Tag: Historical

Review: Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James

Posted January 23, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Rowena
Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James
Series: Fairy Tales #2.5
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: December 6th 2011
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 352
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four-stars

It could only happen in a fairy tale.

Lady Lucy Towerton:Plain and tall. (According to the lady herself.) Titled and irreproachably proper. (According to her fiancé.)

Until, overnight, she becomes

Lady Lucy Towerton:Heiress. (Thanks to an aged aunt’s bequest.)Belle of the ball. (So say the fortune hunters of the ton.)

In charge of her own destiny (finally!), Lucy breaks her engagement and makes up her mind never to be proper again…

NOTE: This novella is related to "The Duke Is Mine" and includes Olivia Lytton.

I’m so fired.

I decided last month that I was going to make a noticeable dent in my TBR pile and participate in the book blogging community more so I signed up for the TBR Challenge hosted by Super Librarian Wendy. I picked out my books, I made sure that my January book was downloaded onto my kindle and then I made sure that I read the book in plenty of time to get it reviewed and scheduled.

I read the book. I wrote the review and then I forgot to schedule the review so you’re getting this month’s entry late. Sorry, I swear that I’ll do better next month. 🙂

Anyway, on with the review…

So January’s entry is all about the short story and I chose a book that I’ve been wanting to read for a long ass time. Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James. Eloisa James write fabulous historical romances and I knew that I was going to like this one because Ames liked it. We have similar reading tastes so I went into this one with high hopes and those hopes definitely played out well for me.

Lucy is a wallflower. She’s always overlooked and partying in the corner with the other wallflowers at every ball. When Cyrus asks for her hand in marriage, her parents grudgingly accept. They don’t want Cyrus in the family because his mother is a disgraced daughter of a lord of the ton, a woman who ran away and married a commoner. Cyrus is determined to turn things around for his family so that his sisters will get their shot at a season. He needs to marry someone above reproach and he finds all of that in Lucy.

Lucy knows that her marriage to Cyrus is not a love match but when she realizes how little Cyrus knows her and how much he doesn’t want to get to know her, she decides that she wants more than a marriage of convenience. She can afford to be picky because she came into an inheritance from her dead Aunt so she breaks things off with Cyrus and is surprised when Cyrus takes a genuine interest in her and pursues her in earnest.

Watching these two get to know each other and fall slowly in love with one another was a treat. Eloisa James is a pro at wrapping me up in feels and this short story was no different. It was fun to see Cyrus jump through hoops to win Lucy’s heart and I was so satisfied in the end. Cute and fun, you won’t regret reading this.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Campbell’s Redemption by Sharon Cullen

Posted January 23, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Campbell’s Redemption by Sharon CullenReviewer: Tracy
Campbell's Redemption by Sharon Cullen
Series: Highland Pride series #3
Also in this series: Sutherland's Secret, MacLean's Passion
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: November 22nd 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Scottish
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four-stars

Like his ancestors, Iain Campbell, the Marquess of Kerr, swears loyalty to whichever government happens to be in power. Privately, however, he despises the British for the slaughter following the Battle of Culloden and finds himself playing a dangerous game of deception. When he defends a fellow Scot under cloak of darkness, Iain is wounded and must put his life in the hands of a mysterious healer. The prickly, bewitching woman saves him with her touch, though she denies Iain the pleasure of a smile from her sensuous lips—which only makes him want her all the more.

Cait Campbell has no fondness for the marquess and his political machinations. Now he makes a treacherous patient, since Cait is harboring Jacobite fugitives in her cellar. But with Iain confined to bed rest, Cait sees another side of the fierce warrior. How can she hate a man whose eyes sparkle in candlelight, a man whose voice stirs her soul? She soon discovers that he loves the Scottish people deeply—and, despite her painful intuitions, Cait is tempted to let Iain love her, too.

Cait is happy with her life.  She’s a healer living on the outskirts of Campbell land.  It’s been four years since her husband died and she’s doing well.  She heals both the Scottish people as well as the redcoats that come to her.  She doesn’t like helping them but she’s a healer so that’s what she does.  She also believes this will create goodwill between her and the soldiers and they’ll leave her alone.  When Iain Campbell brings the commander of his warriors to be healed she’s happy to help but she wants nothing to do with Iain.  Her husband, John, was Iain’s commander when he was alive and died by a bullet intended for Iain.  Cait can’t help but find Iain responsible for John’s death even though logically she knows he’s not.  Part of her solitude is harboring Scottish fugitives from the English.  She’s not willing to give that up for anyone.

Iain has felt guilty for John’s death and though he told John as he was dying that he would take care of Cait he hasn’t.  The guilt was too much for him to be around Cait but once he was back in her house he couldn’t keep himself away.  He has feelings for Cait but she’s not willing to make an affair with him public.  Unfortunately the redcoats Cait thought she was keeping away didn’t stay away and when she’s threatened Iain will stop at nothing to protect her.

Another great story in the Highland Pride series.  Iain Campbell, in previous books helped both MacLean and Sutherland but yet everyone thought he was an English sympathizer when the truth was he was a spy. Because I wasn’t totally sure of his loyalties going into the book I was cautious.  Cullen made me a lover of Iain very quickly as his care for Cait was so honest and real.

Cait was a stubborn woman from beginning to end.  She had lost everyone who she had ever loved and she wasn’t willing to get involved with Iain and take the risk of losing him.  Luckily Iain was persuasive with Cait and was able to make her believe his love for her.  I really loved the two of them together.  Individually they were strong characters but together they were a bit invincible.

There was a bit of intrigue in the story as well and I thought that was well done.  It was woven well into Cait and Iain’s story and made it that much better. The whole of the story was well worth reading and I very much enjoyed it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Married for His Convenience by Eleanor Webster

Posted January 18, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Married for His Convenience by Eleanor WebsterReviewer: Tracy
Married for His Convenience by Eleanor Webster
Published by Harlequin Historical
Publication Date: December 1st 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-half-stars

A plain countess…

Tainted by illegitimacy, plain Sarah Martin has no illusions of a grand marriage. So when the Earl of Langford makes her a proposal that will take her one step closer to finding her half sister, she can't refuse!

Sebastian's dreams of romance died with his late wife's affair, so now he needs a convenient wife to act as governess for his silent daughter. Yet Sarah continues to surprise and challenge him, and soon Sebastian can't deny the joy his new bride could bring to his life—and into his bed!

Sarah Martin lived in London when she was little with her mother who was a mistress and her half-sister, Charlotte.  When her mother died her father took her back to his home to live with him and his wife (awkward!) but since Charlotte wasn’t his daughter he left her in London.  It’s been 14 years since Sarah has seen her sister but she dreams of the day she can get to London and find her once again.

Sebastian’s thought he and his wife were happy but she took off with his children with her lover and moved to France…where she was subsequently executed.  The lover held Sebastian’s children for ransom which he paid but he only got his daughter Elizabeth back.  He’s been searching for his son Edwin but hasn’t had any luck.  He meets Sarah and finds her intriguing.  She makes him laugh and she’s got a way with animals and people.  He thinks maybe she’ll be able to bring his daughter out of the dark place she’s been since he got her back 6 months ago.  She hasn’t spoken a word since her return and rocks incessantly.  His great-aunt also wants him to marry and he needs her funds so he asks Sarah to marry him – just for convenience.

Sarah is shocked at the proposal but there are many reasons she should accept – the main one being that she would be in London and would be able to find her sister. Once married she finds the search for Charlotte as well as her interactions with Elizabeth much more difficult than she thought.  She also starts having feelings for Sebastian which she knows are unrequited but she’s determined to make the most of her marriage no matter what.

This was a very sweet story.  Sarah and Sebastian were very opposite people but they got along very well.  Sebastian was a bit flummoxed by the fact that he found plain Sarah highly desirable and tried to curb his desires as much as he could.  He couldn’t stay away for long, however, especially when he started getting emotionally attached to her.  She was so good with his daughter and he loved that.

Sarah was a good person all around.  She cared for children, people and stray animals.  She even cared for her guardian who was her father’s wife and didn’t always treat her in a kindly way.  I loved how she interacted with the silent Elizabeth and tried to help with the search for Edwin whenever she could.

The whole premise of the story was a good one and was really focused on love, trust and respect for the other person.  It was well done and while not all that “sexy” it was a satisfying read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: The Dare and the Doctor by Kate Noble

Posted January 16, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Dare and the Doctor by Kate NobleReviewer: Tracy
The Dare and the Doctor by Kate Noble
Series: Winner Takes All #3
Also in this series: Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night
Published by Headline Eternal
Publication Date: November 22nd 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-half-stars

Dr. Rhys Gray and Miss Margaret Babcock are friends—strictly friends. But over the course of the year, as they exchange dozens of letters, they share personal details that put them on the path to something more. When Dr. Gray helps Margaret realize her dearest dream and she comes to his defense in the uproar that follows, it seems that their connection cannot be denied. But will their relationship stand the scruples of society and jealous intendeds, or are they destined to be only friends, and nothing more?

Rhys is a doctor and a friend of Margaret’s father.  He came to visit and stayed at their house.  He and Margaret became friends and after he leaves to go back to Greenwich they start corresponding and build a great friendship.  When Rhys tells the London Horticultural Society about her hybrid roses and they state that they are interested in seeing them Margaret balks.  She’s not sure she can get to London and leave the home she’s known.  She finally agrees to go after hearing her mother whisper in her ear, “I dare you.”  Margaret’s mother has been dead for years but that was her favorite way of getting Margaret to do things she didn’t want to do.

After arriving in London Margaret gets talked into going to balls, etc., by her friends and hosts but she just wants to garden.  She does head to Vauxhall with Rhys but they both fear that her hosts, his friends, are trying to get them together.  They assure each other that they have no designs on each other and that they are just friends.  Margaret is happy to be friends with Rhys until she learns that he is to be married to the beautiful Miss Sylvia Morton.

Miss Morton is kind and strikes up a friendship with Margaret which includes heading to all of the events that Margaret would rather not go to.  She doesn’t want to hurt Sylvia’s feelings though so she goes.  She loves seeing Rhys at these events but unfortunately Sylvia is always there reminding her that Rhys isn’t hers.  She tells herself it doesn’t bother her but she lies.  She starts to fall for Rhys but knows she can never have him and it starts to break her heart.

This was a very sweet story of two very similar characters.  Rhys and Margaret are just such nerds and perfect for each other. 🙂 He loves hearing about her plants and she loves hearing about and seeing all of the things in his laboratory.  How either of them thought they could just be friends was beyond me.  I loved how comfortable they were with each other.  Their conversations weren’t strained for lack of anything to say and they took the other for who they truly were – not who they wanted them to be.

Rhys was really in a pickle with his mom having made an agreement with the Morton’s to have Rhys marry Sylvia.  It had been years since the agreement was made but both families were sticking to it.  Rhys truly didn’t want to marry Sylvia but he felt like he had to for the good of the family.  My heart went out to him in his predicament.  Of course Sylvia didn’t help matters because I could see how scheming she was from the beginning and didn’t like her one bit.

The book was sweet and I enjoyed it.  It was slow at times but for the most part a good, steady romance.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

Posted January 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 44 Comments

Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.Reviewer: Rowena
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
Series: Westmorelands #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Publication Date: July 1st 2003
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 438
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four-half-stars

Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as "The Wolf"; his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will . . . until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web . . . a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.

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

This week, we’re going back to the author that started my love of romance novels, Judith McNaught. I remember this review and all of the fighting commenting we did in the comments. What a lively bunch we are…ha! Oh man, the memories…***

This review was originally posted on May 29, 2007.

Okay so this weekend, while I was in the midst of reading all these books while waiting to read my book book, I did a reread of this book, A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

Now in our little circle of friends, this is the book that brings out the claws. I kid you not, we have gotten into some serious fight emails (in ALL CAPS y’all) about this book and the heroine. While some of us think that Jenny was a stupid beeyatch who deserved all the crap that she got, we still think she was redeemable in the end, there are others who think otherwise. They’re the ones that think Jenny should have died a slow death where she was tortured, hanging over a fire pit, being slow roasted.

LOL.

And as I was reading this book, this past weekend I found myself being just as absorbed in this story as I was the many other times I’ve read this book.

I found myself falling deeper and deeper under the Royce Westmoreland spell and I thought this book was fantastically written. The emotions Judith McNaught envoked in the readers toward the characters, pulled them deep into the story and made them apart of it, made them hate the bad guys (and the good guys) and made them hungry with the thirst of justice (for poor Thor and William) and I’ve got to say that Judith McNaught sure knows what she’s doing when she writes these books.

She’s a master at weaving a world that sparks such interesting topics and discussions. I mean, I’ve never fought with anyone like I did with Izzy and Holly over the whole Jenny thing and I admit to poking fun at them, deliberately provoking them into getting all huffy and puffy about Jenny and her actions.

It’s really fun, to read this book and roll my eyes and get that nervous twitch in my stomach when I knew Jenny was going to do something stupid, like sew the soldiers clothes shut or carve Royce’s face with his own knife, then you know, THE scene where she did what she did to Thor? And then when she hesitated over Royce’s lance when he approached her for her ribbon?

sigh

These are the things that made me so angry at Jenny but I didn’t wish Royce ended up with anyone else. I mean, she was stupid but she was very repentant at the end. Yeah, Royce was nearly dead before she got her wits around her to go and put a stop to the slaughtering of her husband, but she DID do it and she truly showed that she did in fact love him with all that she was…

Royce’s speech when he brought Jenny back to his home and introduced him to the servants, sigh I just love it…so much so that I’m going to type it out for you.

Behold your new mistress, my wife. And know that when she bids you, I have bidden you; what service you render her, you are rendering me, what loyalty you give or withhold from her, you give or withhold from me.

swoon

Man but this was a good book, a fantastic book and even though Jenny was a stupid ass, I still loved this book and I will continue to read it over and over again because it’s just that great.

Go on, bring on the vicious words for Jenny, I know you’re just dying to say them…LOL.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Pocket Books. You can purchase it here.

four-half-stars

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