Book Review

Book Review: Duke, Actually (A Princess for Christmas #2) by Jenny Holiday

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Jenny Holiay
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: November 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday follows A Princess for Christmas with another delightful contemporary Christmas romance between a playboy baron and a woman who has said goodbye to love.

Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is trapped. Under pressure from his domineering father, he must marry a suitable bride before he inherits a title that feels like a prison sentence. In New York to meet a prospective wife, he ditches his responsibilities and appears on Dani Martinez’s doorstep. He’s been intrigued by the no-nonsense professor since he met her at the Eldovian royal wedding and is determined to befriend her.

Newly single Dani is done with love—she even has a list entitled “Things I Will Never Again Do for a Man”—which is why she hits it off with notorious rake Max. He’s trying to escape relationships, and she’s resolved to avoid them at all costs. All they want from each other is friendship and a distraction from their messy lives.

As their bond begins to deepen, so does their attraction, until they end up in bed together. Falling in love was never part of the plan—Max’s family doesn’t see Dani as a perfect match, even as his heart tells him she’s the one, and Dani isn’t sure she can make it in Max’s world. Can they find the courage to live they life they desire, even if it means risking everything? 

CHARMING (& BETTER THAN THE FIRST).

Pleasantly happy with this one. I had some mixed feeling over A Princess for Christmas, but holiday romances call my name every year and I couldn’t skip this one. Luckily enough, it’s my new favorite of the two.

I loved the slow build between Dani and Max. The texts, phone calls, chance meetings and forced proximity moments gave them plenty of chances to turn acquaintances into lovers. I liked this that this took over a year and there were many sides to both Dani and Max’s backgrounds. They leaned on each other in the tough times and found a connection as friends before making that last leap. I thought it might hit friends with benefits territory (which I don’t personally love), but it didn’t. The progression was perfectly suited for the book.

Max was so tender and passionate. I loved watching him reconnect with his brother and coming into his own as responsibility was thrown his way. He was incredibly sweet and respectful of Dani and all of the things he did for her had me smiling. I adored Dani as well and loved that this was a dual-POV. My favorite for romances!

I didn’t like the running away trope towards the end, but the rest of the book was stellar enough that I kept my rating. It was a great vibe of Hallmark after dark and plenty of Christmastime cheer too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: alcoholic & abusive father, loss of a parent (on page), divorce

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Book Review

Book Review: A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Jenny Holiday
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: October 13th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Leo Ricci’s already handling all he can, between taking care of his little sister Gabby, driving a cab, and being the super of his apartment building in the Bronx. But when Gabby spots a “princess” in a gown outside of the UN trying to hail a cab, she begs her brother to stop and help. Before he knows it, he’s got a real-life damsel in distress in the backseat of his car. 

Princess Marie of Eldovia shouldn’t be hailing a cab, or even be out and about. But after her mother’s death, her father has plunged into a devastating depression and the fate of her small Alpine country has fallen on Marie’s shoulders. She’s taken aback by the gruff but devastatingly handsome driver who shows her more kindness than she’s seen in a long time. 

When Marie asks Leo to be her driver for the rest of her trip, he agrees, thinking he’ll squire a rich miss around for a while and make more money than he has in months. He doesn’t expect to like and start longing for the unpredictable Marie. And when he and Gabby end up in Eldovia for Christmas, he discovers the princess who is all wrong for him is also the woman who is his perfect match.

PRETTY CUTE.

I adored this on some levels, and others maybe not so much.

What I did love was the overall story. There was plenty of Hallmark vibes and I love a good princess story. There was a fun meet cute, and I felt the connection between Leo and Gabby immediately. I was surprised that even though this is a small timeline, that things didn’t feel forced between them. Not really insta-love or anything like that, a nice change!

The love scenes were out of place. It went from Hallmark to whoa whoa whoa steamy scenes, that were long and very open door. My general issue is when those scenes don’t match up with the vibe and tone of the rest of the novel.

Without that it was cute. Leo’s little sister Gabby and his friend Dani were wonderful additions. And y’all, there was a ball at the end. I’m a sucker for a good ball in a book and this was definitely hit the mark. Totally cheesy, totally perfect.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: a handful of very open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved one(s)

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