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Monday, August 27, 2018

Historical Romance Triple Threat: Sarah MacLean, Tessa Dare & Caroline Linden

WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER

by Sarah MacLean
Series: Barenuckle Bastards #1
Genres: Historical, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: June 19th 2018
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷
Amazon - The Book Depository

I am very picky about the historical romance novels that I pick but Sarah MacLean happens to be one of my auto-read author in the genre. She always writes compelling romances that draw me in from the beginning. Wicked and the Wallflower was a book I couldn't wait to read so as soon as it was in my hands, I dove into the book, only to find that I was having a hard time. I set the book aside at the time and only picked it up again recently because of Becky's review. The second time around, I  had a much more pleasant experience reading Wicked and the Wallflower. It's still not a favorite from MacLean though. I was intrigued by the setup of a wallflower falling in love with a devilish king of London's dark street. I mean everything about that premise just appealed to me! One of the issues I faced while I read this book was my inability to connect with the characters. I liked Felicity - I thought she was a sweetheart who truly bloomed and became the best version of herself during the book - but I also didn't find her to be particularly memorable. I was also sure that I would LOVE Devil (I really did hate his name though), but even he was very lackluster even with his angsty past, in my opinion. We are told about how he is this dark and broody character, but we hardly ever see that side of his personality. For a "king of London's dark streets", he was rather dull. The guy also constantly called the heroine by her full name after every sentence he uttered to her and that drove me batty! I also felt like Wicked and the Wallflower was unnecessarily long. I don't mind romance novels that are lengthy, but this book was very repetitive. As far as the romance went, it was sweet and I thought the chemistry between Devil and Felicity was a strong presence throughout the book. What kept pushing me through the pages of this book was the siblings' interactions between Devil and his brother and sister. I was also very curious about the villain (future anti-hero?) here. I have my fingers crossed that he is getting a book too because there was a lot of history there that I hope MacLean delves further into. Sarah MacLean is undeniably a very strong writer, but I don't think this so-called darker tone that she explored here was executed all that well. That being said, I will still read everything and anything by her, so I will definitely continue on with this series in the hopes that it gets better.




THE GOVERNESS GAME

by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Genres: Historical, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 28th 2018
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷

I don't think Tessa Dare is even capable of writing a bad book. Every book of hers has just blown my mind away and I always feel like it is absolute torture having to wait for a new book from her. That's how much I love her books. The Governess Game was another hit from Tessa Dare. It had her signature charm, a smart heroine, and a swoony boy. Alexandra, the heroine of The Governess Game and stealer of my heart, was undeniably the best part of this book. What a delight she was! You can't help but love her with every fiber of your being. She was smart, bookish and had a passion for repairing clocks and astronomy. Despite the shoddy childhood she had, Alex was the sort of person who lived life to the fullest and took advantage of every opportunity that came her way. I loved that she was outspoken and refused to let people walk all over her. Trust me when I say that you are absolutely going to root for her and her happiness. When Alex stumbles (figuratively) on Chase's doorstep and somehow lands a job as the governess to his two wards, her life changes forever. Chase, as with Tessa's heroes, was scrumptious. He was a little broody, a little sarcastic and a lot appealing. He too had grown up with a rough childhood so he was rather mistrusting when it came to love. Of course, the cute governess somehow found a way to worm herself in his heart and he has no idea how to deal with all the new budding emotions. The romance was lovely and had me melting! Tessa Dare truly does write some of the best romances I have ever read! I did wish there was a little bit more steam because I found the synopsis tagline, "He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson", to be quite the promising salacious tease, so I was expecting just a few more sexy times scenes! The romance and the characters weren't the only gorgeous part of The Governess Game. Chase's wards, Daisy and Rosamund, were the most precious little human beings ever with such colorful personalities - little Daisy's obsession with diseases and doll funerals had me cackling. They formed an unbreakable bond with Alex who understood them on a deep level and it was so endearing to watch them interact. The Governess Game was also chock full of humor that had me laughing constantly throughout the book. This book truly was the whole package! Now to wait for the next book in the series .... How does one fast-forward time? I'm asking for a friend! ;)



AN EARL LIKE YOU 

by Caroline Linden
Series: The Wagers of Sin #2
Genres: Historical, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 28th 2018
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷

What a pleasant surprise this book was! After the tiny teasers of this couple in the first book, I knew that An Earl Like You would be a treat for me. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I liked what Caroline Linden did with the book here. When Hugh discovers that his newly inherited earldom is bankrupt, he rashly agrees to a secret wager with a wealthy tradesman to woo and marry his daughter, Eliza. Desperate, he finds himself flirting and courting Eliza, only to slowly fall for her himself. I was so ready for all the angst and groveling that this book seemed to promise, and it was written far better than I could have imagined. Initially, I was sure that I would hold a grudge against Hugh for misleading poor Eliza, but he surprised me with his kindness and love towards her. He may have been forced to marry her, but his feelings for her were real and palpable throughout An Earl Like You. His utmost loyalty to his mother and his sister's and his willingness to ensure that they never felt like his family was broke made him an easy character to warm up to. The star of An Earl Like You was Eliza. She absolutely stole my heart. She was an attentive, caring and kind young woman, albeit a little innocent. She was happy living with her father and her goofball of a dog, Willy, she had taken under her care. Every scene she was in simply made me fall for her character harder. She went out of her way to help others and truly, her personality was such a bright light in this book. To be honest, I was dreading when Eliza would find out about the deal her father and Hugh had made, but she handled it all wonderfully. The romance was the perfect balance of sweet and steamy. As they got to know each other better, the bond between Eliza and Hugh only grew stronger. This was one of the best romances I've read in a long time. I also have to talk briefly about Eliza's father, who was an utter scoundrel for using Hugh's unfortunate situation like that, but who clearly loved his daughter more than anything. His methods may not have been all that rosy, but his intentions were nothing but pure. I found him to be such an entertaining character and I wanted to learn so much more about him. An Earl Like You was an exceptional historical romance and Caroline Linden has really outdone herself with it. I hope the next book in this series will be just as good!

What are some recent historical romance novels that you loved?
Let me know in the comments below!

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