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

about the author button

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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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)

about the author button

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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Release Day Review: A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole

A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 30th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The Reluctant Royals series returns with a good girl searching for the life that’s not too big, and not too small, and the bad boy prince who might be just right for her…

Nya Jerami fled Thesolo for the glitz and glamour of NYC but discovered that her Prince Charming only exists in her virtual dating games. When Nya returns home for a royal wedding, she accidentally finds herself up close and personal—in bed—with the real-life celebrity prince who she loves to hate.

For Johan von Braustein, the red-headed step-prince of Liechtienbourg, acting as paparazzi bait is a ruse that protects his brother—the heir to the throne—and his own heart. When a royal referendum threatens his brother’s future, a fake engagement is the perfect way to keep the cameras on him.

Nya and Johan both have good reasons to avoid love, but as desires are laid bare behind palace doors, they must decide if their fake romance will lead to a happily-ever-after.

Ever since reading and LOVING A Duke By Default, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on another Alyssa Cole novel. I love her writing and storytelling, and I was so excited for Nya and Johan’s story! Alyssa Cole did not disappoint with A Prince on Paper – it’s sexy, endearing, with a splash of humor put in. If you loved the other books in the series, or any time or royal romance, you need to read this one!

I love Alyssa Cole’s writing. Her stories come across almost like a fairy tale, and she makes you believe in true love. She heaps big doses of swoon and chemistry for Nya and Johan, who form a fake relationship. They go on a little adventure together, in bed and out of it, which only makes the tension between them heat up. And try as they might, they can’t help but have their real feelings get involved.

This third novel was a bit different from book two. It was a lot more serious and deeply emotional at times. I felt for Nya and the hurt she has experienced. There are a lot of complicated relationships that are explored in this novel, not just Johan and Nya’s. That being said, overall this is a FUN book that will light up your heart. It’s sexy, sweet, and very emotional.

I will definitely need to go back and read A Princess in Theory. I love Alyssa Cole’s words and highly encourage everyone to read them!


lacey


Reading Order: Reluctant Royals series

#1 ~ A Princess in Theory: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ A Duke by Default: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ A Prince on Paper: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Review: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 19th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself…as none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire…not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?

Only the devil’s daughter knows…

Is there anything that can rival my love for Devil in Spring? Probably not, but I’ll keep on reading more of Lisa Kleypas’ wonderful historical romances in the meantime. Devil’s Daughter is the latest installment in the incredible Ravenels series, featuring the beloved daughter of Evie and Sebastian, Phoebe.

Phoebe, Lady Clare, lost her childhood friend, love, and husband from an illness too young. She is left in mourning with her two young children when West Ravenel enters her life. She remembers him as the bully who made her late husband’s childhood miserable, and she continues with that grudge when she first meets him. But as she gets to know this man, she realizes that he’s all grown up and completely different from the jerk he was as a young boy.

When Phoebe asks West to help out with her deteriorating farms, he can’t help but say yes. He’s drawn to the beautiful widow, though his troubled past makes him believe he’s not good enough for her. But since his transformation in book one, we know West is a compassionate, intelligent, and wonderful man who deserves happiness. I loved the fun chemistry and banter that sparks between these two. It was so obvious that Phoebe and West were meant to be together!

One of the many things I love about Lisa Kleypas is how she has her characters defy societal norms, be they in subtle or obvious ways. Phoebe is a widow, which means she has to dress and act a certain way for a certain period of time, but being the headstrong woman that she is, she does what she wants. West is a modern man who can appreciate past traditions while also welcoming future inventions when it comes to running a farm.

Devil’s Daughter is another hit from the queen of historical romance. LK has yet to disappoint me, with this series or otherwise. Right now, I’m dying for the next book, which will be about Cassandra!


lacey


Reading Order: The Ravenels series


#1 ~ Cold-Hearted Rake: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Marrying Winterborne: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Devil in Spring: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Hello Stranger: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Devil’s Daughter: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Chasing Cassandra: Goodreads (Feb. 25, 2020)


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Review: The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 20th 2018
Links: Ebook • Hardcover • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

She was in the wrong place…

Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers’ hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain’s bed…

He found her at the wrong time…

Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he’s stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real—and his duty to the Crown means he’s stuck with her.

Can two wrongs make the most perfect right?

When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal—though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew’s secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart…?

I recently went on a Julia Quinn binge when I was craving a new-to-me historical romance series to get lost in, and the Bridgertons series was exactly what I was looking for. It’s full of humor and heart, so of course I was excited to read about the Bridgertons prequel series, the Rokesbys! The Other Miss Bridgerton is the first in this new series that I’ve read, but I will be remedying that soon because I adored Andrew and Poppy’s story. It’s a tale of kidnapping, high seas, pirates (who prefer the name privateers), and secret identities – how could I not enjoy it?

Poppy Bridgerton is ahead of her time. She’s daring, independent, and adventurous… but that all leads her to trouble when she’s found in a supposedly abandoned cave and kidnapped so she won’t tell anyone the secrets that lie in that unfortunate cave. Captain Andrew James Rokesby is in charge of hiding and delivering those secrets, but imagine his surprise when his crew leaves an aristocratic woman, a Bridgerton of all people, in his bed on the ship. He knows he’s in trouble, but he’s keeping her on board anyway as they set sail for Portugal. Neither expect to enjoy their talks, their banter… or even to start falling for one another. But can a relationship really be possible when they reach land?

Poppy is as sassy a heroine as you can get. There’s absolutely nothing she can do on the ship, since the crew doesn’t want a woman on board because of superstition, so all she can use to fight with is her words. She’s intelligent and witty (my favorite kind of heroine), and much to her surprise, Andrew can give as good as he gets from her. They have a wonderful chemistry on board, thanks to the close proximity, and I loved that they made the kidnapping a bit light-hearted. This is more along the lines of a slow burn romance, which I appreciated. I couldn’t get enough of these two characters, their lovely banter, and the way they unwittingly start to fall in love. My only complaint is that I wish there had been more at the end. It seemed to move a bit too fast and conveniently. Other than that, The Other Miss Bridgerton was a delight and pure fun to read. I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the Rokesbys soon!


lacey


Reading Order: Rokesbys series

  

#1 ~ Because of Miss Bridgerton: Ebook • HardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband: Ebook • HardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Other Miss Bridgerton: Ebook • Hardcover • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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