Thursday, August 31, 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately {8.31.17}

Thursday, August 31, 2017 with 2 comments

Man, I am so ready for fall, you guys. Fires in the backyard. Reading in the hammock. Sounds like bliss. I mean, I've been reading, but not the way I usually do. This time last year, I'd already HIT my reading goal for the year, and while I'm still ahead this year according to Goodreads, I'm barely going to reach my goal as it stands. Which isn't a terrible thing considering I've been taking time for family and friends and just my general mental well-being. But I don't like to fail. :(

So, I've mostly been re-reading -- or re-listening, as it were - instead of spending time with new books that I may or may not love. And I simply could not find any new adult novels to love this month, which makes me endlessly sad. So, re-reads and young adult novels it is.

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)

Y O U N G   A D U L T

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and VirtueDaughter of the Burning CityLucky in Love

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Well, that was a romping good time, if I've ever read one. Monty was, in a word, adorable. But also? He was witty and clever and funny, to boot. The heroes in the historical romance novels I usually read are always so somber and solemn, unless they're rakes, as our dear boy Monty here is. As you can probably guess, rakes are my favorite. Rogues, too. Even better if they're roguish rakes...or rakish rogues. ;) But I digress. This really was such a pleasure to read -- or listen to in my case. And I'm so glad I put off reading it in favor of the audiobook because, egads, was the narrator brilliant!?! The accents. The banter. How each character was just so very much their own person. I've never heard this narrator before, but you'd better believe I'll be seeking out other audio featuring him as narrator. (I might have a teensy tiny crush on him as Monty.) Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's very My Lady Jane...but even better. =D 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Daughter of the Burning City - What a fantastic debut! The imagery was phenomenal; I felt as if I were walking the paths of the Gomorrah Festival, taking in the sights and sounds myself. I almost want to be one of Sorina's illusions so I can experience the magic of the festival and the Menagerie. The characters were so well crafted and so intriguing. And then there's the mystery aspect, which made me feel like I was running in circles half the time. It was confusing and convoluted and half the time I didn't know where Sorina stood with anyone, yet I wouldn't have had it any other way. I was just SO captivated by this story. I think it's a stand-alone (bless!), but I saw a sophomore novel listed on GR and it, too, sounds amazing and compelling and I already can't wait to get my hands on it. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Lucky in Love - Ugh, it pains me to say this, but I think I read a different book than everyone else. Honestly, it was a short book but it felt so loooong. Even on audio, thanks to a terrible narrator. If I had rated this based on the first three-quarters, it would have been a lot lower, but the ending redeemed the book somewhat. I usually adore Kasie West novels! And I was positive I'd love this one a million times more than Windfall, which was also a lottery story. In the end, neither really clicked with me. It's just...the romance fell flat, the MC was supposed to be sooo level-headed and then she makes all these air-headed decisions, and it sort of felt like reading Windfall all over again, except from the winner's perspective. Not my favorite Kasie West novel at all. But that's not to say I won't pick up another one of her novels. Because I will. Because I'm kind of trash for Kasie West novels, even if I didn't end up loving this one. 🌟🌟🌟

Secondborn (Secondborn #1)Summer UnscriptedInescapable (The Premonition, #1)

Secondborn - There is just something about a book by Amy A. Bartol. They're just so fun and entertaining and always leave me wanting more. I loved her KRICKET series and I'm still hoping there's another book forthcoming, but I may have enjoyed this book even more. It was so engaging! I loved the world -- despite being a dystopian, which I kinda swore off for the longest -- and the characters were so intriguing. I can't wait to read more, but in the meantime, I'm definitely going to check out her PREMONITION series. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Summer Unscripted - I haven't read all that many "summer-y" books this summer, but I loved Shuffle, Repeat, so I was pretty sure Summer Unscripted was going to be a great read, summer or not. And it totally was. Finally, here's a character who feels exactly how I did in high school: directionless, dispassionate, and unsure of how to change it. Rainie makes a lot of mistakes -- especially where romance and friendship are involved -- but throughout it all, she takes risks and follows her heart and has this fun, quirky journey of self-discovery.  🌟🌟🌟🌟

Inescapable - Welp, that's what I get for going back to read an author's first book, I guess. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever read, but as other reviewers have pointed out, it IS very Twilight-esque. And that's not a selling point for me. Yet, I've really enjoyed the author's newer works, especially Secondborn, which just released. So, I thought, reasonably enough, that I'd probably enjoy her backlist. I even wasted my last Hoopla credit on the second book because the start of Inescapable was relatively auspicious. But it's not to be. I can't force myself to listen to more of this love triangle, the constant declarations of love. I'm sure if I'd read this back when I read Twilight, I probably would have liked it. Maybe even really liked it. But I didn't, and so I don't. 🌟

An Enchantment of RavensReign the Earth (The Elementae, #1)Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

An Enchantment of Ravens - Read this one way earlier in the month and fully intended on writing up a real review -- and I may still -- but for now, I'll leave you with one of my status updates on GR because it should tell you everything you need to know about why I loved this book so hard: "Cocky fae prince who turns into a raven. Sassy portrait artist who KNOWS better than to fall for him. I am SO here for this." 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Reign the Earth - I knew I was going to love this one, but wow. It started off a little like The Girl of Fire and Thorns and just got better from there. I also hope to review this one in full later, possibly closer to release, but know that it should definitely be on your radar. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Wonder Woman: Warbringer - So, I haven't seen the movie, but I figured it wouldn't matter since this is more of an origin story type-thing, and I have some knowledge of Wonder Woman since I watched the old show with Lynda Carter back in the day. (Re-runs with my Dad...sheesh, I'm not THAT old. :D) And honestly, you don't need to know a thing about WW or even really like her to enjoy this story because it's all female empowerment and awesome friendships and give the bad guy the what-for. And it was also just really fun. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

R E - R E A D S

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)The Hating GameThe Scorpio RacesGrave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)

Daughter of the Pirate King - Just as good the second time around! Or, dare I say, even better on audio? =) It's going to be so hard to wait for the next book. Waaaaahhhh. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Hating Game - Re-reading this book can always get me out of the foulest mood. As soon as I've read it, I immediately want to start reading it again. It's just so flippin' cute! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Scorpio Races - When in doubt, re-read an old favorite. For the fifteenth time. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Grave Mercy - When you're in the mood for violence and vengeance, you can't beat a book about assassin nuns. =) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Hallowed (Unearthly, #2)Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)Boundless (Unearthly, #3)

Unearthly series - I didn't love this quite as much as I did when I read it years ago, but it's still a great series as a whole. I think I've had my fill of angel-themed stories for a bit, though. =) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Alex, ApproximatelyDisruption (Disruption, #1)Corruption (Disruption, #2)

Alex, Approximately - I needed a good, summery read, so when my library uploaded this audio, I snatched it up, despite having read the ARC mere months ago. It was totally worth it, especially since the narrator was good. Made summer ending and school starting seem a little less awful. You can check out my original review here. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Disruption duology - Still pretty effing amazing, even knowing all the twists and turns. There is just something about those Aussies, I swear. Highly recommend. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms, #2)The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms, #3)The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms, #4)

Seven Realms series - Whenever I'm in a funk or can't figure out what to read/listen to next or all of the above, I turn to this series. It never fails to delight and enthrall. And despite putting off the second book in the spin-off series because of reasons, I think I'm not finally ready to do this thing. Please don't break my heart AGAIN, Cinda Williams Chima.


The Pact

The Pact - This was my first Karina Halle novel, and, well, I'm not really all that impressed. I've always loved the friends-to-more trope, but I've seen it done better. And with more feeling. The story had its moments, but I just never cared enough about these characters to become fully invested. I will say that the second half was much better than the first, but it was still never a great story. I've heard her other books/series are fantastic, though, so maybe I'll give them a try one day. 🌟🌟🌟

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Thanks to Random House Kids for sending a copy of Wonder Woman: Warbringer and for providing a finished copy to give away! Here's more about the book:

Title: Wonder Woman: Warbringer
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: DC Icons, book #1
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

I just finished reading this last week, and I kind of love Leigh Bardugo's take on Diana's origin story. It's also got me very intrigued by the rest of the DC Icons' stories to come!

About the author:

Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the Six of Crows Duology and the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, as well as the upcoming Wonder Woman: Warbringer (Aug 2017) and The Language of Thorns (Sept 2017).

She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

Find Leigh:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

I've partnered with Random House Kids to bring you this awesome giveaway!

One (1) winner receives:
  • a finished copy of Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Random House Kids.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Title: The Hummingbird Heart
Author: A.G. Howard
Series: Haunted Hearts Legacy, book #2
Publisher: self-published
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Source: ARC received from author
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
Set 19 years after The Architect of Song.

Shortly after escaping a circus tragedy, young Italian orphan, Willow Antoniette, seeks refuge at The Manor of Diversions—a holiday resort in England born of a ghost story. For eleven years, she’s raised alongside the children of the resort’s owners: Julian, his twin brother, Nick, and their younger sister Emilia. Now that Willow is of marriable age, she's determined to escape finishing school along with everyone's efforts to make her a proper lady. The only man she wants to spend her life with is Julian, after all. Yet how can she tell him, when he thinks of her as nothing but a friend?

As a machinist and engineer, Julian Thornton prefers a governable life. He can't allow his ever-deepening attraction for Willow to distract from his amusement park plans to lure a younger, wealthier clientele to their family's resort. In hopes to escape Willow and find investors, Julian sets off on a transatlantic ocean liner headed for the St. Louis World’s Fair, unaware Willow has secretly stowed away on the same ship.

A tiny, mute orphan named Newton and a pair of haunted Italian shoes bring Willow and Julian face to face on deck. Forced to work together to solve the mystery of Newton and his vindictive, ghostly companion, Julian and Willow can no longer fight their untapped passions. However, time to admit their true feelings is running out, for the ghost and her murderer have enlisted them as unsuspecting pawns in a karmic game of cat-and-mouse that could cost all of them their lives.

This novel was, simply put, gorgeous. I loved Howard's Splintered series, but there's no doubt in my mind that I love this series best. I think it's just how sensual and mysterious each ghost story is -- or has been thus far -- coupled with the historical setting. I can't get enough of her atmospheric words.

Howard's characters are always so multi-faceted, and Willow and Julian are no exception. By all appearances, Willow is a tough, no-guts-no-glory kind of tomboy, but as the story progresses, you get to see her more vulnerable side, the one she doesn't want anyone to see. And Julian is the straight-laced, analytical type, but he comes out of his shell more than a little throughout the story. But when they come together...they are completely different people with each other. Their chemistry would blow up a lab if left unchecked. But they are also very caring, attentive, loyal and protective with each other, and I loved reading as they learned how to love each other together.

But it's not just the main characters I found so appealing because Anita's characters all have these layers and dimensions to them that you discover as you're reading. I love how the author weaves such diverse characters and situations and how seamlessly she does so. She doesn't just mention them and then brush them aside; that diversity is essential to the story. These characters facing adversity and trying to right the wrongs of the past gives me life. Howard doesn't gloss over Newt's muteness or the rumors of a fellow passenger being part of the Italian mafia simply because he is rich and has a harem of gorgeous women in his entourage. It was the same in the last book and I am on board for more of this.

My only real complaint with The Architect of Song, the previous book in this series, was that I wanted more from the ending. And I got that with this sequel. More from the previous couple AND more from the featured couple and their story, and it was everything I'd hoped for them. I adore how these stories are already connected and what that might mean for future books in this series, and I can't wait to read more!

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

A.G. Howard is the #1 NYT & International Bestselling author of several young adult retellings and spinoff novels, including her gothic Alice in Wonderland Splintered series, and RoseBlood, a Phantom of the Opera inspired adaptation.

When writing, A.G. is most at home weaving the melancholy, magical, and macabre into her settings and scenes. In her downtime, she enjoys rollerblading, gardening, and visiting 18th century graveyards or abandoned buildings to appease her muse’s darker side.

Find Anita:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I've been trying to make these posts less of a monthly thing, but sometimes when I'm reading -- or listening -- I get carried away and just pick up the next book without even stopping to consider it. Other times, I deliberate far too long on what to read next, and yet I still don't manage to get these posts out any sooner. Oh, well. I suppose as booknerds, you all understand. =)

This month, I was a lot more varied in my reading than I have been in recent months. I think there was a good mix of young adult, adult/romance, and re-reads in there. I read some fantastic books, and I read some duds, but I think my favorite of them all had to be either Here Lies Daniel Tate -- shockingly good, not because I expected not to like it but because I did and it still surprised me -- and The Waking Land, which pretty much no one is talking about but was utterly brilliant. All said and done, it was a pretty great reading month.

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)

Y O U N G   A D U L T

Every Move (Every, #3)Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1)The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1)

Every Move - I put off reading this final book for ages, and I don't even know why. It definitely wasn't because of the purported love triangle. I can deal with that because I trust Ellie Marney enough as an author not to completely alienate her readership...and we are ALL #Wattscroft shippers, after all. And after reading the book, I think rumors of a love triangle were grossly exaggerated. It was never an issue, though with everything that Mycroft has gotten Rachel caught up in over the course of this series, it's only fair that she's a little confused in this book. I do have to admit, I found aspects of this finale a tad predictable, but it was still a crazy, thrilling ride, despite that. And I am super excited to read Harris' book in a couple of months. I really enjoyed the addition of his character and can't wait to see where his story takes us. ;) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Song of the Current - Fun story. The magic and lore were intriguing. And pirates are always good. Plus a hate-to-love romance with witty banter is my jam. But WTF was that ending?!? Seriously, sometimes I hate listening to audiobooks for this reason. You can be trucking along, the story's getting really intense, and then BAM! The end catches you totally by surprise and leaves you reeling. At least with a paper copy, you can see the end approaching. Anyway, I liked it. It's great for fans of Daughter of the Pirate King, which I loved. But I'm still side-eyeing that cliffhanger. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow - Apparently, now that I've picked up some more exciting reads, I'm going to end up on the edge of a cliff at the end of every one of them. That's fine. I'd rather remain curious at the end than regretting the time I spent reading a book. I loved Weber's Storm Siren series -- though I haven't been able to bring myself to read that final book, d'oh! -- and I enjoy her writing, but I wasn't sure how I'd fare with a gamer book. Gaming is so not my thing. And when this one started out a little Hunger Games-y on top of that, I admit I was a little worried. But this story was not that at all. It wasn't what I was expecting or hoping for but rather something in between. It was very sci-fi, high-tech espionage, with a side of alien overlords thrown in just to shake things up. And I am completely on board with it. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Coming Up for AirHere Lies Daniel TateThe Waking Land

Coming Up for Air - I've only read Breathe, Annie, Breathe and Catching Jordan in this series...and in that order, but I can see why so many readers love Miranda Kenneally's books. They all share such a vivid, realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a teenager: a little angst, a little romance, and a whole lot of finding yourself, all while being very sex-positive. Without having read the entire series, I don't think it would be right to pick a favorite, but I've always loved the best-friends-to-more romance, and so Coming Up for Air is definitely a contender. It shows that guys can be dicks and girls are allowed to be unsure of what they want, but real best friends are forever. This was such a cute summer read, and as you can see, you don't have to have read any of the other books in the series. =) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Here Lies Daniel Tate - I thought about writing a full review for this one. I have quite a lot to say about it. But alas, spoilers. So, I'll just say that this was one thrilling, twisty, fucked up book, and I COMPLETELY LOVED IT. An unreliable narrator is my favorite because you just never know. I read so much that books are typically pretty predictable for me, but that all falls by the wayside when the narrator is this ballsy, sociopathic con-artist. I mean, there were definitely clues and my theory did ultimately pan out, but there's just no way to guess it ALL. And that's what makes this book so great, so unbelievably captivating, despite the tragic circumstances. And Cristin Terrill is so amazing at putting the reader IN the story, making us empathize with characters because they're so multi-faceted and just downright intriguing. Please, book gods, I beg of you, do NOT let it be another four years before we get another book from this woman. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Waking Land - This stand-alone fantasy novel was utterly gorgeous in its telling and breathtaking in its brilliant use of magic to spark a revolution in a kingdom already besieged by pretenders and usurpers. I rarely find the time to read on the weekends, let alone listen to a book, but once I started this audiobook on my way home on Friday afternoon, there was no stopping me. The book almost comes to life with the rich narration, waking your senses as the land is waking in the story, and it made it very hard to put down. This story was simply lovely and unique, and well...magical. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Paper Hearts (The Heartbreakers Chronicles, #2)Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us, #3)

Paper Hearts - Ugh. After being sorta surprised (in a good way) by the first book, I am decidedly unimpressed with this companion novel. It was overkill and boring and I never sensed the romantic connection. And this time, the only band member who didn't annoy me was Alec. I'm assuming there's going to be a book for each Heartbreaker, but I don't think I care to see the series through... 🌟🌟

Frostblood - I was just SO bored while listening to this one. I put off reading it for ages because it just seemed so...generic. And it was. The magic system was so unimaginative. The romance, which I'm sure was supposed to be this epic hate-to-love thing, was so trite, and I never felt the love or the hate. The only thing I did like was the narrator, but even she couldn't save this book. I highly doubt I'll be picking up the sequel. 🌟🌟

The Ends of the World - This was a great conclusion to the jet-setting adventure of the first two books. This finale was slightly more grounded, definitely more politically motivated, and full of character growth for Avery and company. And though I could have used more of the steamy scenes that Maggie Hall is so great at, I'm thoroughly pleased that she didn't vilify the guy who didn't end up getting the girl. We got to see the vulnerability behind the masks in this novel, and it made me like the characters that much more. I'm sad that it's over, but I'm completely satisfied with this ending. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Reece Malcolm ListGiven to the Sea (Given Duet, #1)

The Reece Malcolm List - I cannot believe I have only just now read this adorable book! I bought it on sale for Kindle ages ago. It was endearing and the voice was just perfect. Also, I related to Devan and her insecurities and anxiety of always saying or doing the wrong thing, and I loved seeing her grow past that, especially as someone who never really did. The mother-daughter relationship is so central to this book, too, and I couldn't have loved it more. It was genuine and not at all what I was expecting, which is to say that Reece Malcolm ended up being this really above board character who made Devan better. It as just so well done...traversing first loves and first heartbreaks, high school, and family. I'm so glad I decided to peruse my Kindle library to stave off the boredom at work one day. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Given to the Sea - It's Mindy McGinnis, so duh, I wanted to read it. But as with all her books, I knew going into this one not to expect a happy ending, and so I've put off reading it. Thus, the audiobook from the library, which probably helped since there are so many freaking points of view. I'm loathe to actually read a book when there's more than two perspectives and this one had plenty more than that. The one I really could have done without was Witt's. I understand that what was happening with the Pietrans was important to the story overall, but his POV took me out of the story more than it helped add to it. This book was different from the author's previous work, but it was oddly similar, if that makes any sense. The overall mood was similar, I guess. I still feel the same way I always do after a McGinnis book: like I've read something good but in need of some comfort because it's just so bleak. 🌟🌟🌟

R E - R E A D S

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2)

Kingmaker Chronicles #1-2 - I've been in a bit of a fantasy mood and though I know the third book won't release until January, I couldn't help myself and had to re-read these books. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

All Our YesterdaysThis Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)Map of Fates (The Conspiracy of Us, #2)

All Our Yesterdays - After reading Here Lies Daniel Tate and talking up Cristin Terrill's first book to a friend, I couldn't help picking it up for a re-read...again. ;) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This Savage Song - You know, I liked this one a lot more the first time I read it. The narration on the audio was great for a re-read, but I just could not get into it this time around. And I really needed to so I don't feel I'm forcing myself to read Our Dark Duet. :( Which I've been unable to make myself do, regardless... 🌟🌟🌟

Map of Fates - Prep for The Ends of the World. Plus, I could re-read that Stellan/Avery interlude a hundred times and never grow tired of it. ;0) 🌟🌟🌟🌟


The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband (Rokesbys, #2)Dating You / Hating YouThe Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)

The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband - This was cute and I was definitely entertained by the While You Were Sleeping vibe, but as I've said before, I just don't think Julia Quinn is ever going to be one of my favorite historical romance authors. There's nothing inherently bad about the writing or her stories; they just always leave me outside of the story in a way that Tessa Dare or Sarah MacLean's novels don't. 🌟🌟🌟

Dating You/Hating You - Similar to The Hating Game but not? Also, I'm very, very surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel, considering how much I loathed the only other Christina Lauren novel I've read, which was not nearly as Sublime as the title suggests. Not even a little bit. But I digress. Honestly, this book made me laugh. Like, a lot. It was witty. And sexy. But it was ultimately the poor man's version of The Hating Game, a book I've re-read no less than four times in less than a year. As entertaining as Dating You/Hating You was, I just can't see myself reading this one over and over again. I will have to check out more of this duo's adult reads, though. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Duchess Deal - The first book is almost always my favorite in a Tessa Dare series, and I'm sure the same will hold true with the Girl Meets Duke series, though I'm holding out hope that the next book will be just as good, especially with the intimation as to which pairing the next book will focus on. ;0) That said, my favorite fairy tale ever is Beauty and the Beast, and there was a strong BatB vibe with this story, also making it one of my very favorite Tessa Dare novels to-date. While also ensuring that Dare is going to be hard-pressed to surpass it, at least in my eyes. This newest novel is everything you've come to expect from her: witty banter, great characterization, clever dialogue, funny situations, and of course, some seriously steamy sex scenes. But there's also that cantankerous cat, the monster and his sidekick, those hilarious nicknames, the well-meaning staff, and the seamstress-turned-duchess' tight-knit group of friends. It was almost too much awesome for one book. I'm entirely serious when I say this just might be my new favorite Tessa Dare novel. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Dear Mr. KnightleyThe Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane (Rhymes With Love, #4)If Wishes Were Earls (Rhymes With Love, #3)His Scandalous Kiss (Secrets at Thorncliff Manor, #3)

Dear Mr. Knightley - I'm so glad I gave this book a chance after seeing someone discussing it on Goodreads. I just adore epistolary novels. And the writing in this novel, the way the letters are spread out, really works to keep you in the story. I just wish I hadn't known the identity of Mr. Knightley before I even started. I know this is an older novel, but there are spoiler tags for a reason. And, sure, I would have figured it out pretty quickly anyway, but it's the principle. And even knowing didn't make that ending feel any less rushed. I wish we got to spend more time with characters in romance novels once they finally get together. But that's a complaint for another day. I still loved the literary references and how Sam channelled some of her favorite characters when she was uncomfortable in a situation. And though there were definitely some tough subjects being tackled, it never felt too heavy...or too preachy. Definitely a great read if you're looking for something different. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane - I've never read this author's work before but I just had to try this one since it sounds SO much like The Duchess Deal, which I just read and adored. On the surface, the stories are similar: gruff lord has unfortunate run-in with naive spinster-type and is almost immediately besotted but fights his feelings for most of the book. However, that's where the similarities end. This story was entertaining, but it lacked the heart of Dare's novel. Although, I was looking for a happily ever after in both cases, I just never felt a connection to the characters in Elizabeth Boyle's book. I'm going to give her another try, as I already have a previous book in this series checked out from the library. (I'm very good -- or is it bad? -- at reading historical romance series out of order.) I'm hoping that since I didn't just read a story with a similar premise, my expectations won't keep me from enjoying it as much as I otherwise could have, as with The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane. 🌟🌟🌟

If Wishes Were Earls - So, I think the summary on GR is a bit off on this one, but despite that, I quite enjoyed the book. I always love heroes and heroines who would put their own happiness aside to ensure the safety and well-being of those they love -- even when it's frustrating as hell to read, knowing what they're prepared to sacrifice. I also love a heroine who flouts the rules of society, who barrels toward danger, all in the name of love. Harriet, nay Harry, was perfection. (And I definitely want to read more about her five brothers!) Roxley was a fine love interest, but Harry really stole the show. There should be a series -- like the one "quoted" from in this story -- detailing her adventures. 🌟🌟🌟

His Scandalous Kiss - I grabbed this audiobook from the library on a whim, and ended up enjoying it quite a bit, despite never having read a book by this author previously. However, this regency romance was quite a bit tamer than most of those I've read recently. And it is is the THIRD book featuring a battle-scarred/injured hero that I've read in as many weeks, though not my favorite. (Tessa Dare reigns supreme again.) Usually when I read these novels, some type of illicit affair happens as a precursor to obtaining a special license to be wed, but everything in this romance was above board. Well, for the most part. ;0) 🌟🌟🌟

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!

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