I’m a huge fan of Beauty & the Beast re-tellings & I was so excited to get my hands on Lenora Bell’s spin. Love is a Rogue is a delightful version with a heroine as the beast & the sweetest softest hero—a cinnamon rogue as I think I saw Lenora call him.
Lady Beatrice Bentley is an etymologist working on compiling her own dictionary in Cornwall. Dubbed Beastly Beatrice, she wants to be a spinster but her mother, a Duchess, has other plans.
Stamford “Ford” Wright is a naval carpenter on temporary leave who can’t help but be drawn to Beatrice.
He’s a rogue. She’s a duke’s sister with an awful nickname who was isolated from others in her childhood & is now preoccupied with her work.
Both resolve to stay away from the other but that’s hard to do when Ford must inform the Duke of some employee malfeasance & Beatrice inherits a London bookstore that just so happens to need a renovation.
What did I love about this historical? The rep—Beatrice wears spectacles & has palsy. How Lenora explores the societal constraints Beatrice & Ford face. The emotionality of the hero & how soft he is when it comes to Beatrice. The bold women we see here, members of a Knitting League that doesn’t knit.
Overall this is an enjoyable read & a cool Beauty & the Beast re-telling with a stand-out hero.
3.5 ⭐️. Love is a Rogue is out now. Thanks to Avon & Goodreads for my complimentary copy, which I won in a giveaway. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: do you think the personality traits associated w/ your astrological sign are accurate?
You have to read this book! (I added an exclamation point to make the sentence seem less demanding 🤣.) But seriously, I love this book from the first page to the last.
Alexandria Bellefleur’s Written in the Stars has everything I want: steam, laughs, & just enough emotion to make me feel alive (; ) ) AND it has the uptight/reserved + charmer dynamic between leads that I love so hard.
Elle Jones & her BFF have made names for themselves as astrologers & they’re in the process of integrating their services into a popular dating app. The guy behind the dating app—now a friend to Elle—sets her up on a blind date with his sister Darcy.
Darcy Lowell is a beautiful actuary. She’s also sophisticated & reserved & doesn’t appreciate Elle’s job or when Elle spills wine on her dress.
But after the date, after Darcy has complained to someone about how it went (& after Elle overhears her ), Darcy finds herself telling her brother that she & Elle are dating so he’ll stop with the date suggestions. & then Elle goes along with Darcy’s lie for reasons, & soon Elle & Darcy are spending more time together because this has to be convincing dammit! & feelings start happening.
What a delightful ride this book is.
The back stories are developed well; each character has her own emotional baggage & it’s convincingly & thoughtfully related to their present. There are bursts of humor throughout—this is a funny one!—& there’s also a scene where one of the leads stands up for the other with family (which I know is catnip for some of us).
The female friendships are authentic & the pacing is 100—I just couldn’t wait to read more of this opposites attract, fake dating romance that is by turns hilarious & tender.
It gave me a million warm fuzzies to see how both leads feel free to be themselves with each other.
I wanted an epilogue . But over & over again this book is wonderful & happiness-inducing & I am a B I G fan.
5⭐️. Written in the Stars releases on 11/10. Thanks to Avon Books & Edelweiss for the complimentary ARC; all opinions provided are my own.
Jenny Holiday, author of this adorable, smack you in the feelings romance, calls it “a Hallmark-style Christmas book” in the Acknowledgments & while I haven’t watched a Hallmark movie before I definitely got some of those isn’t-this-book-cuddly-&-cozy vibes I associate with the genre.
I’m a big fan of Jenny Holiday’s books. They’re emotionally resonant, they’re sexy, & they’re beautifully written. A Princess for Christmas is all of those things: it’s also , super sweet, & it features a working class, kind hero & *these are a few of my fav-o-rite things.*
The Princess of Eldovia, Marie, is in NYC to secure a market for one of her country’s chief exports. While there she unexpectedly has to take a cab driven by our hero, Leo, who has two jobs & is basically living paycheck to paycheck while taking care of his orphaned sister.
The gulf between them is huge, for obvious reasons.
Like I said before Holiday is so skilled at writing emotion. A Princess for Christmas sparkles with feeling. It’s funny, it’s warm, it’s real. Both leads have anxiety; they buy pads for his preteen sister together—>those are just a couple of moments that plucked my heart like a guitar string.
Also the attraction between them is a dream & I love how Leo notices ALL OF THE THINGS about Marie.
In short I love so much about this book. But there are a couple of things that I have reservations about.
First, there’s a loose love triangle plot because Marie is a *princess* & there’s a suitor her father favors. My problem is that I don’t feel like the book is upfront enough with the reader about Marie’s plans with this (ie is she actually engaged? Is she on the way there?), her feelings, if she is in some way possibly acting or feeling inappropriately because of that possible relationship, etc.
The book moves pretty slowly in the steam department so it wasn’t a huge issue; still, I was a little confused about the basics of the potential love triangle for part of the book & when it comes to that trope in particular I don’t want it to be any more complicated/unclear than it needs to be.
Moving on (somewhat), I wanted Marie to take on an even more active role in choosing her future—for growth reasons. And finally, I feel like some logistical aspects of the resolution are rushed.
So in the end this wasn’t a “perfect” read for me. But it was really enjoyable & sweet, with leads who deserve happiness dammit! & we all need more of that.
4⭐️. A Princess for Christmas is out on 10/13. Thanks to Avon Publishing & Edelweiss for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: are you a city person or a rural?
Cara Bastone’s Just a Heartbeat Away was a 5⭐️ read for me. Last week I returned to the world for its stand-alone sequel, Can’t Help Falling, with anticipation.
It’s an opposites attract, slow burn between a stunning, unconventional clairvoyant named Serafine who dreams of becoming a foster parent & a sports reporter named Tyler whose style reminds the heroine of 80s James Spader.
The book opens with a verbal massacre of sorts, when Tyler encourages Serafine to go on a date with him & she eventually responds with a stinging set-down that makes him dislike her & question a lot about his lifestyle.
Then he receives word that the teen sister he barely knows has to live with him. Serafine, who was in a similar position as his teen sister when she was younger, reaches out wanting to help & Tyler has to decide if that’s a good idea, given their past interactions...just as Serafine has to decide if she does in fact have a “blind spot” when it comes to judging Tyler.
I really like Cara Bastone’s writing style, how it provokes such emotions with smooth, approachable narration & how concerned it is with the human heart. I come to care so much for the characters, for the ways they learn that they were wrong, for the deliberate ways they try to be better, for the ways they share their love.
I’d like to give a special s/out for the Serafine & Tyler’s discussion of orgasms in this book *thumbs up.
This story didn’t unspool *quite* as smoothly as the one told in Sebastian & Via’s romance—& I also felt like a potential “big” conflict between the leads could have been deliberated on more throughout the book, esp. the ending—but overall this is another heart-grabbing romance told by a storyteller in a way that really works for me.
Give me that HEA, please.
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