Under Cover Duke by Sabrina Jefferies

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I love to have mystery in the books I read, and this one did not disappoint.  Overall, this was a strong, well-written book.  The novel took me on a mysterious, lush journey that left me wanting more.  It was a combination of lovable characters, undeniable passion, and fantastic storytelling. 

Sheridan and Vanessa were great characters.  Vanessa’s unrequited love for Sheridan drove every facet of her life.  I felt Vanessa’s frustration with Sheridan.  She was a schemer, but it came from a pure place in her heart.  Sheridan was oblivious to Vanessa’s preoccupation with him, even when he felt a connection to her.  At times I was aggravated with Sheridan for being so clueless, but it was also endearing.  Both characters were brilliantly written, and their connection undeniable. 

The underlying story is weaved throughout several books.  I felt the book was solid as an individual book.  The mystery was intricate, and I didn’t know who the culprit was until the very end.  The plot had good momentum, and I sped through the chapters.  The secondary characters and visual backdrop both enriched the story.

The love story is a slow burn.  There were a lot of obstacles the couple had to face before they could explore their mutual attraction.  When the problems evaporated, the passion was undeniable.  There was an underlying sensuality that was constant throughout the book.  The plot had twists and turns and kept me engaged.  

Unrequited love stories are sometimes not my favorite. However, this one pleasantly surprised me.  It was sharp, vivid, and passionate.  The plot kept me invested, and the romance was riveting.  This book is an entertaining, energetic read!

I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley and Kensington Books.  This is my honest, voluntary opinion.  

Undercover Duke is the fourth book in the Duke Dynasty Series. There is a mystery that is woven throughout the series and is solved at the end of this book. I feel this was a satisfying ending to the series. It was a fairly strong story that could stand on its own. Overall an enjoyable read!

Her Scottish Scoundrel by Sophie Barnes

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

I enjoyed this book. However, some issues held it back from its full potential.  The writing kept the plot interesting and fresh.  This was a slow burn; I felt that the first half of the book dragged.  The characters were in their heads a lot, and the character development was slow.  By fifty percent, the book was good, and at seventy-five, it was excellent.

I was not too fond of Charlotte until halfway through.  I felt she overpowered Blayne.  She didn’t give Blayne any choices.  On the other hand, I liked Blayne from the very beginning.  He was bighearted and held a quiet strength.  The couple both have secrets; Blayne’s secret is revealed too slowly.  

Halfway through, Charlotte and Blayne became three-dimensional.  The attraction they shared was noticeable from the very start.  Their connection was solid and grew throughout the entirety of the book.  There were many themes and plot lines weaved throughout the book that kept it interesting and was handled where it didn’t get confusing.  The secondary characters were colorful and stood out.  As the story progressed, I enjoyed the relationship between Charlotte and Blayne more and more. 

The last quarter of the chapters kept my rapt attention.  This part moved fast and was captivating.  The ending was satisfying.  I felt the conclusion thoughtful and poignant.  The first half wasn’t as strong as the second.  If the book had started at the pace that it ended, this would be a five-star review.

In conclusion, the characters, writing, and end were strong.  I just wanted more from the start.  I enjoy this series and will read more; I felt this one needed a little more sparkle.

I received this ARC through Netgalley and the publisher.  This is my honest, voluntary opinion.

This is the seventh book in the Diamonds In The Rough series.  Well, readers, I struggled with reading the first half of this book.  I stopped at forty-five percent and went to another book.  I picked this book back up after I finished the other.  I think that helped my mindset.  I loved the second half and recommended this book because of the strength of the finality of the book.  Just know going into the beginning of this one that it is a little shaky.   

Courtship Of Convenience by Jane Charles

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was a sweet love story of a misunderstood rake and a unique young lady.  The book focuses almost exclusively on the romantic journey of the couple.  Violet is often described as strange or snobbish.  She is neither of those things.  She has an analytical mind and looks at the world through the mind of a scientist.  Her world is devoid of emotions.  Everything is under control and managed.  Ferrard is a rake that has a way with widows.  Many think of him as a shallow good for nothing.  Underneath all the bravado is a caring, responsible man.  At first, I had difficulty liking Violet.  She was abrasive.  However, as her character matured, I found myself invested in her character.  Eventually, I enjoyed reading about Violet.  I liked Ferrard from the start.  He was relatable.  

I enjoyed the storyline.  It kept my interest, and I began to care about the couple.  The pace was erratic, sometimes fast, sometimes slower.  I enjoyed the quick parts better.  The couple’s connection was evident from the beginning.  However, this was a slow burn.  There are a lot of obstacles before their happily ever after.

Except for a couple of minor issues, I like this book and would recommend it.  The couple’s journey was romantic.  I enjoyed how different Violet was compared to social expectations.  I admired how Ferrard accepted and encouraged Violet.  This is a journey of love and acceptance.  Something I think we call all relate.

I received a gifted copy of this ARC through the author.  This is my honest, voluntary opinion.

Courtship Of Convenience is the second book in the Observations Of A Wallflower series.  I always enjoy an eccentric heroine.  Someone that is not restrained from societal norms.  Violet was this personified.  The subject of the lack of women’s rights is discussed.  Ferrard was open minded about Violet not giving up her freedom when entering marriage.  He was supportive of her intelligence.  It was obvious by the end of the book that the couple were perfect for each other.  

The Jewel Of An Earl’s Heir by Linda Rae Sande

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I look forward to Linda’s books.  They are always a captivating read.  I love how she can intertwine several storylines to create a rich world of passion and romance.  As with the other books in the series, this one was excellent.

This story centers around Harold, the Earl of Everly, his wife Stella, and their son Alexander and his love interest, Margaret.  Harold and Stella have settled into a stagnate, comfortable relationship.  They had lost the fire in their marriage.  They reignite their feelings for each other and begin a passionate journey together.  I love how the couple goes from boring routine to not being able to  keep their hands off each other!  Alexander and Margaret meet by chance.  Both have physical challenges they are learning to accept.  I love how they learn to benefit from one another’s strength to create something beautiful.  Alexander and Margaret’s romance builds at a steady pace throughout their journey.  The innocence in their attraction was captivating.  Their journey of learning about each other’s passions was a delight to read.  Both couples complimented each other.

I was riveted to the page.  The plot kept me engaged from the start.   The many facets of the action shone brightly.  At its core, the story was about the excitement of both re-kindled and burgeoning love.  The two couples were at opposite ends of the romance spectrum, and that complemented the entirety of the plot.  The story was enchanting and electric.  I didn’t want it to end!

I do not have a critique for this book.  I love a full-sale, exciting romance.   One, like this, pulls at my heartstrings and leaves me wanting more.  I loved the ending and epilogue.  I did not want to stop reading about both couple’s extraordinary journey to a happily ever after.  This book shows how love can be found throughout every stage of life.  That is a beautiful sentiment, and it is the core of this book.  I didn’t want this beautiful journey to end!

I received a gifted ARC through the author.  This is my honest, voluntary opinion.

The Jewel of An Earl’s Heir is the fifth book in the Heirs Of The Aristocracy series.  There is a plethora of Aristocracy series by this author, and each is a romantic treat.  The author weaves two stories together in a breathtaking way.  The characters always jump off the page and the storylines are always original and fast paced. I discovered this author by complete chance! Last December, I read a novella by Linda in a Christmas collection. I instantly fell in love! I researched her and found she had tons of regency era books that intertwine but can be read seperately. I was lucky enough to apply to be on her review team. This is the third book I have reveiwed as an ARC. I feel the writing in these books grow stronger every time. I highly recommend this author. Do not miss this series; they are all a must-read!

April Favorites And A Look At May

Hello fellow historical romance lovers! April was a fun month for books. I read a wide variety of ARCs this month. In total, I read nine books, all ARCs

April ARC List

  • The Design Of Dukes, book two in the Beautiful Barrington series by Kathleen Ayers
  • The Young And The Ruined, a collection of various authors
  • Winter’s Warrior, book thirteen in the Wicked Winters series by Scarlett Scott
  • Charming Dr. Forrester, book one in the Garden Girls series by Jemma Frost
  • Heiress In Red Silk, book two in the A Duke’s Heiress series by Madeline Hunter
  • Letters To A Lover, book two in the Crime & Passion series by Mary Lancaster
  • How To Train Your Earl, book three in the First Comes Love series by Amelia Grey
  • Cocky Viscount, book four in the Regency Cocky Gents series by Annabelle Anders
  • Lady Lawless, book five in the Notorious Ladies Of London series by Scarlett Scott

It was a slower month than April, I still didn’t get to my joy reading. So far May looks pretty slow for ARCs, so hopefully I will put a dent in my TBR stack! There is one book of the month, my favorite ARC.

Favorite ARC Of The Month

This was an easy decision. Cocky Viscount by Annabelle Anders shone a little brighter. This series caught my eye and all the books have been excellent. Cocky Viscount is my favorite in the series. Mantis and Felicity were wonderful characters. Their story resonated with me. The plot was excellent and engaging. The author created a story that grabbed my attention and never let go! Below is the link to my review:

My Review

A Look Ahead

So far I have six ARCs planned for May, as always that is subject to change.

  • A Harlot At The Highland Court, book twelve in the Highland Ladies series by Celeste Barclay
  • Clad In Midnight, book eight in the Colors Of Scandal series by Sandra Sookoo
  • Tempting Fate, book four in the Goode Girls series by Kerrigan Byrne
  • Her Scottish Scoundrel, book seven in the Diamonds In The Rough series by Sophie Barnes
  • Undercover Duke, book four in the Duke Dynasty series by Sabrina Jefferies
  • How To Survive A Scandal, book one in the Rebels With A Cause series by Samara Parish

These are the non ARC books that are on my TBR list. A lot of these are catch up on series I have started in the middle. I really don’t like starting in the middle of a series, but it happens!

  • A Spinster At The Highland Court, book one in the Highland Ladies series by Celeste Barclay
  • All The Regency Cocky Gents series by Annabelle Anders I have not read. This includes: Cocky Baron, Cocky Mister, and Earl Of Temptest
  • Marquess Of Mayhem, book three in the Sins And Scoundrels series by Scarlett Scott
  • The Kiss Of A Viscount, book one in the Daughters Of The Aristocracy series by Linda Rae Sande
  • Her Husband’s Harlot, book one in the Mayhem In Mayfair series by Grace Callaway
  • Two Books I missed in the Time Travelers Highland Love series by Tamara Gill: To Conquer A Scot and To Save A Savage Scot

I had a slower reading month in April. I hope to do a lot of joy reading in May. I need to play catch-up on a lot of series. I hope it is an enjoyable, productive May! As always, thank you for supporting my blog! If you like my blog, please tell your friends and fellow authors about me! It really helps! Thanks for visiting, I love to hear thoughts and comments about my picks. Until next time, stay safe, be kind, and keep reading!

Tempting Fate by Kerrigan Byrne

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Although all Gabriel knows is violence and pain, his and Felicity’s love story is the tenderest, most romantic in the Good Girls series.  I have enjoyed all the books in this series. However, I have looked forward to Gabriel and Felicity’s story.  This is by leaps and bounds the most enjoyable, most vital book in a beautiful series. 

Gabriel and Felicity’s love, embedded with violence and fear, had the most visceral and organic feel.  Gabriel, a man forged in hate and pain, was, in a sincere way, an innocent to any loving, genuine touch.  Demons from within haunt Felicity.  She has lived her life scared and lonely.  Together their physical and emotional need for one another was explosive on an elemental level.  Gabriel’s gentleness and protective nature towards Felicity had my heart skipping beats!  Gabriel sees himself only as a monster until Felicity’s inner radiance rips through his tattered soul.  Felicity was afraid of life.  However, her fragility also created an inner core of grit and power she didn’t even realize she wielded.  The couple’s personalities were so attuned to each other.  I loved how separately they were broken, but together they were a loving, functioning pair of confidants and lovers.  

The plot was a beautiful re-telling of an old fairytale.  Here the beast’s soul is unsalvageable except for Felicity’s ever-inclusive love.  I couldn’t put this book down.  The plot ensnared me from the very start.  The couple’s innocent attraction and all-encompassing need shone throughout the pages.  There were reunions, mysteries, and a nefarious plot.  However, the story always came back to focus on Gabriel and Felicity’s burgeoning love, sweet and uncertain, yet solid and life-changing.

I read the last two chapters and epilogue twice; I couldn’t leave the couple!  The plot was intriguing, the characters unforgettable, and the ending was perfect.  There was such a feeling of completeness to the story.  I enjoy when two very deserving people find love, and Gabriel and Felicity were that and so much more!

I received this ARC through Booksprout.  This is my honest, voluntary opinion.

This is the fourth book in the Goode Girls series.  I first fell in love with Kerrigan Byrne’s writing with the Victorian Rebels series.  The Goode Girls series is an offshoot of the last series.  I highly recommend reading the Victorian Rebels series first.  They are fantastic!  The Goode Girls series keep me wanting more!  The last two books about the Sauvageau brothers and the Goode twins are the best in the Goode Girls series to date.  Sometimes these books are a little darker than I usually read. However, the plots and writing quality are exceptional.  Once I started reading the Highwayman (first in the Victorian Rebel series), I was caught in a wondrous adventure that I never wanted to end!  My advice is to step out of the comfortable and start reading a series that will take hold of your heart and not let go!

A Harlot At The Highland Court by Celeste Barclay

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I love it when the writing, plot, and characters combine into a beautiful love story!  This book was exactly that.  The emphasis on the burgeoning love between Dominic and Emelie was never lost.  The whole plot centered around the intricate connection between the couple.

Both Dominic and Emelie have reasons not to trust the connection they instantly feel.  Although they are unsure, they find healing and comfort in each other.  I loved Emelie’s sweet spirit.  Instead of being bitter, she is hopeful when she meets Dominic. Dominic has every reason not to trust Emelie.  I could feel how he instinctively knew Emelie was his salvation.  Dominic was Emelie’s rock.  The care he takes with Emelie is heartwarming.  The loving story between the two was written with such warm respect.  Their connection was instant.  The passion between the two had a feeling of urgency and abandon.  

The plot, having a beautiful love story, also had action and intrigue.  The story intertwined the feelings of longing and caution into a powerful romance.  Although focusing on the relationship between the couple, there was an antagonist who I despised.  He was well developed and helped carry the story.  The plot moved quickly and kept a fast, steady pace.  I was mesmerized on page one, and I was relentlessly intrigued throughout the entirety of the book!

Ms. Barclay again writes a stunning novel!  I felt the love and care in every word.  There was a sweet urgency to the passion infused throughout the entirety of the book.  The interactions between the characters were rich and believable.  The secondary characters and backdrop were lush and gave completeness.  I loved everything!  It was an endearing telling of two love-weary people who find friendship and unconditional love.

I received this ARC through Booksprout.  This is my honest, voluntary opinion.

At first, I shied away from medieval and pirate novels until I read this author.  Ms. Barclay has made me fall in love with them.  This is the twelfth book in the Highland Ladies series.  These books take place in Medieval Scotland.  The author breathes life into this period; it is lush and vivid.  I have not read all of these novels, but I am going back!  This is such a lovingly told novel.  If you are looking for a break from Regency or Victorian romance, give these books a try!

Clad In Midnight by Sandra Sookoo

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I enjoy this series, Colors Of Scandal, and this book was a welcomed edition.  This book caught my attention at the beginning and kept it.  This story was a little darker and dealt with extreme trauma, but it was still a very engaging read.  Haunting and tragic at times, the book’s core focused on how love can heal, even the deepest of wounds.

In the beginning, Colin was a tragic figure.  He had been through the war as a spy.  He came back broken and hollow.  His stark desperation resonated with me.  He was terrified of lowering his defenses to care or love anyone.  He was a lonely, stoic figure. What he went through during the war created a visceral reaction in me.

Mary was a bored widow that was looking for adventure.  She experienced more than she could ever imagine.  The story took Mary from a spoiled debutante to an independent, self-sufficient woman.  I loved her growth throughout the novel.  She had hidden grit and fortitude.

Although there was violence on the page, the worse trauma was off-page as recollection.  There were some atrocities remembered by Colin that were difficult to read.  However, this violence was integral to the plot.  It formed what Colin became after the war.  The violence was handled respectfully.  It tied the storyline together.  The story was more complex than the last novel in the series.  It was intricate and fast-paced.  There was action and mystery.  The plot kept the reader engaged.  The traumatic events take the whole book to resolve, being the heart of the story.  The story was well thought out and executed.  I enjoyed every aspect of the book.

The couple’s connection was explosive from the first encounter.  Their first meeting was quite unique.  Their attraction increased throughout the book.  As the passion grew, it became fierce.  The emotions the couple share are healing, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed the book.

I loved the plethora of emotions that I felt throughout the book.  It was a well-paced story of a broken man who finds healing from a horrendous experience by embracing love.  The book was a journey of self-forgiveness.  It was haunting and tragic, yet hopeful and romantic.  It was a wonderful reading experience.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel.  I love the storyline and thought it surprising and thought-provoking.  The plot had purpose and a message that a person can heal from terrible past horrors with love and time.   There was a wonderful, hopeful message to the plot.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, a great, immersive read!

I received this ARC through Booksprout.  This is my honest, voluntary opinion.  

Clad In Midnight is book eight of the Colors Of Scandal series.  This series grows and matures with each new book.  They are captivating, entertaining reads.  This was a sleeper series for me, as I just discovered it a few months ago.  It is a solid, fun series.  I enjoy these books and always look forward to the next installment.

Cocky Viscount by Annabelle Anders

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was an exciting, fun-to-read book that I did not want to put down!  I was enthralled throughout the entire book.  The story held such warmth and depth.  The characters jumped off the page and made you care.  The story proved that love can be found in the direst of circumstances and that those, even close to us, cannot define who we are. 

Mantis and Felicity were an exciting couple.  Since book one, where Felicity gets jilted, I have wanted her happily ever after.  I was so happy that it was Mantis.  He is also my favorite cocky gent.  Felicity has done nothing but follow the rules, and it has only earned her heartache and wasted time.  Mantis is oppressed by his father, a despicable man who does nothing but degrade him.  Mantis desperately wants approval from this emotionally stunted man who has no heart.   He has been ridiculed his entire life.  Mantis and Felicity are two good, decent people who the world has mistreated.

Together Mantis and Felicity find completion.  It was apparent they had found that missing part in their lives within each other.  Their relationship is comforting and healing.  Brought together by undeniable need, they unknowingly begin a fantastic journey that ends in unconditional love.  Oh my, they were combustible together.  Their passion for each other was off the charts.  At times the pages were melting!  I loved how perfect they were for each other.

The plot is one of my favorites.  Exciting things happen early on in the book.  The story moved at a rapid pace.  The characters were beautiful.  The plot was multifaceted.  It covered burgeoning love between two strangers, a situation that complicated their courtship, and a mystery.  A lot was going on, but the intent was crystal clear.   The constant motion of the plot made it entertaining and kept me on the edge of my seat.  

I have enjoyed these books immensely, and this one was the best so far.  These two characters are my favorites.  They are lovable and vivid.  I loved how each was trying to be perfect in their way and were failing themselves thoroughly.  They found the perfection they were looking for in their love for each other.  This is an exhilarating, romantic, passionate adventure.  I would reread this book.  I think anyone who enjoys a good historical romance will find this book a lovely tale of two lonely strangers falling in love.

I received this ARC from the author.  This is my honest, voluntary opinion.

This book, dear readers, was an excellent read! I cannot emphasize just how much I loved the plot. It had so many elements that I enjoy in a book. It starts fast and doesn’t let go until the last word. The ending was perfect. It had two epilogues, and we know how much I love a good epilogue! I was doubly pleased! There was sense of completion with this book. The book is the fifth installment of the Regency Cocky Gents series. I have loved this entire series. As mentioned in the review, this is by far the best. These characters just pulled at my heartstrings! I cannot wait for the next in the series. Such a fun, easy-to-read novel! Please don’t pass it up!

Lady Lawless by Scarlett Scott

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wow, I do not know where to begin with this book!  If you have read the previous Notorious Ladies Of London books, you know of Tilly and a little about her heartache.  I have read the entire series and have been impatiently waiting for poor Tilly’s happily ever after!  If you have not read this series, don’t worry, it is written not to be lost.  Either way, you will not be disappointed in this book.

I am careful because there is a lot that could be spoilers in this book.  If this review seems a little vague, I apologize.  I would rather it be that way than ruin the surprises.  The book is divided up between present (1886) – past – present.  There is a large portion of this book that takes place in the past.  I was a little concerned because from reading the previous books, I know a little of Tilly’s tragic romance.  But having an inkling of an idea and being fully immersed and invested in a breathtaking and heart-wrenching love story are two very different things.  Tilly and Adrian fall in love during unbelievably awkward and, at that time, indecent circumstances.  Their love story was one of the sweetest I have read.  Their connection and passion were off the charts.  I knew going in that something terrible occurs, I did not know what.   Knowing that gave the couple’s romance such a feeling of urgency.

The present (1886),  the second half of the book, took a tragedy to an entirely different level.  It was soul-searing to see pure, elemental love turned into raw unadulterated vengeance.  This couple fought unbelievable odds to come to their happy forever.

Tilly and Adrian were such tragic figures.  Both pushed into a situation, not of their doing.  I had never read of two characters that complimented and deserved each other more.  They were both victims of a malevolent, tyrannical man.  The antagonist, mostly off-page, was diabolical.  He was written perfectly.  I could feel the fear and suffering this man caused.  

In the second half, I had difficulty reading some passages as they were so gut-wrenching.  It took my breath away.  There was a direct line between love and vengeance.   But as we know, “love will out.”  Even through the hard times, this couple’s journey was written in an organically loving way.

The plot was all-encompassing. I was swept through the past into the future lives of this couple.  The passion between the two was scorching.  The action moved well, even through the back story, actually especially then.  The plot tackled a somber topic, prisons and prisoner abuse in that era.  It was graphic and horrible to read.   I was so touched by it; I researched the prison situation myself.  It was inexcusable.  The prisoners were treated worse than animals; their basic humanity was stripped from them.  The author did her homework.  The prison situation was described perfectly spot-on.

The best (and probably strangest) way to describe this book is that it is how I would want a Shakespearian tragedy to end—happily!  It is horrific what this couple goes through, but they become stronger and more in love.  I read the last three chapters and epilogue twice – it was that satisfying!!  On a separate note, I can’t wait for Pippa’s story next!   This book took my breath away.  If you are a long-time follower of this author or a new reader, I highly recommend this book.  It is a passionate, loving story of two people who go through unfathomable circumstances to get to healing and love.  A love story that I will not forget!

I received this ARC through the author.  This is my honest, voluntary opinion.  

Fellow readers, this book was amazing!  So breathtaking!  It is the fifth installment of the Notorious Ladies Of London series.  This is one of my favorite authors, as I am sure you already know by now!  I tend to shy away from books with much tragedy, but this one was written so carefully and lovingly.  I could feel how unique this story was to the author.  Another great novel!  Do not miss it!