December 2021 TBR

How are we in the last month of 2021?? This year has been a rollercoaster of a ride, but I’m so grateful I’ve been able to get back into the book community! I’ve truly missed it and I feel like I’ve made so many great connections since I relaunched the blog and my Instagram in March.

I’m keeping my TBR pretty small for December as I want to leave room to find some fun holiday romances to read. I need to do some digging for some good holiday romances so if you have some recs, please drop them in the comments!

Here are the four books I hope to definitely get to this month:

Soulbound by Bec McMaster

Soulbound by Bec McMaster

I meant to read Soulbound in November, and I did start, but it got put on the back burner as I got sucked into the Palace of Rogues series. I’m hoping I’ll be able to dive back into this one soon as I’m excited to see how the Dark Arts series wraps up.

Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole

Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole

I cannot wait to continue with the Immortals After Dark series! I have this one on hold at the library currently and am just waiting for it to come in. I have a feeling I might drop everything to read this one once it’s ready to borrow.

Miss Moriarty, I Presume?

Miss Moriarty, I Presume?

This is another holdover from November that I did not get to. I might do a quick reread of the previous books in the series as a refresher as I don’t fully remember what happened in the last book, but I’m still looking forward to diving into this one!

Duke Gone Rogue by Christy Carlyle

I managed to snag an ARC of the latest book from Christy Carlyle from Avon (out December 28, 2021) and I’m excited to dive in! I love the colors on this cover – I feel like yellow dresses are having a bit of a moment and I’m not complaining.


What books are you planning to read in December? If you have any good holiday recs, please let me know as I’d love to check some out!

Review: After Dark with the Duke by Julie Anne Long

After Dark with the Duke by Julie Anne Long
After Dark with the Duke
Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: November 30, 2021
Series or Standalone: The Palace of Rogues #4
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: Sexual assualt; sexual harassament 

Once again, Julie Anne Long knocks it out of the park with the fourth installment in The Palace of Rogues series. If you like age gap romances and slow burns that turn super fiery, After Dark with the Duke is for you! I’m usually not an age gap fan, but this one works incredibly well as Long once again manages to write characters with incredible emotional depth and takes you on a journey you can only experience at the Grand Palace on the Thames. 

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Review: I’m Only Wicked with You by Julie Anne Long

I'm Only Wicked with You by Julie Anne Long
I’m Only Wicked with You
Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Series or Standalone: <a href="/tag/the-palace-of-rogues/"The Palace of Rogues #3
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 5 Stars


MY REVIEW

I was a bit nervous going into I’m Only Wicked With You as it is the first book in the Palace of Rogues series that focuses on two guests at the Grand Palace of the Thames who we don’t know super well. However, this book was something extraordinary. Julie Anne Long knocked it out of the park with this one. I swear, each book in the Palace of Rogues series gets better and better. 

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Review: Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long

Angel in a Devil's Arms by Julie Anne Long
Angel in a Devil’s Arms
Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Series or Standalone: The Palace of Rogues #2
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars


MY REVIEW

I was incredibly excited to dive into book two in The Palace of Rogues series after Julie Anne Long teased the couple at the end of Lady Derring Takes a Lover. This book built on everything Long established in book one and made it even better. From the romance to the characters to the story, I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. 

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Review: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
Shadowfever
Karen Marie Moning
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: January 18, 2011
Series or Standalone:Fever #5
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 5 Stars


MY REVIEW

I have been putting off writing my review of Shadowfever for a while now. It’s truly been a struggle to find the right words to capture my feelings on this book. The only way I can sum up this book was that reading it was an EXPERIENCE. I was literally saying ‘Oh my god’ left and right while reading it.

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Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Lady Derring Takes a Lover
Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Series or Standalone: The Palace of Rogues #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: sexual assualt

I’ve been meaning to read more of Julie Anne Long for ages, and I have finally taken the plunge! I have an ARC of the newest Palace of Rogues book so I decided now is the perfect time to dive into this series. Lady Derring Takes a Lover is the series starter and introduces us to the lovely Grand Palace on the Thames, which serves as the central location for the books in the series. While I’m enjoying this series and the characters, the romance in this fell a bit flat.

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Review: His Lady to Protect by Justine Covington

His Lady to Protect by Justine Covington
His Lady to Protect
Justine Covington
Publisher: Justine Covington Books LLC
Publication Date: February 14, 2020
Series or Standalone: The Beggars Club #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating:3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: Sexual assault, murder, death of a family member

I enjoyed His Lady to Protect, but something was missing from it to make me love it.  I think I wanted a bit more from the central romance, even though it had some tropes that I absolutely adore. 

Nate Kinlain, the Earl of Rainsford, promised to protect his best friend’s sister, Susannah, from her treacherous uncle. However, that’s easier said than done as Susannah blames Nate for her brother’s death. When Nate proposes a marriage of convenience to get Susannah out from under her uncle’s thumb, Susannah has no choice but to agree. However, as she starts to spend more time with Nate, she wonders if there is more to him than meets the eye and old feelings for her childhood friend begin to bubble up again. 

I enjoyed the main story, yet I felt the romance between Nate and Susannah was missing that special something. I loved that Covington combined the marriage of convenience with also a bit of a faking dating trope. They were also childhood sweethearts, so there is a bit of a second-chance romance trope in this book. However, I felt like Nate and Susannah didn’t have as much chemistry as I was expecting. I wish the romance between Nate and Susannah had a bit more time to blossom and grow. Susannah truly hated Nate’s guts initially as she felt he abandoned her and led his brother to his death, yet she accepted him back a little too quickly for my liking. As the reader, we know Nate’s not the bad guy Susannah thinks he is, but I would have liked him to have to work a little harder to win her trust back. Susannah forgave Nate pretty quickly once she learned the truth about him, and it felt like all her past anger was just washed away, never to be mentioned again when he did deceive her.

While the central romance might not have been my favorite, one thing I really liked about this book was that it felt incredibly thoroughly researched. We learn pretty early on that Nate is working as a spy for the Home Office to figure out how Susannah’s Uncle is trying to aid Napoleon’s cause. I really appreciated how Covington wove the historical events related to Napoleon’s return to Europe after his exile to Elba into action and romance. It helped ground the story in the time and up the stakes, especially as the reader knows Napoleon does escape from his exile. 

I ended up way more invested in the plot to expose Susannah’s uncle than I was invested in the romance. Mainly, it’s because Covington did a fantastic job in creating a truly evil villain with Susannah’s uncle, Captain Cressingham. That man was downright heinous. He honestly did not care one wit for anyone but himself and his own cause, treating Susannah and her siblings terribly. I hated that Nate had to try to bow down to him to get under his guard in Nate’s efforts to expose him for the horrible person he was. He truly deserved the worst possible ending as he was such a slimy, sleazy, villainous person. 

Susannah and Nate as characters were fine, though I didn’t find them particularly memorable. However, I enjoyed the secondary characters in this novel. I loved Nate’s three sisters and his friend Tradwick. If there are more books in the series, I hope they’ll focus on some of the secondary characters as they brought me a lot of joy while reading.

Overall, I would have liked a bit more from the central romance, but I still found the story enjoyable thanks to the fabulous villain in the story. Truly, Captain Cressingham is one of the most heinous villains I’ve seen in a romance novel, and I loved just how terrible he was since it upped the stakes in the story.

I’m intrigued enough by Covington’s writing and secondary characters that I’d love to read more from her, especially if she continues with the Beggars Club series. If you have Kindle Unlimited and are a historical romance fan, this is one you should consider checking out as there are some delightful elements to the story.

I was given a free copy from the author for my fair and honest review. All thoughts, ideas and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Review: Morning Glory Milking Farm by C.M. Nascosta

Morning Glory Milking Farm by C.M. Nascosta
Morning Glory Milking Farm
C.M. Nascosta
Publisher: Meduas Editoriale
Publication Date: August 3, 2021
Series or Standalone: Cambric Creek: Sweet and Steamy Monster Romance #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW

What did I just read? After seeing this book EVERYWHERE on Instagram, I decided to give it a go. Morning Glory Milking Farm is my first monster romance, and I’ve got to say, it managed to be exactly what I expected it to be, but also unexpected in how sweet the romance was. I don’t think I can ever look at a glass of milk the same ever again.

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Review: No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole

No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole
No Rest for the Wicked
Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: October 31, 2006
Series or Standalone: Immortals After Dark #2
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars


MY REVIEW

CW: Suicidal thoughts; death of siblings/parents; violence

No Rest for the Wicked felt like a full-180 from A Hunger Like No Other. Everything about this book was better – from the writing to the plot, to the characters and the romance. I totally understand why people recommend starting the Immortals After Dark series with this book over A Hunger Like No Other as it’s significantly more enjoyable.

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