Category: Reviews

Joint Review: The Wedding by Julie Garwood

Posted October 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: The Wedding by Julie GarwoodReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Wedding by Julie Garwood
Series: Laird's Fiancees #2
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

It's a classic plot: a marriage of convenience that lays the groundwork for true love.

1119. Journeying from England to Scotland to wed a highlander, Lady Brenna had resigned herself to the arranged match. But when a band of fierce, painted warriors captured her en route, she fearlessly met their demand to marry their leader -- the quick-tempered laird Connor MacAlister. She couldn't know that her capture was merely the first act of vengeance against her betrothed, Connor's sworn enemy.

Brenna harbored no illusions that her husband was in love with her; after a hasty forest wedding, MacAlister assured her she could return home once she had borne him a son. But she could not deny that she had once proposed to MacAlister -- ten years ago, when she was just a child, and the visitor to her father's castle charmed her with his dazzling, unexpected smile. Now, as she sets out to win the brave chieftain whom she has come to adore, a legacy of revenge ensnares Brenna in a furious clan war -- and only her faith in her gallant hero can save her....

Lady Brenna is on her way to marry Highland Laird McNare, when her party is intercepted by Laird Connor McAllister and some of his men. Connor has a feud going with McNare and intends to steal Brenna for his bride in retribution for something McNare did. It’s convenient that Brenna once asked him to marry her..when she was about 4.

Holly: This has long been one of our favorite Julie Garwood books. Rowena and I both love Connor and Brenna, the setting and the storyline. We both recently read it, so we decided to review it together.

So, what do you think? Did it hold up for you?

Rowena: This book is one of my all-time favorite books by Julie Garwood. I have always loved this book but I’m not going to lie, the older I get, the scarier it is to re-read books that I loved from back in the day. But no matter how many times that I read this book, I love it just a smidge more than I did the last time. This book is just too damn good.

Holly: Girl, preach. The older I get the more scared I am to re-read old favorites, too. I’d be so sad if I read an old favorite and the magic was lost. Thankfully that wasn’t the case here. I love this book. Connor, Brenna, all of it.

Rowena: I loved Brenna. I loved Connor. I loved it all.

Holly: I really enjoyed Brenna. Garwood writes too-perfect heroines, and Brenna followed suit, but I still loved her. Her quirks, her fears, her anger when Connor acted inconsiderate really worked for me. I loved seeing the glimpse of her as a precocious child, and then her grace and humor as an adult.

Rowena: I’ve pimped this book out to so many of my friends and my family and while they enjoy the book, nobody ever loves this book as much as I do. It just hits differently with me, I guess. I really love how easy it is for me to fall into Connor and Brenna’s world every single time that I read this. And every time I read this book, I’m thrown back to my early reading days when I read all of Julie Garwood’s books over and over again. I loved the writing in this one. I could see everything so vividly and I felt everything that Connor and Brenna felt and loved all of the side characters (except Raen and his stupid ass Mom).

Yeah, you’re right. Julie Garwood’s historical heroines are super perfect (even their imperfections are perfect) but that doesn’t stop me from loving each and every single one of them. Brenna included.

Some of my favorite scenes ever are in this one, and it doesn’t matter how many times I read this book, I cackle like a crazy person every time Connor answers Brenna with, “Nay, tis Connor.” And then there’s the wedding scene when Brenna talks in circles and circles and then Connor recites her vows back to her better than she does. Ha! I freaking love this book!

Holly: Raen and his mom came across so vividly on page, I really and truly hated them. I remember you telling me about this book when I first started reading Garwood, and thinking “There’s no way it’s that good”. I was wrong. It is that good.

That wedding scene gets me every time. And Brenna chewing Connor out in the stables and calling him a goat. I laughed. There was so many great scenes in this book.

Rowena: Same. They were such awful characters. I rage each and every time I read the part in the book where Euphemia tells Brenna to submit and my heart goes out to Brenna every single time when all of the shenanigans go down with Raen. They were such great villains, I swear. And I just love the way that Connor avenges Brenna. These Highlanders do vengeance really well.

Holly: My heart did hurt for Brenna at the end, though. When she thought Connor chose his family over her.

Rowena: The Wedding is just an all-around feel good romance. It’s packed with all of the best things that we love about romance novels. A strong main couple, a steamy romance, with humor sprinkled throughout and I think that I will always love this book. It gets 5 out of 5 stars from me.

Holly: This book is definitely a feel-good read. Humor, emotion, strength and cunning on the part of both main characters…it never fails to suck me in. 5 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 5 out of 5
Rowena: 5 out of 5

Laird’s Fiancees

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks

Posted October 17, 2019 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Never Seduce a Scot by Maya BanksReviewer: Ames
Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
Series: The Montgomerys and Armstrongs #1
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but outsiders consider her “touched.” Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn’t speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Content with her life of seclusion, Eveline has taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft. But when an arranged marriage into a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, Eveline accepts her duty—unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful that his new bride can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled that he stirs her deepest passions.

Graeme is intrigued by the mysterious Eveline, whose silent lips are ripe with temptation and whose bright, intelligent eyes can see into his soul. As intimacy deepens, he learns her secret. But when clan rivalries and dark deeds threaten the wife he has only begun to cherish, the Scottish warrior will move heaven and earth to save the woman who has awakened his heart to the beautiful song of a rare and magical love.

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

This review was originally posted on October 19, 2012.

I enjoy Maya Banks’ historicals and Never Seduce a Scot is no exception. I was initially drawn to it because the heroine is deaf and I was utterly charmed by this whimsical story.

Eveline is the daughter of the Armstrong Laird. The king has just informed her family that she must wed their clan’s most hated enemy, Laird Montgomery, to foster peace in the highlands. The Armstrongs are furious because Eveline is daft following a riding accident three years ago and sending her off with a Montgomery is the worst thing they can imagine. Graeme, the laird of clan Montgomery, knows about his bride’s infliction and is not impressed. However, both families realize that to deny their king’s wishes makes them outlaws. Graeme must marry Eveline, even if it’s a marriage in name only.

Eveline is not daft. She’s deaf. But because of a situation out of her control, she decides to let her family believe she is daft to protect herself. She never imagined that she would marry, but she’s becoming somewhat hopeful when she figures out what’s going on, that the king has commanded she marry. Eveline may be deaf, but she is also extremely smart and she has taught herself how to read lips. And when her bridegroom shows up, Eveline is first drawn to his voice. She can’t hear it but she can feel it. The deep timbre of his voice creates very pleasant vibrations that Eveline can feel. And after a few interactions, she can tell that he is kind. Not the monster her family has made all Montgomery’s out to be. Eveline is hopeful for her future.

And things are fine between her and Graeme when they return to his keep, but it’s his clansmen and women that make things difficult. Graeme doesn’t hold who she was born to against her, knowing she had no control over being an Armstrong. And he doesn’t like how his people are taking their anger towards the Armstrongs out on his innocent wife. But Eveline wants to win his people over on her own. She knows she cannot get Graeme to command they respect her, she has to earn it.

I really enjoyed this novel. I liked that Eveline was deaf. I thought it was believable that she would feel vibrations and very loud noises. I also thought her reasons for acting daft around her family made sense. She was supposed to marry a MacHugh but when she met her intended, he was a real monster. She lost her hearing in a riding accident, trying to run away to avoid marrying him. But after marrying Graeme, she felt safe and she told him what happened. She also felt safe enough with Graeme to speak, something she hadn’t done in 3 years.

I liked how Graeme realized almost from the beginning that there was more to Eveline than what she presented. And he was very patient and kind with her. At first, thinking she was daft, he knew he would never be able to consummate his marriage. And even after ‘speaking’ with her before the wedding and realizing she was smarter than she let on, he still wasn’t planning on making his marriage real. He even put her in a separate room when they got to his keep. There’s a cute scene where Graeme’s sister helps Eveline move into Graeme’s room.

I really felt for Eveline when the women of Graeme’s clan were cruel to her. They did it in a way that was not obvious to Graeme, but I did love his reaction when he found out what was going on.

There’s a bit of a mystery when someone shoots Graeme and goes after Eveline…but I guessed almost right away who it was. Overall, I enjoyed the relationship between Graeme and Eveline and I liked how Banks handled Eveline’s deafness. Refreshing and sweet!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Montgomerys and Armstrong

four-stars


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Review: No Judgments by Meg Cabot

Posted October 17, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: No Judgments by Meg CabotReviewer: Rowena
No Judgments by Meg Cabot
Series: Little Bridge Island #1
Also in this series: Bridal Boot Camp
Publisher: Harper Collins, William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

I have been a big fan of Meg Cabot’s adult romances for ages now. I have loved pretty much everything that I’ve read by her so I was excited to jump into this book, even though I wasn’t that wild about the novella that came out before this one did. No Judgments is the first full-length book in Meg Cabot’s new Little Bridge Island series and it features a heroine who has moved to Little Bridge Island for a fresh start and the hero that stuck around Little Bridge Island instead of evacuating as everyone else did because of the huge hurricane that is coming right for them on the island.

So Bree moved to Little Bridge Island after dropping out of law school. She works as a waitress at the local diner and dyed her hair pink. She’s moving on from a bad breakup and she’s not turning back. She’s not turning back for anything or anyone. Not the hurricane that is coming straight for her new island home and not for the rich ex-boyfriend that offered her a ride on his private plane to get her out of harm’s way. Not even when her mother calls and tries to demand that Bree gets on that private plane. Bree’s not going anywhere and neither is Drew Hartwell.

So this book tackles life before, during, and then the aftermath of a big hurricane. In the beginning, we see everyone making arrangements to get to safety, off island and then we see the folks that stuck it out on the island, try to survive at the same time that they try to save as many animals that were left behind as they could. On top of all of that, Bree is dealing with a bunch of personal issues that are pretty serious in nature. There’s a death of a loved one and then there’s a sexual assault that nobody believed happened, except Bree knows that it did and she had to get away from the people that were supposed to believe her and take her side.

So as you can see, there’s a lot of stuff to unpack in this book and I usually enjoy all the things that Meg Cabot writes but this time around, I had trouble connecting with Bree, with Drew, with them as a couple and all of the people that left their animals to fend for themselves during a big ass hurricane. I will say that Meg Cabot does a great job of describing life on Little Bridge Island. I loved the small-town feel of the island and I loved that it was a place that welcomed Bree and gave her a safe space to heal from everything that happened in her life but I thought this book was a little too light to really tackle everything that Bree went through to my liking. I’m sure that I will give the next book a try but I’m bummed that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would have. This one started off well but it didn’t live up to the hype I gave it so this one gets 3.25 stars from me.

Final Grade

3.25 out of 5

Little Bridge Island

three-half-stars


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Review: Heiress Gone Wild by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted October 16, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Heiress Gone Wild by Laura Lee GuhrkeReviewer: Rowena
Heiress Gone Wild by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: Dear Lady Truelove #4
Also in this series: The Trouble with True Love (Dear Lady Truelove #2), The Truth About Love and Dukes (Dear Lady Truelove, #1), The Trouble with True Love (Dear Lady Truelove, #2), The Trouble with True Love (Dear Lady Truelove, #2), Governess Gone Rogue (Dear Lady Truelove, #3)
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Dear Lady Truelove,

My ward is driving me crazy. I have to marry her off and get her out of my life. There's just one problem…

When Jonathan Deverill promised a dying friend he'd be guardian to the man's daughter, he envisioned a girl in pigtails and pinafores, a child he could leave behind in some finishing school. Problem is, his ward is actually a fully-grown, defiant beauty whose longing for romance threatens to make his guardianship a living hell.

New York heiress Marjorie McGann wants a London season and a titled husband who can help her spend the Yankee millions she's inherited, and she thinks her new British guardian is the perfect person to help her find him. But Jonathan has no intention of letting his friend's fortune be squandered. Under his watchful, protective eye, Marjorie finds romance hard to come by...until one fateful night when her own guardian's devastating kisses makes her wonder if the greatest romance of all might be right in front of her.

Heiress Gone Wild is the fourth installment in Laura Lee Guhrke’s Dear Lady Truelove series. It features Jonathan Deverill and American heiress, Marjorie McGann, as they take that long journey toward true love..with each other. I’m really enjoying this series so when this book came up for review, I knew that I was going to read it. Laura Lee Guhrke writes some fantastic historical romances and this was another fantastic historical romance for Jonathan and Marjorie.

Jonathan Deverill fled England to America to try to find himself but to also make something of himself. Now, he’s returning to England with more baggage than he planned on. When his business partner died, Jonathan became the guardian of his late partner’s daughter. A daughter that he barely found out about right before his partner died…and now that daughter has followed him to England and she’s not a young girl like he thought but a full-grown woman? Things are definitely going to get interesting. Especially since Marjorie has no plans of returning to America. Marjorie is determined to live her best life and heading back to America to pick up teaching at the school she graduated from isn’t part of her plans. She really just needs to ditch her guardian but an unexpected attraction is simmering between them and she’s at a loss as to what to do with it all.

Guhrke did a really good job with this one. I really enjoyed getting to know Jonathan front and center and I absolutely enjoyed getting to know Marjorie. I loved how strong and smart she was and how determined she was to live her life on her own terms. Sure, she was pretty naive but seeing her really grow into herself and seeing her grow into her feelings for Jonathan made for an enjoyable reading adventure.

There’s much to like about this story. Two main characters who are easy to connect with, a love that blossomed over the course of the book and a lot of dialogue that was easy to follow along with. Each scene brought this story together in a very engaging way and I’m super glad that I read it. If you’re in the mood for a slow burn kind of romance between two very lovable characters, you should definitely add this one to your TBR piles. You won’t be disappointed.

Final Grade

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Dear Lady Truelove

four-stars


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Review: Sweet Heat by Zuri Day

Posted October 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sweet Heat by Zuri DayReviewer: Holly
Sweet Heat by Zuri Day
Series: Blue-Collar Lover #3
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Blue-Collar Lover Series

They don't wear suits, but the five Carter brothers work hard to earn a day's pay--and keep the right woman satisfied . . .

No one turns out luscious pies and to-die-for cakes like Marvin Carter. Few outside of the family know about his baking skills, but working as a restaurant line cook is getting old fast. Now he'll do whatever it takes to win start-up money from a major cooking contest and launch his own business. But his prime competition is making things hot for him in--and out--of the kitchen . . .

Naomi Carson is as savory as her soul food and has twice the spice. This confident, large-and-in-charge beauty also has high aspirations, and will work all her skills against the tasty Mr. Marvin to take first place--and stop living with Grandma. As their attraction burns hot, the other contestants can't take their heat nor their talent, and threaten to burn their dreams to ash. Will the desire be doused--or can Marvin and Naomi find common ground and fire up the chance of a lifetime?

ALSO IN THIS SERIES "Great escapism." --Library Journal on Packing Heat "Sexy, hot deliciousness . . . this power couple light up the page like a 100-megawatt bulb." --USAToday.com on Bad Boy Seduction

Sweet Heat is the third book in Zuri Day‘s Blue-Collar Lovers series. This is the first book I’ve read in the series. I don’t feel like I missed anything by skipping the first two. It read well as a standalone. I do want to go back to the first two, however. I plan to pick them up soon.

Naomi Wells and Marvin Carter meet at auditions for a Food Truck cooking competition. Both are looking for a boost in their careers and the $50,000 grand prize, plus a full tricked out food truck, would go a long way. They have a sizzling attraction and great banter, which serves them well as they go through the various challenges. But things aren’t simple – several contestants seem to be after them, and fraternization is frowned upon. They can’t seem to keep away from each other, though…

This was a cute contemporary story. I really enjoyed the cooking competition and the banter between Marvin and Naomi. They had strong family ties and deep connections which came across well. I especially liked the relationship Marvin had with his mother, and the one between Naomi and her Nana.

There were a couple pretty cheesy parts, and the thing with her ex came out of nowhere and made little sense in the context of the story. Those were minor concerns, however, and I ended up enjoying the book as a whole.

If you want a funny, sweet, sizzling hot contemporary romance, look no further. Sweet Heat delivers.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Blue-Collar Lovers

three-half-stars


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