Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell

One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell
Series: School for Dukes #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 23rd 2019
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Ready.

Raised in the countryside by her overprotective uncle, Miss Mina Penny’s dream of a triumphant London season is finally here. She determined her perfect match long ago: Rafe Bentley, the wickedest rake of them all. There’s only one very large, very unyielding obstacle: Rafe’s brother Andrew, the reclusive Duke of Thorndon.

Aim.

This was supposed to be simple. Duke goes to London. Duke selects suitable bride. Love match? Not a chance. But when Drew meets Mina, she complicates everything. How can a lady armed with such beauty and brains fall for his irresponsible degenerate of a brother? Drew vows to save her from heartbreak and ruin, no matter the cost.

Desire!

But Mina is no damsel in distress. She’s daring, intuitive, passionate…and halfway to melting Drew’s cold heart. And although Mina thought she knew exactly what she wanted, one breathtakingly seductive kiss from Drew changes everything. Now Mina must decide between long-held dreams and dangerous new desires. Could her true destiny lie in the arms of a duke?

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleIndieBound

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One of my 2019 reading goals is to read more debut/new-to-me authors, and I’m so glad I’ve found another author to add to this list! This was my first book from Lenora Bell, who has been on my TBR for ages, and it definitely won’t be my last. I adored the heroine, Mina, the hero, Drew, and their story. Though this is the third book in the School for Dukes series, it can be read entirely as a standalone, which was what I did, and didn’t feel lost at all.

Mina is headstrong young woman who wants the freedom and adventure she never had growing up under her overprotective uncle. And being the crafty, clever woman that she is, she also wants to become a spy for the crown like her uncle. In order to prove to her uncle she has what it takes, she plans to marry Rafe, a rake and secret spy working for Mina’s uncle. Unfortunately for her plans, she is more drawn to Rafe’s brother Drew than Rafe himself.

Drew suffers from PTSD from when he was kidnapped and held for ransom as a boy, so he lives in seclusion in the country. He arrives in London with the sole purpose of finding a suitable, ladylike, quiet bride who won’t bother him too much so he can head straight back to the country. But the fiery, disrespectful, unladylike Mina Penny is what catches his attention.

“You want danger. You want excitement and adventure,” he whispered. “I’ll be your adventure. Explore me, Mina.”

Mina and Drew couldn’t want more different things in life, but somehow, these two just click together. I fell hard for these characters and the way they brought out the best and most out of each other. One Fine Duke is sweet, sexy, hilarious at times (Mina gets trapped in a sex chair!) and overall a fun historical romance everyone should read. I’m off to read more of Lenora Bell’s books now!


lacey

Now here’s an excerpt from One Fine Duke! ❤

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“There he is, Wilhelmina,” Grizzy whispered, staring reverently across the crowded ballroom. “The Duke of Thorndon.”

Holy hell he’s handsome, thought Mina.

Jaw-dropping-on-the-floor handsome. Drool-on-your-lace-fichu handsome.

Distract her from her plan with his brother, handsome.

Her uncle had been right. Thorndon was a fine figure of a man. Objectively speaking, the finest she’d ever beheld.

Tall as a doorframe, with a face hewn from the same granite as the rugged Cornish coastline.

A face rendered seductive by contrasts: sharp cheekbones and curved, sensuous lips. Gleaming ebony hair brushed his collar. His eyes were a light, gold-tinged brown—the only warm thing about him.

He owned this ballroom. Literally. And he owned everyone in it by dint of his oversized presence and the cold, unsmiling arrogance scrawled across his face.

He didn’t even follow the dictates of fashion, preferring plain black attire to the white pantaloons and gaily-colored waistcoats of the other gentlemen.

Why should he follow the dictates of fashion? Everyone should follow him.

“When you’re introduced to Thorndon, pray speak as seldom as possible,” Grizzy whispered. “Attempt to appear biddable and do try to recall my decorum lessons. Remember, no one in London knows anything about you, thank the Lord.”

Mina had seen several polished, elegant young ladies staring at her, nudging each other and whispering. She was an outsider, a usurper, her proper place in the social hierarchy not yet established.

They needn’t worry. She had no designs upon their prize duke. And she was about as unpolished as a debutante could be—as rough as an un-sanded plank. If anyone touched her they might get splinters.

She longed to shed her country skin swiftly and emerge as the sophisticated social butterfly her mother had been. But she knew that it would take time, observation, and experimentation.

Her first flirtatious conversation, first kiss, first taste of brandy, first adventure…it was all ahead of her.

She couldn’t wait to taste it all.

Reading Order: School for Dukes series

 

#1 ~ What a Difference a Duke Makes: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ For the Duke’s Eyes Only: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ One Fine Duke: Ebook • HardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

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Lenora Bell is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of historical romances with Avon Books. A teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has lived and worked on five continents. She currently lives in New Zealand with her carpenter husband and two tiger-striped rescue kitties. She loves to hear from readers! Sign up for her mailing list to hear about new books, sales, and giveaways!

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagram • Goodreads


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Review: Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson

Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson
Series: Sometimes in Love #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: June 25th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

NEVER SAY NEVER
Sadie Gold is ready to take her career to the next level with the role of a lifetime. Finally, she can shake her reputation as a pretty face with more wealth and connections than talent. But Sadie is not prepared for the wild turn her own life is about to take. The man in charge of training Sadie for her most demanding role yet is none other than her first real boyfriend—the one who took her heart and ran away.

WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE
Bo Ibarra is as good-looking and irresistible as ever. Maybe even more so, now that everything once worked against them—Sadie’s pampered and privileged upbringing and Bo’s childhood in a family struggling to make ends meet—is in the past. But the future is still unwritten…and getting there, together, means coming clean about painful secrets and slashing through nasty tabloid rumors while trying to control the attraction that crackles between them. Maybe it’s finally time for them to walk off into the sunset and into a true and lasting love?

If you know me, then you know that second chance romances are my all-time favorite trope! Which was why I was unbelievably excited to start Once Upon a Bad Boy. I adored the previous book in the series and couldn’t wait to get to Sadie’s story. She was so amusing in Smitten by the Brit, especially that one popsicle scene. I’m glad to say her second chance with her childhood sweetheart did not disappoint. It’s a touching, romantic, sexy second chance romance that fans of the trope (and series) can definitely enjoy!

Eleven years ago, Bo and Sadie meant everything to each other. She was a rich girl, he was a poor boy, but they overcame everything to be together… or so Sadie thought. So when Bo breaks her heart the evening of their prom night, she moves on and refuses to think of him again. A decade later, it’s not so easy to ignore him anymore when he’s hired as the stunt coordinator on Sadie’s film.

Bo and Sadie both have something to prove. Bo needs to show his boss that he can run the stuntman company all on his own so he can take over, and Sadie needs to show the world that she was given her acting role on her own merit and not her family’s money and connections. They live very different, socioeconomic lives, and though Bo allowed that to tear them apart years ago, he recognizes that Sadie is the only woman he’s ever loved. I love the kind of second chance romance where you can clearly see the couple is meant for each other, and I got exactly that in this book. There’s enough tension and chemistry to light the book on fire every time Bo and Sadie are in a room together, which is often. It’s not an easy path to reconciliation and both are still full of regrets, but I really enjoyed the way they came back together even better than they were as teens.

While the book is fun and sexy, it’s definitely a little heavier than the previous book was. Melonie Johnson touches on a subject (that I can’t really say without spoiling) with respect and a conversation that needed to happen in a way I really admired. Maybe readers won’t agree with it, but it was a choice this character thought was the right one, and I can stand behind that!

Melonie Johnson is a fantastic writer and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for her readers next. If you haven’t read the Sometimes in Love series yet, I highly recommend it as the perfect summer reads. They’re fun and flirty, with the right amount of heat and intensity. I do plan on someday reading the first book when I have the time. I’m sure I’ll adore like I did the other two!


lacey


Reading Order: Sometimes in Love series

 

#1 ~ Getting Hot with the Scot: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Smitten by the Brit: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Once Upon a Bad Boy: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson
Series: Sometimes in Love #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 28th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

DEFINITELY, MAYBE…OR LOVE, ACTUALLY?

English professor Bonnie Blythe expects her life to play out like her favorite novels, especially now that her long-term boyfriend has finally proposed. So when a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, she decides to close the book on love. But the plot thickens when a brand-new character enters the scene—and quickens Bonnie’s heart.

With his brilliant blue eyes, sexy accent, and irresistible charm, Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel. When fate places Bonnie in England for a summer—conveniently close to Theo—she realizes a hot friends-with-benefits fling is exactly what she needs to start a fresh chapter. Just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love, an eye-opening revelation into Theo’s life makes Bonnie feel like she’s wandered into one of her favorite books. Will Bonnie have the courage to risk her heart and turn the page with the dashing Brit to find her true happy ending after all?

I’ve had my eye on this series since seeing the first book around on Instagram, and I was so happy to find how much I ended up adoring its standalone sequel, Smitten by the Brit! All three of the books (which released within a three months of each other, gasp!) follow a group of girl friends who are all different, yet support and complement each other well. Book two follows English professor and Shakespeare/Austen nerd Bonnie Blythe, and the British man who sweeps her off her feet exactly like Mr. Darcy would.

If you’re planning on diving into Smitten by the Brit without having read the first book like me, you absolutely can! Just know, I do plan on going back and catching up 😉 At first, I was overloaded with just how many characters there are, but each has a distinct personality that I recognized who was who soon enough. Bonnie made an endearing heroine, with her love for all things British literature. I admired her sense of strength after being betrayed by her former fiancé, and for going after what she wanted: the man she met and connected with the summer before, and a new teaching job all the way in England.

Theo Wharton couldn’t be more dreamy if he tried! He’s a gentleman with a kind and caring heart. He holds a secret of his own, and he has to decide if he’ll choose to follow the path his family has laid out for him, or going against expectations and going after what he wants in life. If that includes a certain gorgeous redhead, so be it. I enjoyed the parallels between Bonnie and Theo’s independent stories – Melonie Johnson did an excellent job at writing these two characters. They had fun, witty banter that had me grinning on occasion. Theo is beyond charismatic and I was swooning over him as much as Bonnie was.

I’ve been wanting to add new/debut authors to my reading list, and I’m so glad I chose Melonie Johnson. Technically this isn’t her debut novel, but since she debuted this year, I’m counting it! If you’re looking for a fun, delightful read that sweeps you off to England, you definitely need to read this book. I’m so impressed with the writing and characters that I’m diving straight into the next book!


lacey


Reading Order: Sometimes in Love series

 

#1 ~ Getting Hot with the Scot: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Smitten by the Brit: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Once Upon a Bad Boy: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: Say No to the Duke by Eloisa James

Say No to the Duke by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: June 25th 2019
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Could she possibly refuse a duke’s hand—in favor of a sardonic, sinful rake?

Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed—but before marriage, she longs for one last adventure.

No gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches.

If he wins…she is his, for one wild night.

But what happens when Jeremy realizes that one night will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say no to the duke.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleIndieBound

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With every book I read in the Wildes of Lindow Castle series, I fall more and more in love with the Wilde family! I love series that follow siblings and their paths toward love – and what better family than one with SO many kids? Betsy is the proper lady of the family, a recent debutante who is determined to never act as flighty and promiscuous as her mother. She falls for one of her brother’s best friends, Lord Jeremy, who is everything but a proper gentleman. Their romance is slow and sweet – it’s another great addition to a series I adore!

I loved the idea behind this book: the heroine wants to experience freedom like she never has before by dressing and acting like a man for a day. While the execution was not exactly how I imagined it, I really did enjoy Betsy and Jeremy’s slow burn romance. Betsy has her list of suitors to choose from (one is a freaking duke!), but no one gets to her, connects with her, makes her burn as much as her annoying brother’s best friend. Jeremy has returned from war with PTSD, which he deal with by drinking. The only highlight to his day is when he interacts with Betsy. They both have struggles to overcome (Betsy with her trying to attain perfection and avoid all things sexual, Jeremy with his PTSD), but I loved that they both learned to navigate through those struggles together.

The only issue I had with this book was the execution of Betsy dressing as a man for a day. I felt like that part of the plot was dragged on for too long. I kept waiting for it to happen and it finally occurred around 2/3 of the way in. That part was slow for me, but I adored the way Jeremy and Betsy fell slowly for each other. It made my heart so happy when they finally realized their feelings for each other!

If you love this series, you definitely will want to read Say No to the Duke. And if you haven’t started this series yet, you really should! Book 2, Too Wilde to Wed, is currently my favorite so far. I’m so looking forward to more from the series!


lacey

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They moved toward each other as if they were following the steps of a very slow, very grand country dance. One that was danced by kings and queens and countryfolk alike.

When they were beside each other, she squared her shoulders and met his eyes. “I decided to come to you. I hope that is all right.”

“I do believe that you are the bravest woman I’ve ever met,” he replied.

He couldn’t have said anything better; Betsy felt herself begin to glow. “I haven’t been brave to this point, but I have made up my mind to change. I outlawed being nervous, but now I need to outlaw being afraid.” She hesitated. “I have chosen courage, and now I choose happiness.”

“I love you as you are,” he whispered, and then his mouth came down on hers.

Her breath caught in her throat because their tongues met as if they kissed every day, every night. He tasted right, which sent a shiver through her whole body, and pushed her against him gently, the way a pebble might roll up a beach when the tide comes in.

One doesn’t fight the tide.

Reading Order: The Wildes of Lindow Castle series

#1 ~ Wilde in Love: Ebook • Hardcover • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Too Wilde to Wed: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Born to be Wilde: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Say No to the Duke: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudible Goodreads
#5 ~ Say Yes to the Duke: Goodreads (May 26, 2020)

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New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James writes historical romances for HarperCollins Publishers. Her novels have been published to great acclaim. A reviewer from USA Today wrote of Eloisa’s very first book that she “found herself devouring the book like a dieter with a Hershey bar”; later People Magazine raved that “romance writing does not get much better than this.” Her novels have repeatedly received starred reviews from Publishers’ Weekly and Library Journal and regularly appear on the best-seller lists.

Website • Twitter • FacebookAmazon Page • Goodreads


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Blog Tour // Review + Giveaway: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry


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I’m so excited to be a part of Only a Breath Apart‘s tour!
You can check out my review below as well as a fantastic tour giveaway!

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: January 22nd 2019
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Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given a new twist in the gritty YA contemporary novel, Only a Breath Apart.

They say your destiny is carved in stone. But some destinies are meant to be broken.

The only curse Jesse Lachlin believes in is his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year.

A fortuneteller tells Scarlett she’s psychic, but what is real is Scarlett’s father’s controlling attitude and the dark secrets at home. She may be able to escape, but only if she can rely on the one boy who broke her heart.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings, but as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleBook Depository

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I’ve loved Katie McGarry since I first read Pushing the Limits back in 2012, the first book to ever make me ugly cry, and I’ve been a fan ever since. She knows how to write heartfelt books that are packed with emotion, and Only a Breath Apart was no different. There were SO many feels, so much heartache – it truly is an emotional roller coaster reading this book, with all its ups and downs. In the end, it made for a fantastic, unputdownable read. If you love young adult books with grit and heart, you need to read this one!

I always love the idea of childhood friends coming back together, and in this case, Katie McGarry puts a little twist to it. Jesse and Scarlett were best friends who meant so much to each other as kids, but something tore them apart when they were fifteen. Years later, Jesse’s grandmother leaves a stipulation to her will: Jesse and Scarlett must reconcile. It’s not an easy road, nor is it one either of them want, but through all the trials and tribulations involving family, secrets, and abuse, these two come out at the end stronger.

The character development is fantastic – I loved the way Scarlett and Jesse grew alongside each other, the way they supported and loved each other. Katie McGarry writes in a way that makes it so easy to connect with her characters. The book itself is not easy to read – there are some real heartbreaking tragedies, but the connection Scarlett and Jesse have always left me with hope. Only a Breath Apart is a powerful, poignant, and must read novel that I highly recommend!


lacey

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Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. She is the author of the Pushing the Limits and Thunder Road series.

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagram • Goodreads

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5 Winners will receive a Copy of ONLY A BREATH APART by Katie McGarry

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