Monday, December 28, 2020

Review: Her Wicked Marquess by Stacy Reid

Her Wicked Marquess by Stacy Reid
Series: Sinful Wallflowers, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Historical Romance 
Her Wicked Marquess cover
ISBN: 9781682815205
Release Date: December 29, 2020
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Entangled
Stacy Reid Reading Order

Miss Maryann Fitzwilliam is too witty and bookish for her own good. No gentleman of the ton will marry her, so her parents arrange for her to wed a man old enough to be her father. But Maryann is ready to use those wits to turn herself into a sinful wallflower.

When the scandal sheet reports a sighting of Nicolas St. Ives, the Marquess of Rothbury, climbing out the chamber windows of a house party, Maryann does the unthinkable. She anonymously claims that the bedchamber belonged to none other than Miss Fitzwilliam, tarnishing her own reputation—and chances of the dastardly union her family secured for her. Now she just needs to convince the marquess to keep his silence.

Turns out Nicolas allows for the scandal to perpetuate for his own reasons… But when Maryann’s parents hold fast to their arranged marriage plan, it’ll take a scandal of epic proportions for these two to get out of this together.

Nicholas St. Ives, Marquess of Rothbury, is a man on a mission. He plays the feckless rake, making his way into the inner circles of those who raped and caused the death of the girl he once loved so that he can exact his revenge. Nicholas has accounted for every contingency…except Maryann Fitzwilliam. The clever and outspoken wallflower seems to be using his name to start a scandal in order to avoid marriage to a horrible man. From the first Maryann and Nicholas are drawn together. But between her unwanted fiancé’s determination to possess her and Nicholas’s quest for revenge, there’s no way the two of them can be together…is there?

Stacy Reid mixes the dark and the light beautifully in Her Wicked Marquess. Nicholas and Maryann charmed me from the start and that charm never faded. I loved the sparks that flew between them instantaneously. The (seeming) rake and the spirited wallflower? That kind of pairing is catnip to me. What I loved most about their relationship is that Reid gave it space to grow and develop. I adored watching them become friends before they fell in love. Nicholas would never be one to cage Maryann; he encourages her to be who she really is, even though society would turn their noses up at the pair of them if they could. Their secret nighttime encounters brought a smile to my face and I adored their teasing banter. The sexual tension that simmers underneath it all is delicious and I enjoyed watching them lose the battle to resist one another. Nicholas and Maryann see one another for who they really are and Reid crafts their love story so wonderfully that you can feel how good a match they are down to your bones.

There’s no false drama in Maryann and Nicholas’s relationship, which I really appreciated. The obstacles are in the form of Maryann’s detestable suitor and the revenge plot. I won’t say how either plotline plays out but the former made me shudder in parts and the latter broke my heart. Nicholas is caged to the past because he failed someone he loved. Reid makes his need for vengeance and the guilt he carries understandable, which is why him trying to hold himself back even as he falls in love with Maryann is a believable obstacle. Though no depictions of sexual assault are portrayed on the page, they are discussed so I want to provide a trigger warning in case it’s needed. It’s a hard balance to have heavy topics such as this mixed with humor and light, but Reid does both perfectly while giving the more serious storyline the respect it deserves.

Her Wicked Marquess is the second book in the Sinful Wallflowers series but it can easily be read as a standalone. I did enjoy the meetings between Maryann and her friends and found myself particularly intrigued by Ophelia, who I desperately hope is next in line for her happily ever after. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Maryann and Nicholas’s story. Stacy Reid’s love stories always sweep me away and Her Wicked Marquess is no exception.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Review: Fairy Godmothers, Inc. by Saranna DeWylde

Fairy Godmothers, Inc. by Saranna DeWylde
Series: Fairy Godmothers, Inc., Book 1
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: Contemporary Romance with Fantasy Elements 
Fairy Godmothers Inc cover
ISBN: 9781420153149
Release Date: December 29, 2020
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

If love is the source of all the magic in the universe, and the town of Ever After, Missouri, is the epicenter of enchantment, then the locals are in dire need of a reboot. At least according to resident fairy godmothers Petunia, Jonquil, and Bluebonnet. Their solution? Blow a bit of fairy dust in the direction of those in need of romance… What could possibly go wrong?


Lucky Fujiki’s first name is a cosmic joke. Her luck is so bad, even the number seven steers clear of her. But when her adorable godmothers ask for a favor, Lucky can’t say no. After all, it’s just a little one—to save the world’s magic. Lucky can already feel the bad juju waiting to strike. And her mission is even worse than she imagined: to promote Ever After as a wedding destination by faking a marriage to her first love and long-time ex, Ransom Payne—he of the Embarrassing Incident that neither of them will ever live down…


Ransom Payne has spent years building an impressive new reputation for himself, and now his godmothers want him to pretend to wed the one girl he’d like most to forget? Sure, weddings in Ever After could be a huge boon for his chocolate business, but risking more up-close-and-personal time with Lucky? Considering the stakes, it’s a curse he’ll have to bear, at the risk of being humiliated—or perhaps, bewitched…

Saranna DeWylde puts her own fresh and fun spin on fairytales in Fairy Godmothers, Inc. I desperately wanted to love this fairytale-loving rom com, but the story ended up being a bit of a mixed bag for me. I almost didn’t finish the book because the first half wasn’t my cup of tea at all but I’m glad I stuck with it because the story finished strong and I enjoyed the world DeWylde created.

Lucky’s name feels like a terrible joke. Her luck isn’t your average level of bad – it’s preternaturally awful. But when her beloved godmothers ask for her help, Lucky ventures to Ever After, Missouri, to fake a wedding and put Ever After on the map as a wedding destination. The only problem is the groom is her ex. She and Ransom have a history of things going catastrophically wrong when they try to get together and “The Incident” was the final straw that broke their relationship. Though sparks fly upon their meeting again, other things begin to fly as attacking mutant cherries. The hard part for me is that both Lucky and Ransom are decent people so watching terrible things happen to them isn’t enjoyable or funny. The first part of Fairy Godmothers, Inc. seems to be a series of disasters as Lucky and Ransom reconnect, fall back in love like there was no time apart, and everything felt shallow. If we were given any history besides their failed attempts at sex or the overblown “Incident” perhaps the insta-love when they re-meet would make more sense. This is the point where I almost stopped reading as everything felt unfunny, shallow, and over-the-top.

I’m glad I didn’t stop reading because in the second half of Fairy Godmothers, Inc. the book finds its feet. Lucky and Ransom’s relationship is tested as they have to make themselves vulnerable, face their fears, and take risks. It isn’t easy and the course of true love doesn’t run smooth, but I liked that they had to work for their happily ever after rather than have their fairy godmothers wave their problems away. There’s heart in this part of the book and the characters grow in an organic manner, learning about love, sacrifice, and acceptance; modern fairytale themes for an adult audience.

The town of Ever After is a fairytale world come to life. The titular fairy godmothers, Petunia, Bluebonnet, and Jonquil, are determined to bring love back to Ever After, as love powers the town’s magic and that magic is fading. Love in all its forms is at the heart of Fairy Godmothers, Inc. and that made me smile. DeWylde’s twists on fairytale characters also charmed the heck out of me. I loved exploring Ever After and seeing beloved characters in new forms and I definitely want to explore this adorable town and its endearing residents even further. So while I had mixed feelings about Lucky and Ransom’s story, I cannot wait to see what Petunia, Bluebonnet, and Jonquil have in store for their other charges!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Truth About Dukes by Grace Burrowes

The Truth About Dukes by Grace Burrowes
Series: Rogues to Riches, Book 5
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Historical Romance 
The Truth About Dukes cover
ISBN: 9781538700334
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Robert Rothmere is hiding a past no duke should have endured, but he's not hiding it well enough. Sooner or later, his enemies will learn that he spent years locked away at a private asylum. To get their hands on his wealth, they'll try to send him right back to his worst nightmares. If Robert is to foil their schemes, he needs to marry a perfectly proper, blessedly boring, deadly dull duchess, immediately – and he knows exactly which quietly delightful lady he'd love to entrust with that role.

Lady Constance Wentworth has cultivated a reputation for utter forgettability. She never speaks out of turn (in public), never has a daring thought (that she admits aloud), and never comes close to courting scandal . . . as far as anybody knows. Her path crossed Robert's years ago, though, and she's never forgotten the extraordinary lengths he traveled to keep her safe when she hadn't a friend in the world. She longs to be his demure duchess…but little does he know that to marry her would be utter madness.

The intriguing, complicated, gorgeously written Wentworth family is back in The Truth About Dukes. Every Grace Burrowes protagonist I’ve read about so far has had a complex past, which is something I quite enjoy. In Robert’s case, he’s an epileptic who was caged in a private asylum by his father. The horrors of that place and the experiments inflicted on him have left their mark and even after his brother (who had believed him dead) found him, Robert locked himself away in their home. He’s slowly coming out into the world, but there are those who would use him being an epileptic against him in order to further their own agendas. I liked watching Robert come into his own over the course of the story. He’s helped by Constance who is definitely his perfect match.

Constance Wentworth grew up in poverty with an abusive father. Her brother becoming first a successful, wealthy banker and then finding out he’s a duke changed her life forever. Constance has secrets she keeps even from her own family. When she was younger she fled home and came to work at the asylum Robert was kept at. The two formed a bond back then and it springs immediately to life when they are reunited over a decade later. I loved Robert and Constance together. They have an easy chemistry that shows on the page and they simply flow as a couple. Their romance is understated – perhaps a bit too understated for a romance novel – and I wish Burrowes had shown rather than told some of the bits about their bond forming in the past. Yet even with it being understated I simply adored Robert and Constance as a couple. There’s little drama and a lot of heart which makes it easy to fall into their story.

Constance and Robert are at the center of The Truth About Dukes, but there are plenty of supporting characters with their own points of view. Their siblings all see fit to discuss among themselves and interfere (with the best of intentions, of course) in Robert and Constance’s lives. Then there are multiple plots. One I cannot reveal without spoiling the story as it deals with Constance’s past. Not to be too vague, but this was a plotline that started out well, then ended up feeling like it wasn’t as well executed as it could have been. Then there’s the matter of villains using Robert’s epilepsy against him for their own reasons. It’s a plotline with potential but falls apart a bit at the climax. There are a few too many lucky breaks, characters changing how they act to satisfy the needs of the plot, and events taking place off-page for me to be fully satisfied with the story. Still, I really enjoyed reading The Truth About Dukes even with these flaws. I wavered for a long time on how to rate the book because I had so many niggling issues but I weighed this against how much I enjoyed Burrowes’s writing, the characters, and the Constance/Robert pairing. I land on the side of recommending this book, but if you’re new to the series I urge you to read the first and fourth Rogues to Riches books, My One and Only Duke and A Duke by Any Other Name, in order to fully appreciate the family dynamics and the main plot of The Truth About Dukes.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Review: Archangel’s Sun by Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Sun by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter, Book 13
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy 
Archangel's Sun cover
ISBN: 9780593198124
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible
Nalini Singh Reading Order

The Archangel of Death and the Archangel of Disease may be gone but their legacy of evil lives on—especially in Africa, where the shambling, rotting creatures called the reborn have gained a glimmer of vicious intelligence.

It is up to Titus, archangel of this vast continent, to stop the reborn from spreading across the world. Titus can’t do it alone, but of the surviving powerful angels and archangels, large numbers are wounded, while the rest are fighting a surge of murderous vampires.

There is no one left…but the Hummingbird. Old, powerful, her mind long a broken kaleidoscope. Now, she must stand at Titus’s side against a tide of death upon a discovery more chilling than any other. For the Archangel of Disease has left them one last terrible gift…

The war has been won but battles still rage on in Archangel’s Sun. In the wake of the war that rocked the entire world, Titus, Archangel of Africa, has been fighting a seemingly never-ending battle against a newer, more intelligent strain of reborn. He and his people need help, but with the Cadre few in number and all of them stretched to the breaking point, there is no one to help him. No one but the Hummingbird.

For much of the series Sharine – also known as the Hummingbird – has been lost in her own world more often than not. She’s beloved by all of angelkind, but she’s not exactly who you’d think of first when battling the reborn. Lately Sharine has been awakening and though she is an artist and does have a tendency to get lost in her own world, there’s more to her than most know. She’s an Ancient, though seems so young and of the world that she isn’t called one. I loved watching Sharine find herself over the course of this story. Though she wasn’t to blame for shattering all those centuries ago, she carries such guilt for not being fully present for her son, Illium, or the other angels she has effectively adopted. I loved Sharine’s huge heart and warm nature. Her conversations with Illium and Aodhan in particular warmed my heart (and made me want those two to be each other’s HEA more than ever). I also loved her sass, which was a surprise to everyone. She has more knowledge and power than most could dream of and I hope we see much more of her in books to come for it feels like we’ve only scratched the surface of a character whose depths are unfathomable.

As for Titus, he is one of my favorite Guild Hunter heroes so far. The archangel with the booming voice and marshmallow heart pretty much made me swoon. He’s a fearsome warrior, powerful and dangerous as only an archangel can be. Yet he’s also a younger brother with four older sisters who aren’t afraid to tease him. I can’t count the number of times Titus made me smile. And his heart is as vast as the continent he rules and cares for.

Titus and Sharine are endearing and well-drawn characters and there’s something about them that just “clicks.” Titus doesn’t treat Sharine like she’s fragile and she isn’t impressed by his power; after all, Shaine has had a child with an archangel, is a second mother to another, and is best friends with a third. Sharine and Titus made me smile and sigh, but even after weighing it in my mind I did feel like their romance was a little rushed. I liked where they ended up, but based on their journeys it might have felt more organic and earned if it took two books to get to that end point.

Sharine and Titus are the heart of Archangel’s Sun and I could read about them for books on end without getting bored. Their banter made the book snappy, but it’s definitely not all fun and games for them. The threat of the more intelligent reborn is a real and present danger for most of the book. Nalini Singh doesn’t skimp on the action at all and the fights are plentiful. I loved how Sharine, Titus, and his people worked together to figure out how to defeat a threat that feels like it has no end.

Archangel’s Sun entertained me from beginning to end, mostly due to the fantastic characters. I hope we get to return to Africa in future Guild Hunter books because there were so many of Titus’s people who I would love to learn more about. I struggled a bit with rating this because I enjoyed reading it so much, but I was definitely left with unanswered questions (ones that don’t feel intentionally left open) and a slight feeling of being rushed in the romance. Still, I truly adored Titus and Sharine and I can’t wait to see where Ms. Singh takes the Guild Hunter series next!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.