of the hideous Phantom said to haunt the great Opera House in 19th-century Paris. But its youngest and brightest star knows something no one else does-the truth. For in the darkness she thrills to the deep velvet timbre of his arousing voice, and quivers to the soft strokes of his leather-gloved fingers. He is real. Her inspiration. Her Musique d’Ange. Her liberator.

Her erotic awakening…
Condemned to the catacombs below, Erik has desired his obsession from the shadows, careful to keep his identity, and his secret, in the dark. Only he understands Christine’s extraordinary talents and her beauty. Only he can pleasure her like no man has before. But his sensual power comes with a price-and a risk to everyone who stands between them. For Christine too is succumbing to her most forbidden and dangerous desires-and to the Phantom who’s making them all come true.

The Plot:

The plot follows the Webber/Leroux version of Phantom. I’ve tried several times to write down the plot, but I can’t get it right. So I’m cheating and giving you a link of the plot summary. Click here.

The only difference is the ending. In the book and musical version, Christine ends up with Raoul, her true love. In this version, we find she went with Raoul and big brother Philippe so that they wouldn’t have the mob attack Erik. Christine doesn’t want to go but she loves Erik too much to see him hurt. Before leaving, the brothers make Christine pleasure them in front of Erik. Which gives Philippe joy. Turns out Erik is their illegitimate brother and Philippe hates Erik with a passion. So what a perfect way to hurt Erik than to make him watch his true love pleasure another man.

Off to Château De Changy where she is held prisoner. While Raoul is off taking care of some business, Philippe and his wife try and seduce Christine. Raoul arrives and tells big brother, “No, she will not be a part of this.” Philippe has other plans though. He wants Christine. He wants Christine to particpate in their naughty adventures.

Mdme Giry comes to work at the château to help Christine escape with Eric, however, Phillippe discovers the plot. With the help of Mdme Giry and Carlotta, Erik rescuse Christine before Philippe can hurt Christine with his kinky rough sex.

And for those wondering why Carlotta would help (she hates Christine for trying to overshine her) save Christine, this is why: Philippe had strangled her while getting their freak on. Now… strangling someone who’s pride and joy is their voice, a big no no. Plus he did some other rough stuff with Carlotta. Carlotta is pretty bitter and she gives Philippe what has been coming to him. They find him dead, strapped to his sex table with a hard on, a smile on his face, and a red mark around his neck.

Nice. That’s what you get you freak!

What I liked:

I liked the story. I started it and the only reason why I put it down was because my house needed cleaning. I wanted to know what would happen next. I mean, I knew what happened but I just didn’t know how. The sex scenes were pretty steamy. The ranged from sweet to down right kinky. So you get a little of everything.

I loved that Christine loved Erik and they ended up together. I loved how Christine was in love with Erik and how she wanted to be with him and not Raoul.

Hot damn. I’m mostly shocked at Mdme Giry. Woman liked to get her freak on! She was freaky naughty!!! I loved her. I’ll never look at her the same again. Mdme Giry is my favorite character in this book.

I can’t really explain why I liked the book, I just did. I don’t know if I liked the book because I liked the book or because I love the musical Phantom of the Opera.

What Bothered me:

Ok, where was Meg? There is a mention of her, but blink and you miss it. I don’t know about the Gaston Leroux version, but in the webber version, it seemed as if they were close friends. That would’ve been interesting to see Meg in the mix.

My WTF moment:

Ok. There is a scene in the book, where the Erik has Christine in his underground lair. He’s torturing/pleasuring Christine. he’s bringing to her edge of ecstasy and then he leaves her hanging. Several times. You see, Erik caught Christine kissing Raoul and it devastated him. So now he’s showing Christine the pain and agony he felt.

There is a moment, where he has Christine hold a harp. Well.. how do I explain this. She has on hand on one end of the harp and the other hand at the other end. He has her naked and has her stand so her nipples are brushing up against the strings. Then Erik starts to play the harp. Christine is feeling immense pleasure as the strings vibrate against her nipples.

Now, I get the vibrations of the strings would feel good. But… I don’t know… I just wasn’t feeling that scene.


All in all, I enjoyed the book. The pacing was right for me. Yes there was a lot of sex, but it still flowed well with the story. I would definatly check out her next book which is the untold story of The Count of Monte Cristo.

Grade: 4/5

Review: A Rogue in Texas by Lorraine Heath

Posted September 25, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 7 Comments

Isabel’s review of A Rogue in Texas (Rogues in Texas #1) by Lorraine Heath.

When Grayson Rhodes leaves London’s beau monde, he sets out to seek his fortune. Sure, he’s the illegitimate son of a duke, but he needs to move on and make his way in the world. But did he expect to end up working Texas farmland for the widow Abbie Westland? She’s nothing like the ladies from the society balls, and she has more mystery to her than any barefoot contessa. For her part, Abbie’s convinced that this British dude is just a slacker circa the mid-1860s. Lorraine Heath rides the range with A Rogue in Texas , a delightful read from beginning to end.

The Plot:

Grayson is a bastard. Because he is a bastard, he will not inherit his father’s estate. So Gray and his friends, Kit and Harry (second sons), go to Texas to make their way in the world. Actually, their fathers send them there. Because they know as second sons, they won’t really have anything in England and this is a good opportunity for them. That or they just want their sons to grow up and become men. The boys agree to travel to England. What they don’t know is all the hard work they’ll have to do. Their job: picking cotton.

Although Gray feels pain and exhaustion like he’s never felt before, he also feels a sense of pride he has never felt before. Like he’s accomplishing something. He thinks of how wasteful he was back in England. Like throwing away shoes because they were scratched. He also can’t remember how he spent his days back in England.

Gray and Abbie find themselves falling in love with each other. However something from the past comes back and threatens their future.

Did I like it:

Yes, I enjoyed reading this book. My SIL had loaned me a few books by Lorraine Heath and they were all right. Someone, can’t remember who, told me the westerns were much better. They were right. Much better.

I liked Gray because although he wanted Abbie so much, he let her call all the shots. He let her grow to trust him. He was also hardworking. His friends wanted to turn around and leave, but Gray was determined to do what he was set out to do. I liked how he kept wanting Abbie to relax. He would watch her making sure everyone else was taken care of, but never took care of herself.

I liked Abbie. She was a hard working woman. She doesn’t take to Gray at all, thinking he won’t be able to pull his weight. She was also in a way devoted to her deceased husband. She didn’t love him but she did care for him. She knew he had his faults but would always tell Gray, “He gave me a roof over my head and food in my belly.” She accepted the land came first with her ex hubby. By being with Gray, she learned what is was like to be wanted and loved.

What Bothered Me:

Abbie is kind of.. skittish about men touching her. There is a scene where Gray falls in the mud. He pulls Abbie down with him, thinking it would be funny since she was laughing at him. She gets all freaked out. There is another scene where her brother comes up from no where and Abbie gets startled. The way she acts, you would think her hubby was rough with her or even raped her.

He didn’t per say. He would just tell Abbie, “I need you” and that was it. I would say her ex hubby was just dumb when it came to a woman’s needs. Now I can see where that would make Abbie not like sex but not to be fearful of a man’s touch.

My question: Did I miss something? Was she beaten or raped? Was it so subtle that I missed it? Or is just a matter of that was how Abbie dealt with that situation?

What I Didn’t Like:

I kind of predicted some things. Like, when Abby and Gray got engaged, I knew something would come up to bring chaos to that. And then I figured how that mess would be tidied up. I’m not one to figure these things out either.

Conclusion: I did enjoy reading this book. A few things bothered me but it wasn’t anything major. I look forward to reading the other books in this series.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can purchase it here.

Lady Amelia’s Secret Lover by Victoria Alexander

Posted September 18, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Lady Amelia’s Secret Lover by Victoria AlexanderReviewer: Rowena
Lady Amelia's Secret Lover by Victoria Alexander
Published by Avon
Publication Date: September 25, 2007
Genres: Historical, Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Lady Amelia's Secret Love is a historical romance novel with a decidedly modern bent: Lady Amelia Hathaway's marriage has gotten stale over the past six years, so she decides to take a lover. She makes no secret of her intent - but what her husband doesn't know is that Amelia's real scheme is to win him back.Will the plan work well enough to earn Amelia the passion she deserves from her husband? Or will it backfire drastically, sending him into the arms of a flesh-and-blood lover of his own? Click here for the video ebook -- featuring pop-up video commentary from the author!

Last week, Holly and I posted about the new video eBook that Avon is releasing, one of the firsts of its kind was this book, Lady Amelia’s Secret Lover. I read the book last week and am just now getting around to my review of the new, eBook.

It was a short and cute read. Very quick. There wasn’t much to the story, no real dramatic storyline where we had to find out who was trying to kill who, steal what from who and all that…it was a straight up romance novel about the problems couples face, AFTER the honeymoon period ends. In Lady Amelia’s Secret Lover, we have a Lord and Lady Robert Hathaway who have been married for 6 years and are in a “content” phase, a phse where they are taking the other for granted and the passion they once shared seems to have fizzled out of their relationship.

Lady Amelia swears that her husband is being unfaithful to her and has taken up with a mistress behind her back. Not one to go for something like that, she decides that if Robert can take a mistress, well then so can she. Well, she doesn’t want a mistress, just a lover…someone aside from her husband to seek “passion” from, I guess. The thing I thought was funny was Amelia brings this Robert’s attention over breakfast one morning and the way she brought it up was so nonchallant, she could have been talking about the weather or the garden or whatever….she was that sneaky and I laughed..a lot. She told Robert of her plans to seek out a lover since he had a mistress with such ease, I read the scene twice before moving on. Robert’s reaction was so funny, in that scene you could totally see what Amelia was talking about, how distant their relationship had gotten..and you could see the work that needed to be done in order to bring the passion back to their marriage.

I really enjoyed the characters in this short story, we didn’t have this big ol’ book to sift through in order to get a real feel of these characters but I enjoyed the characters anyway. I think Victoria Alexander did a great job of making me love the characters in this story…I loved Robert’s twin brother, Harry and thought his part in the whole game was hysterical. I loved the bond between Robert and Harry, I loved that Amelia knew all along that it was Harry who was trying to get in good with her on Robert’s behalf. I loved how Robert and Harry thought they were so slick and fooled Amelia and were totally wrong.

I loved Amelia’s sisters and cannot wait to meet and get to know Cordelia in the next book, which is her book entitled, Secrets of a Proper Lady. Amelia’s bond with her sisters was a treat and I loved how her sisters remind me of my own sisters…women who have an opinion and aren’t afraid to voice them, no matter how scandalous they are. These women were a delight to read about and they were easy to relate to and just all around fantabulous characters.

If you’re looking for a story that has deep dialogue and an intense storyline then this isn’t the book for you, but it’s perfect for those times when you need a light and fun read that will make your heart sigh and your soul sing…haha, I’m serious, this book was a cute read and I totally recommend it for those nights when you want something quick and cute to read.