Review: Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath

Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath
Series: Once Upon a Dukedom #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 30th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Lorraine Heath begins an exciting new series with a breathtaking romance about a young woman who must marry a titled gentleman to obtain her inheritance and the unsuitable man she begins to fall madly in love with

She is desperate to wed a duke…

Lady Kathryn Lambert must marry a titled gentleman to claim her inheritance and has finally gained the attention of a duke. Yet she is unable to forget the scandalous second son who aided in her achievement—or his betrayal.

He wants what he can never possess…

Lord Griffith Stanwick is tormented by the bitter truth that as a “spare,” he will never be able to give Kathryn what she yearns to possess. But when his father is found guilty of treason, Griff detours into the dark and dangerous corners of London, haunted by memories of the woman lost to him forever.

Love not to be denied…

As the duke’s courtship intensifies, Kathryn discovers Griff has become a man to be reckoned with. When old passions flare and new desires ignite, she must decide if sacrificing her legacy is worth a lifetime shared with the scoundrel of her heart.

I have heard such fantastic things about Lorraine Heath and her historical romances, and I finally got the chance to read her for the first time, starting with the first book in her newest Once Upon a Dukedom series, Scoundrel of My Heart. It apparently is a spinoff of a book from her previous series, but even though I didn’t read Beauty Tempts the Beast, I had no problem starting with this spinoff. But I do want to go back and read the original series now!

Kathryn is a lady who must marry a titled gentleman in order to inherit her grandmother’s beloved cottage. Her best friend’s brother Griffith is unfortunately untitled and a second son. She asks him for help on how to woo a certain Duke into offering her marriage, and this is how she and Griff get close and start to develop feelings for each other. But having read the blurb, I was pretty much waiting on the edge of my seat for the other shoe to drop for these two. And it certainly does. Griff’s family has been ruined and stripped of all their titles. This happens right when the two of them are on the cusp of something more too, which adds so much excitement and intensity.

One year later, Griff has made a comeback in terms of money and reputation (sort of). He’s now the owner of a popular, exclusive club that caters to the “unwanted” or “undesirables” in London high society. And Griff and Kathryn still want each other, even knowing they can’t be together. Griff decides to continue playing matchmaker for Kathryn against his own jealous wishes. And now Kathryn is torn between her duty and her heart.

This was a solid historical romance read that was equal parts passionate and endearing. These characters go through so many ups and downs, so many emotions, and I was rooting for them every step of the way. If you love lots of longing in your romances, there is plenty of it here. I also loved the idea of Griff’s club being open exclusively to untitled men, wallflowers, spinsters, and the like. I would love if we get even more of this club in future Once Upon a Dukedom books. Speaking of which, I am now dying for the Duke’s book and Griff’s brother Marcus’ book! I enjoyed Lorraine Heath’s writing so much here and can’t wait to devour her backlist.


lacey


Reading Order: Once Upon a Dukedom series

#1 ~ Scoundrel of My Heart: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Duchess Hunt: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Sept. 28, 2021)


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Early Review: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: May 11th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

After absolutely loving Beach Read, I couldn’t wait for more romances from Emily Henry! When I heard People We Meet on Vacation had the friends to lovers trope, I knew it would be perfect for me. One of my favorite tropes combined with Emily Henry’s style of writing and humor? SOLD. And to no one’s surprise, I fell head over heels for People We Meet on Vacation. Once again, another Emily Henry book is going on my ‘best of the year’ list!

Poppy and Alex have been best friends since they first met during freshman orientation at college. They couldn’t be more opposite – Poppy is wild, impulsive, has wanderlust, and travels the world for a living. Alex is a homebody: he’s stable, level-headed, is living in the same town he grew up in, and works at the high school he attended. They have nothing in common, but they connect, and every summer since they met, they’ve gone on vacation together.

I’m usually not a fan of unrequited love… unless both sides are feeling it. Which is exactly what Alex and Poppy go through. They both love each other but put the sake of their friendship ahead of that love, which makes that friendship work, until two years ago when everything was ruined. They haven’t spoken to each other in those two years, but now Poppy has one last chance, one last vacation, to save their relationship and maybe, possibly take it to the next level.

Poppy and Alex are ADORABLE. I had so much fun reading about them, especially during the ‘before’ chapters that would take place during each vacation they went on. If you’re not a fan of alternating chapters and switching timelines, this book might not be for you, but the way Emily Henry set it up was perfect for me. I was legitimately smiling and giggling during their hilarious conversations. Poppy’s quirky sense of humor and Alex’s deadpan meshed so well together. And I even loved their vacations too, both the good ones and the bad. Just a fair warning, this book will make you want to travel.

I loved this friends to lovers romance. It had the perfect amount the humor and angst. I can only hope Emily Henry continues to write more contemporary romances because I’ve become an even bigger fan since Beach Read!


lacey


Other Books by Emily Henry

Beach Read: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 13th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.

Dazzle (n): Brightness that blinds someone temporarily.

Position Vacant: Two ancient old women residing at Providence Retirement Villa seek male assistant for casual exploitation and good-natured humiliation. Duties include boutique shopping, fast-food fetching, and sincerely rendered flattery. Good looks a bonus—but we aren’t picky.

An advertisement has been placed (again!) by the wealthy and eccentric Parloni Sisters. The salary is generous and the employers are 90 years old, so how hard could the job be? Well, none have lasted longer than a week. Most boys leave in tears.

Ruthie Midona will work in Providence’s front office, and be at the Parloni’s beck and call, forever. That’s sort of her life plan. If Ruthie can run the place in her almost-retired bosses’ absence, with no hijinks/hiccups, she has a shot at becoming the new manager. She might also be able to defend her safe little world from Prescott Development, the new buyer of the prime site. Maybe after all that, she can find a cute guy to date. All she needs to do is stay serious—and that’s what she does best.

Until, one day, someone dazzling blows into town.

Teddy Prescott devotes his life to sleeping, tattooing, and avoiding seriousness. When Teddy needs a place to crash, he makes a deal with his developer dad. Teddy can stay in one of Providence’s on-site maintenance cottages—right next door to an unimpressed Ruthie—but only if he works there and starts to grow up.

Ruthie knows how this sweetly selfish rich boy can earn his keep—and be out of her hair in under a week. After all, there is a position vacant…

This was so perfectly charming, quirky, and adorable. Basically, everything I wanted in a Sally Thorne romance. I went into this with high expectations after loving The Hating Game and actually enjoying 99 Percent Mine, and I’m happy to say Sally Thorne didn’t let me down! My heart was just so HAPPY reading this lovely story. I’m already putting Second First Impressions on my ‘best of 2021’ list!

The thing I loved most about SFI was how unique it was. It’s set in a retirement home, the heroine works there as a manager (she’s 25 going on 80, which, relatable), there are two 90-year-old residents/menaces in need of an assistant to torture, and the hero is a dorky, tattoo-artist airhead in need of some lessons in responsibility, so he takes the position.

Ruthie is like a grandma in a 25-year-old’s body who’s trying to come out of her shell of anxiety and monotony. She’s sweet but shy and doesn’t know her full potential. I loved seeing her learn more about what she wants out of life and seeing her grow to love herself. Teddy is a precious sweetheart (dare I say teddy bear) who, even though he has some growing up to do, worships the ground Ruthie walks on. And honestly, what more could I ask for from a hero? There are all these little moments and little things that Teddy does that show how hard he falls for Ruthie, how much he respects and cherishes her. Even though this book is told only from the heroine’s POV, we get to see all of that so clearly and I LOVE when an author is capable of illustrating a hero this way.

This romance is just so wholesome, funny, and precious – it was exactly the heartfelt and feel-good romance I was looking for from Sally Thorne. I know it’s hard not to compare this to THG or even 99% Mine, but I truly feel like a lot of people would enjoy SFI whether or not they loved her previous books. I literally finished it with a smile on my face. I loved it!


lacey


Other Books by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
99 Percent Mine: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: The Heiress Hunt by Joanna Shupe

The Heiress Hunt by Joanna Shupe
Series: Fifth Avenue Rebels #1
Publication Date: March 9th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

High society reprobate.
An unconventional heiress.
Childhood friends.

Is it too late…
Knickerbocker scoundrel Harrison Archer returns to New York to discover that his deceased father has bankrupted his estranged family. To save them from ruin, he’s forced to quickly find and marry an heiress. For a matchmaker, Harrison turns to the one woman he wishes he could marry: his childhood friend and true love, Maddie, who once broke his heart and is now engaged to a duke.

For true love?
When her best friend Harrison left for Paris without a word, Maddie Webster took refuge in her infatuation with tennis. Now Harrison is back and needs her help in finding a bride. Begrudgingly, Maddie arranges a house party in Newport with a guest list of eligible heiresses. But watching Harrison flirt with potential brides is more than she can bear.

When Harrison and Maddie reunite, the passion between them ignites. But with their marriages to others looming, time is running out. Is their fate inescapable . . .or can love set them free?

I am such a big Joanna Shupe fan so when I heard she would be releasing a brand new series called the Fifth Avenue Rebels series, I knew I had to read it! And then the gorgeous cover was revealed and I needed the book even more. I sadly didn’t love this one as much as my favorite series of hers, the Uptown Girls series, but I was enjoyable for the most part.

I love the friends to lovers trope and was incredibly excited about the matchmaking plot in The Heiress Hunt. Harrison and Maddie were childhood best friends, and Harrison was in unrequited love with Maddie. He left her and left for Paris without another word to live a life of debauchery. But now he’s back and needs an heiress to marry to save his family from ruin.

I was engaged with this book at the beginning. I loved the setup and I always enjoy Joanna Shupe’s writing. But the more I read, the more I wished… more from it. The story wasn’t fleshed out enough, I wasn’t a big fan of Harrison or Maddie, and I was disappointed we didn’t get to see more of the tennis aspect of Maddie’s character. There’s a mystery I didn’t care enough about and the ending just wrapped up too easily and neatly for me.

As sad as I am that I didn’t love this new Joanna Shupe more, I’m still looking forward to what she has in store for us next. She’s my go-to for steamy historical romances, and in that department, The Heiress Hunt definitely didn’t disappoint.


lacey


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Review: Waiting For A Scot Like You by Eva Leigh

Waiting For A Scot Like You by Eva Leigh
Series: Union of the Rakes #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 23rd 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Eva Leigh concludes her Breakfast Club and 80s movie-inspired Regency series with a merry widow and a stoic major on a bumpy road to love…

Adjusting to life in peacetime isn’t easy for Major Duncan McCameron. Escorting a lady on her journey north seems like the perfect chance to give him some much-needed purpose. That is, until he learns the woman in question is the beautiful, bold, reckless Lady Farris. She makes his head spin and being alone together will surely end in disaster.

Beatrice, the Dowager Countess of Farris, is finally free of a stifling marriage and she has no plans to shackle herself to any other man. Ready to live life to the fullest, she’s headed to a week-long bacchanal and the journey should be half the fun. Except she’s confined to a carriage with a young, rule-abiding, irritatingly handsome Scottish soldier who wouldn’t know a good time if it landed in his lap. But maybe a madcap escapade will loosen him up…

Between carriage crashes, secret barn dances, robbers, and an inn with only one bed, their initial tension dissolves into a passion that neither expected. But is there a future for an adventure-loving lady and a duty-bound soldier, or will their differences tear them apart?

I recently binged on the first two Union of the Rakes books by Eva Leigh and have been dying to read the third and final book! I was especially excited because it’s got two romance tropes I love: grumpy + sunshine characters, a road trip, age gap (with an older heroine), and forced proximity. I enjoyed Duncan and Beatrice’s romance so much. It’s definitely my favorite of the series!

Our stoic Major hero Duncan has been asked to escort widowed Dowager Countess Beatrice to Nottinghamshire for… a week long orgy. Beatrice’s marriage was less than happy and she’s taking charge of her life after being freed from her husband. She wants all the pleasure she can get and she refuses to ever marry again. Duncan is very much an uptight, rule-following sort of man. They are opposites (yay for the opposites attract trope) but still perfect for each other.

I had a lot of fun with this book. If you love road trips and small adventures, this book would be great. I loved the nods to Ferris Buehler’s Day Off and Footloose. It’s steamy, entertaining, and… there’s only one bed! I would recommend this one, especially if you enjoy the rest of the series.


lacey


Reading Order: Union of the Rakes series

 

#1 ~ My Fake Rake: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Would I Lie to the Duke: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Waiting For A Scot Like You: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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