The Care and Feeding of Your Captive Earl (by Kate McKinley)

Historical Romance

Miss Gwendolyn Wilbraham is far more skilled at needlework than she is at kidnapping. But when her best friend begs her to distract the new Earl of Hastings, she reluctantly agrees. Regrettably, the earl is just as clever as he is handsome and before long, he is free of his restraints and not at all pleased…

As one of London’s most notorious rogues, Matthias Hart often finds himself in curious situations. Though he has never woken up drugged, bound, and hidden away in a remote Scottish cottage. Normally, he would welcome such a diversion, but his beautiful captor is young, witty and all-too-innocent. When he finally frees himself, all he wants is revenge and her complete surrender…


The Care and Feeding of Your Captive Earl is Book Three in the series. There is a back story and I don’t know it. But it’s not a problem, the book is in many ways stronger because you’re just thrown straight into the story without too much explanation. It’s a regency romp and fans of the romping will be happy. There is quite a lot of it (maybe not the best choice for the Christian Women’s Association Book of the Month).

So, The Care and Feeding of Your Captive Earl doesn’t have all that much in common with a BBC production of Pride & Prejudice, it’s a lot more fun than that.

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Position in Series: Book 3

1 –– How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days
2 –– So I Married a Highlander
3 –– The Care and Feeding of Your Captive Earl

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Many thanks to Kate McKinley for providing me with a review copy of this book. 

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means: YOR-Guide

The Thirteenth Earl (by Evelyn Pryce)

Historical Romance (Victorian Era)

Jonathan Vane, the 13th Earl of Thaxton and Lady Cassandra Seton first meet at a Country Party hosted by his good friend Spencer and his wife Eliza. For his part Jonathan is a reluctant attendee preferring a solitary life, while Cassandra is there to finally meet her long absent fiancé.

Miles, the fiancé is a cad and a bounder and the Earl takes it upon himself to rescue her from him. She deserves much better than Miles, and he is determined to see her set right…just not with him. A family curse makes him the worst possible prospect.

And it seems the curse is coming to fruition. Jonathan and Cassandra join forces to expose a charlatan, thwart a villainous plot and if Jonathan can survive the curse perhaps find they are meant to be together.


The Thirteenth Earl has pretty much everything you could hope for. A brooding hero, a plucky heroine and a dastardly villain ––  throw in a family curse, a duel at dawn and midnight assignations in the hedge maze and you’re left with a complete romp, all set on a country estate in the mid-Victorian era. It really is a lot of fun.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.26.54 PMMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means: YOR-Guide

Without Words (by Ellen O’Connell)

Western Romance

After gunning down Rufus Petty, Bret finds himself faced with a half starved mute woman burying an old man. His only choice is to take her with him or leave her to die, so with her broken down old horse and half wild dog in tow they set off together.  His plan is to unload her on the first willing person, but it quickly becomes apparent that life isn’t easy for a woman on the frontier and if he wants to ensure her safety he’ll need to keep her with him.  

As they travel the West, searching for bounties, Hassie finds a place with Bret. Despite the limitations of not having a voice, she is smart and recognises bounties that Bret would have missed. Gradually Hassie’s view of Bret changes. She goes from seeing him as a cold blooded killer, to a man of honour who will put himself in harms way to protect those he loves.

Before long she has fallen in love, but Bret plans to return to his wealthy family in Missouri, and they will never accept a woman like her, poor and with an Irish father, so their time is short.

western
Westerns tend to fall into one of two camps.  There is the idealised version where the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys wear black hats –– where a bad guy gets shot and he dies without shedding any blood; and the gritty, more realistic and usually quite violent version.

What I love about Ellen O’Connell is she takes that more romantic notion of the West but overlays a layer of realism so it is somehow entertaining and realistic but not hard edged.  I’ve read three Ellen O’Connell books and I’ll definitely be reading more. This one is equal to my personal favorite, Beautiful Bad Man. 

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The Highlander’s Bargain (by Barbara Longley)

Historical Romance (time travel)

A Review in Two Acts

Act 1 – Robley travels to present day U.S.A.

 

In book one True to the Highlander Alethia Goodsky was cast back in time to 15th century Scotland where she was taken in by the Clan MacKintosh. While there she used her supernatural gifts as a truth seer and her modern know how to thwart an evil plan by a rival clan.

Now in book two, Robley, one of the bit players in book one with a thirst for adventure has decided he wants to travel to the future, back to where Alethia came from. He enters into a bargain with the faerie madam Giselle and finds himself in modern day Minnesota, literally landing on top student midwife, Erin. Like Alethia, Erin is descended from faeries and has some healing powers, and it soon becomes apparent that Giselle is pulling strings in her own little theatre.

What I Thought

This first section didn’t impress me all that much. Calling a spade a spade, I could easily have walked away and considered it. It strikes me that what makes a book about time travel work is in taking a modern person and putting them into a foreign situation…the past. The interest in the history behind a book can sustain it…taking a person from the past and putting him/her into a modern environment doesn’t have that going for it. I mean seeing somebody’s amazement at flushing toilets doesn’t really hold your attention for more than a minute.

So act 1 was a bust for me.


 

Act 2 – Erin Returns with Robley to 15th Century Scotland

When the faerie discover Giselle’s machinations they track down Robley and cast him back to the 15th century. But in the scuffle, Erin finds herself also cast back. While there she busies herself helping expectant mothers but with a death sentence hanging over Robley’s head they cannot get settled and any hope for a family and happiness cannot be fulfilled unless they confront Giselle.

What I Thought

This section was much better. To be honest it saved the book. It was entertaining and it was well worth getting past that first section to get to this. Unfortunately if I take the book in its entirety, that first section make what would have been a good book, just OK.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmYellow / Orange / Red –– What it means. http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

True to the Highlander (by Barbara Longley)

Historical Romance

On walking into a fortune teller’s tent at a renaissance festival in New York, Alethia is set a task –– to save the life of an unknown person. Then she passes out and when she wakes, finds herself in Scotland in the 15th century.

When Malcolm MacKintosh finds Alethia lying on the road unconscious he decides to take her to his clan home and to offer her protection. But Alethia, with her 21st century views and determination to fulfil her mission isn’t all that impressed with his efforts.

As old rivalries boil over into violence, Malcolm must learn to trust Alethia who holds the future of the MacKintosh clan in her hands, and as they find a measure of love, the threat of Alethia being snatched back to the 21st century looms over them.

True to the Highlander is rollicking good fun. There is time travel, a little magic, evil villains, heroes wearing kilts, and even a little bit of that old Mark Twain novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. It’s not too serious, just a fun story, well told.

Many thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 4.32.33 pmYellow / Orange / Red –– What it means. http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

Beautiful Bad Man (by Ellen O’Connell)

Historical / Western Romance

1866

Caught stealing from a group of free settlers, a starving boy faces mob justice. Norah, herself just a child cannot accept the injustice and sets him free before he can be lynched.

“Everyone you see is either predator or prey, wolf or rabbit. Wolf is better.”

1880

Caleb Sutton (Cal) is Webster Van Cleve’s newest gun for hire. Van Cleve’s goal is to run farmers off their land and claim it for himself. Arriving at a run down earthen house with a group of hired guns, he discovers a defeated widow just waiting to die. When he realizes the woman is the girl who saved him many years earlier, he steps in and stops the other hired guns from raping her and forcing her from her land.

Norah has lived the hard life of a farmer, taking the little the land gives and stretching it as far as it will go. After her husband is murdered by Van Cleve there is little she can do but wait to die. When Caleb steps in and starts helping her, she is mistrustful of the hired killer, but over time she comes to accept him and then love him. Cal lends his strength to Norah and Norah gentles Cal.  But as the range war escalates and a bounty is placed on Cal, the only option left to them is to either abandon the land and run, or fight and become outlaws.

“Put that rifle down, Mrs Hawkins. I don’t want to shoot a woman, but I will if I have to.”
Her hands stayed steady, and she didn’t let the rifle waver. “Mrs Sutton. And I don’t want to shoot a sheriff, but I will if I have to.”

I feel I should say, I don’t really know anything about this period of American history, apart from what this book and Wikipedia told me. If I’ve made mistakes in using incorrect terms, I’m sorry for that.

Beautiful, Bad Man is a great book. It’s completely captivating from start to finish. It’s one of those rare books that I can’t fault in any way.  Highly recommended for anyone who reads romance, but especially for fans of Western Romance.

“He’s a bad one.”
“Oh, Mabel, yes he is. He’s a very bad man, but he’s a beautiful bad man.”

A Lady Risks All (by Bronwyn Scott)

Historical Romance

Mercedes is a highly skilled billiards player. But as a woman she is denied entry into the halls where men play billiards and gamble. When her father takes on a new protégé he convinces her to train him in the hope he can become a champion.

As the second son of a nobleman little is expected of Greer and he spends his time playing billiards. He is a talented player but he lacks the subtlety and finesse to ever be a great player. He joins Mercedes and her father on a tour of billiards halls around the country. Though increasingly uncomfortable with the hustlers lifestyle, if he leaves he will lose Mercedes who he has grown to love.

I honestly don’t know all that much about historical romance. Google tells me this book is Regency, though only just. In some ways it doesn’t feel like an historical romance but that could just be my lack of experience with the genre showing. What it does, it does well. It’s likeable characters and a simple story well told. You don’t really need anything else.

Many thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.