2019 Book #82 – The Lady’s Deception by Susanna Craig

51dl92DyeEL (1).jpgTitle: The Lady’s Deception
Author: Susanna Craig
Date finished: 10/27/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Pages in book: 288
Stand alone or series: Rogues & Rebels #3
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Can a runaway English bride find love with a haunted Irish rebel?
 
Paris Burke, Dublin’s most charismatic barrister, has enough on his mind without the worries of looking after his two youngest sisters. The aftermath of a failed rebellion weighs on his conscience, so when the young English gentlewoman with an unwavering gaze arrives, he asks far too few questions before hiring her on as governess. But her quick wit and mysterious past prove an unexpected temptation.

Rosamund Gorse knows she should not have let Mr. Burke think her the candidate from the employment bureau. But after her midnight escape from a brother bent on marrying her off to a scoundrel, honesty is a luxury she can no longer afford. With his clever mind and persuasive skill, Paris could soon have her spilling her secrets freely just to lift the sorrow from his face. And if words won’t work, perhaps kisses would be better?

Hiding under her brother’s nose, Rosamund knows she shouldn’t take risks. If Paris learns the truth, she might lose her freedom for good. But if she can learn to trust him with her heart, she might discover just the champion she desires . . .

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also I’m reading this book as part of my October Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge, checking of the “protagonist has a cat” box since a kitten played a big part of the interactions between the two main characters.

I haven’t read anything by this author before but I really liked the cover and was interested in giving it a try. I liked the book a good amount but there was a lot that I wasn’t thrilled with also. Rosamund was so very strong willed and I really liked that about her character, but at the same time she was so unbearably naive. And Paris was in some ways a great example of a romance novel hero but he was also very selfish and self-absorbed. There was a lot in this book too that seemed to be related to characters from previous novels in the series – I think I would’ve felt more connected to the story line if I had had some involvement in those story lines as well. And their relationship felt like it was progressing slowly but then it went warp speed when they started getting physical and it just didn’t feel developed enough for what was happening. Overall I liked the book ok but wasn’t especially excited about it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2019 Book #80 – The Duke’s Stolen Bride by Sophie Jordan

512jesA6P5LTitle: The Duke’s Stolen Bride
Author: Sophie Jordan
Date finished: 10/22/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: #5 in The Rogue Files series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

An urgent dilemma…

To save her impoverished family, Marian Langley will become a mistress. But she will not be just any mistress. Marian intends to become so skilled, so coveted, that she can set her own terms, retaining control over her body and her fate. Only one problem remains: finding a tutor…

A scandalous solution…

Other men deprive themselves of pleasure for propriety’s sake. Nathaniel, Duke of Warrington, would much rather be depraved. He slakes his desires with professionals who ask nothing of him but his coin. Marian’s proposal—that he train her without taking her virtue—is an intriguing diversion, until their lessons in seduction spin out of control.

And a most unlikely duchess…

When Marian is blackmailed into engagement by a man she despises, Nate impulsively steals her away. Though he never intended to take a wife, he can’t tolerate the idea of Marian forfeiting her freedom to another. But can he bear to give her what she demands—a real marriage?

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also I’m reading this book as part of my October Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge, checking of the “a character goes missing” box since Marian gets herself kidnapped towards the end of the book (*spoiler alert* I guess though it’s not a huge plot point).

I had actually read the last book in this series also (#4) and didn’t really realize it til partway through the book. Which is fine. Anyways, I had mixed feelings about this book. There was a lot that I did really like – the chemistry between the two main characters was fantastic and I swear the pages caught on fire during a couple of their intimate scenes. Also the book overall really captured my interest and I wanted to see how the book would end. At the same time though, there were some problematic areas of the book for me. The biggest is probably the scene where Marian and Nate have sex for the first time – there is some questionable consent in the scene that made me unhappy. It involved Nate being the one not fully consenting, but I don’t think that should be treated any differently than how a reader would think of the scene were a woman in his place. I also just overall wasn’t into the plot line personally. The fact that Marian had to basically throw herself at him, and then let him walk all over her in order to strike the deal she needed, was not my cup of tea. I’m sure it will 100% work for certain readers but it didn’t for me. Overall this was (I thought) a well written book but it just wasn’t the right fit for me personally.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2019 Book #79 – The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

51+pKU74twLTitle: The Witch of Willow Hall
Author: Hester Fox
Date finished: 10/19/19
Genre: Gothic romance, suspense, magic stuff
Publisher: Graydon House
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also I’m reading this book as part of my October Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge, checking of the “a spell goes wrong” box since Lydia does a spell that goes wrong, even if she doesn’t mean to. I’m also reading this book for my Bookish 2019 Reading Challenge: 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR checking off line #1 – a book you bought (requested) for the cover. Since I’m using this checklist to check off some of my previously requested NetGalley titles, I hadn’t bought any of them but so I changed bought to request. And I had originally requested this book in large part based on the cover – I think it’s so pretty and intriguing.

Even though I mostly requested based on the cover for this book. I also thought the story line sounded really interesting too. Plus I’m trying to read as many spooky books as possible for this month so it was a perfect fit for me to read this one. I’m glad I got to read it too – I really liked it. There were definitely a lot of pieces of the book that I didn’t care for but overall I really liked it! Lydia as a character had a lot of layers but she was a bit too much of a doormat for me. And I loved the whole journey to her discovering she was a witch and her long dead ancestor and what not but I wished that it had happened a little earlier in the book. This was definitely a good read for October – it was super spooky and creepy. I thought it was really captivating, I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. At the same time the pacing was a little slow for me. Overall I really liked the book but it wasn’t my favorite. Great read for October though!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2019 Book #77 – The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

41TLd3ldCPLTitle: The Widow of Rose House
Author: Diana Biller
Date finished: 10/13/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martins’ Griffin
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Pages in book: 346
Stand alone or series: This is actually Biller’s debut novel! We’ll have to wait to see if there will be a series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

** A “MOST ANTICIPATED ROMANCE” of 2019 (BookPage) **

A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age romantic comedy debut

It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time.

However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor Samuel Moore appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life—especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam. Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history—and her heart.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also I’m reading this book as part of my October Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge, checking of the “set in a haunted house” box because (obviously) much of the book takes place in and centers around the haunted house.

I had read a sample of this book in the Buzz Books Romance collection and liked it. I also really love the cover, though the key that’s featured on it plays an important but much shorter role than I expected. I really enjoyed the book though – mostly because of Sam and his family. Sam was perfectly quirky, funny, and devoted to Alva. He was enchanting and every sort of endearing and I just loved his character. And his interactions with his equally quirky and endearing family were hilarious. Alva’s character was alright but some pieces of it just didn’t work for me personally for a couple reasons. The ghost story was pretty good in this book, I was sufficiently engaged in finding out the ending for it, but I did find that the romance side of the plot wasn’t as well developed as I thought the ghost side of the plot was. Overall though I really liked the book and I can’t wait to read more books by this author!

Link to author’s website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2019 Book #75 – A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen

51yHyvPrGzLTitle: A Duke in the Night
Author: Kelly Bowen
Date finished: 9/30/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Pages in book: 337
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Devils of Dover series
Where I got the book from: Publisher/Author
NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

An enchanting historical romance from the 2018 RITA award-winning author that New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean calls “a charming, clever, and engaging storyteller.”
Named to All About Romance’s “The Best of 2018!”
Duke. Scoundrel. Titan of business. August Faulkner is a man of many talents, not the least of which is enticing women into his bedchamber. He’s known-and reviled-for buying and selling companies, accumulating scads of money, and breaking hearts. It’s a reputation he wears like a badge of honor, and one he intends to keep.Clara Hayward, the headmistress of the Haverhall School for Young Ladies, on the other hand, is above reproach. Yet when she’s reunited with August all she can think of is the way she felt in his arms as they danced a scandalous waltz ten long years ago. Even though her head knows that he is only back in her life to take over her family’s business, her heart can’t help but open to the very duke who could destroy it for good.My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I thought the plot line of this book sounded really interesting. And I ended up enjoying it! I really liked both Clara and August’s characters in this book – they were both pretty well developed and I loved how attached they were to each other. I especially loved Clara’s character and how passionate she was about the work she was doing with her students. This book definitely had some very feminist ideas – the work that Clara was doing with her students was very forward thinking. The students were all super interesting too, and Clara’s siblings also. I’m really interested to know what Clara’s brother was up to all the times he was sneaking off, I wonder if we’ll get a book about him too. I’m also kind of interested to read Rose’s story but I love Clara so much it’s hard to think that I’d like Rose just as much but you never know. I did think that the ending of this book wrapped up a little quickly, the last maybe 4 to 6 pages wrapped up all the open points in the book. Other than that I liked the book, I’d recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2019 Book #65 – Christmas in Kilts by Various authors

61R+s8NYm7LTitle: Christmas in Kilts
Author: Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Bronwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, and May McGoldrick
Date finished: 9/1/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Pages in book: 494
Stand alone or series: Many of the stories are part of other series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Tis the season to fall in love! These five bestselling authors bring you great tiding of highlanders and romances this holiday season!

A HIGHLANDER’S HOPE by Terri Brisbin
A village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander who visits for the holidays and brings with him an offer and hope.

A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall
When a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.

A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans
She’s ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he’s trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family’s wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.

LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent
What happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas… maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.

SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrick
An encounter between an English officer and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had originally requested this book back in late Fall 2017, thinking it would be a great into to the Holiday season. And I stand by that thought, I think if I had read this during a different time I might have enjoyed it a little more. I liked a couple of these stories ok but I can’t say that I loved any of them. Granted I was reading them over Labor Day weekend when Summer is just wrapping up and it was still really warm. I feel like part of the draw of these novellas specifically is that they’re geared to the Holiday season. I think I liked the last one (Sweet Home Highland Christmas by May McGoldrick) best, as it was (I thought) the cutest story line while not being overtly corny. There were things I liked and disliked about each book, however overall now of them particularly grabbed my interest. They were still sweet and easy reads and I sometimes enjoy an anthology since you can take each novella as it’s own part. I’d recommend it if you enjoy Highlander novels or Christmas novellas.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2019 Book #37 – Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor

51oeFmRMi2L.jpgTitle: Rogue Most Wanted
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 6/30/19
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Pages in book: 380
Stand alone or series: #5 in the Cavensham Heiresses series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Wanted: an engagement of convenience. Found: A noble suitor.

Raised on a remote Scottish estate by her adoring grandfather, Lady Theodora Worth has inherited an earldom as well as the land itself. But when an upstart duke challenges her claim to the title and the Ladykyrk estate, Thea is suddenly in need of a husband—in name, at least. An elderly neighbor with a thoroughly modern sensibility and a dashing great-nephew just might be the answer to Thea’s prayers. Except she has no intention of marrying the first man she meets. That would be utterly ridiculous.

It just can’t be him. . .

Lord William Cavensham is entirely too devoted to his family’s estate—ever since he was jilted as a lad–to wed, but he agrees to meet the woman his aunt has taken under her wing—and introduce her to possible suitors. But after just one meeting with beautiful, spirited Thea, Will is determined to help her reclaim her title. And even moreso, he can’t stop thinking that perhaps marriage to this bold, passionate woman may be the one thing he’s been missing all along?

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’ve read all of the books in the Cavensham Heiresses series up to now and I was interested to hear William’s story. William was such a dreamy character – he was honorable and stalwart and swoon-worthy. And he had such a loving and supportive family, most of which have been featured in a previous book in the series. It was fun to revisit with some of the couples and see their interactions with both Will and Thea. Thea was a fierce woman in her own right, and I loved that the plot was about Thea fighting for her right to her inheritance and how it looked at what a patriarchal society this took place in. Thea was loving, honest, and kind and so much appreciated the gift of Will’s involved and boisterous family. Will and Thea had a little trouble getting together and I got a little frustrated that they couldn’t see what was right in front of them, but it almost turned out just as well that their friendship developed so deeply to start. I really enjoyed this book, it was a romantic and interesting story and I’d recommend it!

I also think it’s interesting that the next book is about Avalon and Devan since Avalon was disparaged in this novel – I’m excited to see how her character turns around and the different layers to her story.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page