Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: which kind of anti-hero are you more drawn to: the charming, rogue type or the terrifying, mostly silent type?
Kerrigan Byrne’s Dancing with Danger has a lot of the KB trademarks.
✅ a hero on the wrong side of the law.
✅ a heroine who comes across as “innocent” but not so sheltered that she can’t handle the drama associated with him.
✅ some darkness & violence.
✅ but a once in a lifetime love can offer some kind of hope & redemption.
Wealthy and privileged Mercy Goode puts the skills she’s learned as a member of the Detective Eddard Sharpe Society of Homicidal Mystery Analysis to work after the unfortunate death of a friend. Whom does she discover at her friend’s murder scene but the charming ne’er-do-well, Raphael Sauvageau, smuggler, gangster, & lord of the Fauves?
Assuming Raphael to have been the murdered woman’s lover, Mercy agrees to exchange info with him in an effort to find her killer.
But the more Mercy & Raphael are around each other, the more their chemistry becomes apparent until Raphael issues a daring proposition 🤭.
The explosive chemistry between Raphael & Mercy is complemented by the sweetness of how much Raphael delights in Mercy’s somewhat unorthodox personality. She’s saucy & he loves it.
You can tell he has feelings for his chaton, as he calls her, from the beginning & an antihero having tender feelings that most people don’t pick up on (because they seem impervious to softer emotion ) is one of my fave things.
While I read Dancing with Danger quickly & enjoyed it thoroughly, the plot also often feels rushed to me. The connection between the leads is intense but things between them progress so quickly that it feels a bit shallow. I think the somewhat short length of the book might be a factor here too.
But with that being said Dancing with Danger is a sexy, fast read with enough of those things I love about KB’s writing to bring a sparkle to a reader’s eyes.
I waffled a little on the rating but I’m going with 3.5⭐️. Dancing with Danger is out on 02/09/21.
Thanks to Berkley Pub for inviting me to be part of the blog blitz celebration for Harper St. George's The Heiress Gets a Duke. All opinions provided are my own.
I’m all about an independent, business-minded heroine who would rather not marry a Duke, thankyouverymuch! Harper St. George’s The Heiress Gets a Duke offers that plus an aristocratic hero who *shudder* has to “work” to get his intended bride to accept his suit & some sweet & sexy moments between the two.
American August Crenshaw & her family are temporarily in London to visit a friend when her wealthy parents announce that they’re marrying off her younger, more conventional sister to a penniless, arrogant Duke.
Evan Sterling, said Duke, does not want to marry but he must to save the people who depend on him & to live that Big D—Duke, silly—life to which he is accustomed.
But saucy August—who wants to help run her family’s company, Crenshaw Iron Works, & who decidedly does not want to marry—is the Crenshaw who catches his eye.
The fortune-hunting hero/American heiress pairing isn’t one that I’ve encountered a lot before & it complicates the dynamic between Evan & August in an intriguing way. The set-downs August lays, the fact that she basically laughs in his face at his arrogance, gave me a lot of pleasure ;), & the vulnerable moment Evan has when he shares his grief over his brother is touching.
But I think my biggest quibble with the romance is that it doesn’t feel that truly romantic to me. The hero & heroine are both quite resistant toward marriage well into the book, & though their resistance wears down, their romance arc is never assertive enough. Persuasive enough. Without offering any specific spoilers, it just feels lackluster to me.
Please also note there is reference to Crenshaw Iron Work’s possible expansion into India, a moment that @liber_lady explores in greater detail in her own review.
The Heiress Gets a Duke is an interesting read with a heroine who wants to make her mark on the world & the cover is truly ravishing, but unfortunately the romance falls flat for me.
3 ⭐️. The Heiress Gets a Duke is available today.
About Harper St. George
Harper St. George was raised in the rural backwoods of Alabama and along the tranquil coast of northwest Florida. It was a setting filled with stories of the old days that instilled in her a love of history, romance, and adventure. By high school, she had discovered the historical romance novel which combined all of those elements into one perfect package. She has been hooked ever since. She lives in the Atlanta area with her family and loves to hear from readers.
Thanks for joining me at The Naptime Writer Blog! Hope to see you again soon!
Thanks to Harlequin Publishing & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: are you/were you “good” at first dates? My husband was only the second person I dated & I think I was probably very awkward but also I must have been cute in some way .
Last year someone’s review compared Cara Bastone’s debut to Kate Clayborn’s writing & I was there so fast. Since then I’ve loved reading more of Bastone’s work. The burn is so slowwwwwwwww, the relationships are so deeeeeeeppp, the kissing stuff—when it finally happens—is so delicious.
Flirting with Forever is another wonderful installment, focusing on 37 year old Mary Trace—a gorgeous shop owner who is the last member of her close friend group who has not found her One yet—& John Modesto-Whitford, a public defender who is very grumpy & often rude.
When they’re set up on a blind date by John’s mother, he actually says to Mary, “I thought you’d be younger”—or something like that—& Mary ends up leaving.
But after meeting again at a block party they form an arrangement whereby Mary will run John’s mother’s other date suggestions by John to get his opinion before she wastes her time. Along the way Mary realizes there’s some secret kindness in John & he realizes more than ever that he was an idiot & not very nice to her & he’s been FRIEND ZONED.
This book is a delight & the tropes keep coming & they don’t stop coming (I’ve been waiting to use Smash Mouth lyrics in a review.) There’s older woman/younger man; enemies to friends to lovers; sunshine & the grumpy; & some money difference conflict, with her having a lot more money & coming from a wealthier background than he did.
The chemistry between them is so sexy; the hero is a big grump w/ a heart of gold; & the plot is straightforward. The end started to drag a scotch for me but Flirting with Forever is another winner & I really want this series for my shelves.
4 ⭐️. Flirting with Forever is available on 01/26/21.
Q: do you think that you’d be good at maintaining a lie about your identity if it was your job to do so?
A terrifying ghost dressed in white, rumored to be haunting the husband who supposedly killed her. A bedchamber door that’s mysteriously unlocked, but only for the heroine. A hero who has more secrets than coins (<—this is a purely hyperbolic statement made for effect).
Anna Bradley’s romance The Virgin who Vindicated Lord Darlington takes an intriguing walk on the gothic romance side, offering a slow burn class difference/everyone’s keeping secrets/widower’s second chance at love tale.
Cecilia Gilchrist is posing as a housemaid in Lord Darlington’s home to discover if he really is in fact the Murderous Marquess. Believed to have murdered his wife, Gideon faces malicious gossip & things really start boiling over when a ghostly apparition believed to be his dead wife starts appearing in advance of his upcoming marriage to someone who is not our heroine.
Will Cecilia solve the case? & will Gideon actually marry someone who is not our Cecilia (also remember: our heroine isn’t being honest with him ).
This secret-driven atmospheric romance is an entertaining change of pace. I love how Cecilia challenges the lordly Lord Gideon & how she’s a genuinely nice person who, as Gideon says, enlivens his world. His devotion to Cecilia & his niece is pure sweetness.
But I didn’t care for how the deception plot unravels. Cecilia shares very little about her actual life w/ Gideon & what she does share is a lie, & that doesn’t feel adequately or sufficiently corrected by the end. I didn’t really feel like he “knew her” knew her & that’s important to me.
Also, & this could just be a personality clash, I was annoyed with some of the risks she continued to take .
My reading of this one was a little uneven but I’m looking forward to trying more in the series, especially book 1, which I’ve seen great reviews of.
there’s a disturbing plot element related to the death of Gideon’s first wife. Please contact me if you'd like more info.
3.5 ⭐️. The Virgin who Vindicated Lord Darlington publishes on 02/02. Thanks to Kensington Press & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
💫 Q: what’s your fave fairy tale?
I’ll be honest: I didn’t put together all of the references to Snow White in Charis Michaels’s A Duchess a Day until after the book was over 😆. But I’m blaming that all on me/maybe a little 2020, & whether some of the references sailed over my head or not I enjoyed the heck out of this book by a new-to-me-author.
Declan Shaw, aka the Hunstman, is a mercenary who’s been falsely imprisoned. A dastardly man, the uncle of a duke, says he’ll pay Declan & have him released from Newgate...if he agrees to serve as a bodyguard of sorts ensuring that the duke’s intended, the very reluctant Lady Helena Lark, not escape before the nuptials. As she’s tried before.
While in his guise as a groom, Declan is introduced to Helena, who’s beautiful, determined, smart, & devoted to her orchard & people back home. (She literally has traveled to London with some of her 🍎.)
Readers, though he doesn’t come out & say it, Declan is pretty much immediately gone for her *double fist pumps.
But of course there are lots of obstacles standing in the way of true love 💕, including the fact that the duke needs a duchess & Helena refuses to volunteer or accept the position.
For me, the premise almost seems to share some of the things I love from what I consider my “classic” romance novel loves. Like maybe a Garwood? (Please don’t come for me if you don’t agree 🤣).
✅ A brawny hero torn by obligation & desire.
✅ A beautiful heroine who’s also eccentric in some ways, resourceful, & caring
✅ Some humor
But with a fresh, entertaining spin on it.
There are some narrative intrusions that feel a little strange to me, a joke that feels somewhat insensitive, & one of the characters seems to change his/her mind about something in a way that feels kinda sudden, but I’ll be honest: I don’t know how critically I read this one; I just enjoyed it 🤷🏻♀️ . Low angst, 🔥, sweetness, working-class hero: yes, yes, yes, & YES.
4 ⭐️. A Duchess a Day releases on 11/10. Thanks to Avon & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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