Tag Archives: Historical romance

Answer the Wicked by Kim Lenox

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of paranormal romance 2 book cover

Title: Answer the Wicked
Author: Kim Lenox
In: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceParanormal romance
Dates read: 5th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Her crisply issued instructions echoed in the cavernous space.

Synopsis

Malise is a nurse for the elderly, a career she chose in no small part due to the fact that she could hide. But, when her favourite patient reveals his hidden past, she might find that she can no longer hide from the world… it could be the best outcome ever though.

Thoughts

This started put a little slow. And I also couldn’t quite figure out where the “romance” fit in. And, honestly, even at the end, I’m not entirely sure where the romance factor supposedly fits. But, all in all, it wasn’t a bad story.

I did like the mystery and fast pace of this story. I enjoyed how Malise managed to weave in bits of her own past while we canoned into the future. It was a good way to constantly keep the story engaging and entertaining.

All in all, this was an easy read to finish the The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 collection on. It certainly wasn’t my favourite, but I did enjoy it, and would maybe even read it again.

<- The MajesticThe Mammoth Book of Perfect Crimes & Impossible Mysteries ->

Image source: Amazon

Be Mine Tonight by Kathryn Smith

Overview
Be Mine Tonight (Brotherhood of Blood, #1) by Kathryn Smith

Title: Be Mine Tonight
Author: Kathryn Smith
Series: Brotherhood of Blood #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceParanormal romance, Vampires
Dates read: 27th – 28th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: Oddly enough, that realization wasn’t annoying so much as it was warming.

Synopsis

I am called Chapel…

For nearly six centuries I have roamed the night, a mortal man no longer. Would that I could undo the past – when I entered the sanctuary of the Knights Templar to wrest from them the Holy Grail, only to discover the chalice I raised to my lips was not the sacred relic but a hellish cup of damnation. Now I shun the day and all things human, driven by an ungodly thirst. And yet…

Never have I known a maiden the like of Prudence Ryland, whose beauty and spirit awaken a heart I feared long cold and dead. But her young life is slipping away, and she also seeks the deliverance of the Grail – unaware that the cost of her search could be her soul. I must help Prudence, for in six hundred years, no other woman has stirred my passions so. But dare I tender to my beloved that which she most desires – the sensuous “gift” of forever that is both rapture and a curse: my immortal kiss?

Thoughts

This was one of those books that I was like “eh, eh, eh, WOW.” It took quite a while for me to warm up to the storyline. But, once I got there… wow was I happy. It happened about a third / half the way in. Then, I really, really wanted to know what was going on. I also cried at one point.

I bought this book because I read a novella in this series which intrigued me. But, honestly? I had no idea what to expect or even what time period this would be in. I was pleasantly surprised that this read like a regency romance. Just with a much more intense paranormal spin.

Chapel is kind of a fool and a little bit too whiney for my taste in lead men. Plus, the constant need for retribution was just… seriously dude? You’re 600 years old!!! Grow the hell up! Luckily, Pru agreed and kicked his butt multiple times with her frustration at his stupidity. It made him more likeable since Pru found a reason to like him in spite of his stupidity…

All in all, this was a fun start to a series. Yes, there was this beautiful part towards the end that had me crying. But, mostly it was a good, easy read. I particularly liked how the story ended… leaving plenty of opening and intrigue for the next tale in the series.

<- More Kathryn SmithNight of the Huntress ->

Image source: Goodreads

A Man in a Kilt by Sandy Blair

Overview
A Man In A Kilt (Castle Blackstone, #1) by Sandy Blair

Title: A Man in a Kilt
Author: Sandy Blair
Series: Castle Blackstone #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceScottish romance, Time travel
Dates read: 20th – 22nd May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Zebra Historical Romance
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: He knew that Angus and Douglas would insist on following him.

Synopsis

A Lonely Laird
Duncan MacDougall, the laird of Blackstone, was cursed centuries ago to wander as a ghost wihtin the echoing walls of his island castle – and only one woman can free him. Can it be the new mistress of Blackstone, just arrived from over the sea? Duncan has heard that pretty Miss Elizabeth Pudding is no more than a cook – and she haisl from a barbarous land called the Bronx. But she must learn the ways of a lady all the same – and she must stay at Blackstone for six long months to inherit. ‘Tis time enough to teach her – and time enough to woo her…

An Enchanting Lady
Beth has seen the handsome spectre from the day she crossed the threshold of Blackstone. Duncan MacDougall is a tall, translucent figure with black hair and piercing blue eyes. Yet a mist separates him from the land of the living… a mist as strong as cold steel. It is said that only love can dissolve it – and bring the man of her dreams to warm, breathing life…

Thoughts

The blurb of this book made me have certain.. expectations. And what I ended up getting was wholly unexpected. And seriously fun and enjoyable. Every twist and turn in this was a surprise and left me feeling very happy.

I thought there would be a bit more intensity in the time travelling aspect of this story. I mean, it’s been sitting on my shelves for this exact reason. It probably belongs I’m the historical romance shelf though. I mean, the ghost and time travel are both paranormal. But all of the setting and storyline… purely Scottish, historical fiction.

Almost all of the romances I read feature a strong woman who is also beautiful. I love that Beth is considered plain throughout and there are no hints of her being a particularly good looking woman. That, and the fact that one of the vipers in this story is the ridiculously good looking woman. There’s also the fact that although she is a virgin, there’s pretty much no fuss made about it. Rather, it’s a plot line to indicate her trust issues.

Duncan is dense. The combination of Beth and Rachael constantly bringing him to task honestly had me laughing loudly and for a long time. I mean… we women do have a tendency to run our men ragged at times, and I love the loving fear that they instill I their men. That, and the great combination of past and present in this incredibly cute romance.

<- More Sandy BlairA Rogue in a Kilt ->

Image source: Goodreads

A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

Overview
A Night Like This :HarperCollins Australia

Title: A Night Like This
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 11th – 18th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: She saw only him, watching her as if she were the only woman in the world.

Synopsis

ANNE WYNTER MIGHT NOT BE WHO SHE SAYS SHE IS…

But she’s managing quite well as a governess to three highborn young ladies. Her job can be a challenge – in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play that might be a tragedy (or might be a comedy – no one is sure), and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

DANIEL SMYTHE-SMITH MIGHT BE IN MORTAL DANGER…

But that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her, even if that means spending his days with a ten-year-old who thinks she’s a unicorn. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending…

Thoughts

As with all the Julia Quinn books in my shelf. I loved this. Quinn just has such an amazing talent for sweeping you away to a happy, content world that you know everything will turn out well in.

This story reminded me a little of the Benedict Bridgerton story in that it is a man falling for a woman below his station. And he happens to glance at her at a society event, and become instantly infatuated. The similarities do stop here though, for which I I glad.

I love how aware Anne is of how wrong things can go and how she is constantly trying to make Daniel see sense… it works brilliantly well. And it feels a little more realistic. I mean, this is a Regency romance, so it’s not exactly going to be realistic regardless… but it does make it feel a little less far fetched I suppose.

Daniel and Anne are a fun couple, and the villain they have to face in this is a lot more evil and intimidating than any Julia Quinn book so far. This, combined with the constant awkwardness of Harriet and her younger sisters had me smiling throughout. There was a great sense of lightness to match that feeling of horror that the villain lent

A fantastic novel that let me float on a happily ever after for a while. One that I will definitely read again.

<- Just Like HeavenThe Sum of All Kisses ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Caught by the Tides by Diane Whiteside

Overview
Image result for beyond the dark angela knight book cover

Title: Caught by the Tides
Author: Diane Whiteside
In: Beyond the Dark (Lora Leigh, Angela Knight, Emma Holly & Diane Whiteside)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Magic, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 11th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Boom!

Synopsis

Diane Whiteside does it… in an alternate universe of Regency magic where two lovers are threatened by a vicious mage and swept up in a turbulent war off the Cornish cliffs.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this novella. The historical / regency setting is one that is seriously familiar to me at the moment (I seem to be diving into a lot of regency romances at the moment). But it had that great added twist of magic throughout. Something to provide a bit of a different spin on things that I haven’t quite seen yet. And definitely an enjoyable system / storyline.

There seems to have been a few books on my shelves lately that have featured a mysterious man being washed, naked onto the shore. Alright, the lead male in this isn’t actually naked (that I remember). But there is still that sense of the ocean brining true love to someone’s unwitting door. It gave the whole story a sense of joy and mystery that swept me away (like the pun there?). The windswept Cornish coast just added to that fantastic feeling throughout.

All in all, this was a seriously fun and enjoyable story. I have read one or two novellas (or were they short stories) by Diane Whiteside and always find them to be good fun. I’m glad that this story was not different. Definitely one that I would read again.

<- Dragon DanceQueen of All She Surveys ->

Image source: Amazon

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Overview
Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #1) by Julia Quinn

Title: Just Like Heaven
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 10th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: “What did I say?”

Synopsis

HONORIA SMYTHE-SMITH IS:
A) a really bad violinist
B) still miffed at being nicknamed “Bug” as a child
C) NOT in love with her older brother’s best friend
D) all of the above

MARCUS HOLROYD IS:
A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) NOT in love with his best friend’s young sister
D) all of the above

TOGETHER THEY:
A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever AND the world’s worst musical performance
C) fall quite desperately in love

It’s Julia Quinn at her best, so you KNOW the answer is…
D) all of the above

Thoughts

As always, I loved this book. There is just something fantabulous about Julia Quinn that draws me in each and every time. The stories may be beautifully simple, but they’re also seriously enjoyable. And this one is definitely no exception. The fact that it is the first of the stories about the Smythe-Smiths whom are frequently mentioned throughout the Bridgertons series… well, that just made it that much better.

I love how intricately Julia Quinn is able to weave her different series. Although they can all stand on their own, they are also interconnected. In the case of this, you have the Mad Baron story (which was authored by another beloved character) and a great conversation or two with some of the Bridgerton boys. That, and Lady Danbury makes another appearance (she’s my favourite) as does the infamous Smythe-Smith Music night.

Honoria is a great lead. She is witty and strong, but not necessarily going against the grain to be strong. She also is completely unhesitant to do the right thing for Marcus, even if she may be putting her own reputation at risk. I do love the scene with the mole hole the most though… it was both hilarious and adorable.

Marcus is the perfect quiet male lead. He just kind of plods along and then, when he realises that he’s in love, goes with it. There is none of the angst and painful denials in this story that seem to be in a lot of romances. And I entirely put that down to Marcus not being a numpty. That, and Honoria also just has faith in him and doesn’t get all bogged down in her own mind.

All in all, this was a great way to spend an evening / day and just… drift in the happiness that Julia Quinn is always able to inspire. Seriously fun and most definitely another one to add to the “favourites” shelf.

<- More Julia QuinnA Night Like This ->

Image source: Goodreads

First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn

Overview
First Comes Scandal [Large Print] :HarperCollins Australia

Title: First Comes Scandal
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys #4
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Regency romance
Dates read: 25th – 26th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: “Certainly unethical.”

Synopsis

She was given two choices…
Georgiana Bridgerton isn’t against the idea of marriage. She just thought she’d have some say in the matter. But with her reputation hanging by a thread after she’s abducted for her dowry, Georgie is given two options: live out her days as a spinster or marry the rogue who has ruined her life.

Enter Option #3
As the fourth son of an eral, Nicholas Rokesby is prepared to hart his own course. He has established himself in Edinburgh, where he’s close to completing his medical studies, and he has no time – or interest – to find a wife. But when he discovers that Georgie Bridgerton – his literal girl-next-door – is facing ruin, he knows what he must do.

A Marriage of Convenience
It might not have been the most romantic of proposals, but Nicholas never thought she’d say II no. II Georgie doesn’t want to be anyone’s sacrifice, and besides, they could never think of each other as anything more than childhood friends… or could they?

But as they embark upon their unorthodox courtship, they discover a new twist to the age-old rhyme. First come scandal, then comes marriage. But after that comes love…

Thoughts

As the final story in the Rokesbys series, I was kind of expecting a little more drama in this story… I was completely floored by the fact that there was pretty much no drama whatsoever in this story. As in. None. At all. Actually, it was one of the most pleasant, happy and drama free stories I’ve read in a long time. And even though it wasn’t fast-paced and there wasn’t much drama… I still couldn’t put this down and forget about it. It was just that amazing!

Nicholas and Georgie work so beautifully together. I love that of the four Rokesby stories, three ended up with Bridgertons. This is also the only one that mentions Violet Bridgerton, along with the three eldest boys from the Bridgerton series – Anthony, Benedict and Colin. It finally made this actually feel like the prequel series that it supposedly is and tied everything in perfectly. I love that there is this constant sense of interconnectedness throughout the series that makes you urgently reaching for the next book.

This was a seriously quick friends to lovers moment. I was expecting a little more resistance to the idea, but I kind of like how quickly Nicholas and Georgie fell for one another. It made me smile frequently and happily throughout. Definitely the kind of quick falling in love that I prefer – one that is built on years of friendship and camaraderie. It also meant that those frequent moments in which Georgie is being independent and pig-headed are totally expected by Nicholas, and kind of endearingly loved.

As with many of Quinn’s books, I loved the epilogue at the end. I love how Georgie’s interest was nurtured by Nicholas and helped them grow into the perfect pair. I kind of want to see them in more Quinn books in the future… they’re just so simply glorious together.

<- The Other Miss BridgertonMore Julia Quinn ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Marry in Scandal by Anne Gracie

Overview
Marry In Scandal by Anne Gracie - Penguin Books Australia

Title: Marry in Scandal
Author: Anne Gracie
Series: Marriage of Convenience #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 18th – 24th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: “No, of course not.”

Synopsis

Shy, young heiress Lady Lily Rutherford dreams of true love and a romantic courtship. But when disaster strikes, she finds herself facing a scandal-forced marriage to her rescuer, Edward Galbraith, a well-known rake. In the gamble of her life, she agrees to marry him, hoping to turn a convenient marriage into a love match.

As heir to a title, Galbraith knows he must wed, but that doesn’t mean he has to share his secrets with his tender-hearted young bride. When he spurns Lily’s efforts to get close to him, she retreats to the place he’s avoided for nearly a decade: his childhood home. To reclaim his new bride, Galbraith must confront the darkness of his past, face a future he never expected – and discover that love is the ultimate prize.

Thoughts

Lily had a great introduction as a character in Marry in Haste. Which meant that reading her novel was always going to be seriously looked forward to. Really, same as Rose and George, but they’re next in line… I did wonder how Lily would get her happily ever after. And honestly, it was nothing like what I expected. Which I’m not really sure why that’s surprising… that seems to be the trend with many of the stories that I’ve been reading lately.

Lily’s greatest flaw and failure is hinted at in Marry in Haste – she can’t read or write properly. It was interesting how this was built upon in Lily’s story – after all, this is all set in a time that would make this seriously inconvenient and horrible. Yet, she is a great female lead. She is filled with patience and understanding, this great sense of hope and wonderful wisdom. Alright, she’s also a little naïve. But that naivety stems from her hope that things will work out perfectly. I think that all of us jaded people could take a page out of her book…

Nixon and Sylvia were both brilliant and horrible villains in this tale. Which, ultimately is what a villain should be in my books. The poetic justice that they receive at the end is brilliant. It’s bloodthirsty and kind of horrible. But it left me grinning (let’s not think too deeply about what that says about my psyche)…

This is yet another great Regency romance – light, easy and fun. With just enough horribleness and intrigue to really pull you in and make it impossible to put down. Definitely falling for Anne Gracie’s writing more and more with each story that I read.

<- Marry in HasteMarry in Secret ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Spirit of the Prairie by Shirley Damsgaard

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of paranormal romance 2 book cover

Title: Spirit of the Prairie
Author: Shirley Damsgaard
In: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: AngelsHistorical romanceParanormal romance
Dates read: 16th March 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: “In case you haven’t noticed,” he cut in, his humour gone.

Synopsis

She’s a widow who finds herself falling for an angel. And the angel is falling for her. But, then the rules get in the way and things take a slightly more difficult turn….

Thoughts

I enjoyed this short story. It’s not the kind that I will wax on and off about it’s awesomeness. But it was most definitely enjoyable. And a wonderful diversion from reality, study and just general adulthood for a little while. Which is honestly what I’m mostly looking for in a short story…

The idea of an angel falling for a mortal and having his wings clipped is a kind of frequent trope in some of the books that I’m reading. But it still is one that I really like. I mean, giving up everything for love? That’s well worth it in my books… although, the punishment received and the reality that is thrust upon the angels in this is kind of seriously harsh…

I really enjoyed this short story, but it’s not the most memorable story that I’ve ever read either. It was fun, light and easy. It also felt nicely finished out with the ending… even if the punishment for rule breaking was yet to come.

<- Princes of DominionThe Demon’s Secret ->

Image source: Amazon

Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie

Overview
Marry in Haste | Book 1 in the Convenient Marriage Series by Anne Gracie

Title: Marry in Haste
Author: Anne Gracie
Series: Marriage of Convenience #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 20th February – 1st March 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Miss Wind-whatever!

Synopsis

Major Calbourne Rutherford returns to England on the trail of an assassin, only to find he’s become Lord Ashendon, with the responsibility for vast estates and dependent relatives. Cal can command the toughest men, but his wild half sisters are quite another matter. They might just be his undoing.

When he discovers that Miss Emmaline Westwood, the girls’ former teacher, guides them with ese, Cal offers her a marriage of convenience. But strong-minded and independent Emm is neither as compliant nor as proper as he expected, and Cal finds himself most inconveniently seduced by his convenient wife.

Emm knows they didn’t marry for love, yet beneath her husband’s austere façade, she catches glimpses of a man who takes her breath away. As pride, duty and passion clash, will these two stubborn hearts find more than they ever dreamed of?

Thoughts

Regency romances are the kind of books that are slowly gaining traction on my bookshelves. It’s one of those shelves that a year ago, there wasn’t much on it… but then I started buying more and more. Now, it’s a fairly big collection. This is my first foray into the stories of Anne Gracie. And I must say, I am so glad that I bought some of her books – they are awesome and beautiful!

From the prologue, I was intrigued about Emm’s past – after all, it starts with a rumor and her father trying to force her into marriage. Yet, you don’t quite know what happened and why. Which is one of the many sub-plots that will keep you reading throughout this story. You just want to know what sent Emm’s life so drastically off track. And it takes about three quarters of the book to find out the answer to that…

Cal is a bit of a reserved lead. I love that he is trying to do what he thinks is right – but can’t quite figure out what that actually is. He’s so very, very lost. Which just makes it all that much sweeter when Emm comes into his life and just… fixes all of the bits that have been turned upside down. Sometimes people just need a little bit of guidance, and Cal gets that constantly through his “marriage of convenience”.

It’s hard to imagine the world that Emm lives in – but, I love that she is able to maintain her sense of self, even when she gets kicked down again and again. She also makes sure that she protects and cares for the women under her protection. From the girls at the school, to the sisters and niece of Cal. They are constantly bolstered by this amazing woman and find a way to be themselves in a society that doesn’t necessarily support them.

I may love the romance aspect of this story, but I also love the feeling of women banding together. Not just in the way that Emm protects the girls, but also how they protect her. When rumors and horrible things come to light, it is the girls that ultimately protect and bolster Emm, her students and the women she’s befriended. We have way too many stories about women tearing each other down, so it’s nice to have one that features women supporting one another.

<- More Anne GracieMarry in Scandal ->

Image source: Anne Gracie