Release Day Review- How The Wallflower Was Won by Eva Leigh

Title: How The Wallflower Was Won ( Last Chance Scoundrels, book#2)

Genre: Historical Romance/ regency

Author: Eva Leigh

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, Sept. 27, 2022

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon:

Finn Ransome is an expert on Lady Luck, which is why he refuses to take a chance on love. Experience has taught him that he’s happier at a gaming table than around people he will, inevitably, disappoint. However, the clock is ticking on his father’s matrimonial demands. But the only woman to catch his eye is a bluestocking who would never consider a rogue like him.

After a disastrous first Season, Tabitha Seaton decided to focus on books instead of ballrooms. She hopes to join the Sterling Society, a collective of the most brilliant, influential minds in London. Except, they will never admit an unmarried lady. Now Tabitha needs a husband, and a notorious, handsome gambler may be her best bet.

Finn and Tabitha are opposites who have no intention of wagering on a love match, and a calculated marriage of convenience solves all their problems—with no risk to their hearts. Once married, however, their potent attraction boils over into a deep passion that neither expected. When a painful mistake drives the new lovers apart, Finn will risk it all to prove a scoundrel and a wallflower are a winning pair…

**

I liked this book. It had some sizzling romance and a good plot that highlighted the problems of women in the Regency period. I did think that the solution to Tabitha’s problem was a bit convenient (no spoilers here). But I did enjoy seeing the villains’ comeuppance. This was a good page turning romance.

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Review- Something In The Heir by Suzanne Enoch

Title: Something In The Heir

Genre: Historical romance

Author: Suzanne Enoch

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martins Griffin, Sept. 20, 2022

Pages: 346

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Emmeline and William Pershing have enjoyed a perfectly convenient marriage for eight years. Their relationship is a seamless blend of their talents and goals. They’ve settled into separate, well-ordered lives beneath the same roof, and are content to stay that way—or so Emmeline thinks. And if William has secretly longed for a bit more from the woman he adores, he’s managed to be content with her supreme skills as a hostess and planner, which has helped him advance his career.

Then when Emmeline’s grandfather, the reclusive Duke of Welshire, summons them both for his birthday celebration and demands they bring their two little angelic children, William is stunned to discover that his very proper wife invented not one, but two heirs to fulfill the agreement for living at Winnover. But surely if Emmeline and William team up and borrow two cherubs to call their own, what could go wrong? Enter George, age 8, and Rose, 5—the two most unruly orphans in Britain.

As the insanity unfolds, their careful, professional arrangement takes some surprisingly intimate turns as well. Perhaps it takes a bit of madness to create the perfect happily ever after.

**

If you are looking for laugh out loud moments and some farcical fun then this is your book. Suzanne Enoch never disappoints and this book is a testament to her ability as an author. I loved the two impossible orphans. “Oh what tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” That quote sums up Emmeline’s disastrous machinations. I highly recommend this fun book.

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Release Day Review- The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Title: The Matchmaker’s Gift

Genre: Fiction/Women’s Fiction

Author: Lynda Cohen Loigman

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Sept. 20, 2022

Pages: 320

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

…a heartwarming story of two extraordinary women from two different eras who defy expectations to utilize their unique gift of seeing soulmates in the most unexpected places in The Matchmaker’s Gift.

Is finding true love a calling or a curse?

Even as a child in 1910, Sara Glikman knows her gift: she is a maker of matches and a seeker of soulmates. But among the pushcart-crowded streets of New York’s Lower East Side, Sara’s vocation is dominated by devout older men—men who see a talented female matchmaker as a dangerous threat to their traditions and livelihood. After making matches in secret for more than a decade, Sara must fight to take her rightful place among her peers, and to demand the recognition she deserves.

Two generations later, Sara’s granddaughter, Abby, is a successful Manhattan divorce attorney, representing the city’s wealthiest clients. When her beloved Grandma Sara dies, Abby inherits her collection of handwritten journals recording the details of Sara’s matches. But among the faded volumes, Abby finds more questions than answers. Why did Abby’s grandmother leave this library to her and what did she hope Abby would discover within its pages? Why does the work Abby once found so compelling suddenly feel inconsequential and flawed? Is Abby willing to sacrifice the career she’s worked so hard for in order to keep her grandmother’s mysterious promise to a stranger? And is there really such a thing as love at first sight?

**

Sara, the grandmother, and Abby, the granddaughter, both have this almost supernatural ability to see soulmate connections. Sara identified her ability as a child, but Abby doubts her ability until she is tested. I loved this book. I’m always happy to learn from a book and this one was a lesson in the historical tradition of Jewish matchmaking. So interesting, and the book is so well written that we feel we are learning about real people not just book characters. I highly recommend this fascinating book.

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Release day Review- Heartbreaker by Sarah MacLean

Title: Heartbreaker (Hell’s Belles. Book #2)

Genre: Historical romance

Author: Sarah MacLean

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, Aug. 22, 2022

Pages: 400

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

A Princess of Thieves

Raised among London’s most notorious criminals, a twist of fate landed Adelaide Frampton in the bright ballrooms of Mayfair, where she masquerades as a quiet wallflower—so plain and unassuming that no one realizes she’s the Matchbreaker…using her superior skills as a thief to help brides avoid the altar.

A King of Reputation

Henry, Duke of Clayborn, has spent a lifetime living in perfection. He has no time for the salacious gossip that arises every time the Matchbreaker ends another groom. His own reputation is impeccable—and the last thing he needs is a frustrating, fascinating woman discovering the truth of his past, or the secrets he holds close.

A Royal Match

When the two find themselves on a breakneck journey across Britain to stop a wedding, it’s impossible for Clayborn to resist this woman who both frustrates and fascinates him. But late-night carriage rides make for delicious danger…and soon Adelaide is uncovering Clayborn’s truths, throwing his well-laid plans into chaos…and threatening to steal his heavily guarded heart.

**

Oh Yum! Sarah MacLean does not ever disappoint when it comes to sizzling sex, breathless action and adventure. In this wonderful book she outdoes herself with all of those. Add to that her terrific plotting and superbly nuanced characters and you have an un-put-downable romance read. What a joy to read this author! I can’t wait for the next book.

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Review- Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim

Title: Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Asian

Author: Roselle Lim

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Berkley, August 16, 2022

Pages: 336

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Newly minted professional matchmaker Sophie Go has returned to Toronto, her hometown, after spending three years in Shanghai. Her job is made quite difficult, however, when she is revealed as a fraud—she never actually graduated from matchmaking school. In a competitive market like Toronto, no one wants to take a chance on an inexperienced and unaccredited matchmaker, and soon Sophie becomes an outcast.

In dire search of clients, Sophie stumbles upon a secret club within her condo complex: the Old Ducks, seven septuagenarian Chinese bachelors who never found love. Somehow, she convinces them to hire her, but her matchmaking skills are put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak, and love by attempting to make the hardest matches of her life.

**

This is a sweet romance. Sophie does make lovely matches for the “Old Ducks” and she has some romantic feelings also. This is a heartwarming book. It has villains, Sophie’s parents who take outrageous advantage of her. She gives the Old Ducks names that seem to suit their personality like Mr. Regret, Mr. Dolphin and Mr. Particular. There is some fantasy involved since Sophie can tell if a couple will match by seeing red cords that appear to come from their chest and spark toward their mate.

This is a lovely book without too much angst and a heaping dose of warm fuzzies.

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Release Day Review- Thank You For Listening by Julia Whelan

Title: Thank You For Listening: A Novel

Genre: General Fiction/Romance

Author: Julia Whelan

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, August 2, 2022

Pages: 432

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

From the author of My Oxford Year, Julia Whelan’s uplifting novel tells the story of a former actress turned successful audiobook narrator—who has lost sight of her dreams after a tragic accident—and her journey of self-discovery, love, and acceptance when she agrees to narrate one last romance novel.

For Sewanee Chester, being an audiobook narrator is a long way from her old dreams, but the days of being a star on film sets are long behind her. She’s found success and satisfaction from the inside of a sound booth and it allows her to care for her beloved, ailing grandmother. When she arrives in Las Vegas last-minute for a book convention, Sewanee unexpectedly spends a whirlwind night with a charming stranger. 

On her return home, Sewanee discovers one of the world’s most beloved romance novelists wanted her to perform her last book—with Brock McNight, the industry’s hottest, most secretive voice. Sewanee doesn’t buy what romance novels are selling—not after her own dreams were tragically cut short—and she stopped narrating them years ago. But her admiration of the late author, and the opportunity to get her grandmother more help, makes her decision for her. 

As Sewanee begins work on the book, resurrecting her old romance pseudonym, she and Brock forge a real connection, hidden behind the comfort of anonymity. Soon, she is dreaming again, but secrets are revealed, and the realities of life come crashing down around her once more.

If she can learn to risk everything for desires she has long buried, she will discover a world of intimacy and acceptance she never believed would be hers.

**

This book gives us audiophiles a peek into the production of audio books. Julia Whelan is an author and narrator that I love. In this book she melds romance along with the audio publishing world and a look at a Main Character who has a Grandmother with Alzheimer’s. There are some surprises, a twist or two and disappointment for Sewanee (pronounced Swan-nee or Swan for short). She does have some hot encounters with a gorgeous man and some online texting with another. Her best friend, Adako is a true BFF that we all would like.

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Release Day Review- A Duchess By Midnight by Charis Michaels

Title: A Duchess By Midnight (Awakened By A Kiss, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Charis Michaels

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, July 26, 2022

Pages: 400

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

USA Today bestselling author Charis Michaels concludes her Awakened by a Kiss series with another enchanting romance, this time telling the real story of Cinderella’s stepsister and the man who can’t help falling in love with her.

A Former Ugly Duckling… 

Miss Drewsmina “Drew” Trelayne is a former awkward child and one-time wicked stepsister. Raised by a bitter, overbearing mother, Drew is all grown up and has made peace with her orange hair and bean-pole height. Her transformation has inspired her dream of opening a finishing school that emphasizes inner beauty, capability, and confidence. But launching a school costs money so Drew must begin with private clients who pay well and don’t ask many questions. 

A Reclusive Duke…

Ian Clayblack, the Duke of Lachlan, lives alone on his Dorset estate, forced by scandal into a smuggler’s life. When his estranged sister arrives with her two daughters, he feels obligated to give the girls a proper Season. Venturing back to society could clear his name and provide his vagabond nieces with a better life. Who better to help than the striking Miss Trelayne? 

A Midnight Kiss…

Affording Drew’s services isn’t a problem for Lachlan, but his growing desire for her is. As his nieces warm to her gentle charm, he is overwhelmed by her unique beauty and open manner. When they’re caught in a scandalous embrace, nothing short of marriage will save all of them from further scandal.

Can a marriage made in haste be love’s saving grace?

**

This is a fun book with lots of references to the Cinderella story but it is definitely about Drewsmina the stepsister. Her sister has married the prince but Drew needs to make her own way. I enjoyed the romance with Lachlan and Drews attempts at civilizing him for the Ton.

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Recent Release Review- A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin

Title: A Lady’s Guide To Fortune Hunting: A Novel

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Sophie Irwin

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books, July 12, 2022

Pages: 336

Rating: 5+

Sexy Rating: 2

Violence Rating:0

Description from Amazon:

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. Left with her father’s massive debts, she has only twelve weeks to save her family from ruin.
 
 Kitty has never been one to back down from a challenge, so she leaves home and heads toward the most dangerous battleground in all of England: the London season. 
  
Kitty may be neither accomplished nor especially genteel—but she is utterly single-minded; imbued with cunning and ingenuity, she knows that risk is just part of the game. 
 
The only thing she doesn’t anticipate is Lord Radcliffe. The worldly Radcliffe sees Kitty for the mercenary fortune-hunter that she really is and is determined to scotch her plans at all costs, until their parrying takes a completely different turn….

**

I have given this book a “5+ star” rating because it is the best book I’ve read so far this year. It is well written, has great characterization, unique plot, wit and humor. What it doesn’t have is gratuitous sex. I usually like a sexy scene in my romance books but this one didn’t need it to prove that there was an attachment between the heroine Kitty and our reluctant hero, Lord Radcliffe. They were enemies to begin and then they were helpmates. The reader is never sure who will have the fortune that Kitty aspires to snare. If you want a stay-up-all-night read, this is it.

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Release Day Review- Always Be My Duchess by Amalie Howard

Title: Always Be My Duchess

Genre: Historica Romance/Victorian

Author: Amalie Howard

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Forever, July 12, 2022

Pages: 368

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Lord Lysander Blackstone, the stern Duke of Montcroix, has only one interest: increasing his considerable fortune. After a series of betrayals, he keeps his emotions buried deep. Money, after all, can’t break a man’s heart—or make promises it can’t keep. But when his reputation for being heartless jeopardizes a new business deal, he finds himself seeking a most unusual—and alluring—solution . . . 

Once an up-and-coming ballerina, Miss Geneviève Valery is now hopelessly out of work. After refusing to become a wealthy patron’s mistress, Nève was promptly shown the door to the streets. When she accidentally saves the life of a handsome duke, she doubts the encounter will go any better than her last brush with nobility. But instead of propositioning her, Montcroix makes Nève an offer she would be a fool to refuse: act as his fake fiancée in exchange for fortune enough to start over.

Only neither is prepared when very real feelings begin to grow between them. They both stand to win . . . but only if they’re willing to risk their hearts.

**

Neve is a ballerina. Even though she is the daughter of a viscount she is looked at by the ton as little better than a courtesan. Lysander is a Duke. After he is saved by Neve in the alleys around Covent Garden, he offers Neve $100 pounds (an enormous amount at that time) to pretend to be his fiancee for just one night at a ball. He is trying to close a real estate deal with another aristocrat who will only sell to a married, family man. Neve makes friends with 4 young aristocratic women at the ball, and they adopt her as a friend.

I liked that Neve was aware of her goals and her need to succeed but she makes some foolish choices that move the story along but make the reader say “what was she thinking?” She is supremely concerned for her injured sister in Paris but makes little effort to go to her or bring her to London. I wonder how she could have left this sister alone with such debilitating injuries. The romance with Lysander is slow brewing and we wish for their realization that it is true love. As for the 4 friends it is really a stretch that these young women of the Ton would befriend a ballerina. Even though she was a viscount’s daughter, as a ballerina she would be viewed as a fallen woman, friendship would be scandalous.

The writing is engaging, and the characterizations are well done. I did enjoy reading this book turning pages into the wee hours of the night. It was a good read. But I did have some obvious issues.

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Recent Release Review- Up All Night With A Good Duke by Amy Rose Bennett

Title: Up All Night With A Good Duke ( The Byronic Book Club, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Amy Rose Bennett

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, June 28, 2022

Pages: 384

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

“I can think of the perfect way to keep you occupied and your mind diverted,” she murmured. “Come to my room. If you’re not too tired…”

Lust flashed in his gaze and then he caught her face between his hands and kissed her. “For you, my beautiful Artemis, I’d stay up all night.”

Artemis Jones―”respectable” finishing-school teacher by day and Gothic romance writer by night―has never lost sight of her real dream: to open her own academic ladies’ college. When Artemis is unexpectedly called upon by a dear friend, a fellow Byronic Book Club member, to navigate her first London Season, she comes at once. Who knows, perhaps she can court the interest of a wealthy patron for her school. As long as she can avoid her high-handed aunt’s schemes to marry her off.

Dominic Winters, the widowed Duke of Dartmoor, needs a wife―someone who will provide him with an heir and help him to manage his spitfire adolescent daughter. The problem is, Society has dubbed him “The Dastardly Duke.” Rumors are rife that he murdered his mad wife so his choices for a suitable bride are limited. But then he meets the ravishing and passionate Artemis Jones who might just be everything he needs.

**

The premise was good. A finishing school teacher wants to open a college for women but needs funding. A bit confusing to me was how she goes about flirting with scandal and ruination to aid her in her objective. She exhibits behavior unbecoming to a woman of the time period who wants to run a respectable school. The duke, Dominic, did some foolish things also. It all added up to a story that just was too unbelievable.

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