Historical Romance Thursday #3

review

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The Duke and I

The Bridgertons # 1

Julia Quinn

3stars (I’m feeling generous)


Can there be any greater challenge to London’s Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?

—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1813

By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend’s sister, the lovely—and almost-on-the-shelf—Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth—it’s all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.

But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it’s hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it’s his devilish smile, certainly it’s the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her… but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke… for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love.

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There will probably be spoilers.

 

The Duke and I started off great. I loved Daphne and Simon and I immediately fell in love with the Bridgerton family. Anthony, Benedict and Colin are exactly the type of older brothers I always wanted but never had (thanks for nothing, parents). Loving, overprotective and sometimes very much needing to be put in their place. And for the most part Daphne is able to handle herself among them. I loved her mother (Violet? I forget already), and I loved what we saw of the younger children.  I also really enjoyed the inclusion of the society papers and I’m very interested in finding out who Lady Whistledown is.

So I was all set for novel filled with wonderful characters and a trope that I enjoy. Fake relationships are always an excellent means for falling in love so I was very interested in watching them go about their plan and slowly fall in love. Wouldn’t that have been an amazing book?

But somewhere along in the book (possibly the 50% mark, I don’t quite remember) they are caught in a compromising situation by her brother Anthony and he demands they get married. Simon refuses, there is a scheduled duel, and Daphne steps in at the last minute and Simon gives in.

And then they are married and (I think) they profess their love for one another and that was simply not how I wanted the book to go. It might be strange, but I don’t actually care what happens to the couple after they wind up happily ever after. I like the journey, but once they say I do, I’m done. I don’t want to read about their married (or dating) life. So for a large portion of this book to take place AFTER they are married was annoying enough, but then the drama wasn’t over yet. And that should have been good, but it was domestic drama and I’m not here for that.

(It doesn’t help that Daphne, who the entire first half of the novel claimed to know all sorts of things thanks to having three older brothers turns out to be incredibly naive when it comes to “the marital act”.  I like my HR heroines to be historically inaccurate when it comes to their knowledge of sex, thank you.)

Daphne wants a baby, and while Simon told her he couldn’t have kids, she soon realizes that he just doesn’t want them. But, she is determined to have one anyway. I’m not going to comment on what happens, but I just wish that this book had gone the way I expected it to. Ending with a nice marriage and Simon deciding to have children without Daphne forcing the decision on him.

I will say that even though I don’t like reading about married life, I did actually enjoy the 2nd epilogue that was included in my kindle version and showed their lives 20 or so years in the future. A little glimpse isn’t bad; I just don’t want it to take place within the actual confines of the novel.

 

Although this wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I will eventually continue with the series. I am trying to read a variety of historical romance authors first to get a feel of the type of story and writing I enjoy.

Historical Romance Thursday #2

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Romancing the Duke

Castles Ever After #1

Tessa Dare

4.5stars


 

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.

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I really need to start rating based on genre because within the HR genre (yeah I’ve only read like 3, but still) this definitely should have 5 stars.  Maybe I’ll figure out  away to do that someday.

But I loved this book.  While I really enjoyed both Izzy and Ransom as individuals, it was their relationship which made this book.  The banter was awesome and I love a good “hate to love” trope.  While I’m usually not a fan of the tortured hero, Ransom was just the right amount of cocky to make up for it.  Plus he did tend to veer away from self pity for the most part.

The Goodnight Tales (was that what they were called? Curse my memory) and the whole Moranglian subplot was one I actually enjoyed as well.  I didn’t think I would but I really, really did.  It was a bit over the top but whatever.  It definitely added to the charm of this novel

I’d heard that Tessa Dare wrote funny books, and I was really happy that I agree! I actually laughed quite a few times.  Real laughs too, not just a little chuckle which is what usually happens.

This is a really shitty review and I feel like I nothing I say can even show how much I loved this book.  If you haven’t read it and you are into historical romances definitely pick it up.  It is so much fun. I definitely plan to continue this series and I’m really looking forward to reading more of Tessa Dare’s novels.

Historical Romance Thursday #1

I’ve been thinking of adding more monthly features for awhile now.  So I’ve decided to mix my newfound interest in expanding the genres I read and monthly features.  From now on, on the 2nd Thursday of every month, I will highlight a Historical Romance novel that I have read recently.  This is a genre that I have been wanting to explore for some time, and I’m happy to say that my first few reads have been great experiences!

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minetillmidnight

Mine Till Midnight

The Hathaways #1

Lisa Kleypas

4stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter…

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I really, really enjoyed this.  I actually liked it more than the first HR I read, The Rogue Not Taken.

Amelia Hathaway was a great character to start this series off with.  As the oldest female, at 26 (I think) she is resigned to life as a spinster.  In fact, she doesn’t have any desire to get married because she doesn’t want to give up her control of her own life.  She doesn’t want to have to obey a man.  All she wants to do is take care of her 3 younger sisters and her older brother.   All of the characters are great and I loved the family relationships.  In fact, I can’t wait to get to Poppy and Beatrix’s stories because they seemed like more interesting characters.

Cam Rohan was a very interesting love interest.  I don’t think I’ve read any books about a Romani  character.  I don’t really know much about them, so I can’t really tell if it was a stereotypical portrayal, but it didn’t seem bad. I liked how the book brought up the stereotypes that most people believed about the Romani, and explored them within the two characters of Cam and Merripen. What I liked most about him was that he wasn’t a brooding male! I am so sick of the woe is me love interest.  He was confident and sexy and seemed more than willing to let Amelia live her own life, while also taking care of her at the same time.

The only real issues I had with this was the random POV shifts to Merripen and Winnifred.  It’s actually a major pet peeve when new POVs are introduced towards the end of novels.  It wasn’t a deal breaker for me here because I felt like it was just setting up for the second book of the series which will focus on these two characters.  I will definitely be reading the rest of this series as soon as I can get my hands on them!

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan

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Sleigh Bells in the Snow

O’Neil Brothers #1

by Sarah Morgan

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Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green’s favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.

Jackson O’Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family’s resort—it’s in his blood, and he can’t let it fail. Now that he’s got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.

Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she’s out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it’s terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?


I don’t normally read Adult romances.  Actually, as I’ve gotten older I’ve moved farther away from “Adult” books in general.  But I wanted something Christmasy, which is weird, cause I’m Jewish.  So as  a Jew, I loved Christmas the only way I can…as an outsider.  (My boyfriend grew up celebrating Christmas so now that I have an excuse to have a Christmas tree I am all for it!)  So, I was in the mood for something to warm me up to the holiday season and this was the perfect book!

It was so adorable and sweet and just the right amount of sexy for me to really enjoy it.

Jackson O’Neil has returned home to Vermont after his father’s death to try and save the failing family business, Snow Crystal Resort.  He hires PR whiz Kayla Green to come up to Vermont to get the full “Snow Crystal experience”.  All he wants to do is make sure that the family legacy lives on.  Jackson was so swoonworthy.  It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book where I’ve liked the love interest as much as I liked him.  Perfect amount of charm and sex appeal.  He was the perfect opposite to uptight Kayla Green.  Kayla is driven to the point where she doesn’t have a life outside of work.  She eats, breathes and sleeps work.  I think I just liked Jackson so much that I didn’t even mind that this book was generally about “melting the ice queen”.

They did have great chemistry (although, the book does drive the point home a little too hard.  It seemed as if every other page Kayla is thinking about the Chemistry swirling around) and I love a good slow burn relationship.  Well, as slow burn as a week long relationship can be.  But sexual tension is what I live for in books.

I also loved Snow Crystal Resort itself and the O’Neil family.  Morgan really did a wonderful job of setting the scene.  I want to go and stay in one of those cabins, and go on a romantic sleigh ride, go ice skating on the pond and see a moose.   As soon as I finished this book I started researching “romantic Vermont vacations” and nothing even came close to the idea of Snow Crystal I have in my head.

Jackson is a man who is dedicated to his family, so this book (and review) would be incomplete without talking about said family.  I loved his grandfather, Walter.  He reminded me of my own grandfather, a bit of an asshole but someone you can’t help but love.  And I did really enjoy his brother, Tyler, but just taken together the O’Neil’s are probably one of the best families I’ve had the pleasure of reading about recently.

So besides the somewhat repetitiveness of the inner dialogue, and the fact that I can’t really totally ignore that this all happened in a week, the only other complaint I have is the weird POV shift.  The entire book is a dual POV between Kayla and Jackson, until about 50% through when we then get Jackson’s 12 year old niece and his younger brother coming in with their drama.  I understand why they were added in, but I think it could have been handled a bit better.

All together, as one of my first ventures into the adult romance genre, I don’t think I could have had a better experience.  And it was the perfect Christmas read.  Is it too early to start decorating?

Have any suggestions on romance/Christmas books I should read?

Just One More

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Just One More is a weekly feature where I gather the books I have added to my TBR in the past week.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.11.38 PMInto The Dim

by Janet B Taylor

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.

Time travel. I’m in.
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Beyond the Red

by Ava Jae

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

I might take this one off eventually, but for now it sounds interesting.  I mean, I’m sure there will be, but I’m still hoping for no romance between Kora and Eros…I’m not a huge fan of slave/master love stories.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.13.29 PMA Fierce and Subtle Poison

by Samantha Mabry

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the senoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

I have this ARC. It sounds pretty interesting and I like that it takes place in Puerto Rico.

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Bleeding Earth

by Kaitlin Ward

Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news. All over the world, blood appeared out of the ground, even through concrete, even in water. Then the earth started growing hair and bones.

Lea wants to ignore the blood. She wants to spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public, if only Aracely wasn’t so afraid of her father. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and Aracely whatever way she can.

1. F/F relationship 2. the earth is bleeding?? What is this? Sign me up.
 

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.12.47 PMBlack Wolves

by Kate Elliott

An exiled captain returns to help the son of the king who died under his protection in this rich and multi-layered first book in an action-packed new series.

Twenty two years have passed since Kellas, once Captain of the legendary Black Wolves, lost his King and with him his honor. With the King murdered and the Black Wolves disbanded, Kellas lives as an exile far from the palace he once guarded with his life.

Until Marshal Dannarah, sister to the dead King, comes to him with a plea-rejoin the palace guard and save her nephew, King Jehosh, before he meets his father’s fate.

I found this through twitter and apparently women play a pretty big role so I am totally into this. Plus I already have another of Kate Elliot’s books on my TBR so I might as well add some more! 

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.12.34 PMPlaying With Matches

by Suri Rosen

When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she’s sent to live with her strict aunt-but Raina feels like she’s persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she’s a social pariah at her new school. In the tight-knit Jewish community, Raina finds she is good at one thing: matchmaking! As the anonymous “MatchMaven,” Raina sets up hopeless singles desperate to find the One.

Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her secret life catch up with her?

It’s really depressing how many books have Jewish characters especially ones that aren’t about the Holocaust. This is one I really want to see more of in YA. It might not be as important as POC, disabilities or the LGBTQ communities, but the best part is that characters can be all of those things and JEWISH as well:).

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.12.10 PMThe Glittering Court

by Richelle Mead

Big and sweeping, spanning the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies capable of arranging powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together, they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first, as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and later, when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands.

I’ll probably wait for the reviews on this one as I haven’t read a Richelle Mead book yet.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.12.02 PMCurse of the Cailleach

By Navessa Allen

My life was good. I had a loving family, a thousand acres to roam, and plenty of deer to hunt. What more could a werewolf ask for?

Then my younger brother and twenty three other members of our pack were struck ill by a mysterious wasting sickness. My best friend Casey and I were sent on a recon mission to find out what the local clan of Celts knew about it. Turned out, they knew a hell of a lot more than we bargained for.

Now we’re stuck in the seventeenth century Scottish Highlands, struggling to find some way home. Oh yeah, and there’s a war going on. Everyone’s trying to kill each other. And us.

The good: men in kilts.

The bad: no bazooka to use against the men in kilts.

I guess claws will have to do.

This is a Work in Progress and the first 6 chapters are currently available to read on Navessa Allen’s blog…for FREE.  GO READ IT!!!

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.11.52 PMBeastly Bones

by William Ritter

In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer R. F. Jackaby are called upon to investigate the supernatural.

First, a vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered with a single mysterious puncture wound. Then in nearby Gad’s Valley, now home to the exiled New Fiddleham police detective Charlie Cane, dinosaur bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.

This sequel to Jackaby. It’s on order at my library and I can’t wait to check it out.

I also added 2 historical romances because I am trying to broaden the types of genres I read.

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and

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 Because it takes place in the Hudson Valley region of New York where I am from.