Book Review

Book Review: A Proper Scandal (Proper Scandals #1) by Esther Hatch

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 222 pages
Author: Esther Hatch
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: May 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Grace Sinclair has been callously cast out of her home. And though taken in as an orphaned child by the vicar and his wife, her unsurpassed beauty makes it impossible for her to remain in the vicar’s household—with two daughters of their own about to enter Society, the vicar and his wife see Grace as nothing but competition. Thankfully, Grace’s estranged Aunt Bell has agreed to take her in to her home in London. But Grace soon learns her situation has just gotten much worse.

It takes only a moment’s acquaintance for Grace to ascertain that her aunt has married a detestable rake. And Aunt Bell, recognizing the danger of having her lovely niece too near her husband, gives Grace an ultimatum: the young woman has two weeks to find a man to marry, after which she will be turned out. With no experience in the art of attracting a husband, Grace quickly realizes that a worthy suitor might not be so easy to ensnare.

ABSOLUTELY LOVED.

One of those reads where you question why it took you so long in the first place to pick it up.

I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. One of the best regency romances I’ve read. Hands down. No contest. If you even are remotely interested in the genre, please give this one a chance. As my second great Hatch book, she’s quickly becoming an auto-author for me!

Grace and Nate had such an amazing dynamic. Fantastic banter. Incredibly sweet. They were such a match. I forgot to even note that it was a fast-paced romance because everything worked beautifully. Somehow at odds with each other, yet working together had me mesmerized.

All of the dances, garden escapes, and meet-ups were wonderful. I love how often they actually got to see each other so you could feel the romance building between them. And one thing Hatch does well? KISSING SCENES. They are swoon-worthy and fill your heart with warmth.

I loved this book. I’m excited to continue this series. Read ittttt!

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: implied and brief attempted sexual assault scenes (on and off screen), a creepy step-Uncle who continually hits on main character Grace

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Book Review

ARC Review: The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Nancy Campbell Allen
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: September 7th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Set in Victorian London from the Queen of Mystery Romance

Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect columnist to answer lonely heart letters in The Marriage Gazette. When Amelie plays matchmaker with two anonymous lonely hearts, she also decides to secretly observe the couple’s blind date. To her surprise, the man who appears for the rendezvous is Harold Radcliffe—a grieving widower and a member of Amelie’s book club.

Police detective Michael Baker has been struggling ever since his best friend and brother-in-law died in the line of fire. Because he knows the dangers of his job, he has vowed never to marry and subject a wife and family to the uncertainty of his profession. But when he meets Miss Hampton, he is captured by her innocence, beauty, and her quick mind.

When a woman’s body is pulled from the river, Michael suspects the woman’s husband—Harold Radcliffe—of foul play. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is capable of such violence but agrees to help, imagining it will be like one of her favorite mystery novels. Her social connections and clever observations prove an asset to the case, and Amelie is determined to prove Mr. Radcliffe’s innocence. But the more time Amelie and Michael spend together, the more they trust each other, and the more they realize they are a good team, maybe the perfect match.

They also realize that Mr. Radcliffe is hiding more than one secret, and when his attention turns toward Amelie, Michael knows he must put an end to this case before the woman he loves comes to harm.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for an ARC.

NOT REALLY A MYSTERY?

If you know from the get-go who the murderer is, is it really considered a mystery? Asking for a friend.

Besides that flaw, the beginning started off well enough. I didn’t mind the hero or heroine. The set-up was something I haven’t read before in a Victorian romance so sure! Call me interested. The further things went on the more and more I really couldn’t stand the heroine, Amelie. I think the impression was supposed to come off as strong-willed and capable, but all I saw was a woman in over her head that couldn’t follow basic instructions. Cue a few eye rolls. Michael was the lone savior of the story. I liked his dynamic and POV chapters. I love that his job was a detective and how he pursued the truth.

I found myself intensely skimming the last half because everything was TOO predictable. And based off of the title I thought the story would be a bit different. They didn’t match one another very well. So yes, this book was fine, but not one I’m going to remember.

Overall audience notes:

  • Victorian Proper Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder, murder of a pregnant woman, physical altercations, near drowning

NANCY CAMPBELL ALLEN is the award-winning author of eighteen published novels and several novellas, which encompass a variety of genres, ranging from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. Her most recent books, which include Regency, Victorian, and steampunk romance, are published under Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance brand, and the What Happens in Venice novella series is part of the Timeless Romance Anthology collection published by Mirror Press. She has presented at numerous conferences and events since her initial publication in 1999. Nancy loves to read, write, travel, and research, and enjoys spending time with family and friends. She nurtures a current obsession for true crime podcasts and is a news junkie. She and her husband have three children, and she lives in Ogden, Utah, with her family, one very large Siberian Husky named Thor, and an obnoxious but endearing Yorkie-Poo named Freya.

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Book Review

Book Review: His Disinclined Bride (Seasons of Change #7) by Jennie Goutet

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 270 pages
Author: Jennie Goutet
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: October 28th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She agreed to marry on impulse; he agreed for money.

Kitty Stokes never imagined she’d be so weak as to sacrifice herself on the altar of family obligations, but when her brother impresses upon her that her only alternative to marriage with Phineas Hayworth is to play nursemaid to his own children, Kitty agrees against her better judgment. On her wedding day, the certainty she has made a grave error is only outweighed by the realization that it’s too late to back out now.

Phineas Hayworth refrained from setting eyes on his new bride before their wedding day. It was the price he forced himself to pay for being so mercenary as to contract a marriage with a wealthy merchant’s sister to save his estate from foreclosure. Her beauty, therefore, comes as a shock, as does her icy treatment, which he cannot but secretly feel he deserves. He swears an oath he will not approach her for an heir unless the invitation comes from her.

As Phineas sets out to repair the estate, dismiss lazy servants, and bring Kitty to Bath to present her to local Society, he finds his wife to be more enchanting than he could have hoped for, even in a love match. Kitty continues to hold him at arm’s length, although he suspects her feelings for him run just as deep. As Phineas’s love and desire for his wife grows, the oath he swore her begins to suffocate, and it soon becomes clear he must win her over completely or spend the rest of his life in a loveless marriage.

SUPER SWEET.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I started this, some solid reviews from friends made it sound up my alley. I think I can definitely say it was! I seem to be in a regency romance mood and I’m not mad about it.

The premise of this with an arranged marriage was fun and different. I loved the relationship development and the way Phineas worked towards forming a bond with Kitty. I was also appreciative of Kitty not being totally obstinate and stubborn about her situation. It was a much better read with both wanting to make things work even if it took ironing out some creases first.

I didn’t feel this was overly dramatic. The side plots helped move Phineas and Kitty towards each other and it was pretty cute watching them flounder around with their emotions. A few perfectly regent kissing scenes and I was touched by it all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: Thawing the Viscount’s Heart (Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair #3) by Mindy Burbidge Strunk

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 219 pages
Author: Mindy Burbidge Strunk
Publisher: FiveJoys Press
Release Date: November 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

He detests the French. Especially the one staying in his house.

Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair
Sweet, Regency Christmas Romances

Five Christmas romances and the Frost Fair that started them all

This is the third book in the clean and sweet Regency romance Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair series.
Although this enemies to lovers romance is a stand-alone novel, the books are best enjoyed when read in order.

ANOTHER ROMANTIC TALE.

Another good installment to this multi-author series! I didn’t love book two, but this one perked me up to continue reading the stories of all these Frost Fair ladies.

I liked the turn around for this romance. It starts off on the wrong foot (and with poor assumptions), but slowly turns into some true realizations. I love that Aaron was able to look into himself about how he was treating Gabby and where his prejudices were coming from. I loved Gabby and her resiliency in the face of a lot of people who hated her without knowing her. As Aaron and Gabby came together I found myself completely invested in their relationship.

Maybe some dramatics were added in for a bit for umph, but I didn’t mind. These books have a nice magical holiday quality that I’ve really taken to. I hope to finish this series soon!

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: kidnapping
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, PTSD from war

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