Thursday, June 29, 2017

5 Wine Glass #AudioBook #Review for Must Love Chainmail by Angela Quarles

25896030Title: Must Love Chainmail
Series: Must Love Series #2
Author: Angela Quarles
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Format: Audible, 10 hours and 1 minute
Published: 11/28/2016 (Angela Quarles, Publisher)
ISBN: ASIN: B01N2K8890
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Audible
Reviewer: Linda
Source: Author
Rating: 5 out of 5 Wine Glasses

Trapped in the wrong time, she needs a knight in shining armor, but this damsel in distress might be the real savior.

A damsel in distress...

With a day planner attached to her hip, the last thing Katy Tolson wants is a romance that threatens her well-ordered life. She's set to marry the safe--but bland--guy, but something's not quite...right. A careless wish thrusts her through time into medieval Wales and into the arms of...

A knight in somewhat shining armor...

Sir Robert Beucol, half-Norman and half-Welsh, lives with the shame of his father's treason and vows to reclaim his family's holdings and thereby his honor. To prove himself to his king, he must be more Norman than a full-blooded Norman. What better way to show loyalty than to fight his mother's people? He has no desire to be sidetracked by the mysterious wench with pink toenails, peculiar habits, and passion smoldering behind her cool, collected exterior.

A rebellion that challenges both...

The Welsh uprising fits perfectly into Robert’s plans. Katy’s on the other hand? That’s a no. As they embark on a perilous journey through the heart of Wales, each passionate encounter pulls them closer together, but farther from their goals. When everything they value is at stake, can they save each other and their love? 

Linda's Thoughts:
“Here before you lies the memorial to St. Cefnogwr, though he is not buried here, of course.” At her words, an uncanny knowing flushed through Katy and, crazy-of-crazy, transfixed her. “Why? Where is he?” Traci stepped forward, hand on her hip. A you’re-right-on-cue look crossed the guide’s face. She pointed to the ceiling. Traci scoffed. “I meant, where’s the body?” Her American southern accent lent a strange contrast to her skepticism. Again, the tour guide’s arthritic finger pointed upward, and a smile tugged at her lips, the smokers’ wrinkles on her upper lip smoothing out. “That’s the miracle that made him a saint, you see. Throughout the twelve hundreds, the Welsh struggled to maintain our independence from the English. During Madog’s Rebellion in 1294, St. Cefnogwr, a noble Norman-English knight, turned against his liege lord and sided with the Welsh—” “Norman-English?” Katy frowned, her voice raspy in her dry throat. “Why would a Norman have a Welsh name and side with the Welsh?” She might be an American, but her years living in England had taught her that was unusual.

“The English nicknamed him. It means ‘sympathizer’ in Welsh. The knight was captured and, for his crime, sentenced to hang. As he swung, the rope creaking in the crowd’s silence, an angel of mercy swooped down and—” She clapped her hands in one decisive smack, and everyone jumped. “The rope dangled empty, free of its burden. Proof, we say, of his noble cause. He’s been venerated ever since as a Welsh hero.” Another chill danced over Katy’s skin. A chill that flashed warm as the story seeped into her. Familiar. Achingly familiar. Unease followed—this existential stuff was so not her. “His rescue by an angel was enough to make him a saint?” ever-practical Traci asked. “Unofficially. The Welsh named him one, and eventually it became a fait accompli. Now, please follow me.” 

The tour guide stepped toward a side door. Katy let the others pass and approached the knight covered in chainmail and other medieval-looking doodads. Only his face peeked out from a tight-fitting, chainmail hoodie-thing. One hand gripped a shield, the other, a sword. She touched his straight nose, the marble a cool kiss against her finger. So. This person had lived about seven
hundred years ago. His angular features were starkly masculine. Probably had women admiring them in the flesh. Had he loved? An odd…void bloomed within, tugging at her, as if it were the absence of a feeling seeking wholeness. Evidence of past lives frozen in time always made her feel…disconnected. Disconnected and disturbed. Unable to grasp some larger meaning. Especially since Isabelle was in the past now too, instead of here as her maid of honor. She traced along the knight’s torso, the bumps from the carved chainmail teasing her fingers.

“The tour group is getting on the bus. Hurry.” Traci’s voice came from the door. “Coming.” One last glance at her knight. Katy ran a finger down his strong nose again. “Bye,” she whispered.

Must Love Chainmail by Angel Quarles is the second installment in the author’s outstanding Must Love time traveling historical romance series. It is the well-deserved 2016 RITA winner in the paranormal category. The initial premise is similar to that of Outlander – whereas a modern day woman finds herself transported into the past as Katy Tolson is transported to Wales in 1294 during the Welsh rebellion with Norman knight Sir Robert Beaucol.

As this story begins, Katy is having a last fling with her girlfriends and having doubts that marriage to her fiancé is really what she wants. She unwittingly makes a wish while holding the same artifact used to time travel from the first book, a silver card case, and finds herself sent back seven hundred years into the arms of a knight in chainmail.

Robert, our hero, is yummy. He exemplifies what a true honorable knight should be. He lives for the moment – never knowing what tomorrow might bring. His goal is to reclaim his family’s honor and lands. On the other hand, Katy is a planner – a control freak extraordinaire. She is unemotionally engaged to another man in the present day – mainly because, per her life plan, it’s time to be wed. Together, the two bring out the best in each other.

This is a sweet and hot swoon worthy romance with two genuinely likable characters thrown together by fate. Their chemistry is combustible from the first.

Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Must Love Chainmail:

His warm breath, smelling of clean spice, stroked her cheek and ear. A thrilling shiver coursed over her, the wound on her arm only a minor sting. Then his lips—those full, sensuous lips—grazed her jaw and the soft spot behind her ear, the hairs of his beard brushing her sensitive skin. Her shivers locked her muscles tight. A bolt of tantalizing heat shot down her center. 
He leveraged closer, all that warrior brawn pressing hard against her side, linen rasping over skin, an exquisite feeling. 
Yes. This.

She straightened and crossed her arms. “I can’t sleep with you,” she blurted.
… “As you please.”
“As you please?” She stepped back, the rough wood of the bench bumping her upper calf. She’d braced herself for a battle and now felt oddly deflated. “You aren’t going to try to talk me into it?”
“I need not talk women into lying with me. 
One of my favorite scenes involved the heroine’s wandering pinkie. This is a short excerpt from that scene. LOL! This is not the end of her pinkie’s escapades. In other extremely humorous scenes afterward, her pinkie remains a player...:  
Her pinkie took matters into its own, er, pinkie, and moved oh-so-slightly, grazing his skin. His pinkie, judging by the shape and texture. 
Blood rushed and pounded through her veins, flushing her skin. This could not, in any way, be explained as an accidental touch. But he could feign sleep if he wasn’t interested. Did she want him to do that? 
What was she doing? 
She commanded her pinkie to drop, and thankfully, it obeyed. 
A jolt shot through her as his finger made a query, and the need clarified. The need represented her desire for some measure of control. Control over her general situation. Control over her attraction. She answered with a gentle finger stroke along his calloused, warm skin. 
A sharp breath pierced the dark air.

Mary Jane Wells returns as the narrator for Must Love Chainmail. She positively nails the performance. Her voice is crystal clear and to my American ears, she aces the multiple dialects (British, French, Welsh, American) required. Both her male and female voices sound realistic and she exudes the proper emotions. She consistently differentiates between the characters and delivers a polished production. I laughed, held my breath, gasped and melted to a puddle while listening to this audio. I can unequivocally state that my enjoyment of this book was enhanced by her performance.

Must Love Chainmail works well as a standalone if that is your preference even though there is an interconnectiveness with the first book. That said, the first book is just as wonderful as this one. Must Love Breeches occurs in the Regency time period whereas Must Love Chainmail occurs in the Medieval.

This is a vividly-written, well-plotted, fast-paced, adventurous tale that mesmerized me from the first to the last. There are twists and turns in the story that took me completely by surprise. I wanted to listen to it without stopping and didn’t want it to end. Months after finishing this audio, I still get the warm fuzzies when I think about it. The audio is nothing short of enthralling. I would listen to it again – it was that awesome. I can’t wait to start the third saga, Must Love Kilts, soon!!!!!

Suggested Reading Order: 
Must Love Breeches (Book #1)
Must Love Chainmail (Book #2)
Must Love Kilts (Book #3)

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