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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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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Review: How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole
Series: Runaway Royals #1
Publication Date: December 1st 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

An arranged marriage leads to unexpected desire, in the first book of Alyssa Cole’s Runaway Royals series…

When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.

A king must rule with an iron fist, and newly crowned King Sanyu was born perfectly fitted for the gauntlet, even if he wishes he weren’t. He agrees to take a wife as is required of him, though he doesn’t expect to actually fall in love. Even more vexing? His beguiling new queen seems to have the answers to his country’s problems—except no one will listen to her.

By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.

I have been SO excited to read this book ever since I 1) saw the cover, 2) read the blurb, and 3) saw that it was a marriage of convenience! I especially loved reading the line that says “By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion.” I sadly didn’t quite love this new Alyssa Cole as much as I was hoping to – it’s a sloooow burn romance and very heavy on the royal politics. I wanted the story to focus more on our main couple, which was why How to Catch a Queen was a bit of a struggle for me to read.

Shanti and Sanyu enter a marriage of convenience when Shanti is chosen to be Sanyu’s queen. Shanti gets to live out her dream of being a queen so she can help others and Sanyu fulfills his father’s final request to marry, despite never wanting to inherit the throne. Love is not involved in the least, and it takes quite a long time for it to develop in this romance. We focus more on Shanti’s struggles with her awful treatment from Sanyu and his subjects and Sanyu torn between tradition and what he wants for his and his country’s future.

Alyssa Cole did a fantastic job bringing this fictional country of Njaza to life, with its rich, nuanced history. But after a while, the story did feel like it was dragging, especially the romance. There wasn’t enough of the romance between Shanti and Sanyu to satisfy me, which is why I have to give this 3.5 stars instead of the 4 it easily could’ve been. Still, it was a good start to this spinoff series of the Reluctant Royals, and I can’t wait to see where Alyssa Cole takes us next!


lacey


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Review: A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday

A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: October 13th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday comes a modern fairy tale just in time for Christmas about a tough New Yorker from the other side of the tracks who falls for a princess from the other side of the world.

Leo Ricci’s already handling all he can, between taking care of his little sister Gabby, driving a cab, and being the super of his apartment building in the Bronx. But when Gabby spots a “princess” in a gown outside of the UN trying to hail a cab, she begs her brother to stop and help. Before he knows it, he’s got a real-life damsel in distress in the backseat of his car.

Princess Marie of Eldovia shouldn’t be hailing a cab, or even be out and about. But after her mother’s death, her father has plunged into a devastating depression and the fate of her small Alpine country has fallen on Marie’s shoulders. She’s taken aback by the gruff but devastatingly handsome driver who shows her more kindness than she’s seen in a long time.

When Marie asks Leo to be her driver for the rest of her trip, he agrees, thinking he’ll squire a rich miss around for a while and make more money than he has in months. He doesn’t expect to like and start longing for the unpredictable Marie. And when he and Gabby end up in Eldovia for Christmas, he discovers the princess who is all wrong for him is also the woman who is his perfect match.

I was SO excited about Jenny Holiday’s Christmas romance – I’ve enjoyed Jenny’s books in the past and I always look forward to holiday books during the Christmas season. A Princess for Christmas is literally Hallmark movie level, except much more steamy, which I will never complain about. This Christmas romance between a European princess who’s trying to save her country from financial downfall and a New York City taxi cab driver who’s taking care of his orphaned younger sister is sweet, fun, and flirty. It wasn’t PERFECT for me, but I still enjoyed my time reading it. If you’re looking for a romance to pick up this holiday season, definitely give this one a try!

Leo Ricci is trying to make ends meet providing for his sister and himself after the tragic death of their parents. He drives his cab all around NYC, and as luck would have it, while driving his sister back home, the Princess Marie of Eldovia asks for a ride to an urgent meeting. Leo doesn’t have time to drive an uppity princess across the city, but he can’t resist a damsel in distress. And he can’t resist the job or the money Marie offers him in exchange for taking her around the city to meetings she needs to save her country.

The first half of this book is adorable. Leo, his sister Gabby, and Marie go on little NYC touristy adventures so that Marie can experience what the city is all about. They are the cutest little group and I really enjoyed all the banter between them. Leo is grumpy but joins in on the fun, Gabby is a pure delight, and Marie is a little awkward but once her frost has thawed out she embraces everything.

The second half of the book takes place in Eldovia, where Marie’s family reigns. I found this second half to be a bit slow and dragged out – this is the main reason I can’t quite give this four stars, even though it’s close. The book felt too long because of this drag and I wanted to fast forward through all the politics and get to the romance. But other than that, this book was still entertaining and gave me all the cozy winter vibes I was looking for. If you’ve ever imagined what a Hallmark Christmas movie would be like as a romance book, A Princess for Christmas is literally it. It almost made me wish Eldovia was a real place that I could go to during Christmas!


lacey


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