Marrying Winterborne (Lisa Kleypas)

26242354Title: Marrying Winterborne

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Series: The Ravenels #2

Date: May 31, 2016

Blurb:

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Mr. Winterborne

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Review Day! 

As promised, today we take on Lisa Kleypas’ Ravenel Series book 2, Marrying Winterborne. 

Not too many days ago I introduced this series when I reviewed book 1, Cold-Hearted Rake. Now I bring you the sequel, and what a joy it is. This book took me back to the good old times of Kleypas and filled me with hope of great things to come. Hopefully, the significantly higher quality will continue on to the rest of the books in this series, and Kleypas will keep on delivering Historical Romance jewels like this for a very, very long time.

The Ravenels’ next installment, Devil in Spring, hits shelves February 2017, and I for one am looking forward to it.   

More information, visit the author’s page: http://www.lisakleypas.com

So, the review! ———-

 

Marrying Winterborne is a novel with many echoes. Frequent readers of Kleypas will find allusions to earlier novels by this author such as Secrets of a Summer Night, Tempt Me at Twilight, and Where Dreams Begin. The industrial tycoon who29475665 falls in love with the high-born lady is a strategy Kleypas has employed several
times during her career, and has always brought her success. This book is no different.

The main characters are Rhys Winterborne and Lady Helen Ravenel.

We met Rhys before during his foray into Cold-Hearted Rake. Rhys is the son of a small grocer of Wales, who, through his own effort and determination, grew his father’s business to a world-wide empire. He is ruthless, harsh and regards the aristocracy with cynicism due to the contempt they showed him while he was still poor. There are few gentlemanly traits about him, and he has no intention of changing. However, he happens to fall in love with Helen, a high-class lady if there was ever one, and this throws the ordered life of Rhys into chaos. Unlike other heroes in his same situation (see novels above), Rhys didn’t actually held the control of his attraction fro Helen. I liked that. Kleypas tends to give us really assured heroes that know how to manage the girls like little puppets. Rhys is not like that. At the beginning of the book he is frustrated, confused and bewildered by his own attraction, and these feelings only intensify as the book goes on. His vulnerability is both endearing and surprising, especially because he accepts it and shrugs it off early on, as something inevitable. It was not hard to like this character, to be honest, and I kept rooting for him the whole way because, despite the ruthlessness and roughness of his personality, there is never any doubt from the beginning that he loves Helen dearly and would never do anything to hurt her.     

Image result for marrying winterborneHelen, on the other hand, was not what I expected. I thought she was going to be the kind of shy bride that would evolve into a more assured wife as she realized her power over this really strong, really powerful man. And she did. However, she went further than that, developing a personality and a set of morals completely separate from her relationship with Rhys, which is rare in most Romance novels. Normally the leads evolve due to their respective influences on each other but Helen was able to separate herself as a character and make meaningful and important contributions to the plot, without having to rely on her fellow lead for this. Even though she never quite looses the shyness and sweetness we were introduced to during Cold-Hearted Rake, she is able to put these aside and find a moral code to guide her actions that sets the base for her personality. As a result, I ended up liking (and respecting her) as a single character, and not a part of the couple. Her determination to stay true to herself, even when it may cost her happiness and the love of her life, was really believable and gave the character a strength I had not seen in a Romance novel in a while. It made me think of other leading girls such as Eleanor Ramsay, from The Duke’s Perfect Wife, Christine Derrick from Slightly Dangerous, and Evangeline Jenner from Kleypas’ own Devil in Winter  

Marrying Winterborne is a magnificent new novel by Lisa Kleypas. It fills my heart with hope to know that our favorite authors as always still have a lot left in them to give, and this book is definitely an example of that. I, personally, will be counting the days until the release of Devil in Spring, so we can see what new Historical Romance delight this author will deliver to our doors.

My rating:

5

“Grab ‘n Go!” 

The Altar! The crème de la crème. The book that ’ll revisit several times a year, just so I can re-read my favorite part. It’s not easy to get that coveted fifth star, so if you did, rest assured: you’ve definitely earned it!

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Invision (Sherrilyn Kenyon)

Title: Invision

Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Series: Chronicles of Nick 7

Date: May 3, 2016

Blurb:

One boy . . .
Many demons.

Think there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders? Nick Gautier was born to bring about the end of the world . . . it’s not easy being the heir of a demon overlord.

But Nick is determined to thwart his destiny and get into a good college. To be more than his genetics and prophecy foretell. No one is ever going to tell this stubborn Cajun who and what he really is. Or how to live his life.

Not even the Fates of the Universe. But now that he and his team of ancient gods and demons have claimed the Eye of Ananke and he sees the missteps of the future, he has to battle the demons within that are far deadlier and more treacherous than any he’s battled before. All the while his arch nemesis is back and determined to reclaim his place as the harbinger for Armageddon. Even if it means killing Nick and barbecuing everyone he loves to do so.

 

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Review Day! 

Hello, hello. It’s been hectic on my end, but I haven’t forgotten! This month brought about a new release of one of the series I actively follow, The Chronicles of Nick, so a review was definitely in order. There’s a lot to be said about Invision, but let’s take it slow okay? 

Invision by Sherrilyn Kenyon is book 7 of the Chronicles of Nick, the teenage brother of the Dark Hunter Series (which I’ve talked about before), and unlike the Dark Hunters, is oriented towards a YA audience. Still, many of the adults reader of the original series have migrated towards these books because of the close correlation that exists between them. Chronicles of Nick is set to work as a prequel of sorts for Dark Hunters, and many of the events in the Chronicles affect directly the plot of the Dark Hunter books. But let’s focus on Invision for now.  

The Review ———-28220361

Invision is an interesting book. I confess I had to read it twice (along with a reread of the previous 3 books) because the first time I just didn’t understood a single thing of the plot AT ALL. If I had to select an aspect of Kenyon’s writing I believe she is unparalleled in, I would definitely choose her creativity. She has created an amazing, highly complex world filled with incredible characters, which gains depth and mastery with every new book she adds. Now, the thing is, one has to really focus to understand all the nuances and tiny little currents that run beneath the surface, because the input of information can be overwhelming at times.

Invision is like that. Overwhelming. There is a warning on the Author’s page that cautions not to read this book unless you’ve read the previous one, Instinct. I would correct that and say not to read this book unless you’ve been following the series CLOSELY all the way since book 4, Inferno, where the plot really started to unravel. Books 1-3 are your average Paranormal YA entries: cute, funny, a little action here and there, snark and sass on the main guy’s part and some teenage crush folded in for good measure. Book 4 is when the story really starts to takes shape, and with Invision, I would say the whole series enters a sort of phase 2.

Even though it doesn’t end in cliffhanger (technically) Invision is NOT a stand-alone book by any means. That said, I’ll try to keep this a spoilers-free environment

Invision presents us once again with Nick Gautier and his crew. Nick is a character first introduced in the very first Dark Hunter book, Night Pleasures (back in 2002), and remained as a secondary character as the series advanced, gaining notoriety and importance until it became not only a recurring presence, but an important part of the overall plot. Chronicles of Nick tackles on Nick’s awkward teenage years, his time in highschool and his overall origins.
Even though he is first introduced as a regular human, there is much, much more to Nick than meets the eye. He is actually the new Malachai, the ultimate demon lord whose fate is to destroy the world.

Ever since book 1, Nick and company have been dealing with this fate and doing all they can to try to thwart it, all while fending off the different paranormal creatures that want to get their hands on Nick and the incredible evil powers he commands. The Chronicles are full with time travel, demon attacks, wandering gods and end-of-the-world battles (including its very own Zombie Apocalypse!). The books are filled with action and dynamic situations, and Nick’s outlook in life, an awkward, snarky Cajun’s, adds a little spice to the plot that is always welcome.

Invision follows along this line quite well. In it, we see all the regular battle scenes and sarcastic word-crossings fans of the series are used to. By now, most of the pieces are in their right place, and Invision sets the tone for the second part of the series to develop. Up until now, Nick and their group have been fighting against their own destinies but this book closes that chapter and finally answers some of the lingering questions from the previous installments.

It also introduces a new enemy that will probably make up for the gross of the conflict of the rest of the series (6 more books if everything goes according to plan). Unlike many of the other characters we’ve met so far, who had their origins or appearances in the original Dark Hunters Series, this new villain is exclusively Chronicles of Nick, and will probably never migrate to the main series. Up until now, we had Nick against the world, but Invision finally gives us a villain that is worthy of Nick and one only he can defeat. 

However, things are not as easy as that.       

Invision has set the stage nicely, and planted a great deal of expectation in this fan’s heart. Worst part about it is the full year I’ll have to wait to know how it continues. Not nice, Kenyon, not nice at all! 

My rating:

5

“Grab ‘n Go!” 

The Altar! The crème de la crème. The book that ’ll revisit several times a year, just so I can re-read my favorite part. It’s not easy to get that coveted fifth star, so if you did, rest assured: you’ve definitely earned it!

The Bride (Julie Garwood)

The Bride (Lairds' Fiancées, #1)Title: The Bride

Author: Julie Garwood

Series: Lairds’ Fiancées #1

Date: May 21, 2002

Blurb:

By the king’s edict, Alec Kincaid, mightiest of the Scottish lairds, must take an English bride. And Jamie the youngest daughter of Baron Jamison, is his choice. From his first glimpse of the proud and beautiful English lady, Alec felt a burning hunger stir within him. This was a woman worthy of his fearless warrior’s spirit. And he aches to touch her, tame her, possess her…forever.

But with the wedding vows, Jamie pledges her own secret oath: She will never surrender her love to this Highland barbarian. He was everything her heart warned her against — an arrogant, brooding scoundrel whose rough good looks and seductive embrace fire her blood. But when strange accidents begin to threaten Jamie’s life and an old rumor that Alec killed his first wife spreads anew, something far more dangerous than desire threatens to conquer her senses.

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Review Day! 

Another, another! 

Let’s make today’s an old one with this almost 15-years-old novel by New York Times Bestselling Author Julie Garwood.

No reader of Historical Romance that’s worth something hasn’t heard of this lady. She’s one of my favorites of the genre and her novels are always a joy to read. This particular one I had tucked in the bottom of my library and had forgotten about, until today. Foolish, truly foolish! Ms. Garwood has a gift for storytelling, and the story of The Bride has something for everyone. It’s funny, endearing, instructive, charming… the characters are well crafted and the world is colorful and complex, displaying the beauty of the Scottish Highlands in all its splendor.  

More information, visit the author’s page: http://www.juliegarwood.com

So, the review! ———-

Welcome to the land of 12th Century England, and the wild Highlands of Scotland, ruled by the powerful warrior clans. Era of castles, swords and love.

I always love Highlander novels, because they have their own little world full of traditions and traits that are always enjoyable to learn. The Bride is no different. It introduces us to the proud Kincaids, a strong and prosperous clan that keeps a tight reign over their piece of the Highlands, and defends their home with fierce determination.

The Bride (Lairds' Fiancées, #1)The main characters in the book are Laird Alec Kincaid and Lady Jamie, daughter of Baron Jamison.

Alec is arrogant, cocky, used to always getting his way. He is a warrior who enjoys his own strength and has a very particular view of how things should be. He is a leader, first and foremost, with hundreds of men and women that depend on him, and with no time to worry about insignificant affairs. Such as a wife. I actually found his character quite endearing because through it all, Alec keeps telling himself he is in control, that things are done his way, and even when he ends up falling for his own wife (the horror!), it still because he decided to do it, because he wanted to from the beginning. Because of this silly trait of his nature, his arrogance is quite funny to behold. He is indeed strong, protective and a little bit dangerous, but that only adds to his charm when he does, or doesn’t do, things that could affect his wife’s feeling or takes care never to make her sad or hurt her. Of course, is not because he cares about her, but because her sadness or hurt would bother him.  

The Bride (Lairds' Fiancees, #1)Jamie is far easier to understand. She is a kind, caring woman, used to taking care of others, who, despite the initial fear for her future, quickly accepts her conditions and commits herself to making her marriage work. I liked her outlook a lot. She is positive, driven and strong, willing to always try her best and look at things from a positive standpoint. She believes the only way to achieve a good marriage is by securing her husband’s love, and so, she gets to work on this goal with all her might. However, this doesn’t mean she won’t stand up to her man, and set him straight when the need arises. Truly she is quite the sweet character and as I read I couldn’t help but cheer for her (You go, girl!). She is one of those characters you are genuinely happy they got a happy ending.

I enjoyed the story of The Bride a lot. I enjoyed their bickering and their relationship, the way they slowly moved towards each other in a smooth, believable way. There were many funny moments, and many sweet moments, and the plot also has a bit of mystery and action thrown in, for those of you who like their romance with some kick. Truly an excellent exponent of the genre, and a compliment to you, Ms. Garwood, for bringing it to life.

My rating:

5

“Grab ‘n Go!” 

The Altar! The crème de la crème. The book that ’ll revisit several times a year, just so I can re-read my favorite part. It’s not easy to get that coveted fifth star, so if you did, rest assured: you’ve definitely earned it!

The Wolf and the Dove (Kathleen E. Woodiwiss)

Title: The Wolf and the Dove

Author: Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Series: 

Date: 1974

Blurb:

The Wolf

Noble Aislinn grieves as the Iron Wolf and his minions storm through her beloved Darkenwald. And she burns with malice for the handsome Norman savage who would enslave her. . .even as she aches to know the rapture of the conqueror’s kiss.

The Dove

For the first time ever, mighty Wulfgar has been vanquished – and by a bold and beautiful princess of Saxon blood. He must have the chaste, sensuous enchantress who is sworn to his destruction. And he will risk life itself to nurture with tender passion a glorious union born in the blistering heat of hatred and war.

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Review Day! 

Let’s make it a throwback, shall we?

Today I bring you an old one by late New York Times Bestselling Author Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.

The Wolf and the Dove is a Historical Medieval Romance. Taking place during the times of William the Conqueror (year 1066), it shows us the now almost legendary conflict between Saxony and Normandy for the control of England. I must say this is the first Woodiwiss book I’ve read, and only because it was dearly recommended. I had seen her name before but never actually got curious. Oh, boy, was I missing out!

Mrs. Woodiwiss knowledge of History and her narrative control and nothing short of masterful. I as I read, it felt like I was going through a specially detailed, specially interesting, specially amazing Encyclopedia that offered a colorful, three-dimensional version of a century long gone.

I love fiction books that can teach the reader (you should know, most of what I know about Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo comes from Regency novels!) and this author has gone above and beyond in that sense.     

More information, visit the author’s wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_E._Woodiwiss

 

So, let’s see it! ———-

This book presents us with an England ravaged by war. As Normandy invades and Duke William advances to take his crown, Saxony slowly falls under the onslaught, and the Saxon lords are given the option to either yield or die against the power of the fierce invaders. Elderly Lord Erland of Darkenwald meets the intruders head on when they threaten his holding, and enraged by their unreasonable and cruel demands, he stands against them to defend his home.

His death leaves his wife and young daughter, as well as the poor souls of Darkenwald at the mercy of a cruel, vindictive Norman knight named Ragnor de Marte.

But not all is lost. Because Ragnor is not to be the new Lord of Darkenwald. No, Duke William has promised these lands to another of his loyal vassals: a mighty warrior known as the Iron Wolf.

The main characters in The Wolf and the Dove are Wulfgar and Aislinn.

Wulfgar is a Norman knight serving William the Conqueror. Scorned because of his bastardous birth, he is mocked by other noble knights in William’s army, even as he is feared by these same knights because of his battle prowess. He values loyalty over all, rewards good deeds handsomely and punishes mistakes harshly. I would say he is a great example of what a medieval lord would be: he is a warrior but also a leader, and knows the value of good service, he doesn’t kill when there is no need, and although he does not seek war, he is ready to face it and is never unprepared. Intelligent, strong and calculating, Wulfar is aloof and unattached, with a manifested hatred towards women. That, of course, until he meets Aislinn.

Aislinn is an interesting character. The daughter of the deceased Lord Erland, she gets to see her father being murdered, her home ravaged and her mother beaten by the Norman soldiers. Her rape on the hands of the same man who murdered his father is the ultimate humiliation in her eyes. This causes her to develop a scorching hatred for them, but what I found interesting is that the emotion is not forefront for her. Sure, she is resented and bitter, but she doesn’t let the emotion cloud her judgement. She doesn’t attack the knights or tries to take revenge. As she sees her house being taken by her enemies and her people being forced into servitude, she doesn’t come with some nefarious and subtle (naive and stupid) plan to right the wrongs. Instead, she accepts her circumstances with philosophy while trying to make the best she can of a bad situation. It surprised me because I’ve seen several Historical Romance heroines who always get incredibly flustered and spend hours musing about revenge and justice, and blah, blah, blah… Reading about Aislinn I realized that that is exactly the way a real woman in her position would’ve acted. These women live with war every day and they know what it entails, they know that one day they can be the victors, and the next day they can be on the losing side. Accepting what can’t be changed and trying to get past it and build a good life is all they can do to take control of their destiny.


Aislinn’s strength and her common sense was a pleasant surprise indeed. Of course,
this doesn’t mean she didn’t fight every step of the way against Wulfgar.

The relationship between these two was one I liked a lot. In private they were bickering and fighting savagely, one for control, the other for freedom. But in public they presented a united front, two against the world and for those who needed them. The relationship is all about compromising, about shedding one’s shields and accepting the other person, including the way they can hurt you if they please. These two characters have been taught not to trust others the hard way, and they must re-learn their lessons if they want to make it work. The whole process was bumpy and complicated and also totally believable. Seeing this two come together and go from sworn enemies to loving couple was very enjoyable for me.

 

My rating:

5

“Grab ‘n Go!” 

The Altar! The crème de la crème. The book that ’ll revisit several times a year, just so I can re-read my favorite part. It’s not easy to get that coveted fifth star, so if you did, rest assured: you’ve definitely earned it!