Wednesday, 10 October 2018

[Review] The Duke I Once Knew, by Olivia Drake

Title The Duke I Once Knew
Series: Unlikely Duchesses #1
Author: Olivia Drake
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Number of pages: 336
Publication date: December 31st 2018

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First love is always the sweetest.

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her aging parents and the children of her siblings. Now, eager to make her own life, she takes a position as governess on the neighboring estate. It shouldn’t matter that her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the infamous rake who once broke her youthful heart. Surely he’s forgotten her, for he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years. At least, that is, until he arrives unexpectedly.

Max is incensed to meet his sister’s new governess. But why does Abby appear just as displeased to see him when it was she who’d rejected him all those years ago? Why is he so drawn to the independent spinster she has become? And why is there a sparkle in her beautiful blue eyes that suggests they might have a second chance at love?

I received an eARC at no cost from the author, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you.

So… I’m not the biggest fan of the second chance trope, but this book handled it well. I really enjoyed how the author turned it around, maybe because the thing that had separated the couple the first was handled… well, not right away, but almost. Which meant they didn’t really had much stopping them from getting back together.

Abigail reminded me of… me, in a way. And I liked how she finally took the reins of her life and started making her own decisions. Go Abby! You can’t let your family make all the decisions – especially if they’re bad for you.

Max, on the other hand, is our typical moody, secret-y hero. Because talking never helped anyone, right? Abigail is good for him. She tries to keep her distance, but she really likes her new job as Max’s sister’s governess, so it’s hard to be away from him for a long time.

The love they once shared is still there, even if different, since they are now changed people.

I just didn’t like that Max didn’t really consider his sister – he always says he’s worried about her, and cares for her, but he rarely sees her, and then takes a group of strangers – with bad reputations – to his house, where his sister lives. The excuse he uses is okay in the beginning, but… it wasn’t credible enough for me.

Apart from that, I enjoyed this book, it was romantic and sweet, I just wished it had a more developed plot.

Monday, 1 October 2018

[Review] Kiss Me at Christmas, by Valerie Bowman

Title Kiss Me at Christmas
Series: Playful Brides #10
Author: Valerie Bowman
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Number of pages: 299
Publication date: October 30th 2018

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A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe...

Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman...

Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?

I received an eARC at no cost from the author, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you.

I have to admit first and foremost, I love Christmas stories. So, just for that it gains a few points. Not that it needed the extra points – it’s a great story on its own.

Daffin Oakleaf is a Bow Street Runner, which makes him a bit of an unconventional hero. I loved learning about his past, who he really is, and why he abhorred Christmas. He’s a good man, with a troubled past, which does not stop him from helping others – on the contrary. That’s how he met Regina, in a previous book (which I have not yet read).

Regina wants to do something for herself, and since she liked Daffin, she decides he is the one to whom she will lose her virginity – if he’ll take her. Regina is strong willed, amazing woman who respects herself. And her uncle has chosen a man whom she is to marry (a bad choice, of course), so decides she deserves at least a little adventure – and to be cherished before that happens. And since sparks had flown with Daffin in a previous book, he was the one.

And even when her proposal doesn’t really work, it’s okay. Because it allows us to see their romance build up, becoming more than just a fling. All in a Christmas ambience.

It does have some mystery and an action-driven plot, so it’s a book that will make you want to discover what is happening as soon as possible, so it will be hard to put it down.

I really enjoyed this book full of romance and action. Definitely a recommendation for all lovers of romances.