Tag: Zebra

Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley

Posted May 19, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa RileyReviewer: Tracy
An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: 1st & 3rd
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
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three-stars

A witty and moving story from the acclaimed author of A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby, about the lengths to which a woman will go for the love of her child…and the love of a man who knows her worth. Breaking with traditional Regency rules and customs, Vanessa Riley pens an unforgettable story perfect for fans of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton, Evie Dunmore, and Eloisa James looking for something fresh and stirring!

Masterminded by the ton's most clever countess, the secret society The Widow's Grace helps ill-treated widows regain their reputations, their families, and even find true love again--or perhaps for the very first time...

Surviving a shipwreck en route to London from Jamaica was just the start of personal maid Jemina St. Maur's nightmare. Suffering from amnesia, she was separated from anyone who might know her and imprisoned in Bedlam. She was freed only because barrister Daniel Thackery, Lord Ashbrook, was convinced to betray the one thing he holds dear: the law. Desperate to unearth her true identity, Jemina's only option is to work outside the law--which means staying steps ahead of the formidable Daniel, no matter how strongly she is drawn to him...

Married only by proxy, now widowed by shipwreck, Daniel is determined to protect his little stepdaughter, Charlotte, from his family's scandalous reputation. That's why he has dedicated himself not just to the law, but to remaining as proper and upstanding--and boring--as can be. But the closer he becomes to the mysterious, alluring Jemina, the more Daniel is tempted to break the very rules to which he's dedicated his life. As ruthless adversaries close in, will the truth require him and Jemina to sacrifice their one chance at happiness?

Jemima St. Maur was put into Bedlam after a shipwreck.  She has amnesia and couldn’t remember who she was, she still can’t remember and seeks the truth of her past.  She’s saved (in book one of this series) by Daniel Thackery, a barrister who helps his aunt get widows out of trouble.

Daniel was married by proxy to Phoebe, who was also on the ship that went down, but his wife didn’t survive.  He was presented with a baby who he believed was Phoebe’s child, even though she had never mentioned a child in her letters.  He decides to raise the child as his own.

Two years later Jemima and Daniel have a bit of a love/hate relationship.  They don’t necessarily get a long, but when they’re together there’s a very strong attraction.  Daniel finally decides that he has mourned for Phoebe long enough and wants to make Jemima his mistress.   Jemima’s not opposed to the idea, but she is wary of Daniel as she’s positive he’s keeping information from her about her past and the shipwreck.

This was my first read by Vanessa Riley.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style as it seemed a bit all over the place.  I also didn’t feel that the hero and heroine actually had a lot of chemistry.

I liked Jemima…to a point.  She was pretty headstrong, and I liked that about her.  That said, I felt the author took that too far and went into I’m-so-headstrong-I’m-going-to-make-stupid-decisions territory. There was also the constant on/off with Daniel as Jemima couldn’t decide if she was going to trust him or not.  Granted, she had every reason not to trust him as he’d kept a lot of stuff (about her) to himself. She wasn’t even aware she’d been in a shipwreck until he told her – two years later! Still, the on-again off-again love was annoying at times.

Daniel was a smart man – a barrister who worked for the crown.  Even so, he was looked down upon because he was mulatto.  Even when he inherited an Earldom, people still turned their noses up at him.  He was a good man for taking in the baby (Hope) and raising her, and he was a good father.  He helped his aunt with her business of saving widows and their families.  I admired his dedication to his aunt and her cause, as well as his dedication to Hope and fatherhood in general.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t like him all that much as a man.  He kept so much a secret, even when his marriage was failing, he still couldn’t come completely clean.  I found it so frustrating.

Overall I didn’t find the story very satisfying.  Not liking the couple as a couple put a damper on the whole experience.  While I really loved the blurb for this book, the story itself just didn’t do it for me in the end.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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DNF Review: The Highlander’s Bride by Michele Sinclair

Posted January 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: The Highlander’s Bride by Michele SinclairReviewer: Holly
The Highlander's Bride by Michele Sinclair
Narrator: Anne Flosnik
Series: The McTiernays #1
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: June 1, 2007
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 318
Length: 10 hours and 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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dnf

BOUND BY DUTY

Highland laird Conor McTiernay had always dreamed of an enduring love. But the reality of women who desired him only for his title and lands made him swear off marriage forever. That is until he first set eyes on the Englishwoman his men found hiding in the forest. Beneath the dirt and grime it was clear Laurel Cordell was beautiful. But would she prove to be yet another beguiling seductress or had Conor finally found the one woman who could lay claim to his heart?

DRAWN BY DESIRE

Laurel trusted that the Scottish chieftain would keep her safe from the cruel laird from whom she had escaped. Looking deep into Conor's silver eyes she saw not only his calculating warrior ways but his quick arousal to passion. But before they can explore the growing desire between them, their newfound love is threatened by secrets from her past. . .

The Highlander’s Bride by Michele Sinclair is the first book in The McTiernay’s Brothers series. I don’t believe I’ve read Sinclair before, but the premise sounded good so I downloaded this from the Audible Escape package. I’m not sure if it was the story or the narrator, Anne Flosnik, but I DNF’d it pretty early in.

Conor and his brothers are on the way home from another brother’s wedding when they come upon a woman who has been sorely abused. They all want to keep her safe, but Conor especially is very attracted to and protective of her. Laurel is on the run from another Highland Laird, and she’s guarding some big secrets from her past. She agrees to travel with the McTiernay brothers because she thinks they can keep her safe, but she’s surprised at how much she trusts Conor from the start.

Almost from the second they meet they’re extremely attracted to each other. That’s fine, except they think of nothing BUT how attracted the other is. That, and how good the other smells. They’ve been traveling for the better part of a week through the Highlands, but he smells manly and attractive and she smells of lilacs? I’m not buying it. Laurel’s secrets were alluded to, as well as Conor’s mistrust of women in general, but I wasn’t interested enough in either to keep listening.

I might try to read it at some point in the future to see if it works better for me.

Rating: DNF

dnf


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Marry Me by Jo Goodman

Posted October 14, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Marry Me by Jo GoodmanReviewer: Holly
Marry Me by Jo Goodman
Series: Reidsville #2
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: December 1, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Westerns
Pages: 447
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Her Heart Was Locked Away

Rhyne Abbot is fierce, brave, and used to a life of isolation on her father's spread on the outskirts of Reidsville, Colorado. But when, overcome with sickness, she collapses, she knows she must return to town if she is to have any hope of recovery. Only there is no place for her but the new doctor's home, and he wants more than just to heal Rhyne. He wants her hand in marriage.

Until One Man Found The Key

Doctor Cole Monroe's hands are already more than full with his orphaned little sister to look after, and yet somehow he can't resist the magnetic pull of Rhyne's bewitching eyes--or her tempting kiss. But convincing her to trust him won't be easy. For Rhyne's heart needs as much tender care as her ailing body. And the only cure is the thing she most fears: to let herself fall in love...

Mary Me by Jo Goodman is the second book in the Reidsville series. Casee chose this for our Summer Reading Challenge, but I forgot to review it in August. It’s been ages since I read a Jo Goodman. This was vaguely familiar, so it’s possible I’ve read it before. I can’t remember for sure, though, so I’m calling this a new read. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but it picked up by the 3rd chapter.

When Cole Monroe’s younger sister talks him into moving to Reidsville, CO to become their new town doctor, he isn’t sure what to expect. The colorful residents are interesting, and he’s enjoying himself as the only doctor to service a large area. When he meets Rhyne Abbot, he knows he has to help her.The only way to do that is to have her move in with him. Not an ideal situation, but one they make work. Only, he never expected to come to have such strong feelings for her. Her fierce independence and indomitable spirit really call to him.

Rhyne was raised as a boy, until her father could no longer ignore the fact she was a girl. Even then, she kept up the pretense with the town’s inhabitants. Now that she’s been outed as a woman and forced to move in with the new doctor, things sure are different for her. Finding her footing in this new world is difficult, but she’s managing. If only she could get rid of this pesky attraction she has for the doctor…

I really thought the romance was super sweet. I liked both Cole and Rhyne. I liked how patient he was with Rhyne and how she slowly came to trust him. Some of the medical stuff was on the boring side, but I was able to move past that. I struggled more with how quickly Rhyne seemed to overcome her trauma, but I do think it was rather in keeping with the times. Rhyne didn’t have time to become hysterical, so she didn’t.

While this isn’t my favorite book by Goodman, it was enjoyable and I’ll probably read it again in the future.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Reidsville

three-half-stars


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Review: If He’s Dangerous by Hannah Howell

Posted February 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: If He’s Dangerous by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
If He's Dangerous (Wherlocke, #4) by Hannah Howell
Series: Wherlocke #4
Also in this series: If He's Sinful
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 345
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

"New York Times" bestseller Hannah Howell's extraordinary Wherlocke family returns with the story of a passion that will heed no resistance, no matter how deadly...

When Lorelei Sundun first finds Sir Argus Wherlocke in her garden, she's never heard of the mysterious Wherlocke clan-or their otherworldly abilities. That changes the moment she watches Argus-the most tantalizing man she's ever seen-disappear before her very eyes. What she's witnessed should be impossible. But so should falling in love with a man she's only just met...

Pursued by a madman intent on harnessing the Wherlockes' talents as weapons, Argus meant to seek help from his family, not to involve a duke's lovely daughter in the struggle. But now, the enchanting Lorelei is his only hope for salvation-and the greatest temptation he's ever faced...

If He’s Dangerous is the 4th book in Hannah Howell’s Wherelocke series, featuring a titled family who has special “gifts” (or curses, depending on your view point). Though I’ve read all the previous books, I don’t believe it’s necessary to read the series in order.

Lorelei Sundown is the daughter of a duke. She’s never heard of the infamous Wherelocke family, until the day Argus Wherelocke appears naked in her garden..then disappears before her eyes. Argus is on the run from a madman who wants to capture him to harness his abilities. He believes his family is cursed and therefore won’t consider marriage, but he can’t deny his attraction to the lovely Lorelei. As they go on the run to discover why his enemy wants him, Argus fights his attraction in vain. As the daughter of a nobleman she should be off limits, but he can’t seem to keep his hands off her. Lorelei knows Argus is the one for her, but convincing him is another thing entirely.

I am a long time fan of Hannah Howell. She was the first romance author I discovered on my own when I became an avid fan of the genre. I had been reading Julie Garwood historicals and wanted something new. I was in Walmart and saw His Bonnie Bride on the shelf. That was the beginning of the end for me. I glommed everything of hers I could find. Around the 50th-or-so Murray book, I burned out. But I still kept buying. And buying. And buying. When the mood would strike and I’d pick up a new release, I was always left disappointed. These books aren’t from the Howell I fell in love with all those years ago. If He’s Dangerous is yet another disappointment. I’m afraid each new book is just a repeat of the one prior to it.

Argus was frustrating in that he kept insisting marriage in his family was cursed and therefore he could never marry Lorelei. If that were the case, why did he continue to bed her? Not only that, but he had bastard children he neglected to mention. She found out when they showed up at her place looking for him. Not the actions of an honorable guy. I liked Lorelei and the boys, but Argus kind of ruined the book for me.

2.5 out of 5

Wherlocke


two-half-stars


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Review: If He’s Daring by Hannah Howell

Posted January 23, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: If He’s Daring by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
If He's Daring (Wherlocke, #6) by Hannah Howell
Narrator: Polly Lee
Series: Wherelocke #6
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Length: 10 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In a dazzling new novel in the Wherlocke family saga, New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell creates an unforgettable story of intrigue, jeopardy, and desire...

Stealing a stranger's carriage is the second most reckless thing Lady Catrin Gryffin de Warrene has ever done. The first is succumbing to her powerful attraction to the carriage's owner. Catrin has heard the rumors about Sir Orion Wherlocke's family and their otherworldly gifts. He's the one person who can keep her son and his inheritance safe from her late husband's ruthless brother. As for how to protect herself...it may be too late for that.

Orion is facing the worst danger a man of his ilk can find: a woman he can't walk away from. Catrin is an intoxicating blend of innocence and sensuality, and for the first time, seduction is far more than a game. But her beauty and fortune have made her a target--one that will dare him to risk everything he's known--in pursuit of everything he's ever longed for...

If He’s Daring has been languishing in my TBR for years. I absolutely adored Hannah Howell back in the day, but I’m afraid some of her magic has worn off. Still, I was in the mood and figured I’d give this one a try.

Lady Catrin Gryffin de Warrene is a widow whose brother-in-law is trying to steal her son’s inheritance. He went through the courts and, when that failed, kidnapped her son. As she’s chasing after his carriage, her horse comes up lame so she..borrows…a carriage she sees on the street. Only she doesn’t realize there’s already someone inside. Sir Orion Wherlocke’s young son. Sir Orion would have gone after his carriage regardless, but the fact that his son is inside only makes him chase harder. When he realizes what Catrin is wrapped up in, and that she only means to rescue and protect her own son, he agrees to help her. The Wherelocke clan has special gifts that may help her track her son down and keep him safe, so he can’t really turn her away. The problem? Orion isn’t looking for a relationship, but Catrin really heats his blood.

Catrin just wants to get her son safe and protect his inheritance. Having Sir Orion’s help would be beneficial, but her attraction to him is rather inconvenience, considering the circumstances. As they chase after her son and try to find a way to discredit her late husband’s brother, the bond between them grows. It isn’t long before they’re both in deep. But Sir Orion is determined to remain a bachelor…or is he?

At times Orion’s back-and-forthing “Should I commit or Shouldn’t I” got tiresome, but I can’t deny I enjoyed the adventure of them trying to discover why her son was in danger. I also enjoyed the romance. Orion’s son and Catrin’s were both great, and really made the book for me. I also loved how it started, with Catrin after her former brother-in-law, stealing Orion’s carriage.

The end was a bit strange. I saw it coming, of course, but I was hoping HH would go in a different direction. I’d also hoped to see a stronger emotional reaction from Catrin once she learned the depth of her husband’s treachery. I’m not sure if it was the narrator, or just the way it was written, but that wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be.

Still, I can’t deny this was a fun read. I really loved how Catrin and her young son dealt with each other, and the romance was believable and satisfying. It’s always a treat returning to the Wherelocke world.

3.25 out of 5

Wherelocke

three-half-stars


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