Tag: Historical

Review: The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

Posted August 22, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Wallflower Wager by Tessa DareReviewer: Rowena
The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #3
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal , The Duchess Deal, The Governess Game
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he's just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

The Wallflower Wager is the third book in the Girl Meets Duke series by Tessa Dare and it features the heroines from the previous two books friend, Lady Penelope “Penny” Campion. Penny has lived on her own for a while now, in a house that has been good to her. She has been able to help needy animals in need of tender and loving care. Her heart is just as generous as the home where she keeps all of the animals in her care. There’s a parrot with a colorful language, a dog, an otter, a hedgehog, and well…you get the idea. She would have continued to live the loving, spinster life if her Aunt hadn’t shown up on her doorstep, letting her know that if she doesn’t make an effort to get herself hitched in the next little while, she’ll be forced to move in with her brother and her brother’s family. Not only will Penny have to show some progress in getting married, but she’ll also have to give up all of her animals and while that will help solve all of Gabriel Duke, aka The Duke of Ruin’s plans, he needs Penny to stay as much as he needs her animals to go so that he can turn a profit on selling the house next door to Penny’s.

Penny needs his help finding homes for all of her animal charges and he needs her to stay put because lots of hob nobs would love to buy a house right next door from a Lady and Gabriel is determined that Penny is that Lady.

Right from the very beginning, Gabriel is attracted to Penny. He can’t understand why she’s still single, being as pretty as she is but the more he gets to know her, the stranger she seems and the more he likes her. He starts to care for Penny almost immediately and he loves her soft heart, her bright outlook and her caring nature. All of the things that are so foreign to him, yet every day, he’s drawn more and more to this woman that keeps digging herself deeper and deeper into his life.

Tessa Dare continues to shine with every single book that she writes. I absolutely adored the previous books in this series and that didn’t let up with this one. Gabriel and Penny were a lovely couple that captured my attention from the start and won my affection not too long afterward. I was wrapped up in their personal struggles, in their shared situations, and I really, really loved the way that they came together. I loved how Gabriel tried every underhanded tactic to get rid of the animals and how Penny didn’t let him get away with anything. I loved how much they both came to care for each other. Their banter was a lot of fun and their romance was super sweet and I adored every minute.

There are some things that are dealt with in this book that you might want to check the trigger/content warnings on (provided below behind a spoiler tag) but I thought that Tessa Dare handled that stuff well. My heart broke for these characters and I loved the way that everything works out. Penny grew up to be such a strong and caring woman and you won’t be able to help yourself, you’re going to cheer your ass off for her to get her happy ending and Gabriel Duke was her perfect match. I enjoyed this book a lot and I definitely recommend it.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

Posted August 21, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith DuranReviewer: Holly
The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: May 8, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 388
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

In a debut romance as passionate and sweeping as the British Empire, Meredith Duran paints a powerful picture of an aristocrat torn between two worlds, an heiress who dares to risk everything...and the love born in fire and darkness that nearly destroys them.

From exotic sandstone palaces...

Sick of tragedy, done with rebellion, Emmaline Martin vows to settle quietly into British Indian society. But when the pillars of privilege topple, her fiancé's betrayal leaves Emma no choice. She must turn for help to the one man whom she should not trust, but cannot resist: Julian Sinclair, the dangerous and dazzling heir to the Duke of Auburn.

To the marble halls of London...

In London, they toast Sinclair with champagne. In India, they call him a traitor. Cynical and impatient with both worlds, Julian has never imagined that the place he might belong is in the embrace of a woman with a reluctant laugh and haunted eyes. But in a time of terrible darkness, he and Emma will discover that love itself can be perilous -- and that a single decision can alter one's life forever.

Destiny follows wherever you run.

A lifetime of grief later, in a cold London spring, Emma and Julian must finally confront the truth: no matter how hard one tries to deny it, some pasts cannot be disowned...and some passions never die.

I remember when The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran was first released. There was much fanfare and everyone seemed to love it. I often have bad luck when it comes to books everyone else loves, so I put off reading it. Years went by and, though it’s been sitting in my TBR pile for a decade, I never did read it. Casee chose it as one of her picks for me for our Summer Reading Challenge, so I dug it out. It turned out to be a lovely read.

This is a dark, complex read. Emmaline, our female lead, suffers much trauma. A shipwreck, then war in India. She is much affected by her trials and tribulations, and that came across well on page. I was fully wrapped up in her journey. Part one, especially, was hard to get through. So much violence. There was somewhat of a disconnect in Part two, however. I found myself getting impatient with the story, and also struggling to readjust to life in London ballrooms. Which, I think, speaks well of the author and how well she brought me into Emma and Julian’s story in India.

As for the romance, I truly felt the connection Julian and Emma had. I also felt their anguish at all that had come between them. I did find some of their actions not in keeping with their characters, however. Especially when they reunite in England. But I was able to move past it. Something I had a harder time moving past was all the exclamation points Duran used! They were relentless! Sometimes two or three per paragraph!

Still, all in all, I think Casee chose well for this one. Shocking, I know.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Review: One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell

Posted July 22, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: One Fine Duke by Lenora BellReviewer: Tracy
One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell
Series: School for Dukes #3
Also in this series: What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes #1), What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes, #1), For the Duke's Eyes Only (School for Dukes, #2)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ready.

Raised in the countryside by her overprotective uncle, Miss Mina Penny's dream of a triumphant London season is finally here. She determined her perfect match long ago: Rafe Bentley, the wickedest rake of them all. There's only one very large, very unyielding obstacle: Rafe's brother Andrew, the reclusive Duke of Thorndon.

Aim.

This was supposed to be simple. Duke goes to London. Duke selects suitable bride. Love match? Not a chance. But when Drew meets Mina, she complicates everything. How can a lady armed with such beauty and brains fall for his irresponsible degenerate of a brother? Drew vows to save her from heartbreak and ruin, no matter the cost.

Desire!

But Mina is no damsel in distress. She's daring, intuitive, passionate...and halfway to melting Drew's cold heart. And although Mina thought she knew exactly what she wanted, one breathtakingly seductive kiss from Drew changes everything. Now Mina must decide between long-held dreams and dangerous new desires. Could her true destiny lie in the arms of a duke?

Mina wants nothing more than an adventure.  Her parents were spies but they were killed when she was just 10 years old.  She didn’t really know her parents as they were always gone, but she remembered how glamorous her mother was and wants to be like her. After her parents died Mina lived with her uncle who was incredibly protective.  Her uncle is a spy master and his nemesis had killed Mina’s parents as well as the uncle’s wife and daughter.  Because of this he was really over-protective.  When Mina finally talks her uncle into a Season in London Mina is very excited and wants an adventure.

While Mina just wants to have fun, her uncle has put together something called The Duke Dossier.  It’s info about every available duke currently in London. After talking it out, however, the uncle decides that the only duke that will do for Mina is the Duke of Thorndon.  He is a man who used to be a rake but is now a stodgy man who lives in the country, or so Mina thinks.  Mina is sick of the country and wants to live in London full time – to be a spy of course!  When she finally meets, and dances with, the duke she borders on rude because she wants to put him off as much as possible.  She has no idea it will only pique his interest.

Mina is actually interested in the duke’s brother.  She knows she can have a marriage of convenience with him and since he’s one of her uncle’s spies, she can share that part of his life as well. The duke isn’t thrilled with Mina being interested in his brother, as he wants her for himself.  When Drew, the duke, finds out that his brother is up to something, Mina and Drew decide to figure out what it is.  Drew to help his brother and Mina because she knows it has something to do with her uncle’s nemesis.  She wants the nemesis dead and plans to kill him herself.  As much time as the duke and Mina spend together, they couldn’t help but fall in love, but how can they be together when they want different things in life.

This was a cute book.  I thought at first that Mina was going to annoy me with all of her thoughts of adventure and spies and that she was going to be TSTL.  Fortunately that wasn’t the case.  While I didn’t adore Mina, I thought she was level-headed and intelligent.  I liked the romance between her and Drew and could definitely see them together.

I was a little put off by the author having Mina be ridiculously foolish when it came to facing the bad guy.  I mean there’s bravery and there’s sheer recklessness.  The author went too far in her rah-rah for girl-power. Don’t get me wrong, I would have rolled my eyes if it was a man being that reckless as well.

Overall I liked the book and thought it was cute.   A pleasant way to spend a bit of time.

Rating: 3 out of 5

School for Dukes

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch

Posted July 11, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne EnochReviewer: Tracy
A Beginner's Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
Series: Scandalous Brides #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

All of London is abuzz with the return of the utterly alluring, recently widowed Diane Benchley. Will she remarry? What will she do with her late husband’s fortune? Society is shocked by her announcement—at the Grand Ball, of all places!—that she plans to open an exclusive gentleman’s gaming club in the family mansion. But no one is more stunned than the Marquis of Haybury, Oliver Warren.

Years ago, Oliver and Diane shared a private indiscretion. Now Diane threatens to reveal Oliver’s most ungentlemanly secrets…unless he agrees to help her. A notorious gambler—and rake—Oliver is overqualified to educate Diane in the ways and means of running her establishment. But striking a deal with Diane might just be the biggest risk Oliver has ever taken. This time, the only thing he has to lose is his heart…

Diane Benchley wants to get back what she feels was taken from her and that was a decent life with a husband who wasn’t a complete ass. Her husband died but left her penniless and in a ton of debt because of his gambling. Diane took up with Oliver very quickly thereafter but he up and ran out on her without a word. Now Diane is back in London and looking to start a Gentleman’s Club that is run strictly by women. Her backer falls dead but she has something on Oliver and blackmails him into helping her with the money she needs.

Oliver isn’t sure what he thinks about this “new” Diane. She knows her mind and isn’t going to put up with anything from Oliver – including suggestions about the club. In fact she hates him. He can understand why but when he realizes that she holds his heart he’s determined to do anything he can to get the woman he loves to see him as a man and not just a bank.

Diane has her hands full getting the club running and keeping her former brother-in-law from taking her to court to prove that the house that the gentleman’s club is in is actually legally his and not hers.

This was a pretty interesting book but I had a couple of issues with it. While I really liked the thought of Diane starting the club I really didn’t get to know Diane all that well. We definitely got more thoughts from Oliver than Diane. Also, because so much of the book was focused on getting the club up and running I thought that the romance suffered for it.

I very much liked Oliver and I thought his part in the book was really good but I just didn’t see Diane falling for him. She did, in the end, but I just didn’t feel like she had completely forgiven her for her part in their past.

Like I said, the setting up of the gentleman’s club was quite well done. With Diane’s former b-i-l making waves the plot to get him to stop was pretty clever and I very much enjoyed watching that unfold.

So while I thought the book was very good it was pretty light on the romance, imho. I did read the excerpt from the next book and it sounds quite good as well – can’t wait to read it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Scandalous Brides

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Buddy Review: Highland Deception by Meggan Connors

Posted July 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Highland Deception by Meggan ConnorsReviewer: Tasha and Rowena
Highland Deception by Meggan Connors
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: March 17, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

When Kenneth Mackay, long-banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.

Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth to take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm plans to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess... and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.

Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before their marriage, and she'd long since given up on having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel's heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if they were family. Who, for the first time since their marriage, cares for her as if she is, too.

Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart.

Kenneth MacKay has been living his life on the run ever since he took the fall for his brother’s actions but when he is summoned home because the very same twin brother, is dying, his life is about to take a very interesting turn. Kenneth is going to step into the life of his brother and his life is never going to be the same again….especially when he meets his brother’s wife, Isobel, a woman that if Kenneth isn’t careful, can steal his heart.

Rowena: So who was surprised that my sister chose a historical romance for this month’s book of the month? I’m not. I am, however, surprised that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I hoped I would have. There were too many things that annoyed me but let’s start with what you thought. Did you like it or nah?

Tasha: I wasn’t surprise either with Blanche’s historical pick, hahaha! Actually I expected her to select a historical romance, specifically a highlander romance. This was an okay read for me. I didn’t like it all that much but I didn’t hate it either. Just wish it was better. I know I won’t be doing a re-read of this.

Rowena: Same here. I mean, it was fine but not great or even memorable. Are you surprised that Blanche LOVED this one though? Haha.

Anyway, what did you think about Kenneth and Isobel? Did you like them? Was their romance believable?

Tasha: You know me, I love the whole “happily ever after ending”. I am happy Kenneth got the girl and the lands in the end. I can’t believe how his own twin brother would do him dirty like that. Now did I like them? Kenneth, yes. Isobel, there were moments I didn’t like her so much. Their romance could’ve been better.

Rowena: I agree that this book could have been a lot better. There were far too many things that happened that had me either rolling my eyes or shaking my head. I didn’t get the feeling that this book happened over a good chunk of time. For me, it felt like everything happened at warp speed. I didn’t believe that Isobel could fall in love with Kenneth so quickly after how horrible Malcolm was to her. Malcolm was horrible to her for years but for a few months, Kenneth shows up and shows her a better side to him and it felt like she didn’t question it long enough for me to believe the change of heart from him.

Also? I thought it was pretty gross that Kenneth didn’t come clean with Isobel the moment that he fell in love with her and they started sleeping together. Especially when he finds out that she was a virgin the first time that they slept together.

Tasha: Actually, I understand why Kenneth didn’t come clean. He even said so himself. If she didn’t know the truth, she couldn’t lie. And he really wasn’t sure how she would’ve reacted to the truth. So I get it. And for the longest, she’s had dreams of this man, her husband having a family together and being so happy. She was hopeful and was trying to make this work with Malcolm but when he wouldn’t budge, she’d leave for London. Now imagine coming back to Scotland and your dream man isn’t being mean to you and making you feel like there’s a chance after all, I’m positive that’s what Isobel felt and went for it.

Rowena: The author should have found a better way around that because it was gross. Kenneth was pretending to be someone else and Isobel thought she was falling in love with her husband and I’m not down with those kinds of secrets and the way that Isobel found out was even worst. She may have been a brat but she didn’t deserve that.

Tasha: If anything, I think the part that really bothered me is when she finally figured out that he was Kenneth, she said his name once and said that was the one and only time she would say it aloud. I thought that sucked. Malcolm was the mean husband, who had no regard for her or her feelings. Why couldn’t she address him as Kenneth in the private, when its just the two of them. I wouldn’t have been able to utter the name Malcolm. You’d hear me address him as “my lord”, “my laird” or whatever title he holds, but not Malcolm.

Rowena: Then I spent some time being annoyed with Isobel’s friend and lady’s maid. The way that she wasn’t as supportive to Isobel as I hoped she’d be, considering she worked for Isobel, it bothered me when she jumped down Isobel’s throat for things I’d expect my best friend to be supportive of.

Tasha: I’m glad she wasn’t on board with going back to London when Isobel was ready to leave. She noticed the change in the Laird and she saw how differently he was treating her. Okay yeah, maybe she only wanted to stay because she found herself a man but to me, Isobel was being a brat. And in those moments, it’s your real friends who will set you straight and tell you to get it together. That’s what I saw happen in that part of the book.

Rowena: Nah, the lady’s maid was first and foremost, Isobel’s maid and they were around the same age so she forgot her place and didn’t stay in her lane. There’s a way to make your point without being a total bitch about it and I thought that the maid (what the heck was her name again?) misstepped. I think I was more annoyed with the way that she came at Isobel because a whole lot of her reasoning for not wanting to go back to London was because she wanted that D. It didn’t come off right.

Tasha: I didn’t think Marie was a bitch towards her, just very firm and direct. But I have to agree with the sleeping with somebody when they don’t even know who you really are. That’s gross! And again, I wish it was a better read than what it turned out to be, just meh.

Rowena: There were just too many little things that bothered me but despite all of that, I still didn’t hate the book and I think that a huge part of the reason I didn’t hate this book was because the week that I read this book, I had read so many other bad books that this was a walk in the park compared to them.

Would I re-read this one? Probably not. Would I recommend this one to other readers? I don’t know. There was promise in this book but the author took the story in a different direction than I would have taken it and because of that, my enjoyment wasn’t as great as it could have been.

Tasha: You made some really good points! And some I agree with, like the relationship between Kenneth and Isobel being rushed. And how he didn’t tell Isobel the truth about who he really was before they did the deed or how the book started off really good and then sadly it just it fizzled out.

Rowena: Like I said, there were so many ways that the author could have written this romance and the way that she wrote it, wasn’t my favorite so yeah, I won’t be re-reading this one. Also, I should probably mention that I was one of the few people in book club that didn’t love this book so if you are curious about this one, you should give it a go.

I give this one 2.5 out of 5, what about you?

Tasha: My rating for this is a 3 out of 5. This will not be a re-read and I probably wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve read similar books that were much better reads.

Final Grades

Tasha: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 2.5 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,