Genre: Historical Romance

Throwback Thursday Review: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith

Posted June 18, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn SmithReviewer: Holly
When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith
Series: Victorian Soap Opera #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 385
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A lady must be prepared for anything . . . when marrying a scoundrel.

Sadie Moon once thought she was in love. Then her dashing husband left her to seek his fortune, and she had no choice but to transform herself from a heartbroken waif into London Society's favorite fortune-teller. But even she could not have foreseen Jack's return—until their paths cross in the last place either would have expected: London's most exclusive house of pleasure.

Now wealthy and successful, Jack Friday has everything he'd ever dreamed of . . . except Sadie. He swears he will never trust the woman who broke her promise to wait for him, though his passion for her burns as hotly as ever before. But love, like the past, comes back to haunt them—drawing them into a web of intrigue and betrayal that could save or destroy them both.

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

This review was originally posted on June 18, 2010.

Kathryn Smith is hit or miss for me. I’m never sure which way a novel is going to go for me with her. Some are fabulous and others leave much to be desired. This one falls under the “hit” umbrella.

I really like the “reunited lovers” plot device, and I think Smith did a good job with it here. It was easy to see why both parties felt they were the ones who got abandoned. I really liked that Jack never stopped loving Sadie, and had no problem admitting it. He no longer trusted her, but he still loved her. I really loved that though Jack and Sadie had issues with each other, they were able to set them aside to help one another when they needed it. They were very adult about their relationship, which was refreshing.

Jack frustrated me at times because he refused to believe in Sadie, especially early in the book. When he called her a fraud my heart broke along with hers. My frustration didn’t last long, though, because Sadie kept belaboring the point, ad nauseum.

I know why Sadie felt so angry toward Jack, and he toward her, but I found myself getting frustrated with Sadie as the novel progressed. Her reasons for pushing him away seemed contrived and silly. She didn’t think she was good enough for him or the class he belonged to, but that didn’t hold water since she’d already married him once. I also had an issue with the way she kept the nature of her relationship with Jack a secret from Mason, the man who was courting her. They had no formal arrangement or agreement, but it was obvious they both thought it could go somewhere. Sadie owed him more than lies, IMO.

I was able to let it go, however, since she realized the problem was hers and made it right.

Though I had issues with both main protagonists, they weren’t enough to detract from my overall enjoyment. Yes, I became frustrated by their actions at times. But more, I was swept up in their rekindled romance, waiting to see when they’d finally realize what we as the reader knew all along – they were meant to be together.

4 out of 5

Victorian Soap Opera

four-stars


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Joint Review: His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare

Posted June 2, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: His Bride for the Taking by Tessa DareReviewer: Ames and Rowena
His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 89
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars

*This novella was originally published in Rogues Rush In: a Regency Duet (2018), by Tessa Dare and Christi Caldwell

It’s the first rule of friendship among gentlemen: Don’t even think about touching your best friend’s sister.

Sebastian, Lord Byrne, has never been one for rules. He’s thought about touching Mary Clayton—a lot—and struggled to resist temptation. But when Mary’s bridegroom leaves her waiting the altar, only Sebastian can save her from ruin. By marrying her himself.

In eleven years, he’s never laid a finger on his best friend’s sister. Now he’s going to take her with both hands. To have, to hold…and to love.

Rowena: His Bride for the Taking is a novella by Tessa Dare that was originally published in the Rogues Rush In anthology. It’s a brother’s best friend’s romance and it was such a sweet romance that I wasn’t even mad that it was so short.

So, Sebastian made a promise to his best friend Henry Clayton long ago. Henry’s sister Mary is off-limits but when Henry died, Sebastian promised that he would take care of Mary. It’s been hard to keep his hands off of Mary because he’s always been a little bit in love with her but when she needs him to step up for her, he doesn’t hesitate.

Mary Clayton is all alone in the world. Her father and brother are both long gone, her brother’s title having gone to a distant cousin, and the only person that is really around for her is her brother’s best friend Sebastian Ives. When Mary is stood up at the altar, Sebastian steps up for her, and things really take off from there.

I really enjoyed this short read. I thought the romance was light, and it was fun and I felt the chemistry between Sebastian and Mary. This was another winner for me.

What did you think, Ames?

Ames: It was definitely a winner. For being so short there was a lot of story! I am kind of slumping due to all the craziness happening in the world and this was the perfect little tidbit to keep my reading momentum going. I usually shy away from novellas but I’m glad you chose this one.

I liked the friends-to-lovers plot. I liked that Sebastian was a wee bit younger than Mary. She was her own independent woman but Sebastian proved he was someone she could count on, and he recognized that she was her own woman.

And the humor! That scene, with the ‘Swedish’ bed and the discussion around putting it together and directions. That had me laughing, thinking about putting Ikea furniture together. haha

Rowena: Ha, yes. When they were putting the bed together, fighting about putting the bed together, and talking about “surplus”, I couldn’t stop laughing. Tessa Dare is really good at bringing the humor and for such a short story, she packed it real nicely into this one.

I hear you about the reading slump. 2020 has really kicked my ass so I’m happy to finally be reading again and the quality of this one made me super happy. I liked that both Sebastian and Mary had a history together and that they genuinely cared about each other so it made everything we find out, everything going on make sense.

What did you think about Mary’s little shenanigans?

Ames: Ok, usually I wouldn’t like shenanigans like Mary’s, but her and Sebastian were so good together, I didn’t mind. I mean, she didn’t keep it a secret forever right? And he wanted her. I think if this had a been a full length novel, I would not have cared for her actions. I don’t know, I’m not explaining myself well. But Mary didn’t act out of malice, so it was ok.

What did you think?

Rowena: Same. I think because by the time they were married and already well into the first couple days of their marriage, we know that Sebastian was madly in love with Mary but had that not been the case, I think I would have been more mad. I also liked that we got to see Sebastian run the gamut of emotions over her actions and it wasn’t slipped under the rug. They dealt with it and they moved on from it and I respected that.

I really liked both Sebastian and Mary. Their shared love for Henry (Mary’s brother) was sweet and their friendship was even sweeter. I loved that they bickered and they laughed with each other and I really liked that they were both in love with each other from the jump. Gah, what a sweet story.

This was such a short romance but it really packed a wallop of a story and I was here for all of it. I would have liked a longer story but I didn’t feel like it really suffered without it. This is one of the better novellas that I’ve read and I’d give it 4.25 out of 5 stars. What about you?

Ames: I’m giving this one a 4.25 out of 5 as well. It was a feel good story in these dark times. The humor was spot on and the characters were great. I felt their chemistry and loved their back-story.

Final Grades

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn.

Posted May 21, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn.Reviewer: Rowena
Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
Series: Bevelstoke #3
Also in this series: What Happens in London (Bevelstoke, #2), Ten Things I Love About You (Bevelstoke, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 454
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ten things you should know about this book....

1. Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
2. Annabel Winslow's family voted her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind and The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
3. Sebastian's uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
4. Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
5. Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all of his problems.
6. Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother.
Number 7 is shocking, 8 is delicious, and 9 is downright wicked, all of which lead the way to:
10. Happily. Ever. After.

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

This review was originally posted on May 25, 2010.

This review will have all kinds of spoilers so if you don’t want to be spoiled, I say you come back after you’ve read the book. This is your warning, there will be spoilers!

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When we got this book for review, I couldn’t read it fast enough. I hadn’t (still haven’t come to think of it) read Miss Miranda Cheevers but I inhaled What Happens in London and loved it. I thought it was such a cute and funny story that I was waiting most excitedly for this book to come out. I had to find out if this was Sebastian’s story and …IT IS!

I really enjoyed getting to know Sebastian in Harry’s book and I am happy to say that Chantal was totally right! Sebastian is definitely the author! Man, the way that we find out how Sebastian started writing, it made me sigh because Sebastian is a dream boat and I just love him to pieces.

This book brought the laughs and the dialogue was great as well. I laughed out loud more than once while reading this book and I think Sebastian is my favorite hero in this series. The way that Sebastian thinks and the way that he let people perceive him just had me in fits of giggles. I loved everything about him. From his insomnia to the way that he treats Harry and Edward and the way that he treats Olivia. The first meeting between Sebastian and Annabel was great too. The way that he plotted his first story out, loved it! It was great.

Annabel was a great heroine as well. She wasn’t one of those heroines that was overly dramatic, she knew what her duty was and she knew what she was supposed to do and even though she didn’t like it one bit, she was going to go through with it anyway. All in the name of saving her family. It was noble and I didn’t find myself getting annoyed with her all that much while reading this book. It’s not that she was perfect but she was the kind of historical heroine that I could see myself being. I could say that I wish I would have been my own woman but if my family needed me to marry for money, then I totally would. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for my family and as annoyed as I would be, I would do it. So to say that I liked Annabel is exactly right.

Sebastian and Annabel together were great, I loved reading every scene they were in together because the chemistry between these two jumped right off the pages and I loved how flirty spice Sebastian was. He was such a great character and man, I’m kind of sad that I finished his story so fast, it was good and worth the money that you’ll spend to read it.

The secondary characters were great as well. I adored seeing Harry and Olivia and it never fails to bring me joy when authors bring characters from other stories back and give them a role in these new stories instead of just mentioning those characters. I enjoyed seeing Harry and Olivia again and I was glad to see that they’re doing well and that Olivia is pregnant and in good spirits. It was also good to see Harry’s brother again as well. You can never get enough of those folks, they’re always good for a laugh or two.

The new secondary characters were great as well, I adored Annabel’s cousin, Louisa. I so hope that she’ll get a story or maybe get a story with…Harry’s brother, Edward. Ooh that would be a good pairing. I loved that Annabel had a great ally in Louisa. I loved Annabel’s grandmother too, oh goodness the scenes at the end of the book with Sebastian, Annabel, her grandmother and Sebastian’s uncle had me roaring with laughter. It was too funny. I wouldn’t mind reading another story with these guys in there, it was just too funny.

Seeing Sebastian and Annabel grow to love each other was a fun treat and this story was a delightfully entertaining book that I can’t wait for others to enjoy as well. This is JQ the way we all know and love her, you won’t be disappointed.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Bevelstoke

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James

Posted May 19, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Tracy
Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #5
Also in this series: Wilde in Love, Too Wilde to Wed, Born to Be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindow Castle #3), Born to Be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A shy wallflower meets her dream man--or does she?--in the next book in New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James' Wildes of Lindow series.

Miss Viola Astley is so painfully shy that she’s horrified by the mere idea of dancing with a stranger; her upcoming London debut feels like a nightmare.

So she’s overjoyed to meet handsome, quiet vicar with no interest in polite society — but just when she catches his attention, her reputation is compromised by a duke.

Devin Lucas Augustus Elstan, Duke of Wynter, will stop at nothing to marry Viola, including marrying a woman whom he believes to be in love with another man.

A vicar, no less.

Devin knows he’s no saint, but he’s used to conquest, and he’s determined to win Viola’s heart.

Viola has already said Yes to his proposal, but now he wants her unruly heart…and he won’t accept No for an answer.

Viola Astley doesn’t feel like she belongs in her family.  She is an “adopted” daughter in the Wilde family even though her step-father, the Duke of Lindow, considers her his daughter.  Viola is shy and quiet, while the rest of the Wilde family is adventuresome.  She is painfully shy and takes most meals in her room, just to avoid people.  At her first ball she witnessed a man’s rage (not at her but another woman) and this made her even more reclusive.

When Viola meets the new vicar, she is immediately smitten.  Yes, he is quite handsome, but the man listens to her and makes her feel safe.  She sets her sights on him, despite the fact that he is recently engaged to a termagant.

Viola arranges to meet with the vicar during a ball in her and her sister’s honor.  When she arrives in the library she finds it occupied by The Duke of Wynter and his uncle Reginald.  Reginald wants Wynter to meet Viola, but the Duke is set on marrying her sister, Joan.  Wynter states quite clearly that since Viola is an Astley and not a Wilde (confirming Viola’s life-long thoughts) she is not as good as a Wilde and therefore is inferior.  After overhearing this, Viola decides to give her a piece of her mind.  The Duke is fascinated by Viola and sets out to court her, but Viola is stuck on the vicar.

Wynter’s attempts to court Viola, and her brush offs cracked me up.  When the two are caught in a somewhat compromising act, their fate is sealed.  Wynter is thrilled, but Viola still has her doubts because, after all, she’s not a Wilde.

This was a very sweet story.  I really liked Devin (aka Wynter) and his non-stop courting.  He was just so smitten and I loved his determination.  It took a while for Viola to come around but it was worth the wait.

Viola was wonderful as well and I so enjoyed her growth in this book.  She went from shy girl to confident woman and I loved seeing the way she blossomed.

Overall a good story.  I’ve enjoyed the entire Wilde series so far, and look forward to more in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Wildes of Lindow Castle

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath

Posted March 31, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Tracy
The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #5
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire, When a Duke Loves a Woman, When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2), The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3), The Duchess in His Bed
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She’s looking for a nobleman to wed…

Though born out of wedlock, Fancy Trewlove is determined to fulfill her mother’s wish that she marry into nobility. Fancy’s keen intellect and finishing school manners make her the perfect wife for any gentleman—if he’s willing to overlook her scandalous lineage. But Fancy’s plans are thrown into chaos when an intriguing commoner begins visiting her bookshop—and she finds herself unable to stop thinking about him.

He’s looking to escape his title…

Widowed just a year ago, the reclusive Matthew Sommersby, Earl of Rosemont, has been besieged by women hoping to become his next wife. Desperate for anonymity, he sheds Society life to search for the peace that eludes him. Fancy’s shop is his one refuge, until the night their passion erupts into a kiss that nearly leads to her ruin—and leaves both longing for much more.

Together, they discover an unlikely love…

As Fancy finds herself torn between her family’s expectations and her growing feelings for Matthew, secrets are exposed—secrets that force Fancy to question if she can trust her heart’s desire...

Matthew Sommersby, the Earl of Rosemont wants to kill his dead wife.  Ok, she’s already dead, but he’s just that mad at her. Matthew wakes one morning to find a letter from his dead wife in the paper. It’s written to all of the women seeking husbands and it says what a kind man he is and that he was an awesome husband. It tells of all the wonderful things he did during their marriage and that if any single woman would like that in their lives, then they should call on him. After all, she’s dead and he’s grieved for her long enough – he needs to be happy now. Wow.

There are two reasons that Matthew would like to throttle his deceased spouse.  First, for writing and having someone publish the letter which brings droves of women to his home which he hates.  Second, the rubbish she put into the letter didn’t happen at all.  Their marriage was on the rocks from practically day one and none of what she printed was true.  In order to escape the hoards of women and marriage-minded mamas, he seeks out a simpler life in a part of London that no one will thing to look for him.  This location happens to be right next to Fancy Trewlove’s bookstore, so of course he must check it out.

Fancy and Matthew become friends and they each have a tendre for the other, but Fancy is about to make her debut in London.  She’s been told her entire life that she is to marry a man of the aristocracy and this is what she believes she should do. Except…then there’s Matthew and she truly cares about him.  Too bad he’s not a Lord. She truly doesn’t care if she marries a Lord, but she wants to make her family happy and do what they want her to do.

This story was a complete surprise to me.  I knew from previous books in the series that Fancy had been spoiled by her siblings, as she was the youngest of them.  This went as far as her brother building her a bookstore and outfitting it for her. Yes, she ran her own shop, but we’re given to believe that she’s not really romance book material.  Wrong. Though cosseted by her family, she is just as strong as her sister and mother, which is saying something.  Her kindness and love for her fellow human beings knows no bounds. She was truly a joy to read and I’m so glad I didn’t skip her book.

Fancy knows what she wants, to stay with her books forever, but she also loves her family beyond reason and doesn’t want to upset them, even thought it might make her unhappy. She goes along with their wishes and has a coming out ball, but her heart is with her new friend Matthew. Their romance was both sweet and touching. I loved them, both individually and as a couple. Their love of books stole my heart as well.

One of the conflicts in the story was about Matthew and the revelation of his true identity. Yes, I can see how this would upset Fancy, but if it wasn’t for the deception and his dead wife writing that letter, would they have ever met? Who’s to say?

There was also another part that had to do with Fancy and the truth about who her father was.  There’s the truth and then there’s the story that her mother told her. My heart broke for Fancy when she found out the truth, but I can say she handled it so well – like the lady she was.

I really liked this book a lot and definitely recommend you read it. If you had any reservations about Fancy, just put them aside, I don’t think you’ll be sorry you did.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

four-stars


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