A Crown in Time – Jennifer Macaire

Welcome back everyone, it’s officially time to start the crazy few months of Rach Random Resources tours! Today’s is one from Jennifer Macaire, a little over a yr after I first read one of her books.

Although this is set in the same universe as the Time for Alexander series you don’t have to have read them to understand what’s going on. Jennifer has skill at writing a story and repeating information that those who have read the books will know, but new readers wont, in a way that doesn’t feel repetitive.

This is great as it ensures all readers know what going on without boring regular readers. There were even some differences in the reason and way Isobel was sent back in time. This was emphasised at the beginning of each chapter as a nugget of information from her Correctors Handbook was quoted before moving on.

I need to add that I want to talk about a spoiler coz it was part of what made this story so good for me!

The fact that Isobel couldn’t save his life had me thinking that that was going to be the end of things for her. Yet the fact that she was pregnant and able to continue his line after all meant that the key thing that he needed to do, have kids, was achieved.

But it left me wondering what the Institute saw in the history books when they compared the results. Like, did they see that he still died but his line continued? Did the books even record that?

I wanted to know more!

Ok, that’s the spoilers done.

As a stand-alone book using the same universe as the Time for Alexander series, I love the way this story was so different, and had so much emotion and backstory involved in such a short space.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Wednesday I’ll be doing my first Wrap Up post for the yr and on Friday I’ll be reviewing Lillian and the Irresistible Duke by Virginia Heath (book 4 in the same series as Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquees by Jenni Fletcher). Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in France. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

A Deal with Her Rebel Viking – Michelle Styles

Welcome back everyone, I’m back into the historical romances (thank you Michelle Styles for asking me to review this for you!) and this one I do need to say is the last one for the year.

You could probably tell by my rating, but I really loved this one!

Although I don’t know how accurate the interactions were between characters for the time it’s set in, I still loved the banter between Ansithe and Moir. It had me chuckling quite a few times, especially when the other characters got involved.

With both Ansithe’s sisters, some of Moir’s felag and the extras, that joined the story a little later on, worked and schemed to get them together it seemed pretty obvious that everything would work out. Yet, without the trust that Moir worked hard to earn the end would never have happened as it did.

In terms of character development, we had Ansithe gain some self-confidence, both her sisters seemed to grow emotionally, Moir learnt how to plan for and enjoy the future and Bajtr grew in maturity from an adolescent into a man. Ansithe and Moir were the central focus of the book, yet Michelle still had time to let us experience the development of other characters while still adding value to the story.

Throughout the book there was a good balance of drama, romance, strategy, espionage and action that it felt like there was almost always something to pay attention to. By changing up what that focus was, Michelle was able to give me a break, so I didn’t get bored without losing my attention.

When I got to the last chapter (or was it second last chapter?) I hated having to put the book down to have to go to work. While also practically jumping up and down in nervous excitement to see how Ansithe’s and Moir’s relationship had developed over the course of the book. To say I loved the Moir’s final actions is an understatement.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing my last book for the year, Against All Odds by Craig Challen and Dr Richard Harris.

Reclaimed by Her Rebel Knight – Jenni Fletcher

Welcome back everyone, after spending some time in beautiful Croatia, I went back in time to medieval England for some good old romance!

This is my second Jenni Fletcher novel and I loved the first one, so I was sure I’d love this one too. I will have my moment to complain in that I loved receiving a signed paperback copy of The Warrior’s Bride Prize. I felt so special when that arrived, but I had to make do with an e-copy this time around.

But I digress so back to the story!

Constance and Matthew got married five years ago and haven’t seen each other since. That is until he comes back to England to collect her and stir up a rebellion. By this point in time she’s built up some well-deserved anger towards this arrogant guy who made all these life altering decisions about her life without even having spoken two words to her outside of the marriage ceremony.

I can’t even stand one case of this happening, so she definitely displayed better manners than me to actually get through a conversation with him without yelling at him. But reading about how she gave him a chance, them talking things out, slowly discovering things about each other etc really had me hoping they’d make it.

The passion they showed for each other was subtle in most cases and reflected how I believe people who’ve been hurt in the past, or don’t know how to show emotions because they were never exposed to them growing up would. It was great to read those relationship dynamics grow and develop over time in a way that is reminiscent of what happens today.

But Jenni also included specific details that made all these interactions feel real for the time period they were set in. Things like the male dominance, inheritance laws etc. It all felt so natural, while being historically accurate which was amazing. I can’t image the amount of research that goes into ensuring that happens. But I appreciate it all the same.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. On Friday I will be reviewing two books (OMG why did I agree to so many books?! Or more importantly, why are there so many good books coming out now?!) Willow by Grace Parks and Lure of Obsession by Lisa Kessler. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Jenni Fletcher is Scottish by birth, but now lives in Yorkshire where she writes Medieval, Roman, Victorian and Regency romance novels. She studied English at Cambridge and Hull University and now teaches Creative Writing at a small university in the north of England. Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion and her favourite Brontë is Anne. If she had to choose a romantic hero it would be John Thornton, but maybe that’s just because she’s northern.

Summer of the Viking – Michelle Styles

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed last week’s tour of No Place Like Home from our returning author of Second Chance at the Ranch. This week’s review was brought to me by Michelle Styles.

She was so thankful of all the support you have given her from my review of Sent as the Vikings Bride (which BTW is still getting a few hits a day! How amazing is that?!) that she offered me my choice of any of her other novels to also get a free copy of. And I chose this one because it sounded interesting and I wanted another Viking fix.

Writing Style

So, I found the writing style to be a little less intricate than her newest novel. I don’t know if this is because this one was an older one or not, but I did feel there was a little bit of a difference compared to what I read in Sent as the Vikings Bride.

It did grab my attention and kept me involved when I was starting to feel stressed about my study. I was worried coz I started another book and I wasn’t really into it, so being able to take the break from that book to read this one; which I knew I’d enjoy; was a really good feeling.

Michelle continued her enjoyable style with a character driven story steeped in history that spans the Viking countries, and what we now know as Great Britain. What was really cool about this for me was that it featured Northumbria, which is the area my family originally came from before immigrating to Australia.

I really enjoyed reading even a tiny little bit of history from that corner of the country knowing my family history.

Initial Thoughts

My initial thoughts of this was that again, I wasn’t too sure who was who at the start of the book. After experiencing that again, I’m thinking this is just the way Michelle sets up her stories. But I do find it a little bit confusing trying to figure out who’s who until it settles down.

My only other big kinda thought at the start was that Michelle talked about the various different Northmen nations. Like when she referred to one country as Viken, it made me think that maybe we broadly apply the term “Viking” to all people from the Scandinavian countries.

And this thought led me to reflect on how we now, and even then, broadly applied our experiences of a few individuals to an entire nation. Or in some cases continent. And these can be both positive or negative. But it made me reflect on how often I might do this and the effect it might have on my interactions with those around me.

Final Thoughts

My final thoughts of this book when I first finished it was that it was the polar opposite of Sent as the Vikings Bride. In that one, the girl went to the guy, the guy was the landowner, the girl was the hero (or at least that’s how I took it). Whereas, in this one, the guy went to the girl, the girl was the landowner and the guy was the hero.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the story. Because I did. It was just something that I noticed and made me pause. But in that pause, I reminded myself that there are only so many variations of those catalysts that an author can come up with.

Something that I think was done subtly that I really liked, was how domestic violence was handled in those times. I know historically that we probably didn’t do much. But Michelle tackled this in such a positive way. She talked about how people can pretend like everything is ok when it’s not, how you can be almost brainwashed into thinking that person gives you everything when in actual fact, they are the one causing more damage. And even how the people close to them wish they had have seen it happening in order to help them.

From this perspective I really liked that it was spoken about, without being overly confronting for the readers.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Mr One Night Stand by another return author, Rachael Stewart.

Author Bio

Born and raised near San Francisco Califorinia, Michelle Styles currently lives a few miles south of Hadrian’s Wall with her husband, three children and menagerie of pets. An avid reader, she became hooked on historical romance when she discovered Georgette Heyer, Anya Seton and Victoria Holt in her school’s library. Michelle enjoys writing stories in a wide range of time periods including Roman, Viking, Regency and early Victorian.

His Fair Lady – Kathleen Kirkwood

Welcome back! This week we will be looking at a book set in medieval times back when England still owned part of the land we know to be owned by France now. I found this book slow to start compared to a number of other books that I read, however once I got about half way through the second chapter I felt myself engaging with the story a lot more and starting to look forward to my reading time.

We start of with our main characters at a young age when a village has been attacked and Royce’s knight leads their regiment to stop and assist the village. Royce being the eager, new squire that he is gets sent out of the bloodbath scene to compose himself and discovered Ana (Juliana) hiding under a boat with no memory of her past. At this stage I was sitting there thinking “Great, what have I gotten myself into? This feels like it’s going to be a very boring book to read”. I felt like this because I didn’t remember buying a book that was all about battle, trauma and death. And also because Kathleen has written this in an older style of English I found I had to concentrate a little bit more than normal to fully grasp the story that was being told.

That is until I got into the second chapter where I was then left wondering what had happened. Why were we jumping forward 10 years? And why had the portrayal of the book swapped to Ana? I found the switch in the portrayal to Ana odd as most medieval books I’ve read are in either the guy or the girls point of view. And it doesn’t typically swap between then. However Kathleen has done just this. She swaps between them enough that I feel like I understand bother characters, but not so much that it feels weird. I also think I’d adjusted to her writing style a little bit easier than I had with Bleddyn Hall which allowed me to begin enjoying the book more rather than spending my energy trying to figure out what was happening.

While Royce battled Ana’s insistence that she wasn’t the heiress he believed her to be, he held back telling her that he was her squire not knowing how she would react. Not realising that Ana was in love with the squire from her memory of 10 years past. And this continued to happen even after it was proved that Ana was the heiress until the time when Royce brought Ana’s foster parents to England to help her feel more at home and welcomed. Ana struggled at first adjusting to a different way of life, different duties, different responsibilities and different expectations of how she should live her life. Royce was doing what he could to assist her but at the same time was trying to marry her off and establish his own property while also gaining influence at court to work to help all.

I felt that given there was only a few months before an engagement for Ana needed to be announced, Royce could have done more to help her adjust to her new life and a smoother transition rather than just shoving her into that role and expecting her to figure it out. Yes Ana didn’t do everything she could have to help herself, and resisted this change as she didn’t believe she was the heiress. I could understand her reservations and wanting proof that couldn’t be argued with before accepting her new position as a lady of England. I know myself that when I’ve had my job role changed and haven’t received support to be able to make this transition that I resisted the change and made life difficult for my managers. And I at least had the choice to leave, whereas Ana doesn’t. So I can really sympathise with how she’s feeling, but I get the feeling that she’s still very immature and quite selfish by not considering how her actions could be impacting those around her.

Needless to say, when she “sinned” and sought confession and penance I was happy that the Friar used this penance to get Ana to learn her role as a lady properly and to treat Royce with more respect. From this she began to apply herself to her lessons and discovered that being a lady wasn’t all sitting around looking pretty, embroidering etc. And that the work she needed to do to keep her estate running smoothly took just as much energy and effort as it took the commoners to execute these tasks. And this came just in time!

After Ana and Royce go through a turbulant time trying to foil some French guy claiming to be Ana’s cousin Ana is able to use these new skills to succeed. When this guy was introduced my first thought was “O cool! Ana has more family! That’s amazing!” But then when we went to Ana and she was instantly scared by this guy and his scar seemed to make her think of blood and death I started to feel a bit skeptical. What kind of cousin would make her think of her horrible past?

When said cousin kidnaps her and threatens to kill her we learn he was the one responsible for the death of her mother 10 years prior and the village. And this is when the adrenaline pumping chase begins! Royce chases after them when he realises that she’s been kidnapped and tries to save her from certain death. Kathleen really draws this out because it seems like Ana is safe, except then she’s not, and then she’s even more not safe! Only to have Royce arrive to save the day, except then he’s in trouble too… and then we don’t know if the “cousin” or Royce has survived the battle. While I was reading this series of event’s I felt like I’d held my breath because it feels so intense.

As is normal with romance books, there is a happy ending. And in this case it’s even happier because as a formal wedding present the king gifts Royce with funds and knights to rebuild his dilapidated estate, while he then gifts Ana with her father’s property which coincidentally had the last owner die leaving the property without an owner just recently. I’m not sure if I’m happy with the ending, purely because it feels like coincidentally too many things “just happened” to fall exactly in a way that made it feel like an even happier ending than it would have been otherwise.

Overall, I felt like there were sections of the book that were amazing and really kept my attention. Whereas there were other sections that I felt were a little bit lacking and I found myself loosing interest until the next exciting thing happened. I also felt like it dragged on a little bit. I felt at times that I was sitting there going “Really?! I’ve been reading for days and I’m only 50% of the way through?!” but I still enjoyed reading it so please don’t let this turn you off. Just be prepared that it’s a long book!

Thankyou again for reading, next week I will be reviewing “The Sheik’s Son” by Nicola Italia.

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