ARC Review: The Devil’s Own Duke by Lenora Bell

The Devil's Own Duke by Lenora Bell
The Devil’s Own Duke
By Lenora Bell
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Series or Standalone: Wallflowers vs. Rogues
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW

I’ve been waffling on how to rate this book since I finished reading it. I really wanted to like this as the premise sounded amazing, but unfortunately, a few things didn’t click for me. Much like Hetty’s wines, I felt like this book needed to sit and develop a bit more to deliver on the flavors I was looking for. 

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Review: How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare

How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare
How to Catch a Wild Viscount
By Tessa Dare
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: May 12, 2009
Series or Standalone: Wanton Dairymaid #.5
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW

Note: This novella was originally published under the title The Legend of the Werestag

I had not heard of How to Catch a Wild Viscount before participating in the But Do They Bang? readalong of Tessa Dare’s work. This was Dare’s first published work and one of her less well-known stories. It was different from any of her other works as it does have a bit of an air of supernatural to it, even though it is pure historical fiction.

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Review: A Lady By Midnight by Tessa Dare

A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
A Lady by Midnight
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Series or Standalone: Spindle Cove #3
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW

In A Lady By Midnight, we get Kate Taylor and Corporal Thorne’s story. While I enjoy these characters, this story is my least favorite from Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series. This was a reread for me, and this is the one book in the series I’ve never felt a strong desire to reread. I feel like the romance is missing that special spark between the two characters that I’m looking for in a historical romance and don’t find myself drawn to go back to this one frequently.

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Review: Fable by Adrienne Young

Fable by Adrienne Young
Fable
Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Series or Standalone: Fable #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW

I picked up Fable as I was constantly seeing it talked about over on bookstagram. Given it was so hyped up, I went into this with pretty high expectations. Hype can be a problem as a book has to be amazing to live up to it. Unfortunately with this book, I don’t think it lived up to the hype. 

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Review: Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare

Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare
Twice Tempted by a Rogue
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: June 22, 2010
Series or Standalone: Stud Club #2
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW

Twice Tempted by a Rogue is book two in Tessa Dare’s Stud Club series. While I liked this one, I didn’t find the story all that memorable afterward. However, I am liking this series and its characters a lot more than the Wanton Dairymaid series, Dare’s first series.

Note this book does contain descriptions of physical/mental abuse, discussion of suicidal tendencies and forced prostitution so it might not be for everyone.

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Review: A Lady of Persuasion by Tessa Dare

A Lady of Persuasion by Tessa Dare
A Lady of Persuasion
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
Series or Standalone: The Wanton Dairymaid Series
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW

And that’s a wrap on the Wanton Dairymaid series! I can safely say, I’m glad to be done with this series as it was not my favorite. A Lady of Persuasion was better than the second book in the series, but not something I can see myself going back to read. 

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Review: Fake by Kylie Scott

Cover of the book Fake by Kylie Scott featuring a black and white image of a man in a wet t-shirt with beach waves behind him.
Fake
By Kylie Scott
Publisher: Kylie Scott
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
Series or Standalone: West Hollywood #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating:3 Stars

MY REVIEW

Let me start off by saying that Kylie Scott is the author of one of my all-time favorite books, Lead. That book is such a comfort read and one I find myself going back to over and over again. When I saw Scott was releasing a new romance centered in Hollywood with an actor instead of a band, I knew I needed to read it. 

Fake centers on Patrick Walsh, one of the hottest male movie stars, who finds himself at the center of a scandal that is tarnishing his image and costing him job. To redeem his image, his publicist and him devise a scheme where he’ll fake date Norah Peers, a regular, everyday girl who works at an Italian restaurant Patrick frequents. Yes, this doesn’t seem like the most realistic plot, but it feels relatively tame and believable for a faking dating romance.

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Undeadly by Michele Vail

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries, #1)Undeadly
Michele Vail
Harlequin Teen
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Series: The Reaper Diaries #1
ISBN: 9780373210466
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars
This book has been sitting on my TBR list since its release way back in 2012. It was one of those books I wanted to read if I got the chance. Well, I finally got the chance.
My feeling on this book are a bit mixed. I really liked some aspects of it, but others, not so much.  I read this book in one sitting, but there were times when I wanted to put it down. However, I knew if I put this book down, I most likely wouldn’t be picking it up. I was hoping this book would be similar to the Mythos Academy book series or the Covenant series, but it was a bit different than that. I think I might have just been expecting more from this book than it was able to deliver.
I’ll start with what I did like. I really liked the main character, Molly. Michele Vail did a fantastic job writing a character who jumps off the page. Molly voice was one I really liked; she actually sounded like a 16 year old girl. Through her entries in her reaper diaries, you really got to see that Molly was sarcastic and sassy, but also tough and caring. Molly loves her family, despite what she finds out about herself. I was glad that the story was told from Molly’s point of view because she had enough attitude to carry the story. If she wasn’t so strong of a character, I probably would have put this book down and not looked back. 
I really loved the idea of this book. Greek gods and goddesses have been the focus of a lot of retelling recently. It was refreshing to have book focused on the Egypt gods. Personally, I love Egyptian mythology, and was glad to see this book had a focus on Anubis. It is also a zombie book, but not in the way you would expect. Zombies are common place in this world, and they don’t want to eat your brains. Ghosts and spirits also are abound in this book. But with the focus on Anubis, God of the Afterlife, that is almost to be expected.

However, there were also things I didn’t like. I felt like most of the secondary characters, with the exception of Molly’s family, were very bland. They lacked depth and were forgettable. I can’t even remember the names of her friends at Nekyia; they ended up blending into the background. And then there is Rick and Rath. I found nothing interesting in either of them. I know that Rath is supposed to be the hot reaper tutor, but I felt like I knew nothing about him. He was just there to serve as love interest. The romance was stale and felt not existent, both with Rick and Rath. Molly’s feelings for Rath came out of no where, and that annoyed me. I really wished that the secondary characters had more substance to them. 
The pacing of this book was a bit off. I was interested in the plot, but things would happen too fast and without a lot of explanation. I would have to accept some plot points without really understanding them. Other parts of the novel dragged, or just didn’t fit with what previously happened. It was a struggle to continue reading when the pacing was all over the place. 
While Undeadly did not meet my expectations, I enjoyed most of it. Molly was a great character who was able to make me laugh and sympathize with her. I definitely want to see what happens next, especially with an ending that is a cliffhanger. The concept of this book was very intriguing, but failed to deliver at sometimes. Despite the issues I had, I do plan on continuing this series to see where Michele Vail takes us. 

Icons by Margaret Stohl

Icons
Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Series or Standalone: Icons #1
ISBN: 0316205184
Format: ARC
Pages: 428
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars
Icons was one of those books that I couldn’t fully get into. I didn’t hate but I didn’t love it, it was mehh. Icons had a lot of potential and I am interested to see were this series goes, but as the first book in a series it felt very jumbled and disconnected.
Icons is set in the not so distant future in a post-invasion world where aliens hold the complete control and most of the population has been killed. As the tagline says “Your heart only beats with their permission.” It is hard for me to describe what sort of world, Dol, the main character, is living in because I couldn’t really get a clear picture of what it was like. This post-invasion world didn’t seem to be fully constructed which oftentimes left me feeling confused. The politics of this world also were confusing. I did not really understand why things were happening, or why the Ambassadors were so bad or what was up with the rebellion faction. I felt I had to struggle to put together the pieces of this world, something that should be clearly developed in the first book of a series.
The characters in the book left me wanting more. I couldn’t connect to any of them. They were all so flat and emotionless, though as children of the Icon, emotionless they shouldn’t be. The romance in the book felt stale, probably because of the lack of depth in the characters. The only character I found remotely interesting was Doc, and he was an artificial intelligence.
The plot was intriguing enough that it kept me turning the pages. There was plenty of action and mystery to keep me interested in finding out more. I really enjoyed how between chapters there would be different artifacts or clips that related to the plot in a  not so clear way until the end. The biggest thing that kept me reading was the mystery of the Icons. Well, that’s not fully answered in this book, but I look forward to finding more out of them.
As a first book in a series, Icons left me feeling confused and wanting more. I expected more from this book than it gave me. I’ll be reading the sequel because the story was interesting enough to make me want to keep reading, but I hope in the next book the world and characters are more developed. I can’t help but compare this post-alien invasion book to another new alien invasion book, The 5thWave by Rick Yancey, and this just falls flat in comparison to that. Hopefully Margaret Stohl can deliver more in the next Icon series book.