Book Review: The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare

Rating: 5 Stars
 

Published August 22nd 2017 by Avon
Summary: 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...

(from Goodreads)


Review: Today I have a *special treat* for y'all - Ariel is joining me for a guest review of the first book in Tessa Dare's new Girl Meets Duke series, The Duchess Deal. This is my first ever joint review, so we'll see how that goes, haha. I'll try to be a tad more organized than I normally am in my reviews.

For starters, let’s talk world building, tone, style, and all that jazz.


Elley: The setting is Mayfair in London during the Regency period. I love the backstories for both Emma and Ash, and Tessa Dare always right such delightful, witty, fun romances. Once I got going with this book I had a really hard time putting it down.
Ariel: Tessa Dare did a great job in this one of creating a wonderful atmosphere, both in Ash’s residence, and the way she held to the distinction of different class systems without making any of the characters snobbish or jerks about anything. I always do appreciate a sassy butler too, which Ash certainly had. Someone give that butler his own book! Make him a recurring character

OK, now for the good stuff: let's talk main characters and their love story!

Elley: I love me a damaged man with a heart of gold. While other girls were dreaming of Prince Charming and pretending to be Cinderella, I was watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame and swooning over Quasimodo. I also preferred the Beast over his transformation into Prince Adam. So obviously I fell immediately head over heels for Ash.
Ariel: When I initially read the description, I was concerned that Ash would be kind of a brooding alpha-hole, or that he would be so bogged down in his personal woes that he wouldn’t have any other personality. But it turns out I LOVED his personality! He maintained a great rapport with Emma, had the right amount of brood without getting over the top. I appreciated Emma’s spunk, and her ability to stand up for herself.
Elley: Oh my gosh, I loved Emma! I like that she’s so sexually free in a time when women were supposed to just lie there and let their husband do his thing. Yeah, baby! And yeah, she’s definitely got gumption. Can you imagine striding into the residence of a duke wearing a dress that looks like a unicorn vomited on it and demanding to be paid? You go girl.
Ariel: I feel like in Regency romance there is a fine line between delicate flower and wanton lady, and Emma manages to walk that line very nicely.

What about those side characters?

Elley: OK, I *loved* Ash's little sidekick, what did he call himself again?
Ariel: I don’t remember but he definitely should get his own book. Or at least keep showing up and being adorable. I couldn’t totally place his age. Is he old enough to end up with one of the friends? I am 100% here for that.
Elley: I felt like he was more like 11 or 12 or something. But he definitely needs to come back around in future books! I also really liked Ash's servants. I feel like you can tell a lot about a person from how they treat "the help." Today that might look like how they treat their waiter or speak to a cashier, and if someone talks to people in the service industry like they're trash they're most likely not a keeper. I think the way Ash's servants interact with him (especially his butler!!) says a lot about his hidden heart of gold.
Ariel: The only thing that bugged me was the “the servants are conspiring to hook us up” plotline, and the weird maid whose only function was to act like an awkward matchmaker. That seemed a bit forced. But I absolutely loved the butler, and how he was Captain Sass all the time at Ash. I would love to hear more about him.
Elley: It’s cute how much they care about their master and want him to be happy and fall in love! OK, yeah, a lot of the matchmaking plotline was weird and out of place. But that BUTLER! I also really loved Emma’s circle of strange friends, and I imagine the rest of the books in the series will be about them. Talk about some quirky leading ladies!!
Ariel: I am 100% here for every single quirky book about this friend group, and I hope our favorite masked bandit makes an appearance in all of them.

Overall rating/thoughts?

Elley: I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down once I got started reading it. I give it 5 stars, and can’t wait to read the next books in the series!
Ariel: I gave it 5 stars for the same reason. It didn’t get bogged down in gloom, the characters were wonderful, and as always, Tessa Dare’s writing was top notch. More books now please!

Book Review: Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising #1) by John Ringo

Rating: 5 Stars

Published June 24th 2014 by Baen (first published August 15th 2013)            
Summary: A family of survivors who fight back against a zombie plague that has brought down civilization. Zombies are real. And we made them. Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? The Smith family is, with the help of a few Marines.

When an airborne “zombie” plague is released, bringing civilization to a grinding halt, the Smith family, Steven, Stacey, Sophia and Faith, take to the Atlantic to avoid the chaos. The plan is to find a safe haven from the anarchy of infected humanity. What they discover, instead, is a sea composed of the tears of survivors and a passion for bringing hope.

For it is up to the Smiths and a small band of Marines to somehow create the refuge that survivors seek in a world of darkness and terror. Now with every continent a holocaust and every ship an abattoir, life is lived beneath a graveyard sky.

(from Goodreads)
 

Review: Some people choose to read books because of the cover. I picked this one up because at first glance I thought she's an elf on the cover (she's not). I ended up buying it because the pages felt nice. Yup, that's me. Bought a book because I liked the way the pages felt. ...I am such a weird booknerd.

You know in Disney's Aladdin when he's trying to describe how amazing Jasmine Is? That's me with this book.


Where do I even start? OK, so this is a zombie apocalypse novel. I am NOT a gore kinda gal, so I don't partake in much zombie media, though I'm super intrigued by the concept. I love that the focus of this book is more on the science behind and progression of the "Pacific Flu" (as they call it) rather than being all horror/gore/gross-I-can't-read-this. The science was believable (to my little unscientific brain, anyway) without being too confusing - I felt I could actually follow it and it made sense. (Maybe it's totally bogus to someone who actually knows anything about epidemiology and microbiology and all that jazz, but it sounded good to me.) The book starts out with Steve Smith getting a text from his highly-placed security task force brother that there is an apocalyptic event happening. Steve is a total survivalist weirdo and his family has trained for this, which is lucky for humanity because without the Smith family there would likely be a lot less chance for mankind. I'm just sayin'. I also really enjoyed the socio-political aspect of this book. Who is in charge when all our previous structures have gone to pot (or "in the dunny," as our Aussie-born friend Steve would say)? On whose authority? It's interesting to see Steve figure out how to lead with his mix of expert and eventually referent power, and to watch the different types of leaders and types of power at play.

The characters in this book are amazing. The central focus is pretty much the Smith family, Steve and his wife Stacey and their two daughters, Sophie (15) and Faith (13). Sophie is the more science-minded daughter, and Faith is SUPER pumped at the prospect of kicking some zombie ass in the impending zombie apocalypse. Oh man, Faith. Here are some of the quotes about Faith:

“The United States started to go downhill when it changed from a round designed to kill the enemies of our glorious republic to one designed to piss them off," Faith said, shooting a zombie five times, then walking up and shooting the still-thrashing infected in the head. “Seriously, just die, okay?”
“Seriously, it’s legal to marry at fourteen in Arkansas.”
“Fine,” Faith said, double tapping a zombie that had reared up out of the darkness. “If we clear Arkansas by the time I’m fourteen we’ll talk.”
-- 
Bradburn waved a finger at the periscope repeater.
"COB."
"Sir?"
"Remind me never to piss that young lady off."
"Yes, sir."
-- 
"She's more worried about losing a sub than her own life," Galloway said. "I am going to cover that girl in medals. So help me God."


I was a little weirded out about all the talk about Sophie (15) and Faith (13) in a quasi-sexual light. Like, at one point Steve talks about trusting his daughters around all these grown-ass men. I know Faith is a total bad-ass, but she is 13! Ew. That being said, I can see why all these Marine bad-ass dudes are quasi in love with her - she is BAMF. I was going to post some of my favorite quotes here, but realized in short order than I was basically just typing out the whole book. So yes, just go read this. It was a little confusing at first with the shifting focus all over the place, but solidifies within a few chapters.

This is the first book in the Black Tide Rising series. There are a total of 4 books, all of which are published. I immediately went and bought the second book, To Sail a Darkling Sea, and I probably should have just caved and bought the rest of the series at the same time. If it were possible to rate a book more than 5 stars, this would get it.

100+ followers!!!

You guys! This blog just passed the 100 followers mark!!
 
 
 
Thanks so much for all the follows. I honestly didn't think anyone would actually read this blog when I started writing it, haha. I promise once we make the next big milestone, we'll have a big party and some giveaways and all that fun stuff. What should it be? Let's say... 250 followers? ;)
 
 
Thanks for hanging out and talking books with me, y'all!
 

Book Review: Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey

Rating: 4 Stars

Published June 2nd 2011 by Orbit
Summary: Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

(from Goodreads)

 
Review: When I started this book I could NOT stop listening. The prologue opens with a hook and I HAD to find out whatever happened to Julie. I appreciated that the story bounced back and forth from following Detective Miller for a space of time and then switching to following Holden and his crew. You got to see into their heads and their different points of view coming from very different backgrounds, which was cool. It was also interesting to see the different pieces of the puzzle fitting together, and exciting once their separate storylines finally converge.

While starting out with a bang, for some reason about 3/4 of the way through I just got tired of this book. And then I'm looking at how many books are left in the series (5 more already published, and 3 more slated to be published in the next couple of years, not counting the 1.5 type inbetweener novellas) and I was left going "Eghhhhh... Do I HAVE to finish this?" I'm glad I plugged through, because the last hour or so picked back up again. I don't feel any need to read the rest of the series, though, and feel like this first book of the series can stand alone with the way it ends and not FORCE you to read the rest of the series - specifically, no cliff-hanger ending but instead wrapped up nicely enough that it can be left alone with enough open-endedness to segway into the rest of the series should you so choose.

I listened to the Audible version narrated by Jefferson Mays, who did a great job narrating. I could tell which character was talking, and he managed to do a credible female sounding/feeling voice for the female characters that wasn't high/squeaky/awful like I've found a lot of men do.

Book Review: New Heights by Quinn Anderson


Rating: 4 Stars

Expected publication: March 12th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Summary:
After attending a friend’s wedding in New York, James Thompson is eager to go home, even though no one will be waiting for him at the gate. He has no expectations for his trip back to Charleston other than long lines, security, and bad airplane food. But when an annoying—albeit hot—stranger cuts him in line, James is determined not to be a pushover for once.

For Mika “It’s Mee-kuh, not Micah” Bailey, today’s just another day of boring work travel. That is, until his flight gets delayed, and some irritating (but handsome) guy keeps hogging all the good power outlets. Which means war. In the middle of an airport. In New York. What could go wrong?

Eventually, they declare a truce, and as they get to know each other, their attraction overwhelms them both. Terrified of what he’s feeling, Mika suggests a no-strings hookup, but serial-monogamist James wants more. If they don’t fight for what’s right in front of them, their romance might be canceled before it ever takes off.

(from Goodreads)


Review: This is a cute romance about two totally opposite (or are they?) guys who are both stuck in an airport in New York City waiting for their delayed flight. Everyone is pretty dang crabby to be stuck there, as you can imagine, and hilarity ensues. I love the opposites attract element to this story (with a dash of enemies to lovers), while at the same time James and Mika aren't opposites so much as two differently shaped puzzle pieces that fit together. (I definitely think James is an edge piece...) Their bumps and misunderstandings feel authentic, and while this definitely has a big dollop of insta-love to it, having both characters acknowledge how bizarre and crazy their immediate attraction is helps me be a little more ok with that. I love that Mika brings out the sass and strength in James, and in turn James helps ground Mika. They're just so great together.

This was a really quick read, I'm not sure if that's because it's actually short or if it's just because I refused to put it down until I'd read the whole thing.


*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and Riptide Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: The Young Master's Revenge Vol 1 by Meca Tanaka

Rating: 4 Stars

Expected publication: March 6th 2018 by VIZ Media LLC
Summary: Love's revenge can be sweet.
When Leo was a young boy, he had his pride torn to shreds by Tenma, a girl from a wealthy background who was always getting him into trouble. Now, years after his father's successful clothing business has made him the heir to a fortune, he searches out Tenma to enact a dastardly plan--he'll get his revenge by making her fall in love with him!

(from Goodreads)


Review: Poor Leo. He just wants to get his revenge on the girl who made his life a living hell 10 years ago, and people keep getting in his way. I love that he went out of his way to develop this super suave ladies man personality just so he can get Tenma to fall in love with him - so he can reject her and break her heart! That's a lot of effort, and I always say hate and love are two sides of the same coin... I'll be interested to see how their relationship develops.

Discussion: Instagram/Bookstagram

I just recently started a "Bookstagram." I never really understood the point of Instagram before - who wants to look at a bunch of artsy pictures of people's food? Then I found out that there's a whole community of people who post picture of BOOKS on there, and BOY HOWDY, I reactivated my account in a snap!

I've read a lot of great how-to type of posts by Paper Fury, including this one about how to photograph ebooks, that have been so valuable. Her photos are always so beautiful! (And I am so jealous of her very rainbow-iffic bookshelves!) Do you know of any other blogs, how to's, or tools to help the beginning Bookstagrammer? I'd love to hear about them!

I'm still developing my style and aesthetic. Here are a couple of my first tries at bookstagramming. What do you think? I think I'm slooooowly getting better. The top left photo is of my Kindle Oasis and I used Paper Fury's how to on photographing ebooks to insert the cover into my photo! :) I read so many egalleys, it's great to have an option to photograph them!!



What do you think of Instagram? Are you more excited about the Bookstagram side of it? Are there particular accounts you follow that really inspire you?

I'd love if you'd leave a link to your own Bookstagram (if you have one) in the comments so I can check it out! :) Here's the link to my Insta if you want to check me out, too. :)

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon (The Embraced #3) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Rating: 4 Stars
 

Expected publication: March 27th 2018 by St Martins Press
Summary: Gwennore has a talent. An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people. But when the kidnapping of a young girl thrusts Gwennore into the very heart of the realm of the dragons, she discovers not only a place of power and magic, but also a haunted land, plagued by an ancient curse that all but ensures extinction to the royal family. But when she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, they strike a bargain—save the country from its cursed illness, and he will return the kidnapped girl. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon, but never did making a deal with the devil feel so good…

Silas has no way of curing the family he’s loyally served for years. But when a beautiful elf, long considered the enemy of the dragons, comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to passion and desire in a way he’s never felt before. But can he trust a sworn enemy to save the very existence he holds dear? And can their love survive those that threaten to tear them apart?
(from Goodreads)


Review: This is outside my normal romance genres I typically read, and I had a hard time figuring out which tags to use. Paranormal romance? Supernatural powers? Usually when I use these tags they're in more of a contemporary fiction kind of setting, not a medieval-ish fantasy, but at the same time they sort of fit? The tags I am sure of are romance, fantasy, and dragons!

The world building is really interesting, with people born on one of the two lunar eclipses each year being granted special powers. It makes for a very eclectic cast of characters, as everyone has a different sort of power. It's also got shifters and dragons and a war with the elves. What's not to love?

Gwennore, our leading lady, has the ability to touch a person on one of their pulse points and get a reading for their state of health, and is able to know what, if anything, is wrong with them. It bugs me that the blurb for this book describes her as "An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people." Her power is sensing the illness, and she's learned about herbs and things to heal but she doesn't have healing powers.

I really enjoyed Silas, aka General Gorgeous. Some of the things he said had me laughing out loud, especially in his banter with Gwen. ("Rejected again.") I love me a tall, dark and handsome man who is strong with a sense of humor.

This is the third book in The Embraced series and it can be read as a stand alone... sort of. Let me clarify: There are five adopted/foster sisters, and each book focuses on one of the sisters and her love interest. The romantic plot as well as the plot involving the sister in question's love interest is resolved within the book, but there is also a larger overarching plot that reaching across the books. I read this book without reading the first two in the series and enjoyed it, but I think I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd read books one and two first. There is enough backstory given that you can put it together and the story works, but it would be better with all the pieces. There are also DEFINITELY spoilers for the first two books. I'm going to suggest you read this series in order if you can (and if the plots for the first two books look interesting to you!) If for some reason you only read romances about dragons, you can sure read this as a stand alone and skip the first two books. 
  

Can't Wait Wednesday: Anonymous Noise Vol 7 by Ryoko Fukuyama

Time for another episode of Can't Wait Wednesday, sponsored by Wishful Endings!
 
The book I can't wait for this week is actually a comic book! The 7th volume of the manga Anonymous Noise.
 

 

Summary: Nino takes the stage at the school festival, ready to deliver the message held fast in her heart. Both Yuzu and Momo have composed songs for her, but which piece of music will be the one to awaken her? Meanwhile, Kuro’s secret feelings seem to have reached a turning point as well… And is In No Hurry finally ready to take things to the next level professionally?
(from Goodreads)
 










I recently checked out the first 6 volumes from the library and devoured them all in one gulp! I can't wait to read this next installment and find out what happens next. I'll likely post a review for volumes 1-6 all in one big review here sometime soonish (because I read them back to back and now couldn't tell you what happened in which volume to save my own life...) and look forward to sharing Volume 7 with you as well!

How about you? Is there a book (or comic book!) you're particularly looking forward to right now?

Guest Post! Peekaboo's Corner: Reading Anxiety

It's time for another guest post from our lovely friend Peekaboo. Enjoy! :)


Hi-ho, Peekabo here, for another edition of Peekabo's Corner. I saved you a seat by the fire. Grab your yummy beverage of choice, and let’s get chatting.

As a librarian and a book lover, I spend not only a lot of my personal time around books, but a lot of professional time as well. Is it as awesome as it sounds? Absolutely. I love my job. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. One perk is I get the downlow on all the new books that are being published often six months before they come out. The downside to that though, is I am constantly bombared with amazing, awesome new books I want to read, and there are only 24 hours in a day. (And no, I don’t get to read on the job. Sadly.)

Did you know that over a million new books get published each year now? That’s A LOT OF BOOKS, GUYS. My TBR pile on GoodReads is nearly 3,000, and that’s only because I’ve been doing heavy weeding. I will never be able to read all the books on that list, and the list grows every day. And that makes me anxious. (Also disclaimer: I have anxiety, like, as a disorder, so that probably doesn’t help.)

I order in books to read all the time from the library, and they get returned unread, because I can’t read them all. Sometimes when I finish a book, I sort of panic because I have so many good romances/apocalypse fiction/weather related books to read, it’s overwhelming, and that’s just if you count my go-to genre favorites.

To combat reading anxiety, I’ve started to do a few things.
  1. Weed my GoodReads list. I’ve had this thing going for nearly a decade now, and my reading tastes have shifted since I started adding books. Also, do I need every book that Nora Roberts ever wrote on there? Probably not. I know I want to read them eventually.
  2. Don’t feel like just because a book is popular, or everyone is reading it that I need to read it. I probably won’t read most of the unreliable narrator thrillers because frankly they too are anxiety inducing, and I don’t need that in my life.
  3. Enjoy reading. Don’t worry so much about trying to reach book count goals, or finish series, or do anything more than simply enjoy the book.
  4. I should probably order less library books. I’ve got 30 checked out right now, and a list of about 100 waiting in the wings, and I simply don’t have the time to read that many. But I don’t know if this goal is going to happen.
What about you, gentle reader? Do you suffer from reading anxiety at times? And if so, what do you do to combat it?


WOW! Thanks Peekaboo! What a great topic and what amazing insight! I've also been weeding my Goodreads list, and I can see there are a LOT of instances where I read one great space opera (for example) and then went and added EVERY SPACE OPERA EVER to me to read list. LOL. I think your point #3 is the most important to always remember: ENJOY READING. This is something I find myself losing sight of sometimes, especially trying to keep up with ARCs and reviews for this blog... Hmm.

Book Review: Game of Hearts (Fandom Hearts #3) by Cathy Yardley

 
Rating: 5 Stars
 
Published January 30th 2018 by RYW Publishing
Summary: Kyla Summers has been offered the opportunity of a lifetime to get her cosplay business off the ground, and only one thing stands in her way. She needs someone to take over the auto shop, and there’s only one person she can think of to call…

Jericho Salomon hasn’t been back in his home town since he joined a biker gang and rode off nine years ago. When his best friend’s kid sister calls begging for help, he knows that he owes the family a debt and he intends to pay. This is easier said than done once he finds that the kid is all grown up…

She needs a pair of skillful hands. He needs to keep his hands off. When sparks begin to fly, can they keep things strictly business, or will their hearts get hopelessly tangled? No more games, it’s time to play for keeps.

(from Goodreads)


Review: Gah. I love the Fandom Hearts series so much, and this latest installment is my favorite yet.

Kyla is so badass, and I love that she's amazing with fixing cars and with making costumes. She's strong, feisty, a total geek, and would do anything for her friends and family. I want to be friends with Kyla so badly, haha. I also love a good book about a body positive plus sized character, so it's great to see Kyla embrace her curves and not be trying to change herself to fit some image of whay society or the media or whatever tells us we need to be.

Jericho is also amazing, and I love his story. Plus, who doesn't love a hot biker guy who gets into Game of Thrones thinking Ned Stark is the main character and going to win in the end? Mwahaha!! Oh, my sweet summer child...

This is the 3rd book in the Fandom Hearts series but cam definitely be read as a stand alone with minimal spoilers for the first 2 books. That being said, definitely read the other books in the series too because they're awesome!

Book Review: Takane & Hana Vol 1 by Yuki Shiwasu

Rating: 5 Stars

Published February 6th 2018 by VIZ Media LLC (first published March 20th 2015)            
Summary: A strong-willed high school girl and a hot, young scion of a business empire can’t help trying to outwit each other every chance they get… But could these opposites be conning themselves out of the perfect match?!

After her older sister refuses to go to an arranged marriage meeting with Takane Saibara, the heir to a vast business fortune, high schooler Hana Nonomura agrees to be her stand-in to save face for the family. But what happens when Hana meets Takane is an unexpected pairing of utter opposites!

The meeting between Takane and Hana ends in an explosive manner, and Hana is convinced that she’ll never have to see that awful Takane again. But Takane actually seems interested in Hana! Exasperated by Takane’s immature attitude, yet amused and intrigued despite herself, Hana embarks on a hilarious journey with Takane that just might lead to love!

(from Goodreads)


Review: GAH! Takane and Hana are so cute! I had a stupid, silly grin on my face the whole time I was reading this. I love their back and forth banter. It's kind of weird that she's 16 and he's 26, but they acknowledge the age (and life experience) gap at several points and they think it's weird too, so oddly that makes me kind of OK with it? I can't wait to read the other volumes in this series.

*I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss+ and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Blog Tour: The Trouble With True Love by Laura Lee Guhrke (Teaser, Review, Givewaway)


Dear Lady Truelove, I am a girl of noble family, but I am painfully shy, especially in my encounters with those of the opposite sex . . .
For Clara Deverill, standing in for the real Lady Truelove means dispensing advice on problems she herself has never managed to overcome. There’s nothing for it but to retreat to a tearoom and hope inspiration strikes between scones. It doesn’t—until Clara overhears a rake waxing eloquent on the art of “honorable” jilting. The cad may look like an Adonis, but he’s about to find himself on the wrong side of Lady Truelove.
Rex Galbraith is an heir with no plans to produce a spare. He flirts with the minimum number of eligible young ladies to humor his matchmaking aunt, but Clara is the first to ever catch his roving eye. When he realizes that Clara—as Lady Truelove—has used his advice as newspaper fodder, he’s infuriated. But when he’s forced into a secret alliance with her, he realizes he’s got a much bigger problem—because Clara is upending everything Rex thought he knew about women—and about himself. . .


About the Book

The Trouble With True Loveby Laura Lee Guhrke
Seriesn/a; standalone
GenreAdult
Historical Romance
PublisherAvon Books
Publication DateJanuary 30, 2018
Amazon  |  Avon Romance  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iBooks

My Review

This is the second in the series, and you really should probably read the first book, The Truth About Love and Dukes, before reading this one. You can likely get away with not reading it if you really don't wish to, but it will explain Clara's relationship with her sisters in law as well as her family's history in relation to the ton.

I love that Clara is shy and that she's not classically beautiful, but that when Rex sees her smile that first time it just slays him. I saw the plot set up coming when she's sitting there trying to figure out how to advise these letters to Lady Truelove about how to get noticed by someone, when she has the same problem, and then overhears this suave rake giving his friend lady advice. Still, the way they got there was interesting. And I love that Rex is really such a gentleman, despite being labeled a rake. His mother sure is something else, though!

This is a fun, light read. I love the banter between Clara and Rex, and love the way he helps her, as she puts it, bloom. His advice to the shy is to laugh at yourself, let yourself be vulnerable and go ahead and admit to people that you're rather shy. Basically try to put others at ease around you and make them feel good about themselves, and everyone will love you. Clara doesn't magically transform into a beautiful swan to become the bell of the ball. Instead she works hard to overcome her shyness and gradually grows her own confidence, both in the ton as well as the rest of her life. They both have some great personal growth, but Clara especially. I also appreciate that Ms. Guhrke lets Clara's desire be to be a wife and mother - and that's OK, that's part of feminism too!

The only bit I didn't like was the scene at the wedding. I feel like Rex could have handled that better, and it just fell rather flat for the big scene it was supposed to be. It irked be enough that I knocked a full star off my rating. The ending matters, it can't just... fizzle.

Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of THE TROUBLE WITH TRUE LOVE, we’re giving away two paperback copies of THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE AND DUKES by Laura Lee Guhrke!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. Two winners will each receive a paperback copy of The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 2/20/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!



About Laura Lee Guhrke

Author bioLaura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave. Laura loves hearing from readers, and you can contact her via her website: www.lauraleeguhrke.com.

Author Links

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New Release Blitz: Finding Mr. Happily Ever After: Nathan by Melissa Storm & Melissa McClone (Giveaway)


Love is complicated.
Jazz Michaels isn’t sure she wants it. That is until she sees the boy next door in a whole new light. Problem is, revealing her feelings could mean losing the best friend she’s ever had-and growing up as the only child of a single mother is lonely enough, thank you.
Nathan Reed wants to live a life of passion, love, and freedom. A serious relationship is the last thing on his list, but picturing a future without Jazz by his side just isn’t possible. As their paths diverge, will Jazz and Nathan find a way to remain together? Or does growing up also mean growing apart?
One bride, four possible grooms, unlimited potential for disaster to strike. Is the man waiting at the end of the aisle the one that’s meant to be Jazz’s forever love? Find out in this addictive series of one woman’s journey to her happily ever after.



About The Book

Finding Mr. Happily Ever After: Nathan
by Melissa Storm & Melissa McClone
Series
Finding Mr. Happily Ever After
Genre
Adult
Sweet / Clean Romance
Contemporary Romance
Publisher
Partridge & Pear Press
Publication Date
January 31, 2018
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Google Play  |  iBooks

CELEBRATION GIVEAWAY!

Win a Chocolate Tower, a signed book from each author and a copy of the collection signed by both authors.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

TAKE A QUIZ!

Find YOUR Mr. Happily Ever After!  CLICK HERE!


ABOUT MELISSA STORM

Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second. She used to write under a pseudonym, but finally had the confidence to come out as herself to the world. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true stories. Writing is Melissa’s way of showing her daughter just how beautiful life can be, when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us.
Melissa loves books so much, she married fellow author Falcon Storm. Between the two of them, there are always plenty of imaginative, awe-inspiring stories to share. Melissa and Falcon also run the business Novel Publicity together, where she works as publisher, marketer, web designer, and all-around business mogul. When she’s not reading, writing, or child-rearing, Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her four dogs, four parrots, and rescue cat. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor, because priorities.
MELISSA STORM’S LINKS
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ABOUT MELISSA MCCLONE

USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over forty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group and been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!
MELISSA MCCLONE’S LINKS
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Discussion: Real life bookish friends

This post is inspired by one Laura posted over at Boats Against the Current about real life bookish friends. In her post, Laura talks about...