Tag: Historical

Throwback Thursday: Castles by Julie Garwood

Posted August 30, 2018 by Rowena in 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: Castles by Julie GarwoodCastles
by Julie Garwood
Series: Crown's Spies #4
Also in this series: The Lion's Lady, Guardian Angel, The Gift
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books on November 4, 1996
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
Pages: 354
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

Orphaned and besieged Princess Alesandra knew that only hasty marriage to an Englishman could protect her from the turmoil in her own land. To the amusement of her makeshift guardian, Colin, younger brother of the Marquess of Caineswood, the bold raven-haired beauty instantly captivated London society. But when Alesandra was nearly abducted by her unscrupulous countrymen, the fighting instincts that won Colin a knighthood for valor were rekindled.

Deceiving himself that he wanted only to protect her, Colin swept her into a union meant to be a marriage in name alone ... yet Alesandra's tender first kiss and hesitant caress ignited a wildfire in his soul. As the lovely princess dashed headlong into unforeseen dangers, Colin would follow, knowing he must claim her as his own forever. Now he would risk life itself before he would lose this sweet, tempestuous angel ...

Back in the day, I used to be a regular poster on Julie Garwood’s Bulletin Board and it was a lot of fun for me. I needed somewhere to go to discuss my passion for books and love of Julie Garwood heroes, heroines and books in general. The JGBB was the perfect place for that. Every month, we discussed a different JG book, we played online games and you could even compete to claim your own JG hero. Colin was the very first JG hero that I actually competed to claim as my own….and your girl won!!!
Haha, anyway this book was brought back onto my radar after Quinn brought it up on the discord app as one of her favorite Julie Garwood books and I just had to do it. I just had to open this sucker up and read it all in one sitting. I loved this book just as much as I have every other single time that I’ve read it. Colin and Alessandra are serious couples goals and Julie Garwood is second to none in capturing their romance, their humor and their motherfreaking charm because re-reading this book was a good time. Castles is the last book in Julie Garwood’s Crown’s Spies series and it follows Caine from Guardian Angel’s younger brother Colin as he finds love with orphaned Princess Alesandra. Colin’s parents are Alesandra’s guardians and they’re trying to protect her from the unwanted attention of the suitor’s variety. Everyone wants a piece of an orphaned Princess you know. When her life is thrown into constant danger because someone is trying to kidnap her, Colin steps in and takes over her protection…and that’s when the shenanigans begin. This book man, it’s always so much fun to dive into old school Julie Garwood books because the hero and the heroine get into some crazy stuff and seeing them come together in love with each other is the best. Colin and Alesandra were one of my favorites back in the day and reuniting with them and reading through that family dinner scene always hits me in my funny bone and gets me all up in my feels. I laughed just as much this time around as I always do and man, I can’t recommend this book enough. The series is a winner for me too so if you want to really get the dynamic of the group of Crown Spies featured in this book, you should start with The Lion’s Lady. All of the books were great and this one is my favorite of the bunch. There were so many things I had forgotten before re-reading this book. Like that Colin’s nickname is Dolphin. I forgot about Alesandra’s lists. What she did for Colin’s boots and his limp. That her bodyguard Raymond was hurt and just how refreshingly sweet Alessandra was. This was a really good book and if you’re in the mood for a fun historical romance then look no further than Castles because seriously, it’s a great book.
Buy the Book
AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE BOOKS || KOBO || THE RIPPED BODICE
Final Grade
4.5 out of 5
Crown’s Spies Series
four-half-stars

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Book Boyfriend of the Week: Rex Galbraith

Posted February 9, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 0 Comments

This week’s book boyfriend is one that I thought was going to annoy the snot out of me but I ended up loving the heck out of. Rex Galbraith, is a man who is never going to marry. He’s seen the hell that marriage has wrecked on his immediate family and he doesn’t want anything to do with any of it. When he meets the woman that ruined his week, got him socked in the face by one of his good friends, he really doesn’t want to have anything to do with love or marriage but things don’t always work out the way that one thinks it will, right? Here’s his book information. Book Boyfriend of the Week: Rex GalbraithThe Trouble with True Love
by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: Dear Lady Truelove #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon on January 30th 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads

Dear Lady Truelove,

I am a girl of noble family, but I am painfully shy, especially in my encounters with those of the opposite sex . . .

For Clara Deverill, standing in for the real Lady Truelove means dispensing advice on problems she herself has never managed to overcome. There’s nothing for it but to retreat to a tearoom and hope inspiration strikes between scones. It doesn’t—until Clara overhears a rake waxing eloquent on the art of “honorable” jilting. The cad may look like an Adonis, but he’s about to find himself on the wrong side of Lady Truelove.

Rex Galbraith is an heir with no plans to produce a spare. He flirts with the minimum number of eligible young ladies to humor his matchmaking aunt, but Clara is the first to ever catch his roving eye. When he realizes that Clara—as Lady Truelove—has used his advice as newspaper fodder, he’s infuriated. But when he’s forced into a secret alliance with her, he realizes he’s got a much bigger problem—because Clara is upending everything Rex thought he knew about women—and about himself. . . .

Seeing Rex fall in love with Clara Deverill in The Trouble with True Love by Laura Lee Guhrke was sweet and Rex was a giant ball of charming and I was here for it all. His charming personality and the fierceness of his love for Clara are why he’s my book boyfriend for this week. This is who I pictured while I was reading all about Rex Galbraith. He’s got that devil may care attitude and that smug little grin that is sexy as all get out. If you haven’t read his book, you should change that because the book is highly entertaining and the romance between Rex and Clara sparked with a lot of chemistry that you don’t want to miss. It’s great, I promise.

Buy the Book

The Trouble with True Love by Laura Lee Guhrke January 30, 2018 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Series Order

Until next week…enjoy!

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Mini Review Round Up (8)

Posted October 26, 2017 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

Lady Sophia’s Lover (Bow Street Runners #2) by Lisa Kleypas Release Date: June 4, 2002 Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon Genres: Historical, Romance Pages: 37 Format: eBook Source: Bought Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Why is Lady Sophia looking for a lover? And could she seduce the most marriageable man in London? Lady Sophia Sydney would do anything to ensnare the unattainable Sir Ross Cannon. Her goal: to ruin his reputation and cause a scandal that would be the talk of all London. So she insinuates herself into his life by gaining his trust and living in his house. Every morning, her lush presence tempts him beyond all reason . . . the way she bends over the table to serve him the meals she has prepared . . . the way her hands oh, so gently—yet sensuously—brush against him. Every night, she promises with her eyes—and her body—that the hours before dawn could be spent in unbridled passion instead of restless sleep—if only he’d let her share his bed. She knows he is falling more in love with her each day. But she never counted on falling in love with him. And she never dreamed he might very respectably ask for her hand in marriage.
I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for the longest time. I’m talking years and years, this book has sat on my TBR and I just never read it. I don’t even know why since I adore Lisa Kleypas’ writing. Her books and her heroes are always so good so I’ve been a bum about her older books but not anymore. I read this book and just adored it. Sophia and Ross were wonderful characters and their romance was soo good. Lady Sophia Sydney is out for revenge against Sir Ross Cannon because she holds him responsible for the death of her brother. Her plan is to get close to him, seduce him and then ruin him…only her plan starts to go awry the more time she spends with him. He’s not at all what she was expecting him to be and the plan was never to fall in love with him but now she’s gone and done it. Sir Ross Cannon wants nothing to do with emotions of the heart. He’s had his fair share of that stuff when he was married and after his wife died but there’s something about Lady Sophia that calls to him and he doesn’t spend too much time fighting it. Lisa Kleypas does such a great job of storytelling that with each and every single one of her books, I fall more and more in love with her writing. Her books are always full of humor, her characters full of charisma and her romances full of depth that for me, she gets it right every time. This book is a great showcase of that. Her talent shines in this book and even though it’s not my favorite book of hers, it’s still a damn good romance and I definitely recommend.

Bow Street Runners Series

My Rating

gif credits 4.25 out of 5
Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas Release Date: November 28, 2006 Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon Genres: Historical, Romance Pages: 384 Format: eBook Source: Bought Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Bestselling author Lisa Kleypas creates a beguiling story, set in a world where appearance means everything, passion simmers just below the surface, and a respectable Englishwoman is willing to risk scandal for one night of love. She was unmarried, untouched and almost thirty, but novelist Amanda Briars wasn’t about to greet her next birthday without making love to a man. When he appeared at her door, she believed he was her gift to herself, hired for one night of passion. Unforgettably handsome, irresistibly virile, he tempted her in ways she never thought possible, but something stopped him from completely fulfilling her dream. Jack Devlin’s determination to possess Amanda became greater when she discovered his true identity. But gently bred Amanda craved respectability more than she admitted, while Jack, the cast-off son of a nobleman and London’s most notorious businessman, refused to live by society’s rules. Yet when fate conspired for them to marry, their worlds collided with a passionate force neither had expected… but both soon craved.
I’ve been re-reading this book for the past couple of years. I read it at least once every year for the last three years, maybe? Each year, I’ve come away from the book just over the moon about it but this year was different. I re-read this book for book club this year and I had to prepare a discussion of it so I read the book, read through different people’s reviews on the book and then I read it again and I’ve got to say…the last re-read of the book was a different experience for me. I will say that even with my eyes being open to just how manipulative some of the characters were in this book, Lisa Kleypas worked her magic because in the end…I still rather enjoyed the story. So this book is about Jack Devlin and Amanda Briars falling in love with each other. They meet when Amanda orders herself a man for her thirtieth birthday and I thought that was awesome because why not? You do you, boo boo. So Jack shows up at Amanda’s house on her birthday and Amanda is like, you know what? I changed my mind. I don’t need a man but Jack worms his way in and gives her a night she’ll never forget and then he shows up at a party and is not even a hooker. He’s a publisher!! And he lied to her. So that doesn’t endear him to her at all but he’s all aboard the Amanda train and he’s not above using whatever weapons he has to win her over. I really enjoyed the chemistry between Jack and Amanda because overall, that was undeniable. Those two had some serious feelings for each other and I enjoyed seeing them together but what I didn’t enjoy was how much manipulating Jack did to get whatever he wanted. He seduced Amanda into doing whatever he wanted and that wasn’t cool. Sure, Amanda was game for anything but there were times when I was like, come on Jack…get over it. But I still really enjoyed this book. This book is another testament to how good Lisa Kleypas is. She can write the hell out of stories, out of characters and her romances are always steamy. This one is one of her steamier romances and I was all about it.

My Rating

gif credits Grade: 4 out of 5

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Mini Review Round Up (6)

Posted October 12, 2017 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 0 Comments

Mini Review Round Up (6)Saving Grace
by Julie Garwood
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star on March 1, 1994
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
Pages: 407
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
five-stars

When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she possessed a strength of will that impressed all who looked past her golden-haired beauty. Yet when King John demanded that she remarry and selected a bridegroom for her—it seemed she must acquiesce, until her beloved foster brother suggested she wed his friend, the handsome Scottish warrior Gabriel MacBain.

At first Johanna was shy, but as Gabriel tenderly revealed the splendid pleasures they would share, she came to suspect that she was falling in love with her gruff new husband. And it was soon apparent to the entire Highlands clan that their brusque, gallant laird had surrendered his heart completely. But now a desperate royal intrigue threatened to tear her from his side—and to destroy the man whose love meant more to her than she had ever dreamed!

It’s another Julie Garwood week so here are some quick thoughts on my re-read of these fabulous books. This book, man. This is probably my favoritest book by Julie Garwood. It’s got everything. A passionate romance between two outstanding characters, a hero to drool over, a strong heroine who you won’t help but admire and secondary characters that will either charm your socks off or make you want to punch them right in the face. Lady Johanna has had a hard life and she wants to live out the rest of her life in peace. With a shit husband and an even shittier King, the odds of that happening are not looking good. When her brother suggests a plan for her to gain some protection from the King and get away from bad memories from her late husband, Johanna goes along with it. That plan brings Scottish Laird Gabriel MacBain into her life and he turns her world on its ear. Gabriel has a lot on his plate and he doesn’t want a wife to add to his already overwhelming responsibilities but when her brother Baron Nicholas approaches him with a plan to take back the land that was taken from him and his clan, Gabriel is hardpressed to say no. Marrying an English lass wasn’t in his plans but if it’ll bring back what was stolen from him, he’ll do it. There isn’t much that Gabriel wouldn’t do for his people. He’s the bomb like that and when he meets Johanna for himself, he wants her and that, dear readers, is that. The romance between Johanna and Gabriel is one of those old school romances that just fills you all the way up with feels and when you add in all of the other goodness in the book, this book is one that you’ll re-read over and over again. It’s so freaking good. You should read it. No, seriously. Everyone should know Gabriel MacBain and love him. *swoon*
My Rating
5 out of 5
Mini Review Round Up (6)Ransom
by Julie Garwood
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star on December 27, 2002
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
Pages: 546
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

Overflowing with all of the majesty and intrigue of medieval glory days, this magnificent New York Times bestseller is a page-turner of passion and loyalty, justice and honor. Beloved storyteller Julie Garwood steps back to the silver-shrouded Highlands of her classic tale The Secret--and hails the return of two unforgettable warriors: Ramsey Sinclair and Brodick Buchanan. In the dark days after the death of Richard the Lionhearted, lives and lands would fall into upheaval at the hands of a power-hungry British ruler and his violent minions. One victim of the scourge is innocent Gillian, who is a mere child when the cruel and ambitious Baron Alford slaughters her father and tears her family apart. Alford, determined to recover a jeweled box for the despotic King John, is furious when the precious treasure slips through his fingers--only to be lost for more than a decade.

Now a beautiful young woman, Gillian finds the key to resolving her past in handsome Scottish chieftains Ramsey Sinclair and Brodick Buchanan. With the cunning and courage of the daring Scotsmen, and with the friendship of a new ally, Bridgid KirkConnell, Gillian at last fights the unscrupulous Baron Alford, laying claim to her home, her family, and her father's reputation. But in the presence of the mighty warriors, Gillian and Bridgid discover that desire can be a weapon of conquest...betrayal can slay trust in a heartbeat...and the greatest risk of all is surrender--to the deep emotions of unexpected love.

Ransom is the second book in the Highland Laird’s Series and it follows Laird Brodick Buchanan and Laird Ramsey Sinclair as they bumble their way toward their happily ever afters. Brodick is a brute. A freaking savage and he likes it that way. When he meets gentle and courageous Gillian, things get really interesting. Ramsey, on the other hand is having a hell of a time trying to marry off the most beautiful girl in his whole clan and that’s because she’s making it damned difficult for him to make a good match. I really enjoyed getting to know Brodick and Gillian again. Gillian’s strength and Brodick’s attitude toward English apples was great fun. Gillian does whatever it takes to do what’s right and I really admired that about her. She wasn’t above lying to get what she wanted and I just flat out liked her. Brodick was a little harder to like because he was so set in his ways and was so stubborn but at his core, he was a good guy and he had only good intentions toward Gillian and that was enough for me. I seriously adored this book and my one gripe about it was that Ramsey and Brigid deserved their own story. I wasn’t nearly satisfied with their story. I adored Ramsey and came to love the heck out of Brigid but I was left wanting more from their story. I wanted them to have more page time but all these years later, nothings changed on that front so I need to get over it. Ha. Still, overall this was a fabulous story that had everything I love in romance novels. It’s a good one that I would definitely recommend.
Highland Laird’s Series
My Rating
4 out of 5
five-stars

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Mini Review Round Up (5)

Posted October 5, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

The Prize by Julie Garwood Release Date: August 1, 1999 Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books Genres: Historical, Romance Pages: 408 Format: eBook Source: Bought Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
In the resplendence of William the Conqueror’s London court, the lovely Saxon captive Lady Nicholaa was forced to choose a husband from the assembled Norman nobles. She chose Royce, a baron warrior whose fierce demeanor could not conceal his chivalrous and tender heart. A resourceful, rebellious and utterly naive, Nicholaa vowed to bend Royce to her will despite the whirlwind of feelings he aroused in her. Ferocious in battle, seasoned in passion, Royce was surprised by the depth of his emotion whenever he caressed his charming bride. In a climate of utmost treachery, where Saxons still intrigued against their Norman invaders, Royce and Nicholaa revelled in their precious new love … a fervent bond soon to be disrupted by the call of blood, kin and country!
Julie Garwood was one of the first romance authors that I’ve read and she has always held a special place in my reading heart because it was through her books that I found some of my closest friends. Friends that, all of these years later, I still keep in contact with and I’m still just as close with them as I was when we first met on the Julie Garwood Bulletin Board. Last week, one of those friends who has stopped reading as regularly as I do, wanted to read a book together so Holly and I agreed to read The Prize with her. I’m so glad that we re-read this book because holy cow, it brought back so many memories of how much I loved this book back in the day. From Royce and Nicholaa’s first meeting to seeing them fall in love and then Justin! Oh, be still my heart, Justin. I fell in love with him all over again and gah, I wish that Julie Garwood would have given him his own story because there was so much material to work with and he was so deserving of having his story told. This scene is one of my favorite scenes of all time and one of the so many reasons that I love this book.
“I noticed that over the past few weeks you’ve seemed more concerned about training me than the others. Was that because you had less faith in my ability?” Royce held his smile. Justin as experience an attack of pre-battle worries. It was a common affliction, especially among the younger, unseasoned soldiers. “As your baron, I have complete faith in your ability. I didn’t give you this honor, Justin. You earned it. As your brother, however, I’ll admit I’ve forced you to work harder. You have to be better than the others, remember?” “I remember.” “You have fulfilled my expectations,” Royce announced, giving him the praise he knew he needed to hear. “Thank you.” Royce did smile then. “You insult me by giving me your gratitude,” he said. “As your baron, I was only doing my duty.” Justin didn’t look at Royce but kept his gaze directed on the center of the field. “I wasn’t thanking my baron,” he said. His voice was gruff with emotion. “I was thanking my brother.”
You guys have got to read this book if you haven’t already. There’s much to love about it. A smart, strong and loving heroine, a hero who leads his people with care and secondary characters that will jump right into your heart and plant themselves there forever. This is the Julie Garwood that I know and love and I highly recommend this book to everyone.

My Rating

4.75 out of 5
The Wedding (Lairds’ Fiancee’s #2) by Julie Garwood Release Date: August 1, 1996 Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star Genres: Historical, Romance Pages: 377 Format: eBook Source: Bought Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Lady Brenna MacAlister harbored no illusions that her husband, a quick-tempered highland laird, was in love with her. How could he be enamored of his bride when on their wedding day, he had assured her that she could return to her home in England as soon as she had given him a son? Marrying Connor MacAlister had been impulsive act for Brenna. But MacAlister and his warriors a savage-looking band who had captured her and her arranged marriage to another offered precious few alternatives. Nor could Brenna deny that in fact, she had proposed to MacAlister—even if that had been ten long years ago, when she was just a child, and Connor a visitor to her father’s castle. Actually, Brenna scarcely remembered the secret missives she’d sent to MacAlister, abetted by her mischievous older sister… yet she had never forgotten the tall visitor’s dazzling, unexpected smile. Now, after a hasty forest wedding, they were man and wife. Determined to be happy, Brenna soon endeared herself to most of the clan, despite—or perhaps because of—her uncanny knack for getting into trouble. And although she grew to adore her brave superstitious, gentle husband she had no clue that Connor lived for the moments she whispered “I love you”… words she never meant him to hear. But when a rival lair struck out at the MacAlisters, trapping Brenna in a web of dangerous intrigue, she knew that only her faith in her gallant mate could save her….
After reading The Prize with Grace and Holly, I went on to glom a bunch of Julie Garwood’s other books and The Wedding was one of them. What a joy it was to read this book again. I had forgotten so much about what happened in this book but man, there’s a lot of good stuff. Lady Brenna and Connor were a fabulous couple that had me laughing one minute and happy sighing the next. Brenna was strong and she was capable and above all else, she was kind. Connor was fierce and he was protective and everything that I love in a hero. The romance between Connor and Brenna was fun. It was passionate and well written. Their chemistry felt real and the book as a whole was packed with Garwood’s classic humor and sweetness that you won’t find in the newer historicals. For me, there has always been something magical about Connor and Brenna’s story. This book will always be special to me because I connected with pretty much everyone in this one. From Brenna and Connor to Crispin and Quinlan and Alec and Jamie, I loved them all and it’s always a great time when I read this. I loved this book so much that I carried a copy of it when I went to the hospital to have Brenna, my daughter. Hahaha, yep. You got it. After poring through baby name books and not really seeing anything that I liked, my sister gave me this book out of my bag and said, “What about Brenna? That’s a pretty name” and my baby was born Brenna Lily. I will never get tired of reading this book and when I’m asked to quote one of my favorite romance novels, I will always quote…
She let him know how much she liked what he was doing by scoring his back with her nails and crying out with pleasure. “Oh, God.” “Nay lass, tis Connor.”
Hahaha, this book is great and if you haven’t read it…why the heck not? Change that, you’ll love this one!

Laird’s Fiancees’ Series

My Rating

5 out of 5

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