Review: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Posted August 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: A Duke by Default by Alyssa ColeReviewer: Rowena
A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2) by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #2
Published by Avon
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

I finally read my first Alyssa Cole book and it did not disappoint. I’ve been hearing such great things about her writing so I’ve been meaning to try her out for a while but I kept getting distracted by other books and other authors but I will not overlook another Alyssa Cole book because I really enjoyed Tavish McKenzie and Portia Hobbs romance.

I’m not going to lie, what drew my attention to this book was the cover and the dress that Portia is wearing. That’s a gorgeous dress so I immediately wanted to read this one because of that alone. Alyssa Cole was blessed by the cover Gods and I’m happy to report that she is also blessed with the gift of writing. I had a blast with this book. I didn’t read the first book but my enjoyment of this book didn’t suffer because of that. I do have plans to go back and read the first book because I liked Ledi and Thabiso in this one enough to want to read their love story.

So this story follows Portia Hobbs as she travels from New York to Scotland to be the apprentice of a swordmaker. She’s trying to get her life together because she needs to and she is through being irresponsible and the party girl. She’s cleaning up her act and the first step to her new and improved life is to be the best damn apprentice that Tavish McKenzie has ever had. She’s low key excited to learn all that she can and isn’t going to let her grumpy ass boss get in the way of her growing as a person.

Tav McKenzie is trying to stay afloat. His business isn’t doing as well as usual and he’s stretched thin trying to be everything and do everything for everyone. His brother Jamie thinks he needs help and help comes in the form of a young woman that he’s very attracted to and doesn’t have the time or inclination to act on that attraction. The desire doesn’t go away and the more time that he spends with Portia, the more he realizes that there is more than meets the eye and he likes her more and more. When they stumble on the fact that Tav is the rightful Duke of Edinburgh, Tav is thrown. He’s a small town lad who has no business trying to be a fancy duke but with Portia’s help, he realizes that he can make good things happen for everyone who is struggling in his town and everywhere else. That’s not something that Tav can exactly walk away from.

Tav and Portia’s romance was a good one. It was fun, it was sweet and I really enjoyed Cole’s writing style. She wrote characters that charmed the socks right off of me and I’m super glad that I read this. There were times when I wanted to smack both Tav and Portia upside their head for being boneheads about small things but overall, this was an enjoyable romance and I recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a fun and sweet romance.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Reluctant Royals


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Weekly Wrap Up: August 6 – August 12, 2018

Posted August 12, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaway Winners, Giveaways | 1 Comment

Here’s what you missed this week on Book Binge…

What We Reviewed

Tracy reviewed More or Less a Countess by Anna Bradley | 3.75 out of 5
Casee reviewed Shadowed by Rebecca Zanetti | 4.5 out of 5
Rowena reviewed Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison | 3.0 out of 5
Holly and Rowena reviewed Hot Single Dad by Claire Kingsley | 3.5 & 4 out of 5
Casee reviewed Sustained by Emma Chase | 4 out of 5
Tracy reviewed The Breakup by Erin McCarthy | 3.75 out of 5
Casee retro-review of Dark Warrior Unleashed by Alexis Morgan | 3.75 out of 5
Holly reviewed Midnight Valentine by J.T. Geissinger | 2.75 out of 5

What We Posted

What Are You Reading? (+ Christine Warren Giveaway)
WTF Cover Saturday (272)
Sunday Spotlight: The Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Current Giveaways

Sunday Spotlight: August 2018

What Are You Reading? (+ Christine Warren Giveaway)

Monthly Reads: July 2018

Giveaway Winners

We have some winners to announce this week! Congratulations to the following…

Diane

What are You Reading? (+ Lynsay Sands Giveaway)

Winners: An email will be sent to you shortly. Please let us know where you would like us to send your prize. You have two weeks to get back to us before we choose another winner. Check back on Sundays to see if you’re a winner in one of our giveaways.

That does it for this week’s weekly wrap up. How was your week in books? Hear any book news that you’d like to share? Get any new books you want to share? Review any books we should check out? Please share.


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Sunday Spotlight: The Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Posted August 12, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: The Serpentine by Laurell K. HamiltonSerpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake #26
Also in this series: Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 496
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Goodreads

Vampire hunter Anita Blake has managed to overcome everything she faces. But this time there's a monster that even she doesn't know how to fight...

A remote Florida island is the perfect wedding destination for the upcoming nuptials of Anita's fellow U.S. Marshal and best friend Edward. For Anita, the vacation is a welcome break, as it's the first trip she gets to take with wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel. But it's not all fun and games and bachelor parties...

In this tropical paradise Micah discovers a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be the result of an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.

When long-simmering resentment leads to a big blowout within the wedding party, the last thing Anita needs is more drama. But it finds her anyway when women start disappearing from the hotel, and worse--her own friends and lovers are considered the prime suspects. There's a strange power afoot that Anita has never confronted before, a force that's rendering those around her helpless in its thrall. Unable to face it on her own, Anita is willing to accept help from even the deadliest places. Help that she will most certainly regret--if she survives at all, that is...

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

Donna’s hand hesitated above my arm, as if she was going to touch the claw marks just below the burn. The scars from the shapeshifted witch made the cross a little crooked. Edward hadn’t been there for that wound. I’d been working with the police on my own that time, before I had a badge and was officially on the job myself, back when I’d just been a vampire executioner, consulting with the police. Edward had just been Edward, cold-blooded assassin who specialized in killing monsters, both human and otherwise. I hadn’t even known he had a legal identity as Ted Forrester, bounty hunter. Now we were both U.S. Marshals with the Preternatural Branch. We did the same job legally and for Edward, for far less money.

She pointed vaguely at the small slick scar on the side of my arm, and then the thin, almost dainty scar on my right arm that was barely noticeable. “I know that’s a bullet graze and that’s a knife wound, because Ted has similar ones.” She looked at me, her brown eyes going large in her tanned face. She looked suddenly younger, or more innocent, as if I got a glimpse of what she might have looked like at fifteen. “I stopped asking about where the other scars come from, because Ted told me the truth and they were almost all stories like the werewolf attack that killed my first husband, except that Ted goes out hunting the monsters. The monster that killed Frank broke into our house. It was a once-in-a-lifetime tragedy, but Ted and you go out looking for it.”

“We hunt rogue vampires and lycanthropes that have murdered people. We keep people safe by killing the things that kill them.”

She nodded, biting her lower lip, the frown lines deep between her eyes. There was real fear in them. Maybe she was remembering the death of her first husband, and that was probably in the mix of terror, but I thought it was more anticipating future tragedy than dwelling on the past. I looked into Donna’s eyes and saw the fear that every time the man she loved left for work, he might not come back. I could tell her that he was more likely to die in a car crash, or from a dozen innocent household accidents, than be eaten by monsters, but it wouldn’t help the emotions I saw in her eyes.

“I know you and Ted save lives. I know you keep other families safe from the monsters. I know that.”

I reached out and touched her arm. “You know that Ted is the best, the absolute best at this job.”

She nodded again, a little too fast and a little too often. “He says the same about you.” She grabbed my hand where it touched her arm and held on. “I always feel better when you’re with him, because he says you’re the best, next to him.”

“He helped train me, so he’s still complimenting himself.” I smiled when I said it and got a weak smile in return.

“I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to him,” she said. She started tearing up. I hugged her because I didn’t know what else to do, but apparently it was the wrong thing, because she started crying harder, clinging to me like she was really going to start sobbing. Fuck, what did I do now? How did I make her feel better about one of the truths of our job?

She went very still in my arms, and the crying slowed. She pushed away with her face still wet with tears and asked, “What’s on your back?”

“Nothing,” I said.

“I felt it.”

I half turned and she touched the edge of the place where a vampire servant had tried to drive one of my own wooden stakes into my back. It was low on my back, and they’d just tried to shove the stake in without using a mallet. It doesn’t work that way in real life, not if you’re only human-strong, anyway. Lucky for me it had just been a human in league with the vampire I’d been hunting, and not a vampire.

“That’s one of your own stakes driven into you, isn’t it?” she asked. She wasn’t crying anymore, so it was better, right?

“Yeah,” I said.

“Ted has one like it; that’s why I know what it is. You know it’s right there.” She touched the side of my hip where bathing suits and underwear covered.

“I’ve never seen that one.”

“Oh,” she said, and looked confused.

“I’ve never seen Ted nude, so I missed that one.”

There was a derisive snort, half laugh and half just rude noise, from the other side of the dress rack. Dixie, one of Donna’s oldest friends and a bridesmaid, came into view.

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: August 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Laurell K. Hamilton

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Laurell Kaye Hamilton (born February 19, 1963) is an American multi-genre writer. She is best known as the author of two series of stories, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and Merry Gentry.

Her New York Times-bestselling Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series centers on Anita Blake, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner and supernatural consultant for the police, which includes novels, short story collections, and comic books. Six million copies of Anita Blake novels are in print. Her New York Times-bestselling Merry Gentry series centers on Meredith Gentry, Princess of the Unseelie court of Faerie, a private detective facing repeated assassination attempts.

Both fantasy series follow their protagonists as they gain in power and deal with the dangerous “realities” of worlds in which creatures of legend live.

Laurell was born in rural Arkansas but grew up in northern Indiana with her grandmother. Her education includes degrees in English and biology from Marion College (now called Indiana Wesleyan University).


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What Are You Reading? (+ Christine Warren Giveaway)

Posted August 10, 2018 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 5 Comments

WAYR-New

Casee: I just finished Alpha and Omega, which is the prequel to Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs. I started Cry Wolf last night and am really enjoying it so far. These are two of the books Holly picked for me in the Summer Reading Challenge. I’ve been really lucky with most of the books Holly and Rowena picked for me so I almost feel bad that Holly hated disliked Raphael by D.B. Reynolds. (H: You should feel bad for the JRW book. Shudder)

Holly: I did a lot of re-reading this week. I didn’t have a lot of dedicated reading time and I prefer re-reads when I know I own’t be able to focus. I re-read Play it Safe, Complicated, The Time in Between and Wild Man by Kristen Ashley and The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan. The only new-to-me book I read this week was The Chase by Elle Kennedy. I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, but it was really good to get back to Briar U.

I’m currently listening to When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare. I fell behind in my Tessa Dare reading during my historical hiatus. I’m excited I have so many of her books to look forward to.

Rowena: This week, I finished up Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard and really enjoyed that one even though it’s hella dated and then I read The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby and enjoyed that one too. The Other Side of Lost made me cry but boy did it also make me take stock of my life and how I’m living. It was a great coming of age novel by Jessi Kirby and I’m super glad that I read it.

Now, I’m reading Down with Love by Kate Meader and I’m not far into it but I’m looking forward to getting it read so that I can keep chugging along on my review pile. I’m so behind and I’m scrambling to keep up. Wish me luck!

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Christine Warren Giveaway)Hard Breaker (Gargoyles #6) by Christine Warren
Series: Gargoyles #6
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 336
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

From New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren comes the sixth book in her red-hot romance series in which even the most beastly gargoyle is able to win the heart of a beautiful human woman.

Ivy Beckett has a special gift. She can hear voices, feel events, and receive messages from great distances. Which is also a curse. The moment her family is killed by the servants of the Darkness, she knows it. And the only way to fight these evil forces is to align her powers with a Guardian. A legendary warrior of stone who strikes fear in her heart―and fire in her soul…

Baen is a fierce and powerful gargoyle who has sworn to protect all humans from the Darkness. But when this mighty winged warrior swoops down to rescue Ivy from the jaws of death, he is drawn into a battle that is more dangerous―and more intimate―than he ever bargained for. The beautiful, gifted Ivy touches something deep within him, an all-consuming passion that puts both their lives at risk. Can he conquer the armies of evil itself . . . without losing the woman he loves?

 
 
 

What Are You Reading: Hard Breaker

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!


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