Tag: Avon

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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Guest Review: Born to Be Wilde by Eloisa James

Posted July 24, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Born to Be Wilde by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Tracy
Born to Be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindow Castle #3) by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #3
Also in this series: Wilde in Love, Too Wilde to Wed
Published by Avon
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

The richest bachelor in England plays matchmaker…for an heiress he wants for himself!

For beautiful, witty Lavinia Gray, there's only one thing worse than having to ask the appalling Parth Sterling to marry her: being turned down by him.

Now the richest bachelor in England, Parth is not about to marry a woman as reckless and fashion-obsessed as Lavinia; he's chosen a far more suitable bride.

But when he learns of Lavinia's desperate circumstances, he offers to find her a husband. Even better, he'll find her a prince.

As usual, there's no problem Parth can't fix. But the more time he spends with the beguiling Lavinia, the more he finds himself wondering…

Why does the woman who's completely wrong feel so right in his arms?

Lavinia has had a thing for Parth since she met him.  Sure, she’s managed to tell herself that it’s really nothing to get excited about but when she proposes marriage to him in order to save her family’s finances, and he turns her down, she realizes her feelings were deeper than she thought.  She’s hurt by his refusal and even more hurt when she hears that he’s courting an Italian Contessa and plans to ask her to marry him.

Lavinia bounces back by going to London with Parth’s adoptive aunt and Willa, once her mother’s ward. While putting together Willa’s trousseau and arranging dresses for the Duchess and family.  She’s offered commission from the fabric seller and modistes in order to get the Wilde’s outfitted.  She realizes that she can make money doing what she loved.  Yes, she loves bonnets and shoes and fabric and clothing, but what woman doesn’t? Right?

While Lavinia knows that Parth doesn’t think much of her, Parth is thinking he things too much of her.  He’s had a thing for Lavinia for years and though he thought he wanted the Contessa he realizes that he won’t be happy with anyone but Lavinia.

This was another great story in The Wildes of Lindow Castle series. I really liked Parth and loved reading about his story.  The fact that the Wildes’ took him in when his family died was touching and heart-breaking.  I wish that he hadn’t been so harsh with Lavinia at first but the man didn’t know his own mind.  He made up for it as the book went on.

Lavinia…I liked her but her self-esteem issues started to wear on me after a while.  I was happy to see her strong and loving what she was doing with the clothing, but that undertone of “woe is me” just got old.  I was very happy when she stood up to Parth and told him how she felt.  That was an awesome scene.

Overall this was a lovely romance and I highly recommend it.  Actually, if you haven’t started the series you should do so NOW.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Wildes of Lindow Castle

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Posted July 22, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 7 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

I’m going to be completely honest with you. I had never read anything by Alyssa Cole before and what drew me to this book was the heroine’s dress. I want that dress. It’s a gorgeous dress and so is the heroine so that colorful cover with the gorgeous people and the pretty dress is what brought this book onto my radar. Then I read the blurb and yeah, it sounds like all kinds of fun and the early reviews have been pretty good so count me all the way in.

Sunday Spotlight: A Duke by Default by Alyssa ColeA Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2) by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #2
Also in this series: A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2)
Published by Avon
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

What was he doing? With his apprentice? In the courtyard?

She was right to pull away from him. “I’m sorry,” he said, yanking his hand
back.

“You should be,” she said. “I have very sensitive skin.” Then she pressed up on her toes and kissed him.

The kiss was not what he’d imagined. Because, of course, he’d imagined kissing her, and in his mind she had been aggressive and take charge, pulling him down and wrapping her legs around him. But this kiss was hesitant, though she’d initiated it, soft and just a whisper of sensitive skin rubbing over sensitive skin as if she was prepared to pull away and run off at any second.

Can’t be having that, can we?

Tav’s arms slipped around her waist and pulled her up flush against him.

From the book, DUKE BY DEFAULT. Copyright ©2018 by Alyssa Cole. Reprinted by permission of Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Well, hello there Tav. Got me over here looking like:

Reluctant Royals

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: July 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

Alyssa Cole

WEBSITE || TWITTER || GOODREADS

Alyssa Cole is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who splits her time between fast-paced NYC and island-paced life in the Caribbean.

In addition to writing, she has hosted a romance book club and taught romance writing at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC. When she’s not busy writing, traveling, and learning French, she can be found watching cat videos on the Internet with her real-life romance hero.


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Guest Review: The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan

Posted July 18, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie JordanReviewer: Tracy
The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan
Series: The Rogue Files #3
Also in this series: While the Duke Was Sleeping
Published by Avon
Publication Date: July 24, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

A bride wasn’t in his plans . . .

The last thing Marcus, the Duke of Autenberry, expects to see after sleeping off a night’s drunken shenanigans is a woman being auctioned in the village square. Before he can think about the ramifications, he buys her, thinking he’s winning the girl her freedom. Instead, he discovers he’s bought a wife.

A duke wasn’t in hers . . .

Alyse Bell is almost rid of the shackles that bound her in a name-only marriage, but the day her friend promised to purchase her in a wife auction, he vanishes, leaving her to face a mob of unsavory bachelors intent on owning her body and soul. But the appearance of a wicked, wealthy stranger changes her path forever.

The road to ruin . . .

Marcus doesn’t know what to do with the impertinent chit who clearly isn’t duchess material! Insisting their marriage isn’t legitimate, they leave for his estate in Scotland, hoping to devise a plan to get rid of each other. However, on a journey fraught with misadventure, their attraction grows and Marcus realizes he’ll do anything to keep this fiery woman for his own.

Marcus, the Duke of Autenberry, has gotten out of London and he’s more or less wandering the countryside trying to escape his woes. (I’m assuming his woes occurred in previous books but I didn’t read the previous books so I’m not sure.) He comes upon a village green one day and sees that there is an auction – of a woman!  He’s disgusted by the proceedings and when it looks like a disgusting man might get the girl, he bids a ridiculous amount and wins her for himself.  He doesn’t realize that this is a bride auction.  By buying her he is now her husband.  Of course he denies that with everything he is and sets off with the girl to his estate in the Highlands.  He says he’ll make her his housekeeper and pay her well.

Alyse’s dad died when she was just 14 years old – seven years ago.  He made an arrangement with a man with a ton of children for Alyse to marry him and take care of his kids in exchange for taking care of Alyse.  While she’s technically been his wife for years she’s really been a servant, raising his kids and taking care of his house.  The bride auction is a way to “divorce” her current husband and marry her long-time friend, Yardley.  Only when they arrive at the auction they find that Yardley high-tailed it out of town first thing that morning.  Alyse is devastated and tries to stop the auction but her husband has his eye on another woman so she’s out of luck.  When this man, Marcus, buys her she’s not sure what will happen but she figures she’ll take him up on his offer of a living as a housekeeper, save money and then become an independent woman.

As Alyse and Marcus travel they talk and find out more about each other, although Alyse doesn’t know he’s a duke.  Despite Marcus’s determination to stay away from Alyse he finds that he can’t manage it.  He’s desperately attracted to her.  Of course this causes him to be hot and cold with her and that’s frustrating for both of them.

This was a good story.  I liked so much of it and the whole premise grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.  I had no idea when I started reading that wife selling was actually a thing back in the late 17th century and continued on until the 19th century.  I understand only the extremely wealthy could get an actual divorce, but I had no idea this was a way of going about getting rid of your wife.  Yikes.  From what I read this was actually a mutual agreement between husband and wife, and the wife had a final say in who purchased her (it was also illegal).  In this book, she didn’t have a choice so therein lies our story.

Marcus was a bit of an ass at times but I liked him anyway.  Alyse was pretty fierce for being sold like chattel but she held her own and I liked her inner strength.  There was a time when a clan interfered in the story and I thought that Alyse acted ridiculously but there you have it.

I thought the story had some occasions where it dragged but overall I enjoyed the story and recommend it.

Rating: 3.5/4 out of 5

The Rogue Files

three-half-stars


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Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Posted July 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 396
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

When Wicked Comes Calling...

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain...

Bastard son of a duke and king of London's dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion...

But there's nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she'd rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil's carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted...and the only thing he's ever desired.

Sarah MacLean has a new series out and Wicked and the Wallflower is the first book from the The Bareknuckled Bastards series. The series follows a family of siblings that have one thing in common. They’re all linked to a Duke and they’re all bastards. Devon, aka Devil is the eldest of the bunch and this story features him and Felicity Faircloth.

If you read The Day of the Duchess, you’ll remember Felicity as one of the debutantes who was competing to become the next Duchess of Haven. I was hoping that she’d get her story told and I was thrilled to hear that she was the heroine in this book. She was just as wonderful as I hoped she’d be and her hero was one for the books. Their story was a memorable one and I’ll be thinking of that scene where Devil puts everyone on Covent Garden on notice where Felicity Faircloth is concerned. The way that he clicks his cane on the ground and just announces how things are to the dark and everyone in the dark was thrilling at the same time that it was freaking sexy.

Sarah MacLean worked her magic on me with this book because I thought the entire thing was engaging, the characters were compelling and I was thoroughly charmed throughout the entire book. I’m mighty intrigued with Whit but I’m also looking forward to more Ewan and Grace…because damn, drama much? I’m so here for it.

There were a few times when I wanted to junk punch Devil because the lengths that he went through to stop Ewan put Felicity in harm’s way and even though it all ends well, that left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth but still, this book was great. Felicity’s family was something else but I remember the Mom from Sera and Malcolm’s book so I wasn’t that surprised that the rest of her family were low key shady to her.

Overall, I really enjoyed getting to know both Devil and Felicity. I loved seeing Devil fall deeper and deeper in love with Felicity as the story wore on, much to his chagrin because he couldn’t do what he needed to do to keep his promises from the past if he cared so much about Felicity but dude, how can you not care about Felicity? She freaking rocks. I loved that they loved each other exactly how they are and I adored how good Felicity was at picking locks and how Devil just seemed to roll with whatever Felicity threw his way.

This was a great book with great characters and a story that you’ll fall in love with. I’m sure of it. There is so much goodness in this one that you won’t want to miss it. I promise.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Bareknuckle Bastards

four-stars


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