Banner O’Brien by Linda Lael Miller

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Grade: B+
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Historical
Series: The Corbins #1
Published: 1991
Reviewed by Kate
310 pages

Linda Lael Miller takes us back to Washington Territory 1886 in a book that brought back many fond “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” memories with a large dose of hunky man doctor thrown in.  What a delicious read!

After divorcing her abusive and unfaithful husband, Banner O’Brien does an almost unheard of thing-she becomes a doctor.  When she discovers that her ex is back in town, she takes the first offer she gets and heads to the Washington territory to take over for an injured doctor.  One of the first people she meets is Adam Corbin, hunky, sexy doctor extrodinaire.  This one is filled with all the romance I’ve come to expect from Linda Lael Miller and more.  Adam has his own secrets that he’s keeping and in the beginning they frustrated me.  What were they and why couldn’t he share? But when the big reveal happened…I understood and the book became all the better.

This was the perfect book at the perfect time.  If you liked Dr. Quinn but always wished her relationship with Sully was more steamy, this is the book for you.  Do you have any TV shows you’d like to see recreated in a romance?

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Once Upon a Plaid by Mia Marlowe

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Grade: C
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Historical
Series: Spirit of the Highlands #2
Published: 10/7/14
Reviewed by Kate
352 ebook pages

Kat and William have been married for four years now, but she feels like he never shares any of his emotions with her.  Add that together with the fact that she’s not been able to provide him with the required heir and Kat decides that the best course of action is to leave him.  That’s right, she loves him so much that she figures it’s best if she leaves him so he can find someone else to love and give him a son.

The funny thing with this one is I actually enjoyed it while I was reading it, but looking back at it now when I’m writing my review I can’t help but think of how syrupy sweet this one was.  She loves him so much, he loves her so much, but of course there’s no communication between the two of them.  There’s also a secondary storyline about a cousin who’s trying to overthrow Kat’s dad, but it seemed to me that that storyline was simply introduced because the plot between William and Kat was so sweet.

If you enjoy Highland historicals, this one might work for you.  I just quickly got tired of the “I love him so much…” side of it.

Sweetwater by Lisa Henry

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Grade: B-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Moderate Kink
Genre: Historical, m/m, BDSM
Published: 8/19/14
Reviewed by Kate

This one is such a tightly woven story that I find it hard to write a summary of it without giving you the entire play-by-play.  But here goes : When Elijah was little, scarlet fever took his family, and his hearing.  Although he isn’t 100% deaf, most of the town thinks he’s an idiot.  Elijah knows that being deaf isn’t the only thing that makes him different from everybody else.  He’s also gay.  His first “relationship” is with Harlan Crane, the owner of the saloon.  But Elijah is also attracted to cowboy Grady Mullins and Grady’s interested as well.

Elijah is around 20, but is just starting to try and figure out who he is and what he wants.  Unfortunately most of what he wants conflicts with the way he was raised.  Lots of internal conflict for Elijah.  Lots.

His relationship with Crane is dirty and nasty.  It made me flinch whenever I had to read it.  Their relationship is about pain and humiliation and subjugation.  Even though Elijah discovers he needs the pain, there is nothing romantic about Crane and Elijah.

In Grady, Elijah finds something that he never knew existed.  Gentleness, caring, compassion.  And while part of him craves that from Grady, another part of him is terrified spitless at this new type of relationship.  Elijah’s relationship with Grady, which doesn’t start until half way through the book, is the only part of this book that would qualify as a romance.

This one felt more like a coming-of-age story, rather than a romance.  Outside of the relationships with Crane and Grady, Elijah goes on a heartbreaking journey of self discovery.  A journey which takes him through highs and low—although mainly lows.  The relationships with Crane and Grady are a definite, but minor, part of his journey

Lisa Henry has written a gritty, raw, page turning tale about a young, deaf, gay man on a self-discovery journey in 1870.  And while the relationships in this book were not my cup of tea, I would not hesitate to read another of her books.  In fact I hope to do so soon.

As a romance, this one disappointed me a bit.  As a novel, in general, I loved it.  What’s the last book that you read that didn’t hit the romance note right, but you enjoyed regardless?