Book Review: The Viscount Made Me Do It

review-the viscount made me do itTitle: The Viscount Made Me Do It [Clandestine Affairs 2]

Author: Diana Quincy

Genre: Historical, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

A seduction that could ruin everything…

Hanna Zaydan has fought to become London’s finest bonesetter, but her darkly appealing new patient threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard for. With each appointment, the daughter of foreign merchants is slowly seduced by the mysterious former soldier. She’s smart enough to know Griff is after more than he’ll reveal, but whatever it is, the bonesetter’s growing desire for the man just might tempt her to give it to him.

An attraction that cannot be denied…

Rumors that he killed his own parents have followed Thomas Ellis, Viscount Griffin, practically since he was a boy. More than a decade after the tragedy, Griff receives a tip about his parents’ killer… one that takes him straight to a beautiful bonesetter. Griff is convinced Hanna is a fraud, but she stirs genuine feelings in him that he thought had perished along with his family.

Hanna has a gift for fixing fractured people, but can she also mend a broken heart? More importantly, will Griff let her?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I debated with myself for a bit on what to rate this book – it wasn’t an easy answer. I read an early review copy, so there were a few rather unremarkable editing errors – but nothing too obtrusive. For the most part, the writing was easy to follow and flowed well. I liked the characters and the overall plot, and the romance was steamy.

So why 4 stars rather than 5?

There were some bits to this story that were written… oddly, I guess that is the way to put it. It’s rather hard to explain, but one example would be how the 26-year-old main female lead had no idea what sex entailed or what orgasms were. I mean, I understand that she was an untouched spinster at that point… but she was also a medical professional… and let’s be honest, at 26, you know things, even if you have no first-hand experience. It was weird how the author showcased this.

In addition to this, the romance between the two main characters waffled quite a bit. One second they hated each other, then they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.. Then they were denying their passion, then they were all over each other again – which is all well and good, except the switches sometimes seemed to come out of nowhere.

Overall, I liked the book. I enjoyed reading it, and I think if you like Historical Romance, this is a pretty good one.

Book Review: The Princess Stakes

reviewcover- the princess stakesTitle: The Princess Stakes

Author: Amalie Howard

Genre: Historical Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Synopsis/Description:

Born to an Indian maharaja and a British noblewoman, Princess Sarani Rao has it all: beauty, riches, and a crown. But when Sarani’s father is murdered, her only hope is the next ship out—captained by the boy she once loved…and spurned.

Captain Rhystan Huntley, the reluctant Duke of Embry, is loath to give up his life at sea. But duty is calling him home, and this is his final voyage. Leave it to fate that the one woman he’s ever loved must escape to England on his ship.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I enjoyed The Princess Stakes by Amalie Howard, though it could be a little outlandish at times with how different situations were handled from a historical standpoint.

I loved the characters and the romance – especially Sarani. The minor characters like Tej felt a little left out at times, but it wasn’t enough to truly bother me. I thought the plot was interesting, and the sparks between Sarani and the duke made up for a lot of the characterization inadequacies. If you are a fan of historical accuracy, the characters, once again, complaining about corsets will probably get to you – because it was certainly an old and inaccurate trope that I’m definitely over hearing about.

I do think the story was wrapped up a little too easily a little too quickly, but other than that, I still really enjoyed the book, and if you are a fan of formulaic historical romance books, you’ll most likely enjoy this one. It made a nice weekend read.

Book Review: His Improper Lady

review-his improper ladyTitle: His Improper Lady [The Mad Morelands 8]

Author: Candace Camp

Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

It’s been a year since Tom Quick became a partner at the detective agency Moreland & Quick, which he operates with his lifelong friend Constantine Moreland. When he catches an intruder breaking in to the agency, obviously looking for something, it’s clear that a new case is afoot. But this intruder wears an alluring scent, moves like a trained acrobat…and is an attractive woman.

After a hardscrabble childhood, Desiree Sullivan grew up to be a talented performer, and now she wants to find her real rather. All she knows is that he was an aristocrat, and he abandoned her and her brothers when they were small. When she finds something at Moreland & Quick that gives her a lead, she must follow it.

Tom wants to help Desiree, but he’s still a little suspicious of her, even though he can’t help but be drawn to her. But as Desiree and Tom dig deeper into Desiree’s roots, they stumble on a mystery larger than either of them imagined—a mystery that threatens both their lives.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I didn’t have high hopes for this book when I first picked it up – the beginning sequence was slow and not at all what I expected, and I had very little understanding of what was going on. I hadn’t read any of the previous books in the series, so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

And to be honest, I didn’t love everything about the book. The characters had a penchant for going on long monologues when they weren’t necessary, and I could have done without that bit. The romance, while steamy, didn’t stand out from the romance in any other historical romance. It wasn’t what drew me to the book.

But put all that aside, and it was a solid book regardless.

I loved the characters, the fierce main female lead, and her slightly less sure male lead. I enjoyed the quirky Morelands and their supernatural powers. My favorite part by far though was the mystery and thriller aspect of the plot. It took me a good long while to hone in on what had happened to Desiree’s parents and how it was connected to the shenanigans going on around them during the majority of the plot. It was this aspect of the plot that kept me enthralled with the book until the very end – and that’s saying something. I don’t read a lot of mysteries.

If you’re looking for a solid historical romance, this will certainly pass in that department… but if you’re looking for something a little unusual wrapped in a good historical romance, I would definitely recommend you pick this up.

Book Review: The Wrong Marquess

review-the wrong marquessTitle: The Wrong Marquess [The Mating Habits of Scoundrels 3]

Author: Vivienne Lorret

Genre: Historical Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

The wrong place…

Elodie Parrish can feel spinsterhood breathing down her neck. That’s the trouble with waiting for the marquess next door her entire life. But Ellie knows if she gives him one last Season, he’ll finally propose. The only problem is, her path keeps crossing with the arrogant Lord Hullworth, who is convinced she has designs on him.

The wrong time…

Brandon, Marquess of Hullworth, never wanted to be “London’s Most Elusive Bachelor,” or have a horde of hopeful debutantes and their scheming mamas follow him around. His past has left him too jaded to consider marrying any of them. At least, that’s what he thinks… until he meets Ellie. She’s quirky, opinionated, blushes easily, and drives him absolutely wild. The only problem is, she believes she’s in love with someone else.

Ellie never imagined that one sultry summer could change everything. But the more time she spends with Brandon researching her book on the mating habits of scoundrels, the more she starts to fall for…

The Wrong Marquess

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about The Wrong Marquess by Vivienne Lorret, but I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt because regardless of what I found wrong with it, I still greatly enjoyed the book.

So let’s talk about what I liked – the romance between Elodie and Brandon was wrought with sexual tension. The couple was so sweet at times, other times they were reluctant, or even scathing with each other. The two were caught in this tension-filled tug of war between their heads, their hearts, and society as a whole, and it led to an engaging dynamic.

The characters were well defined, and for the most part, I liked them. Mostly.

What bothered me, was the way Elodie was written. I’ve never seen a character in a historical romance come across as so …. Dumb. Elodie was clumsy, scared of everything, hopelessly naïve, and just generally air-headed. I found her completely insufferable, and the only reason I was able to continue with the book is that the romantic dynamic between her and Brandon was so engaging.

There were a few other minor tidbits that bothered me – a lapse in tense, and the author’s strange penchant for using thesaurus words that even my dictionary had never heard of, but for the most part, I was able to skim over those issues and enjoy the story as a whole.

Overall, I’d say that if you like historical romances, this is worth a read – just don’t expect a strong witty heroine in this one.

Book Review: Highland Legend

review-cover-highland legendTitle: Highland Legend [Scots and Swords 3]

Author: Kathryn LeVeque

Genre: Historical, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

As the bastard son of a duke, Magnus Stewart’s royal blood has been a curse. Lured by the mystique and riches of the legendary fight club, Ludus Caledonia, Magnus uses his anger and bitterness to battle his way to the status of a prized gladiator known as The Eagle.

Diantha de Mora has heard of The Eagle, and in desperation, she seeks his help to escape the men pursuing her. Magnus comes to her aid, and in one night, his fate is changed forever. Mutual attraction is instant, but with enemies at every turn, it’ll take muscle and a miracle for them to make it to the Highlands alive. There, Magnus can reclaim his destiny, as Diantha guides his heart home.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

To be honest, Highland Legend by Kathryn LeVeque was an okay read. It had some good qualities, but it had some pretty bad qualities as well.

The writing itself was great – I didn’t run into a lot of typos, or at least no glaringly obvious ones. The narrative flowed fairly smoothly, and overall, I liked the characters. The romance between the two main characters was sweet.

That was also part of the problem, though. The romance between Magnus and Diantha was cautiously sweet in almost a naïve way – which didn’t really fit the determined Diantha and experienced Magnus very well – it felt out of place in the context of the story.

On top of this, the world-building was perplexing. I guess I just don’t understand the point of a book being placed in the Scottish highlands being so heavily built around roman culture.

Don’t get me wrong, if you want a light romance read set in a historical context, this would be a good book to pick up while you’re sitting in a waiting room and want to pass the time… but it isn’t a book you’ll probably get engrossed in.

Book Review: The Dane Law

reviewcover-the dane lawTitle: The Dane Law [The Atheling Chronicles 2]

Author: Garth Pettersen

Genre: Historical Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

After a peaceful year running their Frisian estate, Harald and Selia are called to Engla-lond.

Their return is marked by violence and intrigue. The king has vowed to Queen Emma that their son, Harthacnute, will inherit the throne, but the atheling is cruel and reckless. Many view Harald as the better choice, which makes him a target for the unseen supporters of his half-brother. King Cnute urges Harald to be prepared to assume the throne should Harthacnute prove inadequate. Harald resists being swept up by forces beyond his control, but doubts he will survive the reign of King Hartha.

And what of his older brother, Sweyn?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

If you are a fan of historical tales full of romance, intrigue, and action, The Dane Law by Garth Pettersen will be right up your alley.

The book is wonderfully well-written, full of beautiful historical detail and vibrant atmosphere. The narrative is well-paced and sucks you into the time period effortlessly.

I truly enjoyed the characters and the little bits of humor thrown in especially. It is a bit of a heavy read, but well worth it.

Book Review: A Curse of Ash and Embers

reviewcover-a curse of ash and embersTitle: A Curse of Ash and Embers [Tales of the Blackbone Witches 1]

Author: Jo Spurrier

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic.
Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters.

But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it’s Elodie’s job to clean up the mess.
When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she’d find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.

Gyssha’s final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie’s help, whether she likes it or not.

And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it’s still better than going back home.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

A Curse of Ash and Embers by Jo Spurrier was a stunning read. The writing itself was fantastic and flowed effortlessly. The characters were interesting and likable. I really enjoyed the worldbuilding in particular – that sort of small village atmosphere, mixed with a run-down and secluded old stone house.

Overall, the book was just written well and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think in particular, the dynamic between Aleida and Elodie was my favorite part of it all – it was a strange sort of friendship, almost a sisterhood of sorts, that really drove the story on. If you enjoy Young Adult Fantasy with a bit of a historical feel to it, I’d recommend giving this book a try. I can’t wait to read further into the series.

Book Review: A Good Duke is Hard to Find

review-cover-a good duke is hard to findTitle: A Good Duke is Hard to Find [Isle of Synne 1]

Author: Christina Britton

Genre: Historical Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

After her third fiancé leaves her at the altar, Lenora Hartley is beginning to think she’s cursed. One thing’s for certain: she needs to escape London and her father’s tyrannical attempts to find her yet another suitor. The Isle of Synne, an isolated and idyllic retreat off Britain’s northern coast, is blessedly far from society’s gossip, but it also carries haunting reminders of her first fiancé. Letting go of the past to find happiness seems impossible—until Lenora is thrown in the path of a gruff, mysterious blue-eyed man who makes her pulse race.

Next in line for a dukedom he doesn’t want to inherit, Peter Ashford is only on the isle to exact revenge on the man who is responsible for his mother’s death. Once he’s completed the task, he’ll return to America where his life can finally be his own. Yet when he meets the beautiful and kind Miss Hartley, he can’t help but be drawn to her. Can Peter put aside his plans for vengeance for the woman who has come to mean everything to him?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I thoroughly enjoyed A Good Duke is Hard to Find by Christina Britton. This author was new to me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised to read such a well-written book. The characters had depth, and the world-building was clear without being over-done. I found the story easy to read, and the narrative well-balanced.

The romance between Lenora and Peter had a touch of soulmate magic to it in a way, even though it was never stated that it was intended, but they also had a healthy dose of desire, and primarily, deep respect and understanding for one another, despite how easy it would have been to simply take each other at face value. Though not always easy, their relationship was healthy and carried just enough misunderstandings to create tension.

If you enjoy historical romances, this is a good one to pick up.

Book Review: Say Yes To The Duke

review-cover-say yes to the dukeTitle: Say Yes To The Duke [The Wildes of Lindow Castle 5]

Author: Eloisa James

Genre: Historical Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Miss Viola Astley is so painfully shy that she’s horrified by the mere idea of dancing with a stranger; her upcoming London debut feels like a nightmare.

So she’s overjoyed to meet handsome, quiet vicar with no interest in polite society — but just when she catches his attention, her reputation is compromised by a duke.

Devin Lucas Augustus Elstan, Duke of Wynter, will stop at nothing to marry Viola, including marrying a woman whom he believes to be in love with another man.

A vicar, no less.

Devin knows he’s no saint, but he’s used to conquest, and he’s determined to win Viola’s heart.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

If someone asked me to recommend a historical romance, Say Yes To The Duke by Eloisa James wouldn’t even cross my mind. I’ll be honest, it was… fine. It wasn’t a terrible book, but it also didn’t stick with me. The writing itself was well done, the editing was spotless, the cover is pretty… but I didn’t truly like any of the characters. They didn’t feel like real people, instead, it felt like I was watching a play where characters dashed on and off stage, living out scenes a little more dramatically than necessary to make the audience laugh or boo.

I got 90% through the book, set it aside for an evening, and then completely forgot I was reading it for a week. I picked up the book sometime later, noticed it was on 90% read, and figured I’d made a mistake and skipped ahead in a new book. It was only when I reread the entire first chapter that I realized I’d picked it up before. It wasn’t a mistake. The book just wasn’t memorable. I had to re-skim the entire book to remember what it was about.

Was the book awful? No. Nothing made me want to put the book down or throw it across the room… it just wasn’t great.

Book Review: Would I Lie To The Duke

review-cover-would i lie to the dukeTitle: Would I Lie To The Duke [The Union of the Rakes 2]

Author: Eva Leigh

Genre: Historical Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Jessica McGale’s family business desperately needs investors, and she’s determined to succeed at any cost. But she knows London’s elite will never look twice at a humble farm girl like herself. Posing as “Lady Whitfield,” however, places her in the orbit of wealthy, powerful people—most notably the Duke of Rotherby. His influence and support could save her company, but Jess never expected the effect he’d have on her.

Society thinks Noel is a notorious, carefree duke who dabbles in investments, but there’s a side to him that only his closest friends see. When he crosses paths with Lady Whitfield at a business bazaar, his world tilts on its axis. She’s brilliant and compelling, and brings him to his knees like no woman has before. Trust is difficult for Noel, but Jess makes him believe anything is possible…

As time ticks down on her Cinderella scheme, the thought of achieving her goal at Noel’s expense breaks Jess’ heart. He doesn’t just want her now, he wants her forever. But will her secret end their future before it begins?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I thoroughly enjoyed Would I Lie To The Duke by Eva Leigh. I read a lot of historical romance, and it was nice to come across one that not only fit snugly into the genre comfortably but also pushed the envelope a little. The writing was fantastic, the characters were charming and well-edited.

The main female lead was intelligent, driven, and well aware of her shortcomings, even as they got in her way, which was a nice change from the usual simpering damsel. I found the plot to be smart and seductive, full of deception and escapades, with a healthy dose of romance to round it all off. There was an underlying theme of the characters continually trying to break societal barriers in both small, and great ways.

If you are a fan of historical romances, this is a great one to pick up.