Monday, July 27, 2020

Romance Round-Up (3)

It's been a while, but welcome to another Romance Round-Up! Check out some of the backlist and upcoming romance novels I've read recently!

 How the Duke Was Won
Author: Lenora Bell
Publisher: Avon
Release: April 26, 2020
Series: The Disgraceful Dukes
Pages: 384
Review: 5 Stars

This book was delightful! I can't believe I haven't read it sooner! The romance was steamy and the characters great. Charlene is doing what she can to make a life for herself and her sister. That includes fooling James that she's her half-sister Dorothea. James needs to marry someone who will do well in society and raise his daughter. Neither are what the other is looking for, but they are what they need! I loved watching the characters grow as they grew to love each other. They both like each other (or at least lust for each other) pretty quickly, but it takes a while for them to realize that it's something deeper. Charlene's betrayal is a big one, considering she pretended to be someone else, and I think the reveal and subsequent action was done well. This is a great place to start reading Lenora Bell, and I highly recommend checking out all her books!


The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.

Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the others…

Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:

* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]

* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]

* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]

* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]

When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

You Can Find it At:

 In Bed With the Earl
Author: Christi Caldwell
Publisher: Montlake
Release: March 17, 2020
Series: Lost Lords of London
Pages: 384
Review: 4 Stars

Finally checked this out from the library and really enjoyed it! I absolutely loved Verity. She's whip-smart and ready to take on the world. She does whatever she can to try to take care of her younger sister while also pursuing her passion of journalism. I liked Malcolm, but his motivations seemed... odd at times. This is actually called out by other characters. Like, he resists becoming nobility when most would jump at a chance for life out of poverty. Then, once he is a Duke and has Ducal responsibilities, he still goes down in the sewers. I also didn't really understand why Verity kept trying to write for the same paper that dumped her instead of going to a competitor. She could have made a lot more money breaking her story to practically anyone else, instead of the sexist scum that previously employed her. Despite some character question marks, the book was a fun deviation from the typical historical romance. I always enjoy when books go beyond the wealthy aristocrats typically shown, and In Bed With the Earl does it well.


To solve a mystery that’s become the talk of the ton, no clues run too deep for willful reporter Verity Lovelace. Not even in the sewers of London. That’s precisely where she finds happily self-sufficient scavenger Malcom North, lost heir to the Earl of Maxwell. Now that Verity’s made him front-page news, what will he make of her?

Kidnapped as a child, with no memories of his well-heeled past, Malcom prefers the grimy spoils of the culverts to the gilded riches of society. Damn the feisty beauty who exposed the contented tosher to a parade of fortune-hunting matchmakers. How to keep them at bay? Verity must pretend to be his wife. She owes him.

The intimacy of this necessary arrangement—Verity and Malcom thrust together in close quarters—soon sparks an irresistible heat. But when the charade ends, the danger begins. Will love be enough to protect them from a treacherous plot devised to ruin them?

You Can Find it At:

 Two Rogues Make a Right
Author: Cat Sebastian
Publisher: Avon
Release: June 23, 2020
Series: Seducing the Sedgwicks
Pages: 304
Review: 5 Stars

I love Cat Sebastian! This was a great addition to the world of the Sedgwicks. It's been a while since I read the previous two books, but things came back to me as I re-met the characters. Will and Martin felt like golden retrievers who had been abused by a previous owner but still wagged their tail when they got a new home. Too weird? They just both love and want love so much. It's clear from the beginning how much Will and Martin care about each other. The only thing standing in their way (besides homophobia of the 1800s) was their own reservations about how to make their relationship work long term. Which of course ties into homophobia of the 1800s, as Martin had to wrestle with the expectation that as an aristocrat he should marry and have an heir while also loving Will. I really loved these characters, and I was nice to see some of the characters from previous books, most notably Hartley and a glimpse of Ben. It was sweet to see just how much the Sedgwick siblings care about each other and take care of each other. I hope Cat keeps writing the series, and I hope to someday get a short piece where the Sedgwicks and those they care about can all be together.


Will Sedgwick can’t believe that after months of searching for his oldest friend, Martin Easterbrook is found hiding in an attic like a gothic nightmare. Intent on nursing Martin back to health, Will kindly kidnaps him and takes him to the countryside to recover, well away from the world.

Martin doesn’t much care where he is or even how he got there. He’s much more concerned that the man he’s loved his entire life is currently waiting on him hand and foot, feeding him soup and making him tea. Martin knows he’s a lost cause, one he doesn’t want Will to waste his life on.

As a lifetime of love transforms into a tender passion both men always desired but neither expected, can they envision a life free from the restrictions of the past, a life with each other?

You Can Find it At:

 Would I Lie to the Duke
Author: Eva Leigh
Publisher: Avon
Release: July 28, 2020
Series: Union of the Rakes
Pages: 384
Review: 5 Stars

This was quite possibly my favorite Eva Leigh book yet! Jess is an amazing character, with ambition and drive to put others to shame. Noel is a commanding and powerful duke, but he doesn't fall into the alpha hero trope I dislike. Seriously, no more alpha heroes please and thank you. More often than not a so-called 'alpha hero' is just an asshole. Anyways, Jess and Noel are great. I also felt the book had some solid subplot substance, with the characters of the Bazaar (especially Lady Farris) and Jess working to save her family business.

I'm always a little wary around books where the premise hinges on one character lying to the other, but I think this one worked well! When all was revealed I felt like Jess did an appropriate amount of apologizing and Noel was mad while not being mean. It was clear even when separated that the characters cared deeply about each other, and I think that's part of what made their reunion so believable and worth it.

If you've enjoyed Eva Leigh's previous books definitely pick this one up! It's a fast, fun read with characters to die for!


When an ambitious entrepreneur pretends to be a lady of means, she catches the eye—and heart—of a duke... 

Jessica McGale's family business desperately needs investors, and she's determined to succeed at any cost. But she knows London's elite will never look twice at a humble farm girl like herself. Posing as “Lady Whitfield,” however, places her in the orbit of wealthy, powerful people—most notably the Duke of Rotherby. His influence and support could save her company, but Jess never expected the effect he'd have on her.

Society thinks Noel is a notorious, carefree duke who dabbles in investments, but there's a side to him that only his closest friends see. When he crosses paths with Lady Whitfield at a business bazaar, his world tilts on its axis. She's brilliant and compelling, and brings him to his knees like no woman has before. Trust is difficult for Noel, but Jess makes him believe anything is possible...

As time ticks down on her Cinderella scheme, the thought of achieving her goal at Noel's expense breaks Jess' heart. He doesn't just want her now, he wants her forever. But will her secret end their future before it begins?

You Can Find it At:

 Who's That Earl
Author: Susanna Craig
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Release: August 18, 2020
Series: Love and Let Spy
Pages: 384
Review: 4 Stars

One thing I really enjoyed about this book is that right off the bat both characters knew the other was lying about *something* they just couldn't figure out what. The very beginning of the book is a bit jarring, and I felt it might have worked better as a flashback. I think it is important to know how Thomas lived during is time as a spy, but it's offsetting when starting a romance novel. I was like, what book I am starting again? I also would have liked to see more excerpts from Jane's novels, specifically the ending of the third book in her series after we're left with such a cliffhanger! It was really fun how her writing and the book were intertwined, and I would have liked the book to emphasize that. The writing of Who's That Earl is solid and I enjoyed getting to know the various side characters. We're introduced to a small village with lots of love stories in progress. It's a good start to a new series, even if I am more interested in the love lives of Jane and Thomas's neighbors than of his fellow spies.


Miss Jane Quayle excels at invention. How else could the sheltered daughter of an English gentleman create lurid gothic novels so infamous someone wants their author silenced forever? Fortunately, Jane has taken steps to protect herself, first by assuming a pen name, and second, by taking up residence at remote Dunnock Castle, surrounded by rugged scenery that might have been ripped from the pages of one of her books. Her true identity remains a secret, until one dark and stormy night...

After years of spying for the British army, Thomas Sutherland doubts the Highlands will ever feel like home again. Nevertheless, thanks to a quirk of Scottish inheritance law, he's now the Earl of Magnus, complete with a crumbling castle currently inhabited by a notorious novelist. When the writer turns out to be the woman Thomas once wooed, suspicions rise even as mutual sparks reignite. As danger closes in, can Jane and Thomas overcome their pasts to forge a future together?

You Can Find it At:

 Common Goal
Author: Rachel Reid
Publisher: Carina Press
Release: September 21, 2020
Series: Game Changers
Review: 5 Stars

I mostly read/review historical romance, but I read the occasional contemporary as well. I was approved for an ARC on Netgalley and finished the book hours later! I really enjoyed the book, and I loved checking in with characters from the previous books. Basically every time Eric and Ilya (from Heated Rivalry) interacted, I had to stop and take a moment. Eric and Kyle are great together. There were obstacles towards their relationship, but it was overall low stakes in a way that was nice given the *gestures wildly* not low stakes nature of the rest of the world. It also introduced one of the characters from the next book, and I'm excited for his story!

This is a great book for fans of the first book in the series, Game Changer. The story is satisfying and manages to both stand on its own and support the greater world that's developed in this series. I highly recommend checking out Rachel Reid if you haven't already, especially if hockey romances are your thing!


New York Admirals goalie Eric never thought his friends-with-benefits arrangement with much-younger Kyle would leave them both wanting more…

Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time.

Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away.

Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings.

Everything they both want is within reach… They just have to be brave enough to grab it.

You Can Find it At:

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