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Currently Browsing: historical romance
Sep
5

Review: Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt

Review: Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt Shivering Sands Author: Victoria Holt Reviewer: Una Rating: DNF What I’m Talking About: I was surprised to find that this novel, Shivering Sands is not a new book but a republished one.  That being said, this is not the type of historical novel I read.  I enjoy historical mysteries and suspense along with historical romances.  My problem with Shivering Sands is the narration.  I find the main character too focused on the trivial while not conveying items or snippets of importance.  I feel as is Caro is giving us a stream of consciousness account of a past experience.  In many ways I feel this novel to attempt to be like Rebecca and falls flat.  When I read, I like to find myself immersed in storytelling.  The sights, sounds, emotions conveyed in such a way I experience it along with the characters.  In Shivering Sands, I feel like I’m being instructed by a teacher who is easily distracted by the minutia.  By the half way point, even though it was finally getting interesting (plot-wise) I cannot take the style of writing any longer.  I hope to one day pick it up and finish it (I would like to know what happened to Roma) but I just cannot force myself to do it right now. DNF – Did Not Finish About the Book: Caroline knows something is wrong. Her sister Roma has gone missing, and no one can tell her why. The only option is to go where Roma was last seen—an estate with a deadly history… The Stacy family has lived off the Dover coast for generations, carefully navigating the treacherous quicksands nearby. But the sands aren’t Caroline’s biggest threat. Everyone here has a secret, especially enigmatic young heir Napier Stacy. No matter where Caroline turns, the ground she walks is dangerous. And the closer she comes to unraveling the truth, the closer she comes to sharing her sister’s fate… Release Date: September 3, 2013 (original release 1971) Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca ISBN: #978-1402277498 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley Purchase Info: The Shivering...
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Sep
3

Review: The Wife He Always Wanted by Cheryl Ann Smith

Review: The Wife He Always Wanted by Cheryl Ann Smith The Wife He Always Wanted Author: Cheryl Ann Smith Reviewer: Ang Rating: B-, 3 Stars What I’m Talking About: I want to like Cheryl Ann Smith’s novels. She steps out of the box and mixes Victorian period romances with decent mysteries. My struggle is that in every book I’ve read of hers one side of the story or the other suffers, The Wife He Always Wanted was no exception. It starts out strong. Rough and rowdy cowboy shows up at the door rescue the struggling and starving maiden and sister of his best friend, except he isn’t a cowboy–he is a gentlemen, and off they go on an adventure to find love in a marriage of duty. Pretty typical historical romance and Ms. Smith did a fine job with the romance side of the story. Sarah is sweet and it is fun to watch her come into her own as she learns to be a wife, a lady, navigate society and seduce her husband. Gabriel is kind and caring and works hard to be a good husband as he works through a few issues of his own. All-in-all they are charming couple to watch, with a family full of interesting characters that adore them both. This in and of itself would have made a fine novel but between the family references and the mystery of Sarah’s father’s death in the mix things got mucky. First, The Wife He Always Wanted is the last book in a series. I now have read two of the five books in the series, and it was frustrating for me because throughout the book there are references to things that have taken place in the past. While these issues were likely addressed in other books and clearly relate to the character or characters presented at the moment, I felt a bit lost and only got veiled references or a hint, but nothing solid. I don’t need a complete retelling, but I feel like more information into their back stories would have been helpful to catch me up. Second, The mystery of Sarah’s father is dealt with throughout the book, but her brother and his past is never dealt with. We know he died in America, but never do we get so much as a flashback to tell us what he was like with Sarah or Gabriel or what happened to him in America other than he died. Given that this is last novel in the series...
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Aug
16

Review: Behind His Blue Eyes by Kaki Warner

Review: Behind His Blue Eyes by Kaki Warner Behind His Blue Eyes Author: Kaki Warner Reviewer: Ang Rating: C What I’m Talking About: Let me start by saying I REALLY REALLY like Kaki Warner’s writing. I have thoroughly enjoyed every book I have read by her up to this point. I love the way she captures the Colorado frontier. I adore her handsome, haunted, brave heroes and her beautiful, feisty, smart heroines. She is a master of showing what is going on and capturing a moment or feeling. Her relationships are fun to read, the danger is real and I wait with baited breath for the kidnapping or other trouble to come and for the gallant hero to come to the rescue. I must say she didn’t disappoint with Behind His Blue Eyes in regard to any of these things. Our story centers on Ethan, the hero is haunted with a tragic past that threatens to consume his future, and Audra, the beautiful, independent woman working to save her family and saves Ethan in the process. Along the way they encounter a forest fire that threatens the entire town and a crazed serial killer, among other things. But it is the crazed serial killer that changed the entire novel for me. Don’t get me wrong her is well written, brutal, vile, disgusting, so much so I found my stomach churning in spots, not unlike something out of a Law and Order SVU episode. Now I’ll admit it could just be me and my baggage but I thought Ms. Warner went too far with the villain and the descriptions of his activities. I felt like she could have described his earlier actives, the abduction, what the mine shaft looked like, and the trip to Audra’s keeping place, and that would have given a clear and accurate picture of his craziness and brutality. Instead she goes into such detail in the mine shaft that I very nearly stopped reading. If I hadn’t been familiar with Ms. Warner’s writing style and known there would be a Happily Ever After I would have stopped. The sexual assault was just too much for me. I realize it made a beautiful moment later in the book between Ethan and Audra but I think the picture could have just as clear without all the detail. Ms. Warner does a lovely job of bringing everything back to a safe, sweet, beautiful place and I wish I could say that that was enough for me. But...
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Jul
15

Review: Tempting a Devil by Samantha Kane

Review: Tempting a Devil by Samantha Kane Tempting a Devil Author: Samantha Kane Release Date: July 8, 2013 Publisher: Loveswept The Saint’s Devils #2 ISBN: #9780345537928 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher/ NetGalley About the book:       As wealthy and beautiful as she is desperate, Harriet Mercer can have any man she wants—which makes picking the worst of the lot quite easy. By convincing the ton she is a ruined woman, Harry hopes to outwit the greedy, conniving cad blackmailing her into a loveless marriage. Roger Templeton is a rogue with a scandalous reputation, no expectations, and no shame. He is perfect for Harry’s fall from grace. Her brazen attempts at a very public seduction are delightful fodder for gossip . . . and pure torment for Roger.       With his pockets as empty as his heart, Roger is in no mood for games and decides to show Harry how foolish it is to tempt a devil. But behind her mesmerizing golden eyes, he sees something unexpected: a woman in trouble. Her scandalous behavior would be amusing if he wasn’t captivated by her lush, curvaceous beauty. Worse, every libertine bone in his body has turned traitorously noble. Only a rake would seduce her. But only a gentleman in love can save her. What I’m talking about:       Roger Templeton, a rake known as one of the Saint’s Devils, is leaving a party when he overhears a woman attempting to remove herself from a man’s unwanted advances. He rescues her, only to find himself being seduced by this beautiful temptress. However, he soon realizes she is his childhood friend, Harriet (Harry) Stanley. He quickly back-pedals and attempts to help his long ago friend before she becomes the focus of ugly gossip.       On the other hand, Harry is determined to be ruined. Enjoying the freedom that comes to a widow, she does not want to marry anyone, let alone the unpleasant Mr. Faircloth, and she feels that sullying her reputation will end his obstinate pursuit. Unfortunately for Roger, she is determined he will be the one to do it.       Nothing is quite as it seems in Ms. Kane’s wonderful Tempting a Devil. Right from the start of the book, the reader understands that there is more going on to the entire situation than meets the eye. Ms. Kane does a wonderful job revealing information a little at a time, leaving the reader hanging on...
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Jun
14

Review: The Magic of "I Do" by Tammy Falkner

Review: The Magic of "I Do" by Tammy Falkner The Magic of I Do Author: Tammy Falkner  Release Date: June 4, 2013 Publisher: Sourcebooks Faerie #2 ISBN: #978-1402268151 Genre: Historical/ Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Claire Thorne is a faerie on a mission. When the governing body of her world puts a prohibition on magic, she escapes to the human world and straight into the arms of Lord Phineas Tremble. When he insists on being her crime-solving partner, she does everything she can to get rid of him—until she realizes his gift for smooth talking might come in handy when tracking down a killer. Before long, Finn has his hands full keeping Claire out of trouble, because the two of them together create more sparks than her faerie dust ever could… What Una is talking about:      I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this Historical Paranormal Romance series, A Lady and her Magic.  The second novel, The Magic of I Do, is just as fun and fluffy and was more even more engaging.  I continue to enjoy this fresh Faerie series.      As we reenter this fascinating world of Faerie, we are better introduced to Sophia’s sister, Claire.  While Sophia is stubborn, Claire in contrast will make Sophia look as if she lacks a backbone.  Claire is delightfully hardheaded, sarcastically witty and carries a bit of a chip on her shoulder.  She is having a very difficult time adjusting to the impact that Sophia’s romance and marriage to Ashley, the Duke of Robinsworth, had on the fae.  Most notably the inclusion of her estranged/banished mother, father and her siblings (most who are not considered fae).      Finn, the Duke of Robinsworth’s brother, is a rake.  He is the younger son, so he is a gentleman with no profession.  Except, he enjoys solving mysteries, interestingly enough, and it seems it is something other members of the ton know.  Finn seems to have a somewhat successful time of solving crimes, discretely which causes someone to seek his assistance in The Magic of I Do.  However, as the novel begins Finn’s life was devastated when his long time mistress leaves him for a wealthier gentleman.      At the conclusion of A Lady and her Magic, Claire is entrusted into Finn’s care.  As The Magic of I Do begins it seems that Claire and Finn are stoutly opposed to each other.  However a bit of whiskey and relaxation...
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Jun
10

Review: How to Tame Your Duke by Juliana Gray

Review: How to Tame Your Duke by Juliana Gray How to Tame Your Duke Author: here Juliana Gray Release Date: June 4, 2013 Publisher: Berkley A Princess In Hiding #1 ISBN: #978-0425265666 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), ebook Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Three intrepid princesses find themselves targets in a deadly plot against the crown—until their uncle devises a brilliant plan to keep them safe…       England, 1888. Quiet and scholarly Princess Emilie has always avoided adventure, until she’s forced to disguise herself as a tutor in the household of the imposing Duke of Ashland, a former soldier disfigured in battle and abandoned by his wife. When chance draws her into a secret liaison with the duke, Emilie can’t resist the opportunity to learn what lies behind his forbidding mask, and find out what adventure really means…       The duke never imagines that his son’s tutor and his mysterious golden-haired beauty are one and the same. But when the true identity of his lover is laid bare, Ashland must face the demons in his past in order to safeguard both his lady—and his heart. What Ang’s talking about:       I want you all to know that I really wanted to like How to Tame Your Duke. I have enjoyed everything else Juliana Gray has written up to this point and frankly, I don’t want to make her mad.  I want her to keep writing.  Not that my one little review is going to keep that from happening, but if the next novel is as tepid as this one is, I probably won’t continue to read this series.  Seriously, these characters were so unremarkable I can’t even remember their names sitting here writing this review.  I know there was princess. She was smart and snarky.  There was a wounded duke, his son who was hilarious, and a maid who was so clueless that she offered a lot of comic relief from the boredom.       There was a lot of potential here.  There was a princess, spies, abductions, hidden identities—sounds good, right?  The seduction  was really beautifully written.  I felt the emotion and struggle of it. The side characters offered a wonderful distraction from the main plot.      However, the rest of the story was like a roller coaster ride where you wait five hours in line, finally get to the top of the giant incline, and—nothing.  It’s just a straight shot to the...
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May
11

Review: Wuthering Nights by IJ Miller

Review: Wuthering Nights by IJ Miller Wuthering Nights:  An Erotic Retelling of Wuthering Heights Author: Emily Bronte & I.J. Miller   Release Date: April 23, 2013 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing ISBN: 978-1455573028 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): paperback (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Romantics everywhere have been enthralled by Emily Bronte’s classic novel of the tragic love between beautiful, spirited Catherine Earnshaw and dark, brooding Heathcliff. The restrained desire between these two star-crossed lovers has always smoldered on the page. And now it ignites into an uncontrollable blaze. In WUTHERING NIGHTS, writer I.J. Miller reimagines this timeless story to reveal the passion between Catherine and Heathcliff–in all its forbidden glory. Set against the stark, raw beauty of the English moors, Heathcliff, an abandoned orphan, recognizes his soulmate in wild, impulsive Catherine, the only woman who can tame his self-destructive nature. And Catherine cannot deny the all-consuming desire she feels for him, despite his low birth. Together they engage in a fiery affair–one that will possess them, enslave them, and change their destinies forever… What VampBard’s talking about: So.  I read Wuthering Nights.  It took me a while to get in to the story, even though I’ve read Wuthering Heights multiple times.  Either it wasn’t the right time for a revisit to Heathcliff and Catherine, or I **really** missed some of Ms. Bronte’s descriptions.  Maybe what I missed was the fact that my imagination has probably conjured up some fervent fantasy about Heathcliff.   However, this title was seriously hot! However, the sex was used as an instrument for revenge & manipulation which was NOT ok with me, and is the primary reason for the lower rating.  I did, however, like the introduction and conclusion of the story, but I felt that the author could have done much more with it.   Catherine and Heathcliff are the consummate romantic couple; star-crossed lovers on-par with Romeo & Juliette.  If you’ve read the original and you’re ready for the male-dominated play in this version, keep this read for home with no one else around.  Blush alert! Kind-of difficult to write an extended review of a spin-off from a piece of classic literature.  I feel as though I’m critiquing the work of Ms. Bronte.  However, I must say that I liked the vein in which the plot ran.  I suggest to those who have not read Ms. Bronte’s classic, read the SparkNotes online for Wuthering Heights before reading this title.  I think it makes it more meaningful...
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Apr
25

Review: This Magic Moment by Patricia Rice

Review: This Magic Moment by Patricia Rice This Magic Moment Author: Patricia Rice  Release Date: April 2, 2013 (reprint) Publisher: Sourcebook Casablanca Magic Book #4 ISBN: #978-1402251962 Genre: Historical Romance, paranormal elements Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/ NetGalley About the book: Duke Harry of Sommersville indulged in a carefree, comfortable life— until a sudden inheritance leaves him plagued with a crumbling family manor and hungry debtors. What’s a desperate duke to do but marry the well-heeled woman betrothed to him for years? Christina Malcolm Childe soon discovers the heavy demands of her new title and the dilapidated and haunted mansion that is her new home. To make matters worse, her magical gift of reading auras reveals that her laughing Harry has become a dark and bitter man. But this mischievous Malcolm has a plan of retaliation: to refuse to consummate their marriage until Harry learns to love her truly. If only she can resist his raw masculinity long enough to determine the cause of his unhappiness and the mansion’s neglect. She must find her answers quickly, before the worm-eaten floors fall from beneath her very feet. That is, if Harry doesn’t sweep her off them first… What I’m talking about: Harry is a frugal man living modestly in London when his father, the Duke of Sommerset, and and the heir, his brother Edward passed away in an accident on the family estate. Suddenly Harry finds himself the new Duke with an impossibly high debt and no way to pay it off. In order to gain some leverage, he hopes to marry his betrothed and collect her dowry. As a Malcolm, Christina has inherited a special magical talent: she can see and communicate with ghosts. Harry is the only man who doesn’t chastise her for her antics. And she cannot forget their stolen kiss in the gardens one night, long ago. However, she is utterly shocked that Harry not only wants to uphold the betrothal he made five years ago, but he wants to wed her immediately. Christina and Harry have been friends for years and she cannot understand why he has changed so much and has a blackened aura these days. Fearful she’s lost the “real” Harry – the only man she knows she can ever love, she agrees to marry him but gives him two weeks to court her and learn to love her (again) after the fact. In the early parts of This Magic Moment, we watch two characters who live...
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Apr
16

Review: A Most Improper Rumor by Emma Wildes

Review: A Most Improper Rumor by Emma Wildes A Most Improper Rumor Author: Emma Wildes  Release Date: March 5, 2013 Publisher: Signet  Whispers of Scandal #2 ISBN: # 978-0451239587 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (314 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: What is society to do when the diamonds of the first water are caught in compromising situations, one after the other? Can the young ladies survive the season with their reputations intact…or will the scandalous whispers surrounding them bring about the ultimate ruination? Once the toast of the ton, Lady Angelina DeBrooke is no longer known just for her exquisite beauty, but more for her notorious marriages. Dubbed the Dark Angel, she has fallen in love for the first time and wishes to marry, but fears finding herself a widow for the third time. With two poisoned husbands and a cloud of suspicion hanging over her head, she turns to the only man in England who might help her…  Benjamin Wallace, Lord Heathton, isn’t interested in playing detective again, but when Lady DeBrooke approaches him in a quest to clear her name, he finds the challenge irresistible. Her second husband was an old friend, and when he takes a closer look, he catches the scent of a foe he has hunted before—and knows this is his chance to finally trap the elusive prey… What Una is talking about: To me is nothing better than combing a good mystery with your historical romance.  Ms. Wildes does another excellent job in her second novel in the Whispers of Scandal series, A Most Improper Rumor.  The plot thickens between Lord Heathton and his most nefarious and sly opponent. In A Most Improper Rumor we are introduced to Angelina, Lady DeBrooke – shunned by the haut ton for allegedly murdering her previous two husbands, she lives a quiet life in exile.  That is until she meets Baron Lowe.  Christopher never believed in love at first site, neither did Angelina, but when they first meet, they just knew.  However, as much as Christopher wishes to make Angelina his wife, she fears that whoever murdered her husbands, will kill Christopher.  Sadly, they live apart, living for those moments when they are able to secure their secret trysts.   Love can not only heal, but give hope, which can lead a lady to finding her inner strength and courage.  Angelina, against her better judgment, approaches Ben, Lord Heathton in order to secure his assistance in discovering any information that might lead...
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Apr
9

Review: Let it Be Me by Kate Noble

Review: Let it Be Me by Kate Noble Let it Be Me Author: Kate Noble  Release Date: April 2, 2013 Publisher: Berkley The Blue Raven #5 ISBN: #978-0425251201 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/ NetGalley About the book: Bridget longs to meet a gentleman who doesn’t mention her beautiful sister upon shaking her hand. But since being branded a shrew after a disastrous social season, Bridget knows she’s lucky to even have a man come near her. It’s enough to make a lady flee the country… So Bridget heads to Venice for music lessons with the renowned Italian composer Vincenzo Carpenini, with whom she’s been corresponding. But not only is Carpenini not expecting her, he doesn’t even remember her! His friend, theater owner Oliver Merrick, does, though. And one look into her tantalizing green eyes has him cursing his impulsive letter-writing, which brought her across the continent. Yet before Merrick can apologize, Carpenini has ordered her away. Little does either man know that they will soon be embroiled in a wager that will require the beautiful Miss Forrester’s help—or that there’ll be far more at stake in this gamble than money… What Ang is talking about: If I had to describe this book in one word it would be Lyrical. Written like a lovely sonata, I found it to be moving and emotional, much like the music it centers around. I could feel and almost hear the musicality of the story in the descriptions, dialogue and flow of the story.  I live in a house full of music with a son who’s life’s blood is music, so I immediately understood Bridget’s pull to the piano–her need to play and the escape the music offered her. My one fear is that those who don’t know or love music the way I do might find the terms distracting or feel like the terminology weighs the story down. I also occasionally felt as if the side story involving Carpenini occasionally took over the main storyline–distracting from Bridget and Oliver.  But despite its failing or maybe because of them, I throughly enjoyed my visit to Venice. I felt the themes and the emotions, both main and underlying, blended beautifully; waxing and waning in all the right places, allowing the humor and hurt to come together to form a beautiful whole. Ang’s Rating: Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A) Purchase Info: Let it be Me (Book 5) Reviews in the Series: If I Fall (Book...
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