Book Review · Historical

REVIEW – Historical Romance // Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare

Romancing the Duke
Castles Ever After #1
by Tessa Dare

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I found the characters to be likeable – if somewhat stereotypical of the genre – and the plot to be engaging. The story moved at a decent pace and had plenty of different strands that were woven together to build an interesting and textured tale.


With themes of acceptance, friendship and learning to trust, the author’s voice was incredibly pleasing and she conveyed emotions in a palpable manner. Both Ransom and Izzy had a solid backstory. one that explained all their foibles and character traits. In fact I found myself very impressed that there was no redundancy in the story, even little snippets of seemingly window dressing eventually prove to have some value later in the story.


This was the first e-book I had borrowed from a library and despite not being able to read on my kindle I quickly found myself thoroughly absorbed by this book. I ended up reading it in a day, I was caught hook, line and sinker by Ransom and Izzy’s story and enjoyed every moment of it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fantasy Romance

Age 15+, Contains some violence and glossed over sex scene

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18052985-romancing-the-duke

Synopsis
As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?


No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

Book Review · Historical

REVIEW – Historical Romance // The Newspaper Man and Bedelia

The Newspaper Man and Bedelia
Come Sundown #3
by Stevie MacFarlane

TL:DR – An enjoyable warm hug of a read that will let you happily pass a few hours and leave you feeling content with the outcome.



Both Bedelia and Thorn were characters I could warm to, Bedelia in particular was rounded and had depth. Personally I would have liked a couple more chapters from Thorn’s viewpoint, so that I could really get a feel for his personality, but what I did see I liked. There was a lovely chemistry between this pair though of course it’s very slow burn/low heat due to the historical setting. I also loved their verbal sparring, Thorn did seem to respect Bedelia’s independent spirit and need to be somewhat autonomous.



Whilst I very much enjoyed this story (and the 3 stars is NOT a negative review on GR, it actually DOES mean “liked it”) it felt very insta-love, which isn’t a trope I care for. The main reason for that was that we didn’t actually get to see many scenes of Thorn and Bedelia interacting together, particularly not in a romantic way. Given that Thorn took offence that Bedelia wouldn’t share her friend’s secret with him during only their second interaction, it left me feeling as though the emotions were a little rushed.



A large chunk of the story focused on Bedelia, Kate and Carrie Ann working together to make Bedelia’s dreams come true. I loved these scenes, they were my favourite part of the book, and the vast majority were important in both developing the plot and in growing Bedelia’s character. It was also great to see that Carrie Ann hasn’t lost her wild streak or sass and I wouldn’t have wanted to have lost this part of the story. Had some of the later chapters and events – for instance Thorn’s attempts to make Bedelia jealous – been covered in the same depth this would definitely have been closer to a 5 star read for me.



I did find the ending satisfying and absolutely adored the epilogue.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Wild West Historical Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58528387-the-newspaper-man-and-bedelia


Synopsis
A new romance is heating up the old west. Secrecy, rivalry, and jealousy may be the death of it. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Can they survive the flames?

Bedelia Longmore had resigned herself to becoming the town spinster. Always in a hurry, she looked the part most afternoons appearing frazzled, her hat perched slightly cock-eyed on her head. Being an old maid did not bother her, and Biddy was certainly capable of making her mark on the world. She quickly determined she would publish Centerville’s first newspaper. She began to plan accordingly.

Successful reporter Thornton James arrived from Topeka with a plan. He, too, was looking for a place to begin his publishing career. A chance meeting with Bedelia Longmore was an unexpected stroke of luck. She knew everyone, their habits, their preferences and clearly more than she revealed regarding their personal lives.

“Mr. James, you never did say what you were planning to do here in town,” she said breathlessly.
“I guess I didn’t,” he admitted with a smile. “I plan to start Centerville’s first newspaper. I really must hurry if I’m going to make my appointment at the bank.”

Bedelia watched him until he was out of sight as though glued to the boardwalk. A newspaper! He was the reason the bank had denied her a loan that very morning! Damn, she’d given him far too much information and unwittingly passed on some of her best ideas! Hell’s bells.
Let the competition begin!

Book Review · Historical

REVIEW – Historical Romance // Hart and The Villain by Victoria Vale

Hart
(The Villain #0.5)
by Victoria Vale

Written to give readers a greater understanding of Adam, Earl of Hartmoor, since his POV does not appear in the main novel The Villain. This book is available for free from the author’s website, you just have to sign up for her newsletter. It is a short prequel novella and may be read before or after The Villain, book #1.



I really enjoyed this and will definitely be reading the remaining two books, possibly all of the series. Having not read this author before I was unsure just what my experience of her work would be. I’m happy to report that it was a very positive one. The prose flows smoothly and I soon found myself drawn into the story, quickly gaining an understanding of the setting and the main character, Adam.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Regency/Victorian Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39287741-hart


Synopsis

A short story prequel to The Villain by Victoria Vale … offering the back story of the mysterious Earl of Hartmoor, Lord Adam Callahan. What led to his quest for revenge?

The blurb had me quite excited to read this but, urgh, in the end it was a DNF. I only struggled on as long as I did because it was a group buddy read.


Nothing, absolutely nothing, about this story every really engaged me, not the plot, the characters, the setting or the none existent romance. Nor did it ever truly feel historical at any point during the 50% or so I read. It did feel like a continual wash, rinse, repeat of the same thing though, blah, blah, bland. I actually fell asleep reading this, and not in the “because it was 3am and I couldn’t put it down” way


I struggled to buy into the heroine’s decision because she would have literally become a pariah, spurned by all of “polite society”. There would have been zero future for her, other than being spirited away and locked out of sight. Probably in a mental asylum. Nor did I particularly buy into the her teenage explorations either. There was a distinct lack of any emotion other than lust, and even that was lacklustre and barely convincing.


The only positive thing I can say is that the author’s voice was very pleasant and easy to read.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

egency/Victorian Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37848155-the-villain


Synopsis

A short story prequel to The Villain by Victoria Vale … offering the back story of the mysterious Earl of Hartmoor, Lord Adam Callahan. What led to his quest for revenge?

Book Review · Historical

REVIEW – Historical Romance // Tempting Fate by Kerrigan Byrne

Tempting Fate

Goode Girls #4
Kerrigan Byrne

The following review does contains some spoilers

Thank you to Netgalley for an arc of this book, which I also read as part of a buddy read with my Dark Erotica girls. Well where to start! I’d seen the chat around the previous books and was impressed enough to want to find out more about this author. Sadly it seems that this isn’t one of her better offerings. I’m not sure whether I would have rather read her other work first, so at least I would feel more confident with reading her work again, or am glad I didn’t set my hopes to high for a spectacular end to the series, which we definitely didn’t get!


At the 70% mark I found myself questioning when something of any real note was going to happen. At the 80% mark we get the one and only sex scene, and it’s rather “one-and-done” at that. By 90% I was wondering how the solving of who was out to get our poor heroine, Felicity, would be approached. Well the answer to that last one was rushed, badly and lacking in all credibility. Though given the whole “disfigured hero who underwent facial reconstruction surgery” plotline, I should have expected further suspension of belief to be necessary. You would have thought that with not much happening at least the characters would be really well portrayed, but yet again I was disappointed. They were bland, underdeveloped and easily forgettable.


The plot had all the bones of a great story but nothing, not one damn thing, was fully explored and there felt to be very little, if any, cohesion between the separate story elements. What resulted was a plodding, disjointed, and too far fetched story. There were the pieces of information that led absolutely nowhere for instance all the hints about Marco and whether he was behind the attacks and the needless dead end of the families former solicitor. Links between scenarios were missing, imagine my surprise when a conversation between two characters seemed to expect me to know that Mrs Winterton was seriously ill in hospital as the result of poisoning, yet the only previous mention of this had been that she was “suffering the gastric effects of a poorly cooked fish stew”


The cherry on the cake came in the form of the stories resolution – namely who was out to get Felicity. To describe it as “out of left field” would be an understatement. Not only was there zero foreshadowing, the whole thing was revealed, concluded and nicely wrapped up within the span of a few pages. Based on feedback from friends, I would still read this author’s work in the future. I have nothing to compare to, but their view is that this isn’t reflective of the usual quality of Kerrigan Byrne’s work and I respect their opinion enough to believe them.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Regency/Victorian Romance

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54061977-tempting-fate


Synopsis
A brand-new deliciously wicked romance series from USA Today Bestselling Author Kerrigan Byrne. The Goode Girls aren’t simply good; they’re stunning.

Disfigured in fighting pits as a lad, Gabriel Sauvageau has lived his entire life without the touch of a woman. As the brains and brawn behind London’s most ferocious smuggling syndicate, he knows he doesn’t deserve shy, bespectacled Felicity Goode. But that doesn’t stop him from watching her. Guarding her.

Wondering if her gentle touch would soothe his savage soul.

Though she wiles away hours immersed in the pages of romance novels, shy and anxious Felicity Goode has vowed never to become a bride. How can she share a life—not to mention a bed—with a man, if she can’t bring herself to share a simple conversation without trembling and stuttering? Once news of her obscene inheritance circulates through the ton, she is barraged, not only by a slew of suitors, but also several distressing threats against her life.

What she needs is a bodyguard. The large, scarred ruffian she finds on her stoop is exactly what she has been looking for.

So, why does his presence make her tremble in ways that have nothing to do with fear?

Book Review · Historical · Omegaverse

REVIEW – Regency Historical Romance // The Alpha of Rickett Hall by Merel Pierce

The Alpha of Rickett Hall
Merel Pierce

description

I don’t usually read historical romance. I don’t usually read slow-burn romances. I don’t usually love a book with a heroine who is a virgin. However I would read them every single time if they were as captivating and wonderful as The Alpha of Rickett Hall. This was one hundred percent a “can’t put it down” book, it was an “I’m totally and utterly in love with both main characters” book, along with a “why did it have to end?” book.


I am in love with Edmund, I am in love with Juliana, I am in love with everything, every last little thing, about this book. It was simply perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about it, even if I could. The story caught me hook, line, and sinker and the only bad thing is that it had to end. Oh and the fact that I just can not write a review that does justice to it. There are some books that touch you in a way that most others don’t. They transport you to another world, engage your emotions, speak to your soul and leave a lasting impression on your heart. This was one such book for me and I already want to read it again.


Juliana had a wonderful feistiness about her, but never came across as too bold for the time or too annoying. Edmund was very brooding – *swoon* – but was also dominant, caring and demanding in all the right ways. I loved the exploration of what happens when a perfect alpha specimen is no longer perfect. Of when the quiet and submissive omega is neither of those things, but who is caring and nurturing.


Omegaverse elements are very subtly applied throughout the story, befitting the regencyesque setting. Likewise the slow-burn romance. Lots of sweating, heaving and slick would, quite simply, not have suited this book, it needed that softer, gentler approach. Not once did I feel that the pace was slow. Wonderful characterisation, impressive conveyance of emotion and beautiful writing easily made this an engaging and heart warming story. I hugely recommend this – even if omegaverse isn’t usually your thing – and hope you love it as much as I did.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Historical/ Omegaverse Romance
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56682795-the-alpha-of-rickett-hall


Synopsis
All the money in the world couldn’t replace the leg Edmund Harcourt lost in battle. Abandoned by his fiancée and friends, living soon loses its appeal.


What good is a broken Alpha?


When Edmund’s family learns of a young Omega with healing abilities, they hatch a plot to bring sweet Juliana Mooreland to Edmund’s door in the hopes that instinct will bind the two together.


But such clandestine plots rarely go as planned…