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: Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

Do You Want to Start a Scandal
Do You Want to Start a Scandal
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Series or Standalone: Castles Ever After #4 & Spindle Cove #5
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating:3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: Discussion of suicide; bullying

Do You Want To Scandal brings together two of my favorite Tessa Dare series: Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After. I originally read this book right when it was published and recently reread it as part of the But Do They Bang? Readalong. I somehow forgot a lot of the major plot points. Overall, I liked this one, but the ending stopped me from loving it. 

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Review: Neon Gods by Katee Robert 

Neon Gods by Katee Robert
Neon Gods
By Katee Robert
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Series or Standalone: Dark Olympus #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

Neon Gods has been everywhere on bookstagram recently and I knew I had to give it a try. Plus, it’s a Hades/Persephone retelling so I’m a sucker for that. However, my thoughts on this book are complicated. Did I enjoy the experience of reading it? Yes. Did I enjoy the story? Yes. Did I stay up too late reading it? Yes. But did I like the book overall? Unsure.

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Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare
Lord Dashwood Missed Out
By Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Series or Standalone: Spindle Cove #4.5
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

Lord Dashwood Missed Out is a weird novella for me as I liked it a lot yet didn’t like the central romance. The romance in this novella didn’t work for me for a few reasons, which we’ll get into, but I loved all the scenes with our crew from Spindle Cove. And while the romance didn’t work for me in the end, this was a tropetastic romance novella which I did really appreciate.

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Review: Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas
Mine Till Midnight
Lisa Kleypas
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback
Publication Date: October 2, 2007
Series or Standalone: The Hathaways #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: Discussion of suicide, racist language/depictions of Romany/Gypsies, alcoholism, drug use

Rating and reviewing Mine Till Midnight has been a challenge. I’m not a hundred percent sure of how I feel about this. I think I liked it? There isn’t anything glaring that I disliked about this book, but I also wasn’t in love with it. I mainly feel indifferent to this book. It also took me a while to read this – nearly a month, which is AGES for me – and it was a very broken-up reading experience so that might have contributed to my feelings. 

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Review: Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy

Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy
Her Night with the Duke
By Diana Quincy
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Series or Standalone: Clandestine Affairs #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble Goodreads
Rating:3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

I’ve been meaning to read Her Night With the Duke from Diana Quincy for ages and was so glad when @erinv.for.valkyrie reached out to me on Instagram to do a buddy read of it! I was already hoping to get to this book early this month in preparation for the sequel that was just published and was so happy to have someone to read this with.

Her Night With the Duke is the first book by Diana Quincy that I’ve read. I have to say I liked this! While there were a few things that didn’t fully click with me, I loved the female lead, Leela. Also, can we get more diversity in historical romance? It was great to read a story featuring a half-Arab/half-English female romantic lead.

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Review: Three Nights with a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare

Three Nights with a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare
Three Nights with a Scoundrel
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: July 27, 2010
Series or Standalone: Stud Club #3
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating:3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: Homophobic hate crime, murder, violence

Three Nights With a Scoundrel brings Tessa Dare’s Stud Club series to a close with Lily and Bellamy’s story. While not my favorite in the series, I still really enjoyed this story. It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly what was missing from this book that kept me from moving it from like to love, but something just didn’t fully click with me to push this over the line.

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ARC Review: A Scot to the Heart by Caroline Linden

A Scot to the Heart by Caroline Linden
A Scot to the Heart
by Caroline Linden
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Series or Standalone: Desperately Seeking Duke #2
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

I have to say, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get with A Scot to the Heart. I liked the first book in the Desperately Seeking Duke series, About a Rogue, but I didn’t love it and the story wasn’t particularly memorable. However, A Scot to the Heart was a delightful story that I felt I instantly connected to and ended up really loving!

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Review: Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

Cover of Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare
Goddess of the Hunt
By Tessa Dare
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: July 28, 2009
Series or Standalone: The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy #1
Links:
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

I’ve been a Tessa Dare fan for a long time, but have never read her first two series before. When I saw a handful of bookstagrammers were hosting the “But Do They Bang?” readalong (the best name ever for a readalong) of all of Tessa Dare’s books, I knew I had to join in.

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