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Currently Browsing: historical romance
Oct
31

Review: Texas Tall by Kaki Warner

Review: Texas Tall by Kaki Warner Texas Tall Author: Kaki Warner Reviewer: Ang Rating: A What I’m Talking About: It is no secret that I tend to really enjoy Kaki Warner’s novels, and Tall Texas was no exception. It is a lovely story about second and even third chances, along with finding healing and learning to forgive yourself and others. It tackles themes like equality and trust without getting preachy and has the perfect balance of sweetness, spunk and humor. I adored Ty and Lottie and all their issues, together and apart. I felt like their struggles were real and relatable to the time period, as were their strengths. Their chemistry was fun, which made for terrific banter and sweet soulful moments that added wonderfully to the story. The secondary characters were equally well written with their own strengths that added a great dynamic to the story and reiterated the variety of themes without taking away from Ty and Lottie. The descriptions are vivid, romantic and chocked full of crisp beautiful images. Likewise the language as a whole is beautiful flows like the smell of cotton blossoms on a spring breeze for example: “He was her anchor-her lost self- the part that had been missing from her life that made her whole.” It is imagery like this, coupled with the colorful characters and strong storyline, that had me turning page after page. All in all, I would highly recommend this fun, fast moving tale placed in the wild of Texas. I have no doubt you’ll enjoy every moment of your time with Ty and Lottie. My Rating:  A, Loved It About the Book: Seeking vengeance for a tragic past, Tyree Benton joined the Rangers and became a different man—but his brutal actions still twist his conscience. Now he’s found a woman he could love, but she deserves more than a man who makes a living getting shot at. If Ty were honorable, he’d leave her alone. But he can’t seem to stay away…. Orphaned at fourteen, Charlotte Weyland has used her talent for numbers to build enough of a fortune to fund Ty’s dream of owning a ranch…if he’s not too stubborn to accept her help. But when Charlotte’s past catches up to her, she finds herself on one side of the law with Ty on the other. To keep their dreams alive, they’ll have to make compromises, but doing so might cost them everything they have… Release Date: October 4, 2016 Publisher: Berkley Series:...
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Oct
17

Review: A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray

Review: A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray A Most Extraordinary Pursuit Author: Juliana Gray Reviewer: Ang Rating: C What I’m Talking About: If you are familiar with my reviews, you know that I enjoy Juliana Gray’s work and typically rate it fairly high. I am disappointed to say that wasn’t so much the case with A Most Extraordinary Pursuit. When I received the title I was excited to continue the adventures with the Duke of Olympia’s tribe, and although Olympia clearly has a hand in this story, I found it to be nothing like Ms. Gray’s other novels. I realize that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but I really struggled with her changed format and writing style. Although the characters had plenty of chemistry and banter, I found the storyline to be jumpy. The constant bouncing back and forth between the narrator’s current world and the “book of Hayward” was distracting, hard for me to follow, and sometimes downright exhausting. I finally had to start taking notes so I didn’t have to keep going back and forth between chapters to remember what was going on. I understand what Ms. Gray was attempting to do, but think it would have worked better if she had added these parts at the beginning or end of the chapters, rather than sprinkling it whenever and wherever. Another area that was a struggle for me was in the way some of the secondary characters were presented, for example the Queen. I have read the entire book and still have no idea what her purpose is or why she is a part of the storyline. Is she supposed to represent the mother Truelove never really knew? Is she just a figment of her imagination? I understand better why her dead father appears throughout the book better than why the Queen jumps in and out. Maybe that will be better explained in future books, but in A Most Extraordinary Pursuit I found it to be distracting and frustrating. While the dialogue between Truelove and the Queen is well written and the banter between them is even humorous at times, I’m just not sure why it’s in the story. It adds to the word count but I’m not sure it adds to the storyline. I guess my greatest struggle is that I was expecting a love story, a romance novel and although there is a love story between Tedeus and Desma and there is romance hinted at between Truelove and Silverton, it...
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Jul
12

Review: The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie

Review: The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie The Summer Bride Author: Anne Gracie Reviewer: Ang Rating: A What I’m Talking About: I have loved the Chance Sisters series since I read The Autumn Bride in 2013, but of all the sisters, Daisy has always been my favorite. Her spunky candor, hard-working nature, tender heart, and lioness-like protectiveness of those she loves won me over the moment I met her. The Summer Bride did not disappoint in my memories of Daisy or in my getting to know Finn, who was able to meet Miss Daisy tit-for-tat and balanced her humor while teaching her that trust is not always misplaced and it’s never a mistake to love someone. I thoroughly enjoyed Finn and Daisy’s chemistry, banter, and watching them both learn that often times what is need most is what we are most scared of. I also really enjoyed watching Finn work for Daisy and watching Daisy’s annoyance at being courted all while slowly realizing that their friendship has laid a firm foundation for an amazing and safe love. I love that Finn supported and waited for Daisy as she learned the lessons she needed to so that she could commit completely to their relationship, all while letting her think she was running the show. Because he knew she needed that control, even if he didn’t entirely understand why. I really loved Finn as a whole. He may have been raised poor, but he had the heart of a gentleman and went out of his way to protect anyone under his care, real or perceived, much like Daisy, which is one the reasons they suit one another so well. As usual Ms. Gracie gave us the perfect overview of the other sister’s stories so if someone picked up Daisy’s story and wasn’t familiar with the other girls they’d still be ok. She also continued to give us secondary characters that were well-written and added fun color to the story without diverting attention from Daisy and Finn. In some cases, those characters gave us even better insights into who Daisy and Finn are and why. Lady Beatrice continued to be the perfect balance of friend and protector, and the end of the novel made me tear up. It really was the perfect ending to this series. Overall, if you love the other Chance Sisters titles you certainly won’t want to miss Daisy, and if you aren’t familiar with the sisters I think you’ll still really love her. The Summer...
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Jul
5

Quickie Review: Once Upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt

Quickie Review: Once Upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt Once Upon a Moonlit Night Author: Elizabeth Hoyt Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: This enjoyable little novella shares the story of Hippolyta Royle, the most eligible bachelorette in all of London, who was kidnapped by the dastardly Duke of Montgomery in the previous full-length Maiden Lane title, Duke of Sin. Having escaped her imprisonment, she flagged down the carriage of Matthew Mortimer, Earl of Paxton, begging for assistance in her return to London. Meanwhile, Matthew hardly believes the story the smelly, beggar maid weaves, claiming to be a lady of society. Yet, despite his beliefs, he can’t help but be drawn to this exotic beauty. I absolutely adored Hippolyta and Matthew’s story. Short and sweet, they followed their hearts despite what society dictates. One needn’t have read any books in the series to fully enjoy Once Upon a Moonlit Night. The standalone story may be short, but it’s full of passion and humor. I love that the pair discovered their attraction and desires prior to being discovered, and that they dealt with issues as a couple. Once Upon a Moonlit Night is a wonderful standalone love story and a perfect introduction to Ms. Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series. I loved watching Hippolyta and Matthew fall for one another, and the entire story is a delightful afternoon read. My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach’s occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he’s in for much more than he bargained for. At first Matthew Mortimer doesn’t believe Hippolyta’s story, that she’s a fabulously wealthy heiress who’s been kidnapped. He assumes she’s a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back. Release Date: July 2, 2016 Publisher: Forever Yours Series: Maiden Lane #10.5 Genre: Historical Romance, novella Format(s): e-book, audiobook Book Source: NetGalley Purchase Info: Amazon Reviews in the Series: Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane...
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Jun
22

Review: Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall

Review: Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall Beauty and the Highland Beast Author: Lecia Cornwall Reviewer: Una & Vampbard Rating: A What We’re Talking About: A special treat for TWITA fans, a joint review from Una and Vampbard (VB)! Una picked up Beauty and the Highland Beast, simply because Beauty and the Beast is one of her favorite fairy tales.  That it is in a highland setting – win-win (one word: kilts)!  Though she didn’t know what to expect, she was pleasantly surprised by how gripping and compelling this novel was. She thoroughly enjoyed it.  The setting is fascinating; the fairy tale is woven within the story in such a way as to be a subtle thread. She really felt it was not overdone but an enhancement to the story of Fia and Dair. Their romance and the turmoil their find themselves in was nail-bitingly suspenseful. VB was pretty geeked about reading Beauty and the Highland Beast as well. A Beauty and the Beast retelling plus Scots in kilts? What’s not to love! She agrees with Una—the BatB plotline was a subtle undercurrent to the story. By the time she got to the end, she felt like it was more inspiration rather than a retelling. One of the things for VB that stood out was the great way the families were highlighted. It’s not unusual for the time period to have great and extended family living as a unit. The Sinclair clan were the ones we got to see the most, because the story took place in their castle, on their lands. Historically, there were midwives and many times they were associated with witchcraft. Celebrating Pagan holidays and rites was done behind closed doors after some of the clans introduced Christianity. Kudos to Ms. Cornwall for getting the historical elements important to VB correct. Another thing—the description. *swoons* It wasn’t overdone, it kept readers in the story, and it seemed to be exactly the right amount at the right time. The pacing was excellent. Oh. Gaelic. YUMMY! Una agrees!  Though what helped was that the language as written didn’t overly emphasize the Scottish accent (which can slow down the story and get rather annoying).  It was used appropriately to reinforce the background and keep us immersed in the setting.  There is nothing worse than getting bogged down in translating accents (or maybe that is just me since I pronounce stuff wrong all the time…).  Though due to the historical period some things were foreshadowed and certain...
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Jun
8

Review: The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match by Juliana Gray

Review: The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match by Juliana Gray The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match Author: Juliana Gray Reviewer: Ang Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: I believe I have read all of Ms. Gray’s novels that involve the Duke of Olympia. He is a character that often gets under my skin with his meddling, pompous, know-it-all ways. So I was a bit concerned picking up this novella because I knew this was his story, however, I was pleasantly surprised. The story is full of interesting twist turns and filled with lively banter. Ms. Gray writes fun, well written secondary characters that add to dimension and depth of the story without taking away from Olympia and Penelope’s story. I love that Penelope is a lively, strong character that meets Olympia tit-for-tat. She would not allow Olympia to push her around in anyway, and even when Olympia believed he was in charge of the situation he never really was. Ms. Gray is a queen of the “O’Henry twist” and most of the time I am able to spot what twist is coming but not this time. Not only did Ms. gray surprise Olympia, but she surprised me as well and I loved it! I love when an author can pull something out of their hat that is completely unexpected and perfectly placed, and Ms. Gray nailed it in this story. All in all this was a fun, flirtatious, entertaining read that was the perfect escape on a summer afternoon. My Rating:  A+ Personal Favorite About the Book: Aboard the luxuriously appointed SS Majestic, the duke is on a mission to retrieve a most important portfolio of papers and thwart a known anarchist. As the ship steams across the Atlantic, the duke’s search for the notorious master of disguise forces him into close quarters with an American heiress and her widowed governess, Mrs. Penelope Schuyler. While Olympia has known his fair share of intriguing women, Mrs. Schuyler seems to have a way of challenging his expectations at every turn. But as their clandestine meetings lead them down an unexpected path, the duke must determine if Penelope is a woman to be trusted… Release Date: May 17, 2016 Publisher: Intermix Series: Unnamed Spinoff Series #0.5 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley Purchase Info:...
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May
23

Review: Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

Review: Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Sin Author: Elizabeth Hoyt Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Bridget Crumb is a housekeeper of impeccable credentials. She was hired on to the Duke of Montgomery’s staff just over two weeks before he was banished from and supposedly left England. Bridget has her own secrets and motivations for working for Montgomery, and now that the Duke is back, she’s got to work harder than ever to find what she needs before she’s caught, or she gives in to the dark temptation that is the Duke of Montgomery. Although banished from his home,Val Napier, Duke of Montgomery, has been hiding in the walls of his estate for the past three months, collecting secrets so that he can blackmail his way back into society. What he didn’t expect was to come across his newly hired housekeeper snooping around his home. Discovering Bridget’s secrets just may become Val’s favorite new hobby. Although Duke of Sin is the tenth title in Ms. Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, I was able to pick it up and enjoy it without any prior knowledge of the series. And oh how I enjoyed it! Not only is the overall story engrossing, but the romance is spectacular. As an anti-hero, Val shines, and Bridget is his perfect counterbalance while standing out in her own light. Like Capt. Jack Sparrow, Val’s moral compass is skewed. His horrible upbringing shaped him into a man who believes power over others is the only way to survive. He does what he wants, motivated by lust and pleasure. Uncaring of what others think, he thinks only of himself. Yet, his Bridget captivates his mind, heart, and soul. She shows him kindness and love, but is equally clever and devious, which Val understands and respects. “This is who I am, Séraphine. Naked, with blade and blood. I am vengeance. I am hate. I am sin personified. Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain.” While he is motivated by power, Bridget is motivated by goodness and kindness. That doesn’t mean she is pure – anything but. Yet she gets through to Val. I love watching Val struggle with Bridget’s ideals and morals: first brushing them off, then listening. However, what I love most is that Val never strives to be a better man; he just wants to be a man Bridget will love. As Bridget and...
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Aug
31

Review: The Highlander’s Bride by Amanda Forester

Review: The Highlander’s Bride by Amanda Forester The Highlander’s Bride Author: Amanda Forester Reviewer: Nima Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: There are something like a million books out there (ok, I’m exaggerating, but there are a lot) that share the title or some variation of The Highlander’s Bride. We like our Scottish heroes and imagining what’s under—or not under—their kilts.  Come on now, Gerard Butler?  Richard Madden?  Sam Heughan? Kevin McKidd? *fans herself* So highlanders and their stubborn brides abound.  It’s almost its own genre.  I admit that I didn’t expect much from Amanda Forester’s version of this historical romance category, but I was very pleasantly surprised.  The Highlander’s Bride was, in a word, charming. Our Highlander in this case is Sir Gavin Patrick.  Think of Richard Madden now and sigh.  Picture him as your personal guard, spending his every waking moment trying to protect and take care of you. He is a knight of the highest moral character.  His only flaw is that always doing the right thing often means he’s in the middle of conflict, trying to right wrongs, fulfill duty, and keep his word.  In The Highlander’s Bride, Gavin’s duty is to see the Lady Marie Collette and her substantial dowry safely to Scotland and deliver her to the contractual fiancé her father has chosen for her.  This is the entire plot of the book.  You don’t need to read it to know what the main struggle is going to be.  For its simplicity, I normally wouldn’t even consider handing out an A+ rating, but Forester surprised me.  Gavin is only human, and the lengths to which he goes in trying to do the right thing made him entirely endearing. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but my favorite moment in this book involved rope and a cold, wet night.  It was worthy of an award because in a predictable storyline, I didn’t see that particular moment coming. It would be easy not to like Collette.  She’s been raised as the daughter of nobility that she is, and she most definitely makes Gavin’s life difficult.  However, Forester deftly justifies her words and behavior.  She is a stubborn charge, but in the feisty, likable tradition of Maureen O’Hara, Sandra Bullock, and Julia Stiles.  She was sympathetic, not whiny and annoying.  With two such captivating main characters, I wanted to take the journey to Scotland with them. It was a rocky journey with thieves, enemy soldiers, war lords, madams, orphans, ladies-in-waiting, and...
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Aug
3

Review + Giveaway: Bound with Honor by Megan Mulry

Review + Giveaway: Bound with Honor by Megan Mulry Bound with Honor Author: Megan Mulry Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Archibald Cambury has always taken his role as the Marquess of Camburton with all the propriety and seriousness warranted by his station. Having lost his father when he was just a child, Archie has spent his life trying to do what was proper and right, even with regards to whom he allows himself to love. Of course, losing his heart to anything less than a perfect little wife and mother was never a consideration—at least until he sets his sights on the independent and spirited Selina Ashby. Perfectly capable of supporting herself without her family’s assistance (or interference), Selina Ashby has finally found a peaceful place to pursue her writing career at Camburton Castle. Having already found happiness in her relationship with her friend and lover Beatrix, she never expected to fall in love with the handsome, captivating Marquess, as well. But, society is never accommodating of anything that goes against the established rules, no matter how much she might wish otherwise, and getting what she needs could be far more difficult than she ever imagined. This series has been tempting me for some time, and when I saw that Ms. Mulry had undertaken a romance with four partners of different genders and orientations, I was immediately both hopeful and wary all at once. Thankfully, Bound with Honor seemed to treat the different relationships involved with respect, well-timed good humor, and sincerity. Although I liked him a great deal, Archie is an undeniably frustrating character—as I’m sure he’s meant to be. He is the embodiment of everything prohibitive, judgmental, and hypocritical about the society in which he lives, and I wanted to stomp my foot at him on many occasions right along with Selina. Sadly, many of those failings are still rampant today; a point that Ms. Mulry makes quite successfully over the course of the story. By contrast, Selina has never been able to meet the expectations of others, and has therefore enjoyed a degree of freedom that Archie hasn’t. Not that her freedom was in any way easily won, because it wasn’t. Inherently defiant and marvelously improper, she nearly shimmers with all the possibilities. It’s no wonder that Archie can’t resist her. As the main couple, Archie and Selina ably carry the bulk of the conflict, but I found the secondary characters in Bound with Honor to be just as compelling. Christopher and...
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Jul
20

Review: Home by Morning by Kaki Warner

Review: Home by Morning by Kaki Warner Home by Morning Author: Kaki Warner Reviewer: Ang Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Kaki Warner’s Heartbreak Creek series has a consistent theme of Redemption and Homecoming and Home By Morning was no different. Pru and Thomas, who are both fighting to figure out where they belong and what their purposes are in a post Civil War world, find that hurts can heal with the right love and support, and home is rarely found without a struggle; often in unexpected places and with the least likely of people. Anyone who has followed The Runway Bride series or the Heroes of Heartbreak Creek series, of which this is the third and final book, know that Pru and Thomas have been dancing around each other for a long, long time. Despite coming from very different worlds, their similar sufferings and the enduring of similar prejudices have brought them together and allowed them to learn to love each other fiercely; but the timing has never been right. And it appears through most of this book that the timing still isn’t right.  Pru is trying to further efforts to help former slaves via the underground railroad and the funding of education reform, which requires her to spend large amounts of time in the city and traveling. Whereas Thomas is ready to settle and needs the openness of Heartbreak Creek. Naturally this isn’t the only issue they must overcome, Ms. Warner throws in nasty villains and murder charges among other twists and turns. Thankfully we know going in that there will be a happily ever after or it could make the emotional rollercoaster a bit hard to handle. Ms. Warner does a beautiful job of showing us how they resolve all the issues while wrapping us in the beautiful scenery that is the western frontier. The other characters we have come to know and love in Heartbreak Creek all make an appearance, reminding us why we loved them in the first place. Finally, Ms. Warner does a beautiful job wrapping up all the loose ends in an emotional and somewhat tragic epilogue. All in all it was a lovely way to finish the Heroes of Heartbreak Creek series. It was a perfect balance of hard and rugged meets soft and sweet. If you’ve followed any of the other books you’ll definitely want to finish with this one. If you are new to Heartbreak Creek, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your visit and will most likely want...
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