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Archive for December, 2012

I’m off to spend Christmas and New Year with my family and won’t be posting anything on my blog until after 1st January 2013. So to everyone…

 

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  I really love the Victorian Christmas Cards and here are a few of my favourites…

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HIGHLAND PLEASURES #4.5

Setting: Scotland, 1884

The Mackenzies gather for a clan Christmas and New Year’s in Scotland. In the chaos of preparations for the celebration–the first of Hart and Eleanor’s married life–one of Ian’s Ming bowls gets broken, and the family scrambles to save the day. Daniel busily runs a betting ring for everything from the time Eleanor’s baby will arrive to whether Mac’s former-pugilist valet can win a boxing match to who will be the first of the many guests to be caught under the mistletoe. Ian begins a new obsession, and Beth fears the loss of one of his precious bowls has made him withdraw once more into his private world.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★

ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS!

I didn’t know how much I’d missed those sexy Mackenzies and what a treat to have them all gathered together with their wives and offspring.  There’s so much going on in this story but Jennifer Ashley seems to balance all the different threads so perfectly.

At the heart of the book is the power of family and love and it’s wonderful to watch their overwhelming support of each other in times of trouble.

I love all the Mackenzie brothers but Ian stole the show for me. He simply melted my heart with his words to Beth…

“You broke the bowl, and it is gone. But you are here and whole. Nothing else matters.”

and I loved how he supported Hart when Eleanor was in labour.

Daniel is growing up fast and judging by Mac’s words, he’s going to rival any of the older Mackenzies

“He’s quick-witted, resourceful, inventive, and as stubbornly obsessive as any of us. Very dangerous.”

Then there’s the intriguing situation between Inspector Lloyd Fellows (the Mackenzies’ illegimate half-brother) and Lady Louisa Scranton (Isabella’s younger sister) and the heartbroken Sinclair McBride (Ainsley’s brother). I can’t wait for their stories!

If you’re looking for a last minute present, this is the perfect gift for any lover of Historical Romance at it’s best.

VERDICT:  Full of warmth, laughter, fun, sadness, surprises, drama and romance!

RATING: ★★★★★

SENSUAL RATING:  HOT

Read December 2012

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MY FAVOURITE QUOTES

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Setting: Victorian England, 1892

As a young man, Simon, Viscount Wycombe learned the painful truth that a tradesman’s daughter is suitable only for liaisons and nothing more. But Ivy Beecham is a far cry from his preconceived notions, and he’s determined to have her. But when she rejects him, it only increases his determination to seduce her into a world of sin and pleasure.

Ivy Beecham knows first-hand that handsome aristocrats like Simon can’t be trusted. But the intellectual scoundrel is hellbent on making her his mistress, using every means at his seductive disposal. When she refuses to give away her heart on Christmas Eve, a ghostly specter shows her in one night why her surrender can be the greatest gift of all.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★

What a delightful treat this novella was!  It had all the elements that make it the perfect holiday read.

An innovative, wonderfully evocative, intensely emotive, heart-warming romance

A strong, intelligent, dependable, caring, and delightfully arrogant hero who has a very seductive way with words

An beautiful, spirited, intelligent, spinster, librarian heroine who hides a passionate nature

An enigmatic ghost who must persuade the heroine to let go of the past and open her heart to love, trust and forgiveness to find true happiness

Powerful emotional conflict, fiery passion and lush sensuality

Lots and lots of HOT love scenes
Leaves you with a lovely, warm, tingly feeling

RATING: ★★★★★

SENSUALITY RATING: POSITIVELY SIZZLING

Read December 2012

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HIGHLAND PLEASURES #4

Setting: London, England 1884, Waterbury Grange, Berkshire, England 1884, Castle Kilmorgan, Scotland 1884

Who is Hart Mackenzie’s perfect match? Eleanor Ramsay doesn’t know–she jilted him all those years ago–and now all she wants from the devastating duke is a job. Or so she tells herself. Persuading him to hire her as an assistant to his secretary is tricky, but Eleanor has a trick or two of her own up her sleeve…

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩

I so wanted to give this book 5 stars because there was so much I loved about it but there were a few issues that really bugged me and so I’m rating it 4.5 stars.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THIS BOOK

Hart and Eleanor

As with everything else, Hart had planned with precision how he intended to win Eleanor back and make her his wife. Poor Hart! Things don’t go completely to plan and it was wonderful to see that famous self-control crack when she unexpectedly walks back into his life. He’s so used to controlling everything and everybody around him but Eleanor is the one person who has never been intimidated by him even at his most imperious.

I love Eleanor. She’s irrepressible, smart and determined but she’s also warm, compassionate and kind. She has a way of putting everyone at their ease, whatever their station in life, and I like that about her. I smiled at how her constant chatter drives Hart crazy but arouses him at the same time.

”Goodness, I haven’t seen her in donkey’s years,” Eleanor said, sitting back as they rolled on. “Her daughters must be, oh, quite young ladies now. Have they made their come-outs yet?”
Her mouth was still kissable, closing in a little pucker while she awaited his answer.
“I haven’t the faintest bloody idea,” Hart said.

I loved seeing that Eleanor has a slightly wicked side; the way she peruses those nude photos of Hart in such detail!

These two are just a perfect match. Even after their break-up, Eleanor was the only one he ever confided in and trusted his darkest secrets to. I think she understands him even better than he understands himself. Eleanor can strip away the protective layers and find the laughing teasing man she fell hopelessly in love a decade ago. Despite the passage of time and the different paths their lives have taken, I feel their love for each other has remained a constant.

Yes, he’s still got that hard edge but I began to see Hart through very different eyes. In the intervening years, he has suffered terrible pain and grief but he has always hidden his emotions behind a cold-hearted mask. There’s such a heart-wrenching scene where Eleanor finds him touching his son’s gravestone and his words are so poignant that I felt tears welling in my eyes.

I enjoyed how the romance developed between Eleanor and Hart. Beneath their teasing, there was always an undercurrent of sexual tension between them and I loved that rather delicious scene in the laundry room.

Ian

The deep connection between Ian and Hart plays an important part in this story. Hart had always done everything he could to protect his younger brothers from their cruel and ruthless father.  But Ian has always been different and special in Hart’s eyes and the actions he is prepared to take to keep Ian safe speaks more than anything for his love for his brother. It is obvious how much Hart’s happiness means to Ian.

The Rest of the Mackenzie Family

I loved seeing all the happily married Mackenzie brothers, their wives and adorable children. The family scenes had such warmth and humour and this is one of my favourites.

Screaming erupted from on hig, shrill, desperate, Armagedon-has-come screaming. Mac grinned and jogged back upstairs.

“Papa’s coming, hellions,” he called. “If you’re good, you can have Auntie Eleanor for tea.”

WHAT BUGGED ME ABOUT THE BOOK

There was constant reference to Hart’s darker sexual side and his fear of telling Eleanor the full truth about his needs. Like many others, I was disappointed that Ms Ashley didn’t explore this aspect in any depth. The only concession was a lack-lustre scene involving light bondage. I remember reading Elizabeth Hoyt’s beautiful and erotic scene in Wicked Intentions between Temperance and Lazarus and wished for something similar in this book.

A further issue I had concerned the dramatic events towards the end of the book which lead to Hart’s realization of what‘s really important in his life. I can suspend disbelief with the best of them but this seemed to layer one improbable situation upon another. It’s difficult to explain without resorting to spoilers.

Despite these issues, I still enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to the next book about Elliot McBride (Ainsley’s brother).

VERDICT: LOVE THESE DELICIOUS MACKENZIE BROTHERS

RATING: ★★★★½

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read April 2012

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