Tag: Historical

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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Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands

Posted March 12, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands
Series: Devil of the Highlands #2
Also in this series: Taming the Highland Bride
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 371
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She was ready to let her heart run wild . . .Merry Stewart has had enough! Enough of her brothers, whose behavior would make even the most improper lady blush. Enough of their Highland home, which would surely have fallen to ruin were it not for her. She dreams of escaping into the arms of her betrothed, Alexander d'Aumesbery, even though they haven't yet met. But when they do, Merry is devastated. It seems he's no better than the men in her family.

So beautiful, so brazen . . . From the moment he meets Merry, Alexander is determined to make her his. Desperate to convince her he's nothing like the members of her roguish clan, he will prove he is every bit the well-mannered gentleman. Yet, beneath it all beats a heart as intense and uncontrollable as hers. And finally, when his life is threatened, Merry realizes he's the husband she's been waiting for . . . and their passion becomes the one thing that cannot be tamed.

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

This review was originally posted on March 24, 2010.

I only just discovered Sands’ historicals last year. Prior to that I though she wrote only paranormals. Since discovering her medievals I’ve gone on a buying binge, gobbling up her backlist. I’ve found her novels to be quick, light reads. While this was more of the same, I wasn’t quite as satisfied with it.

I think many of the actions of the heroine were supposed to be kind of cutesy but they were kind of dry instead. I wasn’t laughing or smiling over her antics as much as I have in the past. I’m not sure if it was my mood while reading or a reflection of the book but there you go. I think the problem might have been that they just went on too long. There were a ton of instances where she had to be clever and find solutions to problems (carting her husband around after he’d been bashed in the head or drugged) and that didn’t leave a lot of time for the romance.

I really liked the way Alex tried to make Merry understand he wasn’t like her father and brothers. Because of a series of misunderstandings and the actions of outside forces, Merry thinks he’s a drunkard like her family. His disappointment over her feelings for him and the way he tries to fix it were sweet. It did bother me that Merry was so much in charge during the book, though. I like my medieval warriors to be just that..warriors. Because Alex was hurt so much Merry was mostly left in charge of running the keep and training the men. This bothered Alex quite a bit, but he wasn’t able to do much about it since he was always drugged or recovering from beatings.

The mystery plot annoyed me only because no one seemed to take the threats seriously. Every time something happened to Alex it was explained away or considered an accident. I wasn’t surprised at who the villain was, though the reasons behind it were interesting.

Something that really bothered me, and I’m sure this will prove just how shallow I am: the first time Merry sees Alex he’s falling down drunk. He isn’t normally a drinker, but he had a bad tooth that was causing him pain so he drank whiskey to dull the pain of having it removed. But..it was never mentioned why it had to be removed, or what tooth it was. Was it one of his front teeth, so now when he smiles he’s gap-toothed? Was it infected because he doesn’t believe in personal hygiene? I wondered about it all throughout the book. I guess it was just a little bit too much reality in my fiction.

Still, it was readable and I enjoyed the main story. I’m also looking forward to reading The Hellion and the Highlander, Merry’s oldest brother’s book.

3.75 out of 5

Devil of the Highlands

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

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

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer Ashley

Posted March 5, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Tracy
A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer Ashley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

Celebrate the holidays with New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley's Mackenzie clan in two heartwarming novellas.

Includes A Mackenzie Yuletide, a never before published Mackenzie Christmas novella!

When the Mackenzie family gathers in Scotland to celebrate the holidays, the love and joy of the Christmas spirit captures everyone's hearts.

And a reader favorite...A Mackenzie Clan Gathering

The Mackenzie clan has gathered for Hart's birthday at the sprawling family estate in Scotland. But before the festivities can start, the house is robbed, and thieves make off with an untold fortune in rare art.

Ian Mackenzie and his brothers must do what they can to retrieve the family treasure, but Ian is distracted by a family friend who claims he might have the power to "cure" Ian of his madness forever. All the Mackenzies must draw together as courage, love, and a tantalizing mystery serve to strengthen their bond, and redefine the meaning of family.

A Makenzie Yuletide

The Mackenzie clan is gathering for Christmas at Kilmorgan Castle. Not everyone has arrived but there is about half of the family in residence when Mac Mackenzie thinks he sees a ghost.  Some think he’s just tired but other, mostly the children, want to find the ghost and figure out who it is and where it goes.  Loving chaos ensues and the fun, funny and loving family joins together to figure out the mystery.

Then there’s Ian who has found the perfect gift for his wife, but discovers that the necklace has been stolen and is now missing.  He’s determined to find it – as are his children which makes things a bit crazy.

I liked this novella a lot but wanted it to be longer. This family always makes me smile, especially Ian, and I wanted more.  The original brothers feature in this story, but their kids put in an appearance as well and I loved seeing how they’ve all turned out.  Seeing their parent’s influence on their personalities was a thing of beauty as well. 😊

Overall a great story. Even if you’ve read the second novella in this book I think it’s worth getting just to read this story.

4 out of 5

I read A Mackenzie Clan Gathering back in 2015 and really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think it really held up over time.  Still good, but apparently not the type of novella that can be read multiple times.  You can read my original review here.

This time I’d give it a 3.25 out of 5

 

This brings the overall book total to somewhere around a 3.5.

three-half-stars


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