Publisher: Avon

Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Posted September 1, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa DareReviewer: Rowena
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1)
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 22nd 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-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…

The Duchess Deal is the first book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series and I adored this book. It’s got Dare’s classic humor and seriously, her writing style never fails to wrap me up in feels.

This book follows the Duke of Ashbury as he marries Emma Gladstone, a young woman down on her luck but determined to brave things out. Ash thinks it’s fate that brought them together since he had literally just written down that he needed a wife and a woman comes into his office dressed as a bride. How can they not be together, right? Sure, the dress is hideous but with his scarred face from the war, beggars can’t be choosers.

From beginning to end, I was locked up in feels. This is probably one of the more swooniest Tessa Dare books that I’ve ever read and I just thought the writing style, the pacing, and just everything was spot on. Aside from the feels, this book was funny. Both the hero and the heroine have such great dialogue together. I loved seeing them bicker back and forth until feelings emerged between them and I really enjoyed their story as a whole.

Ash was such a surly hero and I thought that I would not like him because he was such a bulldozer. He went out of his way to be mean and sarcastic and even though there were times when I wanted to kick him, I still loved the hell out of him. There’s a balance to his character that really worked for me and Dare could have easily crossed the line with his character but doesn’t. For me, he was the right amount of mean and swoon-worthy that I was able to see past his shortcomings.

Emma was a fantastic heroine that I completely connected with. Her fierce determination to make it in a world that isn’t easy for women to succeed in was admirable. I loved seeing her figure things out, make the best of her situation, fight for what she thought was right and I really loved seeing her go toe to toe with Ash. She stood her ground when it was needed but she wasn’t hard.

I thought the romance between Ash and Emma was a lot steamier than what I’m used from Tessa Dare. I loved it. I loved seeing them grow to love each other and I really enjoyed seeing them work toward their happy ending. It wasn’t easy but man was it worth it.

This is another winner for me. Tessa Dare really know what she’s doing with writing these historical romances. She writes all around fantastic romances with characters that are strong and memorable. I’m eager for the next book in this series. I totally recommend this book.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: White Hot by Ilona Andrews

Posted August 25, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: White Hot by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #2
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot
Published by Avon
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 389
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars


The Hidden Legacy series by #1
New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …

White Hot has been a long time coming. It’s been years since Burn for Me, book 1, was released. White Hot picks up right where Burn for Me left off. I would definitely recommend reading them in order.

Nevada Baylor’s detective agency has been hired by the son of a Prime (major magical user) to find out who was responsible for his wife’s murder. During the course of the investigation Nevada crosses paths with Connor “Mad” Rogan, another Prime and her current attraction. They worked together on another case, but then Rogan walked away without a backward glance. That was two months ago. Nevada needs to keep her family under the radar as much as possible, because her powers are unique and will put them all in danger if they’re discovered. Starting a romance – or anything else – with a Prime of Rogan’s notoriety is a terrible idea, but as the case develops she realizes she needs his help. Not that he’s giving her a choice. His people were murdered, too, and he’s determined to find out what happened to them, whether she likes it or not.

As Connor and Nevada race to uncover the plot behind the murders, Nevada’s life starts spiraling out of control. She finds herself turning to Connor more and more, both personally and professionally. When push comes to shove she realizes Connor will always have her back…

Andrews excels at writing complex, layered stories with excellent world-building and fabulous characters. This was no exception. I was a bit concerned the quality would suffer for the long delay between releases, but that wasn’t the case. The romance really ramps up in this one, with Connor and Nevada coming together more and more as the novel progresses. I absolutely loved them both, and I was so glad to see them solidify as a couple.

My mind boggles at the sheer imagination this author possesses. Where do they even get this stuff? However they do it, I don’t care as long as they don’t stop. Nevada, her family, “Mad” Rogan and the full cast of characters really come to life. I fell right into the story and didn’t come up until the book ended.

There’s a lot happening, but the writing is so seamless and smooth I was never confused or overwhelmed. While I may enjoy the Innkeeper Chronicles just a bit more, this is such a fabulous series.

White Hot is a perfect example of why everyone should be reading Ilona Andrews.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Retro Review: Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot.

Posted August 23, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro Review: Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot.Reviewer: Rowena
Queen of Babble in the Big City (Queen of Babble #2) by Meg Cabot
Series: Queen of Babble #2
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: June 26th 2007
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Lizzie Nichols is back, pounding the New York City pavement and looking for a job, a place to live, and her proper place in the universe (not necessarily in that order).

When "Summer Fling" Luke uses the L word (Living Together), Lizzie is only too happy to give up her plan of being postgrad roomies with best friend, Shari, in a one-room walk-up in exchange for cohabitation with the love of her life in his mother's Fifth Avenue pied-à-terre, complete with doorman and resident Renoir.

But Lizzie's not as lucky in her employment search. As Shari finds the perfect job, Lizzie struggles through one humiliating interview after another, being judged overqualified for the jobs in her chosen field—vintage-gown rehab—and underqualified for everything else. It's Shari's boyfriend Chaz to the rescue when he recommends Lizzie for a receptionist's position at his father's posh law firm. The nonpaying gig at a local wedding-gown shop Lizzie manages to land all on her own.

But Lizzie's notoriously big mouth begins to get her into trouble at work and at home almost at once—first at the law firm, where she becomes too chummy with Jill Higgins, a New York society bride with a troublesome future mother-in-law, and then back on Fifth Avenue, when she makes the mistake of bringing up the M word (Marriage) with commitment-shy Luke.

Soon Lizzie finds herself jobless as well as homeless all over again. Can Lizzie save herself—and the hapless Jill—and find career security (not to mention a mutually satisfying committed relationship) at last?

****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.****

Rowena: Oh man, this series. I have fond memories of the first time that I read this series. It was at the recommendation of my friend Lexi (a friend that I haven’t spoken to in such a long time) and she was head over heels in love with Luke but me? I was Team Chaz. Hahahaha, I totally won that one because Chaz was awesome and so was this book.

This review was originally posted on March 12, 2008

Alright, this is the second book in the Queen of Babble series and I was not disappointed in the least.

Lizzie is back and she’s living in New York, almost going to really graduate from college and she’s living with her boyfriend from the first book, Luke Di Villiers, the very hot and very rich Luke Di Villiers. She’s jobless but determined to pay her part of the rent (and it doesn’t even matter that they don’t have to pay rent because it’s Luke’s Mom’s apartment.) She wants to work in the dress refurbishing business but she can’t get hired to save her life but then she does get a job at Monsieur Henri’s shop but she’s not getting paid to work there so she needs to find a paying job so that she can keep this non paying job that she really really wants.

And in true Lizzie fashion, she makes things happen.

Her and Luke are getting along and she’s loving her life..only not everyone in their life feels the same way. Chaz and Shari (Luke’s best friend and Lizzie’s best friend) are fighting all the time and on the verge of breaking up and then they do break up and things get crazy after all of that. I can’t say why everything gets crazy because you have to read for yourself but I will say that Meg Cabot delivers another winner for me to read through because I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I loved the storyline, I loved seeing what happened to Luke and Lizzie after they left France, I loved seeing Lizzie make things happen for herself in the Big Apple and I loved seeing my new crush…Chaz.

My friend Lexi is madly in love with Luke Di Villiers and I love him too but I won’t fight her for him because my heart belongs to Charles Pendergrast who cleans up nicely in a monkey suit. Chaz has such a big heart and he’s got so much love to give that he just gives and gives and gives. He’s the perfect boyfriend and I want to see him with the lead in his own series, so Meg Cabot if by chance you’re reading this review, please make that happen…please let Chaz find his happy ending with …a brunette from the islands named Rowena, she’s got a sparkling personality and a love of reading and I’ll read and discuss any hot damn thing Chaz would like to discuss because I heart him…for real. =)

This book was well-written, at the end of the book, loose ends were tied and everything ended really neatly…well if you don’t count the way the book ends, but that just leaves questions for the next and sigh final book to answer.

I can’t wait to see what happens with Chaz, with Luke and Lizzie and with just about every hot damn body….this book was really good and I can’t wait to read the next one!

Must read next book NOW!

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Posted August 21, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa DareReviewer: Tracy
The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal
Published by Avon
Publication Date: August 22nd 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-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…

The Duke of Ashbury is contemplating his upcoming marriage and how he’ell go about finding a bride when Emma Gladstone, seamstress, walks into his study in a wedding gown.  She’s fearless when she asks him for payment for the dress.  His former fiancé had ordered the dress but when she broke her engagement to the Duke she refused to pay for it.  While Ashbury is proposing marriage, Emma is trying her hardest to just get the money so that she can get out of there, which she finally does.

The Duke, however, doesn’t give up on Emma and soon their actually married.  There are a couple of reasons that Emma wants to marry the Duke and one of those is to help her friend who is single but finds herself in the family way.  She figures once she get pregnant and the Duke sends her off to the country house she’ll take her friend with her and then the girl can give the child up for adoption.  Simple.  Yeah, not so simple.  Emma doesn’t get pregnant right away and then if seems as if the Duke won’t send her to the country after all.  On top of that Emma finds herself falling in love with the growly man and doesn’t want to be sent away.  But how can she stay with the man she loves and still help her friend?  Emma will find a way.

This was a great story, I must say.  I love Dare’s writing and I love the sense of humor that she instills in her characters.  In this book Ashbury has a very dry wit and he never hesitates to bring it forth.  I loved the banter between Ash and Emma and wanted more and more.

Emma’s plan to help her friend seemed a little feeble to start off with but her intentions were good.  She’d been kicked out by her father just by being caught with a man – she was afraid of what her friend would go through if she told about the baby.  I could understand why she did it but it still seemed a bit pie in the sky but she had a good heart.

Ash had been hurt and burned in the war and had hidden himself away.  He was jilted by his fiancé who couldn’t bear to look at him and that’s where he ended up coming up with the “rules” that he gives Emma.  Once he’s with her his thoughts fly away and he wants to keep her closer – he falls in love.  The pair of them have some oh-so-steamy sex and wow – Dare was in top form when she wrote those scenes.  Wow.

Overall the book had all the things I like – humor, witty banter, serious situations and great sex.  What more could I ask for?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Posted August 11, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Tracy
Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #3
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring
Published by Avon
Publication Date: February 21st 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 370
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy—and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven...

Business minded Pandora has no desire to get married.  She wants to be an independent woman and she’s doing that with the help of her brother-in-law, Rhys Winterbourne.  She makes board games and plans to build factories and employ lots of women.  If she got married she’d have to give up all control and money earned and she’s not about to do that. She hangs out at balls during her first season making up excuses to avoid dancing with men.  Unfortunately she gets caught in what is considered a compromising position with Lord St. Vincent and can’t seem to get out of it.

Gabriel isn’t thrilled with the thought of getting married and of course Pandora keeps telling him no.  The more he gets to know her, however, the more he thinks that being married to her would be amazing and he soon falls in love with her.  Pandora puts up a fight until the end but her heart is soon just as engaged as Gabriel’s.

This was a sweet romantic story.  Pandora is brusque and pushy but I truly admired her drive and ambition.  I know that wasn’t something that was admired back then but that made me like her even more.

Gabriel was a great character.  He is the son of Evie and Sebastian (from Devil in Winter) and has a good head on his shoulders.  He soon sees that Pandora isn’t like any other women and that’s a good thing, in his mind. He even goes so far as to get a dispensation from the Archbishop of Canterbury to have the word “obey” stricken from their marriage ceremony.  🙂

There was a bit of a mystery plot (I guess you’d call it mystery – maybe terrorist?) that was a bit odd.  It had to do with a printer that Pandora went to see about one of her board games.  I kind of felt that it was put in there just to put the heroine in peril and have us meet the detective, Ethan Ransom, (that may or may be attached to the Ravenels in some way) and that did nothing for me.  It ended up being a bit out there but wrapped up nicely.

Overall I really liked the book a lot.  I liked the characters and the romance and that was the main focus.  I’m anxious to see what the next book in the series brings.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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