Review of “The Bride Who Got Lucky” by Jana MacGregor

3 Stars 🌟🌟🌟

ARC kindly provided by publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I decided to try this new-to-me author due to the high praise she had received from other readers for her debut novel, but unfortunately, I ended up having quite the apathetic feeling towards this particular book.

I can’t really put my finger on it. It could be because of the fact that certain points in the story just did not have enough of a solid ground to stand on. I felt the punishment meted out to the h for her actions were rather dramatic. That is, even given the historical period the story is set in, her actions didn’t justify her punishment. Also, why is the H sent after her all by himself? When Lydia ran of with Wickham in “Pride and Prejudice”, a single, unmarried young man was not sent off all on his own to fetch her back. I would have at least thought the h’s cousin’s husband would accompany the H to avoid any unnecessary scandal – said scandal being more severe than the one of getting a rare book from a questionable book store.

It is wonderful that much of the story is built on the premise of women’s rights, what with the h trying to stand up against domestic abuse and violence that led to her best friend’s death, and later trying to establish a bank for women from all walks of life, whatever their need may be. However, plot holes such as the ones mentioned above, kept nagging me at the back of my skull, and so ultimately, I personally could not enjoy the book as much I wanted to. So, rounding off, this book gets a 3-star from me.

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Review of “A Duke In Shining Armour” by Loretta Chase

4 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

ARC kindly provided by publisher on Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

As usual, no point explaining what the story is about as the blurb does it so well for us. What I will say is, this was once again a wonderful romance by Loretta Chase, with an overall tone somehow paying homage to the great Georgette Heyer.

I think I am one of those romance readers who tend to fall in love with a particular hero written by an author, and then unfortunately keep comparing said author’s later heroes to the incomparable one. So, our hero Hugh, though quite wonderful in his own right, fell short when compared to Chase’s Sebastian (Lord of Scoundrels).

What I loved about this book was how Hugh took in stride all of Olympia’s insecurities and showed her how wrong she was. How she was so very worthy. In my eyes, that is what made him a “knight”/duke in shining armour, more than all the other ways he helped her through her perilous journey of escaping a marriage that everyone deemed was perfect for her.

All in all, a charming story of a wallflower and a rake, who together ultimately realise that neither of them neatly fit into the stereotypical boxes society has fit them into.

I eagerly look forward to reading about the other Dis-Graces…

Review of “The Right Kind of Rogue” by Valerie Bowman.

3 Stars 🌟🌟🌟

ARC kindly provided by publisher on Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I have a deep love for rakes noticing and falling for wallflowers, and if the wallflower has been someone the rake has always known but never bothered to KNOW, even better.

However, this book left me feeling rather unsatisfied. First of all I found both H and h to be a bit immature. I think over the years I have come to REALLY appreciate heroes and heroines who are decisive and strong-minded – different to strong-willed because that sometimes borders on immaturity as well. Knowing what you want – of life, of your partner, your work or leisure – and taking firm steps to go for it – is super hot and sexy. I found Hart and Meg to be a bit lacking when it comes to this.

At times, I felt I was reading about teens in their first “real” relationship, with a few of their close teenage friends coming up with overly dramatic/ zealous ideas to help them out in the path towards true love.

So, at the end of the day, in spite of the premise based on one of my favourite tropes, it just did not work for me.

For the quite easy-to-read flow of the language in the story, a 3 star.

Review of “The Scot Beds His Wife” (Victorian Rebels #5) by Kerrigan Byrne

4 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Every time I read a Victorian Rebels story, I end up getting a serious urge to read the series in its entirety. So you can only imagine what my predicament will be once book 7 or 8 (and many more – here’s hoping!) comes out. But ohh what a sweet predicament to be in!

I loved the intro into that terrible night in Thorne’s childhood. It was dark and full of angst and totally does NOT prepare you for the tone for the rest of the book. I actually loved that. This story is very light hearted compared to the first few books in the series.

I think introducing an American heroine, who are of course famous for being laid-back and does not stick to strictures and decorum per se (although Aussies win this battle far easily), set the total “flavour” of the book’s atmosphere.

An American heroine who DID NOT grow up with a rich, tradesman for a father, with lessons in deportment and everything in-between to hopefully snag a husband with a title on the shores of England or Scotland. Sam grew up an orphan, amidst a gang of rough-and-tumble boys, learning how to run a cattle farm, through hard physical labour, where her strict, foster Mormon parents made no distinction between boys and girls. And so yes, there is a lot of swearing by our heroine, something which actually turns on our hero something rather fierce.

So, while neither of them are perfect, they’re perfect for each other. And THAT’s what makes a wonderful love story, if you ask me.

What I loved most about our hero, despite all his flaws (oh guess what? He is a human being and so of course, we need to hold him up to realistic expectations right?), is rather quick in understanding or deciphering his mind and doesn’t go into paroxysms of denial of his feelings, once he’s faced them. Gotta adore a decisive hero, I say.

There are a couple of heart-touching love stories involving secondary characters, which I loved as well. Both VERY different but EQUALLY sweet I’d say.

And then… at the very end… I am left reading about Lorelei and the Rook… wherein we see him in a totally different light. “Where does it hurt the most?”.. that question and its subsequent answer, made my eyes burn.

So, this book gets 4 and a 1/2 star from me. Mainly because somewhere deep in my heart, I am saving all my adoration for Morley.

I’ll now leave you all to one-click this book, y’all gettin’ me

Review of “Just One Of The Boys” by Leah and Kate Rooper

3 Stars 🌟🌟🌟

ARC kindly provided by publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a cute and charming story which will capture the hearts and minds of many teen girls – after all I was one myself once, and this book brought back some sweet, nostalgic memories of devouring all those “Sweet Dreams” romance paperbacks, lying in bed in the afternoon, back home from school.

However, I have to face the facts. I am over 30 years old, and not ALL books written for the teen market, especially romance, may hit all the right buttons for me.

So, yes… I may recommend this book to perhaps my teenage nieces and their friends, but not to my peers.

A sweet story all around, but not to my taste, but that has everything to do with my age!

Review of “Blocked” by L. P. Dover

3 Stars 🌟🌟🌟

ARC kindly provided by publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am starting to become a huge fan of the sports romance genre, mainly because the H’s are all hunks falling for what we fans of historical romances refer to as Wallflowers. Is there a similar term for h’s in the contemporary genre? “Nerds” and “geeks” somehow doesn’t hold the same charm as say “Bluestocking”. Tomboy? Oh well. I will ponder on this further later.

Now the fact that the Hs aren’t your stereotypical “dumb jocks” and DO posses brains and a great sense of humour also endeared me to this trope. And the h’s are all actually good-looking as well. The “popular” crowd just steers clear off them not because they’re ugly but primarily because a) they are geeks/nerds b) they can’t be bothered trying to impress people with their looks; they’d rather be known for their brains and c) fashion to them means more about showcasing their individuality or personality, than the latest on-trend branded clothes and make-up.

One of my most favourite series under this trope is the “Game On” series by Kristen Callahan. I wanted to try new authors as well and the blurb for this story captured my attention – hunky H falling for a sexy tomboy – yessss!!

However, I finished the book feeling rather disappointed with it all. I felt the h rather overdid the bit of making the H prove himself to be “worthy” enough for her; that too over and over. There are more mature ways of doing so than say, making a guy wear a bikini in public, where the whole thing is meant to be broadcasted. Another sign of Callie’s immaturity is when she is unwilling to even let Dallas explain his motives in regards to a few things she saw and heard. It had to be laid out by a third party before she deemed it necessary to hear him out. I get that Dallas had a “reputation”, but given how much he had ALREADY done to show her he is quite serious about pursuing their relationship, I felt she could have at least had enough trust to listen to his side of the story.

The love scenes also somehow didn’t feel right. There is one scene in Kristen’s book, “The Friend Zone”, where the H and h have an intense session of phone sex. It was raw. It was powerful. It made me want to be in the h’s shoes. That scene alone had more punch then all the love scenes in this book put together.

Final decision. I may most likely wait and go through reviews of this author’s future books before I decide to read another story by her.

Review of “Dating You / Hating You” by Christina Lauren (co-authors Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings)

4 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

ARC kindly provided by publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second book I have read, in trying to re-capture the glory of “The Hating Game”…. The first one was “The Corner Office” by Katerina Baker, which should be more accurately labelled as “Women’s Fiction” rather than “Romance”.

Although this was a great book, it didn’t come near to the awesomeness of THG; but do note that this is my personal opinion.

The premise is pretty much the same. H and h are immediately attracted to each other at a mutual friend’s party, and go on to have a super hot make-out session, only to realise days later that their respective companies have merged, putting them in the unsavoury position of competing for the same job position… eeek!

So, of course, battle of wits ensues; with both H and h resorting to at times, playing rather childish pranks on each other. But then they also end up doing nice things for each other as well.

The story is told from both H and h’s POV, so you do get a fair idea of how they’re both feeling about the whole seriously-attracted-but-I-need-this-job-more-than-you situation.

Also, I somehow found THG to be more romantic. DYHY has less romance in my opinion and touches more on issues like feminism and work-place patriarchy, sexism, glass-ceiling and so on – for instance, there are certain points in the story where the H realises how unfair the situation is for the h and it somehow manages to bring them closer together.

All in all a great story that I would recommend to others but don’t see myself cataloguing it in my “favourite re-reads” shelf.

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