Book Review

Book Review: My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Regency Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Jennieke Cohen
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 11th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Culinary delights abound, romance lingers in the air, and plans go terribly, wonderfully astray in this cheeky and charming historical tale, perfect for fans of Bridgerton or Dickinson.

It’s 1830s England, and Culinarians—doyens who consult with society’s elite to create gorgeous food and confections—are the crème de la crème of high society.

Helena Higgins, top of her class at the Royal Academy, has a sharp demeanor and an even sharper palate—and knows stardom awaits her if she can produce greatness in her final year.

Penelope Pickering is going to prove the value of non-European cuisine to all of England. Her contemporaries may scorn her Filipina heritage and her dishes, but with her flawless social graces and culinary talents, Penelope is set to prove them wrong.

Elijah Little has nothing to his name but a truly excellent instinct for flavors. London merchants won’t allow a Jewish boy to own a shop, so he hawks his pasties for a shilling a piece to passersby—but he knows with training he can break into the highest echelon of society.

When Penelope and Helena meet Elijah, a golden opportunity arises: to pull off a project never seen before, and turn Elijah from a street vendor to a gentleman chef.

But Elijah’s transformation will have a greater impact on this trio than they originally realize—and mayhem, unseemly faux pas, and a little romance will all be a part of the delicious recipe.

IT WAS SWEET.

I know nothing about My Fair Lady. Apparently this is a gender bend on that? Maybe so.

I did think this book was incredibly sweet. I liked the plot set-up and all of the FOOD. Oh my goodness, so much baking and cooking. I think I was hungry half the time just listening to this because everything sounded delectable. I’m a sucker for a good cuisine book and this nailed it.

I struggled the most with Helena. I knew her character was meant to be unlikeable but wow did she really annoy me. Hallelujah for the growth she showed in the end after Penelope and Elijah both showed some backbone and told her to get with the program and off of her high horse.

Penelope and Elijah were easily one of my favorite parts. Such a tender and slow burn acquaintances to lovers romance. I adored the way they connected over food and their history. The meaningful conversations surround those of mixed race and Jewish decent in the time period brought another complex layer to this read. I really enjoyed this one and the audiobook was fantastic too.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, anti-Semitism, discrimination, misogyny, loss of parents
Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: January 2023

ALL THE BOOKS. I had a SUPER great reading month (mostly because I reread all of Mary E. Pearson’s books and they are top level). And I ALMOST made it through the month without a two star (but End of Story gets to hold that prize).

Favorite Books

  • Eloise and the Grump Next Door
  • Tress of the Emerald Sea
  • Divine Rivals
  • Dragonfire
  • Whispers of You
  • The Love Wager
  • Speechless
  • Dance of Thieves & Vow of Thieves
  • Wildheart
  • The Remnant Chronicles
  • Merritt and Her Childhood Crush
  • The Buy-In

Least Favorite

  • The Realm of Oblivion
  • End of Story
  • The Rebels of Gold (Loom Saga #3) by Elise Kova
  • The Sisters of Sea View (On Devonshire Shores #1) by Julie Klassen
  • [ALC] Eloise and the Grump Next Door (Oakley Island Romcom #1) by Emma St. Clair and Jenny Proctor
  • Tress of the Emerald Sea (The Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson
  • Angels of the Resistance by Noelle Salazar
  • The Earl’s Hideaway, No Ladies Allowed (Romance of Rank #2) by Esther Hatch
  • The Mobster’s Daughter by Rachel Scott McDaniel
  • A Fire Endless (Elements of Cadence #2) by Rebecca Ross
  • Stellarlune (Keeper of the Lost Cities #9) by Shannon Messenger
  • [ARC] Divine Rivals (Iris at the Front #1) by Rebecca Ross
  • A Deal with the Devil (The Devils #1) by Elizabeth O’Roark
  • The Stolen Heir (The Stolen Heir Duology #1) by Holly Black
  • Dragonfire (The Starchaser Saga #6) by Renee Dugan
  • [ARC/ALC] Whispers of You (The Lost & Found #1) by Catherine Cowles
  • [ARC] The Love Wager (Mr. Wrong Number #2) by Lynn Painter
  • The Fires of Heaven (The Wheel of Time #5) by Robert Jordan
  • [Novella] Move It or Lose It (Love Mishaps #3) by Gracie Ruth Mitchell
  • Speechless by Lindsey Lanza
  • Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
  • [Non-Fiction] Flight of Gold by Kevin A. McGregor
  • [Reread] Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #1) by Mary E. Pearson
  • Wildheart (The Starchaser Saga #7) by Renee Dugan
  • [Reread] The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson
  • [ARC] Stars and Smoke (Stars and Smoke #1) by Marie Lu
  • [ARC] This Dark Alliance (The Curse of the Blessed #1) by Renee Dugan
  • Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman
  • [Reread] Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #2) by Mary E. Pearson
  • [Reread]The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
  • The Chemistry of Love by Sariah Wilson
  • [ARC] The Cuban Heiress by Chanel Cleeton
  • The Realm of Oblivion by Marae Good
  • [Reread] The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson
  • What I Did for a Duke (Pennyroyal Green #5) by Julie Anne Long
  • [ARC] Merritt and Her Childhood Crush (Oakley Island Romcom #2) by Emma St. Clair and Jenny Proctor
  • [Gifted/ARC] A Match in the Making (The Matchmakers #1) by Jen Turano
  • [Reread/ALC] The Buy-In (Graham Brothers #1) by Emma St. Clair
  • [Gifted/ARC] End of Story by Kylie Scott
  • Maidens of Candlelight and Lotuses (The Zheninghai Chronicles #0) by Anastasis Blythe
  • To Catch a Suitor (Dalton Family #2) by Sarah Adams
  • [Gifted] Hearts of Steel (The Blackstone Legacy #3) by Elizabeth Camden
  • House of Pounding Hearts (The Kingdom of Crows #2) by Olivia Wildenstein
  • Regrets Only by Kieran Scott

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Book Review

Book Review: The Ace of Hearts (Larkhall Letters #1) by Ashtyn Newbold

Rating: ★★
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 296 pages
Author: Ashtyn Newbold
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: April 14th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A secret venture, a regrettable love letter, and a heart he can’t afford to lose.

Faced with her stepbrother’s betrayal and an unwanted marriage, Alice Rosemeyer accepts an invitation to the estate of Larkhall. Determined to earn her future security without a husband, she begins operating as the anonymous Ace of Hearts, writing love letters on behalf of the men eager to secure a match at the close of the London season. If she can manage to keep her identity secret, her reputation intact, and avoid the arrogant house guest, Mr. Thomas Herring, she might just call herself successful.

When Thomas Herring’s sister marries an indebted man because of a love letter, he has no choice but to marry into money himself. Invited to stay at Larkhall, he sets his sights on the wealthy sister of his host. When she appears indifferent, he stumbles upon an advertisement: a gentleman offering assistance in matters of the heart. An ace, so he is called. But when he turns out to be she, and also a guest at the same house, his task is further complicated—especially as Alice proves herself to be as captivating as she is clever.

With reputations, secrets, and more than one heart at risk, Alice and Thomas become trapped in a game with no rules, a game neither intended to play. Had they been wrong to play love for a fool?

UGH.

I feel SO LET DOWN BY THIS. I was even buddy reading with another friend who didn’t even finish it. Both of us struggled with so many things that happened here.

There was entirely too much focus on the other future couples in this series. Random tangents to set up their story and the main character was putting a lot more effort into everyone else so it felt like the focus was never on her.

When the focus was on her and the budding relationship with Thomas I was only impressed occasionally. They had some cute banter filled moments, but why throw out enemies to lovers than immediately take it away? I saw all of the potential but none of the execution. Not to mention, the same plot device was used over and over again. All of the characters kept playing “games” to get to know one another, tell secrets, etc. and it felt drawn out and over done.

Alright, I’m stopping here. I wanted to love this so badly because the cover is gorgeous, I’ve liked other books by this author and was interested in the rest of the series, but I don’t think I can convince myself to try again.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, mentions of gambling addiction

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Book Review

Book Review: The Lady Tempts an Heir (The Gilded Age Heiresses #3) by Harper St. George

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 314 pages
Author: Harper St. George
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A fake engagement brings together a lady with bold and daring dreams, and the heir whose heart she captured—perfect for fans of Bridgerton!

Tall, dark, and brooding—to say that American Maxwell Crenshaw stood out in the glittering ballrooms of London, is an understatement. He vowed never to set foot in England again, but when a summons from his father, along with an ultimatum to secure his legacy, has him crossing the Atlantic for the last time, reuniting him with the delectable Lady Helena March, he can’t deny the temptation she presents. Or the ideas she inspires…

Lady Helena March is flirting with scandal. Instead of spending her time at teas and balls in search of another husband, as is expected of a young widow, Helena pours her energy into The London Home for Young Women. But Society gives no quarter to unmarried radicals who associate with illegitimate children and fallen women, and Helena’s funding is almost run out. So when the sinfully seductive Crenshaw heir suggests a fake engagement to save them both—him from an unwanted marriage and her from scorn and financial ruin—Helena finds herself too fascinated to refuse the sexy American.

As their arrangement of convenience melts oh so deliciously into nights of passion, their deception starts to become real. But if Max knew the true reason Helena can never remarry, he wouldn’t look at her with such heat in his eyes. Or might the Crenshaw heir be willing to do whatever it takes to win the one woman he’s never been able to forget…

IT WAS FINE.

I feel super neutral about this book. The first book in this series was without a doubt the best one and now I feel like the other two were both step downs?

A lot of the romance was great. I liked the chemistry between Max and Helena. Things moved steadily between them and the fake dating trope? All executed super well. I just had some kind of disconnect to the heart of the story overall.

Some of the side plots were nice too. They felt unique to the historical romances I’ve read so far and were productive in moving the plot along. Just again, wasn’t super invested in them either.

See my theme here? Everything had some good and some eh. Which has led me back to no major feelings on this book. I’m hopeful book four is better. It seems like a great second chance story sooooo there we go.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: multiple open door
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: infertility

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