Historical Romance Thursday #3

review

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 9.32.18 AM

 

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.

Divider

 

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.

Review: Say Yes to the Marquess

review

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 9.49.53 PM.png

 

Say Yes to the Marquess

Castles Ever After #2

Tessa Dare

4.5stars


Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and . . . and . . . ?

After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She’s inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride’s cold feet?

● He starts with flowers. A wedding can’t have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.

● He lets her know she’ll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.

● He doesn’t kiss her.

● If he kisses her, he definitely doesn’t kiss her again.

● When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.

● And no matter what—he doesn’t fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.

Divider

I have now read 5 historical romance novels. I have been trying to test different authors to see who I like, who I don’t and to get a general feel of the genre. So far I have read Sarah MacLean (The Rouge Not Taken), Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight), Julia Quinn (The Duke and I) and Tessa Dare (Romancing the Duke & Say Yes to the Marquess).

For the most part I’ve enjoyed all of them. I had some issues with The Duke and I, (I have a review scheduled for my Historical Thursday #3 in May which will explain those issues) but I am still looking forward to reading more of Quinn’s work. But for now, it’s safe to say that Tessa Dare is my favorite of the four authors. I’ve read 2 of her books! And I’ve loved them both to pieces. I can’t even decide which one I liked more.

I loved Clio and that she was so adamant about ending her engagement and starting her own business at the castle she had inherited. And I loved Rafe and all the effort he put in to convincing her to marry his brother. And I loved them together. (Can you tell I loved the book?) Their relationship was adorable and I thought they complimented each other perfectly. The banter, as always, was hilarious, built upon years of being acquainted with one another. And can we talk about that cake fight scene? That’s the rom-com gold and I couldn’t keep a smile off my face the entire time.

I have absolutely no problem with the fact that they were falling in love while she was still engaged to his brother. If this had been a contemporary romance or if Clio and Piers had been a love match to start with, I would have taken issue, but no fucks were given here.

I hate to say that I found fault with one minor plot point, but it was towards the end. It had to do with how they finally handled the ever absent third point of the triangle (for lack of a better word), Clio’s fiancé and Rafe’s brother Piers. I would have preferred it to have gone down slightly differently, but you can’t always get what you want and it didn’t ruin the ending for me.

I will definitely be reading When a Scot Ties a Knot and everything else Tessa Dare has ever written, but I am going to try and spread it out so I don’t go through the backlist too quickly!

Historical Romance Thursday #2

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 9.29.46 AM

 

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.

Divider

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!

Divider

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…

Divider

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!

Recent Reads

I’ve been on a reading spree lately where I finish one book and dive right into another.  This is wonderful of course, but it also means I haven’t been stopping to write reviews after I read each book.  Sometimes this isn’t a bad thing, but for me I need to write the review soon after finishing otherwise I forget what I want to say.  So here are some mini-reviews of recent reads that I never wrote actual reviews for.

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 11.27.26 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.48.39 PM

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

*no rating*


Well. I read it.

The End.

JK

I don’t review Classics and I rarely rate them because I don’t really have anything meaningful to add to a book that has been critiqued and evaluated for 100s of years. Also,   how am I supposed to rate this?? Obviously it’s an extremely important work of literature to have such lasting power but honestly?  I was bored. As I usually am when I read classics.  I mostly listened to it because every time I tried to slog through 19th century text I felt my eyes closing. But I did finish it and that is all that matters. I have officially read my first Austen novel and finished the first month of the Classics challenge. So that is all that really matter. Also, I didn’t hate it.  It wasn’t Ethan Frome  bad and I will probably read more Jane Austen, but not for a few months.

*this book goes towards the 2016 Classics Challenge*

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 5.42.09 PM.png

theroguenottaken

The Rogue Not Taken 

Scandal & Scoundrel, #1

Sarah MacLean

2015

4stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


The 4 star rating is a bit arbitrary because this is my first ever Adult Historical Romance, so I have nothing to compare it to!  I really enjoyed the book, so I defineitly plan on exploring more of the genre, so who knows, this could end up becoming  a 5 or a 2 star book!

It’s been about a week since I read the book and unfortunately, I did not take any notes while reading. (I find it often distracts me from the novel and lowers my level of enjoyment).  So while I remember the plot and the general demeanor of the characters a lot has already faded.

I do know that I thought Sophie was a wonderful character.  From the first page when she defended her sister I knew I would like her.  She was funny, smart, and ready to take care of herself even if she did often end up being rescued.

For the most part, I did also enjoy King.  However, he might have been a bit too broody for my taste.  Give me sarcasm all day long but you need to stop whining about your dead love.  Plus he became a huge dick towards Sophie at the end.  And he refused to believe she was being honest throughout the entire book.  He did have his moments, which saves him from going on my “WTF Love Interest” shelf.

The romance, when King wasn’t being a brooding little bitch, was wonderful. I’m glad my first foray into historical romance was a success and I will definitely be checking out Sarah MacLean’s other work. If you guys have any suggestions of other authors or favorite novels let me know! I’m ready to get sucked into this genre!

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 5.42.09 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.49.46 PM

The Iron Daughter

The Iron Fey #2

Julie Kagawa

2.5stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


That 2.5 rating is all due to Meghan and how ridiculously annoying and stupid she was in this book.  This review comes off a bit like a rant, but I really did enjoy the plot of this book.  I just HAVE to complain about Meghan.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Meghan in the first book BUT OH MY GOD. She was so annoying in this one. So obsessed with Ash and so stupid. He literally tells her that he will not be able to talk to her and treat her the same way because he can not betray his queen (um DOUCHE ALERT).  I also remember them talking in the 1st book and both of them acknowledging that it is HIGHLY illegal for them to be together and they could both be killed or banished because of it.  But what does  Meghan do the first time she sees him? Gets SUPER upset and complains for what felt like 5 hours about how she can’t believe he would betray her and believes that he never cared about her.  I HATE HATE HATE when characters are this stupid.  YOU TALKED ABOUT THIS.   HE LITERALLY TOLD YOU ALL THIS.

And don’t get me started on that weak attempt at a love triangle. “Oh Ash is leaving me. How about I try it with Puck because he’s here and he loves me  and I realize out of no where, with no prior indication, that I love him too”. Nope. Get out of here.  First of all Puck is 500x better than broody Ash and he doesn’t deserve for you to do that to him.

But, as I said,  I do actually really enjoy the plot of this series so I will continue to put up with dumbass Meghan and hope she gets better in the last book (or last 2 books I’m still confused about the Iron Knight).

*this book goes to the 2016 Audiobook challenge