Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Review: The Devil and the Heiress by Harper St. George

The Devil and the Heiress by Harper St. George
Series: The Gilded Age Heiresses, Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Historical Romance 
The Devil and the Heiress cover
ISBN: 9780593197226
Release Date: June 29, 2021
EBook Source: Publisher
Paperback Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Sparks fly when a runaway heiress bargains with a devilish rogue to escape a marriage of convenience.

No one would guess that beneath Violet Crenshaw's ladylike demeanor lies the heart of a rebel. American heiresses looking to secure English lords must be on their best behavior, but Violet has other plans. She intends to flee London and the marriage her parents have arranged to become a published author--if only the wickedly handsome earl who inspired her most outrageously sinful character didn't insist on coming with her.

Christian Halston, Earl of Leigh, has a scheme of his own: escort the surprisingly spirited dollar princess north and use every delicious moment in close quarters to convince Violet to marry him. Christian needs an heiress to rebuild his Scottish estate but the more time he spends with Violet, the more he realizes what he really needs is her--by his side, near his heart, in his bed.

Though Christian's burning glances offer unholy temptation, Violet has no intention of surrendering herself or her newfound freedom in a permanent deal with the devil. It's going to take more than pretty words to prove this fortune hunter's love is true…

A devilish lord in need of funds meets his match in an American heiress determined to escape a betrothal that would crush her spirit. The Devil and the Heiress is an engaging romance that charmed me thanks to its roguish hero who has a marshmallow heart and an optimistic budding writer with a spine of steel.

Violet Crenshaw has seen firsthand what can happen to a woman who is essentially sold for a title. Though her sister made a love match with an English lord, that doesn’t mean the same will hold true for Violet. In fact, her parents are determined she marry a man who will undoubtedly cage her. Determined to take charge of her own life, Violet flees London and is surprised to find a helping hand in the form of the Earl of Leigh. Except Christian has his own plans and it wasn’t chance that made him appear when Violet needed aid. He needs funds to save the one home that means anything to him and Violet is the answer to his prayers. She also intrigues him as no other woman has. The forced proximity allows them to get to know one another in a way they never would have within the confines of society’s rules. I thoroughly enjoyed their trip and watching Christian and Violet get to know each other. Their mutual attraction quickly becomes something more, but what happens when Christian’s initial plot is revealed (as it must or where would the conflict be?) I will leave readers to discover for themselves.

Christian and Violet have great chemistry and the pages of The Devil and the Heiress practically flew by. There are elements of this story that remind me of Lisa Kleypas’s Wallflower quartet and as that’s one of my favorite series it’s a definite compliment. But Christian and Violet are their own selves and they won me over. Violet can be naïve but her spirit and openness charmed the daylights out of me. And Christian made me smile and sigh. He definitely is wrong in lying to Violet, but the man has the softest heart and I could have melted over him. I adored them both as individuals and as a couple.

The Devil and the Heiress is the second book in Harper St. George’s Gilded Age Heiresses series but having not yet read The Heiress Gets a Duke I can safely say Violet’s book stands on its own. That being said, I enjoyed Violet and Christian so much that I cannot wait to go back and read August Crenshaw’s book as I wait for more Gilded Age Heiresses stories.

FTC Disclosure: I purchased the paperback and received the EBook 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, June 28, 2021

Review: A Scot to the Heart by Caroline Linden

A Scot to the Heart by Caroline Linden
Series: Desperately Seeking Duke, Book 2
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical Romance 
A Scot to the Heart cover
ISBN: 9780062913647
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

An Officer and a Scotsman
Captain Andrew St. James always knew he came from a noble family, but his branch grew far from the wealth and status. Nothing shocks him more than learning that he now stands as heir presumptive to his distant cousin the Duke of Carlyle. There is much for Drew to learn and adjust to—but first he goes home to Edinburgh, to tell his mother and three sisters of their startling good fortune.

A Lady and a Temptress
Ilsa Ramsay yearns for some adventure and fun, not another husband. When she discovers the handsome soldier who sweeps her off her feet for a rollicking dance is her friend’s brother, soon to be an English duke, she tells herself he’s not for her, no matter how tempting he is. But one impulsive kiss, then another, and another… says otherwise.

An Irresistible Attraction
Drew means to marry a respectable, dignified Englishwoman—a very proper future duchess. The spirited Ilsa is none of that. Still, when she’s caught in a dangerous scandal, he leaps to her aid without hesitation. And neither family duty nor future obligation can make them ignore what’s in both their hearts.

A Scot to the Heart is a delight to read from beginning to end, thanks to the utterly endearing characters Caroline Linden has created. I was so charmed by Isla and Drew that I hated to put their book down.

Drew is an appealing mix of roguish charm and honorable soldier. He’s been providing for his family ever since the death of his father and being the heir to a dukedom gives him a chance to give his mother and three sisters the lives they deserve. The real Drew is a far cry from the stiff, subservient captain we briefly met in the first Desperately Seeking Duke book and his actions make sense once you get in his head. Drew is fun with a wicked sense of humor that comes out when he’s around his family and friends. He’s honorable to the core and has a good heart.

Isla has lived much of her life lonely and restricted, first from the oppressive rules of her aunt after the death of her mother and then under her husband who essentially imprisoned her. As a widow she has freedom even if her family tries to curtail it. She’s boisterous and fun when there’s no one judging her and I loved seeing her joy when she was free and uninhibited. She and Drew are instantly attracted to one another and had such good chemistry I was delighted to be along for the ride. Their romance is a lot of fun and Linden blends humor, heart, and heat extremely well. As this book shows, Isla and Drew are a couple who will be able to stand together and take on whatever life throws at them and that makes their romance incredibly satisfying.

A Scot to the Heart is the second book in the Desperately Seeking Duke series but you do not have to have read About a Rogue in order to follow along (although it is just as charming). I loved Drew’s family and friends and hope to see them all get stories of their own. I cannot wait to see what’s to come in the next Desperately Seeking Duke book for the meager hints that have been dropped have me intrigued.

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, June 27, 2021

Review: A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor
Series: The Widow Rules, Book 1
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genre: Historical Romance 
A Duke in Time cover
ISBN: 9781250761590
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri's accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she's been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri's far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she's Meri's widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri's two other wives, Katherine doesn't have time for much else. But there's something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they'll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other's hearts and futures.

A Duke in Time is a story of letting go of the past and grabbing hold of your future. Christian has been running from his scandalous family’s legacy since he was a child and with the death of his younger brother, Meri, he finds himself in a mess with not one, but three widowed sisters-in-law. For a man who wants nothing to do with his half-brother, this is extremely upsetting. But what really knocks him off his feet is his attraction to Katherine, Meri’s first wife. Christian is a duke who is also a war hero. He’s determined to do his best by veterans and is honorable to the core. He’s reserved at first but he’s a case of still waters running deep. He carries old wounds from his family that he needs to face in order to move forward with his future and I liked watching him come into his own.

I really liked Katherine as a heroine. She’s a successful businesswoman with a keen mind and a generous spirit. She also has secrets that would ruin her business if they got out because of the fine line a woman who is on the edges of society has to walk in order to be successful. Her world is turned upside down when she learns that her now-deceased husband left behind not just her, but two other wives. Meri wasn’t exactly a good husband, having left her mere hours after their wedding, but this goes beyond the pale. Nevertheless, Katherine immediately befriends the other two wives and opens her home to them when they have nowhere to go. The three become fast friends which is one of my favorite parts of the book. Like Christian, Katherine has to learn to face the past and move on, which isn’t easy in her position and the time she lives in. I was rooting for her every step of the way, however.

Christian and Katherine are instantly attracted to one another and their romance is fairly low drama. Christian needs help setting up a charity for veterans and Katherine is just the woman to help him. The two of them complement one another extremely well and they fall in love seamlessly, if rather quickly. I liked them as individuals with their own unique interests and I liked them as a couple. A Duke in Time moved at a quick clip and I found it to be an enjoyable romance overall. By the end of it I was really looking forward to seeing what Janna MacGregor has in store for Meri’s other wives so I will definitely be reading the rest of the Widow Rules trilogy.

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: History of Us by Stacey Agdern

History of Us by Stacey Agdern
Series: Friendships and Festivals, Book 2
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
History of Us cover
ISBN: 9781953647948
Release Date: June 24, 2021
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Tule Publishing

Do they have a future together, or is their relationship ancient history?

Anna Cohen, perpetual assistant at the Manhattan Museum of Jewish History, lands a golden chance to curate her own exhibit when her boss sends her to Rockliffe Manor, New York. She’s to assist an influential Jewish family as they organize an exhibit of their own in time for the town's Summer Days Festival. While she's there, Anna just needs to convince them to part with some of their archival history for an upcoming exhibition—something they’ve always refused—and not get involved with her ex, the family’s heir. Again.

Jacob Horowitz-Margareten wants to help save the world. Despite having no time to spend organizing his family’s archives, he’s always had a soft spot for Anna. The chance to spend more time with her intrigues him, but he doesn’t trust her boss or the museum she works for with the tangible bits of his family’s rich history.

As they work together, Anna and Jacob need to decide what’s more important: their history or the story their hearts are telling them.

History of Us is an enjoyable second chance romance with two protagonists who are clearly made for each other but who have to find a way to make their lives work together. Anna and Jacob have been on-again/off-again for years; loving each other has never been their problem. But sometimes love isn’t enough, especially when one of them never stops moving. Jacob has a soul-deep need to do everything he can to try and make the world a better place. It’s an admirable goal and his heart is definitely in the right place but he feels like he has to be perfect and he’s stretching himself so thin you can see he’s in danger of tearing himself apart. Anna is an assistant curator with a passion for Jewish history and great ideas for blending history and modern political ideas.

The Jewish representation in History of Us is where the book shines brightest. Stacey Agdern weaves into the story the obstacles many Jews face today, the veiled antisemitism that is often faced. With Jacob’s work and Anna’s exhibit she also delves into how many Jews have and do take part in social justice movements. There’s also discussion of Gilded Age Jews, exploring personal history, and more. It’s all fascinating and Agdern does it extremely well, grounding the book in reality.

The romance is where I struggled with the story a bit. It’s not bad – not by a long shot – but the passion and energy that is found in the real world issues seems to be understated in the romantic fantasy element. I wanted the romance to grab me more, to care about Jacob and Anna as a couple as much as I did about their work and their passion for community. I liked them, make no mistake, and I wanted them to get together because the history they had came through. But overall I was left wanting a bit of excitement and feeling from the romance. I needed more show less tell. Even with this issue, the community Adgern builds in her books and the religious and cultural elements of History of Us are so rare to find in romance novels that I will definitely be back for more Friendships and Festivals stories.

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

Review: To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne

To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
To Sir with Love cover
ISBN: 9781982152819
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.

To Sir, with Love is as bubbly as a glass of good champagne. It’s a sprightly romance inspired by Parfumerie, The Shop Around the Corner, and You’ve Got Mail and I adored it so much that I read the book in one sitting.

Gracie is a New York Cinderella who put aside her dreams of becoming an artist to run her family’s Manhattan champagne shop after the death of her father. I adored Gracie’s sunny nature and found her tendency to use her dreams as a shield for rejection relatable. Gracie believes in true love and Prince Charming but she just hasn’t found it yet. The closest thing she has to that is the mysterious “Sir” who she met on a blind dating app. They’ve never met, don’t know each other’s names or what they look like, but there’s a connection there that makes her smile and dream. The exact opposite reaction she has to Sebastian Andrews, the man who is trying to buy out her business and turn it into some high rise. Sebastian is gorgeous but he’s also the enemy. And what Gracie doesn’t know is that he’s also Sir.

Gracie is instantly charming and endearing. She’s got a kind heart but she does mess up with Sebastian because she’s not perfect (and what kind of story would it be if she were?). Sebastian is a Mr. Darcy type. He seems aloof and it’s easy for people to have misconceptions about him but underneath the suit is a loving, funny man with a good heart that can be bruised. I loved watching Gracie fall for him and it’s clear he’s equally taken with her. The elephant in the room is, of course, him wanting to buy out the lease for Bubbles & More while she is trying to keep her father’s dream alive even as the market changes and makes that dream unsustainable. Gracie doesn’t need to give up her fairytales but she does need to live in reality a bit more and to also take a chance and go for what she wants instead of wondering what might have been. Her personal journey was every bit as satisfying as the romance.

In To Sir, with Love Lauren Layne delivers sparkling banter and fun characters who grab your heart and don’t let go. The romance between Gracie and Sebastian made me smile and sigh the way a top-tier romantic comedy would. Their chemistry is excellent both when they meet in person and when they write to each other as Sir and Lady. There is such warmth and kindness to this book that it’s like a big hug. The supporting cast is well-defined and I want books for them all because they’re every bit as likeable as Gracie and Sebastian. All in all I absolutely adored To Sir, with Love; it’s the perfect pick-me-up book.

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.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Review: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton
Series: Dangerous Damsels, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance 
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels cover
ISBN: 9780593200162
Release Date: June 15, 2021
EBook Source: Publisher
Audiobook Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She's also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it's a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he's under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her--hopefully proving, once and for all, that she's as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is a fantastical romp through Victorian England. Pirates, flying houses, a villain with delusions of grandeur…there’s a lot of quirky goodness to be found in India Holton’s debut. Holton’s style and irreverent humor will appeal to fans of Gail Carriger.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is a pirate whose wings are slightly clipped by her overprotective aunt and the pirate society she belongs to. But when assassin Ned Lightbourne appears on her doorstep, Cecilia thinks she finally has her chance to join the Wisteria Society. She just has to foil the pesky assassination attempt first. Except Ned is more than what he seems and his mission isn’t quite clear and oh dear, he is a rather tempting man. Cecilia can’t seem to keep the delicious rogue out of her mind and the land-bound pirate does seem to be equally attracted to her. Together they have to unravel several plots, the most pressing being the threat of Captain Morvath who is determined to rid England of strong women.

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is quirky and fun. It has a lot going on – kidnappings, assassination attempts, multiple pirate plots, a romance, the politics of family and the Society – and I won’t go into it because this is a story that benefits from the plot being unfolded. The book does take a while to gain steam, but overall it’s a charming romp. Cecilia and Ned have an easy banter though the romance did leave me wanting just a bit more. The various characters were all unique and the world Holton has built is an interesting one (the flying pirate houses made me grin) and I hope to learn more about it in future Dangerous Damsels books. As I mentioned before, there is a lot going on in this story but the one downside is you don’t seem to go too deep into a lot of it. There’s a lot of style over substance in this story but oh, does Holton have style.

FTC Disclosure: I purchased the audiobook and received the EBook 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.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Review: Once Upon a Royal Summer by Teri Wilson

Once Upon a Royal Summer by Teri Wilson
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Once Upon a Royal Summer cover
ISBN: 9781952210181
Release Date: June 15, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

A theme park “princess” meets a single dad…who turns out to be a real prince!

Lacey found her dream job: playing a princess character at a popular fairytale theme park in sunny southern Florida. Her diamond tiara might not be real, but the smiles of the children she meets every day certainly are. It’s just too bad that her ex-boyfriend was never impressed with her career choice.

Henry, the crown prince of Bella-Moritz, is trying to fulfill his young daughter’s birthday wish: to be a normal girl with a normal life. That’s why they’re pretending to be ordinary tourists at an American amusement park. Henry lost his wife four years ago, and he’s been going through the motions ever since. But could a meeting with a make-believe princess lead to real love?

Once Upon a Royal Summer is an insanely cute fairytale romance that will make your heart sing. Teri Wilson charmed my socks off with this tale of a theme park princess who falls for a real life prince.

Lacey has her dream job in playing Princess Sweet Pea at Once Upon a Time, a popular Florida theme park. Her reasons for it broke my heart but also showed Lacey’s nature: she’s kind, compassionate, and so sweet. Many people don’t understand why she loves what she does, but that doesn’t dim her sunny, funny nature. Henry, crown prince of Bella-Moritz is a widower with a daughter who he wants to give a chance to be a regular child. Their trip to Once Upon a Time is a break from reality for both of them. Rose is immediately captivated by Princess Sweet Pea…and so is Henry. With Lacey playing tour guide for the royals, it’s easy for both father and daughter to become attached. Rose is just precious and Henry is a real Prince Charming who loves his daughter and his people. The fact that Wilson can make a story so sweet without it becoming saccharine is a testament to her skill as a writer.

Once Upon a Royal Summer made me smile over and over again. It’s a kind, gentle book with a positive message that just warms your heart. A theme park princess shouldn’t be a match for real royalty and yet every step of the way Lacey is on equal footing with Henry. The two of them make a lovely pair and their modern-day fairytale romance made me smile and sigh. I adored Once Upon a Royal Summer from beginning to end; it’s definitely a story I’ll revisit whenever I need sunshine and sweetness in my life.

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.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Review: Love For Beginners by Jill Shalvis

Love For Beginners by Jill Shalvis
Series: Wildstone, Book 7
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance 
Love for Beginners
ISBN: 9780063025431
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

What would you change if you had to start your life—and love life—over again?

When Emma Harris wakes up from a coma she learns that her fiancé and her BFF have fallen in love, she’s lost her job, and the life she knew is gone. Overwhelmed but grateful to be alive she starts over from scratch. Not as easy as it sounds, of course. But she’s never been a quitter, even if she wishes she could quit rehab, where her hot but evil physical therapist, Simon, puts her through the wringer.

Eager for a new beginning, Emma opens a doggy day care. Unfortunately, the only space she can afford is owned by her childhood nemesis Ali Pratt. But hey, she’s been through worse, right? She tries to roll with the punches, but a friend drops his grandpa off at the doggy day care in desperation then on top of that, she and Ali bring the term ‘frenemies’ to a whole new level. And then another grandparent shows up. And another.

In the midst of all that, Emma realizes she’s accidentally fallen for Evil PT. But the most horrifying thing of all is that Ali just might have turned into the best friend she’s ever had. And as Emma grows from the pain of her past and takes on her new path, she comes to realize that life isn’t what you’re given, it’s what you make of it.

Love for Beginners is a warm hug of a book. It’s sweet, has characters who are easy to like even though – or perhaps because – they are flawed, and all the relationships are ones you root for.

Emma survived being hit by a car, a coma, and defied the odds and learned to walk again. She’s grateful to be alive but her life has changed forever. I liked Emma’s spirit, her determination, and her sunshiny nature. She has a natural likeability but she’s also human with flaws and a bit of messiness. She’s still recovering physically and mentally and her biggest champion is her sexy physical therapist, Simon. Simon is the kind of hero who makes you swoon with his caring nature and talented hands. But Simon comes with a lot of ties and he’s spreading himself so thin in trying to keep promises to his family that he isn’t fully living. He and Emma have excellent chemistry and their romance is sweet with a hint of spice.

The third major character in this book is Alison, Emma’s high school nemesis and Simon’s cousin. Alison wears perfection like armor and she’s my favorite of the bunch. She’s an introvert and struggles to open up and make friends, which has led to her losing the man she loves. When she and Emma become unlikely business partners, it opens Alison up and helps her grow as a person. I wanted to see her find happiness and I had no doubt Jill Shalvis would provide a satisfying ending for her…after making Alison work for it, of course. All three main characters learn and grow over the course of Love for Beginners, becoming the people they’re meant to be, and their journeys are highly entertaining.

Love in all its forms plays a strong role in this book. Romantic, familial, and love between friends weaves through everything, connecting all the characters in the book. It would also be remiss of me not to mention Hog and Killer, two dogs who threaten to steal the show every time they’re on the page. The dogs are almost as important as the humans in this story and it made me smile and added another layer of warmth to this tale. All in all, I really enjoyed Love for Beginners. It’s a story of overcoming obstacles, living a full life, and opening yourself up to possibilities.

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

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Review: The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Male/Male Historical Romance 
The Queer Principles of Kit Webb cover
ISBN: 978-0063026216
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Kit Webb has left his stand-and-deliver days behind him. But dreary days at his coffee shop have begun to make him pine for the heady rush of thievery. When a handsome yet arrogant aristocrat storms into his shop, Kit quickly realizes he may be unable to deny whatever this highborn man desires.

In order to save himself and a beloved friend, Percy, Lord Holland must go against every gentlemanly behavior he holds dear to gain what he needs most: a book that once belonged to his mother, a book his father never lets out of his sight and could be Percy’s savior. More comfortable in silk-filled ballrooms than coffee shops frequented by criminals, his attempts to hire the roughly hewn highwayman, formerly known as Gladhand Jack, proves equal parts frustrating and electrifying.

Kit refuses to participate in the robbery but agrees to teach Percy how to do the deed. Percy knows he has little choice but to submit and as the lessons in thievery begin, he discovers thievery isn’t the only crime he’s desperate to commit with Kit.

But when their careful plan goes dangerously wrong and shocking revelations threaten to tear them apart, can these stolen hearts overcome the impediments in their path?

A retired highwayman is pulled in for one last job by an aristocrat too tempting for his own good in The Queer Principles of Kit Webb. After a job went terribly wrong, Kit put his role as Gladhand Jack behind him and now makes his living as a respectable coffee shop owner. He’s bored out of his mind and more than a bit grumpy when a flamboyant lord waltzes into his shop and makes a tempting proposition: he knows Kit’s alter ego and wants to hire him for a heist that tempts Kit beyond belief.

Edward Percy, Lord Holland, is running out of time to save himself and his best friend (now stepmother) from losing everything. Kit is his only chance and though it takes him a while, Percy manages to convince Kit to teach him how to rob his father. The two men should have nothing in common and indeed, have lived incredibly different lives. Kit has known loss and heartbreak, but also has known love and friendship. Percy has survived growing up in a viper pit and knows how to keep everyone at arm’s length. He has blind spots a mile wide, especially when it comes to seeing what the rich and titled do to regular folk, but Percy isn’t a bad person. I enjoyed watching his eyes open and see Percy come into his own, into a man who is not only happy but comfortable living a life unlike he had expected. And Kit, who has a lonely air about him sometimes struggles to adjust to his disability, comes alive bantering with Percy. The two of them are an excellent match and they had extremely entertaining chemistry. Percy is gay and Kit is bi and both are fully aware of the dangers they face in 1750s London, but I really appreciated that there was no questioning or shame about their sexuality.

The one downside to The Queer Principles of Kit Webb is that the first half of the book is incredibly slow. I did enjoy how Percy tweaked Kit’s nose, but banter alone wasn’t enough to keep the story going. However, at the halfway point the book picked up and became incredibly addictive. Kit and Percy are both flawed, interesting, kind-hearted characters who have their own code they abide by. It was easy to fall into their romance and root for them to find the happily ever after they so deserved.

The heist runs through the background of The Queer Principles of Kit Webb and was the other issue I had with the story. It was fine, but not particularly exciting for reasons other than it brought Percy and Kit together. The climax of the story felt rushed and though I could see where the pieces were coming together I was still left wanting a bit more. I won’t spoil the story but a few things felt unfinished, though if Cat Sebastian plans to write a sequel (and the door is definitely left open for one) then I’m sure the bits left hanging will come together. Even with the issues I had, I still really enjoyed Kit and Percy’s story and devoured it in one day. I do hope to see them again in a future book because they’re such a delight and Sebastian penned a few supporting cast members who are just begging for a story.

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.