Publisher: Avon

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare | Book Review

Posted August 8, 2019 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare | Book ReviewThe Governess Game by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal
Published by Avon on August 28, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 373
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson.

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

I love Tessa Dare. Her witty banter, strong heroines, and swoony heroes are unparalleled. Unfortunately, her new Girl Meets Duke series doesn’t seem to be as magical for me as her Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After series were but that doesn’t mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy this book! I had so much fun reading it, and really liked all the characters. I think The Governess Game is Tessa’s first book (that I’ve read, anyway, which is a lot) that includes children as main characters. I nearly always shy away from books that include kids, which I suppose is kind of weird… but I don’t see children as romantic. lol. But it’s Tessa Dare! So I read it. Anyway… As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Alexandra is a strong, bookish lover of astronomy. She was raised by her dad alone, on the decks of a ship. This makes her unique in my book. Women during this time period were not into the sciences, nor were they typically brought up in such a rough and unrefined way. She’s spunky and stands up for herself. She takes no crap, and has no problems calling Chase on his idiocy. She shows up to Chase’s home to do one job, and accidentally becomes the governess for these two wild girls. She has no idea what she’s doing, but at least she’s got better ideas than Chase! I really liked her! Her unconventional teaching methods were refreshing.

2. Chase is nothing extremely special in the beginning. I suppose it’s honorable for an unattached, playboy of a bachelor to bring in two little orphaned girls because nobody else in his family would take them, but I felt bad about how he treated them. He had no interest in showing them any love or compassion. He wanted Alexandra to come in and train them so they would be accepted into society and become someone else’s problem. I love kids, so this made me sad. He spent his days furnishing and decorating his man cave for optimal sexytimes with a revolving door of women, rather than making sure the girls were happy. I struggle a lot with heroes in books that are notorious playboys. I don’t find those kind of men attractive. He was pushy with Alexandra, and really left a lot to be desired. But he does melt and become a better person as Alexandra works her magic on him along with the girls, and I grew to understand what she saw in him.

3. Daisy and Rosamund are sweet, odd girls. I can’t remember which girl this is, but one of them has a very morbid curiosity with death. She has a doll named Millicent, and every morning this doll dies of something new like consumption or internal bleeding or a bowel obstruction and the girls drag Alexandra and Chase in for a very formal funeral. Chase has to perform a different eulogy every morning while holding hands with the girls and mourning Millicent’s death. It’s actually quite sweet and was one of the reasons I grew to like him so much. I actually really liked these girls and their antics, which surprised me since I’m not usually a fan of children in romance novels like I mentioned above.

4. I loved all the astronomy talk and the telescope.

5. The romantic chemistry between Alexandra and Chase wasn’t as swoony as I would have liked. It felt more like lust and less like love, which is not what I’m used to from Tessa Dare. Maybe this is less the author’s fault and more back to the fact that I don’t like playboy heroes. Alexandra just seemed like another notch on Chase’s bedpost at first. He had a hard time convincing me that he thought of her as different than all the others. They do have some great banter, though!

All in all, this was another fun Tessa Dare book! I always like reaching for one of her titles when I need a pick-me-up and some light fun. While it’s not a favorite, I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys unique, strong heroines.


The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare | Mini Book Review

Posted July 18, 2019 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 2 Comments

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare | Mini Book ReviewThe Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Also in this series: The Governess Game
Published by Avon on April 22, 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 389
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules… 

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.


But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

This is a suuuuper mini review, but I just don’t have a ton to say! Everyone knows that I love Tessa Dare, but this book was not a favorite of hers. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t particularly memorable. I really enjoy marriage of convenience stories, and I liked Ash and Emma. I found it funny that these two were going to try and keep the passion out of the marriage and just make a baby, when it’s so obvious that they’re falling for each other. I liked the dual points of view. I loved the cat, Breeches. I enjoyed the romance and the banter. Really, I don’t have any specific complaints other than the fact that the magic just wasn’t there for me like it usually is. I’ve loved some of Tessa’s other books more than this one!


How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, & Joanna Shupe | Book Review

Posted December 24, 2018 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 0 Comments

How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, & Joanna Shupe | Book ReviewHow the Dukes Stole Christmas by Joanna Shupe, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, Tessa Dare
Published by Avon on October 15, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Pages: 392
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon Add to Goodreads
Christmas magic is in the air... From the ballrooms of London, to abandoned Scottish castles, to the snowy streets of Gilded Age New York, four bestselling authors whip up some unforgettable romance...with a little help from some enchanted shortbread.

"Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare
Louisa Ward needs a Christmas miracle. Unless she catches a wealthy husband at the ball tonight, the horrid, heartless Duke of Thorndale will evict her family from their beloved Mayfair home. But when her friend begs to switch dance cards, Louisa finds herself waltzing with the enemy: the horrid, heartless--and unexpectedly handsome--Thorndale himself. Now the duke's holding her future in his hands...and he's not letting go.

"The Duke of Christmas Present" by Sarah MacLean
Rich and ruthless, Eben, Duke of Allryd, has no time for holidays. Holidays are for whimsy and charm--the only two things his money cannot buy. Lady Jacqueline Mosby is full of both, even now, twelve years after she left to see the world. When Jacqueline returns for a single Christmas, Eben can't resist the woman he never stopped loving...or the future that had once been in reach. It will take a miracle to convince her to stay...but if ever there were a time for miracles, it's Christmas...

"Heiress Alone" by Sophie Jordan
When Annis Bannister's family leaves her behind in the rush to escape an impending snowstorm, she finds herself stranded in the Highlands, left to fend off brigands terrorizing the countryside, robbing homes locked up for winter. Her only hope falls on her neighbor, a surly hermit duke who unravels her with a look, then a kiss ... until she fears the danger to her heart outweighs the danger of brigands and snowstorms.

"Christmas in Central Park" by Joanna Shupe
Women all over America devour Mrs. Walker's weekly column for recipes and advice. No one knows Rose, the column's author, can't even boil water. When the paper's owner, Duke Havemeyer, insists she host a Christmas party, Rose must scramble to find a husband, an empty mansion, and a cook. But Duke is not a man easily fooled and she fears her perfect plan is failing--especially when Duke's attentions make her feel anything but professional. To save her career will she give up her chance at love?

I actually picked this up because I love Tessa Dare so much and make sure I read everything she writes. I’ve also been interested in Sarah MacLean, though, and have enjoyed Sophie Jordan’s YA books so I had a feeling this was going to be good! I really love historical romance, and when Christmas is thrown into the mix it’s even better. This was a wonderful set of novellas that I really loved for the most part!

My thoughts on “Meet Me In Mayfair” by Tessa Dare:
This was a very fun story about a girl trying to save her beloved home from the duke who is planning to take it away from her. I liked the chemistry between Louisa and the Duke of Thorndale. There was also a TOn of Christmas in this. They spend an entire night exploring the town of Mayfair in the snow getting to know one another and falling in love. It’s very sweet and the snow made it so magical. The writing was great, and I loved the banter between the characters that I’ve come to expect from Tessa Dare.

My thoughts on “The Duke of Christmas Present” by Sarah MacLean:
This was my first story written by Sarah McLean! Jacqueline and Eben have quite the history, and she’s back home for Christmas after twelve years of being gone. I really loved the flashback scenes interspersed throughout the present day scenes, and I thought the author did a wonderful job of really developing the story despite its short length. I felt like I got a fully fleshed out novel with the backstory, the baggage that each of the characters carry, and all the feelings and emotions as they figure out their past and their future. Eben is very tender, and Jacqueline is very weary. The story was filled with Christmas spirit, and quite a bit of steam as well! It was very fun to read.

My thoughts on “Heiress Alone” by Sophie Jordan:
This one was a bit rocky for me because I didn’t love the Scottish-style dialogue of some of the characters. I love books that are set in the Highlands, but I honestly could not figure out what was being said at times without actually reading parts out loud. It took some getting used to. And what family accidentally leaves a member behind!? And then there’s this plot line that deals with magical/bewitched shortbread… it was kinda weird. I didn’t really like the love story or the main characters. I liked the service staff, but the main couple was meh. I did love the castle setting and the added mystery with the scary brigands!

My thoughts on “Christmas in Central Park” by Joanna Shupe:
This was my least favorite of the novellas in the book, and I found it hard to get through. I liked the less commonly seen setting (New York City) and the idea of the story, but something was missing for me and I’m not sure what it was. I did have a problem with the dialogue. A character will slip from perfectly proper word choices and not using any contractions to sounding like a character from modern time partway through a paragraph. Characters would go from sounding like an overly proper robot to a silly teen outside the movie theater in the blink of an eye. It just didn’t work for me, and kept undermining my efforts to try and convince myself this was a historical romance. I also didn’t feel that this story particularly complimented the other stories, which felt more traditional and historical than this one. Oh well. You can’t win them all! I did like the Christmas party!

All in all, I really loved Tessa Dare’s novella, am excited to read more from Sarah MacLean, think it’s worth looking into more of Sophie Jordan’s adult books, and might possibly try another Joanna Shupe because she deserves a second chance. I love the Christmassy feels from all of them, some were just better than others.


A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare | Mini Book Review

Posted February 8, 2018 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare | Mini Book ReviewA Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove #1
Also in this series: Once Upon a Winter's Eve, Beauty and the Blacksmith
Published by Avon on August 30, 2011
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 372
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
Welcome to Spindle Cove, where the ladies with delicate constitutions come for the sea air, and men in their prime are... nowhere to be found. Or are they?

Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men; it is a haven for those who live there.

Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn't belong here. So far as he can tell, there's nothing in this place but spinsters... and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It's a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch—a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram's makeshift army.

Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle... but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?

It goes without saying that I love Tessa Dare. She’s amazing, and always delivers when I need a good dose of historical romance filled with swoons, banter, and warm fuzzies. I discovered her Castles Ever After series and devoured those quickly. Then I decided to read her backlist starting with Spindle Cove. Guys, Spindle Cove is this adorable, quaint little seaside hamlet that I completely fell in love with and the people there have really big hearts.

Susanna and Bram are such a fun couple. They are one of those hate-to-love duos that I so enjoy. She’s in Spindle Cove to build it up and take care of the other ladies who society has kind of rejected for one reason or another. Bram is there to infiltrate their leisurely lives and build a volunteer militia from the town’s citizens (honetly, what were they thinking sending him to a town like this?). Luckily the ladies in Spindle Cove are no strangers to weaponry, as they shoot on Thursdays. Why not build a militia of spinster women? Susanna and Bram butt heads like you wouldn’t believe, but that passion ignites a romance that gave me all the swoons. The supporting characters are all wonderful, and it’s exciting to think about returning to visit them and read their love stories as well. While this is not my favorite romance, it definitely sets the tone for a series that I’m sure will continue to get better and better.

Dare’s writing is wonderful. She’s so great at capturing humor and romance and hatred and rolling them together into a romance filled with sparks and tension and excitement. This is a very sweet story that I’d definitely recommend.

 


Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis | Book Review

Posted December 23, 2017 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis | Book ReviewChasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4
Also in this series: One Snowy Night
Published by Avon on September 26, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Meet cute...

Run for the hills—temporarily. That's Colbie Albright's plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie's so over it that she's under it. She's also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she's pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won't be a stranger for long.

Make merry...

Spence's commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn't have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot chemistry—he's got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself... just because she's gorgeous and a great listener just because she gets Spence immediately doesn't mean he won't be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock's ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime.

I think it’s worth recognizing and celebrating my very first full-length novel by Jill Shalvis! I’ve read a handful of her Christmas novellas, and I decided that it was finally time to settle in for a longer novel and really discover what all the fuss is about. I own all but one of the books in the Lucky Harbor series and all the Heartbreaker Bay books that have been released thus far, so I really haven’t had any excuses to not read them yet. The synopsis of Chasing Christmas Eve really grabbed me, and it ended up being a really good choice! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I wasn’t too excited about reading a Christmas book that takes place in California. I lived in California for 6 years and it’s a beautiful place, so this isn’t personal, Californians! I just love snow in my Christmas novels, and that obviously was not going to happen here. Colbie is nuts for fleeing New York at Christmas, but I digress.

2. The lack of snow didn’t take away from the festiveness of the book, though! There were Christmas lights and enough warm fuzzies to make me forget that there wasn’t snow swirling around outside.

3. Colbie is a verrrrry successful YA author, and that’s the main reason I was drawn to this book! I love YA, and I love many YA authors, so Colbie immediately felt like my friend. I thought of her the way I think of any of my favorite YA authors. She’s so sweet and down to earth, not to mention incredibly nice. She’s dealing with writer’s block and she’s under a ton of stress from that, plus the fact that her entire family depends on her for every little thing. I love that she took the plunge and ran away to take care of herself. She’s also really funny and has this bright personality that made me smile. I would totally be friends with her.

4. I loved nerdy Spence. He’s a hot, rich, reclusive genius. But he’s not rich in a snobby way. He takes care of a homeless man that lives outside the building! He keeps to himself and lives his own life, and when he needs a breather he walks dogs! I mean, come on. He’s a bit of a workaholic, which has sealed off the part of himself that can have a love life. But all it takes is the right girl, right?

5. I love how Colbie and Spence meet for the first time. The description mentions a meet cute, and that’s exactly what we were given with this book. I’m not even going to say how it happens because I don’t want to spoil it. Just know that a dog is involved.

6. The romance is very sweet, regardless of the secrets they are both keeping from each other. What was supposed to be a quick little fling turns into something more than that, and forces Colbie and Spence to smooth out some of the wrinkles in their relationship.

7. I liked the supporting characters a lot, but can tell it would have really been great if I’d read the other three books in the series first so I’d know them a little better. The book works fine as a standalone, but I could have used a few more details on Spence and Elle especially.

All in all, this was a very fun Christmas romance! I loved watching Colbie and Spence fall in love and work through what being in love means to them. I’m definitely a fan of Jill Shalvis, so yay! It would have really sucked if I’d come out of this hating her and already owning a million of her books. I’m excited to read more of the books in the Heartbreaker Bay series and then start working on Lucky Harbor!

Which Jill Shalvis book is your absolute favorite?


When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare | Book Review

Posted February 16, 2016 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 2 Comments

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare | Book ReviewWhen a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #3
Also in this series: Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess
Published by Avon on August 25, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

Tessa Dare’s Castles Ever After series made me remember why I love historical romance. I loved the first one, Romancing the Duke, and Say Yes to the Marquess is one of my favorite historical romances to date. I really enjoyed When a Scot Ties the Knot (hello, Mr. Highlander), but it was not my favorite of the series. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I really only have one complaint, but it’s kind of a big one. I didn’t feel like there was a ton of chemistry between Maddie and Logan. There was heat, yes, but I didn’t really buy the romance like I did in the previous two books. This felt more lusty to me. I suppose I started feeling it at the end, but the romance wasn’t sweeping and swoony like I have become accustomed to as of late.

2. I loved Maddie. I thought she was hilarious, plus she’s bookish, artsy, and painfully shy. I get her. While I don’t have panic attacks when I’m surrounded by a few people, I know what it’s like to be a wallflower. And I know what it’s like to view life through an artist’s eye. I love that she wrote letters to an imaginary captain to avoid jumping into the dating pool. That’s something I could totally see myself doing. All in all, I’m a fan of hers.

3. Logan… He started as as being the epitome of my least favorite highlander. He’s big and cocky and doesn’t really do romance. He storms in to Maddie’s isolated castle and blackmails her, telling her that if she does not marry him and give him her castle and the land surrounding it, he is going to take her fake romance to the media and have her publicly ridiculed. I don’t do blackmail. I don’t do men who come in to the scene and bully or take advantage of women. But… I really started to like him more when he softened up and started thinking with his heart and his emotions over his selfish need to provide for the soldiers who fought under him. Maddie does a great job of tugging at his heartstrings and making him feel things, and I slowly became a fan of Captain Mackenzie’s as well.

4. The story is super unique, which I really enjoyed. A romance that blooms out of the mindless musings of a teenage girl to an imaginary man is pretty awesome. I LOVE this idea. It would have been better if there had been a stronger feeling of romance, but… I digress.

5. I’ve come to expect awesome witty banter between Tessa Dare’s characters, and I got it. I do love sizzling, flirtatious, witty banter.

6. This book is funny! Just read this:

What have I done? Most lasses like it when a man kills the bugs. Along with reaching high places and giving sexual pleasure, it’s one of the few universally popular qualities we have to offer.

(Maddie is an artist and draws bugs for a client who is putting together a collection of… bug drawings. Logan gets chewed out after smashing an already dead bug pancake. These are his thoughts after said chewing out occurs.)

There are many more funny passages like this!

7. The cast of supporting characters is wonderful! I really liked Logan’s burly band of misfit soldiers, particularly one who reminds me of Dory from Finding Nemo. He has no short-term memory, and so his friends keep having to tell him where he is. He’s very endearing because he loves Maddie every single time he meets her… which is multiple times per day.

8. The bookishness. I can hardly handle the bookishness! I LOVED IT! Here’s my favorite quote:

He was lying on the bed, a loose shirt hanging open at the neck to reveal a wedge of his chest. His brow was lightly furrowed in concentration, and those spectacles were perched on the strong bridge of his nose. One muscled arm was flexed and propped behind his head. And in the other hand, he held . . . Devil take him. Heaven help her. A book. Not just any book, but a thick one bound in dark green leather. And he was reading the thing.

Haha! I can’t! This is probably the best passage I’ve ever read in a book ever. I laughed out loud. Props to Ms. Dare for making books sexy. Spectacles! Come ON!

All in all, I really enjoyed When a Scot Ties the Knot. Was it my favorite? No. But only because Tessa Dare can only outdo herself so many times. This book was so much fun and the story was so unique and the characters were so likable (even if it took me longer with some of them) that I could not help but smile as I flew through the pages.


The Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long | Book Review

Posted July 6, 2015 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 2 Comments

The Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long | Book ReviewThe Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #1
Also in this series: What I Did for a Duke
Published by Avon on January 29, 2008
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 375
Format: eBook
Source: Gift
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
His life is in her hands...

She's willing to be fearless for a price...but what if the cost is her heart?

A rescued rogue...

Scandal has rocked the city of London. Colin Eversea, a handsome, reckless unapologetic rogue is sentenced to hang for murder and, inconveniently for him, the only witness to the crime disappears. Then again, throughout history, the Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary.

A captivating captor...

Cool-headed, daring Madeleine Greenway is immune to Colin's vaunted charm. Her mission is not to rescue Colin but to kidnap him, and to be paid handsomely for it. But when it becomes clear that whoever wants Colin alive wants Madeline dead, the two become uneasy allies in a deadly race for truth. Together, they'll face great danger—and a passion neither can resist.

I found The Perils of Pleasure to be a very fun and enjoyable read, although I read What I Did for a Duke (book #5) first and still love that one more. Colin, our not-so-fugutive on the run, and Madeline, Colin’s rescuer, spend most of the book on the run from the law, following clues and leads to discover the identity of the true murderer. The story really started off with a bang, and reminded me of the scene in Pirates of the Caribbean where Will saves Captain Jack Sparrow from the gallows. Colin is ready to be hung, when BAM. A diversion. A rescue. And I love that the rescuer was a woman. Yay girl power! The tables were turned, and the man is the one in distress here. I’m a huge fan of unique plot lines, and this one is definitely not your typical historical romance. Colin is sarcastic and likes to make light of things, whereas Madeline is cynical, private, and stand-offish. These two go so well together, and I loved how he Colin was able to soften her up a bit and she got him to think about more serious things.

Colin and Madeline have this great tension and chemistry, and the slow burn was almost painful at times because I just wanted to smash their faces together and get it over with! Their banter is pretty funny at times, especially when they are walking long hours or sneaking one another around in a coffin. The writing was very well done as well. The only complaint I had was that the story dragged at times, and I was not always completely motivated to read it. The “mystery” was a little convoluted and I had a hard time keeping track or who was where and for what reason. I did not find that aspect of the story, which was basically the bulk of the story, to be very exciting. I also would have loved more emphasis on their love story. I’ve become quite a fan of Julie Anne Long, though, and am excited to read more of this series!


Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare | Book Review

Posted June 22, 2015 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 7 Comments

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare | Book ReviewSay Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #2
Also in this series: Romancing the Duke, When a Scot Ties the Knot
Published by Avon on December 30, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and... and...?

After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She's inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride's cold feet?

● He starts with flowers. A wedding can't have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.

● He lets her know she'll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.

● He doesn't kiss her.

● If he kisses her, he definitely doesn't kiss her again.

● When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.

● And no matter what—he doesn't fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.

So I’m feeling like a review is not even possible because I loved everything about this book and have no complaints. I’m not kidding. Just go buy it and be done! This book was perfection to the highest degree, and I wish I had another one just like it to read right now. I think Tessa Dare is my favorite historical romance author! I love that I’m getting well-read enough in the genre to have favorite authors! Say Yes to the Marquess was even better than the first in the series, Romancing the Duke (You do not have to read that one to read this book. All of the books in the series stand alone.), and I really enjoyed that one too (read my review).

This book is funny. I love all the banter and the pent up tension that brings humor with it. But it’s dry humor that does not hit you over the head with its cheesiness. Rafe and Clio say some of the funniest things to each other, and their inner thoughts are pretty hilarious too. These two kind of grew up together, so they have a really strong foundation to build their feelings on. It felt so real. She’s engaged to his brother but doesn’t want to be anymore, and he is trying to be honorable and marry her off to his sucky brother anyway. But that’s so not working. Their flirtations, some of which involving a cake scene that had me swooning, were so sweet. I just loved everything about these two! She’s this prim, proper, sweet thing and he’s a hardened prizefighter with all kinds of worldly experience under his belt. It’s a very Lady and the Tramp story, and I loved it.

I’m going to stop here before I gush about everything. Basically, you should read this book if you’re in the mood for a fun historical romance. It’s funny and sizzling and sweet and soooooo romantic. Say Yes to the Marquess is a favorite of mine that I know I will want to revisit time and time again. When A Scot Ties the Knot is on the tippy top of my wish list! I can’t wait!

 


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier | Book Review

Posted November 24, 2014 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier | Book ReviewRebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Published by Avon on 1938
Genres: Classic Novel, Mystery, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 448
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...

Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers...

Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

This classic romantic suspense tale is one I have heard of since I was a little girl. It’s one of the first books my mom bought me when I showed an interest in reading romances. It has been described to me as being “amazing” or “haunting” or “creepy” or “exciting”. Needless to say, my expectations were extremely high. I wanted to feel utterly captivated and submerged in this tale just like my mom was in high school. Of course, a classic novel is hard to review. Everything has been said over and over again. So I’m just going to take a few moments to write down my thoughts and experiences with this book, probably the most anticipated novel of my life.

My mom and I decided to buddy read this together during the month of October because we felt it would be fun to discuss it and then watch the Alfred Hitchcock movie on Halloween.

I have owned a paperback copy of Rebecca for a very long time, but the print is super tiny and close together, so I would start it and then my eyes would hurt and I’d quit it. When it came out on Kindle I was so excited because I could finally read comfortably. But WOW is this book long! It took me an hour to get through 5%, which means this book is LONG. The first chapter, which is about 4% of the book is full of descriptions of trees and flowers. It moves very slowly.

The writing is very pretty and feels super historic (obviously), and I really enjoyed the ominous feeling throughout the story. I had to continually remind myself that this is a classic, though. It’s old. It was not written this year or last year or ten years ago. I kept getting super annoyed with the second Mrs. de Winters because she was so frail and fragile and a complete pushover. And I kept getting annoyed with how petty some of the other characters were (Maxim’s relatives, for instance). But this is how life was. Men were domineering, women were submissive, and gossip and pettiness filled shallow conversations. Re-compartmentalizing Rebecca helped me make allowances, though, and I did enjoy seeing Mrs. de Winters find herself. She did eventually settle in to the role she was pretending to fill. And she owned it.

When I think romantic suspense, I think nail-biting, edge of your seat, can’t sleep at night suspense. I kept hoping for the story to get scary or tense. There were creepy moments, but I feel like a lot of good has been done with the genre since Rebecca was written. I can’t think of instances where I was more pleased with the suspense. And really, the same goes for the romance. I could hardly call it romance. It was more of a young girl infatuated with an older man who wanted to be infatuated with her too, but was too preoccupied to do it right. He acted more like a father than a lover, patting her on the head and patronizing her. But again, I think this was common back then. Life has changed, and I would never fault du Maurier for portraying contemporary times. And in all honesty, I did grow accustomed to their weird little relationship when I realized that this entire book was groundbreaking when it was written.

The ending left me very underwhelmed. I wanted more details, more explanations, more of a climax. I closed the book feeling unsettled and disappointed. My mom did not love Rebecca this time, like she did in high school. I think my main problem here is that the hype made this book seem like so much more than it ever could have been. We all know what hype can do to a book if your opinion of it is anything less than “I LOVED IT MORE THAN I LOVE YOU”. You’re left feeling more disappointed than you would have been otherwise. It’s even worse when the hype has been consistent for over 75 years. There was no way Rebecca was going to live up to my expectations. And when I think realistically and separate myself from my expectations, I find that I did enjoy the book. It’s the first adult classic I’ve ever read, and I have been wanting to read it for a very long time. I now know the story, and I know what everyone is talking about. I think literature has changed so much that new ideals have been formed. But what’s a world without change?


Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare | Mini Book Review

Posted July 9, 2014 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 13 Comments

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare | Mini Book ReviewRomancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #1
Also in this series: Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot
Published by Avon on January 28, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 370
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
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.

This book is a very sweet, funny romance filled with sharp wit and awkward moments. I loved our bookish heroine, Izzy, who has lived her entire life in the shadow of her late father’s famous stories. As soon as she and the duke met, I knew I would be in for a very fun ride. These two have the best banter, and really know how to push one another’s buttons. Izzy inherits the duke’s castle, and he is NOT happy about it. But she is determined to stay in her new home and add a feminine touch to it before kicking him out. I love it! I really loved her spunk and her desire to stand up for herself. She’s not the typical historical romance heroine who lays down and takes it. She pushes right back. She’s such a good sport dealing with the extremely devoted fans of her father’s stories, who are a very eccentric and borderline insane. But I loved that too.

The duke is a really great hero because, even though he’s blind, he still acts as cocky and entitled as if he weren’t. It was pretty hilarious and interesting at the same time. I loved seeing him fall for Izzy’s personality and her inner beauty, rather than lusting after her looks. This is also a very uncommon thing in historical romances, and I found it to be a very exciting story element. He’s very romantic and thoughtful, and I could not help but smile at his bluntness. He loves trying to make Izzy blush. It worked on me!

Overall, Romancing the Duke was a sweet love story with a memorable couple. I’m excited to see where Tessa Dare takes this series next!

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