2021 Book #51 – A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

Title: A Duke in Time
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 7/1/21
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Pages in book: 380
Stand alone or series: The Widow Rules series Book #1
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A Duke in Time is the first book in a three-story arc that will have you rooting for leading heroines, searching for lost dowries, and falling for swoon-worthy heroes.

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I have read other books by this author in the past and have enjoyed them so I wanted to try this first in a new series. I’m not sure if it’s just timing in terms of where I was in life when reading this book (distracted, stressed, cranky) but I found some pieces of the book / plot to be somewhat annoying. Kat was pretty dramatic about everything and (while I did think it was admirable that she wanted to handle things on her own) I didn’t like that she just left town without telling Christian what was going on. Christian also was a somewhat “flowery” character for me – he was really in touch with his emotions and waxed poetic a good amount about his love for Kat. It was obviously romantic but it also got to be a bit corny for me. I did really enjoy the little sisterhood created between Kat and the other wives – I thought that was cute. I’m somewhat interested to read the stories of the two other wives (I’m assuming those’ll be the next books in the series) but I am not sure if I’ll end up reading those or not. Overall this was a good book but definitely not one of my favorites.

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2021 Book #32 – How To Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey

Title: How To Train Your Earl
Author: Amelia Grey
Date finished: 4/28/21
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: First Comes Love series #3
Where I got the book from: Publisher / NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher / NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A roguish earl must fight using his honor and not his sword to win his lady’s hand in How To Train Your Earl, the third book in the First Comes Love trilogy from bestseller Amelia Grey.

Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true?

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had read the first book in this series and when I saw this one I thought it sounded interesting. And I liked it but I can’t say that I loved it. It was a solid romance novel but there were parts that I didn’t care for personally. I thought Zane’s family was a little overly involved and not always very nice to him, of course he had not proven to be a very reliable fellow through his youth. Also I didn’t love that Brina was so closed-minded even though she had strong feelings for Zane. And I especially didn’t like that she wouldn’t listen to Zane at the climax of the story – I know it was necessary for the plot but it was so frustrating. Zane spends all this time proving to her how devoted he was and how much he cared about her, and she wouldn’t give him the benefit of the doubt and at least listen to what he had to say. It all worked out fine in the end but some parts I found frustrating. So overall I liked the book but I can’t say that I loved it.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Book #27 – Twin Games in Music City by Jules Bennett

Title: Twin Games in Music City
Author: Jules Bennett
Date finished: 4/10/21
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Publication Date: April 1, 2021
Pages in book: 224
Stand alone or series: Dynasties: Beaumont Bay series #1
Where I got the book from: Publisher / NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher / NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

It’s a twin swap, Nashville-style, in the launch of the Dynasties: Beaumont Bay series from USA TODAY bestselling author Jules Bennett!

Country singer Hannah Banks wants what she shouldn’t have.

The owner of her new label—the man in charge of her career—is way too hot. So hot he’s all she can think about… So to put distance between them, she poses as her quieter twin sister. That should keep temptation away…

Except Will Sutherland doesn’t play games. He wants the real Hannah—in his studio and in his bed—as long as what’s between them stays their secret. But when an old rival uncovers the truth, Will must choose between playing the press or playing for keeps…

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I was interested in the description of this book and it’s been awhile since I’ve read a Harlequin category romance so this seemed like a good one to fit in! The book started out fairly strong for me – I thought Hannah and Will’s chemistry and the build up of the tension between them was done really well. Once they got together it felt like it fizzled a little – their relationship just felt under-developed to me. But Hannah was such a sweet character, and Will was the ideal brooding, serious hero, that I really liked reading their story. . The ending just felt a bit rushed for me compared to the build up. I’m not sure if it’s just because there is going to be more details in the next books in the series but I found myself disappointed in the results of the Mag situation. There wasn’t any confrontation and I thought there should have been more of a blow dealt to her. There were some definite pros and cons to this book but overall I enjoyed it!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Book #23 – Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford

Title: Nothing Like a Duke
Author: Jane Ashford
Date finished: 3/27/21
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: The Duke’s Sons series #4
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A Pink of the ton and a bluestocking can have nothing in common. Except an incendiary attraction, a sinister enemy, and a determination to discover why they can’t resist each other.

Lord Robert Gresham has given up all hope that the beautiful and independent Flora Jennings will ever take him seriously. He heads to an exclusive country house party to forget about the beauty haunting his thoughts.

Too bad the lady in question has no intention of being forgotten.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I have been wanting to read this book for quite a while and finally got a chance while trying to catch up on my backlog! This was a sweet story and I did enjoy the read. I was a little lost at first – the beginning starts off with Robert and Flora already at odds with each other and I just didn’t understand what had caused their discord. It’s resolved fairly quickly though and there are enough references that I understood the context so it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. I especially enjoyed Flora’s character in this novel. So often the hero in these novels is the one being stubborn and who needs to come around so it was refreshing to see Flora’s journey to learn how to compromise and meet Robert halfway. I thought the whole situation was handled really well too. Plus I loved how intellectual Flora was. Overall the book had an interesting cast of characters and was a sweet and entertaining read. I enjoyed it and would recommend it!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2020 Book #12 – Hit Me With Your Best Scot by Suzanne Enoch

Title: Hit Me With Your Best Scot
Author: Suzanne Enoch
Date finished: 2/11/21
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: Wild Wicked Highlanders series #3
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Coll MacTaggert, Viscount Glendarril, is a big, brawny Highlander who doesn’t like being told what to do—not even by his exasperated English mother who is determined to see her eldest son wedded and bedded. However, when he comes to the rescue of an irresistibly beautiful woman, Coll discovers that he may have found his perfect match…

The challenge isn’t that Persephone Jones is famous, wealthy, independent, and smarter than anyone he knows. The problem is that she isn’t interested in marrying any man—especially not a hot-headed Scot—even if he is the only man who seems to understand who she really is even when she’s not sure herself. When Coll learns that Persephone is actually a lady-in-hiding and someone is willing to kill her for what she stands to inherit…Well, Coll has never been one to turn down a fight. When hearts are involved, nothing comes between a Highlander and his lady.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’ve read the other books in this series so far and I was really interested to see how the series would conclude. Coll’s character through the beginning of the series was the most stubborn and I couldn’t imagine what kind of lady he would find that would really suit him. An actress was the perfect fit though and I loved the Persephone matched him so well. That being said (**spoiler alert**) I did wish that she was only an actress and not also a lady in disguise. I know that may have been less than historically accurate but I think it would’ve been a better fit for Coll’s character and his obstinance. And honestly after seeing the struggle that Anthony and his actress went through on the Bridgerton show, it would’ve been nice to see an actress win one. But still the story was still nice and I enjoyed the romance of it. The family aspect of it was still a little bit of a struggle for me (as it was in the previous books) since I don’t love what the mother did, leaving her sons and taking the daughter with her and then also forcing them all to play her games later in life. I know we learn in this book that she had written letters but still you don’t wait 17 years for your kid to respond to a letter – you go and see your kids. I struggled with that piece a bit. Overall the book was still really good though – I enjoyed Coll very much as a character and his devotion to Persephone. I didn’t love that he immediately started calling her Temperance as soon as he found out her secret. I felt like it would’ve been nicer to have him keep calling her Persie. It was still a really good story and a cute romance.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Book #7 – Highland Treasure by Lynsay Sands

Title: Highland Treasure
Author: Lynsay Sands
Date finished: 1/15/21
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
Pages in book: 366
Stand alone or series: #9 in the Highland Brides series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A Buchanan brother finds a love to treasure in this scintillating historical romance from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands…

After escaping from the English soldiers who attacked her home and imprisoned her in a dungeon, Lady Elysande de Valance is grateful for the rugged Scots who are escorting her to safety in the Highlands. Even with danger dogging their every step, she hadn’t expected to welcome the strong comforting embrace of their leader, Rory Buchanan. They say he’s a healer, but she finds the heat of his touch does so much more…

Let his brothers get married—Rory is too busy tending to the sick to be bothered with wooing a bride. But when he is tasked with accompanying a family friend’s “treasure” to the Highlands, he is surprised to learn the treasure is a beautiful woman on the run—and even more surprised to discover bruises hidden by her veil. Rory makes it his mission to tend to her injuries and protect her, but the thought of losing her makes him realize that perhaps it is his heart that is most in need of healing…

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

This book really kicked off with an intense start. Intensely tragic obviously but it also really captivates the reader right from the beginning and really makes the reader want to see how Elysande is able to survive this. There was a lot of set up involved in her story though and it almost took some away from the romance because we don’t even get to the romantic side of things until like half way the book. Which is interesting because the development of the story started out really strong for me in the first half but then it got a little slow for me and somewhat repetitive. I think it was just that there was so much detail included that it started to feel slow at some points just with the amount of details. Overall though it was a good book. I didn’t want to put it down as I was really intrigued by the plot – just not the romance plot.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2020 Book #95 – The Princess and the Rogue by Kate Bateman

Title: The Princess and the Rogue
Author: Kate Bateman
Date finished: 12/22/20
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: December 29, 2020
Pages in book: 334
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Bow Street Bachelors series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley / Publisher
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley / the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A princess in disguise is forced to live with a rogue in order to protect her from danger in this fun, sexy regency romance from Kate Bateman.

In The Princess and the Rogue, Bow Street agent Sebastien Wolff, Earl of Mowbray, doesn’t believe in love—until a passionate kiss with a beautiful stranger in a brothel forces him to reconsider. When the mysterious woman is linked to an intrigue involving a missing Russian princess, however, Seb realizes her air of innocence was too good to be true.

Princess Anastasia Denisova has been hiding in London as plain ‘Anna Brown’. With a dangerous traitor hot on her trail, her best option is to accept Wolff’s offer of protection—and accommodation—at his gambling hell. But living in such close quarters, and aiding Wolff in his Bow Street cases, fans the flames of their mutual attraction. If Anya’s true identity is revealed, does their romance stand a chance? Could a princess ever marry a rogue?

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I don’t think I’ve read anything by this author before but I’m going to have to start! I loved this book. I was captivated right from the very beginning and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen. The characters in the book were great too – Sebastian was brooding and an excellent hero but Anya really stole the show for me. Her strength of will, her compassion, and her overall character were just so wonderful. I loved reading her story and her journey as a runaway princess. I especially loved how there were Russian fairytales interwoven into this story, it was a great addition to the overall book. I really enjoyed readying this and I would definitely recommend it!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2020 Book #94 – Truth, Lies and Second Dates by MaryJanice Davidson

Title: Truth, Lies and Second Dates
Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Date finished: 12/20/20
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Pages in book: 288
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Danger, Sweetheart series 
Where I got the book from: NetGalley / Publisher
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley / the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Captain Ava Capp has been flying from her past for a decade. She’d much rather leave it, and her home state, behind forever. But when she finds herself back in Minnesota, against her better judgment, everything goes sideways in a way she never expected it to.

M.E. Dr. Tom Baker has never forgotten Ava and the cold case she ran away from. When she shows up unexpectedly in town, in spite of himself, sparks fly. Which is terrible because he can’t stop his growing attraction to her. Can these two Type-A’s let their guards down and work together to put Ava’s tragic past behind her for good? And keep their hands off each other at the same time?

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I have historically always really enjoyed Davidson’s books (with a few exceptions) – they’re snarky and sassy and hilarious. I really enjoyed this book, the characters were all so funny. I especially loved Hannah, and having her be a genius level IQ made her precociousness make a lot more sense for a six year old. Ava and Tom were adorable together and I loved their banter. Their chemistry was good but I wouldn’t say it lit the page on fire or anything. Tom’s character was so endearing and interesting – I always love a romance hero who’s on the spectrum and takes everything literally. Honestly all of the characters in this book were very entertaining. There was a lot going on in the book but, as noted in the author’s note, this was kind of done on purpose to make this a trope filled, romance reader’s fun read. I definitely enjoyed it and I’d recommend it!

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2020 Book #89 – When a Rogue Meets His Match by Elizabeth Hoyt

Title: When a Rogue Meets His Match
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 11/27/20
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Pages in book: 360
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Greycourt series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley / Publisher
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley / the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Return to New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt’s signature drama and intrigue, where two enemies will discover if their marriage of convenience can survive — ’til death do they part.

Ambitious, sly, and lethally intelligent, Gideon Hawthorne has spent his life clawing his way up from the gutter. For the last ten years, he’s acted as the Duke of Windemere’s fixer, performing the duke’s dirty work without question. Now Gideon’s ready to quit the duke’s service and work solely for himself. But Windermere tempts Gideon with an irresistible offer: one last task for Messalina Greycourt’s hand in marriage.

Witty, vivacious Messalina Greycourt has her pick of suitors, so when her uncle demands Messalina marry Mr. Hawthorne, she is appalled. But Gideon offers her a devil’s bargain of his own: protection and freedom in exchange for a true marriage. Messalina feigns agreement and plots to escape their deal. Only the more time she spends with Gideon, the more her fierce, loyal husband arouses her affections. But will Gideon’s final deed for Windemere destroy the love growing between them?

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I have always enjoyed an Elizabeth Hoyt novel – I’ve read many of her Maiden Lane series. I had read the first book in the Maiden Lane series back in 2018, Not the Duke’s Darling, and enjoyed it. With this book, I liked the first half of the book better than I liked the second half. Messalina became a bit of a frustrating character for me – I found her to be somewhat cruel towards Gideon by the end. Gideon was a classic Hoyt loveable villain and I think he deserved more of a chance than he got from Messalina at certain points. She didn’t even seem to give him a chance to explain and then gave him the cold shoulder for two weeks and then subsequently tried to leave him. I know these were necessary pieces of the plot but I just got frustrated with the process and I thought it was a little selfish of her. Other than that I liked the book, it was interesting and definitely entertaining. The last half of the book just fell a little flat for me, otherwise I would’ve scored a little higher. I’d still recommend it since I enjoyed it!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2020 Book #67 – Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

Title: Tools of Engagement
Author: Tessa Bailey
Date finished: 9/25/20
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Pages in book: 367
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Hot and Hammered series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore! 

Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, but the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster.

My rating:  5.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had read the second book in this series and really enjoyed it so I was interested in reading this newest release. A 5star review is rare for me but I loved absolutely everything about this book. Bethany & Wes’s chemistry BURNED up the pages of this book. And they’re banter and quick zings at each other were off the charts entertaining. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing the entire time I was reading this book. And Wes struck a personal note for me because, like Bethany, I also deal with a lot of anxiety, and Wes’s calm demeanor and unwavering acceptance were so very appealing to me. I haven’t always related to the “book boyfriend” concept but my gosh Wes was everything that I need! I immediately wanted to start reading this book again the second I finished it, that’s how wonderful it was. I liked the previous book I’d read in the series (Love Her or Lose Her) but I LOVED this book. I am going to be reading more by this author, that is for sure. I would highly recommend everyone go out and read this book, you’ll thank me later!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page