Tag: Historical

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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Throwback Thursday Review: At the Duke’s Pleasure by Tracy Anne Warren

Posted February 20, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: At the Duke’s Pleasure by Tracy Anne WarrenReviewer: Rowena
At the Duke's Pleasure by Tracy Anne Warren
Series: The Byrons of Braebourne #3
Also in this series: Seduced by His Touch, At the Duke's Pleasure, Wicked Delights of a Bridal Bed, The Bed and the Bachelor, Tempted by His Kiss
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

All the Byrons are just as "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" as their famous non-relation . . . but now the time has come for the eldest son to marry . . . Edward Byron, Duke of Clybourne, has everything a man in Society needs . . . except a wife.

Duty requires he wed, so he decides that a long-standing arranged marriage will do nicely. He knows his bride is beautiful, biddable, and bright enough to run his household and nursery. He expects his betrothed, Lady Claire Marsden, will be thrilled with his decision—unfortunately, she's not!

Claire has longed for Edward since she was sixteen, but how can he expect her to agree to his proposal when he barely knows her and doesn't love her? Nothing will convince her to accept a loveless marriage. And so she begins a battle of outrageous resistance, forcing Edward to learn that he must lose his heart in order to win his bride.

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

This review was originally posted on February 2, 2010.

There seems to be a theme in my reading right now. This is the third book that I’ve read with this kind of storyline and while I enjoyed the book, it wasn’t my favorite Byron book. I really enjoyed it though but while I enjoyed this book, Jack’s book holds a special place in my heart. I heart Jack.

However, I did enjoy Edward’s book as well. I’m a sucker for those unrequited love storylines and this was one of them. Edward and Clare have been betrothed ever since Edward was a young boy and Clare was a, well, a baby. There wasn’t a moment that Clare didn’t know where her future would take place and seeing who she was engaged to was easy as a young girl to paint white picket fences around her future. But when your groom takes his time coming to fetch his bride and when an overheard comment from that groom makes its way to you, it’s hard to get over that heartbreak.

Watching Clare try to manipulate Edward into breaking off their engagement and then seeing Edward try to make sense of everything and keep their engagement intact, all the while fighting his attraction to the woman that his young fiance turned out to be was a delight to read. It wasn’t a very original plot (as I have stated, this is the third book with this storyline that I’ve read in the past few months) but Warren made the story work for both Edward and Clare. I thought she did a great job of keeping the reader entertained and she definitely made me want more from the Byrons.

Edward came off kind of stuffy at first but I thought he was a great match for Clare. Their chemistry was what had me coming back for more and I thought it was a good read. I loved watching Edward with his family, with the twins and then with his sister, even his mother. He was one of those honorable men who kept his word and he was smexy to boot. Watching him fall for Clare was a treat.

Then there was Clare, she’s still young enough to be rebellious yet old enough to desire a man and I thought that Warren balanced her different emotions rather well. She didn’t make Clare a hateful cow and I appreciated that. I thought the way that Clare came around where Edward was concerned made the story fun to read and I loved how they fell in love over time and not right away.

Overall, this story did its job. It entertained me, it made me sigh a little and laugh a little. It took me away from my real life for the hours that it took me to read it and I came away from this book, entertained and happy. Would I recommend this? Sure, to all of the Byron fans out there and to other historical lovers who want a fun, romantic story to pass the time. This is a good one.

4 out of 5

Byrons of Braebourne

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Temptation of Lady Serena by Ella Quinn

Posted February 10, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Temptation of Lady Serena by Ella QuinnReviewer: Tracy
The Temptation of Lady Serena by Ella Quinn
Series: The Marriage Game #3
Also in this series: A Kiss for Lady Mary
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 356
Add It: Goodreads
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two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Ella Quinn's bachelors in The Marriage Game series are charming and cunning when it comes to the ways of love--until the right woman captures their unsuspecting hearts. . .

Custom-made gowns. . .nights at the theater. . .and a host of eligible bachelors. Accustomed to living a quiet life in the Scottish Borderlands, Lady Serena Weir has never had any of these luxuries. But when Serena's brother demands she finally have a Season in London, she's thrust into a glamorous world she's only dreamed of. . .

Robert, Viscount Beaumont, remembers all too well what it feels like to be in love. That is why he must keep his distance from Serena. He's only felt his pulse stir the way it does now when he made the mistake of loving the wrong woman once before. Yet the more he strives to resist his feelings, the nearer he is to falling under Serena's seductive spell. . .

Lady Serena gets sent to London from Scotland for a season when she is 26 years old.  Her parents had passed and she’d taken care of the family estate and dependents since she was 14 years old and her brother was off being a soldier.  When he returns with his new wife, the wife gets rid of Serena by sending her off to London.

Serena is not sure how to handle herself as she’s never been in any kind of society.  Luckily she has an aunt and a cousin from her mother’s side of the family who are sponsoring her and getting her ready.  She may not have the social wiles, but her kindness and innocence shine through and make her the talk of the ton.

Robert, Viscount Beaumont, is struck by Serena’s beauty from the moment he sees her.  He had eschewed ton events for years but he now attends as many as possible, just to dance and stare at Serena.  He is charming and soon Serena is in love with him.  He wants her desperately, but has stated that he’ll never love again (after a fiasco when he was a young man).  Robert decides he’ll ask Serena to marry him but before that happens, he compromises her.  Serena is pissed off and says she’ll not marry him because he doesn’t love her.  She then leads him on a chase, but in the end he realizes he loves her.

This would have been a great end to this story and would have happened about 50% of the way through the book.  But no, the book continued on for another 200 pages and gave us another romance, local country children getting kidnapped and the resolution of that, as well as an old bed partner of Robert’s causing trouble.  It was ridiculous.  If we could have just had the story wrap up after Robert told Serena he loved her I probably would have given this book a better rating.  Unfortunately with all of the unnecessary parts that were added into the book, the rating didn’t dip down, it took a huge dive.

I did love Serena in this book.  She was kind, generous and all that was good.  You would think that she would have been over the top, but she wasn’t.  She just knew her business when it came to running an estate, and she wasn’t afraid to tell Robert her thoughts.  Robert was a bit of an ass at first, but he settled down and became a good man.  I was happy for the two of them.

The romance was worth reading in this book but the rest…not so much.  I can’t recommend this one unless you plan on just reading the first half of the book.

Rating: 2 out of 5

The Marriage Game

two-stars


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Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

Posted February 3, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney MilanReviewer: Holly
The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
Series: The Brothers Sinister #0.5
Also in this series: The Duchess War
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 21, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 152
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She will not give up…
Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.
He cannot give in…
Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan is a prequel novella to The Brothers Sinister series. After I finished The Duchess War, Tracy told me this novella was a prequel, so I knew I had to read it. I really enjoyed the story. It was interesting to see how Serena and Hugo came to be, and some of the events in real time I’d read about in TDW.

I liked Serena’s strength and her determination to stand up for herself. I also like Hugo and the way he came to care for her. Though the story is short, it packed quite a punch. I was fully wrapped up in their battle of wills and anxious to see how things would turn out.

Although this is a novella, it was fully fleshed out and felt like a full-length read. I came away from it very satisfied and even more anxious to read the rest of the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

the Brothers Sinister

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four-stars


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