Review: The Virgin and the Rogue by Sophie Jordan

The Virgin and the Rogue by Sophie Jordan
Series: The Rogue Files #6 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 28th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A love potion…

Charlotte Langley has always been the prudent middle sister, so her family is not surprised when she makes the safe choice and agrees to wed her childhood sweetheart. But when she finds herself under the weather and drinks a “healing” tonic, the potion provokes the most maddening desire…for someone other than her betrothed.

With the power…

Kingston’s rakehell ways are going to destroy him and he’s vowed to change. His stepbrother’s remote estate is just the place for a reformed rogue to hide. The last thing he wants is to be surrounded by society, but when he gets stuck alone with a wallflower who is already betrothed… and she astonishes him with a fiery kiss, he forgets all about hiding.

To alter two destinies.

Although Charlotte appears meek, Kingston soon discovers there’s a vixen inside, yearning to break free. Unable to forget their illicit moment of passion, Kingston vows to relive the encounter, but Charlotte has sworn it will never happen again—no matter how earth-shattering it was. But will a devilish rogue tempt her to risk everything for a chance at true love?

It’s been a hot minute since I last read a Sophie Jordan historical romance. I’m more familiar with her contemporaries, but I have enjoyed her historicals in the past. The Virgin and the Rogue was my very first read in The Rogue Files series but it holds perfect well as a standalone, which I appreciated. I ended up enjoying it so much! It was a lovely, light-hearted, and easy read that already has me itching to go back and catch myself up on the rest of the series.

The book starts off with a love potion. Well, the heroine getting cramps from her period AND a love potion. Quite the start to a story, if I do say so myself. Charlotte drinks a “healing” potion given by her herbalist younger sister and all of a sudden, it’s made her very lusty. So when she runs into Samuel Kingston, she pounces on him.

This is honestly such a fun premise. Yes, you might have to suspend your beliefs to get into it, but I still enjoyed it all the same. When Charlotte and Kingston meet, they know they are the most unlikely of pairs. She’s a quiet, respectable, demure lady who is betrothed, while he is a former rogue and rakehell. He’s been celibate and clean for over a year and the last person he expects to break him of this is the proper Charlotte. But she shows him just how improper she is after she drinks her potion, and now he can’t get her out of his mind.

I adored Charlotte and Kingston! I loved how he called her Charlie and she called him Samuel, his first name. I always love when main characters get to call each other names no one else can. Theirs isn’t the easiest of romances, with Charlotte being engaged to another man and believing her wanting him is due to the potion, but I truly enjoyed the way the story played out. Charlotte is as endearing as she is frustrating, and I liked her character, faults and all. Kingston is the perfect match for her, the only one capable of bringing out her true character. He was so sweet but also knew when and how to push her. They made a fantastic couple!

The Virgin and the Rogue was a total hit, and now I’m kicking myself for not having read this series sooner. Charlotte’s older sister already has her book, and the next one is about the youngest sister, who I am SO excited for!


lacey


Reading Order: The Rogue Files series


#1 ~ While the Duke Was Sleeping: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Scandal of It All: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Duke Buys a Bride: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ This Scot of Mine: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
#5 ~ The Duke’s Stolen Bride: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
#6 ~ The Virgin and the Rogue: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
#7 ~ The Duke Effect: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads (Oct. 27, 2020)


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Release Day Review: Sea of Ruin by Pam Godwin

Sea of Ruin by Pam Godwin
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 28th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Bennett Sharp is on the run.
Wanted for piracy, she fears neither God nor death nor man.
Except Priest Farrell.

The unfaithful, stormy-eyed libertine hunts her with terrifying possessiveness. Nothing will stop him from coming for her. Not his unforgivable betrayal. Not when she’s captured by the ice-cold pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler.
She must escape Ashley’s prison and Priest’s deceit. But can she walk away from their twisted desires?

Two gorgeous captains stand on opposite sides of the law. When they collide in a battle to protect her, the lines blur between enemies and lovers.
Passion heats, secrets unravel, and hearts entangle until they break.
Can love prevail in the sea of ruin?

A dark historical romance with PIRATES. Need I say more?

I was a pirate captain, a rebel queen of the sea, fighting against the conformities of society and the oppressive laws of man.

Holy moly, I absolutely loved this book – it was addictive, gritty, intense, and unputdownable! I’ve been dying to read Sea of Ruin ever since I heard Pam Godwin was writing a dark historical romance. I’m a big fan of her dark romances and I couldn’t wait to see her twist on a historical setting. Sea of Ruin turned out to be yet another hit. I’m obsessed with this book! It had me unbelievably hooked onto the story, the romance, and its characters. I always say I want to read more pirate romances – and this is exactly the kind of pirate romance I want!

He captured my eyes. “It doesn’t matter how far we fall, how much pain we inflict, or how dark it becomes in the ruin. I’m going to be with you, waiting for you, loving you, forgiving you. I’m never letting go, Bennett. Never.”

The best suggestion I have for you is to go into this book blind, or with no expectations. Yes, it’s a bit of a love triangle, but also not. This book is nothing you expect. Pam Godwin blew my expectations out of the water the more and more I read. Her writing is fantastic and reminded me just why I love her dark stories so much. She holds nothing back in Sea of Ruin – it is very much a dark romance so proceed with caution.

I LOVED our heroine, Bennett. She’s a freaking pirate captain, the only daughter of one of the most infamous pirates in the world, and she certainly lives up to her father’s name. She experiences such tragic loss at the beginning, I cried and felt for her. She goes through so much in the book and I rooted for her through it all. She’s fierce, kickass, knows how to use a sword, and can handle not just one alpha, possessive man, but two.

The romance was freaking brilliant. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and honestly? I loved Priest and Ashley. Don’t make me choose between them, because I won’t. Both are different – Priest is dark and sensual, Ashley is cold and forbidding – but they are SO perfect for Bennett.

If you’re a fan of dark elements in your romances, you need to read this book. I can’t recommend it enough! As soon as I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. It’s an unforgettable tale full of romance, angst, steam, action, and adventure. If Pam Godwin ever wrote more historical romances, I’d snap it up in a heartbeat!

TW: rape, torture


lacey


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Early Review: The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham

The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham
Series: Society of Sirens #1
Publication Date: April 28th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Meet the SOCIETY OF SIRENS—three radical, libertine ladies determined to weaponize their scandalous reputations to fight for justice and the love they deserve…

She’s a Rakess on a quest for women’s rights…

Seraphina Arden’s passions include equality, amorous affairs, and wild, wine-soaked nights. To raise funds for her cause, she’s set to publish explosive memoirs exposing the powerful man who ruined her. Her ideals are her purpose, her friends are her family, and her paramours are forbidden to linger in the morning.

He’s not looking for a summer lover…

Adam Anderson is a wholesome, handsome, widowed Scottish architect, with two young children, a business to protect, and an aversion to scandal. He could never, ever afford to fall for Seraphina. But her indecent proposal—one month, no strings, no future—proves too tempting for a man who strains to keep his passions buried with the losses of his past.

But one night changes everything…

What began as a fling soon forces them to confront painful secrets—and yearnings they thought they’d never have again. But when Seraphina discovers Adam’s future depends on the man she’s about to destroy, she must decide what to protect… her desire for justice, or her heart.

I had such high hopes for The Rakess as soon as I saw the title, blurb, AND cover. I mean, just look at that gorgeous, old-school vibes cover! And a female rake heroine? YES, please. I’m all for heroines in historical romances (and romances in general) who are feminist and love sex. I was also excited to be reading my very first Scarlett Peckham book – her historical romances have been on my radar since so many have raved about them. And while the concept of The Rakess is great and exactly up my alley, I had a tough time… reading it. The first half was so boring, it was a struggle to get through. The second half did get a lot better, but I’m so sad this book didn’t live up to my expectations.

Seraphina is as liberal, radical, and scandalous as you can imagine a woman who is feminist, fights for women’s rights, and has lovers and affairs left and right in the 19th century. And I truly loved her for all of that. She’s on a quest to help women in need, while also taking down the powerful man who ruined and smeared her reputation. While in the countryside to write her exposé, she meets Adam Anderson, a gorgeous, Scottish single father she’d love nothing more to spend her nights with. Instead, this rakess falls for him and his two young children.

The idea behind The Rakess is fantastic. It just wasn’t executed well enough for me. There was barely any romance until 60% of the way through the book. The hero is an absolute Nice Guy and while I loved the gender flipping of the rake into a rakess, I never grew to love Seraphina’s character. She spends most of the story drinking/drunk and barely contributing to the romance. I wouldn’t have minded that if she were focusing on the feminist movement instead of the romance, but that also doesn’t progress until halfway through the book. It’s only in the last 40% did I get the kind of story I was expecting when I went into The Rakess, and the book became so much more enjoyable.

Despite not fully loving The Rakess, I’m still very much looking forward to the other books in the series. We have two of Seraphina’s friends who will be getting their romances, who are just as scandalous as this heroine, and I can’t wait to see how they will turn out. Plus, I did enjoy Scarlett Peckham’s writing – hopefully I’ll enjoy her other series more than this book.



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Early Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Ravenels #6 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 18th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

​Everything has a price . . .

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her . . .

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun . . .

I’ve been on such a Lisa Kleypas roll lately. First, I read Again the Magic and it blew my mind. Then, of course, after I read that I HAD to read Marcus’ book, It Happened One Autumn. Next I ended up rereading Devil in Winter and then finally read the final Wallflowers book for the first time. I made it halfway through before the ARC of Chasing Cassandra landed on my kindle and I had to drop everything to start it.

I absolutely adore the Ravenels series – not quite as much as the Hathaways when it comes to family sagas from LK, but I love it nonetheless. With Chasing Cassandra we get the last and final Ravenel family member getting her HEA with a man who will do anything to have her. Tom Severin has been mentioned in a few previous books as the friend of West and Winterborne. He’s made a fortune for himself as a railroad mogul – in this case, he reminded me so much of Winterborne with his rags to riches story, and also Harry Rutledge from Tempt Me At Twilight. Both Tom and Harry are obsessed with their heroines right from the get-go, worshipping them and willing to do anything to have them. Tom also does not believe in love, thinking that he’s incapable of feeling it or of receiving it. But meeting Cassandra changes everything for him. Not only does he desperately want her for his wife, he’s feeling new emotions like *gasp* love for the very first time.

“Perfection is impossible. Most mathematical truths can’t be proved. The vast majority of mathematical relations can’t be known. But you… standing here in your bare feet in that dress… you’re perfect.””

I LOVED getting to know Tom and Cassandra. Tom first comes across as very robotic – logical, cold, ruthless, and unemotional. But with each tender interaction he has with Cassandra, we see him opening his heart to not just her but the whole Ravenel family, which made MY heart so incredibly happy. I loved seeing his character develop in such a lovely way. Cassandra is the Ravenel that we honestly saw the least of. I didn’t know much about her other than the fact that she was Pandora’s twin. But the more I read of her, the more I loved her character too. She’s such a sweet and headstrong young woman. All she wants is to find love and have a family of her own, basically the complete opposite of her sister, but that’s okay too. She knows she’s found a once-in-a-lifetime with Tom and she’s not willing to accept anything but his whole heart.

“Nothing has been exciting or satisfying for years. With you, though, everything is new. All I want is to be with you.”

The blurb hints that this is a marriage of convenience, and while there is one, the story doesn’t really revolve around that and it doesn’t happen until much later in the book. Mostly, it’s Tom being ridiculously loving and tender to Cassandra without him even realizing it. I was SWOONING over all the heart-stopping things he says. Their chemistry is fantastic. I just loved their developing relationship so, so much!

When I finished this book, I honestly didn’t even realize it was the final book until I started writing this review. Now I’m feeling bittersweet. While I would’ve loved an epilogue to wrap up the Ravenel family, I still was happy with how CC ended. It’s an emotional, heartwarming book that you don’t want to miss if you love Lisa Kleypas. All I can say now is PLEASE give us a new family series to obsess over (like the Marsden children)!


Reading Order: Ravenel series


#1 ~ Cold-Hearted Rake: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Marrying Winterborne: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Devil in Spring: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Hello Stranger: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Devil’s Daughter: My ReviewEbook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Chasing Cassandra: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Feb. 18, 2020)


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Blog Tour // Review: Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long

Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 29th 2019
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From USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long comes the second book in an exciting new historical romance series, the first since her beloved Pennyroyal Green series.

He has devil’s blood in his veins. At least, that’s always been the legend. How else could the Duke of Brexford’s notorious bastard son return from the dead? The brutal decade since Lucien Durand, Lord Bolt, allegedly drowned in the Thames forged him into a man who always gets what—and who—he wants. And what he wants is vengeance for his stolen birthright . . . and one wild night in Angelique Breedlove’s bed.

Angelique recognizes heartbreak when the enigmatic Lord Bolt walks into The Grand Palace on the Thames, and not even his devastating charm can tempt her to risk her own ever again. One scorching kiss drives home the danger.

But in the space between them springs a trust that feels anything but safe. And the passion—explosive, consuming—drives Lucien to his knees. Now his whole life depends on proving his love to a woman who doesn’t believe in it . . . because his true birthright, he now knows, is guardian of Angelique Breedlove’s heart.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunesIndieBound

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I was initially excited to read Angel in a Devil’s Arms when I realized the heroine would be a character I met in the first Palace of Rogues book, Angelique! She was the mistress of the heroine’s late husband in Lady Derringer Takes a Lover and I loved the friendship development between the two ladies in that book. They bond together and run an inn, which is the main setting for this follow-up novel. I’d say if you haven’t read the first book, you can go into this one as a standalone.

Lucien is the bastard son of a Duke and a black mark on the family. After his father married, he turned to ignore Lucien and his mother, focusing on his new wife instead. This leads to Lucien acting out and stirring scandal and gossip for the Duke’s family. In this way, Lucien’s character is similar to Angelique’s. Both have shameful pasts they want to move on from, and they help and lean on each other to do so.

I liked Angelique and Lucien, but I never really fell in love with them or their story. I struggled with this book the same way I struggled with the first – Julie Anne Long’s writing/storytelling is just too wordy and slow for my taste. It took a while for me to become interested in the story, which wasn’t all that exciting given Lucien’s revenge plot.

I wish I could’ve loved this more, but I think if you’re a fan of JAL’s style of writing, you’d have less problems with it than I did. There is going to be a third book but I’m not eagerly awaiting it like I was when I finished the first book.


lacey

Reading Order: The Palace of Rogues series

#1 ~ Lady Derring Takes a Lover: My ReviewEbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Angel in a Devil’s Arms: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

about the author button

USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up (and she has the guitars and fringed clothing stuffed in the back of her closet to prove it), but writing was always her first love. Since hanging up her guitar for the computer keyboard, her books frequently top reader and critic polls and have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Rita, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and The Quills, and reviewers have been known to use words like “dazzling,” “brilliant,” and “impossible to put down” when describing them. Julie lives in Northern California.

Website • Twitter • FacebookGoodreads


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