Punya Reviews...

An avid reader of Romance novels and her reviews...

Christmas in Boston

Christmas in Boston (A Banished Saga Short Story)  - Ramona Flightner

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A very short and sweet Christmas story for the fans of Banished Saga. Christmas in Boston takes place after book 3.5 and 10 or so years before the current books are set (there's a jump in time in book 4, Tenacious Love) but it's written in a way that you can enjoy it whether you've already read the series till the latest installment or you're somewhere in the middle of it.

But Christmas in Boston is NOT recommended until you've read Undaunted Love (PART TWO) because of the connected incidents. The story tells us about one of our favorite characters and McLeod brothers' uncle Aidan, his long lost love Delia, and their daughter Zylphia's first Christmas together. Even in these few pages, there are surprises and revelations that'd melt your heart. If you've already read till book 3.5 then this story will fill in some of the voids and make you smile in pleasure. :) If not, then I highly recommend you dive into this series ASAP!

To recieve a free copy of this and other short stories containing snippets in the lives of Banished Saga's favorite characters, sign up for Ramona's Newsletter.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2018 to all my booklikes friends. May this year brings you much joy and happiness!

 

Kinda late...

Dear booklikes friends, I've been under the weather for the better part of December, even before that, haven't really been in the right mindset to read and review books. The only thing I did was to work on my blog tour posts. I know I have some pending reviews and what's been bugging me the most is that I haven't been able to post those reviews. But I plan to be back very soon and post reviews as I feel the new year calling me. In the meantime, hope you all, who celebrate, had a happy Christmas! 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

A Mistress To Remember

A Mistress To Remember (Birds of Paradise Book 3) - Eliza Lloyd

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

A Mistress to Remember is the third book of Eliza Lloyd’s Birds of Paradise series. I stumbled across this series in 2015 when it wasn’t yet a series and read book 2, The Darkness in the Marquess of Dane, which pretty much blew me away with how good it was! It was also the first book I read by the author so I was very impressed and wanted more!

Since I read the series out of order, an anomaly for someone who will do anything to read series in order LOL, I’m not quite sure about the concept of the title Birds of Paradise. But I know that the theme of a mistress is quite prevalent. In a way or the other, the heroines of this series were mistresses to the heroes before they became romantically involved. Book  1, Another Lover, which I read after book 2, was too short and rushed for my liking. The h was a legendary courtesan with ‘terms and conditions’ on her services that also required an exorbitant amount of money. The H, a known rake, wanted to make her his for a long time with an intensity. So finally, when the opportunity arrived, he snatched it up right away....... Well, I just wished there were more background on the H and h like the later installments in the series, more fleshed out characters too. It felt like I was missing something, that the H and h had shared some private moment or something that was never quite revealed. I’d still recommend it as the famous H of book 2, the Marquess of Dane, makes a very short appearance there.

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Lost Letter

The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance - Mimi Matthews

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews is a sweet Victorian romance novella. I was really intrigued by the blurb so I gave it a try. This being the author’s debut, I had no idea what I was getting into, yet was pleasantly surprised by the story and the characters. However, in the end, it did feel like the story had not been delivered to its full potentials.

The Lost Letter opens up as we’re introduced to our h, Sylvia. Once a shining star on the Ton’s sky as the glorious “Miss Stafford”, she’s now serving as a governess to a merchant family who are decidedly down the social ladder. The family is kind to her but her fall from grace had been no less painful when her over-the-top gambler father committed suicide to escape the tremendous debt he’d amassed. He was a selfish SOB, didn’t even think of his only child. He left her to the buzzards to pick at her. Sylvia had a rough year trying to come to terms with both her peer of the realm father’s sudden demise and her diminished social status, which meant she had no prospect of marriage any longer. Which also meant she’d be living out her life as a spinster, and the most honorable job would be of the position of a governess. That too, if anyone deigns to give her a job. Sylvia is grateful to her employers for taking her in when she thought there was no one to help her.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Discovering Miss Dalrymple

Discovering Miss Dalrymple (Baleful Godmother Historical Romance Series Book 6) - Emily Larkin

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Discovering Miss Dalrymple is the book 6 of Emily Larkin’s intriguing Baleful Godmother series. I’ve been following this series since book 1, and to tell you the truth, despite having a bit of a hiccup in the beginning of it, I have come to love this series. This latest installment was no different with a storyline of the usual flair of magic and it’s lovely characters.

The Baleful Godmother is a Regency-set series based on female characters who have special “gifts” or powers. But if you want to start from the very beginning, you can with The Fey Quartet. These are a set of novellas listed as “prologue” to this series. Set in Medieval-era England, the prologues explain exactly how our unique heroines come to inherit their “gifts”.

Books 1 and 2, Unmasking Miss Appleby and Resisting Miss Merryweather had something common in them apart from Baletongue, our dubious Fairy Godmother. Heroines of both of these books, Charlotte and Anne AKA Merry (respectively), were bestowed their gifts at the age of 25, which I thought was THE age they were supposed to have their wish fulfilled and 2. They were cousins so the stories were linked that way. However, the h of book 3 Trusting Miss Trentham, Letty, has had her wish fulfilled at 21. “Why” is explained in this installment as the h, Eleanor or Nelly, had her wish fulfilled at 23. The women, who were originally granted a wish each, were sisters, and our heroines simply descended from a different sister each, hence the age of their wish fulfillment differs from one another. Therein lies the uniqueness of this series, you never know to which direction the author is going to lead you. An element of surprise is always there.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Meet A Rogue At Midnight

Meet A Rogue At Midnight (Midnight Meetings Book 4) - Gina Conkle

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Meet A Rogue at Midnight by Gina Conkle is book 2.5 of her historical romance series Midnight Meetings. Even though the books have been published with quite a bit of gaps in between, I enjoyed this series so far. A new installment was a long time coming and so glad I finally got to read it!

Midnight Meetings is rather themed on the popular fairytales. Book 1, Meet the Earl at Midnight, was about a reclusive Earl whose face became somewhat disfigured from an accident. A nerd by heart, Edward wasn’t meant to be the heir but fate led him to become the Earl of Greenwich when his elder brother died suddenly. Our h, Lydia was ‘given’ to him in exchange of a debt of her slimy step-father. One night from her comfy bed, Lydia finds herself doing something she wasn’t even dreaming of; in a MOC with a stranger. An Earl no less! Edward, who was leaving for a scientific voyage very soon, needed to marry ASAP to ensure an heir for his legacy and this was his hasty solution. Not that he didn’t like Lydia, oh no! He was smitten from day one, though he was never good at showing his feelings. So, after a bit of push and pull and some misunderstandings, Edward and Lydia find their HEA. Though I found the middle of the story a bit slow because of the above mentioned push and pull, I loved how it all came together in the end.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Her Duke at Daybreak

Her Duke at Daybreak (Mythic Dukes Trilogy) - Wendy LaCapra

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Wendy LaCapra's triumphant return to the HR writing is a lovely story full of love and yearning. Her Duke At Daybreak, is a novella and the first in her new Historical Romance series, Mythic Dukes.

It’s been 2 yrs. since I’ve read and loved Wendy’s debut the Furies series. So when I recently learned of the upcoming release of a new novella, I was beyond thrilled. I’d say the wait was worth it. Wendy didn’t disappoint cause I loved it to bits! :) I generally have what I like to term as “the novella syndrome” with a short story, where it feels like something is missing or everything is rushing fast towards the end. Very few authors can pack any type of emotional punch in those short few chapters, let alone build any satisfactory connection between the main characters. Even though I would've loved a few more chapters just to enjoy Ash and Alicia together, IMO Her Duke at Daybreak was perfect as it was.

Duke of Ashbey is our typical ‘angsty’ Duke. He lives mostly as a recluse because of a so-called curse and the bad name on his family due to a murder that happened years ago. Ashbey, whose nick name is not known (at least I can’t remember he was called anything other than Ash) always wears a façade of dark and somber. Even his mistresses would leave unsatisfactory even if he was a generous benefactor. Not because he was bad in bed, quite the opposite in fact, but because they thought he’s incapable of any emotional attachment. Not even a little bit of affection. His long deceased wife Rachel would vouch for it cause she seemingly couldn’t stand his presence. A MOC, Ash wasn’t married for long before his marriage was in shambles. Rachel judged him based on the bad name attached to his family, believing in the curse. She made sure he knew how much she despised him before dying in a fire that killed his father too. Another reason why Ash believed himself cursed without any salvation.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Miss Whitter Makes A List

Miss Whittier Makes a List - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The latest Carla Kelly that I read, Miss Whittier Makes A List, was one of those I was finishing up from her “Miss” series. Well, there’s no series titled like that but she’s got quite a few older Regency romances having titles with a “Miss this or that does this or that” (if this even makes any sense to anyone ;P). *facepalm* Sooo, I liked how it was, the storyline, the characters too. However, not as mind-blowing as I had hoped it would be after reading the first few chapters. As a result, it took me a while to finish it because I wasn’t sure what to write in my review or how to structure it; my feelings were that ambivalent. I don’t want anyone to dislike the story, but there are things that need to be mentioned.

Miss Whittier Makes A List isn’t a badly written novel. Not at all! I mean I keep saying this, and it’s true. I love Ms. Kelly’s writing and I loved most of her backlist thus far. This one begins with a h with a little different background. Hannah is a Quaker, a background not often explored in the arena of HR that I generally read. But even though she’s meant to be lived under strict rules of the ‘type’ of Christianity they followed, Hannah was anything but meek and biddable. Oh she gives that impression quite well, but inside Hannah something... different. Something preferably more exciting. Things that she won’t even acknowledge to herself, let alone to anyone else among her Quaker Friends. I mean, they don’t even call each-other anything but ‘thee’ and ‘thy’. :/

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SPOILER ALERT!

Resilient Love

Resilient Love: Banished Saga, Book 7 (Volume 7) - Ramona Flightner

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Resilient Love, book 7 of Ramona Flightner’s epic Banished Saga, is quite aptly titled as we find our favorite characters going through ups and downs like any normal couple will, weathering incidents bound to test their love for each-other. This is one of the more unique attributes of this Saga, that the story of a couple isn’t finished with the HEA. As we find new things to appreciate in this series, the Saga continues as it should showcasing their lives with all its glory, as well as its difficulties.

The Banished Saga, when it began, was onset of suffragist movement of Boston 1901. Along the way we met many characters, including our favorite, the first couple of the series Clarissa and Gabriel in Banished Love. Their story was ongoing in books 2 and 3, Reclaimed Love and Undaunted Love. They still make appearances in the latest installments. We also met Clarissa and Gabriel’s family. Clarissa’s own brothers Colin, and Patrick who wasn’t introduced until much later. Her cousin Savannah and best friend Florence, both avid suffragettes and worked with Clarissa throughout. Gabriel’s younger brothers Richard and Jeremy were also introduced, as was their long lost uncle Aidan.

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Spinster and the Rake

The Spinster and the Rake - Anne Stuart

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

I’ve read and heard many good things about Anne Stuart’s books over the years, which definitely made me wanna read her books. But hers is such a daunting backlist that I wasn’t sure where to freakin’ start! Until recently, I, kind of on a whim, bought one of her latest reissue of an oldie called The Spinster and the Rake. The straight-forward title intrigued me and I liked the blurb cause spinsters and wallflowers are my favorites (by now, I’d be called both if I was living in that era :P). Rakes aren’t my favorite by any stretch of the word BUT an author can make me fall unquestionably in love with one. It has happened so I still take chances on them.

I read Anne Stuart’s rakes are moody and broody… sometimes seriously bad. Something told me she knows what she’s doing, so I went with that instinct and wanted to find out what havoc this latest rake in is wrecking. ;) Our hero, Ronan Blakely, the newly minted Marquess of Herrington, used to be what you’d call the proverbial ‘blacksheep’ of his family. His womanizing was so bad, at one point, when he tried to be off with a married woman someone had to step in. He was made to leave the country at the age of 22. Since then he’s had his share of fun in various European countries including France and Italy (latter is my assumption but no doubt he’s visited many other places too). He was not in the line of any succession but fate worked his way, and he’s back to the bosom of le bon Ton with a new title, and more money than he could possibly know what to do with. After 20 yrs., even with more than a few gray hairs peeking, Ronan Blakely is still as dashing and as devastating as he used to be at 22. And he knows just what to do with all he’s got; open a gambling club with the money and use his suave charm to operate it. Oooh, did anyone say Derek Craven? *imagine heart-eyes here*

But I digress... Let’s talk about our h.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Unmasking Lady Helen

Unmasking Lady Helen: The Kinsey Family (The Kinsey Family Series Book 1) - Maggi Andersen

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Maggi Andersen’s latest release, Unmasking Lady Helen, is a heart-warming regency romance. I had previously read two of the author’s earlier works and been quite impressed so kind of binge reading her backlist right now. I found Unmasking Lady Helen a bit different in tone than the other two. But it’s a very lovely story that you’ll definitely end up loving.

Unmasking Lady Helen is the first book of The Kinsey Family. Lady Helen, the eldest daughter of Lord Kinsey, a researcher and an explorer, is what you’d call a ‘mother hen’. Well, our hero definitely thought she was! A loving eldest daughter who loves to take care of her family, Helen is an all around sweetheart. Her siblings range from 22 yrs. old heir Harry to 18yrs. old Diana the debutante, 14yrs. old Toby to the youngest, 4/5 yrs. old Alexander whom everybody affectionately calls Zander. Helen herself is 24. She was never married and hopes to become the spinster aunt as time passes. She likes helping around the house, take care of her siblings, especially Zander who is completely crazy for her. She also likes to help her mother with her charity and everything else that may need her attention in frequent absence of their traveler father.

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Folly at Falconbridge Hall

The Folly At Falconbridge Hall - Maggi Andersen

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The Folly At Falconbridge Hall was yet another intriguing Maggi Andersen read that I had on my TBR for a long time. I’m so glad I finally read it because I really enjoyed the story.

Previously I read The Baron’s Wife, which is a standalone novel set in the very late 19th or early 20th century. The Folly At Falconbridge Hall is also a standalone (at least I think so), set around the same time, if a bit early in 1894. The storyline follows the same pattern, yet it’s not exactly the same. Whereas in the previous book, the h Laura arrives at the H’s mysterious castle that has been in the family for centuries after marrying him, here the h, Vanessa arrives at Falconbridge Hall as a governess.

The daughter of a good family, Vanessa had fallen on hard times when her parents passed away leaving her nearly destitute. Her father, the second son of a peer, had lost all contact with his own family after his marriage to Vanessa’s mother he fell out of favor with them. Vanessa’s mother was an active suffragist and influenced her daughter’s education and free thinking. Vanessa would’ve loved to be a part of it too, had her parents not passed away pretty close to one another, forcing her to seek an employment. To her surprise, Vanessa’s uncle, her father’s elder brother, came to visit her after her parents’ passing. Though that didn’t do much to make them any closer than before, he did help her getting this new job. Vanessa didn’t want to become a governess but with her credentials, that’s as close an honorable job she could’ve gotten. After all, she needs the financial stability. Her employer has a 10yrs. girl who needs a governess ASAP and Vanessa couldn’t wait to find out what’s in store for her in her new workplace.

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Baron's Wife

The Baron's Wife - Maggi Andersen

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The Baron’s Wife (formerly titled Night Garden) was on my TBR list for quite a few years, since before it was republished this year. Funnily enough, when I started, I didn’t know this was the same book as Night Garden, but I’m so glad that finally I gave it a try cause I really enjoyed the story. This is my first Maggi Andersen book and definitely won’t be my last!

The Baron’s Wife is set at the turn of the century England. Our h, Laura is an educated woman who had attended university, and a staunch supporter and activist of women’s suffrage. After her twin sister Eliza’s death, Laura is now the only child of her peer of the realm parents. Though Lord Parr supports his daughter’s cause, her mother is old-fashioned and finds it all rather too bold and pointless as women, in her mind, will never have the same freedom as men. Lady Parr despairs of Laura, who refuses to marry and be bound to a man who may put an end to all her life’s dream, her hard work.

One rainy day though, that changed when Laura met Nathaniel, Baron Lanyon and fell for him on spot. Even though Laura refused to think that she may be so attracted to a man that her good senses are leaving her, it was what it was. Laura was hopelessly attracted to this man she’d just me that day! Nathaniel escorts her home as she was alone on her way there out of concern and meets her mother. Lady Parr is more than interested in tall, dark and handsome Nathaniel. He had an old title and a good standing in the parliament. Plus he was young and rich, so she expected Laura to encourage his suit. Though Laura wasn’t sure at first, soon to her surprise, it was apparent enough that Nathaniel was indeed interested in her! One thing led to another, and after a short, whirlwind courtship, Laura finds herself as Lady Lanyon, forever bound to a man she knows little about.

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Courting Miss Hattie

Courting Miss Hattie - Pamela Morsi

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

I have waited to pick up another Pamela Morsi book for at least 4 yrs. There is a reason behind it but I am not here to discuss that. Recently I decided I need to give her older romance a try once again. Last week I finished “Sealed with a Kiss”, which didn’t really live up to my expectations. But I had already bought a few books by her so I picked up Courting Miss Hattie instead. The blurb intrigued me, so did the ratings. And I have to say that it was better than I thought it would be. I’m also quite fond of older woman-younger man theme, so that was a boon in this story. Surprised me really, because I didn’t know it prior to starting the book.

Courting Miss Hattie is set at the turn of the century. Hattie Colfax was but a child when her father passed away leaving her with her frail, difficult-to-be-with mother. But that didn’t mean Hattie didn’t love them both. Being an only child, she took care of her until she also passed on. After that, Hattie has been pretty much alone, taking care of their farmland all by herself. But she also had a helper. Reed Tyler came to them when he was but barely a boy, recruited by her father. 5 yrs younger than Hattie, Reed took to the training soon. While Hattie only had 2 other members in her family, Reed’s family was very big with 8/9 brothers and sisters. He was somewhere in the middle so the training at an early age did him good. Every bit of financial contribution mattered. Besides Reed’s father liked Hattie’s and was happy to have him work for the old Mr. Colfax.

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Her Vengeful Scot

Her Vengeful Scot (The Highland Warrior Chronicles Book 2) - Christina Phillips

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

I just finished book 2 of Christina Phillips’s fabulous The Highland Warrior Chronicles, Her Vengeful Scot. Have to admit I’m loving this series a LOT. This book also had its share of drama and intrigue, much like book 1. The stories are well-written and, as far as I could tell, well-researched too.

The Highland Warrior Chronicles is set during the time of Kenneth MacAlpin, arguably the first king of the Scots, around 843. He makes his appearance in both books, though less in book 2 than book 1. He wasn’t really someone I cared much about. You’ll find out the reasons in my review. He was also the king of now extinct Pictland. The author’s website has a short intro about the Picts and Pictland which I found fascinating.

Book 1, Her Savage Scot, takes place a few months prior to book 2. Connor and his men travelled to the Kingdom of Ce, a segment of the Pictland, with a proposal for the King of Ce from his own King Kenneth MacAlpin. Recently, MacAlpin , the King of Dal Riada has had this notion that he should be the reigning king of Pictland seeing his mother was a Princess. The Royal Lineage, in the case of the Picts, comes via the mother and not the father, so MacAlpin was determined to grab what he deemed was his. The kingdom of Ce, Circinn and the others were being ravaged by the Vikings. MacAlpin asks that the eldest Princess of Ce be married to one of his warriors with Royal blood, in this case Connor’s elder half-brother, Fergus. In return, he’s willing to be allied with the Picts and help them fight the Vikings. Quite a lucrative offer no doubt. Connor was tasked to make sure the elusive Princess and the King, with other nobles be brought back to Dal Riada to discuss everything. If all agrees, the marriage will take place posthaste.

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