Tall, Duke, and Dangerous by Megan Frampton Review | This Felt Long, Drawn, and Tiring

Tall, Duke, and Dangerous
Author: Megan Frampton
Series: Hazards of Dukes #2
Release Date: October 27, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Megan Frampton returns with the second book in the Hazards of Dukes series, a series that made Sarah MacLean say “Make Megan Frampton your next read!”

He needs a bride…

Nash, the “dangerous” Duke of Malvern, has always bristled against the rules of English society. Hot tempered and fearful of becoming like his brutish late father, he lives a life of too much responsibility and too little joy. And although he’s vowed to never marry, a duke has a duty—and there’s only one way to get himself an heir and a spare. So Nash reluctantly takes a look around at society’s available young ladies to see who might be willing to put up with his one-word answers and frequent glowers.

She longs for love…

After the death of her father and wicked stepmother, Ana Maria goes from virtual servant to lady-in-training, and while society life has its benefits—gorgeous gowns!—its restrictive rules stifle her sprit. And when her independent actions put her in danger, her half-brother insists Nash teach her some self-defense. While most of London’s ladies find Nash intimidating, she only sees a man who needs introducing to all the joys life has to offer. So although officially they are coming together for fighting lessons, unofficially their physical contact begins to blur the line between friendship and begins to grown into something more…

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

“‘You and I, we’re both of two worlds – me, who never wanted to be a duke, and you, who didn’t have a choice about who you were, whether you were scrubbing kitchen grates or dancing in ballrooms. I want us to be together to create one world – one world in which two people love one another.'”

It’s always nice to start with a lovely quote, yes?

I’m so sorry to say that this book was a huge disappointment, and one of the worst HR’s I’ve read this year. This is a particular shame because I actually really enjoyed book 1 (review here) and had high expectations for the sequel.

This book felt hastily written, with a repetitive narrative that made me so impatient and frustrated while reading. There was less interaction with the couple than I would have liked, and a rushed ending that couldn’t salvage their relationship. I’ve never felt such a disconnect with main characters before, and Nash/Ana Maria were the blandest characters I’ve read in a while, and had superficial characterizations. I honestly could sum up this book within 3 pages rather than the 300-something pages that the book is due to repetition and useless encounters that contributed nothing to the plot, romantic relationship, and character. There is nothing that could differentiate TALL, DUKE, AND DANGEROUS from the numerous Historical Romances out there, and unfortunately I’d recommend romance readers to pass this one. It just felt like the author didn’t care about the characters, and thus I as a reader didn’t care about them. Continue reading “Tall, Duke, and Dangerous by Megan Frampton Review | This Felt Long, Drawn, and Tiring”

Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath Review | Historical Romance + Beauty and the Beast Vibes = All the Feels

50172892Beauty Tempts the Beast
Author: Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins For All Seaons #6
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

She wants lessons in seduction

Althea Stanwick was a perfect lady destined to marry a wealthy lord, until betrayal left her family penniless. Though she’s lost friends, fortune, and respectability, Althea has gained a scandalous plan. If she can learn to seduce, she can obtain power over men and return to Society on her terms. She even has the perfect teacher in mind, a man whose sense of honor and dark good looks belie his nickname: Beast.

But desire like this can’t be taught

Benedict Trewlove may not know his parentage but he knows where he belongs—on the dark side of London, offering protection wherever it’s needed. Yet no woman has ever made such an outrageous request as this mysterious beauty. Althea is out of place amongst vice and sin, even if she offers a wicked temptation he can’t resist. But as the truth of his origin emerges at last, it will take a fierce, wild love to overcome their pasts.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

“The world in which she’d grown up lacked magic, depth, satisfaction. Only now did she realize it, only now did she understand that without him, her world had been an arid place where she never would have truly come into herself.”

Amazing! BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST is a gentle, sweet, quieter romance that is low in angst but high in attraction. I’ve tried reading previous Heath’s books and couldn’t get into them, but I decided to take a chance with this one, since I’m weak for anything involving Beauty and the Beast. This book delivers, and more.

Although this is the last of a series, it was easy for me to follow, and the cameos made by previous characters in the series are minimal. Usually I get annoyed when it feels like there’s a push for other characters’ stories, but it wasn’t overt in BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST and didn’t take away from the story, which I appreciated. Continue reading “Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath Review | Historical Romance + Beauty and the Beast Vibes = All the Feels”

You Lucky Dog by Julia London Review | Aww Talk About That Puppy Love

You Lucky Dog
Author: Julia London
Release Date: August 25, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

An accidental dog swap unleashes an unexpected love match in this new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Julia London.

Carly Kennedy’s life is in a spiral. She is drowning in work, her divorced parents are going through their midlife crises, and somehow Carly’s sister convinces her to foster Baxter–a basset hound rescue with a bad case of the blues. When Carly comes home late from work one day to discover that the dog walker has accidentally switched out Baxter for another perkier, friendlier basset hound, she has reached the end of her leash.

When Max Sheffington finds a depressed male basset hound in place of his cheerful Hazel, he is bewildered. But when cute, fiery Carly arrives on his doorstep, he is intrigued. He was expecting the dog walker, not a pretty woman with firm ideas about dog discipline. And Carly was not expecting a handsome, bespectacled man to be feeding her dog mac and cheese. Baxter is besotted with Hazel, and Carly realizes she may have found the key to her puppy’s happiness. For his sake, she starts to spend more time with Hazel and Max, until she begins to understand the appeal of falling for your polar opposite.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

“Forget the chemical reaction – was this love, that thing that pushed all rational thought aside and drove men to do things they might never do? Was it love that made this feel momentous and slightly desperate and unworldly? It wasn’t just corporeal – it was more transcendent than that. It was wird, this thing called love – you didn’t see it, you didn’t hear it, but suddenly, you were there.”

YOU LUCKY DOG has an adorable premise, lovable characters, and a fun family subplot. There was something about it, though, that was lacking the magic. Maybe it was passion between the main characters? They were both level-headed, and the romance a smooth development. I don’t know why, but I just felt a disconnect between their relationship development and the eventual “I-love-you’s.” Nevertheless, the premise sets it up to be a light-hearted and sweet romantic read that’s perfect for a summer day. Continue reading “You Lucky Dog by Julia London Review | Aww Talk About That Puppy Love”

You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria Review | You Had Me At The Cover!

You Had Me At Hola
Author: Alexis Daria
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers. 

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez.

Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy.

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had.

Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.

With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

SO. SWEET. You had me at the cover!

4 darling stars for this celeb romance full of heart and dramaaa:

  • I was captivated by the cover.
    Gorgeous. Those telenovela vibes. That color scheme. The art style. Absolute perfection.
  • A wonderful homage to Latinx culture through family, food, and media.
    The #ownvoices writing really shines as readers get to see Jasmine’s large and loving, diverse family, as well as their events and relationships with one another. I also appreciated the rep of different cousins in the family having different backgrounds in their knowledge of Spanish. For example, Jasmine has a perfect accent but isn’t fluent.

Continue reading “You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria Review | You Had Me At The Cover!”

Jade City By Fonda Lee Review | Asian Gangsters and Martial Arts and Yet, I Expected More

JADE CITY’s been on my TBR for years now, and I’m happy to have finally gotten to it! I have many blogger friends who love this trilogy and would die for its characters. Me? While I enjoyed it, I can’t really say the same. Objectively, it’s an extensive book that tackles a plethora of issues with excitement. Something about it – I can’t pinpoint what – seemed like it was missing in this book. But let’s break it down first.

“The clan is my blood, and the Pillar is its master. On my honor, my life, and my jade.”

Set in the imaginative, isolationist island of Kekon, the resource jade rules one and all. The power to wield the bioenergetic nature of jade is power over the people. With that, clans are established to maintain peace and preside over territories. JADE CITY follows the No Peak clan, one of the largest two, as they experience a downward spiral as they struggle to keep the clan from going into war with their biggest competitor, the Mountain clan. The sibling trio that is a part of the ruling family of the No Peak clan consists of Lan, the eldest brother and Pillar, Hilo, the middle child and Horn, and Shae, the youngest daughter who wants nothing to do with the clan politics.

Continue reading “Jade City By Fonda Lee Review | Asian Gangsters and Martial Arts and Yet, I Expected More”

A Touch of Stone and Snow by Milla Vane Review | A Second Chance Romance In A Fantasy Setting

48646570. sy475 A Touch of Stone and Snow
Author: Milla Vane
Series: A Gathering of Dragons #2
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Milla Vane returns to a world of kings, magic, and passion in her exhilarating A Gathering of Dragons series, as a great alliance forms to stand against an evil warlord intent on their destruction.

Danger lurks in the western realms. The Destroyer’s imminent return has sent the realms into turmoil as desperate citizens seek refuge—but there’s no safety to be found when demons and wraiths crawl out from the shadows. Even Koth, a northern island kingdom left untouched by the Destroyer a generation past, is besieged by terrors spawned from corrupt magics.

When Lizzan leads the Kothan army against these terrors, only to see her soldiers massacred and to emerge as the only survivor, she is called a coward and a deserter. Shunned from her home, Lizzan now wanders in solitude as a mercenary for hire, until she encounters a group of warriors seeking new alliances with the northern kingdoms—a group that includes Aerax, the bastard prince of Koth, and the man who sent her into exile.

Though they were childhood friends, Aerax cannot allow himself to be close to the only woman who might thwart his treacherous plan to save their island realm. But when a goddess’s demand binds them together, Lizzan and Aerax must find a way to overcome their painful pasts. Or there will be no future for the western realms…

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here! Check out my review of the previous book in the series here.

Milla Vane continues to write MAGIC into her adult fantasy romances!

I went into A TOUCH OF STONE AND SNOW with trepidation since I loved the previous book so much. I didn’t want high expectations to dim my enjoyment, you know? But I shouldn’t have been scared – Vane delivers and more. A TOUCH OF STONE AND SNOW was a fierce sequel in this series that also stands on its own, with cameos from familiar characters while focusing on a new region in Vane’s extensive world. All the characters – main and otherwise – ooze life into the pages, and you really can’t help but love them. Don’t be fooled by the covers! (I admit, I was when I first saw them.) This series is PERFECT for readers who love a delicious blend of romance and fantasy, with extensive world-building, action, and storyline to keep pages turning, and a scorching romance to tug at heartstrings. Vane’s writing completes the fantasy feeling – it’s a bit long-winded, but not so much where you get lost in the narrative. Her characterizations are masterfully crafted, creating flawed heroes that you can’t help but cheer on. And finally, this book features the best second-chance romance I’ve read this year. Continue reading “A Touch of Stone and Snow by Milla Vane Review | A Second Chance Romance In A Fantasy Setting”

The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe Review | Yes, I Have A Weakness For Opposites Attract

51057822. sx318 sy475 The Devil of Downtown
Author: Joanna Shupe
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

The final novel in Joanna Shupe’s critically acclaimed Uptown Girl series about a beautiful do-gooder who must decide if she can team up with one of New York’s brashest criminals without losing something irreplaceable: her heart.

Manhattan kingpin.
Brilliant mastermind.
Gentleman gangster.

He’s built a wall around his heart…

Orphaned and abandoned on the Bowery’s mean streets, Jack Mulligan survived on strength, cunning, and ambition. Now he rules his territory better than any politician or copper ever could. He didn’t get here by being soft. But in uptown do-gooder Justine Greene―the very definition of an iron fist in a velvet glove―Jack may have met his match.

She wears hers on her sleeve…

Justine is devoted to tracking down deadbeat husbands and fighting for fair working conditions. When her mission brings her face-to-face with Jack, she’s shocked to find the man behind the criminal empire is considerably more charming and honorable than many “gentlemen” she knows.

Forming an unlikely alliance, they discover an unexpected desire. And when Justine’s past catches up with them, Jack may be her only hope of survival. Is she ready to make a deal with the devil…?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

Stunning, seductive, and sweet addition to a lovely series featuring three brash girls from the Gilded Age!

THE DEVIL OF DOWNTOWN was everything that I wanted and more. Shupe delivers with her usual humor and sensual romances. I was particularly excited about this book because it features Justine, the youngest sister who loves to help people, and Jack, a hardened criminal lord who also likes to help people… at a cost. Opposites attract are one of my favorite tropes, and this book really brought two people with different backgrounds and personalities to a wonderful, steamy romance where each person appreciates the differences in the other. Continue reading “The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe Review | Yes, I Have A Weakness For Opposites Attract”

Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven Review | When The Dragonshifter Hunter Becomes The Hunted

43401514. sx318 Dragon Unleashed
Author: Grace Draven
Series: The Fallen Empire #2
Release Date: June 9, 2020
Publisher: Ace
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

A dragon shapeshifter and a healer with power over the earth fight a corrupt empire in this thrilling and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire and punishable by death. Born with the gift of earth magic, the free trader Halani keeps her dangerous secret closely guarded. When her uncle buys a mysterious artifact, a piece of bone belonging to a long-dead draga, Halani knows it’s far more than what it seems.

Dragas haven’t been seen for more than a century, and most believe them extinct. They’re wrong. Dragas still walk among the denizens of the Empire, disguised as humans. Malachus is a draga living on borrowed time. The magic that has protected him will soon turn on him–unless he finds a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders, among them a grave-robbing earth witch who fascinates him as much as she frustrates him with her many secrets.

Unbeknownst to both, the Empire’s twisted empress searches for a draga of her own, to capture and kill as a trophy. As Malachus the hunter becomes the hunted, Halani must risk herself and all she loves to save him from the Empire’s machinations and his own lethal birthright.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

3.5 STARS for a beautiful love story between a healer with Earth magic and a dragon that can bring lightning to his foes.

I was SO HYPED for this book, because I absolutely devoured the previous book of the series PHOENIX BOUND and adored it. While DRAGON UNLEASHED follows a different couple and storyline, it starts right off after the end of book 1. And let me say first: the energy is VERY different. PHOENIX BOUND is brutal and vicious, with a lot of action and violence. DRAGON UNLEASHED is about a healer, and thus has calmer moments, traveling, and dialogue, rather than straight-out battles. I would warn readers to be aware of that before starting DRAGON UNLEASHED, and with expectations that it’ll be like book 1. Different characters = different ways to outline the story. While I’m enjoying this world and lore, DRAGON UNLEASHED follows the same meandering pace that book 1 had, where the middle section dragged for quite some time without an actual progression in plot. I’m all about character interactions and development, but that seemed a bit stagnant as well. And while I love every page immersed in this world, I couldn’t help but feel my attention slip in the middle. Other than that, I enjoyed the rest of the book mightily and thought it was a solid sequel. Book 1 was definitely a bit more impactful for me, but DRAGON UNLEASHED was on the quieter and calmer side, and still as lovely and wonderful.

We begin with a hunt. Continue reading “Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven Review | When The Dragonshifter Hunter Becomes The Hunted”

The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy Review | Have You Ever Read A Book That Was Majority Dialogue?

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The Fiery Crown
Author: Jeffe Kennedy
Series: Forgotten Empires #2
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis:

A queen and her rebel prince turn from enemies to lovers while evil forces plot to destroy them in this lush romantic fantasy.

Following The Orchid Throne, Conri and Lia’s marriage of convenience has turned into an uneasy alliance. If only the two leaders could agree on something. Driven by revenge, Conri wants to attack Emperor Anure before the tyrant gets to them first. But Lia needs to keep Calanthe safe, and refuses to sacrifice her kingdom. Their ongoing battle for control has built up tension they’re both more than happy to release in bed, the only place where they find common ground. But Conri and Lia are developing deeper feelings for each other that are complicating matters. In the second book in the Forgotten Empires trilogy, Conri and Lia find their loyalties torn, and with Emperor Anure’s threat growing, will they be able to risk everything with each other before it’s too late?
One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

Despite not loving the first book, I ended up enjoying it to an extent and thought I would give the sequel a chance. It seems that Kennedy’s writing and I just don’t jive. First and foremost to understand is that this series is very dialogue-driven. More than half the book is dialogue, and people talking to “figure things out.” The characters go to one place, talk, and then go to another place, and talk. Not much happens beyond that until 70% into the book, where something actually happens. Finally!

The story switches between Con and Lia’s first person POV’s. Both are trying to defeat the evil king Anure, but with different paths. Lia is risk-averse and doesn’t want bloodshed on the land of Calanthe, which she is a part of as an Elemental. Con, on the other hand, is militant and more than happy to use explosives and make sacrifices to get at Anure. This creates some tension as both characters don’t back down in their ideologies and won’t reveal all the facts to the other. Despite being married, both characters hoard secrets like dragons and reluctantly share them throughout the book. You would think more happens, given we’re in a fantasical world, but those were the exciting bits.

Continue reading “The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy Review | Have You Ever Read A Book That Was Majority Dialogue?”

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane Review | Romantic Fantasy At Its BEST

A Heart of Blood and Ashes (A Gathering of Dragons, #1)A Heart of Blood and Ashes
Author: Milla Vane
Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil – until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

A HEART OF BLOOD AND ASHES was super fun, witty, and action-packed! I honestly stayed away from this book because of the cover, but I ended up really enjoying this “dark barbarian romantic fantasy.” And honestly… that’s a pretty good way to describe it. But rather than the bodice ripping energy I thought it was gonna be (extra points for rape-y scenes and possessive Alpha assholes that act arrogantly (that alliteration though), as well as a heroine who gets walked on by everybody), this book turned out to be the complete opposite. It was sexy and progressive, all while retaining the brutal fantasy world that it takes place in. If you start reading, you literally can’t stop. Each scene is a new adventure that you just want to savor. What can I say? The characters, setting, romance, and storyline in A HEART OF BLOOD AND ASHES were all a hit for me! Continue reading “A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane Review | Romantic Fantasy At Its BEST”