I've read a number of great romance novels recently, and I need to tell you all about them!
Author: Christina Britton
Release: August 24, 2021
Series: Isle of Synne
Review: 4.5 Stars
I was approved for an ARC of A Duke Worth Fighting For on Netgalley. I was really excited for the book, so I dove right in (or as soon as school allowed me anyway). The beginning was on the slow side, but once Margery and Daniel's romance took off, so did the pace of the book.
Daniel is socially awkward, and his anxiety is heightened by his experiences in way and worry about his scars. For most people, the first thing they see about him is his scars, and many are scared away. Margery doesn't see just his scars, but his beauty. As they get to know and trust each other, they realize that people aren't always what you expect. There romance was well done, and I always find it fun to read books with widows, as they were allowed more leeway in the romance department than debutants.
It was fun seeing some of the previous main characters getting their happily ever afters as Margery and Daniel worked towards theirs. Lots of cute babies, which is always a plus. I definitely enjoyed this book, and will read the next one when it comes out!
Daniel Hayle, Duke of Carlisle, returned from Waterloo a hero, and he has the wounds to prove it. But he dreads the coming London season as he never did the battlefield, where his lack of social skills is certain to make it difficult to find a wife. What he needs is someone to help him practice socializing with the ton. Someone who isn’t frightened away by his scars . . .
Margery Kitteridge is still mourning the loss of her husband. So when she receives a blackmail letter accusing him of desertion, she’s desperate to protect his reputation. The answer to her troubles appears in the form of a damaged, reclusive—and much-too-desirable—duke in need of a wife. She proposes an alliance: she’ll help him find a bride, in return for the money to pay off the blackmailer. But working so closely together awakens passions they never imagined possible, and reveals secrets that might tear them apart.
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Author: Eva Leigh
Release: February 22, 2022
Series: Last Chance Scoundrels
Review: 5 Stars
I almost did a happy dance when I got an ARC of The Good Girl's Guide to Rakes! Eva Leigh is a favorite of mine, and I will read every book she writes. I've been particularly anticipating this one, as the description looks extra exciting.
The book starts off with a wedding, that goes disastrously awry. As a result, Kieran, his brother, and their best friend (who happens to be Celeste's brother) are all required to get married within a year. Kieran makes a deal with Celeste that she will introduce him to polite society, and he will show her some of London's scandalous side. Both have some feelings for each other at the start of the book, but spending time together ignites those feelings into an inferno.
I honestly don't know what else to say. I don't want to spoil the book but most everything else I have in my head is just squeals. Long story short, I really enjoyed this book and recommend reading it when it comes out. I know I can't wait for the sequel!
In USA TODAY bestselling author Eva Leigh's new novel a notorious rake and an innocent debutante strike a scandalous bargain...
When Kieran Ransome’s latest antics result in a massive scandal, his father issues an ultimatum: find a respectable wife or inherit nothing. But as one of London’s most inveterate scoundrels, Kieran doesn’t know any ladies who fit the bill. Or does he?
Celeste Kilburn is a society darling, beloved by influential members of the ton. But keeping a spotless reputation leaves little room for adventure and she longs to escape her gilded cage, especially with her impending engagement to a stuffy earl. When Kieran—her older brother’s best friend and an irresistibly attractive rogue—begs for her help, Celeste makes a deal: she’ll introduce him to the right social circles if he’ll show her the scandalous side of London.
In between proper teas and garden parties, Kieran escorts Celeste—disguised as “Salome”—to rowdy gaming hells, wild fêtes, and sensual art salons. As they spend more time together, their initial attraction builds to a desperate desire that neither can ignore. But when someone discovers their midnight exploits, Celeste’s freedom and reputation are endangered, and Kieran must save the woman he loves… respectable or not.
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Author: Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release: January 25, 2022
Series: Captive Hearts
Review: 5 Stars
I got approved for an ARC of The Captive Duke on Edelweiss, and I was so excited I dove right in! Both main characters were compelling, and came from difficult backgrounds. I had suspicions about the twist from early on, but I still find it was developed well and pulled off nicely.
Gilly is a widow, recovering from the abuse of her deceased husband. Christian was captured and tortured during the Napoleonic war. He struggles dealing with his time in captivity, having complicated feelings about his captors who treated him with alternate brutality and respect. He is also physically recovering from a long time mostly immobile, slowly regaining his strength and health, often with support from Gilly. To top off their struggles, Christian comes home to England only to find his wife (who happens to be Gilly's cousin) and son have died. As he grieves, Gilly helps him regain purpose by helping him rebuild his relationship with his still-living daughter.
The book would have been solid with just everything mentioned above. But it adds a final, overarching plot that connects Gilly and Christian's pasts with a threat to their future. In true romance novel fashion, they must must figure out how to overcome their struggles and find their happily ever after.
A dazzling Regency romance from New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes. Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia, nearly lost his will to live after coming home from brutal fighting in France. That is, until Gillian, Countess of Windmere, shows him that he still has plenty to look forward to.
Captured and tortured by the French, Christian Severn knew he'd left a part of himself behind, even after he returned home to England. But even his estate is no comfort to him, when he has to take back the reins of his life while mourning the death of his wife and son. It's not until his late wife's relation, Gillian, Countess of Windmere, pointedly reminds him that he still has a daughter, that he realizes he still has much to live for, and that he can forever be the duke both Gilly and his daughter need...
As Gillian pushes, prods, and drags Christian back from the brink and works tirelessly to discover what happened to Christian's young daughter, that led to her refusal to speak to anyone, she and Christian spend more and more time together trying to heal the little girl and build a safe and happy life for her. Gillian proves at every turn that she's a true lady, but can their new love survive, when she finally unearths Margaret's terrible secret?
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Author: Katee Robert
Publisher: Sourceobooks Casablanca
Release: January 18, 2022
Series: Dark Olympus
Review: 4 Stars
Just a heads up before I dive in to the review, Electric Idol is a bit spicier than most of the romances I recommend. If that's not for you, you can keep on reading to the next review!
I'll admit, I didn't love this as much as I did Neon Gods. Persephone and Hades were just *chef's kiss*. While I enjoyed Psyche and Eros' romance, it felt somewhat run of the mill. Don't get me wrong, the book is well-written and enjoyable.
My favorite part of the book is probably the larger world. Olympus is filled with an amazing cast of characters! There's Psyche's two other sisters who have yet to find love, Eurydice and Callisto. I hope we get books for both of them, especially given the events of Electric Idol. Helen is an absolute riot so I'm really excited to have her book next (it's Helen/Achilles/Patroclus). Seriously, give it to me now! Psyche's mother Demeter is also a fascinating figure. She keeps putting her daughters in horrible situations, but she really does seem to love them.
I can't talk about it much without spoiling the book, but it had a solid plot outside the romance. The quick and dirty version is that Aphrodite (Eros' mother) wants Psyche dead, but Eros doesn't really want to kill her. A lot of romance novels put plot on the back burner, but not this series. While there are plenty of plot breaks for sexy times, it's not all sex all the times. In fact, it takes a little while for the sexy times to truly get started. I'm sure that will annoy some readers, but I really felt it gave time for the characters to get to the point that the sexy times were believable.
In some ways this falls into a bit of a second book dip, but don't be worried. I still enjoyed Electric Idol and totally plan to keep reading the series! Seriously, give me book three now!
He was the most beautiful man alive.
And if I wasn't careful, he was going to be my death.
*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche and Eros that's as sinful as it is sweet.*
In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there's always a price to pay. Psyche knew she'd have to face Aphrodite's ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake...or for Aphrodite's gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.
Eros has no problem shedding blood. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can't do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. Psyche vows to make Eros's life a living hell until they find a way out of this mess. But as lines blur and loyalties shift, she realizes he might take her heart after all...and she's not sure she can survive the loss.
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Author: Bethany Bennett
Release: June 29, 2021
Series: Misfits of Mayfair
Review: 5 Stars
West End Earl was an absolute delight! This review is short and sweet. Often, when I really love a book, I don't have anything to say beyond general squealing, which is the case here.
Even before Calvin realizes Ophelia is a woman he notices her in a way that leads to romance. I appreciated the development of their relationship, and I appreciated that Calvin didn't immediately make assumptions about Ophelia being in disguise. He considered the possibility that she might identify as a man or be attracted to women and find life easier in male garb, and went in prepared to support her no matter what. While neither of the characters are written specifically as queer, I could see Calvin identifying as bisexual if he had the terminology/safety. West End Earl delivers a great romance with a great grovel at the end! I definitely recommend it, and will be checking out the series as it continues!
From the series guaranteed to "win the hearts of Regency fans” comes a story of secret identities, unlikely love, and forbidden romances that will warm even the coldest of hearts (Publishers Weekly).
While most young ladies attend balls and hunt for husbands, Ophelia Hardwick has spent the last ten years masquerading as a man. As the land steward for the Earl of Carlyle, she’s found safety from the uncle determined to kill her and freedoms a lady could only dream of. Ophelia’s situation would be perfect—if only she wasn’t hopelessly attracted to her employer.
Calvin, Earl of Carlyle, is determined to see his sister married this season. And he’ll do it with the help of his trusted right-hand man. But when he finds out his man is a woman, and that her life is in danger, his priorities change. Their attraction is passionate, all-consuming, and if they aren’t careful, it could turn downright deadly—for both of them.
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Author: Vivienne Lorret
Release: June 29, 2021
Series: The Mating Habits of Scoundrels
Review: 5 Stars
I really enjoyed reading Ellie and Brandon's story! Ellie worries about basically everything. She has a fear of death and dying that means any situation that could possibly kill her freaks her out. For much of her life she has seen her neighbor George as her rock and plans to marry him, but upon meeting Brandon she slowly comes to realize that George isn't as reliable as she thought him to be.
While Brandon is initially annoyed with Ellie and thinks that she is targeting him to be a titled husband, he quickly falls for her. Brandon is sure in his feelings long before Ellie is, and uses that time to woo her, to which Ellie is quite susceptible.
Along with Ellie and Brandon, her aunts and his sister play large roles. The aunts Maeve and Myrtle are hilarious, and my favorite subplot is how they steal recipes from every home and party they visit. Brandon's sister Meg is a delight. She immediately takes to Ellie and I love their friendship. I love how the secondary relationships are still well developed.
My one complaint is a problem that honestly plagues romance novels. Like most historical romances, there's the 'dark moment' in act three that the characters must overcome. But the book goes immediately from the dark moment resolution to the epilogue. I would have liked a chapter or two of the characters being together and doing things like telling their loved ones everything was resolved. Instead, it felt like I got a pat on the back and an assurance that everything was fine, without actually *seeing* that it was fine. Brandon isn't even in the epilogue.
Last but not least, the book ends in a way that sets up the next book, which is about Prue. I'm really intrigued and can't wait to read it, even though I have to wait until *next year*!
USA Today bestselling author Vivienne Lorret continues the Mating Habits of Scoundrels series with a debutante who believes she is destined to marry the lord next door until a fateful encounter with a rogue makes her wonder... if she might be falling for the wrong marquess!
The wrong place...
Elodie Parrish can feel spinsterhood breathing down her neck. That’s the trouble with waiting for the marquess next door her entire life. But Ellie knows if she gives him one last Season, he’ll finally propose. The only problem is, her path keeps crossing with the arrogant Lord Hullworth, who is convinced she has designs on him.
The wrong time...
Brandon, Marquess of Hullworth, never wanted to be “London’s Most Elusive Bachelor,” or have a horde of hopeful debutantes and their scheming mamas follow him around. His past has left him too jaded to consider marrying any of them. At least, that’s what he thinks... until he meets Ellie. She’s quirky, opinionated, blushes easily, and drives him absolutely wild. The only problem is, she believes she’s in love with someone else.
Ellie never imagined that one sultry summer could change everything. But the more time she spends with Brandon researching her book on the mating habits of scoundrels, the more she wonders if she might be falling for…
The Wrong Marquess
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This post is split between recent and upcoming releases. Have you had a chance to read any of the new books yet? Let me know in the comments. And I definitely recommend reading these upcoming ones when they release in a few months!
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