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Archive for the ‘Historical Romance’ Category

The quick run down: professor Jessica Garrett and some colleagues are staying at a dude ranch and take a ride on an old stagecoach dressed in period piece. Whilst travelling through this mysterious canyon, they hit a bump in the road, Jessica’s knocked out and when she wakes up, she’s landed in the 1880’s. Their stagecoach is robbed by the notorious Reklaw gang and the boys decide to take Jessica home to Ma. Ma Reklaw rules the roost with her broom and fiery temper and insists the boys court Jessica like proper gentlemen and let the best man win. Oldest brother Cole (the strong MCP silent type), doesn’t fall all over her like the younger boys , but he’s hot for Jessica and she’s soon hot for him as well.

Jessica adapts to life in the 1880’s with relative ease (doesn’t seem to miss running water much at all), and starts teaching the Reklaw boys how to read and write, act like gentlemen and even encourages them to come to town and attend church and social functions so they can meet nice young ladies of their own. ‘Course, since they are notorious outlaws they have to take on assumed names but it doesn’t seem to occur to anyone to wonder about another family of five brothers…

Oh well. Jessica and Cole have lots of misunderstandings on the way to happiness, the brothers have sweethearts of their own, and there’s a big battle with the evil nasty mine owner. Sound silly? Well it is supposed to be a *funny* novel, but unfortunately the humor falls flat as a pancake. The younger Reklaw boys were ridiculous as all get out, their twanging accents got old very very fast, and Ma was more harridan than loveable curmudgeon.

Ma with her broom

My quibbles:  Jessica calmly tells anyone and everyone that she graduated from university in New Mexico and had tought college level in Greeley. Over and above the fact that none of the males batted an eye at that statement, is that the story takes place in the 1880’s (I think it was 1888, but I am not going back to read again to find out). I googled universities in New Mexico for that period. Found one – the University of New Mexico – and Wik says it was founded in 1889. You do the math, but even if they were accepting ladies back then she did her four years just a wee bit early. Googled universities in Greeley. Found one. Same problem – even if women were allowed to teach college level students back then, the school wasn’t founded until 1889.

Now I know it’s a romance and we can’t expect as much historically, but still! OK, maybe they didn’t have Wik back in the late 90’s when this was written so that’s an excuse. Neither here nor there, the writing is just awful with plentiful silly prose and eye rolling bad sex.

“your eyes…so damn beautiful and big.”…”I have big eyes for you.”
*Rolls eyes*
“His powerful body backlit by sparkling morning sunshine, he appeared the epitome of arrogant, cynical male.”
Oh, the scintillating prose. Not. Almost forgot to tell you about the sex by an anthill scene. See, Jessica unknowingly sits on an anthill and Cole has to rip her clothes off to save her. Perfect lead up to sex (natch), but they do it on the ground right by the anthill and does either of them say a word or get bit during the act? No, they do not.
“There was only one way to ensure her silence, her cooperation-and that was with his mouth on hers and him buried deep inside her.”
!!!
“I’m claiming that other pulse of yours, the one deep inside you.”
Gag me.
” Hot filaments of passion threaded their way deep inside her, tormenting her…It was going to happen she realized. They were going to have hot, uninhibited sex again and she was powerless to do anything about it.”
And let’s not worry, younger brother Billy and his darlin’ Dumpling (yes, that is her name) get their own hot love scene,
“Billy was beyond replying, totally focused on the exquisite womanflesh squeezing about him. Dumpling was tight, velvety, so hot. He eased back and forth, tasting her, teasing her, spreading her wetness. Her moans further stoked his passions, and even though she was slick now, her virgin flesh gripped him with a pressure and friction that almost shattered his control. He pulled back and penetrated deep, beginning to move in earnest.”
Words fail me. Then there’s the big love scene in the upscale hotel in the public bathroom down the hall that had me scratching my head for a moment,
“He caught her hand and pressed his fingers to his swollen manhood.”
Uh, his fingers? Kinda sounded like a one man party for a moment there 😉  By this time you won’t even care if Jessica gets back to the future or stays in the past to marry Cole, and you’ll be gagging over Jessica’s Susy Sunshine Pollyanna attitude. There is a sequel called Bushwhacked Groom, but I will be passing on that party. Anyone else game to read it and report back? I hear that Eugenia Riley was Fabio’s ghost writer, don’t miss Zosia’s hilarious reviews here and here.
 

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And this folks, is one of them. I probably would have never spotted this one, but when I saw that Harriet gave it four, and the other two reviewers were wondering how in the hell it ever got published. Library had copies on order so I decided to see for myself and hopefully save the rest of the reading world. Here goes…

Matthew Colgate has gambled frittered away what money his father left him, and he’s in a pinch to get more and cooks up this brilliant stupid scheme to get the gentlemen placing bets on whether his termagant sister Madeline will wed within three days. Of course he sets up a ringer to wed her (with no dowry no one wants her), but there’s a hitch in the plan when Mathew’s arch-enemy Gabriel West pretends to be Madelene’s intended Mr. Brelford and spirits her away to his country manor. There’s a bit more to this pickle, including a mysterious dagger, the Italian count who wants it returned along with possession of Madelene’s virginal body, a kidnapping and an attempted murder or two.

Got that? ‘Cause I’m not sure I did. Now I really, really don’t mind a bit of silly fluff once in a while, but this is just beyond dire, and the plot has more holes than swiss cheese. How does one arrive at a long closed up manor and like magic there’s staff hired (who can be trusted implicitly with every secret), horses for the carriages, and more. Someone attempts to poison his wife and he sends a servant he’s known for a day up with a plate of  food? The characters are cookie cutter cut-outs with some terribly silly names that should draw a chuckle or two (loved the street urchin called Rascal) and that starts with the very first, our heroine’s last name of Colgate. Unfortunately, this came to mind and stuck permanently,

As for the prose? You just go ahead and decide for yourself

“”She tapped her foot, wishing she could at least recall a smattering of Italian when she studied at Filmore’s School for the Proper Raising of Today’s Young Ladies to Become Shining Examples of Womanhood. Nothing came to her.”

No, I am not kidding.

“Continuing his pleasure journey, his kissed his way down to her flat stomach …By the time his tongue had sliped into her wet folds, her body shook from surprise and intense pleasure. He took delight in caressing her with his tongue, with the knowledge that only he could give her the beauty of this moment.”

How sweet.

“”He jiggled his eyebrows lasciviously.”

*rolls eyes*

For those who don’t have enough sugar in their diet,

“To show his infinite love, for that is what he called it, he leaned over to kiss her gently. It was not one of passion, but rather a forever-kind of kiss, a promise they would keep to each other.”

And finally, the sex-in-a-tree-scene. Now I had heard about the sex with trees book  thanks to Katiebabs (*shudders*), but I didn’t quite know what to make of this one,

“His breath came in short bursts, moaning as he kissed her harshly, his tongue mating with hers, accepting no withdrawal, no defeat. With all of his might, he broke from her sweet lips to growl and spill into her hands…What had she done? And in a tree?”

Do yourself and your walls a favor and give this a miss. Wish I had.

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There’s a good reason this one is out of print….

“She knew, as he loved her, as he took her to the heights of passion – of pleasure – that she belonged to him, her lord and master, her highwayman, her nightrider, forever…” Oh dear, with such insightful (not) prose what is there left to say? Run for the hills perhaps?

Upon the death of her father the Earl of Barthorp, Lady Bliss Paynter is a ward of the court until Charles II sells her guardianship off to the odious Sir Basil Holme. Enter stage left Kit (Christopher) who becomes Baron de Wilde upon the death of his father. Kit’s family had supported Cromwell during the Civil Wars and lost their lands when Charles was restored to the throne – lands that were given to Bliss’s father. Kit vows to not let the villagers loyal to the de Wilde family and Chatham castle starve and he takes to the highway to rob from the rich and give to the poor. When Kit sets upon the carriage carrying the beauteous Bliss on the way to Chatham castle he steals a kiss and her heart as well…

Bliss’s guardian soon decides to wed her off to the fortune hunting Stephen Villiers, a distant cousin of George Villiers, The Duke of Buckingham. At this point the story becomes Terribly Tangled with Mistaken Identities, the Big Misunderstanding, and other silly plot twists that I have no desire to revisit again. I wish nothing more than to forget them and move on to better books.

I’m not one to let a cheesy cover scare me away from a book as I’ve found some really great treasures behind them but trust me – this book is not one of them. If you enjoy a book with a wimpy hero who does nothing but snarl and growl and furrow his eyebrows, a TSTL heroine who can’t seem to find any other fabric to wear besides velvet along with cardboard cut-out black and white baddies this might suit but otherwise I’d give it a miss. Oh, and if you’re thinking you don’t care because you’re just looking for a wall-paper historical with lots of sex like the cover suggests? Guess what – you’ll not find much of that either – what little sex there is in this book is very very tame. Skip this.

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Heavens, where on earth do I start? I know it’s historical romance and don’t expect as much as I would from an historical novel, but still – this is beyond bad. I’ll try to make the synopsis short and sweet and spare you the details. I only picked this one up at the library as Harriet said something in her glowing review about a Viking S-trick and we had to know.

Set in the 10C in Northumbria, the story begins as Vana the White (I am not kidding) and her merry band of Viking princesses are disposing of the pieces of the body of Vana’s abusive husband down the privy (I am not kidding). Fearing trial and hanging they flee for their lives and seek succor at the home of distant relative Caedmon of Larkspur. The Princesses find the place a disaster (Caedmon’s been off a-knighting with the King) and proceed to fix it up. Cleaning the walls, planting roses and repairing the roof (I am not kidding) and mothering Caedmon’s wild band of children from two previous marriages plus the odd illegitimate child.

Of course you know when Caedmon returns home he’s going to set sights on one of the Princesses and it’s lust at first sight, right? It is a romance after all. This is where I’ll spare you the details but these two end up making a silly agreement to protect the others and she’ll sleep with him for ten nights (swive is Caedmon’s word for it). Thus proceeds lots and lots of sex in mind numbing quantities and in any position you can imagine. You do not want to know about the various places on a body wherein honey can be put on and then licked clean. Here’s a few choice quotes just so you can see how profound (not) the writing is,

“Piers chose that moment to prove that he was all boy by aiming his little pizzle at Caedmon’s chest, soaking his clean tunic.”

“The red-headed princess witch of the north was up at the top of Larkspur’s roof, rounding at one of the slates.”

“She lifted his cock and stared at his ballocks, as if she had just enearthed some secret. ‘Eeew, it is hairy. Like peach fuzz.’”

“Slowly she felt him remove the finger and caress her back, spreading her wetness.”

“You are wet for me.”

“She lifted his cock and stared at his ballocks, as if she had just enearthed some secret. ‘Eeew, it is hairy. Like peach fuzz.’”

“Slowly she felt him remove the finger and caress her back, spreading her wetness.”

“Canter or gallop m’lord?”

Hehe, and she’s not talking about riding horse there either. I think you get the picture. The sex scenes were excruciating and made me want to wash my head out with soap and water. Top all that off with this bizarre slap-stick type of modern humor and it just doesn’t cut it. I know there are readers who like nothing better than page after page of detailed sex acts in a prettified make believe historical setting but for anyone else I suggest giving it a pass. I hear the author is known for her slap stick style of humor and she’s written some kind of Gone With the Wind take off. No, I am not going to do it. No way, no how. Not for anyone.

And I almost forgot to mention what the infamous Viking S trick is (thanks Daphne for reminding me). After putting myself through that torture it was all for nothing. The hero learns of it and tells her that’s what he’s going to do and the story ends. We’ll never know.

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“You swept into my life like a raging storm” and “Right now ’tis not our trust that I crave the most,” she admitted.”

Sigh, where do I begin? Our dashing hero is David D’Aubere, Earl of Lynchburg, a landless Earl (is there such a thing?) and great warrior who has sworn fealty to Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. Margaret is thrilled when David lops off the head of her sworn enemy, and rewards him with a great castle and marriage to an heiress, although the joke is on him when he finds his wife by proxy with the mental capacity of a child. He needs an heir to keep his new lands and just like magic a beauteous servant by the name of Riley crosses his path and he decides to impregnate her and pass the baby off as that of his wife. Are you rolling your eyes yet? Never fear there’s more……

See it’s like this – our beauteous servant is no servant at all, she’s the daughter of the Yorkist Earl of Ewesbury and she and her older cousin crossed the English Channel all by themselves and managed to infiltrate the Lancastrian household as servants. No, I am not kidding – no men at arms or attendants to assist these Medieval Misses, no indeedy. Well, you know the H&H are going to fall madly in love, but with all the secrets between them the path to true love has a bump or two, including the newly crowned Edward IV attempting to seduce our heroine in his “love garden” (his words) and culminating in a grand tourney overseen by our heroine dressed only in her shift….

No, I am not kidding, although at least by the tourney she had finally found herself a headdress and covered all those runaway curls. I could go on, but I’m fairly certain you get the idea. If you’re looking for a good story with some decent writing I suggest you look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a wall-paper romance with no purpose other than constant sex this might do but honestly it was pretty dreadful as you can see for yourself,

“He increased his pace until her moans filled the chamber. The glossy elixir of her body bathed his fingers, and he knew that she was fast approaching her peak…..As his fingers wiggled inside of her, her body began to shake with spasm after spasm of jolting pleasure…..her buttocks lifted, her hidden corridor sealing to his fingers, pulsing and brimming over with a hot lather.”

“Lowering his mouth to her, he kissed the pink rose of her sex……Her whole body melted into a mist as his tongue caressed the swollen kernel hidden within her womanhood. The heat of his breath, mingled with his searching tongue, left her keening with ecstasy.”

Although I do give the author credit for not including any volcanos of honey :p

Could this get any worse? Well yes it can, because there’s a sequel set during the time of Richard III and the missing princes. Stay tuned…….

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Adj. 1. ungulated – having or resembling hoofs; “horses and other hoofed animals”

Lol! When I spotted this word in a very weird sex scene I assumed it was merely a bad typo – until I looked up the meaning. Clearly my limited imagination was not grasping everything the author was trying to convey. Probably just as well it went over my head. Sir Alex de Beaumont has pledged to go on crusade with Edward Longshanks (soon to be Edward I), but he fears telling his new bride and slips out quietly after consummating the union. He disappears and is believed dead, but returns just as Lady Katherine (Kat) is preparing to wed again. Kat not being your typical meek and dutiful Medieval Miss she declares her husband to be a “treacherous bastard” among other names and denies her husband her bed (why the King and the priests didn’t insist she be an obedient wife and submit to her husband…..). Alex is part alpha male and part wimp and pleads with Kat to allow him the chance to regain her trust – but if he can’t he’ll go to the Pope and get an annulment (how on earth he thinks he’ll get that when even Kings had a hard time getting one of those I’ll never know….).

There’s also a mystery surrounding the attack on Alex and his imprisonment, and the threats on his life continue upon his return to court and include a couple of baddies referred to as Scarface and One Eye (how original). Of course Kat gets involved despite Alex’s efforts to keep her in the dark and just like any other well bred medieval noblewoman she can pull the dagger from her boot and throw it with daring precision as well as being able to tumble the bad guy over her shoulder, rides astride like a man (at court, no less while attending on the Queen) leap tall buildings with a single bound…..

Um, just kidding about the last one. This is a silly silly plot filled with more holes than swiss cheese, very bad sex scenes in minute excruciating detail (although some are so OTT they’re laugh out loud funny at times),

“After long delicious moments he added his thumb and pressed against her engorged bud. She cried out loud, her juices bathing his fingers.”

“her breasts peeped out like twin melons, lushly abundant and full. He wanted nothing more than to pluck the sweet flesh to readiness, to suck and plunder her breasts with his lip and tongue.”

 

Add to that a heavy-handed use of words in an effort to make it all sound authentic – “prithee”, “forsooth”, “verily” “aright” and others (at least there wasn’t a bunch of “woe is me”). Whew. I lost count at how many times Alex “snarled” and “growled”, let alone how many times we had to hear about the tips and buds of Kat’s bountiful breasts. Gag me. Oh and since it’s a purply prosed romance novel we must have an abundant overuse of the word honey:

“He shouted out as his essence exploded inside her. Simultaneously her honey-drenched muscles contracted tightly around his shaft again and again………Kat cried out as her flesh throbbed and her honey flowed, the little contractions inside her milking his seed into her womb.”

“The honey-drenched walls of her sheath contracted around his fingers.”

 

In the end, it’s just a fluffy wall-paper romance in a make believe historical setting that’s really only there for the purpose of filling it with OTT sex scenes which includes lots of oral sex (I could swear that would have been considered a sin and they should have been running for the nearest priest to confess but what do I know?). If that’s what you like in a book, this might be the one for you. Otherwise, I’d skip this. Wish I had.

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Judging by the cover, I knew it was a fluffy romance going in to it but I did see a good review on Dear Author so I decided to take the plunge. It started off well enough, set towards the end of England’s Civil War between Stephen and Maude, our heroine the daughter of a recently deceased Earl on the run from the Evil Baron who wants to force her into wedlock meets up with Tall Dark and Handsome Hero who saves her from the baddies in the nick of time and *sigh* true love begins. Pretty much your same old same old fluffy romance plot, some nice banter at first between them and despite some glaring discrepancies I thought I’d do OK with it all.

Then in the midst of the Dark and Stormy Night that went on and on and on as our heroine (hair flowing freely and unattended by any ladies whatsoever) escapes from the Evil Baron’s clutches by saddling a warhorse all by herself and slipping out of London undetected (!!) until she’s thrown from her horse in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the Evil Baron’s Evil Knights – but never fear Studly Hero to the rescue of our damsel in distress. Now remember all these events take place during a long October evening (I know the nights are longer that time of year but still!) – hero takes lady to some safe house and he rides to a castle to conspire against King Stephen.

Of course our heroine can’t stay put and wet and bedraggled she gets herself a horse and rides out and ends up at the same castle our hero is at. She’s greeted by the owner, no wife or other woman in sight and is taken to a bedroom by the male owner – no woman of the household to escort this earl’s daughter. No indeedy. Of course our hero accidentally runs into her, they suck face and then escape and he takes her to an old Saxon stronghold (gad, there’s a lot of castles within horse-ride range, aren’t there?), where he meets up with his cronies working to support Henry’s bid to bump Stephen off the throne.

Whew, tired yet? Maybe they had horse freeways back then for speedy night travellers. Maybe it was the medieval ‘burbs’ and all those places were right around the corner from each other. Oh hell, it’s only a romance so I’m not supposed to nitpick and I determined to slog through it all until…

…..the prose turned the most awful shade of purple as the two lovers shared the bed starting at page #133,

“He slid a wicked hand under her waist and lifted her hips into his. Hot, sizzling spurts of fire burgeoned in her womb. More. She wanted more.”

Onto page #134,

“He slid his hands over her hips, down to her trembling thighs. Pushing them ever so slightly apart, he slid his fingers up her inner thigh, until he hovered against the pink folds dripping with slippery juices.”

Gag me. Onward,

“His confident fingers searched….”

Confident fingers. OK….

Page #263 and he’s backed her up against a wall in the castle, lifted her hips up and we have this,

“Leaning forward, he ran his tongue along the hot, wet seam of her womanhood……..Dizzy with victory he slid his hand up and glided gently along the hot, pink seam, plied back her folds and licked again…….She erupted in a howl of such pleasure he almost spilled himself……He spread her apart further with his fingers and nuzzled deeper into the hot slippery cave of pulsing pink flesh…..She flung her head back so hard it hit the wall, her fingers restlessly tugging in his hair, a whimpering-wet goddess of passion.”

“She flung her head back so hard it hit the wall”. Heh, once again we have a whole new definition of wall banger, which is what I hereby christen this book as I throw it across the room. If all you’re looking for in your historical romance is a prettified wall paper setting book and plenty of over the top sex then this book might suit, but if you want a bit more substance in your romance I’d search elsewhere.

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