Genre: Historical

The Weekly Recap (107)

Posted October 15, 2018 by Rowena in Books, Features | 4 Comments

Caiden came to California last week for a visit and we had a blast having him here with us. But he went home yesterday so we’re back to being sad and missing him but he’ll be back next month for Thanksgiving so we’ve got something to look forward to.

While he was here, he went to Disneyland, we had dinner at Chuck E. Cheese, he had play dates with our other kids at the park and just had an all-around blast being around other kids since, at home, it’s normally just him and his Mom all day long.

For me, it was a quiet week at home. I spent all the time that I could with Caiden, I read some, watched some TV shows and relaxed close to home. Work has been pretty grim for me because one of my closest friends at work quit and her last day in the office was Friday so we spent the week doing farewell lunches at all of her favorite lunch spots around our office since her new job is about a half hour away so she wouldn’t be able to go to them in a long while. I’m going to miss her something fierce though since I talked to her every single day and she’s finally watching Game of Thrones. Now our discussions about her progression in the show will largely take place through texts. Oh well.

I’m really enjoying A Million Little Things, the new TV Show on ABC. I’ve cried through all three episodes that I’ve watched so far. It’s so good.

Now, onto the books…

What I’m Currently Reading
The Weekly Recap (107)Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: The Montgomery's and Armstrongs #1
Also in this series: Never Seduce a Scot, Highlander Most Wanted
Published by Random House, Ballantine on September 25, 2012
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 372
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Length: 10 hours, 10 minutes
Add It: Goodreads

Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but outsiders consider her “touched.” Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn’t speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Content with her life of seclusion, Eveline has taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft. But when an arranged marriage into a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, Eveline accepts her duty—unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful that his new bride can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled that he stirs her deepest passions.

Graeme is intrigued by the mysterious Eveline, whose silent lips are ripe with temptation and whose bright, intelligent eyes can see into his soul. As intimacy deepens, he learns her secret. But when clan rivalries and dark deeds threaten the wife he has only begun to cherish, the Scottish warrior will move heaven and earth to save the woman who has awakened his heart to the beautiful song of a rare and magical love.

It’s time for me to get this book read so that I can prepare for my book club next month. My sister Delene picked this book for us to discuss and already, I’m loving the book. Maya Banks is really gifted at historical romance. I’m really enjoying watching Eveline grow into her own. I should be done with this one today though I want to savor this story. It’s so good.

What I Read

Shadow and Ice (Gods of War #1) by Gena Showalter | 2.75 out of 5
Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire #1) by Grace Draven | 4 out of 5
Fireworks (True North #6) by Sarina Bowen | 4.25 out of 5

My favorite read of the week goes to Fireworks. Sarina Bowen is such a winning author for me. I love her True North series and Benito’s story was just as good as the others in the series and I’m hoping for more.

My least favorite read of the week goes to Shadow and Ice and that’s because I spent more than half of the book bored by what was going on. The end was a lot better than the beginning but the beginning was boring enough that I wouldn’t give it more than a 3 star rating.

What I Reviewed

Say You’ll Stay (Return to Me #1) by Corinne Michaels | 1 out of 5
Long Shot (Hoops #1) by Kennedy Ryan | 4.75 out of 5
America’s Sweetheart (Real Love #5) by Jessica Lemmon | 4 out of 5

What I Posted

The Weekly Recap (106)
Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Risk by Elle Kennedy

What I Got

Nothing this week. I’ve been busy reading what I already have.

What I Got for Review

You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn
Illegally Yours (Laws of Attraction #2) by Kate Meader

What Made Me Laugh

There you have it, my week in review. How was your week?

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Book Boyfriend: Alaric McCabe from Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks

Posted September 28, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 6 Comments

This feature keeps changing because I’m trying different things out but I think I’m going to stick with this format from here on out. Thanks for coming along this ride until I figure out what the hell I want to do here. LOL.

Book Boyfriend: Alaric McCabe from Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya BanksSeduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: McCabe Trilogy #2
Published by Random House, Ballantine on September 27, 2011
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 323
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Length: 8 hours, 28 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
five-stars

Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Seduction of a Highland Lass, an indomitable Highland warrior is caught between loyalty and forbidden love.

Fiercely loyal to his elder brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put to the test his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires.

An outcast from her own clan, Keeley McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice: Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

This week’s boyfriend made me cry. Like angsty tears and then joyful ones. I was so wrapped up in his book that it took me a little bit to get over the story and move on. I was like book hungover because this book, the romance and Alaric himself had me wrapped up tight in feels that I wasn’t ready to walk away from.

Seduction of a Highland Lass is the second book in the McCabe Trilogy by Maya Banks and it’s the second book that I’ve ever read by this author (in any genre) but boy am I low key addicted to her historicals thanks to Alaric and Keeley.

Alaric has been tasked with marrying Rionna McDonald to unite their clans by marriage so that they can go to war against Duncan Cameron and on his way to the McDonald holding, he’s attacked and injured so he makes his escape to save his own life and his horse brings him to a house on McDonald land, but far away from the actual holding and the woman that lives there was cast out of the clan and is living there on her own. She takes it upon herself to help save Alaric from death and she does a fabulous job of it.

Alaric falls in love with the woman that brought him back from the brink of death. She is a bonny lass and if he wasn’t already engaged to marry someone else, he would have liked to come home to Keeley every night. He would have loved to love her for the rest of his life but since that’s not in the cards for him, he’ll settle for making sure that she is taken care of for the rest of her life. That she has a place in the McCabe clan and that they take good care of her because she deserves the best in life and if he can’t give it to her, his loved ones will.

“I had to see you this night. One more time before I say my vows tomorrow. Once spoken, I’ll never break them. I’d not betray my wife or my clan.”

He was in such a predicament with no other choice but the move forward and honor the wishes of his clan but man, seeing him struggle to do what was right and not what his heart wanted gutted me at every turn of the page. He was such an honorable man and to know him was to love him.

If you don’t know this man yet, I strongly urge you to fix that because he is the best. Seriously, I love a lot of heroes but I’ll have a special place in my heart for Alaric McCabe because his story broke my heart and then put right back together. He’s one of the good ones, I promise.

Hero Casting

Buy the Book

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McCabe Trilogy

five-stars

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Throwback Thursday: The Gift by Julie Garwood

Posted September 27, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

Each week, I’ll be writing a review for an oldie but goodie that I’ve read through again to see if these books are holding up for me. I’m a different person than I was when I read these books, older and wiser (at least I hope) so I’m curious to see if books that I used to love can stand the test of time.

Throwback Thursday: The Gift by Julie GarwoodThe Gift by Julie Garwood
Series: Crown's Spies #4
Also in this series: Castles, The Lion's Lady, Guardian Angel
Published by Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books on June 7, 2011
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 388
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

A child bride, Sara Winchester had grown into a winsome beauty, joyfully anticipating the day when her husband Nathan, Marquess of St. James, would return to claim her heart at last. Charmingly innocent, she dismissed the ancient feud that divided Nathan's family from her own...and she was totally unaware of his past exploits as the notorious pirate, Pagan. The man who now stood before her was perplexing, arrogant and powerfully handsome...a warrior-gentleman whose gentle touch aroused her to the wildest, deepest pleasures of love.

Nathan had never bared his soul to any woman, but he was soon utterly beguiled and exasperated by Sara's sweet, defiant ways. Aboard his ship, The Seahawk, she was brave, imperious and determined to win his heart completely -- yet upon their return to England, her love would be sorely tested as a vile conspiracy tried to tear them apart. With their future at stake, they would discover the true destiny of their passion...for all time!

The Gift has always been my least favorite book in this series and it is for this reason that I’ve left this re-read for last. I went into this re-read thinking that I wasn’t going to love this book but I’m surprised to report that I enjoyed this book a lot more than I ever have before.

Julie Garwood has proven to stand the test of time with me. When I first read this book, I was much younger and a lot dumber than I am today and I didn’t appreciate this book as much but this time around, it was great.

Nathan St. James is Colin from Castles best friend and Jade from Guardian Angel’s brother. He’s been engaged to Sara Winchester since he was a kid thanks to the daft King and even though their families are feuding, he’s coming to collect his bride and when that happens, things happen.

This was such a fun book and every time Nathan said, “Dammit Sara” I laughed out loud. They were complete opposites, Nathan and Sara were. She was so sweet and so naive where as Nathan was gruff, reserved and worldly. That damn parasol had me dying. I don’t remember this book being so funny but the shenanigans that Sara got herself into had me laughing at every turn. The writing is top notch in this book and highlights why I’m such a huge fan of Julie Garwood’s older books. I remember why I read her books over and over again and discussed them at length every month with the ladies over at the Julie Garwood Bulletin Board back in the day.

Nathan and Sara’s romance made me happy and even though there were times when I wanted to knee Nathan in the junk and rolled my eyes at how naive Sara was, I still really enjoyed this book. It’s not my favorite book in this series (that is Castles), but it’s still such an enjoyable book that you’ll love for years and years, long after you’ve read it for the first time. To read this book is to enjoy it so I definitely recommend it.

Buy the Book

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Final Grade

4 out of 5

Crown’s Spies Series

four-stars

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Buddy Review: The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan

Posted September 25, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Buddy Review: The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie JordanThe Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan
Series: The Rogue Files #3
Published by Harper Collins, Avon on July 24, 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
three-half-stars

A bride wasn’t in his plans . . .

The last thing Marcus, the Duke of Autenberry, expects to see after sleeping off a night’s drunken shenanigans is a woman being auctioned in the village square. Before he can think about the ramifications, he buys her, thinking he’s winning the girl her freedom. Instead, he discovers he’s bought a wife.

A duke wasn’t in hers . . .

Alyse Bell is almost rid of the shackles that bound her in a name-only marriage, but the day her friend promised to purchase her in a wife auction, he vanishes, leaving her to face a mob of unsavory bachelors intent on owning her body and soul. But the appearance of a wicked, wealthy stranger changes her path forever.

The road to ruin . . .

Marcus doesn’t know what to do with the impertinent chit who clearly isn’t duchess material! Insisting their marriage isn’t legitimate, they leave for his estate in Scotland, hoping to devise a plan to get rid of each other. However, on a journey fraught with misadventure, their attraction grows and Marcus realizes he’ll do anything to keep this fiery woman for his own.

I participate in a real-life book club that meets once a month to discuss a different romance novel with a bunch of my friends. It’s always a lot of fun but one of our members lives in Utah so she doesn’t get to meet up with us so we thought it would be great to still discuss the books with her. Each month, I’ll be doing a buddy review of our book club books with my book club homies Tasha and Shy. Please welcome my friends, everyone! 🙂 This month it’ll be just me and Tasha but next month, we’re hopeful that Shy will catch up and join us.

The first book that we’ll be reviewing together is The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan, which is the third book in The Rogue Files series and it features Marcus Weatherton, the Duke of Autenberry as he purchases a wife at a street auction and falls in love with her on his way to Scotland.

Rowena: Alright Tash, let’s get this show on the road. What were your initial thoughts on this book?

Tasha: My initial thoughts…this was a frustrating read. I mean, the hero was really mean which made it hard for me to like him. As much as I wanted to like the heroine, she kept making me mad too, uggghhh. So yeah, frustrating, lol.

Rowena: I know what you mean. I thought that the premise of the story was really interesting. I mean, the hero buys the heroine at a street auction in an effort to free her and then while he’s escorting her to his home in Scotland so she can make a life of her own as his housekeeper, they grow close and fall in love but the hot and cold attitude that Marcus had where Alyse was concerned pissed me off. Every time he tried to throw the blame on Alyse for their attraction made me want to kick him in the balls. Hello?? It takes two to tango and his dumbass kept pissing me off. I was like, miss me with the bullshit sir. You like her, you want her, deal with it.

The part that pissed me off the most with Alyse was when they’re almost to Marcus’ house in the Highlands and Marcus is beat up and left for dead while Alyse is abducted. When Marcus gets to where she was taken and demands to get her back, she’s like, “Oh I release you, you are not obligated to me anymore” and he’s like, “I’m not going to leave you here. They beat me and left me for dead” and she’s all, “Oh, I’m sure they’re sorry they did that.”

WTF? Bitch are you for real? When that happened, I was ready for the book to be done.

Tasha: EXACTLY…THAT PART, RIGHT THERE!!! I believe they had already left his brothers castle where she had to stay until she got better. But the whole time she was sick, he was at her bedside like a lovesick puppy. Even then he was still in denial. He could’ve easily been done with her at that point, the way I see it but he was insistent upon taking her with him. Let’s not even get started on the event that took place in his room after she recovered from her illness. As soon as the ‘deed’ was done, he was quick to dismiss her and make it out to be as if it were her fault. Like you said, “it takes two to tango”. They’re both dumbasses, lol.

I think Marcus was just an arrogant prick who was used to getting his way. And Alyse was so naïve and as we Samoans say, “fiapoko” (know-it-all, smart-ass, etc.) haha!!

Rowena: Same. They were both so fiapoko! Also? I think that we would have benefitted from reading the other books in this series to really appreciate Marcus’ journey, at least I’m hoping that is the case because I felt like I was missing something throughout the whole book. Especially when we get to the brother’s house in Scotland so that Alyse can mend her illness. I’m like, so is someone going to fill us in on what the hell happened and why Marcus and his brother are estranged? Hello??? Is someone going to fill in the blanks on how Marcus’ sister in law went from being engaged to Marcus to married to his brother? Ehhh…

Overall, the actions of both the hero and the heroine had me rolling my eyes up and down the street so it’s hard for me to give this a higher grade than a 2.5 because while the writing style is completely readable, there was too much that pissed me off to warrant a higher grade. What about you? What would you grade this book and are you going to be reading the rest of the series or nah?

Tasha: You’re probably right. Maybe if I had read the previous books, I wouldn’t be so harsh towards Marcus. They did mention a little bit about Marcus being engaged to Poppy before she became his brother’s wife but not a lot. Yeah, I did get the feeling I was missing something and that something could’ve been found in the earlier books.

Would I go back and read this series from the beginning…..ummmm, I don’t think so. The writing itself was fine and I’ve read some really bad books. It’s because of the whole ‘bi-polar’ moments from Marcus and Alyse’s continuous dumb decisions, I cannot give this more than a 3 (and that’s being generous). Yes, the hero and heroine really frustrated me but in the end, I still got my HEA.

Final Grade

Rowena: 2.5 out of 5
Tasha: 3 out of 5

So there you have it guys, my very first book club discussion review with one of my good friends Tasha. Next month we’ll be discussing Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks. My sister Delene chose that book so nobody in our book club is at all surprised that we’re reading another historical romance. See you guys next month!

Buy the Book

AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || GOOGLE BOOKS || KOBO || THE RIPPED BODICE

The Rogue Files Series

three-half-stars

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Book Boyfriend: Morgan MacKinnon from Untamed by Pamela Clare

Posted September 21, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

This feature keeps changing because I’m trying different things out but I think I’m going to stick with this format from here on out. Thanks for coming along this ride until I figure out what the hell I want to do here. LOL.

Book Boyfriend: Morgan MacKinnon from Untamed by Pamela ClareUntamed by Pamela Clare
Series: MacKinnon's Rangers #2
Published by Penguin, Berkley on January 3, 2012
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 369
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

In the breathtaking tradition of The Last of the Mohicans...

MacKinnon's Rangers

They were a band of brothers, their loyalty to one another forged by hardship and battle, the bond between these Highland warriors, rugged colonials, and fierce Native Americans stronger even than blood ties.

Though forced to fight for the hated British, Morgan MacKinnon would no more betray the men he leads than slit his own throat—not even when he was captured by the French and threatened with an agonizing death by fire at the hands of their Abenaki allies. Only the look of innocent longing in the eyes of a convent-bred French lass could make him question his vow to escape and return to the Rangers. And soon the sweet passion he awoke in Amalie had him cursing the war that forced him to choose between upholding his honor and pledging himself to the woman he loves.

This week’s book boyfriend comes from a book that caught me by complete surprise. Before starting it, I had no interest in reading the book at all. In fact, I dragged my feet in reading this book for my summer reading challenge and boy was I dumb for that.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished and I’m still thinking about this book. I’m still thinking about how well done the romance was and specifically, I’m thinking about how great Morgan MacKinnon was. Morgan is the middle MacKinnon brother, he took over the leadership position over the MacKinnon Rangers when his older brother Iain took a wife and retired from military life and a better leader you’ll be hard pressed to find. Morgan demanded respect and loyalty from his men and he got that by having their backs just as much as they had his. This book starts off with Morgan refusing to leave one of his men out on the battlefield. He goes back for him, saves his life and is injured then taken captive by the enemy. He’d give his life to save everyone that he can. That was the kind of man he was.

Once he’s taken captive, his plan is to die before they can interrogate him and get him to turn traitor to the side that he fights for. When that doesn’t happen, his plans turn to spy games until he figures out a way to escape. It wasn’t easy for him, playing friend to his enemies even though if things were different, he’d much rather fight with the honor that his captor had then the guy that tricked him into serving his army. He already had his loyalties and he was never going to turn against his brothers. His Rangers.

Then he meets Amalie Chauvenet and seeing him fall in love with her made me love him all the more. He said (and meant) the sweetest things to her.

“I would think myself in hell but for the sight of you, lass.”

“… No matter what happens to me, watch over her.”

“You needn’t ask. You ken I will–wi’ my life.”

“My love lies upon her.”

Iain grinned. “And her’s upon you. I can see it. Now go to her.”

I never knew that I need a man to tell me that his love lies upon me but after reading this book, I need it. Now. Haha.

Morgan MacKinnon was the bomb. He was strong, he was loyal and he made me want to lick him from head to toe. If you’re looking for someone to love, or a story to fall right into, look no further than Untamed by Pamela Clare. Morgan is great but his story is also fantastic. His story takes place in the Last of the Mohican times so there are lots of yummy men to swoon over. There’s war and sexy Scots fighting alongside their Native American brothers and there’s also more quotes like this:

Some of the amusement faded from Rillieux’s face, his eyes betraying the hatred he’d been trying to mask. “We French are renowned the world over as lovers, while you Scots”–he spat the word—“are known for your dourness.”

There was no laughter now, only silence.

“Is that so?” Morgan tossed back the rest of his brandy, set the crystal snifter aside. “Then remember this—in a fort full of Frenchmen, the lass chose a Scot.”

Really, is it any wonder that Morgan MacKinnon is my book boyfriend for this week?

Hero Casting

Buy the Book

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MacKinnon’s Rangers Seriers

four-half-stars

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