Publisher: Pocket Books

Joint Review: The Wedding by Julie Garwood

Posted October 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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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Sunday Spotlight: The Wedding by Julie Garwood

Posted October 6, 2019 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 7 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I have fallen into the biggest of reading slumps this year and I seem to only be reading in spurts. In the last few weeks, I’ve only wanted to read old comfort reads and that means I’ve read a whole lot of old school Julie Garwood. One of my favorite books ever is The Wedding and I just recently re-read it for like the hundredth time and it still hits me right in my feels. I still love it to pieces and it still remains one of my favoritest books ever.

Sunday Spotlight: The Wedding by Julie GarwoodThe Wedding by Julie Garwood
Series: Laird's Fiancees #2
Also in this series: The Wedding
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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....

Memorable Quotes

If you haven’t read this book yet, you should really fix that because Julie Garwood’s historicals are one of a kind of romances that I honestly believe will stand the test of time. Whether you’re a newbie to romance or an old veteran reader like us here at Book Binge, you’ll love Julie Garwood’s older romances. They’re just super good with colorful settings, memorable characters and romances that will warm your heart and stay on your mind for years and years to come. Connor and Brenna MacAllister’s romance is one of the best and you won’t be able to help yourself. You’re going to fall in love with them and with their love story.

Here are some of my favorite quotes and scenes from the book…

“What did you say to the messenger, mi’lady? Do you remember the exact words of your last proposal?”

She recognized Quinlan’s voice behind her.

How in thunder could she possibly remember? Hadn’t any of them been listening?

She couldn’t turn to face Quinlan because their leader still had hold of her, and he didn’t seem to be the least bit inclined to let go.

“I probably said, ‘Will you marry me?'”

Connor smiled. He pulled her toward him, lowered his head, and kissed her just long enough to stun her.

He lifted his head then, looked into her eyes, and finally spoke to her.

“Yes, Brenna. I will marry you.”

Connor was such a sneaky little bastard. He was always going around tricking Brenna into doing what he wanted her to do…but oh Brenna had the last laugh because after all was said and done, it was Brenna who had Connor wrapped around her little finger.

“He held her gaze steady while he summarized her promises. “She will honor me, protect me, obey me only when she believes I’m being reasonable—but I shouldn’t hold out hope that that day will ever come—try to love me before she’s an old woman, and I’d better get it straight in my mind that she will respect me until or unless I do something to prove I’m not worthy, and God save me then. Have I left anything out, Brenna?”

Brenna wasn’t the easiest going heroine but man was she a delightful one. She rambled, she was forgetful but she was one of the sweetest heroines from Julie Garwood’s books. I loved her so much. It is not a coincidence that my daughter’s name is Brenna. 🙂 And I loved that with all of Brenna’s quirks, Connor loved her and wouldn’t have had her any other way.

“Your trying to take them away from me, and I can’t let you do that.I’m not ready to let go.”

“Exactly what am I taking away?”

“My family.”

“Brenna…”

She wouldn’t let him continue. “You are trying to take them away, aren’t you? And if you succeed, what will I have left?”

“Me.”

Say it with me now….”Awwwww. Brenna may lose every single person in her life but she’ll never lose Connor.” 🙂

“She let him know how much she liked what he was doing by scoring his back with her nails and crying out with pleasure.

“Oh, God.”

“Nay, lass. Connor.”

This is definitely the first thing that I think of when The Wedding comes across my mind. I laughed out loud the first time I read that scene. Holy cow it’s such a funny one. One of the most memorable scenes from this book.

As you can see, I have so much love for this book. It’s one of the books that I read in the early days, when I first started reading romance novels and it remains one of my favorite books ever. I have such fond memories of the people that I met online years and years ago who shared a love of this author and of this book with me. Honestly, to read this book is to love it so if you’re curious about this one, enter our giveaway below for a chance to win this book for your own.

Laird’s Fiancees Series

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: October 2019

Do you love Julie Garwood’s historicals as much as we do? Let us know how excited you are about all of the books coming out this month!

About Julie Garwood

It’s no surprise that Julie Garwood became a writer. Growing up in a large family of Irish heritage, she took to storytelling naturally. “The Irish relish getting all the details of every situation,” she explains. “Add in the fact that I was the sixth of seven children. Early in life I learned that self-expression had to be forceful, imaginative, and quick.”

Creating stories was always a passion for Julie, but she didn’t focus on making it a career until the youngest of her three children entered school. After the publications of two young adult books, she turned her interests to historical fiction. Her first novel, GENTLE WARRIOR, was published in 1985, and there has been a steady parade of bestsellers ever since. Today more than 40-million copies of her books are in print, and they are translated in dozens of languages around the world. One of her most popular novels, FOR THE ROSES, was adapted for a HALLMARK HALL OF FAME production on CBS.

Whether the setting be medieval Scotland, Regency England, frontier Montana, or modern-day Louisiana, her themes are consistent: family, loyalty, and honor. Readers claim that it’s the humor as well as poignancy of her novels that keep them coming back for more. Julie described her goals this way: “I want my readers to laugh and cry and fall in love. Basically, I want them to escape into another world for a little while and afterwards to feel as though they’ve been on a great adventure.”

Julie lives in Leawood, Kansas, and is currently working on her next novel.

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Stranger in Her Bed by Janet Chapman

Posted September 19, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Stranger in Her Bed by Janet ChapmanReviewer: Rowena
The Stranger in Her Bed by Janet Chapman
Series: Logger #2
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 30, 2007
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 354
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

In The Seduction of His Wife, USA Today bestselling author Janet Chapman introduced the Knights, an ambitious logging family whose fortunes and hearts are tied to the rugged mountains of Maine. Now, Ethan Knight is drawn into the family business . . . and deep into temptation.

When Ethan agreed to work at a sawmill his family is purchasing, he didn't foresee getting fired on his first day. He should be mad at the fiercely outspoken female foreman, but something about her seems disconcertingly familiar -- even though Ethan is sure he'd remember meeting a stunning beauty like Anna Segee before.

Anna has never forgotten Ethan -- or the schoolgirl crush she had on him before her father whisked her off to Canada. Now the shy, gangly girl is grown up and back in Oak Grove with a new name, new confidence, and a newly inherited mill of her own. Her superb reputation in a male-dominated industry hasn't come easy, but even harder will be ignoring the sexy man Ethan has become. . . .

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

This review was originally posted on May 14, 2012.

So Anna Segee comes back to Oak Grove after many years away getting to know her long lost father and facing the life that she walked away from. The life her Grandfather, Samuel Fox left behind in his car accident.

Fox Run Mills is her inheritance, the one thing that her Grandfather left behind for her. Against her Father’s wishes, Anna returns to Oak Grove to make a life of her own, one that didn’t involve her over protective Father and pesky brothers making every decision for her, fixing every little aspect of her life for her. She came back to make a name for herself and live on her own two feet.

It should have been easy but Ethan Knight, her long ago Knight in Shining Armor keeps putting a cramp in her style. You see, he’s living in a spare cabin on her land and she’s his landlord. But the cabin isn’t up and running to his liking so he’s taking it out on her, which means he’s sleeping in her bed and she’s sleeping on the couch because she was in a car accident that Ethan saved her from. He drives her home, sets her up on the couch and he, himself shacks up for the next couple of nights while she’s recuperating from her ordeal, sleeping in her bed. He takes care of her and becomes the kind of man that she ran away from. The kind that boss her around, makes decisions for her, tells her what’s good for her and she hates it…

…almost as much as she kinda likes it.

When these two get into it, they really get into it. It was funny to see them yelling at eachother and arguing just because they love to be going at each other. They had fun razzing eacho ther and I enjoyed reading all about their little squirms.

At the beginning of this book I wanted more Ethan. I wanted to see what happened to him in the past (which was talked about in The Seduction of His Wife) that made him the way he is today. I wanted to know why he was so cynical where women were concerned. I wanted all the mysteries of TSoHW brought to light and I wanted to love Ethan more than Alex…why? Because even in Alex’s book, I knew I was going to love Ethan more. He was more mysterious, held my attention more than Alex did and I loved me some Alex.

Janet Chapman didn’t disappoint me at all because I DID love Ethan more than Alex.

Anna Segee was a capable heroine, it was great to see her making a life for herself apart from the family that babied her from the time she was brought into their family. She did well enough with the rebuilding of her Grandfather’s Legacy and I loved her friendship with Jane. I loved seeing her make Ethan jealous with the men at the dance, I loved it all the more because Ethan wasn’t all that jealous, he was so sure that she’d be going home with HIM that night and well, after all that, it was just so great. I love Ethan’s Knight in Shining Armor complex. It suits him well.

It was so good to see Ethan’s family in the book and meeting and seeing Anna’s family was a great addition to the book and i was super happy with the entire book.

I know that Nicole liked Alex’s book better than this book (only slightly but still) but I didn’t. I loved Ethan and Anna’s story better than Alex and Sarah’s. It might be because I have forgotten a lot of A&S’s story and E&A’s story is fresh in my mind, but I liked the depth of this story, the flow of this story and the overall presentation of this book.

It was a good read and I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. For those of you that read and loved Alex’s book, I would totally recommend this book for you to read as well.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Logger

five-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

Posted August 21, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith DuranReviewer: Holly
The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: May 8, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 388
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

In a debut romance as passionate and sweeping as the British Empire, Meredith Duran paints a powerful picture of an aristocrat torn between two worlds, an heiress who dares to risk everything...and the love born in fire and darkness that nearly destroys them.

From exotic sandstone palaces...

Sick of tragedy, done with rebellion, Emmaline Martin vows to settle quietly into British Indian society. But when the pillars of privilege topple, her fiancé's betrayal leaves Emma no choice. She must turn for help to the one man whom she should not trust, but cannot resist: Julian Sinclair, the dangerous and dazzling heir to the Duke of Auburn.

To the marble halls of London...

In London, they toast Sinclair with champagne. In India, they call him a traitor. Cynical and impatient with both worlds, Julian has never imagined that the place he might belong is in the embrace of a woman with a reluctant laugh and haunted eyes. But in a time of terrible darkness, he and Emma will discover that love itself can be perilous -- and that a single decision can alter one's life forever.

Destiny follows wherever you run.

A lifetime of grief later, in a cold London spring, Emma and Julian must finally confront the truth: no matter how hard one tries to deny it, some pasts cannot be disowned...and some passions never die.

I remember when The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran was first released. There was much fanfare and everyone seemed to love it. I often have bad luck when it comes to books everyone else loves, so I put off reading it. Years went by and, though it’s been sitting in my TBR pile for a decade, I never did read it. Casee chose it as one of her picks for me for our Summer Reading Challenge, so I dug it out. It turned out to be a lovely read.

This is a dark, complex read. Emmaline, our female lead, suffers much trauma. A shipwreck, then war in India. She is much affected by her trials and tribulations, and that came across well on page. I was fully wrapped up in her journey. Part one, especially, was hard to get through. So much violence. There was somewhat of a disconnect in Part two, however. I found myself getting impatient with the story, and also struggling to readjust to life in London ballrooms. Which, I think, speaks well of the author and how well she brought me into Emma and Julian’s story in India.

As for the romance, I truly felt the connection Julian and Emma had. I also felt their anguish at all that had come between them. I did find some of their actions not in keeping with their characters, however. Especially when they reunite in England. But I was able to move past it. Something I had a harder time moving past was all the exclamation points Duran used! They were relentless! Sometimes two or three per paragraph!

Still, all in all, I think Casee chose well for this one. Shocking, I know.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin

Posted April 25, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 5 Comments

Guest Review: Stone Cold Heart by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers #13
Also in this series: Deep Dark
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When local rock climbers stumble upon abandoned human bones in a remote Texas gorge, Sara Lockhart is the first to get the call. She has a reputation as one of the nation’s top forensic anthropologists, and police detective Nolan Hess knows she is just the expert he needs to help unravel this case. Although evidence is scarce, Nolan suspects the bones belong to a teenage climber who vanished last summer.

But as Sara unearths strange clues, she finds chilling similarities to a case from her past—a case that now threatens to rock Nolan’s community. While Sara digs deep for answers, the stakes rise higher as another young woman disappears without a trace. Investigators work against the clock as Sara races to discover the truth, even if her harrowing search brings her face to face with a stone-cold killer.

In the latest Tracers book from Laura Griffin, we’re back following a Delphi Center employee. This time it’s Sara Lockhart, a forensic anthropologist.

There’s not much to say about the plot of the book that isn’t in the cover copy or that doesn’t spoil some of the mystery. This is a much more twisty, turny mystery than some of the other Tracers books, and I enjoyed that about it. Sara’s expertise and instincts are invaluable to uncovering the extent of the crimes and piecing together who might have done it. It’s a fun ride, but not necessarily a solution you can “guess” (or maybe I’m just not clever enough, haha). I love the nerdy investigation details that Griffin uses in this series, and Sara is a prime example of that.

The romance between Nolan and Sara is a fine little love affair, though not exactly a passion for the ages. Sara is pretty reticent to get involved with Nolan because of a bad past relationship. It’s a bit cliche and does perhaps go on too long, but I did appreciate that she wasn’t whiny or angsty about it. She just wants to focus on her career and not get distracted by a relationship. I like that she’s confident and smart and happy with that. Nolan is fine, too. Pretty stereotypical cop character, although he does totally respect Sara’s expertise and autonomy which is always good to see. There’s no getting around that their relationship is a bit of a slow burn, and I felt like they don’t get much past the beginning embers in this book. I have hope for them in the future, though!

I enjoyed this book and am always happy when we veer back into the smart science nerds at the Delphi Center. I think it would be a fun read for Tracers fans, and even readers new to the series should be able to pick up this book with no trouble.

Grade: 3.5 out of 4

Tracers

three-half-stars


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