Genre: Historical Romance

Review: My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid

Posted August 28, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: My Darling Duke by Stacy ReidReviewer: Holly
My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid
Series: Sinful Wallflowers #1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 377
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Miss Katherine Danvers is a desperate wallflower. Her family is on the brink of financial ruin, and it is up her to save her mother and sisters from a life of indignities. So she transforms herself into the incomparable Kitty Danvers, the fiancée of the enigmatic and reclusive Alexander Masters, Duke of Thornton—once dubbed the mad, bad, and dangerous catch of the Season.

Ten years ago, society and the woman Alexander Masters loved called him a monster, after a tragic accident left him scarred and confined to a wheelchair. His heart exists in cold, lonely exile, until he learns he has a fiancée—a deceptive, clever, and utterly intriguing woman he's never met. Miss Danvers will now learn the consequences of engaging herself to the beast, for Alexander is determined to make her his. Soon, they are involved in a chase, a clash of wills, and though he once vowed to never love again, he burns for the enchanting Miss Danvers. And denying his heart may cost him an exquisite love that happens only once in a lifetime.

My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid is the first book in the Sinful Wallflowers series. My friend and fellow reader Nikki recommended this to me. I’m a sucker for all things Beauty and the Beast, so I had to download it as soon as she told me the premise. I’m so glad I did.

Miss Katherine Danvers is a wallflower, a desperate one. Her father died and left them with nothing. She and her friends, other desperate wallflowers, vow to do something daring to change their circumstances. She has a very short window in which to get her sisters married, so she does something daring..she creates a new persona and claims to be the fiance of a reclusive Duke. He hasn’t been in society – or even the country – in years, so she figures she’s safe enough. Only things keep spiraling out of her control..before she knows it she’s installed in a new rental house in a better location, riding around in a hired carriage and has a new wardrobe…all courtesy of the unsuspecting Duke.

Alexander Masters, The Duke of Thornton, withdrew from society 10 years ago, after a house fire killed his parents and left him badly scarred. He knows he can never take a wife, but he’s very intrigued by this woman claiming to be his fiance. Rather than calling her a liar, he goes along with it, curious beyond measure. Kitty is nothing like he imagined her to be, and he can’t seem to stay away from her. But he can’t sire children, and he doesn’t want to take a wife when he can’t be a true husband.

This was a sweet story. The end was a little over the top cheesy, but I can’t deny I was smiling while I read it. I loved Katherine and Alexander. Their reactions to each other weren’t the expected ones, and I was here for it. I really liked the friendship between Kitty and the other wallflowers, too. They had a strong bond and I really liked how they confided in each other, and encouraged one another to be bold and brave. I also liked Alex’s relationship with his sister, and his servants. They were a family, for all that he was in charge of them.

As I said, some parts were overly cheesy, but I liked how supportive Kitty and Alex were of each other. I’m looking forward to reading more books from this author.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Sinful Wallflowers

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Sea Change by Darlene Marshall

Posted August 20, 2020 by Ames in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Sea Change by Darlene MarshallReviewer: Ames
Sea Change by Darlene Marshall
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 332
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five-stars

David Fletcher needs a surgeon, stat! But when he captures a British merchantman in the Caribbean what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice physician barely old enough to shave. Needs must, and Captain Fletcher takes the prisoner back aboard his ship with orders to do his best, or he'll be walking the plank.
Charley Alcott's medical skills are being put to the test in a life-or-death situation, Charley's life as well as the patient's. Even if she can save the American privateer's brother there will still be hell to pay--and maybe a plank to walk--when Captain Fletcher learns Charley is really Charlotte Alcott.
A war is raging on the world's oceans, and the two enemies will fight their own battles and their attraction to each other as they undergo a sea change neither of them is expecting, but cannot deny.

This review was originally posted on August 16, 2011.

I’ve been wanting to read a Darlene Marshall book for a while now so I jumped at the chance to read and review Sea Change, her latest Amber Quill release. Now I am definitely going to read her backlist.

Sea Change features I few things I absolutely love in my romance. A kick-ass heroine who cross dresses and is working in a man’s profession (doctor in the early 1800s). It also has a great hero who is attracted to said cross-dressing woman but freaks out a bit because he thinks he’s attracted to a man. Oh boy do the sparks fly once the truth is revealed!

Charley (aka Charlotte) Alcott is disguised as a man and earning her passage on a ship to Jamaica from England, acting as the ship’s doctor. Her father, whom she apprenticed with, has died recently and so she’s going to stay with her godfather, also a doctor. She’s hoping she can continue apprenticing with him. Meanwhile, she disguises herself as a man. Her plan is totally screwed up when their ship is overtaken by American privateers and she’s forced onto their vessel. Charley’s ship was attacked because Captain David Fletcher’s younger brother was injured and Captain David needs a surgeon to save him. David isn’t exactly impressed with the young doctor he’s found, but he’s better than nothing. And once the pressing matter of his younger brother’s health is behind them, Charley and David form a loose friendship. I say loose because Charley still wants to go to Jamaica and David is determined to keep the doctor on his boat – his men like it, it has improved morale and Charley is someone that David can really talk to.

But Charley realizes that her feelings are growing for the sexy captain and this makes her more determined than ever to get away from him. David too is thrown for a loop when he realizes that Charley is growing feelings for him and thinking he’s a man, it freaks him out, because he’s noticing things and reacting to the young man. All of that changes one day when Charley is knocked overboard and David jumps into the ocean to save her. David can’t help but notice the shape of the body under the wet clothes. And David is furious:

David liked women. Not on his ship, of course, but when he was on land he enjoyed being in their company. He liked them clothed in their fripperies and unclothed in all their glory, curved and rounded and sweet smelling. He liked the contrast of their

softness to his hardness, their gentle ways and delicate natures to his life among rough men. And the ones who weren’t so delicate but gave as good as they got in a game of slap and tickle, he liked them, too.

What he did not like was the thought of a female who talked like a man, and dressed like a man, and thought like a man, and spent her day examining the naked bodies of men when it was no proper place for a lady to be!

The scene, where David reveals Charley’s true identity was so thrilling! He’s glad he hasn’t been attracted to a man but he’s horrified that she’s also a woman. She has been treating the men and seeing them naked and even treated him! It’s unacceptable and he’s determined to get her off his ship as quickly as possible. (There’s an awesome scene when he announces his intentions to the crew.)

I won’t say any more but that’s only half the story. It’s not so easy for David to let Charley go. And I LOVED that these two had time to get to know each other before their feelings came into play. It created some delicious tension, both pre and post gender reveal. I liked all the characters. Charley is a practical sort of woman and David is a great captain and sigh-worthy hero. The writing was engaging and the dialog never dragged. Who thought doctor-speak could be sexy?

“Do you know how an inoculation works, Captain?”

Her voice was low, and husky, and despite her prosaic question, made him even harder, if that were possible.

“An inoculation gives you a taste of a disease. Just enough to strengthen you against it.”

“Am I a disease then, Doctor?”

“If I kiss you, I may be inoculated against you, and I can sleep easy again.”

Hot stuff!!

I got sucked into Charley’s story right from the get go and about halfway through, I knew I was reading a book I’d be listing as a top read for 2011. And I was right. Sea Change is going to be in my top 5 reads for this year.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

five-stars


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Review: Wishing for a Highlander by Jessi Gage

Posted August 10, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wishing for a Highlander by Jessi GageReviewer: Holly
Wishing for a Highlander by Jessi Gage
Narrator: Marian Hussey
Series: Highland Wishes #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 31, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Time Travel, Historical Romance
Pages: 344
Length: 10 hours and 35 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Single-and-pregnant museum worker Melanie voices an idle wish while examining a Scottish artifact, that a Highland warrior would sweep her off her feet and help her forget her cheating ex. The last thing she expects is for her wish to be granted. Magically transported to the middle of a clan skirmish in the sixteenth-century Highlands, she comes face to face with her kilted fantasy man.

Tall, handsome, and heir to his uncle’s lairdship, Darcy Keith should be the most eligible bachelor in Ackergill. Instead, thanks to a prank played on him in his teenage years, he is known for being too large under his kilt to ever make a proper husband. “Big Darcy” runs his deceased father’s windmills and lives alone at his family manor, believing he will never marry.

But a strangely-dressed woman he rescues from a clan skirmish makes him long for more. When the woman’s claims of coming to Ackergill by magic reach the laird’s ears, she is accused of witchcraft. Darcy determines to protect her any way he can, even if it means binding her to him forever.

Wishing for a Highlander is the first book in the Highland Wishes series by Jessi Gage. It was my first read from the author. I’ve had the second book in this series, The Wolf and the Highlander, on my wish list for ages. I was looking for a new audiobook, saw The Wolf and the Highlander and realized it was the second book in the series, so I downloaded this one instead. I got it from Kindle Unlimited and it included the audiobook as well. I liked the narrator, but the story wasn’t very good. It wasn’t awful, but I’m kind of sad I didn’t skip it and go right to the second book.

Melanie is a modern day girl who works in a museum. She got knocked up by her boyfriend of a year, only to find out he’d been cheating on her the whole time they were together and he wants nothing to do with the baby since he’s marrying the girl he’s been cheating with. On a whim, she makes a wish for a handsome Highlander of her very own on a new artifact the museum has acquired. To her surprise, her wish comes true and she’s transported to 1517, in the middle of a clan skirmish, where she’s forced to stab a man because he’s about to rape her. She’s rescued by a giant of a Highlander – Big Darcy – who claims responsibility for her. Within moments of arriving at his keep, they end up married to protect her. Still, Darcy vows to help her find a way home, and he plans to keep that vow.

Darcy is a giant of a man, and he’s never been with a woman because of it. One of the clan women refused him because of his size, and he’s been afraid of rejection (and hurting a woman) ever since. Marrying Melanie is the perfect way to get his laird off his back about taking a bride, and since she’s already pregnant he doesn’t have to worry about that, either. Until she makes him promise to get her back home. He’s a man of his word, so he’ll do it, even if he’s not happy about it.

I almost DNF’d this book early on, because the whole “He’s too big for any woman” thing is pretty ridiculous, plus Melanie’s dumb thoughts drove me up a wall. I ended up finishing it, however, and the second half wasn’t as bad as the first (as far as Melanie was concerned). I really liked Darcy. He was sweet and lovable, despite his insecurities. He was very supportive of Melanie and determined to do what he thought was right.

Melanie and all her wishy-washy thoughts drove me crazy. First she was mad because she thought Darcy broke his word, then she was mad because she wanted him to want her. It was ridiculous. That settled down in the second half of the book, however, and I really liked their romance and the way things progressed between them.

View Spoiler »

What really drove me crazy was the “villain”, however. Anya was a mean, petty woman who created havoc just to create it. The reason I’m mad I read this book first, however, is because Anya is the heroine of the second book. I’m not sure she can be redeemed, and even if she is, I’m not sure I care to read about her. I might try the book at a later date, but I need some space from this book before I try.

I did enjoy aspects of this book, and I’m low-key curious about the next book. I guess we’ll see if I decide to continue on.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

Highland Wishes

two-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seducing A Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Posted July 30, 2020 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Features, Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seducing A Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen WelfonderReviewer: Tracy
Seducing a Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Series: MacKenzie #6
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 366
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Gelis MacKenzie is one of the most desirable heiresses in all the Western Highlands. She is the youngest and much adored daughter of the indomitable Black Stag of Kintail, Duncan MacKenzie, who was the hero of Welfonder's novel DEVIL IN A KILT. Unfortunately, Gelis has been branded unmarriageable, but not for lack of masculine interest. No matter how lofty the ancestry, how deep the purse, or how mighty the sword arm, nary a one of her suitors is good enough for her father. Although he loves Gelis fiercely and knows he must someday see her settled and wed, Duncan isn't quite ready to let her go.

But now Duncan has received an offer for Gelis's hand in marriage that he is honor-bound to accept-and it comes from the worst possible quarter. The suitor, Ronan MacRuari of Castle Dare, is the last man Duncan MacKenzie would wish for a son-in-law. Known as the Raven, Ronan is the scion of a dark clan that has been marked by a deadly curse.

Ronan and Gelis are instantly attracted to one another, but they are immediately estranged. Ronan's last two wives have died abruptly and he doesn't want to see his vivacious newly-wed Gelis suffer the same fate, so he distances himself from her as much as possible. In the meantime, Ronan searches for the Raven Stone, a fabled treasure that he believes holds the power of the curse over his clan. But Gelis has fallen in love with her new husband, and she's determined to help him. Though Ronan doesn't know it, Gelis also has the gift of second-sight, and she has seen a future in which she is destined to help redeem her cursed husband.

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

This review was originally posted on March 5, 2009.

After Gelis’s vision of the man she is to marry she is very excited about the match. She knows nothing about the curse on the MacRuari clan at first but when she hears of it is bound and determined that she call aid in the breaking of it.

Ronan MacRuari is dead set against this arranged marriage – arranged by his grandfather. He is certain that he is cursed to the point of thinking bad things and having them come true. He doesn’t want to have yet another wife, his 3rd, die as the other two have.

This book was a little confusing for me. The curse was explained but until the end you didn’t know exactly what the curse was and even then it was sketchy. The Holders, who were the ancient Druids that were the ones who cursed the MacRuari clan were talked about but it was never definitely stated exactly who they were or where they came from. Now, this appears to be the 6th book in the series so these items may have been spoken about previously but as a newcomer to Ms. Welfonder’s work I was a tad baffled by things occasionally.

It was a cute book though. I normally like my romances to have a little more depth in them when it comes to the relationship between the hero and heroine but for a historical book with an arranged marriage it was nice. I also thought the book had a good mixture of reality and magic so if you like a tad bit of paranormal in your historical this would be a great book for you.

And can I just say I love the cover of this book! There’s just something about it. Maybe because we see so many “fronts” of people these days that it’s a nice change to see the back! lol

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Accidentally Compromising the Duke by Stacy Reid

Posted July 29, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Accidentally Compromising the Duke by Stacy ReidReviewer: Tracy
Accidentally Compromising the Duke by Stacy Reid
Series: Wedded by Scandal #1
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Publication Date: May 30, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 259
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

England, 1817.

Miss Adeline Hays is out of options. Determined to escape marriage to a repugnant earl, Adeline plans to deliberately allow herself to be caught in a compromising position at a house party with the much kinder man she’d hoped to marry. Instead, Adeline accidentally enters the wrong chamber and tumbles into the bed of the mad duke.

Edmond Rochester, the duke of Wolverton, is seeking a wife to care for his two daughters. A young lady of sensibilities, accomplishment, and most importantly, one who he is not attracted to—a complete opposite of the bewitching beauty who traps him into marriage. But despite the lust he feels for his new duchess, Edmond is resolved to never allow them intimacy, refusing to ever again suffer the tormenting loss of a loved one.

Adeline Hays was once attacked by an Earl.  When she went to her father, expecting him to be furious, he ends up promising her hand in marriage to the bastard. How could he?! She has a fondness for a man, Mr. Atwood, who will one day be a barrister.  Unfortunately her father won’t accept his suit, even though he’s asked several times.  Adel knows that she has no other choice but to take matters into her own hands. While at a house party Adel gets the keys to Mr. Atwood’s room from her best friend, and with a bit of liquid courage heads off to do some compromising.

Adel only planned to be caught in Mr. Atwood’s room, but after tripping she ends up in bed with him.  He’s much more muscular than she thought, and wow, he smells better than she remembered, too.  They end up kissing but when she realizes that she is not, in fact, kissing Mr. Atwood, she tries to get away.  Too late, they are discovered, as Adel had planned, but instead of just her best friend’s mother, it’s half of the people in the house!

The Duke of Wolverton, Edmond, thoroughly enjoyed kissing this mystery woman and though he’d had a list of women to check out to be his new bride and mother to his children, he decides to do the honorable thing and marry her. His first wife died in childbirth and while the Duke needs a mother for his children, he doesn’t want any more children.  He has no plans to consummate the marriage, nor fall in love with Adel.

Can Adel break through the hurt of Edmond’s past and make him see that she’s not his previous wife?  Can Edmond keep his distance from Adel?  You have to read the book to find out! 🙂

This was a good story.  I really like the Reid books that I’ve read so far and this one is included in that list.  In this story I really liked Adel.  She was straightforward and knew exactly what she wanted (his love) and how to get it.  She was honest (for the most part) and just a lovely person.  How could Edmond not fall for her? There was a part of the book where Adel isn’t completely honest with Edmond and I had an issue with this.  It was just so not in her character that it was hard for me to believe that any of it would have happened.  Luckily Reid did a great job of making everything right for me.

Edmond was cold at first, then very warm…hot actually, and then a right bastard.  I liked him for a portion of the book and felt his pain, but I thought he took things a little too far.  The author did a good job of making me dislike/like/hate/like him in turns. Lol

When my friend, Nikki, first told me (and our friends, while on a Zoom call) about this book I laughed at the title and didn’t plan on reading it.  Accidentally compromising?  Really?  I said, “What, they’re in a carriage that hits a bump and the heroine accidentally falls on his dick? Oopsie.” Lol  We then affectionately retitled this book Accidentally Falling on the Duke’s Dick. Of course, after Nikki shared the premise with us we were all intrigued and I ended up reading this Reid story as well as another.  I’m glad I did and definitely recommend it.  I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series and I’m quite happy it’s already out (this one was published 4 years ago).

Rating: 3.75/4 out of 5

four-stars


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