Tag: Historical

Lightning Review: Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries

Posted February 26, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina JeffriesReviewer: Holly
Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Duke Dynasty #1.5
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge
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one-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

This winter, steal away with the reigning queens of Regency Romance... plus one or two dukes, one heiress, and one headstrong beauty—to a surprise snow storm, the comfort of a blazing fire, and the heat of a lover's kisses...

A CHRISTMAS ABDUCTION by Madeline Hunter

Caroline Dunham has a bone to pick with notorious rake Baron Thornhill—and a creative plan to insure his undivided attention. Yet once in close quarters, she finds herself beholden to their smoldering connection.

A PERFECT MATCH by Sabrina Jeffries

Whisked away from a wintry ball by a commanding colonel, Cassandra Isles struggles with her feelings for Lord Heywood. For he is a man sworn to marry only for money—and Cass is an heiress who will accept nothing less than love.

I only read the first two stories in this novella.

A CHRISTMAS ABDUCTION by Madeline Hunter

Adam, Baron Thornhill gets abducted by a woman. He thinks he’s been abducted as revenge because his cousin put their family’s breeding horses down after illness swept through them. Only, no. It’s actually because he supposedly seduced her sister and got her with child. She plans to force them to marry. Adam is pretty sure he’s never met her sister, but he can’t be sure because he is something of a rake.

The premise of this story was interesting. It started out well but then went downhill when the MC’s started lusting after each other. They’re attracted to each other. Okay, I can buy that. So they keep kissing. How is this a thing? You think he’s a rake who seduced and abandoned your sister. You are literally holding him hostage to marry her, but you let him kiss and fondle you anyway? Gross.

View Spoiler »
 
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 (the .5 for the first few chapters)

A PERFECT MATCH by Sabrina Jeffries

Cass is an heiress who is determined to keep her fortune a secret so she can marry for love. Lord Heywood needs a fortune to restore the property he inherited. He intends to court her cousin, Kitty (also an heiress), but after they spend time together, it’s Cass he wants.

I really disliked the fact that Cass hid her fortune for as long as she did, but more importantly, I disliked how Heywood reacted when he found out about it. I wasn’t loving the story up to that point, and his giant man-tantrum didn’t help matters.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Duke Dynasty

After I read those two stories I was done with this anthology and skipped the Mary Jo Putney. I may go back and read it at some point.

one-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Seducing the Governess by Margo Maguire

Posted February 25, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Seducing the Governess by Margo MaguireReviewer: Tracy
Seducing the Governess by Margo Maguire
Series: Regency Flings #4
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 370
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A Proper Governess Should Never...

Assist a handsome stranger, alone on an unfamiliar road...unless the rake happens to be her new employer.

Take a position in a crumbling manor...especially if the household staff has been replaced by unruly former soldiers.

Allow her young charge entrée to her heart...for once done, it will be impossible to maintain proper distance.

Permit her charge's uncle a breathtaking kiss under a star-lit sky...henceforth she will most certainly lose composure whenever he is near.

And above all, she should never, ever fall completely, irreversibly in love with her employer...for nothing good can possibly come of it.

This review was originally posted on February 19, 2011.

Mercy Franklin was desperate after the death of her mother and decided to advertise as a governess. She only had one reply and so she took off for the Lake District. She’s not exactly sure she can do the job since she’s just a vicar’s daughter and hasn’t done anything like this before but she’s determined to do her best.

Mercy is a bit surprised when she sees the hall for the first time. It’s falling down around their heads, dusty and dirty. Emmaline, her charge and the current earl’s niece is a quiet and reserved 8-year old who hardly speaks. On top of that, the earl himself isn’t a thing like she would imagine an Earl would be like – but Mercy finds him extremely handsome despite the scars on his face. Mercy knows that she needs to stay far away from the man but she keeps finding herself in his presence. The earl is a bit harsh but Mercy finds that she enjoys verbally sparring with him and the tension between the two of them is extremely high. Mercy finds herself falling for the earl while the earl can’t seem to stay away from her either.

There are other issues going on with all of Ashby Hall’s’ residents. The earl is trying to deal with the deaths of his two older brothers, the fact that he’s now an earl and must try to marry to beget an heir, the demise of Ashby Hall and its lands, and the lack of coin to get the whole place back to its shining glory (and a dowry, if he does marry, would come in quite handy). Emmaline despite her young age is dealing with the deaths of her parents as well as the deaths of her uncle and aunt after that. I believe she finds it hard to trust anyone as she feels that they might leave her – just as the earl feels. Then there’s Mercy who is dealing with the death of her mother too soon after the death of her father – but her mother told Mercy, just before she died, that she was indeed not her daughter and they had taken her in when she was three years of age. Even though she eventually reads her “mother’s” journal and is understandably upset by the insensitivity of it she feels adrift not knowing who she really is or where she came from.

Throughout the book there’s also another story going on at the same time. This one is of a dying duke who has decided that he needs to find his two granddaughters who he so callously sent off to be placed with other families as he wanted nothing to do with them after the death of their parents. Now he wants to make amends, find the girls and bequeath to them the monies and lands of his that are unentailed. We follow Captain Gavin Briggs as he seeks to follow a 20-year-old trail and find the girls. But there’s someone else who is looking for them as well and the other person doesn’t want the girls found at all – they’ll stop at nothing to keep them hidden.

This book is really the first part of a two-part story and frankly, I’m very interested to read the second part of the book. Now, because of the two-part issue, I think that there were some things that I would have liked to have seen accomplished in this book…like Mercy (who you know from minute 1 is one of the dying duke’s granddaughters) meeting her grandfather and dealing with that mess as well as coming to terms with the family that raised her, that wasn’t and I can only assume…and hope, that those things will be dealt with in the next book.

That being said I really enjoyed this story. I thought that the tension between Mercy and Nash was wonderful and compelling and I kept turning pages to see what was going to happen next. Once the pair started the sexual part of their relationship – even though they weren’t married (scandalous, I know!) the story moved pretty quickly and things were wrapped up in about 30 pages but that was ok – it worked!

A quick, easy read that was quite enjoyable. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for the second part!

Rating: 4 out of 5

Regency Flings

four-stars


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Joint Review: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard

Posted February 25, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie HowardReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard
Series: Everleigh Sisters #1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Beauty and the Beast meets Taming of the Shrew in this laugh-out-loud and heartfelt Regency romance.

Lord Nathaniel Harte, the disagreeable Duke of Beswick, spends his days smashing porcelain, antagonizing his servants, and snarling at anyone who gets too close. With a ruined face like his, it's hard to like much about the world. Especially smart-mouthed harpies—with lips better suited to kissing than speaking—who brave his castle with indecent proposals.

But Lady Astrid Everleigh will stop at nothing to see her younger sister safe from a notorious scoundrel, even if it means offering herself up on a silver platter to the forbidding Beast of Beswick himself. And by offer, she means what no highborn lady of sound and sensible mind would ever dream of—a tender of marriage with her as his bride.

Lady Astrid Everleigh is desperate to save her sister from an unwanted marriage to the man who ruined her own reputation. So desperate, in fact, she hatches a plan to get the Duke of Beswick to marry her. Whatever it takes.

Lord Nathaniel Harte, who came back from the war horribly scarred, is doing his best to live up to his reputation as The Beast of Beswick. He knows marriage is not for him, but Astrid is nearly irresistible.

Holly: I’m a total sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings. When our book club suggested we read this for our February book, I was all about it, even though historicals have been hit or miss for me lately.

Rowena: I didn’t know that I was a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings until I read this one. I’m not that interested in reading historicals these days but I’m glad that I read this one. It took me a while to get into this story because I kept letting myself get distracted by any and everything else but once I buckled down, it took me no time at all to get this one read.

Holly: This started out really well for me. I loved Astrid and her determination to save herself and her sister. The way she stood up for herself and decided to take her future into her own hands for the sake of her sister was great.

What did you think?

Rowena: I enjoyed both Astrid and Thane. Their individual stories and their romance kept me interested from beginning to end. I love how she kept thinking of him as the naked duke. LOL.

Holly: The Naked Duke made me laugh. Her embarrassment when she walked in on him in the bath was hilarious.

I really enjoyed their romance. The way they understood each other and tried to care for the other on the down-low was cute.

Rowena: When did things start to go bad for you?

Holly: It started to go bad for me when Isobel, Astrid’s sister, decided to take off with the evil aunt and uncle. You?

Rowena: To be honest, I was much more interested in Astrid and Thane so I didn’t pay all that much attention to Isobel. Was I annoyed that she took off without telling Astrid? Yeah. I also wasn’t a fan of the way that she kept Astrid out of EVERYTHING. It read more like Isobel knew better than Astrid and I didn’t like that. I guess I was a little interested, haha.

Everything that Astrid did for Isobel, I felt like they did together. They were a team but when Isobel took off, it was like she left the band to be a solo artist and yeah, not a fan of that shit.

Holly: I think that’s what bothered me the most – that Isobel seemed to think she knew better than Astrid. It made it seem like she didn’t have any faith or trust in her sister, which was frustrating after everything Astrid did for her. For her to leave a note and take off was so cowardly. Plus, the way she was determined to “manipulate” (her word) everyone into getting what she wanted was so immature. Honestly, I have no desire to read her book. You?

Rowena: Yeah, I’m not gonna lie. I’m not even a little bit interested in reading Isobel’s book because I agree with everything you said. I’m more curious about Isobel’s husband and what he thinks about their marriage and if he knows about Isobel’s plot. I hope someone I know reads it so they can tell me instead of me finding out for myself, haha.

Holly: I read the blurb for the next book and her hero? He married her to fulfil the terms of a will so he could get his inheritance. He didn’t care about her at all. Not when they married anyway. So yeah, count me out for that one.

Rowena: Astrid was my favorite in the entire book. I loved how smart she was, how unapologetic she was in what she liked and what she wanted. She fought hard for the things that mattered to her and I loved when she slapped people down (especially Beaumont) with her words.

Holly: Astrid was my favorite part of this book, too. I loved how she decided who and what she was about. She didn’t let anyone cow her, and she didn’t bow to anyone. I really loved how she put herself out there while staying in charge of her own fate. It was great.

Rowena: Yes, I loved that even though Astrid was terrified to put herself completely out there, she did it anyway because she truly wanted to make her relationship with Thane work. I also loved her relationship with Thane’s Aunt. She was the freaking best! I love how Astrid went chasing after Thane to have it out with him when he was being an ass at that last ball they were all at.

Holly: I also loved how Thane supported her and championed her, even if it was from the background.

Holly:I wasn’t really bothered by him pushing her away. I understand it had more to do with him than her. What about you?

Rowena: I thought that I would be a lot more annoyed with the back and forth that Thane did where Astrid was concerned but I wasn’t. Not at all. I completely understood why he was the way that he was and why he acted the way that he did. He’s human and I loved that Amalie Howard showed his struggles with his appearance and being out in public. I also loved that he really understood and accepted Astrid as she was. He didn’t shower her with jewels and flowers, he knew what would win her over and gifted the things that were just so…her. That was so great.

Holly: I really loved the gifts he gave her. They showed how thoughtful and caring he was, and how much he paid attention to her.

Rowena: Oh, I also really loved Thane’s servants. They were so freaking cute!

Holly: Thane’s servants were the best. I loved how he kept threatening to fire them but they were just like “eh, whatever. So, like I was saying…”.

Rowena: Overall, this story worked for me. It was entertaining, it had great villains that I loved to hate and the romance was pretty steamy. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. You?

Holly: While I really liked the romance, some parts were slow and I did get pulled out of the story a couple times by certain things. I’m going to give this 3.75 out of 5.

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Everleigh Sisters

four-stars


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Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Posted February 17, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-GarciaReviewer: Holly
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Narrator: Frankie Corzo
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Horror
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
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three-half-stars

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . . From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemí’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Mexican Gothic was one of my most anticipated books of 2020. I loved the cover and blurb, and I was very anxious to get my hands on it. I requested a copy from the library and it took ages for it to come available. I ended up with the audiobook. I enjoyed the narrator, though I did think the audio was kind of slow. I eventually listened at 3x speed and that worked better for me.

This is a slow-burn horror novel. The first 3/4 slowly built the mystery and introduced us to the characters at High Place. I didn’t necessarily find this to be scary, but there was a definite creep factor that had me anxious to see what would happen next.

I didn’t take me long to figure out what was going on, and I eventually became impatient for Noemí to figure it out (and the end was a little over-the-top). Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the strength of some of the characters, like Noemí’s cousin and a few of the others, and I enjoyed the story overall, even if it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

While not quite the creepy gothic I was anticipating, I did enjoy this novel and look forward to reading more from the author in the future.

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Heiress by Lynsay Sands

Posted February 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heiress by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
The Heiress by Lynsay Sands
Series: Madison Sisters #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 382
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Desperately seeking a husband...

Suzette is not like other heiresses; she wants a poor husband, a gentleman who will be so grateful for her dowry that he will allow her access to it so that she can pay off her father's gambling debts. When this alluring beauty encounters Daniel Woodrow—handsome, titled, single . . . and even more impoverished than she could have hoped for—it seems Suzette's wildest dreams have come true.

But Daniel has not been truthful. Tired of being accosted by an endless stream of vapid coquettes and their fortune-hunting mothers, Daniel has decided to plead poverty to stop them in their tracks. Yet here is a most refreshing and delectable lady, who claims to be thrilled by his penury. Now all Daniel has to do to find true happiness is to keep a little white lie alive . . . while avoiding a villain who's determined to prevent this union by any means necessary.

This review was originally posted on February 15, 2011.

I confess I read these books out of order. Even though this is the second book in the series, I read it first not realizing it. Because it runs parallel to the first book, The Countess, I didn’t enjoy the first book nearly as much as I did this one, since I found it rather redundant. I think had I read The Countess first, I would have liked this one less than I did. Just a warning for those of you who want to read the series.

I’ve been referring to this book as a historical Weekend at Bernie’s. With a zany plot, silly antics, and a corpse that turns up in the most unfortunate places, this is a fun romp.

Suzette, Lady Madison is in a bind. Her father has gambled them to the edge of ruin – for the second time in a year – and she must marry in order to save the family. She’s only got two weeks before her father’s markers come due, which doesn’t leave much time to find someone. She isn’t interested in marriage in the least, so she devises a plan to give her as much power as possible in the union: In exchange for the bulk of her dowry (which is rather substantial) her new husband must agree to give her a portion and her freedom. She figures if she finds a titled gentleman desperately in need of funds she should be married in no time.

Daniel Woodrow is only trying to help his friend, Richard, reclaim his identity, so he’s shocked when Suzette proposes marriage to him. To put her off he claims to be poor, but that only seems to make him more perfect in his eyes. Determined to keep her from marrying for the wrong reasons, he agrees to consider the proposal while he and Richard investigate the death of Richard’s twin and the circumstances behind Suzette’s father gambling all their money away.

But there is more going on than meets the eye, and between corpses, murder attempts, family obligations and an overwhelming passion neither could have foreseen, they’ll need all their wits about them. This is rather unfortunate since good sense seems to disappear when they touch each other.

Suzette really made this story. She is honest and forthright and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, no matter how unflattering the truths she reveals. The word that kept coming to mind to describe her was termagant, and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Daniel is a stand-up kind of guy, the type many women dream about. Where others might have been horrified by the heroine, he adored her. Though he isn’t sure he wants to marry her, he does want to ensure her future is secure, one way or another. I thought it was hilarious that he wouldn’t let anyone tell her the truth about his financial state for fear she’d decide not to marry him, even when he wasn’t sure he wanted marriage.

Though I enjoyed it, this novel requires the reader to suspend a huge amount of disbelief in order to make it work. This was hard at times because the plot was so unbelievable. The basis of the plot is so flimsy I really struggled to accept it. The antics of the characters were amusing, but Sands pushed it too far on several occasions.

I will say, despite the lighthearted nature of the book, there’s enough depth to keep it from being over the top. The love story is shaded with flashes of the deep emotion that reel the reader in.

If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted comedy, I recommend this. Just remember to go into it expecting a plot on the unbelievable side.

3.75 out of 5

Madison Sisters

three-half-stars


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