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Search tags: romance-historical
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review 2018-06-22 15:59
Mystique by Amanda Quick
Mystique - Amanda Quick

Hugh the Relentless wants to become Hugh of Scarcliffe. To accomplish that, he needs to appease his superstitious villages by finding a green crystal that's been recently stolen from the Scarcliffe convent.

The green crystal was briefly in possession of Lady Alice, a sharp-tongued beauty that's determined to strike a bargain with Hugh. She'll help him locate the stone, if he helps her and her brother leave their uncle's manor.


This was almost an exact copy of Desire with the long-suffering, knightly hero becoming saddled with an opinionated, rather spoiled, and entitled heroine with a sharp tongue, reckless impulses, and (at least from what I've seen) not much wit.

The romance between Hugh the Relentless and Alice the Relentless Pain in his Butt left much to be desired, since the heroine was so bloody annoying, I couldn't comprehend what drew Hugh to her and Hugh being so goddamn bland, I couldn't comprehend what drew her to him.

The suspense was the saving grace of this story with motives and suspects galore, and the mystery involving past sins and the Stones of Scarcliffe was nicely intriguing. Unfortunately, it couldn't compensate for the lack in all other "departments".

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review 2018-06-21 16:11
Desire by Amanda Quick
Desire - Amanda Quick

Clare, lady of the Isle of Desire, has no other choice but wed. What little choice she does have, will be spent on choosing the right husband, following a specific "recipe". All she needs are suitable candidates; they must not be big, they must be kind and have a pleasant disposition, and they must read.

Her liege lord sends her only two possible candidates. Sir Nicholas is out of the question, since he's an idiot, while Sir Gareth, the knight they call the Hellhound of Wyckmere, will not do either. He's huge, too serious and appears emotionless...But at least he can read.


I like medievals; the pageantry, the hulking knights on huge warhorses, the swords, the damsels in their girdles and wimples...This one only had the hulking knight on a huge warhorse and his sword.

I liked Gareth. He was the incarnation of a still water running deep. He was honorable, protective, smart and cunning...And unfortunately saddled with an idiot for heroine.
I couldn't stand Clare. For someone who prided herself on her intelligence, she sure could act stupid and shrewish. I'm sure she was supposed to be a feminist, but her "smart, strong willed" tantrums landed her in the entitled and opinionated bitch territory. She was impulsive, she never thought before she spoke, and her stereotypical view of knights (even the one who has sworn to protect her), coupled with her idiotic fantasy of the "dream man" got old really fast.

The resulting romance between the poor guy and the somewhat TSTL shrew made me wince, the "suspense" was predictable (you could see the villain and his "accomplice" from a mile away) and too short-lived...The majority of the story was spent on the two protagonists getting to know each other and Clare being Clare. With a different heroine, it might've been entertaining; with this one, it was just painful.

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review 2018-06-20 16:10
Under the Desert Moon by Marsha Canham
Under the Desert Moon - Marsha Canham

Aubrey Blue is this close to avenging her family. There's just the last leg of her journey between her and her goal, a journey that will take her through the desert, fending off Comanche attacks, unwanted drunken advances from one of her travelling companions, and not-so-unwanted advances from another, a former convict who's after the same man she is, Christian McBride...



Marsha Canham never disappoints. Be it set in the Highlands, on the high seas, or way back in the medieval times, her stories never fail to entertain and/or intrigue the reader.

This one was no different. Set in the wild-wild West in the late 19th century, it featured everything one comes to expect from a western, and what I've come to expect from Ms Canham.
Old feuds for land, money, power, and/or women, gunslingers, chases through the desert, fighting "Injuns", gun fights, saloons...descriptive, evocative narration, wonderful characters, drama galore, and a romance that makes you tingle.

Christian McBride might've been a typical Canham hero (they all pretty much look and act the same), but it was still a pleasure learning about him, discovering the depths of his personality, and watch him topple like a felled oak for the one).

“You’re supposed to make a wish on a falling star,” he murmured.

“Did you?”

“I most certainly did. It took two dozen, but you’re finally here.”

Audrey Blue was rather special. An acquired taste and as much of a puzzle for both her hero and the reader. Some of her choices and decisions were rather incomprehensible (when there were simpler ways to accomplish what she wanted) as was her unwillingness to tell Christian the entire truth. Turns out, she had a good reason for keeping her cards close to her vest, and that reason sure was a doozy.

Together, these two made for quite a couple, with sparks flying every each way whenever they shared a scene, and though the romance might've come across as rather rushed, it was fiery and all-consuming, like romances "of old" are supposed to be (and Ms Canham sure can write a fiery romance).

The rest was just as wonderful, rife with mystery, intrigue and enough suspense to keep the reader engaged, on the edge of the seat and furiously turning pages to learn what would happen next. Multiple villains with multiple motives, each got their well-deserved end, with the most satisfying confrontation offered as cherry on the cake.

Rife with intrigue, wonderful characters with more or less shadowed pasts, revenge-seeking, scorching passion, and stunning imagery, this novel is a must read for all Marsha Canham fans, as well as fans of romance set under the sizzling sun of the frontier or under the glowing desert moon.

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review 2018-06-20 02:15
3 Out Of 5 "I wish I could've fully loved this" STARS
The Surviving Trace - Calia Read

 

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~BOOK BLURB~

The Surviving Trace

Calia Read

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Will is my fiancé. The shy man I met years ago in college. The person I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with. 

 

This is the life I’ve always wanted until finding a picture of four men changes everything… 

 

Étienne says he’s my husband and the year is 1912. He can’t stand the sight of me, but I don’t know why. 

 

Oh, and he’s one of the men from the picture. 

 

I’ve done the impossible and have become trapped in time and I know Étienne is my key to going home. 

 

The more time I spend with Étienne, the further I fall for him until I’m questioning which time I belong in and if the life I left behind is the one I truly desire. 

 

All I know for certain is I need to survive time. 

 

I need to survive love. 

 

And I need to make it out on the other side alive.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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I know that when it comes to a time-travel romance you have to be able to suspend belief, otherwise it won't work…this may have been asking too much suspension of belief for me.  I feel there were too many plot holes that felt like she was trying to keep you in the dark about what was really going on in 1912, that left me confused, even after I got to the end.  I don't know if it was is an editing thing or what???  I also felt that things were a little too contrived to be palpable.

 

The one aspect of this story that I loved was the romance between Serene and Étienne, their chemistry was quite hot.   I really adored Étienne.  Serene, well, I liked her most of the time, but she had her witchy moments.  But the dynamic of these two, offset by Étienne's siblings, Livingston and Nathalie were what kept me reading despite the issues I had with it. 

 

Apparently, there are more books coming, I'm not sure if it's one or two that will continue the story between Serene and Étienne.  Knowing there are more books helps the ending make a lot more sense, though.  I have a feeling I will read the next one, in hopes that they will help this story come together.

 

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~MY RATING~

3STARS - GRADE=C

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 2.5/5

Main Characters~ 4.2/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 3/5

Addictiveness~4.2/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 2/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 2.5/5

Originality~ 3/5

Ending~ 3.5/5 Cliffhanger~ Nope.

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Book Cover~ Beautiful!

Series~ Surviving Time #1

Setting~ 1912 Charleston, SC & 2017 Pennsylvania & Virginia

Source~ Kindle eBook (KU)

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review 2018-06-14 22:11
A Radiant Soul by Kianna Alexander
A Radiant Soul: A Sweet Way to His Heart Novella - Kianna Alexander

This story involves Rosaline's  (from Drifting to You) former apprentice, Sarah, as she carves out a career baking in a luxury resort in Wyoming territory while volunteering for the women's vote. She is called home for her mother's upcoming 45th birthday and decides on the way back to Wyoming that she will go to Washington DC to network with other WOC suffragettes. While home, she meets Owen, a carpenter that is building a gazebo as a birthday gift to her mom. Owen also volunteers his time to clandestine organization (the Sons of the Diaspora) that works to maintain and forward the progress of the black male vote, even at the expense of the women's vote. 

 

I really enjoyed reading Sarah and Owen's story except for the fact that they met because her father's manipulations - dear father wanted Sarah to move back home and be more "traditional". Screw that, I liked Sarah the way she was and in the end Owen did to which is why they continued to court through letters and trips to see each other after she returned to Wyoming. Plus, after they got engaged, they decided to leave Fayetteville and Wyoming and make their home in a place that offered both of them opportunity for employment and to continue their volunteer work. I also loved that I got to see Sarah and Will together with their new daughter.

 

In both Drifting to You and A Radiant Soul, Alexander explored the lives of African-Americans during the Reconstruction/Gilded Age by the characters' back stories; Rosaline and Will were former slaves, Owen grew up the child and grandchild of escaped slaves that hid in the Great Dismal Swamp until after the Civil War, and Sarah grew up freed. There is a lot of great history within these romances and a great way to discover parts of history that don't get told in classrooms. 

 

*This story was originally published in Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology.*

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