Review: Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Greycourt #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 18th 2018
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe, the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family, appears at the country house party she’s attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading among the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins-sins he’d much rather forget. But she’s also fiery, bold, and sensuous-a temptation he can’t resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he’ll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, he will have to earn Freya’s trust…by whatever means necessary.

I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Hoyt’s after discovering her Maiden Lane series. Not every book was a hit, but there were enough that it felt bittersweet when the series came to an end. When she announced she’d be releasing a new series though, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Not the Duke’s Darling is the first in the Greycourt series, setting the stage for a new cast of characters. While I enjoyed the characters, I had a hard time connecting with the story and couldn’t fully love it as much as I hoped to.

The foundation of Freya and Christopher’s story starts fifteen years earlier, after a tragic event that tears apart friends and families. Christopher and his best friend, Freya’s brother Ran, become estranged for the next decade and a half, leaving him on one side and the de Morays on the other. Fast forward to the present, and Christopher is back from India to run his dukedom and Freya is a Wise Woman disguised as a chaperone. As a member of the secret order of Wise Women, Freya is not your typical woman. She’s fierce, with an intelligent mind and exceptional fighting skills. When they meet again for the first time in years, Christopher doesn’t recognize her, but Freya vows revenge on the man who wronged her brother.

Christopher and Freya have an explosive relationship. Their chemistry is off the charts, and not just because she wants revenge on him. Even though Christopher doesn’t recognize Freya at first, that doesn’t stop him from wanting her. Her wit and sharp tongue leave him desperate to be around her. There was a bit of a reversal in roles with these two, with the hero being all in with the heroine, and the heroine being more on the reluctant side, which I enjoyed. Freya’s prickliness gave her character depth, and I couldn’t help but be entertained as Christopher tore down her walls.

“Don’t change. Don’t ever change. I like your prickliness, your scowls, the way you argue with me so fiercely. I want a lioness, not a lamb.”

What didn’t work so well with me were the various subplots that the author tried to tie all together. It felt messy, trying to juggle the Wise Women order, Freya’s mission to save a duchess, Christopher’s late wife, his time in India, someone targeting Freya, the tragedy that happened years ago between three best friends, and even the POV of the next book’s heroine, whose story is being set up in this book. When there is so much going on, it’s hard to make everything as fully fleshed out as possible, which is mainly what made me hold back from enjoying the story.

Not the Duke’s Darling has its issues, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to continue with the series. I’m intrigued enough with the hero and heroine of the next book to want to pick it up, and hopefully it balances plotlines better.


lacey


Reading Order: Greycourt series

 

#1 ~ Not the Duke’s Darling: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ When a Rogue Meets His Match: PaperbackGoodreads (July 30, 2019)


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Release Day Review: All the Way by Kristen Proby

All the Way by Kristen Proby
Series: Romancing Manhattan #1
Publication Date: August 21st 2018
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

All the Way is the first standalone in Kristen Proby’s Romancing Manhattan series featuring a Broadway actress and her new, sexy neighbor. After a tragic fire kills her parents and leaves her with a broken leg, London can’t go on stage anymore and flees to Martha’s Vineyard to heal, both inside and out. There, she encounters Finn and his adorable but acting out niece, and finds that as she heals, maybe she does have room in her heart and life for love.

I struggled to connect with Finn and London, though I did enjoy their story. I think what mainly threw me off was the prologue, when Finn asks London out to dinner right after he’s read her parents’ will. Yeah… not appropriate at all. I had to double check the blurb to make sure he was actually the hero when I read that. After that, it seemed like that whole scene was ignored and the story continued on as usual but it put a damper on the hero in my eyes. Thankfully, I enjoyed Kristen Proby’s writing and would definitely give the rest of the Romancing Manhattan series a try!

If you’re a fan of this author, you will probably enjoy All the Way more. Though I would skip the prologue 😂 London is a self-assured, independent woman while Finn is older and protective of her. The book is full of sexy and sweet, with a little drama at the end. If that sounds right up your alley, I say go for it!


lacey


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Release Day Review: Taming Him by Kennedy Fox

Taming Him by Kennedy Fox
Series: Bishop Brothers #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the authors in exchange for an honest review

Alex Bishop is your typical cowboy.
Charming, sexy, and wears a panty-melting smirk.

Working on the ranch helped build his solid eight-pack and smoking body. He’s every girl’s wet fantasy and he knows it too. Alex doesn’t follow the rules of your typical playboy bachelor. After wining and dining his dates and giving them the best night of their lives, he always sends flowers and calls the next day—even if it’s to say, let’s just be friends. His mama taught him manners after all and his southern blood knows how to be a gentleman. Still, that isn’t enough to tame the wildest of the Bishop brothers.

River Lancaster has finally met the man of her dreams. Too bad after six months of romantic bliss, she finds out he’s married. With a broken heart and blind rage, she books herself a ticket to Key West, Florida. Tired of cheaters and liars, she’s set on escaping to forget he ever existed. Who needs a man when there’s an all-you-can-drink margarita bar, anyway? That’s what she tells herself until she bumps into the right guy who can make all those bad memories disappear.

Even if it’s only temporarily.

Two weeks on the beach is what they both need. No strings attached, no expectations, no broken hearts. Too bad the universe has other plans—one that’ll change the entire course of their lives in just nine short months.

*A contemporary romance with a little Southern drama. Each book features a different Bishop brother and can be read as a complete standalone. HEA guaranteed!*
Not suitable for readers under 18 due to adult language and sexual content.

I’m a sucker for a good cowboy romance! I don’t read these as often as I want to, but when Kennedy Fox offers me a chance… I’m not going to say no. I ended up enjoying this first Bishop Brothers book – it’s light-hearted, uncomplicated (if a bit all over the place), and fun. There are cowboys and a no-strings-attached vacation fling… what could go wrong?

“Alex Bishop is your typical cowboy.” That would be accurate. He’s the youngest of the Bishop brothers and has lived, worked, and breathed his family’s farm for as long as he’s been alive. He’s also a playboy extraordinaire. So when he and his friend get the chance to go on an all-expenses paid vacation, he snaps up the chance. What he doesn’t expect is to meet a gorgeous pediatric nurse that, although they start off as no-strings-attached lovers, would steal his heart.

I’ll admit, when Alex was first introduced, I was not a fan. I’m not a fan of the manwhore hero but KF plays a little of the instalove factor when Alex and River meet, so I had no worries about Alex fooling around with random women. Alex grew on me even more when he showed River what he, his family, and his ranch were like. You could really feel that cowboy life and love coming through.

The main reason I can’t give this a higher rating is because of the surprise that’s not really a surprise that happens in the middle of the book. I felt it was a little contrived and honestly, handled a little too easily. I wanted a little more depth and emotion when it came to this part of the book, but the story kept feeling as fun and light-hearted as ever. That’s not to say that’s not a good thing, especially if that’s the kind of read you’re looking for. But for my tastes, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

Overall, Taming Him is a promising start to KF’s new cowboy series. I enjoyed it for the most part, and am looking forward to the rest of the Bishop brothers’ books. I’m so excited to see these boys get knocked on their asses by love!


lacey


Reading Order: Bishop Brothers series

#1 ~ Taming Him: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Needing Him: EbookGoodreads (April 17, 2018)
#3 ~ Chasing Him: Goodreads (2018)
#4 ~ Keeping Him: Goodreads (2018)

Also by Kennedy Fox:

Reading Order: Checkmate Duet series

 
 
 

#1 ~ This is War (Travis & Viola #1): EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ This is Love (Travis & Viola #1): EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ This is Reckless (Drew & Courtney #2): My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ This is Effortless (Drew & Courtney #2): My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ This is Dangerous (Logan & Kayla #1): My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ This is Beautiful (Logan & Kayla #2): EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Review Tour: The Brightest Embers by Jeaniene Frost

The Brightest Embers by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Broken Destiny #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 28th 2017
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You can run from your destiny, but you can’t hide…

Ivy thought that she and Adrian had conquered their fates. Yet with thousands of innocents still trapped in the demon realms, she’s determined to locate the final hallowed weapon and harness its unparalleled power to free them. But the last relic nearly put Ivy in the grave—there’s probably no coming back from this one.

Adrian’s dark lineage has made him the most powerful of his kind, yet even his incredible abilities might not be enough now. Instead, the treacherous fate he has fought so hard to escape might be the only way he can save Ivy. Their undeniable bond has been tested before, but never with so much on the line. Now fate will come head-to-head against true love, and nothing they’ve endured can prepare Ivy and Adrian for the unthinkable choices they’ll face…

Don’t miss the earth-shattering conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Broken Destiny series!

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunes • Kobo

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At long last, the final Broken Destiny book is here!! It’s been a long time coming since the first book, and Ivy and Adrian have been through some tough times throughout the series. It all finally comes to a close in The Brightest Embers, with Ivy needing to find the third and last hallowed weapon to save humanity. It has some excitement, action, humor, steam… if you’re a fan of the series, you definitely need to see how it all ends!

Ivy knows that when she finds the spearhead that will save humans from demons, she won’t survive wielding it. So should she continue this journey that is so much bigger than her, at the risk of hurting her loved ones, especially Adrian, by dying for the cause? It’s not an easy decision to make, but no matter what she does, she knows she has the support of Adrian, her sister, and her friends.

“I love you, Adrian,” I told him between searing kisses. “You’re my only destiny now.”

I’ve enjoyed Ivy and Adrian’s slow-growing romance throughout the series, and how much they’ve come to love and support one another. They have a fantastic chemistry between them that hasn’t died since the moment they met. But while the romance was great, the actual action part felt a little lacking compared to the two previous books. There’s a lot of hesitance and doubt in Ivy in this book, which is totally understandable (is she going to die for nothing?), but this did add to the wishy-washy feeling of the book. And the ending wasn’t quite what I expected – it wraps things up, but a little too abruptly for my taste. I would’ve loved to see an epilogue or at least one more chapter to see a glimpse into Ivy and Adrian’s future! My favorite part about this book, though? Brutus, our dear resident pet/gargoyle. I love this gargoyle to pieces, and he definitely added some much needed humor to this heavy series.

While The Brightest Embers isn’t my favorite Broken Destiny book, it’s still worth a read if you like the series. And if you’re curious about new adult paranormal romance books, this is definitely a series to check out! I’m hoping Jeaniene Frost will write some more NA PNR books in the future, mainly because there needs to be more books in this genre!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Broken Destiny series

  

#1 ~ The Beautiful Ashes: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Sweetest Burn: My Review • Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback• Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ The Brightest Embers: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

about the author button

Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, the Broken Destiny series, and the upcoming Night Rebel series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in Florida with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

For information on Jeaniene’s books, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit: www.jeanienefrost.com

Website • Amazon Page • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads


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Release Week Blitz + ARC Review, Top 5 Quotes & Giveaway: Arrogant Bastard by Zara Cox

Arrogant Bastard by Zara Cox releases tomorrow! To celebrate, we have Zara Cox’s top 5 favorite quotes from this new release – also be sure to check out my review and a fantastic giveaway below!

Top 5 Quotes in ARROGANT BASTARD

  1. It’s a universally held belief that you can’t help who you fall in love with. There are a fuck-load of books expounding on that theory. I call bullshit.
  2. I could’ve stopped myself from soiling her goodness. From falling ass over feet in love. But I carried on walking. And with each step I took, I knew we were doomed. Because with each step, I glimpsed her potential, absorbed her genius and her beauty and her flaws.
  3. “But this bastard, your bastard, is going out of his mind with the need to taste you again. If fucking you is off the table, I’ll take the next best thing.”
  4. “I belong to her. It’s easier for both of us if we put it that way.”
  5. He discards the glass and steps onto the wide bed. With his gaze still pinned on me, he slowly slides down the headboard into the pile of pillows. “I’m not going to survive this, am I?” he mutters under his breath.

Arrogant Bastard by Zara Cox
Series: Dark Desires #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 12th 2017
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I’m known as the Black Widow because the desires I hide inside are pure poison.
I was a different person once. Faith, a young wife, hoping to become a mother. My life was pleasant. Stable. It was hell. Until Killian Knight opened my eyes to a world of espionage and intrigue. He saw something in me, something I was too afraid to acknowledge. I didn’t want to be excited by the danger. Didn’t want to crave the wicked passion only he could provide. But I did want, so now I run. And I pay.

I never meant to corrupt her, but I’m not sorry.
After all, I’m already damned.

After four years of searching and longing, I’ve finally found her. Faith, the one person in the world I breathe for. She lives beneath my skin as surely as I wear proof of our transgressions inked on my body. And like the forbidden fruit that doomed us from the beginning, our end is inevitable. We lived with no regret. We loved without inhibition. We betrayed those closest to us. We killed for that love. Now…we will burn in hell together.

Buy Links:
Amazon • B&N • BAM • Google Play • iBooks • Kobo

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After being surprised in the best way possible by the last book in the Dark Desires series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book. Black Sheep had set up the Black Widow’s story so well, I was dying for Arrogant Bastard to release, especially since I knew it would be a second chance romance. I am a huge sucker for that trope, and luckily Zara Cox delivered on the angst and intensity I was expecting to come with Black Widow/Faith and Killian’s second chance romance. There were still some parts that I wasn’t too keen on, but overall, this was a fantastically dark and delicious second chance romance I’d recommend!

I feel like I’ve desired her and lost her through several lifetimes. She wishes she’d never met me in even one of them, I know. But that matters very little now.
It happened. We happened. And this time… I don’t plan to loser her again.

Four years ago, Faith and Killian met, and against all odds fell for each other. Killian introduced her to the world of espionage and, caught up in the rush of love, lust, and adrenaline, they never looked back. That is, until one assignment breaks them, and Faith disappears completely from Killian’s life. Years later, after his unwavering search for the love of his life (it certainly helped that he had the money and brains to find her), Killian has found Faith, who now goes by Black Widow. And now that he’s found her, he’s never letting her go again.

She was everything I’d been waiting for without even knowing it.

I loved Black Widow in Black Sheep, and she’s just as badass as I knew she was in Arrogant Bastard. After learning her history with espionage with Killian, I grew to admire her all the more. Despite leaving Killian, Faith never forgot about the man who, once upon a time, was her everything. But now that’s he’s found her, her newly constructed life in New York slowly crumbles, and she’s not sure she’s tough enough to keep Killian out of her life – again.

“When are you going to get it through your head that I exist just for you?”

I loved the second chance romance. I adored the determined hero who never stopped searching for and loving the one woman he knew was meant for him. Seriously, you will swoon over how much Killian loved and cherishes Faith (even if he is arrogant and a bastard at times). I do wish we got to see more of their history though, just to get a sense of how they fell in love from the beginning.

But the main reason I didn’t love this book as much as Black Sheep was that I felt the suspenseful part of the story nearly overtook the romance. I love a good romantic suspense, but I just wasn’t expecting the book to focus so heavily on the action. Although if you love action and suspense, and are in the mood for it, then Arrogant Bastard is definitely for you. The addicting second chance romance will just be the icing on top!

I did enjoy Arrogant Bastard overall and hope that Zara Cox writes more dark romance. Her heroes are alpha, powerful, and irresistible, while her heroines are tough and independent. She writes some sizzling chemistry – the sexual tension is all-consuming and erotic. I’m very much looking forward to what the author has in store for us next!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Dark Desires series

   

#1 ~ Beautiful Liar: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Black Sheep: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2.5 ~ Wicked S.O.B.: Ebook • Goodreads
#3 ~ Arrogant Bastard: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (Sept. 12, 2017)

about the author button

Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!).

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Instagram • Pinterest • Goodreads

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Fifteen (15) FREE eBook downloads of ARROGANT BASTARD

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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