Tag: Guest Reviews

Guest Review: The Truth About Dukes by Grace Burrowes

Posted November 9, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Truth About Dukes by Grace BurrowesReviewer: Tracy
The Truth About Dukes by Grace Burrowes
Series: Rogues to Riches #5
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A new duke and a woman with a secret in her past get a second chance at love in this delightful and charming Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the Windham series.

Robert Rothmere is hiding a past no duke should have endured, but he's not hiding it well enough. Sooner or later, his enemies will learn that he spent years locked away at a private asylum. To get their hands on his wealth, they'll try to send him right back to his worst nightmares. If Robert is to foil their schemes, he needs to marry a perfectly proper, blessedly boring, deadly dull duchess, immediately—and he knows exactly which quietly delightful lady he'd love to entrust with that role.

Lady Constance Wentworth has cultivated a reputation for utter forgettability. She never speaks out of turn (in public), never has a daring thought (that she admits aloud), and never comes close to courting scandal... as far as anybody knows. Her path crossed Robert's years ago, though, and she's never forgotten the extraordinary lengths he traveled to keep her safe when she hadn't a friend in the world. She longs to be his demure duchess...but little does he know that to marry her would be utter madness.

Constance is shocked when she sees Robert Rothmere at a ball.  She tries to avoid him, but he waylays her, and they walk in the garden.  What Constance thought would be incredibly awkward was, in fact, quite nice.  Constance had known Robert when he was a patient in an asylum.  He isn’t insane, he is epileptic. The “asylum” was actually a place that Robert’s father had stowed him away and a horrible doctor had been experimenting on him.

Constance’s sister and Robert’s brother are in love and engaged to be married.  This brings Constance and Robert together more and more and they find themselves falling in love.  The road to happiness, however, will be a rough road.  Constance has a secret she doesn’t want to share with Robert but must in order to be completely honest with him.  Robert could possibly be seen as unfit to run a dukedom and put under a guardianship.  They will both try as hard as they can to avoid this happening.  With Robert’s brother and Constance’s family and friends they will try to overcome all the obstacles in their way to a bright future.

This was definitely a romance, but I felt that most of the book was taken up with Constance’s secret and Robert and his epilepsy.  That was actually fine, because it worked in this instance and was well done.  That said, the first part of the book was a bit…I want to say stodgy, but that’s not quite right.  It just didn’t flow the way that I’m used to Burrowes’ books flowing and it was disjointed for me.  The second part was definitely more cohesive, and the story really picked up.

I loved Constance and Robert together.  There wasn’t too much of the typical romance between the two, but the way that Burrowes portrayed their love throughout the book was definitely sigh-worthy.  She did a great job showing us how much in love these two characters were.

The secondary characters definitely need to be mentioned as they were an integral part of the story.  I loved how Burrowes took the “it takes a village” saying and ran with it – even though these were adults.  It showed the love and care that the two families had for their siblings and I loved that.

Overall a good read. I haven’t read the previous four books in this series but didn’t feel that not doing so detracted from this story in any way.

Rating:  3.75/4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Tempted by Her Viking Enemy by Terri Brisbin

Posted November 2, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Tempted by Her Viking Enemy by Terri BrisbinReviewer: Tracy
Tempted by Her Viking Enemy by Terri Brisbin
Series: Sons of Sigurd #5
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Publication Date: November 1, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


USA TODAY
Bestselling Author
“What do I get if I help you?”

“Whatever I have to give…”

The only person who can help Katla flee a violent marriage is the Viking in her father’s dungeon, the strong and honorable Brandt Sigurdsson. Except Brandt is hungry to see justice done for his family’s destruction, the final vengeance on behalf of all the sons of Sigurd. Is there any persuasion she can offer that will free them both to live—and love—together?
From Harlequin Historical: Your romantic escape to the past.
Sons of Sigurd

Driven by revenge, redeemed by love
Book 1: Stolen by the Viking by Michelle Willingham
Book 2: Falling for Her Viking Captive by Harper St. George
Book 3: Conveniently Wed to the Viking by Michelle Styles
Book 4: Redeeming Her Viking Warrior by Jenni Fletcher
Book 5: Tempted by Her Viking Enemy by Terri Brisbin

Katla Thorfinnsdottir is the oldest daughter of a Pict woman and a Norse man.  Her father has promised her in marriage to a horrible man and Katla is devastated.  She is a widow from her first marriage and doesn’t want to marry another ogre.

Brandt shows up at the Pict stronghold to kill Katla’s father, Thorfinn Bjornsson.  He wants revenge as he believes that Thorfinn is responsible for the raid on his Norse village that ended up killing his father, Brandt’s pregnant wife, and the crown taking their titles and their land.  They fight, but eventually Brandt is wounded and taken prisoner.  Katla is the castle’s healer and is ordered by her father to save Brandt.  As he’s healing, Katla gets to know Brandt and stats to like him a great deal.  She asks him to help her and her younger sister escape from the castle and Brandt agrees, but not before he gets his revenge.  Brandt is leery of Katla at first but soon finds himself falling in love with her.

Brandt tells Katla the story of his village and Katla discusses some weird happenings that are taking place in the castle.  Between the two of them they solve the mystery of what’s going on, but that doesn’t help Brandt who is still a prisoner. They make a plan, but they’re not sure if they can execute it without, well, getting executed.

This was a decent read.  I liked Katla but felt bad for her for the life she’d had after her mother died and her father had gotten remarried. She came back home after her husband died with the intent of staying at the castle for the rest of her life.  In the Pict lands the right of inheritance is through the women.  For the Norse, the right of inheritance goes through the male line.  Her father marrying her off again was something she certainly didn’t want.  She’d been abused by her first husband and didn’t want to have to deal with that again.  Unfortunately, her father wasn’t listening, because of his new wife and her machinations.

Brandt was a good character, but he didn’t have much depth.  He was so focused on revenge that we didn’t get to know a whole lot about him or his background. I certainly liked him with Katla,and loved that he could love her despite his hate for her father.  Katla was kind and giving and I loved her determination in getting the heck out of Dodge.

The story did have a ton of introspection as the characters were trying to figure out their lives, and the mystery that entwined the two of them, and that slowed things down a bit for me.  Despite that I enjoyed the story and recommend it if you like a good Viking story. This is the 5th book in the Sons of Sigurd series – all the books are written by different authors.  I didn’t read any of the books in the series besides this one but didn’t feel that I needed to do so in order to figure out what was going on in this one.  I obviously can’t say if that applies for all the books in the series, but for this one, it worked.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: When the Earl Met His Match by Stacy Reid

Posted October 26, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: When the Earl Met His Match by Stacy ReidReviewer: Tracy
When the Earl Met His Match by Stacy Reid
Series: Wedded by Scandal #4
Also in this series: Accidentally Compromising the Duke, Accidentally Compromising the Duke
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Publication Date: September 14, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 249
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When Hugh Winthrop, the future Earl of Albury, decides to advertise for a wife in the London paper, he never expected an anonymous response from a woman who matches him wit for wit. Their back-and-forth letters on the true nature of love, something they disagree on wholeheartedly, leave him shocked—and intrigued. But then the woman he’s been corresponding with shows up on his doorstep, enticingly beautiful and offering a marriage of convenience in exchange for his protection…

Lady Phoebe Maitland expected to marry for love and nothing else, until the man she gave her trust betrayed her. The more intrigued she becomes by the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Hugh, however, the more she realizes he’s holding back from opening his heart due to long-held secrets she struggles to understand. As passion flares wickedly between them, their marriage bed is quick to heat up. But when Phoebe’s past threatens to destroy the fragile bond they’ve formed, even a budding belief in love might not be enough to save them.

Lady Phoebe, a duke’s daughter, is in love with a man who doesn’t live up to her lofty father’s expectations.  He’s a commoner, and that just won’t do.  When Phoebe is betrayed by her love, she’s devastated, but makes a plan to resolve her issues.

Hugh is an Earl and has written an advertisement for a wife.  He describes what he’s looking for and he is quite succinct in the ad that this marriage will have nothing to do with love.  Phoebe is outraged and write’s this anonymous man to tell him her feelings about his ad.  They start a correspondence that while still vaguely about the ad, becomes a bit of a friendship and they both look forward to the letters.

After her love’s betrayal (and other reasons) Phoebe heads to Hugh’s and offers a marriage of convenience.  He’s shocked that this woman has shown up to be his wife, as he hadn’t made a decision about who he would pick of the women who had answered the ad.  Hugh is honest with himself that he’s not totally mad/sad that Phoebe is there as he has enjoyed her letters immensely.  They also each have issues that are not necessarily accepted in society and Hugh decides to go through with it. Phoebe is shocked when she realizes that Hugh is mute, but quickly decides it doesn’t matter.

Despite getting married, Hugh is determined to nip love in the bud before it can begin.  His mother took off with her lover when Hugh was young and he doesn’t want his heart on the line if Phoebe decides to leave as well. Can Phoebe get him to see that love is something they should strive for rather than avoid?

I enjoyed this book. One of the reasons was Hugh and his wonderful attitude towards life.  He accepted Phoebe for who she was, and all her issues.  He didn’t let the fact that he was mute stop him from living and I loved that.  He was so good to Phoebe for the most part and I really enjoyed them together.  I also really liked Phoebe and her determination to live her life the way she wanted to, and not the way her parents and brother thought she should live it.

Phoebe was the other reason this book was good.  She made some mistakes in her life but for the most part she had such a good heart.  I loved her vibrancy!  At one point in the book she takes a poor woman and her children into the carriage and takes them home because it’s raining.  How many women of the nobility would do that?? Not only that but she gives her jewelry she can sell to buy food. Hugh then goes a step further and tells her that money and help finding a job will be available to her the next day.  Good people!

That said, I have a bit of an issue with one aspect of Reid’s heroes (and this happened in all of the Reid books I’ve read).  It seems that the heroes, at some point, are angry at the heroines or trying to push them away because they’re trying to deny that they love the women. When this happens, they are purposely cruel to the heroines and say some of the rudest, meanest things to them!  I hate that!  Surely their feelings can be expressed without being cruel. Anyway, that’s a pet peeve I have with Reid’s heroes. They can be amazing, but they can also be complete bastards.

Anyway, despite my love of Hugh and Phoebe the story dragged in a few places, which was disappointing.  Still a good book, but it brought my rating down a bit.  I still recommend this book, as I definitely think it one that needs to be read.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy

Posted October 12, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Her Night with the Duke by Diana QuincyReviewer: Tracy
Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy
Series: Clandestine Affairs #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars


Desire knows no reason...

When Lady Delilah Chambers finds herself stranded at a country inn on a rain-swept evening, she’s forced to fend off a group of ruffians with the help of a handsome gentleman. Irresistibly drawn to each other, Leela and the stranger spend one reckless night in each others’ arms—and then go their separate ways. But the very next day Leela receives the shock of her life when she meets the duke who is set on wedding her beloved stepdaughter.

When it finds two destined hearts...

One night isn’t enough with a woman as fierce, fiery, and brilliant as Leela. Elliot Townsend, Duke of Huntington, cannot believe his good fortune when their chance encounter leads to an unforgettable evening of passion. Yet Hunt’s luck runs out when he is introduced to his prospective mother-in-law. Dowagers aren’t supposed to look like this... 
Leela and Hunt are determined to keep each other at arm’s length, which should be easy enough for two intelligent adults with reputations to uphold. The problem is all logic is lost when it comes to a passion that refuses to be ignored.

Warning: This review contains small spoilers.

During a rainstorm both Leela and Elliot Townsend get stranded at a roadside inn. To save Leela from the unruly pub population, he offers to share his private parlor with her.  One thing leads to another and they end up spending a passionate night in the private parlor.  When Leela wakes up Elliot is gone but she can’t forget their wonderful night together.

Imagine Leela’s shock when she arrives at her former home (she a widowed Countess) and finds Elliot Townsend aka the Duke of Huntington there.  He’s there because he’s “almost” engaged to Leela’s 18 year old step-daughter.  Leela is completely taken with Hunt, but would do nothing to hurt her step-daughter, Tori, for any reason, so she makes every excuse to stay away from the duke.  When he infers that they should continue their affair, Leela declines and Hunt ends up asking Tori to marry him.

While Hunt is getting used to the idea of marrying Tori, she’s falling in love, but not with Hunt.  When their engagement ends, Leela is concerned for Hunt’s well-being and seeks him out.  He’s an ass to her, but they end up together. From there their relationship is off and on like a faucet, but eventually they get their HEA.

This book.  It was recommended as the next big thing, and supposedly very good.  Yeah, not my cuppa at all. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Leela.  She was brave, strong, independent, loyal, and she definitely knew her own mind.  Hunt, on the other hand, was an ass.  I’m sure I can come up with much stronger adjectives, but I’ll leave it at that.  He ruined the book for me.

Leela is the daughter of a Marquess and was born and raised in England.  Her mother was Levantine, which makes Leela half Levantine.  Of course, people see her as a heathen even though she’s as English as anyone else.  She is a Countess by marriage, but people sometimes still treat her like a servant before they find out she’s a Lady.  She loves traveling and has even written a travelogue and had it published, with wonderful results. She was really a great character and quite steadfast in her beliefs and desire to continue traveling, continue writing and live life on her terms.

Hunt was a man who was determined to be as unlike his dissolute older brother as possible.  When his brother died he decided that he would avoid scandal at all costs and marry a quiet, biddable woman to be his wife.  After spending the night with Leela he decided that he wanted her no matter what.  He was disappointed when she said no and almost to spite her he got engaged to her step-daughter.  When the engagement ended, he was a complete jerk to Leela time and again.  He made me so mad at times!  I don’t think I’ve disliked a hero this much in years.

While I didn’t mind Quincy’s writing, and as I’ve said, I really enjoyed Leela, the overall book was not to my liking.  It was a bit all over the place and irritated me more often than not.  I think I’m in the minority in my feelings for this book so you probably should make up your own mind about it.  That said I was intrigued by Hunt’s friend Griff whose parents were murdered while he slept in the same house and everyone believes that he killed them.  I’m pretty sure his book is next in this series and I will definitely pick that one up when it’s released.

Rating: 2.75/3 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Lady Flees her Lord by Michele Ann Young

Posted October 8, 2020 by Ames in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Lady Flees her Lord by Michele Ann YoungReviewer: Ames
The Lady Flees Her Lord by Michele Ann Young
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 401
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four-stars


She's desperate for peace and safety...
Lucinda, Lady Denbigh, is running from a husband who physically and emotionally abuses her because she is unfashionably plump and has failed to produce an heir. Posing as a widow, she seeks refuge in the quiet countryside...

He's returned from the wars, wounded and tormented...
Lord Hugo Wanstead, with a wound that won't heal, and his mother's and Spanish wife's deaths on his conscience, finds his estate impoverished, his sleep torn by nightmares, and brandy his only solace. When he meets Lucinda, he finds her beautiful - body and soul - and thinks she just might give him something to live for ...

Together they can begin to heal, but not until she is free from her violent past...

This review was originally published on October 16, 2008

This is my very first Michele Ann Young book and it won’t be my last. (I have No Regrets in my TBR Pile). Michele writes a very satisfying book.

Lucinda Denbigh is an abused wife. She’s not a skinny English rose by any means, a fact which her husband holds against her. He only married her for her money, and he scorns the way she looks and the fact that she’s barren. As he puts it, she can’t even get being a woman right. Lucinda has had about as much as she can take, so when her husband’s good friend, the Duke of Vale, lets her know that he wants access to her luscious body, Lucinda bolts in the dead of the night.

She lands in Kent with a street urchin she picked up along the way. She adopts the young girl as her own and sets up her new life as a widow. Meanwhile, Lord Hugo Wanstead has returned from the war (the Napoleonic wars) injured and bitter (of course). He’s a great big hulk of a man and when he spots the curvy woman on his land, he’s immediately attracted to her. But he refrains from getting her to know her and locks himself away in his rotting estate (his father was a wastrel and left a mountain of debt).

But these two lock horns when Lucinda faces the bear in his cave – over the care of some of his tenants. Hugo is still fascinated by this woman, she by him (it’s hard for her to believe it, considering her history with men) and pretty soon Lucinda is drawing Hugo out of his shell and these two begin to fall in love.

Of course, Hugo doesn’t know that Lucinda isn’t a widow and Lucinda doesn’t know that Hugo has demon seed.

I’m being facetious with that comment there. 😛 Hugo is just a very large man and he’s worried about having another woman die giving birth to his baby (that’s what happened to his first wife). But not to fear dear readers, that fear doesn’t take up too much page time and this being romance, things have a way of working out in the end.

It’s getting to the end that’s the interesting part. I really liked Lucinda. She wasn’t a victim. She took her life into her own hands and made a successful go at it. She was smart, she used her brains to get her out of trouble and when an opportunity presented itself, even though she afraid, she didn’t want to make a decision she’d regret for the rest of her life. I gotta respect that!

And Hugo. I really liked him too. Lucinda does draw him out of his shell and gets him interacting with the people around him. And he so dearly wants Lucinda. Of course he doesn’t realize at first that he loves her, but oh my was he a sweet bear of a man. LOL What can I say? I have a weakness for big guys. 😛

As I said, The Lady Flees her Lord is a satisfying read. 4 out 5 (B)

four-stars


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