All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Mini Reviews {4}: What I’ve Been Reading Lately

on July 30, 2018

The library is a godsend when you’re on a book-buying ban. I have to admit, I haven’t utilised mine much lately – I’ve had more than enough books to keep me occupied, between ones I receive for review and ones I’ve bought. After all I do still have basically 2 entire bookcases that are my unread pile – and god knows how many on my iPad from various Amazon and iBooks sales! But I’ve been wanting to read a few specific books lately and so I decided to head back to the library.

The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1)
Tessa Dare
2017, 370p
Read from my local library

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

I really love Tessa Dare’s books! They’re the perfect blend of fun, lighthearted historical romance but also that angstyness that gives you the feels! And this one is so ‘me’ – a grumpy, reclusive, scarred hero! This is like a take on Beauty and the Beast – the Duke of Ashbury was severely wounded in the war and he knows that the delicate little misses of the Ton won’t be able to stomach him as a husband. When Emma Gladstone, a seamstress, demands payment for a wedding dress she made (and walks into his library wearing it), Ashbury thinks that he has a solution to all of his problems. As a Duke, he needs an heir. And Emma, well he has privilege and money to offer her, a comfortable life where she need not work her hands to the bone to survive.

I really liked Ashbury and Emma – especially Emma. She’s so clever and quick and she’s perfect in the way that she handles Ashbury, cutting him down from that stuffy distancing he does, believing himself to be too hideous for words since his wounding. She teases him mercilessly, using funny little pet names for him. I thought the stuff with the servants was hilarious as well. I like sassy servants and the way that they intervene and plot felt so interesting, just a little twist on being discreetly in the background. I liked that Ashbury wasn’t intimidating – not really. There were times when he sort of tried to be but Emma never really took any notice of him. She was uninterested in the fact that he was a Duke, making her a Duchess other than it would mean security. She actually looks at Ashbury and sees what’s underneath, beyond the scars, beyond his somewhat brusque and difficult manner.

I read this in an afternoon – it’s the sort of book that I could see myself rereading, becoming a comfort read. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series now. The group of friends Emma finds are so interesting and I’m sure they’ll make for great books when they each meet their own Duke.


Book #124 of 2018

Wicked And The Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards #1)
Sarah MacLean
2018, 396p
Read from my local library

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

When Wicked Comes Calling…

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain…

Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion…

But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he’s ever wanted…and the only thing he’s ever desired.

So if you’ve read Sarah MacLean’s The Day of The Duchess then you know who Felicity Faircloth is. Once a glittering debutante, a few scandals and the like mean that she’s cut by her former friends and known as ‘Finished Felicity’. With the arrival in society of a mysterious Duke, Felicity’s mother is desperate to try and make a match. Felicity however, is more interested in the stranger that appears and tells her how he will help her win the Duke. For the man known as Devil, Felicity is supposed to be a means to an end, a way to destroy someone who tried to destroy him….but for Devil, Felicity is also nothing but temptation, a reminder of everything he wants and cannot have.

The bastard son of a Duke and the daughter of a Marquess, sister of an Earl, don’t belong together. But when Felicity decides she’d rather have Devil than the Duke he’s pushing her towards, things get….complicated. There’s an awful lot more going on than Felicity understands in this game between the man called Devil, King of Covent Garden and the mysterious and reclusive Duke. The tangled relationships are fascinating and I have a feeling that the third book in this series is going to be devastating (in a good way). This sows the seeds and it’s incredibly interesting. Redemption is something that MacLean does ridiculously well.

But back to this one. I thought there was some really great witty dialogue between Felicity and Devil (Devon). Felicity is not a shrinking violet – she’s a bit older (27), she’s been around a while, she’s not really intimidated by much and perhaps because of her age, her parents don’t really seem to keep an eye on her all that much. She’s able to make her way around to most places unchaperoned. She’s not afraid to admit that she wants more – not just to be a pretty asset to a titled, wealthy man. She wants passion, she wants to be wanted. And while it seems that Devil can promise her the Duke’s offer, he himself is the one that wants her the way she desires.

Devil was a nice change as a hero – he’s rough, he’s definitely involved in questionable activities and he has a formidable reputation. He and his brother Whit are so interesting (and so is their sister, definitely dying to know more about her backstory) and this was just delightfully escapist fun. I enjoyed the ending, which is a bit of a turning upside down of a damsel in need of rescue trope and it goes to show that Felicity can fit into the life she wants to choose, despite Devil’s reservations. He has some good inner angst about not being good enough for her (perhaps not being good enough for anyone). Despite the fact that his father was a Duke, his illegitimacy is all people will see, no matter how rich and well turned out he is. Felicity comes from a good family, an excellent family (albeit one that has made some stupid decisions) and he thinks she deserves a better life than the one he could give her. I would’ve liked to see Felicity’s family’s reactions to a match with Devil. They were willing to sacrifice her for their own gains, relying on her to make a ‘good’ match to fix their mistakes. How far would that desire go? Would her Marquess father be okay with her marrying someone incredibly rich, but not from society? Would there be any angst or would the fact that Felicity was happy be enough? I would’ve liked to see this properly addressed.

But I still really enjoyed this -it was a great story on its own and it also did an amazing job of setting up future stories. I’m keen to learn more about Whit and then of course there’s the third book. If that’s done right, it’ll be phenomenal.


Book #125 of 2018

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