Review: Always Be My Duchess (Taming of the Dukes #1)

Title: Always Be My Duchess (Taming of the Dukes #1)
Author: Amalie Howard
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Forever
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: July 12, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Review:

Lord Lysander Blackstone, the Duke of Montcroix, wants to grow his fortune. He has invested in railroads, and needs a particular piece of land to continue expanding it. To convince the owner to sell it, Lysander must show that he will use the land to start a family, but he doesn’t have a wife. Geneviève Valery was a ballerina in France, but when she refused to be a patron’s mistress, she was kicked out of the show. After a chance encounter, Nève acts as the Duke’s date for a night. However, he realizes that he could use her help by pretending to be his fiancé so he can finally buy the land. Lysander offers her a fortune to act as his fiancé, and she accepts so she can start over with her dance career once the job is finished. Things get complicated when they develop real feelings for each other, though neither is willing to commit to a relationship. 

Fake dating, or fake relationship, is one of my favourite tropes. When the couple starts acting like they’re in a relationship in front of other people, it’s easy for real feelings to develop. It’s always fun to see how these relationships that start out as just a ploy for society can blossom into true love. 

I found this Victorian society to be quite accepting, more than it usually is in a historical romance novel. Nève stayed with Lysander at his home, and no one criticized that decision. This seemed more modern than a typical Victorian story, which was refreshing because it can often seem like a restricting society. 

Always Be My Duchess is a fun Victorian romance!

Thank you Forever for sending me a copy of this book!

What to read next:

Dukes Do It Better by Bethany Bennett

How to Survive a Scandal by Samara Parish

Have you read Always Be My Duchess? What did you think of it?

Review: The Perks of Loving a Wallflower (The Wild Wynchesters #2)

Title: The Perks of Loving a Wallflower (The Wild Wynchesters #2)
Author: Erica Ridley
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Forever
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Fans of Bridgerton will love this Regency romp in which a proper Society miss recruits a very improper lady grifter in a quest for vengeance, only to find love instead.

As a master of disguise, Thomasina Wynchester can be a polite young lady—or a bawdy old man. Anything to solve the case. Her latest assignment unveils a top-secret military cipher covering up an enigma that goes back centuries. But when Tommy’s beautiful new client turns out to be the highborn lady she’s secretly smitten with, more than her mission is at stake…

Bluestocking Miss Philippa York doesn’t believe in love. Her cold heart didn’t pitter-patter when she was betrothed to a duke, nor did it break when he married someone else. All Philippa desires is to rescue her priceless manuscript and decode its clues to unmask a villain. She hates that she needs a man’s help—so she’s delighted to discover the clever, charming baron at her side is in fact a woman. Her cold heart… did it just pitter-patter?

Review:

Thomasina “Tommy” Winchester is a master of disguises, which she uses to serve justice. Her latest case is to reveal a top-secret military cypher that was found by a young woman, but her uncle is taking credit for it. For this case, Tommy has to work with bluestocking Miss Philippa York. Philippa’s parents want her to marry a man with a title to further her father’s political career. When she lost a Duke who was betrothed to her, they put a time limit on her to get married before she becomes a spinster. Philippa is eager to solve the cypher hidden in priceless manuscripts. When Tommy enters Philippa’s suitor race as Baron Vanderbean, Philippa is suddenly interested in a man for the first time. They have to work together to get justice for their friend, while also breaking societal expectations of how they should behave. 

I haven’t read many historical romance stories with same-sex couples, but I find them fascinating. There were even more societal restraints put on women in the 19th century than there are today. Philippa says many times that her only job is to marry a man with a title, so there seems to be no chance that she could end up with Tommy. This adds tension to the romance, because there isn’t a predictable happily ever after for the couple. 

The Perks of Loving a Wallflower is a fun, Sapphic romance. The next book in The Wild Wynchesters series, Nobody’s Princess, comes out July 26!

Thank you Forever for sending me a copy of this book!

What to read next:

Nobody’s Princess by Erica Ridley

Other books in the series:

  • The Duke Heist (The Wild Wynchesters #1)
  • Nobody’s Princess (The Wild Wynchesters #3)

Have you read The Perks of Loving a Wallflower? What did you think of it?

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, LGBTQ
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Review:

Aging Hollywood icon, Evelyn Hugo is ready to tell her life story, but she only has one person in mind to write it. Monique Grant is a writer at a large magazine, but she isn’t well known. When Evelyn insists that Monique write the article, the editor has no choice but to send Monique for the job. However, the job isn’t what she expected. Evelyn actually wants Monique to write Evelyn’s memoir, and Monique is the only person who can write it. Over a few days, Evelyn tells Monique the story of her life in Hollywood, including her marriages to each of her seven husbands. When Evelyn finishes telling her life story, Monique can finally find out why she was the only one who can tell it. 

I’m very late to the Evelyn Hugo party, but I’m so glad I finally read it! This book is definitely worth the hype. Though these characters are fictional, they all feel like real people. There were surprising reveals throughout the story, but everything led to a satisfying ending. 

Evelyn would manipulate the media stories about her, using her marriages to change the public narrative about her life. If she thought one story was going to break about her, she would do something more shocking to deflect from the news she didn’t want to make the front page. This is still done with celebrities today, who will use surprising relationships to deflect attention from something else in their lives. I liked this behind-the-scenes view of a Hollywood icon. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a great story and worth the hype!

What to read next:

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Have you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: To Kiss a Wallflower

Title: To Kiss a Wallflower
Author: Jen Geigle Johnson, Heather B. Moore, Anneka R. Walker
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Mirror Press
Source: Austen Prose
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 21, 2022
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

THE WALLFLOWER’S DANCE by Jen Geigle Johnson
Lottie Hughes likes people, as long as they aren’t too close. Does it bother her that no one asks her to dance? Yes, but she’s not sure how to drum up dance partners when she has almost no dowry, no title, and freezes up when anyone tries to talk to her. When she suddenly inherits a huge amount and is the new center of attention all over London, her secret dreams might come true but also her worst nightmares. Suddenly everyone wants to talk to her. Men ask her to dance. And she is inundated with interested suitors. She fights to stay close to the few friends she knows are true. One man saw her before her life changed forever. But does she want to accept his help when he, too, might be insincere?

LETTERS TO A WALLFLOWER by Heather B. Moore
Ellen might be beautiful and considered a diamond of the first water by Society, but she is so very tired of the pressure to marry a titled gentleman so that her beauty won’t go to waste. When her cousin Dinah dares Ellen to attend a ball with no frills and to stand with the wallflowers, Ellen takes on the dare. What’s in the wager for her? The prize cuttings of her aunt’s extraordinary roses. But what Ellen isn’t expecting is Lord Ravenshire to engage her in the most interesting conversation. When she confesses to him of her opposition in marrying for a title, he confesses his distaste of the London scene. They strike a bargain together, one which will either push them apart or lead to a future sweeter than either of them could have imagined.

TO MARRY A WALLFLOWER by Anneka R. Walker
Charlotte Winters is destined to spinsterhood until she turns down an unwanted proposal and everything changes. With gossip rampant, her father attempts to salvage her reputation by betrothing her to another. Soon she is sent off to her aunt’s to meet Lord Templeton, her intended. Anxiety-ridden, Charlotte begs her aunt to let her observe Lord Templeton from afar before their introduction. She never planned to pretend to be her fictional cousin to learn more about him, or to fall in love with Lord Templeton’s friend in the process. Lord Templeton dreads returning to the empty halls of Newcliff Manor. When his father’s old friend, Mr. Winters reaches out for assistance, Lord Templeton finds himself returning home engaged to a woman he has never met. Desperate to learn more about Miss Winters, he befriends her cousin. He wouldn’t have spoken to her, or lied about his identity, if he’d known the quiet woman would sneak into his heart.

Review:

To Kiss a Wallflower is a collection of three Regency romance short stories:

The Wallflower’s Dance: Lottie has always been a wallflower at dances, but when she suddenly inherits a fortune, all of the eligible suitors want to dance with her. She enlists the help of her best friend, Denny, to figure out who is genuine, but Denny be the man who can sincerely love her. 

Letters to a Wallflower: Ellen’s been called the “diamond of the season,” but when her cousin bets her that she can’t attend a dance as a wallflower, Ellen takes up the challenge. Lord Ravenshire is looking for a ticket out of London and the season, so he stages a fake courtship with Ellen to get them both out of their seasonal duties, but they may find the love they didn’t know they were searching for. 

To Marry a Wallflower: When Charlotte’s father suddenly arranges a marriage between her and Lord Templeton, she wants to get to know him before they officially meet. Charlotte poses as her cousin, and Lord Templeton poses as his friend, so they can secretly get to know each other, but they end up falling in love along the way. 

This was a nice collection of stories about wallflowers. Each story explored a different romance trope: friends to lovers, fake dating, and miscommunication. The main issue I had with these stories is that they were so similar that they blended together. They had similar premises, with the heroine acting as a wallflower but ending up with their love interest in the end, so it’s not surprising they were so much alike. The stories also ended abruptly, like they could have been full length novels, but they were rushed at the end. 

This is a good collection for fans of Regency wallflower stories. 

Thank you Mirror Press and Austen Prose for providing a digital copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Inns of Devonshire by Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, Deborah M. Hathaway

A Seaside Summer by Jodi S. Kilpack, Martha Keyes, Heather B. Moore

Have you read To Kiss a Wallflower? What did you think of it?

Review: Family of Liars (We Were Liars #0)

Title: Family of Liars (We Were Liars #0)
Author: E. Lockhart
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 3, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The prequel to We Were Liars takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.

A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts. 
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy. 
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.

Welcome back to the Sinclair family. 
They were always liars.

Review:

In this prequel to We Were Liars, we visit the island off the coast of Massachusetts with the Sinclair family in the 80s. Carrie is the eldest daughter, with her youngest sister, Rosemary, having drowned the summer before. The family returned this year without acknowledging the missing family member. Then, a boat full of boys arrives at the island with a lot of drama for the Sinclair girls. The sisters have to navigate their new life with some betrayal and mistakes along the way. 

This prequel starts off with spoilers for We Were Liars, so it shouldn’t be read first. Carrie narrated the story as her adult self looking back on that particular summer where her life changed. It was similar to We Were Liars in the way that it was the same family on the same island but it was quite different as well. 

This story was a lot darker than We Were Liars. There were serious issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, drowning, murder, cheating, and homophobia. Some of these scenes were really uncomfortable, but they also honestly showed the flaws in this upper class family, which led to the events of We Were Liars. 

Family of Liars was a great prequel to We Were Liars. 

Thank you Penguin Teen Canada for providing a digital copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Other books in the series:

Have you read Family of Liars? What did you think of it?

Review: Spineless

Title: Spineless
Author: Samantha San Miguel
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Union Square Kids
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: June 7, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This exciting middle-grade adventure is Hoot for the Gilded Age—with scientific discoveries, secret plots, and surprisingly enormous fauna.               

When his asthma lands him at a health resort in the wilds of Gilded Age South Florida, twelve-year-old Algie Emsworth is over the moon. The scientific treasure trove of unexplored swamps may launch his dream career as a naturalist. But even Algie is startled when he happens upon a brand-new species and her brood in the karst springs surrounding the resort. Algie quickly realizes he must keep his discovery a secret: a famous collector of exotic animals is also staying at the hotel, and the new species is threatened by his very presence. An apparent curse has also descended upon the hotel, bringing with it a deadly red tide. But when the pool starts filling with ink and guests start getting mysterious, sucker-shaped wounds, Algie must pluck up his courage to find the truth about the goings-on at the Grand Hotel—and save the new species from destruction.

Review:

In the late 1800s, twelve-year-old Algie Emsworth goes to a Florida health resort with his mom and brother to improve his asthma. Algie quickly befriends the resort owner’s daughters, Lulu and Frankie, and they explore the swamps surrounding the resort. The three friends discover a new species of octopus and her eight babies. Algie knows he must keep this discovery a secret, because there is a collector of exotic species also staying at the resort. When strange things start happening, like pools filling with ink and a guest being attacked, it becomes more important than ever for Algie and his friends to protect this new species. 

This story explores the dangers of exploring nature and how it can be affected by humans. There is a fine line between exploring and discovering a new species, and exploiting and disturbing nature. Once Algie and his friends had discovered the octopus, it was no longer in a completely natural habitat, without human interference. It’s important to learn about nature and try to preserve it, but we also need to let these species live their own lives without disturbing them for our own human gain. 

Algie had asthma which really affected what he could do. He had to be careful not to overexert himself, and he always carried an inhaler ball with him. I think asthma is much more common today, but it was interesting to see how it affected Algie’s life more than 100 years ago, and the medicine of inhalers is still used today. 

Spineless is a great story about species discovery!

Thank you Union Square Kids for proving a copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Have you read Spineless? What did you think of it?

Review: The Raven Spell (Conspiracy of Magic #1)

Title: The Raven Spell (Conspiracy of Magic #1)
Author: Luanne G. Smith
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery
Publisher: 47North
Source: Thomas Allen and Son
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 1, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In Victorian England a witch and a detective are on the hunt for a serial killer in an enthralling novel of magic and murder.

After a nearly fatal blow to the skull, traumatized private detective Ian Cameron is found dazed and confused on a muddy riverbank in Victorian London. Among his effects: a bloodstained business card bearing the name of a master wizard and a curious pocket watch that doesn’t seem to tell time. To retrieve his lost memories, Ian demands answers from Edwina and Mary Blackwood, sister witches with a murky past. But as their secret is slowly unveiled, a dangerous mystery emerges on the darkened streets of London.

To help piece together Ian’s lost time, he and Edwina embark on a journey that will take them from the river foreshore to an East End music hall, and on to a safe house for witches in need of sanctuary from angry mortals. The clues they find suggest a link between a series of gruesome murders, a missing person’s case, and a dreadful suspicion that threatens to tear apart the bonds of sisterhood. As the investigation deepens, could Ian and Edwina be the next to die?

Review:

In Victorian England, sister witches Edwina and Mary Blackwood discover a man on the riverbank, nearly dead. Mary collects memories from corpses in little baubles, so she decides to take the memories from this man even though he isn’t dead yet. The man, Ian Cameron, wakes in hospital with no memory of his identity, with a business card of a witch and an unusual pocket watch in his pocket. The only clue Ian is given is to find the sisters who run a former apothecary shop. Meanwhile, strange murders are happening across the city, causing alarm. Though the sisters return some of his memories, many of Ian’s recent memories are missing, including the reason he was in town and what caused his accident. Edwina assists Ian in his investigation of the murders, a missing friend, and what caused his accident. 

This was an exciting and suspenseful fantasy mystery. I love it when fantasy is combined with historical fiction. There was a secret underground society of witches in this world. The story was fast paced, with a few different mysteries happening at the same time. 

The ages of the characters were never given, but I imagined the main characters to be in their early twenties. There was one part where an adult character is said to have a relationship with another character described as a child. It was only mentioned a couple of times but I found it kind of disturbing and out of place with the rest of the story. There were also mentions of suicide, but they were brief. 

This story ended on a cliffhanger. I’m really curious to see what happens in the next book!

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Have you read The Raven Spell? What did you think of it?

Review: Dukes Do It Better (Misfits of Mayfair #3)

Title: Dukes Do It Better (Misfits of Mayfair #3)
Author: Bethany Bennett
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Forever
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 24, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the series guaranteed to “win the hearts of Regency fans” comes a story of secrets, scandal, and unlikely love that will warm even the coldest of hearts (Publishers Weekly).

After a debut season plagued by scandal, Lady Emma Hardwick is ready to return to London, now with her young son in tow, and make a match. She’s looking for someone respectable. Someone wholly unlike Malachi Harlow, the new Duke of Trenton and former ship captain, whose long hair and tattoos make him decidedly dangerous to her peace of mind.

Malachi would rather be at sea than in a London ballroom. But until he can sort out why the admiralty brought him home, he has to stay landbound. That becomes less of a hardship when he meets the beguiling Lady Emma, whose dimples and easy laughter capture his imagination. When they start receiving threatening notes, they realize that there’s more to their connection than chemistry, and they’ll have to work together to figure out why someone wants to ruin their lives.

Review:

Lady Emma Hardwick had a scandalous history in London, but she’s ready to return for the season, with her young son. She would like to find someone who can give them a secure future, but that may not be Captain Malachi Harlow, the new Duke of Trenton. Emma and Malachi had one night together on a beach months ago, but they’ve been apart ever since. Malachi would rather be on his ship, but after the death of his older brother, he needs to be in London to find his place as Duke. They try to have a short fling during the London season, but they have undeniable feelings for each other. Then they receive some threatening letters that put their relationship at risk. Emma and Mal must decide if their love is strong enough or if they should go their separate ways. 

This story began with the romance already in progress. I liked that Emma and Mal already had strong feelings for each other right from the beginning. It made their story feel bigger than this book, since it had begun off the page. Their chemistry was strong and believable. 

The miscommunication trope was in this story, which I find so frustrating. It made sense and was believable that they would misunderstand certain things in those circumstances, but I still wanted to yell at the characters to just talk it out. Luckily the misunderstanding part didn’t last too long in the story. 

Dukes Do It Better is a great Regency romance!

Thank you Forever Pub for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Never a Duke by Grace Burrowes

Not the Kind of Earl You Marry by Kate Pembrooke

Other books in the series:

  • Any Rogue Will Do
  • West End Earl

Have you read Dukes Do It Better? What did you think of it?

Review: Rebel Rose (The Queen’s Council #1)

Title: Rebel Rose (The Queen’s Council #1)
Author: Emma Theriault
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Author giveaway
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 10, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Happily ever after is only the beginning as Belle takes on the responsibility of becoming queen and learns to balance duty, love, and sacrifice, all while navigating dark political intrigue—and a touch of magic.

It’s 1789 and France is on the brink of revolution. Belle has finally broken the Enchantress’s curse, restoring the Beast to his human form and bringing life back to their castle in the province of Aveyon. But in Paris, the fires of change are burning, and it’s only a matter of time before the rebellion arrives on their doorstep.

Not so very long ago, Belle dreamed of leaving her provincial home for a life of adventure. But now she finds herself living in a palace, torn between her past as a commoner, and her future as royalty. While Belle grapples with her newfound position, there are those who would do anything to keep her from power.

When she stumbles across a magic mirror that holds a dire warning, Belle wants nothing more than to ignore the mysterious voice calling her to accept a crown she never desired. But violent factions of the revolution may already be lurking within her own castle, and doing nothing would endanger everything she holds dear. With the fate of her country, her love, and her life at stake, Belle must decide if she is ready to embrace her own strength–and the magic that ties her to so many female rulers before her–to become the queen she is meant to be.

Rebel Rose is the first in the Queen’s Council series, an empowering fairy tale reimagining of the Disney Princesses-and the real history behind their stories-like you’ve never seen before.

Review:

France, 1789: Belle has broken the curse and freed Prince Lio from his beastly form. The newlyweds travel to Paris to try to establish Lio’s place in the aristocracy, since he was gone for ten years and no one has any recollection of him as a beast. There are violent protests in the street in the name of revolution. Belle is torn between her commoner birth and her new royal lifestyle. She discovers another magic mirror, which shows her a future where their palace is burning down. Belle must reach inside herself to find her magic to save her country, her home, and her love. 

This story takes place after the events of the Disney Beauty and the Beast movie. I’ve never read a story that tells the events after the movie, and I loved it. Beauty and the Beast was one of my favourite movies as a kid, so it was fun to see these characters facing new challenges after their main story. 

There was a lot of real history that happened in the story. King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were mentioned many times. The French Revolution played a big role in the conflict between the aristocracy and the general population. I loved how this brought the story into the real world. 

Rebel Rose is the first book in the Queen’s Council series, and I’m excited to see what happens in the next book about Mulan!

What to read next:

The Beast Within by Serena Valentino

As Old as Time by Liz Braswell

Have you read Rebel Rose? What did you think of it?

Review: Games in a Ballroom

Title: Games in a Ballroom
Author: Jentry Flint
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback ARC
Release Date: May 3, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

She was forbidden to love him.
He only wanted her heart.
Can a childhood game bring them together?

London, 1815

Olivia Wilde has resigned herself to never finding a love match. Her father has insisted she marry a man with a title, but the men her father deems acceptable are either boring or are only interested in increasing their own diminishing coffers. With her future looking dismal, Olivia vows to enjoy the last few months of freedom with her childhood friends, including Emerson Latham. His devilish smile and flirtatious teasing stirs up feelings she knows she cannot entertain.

Emerson is struggling to rise to his responsibilities after his father’s death. Though he is still learning his place, one thing he knows for certain is that he wants Olivia Wilde to be his wife. Emerson had long ago fallen in love with her quick wit, beauty, and passionate heart. Yet, without a title, he will never be permitted to court Olivia openly. But he has a plan that may give him a chance to court her in secret.

As the Season kicks off, Emerson proposes a playful game of tag. Olivia’s friends are delighted by the idea, though Olivia is wary. After all, the game must be played in secret as they tag each other at dinners and balls. As the romance builds between Olivia and Emerson, so does the risk of being discovered. Not only are their reputations at stake, so is their safety if they are caught by Olivia’s strict father.

Can their love find a happily ever after before the game ends?

Review:

London, 1815: Olivia Wilde’s father has insisted that she marry a man with a title. Their family has money but no title, so this is her father’s way to bring a title to the family. She dreads the men who her father brings to her at balls. Meanwhile, Olivia likes spending time with her childhood friends Arabella and Emerson Latham. Emerson is struggling with being the head of the family after his father’s death. Though he doesn’t have a title, he wants to marry Olivia. To spend more time with her during balls, without drawing attention to his courting her, he plans an elaborate game of tag between his friends. However, time is ticking for Olivia to choose a husband. She must decide if she’s willing to risk everything for a love match with Emerson. 

This story was a fun look at balls in Regency England. Balls and parties in the Regency period usually seem serious, with specific dances and social rules to be followed. Emerson shook up that idea by playing tag with his friends throughout the parties. There were other moments where Emerson and his friends would play elaborate pranks. I enjoyed this pleasant and lighter side of the Regency period. 

There were some serious moments in this story. Emerson and his family were still grieving for his father. Though it didn’t appear on the page, it was implied that Olivia’s father was abusive. The serious implication of his abuse put some urgency into her finding the right mate, and protecting her mother from his wrath as well. 

Games in a Ballroom is a fun Regency romance. 

Thank you Shadow Mountain for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Valet’s Secret by Josi S. Kilpack

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

Have you read Games in a Ballroom? What did you think of it?