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Currently Browsing: historical romance
Jul
27

Review: Defiant by Pamela Clare

Review: Defiant by Pamela Clare Defiant Author: Pamela Clare Release Date: July 3, 2012 Publisher: Berkley MacKinnon’s Rangers Book #3 ISBN: #978-0425246115 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (367 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Major Connor MacKinnon despises his commander, Lord William Wentworth, beyond all other men. Ordered to rescue Wentworth’s niece after the Shawnee take her captive, he expects Lady Sarah Woodville to be every bit as contemptible as her uncle. Instead, he finds a brave and beautiful lass in desperate peril. But the only way to free Sarah is for Connor to defeat the Shawnee warrior who kidnapped her-and claim her himself.  What VampBard’s talking about: What’s not to love about a man speaking Gaelic?  Defiant, my first venture into Pamela Clare’s writing, has definitely been an excellent experience.  With a phenomenal plot and expertly-crafted writing, Ms. Clare draws her reader back to the days of pioneers, wars on the frontier, petticoats and gowns.  While relaying the historical aspect of the time period, Ms. Clare doesn’t perseverate on the historical aspect; rather, she seamlessly blends her plot, peppered with historical facts to create a story that rings true. Connor, our hero, has been forced to lead a troop of soldiers in the name of the British.  The first two installments of Ms. Clare’s MacKinnon’s Rangers series probably gave us much background as to how the family became indentured to the crown, agreeing to serve in the King’s Army.  We catch a snippet in the introduction that gives us enough background to begin the story with a working knowledge of the world created.  As I haven’t read either of the first two titles in the series, Surrender and Untamed, I didn’t feel as though I was missing out on any backstory.  Defiant could be read in isolation, although after reading, I’m surely intrigued as to the stories of the other two brothers MacKinnon.   As far as Connor goes, he struggles throughout the story with his inner conflict regarding actions from the past.  This made him a truly believable character, and a hero worthy of respect.  His prowess in battle, and his honor during interpersonal interactions endeared him to the reader.  Mostly, his tenderness and commitment – they left me weak in the knees.  Mmmmhmmm.  I fell in love with Connor.   The young and innocent Sarah, exiled from London due to circumstances beyond her control, served as an excellent damsel-in-distress, while maintaining her self-assured and brave facade.  Sarah also battled...
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Jul
25

Review: Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas

Review: Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas Please welcome Ang, who brings you today’s Guest Review of…  Ravishing the Heiress Author: Sherry Thomas  Release Date: July 3, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Fitzhugh Trilogy #2 ISBN: #978-0425250877 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Millicent understands the terms of her arranged marriage all too well. She gets to be a Countess by marrying an impoverished Earl. And in return, the Earl Fitzhugh receives the benefit of her vast wealth, saving his family from bankruptcy. Because of her youth, they have agreed to wait eight years before consummating the marriage—and then, only to beget an heir. After which, they will lead separate lives. It is a most sensible arrangement. Except for one little thing. Somehow Millie has fallen head over heels in love with her husband. Her husband, who has become her very best friend, but nothing more… Her husband, who plans to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful and newly widowed Isabelle, as soon as he has honored the pact with his wife… As the hour they truly become husband-and-wife draws near, both Millie and Fitzhugh must face the truth in their hearts. Has their pact bred only a great friendship—or has it, without either of them quite noticing, given rise to a great love? What Ang is talking about: Anyone who has read any of my reviews knows I appreciate a good story line. I want a romance novel that is engaging, well written and beautiful. Very few of late have met my expectations, so Ravishing the Heiress was a wonderful surprise. It was insightful and fun, exploring difficult topics like a marriage of convenience and remaining true to oneself without becoming heavy and preachy. The use of an alternating timeline although frequently problematic in most novels was executed flawlessly in this one. All the characters were memorable but revolved around Millie beautifully allowing her to be the standout. Her character is tender and vulnerable while remaining strong, passionate and quick-witted a perfect mix for a romantic heroin.  I also loved that Thomas allows us to get to really know the characters, helping us to understanding their struggles and mindset before throwing them into bed with one another. The reader is made to understand the self-sacrifice of the time and the struggle of doing what is expected verses what one desires in a well-written, almost lyrical way. I have to agree with, All About Romance when they say “There are writers who...
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Jun
22

Review: Bride of the High County by Kaki Warner

Review: Bride of the High County by Kaki Warner Please welcome Ang, who brings you today’s Guest Review of…  Bride of the High County Author: Kaki Warner  Release Date: June 5, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade Runaway Bride #3 ISBN: #978-0425247501 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Snatched from unspeakable abuse at the age of twelve and given a new identity as the ward of a Manhattan society widow, Margaret Hamilton thinks the safety and security she craves is at last within her reach.  But as she exchanges wedding vows with a ruthless and charismatic railroad mogul, a shocking revelation sends her fleeing her own wedding…with a valise full of railroad stock certificates.      Now calling herself Lucinda Hathaway, she follows the rails west, determined to make a new start.  But her pursuers are not far behind—one man who wants vengeance—one who wants to silence her about events long in the past—and a third who only wants the truth.        But the truth is too ugly to share, so Lucinda keeps running…all the way to Heartbreak Creek, Colorado where she finds three other women struggling to start new lives.  Deciding she’s finally found the home and family she so desperately needs, she puts her ill-gotten railroad shares to use, determined to make their crusty little town a place they can all call home. But it’s never that easy, and as her pursuers close in on her, Lucinda finds that her new start comes with a higher price, but a greater reward, than she ever expected. What Ang is talking about:      When it comes to any book romance or otherwise first and foremost I want a strong story line. I want characters that are strong and illicit emotions, a hot and steamy love scenes are a bonus, but it can’t carry a story line. Bride of the High County delivers on all these fronts. The villains are vile, and the hero well, let’s just say I’d like to take a big ole spoon to that yummy dish. Our main character, Margaret, is fierce and independent making our hero, Tait, work for her love and attention in addition to figuring out her baggage and helping her to discard it so they can move on together.      Kaki Warner weaves just enough suspense to keep the pages turning while sprinkling in the prefect amount of romance to keep the reader’s temperature up.      My one complaint was with the...
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Jun
8

Review: Must Be Magic by Patricia Rice

Review: Must Be Magic by Patricia Rice Must Be Magic Author: Patricia Rice  Release Date: June 1, 2012 (reprint) Publisher: Sourcebooks Magic Series #2 ISBN: #978-1402251948 Genre: Historical Romance, magic Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Lady Leila Staines is the dark-haired Malcolm, the one who has yet to discover her magical gift. But she’s convinced that Dunstan Ives, the brooding master cultivator, can arrange a flower garden that will help her distill fragrances. Ives, accused of killing his wife, shuns decadent society and has no use for another beautiful woman—except that Leila seems to have bewitched him. What I’m talking about: Lady Leila Staines is widow and a Malcolm. She is cousin of Ninian, who was heroine in the first book, Merely Magic. Dunstan Ives is the brother of Drogo Earl of Ives, hero from first book. Although this is the second book in the series, it most definitely can be read as a stand alone. Leila has questioned her “Malcolmness” her entire life… She has dark hair, while all other Malcolm females are blonde. She doesn’t seem to have any talents (magics), but she has an acute sense of smell. Her life dream is to create her own perfumes, but her late husband refused to support her. Now that he is gone, she has hired Dunstan, the best agronomist in England, to get her flowers to grow. Dunstan has a black cloud above his head. His high-society (adulteress) wife, Celia, was murdered and most think Dunstan is responsible. He has some interest in clearing his name for the sake of his son, but he is a little worried he may be guilty. He takes the job with Leila so he can make enough money to hire an investigator. Must Be Magic opens strong and jumps right into the plot. I enjoyed the determination in Leila from the get go – she wants so badly to have her own talents, and she knows in her heart that she needs the roses to make it happen. She is accustomed to the upper class lifestyle, but prefers to hide among her flowers without the make up, powdered wigs and fancy clothing. In order for Dunstan and Leila to get to know one another, Ms. Rice hides Lady Leila in plain sight – know one recognizes her without the dressings of formality. This allows Dunstan and Leila (aka Lily) to open up and be themselves because he isn’t aware the woman whose company he...
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Jun
6

Review: Lord of the Black Isle by Elaine Coffman

Review: Lord of the Black Isle by Elaine Coffman Lord of the Black Isle Author: Elaine Coffman  Release Date: June 1, 2012 Publisher: Sourcebooks Mackinnon- Douglass series #3 ISBN: 978-1402259494 Genre: Historical, Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley About the book: A Warriors Life… Laird David Murray would give his life to pull his clan through this time of strife and conflict. With enemies both inside and outside his keep, he has never felt so alone and desperate. Until he meets a beautiful healer with uncanny knowledge from another time… Meets a Healer’s Art… Elisabeth Douglas was a doctor in her own time. Now she’s the only one with the knowledge and skill to help Laird David save the lives of his family… What VampBard’s talking about: Lord of the Black Isle was truly a delightful read!  I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Coffman’s use of several pieces of classic literature that I consider my favorites.  These excerpts were poignant, foreshadowing, and basically excellent pieces of literature.  I’d also like to point out that Ms. Coffman’s use of consonance in the descriptive portions of her writing were highly effective, and created much interest for the reader, driving the description.  Ms. Coffman’s grasp of the historical aspect of the novel was phenomenal.  She gave accurate (to the best of my understanding of Scottish history) depictions of life at that time, as well as the practice of medicine.  She blended the present concepts to those of the past seamlessly, endearing our heroine, Elisabeth, to the reader.   Elisabeth was, by far, one of best written heroines I’ve read to date, this year.  Transported back in time six centuries, along with her twin sister, Isobella, Elisabeth comes from the Douglas lineage, and has a mentor in the ghostly Black Douglas.  Initially, she finds the apparition’s appearances annoying, but grows to value his input and perseverance toward her ultimate happiness.  As the story progresses, Elisabeth is kidnapped twice by a rival clan to the one her sister married.  She is ‘rescued’ by an earl, and taken to a monastery to learn the arts of healing for that time period.  An astute student, Elisabeth moves on to an abbey/hospital and is extremely successful as a doctor in that time.  Her services are required at the home of David Murray, leader of the clan Murray, and she is whisked away, never to return.  Imagine her surprise when she meets the earl and he is the same warrior that rescued her, delivering her...
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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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