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Currently Browsing: historical romance
May
4

Review: Sounds of the Heart

Review: Sounds of the Heart Sound of the Heart Author: Genevieve Graham  Release Date: May 1, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Sensation ISBN: 978-0425247341 Genre: Historical Romance (paranormal) Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Dougal MacDonnell, a fierce warrior from the Highlands of Scotland, is able to hear the thoughts of other men and dream how the future will unfold. Devastated by the loss of his family during the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he fosters a deep hatred for the English. But when Glenna, the love of his life and a Scottish outlaw, is captured and shipped overseas, Dougal is forced to join an English army made of vanquished Scots. Now fighting on the side of his sworn enemies, he embarks on a journey that will take him across the seas to the colonies. There he will risk everything for the chance to find his true love. What VampBard’s talking about:       Sound of the Heart, second novel for author Genevieve Graham, seems to actually be the second title in a series.  It focuses on the struggles of Dougal MacDonnell, brother to Andrew from Under the Same Sky.       Ms. Graham threw me for a loop!  I never predicted that she’d create the plot turn that she provided with Adian!  While there were signs that this specific turn was evident, I didn’t figure she’d go THAT direction!       I love Glenna!  She’s a strong, independent woman that really doesn’t need a man to ‘take care of’ her.  I see her functioning in this setting independent of Dougal, and while their relationship is a beautiful and meaningful plot point, I see her as bolstering her personal value by engaging in a romantic liaison with Dougal.  To further the twists and turns of a wonderfully crafted plot, Ms. Graham puts the Red Coats (British soldiers) in the role of bad guys.  Where Glenna and the Brits are concerned, besides taking over Scotland for the English, a lovely distraction that provides the plot with intense highs and lows as Dougal searches for his true love.  Glenna becomes her own person even more so than in the first portion of the story after she is once again at the mercy of the Brits.  Once Glenna has reached the Colonies, she does what is necessary to survive.  While she is violated, she manages to out-think her ‘captor’ in order to preserve her sense of self and...
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Apr
25

Review: Under the Same Sky

Review: Under the Same Sky Under the Same Sky Author: Genevieve Graham  Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade ISBN: 978-0425245233 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       The year is 1746. A young woman from South Carolina and a Scottish Highlander share an intimacy and devotion beyond their understanding. They’ve known each other their entire lives.  And yet they have never met.        Maggie Johnson has been gifted with “the Sight” ever since she was a child. Her dreams bring her visions of the future, and of a presence she knows is real. She calls him Wolf, and has seen him grow alongside her from a careless young boy into a fearsome warrior. And when her life is torn asunder by unspeakable tragedy, he is her only hope.       Andrew MacDonnell is entranced by the vision of a beautiful woman who has always dwelt in his dreams. When war ravages his land and all he has ever known, he leaves the Scottish Highlands on a perilous journey to the New World to find her, knowing that their only chance of survival is with one another.       Their quest to find each other across a treacherous wilderness will test the limits of courage and endurance, guided only by their dreams–and by the belief in the true love they share. What VampBard’s talking about:       Under the Same Sky didn’t really feel like historical fiction.  There was actually a paranormal element that drew me in, kept me guessing.  Normally, I’m not one for historical romance.  However, Ms. Graham chose to use a Scottish Highlander as her hero.  I never turn down a man in a kilt!       Maggie was a strong heroine.  Warning:  she goes through some tough situations that can trigger emotional responses.  I liked the way she bounced back from some terrible stuff.  I also enjoyed the way she integrated with her special ‘skills’ into the Cherokee lifestyle.       Andrew was one helluva Highlander Warrior.  The battle scenes were well-described, and I felt as though I could hear the clash of swords and the smell of blood.       I think Ms. Graham did a great job with description.  Sometimes, however, I felt she went beyond what was necessary for the reader to understand where the characters were physically & emotionally.  For my tastes, there was too much side story...
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Apr
10

Review: If I Fall

Review: If I Fall Please welcome Angela, who brings you today’s Guest Review of…  If I Fall Author: Kate Noble  Release Date: April 3, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Sensation The Blue Raven #4 ISBN: #978-0425247112 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: After a duke’s betrayal, the resilient Sarah Forrester reinvents herself as the Golden Lady: society’s leading light, the beautiful and witty life of the party. It’s all a façade of course-one that protects her from another intimate disloyalty. When her old friend, Lieutenant Jackson Fletcher, returns to London, he is determined to rediscover the true and trusting Sarah he once knew. It’ll take more than a kiss and a promise. It might even call for an innocent and necessary deception. Then Jackson is enlisted to help capture the lead suspect in a murder— a man who happens to be Sarah’s most ardent suitor. Jack must continue the deception, and weathering this newest and gravest betrayal will be Sarah’s ultimate test. But as Jack’s passion for her grows, he must also reveal his own secrets. And as the killer turns his attention to his pursuers, more than love and trust is put at risk. What Ang is talking about: Overall I enjoyed this book. The characters were fun and engaging and the story line fun. The relationship between Sarah and Jack is a classic historical romance relationship complete with all the issues that accompany a woman of wealth finding a husband. The reason for it’s B rating is that I felt like there was too much going on in many places. This book has more O’Henry twists than O’Henry himself, which rather than adding to the story line distracted from it. Because of the fact that every time I thought I’d come to a point where things were closing up another twist is thrown your way, it nearly felt like a way for the author to lengthen the novel when it didn’t need. Add to that all side story lines and characters floating around the novel (i.e. the Blue Raven, murder and espionage, Lady Whitford and Bridget), and I would lose track of the main story line for a moment or two, necessitating either a reread by the reader or a recap by the author, which I found frustrating. Any one or even two side stories would have been plenty but piling them all into one novel was a bit of an over kill.  Despite its flaws, or maybe because of them, this book was a...
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Feb
15

Review: Sweet Enemy

Review: Sweet Enemy Sweet Enemy Author: Heather Snow  Release Date: Feb. 7, 2012 Publisher: Signet Veiled Seduction #1 ISBN: #978-0451236104 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Geoffrey Wentworth, a war hero and rising political star, never wanted to be the Earl, but when his brother dies, he knows his duty—take up the responsibility for his family’s estates.  His mother’s definition of duty differs from his, however, and can be summed up in one word—heirs.  When Geoffrey rushes home to answer her urgent summons, he finds himself host to a house full of women, all vying to become the next Countess of Stratford.  But his love is Parliament, where he wields his influence and reputation to better the lives of ex-soldiers, until a tempting houseguest and a secret from his past threaten his freedom…and his heart. Liliana Claremont, a brilliant chemist, doesn’t want to be any man’s wife, much less a Countess.  If she had tuppence for every time she’d been told her place was filling the nursery, not experimenting in the laboratory, she could buy the Tower Bridge.  However, when she receives a coveted invitation to the Earl’s house party, she trades in her beakers for ball gowns and gladly takes on the guise of husband hunter—for the chance to uncover what the Earl had to do with the murder of her father.  Liliana believes the best way to get the answers she needs is to keep her enemy close, though romance is not part of her formula.  But it only takes one kiss to start a reaction she can’t control… What G & U are talking about: Sweet Enemy is a fun, fluffy read.  Una loves to be carried back in time while reading these types of novels, however she is very picky.  Gikany usually does not read historical romance, but Una was able to talk her into it.  We both enjoyed it!  It would be terrific for a fun escape on a lazy day.  What is surprising to us is that this is the first book in a new Veiled Seductions series, something we didn’t know until we started writing up this review.  This novel did not read as if it was a first in a series. What we have discovered, what makes us so picky about Historical Romances, is we enjoy the contrast of strong female characters confined by the society of the time period.  We enjoy the journey a strong...
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Jan
27

Review: Seducing Liberty

Review: Seducing Liberty Seducing Liberty Author: D.L. Jackson  Release Date: Nov. 7, 2011 Publisher: Decadent Publishing One Night Stand Series ISBN: #978-1613331521 Genre: Erotic Romance, time travel, historical/contemporary Format(s): e-book (12k wds.) Book Source: Publisher About the book: Out of the mists of time, rides a story of espionage, love, and a 1Night Stand. When Ryann Summers, an actress playing the role of Lady Liberty, an Agent in Washington’s Culper spy ring, asks Madame Eve of 1Night Stand for a date, a night she’ll never forget—where her identity is kept secret—she gets more than she bargained for. Now she’s caught in the middle of the American Revolution and between two of the sexiest men she’s ever set eyes on. If she can survive the musketballs and the invading British forces, she just might find everything she’s been searching for—sex hot enough to set the sea on fire. What B is talking about: Seducing Liberty begins with a history lesson, and Jackson has clearly done her homework. One of the most well kept secrets of the Revolutionary War was the Culper Spy Ring, which operated in New York for General George Washington. Underneath the big clashes and key players in the war, these men and women fought another, equally perilous, battle for information that could be used against the British.  Madelyn Summers, recently betrothed and the daughter of a staunch British loyalist, refuses to accept her fate as a “brood mare,” and instead decides to help the rebels by passing them any military secrets she overhears. With tempting curves and a figure described as “lush,” Madelyn would be a dream come true for any man of the day. If only she weren’t so willful, of course. But a series of mishaps soon reveals that she’s not the only spy under her father’s roof.  The story then shifts to New Hampshire in the year 2011. Ryann Summers is a well-known movie actress portraying a Revolutionary spy. Unfortunately, being a star with curves in an age when chivalry seems dead isn’t pleasant, especially when working with two hot, but unavailable costars has given her a hunger for a ménage a trois.  From here on, Jackson tosses the rules out the window. Ryann thinks what she wants is impossible, given her status as an A-list actress. Luckily for her, with Madame Eve and her 1 Night Stand dating service, anything is possible. Ryann takes the reader through two more time shifts and a lot of sexy...
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Jan
18

Review: Bride By Mistake

Review: Bride By Mistake Bride By Mistake Author: Anne Gracie  Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Sensation The Devil Riders #5 ISBN: #978-0425245798  Genre: Regency, Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Eight years ago, Lieutenant Luke Ripton made a hasty wartime marriage-in-name-only to protect a young girl from a forced union and left her protected in a remote mountain convent.  Now, Luke is Lord Ripton, but he has been unable to obtain an annulment.  Which leaves him no choice but to collect a wife he doesn’t want. For nearly a decade, Isabella has waited like a princess locked in a tower, dreaming of her handsome, dark-eyed prince.  Her dreams are shattered when Luke reveals himself not as a prince, but an autocratic soldier, expecting her unquestioning obedience, which is something Isabella’s fiercely independent nature will not tolerate. And while Luke and Isabella’s fiery personalities clash at every turn, they remain bound to their vows, ever expecting that the passionate fury they share could become passion of a different kind… What Nima’s talking about: When I saw the title of Anne Gracie’s Bride By Mistake, I have to admit that my first thought was of Deeanne Gist’s 2005 novel, A Bride Most Begrudging.  Gist’s book is very loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.”  Bride By Mistake does deal with issues of respect, obedience, and submissiveness, but bears no other resemblance to the earlier novel.   The Devil Riders series follows four of five best friends, Gabe, Harry, Rafe, Michael, and Luke, labeled in school as, “Wellington’s Angels or his Devil Riders, depending on who you talk to.”  Bride by Mistake is the fifth installment and follows the last hold-out, the most haunted by his experience during England’s war with France.  This is Luke’s story of recovery, redemption, and true love.  The action in Luke’s story takes place almost exclusively in Spain with virtually no interaction between him and his friends back in England so it stands alone very nicely if you haven’t read the previous books.   Gracie’s novel splits the narration, vocal and internal, between Lieutenant, newly titled Lord, Luke Ripton and Spanish heiress Isabella Mercedes Sanchez y Vaillant Ripton.  Luke begins the book as a haunted bad boy, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, with the secret heart of a gentleman–always duty-bound to do the right thing and protect the innocent.  You just want to spank him, send him to bed…and then...
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Dec
21

Review: Her Christmas Pleasure

Review: Her Christmas Pleasure Her Christmas Pleasure Author: Karen Erickson  Release Date: Nov. 28, 2011 Publisher: Carina Press The Merry Widows series #2 Genre: Historical Romance, novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: NetGalley About the book: Damien Morton is madly in love. Unfortunately, it’s with his best friend’s widow, Lady Danver. Damien is not worthy of Celia. Or so he thinks. Desperate to escape his feelings for her, he plans to leave the country at the first of the year. Celia treats him as a family friend and nothing more—until they share a heated kiss beneath the mistletoe… Celia is shocked by the passions that surge within her at her dear friend’s kiss. One touch and one taste aren’t enough to satisfy her cravings, and she is startled into action. Damien has stirred something inside her that she never expected to experience again, and she must have more. Full of shameless desire and emotions newly discovered, she decides to pursue Damien and won’t be deterred. Will she be able to convince him to stay—both in her heart and life—forever? What VampBard’s talking about: What a lovely little read for a Sunday morning! You know, some people read the paper over coffee? I read a novella. Ms. Erickson definitely had a winning combination with Damian and Celia’s chemistry in Her Christmas Pleasure.  Even though Damian is the bestie of Celia’s departed husband, it doesn’t stop his heart from loving her. He doesn’t feel he’s worthy of her love, doesn’t feel that she even cares about him, and is wrestling with his upcoming move out of the country, where he won’t even be able to see Celia for an indefinite period of time.  Celia, on the other hand, seems to be empowered to make things happen in her life. All it took was a teeny-tiny kiss under the mistletoe to set-in-motion a series of rather fortunate events, bringing Celia and Damian together *finally*. Strange thing? Celia’s in-laws (yes, the parents of her dead husband) condoned the relationship. I actually thought it was pretty cool.  Even though historical fiction isn’t really my cup-o-tea, Her Christmas Pleasure was a great read for Sunday morning coffee. Author & editors did a great job – the Grammar Police didn’t have to prevent my latte from spewing on my Kindle this morning 🙂 Strong characters, and detailed situations (and HOT ‘coupling’ – keeping it in the time period!) provided an excellent base for a novella that was a nice, quick read....
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Sep
23

Review: To Seduce An Angel

Review: To Seduce An Angel To Seduce An Angel Author: Kate Moore  Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Son of Sins #3 ISBN: #978-0425243695 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: In book three Kit has become Daventry, a warrior angel trapped in a gilded cage who wants to free his family with a decisive defeat of the old duke. In a daring move that breaks all the rules of his safe life, he hires Emma Portland. Everything about Emma is a lie except her love. Alone, pursued by spies, falsely accused of a murder she didn’t commit, Emma must spy for the Duke of Wenlocke against Daventry. If she doesn’t play by Wenlocke’s rules, she dies. Emma passes herself off as a tutor to Daventry’s lost boys as she plans her next escape. What she doesn’t plan on is falling in love. To Seduce an Angel is the story of two lovers caught between the deadly pull of their past lives and the demands of the future. What VampBard’s talking about: What’s not to love about the title ‘To Seduce an Angel‘?  I’m thinking to myself, “ok, maybe I’ll find me a lil’ paranormal in here among what seems to be historical romance…”  Nope.  BUT… this was a GREAT story!  Murder, espionage, and just plain bad guys doing bad things surround the beautifully crafted story about Emma finding her way, through a web of deceit, to Dav.  As a group of boys learn to trust their trial teacher, it gives their guardian time to figure out his true feelings for her.   I seriously loved Emma, our heroine.  She was strong and willing to do what was necessary for the happiness of those she loved.  Yeah, martyr.  But it’s cool.  What I think drew me the most to her was the fact that she was teaching the boys, and yet she was still so drawn to Dav in the most caring, yet sexual way.   The boys in the story created a bit of comic relief and additional action, as well as assisting with plot movement.  I don’t think that the plot would have worked as effectively without them. As for Dav… I picture him as a bulkier John Stamos (back when he was doing Full House).  Jus’ sayin’.  While Dav is doing battle to prove he ‘deserves’ his title as Daventry, he really doesn’t feel worthy of the job.  Some of his life experiences when...
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Sep
19

Review: Romancing the Countess

Review: Romancing the Countess Please welcome my guest, Angela, who brings you today’s review of… Romancing the Countess Author: Ashley March  Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: Signet Romancing #1 ISBN: #978-0451234513 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Sebastian Madinger, the Earl of Wriothesly, thought he’d married the perfect woman-until a fatal accident revealed her betrayal with his best friend. After their deaths, Sebastian is determined to avoid a scandal for the sake of his son. But his best friend’s widow is just as determined to cast her mourning veil aside by hosting a party that will surely destroy both their reputations and expose all of his carefully kept secrets… Leah George has carried the painful knowledge of her husband’s affair for almost a year. All she wants now is to enjoy her independence and make a new life for herself-even if that means being ostracized by the Society whose rules she was raised to obey. Now that the rumors are flying, there’s only one thing left for Sebastian to do: silence the scandal by enticing the improper widow into becoming a proper wife. But when it comes to matters of the heart, neither Sebastian nor Leah is prepared for the passion they discover in each other’s arms…. What Ang is talking about: I love a good romance one in which there is foreplay, intelligent conversations, witty banter and an opportunity to get to know the characters. Ashley March did a fabulous job of giving me all these elements in her book Romancing the Countess. Leah and Sebastian are strong willed, determined people who dealing with the rules of Victorian England and their spouse’s deaths and affair in very different ways.  Ways that could cost them both everything unless something drastic happens. It is on this path to the drastic that we watch them fall in love. March captures the pain of self realization and of learning to give oneself wholly to another beautifully and she does it with wit and banter reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice. The people surrounding our characters are the perfect accent, the scenery is wonderful and sets the perfect backdrop for our characters and their story, the verbal foreplay is delicious and the lovemaking well worth the wait. My only complaints are that I wish we would have gotten to know more of Sebastian and his inner workings as we did Leah. In addition, I felt that the language at the...
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Sep
7

Review: Kissing Comfort

Review: Kissing Comfort Kissing Comfort Author: Jo Goodman Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation ISBN: #978-0425243909 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Bode DeLong knows that his playboy brother Bram isn’t really in love with Miss Comfort Kennedy, even though it’s clear that she’s enamored with him. With Bram’s motives for the engagement suspect, Bode figures the safest place for Comfort to be is in his arms. Now, Bode just needs to convince Comfort that the childhood fancy she has for his brother is no match for the incredible desire that sparks between them every time they touch. What VampBard’s talking about: I must say that Kissing Comfort started out as a book I thought I’d probably not finish.  I’m not really a fan of historical romance, but when Twimom gave me a chance to read one (it’s been awhile) I thought, ‘hey, why not!’.  Let’s just say, I need to be in the right frame of mind to read historical romance – otherwise dialect and grammar issues get in the way for me. Brief synopsis:  Two Texas Rangers find a small child orphaned at the sight of a slaughter on the road to California in the early days of the West.  She was raised by them, and they ended up making a good life for the threesome.  The child was raised as the niece to the two TX Rangers, and no one was the wiser.  As time marched on, the girl, Comfort, grew into an intelligent woman.  From the time of her coming-out party, she seemed to be chums with Bram.  Bram surprised Comfort early on in the book with the announcement of their engagement at a birthday party for his brother, who was detained for some yet-to-be-revealed (until the end of the book) reason.  Comfort learns a lot about herself, her origins, and the way she wants a man to treat her over the course of the book, which can’t be more than several weeks.  Goodman really did a great job with her research and bringing the west during the time of the gold rush to life.  I felt as though I were wearing petticoats and the fancy-schmantzy hats.  The one thing that did annoy me throughout the book was her choice of character names.  The two brothers, both competing for Comfort Kennedy’s affections, were named Bode and Bram.  While that might not be close for some people, it was...
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